Like Your Father - A Ghost of Vekkul's Past
It was peaceful.
Nothing particularly strange about the evening as Vekkul sat at the bar, ordering a strong glass of Thinsabe, an alcoholic drink known for it's strange blue glow and hallucinogenic properties. To the warlock, though, it was a fun drink that made studying the old dusty tomes a little bit more entertaining.
He'd been investigating the Caverns of Time before he carried his lithe, tautly muscled body to the bartender. Raising a single index finger, wrapped tightly in gloves of violet shadoweave, he called out softly from behind a matching mask.(His entire body, in fact, was adorned in the dark hues of shadoweave that particular evening. He favored its style.)
"Just one drink. Thinsabe...thank you kindly."
Vekkul took the drink gratefully and tugged down the cloth guarding his mouth to drink a long, slow sip. Exhaling contently, he set the golden goblet down on the bar, letting the intelligent gaze of his amber eyes scan over the surroundings again, thinking of the evening he would spend with his fiancee. A devious grin met his pale, bluish lips.
But then a young, somewhat ragged-looking orcish woman walked into the tavern. This alone wasn't strange, many orcs found there way to this secluded tavern, as did trolls and tauren and sometimes a poor human was caught up in trying to enter, but that tended to conclude with one less living soul.
Vekkul watched the orc woman because she seemed rather unfamiliar. He'd never seen her, but perhaps she was just a younger member of the Horde. She walked right up to Vekkul, though, and asked in a rather simple tone.
"You...Forsaken...you know a "de Shea" around here..?"
His eyes widened, and then sank into a sharp, penetrating gaze as he examined the woman. How did she know his name, and what was she doing asking for it? He knew that this was wrong, something was off about this situation and he didn't think it was going to end well. Nontheless, he replied calmly, if not somewhat suspiciously.
"..Yes...I am Vekkul de Shea...what do you want of me?"
The orc woman extended to him a rolled up set of parchments, wrapped in a bow. She explained that she had recieved it from a man in Razor Hill, and that he had recieved it from someone else. Vekkul watched her for a long time, trying to see if there were lies in her voice, but after seeing how simply she went about ordering a drink and how she held her posture, he doubted that she would be involved with anything more than making money and living her life.
Heaving a slow sigh and sipping once more of his liquor, he untied the ribbon around the parchements and unrolled them.
As soon as his amber eyes ran over the first few lines, he felt a sharp quake in his chest, a gripping terror as his magical orbs shifted into a white spectrums, then to blue, expressing his high emotions.
He snapped at the orc woman again.
"Who do you work for? Who sent this? Tell me!"
The woman, now equipped with her own drink, regarded him lazily, and repeated her story. Vekkul didn't bother to reply, he just darted his gaze over the letter to read the rest of it.
By the time he had finished reading, the once-powerful Kazile Zennshinagas was shaking visibly.
The letter read as thus;
"I'm sure you wondered why I haven't bothered with you lately, boy...
Valmont's end is too easy for you, I've watched you and I can think of so many things better to do.
I know you were afraid we would hurt the pretty young lady who follows you around with such adoring eyes... you and I "together"
(He was, of course, speaking of the multiple encounters where Vekkul had been possessed. Presumably by the same being that had done the same to his father in Lordaeron and set forth a chain of events that destroyed his family)
Perhaps it is better if you are yourself, so you can see what happens. I really don't think anyone else should have the de Shea name, you know... She would follow me anywhere, wouldn't she...
...if she thought I was you?
I hear that you like those delicate hands, boy... it sounds like a great deal of fun to crush them, bone by bone. Wearing your "loving" face, letting the poor child know how much it pleases me to hurt her. When it is done, perhaps I will cut them off, and send them back to you...
Yes, there are much better things I can think to do with you. You should have stayed dead, like your father."
After reading the letter, Vekkul quickly fell into a rather traumatic fit of worry, which only grew worse when he actually saw Anne later that evening. After a few hours of gentle soothing on Anne's part, the warlock brought himself to confidence once again, that he would combat this...whatever he was...that sought to do in his family line, and his beloved fiancee.
Seeking an outlet from the thoughts and ideas of having his beloved's hands crushed and mailed back to him, Vekkul and Anne took a nice trip out to the lush green lands of Mulgore. The Darkmoon Faire was in town, after all. What better way to relax than enjoying Silas Darkmoon's festival of liquor and destructive toy Tonks?
Vekkul cocked his head slightly, eying his female friend, Meridith. He and Anne had only just descended from the sharp, even vertical rise of Thunder Bluff and were listening to the simplistic tunes of faire music when he spotted her.
Meridith was a fairly simple woman. Lovely and beautiful, or so Vekkul thought. Prone to drinking in large quantities and currently involved with another friend of his, Vaien Darkwind. Together, they made an unlikely, but adorable couple. Meridith was insistent on being herself, while Vaien seemed more content to simply mutter and brood, but together they were clearly affectionate. It gave some warmth to Vekkul's demonic thoughts to see other people in love, aside himself of course.
Since Vaien hadn't decided to attend the faire, it was only Vekkul, Anne, and Meridith. Anne and Vekkul took a small tour about the faire, exploring the few shops and sharing a mug or two of Darkmoon Reserve while Meridith wandered around, already plastered. Figuring that the magess would be fine, even with her high level of inebriation, he and Anne continued on their way, even playing a small tonk game. Anne, of course, beat Vekkul but it was followed by a series of drunken kisses from the warlock to his blushing fiancee.
Everything seemed fine enough. Warm, evening breeze. Pleasant music, the scents of fried candy bars and hot wings wafting in the air. Vekkul had even forgotten about the letter by the time he and Anne stumbled back upon Meridith, chasing down a cat. Or, rather, Meridith and Anne thought it was a cat.
Vekkul, watching the purple feline with a slight bit of amusement in his voice, holding an almost empty mug of Reserve, mumbled;
"That's a druid.."
Meridith, who seemed to be extremely entertained by the cat's antics of licking and dancing, looked at him, puzzled.
"Is it? Really?"
He nodded, pointing. Almost as if on cue, the druid quickly shifted into it's tall, lithe form, clad in leather garments of druidic design. Vekkul didn't imagine he was too powerful, but probably enough to make him summon a demon. Altogether, he shrugged it off. The Faire was open to all races, after all.
Meridith, who normally had a bloodlusting distaste for elves, went about flirting drunkedly with her new friend, who seemed content to simply show her his different animal forms. After some time, Vekkul and Anne said goodnight to Meridith, having had their fill of the carnival.
Seeking a place of more silent refuge, they rode north upon the skies until they had landed in the chilling lands of Winterspring. From there, they sought out the famed Frostfire Hot Springs.
Anne set up a small fire while Vekkul began explaining his recent research on the springs with a kindly dwarf woman down the way. They had intended to spend the night there, together, but at the last moment, Vekkul's hearthstone glowed hot red, signaling that he was under the employ of the Horde, and obligated to heed his call. He sighed heavily, hating to leave his beloved alone, knowing that she missed him, too, but he assured her that soon, he would no longer be forced into duty and he would be able to spend his days in her arms.
The next day, when Vekkul awoke alone, tucked away in the local Inn, he found a letter on the desk. Wearily, he reached for it and tore it open. Perhaps he had sold another auction? No, not even close.
"You do like a good party, don't you boy?
Your little mage friend seemed to be enjoying herself last night. She likes the charming little pet animals, doesn't she? Wanted to run off in the wilderness and play with her new kitten...
Some kittens are dangerous. A couple of drinks and a wonderful new pet could lead her down the garden path. A frail little deader like that won't make very many bites to most of the beasts I know. Don't be suprised if you don't find much..."
Quickly, Vekkul got out of bed and reached for his staff. He had to find Meridith, or was it already too late?
The dark, dusky sight of Brill.
Well, all of Tirisfal Glades was pretty dusky, actually. Vekkul never really found himself all that fond of the Glades, but Brill was a pretty comfy town. Back when he was alive, he recalled visiting it now and then. Today, though, it was nothing that he'd ever remembered it being, and he wasn't really focused on his prior life anyways.
He had to find Meridith.
Tightly bound up in intricate, violet shadoweave garments, the warlock rode up the the local inn. It was run-down, the wood had begun to warp and rot, and a few places were known to leak during a storm, but inside it was warm and cozy, the scents of cooking meat and ales was enough to bring any paranoid man calm.
He didn't go inside, though. Not yet. Atop his dreadsteed, the faithful demonic horse from Xoroth, his amber eyes darted about, searching. For a long while, Vekkul sat there, consumed by the flames of his horse's mane. Curiously, to the one who could summon such a demon and control it, the fire was nothing more than a warm sensation. To anyone else, though, the inferno would surely crisp the flesh from their bones.
He had begun to contemplate if something had already happened to his friend, when he saw her. Meridith and Vaien, no more than twenty yards away, talking contently. He was immediately relieved to see that nothing had happened to her, but for her sake, he knew he had to tell her.
"..? Vekkul! Hello, there. How are you?"
Vaien, being a much more stoic type, seemed content to simply nod in recognition.
"Meridith...there's something I need to show you. Vaien, perhaps you should come to. You are her lover, after all."
Vekkul watched as the expressions on their faces changed from common pleasantries to that of a somewhat worried curiosity. He didn't have time to explain outside though.
"Come...it's not safe out here...we need to talk inside.."
Ushering them along, Vekkul's eyes continued to gaze about warily. He even set his silent voidwalker outside the door to watch for anything that might be considered suspicious. He doubted the voidwalker would do any good, but the idea of having something guarding them made him feel a little better, as if he might somehow have an ounce of control in this situation that seemed to be growing worse by the minute. Of course, deep down, he knew that he was helpless.
Entering the building, they quickly headed near a quiet table, surrounded by a few small wooden chairs. The entire tavern was pretty quiet at this time of night, but it was best that they separated off from any potential newcomers. As they all sat around the table, the shaking warlock was met with concerned gazes by his two friends, still in the dark about anything pertaining to Vekkul, his possessions, or the letters he had been recieving.
Meridith asked quietly, still watching him with wary eyes,
"No...I'm not. Where do I begin.."
He sighed quietly, searching for the words to begin with, knowing that it wasn't going to be easy to explain.
"..Meridith...I once told you about my family history..about my father, the paladin, and how he was possessed, and came home to set forth a chain of events that destroyed my family?"
The young magess nodded slowly.
"Yes...right here in this tavern, in fact...why?"
Vekkul swallowed. Hard. He tried to choke down the bile that was rising in his throat. He was still suprised, even at himself, for how scared he was. All of the horrid things he had done, the wickedness he had seen, and still...the idea of some unknown, unstoppable force harming his friends and lover was enough to make him tremble, ready to give anything to stop it from happening.
"I...have reason to believe that the man... or... whoever it is that possessed my father is after me."
Meridith's face paled, Vaien stared in something that was either awe or focused concentration. He continued to elaborate.
"You see...a few weeks back, I'd been possessed. I didn't even know it was going to happen, and I couldn't resist it. Anne was the one who told me when it was over. I still don't remember what I did or said on these occasions, but Anne filled me in pretty well. Needless to say, that was enough to scare me, but for some reason, the possessions stopped just as soon as they had begun."
He paused, giving a slow shake of his head as the sharp, fearful amber orbs that were his eyes hazed into a whitish blue light. He went on to run down the details of the first letter he had recieved, describing the orc woman, and how he had traced down her source, only to find that hours after taking the letter, the orc woman was dead. Once the details had been let to sink into Meridith and Vaien's minds, he pressed further.
"Now...up until this point...there has been no reason to involve either of you two... it's been my issue to deal with, as well as Anne's... but last night, when me and Anne met you at the Faire, Meridith... you recall, with the druid and the drinking?"
Meridith blushed visibly, but nodded in affirmation.
"Earlier today... I recieved this letter...."
He finally handed over to her the parchment, detailing the night's events and the suggestion of a beast eating the young woman.
Meridith's face grew paler, and came to a shocked gasp as she read in the words, beginning to realize what this was leading up to. She handed the letter to Vaien, who gave a snort and an annoyed sigh.
"Great...just what we need."
A moment later, though, Vekkul's voidwalker hovered into the tavern, giving what would be the whispy noises that might, in some way, be interpreted as speaking.
Vekkul gave a short translation, his voice trembling.
"..I have mail."
The tall, proud warlock, bearing in his very being enough power to destroy an entire city and never even show his face, was now trembling. Shaking. Fear had wrapped its icy claw around his throat and it was not about to let go.
As he came back in, and took the same seat he had only left, he gazed at the letters in hand. No matter how he thought about it, he couldn't understand how this man, this wicked sorcerer, had found out. He was so sure they were alone. He was so positive that no one would be within miles. But alas, on the paper before him were the words. He dared not show this letter to Meridith and Vaien. This one didn't involve them anyways...
"Your lament over how little time you spend with that pretty wife of yours is truly touching... It's been so long since you held her, hasn't it? And you're so busy...
You may have lost your chance.
Of course, she isn't your wife yet, is she, boy? You may have lost your chance there, too. I don't think anyone else needs to bear the de Shea name....
I have been alone for a long time myself. She blushes beautifully, doesn't she, when you whisper in her ear how much you want her? But you're never there, are you boy? Always busy...
Such a lovely creature shouldn't be left lonely, you know. You've had more than your share of chances. Your time is up."
Perhaps it was the fourth, or fifth time he had read it over, the impossibility of how he could know astounding him to no end, but then he heard, in the faintest recesses of his still present state of mind, the soft, lovely voice of his beloved Anne. Raising a wavering white-eyed gaze to her as she sat down next to him, he swallowed, hating to have to show her this now. She smiled at him, warmly, already reaching for his hand, and acknowledging the other two Forsaken on Vekkul's other side, still looking at the letter in his hand with interest, although unable to read it.
Vekkul ran his tongue over his teeth, then forced himself to talk, knowing he had to get it on with it one way or another. With a nervous, idle brush of his mohawk by his gloved palm, the teal spikes perhaps one of his proudest features in undeath, he spoke.
"Anne...you recall the letters I've been getting..."
Blinking, perhaps a little confused, the first twist of worry crossing her lips, and then followed by a nod.
"Well, I got another one, just the other day... about Meridith. Which is why she's here right now, as is Vaien. It was about the faire, you see... I don't know how, but apparently he was there.."
He handed the letter to Anne, giving her the ample amount of time to read it over, ending in a somewhat expected gasp as she looked to Vekkul, shocked, but not nearly as fearful.
He cut her off, shaking his head.
"I just got done explaining the history of this to Meridith and Vaien, so they're on the same page..."
He paused, looking at the new letter, still in his hands that he was exerting great effort to try and steady.
"But not more than ten minutes before you came in... I got this letter. I haven't shown it to them, I... well, somehow I thought you should read it instead."
With that, he handed the second parchment to her, allowing her again the time to read the disturbing news.
Anne's face, worried, shifted to an even paler hue than her already fair skin, looking back at Vekkul in a mix of awe and confusion.
"I don't know how he could have found out. I haven't got the slightest clue, but we're not safe, Anne. No one is safe, and no place is safe it seems. This is my burden, and here I've dragged not only you into it, but Meridith and Vaien too."
He sighed slowly, the weight of the entire situation pressing, crushing down on his shoulders. The guilt was almost unbearable, even for him.
"I'm sorry.... I shouldn't have gotten any of you involved."
He knew it was coming, and it did. The protest. From Meridith and Anne, mostly, Vaien seemed fairly quiet as, with time and a great deal of coaxing, they assured Vekkul that he didn't need to walk out on this. While in his mind, he figured that if he was away from all of them, there would be no reason to hurt them, and this sorcerer would be forced to come after him and him alone...but he realized the trap. If he were to run away, and be alone for the rest of his days...perhaps that was what he wanted. Vekkul to be miserable, trying to save the ones he loved. His own idea talked out and defeated, he took on another. It was simple, and the best they had to work with against a foe that none of them had ever seen or even caught trail of. They only knew that he didn't like Vekkul and he was after him. Stay together, keep your eyes sharp, that was the only advice he could offer them.
If he couldn't defeat this man, at least he could try and protect his friends.
After a while longer of talking, the conversation shifted to lighter subject and Vekkul's stress faded, although he longed to discuss things more privately with Anne. He and her said their farewells and left the other couple, hoping that nothing would happen in his absence.
Near the wide gates of the Undercity, Vekkul was wrapping his arms around his beloved, holding her tightly in the robed, violet cloth, truly terrified to let go of her now at this development. He simply couldn't bear to think of any harm coming to her. He could face down the most wicked of demons, and he could take down the most dangerous of beasts, but he needed her. He needed her to remind him that behind the power, and the magic, and the mess of the world, he was still human and he still wanted her love.
"...Anne...where...where can we go? If he was with us in Winterspring..is there nowhere to hide? Must I live my days out fearing that he may be behind my shoulder..?"
Anne, who had all along been very convinced that the letters were more threat than anything to be taken seriously, despite Vekkul being overly on edge about the whole thing, shook her head firmly.
"No...there are still safe places.."
Finding a certain level of comfort he knew he could only find with her, he held her close and sought out the Thunder Bluff, taking residence in one of the high rises, and even he was convinced that atop the tall pillars, surrounded by tauren whom he'd always been amiable with, that he and her could rest in peace, holding her close, not sure if he would have the chance to do so for much longer.
He spit on the ground, sighing heavily. A deep breath was inhaled as the warlock tried to calm himself, brushing at the dirt collecting on his robes idly. He only had a few more days of service, only a set number of hours that he had to respond to every single call of the Horde, until he would be done and able to enjoy the life he so sought to live with the love of his life. He knew she missed him, more and more, and he knew he wasn't attending to her needs properly, in any sense of the word.
Nontheless, he knew his duty and it must be done. Another victory on the field, but he had long lost sight of why he was doing it anymore. He respected the Horde and its intentions, but after so many long battles, so much bloodshed and all the screams. The bone-shaking cries of agony that came from the victims of war. Sometimes innocents would find themselves on the battlefield and they would die there as well. It brought him to a level of jading that even he was suprised at. Killing his victims gave a sense of accomplishment and pride, but killing those who had no part only brought pain and guilt.
So, there he stood, spitting angrily as he had watched a youthful man walk out onto the field, without any idea what he was up against, only to be ravaged away by the heavy cleave of an axe. He watched the light fade from the young boy's eyes, the way his face dropped away its life and the blood stain the earth. Shaking his head, he reached into the mailbox, checking recent news. The first was a sack of gold for a sold auction, which brought a sense of happiness back into the brooding man, but the second letter made his eyes twist and flare, and then dim into a confused horror.
He swallowed hard, a heavy weight returning to the pit of his stomach as the ideas of the innocent boy suddenly becoming meaningless in the face of the words he was now reading.
"Sometimes it's truly pathetic to watch, boy... You never do get things right. Is it any suprise to find that you can't even take care of a woman?
Not even a demanding one... no, your pretty little sweetheart knows nothing of the ways of the world, and yet you can't even make her happy. Leave her alone most of the time, pining, and then return to give her... nothing. It's almost comical. The poor child doesn't even understand what's wrong. You're mad about her, aren't you?
A thousand miles away, waiting to kill or be killed, and your mind still lingers on those full lips, those gentle smiles, the soft, firm flesh that death seems to have barely touched... the thought is enough to keep you warm at night, isn't it? And yet nothing you do satisfies her. I almost feel sorry for the poor child... innocence itself, pledging body and soul to you for eternity, only to find out too late that you will never be enough.
I wonder, boy, will you keep her, and burn for her love, and satisfy yourself in her arms, knowing how little you please her?
What will you do, when someday she meets someone who is man enough to awaken that desire in her? When you see that she understands at last how you feel, but her longing is for someone else?
Will you bind her to you and hold her to her vows, and watch her torture herself? Or will you give her away, and spend your nights imagining where she has gone, picture her finding fulfillment with another lover?"
As the words melted into him, searing straight through his defenses, crisping any barrier he might have had and branding themselves into his chest, he felt pain.
Was she really unsatisfied..? Would she really find herself another lover whom she preferred over him? Even thinking about his beloved, his queen, the love of his entire existence finding more happiness with another man was enough to give him a blinding white rage, and then quickly subsiding into a depthless depression and ice cold terror.
Beneath Vekkul's robes, magically enhanced and enchanted, past the roaring demonic power that howled from his being, quietly sitting in the center of his conscience was just a young man, still lonely, still insecure, and still deathly afraid of being alone. He had always, always feared that he wasn't enough for a woman as beautiful as Anne was in his amber eyes, and now he had the very confirmation that he wasn't.
He didn't know what to do. Did he confront her, target her down and demand if she had already found someone else, or did he hide the secret, watching her every response in paranoia that she wasn't happy? Either option seemed impossible to do, so he quickly turned and headed for the battlemaster, now much preferring the sight of any innocent deaths to the looming fear of being proven that his lovely fiancee was not happy. If she had found someone... what would he do? Could he honestly hold her to him, watching the empty sadness as she was left tortured, or did he gouge out his own heart and leave her to find another? He couldn't even begin to comprehend the pain that would cause.
Before he got to the battlemaster, though, he found himself face-to-face with none other than Anne herself, gazing at him lovingly, the pale, smooth skin healthy, even in her undead state, her lips curled into a smile that embraced him with absolute trust and love.
Her smile widened as her tender arms took him in a light hug, affectionate and somewhat shy, even to her future husband.
He took the embrace, but lightly, not sure if he was supposed to hug her or not, shocked to find her right in front of him at perhaps the worst of times.
"What...what're you doing here?"
"I'm here to see you..."
"..Oh... I... alright."
"...Is something wrong, Vekkul?"
"I-... No, I-..."
He stopped, realizing that it would, in the end, be useless to lie to her. Glancing around, he quickly took her hand and guided her away, to a small clearing behind the building that the battlemasters resided in. It was there that he quietly handed the letters over to her, murmuring,
"I got these... today."
Anne took the letters thoughtfully, reading over the words in silence until she was finished. When her gaze rose back to his face, tears were already trickling down her cheeks.
"Surely you don't... this is... this is just a pack of lies...."
Vekkul looked away, shutting his amber orbs as he tried to make sense of the conflicts inside him.
"I don't... I don't know, Anne..."
"Vekkul... I love you."
"I love you, too, Anne..."
Anne leaned over, placing a passionate, almost desperately loving kiss on his lips, watching him worriedly. Vekkul only turned away once again, still caught up and ever more confused by the situation.
"Vekkul... you do satisfy me... I know I'm not very wordly... If I am missing something, maybe you could teach me... I'm... I'm sorry..."
He heard her voice choke, futiley trying to hold back a sob as she backed up, then turned, almost racing away. Vekkul blinked, watching her in suprise for a moment before he chased after her, calling.
"Anne! Anne, wait wait! What... why're you going away, and why are you crying? Honey, what's wrong?"
She stopped and looked back at him, caught up as he embraced her tightly, his concern for her well being more powerful than the suspicion that she might not be content with him.
"I'm so sorry... I must... I must not be good enough for you, I'll go... I'm sorry...."
"Anne... what... what the hell? No! No, Anne... that's not it at all! I just...."
He took his sobbing fiancee down, sitting near her and cradling her in his arms as he explained to her his more private insecurities, almost breaking into tears himself. In turn, she nestled again him, explaining again her profound and most truthful devotion, and that she would never ever love anyone aside from him.
Sitting there, holding and kissing her forehead, Vekkul suddenly realized the mistake he had made, and knew exactly what he would have to do.
Quickly, he pressed into the mailbox a small letter. It was for Anne, letting her know that he was leaving. He was going to find the man that had destroyed his family, once and for all, and be done with it. Anne would've wanted to come with him, but it was something he had to settle with this man alone. Murmuring the demonic incantations, he called upon his faithful dreadsteed. In moments, he found himself securely atop the horrifically beautiful horse, its burning flames offering some level of strange solace. With a snap on the reins, he rode off into the distance, searching.
He realized, of course, that he had no idea where to find this man, but he was going to hunt as long as he needed to. He had plenty of food, and his steed was not known to ever eat. An intelligent being that Vekkul had long since grown fond and connected with, it knew what its master desired, and charged on. This gave the warlock time to think, time to observe and ponder while the scenery and wind rushed past his face. Tugging his dreadrobes tighter, he began to understand that deep down, he was afraid. He was afraid of the idea that this man might destroy him. He would never be able to see Anne, never see what his mentor had so long ago fortold, never find his sister. He shook his head to himself. He wouldn't allow this man to stop him and destroy his life anymore. At the very least, if he were destined to die, he wouldn't do it alone.
The time he spent atop that horse, riding on, no longer really steering, isn't measured. He felt the rhythmetic pound of the searing hooves calming as he ran his thoughts over and over and over again endlessly in his mind, reassuring himself to be prepared for anything, if he even found him.
More to the horse's desire than his own, Vekkul found himself in the vicinity of the Dark Portal. He could see the stange glow just beyond the horizon, the dreadsteed now carrying him at a slow trot. Sharp, brilliant amber eyes looked at the horse questioningly.
"Why are we here...? Is this..where he is?"
The horse uttered a small noise that Vekkul could only read as a confirmation. Immediately, he grasped for his staff, literally glowing blue with power as he focused on his innate ability to track down things of demonic nature.
What he discovered was strange. Beyond strange, in fact. The Dark Portal, a place known for its high content of demons, was completely barren. Devoid of demons, creatures or otherwise. An exceptionally rare moment. Normally, the demons that guarded the Portal would be able to destroy even him. Any force powerful enough to make them go away was truly something to behold.
As he reached the edge of the Portal's crater, he whispered away the dreadsteed, sending it back to its home in Xoroth, wondering if he would live to summon the horse again. He descended in, taking his steps slowly, listening, feeling, still acutely aware of anything nearby that might studdenly ambush him. He came close to the Portal, and had begun to ponder if he was supposed to somehow pass through when he heard a bone-chilling voice that brought him to an immediate halt.
From behind him, the words echoed in his ears,
"Finally showed up, did you, boy...?"
Vekkul spun quickly, reaching for his wand, his eyes already melting away their amber sheen to reveal a blazing azure light, brimming with hatred and confusion. His wand was immediately blasted out of his hand by a dazzling ray of shadow, almost burning him through his gloves.
"You...who are you...why have you done this? You've destroyed my family! My mother, my fathe-"
He was cut off by a small series of laughs. The figure was densely and heavily covered in dark, crimson robes. His entire body was concealed except for his eyes, which matched Vekkul's fervor in their own blue light. Tall, obviously powerful, he folded his arms across his chest, staring at Vekkul for a moment.
"You never figured it out, did you boy? Even with that smart little girl by your side, you never realized who I was.."
Vekkul shook his head, the laughter, the obvious toying bringing his rage to phenomenal proportions. He was nearly shouting.
"Tell me! Who are you!"
With another light laughter, the man reached up an unwrapped his hood, letting it fall to the burnt rocks beneath them. The face was pale, hollow, but alive. He wasn't undead, but Vekkul wasn't sure he was human either. The face was familiar, vaugely, where had he seen it before? Long, long ago...he gasped before the man spoke, already caught in horror.
"My name is Valmont de Shea, boy...you know who I am."
His mouth was agape, locked there, frozen as he tried desperately to comprehend how and why his father could be alive, be the one behind it all, the one who had destroyed his own family. None of it made any sense.
"..Father? But..how...why? Why would you do this? I'm your son! We were a family, and you came home, that one day..."
Vekkul was speaking of the fateful day that Vekkul's father had come home from a long trip away. He had been a paladin of the light, a cheerful and loving man who normally entered the door flooding with warmth. That day, he had come home cold, expressionless, and distant. He set forth the gears that would lead Vekkul to be homeless with his sister, Shiella, running from the authorities as thieves, and his mother killed.
"You don't know the whole story, do you, son? You remember me coming home, but you don't know what happened.."
"Then tell me! Tell me what happened! Tell me why you've been doing this, why you let Mother die, why you're trying to kill off our family!"
Valmont just laughed in his face again, watching with a steady, amused gaze.
"When I came home, it's true, I was possessed. I never intended for your mother to die, but I can't change that now. A few weeks later, though, I had broken away from possession. I was myself, but I had seen. I still don't know who or what possessed me, but they let me see things. Let me see what would become of you...if you weren't stopped."
His tone grew suddenly serious as he advanced towards his son, now glaring at him with an impossible hatred.
"You don't know what you will become, Vekkul, but I do...there will come a day where you become something more terrible than you've ever imagined. I saw it with my own two eyes, and it was then I realized what I had to do. I took up magics, every kind I could find and I learned. I did anything I could do to learn and understand more. I even sacrificed part of my soul so I would not die of age. Ever since I came back to my own mind, hunting you has been my only drive."
Vekkul shook his head in disgust, still gaping at the man who had once nurtured and loved him, his father who he had once looked up to in admiration, was now telling him that he must die. He couldn't wrap his mind around it; father or not, he wasn't going to turn back now.
"You're wrong...I don't know what you saw, but I'm not a bad man, Father. I love Anne, I love this..life...I have, and you're not going to take it away. I won't let you."
Valmont only laughed again, apparantly even more amused before he lifted his hand towards his son, a dark glow already forming. He spoke in a cynical, superior air, watching with a bloodthirsty hunger.
"You can't stop me, son...I'm far more powerful than you are.."
With that, a heavy bolt of shadow screamed through the air at Vekkul. Just before impact, the agile warlock summoned to himself a ward of shadow protection, absorbing the blast. He advanced forward, having picked up his wand once again.
"I'm going to kill you, Father, any way I can."
With a sinister gleam in his eyes, Valmont nodded.
"...So be it then."
Without another word, Valmont had taken out a dagger from his own crimson robes and brought it up, its blade a bright violet as it tore into his son's body, tearing up through his lower stomach and through, ripping out his shoulder on the opposite side of his body.
Vekkul screamed, the poisoned, magical blade burning and scorching his pale flesh, but only driving him to a more mindless sense of murder.
Roaring, Vekkul lifted in his hands a bag. The entire cache of soul shards in his possession, knowing that what he was about to do was never before even considered, pulling in at the powerful demonic energies around him to crush them all, absorbing into his body their energies, the souls of those he had destroyed. In moments, his bleeding body had sealed itself and was now darkening, transforming. Quickly, his silhouette became nothing more than a shape of pitch black. Only his eyes, fiery in the blue luster, remained as he dived towards his father, clawlike hands extended outward.
Valmont gaped in terror, watching his son as he became everything he had always feared he'd be, knowing instantly that anything he knew was nothing compared to the black hatred that was now racing at him. Futiley, he held up his hands to defend himself.
It didn't take long. Vekkul's strange form ripped into Valmont's body, hungrily and angrily tearing him to pieces, slashing and roaring long after his father was dead, until the only thing left was a broken pile of unrecognizable bones and a stain of blood.
With another screaming roar of vistory, bloodlust, and mind-numbing hate, Vekkul's body melted back to his original form, now weak and breathless. He barely forced out the light incantations to summon back to him the faithful dreadsteed before he passed out.
Quietly, the horse rode off, taking its master back to his home in Orgrimmar.
When he awoke, still weary, he headed off to the waterfall nearby, stripping down and tossing his smoked, burnt, and torn robes aside to cleanse himself. As he was washing, he realized a line of black was scarring his skin, through the path his father's dagger had taken. Before he could contemplate the interesting mark, though, the memories of his transformation came back...and the shuddering truth that came with it.
His father was right.