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Kelnas

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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:38 pm
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 Post subject: The Edge of the Coin
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:54 pm 
"Given the choice - whether to succumb to the whispers in the darkness, or to challenge the fates for another roll of the dice, a better throw against one's destiny..."

"...What was I to do?"

Kelnas stood atop a cliffside overlooking the scorched landscape of the Blasted Lands, the wind tugging at his robes as arcs of lightning pierced the distant horizon.

"Does one ever truly have a choice to decide one's destiny?"

He closed his eyes as the familiar headaches returned. A distant voice echoed in his head.

"What do you gain from this petty defiance, blood elf?"

Kelnas shook his head, muttering under his breath as he opened his eyes to look out across the barren wastelands.

"I get some perverted satisfaction in infuriating you."

"My patience is eternal, Kelnas. How long do you think you can hold out against my will?"

Kelnas clenched a fist, grimacing.

"You're nothing but a voracious parasite. I refuse to do your bidding."

The voice within his mind chuckled, a malicious rumble.

"I can see into your heart, elf. Your will is nothing...it is cowardice that keeps you in this state."

Kelnas felt a dull pain in his chest, placing his hand on it as he snarled under his breath.

"Lies."

"You know what fate awaits you if a 'cure' is found. Your life had played out at the end of the war. In my grace I spared you. You have no other purpose, no 'higher destiny' - just this."

As Kelnas knelt down, trying to ignore the pounding in his head, the voice continued in a calm yet hateful tone.

"You are mine. You can no more escape from me than you can escape yourself."

The elf looked up at the sky. He could not deny the whispering voices lurking within his mind. But he had never been one for stalemates. Better to face one's destiny, than to cower from it.

He noticed a man far below, travelling along the road on an aged grey horse, and he descended the cliffside carefully so as not to alert the stranger to his presence. The man, clad in purple robes and masked by a large hood, stopped suddenly in the middle of the road.

"I know you're there, Kelnas."

"The Sanctum led me to you, Elrym, although I should have known you'd turn up here."

The man turned his head slightly.

"And if they told you I was hidden in the furthest reaches of Draenor, would you throw yourself into the Nether to find me? Those fools trawl for the ignorant and unwary. Stay out of their net, Kelnas."

Kelnas narrowed his eyes, drawing his sword and tightening his grip around the hilt, its enchanted magics flowing along the blade.

"So says the former Grand Magister of the Sanctum himself. I have pursued you here for one purpose, Elrym. You will pay for your betrayal."

"And whose will is satisfied then? The will of Kelnas, or those mindless worshippers back at Silvermoon? ...Or perhaps the will of your inner demons?"

Elyrm dismounted smoothly from his horse, his back still turned to Kelnas, who took a step towards him and raised his blade so that it lay pointing horizontally at the man.

"Face me, Elrym. Even you shouldn't die a coward's death."

The man turned slowly, raising his hands and lowering his hood to reveal a slightly aged face, with flowing grey hair and the familiar green glowing eyes of a sin'dorei. He smirked lightly at Kelnas, whose blade was now inches from his face.

"Let's drop the moral posturing, shall we? We both know there's no altruism in this pursuit."

Kelnas glared at Elrym, his eyes burning brightly for a moment.

"There's no shame in it, Kelnas - revenge is motivation enough. At least it's honest."

Kelnas looked away, sighing with frustration as Elrym crossed his arms and looked up at the sky.

"You're presented with a dilemma, are you not?"

Kelnas lowered his sword, narrowing his eyes defensively as he studied the man's expression.

"What do you mean...?"

"Let's call it a two-sided coin, if you will. If the coin falls one way, you find a cure to that little 'predicament' of yours. Severely weakened without it sustaining you, you'll most probably die."

He walked back and forth, looking at the floor as Kelnas looked away grimly.

"If the coin falls on the reverse, you succumb to forces beyond your control, and you condemn yourself and those around you to an eternity of death and decay."

"Hmph..."

"Either way, Kelnas, the game is rigged."

As Kelnas stood before Elrym, despondent, the man turned away again, stroking his chin thoughtfully.

"But suppose you throw a coin... and it lands on its edge."

Kelnas raised both eyebrows, sheathing his sword and walking closer to Elrym.

"What are you talking about?!"

The man lifted a finger, causing a red crystal Kelnas had been wearing around his neck to float up from underneath his shirt, tethered in mid-air by the elaborate gold chain it had been attached to. The mystical light within it seemed to respond to Elrym's presence, shining for a split second before returning to its usual dull glow.

"A monumental secret, hidden in this very shard... but it's a secret you have to discover for yourself."

Elrym took a step back, smiling as he began to teleport both himself and his mount away to an unknown location.

"Unearth your destiny, Kelnas. It's all laid out for you.. if you know where to look."

Kelnas stood alone in the middle of the road. He didn't know what impulse had stayed his hand, why he had so willingly allowed Elrym to escape when he had pursued him for so long. He had no reason to trust the man, after his defection from the Sanctum, and yet Kelnas found himself intrigued by Elrym's words.

He summoned his hawkstrider and mounted up, slowly cantering along the road and watching the horizon as the strider's talons tapped against the cold stone. As he neared the location of the Dark Portal, he had the unnerving sensation of being watched.

"Lies, Kelnas."

The voice within his mind returned, seeming slightly angered.

"Do not be deceived by the traitor's words."

"Ah, my ever-present 'companion'. The silence was refreshing, while it lasted."

A sharp pain shot through Kelnas, and though he bent over from the sudden agony, he remained astride his mount, breathing heavily in defiance.

"Do not be insolent. I am eternally present, now and always, wherever you go. This impudence is unworthy of you, elf. Do not forget - you are indebted to me."

Kelnas let out a burst of laughter, still wincing slightly from the pain he had just experienced.

"Indebted?! You'd have me show gratitude for a gift I didn't ask to be bestowed?"

"You have grown willful, Kelnas. Beware - Elrym is a sinuous beast. He will seduce and deceive you."

"I have no allusions about his integrity, nor anyone else's. I seem to be beset by manipulation on all sides. I merely seek the truth."

Kelnas narrowed his eyes, looking down at his fist as he clenched it.

"I wonder...Did you truly save me, or were you simply there when I awoke from the endless agony? I suspect you found me merely convenient. A durable and gullible tool for you to manipulate."

He looked up as the Dark Portal loomed into view, at the centre of an enormous crater littered with rubble and bristling with both Alliance and Horde artillery and barricades, all facing the portal itself. Clearly they were trying to keep something contained on the other side.

"This one thing I readily admit - I have been used by others time and again, but always I seem to stray from their path. Tell me, demon... what is it about me that makes me so unreliable? Why do I survive one trial after another, only to come out on top with even more resolve than I had before?"

Kelnas and his steed came to a standstill at the base of the Dark Portal, a low ominous howl emanating from the very stone it had been constructed with.

"It seems there is much more to my destiny than I thought. Perhaps more than you know, as well."

The voice snarled within his mind, and for a moment it seemed a little uncertain.

"You will be mine, Kelnas. And when that day comes, I shall ensure that your soul spends an eternity in the void."

"...I look forward to it."

Kelnas chuckled to himself as he dismounted, clutching the reins of his nervous hawkstrider as he stepped within inches of the swirling energies of the towering gateway before him. Would the crystal uncover answers for him, or would it only lead to more questions? Was there really a third option, as Elrym had suggested - could the coin in fact land on its edge?

And so it was with a sense of gravity and trepidation that Kelnas took a deep breath, and crossed the threshold.


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Lyrael

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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:01 pm
Posts: 178
 Post subject: Re: The Edge of the Coin
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:30 am 
((Really excellent character story there, Kelnas!
I loved it both for its content - Magic, Torment, Sin'dorei, all my favourite stuff ;) - and for your remarkable storytelling ability.
Now I am eager to see more of Kelnas' story!))

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 Post subject: Re: The Edge of the Coin
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:49 am 
Yeah, fine story indeed. I really enjoyed reading that.


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