Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nobody told me that picking flowers was so dangerous

Note: this is part 2 of a series.
It's hard to resume a life when everything about it has changed. And in fact, now it's not so much a life as an unlife. That's one of the oddest things about being a Death Knight.

This all started in Southshore, where I was looking for herbs, getting cheeky and hitting Silverpine and Alterac as I go along. Then the Scourge invasion dropped on us. I was running for my life, then, trying to stay out of trouble and survive long enough to somehow get home or at least to the Wildhammer fortress. I actually saw Dalaran come to life and take off, then head north. Stupid Kirin Tor couldn't be bothered to pick up a little Dwarf Hunter, could they?

Naturally, I got snagged by the plague. That's a dark time; I can't even remember what I did, where I was, or how I got to old Lorderon. Nor, I suppose, should I want to. But I do remember one day, before I Became. The terrible gaze of a Lich bearing down on me; "You, there. We have a special use for you. Your 'family' may be of some significance to the Lich King. We shall mold you; you shall bring them to us."  And I started on the road to become a Death Knight.

It's true, what they say. The sensations are unbelievable. The power you can draw on is only limited by your ability to control it.

I remember, then. My indoctrination. My education. My ... crimes against the Alliance. The terrible, terrible battle. The redemption, my new Order. The shame of Stormwind. The acceptance of my new King.

But I couldn't face my family. I remembered those words from my "mentor" ... "bring them to us."  From the shadows, I followed their progress. Uncle Grimm tearing up the countryside; smiling with glee at his taming one of those nefarious Stealth Dinosaurs that vexed him so long ago. Aunt Jasra healing our guild mates through Naxxramas, bringing down Kel'Thuzad himself. Aunt Flora's first 10K crit. Good times for the family.

Good times that I could not share.

What would they think? What would uncle Amus do? And what if it was true, that I was an instrument of doom to be used against my own family, even in my new 'enlightened' state? Too risky.

Sentiment was my downfall.

I was unable to entirely divorce myself from my past life. I was no longer a hunter and had no use for firearms, but I couldn't help but pick up my old rifle when I found it. It was as if the Gods had proclaimed that I should find it. I was skilling up my herbalism in Hillsbrad once again, and I stumbled across the very place that the Scourge took me, in behind Tarren Mill. There were my old belongings, mostly rotting away, but the gun was mostly intact - though no longer functional.  I took it up, cleaned it, and kept it as a memento of the past.

This attracted someone's attention. Before I realized the cause, I realized I was being tracked. Just a glimpse from time to time. One, shadowy, glowing eyes. The other, Warlock, dark hair. From under a tree, the corner of the Auction House, back table in the inn. Before I realized who it was, the trap was sprung. The Slaughtered Lamb was a poor choice for dinner and a drink, turns out, and suddenly I found myself in a corner, confronted with the reality of my folly.

Aunt Flora was not amused.

"So, Jas was right. It is you, isn't it? How many Death Knights do you think normally tote around rifles with Wildhammer markings on them, anyway? You made it easy, cousin." Cousin? "Yes, foolish girl. Do you think we'd waste our time on anyone else?"

Oh, no. "Please, no! Aunt Flora, don't tell him! I couldn't bear it!"

Hard to read Aunt Flora, sometimes, especially when she's wearing the Mask. "Not my operation, sweetie. This is Jas' show all the way. Wait right here, I'm off to get her. Headhun will keep an eye on you, won't you, big guy?" Pause at the door. "He isn't too bright. His orders are to kill you if you leave this room. We'll resurrect what's left of you later if you're of a mind to make a break for it."

"Too weak to do your own work?" he muttered. ZAP! Flinch! "I meant, yes, Mistress!"

Leaving a trail of brimstone in her wake, she departed.

"Please," I begged the demon. "Let me go. I'll do anything. I can't bear this!"

Sidewise look. "You have no idea of the power she holds, over me, girl.", he growled. "I have no choice. I must obey my mistress!"

"Wouldn't help you anyway." from the doorway, a shadowy figure emerged. "I wasn't all that far away." What ... was this wraith-like being? "I've been looking for you, and I would have found you no matter what." The shadow started to fade, take on color. "My uncle is in pain." Glowing eyes, green hair, gentle smile, outstretched hand. "He doesn't let on, but he hurts." Aunt Jasra, kneeling down, hands on my shoulders. "And you ache with guilt and sorrow and loneliness." No revulsion, no drawing back ... acceptance? How? "Auntie Jasra prescribes Reunion. You are one of us. You are family. It doesn't matter what he did to you. You never really leave your family. I know my family. It won't matter. Having you back is all we desire." Bright, joyful gaze. "Go to him, little sister. Go home."

From the corner, Aunt Flora grinned. "She's getting pretty good with that shadow form. You might want to listen to her and not make her angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry."

I couldn't help blurting out, "Oh, Aunt Jas ... shadow spec?"