Blood from Roses

Aerenstrasz

(This story continues from The Broken Shore • Anathema in Blood)

 

Aeren nearly ended the life of his brother. Azrael looked to be on the brink of death, as the relentless fury of Aerenstrasz pulled and ripped off scales one by one, getting underneath to Azrael’s weakness. Azrael tried his best to stop him, yet all that Azrael knew was death, if he attempted to defend himself truly, he would end up hurting his illusioned brother that had been taken by Helius.

 

As the beastial instincts of Aerenstrasz flung to life aiming to fully end the life of Azraelstrasz, his body collapsed, the fire of his eyes faded. Heartwing had been succesful on their most dangerous journey yet to one of the Legion’s homeworlds known as Nathreza. Yet it did not come without a painful price. Nyth’esera had almost been killed by one of Helius’ lieutenants named Glaciagos, the father of Elysigosa and former consort to Aeren’s sister-in-arms Zurigosa.

 

Yet they had done the impossible. On the destroyed homeworld of the legion, Hestiastrasza had broken the keystone on Aeren’s soul that had prevented him from being whole. Aeren’s soul and body reunited, his humanity returned and with it, everything he had done during his service under Helius.

 

Aeren had been saved, but he was far from being truly whole. The memories of the Broken Shore still haunted him every single day. There was impossible wounds to heal and a point in which Aerenstrasz had to properly figure out what he would do from here.

 

Aeren had returned to Mithres Alymna. He felt the truly deep scars of being a hellhound for Helius. Yet the dragon kept going forward with a smile. His son, Aerdran had been leader from the moment of the Broken Shore up until now. But he had now wanted to resign and put in his eyes the rightful leader of Heartwing back into the position of being a leader where he belonged. Azrael and Hestia had objected to the notion, saying that Aeren still needed to recover.

 

Aerdran would have none of it, as he claimed his father was stronger than they believed. Truly to Aerdran himself, he wanted to relieve himself of the position as fast as he was able to. Aeren realized the burden in his words, as he accepted. He sent Aerdran and his other daughter Selinastrasza to Dalaran, in which they would help creating a lasting alliance with the most upfront army against the Burning Legion.

 

Whether Aeren did it so out of tactically benefit for Heartwing or because he thought he could no longer protect his own children after what had happened on the Broken Shore was unsure to him. But he knew, he had to begin to make amends for what had happened on the Broken Shore.

 

It was up to him to reunite his families. Both his blood and that of Heartwing. Yet, to heal another, he had to fully confront his darkest fear and start to heal himself. His greatest failure. He ventured deep into the Tyranistres Spire where the Council met, where Aerdran had kept the love of Aeren’s life; Aryiastrasza alive.

 

I tug at the fabric of my clothes where behind my heart is. I thought if I held it, the weight of the burden it is currently holding would be lighter.

But it isn’t.

“I had been so foolish.”

 

It is loneliness that I feel. I am surrounded by people every single day. Diplomats, informants and the most courageous heroes I’ve ever seen. Yet my heart is still sinking.

“It craves for something it will never have.”

 

I feel burnt out from the tears I’ve shed, and for all of my unanswered prayers. For there are none to answer them as the Pantheon is dead.

 

I’ve waited every single day, every hour, every second for her to wake up. I’ve disillusioned myself to the point I imagine a scenario where Aryiastrasza had returned to me, to us. I enjoy that scenario, that idea so much, that I rush myself, panting exhaustingly with my hands at my knees into her room with no evidence, no rational basis that would prove that things had changed. And nothing had changed.

 

She still lied there, with all the enchantments we’ve bound around her. All the spellweaving we could muster. Everything so to keep her body alive. Everything to keep her eternal beauty untainted.

I feel the deadly poison of Helius on your breath. Almost like something like the moment of my death.

 

My heart thuds again, before I sink to my knees. My back up against the wall. I begin to sob incontrollably. I would want so deeply to control myself. But I cannot. My fingers clenches. I look at them, before I feel the urge to scream. Perhaps to deafen the repeating sobbing sounds coming from my throat.  I heave my fingers to the upper part of my head before I let my nails run down my face. I think I hid myself behind my hands, because I cannot bear to look at what I’ve done. Blood begins to drop between the tiniest wounds I just opened.

 

You shall be each other’s wings, will, strength and reason.

 

I gritted my teeth against each other, as my body collapsed with the side of my body towards the marble floor.

 

I failed you. You needed me, and I failed you. I am the reason, you are dying.

 

And the worst part is that I cannot protect you. I have sworn to protect you, but I cannot. I am not as powerful as my father, nor as powerful as Azrael or anyone else. If the Broken Shore happened again, I cannot do anything to stop Helius from taking you away from me again. All I can do is hide you from him, which I have done over and over as I do not have the strength.

I said I would give all my love to you.

 

May your voyage through life be as happy and as free as the dancing waves on the deep blue sea. May your love be added, may it never be subtracted, may your clutches multiply, and may your hearts never be divided!

But I feel so divided… My heart is breaking, while I hear yours is beating. I see how Aerdran blames me, I see how Selina is hurting.

We dreamt of a world at peace, somewhere to be happy. But things changed suddenly.

 

Then it can came again. The guilt, the pain of killing people, to have destroyed people’s livelihood that were innocent. Farmers, peaceful people and more. They have all burnt by my flame which was promised to heal and purify. I swore to myself that my flame would be to help this world. To save a dying child, a dying mother.. A dying father.

 

Yet I cannot be healed by anyone. I’ve spent many weeks being healed by my family. Yet as my physical body recovers, I still feel like I am drowning in a deep sea of blood, and I cannot breathe.

 

My hand finds its way inbetween the fabric of my shirt, before I hold my hand directly over my heart. I feel it beating harder than it ever has before, yet I feel so cold. I have felt my every limb being impaled by Helius. My arms and legs wrapped in crude chains that prevented me from both using magic and as well assuming my native form. I’ve seen a world die and valiant hearts shattered. I had been wishing for nothing but your happiness, over and over. It has been my driving force, it has been my hope, it has been my solace in the eyes of darkness. As Helius drilled into my skin and emptied my body of blood, I could resist knowing I had you.

Everybody’s got no place to hide. No one’s left. And there’s no one to go on. All I truly know is that my life is gone.

 

Was this to be my fate? Is my compassion and love going to be shattered because that is how this universe works?

Is my freedom at the hands of Heartwing and my son something Helius had accounted for? Is this the pain something he had planned, something he had wanted? Something he had orchestrated?

I don’t have the power to stop him anylonger.

 

My memories begins to assault me, as they want me to lose my hope too. They have consigned themselves into the seed Helius wanted to foster of despair. They remind me of a time where Aryia and myself sat next to each other on Bloodmoon Isle, our legs hanging over the edge, while Aryiastrasza sweetly laughed at one of my stories about when Hydrastrasz got tackled by a bunch of whelps and had to ask for mercy.

I wonder.. if I will ever hear it again.

Tell me, Aryia. Where are you?

I am on the verge of breaking down, missing my lover.

 

 

Over.. and over again. My visions for Heartwing, my love for the people, for my family.. It all became your suffering. I let my virtues of a better tomorrow be your downfall, to be your pain.

I do not deserve you. I should not have taken up my father’s request of becoming a leader. I should’ve gone away, I should’ve left Heartwing, I should’ve left this war. I should just have been with you.. instead of abandoning you.

I lost my dreams in this disaster.

 

I rise myself from sitting on the marble floor, as I stand over her sleeping image, she looked to be in peace, I wondered for a moment if it is for the best.

Perhaps. For all of the tragedies that is happening, she is better off not being part of it. Maybe I am selfish for wanting to bring her back, because I want everything she is to me to come back. If I brought her back, every pain, every sorrow, all that she feels is because of me. Can I really do that?

 

Though my voice may be worn, and my hands may be covered in red, my heart is held open by these scars.

 

I let out a burst of rage. As the pain resurfaces, bringing to light to a candle that will not have itself being contained. It was fire that would destroy, that would annihilate everything. Perhaps it is time for me to end it all and let us all move on. Time for me to burn away with her forever. The only way to truly reunite us. The only way the pain would truly end. I will not be a puppet of Helius, I will not be a pretend paragon that hopes to stop a menacing evil that has already destroyed the very Pantheon itself.

Aryia

Tell me, is this what you want?

 

 

Perhaps it is time to say farewell. The dawn with you is so far away.

I am standing alone.

Calling out your name.

 

 

 

No..

This is not what she would want. This is what Helius would want. This is who Helius would want me to become. He would want me to lose all hope that I’ve. The hope that defied him on the edges of a broken world. As long as she breathes, as long as her heart beats. I must continue fighting. I must continue, even if the world tells me that it is meaningless. I must keep being what I’ve been fighting for all this time.

The burst of rage clashed against my reason. My strength. The sea of blood wanted to crash a wave of despair over me, it wanted me to collapse again. It wanted my flame of destruction to end everything. It does not matter if the Pantheon is dead, what matters is that we’re alive.

 

And as long as I am alive, I will never stop fighting. For you, Aerdran, Selina, Heartwing, my father. You are what is worth fighting for. My fingers clenched once again, as I resume control of myself. The candle I had let become a flame now dispersed into tiny sparkles of embers that would not hurt anyone.

 

 

I lent down as I kissed the forehead of my love, still feeling her warmth radiating from her. The same kind of smile that have kept me going through the darkest times. The smile that helped me keep fighting on as Heartwing bested Katherina and Deathwing at the darkest hour of Azeroth.

“Nothing will come between us. If it takes fifty years or more, I will return you to your children. They need you more than I could ever selfishly dream of.”

 

 

 

 

“Everything you’ve taken from us. We will take back and you will regret what you’ve done to us..”

“.. Helius

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