Authors Note: I recently got back in to WoW, and I've always sort of had a thing for Sylvanas (as most do, I presume. ^.^) I've decided to write the story about how my favorite and longest lasting character in WoW I've had for many years became a Death Knight. This story is primarily going to be a Sylvanas/OC adventure/romance, but may include other elements or characters as I write them in.
Please note: I am ware that this chapter contains many plot holes. I've done it on purpose to lead to future plot twists. If anyone sees them... well good for you. XD If not, relax. Also, I am going to try to stick as close to WoW canon lore as possible, but if I deviate, either it's on purpose, such as certain special abilities I've written in for Sylvanas, or it's an accident, and I am not opposed to being (politely) corrected. Otherwise, I am likely to ignore you and do it again on purpose just to spite you.
Please also note: I do not actually know Thalassian, and any words contained in my chapters that I state ARE Thalassian are actually just Elven translations off of other fantasy sites. Sorry, but I simply couldn't find websites with the Thalassian translations I wanted. Please understand this. Hehe
All content and characters are owned by Blizzard and copyrights are theirs. I'm just a silly fan nerd. Hehe.
It was twilight, faint shards of orange-red light from the fading sun still pierced the slowly deepening purple curtain of the evening sky. A raven cried somewhere in the distance, a small protest to dying day, or perhaps to the loss of a meal. A faint breeze gusted through the air, barely enough to stir the dried brush spread over the nearby hillside. The shallow wind was cold. Or... was it her that was cold? She could not tell. The waning breeze tickled her skin soothingly, comfortingly. She had never especially liked the wind before, though. She remembered that much. Where was she? Who was she? She could not recall. With a small start, she realized she was face down on the ground, laying on one side. A tiny gust in the air ruffled the strands of dark red hair dangling down in to her vision, framed by a faint blue light that seemed to glow against the dried brush under her face. Her hair. Why was she on the ground?
It took quite a lot of effort for her muscles to respond, but after a few moments of effort, she managed to roll onto her back, the faint blue glow reflected on the ground about her seemed to shift with her as she now stared up into that vast deep purple curtain above. Why was she so terribly stiff all over? She tried to flex her fingers and curl her toes, the icy air kissing her bare digits. Or was it her skin that was so icy? She still couldn't tell. With concentrated effort, she managed to lift one arm and look at her hand. The skin was extremely pale, so pale it was on the verge of being called a hue of blue. Why was she so cold? And if she was so cold, why wasn't she shivering? Indeed, it didn't seem to bother her much, but it was very noticeable.
It took the better part of a quarter of an hour before she was able to convince her body to cooperate well enough to assume a sitting position on the edge of the hill she was on. An old reflexive habit kicked in and she tried to twist head and flex her neck a bit to pop it, but nothing happened. She blinked ponderously, wondering both where the reflex had come from and why nothing had happened. She couldn't remember... anything. The majority of her mind was clouded like a valley covered in the haze of a thick fog.
That faint eerie blue light that seemed to be surrounding reflected on the ground around her seemed much more noticeable as the sun sank below the horizon and night came on. She tried to locate the source, craning her neck around slowly from side to side as much as the stiffness permeating her entire body would let her, but she could not locate it. It was only a mild annoyance to be sure, but right now it seemed the only thing she had any control over. She certainly had no control over the breeze; it was freezing, or she was. Her body was stiff, her mind was foggy, her heart wasn't beating...
Panic flared. Her heart wasn't beating?! How could that be?! She clutched at her chest clumsily, stiffly, attempting in vain to react in some fashion to this revelation when she felt it. A very very low, extremely faint beat. It couldn't have been more than a half dozen beats every minute, and so very faint it was a barely detectable thump deep within her chest. She froze, straining to hear the normal thud of a heartbeat issuing from her torso, but as the shot of adrenaline from her moment of panic wore off that had spurred her heart to life, it slowed ever more until finally ceasing again. Silence filled the air but for the ever faint breeze still tickling her cold skin. She waited, still trying to hear. It was a long stretch of time before anything happened, another ever faint solitary thump. It was so faint and so innocuous she could almost have sworn she hadn't heard anything at all. She didn't feel any pain. What was going on?!
A rustling in the bushes off to her left made her jump, and she attempted to lurch to her feet. Intense pain shot up her left leg and all through her left side and arm. She opened her mouth to scream, an other worldly echoing screech issuing forth that she had never heard before piercing the wind of the twilight air. It was several moments before she realized she was again laying face first against the ground, however this time she was panting and her heart had started again, if slowly. Her entire left side was fire and she groaned involuntarily, her throat still issuing that other worldly echo.
Realizing she was no longer alone, she craned her neck stiffly to see who had emerged from the bushes. A tall hooded figure with tall thin pointed ears sticking out of the tops of her hood and locks of gold jutting out from the very edges of her cowl was walking forth, red lights of her glowing eyes shining from her cowl and her cloak spread in the feeble breeze kicking behind her as she strode forward carrying a bow in one hand and a freshly killed rabbit in the other. The sheer presence of will and power emanating from this woman was such that it pierced the haze of pain. The woman knelt before her, setting her bow and the rabbit carefully to the side as she reached out a surprisingly gentle helping hand.
"The pain will lessen in time. How are you feeling aside from that? I did not mean to startle you, I thought you would not have awakened yet."
The woman's voice carried the same other worldly echo as her own had, and she could not help but feel overcome with an overwhelming sense of comfort as the woman drew up to her, as if she had been laden with a burden she had not known she carried and this woman had just lifted it from her shoulders. With the woman's assistance she managed to roll stiffly back over on to her back and resume her sitting position. She spoke the first words that sprang unbidden to the tip of her tongue.
"Am I dead...?" Even as the echo in her banshee-like voice died she knew it was a stupid question. If she was dead, how could she be moving about? But she had seen the undead, and the question re-formed on her tongue as she looked up into the glowing red eyes of this forceful woman, the red light of her eyes meshing into the blue glow around her. "Am I... undead...?"
The woman chuckled, a low earthy chuckle even with the echo. "Undead, yes. You died, but you have inherited the curse of undeath. Do you remember what happened?"
She shook her head vaguely, "No. I... it's all a haze..."
"Do you remember your name or anything about your life?"
"No, nothing..." she ran her hands over her head, still noticing the chill. "So it wasn't the wind after all..."
"The wind?" The woman looked confused.
"Nothing..." She looked up in to the woman's red eyes. "Who am I?"
"Your name in life, should you choose to retain it, was Melody Dawnrunner. You were a Warrior of the Crimson Blades of the Blood Elves of Silvermoon City. Does any of this ring a bell?"
Melody shook her head. "No..." She propped her elbow on her knee and rested her forehead against her hand, her red hair cascading forward around her as she tried to pierce the blanket of fog laying thickly over her mind, and glanced up as she did so, seeing a slight smirk on the woman's face. "... what?"
The woman issued another echoing chuckle. "It's just good to see you acting like yourself again, that's all."
"What do you mean?"
The woman gestured, "That posture. It's one I've seen you adopt numerous times, when you have something weighing upon your mind."
Melody blinked uncertainly and straightened up as much as she could under the stiffness that still clung to her like damp clothing. "You have? You knew me?"
"I did. Rather well, in fact."
"Who are you?" the woman opened her mouth to answer but a name burst in to Melody's mind to connect to the face before her, and she couldn't stop from echoing the name even as the woman herself said it, resulting in an odd quadruple echo as the two other worldly voices spoke simultaneously.
She nodded. "You remember me?"
Melody started to shake her head, then turned it in to a nod part way through. "N.. yes. Sort of. I mean, images, feelings..." Sudden anger bloomed in her and her and her eyes blazed. "Blast this infernal fog in my mind!" Sylvanas chuckled again. "What's so funny?!"
"You. It's normal, many undead experience these sorts of things as they awaken. It is frustrating, I know. It will take time for your memory to return and your mannerisms to reassert themselves. In the mean time things may be awkward for you, and you may not remember things you feel you should know. ... or you may remember them incorrectly... or even find you do not agree with your memory any longer..."
Melody looked up at the sudden... was it sadness? She peered up in to Sylvanas' eyes, and the woman turned her head away, obscuring her face partially by the edge of her cowl.
"... was... were we...?"
Sylvanas did not give her an opening to pursue any questions. "We should be moving. This area is not entirely safe, and I need to get you back to Undercity." Sylvanas leaned to the side and scooped up the rabbit and offered it to her. Melody recoiled. It smelled horrible, revolting even.
"Eat...?! It's a dead animal! It's revolting!"
"I'm not referring to it's flesh. The blood will help."
"That's vile!" Melody screwed up her face in revulsion.
"Do you want to be stiff and sore forever?!" Sylvanas sounded annoyed now. "It must be done or we will never move from this spot."
Gradually, painfully, Melody reached out for the rabbit. The soft fur slid along the cold skin of her fingers like silk along a blade. Her nose wrinkled involuntarily and her lips curled back in a snarl as she put the rabbit carcase to her mouth, but to her immense surprise, as she finally and tentatively touched the tip of her tongue to the trickles of blood oozing out of the animal, she found that the actual taste of the blood was... well, not horrible...
As Melody drank, Sylvanas continued speaking. "We are in the far eastern Plague Lands, far to the east of Undercity. Ebon Hold is to the south east, not too far from here, but we must avoid it. They will not welcome us there at this time."
Melody brushed her chin with the back of a finger, which she could not help immediately licking clean. "Why?"
"You, dear Melody, are the first of your kind. You are a Death Knight, but not any ordinary one. You are mine."
"I..." The rabbit slumped in her hands, forgotten for the moment. A jumble of emotions suddenly warred within her. A deep rooted pleasure, extreme pride, nervousness, but also an extreme guilt, coupled with a complexity that seemed to interlock all of these emotions together. The way Sylvanas had said that did not imply simple ownership. "What... do you mean?"
"You truly remember nothing of it?"
Sylvanas sighed, and took up her bow as she stood. "Come, we must move. If we are found here, things will become... extremely uncomfortable." She reached a hand out to help the fledgling Death Knight to her feet.
"But my leg..."
"The blood should have helped your body enough to move."
To Melody's surprise she was able to stand without the pain from before, and her heart was actually beating at a steady, albeit slow, pace. It was an extremely peculiar feeling but she could actually feel the warmth of the freshly dead animal's blood being moved through her body. She leaned heavily on Sylvanas' arm and found herself momentarily cushioned in the crook of her shoulder and her side, and inexplicably her heart beat even faster. Melody blinked several times as she looked up at Sylvanas, who stood just enough taller that she had to tilt her chin up ever so slightly to meet her gaze, but Sylvanas again turned to look away, and that feeling of sadness momentarily hung in the air.
"Come. We will not make it to Undercity tonight, but we will need to put as much distance between us and this spot as we can. You can lean on me until you regain your balance."
Melody did have to lean on Sylvanas, clutching at her arm like a newborn as she tottered her first several steps, and as they moved down the slope it was at that moment in the light of the last fading rays of the sinking sun that Melody looked down at herself and saw she was clad in cracked and broken armor, covered in blood with what seemed to be still frozen bits of frost on the edges of it. This armor was no longer protective gear, it was now worthless, but if she discarded it she would effectively be naked. She stopped, unable to move for a moment, until Sylvanas, noticing what happened, took her kindly by the shoulder and urged her forward, guiding her onwards as Melody experienced the very surreal moment of, in effect, looking down at her own corpse.
"How did you die?" The other worldly echo followed the echoing of Melody's own question as Sylvanas glanced at her sideways. "In battle, as you'd always wanted. As you'd always planned on, in fact."
Sylvanas nodded as she helped Melody carefully pick her way down the slope of their hill towards a crease in the base that led up another slope opposite, a small gap between them large enough to serve as a walk way between the two.
"You fell in battle, albeit in an unusual circumstance. I will take you to show you where, it's not far from here. After I... recovered your body... I took you away from the battle in order to..." Sylvanas, paused, a very heavy pause, then back tracked. "I'll take you and show you."
"And I planned this?!" Melody was incredulous.
"No, you planned to die in battle. In the manner people plan to 'some day eventually' do something. You've been a warrior for many years, and the thought of dying old and decrepit always bothered you."
That did sound... feeble to her. Melody blinked ponderously as they walked, not really noticing that her muscles were slowly beginning to respond to her will easier. She raised the rabbit back to her lips subconsciously, not really realizing what she was doing, sucking idly on it as if it were a snack.
As they walked, they began to pass by signs of battle. Debris lying in testament to the furious confrontation that had obviously taken place near by. Dropped or discarded weapons or bits of armor began to be visible, here and there only at first, but with increasing frequency as the further towards the crevice between the two hills they came. There were even a few personal items scattered here and there, and at one point a catapult wheel came into view, though where the rest of it was at that moment was anyone's guess.
"Why is no one out here salvaging anything? Most of this equipment is still usable."
Sylvanas smirked at her charge. "Always the practical thinker. It's why I chose you in the first place. It's our proximity to Ebon Hold. The Death Knights will be sending out search and salvage parties soon, and no one wants to tangle with them right now."
"They aren't our allies? But I thought you said I..."
"You're a ... unique case."
At that moment they were passing by a discarded equipment pack, the contents of which were strewn all over, and in the moonlight reflecting off of a metal canteen Melody caught her reflection. An athletic yet very sensuously formed Blood Elf stared back at her, toned and built like a warrior, but shapely in all the right places. Fiery red hair cascaded down around her to her waist, and though stiff still she carried herself like a practiced warrior. But...
Her skin was so pale, she could see now. The paleness of a corpse. And her eyes... cold glowing blue eyes stared back at her...
She reached up absently halfway to her face. "That's where the blue glow is coming from...?
Sylvanas looked at her questioningly. "Blue glow?"
Melody lowered her hand. "Nothing." She turned away from her reflection to walk onwards, tossing the rabbit carcass aside casually, finished with the blood from within, not wanting to really think about it any longer than necessary. "So then... why were we in battle?"
Sylvanas sighed in mild annoyance. "You keep jumping around with all of these questions. Shall I simply start from the beginning?"
"Please. You've said we have quite a walk, after all. And we have the mood lighting..." she glanced up at the night sky as the starts slowly began to twinkle.
Sylvanas laughed, a full echoing laugh this time. "I'm glad to see your sense of humor returning. I shall go quite a bit back to the beginning and give you a full story, however first, let us climb the next hill so I may show you what I'd promised."
Melody nodded in acquiescence, and they continued onward up the opposing slope. She kept an eye on the scenery as they walked, trying to absorb anything that might jog her memory and help lift the blanket fog upon her mind.
"The Death Knights of Ebon Hold have just recently broken free of the Lich King's control during the Battle of Light's Hope Chapel." Sylvanas said in a very neutral tone, her eyes and echoing voice betraying no hint of emotional reaction to the information she was imparting. "The Lich King launched an attack on the Paladins there in an attempt to cripple the Silver Hand, but he was defeated by an ancient blade wielded by the light's champions there given to them by one of his own Death Knights as he broke free of his control, and as the Lich King fled, his power weakened by this defeat, more and more Death Knights under his control have begun regaining their own free will and re-integrating themselves into the factions they left behind in life."
"Who is the Lich King?"
Sylvanas glanced sideways at her charge as they walked, a faint look of surprise flickering through her red eyes at this question. "You do not even recall that?"
Melody growled in annoyance, the other worldly echo casting a dangerous tone in her voice. "You keep saying in surprise that I don't remember anything. Didn't I say I don't remember anything at all? Is it really that surprising?"
Sylvanas shook her head and raised a hand to forestall Melody's annoyance. "Peace, my mirwa. I am just continually surprised by it. I did mention that it is not uncommon to have memory problems when first awakening in Undeath, however it not usually so complete a loss as yours seems to be. It is most common to at least remember one's name and at least where they came from, and barring that to recall major world events of people of great import. You seem to remember nothing at all."
Melody cast a look over at Sylvanas, blue glow meeting red in the deepening evening darkness, the two women stopping in the night's air for a moment to consider the other. It should have combined in to a purple glow, but in an eerie fashion it did not, each color seeming to fight for dominance but neither gaining any upper hand over the other. Just one more oddity to punctuate the surrealism of the evening, Melody thought idly as their eyes searched the face of the other.
Melody sighed slightly, the echo in her voice causing it to sound almost like a ghostly moan. "I'm sorry, I did not mean to snap. I'm just so… lost, right now. You're the only thing that seems familiar so far, but only in such a way as a dream you don't recall is familiar when something in the waking world reminds you of it in an abstract fashion. I remember… feelings…" Melody took a step forward and reached a hand up towards Sylvanas. She didn't move away from Melody's hand, but the air grew suddenly icy, Sylvanas' face hardening slightly, but not in anger. It was more of a look of pain, of worry… of loss…? They froze in mid-position for several moments, hand outstretched only half way, no real target on Sylvanas obvious for the hand's destination, before Melody sighed again and let her hand fall back to her side. "They are all jumbled though, like a memory of a feeling, or an echo of a dream that's so knotted up you can't sort through them. They are there, though, but only for you. Anyone else, or anything other than that…" Melody glanced around at the strewn battlefield, and shrugged helplessly. She did remember one thing; she absolutely hated feeling helpless…
Sylvanas spoke, a questioning note in her tone, and again that hint of sadness. "So… you don't remember anything about me at all? I'd assumed when you spoke my name…"
"I have your name, and my knot of emotions I can't unravel. That is all."
"So you do not know who I am."
There was a very pregnant pause, a silence between them as the women stared at each other for another long moment. Staring in to Sylvanas' face, Melody could almost remember something about her, about a constant impassive mask to give away nothing, about a commanding and forceful demeanor always in place, cracked only in very intimate moments… a shadow of a memory that dissipated like smoke as soon as she reached for it.
"… you called me… 'mirwa' ?"
Sylvanas broke the moment by turning away with a curt "Nothing. It's not important." And gesturing that they continue. For a very brief moment, Melody could have sworn Sylvanas was going to reach out for her. She continued her explanation.
"I am Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen and ruler of the Forsaken and Undercity, our capital. I command all of the undead in existence save for the Scourge, those minions of the undead commanded by the Lich King himself, and save for the Death Knights of Ebon Hold."
"So you do not command me?" Melody could not keep the sadness from her echoing voice.
A heat entered Sylvanas' voice, however it wasn't an anger but a vehemence in the return echo. "I do command you. You are mine!"
"You said that before. What does it mean?"
"You asked who the Lich King is. Arthas Menethil was his name when he was alive, and he has caused untoward suffering and agony to thousands of souls." Real anger flared in Sylvanas' tone, ringing off the silent landscape around them as her echo permeated the air. "He is interested in nothing more than the dominance of his own rulership and the destruction of everyone else. He is a monster and must be put down like one for what he has done to me and to the rest of Azeroth!"
The pure hatred in Sylvanas' voice was so intense that Melody could almost feel it prickling her own cold skin. She had a sudden impulse to reach out, to comfort Sylvanas, to embrace her and try to sooth her. She had no idea where the impulse came from, and she squashed it. This did not seem an appropriate time or place for such a thing. Instead she remained silent and continued walking along beside the Banshee Queen, allowing her a moment to compose herself. After a minute Sylvanas continued her explanations once more.
"The Lich King controls his minions through dark necromantic and blood magics, and has to maintain direct mental control over all of them. He has lost control over some in the past, and I have taken them into my fold to bolster our forces in service to the Horde, but he has never lost control over such powerful minions as the Death Knights before. Once they rebelled after regaining their free will, they have fought tooth and nail to keep Ebon Hold under their own control, and as the last few weeks have passed and they have began reintegrating into their races' home factions, they have requested aide in further securing the area around Ebon Hold. They won their battle for their home base, but the surrounding countryside is still littered with the scourge under the Lich King's control, and as the fight continues they have found that they needed aide in securing it. Being that Undercity is closest, the Warchief requested I bring aide to their defense seeing as we have gained several valuable new allies from the Death Knights already, and I agreed because this is so near my own territory."
Sylvanas paused to give Melody a few moments to process all of this information. The moon was rising over the horizon now, casting it's ghostly light down upon the littered battlefield, creating a rather eerie effect, however Melody found it oddly… comforting now. The calm and stillness of it all was nice. She began to notice the bodies as they passed the outer edges of the battlefield, men and women of various races lay about, their limbs twisted in odd ways or sprawled how they fell, and while she didn't care for the bodies themselves, she still enjoyed the stillness. This seemed a new feeling, however. Somehow she doubted she had enjoyed anything like it in life.
"So… we are part of a horde."
"The Horde." Sylvanas corrected as she led them around the destroyed remains of a catapult that had been facing a now smashed fortification. "The two major factions at war within our realm of Azeroth are the Alliance, made up of the Humans, Night Elves, Draeni, Dwarves, and Gnomes," She pointed almost idly at various examples around them amongst the bodies of the fallen around them as they walked, "And the Horde, made up of the Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Blood Elves, and my Forsaken. We are enemies, though we share the Scourge as a common enemy."
"And this… Warchief?"
"The Warchief is the leader of all of the Horde. While each race has it's own racial leader and the Warchief does not rule us directly by running our cities or dictating our laws and customs, we do bow to him and the laws he sets down above us on a faction level, and we must adhere to them above ours, and when he calls we obey."
"And he commanded that you ride to this battle?"
"Yes. I did have my own interests in it, however."
"Since it was so close to your territory you said."
"Correct. I do not like my borders threatened. I doubt any ruler does."
"And you… er…" Melody tripped over her words here. "… found me here…?"
Sylvanas shook her head, leading them up the slope of another small hill, at the top of which Melody could see the broken remnants of what looked like a battlement wall. Enough rubble was piled around it and scattered down the slope that it would have stood a good twenty feet high, a formidable wall for such a temporary camp. Melody blinked, wondering where those thoughts had come from as Sylvanas continued.
"You were… part of my forces." The hesitation in her voice was so brief in that sentence, so quickly there and then gone again, that Melody almost thought she'd imagined it. Almost. "The Forsaken are mostly comprised of undead humans I have raised, though some are not human, and our forces are mostly bolstered by my raising those of the Alliance that I defeat in battle to replace my numbers, though that fact is not widely known."
Melody looked at Sylvanas. "You are not human." It wasn't a question.
"No, I was Quel'Dorei in life, a High Elf., before Arthas…" She trailed off, and the shadow of a look of pain crossed her face before flitting away again. "The Sin'Dorei, the Blood Elves, came directly from my people, and so I have close ties to them, though I am technically no longer one of them. I consider them… well, almost as those alive might consider extended familial relations. The leader of the Sin'Dorei is Lor'Themar Theron, and while our political relationship has been strained in the past, we are still amicable. We frequently lend each other assistance behind the scenes when needed."
Melody blinked. "So I am just like you then?"
Sylvanas shook her head as she picked her way around an outcropping on the hill, Melody following close behind her. "Not exactly. I was a Ranger that was raised by Arthas as a Banshee, and then restored to my body later. I am not a Death Knight, as you are. And in life I was a High Elf, and you were a Blood Elf. In truth, the differences are minor, but they are there."
Melody did not fail to note the past tense in Sylvanas' phrasings. "But if you control the Forsaken, and this… Lor'Themar? … controls the Blood Elves, how was I part of your forces?"
Sylvanas was silent for a few moments, and Melody got the distinct impression that she was not about to receive a whole answer. Not that she thought Sylvanas would lie to her, but a partial answer to satisfy without giving away anything she did not want to. Melody was again not certain where she was getting the impressions that she was, but she was becoming more and more convinced as Sylvanas said things or reacted in certain ways to her questions that there was much more between them than she was letting on. Why wouldn't she tell her? Was there something wrong that Melody just couldn't remember? What was going on?
"As I said, Lor'Themar and I frequently assist each other behind the scenes. Not so much because we like each other as because we are unified in a cause. I admit, I do not like him much, but I am concerned for the well being of the Sin'Dorei. So we trade aide to see to the betterment of our people. In this case, I had requested his aid in some elite troops for the battle that I was marching towards. Forsaken are good as soldiers when raised, but I lack the ability to make true champions… or I did, until very recently that is. So he agreed to lend me the aid of and elite but secret battle group called the Crimson Blade."
"That's the group you mentioned earlier that I was a part of."
"Yes. The Crimson Blade functions as a secret enforcement organization in service to Lor'Themar Theron."
"That seems rather… militant."
Sylvanas raised an eyebrow at Melody. "That's a rather opinionated comment for one who remembers nothing of it." She noted wryly.
Melody shook her head as if to clear it, hauling herself up a particularly steep knot in the incline as they continued to ascend towards the battlement ruin at the top of the hill. "I'm not sure where it came from. I keep having thoughts or feelings form, only to have them blow away with the wind when I try to reach for them."
"I still expect that to resolve itself with time," Sylvanas said, "Though I still find it troubling how complete your memory loss is." She looked around as they crested the top of the hill, coming up to the ruined battlement. "And this, mirwa, is where you died."
Melody caught the word again, and the fact that this time Sylvanas' tone was laced with both sadness and… was that affection? She couldn't tell for sure, but she was rather distracted suddenly. They had just reached the side of what remained of the broken battlement wall. As tall as the scattered stone around the ground had indicated it had stood when complete, the thing stood no more than five or six feet high now. There were a few other bodies strewn around, some not even whole, pieces missing from what looked like huge bites taken out of them judging by the massive teeth wounds in evidence on them, though as with most thoughts Melody could not say where the recognition had come from. Glancing down the wall a little way she saw a broken helmet and a few dented scraps of armor strewn on the ground relative to where they might have landed when discarded that exactly matched the cracked and destroyed fragments of useless armor she now wore, and she approached the spot carefully and knelt on the ground, Sylvanas hanging back a little bit, watching Melody as she almost reverently laid a hand upon the wall next to the bits of metal that could no longer be called protective gear. She crouched there, kneeling against the wall for several long minutes before saying anything.
"How… did it…?"
Sylvanas caught the meaning and took a few steps closer. "A Frost Wyrm."
"A great skeletal raised dragon of the Scourge. I didn't see it personally as I was within the command tent at the time, but according to my reports, Ebon Hold thought that all of the Frost Wyrms had been dealt with, but one that had taken a wound had gone to ground after the battle of Light's Hope Chapel, and laid dormant as the rest of the Scourge withdrew. During this battle, it awoke and as it withdrew it took out your battlement and a couple of others that were stationed nearby. It was—"
Sylvanas' voice was lost to Melody's ears as her mind suddenly reeled, a vision flashing in to her mind briefly, and she could see it. A great, skeletal dragon flapping it's giant bone wings, the evening's light glinting off it's pearly marrow almost like a mirror, roaring over head as it soared out of nowhere during the fight. She was standing on the battlement, sent to help cover a gap in the lines, right in the front of it's path as it came toward her, and the frost wyrm descended, opening it's huge mouth, it's massive maw gaping wider than a castle door, icy breath coalescing in the air as it's gigantic torso bulged outward with it's breath and it heaved out a spray of icy searing air, the sound of air rushing past and crystallizing around her, the pop and snap it forcing it's way in to the crevices of her armor, shattering it, the cold and pain overtook her, a scream, darkness…
It was her. She was screaming. And she was clutching at something hard and unyielding yet soft and gentle.
"Shhhh… shhhh… mirwa, I'm here… shhhh…"
Melody opened her eyes. She was shivering, an overwhelming wave of coldness seeming as though it was passing through her. She'd thought she was cold before. Would she ever be warm again? She looked up and realized for the first time that she was in Sylvanas' arms. The Banshee Queen had knelt and scooped her from where she'd fallen and was cradling her against her armored chest plate. The images in her mind slowly faded from the vivid recollection they had been into the more fuzzy vague one of a normal memory, and slowly, agonizingly, Melody stopped shivering. She looked up at Sylvanas.
"What…" She paused, still clinging to Sylvanas. "What… does 'mirwa' mean?"
Sylvanas stopped all movement, but did not let go. Melody had stopped shivering and also was not moving, and to anyone who walked by they might have been very lifelike statues for all the movement there was between them. It struck Melody in that moment how very very still the undead could remain, how undeath required no movement what so ever, but to Melody the war suddenly raging in Sylvanas' eyes was plain and required no movement to witness. She didn't know if she could read it on Sylvanas' because of the onrush of memory she had just or from their interactions of the evening thus far. She couldn't say if it was due to her collapse or just the circumstances of them being at the site where she'd died, but something had triggered a protective response in the Banshee Queen, an intimate response that was, to her at least, just as clear that Sylvanas was both unused to the feeling and uncomfortable with it. It was also just as obvious to Melody, however, that she wanted to experience it, and her outward mask of cold calculation was now at war with her desire to protect.
Finally Sylvanas spoke. "It is Thalassian. It means 'precious.' Have you even forgotten the language of your heritage as well?"
Melody stared up at Sylvanas, still cradled against the cold hard metal of her armor and wrapped in the cold soft flesh of her arms. "I… suppose so." She looked deep in to Sylvanas' eyes, searching. "There was something between us… wasn't there?"
Sylvanas turned her head away, breaking the eye contact, her long thin elven ears twitching in agitation, a gesture of emotion she would normally never have allowed to show. Melody's own ears lay flat against her head, the emotional knot she had been feeling sitting like a lump in her chest as she waited for Sylvanas to speak.
"We…" Sylvanas took a breath, a measure of agitation more than any real need for air. She did not turn her head back. "We… yes. There is. Was. I don't know anymore."
"Before the battle, we had had… a fight. Our feelings had blossomed suddenly and intensely, and then a complication had arisen, and we fought. And then…then…"
"Then I died…"
"Yes." Sylvanas hissed. The hints of sadness that had entered Sylvanas' voice before was suddenly back in force, the other worldly echo in her voice laced now with both sadness and pain "I never wanted this… I didn't want you to die… undeath is a curse, but I couldn't… I couldn't leave you at peace… when I heard you'd fallen I…"
Melody was overcome with emotion, that knot absolutely refusing to unravel, but pulsing harder than ever. "So when you said I was yours so fiercely earlier… You didn't just mean under your command…"
Sylvanas shook her head. "I… I saw Arthas once raise a Death Knight… when he first learned how to do it… I was still under his control when I saw it, a very long time ago, but… the necromancer that was showing him… I saw how… but my will was not my own at that time, and it was not until very recently that I remembered what I'd seen, and how to make sense of it… I spent long hours thinking about it, considering it, and I was certain I had come up with a way to blend my magics into the process to improve it, to make an even more powerful than normal Death Knight, and I thought that this might be a way to raise champions for the Forsaken that could rival those of the Scourge, the likes of which I had never been able to bolster my forces with before!" Sylvanas had a frenzied sound to her voice now, as though she were trying to justify it to herself more than explain to Melody. The tones coming from her would have understandably concerned anyone.
Sylvanas continued in a quieter tone, "... but I didn't want to try it just on any random person. It had to be a stronger than average champion for my initial trial. In the normal course of raising a Death Knight that the Lich King does or even that they do in Ebon Hold, Paladins most often become Death Knights, but the strongest and deadliest of them are exceptionally powerful warriors, and I thought that if I could find an especially skilled warrior and simultaneously try my improvement, that the result would be the most powerful champion the Forsaken had ever known, maybe even the strongest Death Knight to ever exist!"
The zeal suddenly left Sylvanas' voice as she exhaled sharply in exasperation, again more for punctuation of her feeling than any need for air. Her agitation had mounted so far that she was really cracking her mask for Melody. Or was it that Melody had already cracked that mask in life...?
"But not you… we'd had a fight, but I'd never wanted this for you… but I couldn't… I couldn't just let you… let you die…"
A single tear trickled down the cheek of the Banshee Queen. The coolest, most calm, collected, and arguably, most dangerous leader of the Horde, who was known far and wide as unflappable and always in control, had shed a tear for her. If Melody had not been overwhelmed before, this would have done it, and, finally moving from where she'd been laying in Sylvanas' arms, she leaned up and wrapped her arms around the Banshee Queen's neck, embracing her.
Melody did not yet know, did not remember yet, what this woman was to her. Queen, ruler, rescuer, confidant, friend, lover... the uncertainty hung thick in her mind alongside the fog that so covered it. She knew, however, that whatever happened, from here forth, their paths were one. Everything else aside, Melody was the very first creation of a new type of Champion of the Forsaken, sired by Sylvanas, and no matter what happened that could never change now. The rest would have to come in time.
"I was concerned you wouldn't remember me, worried that undeath would erase or alter your memories of feelings of me. That can happen, sometimes. I wanted to tell you about how you came in to my service and how we developed, but I didn't want to force something that wasn't there or that might have changed..." Sylvanas' ears lay flat as she spoke this admission out loud, "I thought you might... hate me now... for cursing you with undeath... That happens sometimes, too... but I just couldn't let you go..."
Melody leaned close into the hollow of Sylvanas' neck, pressing her face into the cloth of her cowl, and though there was no one alive within earshot, whispered in as tender of a tone as her other worldly echoing voice would allow, "I forgive you for the curse of undeath, and I am touched I mean enough to you that you could not let me go."
Sylvanas' ears twitched in agitation again, and she turned get head, finally making eye contact again, a light of hope sparkling in her face as glowing red eyes met glowing blue. "You forgive me... but you don't remember me... you don't remember us..."
"No. But if you'll help me, I'll try."
Sylvanas wrapped her arms tightly around Melody's waist and the two women clung to each other as the moon, still rising over head, bathed them in it's light.