Episode 14: Setting The Stage

Fÿnn’s face hurt.

He felt the blood dripping from his chin, the burning sensation that slipped up his cheek and over his ear. He wasn’t sure if he still even had an ear, but that was the least of his concerns. Ahead of him stood three demons, each of them larger than anything he’d ever seen before. One of them held a bloodied scythe. His blood.

They were fast. He was tired.

His armor’s glow had faded in the last few hours.

“Your kind will never win,” the lead demon said, stepping forward and lowering the scythe so close to Fÿnn’s face that he could smell his own blood on the blade. “Death is all that awaits you.”

There was a gasp, a painful gasp, and then the demon furthest back collapsed. There, protruding from his chest, a blade bathed in fire burned at his flesh.

A volley of arrows dropped from the sky, littering the body of the second demon, who barely had a moment to writhe in agony before falling still.

“You’re wrong,” Fÿnn said, standing up so that the scythe rested against his breastplate. “We will win. We will defeat you and the Burning Legion will finally be undone.”

The demon pulled back his weapon, ready to take Fÿnn’s head from his shoulders, but before he could swing, those same fiery blades came down, digging into the demon’s collarbone on either side of his head, slicing a deep “v” shaped pattern into his chest.

The demon fell backward and when the dust settled, Fÿnn saw the dark figure standing atop the fallen enemy with his weapons back in hand, their blades still coated with some kind of magical flame.

“Are you okay?” the figure asked.

“I’m alright,” Fÿnn replied, finally having a moment to reach up and grab his ear. Thankfully it was there. The blade just missed cutting the top half from his body.

“The cut on your cheek is deep,” Ailyn Marie said, appearing at his side before he noticed she was nearby. She was a warlock, filled with dark magic and corruption, but still a kind soul at heart. She made him uneasy, but as she blotted his face with a damp cloth, he couldn’t help but feel thankful.

Nearby, a dwarf was rummaging through the demons’ belongings, muttering obscenities as he moved from corpse to corpse.

“What are you after?” Fÿnn asked.

“I’ll know it when ah’ seh it.”

A small light began to glow and the pain in Fÿnn’s face subsided. The power of the Light had touched him. He turned to see that Ailyn had stepped back, and now the holy paladin Kaiderra was using a spell to mend his cut.

“Thanks for that,” he said with a smile.

“Of course,” Kaiderra replied.

“Well I dunna’ about you, but these demons seem stronger ‘an most. It must be working.”

“I hope so,” Fÿnn replied. “If we can draw some attention away from Antorus, Iliera and the others will be able to start their assault.”

“Wha’weoore we after in there anyway?” the dwarf asked, brushing his pants off before stepping over toward the others. “This whole planet is demons. We can fight ‘em anywhere.”

“It’s not about the demons,” the dark figure atop the felled demon replied, stepping down and coming toward the others. “It’s about something much bigger than that.”

Fÿnn couldn’t help but notice that where the man stepped, the ground practically frosted over. He was a death knight. The remnant of a dark time when the Lich King had lorded over the world as a threat to our existence. They called him Dhespair, though Fÿnn didn’t think that was his real name. The rumor was that he had been a paladin, loyal to the Alliance and a wielder of the Light, but he was mortally wounded at the assault against the Wrathgate in Northrend. His body, broken and poisoned, was found by Arthas’ necromancers, and his life as a Death Knight began.

Fÿnn couldn’t imagine what that would be like. To be so completely separated from the Light that he had come to cherish.

“Are we gonna blow it up?” the dwarf pressed. “I haven’ seen a good explosion fer sum time!”

“I don’t know for sure,” Fÿnn replied. “Iliera said it was important. The whole Army of Light is ready for this one. So we need to keep doing whatever we need to do until—”

There was a pop and fizzle in the air, and the group turned just as Sionis Sepher materialized out of thin air nearby. He turned to face them all and gave a sly grin.

“It worked,” he said proudly. “The Legion is moving more troops out of Antorus.”

“What happens now?” Fÿnn asked.

“The assault,” Sionis replied. “We’re going to start moving our troops toward the staging grounds. By the time they realize what’s happening we’ll already be in position. This is it, everyone. It’s happening.”

“A’right, well beam us up then, yeah?” the dwarf asked.

Sionis waved a hand and a portal snapped open in front of them. “All aboard,” he said.

When Fÿnn stepped out of the portal, Iliera was the first in line. She wrapped in up in a big hug and looked him over for a moment, her smile vanishing when she saw the scar running up his face.

“What happened?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” he replied. “Just a little cut.”

“It was huge,” the dwarf said as he was stepping through the portal. “The boy ‘ought to have lost an ear!”

“What!?”

“I’m fine, mooooom,” he said jokingly. “I’m a big boy.”

“I am not your mother.”

“I know, I just… nevermind.”

Iliera pursed her lips, then gave him a gentle smile. “I’m glad you’re back.”

“Me too,” Fÿnn replied. “I’m so tired.”

“You fought well,” Dhespair said, stepping through the portal now. “Your rest is deserved.”

“Thank you,” Fÿnn replied, smiling at the death knight. “You deserve some rest too.”

“I do not require rest.”

“Well, I will have his then,” the dwarf piped up. “I’ll be needin’ it for the big fight.”

Sionis was the last one through the portal, closing it behind him before taking a moment to brush off his robe. The mage was dressed in battle regalia, something he hadn’t worn since the assault against the Tomb of Sargeras.

“That’s everyone,” he said to Iliera as he stepped forward. “All extractions were successful. Our troops are lined up and ready to go.”

“We’ll be moving the Vindicaar into position soon,” she replied. “Are you okay?”

“I’m great. Ready to end this.”

She could see the mage was nervous. He always got nervous before these kinds of confrontations. The day before they breached Hellfire Citadel he had nearly come unglued. A brave and powerful fighter, but a victim of anxiety nonetheless.

Meanwhile, young Fÿnn stood tall, looking exhausted, but still filled with the energy of youth that made him so endearing.

“Okay then, everyone,” Iliera said proudly. “Rest up. Eat well. Tomorrow we’re going to the gates of hell.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

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