Eversong's Bleeding - Part Six
For the next few hours, I was given peace with my family. Some respite from the hell that was developing outside in the forest. After that, we began to prepare to move from this place and find safety. It was pointless to stay, we could not fight so many with so few of us, even though most of us stood late into our wyrmhood, we would not be able to best the hordes of undead that lay at our doorstep. As we made our final preparations the surrounding forest grew silent. Aria was scrying the forests to make sure nothing would take us off guard but all of a sudden her connection was severed. We began to hurry, throwing weapons and food into our bags. We could not fly out of here, it would attract the attention of the entire army. With the last few things being thrust into our bags, I looked around the rest of my family. Ana and Arias' faces shared a look of fear, though whilst Ana held herself with composure, Aria was trembling. I saw Wethrus and my father looking over the rest of my brothers, checking their blades and making sure their armour was fastened correctly, the usual routine. My mother, Marasera, was perfectly composed. The woman that had been the epitome of calm for centuries upon centuries was not going to break her cool now. Not on her life. I had been ready for several minutes and was itching to move, though I could hardly run, never mind fight. Exhaustion still clung to my limbs with a grip of steel.
We moved out of the house shortly after that, my father and Wethrus leading the way, and Thrimus and myself taking up the rear. We were still unable to scan the area through connection to the surrounding trees and plants, this left my mother nervous, though she was able to hide it well. Moving slowly, we made sure to look into every shadow and trench within our estate to ensure that we were not surprised by any attackers. After around an hour or so of walking through the forest at a snail's pace we reached the boundary walls. The pale stone had began to crack over the past few decades, and now it was covered in deep claw marks of these horrors scaling it like insects. Stopping to take a short inventory of our supplies and weapons once more, we took a small meal of fruit to give ourselves a boost before the long run from the wave of undeath that seemed to be assaulting the kingdom of Quel'Thalas. My home. The place I was born and raised so many centuries ago. I know that the true home of my flight is the Dream, but the home of the High Elves will always hold a section of my heart. A section that these... beasts. Have scarred with their slaughtering of it. With a small help from my brother Karthus, I was able to make it over the wall and land at the side of Wethrus and my father, always the pair to take the first step. After another minute or so my entire family was over the wall and we set off. Walking into the jaws of the Scourge. We moved with a more quickened pace than we had in the pseudo-safety of the family estate, we did not attempt to scan the area through the use of Nature's Scrying. It was not worth the time we had to stop for. As we distanced ourselves from our home, the forest went from pale and quiet, to sickly and silent. It was not the quiet of the night anymore. It was the nothingness of death.
After a mile or so, our peaceful run was ended. And in a horrific way. Thrimrus and I were the first to even know of the presence of the ones that had been hunting us. It seems word of my previous movement through the forest had travelled to the main forces of the Scourge as they chose me as the target of their torment. The pack of over a dozen Nerubians had moved rapidly and silently over the blood-soaked grass of Eversong and were able to rush my brother and I whilst we had not even an inkling of their presence. I was tackled to the floor by a pair of them, the second moving on after the first had pinned me to the floor through my right shoulder. I could feel the spear-like arm of the Nerubian separating the bones of my shoulder and upper arm, the ligaments being sliced apart as if they were not even there. I writhed and screamed in a silent pain. We had been silent as we ran, but it was only now that I realised I could not speak. I could not scream to warn my family ahead of me. Or my brother to my right. The thought of him hit me like a siege engine. My head jerked to the right and every muscle in my body went limp. My mouth fell open and I roared silently. My brother was not as lucky as I had been. The Nerubians had gone for the kill when engaging my brother. Thrimus, my elder brother and wyrm of the Green Dragonflight, had been stabbed through the spine and the neck. He lay on the ground, choking to death on his own blood. I was still pinned to the floor, I could not reach for him, grab hold of him in his final moments. I could not even tell him that I loved him. After a few more moments, the light in his eyes had faded and he was gone. Rage overcame me as my heart took the first hit, I thrashed and screamed in silence, trying to take my true form and crush the filth that had taken Thrim from me. It was then that I realised the true extent of our situation. I could not take on my natural form. I was unable to. I looked up slowly, not even feeling the pain of my shoulder as I saw Karthus and Ranus turn to face our attackers. Karthus, my youngest brother, was not fast enough. As he drew his blade, two of the larger Nerubians impaled him through the chest. I pulled and clawed and struggled against the limb that had been thrust through my shoulder. Ranus was fast enough. He had drawn his blade and soon took out three of the Nerubiarthns. It was at this point I noticed that the rest of my family were engaged aswell. We had been surrounded by dozens upon dozens of Scourge forces. If not dozens, then it was into the hundreds. My father and brothers were chopping them to bits whilst my sisters hailed arrows upon them and my mother assaulted them with stellar magics, the same that I use. I was too far away. I was pinned to the floor and claimed by six cultists who bound me in chains, disabling me entirely. I watched my family fight, realising they could not speak or take on their true forms as the battle began to grow sour. My mother was a beacon of magic in the center, and my father a storm of blade and blood. Wethrus followed my father's actions closely and racked up countless kills as well. It soon became apparent to me that my sisters were suffering the same fate that my rangers and I had had to deal with when fighting the Scourge for the first time. They were running out of arrows. As Ana and Aria let their last arrows fly, my heart dropped into the abyss. I knew. I knew how this would end. My head dropped as tears began to flow down my face, my will was broken, and soon my body would follow. The cultists holding me wielded knives or wore gauntlets of plate. They set to work on breaking every bone that I had, and opening my skin in countless places.
As all of this went on, my eyes did not leave my family. I could feel my bones shatter and splinter. The tiny pieces twisting and breaking whilst still inside of me. I knew I could not scream and so I did not give them the joy of seeing my try. I kept my eyes on my family as I felt my body be smashed and carved to bits by thugs in robes that followed Arthas. I saw the formation my family had made break, Ranus being the link in the chain that broke. He was swarmed by a dozen gheists. The last I saw of him was an arm flying into the air and landing somewhere in the forest. I had no more pain that I could feel. I stared at the last place I would ever have seen him alive. He had been so full of life. More than any of us. He was always the one that raised our spirits, and now I saw his fall for the last time. Ana attempted to take up his blade and hold the line but it did not last for long. Some sort of knight, now what we know as death knights, thrust a pale longsword through her chest and she fell to the floor. She was dead before she hit the ground. It was now that for the first time I began to see my mother break and my father go mad. They were fighting around the corpses of their children and they could take it no longer. I saw the exchange. My mother and father looked to Aria and Wethrus and nodded. They nodded back. In a flash my mother and father were trying to lead the attackers away. They were successful, though only in leading them away. I only caught a small glimpse of it, but I saw it nonetheless. A score of death knights on skeletal steeds charged them with lances. My father stood strong and beheaded the horse of the first rider. The other four he did not. Their bone-like spears pierced him at four different angles. They had turned my father, an elder wyrm of the Green Dragonflight, into a damned pin cushion. My mother was driven to insanity. In a few seconds the only thing that could be seen was a flare of Solar fire and then... nothing. It was a patch of barren and burnt earth with nothing left there. My parents were dead. Gone. But they had done what they had set out to do, they had given Wethrus and Aria time. The cultists that held me were sudden set upon by my remaining siblings, Wethrus decapitating four of them while Aria simply blew the others to pieces. She was only a young dragon, but she packed a punch. They broke me from my chains and it seemed as if we had survived. I was broken and bleeding heavily, but I was alive. As they broke the chains that bound me, I looked up to my brother and said nothing. I could not feel the joy that I should feel for being alive. I could not feel the grief. I was in shock. I realise now that that was a good thing as if I were able to feel the full force of the grief, then I would not have stood up. I would have lay there and died. But as I looked up at Wethrus, and at Aria, we shared a look of hopeless determination. We would make it away from here somehow, and we would live on. The sacrifice the rest of our family had made would not be wasted. But we wasted it, we had not been listening or even looking. Our guard had collapsed and as we turned to run once again, Wethrus was stabbed in the stomach by another Nerubian. The first I saw of it was the tip of its sword-like arm protruding from my brother's back. I lunged forward, raising my palm and using all of the energy I had left to blow the scum out of existance. As the dust that was the Nerubian drifted away, I turned to my brother. From the first sight I took in of him, I knew he would not survive the injury. I knew he would die here. I knelt at his side and took his head in my hands, the grief beginning to stretch its long, cold fingers towards my heart. It was only now that I realised we could speak. In a shaking whisper, I could only muster the word, “Weth... You-.”.
He cut me off, his voice somehow still holding its usual mirth, “I will not survive this wound, Sarus. You must take Aria away from here. Neither of you will-...” He began to cough violently, blood following the fits. “You will not survive here...” He reached into his breastplate, taking out an envelope, now bloodstained, but an envelope nonetheless. His hand shook heavily as he handed it to me. I looked at him, confused, but I took the envelope regardless and stuffed it into my belt. His voice came forth again, this time all mirth was gone. It shook more than he did, it was the voice of a man that did not want to die. “Sarus... Give that to-... To Talra. Please Sarus, she must have that... Please Sarus, please...” His voice trailed off at the ending of those words. He fell silent. Never to speak or laugh or sing again. His closed his eyes and laid his head to rest on the grass. I could feel my heart now in the grip of grief. It would not let go for decades, only tighten around it and hold me its prisoner. But I still had Aria, and that was the only thing that gave me hope in this world. How stupid I had been. We had done it again. Our guard was lowered, and it was an easy shot for the archer to take...
I heard the thrum of the bowstring as he loosed the arrow. Too fast for me to dive in its way, I was only able to see it pierce the right side of Aria's chest. She looked down at the pale white arrow protruding from her breast. It was a ranger's arrow. It was fletched with the spotted feathers of the falcons that roamed the forests. It was one of my arrows. Salvaged from one of the bodies of the many I had killed on my way home. As her blood began to spread and stain her green travelling clothes, she began to sob. Aria was... Aria was never one to deal well with pain, and this made it all the more amusing for our attackers. They could have shot again and again, killing her. But no. They left me to stare blankly for a moment, and then take hold of her, trying with all of the energy I had left to pull the arrow from her chest and heal her. I couldn't do it. I had nothing left, no mana, no energy, no hope. Aria's sobbing began to slow as her lungs filled with her own blood and she spoke. “Sarusss... P-ple-... please don't let me die here. Sarus... please.”
I could not save her. I could not heal the damage of one arrow. After all my family had done to get us this far, I could not secure our safety. I was too weak. The monstrosities that surrounded us knew this, and sat back. I did not hear them at the time, but I know now that they had laughed as my sister's sobs stopped. I could not speak. Grief had taken hold of my throat and closed it shut. I took Aria into my arms as she collapsed, her breaths shallow and followed by blood-filled coughs. I looked into her eyes and could not even say goodbye. She opened her mouth for the last time and whispered my name. She was going to say something else, something I wish to this day that I was able to hear. Ariasera, my last sibling and youngest sister, the one I had protected and watched over when she was first sent to the Dream. The one I had taught to use a bow and how to range through the forests. She died in my arms without even a goodbye from me. I will never forgive myself for not speaking. For not saving her. I cannot, and I will not.
At this point, the game of watching my life crumble and die around me must have become boring for the attackers that remained. They now chose to set the Nerubians against me again. I did not resist. I cried and screamed and begged for death as they flayed the skin of my back, revealing several vertebrae in the process. After millenia of pain, they left me in a sea of my own blood, grief, and tears. They left me to die, and I thanked them for it. I looked to Aria for the final time, as my hair took on a red colour, dyed by blood. I could finally speak. “I am sorry Aria... I will see you soon. I love you.” My eyes slowly closed as I let go of any fight against the darkness. I was swallowed by the eternal sleep and thanked it for doing so.