"Another tale of infinite wars
for the defenders of holy light
the fire enters my mind
the blood of the innocent before my eyes
spreading the wings of the dream
I want to win between fire and steel
for them all."
- Rhapsody: Legendary Tales.
Modest, aren't you?
She rose up from the bed, stretching and yawning, before reaching out with her hand towards the chair she knew stood close by on which rested her robe. It was there and she dressed, sitting down again upon the bed, rubbing her forehead, adjusting her blindfold. She had awoken, yet she still felt tired. A moment of reminding herself of her coming joy did help, but in her darkness she can't help but think on things past and present - so many memories swirling in the infathomable Human mind, all part of who she is, all part of who she was, and most likely of what she'll either become or be if graced with more years of life.
"You don't know what it's like."
"You've never seen it, have you?"
"You're f***in' unbelievable! Can ya even hear yaself?!"
She groaned at the whispers in the back of her mind, rubbing her forehead, hoping for some reason that they'll go away. Inexperienced? Never seen blood, war and battle? Why did they think that? Why did they assume that? She had seen it all, she had witnessed the blood, she had beheld people dying.
"For the Crusade! For Lordaeron!"
The signal! We charge! I run, my mail armour rings as I hold my great hammer up, ready to crush the foes, to release their souls, to set them free from this damnable curse that's been thrust upon them. Those poor souls...trapped in their rotten carcasses. They see us come running from the forest, from between the trees. They recognise us, they know we're the Scarlet Crusade. I think I hear some of them curse, some almost yelp in fear. They know us. They know our colour. Scarlet, like blood red, almost.
They gather, the Forsaken - they try to make a defence to fend us off, to protect whatever they have in their caravan, but we're too many, and I wonder if they know that, if they know that they're outmatched.
Steel and iron sings in the air as they meet. Warcries, shouts of anger, pain and fear, of battle ecstacy echo. The Forsaken sounds, their...guttural voices cry out in defiance, even as their long dead bodies buckle under the weapons wielded by living flesh.
I meet one. He stands before me with a shield and a sword. His eyes glow, both naturally and with hate. I weep for him inside, I weep for his suffering, this unnatural state of existance. And I cry to him that I will free his soul, that the Light shall grant him rest. He yells in defiance, mocking me, even as his shield is smashed under the weight of my great hammer. His arm falls off in the process, and yet he swings at me with his sword. Pain flares in my arm, but the chainmail holds. His rusty blade is held back for another, but I knock him down with the hilt of my weapon. I knock his feet from underneath him, and watch as he falls hard on his back. No cry of pain escapes his lips that I can imagine were once coloured with life. I shout again in hope the Light will release him, and I strike a blow aimed towards his head. I see his glowing eyes, incredulous, almost fearful. Then his face disappears from my view. I see my hammer instead - and as I lift it, I see no face. Only a smashed skull, the tainted soil beneath fed with whatever remained within. I pray again for the Light to save his soul. It must save him. It just has to.
Another approaches, hurling a spear at me. I dodge and charge him. He tries to unsheath a blade or dagger, but I'm faster. I strike. His shoulder is smashed, his arm and part of his rib cage falls to the ground, and yet still he stands. He shouts at me in anger, cursing me from the sound of it, and I pray again. Light save your soul! And I finish the job. Another crushed body, Light willing it is unable to keep the spirit trapped within. Light save you. Light save you all!
She snaps for air, as if having forgotten it - and still the whispers shout in her mind.
"Don't need a kid like you to tell me what to do. I've seen more than you have. I know how to finish the job, and do what it takes to do it."
"I know the stakes better than you, Istro. You think I'm some inexperienced child?"
Idly she reaches for the table nearby, and a moment later finds the comb lying on it. She shakes her head slightly, and starts to comb it.
"Is this...Andorhal?" I ask the Brother leading us.
"Yes, Sister. This is all that remains of it. Careful. Scourge scum roam around every corner. Our patrol mustn't be compromised. These curs are like vultures. Once one is alerted, the whole flock will appear. Can't let them have that advangtage, can we?"
I shake my head in reply, holding my two-handed sword at the ready as I survey the ruined buildings. No lumbering figures. No abominations to be seen. We're safe for now, but it's only a matter of time. We pass a ruin cautiously, its features barely recogniseable anymore. A well stands right by it, and I wonder for a moment if it served just that household, or if other houses also relied on it, the people that once lived here, that once walked here met at this well and spent a moment to speak about recent events. Once, but no more. And if walking, deprived of life - just mindless slaves to the Lich King, trapped for ever in a rotten corpse, denied rest in the afterlife. I hold back my anger at this great injustice against the nation that once harboured my people, that gave us sanctuary when we were exiled by the Horde. The Brother leading us stops by the well, sighing. "Still here, I see," he mutters.
"Brother? Are you alright?"
He nods, his expression grim as he points with his sword at something behind the well, hidden from the position that I'm at, and I approach. And as I come to see what he's pointing at...I scream within, I wail in anguish, in sorrow - the only physical evidence of my inner torrent of emotions is but a sad expression as I behold the two skeletons there. One of a grown up, one of a child. I see the toy, a doll that the child had once played with while alive. I see the knife in the hand of the adult. A mother and her daughter? I guess that to be the most reasonable explanation. And my stomach churns. My soul curls in sorrow. I want to shout out why, to demand for an answer.
"Damned Scourge," the Brother snarls, yet not loudly. "To the Twisting Nether with those bastards."
I don't reply. I rather hope they'd escape such a gruesome afterlife. Then I turn my attention to the skeletons again, and I wonder. Did she kill her own child and then herself in utter desperation? Did she try to fend them off? Did they...suffer?
"Sister Elizabetha, we have to keep moving. Come," the Brother commands.
I look up, feeling that my one eye persists to let a tear to be shed. I feel it caress my cheek as it runs down. He notices, and I fear his reproach.
He sighs, walking over towards me, patting me on the shoulder. "Sister, they're not Scourge. They're not Forsaken. Be thankful for that, and let the dead rest in peace. We'll have plenty of time for mourning once we rid our land, do you hear me?" His voice is stern, but I hear the understanding at the same time.
I nod. "Yes, Brother. Forgive me." We walk away, and I fight not to look back at the skeletons - at the knife, at the doll, at the small skeleton... Blasted Scourge... Blasted Lich King...
I grit my teeth in a moment of weakness, as my anger almost gets the better of me - and I promise myself to bring justice to the ones responsible for all this suffering, for all this death, all this undeath. Not vengeance. Justice. And when doing so, without hate, without prejudice. Justice is blind. Justice knows no favoured. It judges the wicked without any emotion hindering its sight.
And I'll do that. I'll make people realise why they should fight the Scourge, and not the Crusade. They really should fight the Scourge. They should see what we've seen, what my Brothers and Sisters have seen. What the Scarlet Crusade battles to this day. Perchance then they'll understand.
I hear a noise. I see a huge figure. And I alert my Brethren, as a great abomination charges us.
I know in that moment...that it could be my last. And I pray, oh, I pray as I hold up my sword that I'll be spared undeath. That my Brethren will be spared, and that the Light will help us overcome - not just this fight, but the war.
The whole blasted war.
"Ah, you are awake. I was afraid that I'd come to early," said a male voice.
Elizabetha lifted her face, noticing that she had barely even started combing. Shivering she failed to hold on to the comb, and heard it landing on the floor.
"Elizabetha?" the male voice sounded again.
She shook her head. "I'm alright, Richeron. Just some memories."
A hand was placed on her shoulder, and she held out her arms, glad to have guessed correctly that he was standing in front of her, and held him close. "Just one of those mornings, my love. Don't worry. I'm alright."
She felt his hands hold her head, and she smiled at the touch - the love he had for her seemed to almost flow through them, comforting her. And with the touch she remembered holding Amy's little daughter for who knows how long. Such blessed life, just like Brannon. "I'll be more than alright, Richeron. I feel better by every day that passes. You'll see," she said encouragingly.
He leaned down kissing her on her head. "You know you can always speak to me, Elizabetha. I'll always be there for you."
She lifted her face, smiling. Part of her felt certain that she was not the only woman to have heard those phrases, but when it came from him, her beloved, she knew he meant every single word of it, she really could count on it. "Just memories from previous battles. Some things just remain, my love. The Light is my strength, just as you are, and I have both, no?" She grinned.
If he was smiling, it had to be now, for she seemed to almost feel it - like a knowledge that couldn't be explained, it simply hovered in the air. He crouched, semi-releasing himself from her arms as he whispered. "I love you."
Folding her arms around his neck, she whispered back the same words, and let her past drown when their lips met.