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Betrayal By A Goddess
#1
((Senne is used in this story with her player’s permission.))

Senne looked up from preparing yet another batch of herbs to use in a new potion she was trying to develop. Absently, she blew a stray lock of strawberry blonde hair that had gotten loose from the bun she often wore while working. As the hair lifted from the paladin’s face, she finally noticed another figure in the room. It was Deeke, a new member of the Ironsong Tribe and, apparently, surprisingly light on his feet for a Tauren.

The large bull was sitting at his usual spot off in the corner and appeared to be just finishing with the reading of the scroll he held, a look of mixed curiosity and concern on his features as he rolled up the parchment once more. Her curiosity sparked, Senne stood up and left her work for a few moments to walk over to him.

“Do you mind if I ask what you’re reading?”

Deeke blinked owlishly at her for a moment as he collected his thoughts back from wherever the parchment had led them. “It’s a scroll I found on the body of a dead Night Elf. He had apparently been acting as a messenger and was killed by some animal.” He tapped the thing against the table for a moment. “This was in a case about his neck.”

“Is there something in it that concerns you?” Senne asked. “You looked a little... upset by it.”

“Not that concerns me directly,” said the bull, shaking his head. “But I am thinking that what is written here might be of interest to the Tribe itself.”

The paladin smiled and pointed over at a nearby board hung on the wall. “Why not post it there? That’s where we put notices of some importance for the others to read.”

“I’d rather keep this original safe. What it’s written on is not that durable.”

Senne grinned. “I have lots of parchment and ink if you want to copy it,” she said, heading back over to her table and fetching the writing items from her satchel. “Here. Use these.”

Deeke simply nodded his thanks and unrolled the scroll, weighting the top and bottom down carefully with a pair of candlesticks. There was something about the scroll that looked... off... to the eyes of the Blood Elf.

“Is that vellum?” She asked. “It doesn’t look like it was prepared properly...”

“No. It’s not vellum.” The death knight did not break his rhythm of writing as he responded. “It’s the skin of a Night Elf... and the ink was its blood. Arthas’s generals were fond of sending missives using the skins and blood of enemies as their materials. You become used to recognizing such things.” The matter of fact way in which he spoke about such a practice caused her to open her mouth to say something, and then stop herself... biting her lip as if to keep the words contained. Deliberately, she shifted her gaze to the scroll in progress to draw her attention away from where her thoughts were beginning to lead. Her eyes tracked his hand, moving with sure and swift strokes, never seeming to stop even as he looked away to the original document save to dip the quil in the well for more ink.

Soon, the Tauren was finished with his copying and rolled up the original to tuck away as Senne glanced at the finished document. The writing was exact, even down the perfect duplication of the hand in which it had been written and stylistic quirks of the original author.

“How did you do that?” she asked her friend.

“Do what?”

“Copy the handwriting so perfectly. Did you write the original one?”

The bull shook his head. “No...” He examined the duplicate for a long moment. “And I don’t know how I copied the hand. I just wanted to copy the scroll... so I did.”

Senne looked at the Tauren curiously for a few moments before absently handing him a few small but sturdy pins, part of her mind lost in thought as more was being revealed about this rather unusual individual.

Standing, Deeke walked over to the mostly empty board and tacked the document to the soft wood. “I think we may want to spread the word among the Tribe. I believe this Selunai might be one to keep an eye out for. Either to be wary of... or to have her join our ranks so that we might see what can be done for her... whatever it might be that would be best. Even if it’s to help give her some focus and aid to try and control the destruction she might bring.”



***** (The scroll reads as follows) *****

I write this to you, Elune, my former Goddess, as a declaration of undying hatred of you that goes beyond even death.

As a child, I was born to the Night Elves in the sacred woods of the isle of Teldrassil, and was even given my name in honor of you. Selunai meaning in the old tongue, as you well know, “Eternal Servant of Elune.” My parents, priests devoted to you of their own right, trained me from birth in my dedication and worship of you, as they said I was marked by you and touched by the omens. My twin sister even remained unnamed; left to fend for herself from before she could first walk, so dedicated were my parents that I should serve you. Thinking back upon it, we were both your victims. Me in being infested with their obsession of service… and her in being neglected for it.

You were my life. Every night I spent hours in prayer to you, giving myself over to your will, even from when I could first speak. I knew all of your sacred teachings before I had even reached my tenth year, and when the time came for all of our kind to choose their path in life, there was no question. I chose you. I made my devotion recognized and entered into your most sacred Temple of the Moon to begin my formal training. My dear sister, I hear, had been found in the woods by a human traveler around this time and brought to the hunter’s guild, the fact that she had been raised by a nightsaber and had become mostly feral making her fit for any life but that of a predator. Her name, as I discovered later, was Katrice, a name the human who found her and named her felt was appropriate for the cats that cared for her and taught her to survive. Something our parents should have done but a duty they abandoned in favor of their fanatical devotion to your service.

My determination to serve consumed me. My every waking hour was spent in studies, exercises, and opening my heart to you. Such was my drive to serve that I was released from the Temple as an acolyte in half the time most take, and traveled to Aldrassil as ordered.

That point was the beginning of my mission in life. To champion your cause and fight the evils in the world in your name, I healed the sick without question or request for payment, even beyond the charity of many others of your priesthood, because I knew that was your will. I fought against those who spread sickness and poison in your lands, and destroyed those creatures I could not otherwise save.

Naga, Infernals, maddened Firbolgs, Ogres... evil members of all races... fell beneath my mace as I fought for you. I defended those of the so-called Alliance against the beasts that attacked them, and the Horde that sought to annihilate them. Exploring the world, I traveled the lands held by both the Alliance and the Horde in my quest to serve you and learn of the evils in the world.

In my travels, I have discovered that the greatest evil is you.

You taught me both to use the holy light you cast, and the shadows you live in. Yet as I learned of the shadows, I came too close to your own secrets. I was still devoted to you utterly, and continued to worship you in all forms, yet you began to turn your own back on me. Spells became harder to cast, and easier for others to fortify themselves against. As I prayed to you in my devotions, I became more and more aware that you were no longer willing to hear the voice of my soul.

And when I needed you most, attacked by a group of Orcs and captured. Bound to a post and tortured repeatedly. Mutilated, defiled, and beaten for their pleasure. My ears cut off slowly while I still lived and worn on the belt of their warchief. In my darkest hour, you remained utterly silent. When I could have used gifts you grant your priests and escaped in the night, healed my wounds and continued to learn of you and spread your words and works, you abandoned me.

Finally, as I was dying, my heart lifted as I thought of the joy I would feel when my spirit would join with you in your caring embrace. But even that was not to be. As my breath passed from me, and my spirit departed my body, I was still tied to the land and denied a final rest.. The chill of death was more than even you could know. The agony was maddening, cutting to the very core of my being and twisting within me. After what seemed an eternity, I found I could bear the torment enough to perceive the world around me once again, and travel in my own fashion.

I spent weeks in the camp of my killers, bound to the area in which I had died and within sight of my own rotting corpse that they had simply left tied to the post. My hatred of you grew with each moment of pain. You, who I had been born to serve and had devoted my entire being to, had forsaken me. You, who even after death, denied me the afterlife that you had always granted even the lowest of our kind. You, who had abandoned me so completely, that you were content to let me spend the rest of eternity in torment and agony.

Then came the day of my true awakening and salvation.

The band of Orcs that had attacked me was set upon by a war party, this one made up of members of all four races of the Horde. In the confrontation before the battle, I learned that the ones who had captured me were renegades, betraying the Horde and acting without even the semblance of honor. The war party’s leader even pointed to my body and stated that no honorable member of the Horde would do, even to one such as me, what the traitors had done.

In the battle that followed, the entire band of renegades was slaughtered to a man. The death of my captors, their own pain and fear, fueled my soul and warded off some of the chill as I experienced a sense of vengeance, no matter how vicariously.

Once the fight was over, and the bodies of the fallen renegades had been placed on a pyre and set alight, the Orc who led the war party ordered the two priests to cut my body free and give it an honorable burial. Since I had not been given the respect of being allowed to fall in battle, I would be respected in death. I felt a wrenching in my being as my body fell to earth, cut free at last, and realized that it was not the place of my death that bound me, but my own body.

I watched as my body was buried, feeling the weight of the grave on my chest with each spade full of dirt that was piled upon my corpse. When they were finished, the Troll returned to the fire, but a strange thing happened. The priest of the Undead turned and looked directly at me. He could see me.

“You can have what you seek,” he murmured to me very simply. “Your rage shows quite clearly. Vengeance can be yours, if you simply have the resolve.” And with that, he left.

In the morning, the party departed, leaving me alone to ponder the words of the other priest. Over time, as I remained tethered to my grave, the spark he had left in my breast began to grow into a flame. Indeed, witnessing the destruction of my murderers had warmed me as I felt that sense of justice and revenge. The flame began to grow as I considered your betrayal of me. You turned your back on me when I needed you most. As I thought of that betrayal, I realized that it had opened my eyes to the lies you spread among your so called chosen.

They would need to be saved from you. And, as you taught me so well, if they could not be saved, they must be destroyed. Since you had blinded them so well, I realized that I must work to destroy every one of my former brethren to save them. Once that was done, I must destroy you to prevent you from deceiving any other race and leaving them open for your betrayal. At this decision, my resolve became firm once more and the flame became a bonfire, banishing the chill of undeath from me.

Over the next cycling of the moon, I worked to understand the nature of the bond that held me to my body. Eventually, I dove into my own grave and entered my shrunken and mutilated corpse. I worked not to break the bond between my body and soul, but instead to strengthen it. Finally, I gradually began to assume control of the dead, desiccated flesh. A finger here, a toe there, my body began to move in its shallow grave. It took me more time than I can ever know, but working slowly, I was able to exhume by own body from the cold earth.

I began to travel, my journey taking me a month or more, to the homeland of the Undead. I felt this most appropriate, as they were known to themselves as the Forsaken, and I had been forsaken by you, my deceitful former goddess. I resolved that I would keep my birth name, in order to show all that it is one who was your loyal servant that now seeks to destroy you, and that you have turned your back on one who gave her entire being to you. I keep my name, not as a sign of dedication to your service, but instead so that you will always be reminded that it was your most faithful who now seeks your eradication with equal devotion.

I finally reached the Undercity, home of the undead, and presented myself at their gates. I did not attempt to deceive them into thinking that I had fallen to the Plague. They would know it was not so. I presented myself honestly as one who had risen from the grave under their own power and will, and would not fall again until my quest had been fulfilled.

Sylvanas, their banshee queen, called upon me to see her and converse at length. She wished to be assured that I was not of their hated enemy, the Scourge, and also desired to learn more about me. It appears that I am an extreme rarity among the undead, and what they refer to as a Revenant. One who was not created by the plague, but who was instead self-created by their rage and their desire to seek vengeance against the one who wronged them.

I was accepted into her city and while I am not truly one of them, she has ordered me to be treated as though I were. They took me in on her command and, over the next few years, taught me their ways. I learned about the unlife that was now mine as well. Much of this acceptance by their Queen is due to her delight in the nature of my rage, and my desire to see the Night Elves freed from your dominion and lies, whether it be seeing the truth and turning from you, or in their complete and utter eradication from Azeroth. I have grown further in power since those days, but the fire of my rage towards you only grows and burns more brightly with each day that you continue to exist.

Only those who have no belief in you... those who refuse to worship you and give you power through their devotion as I once did... only those shall be safe from my wrath and the Oath I give to your annihilation.

Be wary, Elune. For I have learned your secrets and am coming to obliterate you, even if it takes millennia and the extinction of the race I once held as my own.

You will be destroyed in the end.
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#2
Senne's eyes narrowed as she considered the tauren. What did she truly know of him anyway? To copy the scroll so flawlessly, it must be his own hand on the original - and what would possess one to write on the skin of an elf... regardless of it's side in the chaos. A tickling on chin let her know that she had once again bitten too deeply into her lip; she licked at the small spot of crimson blossoming - then absentmindedly wiped at her chin with the back of her arm.
She followed Deeke to where he posted the notice, and taking a deep breath, began to read. Her concerns about the original author faded immediately. This was not Deeke's story. Even though she did not know him well, she knew this wasn't him. Relieved, momentarily, she rocked back on her heals, releasing the grip she had on her lip. A unsavory habit, she knew, one she would break herself of.
As she pretended to still be engrossed in the scroll, she considered what she did know of the tauren. What skills had he possessed before he was changed? Perhaps an artist? He did sing like one given to the arts...but still, the copy was flawless. She knew the pains of copying scrolls, translating works... even in her best days, she could not have done this caliber of work.
Her eyes flickered across the scroll once more and a sadness overtook her. How many... how many had similar stories? How long would all this take? Why? She pushed it all back neatly and locked it away, forcing a smile to her lips, "thank you, Deke. I agree, it is something the Tribe might want to know about, and keep an eye out for". She walked by the tauren, presumably returning to her work, patted his shoulder lightly as she passed. However, she left her alchemy setting in a pile on the table and simply walked out of the hall.
[Image: 3453992ixyXB.png]
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