My first Warcraft fanfic.
DISCLAIMER:I do not own any of the characters, including Arthas, The lich king, Tirion, etc. All that belongs to Blizzard Entertainment.
This can't be happening. This can't be happening! The bodies of the heroes are littered around me. A draenei priest specialized in pain. A human warlock who spewed fire and destruction from his hands. A night elf warrior who's plate is so thick it rivaled the lich king's own. Fordring is still trapped in that light-damned ice block. Oh the lich king is SO merciful. He has allowed me to watch from my own body instead of Frostmourne, so I can feel him torturing I don't know how many lives. I can feel the necrotic energy in the cursed rune blade building, small bolts of it arcing out into the heroes' corpses. How did it get to be this way? How? I could share the lich king's thoughts, I knew his plan. But they were SO close! And he just ended it, barely a flick of his wrist and it ended. Many more will be ending soon. How did it get to be this way? I hear his voice in my mind.
"Maybe you should see..." The memory sprung up painfully.
I-or rather, the lich king- was sitting on the frozen throne. The screams of Sindragosa echoed throughout the whole of Icecrown glacier. I couldn't help but feel an imaginary grin come to my face. I communicated with the king,
"Looks like you're pet is dead. How sure are you you can carry through your plan?" A wall of darkness blasted into my mind.
"SILENCE, MENETHIL! I know full and well how capable these so called heroes are. Yes, they are very capable. Capable enough to destroy the remnants of your fallen kingdom."
"Capable enough to kill you!" Another blast of shadow. I groaned in pain, my spirit flickering inside his, no, my body.
"You underestimate yourself..." He broke out into mocking laughter. I made another vain attempt at control, to lift up Frostmourne, and slice off my own head. Nothing happened except a shock of fear and agony up and down my spine. The transporter on the far end shimmered. The runes re-arranged themselves, blew up, as ice and sleet showered the two closest ice spires. I could see Bolvar grimacing against the pain of the added cold against his charred skin. I can not fathom how he has endured so long. The orc at-least broke within minutes. I narrowed my eyes within the lich king's eyes. The fog fell away, a blazing ray of light severing it from end to end. Fordring stood in the middle of the frozen arena. The Ashbringer. I caught my breath within my body. I had heard stories about the forging of a weapon who's very touch could reduce the foul undead to dust. There were few whispers among the royal court, but I was privy to it all. The Ashbringer. If only I had sought out that weapon and not the one my hands currently clamp despite my protests. A pulsing disk of pure light bobbled in the sword's chink, no doubt giving it it's mystical powers. Tirion's armor itself was amazing, surely marking him as the greatest paladin to ever walk Azeroth. Upon his light-forged shoulder-pads rested, on one, an open book, the symbol of a paladin's enlightenment, and duty to law. On the other rested a hammer, to show the order's might should diplomacy fail. I, or rather, The Lich king, had seen what Tirion could do. His might was great, but it wasn't enough at Light's hope, and it damned well won't be enough here, at the lich king's crux of power.
Behind him stood the heroes, the champions of Azeroth. 25 of the greatest fighters the Alliance has to offer. Death knights, druids, mages, warriors, paladins of Tirion's own order. I felt the flicker of the lich king's plan back; test the heroes to see if they are worthy, then massacre them and raise them to serve the scourge. I knew full and well the implications should that happen. It would be the end of all life on the face of Azeroth. A night elf women dressed in leathers walked up to Tirion and whispered something in his ear. He nodded, and strode forward, the druid melting, the leather dulling and melting into each other, and soon where the night elf was stood a giant cat with very sharp talons and teeth. I felt my body moving, responding to the lich king's mind. Standing up and walking down the path. I tried to seal his lips, but all I succeeded in doing so was silencing myself temporarily.
"So, the light's vaunted justice has finally arrived. Shall I lay down Frosmourne, and throw myself at your mercy Fordring?"
"Yes, please do!" A shock of, of, I don't know, something sinister beyond imaging slammed into me.
"We'll grant you a swift death, Arthas. More than can be said for the thousands you've tortured and slain!" Don't remind me. Don't remind me. I found it odd how he still called the lich king Arthas, even though he had proved on multiple occasions that it was definitely NOT me.
"You will learn of that first hand" Oh yes you will. No, no! Do not let him strike your hope. Your hope is all that you have left that is your own to command!
"When my work is complete, you will beg for mercy. And I will deny you. You're anguished cries will be testament to my unbridled power" I thought about Bolvar. Something in the flames coating his body protected him. Tirion will not last so long. Yes, it had to be the flames. A pause. Tirion's face contorted. The heroes had taken up positions around me. They were prepared. They were ready. They had incredible power at their fingertips.
"So be it. Champions-" No, don't you fools! It's all a trap! "ATTACK!" I felt ice running down the lich king's sword hand. Tirion charged forward, but the ice shot up my arm, into Frostmourne's hilt, up the blade pointed at Fordring's chest, at said paladin, and encased him in a block of ice designed specifically NOT to suffocate him. I felt the message from the gloating lich king,
"Watch now, paladin. The power you have always wanted."
"I never wanted power! Not this kind!" He laughed sinisterly in my mind.
"Is that so?" He lifted Frostmourne over my head, and slammed it down on the dwarven warrior in front of me. The strike should have gone right through the warrior's blade, but he simply buckled under the force, struck a dull blow against the nigh-on impenetrable armor, and resumed fighting. Healing spells were being formed left and right. I caught the sight of some protective spells going out. One to protect against shadow, one to increase one's fortitude, and several shields of pure light to soak up some incoming force. Necrotic energy ran through Frostmourne, and three ravenous, horrible ghouls rose up. The lich king's next strike was near instant. The spell sequence ran rapidly through the sword, and a rippling, shimmering green-and-black orb flew through the air to a distant draenic hunter. NO! I wanted to scream and shout for them to run, but as it turns out, it wasn't needed. The agile man danced on his feet and rocketed back, and those near him rolled out of the way as the orb smashed into the ice and shimmered, expanding into a circular shadow trap that spelled instant death for any who touches it, as well as those nearby.
Meanwhile the combat at close quarters was going... well. The lich king was not putting anywhere near his full strength into his 'relentless' strikes. If he had the sword would have been slivers on the first strike. The dwarf shouted something about my mother, making his rage burn even hotter. A slower spell began charging up. The first half-second was to seek out all targets within range, all twenty five of them. The next was to ready the intense burst of shadow magic I had seen slaughter entire villages in one use. By the time only a half second remained, the infesting magic was on the edge of Frostmourne, the subsequent corruption energy poised to be unleashed. One of the paladins shouted a quick prayer, and all the shadow protection I saw earlier nearly doubled in strength. The final half-second was to make the corruption grow in a feedback pattern; it would siphon the victim's life as always, but a portion of that life would be returned into the spell, strengthening the corruption still, making it draw more life and grow stronger faster, in a vicious cycle that could only barely be broken.
They broke it. The wards they put up crumbled against the spell, and some of their shaman, priests, a druid and paladins wove healing magics with desperate speed, countering the corruption and removing it. A Vargul rose out of the ground before I had time to process the lich king actually used the spell. It tried to go into a blood-driven frenzy, but a hunter shot it with a powerful anesthetic. More protective spells began forming. The lich king fired a disease into a rogue trying to find a chink in the armor's back. Almost immediately the plague began to affect the rogue, who vanished... only to reappear in a puff of smoke behind the Vargul, which was intensely focused on a druid in bear form, the tough hide shrugging off the attacks and the fur not even bristling before the ghouls. A cleansing spell fired towards the rogue. No way it could be potent enough to-
The disease rippled off, and leaped to the Vargul, a small portion of it's energy feedbacking into MY arms, and the next strike was just a little stronger. On and on this went. The sting of spells and blades began to be apparent, and the Varguls summoned had quickly succumbed to the scourge's own plague. The massive infestations were handled flawlessly, and the lich king's patience could be felt wearing thin. I say they had maybe, twelve minutes before he went completely berserk and annihilated them?
He ran me to the center of the icy ring and began charging up a different spell. Icy winds whirled around my body as my arms, instead of going through my gut like I wanted them to, slammed Frostmourne into the ground, and a terrible storm of ice and wind erupted around the lich king. The entirety of Icecrown glacier chilled by 5 degrees, and all the space within over a hundred paces of my feet was scoured of the resilient, tiny life forms living on it within seconds. The four pillars of ice surrounding me shattered and blew backward, and fell off the Citadel. The heroes had wisely retreated to an edge of the area, out of reach from the bitterest of the winds. Ice caked the corrupt boots my feet wore, rooting me to the ground. Shadow magic filled the air around me, and tendrils of the stuff zapped at the heroes, zapping at them like some shaman's lightning spell.
"I suppose... some of them can go." I heard the lich king tell me. A raging spirit tore free from Frostmourne, smashed into a gnome mage channeling arcane magic through their hands, and landed on the ground nearby, taking on their visage. The champions instantly turned their full wrath on it, dispersing the spirit not 5 seconds after a second one formed. The evil magic fused the snow around me into solid, intelligent, malevolent orbs that began floating at the heroes, only to be shot down. The speed and efficiency with which they bore the strikes of the magic and spirits, channeled healing spell sequences and rained down death on the spirits and possessed orbs of ice. It was incredible. But I caught a glimpse of the spell the lich king would use to bring them down once they proved themselves. It wasn't enough, but I had to hope that maybe they would have something planned for that. They had to, or nothing would be accomplished. It would be the end of us all.
The howling winds stopped. The heroes finished off the last of the spirits and orbs and ran back in as the lich king moves my plated boot and stomps the chilled floor, the shock-waves rippling through the body of ice and cracking the thin sheets at the end, making them implode. I heard the fluttering of ghostly wings around the citadel, cloaked in darkness, and apparently the lich king did too. The rage-filled spirit dispersed, and he once again charged up an infest, only to have it largely dispersed by the many protective and healing spells placed up. He dove my body in at the dwarf, stabbing straight in, the strike bouncing off a shield in a shower of sparks.
"Val'kyr, your master calls!" Three of the undead appeared in the air around the champions. The val'kyr disgusted me almost as much as the cult of the damned(A fitting title, light curse them!) The cursed women swooped down and grabbed the heroes, and promptly began flying to the edge. The plan made itself apparent to me all to soon. They were going to drop them. The heroes poured death on them, weaving frost energies to slow them, holy energies to temporarily freeze them in repentance. One of the rogues tossed knives all around, coated with a similar, but far less potent, venom that banshee Sylvanas used on me when she tried to kill me. If only she hadn't gloated.
The lich king is moving my arm, raising Frostmourne in the air, channeling a new spell. The first half second seeked out the target, a druid at distance with the illusion of a moonkin, followed by a third of a second weaving out the area to be affected by the spell. Another third of a second made the area to be affected siphon the life of those it contacts into itself, and the last half second made it have a similar feedback sequence to the infestation spell, only instead of growing more potent, the defiled ground would also expand at a furious rate. The moonkin sprinted away, flames under their feet, and all the other heroes scrambled away, the rocketing moonkin soon leaving the dark, defiling sludge that erupted under their feet. The val'kyr had given up on their loads, letting them go, and soaring up to safety, sucking the life out of a paladin who had repeated healing magic channeled into him. That's when it went wrong. Frostmourne struck the dwarf's skin, making the champion flinch. Seconds later, a good portion of their soul was ripped into my arms, and the following flurry of strikes killed a nearby night elf. I knew what he was going to do. I took a deep, unneeded breath, and attempted to control. I couldn't allow him to be devoured. I couldn't! NO!
He charged up another infestation instead, completely out of his own will, mine doing nothing, and soon after he placed a second ring of defiled sludge, the first one vanished, and more val'kyr soared in. The effects of the spells, swords and weapons were starting to add up on my body. I still knew what the lich king planned to do, but I had to keep hoping. I had to. He ran me to the center and began to charge up another remorseless winter, the force behind the winds destroying the val'kyr.
"Destroying your own minions? Getting desperate are we?" A fresh blast of ice shook my world.
"SILENCE! I will deal with this like YOU dealt with Strathlome!"
"That was different!" A rage-filled spirit was being fought.
"Was it now?"
He continued to blast them with shadow, but it was more potent, and possessed more orbs of ice. And more raging spirits were on the field. The heroes had managed to leap out of the winds as the bitter cold reformed the platform by shear miracle. Hopefully they had another miracle ready. The winter fell away, and the lich king drove Frostmourne into a crack in the ground, ruptured by the sheer force behind the winds. He twisted, the shock-waves rippling out. I heard a sickening crack, like when a ghoul has a light-forged hammer driven into their skulls. Tirion was still in the ice block, and the empty outer platform collapsed again. More wicked magic flowed across Frostmourne. I heard the lich king's thoughts as he raised the rune blade towards the sky.
"Frostmourne-" The champions were lifted into the air, stunned, drawn in by blue tendrils.
And then their souls were ripped out of their bodies. The lich king kept the spell going, their limp bodies hanging uselessly in the air. It was over. It was well and truly over. White orbs flickered around Frostmourne. Suddenly, the spell was shattered, and the heroes were back on their feet. They weren't ghouls. They had souls. Suddenly it dawned on me.
They had escaped Frostmourne. But how? Only a soul in Frostmourne can free them, but who could free 25 souls at once? He let loose another defiling of the ice, as if it could be more defiled than it already is! He opened the floodgates to frostmourne-he was getting desperate. The two raging spirits that remained were dispersed quickly. The spirits that came flying out of frostmourne mostly took to freedom quickly, but 10 of the vilest, wickedest, worst spirits remained behind. I ran after that dwarf who was, of ALL the things to be doing, dancing on the other side of the arena, when the vile spirits came out of their confusion, and tried to kill the champions.
A paladin stopped them after another defiling. They activated their divine shield. Ah divine shield, how I would give anything to feel your embrace again. The specters detonated in violent, malevolent novas that splashed harmlessly off the shield. They had maybe six minutes before his patience wore out. He drew them into Frostmourne again, but some spirit in there kept letting them out after about 40 seconds, but how did they not lose themselves to the runeblade in that time? I was lost within two seconds, and Uther in five. So it went on like that, and I could feel his patience wearing thin. Thirty seconds. My arms strained as the lich king struggled to limit his strikes. Then it happened. He summoned up all his strength and planted Frostmourne in the ice, channeling so much power, so MUCH. No.
"Face now, your tragic end!"A bubble of shadow energy flickered around him and imploded on him, scouring the air it touched of any life, killing a wolf companion. Some of the paladins used divine shield in desperation, all protective spells were woven onto a single priest who dispersed into a cloud. The shadow energy rippled along my armor, and he stood up with a roar, the energy rippling into a wave of devastation. Those near me died instantly, unable to handle the spell's raw power. The wave traversed on, killing countless tiny parasites in the air, scouring the air. The vile spirits in the air were destroyed by the wave, absorbed into it's power, and the dark sludge of defiling blew off the edge of the ice. NO! A ring of spell casters were destroyed, the one with protective enchantments layered on them only barely died. The spell halted slightly at two divine shields, but punctured a small hole in each and filled it up, destroying the paladin's within their own sanctuaries. All of them died, and wave crashing into Tirion's ice block, reflecting, spreading far into the distance. It was over. The champion's souls were all held by the spell's remnants in an iron grip. The lich king's voice laughed in my mind.
"The end, has come!"
So here we are, the heroes about to be raised as the greatest blight to cover the world, and it will be over. The necrotic energy is starting to peak. It's getting cold, even for me. The cold begins to bite into what I feel is my skin, it buries deep into me. My hope is gone. I've failed them. Falric. Light is starting to flicker around Tirion, what's he doing?
Marwyn. The ice around him shatters. I am not cold. I feel it. I feel the warmth of the light again!
I failed my kingdom, I failed my people, I failed Sylvanas, Strathlome, Invincible, Sindragosa, the order, I failed EVERYONE. Not again. I feel my arms. I can control them. I am in control. I hear the lich king screaming at me, his torrent of pain to get me to relinquish control blocked.
"Not anymore. I am in control now" I beg to the light, as Tirion gets closer. I can't stop the ressurection spell. But he can. I send all the light I can call on into the sword's core, making it react as a blacksmith's burning metal does when submerged in water; it becomes more brittle. Tirion is getting closer. The heroes are starting to stir. Time slows down. The lich king's fury is screamed into my mind, all the ice and cold and dark and evil ripping at my mind. I feel like I am dissolving in a pit of acid(And believe me, the lich king has done that enough times to prisoners for me to know), but this is a million times worse. My soul flickers. The world is reddening as the pain flows through my mind, crippling my ability to think. But, I, I have to hold!
"CEASE THIS FOOLISHNESS RIGHT NOW MENETHIL!"
I failed to stop the murder of more innocents and soldiers than I can count, I failed all of Azeroth. I failed the watchers of life appointed by the titans, I failed Freya, I failed the red flight, the green flight, the druids, Illidan, Jaina, Uther, my father, light damn it, I KILLED HIM! I'll be damned before I relinquish control now! Tirion's leaping up behind me. I can see it in the reflection of Frostmourne. The Ashbringer comes down on Frostmourne, the light I forced into it allowing it to shatter into dozens of slivers. Right away a few souls take the opportunity to escape. The crack distracted me for an instant, and he took back over. He tries to blast my soul into oblivion, but nothing happens. He takes a step back in shock.
"Impossible..." Souls are swirling around my like a tornado, like mist, lifting me in a vortex, the lich king helpless before the Ashbringer.
"No more, Arthas. No more lives will be consumed by your hatred!" The lich king's hatred, I correct with a grin on my soul.
"You lose", I tell the lich king with a smile. A spirit crashes into the space Tirion occupies, throwing him back. My father's spirit.
"Free... at last! It is over, my son. This is the moment of reckoning." That it is, father. That it is. Light flows through my father's hands. Wait, since when can he-
"RISE UP, CHAMPIONS OF THE LIGHT!" The light explodes from my father, washing over Tirion, the vortex of freed and (rightfully) vengeful spirits, my body, the heroes. The heroes. The heroes are alive! They are all alive, and not scourge. My father revived them. How did they do that? They join in with Tirion's onslaught, screaming fire and fury onto the failing plating I wear against my will. The lich king's power is receding, fast. I want to scream with joy, to whoop and holler to the heavens.
"Now I stand, the lion before the lambs, and they do not fear"
"Yeah, how's it feel? WELL? TELL ME HOW YOU LIKE IT!" He doesn't respond.
"They... can not... fear." The vortex flies away from my body, and I drop to the ground. The lich king's power, control, is almost gone. The helm of dominion falls from my head and rolls away. The heroes clear away as he forces me shakily to reach for the helm. I pull my hand away and roll myself over away from it. His control is vanishing rapidly, now no more than a whisper in the back of my mind, and even that is vanishing. I feel pain. Not the pain of one who's soul is only allowed as a guest in his body for the sheer purpose of seeing tortures at MY hands, not the pain of one who has failed his people. Real pain, the pain of nearly fifteen minutes of the, what had the lich king called them? Oh yes, the greatest fighting force this world has ever known fighting me for nearly fifteen minutes. I want to laugh, but something stops me. Walking towards me is a ghost I recognize very well, and regret so much for killing, even if it was not my mind. I reach up to him, grasping him on the shoulder.
"Father. Is it... over"