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Future's Bloody Redemption

--by Shisou

((In the classic tradition of The End posts, this has absolutely, completely, totally -nothing- to do with lore. It's just one (bored) guy writing about what might, conceivably happen. In no way should anything in this thread be taken for canon or, you know, even happening. I expect I'll mention and use other player's chars over the course of the telling of this story but be forewarned that I did not discuss any of this with said players. There are no obligations or any such either implied or stated or anything of that sort on any of those chars or Mr. Shisou. It's just my own imagination spiraling out of control, as it sometimes tends to do. It's just pure, fun allegory. That said...))

358 years in the future:

They'd been around for a long, long time. He could recall four times when the home office had been rebuilt for some reason or another. When he'd first joined the Tong, wasn't that a long time ago, they had be based out of Booty Bay. Of course, Booty Bay hadn't existed for two hundred years now. He sat behind his desk, turning a silver flask around in his hands and watching the light play off it. Grey shot through his colbalt hair, now cut in a short, conservative-style and blue sapphire eyes gazed on the relic. So many years. Years with names. Silver & Osan. Fae. Krelle. Nerrok. Reims. Vonnacht. Tai & Kennia. He sighed and set the flask back down on his desk. He wasn't normally so sentimental. Must have been old age.

A knock at the door stirred him from his reverie. "Come in." The door opened and a young human stepped in. Shisou recognized the boy, some upstart from the New Lordaeron colony. "What is it?"

"Jake wants to see ya."

"I'll be there in a minute." The kid shut the door and he could hear feet retreating down the hall. There had been times, usually when the world wasn't tearing itself apart, when it had seemed like the Tong had lost it's purpose and it became hard for them to attract new blood. There was no shortage of Associates today though. He left his swords sitting in their stand near his desk. Odds were that Jake just wanted to talk to his Vanguard about some bit of numbers. Before he entered the man's office he gave his red and black tunic with silver trim one last tug.

Jake was becoming an elderly man now by human terms. Shisou was of the few people alive who had known his great-grandparents. In Jake the elf could still see the dark skin and slightly pointed ears of his progenitors. It seemed right that he had followed in their footsteps. Jake was kicked back in his chair, tossing a ball in the air. "There you are Old Man. Did you hear the news?"

"I hear lots of news." The elderly elf leaned against the wall by the door. If any of the stupider associates chose to listen in they'd find a surprise. Jake smiled at him slyly.

"They found a nest of Sin'dorei. Apparently Dram'thas is with them." Memories of the civil war came to mind. The schism of the Quel'dorei and the Sin'dorei. The chaos when the truth of the sin'dorei was revealed. Those had been bloody days. He unconciously traced a scar running down his cheek while he rubbed his chin.

"Are the Farstriders moving?"

"Report doesn't say. Could all just be rumor though. I thought you'd like this though. Apparently they're hiding in the ruins of Silvermoon."

"Well they're certainly not shy are they."

"We don't have any pressing matters going on right now. Why don't you take a few of the new troops and go give them a lesson?"

"If Dram'thas is there then I'd just come back with a bunch of corpses."

"What'd you have in mind then?"

"I'll go of course." There were scores to settle, but more importantly there were people to protect. The Quel'dorei were practically extinct. The Sin'dorei weren't much better off, but they were more powerful and tended to group together. He couldn't risk the Sin'dorei attempting another genocide. "Keep an eye on Lucky would you?" The hybrid nodded. Everyone looked after his daughter. Just as they had for her namesake. "Anything else, Kid?"

"Nah, go do your thing."

"I'll be taking the Rapier. Should be back in a few days."

"Just so long as you do come back."

He gave him that infamous grin. "You know me, Kid." And then he was through the door. There wouldn't be that many preparations to make. The Rapier was always on stand-by these days, just in case the gorram Legion decided to pay them a visit. Back in his office he strapped the swords on his back, not even noticing the weight any longer. There would be a few items he would need and he collected them from the numerous chests and clutter about the office. He never had kept the place neat. Little Nali would grumble about that all the time when she came in to dust.

A few moments later he was knocking on a heavy, iron-bound split door. The top portion opened and a one-eyed kal'dorei put her metal hand on the bottom potion. "Good morning, Ru. I've got a bit of a trip to make. Hook me up?" Ruadh looked back into the weapons locker with her one eye. That fire hadn't been terribly kind to her; taking that eye and her arm and a goodly portion of her face.

"What?"

"I'll take some packs, say... 10 should do, a long gun, some purification rounds if we've still got them. Do we have any nulls left?" Ru nodded. She knew everything in the armory by heart. "Right, hook me up with one of those. And I'll need the standard load-out I usually take, but double the ammo. Sound good?"

"When?"

"Half an hour would be good if you can manage. Have 'em load it up on the Rapier." Ru wouldn't ask what was up. Unless the base was under attack, which was monthly now, or she needed to eat, she kept to herself in the armory. Well, it meant he didn't have to clean the weapons. The night elf cyborg pulled her mechanical arm back into the armory and closed the door. He knew the gear'd be there on time.

He made a brief stop by the mess to grab some rations and then stopped by the training hall. All the associates were there, throwing punches and kicks into each other under Captain Mirela's watchful eyes. He snuck in, so as not to interrupt the lesson, and couldn't help a smile at the young quel'dorei with bright blue hair helping a pair of new recruits adjust their stances. Her mother would've been proud. Mir didn't budge as he walked up behind her, letting the draenei's tall form block the students from seeing him. "'fraid I've got to go on a bit of a trip."

"You need help?" She kept her voice low and glowered evenly at all the students.

"Naw, just don't want Lucky to worry. I should be back in a few days or so. And if not, well... you know what to do."

"If it's going to be like that, then you should take someone."

"Probably won't be, but in either case this is something I've gotta finish on my own. It's a Quel'dorei matter really, not anything to do with the Tong."

"A few days?"

"Yep."

"Then you'll be out on patrol." Mir smiled at him over her shoulder. "For just a few days." He smiled up at her, almost twice his height.

"Thanks, Mir. See ya then."

From there his feet carried him to the launch bay. Cob was just finishing loading a crate into the Rapier's small cargo compartment. Next to the Blitz, his little ship was practically a needle. Slim and sleek and designed for speed and maneuverability more than the sheer firepower the Blitz packed. The Hercules sat in the other bay, waiting for cargo. It was making regular flights again, so that was good.

"Got 'er all loaded up for ya, Mr. Shisou!" Cob was such a nice little gnome.

"How's she doing?" The high elf walked around the small ship, evaluating it carefully, more to tease Cob than to check for any sort of defect. Cob knew his work well.

"All fueled up and waitin'. I'd just finished calibrating the centri-quantum-gyro afore your cargo arrived."

Shisou nodded as if that was to be expected. He'd help designed this vessel, laid hand on most of the parts that went into it, and still had no idea what the gnome was talking about. "How's the ammo?"

"Had ta take out the rounds to fit your cargo but she's got a fresh void crystal battery in the nether cannon. Should be enough for a few blasts if you need it."

"Thanks, Cob." Satisfied with his inspection his hand slapped the hidden catch on the bottom of the craft. A section of the top slid open along an invisible seam and he jumped into the cockpit. He buckled himself into the reclined seat and let his hands find their familiar places on the controls. The canopy slid closed and there was just a second of claustrophobia before the enchantment kicked in and the entire upper portion of the fuselage became transparent. He looked down to see the gnome, smeared in grease as usual waving at him before touching a finger to that comm headset.

"You are clear for take-off Vanguard."

He took a look around the bay and hit the ignition sequence. Arcane fire roared to life behind him as the Rapier began to slide forward on it's path; first slowly and then rapidly accelerating towards the cliff at the end of the launch bay. The Rapier shot from the bay doors like a bullet, lighting the air above the canyon below with a great blue flame. He pulled back on the control stick and felt the airship tilt up; giving it free rein to defy gravity as only great magic really could. Once he was thousands of feet in the air, which was only a matter of moments, he leveled off and circled the base twice. He just wanted a look at it for some reason, even if it was nearly invisible from outside. Long ago they'd've never thought they'd wind up living inside a mountain.

Two circles and then he banked sharply to the north. It was time to get to work.




The Rapier sliced through the air much like it's name-sake and it was only a matter of hours before he was looking at the devastated landscape of Quel'thalas. Almost nothing lived here now. The bustling forest of Eversong had been replaced with a barren wasteland. The land was scorched with magic and war. The Runestones still stood though, at least as much as they had after the Second War centuries ago. That meant the area still had some shielding and that made it perfect for hiding. Even he'd had occasion to secret himself behind the broken walls of what had been Silvermoon from time to time. Now Silvermoon was a burned out wreck, consumed by the fire that had swept through all who had once been Quel'dorei.

He landed the Rapier in the hollowed out ruin of the building that had once been a bank. The walls had been strong enough that they'd mostly survived but the roof was completely gone. While the lev-engine automated an even decent, he opened the canopy and leapt to the ground, eager to stretch his legs after such a long flight. He surveyed the room while the jet landed softly behind him and the dim rumble of the lev-engine cut out. At that point he opened the cargo compartment. The crate practically took up the whole compartment, but then the Rapier had never been meant for hauling cargo. That's what the Hercules was for.

He laid the gear out, taking four well-crafted pistols and spreading them on his belt, two on the sides and two on his back. The Longrifle went to the side along with most of the packs. If he needed them he'd come back for them. He loaded the cartridges of ammunition into the pouches along his belt, taking special care with the purification rounds. They very well could have been the last in the world. He clipped his bracers on over his gloves, custom-made adamantite with an array of bo shuriken along the bottom of each and a propelled grapple under the plate that ran down his forearm. The rations and med gear went into pouches on his belt and one of the packs and the nullifier went onto the pockets along his thighs. As he pulled the black cloth mask over his head, complete with adjustments to cover his ears and goggles over the eyes, he stood finally. He engaged the cloaking device on the Rapier and watched as the cargo and the airship faded from view.

He slipped into the shadows and began his patrol of the city. Memories came back to him. Running along rooftops. Laughing with friends he could no longer remember the names of. Talking with Osan. Crafting that silly little fox thing. And of course, the deaths of Silver and Osan. That had been the end of his world then. Had the Tong not stepped in and become his world afterwards it probably would have been the end of him. And then there were memories of the war. He'd had to leave the Tong for that. There just wasn't any business interest in getting involved directly, but after seeing what the sin'dorei had done, learning what they were, Shisou couldn't stand by and neither could any of those who took the hard path to purification. And the man responsible for turning that divide into war was supposedly crouching like a spider right here in this city.

There was really only one thing left to do now, he thought as the goggles flipped over to thermal scans of the area. Find the bastard and kill him. Purify his race by removing the fel taint of the twisted Sin'dorei. The thermal scan wasn't showing anything at ground level, which wasn't terribly surprising, so he started to climb. Once he'd reached the summit of a wreck he touched a button on the side of the googles and the reds and oranges switched to purples and blues. The one thing about the Sin'dorei that made them so easy to find was their hunger. Whereever you'd find them, you'd find large caches of arcane energy. That energy tended to be hard to contain and with the right equipment, like goggles capable of scanning the arcane spectrum, it was possible to spot them.

The top of the Spire, a skeletal structure rising high over the ruin, glowed a bright white. They'd be there then.




Normally the longrifle's scope couldn't have had a chance of studying the top of the Sun Spire, but combined with the goggles' amplification and elven vision he could just make out the figures moving about up there. Hideous twisted things, with ears that dropped behind their shoulders and thin, almost-wraith like forms that were permanently hunched over. And of course there'd be the burning green eyes but he couldn't quite make those out from here. He could have taken a few out from here, but the long rifle would never reach that far. He went back to the Rapier and loaded the rifle and the packs back in the jet. There would only be one way up the Spire. It was a genius place for them to be. Anyone approaching through the court would be seen, the bridge connecting the Spire to the ground was long since thrown down, and anyone trying to climb the structure would easily be spotted. Crafty of them. Of course, he grinned as the canopy sealed itself over his head, none of that's an issue for the Rapier.

It took a few moments for the lev-engine to lift the ship from it's hiding place and rotate it towards the spire. When the Miz engine took over, spouting great blue flame out the back, the vessel shot forward. He took it into a steep climb, circling over the city. There was no way to know if they'd seen him now. The Miz wasn't entirely subtle with that trail of flame it left in the air. Wouldn't be much point to doing this the subtle way.

He climbed as high as the clouds and then banked towards the Spire. The summit was only a few hundred feet below him and he engaged the nether cannon. The Rapier's nose began to glow and a blazing violet beam streaked forth, colliding with the Spire and sending stone and, presumably, bodies tumbling towards the pit below. His speed took him past the tower and he felt the ship rock suddenly. The controls tried to fly out of his hands. Something had hit him. A glance back confirmed that his aft stabilizer was almost gone. With a bank of the question, he pulled up on the control stick sharply, letting the attitude thrusters push the ship upside down; and back towards the Spire. He got off one more blast with the nether cannon as those on the summit fired back with their own arcane means. He felt the ship rock again and again under the battering but he kept it on course. He'd only get one shot at this.

The abominations on the Spire realized what was about to happen and scrambled to get out of the way. He hit the big red button next to the seat and the canopy blew off. Air smashed into him as he undid the buckle holding him to his seat and fell from the flaming missile. What was left of the Rapier collided into the building, spewing flame and debris as it punched a hole clear threw to the other side. Meanwhile he fired off his left grapple, thanking his luck as it took hold and the hyper-tension tether held under the strain of his weight swinging away from the wreck. His momentum carried him straight where he wanted it to: the deck the sin'dorei squat upon.

The entire area was either in flames or about to be. He released the tether as he hit the ground and pulled the pistols from his hip. Always stay moving. Always stay on the attack. His feet carried him from shattered room to ruined corridor, pistols firing into each Sin'dorei he found. It took a lot of ammunition to kill one of the fel bastards, but the fire slowed them down. He fired until his pistols locked up and then he switched them out for the second set on his back. A fireball streaked by his head, smoldering the fabric of his mask and he snatched it off before it burned his face. He took care of that nest by hitting the timer on the pack and tossing it in the room. Five seconds later the explosion rocked the entire floor.

One of his pistols locked up and he dropped it while he ran. The spent ammo cartridge slid out of the remaining pistol and he slapped the purification rounds into it. The next four sin'dorei were left writhing in pain as the round's glass capsules shattered, penetrating their skin and injecting them with the elixir that would cure them of the affliction. But not before putting them under for nearly a week and putting them through more pain than they could probably imagine. Still, it was easier than what he'd had to go through.

Another sin'dorei went down as a bo shuriken flew between his eyes. Shisou leapt over the fresh corpse and kept moving. He kept moving until he finally found who he was looking for. Dram'thas. Of all the sin'dorei he alone had kept a form passingly resembling a high elf. He towered over others though, swollen with the fel power he fed on. Supposedly he was the bastard child of that thrice-damned Kael'thas who had doomed his people with the sin'dorei. There would be no bargaining with him. Shisou pulled his swords out and leapt at the warlock. At least until shadowbolt found his chest and sent him rolling across the room.

"Fool! Look what you've done!"

It was hard to breathe after a hit like that. Shadowbolts wracked the body and never got easier with repetition. The warlock seemed content to gloat though. Well while he screamed, Shisou surveyed the room. It must've been nice before he'd taken out half of it with that first blast of the nether cannon. The far wall now opened to thin air. Dram'thas was going on about power or something while Shisou's hand crept into his pocket and wrapped around the nullifier. He hit the button and felt it spin up, negating any arcane energies around him. It wouldn't last long. The warlock was in the middle of a sentence when he charged him again. The warlock laughed maniacally and another shadowbolt flew from his hand. The look on his face when the shadowbolt melted away from the charging elf made the whole thing worthwhile.

The rogue leapt at the warlock, assailing him with the twin swords. One blade was deflected but the other found a home in the muscular shoulder. A quick roll and he came up behind him, ready to strike at his back. Dram'thas surprised him by kicking back however, and what a kick. Shisou felt his ribs crack as he went flying through the air, and then out into the open air over the chasm so far below the Spire. He fired his last remaining grapple, watching it wrap around the warlock's ankle just as gravity began to take hold of him again. There was a sharp jolt that nearly popped his arm out of socket when the line went taught but then shortly after he continued to fall. He heard the warlock's scream as he was dragged out over the abyss himself.

Shisou released the tether and stabbed his swords into the wall as it went speeding by. They bounced off on the first try, but on the second they took hold and his fall stopped. He hung there, holding on to those hilts for a breath's moment before something caught on his ankle. His eyes went downward to see Dram'thas grappling his leg, using him as an anchor over the abyss. Well, he'd had a good run. He grinned at the warlock and let go of the swords. While the demon screamed with his last breath, Shisou touched a finger to his ear, engaging the comm system. "Sorry, guys. Tell Lucky I love her." And then the abyss swallowed them whole.


Epilogue

The Blitz arrived over the ruin of Silvermoon two days later. With Captain Mirela keeping the gunship in a holding pattern over the city, Jake lead the search effort on the ground. They found the Rapier the first day, or what was left of it to any degree. Its impact on the ground had left a crater the size of a house. There was no sign of Shisou anywhere near the crash however. The smoking wreck at the top of the old Spire seemed the obvious place to look after that. Slowly the story began to unfold as they found four unconscious quel'dorei huddled together. The final conformation was the discovery of the old Vanguard's blades protruding out of the Spire's walls. After they were unable to find a body, they retrieved the weapons and reverently returned them to the base.

There a body-less pyre was lit and burned throughout the night. Jake handed the swords and Shisou's last words to his daughter and afterwards Mirela delivered to her a letter written in the now ancient thalassian...

Hey there,
If you're reading this then something has gone wrong and I'm either dead, or someone did not listen to instructions. If the latter is the case, please give that hooved Captain a right smack on the head. If it's the former, well, then I've got some things to tell you.

You see, "Lucky" may be the name you use, but it wasn't the name you were born to. It is the name we gave you, for so many reasons, but the name you were born under is Shinta Trueheart.

You, Lucky, have a heritage. You have a past. A long line of great people who came before you and made your path. You see, way back in ancient times, our people endured the Long March. At the end of this we founded Quel'thalas. It was the first time we had a home of our own and such a home it was. I always wished you'd been able to see the glimmering towers and banners of Silvermoon while it was still whole. When the city was new though, when it was young, it was always under attack. The first of our line forged those swords then and fought with them to defend this new home. He was the first of the Truehearts and if I am gone now then you are the last.

We lost our home, tragically on my watch, but our people are still there. So long as there are Quel'dorei there should be Truehearts to fight for them. It's a hell of a thing to find out like this, I know, but it should give you strength in whatever times come your way.

Be strong. Be fierce. Fight with and for your heart. You're not alone and you never will be. When you touch those eternal blades, you're touching a proud heritage that stretches back millenia. And remember that we're all there for you.

Love,
Sagara Trueheart

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