Warcraft (c) Activision Blizzard
Bond Beyond Death
The Maw was an oppressive disgusting place that writhed with torment. And the Mawsworn fiend known as the Brand was a particularly cruel creature.
Darion Mograine had lost count of the days - or was it months? - that he'd been trapped in this place. The Deathlord had escaped, but the their fellow Knights were plucked off one by one, either to meet their final death or to be trapped in cages as he was.
Suffice it to say, the Deathlord's return and aid was greatly appreciated. The Broker Ve'nari's aide was equally appreciated, even if her reasons were enigmatic. But the greatest shock in all of this madness was the Maldraxxi Baron the Deathlord had intended to save.
Alexandros Mograine. The Ashbringer. The Scourge of the Scourge and his beloved father -
- Had beaten bloody and chained to a wall like some animal.
Had this been any other time or place - any other realm of the Shadowlands - Darion would have been ecstatic to see his father once more and would have gladly embraced him in a way only a loving son would. But in this hungering Maw, his soul chained and bound.
The humiliation sent a jolt of horror and rage through Darion's being and his disgust towards the Mawsworn doubled. His teeth grit to the point of pain as he worked on the chains that bound him so. The Deathlord stood vigil and did her duty as loyally as Darion had come to expect.
"D-Darion! After all this time..." His father shook his head feebly and refused to look at him, "N-no... another illusion. I will not break! I won't-!"
Pain lanced through Darion's heart like a knife, and memories of his ill-fated venture into Naxxramus all those years ago leapt to the forefront of his mind. A traumatizing corruption of the father he loved so dearly, raised and deformed by Kel'Thuzad's cruelty, ready to slay his own son at the behest of his dark master. His comrades slain, his father's cold corpse in his arms as he wept and the warped whispers coming from Ashbringer when Darion fled.
He screwed his eye shut and forced those memories away with great effort. "Save your strength Father. We'll have time to speak later."
No sooner had Darion managed to unlock the first manacle did the Deathlord come flying from behind him, thrown like a ragdoll. her back cracked against the wall with a resounding sound of dented plate and broken bone.
Darion grit his teeth. His runeblades, Hungering Cold and Slayer of the Lifeless, were shattered by the Brand. But there was another blade in his possession. Stored in the void until it was needed most. One that took a great deal of convincing and battering to reacquire. Trying to get Maxwell Tyrosus to surrender it was a miracle unto itself, but thank the Light the old wolf relented in the end.
"Ophelia, tend to my father's injuries. I have a score to settle with this one." Darion said, rising to his feet, gladly embracing the hatred and righteous anger this creature induced in him.
Darion would later learn that this creature went by the name Desian the Torturer, but all he cared for at the moment was ending this thing's existence.
As he turned to face the monster, he could hear Ophelia clamber to her feet and resume where Darion had left off. And then, he reached into the void to call upon the blade. He made a motion of drawing a sword from its scabbard and drew the Ashbringer into the world with a flourish.
"How did-?" The Deathlord gasped, but promptly cut herself off - doubtless to resume her task.
"A powerful little blade you wield. Doubtlessly a fine tool, but it will be of no consequence. You'll wish to be locked back in your little cage by the time I'm through with you, mortal."
Ashbringer felt different from the last time Darion held it. It was different. Both in feeling and in appearance. It was lighter in his grip, moving with grace and ease as though it was an extension of his arm. No- longer corrupted by Renault's treachery, the sword still bore a pure aspect. But Ashbringer was no mere blade. Just as Tirion's touch had purified the sword and mark him as its new master, Darion's hand had changed it as well.
The blade was no longer a sterling silver, but a deep ebony. The runes glowed with dark gold and the disc that formed the cutting edge matched. Even here, even in death, he could feel a comforting warm from the sword.
"Did you think your presence would go unnoticed? You will not-!"
Darion did not give the Mawsworn time to finish and charged forward, Ashbringer in hand. Darkened, but no less powerful for it.
Desian was unlike any other opponent Darion had faced. The Mawsworn seemed to possess skills and talents singularly designed to undo Death Knight's rune magics. And Darion was still weakened from his captivity, even the very air drained the will of those condemned to this place. In this battle, Darion would have to rely on his martial prowess and skill. It was almost impossible to do anything other than defend from the vicious onslaught. He fought to hold his ground, but even with his strength born of being a warrior in life and a Death Knight in undeath, each blow blocked was like thunder rattling his bones.
He parried every hit, fighting with all his strength to deflect blows that certainly would have taken a limb. And that would be his opportunity. Desian's blows were meant to incapacitate through brutal maiming, not to kill. That intention could be exploited.
Blades sung as they clashed against one another and in the madness of the melee, Darion could see it. A weakening in the polearm's structure near the axe head. He had one chance to struck the decisive blow, but he would need to be fast. Faster than he could manage in this drained state - faster than he could manage at his full power. For an instant, sword locked against polearm. Ashbringer's edge wedged in between the axehead and the pommel and Darion took that split second opportunity.
With a twist of his wrist and a mighty roar of strength, the Mawsworn's poleaxe split asunder. The axe head flying off like a missile and the momentary distraction allowed Ashbringer's keen edge to tear a gouge through Desian's armour.
Shouting what was undoubtedly a curse in some unknown language, Desian leaped into the air to avoid another blow.
A giant cleaver of a sword, glowing with teal magic and shaped to echo Ashbringer itself, carved through Desian's side flank as she landed. As easily as a butcher cutting meat. The Mawsworn howled in pain, but it was silenced with Ashbringer swung upward to cleave her head off.
Darion struggled for breath, but his exertion meant nothing when he saw his father about to collapse himself. Darion was at his side in an instant, offering whatever support he could. Out of the corner of his eye, Darion could see the Deathlord by the Broker Ve'nari. Her wounds must have run deeper than Darion realised and he cursed himself for being too caught up in his selfish desire for vengeance to notice.
Ve'nari drew upon more of her strange magics and opened a white ephemeral portal. "I suggest we make a tactical retreat. There is an alcove near the waystone that enabled your friend's previous exodus. From there, you will be on your own."
"You are here. Darion, I never... I am sorry, my son. I thought that you-" Alexandros began but cut himself off,
"Its fine, father. We will have time to speak once we're free from this hell." Darion reassured him, helping support his father towards the portal with the Deathlord and broker not far behind.
This is pure wish fulfilment. I've always wanted two things for Darion Mograine as a character. One; Become Lich King. Two; get Ashbringer back. First because he is a very good thematical parallel to Arthas in terms of their adult life events. Second because Ashbringer is the Mograine family's legacy and letting it get burnt out by chowing down on Sargerus' sword? Doesn't sit right with me.