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Malhavik

Nightmare: Priorities.

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Malhavik    10

Dark whimsical chimes and deep drums filled the air, accompanied by the guttural growls of the hungry dead bleeding softly into his private room in the Brill Inn. He stood staring into the visages of Tahma and Folak, his companions in the arena for the past year. Tahma stood tall and proud, decorated in the predator garb awarded to only the highest ranking hunters of the Horde. His expression was one of anger, and his great bow was gripped tightly in his massive tauren hands, notched and ready to fire. Folak sat on his heels beside Tahma, face masked and impassive behind trollish voodoo fetish. They had been arguing for hours, this moment charged with the electricity of eminent battle. Folak pleaded again. "Brudda, dis be not joo! Listen teh us! We wud not evah mislead joo!"

Tahma snorted and spoke in a deep voice with deadly seriousness, "He has chosen his path, Varimithras is obviously more important to him than we are."

Malhavik hesitated, "My dearest friends, please do not stand in my way... Varimithras has given me purpose! He is the only reason I stand here today! When everyone else had forsaken me, he was the only one to believe in me!"

The warlock began to glow as he readied his magical defenses, he had battled along these two hundreds of times and knew Tahma would seize the moment of opportunity the second it presented itself. He did not believe they would kill him, but they would surely maim him and prevent him from completing his mission.

"We will not let joo commit dis travesty!" Folak growled while slamming down totems of bone and hair. The sockets in the voodoo skull he wore began to glow brightly, momentarily blinding the warlock. Tahma let loose an arrow as Malhavik raised an arm to shield his eyes, but from out of the warlocks shadow a voidwalker lept to intercept the arrow knocking it harmlessly to the side.

Though physically unharmed, Malhavik felt a pain suddenly burst into his chest for but a moment. He ignored the feeling and quickly snapped a soulshard to gather soul energy for an assault.

"Please, just leave me! You cannot understand!" He shouted.

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Malhavik    10

The room exploded into action as orange angry flame surged from the warlocks body, setting the room ablaze. One of the shamans totems began to emit a blue lights as healing water magic kept the flames at bay. Tahma fired a volley of arrows into the heart of the inferno, attempting to cease Malhaviks Hellfire. While most of the arrows were vaporized, one struck home and pierced the warlocks chest, successfully breaking his concentration. The two quickly ran through the burning remnants of the room to subdue and capture Malhavik.

"I will not fail my lord..." Malhavik spoke quietly as he watched the two approach. Behind his mask his skin began to twitch, then writhe as if it were a living thing trying to break its bonds. He knew he couldn't possibly win against the two of them at once, he would have to do something desperate. The pain in his chest began to grow immensely.

"I am so sorry, I know you only seek what is best for me." He extended his hands for the two to help him up. Folak sighed and reached out to grasp the warlocks hand. Tahma's sharp eyes caught the movement under the warlocks robes just before Folak and Malhavik joined hands. "NO!" He shouted and moved to shove Folak to the side, but

he was to late. The troll screamed in agony as the affliction coursed into his body. Malhavik stood and grasped Tahma by the shoulder while he was distracted with Folak.

The soul shards floating above Malhaviks head all exploded in unison, surging power into him. His two friends immediately fell to the ground and began shrieking and clawing at their flesh. Their eyes bled, skin blistered and ripped, and very souls began to boil. Malhavik had poured every ounce of his magic into his afflictions, and they were great and many. His companions would not survive.

Malhavik stood trembling over the two on the floor amidst the burning furniture. "You left me know other choice... I must obey my lord..." He said pitifully to himself. He wanted to run, to flee the nightmare he was in but his legs would not move him. He had to do something for them... The guilt in his heart was maddening, he couldn't leave them here to die slow agonizing deaths. With trembling hands he pulled out two large soul stones and looked into them. In the reflection he saw himself with eyes glowing bright amber, and he dropped the stones in shock.

Deep hideous laughter filled the room. A sickly familiar voice filled his mind. "I know your secrets little one... You are monster just as I me."

Malhavik wanted to argue but couldn't find any words. He stood there not fully believing but not denying it either.

"You thought your humanity died that day until you met my herald. Now you've fooled yourself into believing you are something capable of compassion..." The voice hissed.

"Lets find out what you really are once and for all then..."

Suddenly before him, Vionora had appeared.

"Devour her soul!" The voice commanded.

At some point the pain in his chest had disappeared, and was replaced by a ravenous hungry void. Vionora's soul looked exquisite. He took a step toward her, seemingly incapable of stopping himself.

"I'm sorry dear girl. I... can not change what I am..." he spoke sadly.

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Vionora    10

Her gray-glowing eyes opened and she gazed back at him with her expression calm. Despite his menacing approach, she showed no fear of him. Yet it was not a lack of regard for her life that made her unconcerned, as it had been that day he took her from Shattrath.

Back then, her relationship with suffering had been simple. It was all life was. Now, life was so much more.

Or, it had been.

"Malhavik," Vionora said softly. The number of times she had used his name could be counted on one hand. "This isn't real."

To her, the Brill inn around them was full of shadows; made of shadows. She could see the underpinnings of Accalia's machinations, the dark and feral power that fed into Malhavik and flowed out to create the suggestion of the world they saw, although in his mind it looked as he expected it to and made perfect sense, even when she appeared from nowhere. In this shadowy dream made manifest, Malhavik's soul was the lone spot of brightness... an irony, perhaps, considering the warlock and his predilictions, but not to her. She didn't look away from him as he drew closer.

She raised her hands, still holding his gaze, to show him the backs. There, the mismatched marks once again both glowed, the nearly-overlapping circles of amber on the right and the demonic purple seal on the left.

"This isn't true anymore," she said.

The marks were more of Accalia's illusion. They appeared only because that was how Malhavik had known her best. But the mark of the Eclipse was dormant now that Accalia's mortal form had been defeated and the Beast-God had been forced back into the twilight realm, if for no other reason; and the seal... That no longer existed either.

"I never wanted you to change," she said finally, lowering her hands. "I wanted you just the way you were. And you... could never hurt me."

The reason she gazed on him without fear, now, was not due to indifference to her own fate.

It was trust that was in her eyes.

The trust she had placed in him, that she had refused to give up even when he tried to drive her away. That he had earned after giving her no other option, but which she had not taken back when she could. She had already placed her life in his hands. She would not flinch now.

"Just remember," she said. "Just.... remember."

She closed her eyes.

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Malhavik    10

Malhaviks head swam, and he peered at Vionora through blurry haze. Accalia's voice bounced around in his skull, commanding him to obey his nature, to devour Vionora's soul. The old beings words inflamed the gnawing hunger crushing the warlocks chest. His clawed hand inched closer to the elf's pristine skin, the joints creaked with anticipation of grimy caress.

"Just remember..." The words cut through his foggy mind like lightning. He blinked in sudden surprise, gaining clarity in the odd situation. He looked to the mangled twisted corpses of Tahma and Folak, then to Vionora standing beside them.

"That's not right... " He mumbled dumbly to himself while halting his advance. "This isn't real!" He suddenly realized. Accalia urged him on, regardless of his sudden awareness.

"WE ARE THE SAME, PROVE YOURSELF TO ME!" The triple canine voices in he head screamed.

"No. We are not the same." His clawed twisted grasp changing to caress Vionora's jaw. "You seek the end of all things, while I seek to continue struggle eternal."

He gazed at Vionora, a perfect, beautiful agent of strife. Capable of so much conflict, so much progress! He knew though, that was also a lie. He had failed in his creation of such a beautiful creature. This was just another false construct of his mind.

The real Vionora did not enjoy suffering as he did. She was, despite her reputation, a kind soul.

A soul dead and devoured.

Malhaviks chest heaved, not out of hunger, but out of regret. "You are as vile as the peace mongering weaklings of the Alliance and Horde... Both of you seek an end. An end to progress! I will never allow such indolent behavior!"

The warlock closed his eyes in determination, and when he next opened them, he found himself staring into the twisted treetops of the Darkmoon isle.

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Vionora    10

With her eyes closed, Vionora didn't see the despair twisting his features, but she heard it.

She had tried so hard to keep his approval. For months, even when they were together, it had been a constant struggle. It was one seemingly between them; but in the end, it was only against themselves.

Vionora could not be what he wanted her to be. Despite the immense cruelties the world had heaped on her, she had never really wanted anyone else to suffer the same.

But it was the impossibility of it that had drawn her to him. Only now, after he finally rejected her, did she understand that that rejection was what she had been looking for all along.

And yet she had spoken truly when she'd said he couldn't hurt her. In the end, she had been hurting herself. He had only ever been what she'd wanted.

But there was no pain now. The only thing she felt was her own share of regret. So much wasted time. So many wounds never allowed to heal.

She opened her eyes to see the shadows that stitched the illusory inn together were coming apart. So, too, was she. To the void she returned.

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