The story of Stormshâdow, Deathlord
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“It’s the closest translation.”
“Translation of what?”
“Shach sha rul’Fanlar dros.” He sighed, his voice sepulchral and vast. “And before you ask, that means Stormshâdow, or as close as I can get in common. Which you ask me every single time, so can we move past this?”
“Very well.” Thassarian straightened, pointing to the map dominating the room. Acherus was never a warm place, but Storm could feel it getting colder as his former mentor, now his adjutant, pointed out threats. “The Legion seems most concerned with Azsuna. We suspect they’ve found or are looking for a relic dating back to when the Night Elves held the region.”
“They don’t know?” Storm considered this. “What about Farondis?”
“I’m fairly sure they don’t count him as one of them any longer.” Thassarian’s voice dripped with a sardonic irony that Storm couldn’t miss as much as he wanted to. “I’m sure you can relate.”
“When was your last trip to Stormwind, Thassarian?”
“Not recently. Then again, I was from Lordaeron. Have you been making trips to the Exodar, my lord?”
“Not since Light’s Heart.” The Deathlord grew quiet. Velen had treated him like any other Alliance soldier, not one who had come to Azeroth aboard the Exodar with him. It was hard not to take offense at it, and Storm didn’t try. “But enough. Have the Horsemen investigate, summon me if they discover anything. I will be in my quarters.”
“As you command, Deathlord.” He watched as Thassarian went to gather the Horsemen and give them their mission. At times, Storm felt odd ordering Darion Mograine around, but the pact with the Lich King and the intercession of that being’s terrible power to raise Mograine as one of the Four had left him in de facto command of Acherus. His hand brushed the hilt of one of his two swords and a chill of preternatural frost crawled up his hand, cold enough to send pain through even his dead flesh. The swords burned him every time he used them.
This was to be expected. Perhaps even to be welcomed.
Others of the Ebon Blade nodded to him as he stalked Acherus. He let them, acknowledging them with a head tilt or a sweep of his hand. His thoughts were occupied. The war against the demons was in its final phase, and despite the disdain he could sense pouring off of Thassarian and Velen in waves, others aboard the Vindicaar were more pragmatic. The shadow-touched Elf woman and the half-demon Stormrage both cared more about results than where his power came from. Soon, they would make a final push into Antorus. When it happened…
He didn’t know. For the second time since he’d been from his grave’s embrace untimely ripped, The Shadowed Sky that Rains Storms Upon Eredar had no goal in sight. When he’d been raised, he’d served the Lich King. When he broke free, he’d hunted the Lich King. Now, he hunted the Legion, and he suspected the Lich King more and more every passing day. Everything they’d done together to balk the Legion had worked, but in the process it had… other effects. A reborn Four Horsemen. Darion in direct service to the Lich King. An ancient Red Dragon now a creature akin to Sindragosa or Nightbane. Even his own actions, the blades he wielded, Acherus itself… was any of it free? Did the Lich King have hooks in him?
There was no bed in his quarters. There was a desk and several crystals. He lifted one, concentrated on it, allowed his thoughts to flow into it. He’d learned how to etch his mind’s whispers on such a crystal before the Kaldorei had cracked their world apart. Neither Ner’zhul, nor Arthas Menethil, not even Bolvar Fordragon should know how to access them, and he’d made sure to think them neither in Eredun nor Draenei, but rather in a cipher only the Vindicators had used. They’d all died rather than surrender it.
Soon. It will be soon. Either we fail on Argus, which is the far more likely result, or we succeed. If we fail, this world, and the cosmos all die. If that happens, there is no point to preparing for any future, for there won’t be one. If we succeed… that’s when things get interesting.
He stopped thinking for a moment, and reached down, drew the blades. Felt the howling winter trapped in them trying to rip his long-lost soul out of his body. With a savage twist he buried both blades in the wall, watched them sink up to the hilts. It was petty and stupid, a pointless act of defiance. He often felt like every moment since his death was stolen from him consisted of just that, pointless defiance.
He wasn’t going to change now.
He thinks he’s won. He has his Horsemen. He has Mograine, and I ride a Red Dragon twisted to undeath. He thinks he has me. And as long as he thinks that, I have a chance.
He’d already killed one Lich King, after all. If there must be one, why not him? If he was the Deathlord, let him be the only one.
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