Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

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Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Darathir on Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:26 pm

(The conclusion to this story/plot: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4781 which only took a year and a half to put into writing. And the effects it had to this day.)

--

“So, you’ve figured out my ruse. It is no matter. The march upon Kalimdor has begun, and everything will proceed as I have foreseen.”

Cerrana stood tall upon one of the pillars littering the ruined landscape around the corrupted moonwell. Her large cape was wrapped around her body to conceal all but her head. Eyes closed, she loomed menacingly over the arriving members of the Order of Nature’s Grasp. Approaching the well in a huddled group, reminiscent of a military defensive position, they turned their gaze towards the origin of the voice, as corrosive green haze crept and slowly enveloped the surroundings. Barely able to discern anything from within the retina-burning mist of fel and gloom, they regarded the caped figure with mild surprise and clear contempt.

“Cerrana Sar’tharis… as I recall, many moons ago you were buried under a pile of rubble, deep within a cavern in lands faraway. I know that Drakesfire did not rescue you, as your ‘prophecy’ would have us believe. So, how in Elune’s name did you survive that?” Aariam Nightborne was the first to speak; her eyes narrowed and fixed on the wily sorceress, her blades drawn, with one sharp end pointed inquisitively towards the enemy.

“By choosing to side with superiour forces, dear Commander. There is power in this world and beyond, which the mere suggestion of, would drive mad the minds of tiny individuals such as you. Just look at yourselves. Not one of you would dare face to me alone; instead you put your faith in a group effort. So tragically predictable… alas, that means we must now make the odds fairer in my favour.”

Cerrana threw her arms out wide, releasing the already detached cape, letting it fall neatly down around her feet in a dramatically calculated move, revealing her red and gold robes underneath. It was torn in various points around the torso and legs, exposing crude demonic marks in her skin, as if made by the lashes a whip. Her fingers were flittering subtly. A spell was being woven, releasing grey waves of power from her fingertips, reaching for the sky to create a current of air to sweep across the glade, blowing the fel mist away over the hills.

“Do you see it now? The Legion cannot be stopped. All will come to ruin, and you… shall be the first to fall.”

As full visibility was restored in the area, the warriors of the Order were suddenly faced with demonic fiends in the dozens. Scattered groups of imps in the majority, many voidwalkers, succubi and observers made their presence known as well. Direst of threats did the two felguards pose, brandishing their greataxes, marching in the lead as the horde of demons drew closer towards the well. Hovering still high above the tainted moonwell was the green crystal, the eyes of its dark inhabitant fixed upon the field of the coming conflict. Chains sprung from what looked like two small portals beneath the crystal, shackling the old man in his aerial prison. Unconscious and viciously stretched into a T-position, he appeared on the brink of being torn apart.

“Remember your training, brothers and sisters! Remember what Moonflame taught you!” The order fell on the warriors’ ears along with the Commander’s encouraging words. They broke formation, and shortly thereafter came the clashing of armor and steel. Within moments, the glade had transformed into a small battlefield.

The felguards charged as the elves began to spread out, missing their intended targets, but soon locking onto new ones. Two nimble fighters kept the powerful demons at bay with a simple strategic combination, dodging the cleaving attacks from their massive axes and outrunning their slower movements. Fireballs from the imps struck the elves in rapid successions, like projectiles from a hundred rifles. In retaliation, the druids of the Order conjured up roots from the ground to smother the fiends and crush their tiny bodies. The priestesses called down pillars of moon fire and falling stars to strike down the voidwalkers. The optical beams from the observers blasted into the ground near the sentinels, cutting a long path of upturned earth in pursuit of their targets. Armed with bows and nets, the warriors fired blessed arrows towards the levitating demons, blinding their eyes and tangling them in the meshes of rope to bring them from the sky for a quick finish.

Cerrana quietly watched the events unfold from the safety of her perch. The demons were losing badly. None of the Order’s warriors had been particularly injured, and now all of their focus went towards taking down the last remaining two felguards. Hacking and rooting, slashing and shooting, the demons soon faltered in the face of the elves’ relentless onslaught. Their enormous bodies fell to the ground in defeat, beheaded and impaled by their adversaries.

Not a mortal word was spoken as the warriors composed themselves and turned their focus to Cerrana once more. She had knelt down on the pillar, lowering her head and closing her eyes again, moving her mouth in aphonic beseechment of her masters’ blessings. The green crystal hovering above the moonwell emitted an eerie sound, a droning noise that would increase in intensity for every second that passed. The burning eyes gazed upon their servant, acknowledging her request and utter submission to their power. The crystal lit up as the energy within expanded rapidly and finally broke through the hardened shell, shattering the crystal and sending jagged slivers flying through the air in all directions over the glade. The burning mass beamed towards Cerrana and engulfed her body in foul and unnatural flames.

The fire ultimately subsided and left a new empowered creature in place of the sorceress, a creature more demon than woman. From her back sprouted sharp-edged, skeletal, purple wings bearing the tint of skinned flesh. Toxic green flames flickered in the empty, burned out hollows of her eyes. The exposed marks on her body glowed ominously while shifting in darker colours. Her robe was now even more torn, the ripped fabric hanging loose everywhere, save for the covered breasts and pelvic area. With her fist firmly clenched around the shaft of a dragon skull staff, the wings spread and briefly brought the felsworn to the skies. Death from above, she leapt into the midst of the invaders below, her taunting roar of battle reverberating across the glade:

KIREL NARAK

--

Darathir shot up in bed, his mouth agape and eyes wide open, yet not a sound escaped his lips. Soon realising that he had awakened from naught but a dream, he closed his eyes and buried his face in the palms of his hands, panting like a man struck by a panic attack would. The bed was completely soaked. He was sweating profusely, and several of his stitches had come out. It was dark, but the wooden door ajar betrayed a glimmer of light, soon spreading to illuminate the entire room as it was pushed open with a creak. A woman appeared in the doorway, holding a brightly burning candle.

“I could hear you groaning and gasping for air. Did you have another nightmare?”

Eighteen months had passed since Cerrana faced off against the Order in Felwood. He recalled the experience as a captive. The magical shackles of her creation held him tightly in place, unmoving and unyielding like the sun. But in place of the sun, only the crystal drifted in the sky, in the shape of an enormous green diamond. The malicious, unknown force it played host to looked down upon the old man from within its confines. Demons of various natures bounced up and down to nibble at his feet from below, splashing and bathing their grotesque forms in the corrupted waters of the well beneath him. Portals opened around him, and he could see the tranquil skyline of Darnassus beyond the vortices, disturbed by demons charging through them to wreak havoc in the city.

“I went back to that day, again.” Darathir paused, regarding the woman in the doorway with an almost apologetic look in his eyes, continuing his ambiguous reply with the knowledge that she would understand its meaning. “The day that they liberated her.”

Cerrana’s downfall came as if ordered by Elune herself. In complete defiance of her dark masters, the Order vanquished Darathir’s third daughter before his eyes. By the steel shredding her torso, and the falling stars burning her depraved soul, she yielded before long, her staff broken and her lifeless corpse immersing into the corrupted moonwell waters. The old man was taken into custody and brought to trial in the Azuremyst Isle, where all the truths of his misdeeds were finally exposed and judgement came accordingly.

Darathir invitingly crooked his finger at the woman, and she entered the room. She sat down on the bed, by his feet, and looked at him with a sad countenance, mixed with grimness, anger and relief. She held a small object in her hands, wrapped in paper. She placed it on his chest, then rose up to retrieve needle, thread, wool and cleansing solution from the drawer in the bedside table. She adjusted her position to begin work on replacing the broken sutures on his wound.

Darathir winced as she stitched his wound afresh. He had lain in bed for several days now, in the residence and under the sanctuary of this woman. This old acquaintance, which he held in tremendously high esteem, was one of the Shen’dralar who had chosen to remain behind in Eldre’thalas, in the comforts of a familiar environment. So great was his respect for her, that their intermingling had once produced an addition to his brood. An addition, which would come to serve as his closest advisor in the Wardens of Enlightenment, one who would prove instrumental in his grand machinations, and one who would succumb to the lure of disorder and ultimately fall at the hands of her former companions.

“Open it. You must see and understand.” Lady Sar’tharis spoke softly, without the slightest interruption to her ministrations. She, too, expressed herself vaguely, with the assumption that the two understood one another.

With his face composed into humble contrition, Darathir nodded and gazed upon the item on his chest, lifting his hands to remove the paper coverings around it. It was a pendant, very familiar in its appearance. It dawned on him. The pendant contained the enchantment that bestowed its wearer with Cerrana’s vision, one that she had preferred to name her ‘prophecy’, an apocalyptic prognostication which foretold of a permanent, dark transformation of kaldorei society, in the face of an unspecified threat. He had retrieved it by means of trickery from the priestesses at the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus, months after the death of Cerrana, and brought it to her mother in Eldre’thalas for safekeeping.

Darathir clutched the pendant hard in his hand, placing it then around his neck to observe Cerrana’s prophecy one more time. It portrayed the old sorcerer, fel-riddled and measly, as one of the prophets and conduits for the dark change in civilisation. He listened to himself utter words that had never even entered his thoughts, let alone become spoken aloud. “They will witness the full scope of my terror, and submit to the rage of the Dark Fire.” Was it merely extravagant and ostentatious posturing, or did Cerrana’s words have some twisted prophetic meaning to them, after all? The world tree in flames. That was not something he sought to accomplish, nor to see the wheels of chaos spinning out of control. His vision of perfection was order, under the firm but benevolent guidance of the True Highborne. He knew the conflict, which the ‘Resistance’ in the prophecy was subtly referring to, was the inevitable return of the Light of Lights and Her False Highborne. The serpentine naga.

Darathir closed his eyes and took off the pendant as the augury concluded, wrapping it neatly into the paper again. Lady Sar’tharis looked up, finished with her treatment of his wound, and rested her eyes on the small package. Unexpectedly, rather than commenting on the events surrounding the demise of her daughter, she inquired about his penchant for enchanted necklaces.

Darathir looked up and stared at her with a speck of embarrassment in his eyes. It was a valid question. His gaze trailed towards the bedside table. Among the possessions he carried with him everywhere laid two artifacts in the form of amulets, both heavily pulsating with arcane energy and fused with the shadow magic of their dark creators. The priests responsible for their crafting had gaudily named them ‘Lavalieres of Distorted Reality’. Since the defeat of these priests and the forces they served, seven of the amulets had fallen into Darathir’s hands, and he had used them over the years to ensnare a variety of unwitting individuals for short-term purposes. A senior sentinel guard of the kaldorei embassy in Stormwind had been compelled to assault Ambassador Calisar Ravencrest, for the purpose of establishing the background for a wider conspiracy. Another sentinel on Draenor had been tasked with the assassination of Aariam Nightborne and Kathene Wildstar. Darathir’s own, ill-fated, firstborn daughter became the recipient of one amulet, in an attempt to force a union of desirable parts of the brood.

Then came the time for Valande Winterfall and Romanath of Suramar – competent arcanists with weak links to Darathir, they would serve well as disposable allies. They now wore one amulet each around their necks, and they were standing guard over him, just outside the house.

Despite her gentle demeanour, Lady Sar’tharis was a formidable sorceress in her own right, and possessed more than enough mental acuity to sense the workings of the amulets around her. The two elders remained still and in place for a long while, looking each other in the eyes, conveying neither love nor hatred through them.

“It is a sad obsession. I must have control at any price.” Darathir spoke with unabated brutal honesty, still looking into her eyes; she was the first to turn away, standing with her left side towards him, clutching the packet in her hands, as if it were her most prized possession.

“This is not all. You’ve tasted… ‘It’, too, have you not? I have been treating you. I know the signs. The scars – they never heal. And the smell of the taint never goes away.”

He immediately recalled the conversation with Cerrana at the onset of his captivity. She had known about the pact he had made with the renegade Demoness from the underground caverns in Felwood. But had she known the exact nature of their arrangement? He had told no one. He had sought to keep the fiend away from the Order, entering into vile deals with it to ensure their protection. It had tricked him into assisting in the summoning of a greater demon. It had required him to taste of its blood, offering plenty in hope of binding him to a fate of dark craving. He had resisted, and turned down its power, eventually cleansing himself of its influence. But the marks remained.

Darathir nodded slowly, saying nothing. Lady Sar’tharis sighed and exited the room, saying only: “Darkness is all around you.” She slammed the door behind her, extinguishing the candle and fittingly leaving the old man to wallow in darkness once more. His stare lingered on the closed door, the sound of the statement and the slam echoing in the largely unfurnished room. Many thoughts ran through his head, relating to Cerrana and the Demoness, connecting the dots to form a greater picture in his mind.

“I was robbed of my Darkfallen artifact. The Light of Lights broods and plots in the depths, and I must have a substitute power to fight her coming attack with. Perhaps Cerrana was partly in the right. She had sought to use the Burning Legion to enact the Resistance of her twisted prophecy. What she failed to fully grasp, was that the Burning Legion has a destructive agenda of its own.”

He recalled the story of the fallen Stormrage brother. A sorcerer in the olden times, gifted with magic beyond his peers, he committed to the necessary sacrifices for the sake of his people. Touched by the same forces, whose service Cerrana had been seduced into, he transcended even his immortal form, becoming something greater. A demon that bore no loyalty, save to the continued existence of his world. He had stolen the enemy’s power and used it against them, before turning its awesome fury in the decimation of other foes.

“I could do the same. The Demoness gave me a glimpse into this possibility. Have I not followed in Stormrage’s footsteps all along? Do I not stand here now, teetering on the same precipice that he once did? Only one small step away from the ultimate plunge.

Submission to the rage of the Dark Fire.”
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Aariam on Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:34 am

As I recall, the Illidan had -two- hands. ;)

All joking aside, nice story; is that actually what Aariam said during the battle, too? I am sometimes surprised that she is somewhat competent. :D

Hope to see more writing from you too, and especially the story where Aariam stabs Demon Hunterthir in the future.
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Seiya on Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:20 am

Aariam wrote: I am sometimes surprised that she is somewhat competent. :D
.


Aren't we all? XD

A beautifully written piece to wake up to.

The year and a half it took to put in writing was definitely worth the wait.
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Darathir on Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:53 am

I can't recall their exact words, there was some sassy dialogue before the clash (hard drive crash lost me my screenshots from that period). But she was serious and pissed off, since one of the demons had tried to throw her off a tower a few days earlier, so that may have motivated her to act her part :D
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Aariam on Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:19 am

Seiya wrote:
Aariam wrote: I am sometimes surprised that she is somewhat competent. :D
.


Aren't we all? XD



FU! :D

Dara: Oh right, now I remember! It was quite an enjoyable flight; lots of leg space.
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Anhagath on Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:50 pm

OH MY.

He should talk to Brogath about it, he'd tell him "no trust me that Illidan guy's a prick."

Awesome to read, though, if SUPER LATE?! Is Daralols going to go full-on DH? If he does we need to go sledding with wings.
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Thondalar on Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:49 pm

Awesome story, Dara! Fantastic writing! Another who thinks about the DH path, I see! Love it <3
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Re: Felborne: Cerrana's Legacy

Postby Darathir on Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:52 pm

Depends on what the lore looks like. I think the DHs we're supposed to be playing will be at least 6 years into their profession?

Never fancied the class concept either, leaning more towards some warlock/felsworn type similar to Cerrana. Either way. FEL! *slurps*
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