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Zavier’s Revulsion

November 25, 2014

It was the blood on his blades that decided him. Cool and ghostly, their edges were forged of ice taken from the Lich King’s throne and annealed with the ghosts of fallen enemies to enchant them to ignore matter and bite deep into the flesh and spirit of his victims. More than that, he had placed runes of power on them that linked them to his mind and soul and at the same time empowered them fully.

They were mighty weapons no doubt, just as he was a mighty champion of the Horde. Nonetheless, it should not have been so easy.

These were orcs, true orcs untouched by the fel blood of Mannoroth. They exulted in their strength and claimed to be greater than all others. Their weakness disgusted him.

His blades and magic carved easily though their flesh, the magical corruption that he brought with him turning the water in their blood to ice and their wounds blue and rotten. It was glorious; their pain and anguish coursed through him and he drank it in with their life-force even as his own wounds closed with magical speed. They could not stand against him, instead they fell like weeds before a farmer’s scythe and Zavier threw his head back and bellowed his joy.

It was glorious but it should not have been so easy.

Contempt filled the ancient spirit even as memories of life on a world both like and unlike this one welled up within him. Memories both his and others for he had long since lost track of all his incarnations over the years. Every body he had worn came with its dusting of special times and Zavier had strong recollections of childhood joys and traumas from many upbringings. By now he could not remember which had been the first he had experienced. Still his memories of Draenor were among the strongest he possessed. Hunting with his brother Zavhrok, his initiation as a shaman, the burning blood of Mannoroth, his death and rebirth as one of Gul’dan’s champions, even the shame of being caught by the Lich King’s will and forced into servitude as casually as he himself could call the dead to his own service.

These were real to him. He was sure they were his start. But then so were his memories of a wizard’s study and the fear he had felt when caught in the study of forbidden lore. Only the invasion of monstrous beings from another world had saved him from execution and even then he had died at the hands of one of those monsters. Only his fledgling studies had allowed him to shape one desperate spell. As these memories stirred as well, he wondered if it had worked. Or maybe it was those deeply buried memories of an elven forest and a life of centuries of contemplation whilst tending of the world around him before an untimely death at the hands of a Satyr that was real. He had died defending his woods and sometimes he still missed them. No, that life was unlikely to be his origin. Even in the midst of carnage, Zavier’s mind thought with a cool clarity that paid little attention to the blows he gave and took. No, those memories were so faint as to be almost beyond recall. He remembered wearing the body of a night elf at least once and they must have carried over from then.

Not that all elves were weak, he knew. He thought of his colleague Simeon; his body was well muscled but still frail seeming compared to that of an Orc. Nonetheless, between the mighty enchantments that were laid into his arms and armour, and the innate power that he could call upon, the elf was nearly a match for Zavier himself even in raw strength. More Zavier knew that raw strength was the least important weapon in many ways. Physical strength had its uses but the orcs he was cutting down were strong and the Gronn they had tamed were stronger.

Strength was about both power and the will to focus it precisely. That was what Zavier knew, Simeon knew and Garrosh had failed to understand. The former Warchief had understood the need for power but not for inner discipline. He had achieved that power; torn it from those who would not employ it and Zavier had admired that about him. That admiration was why Zavier had largely stood aside from that fight. He might have protected his position in case the Warchief fell by secretly serving in the Darkspear Rebellion (and on a personal level, the agonies of the Kor’kron had tasted especially sweet). But despite that flaw in Garrosh, he had been on the brink of understanding something important. Certainly, he had been a better Warchief for Zavier than any other. Garrosh had not had any real understanding of the subtler magics and he had seen the Death Knight purely as an Orc who was welcome in his Horde. Zavier had never feared for his own safety when Garrosh had run the Horde. Unfortunately, despite his power Garrosh had failed to understand strength. He had thought in terms of military discipline but not self-discipline so, standing at the apex of the Horde, he had assumed he could do as he wished. Garrosh had had undeniable power but he had failed to control and focus it to serve his ends and so he had fallen.

Much like these weaklings, he thought disgustedly as he gestured and drew a fleeing Orc back towards his blades on a leash of crackling energy. They were useless, incompetent, unworthy of bearing the name orc. They had little power and their self-discipline was pitiful. They relied on numbers, on dragging down their enemy like a pack of dogs rather than a warrior’s proud challenge to single combat. Of course, he admitted to himself as a better aimed than normal blade split his armour, numbers were an effective tactic. Nonetheless less, for him it was just more life force to draw on to keep himself going. He cut down his attackers with a blur of ghostly blades, freezing their blood in patterned ribbons that solidified in mid-air under the influence of his power and the icy air of Frostridge.

Each death invigorated him and fed his blood lust. He howled with joy as they died and his bloodlust rose until it was overwhelming. Drunk on their pain and agony, he lashed out and more died. The Death Knight cut his way through Frostridge, working his way deep into the ranks of the Iron Horde leaving his supporters and troops lagging far behind. Slowly, his wounds mounted even as the corpses of his enemies grew into a rampart around him. Zavier gestured briefly; the bodies exploded to let him at his foes and he hurled freezing air at the Iron Horde orcs even as his swords worked in short brutal cuts to hack them down as fast as they could reach him. His laughter split the air and his dark magic froze their bones. The Orc revelled in the death, drank in their pain and kept going. None could stand against him and for once the icy intellect that kept his bloodlust in check was overwhelmed by the ecstasy of the massacre that he had embarked on.

An arrow caught him in the leg then another. Swords split his armour and razed his flesh. The arrows flew out and flesh boiled as it regrew. Then the cannons roared and Zavier drew hard upon his magic to shield himself from the huge iron ball that should have cut him in two. The orc death knight perished with a grin on his face, a spell on his lips and his blades buried in his foes. When the Iron Horde pushed aside the mounds of bodies, all that was left was bleached bones; all else was blasted clean by the magic he had released with his bodies death.

The Iron Orcs howled their triumph, ignoring the losses they had taken to take down the Death Knight and the Shadowmoon shaman scrambled forwards to destroy the mighty spirit.

****

It, however, was long gone, raging at itself. The icy intellect of the necromancer, separated from its raging stolen flesh, had no intention of remaining in reach of those who might be able to affect him. He had been enslaved by the Lich King once when vulnerable in this state and knew his own weaknesses in this form as well as he knew those of others.

A hundred corpses had lain ready for his possession in various states of disrepair. He had not taken any of them for his own. Animating one and mending it sufficiently to his purposes would not have caused him any difficulty in the slightest; life and death were old and familiar friends. He would have risen like the dead calling the weapons and armour he had bound to his soul itself to him and dealt death to the jackals of the Shadowmoon. Another hundred would have fallen before they took him down and not even the Iron Horde could keep that up for as long as he could keep taking bodies.

But he had decided otherwise for it should not have been so easy.

Partly it was contempt that drove him. Even beneath the bloodlust, he had had that feeling. It had taken more than a hundred orcs to pull him down like mice nibbling an ancient tree. If that was what orcs truly were, if that was their nature when no fel magic drove them, then their weakness was beneath contempt. Zavier had embraced the power of death and doubted he could remember a single spell to summon or bind a demon, let alone the name of one. But he had never specifically despised fel energy. But it should be a tool and not a crutch. Judging by these ‘pure’ orcs, it was obvious that even now, the fel power that had run through Orcs granted them strength as much as it scarred their bodies. But that implied something else about the Orcs of Azeroth; that while the fel energy might not control them they were obviously not in control of it for Zavier had not realised it while embodied.

That was bad. Zavier had no compunction about using demonic energy but he had a strong objection to allowing it near him unfettered or controlled. If he did not control it then it had the chance to control him.

Further, he thought icily. It already had done so, at least to some extent. Lost in bloodlust, he had failed to realise when the time had come to retreat and had lost a perfectly serviceable body as a result. The body had not just touched him with his memories, a weakness he knew and disliked but had accepted as the price of power, it had caught him up and overwhelmed him with its own fel influence. That was unacceptable.

The body of one of the Orcs of Draenor would not have that disadvantage but he had seen himself that they were too weak without the demonic energy to be worth his time. He would not expose himself again to an Azerothian Orc until he had learned to detect and master it. So he needed a different body for now; one of a race without those particular flaws. Which race was the question, Zavier had memories of the Alliance and their weak willed view of the world was off-putting, he would have to be far more circumspect in his actions than even in Vol’jin’s Horde. Besides, his Alliances and resources were in the Horde. For one thing, he hardly thought the Alliance likely to simply hand him a stronghold and army to use as he wished.

With Vol’jin as Warchief, it might be sensible to become a troll. But the Shadow Hunter had worryingly strong connections to his own Gods and Zavier had felt their connection to death too often to doubt it. He did not want the fierce Shadow Hunter on his trail for daring to disturb trollish flesh. Tauren were strong but their consciences were hard to reason with (and their vegetarianism especially so) and Goblins were too weak despite their lack of scruples; Zavier had vivid memories of the times he had worn the bodies of each and neither had been enjoyable.

The Sin’dorei though had promise he reflected. On the negative side they had dabbled with fel energy as much or more than the Orcs but on the other side, they had controlled it and the discipline they had had to learn in recent years to quell their addiction to arcane energies had impressed him. Their ability to seize and control power was greater even than his and the various magics they wielded so effortlessly might be a useful set to look at adding to his repertoire. As for their physical strength, it might not be the same as an Orc’s but despite their seeming frailty; Zavier had developed too much respect for Daierusse, before her ‘death’, and Simeon to believe them actually fragile. Best of all, despite their arcane insight, they were far less expert in the ways of the spirit and even if they objected to his actions, they were unlikely to notice them.

Yes, with the Orcs apparently compromised by the Legion. A Blood Elf seemed the best answer to Zavier. Now he had only to locate one before the end of his spell, and resulting dissolution of the spirit). But they had entered Draenor with a small army and many of those were dead. Indeed, the wandering spirit of a Blood Elf seemed to be nearby. From what Zavier could tell, it was attempting to work out on the fly the spells that Zavier had spent years to master and return itself into its own body. It appeared that the soul of the unfortunate had been displaced by a Shadowmoon Voidspeaker who was attempting to summon some denizen of the dark to takes it a place, presumably to create a spy.

Perfect, Zavier would even be able to say truthfully if questioned that he was protecting the Horde through his actions. He ruthlessly swept aside the frantic elven spirit and twisted his own soul into the convolutions of the orc’s spell while his spiritual fingers inscribed a delicate tracery of runes on the dark power trying to bind him to service. This should be highly entertaining.

It certainly had been entertaining, the blood elven Death Knight later reflected as he walked through the gates of his stronghold, enjoying the dropped jaws of his troops as he demonstrated precisely who he was. The orc’s face when his supposed puppet had casually shattered the magical and physical shackles that bound him and ripped his life force free had been priceless. Of course he had shattered the wrists of the body he wore in the process but that was a minor price to pay for such entertainment and the he had stolen enough of the Voidspeaker’s life to fix such minor injuries and more.

Zavier wondered if the blood elf spirit was likely to have learnt quickly enough to have taken the Voidspeaker’s body which had been very definitely available. Unlikely he decided and that was fine with him. After all, he wouldn’t want some insane Orc coming after him asking for his body back.

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