To Anastasia Zogstra, the Cathedral of Light in the heart of Stormwind City had always seemed like home. It was in this hallowed place that she had been first introduced to the holy Light, and in its rooms that she had been trained in the ways of the Paladin. Despite all her travels, it was this place, in the heart of the city, that her mind and heart always came back to. It spoke not only of pleasant memories of the past, but of a peace and serenity which was a comforting relief from the horrors she had faced.
However, today, as she entered the Cathedral, she had a feeling that any peace she felt here would be only temporary. She had been summoned here by a letter from Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker, one of the senior Paladins of the kingdom and one of those who had trained her. Knowing him well, she understood that his summons would not have been for any idle matter. Rather, she suspected that he had chosen her for some great duty - a thought that weighed heavily, yet, at the same time, filled her with a certain eagerness.
Despite such ominous thoughts, she did allow herself a few moments of peace as she entered the cathedral; nodding to Brother Samo as he greeted her, slowly and reverently walking through the center of the cathedral proper, letting the colorful light streaming in from its windows wash over her, leaving no darkness, no shadow within the hallowed halls. Turning, she headed into the small side room where Grayson waited, kneeling before him as she entered. "Lord Shadowbreaker. I came as soon as I received your summons."
"Arise, Lady Zogstra." He replied, nodding to her as she stood. Tall and muscular, he had short-cropped dark hair, and a single eye that burned with a fierce intensity. His armour was polished and shined, however, every part of him spoke of a life of great deeds and actions; one of countless battles against innumerable foes. "Thank you for your response. I have summoned you here for an important purpose, one that, while I know will test your abilities I also feel confident that you will be able to master."
"You honour me with your words, Lord Shadowbreaker."
"It is no idle flattery." He stated. "Lady Zogstra, you have shown your devotion to this city and your people many times over. You have faced great threats, yet never once has your resolve been lacking. You have demonstrated valor and nobility that are considered exceptional, even amongst your fellow Paladins. You have done so much to rid this world of evil."
She nodded slightly. "I do as is required of me." She replied, understanding his words yet feeling herself not worthy of such praise.
"Yet you go above and beyond the call of duty." He offered. "Which is why I have called you here." He turned to a small table, rolling out a map. One finger tapped the map, indicating to a region in the north-eastern corner of the former kingdom of Lordaeron; the land now known as the Plaugelands, the domain of the Scourge. "So much has been done so far to drive back the foul undead that have destroyed these lands. Yet so much more needs to be done."
"What I am about to ask of you, Zogstra, is a task greater then any you have faced before. You will be facing the most dangerous foe you have yet stood against, one that has the power to destroy you utterly - mind, body and, most importantly, soul."
If Zogstra was concerned over his statement, she didn't show it, instead nodding again. "What is it you ask of me?"
"The Scourge have begun amassing a considerable force here; an army of sorts." He indicated to the map. "Most likely, they are preparing for an assault on the Argent Dawn proper, aiming to eliminate the largest source of organised resistance in the land. That, however is not the reason I have asked for you."
He turned to her, his single eye glaring at her blue ones before he continued. "Instead, the issue is with the leadership of this force. By all reports, at the head of this force is one Scithis Lebaum, a former Knight of the Silver Hand, now corrupted into one of the Scourge's foul Death Knights."
A Death Knight, she thought to herself. The living embodiment of all that I oppose, the antithesis of all that I am. One who would willingly sell their soul to damnation for power. That he was a Knight of the Silver hand before... She trailed off before replying. "You wish me to destroy this threat." It was not a question, rather a statement of fact.
"Correct." He replied. "Understand, Lady Zogstra, that a Death Knight is like no other foe that you have faced. he will command powerful abilities, a well of demonic magics provided by his dark masters. A Death Knight's victims do not die in a normal sense; their souls are consumed by his blade, sentenced to eternal torment to fuel their power. If you confront him, you will face this risk."
"It is one that I face willingly." She stated, looking him in the eye. "It is my duty to see this threat ended. I would not ask that another go in my place."
He nodded, then smiled reassuringly. "As I knew you would. I was correct to call on you, Lady Zogstra." He saluted her, his body ramrod straight. "Very well. Travel to the plaugelands and end this threat."
"Yes sir." She returned the salute. "I shall not rest until I have done my duty"
"Light be with you, Lady Zogstra." He finished as she turned to leave.
Wordlessly, Silandra Silverwood strode through the narrow passageways below Silvermoon, her features bathed in the dim red light that permeated the place. Very few within this city had ever walked these darkened, secretive halls below the Blood Knight chapel; however, those that had knew of the secret contained within, the true source of the Blood Knight's power. Stories suggested that the few who had entered here who were not amongst the Blood Knight ranks had never stepped out.
Yet, in spite of the harsh, almost ominous environment, she felt strangely comforted here. It was in this place that she had been remade anew, transformed from the abject failure that she had been into this new being of power; a power that, while she had only wielded it for a relatively short time, she had achieved a degree of mastery of that she had never felt with the arcane. This, more then anything else, was her true home.
A pair of Blood Knights saluted her as she stepped into the inner sanctum, stepping between the gaudy curtains into the large chamber that was the heart of the complex. This room was different; rather then the enclosed, claustrophobic spaces it was a massive, open room with a high ceiling. The single largest and most arresting feature was the strange alien being held captive in its center, the looming white shape bound by red energies conjured by the magisters placed around it. The white lite form the creature and the red light from their spells played over her and the rooms other inhabitants, casing eerie shadows across the walls.
The turned to another Blood Knight, a brown-haired woman in ornate armour. "Lady Liadrin." She began, saluting crisply. "I received your summons."
Liadrin simply nodded. "Within the ranks of our order, there exists an inner circle of elite knights. Members of the circle represent the most dedicated, skilled, and trustworthy of all Blood Knights and are handpicked by the leadership. Most simply know the masters by their Thalassian charger mounts."
"Each candidate for membership must have a sponsor within the circle and must demonstrate their dedication to the order's central tenets." She continued. "I have chosen to sponsor you for standing as a Blood Knight master. You have shown a degree of commitment and loyalty that is exemplary amongst your peers, as well as a degree of ruthlessness and mercilessness to our foes."
Silandra bowed before her. "You honour me with your words, my Lady. I humbly accept your sponsorship."
"There are several tasks you will have to fulfill before you are admitted to the inner circle, Silverwood." She continued, her brilliant green eyes glaring at the candidate. "We Blood Knights are bound to defend Quel'Thalas. This is a central part of your training. Our enemies are fierce and unrelenting. Silvermoon and its people remain free by our efforts alone. However, I have received some disturbing reports of a renewed Scourge presence to the southeast of our border with the Eastern Plaguelands. A company of Scourge siege engineers and their equipment appear to be staging for an attack on the Ghostlands."
"This growing undead force is lead by a Death Knight, one Lebaum Nightspawn. He is a dangerous foe, a so-called champion of the Scourge."
"You wish me to destroy it." She stated. It was not a question, but a simple logical conclusion.
"Indeed." Liadrin nodded in conformation. "Seek out the Death Knight and eliminate him, then bring his skull back to us as proof of your deeds."
Inwardly, she almost grinned, a feeling of anticipation and excitement that she had not felt in ages dawning To eliminate such a dangerous foe, to be accepted into the inner circle... this is my true rebirth, the completion of my transformation from the pathetic creature I once was. "I live only to serve our people and our Prince." She replied with a salute. "I will not rest until this foe is destroyed." And I am accepted into your Elite.
No sooner had her griffin landed at Light's Hope chapel had Zogstra summoned her warhorse and taken off, charging north towards the area that Lebaum had been reported in. She did not wish to waste any time, instead aiming to end the existence of this menace as quickly as possible. She knew that with every minute that passed, every minute that he was allowed to continue to exist, Lebaum posed a threat to what little life existed in the Plagelands.
To her, it didn't matter if his target was the Argent Dawn or the remaining High Elves at Quel'lithen outpost; nor would it matter if it was the Forest Trolls or the members of the Scarlet Crusade. To her mind, any living being was worth protecting if it meant that there was some way of fighting back the Scourge.
She continued to ride north, her horse thundering through the diseased, cursed lands that had become all to familiar to her; the dry brown soil cracking under its hooves, the orange skies thick and foul smelling. Around her she could see the withered and dying remnants of once mighty forests, the trees either decaying or mutated into foul, monstrous mushrooms. it was a land that spoke of misery and despair, yet she refused to give into those feelings. She had a mission, and she was determined to accomplish it, no matter what.
Passing by the ruins of Northdale, she headed further north, reaching the southern boundaries of Quel'thalas, near the borders of the Troll-occupied territories. Pausing at the top of a hill, she looked down at the scene below her. A large number of skeletons had gathered and were working to move a force of heavy siege engines; she recongised the designs as being the Corpse Wagons the Scourge had used during the third war. One of thier number, however, was not helping their force.
That one skeleton, clad in the tattered remnants of once ornate red armour, was astride a skeletal warhorse, riding around the other undead and, on occasion, barking orders at them. Sheathed on its back was a massive black sword that, even from this distance, had a palpable aura of evil and power. Even though she had no way to confirm it, Zogstra knew that this being, the mounted Skeleton, was the Death Knight that she had been sent to slay.
Dismissing her steed, she drew her heavy mace, quietly whispering a prayer to herself. Radiant golden energy flowed through her body and her weapon, strengthening her. Then, with a fierce yell, she charged forwards, throwing herself at the undead horde.
Silandra rode south through the Ghostlands, thundering through the Thalassian Pass to the place known as the Eastern Plaugelands. The contrast between the two lands could not have been more stark; while the Ghostlands had an empty, haunted feel to them, they still suggested life; the wildlife and plants still remained, albeit muted or subverted, they were nothing before the Plaugelands; the land was parched and bare, while the air was thick with the smell of death and decay. What little life there was to be found was either decaying, or twisted into horrific new forms.
She didn't care.
Instead, she continued to ride south, plunging headlong into the diseased wastelands that had once been the seat of power for the despicable humans. As much as it amused her to see them bought so low, at the same time she knew that, as vile as humans were, their evils paled before the Scourge. It was that force, the armies of the living dead, that she had pledged to destroy.
She paid no heed to anything else as she rode south. She painterly ignored the unspeaking, grim-faced High Elf who stood by the entrance to her homeland, as if to ward away any who tried to enter Qurl'thalas, She paid no heed to the despicable forest Trolls who lurked nearby, maintaining their hostility and aggression in the face of an overwhelming enemy, ready to attack anything that came near them, be it living or undead.
Instead, she remained focused on one thing and one thing alone, the vile Death Knight that she had been tasked with slaying. She knew he was nearby, as if she could feel his evil reaching out to smother all around it. Halting her horse, she dismissed it before drawing her sword. Sure enough, the undead were ahead, squadrons of Scourge were working to assemble Meat Wagons, while others were pushing completed ones, moving them northwards.
Towards her homeland.
Gripping her sword, she charged at the nearest cluster of undead, intent on wiping them from the face of the earth. It was not enough for Lebaum to die, no, she had to ensure that every last one of the Scourge was exterminated. Her sword beamed with brilliant golden energy as she ran in, wildly swinging at the first Skeleton she came across.
Very little of Scinthis Lebaum, the failed Knight of the Silver Hand remained, both physically and mentally. Years ago, his body had been blasted apart by a force of hated Blood Elves, searing the flesh from his bones. However, his mind and soul had survived, preserved within the body of his cursed Runeblade. While he had been resurrected by the Scourge's dark magic, his physical form had been all but destroyed by the magical assault it had suffered.
What little remained was simply a skeleton, albeit one that seemed to burn red, as if it had somehow absorbed the energies of the spells that were used to destroy him. No flesh remained, making his appearance even more stark; his bones seemed to be unnaturally sharp, as if they had been twisted by the unholy powers used to recreate him. He still wore amour, albeit only a few jagged scraps of what he had been clad in before his destruction.
He sat astride the back of a skeletal charger, its bones and armour sharing the same sinister red tones as he did. On his back was the true source of his power, his runeblade. The ominous weapon seemed to emit a strange black light, as if sucking in life form the world around it.
The horse wheeled around as it cantered through the swarms of Scourge Engineers that surrounded him. Normally warriors, the Skeletons had been directed to act as engineers by the cultists controlling them. Now they labored tirelssly to build and move the siege engines that would be used in the assault on Quel'thalas. It had been a long and difficult process to build them; the Plague of Undeath's effects on the land meant that there was a distinct lack of good, usable wood. However, Lebaum knew that it would be worth the effort.
Soon his army would roll into Quel'thalas and slay the accursed Elves who had very nearly ended him. His vengeance would be complete, and his foes would be destroyed.
"Move faster, you wretched corpses!" Nightspawn shouted out, striking a skeletal engineer over the back of its head as he rode by.
"Brane!" It snarled back.
He drew his Runeblade, glaring down at the armoured undead with his eyeless sockets. "Move! We will not halt until Silvermoon City is but ash!"
"M-master." A voice spoke up from nearby.
Wheeling around, Nightspawn could see one of the Cultist necromancers who were directing the undead; a tall man clad in black robes and a broad-brimmed hat. Lebaum neither knew his name, nor did he care. "What is it, wretch?" he demanded.
"Th-the Scourge engineers are moving as fast as possible." He stammered out. "It is physically impossible for them to-"
"I do not want excuses!" He shouted, his magically created voice having a strange, hollow echo. "Work them harder, fool, or else you will join them." He leveled his blade, hovering it inches from the priest's face. "You would probably be more use to me dead then alive anyway."
"I-I will do my best to make them work faster" He muttered, backing off. "At once, Lord Nightbane."
The Death Knight watched as the priest nodded and simpered before him, trying badly not to show fear. The man was a fool, one of the pitiful living servants that the Lich King tolerated. That did not mean, however, that he was indispensable by any means. Glancing from him to the two other Necrolytes, he considered thinning their numbers, both to increase his workforce while serving them an object lesson in true power. And he would certainly enjoy striking down the worthless priest.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of crashing metal, and splintering bone, accompanied by somebody - a woman, probably human - shouting. Glancing around, he saw a flash of brilliant golden light in the distance, by one of the southernmost of the Meat Wagons. Wheeling his horse around, he raised his blade and charged forwards, heading towards the source of the disturbance, the idiot priest forgotten for now.
As he approached, he saw the source of the disturbance. Numerous skeletons lay broken on the ground, surrounding a single human woman. She was clad in unfamiliar armour and carrying a heavy mace, but there were two things about her that he was certain of. The first was that she wore the colours of the hated Argent Dawn on her tabard; the second was that the abilities she displayed made it clear that she was an accursed paladin.
"You dare interfere with my army?" He called out, his charger rearing back. "You will die!" Behind him, the worthless priest scurried off, retreating from a potential fight.
He started to charge forward, however, the Paladin chose to hold her ground. Instead, she raised a hand, an brilliant golden light emitting from it. Before he knew what was going on, his charger stumbled, then crashed to the ground, distinegrating into a pile of bones and loose barding as her Exorcism tore it apart.
Leaping form the saddle, Lebaum landed on his feet, glaring at the human. "No matter; I do not need a mount to destroy the likes of you!" he muttered, then charged forwards, runeblade outstretched. A blast of black, eldritch energy lept from the blade, only to be deflected away by a bright flash from the Paladin. "No matter, you shall die for your insolence!" He added, charging in.
He swung at the woman, his blade scything through the air at her, aiming ot take her head off with a single blow. Just as deftly, she bought up her mace, blocking his blade with the shaft, a resounding clang echoing as their weapons met. For a moment, both of them stood their ground, unwilling to move, glaring at each other; her brown eyes staring into his empty sockets. Then he broke off, whirling back to strike again.
She struck first, her hammer swinging down at his ribcage with bone-shattering force. Backpeddaling, Lebaum quickly shifted low, his blade barely deflecting her hammer away before he struck out, driving at her heart. The paladin managed to step back, just barley ducking to one side as the Runeblade drove past her, then swinging around to stop him form capitalising. The blow hit his amroured pauldron, staggering him and driving him back.
Angered, he let out a feral snarl, rearing back to strike again. Instead, however, he was hit in the back by a searing blast that staggered him, driving him to his knees as light washed over him, burning not only his body but his soul as well.
"Bash'a no falor talah!" A female voice called out from behind him. Glancing back, he could see several of the Meat Wagons were burning, their attendants shattered. Standing over them was a female Blood Elf, a sword clutched in her hands, a loot of fierce determination in her narrow green eyes. With a yell, the Blood Elf charged forwards, her blade raised to strike.
Only, to his surprise, she lept straight past him, instead driving at the human woman.
Silandra was insane with rage and anger, shouting obscenities in Thalassian as she charged the human woman. "This kill is mine, traitor!" She added in the humans' base tougne as she swung forward, her blade lashing out at the armoured figure. "You will not take it from me!"
Her mind seethed with anger as she drove forward, knowing full well that this woman had intended to destroy Nightspawn herself and thus deny Silandra her trophy. It was obvious why; if she could not return with the skull to Liadrin, then she would not be able to prove her worth. She would be seen as a failure, unworthy to join the ranks of Laidrin's elite forces and shut out from their ranks forever. She knew that she had to retrieve the skull at any cost; clearly this woman was another obstacle.
Their weapons met with a resounding clash, both of them flashing brilliant golden light as they met. "For your interference, you will die!" She hissed, then drive forwards, trying to press her advantage.
The woman surged back, pushing the Blood Elf away. "I do not know why you attacked me, Blood Elf." She replied, her tone calm. "But there is a more pressing-"
"You lie!" She yelled, charging in again, her sword's edge glowing a brilliant gold. "You were sent here to thwart me! Admit it, traitor!" She swung wide, the human only barely dodging her swing. "You filthy humans! Tainted by the Night Elves and their lies, you seek to destroy us all!"
"I have no idea what you are talking about!" She called back. "I am here to destroy Lebaum; he is a threat to all who oppose the Scourge, your people and mine. I do not wish to fight you, Blood Elf. Not while the greater evil exists."
"If you will not fight me..." She began, then trailed off. "You will die!" She charged forwards again, driving at the woman. Again their weapons met, brilliant golden light flashing over the pair of them as her blessings fired off. Her eyes widened as she came to a relaisation of what she was seeing. An Alliance Paladin! If I can destroy her, not only will I prove my worth, but I shall prove that we are superior to those fools who betrayed us! Her mouth twisted into a deranged grin as she charged forwards-
-only to have her momentum stopped dead by the Paladin; the woman unleashed a spell on her that slammed into her, stunning her and sending her crashing to the ground.
"I am truly sorry about that." Zogstra commented. "Your actions gave me no choice. We should not fight each other while this menace still exists." She turned to face Lebaum, her mace gripped in both hands.
"A wise move." The skeleton commented. "But futile. You will both die anyway; weather it is by my hands or each others does not matter." While Zogstra knew it was impossible, she could swear that the skeleton was grinning at her. "Of course, It would find it more entertaining if I was the one to slay you."
Zogstra said nothing in reply, instead charging at the skeleton, again swinging at him. He parried her first blow, then replied, his sword swinging out at her. She stepped back, barely avoiding the blow before again driving at him.
"Your resistance is commendable, but futile." He growled as he parried her blade. "Your blood will drench my blade; your soul will feed its power!" He shouted out, sending a wave of dark energy at her. Zogstra again parried, but she could feel its effects; a dark, searing pain tearing through her body. "Yes..." It continued. "Your pain, your suffering is a delight to behold. Give in; surrender to your despair. Darkness falls upon you; stop struggling and accept the inevitable, foolish worm."
"Never." She sneered. "I will never surrender to the likes of you. I shall flight the Scourge with my last breath if needs be!" Her hammer raised, she swung at the creature, his blade only barely stopping her. Even then, he was driven back by the force of the attack, clearly caught by surprise buy her determination. "The light shall drive you and your kind from this world." She continued, hammering at the Death Knight. "Your evil shall be cleansed and driven from these lands!" Lebaum continued to backpedal, only barely fending off her blows. "This ends now!" Another blow struck him; he blocked it, but was driven back by its fierce, slumping to his knees under the impact.
"Light, guide me." She continued, raiding her hammer and bringing down what should have been the final blow, the one that destroyed the Death Knight for all time. Instead, there was resounding clang as the hammer was parried by the Blood Elf's sword, deflected away from Lebaum's skull.
"He is mine." She hissed as she drove forward, a strange, almost manic strength propelling her. "I will be the one to destroy him, not you!" She swung around again, Zogstra only barely ducking her attack. "Leave now, or else you will join him!"
"This is pointless!" Zogstra shouted back. "We achieve nothing by squabbling amongst ourselves!"
The Blood Elf said nothing, instead driving forward, her blade classing with her mace. Undaunted, she continued to press in, as if she could drive the Paladin back by sheer force of will alone. Despite this, Zogstra stood her ground, not willing to yeld to this woman's madness. She glared at the Elf as they struggled against each other, searching for some sign, something that suggested that the woman could be reasoned with. There was nothing; her face was twisted into an angry snarl, her eyes burning with rage and hatred.
A massive blast broke their deadlock, a wave of dark power that erupted form nearby, sending them both crashing to the ground as it washed over them. She slammed into the parched earth, searing pain from the blast running through her body. Glancing back, she could see the Death Knight standing over them, his runeblade raised. "You should have listened." It commented. "Now I will consume you both... my only question is, which of you will have the privilege of being the first to die."
She glanced at the Blood Elf, a quick inspection telling her that she was no better off then Zogstra was. "See what you've done?" She hissed. "We must work together, or else we will both die! Are you so stubborn, so stupid as to not realise this?"
The Blood Elf glared back at her, then turned to the Death Knight, sweeping out with her hand. A blast of light hit him in the ribcage, staggering him and striving him back for a moment. Seeing her chance, the Elf nodded to Zogstra, then scrambled to her feet, blade in hand.
"You fools!" Lebaum shouted out. "You only prolong the inevitab-" He was cut off as the Elf swung at him, her sword coming down in a broad overhead arc, trailing brilliant energy after it. He rose his sword to block it, manging to hold back her attack, his sword crossed his face-
-and leaving him open to Zogstra's own strike, her mace crashing into his ribcage, shattering bones. He staggered back, clearly wounded and caught off balance by the attack. A second blow hammered into him, driving him to one knee.
"You shall not defeat me!" He bellowed out, another wave of black energy sweeping from his blade. Zogstra parried the wave, defecting it off her mace, but was still pushed back. However, at the same time, the Blood Elf took advantage of the situation, running past her and agin swinging at the creature, her blade biting into his shoulder, gouging away at both armour and bone. He batted her away, staggering to his feet only to be struck from behind by another blow from Zogstra.
Staggering, the undead knight turned to glare at his foes. "I am not defeated yet." He snarled, his hollow voice seemingly normal despite the wounds he had suffered. "I have other means yet to defeat the likes of you. Life and death are mine to command!" He swung out with his blade, gesturing to the ruined skeletons that littered the battlefield. "Arise, my minions, and come to my aid!"
"You truly have forgotten all that you learned as a Paladin, Scinthis Lebaum" Zogstra stated. "The light destroys its foes, but it also saves them. Those bodies are now beyond the grasp of your dark magics."
"They have been utterly destroyed." The Blood Elf added, her eyes narrowing. "As you soon shall be."
"No!" He yelled. "I am a Death Knight, a Champion of the Scourge! I will not be defeated like this!" He raised his blade, again charging at the two female Paladins. "The time of the living is over! The time of the dead is now!" He swung at the pair of them, sweeping in a broad, but clumsy arc that the pair of them were able to sidestep, his injuries obvious. "I will not be defeated. I cannot be defeated. This ends now!"
He raised his blade again, but was instead met by a series of blows form the pair of them, as they drove in, hammering at his defenses. He kept his blade up, merely parrying their attacks, being driven back as he tried to hold off the inevitable. The blows came harder and faster, until his defense simply faltered, his blade dropping as blows hammered into his body, shattering bones. Wounded, the Death Knight staggered back, only able to keep his feet due to the dark magics flowing through him.
"Perhaps... I misjudged you." He stated, desperation creeping into his voice. "You two are both powerful warriors... yet, if you joined us, if you served the Lich King, you would be mightier still..."
"No." Zogstra replied, flatly. "I have dedicated my life to serving the Light. I will never betray my people, not in life, not in death." She stretched out a hand, her blye eyes staring straight at the Skeleton's empty sockets. "By the Light, let Evil be destroyed!" A brilliant blast of golden energy lept form her hands, striking the Death Knight square in the chest. Moments later, it was joined by a second blast, unleashed by the silent Blood Elf.
The energy burned into the creature, then tore him apart as the exorcisms destroyed him, body and soul. "Nooo!" He screamed. "Too much goodness, too much hope, too much life too much... too much light!" He screamed before he was torn apart, his charred bones splintering and being blasted apart. Only his skull survived, charred ash black as it fell, bouncing, then rolling before stopping at Silandra's feet. With a loud clatter, his blade fell down next to it, intact and seemingly unscathed despite the destruction that his body had been subjected to.
"There." Zogstra commented as she looked at the scattered bone fragments. "It's over, finished." She turned towards the Blood Elf, a faintly positive smile. "Perhaps our races can coexist after all. if we can fight together to destroy this one Death Knight, then why not the Scourge as a whole?"
As a reply, the Blood Elf looked straight past her, as if focusing on something over her shoulder. "Is something wrong?" Zogstra asked, glancing around. All she could see were the destroyed bodies of the various Scourge that the pair of them had dealt with. Then, she noticed the Blood Elf advancing, heading towards the fallen Death Knight's blade, her arm outstretched.
Silandra could see herself in her minds eye; she was clad in a strange suit of black armour; its design alien to her but ominous at the same time. her skin had paled, more resembling how it had appeared when she was a Quel'dorei then the healthy tone it sported now, while her hair seemed a darker, blood red colour. In her hand, she clutched a massive sword, its blade etched with runes that shone with an unholy light.
She stood in the center of a vast battlefield, striding atop a mountain of corpses, all of them her slain foes, their blood fresh upon her face and armour. There were despicable humans there, but they were not the only ones. Forest Trolls, Orcs and especially the vile Night Elves were amongst the dead, all struck down by her hand to avenge the evils they had perpetrated against her people.
There was a feeling of power that flowed through her, one greater then any other she had known; greater then the arcane magic she had once used, greater even then the powers of the alien being she had been infused with
"Join us, Silandra." A voice echoed through her mind; deep yet strangely hollow. The vision of herself turned to look her straight in the eye, as if to confront the unseen speaker, the one that had given her these great gifts. "Nightspawn has fallen; by besting him, you have proven worthy of being his successor, Silandra Ashblood. Serve me and you will receive this great power. Take the blade, turn it against the pitiful human and strike her down. Use it to cleanse the world of your foes, to annihilate them, to destroy them utterly."
"Kill them all"
"No." She snarled. "I am a loyal servant of prince Kael'thas! I will not forsake my duty to him, to my people, or to his golden dream!" She violently recoiled from the blade, as if it had burned her. "I will not serve you!"
Seeing a chance, Zogstrta acted. With a shout, she swung her mace, its head glowing a brilliant golden colour, around and downwards, slamming it into the blade of the cursed weapon. The force of the strike, combined with the holy energies flowing through it, caused the blade shatter into pieces, the metal fragments splintering and scattering.
"There." She stated, glaring at the Blood Knight. "He is destroyed, the last remnants of his evil banished form this world. It is over; finished."
Silandra looked back at the human, not saying a word in reply. Instead, she quietly collected the Death Knight's charred skull, then turned to walk away.
"Your abilities and training mirror our own." Zogstra spoke up, looking at the Blood Knight. "You clearly serve the light; and yet, at the same time, your order holds different values to mine, ones that would appear to be incompatible."
Silandra stopped, then grinned to herself, before replying in an almost mocking tone. "Foolish human. We so not serve the Light; it serves us." Without anything else, she continued to walk away.
"The Light serves them?" Zogstra asked herself, furrowing her brow in thought. "What does she mean?"
"My lord." Zogstra began as she knelt before lord Shadowbreaker. "I have done as you requested. I traveled to the Plaugelands and did battle with the Death Knight, Scinthis Lebaum. In doing such, he was utterly destroyed. No trace of him remains."
"And his Runeblade?" he asked in reply, his one eye looking over her.
"I shattered it myself to ensure that its evil would end there." She stated.
"Very good." He nodded. "Arise, Lady Zogstra" She stood, again looking him in the eye. "You have done a great thing in ridding the world of one of the evils that plague it. It is a victory for the light, one much needed in a world of such darkness."
She nodded, bowing slightly. "Thank you, my lord." She added, a touch of apprehension clear.
He raised his brow. "Is there something wrong?"
Zogstra nodded. "In my battle with the Death Knight I was... aided by another." She admitted.
"How so?" He asked. "Who was this individual?"
"A Blood Elf." She stated. "Specifically, one of the so-called Blood Knights that we have heard about."
"Ah yes, their Paladins." He nodded. "Please go on. I have heard aobut them, but have yet to see one. Is it true that they serve the light as we do?"
She wanted to say that such was the case; if it were true, there would be an opportunity for reconciliation between the Blood Elves and humans, possibly welcoming them back into the Alliance that they had left. However, she knew in her heart that it could not be true. The words and actions of the Blood Knight she had fought with and alongside had proven it.
"No." She finally replied. "My Lord, while they display powers similar to our own, I do not think that they share our beliefs. The Blood Knight I encountered seemed to fight for purely selfish reasons; she lacked the discipline or the dedication that our order requires. Also, some of the things she said would suggest that they do not serve the light as we do." She paused, recalling the woman's words. "She said that the light serves them."
"I know." She glanced around. "And yet... Blood Elves are known to use demonic energies. Could it be that thy have found a source of power that enables them to... well, I suppose, to become Paladins?"
"It is a mystery, Lady Zogstra." He stated. "One which I fear the answer to."
"My lady. I have done as you asked; Nightspawn is destroyed." Returned to the Blood Knight's chapel, Silandra knelt before Lady Liadrin, not daring to look up. "As you requested, I bought the creature's skull back as proof of the victory." Without looking up, she reached back, pulling the blackened skull out from a pouch. She handed it to the Blood Knight matriarch, who took it from her.
"Excellent." Liadrin replied, examining the skull for a moment before handing it over to an Aide. "You have done well, Silverwood. You have faced a dangerous foe, and vanquished it, at the same time, eliminating a threat to our lands and our glorious future."
"I live only to serve my people."
"And you have swerved us well." She commented. "However, there are future trials ahead, Silandra. You have proven your superiority to the Scourge. Now you must prove your superiority over the so-called Paladins of the Alliance."
For a moment Silandra thought about the woman who she had fought alongside. Despite being a human of misguided beliefs, one who served rather then controlled, she had fought well, being, to her mind, almost a match for Silandra's skills. And yet, at the same time, she relished the opportunity to face such Paladins, to prove her beliefs and her people's ways.
"Tell me what I must do." She replied, an eager tone in her voice. Liadrin nodded, then began explaining her plan, one that would both prove her worth and, at the same time, send a clear message to the Alliance's so-called Paladins.
However, at the same time, she could hear another voice, one that seemed to come form the back of her mind, one deep, yet hollow, that spoke of Terrible power.
Kill them all