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Catalinetta

To Forge a Future

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Catalinetta    35

"We weren't intended to be free. The magic that brought us back? That compels us to feed? It's all woven together. And the piece of that that's missing now, is the control that the Lich King used to have over us. When that magic got ripped out of us, when that control was broken, all the other magic in there was left dangling. It's like a cloak. When it's all there it holds together strong, but as soon as there's a rip, well, it becomes a lot easier to rip it more and more. It's stable, but not strong, and if that ripping gets into your head, it's going to make you see your friends as enemies and yourself as a hero and everything else is going to get warped until someone puts you down."

--Regdar the Red

 

The snow in Northrend was unlike any other snow Catalinetta had ever experienced. It was softer, fluffier, like powder or cotton candy. When it landed in her eyelashes, it looked as if she were wading through feathers. As a death knight, the cold should not have affected her. As a death knight, she should have been numb to this freezing tundra. The bone-deep frost permeated even her thick black plate armor, padded as it was with leather and fur. It did affect her, though. Memories of walking through this same snow haunted her; sometimes alone, sometimes with company. The strange crunch at her feet echoed through her ears.

Everything ahead was white.

As she breathed, Catalinetta could see fog leave her mouth. This too was new, a “gift” from the Scryers. Blood magic of the Mogu created a warmth in her that ached for relief from this winter. In spite of her own physical changes, Northrend itself had changed very little. The Scourge still wandered aimlessly, searching for flesh to feast upon as the Drakkari trolls attempted to rebuild their shattered civilization. Here and there, remnants of the Lich King’s once massive army lay broken and cold.

It was in these bits of history that Catalinetta searched.

She had very little to go on, besides the words of an elf who could no longer recall much of anything at all. It was enough for her to hope, though. Enough to search, alone, for something that would grant her another ounce of freedom from the Lich King.

"If you can find some other way to gain citizenship, then by all means. But the Horde has no runeforges for your weapon, and the necromancy that powers it. Your soul is tied to that weapon, if it breaks or cracks or you need a new one of any variety, there will be no option for you but a withering death."

The death knight clenched her jaw. The voice of Regdar the Red was like a conscious, constantly reminding her of how stupid she had been for simply believing that one could leave the Ebon Blade without consequence. A runeforge! Of course. How would she survive without one?

Carefully, she trudged through the snow, searching for a sign that Kreyen’s sighting hadn’t been a fantasy. If he was correct, and there was indeed a runeforge hidden somewhere among the rubble, then there was hope. If not…

"This is new territory for us. Our technology is either of classical or more exotic nature. But we would be remiss to let the opportunity of gaining another edge for our people, especially one that could be so readily used against the Legion…”

The thought of Vathelan’s willingness to help made her smile, despite the cold. Even he admitted that to do so would be dangerous, given the Scryers’ close watch on his actions. However, with a runeforge in their grasp, anything was possible. Even the destruction of the Legion, and with it, a little bit of peace.

In the distance, she spotted a reflective piece of metal. It was hardly larger than a coin, but the snow hadn’t completely buried it. Catalinetta approached the shard, wading through snow that had risen past her knees. The closer she got to the bits of metal, the more she realized that it was part of a weapon. With her hands, she swept away the snow and revealed a sword. Nothing particularly special as far as weapons went, it was just a typical two-handed bastard sword. The further she dug however, the more story the sword revealed. At its hilt, she found the remnants of a body. Deeper in the snow, a corpse. Human.

 She kept digging.

Closer to the ground, she found armor. Bones. Arrows. More bones. A battle had taken place here, long ago. Most likely, it happened during the campaign in Northrend, when champions of Azeroth came together in order to defeat the Lich King. The bones varied in size and shape, indicating a collection of different bodies. Absently, Catalinetta wondered if any of them belonged to elves.

Still, bones did not mean a runeforge. She continued walking in the direction of a former Scourge base. Very few memories of her time there remained.

When she became free of the Lich King’s control, Cat attempted to fight alongside her allies in Sanctuary, to defeat the Lich King with their support. The longer she fought, however, the more lonely she felt. After the campaign, she remained behind for some time. Nobody seemed to notice, even as the Horde changed hands and Sanctuary was forced to go underground. She left under the Warboss’ command, but that was just an excuse. Catalinetta wanted to disappear.

Even now, the urge to disappear sometimes resurfaced itself. As did the creeping urge to rejoin the Ebon Blade, to be near others like her, but then..

"Don't go back to the Ebon Blade.”

Kreyen’s memories still hadn’t returned, but there was something there. A growing friendship, a desire to remain close to one another, even without history.

"I don't ever want to be on the opposite side of a fight from you..."

She stopped walking for a moment and looked up at the sky. He was going to become a paladin. He would wield the Light, and become every bit the paladin she dreamed of. She was certain of that, and it made her smile.

 “Sister?”

Cat turned toward the voice.

Standing in front of the ruins of an old base stood an elven death knight. From the looks of his armor, broken and pitted, he must have been there a long time.

Cat stared at him carefully and retrieved her axe.

The death knight didn’t seem to notice. “What word from our master?”

“..master?”

He smiled at her with broken teeth, a hollow look in his eyes. How long had he been out here?

“When the death of summers past
“Soon to us, they shall outlast
“Warmth and sun like blood and skin
“Bleached bones remain of kin”

Cat shook her head slowly. “I don’t understand..”

“Sunwell Light doth shine on thee
“Bright and endless as the sea
“Do you sing of Quel’thalas
“Mem’ries aching for the past”

Cat’s eyes softened. He had gone mad. Succumbed, perhaps, to the curse. Not enough death, not enough suffering. There was no way back from that kind of madness. With a deep breath, she raised her axe and approached him.

“Don’t worry,” she said gently. “You’ll be with your kin, soon.”

The other death knight laughed, a sort of jaded laughter that went belly deep. He doubled over with merriment, tears rolling down his face only to frost over against his gray skin.

“When all is dead and no one stands
“Who then shall protect the land
“What peace is there in us, this curse
“How can one say that death is worse?”

With a single swing, his head was gone and his laughter with it. The painful pang of pity struck her in the gut, just another reminder of what could happen if she wasn’t vigilant. The death knight’s body fell to the ground, but no blood was spilled. It had gone black and frozen, long ago.

Behind him, something stood out among the pure white of Northrend’s constant snowfall. Dark gray stone, absorbing the light.

A runeforge.

Edited by Catalinetta
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