Scourgelady (melee offence officer)
Joined: 17 Oct 2007
|Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:12 am Post subject: Frostmourne, the Kinslayer
|Seja burst out from among the trees and waded through the deep snow towards the cliff which led down to the beach. Her face was scratched and bloody, her hair full of twigs and leaves from her headlong flight through the dark forest. Screams and yells, and other, horrible sounds, had pursued her as she ran and ran, sobbing as she fled from the terror which dogged her heels.
Flickering lights and a faint crackling and roaring could be seen and heard from over the cusp of the hill. Lights … Fire! The rest of the army must have made it. Fires would hold back the undead hordes! She staggered on with renewed strength, and made it to the crest of the cliff.
The ships were burning, all of them. All along the coastline, the whole fleet was ravaged by fires. The woman’s face glistened in the reflected light of the flames. She sank to her knees wearily. “There’s no way back.”
“No," spoke a voice, in agreement. "There is no way back now.”
The hooded and cloaked figure watched the fires from the top of the cliff, gloved hands resting on the crosspiece of a drawn sword which stood upright before him. He turned his head and gazed at her a for a moment from the shadow of his cowl. The cloak slid apart a little as he turned, revealing the dull gleam of obsidian plate armour.
Seja staggered upright and turned towards him, weak-kneed with relief that she was no longer alone. Her prince would know what to do, how to recover from this disaster. He had to.
“My lord, we were attacked again. The army is all destroyed. We … we tried to find you, but it was no good. The undead were everywhere.”
“The army will rise again, stronger than ever before. I have no doubt of that.”
Seja blinked at that. Had Arthas lost his mind? “Sire, they’re all dead. Everyone is dead!”
“You do not appear to be. In truth I am impressed you made it this far.” He turned towards her and pulled Frostmourne free of the ground. Seja had never had the chance to see the blade close up. In her mind it had been a sword like heroes used in the tales, bright silvered steel, golden filigree, beautiful to behold and a dream to wield. Frostmourne possessed beauty, but it was of another sort. Older, and colder somehow. If the sword Seja had imagined was a maiden in the flower of her youth, golden haired and fair of form, then Frostmourne was that same woman, but in the winter of her years, pale and wise yet possessed of some ageless strength which would never wane.
Seja backed away slightly. “What are you talking about? You’re scaring me.”
“When I came to this land, I had but one purpose. To avenge my people. When I took up Frostmourne, I swore that I would bear any curse to fulfil that goal.”
Arthas took another step forwards, his mouth curving slightly into a smile. Icicles were growing from his chin, Seja saw. She backed away another step. The icy winds whipped up around them, blasting snow into her face. The dim figure of the Prince pressed on relentlessly.
“It was worth the price. Frostmourne gave me all the power it had promised.”
Seja backed up against a rock face. There was nowhere left to retreat to. “And what was the price?”
“Nothing I could not afford to sacrifice for my people. It is a sacrifice we must all make. I see that now. All those who serve, must sacrifice.”
The prince turned his blade suddenly and offered it hilt first to Seja. For a moment, she saw herself holding it in her own hand. For a moment, she heard a voice whispering in her ear. For a moment, she wanted to strike him down and take the blade for her own. Arthas smiled as her hand reached out towards the hilt.
“It calls to you as well I see. And so you too understand what it is to desire the means to bring about your destiny.”
Seja’s hand faltered at the hilt. The prince’s eyes narrowed in the shadow of his hood. She withdrew her hand. “I know desire. But sometimes the price is too much.”
“Nonetheless, this price you shall pay, my chosen knight. I will grant you immortality, so that you might usher in a new, golden age, for Lordaeron. I gave you the option of serving me willingly, but perhaps you still need convincing.” The prince withdrew his blade, and pointed it into the forest.
“This land is an old one, inhabited by many spirits. They answer to my call now, just as you have done. Just as you will continue to do. Let me introduce you to this one.”
A pale slender woman dressed in a thin white gown stepped out from among the trees and walked elegantly towards them. Her bare feet left no impression on the snow where she trod.
“The Highborne who inhabited these forests long ago are all gone, but their spirits remain, ever jealous of the living who now roam their lands. They can be quite … possessive, shall we say.” Arthas sheathed Frostmourne and turned away, heading off into the gloom of the forest. “I will leave the two of you to get better acquainted. Perhaps afterwards you will be more receptive to my offer.”
Seja steadied herself against the rocky wall behind her and ripped her sword from its scabbard. “I do not know what manner of fiend you are, but I will smite you if you approach me.”
The spirit halted a dozen yards away, tilting her head slightly to one side. When she spoke, her voice was quiet yet melodious. The biting wind howled and screamed around them and yet the words were heard clear as if they had been whispered in her ear. “Why would you wish to harm me? I have no desire to harm you. I only wish to know you better.” She stepped forwards a few paces, slowly. “Surely there is no harm in that.”
“I warn you, stay back!”
“Poor dear, so alone and frightened and confused. I can help you, you know. I can take you home.” She smiled and stepped forwards again. “I know you want that. All you need to do, is trust me.”
“I … no … stop!” Seja made as if to raise her sword, but the spirit slipped around it and clasped her sword hand gently, easing the numb fingers apart and letting the blade fall into the snow. The spirit’s touch was surprisingly warm and solid, for all her ethereal appearance. Seja realised all of a sudden that she could no longer feel the cold of the wind and the snow as she had before. She raised her free hand to her cheek and rubbed it. Frost brushed off onto her fingers, yet she could feel nothing.
“Cold, is it not?” The spirit ran the fingers of her other hand up and down Seja’s cheek. At once, warmth and feeling flowed back. “I can save you from a frozen death. Let me show you how.” The banshee brushed her lips against Seja’s, and smiled into her terrified eyes, before leaning in to kiss her…
Later that morning, as dawn breaks.
The carrion condors of the Dragonblight had not feasted so well in many a year. One of the birds wheeling far above the coast descried something in the snow and swooped down for a closer look. A body lay under a small escarpment, dusted lightly with frost. The condor landed in an ungainly manner upon the figure’s boots and cawed raucously, before hopping along the legs towards the unprotected face. Of late, the birds had learned the best methods of feasting upon armoured corpses. This one lost no time in perching on a convenient mound and leaning down to peck.
The “corpse” twitched.
The bird flapped its wings and screamed as it hopped back onto the body’s midsection. It seemed that this one was not quite dead yet. No matter. All movement must by its nature lead to the cessation of movement. Carrion feeders were patient. The bird preened its feathers as the body shuddered gently beneath it, whimpering occasionally. In time, sure enough, the small movements and sounds ceased.
A mailed fist shot out and crushed the bird’s head in a vice-like grip before it could let out so much as a squork of surprise. The carcass was flung across the clearing as the woman that had been Seja sat up abruptly in the snow. She opened her icy blue eyes, and smiled slowly.
“Come my dear, the Prince must not be kept waiting.”