Last Time: Vrykerion, Calowen, Waeryn and Jolsin saw a suspicious column of smoke rising from the necropolis in the depths of Deatholme. Upon investigating they found a pair of Scourge that were creating a massive abomination to host the soul and mind of the former ruler of Deatholme: Dar’khan. Acting quickly, they assaulted the two undead. The battle was intense, but the four paladins luckily succeeded. In their moment of relief, Calowen threw Vrykerion aside and took a bladed fist to her torso. The abomination had risen during the battle… Now Vrykerion stands against the creature that just stole the life of his love…
Vrykerion’s eye twitched and lips curled. He dropped his shield and rose with sword in hand. Holy energy began to swirl around him like crackles of lightning in the air. Waeryn and Jolsin, wide eyed in fear and awe, stepped back out of the room. Vrykerion bared his teeth, grinding them into each other so hard that his jaw would be in pain for the rest of the week. He did not care. He didn’t care about anything except for the monster in front of him.
The stone floor erupted in flashes of consecrated light. His sword ignited with ripples of holy energy. He tightened his grip on the handles as divine power flashed and erupted into yellow lightning around his body.
“Your brain. You’re thinking about it too much.”
“Now try it again. But this time, don’t THINK the target is an enemy. FEEL it.”
Vrykerion did feel it. It didn’t matter if he never felt anything again in his life, but this he would feel. Every ounce of anguish, every lost moment of happiness – He would feel them all, and this monstrosity would feel them too, “Divine… STORM!”
The room ignited with light, blinding both Waeryn and Jolsin momentarily. When their eyes eventually readjusted to their surroundings, all that remained of the creature that called itself ‘Dar’Khan’ was a lump of fleshy bits and the occasional bone piercing out from the pile.
Vrykerion was on his knees next to the remains of Calowen, sobbing and screaming. Calowen’s body was decimated; her entire torso was nothing but a cavity that was hollowed out like a rind of a well eaten melon. He kept trying to conjure the holy light only to have it dissipate as it landed on her body, “Damn you. DAMN YOU! Give her back to me!”
Jolsin stepped behind him and tried to put his hand on Vrykerion’s shoulder only to have it batted away, “Look Vry, I’m sorry. I really am. The Light may be able to restore the soul to the body but…” Jolsin voice cracked, a sob of his own joining in, “But there’s not much a body for it to return to, Vry.”
Vrykerion ignored him. He kept trying the spells. He filled himself with Light and tried over and over to transfer it, any of it, into Calowen’s husk of a body.
“Light damn you, Vrykerion! She isn’t one of your gadgets or toys! You don’t have the tools to fix her. None of us do!”
Vrykerion leapt to his feet and grabbed Jolsin’s collar, lifting him into the air slightly. Waeryn drew his sword in preparation to defend his teammate. Vrykerion’s eyes focused on Jolsin, his quivering lips contorting between rage and sorrow, “The Light IS my tool. I. WILL. FIX. HER.” He threw Jolsin into Waeryn and pointed at the door. They left, leaving Vrykerion to kneel back down and try again and again to bring Calowen back. No one saw him again for another two days.
Tears fell on the parchment, leaving some stains of wetness as Vrykerion finished the last of the sketches of the myriad of assorted parts. He had removed his goggles some time ago, and now his quill sat on the desk with them. He looked over his drawings and notes, trying to make sure he didn’t miss anything. A choked sob escaped his lips as he picked up the quill again to jot down a few extras notes.
For the first time in hours, he spoke, “Once the components are understood, you can work to develop primary steps for assembly.” With that Vrykerion wiped his eyes away and took out another sheet of parchment and began to draw a schematic.
“What in the name of Kael’thas the traitor do you MEAN you are leaving the Blood Knights?” Kitarin screamed at his son, mere inches from his face, “Do you want me and your mother to die copper-less in these slums? Maybe a warlock will use our souls to conjure a demon now that you’ve RIPPED THEM OUT!” His father’s fist, easily dodged, slammed into the wall.
“Kitarin, please, maybe we should hear his reasons,” Vrykerion’s mother, Arista, pleaded.
“What reason could he possibly have to justify murdering his own family?!”
Arista sobbed, “Please can we at least wait until after you’ve come down off the thistle to talk about this?”
“And where will you go, Sir Paladin? Will you join the war to be a big hero like your brother? You want to die to those kaldorei bastards like him too?”
Vrykerion stood there, without an expression on his face. His cold and dead eyes peering out from the broken lens of his goggles dangling from the first punch that his father did actually land, “No. I have no interest in joining the war.”
“Then where will you go?” Arista asked, her small voice penetrating through the crying.
“I don’t know. Away.” Vrykerion said. His voice was a forced monotone, “Away from here.”
“You arrogant piece of filth! At least Herio was a war hero. You? You’re just a coward to abandon your family. And after everything we did for you? We put you in that academy, and we gave you everything your brother left behind, just to make sure you had a good and prosperous life,” Kitarin stepped back shaking his head.
“You did that because you blew every silver on bloodthistle and got thrown out of the Exchange and you wanted Herio and then me to drag you back into the limelight by having some level of respectability.”
Kitarin let out a roar and dove at Vrykerion. Vrykerion grabbed his wrist and threw Kitarin against the wall. Vrykerion then proceeded to grab Kitarin’s shirt and flip him over his head and onto the table, breaking it in half. Kitarin tried to pull himself to his feet, only to twist his back and collapse back onto the rubble.
“I would suggest not trying again,” Vrykerion said as he turned, grabbed a sack by the door, and walked out.
“Good riddance!” Kirarin shouted out from the small apartment with the cries of his mother in the background, “And don’t let me ever hear that you used our family name! You are not my son!”
Vrykerion walked across the city to the royal tower where he used the Orb of Translocation to reach the Undercity. He drew the gnomish pocket watch out from his pants and reached his thumb to open up the lid and see the time but he stopped. He looked at the watch for a moment and thought, ‘Time for them to be dead to me too.’ He threw the watch as hard as he could at the walls of the Ruins of Lordaeron and watched it shattered in pieces, each one raining down onto the stone floor.
He began to march off solemnly but stopped after twenty steps or so. He turned at looked at the ruined device, scattered into wheels, cogs and springs across the ground. He swallowed hard and ran back and gathered them all up in a small brown linen bag. He then slid down the walls of the ruined human capital and began to sob, clutching the bag tightly. He let everything out. The screams of frustration, the raging and hateful things he wanted to say to his father, and all the tears from breaking his mother’s heart.
After a half hour, his anguish finally began to subside. He wiped his eyes and stood back up. The time for sorrow had ended. The time for revenge against the Scourge had begun.
Vrykerion put the finishing strokes on his blueprints. It was a lavish design, worthy of a gnome tinkerer. He smiled at himself, “As primary steps are established, secondary and tertiary steps will automatically become apparent.” He pulled out a pair of tweezers from his gnomish army knife and picked up a cog, “Once ready, assembly can begin.”
Thus concludes Chapter 1: Design, To Be Continued in Chapter 2: Assembly.
Thus ends the first chapter of the story. While admitedly the second part is not finished yet, trust that I will have it posted here on the same Saturday schedule when it is. I hope you enjoyed the first half of this little tale!
“Welcome to the Ghostlands.”
That was not the phrase Vrykerion had wanted to hear after having such a wonderful night, but orders were orders. He, along with Calowen and a dozen of other new recruits were ordered to report that morning to Dame Auriferous. Auriferous was a red headed woman wearing a red robes and a tabard marking her as member of the defense forces at Tranquillien.
“I understand each you visited here once during your trials, but this is not a quick jaunt across the runestones to kill a couple of nerubians. You’ve been brought here to go in the heart of the infection, Deatholme, for some mop up operations. The Scourge have been harder to rip out of there than a dwarf from the pub,” Auriferous announced. Vrykerion glanced over at Calowen; she had gone pale in fright. Vrykerion reached over and took her hand in his and he watched as a smile grew and some of her color returned.
“We will begin launching attacks in groups of four from the Sanctum of the Sun. You can drop your gear and take your downtime there. Just don’t bother the Magisters. Any questions?” The group stood silent. Vrykerion wasn’t sure if they didn’t have any questions, or everyone was too afraid of the forceful elf standing side by side with a forsaken deathstalker. After a moment of silence, she dismissed them and they began to hike down the trail to the Sanctum.
The attacks really weren’t as bad as the Auriferous had made out. They would leave in a team of four and clear out the Dead Scar up to Deatholme and then make precision strikes against specific targets inside the fortress. The one group attacked a mausoleum, another struck a crypt, Vrykerion and Calowen’s first target was an underground laboratory. Over a couple of weeks, they each met with success and everyone regrouped at the Sanctum to share stories, battle tactics and have a good laugh. Vrykerion spent his evenings with Calowen or taking apart his pocket watch and examining how it works. They were paladins, and they feared nothing.
It wasn’t until Vrykerion’s tenth trip into the fortress that he began to notice that the dead were getting fewer in number. He felt a swell of pride at first knowing that he had contributed to it but something in his gut sat wrong. Why were the forces in the fortress thinning out, when the legions of undead waddling across the Dead Scar were always renewed back to their previous day’s numbers? His team made their way across the foul grounds of Deatholme, the sickening stench of rotten meat still filled the air. They ascended the steps of a ziggurat, finding it completely unguarded and ultimately empty.
“This is wrong,” said Waeryn, one of Vrykerion’s other teammates; “There should be something in here. No one has been in this far.”
Vrykerion’s other teammates, Jolsin, smiled and let out a laugh, “Maybe they retreated. Decided they couldn’t best us and just packed it up and headed home.”
Calowen looked at Vrykerion with a stern look on her face and he met hers with an equally concerned one. She turned to Jolsin, “The Scourge do not retreat.”
Waeryn shifted nervously, looking around in fear of an ambush, “Regardless, the objective is complete. We cleared out the ziggurat. We should head back.”
They looked back and forth amongst the group a few times, silently nodding along with the idea. Vrykerion sheathed his blade, “Very well then.” One by one they exited, making sure to watch every dark corner as they stepped outside. That’s when Vrykerion saw it. A pillar of green smoke coming from the necropolis at the center of the fortress, “Has anyone reported that before?”
Calowen shook her head, “No. That most certainly is new.”
Waeryn looked back and forth at Vrykerion and Calowen, “No. NO. We did our job. Mission complete. We are not going in there.”
“Oh come on, Wae-wae. It’s not like we’ve encountered a single thing thus far that four of us couldn’t best,” Jolsin taunted, nudging Waeryn toward the necropolis.
“Cut it out you two,” Calowen scolded, “What do you think Vry? It’s not our job.”
Vrykerion shook his head, “We’re paladins, Cal. It IS our job.”
Calowen nodded and drew her shield and mace, “As you say, sir.”
Waeryn, however, did not draw his weapons, “No. I’m sorry, but no. I’m not getting killed going against the battle plan just because you two are sneaking off to fondle each other in the bushes every nigh-”
Calowen cut him off with a firm slam of her armored hand against his helmed face, “Do you want the Scourge to win? For all we know they’re brewing up another batch of plague in there, ready to spill it out across the entire Ghostlands. This is suspicious behavior and we don’t have time to wait until we report back and send out another team, nor do we have time to waste trying to pry your head from your arse because you have nothing to come back to base for – except your hand!”
Waeryn and Jolsin immediately drew their swords. Vrykerion chuckled, “Impulsive as ever I see.”
“Oh shush. You know you like it,” Calowen smiled, “Now let’s see about that smoke.”
The journey into the necropolis was similarly easy and just as worrisome. The fact that so few undead were in the fortress, especially high ranking ones, just fueled Vrykerion’s fears about the smoke. They cautiously made their way into the depths of the building though, making sure to check everything and everywhere for possible traps or potential ambushes. One that that grew more obvious as they traveled deeper was that ever present smell of rotting meat was getting stronger.
Well, since I plan on rolling a paladin of the large cow variety when Cataclysm drops, I’ve actually been keeping an eye on what the developers have been doing with the paladin class. Oddly enough, I have paid no attention to any of the classes that I actually play at the moment (Something about Death Knight’s being less OP and more OP at the same time? I think? Maybe?), but what caught my attention was this weird little secondary resources that the paladins are getting called ‘Holy Power’ and it’s apparently the star of the masquerade. But between the velvet lies, there’s a truth that’s hard as steel. Paladin’s getting Holy Power has far ranging implications.
Namely, what the heck does this say about Priests? You know, the original holy rollers? Is this meant to be some kind of shun from the Holy Light for some of them choosing to dip their fingers in the pudding of shadow magic? The simple fact is that the paladins, a militant class of light worshippers that have just as much of a tendency to smash your head with a hammer as bless you with a heal, (Lawful Good, my ass) are being given preference in the Church of the Holy Light. What does that say about the Light’s preference in worshippers?
Not exactly shocking consider some of the speculation surrounding the naaru and their teachings about the Light in Shattrath. How about the Light worshipping arrakoa that were “redeemed” by the naaru and spout stuff like “Those who have not given themselves over to the Light are mere servants of evil.” Meanwhile, the priests who choose to use holy magic to heal others and shadow magic to damage others are getting boned. You would immediately think that obviously since they are using shadow magic and not the given blessings of the Holy Light, that must be why they are getting shafted, but what about the Tauren? They don’t worship the Holy Light at all. They are sun worshippers. While you could surely argue a potato-potahto argument here about how they actually are worshipping the Holy Light and they just think it’s the sun, I would like to see you pull that point off and try to tell the night elves that Elune is also the Holy Light just under another name and then watch as Tyrande feeds you to her tiger (those backwards thinking kal’dorei).
If you want to take that line of thought further, the Naaru (physical embodiments of holy energy mind you) are big promoters of the idea of a duality of light and dark. That as long as one exists, so must the other and that without each other, their opposite would cease to exist. Of course, this is utter semantic hogwash. If there was no darkness, there would only be light. We just wouldn’t need words for them because they wouldn’t need to be differentiated as one didn’t exist. Confused? Think of the movie, ‘The Invention of Lying’ where everyone always tells the truth. They have no word for ‘lying’ or ‘truth’ because those concepts don’t exist. Same idea.
So based on that line of thought, using Shadow magic is still promoting the dichotomy and thus reinforcing the existence of both light and dark and can still technically be viewed as worshiping the Holy Light in some fashion. So why in the world are the paladins the one’s getting preferential treatment from their deity of choice? Well, isn’t obvious?
Paladins are OP. Duh.