What Darkness Lies, Part 7

Mirium continued to walk backward as Keelath started to move forward again. “That is not the right answer to that question, mister!”

This post was rewritten as part of the Great Revision. Unlike the previous one, which I reluctantly classified as non-canon, this one is canon.

Author’s Note

The next time Mirium saw Keelath, months had passed since their last letters. Tyrric had spoken to her about it, expressing disapproval with their choice not to re-marry. After a few snippish arguments, he had lapsed into silence and refused to speak any further about it, and Mirium had mostly put it from her mind.

Seeing Keelath standing outside Tyrric’s study then, his black armor coated in ice, his helmet shielding his face from view, brought the uncomfortable issue swiftly wheeling back. Continue reading “What Darkness Lies, Part 7”

What Darkness Lies, Part 6

It was the gift of the dead, to move while asleep. To do without thinking. To serve without questioning.

You walk around like a clenched fist rather than an open hand, brother. I think you close yourself off from…what life can still be.”

Tyrric’s words echoed in Keelath’s head, as clingy as the blood flies that walked on his undead skin and sought holes in the enchantment that kept rot and maggots from his flesh. Night had fallen, and the blood flies had thankfully settled down with the cooling if the air, but Keelath’s grim thoughts remained.

The dark rangers of Keelath’s company had departed to scout out the remains of the Alliance army. Keelath made about as much noise as a pack of rampaging brutosaurs when he tried to move in the thick muck and undergrowth of Nazmir, so he stayed behind, using his sleepless night to help maintain the gear of the other Horde soldiers.

The scrape of the grindstone and the soft patter of polish onto breastplates could only distract him for so long, though. In some ways, that was what the entire thing was: a distraction.

“I am here because I am useful here,” he muttered to the night air. The other Forsaken nearby ignored him. Just as many of them had talked to themselves when the loss and the self-recriminations got too great, and it was an unspoken courtesy to let their fellows alone in their brooding. So long as you could still fight, that was good enough, and talking about it just reminded them all of experiences they would rather forget.

“I am good at war, and so I fight,” said Keelath to the darkness beyond his little forge. “What else is left to me? The Light I once served now burns me. I cannot give my once-wife life in her belly, or the love she craves… My brother holds the barony, with a warlock fir his bride. My own son is corrupted and dying.

“There is naught I can do for any of it. To think of it is sadness. To think otherwise is foolishness. So I don’t think. I do what I can still do, and do well, and that is this war.”

Keelath glanced at the stars: the beacons of hope for so many elves. Now they looked cold and distant; their mother had turned her face from him. “Perhaps my brother still sees a way,” Keelath murmured. “Perhaps for the living, there is. For the dead there is only servitude until we are dust.”

So telling himself, he lapsed back into the mindless work of sharpening blades and cleaning armor, letting his thoughts drift and then become still. It was the gift of the dead, to move while asleep. To do without thinking.

To serve without questioning.

“We are a family in death,” muttered Keelath. “My family is my life…my unlife.”

When the dark rangers returned with information on the Alliance’s location, Keelath smiled grimly at them. The Forsaken unit picked up to leave. The Dark Lady called them to war, Keelath rode, lance in one hand, cold determination in his heart.

What Darkness Lies, Part 5 (NSFW)

They agreed then they were too different now, too likely to hurt each other, too likely to do something they would both regret. The living and the dead…

Not-Safe-For-Work due to a scene involving sex. This post explores the relationship between Mirium and Keelath a little more in the wake of Keelath becoming a death knight. Continue reading “What Darkness Lies, Part 5 (NSFW)”

What Darkness Lies, Part 3

This fanfiction short was inspired by a roleplay scene wherein Tyrdan (now Tyrric) confronted Keelath about his loyalty to Warchief Sylvanas and her war. Tyrric sees Keelath as surrendering to his curse and not questioning dishonorable authority enough, while Keelath sees the whole thing as a cold necessity of his new existence.

The idea of drinking blood restarting an undead heart was an idea I stole from the game-novel “Choice of Vampires”. I think it explained well why living flesh might have such a draw for the undead, in a way that’s not completely cliche and also not a complete depart from Warcraft lore. Keelath is a bit of an uncanonical cross between a ghoul, the death knight player class, and a San’layn, in that flesh, pain, and blood all “feed” him, though the latter most of all. I can understand the developers’ choice of not delving too deeply into the death knight addiction to violence so as not to hem their players in, but I also see it as humanizing the death knights a little too much, not taking literary advantage of the awful choices the undead have to make when trying to be a part of living society. Sylvanas is a wonderful villain in that she’s a horrible person from the point of view of our Real Life sensibilities, but taken in this context, her actions start making a little bit of unfortunate sense, too.

This post was given minor edits as part of the Great Revision in July 2021.

Author’s Note

The cavalry waited in the copse, flanks pressed alongside flanks, noses resting on tails. The horses didn’t mind the close quarters, because they were dead, risen and given purpose by necromantic magics uninterested in such civilities as personal space. Continue reading “What Darkness Lies, Part 3”

What Darkness Lies, Part 2

“We could get through this,” he said.
“We could, but sometimes, maybe it is better to just let go.”

Keelath’s flesh was cool against hers. The death knight rarely took breaths, just as he rarely needed sleep, and both notions pervaded Mirium’s thoughts. She could almost believe she was lying next to a corpse, and that notion had startled her out of sleep in the middle of the night at least once.

But that’s what he was now, wasn’t he? Continue reading “What Darkness Lies, Part 2”

What Darkness Lies, Part 1

Another long conversation piece, along the lines of The Long Talk and Reunion. (Reunion, being a fanfiction piece and speculation, has no relation to this post. It just represents a different take on Keelath and Mirium coming back together.)

This post was edited in July 2021, after first being created in May 2019.

Author’s Note

When Mirium woke up the next morning, she found herself staring at the ceiling for many long minutes. She was alone, despite the offered companionship of last night. She had turned Keelath away at the door. She couldn’t explain it, but she wasn’t ready yet to accept the death knight back, just like that, as if no years had passed since the day of his death.

Things had been a blur from the previous two days, a certain nightmare turned into an uncertain one. One minute she had lived in fear and starvation inside Ulduar, only to be delivered from the trap her hunters had laid forher by none other than her family. Yet that family was now a twisted mockery of itself, each person tainted or broken, changed from the people she remembered and loved.

Mirium wondered if perhaps Talthan’s research into the Void had done more than drive the two of them apart. Could it break worlds? Twist reality solely by existing? Her life had been turned on its head. Continue reading “What Darkness Lies, Part 1”