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Shadows of the Past
It was late during the evening, close to midnight in the human city of Stormwind that two riders traveled through one of the silent streets of the grand trade district. The buzzling market stalls and streets were all closed and empty now, with only the occassional dog cry and the stepping of hooves against the pebblestone beneath the two riders breaking the silence. No one was out during this time of night, except for a few lone groups of city guardsmen patrolling the streets to ensure that law and order was maintained, even this far into the dark of night.
Upon one of the horses was a tall, slender man wearing some long, blue Azure cloaks, his ears long and pointy, and his eyes glowing with a dim, magical blue colour, alongside his youthful yet mature features a hint suggesting he was indeed a High Elf. The man riding next to him was much different, however. A large human male, wearing a green cloak over some studded leather armor. His hair was dark brown, and with a long, slightly dirty facial hair. His eyes scanned the streets sharply as the two men traveled through the dark, calm streets of the city, where they kept a slow and steady pace until they reached a lit house, where the glow from the fireplace traveled out through the windows of the house.
"This is the place, Master Dal'Dieb. Our liason should be awaiting you inside." The gruffy looking human stated, and the High Elf nodded.
"I see, Mr. Cuttleberry. If you will take care of the horses, I will meet you inside."
The human known by the name oe Cuttleberry did not answer the High Elf's proposal, but simply acted. As Sharon dismounted his horse, the mercenary grabbed the reins of it and carried it away as he went around the back of the house. The High Elf turned his attention now to the house infront of him, as he stepped forward and ascended the stairs to the door.
Beneath his robes, the High Elf wore a long set of blue and light blue silken robes, with a white cloth sash at his waist, next to a sword resting neatly in its sheath by his hip. In his hand he held a silver, metallic rod at his own height, with a beautiful blue crystal adorning its shaft, trimmed with marveolous patterns in the rod itself.
As he approached the door, he raised his hand up to knock, but was suddenly interrupted as the door suddenly swung open before him, leaving him standing there with his hand raised. Infront of him stood two men, wearing green cloaks over their garments. They eyed him intently, as one of them reached down towards his belt beneath his cloak:
"Wait, that's Master Sharon! Let him in!" Came a sudden voice, as a more elderly man appeared in the corner of the High Elf's view behind the two men, whom quickly moved aside at the command of the elder.
Nodding quickly, Sharon didn't hesitate to step inside as the door was closed behind him by one of the men, and was met by an older, white haired man sitting by the fireplace.
"Ahh, master Sharon, so you came at last. You had me worried there!" The man explained, seemingly quite enthusiastic about meeting the High Elf. Sharon returned his joy with a smile as be bowed graciously.
"You must apologize me, Dr. Ornstein we took a few detours on our way here. For safety. Think nothing of it." Sharon explained as he stepped forward into the living room. The room was richly decorated by fine furnitures and paintings, with a beautifully decorated red carpet in the middle where the elderly man by the name of 'Ornstein' sat and waited for him in one of the chairs.
"Well, do not just stand there. Come in and take a seat. We have much to discuss, Master Dal'Dieb. Lord Greymoon has been most eager to hear your promised story." Ornstein explained as Sharon stepped through the room and found a seat in one of the opposing chairs. As he sat down, he noticed three other men in the room, all wearing the same green cloaks as the two he met at the door. But only two of them were paying him any mind, the third seemed to be standing by the window, watching the streets outside.
"I had a feeling he would be." Sharon added as he looked forward to meet Dr. Ornstein's gaze, but then threw him a curious stare.
"Is there any reason why Lord Greymoon could not come in person? I was hoping to speak with him first."
"I'm sorry, but he had a lot on his hands that prevented him from coming in person. I will assure you, he would if he could, but fate would not be as kind as to grant him such a privelege." Ornstein added, with a bit of disappointed and apology in his voice as he bowed his head a little to Sharon, before raising it back up to stare at him with renewed vigor.
"But I understand it is also rather urgent for you as well. What has happened, to demand such a quick arrangement with our Lord?" Ornstein inquired.
"I'm sure you have heard about the le,-"
"Lord Greymoon shared the letter with me. I read that you were having problems of your own. You feared you were being followed? Your older brother had returned from the dead?"
Sharon was caught a little unaware by Ornstein's abrupt questioning, the High Elf pausing in the moment, but then continued to speak in a slow manner.
"Well, yes. I do have problems. And... that is not quite the case, my brother was never really dead."
"No, but people thought he was dead. His name was Sherraine Dal'Dieb, was it not? Prestigeous merchant of the old kingdom of Quel'Thalas?"
"And you are saying he was responsible for lord Greymoon's fleet suddenly vanishing without a trace?"
"Yes, he deceived lord Greymoon. The so called 'cultists' he spoke of, was all a ruse to make your Lord grant him power over his fleet."
"But what did he seek to gain from all this chaos and destruction? I read the reports. A port town in Quel'Thalas was burned to the ground, a Sin'Dorei noble man and his homestead suffered a similar fate. Was this about revenge?"
"Only parts of it, Dr. Ornstein. But my brother's plans stretch longer than that. He planned to pillage,-"
"The fleet was reportedly sunk at the port. All crew members killed. How do you know your brother is still alive?"
Sharon gazed up at Ornstein, meeting the old man's questioning gaze. The doctor did raise a good question; he had neither seen nor heard his brother since then, there was no real confirmation that he was still alive. But something in him told him that he still was. An unexplaned feeling. He knew his brother well enough to know that he couldn't have been killed that easily. He had survived the destruction of his old kingdom. He had survived the Scourge. It didn't seem likely for him to have died during the loss of the fleet at a port city by Quel'Thalas.
And if he was still alive, there was no way that Sherpa would ever let him get away. Not for long.
"I... I'm convinced he is. I've been hearing troubling things lately."
"We live in troubling times. But that does not mean we should expect the shadows we see to come alive and attack us. These... happenings as of late, could be for entirely different reasons than your brother, whom we don't even know exist. We don't even know if it was really your brother who duped us."
"Doctor Ornstein, Cuttleburry is back." One of the green-cloaked men by the door suddenly said across the room, and Ornstein turned his attention from Sharon to him.
"Let him in." Ornstein ordered, before turning back to Sharon, but the lowered his voice, leaning closer to Sharon.
"I heard you had a very rough time up in the northern kingdoms, Dal'Dieb, but don't let that lessen your wisdom, let alone common sense. Much is uncertain at this point, Lord Greymoon fears unseen threats now more than ever, and house's entire name hangs in the balance after what happened up there. So we need you on our side, Master Dal'Dieb, with your sharp mind, not clouded by nightmares or fear of the living dead."
As the door guard opened the door to Mr. Cuttleberry, he saw the shadow of the man be illuminated by the light of the fire. But as Cuttleberry's brown hair became visible, the guard soon reacted to his lifeless eyes as his body was hanging limply infront of the door, with another unknown shadow behind it, grasping Cuttleberry around the waist.
"What in the name of,-" The guard exclaimed, as he reached for his weapon, but was cut off as the man behind Cuttleberry threw him aside and lounged forward, thrusting a blade right up into the guard's guts. The second guard was quick to draw his weapon, and ready to strike at the assailant whom had just struck down his comrade, but was surprised as a second shadow appeared in the doorway, carrying a crossbow. With little warning, the man fired, and the bolt launched for the handheld crossbow flew straight into the guard's left chest before he could even react, causing him to collapse immediately on the floor.
Ornstein and Sharon had both been witnesses to the murder of the doormen, and rose up from their seats as the murderers charged into the room. Clad in worn cloaks and simple linen and leather clothes, they charged inside of the room wielding swords aimed straight at Sharon and Ornstein. The guards at the back of the room did not have time to respond before the first assailant was already upon the High Elf and the doctor, raising his blade to strike. Ornstein raised his hands in a futile attempt to resist the sword blow, but before the blade could hit him, Sharon had grabbed his staff and intervened, slamming the sword out of its original path.
The other assassin came from the side and swung his blade in a horizontal slash against Sharon, and the High Elf immediately ducked beneath the attack, and in turn swung his staff around with all his might, sending it right into the assassin's belly, stunning him in a powerful blow. But by the time the assassin fell to his knees, his friend had already raised his sword to resume in another attack; this time against Sharon, and was already on his way to send his sword straight down into the High Elf's skull.
But just before that happened, Ornstein had suddenly jumped forward and pushed the assassin away. The man, however, was furious at the doctor's transgression, and within the blink of an eye; turned around and rammed his blade straight into Ornstein's chest.
"Doctor!" Sharon called out as he was left as a horrifying witness to Ornstein's brutal demise, as the doctor became completely still as the sword had stopped moving inside of him. The assassin retracted his blade from the old man's chest, letting him slump together in a heap at his feet. But before the assassin could make another move, the three green cloaked guards had already thrown themselves over him, one grabbing the assassin's sword while the other guard recklessly swung his blade around, slicing the assassin's throat apart in a clean strike, while the third guardsman ran for the other stunned assassin, kicking him while he was down.
Sharon rushed to Ornstein, the doctor's lifeless corpse already dead by the time he reached him. The High Elf checked for any lifesign from the old man, but found none. His corpse was still warm, and his richly adorned dress was splattered with blood all over his chest, drops of it having moved over to his shocked face.
But Sharon did not have much time to think over the doctor's demise, before one of the windows on the other side were suddenly smashed open, and another assassin wielding a crossbow aimed inside of the house. This time, Sharon acted first, as the High Elf immediately raised his staff and conjured a shockwave that rocked through the room and straight into the assassin in the window, throwing him away.
"We need to leave this place. Now!" One of the guards called out.
"What about doctor Ornstein and the rest?" Another one called out.
"Forget about them. The last thing we need is more dead!" The guard called out, before turning to Sharon.
"There's bound to be more of them in the streets!" Sharon quickly said.
"Then at least we'll have died in the attempt rather than die here like sheep!" The guard replied, and handed Sharon a green cloak taken from one of the guards. The High Elf barely had time to throw away his old blue and replace the bloodied green one before the men rushed out through the doorway and into the street outside, but the moment the first house guard had placed his feet at the bottom of the stairs, a bolt suddenly came flying through the moonlight and hit him square in the chest, and he rolled over and fell into the stone before them.
"Jeremy, take care of Holstein. We we'll split up! I'll go with the mage!"
Without much option to complain, Sharon was pushed aside by one of the guards as they ran the other way through the street - leaving the other guard to drag the wounded off the street.
"They won't make it!" Sharon said as he ran with the house guard through the streets, to which the man simply replied "I know." before they ran off through the streets.
Sharon couldn't see any more of the assailants, but he could hear people shouting in the distant, and the whistling of invisible bolts and projectiles as they flew through the night air. The High Elf could only pray none of them hit them, as he and the other man ran for all they could through the street, trying to get away from the scene as fast as possible.
But as they had had ran a couple hundred meter through the darkness of the streets, Sharon suddenly stopped, grabbed the man, and uttered a spell. And in a flash, they had disappeared from the street corner - and reappeared at a completely different place, standing in the garden of a large, four story high house. The purple rocks of the rooftops indicated that they were in the mage district, and the air was completely still around them, not a sound to disturb them.
"What was that?!" The guard called out, seemingly surprised by the High Elf. Sharon didn't respond at first, but was rather too busy trying to regain his breath, but finally stood up and turned towards the house guard.
"A trick. I thought you knew I was a Mage?"
Sharon, still shaken by the recent even, his heart pounding so hard that it felt like it was going to burst from his chest, for some reason found it hard to take the recent life-or-death scenario seriously. After regaining some more of his breath, the High Elf gave the house guard a pat on his shoulder, before he stepped forward towards the house infront of them.
"Let's get inside. It feels like I've been shot... " Sharon said as he stepped onto the bedstones in the garden and headed for the front door.
"But... Master Dal'Dieb, you have been shot!"
Sharon suddenly stopped at the house guard's funny claim. The High Elf turned around and gave the man an odd stare. The house guard wasn't smiling, in fact, he looked almost shocked at the High Elf, a prospect the High Elf couldn't quite understand. That was, before he suddenly felt something sticking in his back as he turned around. Moving his hand behind his back, the High Elf felt something that he identified as a wooden crossbow bolt, sticking into his lower back. At first he could barely believe what he was feeling, before the realization dawned on him, and he gasped.
"Ohh, now I Know what you mean... "
But there came no more words from the High Elf after that, as Sharon had just passed out, and slumped forward - thankfully his face only hitting the grass which was still soft after yesturday's rain, and so remained lying there, completely motionless at the feet of a terrified house guard.