Disclaimer: I do not own Warcraft or its sequels. Blizzard does.
HUGE, HUGE thanks to my beta, Dusty the Umbravita.
Without further ado, the Epilogue.
I lay on my stomach within my chamber, looking at the wall in front of my, corridor leading away. Selriona is beside me, also on her stomach, our sides pressed together. Today is a slow day. Pallasion's group arrived last week, having exhausted the hiding places around Azeroth (and of course, my Prime Consort greeted him with a twilight prison). Fifty of them, counting him, Murdonia, Vajarn and Turliona. How it must hurt Vajarn. Turliona is the only one left of his unit, just one fiftieth. He must feel like a failure, but if he has any emotional problems, none of them show through, nor do they interfere with his life. After accommodating Pallasion's group, we are, all in all fourteen hundred.
And I'm their leader. Titans, never in my life has it ever even crossed my mind I would be an Aspect, but here I am. The process of receiving the power was nothing short of agonizing, and the power... it still feels like there are tiny suns in each of my scales. It boggles my mind. I still don't know my own strength, as evidenced when I playfully shoved Selriona with a wing, sending her down to the ground.
But there isn't much for us to do. As I said, it's a slow day. Tomorrow our Sanctum begins construction, everything is going as planned. I'll fly over to Silithus, making sure its corruption is in check, in addition to checking on Yogg-Saron's prison.
"You know," Selriona starts. "It's almost funny, in a way."
I look down to her. "What do you mean by that?" I ask her.
"Our Flight was created to destroy Azeroth, and here we are now. Protectors of it."
I chuckle, leaning down to nuzzle her neck, making her rumble in her throat. "Yeah. Here we are now. Sometimes, I think this is all just a dream." I raise my head, stretching my forelegs out in front of me.
She inclines her head up to look me in the eye. "And if it is a dream, what would you do if you wake up?"
I think about it a moment. "I don't know. Depends on what strangeness reality is."
She laughs, pushing her head under my own, careful not to stab me with her horns, and I place the club of my tail over hers. "This is reality. I promise you."
I croon to her, and she pulls her her head away. She also extends her forelegs, reaching barely over half as long as my own, and raises her own head. "You know, I think I could do something with those shadow orbs I've been practicing with," she says, changing the subject. "If I realigned the energy value in the cutter, then maybe I could get it to heal people. Of course, I'd need to manipulate the search rune so that it won't heal enemies, but - "
"You know," I say, cutting her off. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were a Blue."
She laughs. "You're just jealous I understand this stuff better than you, you silly natural-born, even if you do have more in the way of power."
I feel blood rush to my head. "Maybe I am." I nuzzle her crest behind her horns, draping a wing over her, so large it completely engulfs her form. Titans, I love her so much. How did we end up here? How did we come to deserve such a wonderful life? It all seems so surreal, and yet it's real. Mind blowing.
I lower my head and close my eyes, and I hear Selriona do the same. I let myself fall into sleep.
I am perfectly fine.
I rarely ever come into contact with anyone else beside my Twilight self, the only times being the occasional shared dream I oh-so generously set up. But I am okay with that. Not like anyone will ever understand, since they would go insane from such isolation.
I wonder how Amanthe's doing. She's learning pretty fast, I hear Selriona think. I'll never admit it to her, but I'm a little fond of the human as well. Only to be expected, from me being her counterpart. How is she? Probably fine. She'd tell me with telepathy if anything was wrong. I mentally roll my eyes. No, you don't say, Selriona?
I continue to sort the impulses coming from her scales, making her feel the contact of Verthelion, the floor, her own wings, and the air. I process the signals from her optic nerves, letting her see. She doesn't know all that I do, letting her see and hear and breathe. Never in a million years would I mess with those processes, such as make her hallucinate, unless her chemical imbalance would make her hallucinate regardless. Everything I do with her body is strictly calculated, as passive for me as breathing to you.
I've calculated what might come next, given the variables that I know. Out of the one thousand, three hundred and eighty three Twilight dragonkin here, there are roughly seven who are still persuaded that Deathwing was in the right. Selriona had expected this number to be much higher, but of course, she didn't factor in the fact that once Deathwing is dead, the number who'd want to be on his side would dramatically shrink. I can't predict who these traitors are, but I do know there is a very, very high likelihood, in the 99-100 percent range, that they will not be able to do anything, and a roughly seventy-three percent chance that they too would come around within the decade. So really, they are no threat, and there is no practical reason for me to tell her.
I should probably go take a little flight. Verthelion's asleep, and I need to stretch my wings. No kidding. I can detect the signals from her wing-bones, and they are very stiff from two days of no flying. Hmm, maybe later, she decides, the 'get up' signals emanating from her fading to nothingness, and her thoughts slowly shrinking to nothing. I scoff, even though there's nobody to hear me but myself. Selriona, honestly. You are so unimaginably lazy sometimes. But then, I suppose that's natural. Especially given how close you are to laying.
... why am I even talking to myself? It's not as if she can hear me.
I sigh, and continue to keep her, and by extension myself, alive. It warms my figurative heart to see that so much of the Twilight Flight has survived, the Red dragon in me being placated by the life that is continuing. As much as I deny it to myself, I will always have the urge to carry out the Red Flight's charge to protect life, which will be difficult given my location within Selriona's mind. But seeing the track record she and Verthelion have set, they're doing just fine.
I stand atop Wyrmrest, looking out from the top, where the orb of Azeroth, replacement of the not-yet-reconstructed Orb of Unity, hovers gently in the air. Soft carcasses of the northern wind keep it turning, clouds gently float across the oceans, land turns slowly to night and to day and back to night. I let out a barely audible sigh, and continue to wander my gaze along the few idling up here, touched by the noon-sun's light.
My eyes fall upon Itharius, the Ambassador of the Green Flight. In the months following Neltharion's burial, I've had much time to think, and many things to do. One of the things which I have done is reform the Wyrmrest Accord. Breaking the Accord was a reckless move on my part, catalyzed by Korialstrasz's sacrifice which I, at the time, believed to be betrayal. But after all had been said and done regarding my fallen brother, I saw it fit to restore the Accord, and the Ambassadors returned.
My gaze continues to move, landing upon the spot once occupied by Kalecgos, former Ambassador to the Blue Flight. The new Ambassador is the wyrm Azuregos. He is one of the most powerful of his kind, and his personality is somewhat sarcastic, but I can sense he means well. Currently the wyrm resides in the lower chambers of Wyrmrest, doing Titans-know-what. I spot the location where Chronormu often stands during debates. The bronze dragon's ecstatic personality had a habit of rubbing off on nearly everyone around her. Save for Nalice.
Speaking of the Black Wyrm, my eyes finally find their way to where she once stood, but now someone entirely different occupies the location.
The Ambassador to the Twilight Flight leans against a pillar, Raliona's indigo robes falling around her knees. The Twilight Ambassador is fairly quiet, preferring not to speak unless spoken to, and whenever we do, she takes on a hesitant look. Not surprising, after what the Twilight Flight believed until recently. It's plain to see that she doesn't feel welcome here, and many of the other Flights, members of my own included, have to suppress scowls when in her presence. She bears it in stride though.
I wonder about the Twilight Flight. Not a day goes by I don't ask myself if it was the right choice, if it wouldn't come back around later in a negative fashion. Two sides wage war within me; one saying that they are victims of circumstance, and another that they are waiting for our guards to lower. But such an internal conflict is pointless; the decision has been made. We have no choice but to trust the Twilight Flight, but that's not to say we aren't keeping a close watch on them. After what they have done, what they almost succeeded in bringing about, anything else would be foolish. One might say that they are 'on trial', proving that they can be trusted, and that we did not make a mistake with them.
So far, they are doing very well. Their youth means little; after all, were we not so young, long ago, when the Titans created us? And their actions speak loudly. I nearly wept from joy when my unhatched children were returned, safe and sound, from a portal connecting Wyrmrest to the accursed place known as Grim Batol. I had not dared to hope that there would be any left unconverted. But after seeing this, my confidence that we had made the right decision grew stronger, and now it overshadows the lingering doubt. But it's still there, and the doubt shall likely continue to exist for millennia to come. Those of my children who had been converted, who were no longer part of my Flight, I trust Verthelion to find care-takers for.
The recently-admitted Twilight Flight has made a good first impression.
Only time will tell if they are in earnest.
I stare up at the setting sun from my seat on a slab of stone. There are multiple such slabs here, littering the earth like snow in winter. The sun's dying light casts oblong shadows that slowly lose their contrast to the surroundings. I smile, thinking of all the things that have recently crossed my life. It started so small, but now my life is completely different than it would be otherwise. I hadn't thought much of 'Selria' when I met her in Dun Morogh, roughly three years ago, but we quickly bonded. Then there was her saving my life in the Deeprun Tram; if it hadn't been for the Twilight drake, I would be dead.
I chuckle. If I hadn't met Selriona, my life would be different. Mainly in the fact that I wouldn't even have a life.
We'd grown close in Stormwind, and keeping her identity hidden was relatively trivial, save for her occasionally saying something slightly revealing in public, such as 'mortals'. But those times always passed without incident, and so months passed in relative calm, with her teaching me how to hunt and me teaching her how to blend in..
I chuckle again, lightly, thinking of the irony behind the statement I'm about to say, and gently talk to the clouds, even though I know I can tell Selriona directly. "Never would have guessed I'd end up needing to know how to hunt. You must be glowing with pride at that."
I wonder how Samuel's doing. I know I should write to him, but there's still so much to do, so much to take care of. I'll do it later.
Then she was found out, and she and I both had to escape. She saved my life then, no matter how much she insists that she ruined my life by indirectly getting me exiled from Stormwind. She brought me to the Argent Dawn, placing my journey ahead of her own journey to find her destined mate.
I hold up a hand, letting shadows twist and curl around it, the spell for a flaying attack on the mind charging up. I have no plans to cast it, rather just to look at the dark energies swirling around my hand, chilling the air around it by an unnatural degree, draining my energy until I relent and allow the spell to dissipate, dropping my hand to my lap.
The Argent Dawn had accepted me like family. Their own shadow priests trained me, teaching me many new techniques, such as the ability to turn my body into a shadowy form of my normal self, granting me a notable degree of offensive and defensive powers. And Eric was such a good friend of mine. The paladin was smart, could take a joke, and if things had gone differently, maybe we could have been married. We were brought to Hyjal to fight against the Twilight's Hammer alongside the Guardians of Hyjal. For the first time, I felt like I was doing something useful, fighting alongside Eric. I was helping to save the world. Not nearly as much as others, but still.
It felt good.
So when we returned to the Plaguelands, I had a lot of time to think, having seen Selriona chained in Hyjal. I eventually came to the decision that I would find her. I learned how to track twilight energy using the Light, and began my search, starting where I had last seen her. I said my farewells, and left. Saying goodbye to Eric was the hardest. By the time I got back to Hyjal, my draconic friend's trail was nearly nonexistent, but it was still there. I had been in the Argent Dawn for a year.
Then the rest is simple. I found her, made a hasty decision, and here I am, a Dragonsworn of the Twilight Flight.
I smile and elevate my hand again, letting the magic Selriona has been teaching me start sparking under my skin. She didn't mention why I needed to learn it, along with how to read Draconic, but when I pressed the issue, she got a faraway look in her eyes, mumbling something about 'time' under her breath. After that I left it well enough alone. A dark blue spark erupts along my palm, spreading rapidly into thick coils of twilight fire, twisting and writhing around my hand in thick, greasy coils. I shudder from the feeling of the twilight flame slithering along my skin, cold and slimy, but I can feel warmth radiating from it over the sections of my skin further away. I don't know much about how to use it, but I learned quickly how to project a basic fireball.
'Never thought I'd be living here, Selriona,' I think to her. When I get no response, I conclude that she must be sleeping. Twilight fire lighting my path, I walk back into my cave, ducking under stalactites and weaving between stalagmites. I quickly find my bed, a mat of twigs and leaves that are far more comfortable than I thought they'd be; I can see why dragons sleep on them. Laying down, I let my mind shut down, ready for another day.
I awaken from my dreamless sleep, only to find Verthelion still asleep beside me, his wing still resting over me. I smile and nuzzle against him, before deciding to go for a fly. I move slowly, steadily removing myself from under his wing, careful not to wake him. Once I'm out, I smile at him, and turn tail towards the exit of Grim Batol. I walk through the corridors, looking at the few drakes flying about, or the drakonids on patrol. I pass by a chamber and see Dementliona sleeping, one of Verthelion's consorts. From what Amanthe has told me, in a mortal society this would generate jealousy between her and I, but I'm unable to comprehend this. It's probably far more than a matter of how you're raised, likely being a matter of species.
I quickly find my way out, where the drakonid guards allow me passage without a word. Violet-tinted wing membranes spread out to their full length, and I jump, catching the air under my wings as I dive down, pulling straight up at the last second. I send myself flying upwards as fast as I can before stopping, letting free-fall take me into a brief moment of weightlessness.
I smile. We've reached the finish line. Everything is done. I take a deep breath and let a river of violet flames burst from my maw, flowing into the darkening night sky. After flying around a little while longer, I thrust my wings down, sending me soaring straight up and landing on a perch at the top of a mountain. I turn to face Azeroth's shadow, a red haze near the horizon with the thick cover of night underneath, slowly rising.
I open my mouth, not sure who I'm speaking to. "Finally did it. We've finally reached the resolution." I allow myself a lighthearted laugh. "Oh, it's all going to be good. Well, for a while." I turn around, looking at the glowing orange orb of the sun, slowly falling below the horizon. Our story's not over. I know that nothing lasts forever. All stories need an end, and ours has only just begun. Neltharion was testament to that. Eventually, something will happen, and I will die. Eventually, for some odd reason or another, Verthelion will also die. It may be in centuries (oh Titans, not that soon!), millennia, or millions of years from now. But one day, it will come.
I lean my head down and raise a foreleg to my stomach, feeling my multitude of eggs, of children, growing there. A smile grows on my fangs. Tomorrow I'll lay them, and in a few more months, they'll hatch. A few months ago, I would never have hoped to have the time to have a brood, just being happy enough to evade everyone who wanted me dead for the Flight I belong to.
I raise my head back up, looking at the sun, the bottom now touching the horizon. My thoughts wander to Amanthe. I know when, where and how she was going to die. She will have to go to the Bronze one day, will have to go back in time to help me, will have to die. And I know that if I try to stop this, the Bronze will be all over me. But at least there is one benefit to this knowledge. Until that fateful day comes to pass, Amanthe will be unable to die. A memory claws itself to the front of my mind, bright like it had happened yesterday. In my mind's eye, I see Amanthe in violet robes and me in my mortal form, atop Hyjal.
"What were those tablets you read?" I remember asking her.
"They were these magical things. I'd seen a Kingslayer use one of them to reveal a dragon hiding in human form, and I only recently got one. Looks like it came in handy, huh?"
I frown. So that's the cue then. When Amanthe receives those tablets, it will be time. Until then, she is not going to die. But I will do everything in my power to delay her receiving of those things for as long as I can. I remember that she told me she was in the Twilight's Hammer for a while, but now I know this to be a lie; I'm the reason she can use Twilight flame. I teach her. For a moment I feel a twinge of anger towards her, but I suppress it. It's still too soon to know everything. For all I know, I'm the one who tells her to say that.
I refocus my eyes on the dying hues of crimson and yellow as the sun is swallowed halfway by the darkening earth, shadows elongating rapidly, the sun's light dimming to levels my eyes can withstand. I decide not to dwell on such things. I have my whole life ahead of me. Amanthe will find the spell to freeze her aging, I will lay my children within the twilight realm, our Flight will rebuild and slowly, but surely, gain the trust of the other Flights. One day the peace will shatter, but I'm happy living my life as best I can until then. I start thinking of names for my children aloud.
"Ialion, Farliona, Nixoliona..."
The sun dips below the horizon fully, a final gasp of dying light as it vanishes from sight, Azeroth's shadow leaping from the opposite end of the sky to consume everything in night. The sky darkens to a shade of blue, and I feel a slight shudder run through me as twilight falls on the Eastern Kingdoms. A single doubt pulses through me. Are the Old Gods in the wrong? Could this all be just an elaborate trick? A conspiracy to keep us from ending the corruption of the other Flights and the evil of the mortals?
This feeling stirs within me for the last time it ever will. It'll never show up after tonight.
As the sun sets further below the horizon and night engulfs the world, the feeling fades away.
'Collapses back in chair'
God, this chapter in particular took a lot out of me. Not so much physically, but emotionally. I started this story as a little notebook thing in OpenOffice. The story was complete then, but holy fuck was it awful. A couple years later I discovered that a site for fan fiction actually exists and made this account, and gave my story a complete overhaul since the plot for a better version of it simply would. Not. Stop. Bugging. Me.
And I'm glad it didn't. Three hundred fucking thousand words. I don't think I've spoken that many words in my life. I'm proud of the story, I like how it turned out, and I'm grateful for every single one of you who read, alerted, favorited, reviewed. You guys know who you are, and I would give you a bone-crushing hug through the interwebs if I could. You guys gave me the motivation to see this through, which I never could have done without you. It feels heavenly to be able to click the status over to 'Complete', but it's also a bit difficult.
But when I made the plot for the improved version of the story that you see now, I also had the plot for a sequel to it. And, just like before, the plot will not leave me alone if I don't write it. At first I had every intention to write it, but as we got closer to the end of this story, I began to wonder if maybe I should just leave it here. Of course, in the end, I decided against that, otherwise you would not be reading this. So I will be putting up a sequel for this, but not soon. I only have the 'bare bones' plot outline for the story, so it'll take some time for me to get off my ass and plot it out, which will probably take anywhere from a week to two months, provided something terrible doesn't happen to me 'glances at the flu'. However, I can tell you a few things about the sequel.
It will go up under the title 'Full Circle'. Full Circle will be Amanthe-centric, and it will, most likely, be longer than this story, the mere thought of which gives me shudders since I could never picture this story itself passing ninety thousand. That's all I'm going to give away.
Again, thank you all so, so SO much for sticking with me. it means so much to me, and I honestly can't thank each and every one of you enough. See you guys in Full Circle.
This is coincidencless, logging off.