The young elf hadn't made it back to Northrend conscious. Between her injuries, blood loss, and the pure stress of the situation she'd found herself in, it was surprising she hadn't blacked out much sooner. But, she had agreed to go with the knights. Return with them to the Citadel. For whatever reasoning she had, herself. Perhaps she had agreed because she knew Arthas was right. She truly didn't have anything left. Though, most likely, she'd agreed out of fear, or even shock. There was a good chance she hadn't even fully registered what it was that she was agreeing to.
She'd been placed in her own room, upon her arrival to the Citadel. Awaiting further action, other than being inspected by the resident forsaken priest, until the time she would awake. The priest had given his best attempt to identify her true calling, after assuring any injury she'd gotten wasn't a threat to her life. He'd said she had a great deal of light in her. He'd given a guess that she was meant to be either a paladin or a priest, but couldn't pinpoint which. Either way, it could prove complications in the plans Arthas had for her. However, she was a project. He'd known that from the start. It was up to the elf to prove whether or not the effort would be worth it, or if she would just become a burden and a waste of time.
Juliet's unconscious mind raced with memories and images from the attack on her village. She tossed and turned in her sleep, restless with fear and despair. The sights of bodies littering the streets. Corpses of those she'd known all her life. Of those she'd known all her life. Of those she loved. The humans treating the dead with disrespect, the homes being set ablaze.. She could still smell the sun roasted bodies and burning wood. Her mind continued sorting through the memories, shifting to the panic of fleeing with Tanya. Both scattering together across the village and running for their lives. Then, the humans giving chase, and the arrow shooting through Juliet's shoulder. It was remembering the pain that woke her in a cold sweat, gasping for air.
Immediately upon waking, she pulled her covers tightly around herself, shivering. How had it gotten so cold? She had a moment of comfort, however. She'd woken in bed. Safe. It had all been some horrific nightmare. Probably brought on by the increasing attacks on her town. Her mind had clearly run through a worst case scenario, in her sleep. She sighed, stretching a bit. The bed she was laying in was much larger than her own. Had she crawled into her parent's bed, in the night? She sat up, curious. The chill got even worse once the covers fell from her.
It was so dark, in the room, that she couldn't clearly make it out. However, a small shroud of light washed over a piece of the room through a large window. As her eyes moved to the area, her heart rate quickened. This was not her home. She moved from the large bed slowly, barely able to stand as her bare feet hit the ice cold floor. Though, she willed herself to continue, stopping before the window.
Her eyes widened and her heart raced in panic as she took in the sight. A vast, heavily clouded night sky, filled with animated skeletal dragons and mobile stone gargoyles. The dark, looming mountain range that lead into an ice and snow covered plain, far below the high window she stood at. Dark, twisted walkways stretched across the field, demented looking creatures roaming here and there on patrol, looking like the manifestation of nightmare monsters. Juliet stepped back from the window, holding her breath. No, she certainly wasn't in her sunny, cozy and humble home. She moved to the door of her room quickly, as though it was all an illusion. As though the door would open into something familiar to her.
It didn't. In fact, it would have been better for her to have remained in the safety of the room she'd woken up in. The halls were extravagant and embellished, lined with wall fixtures illuminating with blue runic flames. The creatures, there, were much closer than the one's she'd glimpsed, outside on the walkways. The ghouls and geists that roamed the halls certainly took notice of her, as she'd stepped out of the room. They let out eager, hungry growls, and started after her down the hall.
Juliet had no option but to run the other way. She did so with a panicked shriek, running as fast as her legs would carry her. The room she eventually emerged into didn't offer any more comfort, and even less safety. Death knights. A rather vast amount of them. Though, the hungered and hostile creatures chasing at her heels wouldn't let her stop running. So, she continued her way through the room. Her legs were sore, her breathing ragged, and her heart felt as though it was pounding so hard that it might just burst through her ribcage. She jumped past a few knights that either made grabs for her, or simply turned to watch the commotion. She circled her was around the room, scrambling around in fear as she frantically searched for a way out. She spotted another hallway, and desperately darted for it, checking back over her shoulder to see the ghouls were, in fact, still giving chase. Foaming at the mouth and running on all fours to catch up with her.
Juliet let out a loud, piercing and terrified scream when she was lifted from the ground, and flailed around in freight to be released. As she did, she caught sight of what, exactly, held her dangling in the air. It only made her panic more. It was a large, towering skeleton, floating a bit off the ground and dressed in tattered and flowing armor. A blue, mist-like glow emanated from within it's bones, and rather regal looking wear adorned it's head and shoulders. This creature appeared to be what her father had described as a lich. It didn't release her, only tightened it's boney hand around the back of her neck, giving the appearance of someone holding the scruff of a kitten. The ghouls, however, looked like dogs. They'd stopped around the lich, eagerly and impatiently sitting to watch her as though begging for table scraps.
"Well.." The lich spoke, looking Juliet over with an air of disgust. He moved his free hand to her chin to roughly lift her face to look at him. "It seems we have a foolish little fleshling in our midst.." He scoffed at her struggling, tightening his hand on her law rather threateningly. "Settle down." He ordered. "Lest I feed you to the ghouls." He added, releasing her chin and holding her above the drooling ghouls for emphasis. As he did so, they riled, grabbing at her feet and causing her to twist, scream, and kick at their claws while the lich chuckled darkly.
"Kel'Thuzad." Juliet recognized his voice, and it brought back the recollection of the scourge's invasion on the village. She remembered watching them dispose of the attacking humans, raising the dead.. She remembered fighting the death knights, and meeting the Lich King. She immediately looked to him, a part of her deciding that her luck with the skeletal being and pack of ghouls might be better. "Stop that."
As Juliet's gaze fell to rest on him, she couldn't help but be a bit stunned. He wasn't the same as when she'd first seen him. The heavy plate armor was absent and he was, in fact, dressed rather casually. What surprised her more than this was the fact that he looked much more normal, than what she'd originally imagined would be under his helm. Being the king of the undead, and the ruthless, soulless leader she'd heard he was, she'd expected something much more menacing, frightening, and nightmarish. However, other than his slightly grayed and pale skin tone, and dark circles under his eyes, it wouldn't even be noticeable that he was among the undead.
"This belongs to you?" The lich, Kel'Thuzad, as he'd been called, asked as he held Juliet up a bit.
"Yes. Now put her down." Arthas ordered. Kel'Thuzad hesitated, giving a glance to the young elf he held before ungraciously dropping her from the height he'd been holding her. She fell to the floor with a thud and a wince, straight into the center of the group of ghouls. A few lurched for her, and she hurriedly scrambled to her feet and gave an attempt to run.
"May I ask why it's necessary to harbor a fleshling in the Citadel?" Kel'Thuzad asked, ignoring the fray and seeming a bit perturbed.
"I've got plans for her." Arthas announced, snatching Juliet's arm as she scurried away from the ghouls, forcing her to stop and stand beside him. The ghouls begrudgingly halted, looking between their king and their meal. "And she's not to be harmed." He added pointedly, directed at Kel'Thuzad's behavior. Juliet looked up to him, at the comment. They weren't going to hurt her?
"Very well." Kel'Thuzad agreed with clear reluctance. "As long as the child doesn't become a nuisance to me, I should be able to resist the urge." He muttered, giving a glance to Juliet. "I don't suppose there will be any further explanation to these plans you claim to have?" He tried.
"In due time." Arthas said, and the lich gave a stiff nod in defeat, continuing on his way. "Come with me." He instructed to Juliet without so much as a glance to her, then started for the hallway.
Juliet, giving a wary glance to the still eager ghouls, followed after quickly. He lead her for a ways without a word, then ushered her into a room to the side. Juliet looked around with a bit of awe. The room was rather large, with tables, looms, and various rolls of cloth that cluttered up more than half of it. Clearly, it was the room of a working tailor. Juliet hadn't even seen said tailor until she stepped forward from the mess, and Arthas gestured Juliet over.
"She'll need something appropriate for the cold." He instructed to the tailor, who gave a nod. This prompted Juliet to glance down to her torn and blood stained dress in question.
"Come along, so I can get your measurements." The woman said, resting a hand on Juliet's shoulder and leading her more towards the center of the room. As the tailor moved to retrieve her supplies, Juliet gave a curious look to the King, who had stayed near the doorway, leaning back against the wall.
"Why did you bring me here?" She finally asked, gathering her courage .
"You showed potential." He answered shortly. The tailor returned, quickly getting to work measuring measuring Juliet's limbs and waist. "You do remember what happened back in your home town, yes?" He added the question, gaining Juliet's attention, again. She gave a small nod. "And you remember killing one of my knights?" She was more hesitant to nod, this time. He didn't seem angered by the occurrence he spoke of, however. In fact, he seemed a bit intrigued. "How old are you?"
"Ten." She announced. "Eleven.. In a few months." She added.
"Bouligarde." He repeated, raising a brow. "You've had family in the Crusade, correct?"
"My father, aunt, and two brothers." She nodded. "You.. Knew them?" She asked carefully.
"It becomes relevant to learn the names of those hunting you." He said. The tailor moved, taking the notes of Juliet's measurements to a table and gathering cloth. "You said your father was the one to train you." Arthas continued. "How long had he been doing so?"
"Since I was old enough to stand." Juliet said. "We used to train with wooden weaponry, and graduated to true blades as I earned enough strength to wield them." She explained.
"What was he training you to become?"
"I'm not sure." She answered with a small shrug. "He never said. We only focused on weapon combat and sword skills." He gave a slight nod. If she didn't know she was a light wielder, it would make it that much easier to convince her to join the scourge. "You said you brought me here because I've got potential.. What does that mean?"
"A ten year old girl was able to kill one of my knights, and defeat another in a duel. All while being wounded and terrified." He said. "If you're capable of this, now, then it means you've got the potential to become a great fighter. With proper training and dedication, that is."
"So I was brought here to be trained? To become a part of the scourge?" He nodded, and she hesitated. "So.. To be a proper death knight, I'll have to be killed, won't I?"
"Technically, yes." He said. "But such a thing will be put off, until necessary." Juliet struggled. The thought of an inevitable death wasn't settling.
"When will it become necessary?" She tried.
"Not for many years. When you're raised as a death knight, your physical body will remain the same as the day you died. This means you won't age or grow." He explained. "So it wouldn't be done until you're an adult, and are at your physical peak. That way, there will be nothing left to wait for or improve upon." She still looked concerned. "If I had to put a number on it, I would say it would be sometime in your twenties." It felt better to have a definitive number. So, by this logic, she would still have ten years or so of life, before her undeath. She seemed to be entertaining the idea, so Arthas continued. "During that time you will receive your training, here, from a few of my more experienced knights. Which means the training you receive, here, would be better than anywhere else you could go. This is an opportunity for you to make the best of yourself."
"And, I'll be living here?" He nodded. "What if the ghouls try to kill me, again?"
"Everyone will have direct orders not to harm you." She gave a nod.
"If I stay.." She began, still somewhat wary. "What will be expected of me?"
"You'll be expected to do as you're told, in any circumstance. Everyone here will henceforth be your superiors, and you will respect them as such. Should conflict arise, among them, I will always have the final word. You will be expected to train whenever you are told, and to give your best every time. Since you will not be joining the ranks, straight away, it may also be asked of you to aid the servants and cooks. You will do so, if required, without argument. You eat and sleep when you are told, and you will not set foot outside the Citadel, unless otherwise informed." He said. "You will also pledge yourself entirely to the scourge, upon joining us. Once you are one of us, we own you. Your eternity, both in life and undeath, revolves around the scourge. You are to keep everything you hear and learn to yourself. Should you ever leak information to the outside forces of Azeroth, you will be killed without hesitation." She gave a nod. This made it sound quite foreboding, but it still made perfect sense.
"And, if I don't join.. Will I be killed?"She asked. She still wasn't sure if she was truly being given a choice.
"You will be returned to Azeroth, but it will be up to you to fend for yourself or get to a city, once there." He announced. "Your decision will need to be made, immediately. I will not be giving you any opportunity to learn more about us, if you don't intend to stay." The tailor finally finished, returning to Juliet and handing her the newly fashioned pants and shirt. Juliet looked to them, then back to the King. He looked expectant.
"I'll stay." She said.
"This is not a decision you'll be able to change in a year. Or, even, in a few hours." He said. "Your choice to stay will be permanent, and the only way you will be allowed to leave, is through death."
"I understand." She nodded.
"Very well." He said, moving away from the wall. "Once she's finished changing, send her to the armory." He said to the tailor, then moved through the door without another word.