Whether or not we like it, there is always a bigger fish.
I mentally toss and turn constantly. The more I witness, the more I begin to understand perhaps this is not the plan of the Old Gods inhibiting us. Something far greater. Preying on the nescient as the world about us continuously falls to more and more chaos. Azeroth has not seen a break from horror in a long while.
Vela walked with footsteps ringing in the vast halls of her personal laboratory, her personal construct Iveren at her side. "What do we know?"
"Miss Anklaris, I have not been able to make much sense of the amulet's... latent force. Your father seems to have done quite the job preventing one from looking 'into' it."
"Altari was always... paranoid. Is it just an ordinary magical encryption?"
"No ma'am. Not one like I have witnessed before."
Vela stepped closer to the amulet. It sat on a pedestal, contained within glass. Its turquoise center was riddled with cracks, occassionally emanating a bronze wisp of smoke from its core. The mage observed it curiously with her keen optics, eyes narrowing, analyzing it.
"Deduction just by sight and... presence, this is something greater than any magical force my father left within this amulet. I bore it around my neck for ages... this isn't his magic at play here."
"What do you suppose it may be?"
"It is unlike anything I have seen before." Vela stepped away, crossing her arms behind her back, pacing around the pedestal. "First Windrunner unveils new magic that has never been so much as felt before... now, this power plagues my father's amulet. New forces are beginning to rock Azeroth at its core, Iveren. A rude awakening which this world has not felt for thousands of years. It is not even N'zoth that worries me at this point."
"Perhaps your father had something that would cause the amulet to 'lock up' should-"
As Iveren continued speaking, Vela looked over her shoulder briefly, with her same observant gaze like ice picks. Her focus was elsewhere, if on anything at all. She glanced back to Iveren, before returning focus to him. But her stance seemed... wary. Her feet were at either side of her shoulders. Her forward knee sunk down just so slightly.
"-the forces we currently see at play here could be something long forgotten, even."
"Mhmm." Vela absently retorted. "Iveren... run a diagnostics on the laboratory's security."
Iveren seemed to fall silent and still for a while. His tone, one of shock, reported back. "...I have no response."
Vela remained in her stance, staying wary. "Iveren, disable the torches in every sector but Ten-A."
The lights all around died as the flames were killed from a mystical wind. Only Vela, Iveren, and the pedestal remained lit.
"You were destined to fall. We knew it would be you who would find our track all this time."
"You are the ones who did this, then?"
"We are the ones behind every power that haunts this world."
"The one behind the thrones of gods? Hmph. What do you want with this world?"
"The answer is short. Its destiny has been prolonged enough. Azeroth was doomed from the beginning. Even the Titans knew this."
"The Titans were rather awful at their job, you know."
"Especially at choosing their champions."
Vela huffed from her nostrils, "I am not chosen to defend it. I am like every other. I am the one who chose myself to."
"And what of the others' inactions?"
"That is a rather roundabout way to prolong this ordeal. Show yourself."
"A little teasing not quite your way, hm?"
"What. Do you want. With this world?"
"You will never live to know!" In an instant, hooded figures leaped from the shadows, one by one, encroaching the construct and Vela.
Vela whipped around as one lunged for her gut with a knife. Her hand grappled its wrist, and using her low center as well as her harsh hold on its joint, twisting it to flip it over. As it fell and released from the grapple, it disappeared into ash. Another took its place, knives readied with a burr that seemed freshly stoned. Vela grabbed its arm and spun it into a chokehold with its own elbow, using her free hand to disarm the knives in a quick sweep. Her free hand then faced the rear of its head, palm readied with arcane. In a quick blast, it too disappeared into ash.
Iveren seemed to just take hit after hit, his strong metallic hull ringing with each knife strike. When plenty had surrounded him, his palm extended forward and shot millions of volts of electricity forward, chaining from each hooded, humanoid creature to the next. They all faded into nothing as well, their knives clanging against the flooring.
Vela ducked and weaved under strikes, tackling the one she faced by swooping low and grabbing the underside of its knee, grounding it with the brunt of her shoulder. She flipped over with the momentum and found her footing once more. With each hit the creatures took, they simply faded away, filling the air with a strange ashy quality. Dust soon began to inhibit the room. Vela stood and looked around as the tide seemed to stem slightly, "Iveren! There's too many of them! How did they even get past my lab's security?"
"Would that I could offer an answer-" Iveren said just before decking one raw in the cheekbone with his metal fist. "But I suggest you pay attention to the matters at hand."
Vela whipped around and swept at the legs of her next attacker, as another came from behind her, striking her in the shoulder with its sharp blade. Vela tensed just slightly and gritted her teeth, before shooting an acrane blast at its foot, causing it to drop it its knee. She then followed up with another to its face, causing it to disappear. She stood with the knife still in her shoulder, applying pressure around the puncture. She stumbled back toward Iveren, back to back with him. She continued blasting at incoming attackers, as well as using her aikido knowledge to juggle any within close range. Iveren mirrored her actions, keeping Anklaris' flank safe from the seemingly endless tide.
After what seemed like hours of continuous battling, Vela shouted, "Iveren... I need you to trust me."
"Yes, Miss Anklaris?"
"...Nightfall. It's... the only way. If they get ahold of this lab... the research within would spell doom for Azeroth."
"Miss Anklaris, you can't be-"
"I am serious, Iveren." She looks over her shoulder, "Please."
Iveren sighed, while still mindlessly punching the ragged shadowy creatures that came to him. "The sequence is readied. It requires your voice activation, ma'am." He sadly stated.
Vela blasted the trio that approached her, before stepping forward, breathing a sigh of relief, "Altari! Activate the Nightfall in one-hundred twenty seconds!" She said, almost emotional in her voice. She turned toward Iveren, quickly grabbing the amulet from its glass case. "Iveren..."
"Yes, Miss Anklaris?"
"You've been a good friend."
ALERT. ALERT. NIGHTFALL PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED TO ACTIVATE IN ONE-HUNDRED TWENTY SECONDS. PARAMETERS WILL SHUT DOWN IN TWO MINUTES TIME. REPEAT, EVACUATE THE PREMISES.
"...you as well, Miss Anklaris."
Vela nodded, using her acute memory of the laboratory to navigate her way through the darker regions of it. She rushed to grab a suture kit from her medical section, hands dancing about the darkened table frantically. She eventually found it, and rushed out from the quarantine.
ALERT. SIXTY SECONDS REMAINING.
Vela sped her way through the lab as much as her bad hips would allow her, looking to the massive double-doored exit- or at least, what she could see of it. She tucked her suture kit under her arm. The door opened automatically- likely of Iveren's doing. Vela rolled out through the newly formed exit, trying to find her footing again as she recovered from it. The door shut, as Vela continued running through the bitter snow of the Borean Tundra. She fell to her hands and knees once she was a good distance away, and then...
Vela turned over at the sound, scrambling back as her legs kicked away instinctively, her hands which she leaned upon crawling backward. The laboratory, brimming with years of work, research, constructs of her making... all of it whisked away in a moment's time. She breathed heavily, still recovering from her running. Her palm moved to wipe the sweat down her face, spreading the ash and dust which covered her cheeks, the sweat forming with it to create a paste of muck.
She looked down, and then to her suture kit. Her hand gripped the blade in her shoulder firmly, pulling it out with a grunt. She wriggled in the snow for a bit, before searching through her suture kit. Vela removed her shirts and tossed then away, only in her upper undergarments in the cold snow. A disinfectant to wipe the area was followed by a needle. Vela held her stitching between her teeth as her hand held together the edges of the puncture, the other sticking herself with the needle. She grunted with each pass she made with her needle, until finally the wound was sealed. She tugged the needle tight and tied it into a knot, biting loose the stitching wire.
Vela laid back, her adrenaline rushing far too much for the cold snow to bother her. Her breathing remained quite heavy.
So much gone... in a single step. And yet... the work still remains unfinished. Iveren... I'm so sorry.
Whether or not we like it, there is always a bigger fish.