belltrigger: (dreamer)
[personal profile] belltrigger
LJ needs bigger post space :|a


The young man was allowed to wander then, and he took a few moments to examine the architecture. It wasn't out of any particular interest, just a need to be aware just what could kill him here. Everything seemed to be supported or textured with large, obtrusive bones. He couldn't identify exactly what it came from, but it was obviously many large creatures.

Down one of the long hallways, the young man found more people gathered. At the head of the crowd, a large skeletal man stood, or rather floated, decked out in the finest silks and metal plate. Something in his mind told him this was a lich, one of the elite sorcerers of their King, and that lich's were the things you never wanted to cross, for they could suck your very soul right out through your eyes with the merest wave of their bony hands.

The skeleton mage was instructing those that surrounded him on the use of decay when fighting the living. The living? So that centered the fact that he was an undead in the mind of the young man. And he was rather unconcerned by the information, since that just meant his King thought well enough of his abilities to bring him back from whatever had caused his death.

After wandering more, the young man had come across two more of the lichs, each teaching a different subject of manipulating the living. One mentioned the use of blood and the other of frost, all of which could be turned against those of living flesh, but not harmful to the elite of the Lich King. It was worth considering which path he'd take, which one he could use to its fullest potential of havoc and destruction.

As he thought, he finally found his way to one of the many rune forges, large malevolent feeling furnaces that were placed in the mouths of large, glowing skulls. As he approached one, the image of several runes flared into his mind, and he became innately aware of what he could shape into his ax. Only one would fit, he knew, and after careful consideration of what he knew his strengths to be, he thrust his ax into the unholy fire within the mouth of the skull.

He worked for a good hour as he slowly etched an ancient looking rune into the ax head from memory. The young man was careful to match the rune on both sides for the full effect, in order to spread the power of the rune into all parts of the ax. When he finally finished, he pulled the ax from the molten power that surged through the forge, and the rune hissed as it hit the cool air, steam rising from it in pulsing blue waves. The pale haired man had decided on a rune that would add poisonous barbs to his attacks, causing his opponents to rot from the inside. The use of poison just felt right, somehow.

A powerful energy appeared behind him, and he slowly looked over his shoulder, catching sight of the Instructor. “Have you decided what discipline you wish to follow, death knight?” The young man finally turned all the way to face Razuvious, holding the large ax in just one hand. It's blade just barely touched the ground, and he kept it instinctively at the best angle to attack.

“I will follow the path of unholy, using decay against the living. It seems only fitting; they've seen frost and blood before. Best to truly show them the threat of our King.” Razuvious nodded, apparently pleased with the newest recruit's decision.

“A fine choice. Which means you are now ready to prove yourself.” At the slightly confused look from the recruit, the Instructor waved for him to follow. They head back to the arena, even though the young man was sure Razuvious had told him to meet the Instructor back there when he was finished looking around.

They arrived back at the arena, which had been cleared out of the newly risen, and instead had a few fully armored warriors waiting there instead. One of the warriors, a young female night elf, approached the pale haired young man, arms full of dark, ominous plate mail. She had no expression at all, merely stared at him as he accepted the armor. It was fur-lined, and bulky, and smoke rose from the eyes of the horned skulls that adorned the shoulder pieces. It would certainly be an upgrade to what he was currently wearing.

“This is for you, should you succeed,” Razuvious said, and he crossed his arms. The young man looked between the armor in his arms, the Instructor, and the arena.

“What would you have me do to don this fine set of armor?” At the question from their newest disciple, Razuvious laughed in a cruel manner, and waved an arm in the direction of the arena.

“Have yourself a look.”

The pale haired man moved towards the area, peering inside. On the floor of the arena, chained in the middle, was a troll. He was dressed in only tatters, which vaguely resembled the outfit that the young man was himself dressed in. “You'll need to kill this failed initiate. He did not prove himself as impressive as you, and as such, he will need to die.”

A strange blood lust boiled in the pale haired young man's gut, and for some reason, he had to hold back the urge to leap right into the ring, and gouge the troll's eyes out. He kept himself calm, though, and placed the armor back into the arms of the female elf that had previously handed it to him. He had no intent of returning from the arena without the honor being able to wear the armor.

He stepped into the arena, and advanced upon the troll. Instead of merely harshly chopping the troll's head off, the voice of the Lich King rang through his mind, and suggested something that brought a malignant smile to the young man's face. The young man sliced the chain apart that held the troll and jerked his chin in the direction of a pile of armor that rested in the corner. “Put that on. I'll give you a chance to fight for your freedom, failure.”

The troll seemed surprised, but didn't want to lose the chance. He scrambled over to the armor and hastily put it on, buckling the plate together wrongly in his rush. Clearly, this was one of the many reasons their King felt he was worthless, and the young man wanted even more to slaughter the troll.

Ended before it had even begun, the young man had sliced the troll in half without much hassle. The fight had been even easier than when he'd been in the arena earlier, and he hadn't even needed to leech any energy with his new powers. Still, it felt nice to kill that disappointment to their King.

“You must continue to kill, for if you don't, the hunger shall overcome you, and you'll be no better than our enemies, useless in all things.” The young man brought his attention to the Instructor, who flicked his hand. Obeying a silent command, some strange creature bounded into the ring. It cackled maniacally as it crouched next to the dead troll, dragged it off to the side and began to chew on it. At least, that's what the young man thought, since the creature's face was completely obscured by a hood. For all the pale haired man could tell, it might have just been shoving the meat down some sort of gaping maw.

“Now, come, you have earned your armor, and must go to see our King.” The young man left the area up one of the wide staircases at the side this time, as opposed to being pulled out, and went straight to the female elf with his armor. He put it on in an almost loving manner. The distant emotions were back, telling him in an almost scientifically sterile way that he should be happy, and proud that he was given armor that was proof his King was happy with him.

Once he'd finished, he was sent off to meet with their King, who he knew was on an upper level of Acherus Hold. He could sense the power that radiated from the Lich King, and was guided along by the King's booming voice in his head. He passed a few other death knights, a tall, stern looking elf who was talking flatly to a human with pale tattoos on his cheeks. They momentarily stopped speaking as he passed, and their eyes followed him all the way to the elevator that he rode to the upper level.

Not unnerved, but distantly curious as to why they stared, the young man considered seeking them out after he finished whatever missions their King deemed him worthy of taking on. The thought was gone instantly, though, as soon as he spotted the Lich King standing on a large, open balcony next to a pulsing orb atop a dark, gnarled pedestal.

“Come forth, my newest death knight,” the Lich King's voice echoed, even when he spoke aloud, his face mostly hidden by the majestic helm he wore. “Before you head out, I want you to use this orb. It will allow you to see and understand that which we are seeking to destroy. If you rush in without being aware of your goal, you do not deserve the rank you have been given, and are no better than a mindless ghoul, hunting merely to devour.”

The young death knight nodded, and placed his hand on the orb as instructed. As soon as his hand touched it, he felt his consciousness transported away, into the open sky. It was a strange feeling, as if he was floating with a bird's eye view of the land that the Acherus Hold was floating above. Before then, it had never occurred to him that they were in the sky, high above a village.

There was a grandiose chapel on the hill at the far end of the village, and it seemed proof enough that this was a major settlement of the Scarlet Crusade, their banners flying atop the steeple. There were many people roaming about the village, but all of them wore the tabard of the scarlet crusade, except for a group of farmers on the very outskirts. The farmers were taking care of a bunch of horses, perhaps for the crusaders to use.

An advantage could be made if they were to steal some of those horses.

When it seemed as though one of the crusaders had noticed his energy watching them, he was jolted back to his body. The Lich King had taken hold of his arm, and pulled it back. “You see how they immediately seek to stop us? Even when we only watch.” The young death knight turned his gaze from the Lich King's arm to his face, watching him. “All the more reason to destroy them and use their power for our own.” He released his death knight's hand, allowed him to drop it to his side.

“I shall grind them under my heel, and make them beg for the mercy we shall not grant them, my King.” The newest death knight thumped his fist to his chest, over where his heart beat like that of one in a state of hibernation. Enough to provide blood to keep his body moving, but not enough to bring color to his skin.

“Excellent,” rumbled the Lich King, as he towered over the death knight. He must have been over seven feet tall, because the death knight somehow knew he personally hit the mark at six feet. “Return to the lower levels, and we will provide you with a way to the ground where you may do as you like.”

The newest death knight dropped to one knee, and bowed his head to his King. “My King, you shall not be disappointed with what I accomplish in your name.” And then he stood up, knowing when he was dismissed to begin his task.

The elevator brought him down to the lower level again, and those other death knights finaly approached him. “Welcome to our group,” the human said, his voice echoing much the same way the young man's did. “We were going to Havenshire, the land below us, and thought you'd like to come.” The elf remained silent by his side, as though he were the human's partner. It made an ache deep in his gut begin to roil, and he lowered his eyes to the ground, suddenly feeling ill at ease.

“New Avalon is a better target,” the elf beside the human finally spoke up. “It has more to defend itself than a few carts and scared lumber mill workers.”

“Koltira, our newest member should stretch his legs on the easier targets to better get into the swing of things.” Koltira, the elf, scoffed in that strange hollow way that all of the more powerful beings in Acherus spoke, with a definite echo behind even the shortest words.

“There is no need to go easy on him, Thassarian,” Koltira spoke curtly, but in a measured way. “New Avalon is clearly calling for reinforcements, and we should cut them down before then.” His elven companion's words brought a slight laughter to the human, who was now identified as Thassarian.

“Well, perhaps we can go straight to New Avalon, and our new recruit can travel there after striking fear into those of Havenshire.” That seemed to appease Koltira, and Thassarian looked to the pale haired young man. “Come with us.”

They lead him to another balcony on which a ghoul with several gryphons made of bone rested. The other death knights instructed him to climb on, and as soon as the young man did, he was swiftly taken down to the camp that the Scourge had set up just below the impressive hold. Koltira and Thassarian's own gryphons flew instead over the buildings of the nearly ruined Havenshire straight to New Avalon.

So, he had to fight his way through some scared farmers? Seemed easy enough. Several geists, like the one that had eaten the troll he'd killed, cackled as they galloped past him, their voices like tin. The young man picked up his pace, determined to not let them have all the fun of killing. He would make his way to New Avalon, and prove to Thassarian that Koltira had been right, and that he didn't need to be babied. He was a true death knight, and their King was sure of it.

It was easy enough to carve through the farmers, and even when they ran from him, he merely reanimated one of their own to chase them down. The ghouls he brought up from the dead did not last long, but their function was merely to sow yet more terror into their companions, better fulfilling the need that throbbed hollowly at the back of the young man's eyes.

Once he made it to New Avalon, he took down a few crusaders with a bit more difficulty, but their reanimated corpses were much more powerful, and aided in his attack all the more than their weaker brethren. Their screams pushed him forward, and he continued to attack, up until he caught sight of Thassarian far ahead him. However, the elf that had been with him, Koltira, was nowhere to be seen. Although Thassarian's expression was blank, icy even, there was a slight flicker of concern in his eyes that broke through.

The young man kept his back to Thassarian, trusting his comrade in arms to watch his back. If he didn't, then the pale haired young man could certainly show him the folly in not assisting an ally who fought only for their King. “Where is Koltira?” he asked as he cleaved a crusader in two.

“He has been taken. However, you need not concern yourself, for I am going into the chapel to get him back.” The tone in Thassarian's voice was personal, as if the plan to rescue Koltira was for some reason other than the fact that he was a fellow death knight, something other than the blow their forces may suffer from the loss of skill. The young man had no time to consider what that reason could be, a foreign concept that he could no longer identify.

“Fine. While you busy yourself with that, I shall set this town ablaze.” A smirk, and he glanced over his shoulder at Thassarian. “For thinking they can take one of us and not suffer the most extreme consequences.” Thassarian gave a nod of approval, and then headed off to the chapel on his rescue mission.

As the young man scanned the town for where he would most like to set the tinders, he lifted a hand to his side, and effortlessly reanimated a nearby corpse. It shambled over to him, unable to offer up anything more than a few gurgles. The young man flicked his hand forward, which sent the ghoul quickly towards a group of crusaders that were trying to carry off their wounded. A slight chuckle of amusement left the young man's lips as he watched them scream in terror.

A presence to his side caused him to turn to the left, weapon not even raised. No one here had proven to be any sort of challenge, and he felt no need to ready his weapon. If whatever was to his side attempted to attack him, it had already taken too long, and he would have plenty of time to respond to anything it may try.

However, he came face to face with a distraught looking female high elf, who stared at him as though she recognized him. He returned the look with one of distant disinterest, and watched as she circled him, long sword raised between her and him, though her hold on it was not steady. He could have disarmed her at any time, but something stilled his hand. A cold feeling in his stomach, as though his throat had dropped into his stomach, prevented him from lifting his blade.

“K-Kael? Kael'thunas, is that you?” Her voice broke as she spoke, as if even her voice would give out from disbelief and terror. She shook so hard the blade in her hands bobbed, and he felt the urge to kick it out of her hand rise. But that name sounded familiar, clicked an instinctual button in his mind somewhere, earned a response, and he wasn't sure why. None had called him that.

At least, not since he'd awoken in Acherus, now that he actually paused a moment and thought about it.

“It is you!” Her voice grew stronger at his pause, sure of herself suddenly. “Your hair is so much more pale than it used to be, but that face! I'd recognize your face anywhere.” She was babbling now, and he narrowed his eyes, smoke rising from them.

“Silence your tongue,” he spat, but there was emotion in it, and he instantly shut his mouth again, disturbed by it.

“Don't you recognize me, Kael? We grew up together! I haven't seen you since I left to expand my studies of the Light with the Church, but surely you must remember me.” She practically pleaded with him, and he lifted a hand to his head, which a sharp spoke of pain throbbed through the front of his skull.

“... Elara...” The name sounded so strange in his hollow voice, but he knew it was right, even as the throb threatened to drown the knowledge from his mind. She took a step towards him, which only made him retreat a few steps back. A frown creased her face, and then understanding lit in her soft blue eyes.

“I know what they did to you.... You can't turn away, can you?” There was so much pity in her words that bile rose in his throat. Off to the side, the ghoul he'd reanimated crumbled into one-again dead limbs. “Kill me if you must, but please... Remember yourself.”

She was cut off from speaking anymore as he brought his ax down, the heavy metal landing solidly in between her neck and shoulder joint. There were tears in her eyes as she crumpled, but they were not for herself. In giving her life, which would have been taken by another of the soldiers of the Lich King anyway, she was able to reach through to Kael'thunas, returning a spark of free will to him.

Kael'thunas pressed his palm to his forehead and clenched his teeth violently to try and quash the pain in his head. There was a thick pressure that had settled stubbornly behind his eyes, and it threatened to blind him if he kept attempting to remember how he'd gotten there, why he wanted to fight and kill.

The now undead elf stumbled to the side, and propped himself up against a nearby building. Without even putting the effort to it, he aggressively pulled a torch clean off the wall, complete with the brass ring that had held it up. He lifted the torch to the roof, held it there until it lit, and then threw the torch to the side. The thick wood bounced along the roof of the building closest to the one he leaned against, and spread the fire to several spots.

His task done, he pushed himself away from the building, only to retch up the bile that had been burning at the back of his throat since he'd run into Elara. He scrubbed madly at his mouth with the back of his thick hide glove, and lifted his eyes, watching the town slowly become engulfed in a sea of flames. Down the hill from him, Thassarian was seen exciting the chapel with Koltira propped heavily against him.

Kael'thunas finally steadied himself, and through carefully measured steps, made his way to Thassarian. He made every attempt to hide the realization that had rocked him, and hoped that Thassarian could not see the doubt that suddenly plagued the newest death knight.

“We've been summoned to ride to Light's Hope Chapel. We shall steal any horses that have yet to be killed, and will convert them to a mount more suitable to our needs.” Kael just nodded numbly, which Thassarian must have interpreted as the blind loyalty that Kael had shown up until then.

“Thassarian.” Koltira pulled harshly away from the human, and made to stand on his own. He largely succeeded except for a minor limp that caused him to favor his right foot a bit.

“I know. But until we see, we cannot judge.” Unsure of what they were talking about, Kael instead decided to focus on keeping silent. He did not say a word even as they rounded up horses from the stables in Havenshire, nor did he speak to the necromancers that twisted the steeds with magic, creating undead mounts with large ram-like horns protruding from their skulls. Thassarian and Koltira did not push for any sort of dialogue to go with their deeds, and Kael preferred it that way. If he had to speak with them at any length, he was sure they would have seen the confusion and pain that was suddenly swirling through him. It was as if his soul was on fire, fighting against the control that had been pushed on him by their King... no, the Lich King.

They rode to the appointed place, and were greeted by High Lord Darion Mograine, who was in charge of leading the Death Knight forces. He had been the one to send Thassarian and the other death knights into New Avalon, as well as the one who'd summoned them for the attack on Light's Hope Chapel. Kael tried to steady his horse, who was affected by the ill-ease of his new master. The attack on the Chapel was apparently the last push to gain utter control of the entire region, and gain the Lich King a major foothold in their goal.

However, when they arrived, the grounds around the chapel had been consecrated by the paladins that guarded the chapel, and even Darion found himself unable to get near enough to strike any of them down. The death knights stayed at the edge of the holy ground, and Darion attempted to charge through in order to scatter the paladins and break their spells.

Although he was able to take a few steps onto the land, he found himself unable to swing his sword, Ashbringer, even on the weakest paladin. None were chanting, either, and he called out for whoever was channeling the spell to show themselves. Kael was fairly certain he would not be able to do anything to whoever it was, but said nothing.

Thassarian gasped beside him, however, when a massive paladin stepped out from the chapel itself. “By the stars, it's Tirion Fordring.” Kael'thunas strugged mentally to remember who that was, and only vaguely recalled that he was a great hero of the alliance, one of the most powerful paladins that had ever lived.

His golden armor shone like the sun even in the miserable light of the region, the true sun having been choked by the smoke that dripped from the floating fortress of Acherus like sludge. He was majestic, and Kael'thunas found himself feeling completely humbled in front of the hero from the last war. Darion must have been equally humbled, for he was brought down to one knee, and laid the Ashbringer down on the ground at his side.

“You and your knights have done well, Darion. Your mission was a success.” The echoing voice of the Lich King boomed down around them, and all the death knights, Darion included, whipped their heads towards the direction of his voice. “Although you were all complete failures in taking Light's Hope, in the end, you managed to draw Tirion out.”

“So, Arthas, you sought to destroy me, which is why you've brought such pain to this land?”

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belltrigger

July 2013

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