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[Added to Timeline] Color in the Dark [Vel Snapshot]

It was dim enough in the deeper caverns that color completely washed from the world. The small bouquet of flowers she had gathered, while bright pink in the light of the sun and the naaru, had been reduced to a collection of greys clasped in one of her hands.

In the Eastern Kingdoms, they were known as mageroyal--a common sight in the small groves that surrounded Dalaran, though it had been a pleasant surprise that the same plant also flourished in the expansive forests of Kalimdor.

[Image: 31074-mageroyal.jpg]

It was a plant that was believed to bloom most frequently in places infused with magic. It was no wonder why so many fellow elven students in the Kirin Tor swore by the pink teas brewed from its petals, though Velameestra herself had never bothered to actually research whether the effects were genuine or little more than a placebo.

Coffee had always been her preference.

But for some reason the vampyr felt the furbolg who had come to rest in their eternal slumber would appreciate the magically preserved, delicate blooms more.

The faint tapping of the mage’s footsteps stopped as she came to the cavern she was searching for, and the dim flicker of her gaze fell upon the bones that were strewn across the stone like a macabre maze. There was an order to the practice, for as different as it was. Just as there had been with the trolls, and the centaur.

At the center of the cavern rested the large silhouette of one of the deceased villagers--their fur likely streaked with white even if the color could not be seen in the absent light. Were it not for the presence of the bones, one might have thought they were simply sleeping in the dark silence.

But given the absence of trademark decomposers, they were likely preserved just like the blooms in her hand--providing their loved ones enough time to lay the many different gifts at their side.

At least, that was her best guess. As the elf’s eyes traced over the bones lining the walls, she had no doubt they would paint their own story.

The closer ones were newer. Cleaner. Not yet fully claimed by the flora and fauna that built upon the latticework they were offered.

Some were broken and crushed--signs of a brutal death--while others were smaller, as if they had not been fully grown.

Others still were adorned with various trinkets and jewelry that had clung to the skeleton long after the flesh had decayed.

Vel had no doubt that many in Timbermaw Hold knew precisely where their loved ones had come to a final rest, and could share each tale with great detail. But, she hadn’t come here for stories. Nor had she intended on tarying long.

She was on a time limit, as she so often was.

The quiet echoes of her footsteps resumed as the vampyr approached the most recent addition to the cavern and silently crouched beside them.

“The least I can do, given I’m using your resting place,” she said, her languid tone barely registering in the silence as she looked down at the flowers in her hand and gently laid them beside the other offerings that had been left. There was food. Trinkets. Other herbs. Any number of natural gifts with their own motives and reasons behind them.

Reasons she didn’t know, on behalf of an individual she had never met.

But it seemed right when she had done it for Zekhan’s mother, and it seemed right here, for as much as her own developing ritual could seem right in the graveyard of a people she knew nothing about.

Vel chuffed quietly to herself, an incantation coming to her lips as she waved her hand over the bouquet and watched as the veins in the petals of the mageroyal started to glow with a dim, pink light the same shade as the blooms themselves--not enough to cast any substantial light, but enough that the color glimmered brightly against the sea of grey.

“Some color in the darkness,” she said, before standing again and turning toward the open section of the cavern where the bones would not be disturbed. Her hand went to the satchel at her side, confirming the presence of the stack of papers inside, and she sighed quietly.

Whether Astalor would be fascinated, horrified, or all of the above, she didn’t know, but it was a concern to be addressed after she slept.

“[ May death’s door open, and grant me passage to where the buried sleep. ]“

As the arcanist wavered her hand, the words pulsed with power, and the runic tattoos on her flesh were illuminated with a wave of energy. A crevice in the rock glimmered, her characteristic blue magic tracing a doorway in the ground that crumbled inward to reveal the staircase that would be her path to Northrend.

With  little ceremony, she stepped onto it, disappearing into the ghostly light and emerging to the kiss of Northrend’s cold breeze on her face.

Even as the spell closed behind her, the bouquet of mageroyal remained--a small, pink beacon in the dark.

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