“My patience is wearing thin, cur. Your mission was to be in and out of that fel-forsaken institution in a month.” came a deep, rumbling voice from an obsidian device. There sat a slim figure, cloaked in shadows. Only the piercing green of their eyes illuminated a familiar stone in a clawed hand. “You underestimate the level of surveillance I am under... sir.” The last word was almost spat out. Dripping like the same venom that coated his talons. A snarl came from the device. “Despite your borderline insubordinate tone, need I remind you of why, exactly, you have been positioned there? The word of Lord Sargeras is law.”
A pause. The figure sat down, lowering his voice to a harsh whisper. “I am well aware of that. Don’t forget that I took on this assignment willingly. We lost far too much research with the fall of Abra'Xioros. Director Ra’zuul’s work was crucial to our war effort. There will be blood to pay. By my hand, if no one else’s.”
“Then where is it? You’ve already struck down one target. Why not finish the rest and be done with the matter?”
“Because, if I go in knives blazing, they can and will kill me. I am forced to go slowly. To maintain this pitiful facade while I unravel what stitches I can. My venom does it work, incapacitating while keeping them alive. For now, anyway... One dose of the secondary agent and their system shuts down...” A clawed hand took ahold of a pencil, snapping it in half for emphasis. “For good. The broodmother assured me this when we were crafting the toxins.”
The voice from the device spoke up again, still piercingly deep, but sounding disinterested at the ramblings of their cohort. “Yes. You and the broodmother, for those long hours, alone in her quarters. I’m sure you got plenty of work done.” The fel-fire in the shadow’s eyes surged in intensity, before dying back down. “It is hard enough keeping composure when dealing with jokes like that here. I do not need you doing them as well, sir.” The figure sighed, running a claw along their temple. “You don’t want to compromise the mission, now do you?”
A sneering snicker echoes from the transmitter. “Do not forget that if you fail, we send in the Inquisition. The pitiful minds of that so-called University will be turned to obedient servants of the Legion. We only allowed you the task first because of the Commander’s... fondness for you.” With this comment, the shadowed figure slammed a fist upon the device, stopping the transmission with the Azerothian equivalent of angrilly slamming a phone back on the receiver. He collapsed onto a nearby couch, pillow over his head, not caring that their horns were puncturing the fabric.
“Each passing day, I’m more and more certain they sent me here to die. There’s no information to be gathered. No benefit in killing them all. Too many of those mutts around here, too nosy for their own good. And that damnable gnome... her hand has kept me at arm’s length from the head of this organization for too long. Even if I did manage, it would only create a martyr. Lyca has not stopped her research since the incident, like an engine of spite and caffeine. Her and that strange human are too good of a team. The Twins’ puppet can sniff me out from a mile and then ignite me without glancing. Those Steeles, each one a pain in their own way; I dare not go near the young one, and his father is no better. At least those that practise have been on leave. The child of Twilight is a wildcard. No idea when or where or who they will be. Their pet eredar would plant a mace so far up my ass I’d see Mac’Aree from Deepholm. Knitsbrad is far too lucky for their own good. Lupin is a wildcard of their own accord. The half-elf is no threat unless they see you. The guards here have been on high alert since then, too. Except Eike, but I hear they never really were. The hound, on the other hand... He’s suspicious. And all of this doesn’t matter anyway. Fresh blood comes with the moons. Fresh blood that already is far too close for me to understand. All of the students are leaving for break, too. Except the one being the largest of pains.”
He chuckled mirthlessly to himself. “That [word I won’t say but it starts with a b] will hunt me to the ends of the universe for that I did. There might not be the option to flee anymore, though. We’ve lost the Worldbreaker and the High Command. That leaves my superior without a superior. Knowing these stubborn mortals, Sargeras himself will fall before long. Though I dare not say that to anyone if I want to keep my tongue.” The figure sighed, running a hand along their scaled flesh, cracked with fel. “If only I had lost mine a long time ago. Then I might not have made such stupid decisions while blinded by rage. At this point, I’m not even sure if he truly cared about me, now that I remember what true affection looks like. Eredar are such cruel creatures. They hardly retained anything but power from their lives before.”
“And the more I stay here, surrounded by life and the shadows of the moon, the more I remember of my home. We were foolish to accept the fel. All for a stupid argument against our own families.” He sighed, rubbing at the aching base of a horn. “Millions and millions of worlds assimilated into our nihilistic crusade... I don’t even remember what mine was called. I don’t remember any family, or friends. Only flashes of things before. Shadowed glades and shimmering bazaars full of the lands’ bounty. ...Funny, how the best memory is how those sheets felt on my skin. Like the light of the moon draped across the ponds. I suppose that just goes to show how selfish I was then. How selfish I am now.”
“Nothing I could do will change how this war will end. Not even delay it, I’d wager. At this point, all I am doing is following the orders of a cruel taskmaster, who cares not if I live or die, all for a plan that we knew would end in our own destruction regardless. Everyone in the Legion gave up hope the minute they willingly took up the mantle. It was beat out of everyone else. But yet, here stands a candle in the darkness. A world filled with creatures, who live and die in the blink of my eye, so full of hope that they would stand toe to toe with a titan, just to save the scarred and broken rock they cling so desperately to.”
“I stole the life of a good man, just so I could end it all. To wipe this miserable place off the face of creation and have it all made anew in the eyes of a being gone mad. I struck down countless others before and after. Had all of them known what they were fighting for? Because now, I’m not even sure if I know who I am anymore, let alone my cause.”
“Reversing the physical damage would be easy... Just schedule a drop-off of the raw components and them happen to be ‘found’ by someone of interest...” He smirked, shaking his head. “And now I’m talking treason to help the ones I came here to kill. Wouldn’t be the first time. I can only hope it won’t be the last. This place... it creates deserters. An army of its own against the darkness. Their weapons are knowledge and compassion and companionship. For fel’s sake, they have ex-Legion here already. The undead. The forgotten and reviled. Those without homes. Even those with one gain another.”
“And I haven’t had a home for so many thousands of years now. Would it really be worth risking everything? To return to what I knew, numb and ridiculed? Or place what faith I have left in people who actively seek my demise?” He frowned, fingers grazing along the collar he wore. It was a thick band of metal, lined with the fel, teeth facing inward to his neck, always there to remind him of his purpose here. Of his purpose there, too. Removing it would likely mean his death, one way or another. If the enchantments on it don’t devour his soul, it would return to the nether, where his superiors would handle matters themselves. And that doesn’t include the feature he knew only as ‘remote detonation.’
He winced, and shook his head. “They still can use this on me. My next report is due soon... Nothing has been accomplished. Less than nothing... I’ve lost ground.” The figure slowly rose, donning their disguise once more as he looked upon the daggers in his hand. “These relics nearly cost me my position the other night. I need to be more careful... Less direct intervention.” He stowed them away in one of the many compartments hidden around the room. This one was a false panel in a nightstand. Tonight, he set out to do reconnaissance. Make sure those too close got no further.
Crawling throughout the night, the figure tried in vain to find any bit of information. The files room was sealed with a passcode lock. The Dean was on one of their ‘runs.’ The girl’s residence wasn’t worth the hassle. And the one person who stuck with him the longest had finally turned their back on him. He truly was without a lead go on here. But without anything to show for, he would be not long for this plane of existence.
Back in elven city of Darnassus, he returned to his quarters, searching through past material frantically in hopes of something he could edit for tonight. Until his transceiver clicked on without a shred of regard for any potential listeners. “You had better show me something this time, feeble creature. Our patients is spent. If you are not finishing your assignment soon, we’ll be forced to use plan A.” roared a gravelly voice, all too familiar with the figure. “I’ve heard of the losses sustained on Antorus, sir. I have something for you today. Names, ranks, and locations of a band of Illidari sent to the front lines. All but five still confirmed alive. I’m loading them into a transmission crystal now.”
The voice paused a moment, before giving a low growl. “We want those mortals dead, Karaxamas. Once we crush the forces on Argus, there is to be nothing left for them to flee to. The word of Lord Sargeras is-” “Law. Yes, I am well aware of our Lord, sir. I may report to you, but it is his will I enact. You’ve received progress, as requested. Activating the termination code would be disadvantageous. I have a new plan. One which will happen soon. In only around a week. What I’m going to do i-” “Save your dribble for someone who cares. I don’t want words, I want blood.” A moment of silence passed, as the figure continued rifling through old boxes, only to come across one that looked... a bit newer than the rest. The deep growls of his superior officer passed by his ear as he undid the lock.
“DE-CLAIN STEELE!” shouted Cerann as he stormed into the university library. He was dripping wet, hair wrapped up in a towel and smelling like cheap cologne unfit even for February. A basilisk hissed as the heads of Lionella and Dex turned to face the source of the noise. “Somebody filled my office with this... foam! It’s everywhere!” The elf raised his hands up in exasperation, narrowing his eyes to the worgen. “And the only person I know with the means, motive, and skill, happens to be close-by.”
The entire situation was... embarrassing, to say the least. He was never one for direct confrontation, but it’s just... That girl knew precisely how to aggravate him most. The cushy, feely thoughts of the other day were pushed far into the back of his head as he could feel the fel burning the skin on his face, temples, and neck. This sort of thing plagued him for as long as he could remember. Blood pulsing far too fast and far too strongly whenever he was under stress.
But, as he calmed down and could see more clearly, think more freely, everything came rushing back once more. The original plan was so muddied to time and needs. He started off running reconnaissance, though once news of Abra'Xioros reached the Legion, everything changed. First he was to pin the blame on the real Cerann. Then it came to the soul swap. Then he supposed to use explosives, poisons, fires, anything. But now, here he was amongst the only real contact he’s had in ages. Amongst the people who took him in and treated like one of their own. Some of the only creatures to have shown him true kindness in centuries. And he failed to even attack someone in administration. So, now the entire place was stirred like a wasp’s nest, hunting after him and him specifically. He almost felt sorrow for the situation. To have known friendship and betrayed them all for his masters... it evoked feelings with him he nearly forgot existed.
These feelings, though... They were dangerous. For him, for them, for all of Stormwind city. If he failed here, there would be no further failure. And if they brought in who he thought they would... A scapegoat for a swath of felguards invading the city could easily be pinned upon their little attempt to understand the fel. All they would need is a child and a teacher. Both of which have proven easy enough in the past. They’ve hardly even noticed the missing parts that went towards the portal frame. If only he could obtain a keystone... The dead drops had to be nixed when they broke the code. Though now that that cursed foam prank destroyed his communicator, their will be an elf-sized crater on the grounds unless they hear from him soon. Agents will patrol the old spots, he assumed... He hoped, anyway.
For now, though, he needed a plan. There was still a job to do, as much as he despised it. He heard words of two of the targets meeting soon...