Horde: Chapter 9
“The Sepulcher is under siege, my queen. High Executor Hadrec reports he is doing his best but he requests reinforcements from Commander Hickley to break that traitor Godfrey’s new undead force.” A dark ranger said as she looked down as if the fact was her own fault. The Dark Lady was seated on her throne with Nathanos and Aleric Hawkins, the new leader of the Deathstalkers, beside her. Nathanos did not like Aleric, a man who hid his face even from his queen was not to be trusted. Back when Varimathras sprung his coup half the Deathstalkers joined with the dreadlord and nearly killed his beloved queen. But the group that remained were the finest men the dark lady could ask for and they were doing a good job keeping the usurper Calia at bay from the Tirisfall glades and the portion of Silverpine that still belonged to them.
The champion thought of Kolthira, another untrustworthy pawn that was being used in this game. The Deathknight stopped the route at Ambermill turn into a complete massacre after both Sharlinda and Aderna lost their lives in the cowardly suicide bombing. He snarled slightly, how come only few of those truly loyal to the Banshee Queen were left standing as the others who would break rank if they could were growing like weeds.
“Is there a problem, Blightcaller?” the Dark Ranger asked with a hint of hear in her eyes. He had to compose himself. Sylvanas looked at him briefly before she looked back to the ranger while Aleric kept his gaze on the Blightcaller a bit longer.
“No, proceed.” He motioned the ranger to continue her report.
“There is some good news. We have seen less and less Lost Ones among the enemy forces so we can safely assume no more of your children will betray your trust any longer. Commander Belmont and High Executor Darthalia are holding the line at the Southpoint gate and Tarren Mill respectively….”
Sylvanas sighed.” But….?”
The dark ranger winched. “But with the rumours of Alterac and Stromgarde combining their strength and march down from the Arathi Highlands both fear they will not last long.”
Nathos frowned.” Stromgarde is a broken kingdom with a old king with no issue. Alterac is nothing more but a den of thieves.”
“My champion has a point.” Sylvanas sat straight.” We have not fallen so low as we should fear thieves and broken men.”
“O-of course my lady.” The ranger bowed her head.
Sylvanas stood up and walked over to her. She placed her hand under the ranger’s chin and raised it.” Do you fear me, child?”
“I do not fear you, my lady…” the ranger replied.
“Then stand. You are a Forsaken and a Dark Ranger. How can my people fight if they see you cower so?”
The dark ranger almost sprang up and saluted her queen.” Your orders, my lady?”
“We attack.” She motioned a hand to Aleric.” Speak with Aleric, gather as many men as you need and as many vials of blight as you need. I want Alterac and Stromgarde out of the game. Calia must NOT link up with Danath Trollbane’s forces or whomever rules Alterac this week.”
“Yes my lady.” The ranger bowed.
“Go to the Arathi Highlands and link up with my other Champion, Galen Trollbane. His forces and yours combined will put a end to that Trollbane line and Stromgarde will forevermore be part of our empire.” The dark lady placed her hand on the ranger’ shoulder.” I have the fullest confidence you will succeed sister. Shorel'aran. ”
“Tal anu'men no Sylvanas Windrunner.” The ranger replied.
“Before I leave, your highness.” Alderic spoke.” One of my men wish to speak to you, he is currently waiting outside.”
“Send him in a few minutes after you have left.” The Dark lady said as she sat herself down on her throne again.
Alderic bowed before he motioned the ranger aside as both left the throne room while the guards saluted them both, befitting their status.
“Nathanos?” Sylvanas asked as she did not look at him.” Did you inspect the corpses we managed to ‘liberate’ from Duskwood?”
“I did. The dark magicks that infected them are powerful but as not as strong as your Val’kyr. The grave robbers knew their work well.”
“This economic crisis in Stormwind has served us wonders, they had to be desperate to turn to our coin.” The dark lady mused. She turned to see her champion.” When is the next shipment?”
“ Next month, maybe sooner the longer the Alliance’s navy gets either fired or not paid.” Nathanos folded his arms.” May I speak freely?”
“You may.” Sylvanas replied.
“I do not agree dealing with grave robbers and…other controversial matters.”
“You speak of Kolthira?” she asked.
“Not just him. Alderic, turning away Sin’dorei aid, not recalling our reinforcements from Vol’jin, the same treatment for our dead and those Lost Ones who turned their back on you…”
Sylvanas smirked.” You disapprove of your queen, champion?”
“No, of course not!” Nathanos exclaimed as he felt his shame rising.” I just require some explanation is all.”
The banshee queen smiled as she played with her necklace se received from a adventurer a few years ago when he found the heirloom in the Ghostlands at the remnants of the Windrunner estate.
“I owe you that much, my dear Nathanos.” She let go off her jewelry.” You go to war with the army you have and rest be assured I keep a close eye on those I do not deem trustworthy. Alderic and Kolthira being the prime suspects. I turned away Dawnrose’s aid for the same reason I did not call back my ship from Durotar. We cannot look weak in front of our allies, Nathanos. We are Forsaken, we slaughter anything that stands in our way.”
“Of course, how foolish of me to forget…”
“Foolish indeed….but adorable nonetheless.” She had a brief smile before she returned to her gloomy self.” As for the rebels...you recall after the fall of the Lich King what some said what I thought of our people?”
The champion nodded.” Yes, they said you saw your children as arrows in your quiver to take revenge on the Lich King. I killed those myself who dared slander your name.”
“Yes you did.” Sylvanas nodded.” I am many things, but above all I AM the Banshee Queen. Lordearon belongs to me by conquest and its people see me as their queen and protector. It is my duty to protect my children and I would do anything and kill anyone to keep them safe. If that means allying myself with the Horde so be it. And once we dealt with Calia we will show the world why they should not test my wrath.”
Nathanos knew of the plans his Queen had for a Forsaken empire, a realm where the dead were safe and protected. Her people where people of Lordearon in life and were so still in death and no force the Scourge or even the Alliance could launch was going to change that.
A few moments later a deathstalker entered the room. Nathanos remembered this men since he was one of the few deathstalkers, next to Belmont, he could trust.
“Grand Champion Visceri, it has been some time.” Nathanos folded his arms as he inspected the man. Visceri was like any other deathstalker, with a cloth covering his face and wearing the same armour but his loyalty to Undercity was admirable. Nathanos did see a small satchel clipped to his belt.
Visceri bowed before his queen before he gave Nathanos a nod.” It has been, Blightcaller. I hope you don’t mind playing a active part for once?”Although Nathanos could not see it he sensed Visceri gave him a wicked grin behind his mask.
“You asked a audience Visceri, you have it.” Sylvanas said.” Tell me, how can I aid you?”
“The question is, how can I aid YOU your majesty.” Visceri unclipped his satchel as he spoke.” When I heard of the route at Ambermill and the return of Lord Godfrey I had no choice but to act.”
“Act?” Sylvanas’ brow rose.
“Yes…” he undid the top of his satchel. A sickening blue aura came from the opening as a sense of…wrong-ness filled the throne room. Nathanos for the first time in his unlife felt fear when he saw the contents of the satchel and clasped for his crossbow. The guards had their swords drawn and nearly ran the deathstalker down were it not for their dark lad’s gesture to stop.
Sylvanas herself stood up with a look of disbelief.” You…you stole it?”
“Yes.” Visceri bowed his head.” I stole the fragments of Frostmourne.”
Nathanos peeked closer as he saw dozens of metal yet ice like shards inside the satchel. The remnants of the bane of King Terenas and the entirely of Lordearon had was brought before Sylvanas. The dark lady herself walked over as if in a daze and picked up a shard of the same sword that claimed her life and turned her into the monster she was now. He saw her mind reel as the possibilities, but he also saw that one side of her that only a handful of people saw that were close to her. A sliver of what he would call humanity.
“Why did you do this?” Sylvanas had composed herself as she inspected the shard. “How did you do this? Does Fordring know?”
“Fordring does not know, my queen.” Visceri said.” His guards have grown lax after the defeat of the Lich King. I had a forgery made and switched while I tapped into my own purse to create a distraction for the Argent Crusade.”
“How?” Nathonos asked.
“I had friends in the Ebon Blade who still performed necromancy. I had them take control of some ghouls and attack the chapel. During the scuffle I swapped the shards. No-one was killed save for those who… were already dead.” The latter was said with some ambiguity.
“Will they notice eventually that those shards you had made were fake?” the Blightcaller asked.
“ If they would notice the difference it would be to late.”
Cautiously she twisted and turned the shard around. Although Nathanos was no scholar or a man who understood magic he knew how powerful Frostmourne was and even still how powerful its shards were. The blade was forged in the twisting nether by dreadlords, the same race Varimathras belonged to. It fed on souls and every man it killed it’s soul was added to the others…and it’s powers grew. It was able to create bridges made out of ice, revive elves and dragons from their death and even wound and slay mighty demon lords. The shards could be used to create a new sword or armour, it’s power to drive back Calia and take over the Eastern Kingdoms. Not just Lordearon but Ironforge, Stormwind, Stromgarde and Gnomeregan! Nathanos felt himself drunk with power and he was not even the one holding the shard!
“My lady, I know this is heresy…but I had no choice. You may slay me if you wish but know everything I did was for Undercity, for its people and you.” Visceri fell to his knees and held up the satchel. “If my life is forfeit so be it but please I implore you, take the shards! Save our people!”
Sylvanas took the shards off the deathstalker and held them in her hands. She stood there for what seemed like a eternity before a cruel chuckle erupted from her lips. The chuckle became a roaring laughter as both Nathanos and Visceri looked at each other with confusion.
“How ironic. The same blade that created and threatened my people might be the source to protect and save them.” She held the satchel aloft.” It is like Garrosh himself said, what difference is there now between I and the Lich King?”
Nathanos stepped forward.” A choice, your majesty.”
The dark lady turned to face him. “Indeed.” She lowered the satchel and closed it.” A choice…” she turned to Visceri.” Have you told anyone else of this?”
“None, milady.” The deathstalker bowed deeply.
“Good, keep it so. If you wish to truly aid Undercity you will volunteer to Aderic and ranger Anya. Give me time to decide on this matter.”
“O-of course my lady, I will tell no-one of this. I give you my word.” The deathstalker bowed once more.
“Good.” She smiled and placed her hand on the man’ shoulder.” You did good, my child. Go, I will watch over you.”
“Many thanks, many thanks…” Visceri stepped backward.
“Also tell the people outside I will see them tomorrow. I have much pondering to do…That counts for all of you.” She stopped Nathanos as he tried to walk.” Not you.” The champion merely nodded and stayed at his spot.
The deathstalker agreed as the guards closed the door behind them.
The Blightcaller walked closer to her as she placed the satchel away.” What do you plan to do?”
“Truth be told…I don’t know.” She rubbed her chin.” Many of my people already thought I walked a thin line with the Val’kyr. If I use the shards I would become the very thing I despise. A monster without conscience, without pity.”
“You are not Arthas, my queen.” Nathanos said.” You care about your people, both the Forsaken AND the Blood elves. I think the reason why you did not call in their aid is because you want to spare them another war.”
The dark lady frowned slightly.” Do not make presumptions about me, Nathanos.”
He was feeling brave.” I am not, my queen. You are the opposite of Arthas. You do feel for others, for your people.” For me, he thought.
“So you think I should use these?” she held up the satchel.” And possibly damn my soul for it?”
“I say whatever choice you make, I will be there for you. As your Champion.” He bowed his head.
She placed her hand on his shoulder. His memories went back to their special place. ‘Our escape from our duties. Stolen kisses and sleepless nights. Come back to me. Here, at our special place. Promise you will’.
“As my Champion.” Sylvanas raised him up.
“Always your champion.”
She looked impassive at him. “You know what we had is not the same as now, Nathanos.” She said.” It will never be.”
“I know.” He admitted.” But I swore a oath that day and I will keep it. Just like you when you found me at our place after the Scourge…made me into this.” he motioned to himself.” The debt will be only repaid when I am dead.” And perhaps in death it will be like it was in life, he thought to himself.
“Let us hope to the Shadow it will be some time before that.” She said.” I will stash these shards away for now. You will gather those recruits and begin retaking some lands back.”
“As you wish, my lady.” He bowed.” And the shards? Will you use them?”
Sylvanas pondered before she turned to her former lover.” We are Forsaken, We will slaughter anyone who stands in our way. One way or another.”