Bloodwen: Part XIVEdit
The Dragonblight was best known for the bleached sea of bones littering its cold expanse. Dragons, dying from disease or old age, came here to lay their souls to rest. The creatures would stagger among the wastes, avoiding the jormungar and magnataur. Though centuries may have passed, they could still identify the bodies of their closest friends. They would lower themselves near or against these familiar bones, the flood of memories bringing with them a hint of sadness. Frequent snow storms swept over the area, covering them in a blanket of frost and flakes. It was as if the land was a doting mother, covering her children for their eternal slumber. Soon the chilled scales ceased their movement, the dragons staring off into the wall of death.
The dragons were not the only creatures to meet their end here. Far to the south, along the Forgotten Shore, armored men and women paced the sands. They still conducted their reconnaissance missions, flitting overhead on long-dead mounts. Early morning found them coming together for drills, and their commanders made the same plans day after day. These souls did not know they were dead, not yet. Each morning they proceeded through the same motions, only to forget everything by the next day.
Falais watched these soldiers from his position. He knew what they were. Loyal knights of Lordaeron, they waited for their Prince to return to lead them into battle against Mal’Ganis. He gave a slight smile at the irony of it all. They did not remember his return. They could not see the burned husks of their ships in the water, blind to the evidence of his betrayal. And they did not know, of course, that their Prince had become the very thing which he sought to destroy.
The death knight paced down the hill, making his way to the command tent. Those spirits nearest him seemed lost when they saw him, as if his presence flew in the face of all they knew to be true. Unable to cope, they stood and stared. When he had at last passed, they resumed their duties, as if the elf had never been.
He needed troops. Sutera and Teake had landed safely to the west along the coast, just past the fledgling town of New Hearthglen. Their night elven companion and her crew left them on the shore, continuing on to the growing Alliance fortress in the Tundra. The village welcomed the newcomers with open arms. The Horde and Alliance gathered there were part of a joint operation, intended to ferret out the weaknesses of the Lich King and his forces. Indeed, their intelligence had already allowed bases to be established in the mountains to the east, the hills to the west, and at Angrathar. Their little establishment was all that stood between him and his goal.
A man bent over the map of Dragonblight, an ancient, ghostly parchment not at all indicative of current activities. While his appearance was unassuming, including a white beard and balding head, his eyes retained a commanding presence. Falais, though held tight in the Lich King’s grasp, felt himself drawn to him, much as his men had been in life.
This was why all of them now roamed the Forgotten Shore.
“Relax, lad,” he said over his shoulder. “The Prince will be returning soon and we can head back to Lordaeron.” Captain Robert Falcon Smith had no recollection of how many times he had said this line over the years. To him, Prince Arthas Menethil would return soon. The message from their King had been clear - the Scourge were sweeping through this land and it was time to withdraw. He did not remember the horde of mercenaries as they swept down the hills, lighting his ships on fire. His skeletal remains rested off shore, crumpled under the charred beams with the rest of his men. Captain Smith had made the dangerous mistake of questioning Arthas’s orders, for Arthas was not his king. Only a few of the other captains followed suit.
They all paid the same price.
“Prince Arthas sends word,” Falais smiled. “You and your men are to accompany me.”
Smith bristled. “I have received no such orders,” he balked.
Falais raised his hand. He crushed his finger together in a tight fist, jerking Smith upright. The Captain fought against the pull, but he was no match for the power the Lich King had given Falais. Falling to his knees, he raised his face to the death knight.
“Tell me what needs to be done, and I shall lead my men.”
Sutera tossed and turned, moans escaping her lips as nightmares plagued her. Teake snored nearby, the tauren none the wiser due to his exhaustion. She was not loud enough to rouse the concern of the guards, for their eyes and ears were focused to the north. The Scourge could attack at any time. Though they were hidden under the demolished Path of the Titans, remaining undiscovered for so many months, that could all change in a heartbeat.
Death and blood soaked her dreams. She saw those she loved die, cut down by a rune-covered blade held by a delicate, pale hand. The sight of that hand terrified her, though she knew not whose it was. It cut down her kin and slaughtered the innocent, slashing towards Silvermoon.
Her view changed as a blast of cold wind barreled through the tent flap. The icy pinpricks transported her to another time, another place, deep within her memory. She knew wherever she was had to be frigid, for icicles plunged down from the ceiling, threatening to skewer any below. Only a thin glimmer of light guided her, the source of which she could not identify.
Rounding the corner, she stopped in her tracks. There, curled around an enormous stalagmite, was a large red dragon. The creature’s head pointed directly at her, as if it had been expecting her. It did not move at her approach, but its eyes never strayed far from her.
“You came, just as he said you would.”
She had no answer.
The dragon form shimmered, shrinking until a red haired woman stood before her. Her black and red armor was marred in several places. She wore no weapon, though Sutera doubted she needed one.
“Why am I here?” she heard herself ask.
“You do not know?”
She knew. Deep down she knew. Yet the information would not surface, as if sucked down by the Maelstrom itself.
“The Lich King does not suffer traitors well.”
Sutera jerked awake with a gasp, heart pounding so that she felt it would leap from her throat. She moved without thinking, driven by fear and self-loathing. Such a thing was not possible! It was inconceivable she would be aligned with that foul creature. Her devious mind, however, drifted back to that pale hand, that delicate instrument of death that continued to haunt even her waking moments.
She shook Teake, drawing the druid from his slumber. The tauren groaned, but one look into her frightened eyes brought him back to the world. She did not bother to explain her emotions, for she did not understand them herself. She also did not want to voice those fears, for putting them into words might bring them to life. Instead, she gathered their belongings, insisting they ride that very instant for the northern reaches of the Dragonblight.
She needed to find the dragon. She needed to find her now.
Shouts erupted throughout the camp as they stepped from the tent. Following the rushing troops to the edge of the village, she watched as they pointed with fear up the hill.
There, just on the edge of the snow bank, stood Falais. The blood elf was different, for his green eyes were now a cold blue. Instead of his customary garb, he was now adorned with horrid, twisted black armor. The souls of the Forgotten joined him, their empty eyes peering into the panicked souls below.
The troops rushed to man their stations. Horde and Alliance alike called their holy casters to the front line, priests and paladins standing together to face the onslaught. Somehow the Scourge had found them. Though the few mages they had could reach through the ether and beg for reinforcements from their respective factions, the nearest ship was days away.
It mattered little, they would soon discover. Just below the sea another evil stirred.
Shyv and his naga had arrived.
- Bloodwen: Part XV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXV
- Bloodwen: Part XVI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVI
- Bloodwen: Part XVII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVII
- Bloodwen: Part XVIII - Finale: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVIII