The midnight sky was shrouded by deep-grey clouds releasing flurries of snow that blanketed the landscape with soft layers of white. One spot towards the top of a high peak was not touched by the falling snow, for a man in deep meditation was sitting under the bleak sky with small piles of snow building on his exposed head and torso. The Death Knight’s eyes were closed in deep meditation; a simple exercise of balancing mind and body that he had carried over from his days as a Paladin, and it now served to help him stave off the worst effects of the endless hunger that his kind was afflicted with. The insatiable need to inflict pain and suffering on living creatures with their sanity being the cost of failing to do so was yet another curse that Death Knights bore as part of their continued existence. The meditation also had a secondary purpose, which he was trying to initiate.
Roderick Hastings, who once proudly held the title of Knight of the Silver Hand, sat in mental and physical silence among the falling snow. His fire-red hair and beard caught a few stray snowflakes, giving it an appearance of cracks of fire splitting a lake of ice. No breath entered his collapsed lungs and his still heart sent no pulse through his veins. His mind continued to be as sharp as it was while he was alive, and he ensured that it remained so despite his condition. His gauntlets, breastplate, pauldrons, helm, and runeblades sat in a neat pile beside him, leaving his torso only covered by a tattered shirt against the frozen winds; however, neither the biting cold nor the demands of endurance needed to reach the summit bothered him. Few pleasures or pains of the living had been considerations to him since he was bestowed “the gift,” as referred to by some, or cursed with the perpetual suffering of undeath, as referred to by most. Fate was not without a sense of irony since both he and many of his brethren of the Light had become that which they had sworn oaths to destroy, and the urge to destroy other denizens of the Light had become amplified in service to the Scourge.
Whispers of memories manifested themselves in his mind and lingered for only a moment like smoke in a dark room. A jagged blade tearing through his chest. Crushing darkness encircling his dying mind. Dim light followed by a gauntleted hand roughly pulling him back to his feet without the warmth of life. The unbreakable will of the Lich King grasping his consciousness, causing him to become an unliving machine of murder and ruination. And blood...infinite rivers of blood flowing from innocent and guilty with no distinction. The life-giving blood being used to heal him on one hand and to power death magics on the other.
Roderick’s eyes snapped open, revealing two orbs emanating the pale blue of undeath displaying a glare into the surrounding blackness. Only the silence was as still as the Death Knight as snow continued to gently build around him until an ethereal whisper shattered the frozen serenity.
“Did you find her?” a woman’s voice whispered as her ghost slowly manifested itself in front of Roderick. She was young, beautiful, and was wearing the humble garb of a peasant woman. Her long wispy hair did not move with the surrounding gusts of wind and her translucent eyes were gently fixed on the man sitting below her. Roderick’s jaw tightened and he shook his head in response. “I saw only darkness and blood” he spoke with a raspy echoing voice as his hand clenched into a tight fist. “I only saw brief glimpses of my life before the curse, but they were quickly drowned out with visions after my resurrection.”
The ghostly woman knelt down; her form leaving the snow undisturbed, and she placed a hand on Roderick’s jaw. Neither the spirit nor the man felt the touch, but the woman’s kindness and gentleness had persisted in death as it had in life. Seeing her as well as gestures such as this were instrumental in helping Roderick remember who he was before his dark rebirth and therefore also help mitigate part of the endless hunger. The woman’s brow furrowed as she lowered her face to Roderick’s level. “She’s out there, my love. You found me and you’ll find her as well, one way or another.” A sad smile briefly spread across her pale lips. “Have faith and keep trying.”
Roderick’s cold blue eyes met the woman’s ghostly ones with anger. “Faith?” The word caused a shudder of rage through his body. “Faith is worthless. The Light is dead or powerless. Look at us, Audrey, do you see two individuals that were blessed by the Light?” Audrey placed her other hand on the other side of Roderick’s jaw and moved her face closer. “We cannot touch one another, but we were not separated from one another for long. I was never enslaved and you broke free from your enslavement. Most of our friends and family perished or are still bound to the Banshee Queen, but both of us are together with our free will. We avoided the worst of fates.” Her sad smile briefly returned again. Roderick’s face softened slightly at her words and his rage was replaced by a deep pool of longing. Memories of her touch and her love had not been stripped away from him, but there was still a major part of his life that continued to be unaccounted for.
“I’ll find her, Audrey.” Roderick’s hand rose and caressed where Audrey’s cheek would be. “I’ll find our daughter. Then..." his eyes flashed for a moment. "I'll cross over and join you."