The more I write Thalorien, the more I realize the guy is a little scary.
Thorondorill Point was technically a military harbour, though it was rarely used as anything more than a dry dock storage and repair facility for the warships of the quel’dorei fleet. No civilian traffic of any kind went through the secluded inlet. Even the navy didn’t bother maintaining anything more than the barest of skeleton crews.
The perfect hiding place for a political coup, and where they had told Thalorien to come. Alone, of course, but they had easily conceded to allowing him a couple sailors to actually operate his own ship. It was a small skiff, barely more than a basic pleasure craft, but nonetheless required at least two dedicated crew to operate it properly on the day and a half journey. Or so Thalorien had told his would be assassins.
He had absolutely no intentions of obeying the orders he was given. His “crew” was, in fact, a pair of Farstriders, elite commandos among even their already elite compatriots. Dressed in plain clothes, with Light knows how many deadly weapons hidden on their persons, the two women were incredibly dangerous. Almost as deadly as Thalorien himself was.
He remained unconvinced that Solanar Bloodwrath had nothing to do with yesterday’s events. He had to have known, if not directly had his hand in it. The only real doubt was whether Solanar was ruthless enough to use his own sister for whatever ends he was aiming for, or if she had been part of it too. Shiari may have volunteered for all Thalorien knew. Maybe it was her plan all along. After all, what evidence did he really have that she had been taken captive at all?
Thalorien tightened his grip on the small ship’s railing, unconsciously grasping for the sword he had left behind in Silvermoon. This was a trap, he had no doubt of that. It didn’t matter. They had demanded he come unarmed, and specifically forbade his runesword. That alone showed their ignorance, and guaranteed his victory today.
Runeblades only barely resemble ordinary blades. A sword is a sword, it’s form and function for meting out death. A runeblade was an essence, its form beautiful and terrible, its function sheer power and destruction. A runeblade was so much more than a mere sword. It was a weapon, though the distinction was lost on most. Runeblades chose their owners, attuning to them, conferring enormous power in the doing. Thalorien’s sword, Quel’Delar, was one such weapon. There were only two in the entirety of Quel’Thalas, the other sword was held by the king.
Thalorien could still remember the day, his father holding the blade out to him. He was a child, he grabbed at it blindly, delighting in the sword as it sang to him. He thought the runes along the blade glowing was pretty. To everyone else, the successor to the Blade of Silvermoon was clear. It had changed Thalorien’s entire life.
One day he had been a child, playing with cats in the grass. The next, he began training to be the best warrior the entire elven nation had ever produced. He had done well, absurdly well, even when he didn’t want to. Swordsmanship and combat came as easily to him as breaking expensive things came to the other kids. By twenty, he was already easily a match for the best Farstriders, by thirty he could hold his own against his father in a duel. While blindfolded.
He never wanted any of it. He slacked, skipped classes, rebelled, even tried to leave Quel’Thalas entirely and go live with the humans. He still became the very best, no matter how hard he tried to fail. Life would be much easier if he ran a small tea shop like he wanted.
Alas, destiny had other plans.
The two Farstrider commandos with him brought the ship into dock, precisely where they had been instructed. There were five armed elves on the dock, all with their faces obscured by black masks. They were silent as he disembarked, merely gesturing east. He went east, and they followed him. The commandos, unnoticed, followed them.
One of the black masked figures whispered directions as they went. Left here, right there, guiding him through a variety of pointless twists and turns. They were trying to confuse him, no doubt, but he merely found it trying. They eventually brought him to a warehouse, and an abandoned warehouse at that. Somebody at the planning stage had read far too many silly detective novels.
One of the large doors was open. His escort fanned out behind him as he entered the darkened warehouse. There were at least another forty elves in the room that Thalorien could see, all dressed the same way. Black armour and clothes, black masks, all armed with a variety of cruel looking implements.
One of them, with his back turned to Thalorien, spread his arms and shouted, “Aha! You came!” The leader turned around, and added, “And unarmed too. Truth be told, dear Dawnseeker, I did not expect you to actually meet our oh so humble demands.”
Thalorien had no patience for this dimwit. “Where is Shiari?” he asked.
“Oh, she’s in a box over there.” The masked figure waved his hands dismissively. “But does it matter? This was all a trap, my good elf! Do you want to gaze upon the visage of the mighty strategist that has foiled you so thoroughly?”
Thalorien began to respond, but the leader had torn his mask off and tossed it aside dramatically before he could.
“It is I, Lord B-”
“Now!” shouted Thalorien, breaking into a sprint.
The commandos flew into action immediately. The five masked figures behind him all died in less than two heartbeats.
Attuned weapons cannot be separated from the wielder they are attuned to. Not metaphysically. The only way to sever the link is to kill the wielder. The blade itself is indestructible while attuned, though one runeblade was capable of sundering another. All Thalorien had to do was feel Quel’Delar in his mind. The link was ever present, for truthfully attunement meant that the sword was no longer a unique entity. It was now a part of his self, just as firmly as his arm or his love for his daughter.
There was a snapping sensation, as if a rubber band had been pushed to its limit and broke, as reality aligned itself with Thalorien’s wishes. Quel’Delar travelled hundreds of kilometres in the smallest fraction of time. Thalorien closed his hand on the hilt, and the runes on the blade roared to life, bathing the warehouse in holy light.
Thalorien closed the gap to the leader before he had finished speaking his name. He smashed his shoulder into the leader’s chest, lifting him off the ground with the force and depositing him ignobly on the ground several feet away, little more than a stunned heap. He rested the tip of Quel’Delar gently on the leader’s throat.
“… The… Third…” Lord Baltimore Starsong the Third finished weakly.
Thalorien smiled, putting his friendliest face on. “Pay very close attention. I should not have to tell you why. Henceforth, we do things my way. Your soldiers stand down. My soldiers disarm them and take them captive. I ask you questions. You answer them. Then we all go back to Silvermoon for cake. Or I kill you slowly.”
“We surrender.” Baltimore said. “You guys, should all… stand down. I mean, they… they killed them…”
Thalorien shook his head, still smiling pleasantly. “Don’t worry about your friends. You cannot help them anymore. Worry about yourselves. You still have beating hearts. And remember,” he said, letting his smile become slightly more predatory, “Those two are the nice ones. Now, I suggest you begin to talk.”
“A… yes, that is fine. What do you want to know first?” He struggled to speak at all.
“Where is Shiari?”
“I told you already, she’s in a bo-”
Thalorien gently pressed down with his sword.
“We drugged her she’s in the crate the crate we just hid her she’s drugged she’s fine she’s fine! Please!”
Thalorien eased up, waiting for confirmation from his commandos. One of them quickly rushed to the small stack of crates indicated earlier. The commando found Shiari, removing her carefully from one of the crates. She had simply been stuffed into one like laundry. She looked, well, floppy, Thalorien thought.
“She’s fine, lord.” The commando said. “Drugged. Heavily.” A pause as the commando ran expert hands over her body. “No injuries. Pregnancy checks out. She’s recently given birth.”
Thalorien nodded, still smiling pleasantly at his captive. “Excellent, excellent. Now, where-”
“Th… lorien…” came Shiari’s voice, so weak as to be almost inaudible. “They took her… my daughter, they took…” She fell into silence again. “Unconscious.” said the commando impassively.
Thalorien’s face was frozen, his warm smile now more of a grotesque parody of a proper expression. It didn’t matter now what was going on. Now, one of her… no, one of his daughters, damn the genetics, was in danger. He pictured Arkenheart, scared and alone, wrested from her mother. He felt his rage build and build, felt Quel’Delar singing his fury, echoing his own anger back at him. “Where did you take her?”
Baltimore, his eyes hardening, yet his voice still quavering with fear, said “I don’t kn-”
He feared something greater than Thalorien. That was plain enough, and easy to rectify.
His resistance was brief. Quel’Delar left his throat, neatly sliced his left hand off, then returned to his throat in one smooth motion. He shrieked in pain, blood spurting from the stump, staining the ground and Thalorien’s boot.
“Shall we try that again?”
Baltimore only screamed in response.
“Would you like me to treat that little wound for you?”
He managed to scream yes.
The runes on Quel’Delar flared slightly. Holy energy flowed into Thalorien, then out of his hand, into the stump of his captive. He did not heal it. He seared it shut, cauterizing it in the most painful way possible. “Is that better?” he asked.
The leader only stared at him, mouth open, soundless, the pain robbing him of speech.
Well, this is certainly going to take some time, Thalorien thought. He tried not to be glad about it.