Chapter One Edit
The sky was a pale indigo, slowly turning to navy, with the sun's slow rising. It would never be the typical light blue colour expected of the sky. One of the other curses of Teldrassil, seemingly tainted by the heavens themself. To the east of Rut'theran Village, along the shoreline there was a buzz of activity. Many kaldorei were milling around hurriedly, almost as if there was something important to be seen or done. Occasionally one would be seen carrying a large sack of bread, or berries, or various root vegetables, two barrels of wine were also rolled past for the lucky ones. All of this was being taken aboard The Nightwave, a kaldorei longship, proudly docked at the foot of the tree, Teldrassil. The ship was made from the finest violet wood that the wisps could gather, and had been shaped to be curved and sleek. Its architecture was typical of the kaldorei, having many azure runes painted along the mast, with leaves and vines painted decoratively along the hull.
At the prow stood Myrion Starblade. He was in a deep purple, plate armour covering his skin in the traditional kaldorei colours, a dark green cape billowed from his back in the wind. He wore no helm, having decided it to be too cowardly to hide his face from any possible enemies. His golden eyes were focused directly ahead, scouring the horizon as far as he could see. Behind him the crew were boarding the ship. Sailors weren't common amongst the kaldorei, but those that existed were strong, dedicated and fantastic at their duties. The boat's Admiral was standing proudly, both hands on the main rudder. Eanler Stormwave was his name, but his crew members called him "Maelstrom" as a mark of respect for the Admiral's courage in the sea. Myrion glanced at the main deck and saw the troops boarding. Easily forty sentinels, he peered harder, forty five to be precise. They were followed by twenty three druids, fifteen priestesses, twenty assassins and wardens, and finally a larger command of skilled warriors and archers. Myrion smiled as they marched below deck into their barracks, carefully helping the Admiral survey the crew. He exchanged a brief glance with Eanler and nodded. Within an hour the boat was untied from the make-shift dock, and began to set sail to the north.
The ship had been sailing the Veiled Sea for several hours and the sky had begun to grow dark. Myrion had finally decided to take shelter within the cabin, and take the opportunity to rest. To his dismay he was soon awoken by sharp hissing sounds on deck, and the clash of steel on steel. The alarm bell was rung and the soldiers were out of bed and alert in a matter of minutes. Soon they were grouped strategically and upon the deck peering around. It was misty and hard to see, it almost seemed that the boat was empty. Puzzled a few of the warriors lowered their swords, wondering if this had all been a joke of some kind. That was all the opporuntiy the naga had needed. "Ash'thero Sanguine!" one of the myrmidion cried, slithering from the mist with his trident raised. He thrust it towards one of the dazzled warriors, but was stopped in its tracks as an arrow whistled directly into its skull. Myrion turned to see that the sentinels had not forgotten their training, and were already in battle formation. The rest of the troops soon followed suit. Two bolts of ice shot out from the water, one whizzing past Myrion's neck and hitting a druid square in the chest, the other just missing a warden. Myrion knew the power of those spells, there was no point helping his comrade, he'd already be dead from the cold.
It stayed quiet for a while, after the two sirens had been dispatched, but they all knew it was too hopeful that there weren't more. Sure enough they came. A large force to be sure, no less that fifty naga slithered aboard the boat, hissing and cursing as they attacked. Sword and dagger met trident, while spell and arrow met naga magic, the battle was well under way. A few assassins sent dirks flying into the chests of several of the fiends, while a priestess was gouged by the end of a myrmidion's trident. A larger naga could be seen amongst the battle. He was obviously their leader. In one swift wave of his hand he would sent blasts of ice from the heavens themself to crash into the boat, but it was wasted upon the skilled healing of the priestesses. Soon most of the naga had been pushed back, and the archers sent perfectly aimed arrows into the few remaining, while the warriors behaded them. The warlord of the naga was brought down by a crushing blow to the skull by the hilt of one warrior's sword. Only five sirens remained, rooted to the spot by druidic magic. What happened next was more than unexpected. The naga joined hands and began to chant, making sure to look at the sky while they did so, just as the connection was made between the chant and the rising sea level, it was too late. Wave after wave crashed upon the deck, white crests flowing amongst the stunned night elves. It seemed the sirens had used the last of their energy to cast the spell as they lay dead upon the boat's prow. The troops glanced around hopelessly, until "Maelstrom" began to steer the boat expertly through the waves. "You, if any of you have sailing experience then man the deck, and some of you get on the oars below. I've beaten that whirlpool before and I'm damned if I'll lose now to the scum that lurk beneath it" he barked.
So it was after hours of struggle the sea was calm once more, and the boat safe. "How many?" the Admiral asked, glancing around at the devastation. "Twenty four" Myrion said glumly, peering at the kaldorei bodies on the deck, and kicking the corpse of a naga overboard. "We'll see they get a good burial when we return," he added sadly. Soon began the clean up of the boat as the moon lurked high above them. "We should rest" the Admiral stated, realising that they were too fatigued to do anything more. "Keep a few troops on deck to scout" he suggested as he headed into his cabin. In a flash it was over. All the chaos and madness many hours behind them, and no sign of a battle lurked on the ship. Myrion took a seat on the deck of the boat with a firm hand on his sword, watching, and waiting.
Chapter Two Edit
The sky was beginning to clear with the early hours, and the moon was slowly starting to disappear from view. Myrion stared at it intently and got down on his knees. Quietly he said a prayer in Darnassian for his fallen kin to the godess that the moon symbolised. He remained on his knees for a matter of minutes before standing and admiring the beautiful transition of night into dawn. Small rays of sunlight would soon be peeking through the sun and he knew that back in his homeland the grass would be speckled with fresh dew. He was distracted from his thoughts when he heard the door behind him close, he turned to see Admiral Eanler looking at him intently.
"You stayed here all night then?" Maelstrom asked quizzically. Myrion nodded calmly.
"Indeed, I owe them that much," Myrion replied, his brow furrowed and his features stern.
"It wasn't your fault you know, if you must blame anyone then blame the naga," Eanler whispered kindly.
"You're right of course, but no commander enjoys seeing his troops fall," Myrion said sadly.
"Well, get inside brother, you must be frozen, out here all night in the cold," the Admiral laughed.
"It's not so bad, seems the humans made it out to be worse than it is to show off," Myrion smirked slightly.
"Well, breakfast is out, get something down you while you can," Eanler stated seriously. "And get some rest, you'll need it," he added.
Myrion simply nodded.
Upon entering the cabin Myrion's nostrils were greeted with the delicious aromas of fresh fruit, and other traditional foods. He peered around at the three long tables set out parallel to each other, and smiled at the crowd of people socialising and sharing jests with one another. The troops were taking down long draughts of moonberry juice and pinot noir, while the crew were enjoying some flagons of mead, making Myrion's mouth water at the thought of the honey flavoured beverage. He glanced at the table and found bowls filled high with apples, bananas, grapes and melons, and large dishes of truffles and earthroot. He sat himself at the head of the middle table, giving himself a clear view of the room. Carefully he poured himself a goblet of moonberry juice and selected a large loaf of honeybread with some skethyl berries, and some darnassian bleu with a few mushrooms. He ate heartily, clearly hungry from his night's watch, but remained distant from the other elves, staring into his plate sadly, only occasionaly smiling to someone if they managed to catch his eye. After finishing the meal he retired to his cabin seemingly tired at last.
He slept awkwardly, but deeply. He would often roll around and mutter barely audible words in his sleep, his features changing to show expressions of sorrow, joy, anger and admiration as he tumbled into dream after dream. He was awoken sharply after sleeping for several hours.
"Land to the east," a crewman shouted. "Northrend, I'd say no more than ten leagues away." Myrion rubbed his eyes, blinked several times and let out a small yawn. He stretched away his last trace of exhaustion and smiled. Quickly but carefully he placed on his armour and climbed on deck. He strained his eyes in the same direction as the lookout, sure enough he could see the Borean Tundra. His heart leapt and he returned below deck, barking orders at his troops. Soon they were in a tight formation staring fearlessly into the face of the land to come.
Myrion was frowning once again. Not a deep frown, just a faint one. The tide had carried the ship a little of course and away from the port, only a mile or so. They had anchored at a beach nearby and they were now on the shore, if it could be called that, preparing for the expedition.
"Hurry back," Eanler shouted. "We need to turn back at dusk," he added. Myrion nodded.
"We'll be back soon Maelstrom," Myrion smiled broadly, saluting the Admiral. "Right then troops, move out," he commanded, waving behind to the ship's crew.
They had been walking for two hours and they had spotted a hill to the northeast. Already a sentinel was running to its top to scout the area on the other side. Myrion raised a confused eyebrow when he saw the woman run down the slope, as if she'd spotted something.
"Come on," she shouted back. "It's safe." Intrigued Myrion set the unit into a run. At the other side they were greeted by a large drake of the blue dragonflight, a grin on his face Myrion walked confidently down the slope. The drake shone in a beam of white light, and stood before them in the form of a female kaldorei, its favoured guise. It was clearly a highborne elf from the robe and style in which she behaved.
"Ishnu-alah sister," Myrion exclaimed happily.
"Ishnu-alah 'brother'" the dragon replied. Myrion halted intantly. The dragon had spat the last word, a patronising tone in its voice. Myrion raised a hand, indicating for the formation to fall back.
"Is there something wrong, great one?" Myrion replied, peering searchingly at the dragon. The elven guise took on a menacing pose, and spoke back in a shrill voice.
"Great one, you call me now, is it? Strange from you kin."
"Pardon me, but I am confused, we have always been allies," Myrion stated, exchanging a worried glance with some of his troops.
"Allies?" the dragon screeched. "You think that mortals like you can ever be equal to our power? So foolish you all are, tampering with magic as if it is a mere toy, you shall never know its uses. Your magi have become cocky, tapping into the Nether for a simple means of transportation and to send out small balls of flame! Is that the pinnacle of this wonder?" the dragon's guise snickered wickedly.
"Perhaps you are confused in your mind sister, our kin abandoned the use of that curse long ago."
"Confused? CONFUSED?!?! Do you mock me elf? Are you patronising me? Of course, of course the 'noble' night elves NEVER step out of line do they? Or have you forgotten the Sundering? Your kind are the worst offenders! Now look at this world, demons and walking dead litter this land. Are you proud of yourselves? You shall never understand the purpose of the Arcane. I would tear you to shreds right now for your insolence was I not in this form," the dragon smirked.
"Hmm, speaking of your form, it seems quite an ironic one to take on when lecturing us on the misuse of magic," Myrion said quietly, his tone harsh and cynical. He was losing his patience.
"What about you? You have an air of magic about you, I can feel it. Oh yes, I know all about the incident at the Well," the dragon cackled. Myrion flinched, he noticed his troops raise an eyebrow and look at each other questioningly. The dragon continued, "Of course the state of this world is the fault of the Kaldorei! Without YOU the high elves wouldn't exist, and they wouldn't have taught those idiotic humans. Oh, then there are the 'blood' elves too, using fel magic would you believe? How 'clever' of them, well their racial name is very apt for our plans for them!" the elven dragon snarled, teeth bared threateningly. "Can YOU even begin to understand? THE ARCANE WILL DESTROY YOU ALL FOR YOUR ARROGANCE. FOR MALYGOS I WILL DESTROY YOU! The Twisting Nether will consume you, enjoy your dea-"
A sharp whistle from the hill cut off the dragon. "Scourge heading this way, an abomination by the look of it" a kaldorei scout yelled. The dragon turned on its heels and sure enough there in the distance was a large humanoid of pale white skin and dark red flesh stomping towards them, and large two handed axe raised.
"SCOURGE?!?!" the dragon screamed. "How DARE they? If there's one thing I hate more than you mortal magi, then it's the Scourge. Do they think they have a chance against ME? DO THEY TRULY THINK THEY CAN FACE THE WRATH OF CYANGAS? Your 'king' has not foothold in OUR land!" Myrion used this opportunity to fall back from the dragon.
"Fall into battle formation," he whispered quietly. "Archers and druids, I want you to stay on this hill and kill any that come into range of your spells and arrows. Sentinels, and warriors form a triangular barricade, I'll be in the midle of you. Priestesses, I want you off to the side, heal the injured and do all you can to aid in the attack. Wardens and assassins, I want you to go ahead and block them in from behind. Hide as best you can." He turned back to the abomination and saw that the dragon was back in her true form, circling the abomination from the air.
The abomination finally reached them and Myrion gave the command to send a volley of arrows into it. It fell in a matter of seconds.
"Don't drop your guard. There's likely more of the-" and surely enough as Myrion was uttering the warning, he was cut off. Scourge were arising from beneath the snow where they'd been hiding. Myrion frowned, there were hundreds of them. Ghouls, skeletons, ghosts and banshees were advancing upon them at a slow, steady pace. They showed no fear, and no hope of surrendering, they were mere tools. Minions of a maniac. Toys of a tyrant. But most of all, they were dead. That was all that mattered. There was no time to consider the happy, friendly people they had once been, no time to remember their families and towns that had been beacons of hope, no time to remember their life. All that was gone. So much suffering can be caused by one force that it can take a lifetime to come to terms with. To be able to make people ignore simple human emotions for the dead through fear and hatred was beyond the boundries of evil. No word exists in the tongue of any race to describle the horror that it demonstrates. But the kalodrei weren't immortal any more, and they had no time to think about this. In a one skilled action the unit moved as one, and charged into the legion of undead. Hesitance was not an option.
The night elves slashed expertly at the Scourge force. Arrows pierced their skulls, and nature spells pentrated their chests, swords decapitated them and daggers shredded them. But they kept coming. For every fallen undead, three more would advance upon the kaldorei unit. Slowly a deep violet colour surrounded the ground, glowing menacingly, and surrounding the corpses. Confused Myrion looked around for the cause of the magical disturbance. His face fell into shadow as he saw the Lich at the back of the force. He's re-animating the dead. Myrion thought. We've got to stop him, if the ones we've already killed keep coming back then we'll die for sure.
"Bring him down," Myrion yelled. "The Lich, kill him! Now!" Myrion was shouting throught sheer desperation but nothing was happening. Myrion turned to see that all of his troops were engaged in combat. "Please! Kill him, I'm begging you!" he cried out. This time a few heard his plea and spotted the Lich. They sent several volleys towards the Lich, most hitting perfectly on target, but the Lich continued. Myrion dropped to his knees in frustration. Closing his eyes he mouthed one word, through sheer desperation and worry.
He opened his eyes. Cyangas was tearing into the ranks of undead, his claws piercing them. As if in unison with Myrion's prayer the dragon had spun around and dived at the Lich. Sending bolt after bolt of arcane enery towards the lich necromancer, the drake then continued to send his claws deep into the etheral body of the lich. Carrying it into the air Cyangas took the lich into his jaw and closed her eyes as a powerful arcane energy surrounded her. The dragon landed, leaving the lich floating in the air, and began to mutter in draconic. Cyangas opened her eyes suddenly, looking directly at the lich. For a moment it seemed that nothing was happening but then they saw it. Well, heard it before they saw it. The lich began to scream, quietly and eventually into a pitch beyond the strain of kaldorei ears, it was a scream of agony. Slowly the lich began to burn from the inside, engulfed by a blue flame. The lich's pathetic cloth armour fell to the ground and began to dissolve, erradicating itself from existence in quiet mockery of its owner.
Back within the ranks of the kaldorei hope was renewed. With a strength and speed previously unknown to them they began to slice and fire at the undead mutations. Their hope was soon diminished. Cyangas had joined the battle and for a moment they seemed joyful, that was until Cyangas attacked. He was dropping explosions of indigo arcane onto the battle below, but with no direct care whether he attacked kaldorei or Scourge. It is a strange thing to be relieved by the sight of a frost wyrm, especially in the current situation. But that one distraction was enough to make Cyangas forget about the smaller battle below and soar towards his new enemy, surely once a former friend, his own kin even. In hot pursuit of the forst wyrm had been a red dragon, it seemed that it had been following the draconic monstrosity for a long time and was already baring battle wounds, though the wyrm seemed no better.
Rather suddenly both the blue and red dragons swerved from their target; the frost wyrm, and swooped towards each other viciously.
"You!" Cyangas screeched in Draconic. "I thought I'd already killed you, Saeriliasz!"
"That? It was only a scratch," Saeriliasz snickered.
"Leave it be, this wyrm is mine, and then it's the turn of those mortals below!" the blue drake cackled.
"Not this time Cyangas, I won't let you harm them. Can't you see that your leader has gone insane? He doesn't truly hate them, not in his heart," Saerilian spoke calmly.
"LIES!" Cyangas hissed. The pair were interrupted suddenly by the frustrated shriek of a priestess. Turning to her they realised they needed to concentrate on the frost wyrm which was soaring at them from behind. In the air both of them rolled aside as the wyrm narrowly missed them. Each of the three draconic beings snarled, forming a circle growling and flexing their claws menacingly. In unision they swooped at each other and in the sky began a bloody display of slashing, tearing and biting as they battled each other with all their stength. Not caring which of the other two they hit, each one was becoming injured and tired. Around them the air burned white as they added spells into the battle, the orange flames of the red drake, the arcane blasts of the Cyangas, and the sapphire blizzards hailing from the unnamed frost wyrm. Each dragon's scales (or bones) flashed in what little sunlight shone upon them as they manouvered through the air both majestically and murderously.
Below the kaldorei were gaining an advantage over the Scourge easily now. The banshees were dead, as were the ghosts. Only a few ghouls and skeletons remained. The leader of each small group barked orders to their fellow druids, priestesses, or archers alike. After what seemed like an age only about fifty undead remained. The night elves had fallen back to the hill they'd found earlier and held them back with any ranged attack they had. Dirks, arrows and spells hit the Scourge fiends on target, slowly but surely finishing them off. Suddenly those remaining were crushed, as the frost wyrm and Cyangas crashed to the ground headfirst, claws deep inside each other. There was a sickening crunch as their necks snapped, bones broke and blood spilled from the mound of corpses. Seconds later Saeriliasz slowly fell to the ground, onto the base of the kaldorei hill, obviously heavily wounded and deeply fatigued.
"All those able to heal go and help him," Myrion commanded, but his voice was soft and quiet. The priestesses and druids obeyed, channeling the power of Elune and nature into the drake's body. Myrion peered around the battlefield, and back at his unit. He counted carefully, until he realised that only forty seven of the one hundred and thirty kaldorei had survived, and in that moment of shock, he wept. It wasn't long before Saerilian was fully healed, his injuries had been severe to look at, but mostly just flesh wounds, his internal organs were perfectly well. Myrion wiped away his tears and watched the approaching dragon, keeping his hand on his sword, not quite trusting him after the last experience. As the drake approached he entered Myrion's thoughts and spoke to him.
Do not fear me young one. The red flight have not been affected in the same way as our blue-scaled kin. Trust me.
"Why should I?" Myrion worded aloud.
Just trust me. The red flight shall not forget the kind act your race has performed today, we will remain your allies.
Placing a hand to the drake's snout Myrion looked him in the eye. "Thank you," he whispered. With that the drake spread its huge wings, and took to the sky, it hovered among the kaldorei for a while, circled them, and flew off to the north east.
The elves waited until it was out of sight and exchanged a sad look with each other for their brave, fallen bretheren. No spoken command was needed, they all began to return to the boat and when they reached it answered the Admiral's query of the rest of them with a sorrowful stare. Knowingly, Maelstrom raised the anchor and turned the boat to sail home. When they finally docked back at Ru'theran Village they waited silently for everyone to get off the boat and marched into their home city.
A victory they'll call it Myrion thought.