Set Up

Klinderas had been tracking this human for weeks.  

This, scraggly, scruffy, scarred excuse for a human was a cultist, one of the Damned.  Even after the third great war the Cult of the Damned was still a threat, trying to spread corruption within human lands.

This particular cultist, named Gavren according to his “sources”, had information Klinderas needed.  For instance, who is the necromancer in charge of the western plaguelands, and where could he find him.

Klinderas had left Silvermoon that day when Eldadres spoke to him.  He left and rode south towards the Ghostlands, through to the Eastern plaguelands.  He rested at Light’s Hope chapel for a day.  A Captain spoke to him about a battle taking place to the east, where hundreds of death knights and thousands of lesser undead assault the Scarlet Crusade daily.  

Klinderas explained that he wasn’t here to bolster their forces, but to stop a rising force of a similar kind shoring up on the Western plaguelands.  The Captain explained to Klinderas where he could find members of the Cult of the Damned, for if anyone could find a necromancer, it would be another member of the cult.

  Klinderas thanked the captain, and followed the lead.

Klinderas stalked and hunted members who knew of a plot to the west.  For every cultist who gave Klinderas information, three were silent.  After 2 weeks of stalking, hunting, and killing, Klinderas finally found out who the right hand man to the Necromancer was, and where he was.  None would tell him or could tell him of the man himself, but the second-in-command surely would.

Klinderas had been tracking this human for weeks.  Through Stormwind, no less.  Klinderas masked his smell, hid his ears, and covered his eyes.  His cloak constantly obscured every identifying feature of him, and he purposefully smeared dirt on his face to seem less elvish.  So far, it worked.  Humans are stupid creatures sometimes.

Gavren had been walking through a main street close to the harbour for the better part of the day.  Klinderas had noticed he had done the same walk, every day, for the past three days.  Out of his home, to the marketplace, to the pub, then back to his home.  Every time, he sits alone, eats alone, and does everything alone.  This was, so far, turning out to be a big waste of time, and he was getting frustrated as he couldn’t do anything to the man until he did something different from this protective routine.

Suddenly, the man took a left turn down a dark alley, and Klinderas was immediately alert.  Knowing that this was probably a means of seeing is anyone was following, Klinderas looked at his companion, Radix.  Radix’s stunning red fur was sleek and fine, contrasted by the gold fur along his back and the edges of his face, which was long and feral.  Simply by looking at one another, Radix understood exactly who their prey was, and what he had to do.  Radix instantly disappeared into the crowd, and followed the man down the alley.  

Klinderas had his job to do as well.

He turned to the building to the left, ran at it, and jumped on the window sill.  The building was made of uneven stone, which allowed for a great deal of handholds and footholds.  Klinderas scaled the building with all the speed and grace of a professional acrobat, the aspect of the monkey flowing through him.  He flipped himself up onto a beam, swung to a pole and, perching on the pole like a falcon, jumped off of it like jumping off a spring board.  He did a neat front flip, and was lost behind the rooftops.

The living are so… weak.  Frail.  Pitiful.

I discarded the husk of another Scarlet civilian, his lifeless body crumpling into a bloody, gory heap next to so many others I executed.  My Saronite armor was covered in gore and soaked in blood, not mine.  I didn’t care.

Who could care about something so fragile? So pointless? My very existence is a mockery of life.

I can’t even breathe.  My blood doesn’t flow anymore.  Yet here I am, standing in my master’s service, in unlife.  Simply by existing, I shatter the beliefs of those weakling paladins and their followers.  For this, I am not only my master’s chosen weapon of death and destruction, I am a symbol of His power, his strength, and his way.

I was wounded in the last fight, having had my jaw knocked loose and my skin ripped off my bones in a number of places.  I reattached the jawbone, the thick snap it created pierced the darkness, and broke the silence heard only after a battle.

I knelt down next to the heap of corpses next to me, took my hand, and punched it through the ribcage of the nearest corpse.  There was almost no blood spray, since most of the blood had leaked out when I had gutted the man’s throat.  Even when I removed my fist full of flesh, there wasn’t more than a trickle from the man’s chest.  It was obvious his heart had stopped beating before he hit the ground.

I took the flesh, and put it in my mouth.  Every chew, every bite, regenerated more unholy flesh; this was the master’s magic at work.  I take what was once theirs, and add it to my own.

They’re not going to be using it anyway.

I had about half finished this particular wretch when a geist scampered behind me, and stopped.

“Death Knight… Cole… mand…”

Geists were irritating.  Just a little.  You’d think they could be re-animated with a voice that doesn’t start-stop constantly.

“What do you want, geist? Your presence irritates me.”

The geist didn’t care.  Much like myself, it only served the master, and feared nothing else.

“You go… Acheron… speak… Lich… King.”

At least they didn’t beat around the bush.

“Tell the Master that I live to serve.  Now screw off.”

The geist didn’t hesitate, and slid into the shadows and darkness of the night.  There was no light tonight: the smoke and dust of battle obscured the stars and extinguished the light of the moon.  Not that it mattered: when you are made of shadow and darkness, you can see as well at night as you can in the day.

When I had finished eating the cadaver, I stood up and let unholy energy flow through me.  Every fiber of my being crawled with unholy power, the energies of death and rot.  When used properly, however, one could turn death and rot into shadow and darkness.  With shadow and darkness, one could create a portal to a bastion of shadow and darkness.  A bastion like Acheron.

  Instant doorway, one way please.

When the energies reached their peak, I let them out of my body, and forced them to coalesce into a stable doorway into Acheron.  Now for the hard part: walking through.  

I never liked walking through these doorways.  They made my stomach lurch, spin, and it always caused me to be wobbly legged.  It’s like stepping on a giant wheel, then running down a hill on it, losing control, spinning a few times around the wheel, then finally landing at your destination.

When I stepped from the portal, I smashed into another death knight trainee.

“Watch where you step, Cole.  It could very well be your last.”

Now this is a person I hated more than that stupid doorway.  I knew him only as Carver, and he was a tool.

I grinned.  “Hello, Carver.  Glad to see you’re still so cheery.”

“You can go to hell, Colemand.  You’re lucky to still be existing.  I could kill you right now.  Right now.  After that mistake, I should.” he frothed.

His elven features struck me as odd, but only because I had never seen a Night Elf before I met this prick.  Carver’s purple skin was blemished in many places by misshapen tattoos and sores where his undeath had taken root.  His short, barbaric hair had been made to form a mohawk, and it must have been cut by his own blade.  It was uneven enough to make the Alterac Mountains seem plain.

“After what? I saw nothing, Carver.  You’re too tense.  You should sit back and relax, let the proper knights do their job.”

“I will kill you Colemand.  Your death will bring me glory, and He will see me as his best knight.”

“Touchy, aren’t we?”

“I will kill you!” He was practically foaming at the mouth.

“Happy entrails, Carver.  Try not to rip out your hair again.”

I left him there, him cursing and spitting and going foamy at the mouth while I walked into the transporter.  He was always such a joy to be around.

I reached the upper level of the ziggurat, and there he was.  Arthas Menethil, ruler of the damned, traitor king of Lordaeron, warlord of the frozen wastes, and my liege.  He stood looking out over his vast legions of undead, assaulting the human town a few miles away.  The wind up here was cold and blew angrily, but his cloak moved on it’s own whim in a slow, erie fashion.  The wind carried the sounds of battle, the screams of dying humans a constant reminder of His power.

“What does my liege command?”

He turned slowly to face me.  His armor was silver, but black at the same time.  It absorbed all light around it, causing the rest of the area around him to seem darker by comparison.  His blade, Frostmourne, alos known as Muradin’s bane, glowed with a fiery blue malevolence; each sharp edge wreathed in unholy flame.  His helmet showed none of his face, save for two eternally glowing blue eyes.  His very frame was massive, and every step the King took up the same amount of space as three fully grown men.

“Colemand, your service has been noticed.  You have killed and murdered and shown these worthless humans the strength of the Scourge, and taught them fear.”

“Yes my liege.  My life is yours to spend, my liege.”  Kneeling at this point was almost involuntary.  I really hate those doorways.

“Your strengths are no longer needed here.”

I was shocked.  No longer needed? I was one of the best knights here! I could sow death, terror, and even bacon!

Don’t ask, I get bored sometimes, and there’s a lot of meat on a battlefield.

“My lord…”

“Silence.  Your life is mine to spend, not yours.  You go to the western plaguelands, and you will do this now.  You will serve one of my lieutenants, a powerful necromancer.  He will explain more.  Serve him or die.”

“Yes, my liege.  My life is yours to spend.”

I was pissed.  The eastern plaguelands? There’s nothing left there.  At least, nothing fun.

“Leave.  Your business is done here.  You ride for Andorhal immediately.”

“At once, my lord.”

Andorhal.  Why do I know that name?

I made my way to the ground, and upon getting to the border of the western plaguelands I stopped and began to focus.  Unlike doorways, summoning my steed wasn’t nausea inducing.  A snap of my fingers and there it was.

I stole, killed, and re-animated this horse myself.  I never liked it though, it was too… on fire.  Its black skin was contrasted by the blue flames on its hooves, in its eyes, and its mane.  It was as if the horse was being burned alive.  The worst part was if you forgot to saddle the beast: fire and chafing are not good things to have at once.

I saddled the beast, and mounted it.  I looked west, and thought for a minute.  Andhorhal… have I been there before? I can’t have been, but I have a feeling that I should know better.

This was no time for thoughts, however.  This was time to ride.  No need for water, food, or rest would see me there in two days.

Two days.

Two days…


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