Dec 11, 2008

Insidious Voice

You don't know me, and I have no intention of telling you my name. I just want you to know something that I didn't, be prepared for a danger that no one acknowledges...


It began with a whisper. A threat.

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 1

I'm a soldier of Stormwind, a fighter by caste and by calling. Sure, I may be relatively young, but if I had a silver for every doom-and-gloom, end-of-your-world promise from an overly dramatic enemy, I wouldn't be the only adventurer in Shadowmoon who's still riding a damn horse. So, like I have with every other insidious voice I've ever met, I scoffed and ignored my mysterious new chatterbox friend.

Thus, I entered the fray with my blade sheathed and my back exposed. Maybe not the brightest strategy, in retrospect.

The voice haunted me for days and days. Like a rude neighbor or an extra murloc, it would pop up at all the worst times:

As I fought...

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 5

As I traveled...

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 4

As I ate...

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 7

Someone .... something... always at my side. Whispering. Threatening. Promising.


Oh, I was pissed for the first fortnight - pissed and tired and frustrated because I couldn't make the voice in my ear shut the hell up.  I tried every trick I knew to find the whisperer; I can't convey in intelligible words how badly I wanted to shut him up with a conveniently sharp object through the gullet. Whoever or whatever he was, though, he always stayed well out of sight and all of my most deadly ranges, much to my bush-kicking and stool-shattering dismay.

But then, after another week or two... something shifted, something too subtle for my brute-force brain to catch. The voice was ... maybe not so bad. Maybe a little bit of welcome company on the trail. Maybe a little bit of an amusing distraction from the rote of killing clefthoof number five hundred and seventy-six.  Maybe a friend.

I need you to understand. I'm a loyal citizen, a devoted servant of the Wrynn Dynasty, and not at all interested in the wholesale slaughter of every living being on Azeroth. Like every good human, I hate the Scourge, mistrust the Forsaken, and spend my leisure hours beating down uppity Hordies.

But that voice... it started to confuse me. As if, somehow, I could still be a good person - maybe a better person! - if I gave myself over to its side. Just a loaner, let's say. My sword arm and my tough shield for a bit of cold glory, simple death, blessed silence. It made it all sound so ... peaceful.

I hear the insanity in that concept, now.  A few days ago, though... Well, let's just say that I was finding it a lot more comfortable wielding the pointy end of a big, metal stick than the grey matter between my ears. I stopped looking for a pest to slaughter and started looking for a potential friend.

That's when, in the wee hours of the morning in a quiet inn in Telaar, I finally found him.

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade

A Shade. An Icecrown ghost no more substantial than my battle shout, but equally as deadly. I stared into the empty place where his eyes should have been, and I felt my knees bending, felt hand falling away from its comfortable place on the pommel of my axe.

And then it spoke... one last taunt. One first command.

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 6

Even now, I don't know why those simple words woke me. Perhaps the power of the Light was so much greater, so much stronger, that even the merest thought of it was enough to shatter whatever spell the Frozen Shade had woven. Perhaps I was only barely in its clutches, staring down the cliff's face of insanity but not yet fallen. I don't know. And, at the end of the day, I don't care. I'm no mage to worry about why things are the way they are. I only care about results. 

With a growl and a move that I like to think is about twice as fast as mana forge lightning , I drew my axe and threw it through the fiend's throat.

... the innkeeper had a few things to say to me about that when she saw the damage to her wall, by the way.

Pre-Wrath Frozen Shade 3

The Shade braved one more whisper as I made my way to Stormwind, one last silly little threat. For the first time, I laughed at it. I probably should've done that from the start, whistling my way home to deliver what was apparently a far more precious treasure than I'd ever realized.


Khol Drake said...

You've been holding out on us,'re a damn fine storyteller.

Rhoelyn said...

Well, I'm no Khol Drake, but I dabble on occasion. :) Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

Happy Holidays,