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Featuring: Aishen Thornewood and Verien


Standing outside the Inn on the Aldor Rise, Aishen looked over the letter in her hand for the dozenth time. For her, there was no mistaking who it was from; nobody but Verien would write on pink paper (with small hearts in the margins at that). What confused her, however, was its content; it was cryptic even by Verien's usually scatterbrained standards.

Heya Aish!

I've got to go and do some stuff. Its really important stuff at that! So much so that I probably shouldn't tell you what it is in this letter. So I won't!

So I'll be gone for some time. Take care of Zaber and Rain and PK and say Hi to everyone for me!

Smiles! Verien!

Also, only Verien would use that many exclamation points.

She pondered over the matter for some time. Verien had clearly got it into her head to do something, but Aishen had no idea what. And given that Verien was, by training, a Warlock, whatever it was did not bode well.

Verien had been a friend for some time; one of the Aishen had made after leaving her home, even despite the girl's nature. She was simply to friendly to ignore, and impossible to dislike. However, in truth, the pair of them hadn't spoken in some time. Aishen knew that she had been busy with all that needed doing but, at the same time, she would have readily admitted that she was avoiding the human girl.

She couldn't say why, however. The simple fact was that some time ago, not too long before the re-opening of the Dark Portal, something had happened that had profoundly affected Verien. Whatever it was, she had apparently gotten over it, returning to her normal, cheerful self. However, there was something else; Verien seemed to have become somewhat more intense, more focused. She was ready to fight against the Legion, but at the same time., seemed to be developing more then a passing interest in their magic and knowledge.

At the same time, she had become, if anything, even more unrestrained in the use of her own spells. Verien had simply become more destructive, while the cheerful tone that took the frightening edge off her abilities seemed to have diminished. And that made Aishen more then a little uncomfortable.

She whistled loudly; moments later, her Netherdrake swooped down, landing next to her. Patitng the massive creature on the nose, she quickly clambered onto its back, securing herself into the saddle. The Drake launched itself with a roar, passing over Shattrath city, before circling around and descending into the Lower City. The creature stopped, hovering over the treehouses inhabited by the city's Arkorra population.

"Down here." She began, signalling the Drake to descend. It landed in one of the trees, a pair of the feathered humanoids scurrying out of her way. Swiftly dismounting, she nodded back to it; moments later, it took off with a beat of wings.

Brushing past several of the birdmen, she headed down to the alchemy lab that was located on one of the lower tiers of the complex. A pair of human women were there, both dressed in robes, both arguing over the array of flasks before them. "You're using too much felweed." The taller of them, who had short blonde hair and wore dark robes, began.

"I can use as much as I think I need." The shorter replied; dark haired and clad in colourful robes, she bore more then a passing resemblance to Verien.

"We'll run out." The blonde continued, taking an almost scolding attitude.

"You can get felweed anywhere." The other replied. "I'll go out on my flappy and get some if it really bothers you."

"You are just too much like your cousin-"

"Excuse me." Aishen cut off the pair of them. "Jacquel, Waffelle..."

"Heya Aish!" Waffelle beamed, grinning despite holding a pair of vials in her hand.

"Greetings, Ms Thornewood." Jacquel added. "A pleasure to see you."

"Likewise." Aishen nodded. "I am sorry to interrupt your work."

"Jacqui is seeing if sher can discover something by randomly mixing stuff up." Waffelle commented. "She says I'm hogging all the Felweed, but I think that she's being silly. And Toothbrush agrees." She indicated to the rather plump snowshoe rabbit that was sitting by her foot, apparently unconcerned by all the sensitive chemical apparatus around it. "And he should know."

Aishen wasn't going to comment. Toothbrush once killed a monsterous Silithid, Buru the Gorger. That was good enough for her.

"This is a carefully planned experiement, not random dabbling." Jacquel pointed out. "However, Aishen, I suspect you didn't come here to talk about Alchemy. Is there some way that I can assist you?"

"You are correct." Aishen admitted. "I was hoping that wither of you had seen Verien recently."

The two glanced at each other. "I cannot say that I have seen her in the last week" Jacquel admitted, a slight hint of releif in her voice. "I did notice that Scryer Tier had been a little quieter of late."

"Me either, Aish." Waffelle added. "Is something wrong?"

"I'm not sure." Aishen shook her head. "I was hoping you knew something."

"Well, she did say that she had to go to Stormwind to do stuff." Waffelle continued. "And she said that it was really, breally important, but she didn't say what the stuff was. So I waved bye to her, and so did Toothbrush."

"Stomwind. I see..." Aishen traield off. Verien hadn't returned to her hometown in some time, and apparently had good reasons. "Thank you, both of you. I am sorry to have wasted you time." She bowed to the pair of them.

"Not at all, Ms Thornewood." Jacquel replied with a nod. "I only hope that I was able to help."

Aishen smile,d then turned away from the pair of them, again whistling for her Netherdrake. The massive creature swooped own, hovering next to the treehouse, allowing Aishen to climb onto its back. "Thank you again, both of you!" She called out as the Netherdrake took off, the beat of its wings shaking the branches of the trees.

"Showoff" Jacquel muttered under her breath.


While Aishen had spent a lot of time in Stormwind over the last couple of years, she still would admit that she didn't know the city that well. Most of the time, it was a simple place to stop off and rest for a few hours between adventures. However, Aishen did know that there was one place in Stormwind where Verien did usually go. Unfortunately, that was a tavern that was usually populated with other Warlocks.

With some reluctance, she stepped into the Slaughtered Lamb. And while she couldn't see any sign of Verin, there was another Warlock there who she did recongise. While Aishen was never comfortable around Warlocks, she took some relief in knowing that Furtwurtzler was probably the least dangerous Warlock in the world. Although, judging by the shabby looking man standing next and writing on a chalkboard, he may have some competition.

"Furtwurtlzer" she began as she stepped into the tavern, suppressing a shudder at the simple feel of the air.

"Hello Aishen." He replied without looking away from the board. "I will be with you in one second..." The Gnome trailed off, lost in thought. "No, no! This equation is all wrong! If you tried using this, your head would blow up and the rest of you would end up in the puppet dimension!" He vigorously rubbed out the equation. "Now try it again!"

Turning around, he hopped off his stool and walked over to Aishen. "Students." He shook his head. "Anyway, how can I help you there?"

"I was looking for Verien, actually." She replied, trying not to think about the various artifacts gathered on the table. "I heard that she was in Stromwind, so I assumed she would be here."

"And indeed she was!" He replied. "She came here to collect a few supplies before setting out."

"Did she say where she was going?"

"Indeed she did." He continued, slicing himself some cheese. "She said she was headed on an expedition to a ruined city in Stranglethorn Vale, Zul something or another, looking for artifacts."

Zul'Gurub. Aishen remembered the Troll city well. What could she want from there?

"It all sounded like fascinating stuff." He continued. "The exotic jungle, the mysteries of the secret ruins, the treasures that dwelled within, Naturally, I would have instantly volunteered to assist her. However, unfortunately I had a bad head cold which meant that I couldn't leave here. Otherwise, I certainly would be out there braving the unknown and incredibly dangerous obstacles she's facing.

Aishen knew that Furtwurtlzer was, in fact, an incredible coward. On the other hand, by not going with Verien, he was probably helping her. "Thank you for that." She instead replied, trying to remain civil.

"Would you like to stay a bit and reminisce over the good old days?" He asked. "I Just got a selection of imported cheeses from outland; they're great stuff."

"No think you. I have matters to attend to." Because if she has gone there, then she could be in incredible danger. Aishen thought as she stepped out the door. Or, even worse, she may just find whatever it is she's looking for.


The gates of Zul'Gurub seemed the same as Aishen remembered them; imposing, ancient and, above all else, well-guarded. The Gurubashi Trolls around them seemed to be alert and aware, watching for anyone who would dare to enter their city. In short, it seemed like nothing had changed since she was last here.

As she crouched in the bushes overlooking the entrance, however, she could see that not all was as it should have been. She could see that the guards were sleeker and less muscular then the ones she remembered, with sunken eyes, loose skin and frayed hair. Looking at them, she could tell that they clearly were malnourished, possibly forced to stay on duty to the point of collapse. Their armour and weapons seemed to bear this out, showing signs of wear and less then professional repairs.

So they look tough, but clearly are lacking, she thought. They are putting up a strong face, but it is clear that the Gurubashi aren't the force they used to be. She narrowed her eyes, looking over the area around the main gates. There were a number of trolls milling about, both guards at their posts and others on patrols. From where she was, shadowmelded and well-concealed by the greenery, she and Zaber would be very hard to find. She could easily pick off the Trolls from up here, knowing that she would be able to get a few of them beofre they found her.

But they would find me. Starved or not, Jungle Trolls were still skilled hunters and trackers; furthermore, she knew all to well that the jungles of Stranglethorn were their home, not hers. They would have all the advantages in such a persuit, leaving her out-numbered and easy prey.

Time for an alternate plan. Aishen stood, nodding to Zaber as she quietly stepped into the jungle, her Nightsaber companion following behind her. Leaving the front gate behind them, they stepped deeper into the dense jungle. The canopy quickly closed in, changing what had been the middle of the day into a shadowy, twilight world with tiny islands of light dancing in between oceans of darkness. Despite the threatening surroundings, Aishen felt strangely secure here. In many ways, it put her in mind of the perpetual twilight of her home, the protective darkness that had sheilded her people for so long.

She clambered up a small rise, then halted, Zaber stopping somewhere behind her, the grey and brown Nightsaber all but invisible in the darkness. Ahead of her was a clearing in the foliage, a gap in the wall of greenery that surrounded her. What interested her, however, was what lay beyond that.

Spread out before here was the city of Zul'Gurub, the ancient Jungle Troll capitol. From where she stood, she could see temples and walls rising out of the jungle, while the sound of water rushing over falls greeted her ears. She hadn't been here in nearly two years, but things seemed the same.

No, that wasn't true. Even at this distance, she could feel that something had changed. She could hear the rushing of water over falls, and the distant sounds of jungle animals, but that was all. The constant beating of drums had ceased, as had the calls and cries of a busy city. Zul'Gurub was silent.

Of course, one other thing had changed. Back then, there had been a small army of adventures who had dedicated themselves to stopping the Blood god. Now, she was alone, save for Zaber. It was not a reassuring thought.

It took her only a few minutes to find a path down to the city proper, half-scampering, half-sliding down a dirt hillside into the city itself, Zaber hot on her heels. Coming down withing eyesight of the gate, she ducked behind a bamboo stand, caturtiosly watching for the patrols that would head up to the gate, their vicious Razzashi serpents hungry for the blood of any who would dare enter the city.

Nothing.

The paths down to the tenple complex were empty, grass and moss growing up between the well-trod stones. There were no signs of any patrols, Troll or otherwise. "Odd." She siad to herself. "Very odd. There should be something here..." Aishen glanced back at Zaber, as if he held the answer. Finding none, she shrugged to herself, then cautiously stepped out form behind the bamboo, heading down the path. She drew her bow as she advanced, knocking an arrow, ready for whatever might approach. Her eyes scanned the trees on either side of the path, aware that danger could lurk nearby.

She reached the first bridge, cautiously heading over it, knowing full well that this would be the perfect site to stage an ambush. Expecting to be attacked at any point by Trolls, she instead was surprised when she made it to the other end of the bridge without so much as seeing another foe. Stopping on the other side, she glanced again back to Zaber. "Well, this is it, Zul'gurub proper. We're committed if we head in here."

Zaber offered a quiet, yet reassuring growl in reply, telling her that he'd be with her, regardless.

Aishen nodded, then quietly headed further in, approaching the walled shrine to Hethiss, the Serpent Loa. This had been the dwelling of Vexonis, the first of the enthralled priests who had served the Blood God, Hakkar. Inside, they had clashed with the priest, Venoxis, watching as he had transformed into a massive, serpent-like creature before finally being defeated.

Now, however, the chamber was empty. The statues to Hethiss were smashed, while most of the stonework was overgrown. However, her keen eyes suggested that there was more to it, something that she was missing. She found what she was looking for in one corner, mostly hidden by the long grass.

They were the bones of Trolls. The skeletons were clad in the torn and decayed remnants of what had once been colourful robes; more to the point, it was clear that they had met violent ends. Several crude spears and arrows lay nearby, while a number of the bones looked to have been crushed or broken. Troll priests... She observed. But killed by other trolls. What's going on here?

Aishen stood, looking around the shrine. She'd seen the damage, she'd seen the way the wilderness had taken over and she'd seen the way the trolls had apparently abandoned the city. However, she could feel something else, something insubstantial that she couldn't quite explain. The whole place seemed darker and gloomier then it had been when she was here; the sounds of the wildlife muted and distant. Onl;y the running water seemed the same; if anything, it was louder.

And then it started to rain. Sighing, Aishen continued her exploration, looking for any sign of her target. For the moment, however, she found no sign of them. Despite this, she continued to be fascinated by the ruins; clearly something has happened here after their attack. While yes, the Loa priests were dead and Hakkar had been destroyed, they'd left the city itself largely intact; even then, there still should have been plenty of trolls still about; they hadn't purposefuly depopulated the city.

Instead, something had driven the Trolls to leave this place, and she was determined to find out what it was.

Inspection of the other shrines didn't yield too much more information. Instead, she saw the same scenes that she'd seen at Hethiss' shrine repeated. Shadra's shrine had been completely destroyed, the spider eggs either left to hatch or also destroyed. Hi'reek's cave had collapsed, while Shirvallah's was largely consumed by the encroaching jungle. The entrance to Bethekk's temple had been blocked with a large stone slab; Aishen had to clamber over it to gain access to the temple. Inside, she found the subterranean shrine choked with debris and inaccessible.

And there were bones in each one.

As far as she could tell, the Trolls of Zul'gurub had turned on their priests and brutally dispatched them. Then they had desecrated the shrines to their Loas, before abandoning the city. However, at the same time, they had chosen to leave guards outside of it. Trolls value strength, she thought to herself as she stalked through the ruins, Zaber alongside her. The Gurubashi abandoned the city, but left those guards there to make it seem like nothing had changed. That way they appear strong so they other tribes don't prey on them. Of course, that still didn't explain why they had left the city in the first place.

Unfortunately, nor had she found any signs of her pursuit.

Looking down, Aishen could see one place remaining that she hadn't yet explored. It was, she hoped, the place that she was looking for, yet, at the same time, she couldn't help feeling apprehensive about venturing there. Still, she knew she had to.


"What I don't get" FJ began as she sat down on a rock. "Is why you, of all people, hang out with a Warlock in anyway."

Aishen shrugged, then sat down next to her. The two of them were on a ledge on the side of a mountain, overlooking one of the lakes in Terrokar forest. They'd flown up there, simply to get away from the noise and bustle of Shattrath.

"That's not an answer, Aish, and you know it."

"I guess..." Aishen began. "Well, its because she's a good person."

FJ snorted. "She's still a Warlock, Aish. Remember that."

"Just because she's a Warlock doesn't mean she's inherently evil." Aishen shot back, but the uncertainly was clear in her voice.

"Yeah, right." FJ shook her head.

"You used to Work with Furwurtlzer."

"No, I tolerated Furt because I didn't know the Eastern Kingdoms for beans." She explained. "And because Zog was willing to put up with him too. If he'd gotten even slightly out of line, I would have whacked him but good." FJ then smirked. "Fortunately for him, the little guy's completely harmless."

"Seriously though, FJ-"

"I am serious." There was a hint of anger in her voice. "Warlocks are no good at all. Look at our past. Look at our history. See the sort of crap that comes from working with demons, Aish? See the ocean between Azeroth's continents."

"Yeah, well..." Aishen would admit that FJ had a good point there, but she couldn't help but feel that there was something more to it. She also had another point. Aishen's friendship with Verien went against the grain, to say the least, and FJ wasn't the first person to call her out about it.

"I'm not saying she's pure evil in a giggly form." FJ offered. "I'm just saying that you have to be prepared for the worst."

That was not a pleasant thought, but it was one that loomed large in her mind. Verien's behavior had been changing; while, yes, she was maturing, there seemed to be something else to her, something darker that she couldn't yet define. Possibly something from being here in Outland, from being in contact with so much raw power, and seeing the Legion at its full might, but she couldn't no for sure.

"You're serious?"

FJ looked out over the lake. "One day, see if you can find anything on the Vyleroot trabe of Satyrs." She stated. "They lived in Azshara about two and a half thousand years back."

"I don't follow you."

"I'm just saying that you have to be prepared for the worst, Aishen." She finished. "No matter how horrible a thought that may be."


When Aishen had last been here, the Altar of Hakkar had been at the dark heart of the evil which had consumed Zul'Gurub. It was on that platform that the Hakkari priests had summoned Hakkar back into the world, using relics of Hakkar that had been fetched from across the world. The air around it had been charged with Hakkar's presence; the skies had seemed to burn red. She could remmber that day when they had faced Hakkar; as today, it had been raining.

The altar of Hakkar had stood alone on an island in the center of the city, high cliffs surrounding it on three sides. There had been several bridges over the lake, but now only one remained, and even it was in disrepair. Looking around, Aishen could see that the waters of the lake had risen, flooding the single beachfront on the island, leaving her with no options other then to trust the bridge or try to scale sheer cliffs in the rain, a prospect she did not relish. That the river was probably swarming with Frenzies and Crocolisks probably didn't help.

Despite her concerns, the bridge held up under her and Zaber's weights as they cautiously moved across it; even then she didn't feel safe until her feet were on the other side. Not that what she found there was any encouragement; the Altar of Hakkar, the centerpiece of the city and the site of the Blood God's rebirth loomed before her.

However, like the rest of the city, it seemed to have suffered. The wooden platforms around it were gone; they could have been destroyed, or burned, or simply rotted and fallen away. Chunks of its structure seemed to be missing, while the center platfrom, the very spot where Hakkar had stood, seemed to have collapsed in upon itself.

More then any physical destruction, however, it seemed to feel differnt. Gone was the taint to the air, the feeling of overwhelming evil and terror that had surged out of this place dominating all around it. However, it wasn't it's absence that she noted. No, it was something else... something different. The red skies were gone, but instead the area around the temple - no, the entire city - seemed darker then it should have been. It wasn't the rain, it wasn't the dense canopy but something else.

"Well, you are either up there, or you are not here at all." She commented to herself as she reached the base of the pyramid. "And If you are not there, well, I have no idea." Seeing no other alternative, she began to climb up the temple. While the wooden framework around it had collapsed, the original stonework was still navigable with some effort. Of course, as she slowly climbed, Zaber gladly followed her, nimbly leaping from stone to stone, seemingly unconcerned with what was going on around him.

Eventually, she reached the top, Zaber moments behind her. Looking around, she could see a pair of figures standing in the center of the ruined platform. The shorter of the two was knelling, examining something in the debris. Their bright red robes were clinging to them, clearly soaked through by the rain. The taller, a massive creature with slate-grey skin and clad in bright red armour stood over them, a massive axe in their hand.

"Verien" Aishen began.

The robed figure stood and turned around, their long black hair plasted down by the rain. "Hey Aish!" she called out in a tone of voice that was completely at odds with her surroundings. Next to her, the huge Felguard also turned, clutching its axe. "What are you doing here?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing." Aishen replied, narrowing her eyes. Next to her, Zaber growled, his eyes fixed on the massive demon. She flexed her fingers, ready to reach for her bow, but hoping things would not come to that.

"Well, that's the thing!" Verien beamed. "You see, I was doing some research into what happened to my parents!"

"Your parents?" Aishen blinked. From what she'd heard, Verien's parents had been separated by the strange cult that she had been raised by. Apparently, her father had been killed and her mother exiled through their actions. "I fail to see what they have to do with this place." There was a certain anger to her voice now.

Verien nodded, seemingly not noticing Aishen's mood. "Well that's the thing." She offered. "I found out how it is they're actually keeping me and my mother separated." Despite the subject matter, and their surroundings, she sounded like she was giving a lecture to a student.

"How so?"

"They're using a form of what's called 'Pact Magic'". She explained. "Its kinda hard to explain, but because they made the pact, they're bound by it. Its not like she can just break the pact; magic will prevent her from coming near me, and stop her from doing anything about my trainers. And her arcane magic, or my Warlocky stuff won't work against it."

Aishen didn't pretend she kenw much about magic. "I still don't follow you."

"That's the thing, Aish." She continued. "Pact magic comes from the Old Gods."

Her heart almost skipped a beat at the thought. The Old Gods, ancient and terrifying beings that dwelled in the depths of the earth, she thought. What kind of a person would want to use such magic? Even for a warlock, it sounds insane. "So that's why you're here."

"Yepyep." She smiled. "Hakkar was an Old God or at the very least, a servant of one. And the Gurubashi Trolls also fought the Old Gods in the ancient past, so I was hoping they'd have some information about them here, or some relic or something." She looked around at the collapsed, rain-soaked platform. "Unfortunately, there wasn't much here. They must have either taken it all when they left, or destroyed it or something. Ah well."

“When they left?” Aishen asked. “I have noticed that the place is rather... abandoned.”

“Yeah, that’s because of Karazahn.” She casually replied as she poked a stone.

“Karazahn?” Aishen furrowed her brow. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

Verien waved her hands in the air. “That’s the funk that’s in the air, Aish. Its that same icky feeling of decay and despair and miasma and stuff that comes out of Karazahn, that we’ve seen all over Dreadwind pass. Its what makes it so grey and cozy.” She turned around, pointing back behind the pair of them. “Kara’s just a little over that way, on the other side of those mountains.”

“I wonder why we didn’t feel it before.” Aishen commented.

“Maybe when the Hakkari were here, their powers aor Hakkar’s powers or something held it back.” She offered. “And when Hakkar was killed, then Kara’s miasma crawled in and made it all gloomy and stuff.” She offered.

“Would explain the skeletons then.” Aishen muttered. ‘’The Hakkari couldn’t keep it at bay, so they were sacrificed as a mixture of offering and punishment.’’

“Yeah, and I haven’t had any luck with tracking down anything here.” Verien shrugged. “I checked up on An’qiraj, but it seems that the Cenarion Circle cleaned out the place of dangerous relics and stuff, which is a shame.”

“A shame-”

“And if there was any they missed, I think Toothbrush might have buried them.” She finished ignoring Aishen’s comment.

“So that’s the end of that plan, I guess.” Aishen finished, sounding noticeably relieved. ‘’I’m sorry, Verien, but there are things you just shouldn’t do, regardless of the cause.’’

“Well, that’s what I first thought.” She replied. “I mean, unless Zul’jin had an ancient Aquir relic on him or something.” She shrugged. “Buuuut then I found something neat out!”

Aishen was surprised, and instantly worried. “What?”

“There’s another place I could go which is bound to have all sorts of neat stuff.” She spoke up, a cheerful tone in her voice. “Its a city in Northrend, called Anzol-Nerub. Apparently, it’s got an old god in its cellar like An’Quiraj did!”

Aishe blinked. “Uh, Verien?” She began. “Northrend’s controlled by the Scourge. There’s armies of undead there... and that is even before you consider what might be in Anzol-Nerub.”

“I know. But I’ve gotta do it.” Verien replied, a suddenly serious tone to her voice.

“Verien, I-”

“I’m a big girl now, I can take care of myself.” She paused, then returned with a cheerful grin. “Besides, if anyone tries to stop me, I’ll just doom ‘em up real good!” She skipped past Aishen, her Felguard following her as she reached the edge of the temple. “See you in Northrend, Aishen!”

“Yeah.” She replied eventually as Verien skipped down the stairs. “See you there.”


“Um, excuse me, please.” Aishen began as she looked around the crowded trade district. “Excuse me? I need some help finding something... I’m looking for - excuse me! Um, do you know where this ‘Westfall’ place is?”

She glanced around, confused. She’d only arrived in Stormwind a few days ago, and readily would have admitted that she was lost. She had never seen such a large or densely populated city before; Darnassus seemed so quiet and relaxed compared to the human city. That it was such an ‘’alien’’ place didn’t help her any. She’d simply seen nothing like it. It wax so different to the towns and cities of Kalimdor; artificial, ordered, structured... manufactured.

“Excuse me!”

Unfortunately, she hadn’t had much luck in getting any help. She was rather reluctant to ask people, and not just because of her unfamiliarity with the situation. Normally shy and indrawn, Aishen was simply too nervous and afraid to directly approach someone.

She glanced around, nervous of the large crowd. The whole place just seemed wrong to her, which added to her confusion. She simply couldn't understand how humans could live in a place like this. This isn't working... maybe there are some other Kaldorei around who I can talk to who may be able to help.

"What a cute little kitty!"

Aishen turned around, glancing behind her to where her Zaber, her Nightsaber companion, had been standing. Normally unruly, the cat sensed to have been even more argumentative since arriving in Stormwind, clearly not liking the place any more then she did. So far, the only way to mollify his mood had been to feed him a lot.

Now there was a young human woman in a black robe leaning over him. "Oooh! Do you mind if I pat him?"

"Um... can I help you?" She asked.

"I've never seen a kitty like him before!" The girl beamed. "He's like a tiger but brown and grey which is really odd."

"He's a Nightsaber." Aishen offered. "His name is Zaber."

"Hello Zaber!" The girl beamed. "My name's Verien!" She extended her hand towards him, however, the young nightsaber growled and turned his head away from her.

"Sorry about that." Aishen offered, a weak smile on her face. "He's not used to humans yet."

"That's okies." Verien replied and stood, smiling. "But he is a cutie. He looks really fierce too! I bet he's really mean in a fight, miss."

"Uh, Aishen. Thornewood." She stumbled out. "Aishen Thornewood."

Verien smiled. "Well welcome to Stormwind, Aishen!" She grinned. "This city's really, really neat. There's lots of cool stuff here to see and do, like the Cathedral and the keep, well, even if Lady Prestor is a bit of a grump, and there's all the inns and the brand new auction house and all kinds of stuff!"

Aishen nodded. "Thank you... but, well, I'm new here and, well... I don't know my way around here at all."

"Aha!" Verien replied gleefully. "You need a guide! And I'll help you!"

She managed a weak smile. "Thank you very much. I'd like that."

"Not a problem, Aish - is it okay if I call you Aish?" She asked, and then continued. "'cos I think we'e gonna get along great!"

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