Categories > Games > Warcraft

The Wisdom of Serpents

by kylenne 0 reviews

Early one morning in the Black Temple, shortly before the Northrend Expedition, Lady Vashj brings Kael's dreams regarding their shared master crashing back to reality.

Category: Warcraft - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Romance - Characters: Illidan - Published: 2009-07-03 - Updated: 2009-07-03 - 1166 words - Complete

Illidan Stormrage wielding his blades was the most spectacular sight he'd ever seen, even after a childhood spent in the Court of the Sun and an adolescence spent among the towering, mystical spires of Dalaran. Of this, Kael'thas was firmly convinced. It was morning at the Black Temple, and the last son of House Sunstrider was watching his beloved Master at his daily exercises in the courtyard, as was his custom of late. Like clockwork, Illidan rose and went through his routines among the broken Draenei statues, and Kael watched him, enthralled, from the doorway. It was difficult to tell where the legendary demon hunter ended and the massive Warglaives of Azzinoth began. Indeed, they were one, as he whirled and spun like a mad dervish, slow then fast, leaping breathtaking arcs in the air, drawing spirals of arcane energy with his blades. It was almost as if he were a living weapon himself. His powerfully muscled body glistened with sweat, his long, dark hair was wild and tangled, and his majestic, leathery wings cast a beautiful silhouette on the cracked stones. Kael often found that he needed to remind himself to breathe. Gods, he was so beautiful.

"It's a fool's fantasy, Kael," a voice hissed sharply from behind him.

Kael blinked, and turned to see Lady Vashj slithering toward him, joining him at the doorway. He was stunned by the uncharacteristic flatness in her voice, and the hardness in her serpentine eyes. She had never before been so short or harsh with him, and he was profoundly confused. "I beg your pardon, milady?"

She flicked a forked tongue at him in contempt. "I've seen the way you look at him," Vashj accused him, folding a set of her arms across her ample chest.

"At whom...?"

"You have been too long in the world to play the innocent with me, boy. You know damn well of whom I speak," Vashj hissed at him.

"If I have offered you some offense, Lady Vashj, I deeply apologize for it," Kael said firmly, his heart beating swiftly in his chest. The naga sorceress was extremely observant, and above all cunning. He should have known she would have figured it out sooner or later, no matter how he tried to hide it.

"Don't apologize to me, Kael. Instead, I want you to listen," Vashj began firmly. "Put your boyish daydreams aside. You will need all your strength when we return to Azeroth and march on the roof of the world."

Kael clenched his jaw, incensed at her words. He drew himself to full height. "Lady Vashj, with all due respect, I am Kael'thas Sunstrider, Prince of the Sin'dorei. I am not some addle-brained boy chasing moonbeams and rainbows. I am a soldier, and I have pledged my magic and my very life to Lord Illidan. I will not allow anything to distract me from our mission. Anything."

"I know very well who you are, Kael," Vashj countered, her eyes turning to mere slits. "You're a heartsick fool blinded by the stars in your eyes. You have no conception of what lies down that road should you not do the prudent thing and cast your ignorant fantasies aside."

"How dare you speak to me that way," Kael growled. "You know nothing of what you speak. Nothing, Vashj."

"I know all too well, Kael." At that, Vashj's eyes softened, and her entire demeanor changed; the look on her face turned from contempt to pity. "You followed him, because he means salvation and rebirth for your people. But that has little to do with it anymore. You're drawn to his power, his cunning. With him, you feel as though you could conquer any adversary, that nothing could possibly stand in your way. His very presence makes you feel invincible. And you would do anything he asked of you. You would die for him. Not because of any oath of service you once took. You would do so because he is your whole world, your universe. You would do anything to make him proud. You would do anything to make him love you, because it's all you want, now. It's all that means anything to you. You worship him like the god he is, and wish to be his consort."

Kael stared at her, his heart in his throat. He tried to speak, but no words would come. She had ripped him apart and laid him bare, exposed feelings he locked so deep in his heart that he was scarce aware of them. He lowered his eyes in abject shame.

"Vashj..." he finally said in a broken whisper.

"Again, I tell you, Kael'thas: abandon it. Right now, while you still can. It is madness, and folly, and will bring you nothing but pain. Illidan cannot give you his heart; it's no longer his to give. He cannot give it to you because he gave it ten thousand years ago to a common kaldorei bitch who could not have possibly known the worth of the treasure she was offered, else she would not have spat upon it," Vashj said gravely. "I say this to you not as an ally, but as a friend who wishes to spare you heartache. Forget about it, and concentrate on the task at hand."

Kael turned to look upon Illidan again, who sat on a far ledge, carefully re-binding the bandages on his hands. Vashj was likely right; she was always right. And it was not as though Kael had not seen first hand what Vashj was talking about. It was clearly evident, from the reverence with which he spoke her name even now, rare though it was. He saw him madly fly headlong into danger on her account, despite all the pain she had caused him. That Illidan still held the name "Tyrande" dear after so many years of being spurned, was evidence enough.

He knew all that. Kael was not a foolish Elf by any means. Yet, as he gazed upon his Master, he also knew that his heart would know no rest. It was already too late. Kael's heart was not his to give or withhold any longer; it already belonged to Illidan. If it broke, so be it. It was out of his hands, now.

" may as well tell the tide to stop," Kael said softly. "Perhaps they are foolish dreams, Vashj. You might well be right. But I can't stop dreaming. Not now."

"Don't say I didn't warn you." Vashj slithered away, quickly. So quick that Kael did not see the blood trickling down her lip as she clamped her fangs upon it, to stop the acidic droplets forming in her eyes. Kael would never see the look in them that would have shown him that he was not alone, in this. The look that said so much, that said she did not read him so much as turn a mirror on herself.

Kael would keep dreaming in her place, and would never know.
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