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The Haunting

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Arshk’i and Adam wandered into Orgrimmar for the first time in ages – for the first time since they had been brought back into undeath – and it all was so overwhelming to her. The sights and smells were foreign, making her nose stuffy and her eyes bleary.

Stalls of spices were set up just upwind of giant stalls made entirely of gas-powered grills (she even saw a few with lava and fire elementals), the waft created from delicacies from all over Azeroth and the Draenors saturating deep into her skin. Arshk’i didn’t think she’d ever get the smell out of her clothes, but wasn’t really complaining; even to her undead nose, it smelled heavenly, making her mouth water even long after the pair had left the open market in the Valley of Strength.

Just beyond the epicenter on the road toward the Valley of Wisdom, every inch beyond the immediate walkway was loaded with merchant stalls selling – gods, just about everything: jewels from Pandaria that glittered as bright as the sun and that were as old as the dragons themselves, each more beautiful than the last; herbs from Outland, the plants once-forgotten but altogether high quality ingredients when used by tailors to fashion linens and alchemists for potions; armors and trinkets of all kinds from the eredar world and its shattered moons, some of the items calling out to her with the whispers of the damned that promised her sweet nothings, while others raged silently in their prisons in wait for their fates to be avenged.

She and Adam had spent most of the last year in the Broken Isles, cleaning up the corruption from the ancients’ mistakes. It had been quite a while since either of them had stepped away from the island for more than a moment, but by the looks of her partner, he, too, seemed to be overwhelmed by the changes the mainland had brought.

Though the sin’dorei had spent more time in Undercity than Orgrimmar when alive, she could easily tell the differences of the city after the Siege: wards and runes that lay just beyond the Veil, crafted to keep the demons and corruptions Garrosh had unleashed from spreading back across the city; buildings that were either rebuilt or just missing entirely, mix-matching styles of architecture from their new allies; husks of those slaughtered in the Siege that lingered in the Shadowlands overlooking the city, the entities not quite wraiths but not simple spirits, either.

It would’ve made her sad, if she even cared in the first place.

Besides, Arshk’i  told herself, passing the fifteenth group of death knights and ghouls she’d seen since entering Orgrimmar. They waved at her, which she returned in kind. We’re only here to pay respects to  Vol’jin, and to honor the new Warchief.

It had been a full year since Vol’jin’s death, and yet the campaign into the Broken Isles had hardly just begun. Sylvanas had proven herself to be a superior general in the face of the Legion, and had given the Horde plenty of reasons to trust in her leadership.

But, a sense of dread filled her gut whenever she thought of the banshee queen. It roiled in her stomach, even making her runeblade’s whispers go silent. The sin’dorei had never known her blade to silence itself willingly, and it made her wonder why it would do so at the thought of the fallen Windrunner.

Off to her side, she could see Adam fiddling with something in his hands. When she turned to ask what he was doing, her words died in her throat as she saw their steeds land just a few yards away from them. He held his hand out for her, an unreadable look on his face, but he said nothing.

Her brows knitting together with confusion, the sin’dorei began, her eyes flicking back and forth between the tauren and their mounts, “Where – but why? We just got here, where would we –?”

His hand still offered, the tauren replied simply, “Every death knight has come to pay respects to the shadow hunter. Finding a room in this city will be quite hard.”

She waited for him to continue his thought, but he didn’t. “Why would we look if it’s already known to be nearly impossible?”

At her words, Adam’s face broke out into a small smile. “Do you trust me?” the death knight said, raising his eyebrows.

Exhaling slowly, the sin’dorei’s expression relaxed as she placed her hand in his waiting one. “Always,” she breathed, meeting his gaze.

Leading her to their mounts, Adam carefully helped her mount one skeletal beast before jumping onto the other. With a firm yank on the reins, Adam took off into the sky, leaving a cloud of red dust in his wake. Without warning, Arshk’i’s beast took off as well, a yelp escaping her lips as it followed their companions.

They flew directly above Orgrimmar, the city growing smaller until it was hardly noticeable. From here, she swore she could see Silithus’ insect clouds raging in the afternoon light.

The beasts steadied themselves and flapped their wings against the chilly winds, giving Adam and Arshk’i a nearly perfect view of Kalimdor.

“It’s so peaceful up here,” she said, leaning into the beast’s harness to get comfortable.

Over the wind, she heard Adam give a hum of approval. “Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?” he replied.

It was her turn to hum. “Being this high above the politics between the factions makes anything look insignificant in comparison.”

They stayed like this for a while, watching the world go by quietly.

Up here, everything was so simple. She wished it would always be this way.

Despite her wishes of a hopeful future, the dread in her gut only seemed to grow.