“It’s done. The deed that so many wished accomplished is over with, and Arthas is dead. Though he is gone, the Lich King persists and may yet have a place in all of this. The worst part is, I can openly talk about what happened up there.”
Lodur gazed out across the frozen plains of Northrend through eyes that were not his own, grasping the railing of the balcony with hands too slender to be his own. Even after two years he wasn’t used to the feelings of this body. The sensations were always so strange to him, and it always felt like something was off, like there was a dissonance between soul and form. A small hand worked it’s way hunter one of his hands and squeezed.
“Aye, ah know ye ain’t be likin’ it, but this be for more important thing than either price or valor.”
Yeva leaned into Lodur, the fire haired dwarf let out a sigh of contentment as they took in the view. Dalaran had afforded them all the comforts of a lavish home, hailed as heroes. The view of the frozen lands from this high up seemed so much more beautiful, the distance wiping away the scars of plague and death with the soft brush of blues and whites.
“Besides, ye got ‘nough of a story to be told from when you faced down the Lich King to save me. tis enough valor in that for generations to come.”
Lodur squeezed her hand and leaned over to kiss the top of her head with lips that were not his lips.
“It’s more than valor and you know it. A good man made a great sacrifice, one that we can never truly understand. His honor, his memory may be intact still, but the depth of his bravery can never be told. It makes me feel so frustrated to know this. To only be able to share it with two score of people. That those babes who sleep tonight peacefully be they Elf, Orc or Man may not know that one final act of compassion saved them all. Yeva, that knowledge could end the war between the factions, it could bring true, lasting peace.”
“Aye, I understand, but the way o’ the world is oft beyond the bounds of prosperity, honor or truth.”
Lodur laughed and slipped his hand out of hers, moving his arm around her instead and pulling her closer to him.
“I see someone has been brushing up on her politics and philosophy. Spending too much time with the Magus’ are we?”
Yeva broke free of Lodur’s embrace, leapt and slapped him on the cheek.
“Don’ ye be thinkin’ that because you be a goat lady instead of a goat boy that I won’t smack ye on your arse!”
Lodur rubbed the side of his face and laughed. She stared daggers at that face that was not his face for a few minutes until she too finally broke down into laughter. They turned from the balcony leaving the view behind them as they made their way to bed. They had to get some rest, for Tomorrow was going to be a big day.
The assault on the citadel had only just passed, but the personal scars were still fresh for many people. The beginning of the whole ordeal was the first time Lodur had felt true, uncontrolled fear and rage. SI:7 had been asked to scout ahead into the breached citadel, when they asked for volunteers Yeva was among the first selected. She had seen the Lich King, and evaded his more powerful minions successfully. She was a logical choice. The first group went in, while an army of adventurers and heroes stormed the gates from the front. Lodur had been among those first in the frontal assault, so Yeva felt that if he would risk himself charging into battle, the least she could do was a little bit of sneaking and scouting.
Progress had been made in the early days, and Lodur had helped push from the lower levels up to the battlements where the fighting had intensified. Weary after days of assaulting the generals of the Lich King, the group had returned to camp to rest and resupply as the next group pushed onwards. This was a siege, and it would take much in the way of time and effort. Lodur’s return to the camp yielded an empty tent. The soldiers were quick to assure him that she would be fine, but when she did not return the next day a feeling lodged itself deep in the pit of his soul. Something was very wrong.
He gathered a handful of his guild mates and made for the breach. Shoving aside the guards posted at the entryway, the small band tore apart the Forge of Souls but there was no sign of the scouting band. They pushed into the Saronite quarry, the Pit of Saron, where Lady Proudmoore was waging her own war to free the enslaved people. Lodur and his band had hoped that maybe they would find Yeva or the scouts. They did not find them, but it was here that one of the recently freed spoke of a group of shadows that had made it past Tyrannus and through the gate to the inner walls. Lady Proudmoore helped them get past the securities of the gates, where the band had found themselves in the private sanctuary of the fallen king, the Halls of Reflection. They plunged head first into the space, their boot steps echoing from the walls and vaulted ceiling. As they approached the pedestal at the center, they saw them. Their bodies laying broken against or near the cursed altar. Above them the sword of pure evil drank of their essence, slowly, methodically, as if it was enjoying the waning life with all the glee of a sadist.
Lodur charged ahead of his group and found the small form immediately. Curled in on herself, the fire red of her hair was faded, her skin was pale and cold to the touch and her breath was shallow. She was bloody and bruised, cut in a thousand places. There was small comfort in that, she didn’t go down without a fight. Seven scouts had come in the original group, only two remained still alive, albeit barely. Lodur sealed their wounds and worked at unbinding the curses that had enveloped them. As he peeled off the layers, and broke the last of the seals, they did not wake. As he worked though, voices filled the space. Not his or his companions, but voices without mouths. They grew louder and more intense until the walls seemed fit to burst.
Suddenly as it started, the voices stopped, and silence rang through. That’s when they came. Through the walls they walked, from the floor they rose. The souls that had been consumed by Frostmourne, Their faces contorted and locked in agony, misery and hatred. Their hands clawed at the air, their movements a mockery of their former grace in life. Their eyes were the worst of all, black pits completely devoid of any compassion, of anything resembling sanity. Those voids locked on to the living, as if they despised them for the very fact that they were burned with the fires of life. They marched towards them, fel energies coursing from their hands, as the moan, the cry of anguish started from their still not moving mouths.
Holding her still form, something inside Lodur broke. The walls of calm that held back the reservoir of pain and hate crumbled, and the flood was not kind. Seething rage poured from him, he called to the spirits of the flame and they answered, drawn to the seething rage boiling inside of his very soul. Lightning and fire poured forth from Lodur, eating at the pain to fuel itself. He fought side by side with his companions, sending wave after wave of fallen warriors to their final rests. The light, the fire could not be maintained forever, and soon the rage started to fade. With it’s fuel fading, the fire began to eat at Lodur’s strength until he could no longer hold on to the assault.
Lodur’s party continued to push the tides of Tortured souls back long enough for the mage of their group to set up a portal. Mustering his remaining strength, Lodur grabbed Yeva and their party dove through to the safety of Dalaran. He nursed her back to health, taking great care to do it the right way, and seeking help from those who call upon the light to make sure her recovery was in full. She woke enough to talk three days after her rescue, and Lodur was there, the first she saw with her waking eyes. They talked, and when he was reasonably certain that she would stay put to mend, he headed back to the siege. He threw himself at it with renewed vigor. He was at the front of every charge, rallying his companions, healing the wounded and pushing them on.
On the evening before facing the Lich King, Lodur returned to Yeva’s bedside. When he saw Yeva broken, his heart had broken in a way he never knew it could. He realized that this Dwarven woman was more dear to him than a mere companion. She was a constant since their introduction, and had shared many adventures and jokes. They had shared Lodur’s new life, and hers as well. He could not imagine a world without her laugh, her chortle, her smile and her wit. He was always happy when he was with her, content. He loved her. He walked into the room carefully, not sure how to say what he wanted to say. She was sitting on the bed as he entered, the blankets pulled around her. Her hair pooled around her shoulders, framing her pale face in a fire red frame. Her hair was out of it’s braid for the first time since they had met. Her eyes sparkled in the light from the moon and the stars. It shown through the doorway of the terrace and seemed to act like a spotlight, illuminating Yeva as the smile formed from her lips.
Lodur had heard talk of the goddess Elune, and he hoped that between the spirits and her that this would go well. He sat next to her on the bed and she turned to face him, tucking her feet beneath her to bring herself to eye level with him, he reached out and grabbed her hand. It was soft and smooth in his hand, small but strong. There were scars there, scars from another life, he hoped that this would not be an addition to those forgotten injuries. He looked up into her eyes sheepishly, and let a sigh slip from his lips.
“Yeva, before I go I have something to tell you. These last couple of years, you’ve been by my side. Through all the dens of evil in Northrend. You, quite literally, saved my soul from being rent. You were there when I had to face my friends in this new body. You give me strength when I feel I have none left to give. I look at you and I see hope, that tomorrow will be a brighter day. I hear it in your laugh and see it in those stolen smiles. You are my sixth element. When I saw you laying there dying, I broke inside. I know truly what it is to feel so much pain in your soul that you can be turned blind by it, that you could lose yourself.
I know loss that could have consumed me whole. I would be a fool to ignore this, and it would be a bigger folly for me not to tell you. I started this raid on the citadel for all of Azeroth, to protect the world. I will end it, though, for you. To keep you safe. I know you could handle yourself, and that this… form that I am in is not the most… appropriate, regardless I must tell you what all this really is. I love you Yeva, you fill a void that I didn’t even know I had.”
Yeva sat on the bed, the covers pulled around her tightly, her hand still in his hand. She cocked her head to the side and just stared at him. Lodur thought he might have over done it, that he may have over stepped his bounds. He broke her gaze and started at his hooves.
“Pretty speech. Ye spend all day thinkin’ it up? For someone that’s supposed to be sooooo ‘wise’, yer pretty clueless.”
He looked back up at her, and his awkwardness was apparent.
“I dun need no fancy speech, and I dun care about yer ‘form’ as ye put it. I loved ye before ye saved me life. Now shut up and kiss me ye stupid goat.”
Lodur leaned in slowly towards her, but Yeva grew impatient and yanked him down by his horns into a kiss. It was their first kiss, and even in a body that was not his body, it felt right. After a long moment she pushed him back.
“We’re gonna have to figure out the kid situation though.”
“Aye, bet yer arse goat boy, ye ain’t gonna escape that one. Which means bring yer arse home in one piece or I’ll find yer spirit and drag it back, got it?”
“I wouldn’t dream of making you have to work for it.”
They spent the night talking, like they had so many times before, and fell asleep curled together. The assault came and went, the final battle had been successful, and Lodur returned with Yeva to Dalaran. They settled into a familiar pattern, but lodur had become increasingly stressed since the time of the fall of the citadel. Since rescuing Yeva, the body that was not his body began to have random sensations. Hot and cold, wracking pains, textures that were felt when there was only air. It escalated to a point where Lodur had blacked out completely, collapsing on the floor of their living space in Dalaran. He lost three days time before waking again. Yeva was concerned, and Lodur had no logical explanation. After he was well enough to get up on his own, they both visited Nobundo in the hopes of obtaining an answer.