Mabel did not like this trade-off she experienced with the shifting of holidays. Though she was not aware of it, Halloween was the event that brought Tyrians from all walks of life to Lion’s Arch. The children chased her around the square during this time; hugged her tightly around the belly if they ever caught her. Most of the year, there was the meek smile and the offer of food. Right now, though, was different.
Lion’s Arch was quiet, almost completely empty. Mabel did not like it. She liked people and looked around for someone to interact with, but no one would even make eye contact.
“How cute,” they would mumble to their companions, and Mabel would proudly walk in their path, purring at their presence. The admiration on their faces would quickly leave, and they’d turn around and find a different way to their destination.
Mabel remembered this happening one or two times before, though without more people to distract her, she found the days unbearably long.
She sat at her favorite spot, at the foot of a path that led up to a structure resembling a sea creature, and that faced the water. Catching sight of an orange tabby on the other side of the path, she engaged him and tilted her head as a greeting.
The tabby held her gaze for a quick moment, then blinked and looked away. He refused to meet her eyes after that.
Mabel remembered why she didn’t like any of the other cats here, and merely bounded up the path, hoping to find one of those people that considered her a novelty of Lion’s Arch. As she made her way up, she could hear a conversation, slowly turning into a heated argument, and once she had a good view, she sat and observed.
“Do not touch me, charr!” a human Lionguard threw off a charr’s paw off of his shoulder, but he stood his ground.
“Your armor doesn’t fit. Kept slipping off your shoulder, and it bothered me,” the charr said. He was the youngest of three that stood before the human, and they all wore matching brown robes shoddily covering their orange armor. The middle one, a very old man, even had two axes strapped to his back. Mabel gave out a small mew when she saw the old one, never forgetting the charr that gave her her name. He had two tusklike horns on either side of his face, and gray fur with a dark gray mane. The only thing keeping her from excitedly bounding up to him was the potentially violent altercation that was about to occur.
“Flame Legion are not welcome here,” the Lionguard said.
“Why does he keep saying we’re Flame Legion?” the younger one said. “And even if we were—“
“We’re not,” the old charr said. “Please let us through.”
The human continued. “You constantly wage war against the charr that we have a treaty with.”
“And what would that have to do with you? This is neutral land,” the third one piped up, a female with white fur and sparse bald patches, including one on her cheek.
Through gritted teeth, the human said, “It belongs to the Lionguard—”
“Which is not under general charr rule. So here in Lion’s Arch, we are just one of the High Legions.” She quickly qualified, “If, in fact, we were, um…Flame Legion.”
Two other Lionguard, a human and a charr, had noticed the argument, and had stopped to observe. The charr, as well as the Lionguard, made note of this. They were no longer outnumbered.
The human smirked. “I think if I take you in, we can find each of you guilty of something.” He glanced sideways at the other two, and cocked his head toward the Flame Legion charr.
Mabel, perceiving their quieter conversation as the danger being over, ran towards the four of them.
The two Lionguard began a brisk walk toward the Flame Legion, and the human that was already in front of them prepared to restrain the oldest one. The old charr put his paw on his breastplate and shoved.
“Hey!” the Lionguard charr shouted, and both of them stopped as the human landed flat on his back. His loose shoulder armor clipped Mabel, who yowled and jumped three feet to her right. That was when the old charr took notice of her.
The two younger Flame Legion, whose weapons were under their robes, threw off the robes to access them. They both had large, jagged blades.
The old one reached his arms up to grab the axes on his back. The pier was getting crowded now, and to everyone their, they looked like the three most menacing beings in the world. But when the old charr laid one of his axeheads on the ground, still gripping the handle, it only took three leaps for Mabel to make her way up the axe, his arm, and onto his shoulder. She remembered doing this many times before with him.
The three charr stood back-to-back, looking outward at the circle of people around them, formed by Lionguard and brave locals and traders of all races.
“We don’t want this to be a bloodbath,” the old charr mumbled to his friends.
“Do you think we’re stupid?” the female charr said. “If we run towards the wooden path, they’ll mob it. So we stay in the sand, and then leap up to that middle raised part. That’ll take care of the smaller ones, at least.”
“And then we go straight for the portal,” the younger charr said.
“Let’s go!” the old one whispered, and led the way in a two-legged sprint. Mabel instinctively gripped the sides of his thick neck with her claws to stay on.
They were right; the crowd mobbed them, but most stayed on the wooden path, hoping to cut them off if they were to take it. The old charr swung his axes in front of him, and anyone who’d tried to get them from the front quickly averted themselves.
The female charr chuckled. “Cowards!” she shouted back at the crowd as they all stowed their weapons away. The old charr barely missed Mabel with one of his axes as he slid them back into his straps. With their improved mobility, they leapt up the wall and onto the path.
Mabel meowed loudly, again and again, hoping for all of the ruckus to stop. Several gunshots went off, and objects flew past them.
“Ow!” the younger charr said, limping for a few strides, but promptly speeding back up. “Damn arrow nicked me!”
“A bullet went through my shoulder; you hear me complaining?” the female charr said.
Instinctively, they both glanced to their elderly companion, whose robes hid any possible injury he could have sustained. They ran closer to him, creating a flesh shield from the back.
With wide eyes and her claws fully embedded in her friend’s neck and shoulder, Mabel stared upwards at the clear blue canopy that was either made of glass or water, held up and together by metal vines.
The crowd’s shouts echoed throughout the empty Grand Piazza. All three charr were panting heavily.
“Stairs, archway, ramp, portal!” the female charr panted.
“Lionguard at the archway!” the old one reminded her.
“Iron Legion at the portal!” the younger one said.
“Stay back at the archway, Rovack!” the female charr said. “And we just—“ She swallowed, took a breath. “—we just avoid the ones at the portal!”
They turned the corner out of the Piazza, and sure enough, there were guards there: one charr and one norn Lionguard, headed by the Gatekeeper.
The old charr, Rovack, did not slow down as instructed, so the younger charr pushed him backwards.
“Halt!” the Gatekeeper Roinna said, ignoring the fact that she could barely be heard over the mob. The hefty percentage of Lionguard in the crowd made her realize the gravity of the situation, and she instructed the guards behind her to not let the charr through at any cost.
As they neared, Mabel watched as the female charr swung around while unsheathing her sword, kicking Roinna out of the way and attempting to slash the norn. Roinna hit the wall and did not get up after falling to the ground. The norn avoided her sword, and pulled out his own.
The younger charr shoved his own sword through the chest of the other guard, before the guard could draw anything. He and Rovack made their way through the archway and up the ramp. Their female companion was delayed by the norn, who was the type of person one did not want to fail to kill. He tirelessly avoided her blade and lunged with his own, especially whenever she tried to go through the archway.
Her friends stopped and looked down at her and the crowd that had rapidly caught up. They easily restrained her and she roared to the sky like a captive animal. Her sword was yanked from her grip.
“Go, Rovack,” the younger charr said. They noted the perplexity of the portal guards around them.
“I’m the offending party here. I assaulted—“ Rovack began.
“You’re right. So all they’ll do is send us home.” He nodded his head toward the portal for the Black Citadel, and with only a second’s hesitation, Rovack turned around and ran towards it.
Mabel immediately began her yowling protest, for she believed that they were about to run into a wall, but Rovack reached behind and gripped her close to the back of his head.
He jumped through letting her go, and she was launched forward onto the steel bridge of the Citadel. She lay down, shaking uncontrollably, while her friend behind her panted.
“Oh, Ascalon,” he said, “how I’ve missed you.”
The adamant guards around them immediately crouched in ready battle stance at the sight of the Flame Legion, but did not draw their weapons.
After only a moment’s rest, Rovack stood up and straightened his robes, but did not use it to conceal his armor. His axes were recognizable a mile away, and he was here as a Legion ally, not to stir up trouble.
Rovack Emberclaw was an old charr looking to repent for his evildoing as a Flame Legion Axe Fiend. He was doing this because a year ago, he discovered the innocent joy in finding a black cat and naming her Mabel. He reached down, scooped the trembling cat up under his arm, and walked toward the center of the Citadel.