Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vyprania's Story: The Priest

The Knights of the Ebon Hand were established. We were recognized by the leadership of the Alliance and the Horde, and endorsed by Tirion Fordring. But we were not received with open arms by our new allies. People in Stormwind no longer threw rotting fruit at me, but the vendors were all suddenly out of merchandise when I entered their shops. The auctioneers would not recognize me when I tried to bid on an item, and the children would quickly cross to the other side of the canal when they saw me.

Light's Hope Chapel was worse, despite the fact that these were supposed to be my comrades in the fight against the remaining Scourge. Unseen hands and legs would shove or trip me into the mud, and there would be nothing but innocent faces when I turned around. My belongings were rifled through when I was out, and anything of value taken. Notes denouncing me as "Lich bitch" and "Arthas' whore" and worse were left on my bunk.

And so, like many of my fellow Death Knights, I found myself passing through the Dark Portal and into Outland. With Vashj and Kael'thas and Illidan defeated, this alien world had been largely abandoned by the mercenaries who had made it their home for the past two years. All that were left were rear guard detachments of the Horde and Alliance, and the Scryers and Aldor strutting about Shattrath City, pretending that they still mattered. It was a land of Death Knights, sharpening our skills against a far greater range of opponents than we had encountered in our battles against the Scarlet Crusade - demons and ogres and fel beasts. Some talked of destroying the Portal and cutting ourselves off from our allies who despised us, but I could never support such a move. Arthas was on the other side, waiting, and some day I would go back and face him.

But there were times I wondered if I would ever make it to that day. Killing felboars for some goblin entrepeneur covered my living expenses, and kept my reflexes sharp, but there was no sense of purpose in it. No mission fulfilled. And so I began to spend more and more of my time in the bars of Shattrath's Lower City, seeking escape from the emptiness that gnawed at me, the voices that shouted in my head for vengeance and blood and justice, if only for a few hours. And it was here, surrounded by empty flasks of port and listening to some orc up on the stage scream that he was a fish-man, that I met the priest.

She didn't look like much, a short, stocky dwarf with black hair pulled back in a simple braid. But her gear marked her as a seasoned veteran of the recent campaigns against Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep and the troll city of Zul'Aman. Her left hand was crooked at an odd angle, as if it the arm had been broken and had not quite healed properly. When she pulled up the chair across from me and sat down, however, it was with the deliberate care not of a worn out campaigner, but rather one deep in her cups. Like me.

"'Allo, lass," she said, her speach slightly slurred. "Mind if I join ya?"

I shrugged non-commitally, and stared at her, baffled. After a minute, with a directness I would never have dreamed of using in my former life, I demanded "What are you doing here?"

"Ach, I'm helpin' mehself to some of yuir port. Mah flask bein' empty, ya see."

"No, I mean, why aren't you in Northrend?"

"Oh, that. Been replaced by a new gel, doncha know. She's younger, taller, prettier, an' can do fear wards and desp'rate prayers as well as Ah can. So ole Cay, she ain't needed no more. But that's all right - gives meh time ta catch up on meh drinkin'."

Not having a purpose - I could relate to that. My purpose was to kill Arthas, but these days that seemed so remote that I might as well not have one at all. I nodded, waited to see what else she would say.

"Now, lass," she said. "I've seen a lot of yuir type pass through these past weeks. And none of them be what I would call ... happy ... but you. You are more troubled than most, I ken. It is like black waves emanating from yeh. And I suspect there's things yeh carry inside yeh, dark things, things what weigh on yuir soul. Now, Ah'm just a simple priest of the Light, and Ah'm probably not the sort a Black Hand elf like yuirself would chose ta unburden on, but Ah am here. And Ah know a thing or two of the darkness we've all had ta embrace ta get through, and as for mah not being an elf, ishnu al-elusia amayne kaldorei, sellia alayn vesh Elune-na nalluria Cenarius-na falibus."

I blinked, startled to hear this dwarf speaking in nearly accentless Darnassian. Where had she learned that? And I found myself beginning to tell my story - the ill-fated mission to Lordaeron, the betrayal at the hands of the Scarlet Crusade, my bargain wih Arthas. She listened mostly in silence, non-judgemental and accepting, nodding occassionally. I told her more - things I had never told anyone. The young mother I struck down in New Avalon, how I murdered Sergeant Nalise, our defeat at Light's Hope Chapel, the bitter shame I felt on my mission to Stormwind. The more I talked, the easier it became. The screaming in my head became muted, and I felt a degree of peace I had not experienced in years. I do not understand how this short, drunken priest of  faith different than what I had grown up with, and so antithetical to what I had become, could make me feel this way, with such little gestures and so few words, yet somehow she did.

When I finshed, we were both silent for a minute. Then she spoke. "Aye, that's a heavy burden to be carrying in yuir heart, lass. And you will be carrying it - not'ing Ah can do to end that. But there are things what can help you carry that burden. First, I can give you this: Vish al'narith, mallune del nash'ant Vyprania tel annath." When she uttered those words, I could feel something enter me, something strong but gentle. It was as if Elune herself had touched my soul. Perhaps she had - spiritualism had never been something I understood well.

"And second," Cay the priest said, "there is a man I think yeh should talk to. He has an assortment of adventures he has gathered together to look out for each ot'er. People what dinnae quite fit in anywhere else. I t'ink it might be a good place for yeh. A home for when you need one. This man, he's an odd duck, and," (her voice briefly rose to a startlingly piercing squeak) "oi! is he a randy lad!"

"But," she continued in her normal voice after a fit of giggling. "He is a good man, and Ah t'ink he'd take you in. Just one thing Ah should warn yeh of, lov."

She paused.

"He's an oorc."


Anonymous said...

I was wondering about Vyp joining Ratters... it's been a while since we've heard about her. I'm wondering - will she find any common ground with Dangermouse? Both undead, free from the lich king, but...

... can Vyp live up to the cookies?

Bell said...

Go go Vyp!

OMG she's going to meet Maurice O_o

Anonymous said...

I was growing increasingly concerned that Vyp had been shelved in favor of the Death Knight of Loooove. You're the bestest, Ratters, keep it up!

Khol Drake said...

I'm calling it first: the restaurant scene from When Harry Met Sally.

When Ratters Met Vyp, anyone? o.O

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear more from Vyp. Does anyone speak Darnassian? I'd love to know what Cay said.

...Oh God, I didn't even think of Maurice. Or Dangermouse. Oh boy. That's going to be a fun meeting.

Kusamoto said...

Love all the Vyp backstory. Bravo. She going to guest post anytime soon, or should we look forward to more Tales from the Darkside?

Anonymous said...

Maurice... probably won't do much. Maurice doesn't seem to do anything other than stand and the mailbox and beswoon the ladies of stormwind... but Vyp might pull him away...

hm. DK+DK=?

Gauntlet said...