“I see it all, taunting in the vastness behind my eyeline”
“Mot’ on’na range!”
Everytime one of the lookouts yell that thing, I cringe. It means one of my former “brothers” will be shredded. It’s ingrained within my dead fibres, this solidarity with the already dead unknowning. I could be out there, alone. In the cold … but Master saved me. I watch them from the wall that the Argent Crusade erected not far from the Shadow Vault. The ghouls, the zombies, the skeletons, the mindless undead of the Scourge.
This is Tim, Geist Alpha, reporting for duty from Dog One, the Argent Crusade Vigil Barrier. They call it “the Wall”.
The things down there, the things I once called my band of brothers, stray close to the burning lanterns dotting the Wall. People used to fear the Scourge. Now? They’re like moths. They are drawn to the light, perhaps with a faint memory of a sunset deep in their dead, rotten brains. Once in a while I see someone I know; Mucky was shredded a couple of days ago. Mucky was a ghoul. He used to be a murderer – drink pushed him to kill his wife and children and so he was sent to the penal companies of the Northrend expedition. That’s where we found him. Anh’khnat the Nerubian, nicknamed “the gnat”, our squad commander, sniffed him out where he was hiding behind a bush not far from Farshire. We played with him for a bit. We made him dance. Oh, how he danced …
He wasn’t spared.
I know, it sounds very cruel. Inhumane. Newsflash, buddy – the Scourge lack morals. What we don’t lack is memories. So you might ask – why was he was called Mucky? Well, he never stopped crying, not even as a ghoul. Joar, the vrykul commander who replaced the Gnat once we tired of the bugs fucking antics and killed him dead-dead, decided that the tears were “mucky”. Being scourge is hard, people (I hear there’s a “trend” among youngsters in Stormwind to experiment with Lichbloom; death is not the answer, young ones – and the ghouls have really bad breath).
Just remember that every single ghoul has a backstory. Some of them even remembers it. Everyone lived, once we all lived. We were lovers, farmers, masons, killers, men, women, children, old. We were happy or sad and some ghouls, the really old one’s, was not human at all but elves. Then all we became was shufflers. Walkers. Dead. Dead! Citizens of a new empire – the Kingdom of the Scourge (only the dead may enter!).
Kingdom. We used to call this place that.
I could be out there, in the vastness of death and cold. An endless wanderer, lost in a darkness streaked with saronite green and necromantic purple. I am not. Instead I huddle under the weight of half a dozen wolf furs as Master stand statuesque on the Wall. She doesn’t move, she doesn’t blink. All she does is stare down on the Kingdom of Oblivion, now boxed in by the Argent Crusade. The black stone wall, dotted with shining braziers, are the line drawn in the sand. Here the kingdom ends.
Why am I here?
Down there the moths shuffle close, and then a watchman yells “Mot’ on’na range!”. Then the acketi-acketi-acketi-ack-ack-ack starts. Gnomish weaponry, arcane-infused caliber .50 semi-automatic turrets with targeting systems salvaged from Ulduar.
Those poor fucks, shuffling towards the light, down there on the plain, they don’t stand a chance. You know what the worst part is? It’s not the yell about moths. It’s the cheering, once the guns fall silent. While the living celebrate another victory, all I can feel is sorrow. I huddle down behind a turret and stare into the darkness below. I see it all, taunting in the vastness behind my eyeline.
I could be out there. I am not. I want to be out there. I am not allowed.
Tim the Geist is sad. Tim the Geist is dead inside. The one thing that made my rotten heart jump and skip has been taken away from me. Gul’Dans minions in the Citadel took my Morissa from me. She was my hope, my east and west, my north and south. I wish the clocks would stop, I would blot out the stars and cover the world in darkness – if I could. I can’t. I’m just a geist. A construct, a lifing thing with hope – and then the Legion took it away. Just like that. (I was later told my Morissa went down fighting, death knight to the last, biting and clawing when her swords broke. She took sixhundred and twenty five Iron Horde orcs with her. That, my friends, is the power of death!)
This latest state of almost dead but not quite, now that my brain is still, has brought some unforseen consequences. I get cold now, eventually. The cold never bothered me before – but that was in the past. Now? I’m … lifing.
I told you about the Panic, didn’t I? Yes I did. I told you about the Shakes, the Chittering. What followed was the Dead Calm. One after another of my bodyparts stopped longing for death and settled down. That’s “lifing”. When the dead tissue lose its morphic memories and the wheel turns … and then Life starts to come back. It’s a very rare condition among the Scourge. It used to be that anyone caught “lifing” was instantly destroyed – but Master saved me. She took me away from the Scourge. She …liberated me. Yet. Master is just my friend. She is not my lover. Morissa redeemed me. Morissa turned the light on inside me. She was the brazier on the Wall. I was drawn to it, memories of sunsets … Then the Legion snuffed it out. What kind of monster would take away life from those who are already dead?
The call came some time ago. That’s why we’re here. Something was and is in motion, deep within the Citadel, towering over this Kingdom of the Scourge. I don’t know what, I’m a good spy but I can’t breach the holy wards surrounding either Hearthglen or the Icecrown outposts. So Master, a “liason” between the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade, stands still and stares into the darkness over yonder. So I, Tim the Geist, who wants to cry but can not cry because tear ducts was never installed, huddle under furs. Geist has the sads, as Isel would put it. Ah, yes, Isel … Geist has the sads. Not just for my Morissa. Geist has the sads everytime the monstrous anger of the guns and the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle patter out their one and only truth:
“Mot’ on’na range!”
The pit-a-patter starts and there are no bells for those who die as cattle. Down there, in the Kingdom of the Scourge.