Dust billowed in the wind that blew over crumbling buildings and streets, once the proud testaments of a dying race. Shari shook her head as she took it all in again, the ruins of Silvermoon. The once great city now held the stench of scourge and burnt mana. Her long and pointed left ear tilted to the east and ahead of her to catch the fading sound of a crazed arcane guardian. The magical golems activated to protect and serve were now stuck on the offensive from an attack long past. Continually they prowled the ruins spouting the city rules while attacking anything that dared move nearby.
The wind picked up, the coolness of it biting her left cheek and causing pale wisps of her hair to tickle her neck and face. She pulled the strands behind her left ear and pulled the hair to one side, then drew her cloak tighter about her shoulders. The brightness of the destroyed city, its gilded accents and architecture of smooth marble painted in gem like luster, struck out at the dusty winds. It was a reminder of what they had lost, and just over the crumbling back wall of the ruins was a reminder of the fight still left within her race, the new Silvermoon, more grand and splendid than the one before. The persistence to keep going, no matter how many enemies you gain, no matter how many allies turn their backs on you. Shari’s frown deepend and a rustling behind her, caused both ears to twitch as she looked over her shoulder in time to catch a nearby bush going still where it should not have been moving at all.
“Who is there?” Her voice sliced the wind with the calm demand. Only one thing would sneak about in bushes near these ruins. Her eyes narrowed.
A low and pitiful moan of pained hunger brushed her ears, confirming her suspicions.
Already, without seeing, she felt disgusted. “I have nothing for you, lowly wretch.” The sneer painted her voice as she faced the brush.
“P…please,” it whined, parting the bushes with bony hands. Dirty copper strings of hair snagged twigs and broke them off as the foilage parted and a grimy elf put itself face down before her. The sallow face, black and sunken eyes quickly hid behind the shawl of dirty copper. The ghastly grey skin and starving look, its filthy rags and the dank, acrid scent of its mana abuse assaulted her. Its gender could no longer be determined, nor did she care to try.
Shari’s upper lip curled with her revulsion and she wrinkled her nose, taking a step back. “Leave me, or I shall give you more mana than you can handle.” Already she could feel the strains of mana firing in her veins, her fingers itched with kindling flame.
A poor choice in words, all the starving creature heard was mana and it looked up at her, it’s black eyes glittering with hunger. “Yes,” it hissed and growled pathetically at the thought of satisfied craving.
“Wretched.” She felt ready to be sick it disgusted her to see such lowliness. Her palms burned and she barely whispered the words, shaping the mana, building the fire within. One gloved hand extended out and her fingers curled in, one pointed toward the creature. Shari closed her hand into a fist, drew it back toward her, eyes closed for the final calling and a palm thrust forward. The panicked look of understanding struck the hunger from its face as it recognized the last mistake it would ever make, bright flames lit the souless eyes as fire shot forward, surrounding and crushing inward. She winced as the howl of pain ripped from its chest and its head slammed into the broken cobbled path with a sickening thunk, driven forward and into a curling ball of tortured flame.
She closed her hand into a fist once more, drawing her cloak closed tight as she pulled her arm back into its folds. She shivered as life whimpered out of the fallen elf, turned away as it twitched in flames licked forward by the wind. “The mana consumed you long before the fire.” She choked on the overwhelming scent of death, her mouth set in a grim line. It was better off dead. She walked away, up the cobbled road that eased as the stones smoothed into newer structure and then the sculpted textures of Falconwing Square, visible over gilded fences. The bubbling foutain in its center soothed away the pitiful moans of weakness. It almost made her smile.
The bustle of the square quickly wiped it away as she was forced to weave amongst the early morning traffic, conscious of a few eyes following her cloaked form. They saw her come from the ruins often, she knew they must be curious about her obsession. Shari stopped and shut her eyes, trying to block out the image of hordes of undead pouring into the city, lead by… She shuddered, recalling everything that had been lost that day. Traces of a headache began to pulse in her mind and she immediately regretted wasting mana on the wretched in the ruins. So much had been lost. She shook her head and continued through the square, out of the gates, toward the Dead Scar. The blight of death made by the hordes of undead that charged old Silvermoon extended farther than she could see, a dark and lifeless scar acrossed the beauty of the Eversong Woods. Even these several years later, the dead rise, spirit, bones, and corpses alike, to prowl the scar all the way to Deatholme.
Shari nodded to the group of rangers stationed in front of the broken wall, guarding both old and new silvermoon from the occasional band of marauding undead. She passed safely between them and the wall, eventually weaving her way through the gardens outside of new Silvermoon. The gates rose high, both guards nodded to her, one actually smiled. Shari’s frown deepened at that, but she dismissed it quickly.