Fall of the Lich King

Thread Description
A different take on the end of Arthas

Dimunsis

Straggot
This is something I've been wanting to mess around with for a while and whipped this up in about 2 hours. The ending of patch 3.4 and Icecrown Citadel was a bit of a let down with the themes and stories they were telling. Everything had been building to this point, but Blizzard went down the 'Tirion is the big hero here' scenario.
What I've written here is what I feel should have been the ending, starting off at near the end of the actual fight. If any of you remember anything about the death knight starting zone story, I think you'd agree this is much better. Obviously, this is a rather short story, and needs a lot of work because I feel it lacks a bit of polish, but hey, that's what rough drafts are for!


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"LIGHT, GRANT ME ONE FINAL BLESSING! GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO SHATTER THESE BONDS!"

A glowing surge of light flooded the solid chunk of ice imprisoning Tirion Fordring, cracking and crumbling before giving under the immense power of the Light. Tirion gripped the Ashbringer with all his might as a single name left his mouth.

"ARTHAS!"

He lunged forward, to strike the Lich King down, swinging the white-glowing blade, only to be met with a clash against Frostmourne and the piercing, cold stare of his opponent.

"So, your cursed Light has come to your aid once again. But why hasn't it aided THEM?" The Lich King tilted his head towards the champions laid out around the top of Icecrown, all of them clinging to life by a thread. "Are they UNWORTHY?"

Tirion felt a force push him back as he disengaged from the clash, the strain of combat starting to rear its head. "They ARE worthy Arthas! But it has come down to just you and me. They have valiantly given their lives to end your reign of terror and you WILL NOT besmirch their good names!" He charged forward again, swinging the Ashbringer wide, only to be parried and kicked to the ground by the heavy saronite boot of the Lich King. "Agh...I cannot, I will not let their sacrifice be in vain." Using the Ashbringer as a crutch, Tirion pulled himself to his feet, his breath becoming heavy and ragged. "And I will not die until you are slain, monster!"

"Then you have forsaken your comrades."

Before Tirion could react, he felt the icy grip of the Lich Kings hand around his throat, being lifted off the ground. He choked for air as the grip grew tighter.

"You're willing to sacrifice so many souls, including your own, as long as you achieve your goal. But where does that leave the survivors?"

In panic, Tirion began wildly swinging the Ashbringer at the Lich King, only to be met against Frostmourne.

"You leave them to suffer alone. To leave them to fend against the lesser and greater evils of this world."

The world began to grow dark, the Light and life starting to fade from Tirions eyes.

"How very selfish of the man who sees himself as selfle-what!?"

Tirion fell to the icy ground, gasping for air as the world around him came back into focus. He looked up to see Darion Mograine stabbing a blade into the Lich Kings back and promptly thrown back like a mere stone. "Da-Darion, you mustn't be here! He'll destroy you!"

"I came to see his corpse, only to find YOU nearly becoming one! What are you DOING, Tirion!?"

The paladin attempted to rise, but his body failed him, allowing what strength he had left to keep the Ashbringer in his hand. "I cannot...I cannot guarantee your safety, Darion! I can no longer-"

"IF I DIE, I WOULD RATHER IT BE ON MY FEET, STANDING IN DEFIANCE AGAINST THE LICH KING! IF I DIE, I WILL DIE HERE WITH YOU, TIRION!"

Tirion gasped as he watched his comrade charge at the Lich King, clashing against Frostmourne and again being tossed away. A chuckle came from the frosted helm of the Lich King, sending chills down his spine.

"Those words are familiar, betrayer. No matter, Tirion shall become my new death knight, but you will not see it, as you will suffer your true death."

Tirion felt his body rise from the ground, seeing the tip of Frostmourne pointed at him. A vortex of wailing souls swirled around them, and the paladin realized what was to come. He watched as Darion was frozen in place, the icy grip of the Lich King proving too strong.

"I told you, Tirion, that next we meet, it would not be on holy ground. Touching, is it, that both the Light of the living and the power of the undead combined is unable to stand against me. This day, you will die."

The pull of Frostmourne was too great, too strong. Tirion knew that even with the Lights blessing, he couldn't stand against the Lich King. His strength nearly gone, his eyes rested on Darion, the man who was once his enemy, a man freed from the shackles of cursed undeath.
"No Arthas...that day is not today..."
Tirion bellowed out to his comrade, "DARION!", and with the last of his waning strength, threw the Ashbringer across the top of Icecrown, the blade catching into the hands of Darion Mograine. Tirion smiled as the world around him grew dark.



"ARTHAS!!!"

The blistering light of the Ashbringer burned against the death knights hands, only strengthening his grip and resolve. The Lich King turned to Darion, a sense of shock coming from the gutteral voice of the helm.

"Impossible! You should not be able to even touch that blade!"

Darion held the Ashbringer down at his side, readying himself to charge. "I may be forsaken by the Light and damned for eternity, but I will suffer a thousand hells if it means seeing you dead!" As the last words left his lips, Darion dashed forward, bringing the Ashbringer up from below. The Lich King brought Frostmourne down to clash, only to be met with sound of shattering metal and a bright, burning Light.
 

Beginner

Regular
Regular
Wrath was my favourite expac, back when Blizz actually cared. :konata-cry:

Not bad writing though.
... Yeah, hard to have much to say when something's good, especially on a work this short.
Will admit, your phrasing takes a bit of getting used to - feels like you just have an idiosyncratic way of wording things.
I'd have to see a longer piece from you before I can comment with any confidence there. :kanna-inspect:
Main thing is there's nothing really bad that stands out, another pass just to clean it up might be all you need to do to finish it.

>Lacks polish
Lack of apostrophes was a dead give away.

Now, I do have one area of concern, but it's not necessarily a commentary on your writing at all.
What I mean is: I'm not sure what to make of the flow. It's like the action is very stop-start - like, head image is very, 'character does thing real quick, so he can get back to talking for a bit'.
The thing is though, that's also pretty much how Blizzard does all their writing for all in-game events, and given that you're rewriting an in-game event... :anime-think:

>Mograine is the real hero
Tirion kinda felt like it came outta nowhere, so I fully get you on this point.
 

Dimunsis

Straggot
Will admit, your phrasing takes a bit of getting used to - feels like you just have an idiosyncratic way of wording things.
Mind elaborating? Just need to say, I'm kind of retarded, and even with English being my first language, I don't know the meaning of some words.

Main thing is there's nothing really bad that stands out, another pass just to clean it up might be all you need to do to finish it.

>Lacks polish
Lack of apostrophes was a dead give away.
See above. I know apostrophes are used in regards to ownership and plurals, but I can never remember, except for shortened words, like "who's". Can't remember the proper term.

Now, I do have one area of concern, but it's not necessarily a commentary on your writing at all.
What I mean is: I'm not sure what to make of the flow. It's like the action is very stop-start - like, head image is very, 'character does thing real quick, so he can get back to talking for a bit'.
The thing is though, that's also pretty much how Blizzard does all their writing for all in-game events, and given that you're rewriting an in-game event... :anime-think:
Yeah, I kind of whipped it up while rewatching the Battle for Light's Hope and the end of the Lich King fight, can most definitely go back and put a bit more fluff into it. And don't worry, I don't believe my other bits of writing (the ones I am discontinuing because reasons) aren't set up like this IIRC. But I get what you mean in this case.

>Mograine is the real hero
Tirion kinda felt like it came outta nowhere, so I fully get you on this point.
They literally had the best setup. Tirion helps Darion realize Arthas was using the death knights and didn't care if they lived or died, and it was because Darion tossed the Ashbringer to Tirion that they were even able to survive that attack. It just MAKES SENSE to have it done again but swap sides at the very end. It's like poetry, it rhymes.
 

Beginner

Regular
Regular
Mind elaborating? Just need to say, I'm kind of retarded, and even with English being my first language, I don't know the meaning of some words.
"The paladin attempted to rise, but his body failed him, allowing what strength he had left to keep the Ashbringer in his hand."
Like, it's not wrong, I get what you're trying to explain. It's just you've wound up with an active voice that comes off as passive. Not something you see a lot.
Like I said, not used to it. I'm too used to having writers basically yelling football commentary at me through the page.
See above. I know apostrophes are used in regards to ownership and plurals, but I can never remember, except for shortened words, like "who's". Can't remember the proper term.
>Ownership
I think I follow, because 'his and hers' don't have apostrophes but on the end of a name like 'Darion's' it does.
Way I think of it, it's the possessive apostrophe is actually a kind of contraction as you're cramming his/hers onto the name: 'Darion, his arm...'
>Shortened words
Contractions is the term you're looking for.
 

Grönsak

Always drunk.
Staff member
Good writing but I can't really comment because I reject WOW in its entirety. So as far as I'm concerned Arthas is still sitting on the frozen throne his mind merged with Ner'zhul.
 

Valenthyne

Cunning Linguist
Staff member
Well, this is nice to see. As someone whose writing catalog largely deals with characters and stories from the Warcraft universe, it's always nice to read others' takes regarding things they'd like to see. I'll start off by saying that, as Beginner mentioned, it was a fairly good read, if not a bit short, but it has some problems you should address on subsequent edits.
I know apostrophes are used in regards to ownership and plurals, but I can never remember, except for shortened words, like "who's".
Beginner already touched on this a bit, but specifically to address your example here, "who's" is a contraction of "who + is" or "who + has". The possessive form for "who" is "whose".

Contraction: Who's coming to dinner tonight?
Possessive: Whose jacket is this?

There is no general rule to tell whether or not an "apostrophe + s" is making a contraction or a possessive outside of memorization and knowing when it would be valid and when it wouldn't. It's not a big mistake though as anyone reading should almost always tell what your intent was, but it's a nice idea to brush up and clean out these mistakes anyway for quality's sake.
They literally had the best setup. Tirion helps Darion realize Arthas was using the death knights and didn't care if they lived or died, and it was because Darion tossed the Ashbringer to Tirion that they were even able to survive that attack. It just MAKES SENSE to have it done again but swap sides at the very end. It's like poetry, it rhymes.
I actually appreciate the callback the most from what you've written here in the sense that Tirion hands off the Ashbringer this time back to Darion. That is actually very well designed and touching as well.

Not keen on Tirion dying like that, though it is a much better and more fitting fate than what happened to him in Legion. To offer some advice as far as lore goes, I do not think that Arthas in a weakened state would be able to so readily defeat Tirion like that, especially as he largely did not participate in the fight. If you really want this to be the end result for him, then I would suggest adding in a battle scene that justifies the decision and pays proper respect to both characters.

You know, don't pull a Sylvanas vs. Bolvar. Something more like Arthas vs. Illidan.
Wrath was my favourite expac, back when Blizz actually cared. :konata-cry:
Wrath is my favorite as well, but Blizzard didn't really stop caring until Battle for Azeroth. Legion was actually a very good expansion, both in terms of story and gameplay.
>Mograine is the real hero
Tirion kinda felt like it came outta nowhere, so I fully get you on this point.
I'm sorry brothers, and this might me fangirling for paladins a bit, but Tirion's participation in the charge on Icecrown and ultimate destruction of Arthas was fully legitimate.

Would Darion has been a better choice? Yes, I think so actually. I would definitely agree his role in things was not as prominent as it should have been, especially since this was the death knight expansion, but it's pretty much the job of the paladin (arguably the best alive aside from Turalyon who's too busy getting some high elf snatch elsewhere) to slay the mortal enemies of the Light. In that sense, I would also argue it was just as much of a paladin expansion.

But of course, we aren't here to argue Warcraft lore as much as enjoy and critique the writing.
What I mean is: I'm not sure what to make of the flow. It's like the action is very stop-start - like, head image is very, 'character does thing real quick, so he can get back to talking for a bit'.
The thing is though, that's also pretty much how Blizzard does all their writing for all in-game events, and given that you're rewriting an in-game event... :anime-think:
This was my exact thought, honestly. When I was reading this, I envisioned it very well as either an in-game cutscene or a scenario where the character models were actually acting things out. As a result, I don't think it's that much of a demerit, but if this is intended as a written work it could be improved a bit. Otherwise, you're not going to want a lot of fluff of extraneous bits to pad things out. Going to have to decide if you want this to be a rewrite of the scenario or a textualized form of it.
 

Dimunsis

Straggot
Not keen on Tirion dying like that, though it is a much better and more fitting fate than what happened to him in Legion. To offer some advice as far as lore goes, I do not think that Arthas in a weakened state would be able to so readily defeat Tirion like that, especially as he largely did not participate in the fight. If you really want this to be the end result for him, then I would suggest adding in a battle scene that justifies the decision and pays proper respect to both characters.
He doesn't die in the end, it's just the strain of having his soul sucked out and using the last of his strength to throw the Ashbringer just kind of emptied the tank and he passed out. Probably should have conveyed that Arthas took his attention away from Tirion a bit better after that lol. But yeah, a longer fight scene that uses many in-game spells and abilities would serve this a lot more.

All in all, thanks for the feedback guys. I'll get to work reworking/rewriting this. Though, is the dialogue on point and fitting?
 

Valenthyne

Cunning Linguist
Staff member
He doesn't die in the end, it's just the strain of having his soul sucked out and using the last of his strength to throw the Ashbringer just kind of emptied the tank and he passed out. Probably should have conveyed that Arthas took his attention away from Tirion a bit better after that lol. But yeah, a longer fight scene that uses many in-game spells and abilities would serve this a lot more.
Ah okay, I'll take responsibility for this once since I jumped the gun and assumed he died. Thought about mentioning my uncertainty in the original post, and I guess I should have. The wording did seem to incite an expectation of finality, but that's more a matter of interpretation, and this is perhaps even a positive considering it'll leave the reading wondering of his status.

That being said, I do think a detailed fight scene is a great idea, and I'm glad to see you think the same. It'll definitely enrich the piece a great deal.
Though, is the dialogue on point and fitting?
Personally, I think so. I'm actually quite impressed that you were able to get Arthas' general tone down. I can almost imagine hearing him saying what you typed. Equal parts self-aggrandizing and mocking.

The only changes I could suggest are largely limited to style, but they do not mean what you have written is inaccurate. I think all you need to do at the moment is just continue refining it as you see fit, and perhaps do a deep scan through to fix up any grammatical errors or inconsistencies.

I guess another question I'd like to pose is how exactly you justify that Arthas would not have noticed Darion not only sneaking behind Arthas but also managing to get a blade through his back. I had actually missed this the first time but noticed it when Arthas exclaimed a "what!?" which seemed out of place to me itself.

Darion is definitely a skilled warrior, but he's not a rogue, and with this being Arthas' domain and him being intently aware of the situation, I can't see how Darion could have gotten there and backstabbed Arthas. It just seems a liiitle bit too convenient to me, but if I am unaware of a special ability of Darion's that would allow him to do this, I'd concede the point.

Personally, I think it would be best if you just cut this out completely. Have Arthas drop his focus at the end of the selfish comment towards Tirion, toss the paladin aside, and address Darion directly, even surprised if you want. I don't think you'd lose anything and the flow should continue as intended. If you do want to keep this, however, you should probably consider showing more of Arthas' reaction to this considering it's quite the feat.

All in all, I think the dialogue is solid, and I am very much impressed with it in certain areas, particularly Darion's words as he begins the charge.
 
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