At the End of the World

All Rhianon could see were the churning seas frothing and foaming as they wound around the heart of the Maelstrom.

It seemed like it had been only moments before that they had been plummeting through the heavens and clutching for footholds on the back of the Destroyer. Now, they stood on a rocky outcropping near the mouth of the Maelstrom, just steps away from where that vile dragon had plunged into the water. The rest of the forces were finally taking a well-deserved breather and tending to their wounds. Some were even rifling through the store of treasures the Aspects had offered in thanks.

The resting adventurers murmured among themselves, voices steady yet unsure. “Finally – he’s been pushed back.” “Time to pack up once we get this settled.” “What kind of celebration do you think they’ll throw for us in the city?”

The shaman shook her head and looked out over the Maelstrom, eyes scanning the horizon. Aside from the brilliant light cast from the very center of the Maelstrom and the waves whirling around beneath her hooves, the landscape was oddly lifeless, just sea and silent sky. The occasional breeze danced by her head, but the ordinary voices of the seas and the earth were silent. It was as if all of Azeroth itself converged onto this point – and became nothingness.

And then, out of the stillness, there was something. Hot winds whirled up from the heart of the Maelstrom, bearing the heavy scents of soot and ash, and trailing behind these winds, the shrieking cries of the ocean itself, heaving in agony. The screams of the ocean spirits were so shrill that that all else became silent to Rhianon, even Nozdormu’s rich voice only a vague echo of urgency in her ears. She stepped backwards,  digging her hooves into the rocky soil.

From the Maelstrom itself, the Destroyer rose, body broken but spirit still fighting.. Wings and arm talons wrapped in molten sinews spiraled up into the sky and hurtled down towards the rocky islands surrounding the Maelstrom. The impact of a magma-steeped talon driving itself into the very island they were resting knocked Rhianon towards the water, the light fingers of a zephyr breeze saving her at the very last moment from a perilous fall.

Shaking from both the force of the impact and fear, she drew herself up and stumbled backwards from the edge. She could hear Dolraan’s shouts to regroup echoing over Deathwing’s roar, and she took a moment to breath, steeling herself for what she knew was to come. When Rhianon finally turned back to rejoin the others, she froze for a moment as she watched the air behind her friends condense and take on form.

At first, the figures were vague, only gray shadows against the lightning-spattered sky, but then their features solidified. Scores of spirits hovered behind her companions, some old, some young, male and female alike, and all of them watching her, expressions firm.

A whispering breeze wound around her again, its echoing voice familiar and comforting.

We stand with you, shaman. You and your friends do not face the End alone.

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