(just a little short story I wrote, giving a glimpse into Nyctia's past! p.s.: the second part takes place prior to the Black Temple)
Thud. The kaldorei’s body landed heavily against the hard-packed soil, knocking the breath from her lungs. A rudimentary sword pointed at her nose, making her go nearly cross-eyed.
Nyctia grinned cockily, lowering her sword. “That’s three points for me. Zero for you.”
“Yes, I can count, you ass.” Narene sat up with a huff, mustering her most fearsome glare to direct towards her older sister. Their temperaments were as different as was their appearances. Narene was soft amber eyes and long hair the color of silverleaf. Nyctia far more fit their family legacy of hippogryph tamers, with her short windswept white hair and gleaming silver eyes. She also more likely than not had Narene at her mercy during their short sparring sessions.
“We’ve been at this for an hour already.” Narene groaned, her bum sore from countless falls identical to this one. Courtesy of her ruthless sister. “Give it a rest. I need a break from being your training dummy.”
“You make a pretty clumsy training dummy.” Nyctia cackled at Narene’s exasperated glare, offering a hand to her sister. Narene gladly took it, her smooth hand against Nyctia’s calloused one, and let herself be pulled to her feet.
“Now, now.” Their father chastised from the courtyard. He was kneeling by a large hole dug into the ground, no doubt preparing to bury the kimchi jars for fermentation. Nyctia’s mouth watered just thinking of her father’s delectable cooking. “Your mother will throw a fit if she sees a bruise on either of you.”
Nyctia scoffed. “Priestesses.” She cast a pointed glance towards Narene, earning her a slap on the arm.
“i prefer to heal rather than beat everyone to a pulp.” Narene protested. “Not all of us can be the next Shandris Feathermoon.”
“I know for sure you’re not trying to follow in Tyrande Whisperwind’s footsteps.” Nyctia retorted. “I know for sure the only reason you admire her is for her choice in mates.”
A furious blush overtook Narene’s cheeks, and this time she raised her fist threateningly at her outspoken sister. Nyctia dodged and scurried to her father’s side, laughing wickedly all the while. Her father, to his everlasting credit, only rolled his eyes when Nyctia and Narene exchanged rude gestures.
“How fortunate that I have such respectable, adoring daughters.” He deadpanned.
Nyctia flicked her hair from her face. “Mother doesn’t call me Fireheart for nothing.”
“Because you have a short temper and take it out on everyone around you?” Narene suggested innocently.
Nyctia batted her eyelashes sweetly. “You flatter me. I cannot deny facts.”
“Honestly, do you ever get offended? Ever? I try to insult you and you act like I just rained rose petals down on you.” Narene said in disbelief.
“I know you truly adore me, sister. Deep down.”
“You cannot deny facts.”
“Fact, or your own delusion?”
“Girls.” Their father said sternly, clearly having had enough of their endless bickering. But the small grin pulling at his lips assured them both that they weren’t in any real trouble. “Please stop antagonizing each other.”
Nyctia sighed loudly, as if it physically pained her to do so. “Apologies, Father. I have to treasure this time while I can.” Her eyes sparked. “Especially once Narene is among the Sisters of Elune, with some dashingly handsome mate.”
Narene’s face softened. There was that blooming smile that Nyctia adored, the one that could even the most hardened veteran’s soul. It was no wonder Narene had no shortage of suitors, even though none of them were good enough for her. It was the smile that Nyctia would go to the ends of the world to preserve and treasure in her heart forever.
“You won’t be far, once you’re a Sentinel and cutting down enemies left and right.” Narene walked up to them, pausing beside her sister’s side. With that same beautiful smile, she brushed off a stray leaf clinging to Nyctia’s shoulder. “You’ll be a force to rattle the stars…”
“Such a sweet memory.”
Consciousness slowly came back to her, the world forming before her eyes in its dizzying array of colors and shapes. The figure in front of her was unmistakable, though, with its blood-red skin and mocking sneer. Nyctia mirrored the expression. “Didn’t know you demons were capable of such sentiment.”
The eredar battlemage rolled her eyes, brandishing her crystal staff towards Nyctia’s immobile body. She’d love nothing more than to claw those hateful eyes out with her own hands, but the runed chains keeping her in place prevented her from even lifting an arm. She felt the arcane energy coursing through the iron, the demon within her cowering at the sheer force of it. “Until now, I wasn’t sure if there was even any mortal left in you.” The eredar traced the tattoos on Nyctia’s neck with the tip of her staff idly. “You smelled purely demon when you first stumbled into my grasp. What a prize you are — the infamous demon hunter Nyctia Felheart, now at my mercy.”
The mocking tone ripped a snarl so ferocious from Nyctia’s lungs that her body quivered with the force of it. The eredar laughed. “Oh, there’s that rage that amuses me so.”
“What is the point of this?” Nyctia hissed. “You gain nothing from delving into my memories. I did not know the Legion wasted time on such trivial matters.”
“You demon hunters were always all bark and no bite.” The eredar — Ihaa, her name was — mused. “Trust me, I’d love nothing more than to end your miserable existence. But you can yet be of use to our cause.”
“If you hope to gain information,” Nyctia bit out. “Your attempts will be fruitless. I’m no spineless traitor.”
Ihaa’s eyes flashed deviously. “But you are still mortal.” She brushed a finger along Nyctia’s throat, placing it under her chin and forcing the Illidari to look up. “You may wield some of our powers, but you are still that arrogant, weak young elf who thought the world was hers to own.” She chuckled, brushing a thumb along Nyctia’s skin. “Such ambition for a girl who could not even save her own family.”
Ihaa would not get the reaction she was looking for. Nyctia refused to give it to her. Even if the memory of her father’s laughter, her mother’s soothing hand running through her hair, Narene’s devastating smile that she’d sworn to protect…
Her wretched heart threatened to cave in on itself, consuming whatever shred of humanity still clung to her soul.
You’ll be a force to rattle the stars, Fireheart.
Fireheart. Felheart. Fel now, yes. But she refused to lose the fire that burned and lit her alight. A light of vengeance, searing her to the core. Nyctia lifted her head of her own accord and grinned. She knew she looked terrifying like this, canines elongated and eyes burning with emerald flame. Even Ihaa seemed temporarily unnerved.
“Take off these chains, demon, and you’ll see just how weak and young I am.” Nyctia’s tone was cloyingly saccharine.
Ihaa composed herself quickly, throwing her head back and howling with laughter. “Your defiance amuses me, Illidari. I’ll be sure to break your spirit slowly. I will quite enjoy it.”
Nyctia sighed, a long-suffering sound. “It’s not like you have more important things to do, anyway. I pity you.”
Ihaa’s face twisted with annoyance. She raised her staff, no doubt to strike Nyctia and shut her up by force, but then the ground quaked so strongly that the eredar stumbled. Ihaa clutched her staff, rebalancing herself quickly as she whipped around to face the equally startled felhounds.
“Go investigate the source. Quickly!” The felhounds bounded off at the eredar’s barked command. In the far distance, Nyctia could hear the sound of clashing steel and panicked shouting. The magic thrumming through her chains seemed to pause.
The familiar, hateful voice re-entered her mind. It seems today is not our day to die, Felheart. The presence ran a claw down the barriers of her mind. What a shame. A little more time with the eredar, and she could have molded you into a formidable agent for destruction.
And despite Nyctia’s utter disgust, the outright hatred she had for the other presence occupying her body, she had to laugh. Oh, I already am an agent of destruction. She whispered back. I hope you’re prepared for when I unleash myself on your former allies.
A shiver of delight ran down her spine. Allow me to help.
Typical demon. Raving for any destruction of whatever kind.
The wards on Nyctia’s bindings shattered completely, and she knew her allies were close. As Ihaa frantically shouted orders to the lesser demons remaining, leathery wings slowly unfurled from her back. Her fingertips tingled, and her warglaives materialized in her hands — just as the distant shouts of The Illidari are advancing! surfaced.
Ihaa finally turned to her prisoner, only to see an unchained monster poised to release herself onto the eredar. For the first time, fear flashed across the demon’ face.
“I’ll be sure to kill you swiftly.” Nyctia promised with a dark smirk. The vile presence shrieked with anticipation, eager for bloodshed. “But I’ll quite enjoy it. Every second of it.”
And as Nyctia charged towards her target, relishing in Ihaa’s enraged scream, she couldn’t help but wonder if she so despised the demon soul within her because it was a mirror image of her own.