A Question of Duty
Ten hours ago...
There is that touch on Sedra's consciousness, familiar, intimate, possessive...a master's caress. Her thoughts, recent memories, emotions are perused, combed through, considered and put aside almost idly.
"A task for you, Desire, as you save your pet." The voice within her mind is darkly rich and husky, that of a predator aware of his own power. A night hunter in deep shadow. "There is something I would have you procure." Tza'kiel's mental presence weaves about her mind like the hands and arms of a lover. "Your Sraath has appropriated something of mine that I would like back. A well-honed blade. Return Daethior to me and you will be well rewarded."
The demon's tone carries promises, seductive and needful. An image of a felsworn, once demon hunter and void-tainted, emerges, vivid, in her thoughts. "And, if you can, Desire, a sample of your past master's vitae. A minor thing, though. Daethior is foremost. Do not disappoint me." Just as quickly, the demon lord withdraws leaving behind a brief, aching, emptiness.
The contact, the order, comes in the space between one strike and the next, and as Tza'kiel's withdrawal makes her ache with longing, the void knight pulls her right blade just slightly inwards, turning a strike that just barely missed the man'ari's heart into a slice through the vital muscle. She sees it, feels it, the blood leaking around her blade like her own hand in the caster's chest.
When the female falls, bleeding out quickly, Vasedra pauses and presses her fist to the center of her chest, her blade gripped and pointing down her torso. It wails mournfully, and the twin in her other hand picks up the keening cry for a moment before bursting into haunting laughter. Distracted with steadying the emptiness left behind, she indulges them both for a moment.
Finally, with a deep sigh, the eredar presses silence upon her unnamed blades, flicking blood from them. A mission.
Daethior... he will be a step, not a distraction, she resolves, peering away at the mismatched silhouette of the Eclipse in the distance. Her eyes narrow and her fists tighten around the swords' hilts.
Malfias, Ary, then Daethior Bloodsong. I will not disappoint. Not him, and not my friend, and not myself.
“You’re slow, Desire,” Sa’khari growled, her taloned toe tapping impatiently on the deck. The felfallen demon hunter, a ‘sister’ of Viskarri in Sedra’s mind only, paced the black stone deck, her attention on the figure slumped at the center of the cage before them. Like Malfias only moments earlier, the tall, slim kal’dorei known as Daethior Bloodsong knelt, half-naked, at the center of an array of spiked obelisks, smaller, but no less “noisy” as they hummed gratingly along the edges of the two women’s minds.
“Patience is a virtue, Sorrow. Try exercising that instead of your tongue,” Sedra grunted, though in truth she was every bit as impatient as her companion, her hands nimble in the twisted, cobbled circuitry of the control panel. A breaker popped as she yanked at a pair of wires, and she winced, forcing all of her focus back on her task until, with a final splash of sparks, the containment field around the cage blinked and died.
The void knight only felt a little bit of satisfaction as she slid out from under the control panel and clambored back to her hooves, her blades chattering mad nonsense.
Khari hurried to the void-tainted and marked man, a ‘brother’ of Viskarri as well, looping his arm over her slender, scarred shoulders and dragging him away from the pointed drone of the Mindclaw Spires. Sedra didn’t exchange so much as a word with Daethior, the one Khari called the Thief, as the pair of them hurried past her and down the hall, back toward the bowels of the ship. Away from the bulbous cages arrayed through the prison ward. He glanced up once, muttering something soft that only Khari could hear, and nodded at their newest Blade.
It was enough.
Sedra spun on her hoof to follow, but something made her pause and look back, her black gaze drinking in the prisoners of all shapes and sizes arrayed in their cages, separated from the nether by only a field of fel energy and twisted darkness as if on display to the world outside the vessel. Sraath’s collection. Sraath’s trophies. Some of them beings created by Shazadi’s curse, so like Ary, and-
The void knight blinked as a draenei in one of the cages turned to face her, a shock of recognition jolting through her.
“Umaaru?” The woman was too far away to hear her, halfway up and to the right of a stocky dwarf that was more traditionally chained. But Sedra didn’t really need an answer to know: the void-sickened figure matched a lightbound corpse she’d carried through the ruined dirt of Krokuun weeks ago. A warrior, her body lost and avenged, her soul left to wander as a Vigilant construct.
The eredar grit her teeth, clenching a fist at her side. The shadows whispered of a friend and a jailor, of innocents and victims, of the tools and blades that he would be denied, and she grimaced. They were right. But Ary was waiting. The others were waiting.
But they were right. She closed her eyes, crouching for a moment to press her hands to her temples, to shove at the jostling shadows and their too-right ideas and the frustration and fear that ate at her like a cancer.
Free them… Something said it that shifted in the darkness, and Sedra couldn’t disagree.
“Fine!” she capitulated, surging to her hooves with the cry while her blades chortled and muttered insanity at her hips. “Fine. Finefinefine. Just be quiet.”
As she turned back toward the panel, growling, the deck surged beneath her hooves, a violent rejection of reality that - for a moment - ripped through her like a wave of horrible ecstasy. She caught herself against the controls, whimpering in the ensuing silence and clenching her eyes shut against the shudder that wracked her.
And then laughter rang through her as something new, something devastating, and she whipped her head up with a gasp, her stygian eyes going wide. She felt it. She was where she had intended to go. With the people she had never wanted to see there.
Vasedra spun to peer through the cages, through the shimmering green field that was all that separated them from the darkness. She stared in shock… and the Outer Gate stared back.