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December 2007



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Original Wide Awake

jinxedpoet in blackwaterstory

Cold Enough to Break 3

Theo glared at the man. The sunlight in Falconwing Square seemed blindingly bright. Theo raised a hand to shield his eyes. “You’re seriously not going to pay me.”

The guard crossed his arms. “You have no proof. I don’t even know you killed any of the wretched, let alone Thaelis.”

Theo nodded and wandered back down Dawning Lane. He’d left everything there after Aeron was attacked. His bag was still there, though torn, and the crystals stolen. Theo managed to gather more without so much as a second glance from most of them. He would have considered it a blessing before, but now it annoyed him. He needed one of them and it was so much easier if they attacked first. He silently slipped in behind one and wrapped a thin wire around his neck, pulling tighter and tighter until the wretched stopped struggling.

He wiped at his eyes with the back of his sleeve and pulled his dagger. “Okay. He’s already dead. This is easy.” He took a deep breath and plunged the blade into his face until it was unrecognizable.

The guard looked at him in disbelief when Theo presented the mangled head to him. “By the Light. What did you do to him?”

Theo dropped the head and wiped his bloody hands on his pants. “He fell. On a rock. Seven times.”

“This doesn’t look like—”

“It was a rock. Do you want to see it? I can give you a real close look.”

The guard’s eyes widened, “Are you threatening me?”

“Can I just have my silver please?”

“I can’t even tell if that’s Thae—”

Theo cut him off with a wave, “Have you ever seen Thaelis?”

“Well, no.”

“Then trust me. It’s Thaelis.”

He almost had to force the coins from the man’s hand. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with this now. As he headed out of town to find the lady at the North Sanctum, he noticed someone taking Thaelis’ wanted poster down. The guard shook his head and told them to leave it up before carefully picking up the head and carrying it away.

On the way, he passed a man in purple robes. “Pssst!” he said. Theo looked up at him, raising an eyebrow. “Look,” he whispered, “We could really use your help.” Theo sighed. “My friend and I, we got ambushed.”

“By what?”

“Ambushers. We were ambushed by ambushers. The Wretched. They took everything! Anyway, my friend, Meledor, chased them a ways and I’m worried about him. I don’t want to leave the blah, blah, blah, blah…”

At some point, Theo stopped listening. “By the river?”


Theo nodded dimly and continued down to the river. Sure enough, there was another mage apprentice standing on the shore looking warily into the water.


The man turned around, “Those blasted Wretched sure can run fast at the sight of someone who'll stand up to them.” He sighed, “They threw my master’s book in there, but I can’t seem to find it. Don’t suppose you’d want to help?”

Theo growled.

“I’ll pay you.” Theo looked down at his stained and torn shirt and thought about how much it would cost for a new dagger. When that logic finished percolating through, he found himself unable to say no and started wandering the banks. “No luck?” Meledor asked after a while. “Well, keep looking.”

“You know, I don’t see you over here getting your feet wet!”

The mage smiled. “The book is of utmost importance, rogue. More than you could understand.”
Theo made a rude gesture and waded into the water. He kicked something that didn’t quite feel like a rock and picked it up. A water-logged tome. “This it?”

Meledor’s eyes widened at the sight of it. “The book is completely soaked!”

“They threw it in the water. What the hell did you expect?”

“Here,” he shoved a small money pouch at Theo, “Take this. I’ve got a plan. Antheol is going to fly off his rocker when he finds out his book is ruined. I've got a little proposal for you; don't worry, I'll make it worth your while. Take this book to him and tell him nothing of this incident. If he asks, just tell him you dropped the book into a puddle.”

Theo took a step back. “Not a chance.”


“Oh, I’m sorry, too many words there? I mean ‘no’.”

“He has no direct authority over you, so there's not much he can do.”

Theo dropped the book and walked away, back to Silvermoon. He couldn’t do this. He was done. He’d only ever been barely accepted by the Sin’dorei and now he was done doing their dirty work. He’d tried to get on well with them, but they only ever seemed to want more. It was because of them and their inability to control themselves that Aeron was dead.

He passed through the transporter to Undercity, then headed to the Zepplin. He’d heard Mulgore was nice this time of year.

Her sister was a wretched, her father was dead, and her brother was...wherever--she wasn't sure.

After her father's murder, she'd left Silvermoon, across the ocean, to Orgrimmar. Green, blue, any color skin was better than pink at the moment. She was quickly learning that the other races of the Horde seemed to agree. There was no welcoming party, only crowds of onlookers that wondered whether the newly arrived pinky was food or whether her flesh might make a nice coat.

She left town as soon as she could. As much as she liked big cities, she could not handle it right now. She could barely handle herself. She heard from a goblin that there was a valley filled with harpies nearby, and she wondered if it might be worth it to just walk in there. How quickly would they kill her? And if they played with their food first, would it be better than what she was going through now?

"'Ey, little elf," the voice was deep and soothing, almost musical. Lily looked and saw a bluish green troll, tall and hunched over. Huge tusks protruded from the corners of his mouth, but he seemed to be grinning. He raised his arm and waved, slowly like he wanted to make the precious moments of that first greeting last.

"Hey," she said and started to walk away.

"What'chu doin' heah?" he asked. He followed slowly behind her, inquisitive but polite.

"What's it to you?"

"Thas' dangerous." He pointed in the direction of the mountain valley she was walking into. "Harpies. They's not nice. Eat you up."

"Thanks." She kept walking, and the troll stayed behind. The troll's warning had made her reconsider only slightly, but she didn't want to keep lying to herself. She'd forgotten why the goblin had paid her to go into the valley. She just knew she didn't want to come back.

He almost stayed in Orgrimmar. Probably would have if he hadn’t seen the orc throwing dynamite from atop the mailbox screaming “Die, pinkiez!” He was pretty sure the city itself was safe, but this was definitely orcish territory, so he thought it best to stick to the plan. The tauren were supposed to be peaceful. It was a longer journey than he’d expected, but the welcome was the warmest he’d ever received.

After a vision quest, he convinced one of the alchemists to show him how to make the potions to do that and other things. The people here weren’t at each other’s throats. They weren’t trying kill one another. They were just living and he found that to be amazing. It was easy to distract himself with the hunt. He almost forgot about what Grandfather Bones had said. It was only when he stopped long enough that he started to think that the words came back to him.

So, he just tried not to stop. The potions helped with that.

He loaded another round into his gun, he’d picked it up when he realized no one here used a bow, and took aim at one of the cougars. Just as he pulled the trigger a large swoop pecked at the back of his head. He cussed loudly in orcish and spun around, drawing a dagger. The swoop knocked him back just as the cougar closed in. It bit down hard on his shoulder. He yelped and scrambled to his feet. The bird pecked again and tangled its talons in his hair. He brought the dagger up, but couldn’t get a very clear shot. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw another cougar approaching fast. He cursed again and tried to duck out of the fight.

The bird tried to pull him back while the cougar snapped at his feet. A shot rang out and the bird dropped to the ground. The second cougar pounced the first and they rolled and fought in the dirt. Theo backed away and looked up for the source of the sound.

A large tauren with a broken horn stood several yards away. He shot again, this one glowing with arcane energy. He seemed to smile when Theo noticed him and trotted over to him.

“Wow! Did you see that? I just shot and BANG! Down.” He pulled a roll of bandages from his pack. “Hey, are you alright?”

Theo jerked away, “I’m fine!” He coughed to calm himself down and forced a smile. “I’m fine.”

The tauren nodded. His cougar lazily returned to his side and nuzzled his leg. “Good girl, Kayla. You were great!” He turned his attention back to Theo, “Are you all by yourself out here? You’re very tiny.”

Theo wrinkled up his nose, wondering if there was a connection between those two sentences or if they were both just random observations. “Sadly, no. You’re here now.” He felt guilty as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

The tauren nodded and took a step away. “Sorry. Just be careful next time. You’re very small. The things here are very big.”

Theo put a hand over his eyes so he wouldn’t have to watch himself apologize. “No, wait. I didn’t… I’m sorry. I’m Theo. I just… Bah! Thank you. For saving me.” The words tumbled out without thought.

The tauren smiled brightly enough that Theo could swear the temperature went up by a few degrees. “Anytime! Hey, I’m Kainai, but most people call me Kai, or KaiKai, or Kaisey, but I don’t like that one as much. Do you need some help? I’m really good at helping. And I like doing it. We could be hunting buddies! I have another, but he’s busy right now. I’m supposed to meet up with him later. Oh! You could come too and meet him, would you like that?”

Theo cringed inwardly, but did his best to keep the smile. “Okay,” was all he could think to say.