Morgauze looked through the hole in Liam’s chest. She grumbled a bit and then looked at him with what was left of her good eye. “A spear did this?” Liam nodded and she continued. “How you’re not dead is beyond me.”
Abe interrupted her. “Morg, we’re all dead. Remember?”
“Not like that you gint. I mean dead dead. The true death. Eviscerating the Forsaken right out of you.” She shook her head. “Darndest thing I’ve seen in some time.” She took a swill from her bottle and looked at Liam again. “You’re going to feel a slight sensation in a second. You might not like it.”
As Liam cocked his head to the side, trying to comprehend what she meant, her arms flew up in the air and a searing pain ripped through his body, the likes of which he had never felt. He screamed out in agony, before doubling over for a moment. He was on his hands and knees, clearing his head, while Morgauze cackled a few feet away. “What the hell is wrong with you, you crazy old bat???”
Abe was the one who responded again. “Relax, she does that to every Forsaken the first time she heals them. Before you get too upset, understand that she’s getting it far worse than you.”
As he rose to his feet, Liam glared at the blacksmith. “I find that hard to believe. She’s laughing her boney backside off!”
Morgauze laughed a few more moments before she collected herself and took another swig from the bottle. “It’s true, it is. You see, few of us Forsaken can still draw on the power of the light in our afterlife. To do so not only takes a heck of a lot of strength, but endurance. It’s a binding heal, really. We suffer having to draw upon the light, and then we suffer the same pain as the individual we cast the spell on.” She rubbed the back of her neck a moment, and then continued. “With someone like that Tauren friend of yours, they don’t feel any pain when a healing spell is cast upon them. So needless to say, we prefer to heal the living.”
Liam interrupted. “If the spear didn’t truly kill me, then what harm was done if I’m already…um…well, sort of dead already?”
She thought for a moment, collaberating an answer. “You’re fond of the bow. Imagine you’re out with that dog of yours, be it hunting, or fending off more of those damn Murlocs. Suddenly, you’re out of arrows.” She sat down in a chair before continuing. “Depending on the situation you’re in, you’d be out of luck about that moment. Your undead body is similar. There’s only so much to it. You might not feel each little nick it takes. But if it isn’t healed, then it’s gone. Sooner or later…”
“…I’m out of arrows.” She nodded at him, happy to have conveyed the scenario properly to him. It stood to reason that nothing about being undead was even close to normal. He thanked her for her time and went back outside into the night air where he found Drake next to the Tauren in which he felt they were now indebted. Liam looked to the sky and gave a thanks to whatever lead to Kheiro being in their place at the right time. “Are you two the best of friends now, then?” he asked the pair.
“I would not say that” came the deep voice of Kheiro. “I was merely asking your companion here what kind of Forsaken he thought you may be.”
The Tauren may as well have asked Liam to flap his arms and fly. He might’ve looked less puzzled at that. Kheiro seemed to sense that and continued.
“From my experience, the Undead that are not under the control of the Lich King seem to serve the Dark Lady, or in the greater picture, the Horde. There are also those rare exceptions who tend to decline service to either and carve their own Forsaken path.”
Liam looked up at Kheiro. Every time he spoke, the words made his bones rattle. Yet there was warmth and wisdom in every single word. It tended to put him at ease, and then he’d curse himself for letting his guard down so easily. Still, there was something calming about the Tauren. He thought for a moment about what Kheiro was saying. Lady Sylvanas was the queen of his people, but it had been made clear to him that he was by no means bound to her. In his own mind he believed to be less bound than others might have felt because he never actually heard her voice before returning as an Undead.
“Right now, Kheiro, I really don’t know.” It was true. He knew about as much about this “Horde” as he did about his own life after life. Only what others told him. Robert explained the tribes of many Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren had formed an alliance under the guidance of one Orc in particular, and that the Forsaken were welcome in it, given that it was with some very watchful eyes. Apparently some Forsaken had not done their people any favours at a place called the Wrathgate. “I know little about this Horde, or even my place in the Eastern Kingdoms. I used to call Southshore home, but it’s been made clear I would not be welcomed there in my current existence.”
The Tauren nodded. As Liam had noticed during their return from the battle with the Murlocs, Kheiro never responded to anything immediately. Even when there was a clear answer he seemed to take his time to give it. When something seemed to require the Tauren to draw on additional wisdom, the response was several moments longer in coming. Yet every time, the answer seemed appropriate. It should have come as no surprise that the words that followed seemed to make some sense to Liam, words that he’d never considered.
“If you do not know your place in the Eastern Kingdoms, Liam, then perhaps that is because it is not in them.”
Liam sighed. Kheiro did not say the words matter of factly. They came in the form of a question, but one that wasn’t rhetorical or fully sincere at the same time. He felt like the Tauren knew the answer, but Liam had to figure it out on his own. He never was fond of riddles. But he wasn’t mad at Kheiro, because Liam was certain that voice couldn’t enrage a dragon. Grounded. That was how it felt.
Liam looked down at Drake, as he always did when he sought truth. He looked into the dog’s eyes and if Liam’s face could form concern it would have because he truly felt as though the answer wasn’t there. In this case, Drake didn’t seem excited one way or the other. This decision was clearly all on Liam’s shoulders. “If you’re right, where do I go? Furthermore, what do I do when I get there?” Liam didn’t look up at the Tauren, nor did he ask the question to him directly. It was more of himself and Drake. Still, the Tauren shared his thought on the matter.
“Only the Eartmother knows the answer to that.” Kheiro ran his massive hand down his beard. “Then again, there is the possibility that instead of seeking out answers, one might find you instead.”
Liam nodded. “Aside from a trip to Ironforge in my youth, I’ve never been outside the human lands. Aside from Drake, I can’t say it’s rewarded me with much.” He laughed. “Heck, I still don’t know how I even died in the first place!” He knelt down and called Drake to him. The dog instinctively sat in front of his master, facing away from him. Liam wrapped his arms around him and leaned his head in against the dog while giving his chest a firm rub. He then gave the dog a good scratch along the side of the head before standing up again.
“It seems we’re about to take a new path, then.”
The Tauren seemed to approve as he nodded back.
“It wouldn’t hurt to have a guide that at least knows the way.” He smiled up at Kheiro. Well, as well as a man with next to no skin on his lower jaw could smile. “That is to say, if you knew of anyone interested.”
“I had planned to stay a bit longer, to be honest.” The words resonated through Liam. “But, one never questions what the Earthmother lays before him. It is clear the events of this night are part of something more, and I would be tempting chaos to neglect it.” The Tauren put his hands on Liam’s shoulders, almost weightless despite their firm hold. “Before you walk this path, I believe you need to soar with the eagles.”