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The End of Brennen Rivers ((January 2007))

Posted on 2007.09.05 at 10:34
LOCATION: Western Plaguelands
CONDITION: unknown
SOUNDS: Marylin Manson - "Misery Machine"

Two months ago...

The detachment pressed forward effortlessly and silently through the thick, tainted fog of the sepia-hued landscape bitterly referred to as the Plaguelands. The hoofbeats of dark, red-clad demonic horsemen, as well as the heavy footfalls and labored grunts of the imposingly large felguard unit were the only sounds heard across the dreary, desolate landscape. It was as if the undead hordes had ceased their pitiful, hungry moans in recognition of their true masters. After far too long, the Burning Legion once again marched upon Azeroth.

In between the imposing riders and the lumbering demonic behemoths, clad in simple crimson cassock and carrying a plain, leather-bound notebook, there strode purposefully a tall, pale, emaciated male human figure. Flanked on all sides by monstrous fiends, the man appeared somehow more frightening than his frail body alone could have portrayed, an unsettling air of power about him. The image of a mere mortal travelling with such a large force of demons was the stuff of nightmares, fairy tales, and the horrifying, relentless memories of the eldest veterans of Azeroth. It was... wrong, somehow. Wrong in such a way that it chilled the blood.

The human raised a withered hand suddenly, halting the group. Peering between hanging strands of thin, black hair, the man made out a dark shape in the gloomy distance. A dark shape, and a smoldering pair of eyes, like two small candles, staring back at the man from several meters up the road. It was only after a few moments of still silence that the dark figure could be seen moving toward the man and his demonic party, seeming to drift on the fog like a blurry specter. To the human eye, it appeared as if it was indeed a specter, some wraith or dark phantom, a banshee floating up to them from a nearby ghost town.

But the man did not need his eyes to tell him who was approaching. He had sensed her long before she came into view, long before she even entered these lands. He knew she was waiting for him, and he knew what she wanted. As that shadow approached from beyond the veil of the fog, he too stepped forward to meet her.

The man bowed low, stretching his hand out to the side in an exaggerated gesture of greeting. "Ah, such a pleasure to see you again, my dear."

The girl stood about five feet tall, ghostly pale and supple. She had hair that was the color of charcoal, wild and thick, and the same color as her lips. Thin leather armor accentuated the minor curves of her lithe body. She looked no older than 16, but the man knew better. Her bright eyes glowed eerily in the dim light, illuminating her smooth, doll-like face, as well as her calculated expression.

She spoke. "The pleasure," she began, elegantly bowing and unfolding her arms out to her sides, "is all mine." Extending out from the curled fingers of each of her hands, a soft glimmer of green light outlined a pair of narrow, wicked blades. The blades looked delicate and shimmering as insect wings, as they reflected the dull green fel glow of the demonic horses and their riders before her. She stood like this, poised a silent fairy in the foggy gloom, for several moments before returning to a more relaxed standing posture. The man before her simply smiled.

"You came to face me alone, child?" The man asked the girl in a soft voice.

"Why not?" She retorted casually, allowing a mild smirk to permeate her stony visage. "This is my battle, after all."

"You know that you aren't capable of stopping me," the man seemed to remind her in an amused tone. "You've been my pawn all along. Every move you've made is known by me. Your mind is an open book to me. I have subtlely manipulated your actions, and corrupted your soul. After almost a year of being my perfect little puppet, you are no closer to cutting your strings--"

"That's a lie," she barked, "I destroyed the red stone. You can't poison my soul with it anymore."

The man was quiet for a few moments before bursting out in a jovial chuckle. "You little fool. That wasn't my link to you. Your mind is unlocked to me because that is how you are. I made you, and I made you mine. Nothing will change that."

"No. I know the truth," the girl motioned to the simple leather notebook in the man's grasp, "I read your notebook..."

"Hm, you read what I wanted you to read. Saw what I wanted you to see. The book is enchanted to reveal its truths as I see fit." The man smiled at the girl, a dark, sinister grin that bled silver across his face. "Much in the way that your own memories are fabricated according to my design."

"What are you talking about?"

"What do you remember of your past, child?"


"Oh really?" the man said, and began to pace slowly, thoughtfully between his silent demonic bodyguards.

"Yes. That day in Ahn'Qiraj... The memories you stole from me were restored."

"Yes, yes, and you were supposedly granted your freedom from me, as well..."

The man stopped where he had been pacing, having returned to where he had stood prior, and turned to face the girl again. "Tell me... Your brother was your twin. What were your birthdays?"

"I... um," the girl began uncertainly, "I can't recall."

"You can't recall your own birthday? Well then, surely you must remember your parents."

"I do."

"What were their names?"


"What did they look like? Do you know?"

"Of course I do."

"Describe them."

"...This is--"

"You can't."

"Well I--"

"Can you tell me why the first name given to you by your parents is exactly the same as the one Vaien gave to you when you met him in Brill?"

"I, it... it was luck, I guess..."

"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."


"You once said your father was a Paladin, and that his sword had a name: Caladbolg..."

"How do you kn--"

"You said he was lost in the War, in Lordaeron. Where did you learn this information?"

"I... I don't recall--"

"And what became of your nameless mother, hm?"

"This is madness!"

"You don't know? Well, what was the relic of your father's that you and your twin sought to reclaim in Lordaeron Walls five years ago?"

"How d-... It... it was a seal."

"Family seal?"


"House Rivers?"


"What did it look like?"

"I don't remember!" the girl snarled, "This is madness!"

"It is. I guess your memories are not as you thought they were, child."

"...These things have merely slipped my mind. That is all."

"Your birthday? The knowledge of your family?"

"It has been a long time..."

"Yes. Your ship, the Naveed... When did you and your brother awaken from the Lich King's control, and reclaim it? Only a year or two ago?"

"It was before the War ended."

"Mm, and so after the War, you reclaimed your vessel from pirates?"

"Shortly after."

"And then the mutiny?"

"Six months after that."

"And then you destroyed your ship, and you and your brother came ashore in Lordaeron..."

"Nearly a year ago."

"...Account for the missing three and a half years."


"Between the end of the War and your arrival in Lordaeron from your doomed vessel you've only accounted for about half a year. It had been more than four years since the War by this time last year, when you and I first crossed paths."

The girl was silent, eyes glaring at the man, who simply raised his eyebrows expectantly at her. She started, "Perhaps I was mistaken..."

"Or perhaps your memories do not correspond with real events," The man said finally, bending her wrists, elbows and shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. "Perhaps you only were meant to think that you had memories, and a past..."

"No..." the girl breathed, "no, that's a lie..."

"Exactly, my dear... It's all a lie. Your past, your memories, your very identity, all a ruse to keep you from suspecting what you really are."

The girl looked up from the dirt road at the man. "What am I?"

The man smiled again. "A clever construct of flesh, bone, and magic. You can't be the girl you were in life, or even the girl you were before I destroyed you... Neither exists. You were created for a purpose, and this false identity kept you oblivious of that purpose."

The girl's jaw clenched, her smoldering yellow eyes dulling. She fumbled her mouth in protest, struggling to deny what he had said. Struggling to find some way to prove him wrong.

She dropped to her knees, silent. Defeated. "I was created to transport the red stone, wasn't I?"

"That much is true," the man admitted, "but that alone does not explain your purpose. Through my own influence on you, my subtle augmentations and manipulations, I programmed you to make the decisions which have cost you so many of your friends and allies. And it was through these actions," the man paused, pursing his thin lips in an unattractive smirk, "that the stone gained its power. It was the suffering that you so naturally sowed that gave the stone the energy I needed. This was the nature of your creation. This was what you were. A misery machine."

The man cast a contemptuous frown upon the kneeling girl, her body slouching to the mottled, plagued earth. She said nothing, her thoughts absorbed by the gravity of this revelation. He knew he had broken her.

It was, of course, what he was best at, Maybe thought to himself.

"Alas, that was what you were, Brennen. Unfortunately you did destroy the red stone, and so I've had to find another source of the power I require," Maybe gave Brennen one last smile, crooked and malevolent, which she didn't look up to see. "I'm afraid I no longer have a use for you."

Maybe held up one finger, and casually flicked it once at girl on the ground. At this gesture, the felguards and demon riders around him swiftly converged upon her, weapons drawn.

"Farewell, 'Brennen Rivers'."

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