Confessions of an Altoholic

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Roleplay: From Beyond, She Comes (4)

Here it is – part 4 of the continuing series, “From Beyond, She Comes.”

I took a very different approach to this particular piece, as I wanted to get directly into Serreina’s head and document what she was going through as she attempted this particular act of insanity.  As such, it’s very stream-of-consciousness and I’ve done very little editing.  All the same, I hope you enjoy it!

“Serreina Nightfury, you are relieved of duty until further notice.  You will continue your training here and in Outland.  You are not to enter Northrend under any circumstances until I clear you to do so.  Have I made myself clear?”

“Sir – “

“There is only one acceptable answer, Serreina.”

I stood there for a solid minute, staring at Highlord Mograine, struggling to keep my emotions in check.  He stared back, his expression stern, yet his eyes revealed just the slightest touch of – was that sadness?   Regret?  Pity?

Sadness was pointless.  It would take more than regret to persuade the highlord to change the orders he had just given me.  And I certainly did not need his pity.  So I closed my eyes for a moment, struggling to keep my emotions in check.  When I opened them, Mograine was staring calmly back at me.  I drew myself up to my full height, looking down into the highlord’s eyes.

“Understood, sir.”

Even now, days later, I remember every word, every detail of that conversation.  I remember that undefinable look in Mograine’s eyes as he ordered me to stay behind while the rest of the order continues the march toward Icecrown.  I remember fighting back nearly uncontrollable rage, struggling to maintain my composure as I turned and walked away from the highlord.  I remember how the other knights watched me as I approached the gryphon that would take me back to Stormwind.  And the whispers.  I remember those too.

There were a lot of whispers.

Once again, I feel the rage building inside me.  Apparently it’s noticeable;  the passersby and even the city guards take a slightly wider path around me as I march past them.  My fingers curl into fists and a slight smile forms on my face as Sorrowblade’s consciousness stirs.

It is almost over, it whispers.

Yes.  It is almost over.

Kill them.

For the first time in quite some time, I experience doubt.  Uncertainty.  My powers are much weaker than they were when I was under the Lich King’s control.  I’m not sure I can kill them.  I can barely touch them.  Last time I tried, Shatterbound nearly tore my head off – literally.

They are making you weak.

They could also make me dead again.

They are making you sentimental and weakening your resolve.  You are weak now.  You will remain weak until you remove the source of the weakness.  Remember the strength you once had.  Remember their betrayal.

The fury builds again, growing into cold resolve.  Yes, I will kill them.  Or they will kill me.  Either way, it will end.  It has to end.  I cannot bear this turmoil any longer …

Only now Kharsus is here.  There’s only a bridge between my daughter and me, and here he is, trying to stop me as always.  It makes no sense.  I nearly decapitated him.  He shouldn’t be here.  Why won’t his soul stay inside Sorrowblade where it belongs?  Why does he keep coming back to torment me?  He is dead!  He should stay dead!

We argue.  That is what we do.  I very much hate him, especially now.  I do not wish to deal with him any longer.  So I run him through with my blade – again – then push him off into the canal.  Will he come back from that?  I’m sure he will.  If decapitation couldn’t kill him permanently, being run through and knocked into some water won’t do it.  But it will buy me the time I need to end this.

I cross the bridge and find myself standing face to face with Shatterbound.  Well, of course.  I always knew I’d have to go through him to get to Shizukera.  I don’t really expect to survive.  But it will be over at last.

Sorrowblade’s whispers grow louder in my mind.  Its hunger – my hunger, our hunger – increases, exquisite in its pain.  I do the only thing I can do.

I attack.

“Serreina.”

Mograine was standing behind me.  I wasn’t in the mood to continue the conversation from earlier, but I couldn’t exactly ignore the highlord.  So I took a deep breath, attempted to work my face into a neutral expression, and turned to face him.

“You just banned me from an entire continent, sir.”

He cocked his head, scrutinizing me.  I bit my lip and looked away.

“You want me to change your orders?  Then prove me wrong.”

I blinked.  “Sir?”

“Northrend will test you as you have never been tested before, death knight.  You will face reminders of your past at every turn.  It takes a certain presence of mind.  You think you’re ready?  You think you’re stable enough to fight at the Lich King’s doorstep?  Prove it.  Oh, and Serreina … “

I stared warily at him.  “Yes, sir?”

“You have a family.  You have a second chance to be a mother to your children.  Take advantage of the opportunity and stop trying to kill them.”

I yell in rage and frustration as Shatterbound catches my blade neatly between his hands.  Damn the demon hunter and his unnatural reflexes!  I feel the blade’s agony as it is assaulted by felfire;  I smile coldly as I unleash disease and the chill of death on the demon hunter.  Then I hear a voice.  Shizukera’s voice.

“I will end this!” she yells, and her fel-charged sword crashes down on Sorrowblade.

The runeblade shatters.

The pain is indescribable;  I feel it in every part of my body as my runeblade and my soul are torn asunder.  I fall to my knees as someone shrieks in agony, only vaguely aware that I am the one screaming.  The pain subsides, and I realize that the whispers in my mind, the voices that haunted me even after my release from the Lich King’s service, have gone silent at last.  The victims of the battle for Light’s Hope.  The hundreds I slaughtered during the purging of the Scarlet Enclave.  Countless others who died by my hand.  They are all gone.  Even Kharsus isn’t here to taunt me.

I am alone inside my own head.  I am truly free at last.  I am in pain, I have lost a piece of my soul … and I have never been so afraid.

Someone is standing next to me.  Kharsus.  He lifts me to my feet, his grip surprisingly gentle.  He’s looking at my daughter, and he’s smiling.  I’ve never seen him smile.  Then again, I’ve never seen him free.

“The blade is broken,” he says.

My grip on the pieces of Sorrowblade tightens.  “And with it, my soul.”

He looks at me appraisingly, then shakes his head.  Of course he disagrees.  He isn’t the one whose soul was torn apart.  I watch in silence as he thanks Shizukera and Shatterbound and calls forth a death gate.

“Let’s go home.”

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | Roleplay, Serreina, Stories | 9 Comments

Ficlet: Where Kings Walk

This was my entry for the Midsummer Night’s RP writing contest sponsored by LoreCrafted, Too Many Annas, and WTT:RP.  It references Where Kings Walk, the final quest in the death knight starting quest chain, and it is set just before the events you’ve read about in the series “From Beyond, She Comes.”

Since it didn’t accomplish what I hoped it would, I am humbly requesting feedback on this one.  The good, the bad, and the ugly – bring it, yo.  I’d like to know what needs to be improved so I can be more awesome in the future.  And trust me, you don’t have to worry about hurting my feelings;  I have a thick skin.  😉

Enjoy!

—-

Serreina Nightfury stood at the edge of the pier, gazing out across the sea. To the north, across the frozen sea, lay the harsh, unwelcoming continent of Northrend – the home of the Scourge.

The home of the Lich King.

Her jaw tightened; her hands curled into fists at her side. She thought about the letter from Fordring, the letter that had saved her life, such as it was. Its words were forever burned into her memory; bits of the text floated through her mind now.

The soul of a champion. Former hero of the Alliance. Knights of the Ebon Blade … turned against their former master. The end of the Scourge. Blood and honor.

A champion. A hero. Honor.

Serreina laughed. A champion? Oh, yes, some champion she was – raised into the service of the very enemy at whose hands she had died, proud servant to a master who had turned out to be treacherous to the core. A hero? She had died a fool’s death, having failed to pay attention to what approached from behind – she could still see her sisters fall, the enemy sword protruding from her chest, the expressions of horror on the faces of her own husband, son, and daughter as they watched her die. A fleeting glimpse of the demons bearing down on her beloved family as she fell into death.

And honor …

She knelt down and drew Sorrowblade from its sheath, her eyes fixed on the runes etched along its length. These were runes of death and pain and blood, designed to torture and maim and destroy the enemies of the Scourge and draw their souls into the very blade that had killed them. The runeblade had been and still was an extension of her own body and soul; even now it remained inextricably linked to her, constantly whispering, constantly hungering, constantly desiring the blood of its foes.

As a priestess of Elune, yes, she had been a woman of honor. As a death knight, she was the cruelest of killers – cold, heartless, merciless, unrepentant. There was no honor in this. Blood, yes. Honor, no.

Rising, Serreina turned her gaze once again toward Northrend. Was that her goal now? Was that her purpose? To destroy the Scouge and end the Lich King’s reign – that was the stated purpose of the Knights of the Ebon Blade, was it not? But if that was her purpose, then why did she feel so cold and empty? Had the Lich King’s control really changed her so much? Was she truly so damaged?

Serreina stared across the sea for a moment longer; then, with a sigh, she forced herself to turn away. A champion, a hero, a woman of honor … perhaps one day, she would be these things again.

But not yet. She would take care of personal business first, perhaps prove herself in other battlefields; then maybe – maybe – she would join the fight in Northrend.

She took a deep breath, slipped Sorrowblade back into its sheath, and began the walk back to Stormwind.

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Roleplay, Serreina, Stories | 6 Comments

Roleplay: From Beyond, She Comes (3)

Here it is, the long-overdue third installment in the continuing story of Serreina Nightfury.  Enjoy!

—-

Serreina stood at the edge of the dock with her runeblade in hand, gazing out across the sea.  Her hood was pulled back, and her limp hair fluttered lightly in the breeze, but she barely noticed;  her thoughts were back in Shattrath, her mind focused on what had occurred there.

She hadn’t been particularly smart, confronting them there.  Trying to take them on at the same time hadn’t been all that wise either – in fact, that had been a patently terrible idea.  She’d taken on far larger numbers and survived, of course, but she had never faced even one demon hunter, let alone two.  She had underestimated the power Shizukera and Shatterbound wielded, and that lapse had nearly gotten her killed.

Decapitated, to be exact …

The death knight rubbed her throat, grimacing.  That had been another mistake – she had watched him as he harnessed his power, growing larger and stronger and more powerful, and yet she had foolishly allowed him to get close enough to touch her.  He had a hell of a grip, too;  he had simply caught her chest armor in one hand and her neck in the other and pulled, while she had boiled his blood and afflicted him with diseases.  If Shizukera and Kharsus hadn’t interfered, Serreina knew that both she and Shatterbound would be dead.  As it was, she had wounded both of them, but she had also lost her voice.  She fervently hoped this was temporary, because now when Kharsus spoke she had no choice but to listen.  That was annoying and inconvenient, partially because the former Scarlet Crusader was an arse, but mainly because he said many things that caused her resolve to waver.

The thought caused her lips to curl back in a sneer.  Oh yes, he said many things.  That she was insane;  that she couldn’t be trusted;  that she was utterly dependent on her runeblade, to the point that it controlled her, rather than the other way around.

Untrue …

She tightened her grip on Sorrowblade, listening as the runeblade whispered to her.  After several long moments she turned back toward Stormwind and whistled sharply.  Her deathcharger appeared at once, seeming to materialize from darkness and shadow.  She smiled.

I will defeat them still, she promised Sorrowblade silently.  I was uninformed and unprepared before.  Now I know better.  Now I know how to fight them

And I will make sure she is alone.

Her smile widened as she spurred her deathcharger on, racing back toward the city as quickly as the undead beast could carry her.  No, she wouldn’t be distracted.  She wouldn’t be dissuaded.

And she would not fail again.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Roleplay, Serreina, Shizukera, Stories | Leave a comment

Roleplay: From Beyond, She Comes (2)

This short story, written from Shizukera’s perspective, is part 2 in the RP series “From Beyond, She Comes.”  Enjoy!

~*~

Guess what, journal ~

Today I met my mother, who’s been dead for years.  She’s a death knight.  It was weird.

Shizukera Nightfury read over what she had just written and couldn’t help but laugh.  Weird?  Weird didn’t even begin to describe that experience.  Horrifying beyond imagining came a little closer.

The truth was, she had always wished there was a way to put her family together again. Of course, she knew that could never happen – she had seen her parents die;  she’d lost her mind for a time because of it – but what orphaned child doesn’t wish she could have her parents back again?

Well, she’d gotten her wish.  Half of it, at least.

Shizu shuddered.  She could see her mother clearly in her mind’s eye:  pale skin stretched across hollow cheekbones, the icy blue glow of necromantic magic shining through her sunken eyes, the cold smile as she made both her presence and her purpose known.  There was nothing left of the gentle priestess who had been Shizu’s mother.  All that remained was this dark, cruel, battle-hardened champion of the Scourge.

Former champion of the Scourge, Shizu silently corrected herself.  If Serreina was still under the Lich King’s control, she never would’ve made it out of the king’s throne room alive.  No, her mother was acting on her own will.  She truly wanted her daughter dead, and her son … and Taldarion.

That thought filled Shizu with rage.  She had learned long ago not to expect life to be fair, but this?   To have her mother returned to her as a death knight, deranged and merciless and set on killing her and two of the people she cared about more than anything or anyone else in this world – this after all that Shizu had already been through – wasn’t that a little too much?  She had never asked for much out of life, yet life insisted on piling shoveltusk droppings on her head.

The rage faded as quickly as it had formed, and Shizu sighed heavily.  Even now, having seen what Serreina Nightfury had become, she couldn’t let go of her desire to have her mother back.  Was there anything left of her?  Was there enough of her to save?  Maybe not.  It didn’t look like it.

But that wasn’t going to stop her from trying.

With another heavy sigh, Shizu laid her journal aside, scooted closer to her mate, and slipped into an uneasy, dream-riddled sleep.

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Roleplay, Serreina, Shizukera, Stories | Leave a comment

Roleplay: From Beyond, She Comes (1)

Welcome!

I needed a good inaugural post, so I figured, what better way to get things rolling than with an RP snippet?  The fact that this piece represents the end of two and a half years of writer’s block makes it especially exciting to me.  *flails happily*

Profiles of involved characters to come.  Enjoy the story!

~*~

The death knight walked through the streets of Stormwind, her saronite greaves clanging sharply on the cobblestones. The city was crowded today, but she moved easily through the masses; even after the king’s proclamation, few of the city’s denizens truly trusted her kind and fewer still wished to touch her.

That was fine by her. She did not wish to touch them either.

She made her way to the trade district and slipped into the shadows between the buildings. Her hair had long since faded from its natural blue to a pale white, and her eyes burned with the icy blue glow of the necromantic magics that bound her to this unlife – a glow that was now partially obscured by the hood she had carefully arranged over her head. It wasn’t likely that the one she sought would recognize her. But her daughter had watched her die and still believed her to be dead, and the bustling trade district was the last place she would choose for a reunion with one of her children …

As she had expected, her daughter appeared within minutes, winding her way through the crowds near the auction house. Her hair was longer, less shaggy, a rich shade of purple instead of its natural midnight blue. She had grown – oh, she had grown so much! – and the death knight saw the gleam of an engagement ring around her finger. For an instant, the cold, hard shell around her soul cracked, and the former priestess smiled.

Shizukera, she thought. My child.

Then Shizukera turned around, and the smile froze on the death knight’s face. Her daughter was wearing a blindfold, the glow of her cursed sight clearly visible through the fabric, a telltale sign of the path she had chosen.

The path of the demon hunter.

A flood of emotions, forgotten and unfelt for so long, poured through the death knight’s consciousness. The stupid, foolish child! Had she forgotten what the Burning Legion had done to her world, to her people, to her father and her brother – and to her? They were the ones who had killed her; they were the reason she was locked in this damned unlife; if they hadn’t killed her, she couldn’t have been raised, pressed into the Lich King’s service, forced to torture and maim and kill hundreds – not just the Scarlet zealots, but countless innocents as well …

And now, her daughter, her own daughter, had made herself into one of them. She had willingly joined her soul to one of theirs. She might not look like one – not yet, at least – but in her soul, she was a demon.

The torrent of emotions froze, coalescing into icy resolve. Her daughter had betrayed her and she would pay for her betrayal.

Serreina Nightfury smiled.

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Roleplay, Serreina, Shizukera, Stories | 3 Comments