"Bravery is the fallacy of all good men."
Of course, I always thought that was the case, but then again, I'm not one to judge these things. Our tale begins at the twilight of yet another tale. So, before I begin rattling off about what happened at the Second Battle of Black Hills, the Fall of the House of Fremen, and the Rise of MacHarren... I must begin from the beginning... Which in hindsight, I should've phrased a tad better.
As with all things, this begins with two lovers. A man and a woman. I personally do not believe in that cursed phrase, "Love at First Sight" but perhaps the closest thing I've seen was between these two. Karellen Grey and Marrion MacHarren. Partners in mischief, until the very end... Or so it seemed to him, anyway. While they had built a life for themselves, she had grown bored with the idea of living with him, for he had chosen The Company over her. Instead of remaining within the Stormwind City Limits, they moved everything to some backwater micro-nation in the middle of the sea. Where once, she was surrounded by the intelligent and hardworking, she was now placed in charge of moronic, lazy, even drug-addled cretins who Marrion had befriended. By the time a Pitlord had been summoned, and Karellen was not informed she had had enough. Marrion had managed to destroy not only more of their assets in defeating the Demon, but also managed to level most of the habitable land on the Island. One fateful day, she sensed a force in the storage lab. Making her way down the stairs, she found him. Kalas McTaggert, fresh from his defeat at the First Battle of Black Hills.
"Ah. At last... Dear Madame Karellen... How fare you?"
Grabbing hold of a near-by scalpel, she began to recite incantations in the back of her mind, focusing constantly on the Undead Madman, standing before her. Letting out a heavy laugh, Kalas grabbed hold of a beaker, toying with it with a twisted sense of amusement.
"Oh, Karellen... Do you really want to fight me? After what he's done to the surface up there? Blowing up all those people... Tsk. I would imagine, that you're tired of all this? Of his lack of concern for the consequences of his actions? I would be... I am, of course."
As flame began to form around her hand, Karellen glared straight through him with hatred and irritation.
"I'm finished with you, Kalas... I'm finished with you, with Mac, with everything! YOU GET OUT OF MY LAB, NOW!"
Kalas wagged a finger, continuing to smirk. Setting the beaker back down, he waved a hand 'round the dimly-lit lab.
"Look around you, Miss Grey... Loaded with Silver Fulminate... Highly explosive, if my memory serves right. Even if you do land a few blows, you run the risk of blowing the -both of us- into a fiery inferno. Now... Listen to my offer. If you refuse, you have the right to do as you wish. But, I think you might be interested in what I have to say..."
Suffice to say, that even with -my- considerable knowledge, not even I know what occurred next. The next place she was seen, was by the Defender of Duskwood. He had led a contingent of people from the University of Stormwind into McTaggert's Tower, coming across her room. Whether she was captor or cooperator remained to be seen. When the tower itself was sucked into the Void, Karellen was assumed to be dead, along with the rest of the former associates of Marrion's that McTaggert had either raised from the dead or turned towards his line of thinking.
More skirmishes with Black Hills occurred, but they're not very important, beyond the one where those who were part of the University traveled back through history with a little aid from an incredibly handsome rogue member of a certain Flight of Stuck-up Morons. ... As one does. Now! During that, Kalas was slain, with some prompting from said immensely attractive omni-temporal wise man... But that is neither here nor there. What is important, is what has happened a hundr- a mon... A while back.
For you see, Karellen, being the ever-stubborn woman that she was, had survived the assault on McTaggert's Tower. She had taken to one of the apprentices of Kalas, Dorian McTaggert. They decided to re-affirm control over Black Hills Incorporated, and after a few months, had began to reform the company into one that worked more for the public good, over the exploitation of those on the fringes of sanity. But not all was good. For Dorian had discovered the ancient tomes that Karellen possessed, given to her by Marrion's Grandfather, Lord Gregori Fremen. And inside these tomes he discovered the darker secrets of the world, and began to hear the voices of a far-off evil. These voices drove him to begin a new cult within the company. A cult devoted to bringing forth not only the end of the world itself, but also bringing-forth their dark god, who would rule over them with an iron will, and reward them with the dark flame. Karellen soon found this out, and tried to contact others. First the other apprentices of Gregori Fremen, Abora Dasgard, Gregor Fremen, and Irona Darkbrew. But Abora had died during a summoning. Gregor was on a case in the lands of Kalimdor. And Irona Darkbrew had long abandoned the dark path, in favor of living the life of a hermit. And soon... All that was left, was him. Utilizing a battered communicator, she contacted the one man, who could end this madness.
Without a single protest, Marrion began to amass his allies. Plucking Gregor from out of Kalimdor, he appointed him as the leader for his "army" of debtors and old friends. From Westfall, he called forth upon the vigilantes called "The Westfall Rangers." From the North, he called upon members of the Church, who had owed his mother a favor, but had grown to resent her. And lastly from Stormwind itself, he gathered his allies, primarily those of the University. While the former three began to do battle with the vast army of cultists and mad scientists, Marrion and those of the University snuck in and squared off of against the remnants of Black Hills' forces. Fighting off a twisted druid, an Eredar, even a legion of Mercenaries... They made their way to the Broken Chapel, that stood at the center of the complex. Breaking down the worn door, they found Karellen, bound and unconcious, tied to the altar. Dorian stood behind her, his previously handsome face horribly scarred with a hideous burn across the left-side of his face.
Now... Does that catch you up on everything? Good. We can resume with the actual story now.
"YOU BASTARD! IF YOU HARMED A HAIR ON HER HE-"
Smirking heavily, Dorian brings the knife down towards Karellen's right shoulder, letting out a heavy laugh.
"Oh, at last... The Ex. How appropriate. Marrion... it is so, GOOD to see you."
Drawing his flaming sword, Marrion began to charge forward towards the Necromancer. With no other choice Dorian slashed the dagger down side of Karellen's shoulder, and blood began to trickle down onto the altar below her. Raising it up for his own defense, Dorian charged forward to attempt to parry Marrion's first strike... With predictable results. The dagger fell to the floor. Forced onto his knees, Dorian merely laughed.
"You... You don't get it, do you?"
Bringing the flaming blade up onto Dorian's neck, Marrion stayed his sword.
"I don't care..."
Then, he began to hear it. A voice muttering in the back of his mind. Something he hadn't heard for a long, long time.
"What did you do?! WHAT DID YOU DO?!"
With a wide smile, Dorian snapped his fingers. Underneath him, a dark portal began to form, enveloping the man quickly. Outside, yelling and the sounds of battle could be heard.
"MARRION! GET OUT HERE!"
But he could not move. His eyes began to blaze with a green flame. His mind began to retreat back. Back through memory and autonomy. Until all he could sense and feel, was a dark void. And in that void was him and the Demon. The Demon that had haunted him all his life.
A harrowing laugh began to fill the void, as the Doomguard began to approach the man.
"I suppose, I inadvertently have you to thank for my return to this doomed planet... You and your moronic Grandfather. To that, I shall grant you a boon. Instead of killing you right now, I shall grant you a slow and agonizing death... Watching as all you know, your friends, your allies... Your world, crumbles into nothingness."
Then the void began to be filled with images of the University being slain in battle. Amaranthea, Mhorrigan and Elvae being first to perish at the hands of Kalris. The others soon fell, as the flame underneath the Beast's wings consumed them all. Far off on the fields of battle, Gregor Fremen began to hear a sharp ringing in his mind, becoming so painful, that even in the midst of a fight, he drops to his knees. Decapitated by minor cultist, who would later become a ranking member of the Legion, merely for this one act.
But of course... That was what was destined to happen. Destiny, is a funny thing... But I always hate having to adhere to that. This is the point where, my humble self re-introduced myself into the story. For, being the slightly dispatched narrator is... Well, rather boring. And as many people have said... I am far from that.
"-A slow and agoniz-AHHHHHH!"
With a deep chuckle, I appeared in my true form. Being a Bronze Dragon is oh-so... Facinating, sometimes. With a breath of flame, I burn the demon, allowing the Mortals to finish it off.
In the mind of Marrion MacHarren, instead of the death of his friends, he began to see something else. Something even more terrifying. Meteors falling from the skies. The rivers running green with fel sludge. A distant land with a tall spire. The stench of death everywhere. And lastly Gregor standing on a cliff with him, bearing a strange staff.
After all is done, and Marrion is freed from his state, I return to my usual form... Well, one of them anyway.
"Well, you're welcome, Mortals... Try not to screw it up, next time."
Windcrusher berates me -and- Marrion for this ordeal, but I merely smile and disappear.
Perhaps next time, I shall correct him as well.