3/13/10

Fragments of the Past

The floor was hard, sticky, and slick with offal beneath her as she pushed painfully into a sitting position. She had a dim memory of being held in a magical stranglehold by... something and then being dropped. There was an even dimmer memory, barely there of a battle against ghostflame blue eyes, bone drakes filling the air, and a mount... A mount.... a ... She shook her head, she couldn't remember.

Come to me. You are made anew.

She blinked and struggled to her booted feet, plate scraping across stone, the gauntlet scraping up some of the guck that was on the floor as she levered herself to standing. A set of stairs and a being stood above her, looking away. Something inside her strained to run towards that being and kneel at its - his - feet. Another sense awoke as she realized there were others of her kind already around him. No sense in looking like a groveling fool like rank and file.

Where did that thought come from?

Ryvia, good. Look, my forces assemble.

She started slightly, hearing a name.... her name. She got snippets of memory, weilding a sharp steel blade from the back of.... something. A shadowed face woman welcoming her home, white hair streaming as she rode through the gates of... some place. It was cloudy and hard to focus, especially when that voice whispered again.

Go now, below with your blades, lay waste to anything in your path. In my name slaughter them all.

The hilt fit smoothly between her gauntleted fingers, as she re sheathed the blade. A scratched out shape on her armor glimmered like a silver crescent moon for an instant and she flinched away, almost ripping off the gauntlet. She shook her head sharply and looked up as the voice of her commander reached her ears.

A gnome commander... a wry smile stretched her lips briefly. She waded through the blood and hacked off limbs, not slipping as she stalked through spilled entrails and the heady scent of blood and death. Her body remembered how to move. That was all that mattered now. She stepped into the building and froze.

A Night Elf female, no an Argent Dawn member, knelt sobbing before the gnome. Her mouth locked into a grimace of pain as her hands again drew her blade. If she could just get the woman to look up the killing strike would be swift and true. The gnome stepped away, the woman stood up, and Ryvia froze. She knew that face, remembered taking sweets from that hand, and the cool, blessed water of Elune on her pains.

"There... There's no more time for me. I'm done for. Finish me off, Ryvia. Do it or they'll kill us both." She snapped, and Ryvia remembered that voice both gentle and harsh, telling her when her own mother had died. She forced herself to blink away tears.

"Do it, Ryvia! Put me out of my misery!"

Her entire body went into the blow, the move fluid and controlled as the blade whistled dully, already saturated in blood and the bitter cold of an icy rune's power wrapped around the killing edges. Her throat closed up and she turned away gagging slightly, the elf's head landing with a sodden thud as the rest of her body slipped sideways to rest on the floor. Her blade hung limply in her hand, streaming crimson blood onto the floor in a bleak series of plips into a puddle forming at her feet.

She turned away, met the eyes of her commander as she stepped from the building and silently trudged toward where her mount waited. She paused before mounting and carefully wiped the blood on the tabard of a crusader that lay dead nearby. Her gorge rose sharply when her mount lifted its head and she realized it had been ... grazing... on remains.

The next set of orders were taken and followed dully as her mind shivered and shuddered under the blow of what she had done. It had to be done. She knew that. She knew Yazmina meant what she said.

She surfaced a bit when the bones of a drake lifted her skyward with at least a thousand others. She was numb still, unfeeling, but her eyes lit on the Scarlet City and her lips peeled back in a true snarl as she realized that 'Mina would not have been here of her own will... the Crusade had forced her here and deserved to die.

As the drakes bore down on the city she carefully guided the giant monster at the crusaders. She bared her teeth, watching blast after blast of icy flames eat at the walls and set light to the Crusade like the perfect tallow candles they were. She swung the flying monstrosity around for another pass when again, her commander's voice brought her up short and forced her back to base.

She grimaced as she changed the bone drake for her mount, again grimacing as she realized it was gorging itself on things better left unthought about. She slipped into the saddle and pulled its head up, forcing it away from the pile of limbs. She rode with the remaining Knights through a pass and out onto a blighted plain.

As the all rode down onto the Chapel, she swore to herself that she would pull her blows and try and avoid as much of the killing as she could. Some of those that stood ready to defend Light's Hope were of Mina's Order. That would grant them safe passage in her eyes. Any Crusade that stood to defend on the other hand....

The battle was a blur and then the great Tirion Fordring himself stood, crippling Darion with a sheild. She watched quietly, eyeing the bodies of the dead and grimacing every time she spotted an Argent tabard. She trembled when HIS voice rolled over her again. It was instinctive, flinching away from pure evil.

She felt her mouth drop open when Tirion pushed the Lich back. She knew she wasn't the only one, but closed her mouth before anyone else noticed... wouldn't do any good to stare about like rank and file always did. She was an officer after all, only a Sargent, but still...

* * *

The gates of Stormwind rose above them. The new blade settled comfortably on her back, even though she desperately wished for a clean set of clothing she knew it would have to wait. She had to present herself to the King of Stormwind first. As they all pounded across the canals she deadened her ears to the taunts and jeers of the guard. She had proved herself in ways these pups never would. She had lived three thousand years already, their lifespans were over in a a mere 80 years.

As she thundered by, she noticed a child's toy falling from a girl's hand as she squashed herself against a wall to stay out of the way of the thundering hooves of what they all rode. It dropped into the canal. If she remembered the canals like she thought she did... a ramp should be to the left.

Ryvia didn't think, she just kicked her mount over the railing and into the water, knowing the beast could swim. She snagged the doll before it could become too waterlogged and nudged the animal back towards the ramp, shivering slightly as the now cold wind bit at her clean armor. She dropped the doll into the hands of the girl and then, much cleaner, rode for the Keep.

The acceptance was wary, but she remembered the way the humans had reacted to elven help in the past, and just sighed, leaving the keep as swiftly as possible. It would take the people a bit longer to realize that the Ebon Blade was not evil like those control ed by the Lich. Yet, now she was a warrior for the Blade, instead of a Warrior for Elune.

That chapter, she realized, was ended. Now only the Blade stood before her. The Blade and the sorrow of killing an old friend.

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