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#12497278 Jun 27, 2016 at 03:13 PM · Edited 2 years ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"This is allegory. All of it."

A man tends to wander. Sometimes through his vessel. Sometimes through his mind. I prefer to do both. Ever since I discovered the constant nature of death, and its realm, throughout the entirety of the universe, or the Great Dark, or whatever a civilization chooses to call it, I have found myself enthralled to the desire to wander. To learn.

To feed.

After all, why else do we exist, except to sustain that existence? What other purpose do we have? Love, hatred, joy, despair, all of these exist to give us a purpose, a purpose to continue existing in a universe that hates our very existence, for we are not natural, no, but a corruption of its base form, elements given flesh, stone turned soft. But I digress.

The purpose of this recollection I am currently having my scribe, well, transcribe, is for those that come after me, to this little rock tumbling through space that I call home. I use the term 'little', because even compared to Azeroth, this place is pitifully small. Whether they come in ten years or a hundred or a thousand or never, I figure it's only fair that impart the knowledge I traveled so far to gain unto someone else.

This is a tale of one of the first planets I visited after gaining mastery of the gates into and out of death's realm. How I gained knowledge of it, this it being the planet, is a tricky question that depends on which me you ask, for in each time there is a me, but in death there is a constant me, that is both me and not me at the same time. For this reason, I prefer to not ask the 'why' of how I come to gain knowledge I know that -I- did not learn, for it is either the work of the creatures within my mind or the work of my mind that is not my own. But, I digress again.

The world I visited was a snowy one, not unlike the climate of Dun Morogh, but on a global scale. Storms of ice raged across its surface, and only the hardiest of plants grew. I wandered for many days, days which were much longer than the ones we experience on Azeroth, before I found a camp of nomads entrenched in the snow, weathering out a storm in the relative safety of a mountain's outcropping. I approached their camp from the front, so as to not raise alarm, and so as to get a better look at the inhabitants of this world. Two guards quickly approached me.

They appeared to be much like the furbolgs of our own world, though a much more arctic variant, as one would guess. Their equipment was simple, as expected of nomads on a world deprived of warmth--their fur clothing, which seemed a tad redundant, served as their armor, and they bore only wooden spears with sharpened shale attached on the end. Their language was guttural, incomprehensible to my ears, but I nonetheless understood their intentions. To stop and inspect me before giving me passage further into their camp.

Unfortunately for them, I wasn't a terribly patient man, and I was also not a man inclined towards not understanding what was being spoken about around him, or about him. I raised both hands, an action which they seemed to approve of, before flicking my fingers forwards, sending the ice of that world's storms into their eyes, driving the shards deep before shattering them, and shattering those pieces once they came to rest, and so on and so forth until the inside of their skull was nothing but eviscerated brain and shattered ice. They fell into the snow quietly, the sounds of their death muffled by the storm, and I moved forward into the encampment with one of my many runeblades, this one a sword, drawn.

The task was finished soon enough, the snow turned red with the blood of its inhabitants. From the souls I had gathered, from the souls I had consumed, I learned the ways of their world--its languages, its customs, its locations of note. Most importantly, I learned that they both breath and ingest the air, which is how they obtained liquid water on a world where it was too cold for any to exist. Their primary food source was consumption of others of their species, of the mammoth packs that roamed the world, or various small critters that eked out a living in the wasteland. The only other item of interest gathered from their screams was the location of an elder of their species, one who had lived since the very beginning, 'blessed' by the world, as they had called him in their mournful wails, knowing they had doomed him as well.

It was the way of the universe, I knew. In their shame, I would gain power and knowledge. If there was a better path, I did not care to take it--this one already gave me benefits which were plentiful enough. The trek to the mountain where this elder resided took some months, close to three-fourths of an Azeroth year, but time means little to the damned. I reached the cave I had sought, having slain each nomadic band I came across on the way, and set my sheathed blade down against the outside of the entrance. I had no need of it inside, I knew. The elder and I would speak, and he would die, along with his world, all without a single slash of the sword. Their biology would be their doom.

The man was small, by the standards of his species, wrapped in furs until one could not easily tell where they ended and his form began. Perhaps by design, perhaps by necessity, I neither knew nor much cared. I settled myself across from him, the fire of the cave roaring between us. In truth it was no natural fire, but an elemental of the world, serving one of the few who knew how to call upon it in the frozen hellscape. But that was unimportant to me. Its power was minuscule, and it would not pose an obstacle for my goals. I set my hands over it, feeling the faint warmth suffusing my long-dead hands. I kept my voice monotone as I spoke, eyes beneath my helm affixed on the humanoid beast before me. He seemed surprised that I spoke his tongue with such ease, for he knew in his heart what lurked in mine, and what I had come to do.

He knew I was no native, he divulged as we spoke, as soon as he felt my presence on his world. He was linked to it on a base level, and he felt it groan with my presence, and the presences within me. We spoke for many an hour, many a day, many a week, many a year about the nature of the universe, of the worlds, of life and of death, of the elements. He was a man of vision, that much was laid bare throughout our long talk, and his vision was a curse in his eyes, if only because he did not have the power to go with it. I understood. Perhaps more than anyone ever could. I think that's why there was such peace upon his face when I finally burst his heart within his chest. He had met a kindred spirit, and for the first time, was understood completely, was loved, completely. I sat in the cave long enough for the elemental to finally sputter out of existence before raising myself up and walking out of the maw of the mountain. I gazed across the landscape, a smile upon my deadened lips as I attached my sword once more to my belt. I reached up to my helm and placed my hands to its sides, the chain mail holding it down unsealing from its side as I did so, allowing me to look upon the cold white-blue of the world without the green tint of the inlaid glass of the helm.

I coughed.

Borne upon that cough was a peculiar little disease I had discovered in one of my travels before this one, the first deadworld I came across, but certainly not the last. The inhabitants of the world, in their avarice for domination over their brothers, had concocted a deadly little thing in their labs beneath the earth, one capable of being borne on both wind and water, unable to be killed except by having killed all hosts, capable of causing their bodies to rend apart at what they had termed a 'cellular' level. In short, a perfectly deadly disease. Even as the last of the life upon their world died, their greed, their shame, held firm, and their annihilation was pleasing to them, for in it they believed they had obtained victory. The ones I had claimed upon discovering their world, upon drawing their roaming souls back to me, laughed within me, knowing they had doomed another world to victory through their greatest act of shame, and they were greatly pleased. I myself merely placed my helm, my crown, back upon my head, the chain mail once more sealing it upon my body as a death gate opened behind me. I did not need to stay to collect my souls--they would travel time and space to reach their new master. A smile still upon my face, I turned and walked through the gate which sealed behind my form, leaving the world I had doomed silent, for a time.

I returned to Azeroth a moment after I had departed, and resumed the paperwork I had been tending to. More saronite had arrived for the outfitting of my fledgling legio, much to my pleasure. I worked until the candles burned low, and then I slept for a time, content that I had earned a brief visit to the Forest.
#12511770 Jul 03, 2016 at 12:22 AM · Edited over 1 year ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"When beggars die, there are no comets seen."

I don't speak much of my business. I reference it in passing, when the occasion calls for it, but it's not something I flaunt. In a way, I treat it much the same way I treat the titles foisted upon me--it exists. It will continue to exist, whether or not I let the whole world know that it does. Regardless, the business. If I attempted to define it, I suppose it'd be 'general acquisitions'. I obtain things for my clients, things which would, under normal circumstances, be entirely unobtainable by any means they possess. I do not discriminate in regards to who my clients are, only that they not be a member of the 'Horde'. From the poorest vagrant of Westfall to the richest noble in Stormwind, all are welcome among my ledgers.

Of course, I still haven't really explained what I deal in. That is the purpose of this second record I am giving to my scribe, to add to my first.

It was raining on this particular day. This was a good thing, for my purposes. It meant more people would be going into the tavern to get out of the rain. The Pig and Whistle, it was called. It was my second favorite location for conducting business, behind only the infamous Lion's Pride. The Whistle had some semblance of order to its drunken cacophony of motion and noise, likely due to the proximity of the guardsmen's barracks and slash or headquarters, one could never really tell what it was anymore, as well as SI:7. The Pride, on the other hand, was pure, unbridled chaos, the shame of its inhabitants on full display, which made it amicable to use for obscure meetings. In the Whistle, two men speaking in hushed tones with eyes of conspirators could still draw attention from an off-duty guard or intelligence officer.

I didn't have such issues. Not anymore, at least--most of the tavernkeeps in the city were on my payroll, including Langston. In the early days, prying eyes were a slight issue, until I ripped them from their sockets. Now, my reputation as an upstanding member of the community had been spread enough that the return customers paid me no mind outside of slight nods, and newcomers were quickly brought into line.

I had taken up my usual seat as I waited, the one parked neatly under the staircase. Dressed up in the garb of a mage, robe and wizard hat included, my appearance was that of a magus tired of his studies and anxious for a good pint. Of course, as I already said, the men and women in the tavern knew I was no such thing. My eyes lit with lichfire, the only distinguishing feature left uncovered by the mask I wore across my face, gave me away easily to anybody who paid me any mind. This was the point, of course. I wanted to be known, but not truly -known-, to the public. I wanted to be an idea, I suppose, one that conferred both fear and comfort in equal measure.

The man was late. Thirty minutes late, by the count of my pocket watch. I did not like lateness. Punctuality might not seem important to an undying monstrosity, but to me it was one of the most important aspects of life, if only because it dictated the length of life. He was about to make it thirty-five minutes, but entered the tavern a few seconds before that became the case. One might ask how I could tell, but all of my clients had something about them that made them -mine-. This man had an aura of pride that overpowered everything else about him. He surveyed the crowd for a few moments before settling on my form. A seven-six undead killing machine tended to be a rather noticeable form in any gathering, never mind the fact that that was the exact description I had given the man. He strode quickly over to my seat, the rabble of the inn parting before him and his sense of overwhelming superiority. Upon him taking a seat at my table, the tavern quickly returned to its previous state of festivities. I eyed the man for a moment before opening the conversation. "Lord Alfser, I presume. I am Mister Belados, as you've likely gathered. Would you care for a pint?"

"We're here to do business, Belados, not become friends. I believe my initial letter to you laid out my wants rather plainly." I would have frowned beneath my mask, but that could cause a shift in the cloth that would betray my emotions. That was unacceptable in my business. I was displeased, though, at his lack of respect. Not surprised, obviously, his pride likely made him predisposed to disrespect, but I was most certainly displeased. In regards to his wants, I knew those as well. Some men, some women, some children. A few rare metals, handfuls of precious gems. All things I dealt readily in. Oh, yes. I'm a slaver, I'm not ashamed to admit this. It's a way of making money, and of passing off the excess souls I had no want nor need to devour. Of course, the slaves I deal in, at least on Azeroth, were strictly members of the Horde, which kept SI:7 from poking deep enough that I would have to start taking fingers. I steepled my fingers on the table, nodding slowly.

"I received your letter, yes, and I have the shipments prepared. Now the question becomes--what do you have to offer me in return?" I expected that I already knew his answer. My expectation was wrong.

"Payment will be given once the shipments are received and inspected, and determined to be up to our standards." My displeasure was increasing, but I knew this type of man. I knew what was going to happen when I went down the usual alley I took away from the tavern. And I knew what price I was going to take before then. I inclined my head towards the man's side, at the space between the back of his seat and the staircase. His eyes went wide.

"That's not how I operate, Lord Alfser. I'll take your guard, to begin with. Yes, dear, I can see you, feel free to step out of my shadows now." A rather lithe Kaldorei phased into being. I could tell why the man kept her as company. I could tell what she did, when it was just her in his company. She seemed mildly surprised that I had seen through her form. Her master was stunned.

"H-How did you see her? Never mind that, no. Not possible."

"Then our deal does not go through."

"I do not care, she is -mine-."

"As are the slaves you wish to purchase from me." I could see him twisted inside. The shame of losing one of his most valued possessions, or a shame of losing in negotiation to a filthy undead. I had him. I knew his choice. He would find a new champion for his bedroom. This trade would bring him too much coin to pass up. He rose to his feet, wrath upon his face.

"Very well. Sinara, you will do as this man says. I await your shipment in the port we arranged, death knight." The elf looked prepared to protest, but remember her training. Remembered her breaking. She resorted to a nod, and turned to eye my form, which had just risen from the chair it was previously sat upon. Her master was already out the door. There was not fear on her face, but it was within her, this much I knew. Mortals feared change. They feared chaos. Perhaps a residual effect of the Titans, and their vain ordering of the cosmos. My mind pierced hers, my voice clear within. I instructed her to step into the gate I had just opened at her side. She did not hesitate for even a moment. This pleased me. She was well-trained, or well-broken, but perhaps both were equal parts true. Once the gate had sealed behind her form, I moved for the door, and the alley I always took out of Old Town, for the second part of this act.

They hit me where I expected, the part of the alley where two men could stand abreast and fight, with balconies above for archers, or trained spearmen. Lord Alfser stood behind four of them, another four filling in behind me. Above, about four or five men armed with pistols. He was monologuing, going on and on about me trying to cheat him. I didn’t much care. My robes, my plate and mail underneath, dispersed in a cloud of pure shadow. My battleplate replaced them, my vision once more tinted green from the glass. I twirled my sword a few times, testing its balance. It was perfect, of course, but more than anything else I was just amusing myself until the man’s hubris, and words, ran out. He finally noticed my change a good half-minute after it occurred. His men had noticed it much sooner. The good Lord’s face pulled up in a sneer as he commanded his men forward. His pistoleers fired first. This was good.

I watched, my face still expressionless beneath my great helm, as the bullets soared towards me. I grinned as they began to slow five feet away from me. I cut the first swordsman’s head from his body as the rounds impacted against my armor, no more forceful than a feather brushed against it, their form compacting into one not unlike a coin. The second swordsman fell a moment after the first, my runeblade slipping between his ribs like a knife through butter. The ground behind me had already turned red, in part from my runes upon it, in part from the blood of my foes pouring from their pores. The final two men on the ground died with nothing more than a whimper, their fellows above on the balconies killed by shards of ice, filled with a virulent blight, which fragmented within their fragile vessels after borrowing inside. They were dead long before they had finished reloading their weapons.

Which left only their boss still standing. The man had a look of horror on his face, one which only grew when I smashed his knees with a plated boot. He understood what he had done. His shame was laid clear upon his face, upon his heart, which I had just burst from within his chest. He had sent his men to die. He had sold his best warrior to me. And he had paid the price for his shipment in his own soul. Everything he had ever done was brought to the surface, and he felt only -shame-. His soul was suffused with it, when it entered my metaphorical maw.

My euphoria was interrupted by a whimper behind me, which was odd. I didn’t recall leaving any of the men alive. And I counted ten souls gained. My interest was piqued, and my form turned, my gaze settling on the form of an urchin, hunched up in one of the doorways. I could see his wound from here--one of the bullets had gone wide, right into his left lung. He would be dead within two minutes. His eyes, though. They were full of acceptance. He understood this was the fate of his kind. The weak would always be trampled upon when the strong fought, a thought of them not even crossing our minds as we wage our battles. Do not mistake this for me disliking the system, because that is not the case. I am simply not ashamed to recognize the machine that gave me my power, and the means to keep it. I respected this boy, though, for also being unashamed of the machine that had spit him out, like so many others, broken and beaten. I reached up and removed my helm, to gaze upon him with unfiltered eyes. He grasped weakly at my cloak clasp, blood upon his lips, blood I wiped clean with a thumb, the saronite greedily lapping it up. I could taste his soul, now. All of its wants. All of its needs. I saw in it no shame, nor any pride, only acceptance that he was doomed to forever be. Just be. Nothing more. Nothing less, until he ceased being, as he would within a few moments.

The boy serves as my scribe, now. He’s grown a bit, though to be fair that was all my doing, so as to not let him be eternally five feet tall. Undeath tends to make one pause where they began. He’s learned much, working under me. Much more than he ever would have, wasting away on whatever scraps he could beg for that day. Tim is teaching him the ways of the arcane when I’m not harassing either of them, and promises me that the boy will be a magus to rival even centurio Valerius.

I’ll believe that when I see it.
#12529976 Jul 09, 2016 at 05:35 PM · Edited 2 years ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
“This is allegory. This flesh.”

My heart pounded in my chest. I had waited my entire life for this moment. No, it would be more accurate to say this moment was my life. All ten years of it were only for this moment I was in, right now. I looked about the street upon which I marched, not daring to lift my head more than a few fractions of an inch. The other nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine children gathered there marched in tandem with myself, or perhaps I marched in tandem with them. All of them, like myself, were clad in the whitest silks our world could muster. A sign of our purity, the final sign we would show in person to our people, our families. For our god.

We arrived at our destination, the Great Plaza of the Temple District, to the fanfare of a hundred thousand screaming voices, and the pounding of the ceremonial drums. Before us stood the Grand Pyramid, and our god atop it with arms spread wide in welcome to his penitent faithful. Of course, it was merely a statue, for our god was a busy god, and he could only visit us for one day every ten years. And today was that day. The Day of Ascendance. The day when he wiped our civilization clean of shame. It was the reason that I and every other child in this plaza had been birthed, that we might be given as a gift for our god’s grace, that we might earn glory for our houses among the countless other worlds our god subjugated.

The drums began to wind down, and I knew what was to come. I had rehearsed this day countless times, ever since I first became cognisant of my surroundings. The elated observers soon fell to silence as well, all of us, even us children, looking up to the balcony crafted upon the Grand Pyramid for this exact purpose, the golden altar upon it shining in the noonday sun. The door permitting entry and exit from the balcony had two grand chairs on either side, both raised up so as to permit easy vision to the plaza below. One, I knew, was for our god’s governor, the emissary of his will to our planet. The other was for the god himself. My reverie was interrupted as the High Priests emerged. They were our guiding light, each of the seven holding dominion over the planet in their own zone of influence. The took their positions along the edge of the balcony, the foremost among them kneeling in front of the altar, such that he was on the side of the altar facing us.

He raised his head and six arms towards the sky, his fellow priests doing the same. He began the ceremonial speech, telling us all of how our god saved us from the plague which threatened to scour this world clean. How he had given us stringent guidelines on how we had to live to prevent another outbreak, and outbreak he would be unable to save us from should it occur. He told us of how our god had given us an emissary, one of our people whom he had lifted up out of nothing, to speak to him throught. How, by his guiding laws, we had been able to construct a civilization that was the envy of the one that came before it, the one which the plague had demolished.

He then began to speak from our holy books, and I began to ignore him. Not out of spite, or to be rude, but rather because I had already memorized this speech years ago, and now these verses began to run into the realm of annoyance, to hear them repeated. I began scanning the crowd for my family, my mother and father. As expected, they were in the front row of the highest seats of honor, seats reserved only for the family ten thousand Ascendants. Their joy was evident, though they dared not move for fear of providing even accidental insult to the priests. I had no such fear, for in a few moments, I would become greater than even the leaders of our world.

The Highest Priest fell silent at the appropriate time, and I could feel the inhabitants of the plaza refraining from letting out cries of elation. The emissary had emerged, Rh’a’lik, and behind him, as giant as the texts said, came our god. Not as a statue but as flesh. Or perhaps not even, for I could see no flesh behind his carapace of metal. They both took their seats, and upon the god nodding, the priest continued his speech. But I, once more, had no ears for him. I had eyes only for the god before me. And as he turned his gaze to mine, I felt, for the first time in my life, true dread.

The boy was small by the standards of his race, but I could tell he had an inquisitive mind. Perhaps that could be put to good use, unlike the rest of the sheepish souls this planet usually gave in tithe. Rh’a’lik was bringing me up to speed on the proposals the ruling council would be providing me today. It was the usual things--requests for the population limits to be removed, to allow magic to once again flow free. As usual, they would be denied. I didn’t have any intention of letting this world fall to the Legion, and the only way to prevent that was to prevent it from drawing the ire of the Legion to begin with. The First Councilman had finished his speech, and now fell silent, his head bowed and his hands clasped in his lap. I rose from my seat, Rh’a’lik falling silent in my mind as I strode towards the altar.

He was even more resplendent than I could have imagined, the sun’s rays gleaming from his red-and-black armor. His height became truly apparent now, easily rivaling some of the beasts which lurked in the deepest parts of the jungles. The dread was gone now. Now I felt only overwhelming joy, for I knew in my heart that he had selected me for something great. Out of the million people upon this world, he had chosen me, before I was even a thought in the head of my parents. He drew his blade as he reached the armor, the black metal seemingly drinking the light that touched it, and he-

and I-

thrusted downwards, sliding my-

sliding his-

blade down into the receptacle built into the altar. And I felt nothing.

Ten thousand hearts beat as one.

A hundred thousand voices died.

Ten thousand hearts beat as none.

A hundred thousand voices cried.

They were crying for joy for their children, gone now, as they believed, to fight for me across a thousand worlds. They were crying in sorrow for me, their Horned King Crowned In Shame, who had taken their guilt, their shame, of sending ten thousand sheep to the slaughter, and placed it upon his head as his crown. For I knew that they knew, deep within their hearts, that they understood what they had done. I do not complain, though. It was a feast of ten thousand souls in one moment. Not since the height of the Black Empire had such a thing been, and now I had established it as a consensual ritual across countless worlds. I pulled my blade free from the altar, and returned it to its sheath. I turned, and returned, to the pyramid behind me, Rh’a’lik following, and the Council behind him. We would speak for some time, but as always, I did not remain longer than a day. And when I returned to Azeroth, I returned only a moment after my departure, for there was little time to squander--Strom marched to war.
#12554296 Jul 18, 2016 at 03:37 PM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"Nor hate me, when I come to take him home again."

The man approached the house, though it would be more accurate to call the house a manor, the same way he always did, up the cobblestone road his grandfather had lain many years prior. Candlelight burned through the glass windows, something the man's mother had seen fit to install prior to her untimely demise, to make the estate seem less, well, poor. Overall, the man supposed, it did its duty, alongside some expansions and various architectural artwork installed over the years. It held no candle to the manors of the greater noble houses, but for his family, it was enough to distinguish them from the peasantry.

The man looked to the heavy front door as it was pulled open, light spilling out from within, outlining the form of his wife, heavy with child, and carrying another in her arms. Two more strode out on still-unsteady feet, both having only learned to walk within the past year or so. The man increased his pace to meet his family. He grabbed the two running towards him in his burly arms, lifting them up to his shoulders with ease as his wife came towards him. They exchanged brief pleasantries before returning to the estate to break their evening fast.

As the man laid down to sleep that night, he both did and did not sigh. The him in the moment did not, for he never had, but the him observing the moment from himself did, for he always did, for he new what came next. As he shut his eyes, he felt something like fleeting sleep, which quickly vanished as he opened them again to find himself approaching the house, though it would would be more accurate to call the house a manor, the same way he always did, up the cobblestone road his grandfather had lain many years prior. Candlelight burned through the glass windows, something the man's mother had seen fit to install prior to her untimely demise, to make the estate seem less, well, poor. Overall, the man supposed, it did its duty, alongside some expansions and various architectural artwork installed over the years. It held no candle to the manors of the greater noble houses, but for his family, it was enough to distinguish them from the peasantry.

The man looked to the heavy front door as it was pulled open, light spilling out from within, outlining the form of his wife, heavy with child, and carrying another in her arms. Two more strode out on still-unsteady feet, both having only learned to walk within the past year or so. The man increased his pace to meet his family. He grabbed the two running towards him in his burly arms, lifting them up to his shoulders with ease as his wife came towards him. They exchanged brief pleasantries before returning to the estate for breakfast.

As the man laid down to sleep that night, he both did and did not sigh. The him in the moment did not, for he never had, but the him observing the moment from himself did, for he always did, for he new what came next. As he shut his eyes, he felt something like fleeting sleep, which quickly vanished as he opened them again to find himself approaching the house, though it would would be more accurate to call the house a manor, the same way he always did, up the cobblestone road his grandfather had lain many years prior. Candlelight burned through the glass windows, something the man's mother had seen fit to install prior to her untimely demise, to make the estate seem less, well, poor. Overall, the man supposed, it did its duty, alongside some expansions and various architectural artwork installed over the years. It held no candle to the manors of the greater noble houses, but for his family, it was enough to distinguish them from the peasantry.

The man looked to the heavy front door as it was pulled open, light spilling out from within, outlining the form of his wife, heavy with child, and carrying another in her arms. Two more strode out on still-unsteady feet, both having only learned to walk within the past year or so. The man increased his pace to meet his family. He grabbed the two running towards him in his burly arms, lifting them up to his shoulders with ease as his wife came towards him. They exchanged brief pleasantries before returning to the estate for breakfast.

As the man laid down to sleep that night, he both did and did not sigh. The him in the moment did not, for he never had, but the him observing the moment from himself did, for he always did, for he new what came next. As he shut his eyes, he felt something like fleeting sleep, which quickly vanished as he opened them again to find himself approaching the burning house, though it would would be more accurate to call the house a manor, the same way he always did, up the bloodied cobblestone road his grandfather had lain many years prior. Fires burned through the shattered glass windows, something the man's mother had seen fit to install prior to her untimely demise, to make the estate seem less, well, poor. Overall, the man supposed, it did its duty, alongside some rubble expansions and various architectural artwork turned to ash over the years. It held no candle to the manors of the greater noble houses, but for his family, it was enough to distinguish them from the peasantry.

The man looked as the heavy front door was burst open, fire spilling out from within, outlining the form of his wife, his daughters, his sons, all of them impaled, most on wood, his eldest on the family sword, black blood still fresh on the blade as he moved closer to examine the bodies of the thing the man had called family, though in truth he was not a husband nor a father to any of them, for he had never been there to be any of those things, for his duty had prevented it. He pulled the still-warm, though whether from time or the fire the man could not tell, corpses from their crude altars, laying them gently on the ground in a row. He turned back to exchange pleasantries with the men who had accompanied him, and returned to camp for breakfast.

As the man laid down to sleep that night, he both did and did not cry. The him in the moment did, for he always had, but the him observing the moment from himself did not, for he never did, for he new what came next. As he shut his eyes, he felt something like fleeting sleep, which quickly vanished as he opened them again to find himself approaching the house, though it would would be more accurate to call the house a manor, the same way he always did, up the cobblestone road his grandfather had lain many years prior. Candlelight burned through the glass windows, something the man's mother had seen fit to install prior to her untimely demise, to make the estate seem less, well, poor. Overall, the man supposed, it did its duty, alongside some expansions and various architectural artwork installed over the years. It held no candle to the manors of the greater noble houses, but for his family, it was enough to distinguish them from the peasantry.

And so it continued.

Never ending.

Never beginning.

A flat circle.

Unable to change.

Enough to drive a man to madness.

But the man who was not the man in the moment was not driven to madness.

For he was madness. He was insanity.

For he repeated.

Over.

And over again.

Expecting some change in outcome.

While knowing he would receive none.

Screaming against his helplessness.

His failure.

And he awoke. The sound of voices outside had stirred his instinct, and quickly reached out to his centurio, Octavian, inquiring about what time of day it was. He was met with the response that it was the time in the morning of roughly one bell. This irked the man, for it told him that his associates had not complied with his firm suggestion to get a good evening meal and a better night's rest. He pulled himself onto his feet, his armor weighing him down as much as a feather would, and descended the stairs as quietly as possible, so as to not stir any more of the sleeping Eagles. He exited the relatively in-shape house with a sigh, looking over the fallen city of Strom. Octavian informed him that the plague wagons were being readied, and the man nodded. It was not surprising that the Forsaken would resort to it. After all, the man would have done the same against a force that had proven itself unbreakable. He settled himself down on the bench outside the house and waited, listening to the idle chatter of his fellow fighters as he prepared himself for the spinning of his wheel.
#12570707 Jul 25, 2016 at 12:32 AM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"The issue, then, my dear, becomes not a matter of where or why, it becomes a matter of -when-, and then it compounds into which -when- you wish to observe, and whether that -when- has several others within it."

Time travel is an odd concept.

We have a vague 'idea' of what it is, but even this idea does not hold a coherent form amongst all people, though this holds true for most ideas, and should not be seen as something exceptional. Of course, before discussing time travel, we should look at time, or rather, the 'idea' of time.

To some, time runs in a straight line. That's it. No more critical thinking outside of that, they assume that everything is already set in stone, and that we are, in essence, just following a road that never branches, with nothing to either side. These people are idiots.

To others, they believe time is a straight line, but with rays branching from it, with said rays being formed at moments that determine the fate of, let us say, a planet, or perhaps even the universe at large. An example would be a ray being formed should Deathwing have won the battle at the Maelstrom. These people, too, are idiots.

Other folk, who believe themselves 'enlightened', see time as flat circle, with no clear ending or beginning, events repeating without fail. These people are idiots.

A similar school of thought sees time not as a flat circle, but as sphere, with many variant circles contained within, with the possibility of moving between these circles, which sometimes even overlap. Though they are at the start of the right path, they are, nonetheless, idiots.

In truth, time is a line contained within a sphere, except that sphere is within an a sphere as well, and this repeats infinitely until you realize all of this was going on within a dodecahedral triangle shaped like square which was shitted out by a rectangle one day after experiencing heavy constipation for a week.

Put another way, there is a definite 'start' to time, and that is creation. There is also an 'end' which is at the opposite of creation. Additionally, there is an infinite number of universes, which may or may not contain within themselves an infinite number of timelines, which themselves might contain other timelines or intersect with other timelines, or even universes.

Upon attempting to explain this to a Bronze dragon, he asked me to stop before I completely crushed his sense of self-worth, finished his drink, and then cried himself to sleep. That story might not have happened in this reality.

In my wanderings, I have found very few constants which persist through each of these myriad universes. The one that matters to me is Death.

Death matters, of course, because of its status as a gate between things. For most, it is between life and the life after life. For my brothers and sisters, it is a gate between places. Recently, due to the events on Draenor, many of my fellow Knights have come to understand that their gates do not only tear space, they tear -time-. Of course, this knowledge will, by and large, go unused. My family fears the Shadow, for it still hunts them, looking to reclaim the souls deprived from it by Ner'zhul, and it hunts most readily in the realm of Death.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, I do not have this issue, due to my, ah, 'relationship' with the black goat. If anything, the Shadow fears me, though I know that to not be true--we , my brothers, my sisters, are outside its cycle, and so it fears and respects us in equal measure, though it will not hesitate to prey upon us should we fear it.

I do not, for I have to come to know it as well as it knows itself, and in this knowing I have learned much about the nature of time. I learned how to open gates which tore not only through space, but also time, long before the events of Draenor. In my learnings, I found other worlds sitting out in the coldness of the Great Dark, Azeroth's term for what most call space.

Deadworlds, barren either from the start of creation or due to the actions of their inhabitants. Others were untouched 'blank slates', life ebbing and waning as all life did, stuck in the cycle as they are.

A stunning percent of them, though, were Legion worlds, a collection of staging grounds, breeding pits, and, truly my inspiration, Nathrezim tithe worlds.

But that's not the focus here. No, time travel is. We consider it as the idea of moving backwards in time, but frankly, due to the nature of time, it is immensely difficult to actually move backwards in one particular time, or as I prefer to name them, reality. You see, reality doesn't really 'like' rewriting itself to accommodate, let's say, a million people dying in a plague that didn't exist a minute beforehand. It much prefers to thrust you into another reality, and you into somebody (somereality?) else's problem. If that sounds like it creates an infinitely looping effect, that's because it does. Which makes pinpointing the reality you left from, and the one you arrived in, a very difficult task.

It is also not a task that I perform. I have a vague understanding of where in the 'when' I am, but frankly, due to the very nature of infinity, I can never actually pinpoint my departure and my arrival. That is, unless I leave a marker for myself.

On Azeroth, my marker is Acherus, alongside another in the shadow of the Rook. On the planets I visit, it varies greatly. Often times, before I subjugate a world, I'll place down a simple runic marker, like the ones I have in the aforementioned locations on Azeroth, which essentially allows me to track 'my' timeline through its various warps and splinters. This is especially helpful due to the nature in which I travel time, as I prefer to move backwards.

This serves a twofold purpose. The first is that I know that, by and large, the multiverse has not suffered a critical existence failure up to our 'present', which avoids me accidentally gating into the end of all time. The second reason is that travel to the past is generally less draining on my energy, for whatever reason. In my years of wizarding, I have learned that asking questions about things that 'just work' will often end with you having more questions.

However, moving backwards puts you at a heightened risk (this opinion is relative to myself) of becoming 'lost' in time in the most classic sense--not knowing which 'when' you came from. Occasionally, the light of my markers ebbs, and I cannot see them, even though I am already mid-journey. This can, and often does, leave me stranded for several eons while I wait to either stumble across 'my' time by accident, or for my markers to reappear. The latter is the only real option, as the markers essentially allow me to view the multiverse as 'infinity minus n', while the former has me viewing simple it as simple 'infinity'.

This is also why taking individuals with me through gates is tedious. Not only do I have to expend the energy creating an artificial atmosphere around them, I also have to focus on finding my markers and fending off the dredges of the Shadow which are drawn to living in the realm of the Damned like moths to a flame. Additionally, the problems presented by a 'living' being dying before it is even born are either minuscule are catastrophically paradoxical, and I do not, nor much care to, find out.

I think, though, that that is enough of an explanation for whatever being who comes along to view this archive to understand the 'how' of what I do--that is, cross vast distances of both space and time with relative ease. In summation, though, if you do not entirely understand, two words suffice.

I cheat.
#12573307 Jul 26, 2016 at 12:21 AM · Edited 2 years ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"Why would you do this? Who fucking -asked-, for this?"

"Dr. Eavlp. I'm SI:7." I grasped onto my belt tightly as the wagons pulled up before me, the two operatives flanking me ready to jump into action. I looked over the rotted Forsaken before me, and thought about all the lives he had cost us trying to hunt him down. My revere was interrupted as a troll, the leader of the warband we had brokered with, spoke up.

"He wasn't alone." He said, accent thicker than most. As if on cue, his mercs pulled three hooded men off the cart. Three humans. I shifted my gaze between the three, the troll, and the doctor, contemplating the situation for a moment before speaking to the Forsaken.

"You don't get to bring friends."

"They're not my friends." His words carried an unnatural tinge of fear.

"Don't worry, no charge for them." The troll said, rather chipper about the whole thing.

"And why would I want them?" I inquired. Extra souls were always nice, but this was business. No room for mucking about.

"They were trying to grab your prize." He spoke as a smile broke out on his face. "They work for the mercenary. The masked man."

"Naeb?" I asked, taken aback. That man was a ghost, but if these three knew something, they might just be worth the explanation back at HQ. The troll responded with a nod, and I turned my head to one of the operatives. "Get 'em on board--I'll call it in."

I reached over and grabbed the man farthest to the left, pulling him over towards the drop bay. "What were you doing in the middle of my operation?" I asked, shouting over the noise of the airship's turbines. The man remained silent. To be expected of one of the Cultists. Twilight mercs were doubly annoying--they had a want to keep their reputation, and the indoctrination to stay silent. I nodded to one of the crewmen, who opened up the bay doors as I removed a flintlock from my belt. "The flight plan I just filed with Stormwind lists me, my men, and Dr. Eavlp here. But only one of you." I pulled back the hammer, pressing it against the man's skull. "First one to talk gets to stay on my airship!" I shouted to all three of them before returning to the one pinned underneath me. "So...who paid you to grab Dr. Eavlp?" He said nothing.

I fired, the round turning his skull into a fine red mist as I tossed him down the bay doors. "He didn't fly so good! Who wants to try next?" I shouted to the remaining two, gesturing to the operatives to bring the next one up. As I reloaded the flintlock, I spoke down to the man. "Tell me about Naeb. Why does he wear the mask?" I pulled back the hammer once more, pressing the barrel against the man's hooded skull. "Lot of loyalty for a hired gun!"

"Or he's wondering why shomebody would shoot a man before throwing him out of an airship." A heavily muffled voice spoke. I turned my head, one of my men pointing at the last prisoner. I motioned to the operatives, who dragged off the prisoner by the drop bay, closing the doors as I walked over to the talked.

"Wiseguy, huh?" At least you can talk. Who are you?"

"We are nothing. We are the dirt
beneath your feet. And no one cared who I wash until I put on the mashk..." I resisted the urge to groan. It felt like listening to Lady Deathwhisper give her sermons in the Citadel. Still, I reached down, and pulled free the mask--revealing a man with a head concealed beneath a, what do they call them, 'luchador' mask, painted with the image of two unicorns, mirrored on both sides of the face. The insignia of the Twilight Hammer was imprinted on the back. I crouched down to look into his eyes as he continued. "Who we are does not matter. What matters is our plan."

"If I pull this off, will you die?"

"It would be extremely painful."

"You're a big guy."

"...For you." I was rather perturbed by the response, but pressed on nonetheless.

"Was getting caught part of your plan?"

"Of coursh! Dr. Eavlp refused our offer in favor of yours. We had to know what he told you about ush." His eyes roamed over to the form of the Forsaken, who quickly spoke up, his form quivering in fear.

"Nothing! I said nothing!" I noticed an inconsistency, and shot back with a question.

"Why not just ask him?"

"He would not have told ush."

"You have methods." Naeb seemed amused by this.

"Him, I need healthy. You present no shuch problem." I laughed, looking about the bay as the operatives and observing marines joined in. The airship jolted to the right slightly, one of my men looking out a port to the side.

"Sir?" He intoned. I pressed on.

"Well congratulations, you got
yourselves caught. What's the next step of your master plan?" I asked him, my voice full of enough derision you could drown an orphanage, maybe even several in it. Naeb seemed as cheerful as ever.

"Crashing thish plane..." The airship jolted again, the men looking about as the 'all stations' klaxon sounded. I fixed my gaze on Naeb as he stood up. "...With no survivorsh!" My eyes snapped to the right as part of the hull was ripped free by draconic claws, a marine sucked out into the breach and into the clear blue sky as a number of cultists jumped inside, cutting down a few surprised sailors. My vision was returned to Naeb as the man tried to lock me in his still-bound arms. His eyes opened wide in shock as realized blood was no longer pumping in his body. I looked over to assess the breach as his body fell lifeless to the floor. The boarders had been cut down handily, and one of the agents was already slicing the throat of the prisoner I had had carried off. I chuckled as I looked at the scene. "Fucking idiots. They thought they could take down an entire airship with, what ten boarders? How many were upstairs, son?" I turned to fix my gaze on the runner who had just come down the stairs.

"T-two drakes, fif-fifteen boarders, Knight-Liuetenant, sir!" The man snapped to a salute, and I patted him on the head with a laugh.

"Alright lad, get upstairs and inform our captain the situation is handled, with minor hull damage." He turned with a nod, already halfway up the stairs as I yelled after him. "And lose that stutter! It's fucking annoying!"




#12575952 Jul 27, 2016 at 12:42 AM · Edited 2 years ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
A guest passage from Mr. T.S Elliot, because I didn't give myself enough time to write my next entry.

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy


I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.


Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
#12578615 Jul 28, 2016 at 12:35 AM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."

"Field Marshal, sir." I saluted as the tent flap fluttered shut behind me, the two guardsmen outside returning to a state of ease after acknowledging me. The man bent over the table looked up, green eyes still bright and piercing even as his hair turned to grey. He returned my salute half-heartedly and returned his gaze to the maps and missives before him.

"Cut the bullshit, Knight-Lieutenant. You and I both know we're, or rather I, am getting too old to waste time on it." His lips pulled up into a grin as I chuckled, tucking my helm under my arm as I leaned down to look over the table.

"Aye, sir. Your courier, in-between his stuttered spit, mentioned you needed to speak with me." He shook his head, likely deriding himself for having that page go to get me. He leaned back, pulling himself up to his full height, a little less than six feet. He was getting smaller by the year.

"That I do, that I do. The Brass want us to move this campaign along, but they still don't want to divert troops from the shoreline." He paused, sighing. I knew why--I had been there fighting with him to take a beachhead on those sands-turned-red. He did not live for battle, as I did. He lived for victory, certainly, but he had seen too many of his men go back in wooden boxes to weeping mothers, seen too much blood spilled to live for battle. That's why I liked him. We were both old soldiers, and even with our different outlooks, we meshed well. "They have, through means of capturing missives sent between the Cultist encampments, learned about an encampment sitting within a strategically valuable gully. And by strategically val--"

"And by strategically valuable, you mean it has some metal or gem deposits for the nobles to get rich off of." I interjected as he nodded, lips grinning, but eyes sad. We were both of noble both, which might make my earlier statement seem hypocritical to a person who did not know us well, for we both actively opposed political gerrymandering in the military. We knew it got good soldiers killed for no good reason.

"Aye. So, good news, bad news. Bad news is, every scout I sent in hasn't come back. Should've stopped -before- I started sending in the good ones, but hindsight is always perfect." He paused briefly to take a sip from his flagon, and catch his breath. "Good news is, our aerial sorties have drawn up this general map of the area, with the 'assistance' of our Wildhammer 'friends'." We shared a roll of the eyes at the mention if the dwarves and their 'aid'. End of the world and they still want to bargain. Regardless, he began pointing out the items of interest on each map. The 'gully' was really more of a crater--it was enormous. If the map scale was to be believed, it contained a circular encampment with a consistent radius of half a mile. This also alarmed me.

"This is...unnaturally uniform, for the Twilights." I intoned, and was met with a nod. "Think we might be dealing with a merc company? Probably indoctrinated mercs too, even worse."

"Fifty-fifty shot, as with everything. It either is or isn't. I agree with you, though, that it is uncharacteristically organized. Anyway, and in the center our druids noticed some metallic, cage-like devices. Match the description of the elemental transporters we've encountered so far. Finally, they spotted an ettin or two roaming the grounds, alongside a sizable number of ogres. No drakes. Perhaps a few dragonkin." I nodded as he named each threat, digesting it all and formulating plans and scenarios.

"So Twilight infantry battalion with elemental and heavy infantry support elements, encamped on 'unscoutable' low ground?" I inquired, my only answer a curt nod. "And this doesn't sound like a trap to you?"

"Everything sounds like a trap at out age, Belados. Besides, I thought you liked a bit of 'fun' in your hunts. At least, that was your excuse for turning the deer rabid during our last outing." I grinned, laughing in my head.

"Hmph. Fair enough. I assume I'm working alone?"

"Have you worked with anybody since Angrathar?" There was no humor in his question, and his eyes were deadly serious as they pierced into my own. I matched my tone with his as I responded.

"You know the answer to that question, sir."

"It's not healthy."

"What isn't healthy?"

"Going out and slaughtering divisions, and then slinking back into your hole to brood. A man isn't meant to fight a war by his lonesome."

"Perhaps I am, Field Marshal. I assume that's a 'no' to my first question. When do you want me out there?" I pressed on, looking to break the same circular conversation we had been having for months. He sighed, shaking his head as he looked back down at his parchments.

"As soon as you can gear up and move out. Try not to die."

I shrugged, turning as I placed my helmet back on. "It'd be a nice change of pace." I chuckled out, lifting the tent flap out of my way as the two guardsmen snapped to attention. I left the Marshal behind to mutter about 'those damned deaders'.

The forest was dead quiet, which was my first sign that something was wrong. Birds should have been chirping. Animals, growling, barking. None of that was present. No snapping branches, no crunching leaves, no rustling bushes. I continued scanning the brush around the clearing while my second pair of eyes shared its vision. Oczy had perched himself up in one of the higher trees standing near the ridgeline. The naturally impressive sight of hawks was only compounded by the modifications I made to his eyes, giving his vision the clarity I needed to be able to identify the details of the encampment.

The issue being, of course, that there weren't any. That's not entirely true, actually. It'd be more accurate to say that there was only one--the elemental 'transporters' in the center, through which the Cultists could call and bind elementals with mechanical efficiency. Everything else was not noteworthy, unnaturally so. Encampments were never this uniform, not even in the Scourge where all minds thought as one. Every tent, equidistant. The perimeter, a perfect circle. Fires, but none producing smoke. There was -one- thing out place. A tent, in the center. The headquarters, most likely. Surrounded by transporters on all sides.

Movement in the brush. I severed my connection as stood, drawing my longsword, the saronite glinting in the noonday sun. The orcess was on me within a second. She had been expecting another mortal, most likely. Slow, inattentive, especially when they appeared to be napping beneath the eaves of an oak. Her visage was still contorted in confusion as at thudded to the ground. Two more, I thought, feeling their hearts beat within their chests. I was ready for the troll as he leapt from my flank, parrying his blow and snapping his neck with a punch to the temple, alongside rupturing the blood vessels in his skull. As he twirled to the ground, I spun about to meet the human to my rear, bringing up my bracer to block the chop of his axe. Not even a scratch on the metal as I countered with a thrust to his sternum, blade slicing through both lungs, as well as his heart. His face was was bunched up in hatred as his lifeless corpse slid from my blade, crumpling to the ground as I sheathed it.

These had been professionals. Their souls told me as much--mercs taken on awhile back who had succumbed to the whispers of the Old Gods. They had observed me for an hour before moving to strike. They had controlled their heartbeats, kept their minds clear of battlelust. They were one of several teams guarding the perimeter, killing our scouts. This was the final piece of information I needed to finalize my plan of action.

The night was dark, the moons obscured by clouds. The still-warm bodies of the last hunter team festered behind me as I looked out over the encampment through the leaves of the bush. By my account, it was roughly one in the morning. Any trained military commander would expect an assault in roughly two hours, maybe three. That's why I was moving now. I tensed my legs, runic inscriptions on my legplates alighting with purple energy as I burst forth, legs pumping with trained ease to move my massive form at speeds unimaginable to a normal man. I was upon their outer trench within seconds, leaping over the stakes within with practiced movements, landing on the other side without breaking stride.

The watchmen's cries caught in their throats as shards of ice cut their skulls to ribbons of flesh and bone. The men roused at the outer tents met a similar fate, armor posing no obstacle for my runeblade. The taste of their souls only aroused my hunger, the taint of N'zoth permeating every fold. I continued pressing inwards, carving a straight line of carnage into their camp. Oczy flew above, allowing me to keep track of my location relative to the rest of the camp.

At about a quarter-mile in, I cut right, barreling through a tent and the men and women within as I adjusted my course, now cutting a circumference parallel to that of the encampment. My blade sang a song as it severed their souls, the screams of the dying, the gurgles of the damned drowning in their own blood sang also, all of these songs of arms and a man coming together to form a cacophony of noise befitting a king's coronation. At three-fourths of a mile I cut back towards the outer perimeter, moving once more in a straight line towards it until I had traveled point-one-twelve miles, at which point I once more resumed cutting a three-fourths of a mile parallel circumference. This went on and on for roughly three hours, the encampment completely set ablaze, tents, animals, people, all were trampled beneath my feet or the feet if those trying to cut me down who were cut down by me. The best ogres posed no great difficulty--their hearts could be burst like any other person's. The elementals, when I encountered them, served only as minuscule bumps in my road to ruin. They had souls, Yogg-saron whispered into my mind. Those souls could be taken, must be taken. The being was an annoyance, but he was an annoyance who understood me, which made his comments in battle slightly less irritating.

After having cut the encampment into three circles within the perimeter of the camp, all roughly point-one-two miles apart, with the third circle's diameter being the same distance, I halted myself at the path leading to the command tent. The teleporters surrounding it had been silenced by the bodies of the ogres tossed upon them, the weight of the corpses causing even these impressive constructs of stone and metal to buckle and collapse. My blade hungrily drank up the blood upon it as I strode silently towards the last remaining Cultist in the encampment, the life-giving fluids of his, or her, lessers dripping from my saronite clad form, forming polls of still-warm liquid upon the trodden soil. The tent flaps were pulled back, inviting me in. I did not hesitate.

I probably should have.

The interior of the tent was impossibly large. It was also a floating ledge of lava-rock, with a river of molten magma flowing about its rim before pouring off into the abyss. I had been teleported, that much was clear. A being appeared before me in a flash of flame, a humanoid form the radiated pure fire and fury. An elemental ascendant, if the dossier I had received was to be believed. It certainly matched the description my most recent prizes were giving me of their most 'benevolent' leader. He gazed upon me, likely trying to measure my worth. "I assume you're the leader of the Hammer at this location, then?" I inquired, bringing my bastard sword up into a one-handed guard. 'Bastard' was a bit of a misnomer--I wielded all of my weapons one-handed, due to my size and strength, but I digress. The being before me let out a laugh that sounded like a roaring inferno.

"Indeed I am, little mortal. The carnage you have wrought this morn...perhaps you would be better suited among our ranks, purging this world with a wrath comparable to the Firelord himself?" The way he said it sounded like a declaration of fact, though it was clearly intended as a corrupting offer of power.

"I think I'll decline. I rather enjoy sustainable reaping practices, and Deathwing doesn't share that policy point." I said with a chuckle, earning a sneer from the Ascendant.

"Very well. -Burn-." He shouted, though his voice was completely level. Two jets of pure heat were expelled towards me as I rolled to the side, once more increasing my already naturally adept agility with runic empowerment. The once-man had a look of shock on his face as I cut off one of his arms, already coming about for another pass as he let out a cry of rage. "Impudent whelp! How dare you think--" He was cut off as I chopped off his leg, followed by his arm as I danced about him in a tight circle, shards of razor-ice barraging, rending, his form. I clicked my tongue, sighing. Having been led to believe these beings of pure elemental fury were a match for even a fully-outfitted squadron, I was now disappointed--this one hadn't even necessitated a fraction of my strength capable of being translated into numerical form. His visage bunched up into an agglomeration of hatred and rage, of confusion and contempt. "No...mere mortal can quench the ever-burning flame of the--" His voice caught as my blade did the same in his chest. "--Firelands?" He finished, half declaring, half inquiring. He looked up at me, eyes, or what served for them, now only confused. I looked down at him, grinning beneath my helm.

"Mortal? No. I am outside of that cycle. Unlike you, who, in your pride, in your -arrogance-, brought me into your elemental plane, the one place I can be certain of your destruction, certain of my acquisition of your soul. Now die, and serve." I didn't particularly enjoy monologuing, but the Ascendant had wanted to do so to me, so I figured I would return the gesture, considering he had died halfway through. He could still hear me, of course, writhing in my blade as he was.

I looked about for a way out for a few moments before realizing my newest addition to the collection held the way out. After arriving back outside the tent, I scanned the area with a contented sigh as I sheathed my runeblade. The sun had not yet risen on the Highlands, but it had set permanently on this group of the Hammer, at the very least. Wiping off as much viscera as I could from my armor, I began the long trek back to the Field Marshal.
#12581223 Jul 28, 2016 at 11:57 PM · Edited 2 years ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

I spoke before in this, my chronicle of the multiverse, of the various types planets. One of these was a category I dubbed as 'deadworlds'. These are our topic for the day, though we will be focusing on one specific planet, so as to paint a clear picture.

First, what is a deadworld? As I briefly described before, they are worlds either untouched by the spark of life, or ones which has has life scoured from its surface forcibly. For the purposes of this working definition, 'life' includes elementals.

Now then, for the planet of our focus today. Its name is unable to be translated properly into the Common tongue, but its meaning was something to the effect of 'Throne officials the Infinite Ocean'. Its inhabitants were not ones for subtle naming, evidently.

I arrived upon this place in the middle of a storm. Not a thunderstorm, or manastorm, but rather, a 'radiation' storm. It still had the crackling lightning, but it did not rain water, no. It rained incredibly small objects capable of disrupting the natural bodily function of cell replication. If you don't understand what those terms mean, you're likely reading this volume of information out of proper order, or perhaps I forgot to go back and write a glossary of terms first. Regardless, the point is that it was very unpleasant, and if I wasn't already dead, I would have been, walking through it for hours on end as I did. Of course, -not- walking through it was nearly impossible, as storms like this one covered nearly four-fifths of the planet's surface. Speaking of its surface, it was, as could be expected, barren of life. Oddly, not even a fragment of bone or scrap of wood remained. All that stood were monolithic metal structures, and even these appeared ready to collapse. Smaller, stone, buildings also pockmarked the landscape.

I estimate that I had walked roughly have the circumference of the world, and was walking through what was once a seabed, when my boot thudded against something metallic in the ground. Expecting it to be a piece of a boat long-gone, I leaned down to inspect it, only to discover it was a wheel, connected to a rod, which fed into a somewhat oval metal door set into the ground. After much turning, it eventually yielded, and I swung the portal open, exposing a long ladder. Shrugging, I jumped in.

After falling for what was almost certainly a minute, I found myself facing a dimly lit hallway with broken legs. I had the broken legs, obviously, as a hallway does not have legs. After taking a moment to snap my bones back into place, I began to follow the red glow of the inlaid lights down farther into the depths of this dead sea.

The complex was massive. Clearly meant to house hundreds of thousands, its myriad rooms where visibly empty. But the my blade could taste souls anchored here, unable to move on. I refrained from indulging until I found something of material worth--the souls could wait, but substantive things had clearly long turned to dust. After what I estimate to be thirteen Azerothian solar cycles, I found what I had come for. Another metal bulwark stood before me, some device off set to its side in the wall. The language was incomprehensible, which led me to draw in one of the nearby souls, quickly devouring and digesting its power, its knowledge--it was here that I learned the world's name. Now knowing what the odd glyphs on the machine signified, as well as gaining another vocabulary word--airlock--I stepped into the now-open door, only to be met with another, as expected. I glanced behind me as the first door closed, and a low humming began in the room. After a few moments, the door barring my further entry receded, and I entered the final unexplored room of the complex.

Before me sat a complex system of monitors and controls, and bent over them, a skeleton, its sixteen arms still splayed across the console. Moving forward, I placed a hand against its spine, and within moments, I learned.

An arms race between two completely identical countries, except for who led them. An eternal war, for the races of the planet could interbreed, and the ones which output the strongest soldiers the fastest soon were placed in chains, doomed to a life of providing fresh soldiers. All aspects of life were shifted to focus only on the absolute destruction of the enemy. Boats, tanks, and planes, all far more advanced than anything ever seen by Azeroth, these raged across the world, clashing in titanic, devastating battles, often obliterating entire cities at once. But even this was not enough. Bombs had to be bigger. Munitions more effective at piercing ever more durable armor. Eventually, at about the same time as each other, each country discovered a power locked within the building-blocks of the universe--atoms. I had learned of them from another world I had walked, another world which had crafted terribly wonderful weapons out of the ability to split, or fuse, these atoms. Even this was not enough, for the populace could fall back into shelters like the one I found myself in, emerging once the radiation had dissipated enough that they could resume work without skin sloughing from bone. No, something else had to be made.

The first idea was to drop the ships they had in orbit about the planet onto it. The two countries had been one eons before, and had surged forth into the stars. Now, though, those ways were lost, and the ships sat in vacuum, slowly rotting. As the hulks screamed through the skies, they smashed deep within the planet's shell, capable of delivering massive force even down into the shelter complexes, sometimes even carrying a load of atomic weapons to detonate after breaching its security. The solution? Build deeper. And build beneath water.

Of course, surface wars still needed to be waged, and the new weapon of choice were diseases. A microscopic arms race, each side building up a new plague, the other building another that could kill their opponent's disease, yet still infect them itself. This went on until both sides developed their apex blight. Both could kill off the other, both could scour worlds clean in seconds. Capable of transmission on air, water, or within bodily fluid. Able to pass between different species with ease. Natural defenses rendering it immune to things like heat and cold, pressure and radiation. It was a trump card, and both sides waited to play it when the other could not.

Unbeknownst to them, both sides had become riddled with double, triple, sometimes even quadruple agents, and when the day finally came that one side deployed its planet-killer, the other side retaliated in kind within seconds. Of course, an unexpected accident occurred--neither disease could kill the other. Inoculations, touted as the way to save your family, proved useless. Even complexes believed to be impenetrable such as the one I was in proved to be just as weak to subterfuge as any other target. The air recycling systems spread the deadly blight with murderous efficiency, and within a day, nothing was left living. It certainly didn't help that both sides blew their full load of atomic weapons and orbital drops in a desperate attempt to cull the disease they had unleashed.

The soul of 'He Who Watches and He Who Judges', the man who was left to decide the fate of his world, informed me it had been five billion solar cycles since the last bit of flesh rotted from his bones, leaving only his skeleton as testament within the environmentally sealed room. I moved over to the sealed display as he finished his tale, gazing inside. Within sat the last sample of the doom of his world, He told me. The rest had died off within a year of killing the last bioform, having run out of food. I smashed open the display with ease, much to his horror. I drank freely the liquidized blight, much to his delight. And I stepped forward from that complex just a bit deadlier than I had entered, much to his sorrow.

Since then, I have gathered many such weapons, and similar knowledge. I find my duty as a curator of the damned to be rather fitting, really. And besides, I figure, better me, a sporting man, to have it, than some being who didn't understand the concept of 'pulling punches'.
#12599332 Aug 04, 2016 at 11:47 PM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
((A short ‘story’ this week, but it wasn’t really meant to be long.))

“Here are we both. And what do you lust after?”

I had the pleasure of speaking with a priestess of Elune recently, as requested by the Highlord Blackmoore. While the conversation was...fruitful, it did not do much to expand upon knowledge I already had. Of course, that’d be almost universally true, and so in a way, it was good enough. Regardless, I digress. She explained to me some of the cultural beliefs of the Kaldorei people regarding the Mother Moon.

Firstly, they revere her as the Goddess of the Moon, which is obvious to anybody who has even been in close proximity to Kaldorei and their culture for more than five minutes. Their being a nocturnal species, they revere her above all other gods, as she provides them the light by which they move at night, and grants those that pray to her blessings. This mirrors the Church’s ideal of the Light as a deity, though it lacks multiple sub-deities to accompany the Light, obviously. Though it’s not as if any Kaldorei even talk of these other, lesser deities. No, you only hear of Elune, and the gifts she gives.

Which brings us to a second point. It is the belief of the Kaldorei that Elune grants her boons only to those that directly beseech her for them, be they priestesses of her order or another worthy Kaldorei, pure of mind, body and soul. This contrasts rather sharply with the Church’s idea of the Light as an all-encompassing force that can act to aid without being called upon by its followers. Of course, as has been displayed a few times, Elune -is- capable of acting without being called upon, but, I am merely recounting what I have been told.

Finally, the good priestess explained that, at least by their beliefs, Cenarius was borne of Elune, and through this can be construed as the origin of druidism. In that same vein, I’m sure the most of Azeroth has either heard of, or attended, the Lunar Festival in Moonglade, in which they honor Elune and her power, as well as the start of the new year...even if it is a few weeks late. I’m sure the Church has a few holidays in observation of the Light, but obviously I haven’t been very...observant of them, as of late.

And a final note of interest, and a tie in to the Earthmother, my other option for interview that I did not pursue because I don’t talk to Horde, I kill them--the tauren believe Elune to comparable to Mu’sha, one of the eyes of the Earthmother and the embodiment of the moon.
#12604007 Aug 06, 2016 at 08:11 PM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"Virtues are vices in the eyes of demons."

Apparently, I'm required to write additional things regarding the most 'Holy' Light. So, I wasted Miss Lona Triton's time today asking about the three virtues the Church associates with the Light, as well as this thing you lot came up with called ‘Vitruous Living’. Apparently, though, it’s not actually necessary that I write on that last bit, so I won’t, and will continue to live on knowing I wasted precious seconds out of a mortal’s fleeting life while they recited made-up rubbish from a book penned by some man who I presume wears an exceedingly silly hat. I digress, though. What I -will- write about is our conversation regarding the three major virtues, even though the ‘conversation’ mostly entailed Miss Lona reciting notes, with helpful commentary from myself inserted in.

We begin, as Miss Lona did, with Respect. From her retelling, it is the basis of all things in reality, as respect for one thing leads to respect for another, due to the interconnectivity of all things within reality. Additionally, it’s ‘sub-virtues’, as I suppose one could call them, are Prudence and Justice. Aside from its branch virtues, the Church views Respect much in the same way as the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow does, as I pointed out to Miss Lona--both urge their members to recognize that all things are connected to reality and to each other, and that affecting one, weaker individual can draw the ire of another, stronger one, who was protecting the weaker person or thing for whatever reason. As such, one must always remain mindful to respect those around them, even those who appear to be weaker than one’s self--they might simply be concealing their power, or they may have a greater power backing them.

Moving on, we touched next on Tenacity, a personal favorite. According to her, it is the virtue of strength, will, and faith. At least to her, it is the embodiment in ideal of devotion to the Light, and the driving force behind calling individuals to act, and commits them to practicing the other virtues, as well as spreading good in the world. The first part is the most true, and once again draws the parallel to the Cult. Without the ability to persevere through hardships and challenges, one will be unable to enact one’s will, or I suppose in the lens of the Chuch, the ‘will’ of the Light upon reality. From this ability to move forward comes strength, and the opportunities to gain more of it. It also builds up one’s self-confidence, and through this, one’s will, which is the driving force behind the ability of the self to effect change upon reality. I, personally, oft consider ‘will’ and ‘mana’ to be synonymous with each other, even if such a relation is not entirely true. The association with faith is, perhaps, questionable, but I understand how it is drawn--to persevere through hardships while preserving one’s faith, even when that hardship draws it directly into question, such as in the case of the Forsaken, or even undead in general, is a sign of true tenacity. Now, whether tenacity is the driving force behind the want to enforce the ideals placed on the Light upon reality is up for debate, and for the sake of brevity I will simply say that it is a subjective, not objective, truth--some may see it as such, but others will not.

Finally, we have Compassion. According to her, it is the most important, as one can follow the other two virtues and still commit ‘evil’, and compassion drives individuals to do ‘good’, to help and sometimes not help. However, I, personally, view Compassion as an ‘auxiliary’ virtue, a ideal that is covered already by Respect. In my opinion, to Respect another individual is to show kindness and firmness in equal measure when required. Perhaps my true issue is with the way Compassion is used to convey the ideals of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, for to try and define terms as subjective as those is to take on a fool’s errand. A wolf does not see eating a chicken as evil, even though a child might. A soldier does not see killing his foe as evil, even though a pacifist might. In this way, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ will never be terms agreed upon by any all-encompassing community, unless that community has a hive-mind determining its overarching will, such as that found in the Scourge. The ‘Virtuous Life’ gives Compassion a definition I perhaps agree with more, in that true compassion requires a temperance to the aid one gives, but even then, I feel as though it should fall under respect, in the sense that one is capable of respecting another individual’s power and ability, and not automatically rushing to aid a capable being out of a misplaced sense of self-sacrifice or ‘compassion’. It may be that I have explained my distaste with Compassion being its own virtue in such a way that my words make sense, or they may have simply come off as the ramblings of an old man. Regardless, they are done.

As a final note, I wish to say that only one of the Virtues actually matters in the realm of channeling the Light, and that one is Tenacity. For, at least by Miss Lona’s summations, it is the only one that deals with both faith and will, and these, together with one’s belief of righteousness, are all the Light truly needs to be called upon. Faith, or more properly belief, in its existence, believing that one’s actions are ‘righteous’, and the will, or ‘mana’ to handle its power, all come together to allow a being the ability to call upon the Light. Compassion and Respect for others have nothing to do with it, unless one believes their actions are ‘righteous’ only if they follow those two virtues.
#12632707 Aug 17, 2016 at 05:23 PM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"Even Kings can be Slaves. And even Slaves, Kings."

I sighed, tapping a finger idly against the marble throne, the saronite-covered digit impacting with a dull ring each time, the noise echoing throughout the empty chamber, crafted from the same stone as the glorified chair I sat upon. The large wooden doors about fifty yards away buckled inwards once again, straining against the bar set across them before returning to their resting position, eliciting another sigh from my lips. "I wonder when they'll figure out I didn't make a shitty door." I pondered out loud. As I waited, my mind turned to the events of the last few months.

It had all started when my governor on the world contacting him with news of a rebellion. This wasn't terribly surprising, as this was an event that tended to happen from time to time. Certain parts of the population would always disagree with their rulers, and a further sub-sect of this element would turn to violence. It seemed like a trivial matter, until the ruling council installed by the people also turned against me, taking my armies on-world with them. This was also not truly surprising, but it was unexpected in this particular case, as up until now myself and them had maintained an incredibly amicable relationship.

Either way, it didn't matter how amicable they were, because now the council was dead. Evidently they had forgotten that when a movement's goals can be summarized as 'kill the government', those in power tend to fair poorly. Indeed, when the council had opened the gates of the capital, they were the first ones put to the blade of the revolutionaries. A fitting end. Better than what I would have given them. Their betrayal, though, had left my loyalists open for slaughter, and slaughtered they were. Now, only I remained.

And it seemed I would remain for quite a bit longer. They had only just now realized that setting the doors alight would work far better, and that left me with at least an hour before it burned through enough for the gates to collapse. Sighing once more, I withdrew my hearthstone bored, summoned a copy of myself, and began to play a game with my handlock deck.

After what seemed like an eternity of my other self choosing shaman, the door finally crumbled to the ground, and in poured what were, for all intents and purposes, four-armed humans. They were a bit taller, closer to seven feet, and their skin was, by and large, more like those of the nomads found in Tanaris. By the amount of light reflecting from the mass of armor, I estimated that there were perhaps four hundred of them squeezing into my hall. Of course, I could also see a writhing mass of flesh and metal outside, which meant I would have a lot to cleave through. Or perhaps not. A man wearing decorations upon his armor, a sign of seniority on this world that had previously valued simplicity, approached my seated self. A deep, bass voice sounded out from beneath his full helm, and I could tell he was a practiced orator--and likely their leader. “Demon! We have come to reclaim this world for the people who -inhabit- it, not some despot who treats it as his own playground!” Amusing. Always the same with these folk.

“Is that so? And do you expect me to lay myself down at your feet, and beg for mercy?” I made sure to voice the hilarity I found the situation, which seemed to take the man back slightly.
“You are one. We are many. What other hope do you have,” he inquired, raising one of his four blades to gesture at me. I rolled my eyes and flicked a finger towards the left side of the room. The normally white marble turned a feverish shade of red as runes appeared upon it, and the men unlucky enough to be standing there found themselves, quite literally, melting into the ground, as the decay of their bodies and clothing was increased a thousandfold, flesh and metal alike turning to dust. Those that tried to run found their movements slowed to a crawl, and within a few moments, all were rendered unto nothing. I had been looking at the scene, my helmeted head turned away from the leader, and now it turned back to gaze upon him once more.

“Do you still expect this to be so easy? What am I asking, of course you do. You have a hero complex. How many men do you have, I wonder. I only allow for a population of one million souls, but I expect you to have perhaps bred that up to one-pont-five. Even then, you likely only have half of that, so seven-hundred and fifty thousand, likely less. How many do you think occupied this rock when I first found it?”

“The old songs sing of cities spanning continents, their streets filled with folk! And you -destroyed- it, you destroyed -all- of it, and now you will pay for your crimes! Next company, forward, second company, bring him to his knees!” The remaining soldiers in the room, namely those on the left side that I hadn’t returned to dust, charged towards my still-seated body. Sighing, I lifted myself up, willing a death gate into existence at my side. Reaching, I fished around for a bit, until eventually finding a suitable halberd, which I then withdrew, the gate sealing once I had done so. By now the first of them were ascending my steps, and he was quickly met with a chop to the head that cleaved it in two. I began my own descent into the onrush of bodies, blade sweeping before me in wide arcs that cut through whatever meager defense the glorified militia could provide against my assault, blades shattering and armor sundering before the saronite. So many souls. So much power.

“Yes, I did. Do you know how?” The man seemed taken aback, both at the carnage I was sewing, and the apparent ability for me to both talk and slaughter at the same time.

“The songs speak only of your shadow falling over our glorious creation, and all who fell within it dying in the most sordid of ways.”

“I coughed.”

“What?”

“I coughed, and unleashed a virus upon your world. I wasn’t even here while it did its job. I only returned once you had been reduced to ten thousand souls as a species. Then, I offered to stop it. Your kind accepted. In their desperation, in their shame, they bowed to me. I released a bacteria capable of killing the virus off, and your world was ‘saved’. There were no great battles. There were no heroic sacrifices. Your people died, shitting themselves as they keeled over in the streets. That was the fate of your people.” He stumbled back, clearly confused, conflicted. I was not. I continued to carve a path towards him. Eventually his men figured out how to encircle me, but that didn’t help very much once I created a rune weapon to my rear, itself sweeping out to clear them back. Even so, it’s not as if their blades had any hope of even scratching my saronite. It was a fool’s battle from the start, but that did not mean much to me. The song of battle flowed to me, and in return I continued its epic. More and more warriors flowed in from the shattered doors, all of them seeking the glory, the honor, of felling me in battle, and found nothing but eternal servitude to me in death. Their commander was staggering back now, trying to flee, trying to place a wall of flesh between himself and my hulking, blood-soaked form.

And then I heard a twang.

The bolt of a ballista tore through the crowd in front of me, before eventually impacting into my chest. It bore deep, the force and weight enough to split my usually impenetrable carapace, before my own wards slowed it the point of uselessness. Reaching up, I wrenched it free and tossed it to the side, crushing a few unfortunate souls. I switched myself up now, making a zig-zag through the crowd to avoid taking another straight on shot. In the meanwhile, the hole made by the shot began to slowly mend itself, armor turning into a viscous, blood-like substance as it filled in the gap. Within a minute, it was like new, and already covered in blood just like the rest of my body.

Eventually I reached the portal where the gates used to stand, and gazed out into the expansive courtyard as my conjured rune weapon to the rear prevented some unfortunate soul from trying to take a chop at my back. This place had served as the capital market, once. Now though, the stalls were upturned, many of the merchants lying dead beneath or near them, alongside my few loyalist guardsmen. I supposed, all-in-all, the courtyard was near to its full capacity, maybe seventy thousand warriors filling it, give our take five thousand. Their ‘glorious’ leader cowered in the middle of them. I slammed the bottom of my halberd against the marble step I stood upon, helmeted head sweeping back and forth to gaze upon the crowd. “Why do you fight me? You say my laws are archaic, but that is because you do not understand their purpose. There are things far worse than myself out in the Beyond, stalking the stars. Lay down your arms. Return to your homes.” Nothing. No motion, no murmuring, just cold defiance. How bothersome. “Then you-” I raised a finger to point at the sniveling excuse for a general. “-come parley with me. Now.” The wall of flesh between us parted, allowing for an open lane of blood-spattered ground for the man to walk through. He ascended the steps about halfway up to me, reaching them just as the last man inside fell to my weapon. It moved up to my side, floating their idly as their leader eyed it. “Surrender.”

“To you? Never. I give you the same option. You have no hope of defeating all of us. Surrender, and you shall be made a gladiator, and live out the rest of your numbered days in the arena.”

“Okay.” The man did a double-take, trying to sputter out some semblance of words. “I will give you and your kin a chance to rule.” I tossed my blade off to the side, both it and its conjured brother dispersing into a mist of shadow. The man was confused, still, but seemed to understand his luck. He gestured, and men ran up to grab my by the arms with all four of theirs. Idiots. They’d kill themselves within the week, but that didn’t really matter to me. What matters was how much fun I was about to have.

I was taken to a ratty dungeon cell beneath the coliseum the ruling council had built before their timely demise. Evidently their race was very much into watching warriors kill each other for amusement. Not that I minded, really, it was their custom, they could have it if they wanted. They left me in my armor, though it’s not like they much had a choice, considering they couldn’t remove it without going mad and braining themselves on the bars. And since I had banned magic, they had none to prevent me from using mine, which meant I could play with snowflakes as much as I wanted between matches.

Initially they had me fighting the various predators of their world. There’s not very much to go into detail about, because the fights often didn’t last any longer than five seconds. I would run up into their charge, bare handed, grapple them, and then snap their neck, or smash in their skulls. This got a roar from the crowd, but it was also rather unfulfilling, if only because it lasted for such a short time. But, this was what they continued to send after me. The new ‘Emperor’ didn’t want to give me the ‘honor’ of fighting true warriors, and wanted to see me be ‘shamed’ by falling to some wild beast like a newborn. Unfortunately for him, that never happened, even when he sent enough beasts to fill the pit to the rim with corpses.

As all mortals do, though, he died, and with him, his grudge. There was a brief war of succession, and once it was finished, a new, new ‘Emperor’ was throned, and in celebration he brought me out to fight his finest warrior. And so after five hundred years of fighting mindless beasts, I finally got the chance to spar against dangerous game. The man was six-armed, a mutation seen as a blessing by the people of the world, and almost as well-muscles as myself, which lended him the strength needed to wield six bastard swords like they were daggers. He was also taller than normal, almost seven feet and three inches in height. Unfortunately in my absence, the population had once again discovered magic, and the man’s blades were enchanted with both fire and strength, and his armor reinforced by numerous deflecting wards. The roar of the crowd was deafening as we stepped into the arena. Him eyeing me, me eyeing him. Obviously the description I just gave came from this observing, as it’s not like I could have seen him beforehand. The two of us stepped forward into the ring to our starting positions, about a hundred paces apart.

The crowd fell silent as the Emperor gave a glowing speech about how he would succeed where the old one had failed. As he finished, he looked down at us. His champion gave him a six-armed salute. I just stood there, waiting. I hadn’t drawn a weapon out yet, and so was left with my gauntleted hands to wait and see what the warrior would do. Evidently my lack of ‘respect’ for his boss was infuriating, as he charged towards me after realizing I had no plans of saluting. This was good. He brought both all of his blades together in an crossing slash. Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t an idiot, and I wasn’t slow. I ducked left, his dominant hands being on his right, something I had noticed by his grip, and got around the slightly slower cuts. Slightly slower was all I needed to slam a fist into his side. Or would have slammed, I should say, because his wards leaped to action, absorbing the blow. I pulled back and danced left again, out-turning the slower man as I sent a flurry of blows into his back, all absorbed by the ward. I lept back, giving me some room to work with as I circled about the man.

He realized now that he had made poor choices in his life, most likely. He was more cautious now, sizing me up a second time as he reevaluated his initial, well, evaluation. That gave me the time I needed to study his runes in more detail. It was an intricate ward network, self-powering. Responded to any blow, at any angle, at any time. Designed to be impenetrable. But nothing was. Not even the virginity of an upstanding priestess sent to preach in Goldshire. The issue with self-reliant networks was that it only had so much power to draw from, and so if one applied enough stress to them, they would either outright shatter, or just stop until their reserves could be built up again. Which raises the question--how does one man apply enough stress to break a system designed to handle two, maybe even three fighters at a time?

He becomes four.

Three copies of myself coalesced into existence, mists of shadow appearing briefly for them to form from. My opponent seemed confused, looking around rapidly to try and understand what just happened. That was his first mistake. The me to his rear charged forward and lept, delivering a vicious kick to his back that sent him stumbling towards me to his front, allowing me to deliver a flurry of blows to his chest. On either side, I moved in to mimic myself to the front, blow after blow landing against his wards. I could feel them waning, the magic running out. Before my opponent figured out that he should probably start cleaving, chains of ice appeared about his arms, binding the three to either side together first, and then another set of chains drawing them in to hold them to the man’s side, effectively leaving him defenseless, only his wards remaining.

After another few seconds, those too finally broke, the runes growing dark where they once glowed with energy. My blows were like warmaces as they slammed against his armor, denting it in as his organs ruptured and bones cracked. That didn’t matter to me, though. All I did was keep punching. Punching until the only thing left in that armor was a soupy mess of flesh and bone. Eventually I let the long-dead man collapse the ground, the chains of ice dispersing alongside my clones. I didn’t stay to bask in glory. No, nothing like that. I just turned, and entered into the awaiting door back to my cell.

That wouldn’t remain my cell for very long, though. No, I had managed to impress one of the minor nobles of the capitol, and now the had elevated me up as their personal gladiator. Not out of the good of their heart, of course no. We were used to settle disputes between houses now, and if one had an unbeatable warrior, well, one had an unbeatable house, no? And so went my unlife, moved up from a glorified dungeon to one of the more lavish suites held in the coliseum, though far from the best. At least this once had an absence of rats. A well-enough bed, that went completely unused, a desk, parchment and pen included. A wardrobe for the suits my noble patron provided me, usually only left to gather dust.

My fights were also better, now going up against actual humans. Again, they weren’t -humans- in our sense, but they’re close enough, and their proper name our tongue so annoying, that I will be calling them such. Warriors from all across the world came to challenge me in the name of glory. Even during the numerous wars for succession, I still had fights near-daily, sometimes against one, and sometimes against one hundred warriors at a time. Two millennia came and went, all filled with fighting and drinking, and the occasional concubine in between, as so graciously provided by my patron’s house, still reliant on me to ensure their place in the nobility.

Now, though, they were ready to usurp the Emperor himself. They didn’t need me for it, no. They had gathered enough political power that a simple assassination would do, and none were left to challenge them to the right. My work over the years had ensured that. It was done quickly, and I fought a celebration match in their ‘honor’, a thousand men to my one. A hard fought victory, but the souls were quite the reward. Of course, that wasn’t the only gift I was given. No, the house had seen fit to award me with my own mansion within the city walls, and should I so wish, my freedom. I declined the second one. Now I fought against true opponents, the finest warriors in the land, and even the occasional sorcerer who wished to test his magic against my own. As each of them fell, my new abode became a bit more filled, either with fine treasures or fine courtesans. It was not an entirely disagreeable life, I had decided.

And so I lived it for another five millennia, the centuries ticking by like days as concubines and supplicants came and went, passing through life and into death as all mortals do. The challengers never got more difficult, though, which disappointed me greatly. Even as they began to send hundreds and thousands at once against me, not once did I taste defeat. And so, in short, I became bored. Me being bored is never a very good thing. That is when I decided to take back my place as ruler of this world.

It was a very short affair. The people had grown to love me, and it was a simple matter to kill those who did not. Once more I imposed my ban on magic and limit on population--a cull occurred soon after to satisfy this. Statues were raised in my honor, despite my requests to the contrary. A ruling council was set in place, and I turned the patriarch of my once-patron noble house into my governor--after I had raised him into undeath, of course. Couldn’t have him dying out on me.

As I sat on my reclaimed throne, looking once more upon the vacant room it sat within, I couldn’t help but sigh. Another set of millennia gone by, and still I felt as though I had achieved nothing. Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. “I should adopt Knight Horacea.” I wasn’t sure why. There wasn’t really a good reason that I could even think of, and frankly the idea seemed utterly fucking stupid. Regardless, I tore open a gate back to Azeroth, and departed to act out my new idea.
#12653078 Aug 24, 2016 at 09:25 PM · Edited 6 months ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
"And as you watch it, you see the thing that they--down there--never know. You see the future. You know what's going to happen afterwords."

A man stood on a beach, the beach of a lake, gazing out over it. In the distance, an island stood, the walls of the fortress upon it blurred by the mist and distance. At his side stood a woman, fairly beautiful, by no means homely, but with a visage that wouldn't attract undue attention. Put another way, it was not like the faces of most women found these days, especially elves. This woman's beauty was quiet and subdued, much like her demeanor, but still no less present. Flowing blonde hair, piercing green eyes, and a body that showed itself to be capable of bearing a man many heirs. That was what the man's father had looked for for his son.

His son, however, cared very little about those things. He considered himself lucky, obviously. Oftentimes, the partner one received from an arranged marriage was of a lesser quality, especially when the marriage was not a marriage which moved either house 'upwards'. No, the thing that had truly left the man with the shaggy black hair and utterly unremarkable brown eyes smitten by this woman was her ability to make him smile just be uttering a few words to him, however casual they were. After their first conversation, he was committed to doing whatever it took to please this new fixation in his life.

Many years later, the man would look back at this time in his life and realize lust, not love, had ruled. He had vainly believed that the outward emotions this woman showed to him were genuine. He believed that when he showered her with silks from Silvermoon and jewels from Ironforge, she was truly grateful, grateful enough to lay with him as one flesh. He did not know but he would come to know that these were the duties the woman's father had instilled in her psyche, to not show genuine emotion but rather to display one that would best 'fit' the situation according to her mental checklist.

But the man did not know this now. He did not know it when he had taken her to the beach a few paces from his family's home, to take her on the beach, in the most literal sense. He did not that every gasp and blush his dutiful wife produced was merely a prerecorded response taught by her mother. He believed his lust had been reciprocated, and in this reciprocation transmogrified into love. This was what he believed for another five years, ever moment thinking he alone was the happiest man in the world, having found actual love in the domestic sphere, which most often only served to destroy those ties which bind one soul to another. He lived on in blissful ignorance.

The scene shifted now. The man held a small boy's hand in his own as he waddled down the beach. The woman cradled another child in her arms as it quietly suckled, nourishing itself even as another was nourished within the woman, who already showed the signs of yet another child growing within her. The man and the eldest of those three offspring paused for a moment, conversing briefly before sitting down upon the sand. The man pointed at the manor a small distance away, the boy nodding before beginning to take sand into his tiny hands, piling it, molding it. The woman sat down on a nearby chair, utter contempt in her eyes until the man looked back at her, beaming with pride, and she smiled back with equal joy, serving only to further the illusion of amicability.

Another shift. Two pyres floating out on the lake. Many forms huddled on the beach, and grass above. The man drawing a bow, the woman lighting the arrow notched upon it. It flew straight and true, alighting the pyre that held the man's father. A second arrow, and the mother met the same fate. Three sets of tiny hands clung to the woman's dress as they watched the scene, a fourth held in her arms. The man's face was steely, the woman's compassionate, a veil for the relief she held at the death of her slaver. A veil for the contempt she held as she lay with the man for a final time, for he rode in the morning. She did not know this would be the last time, of course. For her, there were another sixty-some years of this torment ahead, least she should slip herself some poison, yet her children, for she did not think of them as shared between them, for he had had no part in rearing them. No part in molding them. Unbeknownst to her, the man shared this opinion. She would have hated him for it anyway.

The man approached the remains of his home, and consequently the remains of his family. The greenskin raid had been brutally fast and efficient. They'd set fire to the woods, and as the town roused to combat it, they were set upon. A few orc corpses showed a defense had been attempted, but was unsuccessful, as evidenced by the complete genocide of the man's people. He'd removed the corpses from their stakes now, his son from his grandfather's sword, and was trudging through the ruins of the house. Impossibly, something shining softly in the firelight, caked in ash, caught his eye. He uncovered it, and discovered a lockbox. Equally unlikely, it was unlocked, and upon opening it, the man found a letter, addressed to himself, that recounted every true feeling the woman had ever felt. He returned to the charred corpses, and laid himself prostrate before the woman's corpse, no other action taken for hours until the man's fellows came to pull him away. After a hearty breakfast, five pyres burned on the lake.

A man and a woman stood on a shore, hands intertwined as they looked out towards the misty island in the middle. I watched them from inside the manor, blue orbs burning bright beneath the green glass of my helm. I felt the air being displaced behind me long before the new arrival spoke. "Mortal! What purpose do you have in these timeways," the voice of a Bronze inquired, harsh and ready for an attack, or defense.

"Wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them."

"What? Answer, or face -permanent- removal." I turned to face the elf-not-elf, its pale skin contorted first in rage, and then in horror, perhaps the first time it had felt such a thing in all its eons, as my mind washed over its own, submerging it in the past I replayed to myself.

"Apologies. I was visiting my wife. I'll show myself out." I turned myself back to take a final look at the woman, hand raising to press flat against the window for only a brief moment before my form faded away, wisps of shadow swirling off of it as it dispersed.
#12665648 Aug 29, 2016 at 07:13 AM · Edited over 1 year ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
Is it like this, in Death's other kingdom?"

A man sat upon a beach.

The waves lapped against his feet, as they did the same to the shore. Then they did so again, and again. An endless cycle. But that did not matter to the man. No, more accurately, it did not matter to me, for the man was I. And as I looked over the water, watching it ebb and flow, I pondered my choices.

Perhaps I shouldn't have told the girl what would happen to me. It was uncharacteristically nice of me. It showed weakness, softness. Perhaps that was why I was here now, my soul slowly rotting away as I awaited the word of the Void. Before, I would not have uncreated myself for the sake of a paltry ten-some souls. And yet now, I had. Maybe that was why it had given me this task. To make me realize how...mortal, I was becoming. To allow me to come to this realization, and correct my error.

Or perhaps I was just being paranoid. Either way, I reclined onto my back as I awaited my instructions, whenever they came.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob, the Gooey Sha-ling, continued to sit upon the cold stone floor of the catacomb. The rest of the adventurers had been gone for quite some time, but he remained, mouth agape in the stupidest smile, as he awaited the return of the man who would finish the task of Bob's progenitor, and plunge this universe, as well as countless others, into absolute darkness.

Absolute Void.

For now, though, all he could do was sit and wait.
#12875277 Nov 23, 2016 at 12:34 PM · Edited 10 months ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts


The boat rocked rhythmically from side-to-side, borne upon the winds catching its sail, and the four oars to port and starboard rowing the great vessel forward. The longboat was impressive by any measure--the hardiest wood of oak that could not break, yet still bend had been chosen for its hull, which was roughly one-hundred and twenty feet long, with width enough for six men abreast. Its hull was carved up with runes of the Vrykul tongue, detailing the plundering of ships and worlds alike, as well as single warding or empowering engravings. The war-drums beat out a steady rowing pace, and the hulking monstrosity of a Vrykul pounding away belted out a verse in his native tongue.

"My mother counseled, for me they should buy!"

The black ship orbited the world below in a never-ending cycle, having been ordered to remain at the ready, should its aid be required. This was greatly displeasing to the commander of the great ship, which was comparable in importance to a capital ship of other fleets, if those other fleets had been spacefaring vessels capable of bombarding a planet's surface with firepower sufficient to level a city. The Eredar captain stirred in his chair, though the centerpiece of the bridge was more comparable to a throne. His gaze flicked to one of the imps waiting anxiously below for orders. "More soulstones, wretch. Lest I use your own."

"A galley and good oars, to sail to distant shores!"

The runes weaved into the sail were glowing now, pushing the ship along to speeds more comparable to a rifle round than an oar-and-wind powered vessel. The eight Vrykul were growling the accompaniment to the war-song. All of them, as well as the one beating out their pace on the drum, and the one standing in the stern behind him, were clad in armor whose design could be called 'traditional' for their race. Plate breastplates and helms, ornately engraved with runic patterns made to resemble fearsome beasts or great battles. Their helms covered all save for two sockets for them to look out from, and almost all had horns of some creature or another slotted into the temples of their helmets. The rest of their bodies were covered in scalemail, which shimmered purple in the light of the distant stars. Slung upon their hips were a menagerie of weapons, most having at least an axe, with some carrying an additional sword or mace. All had a long dagger of some description sheathed somewhere convenient, usually on a hip or breast.

The rearmost warrior began striding across the much-too-large hull towards the prow, where a figure just as large as he waited. His armor was entirely plate, with mail mesh covering the joints between the various pieces. His armor, for the most part, was bare of decoration, only having simple runic lattices for protection or power conduction. The exception to this modesty was his shoulderplates, which had lamb's skulls worked of metal forged upon them, with eyes that glowed an ominous purple. His vambraces were also of peculiar design, with a sharpened portion jutting down over the back of his gauntlet, resembling a broad spearhead. When his fists clenched, the tip jutted out enough to serve as an effective piercing weapon. His head was no less protected, with a helm the same dark purple-green as the rest of the carapace, the metal covering the entirety of his face save for, like the Vrykul, small sockets for him to peer from. The metal on his brow was worked up into the likeness of a crown, the runes inscribed on it spelling something in some foreign tongue. The figure stirred from its forward gazing, turning its head slowly to look at the approaching Vrykul. "Gudbrand," the cold, harsh voice stated with a nod. The name was echoed several times by an unseen chorus before it faded into nothingness. "We are close, my friend. Soon, our saronite will taste blood once more." Gudbrand grinned beneath his helmet.

"Good."

"So I standing high, a noble ship I steer!"

The Eredar was well into his fifteenth soul of the batch, a rather delicious human harvested from Outland, when one of the Mo'arg at the guidance stations stood at attention, a signal for the magus to permit him to speak. "What is it, navigator," he inquired in a bored tone.

"There appears to be an object accelerating towards our port side, Grand Magus," the demon stated clearly, evidently a senior member of the crew to not be cowed by the Eredar's annoyance at the interruption of his meal.

"Yes, and? There are lots of things in the Great Dark, navigator."

"This one appears to be a ship, Ur'Thalish." The use of his name, and the sentence it accompanied, roused the demon lord's attention. Standing from his seat to the sounds of scattering imps, he descended the steps of his throne, hooves deftly navigating the forms of passed-out succubi and puddles of unfortunate-looking liquid as he moved towards the information console the standing Mo'arg was attending. Leaning in towards the display, he quirked a brow in interest. "Is that a sea-faring vessel?"

"Hold course for the haven!"

"Put your backs into it you worthless milksops!" Gudbrand cried. The plated figure turned from his vigil, clawed gauntlets trailing across the wood as his burning gaze roved over the other nine fighters. Moving across the swaying wood as it pierced the space between stars as easily as water, he moved before the first rower on the port side. "Harvardr! What does you mother counsel?"

"That I obtain many goats, Beladosian!" He moved on to the next man as he moved his oar in perfect harmony with the other seven.

"And your mother, Herleif?"

"I learn to brew fine mead!"

"And yours, Ragnar?"

"Smith many a fine axe."

"And yours, Asmund?"

"That I not make deals with devils like you, Belados!"

"You love every second of it, you whoreson. Bard! Hold your humming long enough to impart us your spawner's fine wisdom!"

"Her wisdom 'twas that I never sing in my life!" A shared round of laughter went 'round the vessel before Ithalin pushed on.

"Bjarke?"

"Find a fine wife with fine hips and fine stock."

"Brynjar!"

"That I splinter many shields!"

"Einar?"

"I never try my hand at cooking, lest I kill my shield-brothers!" Moving to the aft, Ithalin tapped their dutiful drummer on the shoulder, so immersed was he in keeping their pace. Looking up, he didn't even miss a strike as he answered without needing to be asked. "Bring fame to my name and house, that we might live eternal in the songs." Laughing, Ithalin smacked him on the back, not even budging the large musician.

"Well, Fritjolf, worry not! You are Ymirjar, immortal!" Striding back to the bow, he looked at the quickly-approaching Legion ship before snapping his gaze. "Gudbrand! Your counsel?" The war-leader smirked under his helm as his cry was echoed nine times.

"Hew down many foe-men!"

Ur'Thalish staggered backwards, crushing an imp underhoof as his vessel shuddered. A cry went up from another console. "Breach in the hull, lower level, port side!" Another followed quickly. "Fighting in the storage bays!" Growling, the Eredar incinerated an imp as his succubi roused to flank him. Turning his gaze to a nearby Fel Guard, he jerked his head towards the bulkhead leading from the bridge. "Crush them, and bring me their souls, lest I do the same to you." The Mo'arg nodded, stomping off to rally the other soldiers on the vessel as Ur'thalish turned his gaze to a screen tracking the progress of the apparent boarding party. "Eleven warriors? How foolish, even for mortals."

The Wraithguard crumpled as breastplate and bone were sundered inward in equal measure before splitting as his flesh did before the axe of the Knight. The demon's eyes opened wide as he realized his blood and soul were being siphoned from his body, horror crossing his face and blurring his mind as he realized a rebirth in the Nether was not coming. Once more, he tried to cut across Ithalin's helm with his demonsteel, only to have it slide across the saronite without so much as a scratch. Jerking his wrists, Ithalin pulled the axe free to the spattering of blood upon his armor, moments before it too was absorbed into the maw. Looking up from his kill, the Knight took stock of the situation.

Their longship-turned-spaceship had punched through the Legion's wards and hull with the ease the raiding party had expected. It was currently resting in the hall some fifty yards away, runes upon it obliterating any demon foolish enough to come too close. The Ymirjar had no more difficulty dispatching the foes that came to them than Ithalin had, demonic corpses of all shapes and sizes strewn about the viscera-covered Vrykul. The ease of boarding was somewhat disconcerting to the old undead, but he knew he had no time to consider such things. If it was a trap, it wouldn't be one he couldn't fight his way out of. Beckoning with his axe for his reavers to follow, he began striding down the winding halls of the ship, seeming to know well enough where he was headed.

"They dare attempt to enter -my- ship, let alone my -bridge-?" Ur'thalish spat out incredulously. Turning to one of the Mo'arg system operators, he grabbed the demon by its neck, rage pouring from his body, dripping from his voice. "Where are your brothers tasked with my defence? Why have they not dispatched this pitiful force?"

"Th-they are engaging them now, Grand Magus."

"Oh? Well, let us see if they can prove their worthiness to our great lord, and destroy his foes."

Ithalin always enjoyed Mo'arg of the warrior variety, especially Lords. They reminded him of himself, really. Brute strength reinforced with surprisingly sharp intellect and tactics. Narrowly rolling past a swing of the Fel Lord's greataxe, he swung his own into the demon's calf, cutting deep into the bone before he was forced to wrench it free in order to dodge another incoming swipe. His mind barely registered Gudbrand warning him over their mental link before he felt two quick strikes to his back. Turning, he was faced with two more Mo'arg, though these were only Guards.


Rolling a shoulder as the slightly dented armor on his back shifted back into perfection, two equally swift strikes spelled the death of the demons, their souls already consumed before their exsanguinated corpses thudded to the ground. Turning his attention back to the greater demon, he rolled right under another cleaving strike before throwing his own bearded axe into the being's chest, specially crafted diseases for Mo'arg biology flowing from the souls-turned-metal, infecting the flesh and weakening the bone. Ithalin was quick to follow his axe, and with the Fel Lord staggered by the impact, he had ample opportunity to strike. First, a quick flurry of bladed punches to the exposed thigh. Then, a twirl through the legs to grab at the two sides of the calf wound he had inflicted, pulling it wider as a rot flowed from his gauntlets, turning the leg to nothing but a stump with a knee almost instantly. Pulling back as the demon tilted to the side, another set of diseased strikes slammed into its back, the wounds strangely bloodless. This was easily explained away by the fact the axe was still embedded in its chest, siphoning away blood and soul alike, even while the demon yet lived. The Lord hobbled forward on the leg it yet held before toppling onto its chest, pushing the axe deeper. Striding forward, Ithalin bit into the flesh with each impact of his saronite boots upon the demon's back. Eventually, he reached the small of its back. "You were a fine opponent. You'll make an even better soul." Flicking a hand upwards, the axe buried in the demon's chest cut through flesh and metal with the ease of a knife through butter until it burst forth from the Fel Lord's back, flying up into Ithalin's awaiting grip. Hopping down from the rapidly decaying corpse, he adjusted his weapon as he jerked his head down the hallway. "Come. Their true leader is near."

The bridge was chaos. Succubi were rallying Mo'arg and Eredar alike as defensive cannons were emplaced, imps scurrying about underfoot. Ur'thalish had retrieved his armor and sword, and was now standing safely behind the wall of demonflesh between him and the sealed entrance to the room. For the first time in many eons, the Eredar magus felt...afraid? Yes, that was the feeling, even if he would never admit such a thing to himself. How could a lieutenant of the Legion fear a mortal man? Such a thought was madness. Such a thought was worthy of death without rebirth.

His revere was broken as the door buckled inwards. The demons shuffled about as final positions were taken. A second passed before the metal strained once more. The demonsteel was supposed to have been made unbreakable. Ur'thalish himself had placed the strengthening runes. Runes which now rested on the floor as a fine green powder. The third strike proved to be enough, as the barrier flew back with enough force that it embedded itself into a Mo'arg Felguard, spilling its entrails across the floor. The cannons began firing, staggering the rounds so as to deny any chance of entry through the chokepoint. Ur'thalish grinned, shouting out in Eredun, "Foolish mortals! Even now my reinforcements come to force you against our blades. Come inside, do not delay the inevitable. I'm so eager to -taste- you."

While the demon lord bragged, his underlings were finding themselves pulled into absolute nothingness by thousands of writhing tendrils, the demons entering the awaiting abyss with soundless screams. All across the line, pockets were opening up as the demons found themselves depleted by a force unseen. Unseen, that is, until a gate the same as the countless others before it opened, and rather than tendrils of uncreation, a howling Vrykul berserker leapt out, axe cleaving a Wraitguard's head from its shoulders with a single swing. Nine more of these gates opened, and nine more warriors sowed death throughout the ranks of the Demonlord Ur'thalish. Demonsteel glanced harmlessly from their saronite coverings, the few demons smart enough to have brought a mace killed quickly by the veteran Ymirjar.

As his warriors provided a most successful distraction, Ithalin strolled in through the front door. The hand not holding his Maw worked its fingers tirelessly as the runes upon the gauntlet remained alight with power, shards of ice and claws of shadow throwing themselves from the gauntlet to rend apart the flesh-shells before him, leaving the immortal souls free for the taking. And take the Maw did, drawing in the essence of every demon that fell before the onslaught of blade and rune, further empowering itself, and its wielder. A few Felguards decided it was a good idea to fight the towering undead, and they were quickly met with the fruits of their labors-- their dismembered bodies flung about the room as their blood flowed through the air in rivers, his blade greedily lapping it up. The individual battles the Ymirjar fought went likewise, a storm of saronite tearing pockets of death and disorder throughout the clump of demons between Ithalin and the Eredar Lord. Soon enough, none remained standing between the pair, the Vrykul beginning to loot the dead as Ur'thalish looked on in shock.

His trance was broken by a sharp, sudden pain in between his shoulder-blades. Craning his head back, he observed the Maw cutting into his back, which was rather odd, he thought, considering Ithalin still had the weapon in his hands. The Death Knight crossed the final yards between himself and his prey in a blur of shadow, lifting up the demon lord with ease, the clawed ends of his gauntlet digging into the man's throat. "Do you know the weapon I hold, Ur'thalish, Blight of Worlds, Unmaker of Men, Grand Magister of the Eredar, Commander of Sargeras' Fury, the Eternal Horror?"

Ur'thalish knew the question was rhetorical. Even though the weapon was twisted with souls writhing, struggling to break free, the eredar knew what it was, at its base. Every demon in the Legion did. The folly of its maker was a stark reminder to beware the lust for power the Fel induced. The blade stuck in his back pressed deeper, reminding him of the question, and the man asking it. With glazed eyes and stone tongue, he let out a mumbled, "Yes."

"Good. I have tracked you across the stars for millennia, Ur'thalish. I see you are surprised by this-- do not be. Time is mine to bend as I see fit, placing myself in its constant shifting where I please to be. I have walked the worlds you have scourged, slaughtered your spies, and hewed through many ships like the one we both stand within, just to find you. 'Why me?', you ask yourself, do you not?" A nod from the demon, and the demon wreathed in flesh continues. "The answer is simple. You found something long ago on Argus, before you gave in to our child. You do not remember finding it, we know this much. That's why we had to wait. Wait for the Maw, so that we could consume your soul, and your memories-- all your memories. So that we could return with salvation. And so must you die, the Great Blight, Ur'thalish." The axe raised in the metal hand of the flesh-demon, and his prey sputtered out a final blood-laced question.

"Who is 'we'?"

"Let me show you."

And the demon saw. The Flesh-That-Hates, standing before him crowned. And the three-fold beast behind the demon, waiting with hungry maws as the Hungering Maw cleaved his head from his body.

Gudbrand was the one to approach, the one to place a firm hand on Ithalin's shoulder as they looked down upon the exsanguinated form of Ur'thalish the Bloodseeker. "Is our hunt over, Belados?"

"At long last. Are we prepared to return?"

"Aye. Bjarke and Asmund left some time ago to make ready. The others went to find the cargo hold." A bout of shared laughter echoed around the chamber before it fell back to the death-silence it would hold for an eternity.

As the winds of the infinite cosmos wreathed about his helm, Ithalin felt nothing. Ten bodies rowed now, supplanted by a hundred skeletal wrights behind them. The sail was full and the runes humming like horns with energy as they propelled the ship back to nascent Titan. Upon the prow, the Knight-Captain of a dead kingdom looked down upon a locket, muttering only these words to a cold and uncaring universe.

"I wonder if Horacea remembered to feed Horacea."
#13479285 Oct 12, 2017 at 02:38 AM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
Precious Duality

"Here are we both."

"Indeed. A drink?"

"You know the answer to that. After all--"

"Indeed, after all we are the same. An amalgamation of atoms."

"Not what I meant, you know."

"Not what you meant by word, certainly. But what does that matter, considering--"

"How this ends?"

"Here you are. Straight, as we both take it."

"Straight indeed. How thick is yours?"

"Eight inches. Never questioned, thanks to my size."

"Hm. Impressive, but I do believe I have you beat."

"The ghouls did a find job on this batch, did they not?"

"Quite. With one added, I doubt the flavor would be nearly as savory."

"A toast, then."

"To what?"

"The futility of mortality, and the desperate attachment those caught in its coil possess towards their cruel mistress."

"A fine choice."

"Mm, a refreshing final drink. Shall we get onto it, then?"

"Ah, allow me a moment to get the drops from these troublesome hairs lining my lip."

"Of course. Here, then? I'm not sure if you'd like to get blood on the carpet or not."

"A foolish question, wouldn't you say? We both know there won't be any blood."

"Fair enough. Let use begin, yes?"

"Of course, my apologies for the delay."

"..."

"..Hmph..."

"...Gah..."

"A second too slow, a step too short."

"Such is our curse...is it not?"

"Perhaps you spared a soul along the way; perhaps that one made all the difference."

"Destined to struggle fruitlessly against the past...to bring it to the future."

"Still, a fine attempt. Better than most of us who come knocking on my doors."

"You'll make good...use, of them. Won't you?"

"Would you waste mine? Do not let your death throes cloud your mind."

"My, apologies. Ah, so rude of me. What would Mother think."

"Another thousand worlds will fall to me, due to your attempt."

"Mother, are you watching? Your boy...is resting at last."

"Rest easy, myself. I will be the one to grasp our wish."

"One of us will. It is--"

"Certain, of course. Such is the way of things. Still, I--"

"You must not balk in the face of...absolute certainty. To hesitate--"

"Is to have no life. Do not fight, brother; let your failure be added to the collective lesson for those of us who remain. Let us shoulder thine--"

"For thine is the glory--"

"Thine is the crown of Shame, horned and wicked."

"How many will you kill?"

"A test of my conviction, in your final glimmer?"

"How many will you swallow whole?"

"All of them."

"For what?"

"For five. Five that all forgot."

"Forgot...but...us."

"We remember. Our curse. Our burden. Our crown."
#13611897 Jan 18, 2018 at 01:02 AM · Edited 7 months ago
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
Aves uter audebunt volaturum esse, mollita erunt ut ferient.


Something brushes across my cheek. At first, I think that it could only be a draft blowing minute grains of sand from the lakeside coming through the window, with how soft its caress is. Slowly, though, the veil of sleep fades from my mind, and the delicately textured skin registers in my mind as it brushes along my own stubble-lined face. As my eyes open, they’re greeted with a vision of the most beautiful creature they’d ever seen. Her eyes, her hair; that soft, teasing smile. My own hand, already rough and calloused from the years of training father had put me through, comes up to cup her chin. Somewhere in my mind, the thought registers that the limb marrs such an example of the perfect human form, but I can’t help myself. Her hand pauses as it reaches my ear, sliding down to grasp the back of my neck. We look into each other’s gazes for a few moments, no words coming to our lips. There was a certain sadness in her eyes, but whether that was due to my departure that day, or her own homesickness mother had told me about, I wasn’t sure. I’d offered to have her taken back to her family’s lands for a visit, but had been told her father had no intention of letting her return; how such a disgusting creature could have borne such offspring as my darling Anna, I had no hope of knowing. Suddenly, she propped herself up onto her elbow, leaning over to my ear. The hot air brushing past my lobe told me she was speaking, but the words wouldn’t register. While her breath teased my ear, a ringing slowly rose to accompany it as well, the cacophony growing louder and louder until it was unbearable, like a dinner bell was being shaken inside of my head. Despite the agony, I couldn’t move my limbs, which only added to my rising panic. My rising panic that was dismissed as her words finally registered to my now-conscious mind, the same words repeated countless times.

“You need to wake up.”

Pain was the first thing he felt. It was faint, of course; just like every other sensation, it was dulled, distant, as though there was a veil of cloth between it and his mind. The second thing that registered to the man’s dream-addled consciousness was the plate boot headed for his face. Snapping fully awake, that limp body lurched to the side in order to avoid the Felguard’s stomp. Instinctively, his arm lashed out, swinging the polearm clutched in his hands outwards, hooking the demon’s leg before jerking it out from beneath the creature. With a flick of a finger, ten swords plunged into the creature’s skull, launched from a myriad of tiny death gates that had opened in the air around the duo. Taking a moment to recover while the demon crumpled to the ground, it’s soul already invigorating his own, Ithalin turned his attention to the rest of his immediate area. All around him, the battlefield raged; an ‘army’ of the Light fighting desperately against an endless sea of their patron’s stillborn children. Watching a Mo’arg crush a tauren with all the ease of removing a bothersome insect, the Knight’s eyes turned to a self-inspection. His breastplate had been dented inwards, though already the blood-turned-metal had reverted to its natural state, reforming the glacis shape that his armor should usually be sporting.

Groaning, he pushed his still-fractured legs up with the help of his halberd, before instantly being thrown to the ground once again by the sudden impact of a rock, a rock which was kind enough to explode in a surge of fel-fire after its impact. While his runic shield diffused the magic with ease, the other soldiers of Azeroth and beyond that were around him were not nearly as lucky. Flesh sloughing from bone, limbs bending in entirely different directions before snapping free entirely in a spray of viscera. The few survivors were quickly dispatched by the surging tide of demons which had been laying in wait within the defilade hugging the ridge which the battlefield occupied. Ithalin himself barely managed to avoid a stampede of hell-hounds, a quickly-conjured gate dropping him into the ground, before throwing him out into the sky above the scene. His mind quickly took in the details of the engagement, while his body plummeted to the earth a terminal velocity. Simply put, the battle was a rout; the demons had too many bodies, and the mercenaries of Azeroth supplanting the largely-Draenic force of demon hunting veterans were still green, despite resistance to the contrary that their efforts on the Broken Isles and elsewhere made them experts against the stillborns who now slaughtered them by the dozen. Victory was an impossibility.

That’s what his mind said. The mind of Ithalin Belados, Knight-Captain of Lordaeron, widowed father of long-dead children. How long had it been, exactly? His mind couldn’t comprehend. Eons, whispered something within himself. Eons? What did that even mean, to a mortal mind. The length of time may as well have been infinite to a creature who could never hope to experience such a length of time in the singular, let alone multiple stretches of that soul-crushing measurement. Eons, our little tin soldier. Again, that whispering. The same whispering that slowly, steadily, built up a path to victory within his subconscious. The same whispers that had haunted him since his soul was forced into the blade that was now more him than -himself- was. Would he be hated for what he was about to do? Almost certainly. Mothers would curse his name; fathers and brothers would lust for his head on the ground beneath them. Yet, still his heart did not stir, that long-useless organ laying still in his chest. Only when he thought of his task, the only reason for his existence, did it tremble at the thought of suffering even a single failure on the path to the prize he’d spent all those eons working towards. Let not your conviction waver. Or we will both abandon you. What a queer statement, he would’ve thought, if he didn’t know the two ‘we’s’ of which that voice, of rather, trio of voices spoke. Contrasting parents of reality, locked in an eternal dance, a dance which both of them strived to break by whatever means they could. Conviction? Those creatures nested in his mind should know his conviction was unbreakable, but it seems they wanted a guarantee.

The Shivarra never had a chance to dodge, her final thoughts a blend of confusion and hatred at failing the Legion’s great lord. Within the puddle of gore which had previously been that demon’s body, was Ithalin, with the gate that had thrown him, and all his momentum, side-long into her closing up the tear in reality which it had made. His halberd was a flurry, scything chops cutting holes in the wall of demonflesh which sought to drown him, only for those minute gaps to be closed a moment later. However, confusion began to rise in the mass of Fel-borne as those hundreds of fallen mortals began to rise anew, snapped limbs re-shaping with sickening cracks, fatal wounds no longer even an object of interest for the shambling mass of undead. Was the process taxing upon Ithalin, who had performed the incantation needed with nary a word leaving his lips? Certainly; but compared to the sheer amount of energy contained in the soul of every demon he felled, such an effort was not even worth a thought.

But think about he did. After all, he couldn’t deny the joy coursing through his stilled veins. How long had it been since he’d been in this state, so horribly close to defeat that he needed to use skills beyond his simple martial ones? Shards of plagued ice flew from the axe-head of his halberd with every swing, burrowing themselves into the flesh of the demons who waited behind their freshly-felled cousins for a chance at taking his head. Exploding in a wonderful cloud of flesh-rotting bacteria, the creatures fell with holes the size of Ithalin’s head gaping within their various limbs before melting into a pile of red-tinged goop, joining the others who’d fallen victim to the tar-colored circle of undulating goo which now surrounded the Death Knight. The defilement worked wonderfully in situations such as these, as there was nowhere else for those demons to go, no-one else for them to fight; the Army of the Light had conducted a hasty retreat as soon as they saw their fallen comrades rising, the common fear of a Dreadlord’s appearance spurring their legs to run before those corpses had turned on the demons in a symphony of steel. For those few demons which still managed to remain out of his spells or blade, there were more gates spewing blades of saronite into the fray-- dooming countless foes to a slow, steady death while their intestines vacated the hole in their impaled gut.

What more could be said? The unfeeling, unflinching mass of saronite was in his element, and the foes before him were wholly unprepared for such an onslaught; they hadn’t even been reinforced with Fel Lords or Nathrezim, and there was yet to be any sign of an infernal dropping from the air. No, the Legion was stretched thin, none of their shock troops left to spare on such an inconsequential battle. The rout had been carefully planned, carefully executed, and now the grunts who’d simply followed the orders of the Shivarra who even now tried to rally their spirits were lost, force without direction, motion without purpose. That wasn’t entirely true, though. Their purpose now was to feed him, feed his endless hunger, his boundless greed to obtain more than what he’d held moments before. And they served that purpose with absolute perfection. When at last his phantom blades, those countless amalgamations of saronite launched from his infinite tears in the fabric of the world, finally cut down the last Shivarra, there was nothing stopping the imps, eredar, and Mo’arg from conducting their retreat. Nothing, of course, except that pool of corruption which had spread to swallow most of the battlefield, slowing their struggling legs long enough for a sword, or axe, or spear, any weapon held either by Ithalin himself (or even still, conjured by him) or his thousands of ghouls, to find their turned backs. Much to his disappointment, an impressive number managed to escape, and in recounting the amount of souls which his collection gained, he found himself...disappointed. While his armor slowly mended its various breaches from where the countless demons had struck through sheer numbers, he mulled over the count in his head. There was certainly a time when such an addition would’ve pleased him, especially considering the fact he’d managed to experience happiness while partaking in the harvest, a rare emotion indeed.

His mind drifted as he inspected his blood-covered gauntlets, that thick fluid steadily seeping into the thirsting metal through the layer of ice which covered it. Drifted to his dream, his hallucination, his projection of the subconscious which still rejected the fiends dwelling within it. There’s only one way to save her, the whispers taunted, absolute in their confidence that he was theirs to toy with. He didn’t blame them; consciously, he didn’t object to the statement in the slightest. As he’d shown, and as he knew, his conviction was absolute in the fact that his path was the right one. That was the sole reason his hands could be enveloped in the bright halo they now sported, even while that writhing mass of shadows continued to spread out across the battlefield which had grown silent, save for the steady moans of his damned army in the background. Clenching his fists together to disperse the Light, and to cut the strings which pulled those corpses along, Ithalin turned himself slowly to regard the withered landscape of Argus, the sounds of another battle beginning drifting across the cracked earth. By the time a reinforced Army of the Light returned, the Knight was long gone, with only the corpses of the dead left to mark the absence of one of their own.
#13627999 Jan 29, 2018 at 07:26 PM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
Rain. A terrible invention by anybody’s account; one has to ponder if its purpose of providing drinkable water far and wide outweighs the mood it sets when it rolls about, or the puddles of mud and refuse which constantly harry the shoes of any nobles too poor to afford a carriage. Stepping out onto the porch of the inn, his ears were instantly assaulted with the noise generated by the Stormwind markets, the trading district not harried in the slightest by the downpour which swept through it. The overhang above him provided a modicum of protection, though his overcoat was thoroughly drenched within a few moments. Luckily, he didn’t have to stand around for long; a carriage pulled up in front of the inn, and while the driver looked over the crowd for his passenger, the man knew the ornate carriage was for him. Deftly avoiding the few puddles between the steps to the building and the curb, he heaved himself up into the cabin, the sounds of commerce being cut off as the door closed behind him-- an expensive spell, to be certain. “Belados. On time as usual, I see.”

“I’m not sure you could afford me losing my sense of punctuality, Renault,” Ithalin quipped back to the owner of the carriage, a finely dressed, middle-aged man. A landed noble in Westfall, such a position meant little power was held by him in the house of nobles. Realistically speaking, he would’ve been doomed to obscurity if he simply let himself be. But Renault, he was an ambitious man; ambitious enough to ask the help of a certain undead merchant-- the same one currently peering out the window of his carriage. “Look at them, scurrying about like ants, as though the rain’ll do anything more than dampen their cloaks.” His comment earned only a quiet grunt in reply, causing Ithalin’s ‘eyes’ to shift slightly in their sockets to focus on the only other occupant of the luxurious cabin. A brow perked, the Knight just looked at his companion, until the man finally let out a sigh.

“We both know we didn’t come here to discuss the peasantry, Belados.”

“Quite right. We came to discuss trade, but I didn’t recall us establishing a topic of conversation to linger on between proposals.” Turning his attention back towards the streets they were passing through, a soft chuckle rumbled in his throat. “Ah, nothing quite like watching a man being beat to death in an alleyway.”

“I need more *wood*, Belados. The incursions are becoming more freq--”

“As we both knew they would. Didn’t you hire those mercenaries I suggested?”

“The cost--”

“The cost was high, you dolt, because they’re smart enough to realize that if they -don’t- run off with all your goods, they’ll make a nice, fat profit, with minimal effort involved.”

“Minimal effort? I’ve got bandits attac--”

“You’ve *peasants* exploiting you precisely because they know your guards aren’t worth a single shilling, you dolt. Maybe ‘you’ve’ wasn’t the right words their; I expect your ‘bandits’ are actually your own people, getting rich at your expense.”

“They’d dare to rob their Lord? I’ll have them hanged by first light!”

“Who’ll do that hanging? Who’ll tend the fields afterwords? Don’t make others pay the price for your stupidity, Renault.” The cabin heaved upwards slightly as it made the crossing into Old Town, Ithalin leaning back from the window and adjusting the collar of his bone-white overcoat as he studied the noble-- his face had turned red, though whether that was from anger or embarrassment, the Knight couldn’t rightly say. With a sigh, Ithalin slumped back into the cushioned bench, folding his hands in his lap. “You’ll have your wood at the same rate we first agreed to, Renault. Unless you can’t afford it anymore?”

“N-no, I can provide the funds.”

“Didn’t we agree not to lie to one another? I’m here to help you improve the situation in Westfall. I’ve asked nothing of you, outside of coin for sharply discounted goods, so why do you feel the need to lie to me, of all people, when you know very well I’ve been keeping a thorough accounting on you and your lands?”

“Because your *type* never does something for free, Belados.”

“My type? How cruel, Renault; is that really what you think of us merchants?”

“It’s how I think of monsters.” Ithalin snorted at that, leaning back over to the window, hand peeling back the blind.

“I wonder how many of the aristocrats ever look at these streets they legislate. The poor and destitute, the young and old alike. If it’s this bad here, it’s not hard to guess how bad-off the outer provinces are without even visiting them. I probably fought beside some of these men, some even in the Second War. And now they’re scrabbling about in the streets-- but what if they realized they outnumbered the guard, hm? What if they realized that even the guards themselves are barely scraping by, overworked and underpaid?” His burning gaze turned back to Renault once again. “What then?”

“...A second Brotherhood.”

“And this time, you’d not stop them. So guess what my payment for all this is, you dolt?”

“I, could not say.”

“Of course you couldn’t, you haven’t the intellect to match your desires. My payment is the maintenance of th-- oh look, that man’s killing a whore. Wonderful way to save money. Anyway, maintenance of the status quo-- money for you, money for me, money for everyone, except the poor, who will simply experience the illusion of wealth.”

“And that’s all you’re after?”

“Well, that, and this current climate allows me to pluck those peasants who show promise from the street fairly easily. Nobody notices the missing anymore; it’s a sign of good luck if the body washes up in the canal somewhere.”

“What could you possibly doing with peasants? You’re a necromancer, why wo--”

“Ah, there it is. That dawning of realization. Perhaps you’ve even pieced together why I’ve made all those land purchases now. I trust this won’t change our wonderful working relationship, m’lord?”

“...You really are a monster.”

“A beautiful one, if I do say so myself. So, you need another shipment of lumber; I’ll make it two for the price of one, actually. No reason to make you skimp on the palisade. Use the savings to make a down payment on the mercenaries I suggested, and they’ll make sure your problems disappear, no matter what they might be. Get creative, get your money’s worth. Now, I do believe we’re here.” Ithalin finished speaking only a moment before the carriage began grinding to a halt, the cabin coming gently to rest. Adjusting the cuffs of his coat one final time, the Knight gave his companion a faux-salute as the driver opened their doors. “You can expect the shipment by the end of the week. If those ‘bandits’ of yours run off with it, don’t expect me to forgive the price.”

“I understand, I...suppose.”

“Put all those thoughts you’re having right now aside, Renault. I’m going to make you the most powerful man in Westfall, and all you have to do is follow along. Is that so hard? Even a duckling can accomplish something so simple.”

“And that’s the extent of my involvement in this charade.”

“Quite so, dear boy. Now, if you’ve come to terms with your being a pawn in a much larger game, let’s go attend this meeting, hm?” Heaving himself out of his seat, the undead lowered himself out of the carriage to the click of his heels striking the stone, a hand running through his hair as it was once again doused with water. Muttering something about his bones getting water-logged, Ithalin strode into the keep, his companion’s eyes lingering on that retreating form.
#13716057 Mar 31, 2018 at 01:33 AM
Icewing Legion
29 Posts
“War? I don’t want war. I want change. But war is the most effective way to affect change. As it always has been. And always will be.”
-

-
I stood over her form, reclined as she was in the sand. Her dress was hiked upwards, with the hem about her knees to avoid drenching the fabric in the same waves that lapped gently at her feet. While his stern gaze swept over the lake’s horizon, her own soft visage smiled up at him, eyes slowly parting to look upon the man to whom she was wed. “Is the lake you’ve known for sixteen years truly more interesting than me?”
“Most assuredly, it is not. Yet its imperfection is something I can gaze upon freely. You, however, I may see only in fleeting moments-- lest I forget how blessed I am that perfection stands beside me of all men, in a world of flaws.” A giggle escaped her lips as a delicate hand came up to smother her mirth at the sudden eloquence.”Do you think I jest?”
“Hardly; I know that for me, you would walk nine-thousand miles to return to me. And if I was kept away from you even after, you would return again and again, for my sake.”
“Verily, you have delved to the depths of my heart.”
“But you need to wake up.”


Ithalin’s return to H’ashur’s surface was just as jarring as his first time upon its barren face, when he’d exited U’lyr’s bunker. The Light which suffused the world’s surface worked tirelessly to worm its way into the tiniest holes in his carapace, but the Knight had designed his ensemble with exactly this kind of saturation in mind, long before ever encountering the planet of ethereals. For the moment, his vessel was safe inside the saronite which reflected the Light of the world back into its surroundings; a mechanism of the metal that, while useful, also made him incredibly noticeable-- which wasn’t truly a problem, since he was in the middle of nowhere. Indeed, the only object within sight was the runic marker before him, which facilitated his gating to-and-from the world. The obelisk of writhing, squealing flesh was certainly gruesome to observe; much like an abomination, its components were multiple unique persons, though unlike an abomination, every single one of the three dozen humanoids was still alive, still cognisant, still bound together by each other’s bone and sinew as their life was constantly sapped to empower the marker runes engraved into their skin, life which was renewed in equal part by the Light which scorched every inch of the planet’s surface. Usually he used undead for the creation of his markers, but for obvious reasons, this venture called for one made of those whose souls were still perfectly bound.

Ithalin was not entirely certain how long he had been inspecting his own handiwork when he noticed the dozen individuals surrounding him and his obelisk. Nor had he noticed the fifty-some hawks who had landed in a ring surrounding the humanoids. However, he greeted them all with a flourish of his arms. “Thirty days ago, I asked her Grace to summon you here. And you have come, children of Void. Come unto your Maker.” A snap of his fingers, an opening of reality. Every bird was pinned to the ground by a sword through their throat. Every insurgent had a crate placed in front of them. “You will take these back to your posts of observation. You will place what is within them in those locations vital to those cousins if yours; in locations that, if attacked, would cause the most damage to the function of their government, as well as to the lives of the citizenry.” Another snap of the mail-covered digits. Another twelve gates. “Go. Serve your queen.” The insurgents were clearly trained well, as they didn’t bother to ask questions; they collected their box, and departed. Once the last one had done so, Ithalin likewise stepped into a portal of black miasma.

He emerged outside a fortress. The largest, and most heavily manned-- at least according to the knowledge he’d gleaned from the hawks he’d killed at the marker site, the same hawks he’d dispatched thirty days prior to scout the planet’s surface for him. He knew that at thirty other fortresses, a resplendent army of saronite-clad undead had emerged to the surprise of thoroughly unprepared defenders. He knew that the guard of Light-bodied ethereals lashed out with the same energies that comprised their forms, only to find that it had no effect as it rebounded back from the dark black metal the steadily advancing masses of undead were armored in. He knew that they desperately tried to bring their anti-armor cannons to bear on the five colossi accompanying each host bearing down upon their walls, only to find that their Light-based munitions were no more effective against the golem’s saronite plates than their invocations against the infantry now scaling the walls. Those few fortresses wise enough to switch to their limited stock of conventional munitions found that even against mundane projectiles, the colossi pressed on undeterred; even the mass of armored ghouls cared not for loss of limb, nor comrade. One colossus dedicated itself to breaching the gate, while the others launched squads of ghouls onto the walls where they could begin tearing into their foes with blade and claw while their kin continued to scale the wall. Faced with such single-minded ferocity, Ithalin saw- through the eyes of his ravenous hordes- as the defenders of the Light were put to the sword by the hardened blood of the Fiend. He saw how some begged for mercy, how some fought to the bitter end. How some, in utter desperation, detonated themselves in a final attempt to give the onslaught pause-- only for their companions to find more undead waited behind those displaced by the blast. Commanders desperately contacted the cities for reinforcements, only to find the cities were requesting the same of them. Neither would receive the help they so desperately needed. Within five hours, every surface installation would be within his control. This, Ithalin knew. This, Ithalin saw.

Ithalin also saw the fortress before him. He saw the ten Ymirjar who had followed him out of the gate fan out to his sides; his chosen guard, his most skilled reavers. He saw the ethereals manning their stations as the eleven figures were noticed. He, and he alone, saw the orb of crystal falling from the sky. Within it was apexerite, already primed to blow in a display of destructive force that, in twelve cities across the planet, was about to make Theramore look like a joke.

Though, those packages hadn’t been primed-- by design of course. A day ago, that was when Ithalin had sent the insurgents back to their cities. A day ago, they had emplaced their own crystal orbs of apexerite. Some, in centers of government and business, since the two were intertwined in a society rebuilding from devastating civil war. Others, in population centers. An easy target, since few structures were still habitable, and most inhabited refugee camps more reminiscent of Westfall or Shattrath than a city built by a race of space merchants. A pamphlet left inside the crate had detailed the very few instructions for use-- namely, a suggestion that the user place the payload as high as possible, and that they also avoid being within visible distance of the city when it detonated. The reason for such, Ithalin saw.

He saw in this case, the primed bomb had absorbed enough of the planet’s Light during its fall from the lower atmosphere to trigger the reaction of apexerite within. Ithalin also saw as the ‘improvement’ he had made to its design bore fruit. The beginnings of the apexerite ‘burn’ dissolved a relatively thin chemical film between the apexerite, and an infernal core within. As the Light and apexerite continued to react, the core hungrily devoured the resultant release of Void energy, and by the time the bomb had fallen to the height optimal for maximum secondary shockwave, it, as one might expect, detonated. A sphere of Fel expanded outward, the air cracking again and again as the shockwaves rebounded. Ithalin and his Ymirjar had slipped into gates a moment before the detonation-- the ethereals were not as lucky. Those on the wall simply had their physical forms torn asunder by the shockwave; the ones inside the base proper, however, were absorbed into the expanding ball of Fel which was steadily carving into the earth, ensuring that its brief flicker of existence would be remembered for a little while longer by those who came across the scar it had gouged. The magical component of the explosion stopped a few yards from the wall, almost as if it had been designed specifically so that it would leave the outer fortifications intact, while crippling the interior components of the fortress by making said components not exist.

This same scene played out in the twelve chosen cities, at the same moment the undead hosts had arrived on the planet’s surface. There was a certain beauty in the indiscriminate nature of the bombs. Nobody was spared the effect of the expanding wall of fel-flame. The rich, the poor. The veteran and the civilian. The politician and the bureaucrat. Every single one died in the exact same way; their bodies of pure energy consumed utterly, only fueling the explosion further. When it was done, far more than the original target had been wiped from the face of the planet. Indeed, if these cities had before been nothing but glorified piles of rubble following the civil war, what could they be described as now? A thin layer of stone and metal, strewn across a rock floating aimlessly through the cosmos? What of the survivors, who now searched for friends, or perhaps even family- though ethereals didn’t place much stuck in such structures- through the piles of dirt and rubble displaced by the pressure waves from the blast? What had they done to earn such a punishment? Ithalin knew.

Ithalin knew that what they had done was choose the wrong side of war he had been invited to. Invited to, because the Eagles enjoyed themselves far too much when it came to challenging entities beyond the scope of their strength-- but that wasn’t what he was thinking about now, of course not. Such thoughts would’ve dampened his mood, and he was in a very good one at that. Having emerged back onto the debris-strewn field outside the fortress, he began his march towards its strewn-aside gate. Inside there would be only token resistance from those who had been lucky enough to have been inside the walls of the fortress at the exact moment of the bombing-- as they were in the only things reinforced enough to withstand the blast. By design of the bomb, of course. Still, they probably wouldn’t consider themselves lucky for long, as their new fate was being speared to the ground by saronite rods just long enough for Ithalin to siphon his victims into a soulstone. When all was said and done, he’d taken five times the amount requested, though that was only counting the stones-- the number of souls he’d collecting from the bombing, well. Such far exceeded a measly fifty, and it was still above his expectations considering he had to put actual effort into drawing them into himself, unlike the usual process when he’d stuck them with saronite first. A quick check-in with his other commanders told him that he was, as planned, far ahead of schedule; their assaults had only just broken past the walls.

Ithalin emerged once again on the planet of H’ashur, this time lacking his Ymirjar. He’d found himself once more in the midst of nowhere, this time at the relay sight of the ethereal’s unique brand of technomancy portal. This was, in truth, the simplest part of the plan. A tug of a single cord, and out went the power for the whole of the relay. And as the Knight gated to another relay, and then another, and then another ten, and another hundred, eventually he’d knocked out the sole means of effective transportation on the world’s surface, thus leaving the devastated cities isolated, and the crumbling fortresses helpless in their defense against the onslaught of undead.

With another snap of his fingers, Ithalin was back at his marker, which also meant he was back at the entrance to U’lyr’s bunker. In five circles about him were the soulstones of the bombing survivors, neatly arranged in perfect form. In this way did he wait to once again hold audience with the queen-claimant of H’ashur-- staring at an obelisk of flesh which screamed obscenities in a tongue only he could understand.
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