Friday, April 16, 2010

A Sendoff

A light breeze shook the canvas of the tent, setting the taut walls vibrating and waking Fulguralis.  The Warlock sat upright in the cot he shared with his wife, massaging his temples with his feet hanging limply over the side.  Most Warlocks would not admit it, but sleep was usually not all that restful for any among the dark coven.  Being familiar with the demonic had it's drawbacks, vivid nightmares perhaps the least among those.

Shaking the sleep off, Fulguralis stood up and stumbled across the small tent towards the travel chests stacked in one corner.  A rickety stool stood in front of one stack, his wife's.  Fulguralis glanced back at the peaceful, sleeping form on the cot.  Two beady black eyes beneath drew his attention.  Raising an eyebrow, the Warlock lifted a finger and crooked it, beckoning the creature.

Sparky, his Felhunter emerged from darkness and slithered on silent paws over to his master.  Cocking his head inquiringly, the demonic beast sat patiently.  Fulguralis just stared, casting his mind out to his minion.  For a moment their consciousnesses warred for superiority.  Fulguralis fought the fire and darkness that threatened to consume and scour his mind clean of rational thought.  It was always this way when communing with demons.  In the span of moments, the Warlock asserted his own control, pushing down the fiery demonic inferno in his mind and boxing it neatly in a construct of his own creation.  The imagery was more symbolic than anything else, but Fulguralis couldn't help but admire the sparkling representation of a soul shard in his mind's eye.

Most Warlocks were taught the shard technique for controlling demons, but Fulguralis had honed the art over the years.  His mental shard was a perfect, crystal octahedron, smooth and diamond hard.  There were no cracks or flaws.  Such manifestations of uncertainty meant death or worse, possession, for the unwary practitioner.  It was elementary stuff for those who began to dabble in the dark arts.

Sparky looked back at him almost apologetically, as if the demon felt guilty about the struggle his master had to go through to retain control of him; he couldn't help his nature.  The Felhunter certainly didn't fight back as hard as he once did.  Still, such thoughts were dangerous to a Warlock, and Fulguralis brushed them away.  Sympathy could get him killed too.

Take this to Midnight, Fulguralis sent via their demonic link, have her hide it somewhere at home until I have time to disenchant it.  Of course, it was more pictures and impressions than actual words.  How does one convey thoughts? The Warlock reached into his robe and withdrew the amulet he'd taken from his wife's possession several weeks ago.  He had long since replaced it with a plain stone on a golden chain.  It only exacerbated his concern that his wife never seemed to notice the obvioiusly different adornment.  She still rubbed it unconsciously as much as ever, hiding it should anyone notice.

Sighing, he placed the chain in the Felhunter's jaws.  With a quick wag of his tail, Sparky hopped up and padded out of tent.  Fulguralis felt his minion take off at a sprint and quickly let their link dissolve as the demon got out of his mental range.  He didn't worry about the pup completing the job, he had placed a strong enough compulsion on the demon that even without their link, Sparky would continue to do his bidding.

Fulguralis yawned.  It was tiresome dealing with demons, but also exhilarating.  He glanced back at the cot longingly, but knew his chaotic mind wouldn't settle enough for him to return to the world of dreams.  No, he was up for the day now.

A faint tinge of light colored the tent walls, indicating the sun was rising on the cold, desolate Citadel landing where they'd made camp.  Fulguralis could hear the sounds of the camp stirring.  Other adventurers would be rising to get an early start on the day's preparations.  His group was only one of many assisting in the assault on the Lich King's throne. 

The Warlock stood up, still a bit weary, and shuffled over to the exit of the tent.  Throwing back the flap, he stepped out into the burgeoning dawn.  Blood red stained the distant horizon, yet the camp was awash in activity if not the glow of the morning light.  The clatter of hooves on citadel stone filled the air.  So many horses.  Fulguralis let his eyes sweep over the gathered tents, trying to take it all in.

Apparently the Crusaders are handing out new mounts, he thought, eying a particularly gaudy collection of hooves, wings, and... stars.  Yes, stars.  The new mounts seemed to be made entirely of celestial bodies.  Where did they pull that from, the Warlock wondered.  It was no fiery mane like the one on his proud steed, but stars were pretty cool in their own right.

Fulguralis shrugged and continued to survey the camp.  He didn't get far before his eyes fell on another of the strange mounts.  Then another.  And another.  They were everywhere.  A bit apprehensive now, he gazed upward.  Dozens of the winged creatures dotted the sky above the camp.   

Great Nathrezim!  Where the fel did they all come from?  Fulguralis could only stare.

Fulguralis stepped back in shocked silence as one of the mounts ran by him, brushing him with starry feathers, and launching itself effortlessly into the air. Stunned, the Warlock turned around and returned to his tent.  He pulled the flap back down and faced his wife who was just rousing herself.

"Well honey, it's official," he announced in a level voice. "Azeroth is busting at the seams."

Fuubaar's fingers found the stone at her throat.

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