Noirwind

Take a look into the life of a not-so-ordninary servant of the light!

Topic/Postby Lilandris » 23 Oct 2013, 02:00

Noirwind

Been working on this for too long without posting any of it :Q
So what we have here is me attempting a different writing style, specifically a "film noir" sort of style (Yes I will admit Max Payne has given me a lot of inspiration for this piece, don't judge me!)

I hope you guys and gals enjoy it, and that I've somehow magically gotten the style right! (I haven't seen a single "Film noir" film ever you see :P) Oh and the title? Just a working title really, but I'm too lazy to think up a proper title :P


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Noirwind


Things were different these days, people seemed more squeamish than before, scared even. And I found myself in the middle of it, as a candlelight finds itself in a storm, I held firm as best I could, but it was hard not to fall into the same despair that seemed to have overtaken a larger part of the people of Stormwind. But I hadn’t exactly ever been a shining example of a servant of the light anyway, I had a habit of walking my own path for better or worse, I never -was- any holier than anyone else.

The story began with a knock on the door. On the other side was an old friend, Sigmard.
“Lil! They’ve taken her! Someone’s taken Alice!”
“What?” Not exactly the message I wanted in the evening. Alice, a child Sigmard had been looking after for the last few years, had apparently been kidnapped.
“You’ve got to help me, Lil, SI:7 have already given up!”
“That’s bad news indeed, but I don’t see how I can help?”
“Lil, you and Keurlan have an investigative bone or two in ya, at this point you’re my only hope.”
“Keurlan is out of town, but alright, I will help you.”
“Thank you, Lil, I don’t really trust those SI:7 agents anyway.”
“Before I ask you if you have any leads; how is Delandra taking this?”
“Poorly, she’s been weeping ever since Alice went missing.”
“And you?”
“I’ve been stressed to say the least since the letter showed up.” Sigmard rubbed his neck.
“A ransom letter I take it?”
“That’s the odd part of it, it’s not a ransom letter at all, it’s just a gloating letter.”
“Hmm, that’s our way in, then, may I see it?”
Sigmard handed me the letter, the fact that it was a letter at all ruled out a fair bit of Stormwind’s population, at least most of the low-lives. But the handwriting was elegant and faultless.
“By way of the writing style, this looks like a letter Keurlan could have received. Looks like the style of a noble.”
“A noble, why would a noble have my Alice abducted!?”
“I wouldn’t know, but by the looks of this letter; because they can get away with it easily.” I tucked the letter back in the envelope. “Mind if I hang on to this? I’ll compare it to some of Keurlan’s mail and see if I can’t get a better lead off this.”
“Be my guest, Lil... I’d hate to stress ya, but try to be quick about this, eh?”
“I can’t give any promises, but I will give it my best, Sigmard.”
“Thank you Lil, you truly are a good friend.” Sigmard shook my hand with both of his and looked me in the eye, I could tell he hadn’t slept for a while. I gave a smile back to him.
“You should go home and get some rest, and comfort Delandra as best you can.”

After Sigmard left I sat down at Keurlan’s desk, even though I was one of the more prized parts of his life, he didn’t like me going through his things, but he was out of town and what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. I reckoned we kept secrets from each other more often than most couples, maybe that’s what kept the spark going or what was going to be the doom of our relationship in the end, it was probably both. So far it hadn’t bothered either of us. After a while of searching through previously opened letters I found a possible match in the handwriting, while I didn’t really have the eyes for this kind of thing the styles seemed similar enough, however, disappointment struck me as I read the signature, the letter had only been signed “X. I.”. This didn’t get me much further, but it was enough to start looking around. I had been in dark dens before, walked among thieves and lowlives and all sorts of undesirables, little did I know it was nothing compared to the darkness I was about to walk into, the world of the nobles. They say a few bad apples spoil the bunch, but there were more than a few bad apples in this barrel. I didn’t usually harbor hate towards others, but I had never liked nobles, they were more prone than others to be stuck up and have mindsets which told them they were better than everyone else. Granted not all of them are the same, I had friends with noble blood after all, there were exceptions to the rule so to speak.

I ended up walking the streets for a while, they were quieter than usual, on a night like this the taverns were usually busy, but only a few people could be seen entering and leaving them and in the streets overall. The nobles lived in the areas closest to the Stormwind Keep, the keep was a majestic sight as always, but there was something sinister about it at night, like a bad omen. My eyes eventually landed on a silvered plaque next to a door, reading “The Islerock residence”. I lit myself a tobacco roll and stared at the house for a while, through the windows I could see that there was still lights lit inside. I mouthed a prayer before knocking on the door by use of the door knocker in shape of a lion’s head, - these people obviously supported the Wrynn monarchy. A servant opened the door after a short moment. He spoke in that upper class manner that made me want to throw up.
“This is some time to come knocking on doors, state your business.”
“Is this the house of a Mr. Xavier Islerock?” I decided to put on a little act, I didn’t have any business here, not that concerned the servants and other residents in any case.
“It’s Xavius Islerock, as a matter of fact, now what do you want?”
“I need to speak to him in private.”
“You don’t look like a messenger, I’m afraid the master isn’t seeing liars and vagrants today.”
“Do I look like a vagrant to you?” I motioned to my clothing, the holy robes. “I’m investigating a disappearance on behalf of the cathedral.”
The servant stood silently for a few seconds, his suspicion was almost palpable. Then he spoke again: “Well, the master is out of town as a matter of fact, I will tell him you were here when he gets back. Good night.” The servant slammed the door shut and locked the door.

There was no point in sticking around, I wandered home and went to sleep, however my sleep was soured by a bad dream which woke me up quite early in the morning. I noticed Keurlan sitting in the corner of the room, he’d been watching me sleep for a while.
“Bad dream, Lil?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Now, what was my little bird up to last night, if I dare ask?”
I didn’t know where to start at first, Keurlan’s relationship with Delandra and Sigmard had difficulties, I usually tried to avoid conversation topics that Keurlan didn’t like talking about. However, he continued before I could collect myself.
“You do know how to stir up the silithid’s hive, don’t you Lil? Knocking on doors at late hours and poking your nose in the nobles’ business.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What you’re doing will have repercussions, Lil, and I’d rather not have to clean up your mess and even risk losing my main source of income.”
“Alice is missing!”
“The little runt Delandra and Sigmard are looking after?”
“Yes, Sigmard came on the doorstep here yesterday, out of his mind and nobody else to turn to!”
“You don’t need to shout, Lil.” He kept his usual calm demeanor, slightly to my annoyance. “I can see in your eyes where you’re going with this. But why should I help them get Alice back?”
I was gonna have to persuade him.
“Well, blood is thicker than water, there must be -some- part of you that cares about your sister? And if not, would you do it for -me-?”
He let out a little sigh, his eyes wandering around the room for a short moment.
“Perhaps you need a little more convincing?” I stood up and walked slowly to the foot-end of the bed, where I let my night gown fall to the floor, I was not so naïve as to believe he loved me just for my heart. He eyed my naked body up and down a few times before standing up.
“You make a compelling point, my little bird.” He walked over to me and kissed me. Then he picked me up into his arms and put me down on the bed again. “I will consider it.”

“Lil, my little bird... We both know that I can’t tell you what to do or not. All I can do, is choose whether or not to tag along.”
I stood with my back to him beside the bed as I got dressed. I turned around to face him before I spoke.
“You love me, there’s no doubt about that, and you love Ianah too, you know what it’s like to have a daughter. I know you don’t care about Sigmard, but you care about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sons and daughters.” I paused to let it sink in for him. “Sigmard cares about Alice the same way you do about Ianah, he would do -anything- for Alice, to keep her safe, that’s why he came here, to me, to -us-. My relationship with Sigmard has grown ever so slightly more distant after I got into your bed, it took a lot of courage for him to come here and ask us for help, and he wouldn’t do it if there was any other way.” There was a long silence as I finished getting dressed, I walked over to the mirror to fix my hair.
“I love you, Lil, but you know very well that I’m no crusader for ‘the good cause’ like you. In my world, the coin is the king, what hand touched it before mine does not matter. You do realize this is the world you are about to fall into, hm darling?”
“I know, Keurlan, and I’ll admit I don’t know your world too well... I guess I’m hoping for you to light the way for me and lead the way?”
We stood there measuring each other for maybe a minute.
“You make a compelling case, Lil.” He grinned at me. “Sounds like this will be too much fun to sit out.”
“Very well, what do you know about the Islerocks?”
“Not much I’m afraid, they’re very secretive about their business and mistrustful of anyone who isn’t of either their own blood or that of the Wrynn family line.”
“There must be something valuable to know about them in which case, perhaps we could move some coin around and see if anyone is willing to part with information?” I rolled myself a tobacco roll and struck a match to light up.
“I thought you said you didn’t know this world very well, Lil?”
I chuckled at him.
“Get dressed you fool.” We exchanged grins before he slid out of bed to find his clothes.
“Alright, Lil, no need to start with talking to the beggars and lowlives, they barely see that area of Stormwind anyway, we go straight to the top, the Islerocks’ neighbors. I believe I’ve done business with some of them before, let’s go remind them they owe me a favor, hm? Maybe we don’t even have to line their pockets further?” Keurlan gave a smile of smug contentness.
“We can hope, no?” I smirked back at him.
Keurlan walked into the next room where his desk was, I heard him rummaging through it and grabbing some papers, no doubt letters or contracts involving the people we were about to go pay a visit.

The Islerocks’ neighbors were a family of people who were seemingly like every other noble, nothing special, and as such they also had their own secrets. On their door was a plaque with the family name in golden letters: “Suronich”. Keurlan knocked three times on the door, which was about his size.
“Follow my lead, Lil” he said with a glance over his shoulder at me. I figured I was about to see a side of my boyfriend that I rarely saw. “And do play along, I’m sure we’ll have fun.”
The next moment the door was opened by a butler in a black formal attire. Keurlan marched right along inside and I followed.
“Evening Nigel, we’re here to see your master.” Keurlan spoke at the butler without even looking at him, however he slipped two gold coins into the butler’s hand as he passed him. “Oh, and go take a walk and a smoke, Nigel. We’ll be a few minutes.”
The butler just nodded, grabbed his coat from behind the door and put it on as he went out the door behind us. We made our way through the hall and to the study of the house, all of the house was decorated with sickening portraits of sons, grandfathers, uncles, all of them dressed in mustard-yellow vests, coats and double-buttoned, uniform-like jackets. I figured it was the color they could find for textiles that was the closest to gold. Nobles were all the same. As we reached the study, Keurlan pushed the double-doors open so hard they went around their hinges and slammed into the wall with a loud noise.

At the far side of the room was a desk, and behind it sat the master of the house, Marnyck Suronich “himself”. His head jolted up from his papers at the sound of the doors opening.
“What is the meaning of this!? Keurlan! What in the name of all that is holy are you doing here!?” He spoke with inquisitive anger.
Keurlan didn’t speak until he was close enough to the desk that his knees were rubbing against the mahogany wood. Keurlan already towered above humans, but Mr. Suronich was a short man, and sitting down didn’t help his case either. Keurlan tilted his head forwards to look down at him, his head blocking out the light from the chandelier, which was the only light source, giving Keurlan a very imposing shadowy figure.
“The only person in this room with authority on the matters of the holy is the lady over yonder.” Keurlan folded his arms across his chest “But let us talk about other things. Say, do you remember last October?”
“What are you getting at, Keurlan? Sounds like you’re after something... Something that I’m reluctant to give you.” Mr. Suronich leaned back in his chair, like someone believing he has the upper hand at a card game. He didn’t look like he was good at playing cards.
“Do, you, remember, last, October?” Keurlan spoke louder, articulating every word.
There was silence. I decided to break it.
“Answer the question, Mr. Suronich.” I kept a calm tone, no reason to raise my voice yet.
Mr. Suronich sighed. “Yes, I remember last October.”
“Good!” Keurlan cut him off before he could continue “And yes, I still have the letter.” Keurlan tapped the left chest pocket on his jacket.
“Why are you trying to intimidate me, what are you after?” Mr. Suronich leaned forward onto the desk again.
“Who said we are here to intimidate you? Intimidation has such a bad reputation, everyone thinks it’s such a bloody affair. All that really has to happen is that I or this lovely lady here asks a question, and you answer. Now tell me, Marnyck... Do you need intimidation?” Keurlan was giving him one of his stone cold stares.

Mr. Suronich swallowed. There was another short silence, I could sense all the way from the other side of the room that Keurlan was enjoying himself. I saw no reason to spoil my boyfriend’s fun, maybe I’d even add some pride on top of it for him.
“How about you start talking now, Mr. Suronich, what do you know about the Islerocks next door?” I walked over to the window on the right-hand side of the room and pulled the curtains aside.
“They’re avid supporters of the Wrynn monarchy, one of the richest family lines in Stormwind. They have influence in many parts of the city’s bureaucracy.”
“Have you seen or heard anything suspicious?”
Mr. Suronich paused, choosing his words.
“‘Wretched is the one who sows seeds against his neighbour.’” He was playing the last ace on his hand.
“‘Lost are the ones who oppose the light’s justice for their own ends.’” I turned my head to look at him with a cold stare of my own. “Are you trying to protect people who scheme in the dark?” I had a whole deck of aces to throw at him if I wanted to.
Mr. Suronich had a bewildered look on his face suddenly, I had to admit it amused me.
“You’d do well to listen to what my lady has to say” Keurlan helped himself to one of the cigars from a cigarbox on the desk and lit up with the matches next to it.
“Answer my question, Marnyck!” I turned around properly and folded my arms across my chest.
“I swear! I haven’t seen anything!” Mr. Suronich spoke suspiciously quick, even if he didn’t I wouldn’t have believed him at this point. I strode quickly across the room towards the desk, my hooves like a series of thunderclaps, Keurlan stepped aside to let me pass. I went around the desk to the side Mr. Suronich was sitting and gave his chair a powerful kick, sending Mr. Suronich and the chair to the floor, Marnyck yelped in the fall and the chair sounded like it had been cracked slightly upon my hoof’s impact. Mr. Suronich rolled over onto his back and crawled backwards away from me as I walked towards him.
“Poisonous woman! Have you gone mad?!” Mr. Suronich was fear-stricken now.

I planted my right hoof firmly on his chest and spoke in a darker, angrier voice.
“I tire of you trying to play us for fools! I can tell you’re lying, now you better start telling us the truth...” I pressed my hoof down harder on his ribcage. “...Or I will plant a hoof in your backside so hard you will be branded like a cow for the rest of your pitiful life!”
Keurlan gave a short, amused snicker.
“Alright! Alright! I-.. I-”
“Get to the point!” I spoke louder, my face was twisting into a slight snarl, I’d had enough of his nonsense and foolishness.
“I saw a man at their door the other day! One of their bureaucrat contacts, one of the higher ups in the census office! He usually only visits them during Winterveil.. uh.. And when they have newborns, new family members! He had his bag of writing utensils and papers with him that day! I swear that’s all I know.”
He looked like he had told us all the useful parts now. I took my hoof off his chest and straightened myself up.
“Good, now if any word about our little visit here leaves this house, we’ll be coming back soon, understood?” I stared him in the eye, my eyes flashed at him once. “Understood!?”
“Y-yes! Yes, of course!”
“Excellent, let us leave, Lil, we have what we came here for.” Keurlan spoke in a nonchalant voice. “I’m sure Mr. Suronich here won’t give us any trouble.” Keurlan gave a wicked smile at Mr. Suronich on the floor. I nodded at Keurlan, then I looked back down at Mr. Suronich. I spoke in a cold voice.
“Oh, and mustard yellow REALLY isn’t your colour.” I stormed out of the room, Keurlan was not far behind.

Too be continued!

Also, feel free to (please!) bug me to finish this if I seem like I'm not working on this, I really do want to finish this, and a little pressure might do me good :Q
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Lilandris
Lightmancer
 
Posts: 4366
Location: Stormwind

Topic/Postby Lilandris » 21 Jun 2014, 15:51

Part 2

So here it is at last, way overdue, but by god how long this is. Way longer than any other story I've worked on before I reckon. This story is over 8000 words in it's entirety!(including part 1) Well, hope you enjoy, I certainly enjoyed writing it too!

Click here for extra noir

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The whole situation made me sick. Being the loyal person I was to all the people I named my closest friends gave me a habit of feeling like I was having both my heart and gut poked at by hungry ravens whenever my friends were in deep water. And this water was as deep as The Vile Reef. It became apparent to me that there was a reason why I don’t conduct the kind of work that Keurlan undoubtedly does. I didn’t have the stone cold attitude to it; mine was that of fire spreading in dry Westfall grass, volatile and unpredictable. You can’t do this kind of work if you let it get personal. And the Islerocks had made it all too personal from the start by taking Alice. But I wasn’t about to turn around and walk away, I had put too much of myself in this already. I saw myself in need of cooling off at home for a day after the visit we had paid Mr. Suronich. But maybe it only made it worse to sit here, restlessly. Both for myself -and- for Alice, I could imagine she didn’t like the situation she was in. It tugged at my soul just thinking about her, as if there was a link between us right now; a string she’d pull and hope to get my attention with. Well, Alice, you have my attention, but I have to at least try to not do anything stupid while solving our predicament. Walking back and forth over the wooden floors of Keurlan’s residence wouldn’t solve anything. This waste of time would only let my mind simmer and fuel my rage even further the longer it went on. All I could think of was Alice, and all I could hear was the ringing of the church bell that was my own self-righteousness.

I lit myself a tobacco roll, hopefully to help cool my head. I walked back and forth across the floor while taking hasty drags from the roll. Halfway through it I halted by my desk by the wall and almost slammed the tobacco roll into the ashtray there.
“This isn’t working!” I walked quickly towards the door, but halfway there I was halted by the sound of Keurlan’s voice.
“Hold your horses, Lil, bribing a manservant is one thing, but the Stormwind Guard won’t let us barge into the Census Office and make demands so easily.”
Keurlan was right, sadly. I closed my eyes and pinched my nose bridge; my mind was churning to the point of headache. I must have stood there for a whole minute when suddenly I remembered as if through divine intervention that I could perhaps pull some strings myself; Keurlan wasn’t the only one in Stormwind who knew a name or two.
“How about we pay the High Priestess a visit?” I turned my head to look at Keurlan, for once he had a look of slight confusion on his face. I continued: “As much as I prefer not to bother with the people in the Cathedral, their word carries weight in Stormwind. If we can get some official documents and signatures behind us, then the Census Office won’t bat an eye at our request.”
“I like the way you’re thinking, Lil.” He gave a grin, like a man being proud of a family member. “However, while -I- have no qualms about it, are you sure -you- are okay with pulling those kind of strings for this... shady ordeal we find ourselves in?”
“I find myself needed to let the ends justify the means, besides, -we- are the good guys here!” I paused for a moment as if to reassure myself that I was right. “And with those kind of people behind us, we would have a strong case either way.” I didn’t wait for Keurlan to reply, I just marched straight out the door. Keurlan wasn’t far behind.

The Cathedral of Stormwind always looked beautiful, come rain or snow, day or night, it never failed to present it’s beauty. Whether it was due to impeccable architecture or The Light’s grace I couldn’t say, but it was likely that it was a bit of both. The dusk gave the sky a look akin to fire, an intense red-orange transitioning eventually into an indigo blue as the sun slowly crawled below the horizon. The glaring evening sky gave the Cathedral a look of righteousness about it. It was hard to explain exactly why it gave me that association, but it was an omen too good to pass up. Keurlan grabbed my arm gently as I stepped onto the stairs up into the Cathedral, I turned around to see, to my surprise, an apologetic look on his face.
“Lil, dear... Eh, do you mind if I wait out here?”
I don’t think I’d ever heard such a voice from him before, it wasn’t like him at all. He obviously read the puzzled look I had on my face, and he looked like he wanted to explain himself but struggling to choose the right words. It suddenly dawned on me what was wrong. I couldn’t help but smile.
“Keurlan, you share a bed with one of The Light’s devoted servants. Going inside the Cathedral shouldn’t be a problem at all. Besides, when did you grow a conscience?” My last comment came out a bit more harsh than intended.
“Ouch, that hurts, Lil...”
“I’m sorry, I-...” I ended up apologizing, despite the fact he didn’t seem too struck by it. He gave a grin suddenly. “...Come on you big fool, no need for you to leave your lady’s side at this time.” I smirked back at him.

The High Priestess greeted us and took us to her office quarters where we sat down.
“Madam Lightmancer, Sir, how may the Cathedral of Light be of service to you today?” She spoke in a soft voice, but a look of concern was on her face, no doubt she could sense my inner turmoil; a trait many people of her position had, most of their job being to address the people and their pleas, and not least understand them. “It looks as if you are hesitant to ask that which you came here to ask, Madam Lightmancer. Please, speak your troubles, that I may advise you on them.” The elevated speech of the clergy was different from the one you’d hear from nobles, it gave a sense of humble authority, rather than the sickening, assertive authority that nobles gave off.
“High Priestess... Me and my.. other half here... We are investigating the abduction of a child here in Stormwind. We have reason to believe that the culprits are on the higher end of Stormwind’s food chain. Sadly, this leaves them... Out of reach for the two of us, and we were hoping you’d be able to help us, being the High Priestess of The Stormwind Cathedral.”
“But of course, the children of Stormwind are of the utmost importance, orphans or no. We make our highest efforts to give all the children of the city and it’s lands assistance in any way we can if needed. How can I assist your investigation, Madam Lightmancer?”
“I am glad to hear that, High Priestess... Our investigations thus far has led us to believe there may have been tampering with documents in the Stormwind Census Office. This poses a problem for us, as neither of us have the authority to demand insight in their documents. However, it is likely that they would deny us either way, as the one who would have done the tampering -is- one of the heads of Stormwind Census. But if we show up with a document informing of our investigation with your signature and blessing, the High Priestess of Stormwind, they would have no choice but to let us in. Defying the Cathedral in their work for justice and the well-being of Stormwind’s citizens is bad for the public image, not to mention considered a crime in some cases.”
“I admire you, Madam Lightmancer. You have such fervor when you put your mind to something. If it comes to it, you would do everything within your power and more to reach your goal. It’s a trait I’m afraid many of us here at the Cathedral lack, perhaps that is why you left us? No doubt The Light had other plans for you than to stand behind the altar out there.” She gestured to the door behind me with both hands with a slight sweeping motion. “If my word could help bring the corrupt to justice, and more importantly bring a child safely home, then it would be the Light’s will that I assist you. I will pen the document you need myself at once. It may take a little while, please feel free to wait in the main hall in the meantime.” She gave a bright and comforting smile.
“You have my deepest thanks, High Priestess.” I stood up and bowed, before me and Keurlan left the room.

The main hall was empty at this time. It felt like a good time to offer prayer at the altar.
“I wish to go say my prayers, Keurlan, I’m sure there’s a pew you can sit on somewhere in here.” I smiled at him, I really appreciated him standing by me in this whole ordeal, giving me his support.
“Do you mind if I stand here and watch?” He smiled back at me.
“If you wish, dear.” I kissed him before walking up to the altar. Carefully I kneeled and closed my eyes in prayer.

Thoughts raced through my head, to the point where it was almost getting hard to focus on prayer. This didn’t happen often, and only if I was stressed. Poor Alice’s face flashed under my eyelids constantly, it was only fitting my prayers were devoted to her well being. I rose to my hooves when I was done, I felt a strange, mixed sensation of exhaustion and reassurance; The Light would watch over Alice tonight. I sighed heavily, loud enough for anyone in the whole hall to hear. Keurlan came over and put his hand on my shoulder. Keurlan had always been heavy-handed, but his hand felt even heavier this time. I looked at him, and our concerned eyes met. He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he saw exactly how I felt. The High Priestess returned a moment later. I approached her to meet her half-way over the floor. She handed me a rolled up sheet of parchment wax-sealed with the Cathedral’s seal. The parchment felt a little heavier and thicker than the normal kind.
“Using your best parchment I see?”
“Of course.” I could detect a hint of smugness in her smile. “I’m only happy to help, madam Lightmancer. I believe in your path, and I see it as my duty and honor to aid you. While your work is... Different from ours here at the Cathedral, I know you wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t The Light’s will. I hope this proves to you that we’re not -all- the same here at the Cathedral.” She gave a wink, I had to admit I wouldn’t have expected her to make such a sly expression. I bowed to the High Priestess as I bid her farewell. It was getting late, and by now my body was aching from lack of rest. It was no use for us to try to keep working without sleep.
“I’m sorry, Alice, I need to rest, the Light will watch over you tonight.”
I couldn’t help feeling guilty.

Our visit to the Census Office proved me right on one hand; they backed off with their suspicions when I waved the document at them. I decided to play it smart and have one of the secretaries assist me, rather than the bosses. As I was about to get started to search through the Islerock papers for anything suspicious, one of the bosses came along with an annoyed look on his face, a tall and thin man in dark, fancy clothing.
“What exactly is going on here?” He spoke in an annoyed, yet diplomatic voice.
I straightened myself up and handed over the document from the Cathedral once again. He skimmed through it, seemingly skipping to the important parts, he obviously had experience with reading official documents. When he had finished, he shrugged and rolled up the parchment before handing it back to me.
“Very well, carry on. Let us know if you need anything.” He turned on his boot heels and strode off again. His composure and seemingly lack of interest led me to believe he wasn’t the boss who was in the Islerocks’ pocket. Fortuitous in which case, as it was better the less the Islerocks knew I was on their trail. Before too long I came upon an entry among the Islerocks’ children that struck me as odd. Not only were all the other children in their family boys, they had all come of age several years ago. This entry was for a girl, the name was of course not Alice, but the noted appearance matched Alice almost on the dot. It was also noted she was adopted, unlike all the others who were clearly stated to be blood heirs. Keurlan returned from having a look around the Census Office, just as I was looking over the attached birth certificate. He stood behind me on my left, looking over my shoulder.
“Find anything, dear?”
“I think so, have a look at this, anything strange about it to you?” I handed him the birth certificate. He looked at it thoroughly, he even seemed to check the weight of the parchment by waving it slightly in the air. He also looked at the file entry a few times, specifically the adoption process notes. After a moment of examination he spoke:
“I think this might be a forgery... A very good one, but forgery none the less.”
“No doubt if it’s done by someone who handles this stuff every day. What makes you think it’s a forgery?”
“The orphan part, ironically enough. I will need to cross-check with some references from adoption papers.” He walked over to the archive shelves hurriedly, searched through them for a large book before returning to the desk I was seated by. The desk creaked as the heavy book came down on it. He opened it up and leafed through it to a random adoption entry. Then he examined it, while letting his eyes fall upon the supposed forgery several times as well, comparing the two. He opened several other adoption entries as well.
“Yes, this is most likely a forgery.” He nodded.
“Go on.”
“The fact that the birth certificate is found alongside the family entry at all makes it highly abnormal by the looks of it. You see here...” He pointed in the books. “...This one states she is a war orphan. But in this adoption archive none of the war orphan entries have any birth certificates attached, in fact, they clearly state they don’t have one attached.”
“So does this give us any leverage? This sounds circumstantial to me.”
“It is, I’m afraid.” He sighed. “I’ve worked on less than this before, but it is on the knife’s edge. The law could easily go in the Islerocks’ favor.”
“Well, we still have investigative authority with this document here. Why don’t we bring this document and say we wish to compare directly? Ask to see Alice, I mean. If they refuse to cooperate, they are actively obstructing justice, which is a crime. In turn, it would carry considerable risk of scandal and loss of reputation with the King, who’s bootstraps they cling so firmly to.”
“And when we’re stood in the same room as Alice..?”
“We observe her reactions first of all. She is a child, and her emotional response is likely to be highly noticeable.”
“I suppose it’s the best we can do at this point.” He shrugged.
“Let us not waste time then, let’s go pay them a visit.”

The Islerock residence, once again. It was time for one final scene; all this had turned into something seemingly worthy of the Karazhan Opera Hall. All too memorable. It was time to please the crowd; end the story. Question was whether this play would end a tragedy, or a heroic epic. Either way the joke would be on me, I hadn’t exactly played the part of a knight in shining armour. Rain was pouring down as the dark sky loomed above Stormwind. A few rumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance, getting closer.
The butler opened the door at the Islerock residence, just as he did last time. He didn’t look too pleased to see me again.
“You again? There is no need for this harassment, I was not informed of any meeting today, so you clearly don’t have a scheduled audience with Mr. Islerock. Be gone!”
“Hold your tongue. We are here on official lawful business, we need to see the youngest daughter of the house.” I opened the document from the High Priestess and held it up to him so he could see. There was a clear hesitation from him, mulling over in his head what to do.
“Very well, come inside, I will get the Lady of the house and the daughter.”
We stepped inside and closed the door as the butler strode off hurriedly towards another wing of the house. I pulled back my hood and brushed some water off my sleeves as we waited, not a word was spoken between me and Keurlan as we stood side by side, our eyes were firmly set upon the door on the far side of the entrance hall that the butler had left through. A short moment later, what sounded like a combination of quick steps from a child and long, determined steps of a grown man came from beyond the door. It certainly wasn’t the lady of the house accompanying the child.
A stinging feeling of uneasiness in my stomach caused me to pull my gun, I had a bad feeling about whoever was on the other side of the door, hurrying towards it.

To no surprise, the doors burst open as Mr. Xavius Islerock entered the room with what clearly appeared to be Alice in tow. I pointed the gun at him instinctively, but I didn’t cock it just yet. Mr. Islerock had long, backswept, raven black hair. He was strongly built, but not completely fit, reminiscent of his nobility status and the extravagant life it no doubt brought with it. He spoke with clear anger in his voice.
“What’s this then, what’s so important about my daughter, that you see fit to harass us like this?!” He spoke immediately after the doors had opened. Alice was, as usual, deadly silent. But when she managed to get a view of the situation, and me and Keurlan, she let out an audible gasp, she wrested herself from Mr. Islerock’s hand and ran towards me, putting her arms around my left leg, afterwards shuffling in behind me and peeking out to look back at Mr. Islerock.
“That didn’t look like the reaction of a daughter to me. Mr. Islerock!” I cocked my gun at him. His face turned a little redder and contorted into a snarl.
“You have no right to barge in on our lives like this, we are nobles!”
“Being a noble does not grant you a free pass out of facing justice!”
“Pff, I have plenty of contacts that will keep my hands out of shackles.”
“Too bad the Light’s Justice that I represent doesn’t have courtrooms then.” I took an imposing step towards him. “Keurlan, get Alice out of here safely.”
“As you wish. Come along, Alice, we should leave.” Keurlan took Alice’s hand and led her out of the house, shutting the door behind them. I returned my focus to Mr. Islerock on the other side of the room.

“Why did you do this, why Alice?”
“She can’t speak, so she wouldn’t be speaking up about this. And with a little influence and love she would grow to become part of the family as if her past had been erased. And she will live a much better life here than with that pathetic redneck and hysterical Draenei lady that were looking after her, she will be well cared for.”
“How dare you speak of love! The cynicism of this act is proof enough that there is no love to be had in that cold heart of yours. I can see by the way you use people around you, that all you want is another person to do your bidding, not a daughter! It is not wealth that constitutes a good future, but a loving family. And there is no such thing to be found in this dreadful house.” I could hear my voice growing more and more poisonous.
“You are wrong. I prefer to be pragmatic; it is wealth that puts food on the table, not the -love- that people like you revere so much. Fools is what you are, if you people would only understand, then perhaps Stormwind would be a better place, and the Wrynn monarchy could span all of Azeroth! Compassion is a weakness!”
“It’s not yours to use people as you please, as if they were tools.”
“At least I am building a future.”
“I’m not the one with a gun in my face.” I squeezed the trigger. The Fatebringer’s bell ring bellowed through the room alongside the gunshot as Mr. Islerock’s body fell to the floor and his soul torn from his body and brought to damnation.
And there it was, curtain call. The sound of rain and thunderclaps was like the applause of Titans or Old Gods. I felt no pride nor glory, for this was all shrouded in darkness, and I was just a grim-faced Draenei lady claiming to do The Light’s work while holding a smoking gun. I was disgusted that it had come to this. I holstered my weapon and walked slowly out of the house, into the rain. An all too familiar scene is what it was... At least to me.
Keurlan was waiting for me outside, Alice was safely at his side. I could tell he saw in my face that my work was done. And now he would do his part of keeping it hidden; sweeping it under the rug. He gave a solemn nod as I stopped in front of him, looking him in the eye. He almost seemed troubled at the situation, whether for me or the whole picture I couldn’t tell, and I didn’t care, for once.
“Are you alright, Lil dear?”
I saw no other comfort to the moment than the Light’s word.
“The heavens would open up, and rain would pour from them, as if disgusted by the world below them.”
Someone once said that the closer you stand to the light, the bigger a shadow you will cast. But there are many people who stand close to the light without casting a shadow at all, and I’m sure this deed wouldn’t impress Tirion Fordring much. It didn’t impress me either, this was a dirty job. I told myself the world would be ever so slightly better off from this. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling of bitterness I was left with.

I delivered a written report to the High Priestess of the Cathedral the same evening, I figured I owed her that much for her contribution, she could make of it what she wanted. And then I wandered aimlessly around Stormwind, lost in thought as my mind tore at me. I wanted to visit Sigmard and Delandra, and Alice, see if they were alright. But in a strange way, I felt like I didn’t want to see their faces for a little while, a feeling of guilt.

Keurlan woke me the next morning.
“Get up, Lil, I think you should go listen to the town crier.”
I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about going anywhere.
“Why, so I can feel even more guilty?”
Keurlan didn’t appreciate my reply, and he raised his voice in what would either be anger or frustration.
“Enough with this moodiness of yours! The Lilandris I know, and -love-, is one that has a spine. One who lived by the words of her creed; ‘Face the consequences standing’. There is no need for this depression you currently embrace.”
I rarely heard Keurlan lose his cool like this, much less against me. But he had a very strong point, it wasn’t like me to be apathetic like this. Suddenly I felt as if I had snapped out of a trance.
“You know what? You’re right. I’m sorry, love.” I got out of bed and dressed myself in another set of holy robes, the ones from last night were still soaked from the rain. Keurlan stood by the door the whole time. “Alright, shall we go then?” I tried my best to smile, but it was hard.
“You know. I still maintain that you look impressive in those robes of yours.” He ran his hands down my arms, and took my hands in his. “Come on, my dear. Let’s go.”
The sun was shining this day, at last. The stormy weather seemed to have passed us by for good now. Birds twittered from the trees in the streets, and the day had a good feeling of pleasantness about it.
A crowd had gathered around the crier, atop his crate, listening to what he had to say.
“The Stormwind Citizen and Individual known as Xavius Islerock, upon investigation undertaken by The Holy Light’s Cathedral of Stormwind, was found to be guilty of kidnapping, extortion and blackmail, corruption, counter-working The Light’s Justice with direct intent, and plotting against the Common People of Stormwind and it’s provinces. The Light decreed he would face Holy Judgement and Retribution, and this was carried out by the Honored and Devoted Servant of The Holy Light Lilandris Len, also known as The Lightmancer. The representative’s delivery of judgement and retribution is to be considered lawful by kingdom law, in accordance with the Holy Judgement Paragraph.”
I was speechless. I couldn’t believe my ears, I turned to Keurlan who returned a shrug and a smile at me, this certainly wasn’t his doing.
“Looks like I don’t have to do any sweeping under the rug after all then.” He grinned.
I turned my eyes back to the crier, the feeling of relief was palpable. Like everything had worked out in the end. Suddenly, another person walked up and stood beside me, a holy-robed lady with her hood up. She pulled it back and revealed a smile as she turned her head to address me. The High Priestess herself, with her gentle and warm voice.
“It is not always that The Light fills us with warmth and good feelings. Sometimes it can make us feel remorseful, or angered and sad. It is The Light giving us a gentle, but uncomfortable reminder, so as to make sure we don’t get too comfortable in passing judgement upon others. Make no mistake, Madam Lightmancer, you’ve done the right thing... Doing the right thing does not always feel good.”
I nodded at her solemnly, then broke a smile at her.
“It means a lot to hear you say that, High Priestess.”
“I’m only glad to be of assistance, such is my path.” She curtsied at me before walking down the street again.
The air of worry was gone, and it was a beautiful day.
“I suppose I should go visit Sigmard and Delandra. You should come too, big man. Afterwards we can pack for a trip into the wilds, just the two of us. Does that sound good?”
“Hmm, I don’t know, Lil, visiting Sigmard and Delandra sounds like a pretty big obstacle for me.” He rubbed his chin and grinned at me.
“Oh shut up you fool, I know you can’t pass up on my offer. No doubt you can’t resist the opportunity to make love to me in the middle of the jungle wilds. Surely you wa- Mmmph!” My retort was cut short by Keurlan grabbing hold of me and sweeping me off my feet in a long, dramatic kiss.
“Let’s go visit Sigmard and Delandra then. My love.”


The end
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Lilandris
Lightmancer
 
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