(currently a work in progress to fit more accurately with lore)
The Death of Torgras Edit
As he hid, cowering, beneath the wooden table, terror was thick on Torgras’s mind. There could be no mistaking the sounds emanating from outside in the streets. Mingled amongst the slow din of burning buildings a block away were the cries of the dying, begging for mercy that would not come, only to be silenced with the singing of steel.
“Maybe they’ll skip my house,” Torgras said to himself in a whisper, his lips barely moving. The candles were out, after all; perhaps the invaders would simply assume his home was vacant.
As he laid there, tears of fear streaming down his face, Torgras's thoughts drifted back to his choices and his actions over the years. His life had so far been simple, but comfortable, as a servant in the Magistrate’s house. Cooking meals for his employer’s family and modifying their clothes (especially the Magistrate’s) had provided him with a decent living. He had not wanted for much, but he had not seriously cared for others either, especially as the opportunities presented themselves. Why, just the other day, he passed a beggar on his way home from work. He had rebuked the poor man, and he had only wanted food.
“Please, good sir,” the wretchedly thin pauper had pleaded, “might ye spare some bread or coin?”
“Go find some work, you filth!” Torgras had responded, before he spat on him, and hurried on his way.
Unfortunately, as Torgras thought about his past, it was not an isolated incident. To be sure, he had always been polite when the situation called for it, but there were countless times that his own selfishness, greed, and indifference had superseded the needs of his fellow man. Chances where Torgras could have shown compassion had slipped away and those in trouble had not been helped, when he definitely had the means to come to their aid. No, Torgras would not be welcomed by the Light.
He was awakened from his somber ruminations by a rhythm outside. As they grew louder, he recognized the sound of booted feet marching by on the cobblestone street, and they came to a halt as one. A powerful voice that chilled Torgras to the bone spoke to them.
“Leave no house unchecked, men. It is for the good of Lordaeron that we do this. We must not fail.”
“Yes, Prince Arthas,” the soldiers replied, and the booted feet moved off in search of their quarry.
Prince Arthas! This could not be! The people of Stratholme were a good and loyal people; surely there had to be some grave mistake. If only he could…
A series of sharp thuds hit the front door of his home.
“By the order of Prince Arthas, open the door at once!” said a commanding voice.
Though momentarily frozen with fear, Torgras felt compelled to let the person inside his home. Wide-eyed with terror, time seemed to slow as he got to his feet and plodded toward the thick wooden door.
As he took deliberate steps on shaky legs, Torgras’s mind was racing. Perhaps if he was to show that he was loyal to the crown, he would be spared. Of course he would… There was no reason to kill him…he had done nothing wrong…perhaps he could even help them…
Torgras gripped the cold metal of the ornate handle on the door, and though something far back in his mind screamed, begged for him not to, he turned it, and opened the door wide to greet the noble Arthas.
“Welcome, Prince Arth…” he had started, but was abruptly cut short.
Faster than he could react, a footman had left a wide red gash across Torgras’s stomach, and had separated his jaw from the rest of his face. With a final stroke the soldier plunged his sword deep into Torgras’s chest, and quickly withdrew it. Pain such as he had never known racked Torgras’s body.
“I'm sorry,” said the footman, and Torgras noticed the man's eyes were becoming laden with tears. “Know that your death is for the greater good...of the kingdom.” He did not sound convinced.
Through the shock and blinding pain, Torgras blinked away his own tears, and he saw the soldier turn to the approaching Prince Arthas, who had been dealing with the neighboring house.
“Burn it down,” Arthas said, as he marched to the next house along the street.
Torgras’s legs had seemed to stop working properly. He fell sideways, bouncing off of the side table by the door while clumsily grasping at his mangled face, chest, and stomach. As the soldier outside threw a burning torch on the roof of the house, he gave a pained, sorrowful look back towards Torgras and turned away, wiping his eyes. Torgras slid himself back into the kitchen, soaking in blood a new ornamental rug he had bought just last week. He knew he was not long for this world. Soon he would die, and the Light would not welcome him. Torgras curled up on the floor in excruciating pain, and as he sobbed and choked on his own blood, terror again washed over him.
In despair, his thoughts called out to anyone willing to save him from what he was sure awaited him. Anything would be preferable, really.
As his body began to go numb and cold, and his mind foggy, he heard a tiny, raspy voice whisper to him.
“You wish continued life over your woefully obvious damnation?” the voice said, strangely child-like.
Torgras tried to respond, “Yes,” but all that came was a gurgle.
“Good…good!” said the voice, with obvious glee. “All I require from you is a small thing, a trinket really. Just a soul! You’ll have no need for yours, tattered as it is…”
Of course, Torgras thought, he wouldn’t need it, and he gurgled once more.
“Outstanding!” the voice whispered once more, only now it had grown much deeper, and it seemed, much older. “Your…salvation is at hand.” And the voice chuckled.
At once, in a shocking moment of clarity, Torgras realized his folly. He was parleying with some sort of demon! His soul would be consumed, and he would cease to exist! Even eternal damnation would be preferable to that. He resisted, but the demon was already intertwining itself into Torgras’s dying form.
“Second thoughts?” the voice screamed, now terrible and cruel. “We had a DEAL! There’s no buyers’ remorse when it comes to ME, foolish mortal!”
The fury of the demon's attacks was staggering, but with every ounce of will he had, Torgras pushed them back. For each place that he blocked in his mind or body, the demon chose another. He felt odd twinges of pain in his head beyond the now dull throb of his other wounds. Bones snapped and cracked. He felt his organs shift about.
NO. The demon would NOT win. He might face unending pain and everlasting torment after death, and justly so, but he refused to become a simple morsel for some filthy malevolent beast. With each passing moment he lost more blood, and Torgras knew he was slowly losing, yet he strained with all the strength he had left. Just a little bit longer was all he needed. He struggled against the evil intruding upon him, and felt the perverse thoughts of the demon invade upon his mind. Torgras gurgled out to the Light to help him.
He steeled himself once more, there was another sharp pain, and the demon seemed to...wince?
“A bit of will, have you?” laughed the demon, “Very well. Have your…life, such as it is. I’ll no doubt see you in due time. We’ll settle up then.”
The demon guffawed once more, and after a final flash of pain, the demon’s presence of will was gone.
Torgras crumpled to the floor, exhausted from the strain of the mental and physical fight, to say nothing of his wounds. He felt heat, and as he rolled over on his back, Torgras saw that fire had begun eating through the roof. Bits of burning pitch were dripping into his home, setting fire to it. Somehow, Torgras crawled out through the back door into the cool night air.
He leaned up against a dead tree and looked at the once beautiful town he called home. Every house on his street was burning, and all his neighbors likely lay dead, or quietly dying. The sky was a curious orange color, no doubt from the burning buildings all over town. The only sound that remained was the low roar of the fires.
As Torgras closed his eyes, waiting for the embrace of death, he said a small desperate prayer to the Light for the benefit of his soul.
That he might be shown mercy for his wicked ways.