Tussle in the Jungle - Chapter 1
Vasedra smirked darkly even as she dodged under a flying fist, her cheek bruised and azure blood wetting the corner of her lip. Her counter swing was as fast as a whip, shadows wafting behind her elbow as her own bloodied knuckles connected with a strong, rough Kul'Tiran jaw, the force of the impact vibrating with delicious pressure up her arm and into her shoulder. It almost hurt. But even that fed the hunger gnawing at her with adrenaline and excitement and sensation.
The pirate and his shocked face's dirty-blonde lambchops went staggering backward, blinking and stunned... until his eyes rolled up in his head.
"And that's victory to me, Hendrick," she said smugly as she shoved at his bare, hairy chest, aiding his tumble to the packed-dirt floor of the seedy tavern.
The eredar only had a moment to gloat before a chair leg came swinging at her unprotected head. Her darkling laugh as she ducked and grabbed the wood with a powerful hand sent chills down more than a few dastardly spines, its echo barely penetrating the sudden din as the faction that lost their bet on the mysterious draeneic "warrior" in Mainlander colors decided to protest by rioting. The bar broke into a massive brawl over top of the unconscious man on the floor, centered around the stranger with the metal-banded blue tail and an odd, malicious glee lighting her luminous eyes.
Veldrinas had been asking around the more sordid parts of Boralus the past few days as to the whereabouts of a certain female draenei, one with short brown hair, backswept horns, twin blades, and with no better way to describe it, an unsettling or even evil aura about her. Unfortunately for him, that description was recognized at every run down establishment he visited.
All those he spoke to mentioned a draeneic "warrior" matching said description that had been getting into fights ranging from minor scuffles to all out brawls, but coming out on top every time.
After retracing the draenei's movements from establishment to establishment, Veldrinas found himself in front of a certain seedy tavern in Freehold located in southern Kul Tiras, filled to the brim with drunken pirates, thieves, and others of unsavory nature conducting business of questionable legality in darkened corners. The stench of unwashed bodies, stale alcohol, and vomit alone was nearly overwhelming. Never before had he been to a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Already the sounds of a massive bar fight in progress were reaching his ears.
As the night elf walked into the tavern he was greeted with utter chaos. Broken bits of furniture and were everywhere, big men were beating up smaller men or vice versa. Some even ganged up on others, using their fists, chair legs, or even furniture against their opponents. There was no way Veldrinas would be able to even move around without getting involved. He scanned the room with his spectral vision and found Vasedra standing alone in the center of the action, already prepared to pummel some other unfortunate. He could tell by her posture and aura that she was enjoying the entire thing, perhaps a little too much for his taste.
"I cannot believe Vasedra would prefer this," the demon hunter said to himself. "Over something far more... contemplative. I haven't the time for this."
The night elf breathed a sigh of annoyance as he began to push, shove, or otherwise force his way through the crowd to where the draenei was.
The void knight swung around, slamming her open palm up into a rough young woman's nose, breaking it cleanly. The pirate fell back with a gurgled curse, stumbling away only to be replaced by a few more, one wielding a dagger that looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the last person he'd stabbed.
The roughest of them shouted into the din, "Yer gonna spend a fortnight on th'nose 'o my ship, mainlander. Y' survive bein' me masthead, an' mebbe I'll keep y'on me crew... in chains, o'course."
Sedra scoffed and just held herself ready as chaos flowed around them. "I wear enough chains, already. I'll not add yours to them, Ratheborn."
When the woman and her other two crew rushed at her, the eredar just licked her lips and flicked her tail, bursting into dangerous motion to defend herself.
At that moment, Veldrinas broke through the crowd and quickly rushed forward to quickly jab the stomach of the one with the dagger, leaving the pirate coughing and gasping for breath. The hunter then ducked just in time as a barstool whooshed through the air where his head had been mere moments ago.
Veldrinas then stood up, and dashed forward to grasp the throat of the large man who held the chair. The pirate's eyes widened in shock and fear as Veldrinas tightened his iron grip, choking the breath out of him. The night elf lifted the man in one swift motion, and threw him into the opposite wall with a loud crash.
The eredar blinks at him as she grapples with the mouthy captain, her falsely blue eyes widening. "Veldrinas?"
She throws her weight down, suddenly, pulling the startled human over her shoulder to land on the table at her back, shattering it with the fleshy body. "Wha-... Where did you come from?"
Ratheborn groans and rolls back to her feet, grabbing a broken table leg and swinging it at her blue opponent's leg. Undistracted by her conversation - or at least not distracted enough to be vulnerable, the void knight steps back, taking the emperilled limb out of range until the wild swing pulls the pirate's weight forward. Then she kicks out with a hard hoof, catching the other woman squarely on her exposed chin. The human is unconscious before she even goes flying, landing in a heap at the base of the nearby rickety wall.
The demon hunter's head turns to fix his eyeless gaze on the draenei, his mouth set in a firm line.
"You get around quite alot." Veldrinas states as he moves to stand in front of Vasedra.
The night elf crosses his arms as he continues. "It seems that you caused quite a commotion at every bar frequented by thieves and lowlifes you paid a visit to. Which, if I am not mistaken, was all of them. Care to explain why? Why bother wasting time and effort fighting these pirates?"
Without rancor, the void knight scoffs at him. "You wouldn't understand the why, Veldrin-"
Her hands whip out and grab the demon hunter by the strap of his axe harness, tugging him toward her as a long dagger sails by where his head used to be. Her eyes narrow as she looks in the direction it came from, and she shouts, "Who's decided that they want to get serious?!"
With her snarl, her twinned blades, void-wreathed and disturbing, scream madness in a cacophony of voices into the dirty little bar, a chorus of chattering, cackling cries that hurt the ears and the head for no apparent reason. The less hearty in the room back away in sudden, heart-pounding terror and scramble for the broken remains of the door.
"I will turn this place into a blood bath," she growls it quietly under her breath, coincidentally by his ear by dint of the way she still grips him.
Veldrinas takes a steadying breath and reaches up to take Vasedra's wrists in a firm yet gentle grasp, removing them from his harness.
"Look at me, Vasedra." He commands softly as his eyeless gaze searches her own falsely blue one.
"You are letting the voices control you again. You must remember that the power you wield, while capable of much, is at its heart addictive. The more you give in to it, the more you will crave. And the more you crave, the farther you will fall into darkness, until the Sedra that we all know, that Ary knows, will be but dust in the wind."
The demon hunter lets the draenei's hands fall from his grasp.
"For better or worse, this power is a part of you. But you can never stop fighting its corruption. The moment you stop fighting is the moment you are lost."
"Perhaps one day we can pay a visit to Viskarri and settle this business once and for all." The night elf adds with grim determination. "But for now, I need your help."
The eredar blinks at him, her expression at first obstinate and then grudging. She finally grouches and lightly smacks his arm, "You don't understand as much as you think you do."
But it's done again without much rancor and with a contemplative acceptance.
"Let's take this outside-" She dodges back as a brave soul tries to throw a punch at her from the side, grabbing the wench's wrist and yanking her into a short, hard jab that lays her out. Sedra doesn't even bother to watch the other woman crumple at her hooves. "-where we can have a bit more peace, and then you can tell me what I can do for you."
The demon hunter nods in agreement as he gestures towards the door of the establishment and strides towards it. As Veldrinas makes his way out of the seedy, foul-smelling tavern, he breathes in deep of the refreshing, cool night air. A light zephyr rustles a few stray strands of his hair as he turns his head back towards the void knight.
"I have a favor to ask of you," the night elf begins as he pivots to fully face the void knight. "One pertaining to a... personal matter."
Sedra takes a similarly deep breath once they reach open air, tilting her head back to the starry sky as she runs her fingers through her hair and over her horns, straightening the little silver-blue tiara she wears in her short black hair. Behind them, the din of the fight she helped start is a continuing backdrop to their conversation, one that slows the process of cooling her heated blood and calming her racing heart.
After Veldrinas speaks, she lowers her face and her hands, watching him as she cocks a hip in an indolent lean against the beaten up post outside the tavern entrance. Her palms settle to rest in the pommels of her two blades.
"A personal matter, hm? Very well. What is the favor?"
The night elf crosses his arms behind his back and steps a little closer to Vasedra to make it harder for others to eavesdrop on their conversation.
"It is... difficult for me to tell you this. I... do not normally speak about familial matters to others."
Veldrinas takes a steadying breath before he resumes.
"The fact of the matter is, this is something I cannot do on my own."
The demon hunter closes the remaining distance between him and the draenei with one stride and whispers. "I received word that my sister was captured by the horde. She, along with others, are being held in a camp outside of Zuldazar. It is heavily guarded, and the prisoners are kept separate from each other and their cells are scattered throughout the site."
The night elf's expression turns grim as he continues. "It is highly possible that we will be injured, perhaps even slain. But I must do this. Will you accompany me on this task?"
For a moment, Sedra considers Veldrinas thoughtfully. When she speaks, she whispers as well. "I will help, of course. If the odds are as poor as you suggest, then we must scout and strategize and understand how best to approach this situation, lest we get ourselves and your kin killed."
The eredar pulls her gauntlets from her belt and slides them over her bloodied hands as she continues, "We should find a place to speak in private. You can tell me in detail what you already know, and we can determine how best to close the gaps. ... perhaps not a safe conversation to have here in Freehold."
Veldrinas nods once. "Agreed. I have a room rented back in Boralus, we should be able to speak privately there."
The night elf then takes a few steps back from Vasedra and mutters a demonic incantation under his breath. A few moments later a portal opens up and a saddled felsaber steps out. Veldrinas then leaps up onto its back grabbing the reins. The felsaber growls and shifts its feet, eager to be underway.
"Do you need a ride?" The demon hunter asks. "Or do you have your own means of transportation?"
"I have my own ride," Sedra says with a smirk.
She holds her hand out to the side, a beckoning, and a steed 'steps out of the shadows' of another building. Veldrin's sight reveals that the steed actually formed in a swirl of ice and frost that might have just looked like void energy to his blind eyes when she gestured, but the hide is stained dark with shadows in the ice. The creature that sidles up to her looks more like a warrior's equine pet than a construct, black and sleek and adorned with a single jagged horn from its forehead.
She swings onto its back smoothly, resting her crossed hands on its cold shoulders. "Lead the way, Veldrinas."
The night elf grunts in approval before he makes two clicking noises with his mouth and his felsaber takes off with a bound in the direction of Boralus, its claws spewing back dirt as it runs.