The Lament of Farmhand Geist: Light Rider

And I looked, and behold a pale horse:
and her name that sat on it was Death,
and Hell followed with her …

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This is the first entry of my diary from the wall:

“There’s nothing left in life, not for me. I have embraced death. I am dead, I thought I could live but what made me alive was taken away. Let me be a construct of bodyparts, animated by dark magics, long lost and never again a child of light as Isel once told me I was. There. Is. No. Hope.”

It was written several weeks ago. I wrote it as the turrets opened up and went acketi-acketi-acketi-ack-ack-ack, shredding the wailing dead down on the frozen fields. I watched Master stand there on the wall, staring at nothing … and at that moment, I knew I was dead. My Morissa had been taken away from me! My Master was embracing the cold, turning into the death knight she once were. Truth be told she scared me. I remembered our farm in Halfhill … and I wanted to yeank on her hand, I wanted to tell her “Let’s go and grow some harmony, eh?” but instead I covered under the furs … because I am broken. I am a lifing Scourge, cursed. I walk between life and death and I feel the life, but I am … Dead.

I also wrote this:

“I don’t want to die.”

I had barely put the words on paper before a yell caught my attention: “What in the blazing beards!”

We only caught a short glimpse of her. Something moved across the plain, brilliant with the luminescence of Holy Wrath. Then the Light faded and Darkness conquered everything beyond the wall. Grimm Stoneshield, the lookout, swore it was a woman!

“I tell ye lads!” he said. “’twas a bitch ’twas!” (Grimm has a colorful language). “’twas a bluey, ’twas, lads! I tell ye! She be blue she be!”

A few weeks back, early in the morning, she was back. It’s hard to tell if there is ever a morning in Icecrown. It’s beutiful in its own way, you know. I always liked the glaciers.

Then she came.

A speeding bullet of light, streaking across the fields of death, a mace held high, a shield aflame with light and enchants. The cold glacier mists parted for her as she blazed her way across the snowy expanse, and this time we heard a faint sound … an echo … a voice, far, far away. Kel’Thuzads frozen balls, she must have shrieked her battlecry at the top of her lungs because no one but a banshee or a zealot can scream like that. It must have been deafening way down there, up close to her. Up here on the wall, few people had the ears to hear the words … but I was created a spy. I see. I hear: “Pheta vi acahachi!”

Searchlights on the wall traced her as she sped across the silent fields until the mists swallowed her whole. She left a trail of death behind her. Smoldering corpses, burnt by the blaze of Holy Light.

It happened again and again. Like clockwork. The banshee scream from way beyond, then a lookout shouting out. The searchlight catching her, brilliant as she slammed her way through the dazed and confused companies of the Scourge. On that fateful day when I met her, I heard Rakka, the orc rogue who found the Light, yell:

“Behold now! Here she comes!”
“Such a pale horse … “_ Grimm said.
“I wouldn’t like to be Scourge this morn'” I said. They gave me a curious, slightly bewildered look. I turned to them, pulled off my leather mask with its single eye and looked them dead in the eyes with the eyes I once were given by the Creator. I have yellow eyes, with glowing red pupils. My eyes are not pretty, at least not for the living. I scared them. I said:

“Hell follows with her … “

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: Let It Go

God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…

But I’ve a rendezvous with Death

– Alan Seeger (1888-1916)

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I’ve been having these headaches lately. It started shortly after we pushed back Gul’Dans Horde in Tanaan. Other brave soldiers and heroes went into the Citadel and eventually slayed all of the enemies …

I was left outside.

It was the headaches, you see. Master was very worried about me. In fact, she was so worried that she even put in the paperwork for a prolonged term of R&R. As the brave Alliance and Horde heroes alike stormed Hellfire Citadel, Master was back at the garrison with me. She held me down when I screamed. She gave me Fionas peculiar tea when I shook. She sang to me, an ancient eredar lullaby, as I whimpered and cried.

It’s hard to explain to the living, the maladies of the Scourge (redeemed as I am). Not long ago a wave of barfing and lose stomach went through the garrison. Several people, most of them young, died from it. Healers tracked it down to bad water, eventually, but before that happened … well. Let’s just say that the grain merchant from Embarii went back with a black eye and a few extra bruises. People were afraid, you see … so many of the living remembers the Plague. When the living are afraid they become violent.

I didn’t have the human malady of running stomach. My disease was far worse. Few things can kill the Scourge. The Forsaken Wrathgate Plague came close. That was not my thing. My sickness was even more dreadful. A disease all of the Scourge fear … My disease was Panic.

Ah yes, we call it that. Panic. There’s no cure for it. Back in the day, anyone caught with Panic was instantly killed, the remains burned. A panic-diseased Scourge can not be repurposed. Experiments showed it (My Creator did a thesis on it; “On the Topic of Panic, A Naxxramas Experimental Laboratory Study No. 2232”; the Argent Crusade currently keeps the monograph in their archives). I’m not sure of all the stuff, but I do know it comes down to muscle memory. Morphic memory, as it’s also called, is simply too strong. Sometimes, the construct will keep on trembling, shaking, lashing out, fighting back. It’s as if the muscles refuse to die, even though the spirit has died. That’s why the Scourge not only want to break your body – but first break your mind. With fear, with terror, with pain …

With Panic.

Sometimes it works, too. Sometimes it doesn’t. A construct that never gave up will start to shake. Eventually ut will simply fall apart. Sometimes it happens at the moment of resurrection. Sometimes it happens over time. Flesh Giants are particularly prone to Panic, or as it’s also called, the Shakes (among other things).

There is no cure.

Scourge folklore have a lot of cures, of course. None of them actually work. You can’t cure death, can you? The Shakes will kill you, eventually. Oh, we all do our best to ease the pain, right? It’s a nice gesture, no? I love my friends … all of them fear what I turned out to have. Even Master. I heard her cry at night, staring at her trembling hands. I heard her whisper “Menea … I miss you!”.

Master is dying. Then again – all of us are. Some just don’t know it yet or refuse to believe it.

My friends brought me all kinds of things. As I lay there, shivering and shaking, moaning and groaning, there was a parade of friends and gifts, living and dead. Gerry the Ghoul gave me maggots marinated in Lich Bloom. Isel brought me her elekk plushie. Boney gave me a tea, boiled on scrapings of his own bones. Ariok gave me rum. Huge (the Champion!) snuck down to the latrines, brought back his helmet full of piss, drowned a rat in it, spat in it and then boiled it down until there was nothing left but salt. Then he rubbed it on my head, hoping that it would ease my pain. It didn’t. I smelled funky, but my head still hurt (he later claimed it didn’t work because he couldn’t convince any of the females to wee in his helmet, but Huge is a bit, you know). Morissa … my girlfriend. Oh, it’s a strange word, that. It’s taken me quite some time to get used to it – almost as long as it took me to get used to Love. Anyway …
Morissa brought me nothing.

Fret not. There’s a reason, of course there’s a reason. You know why!

I think that’s what set my migraine off. I just wish they would have told me straight to the face. It happened on the day of the Battle of Tanaan Inlet, where more than sixhundred Alliance and Horde ships faced off against a fleet of nearly a thousand Iron Horde vessels. It was the biggest naval battle in the war, some say the biggest battle in all of Azeroths and Draenors history combined. Thousands of mariners! Glory!

The “List” was all that remained, a list of “complete casualties and missing in action excluding wounded or deserters”. We all started reading it in silence, but then Gorbin Boltcutter started reading aloud just so the people at the back could get the news then and not later. Gorbin is one of the porters, he would have made an excellent soldier but he took an arrow to the knee when he was young so he walks with a limp. We play Hearthstone together and he always lose, but I think it’s because he feels sorry for me. He likes me, even though, whenever he lose a game, he slams his fists on the table and calls me “ye stinking thieving cunt!” (He’s got a colorful language). He fashioned a pair of braids for me out of yak hair once (he bought the hair from Cousin Twohands, an intrepid traveler lured to Draenor by some ethereal fashion technologist).

Gorbin’s got a big, booming voice (no one can yell “cunt!” the way he does). You know what? When he started reading the list – it was one of the most horrible moments in my unlife. It went like this (I’ll never forget it):

“Ambershine, Sun, a passenger!” There was a low, wailing sound. From somewhere in the crowd. Then a pandaren tailor pushed his way out of the throng, hiding his face behind his hands … and sank to his knees in front of the Commander, yelling “She was nineteen, Commander! Nineteen! This is YOUR fault! YOUR FAULT!!! Sha take you! Sha take you all!”

I heard the Commander mumble “I’m sorry,” as Gorbins voice rang out across the Lunarfall Main Square:
“Blackpaw, Lin, she’s the bloody surgeon, mates! Light curse ’em all!” There was a ‘wooooo!’ from the crowd, though no one actually knew her that well. We’ve got a lot of pandaren in Lunarfall. “Blixby, Dixx, engineer!” There was mumbling, some gnomes yelled ‘No!’ but there was this eerie sense of acceptance among them … Then his voice broke, strong and factual as it were, as if he was reciting a Dun Morogh poem: “Boltc… ” He cleared his throat. “… Cutter, Dorbin. I, I … Oh brother!”

Then Master took a step in front of Gorbin. He was down on his knees already, screaming through his hands. It didn’t occur to me until then that the Living cherish life. I had brothers once, in Naxxramas (actually they were more like ‘collegues’ in death but I’m sure you get my drift). The Creator disassembled them all – and I felt nothing. To feel death – perhaps that is what it means to be alive?

Master screamed out the rest of the names. She wanted everyone to hear. Maybe she was angry. Maybe she wanted to be heard over the crying and wailing. Maybe she wanted to hurt her sister, the very much alive Commander. I don’t know. Things have been weird among the Exodar Sisters ever since Vassie tried to kill herself.

Gorbin had stopped screaming. He was just crying, gnawing his molars, pale as a sheet, right there in front of the callboard. He … shook. Perhaps the Living can get the Shakes as well. He was so proud of his brothers, Alliance heroes, he called them. Orbin, Dorbin and Corbin …

“Boltcutter, Corbin, a sailor!” Master screamed. She turned her blazing eyes at the Commander at the top of the stairs and continued: “Boltcutter, Orbin, second grade petty officer! Brown, Rufus, a sailor! Derek, Dirk, another sailor! Should I go on, Shu!? Or is this enough!? Don’t you know death, sister!? You want more of it to save this fucking world that won’t even let me save myself before I … we … Fuck Velen. Fuck you, Yrel! FUCK YOU ALL!!!”

Then Master started crying. She pushed her way through the crowd, mounted a dead horse and stormed out of the gates with sparks flying from the roadway. It was tense, I tell you. Some of the Karabor Honor Guards really didn’t know what to do (though I saw that some of them gave a short nod; there’s discord, barely tangible, but there’s discord allright).

The Commander didn’t reply. She turned around fast, though I saw her shoulders shake and I heard her sob. Ah, yes … Master can be very cruel to the Living. She can be cruel to the dead as well, though I don’t think she actually meant it.
Illona stepped up and in a low, mournful voice continued to read out the names, because people still had to know the price of glorious victory. That’s when I knew something dark was truly coming, because even I, and all of us undead, grew weary: “Lanthaire … I think that’s how it’s pronounced … The Citadel, fallen. Morag Bloodfury, Champion, fallen, the Citadel. Baron Almonaster, Lord of Second Farthing, Alterac, fallen, the Citadel. Count Ambrosi of Crook, fallen. Morissa, vin… Vindicator, Knight of the Ebon Blade. Fallen. The Citadel.”

Illona turned around, perhaps she was hoping to see the walking dead worried, but all she saw on our death knights faces was – nothing. “So many of you fell …”

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “We’re already dead.”

I sat hunched down in front of the line of death knights, their blades still smeared with orc blood. The blood always stays on the blade (one day you will understand why). The draenei of Draenor fear them – and so they should! Then all of the knights, some two hundred of them, shouted in unison (and I dare say not only Illona but several other draenei peed themselves):

“LEAVE THIS PLACE AND NEVER RETURN!!!”

Ah, the old salute. It had been years since I had heard it with such force. It had been whispered, and mumbled, yes, but the last time I heard an entire cohort send the fallen off like that was after the Highlands Battle. Truth be told, righ then and there I was proud of the Ebon Blade. It’s our salute to the fallen. It’s complicated.

No really, it is! We all know what we are! We are the Dead! Whenever some hopeful prospect shows up at the Ebon Embassy in Stormwind the answer is always the same: No, we can not accept new knights or squires, because “this is the kingdom of the Scourge, only the dead may enter”. All of the living, usually young boys, go away with slumped backs and despair in their eyes. Sometimes the guards fish their bodies out of the canal. I don’t understand that … Because, you know, all we want to do, all of us Scourge … is to die. We don’t want to return. Our struggle is to die – yet we can’t. Yet we won’t. Yet we don’t want to … because some of us wants to live.

Live.

Because sometimes … death is a mere malady. Perhaps someone will find a cure, some day. We cling to hope like moths cling to the light, because even in darkness, not all who wander is lost.

We want to live!

“I would like an orgasm,” Morissa once told me. We were sitting on a hill not far from Embari. I had finally found the courage to ask her if she wanted to be my friend in undeath. She had accepted. We had pressed our lips against each other … because the habit of the living die hard. We had shed our clothes, and done the motions (if you know what I mean). Then, as we sat there, I carefully replaced her nipple (it had almost fallen off as I chewed it, because some habits die hard). I asked her: “What would you want if we were alive?”

Then she had to explain what an orgasm was. My brain tingled.

That was weeks ago. On the day of the List, well. It wasn’t until later that night, as I scampered across the flagstones towards the shed at the back of the Salvage Yard, it occured to me. Morissa would never confuse me again. Morissa would never make my rotting brain tingle again, creeping in a pleasant way with age old memories of things that was mostly forgotten (the living that I know say that sex is the thing they remember most clearly, when memories of love fade, sex is what remains). Morphic memories … They’re weird. Yet I felt it all. Lips against lips. Her fingers – and for some reason a Tel’Abim Banana (I’m not quite sure if that was a memory or soemthing else, I did wake up with sticky fingers that smelled … ok, let’s not go there, let’s just say I have hands that live their own life when I power down).

I felt the first pang of sorrow then. It was a feeling I had never cared much for before I felt it. So many bodyparts of mine kept sorrow in their fibers but I had never actually listened to it.

Yet I didn’t feel it enough, I think. It was more of a ‘oh well, this sucks’-feeling. I wish I could have felt more, but I didn’t. I just thought: ‘Morry is free now. She left this place, never to …’ 

I sighed then. And mumbled: “Return?” There was no answer but my own thoughts: ‘No. Because that’s … every muscle in my body want what Morry got. Death.’

Then I powered down (fell asleep, as some would call it). I thought that would be the end of it all.

It wasn’t. My head kept tingling. The feeling of spindly fingers inside my head was infuriating. I’ve had a spider in my head once, before I plucked it out through my ear (I’m a geist, we don’t bend to common anatomy!). It was just like that, a tickle, starting at the back of your neck, growing into a dull throb behind your eyes, caught between your brain and your skull … and then my head exploded in pain. It was like that time when a vindicator suprised me in the pantry of Lunarfall Inn (I was just picking cherries out of a pie because I like popping cherries and Maraad didn’t know that I was redeemed at the time and … you know). That hammer of light of his really hurt. It was that kind of migraine. A pain so tremendous it paralyzed me. Then my muscles and joints eased up and started to shake. It’s a terrible thing. Even such a simple task as digging out a piece of dried froth from the corner of your mouth can prove to be a challenge. I had to hold the cup of rum that Ariok offered me with both hands, and he still had to steady me by grabbing hold of my head and neck. Oh, I was a mess, for sure!

The Shakes. The scourge of the Scourge.

From there on, all I could do was whimper and moan – and shake. The living call it a migraine. We call it Panic, the Shakes, Death Rattle, Chittering (because of the sound your teeth make). It’s as if someone threw you in a cage and then closed it tight enought to almost break your ribs (been there). You struggle, and fight, like a fish on dry land, gasping … drowning … trying to break free, to run away. But there is nothing to run away from.

It’s not fear, because fear is something you can conquer if you set your mind to it. It’s Panic, and Panic is Chaos. Panic is Death. Panic sucks the energy out of everything, it’s the Sha, the Old Gods, the Dark. Panic is a hungering mouth that swallows all of your hope, all of your strength, all of your dreams and all of your life (or death – and believe me, most living wants to die when Panic sets in). It leaves you like a whimpering blob of Nothing.

I’ve seen Panic among the Scourge. I’ve seen things you would not believe … Aberations on fire, near Malykriss Hold. I watched Texals frost beams glitter in the dark near Angrathar Gate. All those moments, lost in time … Fragments of distant lands and people shattered against the invisible veil of pain inside my eyes … for days. Master held me and sang to me. Gerry mumbled curses over me. Ravennah brought me a flower and Isel gave me her elekk, and said “When I’m sad, Tim, Floof always keeps me company”. I couldn’t say anything, to any of them, not even Ahm. Why?

Because I was ashamed. I wanted to die but I could not die! Instead I moaned. I managed to don my old gloves on my shaking hands and dug my saronite claws into the scalp of my head. I felt no pain. I tore my skin off, I felt no pain. I nearly ripped my eyes out – I have two, it’s my leather mask that has one, mirrors inside – but my eyes were scared of the dark. Morphic memories. Tina (left eye) and Feye (right eye), both pleaded with me, in that way undead bodyparts scream inside me. They asked me to spare them. So did. Once upon a time it took them weeks to die. They saw it all. The needles. The scalpels. The rapes and batons and handcuffs and … my body is a collection of terrible memories. No wonder I got the shakes.

I screamed and wailed like a banshee all through the everlastning night – and I was afraid. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: “I’ll tell you a secret about the Scourge. Listen well: We’re all afraid.”

I wanted to cry. you know what? The biggest regret of the Scourge – it is that we can not cry. I had no tears. I had only the sounds. Gulps of dead air. Trembling hands and legs. The invisible weight of hopelessness, crushing my ribs. PANIC. Despair. So delicious … but only if you enjoy torturing

(Night elves)

mourning geists.

Master cried and singed. Days and nights passed. Gerry and Boney and all the death knights and their ghouls and scourge fiends came and offered me what they thought would cure the Shakes. There was no cure. I shook, I trembled, I screamed and roared. I cried out for people long forgotten – mothers, mostly. Loved ones. I was tied to the bed. They feared I would kill myself (that’s funny, sort of).

One hour after midnight on the fourth day of the Shakes, I gasped a single name:
“Aliss … ”

(“We must flee, Tess! Run! Run, you fool!”
“But I have his helmet, he …”
“He does not care about you!”
“My duty … His helm … “
“Oh Mother of all Light … “
“What?”
“Tessa, run! RUN!!!”
“My liege! You hel–“)

If I told you it’s impossible to scream so loud that you break your voice, you would not believe it. It’s true. You will break.

(“HEEEELP ME!!!”
“Useless cunt, where’s my helme–“)

Then the migraine stopped. The shakes stopped. Then all was still and pleasant. Then all was Death. My mind, finally at rest. I saw fragmented images of the last moments of Thessalias life. They harvested my brain from the squire of a night elf noble who survived the Wrathgate. She did not. He fell down, stumbling on his own tailormade armor, and then decided to play dead. She did not. Maybe that’s how he had lived for ten thousand years – lived as a coward. She had not. It wasn’t his brain, nor any part of him, that was inside me. Instead I got the Wolverine.

Ah, yes.

That’s what they called me, you see. The Wolverine. Sixtyeight ghouls fell before the aberations finally took me down. By then I had neither nails nor teeth – I had, quite literally, fought tooth and nail. In its own twisted way, the Scourge that survived the Wrathgate later honored me as a centerpiece of their ghoulish banquet. My body, first stored in a coffin in Naxxramas, however refused the dark energies of Him, and I was never raised a death knight. I am told – it’s detailed in a writing currently held by the Argent Crusade – that the ghouls were told to save my brain (there was a lot of complaints about it and several dozen ghouls were later repurposed in the following riot).

I am the Wolverine. I am Thessalia.

Me. My friends used to call me Tim and Tim is what I am. I am Tim. Geist Alpha, destined to be a Leader of All Geists, second to none but Him! Redeployed in various army outfits after the fall of Naxxramas and eventually freed by Master Zavannah. I, Geist Alpha, died at the Wrathgate. I Thessalia!

I am the Wolverine. Always fighting to my last breath. Clawing, scratching, biting, screaming. I will not give up! I can not give up!

You can not defeat me!

I am no longer a construct. I am no longer a thing without a mind. The Maker knew he had found a Champion when he harvested my brain.

I am Tess. I am Tim. I am Legion. I am a person now. I have a mind. Because if you lose your mind, you are no longer a person. Which is why it’s imperative to keep your mind, no matter how bad the Chittering gets. Deep down in a hole you look up and there is light, because the Light never abandons its champion. Because you are never lost unless you want to be.

I am Thessalia, the Wolverine. I once loved a bard named Valiss. I once gave her an orgasm. We were going to move back to Dolanaar after The War. Her uncle grew hops there, he had a cottage we would live in. There were orphans we would care for; Damyan, a boy from Stormwind, Thyssie, a girl from Auberdine, Aurissa, a blood elf child found abandoned in a shipwreck not far from Azuremyst. This was my family.

Legion. Many parts. One body. Yet the mind controls it all. The mind is a terrible thing to taste, if you’re a geist. Isn’t that so, Tim?

(Oh yes, it is … I have a real name now.)

Tell me then, Tim … What is the secret of Life?

Let It Go.

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The Listener in the Dark

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“I din’t mean to! Honist!” The eyes of that little girl welled up with tears. She held out the limp little body, still warm, in her hands and mumbled a “Can’t you make Poodles alive, mommy?”

That’s how I met Isel.

See, there’s a thing I’ve heard the humans around here say, once in a while.  “Can’t get truth from anyone but the dead or the kids”. I guess there’s been some trouble with someone. I think I overheard one of the guards muttering about Jake down by Salvage, how he ‘skimmed’ (I don’t what that means). No one knows I eavesdropped. No one pays much heed to a geist in this place. You see, there’s two things humans do that I find peculiar. They don’t take young ones serious – and they follow orders. Both things are important. But first I need to tell you this: Kids only see monsters if their parents tell them there’s monsters.

Humans … The only reason no one has strung me up in this damned garrison is because of Delvar and Master. That’s Master Zavannah, former vindicator in training, hero of the Exodar, mercenary for the Light … skewered by a rusted polearm, raised as a slave to Him … and then, by the grace of the Light … free … again …

Excuse my theatrics. I have come to understand that on this world I’m better off as a monster. Oh, don’t get me wrong – Isel, Maraad (rest his soul) and many other draenei find me strange and even revolting. They are careful around me. But they don’t fear me.

Humans do.

Out of fear comes hate. The only thing that keeps that hate from exploding is Orders. Discipline. The Army. And secret missives from “a friend”. Tell you the truth – most of the humans don’t like the “blue” that much. There’s been talk about “stringing some of ’em up, gotta get even for Baros, boys”.

To some humans it doesn’t matter that it was the Iron Horde that killed Baros Alexston. To some humans, anything that’s not human enough is a monster. To some humans, anything that isn’t human is a monster. I guess it’s a good thing that Quiana can rip the throat out of anyone without even breaking a sweat. I’ve heard stories, you know. Things starting with ‘Lemme tell y’a ’bout the time I fucked this neff slut down in Booty Bay!”. Stories over jugs of rum. Stories met with laughter. The thundering, deep-throated, growling laughter of very strong, and very angry, men. Young men.

There’s a bomb waiting to blow here, my friends. The only one who keeps the fuse wet is me. Geist, the Spy. Geist, the Monster. Once in a while the Commander, Masters sister General Shuanna of the Exodar, finds a note among her paperwork. A crudely written note by a hand that is trembling with homesickness and fear. My hand.

“Sgt Pollard spit on ze grund when a drini walk by, bu onlyff nane see hem do it, maam.” That’s one of my notes. Another one I took great care with: “Private Rayne wasn’t slain by ‘brigans’ uppa Gloomshade, Cumander. Private Theris and Pearse killed him. Dey calld it ‘fraging’. Podlings innocent in dis mattur.” I’ve seen people hanged because of my notes. With every hanging the hate for the blue grows … among some of the humen. I sometimes wish I could have killed them myself. But no, because you know? I’m not just Geist, the Spy.

I’m also Geist, the Friend.

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Or maybe more than a friend? I don’t know. I only know this: Guard Morissa has taken a liking in me. Yes, yes, yes – she’s a death knight! I know! This whole set-up is weird, to say the least. It goes a bit like this:

General Shuanna is the Commander. Her sisters are second in command with Master Zavannah as ‘tac ops officer’ (I don’t know what that means). There’s ten commanders in one garrison. If I have spied correctly on the Exodar Ten, there will soon be eleven. The youngest, Rashannah, is said to be on her way. Master felt that some of the soldiers were … lacking. In courage, in knowledge, in morale. So she convinced the Commander to, well, “bring in the dead ones“.

Morissa likes me. In fact, we laugh with each other so often, we punch each others on the shoulder and we talk about Things That Were … we do this so often that I, uh … I … I might be falling in love. Imagine that, huh? Not all is bad in this damned garrison. Take Agriok, for instance – another monster.

There is an old Exiled orc here. His name is Agriok. He comes around from time to time, wanders down from Exiles Rise and peddles beads and pipes carved from elekk horn. Rulkan invited him. He stays close to her and Lantresor, perhaps out of fear. Agriok lacks half his face. Someone, maybe himself, has fashioned a facemask in very thin steel. It covers his damaged part of the face. The mask is painted almost the same color as his skin. It even has an eye, it’s made of glass! He makes me laugh. We drink together (he’s using a straw, sometimes he blows bubbles in his rum!). He is also my friend.

As Agriok, I often mumble a “sorry” when one of the draenei kids who have never seen a geist sees me for the first time and then hides behind her mommys skirt with a terrorized cry. As me, Agriok often tries to hide behind a doorpost or a tree, eavesdropping on the parents who has come from Embari bringing goods and their children. Shadowmoon is not safe for children, you see. But the garrison is. Here, they can tell their children the stories of old … about Argus.

I listen. Perched on a treebranch, Pepe on my head. Agriok listens too, hiding behind the treetrunk, peering out with his “good face” (as he calls it, the unscarred side of his destroyed face). Perhaps we are children of Draenor, just as Isel is? I don’t know … so I listen.

I am Geist the Listener.

Ha! Isel called me that the other day. She said, she did, “Amma make you some tea, mr Listener.” Then she poured cold water in a small teapot Rulkan hade made her from the Exiles Rise red clay. It was me, Poodles, Muffy the stuffed Elekk that Vassannah sewed – and Agriok. He used a straw.

“Dere be any rum, girl?” he said, his voice a growl. He can’t help it, his throat was hurt when he lost his face.
“No mr Orc, Poodles don’t like to run,” Isel said – and fed Poodles a sliver of salted elekk meat.
“Good tea,” I said … and sneaked an adamantite pocket flask into Agriok hands under the table.

It was a very nice tea party.

Later that day Isel must have hugged Poodles a bit to hard, a bit too long. My friend, Morissa, told me that kids don’t know their own strength. Hamish the Porter nodded and added something about a burial. We heard Isel cry, all of us did, but no one but me snuck up to her mothers cottage to ask what we could do.

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“I din’t mean to! Honist! Can’t you make Poodles alive, mommy?”
“No, sweety … ” Caregiver Felaani looked as if she was about to cry herself. “Poodles … Poodles won’t come back, honey.”
“I can … ” I said, well whispered. I was hiding close to the doorway. When I knew I had blown my cover I very carefully peeked around the doorpost with my leathery face and smiled. They didn’t see that of course. I wear a mask.

I didn’t tell Isel how. I told her it was Very Secret Magic. Felaani – she still don’t know if she should trust me or fear me – reluctantly handed me the small wooden box with Poodles body. Then I ran away, fast, mumbling “Very Secret, Isel! Do not follow!”

I hid in the attic to the herbalists house. I sharpened one of my saronite claws. I cut Poodles up, from the sternum to the jaw. I removed the seeds and snuck down to the herb garden. Then I ran up to the Big Tree, there I asked Sappy for some juice. Sappy grumbled, he’s always hungry, but he gave me a few drops. That’s all it takes, you see … I’ve seen Phylarch do it, I know how it’s done. I spy. I give life to podlings, hugged to death. I listen. Oh yes, I listen.

I am the Listener … in the Dark …

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The time when Geist almost died


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Hello, friends. It’s me again, Tim. The Geist. Lamenting in the night. I will never forget what happened the day Master brought me home – home to her home, that is. The thing I just told you about?

That’s how it happened. That’s how I scared my Master into never ever again dare to talk to Master. Why … Master even hid behind a curtain, when Master and me came by. Did you know she grew up in Embari?

I certainly did not!

It’s all for the better, you know. Things would be complicated if you got to know your younger self. Especially when you’re old enough to be dead. Master told me that, a bit later, as the peons worked hard to bring our home into order. Our … garrison. Our home. My home … because it’s my Masters home. Though it’s not my real home. Master tried to set me free and that didn’t work. So, friends:

Let me tell you about the time I almost died.

I told you about how we left Halfhill,

I’m sure. Oh yesss … Yesss … I’m ssure … and please forgive my hissing. It’s safer that way. These last few weeks on my masters homeworld has taught me a valuable lessson: Sometimes it’s better to be a Monster. I will tell you why in just a moment, but first – How I Died.

I am Scourge. You need to keep this in mind. I was created in Naxxramas by one or another of Kel’Thuzads minions. I have my “birth certificate”.

In a way my home is in Dragonblight. But honestly – my “father” was not Kel. My Creator was Arthas. So you see my home is in Icecrown. Now … that’s not true at all, of course. My Scourge home is in Icecrown. but my Home is in Teldrassil, and Elwynn, and Dun Morogh, and Durotar, and Mulgore (a joint in my elbow is tauren), and Lordaeron … I am a person of many persons.

I am Legion.

Bringing me home is troublesome. Master would have to dismantle me. Master on’t want to dismantle me. Truly, I don’t want that either – because that would be, well … Death.

A not so funny fact about us Scourge: We don’t want to die. Nothing wants to die. Remember that, next time you go out killing brigand gnolls for the linen cloth.

We spent some time in Stormwind. We decided to play it sae. The Alliance might be in an alliance of conveniance with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, that doesn’t mean we’re welcome to their turf. So Master hid me in a cellar. It’s easy enough to blend into the crowd as a more than usual pale and cold draenei. It’s something completely different if a geist trails behind you, especially one who has never seen a spice market (the smells drove my nose insane!).

People of Stormwind – and yes, their king has said that we stand as one – tend to … flee. Simple as that. Flee – an throw bananas. Funny that. The pandaren of Halfhill was more welcoming to a geist than humans. But that’s how things are, I guess. I once ventured out on the street and the city guard came running. I yelled “Hands up don’t shoot!” but they didn’t listen. A few hundred stitchessorted me out (later on, Master had words with the guards; I don’t think they’ll be able to walk properly ever again).

When Master had some free time from important things like meeting the king or whatnot, she brooded. She just sat there, staring at the wall. I spied on her, I’m sure she knew but she said nothing about it. Every once so often she would come down into the cellar of the Slaughtered Lamb (an inn our adopted human, Sharenne, told us about; “The Lamb can keep a secret”). Then Master would just stared at me. In silence. It was quite unnerving, to tell you the truth, Then oen day, after a few weeks, she said:

“I’m gonna set you free, Tim.”
“But I am free,” I said.
“No, you’re not.” she sighed. “Look, you’re not competent enough to understand what freedom is. You were created to be a slave – you are a slave!”

“But … “I said, but she turned her back on me and left. That made me fear her. She had always listened to me. Well, most of the time. I was afraid. I dared not speak. She told me to get ready for a trip and so I did. What else could I do? I was alone in a city that despised me. If I was to survive … well then!

We traveled in silence. We didn’t speak to each other. Not a single word for weeks on end. I trailed behind her wherever she went and then, weeks later, we stood on a cliff overlooking Icecrown and Master said:

“Go, geist. Go. Those things down there … They’re your people. Go home. I don’t need you anymore.”
“Master don’t … need me?” I said.
“I don’t. Things have changed. Look, it’s complicated, but … I can’t have you around no more. I’m married to the frost. There’s no room for a geist where frost is present.”
“But ..!”
“Go! Take a hike! Fuck off, monster!”

Masters angry words didn’t scare me. It’s simple, it is: Love is simple. If you love someone, you don’t abandon them. So, I honestly don’t know where I got the courage, but I said:

“You don’t love me?”
“I can’t love,” Master said.

I shouldn’t have said the thing I said, but I said it. I said:

“You love Menea.”

For a few seconds her eyes pierced me with a hateful glance. I thought she would use the bullwhip, like that time in Zul’Drak. Instead she sighed and looked out across the frozen wastes and mumbled:

“This is the kingdom of the Scourge, only the dead may enter.”

I dared not say it but I did. I covered in fear in front of her and whispered:

“You are not dead, Master. You are just not alive. Just as us. As me.” I shot a glance across Icecrown, I heard the howling of ghouls out there, all of them praising their new master. The cold, burning, secret master … because there must always be a lich king. “Zavannah, lissen!” I used Masters name. I never do that unless it’s something very important. “Those … things! They’re not my people. They are … automatons.” I stared at her. “You, Master.” I stood up and grabbed her by her collar. “You made me who I am!” I stared my single eye into Masters deadwhite shine. “YOU GAVE ME A LIFE!!!”

My shriek echoed across the mountains. It shook the snow off forgotten peaks. It broke the spell of some Scourge but without a master they soon became confused. Like wild animals in panic those wretched creatures died in a battle they could not win, surrounded by mindless undead listening to a call of a master who just wanted balance.

Master asked me a simple question:
“You are free, geist. Why do you insist on following me?”
I said: “Because I am free!”
“Then go and be free!”

“I will go with you … ” I smiled, even though it didn’t show through my leather mask. “Zavvie.”

So Master just sighed and shrugged, raising her hands halfway in a ‘what can you do, eh?’-gesture. Then we were off, going home. To Draenor and the garrison (I have made a friend there, a cat … catman … yes; anyway, I will tell you about Leo some other time).

Oh … you wonder how I almost died? Why, that’s simple, friends:

Without freedom – you are already dead.

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The great escape

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The screams of the dying vanguard was still ringing in our ears. I remember this: We clamored for a foothold, all of us. Struggling up across a muddy slope, one by one reaching the ridge. Then Shuanna fell back, slipping on mud and loose rocks. She struggled for foothold on that slippery slope when a green hand shot out from the mist and grabbed her wrist. She didn’t have time to protest. One second her feet was slipping on raw, red Draenor mud. The next second she flew upwards as an orc grunted deeply. Then she landed on her knees in front of him. He let go of her wrist and took a step back, looking down on her with a faint smile.

“Almost lost you there, friend,” he said, his eyes still glowing with embers of elemental fire. She looked into his eyes as she stood up. She didn’t sheathe her mace. It was quite a tense moment, you know. Then she said:

“I will never be your friend, orc!”

It is rare to see such hatred in draenei eyes … and that’s when I said (in my hoarse voice; I truly think I saved an orc that day): “Archenon poros, shaman.”

I wonder why some of the freed slaves started to laugh. Well, giggle. You see, all of the above – that’s how I remember it all. They laughed. Even Shuanna laughed, though she didn’t take her burning, angry eyes off Thrall.

Then we were off. She told Vassie later on – who told Master – that she cared not to remember what happened next. I understand. I’m immune to panic, it’s not a thing with us redeemed Scourge. Not much anyway. For the living, well …

The frantic flight through the scattered lines of the Iron Horde, in disarray as their portal fell, was a smattering of screams and explosions. I leaped on the back of an orc with a maddening laugh and tore his face to shreds with sharpened saronite. I saved a woman, I think. She scurried off, badly beaten but still alive.

Master slammed someone out of the way of a wagon full of explosives. Kitty crushed the head of a female orc moments before she broke the jaw on another, furious that they had deprived her of her elemental connections; in that moment Kitty the Shaman became Kitty the Warrior, a terrible storm of steel and rage. Or so she said anyway. Before it happened.

I saw Shuanna call down judgement in brilliant light on one monster after another and yet her brilliance was nothing compared to that of the other draenei hero, Maraad (that the name I’m thinking off? Why … yes … it is …).

I saw Vassie – oh, I never grow tired of watching her (don’t tell!). Back to back with Sharenne, the adopted human, the demon tamer. They were hurting orcs with words of shadow and chaos bolts. I saw our shaman, Savenna, throw the very elemental force that Kitty had lost. Strange that. I don’t know how. Nobody does, I think.

Somewhere in that chaos I even caught a glimpse of the Black Sheep (Master calls Rave that when Master’s angry). Ravennah – dancing around with daggers. It looked terribly dangerous. No one had time to ask her why she was, well, sort of elf like.

Yet … Yet! Death comes in many shapes. Yet, when I watched Master walk, almost casually, through trongs of Iron Horde, they all fell.

They all fell!

For every life taken, Master smiled. For every scream, for every festering wound, I heard her breath deeper, and deeper, and deeper. As she cut down an orc, gutting him from the waist to the chin in a single backhand swing, she moaned. I do believe that killing orcs by the bundle is as close to an orgasm a death knight will ever get. But what do I know? I’m just a geist. I look at the naked pictures in that book that Vassie carries around and all I can think of is … well … what body parts would be useful should I ever dare to use the knowledge I … but never mind.

I have never seen Master so calm, so alive, so happy. She smiled. She grinned. Eventually she killed while laughing, panting, moaning. She went out of her way killing things, backtracking through the throng of fleeing slaves. Not until the wizard, Kadghar, yelled “Get back here, you!”, she came to her senses and made a ‘tactical withdrawal’. I dare say, without Master and me by her side many draenei would have died that day. But we saved them – we saved them all!

Ah yes, we saved them … and you know what? On that forsaken morn’ by the iron docks of Tanaan on an alien yet familiar world, we were vengeance. We were retribution. We were justice. We were Death.

The Exodar Sisters were death. They scared me more than even dread Arthas could ever scare. These … peaceful beings, these happy believers. But then they were remorseless. This was the moment of retribution! Of vengance! They sped through the battlefield and they were covered in orc blood! I had never seen draenei like that … never.

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“REMEMBER KARABOR!!!” Vasannah shrieked. It was beyond a battle cry. It was as close to a banshee any living can ever get. I know now what Karabor is – what it means. But then I didn’t, and the rage in her eyes… the glee, as a fat orc exploded like a bomb from a single word of death. Such power!

Draenei. Are. Death! How glorious they are! How glorious WE are!

Yes … Much later a very nice girl, her name is Ariannah, told me I was just as much draenei as anyone. Of course, she had a bird on her head so maybe she was crazy.

This I remember:

As Master raced towards the hijacked Iron Horde warship someone grabbed her hand. A child we thought (but I knew better; but who listens to a geist, eh?). I imagine the touch was soft but firm from fear. Master glanced sideways, as I did because what Maste does I do. We saw not a child. We saw the terrified face of a young woman (she might have been scared of me but I think she was more scared of the orcs). Moments later we were aboard the hijacked ship and that’s when Master realised who the woman was.

As did I. But I didn’t tell. Geist know how to keep a secret. We take our secrets to the grave …

“Help me, friend,” the woman said. “Please don¨t let me die. Not here. Please?”
“You’re already dead,” Master said, yanked her younger self onboard and then let go of herself. “You just don’t know it yet.” She gave the woman a long, hard look. “You don’t know me, you never will. Go, sing praise. Forget about me. Trust me, you’ll be happier that way.”
“You … so cold?”
“I’m dead.” Master sighed. I could tell she really didn’t want to do it but there was no other way to shake this newfound friend off her back. “Geist! Over here! Stat!”

Ah … yess …. Yes! Of course I came. I came. Because I am free. Master has set me free (let me tell you that story). I laughed as I skittered across the deck going “Mmmaaah Aaah raaahaaa!“. I do believe I thought it prudent to be as scary as I could. I’m not to bad at being scary, you know.

I scared Master, such as she once were. Master, such as she once were, scurried off with a terrified look on her face, covering in fear close to Maraad. You know what?

Master was rather cute when she was full of life.