The Shaping of Seryth, Chapters 13 – 15

Chapter 15: Fresh in his disguise, Seryth arrived in Dalaran. He kept a low profile, claiming he was only a traveling mage wanting to see and study Val'sharah. It was bittersweet to see the city of mages hadn't changed much since he had last been there. It was good seeing that the people still thrived, but it also stung that perhaps he hadn't been nearly so important to them as he had once believed. Or perhaps, the citizenry had willingly forced memories of him from their minds, despite his sizeable impact on them. Seryth tried not to dwell on it. He had a job to do in Val'sharah.

Upon arriving in Val’sharah, Seryth avoided the night elven dwellings, instead choosing to rough it in the woods. He didn’t expect his poor woodsmanship to fool the druids into missing his presence, but he hoped his disguise would at least keep them from connecting him to the Zilv’natha: the Seryth who had borne the blade of Nathssysn to such terrible results in the forests once before.

His first kill was a giant carrion bird, twisted by fel to feed on the living instead of just corpses. Seryth didn’t remember creating that one, and he wondered if it was one of the demons that he had attracted from the Twisting Nether, or perhaps the offspring of one of his own creations.

He pushed the thought of the latter from his mind. He was setting things to rights now, and there could be no dwelling on his dark past. At least, not that part of the past…

He found the remnants of his demonic forces had fortified themselves in Black Rook Hold. Though he was nearly as powerful as he had been before losing the shard, Seryth knew he couldn’t take them on alone.

Uneasily he approached the people of Bradensbrook for help. An elf he didn’t know agreed to sneak him through a barely-remembered tunnel under the walls.

Seryth asked the elf how he knew of the old tunnel. The elf shame-facedly replied he had always had an interest in the old lord of the demons. It took Seryth a few moments to realize the elf must have been talking about him, as he was under the Nathssysn’s influence. He bitterly scolded the young elf, telling him such a person was no one to be revered. The elf was taciturn after that, but brought Seryth the rest of the way up into the keep.

From there, Seryth began his cleansing of the demonic forces. Trapped behind their lines, it was deathly dangerous work, but he found a thrill in it, stronger than any bloodlust the Nathssysn had ever lent to him. He had no fear of death, for if he was to die here and now, it would be a good death, doing the right thing.

It jolted him briefly when he recognized some of the demons’ lieutenants. Some he only recognized through the Nathssysn’s eyes: eternal demons famous within the Twisting Nether. Others he recognized as the people he had twisted, now given in to their demonic corruption. It splashed cold water on his ambitions to wipe out the fortress, as he wondered if any of them could possibly be redeemed. They had made their choice, but so had he, once upon a time. If he could eventually choose differently, couldn’t they? Wouldn’t they?

While scouring the southern end of the Hold, he found evidence of civilians being held prisoner: confiscated weapons, transcripts of torture sessions. He aimed his next strike into the Hold’s dungeons.

Seryth found others besides civillians in the dungeons. There were soldiers here, too, both paladins and druids of the old Val’sharah alliances, as well as those people he had corrupted with demonic energy. It seemed some of his old soldiers had tried rebelling against the demons after Seryth’s supposed death.

Seryth freed them all, explaining nothing and refusing to identify himself. He could do little for those who were close to death, trusting that one of the druids still had some healing magic to expend.

He rallied the prisoners to attack the demons, leading the fight to one of his old generals. The battle gave him uncomfortable memories of similar rallies in the past, and once the general was slain, Seryth left without a word, calling on Malfas to bring him far away, to a location he couldn’t be tracked.

Val’sharah would be haunted by demons for some time, but Seryth felt satisfied he had dealt them a major blow, which the paladins still stationed in Val’sharah could capitalize on to secure the forests.

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