Run Him Down
Errik Von Lossart, once lord of his house, the Red Prophet, the Lord Archon, lay dying the final death upon the alien ground of Zangarmarsh. Arrows studded his frail torso like slender arms, noxious black filth welling from the holes they had carved in his chest. He was convulsing, his gaunt head writhing to and fro, more fluid leaking from the scarred pits of his eyes and mouth. After all he had done....after all the tasks he had carried out, his fate seemed to be to die alone, and forgotten upon a shattered world. One hand clawed feebly at the humid air, gnarled talons grasping feebly at the muscled forearm of the Orc that stood above him, smiling grimly.
"I remember your face...I'd never forget it. Do you remember me, monster? I don't think you do....why would you? I was younger, weaker then. I was afraid of you, in your scarlet robes, surrounded by walking corpses and foul demons. But the dead no longer walk with you, and your demons have fled you. You are alone, Warlock. There is no one who will help you, you know. No one who will save you. And I will enjoy the revenge I am about to take on your pallid hide. I brought things, you see. Tools, really. ' He withdrew several knives, each inscribed with shamanic symbols. Smirking, he dug a hooked one into Errik's ribs, blinking as it met an odd amount of resistance. The blade smouldered as the corrupt matter snaked around the metal, corroding it almost instantly. "Hrm...I..." The words choked off, as the Orc rose into the air, shuddering, his body twitching rapidly as green light bloomed in his eyes.
"You think your service is ended so easily, Errik? By letting this fool strike you down? I know you are stronger than that....and smarter to think that you would escape the strictures of your contract so easily...." The orc grunted, as the voice boomed from his now gaping mouth. "You should know that I can contact you here....far more easily than I ever could while you dwelt on Azeroth. You are ours, Von Lossart...body and soul. Wether or not you Ascend....and if I bring her back for you hinges on your actions, my student. " The arrows turned to ash in the Undead's body, and for the first time, in a long, long time....Errik began to scream.
"I think it was time....that you were punished for your stupidity..."
Agony washed over the layers of the Forsaken's soul in waves. For hours, days, it had been one of the only things that he could feel. He had long since stopped screaming...it was no use, and a disgustingly human gesture at that. Acting through the proxy of an Orc, Variche the Unbroken, one of Kil'jeaden's finest Warlocks....and Errik's teacher, tore his body to ribbons. His ribs were dust, as was most of his face, sunken in like rotten fruit. The blackened remains of his lungs had been pulled out his back, spread in a cruel mockery of wings. Errik shuddered again, as the creature's meaty fingers pulled his clavical out, and smashed him against the temple with it.
"You thought you were safe, did you not, Von Lossart? Safety is an illusion...you know that better than any man alive. I thought I had taught you better than this, my protege'....." The voice was chiding, mocking. A fresh wave of pain exploded across Errik's mind as the Orc began to pull off his fingers, one joint at a time. "You know the physicality of this excersize is meaningless....the nerves are long dead, just as your flesh is. The true pain comes from the part of your soul I hold in the other Phylactery...and will always hold, Errik. You cannot escape me, nor your past. You are bound by it, just as I am bound by my duty to mete out punishment for your incredible stupidity. Next time though....I know...I think I'll hurt....her. Yesss.....How will it wound you to know that your darling wife's pain is all your fault. I know a million different ways to make her scream, and beg for a final death, Errik....so....it is not in anyone's interest for thoughts of rebellion and dissent to bubble around inside that warped skull of yours. Besides....that artifact you cary in your emaciated chest is worth far more than any service you could ever provide for us....the Animus Speculum...if that had been harmed...I think even the tortures Ner'zhul was put through would pale in comparison in what I would do to you....." The Orc shuddered, and finally stopped, the light that danced in his eyes growing, as felfire ripped his body to bloody gobbets of meat and viscera.
"Get up, Errik....there is work to do."
Broken and humiliated, the warlock rose, leaning heavily on his staff. It seemed that it, and sheer willpower were the only things holding him together. One eye had gone dim, the other golden pool blinked in and out intermittenly. His jaw hung from his face like a parasite, tatters of flesh dangling off the chin. Black slime poured from the gaping holes in his chest, staining his already filthy robes even more.
"Why...would I con...tinue....serving you....Variche....? Why...would I continue serving....Kil'jeaden? You have...failed to make good on...every promise you have made! My immortality...is a...mock...ery! My wife...is still dead, as is....my daughter! All of the people....I have killed...all of the attrocities I have...commited...all in your name...and you cannot repay me. Bind...my wounds.....Variche. Fix me...so that I can carry forth this idiotic task with...false fervor. I have....lost everything. I gave up...my family...my friends....everything, because you told me you would bring her back!" Snarling, the Forsaken pushed his jaw back into place. "And still, you dangle her before me like a carrot before a mule. Still, you ply me with offers of yet more knowledge! I am tired, Variche. I am tired of the killing, the pain, the betrayal. Your entire crusade is foolhardy! The Naaru will stop you, or the Horde, or the Alliance, or Malfurion again. These worlds are your doom, Eredar!" Amusement flooded his mind, tinged with barely restrained anger. A massive concussion sheared half of Errik's face off, the bone flopping sickeningly in the muck of the swamp. The next blow shattered his spine, and the next his knees.
"Insolence equals pain, Errik. Obedience equals an end to that. What say you, Undead? Would you turn to the Horde to embrace you? They already revile you for the many times you have stabbed them in the back, at our behest. You have no where to turn to, no one to hide behind, my student. There is no one left who will ever trust you, or love you, ever again. There is only your anger, and your hate. There is only the cold realization that you are alone, and that only be serving us, will you ever have warmth again." The voice ended, and Errik began to sob.
It had been three days since the first torture. More had come, with every thought of dissent, with every inkling that he was not as loyal as he pretended to be. Spasms would grip his body, as Variche's voice thundered into his head in anger. He was not safe in Outland....no, he was longer safe anywhere. He would be found, and broken time and time again, for displeasing his masters. Looking back, the Forsaken thought, it was a fitting punishment for a creature of his depravity. Driven to madness in the early days of the Third War, he had been locked away in the Violet Citadel, powerless to save his wife and daughter as they were cut down by Arthas during the Cull of Stratholme. In his anger and grief, he had tried three times to murder himself. Every attempt was stopped by the Kirin Tor before it could even start. And so, grief gave way to rage, and hatred. Hatred for the father that refused to help his son escape the Kirin Tor. Hatred for the Magi who locked him away, simply because he had attended a class of Kel'thuzad's during his younger years. Hatred for the prince who butchered his innocent bride and beautiful child, under mad suspicion and paranoia. And so he had succumbed to the whispers of revenge. He had, with the assistance of Cult infiltrators, bee spirited away from his cell, and began the process of contacting the one thing that could deliver him her soul....the Eredar.
He had done so many evil things. He had become the prince he loathed so. And that, more than any other realization, was the most damning of all. Even if she was to come back, what would she see, but a decrepit monster? There was nothing left down that path. The vain hope that kept him sane all those years, that had made the hideous tasks doable, was gone. And in that, Errik found the furthest depths of his dispair and misery. He was well and truely alone, for the first time in his unnatural life. Redemption was a long dead hope. He had burned those bridges long ago with the last orchestrated betrayal. All he had left now, was the cold solace of a final death, through what ever means nessecary. If he shattered his Phylactery...his soul would be pulled fully into the one held by Variche. Or ripped to shreds in the resulting maelstrom of chaotic energies. Either way, he would cease to be. He had spent long enough out of his body to know a few secrets of the soul, of turning one's own being into a magical bomb. All that was left was contemplation, and planning...and the dim hope that another alternative would present itself. For now, the aged warlock sat in his new lair, and cradled his shattered head in his hands....and wept.