E
literature

EQ: OLAD: Death of a Legend

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By SunGryphon   |   
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Kilauea, mounted on her nightmare, stood outside the dark cave entrance to Neriak. She eyed the dragoons in distaste, who in return eyed her warily. The sword she carried slung over her back glowed with a pulsating purple light. Neither guard wanted to test her skill with it.

Sighing resignedly, she dismounted in a jingle of chain and a creak of leather. Her aged, battle-worn armor seemed as tired as she was. She dismissed the nightmare, who took a few hungry steps towards the guards before a sharp word from Kilauea caused it to flinch, and vanish in a small explosion of flame and acrid smoke. Kilauea walked through the cloud, past the guards, and down the dark tunnel of her former home. Behind her, both guards peeked around the sides of the mouth of the cave, heaving identical sighs of relief as she passed from their view.

It had been years since Kilauea had laid eyes on the glowing eldritch runes of Neriak. Nodding grimly, she strode through the deserted quarter and further in, to the commons. Here and there she spied a young dark elf hurrying past in an air of self importance, set to menial tasks by the Guildmasters. Most jumped hastily out of her way, and those who did not, she shouldered aside with a withering glance and a slight move of her hand towards the hilt of her sword. She continued deeper into Neriak, past the 3rd Gate, and into the chill corridors of the Necromancer and Shadow Knight guilds.

The ghouls standing guard greeted her like enthusiastic puppies, falling over each other in their haste to show their willingness to please. One reached for her leg, and she reached for her sword, drawing it and leveling it at the ghoul. "You dare!" she snarled. It cringed back, falling onto it's face in submission. She grimaced and continued past, resisting the urge to put the pathetic creatures out of their misery. The Necromancers would only replace them, and she had no desire to give them any reason to defile more graves.

She walked into the Shadow Knight guild, smiling slightly as even the Guildmasters straightened up to attention at her entrance.

"Ulraz," she said, foregoing his title.

"Mistress Kilauea," he replied. "You have been gone so long, and I know you have no use for us now. It cannot be good that you come here with the Curse unsheathed."

"I finish it tonight, what he began all those years ago," she answered, glancing around the room.

"You have carried the sweetest, most poisonous form of hatred for many years. I hate you for wanting to end it," he said.

"I hate it as well, but it must be done. It is time," she sighed softly, and turned.

"Nezzka," she said, and he straightened. "You have always been a thorn in my side, but I would make a request of you."

"Anything you wish, Mistress," he replied.

"If it proves that my hatred is not enough, find a worthy who will avenge my shed blood." She stared intently at him, and he knew she was asking him to be the avenger. She stepped close to him, the light from her lowered weapon washing both of their faces in purple shadows. Laying her cheek against his, she whispered in his ear.

"Strike while he is weak, and do not hesitate. I would have him die with me if it comes to that." She kissed his cheek softly. He sighed and pressed against her momentarily. She stepped back and cast a quick, questioning glance at Ulraz. He nodded, and she took Nezzka by the arm and steered him out of the room and down a hallway, to an empty bedroom.
With practiced ease she removed her armor, then helped him with his. Laying back on the bed, she motioned to him, "Come here."

Later, as she lay cradled in his arms, he asked her, "Why now, after so long?"

"I can't hold onto the hatred any longer. If I continue to wait, it will turn to pity, and that will leave me vulnerable to him. I must strike now, and you must finish it."

He stiffened slightly. "You mean to die tonight."

She nodded. "There is nothing for me here now. My children are slain, my love walked into the wilderness, my old friends have gone onto further glories." Sighing, she kissed the corner of his throat under his jaw. "I am... tired. I wish to go away from here. Maybe there will be another place for me, I do not know."

"I hate you..." he whispered, and she looked up to see tears leaking from beneath his tightly closed lids. "All these years..."

"Hush," she replied. "I love you too."

He turned his body towards her, and kissed her heatedly, and no words were spoken for some time. Afterward, he helped her with her armor, and handed her the glowing sword.

"Good luck, my Mistress. I hope that I do not have to avenge you, but I am prepared to do so."

She nodded. "I know that you will not fail me." She walked to the door, and looked at him.
"I have another request."

He looked back steadily, "Anything, Mistress."

"Take my body to Solusek's cauldron, and cast it into the lava. I do not wish to become a puppet for the Necromancers like the ghouls outside."

He bowed his head, "I will do as you wish, Mistress."

Without another word or backward look, she left the room and headed towards the Necromancer's guild. She heard Nezzka's footsteps keeping pace several feet behind her.
She ascended the tower, climbing higher and higher, until she came to an archway. Holding her sword at the ready, she stepped through.

He was there, bent over a table, facing away from her. She could see the body of a young wood elf on the table in front of him.

"I am busy!" he snapped, without looking around. Kilauea's hand tightened on the hilt of her sword as she recognized exactly -what- he was doing to the elf.
"I said..." he growled, as he turned towards her. "You!"

"ME!" she snarled, bringing her sword to bear.

She knew he was unlikely to have any defenses prepared, caught off guard as he was. Still, she knew he was extremely dangerous, but had an idea of what needed to be done to incapacitate him enough so that she stood a chance of survival.

Fortunately, she noted grimly, the perfect target was already in view. She feinted an attack, sword raised high, and as he brought up his arm reflexively and began casting a spell. She was not quite fast enough, and her blood suddenly burned as if it were on fire. She broke into a sweat, but the arc of her sword was true, and although it was not deadly, it was effective. The Curse sang through the air, not high, as he expected, but low. He realized a moment too late what she was aiming for, and shrieked as the cold blade parted flesh from body easily.

"You... ungrateful.. WHORE!" he gasped, his teeth clenched, one hand clutching at the wound at his groin. Blood poured through his fingers. He managed a spell, and Kilauea gagged as a poison could descended around her, making her eyes water.
"I made you what you are today! Without your hatred, you would be nothing! You are nothing without me!" he screamed.

She cast her own spell, a spear of pure torment that pierced through his body, causing him to convulse momentarily, "I do not -want- to be anything anymore!"

"Foolish slut, foolish girl! I will use you for my personal slave again, when I am done torturing you!" He cast again, red and black mist draining her of energy and healing him, causing the blood to stop flowing from her attack. He began casting spell after spell, fast enough that Kilauea could not regain her original momentum. Finally, he cast one that did not affect her, and instead swirled around her harmlessly, giving her a few crucial seconds to recover.

She cast two spears in quick succession, then swung the Curse, hoping against hope that the spell embedded in the blade would trigger. Her blade sank into his arm, parting muscle easily and coming to rest in the bone. The Curse activated, hungrily swallowing his energy and transferring it to her own body in rhythmic pulses, reviving her somewhat. She yanked the sword out of his arm and redoubled her efforts, swinging fiercely, leaving shreds of skin and muscle behind. He stayed focused, his hatred fueling his concentration as he cast spell after spell, and although she knew they were not all affecting her, they were having -an- effect. She was becoming weaker.

"I want to show you a new spell," he crooned, the hatred shining in his eyes. "Something I think you'll really appreciate."

He raised his arms, and suddenly she was engulfed in flames of black. Agony raced through her body, causing her to scream and drop her sword.

"Like that? I made that just for recalcitrant bitches like you!" he spat.

Convulsing in pain, she fell to her knees. She knew she had little time, and could feel the spell eating away at her soul and consuming her energy in huge bursts, many times faster than she could replenish it. Coughing blood, she reached out and grasped her sword again. Slowly, painfully, she got to her feet, using the sword for support. She took one step towards him, blood oozing from between her lips. He laughed at her, and she took another step.

"You'll never win," he sneered, and she raised her free hand and put it weakly at his throat. She barely had the strength to hold her arm up, and the spell was rapidly consuming her. Staring into her eyes, he sneered at her.

"Is that the best you can do?"

She coughed again, a bright bubble of blood popping at her lips. "No," she whispered huskily, "but -this- is!"

Still holding his throat, she called forth all the pain, hurt and rage she had felt over the years, coiling it into the snake that struck through her fingertips. The force of it crushed his throat, and caused him to drop to his knees. She collapsed to hers, her breath whistling painfully in her throat. His eyes rolled wildly in their sockets, and fixed her with a mocking, hate-filled glance. She could tell he was still laughing. Gathering the tattered remnants of her strength, she brought her sword up, and plunged the glowing blade into his stomach.

Her hands fell away from his throat and hilt, and she sprawled onto her side. Her eyesight began to dim, the black flames beginning to fade, but she saw him still on his knees, trying to pull the blade free from his body.

Suddenly, Nezzka was there, sword upraised. With one clean stroke, he parted the necromancer's head from his body. Nezzka knelt beside Kilauea, slipping his arm around her and cradling her head against it.

"Thank..." she whispered, as her vision turned black. Her senses slowly dimmed, fading into the rapid, rushing sound of her heartbeat. Slowly, even that sound faded, and was no more.

Nezzka bowed his head. Calling an undead servant, he told it to collect the pieces of the necromancer's body. Reaching over, he pulled the glowing sword from the body, and replaced it in the scabbard on Kilauea's back. He gathered her body tenderly in his arms, and stood up.

He walked slowly back through Neriak. A hush fell behind him as people recognized the lifeless burden he carried. Some followed behind, their heads bowed. He arrived at the mouth of the tunnel and paused. The two guards standing there watched with wide eyes, then knelt, bowing their heads.

He thought about her final request, then shook his head. He knew there was a better place, the right place, she needed to be. He traveled swiftly, to Lavastorm, hoping that there would be someone there who would be willing to help him. His pet followed along behind, dragging the necromancers body. He noticed eyes shining out of the underbrush at him, and dismissed the pet, leaving the body and parts where they lay. A few minutes after, he heard the snapping and snarling of wolves, as if they were fighting over a fresh meal.
He quickly found the travel ring, and soon enough, a druid appeared in a sparkle of magical energy. Speaking quickly, he made his request. The druid looked surprised, and gently brushed Kilauea's hair away from her face. Sadly, he looked at Nezzka.
"I knew her, I will assist you," was all he said.

The rest of the journey to Butcher Block and the Faydark was uneventful. Nezzka knew exactly where to go, and the soft heartbeat sound of wings told him he was in the right place.

The ancient ring in front of Mistmoore was crumbling, covered with moss and lichen. The fae drakes that made it their hatching ground fluttered to and fro, their wings beating a soothing rhythm. He laid her atop a low stone, arranging her body. He slid the sword from it's sheath and placed it into her hands, with the point at her feet. Straightening her hair, he stood and looked down at her.

A fae drake fluttered by, then stopped, hovering. It made a soft cheeping noise, then landed on the stone, investigating. Then, surprisingly, it gave a soft mournful keen, and laid its head on her arm. Suddenly all of the fae drakes were there, curling themselves around her body, all making the same keening noise. Nezzka bowed his head, tears falling unhindered down his face.

"Goodbye, my Lady Kilauea. Rest in peace."
© 2012 - 2020 SunGryphon
I thought I posted this before, but I guess not. Written about 8-9 years ago, when I decided to retire my main EverQuest character, Kilauea. I logged her out at the fae drake ring, near Mistmoore.
Comments8
anonymous's avatar
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iceofwolf's avatar
iceofwolfHobbyist Writer
Parting with characters is incredibly difficult, and you've written this beautifully. I don't know all the stories referenced, but I didn't need to. The references were clear and poignant, and any loose ends referenced in this story seem to have been cleared up. The puppy-like ghouls were a fun image and the fae drakes were a beautiful end to the story.

(Also, sorry for taking so very long to comment.)
SunGryphon's avatar
SunGryphonHobbyist General Artist
Thanks, that means a lot to me coming from you :) I wrote it when I quit EQ, and Kil was my main, so you can imagine how it was for me. I logged her out at the spot I mentioned with the fae drakes, it's still my favorite place in any game.
iceofwolf's avatar
iceofwolfHobbyist Writer
I imagine it will remain so for quite a while. :aww:
Quakester's avatar
QuakesterHobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome story even though I have no idea what any of those references mean. =P
SunGryphon's avatar
SunGryphonHobbyist General Artist
haha I figured it should carry even if someone hadn't played EQ :)
LittleCorax's avatar
it does... and it's beautiful.
SunGryphon's avatar
SunGryphonHobbyist General Artist
Aww thank you :D
Quakester's avatar
QuakesterHobbyist Digital Artist
Hehe. It did. ;p
anonymous's avatar
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