The fourth of five winning entries we received for the BBB Arthas Book Contest! This one may seem very short indeed… until you remember that this came in after our draconian announcement of an entry being two paragraphs, and before we opened it up to whatever you needed. Cassie and I absolutely loved this one, for the powerful emotional impact it has. Enjoy!
Hannelore froze in place, there on the dais of Utgarde Keep. Hundreds of feet below, there was the constant sound of rushing water crashing against the craggy cliffs of the Howling Fjord. All around, the cries of the protodrakes and their riders filled the air, blending together to create the illusion of some even more fantastical creature of hate and violence. The sounds of battle still rang in her sensitive ears, from the clash of weapons on armor to the haughty shouts of the now-dead vrykul, Ingvar. Nevertheless, Hannelore could swear she had just heard someone whisper her name. It had been the most malevolent, twisted sound she had ever heard.
“I could use a plaything like you, blood elf,” it continued, haunting her mind with its echoes before the sound ever came. “You are far from ready, yet. The potential is within you for great things. Terrible things. You have caught my attention with your constant interferances with my works.” The priestess tried to control a shiver, unsure why she felt such pride at those words. “Perhaps you will prove yourself worthy to me in time. I will set you on the path to join me, and you will come to me of your own volition.” There was frost forming on her upper lip; she could feel it, and could hear the crystals crackling as the moisture froze in the suddenly arctic air. “Or you will fall, and become a mindless minion to swell my ranks. I look forward to seeing you again, Hannelore…”
She spun in place, sending the skirts of her robes swirling about her ankles. She licked her lips, found the frost gone, and prepared a spell. The gleam of magical energies faded and fell from her fingers as the priestess realized she was alone on the dais with a quickly rotting corpse that still lay bleeding and broken against a column. She glanced around, faintly glowing emerald eyes searching the lengthening shadows for a sign of the Lich King, Arthas. It was he that destroyed her city, turned its population into a broken people, and tainted their very lives with his foulness. He wasn’t there with her, though. Hannelore’s legs buckled and she dropped to her knees, confused at the tears running down her cheeks. That voice had been pure evil, but she found herself desperate to hear it declare her worthy…