The cool moonlight of the White Lady was a soothing balm to Caeridwen’s eyes after the harsh yellow sun that had radiated against her all day. Though she could see just as well at night without the light of either moon, the pallor they cast upon the world gave her some sort of comfort, if it were even possible for the undead to feel so.
Caeridwen felt there was something magical about that silver glow and how it transformed everything it touched.
Returning from her reverie with a suddenness that made her stand straight up from her previous crouch, Caeridwen leapt off the rooftop with the speed and grace of a cat. Her tattered cloak snapped irritably as she descended, but she struck the cobblestones with the barest hint of a clatter from her platemail.
Her appearance startled a rat, out for a midnight meal, and Caeridwen hissed back at it until the pest scurried away into the shadows of a lightless alley.
The hazy air of the Dwarven District did not detract her from seeking solace here. It was less peopled than most of the other parts of Stormwind, and was more preferable to Caeridwen, who sought as little interaction with her fellow Alliance as possible. The living races tolerated her kind, but with fear and distrust. The constant clanging of hammers against anvils reminded her of Acherus, where there were always Death Knights of both factions honing their skills, many wielding weapons in melee for the first time, as it had been with her.
Soft footfalls came to her long, sensitive ears, and Caeridwen back-stepped into the same shadowy alley the rat had fled down just as a young Night Elven woman walked by.
She had no interest in idle conversation or being personable.
Instead of heading in the other direction and continuing on her way, something bore of the melancholy from contemplating the moonlight caused her gaze to linger on the woman. She wore the pristine robes of a priestess and walked with a confidence and serenity, as if the goddess Elune strode beside her. Though this Night Elf’s hair was the pale silver of the White Lady and her own had been the violet shade of Arthas’ Tears – an irony that did not escape her – it brought a rush of memories Caeridwen was not prepared for.
The memories were of a woman similar to this one, full of faith and life, and so much the opposite of the creature Caeridwen now was.
It caught her in an uncharacteristic moment of surprise when she noticed the woman had stopped and was looking straight at her.
“What is it, priestess? Does my appearance offend you?” Caeridwen snapped, her glowing eyes narrowing critically.
“Not at all, sister. It is not often I come across another elf in the human capital,” the other replied with a smooth, melodic voice. It was quite a contrast to her own echoey, cracked voice, and brought with it a tinge of self-consciousness which made her flinch.
“How fare you this even? Elune smiles upon us in full tonight,” the priestess continued. As the woman raised her arms toward the sky, like she might try to embrace the moons and stars, a dreamy smile touched her lips, lips blushing with blood that still flowed.
It was not the cold dead sludge that passed for vital life fluid within Caeridwen.
The response to her irritably spat question was unexpected. Caeridwen had been prepared to offend the young elf or be met by disdain or a similarly rude response.
She could not help the next words that escaped her. “I am no sister of yours, nor even to be accurately considered an elf anymore. Leave me be.”
Unabashed, the priestess let out a tinkling laugh. Caeridwen was conflicted on whether she felt it pleased or offended her ears.
“Oh, every Kaldorei is sister and brother to one another, most particularly those who serve the goddess. Though a Death Knight you may now be, I also see you are touched by the grace of Elune. You may feel she has forsaken you, but I see otherwise.”
Silence fell between them. It seemed to have no negative effect on the priestess. She merely held her smile and her gaze, and both were inviting rather than challenging.
It was then Caeridwen realized her mouth was agape, her retorts having evaporated before they could form on her tongue and pass her lips. She resumed her frown with an effort.
Dark eyelashes closing briefly over her luminescent silver orbs, the priestess grew flush. Caeridwen hoped it meant she had finally taken offense and would leave, ending this most awkward of meetings.
She was surprised yet again.
“Forgive me, I have not even introduced myself,” the young elf said. “I am Brizaeyl, sent by the Lady Whisperwind on a mission of diplomacy.” Brizaeyl gave a short but graceful curtsey.
“Caeridwen,” the Death Knight responded. She scowled, unsure where her voice had suddenly come from and why it sought to betray her.
“It is a pleasure, Sister Caeridwen,” Brizaeyl replied, her smile broadening.
Sister? It was a term she had never thought to hear directed at her again.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This story was originally published on Awaiting the Muse, on November 11th, 2012. All rights reserved.
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/
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