It was a slow procession, nothing extravagant. As Zamboozle watched from outside the cathedral windows, the two lines of priestesses walked down the aisle towards the podium at the end of the chapel.
Sermons, the medic sighed, he was never fond of them.
He spun around, and stared out at the cathedral gardens. Here, in the little graveyard lined with neat tombstones decked with flowers, he felt comfortable. Still, he turned back to the window where the two rows of young priestesses had lined up to receive their blessings from the bishop. His eyes grew soft.
If he had survived, it might just be him that was giving out the blessings. The old priest that lived, that came to this land to continue his belief...or lack thereof. The medic shuddered and banished the horrifying thought.
He hated formalities. Then and now, that one thing has not changed. Zam coughed and turned back to his gravestones, its residents all resting, all peaceful. Looking at the ‘locals’ with the faintest look of jealousy, the medic grabbed the broomstick and started to sweep the cobblestone pathways.
“Ridiculous,” he muttered under his breath. All around him, the restful spirits seemed to agree.
Instructor Adamant stood, amused as he watched his class struggle.
Now he wasn’t one of those teachers that delighted in the misery of his students. In reality the necromancy instructor was as un-necromatic as they came. He was kind, soft spoken, cared greatly for his flock and could be at times, overly protective - rather like a hen.
Still, as the instructor watched his students struggled with the latest assignment, there was some entertainment value on this.
The latest hunting foray had taken scouts deep into Un’goro Crater. And while to Adamant’s great disappoint that the hunting party failed to retrieve a full-sized devilsaur skeleton (“wouldn’t have fit in the halls, Zam.”), the group did managed to return with a couple dozen raptor chicks. As a result, each and every student now had the task of trying to piece together a moving, squeaking chicklette as their practical.
“Come on now. time is almost up!” Zamboozle said, clapping his hands together as he paced up and down the aisle, “get channeling!”
Groans ran down the hallway, and more than one student shook their fists at their little creation. Zam looked down the tables of bones. Only a handful were able to animate their pile - some with hilarious results.
“Jacobson, that chicklette’s skull is on backwards. Delia you’ll need to put your effort into yours - it’s hardly staying together. Cringer!” Adamant barked, pointing at one particularly scruffy student, “those bones are not for eating!”
The student dropped the bones immediately. Adamant sighed. He spun around to the rest of his class. Already there were a dozen small, squeaking skeletons hopping on the table. Freshly risen and very lively, the chicklette squealed their newfound unlife out with gusto that could only be found in arcane-maddened mages.
“Not bad..not bad at all,” the instructor mused out. He walked over to the squeaking, squealing cluster. Immediately the largest of the risen hopped onto his arm and proceeded to claw its way up to his head. Adamant stood quite still, tolerant of the new ‘pet’. He smiled in approval.
“Top marks,” Adamant said much to the delight of the students. He reached up and scritched the chicklette on the pristine white skull. The chicklette seemed to coo, seemingly at ease. Far in the other side of the hall, Jacobson growled and glared at his backwards-skull creation. He muttered under his breath. With a squeal, his creation snarled, leaped onto its master then sank it small sharp teeth into the poor student’s arm. Adamant frowned. Whatever it was that Jacobson muttered, it must not have been very nice. The necromancy instructor watched as the student screamed and flailed, shaking his arm fiercely in hopes of dislodging the little creature. All around him, students stared and laughed.
“Dear, dear...” Adamant said, scratching his chin in thought, “now that is awkward. Stephan?”
A lanky, pale elf straightened up immediately.
“Pull that one off of Jacobson please.”
The elf gave Adamant a horrified look, but the instructor waved at the flailing student expectantly. Like a sheep being led to slaughter, the pale elf scooted up to Jacobson, curled his thin fingers around the chicklette and pulled.
Then, it was chaos. Half of the chicklette came off. It’s skull, so firmly attached to the student, stayed. As Stephan stumbled backwards, Adamant could see the rest of the small body struggling in the student’s pale hands. A chorus of squeals echoed from the rest of the hall. Seemingly infuriated that the single chicklette had been effectively dismembered, the dozen of chicklettes lept off their tables and dove at Stephan - all except for the one on Adamant’s head. It cocked its head to aside, mimicking its new master’s movement as they watched the elf endure the assault. Students cried in alarm, and many scrambled away from the cluster of bones, small teeth and claws.
Adamant sighed inwardly. It was going to be a long class.
The undead does not feel. Cold and warmth only affects the living. Yet as Zamboozle trudged along in the moss-covered swamps of Un’goro, the undead could not help but feel that the few other members of their hunting party were quite uncomfortable.
To Hell with them, he was uncomfortable.
“Really, all this for raptor eggs?” Ryutan complained loudly. The forsaken warrior shifted in his armor. Weighed down by the metal (and the fact that half of his own skeleton was metallic), the warrior stood exactly one foot shorter than everyone else, “I’m going to rust at this rate!”
“The Apothecarium requires them for research,” the shadow priestess that led the way said. She stood, dressed in the dark raiments of the cult. Out of the party, she alone seemed unbothered by the moist and heat. Her dark robes flowed down her thin form like a waterfall, layers and layers of black fabric that would’ve easily suffocated anyone that had a breath. She looked down at the group of three forsaken, all men, all wet, all covered in moss, ferns, swamp detritus...and in Ryutan’s case, blood from an earlier raptor kill.
“Discipline,” the priestess said, “such trials mean little in the grand vision of the dark lady.”
“Easy for you to say,” Ryutan growled out, “you’re above water.”
The priestess stared down at the three. Her own form hovered gracefully above the swamp, unsullied by the greenish-black water full of swamp material. She shrugged.
“We move,” she said simply before turning around and continuing down the swamp.
The group of three groaned. They’ve been trudging among the ferns and pools for hours now. Zam sighed inwardly. No doubt when the day is over, he would have to go over his companions with tweezers and pluck out any impurities before they fester. The medic trudged on, following the party. Surely, there were better ways of procuring raptor eggs.
“Better be one damn good omelette,” the warrior grumbled. Zam looked away, uncertain. Surely, the Master Apothecary wasn’t planning to cook them? He imagined Faranell slaving over a fire in an an apron, struggling not to fry his dangling tongue with the frying pan. The medic gave an inward chuckle.
White robes, golden lining. Pristine white marble halls. Priestesses in white, paladins in their suits of gold.
Zam sighed. The procession was taking too long for his liking. The medic, clad in his argent uniform, shifted his weight to the other foot. Here upon the rows and rows of pristine armor, robes and suits, the medic felt strangely at home.
Cleanliness has always been somebody he was fond of.
"We are gathered here today to honor the promotion of Crusader..." the Highlord said, his voice echoing down the small Chapel of Hearthglen. Why Zam was here, he had no idea. All he knew was that one moment he was stitching a leg back onto a screaming elf, the next moment he was being asked to attend the promotion ceremony of the newest addition to the ranks. The medic shifted uncomfortably in his ceremonials. Compared to his usual work uniform, this one had too many layers. It was also very heavy and cumbersome. The cloak was much too long, the sleeves covered half his hand, and the collar was too high and tight.
Discipline, Niklos. You have always insisted on it.
But even in his life, Niklos Adamant had hated formal ceremonies. Even though the uniform he wore now was a pale comparison to the extravagantly long priest robes of days past, the medic struggled to stand still. Sooner or later, the medic reckoned, somebody would topple over, and he, the responsible medic, would be all over the fellow, ready to escort the poor bloke outside and into the freedom that is not the ceremony.
Unfortunately, that fantasy seemed far off. The soft yellow eyes looked up and down the rows of attendees, all dressed in their best, all with what Ryutan would call "deader's face" on. Surely, somebody in chapel was sharing his discomfort?
Unlikely, the medic thought with a sigh. The forsaken turned his eyes back up to Fording, and simply started to imagine that instead of having an awe-inspiring sword strapped to his back, the Highlord was actually equipped with a large wooden fishing pole with a murloc attached to it...
“Faith?” he started, his voice soft and airily, “faith is something one only needs when your innards are too empty to figure things out for yourself. When your soul is so spiritually empty that you must have that extra ‘umph’ to put your spirit into in order to feel you ‘belong’, and that you’ve accomplished something worthy. Then you turn to one of the many options that provides answers - or a way to get to them with [i[their[/i] guidance, [i[their[/i] ways - for you. And believe me - there are enough shovelheads around so lost they’d listen to any old bat screeching beliefs to start any ‘cult’.”
The forsaken flopped down into the large armchair. It creaked as it bore the sudden weight.
“I have no interest in believing some abstract self-fulfilling idea that may or may not bring you salvation. I have seen both ends of the extreme. Been in them. Seen how devotedly crazy and biased faithfuls can be and how blind they can be to the rest of the world because of their devotion. The Light is no better than the Shadow, and the Shadow is no more different than the Light. You can follow them - yes - but if you lose yourself to either of them, end every sentence with ‘Shadows keep you’ or ‘Light bless you’, then you are no better than the cultists that believes grilled cheese leads to the end of the world. Is that not clear enough for a forsaken? I’ve seen enough of those who fell from the Light, only to fall even deeper into Shadow thinking it is the true ‘way’, the ‘better’ way. So what will you do when you fall again? Return to the Light in another round of enlightening revelation’? Or turn to some crazy, off-road belief and repeat the cycle?”
The forsaken rubbed his temple with a finger, and sighed..
“My kind have only one purpose in this unlife we’ve been given - to endure, to survive, to stand - usually alone. We make use of what we’ve been given to carve out a place for us, and only us. Not in the name of the ‘Shadow’, or ‘Light’, or ‘Fel’, or even ‘the Scourge’ or ‘cheese’ for that matter - and not because of them, either - in case you haven’t noticed, undeath does not discriminate between religions. No, we do this for ourselves, and ourselves only. And if you need to believe in some crazy cult in order to reach that conclusion, then - well - “
The medic smirked.
“Shadows and Light both keep you, you are going to need every whiff of the stuff.”
The tent gave a shudder, and a priestess bursted into the resting tents.
“Zam! Three trainees! Bitten by ghouls! Light bless’em...think you can do anything about it?” the priestess puffed out, panting and red in the face. The medic pulled himself up and brushed his Argent uniform straight.
“And my unlife continues. I will see you in the field,” the medic said with a wry grin. He gave the wizened old paladin a soft smile and a slight nod before turning to the exit of the tent. The old one, with eyes greyer than the Highlord’s beard, looked up.
“Tell me then, Niklos. What do you believe in now?” he asked. Zam blinked at the old man. In a horribly casual tone as if it could not be any more obvious, he simply answered.
The forsaken stood in the middle of the road leading into Tirisfal Glades. Before him was what seemed to be a hastily erected barricade - yes, the Alliance was here, occupying a small building. And he, damn him, was standing in front of it with a Deathstalker and a warlock. On the other side, comfortably bunked in, was a paladin and his worgen companion. The medic sighed heavily.
Were humans really this...daft? No...was he this daft years ago when he still breathed?
No, of course not, you were raised differently.
Of course, Banshih wasn't being herself, either. The medic quickly came to a conclusion that the swapping of dozens of bodies over the years combined with her time in one of his orbs must have addled the banshee's mind. As the paladin and deathstalker hurled words at each other, each trying to sound more righteous than the next, the medic found himself leaning against the staff he had summoned like a tired old man.
Yes, perhaps I really am getting too old for this.
"Maybe I should just rift us all out of here," Anasdil suggested. The forsaken warlock was sucking on a bag of what seemed to be mint-flavoured soul shards. The medic shrugged.
"I did offer to reap the batallion's souls so we can keep moving on," the medic replied in a horribly casual voice, "but I believe the lady has decided that a duel of words is best. Do you want a bit of tea with those candies of yours?"
"No tea, I don't drink," was the curt reply. The medic nodded, shuffled in his robes, and turned back to the Deathstalker.
At least for a several-thousand-year-old individual, her common sounds flawless.
However the words that tumbled out of the deathstalker's mouth were horribly uncharacteristic.
"The Light has BETRAYED you, paladin! What do you say to the ones had died defending it? Begging for its salvation? You are doing nothing but killing innocent lives! Face the truth, paladin! The Light you worship is NOTHING! Step up! And meet you death! And we will raise you and drag you to the shrine myself! Will the Light save you then?" Banshih screeched down the glade. With the look of a bored audience on his face, Zam turned his dull yellow eyes to the barricade. As expected, the paladin puffed his chest out and retorted with all the righteous might he could muster.
"Meet your doom, Citizen! You who have been granted this darkest of paths! There is no salvation for you but the peace of death! I assure you that your graves will be blessed by a priest of Light, your rightful names be etched upon your graves!"
"How about a some demon's blood, dark words and a sprinkling of saronite powder on mine? That is more aligned with my faiths," the warlock replied. He plopped another gem into his mouth - this one smelling suspiciously of blood. Zam looked away and found himself staring, out of focused at the nearest pebble on the ground. With a soft sigh he turned to Banshih again.
"Ban, I really can - "
"Shut up Zam, I'm busy. YOU! RECRUIT - YES YOU THAT PALADIN! STEP UP AND MEET YOUR - " Banshih screeched out once again. But whatever words that followed only sounded like 'mimblewimble' to the medic's ears. By now the necromancer of old would have been screaming in agony, clawing at the walls wailing in anguish while begging for some relief from the duel of words.
You've never really liked formalities and long lectures, Niklos.
With what sounded like a whine the medic decided to pushed his luck again.
"Ban, they have a large pile of skeletons behind them. Let me give them a poke and we can simply scare them out of the glades."
"No," Banshih replied, "I want to let them live."
"I see - wait - what?!" the medic squawked. His eyes grew wide, and the medic simply stared at his companion.
"I want them to realize what they are doing. I want them to see the truth. I want him to accept the truth that the Light is not everything he believes it is - he will - "
But the rest of the sentence was lost upon the medic. And he gazed at Banshih's moving, silent mouth. The forsaken came to another, grim conclusion.
"You know what? I think I would rather be seen as a monster."
With a sigh, the medic stared up at the sky again, his mind once more lost in thought as the dueling of words continued. Surely, there was another way to go about things. Surely, not all Light-raised humans were so...drull (though in truth Banshih wasn't much better). The medic tipped his head aside, and recalled a small episode with an old friend a few evenings ago in Northshire. He shuddered and gave a silent, weak laugh.
((Warning: May be irksome cuz implied gore - Blame Tarce >_> ))
Log - Wax off...Wax Still Off.
To say forsaken could not feel was an outright lie. The fact was they do - some of them anyway. Those that went the extra length to stay whole and not wear and tear away into skeleton while not as sensitive as their living counterparts, was able to at least tell cold from warm.
Niklos found himself regretting his decision to stay whole.
Screaming, writhing, thrashing, the forsaken watched in horror as inch by inch, the body he so worked tirelessly on to preserve combust into what looked like colorful red confetti. Edward dove forward, scooping up the small pieces and tucking them away to Light-knows what.
“Not enough samples....more!” Tarce hissed. The creature stood in the middle of the chamber. Around him arrays made of dark and fel rotated like wheels. Before him his son Edward - the Light to his father’s Shadow. Between the two, with what remained of his body partially suspended, was Niklos. The forsaken watched with an eager nod the younger Manstein pressed another globe of Light into the forsaken, creating another colorful firework of flesh.
This cannot be happening.
But it was happening. With another soul-tearing scream, the man stared in horror as another precious part of him was blown apart and collected. The forsaken thrashed, but the two’s combined magic held him firmly in the air, suspended by an array. Niklos had always thought that his end would be upon the glaciers of Northrend - to die as one that served the Argents. Days spent watching the burial of others often had him thinking about his own coming. Would he too, be buried with honor upon the snow covered fields? Perhaps he would instead be laid to rest in Brill with the rest of his fallen brethren of the old Clergy. Or perhaps (and this seemed more and more likely nowadays) he was to fall upon some overly righteous paladin’s hammer for straying too close to the Light, his body churned to dust - a deserving end for a ‘monster’.
Though Banshih would probably kill me before that, to be honest.
However those possibilities seemed far from reality now. With another sickening ‘pop’ and scream, another part of him was blown away - samples to be had.
“You cannot run...” the voice of the dark hissed. On the other side of the array, his son’s voice resonated with equal fervor.
“It is for the best,” the young man said in agreement. The young worgen grinned, revealing a row of sharp, gleaming teeth. Niklos groaned, only to burst into another scream with another part of him ‘collected’. Dazed, overwhelmed, he was dropped to the floor. What was left of him writhed and flailed. His hands - thankfully still intact, clawed at the wooden floorboards for an escape.
But there was no escape. The two had seen to that. The array that had once kept him suspended now crunched down upon him, pinning him to the ground. Chanting, channeling, the two seemed deaf to the cries and whimpering of the broken form before them. Finally, with one last combustion, Niklos fell limp, his strength no longer with him. Bones clattered upon the floor - his bones. Slowly, he felt the rest of his body giving way, fading, falling apart like a poorly made construct.
“Enough,” Tarce rumbled out. He stepped forward and waved, As Niklos looked up through a pair of dazed, out-of-focused eyes, he saw the form of the father looming over him and behind him, the boy that so pulled him to this place. He sputtered, his words barely making out of his lips before another jolt of pain shot through what remained of his body.
Amidst the humming of magic, the rotating arrays and the sickening squelching of flesh being churned, the crackling of bones being bent, the dark one grinned.
Serata: I am desperately stalling and trying to find something to do with myself at work. Posted a bunch of stuff about Sherbourne so y'all know who she is and what she looks like...and I still have 4 1/2 hours left before I can go home and play again. T_T
Aug 31, 2016 6:28:52 GMT
Banshih: Yay for stalling? Yay for rp campaign starting soon!
Sept 12, 2016 23:04:21 GMT
Banshih: Thanks for another great Dance Of The Dead!
Oct 27, 2016 12:23:26 GMT