A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Short fiction time!

Once in a great while I get the urge to write, by some internal inspiration. Or occasionally external impetus.

The following short story is more a product of the latter. One of the WoW blogs I read, Big Bear Butt, hosted a creative writing contest. The prize, a copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden.

I've decided to post my submission here as well, though if you're not interested in Warcraft lore, you may just decide to skip this entry...
by Clioratha of Elune
Dawn broke, an explosion of color in the sky. It had been a long night, and I welcomed the chance to rest for the day. Preferably somewhere away from the smoke and carnage of the night's work. Wandering into the woods, upwind of the horror, I selected a sturdy tree, climbed up and made myself comfortable. Nyx followed with her usual feline grace, sprawling herself out on a sun-dappled branch near me.

"Hedonist", I murmured with a playful pat to her side. Nyx purred happily, closing her eyes to enjoy the morning.

I closed mine as well, feeling the gentle caress of the breeze on my skin, listening to the whisper of the leaves, the earthy scent of the woods reminding me of home... My mind began to wander, back to more peaceful times. My people are immortal, and if we could not selectively shelve unpleasant memories for a time, we would all surely go mad.

My reverie was interrupted by voices. Human, by the language. And a heated discussion, at that.

"This prophet is right - we should leave for the west." Female. The voice of one accustomed to power and her own will.

"By the Light, Jaina! I cannot just leave my people!". Male. Deep, for a human. Anger. Frustration.

My rest thus disturbed, I had no choice but to overhear. Their words might be alien, but the tone was one of dispute, the voice of the female becoming tinged with desperation, the male's frustration rising in answer.

"I go, Arthas. With *or* without you.". A tone of finality in the female's voice, footsteps rustling the fallen leaves in a fading echo. Good, perhaps now I could return to my repose.

*SLAM*. My perch shivered with the force of a sudden blow, and I looked down to find a human male, clad in the heavy plates of metal that they so favor, clenched fist pressed against the trunk of my tree. His head bowed, he seemed to be mumbling to himself, and I recognized the male voice I had heard earlier.

I shifted to keep this human in view, and Nyx yowled in surprise. Turning to apologize for having pinched her tail, I didn't notice that I had attracted attention of my own. Turning back to the human, I found eyes the color of the morning sky looking up at me.

"So, elf...since everyone else seems keen to offer me advice, you may as well take your turn." Bitter, frustrated.

I may as well, I thought, since it appears I will get no rest otherwise. Sighing inwardly, I leapt down. Nyx followed, overturning my quiver and spilling arrows in a spray around the base of the tree. Heedless of her mess, she stood beside me, butting her head against my hip. Idly I scratched behind her ears, while meeting the human's gaze.

His eyes flickered but briefly on the strewn arrows. "You were there last night?"

I nodded, recalling the wave of fearless creatures that burst suddenly upon the human settlement they called Hart's Glen.

"Then you understand why I cannot leave my people." He continued to speak, seeming more to address himself than me. I could not follow his every word - the human language is still new to me - but it seemed that he spoke of a disease, or a curse, that turned living people into mindless dead. And that this disease was now in the very food people ate.

Food that was then delivered to these human towns...

With a shock, some of the strangeness began to make sense. The creatures last night were not fearless, but mindless. Dead. My stomach roiled with the memory of the carrion-stench that surrounded them. How had I not realized sooner?

Spread in the food, not just the humans were susceptible. I had seen a hound, rabid and ravaged by mange, wandering along the road. I had granted the poor beast a quick and merciful death...but perhaps it was not mange, but the decay of death? What fiend would so disrupt the balance of nature, forcing even beasts into this corruption of neither life nor death?

"Do you know who makes this....un-life?", I asked, searching for a suitable word. Some concepts should never exist to need words.

"Mal'Ganis", he spat, as if the name alone had a foul taste.

"This must be stopped." How far would this perversion spread, if left unchecked?

A thin smile touched his lips. His eyes, I realized, were not the color of morning...but of ice.

"By the Light, I will stop him. I will avenge those who have fallen!". He drew his sword, raising it in challenge to the very sky. The morning rays reflected off the blade, and I blinked at the brightness.

"I will lose *no more* of my people to be his slaves in undeath!" And as abruptly as he had arrived, he slammed his sword back into its scabbard, spun on his heel and strode off.

I watched him go, this strange, driven human with the golden hair and heart of fire.

"Elune light your path", I whispered to his departing back, hoping that he could indeed stop this blight of un-life that had entered the world.

I didn't win, but I had fun writing. Good to let the muse out once in a while.

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