Whispers about the Maw spread like a dark fog rolling in from the sea. She’d heard them in the marketplace of Stormwind, but it wasn’t until the rumors had made their way to Darkshire that Venibeth paid them any heed.
“The souls of all who die are trapped in the Maw.”
“They don’t move on. They’re all there. Everyone who died.”
She tried to shake the feelings these words engendered. Tried to go about her day, her mind on the tasks at hand. But each quiet moment was filled with them. The whispers invaded her dreams and she would wake in a cold sweat, certain she’d heard him calling her name.
Finally, unable to move passed the nagging hope, Veni was determined to find the answer. If he was dead she would find him. If she couldn’t? Well then, that would mean he lived. That would mean he’d abandoned her. Abandoned his children. Either way she would finally have closure.
It had been easy to get Jacy to agree to look after the twins and Veni knew they would be well cared for. It was another thing entirely to say goodbye to her son and daughter. There were no words to tell them, nothing to explain what she was doing. They were too young to understand. She couldn’t tell them she was looking for daddy. What would she say if her efforts failed? It was better they think that mommy was just doing her part to save the king. That she did what she did for the Alliance.
The gathering at the Frozen Throne was frightening. So much power gathered in one place; Alliance and Horde working together to face the new threat. Venibeth quivered in fear as she stood, hazel eyes leveled on Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. She felt small, insignificant, but they told her that she was vital to the cause. All she knew was, she would do whatever it took to get into the Maw.
When she touched the remnants of the shattered helm she felt panic rise inside her, dread so thick it was palpable. But underneath it all she heard him call her name.
Once through the portal the mage looked around her, noting how, at first glance it was not unlike Icecrown. But, she could see the souls of the dead everywhere. She could hear their mad whispers. And for the first time she felt doubt. How could she single out his voice among the many? How could she find him among the throngs of lost?
The group had finally found Lady Jaina and they’d taken refuge in a cave. Exhaustion over took Venibeth and she found a piece of ground, close enough to the fire for warmth yet far enough away that the voices of battle plans were all but silent.
She felt as though she had no more than closed her eyes when she heard him calling her. She strained to hear, following the voice until she was separated from the rest, alone in the darkness of the Maw.
“I knew you’d come for me.” he said, his voice taking on a malevolent tone, “Dear sister,”
Venibeth froze, realizing too late that the one she had been following, the voice that had nagged at her for so long was not Riley. It was Voldric. Her twin. He stood over her, a sneer maring features so like her own. “He isn’t here dear one. You won’t find him. He didn’t die. He left you. He didn’t love you, nor those little brats he saddled you with.”
He stepped out of the shadows, his form little more than a dark, oily shadow, but his touch… she felt spears of ice pierce her flesh where his hand rested on her shoulder and try as she might she could not keep her feet. She dropped to her knees with a sob as he stooped, fingers pressed beneath her chin as he forced her head up, his dead stare holding her ridgid with fear, “You are meant to be with me sister. Always with me.”
His voice drowned out all sound, there was only him. Until a strange whooshing noise split the air. A blade cut through the darkness, cleaving the shadowy image of Voldric in two. Venibeth screamed as though she too had been sundered. And then a hand reached out to her, gauntleted and solid.
“It is not safe for you hear Venibeth. Your service to us in Icecrown is enough. You need not stay.” Darion Morgraine raised the mage to her feet. “We will defeat this evil without you though your efforts will be sorely missed.” The death knight lifted Venibeth to her feet, resting a hand lightly on her arm, “Return to your children. Your work here is done.”
With a start Venibeth sat bolt upright in bed, the moon shining through the curtained window, bathed the room in silvery light. She raked her hands through her hair, taking a deep breath to slow the wild thrumming of her heart.
“Mommy… we had a bad dream… you went away and left us...” Aiden said, standing at the edge of the bed, his hand clutching tightly at that of his sister, “Can we sleep with you?”
“Of course darlings, of course you can,” Veni answered as she gathered the children to her, one on either side, their heads resting lightly on her breasts. “Mommy’s here, don’t worry,” she murmured, “Mommy isn’t going anywhere.”