Part I, The Return: Edit
The man moved slowly through the streets. Propped against the walls of buildings as he moved, a leg dragged behind him slowly, thumping stiffly against the cobblestones. Finally, after many stops along the way to drink from the flask in his hands, he came to a door, which he threw open with a grunt. Stepping into a cramped room, he began fumbling, attempting to ignite the flame on a lantern with one hand while the other returned the flask to his lips.
"It's been some time, Thomas."
With the rush of light into the room came a shock to Thomas, as a voice emerged which sent a shiver up his spine, and the flask tumbling to the floor, its contents seeping into the wood. Turning slowly, he was unable to repress the quivering of his lip, or the blanching of his skin at the sight of his visitor. Leaning casually in a worn chair in the middle of the room was a man, robes wrapped closely to his body. In his hand was a glass, filled with dark liquid which he rose slowly to his lips as he looked over his host. Finally, setting the glass aside, he spoke again.
"I've been waiting several hours now, you realize. Sampling this... swill, that you would call wine. I must say Thomas, I'm not too impressed with what you've made of yourself. I'd really hoped after our last encounter that you would turn it all around, improve your lot in life."
Sputtering momentarily, the words rose to the lips of Thomas, a mixture of drunken slurring, hatred, and fear.
"You! They said... said y'were gone. The priests told me y'left Stormwind, no idea where... gave ‘way yer b’longings… after what y'did t'me.." At this he gestured slightly towards his immobile leg. "you've the nerve to come to my..."
A dark gleam in his eye, the man rose a hand, silencing Thomas before beginning to speak, a stern tone in his voice.
"What I did to you Thomas? I attempted to do you a great justice. You had known ties to several heretical organizations and undesirable elements of the Stormwind underground. My methods may have been a bit.. severe, but they were in your best interest, in the hopes of saving your soul from an eternity of torment in the Twisting Nether. Regardless, you are clearly still aware of what I did, in attempting to redeem you. As such, I will allow you to determine how the rest of this conversation goes, keeping in mind that I've no more forgotten how I did what I did than you've forgotten how it felt."
Pressed against the wall, Thomas began to shudder involuntarily as the man spoke. Finally, he raised his own voice again.
"Wh... what d'you want from me?"
Smiling blandly, the man nodded again.
"It's wonderful that you have it in you to be so agreeable Thomas. Perhaps you aren't such a failure as I'd feared. Regardless... you were correct, earlier. I left Stormwind some time ago, with no intention of returning. However, I find that I have been guided in a different direction, and have returned to serve my people in their time of need. Unfortunately, my previous network of informants by and large seem to have met with abrupt ends shortly before and in the time since my original exodus. This is where you come in. Names, Thomas. Names, and leverage. Every Warlock, thief, and malcontent you associate with, because we both know you still do, and everything you know about them that would be of any use to me."
Thomas listened, a sinking sensation deep in his stomach.
"I... no... I don't keep in touch! Not since you... not since then!"
Sighing deeply, the man reached into a bag by his side. Pulling forth a stack of letters, he tossed them casually onto the table for Thomas to examine. As he read, the man spoke again, raising his voice over the low moans that came from Thomas.
"Your daughter... Dina, was it? She sounds like a charming girl, Thomas. And quite oblivious to your more reprehensible qualities. Such a shame if I should have to examine further if that ignorance is feigned or genuine, wouldn't you say?"
"Y... you wouldn't, you couldn't!"
"There is very little I wouldn't do, Thomas. We are embroiled in a war, and not just against the Horde, or the Forsaken. A war within our own people. A war between what is good, and what is wicked. And if I must do whatever must be done to assure that we are victorious, then so be it. Now, before this conversation goes too much longer, I encourage you to pick up your pen, allow me to finish my drink in quiet, and give me what I seek."
Leaning back into the seat again, the man lifted his glass, watching as Thomas slowly grasped at a pen, writing slowly on a parchment that had been spread out.
Part II, The Letter: Edit
The next day, throughout Stormwind parchment was distributed. Handed out by children whose purses bulged with copper for their effort, nailed to doors of businesses, laying discarded in the gutter, they read:
To the citizens of Stormwind, sons and daughters of the Light...
In your time of need did I forsake you. Our city, new and gleaming like a diamond atop the crown of our empire, I turned my back upon you. The slow creeping of corruption, seeping across the city, the taint of heresy thick upon the air, in disgust I abandoned you. I fled, fled your politics, your corruption, your filth, fled worldly contacts, wealth and influence, fled with no intent to ever return. I had left you, in your decadence and your corruption, disgusted by your vanities and your vices, I had left you to do as you would, and let the Nether have you all. People of Stormwind, sons and daughters of the Light...
In my absence, you have fallen still further. For all the gleaming statues, the polish of armor, your souls run black. Perverse. Corrupted. Damned. You have fallen to lascivious revelry, forsaking the Light which has sustained you in your time of need for the degradation of promiscuity, inebriation and criminality. So far have you fallen that all that embodies what is foul, you embrace with open arms. Heretics roam our streets when they should be floating in our moats. Their flaming horses emit the stench of sulfur to suffocate your children, and you invite them to your homes. The demons they claim to control tear what remains of their souls to shreds, and when they have broken them entirely, they will come for your flesh. And you hail them as the great hope of our people.
As you have grown corrupt, you have grown complacent. How easily, children of Stormwind, do you forget our history. How quickly do you extend your arm to walk hand in hand with abomination. How quickly the fire of zeal has left your eyes with the signing of a hollow truce. How quickly you abandon righteousness for convenience. You are like cattle, staring blankly to the sky as you drool over your helping of feed, willfully ignorant of the butcher who is removed from sight, removed from mind. You forget the Scourge in far off lands, plotting your perversion. You forget the Scourge in what was once Lordaeron, too eager to ignore their depravities in order to stomach an alliance.
You allow abomination to exist, because you are too weak to do what is right.
I had left you to do as you would, to wallow in your own corruption. I had left, with no intent to ever return. I have seen the error in my ways. In my travels I have prayed for guidance, in my meditations, I have seen the truth. Stormwind, city of my people, in the face of your decay I must stand, stronger than before, to save you from yourselves.
We have been embroiled in a war for long years. A war unseen, a war beyond swords and magic, an insidious war weaved within the same wars which have torn our lands asunder, a war we are losing. No longer shall this continue. No longer shall I tolerate the slow decay of a people who long ago were shown the way to salvation. We will emerge from this war cleansed and victorious, by any means necessary. Those who would stand against us will fall as grain to the sickle, and will fuel the fire within us further. If the blood of every heretic on Azeroth runs red the canals of Stormwind, deeply shall we drink, and joyous shall we be.
In my righteousness you will find grace, in my strength, the Light shall embrace you. United by purity, those who will stand with me shall reclaim Stormwind in the name of what is right, what is good. The fire of redemption will rage throughout the streets, igniting the spark in the soul of man, incinerating the flesh of the wicked.
I have returned to Stormwind, I have returned to the children of the Light most in crisis. I am the reckoning, the righteous fury of the Light emboldens me to restore you in your fallacy to what is right. Stormwind is rebuilt, and we shall rebuild it yet again. We shall create a city upon the hill, a hill formed from the relics of our former decadence, our former deviance. Repent of your sins as you can, before redemption is torn from your flesh!
Yours in the Light,
((Author's Note)) Edit
((This was the introduction of my character, Haelin Haelin, posted on the Thorium Brotherhood Realm Forums at http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=47160670&sid=1 . As of November 21st, 2006, Haelin is still actively played, and the story is not significantly evolved past this point. With consent from other players in the thread, I may extend this entry to include the back and forth replies, before the WoW forums auto-delete them.))