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Keraph

A Warlord Abandoned

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A page from Keraph's private writings

What is a warlord without his soldiers? With no one to command, no one to carry out his orders, no one to serve his cause, what is a warlord but an empty man without purpose? A shell whose very reason for existance has been stripped from him, leaving him with naught but his own emptiness?

Have I become so cruel in my rulership? So ruthless in my being? So out of touch with the humanity I once held so dear, that I have forgotten the impact and repricussion of my decisions? To a warlord in times of battle, the result is all that matters. The victory, the winning strike, this is the key to success. Step on all who oppose you, subjugate any who question your rule. This is the principal theory of a warlord's mind. The driving factor. But is victory really worth so much, when the losses outnumber the gains? Have we ever really won, knowing of the sacrifices, some intentional, and some forced, that were made? What good is a conquered kingdom, when you are alone, seated upon your throne, a crown atop your head, with no one to pay homage? Ah, truly we are all kings of that sort, if we remove ourselves from the lives of those around us. If we isolate ourselves, who is there to rule us? If we close our eyes, we are truly the rulers of all we see. But sacrifice everything you know and love, for a kingdom to rule and inhabit alone? Nay, I'll choose a different fate.

Some of my best officers left today. Soldiers I have come to trust and rely on in times of need, people who proved such dedication to our cause, that I thought nothing could tear it apart. With such a strong bond of loyalty, no blow from without could ever shatter us. But there's the rub. There were cracks within the armor, and sometimes all it takes is a single blow from the hammer, and the cracks open wide, ripping apart even the strongest of bonds. And I know who is to blame, and that brings the most pain. Yes, pain, the likes of which I have not felt since my reawakening. A thousand blades against my rotting flesh could never sting as strongly as a single word from one you have come to care for...

"Goodbye..."

I offer my fortunes, my vast and powerful possesions, each carefully gained from long effort and hard battles. Everything I own, and all I have, but all the wealth in the world cannot repay broken trust. It is a thing without measure, in length, quantity, or price. So then, what repentance must a sinner pay to regain the trust he has lost? What quest must I complete, what burden must I carry, to right things wrong?

I shall not forsake my duties. I am Keraph Xalascent., Dark Warlord, and Lifebane of Infection, the Elite Hand of the Dark Lady. There exists no man or woman, no elf or orc, that contains as much loyalty to their cause, as I to the cause of the Forsaken, and the servitude to the Queen. But a heavy blow has struck me today, one mightier than any I have suffered in battle. It is a blow to the heart, reminding me that I still have one, still have a weakness, even in the facade of my perfection. In all my power, I feel....abandoned...

--Keraph Xalascent

Warlord of Infection

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Infection's guild hall in the sewers of the Undercity pinged with dripping liquid, but no sounds of the others as Ellsbeth floated in. Her anger was always an issue, always a problem that she knew she'd need to work on. This day, she had let it get the best of her and knew it was time to go.

She collected her things, few meager supplies that only marked her place in the guild just to ensure that she felt at home. There was the tapestry torn from the Scarlet Monastery or the long banner they'd stolen from Theramore. Both were wrapped up in a compact bundle next to a pile of candles. All the signs that she was part of Infection in one little pile. One little pile.

She prayed for Sylvanas to give her strength. Leaving would be a catalyst to fights and confusion. She knew it would hurt others, betray them even, to leave.

She took a long glance around the hall. There were the ice shards where Dartsnap and her had placed the replacement parts for Jadedfaith's new organ. She smiled. He hadn't selected whether he wanted satyr or the one bear part she skinned and hoped he'd pick just out of hilarity. She'd never know what he'd choose. She sighed.

Down the way was a pile of broken mugs, no doubt left by Conact in a drunken fit. And some quills from Morg. They had been the heart and soul of Infection, their enthusiam and absolute insanity made a priest's work worthwhile. Hyte had left nothing but a dagger in the wall and the beatstick she had given him so long ago. With them gone, her heart hurt.

She grabbed her things and held them to her chest, willing her feet to move. This was a tough decision, one that'd been coming for awhile. Had it not been said to accept things and change as Sylvanas warranted? Change was important, but at what cost?

She'd had enough of the loneliness. Ells' feet moved toward the door until she passed Contaminator's small alcove. He had a lock box there which she knew was unlocked. In it, she placed a letter and kissed her palm then closed the lid.

The others. Oh the others. Tears welled at her eyes.

Skyze's effects with the scrolls, no doubt unread. Nadea's large collection of gifts from admirers. Gavril's pretty things. Duranor's medals of the battlegrounds. Kiaralansee's armour bits. Dessana's writings and hair dye. Lichloved's strange pictures of corpses. Jadedfaith's amassed empty flasks of rum. Mainge's broken sword. Corellon's pile of love letters from Lucion. Amaurn's demonology effects and keys. Shimi's leathers. Quori's little notebook. A pile of sand marking the broken hourglasses of Thanaatos. Abarrak's brilliant ramblings. Gamorin's trinkets. Airlia's dark demon dealings. The parchment left from Araken's studies. Darkblade's climbing equipment. Darkwidow's hilarious pile of goofy clothes. Ferinithi's log of languages. Vales and his piles of silk. Ravnodaus the new arrival with his daggers. Omicron's burn marks on the walls. Thisto's resolute ideals. Corvinis' shield.

This was what she was giving up. She knew it. And she knew it was only her to answer for it.

Finally... Keraph's previously won battle plans. She stopped and rifled through them. He was a good leader and she hoped he wouldn't be upset over this because he had to know it had nothing to do with him.

Leaving was harder than she thought. Resolute, she lifted her chin and walked out of the Guild Hall.

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