Written for an ingame RP session. Pay it no mind, unless you like this kind of thing.Author’s Note
Evelos stepped inside the Ledgerdemain Lounge. The AAMS message was still clutched in his hand, and his mouth was dry as he peered into the corners of the room, heart leaping fitfully in his chest.
“It would be a horrible joke,” he muttered to himself. “After everything else that’s happened lately.”
He saw no one he immediately recognized. Some of the city’s mages were grouped around one table, gossiping happily about the latest arcane discovery. There was a dwarf with his white bear, and a troll shaman with violently violet hair, and a sin’dorei in dark armor and wearing a tabard of the Forsaken…
Evelos looked again at the sin’dorei, stomach turning over. It made an awful sort of sense. His father had been dead, and now… Evelos tugged at his hood, making sure it was still concealing the tentacles and spikes of the Void on the back of his neck. He was altogether too aware there was nothing to hide the unnatural paleness of his face, however… He steeled himself and stepped closer to the silent armored figure.
It turned to him, glowing blue eyes the only thing visible from between the slits in its full-faced helm.
“Were you the one who wanted to meet me?” Evelos asked weakly.
“Evelos, House Sunwalker?” asked the armor. When Evelos gave a small nod, it reached up and tugged the helmet off. The sin’dorei shook out his white-gold hair and peered at Evelos intently, blue eyes burning out of a face Evelos only knew all too well.
The world seemed to go white, then black, and Evelos could only focus on his hand pressed onto a nearby table, the only thing holding himself up. Through it all the sin’dorei–quel’dorei?–only stared at him.
“You were dead,” said Evelos when his father still said nothing. “We put you in a coffin…the coffin in the ground…”
“Perhaps next time, you should put more locks on it,” remarked Keelath, and Evelos couldn’t tell if he was joking or not.
“I’m sorry,” said Evelos weakly. It seemed like an appropriate thing to say.
“I met with your intended,” said Keelath, abruptly changing the subject, as it was obvious they recognized one another–or at least, that Evelos recognized Keelath. Keelath still couldn’t chase away the nagging feeling that he should feel something–a glimmer of recognition, a bit warmth, a cold anger–but there was nothing. Only emptiness… “Breyd says you have been living in Stormwind, with the ren’dorei.”
“Yes?” His father seemed faintly disapproving. Evelos wasn’t sure what to say or do. He stared at the Banshee Queen’s tabard, his stomach clenching and unclenching, and Evelos hoped he wouldn’t disgrace himself and throw up on his father’s boot.
“Why?” Keelath asked pointedly.
“Because it’s what I am.”
“I mean more than that. Why did you choose to meddle with the Void?” Keelath’s tone was severe. “It is heresy. It is only by Breyd’s word that I am not putting you to the sword where you stand.”
Evelos quailed inside. A few of the mages were looking their direction and whispering to each other. “Can-can we discuss this somewhere else? In private?
Keelath seemed about to refuse, but then he gestured for one of the doors that led to a private meeting hall. Evelos walked to the bar to ask for its key, taking his time and measuring his steps, focusing on them so he would not fall over. He burned hot, then cold, then hot again, then cold again. The bartender didn’t comment on his obvious distress, only glancing at Keelath and then handing over the key with the usual warning not to spend more than an hour inside, or the Lounge’s wards would automatically spew them out onto the street. Evelos grunted a thanks and turned back to Keelath.
The walk back, and then through the door and down the hall, seemed inordinately long. Evelos felt Keelath’s eyes on his back as he fumbled with the key, and he hoped his tentacles there weren’t squirming around and disgusting the death knight–not that he could do much about it if they were. He absently smoothed the back of the hood when the lock finally clicked and he could push open the door. He waved for his father to take the first seat and then entered in behind him, still looking at the floor.
Keelath settled himself, leaning his runesword up against the side of his chair and pulling off his gauntlets. He flexed his fingers, then settled them on his knees. Evelos noticed his father kept his back upright, as if he were standing at parade rest, even though his rear was firmly planted on the chair’s seat.
Evelos sat across from him. “What did Breyd tell you, to start with?”
“That becoming a ren’dorei was not your choice,” Keelath admitted. “I would like to hear it from you.”
“I…don’t entirely know how it happened,” Evelos stammered. Keelath raised an eyebrow at him. “Meaning…I don’t know when it first…started to grow in me. I-I’m not a normal ren’dorei–or as normal as they go. The taint goes back before the Telogrus Rift. I was never there actually–“
“Slow down before you hurt yourself,” Keelath grunted. The familiar phrase brought tears to sting Evelos’ eyes, and he flipped.
“What about you?” Evelos snapped out. “You’ve been dead for decades, and now you turn up, out of the blue? Did Sylvanas raise you? Or was it the Lich King? Where have you been all these years? Who sent you here? Is it another one of Tyrdan’s ploys?”
Keelath looked at him in confusion, and Evelos bit down on his tongue.
“No, it was not Tyrdan’s idea,” Keelath said slowly. “It was Breyd’s. She seemed rather annoyed at me, really.”
“So you’re not going to bring me back to the Undercity, are you?”
Keelath raised an eyebrow at the note of desperation in his son’s voice. “The Undercity is in no condition for any person, living or undead, to go there now,” Keelath remarked drolly.
“You know what I mean,” Evelos said in a choked voice.
“No, I don’t, actually. You are not making much sense. You’re jumping all around like a frightened jackrabbit. Slow down.”
Evelos swallowed hard at the admonishment. They both stared at their hands at the same time–like father, like son.
“Breyd said she believed the Forsaken had something to do with your…current condition,” Keelath said gently after a pause. “Is that why you are nervous before me?”
“Yes,” Evelos admitted.
“Why? What did you do?”
“I defied them.”
Evelos looked up into Keelath’s eyes. “Were you…aware, at that time? Did you know about the naaru?”
“I barely know what a naaru even is,” said Keelath dryly.
Then he didn’t know. Evelos went quiet, chewing it over. How could he explain? “When the Scourge came,” he started slowly, “and when they destroyed the Sunwell, our people’s connection to the Light failed. Or many of ours did. To help, Kael’thas went to the Outlands and imprisoned a naaru, a creature holy to the Light. He bid us draw power from it.”
Keelath listened, unblinking–and unbreathing. Evelos swallowed hard and continued.
“But I refused. I told them it was wrong. When they didn’t listen, I–I and a bunch of others who thought the same attacked the Blood Knight Enclave. Most of them–didn’t make it.
“They took me instead to Undercity. They put enchantments on my mind so I couldn’t fight back. They made me do…things…against my will. Through it all, I thought it was the naaru telling me what to do. The Light.”
Keelath snorted, his breath misty even in the warm room. “How could they corrupt it so?” His tone sounded doubtful.
“I don’t know,” said Evelos. “The magister who did it had been a priest of the Holy Light before the Scourge came. Maybe that was part of it. But I found it was only by reaching out to the Shadow–what I thought was the Shadow–that I could resist the enchantments for a time.”
“I don’t know about this naaru business, but perhaps you should have trusted the Forsaken and not fought back,” Keelath said coldly.
“You mean become a willing slave?” Evelos shook his head hard. “No. I… It doesn’t matter now, anyway. It’s already happened. Whether or not it was the real thing at first, the real thing still found a way in. The Shadow became a part me.”
“And you became a ren’dorei.”
“No. Or I don’t know–perhaps that’s when the seed was actually planted. It was several years later when it…truly manifested.” Evelos clenched and unclenched his hands, sight distant. “I had gone to Draenor with the Alliance. There was a void god there, in Shadowmoon Valley, near where the Alliance built their fortifications.”
Keelath nodded. “I know of that campaign.”
“The void god, it–I felt drawn to it. I used the Shadow frequently enough back then. It’s like feeling the sun on the back of your neck–” Evelos felt the Void’s tentacles make a squirm for sure that time. “–only constantly, and with the power of the Void.”
Keelath’s hand drifted to his runesword. Evelos tried not to look at it, tried not to think of what was going through his father’s head. He kept forcing the story out.
“The Pale Orcs found me. Did something to me. The taint is more than just a taint. They tried to make one of the n’raqi live–hatch–inside me.”
“The Faceless?” Keelath’s words came out in a hiss. His hand was tighter on his sword now, and he sat up stiffly, as if he would launch himself at Evelos at any moment.
Evelos couldn’t bear it any longer. He tore off his hood. The spikes of the Void, usually lying flush with his prematurely-gray hair, flared outward with the movement and sent the tentacles on his neck to writhing. Evelos glanced at Keelath, and the sin’dorei’s expression of disgust struck him to the core.
“What are you?” Keelath growled. The sword was half-drawn.
Evelos reached out and put a hand over Keelath’s. Keelath snarled, and Evelos flinched, but didn’t pull away. He cupped his father’s cold hand with his own, as if he could warm the knight’s undeath away.
“I’m still Evelos,” he said in a small voice. “Still your son. They didn’t succeed. Not entirely, anyway.”
Keelath stared at him, and Evelos wasn’t sure if it was his father’s undeath or his natural reticence that kept his face like an expressionless mask. “It wasn’t the Forsaken who did this,” Keelath said after a long pause. “They do not have that art. I would know if so.”
“Art,” spat Evelos.
Keelath gave him a quelling look. “I suppose if the n’raqi had overtaken your mind, you wouldn’t disparage it so.” He took a breath to give a sigh, relaxing back into the chair. Evelos still clung to his hand, and Keelath let go of the runesword with his other to place on top of his son’s fingers. Evelos shivered, then relaxed.
Keelath looked away. “So now you live among the ren’dorei, who have been…transformed in a similar manner.”
Keelath tapped his fingers on his sword’s hilt and then shoved it back fully into its sheath. “I suppose it is one thing we have in common,” he said darkly. “You and I are both monsters now, whether we will it or no.”
Evelos shook his head quickly, one of the tentacles bruising his ear. “You’re not a monster, Dad. Anything that the Lich King or Sylvanas did to you can be mended. You’re still you, under all that.”
“Am I?” Keelath looked back up, and his smile was cold. “I remember nothing of my past life–of ours. I must have blood or flesh to feed on or I lose my sanity.” He shook his head. “I came here today thinking I might need to kill you. If not for your taint, then for your refusal to bow to the might of the Horde.”
“And eat me?” Evelos offered.
Keelath frowned at him.
“We can survive this,” Evelos said softly, looking at the their hands, still one atop the other. “It’s what Uncle is always saying. It’s the sin’dorei way. …or ren’dorei, or quel’dorei, whatever you’d call me–us–now.”
“Sin’dorei,” said Keelath firmly. “For myself. But you…let us speak of your current loyalties.”
“I fight with the Alliance,” said Evelos, his tone level.
“I see,” said Keelath. He paused. “I warn you now, I will not dishonor myself by steering clear of you if we meet in battle. I serve the Dark Lady, full-heartedly.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to,” Evelos, without any trace of accusation. “You needn’t worry. I’m employed by the Stormwind Watch, and we’re forbidden to go to the front. Unless you’re attacking Redridge, Elwynn Forest, Duskwood or Westfall, we wouldn’t meet.”
Keelath nodded. “The war may still turn that way,” he warned.
“Then we’re all doomed anyway.”
Keelath’s nostrils flared, but if he took offense to the comment, he didn’t say.
“Dad,” Evelos murmured. “I love you. A lot of things have changed, and the world will keep on changing…but that won’t.”
When Keelath raised an eyebrow at him, Evelos closed his eyes tight and turned his head away.
Keelath quietly laced the void elf’s hair through his fingers, an unconscious mirroring of what he used to do when Evelos had been a boy. He ran one his fingers up the shaft of a Void spike, tapping the end of it. “I said this to Breyd, but I don’t think she understood me. It’s not for nothing that the Forsaken do not care to mingle with their living kin.”
“Beyond the bloodlust and the cannibalism you mean?” Evelos said dryly.
“There is that, too,” Keelath said honestly. “But no. It’s because we are so changed. Our desires are no longer that of the living. If we were once paladins, the Light now shuns us, and we take care not to think of what was done in the Lich King’s name in the case we are overcome by melancholy. Still. There was a time, when I remembered just enough of myself to know I had had a family…a son. I promised myself–and them–I would go on fighting in their name. Everything I would do, I would do for them, even if I couldn’t lay eyes on them again. My hands–“
Evelos surged into him, and Keelath tensed, half-expecting an attack, but the elf had just put him in a tight, tearful embrace.
“Oh, come now, are we ten years old?” Keelath muttered.
“Shut up,” Evelos said fiercely into his shoulder. “Just shut up. Let me hold you.”
Keelath sighed, and after a moment’s thought, loosely wrapped his arms about his son’s shoulders, suppressing an inward squirm when he felt more appendages of the Void moving under Evelos’ shirt.
“I suppose I can’t judge you,” he murmured, trying to find a space in Evelos’ hair he could pat without getting spiked. He gave up. “I like your intended,” he added, “though I hope you can handle her fire.”
“I love her,” Evelos murmured.
“One would hope,” answered Keelath.
Evelos sat up and back, then. “Have you heard or seen anything of Mother?”
Keelath eyed him. “No.”
“She loved you dearly. She…blamed me for your death.”
Both of Keelath’s eyebrows went up this time. He wouldn’t be surprised by much else from this family.
“We’ll work on finding her, after we settle the issue of Breyd with my uncle.” Evelos swallowed, and looked like he was about to puke again. “It’ll work out,” he said anyway, frowning at Keelath as if daring him to believe otherwise.
“It’ll work out,” Keelath echoed softly. He rubbed a knuckle against Evelos’ cheek. Keelath’s expression didn’t change, but Evelos hoped it had been a demonstration of affection.
“You’ll have to be patient with me, I’m afraid,” said Keelath. “It’s not every day three perfect strangers accost me claiming me as kin and demanding I give them their blessings to do whatever hare-brained part they foresee as being theirs in some grand family drama, you know.”
Evelos laughed despite himself. “I will try to be less dramatic, and patient,” he assured the death knight. He tilted his head. “You do want to see us more often, don’t you?”
“It is tempting to walk out now, begging ignorance,” said Keelath, and Evelos’ face fell. Keelath jabbed him with a finger. “But I won’t.”
“We’ll help you remember,” Evelos promised.
“You’re assuming that is a good thing.”
“It is,” Evelos insisted.
“Very well,” said Keelath with a sigh. “Now, if I weren’t mistaken, our hour is up.”
“Oh,” said Evelos, and he quickly ran for the door, before the wards could activate and literally throw them out on the street.
After they recovered their breath and returned the key, Evelos had to return to his duties in Stormwind. Keelath elected to stay in Dalaran, though his undead body had no need of rest. He had a lot to think about, and a lot to adjust to. It would be a long night.