Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Valkyrjur's Arms

A Valkyrja was one who soared over the battlefield, choosing the worthy among the slain. These Valkyrjur would then bring these warriors to the afterlife, where they are trained to fight the final battle against evil in the end.

At least, that was the story that the dwarves of the Explorer's League would tell me when I asked them about the Val'kyr, those undead Vrykul women that have joined the Lich King. This does not make any sense, though. If the Valkyrjur chose slain warriors to someday fight in the final battle against evil, what were these Val'kyr doing helping the Scourge.

"No, lassie... no, no, no...," said the dwarf. "The original Valkyrja was probably what Arthas had in mind when he named these abominations as such. All I'm sayin' is that when he was young, y'know, just a wee lad, he probably heard this story and remembered all about ladies taking the slain to where they should be—that is, he presumed that he can call them like tha'. But no, these undead things are not they."

I was sitting at an inn in Ironforge after a trip to resupply, when Greywhisker of the Explorer's League walks in and we greet each other. Knowing that they were uncovering plenty of lore even older than any known by the Kaldorei, I asked him about the Titans and the Old Gods. It was when I mentioned fighting Val'kyr that he quoted that tidbit about the Valkyrja. So, the Valkyrja was a myth that Arthas knew as a child and now presumes to entitle his undead women troops, and I tell Greywhisker this.

"Just what I've been sayin', lass," he said. "'Cept that, if our data is any accurate and the relics we found authentic, then the Valkyrjur existed. Probably very long ago, and all gone. They were living Vrykul women who did some stuff for the Titans."

"Relics?" I asked. "They left bones or graves?"

"Oh, yeah. Even weaponry, 'cept that whatever weaponry we find are usually broken. Graves disturbed, too, so no complete bodies. Looks like it isn't just dead dragons that the Scourge are trying to resurrect, but Vrykul (that is, instead of converting living Vrykul to undeath) and weapons."

"Yes, weapons," he continued, at my incredulous look. "Their arsenal may be good, but remember, we have them under siege—their production is hampered. It makes sense to merely desecrate these graves, take ready-made, Titan-inspired weaponry and corrupt them for their own use."


Corrupting weapons for the use of the Scourge. I thought long about that as I took the boat back to Northrend. Before I engaged in heavy raiding, my friend Lazaroth crafted a gun for me to use; that weapon design was, at the time, considered one of the best suited for front-line use.

Yet, in my first forays into the citadel of Naxxramas, we found plenty of corrupted weaponry and armor that was clearly superior to anything we can craft. They were so good that it was worth the karma we expended to cleanse the weapons of corruption... or at least, contain them.

With enough karma, I was able to replace the gun and my swords, and outfit myself with an accursed bow and cryptfiend polearm.

These weapons, obviously, have gone through the corruption process. As such, while they were clearly powerful, I had to spend a full night adjusting the enchantments and gems on my armor so that I am not weakened by using these implements.

That being said, we were able to salvage pieces of armor and gear that, somehow, had survived corruption... or at least, had undergone very little. Usually, these gear were those that those in the holy and restoration orders can wear. We also found that the deeper we pushed into the dread citadel, the instances of recovering uncorrupted gear grew. We found, also, that larger raiding groups were better able to accomplish this task.

Our tour of duty was not limited to just assaulting Naxxramas, but also to counter the machinations of our erstwhile ally—Malygos. I was pleased when Alextrasza (in reward for engagements against Malygos) gave me a weapon that was better than the cryptfiend one.

I mean, sure, it was a magus staff (salvaged, perhaps, from the battle magi of Malygos?) and while it did not confer as much power as the cryptfiend's bite, at least it isn't cursed. Because it had sharp, permanently frozen ice shards on the ends, I was able to use the magus staff as a polearm; furthermore, sticking one end into the ground, it helped stabilize my ranged weapons and made it easier to hit adversaries.

But two events transpired that saw me wielding two uncorrupted weapons, one ranged and one staff.

We had been fighting our way through the Death Knight academy in order to take out Kel'thuzad's line of reinforcements. At the very end, we were faced with Baron Rivendare and his three horsemen cohorts. Our losses, as one can expect, were heavy. I, myself, was so heavily injured and despaired of life when I heard the death knight on the white horse cry out to me as I engaged him: "Do not continue! Turn back while there's still time!"

I knew that voice. It belonged to he whom I loved in my youth. "Sir Zeliek?" I asked. "I- I have no choice but to obey!" he cried despairingly.

As a child, I admired him from afar—the only human I thought I had feelings for. I thought him lost... then I find him here. Turned into- into this?! I cried out and with my last ounce of strength, my arrows spent, I charged him.

Later, I was told that the other death knights had also been dispatched at the time... but after I was healed (by whom, I have forgotten... Rohdan? Dwarrow? Kaidwyn?) I walked slowly to where Zeliek lay. No, he was dead already... with no more words for me. But in his harness was an uncorrupted crossbow.

I took it.

Later, after the battle with the frostwyrm, we battled in Kel'thuzad's antechamber. In the midst of the fight, some undead nerubians came to lend assistance. Chilli, however, begged me to tell the others not to kill these—they were her uncles. With comrades and friends falling left and right around me, I was hard-pressed to grant her request. "Please," she hissed. "I assure you, they will stop attacking when Kel'thuzad has been defeated."

And so we concentrated on Kel'thuzad, while one of the paladins took the nerubians on a goose chase around the room. As soon as Kel'thuzad disappeared, Chilli's uncles, true to her word, scampered away. They, too, were undead... forced to obey... forced to kill without wanting to and begging for us to just run away.

Would I also someday plead as Chilli did when I meet Mórrígan again? Or will I just kill her, as I did with Zeliek?

Somewhere in the antechamber, I found a something that I mistook, at first, to be a hobby horse toy but turned out to be what looked like an uncorrupted Druid staff. Staris, the Burning Dragoons' leader, and Juntei of the Free Company also found some. I picked it up...

This, too, I took.


Later, in Wintergarde Keep, I met up with Greywhisker again.

"Hey there, m'lass!" he called. "How're you?"

"Good," I tell him. "Yourself?"

"Ah, you know how it is. I'm too old to go anywhere near the frontlines, but at least all the collated data filters down to us. I found out more about your Valkyrja... primarily, the weapons they used."

I stood up from where I had been sitting on the floor with my meal and walked over to him as he held up a parchment.

"These Valkyrja," he said, "they were empowered by the Titans to help usher worthy souls that have been slain to the afterlife, where dwell the brave and pure. They were also tasked with going after corrupted souls to put them at peace. Well, their mission was so sacred that eventually, they developed special ceremonial weapons—not the source of their power, naturally, but certainly good augments—that reflected their dedication to their mission."

I bent over to look over his shoulder, and stared at the illustrated manuscript I saw in his hand. The dwarf continued speaking.

"Two weapons stand out: the Final Voyage, a crossbow which symbolizes the final boat trip that these worthy warriors undertake to finally arive at their Journey's End, symbolized by this staff, where they will find happiness forever. We've been getting reports of these being found inside Naxxramas... very rare, of course, but they exist. They're nowhere near as potent as some of those Titan-made stuff, but for weapons made by mortals (of which the Vrykul once were), they're pretty much the 'best-in-slot', as they say. Hey! What've you got there?"

Greywhisker's eyes grew wide as he noticed my arms, then took out a pad and started taking notes.


Anonymous said...

That was well done. Well done, indeed.