Sally watched in grim revel as the many warriors, priests, and monks of the Scarlet Crusade slowly filtered in to the massive cathedral. She stood before them upon the alter, a imposing figure surrounded by shadow and filled to bursting with zeal for her cause. Before her, on either side, stood the two people. The first, not a monk as she had originally thought, but rather a man by the name of Herod, stood at her right hand while the second, a monk by the name of William, stood at her left. From her position, she could see both with ease, looking down upon them with disdain. Yet, as she looked to her right at Herod, something stirred within her, like a faint memory of a time long-since past. Running through Southshore, chasing after… something. Then turning and fleeing back to her- no. Sally shook her head as shadow flared about her eyes. It was unimportant. Memories of the Past held no place here and now.
"Men of the Scarlet Crusade!" she bellowed out as she stood tall, satisfied finally with the amount of men whom had gathered within. "As you know, we are a beleaguered group of men. Upon all sides we are beset by enemies! To the North, the might of the Scourge threatens to bear down upon us while to the south those who follow the banshee queen, those whom claim to be no different from the Scourge, assail us seeking to throw us from our homeland. Many cowards have fled to the south, to Stormwind, seeking refuge, while those whom fight on in our homeland grow fewer every day. We are surrounded by wolves, but we are no sheep! But this you already know. No… I have called you all together today to talk about something more."
Sally looked down at the two men before her as they looked back. Fear was absent from their eyes, replaced by courage and a desire to fight for their cause, to fight for the Crusade.
"There is one more side from which our enemies seek to assail us from. Yet it is not from the east or the west, or even the heavens above or the earth beneath our feet from which they will come, but from in here!" she clasped her hand to her heart. "Ourselves! How many of you are willing to fight for your cause? How many of you are willing to kill for it? All of you! That is why you are here! To fight for our homeland! To fight the Scourge! But… How many of you are willing to lay down your lives for the Crusade? Who here would run if they knew that death would come for them instead of standing their ground like true soldiers of the crusade?"
A look of bewilderment swept through the gathered people as confused gasps and whispers of doubt circulated among the gathered crusaders. "Can we tolerate such a weakness? Our enemies are many, but the Light that shines forth from us is a force which cannot be matched by their vile arts. Yet even a fortress of gold from which the radiance of the sun flows forth can still faultier if someone extinguishes that sun, even if only in the deepest room of the darkest cellar! It only takes one loose plank to sink the mightiest of warships! One unfastened gate to fell the mightiest wall! One loose lip to destroy an entire nation! You are all willing to live the Crusade! You must be willing to die for the Crusade as well!"
She looked down to the two people whom she had gathered. "Herod. William. Only one of you is willing to make this sacrifice. Which of you is it. One of you must die!"
The two men looked at each other, a look of concern upon William's face, while upon Herod's… a wicked grin and malevolent glare in his eye, like a hound just told to maul a sheep. Herod turned to William as he brought his hands up, massive and strong enough to be weapons in their own right. "So which of us will it be?" he asked as he slowly approached. William looked up at the man, concern turning to outright fear as he stumbled backwards. "Your blood or mine? The lady has demanded it."
"No. This… This is wrong! She's insane!" cried out William as he stepped backwards, trying to get away from the thuggish man. "She's insane! No leader would kill their own men! H-help!"
"See how instead of facing his demise like a warrior of our cause, he turns and flees!" said Whitemane as she watched the pair. "He does not face his challenge, he only tries to wriggle away like a pustulant worm."
As she spoke, her final words were accented by the sound of crushing flesh as Herod suddenly sprung forwards, his right fist striking hard into Williams ribs. The monk stumbled backwards, clutching his chest as burning pain blazed forth within him with every breath. A follow-up blow from Herod issued forth, thundering through the air towards William's head, only to strike void as William swiftly ducked to the side! As quickly as he could, his ribs burning with pain, he darted forwards and away from the mighty warrior. His mind quickly shuffled through his list of magic as he turned about to face Herod again. His hands dropped to the side as flame burst forth, accented with the power of the light.
"Light save me! Light… Save us all!" He said, slowly turning his gaze towards the heavens. Overhead, the clouds above the Cathedral parted as thunder rippled throughout the sky. Then, like a mighty waterfall, flames of pure light flowed down from the heavens above. It shuddered down, striking the roof of the Cathedral with the might of a torrential downpour. The roof over William started to glow white hot as the holy fire poured down, a mighty censure that suddenly burst through the roof and ceiling.
A blinding light suddenly filled the entire Cathedral as the divine flames shuddered down, striking the earth and pouring over William, flowing over his body, consuming him, but not burning him. Rays of brilliant shone forth, striking all within the cathedral and causing them to scream in pain as they covered their eyes from the brightness of the Light. It felt as if it was shining right through Sally, a searing, painful, shining through her that was burning away something within her. Something she could not tell as pain burst through her form, causing her to collapse to the floor.
Then, it was gone. The holy fire, and William with it, gone. Pain racked Sally's body as she struggled to stand, yet somehow, she felt better. Despite that every fiber of her being cried out in agony, she felt as if someone had cut a huge load from her heart and, though not entirely gone, it was suddenly much…
As she clasped the edge of the alter, pulling herself up for support, she looked over the crowd of gathered people, her gaze falling upon Herod. The memories she had pushed asides suddenly flowed forth unfettered. Herod! The bully! He had grown up in Southshore as well! He had pushed both her and the other children around when they had been kids.
"Herod? Why in the Light's name are you-"
Suddenly the massive burden upon her heart returned, and not gently either. It was like having a thousand pounds of blazing hot oil poured into her head, filling it up until it overflowed.
"NO! YOU ARE MINE! MINE! MY LORD WILL HAVE HIS CRUSADE! HE WILL HAVE HIS ARMY!"
Sally didn't know if the voice had been inside her head or if she had spoken the words herself. Shadows tried to suddenly form up about her, welling up, trying to cloud the air. Sally screamed in terror as she tried to get up and move, her limbs hurting with every motion, as she clambered down away from the alter, away from her room, to the one place she knew she would be safe. In Fairbanks arms.
OOC: I do not wish to ask this, but I am afraid my desire for reviews and feedback as to the story and how it is progressing has come to outweigh my desire to stay silent. Please, reviews would be much appreciated, if not posted here than as a e-mail.