I'm so sorry that this took so long on getting some air time, but I've been having some trouble on how to map out the story for one, and with all of the family business going on in the last moth it's been hard to focus on this. I have a life to live, and therefore can't spend as much time as I please on this.
Also, I can't help but notice that, regardless on whatever the final pairings may be, you want the three to remain as friends, and I can see why; Jaina becomes isolated due to her Anti-Horde campaign falling apart in the upcoming Legion expansion, and Sylvanas struggles to find some meaning into the her, and by extension the Forsaken's, prolonged existence after having Arthas dealt with. With at least a medium for both to focus on, they can at least be steered into the right path that they can make use of and actually be supportive. So in regards to that, I agree and support your suggestion on the matter; regardless of whatever happens, Eidolon, Jaina and Sylvanas shall remain friends.
And with that, onto the story.Chapter IX: Siege Of Hearthglen: The Truth Revealed?!
"EIDOLON!" Jaina had acted quickly by blinking to place herself between her warlock friend and the small horde of zombie villagers, gathering her power to fire a Cone of Cold that froze them all in their tracks. Seeing that they were stopped, she blinked into the center of the frozen formation and released an Arcane Nova from her person, shattering the undead into pieces. As Arthas and the others dealt with the rest of the undead, both Sorceress and Ranger-General gathered up with the now rising Warlock, intent on finding a way to survive the coming onslaught.
Arthas, unfortunately, had to be the bearer of bad news. "It's apparent that the grain is capable of turning my people into the undead, and that attack just costed us almost all of the soldiers stationed here aside from a few footmen and the workers. We need to hold out until Uther can arrive with reinforcements… however long that takes. Workers, we need structures to train and supply more men than this if we're going to make it. I want sentries upgraded the soonest that we can. Let's MOVE!"
As the Crown Prince was barking out orders, the other three heroes were having a bit of a dilemma themselves. "Eidolon, why would you risk yourself with getting that message to Uther? I could have found him myself…" The young man shook his head as he looked to the two. "It's better if we can stick together if at all possible. We're going to need everyone we can get to if we plan to survive, plus that blade wasn't the only weapon I wield." Jaina sighed before having to point out the elephant in the room. "But you know that some of your spells are… not exactly lite on using Fel. Uther's had a history on battling against that kind of magic and if he finds out what you are…." Sylvanas took this as an opportunity. "If that prick for a prince so much as tries an arrest, then Eidolon's leaving with me back to Quel'Thalas, where he can safely be escorted back to Dalaran if push comes to shove on the matter. I refuse to lose any more people to this… madness"
Eidolon for one was a little surprised by the Ranger-General's forward thinking with a situation like that. Surely Uther would not want to risk a civil war with the High elves stacked on top of the Scourge with their undead armies. "As good as that kind of forward thinking is, let's stick to the present for now and deal with what happens later, later. Now how are we going to deal with this mess?"
Both women looked to one another hoping that either one had something, but everything briefly blacked out for the warlock when he felt a voice hit his head. It was the same way he first heard Kalcifer, but this felt… immovable, like a barrier had been formed and didn't allow him to leave. "I believe it is my turn now with the task of testing your skill, young warlock. Let us see how you persist against this tidal wave of death…." Just like that, the presence was gone, but he was sure it was watching him now. He looked to the two just seconds away from exploding at the other before he broke their focus. "Jaina, Syl…. I think another demon has come into contact with me. It's similar to how Kalcifer made first contact, but it felt different, like a wall that just wouldn't go down. And it's watching us right now."
The two women looked around for anything suspicious, but they couldn't find the source of their worries so it was left alone for now. "As long as it doesn't hinder your performance like that Kalcifer did, then I hope we can survive the onslaught. RANGERS!" She shouted out to her company who moved quickly to form a line, standing at attention and awaiting orders. "Prepare a defensive perimeter around the village; this is a bunker and trench warfare as of now so let's hustle ladies!"
While defenses were being built, they had to deal with random waves from the various undead, being lucky that the Priests and Archers that came with Windrunner only resulted in one casualty; an overzealous footman decided to break formation when it looked that the undead forced had been dealt with. He never saw the necromancers striking him down with unholy magic, only to reanimate his corpse to fight his comrades. Of course the slight abomination was taken down in seconds under a hail of arrows, but it started to break the men's morale before Arthas got them all back in formation. It was showing that the fact that his people were being used as fodder by the Scourge was getting to the young prince, which was being vented in Eidolon's lack of performance.
"I keep telling you, it would be reckless to just fling a spell with such destructive force and, need I remind you, collateral damage to our own forces. I will not use them with soldiers laying down their lives so close! Now, about that scout report…"
"Absolutely not! It's one thing that you refuse the direct order of a superior, but now you dare make demands of me about going out playing vigilante against an entire convoy? Believe me, I'd rather go after them personally for turning the nearby villages into undead, but we don't have the resources, or men, to afford such an attempt. You are hereby remaining in this base until I say otherwise! That's an order, and end of discussion!"
"Arthas, listen to yourself! Every village they convert is more reinforcements for the Scourge to throw at us. If they hit every surrounding village, then Uther will be mopping up a graveyard by the time he gets here!" In frustration, Eidolon barged out of the war room and slammed the door behind him, making it jam in place as he stormed out to the goldmine leaning near the entrance as he stood guard over the workers, which helped in boosting their morale somewhat knowing that they had a powerful spell-caster watching over them.
"That went well." Sighing, the warlock looked to a nearby shadow that soon revealed the Ranger-General, armed to the teeth and battle-ready for anything. "I take it that our esteemed Crown Prince has decided against sending support to the nearby villages? I don't want to sound like the prick, but we can't thin out our forces like that." She received a questioning glare before she decided to shed more light onto the subject. "Which is why my scouts confirmed that the caravan is the only thing threatening the bordering villages; the two primary bases are solely focused on Hearthglen, and nothing else. So a small strike team can, and will, destroy that caravan and allow the villages to escape the oncoming conflict hitting this area."
Now he was interested, and appreciative of her cooperation on the matter, as he felt disgusted when Arthas had condemned the bordering villages with such little resistance. "So who's going after them?" She eyed him curiously, making one of her long eyebrows quirk up. "That's it? No insistence that you come along as well?" Now his sour mood reared its ugly head for her to see. "Unfortunately, due to our esteemed Knight's oh so wise decision, I have been forbidden from making any move to the defensive lines." Sylvanas' mood shifted to anger, so slowly that the young warlock had to back away in slight fear of her retaliation. "Oh, did he now? He thinks he can command one of MY officers like that, and expects to get away with it? When we come back, he and I WILL have words."
As Eidolon and Sylvanas were geared up and ready to head on out they ran into Jaina, whom was also packed for combat, which confused the warlock but made the ranger-general smirk. "What? You think that I'm going to let you go alone? We were both sent on this mission together by Master Antonidas, and I fully intend to make sure we go back the same way." With logic being the deciding factor on that, plus he kinda feared the stink-eye she was giving him when he was saying anything short of 'yes ma'am', they double-checked that the soldiers stationed at the far north-west were in good condition and set out into the wilderness.
It was a few minutes in that the only male in the party was getting the same feeling back in the base, but this time it was much stronger, much like it was right on top of their-
"Grettings at long last, young warlock." The deep ominous voice behind them set them all at edge, turning around to face…. They were not sure what it was that they were looking at. Eidolon knew only from the Book of Medivh that this was supposed to be a Voidwalker, but this had actual armor pieces attach to its body; chest plate along with wristguards and shoulder pads, but there was nothing visible that connected all the pieces to others, or keeping them on the smoke-like body. Its white orbs for eyes scanned the battle-ready trio, but focused on the male human who looked hesitant now. "Wait, so you're the one who was watching me-" "Ever since you set foot in Heathglen, yes. I can feel a wicked presence around you… I take it that Kalcifer has made contact with you? The crafty little bugger always liked making deals to ensure his own survival and freedom. I on the other hand am more… practical in my bargains."
This piqued their interests as they began to lower their weapons, but remained on guard; they were still in undead territory. "I take it that you too wish to make a deal with me?" A hearty chuckle escaped the purple menace before answering. "On the contrary, I am actually paying a debt to an old friend. Our little… merry band of demons were given freedom- true freedom- from the clutches of the Burning Legion, in exchange for our services and assistance when called upon." Sylvanas looked skeptical at the supposedly short end of the stick that the demons were given for this one person. "Hold on, that doesn't seem right. To have the services of demons, prolonged even, for a tradeoff for something like freedom? That seems…"
The demon looked to the High Elf before responding. "Insignificant compared to what we can do? Then you know little of how demons behave in an individual level; after an unimaginable amount of time doing nothing but killing and manipulating, it gets rather… dull after a time. We were not the first to break away from the endless horde of the Burning Legion, and I am certain that we will not be the last." This had Jaina's interest now as Eidolon had to break up the banter. "Alright, I can kind of understand that; a change of pace if anything else, but why offer yourself to me so freely? I would expect another challenge or something of the sort."
The Voidlord laughed some before calming himself. "I had offered my services to my master for years and have always obeyed without question, and I must say that it does heal the soul for the likes of myself. During my master's final moments, we were all asked to assist you when the time came, but the method to do so was left in the open. So we decided amongst ourselves that we would test you in our own way. So you see, you have been tested already, and have passed mine. Your desire to protect the weak, even if against direct order, even in the face of death itself, is commendable to your courage. As such, you have my sworn loyalty to you and your cause." They exchanged handshakes, which shot power into the young warlock's arm and body, before the Voidlord melted into his shadow, his voice echoing in the woods as he faded away. "I am Darbus, the Voidlord. When called upon, I shall be the impenetrable wall that guards and protest you and yours."
After a few moments to gather their bearings, they began their march to the village that was mapped to be the last place for the caravan to hit. When they made it clear that an impending Undead attack was coming, the entire village evacuated and headed south where most of the forces left behind at Andorhal were setting up sanctuaries for civilians while dealing with what little stragglers remained. With that settled, they made their way East where the next village was stationed at, but they had received reports that a village had already fallen to the caravan, and that they were next.
"We can't hold out here, not like this. Even with everyone preparing to leave the caravan will be upon them before everyone can get out." Eidolon looked around the small town that was soon to be deprived of its people then down the path where the caravan was expected to arrive from. "Then we set up an ambush; I will not allow these people to be violated into the undead." He looked down, a depressing aura emanating from him. "We already failed one village…"
Jaina laid a hand on his right shoulder, and Sylvanas punted his left gently before they all looked down the intended pathway. "Well, we can't be there to save every last person Eidolon, so we just have to save the ones we can and hope for the best." Getting a nod from the youngest of the group they made their way down the path while trying to form a plan. "I think now is the time that we put my new contracts to use…. Once we get far enough away."
True to his word, once they reached a distance they were far enough away, as night was also crawling upon them, he channeled the Fel at his disposal and, after a bit longer than usual, completed the summoning spell for the two demons…. Which left them utterly shocked by it. "Wait hold on… how did you do that?!" Looking confused, Eidolon looked between the demons wondering why they were surprised. "Um… what are you talking about?" Kalcifer was the first to recover, a tick mark growing on his head. "What do you not understand about this situation?! You've summoned more than one demon at once; how does that not register to you at all?" "Yea, I did summon you both, but it took a little more time and power than usual. So what?"
Darbus decided to be the voice of clarity here for the young warlock. "Eidolon, you must understand…. Summoning and maintaining more than one demon in this plane is supposed to be impossible. The only one who could manage such a feat was actually our former master. I am starting to see why we were asked to join you…" "Alright, you guys keep on saying something about your former master, but you clearly don't want to say anything important about them; Darbus, I'm starting to question on why an orc would care about helping people at all if they-" The dark purple entity shook his head before speaking above the warlock. "Human. Our former master was a human." This stunned the whole group into silence, but Kalcifer kept any questions from coming up. "Don't we have a caravan to destroy?"
That snapped them back into attention, but he made it clear that he would have answers later as they scouted ahead to see what they were looking at. The results; a few necromancers, skeletons, three Meat Wagons and two acolytes to orchestrate the whole thing. "Alright, here's the plan; we'll set up some traps for the front wagon and whatever else may be close, and then bombard the rest of them with wide area attacks. Once the two waves are done, Sylvanas and Darbus will close in and finish off the remaining stragglers while Jaina and I provide support and run damage control. Sylvanas, you still have any traps left?" The Ranger-general grinned as she fiddled with a few as Jaina provided some supportive insight. "I can also use Ring of Frost as a part of the trap, to at least halt the necromancers from spawning any more troops." "Good idea Jaina. Antonidas was right; you are becoming the best of Dalaran's mages." The blond sorceress managed to suppress a blush from the compliment as they began to move further up ahead of the caravan. "Alright, let's make some magic happen."
The Acolytes and Necromancers were feeling all giddy today; they've been tasked by their master, Mal'Ganis, to hit small villages in the surrounding area around Hearthglen to hopefully stall if not outright slaughter the Alliance force that was stationed nearby by using their own people against them, living or otherwise. No more mind games, no cloak-and-dagger , just a good old slaughter fit for a homicidal maniac. And the next village was just in sight-
If only they noticed the number of green and one large blue rune circle sparking to life under their feet.
The next few seconds threw them all into chaos; rocks of fire fell from the sky as the front of the caravan was killed by a flash freeze, coating the front two Wagons with enough ice to lodge the firing mechanisms. "Find the attackers and- Guh!" The necromancer was of no challenge to the oncoming arrow that lodged itself into his throat, choking him in his own blood as a lone High Elf and massive purple-armored entity entered the fray, taking down the skeletal minions as Eidolon, Kalcifer and Jaina proceeded to open fire on the bony bowmen with a variety of spells.
The three remaining necromancers had the intelligence to hide behind a small force of skeletons, ghouls and the now-firing Meat Wagon as they agreed to use the stashed corpses from the unholy construct. While firing it's salvo against the two adversaries, the death-dealing wagon opened up a compartment that dropped several dead bodies- courtesy of the last village and their stock from the last outpost they visited- which let the dark wizards do their magic (not sure if that was a pun but if so I apologize XO). Soon they had a steady flow of skeletal minions throwing themselves at the two melee targets. However, Darbus was an immovable object that took blow for blow, only to return it tenfold as Sylvanas' years of being a ranger were paying off in her agility and flexibility, not even letting a single attack connect to her while she dealt fatal blows to all in her way.
While the spell-casters were providing cover fire for their melee fighters, Jaina couldn't help but notice that her warlock friend was beginning to… radiate some kind of power. When she looked his direction for just a moment, she couldn't stop the look of shock coming to the surface as his body was leaking out some kind of purple wisp, but it wasn't just one strand. "Eidolon, are you…?" The warlock risked a look in her direction, his face bearing that of a person who was straining against something, his green eyes glowing slightly brighter than normal as he was visibly shaking from the amount of pressure coming from himself. "Jaina."
Both didn't see the oncoming salvo from the Wagon impacting right in the middle of their position, the explosion scattering the ranged supporters. Being the first to stand mostly upright, if not rising from his knees, he looked to see that he was covered in blood, but what made his world collapse was the unmoving Proudmoore, heavily coated in the red fluid.
Now, bear in mind, Jaina was not dead; the kinetic force of the impact just knocked her out, and as a demoralizing tactic, the Meat Wagon's salvo's were stuffed with blood in the mixture so as to break them of their fighting spirit. This instance, however, was most certainly NOT in the Undead's favor.
'Jaina….. She's…' His eyes widened in horror as his brain made the false connection. '…no…'
Sylvanas noticed that her fire support had halted after that last shot, looking to see that Eidolon and Jaina were injured, and just now noticed the purple wisps growing thicker as the warlock shook from his spot. 'No.'
Tears were now streaking down his face as the wisps of power began to swirl around him, growing in speed and intensity as Kalcifer was grinning, but soon displayed his own shock as he felt something beginning to be unleashed…. A power he had not felt in the last ten years. 'NO!'
The world around him fell into darkness as he felt himself falling, but it didn't seem to last long as he felt two arms wrap around him from behind, hands on his chest as a soft voice spoke out to him. "Hush, my child. Rest now, for I will make it all better…." He wasn't sure why the voice spoke in such a familiar tone, but his broken spirit simply accepted the voice's words and closed his eyes, never noticing the arms leave him as he fell into slumber.
Sylvanas couldn't believe the luck they were having, though it was more the lack of, as she and Darbus were now fighting off the skeleton waves by themselves as their casters were down. Eidolon froze and Jaina… she wasn't moving. 'Dammit, I need to break away from here and get those two out. I could use my flare, but that would give our position away to the enemy as well so that's a no go. Come on Sylvanas, think, dammi-?!' A pulse of something… dark washed over her, and it seemed that the undead could feel it too. She risked a look at where her friends were…. And what she saw right there was something that she could not explain.
In place of the demoralized Eidolon was apparently a woman, whose robes were a dark grey and purple, hood up that only hid her face, but flowing charcoal hair flowing down her front and glowing emerald eyes were still noticeable. She held no weapon, but the most disturbing about her features was the fact that she had a single purple wing attached to her back, sticking out of her left shoulder blade, that was larger than the woman was tall. And odder still, Kalcifer of all people was actually bowing before her. 'Hold on, that little Imp didn't even do that for Eidolon. So does that mean that… she is the former master of his new summons?' Speaking of, she could not see any trace of Eidolon in the area, but returned her focus upon the new arrival. 'Where is Eidolon? Did she do something to him!?'
The lone woman gazed upon those before her, seeing Darbus and a High elf, along with many skeletons and ghouls. She then rose and swept her right hand across the battle field, draining all of the life force from the Undead forces, leaving just the Meat Wagon and Necromancers, who were only spared in part of being out of her 'range.' With the gathered life energy, it was shifted to her left arm, where she began to push it into the prone form of the Sorceress. It took a few seconds before Jaina began coughing and moving, sitting herself upright before she finally noticed the woman amongst them. She didn't really know what to say; she had seen what Eidolon's Drain Life could do, but the fact that it was possible to redistribute it to others…. Just who was she?
"Darbus." The Voidlord bowed to the woman before moving himself and Sylvanas out of the 'blast radius' as the demon called it, allowing the winged woman to make a slow walk over to the necromancers cowering behind the Meat Wagon. "Open fire!" The wagon unleashed a salvo, its aim true as it went right for the unknown adversary… only for it to go off mere feet from her person as a green glow encompassed her form to block the attack. Another few shots made it clear that it would not work as the dark wizards raised more corpses to fight off the demonic woman. She simply grinned under the hood as she increased her pace until she was short of sprinting towards them.
What happened next could only be described as a slaughter; without a doubt, that woman alone made her spells the most unorthodox that either Jaina or Sylvanas had seen Eidolon use in the past. Shadow bolts that split into thirds and dealt more damage than the last, a disembodied head floating over her that breathed purple fire for only a moment, and a pale/blue stream of light coming from the undead forces were used to even amplify the other spells by draining them of their souls.
It was only after the last one fell to Life Drain that the winged woman turned to the two remaining mortals and her demons. There was a silence that permeated the air before her form was consumed in shadows, then shattering to show Eidolon in her place, covered in blood and out cold as he fell over. Jaina was the first to act by Blinking over to his position and catching him with what strength her body had while Sylvanas made her way over to them as well, the demons apparently having been dismissed during the aftermath. "Jaina. What in the burning hells was that?" The sorceress didn't- no, couldn't- say anything as she too was shocked by the display of power that apparently came from their warlock friend… but then who was that other woman? "We should head back to the base while we still can…" Taking that as their queue to leave, Jaina waved her staff as her remaining mana was put into the short-ranged teleportation spell before disappearing entirely from the battlefield.
Unknowing that one Acolyte managed to hide himself and watch the display of power, then made his way back to Strathome. Master Mal'Ganis must be informed of this development.
When they warped back to the base, they saw that they had just arrived for a massive push from the undead forces to make its push against the defensive line, or what was left of it as Arthas had to pull back all of the remaining forces for one last line. "Light, give me strength." The Prince shot holy light into an undead unit coming towards him, obliterating the unholy power that held it together as he gave a battle cry that motivated his remaining men as they held out for all they were worth.
That is until they heard a horn call from their flank with another war cry of its own. "FOR LORDARON! FOR THE KING!"
For most, this was a cry of hope and faith, that all was not yet lost. For three in particular, however, this was a mix of both good and bad, that a secret may very well be discovered on this day.
Lord Uther Lightbringer, along with a battalion of Knights, had arrived.
Again, I must apologize to you good people for making you wait so long on a new post. And yet I'm also touched that more and more people are finding, and enjoying, my story so thank you one and all.
So now Uther has arrived, along with a greater risk of Eidolon being discovered, but for those who have been paying some attention (not being rude here), a secret has already been made known. What exactly that is…. Is for another time. Or perhaps sooner than later.
And now, Mal'Ganis has been made known of this new force that threatens his master's plans; A warlock outside of the Burning Legion's influence. Perhaps he could make use of that information in his plans….. MwaHAHAHAHHAHAHA!
Anyways, as usual, if you like this story then please don't hesitate to leave a comment down below but don't flame the story plz nobody likes a hater. If you don't like it then don't read it then.
As from the wise words of one Monty Oum:
I believe that the human spirit is indomitable. If you endeavor to achieve, it will happen given enough resolve. It may not be immediate, and often your greater dreams is something you will not achieve within your own lifetime. The effort you put forth to anything transcends yourself, for there is no futility even in death.
Let us never forget that, as he taught all of us a valuable lesson even with such a short life.