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Something to feel.

((October 2006))

Posted on 2007.09.05 at 10:29
LOCATION: at the gates of Ahn'Qiraj
CONDITION: unloved
SOUNDS: The Mars Volta - "Vicarious Atonement"
VICARIOUS ATONEMENT





Brennen marched silently but intently up the steps leading to the inner temple of Ahn'Qiraj.

The very same steps on which she had followed Yes to the glowing monolith that had sealed her fate more than a month ago. No doubt the very same steps on which Yes returned shortly after their first pilgrimage, and disappeared. Upon this massive, sandy staircase, Brennen was now taking her final steps before bridging the physical gap between her and her Master forever.

Her Master... C'thun.

As she reached the top of the stairs, her attention once again shifted to the voices being transmitted into her thoughts by the magic pearl Xa'ru had given her for communication with the rest of his crew. Voices pleading with her not to go. She was unaffected by them, the words doing nothing to shake her zealous resolve.

"There's nothing left for me in this world," Brennen said over the voices in a stony but complacent tone. "I have been chosen by Him to be His most favored of servants, and no greater glory exists in all of Azeroth."

Vaien's voice cut in, a tone of pity and silent anger, "So you'd rather sell yourself like a Night Elf to some evil god? How is that glory? How is that better?"

And finally Brennen stopped walking, her body frozen by a sudden cold and bitter sadness that she unwilling transferred into her pearl, along with her thoughts. "How is it any better for me here? Those who don't hate me fear me, or want nothing to do with me. In Him I have found comfort, and a purpose for my life."

"Hey, I don't hate you! And Silkk doesn't, and... and..."

"I don't hate you," Orloc chimed in gravely.

"Compelling argument," Brennen responded sarcastically. "There is no reason for me to stay where I'm not wanted."

Vaien's voice became hard, and... he almost sounded offended. "I had thought that I had made you feel wanted, but I guess I was wrong."

"Are you trying to make me feel guilty too, Vaien?" Brennen bit out. "I've caused you a lot of trouble, Vaien. Just think of this as a gift. A favor to you. When I'm gone, you won't have to be... worried..."

"No, don't... Damn, I have to get there," Vaien sighed between his teeth, a hissing sound in Brennen's mind, and his presence drifted away as he... It didn't matter. She'd be in C'thun's embrace long before he arrived.

"Damn, how do I get to Silithus?" Orloc asked over the pearl before Brennen finally stopped listening. She didn't want to be distracted. That monolith that she had seen before was still there, floating enigmatically in a niche in the great stone wall around the temple. To her right were the final steps, leading up to her Master's temple, and at the top was the sealed gateway to the inner sanctum of the massive city of Ahn'Qiraj.

The time had indeed come, for from down those steps came the figure of a man dressed in the reddish-violet trappings of the Twilight's Hammer Clan.

That cult again. The same group of fools that had worshipped the favored servant of the Old Gods, Aku'mai. The same group she slaughtered mercilessly after they claimed desire to resurrect the Old Gods in order to bring about the destruction of the world. As she had told Xa'ru's crew through the pearl, the world was already on its way to destruction, and that the sealed might of C'thun could very well be the last hope for those who would follow Him.

She hadn't realized this until she killed the precious pet of the Ancient Ones, Aku'mai. When she burned his frozen alter, she felt a strange power open up behind her eyes. It was like an epiphany: she was now the most favored servant of those Ancient Ones, and she alone was worthy of Their power, and Their command. C'thun had tried to make her realize how much He wanted her with Him... but killing another of His servants put it into perspective.

The time had indeed come.

Brennen drew her swords, preparing to strike down the foolish cultist who approached her, but as she did, she felt a strange and powerful energy eminating from his form. He stopped at the foot of the steps, face hidden by a dark cowl, made darker by the veil of night. She stared at him with some strange wonderment... Could it be the Avatar of C'thun? The One she had met before? Why couldn't she tell who he was...?

He addressed her firmly, authoritatively: "Are you prepared to give your life and your soul over to His will, and become the extension of His power in this domain?"

Over the distant protests inside her head being transmitted by her pearl, she responded immediately, "yes, I am."

The robed man nodded, and continued. "Very well, Little Flame. Then accept His power into your body. Let His strength flow into you, and let His knowledge guide you. Become completely connected to Him, an extension of His glory and might. Complete the connection."

Brennen had already shed her resistance to Him within the depths of the Blackfathom Deeps. She spread her arms out to the gate, turned to the floating monolith, and called out to Him from inside her mind. The monolith began to shudder and rotate, bathed in an aura of unnatural green light that matched the glow of Brennen's own eyes. From the high tip of the monolith, Brennen was struck with a massive ray of brilliant green light. The pure, raw, uninhibited power of C'thun flowed through her, bringing new realization and new strength.

And new doubt. Something was wrong. The energy flowed into her freely, but it was almost unwilling to do so. It felt... forced. Suddenly a slew of doubts assaulted Brennen's reasoning. She hadn't wanted this at all, and suddenly she had? Why? What possessed her to accept C'thun? It didn't make sense; it couldn't have been the series of events. There was no reason for her hateful and righteousness acts within the depths of Blackfathom. What had possessed her--

"Your assistance was most appreciated, child."

Brennen turned away from the monolith, face and mind suddenly drowned in confusion, to face the source of those words... that familiar voice...

And then she was struck below the chest by something large, sharp, and deep.

Brennen gasped, eyes going down to the massive, ivory claw in her chest and the crimson blood spreading out over her light-gray tabard. It was so deep... sickening pain assaulting her lungs, her guts, her heart... but... but it wasn't a claw... It looked more like a fang, like one she had pulled from a threshadon's jaw in Blackfathom--

Before Brennen could finish her thought, the world around her was engulfed in a bright, seering light. The sensation she then felt was that of being drained, emptied forcefully, like a vacuum opened up inside her body, and everything was being sucked out. She couldn't see anything, and the pain and the sensation were so terrible that she couldn't focus her thoughts. She couldn't tell whether she was standing or on the ground; her sense of direction was completely distorted. She felt like she was going to pass out, and when she heard an ear-shattering explosion come from seemingly everywhere at once, and the whole world went dark, she probably did. She couldn't remember anything after that.

-----

Brennen would later recall the sensation she felt in Silithus as the feeling of one's magical energy being ripped by force from one's body. It was painful process, and one that she didn't understand a single bit; she didn't possess any innate magic that she knew of at the time. The absence, the void now apparent in her thoughts and mind gave the biggest hint to what had happened to her that day.

Somehow, she had ended up in Ahn'Qiraj. Somehow, she had accepted C'thun's blessing of power into herself, giving herself over completely.

And somehow, all of that awesome, magical energy had be stolen from her, just as quickly and jarringly as it had be given.

C'thun's presence, his voice and his will, and especially that secret strength he instilled in her, those feelings and sensations she so wished would leave her alone, were now completely gone from her. Gone, and replaced with silence.

And she found herself missing it.

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