The twisting stairs of the the spire spiraled upwards following the curvature of the walls. Decedereful fought a spot of dizziness as she trudged upwards, following the courier who had fetched her for an audience with Lady Jaina.
Decedereful had only met the great Jaina Proudmoore once before, when she had been assisting the mage in gaining a foothold in Icecrown Citadel. That little adventure had almost cost both of them their lives, if not for timely rescue of the crew aboard the Skybreaker. Still, Ms. Proudmoore had been so focused on Arthas then, Dece was not counting on being remembered.
The reached the top of the spire in short order, and Decedereful was somewhat surprised to see that a small table had been set, ostensibly for this meeting. The round, oaken table was heavily laden with food and beverage, and a small conjured flame floated off to one side, casting the scene in a warm, flickering light. All in all, it was rather homey.
The slim, robed form of Lady Jaina Proudmoore stood with her back to the table, rifling absently through a bookcase with her blond hair spilling over her shoulders. She appeared to be going through books more out of force of habit than any actual desire to find a volume. She also appeared to be talking to herself.
"Ahem," the courier cleared his throat loudly.
"Shh, I'm trying to think here," Jaina responded, glancing over her shoulder irritably. "Oh, it's you," she amended with a quick smile.
"My Lady, Ms. Decedereful, as you requested," the man announced with a sweeping bow. He then quickly turned on his heel and left the room.
Jaina and Dece stood stiffly across the room from one another. Dece wasn't quite sure of the proper protocol, and Jaina appeared to be scrutinizing her guest. Cool, blue eyes traveled up and down the Death Knight before locking on her face. Jaina's head cocked a little to the side and a single finger went up to lay along side her nose as she cataloged the other woman standing awkwardly before her. Dece fought the urge to fidget under the penetrating stare.
Finally, Jaina broke the stalemate, "Where are my manners? Please, please, have a seat. Welcome to Theramore. Have you come to help the Alliance?"
"Erm," Decedereful started as she walked over to the table, "not exactly, my Lady."
"Please, call me Jaina," Proudmoore returned. "It is proper for those who have faced death together to be on a first-name basis, now isn't it?"
So, she did remember. "That was an... awful day my... Jaina," Decedereful observed.
"Your Jaina?" Jaina giggled. Giggled! Then here eyes took a faraway cast to them as if replaying the memory of the bloody day. She sighed, "All I ever wanted was to study."
Decedereful frowned at the giggly Mage, "Unfortunately fate does not always take into account the wishes of it's heroes."
Jaina cocked an eyebrow, "Wise words. Then again, with your history it's not wonder."
"My... history?" Dece responded.
"Yes, yes," Jaina spread her arms. "Forced into becoming a Death Knight. Sister to a powerful Warlock. You've hardly traveled a smooth road. Hero, indeed." Dece could have sworn there was a tear in her eye.
The Death Knight attempted a blush, "Thank you, Jaina."
Jaina waved her off, "One day all heroes of the Alliance will get the reception they deserve. One day." She sighed again deeply. "For now, this will do." She gestured at the table in front of her. "Do you bring tales from the front?"
Decedereful picked up a hunk of meat and bit into it. The roasted animal was cooked to perfection. To her, it tasted spoiled. She would have preferred a rarer cut, or just the carcass itself. Dece cringed at the thought. She really did dislike the change in appetite and forced herself to choke down the bite.
"Unfortunately, I've not been to the front for some time," Decedereful explained. "However, rumor has it that Icecrown Citadel has all but fallen. Next time I am able to visit my brother I will have to ask him."
"Then Arthas is..." Jaina began, but cut off with a choking sound. She seemed about to cry.
"I don't know, Jaina. I just don't know," Dece admitted.
Jaina sucked in a deep breath, "Well then, no use worrying about what we don't know. What brings you to Theramore?"
Decedereful removed the locket from her pocket and held it up to the light, "I was wondering what you might know about a Captain Brightrune. I think he has some connection to this necklace as well."
Jaina frowned at the bauble and then reached out a hand. "May I?" she asked.
Decedereful nodded and the amulet floated across the space between them to rest in Jaina's upturned hand. She studied it for a moment, flipping it over a few times and reading the inscription on the back. Holding it up to the firelight, she waggled her fingers at it and small sparks seemed to coalesce in the air. Apparently satisfied, she sent it floating back to the Death Knight who snatched it out of the air.
"Well, it's not enchanted," Jaina pointed out. "Did your brother send this to you? Thought so," she said as Dece nodded. "Hmm. Brightrune. I don't remember the name. And, trust me, I remember all of the men that followed me as part of the Brigade. Like I said earlier, folks who face death together should be comfortable with one another's names. And you've probably come from the Basin. Have you talked to Danath Dungalion?"
"Who?" Decedereful asked, blinking. The woman was all over the place, jumping from one thought to the next.
"I'm sorry, you probably know him as Danath Trollbane. He's Galen's cousin."
Decederful frowned, "Danath Trollbane? I thought he was dead. Doesn't have have a statue up in Stormwind?"
Jaina chuckled, "He does at that. Poor Thoras didn't live to hear the news." Once again, the Mage appeared to tear up, then she pulled herself together and went on. "No, Danath is not dead. At least not yet. He's in the Outlands, master of Honor Hold. You see, after he was called to reinforce Nethergarde Keep he ended up joining the Alliance Expedition to Draenor when Ner'zhul took the Book of Medivh. Khadgar was apparently able to save them by... Sorry, I'm getting a carried away aren't I?" Jaina paused. "Anyway, He's still alive and might know your Brightrune."
Decedereful sighed and stood, "Well, looks like another long journey. I hope this one pays off. Thank you for your help." The Death Knight made as if to leave, muttering to herself about how she was going to get an audience with the master of Honor Hold.
"Wait!" Jaina stood up just as quickly. "I know I wasn't much help, but I can offer more aid. You did, after all, bring me some news. Danath's uncle and my father were good friends during the Second War. Surely if you tell him I sent you he will see you immediately. Also, do you have everything you need?"
Decedereful raised an eyebrow and nodded. "One of the benefits of being a Death Knight," she shrugged. It wasn't like the already dead needed a whole lot of supplies.
"Good." Jaina stepped back and motioned Decedereful toward an open area of the room. She began waggling her fingers again, gesturing a bit with her arms this time as well. Again, sparks coalesced in the air, but this time that remained there in a tight ball. What was this fool mage doing?
The ball of light hovered in the air about chest high, and rotated slightly as if stirred by an unseen breeze. Suddenly, it began to expand outward in all directions. Blue light flashed, and when the spots stopped dancing in front of Decedereful's eyes, a shimmering image of scorched landscaped greeted her. Jaina had made a portal.
"It's not much," Jaina shrugged, "but at least you'll be there right away."
Decedereful grinned. No more boats! "Thanks, Jaina."
The Death Knight nodded to the Mage, then stepped through the portal. Jaina may be emotional, but at least she was clever, too. For a blond, that is.
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