The Rise of Keelath

I remember nothing. This was my first thought.

Originally posted on January 4th, 2022.

Author’s Note

Tyrric often returned to Silvermoon for the army’s allotted recuperation and vacation periods. Perhaps my dismissals were beginning to work on him, as he seemed more distracted whenever he showed up again. Paranoia crept into his eyes, unrelated to our fights with each other, and he was more taciturn, even without my reminders we could not be close again.

He admitted to me one day that my son had been found. Perhaps, once he would have used this information to pull me again into the life of an elf, but now it seemed a matter of honor only, like informing a civilian that one of his cousins had died out on the front. Through his rantings, I could glean that my son had defected to the Alliance.

Tyrric was full of plots to bring Evelos back to the Horde, each as extravagant as the ones he had attempted to use on me. I told him so, asking how he could expect them to be any more effective, and it was his turn to fly into a rage. I did not know what to think, throwing off the attack as best I could without hurting him. Still, I wounded him, and he left.

Alone, I was able to examine my feelings on the matter. Some part of me seemed to think that family should be a big deal, that I was blessed Tyrric would try so hard to keep me in the loop. Yet I only predicted sorrow if he continued with his plans.

In time, there was a lull in the war. A new front opened in Zandalar, but I wasn’t called out to the jungle island, not yet. An orcish commander, assuming we wanted or needed such things, gave all Forsaken like myself a vacation period. I was informed it was required when I asked.

I returned to Silvermoon then, wearing my helmet; most of the elves ignored me or otherwise kept their distance, which I preferred. I had hoped the sight of the city might bring back some memories to me, but the only memories that returned were those of my first actions as one of the Scourge: assaulting this city, killing and eating the inhabitants.

I was about to leave when I caught sight of Tyrric entertaining a woman across the way. I didn’t signal my presence to him outright, just watching. He seemed happy with her, though she seemed reluctant to be with him. My thoughts turned to the mystery of my own wife, still missing. A rare emotion took me, and I bought parchment and pen to write a letter: something I hadn’t done in any capacity since I was resurrected. Then I approached Tyrric and gave him the letter, to send to my son. Tyrric was overjoyed, but I said nothing of what was in it. The rest of my vacation period I spent in the Undercity, waiting for a reply.

Time stretched, and no reply came. Tyrric sought me out, with the same woman on his arm. There was madness in his eyes: one I couldn’t well understand, for I had little memory of him before the wars to compare. He spoke to me of more plots to ensnare Evelos and a role I could have in them. I was Evelos’ father. He insisted this meant I had special sway with the boy and could help bend him to our will.

“What is our will?” I asked Tyrric, but he couldn’t give me a solid answer. If we didn’t act, Evelos would continue to be a traitor. If we had a traitor in the family, our bloodline could never achieve the prominence we deserved. Further, if I didn’t step in now, my son would fall into dark magic and lose himself to it. This seemed a strange thing to say to one of the Forsaken, as my entire existence was wreathed in dark magic.

Tyrric’s mistress then introduced herself to me as Alelsa, a warlock. She told me of the Old Gods, of a prophecy she had been following, that N’Zoth was to rise again, bending the wills of mortals like Evelos to his dark will as he enslaved the world. The names meant nothing to me, but I could smell fear in her, an intoxicating scent. I reflected what it would be like if I were to return to the Scourge, cultivating such fear to enhance my meals… then Tyrric was shaking me, demanding I pay attention. Alelsa warned that N’Zoth would bring a darkness across the land even worse than that of the Lich King’s.

I said nothing, irritated she would assume that anything could be as bad as the Scourge. Tyrric went down other rabbit holes then, thinking outloud while his mistress clung to him. He seemed to blame me for the falling apart of the family, seemed to believe that holding it together would somehow bring deliverance from Alelsa’s predicted doom.

Then, Tyrric lit onto an idea that intrigued us both. He knew of a warlock that could restore my memories in full.

I agreed to that small part of his elaborate plans, curious despite myself what my living memories might hold. I wondered aloud if it meant consuming many souls of the Light, as this was my usual method for retaining memories. For this, I got a dirty look and a pointed request that I stop thinking “like a Forsaken”.

“Forsaken is what I am,” I told Tyrric sharply.

“You are not,” said Tyrric, and he grinned crookedly as his green eyes brightened with fel light. I shot a suspicious glance at Alelsa, suspecting her influence in this strange madness, but she said nothing at all.

“You are a Sunwalker, and I will insure you remain a part of this family,” Tyrric went on. I suppose he meant it to be reassuring, but it instead sounded power-mad.

I began to have misgivings, though they were assuaged in part when I met the warlock in question. His name was Zurom, and despite his profession, he was a quiet, unassuming kind of man, friendly and pleasant, with an odd obliviousness to the wariness others treated his dealings with demons and souls to. I wondered if that obliviousness was an act, but he kept to it for as long as I’ve known him.

He explained the process of memory-restoration to me. He had once helped another Forsaken, a pirate captain named Ahdes, in the same way. Our souls fractured under the weight of undeath and the Lich King’s enchantments, he said. Each shard contained memories, among other things; if one could knit the shards of soul back together, my memories would return.

“Must we retrieve the shards?” Tyrric asked. Zurom answered no, that he believed his magic could naturally draw them from wherever they lay lost. It was another complicated lecture on the souls that I paid little attention to. The excitement and horror of anticipation was in me.

I agreed to the procedure at last, and he drew me into a ritual carving on the floor. The spell took a long time for him to cast, and I felt like I was in a kind of stasis. I felt the presence of others in the room that I couldn’t see, like ghosts: and it took the continued workings of the spell for me to realize those others were fragments of myself. They drew close before I could be afraid or curious, and like a vise-clamp pressed into my mind. I had bursts of other thoughts and feelings. I began to take breaths, and I noticed all the little ways my flesh-crafting was wrong and did not match the sense of my old body. It was disorienting more than painful, like a soldier navigating the loss of a limb and the new gift of a prosthetic: reaching out with it reflexively only to find it did not respond as expected.

When the spell ended, Tyrric approached me, and wonder had replaced the madness in his eyes. He took my chin in his hands. “You’re breathing again.”

There was meaning to him now, suddenly. He was no longer some irritating stranger trying to drag me into his machinations by guilt and manipulation. He was my brother, and I was overjoyed to see him, to know he had survived the raid of the Black Horde that had killed me. I embraced him, and even though my lungs were wrong, my eyes without tear ducts, we still approximated some form of sobbing with relief on the other’s shoulder.

The shock eventually wore off, and reality returned. “What is going on with my son?” I asked him, and then, more urgently, “Where is my wife?”

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