An honorable man... Death does not absolve a man of his crimes, even if he goes on living afterwards. Peritous understands this; many do not. Our kind will walk this world until we are no longer needed, then we will be done. Folvelor grins solemnly for a moment. We'll see to it ourselves if we have to.
He stood at the bow of the ship, gripping the rails tightly as the boat rose and fell with the choppy seas. He was a human, or at least, he once was. He wasn’t sure what to call himself now but an abomination. The bow of the ship dipped sharply before rising again as it careened into a cresting wave. A salty spray of seawater splashed across his face… * * * Sir Folvelor Tastion, Knight of the Silver Hand, didn’t flinch as his blade cleaved effortlessly through another ghoul, splashing a black, slimy ichor on the side of his face. The corpses piled at his feet, twenty in number and rising, as he fought the endless waves of Scourge that descended upon him. “Grayslin, my brother!” The paladin cried his sibling’s name loudly again. “I have come to aid you. Come quickly so that we may destroy these twisted abominations, and save Anias!” He felt a grimy, claw-like hand upon his shoulder and whirled. Focusing the Light, he raised his sword hand toward the ghoul and pointed with a single finger lifted from the hilt of his blade. As the creature’s body flooded with searing holy power, its skin burst into flames and it ran screeching away from the paladin. The paladin turned again, his blade lashing out fluidly to cleave through two more ghouls as he faced the marauding undead once again. “Grayslin, where are you?” * * * “Umm, uh, excuse me… sir?” The man in dark armor turned to face the nervous-looking crewman standing behind him, his glowing eyes shining from underneath his low hood. The young man was clearly afraid, despite his ship having likely carried many a death knight to the frozen north. Common sight or not, the memory of the deeds of the Lich King’s champions was fresh in the mind of any citizen of Azeroth. “What is it, son?” Despite the death knight’s attempt to sound warm, the hideous distortion in his voice (brought on by the dark magicks used to re-animate the dead) made his words sound twisted and imposing. The young man took an involuntary step backward. “We… we’ll be arriving at Valgarde within the hour, sir. The cap’n wanted me to let the passengers know.” The death knight nodded and the young man scurried away. The armored man reached into his belt pouch and produced a small, very worn, folded piece of parchment. He held it out in the palm of his hand and stared at it without unfolding it. * * * Folvelor held up the letter to the dim candlelight of his small home in Southshore. The paladin read the letter one more time before setting it aside. He donned his armor as quickly as possible, tucked the letter into his belt pouch, and rushed outside to call for his warhorse. No harm would come to his niece this day. * * * An alliance militia officer, a stocky dwarf with a multitude of scars and breath that stank of too much brew, greeted the death knight at the dock. In contrast to the young crewman, the dwarf showed no sign of intimidation at the sight of the hooded, armored figure. “Name?” “Folvelor Tastion.” “Group or guild affiliation?” “The Knights of the Ebon Blade.” “Next o’ kin?” The hooded figure stood in silence. “I dinnae have all day, sir. Next o’ kin?” “None.” * * * The number of Scourge corpses at the paladin’s feet had doubled. The ghouls had stopped attacking now. The undead lines now formed a sort of semi-circle around him at a considerable distance. “Is that all you’ve got, monsters?” Folvelor panted with near exhaustion, sweat poured from every pore and his body tingled with spent holy power. “Is this the best the Scourge has to offer?” There was no sound for a moment, then the lines shifted slightly as two large abominations shoved their way to the front of the ranks. Between the two creatures stood a hooded figure with the stature of a human. Arthas? No... The figure began to applaud. “You have fought vailiantly, brother, but it is time to put an end to this charade.” The figure drew back his hood to reveal a familiar face. “Grayslin?” Folvelor could not believe what he was seeing. “Have you lost your mind? What are you doing? What about your daughter?” “Anias? Oh, she’s perfectly safe.” The figure chuckled for a moment. “In fact, she is due to meet me first thing tomorrow morning. I’ve found a way to grant her much more power, to make her that much more useful as my herald.” “Are you insane, Grayslin? She’s your daughter! What are you going to do to her?” “Nothing that will hurt her beyond what she can take, my brother. In fact, that’s why you’re here. Kel’Thuzad agreed to demonstrate the ritual before I began to practice it myself. I can’t let my baby girl be destroyed by it, after all.” “No!” Folvelor hefted his blade and charged forward with every ounce of his strength, lunging for his brother. Grayslin easily sidestepped the desperate thrust, and used his own blade to parry the blow, sending his exhausted brother sprawling to the ground. Laughing, he whirled the sword around to place the tip of the blade inches from Folvelor’s throat. “Are you going to kill me, Grayslin?” “What do you think I am, Folvelor, some sort of monster? I couldn’t do that. You are my brother after all.” A sick grin spread across the man’s face. “I have plenty of servants to do that for me.” Grayslin made a dismissive gesture and turned back toward the Scourge lines. “Go ahead and finish him off,” he said over his shoulder. “But be sure to bring the body to me quickly afterward. We can’t afford to have it rot too much.” Folvelor struggled back to his feet, leaning on his sword for support. The undead closed in and he gripped the hilt tighter… “Anias!” * * * “Are ye listenin’ lad? I said what’s yer purpose ‘ere?” Folvelor turned toward the dwarf and drew his hood back, his eyes narrow and a mockery of a smile on his face. “Oh, I’m here to look for my brother. He’s been missing for awhile and you might say that the blood between us is thick…” The death knight brushed past the dwarf, replacing his hood, and disappeared into the camp.