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Gilnean Moon (Epilogue)
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Gilnean Moon (Part 20)
Very few had gathered to see Ivan off, because only a very few still cared for the eldest Jeret. Krennan had come, as had Sergeant Cleese and three soldiers that had been a part of Ivan’s regiment before it was torn to shreds by the worgen – in fact, they were the only ones left, all others were killed there in the headlands or later when they had become worgen. A handful of Royal Guard soldiers were present to make sure Ivan’s exile was carried out properly; by setting Ivan on his personal boat and using small ships of their own to follow him to a point of no return off of the Gilnean coast, from which they would watch him and make sure he did not attempt to turn his boat around and return to Gilneas. A boat, which if Krista had her way she would be on as well.
“I refuse to let you throw away your life because of my mistake,” Ivan said to her. “Gilneas needs
, not some… display of yours to try and make them see the error of their ways! What happens to me out there is inconsequential, what matters is that Gilneas is defended and its people are protected.”
“’Inconsequential?’” Krista repeated bitterly. “Your life, the life of my brother, is
? To you maybe, but not to me, not to our parents! If they were alive they would tell you otherwise, if they were alive they would had done the same thing I did!”
“Krista,” Blaine said, repeating the same thing he had said to her after Ivan’s trial, “you can do more if you stay here than you can with this show of defiance. Together we-.”
“No, Blaine, we can’t,” Krista said, cutting him off and turning to face him. “Godfrey will make sure that King Greymane’s ruling will not be changed, and his pet Lords in the east will help him to do it.” “Pet lords” was what Krista had started to call Ashbury and Walden because of their supporting of him and the prosecution. “The only thing we can do to show them they were wrong is for us all to leave Gilneas, only after we’re gone will they understand the mistake they made.”
“Krista-,” Blaine began another sentence, not knowing what he would say but hoping the words would come to him, but Krista cut him off once again.
“If you want to stay to try your pointless attempts to change their minds yourself, then so be it, but the only thing that will show them their error is time with our absence.”
“I’m not going to let you do this, Krista,” Ivan said. “We both know I can stop you from boarding that boat.”
“Then I’ll swim my way into exile,” Krista retorted. “And if I drown, so be it.”
Ivan had no response for that.
“Ivan… I can’t stay here anyway,” Krista said, her voice suddenly losing all of the power and authority she had mustered to convince her brothers that her decision was final and dropping into a sorrowful, piteous tone, her face dropping to stare at the ground. “I’m just like you, even if the people don’t know it yet. I killed those soldiers; I tore them apart into pieces too small to sate a rat’s appetite… And unlike you, I remember every detail of it. It happened so fast, it was all over so quick, but every second of the slaughter is burned into my mind.”
She looked back at her brother, salty tears in her eyes. “I could lose control again, I know I would lose control again, this… thing inside of me; this monster, this creature, this disease, it’s stronger than I was, for all my arcane training, for all my noble upbringing, I turned into a creature worse than the undead. And when I lose control again, I don’t want it to be anywhere in Gilneas, anyplace where I could hurt our people.”
She… Light-damnit! She was right; Ivan knew it, Blaine knew it, and she knew it. For whatever reason, Blaine was the only one, the only one of them who could control his worgen half. He didn’t understand it, Krennan was still scratching the surface trying to understand it, but it was true. He was the only one who, in the end, could be trusted amongst them. “Fine,” Ivan grudgingly admitted defeat.
“Surely you jest,” Blaine said in disbelief.
Ivan walked closer to his little brother and clamped his hands on his shoulders. “We’re not fit to be in Gilnean society, Blaine. We’re both worse than murderers; we’re monsters. We’re creatures of evil that don’t deserve to be a part of the civilized world, and I’m not sure I even deserve to live for what I’ve done.”
“Ivan, don’t talk like that!” Blaine said. “There is still hope! Krennan may still find a cure!”
“And what of the time before he does; what if he doesn’t?” Ivan shook his head. “Until we’re rid of this curse, we are best as far away from every other living being as possible.”
“There has to be a way for you to control it!” Blaine pleaded. “Some way for you to… I don’t know! Accept the worgen and use it towards your advantage!”
“And live the rest of my life as a monster?” Ivan glared at his brother and then shook his head. “No, Blaine, this is not something anyone should have to bear, this is not to scar we simply have to wear. This is a curse, this is a disease; and like any disease, this infection must die.” He looked to Cleese. “Sergeant, take care of my little brother.”
“I owe you more than that, Lord Jeret,” Cleese said with a salute, and the other three soldiers saluted as well. “I won’t let anything harm him; on my life and my honor I swear this.” Cleese then took a large backpack from one of the soldiers and walked up to Ivan. “Here, I took the liberty of… relieving the armory of this, I don’t think they’ll miss it.”
Ivan took the bag, which weighed several pounds, and opened it. Inside was a set of undamaged Gilnean armor, as well as a sword and a shield that looked to be in perfect condition as well. “Thank you, Sergeant,” Ivan said. Cleese smiled as saluted again, which Ivan this time returned, before turning and walking back to stand alongside his fellow soldiers.
Then Krennan walked up and handed a much lighter sack to Krista, which made a clinking sound as he passed it to her. Inside were numerous syringes and vials of a light blue potion. “Krennan,” Krista started in shock, realizing what the Royal Alchemist had just handed her.
“I counted out a full year’s supply of my treatment,” Krennan said as Krista’s sentence trailed off. “I also included the potion’s formula as well; hopefully you will be able to find an alchemist capable of creating it exactly right.”
“Thank you, Krennan,” Ivan said.
“I… I shouldn’t… I can’t…” The alchemist sighed. “Just know this; King Greymane feels for your plight. I will do my best to help Blaine convince the courts to discount your sentencing, and I know the king will use all of his influence to try and do the same.”
Krista doubted his words, but nodded her thanks all the same.
“Lord and Lady Jeret,” one of the Royal Guards walked up to the convicted man and self-exiled woman, “you must leave now. We the authority to execute you for noncompliance with the orders of the court and are pledged to carry them out without hesitation.”
convince the courts of your innocence, Ivan! I swear this on the Ligh!”
The eldest Jeret embraced his brother, then left to walk down the dock without a word.
Krista also hugged her younger brother. “Be careful of Godfrey,” she said to him. “He’s not the person he was before the worgen curse spread across Gilneas. He… he’s become something dark, something even more evil than the worgen themselves.”
“I don’t trust him either, Krista,” Blaine assured her. “I will keep an eye on him, two if he tries anything to make this worse.” Krista squeezed her brother one last time and then followed Ivan down towards the boat that would take them into exile.
On the start of the dock, Blaine watched them prepare to leave…
On the start of the docks, Blaine watched them prepare to leave. All of Gilneas’ citizenry was boarding the night elf vessels their venerable saviors had arrived on, preparing to escape this land and leave it for the war raging across it to continue to ravage it like wolf tearing into a deer carcass.
All of their struggles, their sacrifices, for all of the boons they had been blessed with and
they had failed.
they were forced to flee from this land with their tails tucked between their legs like a dog. He knew it was the only safe course of action, but he despised it for that, despised their failure, and most of all: despised the undead for what they were forcing them to do.
Three weeks after Ivan had Krista had left for exile they had been contacted by the night elves: the ancient progenitors of the entire elven race, and, as they explained to the Gilneans, the originators of the worgen curse as well. Already allied with the elves were worgen which the night elves had aided in returning their sanity to through magic; worgen, who amongst their numbers was Darius Crowley and many members of his Northgate Rebellion.
The elves and the Gilneans had then worked together to fight back the undead and retrieve a legendary artifact the night elves called “the Scythe of Elune” – Elune, as Blaine had later learned, being the night elves’ moon-goddess. They had also dealt with the last of the feral worgen, who had aligned themselves with the Forsaken for Light-only-knew what end, leaving Gilneas truly free of their terror at long last; and the Forsaken without the lupine allies to assist them, leaving them vulnerable to a counterattack. More importantly: the night elves had granted to the Gilneans something even better than a cure for their affliction; a way to control it. Through the magic of their goddess they brought peace to the raging conflict within the cursed Gilneans, combining their worgen and human halves into something more.
Blaine looked down at his clawed hand – as he was currently in his worgen form – and clenched it into a fist, the feeling his muscles tensing all the way up his arm. When he had first turned back into a worgen so very long ago after the destruction of Duskhaven he had felt stronger than he ever had before, but what he felt now was utterly incomparable to that. He felt more powerful, he felt like his soul and body were more in tune with one another than they ever had been; even before the worgen. He could not speak for all of Gilneas, but what had happened to them was now apparent to be more of a blessing than ever before.
But that was not all; he felt different in the very core of his being, like a completely different person. It was not subtle either; it was not just a change in the way he held himself, or even in her personality, he saw the world differently, thought about things differently, experienced things differently than he had before the night elves’ ritual; the same things – foods, smells – but different personal reactions to them. Whatever he had become – whoever, he had become even – it was a person he was unfamiliar with. And yet, one that he felt was more him than he had been.
Shortly after the night elves had assisted the afflicted with the curse, Godfrey – of all people,
– had arrived and commanded all of the worgen-turned Gilneans and the elves to return to the war, citing Gilnean law regardless of the fact that it held no jurisdiction over the night elves. Then King Greymane himself had arrived, and made a revelation that had shocked everyone.
He too had been afflicted with the worgen condition, since long before even the worgen takeover of Gilneans had even begun.
This boosted the moral of many, even of the non-afflicted Gilneans, but for Godfrey and those who supported him, it meant only a new, dark path had to be taken. With the aid of Baron Ashbury and Lord Walden, Godfrey had kidnapped King Greymane with the intention of holding him for ransom. He believed that if he turned Genn over to the Forsaken, that they would depart and leave Gilneas be. The logic had made no sense to Blaine when he had learned of Godfrey’s plan, but he had quickly realized that the logic of a madman needed no basis in reality; and Godfrey had clearly lost his mind, betraying his own people to side with the undead.
His treasonous plot was short lived, however. With Krennan’s assistance they had been able to slay Godfrey’s supporters, but when they had confronted Godfrey with the intention of capturing him for a trial – admittedly, this had been Blaine idea; and had most certainly been fueled by his want for revenge against Godfrey for his brother’s exile. Before they could arrest him, however, Godfrey took his own life.
“No… I’d sooner
than have one of
for king!” he had exclaimed, then flung himself over a cliff to his demise on the rocky shore below. No effort was made to attempt to retrieve the body; the precipice was too steep for anyone to climb down and to use a boat to retrieve the body would have taken too much time. It didn’t matter whether they had a body or not, though; he was dead, and Gilneas had a war that needed to be ended.
With the aid of Crowley’s worgen and the night elves, Liam had led not just the armies, but the very people of Gilneas in a battle to reclaim Gilneas City, one which collimated with them entrapping the undead’s vile leader; an elf named Sylvanas Windrunner. Before they could end her for her crimes against Gilneas, humanity, and nature itself, she used some dark magic to incapacitate every last one of them. One woman stopped an entire civilization in its tracks. Whatever dark forces were at play were beyond anything Blaine had seen before.
She had then readied an arrow to slay King Greymane, and let it fly. Before it could reach the king, however, Laim had leapt in front of his father, taking the arrow for him. Windrunner had then fled, leaving a grieving Genn to hold his dying son in his arms.
Shortly after this it came to their attention that he undead were preparing some weapon of theirs – called the “Blight” – to destroy all of Gilneas city. The decision had fallen to Genn; they could either avenge Liam’s death and possibly stop the advance of the Forsaken with the death of their mistress, or flee Gilneas city; saving the lives of thousands but also letting the so called “Banshee Queen” escape.
Genn decided to honor his son’s memory, and so an evacuation was set underway while a small force did their best to distract the Forsaken army advancing upon the city.
After fleeing through a tunnel underneath the city to Aderic’s Repose, the night elves had left the citizenry to Keel Harbor for the second phase of the evacuation while Genn, Crowley, and the other nobility of Gilneas holding a funeral for Liam as he was laid to rest within the cemetery.
After the service, Blaine had taken a moment to look to the south, towards his home. He had known only this place for so long, this was the only place he had called home, and now… Now he had to leave it.
He was pushed forward as someone roughly pushed past him, breaking him from his flashbacks. He looked at the large worgen that had moved past him, and the worgen looked back at him and snarled. Blaine was unsurprised.
The worgen was Henry Denson. After Ivan had left for his exile, Denson had been in a permanent state of rage and frustration, lashing out at those around him. It had cost him his commanding role in the military, and eventually cost him his place in the Gilnean military altogether. And for each of these things, Henry Denson had only continued to blame Ivan.
Shortly after meeting Crowley and the Gilneans experiencing the night elves’ ritual, he had approached Crowley, and with his aid, infected himself with the worgen condition. Blaine knew why, even though Denson never spoke of his reasons. Denson was intending to use the curse to get his revenge on Ivan, to have the strength to kill the body of the man who raped and murdered his wife. Blaine doubted that Crowley had aided him for that reason, and doubted that he had known of Denson’s vendetta before giving him the worgen curse, but that was regardless. Blaine had kept his eye on Godfrey before the Lord’s death, now he would keep a watch on Denson.
But he had not forgotten his promise to his siblings; he had so far had no chance to speak with the Gilnean Justices about the matter in any regard. Once he was away from this war, though, maybe he would finally have a chance to talk to them and convince them of his brother’s innocence; to have them overturn his punishment and let him return to Gilnean society, and, when it was safe to do so again, home to Gilneas.
“Lord Jeret,” a soldier said, approaching Ivan. “It is time, you can’t dawdle any longer.”
Blaine nodded. He took one last look around him, took in one more breath of his homeland’s air…
“Milord,” the soldier said, “we must go now.”
Blaine exhaled, and then nodded. “Of course, excuse me.” He advanced forward, towards the boat that would save him and Gilneas from the horror of the war and the undead; that would take him away from his homeland. Crowley and his men, along with several hundred Gilnean soldiers, had volunteered to remain behind and continue to battle the Forsaken alongside whatever reinforcements King Greymane and their new night elf allies could send to aid them. The Alliance of which the elves had told them of, Stormwind, Ironforge, and so many other peoples all united under one banner against the Horde, would aid them, if they pledged their allegiance to it.
If that is what it took, Blaine would be more than happy to oblige.
Even with this possibility of hope, he was saddened by the thought of departing from this land more than he had been depressed by anything ever before, but he also could not help but wonder with something of wide-eyed anticipation: what kind of future lay in store for him?
Morec brought Armageddon down. The massive runeblade cleaved through the armor, flesh, and bone of the Scarlet Crusader, and became stuck in the man’s upper torso. With an irritated growl he put one foot against the crusader’s chest and pushed him away while simultaneously pulling on his sword with both hands. After a few seconds of effort the blade tore free of the man’s body, releasing several pints of blood to spill onto the grass of the grounds surrounding the Scarlet Monastery.
Using what little momentum the pull gave him, the death knight pulled his sword up and brought it down again; the blade crashed into the shield of a crusader who had raised his arm to block the blow. The attack did not break through the shield, but it did shatter the bone of the arm that held it, forcing the crusader to lower his defense and opening him up to a wave of necromantic magic from Morec that washed over and rotted him from the inside out. The death knight then turned his icy-blue gaze – which was glowing with a greater intensity than usual – towards his next target and advanced.
Vrem popped the head of a mage from afar with a single shot, blood splattering all over the caster’s nearby fellows before they too were killed; this time torn apart by Marrow while Rottalon held their attention by swooping down upon them and clawing or pecking at their eyes with her talons or beak. The mages quickly resolved themselves that the bird, although attacking much more frequently and getting in the way of their spellcasting, was not as much of a threat as the hound; but before they could do anything to stop it Vrem had riddled their corpses with bullets.
A warrior charged at the hunter, shield rose to block against any incoming shots from him. Vrem grabbed the man’s shield and used it as a lever to swing him around onto the ground, pulling the defender off of his arm at the same time. The warrior was back on his feet in no time at all, and charged the undead with sword raised, but Vrem took his hatchet and parried the blow before sticking the blade into the Scarlet’s arm with a satisfying “slck.” He then pulled a woodcutters axe off of his back and brought it down with all of his might, splitting the warrior’s skull like a log. Another warrior, this one wielding a large claymore, charged the hunter to avenge her brother’s death, but Vrem responded by pulling one of his pistols from its holster and firing it at point-blank range into the woman’s face.
Archers rained down a volley of arrows upon them, but with Morec’s heavy armor he had no cause to worry, and Vrem merely raised his arm to protect his skull from the projectiles. The hunter then pointed his rifle at the archers and squeezed the trigger, holding it back to fire off shot after shot at the archers. The automatic barrage of bullets tore through their light armor and slaughtered nearly all of them within seconds. Vrem pulled out the spent ammunition slip from his weapon and fitted another one in. Those who survived Vrem’s assault were pulled to the death knight by his unholy power, and quickly dealt with only a few slashes of his blade.
A new wave of soldiers, surely one of the last, charged down upon them, intent on surround and bringing the fight to them within melee range. Before either Vrem or Morec could raise a hand to stop them, they had surrounded the death knight like a furious mob surrounding a condemned man and forced him onto the ground. He lost his grip on his Armageddon as they did this, and so was unable to fight back blade-for-blade as they stabbed at him with their steel. Of course; he needed not a weapon to kill them all.
Icy spikes formed off of him and grew at a tremendous rate, piercing outwards into the soldiers, impaling them upon the thick icicles and mixing frozen water with blood. Morec shoot, the ice break off of him and falling to the ground alongside the bodies of the crusaders they penetrated.
Those who had not assaulted Morec had attacked Vrem, a much easier fight for them it would seem. But even with their superior numbers Vrem’s greater agility and skill gave him an advantage over them. He dodged and weaved in and out of them, firing his pistol into their hearts of cutting their throats with the heavily-sharpened blade of his axe. Blood spilled down the crimson armor of the Scarlet’s, dying the white of their tabards even redder than the flame they sported, and mixed with the blood of the other fallen on the ground. And so ended another wave of living.
“Form up! Don’t attack them one at a time! The Light will protect us!” Scarlet Paladins, in all their vaunted glory and might, stood like a wall preventing their advance up the path and hill behind the monastery. Like any “true defenders of the innocent,” they had stayed out of the battle until the very last moment; at which point they simply stood to prevent any others from being harmed. “You will not pass us, undead! The priest’s ceremony will be completed without interruption!”
Morec glared at the paladins then looked around him, eyeing the corpses of the Scarlet Crusaders with maniacal intent. He raised Armageddon above his head like he was holding a banner for all to see, and channeled his power through the blade. Necromantic energy as black as night shot from the weapon like bolts of lightning, arcing into the ground and the corpses that littered it; slowly, the bodies of the fallen crusaders began to rise, along with the buried fallen as well.
The paladins were not moved by this, they had seen the same trick, many times before by every other unholy necromancer. Morec lowered his blade to point at the paladins, the dark magic still striking out towards them but never harming any of them, and with a silent, motionless command, the sent his newly-raised minions to charge. The paladins braced themselves for the attack to come, shields and weapons raised to defend against the wave and then strike back at it. But the charging undead were not all they had to worry about.
Rotten hands burst through the ground directly beneath them, grabbing at their legs and armor and tearing at them, ripping of chunks of plate metal at they continued to pull themselves out of the dirt. The paladins were shocked and surprised by this, some even cried out in terror, and broke their defense to back up or strike at the emerging undead. But it was all for naught; for while the paladins attempted to defend themselves from threats from below, the approaching wave of undead collapsed upon them.
Dead-cold skeletal or meaty hands grasped at the bodies of the living, tearing off armor where there still was some and ripping out meaty chunks where there was none. The paladins, disarmed and outnumbered, and too terrified now to even seek the light for aid, could do nothing but watch at they were dissected alive. Their organs were pulled out, their intestines ripped from their bellies and thrown over the trees like in a child’s prank, and their fingers, toes, and any other extremities were broken off from their bodies and chewed on by the undead; people whom these paladins had once called friends and brothers and sisters in arms were now devouring them alive.
Morec and Vrem just watched the carnage, the death knight grinning darkly at it while Vrem maintained his usual apathy. The hunter then looked at the death knight; “we have no time for this.” Morec looked at his comrade, and nodded in agreement. With a snap of his fingers he sent a mental command to his minions, and his risen soldiers carried it out; tearing the heads off of the paladins and throwing them to roll down the hill. The two undead then sprinted up the hill towards their goal, leaving a marsh of blood and bodies in their wake.
The priest standing behind the alter hand the palms of his hands pressed against each other in his silent prayer, undisturbed by the events that had been transpiring around him. His prayers were jarringly interrupted as dark energy wrapped roughly around the old-man’s throat and pulled him into the air. It then yanked him back towards the earth, slamming him into the ground and then dragging him; face first, to the feet of the death knight, who stopped a plate-armored foot on the old man’s chest.
Where is she
?” Morec yelled at the old priest. “Where is the sorceress you kidnapped from Brill days ago?
! Tell me now or I’ll strip the flesh from your muscle and send you for a swim in leech-infested waters!” He brought his foot up and then slammed it back down again. Prompting a cough from the old man which spat up blood. “Answer me!” he demanded once more.
“You’re… you are too late,
,” the old man said, blood bubbling up past his lips to trickle down into the grass one drop at a time. “The ceremony is complete; her soul now rests in the beyond; as it should. And you will never have her back, not now; my work has seen to it that she will never have to fear being brought back by your unholy machinations. She is free of her curse.”
Morec again lifted his foot off of the priest and then lunged down upon him, grabbing his face in his hands and lifting him up by his head. “You want to see a
, old man,” the death knight growled at the priest. “You want to see something truly horrific? Let’s see just
I can do to you.”
The death knight pumped wave after wave of necromantic magic into the priest’s body, causing the old man to scream out in a pain unlike anything he had ever dreamt of before. The magic twisted his body and boiled his skin, leaving large green and purple puss globules all over his body as his flesh and bone twisted in opposite directions of each other, his muscles pulling apart from his skin and bone to form three layers completely detached from each other. His eyes sunk impossibly deep into his skull, to the point they were barely even visible, and all white was lost from them; replaced with a hazy green-yellow color.
His limps twisted at awkward and unsymmetrical angles, altering their positioning sometimes even all the way up his arm. Even his mouth was altered by the necromantic magic; his jaw and teeth jutting out further to hang outside of his mouth at different lengths, where they twitched involuntarily at random intervals. Morec finished his work and then tossed the hideously deformed creature to the ground, where it lay with its legs twisted into disgusting angles, unable to stand or even move from its spot. For whatever shot, miserable life it had left in front of it, it would a creature more disgusting than anything in Azeroth.
The death knight then approached the altar the old priest had been standing behind. Upon its decorated stone surface was Sithia’s body, as still as a corpse should have been. Silently, the death knight picked up his lover and turned to descend down the hill, Vrem followed in silence.
The living priest’s words had proven to be all too terribly true. Her soul had been completely detached from her body, and was lost somewhere within the Void beyond any hope of retrieving it, not even by the greatest priest of the Shadow the Forsaken had. Unable to do anything to save her, Morec and Vrem had reluctantly laid their fallen companion’s corpse to rest within the Brill cemetery, in a grave adorned with Gloomweed.
Vrem had stayed only to see the last of the dirt filled into Sithia’s grave then he had departed for lands unknown, saying nary a word to the death knight as he left. Morec had been left alone to stand by the grave, and he had stood here for several days now. He didn’t move, he turn, he didn’t even blink, he just stood with stock stillness, staring and the freshly-filled hole with an unreadable expression of blank on his face.
On the thirteenth day, he finally blinked, and several hours later he turned and walked through the cemetery gates back into Brill. There he looked up at the midnight sky…
“Well, we can’t go back to Gilneas, Merciless will have us executed if we do. So what now?”
“Hey! What if we were to find a random group of adventurers and join them for comedic purpose? It would be hilarious!”
“Hmm,” Morec hummed around, eyes rising curiously at the thought.
“Nah, too much work for the time being; ‘sides, all the current groups of adventurers are overpowered as hell; we’d be like Chuck Norris at a Bruce Lee convention.”
“True…,” Morec again said. “Could always try to make our own group, though; maybe find some shmuck attempting to keep his worgen-girlfriend safe from everything and its mother, or something.”
“Or we could work to stop a dark orc warlockess from bringing about the end of the world, in the meantime ruining plans for a second invasion of the Silithid sometime after Deathwing’s fall.”
“Maybe we could even contribute to the rise of a worgen back leader who later has a deus ex machina face-heel-turn to try and make him a good guy even after he had previously done some pretty mess up chizz?”
“OR! We could go visit Sithia!”
“Yeah! You might have broken up and she might have gotten you to finance that house of hers in the Plaugelands, and she might be sleeping with your brother, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends!”
Morec blinked. “I… I don’t have a brother…”
“Hurray! Silver lining!”
“Damn skippy it is! Let’s go!” The death knight summoned and mounted Deathcharger, and turned the skeletal horse to face the east and spurred it in the sides, sending the undead beast galloping off towards he Plaguelands as fast as its skeletal legs could send it.
Am I relieved to finally be finished with this? Most definately! I'd say I'm sad it's over, but I really doubt all that many of you cared
much about this to this to warrent that much of a response. Given I haven't done one of these since Part 13 I've got a lot to cover. I'll start at the aforementioned part and go from there:
I decided to take a different approach to how I was writting these. Before I simply sat down and wrote whatever came to mind first, the same tactic I used when writting The Frozen North. I decided, though, that since I didn't want this to extend into anything longer than a two-chapter series I needed to make sure I could write down all nessescary events without going over. So I wrote up a plan for what events I wanted each part to convey up to the final moments of the story. Whether or not the story was better for it I'll let you decide, but I personally felt that if I had used this method with TFN it would have been better than the Star Wars prequel-like letdown I feel it became.
Part 13 is also where we see a massive divide start to form between the Jeret siblings because of the Curse and how it affected each of them. We also see a followup to the excluded undead scene I mentioned in
there was a massive time-jump. Given so many people had played through it, I elected not to use the "escape-by-carriage" quest-based route I had taken to in other posts, instead deciding to break off and use my own events to tell the exact same thing, as well as set up the revelation of the Gilnean worgen to the Forsaken. It also introduced Faldrun Jawtaker, a minor character in this story but an important one for those who payed any attention to the history of a certain undead organization of my creation. More imporantly; the page also detailed the still-growing rift between the Jeret siblings, which subtly lends itself to their ultimate fate.
Ahh, next if
and the introduction of Bloodhowl - unnamed except for the mention of his "Blood-curdling howl." Say what you will, I still believe that is the most clever thing in all of this. The mental shift to Bloodhowl happens along with the physical one this time, along with the usual body changes we see a differing mindset for the eldest Jeret; he's more brutal now, similarly to what we saw in Part 12 taken up to eleven now that he's given it - albeit unwillingly - to the worgen transformation. The most clear evedence of this is the casual pace Bloodhowl takes to everything, especially speech. I wanted it to seem not like he was having to relearn things, but more like he already knew everything but still needed to put things in place, more like someone was dazed after waking up from a deep sleep. I drew on inspiration from an event in my youth, but that's a side-matter. Also we see the gap between the siblings heal over somewhat, but devide even further in other ways.
is a more casual jump forward. Bloodhowl's now near-fully integrated his human's memories into his personality, he now speaks more quickly and fluidly, but there are still some points where he has to pause for a thought. I think I left those in to keep readers reminded he wasn't exactly Ivan anymore, but looking back they might have been unnesescary. We're also introduced to Henry Denson - a replacement for Denis "Lobo" Hendricks at Adamsm's request. I feel I changed the name enough to no one hearing either name would make a connection between the two, but left them still similar enough to hint at the history of the relationship between the two. Along with his introduction comes another peak into a still-healing mind of a recently-transformed worgen, which I suppose clarrifies my earlier thoughts on the matter. We are also given the most clear-cut view of Vrem's Lupophobia (fear of wolves) I could think to provide, as well as a brief glimps at the origin of the idea for the Necrohunters.
More importnantly, though, is the conversation between Bloodhowl and King Greymane about the use of worgen. Now, given what we see in the Worgen starting area there it seems the worgen were simply let loose immediately to help with the war effort. This seemed a little odd to me, given the fear they had been viewed with untill that point, so I decided to rewrite it a little and make their inclusion in the war effort against the Forsaken come later but be much more effective - similarly to how after Crowley's worgen joined them they were able to assault and nearly win back Gilneas City.
... Dear god Part 17. This gives us the iconic Bloodhowl moment, that part that really defines his character and sets the Jerets where they all end up by the end of their tale. I knew I had to keep it PG, so I didn't go into much depth aside from setting up the events and letting the readers realize where they led on their own. To fully put her out of the way, I thew in Morec, House of Rivendare, to kill and eat her to give Denson a little more reason to despise Bloodhowl (beliving that he not only raped, but then also killed his wife). I decided to make Pamela Denson a Harvest Witch because it seemed interesting, and the name and physical appearence were based on Pamela Ivy (aka: Poison Ivy) after that decision was made for a little bit of Fourth Wall humor. Further of that humor came with the realization that Morec had spoken with both of his inner voices earlier in the series when he's only supposed to have one at the time. Instead of retconning this and giving him both immediately, which would have destroyed hte impact of further events, I invoked Morec's original
nature to make it seem pefectly normal. I think it worked.
pushes the events that lead to Ivan's exile to a tipping point, only to pull it back just before it falls over the edge with a Forsaken attack. This, in my mind, was the perfect setup for the tension between the Jeret Siblings vs. Godfrey and Denson in the later pages. I think I meant to add more to this part than I did, but I forget what I missed.
Stormglen was the perfect setup for the Climax of the story that started up in
; it's so close to the night elves and their assisting the worgen that it becomes tragic Ivan was exiled so soon, and the on-the-coast location was the perfect spot for the exile to take place. It also gives us a long-awaited reveal of Blackbite; more animal than any other Gilnean worgen, and fully obidiant to her brother, Bloodhowl; as well as giving us the clearest look at how Bloodhowl views his siblings when they're in human form. It also gives us one last look at Vrem and Morec as they return to Tirisfal Glades on their rescue mission, as well as providing a little bit of interesting depth for Vrem. He was torn between rescuing Sithia and staying with the Forsaken Army, even if for just a second. Could it be that the later death of the Forsaken mage had as much of an impact on him as it did his death knight companion?
When the time for
came I knew I had to handle it with the most delicate care possible. This was it, where everything goes down, the big showdown; not one of actions but of words and events. If it was too over the top it wouldn't seem believable and the impact would be lost, too subtle and the the effect would happen; not to mention I had a guideline for how my idea of Gilnean courts worked laid out for me early in the first Chapter. I think I managed to do everything just right, the emotions - especially Ivan's, who had felt a lot of the events going on around him but never had a serious breakdown untill now - were right on spot in my mind. Everything can always use improvement, though, and I'm sure there were a number of points that could have been alter there.
And lastly, we come to this; the final events, the end of it all. I had hoped to fit all of the worgen epilouge into one post and all of the Forsaken one into another, but sadly that didn't work out. There was a lot I needed to cover to make sure everything was right where it started up when I first introduced the characters to the board; the eldest Jeret's leaving together, Blaine's interest in night elven culture, Hendrick/Denson's bloodthirsty desire for revenge. There were two big events in this, for me:
For the Worgen it was the reveal of Denson's final fate; how he infected himself with the worgen curse to aid him in his hunt for vengeance and the creature he had become as a result. I wasn't sure wether or not to take the exact same route Adamsm had taken with Hendricks or not, so I decided to just keep it sublte and let the readers decide for themselves, exactly, what the manner of Denson's infection was. Speaking of which: there is a Disturbed refference in the first part of the Worgen epilouge. It was a refference I had in mind for a while, so I knew i had to use it before this ended. Took me a while to get the wording just right so that it worked, but I think it turned out fine.
The second big event came in the Forsaken epilouge; and that is Morec's final mental breakdown. It ends the series on a comedic note, yes, but when you really look at it there is a heavy dose of Fridge Sorrow in it for you: Sithia's death broke Morec's mind so badly that he can't even accept she is dead. He's had to make up a new reality for himself in which she's alive but no longer with him. Undead have never been shown to have that much emotion left within them, but Morec has always been an expection to most undead since I introduced him.
I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it. I have nothing more to add, so I'll leave it at that. Have a great life and always look towards the future - but not so far as you're deathbed, that's gets weird.
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