World of Warcraft: Azshara's Champion

In the midst of a heated undersea conflict, one Naga warrior proves her worth to the delight of all her superiors but one. In the end, one duel will decide this warrior's future forever.


3. An Unexpected Arrival

A great noise was heard as water swirled and bubbled from the temple behind the Naga. Out of it slithered a massive creature that was both beautiful and hideous, menacing and yet seductive in some uncanny way. It was, and was not, a Naga. Where once had been a mane of beautiful, silver hair, its head was now comprised of four large, living serpents that seemed to glare at the group of Naga with entrancing scarlet eyes. The creature’s violet skin was as smooth as pearl. It grasped a long, elegant javelin in the hand of its upper-right arm. The creature was magnificently bejeweled. Gold bracelets speckled with fire opals adorned the wrists of four long arms, and a gold necklace set with large rubies hung about its neck. Floating over its head was a crown that shone as if it were made of diamonds, and yet it seemed to have been wrought from the very stars of heaven.


Mal’zara’s eyes grew extremely wide as she had turned to see the newcomer. She swiftly prostrated herself upon the sand as though she would serve as the creature’s personal carpet, and shouted a command to the rest of the Naga, who were already following suit.


“All hail the Light of Lights, our most revered Sovereign Queen, Azshara, Empress of Nazjatar!” She did not look up to behold the beautiful elven face of her mistress, but gazed down upon the earth beneath her, and was so still it seemed she had become one of the many fallen statues that dotted the ruins of Dol’Remar.


Azshara stood taller than any other Naga. Indeed, she had continuously grown both in stature and in power over the countless millennia that she had lived, biding her time in earnest until the moment would present itself in which she would reclaim the world that once was hers, that had always belonged only to her.


Azshara’s countenance was stern and commanding; none dared look into her blood-red eyes. Two Naga, themselves lavishly adorned, stood behind the queen. Mal’zara had quickly identified them when she first saw them. The Ladies Telana and Nera’yala had been with Azshara during the Sundering just as she, but they were never separated from their queen, and were always ready to do her bidding.


“My cherished Mal’zara.” Azshara sang her name as if it held some significance to her other than her own. Her voice had not much changed since the Sundering, though it was deeper than it had been, more commanding. Yet it possessed the selfsame seductiveness that drove people mad, commanding them to vie for her favor and affection, demanding that they please her by surrendering their lives to her will.


“I am yours to command, Vision of Perfection,” Mal’zara said. She swallowed hard, but the lump that had formed in her long throat would not dissipate.


Azshara glanced around at her environment with an obvious look of disdain. She continued in her singsong voice. “Do you know why I am here, Lady Mal’zara? Do you know what has drawn my attention to this rather quaint location?”


“I would not dare offer you any guess, Light of Lights, for I do not desire to disgrace you with foolish answers. Why have you chosen to grace us with your most reverent presence?”


“I find that someone has greatly displeased me.”


Mal’zara’s heart sank. Her voice quivered as she answered. “Is it I who have thus displeased you so grievously, my Goddess?”


“No, my beloved handmaiden.” Azshara drew Mal’zara up from the ground to face her, gently clasping her head with two strong hands. She smiled at her sweetly, though the depth of insincerity in her demeanor could readily be felt. Mal’zara began to tremble. Azshara’s red eyes stared into Mal’zara’s own yellow eyes, instilling greater fear.


The smile vanished from her face, and her voice became as cold as ice, almost hideous. “Not you. Another.” Azshara began to impart some message to her handmaiden, though no words passed from her full, dark lips.


Like all the rest of the Naga, Nar’jira and Zalgasz also had prostrated themselves before their queen, but with different intentions. For Nar’jira, it was to revere the one who had inspired confidence and great admiration in her all her life, the one for whom she had slain countless enemies. For Zalgasz, it was merely feigned obeisance, for the opportunity served him well for what he really desired: to slay his enemy while the queen addressed her handmaiden.


“I will not tolerate your existence any longer,” he hissed in a cold whisper, loud enough for her to hear him. “It is you who have displeased Her Glory! If my venom could not destroy you, then the cold steel of my blades will!” She turned her head to regard the general racing towards her, a jagged sword in one of his hands. So this was how it was to end, then? To be slain by a coward seeking to satiate his bitter revenge, and in the presence of Azshara?


A long javelin shot forward at breakneck speed, as if it had been thrown in air and not in water. Glowing a fiery red color, it tore through General Zalgasz’s body, piercing straight through his heart, emerging out the other end of his body and continuing through the water into the horizon. He gazed down at where the javelin had impaled him, gaped in horror at the cloud of blood flowing into the water, and then looked back up to find himself staring into the glaring eyes of his queen, who suddenly appeared before him. Those crimson eyes of wrath were the last thing he ever saw. He let out a slow hiss and died.

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