Brinnea limps back to the other fighters, who have seemingly slain Accalia. Vionora is on the ground, and the warlock from before is cradling her limp body. Brinnea could tell the elf had died, she knew what a corpse felt like. As the blood from her armor stitched her wounds back together, Brinnea felt the ground give way. A monstrous chasm opened like a wolf’s jaws beneath her feet. It was so sudden, she slipped into the abyss and tumbled silently down, down, down…until she felt as though no longer falling, but floating.
Brinnea willed herself to try and stand. She felt oddly rejuvenated, as if her body’s power had been restored. She didn’t question it. Glancing around at her surroundings, she noticed that the space was pitch black, and the ‘ground’ she stood on was flat and see-through. Far below, there appeared to be an orb of dark energy. She looked around, but saw none of the others who had fought Accalia. Then she noticed that far above was an orb of light, the same size as the dark one below. It hurt to look up at it, so she shielded her eyes beneath her Shado-pan hat. The top half of the space was lit by the orb of light, but towards the bottom it was dark and voidlike.
Brinnea spun around, looking for the wolf she was supposed to slay. “Accalia!” she shouted, “Come and face me! You have fed on my soul for long enough!” She got no reply. Then the ground seemed to shift around her. The orb below began to stretch in places. Tendrils of shadow reached for the glass she stood on. Where the tendrils touched, figures wreathed in shadow formed. Brinnea readied her runeblade for a fight. The first figure took shape, and its features came into view. It was Brinnea’s husband, Parigan.
He looked just as he had when he was alive. His long black hair was bundled into a knot behind his head, and he wore a tattered trench coat, slathered in blood. Her blood. This was the Parigan she remembered from the day of their daughter’s birth. Parigan’s eyes glowed yellow, as they had when he was raised as Forsaken. “Brinnea,” he said, his voice reverberating much like a death knight’s, “It has been so long since I’ve seen you.” Other figures began to take shape around her. Her mother, Parigan’s father, and brother. And one figure was someone she had only seen in her dreams. It was a young looking girl, a teenager. Her hair was auburn as Brinnea’s was, and her skin was pale and fair. Her eyes glistened a deep blue, and her smile warmed Brinnea’s frozen heart. She was her daughter, the one she never had a chance to raise. The one who died as soon as she had been born.
Brinnea lowered her weapon as the figures approached her, eyes all beginning to glow the same yellow as Parigan’s. Her husband and daughter stood, hand in hand. “Mom,” the girl said, “We all missed you. Why don’t you visit anymore?” That soft voice, the voice she always imagined for her baby girl, melted the cold in Brinnea’s soul. She removed her hat, exposing the mark of Accalia, one circle overlapping another. Then she pulled the red scarf from her face. She smiled, a stream of tears running from her eyes. “I did not mean to leave you, child. But I have a life to live, duties to fulfill. I cannot squander the gift I have been given, even for you. I am sorry, but the time I have left is too precious to throw away.”
Brinnea’s instincts warned her of danger. She ducked, just as Ersolon’s mace swung through where her head had been. Parigan’s brother looked splendid in his Gilnean soldier’s armor. His face told a tale of sadness and rage. Brinnea backed off, putting the figures in front of her. “I do not wish to hurt any of you. I came for Accalia.”
Mayes, Parigan’s father, spoke. “Accalia is none of your concern. You no longer need to bear the weight of worry on your shoulders. All you have to do is give in.” The nobleman vanished without a trace. Brinnea felt a tingle in her spine and spun around, barely knocking Mayes’ daggers from their path towards her back. She steeled herself, remembering that these were only figments of her own mind. She brought her blade back around to cleave through Mayes, but he expertly backstepped and moved back in for another attack. Brinnea was forced to back up. She felt a blunt impact on her back, and she fell into Mayes’ daggers. Ersolon grabbed her armor from behind and threw her to the ground. Poison coursed through her veins, she could feel it burning away her insides. Brinnea hardened her blood, her bones, and her flesh. She froze her arms and bounced to her feet. Maria, her mother, came forward with a shortsword. She shouted and obliterated the frail woman. Maria’s figure blasted apart into tiny pieces, like a window. Brinnea had little time to think about it as Ersolon, Parigan, and Mayes all flanked her from three directions and charged.
Brinnea pinned her focus to the three men trying to kill her. They were all that mattered, not who they were, or what they were. She shunned away all thought and swung her blade. Parigan’s axe flew out of his hand with the force of her parry. A kick stopped Ersolon short, and a blast of frost froze Ersolon in place. Brinnea brought her blade down on Parigan with a vicious overhead. He was crushed into pieces under the force of it. Ersolon recovered and moved to bash her skull with his mace, but she moved in close, pulling her dagger from her belt and shoving the point through his heart. The figure shattered. Mayes slashed her leg from behind. He had broken free quicker than she had expected. Nevertheless, Brinnea spun around, kicking Mayes’ ribcage, and brought her sword down on his spine. He, too, shattered.
Brinnea turned back to face the only figure left, her daughter. A sharpness thudded into her chest. Her daughter had a bow in her hands. Brinnea doubled over in pain, then shrugged it off and began to charge. Another arrow his her leg, slowing her down. Her daughter started back off slowly, methodically firing arrows at Brinnea. The death knight finally overtook her, and slammed her into the ground. Brinnea fell to the ground, pelted with arrows, bleeding from several wounds. Her iceblood had begun to flow normally, allowing the poison to continue eating away at her.
More tears came unbidden to her eyes. She pulled the arrows from her armor one by one, willing her blood to return to her body. She sealed the wounds with frost magic and stood slowly. She shouted, angrier than before, “Accalia! Your apparitions will not end me so easily! Come forward and face me, coward!” The dark orb below began to move again. More tendrils than before rose. She tried to count them. Ten, twenty, thirty. Too many began to rise. Dozens of figures took form around her. They were all people she recognized, people from her childhood, her fellow knights of the Ebon Blade and the Scourge, soldiers of the Alliance and the Horde, and members of the Twilight Empire. They all amassed around her, and spoke with one voice, “Let the Dark in!” Then they began to charge.
She was overwhelmed before she could get one attack in. There were so many of them, all baring down on her. Those near her placed their hands on her, and she felt dark power course through her body. She yelled out defiantly, “No! I will not submit! Not again!” Then the dark overtook her. She rose, and the figures stepped back. She looked over her hands. They emitted a dark aura. A voice in her mind said, “The Dark is what you are. Do not shun it, and you shall never fear again.” Brinnea knew what she must do.
She gazed into the dark void around her. She lifted a hand, and each of the other figures did the same. Together, they unveiled the dark and revealed the light. Somewhere in between both sides, Accalia’s monstrous worglike figure appeared. It glared at them all with burning yellow eyes. “NO! YOU SHALL NOT WIN!” she bellowed at them all. The figures drew what weapons they had. Brinnea readied her runeblade. They charged the beast. With so many crashing into her at once, the beast could not stand her ground. She fell, and they hacked her to bits. Part of her figure drifted off into the light, and a part became one with the dark. Once that was done, Brinnea watched as the figures all bid her farewell and drifted back into the dark below.
The light from above began to get closer, or perhaps she was floating again. In any case, it overtook her body, and she was surrounded by it. Only this time, the light did not burn her as she was used to. Instead, she felt warm. Warmer than she had ever felt when alive. The darkness within her receded. She felt alive again. It only lasted a moment, but she caught a glimpse of her husband and daughter. They watched her float on by, waving. She waved back, and then it was over.
Her eyes flittered open. She was laying against the side of a familiar building. She quickly remembered this as her home in Gilneas. Brinnea stood, weary from her hurts and from what she remembered of her dream. She did not, however, feel the weight of Accalia’s mark as she had before. The death knight entered her old home, looking around at the dusty furniture and shattered windows. She felt at peace for the first time in a long while. Brinnea walked to the hearth, found her favorite chair, and took a rest. It began to rain outside. Things were as they should be.