Chapter Ten

Tavin sipped his wine leisurely, glancing across the Throne Room, lounging in his throne rather lazily, one fist curled and his face resting upon it. He took another sip of the wine, admiring Aydeline's taste in wine. He almost chuckled as he remembered their previous "encounter." Since then, he hadn't seen her, but was expecting her at any moment now.

However right now, in front of him stood the Marshall of the Guard, the man responsible for the company of one-hundred men stationed within the Capitol itself, and its nearby precincts, his signature gold and silver plated armor signified him as a member of the Royal Guard. "We still have no sign of the Shade, sir." he said, his flanged helmet catching the beams of light that floated into the Throne Room. Tavin nodded, "And the other reports from Corin's Crossing, as well as the other villages?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "Fordring Company reports no activity or suspicions so far, Lieutenant Commander Jesel has his patrols extended all over the southern tip of the land, I doubt anyone could slip by them." the Marshall reported. Tavin nodded, "And what of Andorhal?" he asked. The Marshall shook his head, "Uther Company reports nothing either sir, Lieutenant Commander Ivring has his men doing the same as Jesel's." he replied. Well that covers the Goldlands and Silverlands... Tavin thought dryly. "And anything from the harbors, or Brill?" he asked. Unlike the Silverlands and Goldlands, which were protected by the 1st Regimental Army of Lordaeron, the Glades and any surrounding posts were protected by the 2nd Battalion of Marines. As the name suggested, they had access to boats and the waterways surrounding them, and if a sea invasion threatened New Lordaeron's east cost, or any coasts on New Lordaeron's territory, they were to respond to said invasion.

And still, the Marshall shook his head. "Commander Elmsworth reports nothing either sir, only merchants ships have come in and out in the past weeks." the Marshall said. Tavin nodded and took another sip of his wine, and suddenly they both turned their head to find Aydeline entering the Throne Room. The Marshall instantly bowed his head, murmuring "Your majesty." Aydeline smiled, "Marshall." she whispered, nodding her head.

The Marshall glanced at her slightly, she looked ragged and worn. No doubt did the Shade and recent events have a toll on her, but only a few days prior she looked at least a bit healthier. He shook the odd thoughts from his mind, and turned back to Tavin. "Report to me anything new Marshall." Tavin said, and the Marshall snapped a salute, then bowed. "As you command your Majesty."

With this, he departed.

A silence then stretched for a moment, before the Shade finally spoke. "You actually acted tame enough." he whispered, taking a sip of his wine. Aydeline resisted the urge to slap him, and instead replied, "I didn't feel like being "handled" today." she whispered, using the world "handled" rather cautiously. The Shade smirked, "I really wouldn't call it handling, my dear." he said, glancing at her with a bit of dry humor, to himself of course. "Perhaps more like, "intimate correction?" he asked, his smirk deepening. She scoffed and turned on heel, "You disgust me." she whispered. She walked back towards the War Room, but his words slowed her. "Do I now?" he asked, his tone suggesting something. She paused at the doorway, half turning her head. "Just leave me alone." she said hoarsely, before slipping back inside, obviously heading for her room.

The Shade smiled and sat back in the throne, finishing off his cup of wine. Perhaps he'd screw with her later.

Aydeline slammed her door shut behind her, seething with silent anger, if that was possible. She wanted to cry, but didn't. She wanted to yell in fury. And yet didn't. She wanted to somehow fight back... but couldn't.

It angered her, seeing that bastard sitting on her husbands throne, the wrong man out somewhere being hunted by his own men. She stormed out onto her balcony, not giving a damn whether or not the Shade found her outside her room. She placed her shaking hands on the balcony, trying to calm herself as she looked out over the city. The bonfires were lit out in the Commons, the Midsummer Festival was in full bloom, and undoubtedly there was festivity and spirits down there... where she should be... So distant she was from the whole city. How one could be this close, yet so far, was almost impossible. She cursed the Shade for the umpteenth time that day...

She sighed and turned back to head into her estate room, deciding it'd be best not to piss off the Shade any further today by breaking his "rules" She almost laughed at it, arrogant bastard... she thought dryly, slipping into her room, closing the door behind her. She crossed the room, picking up the wine bottle of the edge of the, newly fixed, table. But as her hand grazed the neck of the bottle, a set of hands grabbed hold of her suddenly, one crossing her mouth, the other staying her hand.

"I would not do that, if I were you.." a voice whispered softly in her ear. She made no noise, but removed her hand slowly from the neck of the bottle. "Let him drink his own demise instead, drink nothing he offers.." It whispered in her ear. She nodded slowly, understanding now that someone had poisoned all of her wine, considering only her and Tavin drank it. "Wait an hour, then goto the Throne Room..." the strange figure whispered into her ear. She nodded, and the hands holding her suddenly slipped away, but before she could turn around and see what the figure was;

They were gone, leaving nothing but an open door to the balcony open.

Aydeline had an idea who the figure was, but dared not dwell on it. She closed the balcony doors again, sighing as she realized this hour would last an eternity to her...

An hour later...

As the pendulum clock struck the hour, Aydeline briskly hurried out into the War Room, and then the Throne Room, finding herself looking at the back of their Thrones, Tavin, or rather the Shade, still in his. She prayed that the figure would arrive soon, or whatever event was supposed to happen. As she reached his arm, a figure then drifted in from the shadows, earning surprised from both of them.

The Shade smirked as Tavin entered the room from the shadow of the hall, "Shall I call the Guards?" he asked. Tavin shook his head, "They won't come regardless." The Shade chuckled, "Bribed them, have you?" he asked. He then shook his head, "It won't matter anyway, once your dead." At his words, his palm snapped up, invoking a silent spell on Tavin. He fell to the floor with a cry of agony, and Aydeline yelped in surprise, earning a glance from the Shade. "Ahh, and so you arrive expecting to see your husband slay me in a glorious manner, hmm?" he asked, standing up from the Throne, and facing Aydeline. "Hardly." he said, smirking, moving to hit her, but a shattering sound broke his action, and they both looked to find Tavin standing, unphased, his crown broken at the foot of the Throne. "You see Shade, you represent Pride... the one thing that has lead me into this ordeal." Tavin said, "I believed New Lordaeron could never fall, that it was perfect.. and my military means, it essentially cannot fall.. but from within it has almost fallen, all because of it's King's foolish Pride..." he pointed to the broken crown, all essence of the Light gone from it, which is what strengthened it. "The Crown made me King. The King made me have Pride... The Pride made you powerful.." and he paused, and smirked at the Shade.

"But no longer, do you have power over me, nor my wife." he said.

The Shade growled and his palm snapped up again, trying to invoke a spell, but nothing happened. Tavin laughed at him, and his hand slipped a small vial from his belt. "Estragar. He whispered, "Made from Deadnettle, it drains any, and all magic control from the one who drinks it... It was only too easy to fake pain for a moment there." Tavin winked and the Shade was seething in anger. His hand snapped to the Ashbringer at his waist, pulling it out;

Only to drop it in a cry of pain.

The Ashbringer clattered to the ground, skidding to a halt adjacent to Tavin, its hilt glowing burning white. "Only the true owner may wield this blade..." he whispered, gently picking it up, feeling no pain at all from its burning hilt. "My Pride protected you from any effect, and yet, you know now that Pride is gone." Tavin said, "You have nothing now, Shade." he said.

Tavin moved to advance on him, "This is not over!" The Shade yelled, fear building in his eyes, all arrogance gone. Tavin shook his head, "It is over." he said heavily. The Shade tried to retreat backwards, but a sharp pain stopped him as something pierced his back. He grunted and turned to find Aydeline holding a bloody dagger, anger in her eyes. She took a step back precariously. "Little Bi-" he began to say, moving to grab her, but he stopped as suddenly a bright flash ripped open his chest, the Ashbringer tearing him open, Tavin standing behind him. "Now.. you fall." he whispered, pulling the Ashbringer from him, and letting the Shade fall to the ground. He glanced up at Aydeline, and found only anger and pain in her eyes, as she would give him no mercy. She raised her dagger, moving to stab him in the face, but Tavin quickly stopped her, and they watched as the Shade fell to the ground, turning to ash on the ground.

"It's over, Aydeline." he whispered, his lips grazing hers. She collapsed into his arms, breaking down as tears of happiness, relief and pain poured down her face. "I thought you'd never come.." she whispered, burying her face into his shoulder. He squeezed her reassuringly, "I would never forsake you, nor my Kingdom... I only wish this hadn't happened ever.. Perhaps if I had realized I'm only a man, then this wouldn't have..." he said, regretting his arrogance. Aydeline wrapped her arms around his neck, sighing deeply...

Fireworks exploded over New Lordaeron, lighting the night sky up with vivid reds, brilliant blues, and many other assortments of colors as the festivity continued in the City below. Tonight was a night of celebration, both for life in the City below, and for a fresh start above in the keep, as the King and Queen looked down on the city.

Aydeline nestled her head under Tavin's, glancing onto the City once again, the feeling of isolation gone, replaced by admiration and love. "It's beautiful." she whispered, listening to the laughs and crackles of the Festival below. "Perhaps she would join them..." Tavin whispered suggestively. Aydeline grinned and turned to look at him, "Well, the embassy from Ogrimmar doesn't arrive for another three days... so I suppose we can, can't we?" she said, smiling deeply. Tavin nodded, "I'd like to visit my people tonight... I think I will look at this City and my life differently now..."

With this, the two set out with a smile, entering a realm of festivity, a new look on life for Tavin, his crown gone, and so he would join his citizens, disguised in plain sight, as one of them...

Authors Note:

Ahh, good finish for this story, no? The next story should be up within awhile, I'll be revisiting my story, told more from Aydeline's point of view, as she ventures to Kalmidor :) Review, please do, and anticipate more from the realm of New Lordaeron... send me a message with any suggestions too, I do enjoy them!