Scourgelady (melee offence officer)
Joined: 17 Oct 2007
|Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:33 am Post subject: Malykris, The Vile Hold
|The silent hallways of the saronite necropolis were vast and labyrinthine, a deadly maze for any would be adventurer who deigned to explore them. Such a place held no fears for death knights, however, weaned as they were upon mortal perils. Fear, pain, terror, agony, suffering - these were meat and drink to those who had been the servants of the Lich King. His darkest fastnesses were as second homes to his knights, and just as familiar.
Shadows fled along this particular gloomy corridor, crawling up the walls and along the floors as an explosion of silent light erupted in the centre of the passageway. A tiny sphere, blue bright as a miniature sun, spun slowly at the source, before expanding into a rippling portal. Just as suddenly, there was noise. Screams, explosions, barked commands, all the din and cacophony of war shattered the eerie silence of the necropolis. Three figures were hurled through the portal in a storm of snow and shards of ice, which just as suddenly as it had arrived, winked out of existence. The noise was shut off with it, leaving only echoes to resonate around the hallway.
Two of the figures sprawled on the floor in a puddle of melting snow, groaning quietly. The third, taller than the others, rolled head over heels and leapt neatly up, twirling excitedly as she landed on her feet.
“That was exciting! Can we go again? Oh say that we can!” Her companions grumbled something non-committal and unflattering towards magi as they checked all their limbs were intact. The tall elven woman drew a cruel curved sword from a sheath at her hip and licked the flat of the blade slowly as she looked around at their surroundings, eyes shining in the gloom.
“Oh, I love it! Seja, my darling, can we steal it away and keep it for our own, for ever and always? Acherus is so dreadfully cobwebby these days.”
“Sela, I would love it if you could put away the little girl persona just for a moment, and bring out the heartless killer. That would be great, thanks.”
Selaphiel changed personalities the way other people changed clothes. Seja sometimes wished she would find more opportune times to regress into a child. Such as when they weren’t in the midst of an enemy stronghold.
Vereth sat up and looked around. “Wonderful. Your lovely sister managed not to send us into the middle of a mountain or a vat of acid. She’s smarter than I gave her credit for. And with the racket we made entering this place, we may as well have sent Arthas a scented letter in a gilt envelope inviting him to tea and scones at noon, hold the plague, no need to R.S.V.P.”
“Oh stop being so dour. And Deva wasn’t smarter, merely sober for once.” Seja crossed the corridor and peered at the runes carved into one of the pillars which lined the walls. “It seems we’re in the fourth eastern hall of the second tier. That’s too high and too close to the hull. We need to go down one level and find a junction, then we can move further inwards. This way.”
Seja pulled a torch from a wall sconce and led the way down the corridor. The din they had caused on entering hadn’t seemed to have caused the attention Vereth had bemoaned. In fact, there was no noise to be heard except for their footsteps. Well, hers and Vereth’s at least. Selaphiel moved like a cat, and just as quietly. Before too long, the passage headed down a wide flight of stairs and branched. The passage they were standing in continued along the line of the floating fortress’ hull. Another struck off directly towards its heart. A set of spiral stairs were at each corner, one heading up, the other down. Seja pondered for a moment, remembering the contents of the letter Darion had sent to her on the march, and the conversation they had had in the Ebon Blade encampment which followed it.
“Selaphiel, you can read Thalassian. Head down to the command level and see if you can find anything relating to a group of scourged elven blood magi called the San’layn.” Mograine had been asking about that. “After you’re done, make your way to the fifth southern chamber of the second deep. Steal a gryphon and head back to the army. Kill anything that tries to stop you.” Seja thought for a moment. “Actually, just kill everything. We will follow after you. Vereth, with me.”
The elf nodded quietly and slipped off into the shadows of the stairwell. Seja headed down the new corridor, towards the centre of the structure, followed closely by her gaunt gloomy companion.
She ran her hand over the smooth blue steel of the wall as they went. “This entire structure … it’s all saronite. Just like the Citadel. If it were ever finished, it would be unassailable by any army.”
“Then let us make haste to ensure that does not come to pass,” the other replied. “The excitable girlish one seemed in great haste to leave when you gave her slaughtering rights. Do you believe there will be that many aboard?”
“In truth I do not know. It is possible that the crew are grounded manning the walls and ramparts below during the battle. There does not seem to be anyone left here at all. Which suits my ends fine. Makes it that much easier for us to reach the bridge.”
“And what do you intend to do once you get there?”
“I don’t know. Fly it away or something. Crash it into the rampart maybe.”
They walked on in silence for a minute or so.
“That’s the least inspiring battle plan I have heard since Grand Marshal Garithos’ day. And it was his battle plan which got me killed, if you must know. Fly it how? I suppose you know how to fly one of these things, do you? That’s assuming it’s even capable of flying in its unfinished state. Not to mention the fact it is chained oh-so-very securely to the walls of the foundry.”
Seja glowered at him. “Well if you have a better idea, then let’s hear it.
“I didn’t say I had a better idea. I merely wished to expose the many flaws in your own. Not that you had an idea of course. A well thought out one, at least. This place will make an attractive mausoleum for us three though, I’ll give you that much.”
“You are an insufferable wretch sometimes, you know that?”
Vereth only smiled at that. “As it happens, I do have a better idea. Well, an idea at least. That is to say, the semblance of an idea. How do you think a thousand tonnes of rock and metal ever flew through the skies, Victrix? Magic, of course, but as always there must be a source. Every necropolis has at its heart an ancient artifact of the Scourge which suffuses the stone and metal of its construction and gives it the ability to soar. This artifact is the heart of the structure in more than just name. Strike it there, and you fell the beast.
“I am Forsaken, but before that I was of Elven kind. We are bound tightly to magic, far more than any other race. Our lives are always characterised by a struggle for control over our desire for it. Our hunger for more. Those who fail to maintain control devolve into the Wretched, seeking only to feed.”
Just get me to it, and I will … release my control.”
Seja was lost for words for a few seconds. It was the longest speech she had ever heard Vereth make, and by far the most disturbing.
“Let me get this straight, you intend to eat the heart of Malykris?”
Vereth said nothing, merely smiling in the shadows of his cowl. “Don’t make faces, child. Your sister made that same face when she looked at me for the first time. But enough prattle, I can smell it. We are here at last.” They passed through an archway into a cavernous vault. The ribbed saronite walls arched overhead into the gloom far above, the expanse of the room empty, unfurnished, but for one thing. A small plinth in the centre of the room. A pulsing orb, suffused with a faint blue glow, spun slowly, suspended above the altar. They drew nearer to it, its eerie glow bathing their faces with soft light.
Vereth smiled. “Run along now, girl. And do give my regards to your sister when you see her again.”
“Wait, what? I can’t just leave you here to die!”
“Who says I intend to die? Besides, your sister would never forgive me if I returned and you did not.” Vereth grinned. “Go quickly, and you should be able to escape the necropolis in time." He turned back and surveyed the glowing blue orb. “I’ve always wanted to do this.”
Seja backed away from her friend reluctantly, “You will tell me about it, won’t you? When you return. About Silvermoon, and the Sunwell, and … well … everything. All this time and I never even knew. Tell me about the magic.”
The Forsaken knight turned and favoured her with a long look. “When I see you again, yes. I will do that. Now go, you nag worse than my mother did. Even after she died.” He turned his back then and clasped his hands behind him, staring intently at the Heart of Malykris. It would be the last Seja ever saw of him, as she turned from the chamber and ran back to the stairs, down to the lower aviaries, back to Selaphiel, the armies and the open air.
Vereth closed his eyes and let the memories take him. The topless spires of his city, the verdant fields of his youth, the countless faces of his friends and family raced by, and then … then there was her face. His hand rested over the glowing orb, the surface rippled and swam around his touch. Anuminiel, that was her name. He would never forget her face, fairest of all elven kind. Or so it had seemed to him, at least.
Passages yawned darkly to either side of Seja, the tiles of the floor echoing to her hurried footsteps, echoing and gathering and multiplying until it seemed she was leading a whole host to war behind her. Stairs came and went as she raced through the deserted necropolis. Passage, stair, passage, stair, chamber, aerie, and then the icy wind was in her hair for the first time in what seemed a thousand years.
“Oh Seja. Remember when I told you I had no intention of dying?” Vereth smiled and plunged his hands into the heart of the orb. “I lied.”
The blue sphere went supernova.