When he didn’t think about it, things were fine.
He had replaced the squires who had left the manor, all with good sin’dorei stock from Silvermoon, who looked up to him with respect and admiration and viewed his indulgences with his warlock wife with good humor or at least with acceptance. The training was progressing even faster than before, and Tyrric was fiercely proud of his students. Once N’Zoth showed his tentacled face to the Horde, these men and women would be among the first to start poking the creature’s many eyes out, Tyrric was sure.
And so the days were good, a fuzzy warmth of pride interrupted occasionally by the intoxicating glee of a duel to test his squires’ skills. Those always ended too quickly, he felt. Then at night, he engaged in another kind of duel and retired with his wife, consistently each night for the first time in months. With the peace declared between Alliance and Horde, there was a lull in the fighting, which Tyrric sought to fill eagerly.
But his hopes for a pleasant training season would eventually be quashed. Not for the first time, and so he tried to grin and bear it when the disappointments cropped up. Never let anyone see in him what might be weakness, a crack to reveal him and exploit….
One of those disappointments was that Alelsa was colder to him. The leaving of the squires had shaken her, Tyrric believed, despite how many times he sought to assure her they had been the weakest of the lot, that they could stand to lose them, that it was even better that they had left!
“Yes, but did you ever think about what it had meant to me?” she had returned hotly one time.
“Isn’t that what I am doing now?” he returned. Honestly he was confused, and a little annoyed at her vehemence.
“No. You’re only thinking of your paladin empire,” Alelsa replied bitterly, and then did some warlock thing to disappear to another dimension before he could reply.
He had gotten very angry then–how dare she not give him a chance to talk things through! Yet he had clenched his teeth and borne it, trying to shove it to the back of his mind so he could concentrate on more pressing matters–such as beginning the mental training of his squires, to prepare them against the telepathic lies and attacks by the Old God and his minions. For that, he requested a trainer from the greater Horde, and they supplied one, though not one to Tyrric’s liking.
The priest that had come to help lay wards and teach mental discipline was a Forsaken. Tyrric greeted him with immediate dislike, but he conceded the point of the Horde’s leadership: that they could not suffer any infighting now. Still, he took his pleasure by making the priest’s stay as unpleasant as possible, with little jabs and teases and the odd slight with seating arrangements at the dinner table or posting the loudest squire at the priest’s door at night while he was trying to sleep–if the undead did sleep. That piece was downright creepy and unnatural, Tyrric held, though privately.
The priest, gratifyingly so, began to hate Tyrric right back. Tyrric took it as a sign of the quality of his techniques. He had learned them from his brother, taking innumerable brotherly taunts and spats and twisting them to suit his undead target instead. It seemed to work well, and would ensure the priest wouldn’t return after his duty to the Horde was done.
Yet, every once in a while, Tyrric would stop and wonder how this much good could come out of his brother’s cruelty, and then that thought was stopped further still when he realized he couldn’t remember Keelath ever actually being cruel to him. At least that sudden vertigo wouldn’t last for long; he would lay eyes on the Forsaken and remember that lying about his intentions was just one more way his brother had abused him. This little bit of revenge against Keelath and his loyalties was then sweet.
It didn’t surprise Tyrric, not really, when after going through a number of meditation exercises with the squires one day, the Forsaken pulled Tyrric aside and told him it was his turn. Tyrric submitted to the suggestion gracefully enough, but his ire began to prickle again when the Forsaken led him, not to the gardens, but to Alelsa’s laboratory under the manor.
And surprise beyond surprises, Alelsa was there as well.
“I see you’ve been dragged into this most entertaining pastime as well,” he said to her drolly, and hoped the barb in his words hit the Forsaken.
“Tyrric…”Alelsa began sharply, then suddenly deflated again when he glared at her. That was more like it.
“Your wife believes you may have picked up a taint of the Void while fighting in Nazjatar,” said the Forsaken priest, much to Tyrric’s annoyance, in the following pause. “She has asked we meet here, under the wards of her lab, to investigate.”
Tyrric stared hard at his wife for a moment, but she was carefully examining her nails. So he sighed, rolled his eyes hard, and brought up a strong shield of the Light around his being. Remembering Keelath’s undead aversion to the Light, he turned up its power, smirking when the Forsaken obligingly flinched.
“If I were so tainted, do you really think I could do this?” Tyrric asked lazily.
“Priests of the Forsaken mix the two magics all the time,” Alelsa said softly and was rewarded with another glare.
“And that spell should’ve purged all corruption from me if there was any,” Tyrric retorted. “Uther’s Divine Shield, they call it, though you really do think he could have used it in his fight against Arthas if he had really been the mastermind behind its creation.”
His wife and the Forsaken said nothing, only looking at each other uneasily. Tyrric saw the uncertainty, and he didn’t like it. He decided to take control of the situation immediately.
“There, now that that’s done, maybe you can tell me why you ever possibly thought I had been corrupted.”
Alelsa winced at the barb. Tyrric gazed at her from under half-lidded eyes. He sensed the Forsaken puffing himself indignantly, but what could that priest do, really? Tyrric was pretty sure he knew where the trouble really lay now, and what was between his wife and him was not for the Forsaken to worry about.
“Well?” he asked when Alelsa still came up empty for words.
She let out a breath. “Nevermind. I was mistaken. I hope you can forgive me.”
“Of course,” Tyrric purred, suddenly all syrup and warmth now that she had admitted her error. You had to lavish praise on them sometimes, to get the Titans’ creations to obey–wait. To get his underlings the obey. …no. To soothe his wife’s feelings after she had been hurt. There, that was better. Where had the rest come from? Perhaps he was working too hard..
“There now, why don’t we go to lunch and forget all about this incident?” said Tyrric, offering his hands to Alelsa, and she put hers in his willingly, with a little smile. Better. No, perfect.
Perfect, that is, until the Forsaken cleared his throat, with a ghastly gurgling that reminded Tyrric of just how little throat the man had left. Yet the situation was still his to control, so he broke in before the Forsaken could say anything.
“But yes, I agree, it’s very important everyone is tested for the influence of the Void before we march into battle. Start with the squires, especially that Lightfeather fellow; I believe I saw some peculiar shifting of the eyes going on when he gave me my oath.” He smiled as reassuringly as he could to the wife. “Of course, the leader of the unit is most important of all to be checked. Once my squires are done, we’ll come back down here and let this little man run his tests on me. That will put you at ease, won’t it?”
“It will,” Alelsa agreed quietly.
Of course, by that time Tyrric was resolved to have replaced the Forsaken priest with someone a little less pushy. Did the priest suspect? Tyrric looked at the Forsaken and made a little smile-turned-smirk. Whether he did or not, there was certainly nothing he could do about it. And if he did try, he was a Forsaken, and Tyrric could simply out him as a Banshee loyalist and be done with him. The smirk turned into a grin.
The Forsaken, in response, only considered him grimly and then bowed low, taking the opportunity to exit the room. Tyrric turned back to his wife, who was plucking at his shirt insistently.
“It’s not even noon, dear. But, oh, I think you need indulging. Shall we?” Tyrric asked coyly.
Alelsa stiffened in his arms, then abruptly relaxed. Was there resignation in her eyes? That wouldn’t do….
“Yes, beloved,” she said to him softly, and there was another flash of meaning in her eyes that Tyrric couldn’t decipher, before she leaned against one of her work tables.
Couldn’t decipher, and soon enough, was too busy to, anyway. Disaster turned triumph, as Tyrric knew he had a knack of doing.