Awakening – Part two
It seemed that Saria’s latest mood swing included not waiting for her mistress to make her mind up, and before Lothiriel could do anything, the deathsteed had begun in the direction of the screams. A few tugs on the reins were fruitless and she relented quickly, knowing that Saria would not stop and was making the right choice. Her personal feelings were not more important than saving someone’s life, and from the continous screams Lothiriel was sure the owner of them was in dire need of help.
As the screams grew closer Lothiriel slowed, eyes and ears searching for what was happening. It didn’t take long for her to find the problem. A young female night elf had been attacked by a group of thugs, most likely to mug her. As she moved closer she was able to identify the robes of a priest, and while Lothiriel had met some priests that could give a warrior a run for their money, this young one certainly was not a fighter. She had spirit though and was giving it her all, and was making her captors’ lives a misery. They had finally managed to silence the little hellion, and as soon as a knife was pulled on her Lothiriel was moving.
The deathsteed crashed through the underbrush in a very unsubtle entrance that did exactly what she had intended; distract the thugs. The young priestess was able to bring a foot down heavily on the toes of the man holding her, and managed to squirm free.
“Get out of here,” Lothiriel roared at her as she came to a halt a few feet away from the one that appeared to be the ring leader. There was always a leader, and that was always her first target. Once they were down the rest would scarper back to the dark pit they had crawled out from.
“Be patient Death Knight,” the leader sneered, rounding to face her, “Your time will come once we have dealt with the little elf pest. I wouldn’t want to miss a opportunity to rid Azeroth of another of the undead that plagues our lands. You were foolish to interfer, light will always prevail. ”
“Arrogant? Holier than thou attitude? Spouting nonsense they don’t understand about the light?” Lothiriel stated as she dismounted, and gave the man a grim smile, “I thought that by now the Scarlet Crusade would be a thing of the past.”
The Scarlet Crusade. It had been a long while since she had encountered there kind and still they made her feel sick to the bottom of her stomach. In principle their cause was a noble one, however, they were zealots through and through. They made no exceptions and believed that the ends justifed the means. Countless innocents had died while the Crusade had fought it’s unending battle against the scourge, and of course it was not surprising that the Knights of the Ebon Blade were not on their Winter Veil card list.
That had caught the man’s attention though, and his eyes glistened with hate as he simply stared at her. “You are the one that knows nothing about the light!” he exclaimed as he charged at her.
There were two things that Lothiriel did simutaneously at that point. Her hand reached for the runeblade at her back that marked her as a Knight of the Ebon Blade, and instictintively she reached for that chilling power of frost that used to fill her with dread. Now she embraced it as she had once done with nature, pulling it to her and then thrusting it in the direction of one of the other thugs that was heading for her. Her sword came up to deflect the leader’s blade, and she spun out of it to launch her own attack. A quick glance about told her that the frost had done it’s task and had frozen one of the thugs in place, leaving only a third to listen to his leader as he screamed for him to get the girl.
“Saria! The girl” was the Death Knight’s own response as she parried another thrust of her opponents sword, managing to get a kick into his stomach as she did so. As the thug leader stumbled backwards Lothiriel was granted a quick reprieve to see that Saria was heading for the girl, who for some reason was very close to the action for someone she had told to run away. There was no time for her to worry about that now, she trusted Saria to take care of the third thug. She needed to concentrate on dispatching the leader before the second one came out of the frost she had flung at him.
Lothiriel knew what she needed to do, she needed her blade to taste his blood. Even a small nick would be enough for the diseases on her blade to penetrate his body and weaken him enough for her to go in for the kill. The trouble was this was no ordinary thug. As already demonstrated he had at one point in his life been a member of the Scarlet Crusade and had the training of a Knight it seemed. Thankfully for her he fought like a zealot, wasting all his energy on attacks rather than thinking with his head. He was also certainly not in his prime any more, and while Lothiriel wasn’t either, she was no longer mortal and old age was not something that pained her.
Aha, there it was, the opening she had been waiting for and Lothiriel did not hesitate to take it. Her blade slid downwards through an opening in his defense to catch his thigh, nothing fancy just enough to cut through clothing and skin. It caused the former knight to dance backwards swearing an oath and something about the light as the sting of the diseases kicked in. He attempted another lunge and Lothiriel was able to step out the way and let the thug leader land in a pile behind her.
Her battle instincts took over, and she turned on the balls of her feet to drive her sword home and end the battle.
Something in the girl’s voice stopped Lothiriel, her blade stopping inches away from the thug’s chest. It hovered above his heart for a few moments before she swore and backed away, turning her anger to the young priestess.
“Are you insane? He would have quite happily killed you if I hadn’t arrived.”
“That does not mean you need to kill him in return,” the girl said in a soft tone as she reached to touch Lothiriel’s arm, “You’re better than that.”
Oh for Elune’s sake, who did this girl think she was? She was no more than five decades old, which was not even close to her own true age even before she had died. And here she was being lectured about a code of ethics by a little girl who was probably having her first experience of violence right at this moment.
Roughly pulling away from the girl’s arm, Lothiriel took inventory of the three thugs. One was still frozen, although she didn’t know for how much longer, the third was being held trapped against a tree by a very unimpressed Saria, and the leader was still motionless on the ground.
“Look little girl, you’re safe, so let me finish what needs to be done,” she told her firmly, her hand gripping the pommel of her sword tightly.
“It doesn’t need to be done,” her rescued priestess persisted, and with a look from her savior she realised that the tactic was not going to work, “They’re incapacitated right?” Once Lothiriel nodded she continued, “I really need to get these supplies to a village, there’s been an outbreak and only the Molesina flower that grows out this far will complete the antidote. If I don’t get it back now people are going to die. You have a mount and can get me back to them faster than I will on foot. And saving those people is more important than spending the time to kill three worthless thugs!”
The girl was literally out of breath by the time she had finished her tirade, and clearly the girl had been given some form of blessing by Elune because she had pushed the right buttons to get Lothiriel to relent. The only thing that would have swayed her from her path was the thought of being responsible for the deaths of innocent people.
“Fine,” she grumbled, sheathing her sword in her back brace and ignoring the girl as she headed to the only thug that wasn’t unconcious.
“Please! I’ll go, I won’t follow you!” the thug pleaded helplessly before Lothiriel could even utter a word of warning, his gaze never leaving the angry deathsteed guarding him. Clearly Saria had made some form of impression on him while she had been fighting her own battle.
With a nod Lothiriel gestured to Saria to release him, and true to his word the thug hightailed it out of there as fast as he could. The horse watched him go, and Lothiriel could have sworn she was sad to see him go. This was the most action the pair of them had seen in a long time, and she couldn’t deny the sweet taste of adrenaline that was still lingering in her system.
Swinging herself up into the saddle, she led Saria over to the girl and her package. That at least explained why the girl had refused to flee the scene completely, she had found that priests often had a tendency to put others before themselves. Paladins were the same, and considering the insanity of the Scarlet Crusade Lothiriel was seriously beginning to wonder if being so attuned to their sacred ‘light’ was all it was cracked up to be.
“Where to?” she asked once the girl was seated behind her and her package of Molesina flowers were safely stowed in her saddle bags. The fresh carcases she had slain for food had been left behind for the forest creatures to eat. Saria was weighed down enough as it was with a second package, there was no way she was going to be able to carry the dead weight and get to the village as fast as possible. It seemed as though it would be stewed roots for dinner after all.
“A village just west of Raynewood Retreat.”
“Hold on tight,” was all the Death Knight said, spurring Saria into a gallop as she headed in the direction.
Lothiriel would have prefered for the ride to have been quiet, unfortunatly her young companion did not know the meaning of the word. By the time they had reached their destination the priestess had finally given up trying to pry anything from her, but not before relaying her entire life story to her. Lothiriel listened politely, giving a nod or a ‘hmm’ to show she was listening, otherwise she remained quiet.
Roughly an hour later they reached the village, and Lothiriel came to a halt on the outskirts, a safe distance away from the sight of any of the villagers. Wisely her companion, who she now knew as Iria Moondancer, did not chide her or attempt to get her to come along. Lothiriel was grateful that she was at least respecting this part of her wishes.
Lothiriel was just turning Saria away when she heard a call from behind her.
“Wait!” it was Iria, and Lothiriel waited patiently until the girl reached her, “Lothiriel I have a message for you.”
“How do you know my name?” she asked, frowning deeply. Had this been some sort of game all along? She had never mentioned her name to Iria to keep her privacy, and now she realised that the priestess had never actually asked her for it.
“The one that gave me the message told me,” Iria insisted, and continued when Lothiriel fixed her with a disbelieving stare, “I was told to tell you to stop worrying. The Moon Goddess has not abandoned you, and she will call again on you soon.”
For a moment Lothiriel was speechless, and then she managed to stammer something out. “Is this a joke? Who told you this?”
Lothiriel was left staring at Iria’s retreating form, and soon she was gone from view, disappearing into the village to save the villagers she had risked her life to save. A snort from Saria eventually broke Lothiriel from her reverie, and she shook her head in wonderment before urging Saria home.
She could not have been more than ten minutes away from the village when her vision blurred, a pain striking at her heart. With a yell she slipped from the saddle, falling into the damp undergrowth of the forest. Lothiriel did not even notice, all she could feel was an overwelming sense of destruction. It was not her own pain, it was that of Azeroth itself. Something was literally tearing the world apart as it freed itself, and whatever it was would change the face of Azeroth forever. Lothiriel had thought that nothing could compare to the devastation of the Lich King and his scourge, she had been so very wrong. Everywhere nature cried out in pain, and she felt that pain as if it was her own.
Tears rolled down the Death Knight’s cheeks. They were tears of sadness, but also joy. She could feel nature, she could hear it’s heart beat and she rejoiced in that. Iria had been correct twice over; Elune had not abandoned her and she would need all her warriors now more than ever. Whatever was happening was like nothing Azeroth had ever faced before, and to survive this cataclysmic event all the races would need to come together to face a foe the likes of which they had never seen before.
The spirits of nature usually whispered, but now they screamed. One message over and over again.
Deathwing the Destroyer had returned.
About the Dreamer
Heather is a History of Art graduate and a current English Literature student at the University of Glasgow. She has been writing, drawing and painting all of her life and has steadily transfered her skills to website design and photography. Since the age of thirteen she has created worlds and characters from her extensive imagination and as of November 2012 she has begun work on her first novel; Soul Destiny.