Journals of Alhazred

Fiction based on the World of Warcraft game setting

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Price of Belonging: A Forsaken Rogue's Tale

…I watched the family for most of the evening with my faced pressed against the glass of the great room window. The skills of stealth I had by necessity been forced to learn, ensuring that my presence went unnoticed. As I skulked there watching the family, the warmth and love they displayed toward each other left me desperately wishing I could enter and share the warmth of their fire and companionship.

Unfortunately, my quasi-life forever bared me from having so dear a comfort. It seemed ages already since I had last felt warmth, left alone the simple pleasure of family and given the fact of my undeath, I could look forward to a possible eternity on the fringe of humankind. Waking as one of the Forsaken had been a blow to my soul that I was still learning to deal with. Coming from a family tradition of glorious military service, it had been understood that eventually I would meet my end on some far-flung battlefield or in defense of my kingdom from invaders of her border, but the thought that I might possibly be denied peace in death had never entered my mind. It was thought that in the first days of my awakening I might possibly loose my identity and devolve into madness and near mindless hunger like one of the revenants of the Scourge.

Despite the general callousness of the undead, it was very much through the patient efforts of my Forsaken Advocate that I was able to piece together the broken fragments of my soul. The mortal coil of my attachments to all the things I had loved about my life was a constant hindrance in my acceptance of my new reality. With an obviously deeper understanding of my needs than I myself had, my Advocate has offered the salvation of duty to another purpose. Within the ranks of the assassins, I could channel my confusion into mastering the deadly skills they offered. It spoke to the state of my mind that I, someone who had always tried to live a life of honor, would so eagerly grasp the lifestyle of the assassin as a means to save my sanity. I poured the dedication I normally maintained into my study and quickly mastered the skills of subterfuge and poisons. It was this rapid acquiring of skill, that had led me to my present position looking in on this family at leisure. They were to be my last test, the confirmation of my acceptance of my new nature, but also my dedication to the Forsaken and their agendas regardless of how it might affect the living.

This brought me back to my current vigil. For three more hours I was content to merely watch them and vicariously drink in their living energy. All to soon I knew it must end and then my real purpose would begin…

*****

After the humans finally turned in for the night, it was simplicity itself to let myself into the house. Moving silently through the parlor, I took the time to browse amongst the mementos they had collected. Small portraits and souvenirs, each a memory, spoke to the devotion this family held for its members. The collection of precious and expensive books that stood in a corner shelf spoke to their devotion of learning. The large tome of fairytales, a lavish luxury given the price of books let alone one devoted to the entertainment of children, told me of the father’s love of his children. A trinket shelf devoted to the parents showed the handy work of items obviously made by the hands of youth. One in particular, a crudely carved statuette of a knight’s horse held my attention. Without really understanding why, I placed the horse in my pocket before moving on.

Upstairs I crept till I came to the master bedroom. Silent as death, I eased the door open and made my way into the room. I quickly took stock of the room and saw the woman and her husband were asleep. I moved to the bed and pulled out the specially ensorcelled dagger I had been provided. I saw the paralytic venom I had applied to the blade earlier still coated the blade. It would ensure that my work was undisturbed. A quick jab to both of them started the poison working, so quick was its action that neither had time to cry out from the pain or surprise. I quickly started on the second portion of my task and was on my way to the next room within several minutes.

One by one I moved from room to room. Each one a methodical application of the assassins art in pursuit of my goals till eventually I stood before the final door. Entering as I had the others, the enhanced vision afforded me by my undeath allowed my to view the details of the room. Obvious appointed in bright colors, it was filled with the lovingly crafted toys of a youth that enjoyed life. Yes, the room was study of the innocence I so longed to hold onto and this was no better expressed than by the youngling nestled in his small bed before me.

Moving up alongside the sleeping boy, I found myself merely staring at his sleeping form. The cherubic face, so pure in its youth, was untroubled by the horrors of the world beyond his window. Before I could stop, I found myself reaching out and gently brushing back a lock of the soft brown hair that had fallen across his face. Despite the whisper like touch, he stirred in his sleep and I took a quick step back. So undone was I by the human compassion I thought I had left behind, I stumbled into the bedside stand, knocking over a glass figurine in the shape of a griffin. The child was a light sleeper; for the noise disturbed him enough that he started to rub his eyes and to my dismay turned his head in my direction.

“Go back to sleep Jordan.” I told him quietly.

“Daniel? Is that you Daniel?” he asked me, still rubbing sleep away.

“Your just dreaming Jordan. Close your eyes and you’ll be back to sleep before you know it.” I said once again in a near panic.

“I knew you weren’t really dead Daniel. Momma and Daddy cried a lot when we got the news, but I told them you could never die. Not you Daniel, you were always so strong.” He said groggily.

“Everything dies eventually little brother. There are worse things than falling in battle. Now close your eyes, and think of another dream. Something nice, like when father would take us to see the changing of the royal guard, with all their finery and the big gilded horses of the knights.” I managed to choke out.

“ I love you big brother.” He said simply and snuggled back down into his bed and closed his eyes.

Staring at the ceiling, the last vestiges of my humanity screaming inside me, I silently pleaded for a forgiveness I knew would never come. I would never again be clean for I was certainly a damned thing for this nights work. After a moment to collect myself, I leaned back over the bed… The echoes of my anguished screams chased me from the house as I completed my work and stole off into the night carrying a sack heavy with sin.

****

Back amongst my own, I presented my offering to my Advocate. With a solemnity in keeping with the horror the sack contained, Grigor withdrew the bloody still beating hearts of my family.

“This final task severs your ties to the mortal’s world. You are this day reborn in truth and take your place in the ranks beyond life.” He said in ritual, “ As befits birth, you will take upon a new name. No longer will you be called Daniel, for that is another life beyond you. Hence forth , you will be known as Abdiel. Each of these offerings will stand in your place as sacrifice for transgression against the will of the Forsaken. Once they are gone, the full measure of our displeasure will be yours alone to bare.” Then in an unheard of gesture of understanding, he leaned forward and squeezed my shoulder in a companionly grip.

“What we ask is not easy Abdiel, but necessary. Mortal life will never again be in your grasp much as you are now beyond death. Harsh is the path we are forced to walk, and your heart must be dedicated to our purpose. We are your family now, and while comfort is not something in our nature to offer, we will offer you something to belong to and respect for your skills. In the coming centuries it will have to be enough, for it is all we have to give.” And with that, he turned to leave.

The dead cannot cry and of all the things I will miss about life, I believe that is the one simple act I will miss the most.

As I followed him from the room, I slipped my hand into my pocket and felt the ruff edges of the horse I had carved for my father when I was ten. I had one more thing to learn to endure in the coming years…regret.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dan said...

Wow that was awesome...

I really like your plot twist and all your work in general. Bravo!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous garnak said...

I for one are speechless, this is simply amazing, thank you for writing this stuff. MORE!!

5:36 AM  
Blogger Sindor said...

Your writing sent a shiver up my spine. The first in a while. Outstanding work bro.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Conundrum said...

That is the best story of the lot. It really evokes emotions from the person reading it. Bravo!
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http://theconundrumjournals.blogspot.com

12:31 AM  

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