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A Full Circle
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The continent: Kalimdor. The location: the Battlescar in the Southern Barrens.
Battle between the Alliance and Horde forces here has been like something out of a nightmare. The heat, the blood, the insectoid-monsters that crawl from beneath the skin earth to devour both dead and wounded alike, and of course the ever-present thought that each moment might be your last, that the enemy might charge and you may not be one of the lucky ones to survive.
But he had no fear of any of these things. Even hell on Azeroth held no threat or menace for him, he had already experienced two different hells than this; both far more terrifying in their own ways than this one could ever hope to be. For all of its heat, for all of its creatures, this land held not a candle to either the Plaguelands or Icecrown.
William Morec – once known as Scourgelord, now merely known as death knight of the Alliance – had looked into the true face of fear, and nothing in this cold-forsaken waste of heat and sand bore any resemblance to it.
The death knight flew over the land on the back of his frost wyrm, Azulagosa – one of the few things he had been able to maintain control over after being freed from the Scourge’s grasp, due in part to the demise of Arthas – surveying the ground that passed beneath him. The battle between the factions in the Scar had subsided for now, but that was no cause for William to rest. He was undead, he did not need to; and he had made a promise to the one he loved the most, and he would not pause for even a moment before he had fulfilled it.
Beneath him the ground was still, motionless as the corpses the laid upon one another in layers at the bottom of the pits. Not even silithid were present to feast upon the meal given to them by the bloodshed between the Alliance and Horde.
And it was for this reason William kept searching. Never before had they passed up the banquet to dead, not even in his presence. Something else was driving them off, and the death knight shuddered to think what it might be.
Finally he spotted movement. It was barely anything, a corpse rolling off of a pile. This could have been caused by anything; a tremor in the earth, a shift in the wind even, but it was also the only lead he had to work upon and so urged Azulagosa to land on a cliff upon the scar. The frost wrym did this with as much subtly an undead dragon could, and William dismounted to proceed into the depths of the Battlescar on foot; he dismissed his mount back into the shadows as he descended.
As he delved downwards a voice came into earshot. It was male and echoed, exactly like his; and in its base it was rasping and dry. “You know, if everyone just stop fighting and worked together, they would be able to turn this world into a paradise,” the owner of the voice said to himself. There was a pause. “Well… yeah, you’re right, and I do love these free meals they leave lying around.” Another pause. “Hmm, not a bad idea; I really haven’t visited Sithia for a while. It would be a nice break from the routine of finding adventurers to ignore.”
William peak around a corner formed by the rock; a large pile of corpses composed of members from either faction had been collected, and on the top of this pile sat another death knight wearing armor featuring what the Alliance death knight could only identify as demonic clowns of some sort. It took another moment for him to realize it, but the death knight was also far more rotten than any others the Alliance took in. He was clearly one of the Forsaken.
Taking his sword in hand, William stepped from around the cliff and approached the death knight. “By the order of the Alliance,” he announced as he strode towards the Forsaken death knight. “I hereby condemn you to death for crimes against King Varian Wyrnn and nature.” It always struck him as ironic when he said that; he himself was a crime against nature, after all.
The Forsaken death knight looked up with a start to blink confusedly at the death knight approaching him. “What the… who are
?” he asked in the most confused tone William had ever heard from a Forsaken. “What are you doing… ah? You have come to join me in a meal in celebration of this free meal, provided most graciously by the Alliance and Horde?”
“No,” the death knight replied monotonely. “I am here to destroy you in the name of the Alliance.”
William charged and swung his runed sword down over his head to cleave the Horde death knight in half. All he struck, though, was the mound of corpses as the Forsaken rolled off of the pile and out of harm’s way. He grabbed a massive runeblade – a weapon as large as himself – and lifted if onto his shoulder with barely any effort. William grimaced as he realized he might have underestimated his opponent’s power. No matter, though, he assured himself; he would simply have to fight that much harder.
“Woah! Slow down there, buddy! You know the rules of the Ebon Blade: unless it is in a full-blown-war-battle ordered by a commanding officer of our respective faction, we’re not to harm one another. Not under any circumstances, even dueling is frowned upon! Imagine what Darion would say!”
“I have heard this rule,” Willliam stated, pulling his sword back up to rest in his favored stance. “But I am no member of Ebon Blade.”
Morec’s brow raised high in surprise; and after a half-minute of thought, in which it remained there, it lowered back down and his mouth widened into a malicious smile. “Well, then this will be entertaining. Have at you, filthy cur!”
The Forsaken barreled forward, not even moving his massive blade from where it rested, and slammed his shoulder into William. The Alliance death knight took the blow and used its own momentum against its origin; taking the death knight by the shoulder and throwing him into the cliff. Morec hit the wall and fell back, rolling onto his feet and turning to face his opponent with a grin.
“Not bad,” he commended his foe, “but not good enough. Behold: the might of Armageddon!” He lifted his runeblade high above his head and stabbed it down towards the ground.
William had seen this same action many time before in his service to the Lich King, and charged to intercept the weapon before it made contact with the earth. He was too slow, however, and the blade pierced the soil and began to funnel necromantic magic down into the earth. William stopped himself short and dropped into a defensive position, anticipating the undead to come.
The earth broke and cracked from the spell, and before the death knight arose a ghoul.
… One, single ghoul…
Who looked back confusedly at his creator.
“Behold!” Morec announced. “The instrument of your destruction: the mighty PEBBLEKEEPER!”
“Me name Gorechewer,” the ghoul said to its creatore.
“Shut up, you waste of rotting bodily tissue! And attack!” He pointed his oversized sword towards Willaim. “Tear him to pieces!”
The ghoul, unable to disregard his masters order, charged William, and was decapitated in one swift slice. Maybe, though William, he had not underestimated his opponent after all. He charged
Morec scratched his rotting scalp with his free hand as he stared at ‘Pebblekeeper’s’ remains. “Well… damn,” he said. “You know, I really thought that would wor- oh crap!” He raised Armageddon just in time to intercept a slash from William.
The two struggled against each other, both easily matched. William was the first to break the blade-lock and brought his sword down again, only to have it be met with similar results. Both were as untiring as the other, resulting in a duel of forces that could have gone on forever if neither gained the other hand. And both were seemingly matched with each other, power for power, spell for spell, blow for blow, they either countered or shrugged off the offense of the other with a defense of their own.
Three strikes from William in quick succession, fueled by necromantic magic; in a diagonally-descending angle from his upper right, the second ascending-diagonally from his lower left, and the final a jab directly at Morec’s chest. The Horde death knight parried first blow, the angle at which the blade slid lending itself to the succession of the second strike, and it was this and the third he took without defense.
The Forsaken jumped back, pulling himself off of the other death knight’s blade. He looked down and touched the hole in his armor with is left hand, brining the now ichor-and-slime-stained gauntlet up to in front of his face. “You… you stabbed me! Oh! What a world! I… I think I’m dying!” The death knight fell to one knee, laughing. “Oh the pain! What horrible pain!” He kept laughing as he stood back up. “You see, it’s funny because I’m undead, we’re both undead! And undead can’t really feel-.” He collapsed again.
Morec hit the ground with a thud, ichor dripping from both the hole in the front and back of his armor. His body gave one final twitch in all of his rotten muscles and then went completely still. William held his ground for many minutes, before finally approaching the Forsaken and kneeling down. With unholy magic he checked to determine if there was any unlife let within this body, and he found none.
It was over. William stood and placed a boot on Morec’s head. To ensure this undead could not be resurrected by any other necromancer looking to obtain his powers, the head would have to be destroyed. William’s dead muscles tensed as he pressed down as hard as he could.
“PSYCH!” Morec yelled, shooting a hand up. A wave of cold washed over the Alliance death knight, knocking him back and nearly forcing his sword from his hand. Before he had even begun to recover Morec was already up with Armageddon in hand. Without time for the other to react, the Horde death knight struck him with five blows; two overhead vertical strikes to either of William shoulders, a low horizontal blow to the death knight’s left femur, and when that didn’t result in the satisfying crack of bone he had been looking for, he repeating the attack; there it was! And lastly was a blow to the death knight’s face, with which Morec said to William: “batter up!”
the Alliance member stood, bones broken, face bleeding necromantic-tainted fluids, but still he stood! “I’ll give you that,” Morec said. “You’re stronger than most people I face. So, how about we hear a name. I’ll gladly sing of it too all the corpses I eat here today in your memory!”
“My name is William Morec,” the Alliance death knight said, lifting his sword back into his stance, “and I will leave here today victorious. You, however, will fall.”
Morec heard nothing past the Alliance death knight’s name. William Morec; he knew that name well. From what he remembered first it was nothing spectacular; only the man who had slain him and delivered his corpse to become one of the Ebon Blade.
“Come you foul creatures! You abominations of death! Come you mindless cretins! Come and face the wrath of the Forsaken!”
Ghouls to abominations fell before him. He was an unstoppable force of death in his Queen’s name. The green-haired Forsaken warrior stood triumphant amongst a pile of the rotting bodies of the Scourge’s warriors. The Lich King’s mindless slaves, all fallen before him, all slain by one lone man. The winds of Northrend blew snow around him, but he minded it not. His sight was not dampened by the flurries, nor were his speed or strength.
“Come to me Arthas! Come and face your death! I have slain your soldiers; I have slain your minions, so now I will slay the King! I will kill you, Arthas Menethil! I will kill you myself and enact the justice of all the fallen of Lordaeron who cannot seek out that vengeance for themselves!” His voice was clear and powerful, strong and healthy. If one was not looking upon his rotten flesh, he might have been mistaken for a living man.
“Is that so, warrior?” an echoing voice said, approaching him from his right. “You, alone
, will slay my king?” The Forsaken warrior turned his head, seeing the glowing-blue eyes of a death knight approach him before anything else. The red armored figure, face masked behind a horned helmet, became clear enough through the snow quickly enough, however. “While I commend your bravery, your foolish zeal and idiocy it leaves much to be desired of your character. But come; if you wish to face the Lich King, you must first face the Scourgelord: William Morec.”
The warrior’s eyes narrowed and he charged, shield raised and sword-arm drawn back to strike. Before he had even moved three feet he was taken in the grip of necromantic magic and pummeled into the ground with the force of a giant’s strength.
His world went black in seconds.
But then came another memory; one he had forgotten long ago. One he had no idea even existed. One which brought with it revelation.
“Rivendare!” the blond-haired and baby-faced man stepped forward, his hand shaking in nervous fever as he gripped around the hilt of a short-bladed sword. “I know the grain you have been supplying Lordaeron was tainted with the Plague… I… I will not let you poison this land further! I don’t know what… sick…
deal you made with the undead, but I will put you down here and now.”
“Is that so?” Baron Rivendare was standing in the center of a hallway in his mansion. His hair had streaks of white in it, and at his side now hung a sword. All around – which were only the Baron himself and the servant confronting him – could feel the unholy power radiating from the blade. “And you, Athmos, you think you have the strength of will to slay me? The strength of character? We both know you have been in a fight your entire life, so, how about you put that sword down… and die.”
Matthew, Matthew Athmos, had no time to answer a reply. Barely three seconds after the Baron finished speaking he felt the chill of cold steal pass through his back and out of his chest. His heart was piercing by his blade and he collapsed to the ground, blood seeping from his wounds to stain the floor beneath him red.
“Wonderous timing, Itheac,” Rivendare said, as, in his last moments, Matthew saw a necromancer step over his body. “But I did not need any assistance.”
,” the necromancer’s rasping voice replied. “
But he was of little consequence
and I have a favor to ask of you
“Of course, but, if you do not mind.” Rivendare motioned towards Matthew’s body.
remove the corpse
His world went black.
Morec glared at William. “
,” he growled from the back of his throat. “It was
“What?” William said, dumbfounded. The only response he got was an enraged cry and a battle charge that put him immediately and fully on the defensive.
“It was all
!” Morec yelled, frothing with sheer aggression. “Every. Little. Thing that I have been through in my life. It was all. Because. Of
The pace of the assault quickened and became even more intense and powerful. William could do nothing to fight back, if he broke his defensive stance for even a second he would be slain, but he also knew that if he did not do anything to fight back the Forsaken would eventually break through his mediocre and rushed defense and he would be slain anyway.
With a prayer to the Light for luck, he struck back at the death knight, deflecting one blow early and buying him just enough time to knock the Forsaken death knight back with a wave of necromantic magic. Again Morec hit the cliff wall, but before he had time to recover from the blow as he had before he was assaulted with wave after wave of necromantic and frost energy. He responded with his own power, using it to prevent the incoming waves of energy to striking him and rebounded William’s attacks into the area around him.
Then there was a large crack, and his head twisted to look up. Above him, from the sheer force of energy being unleashed in this one area, the entire cliff had shattered and was collapsing down upon him. He attempted to shift his power to defend himself from the falling boulders, but doing so weakened his defense against William’s spells just enough that they were shattered and his attempts to recreate the shield or summon up a new one were negated in their entirety. A scream of rage and terror was cut short as the rocks buried him beneath meter after meter of solid stone.
William collapsed to his knees, breathing heavily. He had exhausted nearly all of his power, and was too weak to walk. With what little reserves of energy he had left he resummoned Azulagosa and climbed onto her back. The wyrm took to the skies and flew back towards Fort Triumph.
Hours passed and the sun set on the once-again dead silent in the Battlescar. The corpses laid undisturbed except for the silithid once again feasting upon them.
As the moon rose after the horizon and high into the sky, the pile of rocks under which Morec had been buried twitched and shifted. They fell silent and motionless once again, but once several minutes had passed a gauntleted hand force itself out of the rocks and began to grasp for a place to pull the rest of itself up and out of its tomb.
A malicious laugh a smile followed the death knight's reemergence…
A farmer wife and her daughter ran for their life, their breathing heavy and their brows covered with sweat. Their husband and father had already fallen, slain by a monster upon a monstrous undead steed. For whatever reason, though, they had been allowed to run, to flee, to escape. And so they had ran for the safe haven of Light’s Hope, the Argent Crusade’s bastion seeming like miles away more than it was, but knowing they had no, their one salvation and justice so far out of their reach when in reality it was so close.
Without warning a shadow passed in front of them, causing them to stop and then turn to flee the other way. But even as they tried the shadow passed before them again and again when they tried to turn in a different direction. They were surrounded, surrounded on all sides by one monster.
The rider then approached them, mounted upon his steed with his massive, horrifying runeblade drenched in the blood of their fallen family member. His armor was red and adorned with will and spikes, and it too was drenched with not only the fresh blood of the farmer but who knew how many others; all of it still gleaming with wetness.
The woman picked up her child and tried to run. The rider sat and watched them run, grinning to himself. He let them go, three meters, four meters, five…
Then Morec, House of Rivendare, Matthew Athmos, a death knight reborn into a monster, spurred Deathcharger and ran them down, adding their fresh, glistening red blood to his blade and armor like paint to a canvass.
They both surrounded Morec and outnumbered him in droves. But the death knight only smiled and let them come. He knew it had only been a matter of time; he had killed too many people and left too many alive specifically for this purpose. Even so, this was not what he had wanted. He had not wanted some mere army to come to slay him; he had wanted heroes, champions, people whose names the world would remember. Instead what had he gotten; mindless, faceless, pathetic Alliance soldiers. Barely worth the effort were they, but here they were…
He snapped his fingers, resulting in the first five that approached him to break out in horrible diseases of the flesh. The screamed in pain and scratched at their armor-covered skin or threw themselves into the cold snow, attempting to sooth the agony they suddenly found themselves in.
And here they would fall.
The full army now charged him, and Morec pulled Armageddon from its sheath in anticipation. He didn’t let any close to him, in a whirling clash of magic he redirected the spells of magi back at them or at their allies, enveloping some in fire and incasing others in ice, and others still felt his necromantic wrath; breaking out in diseases identical or worse to those the first five soldiers to approach him had suffered, or merely rotting from the inside out and outside in.
No soldier got within feet of them, but no soldier backed off to leave him alone either. There were simply so many of them, and not even his powers would last forever. No, already his necromantic magics were beginning to wane, to fail him.
He went on the offensive, charging into the crowd and slashing at the Alliance warriors with Armageddon’s keen edge. Blood and limbs flew, melting and displacing the snow they landed in, but Morec himself took the brunt of many an attack. His armor, red as blood and adorned with spikes and skulls, was saturated with not only the blood of his enemies, but also the necromantic preservatives that kept his form from rotting to dust. Blades cut his dead flesh, and arrows and bullets flew into pierce him with nothing but metal to stand in their way.
He pulled what little magical strength he could into controlling the raging snows around him. Alterac was full of cold, the snow, the ice, the very wind, and it took very little for him to muster up these forces to his advantage. Just as the soldiers had come prepared for the northern cold, so too did these preparations protect them from Morec’s attempt to use the elements of the mountains against them.
The numbers added up as the soldiers surrounded him. For every one soldier he slew another took its place, and each time every other soldier drew closer, crowing him in and preventing him from moving. No magic could save him now; no necromantic powers he could muster up at this point were worth the effort. He fought back their numbers as best he could, but soon he was outnumbered, stripped of his weapon, and bound in chains.
He was forced onto his knees in the cold snow, struggling against his mere steel bonds to free himself and being struck for each movement he made.
A mounted man dressed in the armor of a General trotted up to him. “By the authority of the Alliance and King Varian Wrynn,” he said to the death knight. “I hereby place you, Mister Vrem Dartskul, under arrest.”
Morec looked up at the General – an aged man, but by stress not by years – his glowing eyes regarding the man with a curiosity.
“Have you anything to say?”
Morec lowered his head to stare at the snow and gave up his struggling.
The General nodded and turned to his second in command – a man who had clearly seen even less combat that the General might have. “See to it he is transported to Stormwind Vault in a timely manner, if the rumors and reports are true he will have an abundance of military information for us to use.”
“Yes, sir,” the Lieutenant said with a salute. The General rode away, leaving his second-in-command in charge by lack of his presence. “Prepare to move out!” the young Lieutenant ordered to the remaining handful of soldiers. The forced Morec to his feet and began to march eastward.
The death knight did his best to suppress a malevolent grin.
Well isn't this massive.
Been bored Morec?
Well isn't this massive.
Been bored Morec?
I wrote this in less than an hour. Just now. But it's been a little something I've been intending to write and post for a while. With me leaving for college tomorrow, I decided "now or never" (although I'm sure I'd have time to write it up when I get up there) and post it.
Fun fact; this is the final conclusion to the
Light and Frost
Also read the Alternate Ending, should you get the chance.
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