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Garth One-Eye (wowstead)
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re: The Fall of the House of Oor-tael

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I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. The first time I was but a boy. What the hell else was I supposed to do?

Could I stand outside on the line, holding off our enemies as well as our supposed friends?..no.

Could I fight them floor by floor, room by room, as they pushed into our stronghold? Into the last bastion of our strength?..no.

Cornered and captured, could I be anything but a bargaining chip used to extinguish the last pocket of resistance?..no.

Could I prevent my father from offering to take my place?..no.

Could I stop them from cutting out my eye anyway, just because they could?..no.

Could I more than watch as this precipitated a last, desperate lunge born of hatred and revenge, of loyalties sworn long ago, of comrades to the bitter end...no.

As my father closed in on the one responsible for it all he stole a glance at me, at the son he would forever think he failed. Did I know that he realized then he had one more chance, one more choice, one more to kill or one more to save before his time would be at an end?..yes.

But could I, blood pouring from my face, body racked with pain, give voice to my desire that he kill him and end it all?..no.

So I found myself ported away. Scarred but safe. Alive but alone. So very alone. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. But the tears could not wash away the memory. The memory of all of the faces in that fight. In that room. In my mind. Burned into my mind. Forever. Or so I thought...

Possessing nothing now but time I learned. I trained. I prepared. I plotted. I planned. Yes, I had a plan. They say nothing ever goes according to plan however I allowed for this, or thought I did. Ultimately though I did not plan on her.

But first, I believed the right-hand of my father had survived. I was sure of it. However he must have succumbed to something, be it age or apathy, between then and now for locate him I could not. So I resolved to do it all myself. I nearly did.

Second, I planned to play them all against each other. In for a penny, in for a pound, and having betrayed one of their own before in that awful Night of Fire I knew the remaining Houses could be made to do it again. Even this did not really go according to plan yet sufficiently so that I got my moment.

Fate had decided to give me a moment, in supreme irony a moment just like the one all those years ago. On the last night of the festival. As the bodies lay strewn across the floor of the arena. As the mob ran riot through the streets. As all those around where drawn into the melee. In the chaos. In the fire. In the square. Him. My moment.

 

My choice.

 

MY choice. Like my father's. To kill or to save. To hate or to love. I chose...her. I chose my beloved elf. I chose Sephe. How could I choose anything, anyone, else? And so he got away...

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. Until a my eye closed for what by all rights should have been its final time, I cried. I too had loved, had tried, had failed, and died. My last, unheard words echoed my father's: "at least s/he is safe."

I was surprised when my eye eventually opened again. I was not, however, surprised to see Garham 'standing' over me, to whom I managed a feeble "hello old friend."

He looked down, smiled, and replied "It is not yet the end."

"Where is he..." I started.

"Gone from this plane, but the door is not yet barred. We must hurry."

"Where is..."

"She is safe. She has gone on ahead. Hurry."

"Then let us follow" I said as I picked myself up, finished with life but not yet ready for death.

Entreating one last delay I paused, turned to Garham, and asked perhaps the most obvious of them all: "How?"

"Warlocks do not ask such questions of Imps."

 

She is out there still. She is proof that some things do not end with life. I know she waits for me at the bitter end. And although my memory of his face - of the faces of all those who must be made too pay - is strangely gone,  I know he is out there somewhere as well. He is still alive. Among the living.

Death to the living.

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