Join Date: Jan 2009
Illidan & Gul'dan Fanfic Appreciation Thread Chapter
Here are my excuses for this being late:
- I was sick
- I had some catching up to do in my comic
- I had to assassinate Gadaffi
- I was abducted by aliens
- Dog ate my story notes
- Work, work...no time for play! Me not that kind of Orc!
I think this is my longest chapter. I cut a few scenes from it to shorten it down, as I felt these scenes were largely unimportant dialogue that added nothing to the story. They might have helped to ease transitions here and there but I didn't think it was too necessary. One of the scenes I mostly cut out and edited a little was Illidan calling the Naga to him and creating lightning bolts and what-not like in the Frozen Throne cinematic. I liked what I came up with better.
RECAP: As his followers continued to grow impatient with his apparent lack of direction, Illidan decided the next course of action is to find other like-minded outcasts and establish a free-thinking society. His plans were cut short, however, when Kil'jaedan's astral form appeared to him and demanded his servitude. The demon hunter reluctantly agreed to pledge his loyalty, knowing that he was ill-prepared to become a target of the dark lord. Under the orders of the Burning Legion, Illidan then set his sights on Icecrown and its unholy master - the Lich King.
Does it look more like smoke coming from this burning ship, or more like stink lines?
"He's betrayed us! He's made us slaves of the Burning Legion!" shouted the Night Elf Sentinel, Siverell, whose doubts appeared to have been confirmed. Of the remaining Night Elves who were not selected to be trained as demon hunters, he retained the highest rank. His peers looked to him now as their leader ever since Alandien, Altruis, and others left their ranks to become demon hunters. Those few were now Illidan's elite, sworn members of his inner circle, and none of the other Night Elves dared take their concerns to them anymore.
"Strike him down, Stormrage!" Gul'dan demanded, while pointing at the dissenter. "You are a leader now: you must have obedience!"
Axxavia stomped her hoof and glared at Siverell. "How dare you! Felhounds would have feasted on your corpse had it not been for the Master!" Her Satyrs still looked to her for guidance, but she too had ascended to the rank of demon hunter, and had became an equal to her Night Elven counterparts.
Fearing retribution for his defiance, Siverell's allies attempted to restrain and calm him, but his anger continued to get the better of him. "You mongrels chose to be slaves a long time ago! You're all rabid wolves that need to be put down!"
"End this, Stormrage!" Gul'dan was furious that this was allowed to continue, but Illidan remained silent in contemplation, as he often would. His innermost thoughts took precedence, and he displayed no reaction to the verbal outbursts of those under his command.
Axxavia growled. "Is this what the Kaldorei have become? That which you fear or don't understand must be murdered, imprisoned, or exiled?"
"When have the actions of Satyr ever warranted anything else?" Siverell struck back.
Illidan unfurled his wings and garnered everybody's attention. He showed no acknowledgement of the argument that had just occurred. "The ashes of Archimonde lie scattered across Mount Hyjal, and this 'Lich King' has betrayed Kil'jaedan, so whatever plans the Burning Legion made have all failed. We are not abandoning our cause; we will destroy the Legion, but that is not something we can accomplish on our own. For now, we deal with the immediate threat: the Lich King that awaits us on the northern continent. While Malfurion and our short-sighted brothers and sisters celebrate their victory over Archimonde, the Lich King and his undead army grow in power. The world still needs the demon hunters."
Illidan's words appeared to appease all, but he knew that it would only ease their concerns temporarily. His followers demanded results, and Illidan expected more of himself as well.
Gul'dan was observing the sky. "He still watches."
Although at times Illidan would privately speak to Gul'dan out loud, at no point was it ever necessary, for the two maintained a mental connection that could not be severed. "I know. I expect that Kil'jaedan would want to ensure that we are following his plans. I said only what I believe he expected to hear, but it is not too far from the truth."
"I want to know more about this 'Lich King'. Perhaps he can be an ally against the Burning Legion," Gul'dan said, "It may not be in our best interest to kill him."
"If he were a powerful demon capable of rivaling Kil'jaedan, he would have made his move already." Illidan looked to his followers. They were strong and competent, but they were very few. "I must find more allies."
Although they had merged together, Gul'dan had proven himself capable of hiding his thoughts and memories from Illidan. Stormrage didn't understand how this was possible, but he believed that Gul'dan may have developed the ability in death in order to resist the prying minds of demons who sought his abilities. At times when the Orc thought it appropriate or necessary, he would release a memory to Illidan that would strike the Night Elf with a flashback to a life that he had not lived.
A bright white light flashed before Illidan, and he found himself peering through the eyes of Gul'dan as he witnessed a memory of the warlock raising an island from the depths of the Great Sea. The Orc sought powerful demonic artifacts believed to have once been possessions of Sargeras himself. As Illidan attentively watched with interest, he heard the voice of Gul'dan echo inside his head. "Compared to your immortal life time, it was only a short time ago that I was torn to pieces within that tomb. However, death is not restrained by time, and I have accumulated more knowledge in my death than I could possibly have attained in life."
Illidan continued to observe as Orcish warships approached the island. They had come to slay Gul'dan and his followers, but the demon hunter could not ascertain the reason why. He recognized the ruins themselves as old Kaldorei in design, appearing to have been tainted by the Burning Legion. Gul'dan continued to speak over the vision as the memory of himself entered the main structure: "In death, I studied the demons closely, confident that one day I would escape my captors and be able to use the knowledge I had gained against them. I have seen the demons travel through hostile terrain without considering an alternate route. I have watched as they entered battle with mighty dragons and terrifying creatures. I believed them to be entirely devoid of fear. However, what I found to be most peculiar is that there are certain places on Azeroth that they avoid entirely, as though these locations have been cursed by beings as powerful as Sargeras himself."
The memory ended as Gul'dan pushed on alone within the tomb, only to discover ominous demons that Illidan had never before encountered. The scaly monsters erupted forth from within the tomb, attacking mercilessly until they had rended all flesh from the bones of the trespassing Orc. "I believed these guardians to be demons as well, protecting their master's prized possessions. However, I have learned through my servitude in death that this simply cannot be. The Burning Legion have always avoided the depths of the Great Sea. Something terrible lurks below that even the demons do not wish to anger. The creatures that dwelt inside that tomb serve a great master that may oppose the Burning Legion."
"You wish me to betray Kil'jaedan to this being? Who is to say this creature, or the others you claim lay beneath the land, could even destroy Kil'jaedan and Sargeras?" Illidan asked.
"Don't you see, Stormrage? Something powerful put them where they are because they were unable to destroy them. We free them and we unleash them upon Sargeras and his minions."
"How can you be so confident that we would not simply be replacing one great evil with another?"
"The victor is irrelevant. Azeroth will not be their battlefield, instead we summon our new allies to the broken lands of my old homeworld that now exists within the Twisting Nether. This is the realm of Sargeras, and the Burning Legion will not be able to ignore this new threat. The best scenario is that they obliterate each other...the worst scenario is that our allies fail entirely and we end up back where we started."
Illidan pondered the idea for a moment, before returning to Gul'dan. "So I pretend to serve different masters, and force them into battle with each other?"
"Precisely. We require only Medivh's book of spells that I surmise is kept heavily guarded within the Human kingdom of Dalaran. This will allow us to reopen the Dark Portal. On Draenor we will find all the fel energy we need to summon our new allies."
"Then I will try to reach out and communicate with them now." He then turned to his followers who had observed him as standing motionlessly for hours. His sudden awakening commanded their attention, and they listened when he spoke to them. "I must meditate on our next course of action."
Illidan sat down upon the cold, wet earth of Ashenvale, crossed his legs and placed his hands together. He focused on his breathing, slowly inhaling deeply the aroma of the freshly-bloomed Ashenvale forest in the spring, and then exhaling it all until he was fully calm and relaxed. He cleared his mind of all thoughts and distractions, and pictured only his destination: the depths of the Great Sea. As he felt the winds brush against his back and blow through his hair, he experienced the sensation of his bodyweight becoming lighter and lighter until it seemed as though a sudden gust of wind swept him into the sky and towards his destination.
All was dark, and the magical essences of the world no longer showed itself to him. He opened his eyes...and the light rushed in. For one more moment in his life, he could see. Illidan hovered inches above the Great Sea, and not a single strip of land was visible in any direction. He looked down to the water below and marveled at the vibrant color and the animated motion of the waves. He had never had an astral projection so vivid in the past, but he was also more powerful than he had ever been. The world looked more alive than Illidan had remembered. He admired the sights for a while longer before he plunged into the sea. He moved through the water with ease and could not drown, for he was not physically there.
He continued to push downwards beyond the reaches of light. "I have come to pledge my loyalty in exchange for your assistance," Illidan said while hoping his words found ears within the darkening abyss. "I can offer you your freedom." He had hoped that he had already been noticed upon arrival. He was not wrong.
Illidan heard an angered voice speak to him from behind. "You dare reach out into my realm, he who betrayed his Queen?"
Shivers crawled down Illidan's spine. "I know that voice...Queen Azshara!"
"And I have never forgotten yours, Illidan Stormrage!" He looked upon her and saw a figure reminiscent of those that had slain Gul'dan lit up in a glowing aura. Her new appearance only slightly resembled the image he remembered, but her voice was unmistakeable. "You and your brother took everything away from me...and now you have the nerve to seek an audience with the Old Gods? My masters question your sincerity!"
Although safe from physical harm, Illidan felt helpless all alone within the dark depths of the Great Sea. The stories of the Old Gods were so terrifying that all who read them believed they could be only fiction. "The Old Gods...it must have been they who saved you from the sundering," he realized. "Azshara, although I have no remorse for my participation in your downfall, I implore you to listen to what I have to say! Sargeras used you to try and enter Azeroth through the well of eternity, you were his puppet."
"I already know this to be true. My new masters opened my eyes to many great truths a long time ago. I have been...enlightened. Sargeras is but a child compared to the awesome might of the Old Gods...his time will come!"
Illidan was both joyful and terrified of her confidence. Legions of her own kind swam around her, and he soon saw that he had been surrounded. This was an army that had been kept hidden beneath the sea. An army that Illidan desperately wanted. "Then you see...we have a common enemy!"
Azshara laughed obnoxiously. "You wish to bargain with me, Stormrage? All I have thought about for the past 10,000 years was the complete and utter eradication of the Kaldorei race by my hand for denying me their love! What can you possibly have to offer me?"
"I can give you glory in the eyes of your masters, Azshara." He quickly earned her attention and continued, "I can free them from their bonds and hand them the Burning Legion, and it will only be possible with your assistance. The Kaldorei will worship you at your feet once more when you have vanquished Sargeras and saved countless worlds from his tyranny."
"You would have me return as their queen? They don't deserve me! They deserve to suffer!"
"What better revenge could you have than having them beg for your forgiveness?"
Azshara raised her eyebrows and grinned, savoring the thought. "Very well, I will support this plan of yours. My Naga will fight for you and follow your orders, but they will also serve as my eyes and ears on the surface world. Know that my masters and I are suspicious. If you attempt to double-cross us, we will destroy you!" Azshara began to swim away before coming to a full stop. She looked back at Illidan, who floated motionlessly. "One last thing, leave my realm, and don't ever show yourself around here again." Azshara swatted the water in Illidan's direction, and he felt himself being thrown back into his body.
Illidan awakened with his back on the ground and found his followers standing over him appearing confused and concerned. He heard the voice of Gul'dan speak nearby: "They come."
Illidan shooed his onlookers away as he pushed himself back to a vertical position. Gul'dan stood at the shoreline, becoming the first to spot the army of Naga soldiers that swam to his position. His newly-trained demon hunters then took notice of the incoming threat and prepared themselves for battle, but Illidan signaled for them to stand down. "We are not in danger, these are our new allies...they are the Naga, warriors of the sea, who will stand beside us against the Burning Legion."
The monstrous Naga were led to shore by a six-armed serpent-woman wielding a golden bow. She inspected her new allies with intrigue as the multitude of snakes attached to her head licked the air around them. "Lord Stormrage, I am Lady Vashj," she said, bowing before him. "We come on behalf of our Queen to act as your humble servants. We are yours to command."
Illidan saluted her in respect and turned to the rest of his army. "Naga, Satyr and Kaldorei - we are all equals from here on out. We all fight for the same cause: the deaths of Sargeras and Kil'jaedan, and the end of the Burning Legion. But for now, another threat to this world blooms in the frozen north. The Lich King - as he is called, raises the dead from their sleep and spreads disease and terror everywhere he goes. Our destination is a risen island in the Great Sea which houses powerful artifacts that will allow us to obliterate his entire army. We will head to the village of Nendis in the region of Azshara to acquire transportation. It may be some time before we ever return to Kalimdor."
The Night Elf port village of Nendis was far from abandoned. Much to everyone's surprise, the tiny village had boomed into a large community in recent years. Although most able-bodied warriors had left to join Malfurion and Tyrande in stamping out the demonic invasion, the village remained full of children and their caretakers. As Illidan observed the village from a distance, he knew that they would not find the villagers very welcoming. The villagers would be likely to attack, but Illidan wanted to avoid any bloodshed if it were possible.
"You have made difficult decisions before, Stormrage," said Gul'dan. "If they cannot comprehend what you are doing for their future, then you must make them understand."
Illidan considered Gul'dan's message, but instead chose a less violent solution. "Captain Siverell, of those whom I did not train in the path of the demon hunter, you are of the highest rank and most likely to be identified. Take your sentinels with you and convince the villagers that they must evacuate Nendis."
Without saying a word, Siverell nodded and headed down into the village, with a group of sentinels and druids following from behind. The Night Elf was outspoken, but not unskilled. Illidan knew that he was not ready to take on the mantle of demon hunter, but was a worthy soldier that he was glad to have on his side.
Gul'dan was not pleased. "You risk much in trusting that one. He is often insubordinate, and his rebelliousness will spread if you do nothing."
"His concerns are not entirely unjustified," Illidan said to him. "I am not confident in my abilities, and I often question my own decisions. But if I want to earn the trust of my allies, I want it to be through mutual respect, not intimidation."
"Bah!" Gul'dan snorted. "You will find that they will respect you when they have come to fear you. Every follower wants a leader who stands before them like a god. They can all turn on you in an instant, and if you show any signs of weakness, they will prey upon you."
Illidan and Gul'dan's telepathic conversations with each other resulted in the demon hunter showing the outward appearance of being an often quiet, calm, and relaxed Night Elf who appeared to completely freeze in a moment for occasionally long periods of time. His followers were cautious about not interrupting him while he was in this meditative state, but Axxavia had important news. "Master...my scouts have reported that the children are being evacuated through the western path, but few adults accompany them."
"What? What is he doing down there?" Illidan spread his wings and lifted off into the sky to get a closer look at what is happening in the village below. He observed Siverell and his soldiers gathering the men and women of Nendis in a crowd, each holding a weapon of some sort.
The spirit of Gul'dan hovered beside him, informing Illidan of what he already knew: "He has roused an army against you. Your approach has failed, now you must do what you should have done in the first place!"
Illidan growled and dove downward into the village, slamming into the ground with the speed and power of a cannonball. He arose from all fours and stretched out his wings while snarling at the one who betrayed him.
The villagers raised their knives, clubs, and other simple weapons at the monster they saw before them. Charging into battle as tactfully as a child would, the villagers all but fed themselves to Illidan's claws. In a moment's time, he had slaughtered the lot of them, while the less brave villagers fled the scene. Only Siverell and the other betrayers remained to challenge him.
Captain Siverell was horrified. "You are insane!"
Thorned roots burst forth from beneath the ground as two druids attempted to entangle Illidan, but his quick reflexes allowed him to avoid their reach. He briskly muttered an incantation beneath his breath that triggered his warglaives to manifest in his hands. A pair of mounted huntresses fired arrows at his chest that he promptly deflected with his massive blades, and he responded by hurling his warglaives through the air like bladed boomerangs that removed the heads of the two surprised huntresses. Illidan turned to his right to see a rampaging bear charging at him, but the demon hunter was agile enough to catch the transformed druid by the throat and pin him to the ground, ending his attack by retrieving the first of his warglaives that had returned to his hand and thrusting it through the chest of the struggling druid. The surviving druid saw his partner fall and decided to concentrate on ranged magic, keeping distance between Illidan and himself. The druid hastily discharged spell after spell hoping to land a successful hit on the extremely nimble demon hunter, but his otherworldly speed far out-matched anything in the druid's arsenal. The druid surrendered his attack and transformed into a crow, hoping to make a hasty retreat. Stormrage had no mercy for this soldier as he did the villagers, and sliced his feathered body into two symmetrical pieces. Only Siverell stood before him.
"Why did you betray me?" Illidan demanded to know.
"I thought you were the only one that could stop the Burning Legion," Siverell admitted. "But it was your brother's doing that saved us all. We didn't need you, we never did!" He stepped down from his mount and readied his blade. "Shan'do Staghelm was correct, we must never become what we have sworn to defend our world against. We now stand together with demons, and we have sworn servitude to Kil'jaedan. You are in denial about what you have become. All around you is evidence of what you have become! I could not convince these villagers to leave their homes; they were willing to defend them against whatever evil threatened their town. It is YOU who has betrayed yourself! I can only pray that the gods will forgive me for the part I played in your madness." Siverell thrusted his blade into his own stomach and twisted it with his last remaining strength. His body quickly went limp and collapsed on the ground.
The demon hunters, Naga, and Satyr that remained in his army caught up with him after hearing the sounds of battle in the village. They saw only Illidan standing before a large number of dead Night Elves.
Gul'dan approached him with a smile across his face. "They fear you. Now, you have become a true chieftain."
Illidan was disgusted with the site around him. "Burn these bodies! Burn...everything!"
As the Naga and demon hunters went to work burning the dead bodies and village to the ground, Axxavia and her Satyr scouts returned with urgent news. "Master, my scouts have spotted wardens tailing us. What are your orders?"
Illidan silently cursed himself: he knew that leading the group of wardens could be none other than Maiev. Within the barrow deeps, Tyrande had stopped him from killing her, and now she had returned for him. "We have lingered here for too long, ready the boat. I want the demon hunters with me. Vashj, I want you to take your Naga ahead to the tomb of Sargeras, I don't want any surprises waiting for us when we get there. Leave a small force behind to burn these other ships so that we can't be followed. I want a small group of Satyr ready to ambush these wardens when they arrive. I want all of them dead!"
Illidan and his demon hunters boarded the vessel and set sail as Maiev and her wardens came into view. She was a seasoned, exceptional warrior and he expected no less from the rest of her group. He would be very surprised, even disappointed, if she fell to the meager number of Naga and Satyr he had left behind. He stood tall at the ship's stern so that he could clearly be seen. He taunted her with his very freedom, and knew full well that they would meet again.
I didn't do too much with Maiev at the end of this, because it is Illidan's perspective. We already play Maiev's perspective. All we actually see of Illidan in that first scene is him boarding the ship. The Illidan-Kil'Jaedan-Old Gods storyline will continue on into the comic and conclude there.
...as some ancient astronauts theorists believe.
Originally Posted by Cantus
AndyJP is indisputably superior to me in every way.
Last edited by AndyJP; 01-17-2012 at 07:24 PM..