by Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires
World of Warcraft copyrighted to Blizzard Entertainment. Concepts and characters not my own used without permission for non-profit amusement purposes under the Fair Use clause. All characters that are my own creations are copyrighted to ME. No stealz, plz.
Minor spoilers if you haven't played the Wrath of the Lich King expansion yet. But honestly, most everyone's on Cataclysm by now save for new players, so...
Sylvanas Windrunner's Private Quarters...
It was rare that the undead needed sleep. But even someone as mighty as Sylvanas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen and leader of the Forsaken, needed rest sometimes.
It was not hard to imagine why she was worn out. Garrosh Hellscream, current leader of the Horde, kept going over her operations with a fine-toothed comb, leading her to think that the 'ogre-headed buffon' she had dismissed earlier wasn't as dumb as she thought. She hadn't been able to create any new plague since the Gilneas fiasco, and every use of the Val'kyr was monitored by the watchdogs Garrosh had set into place.
About the only good thing that she could say came from the constant presence of the orc is Garrosh admitting that he needed help in the secret task Thrall assigned him before leaving to join the Earthen Ring: Finding a new leader for the Bilgewater Cartel, someone to replace the loathsome Gallywix. She could understand THAT perfectly, as Gallywix was a greedy, cowardly fool who could be cowed easily by a show of power. She had threatened repeatedly to slice him up for sandwich meat every time he made a pass at her.
Damn Thrall, she had frequently thought. Things had been going wrong ever since he went off to play hero. The Darkspear trolls had reclaimed their lands, the Bilgewater goblins were settled into their new homes, the orcs were thriving, and the tauren and blood elves, were being allowed to recover from their losses, why couldn't her people be allowed a chance to recover from the battles with Arthas?
Putress had not been acting on her orders. But more and more she was starting to think that he may have been right in his intention...
And more and more, in her rare instances of sleep, she was dreaming.
A smile formed on Sylvanas's sleeping face as she dreamed. The Lich King's helmet hung at her waist, a trophy of conquest, Frostmourne sheathed at her back. Orcs, humans, elves of all sorts were being hearded into death camps to be either turned into more Forsaken or be torn apart and used as materials for abominations and other flesh beasts.
At her side floated several Val'kyr, along with her personal honor guard of death knights, Thrall, Garrosh Hellscream, Varok Saurfang, Baine Bloodhoof and his father Cairne (no reason to keep the family apart, now that she had mastered death), the dwarven Council of Hammers, Gelbin Mekkatorque, the prophet Velen, Trade Prince Gallywix, Lor'themar Theron, Vol'jin, King Varian Wrynn, Malfurion Stormrage, Jaina Proudmore, and Tyrande Whisperwinde.
The plague, her precious plague, was spreading steadily over the lands, turning all life into unlife or outright destroying it. The five Dragon Aspects stood with her death knights, all now her zombified frost wyrms.
It was beautiful... A wonderful dream...
Now if only that whispering would go away...
You think it over that easily, Banshee Queen?
Sylvanas tried to ignore the voice. She needed to focus on watching over her people, watching them grow strong and numerous as they stormed over the land, turning life into undeath, a scourge upon all they...
No. No, that was wrong. They weren't Scourge anymore. They were free.
Keep telling yourself that. Maybe you'll believe it one day! mocked the whispering voice.
"Shut up," she muttered, gripping her legendary bow. "We are free of the Lich King's control."
Of course you are.
"Arthas is DEAD. The Lich King is DEAD," Sylvanas said, slowly drawing her bow and notching an arrow. "Who are you?"
The voice laughed. The first is true. The second is not.
Sylvanas shook her head. "Impossible. I felt Arthas die, I felt the last remnants of his foul mind leave mine once the deathblow was struck!"
Powerful arms gripped hers. She tried to struggle free, thrashing violently, kicking at her captors, but they held her fast. She turned, and to her horror, saw the smirking faces of Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream, once her slaves in this dreamscape, now holding her prisoner. All of her slaves were grinning at her cruelly now, Gallywix and Gelbin holding her legs still as the land became shrouded in mist. And from that mist walked three imposing figures, all wearing a horrifyingly familiar helmet.
One was an orcish warlock. His hunched, robed form was shrouded in darkness, the Helm of Domination hiding his face. Sylvanas suddenly knew, the knowledge implanting itself in her head, that this was Ner'zhul, the first Lich King, knowledge of the orc's life from birth to death to final destruction appearing in her mind.
The second, skull-armored form was one she knew all too well. Arthas Menethil. As she watched, struggling helplessly in the powerful grip of her captors, Arthas came up to her and claimed Frostmourne from its sheath on her back.
"This is mine, I believe," he said in a cruel, mocking voice. Sylvanas just glared at him, Varok holding her in a powerful headlock.
The third was one she didn't recognize at all. He looked to be a burned, ashen wreckage of a man, his skin molten and flaming, his armor in tatters save for the Helm of Domination on his head. Flames burned in his eyes as he reached over and claimed the Helm of Domination on Sylvanas's belt, a cruel smirk on his face.
And suddenly, she knew who this third Lich King was, the knowledge of this man, Bolvar Fordragon's fate being forcefully implanted
"Did you think it would be finished that quickly?" all three Lich Kings said, speaking in perfect unison, "That you could simply win your freedom by conquering the will of a host?"
Sylvanas's eyes widened. "What are you talking about? The wearer wields the power of the Helmet and controls the Scourge. My own hatred for Arthas," she said, understanding now that the being before her was not truly her nemesis, "plus my own desire for freedom helped me break free."
The three Lich Kings chuckled, shaking their heads. "No, my child. You are not free. You will never be free."
"Ner'zhul was destroyed by Arthas!" Sylvanas spat, "And Arthas was slain!" She tried to lean forward for emphasis, but Thrall struck her roughly in the back with his hammer, making her stagger. She glared up at the third Lich King, who just smirked down at her. "And Bolvar... Bolvar is trying to CONTAIN the Scourge! I know this, for you yourself have told it to me!"
"Indeed," said the three Lich Kings, "What better way to put someone in despair than telling them the full truth of the situation? But you do not fully comprehend how helpless you are..."
"My plague destroyed Scourge and the Living alike!" Sylvanas sneered, turning to Arthas, "The second Lich King was sent fleeing for his life from it."
The three Lich Kings just grinned. "And what would you have done if Putress had killed Arthas, hm?"
"Claimed the Helm and his wretched sword for myself," Sylvanas said, "I'd take command of the Scourge and restore everyone's mind to normal."
The three Lich Kings laughed mockingly. "Fool," they said, "You still do not understand. You still do not realize why it is called the Helm of DOMINATION..."
Sylvanas just shook her head angrily. "I need no explanation. Whomever wears the Helm dominates the Scourge, and..."
"Whomever wears the Helm becomes dominated by the Scourge," the three Lich Kings intoned.
Sylvanas blinked, confused. "...What?"
Bolvar smirked, holding up the fourth Helm of Domination. The three Lich Kings chorused, "Silly girl. Do you think it's that simple? That the Lich King is something as minor as a title, passed down from an orc who was duped by my creator, to a young human with delusions of grandeur, and once more to a fool who seeks in vain to contain me?"
Sylvanas's eyes widened in sudden fear, as it finally dawned on her. "...The Helm itself is sentient... It merges its will with the wearer..."
"And makes them into the Lich King," the three Lich Kings said, trading wicked looks and adding, "Or Lich Queen, as it were..."
Sylvanas gasped, and began to struggle in earnest to free herself from her captors, who held onto her tightly, keeping her near motionless. Lich King Bolvar smirked, raising the Helm of Domination above her head and slowly sliding it down over her face.
"No! NO! NO NO NO!" she screamed, "PLEASE, GODS ABOVE NOOOO!"
"My child," the three Lich Kings crooned, "You call yourself and your people the Forsaken? How foolish. For I have not, nor will I ever, forsake any of you."
Sylvanas, once proud and haughty, was reduced to tears, screaming and sobbing as she struggled helplessly, her own unnatural strength seemingly being sapped away. With a final scream, the Helm of Domination was placed on her head, her voice cutting off with a strangled cry, powerful claws of magic tearing their way into her mind at an agonizing rate...
And slowly, as green fire burned from Sylvanas's eyes behind the Helm, the Lich Kings and the Lich Queen began to laugh...
Sylvanas awoke with a scream, looking about in a terrified manner. Her hand scrambled for her bow when she heard someone knocking on the door to her private chambers.
"My lady? Are you all right?"
Sylvanas shivered. "Yes," she said. It was just her guards, "I am... fine..."
The door opened, and a Forsaken Priest and Warrior peered in, worried expressions on their faces. Sylvanas noted with mild amusement that they had seen fit to fetch an abomination... Had she been crying in her sleep?
The warrior coughed. "You... You were making strange noises... And at the end you began to laugh... Forgive me for saying so, my lady, but while it's been hard to feel anything since I was raised... that laugh was... somewhat frightening..."
Sylvanas sighed. "It was nothing... Just... Just a bad dream..."
The priestess frowned. "Must have been a very bad one..." she said.
Sylvanas scowled. "I'll be FINE. Go back to your duties and get that thing out of here. It stinks worse than our own rotting bodies do..." She motioned for them to lead the abomination away, the brainless beast staring at a firefly it had spotted. The two Forsaken guards smiled a little at her joke. It was a small one, very forced, but it lightened the tense mood in the room just enough.
The two Forsaken guards nodded after a moment's hesitation, leading the abomination away. Sylvanas sighed, laying back in her bed again. She looked over to her mirror...
And screamed, seeing her face covered by the Helm of Domination. She reacted instinctively, firing an arrow at the mirror, shattering it.
Panting, frightened, she stared at the wreckage, ignoring the sounds of her guards running back to her. All she heard was a voice whispering in her head...
You are all my children. I will never forsake you...