Naheal

Eclipse: Hatred

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Kun-lai, Pandaria

A new place to him, yet he kept feeling like people pushed him in this direction. In other circumstances, he would've preferred to have had Taozhu with him, but the pandaren was actually quite busy himself with his own research into Accalia. The Death Knight, Naheal, had chosen to come this way to answer a couple questions. Namely what information Pandaria had on creatures like Accalia and a new one. One that had been sparked the night before by someone who was quickly becoming a good, if antagonistic, friend. Aaren. The woman he had cursed who had repeatedly decided that she wanted to help him. The second question was apparently a reason why she decided to accompany him. A single, burning question that seemed to match up with something that Accalia was doing in his head.

What are the Sha?

In many ways, this secluded area reminded him of Storm Peaks... without all the undead. However there was definitely something different here. Something serene. In the back of his mind, he thought there was a possibility he would be thrown out for what he is, but he had to press on. From what Kex'ti had told him, Kun-lai was where the Pandaren trained their soldiers and would likely be the best place to look for information about the Sha and, hopefully, he could find a relation to Accalia.

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It took a lot of time to get through the mountains. Hours of walking and, while Aaren “helped,” she didn't entirely direct him properly. Finally, toward the end of the night, they had found what looked to be a decent cavern to set camp. Despite her constant bitching, the two had actually had some decent, playful banter between each other, not including her occasionally smacking him for being an idiot – her second favorite thing to call him. Idiot and jerk.

He found himself smirking and snickering at the strange girl who had decided to accompany him. He had met her three times, yet she continued to be an endless supply of amusement. What was strange, though, was her incessant need to press him for help. Not help for her, but help for him. He shook his head. That night was going to be odd.

In the back of his head, though, something didn't quite seem right. He found himself seeing himself in a far... worse light. You'll get her killed, he thought. She's near suicidal in her desire to help you. It's not like you deserve it.

Monster.

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The night was fairly calm for the most part, but Naheal didn't actually say much. A few off comments from Aaren nearly set him off, but not quite. In the end, he just ended up relaxing for most of the night... until something caught his attention. Movement just out of his vision range. “Wait here,” he said. The wide open, chilled air didn't bother him all that much – in fact found that was somewhat invigorating. Some part of him loved this area, but that thing that moved... something about it seemed familiar.

His eyes hadn't been adjusted to tracking like the living body had been. For the most part, those skills were tied to that body, but something pushed him on. something on the edge of his mind. That thing needed to be tracked.

She hates things like you.

It didn't take long to find it. He hadn't quite figured out what it was until he finally caught up. Kill her. Vionora. FUCK HER. KILL THAT MONSTER. He didn't hesitate. An ambush. It was easy. Caught off guard – he assumed – he tackled her to the ground, wrapping his hands around her throat. “Do the world a favor.” He whispered to her as he squeezed. “Die. Just fucking die.” As he squeezed her throat. “People like you. People like you are why I keep having to fight. Fuck you. DIE!” He almost yelled at her. “Die. Die, die, die!” As he squeezed, he felt his strength increase. It became easier and easier to squeeze to crush her throat. “All I wanted – all I ever asked for - was a fucking family, but no. People like you keep stepping up and saying how the world doesn't treat you right. Fuck you. DIE!”

Hate, such consuming hate, came over him. All he could think of was how much he hated this bitch. As he squeezed, a black energy came over him, ending with what sounded like a snap as he crushed her throat. Taking a couple steps back, he dropped the girl to the ground, but something was wrong. That's not Vionora, is it? The hair was wrong. Was your brother not enough? There was a ranger he knew with black hair. Jazziks. Now who's the monster? You sure that it was her and not what's in the mirror? Naheal closed his eyes. I am the monster here.

As he acknowledged that, a black creature formed behind him, feeding off of the energy he was giving off.

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The priestess was relieved when he rose and walked off. A sarcastic grin graced her lips as he walked off into the darkness, but it was quickly replaced with an exhausted yawn when he was out of view. He's just as difficult as always, and you can't even feed off of him, can you? Stupid. Keeping up appearances was draining, but she was Sin'dorei. As if this fool wasn't doing the same. 'He's just as stubborn as she is, it's a wonder...' she thought silently. Aaren's head rested upon her crossed arms as she stretched out, an unpleasant chill started small as a quiver before suddenly shaking her to her core. She was never a fan of the cold, but at least the amulet she was given by the warlock was warm against her skin. You know this isn't enough, you dolt. You must consume another. The energy was coming slow, yes, but it was enough to allow her to hide her anguish at least.

She was falling asleep when she heard it. Or was it in her head? Die. No, she did hear it. Not too far away, but it was quiet. Angry. Aaren stood quickly with an annoyed groan, and after a bit of dizziness finally passed, she started calling her shadows. The priestess hesitated however, when she sensed the indomitably familiar darkness nearby. "Oh fucking hell! Of course!" she shouted. 'Idiot' she murmured to herself, directed inward. The one thing she meant to do, the one reason she demanded he not come here by himself, and she was already failing. Her gathering shadows again dispersed; holy energy would help her best against sha. She rushed on after him.

There Naheal knelt, looking at his hands? Looking at an empty space on the ground? With her eyes adjusted away from the campfire, in the stray light reflecting from the moon she saw nothing but the dumb look on his face. But it was there, dark energy surrounded him, two flavors of it. The power gained from her amulet made her more sharp than she thought it would. Her eyes narrowed and she forced wards around the elf. Bolts of holy, healing energy slammed into him, and none too gently with a small smirk from the woman as he groaned against it. A great nova of Light illuminated the area for scarce moments, and her targets were quickly noted. Their attention snapped to the priestess as well, and a great hissing escaped the being closest to her as she called down a heavy rain of holy fire from the sky into it. A smaller sha beast erupted from the ground with its own cry, only to turn its attention to the one farther away and attack it eagerly. A gasp escaped her as a new flow of mana ignited within her, streaming from her modified shadowfiend. Isn't this what you need?

Another flash of Light fell upon the death knight. If he wasn't hurt, he at least needed to be cleansed of the dark contagion seeping from the sha. 'I hope it stings you, you jerk!' she wanted to cry out, but the Anger beast was already upon her. She didn't bother warding herself. A quick incantation of suppression would carry her long enough for her to chastise the sha with light, and she turned to run and draw it far enough away while the minion of Hatred was distracted. The creature leapt into the air and came down hard upon the priestess and tore at her essence as it held her in place, but it was quickly interrupted with another blast of holy Light seared it from behind as the guise beneath it faded into the night. Three channeled bursts of raw magic burst forth from her hands and crashed into the sha with loud protest. Consume it! It was all but finished off, but she was at her end, already. The flow of mana from her fiend tapered off as its time was quickly spent; the amulet was not enough to sustain this kind of battle.

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The sha reached out to her, pushed into her mind as she resisted. Her hands dug into the soil as she managed to block it for what would only be moments, when a small blue and glowing keg landed on the ground in front of her. Her green eyes raised to inspect the paw expertly carved into it, and another rush of energy cascaded around the elf. "Don't get angry... just end it..." she whispered aloud to herself, and let loose cast after cast of holy magics into the thing until it was no more. With the sha dispersed, her attention zoned in to the totem before her as the energy pulsed from it. Aaren accepted the steams of mana readily, and only found herself again when it fizzled and vanished. She remembered, the sha, there was a second!

She jumped up and spun around to be greeted abruptly and wordlessly by a smiling pandaren man standing inches away from her. The surprised shriek that escaped her only startled herself, the gaze upon her was one of curiosity and inquiry. A quick glance behind him showed the death knight virtually drained and struggling to remain upright. No beast remained there, only a rumbling elemental of rock and earth patrolling a short distance around another glowing keg-totem nearby. The shaman reached out for the priest as she stumbled past him, but she managed to avoid his touch and marched to the dazed Naheal, still kneeling in an unbalanced fashion.

"Come on, you idiot! What the hell did I tell you?!" Aaren grabbed his shoulderguard and jerked him to his feet, but he couldn't remain standing that easily. He stumbled back down to his knees after almost toppling the priest over with himself. She seethed as she glared into his face, Naheal's expression was empty in exhaustion. She tried to rouse him with a quick slap. "No. No! Get your ass up and get back over there!" The shaman watched the two, at a safe distance of course. The fiery little priest yelled and half dragged the plated elf back to a small encampment, and he followed at a pace that one would expect from a pandaren. She was fed up and finished with lugging the elf when he was close enough. "Fine! Stay there! See if I care!" The shaman decided it was best not to speak up yet to say that the knight probably didn't hear her. She grabbed a heavy blanket of furs and threw it at him with a huff and a swift kick of his iron boot, which she of course immediately regretted.

"It is wonderful to meet you two, as well, my dear." The shaman smiled warmly at her with a grand bow. As he rose, a small blue fox scurried up to him, running a couple circles around him while inspecting the man before resting behind him and watching the sin'dorei priestess with wide eyes. She was dizzy again, but at least she was warm and they were safe enough, now.

"Don't touch him, don't touch me. I'll explain later." Aaren was again aware of her own exhaustion. She watched him carefully, tried keeping a menacing expression on her face, but he only chuckled heartily in response and bowed his head with raised hands.

"Sit! Please, rest. Do you like beer?!" The shaman tended to the fire Naheal had started earlier after dropping his pack nearby, he did a much better job at rebuilding it than either of them probably could. She lowered herself to sit next to the flames and gathered her cloak around herself as she watched him. The fox pup stalked her curiously and distracted the woman for some amount of time as she warmed herself. She smiled at the little black nose twitching as he sniffed the air around her, and he danced in a whirl as the stranger dropped a linen spread around her thin shoulders. He eyed Naheal curiously for several moments as he stroked his beard, then took his seat next to his pack a few feet away. The shaman retrieved a well worn book, or perhaps a journal of some sort and dropped it onto his lap with a grin he could hardly contain. The fox curled up in front of him, Aaren eyed them both carefully as she gathered the blanket around herself.

"Thanks. So. What is your name?"

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"I am called Darta," he said, flipping through his book before finally stopping about midway through. "And you must be Aaren, am I correct?" He started writing. He looked to her with a smile. "Do not be angry, the spirits carry your name on the winds now as they do this man," he pointed to Naheal. He was excited. Obviously excited. It was like seeing a story come to life before his eyes. "Come. Tell me what brings you here." Aaren shrugged. "He didn't say, then?" Darta stood, then placed a totem beside Naheal. "Then, perhaps, we can ask his soul. Or even work to repair some of the damage."

Naheal stirred as Darta sat next to him. "Do not worry, spirit guide, I am not here to harm you, but you must accept this healing now..." The shaman closed his eyes, falling into a trance as he connected with Naheal's spirit.

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It was quiet. Black. Nahael had more-or-less slept lately, but it was only a means to get rest anymore. When he dreamed, he dreamed of what was lost. His failures. Guildmates dead, a perceived betrayal of his race and several guilds. Most of all, he saw the people that had left him in the past. People he failed to help. People he had failed to save. People he had failed to protect.

“An odd thing, Master.” He jerked and turned around. Before him was what looked to be a green-skinned orcish woman in purple robes. Shadowmoon? “In everything that you've done, all you see are where you messed up. You forge new paths, yet you think that screwing up is all you do.”

“I don't recognize you.” He said to her.

“Of course you don't. My name is Rathas Steelsinger, a shaman formerly of the Shadowmoon clan. I am the initial soul that was used to craft the runeblade that you now hold.” They bowed to each other. “You have long since been a man who's proven yourself to be a man of action – the sort to get things done. You are a merciless hunter of the Burning Legion and the Scourge. You defend your clan with the ferocity of any orc and I would have been honored to call you friend of the Shadowmoon.. Before we had moved to Azeroth.”

“You called me 'master.'”

“I'm now a blade – your blade. I chose you because of those you hunt. Your targets are those that do not belong in your world.” He turned away from her. “I call you master because you're worthy of following.”

“What have I done to warrant that?”

In the black, Naheal heard a pandaren clear his throat. “What indeed, Naheal Malastar, Hero of the Eclipse, former Knight-Champion of the Blood Knights, adherent and founding member of Raven Cross, and Knight of the Ebon Blade?” Naheal turned to face a black-and-white pandaran man with a long beard in shamanistic robes. “I am sorry, sir, but I've been studying your deeds since the spirits whispered your name to me.”

“Why would the spirits guide you to me?”

“You have a friend amongst them now. One Thoraggar. He heard the lies that you told to the Aldor and chose to correct the record. He and another who knew your tale, though he preferred to remain silent.”

“And what is it it you wish of me, Mr....?”

“Ah, my mistake. My name is Darta. I am an aspiring Lorewalker and was intending to focus on recent events and to record current events for future generations.” Darta bowed. “If you would like, I would love to share some tales with you.” Naheal smiled, then agreed. He could hardly fault the pandaren's enthusiasm and, really, it wasn't like this was all that real to him.

So, Naheal and Rathas sat down and listened to the enthusiastic pandaren tell the tales that he had. He spoke of a hero who, when he saw danger from the Sha moving to possess and warp his village, chose to study the Sha as much as possible. While he studied, he learned how to manipulate, defeat, and contain them. In some cases, he even learned to bend the Sha to his will. He spoke of a group of heroes that stood against the Burning Legion and the allies of the Legion on Azeroth who had flocked to their side in desperation... or vengeance. He told of a hero amongst them who found those who were possessed amongst the so-called “allies” of the Legion and worked to free them of the Legion's grasp.

He spoke of a pandaren who was falsely accused and then put on a farce of a trial, then of the heroes that pulled the pandaren out of that trial, no matter the personal cost. He spoke of a hero who gave his life against the Legion, only to have the Mogu take his body and enslave his soul. When the hero broke free, he was one of many who were in the rebellions against the Mogu. Tale after tale of unfamiliar heroes standing against impossible odds. Finally, at the end of it, Darta spoke to Naheal more directly.

“What do you think of these heroes?”

“Good people. All of them. People I would be happy to fight at the side of.”

“Oh? Is that so?” Naheal nodded to Darta. “There is a way to meet these heroes, you know.” He cocked a brow. “Would you be interested?”

“Alright. I see no reason why not.”

“Oh, it's nothing too major. You'll simply be watching their deeds... and then you'll see the hero.” The shaman filled a pool at their feet with water. “Watch.”

Naheal leaned over the pool, watching these stories unfold before his eyes, but they changed as they went on. The man who saved his village from the Sha... was an elf. The village had slowly warped into one that he recognized – a city. A nation. And the Sha... demons. Demonic crystals suspended in the city. The hero against the Legion, also an elf, fought to free the “allies” of the Legion... though the legion seemed to employ wolves rather than their standard demonic armies.

Story after story turned from what the shaman had told him into the truth. Stories that he knew – he had lived them. “Do you understand now, Naheal Malastar?” He looked to Darta. “These stories... are your stories. You were the man in each of these that worked to help those around you. Selflessly. And now you find yourself in a situation where you cannot fully die. Why is this not a blessing?”

“Amongst some troll tribes,” Rathas said, “they revere the dead. They are said to protect and guide the living even as they're gone. It would seem to me that you've become part of their revered dead – to protect and guide what you can even while you believe you do not belong.”

...and with that, the dream ended. Naheal opened his eyes.

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Aaren watched Darta in his meditation as the murmuring in her head nagged at her. Just a simple, gentle touch, and everything will be all better. He won't even notice. She pulled the blanket up over her head so that the breeze couldn't muss her hair any more than she thought it was. She was stupid. Stupid for coming here, back to this land, and to help someone that didn't even care. Everything is in one ear and out the other, with him. Get through to him for five minutes, but then you're back to where you were in the beginning. Stupid.

She was drawn to Draenor in the first place to do something for the world. Drawn to an injured monk in the Warspear tavern, for some reason. Followed after an idiot ranger carrying a dark curse just to pull herself into the mess. She followed her dreams to speak with Naaru, accepted guidance from them so she could do just something to make this whole thing just end already. She was a healer, of course. A damn good one, too, but being a healer doesn't make you a hero.

The priestess curled up with the covers bunched around herself for whatever comfort she could manage and stared silently into the fire. A mug of some sort of brew left by the passing shaman went ignored, but a couple empty glass flasks joined it after she tried steadying herself. The pup rose and stretched from its spot nearby and wandered over to sniff the shaman and death knight as he... did whatever he was doing. She didn't care right now. Its tail flicked a couple times before settling down again into a tiny ball of fluff, this time next to Aaren. A careful eye was kept on it, she didn't care so much for animals. There wasn't much time to think on it, however, since her mind was again whisked away to Shattrath.

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