Continued from Into the Fjord
Lodur stared at the face of death, the Lich King himself. Should he run? Should he attack? He was certain that any outright aggression would be his end. Before he could decide the Lich raised his hand and Lodur flew towards the Lich, his throat in the demon’s hand ripped right out of the spirit realm. .
“Shamanism has brought you here… Its scent permeates the air.” he laughed “I was once a shaman.”
The Valk’yr turned to the Lich King “Shall we prepare it for you, my lord?”
Never removing his gaze from Lodur “No, minion. This one is not ready. Do you feel it, mortal? Death seeps through me, enveloping all that I touch. With just a snap of my finger your soul will languish in damnation for all eternity. But… It is not yet your time to serve the Lich King. Yes, a greater destiny awaits you. Power… You must become more powerful before you are to serve me.”
He turned to the winged harbinger at his side,
“Now watch, val’kyr. Observe as I apply pressure. Can you see that it is not yet ripe? Watch as it pops and falls lifeless to the floor.”
Power ebbed from his gauntlets enveloping Lodur. It felt as though every fiber of his being was on fire, burning through the very core of him. The Lich King let go and Lodur fell with a thud. There was darkness here now, creeping in at the sides of his vision. As he lay writing in agony, he could feel the Light being ripped from him, draining him of his strength of his very essence, until nothing was left but a shell. He wanted to scream but could find no voice. As he lay there crippled staring into the darkness, there appeared from the treeline five figures. The form of a Talbuk, the spirit of the hunt accompanied by the shades of the elements strode forward to surround his body. The Talbuk reached down and touched his forehead and the approaching darkness was replaced by a blinding light.
Lodur gasped as he felt cold air fill his lungs once again. Coughing he rolled over to his side. The pain was still there but the fire had been doused. The Lich King took notice of this and laughed. The haunting echo of the sinister snicker pulsed through Lodur. He shook as if he had just been hit by a wave.
“Persistence or stupidity? It matters not. Let this be a lesson learned, mortal!”
The Lich King pulled out the cursed blade Frostmourne. Lodur was now on his back staring up at the vile villain, watching as the blade was brought to bear just a few short feet over him. Lodur’s pain redoubled he could see his soul begin to leave his body, tendrils reaching for the blade. It was then he felt a cool comfort begin to flow over him. The totem Nobundo had given him began to glow and pulse slowly. Warmth began to flow back into Lodur’s body. Noticing the resistance the Lich King growled and Frostmourne flared. The swords carved eyes staring hungrily at the soul just out of it’s reach. It was a battle of wills, and neither were Lodur’s. Slowly the strength was fading from the young shaman when the totem around his neck began to draw his essence to itself. Lodur’s eyes began to swim the darkness now returning. The last thing he saw before he lost all semblance of consciousness was the briefest glimpse of a diminutive figure charging towards the Lich King from the line of the homes nearest the trees of the village. Then Lodur knew darkness.
Lodur could not see, but he could feel. He felt the warmth of fire, the coolness of water. he could feel the push of the breeze and the softness of the earth. Then there was light, soft and warm, inviting. He could see the four elements here, the spirits earth water fire and air surrounded him. They were silent and for a time simply watched him, then in time they too faded. No words or emotions shared. Again he was in Darkness. Shortly after that he was in pain again, excruciating and mind searing pain. He felt once again as if he was on fire burning from the inside out. It ate at him, slowly consuming his consciousness.
Lodur woke screaming at the top of his lungs, it was several moments before he realized the pain was gone. He opened his eyes expecting to see the harsh angles of the Giant’s buildings, instead he was greeted by the warm glow of crystals and the soft hum of power. Rolling his head from left to right he saw the muted blues and purples of the Exodar surrounding him. Had it all been a dream? He certainly felt still mostly asleep. He sat up slowly, closing his eyes he placed his head in his hands trying to shake the cobwebs. He looked up from his hands and stopped. Standing in front of him was Nobundo, and next to Nobundo the Prophet Velen himself, a ring of Peace Keepers behind them. Nobundo walked up to Lodur
“How do you feel my boy? Well I hope.”
Lodur tried to speak but found he had no voice. he closed his eyes and shook his head trying to shake the last bits of haze still clinging to him.
“It’s ok Lodur,” Nobundo said putting his hand on his shoulder “Look inward and center yourself.”
Lodur closed his eyes once again, willing himself to calm. He found his center and held on to it, trying to pull himself back to normalcy. It wasn’t long before he felt the haze begin to fade. He opened his eyes and looked around again. He went to stand up and looking down to find his footing saw hands that were not his own…feet smaller by far than his own, and a chest that protruded far beyond where his own should be. He tried to stand quickly and turn to face Nobundo but fell flat on his face. Two Peace Keepers surged forward to help Lodur to his feet.
“What…. what has happened to me!?” Lodur gasped as he heard a voice that was not his.
Nobundo walked forward once more, slowly.
“I think my boy, it is time we explained some things. Please sit and I shall do my best to impart the tale of what has transpired. ”
Lodur complied and sat down with the assistance of the Peace Keepers.
“What is the last thing you remember? ”
Lodur thought about it, “I remember feeling like I was being drained, and then I thought I saw my Dwarven friend Yeva running in to try and save me. Oh no! Yeva!”
“Relax yer horns ye dolt. Ahm right ‘ere.”
Lodur saw the Dwarf standing next to the Prophet, looking a little worse for wear but otherwise alright. She smiled and nodded for Lodur to pay attention to the Seer.
“When you came to me with your vision, I feel that you already knew what it was about. I did confer with the spirits of our ancestors and sought guidance. I learned of what would happen. I hope you will forgive me but there is much I could not tell you. You could not, and still cannot know the extent of your role in the chain of events to come. It is one part of many pieces to be laid down. We could not risk that your actions would change so we kept it from you. There is still more to come that again, we cannot share and for that I’m sorry. Here are some hard truths, secrets that we keep from general knowledge, but the time has come for you to know.”
Nobundo nodded to Velen, and the Prophet dismissed the Peace Keepers. They were at the back of the Crystal Hall, no one would hear them here and the Peace Keepers would make sure none ventured into the hall until the meeting had concluded. The Prophet, Nobundo and Yeva all sat down around Lodur
“There are many things that we hide from the light so that things do not get misunderstood. Take for example the totem I gave you. It is a spirit vessel, carved from the wood of the world tree. The magic warlocks use to create the soul-stones to fuel their dark arts is a perverse version of something Shaman have done for a long time now. A spirit vessel allows for us to carry the souls of the departed to their final resting places. In your case it fought to contain your soul so that the corrupter could not bend your essence to his will.”
Lodur looked at him stunned. That was something no one knew for sure, and he could understand why they kept it secret.
“I sought aid in watching you. Farseer Umbrua in Stormwind suggested that we contact Yeva here. I hired her to watch over you, and when the told time came that your soul resided in the vessel to return to me at all costs. She did just that. I’m sure by now you’re wondering what happened to your body, yes?”
Lodur gave himself a looking over. Smaller hands, smaller hooves, breasts. Yeva handed Lodur a small hand mirror. Yup, he was now a she. Lodur sighed and slumped down slightly. Nobundo continued with his explanations.
“The new body is something that combines an old Shaman practice with the power of the light. This is where the Prophet has helped us.”
Velen bowed slightly smiling.
“Shaman have always been able to speak and commune with the spirits, to gather advice from our ancestors. In times of dire need we have even been able to invite their spirits to coexist within ourselves for a while. Giving them a body for loan so to speak. We took the soul vessel and coaxed you into the body you are in now. Velen then performed a redemption of the light, allowing your soul to permanently reside within that body. This… is very similar to the spells that Ner’zhul and Teron Gorefiend twisted and warped to create Deathknights. The Lich King as he is now with the knowledge of Arthas does this so completely and effectively all the while warping their essence and tying it to his own to control them. The body you inhabit was a warrior of the light. She fell in the first siege of the Wrath Gate. She died in the tents there. Before she died she asked to keep fighting the scourge, to keep fighting for the Alliance. Her only desire was to protect this world from what happened to our own. She was brought here her soul shattered and no longer able to be resurrected. She has found final peace but through this action of ours, she may in some way keep fighting on. Unlike a Death Knight though, you are not undead. You will breathe and live as you did before, albeit in a different form…for that I am truly sorry, but it would not do to force you into the body of another who may yet return to it. I do hope you understand, we are truly sorry.”
Lodur mulled it over, he was alive that was a bonus. He had faced the Lich King in the eye and not begged for his life. He could fight on as he did before it wouldn’t be so bad.
“What happened to my real body?”
Yeva stepped forward “tha’ ah be havin’ ahn ahnswer to. When you wen’ down ahn yer soul was scooped into the totem one of them winged banshee swooped inna yer body ahn snatched it. There was no way we coulda’ recover’d it, it’s part of the scourge now. Ahm… Ahm sorry”
Lodur tried to stand again and fell flat on his face once more. They rushed to help him back up to sitting.
“This…this is going to take some getting used to.” Lodur looked at the trio before him with eyes that were not his own. “thank you, all of you.” He looked at the Prophet “I would bow sir and show proper respect to you, but I fear I may crack my skull.” Give them all a quirky smile
Velen smiled, nodded to them and then made his way back to the Halls of Light. Nobundo clapped Lodur on the shoulder one more time
“There is much more for you to do my student, we all have our parts to play in the events about to occur. I have played mine, but know I’m always here if you need advice.”
Patting Lodur’s shoulder the Farseer turned and made his way back to his corner of the Exodar. Lodur looked at Yeva, still there staring at him.
“Well,” she exclaimed “Ah think ye be needin’ me around for a weee bit more. Ah’ll just stick ’round till yeh get your hooves back.” A huge grin stretched upon her face.
Lodur leaned forward and gave the Dwarf a huge hug, he didn’t let go right away.Yeva hugged back. there were no more words to be said.
Fin Chapter 1.