Friday, August 28, 2009

A Second Chance

A particularly fat flake of snow drifted down, swirling around the support column and landing lightly upon the death knight's arm as she leaned against the thick wooden beam. She looked down at the flake, expecting it to melt on her skin and run down her arm in a jubilee of water escaping from its more rigid, prison-like form. Instead, the flake just sat there, unchanged upon her cold, pale skin. She shivered, but not from the cold.

It had been nearly a year since she'd been forcibly employed by the Lich King. Not long after her conscription into the legions of the undead, she had freed herself of Arthas' domination and set off on her own to plumb the depths of her new existence. As time had gone by, memories had returned. She began to realize who she was and what she'd done. She shivered again.

Poking her head out around the column, she surveyed the scene before her with a critical eye. The heavy, wrought iron gate was still shut. Several adventurers loitered around outside, impatiently waiting for the seemingly possessed gate to decide to respond to the level that they repeatedly pulled. High above, a Dwarven guard sat astride a gryphon and snickered. A few of the adventurers began to grow unruly, banging loudly on the gate and demanding entrance. Vehement curses escaped their lips, chasing away the guard's grin and encouraging him to tighten his grip on the hammer he kept strapped to his side. He was there to keep the peace, but peace seemed to have ideas of it's own at the moment.

The warlock, Fulguralis, had been inside for several minutes now. Decedereful didn't usually make a habit of waiting around while her prey frolicked inside with friends, testing his mettle along with the other champions. Once he went in with a group, she usually found a cozy place to curl up near a fire and try fruitlessly to absorb some warmth into her perpetually frigid body. It's not that it was uncomfortable, the cold. No, it was that, like a lost limb, the tingle of the memory of warmth tugged at the hazy corners of her mind, making her itch for something that had turned to dust many months ago.

Besides, a woman ought to be soft and warm, right? Decedereful found the cold, hard life of a knight of death to be the antithesis of femininity. In truth, she hated it. Loathed what she'd become. The only benefit that she could see was the power. Oh, the power. The strength. it was the one thing that lent her hope that some day she might be repaid of what was stolen from her.

It was partly due to this spirit of reclamation that she had sought out the warlock. Alone, she doubted she had any hope of realistically assuring reparations for the wrongs wrought on her kind. She needed the help of powerful adventurers that she could trust, and her quest began with the warlock. Powerful he was, but also perhaps the only person in Azeroth that she could ever hope to trust. She needed his guidance now more than ever.

A muffled cheer wafted over from the gathered group of adventurers as the heavy gate squealed open. Decedereful peaked around the column just in time to see a cowled figure retreat quickly around the nearest corner of the coliseum. He may have donned his hood, but after following him for week, she easily recognized the garb of the warlock.

Without hesitation, she slipped out from behind the column and hastily followed. As she made the turn, she caught a glimpse of her prey walking quickly down the stairs to the practice field and off towards a row of tents. The snowfall seemed to thicken as the warlock disappeared among the canvas structures, swallowed up by fluffy white sheets.

Decedereful jogged over to the row of tents, looking first left and then right, hoping that she had not lost her target in the gathering gloom. He normally headed home after visiting the coliseum for the night, but his behavior on this snowy eve was different. She needed to know why. She need to know what he was doing, who he was, where he was going. It was irrational, but she needed to know if he was still the same boy that she'd drudged up from her murky memories.

There were no people out among the tents at this hour, but any footsteps were quickly filled in by the heavy snow fall. Though it was an isolated area, she could not decide which path the warlock had taken. To her right, a tuft of snow stirred, disturbed by the passing of a long robe. Decedereful went towards it.

Hesitantly, she rounded the corner made by the vertical canvas wall of a soldier's tent. The flap of the tent settled shut even as she was processing the new scene. Quietly, she stepped up to the entrance and reached a trembling hand to pull the flap aside. The robed figure of the warlock stood motionless in the center of the room in front of a table, his attention apparently fixated on an object on the table. Unnoticed, the death knight entered the room.

Taking two faltering steps towards the figure, she reached out a gauntlet covered hand, preparing to tap the warlock on the shoulder and see the man she'd been steeling herself to face for weeks now. Startlingly, the cloth robe fell away from the figure that wore it, revealing the svelte back of the person beneath. Dark purple wings flared out from shoulder blades, opening up impressively and forcing Decedereful to take a step back. A distinctly feminine giggle filled the room as the succubus shook out her wings and wiggled her butt as if covering herself for even a short amount of time had somehow made her demonic skin crawl.

"Who..." Decederful started to ask, but fell silent when she felt the cold, sharp tip of a blade slide up under her throat.

"Why the hell have you been following me, death knigh?" an obviously angry voice growled. Decedereful recognized at once that the voice belonged to the warlock and her eyes began burn with the tears she would never be able to cry.

She started to try to turn around to see his face. "Don't even think about it," Fulguralis cautioned.

"But, Boy, it's me..." Decedereful cried out in a voice thick with emotion.

Even as she said it, she heard the hollow timbre of her voice and died a little more inside as she realized that the person who meant the most to her in the world would not even be able to recognize her by sound. Trembling, she felt the strength go out of her knees and she knew she would soon topple foward, running the dagger through her throat in the process.

Curiously, she realized that at this point, she didn't even care.

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