People make so many decisions on any given day, to keep track of such things would court insanity. Other times, decisions are so monumental yet irrational, they are by their very nature insane.
Arlithria would go out on a limb and say that choosing the demon you’d eat the heart of qualified as such. Of course, all choices leading up to the heart consumption were merely stepping stones on the path of madness she was now on. Without one stone, one single decision, the path would have crumbled. But with hindsight comes regret, and she would not entertain such weakness. A lack of conviction in this endeavor would surely lead to death.
So, she chose the demon. She drank the blood. She ate the heart.
Darkness took her.
Then came the visions. The whispers. The fire.
World after world. People after people.
Slaughtered. Burning as her blood burned now. Her screams of agony blended in with their cries of anguish, until the cacophony of it would drive her mad. No matter how loud it became, though, she could still hear it. The voice. As though the demon she’d consumed exhaled its hot breath down the back of her mind, eating away at her thoughts just as the fel did the same to her body.
Your struggle is pointless. Your fear fuels us. This power is unending, unyielding, and it will consume you as surely as it has all those who came before, and all those who come after. None can stand against our might.
She slipped further into herself. Retreating. Trying to find some small spot of solace.
Here, another voice whispered.
She paused. This wasn’t the demon.
Here, it said again, the word like a cool breeze running over her, keeping the fire at bay.
Just for that reason alone, she followed, pursuing any kind of reprieve she might find.
There! In the deepest recess of her being, there was a tiny spot so small, she would have missed it if not for the voice. When she touched it, they began to speak, the words resonating in her like the beating of a drum.
Remember, nothing is forever. We Night Elves learned this harsh lesson when Nordrassil was sacrificed, trading our immortality for the defeat of Archimonde. So, in a way, the Burning Legion has shown us its demise is possible. They say they do not yield, but bending is not breaking. Sway with the power, but do not be swayed by it. Have faith, love. Some day they will fall.
The voice faded, and with it the reprieve from the fel.
This time, though, she was ready. She pulled the fel to her, wrapping it around her, around her soul, and accepting the flames as they burned almost everything that was her to ash. She let it take many things, but she moved with the power, directing it the way she would her nightsaber. As they moved, she slowly banked the flames. Containing them. Letting them cradle the two things she would never give up: that one, small spot, and her conviction to see the end of the Burning Legion.
As the last lick of fel settled into her, subsumed with her soul, the demon snarled.
It was too late.
When she opened her eyes, with the demon’s howls echoing in her mind, she smiled triumphantly at the demon hunter standing over her.
“When you can stand, we will complete the ritual,” he said, and walked away to inform the others that she was awake.
Every bit of her ached, as though she’d been through a battle in the waking world and not just within herself. She went to move, but pain shot through her like lightning, and her hands clenched against the pain. One of them closed around something that bit into her skin. A fleeting moment of confusion raced through her mind, and she slowly raised her hand to her face. In it was a small pendant, the azure gem glowing like the deep lake waters near her old home. The home destroyed by the Burning Legion.
Her smile softened and she closed her eyes, brining the pendant to rest on her forehead. When she opened them again, for one of the last times before she would complete the ritual, determination glowed in them as surely as the fel.
“We will gift the Legion with their final deaths, love. Azeroth will not fall.”