Forsaken

"Forsaken" is about a former High Elven Ranger reliving his final moments of life, and then a venture into the Undercity to have his opinions twisted in a moment of realization.

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1. Forsaken

    A single High Elf stood on a lush, green hillside. The ever blooming trees of Eversong stood as an ever present and beautiful backdrop to their beloved homeland. This Elf lowered his hood, exposing long platinum hair to the cool spring breeze. Fierce eyes glowed a soft blue, still vibrant with Arcane energy from his morning commune with the Sunwell.

    His green tunic was ornately designed and inlaid with mithril and various precious gems, crafted with great care from some of the greatest artisans in Quel'thalas. This Elf was a Ranger of Silvermoon, trusted with the protection of a land he loved, and in service to King Anasterian. Few could ask for better.

    The Ranger held out his arm, allowing his closest ally a place to rest. He brought a finger up to the bird's breast, caressing it lightly. The hawk peered at the Ranger, meeting his gaze with its own fierce expression. Wordlessly, an understanding went between them. The hawk spread its wings and lifted from the Ranger's forearm, off on another mission for its most trusted ally.    

    The Ranger watched his companion fly off above the canopy of orange and red leaves, for a moment wishing that he could be up there as well. Smiling to himself, the Ranger knelt, surveying all that was before him. He watched as children played in the warmth of the artificial season, their parents and siblings close by, enjoying their lives. The life of a High Elf was one of luxury, of pleasure. The Ranger wanted to keep it that way.    

    The Ranger walked down the side of the hilltop, watching his kinsmen as he went. They didn't know he was there, not that he minded. He continued on his patrol to the southern gates of Quel'thalas. It was then that his companion returned to him. Fluttering in his face, the Ranger knew something was amiss. He drew his bow and readied an arrow, scanning the area for whatever had alerted his companion.

    The sight came faster than he had expected. From hills and all of the southern boundaries of Quel'thalas poured the Undead. Nerubians and Abominations, Liches and ghouls, all number of forsaken creatures rolled over the hills in a tide of blackness.

    Arrows flew from his bow as fast as he could ready them, even his companion did what it could to defend. One abomination would fall, and ten would rise in its place. For each of his kinsmen that fell, they would raise to fight against them.   

    Off in the distance, he heard something that brought hope to his heavy heart. Ranger-General Windrunner and her guard met the undead, cleaving them with her legendary prowess and fury. It warmed the Ranger's heart to see her in action.   He reached up to his quiver to ready another arrow when he felt something out of place. Looking down at his chest, he saw the damage before he felt it. A lance of ice pierced him and his vitals. The Ranger fell to the ground. He managed to crawl to the safety of a tree, and propping himself up, he watched helplessly as more and more Rangers fell to the undead machine.

    His companion fluttered down to him, landing on his lap. The Ranger tried to force his companion away, and his urgings fell on deaf ears. It was at that moment that their lives were extinguished. A rain of fire fell upon them, and they died together, in service to Quel'thalas.   

 

***    

 

    "I died here... defending Quel'thalas..." The Forsaken said, speaking to the group behind him. His distinctive High Elven features had faded, all but disappeared in the decade that had passed since the third war.  

    His companion rested on his shoulder, hanging on every word he said. The bird knew the story as well as he did. The Forsaken stared at the base of the tree for a long moment, remembering his final moments of life. Sometimes the memories were as vivid as if they had happened hours ago. Other times, other memories, they were as childhood experiences. Only flickers and brief moments remained.  

    Something stole his attention. He drew his bow, readying an arrow. The moment he layed his eyes on what had grabbed his attention, he loosed the arrow, an arrow filled with the remorse and hatred that filled his heart at that moment. From the shadows, one of the assassins of their organization leapt onto the target, knocking it off its feline mount. The Ranger's arrow hit home, piercing the spine of the Night Elf, and a moment later, one of the newest members of the Scythe leapt in to finish the job.  

    Kulex Galestrider smiled, as well as he could without lips. Welcome or not, he would always defend Quel'thalas from those that would defile it.  

 

***    

 

    He had returned to the Undercity after completing his mission. Kulex had been granted time to spend by himself, to collect his thoughts. Time he hadn't realized he had needed.   

    The former Ranger walked through the corridors in the Undercity, a limp in his stride and his companion by his side. Muninn, his ally in life and his closest friend in death, shared the curse of undeath with him. He walked past groups of Forsaken, conversing with eachother, trading goods, sharing critical information. It was easy to tell Forsaken apart, for him. The greater degree of rot in some indicated the individual had died and been raised during the third war. There were also a fair number of former High Elves among them. Those with very little decomposition were raised by the Banshee Queen's Valkyr, and were only human in life.  

    Kulex would occasionally get stares, even from his kinsmen. Being a former High Elf, he carried their bone structure and his heritage was obvious to those who paid attention. The freshly risen, however, stared at him like he was some sort of monster. His stage of decay would horrify most living, and he had reasoned that some of the freshly risen had not yet fully grasped the concept of being undead.   

    He ignored them, carrying on with his business, he didn't ever visit Undercity to be social. He never visited any place to be social. Kulex walked past the other Forsaken, ignoring their presence so thoroughly the others whispered and wondered if he was blind.   

    His mind was elsewhere the entire time. He had been reflecting on fading memories. His life in Quel'thalas, the position he used to hold, the purpose he had in life. Kulex's lip curled in anger. It had all been taken from him in one swift moment. One moment when the prince of Lordaeron had decided to invade Quel'thalas in pursuit of the Sunwell, to raise the Lich Kel'thuzad from the dead.   

    Kulex had stopped walking in front of a specific place before he had realized where he was. He was in front of the hallway that lead into the royal quarter. The place where the Banshee Queen spent most of her time. With his memories fresh in his mind, Kulex suddenly felt nervous at the prospect of seeing her again. In life, in service as a Ranger of Quel'thalas, he had never dared speak to Ranger-General Sylvanas. Now that they both shared the curse of undeath, how had that changed things?   

    Kulex took a step forward into the corridor, and had started walking down it before he realized what he was doing. As he turned the bend that lead into the royal chamber, his eyes fell on her. She stood talking with a Blood Elf ambassador and a handful of Kor'kron. In that moment though, Kulex didn't see the Dark Lady. He saw Sylvanas Windrunner, Ranger-General of Silvermoon, and she was every bit as beautiful as she was in life. He stared for a long moment, forgetting himself and where he was.   

    Reality called back to him, as one of the royal deathguards prodded him and told him to move along. His gaze shifted to the deathguard, taking in the features of the Forsaken. It was a horrible moment, and if his heart had still beat, it would have sunk. He looked back up at the Banshee Queen and saw her as she was now. She was the queen of the Forsaken, she had taken her natural skill and position as leader to do that for a population of lost individuals. A group of individuals that had since come together as a force in their own right, that had fought together to work toward ending Arthas.   

    And now... she was a queen that had allied with the Defiler's own Valkyr, and forced the curse of undeath on countless masses. In that moment, he hated his queen. All things they had been through as a nation, and she carelessly inflicted the curse on the unwilling. She was not his Ranger General any longer.   

    Kulex shrugged off the hand of the deathguard and turned to leave the royal chamber. He was Forsaken, and with a queen that had forgotten what all of them were struggling through to 'repopulate', they had all been forsaken again.           

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