Last night a death knight saved my … death.
I often find myself perched on the spire of the highest tower and I wish all these people of the garison dead. I want to stab them, Strangle them. Shoot them. I want to sneak into their inn and even if they treat me nicely I want to say to them, “I’m sorry, but this is the kingdom of the Scourge! You need to go, all of you. Only the dead … ”
Then I grow silent ( I often mumble to myself when I get lost in thought because Scourge have a hard time thinking, it’s because of our brains, they’re deteriorating, you see). Everytime I think about how to do it, to kill them all, I whisper to myself. Then I look at the picture that Maloria gave me the other night and then … I don’t know. I just wish I wasn’t dead. That maybe … maybe there’s still a chance. Is there?
This is Tim the Geist, with a slipknot around her neck. Full of truth – and the truth will set me free. Because if you’re high up enough, you won’t suffocate when the rope tightens. You’ll break your neck. It’s a second of pain but that’s all it is. Then I can be repurposed. My parts won’t retain their morphic memories a second death around. We will all, finally, be free. My liver, my spleen, my brain, my knees.
We are the dead. I … we … Or I. The legion that we are … I just pretended I was the opposite. That I could be alive. But I am dead, I just didn’t trust ut. I’m made of the stuff that is coarse (I am a hollow man, as Gerry the Ghoul once told me – then he jumped from the rampart, laughing all the way down – yes, we sent scouts down to Crystalsong, no reason to let a perfectly good ghoul go to waste because of a nerve breakdown).
My thumbs are dead, my brain is dead, my chest, my ribs, my hands, my muscles, my knees, my he– … My hea— My. He—.
Yet, in all the darkness of this machine without a soul that I for so long pretended to be a person, my heart is … my heart is … my heart …
It moved last night. Just once. I felt it. It scared me. I’m accustomed to death. Something moving inside me – something that isn’t a hungry rat! – is scary. I hid behind the sacks of grain in the stables, hoping it wouldn’t move again. It did not. At dawn, I snuck out, close to the ground so that no one would see me. I tried and hoped I could forget the visions … of how my master once knelt in front of a deity of pure light … of how it looked at me … of how it spoke.
“The light does not abandon its champions.”
That was then, of course. Long before I knew that my heart belonged to a vindicator. There were many of them, people like Bridenbrad, so many who fought the ultimate battle. Heroes, they call them. I didn’t know I had the heart of a vindicator then, as we scurried across worlds to save a single man. Who does, really?
You never know you’re brave until it’s too late.
My heart was salvaged, as it’s called, by scavenging ghouls. The living give up on the dead once the spirit has left the body. Still, there’s a lot of useful parts just laying around on any battlefield. They found my heart bearer in a forgotten cave. There was a pile of ghouls all around her. Indeed, it’s said they found a lot of useful parts on and around her. Yet, the only thing I got was the heart. Kel’Thuzad was a softie (not many people know this but he liked cats – and apprently draenei hearts). Her morphic memories were dormant for so long, until that time I ran to my Master as the iron stars descended upon Karabor and the shadow came … called by an orc … and then … then. Then my heart beat. Just once. As shadow turned to light. Because it remembered its champion.
That was the first time it beat. The second time, well I told you already. I hid when it happened. The first time I only hunched down, screaming. no one noticed. The second time, once I was done hiding, I climbed onto the tower and that’s where Master found me (she’s not really my master, it’s just an old habit to call her that but I am free, I am redeemed, I am … dead.)
I looked up and …
Those burning eyes. In all my dreams I have never seen a light such as that, the dead lights of my Masters eyes. I sat there, perched on the tower of war (as they call it), with the shriveled piece of flesh that once was a heart in my hands. I stared at it. I had ripped it out with the saronite claws I once again had equipped (I had declawed myself because the Living don’t like monsters with claws made from the blood of an old god).
She said: “What are you doing, Tim?”
I said: “I’m trying to get rid of the pain.”
Master smiled. She said, stroking my chin:
“You can never ease that pain, Tim … ” Then she twitched her head back and hollered: “Bigglesworth!”
I knew I shouldn’t have let that one get into my heart. There’s two things redeemed Scourge can’t fight: Death knights with an ass made in Argus and undead cats. as Bigglesworth gave me a reproachful look, Master easted the slipknot off my neck. I had used a heavy rope, one of those down from the naval yard. It was salvage, just like me. Once used to tow ships into harbor. Now, in the hands of a geist an instrument of death … only things didn’t work out as I thought they would. I scurried down the walls of the tower of war, embarassed, intent on finding a bush to hide under.
That’s when my heart beat a third time.
Casually strolling up the footpath from the main garrison, as guards usually do, Morissa came. I don’t know what it is, it’s just something about the grace of her undead body, the sawying of her hips, the way she always holds her flaming axe. I know she has a bit of a “reputation” among other death knights, mercenaries contracted through the Ebon Blade. Not everyone trust her – but I do. It’s just something …
She always wears a red scarf around her neck. It’s the only color of her otherwise pale and black appearance. She was catatonic once – sleeping, I mean, but undead never truly sleep we just power down – and I … was curious. It’s not a polite thing to do, I know. But I, well, investigated her appeal. It’s a scourge thing, ok!?
She has a scar around her neck. It starts by her left ear and ends by her right shoulder. It must have been a very painful way to go …
As she came up the footpath my dead heart took a leap. It was very embarassing. I still held it in my hand. I scrambled and managed to show into my chest before she noticed – and even if she noticed she just smiled at me. Then she went on by. Bigglesworth stared at her for a long time, then turned his eyes at me and hissed. He knew he was outmatched. Master gathered him up and first he struggled but then he settled in. Then Master shot a quick look at Morissa and smiled.
Master glanced at me. She spoke, in that kind of way people speak when they know they hold all the truth in a single sentence but want to be casual about it.
“You should ask her out, Tim.”
I’m not sure I understand the ways of the living. I’m dead, as you know. I did fashion a sign though. I hanged it above the doorway to my humble abode, a shack at the back of the salvage yard. Jack, he runs the place, he don’t mind. He’s mostly dead anyhow (or so he says; something about his lungs, he coughs a lot). I just hope Morissa likes my sign. It says:
THIS IS THE KINGDOM OF THE SCOURGE. ONLY THE DEAD MAY ENTER.