Dueg staggered slightly as the heat once more washed over him, stronger this time, but gone much quicker as well. Dispel, he whispered quietly, waiting to see if there was relief from a vice like feeling of pressure at the top of his sternum, where the flashes of heat were originating from. Sweat began to break out on his brow as Reyk turned, his ears picking up the subtle movement of Dueg’s slippered feet followed by the quiet whisper.
“What ails you, Duegathalas?” came his question as Scrat and Noxt both turned in response to the pause. The four stood in a small chamber, lit only by the purity of Reyk’s soul, gleaming from his blade. It revealed an unnatural sort of tunnel winding into the earth, just large enough to stand abreast. The walls revealed telltale signs that magic had been used to carve into the rock, so they had left behind the original caverns a few minutes before, confident that they were finally closing in on their target.
“I…” began Dueg, “I do no-”
“He quakes in fear at the might of the Alliance and the inevitable demise of the pitiful Horde!” came a voice from all around, resonating from every shadow even as they began to slowly creep in on the four companions, quelling the light that gleamed from Reyk’s sword. He quickly brought it up, looking around for the source, but it was useless, for only inky shadows looked back at him, even his keen elven eyesight dampened by the increasingly obtrusive shadows.
Light! called Dueg, holding up a hand suffused with radiant light as Reyk joined in, the two faithful Sin’dorei pouring their very souls into the air around them. A slight groan came from shadows as they fell back, momentarily defeated by the glowing points of brightness. But after a moment, the shadow deepened, becoming almost a physical wall of blackness and began to creep forward once more, eating at the elves resolve with it’s very hatred of the holiness. Steeling themselves, Reyk and Dueg poured as much of their faith into their extended hands as possible.
* * * * *
Finegal was holding onto to his soul with all his will. Dark pacts he had made to get here, for this moment of ultimate hatred and vengeance against the wretched Horde and all they stood for. He could only use this power very rarely and he knew it might draw him down into the very abyss of the Shadow itself, but it was worth it to see these wretched beasts suffer. The two students of the Light were fighting back though, trying to subsume his shadow with their faith. He would crush them and then rend their souls from their body, delivering them to their precious Light. For him, there would only be shadows.
Finegal stood… somewhere in the shadows, he wasn’t sure quite where because he didn’t know where his body ended really. His soul had stretched beyond his corporeal form, delivering the power of the Shadow directly into the natural darkness of the cavern. Once he had fused with it, he was able to control it, make it solid or liquid, cause it to protect or kill, though he had never used it in an act of mercy. But it was not easy, and should his will fail…
He didn’t think on that as he gathered his resolve and began to push back against the powers of the Light. The mage stepped forward and fired a blast of flame while the troll planted a totem in the ground, green light flowing through the four Horde. The fire did nothing but burn out, consumed by the shadow and the totem was still so rough that it did not summon much power, barely adding any bite to the already brightly glowing hands held in defense. Finegal almost allowed himself a moment to laugh. Then the light shined on him and everything came undone.
* * * * *
Deep within the laboratories of Naxxramas Citadel, the gnomish lich floated gently before the blackened globe of gold powered by the bloody sapphires. His loyal banshee was still draining some of the loyal, sycophantic cult members, willing to die if the lich asked it in order to join the perfect utopian world that it was to be a Scourge slave. Even as their speech began to slur and their eyes took on a dull sheen, they raved about how they would serve forever in death, loyal unto the end to their undead King, may he rule forever from the glory of Icecrown. They would serve their purpose well.
Through the globe the lich watched as the shadows drew ever increasingly in on the four Horde, somewhat impressed with the mastery of the Shadow that their opponent was showing. But alas, he did not have time to study this interesting phenomenon, for he wished this errand done so he could move on to bigger, more important tasks. He had delved through the shadow, looking for the annoying insect, and had found him, a human thing, bonded with Shadow through the soul. No simple task, but easy enough to fix. The lich placed it’s small hand upon the globe where the shadow priest was skulking and pushed with his mind, causing the shadow in the area to disperse, giving a glimpse of the priest where he stood.
A glimpse was all the four needed.
* * * * *
Scrat was the first to see him. Finegal stood rigid with his arms straight out to his side, his fists balled up to point that blood was welling from where his fingernails sank into his flesh. All over his body, tendrils of pure black entropy wriggled as if worms trying to swim in the still air. They caused a shimmering effect as though shadows were constantly blurring over him even as the light reveled and began to eat at them. Scrat stepped forward and fired a totem with an aim born of many hours of practice. It thunked straight into the head of the blurred shadowy thing, firing off a burst of electricity.
Losing his concentration, Finegal screamed out, his hold on his soul finally slipping. As the four watched, the shadow priest’s mouth gaped open, growing to twice the usual size as terrible cracking sounds came from the joint of his jaw. A black smoke darker than midnight poured forth, streaming for any points of darkness as the body it had once inhabited began to blacken and decay. Entropy took it over, a blowback from the pull of the shadow without a soul to protect it from it’s ravages. In less than ten seconds, what had once been the shadow priest was nothing more than a quickly congealing pool of liquid rot.
The four turned away from the smell, quickly hurrying past and forging onward, knowing that they must be close if the Alliance had risked an ambush. All that was left now was the gnome, and he could not stand up to the righteous fury at the pure sacrilege of the shadow priest that was coursing through the two devotees of the Light. As they moved closer, the wailing began, setting them on edge, but not slowing them. And in a laboratory in Naxxramas, long dead lips smiled at the note of fear in the wail of it’s prey.
* * * * *
End Part 2