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The End

-by Kiiyue


The Lich King. Two decades since the betrayal of the world. Arthas lay, Frostmourne in his grip. He was still steeped in unlife, of course, but for the time, he lay as many that stood against him lay.

The bloodspattered eagle of her armor was a fitting tribute to the dead and living of both the Horde and Alliance. Once again united against a common foe, for a common cause, for a common pyhrric victory.

Kiiyue wavered with the pathetic few that could stay standing. There were the famed heroes, of course, that still stood. Few with enough heroic fortitude to witness what would be the ushering of another age, before falling back into the death they had fought to keep from spreading to the rest of the world.

"E's dead." The dwarven rifleman broke the silence, leaning against the Longrifle blunderbuss that was his namesake. Blood was starting to freeze over the flames that burned most of his face off. "Deader 'an he already was."

Kiiyue bowed her head. "So are we, if we stick around longer." As if on an afterthought, she looked at her left arm. Then tossed it over her shoulder; she wouldn't be needing it anymore.

"Aye," came as the only reply. She turned to see their leader, the dwarf of the plate robes. Even with his helm off, the 'right arm of Bolvar' looked haggard as the rest of them. Except for the lack of blood upon him. Kiiyue wondered about that. She kept wondering even as he turned her gaze back at her. Let him read her thoughts. She couldn't care less.

The chaff separated from the wheat. At least the Great Pretender had perished at the Prince's hands. A morbidly comforting thought. It was a contrast to seeing the Elder fall in battle, calling forth the storms and unleashing nature upon abomination. The power had been too much for any mortal to contain. The Alpha and the Emissary would lead on, though.

So many lost. So meager a prize.

Chill returned again as each survivor gazed down at the cursed runeblade that had twisted the noble soul into the world Azeroth had become. Each gazed upon the reflection of the blade, seeing themselves, their own measure, reflected in the sword, turning their gaze back within. And the vestiges of a shadowy whisper, a beckoning guile that played upon each and every one of their minds...

"...with it, our world can be saved."

Kiiyue blinked, looked up. She didn't say it. But from seeing everyone else stare at her, faces confused. She met each gaze, even, blank, bloodied.

As befitting his position, the dwarf moved over Arthas' body, giving silent tribute to the Fallen Prince. "It should be destroyed. Never again."

The potential is there. The path was not.

Whispers. Her blood froze.

"It was the cause of all this."

It will be both scourge and savior.

"History will repeat itself."

And bring it around to the right way.

"Don't."

Ashbringer touched her neck. Warm, cold metal, sharp. She froze. As did the Baron Keeper.

Their gazes met once again, this time hardly empty. They were eyes of an unfamiliar time. Unfamiliar presence. Or maybe, it was familiar. Once. Time unspooled in the mind's eye, twisting dreams and familiarity into memories both foreign and intimate.

The Prophet smiled, her arms encircled around her Heartborne. "His voice will never reach you as long as I am." A giggle. "The prophecy was right. We need never to fear while our music drowns him away."

A figure hunched over the dias. "Whomsoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal. Just as the blade rends flesh, so must power scar the spirit."

"I promised two things, Pink," she whispered as the Hound Patriach lay crumpled beneath her boot. "One was to avenge you. The other to avenge myself. I will give anything or pay any price, if it will save another from saving me."

"What's happening to you?" A pained face filled the darkness - formless, familiar. "Is vengeance all that's important to you?" "Nothing shall prevent me from having my revenge, old friend. Not even you."

The battlecry. The fog of false thoughts. She had engulfed them both.

Tearing herself from the web of memories, she arched over the sword of the Champion, eering the dwarf's late swing at her neck. Fury enfused her blood, made it flow again, as she grabbed the nearest weapon and crouched in stance.

You hear the voice of the Dark Lord. He whispers to you through the blade you wield. What does he say, young human? What does the Dark Lord of the Dead tell you now?

"He tells me...that the time for my vengeance has come."

Kiiyue gazed back at them all. Her demons. His demons.

"...my life for Ner'zhul."

---

A hand reached down to pluck Frostmourne from the ashes of its last wielder. Shouldered the sword. Gazed out at the corpses that littered the frozen wasteland.

Arthas began the slow trudge back up to his throne. Nothing had changed.

---

For every hero that lives,

There are many that instead have fallen.

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust,

From nothingness, to nothingness,

Returning to hence that was beckoned.

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