Ashiaya leaped off of its back and landed perfectly on her feet. Around her was a encampment, full of Death Knights, Ghouls, Crypt-Fiends and undead of every sort. A Female Orc Death Knight stood in active conversation with a Gnome; it seemed their debate was getting a bit out of hand. From the corner of her eye Ashiaya saw the Orc kick the Gnome in the chest and fall the ground, coughing and sputtering black blood.
Under a tent stood a tall Elf, he looked did not look High Elf and only slightly Night Elf. She wondered what he must have looked like in life. His skin was of dark coloration and his robe was of black cloth and dyed an ebon red. His robes were imbued with blue and emerald gemstones. He stood with obvious superiority.
He beckoned to her, she strode over to him, presenting herself in a regal manor. “Do you smell it? He sniffed the air.”Fresh meat... The scent of Scarlet Crusader wafts through the air.” He drooled slightly, a cat-like grin spread from ear to ear.” Apologies, death knight. I'm sure you're not interested in my choice of fine cuisine. You are here to work! To lead the charge! Yes... I know. The Lich King has told me all that I need to know about you, Ashiaya. The time for bloodshed is now.”
He bowed slightly, in a sort of mockery fashion- still grinning. “I am Prince Valanar, as I assume you already know. Let us turn our attention to the issue with the Scarlet dogs. They make their stand now, outside of Death's Breach, futilely attempting to push us back in hopes of saving their horses, mines, lumber and citizens. This will be your first lesson in Scourge warfare: TERROR! Go to the front lines, south of here, and destroy Scarlet Crusaders. Leave their corpses so that we may utilize them for the death march. But most importantly: kill the fleeing villagers. Soldiers dying are an affordance, but villagers? That is what strikes fear into the hearts of man.”
Ashiaya turned to leave but a cool hand on her shoulder stopped her. “One more thing Ashiaya, a few people around Death’s Breach expect you to help them with tasks of their own. I would suggest seeing into it.” He removed his hand.
Ashiaya decided she would take up whatever else needed to be done now, and perhaps do them all together. Ashiaya felt a jab in the very back of her mind. Not hard, but sudden, she suddenly saw or felt… it was not apparent which or even how, but suddenly she knew who needed assistance.
First she approached a man on a Death charger. He apparently knew exactly what she was there for, and said in almost a bored tone of voice. “How fortuitous is it that the Crusade has a stable full of horses a mere stone's throw from this post. Though they guard it tenaciously, a young death knight could break through and take what is rightfully hers! Once you acquire a horse from the Havenshire Stables, return it to me and I will see what can be done about transforming it into a proper deathcharger. And remember, Ashiaya, it's only stealing if you're caught. Watch out for that deranged stable master Kitrik!”
He nodded at her, a gesture to move on. She did, and behind her another Death Knight approached him and he repeated the same message, but even less enthusiastically. Ashiaya next came up to a skeleton. He had a bow in his hand and a quiver of Saronite arrows on his back. In front of him was a line of skeletal archers, all firing at fleeing citizens. The Skeleton turned to face her, and spoke, his voice, was clearly not his, for he had no voice box, so Ashiaya speculated what she was hearing was generated by magic.
“The Sky Darkeners are mindless constructs with one purpose: KILL! Specifically, they are aiming to kill any man or woman they see fleeing Havenshire for the safety of New Avalon. We certainly can't allow those cowards to make it to safety and then take up arms against us! There is one slight problem. They use saronite arrows for maximum range and damage. Saronite, however, is a metal only found in Northrend, so supplies are limited. Retrieve those arrows for me and I will reward you handsomely”
Ashiaya nodded and moved on to the Val’kyr a spectral creature that hovered slightly over the ground. It had wings and flowing hair that gleamed.
She looked down at Ashiaya, her face an unreadable shadow. When she spoke, the Val’kyr talked in a musical whisper that echoed through Ashiaya’s mind. “Born of the Lich King's victory over Illidan Stormrage in the heart of the frozen wastes, Death's Challenge is a rite of passage that all death knights must undergo. Seek out other death knights of Acherus and challenge them to a duel. They must accept and fight until a victor emerges! Go now, Ashiaya! Victory for the Scourge! Glory to the Lich King!”
Ashiaya decided that Death’s Challenge would be the first task at hand. She nodded at the Val’kyr. Ashiaya approached another Death Knight, Nak’artora in hand. She waited for the Draenei (A Blue skinned, hoofed, and horned humanoid.) to respond to her presence. The Draenei stopped attacking the trianing dummy that she had managed to rend in half and finally looked up and gave Ashiaya an inquiring glance. Ashiaya grinned, a wicked grin. “I challenge you sister!”
The Draenei look at her with pity. “Don’t make me laugh!” She drew her blade, a gleaming Runeblade, glowing with a blue light. Ashiaya griped Nak’artora harder, a grip strong enough to snap any normal blade. “Let us begin!” Ashiaya shouted, and charged at her attacker.
The Draenei swung her blade to meet Ashiaya’s in a shower of sparks. Ashiaya mentally reached for the dark powers and blasted the Draenei with frost. The Draenei did not falter; she wielded her blade true and aimed for Ashiaya’s exposed arm. Ashiaya was busy mentally reaching for the next attack. The Runeblade gashed her arm, a deep cut. Blood began to gush from the wound. Ashiaya ignored the pounding pain that throbbed through her head, with the other hand she knocked off her helmet, revealing her face, her eyes blazing blue with concentration.
Ashiaya spared not a second; she swung round, severing the exposed head. The head rolled to her feet, the eyes flickered out. The Draenei fell backwards, her blue blood pooling on the ground beside her. Ashiaya spat, and walked back toward the Val’kyr.
Ashiaya minded not her arm, the pain was bearable, and so Ashiaya bared it. She approached the Val’kyr. It studied over her arm for a moment, but made no comment. “To the victor goes the glory, Death Knight! Well done! The Lich King looks apon you favorably this day.” She smiled an eerie smile at Ashiaya. And Ashiaya decided she best move on. Ashiaya made her way down the hill and to the Stables.
A peasant was hacking at a tree, and had yet to notice her. Ashiaya grinned to herself and cast apon him Death Coil, the same spell that had took advantage of the unworthy initiate. Immediately a Shadowy bolt flew from her palm and struck him, he was not killed but was knocked backward to the ground. Ashiaya stood above him, holding Nak'artora above his bare chest. He whimpered “Please…. You don’t have to do this… Nobody has to die!" A voice echoed in her mind. “Mercy is for the weak….” Ashiaya recognized the voice as the Lich King. Obediently, Ashiaya brought her blade down on his chest, taking his life forever.
Ashiaya continued to fight her way to the stables, killing all in her path. Ashiaya jumped on the back of a white stallion. The horse cried in alarm and attempted to fling Ashiaya off his back, but to no avail. Ashiaya toughed the stallions mind, slowly twisting its will to her. The horse trotted out from the stables obediently. Ashiaya was not ready yet to return it to the horseman, no, Ashiaya headed towards the Pumkin patch, for about 15 saronite arrows had fallen there, most of the were in the chests of wounded citizens. Ashiaya thought to herself, Excellent, I can kill two birds at once.
Ashiaya hopped off the Stallion and immediately bound him in place with a spell, as to make sure he would not run off. Then Ashiaya smiled, and drew Nak’artora. In front of her was a boy who looked to be about the age of 15, almost a man. He had been shot by an arrow that now rested in his upper chest. Ashiaya approached him, his eyes immediately filled with tears. Ashiaya put her heavy boot on his chest, and pushed. Snap. Ashiaya felt his bones give under the pressure. His face whitened and he remained motionless. Ashiaya retrieved the arrow from his chest and moved on. Next was a old lady, her hair gray, and her bones frail. Ashiaya brought down Nak’artora on her ageing body, ending her pathetic life, and took the arrow out of her leg. She slowly worked her way around the field, retrieving arrows and ending lives. The stallion snorted restlessly and Ashiaya unbound him and got on its back.
Ashiaya first took the arrows to the Sky Darkener who thanked her. “Well done Death Knight! You feed the Scourge war machine with your deeds! Ah yes, your reward- as promised” He held out a cloak, imbued with unholy energies. Ashiaya snatched it from him and replaced the one she was wearing with it- leaving the other one the ground for some ghoul to choke on. Next, Ashiaya approached Prince Valanar, who had already heard of her success from the Lich King. “Do you feel it, Ashiaya? That sensation is raw power coursing through your body. Such a thing cannot exist for mortals. The front lines are now dismantled. The geist will finish the job and prepare the grounds for Razuvious. We turn our attention now to more practical targets.”
Then Ashiaya rode her horse up to the horseman, were upon she got off and half offered it him with a simple gesture. He looked at the horse then back at Ashiaya. “Now for the true test. Can you show mastery over an unbound charger and brutally overtake the thing you desire most?” With a wave of his hand the horseman unbound Ashiaya’s control over the stallion and cast it into the realm of shadows.
“The horse you stole has been taken to the Realm of Shadows. It is there that my dark rider will slay the beast and raise it as a deathcharger. Do you think yourself brave enough to enter the Realm of Shadows in pursuit of the deathcharger? If you accept, I will transport you to the shadow world. Once there, seek out a dark rider in the open fields south of us. To emerge victorious, you must slay him, overtake his deathcharger and return it to Death's Breach. Issue the Horseman's Call should you succeed.” Ashiaya felt blood trickle from her arm down to the ground. She spat. “It will be done.” Suddenly Ashiaya felt a prickling on the back of her neck, everything around her started to darken. The sky swirled with black and blue yet the landscape remained the same, everyone before was gone. All around her spirits whispered. Arthas’ will faded and flickered on and off, like tree sprites. Ashiaya felt almost free, tears came to her eyes for what she had done to that poor boy, only fifteen… Then the cool grip of Arthas returned on her mind, stronger than ever, the boy was scum, worthless, less then scum, expendable, a nuisance, all he did was take up space.
Ashiaya ventured forth to the stables, there a Horseman was mounted on a Deathcharger, yet it was unmistakably the Stallion she had stole- no… not stole… earned… If no one was watching it- anymore… then it must not be cared about. The Horseman laughed at her, a shrill earsplitting laugh, even a banshee would run for cover. “You really think you can defeat me!? The Lich King will see his true champion on this day!” With that, the horse surged forward yet Ashiaya did not flinch, she had her plan. She held out Nak’artora the tip pointing directly at the horse’s chest. The stupid animal did not turn away. It struck the beast in the chest and it toppled over, the dismayed horseman bounding off. All he had was a spear. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid! He did'nt bother getting his runeblade and now he’s going to pay for it. Ashiaya slipped into the shadows the Horseman looked around confused, then shrugging he went over to inspect the animal.
Ashiaya slipped back out of the shadows and snuck up behind him, then, with ease, she slipped Nak’artora into the back of his neck. He fell to the ground before her, dead. One more life she had taken. Ashiaya placed her hand on the horse and quickly revived it under her will. It beckoned for her to get on. Ashiaya got on the Deathcharger and made her way back to the Horseman. She dismounted, and as soon as she did she exited the realm of shadows. The Horseman grinned at her, the Deathcharger was by his side snorting impatiently. The Horseman handed over the reins.You have succeeded where most initiates fail, Ashiaya. For that you will be rewarded handsomely. He bowed and the Deathcharger came forward. He told her how to summon the horse from the shadows if she ever need him.