Murder and Mercy

- by Xarathas

Anila ran, ran through the thundering storm. Lightning streaked across the sky, and pouring rain pounded against her head, though it was nothing compared to the pounding in her head, making the grass slick and wet.

She slipped, and salty tears mixed with the downpour. Her stomach heaved, but there was nothing to throw up. She'd all ready thrown up twice on her run, running to Dalaran, trying to flee from the internment camps.

Blast her brother Ricter for convincing her to come with them, and his mentor, Kegan. She didn't mind Kegan, really, he was a very nice.... man. If that's what they could be called anymore. Undead, that's what they were. She remembered how the guards looked at them, with such distaste and malice. "You're safer in the camp," Said the warden and the guards. Really. Tell that to ricter, or Kegan, or that lecherous wannabe who she couldn't even remember the name of anymore.

All dead.... all of them. Kegan was strung up by an invisible wire, head lopped off by the razor thin but incredibly strong material. Ricter was found gutted from head to toe, on this very morning. The last straw was the idiot and his guards. The coward demanded to be locked in a room, with no one let in. Well, someone got in. They found him in the most grotesque way.... in a box, when opened, his body parts sprang out, leaping at the one who opened the box.

That was when she ran, ran for all she was worth. She didn't care for the fellow, but she knew she was going to be next. All because of these damnable shards that Kegan had asked for them to take, these bloodstones....

So lost in her mind about the atrocities of todays events and blinded by the flashes of lightning, she did not see where she was running, as she thumped into something soft.

"OOOF!" The sound of broken glass was heard, as she looked to see a man covered in a robe and cowl, leaning heavily on a staff. "Oh dear, oh my, oh my oh my.... My glasses... I think they broke..." Lightning flashed, and Alina was able to see a little more clearly for a moment. The wizard's glasses had shattered on the rocks... perhaps he could help her, and she him...

"Oh, I am so sorry sir. I wasn't looking where I was going.... oh my, why are you even out here tonight, sir?" Hopefully without his glasses he wouldn't be able to see how horrifying she was, and with the rain and thunder even less so.

"Well, young one, I was enjoying the thunderstorm. Nature's fury and all that. Good for experiments later on... did you see my glasses?"

Anila picked up the remains of the glasses, and held them out to the wizard. He grasped at them through thick gloves, and sighed heavily. "Yes, broken, darn, these were a new pair.... Young lady, could you help an old man get home? I just need someone to lead me... don't think I could get home in this weather..."

Anila sighed inwardly. Helping an old man? With a murderer on the loose, and after her, she couldn't afford to stay with him.... but who would to say that the maniac wouldn't come after this helpless old man in a thunderstorm? This is the kind of thing that Kegan said seperated them from the rest of the Forsaken. Feeling. Honor.

Anila smiled broadly, and took the old man by the gloved hand. "I will show you the way to Dalaran, sir. and we will get you new glasses."

The old man chuckled, somehow reverberated with the thunder and rain. "Thank you, my dear. Not many of you young ones will help an old one such as myself anymore... Truly good of you. Truly good."

"Well, I am different, sir. Of that you can believe." She chuckled, despite herself, looking back towards the Internment camp. She'd better hurry....

They walked/ran for hours, the storm lightening after a bit. Anila began to become more calm as the night slowly drifted away, and talked with the old man. He was a bumbler, just a bit, but kind and had a few wise things to say. Helpless without his glasses, which upon closer inspection were practically telescope lenses. Talking, just talking about the most inane things, like the weather, what to do, what she did, what he did, seemed to calm her. She almost forgot about that bloodstone in her pocket....

Finally, at dawn, they could see the familiar bubble of Dalaran. Anila let go of the old man's hand and raised her hands in exultation. She was in sight. She was home free. She was free.

Sh-click. The sound of a blade coming free from a sheath, and a sharp dagger was at her throat. She gasped, and a voice, almost recognizable as the old wizard's, whispered in her ear. The tone seemed light hearted, almost pleased.

"Hello Anila. You've stolen from the Undercity, something that is considered a big no-no."

Anila let forth a choking sob. Here she was, just within sight of safety, of freedom, and she was going to die. All because of that stupid stone. She felt a hand going into her back pocket, and would have turned to slap the man if she hadn't had the blade at her throat. The bloodstone came into her sight as she sobbed quietly.

"This is it? This is all of it?"

She nodded, weeping. All she wanted to do was live!

"Very good. I must return this.... as for you, however...."

Anila let out another choking sob, and closed her eyes. Here it was, her end. She felt herself being spun, the blade making a shink.... and.... a kiss on her forehead?

She opened her eyes, and looked down on the ground. A small note read,

"True kindness in this world is not without rewards. Your sweet and gentle soul helped an old man who lost his glasses when an assassin was on the loose. Your kindness has redeemed your life. May your un-life be a full one.

-a Shadow."
Upon the note were the broken glasses and a black rose. Anila clutched the note, picked up the glasses and rose, and headed for Dalaran. A new beginning for her was at hand.

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