Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Story of Valdiis, a Knight of the Ebon Blade

Written while listening to Winterborn (This Sacrifice) - Subway to Sally Remix by the Crüxshadows.
((The name is pronounced "Vel-deesh." This is the first piece of creative writing I've done in a little over a decade - i.e. first story flaws may apply.))

. . . . . . Once, I knew honor. I knew compassion and mercy. I knew what it was to believe so deeply in a cause that you devoted your entire life to it…

. . . . . I was born aboard an inter-dimensional ship fleeing Argus – they call it Oshu’gun now in the Orcish tongue. I was still a child among my people when my hooves first touched land on one of the many planets we tried to find refuge on. We found no refuge for much longer. When we finally landed for the last time – on Draenor, my parents and my brothers left the dying ship behind and we settled in Telredor. My brothers were all older than me – bigger, stronger. A certain fierceness made their blood and their tempers hot. As the only girl amidst four boys, I grew fierce like them. I followed them in all they did.
. . . . . Rulaam – the youngest of the four and nearest to me in age – eschewed the anchorite path of my parents and other brothers and became a simple warrior. Perhaps he wasn’t strong enough in the Light to be an anchorite, or perhaps their priestly ways were just not for him. I followed my adored Rulaam into combat.
. . . . . I learned to wield a blade with deadly grace. I learned to crack heads with a stick. I taught myself how to turn anything I could lay hands to into a weapon. I honed my very body into a weapon whose hand was guided by the Light. I charged heedless into any fray with my enemy, reveling in the joy of deadly motion. I trained for the day I would join the great Army of the Light and defeat the Burning Legion that had given my childhood nothing but endless retreat.
. . . . . The Legion found us all too swiftly. As a warrior with my brother Rulaam, we joined a company of our people in battle. I remember bathing in the blood of the rabid orcs, but I remember more often than not sitting around a fire with my company, tending our wounds and saying prayers for the dying, washing off our own blood from our armor.
. . . . . Many of our people fled to Telredor. My parents and other brothers were constantly busy; they did little else but tend the injured and offer prayers. Eventually, the orcs chased all of us into Zangarmarsh. Still, we fled before the Legion.

. . . . . I remember a fierce battle, a painful, blood-caked one. The orcs had so many Legion demons with them by that point. My company held the line while those left at Telredor fled towards Orebor Harborage to prepare for further retreat to the new inter-dimensional ship the great Prophet Velen and the Naaru had secured for us - the Tempest Keep. Retreat again. Always retreat… The fel energies used against us – they were so strong, so pervasive. Somehow, many of our company were infected by it – corrupted…broken.
. . . . . As we saw what the fel infection was doing to us, we knew we could not follow our people fleeing to the Tempest Keep. What if we brought this filth with us? So we did not follow our people. As Draenor shattered under our hooves, Commander Magtoor led the company in pursuit of the orcs, in pursuit of a new life where we would not bring these fel taints to our people.
. . . . . We went through the Dark Portal.

. . . . . The land on the other side was as bleak as our own – blasted, sere, and scarred. Those of my company still strong enough – myself among them – supported our brothers in arms as we sought some safety, some refuge to rest and seek a cure for this fel infection. Commander Magtoor led us to a swamp where we built a small harborage and began tending our wounded.
. . . . . It was not long before the fel taint grew worse. Several of my fellow warriors…changed. Their bodies became stunted and twisted, their minds starting to slip, their very souls broken upon the spear of fel magic. Among them, Rulaam. Those not driven mad by the fel energies were driven nearly so by simple homesickness. We had no idea where we were, and little more idea than that on how we would survive in this fetid hell. We called ourselves the Broken Exiles.
. . . . . Rulaam was not the first or the last to go. The madness was gradual even if it was pronounced and obvious. My brother forgot who I was. All my brothers – be they of blood or blade – forgot who I was. Even Commander Magtoor was not immune to the decay the fel infection caused. At the time, I counted myself lucky to be physically unaffected.
. . . . . Rulaam snapped. Commander Magtoor had the distasteful task of ordering those of us still sane to go forth and protect the Harborage from our lost brethren. I went in pursuit of my brother. I owed it to Rulaam that he should be sent mercifully to his grave by his sister’s hand. Perhaps it was my own slide into madness guiding me. To this day, I do not know. I do know that it was listening to the voices – the ethereal whispers of fel spirits guided by orc warlocks – that led me into the trap.

. . . . . I was captured by a group of orcs from nearby Stonard in the swamp. At the Harborage, we treated fairly with them because we had no other choice, but those foul greenskins know no honor. I was kept as a pet, a slave, a dog to follow behind their meager camp as they marauded ever northward. I understand a little of the Orcish tongue. They headed north to free their companions in internment camps in some place called Lordaeron.
. . . . . I will not recount my time in the orcs’ camp, a plaything to brutish, ugly warriors; it is too horrific to tell, although not the most horrific thing I’ve endured.
. . . . . We made it to Lordaeron only to find that the interred orcs had been freed and sailed westward to new lands. The land of Lordaeron was a desolate place, filled with the stench of death and decay. It was there that my captors became my kin. Death makes brothers of us all.
. . . . . An army of rotting, putrid…things descended upon the small force of orc warriors. Unarmed, chained to a tent post, I simply died, felled with a single slash to the neck from an icy blade.

. . . . . Never is it said that the Lich King wastes a good weapon.
. . . . . My corpse was among the heaps of bodies carried to the citadel of Naxxramas. I was not a hero like hundreds of corpses there, but my unique appearance - so like the eredar demons this world had already known - made me a useful show dog for the Scourge. My shell was reanimated, filled with ice and magic and fury. My soul was locked away, watching through my glowing blue eyes as I did as I was told.
. . . . . As in the battles on Draenor, I bathed in blood. But now it was not the blood of my enemies. I slew mothers and children alike, anything living that stood between me and my ordered goal. My soul screamed in horror and revulsion as I cut down innocents without hesitation, but my will was not my own. I was the Lich King’s creature – cold, unholy, and drenched in blood.
. . . . . I was placed in a regiment of other blasphemous machines of the Lich King, a freezing legion – the 1113th Infantry Division. The things I did…they were not actions of my own choosing. My soul watched the Light slip from my grasp a little more every day I followed the wretched General Marsille the Mad. By that point, I was quite mad myself. As a warrior on Draenor, I reveled in battle, but not in killing. I kept no trophies from the slain, no mementos from my enemies. As a soldier of the 1113th, I collected finger bones.

. . . . . It was New Avalon that did it. We were sent there to slaughter the Scarlet Crusade resistance, and slaughter we did. Our legions overpowered the twisted fanatics like a stampede of elekks through a nursery. At their chapel, Knight Commander Plaguefist found some Argent Dawn prisoners.
. . . . . I knew nothing of what became of my people as I defended their flight to Tempest Keep. I had no idea they had landed on the same planet as I. I had no idea that my people had found their Army of the Light in the great Alliance. I knew not the Argent Dawn, only that they were enemies of the Lich King and thus enemies of mine.
. . . . . One of my brothers had survived. He had fled with our people on the Exodar. He had joined the Alliance and fought with the Argent Dawn against the evil of the Scourge. Against the evil of…me.
. . . . . I had no choice. I had no control. The Lich King ordered and I obeyed. I slew my own brother there in New Avalon, and my soul shattered like a crystal chalice, the last remnants of anything remotely like me leaking out of the sharp pieces that I left behind in the spatters of his blood.

. . . . . I am broken. I am much less than sane. I am fit for nothing but the bloody slaughter I was designed to inflict. I know only revenge and retribution. I know only a hatred so deep, so pervasive, that you devote your entire reason for taking another step forward to eradicating the source of that hate.

. . . . . . I am Valdiis, a soldier of the 1113th Infantry Division.

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