Truesteel if he had to guess, maybe a cobalt hybrid. Maeshkin’s cell appeared to be made from one piece of solid metal. A bench ran down the side of one wall, but the rest of the cell was perfectly angular. The door was made of heavy bars of the same material. They were charged with energy, he was certain it was the same energy used to subdue him in Darkshore. For now, Maeshkin was without options.
There were no guards posted, but by the design of the cell, they probably weren’t needed. Any attempt Maeshkin would make to escape would be met by a most unpleasant dose of holy energy. He had yet to see his captors since he arrived, it had been at least ten days from what he could guess.
Maeshkin could hear a pin drop in his cell. It was painfully quiet. He could hear the hum of the energy coming from the bars. He could hear footsteps on the floors above him, but never saw anyone. The Twiceborne hadn’t sated his hunger in some time, and the silence didn’t help him quiet the urges. He spent almost the entire time in meditation, trying to keep his mind occupied.
On this day he could hear familiar mumbling on the floor above him, but could not make out he exact words. Maeshkin was sure it was this Knight-Captain Briggs, who had initially apprehended him. The voices got quieter, and then stopped. Footsteps walked down the hallway above him, then…stairs maybe. The next time Maeshkin looked up, the Knight-Captain and his two Lightforged Draenei guards were standing just outside his cell.
“Ah, here he is. The Hand of Command.” Zanley Briggs’ words cut through clouds of familiar cigar smoke. “I hope you find your accommodations adequate.”
Maeshkin remained seated, trying his best to not anger, he knew it would do no good. “The room service is kinda crappy, but at least the neighbors are quiet.” The Twiceborne shrugged as he smirked at the Knight-Captain, giving a sly wink to his Lightforged companions.
Briggs pushed his cigar against the bars of the cell, reigniting it as the holy energy sparked slightly. “I could get used to this Lightforged tech, I don’t know about you. I just wanted to make sure your stay was as comfortable as possible.”
“I’m glad the Alliance goes to such great lengths to silence dissent,” Maeshkin snipped. “I didn’t think a lowly Twiceborne was such a dangerous target. I’m flattered.”
The Knight-Captain arched his brow, slightly amused. “Not many are as outspoken as you, Darksong. And in public no less. We can’t have you inciting unrest among the general populace. That would make us no better than the Horde.”
“So what now? Do I get a trial? Do I sit in here until I turn to dust? I am quite curious, Knight-Captain.”
Both of the Lightforged seemed to roll their eyes, almost wondering the same things themselves. “Oh, my Lightforged brethren, have patience. Mr. Darksong here will get his due lesson in loyalty with time. No need to rush to anything. It’s not like he’s going to die in here.” Briggs seemed to glow with confidence, “I can see things turning around for you quite nicely. Quite nicely indeed..”
Maeshkin tilted his head sideways at the Knight-Captains words, scratching his beard calmly. “You do realize my allies will come looking.” He gazed around his cell and walked up to the bars, inches from his captor’s face. “I will get out of here, one way or another. You had better hope you’re hard to find when I do.”
Briggs gestured to his guards, clearly out of patience for his prisoner. The three walked down the corridor from Maeshkin’s cell, and out of view before returning to the upper level.
“Knight-Captain Briggs, vhat is your plan for ze prisoner?” One of the Lightforged spoke once they were out of earshot of the cell.
“We starve him out. We starve him until he has no choice but to fight for the Alliance. He will crave it. He will hunger for it.”
“But, Sir. Zhe prisoner, he does not eat, how vill ve starve him?”
Briggs reached up to pat the Lightforged on the back. “You have much to learn from your new allies. Trust me, he will come around.”
So many fallen kings, silent in their numberless graves...
It was an uncharacteristically sunny morning in Boralus, and the sun glared through the windows in the office of Zanley Briggs. He poured over his reports as he did every morning since arriving in the city. His coffee was still hot, and smoke filled the room from his freshly lit cigar. Things were going exactly to plan so far today.
There were heavy footsteps outside the Knight-Captain’s door, followed by a loud but polite knock. “Enter, Constable,” Briggs responded to his visitor.
Ducking through the doorway was Constable Uli’uli. He was tall, even for a Lightforged Draenei. He clearly looked like a veteran soldier, his skin withered and scarred from years of war on Argus. He wore the armor of the 7th Legion, and carried a shock baton that was as long as he was tall. His beard was worn grey from the years, but immaculately trimmed. He spoke in a deep, booming voice, confident and assertive. “Knight-Captain, here is zhe manifest you requested. Zhe Stormrunner pulled into port late yesterday afternoon.”
Briggs smiled and nodded as he was handed the paperwork. He examined the manifest quickly, searching for the personnel log. “Constable, please sit down. You’re standing in my light.”
The Constable was unsure if the Knight-Captain was jesting, but did as he was ordered and took a seat, the floor creaking as he settled into a chair that was clearly too small for him.
“Very good, Constable, thank you for expediting this report. It seems they brought quite the crew. More than I expected. Some new faces I see, but I am intrigued that the Elder Lorekeeper has come out from the shadows.”
“Sir, do you zhink they know of our prisoner?” The Constable inquired.
Briggs furled his brow in thought, contemplating the question. “I’m sure they realize their second in command hasn’t reported in, but I doubt they suspect where he actually is. Speaking of, what is the status of our prisoner?”
“Sir, he remains in his cell and remains there securely.” The Constable’s words were wavering, and followed by an exasperated sigh. “However…”
Zanley tapped his pen on the desk impatiently, looking up from the manifest, “Out with it, Constable, let’s not mince words.”
Uli’uli shifted uncomfortably in his seat, both the floor and the chair creaking as he shifted. “Ve lost two guards zhe other evening vhile making their nightly rounds in his cellblock. Zhey were not found until zhe next morning.”
“So, what happened,” Briggs was amused, but curious.
“Zhey were found decayed, as if overcome by sickness, Sir. Little more than bones and armor remained of zhem.”
The Knight-Captain put both hands on the desk, pushing his chair out and standing over his paperwork. “So he killed them, but never left his cell.” He stood straight, tapping his finger on his chin. “He is going to be quite useful once he cooperates.”
“I’m not sure I follow, Sir. He is dangerous, even in captivity. Ve should just dispatch of him and be done with it. The risk is not worth it, vith all due respect.”
“Agreed, Constable. He is dangerous.” The Knight-Captain obviously had a solution for this problem. “Remove all other prisoners from his cell block, and seal off the entire wing. I want him to have zero outside contact until the plan is put into action. Understood?”
The Constable slowly stood up from his chair, clearly relieved to be free of his discomfort. “As you vish, Knight-Captain. I vill pass on the order myself. Any other orders, Sir?”
“That will be all, Constable. Dismissed.”
So many fallen kings, silent in their numberless graves...
It had been weeks since his capture, Maeshkin figured. He sat motionless in the middle of his cell, legs crossed, palms on his knees. The gentle hum of the forcefield at the front of his cell faded into the background days ago. The meditation techniques he picked up in Pandaria decades ago served him better in death than they ever did in life. The Twiceborne figured it had been days since he had moved. He had learned to time the guard rotations by listening for the footsteps above him. His lack of vital functions helped him learn to hone his senses, enabling him to hear distant footsteps, and even make out conversations taking place near him.
Today Maeshkin heard different footsteps. Heavy with a short stride, possibly something metallic in the step. He gathered it was the Draenei. The footsteps grew closer, approaching him from down the long hallway. Maeshkin remained still, eyes closed, still focused.
His visitor approached the cell and stopped, looking in curiously. The Draenei was quite intrigued, studying how still Maeshkin was sitting.
“Constable, you really should look into getting some padded soles for those shoes.” The Twiceborne remained still, an air of calm and confidence coming from his voice. “Come to make a social call, or did you miss me?”
The Lightforged Draenei furled his brow slightly in annoyance, his gaze unwavering on the prisoner. “Do not flatter yourself Dark-zhong.” His accent was thick. He had great difficulty pronouncing names since leaving his home. “You friends, zhey look for you, but zhey are far from subtle.”
“They are direct, but effective. At least you will face our vengeance head on. We have no need for trickery or subterfuge.” Maeshkin’s voice remained steady, yet commanding. His eyes were still closed. He remained in his concentrated state, perhaps trying to see how excitable the Constable was in his presence.
The Constable took a deep breath, seeming to calm himself quite easily. He contemplated opening the cell and putting the cocky elf in his place, but he remained calm. He had a deep respect for the chain of command, and knew his orders.
“Vonce ve get zhe intelligence reports, ve vill be moving you into zhe field. I trust you vill do zhe right thing.”
Maeshkin betrayed a slight smirk. “Are you sure you want to do that? Whether my friends let me out of this cell, or you do, you will be the first one to die. That is not speculation, that is a guarantee, Constable.” The Twiceborne finally opened his eyes, his cold gaze unwavering.
“You vill be nozhing vithout your runeblade, Dark-zhong.” The Draenei was becoming agitated, but remained stoic in his demeanor. “I know you are most powerful vith your veapon.”
“Temper, temper, friend. You are a man of discipline, but I can hear your heart beating against your armor.” Maeshkin found the Draenei’s short temper amusing. “If you wish to keep me from my runeblade, you shouldn’t keep it so close.”
The Constable gave him a surprised look, he was not expecting Maeshkin to know the whereabouts of his weapon. “I suppose you vould have some sort of connection vith it. Such an ugly sword. Vhoever made it should be ashamed.” It almost seemed like the Draenei was baiting him now, seeing if the Knight-Captain was right about these types being overcome by their urges.
And indeed, in that brief moment, Maeshkin closed his eyes and would have a vision. A vision of running through the forcefield and pushing himself through with just enough time to rip the Draenei’s head from his shoulders before succumbing to the surely fatal wave of holy energy that would come with it.
He would open his eyes seconds later, having already calmed himself. This was a true test of his resolve, it felt like he had spent years preparing himself to be calm in this specific moment. Maeshkin would grit his teeth tightly before speaking again.
“It does not need to be visually appealing to claim the souls of the unworthy. The Darksong is merely a conduit, channeling the fury of the Goddess, and the power of death itself to consume the souls of the unworthy. You are a man of faith, yes? I’m sure you can relate.”
“Zhe Light does not need to use death as a weapon, elf. Zhe Light is power in itself, infallible. Your Goddess abandons your people and leaves zhem to certain genocide. Zhe light is unwavering. I have forged myself from it and become one vith it.” The Draenei would not be questioned on his faith.
“We are not much different, Draenei. I have taken Death and forged it to my will, becoming one with it to bring the fury of the Goddess down upon Her enemies, and you have done likewise by forging yourself in the Light. Do not forget that your people also felt abandoned on Argus, but stayed resolute in their faith for thousands of years until the Legion was defeated. Both of our deities test us, seeming fallible until realizing our faith is not in vain. Do not forget it took the Betrayer shattering one of your Gods like brittle glass to bring about your people’s greatest victory.”
The Constable paused for a moment, contemplating his response. “You are as dangerous vith your vords as you are in the field. Zhat is vhy you are here, after all. I do not, nor vill I ever have anyzhing in common vith you, savage. You vill not deter me from my duties, Dark-zhong. You vill break, and I vill be here to zhee you serve zhe proper cause.”
Being satisfied with that he had the final word, the Constable walked slowly down the hallway.
Maeshkin would close his eyes once more, remaining as calm as he was moments ago. He wasn’t as confident as he conveyed about outlasting his captors’ intentions. Something had to happen, and it had to happen soon.
So many fallen kings, silent in their numberless graves...