Prompt: June 9, 2012 - Describe the greatest gift given to your character.. . . . . Click. Click. Click! Three separate deadbolts engaged, shutting the room off from all but the most determined of invaders. Two chains - one high, one low - slid into catches across the jamb. Thump! A wooden bar as thick as a human male's arm fell into holders on either side of the heavy oak door. Physical securities in place, Valdiis allowed herself a moment to sag back against the door's support and pinch the bridge of her nose between two gloved fingers. Years of innate paranoia allowed her only a moment though, and she dropped her hand to turn and trace the intricate series of runes around the jamb, imbuing them with runic power to activate the series of anti-magic enforcements and life-triggered frost spells.
. . . . . Besides herself, one single person in Azeroth knew of the existence of this place - and that was because he'd sold it to her. Given the enemies the command staff of the 1113th had made, she took great pains to keep it that way. Everyone needed a bolt hole.
. . . . . As safe as she ever would be, Valdiis turned and paced across the single room cabin hidden in the mountains of the Hinterlands. For a time, she'd rented rooms at inns, rested in garrison barracks, or set up in the unit's own offices - but she never felt secure enough to rest in those. Here, she held something of a sanctuary. The dead did not require sleep, but at times when the stores of necromantic energy had been deeply depleted, a brief respite where nothing more taxing than "holding soul to corpse" was required was of definite usefulness.
. . . . . She lifted her right arm and slackened the leather straps holding her heavy plate pauldron down, sliding the loosened piece free without fully releasing the straps. Without a squire, it helped to keep the armament half-fastened. The pauldron was set carefully on a padded wooden stand, followed by its mate. Plate metal curls of elementium-saronite alloy around her upper arms were next. Catches on the left side of her chestguard were released and the hinged carapace removed, revealing a thick, padded black gambeson underneath. The remainder of the plate armor joined the collection on the armor stand - minus the heavily-engraved vambraces on her thickened wrists. Even the gambeson was peeled off and tossed in a tub of wash.
. . . . . Stripped down to a sleeveless linen shirt of some indeterminate pale grey shade and canvas trousers of a slightly darker hue - as well as the ever-present vambraces - Valdiis stretched her hands over her head in the solitary room. Her elbows cracked, the joints protesting the abuse of undeath and the weight of her malformed forearms. A blackened stain rested over her sternum, marring the linen shirt but providing a stark backdrop for the gleaming filigree cage resting on a length of mithril chain between her breasts. She rolled her shoulders with another series of cracks and protests from the shell forced to operate long past its normal ability to do so, and walked over to the cot resting in the corner of the tiny cabin.
. . . . . Although it caused a faint sizzle against her flesh for her to do so, she wrapped the stubby, blunt-clawed fingers around the mithril filigree cage dangling from her neck for a moment, reassured by the sting of it. That reassurance was part of a ritual of reminders of who she was and why she operated so. The grape-sized pearly orb inside the intricate mithril filigree had long, long since lost all but a glimmer of the righteous Light it once radiated, but that was enough. She dropped the orb against the sooty background of her shirt and stretched out on the cot, grateful beyond the capabilities of measurement or even language itself for the trust which had been given with that single pearly orb.
. . . . . Brothers of the blade were forged in war and as fickle as from whence the next thrill of battle would come. Brothers of the blood were a choice of loyalty forced by fate and only as reliable as their upbringing could hope to teach them. But brothers of the heart, ah, those were the ones you could hand your entire existence to and believe in their drive to shield and shelter you as fervently as you would do for them. And it began with a gift of trust.