Atun and Mallin

Inspired by this picture

I was not always called Atun. In the Days Before, I was called… No. I do not wish to say what my name was. That Draenei is dead, and he died well. We Exiles have run so often, but on that day, he did not run, but stood, and fought, and died. Had I known that this, this was to be my fate, then I would have run. I would have run to a deep ravine, or even to a burning volcano, and thrown myself into the depths. Anything to keep myself from being taken, stolen, body and soul. I have done terrible things. It is tempting to say that I was made to do terrible things, but that is not the whole truth. The things I did at the behest of the Lich King, I did because I wanted to do them. I wanted to slaughter, rejoiced in the looks of despair, the sight of the lesser beings soiling themselves in fear as I approached, then the screams of agony as I made real their fears, and made them suffer in ways they could never have imagined. I remember the pleasure, and I am sickened.

When the Lich King was defeated at Light’s Hope Chapel, and the shells fell from our eyes, and the evil within us was dragged, shrieking, out into the light, then I had only one wish. Oblivion. Let Final Death come to me. Finally, let me rest. I would have ended it all, there, then. I would have taken that accursed rune-blade, forged in the blood of so many innocents, and turned it on myself. Whether I could have, I do not know, because on that day, I met her.

She is a creature bathed, drenched, overflowing with the Holy Light, and in all of creation there is no one more beautiful than she. She is slender, delicate. Her hair falls in gentle curls down her back, and her soft blue skin is untouched by any marks. Still, she could be cursed with warts, fat, with ragged spikes for hair, misshapen horns on her head, and still, the look in her eyes would set her above the goddesses of all the races of Azeroth. She is all that is good, and to know that my former self died to keep her from harm, reconciles me with the death of who I once was.

And she loves me. She says it often. She shows it in her smile, whenever her gaze falls on me. The touch of her hand speaks louder than mere words. She loves me, knowing full well who and what I am. I have not told her any of the things I have done, and if the Naaru still answer the prayers of one such as I, let her remain ignorant of my crimes. She knows of them, and knows that they are terrible. Let that be the extent of her knowledge.

I dare not love her. I do not deserve to rejoice in the sight of the very creature that my kind were created to destroy. I still know how to destroy her, how to drain her of life, how to wrench every drop of suffering from this flawless creature, till nothing is left of her. I have watched women like her die, after I did my worst to them. She knows it, and still she comes to me, puts her arms round me and closes her eyes, trusting as a child. I cannot help but love her.

I know this must end. I am a tool of evil, even if I am forged out of the flesh and blood and soul of one who once walked in the Light. There is no cure. There is no returning. I am not alive, for I cannot create more life, only destroy it. Ghosts haunt me, not only my victims, but also those who stood beside me under the banner of the Lich King. They tempt me. They urge me to fight again, to kill, to return to the boundless cruelty I was capable of, and every moment I do not yield to them racks me with pain. Still, even that pain is nothing compared to the perfect torment that she bestows on me. She shines before me, overflows with it, burns my soul with it, and as long as she lives, I will never be free of it.

Hope.

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