(( This comes not too long after Zen's interview with Dree. Many thanks to Jehanne for working on this with me! ))
The willowy white-blonde woman pads barefoot down the hallway followed by a billowing mass of shadow three times her size. She stops and raps on a door other than the one of her own room.
Jehanne opens the door, the smell of rosewater drifting out of her room. “Oh, Jendria? Hello. Please come in, don’t mind the mess. Things tend to get cluttered when Asmerglis is away.” Jehanne opens the door wide for her to the small room crammed with a bewildering array of relics, scrolls, bottles, and jars. The rosewater fails to mask the pungent odors of sour herbs and dried blood. Red glyphs paint the walls, and boxes of ores and broken weapons litter the floor. Stacks of parchments and open books cover the escritoire in the corner. Jehanne motions to for Jendria to sit on the bed, the only clear place in the room.
Flashing her a quick smile, Dree takes a tentative seat on edge of the bed, one foot curled up beneath her. "Jehanne, may we talk, please? About that interview I had with Zenru?"
Jehanne eyes her for a moment, “Ah. Of course.” She sits down beside her.
"Zhar'gore, please help us keep this private." The voidwalker nods and nearly disappears into the cracks of the doorway, greatly deadening the sound passing through it.
Jehanne watches the voidwalker fade into the wall, smiling a bit. “Hmm, never thought to ask Hathkritt to do that for me.” She turns back to Jendria, half expecting to see her returned to her native form.
The still-transformed Jendria gives her friend another, warmer, smile, and fidgets nervously. "I... I don't feel right in leaving only the answers of my masquerade. I'm sure at least some here would not presently understand my circumstances, so the masquerade must stand... but my treatment has been too good to leave only lies as my legacy here."
Jehanne smiles, “I’m not surprised. Lothwenna once told me that the Quel’Dorei are ill-suited to lying. Not that they are incapable or not good at it. But it’s not good for them. She said, ‘We are the sun walkers. We thrive in daylight, in truth.’” Jehanne shrugs, and then puts her hand on Jendria’s, “Go on.”
Dree pauses, seeming to be a bit taken aback at that, then she nods with a soft chuckle and briefly places her free hand atop Jehanne's. "Even a few months ago, I would have tried to argue against that view. But now..." She shakes her head. "Now I think she's correct."
“I learned the hard way…she often was,” the sorceress says, a wistful look on her face.
With a sympathetic smile and another, smaller sigh, she continues. "Someday, whether by an unexpected outbreak of peace, or more likely because of my death, it will be safe enough for the truth to be known. I would like that to be possible when the time comes."
“Then we should keep your words safe, and private,” she says, and rolls up her sleeve. “I may not have a recorder, but I can keep your words for posterity.” She presses her hand on the glyphic scars on her forearm. The scars glow and hiss as Jehanne mumbles to herself. Her own voidwalker bubbles up from the shadows on the floor. “Yessss, mistressss,” he whispers. Jehanne caresses the demon’s bracer, and says, “Hathkritt, I want you to keep the words we are about to speak. Remember them, and hold them inside, like I’ve asked you before.” The voidwalker bows a little, and its eyes gleam. “Thank you.”
"I am sure that the answers I give will raise more questions. In the spirit of it having been an interview, well, you will ask your own questions anyway, I'm sure... and that's appropriate to my purpose in leaving a true record."
She nods to her, “Alright, but before we begin, would you mind removing your disguise first? I assure you, this room is quite safe.” She motions to the glyphs on the walls. “I’ve only seen you’re your true form from afar. I’d like to get a good look at you, if you wouldn’t mind.”
With a deep, slow sigh, the visitor nods. "All right. I should have the energy to spare for that this time, unlike when Zen asked." She smiles wryly, and a flash of fel-green envelops her. It looks like fire, yet nothing around it is consumed, and it lasts barely more than an instant. In its wake, the figure is thinner, with even whiter hair, and quite clearly sin'dorei rather than human.
Jehanne looks her up and down, studying her features. “Yes, you do look of the younger generation. Thank you; I know you don’t like exposing yourself like this. Still, it is good to know a friend’s true face.”
The elf smiles a bit with a sharp nod. "Indeed it is. And I don't mind with you. It's just what it takes out of me to change to human again that gave me pause."
Jehanne nods to Hathritt, whose liquid eyes shift from green to bright yellow. “Well, we might as well start at the beginning. Your name, age, homeland, I believe.”
Settling into a more secure seat on the bed, Dree nods and settles her nerves with a deep breath. "So, from his first question... I am Jendria Melisandre Delnirith Estianne Duskweaver, by the light of the Sun the Duchess of the Spinward Spires, Marchessa of the Dayspire, Contessa of the Sunspray Isles, and hereditary Peer of the Convocation of Silvermoon. I am a demonologist accounted to be of the forty-fourth degree, and I am eighty-six years of age."
Jehanne laughs, “Quite a pedigree. One of these days, I’ll share all the damn titles I was born with too, though they are no longer mine anymore. Hmm, first question. How did you come to demonology?”
"How I came to be a demonologist is much as I described to Zen, though of course I've had rather more time for it than an Alterac peasant girl would have had. I was an arcanist up until the Second War, and really still was after, but I turned toward ways of gathering information, especially about the demonic influences the orcs had clearly brought with them. Eventually, after the destruction of the Sunwell, I was one of those who fed on the fel energies King Kael'thas brought to us. In retrospect, of course, that wasn't such a good idea, but the times were rather desperate. In any case, the changes those energies wrought in me included a greater predilection for summonings, and for seeing into the minds of the demons I could control. This made the gathering of information much easier and more reliable. It also helped me pick out which demons I wanted bound to me, so that the disaffected were given a voice. Some of them are my friends now as a result."
Jehanne looks at her thoughtfully, “Hmm, good to know I’m not the only sorcerer who cares about them.” She glances at Hathkrit a moment, and then turns to her. “Could you describe your method? I’m not asking you to share your secrets, but generally. You know a little of mine."
The blood elf nods and ponders a bit. "I know you have something of the same sense for the magical energies I do... but I still feel as though I'm describing a rainbow to someone who's blind. What it means - or at least meant - to be quel'dorei was a deep connection to the arcane. That wasn't just our 'addiction', but a closeness to it. It was part of us, and we had a direct sense of it, fully an equal to taste and smell, at least. The consumption of fel energies to feed our dependence... changed that. The other changes in us from that are simply a reflection of that more basic change. Then, there's the crystals that we've used for our magics for so long... of which the memory crystals you know are just one kind. I focus my sense through a suitably prepared crystal, and I can ... 'see' into the Twisting Nether, or at least those parts I know how to sense. It's a lot like using one of those 'scopes' the engineers like so much, I suppose. It keeps me from being too exposed to what I'm sensing, at least. From there, I can try to find an individual to contact. Also, that same sense helps me know if I'm trying for something more than I can handle, and I can break off the summoning before I'm in any danger." She shrugs. "But beyond that, as to methods... I'm rather eclectic... or perhaps just pragmatic. I use traditional will bindings when I must, coercions if it seems best... or simply making deals or even friends. My more... permanent companions are all with me for reasons of their own, and they are my friends."
“Yes, Dislia, I know she’s very much a friend to you,” Jehanne says, studying her. “I saw her in the memory stone…briefly. Something about skipping stones on the sea. She reminded me of Selnys: strong, opinionated.”
Dree smiles, looking a bit surprised. "Ah! I had not thought such would have been in what she sent you... but she did enjoy teaching dear Dis to skip stones across the water. And yes, sometimes she shows that stronger side of her character in ways that I could wish she wouldn't ... such as at that little celebration that nearly broke my masquerade completely." She shakes her head, looking at least as much amused as upset at the memory.
“Yes, I did get some flashes of her most recent memories. Not much, but I still haven’t seen everything in that stone,” Jehanne says, chuckling, trying to ease her discomfort. “And sayaad generally tend to be bullheaded, and think they know what’s best for you. It’s like having a mother, sister, and potential lover all in one.”
A musical laugh meets that observation. "Oh, yes... yes, indeed."
Jehanne looks down at the floor for a moment, chewing her bottom lip. “You describe something I often envied in your people when I was growing up. The natural way with magic, a sort of felt sense.” She shrugs, smiling at her, “Ah well. Moving on, What about your family? Did you come from a House of mages?”
With a nod, she sighs again, shifting her position slightly. "Ah, family. Yes, we were a long line of arcanists. I was accurate about the amount of family remaining, however. House Duskweaver's holdings were nearly all in what is now the Dead Scar... squarely in Arthas's path of destruction when he came to Silvermoon and overturned our way of life. As the youngest of the house, and being indulged in being rather a dilettante, I was the only one not on the estates at the time."
Jehanne doesn’t say anything for a moment, her eyes a little far away. She nods, “I often wondered what happened to Quel’Thalas at the time. We heard it was destroyed. I remember Lothwenna’s reaction. I thought she would die right there. Everything you know and love, gone.”
Dree nods with an agreeing grimace. "The sudden inheritance of ... well, with the destruction, basically empty titles... and the loss... it was hard on me. If the devastation hadn't been so widespread, it would have been the end of the House and my position, as well. As things stand, however, I still have some position and influence."
“It’s good to see that you still have a home there, and to know Quel’Thalas still lives,” she said. “So, how did nobility of Summerlands end up living on the streets in Stormwind?”
She chuckles wryly. "I suppose I should explain just how I came to be here, and not just what I am." She sighs again and pulls her feet up under her. "My childhood friend, Telquessa Ravon, had formed up a group... registered as a guild, though that was just a way to assign the manor house... and we had found ourselves with the unexpected support of some of the ... other races of the Horde. At one point, we had a strange visitor. Well, really, Silvermoon City had a strange visitor, and we took her under our wing. At the time, she seemed an odd, somewhat addle-pated sin'dorei. She was back to see Silvermoon after a long time away. She gave her name as Avmella Thornbush." She flashes a smile. "Well, you know her, so I hardly need to explain who she really was. It did take a while for some oddities to give us sufficient clues to find her out ourselves. Maltus, a wonderfully suspicious troll who was one of our members, and I each undertook separate bits of sleuthing, and we compared notes afterward. I then had the opportunity to eavesdrop on a conversation she had with Lothwenna - in Common. My ability to speak it at the time was nearly non-existent, and I'm sure I didn't understand all of what I heard perfectly, but it wasn't in complex grammar or vocabulary." Her head tilts as she adds, "That conversation was largely to inform Lothwenna that you were still alive and even doing well, by the way." She shrugs slightly. "It gave me a fair amount of information as to where to start looking when I came to Stormwind... not that I'd decided to yet just then."
“Avmella,” Jehanne says, shaking her head. “Leave it to her to find my old lov…. Mentor.” She blushes a little, frowning as Jendria smiles with a soft chuckle. Her clasped hands tremble a bit. “What did you do when you discovered you had a human in your midst?”
"She claimed the permission, collusion, and protection of Lady Liadrin and of Regent Lor'themar. True or not, this did not satisfy us as to her intent. The Horde, and the sin'dorei in particular, are a culture rife with complex plots and double-crossings. Her stated reasons for visiting were too simple for us to accept. Maltus undertook a trip or two to Alliance lands to see what he could learn, but there were limits on what a merely physical disguise would allow him to do. Thus, I undertook to find a way to come with a more solid disguise in place."
“I met him once, Maltus,” she said. “A clever troll…well they’re mostly clever.”
A quick nod and a flash of a smile. "Yes, the comment I made to Zen about a troll and a sayaad is basically true. I knew I was coming to a place with the highest concentration of quel'dorei left alive, and that its Academy may actually be better than the schools of Dalaran by now. The risk of trying to disguise myself with magic known to them was too high. I had to find a way that wouldn't immediately be penetrated. The transformations of the jungle trolls seemed the best available alternative source, though it required some adaptation. It also required some convincing to get the basis from which we worked. Dislia - yes, the sayaad in question - was instrumental in the persuading as well as in helping me work out the adaptations afterward. The fel energy that comes from both that spell and my nature... well, being an acknowledged demonologist, it's not so suspicious after all."
“And here you are,” she says, smiling. “Not simply spying on potential enemies, but living with friends. How does it feel to have human, and even stranger, Kal’dorei, as friends?"
The sin'dorei giggles. "Oh, quite strange, at times. And yet at others...." She sighs, her voice trailing off for a bit as she considers her next words. "It's liberating. I had no idea before how much of my life was formed of old hatreds that I'd just never really examined... really hadn't even noticed, were part of me. And yet, knowing that some even here would not be able to accept me as I truly am... the stress of maintaining my masquerade is almost as hard. I don't know how long I can keep living two separate lives."
Jehanne nods at her answer, and squeezes her hand. “Hold on a moment,” she says, getting up off the bed. The sorceress goes to the one of the shelves on the wall, searching for something. She mumbles, half annoyed with the glut of papers and bottles. “Nokuri, I wish you wouldn’t rearrange…ah! Here it is.” She takes a small box off the shelf and returns to the bed. She opens it, taking out a small silver pin with the image of a great eye looking down upon an unfurled scroll carved on its face. “As I mentioned, my titles are gone, and the great houses of Dalaran are dead. However, I was able to extract one small concession from the Kirin Tor. Navarre remains a legal entity with certain small rights and privileges: open access to the libraries and laboratories in Alliance lands; room and board at any of the sanctums; and legal counsel if you would ever have need of it. And you would fall under my protection, whatever that’s worth.” She looks at Jendria, and offers her the pin, “You didn’t mention that one of the reasons you came to Stormwind was to help a mother find her daughter, to help restore a family. It seems only right that you should have a family in these lands.”
Dree blinks, starting to reach to take the pin almost by reflex, but her hand stops mid-gesture. "That is... something I welcome, but I didn't come to Stormwind for that purpose. It's had a lot to do with why I stayed, it's true... and with why Wendy kept inviting me to come stay here... the distinction may not matter to you, but being clear on it matters to me."
“I understand your trepidation,” Jehanne says, still holding the pin out. “I do not offer this to you lightly. I have only given it one other person, and only considered giving it to one other. However, Loth trusts and cares for you, and thus so do I. It is still gravely dangerous for you to be here, and I would like to keep you from harm in what ways I can. As Navarre, you will have some protection, and enjoy some small safety. Of course, you do not have to accept if you don’t want to.”
She taps her chin for a moment, considering, then reaches her hand out again with a warm smile. "I can hardly refuse so exclusive an offer. I warn you, though, I will owe you something in return. I just don't have anything... well, incriminating, really, here... with me at the moment."
Jehanne slips the pin into Jendria's hand, and kisses her forehead. "Welcome to the House of Navarre. And you owe me nothing."
"Ah, but I do... you'll see. And thank you ever so much!" She gives her friend a quick, tight hug.
Jehanne returns her embrace. "You're very welcome. Now, you probably should put your glamoure back on."
Nodding, the blood elf stands and heaves a deep sigh. She raises her elbow in order to reach down the neck of her robe and grasps hold of something small. Her eyes half-close as she focusses her will and concentrates so hard it can almost be felt emanating from her. A flash of combined fel and shadow energies and something else - something perhaps of primal nature itself - infuses her form and fills it, changing it and filling it out in little more time than the blink of an eye. The human form of Jendria shakes herself and sighs deeply again, resuming a more normal stance.
Jehanne stands up and lightly touches Hathkritt’s bracer. “Thank you.”
The demon’s eyes return to a liquid green and he shivers, “Yesss, mistresss. I will keep your wordssss.”
“I know you will,” Jehanne says, smiling at him. She turns to Jendria. “I will extract our conversation and copy it to a memory glyph if you like. That way you may have your own copy."
Dree blinks at the offer and pauses to consider it for several moments. Finally, she shakes her head. "Thank you, but no... it would be too dangerous for me to keep anywhere, and the real purpose is for having it shared here once it's safe. If I'm in a position to share it, I'll be able to tell my story again if that's needed." She smiles warmly to the other sorceress. "But I do thank you... you are a true friend, and I treasure that."
"And I as well," she say, bowing to her. "And I will keep your words and truth safe."
The smaller woman returns the bow with another smile. "I know you will." She giggles. "Trust? From a sin'dorei? Who would believe it?" She winks at the other, then turns to the door and nods. The shadows from the voidwalker flow and swirl again, returning the door to normal, and the pair depart.
Jehanne watches her leave, a whisper of sadness on her face. "I always have."