[identity profile] ceasefire.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Vendel'o Eranu
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ceasefire
Series: Warcraft
Pairing: Thassarian/Koltira Deathweaver
Spoilers: Almost the entire Death Knight manga, as well as the entire Death Knight starting zone and the entire Battle for Andorhal quest chain.
Notes: I don't have an Alliance-side character of a high enough level to do Thassarian's quests in Borean Tundra. From what I've read, he's more preoccupied with the Scourge than Koltira and the Horde, and I decided to leave them out for that reason. If I'm incorrect, please tell me. The title means "help me forget" in Thalassian. If I failed at lore, please don't hesitate to correct me.
Disclaimer: The Warcraft universe is the property of Blizzard entertainment.


Thassarian

Thassarian was a soldier of Lordaeron during the Third War. He was one of the many soldiers who traveled to Northrend with Prince Arthas in search of Mal'ganis. When Arthas and Captain Falric went missing, he went to search for them and was ultimately killed by Falric and raised as a Death Knight. He returned to Lordaeron with Arthas and slaughtered its citizens. It was here that he killed his mother Vivian as proof of his loyalty to Arthas. This event had a lasting impact on Thassarian, even when he was under Arthas's control. Soon after that, he was sent to retrieve the mooncrystal from the hidden High Elven camp of An'owyn so the Scourge could continue their attack against Quel'thalas. This was when he met Koltira for the first time. He's slightly more controlled as a Death Knight than Koltira, and even shows signs of fighting against Arthas's control on more than one occasion.


Koltira Deathweaver

There is little known about Koltira's past when compared to Thassarian's. He was one of the High Elves defending An'owyn against the impending Scourge Invasion, along with his brother, Faltora, and another elf named Merriel. He met Thassarian for the first time during this attack, but he managed to escape from him the first time they met. Although he died as a High Elf, he eventually comes to refer to himself as a Blood Elf, possibly because of the Blood Elves' battles against the Scourge. His disposition is a little more angry and unstable when compared to Thassarian, but he isn't a bad person. He and Thassarian consider each other to be brothers in death.

The Evidence

Thassarian and Koltira first meet when the Scourge are attacking An'owyn, a secret High Elf outpost. Koltira is guarding the location with his brother Faltora, and a female High Elf and the apparent love interest of Koltira's brother, Merriel. The Scourge arrive after Koltira notices the smell of rotting meat in the air; Thassarian is leading the Scourge forces in the assault, and they quickly kill Merriel. Faltora becomes enraged and rushes at Thassarian, who easily overpowers him. However, the sight of Faltora kneeling in the dirt brings back memories of when he was forced to kill his mother, Vivian, and Koltira quickly comes to Faltora's aid. Faltora barely has time to contemplate why Thassarian didn't slaughter him before he's attacked and killed. Koltira flees, and when asked by one of the Undead Scourge if they should pursue him, Thassarian refuses on the grounds that they've already obtained what they've came for -- the mooncrystal. A few hours later, Thassarian separates from the rest of the Scourge forces -- I assume he's patrolling or something like that -- and he realises that he's being followed. Koltira attempts to wound Thassarian with an arrow, but his attack doesn't seem to have much effect. Thassarian declares Koltira a coward and Koltira takes off, leaving Thassarian to declare that he deserves punishment worse than death. However, he also acknowledges that Koltira may be more reckless than cowardly. Koltira swings out of a tree and holds his sword to Thassarian's neck, and says that he saw how Thassarian hesitated to kill Faltora. He realised that there was a part of Thassarian that still hesitated to follow Arthas's orders, and he offers Thassarian the chance to join him. Thassarian refuses, but says he'll spare Koltira's life for the moment. The next time they meet, however, they will fight and determine who the superior warrior is.

The next day, the Scourge attack Silvermoon City. Koltira and Thassarian find each other almost immediately, and Thassarian declares that Koltira's fate awaits him. Arthas watches on as they fight, and Thassarian quickly gains the upper hand. As he looks up at Thassarian from where he fell, Koltira taunts the Death Knight, saying that killing him would seal his fate as Arthas's mindless pawn and forever damn his soul. Thassarian hesitates again, but he quickly overcomes his doubts and stabs Koltira through the chest. Several days later, Thassarian is back in Northrend and has just arrived in Icecrown, Arthas's main base of operation. Koltira is with him, and has also been raised as a Death Knight under Arthas's command. It seems that Thassarian's comment about about Koltira deserving punishment far worse than death was foreshadowing his revival into undeath. It certainly makes you wonder whether Thassarian was planning for Koltira to be raised as a Death Knight all along; although they were enemies before Koltira's resurrection into undeath, it seemed that they had a decent amount of respect for each other's abilities, and it was obvious that Koltira could see that Thassarian was hesitating to kill both him and his brother. It should also be noted that this marks the first instance of either of them referring to the other as "brother" -- in this case, it's Koltira to Thassarian -- but it shows that they've apparently built up a great bond of trust in a small amount of time, in addition to showing that they are perhaps slightly more human than a lot of the other Death Knights.

This is where the manga skips a fair chunk of the Death Knight player character starting area, so I'll be switching to World of Warcraft in-game content for a while.

In the Death Knight starting area, you first come across Thassarian and Koltira standing next to one of their fellow Death Knights, Orbaz Bloodbane. The player character is sent to kill the forces of the Scarlet Crusade -- a group of religious zealots dedicated to the cause of eradicating the undead -- and to lay waste to the town under the organisation's protection. During said attack, Koltira is captured by the Scarlet forces and taken prisoner. Eventually, the player character is sent to an abandoned tavern in Scarlet territory. Thassarian and Orbaz Bloodbane have relocated here following the battle, and Thassarian's first request is that you search for Koltira. It's worth noticing that he doesn't know whether Koltira is still alive or not, but he doesn't care; what matters is finding him. Once you accept this task, this bit of dialogue between Orbaz and Thassarian is triggered:



Thassarian doesn't see Koltira as a former enemy; he simply sees him as another Death Knight, and he considers him to be like a brother. You find Koltira, and he's rather annoyed that Thassarian sent you to find him because what Thassarian did basically goes against every principle the Scourge stands for. It's possible that he's annoyed by this breach of conduct, but there's an equally good chance that he's annoyed by Thassarian's willingness to take such a risk to save him after his failure. Koltira does decide that an escape attempt is better than being held captive forever, and he requests that you kill those who captured him and take the head of their leader -- the High Inquisitor -- back to Thassarian in order to "soothe his savage soul". When you return to Thassarian, the only thing he does until you bring him the head of the Scarlet High Inquisitor is ask about Koltira. He questions whether Koltira escaped, but quickly decides for himself that Koltira must be safe. You are sent to do a few more quests, the primary reason being that Thassarian and Koltira wanted revenge for what the Scarlet Crusade did.

Going back to the manga, we're shown a picture of Thassarian and Koltira training together. I have no idea when this occurs in relation to the game timeline, but it leads onto The Battle for Light's Hope Chapel and to a major plot point; in short, the Scourge have wiped out the Scarlet Crusade forces and Arthas orders his forces to advance on Light's Hope Chapel, the base of operations for the Argent Dawn, an organisation dedicated to protecting Azeroth from threats such as the Scourge. Thassarian, Koltira, and Highlord Darion Morgraine, the leader of the Death Knights dedicated to killing the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn are sent to the battle and are subsequently freed from the control of the Lich King through the actions of Tirion Fordring (Orbaz is there too, but he flees when the battle starts going against them). Darion forms The Knights of the Ebon Blade, a group made up of members of the Scourge that have escaped Arthas's will and are intent on killing him. Thassarian and Koltira meet and question whether the trust they have in each other is real due to the way they built it, and Koltira wonders whether he should join the Alliance with Thassarian or return to the elves, a number of whom are now part of the Horde. Essentially, he's trying to choose between his people and Thassarian. Thassarian says they have to find answers to their questions in their own way, but adds that he still thinks of Koltira as a friend. Koltira ultimately decides to join the Horde as a result, but Thassarian notes that he feels that he'll miss Koltira's friendship. Thassarian joins the Alliance, Koltira joins the Horde, and they find themselves on opposing sides. Koltira travels to the Horde base of Agmar's Hammer in Dragonblight, and is plagued by shadows for almost the entire duration of his stay, though Thassarian adds that if he'd known he would have helped him. Thassarian goes to fight the Scourge in Borean Tundra, and eventually the two of them end up in Icecrown on the Alliance and Horde airships. They don't really interact during this time -- unless you count the constant fire that the airships exchange -- and are instead dedicated to killing the Scourge instead of the opposite faction.

Once Arthas is defeated, Thassarian and Koltira are sent to Andorhal, a city in the Western Plaguelands formerly under the control of the Scourge. Thassarian leads the alliance forces and Koltira leads the forces of the Forsaken, a faction of undead freed from the Lich King's control who are now allied to the Horde. I'll use the Alliance-side quests for this portion of the manifesto, but what Koltira and Thassarian say and do is very similar up until the end of the respective quest chains.

Since the death of Arthas, the two of them feel that the only thing they have left is their loyalty to their factions. A few Scourge are still in Andorhal, and both Koltira and Thassarian send you to take care of them first, knowing that the other will be thinking the same thing. Even though they are now on opposite sides, they still trust one another enough and know one another well enough to make this move. Eventually, the player is charged with the task of killing a particularly powerful member of the Scourge, and both Thassarian and Koltira charge in to finish the guy off, regardless of the faction of the player. Once the Scourge abandon Andorhal to the warring Alliance and Horde, Thassarian and Koltira discuss the current situation and come to an agreement:



Regardless of which faction you play, you're ordered to not breathe a word of their agreement to anyone else. Their agreement reflects the time that Thassarian vowed that he'd fight Koltira the next time he saw him before Koltira was raised in Undeath, in my opinion; very similar stakes are involved, but they seem slightly more comfortable with one another despite what's to come. Even as Thassarian says they're no longer brothers, it's still obvious that he and Koltira hold a huge amount of respect and trust in each other, even when they're fighting on opposite sides.

Once the scene is over, both Thassarian and Koltira send you elsewhere to bide time; they both consider their deal more important that waging war on the opposite faction. As Alliance, you're sent to retrieve armor and weapons for a group of farmers. They initiate an attack on the Forsaken forces, effectively forcing Thassarian into action. Koltira is not particularly happy about this apparent betrayal of trust either, but both decide that they can delay the attack no longer, which puts the Alliance and Forsaken at direct odds against one another. I find it a bit weird that Thassarian says they're no longer brothers and then refers to Koltira as his brother here, but I digress. Maybe he's having regrets for trying to sever the bond in the first place.

You're sent to kill members of the opposite faction, and things seem to be going in the Alliance's favour... until the Forsaken bring the val'kyr into the equation. Val'kyr are former servants of the Lich King, and have the ability to raise the dead into a life of undeath. Thassarian is horrified, but immediately realises that it must be Sylvanas Windrunner, leader of the Forsaken who has done this, not Koltira. This assumption turns out to be correct; Sylvanas was disguised and close by the whole time. She grew tired of Koltira "prancing around with his playmate, Thassarian" (her words, not mine) and sends the val'kyr out to win the battle after she realised that Koltira was refusing to kill Thassarian because he still considered him to be a friend. In the end, the val'kyr are what force the Alliance to retreat, and Thassarian loses his minion in the crossfire. The Horde win Andorhal, but Sylvanas isn't done yet; turns out that she's not too pleased with Koltira and the deal he made with Thassarian.

Koltira comes to speak with her, and effectively presents her with the city of Andorhal. Sylvanas isn't happy. She reveals that she knew about Koltira's friendship with Thassarian, but that she has ways to erase that weakness. Koltira is pulled beneath the Undercity through a portal by a chain, and once the scene is over, Sylvanas reveals that her intent is to make Koltira's loyalty lie solely with the Forsaken, and to break any lingering bonds he has with "that Alliance scum". Meanwhile, Thassarian reveals his intentions to Alliance players: he knows that Sylvanas has done something to Koltira, and he intends to find out what.

Why I ship it

I first got into the Warcraft fandom through Blizzard's rather large and well-known MMO, World of Warcraft. I started playing in 2008. I rushed my first ever character to Level 70 about a week before the Wrath of the Lich King expansion went live, and I didn't have much time to experience the lore and characters of Burning Crusade as a result of this. I promised myself I'd try to experience the world more in that respect with Wrath, and when I started my first Death Knight one of the things that really jumped out at me was the trust between Koltira and Thassarian. It seemed foreign in the world of the Scourge, but it seemed like a genuine friendship despite their circumstances. When the Death Knight manga came out, it only reinforced my belief that their friendship was something that had a lot of priority for both of them. The fact that Koltira considered abandoning his race to follow Thassarian to the Alliance says a lot about him; he trusts Thassarian with his life, and he's willing to follow him to the Alliance despite the fact that he was originally affiliated with Silvermoon City, which is now allied with the Horde. Thassarian specifically says that he would have been willing to drop everything and go to Agmar's Hammer to help Koltira with his "shadows" if he'd been able to do so. They know their friendship was forged through their time in the Scourge, but they must figure it's real despite that if they're willing to disregard orders in Andorhal to avoid fighting one another for a while longer. When Thassarian gets the feeling that Sylvanas has done something to Koltira after the Battle for Andorhal, he's willing to act on those feelings and risk his own life to try and help Koltira. Sylvanas herself even says that Koltira's relationship with Thassarian is practically his greatest weakness; it's the reason she drags him beneath the Undercity for brainwashing. Their whole relationship and nearly all the problems that befall it are based on their mutual trust and respect.

This isn't a happy couple; it has angst in absolute spades and their loyalty to one another is the thing that got Koltira into trouble at the end of the Andorhal quest line, and is the thing that has the potential to endanger Thassarian as he attempts to save him. Despite all that, the angst is one of the things I like about it. It seems that every corner that they turn presents them with a new obstacle, but they still stay loyal to one another through it all. I'm usually more of a fan of fluff, but I still follow these two because I hope that there's a fleeting chance that everything will work out for them. I want to see them be happy, regardless of how unlikely that is. At the very least, I want Koltira to remember his bond with Thassarian despite Sylvanas's brainwashing, even if it ends tragically. Their greatest bond was always with each other, and I want it to be that way from beginning to end.

Recs

Fanart
- secret by Frecklebunny
- Opposite, but not yet Equal by aREDenigma
- Risks taken by shaliara
- Thassarian and Koltira by startime2
- Koltarian - You and Me by cazamonster
- Ice Floes by cazamonster
- WoW sketch by squishy87
- Thassarian and Koltira by Chronogate
- In Death we are... by Pierrot (NSFW)
- Thassarian and Koltira by Anawind (NSFW)

Fanfiction
- Warm by [livejournal.com profile] runaan
- Leaving Andorhal by [livejournal.com profile] snowlight
- Stolen Moments by [livejournal.com profile] shaded_mazoku
- Five worlds in which Koltira and Thassarian never met by [livejournal.com profile] shaded_mazoku
- Brothers-At-Arms by [livejournal.com profile] the__ivorytower (NSFW)
- To Die a More Painful Death by strixus (NSFW)
- Brotherhood by Kairyn (NSFW)

Other
- Brothers in Death

Profile

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January 2012

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