Reality is a peculiar thing. What is real, is real, even when not perceived, but it only matters when it's perceived. But that perception twists it, mutilates it, renders it asunder and pieces it back together in only the crudest facsimile. That which is, is warped by mental categorization, by biased language, by the limits of the senses of the sentient. All perception is lies and perfidy, but it's the only thing we have. Remove perception, and you have no lies. But you also have no reality. The reality is out there, but you don't have it.
"The Aldor will store this husk."
That was the last perception I had had. Ie believed it was auditory. Before that, had been this:
"I've looked up her old contacts, some vestiges of the old Sidewinder Band, an explorer who delved into Zul'Gurub with Dawn Vigil when it was still under Hakkar's control, and some of the folks from that horde of raiders, Chaos Storm. They reckon she wouldn't want to go through what Sylvanas would have done with her. She wouldn't want to be taken to Dalaran, either. Orgrimmar... would just have her buried, but that isn't right, she's not *dead*. At least, not dead dead. There's something in there still. And, and, Shattrath is the only place for what's left, and word has it she did a *lot* for you folks. I feel I've done due diligence by bringing her this far, and if you say no, well, I'm out of options, I guess she's just done then. But the last of my obligations was to ask."
That was sort of a vague memory, and I wasn't sure if it had gone exactly like that. How much time had passed? I'd been with Harrison Jones -- although that voice wasn't Harrison, who was that? There had been a few other folks as well, taking down that whining goblin in Uldum, and they'd been victorious, and celebrating, and then... the fire. From nowhere and everywhere at once, as though the entire sky had been Deathwing's maw, and it rained down on the whole world, at least, the whole world as far as I could see. Glass slag and charred corpses had become almost as common as sand. And I was one of them, at least, depending on what one meant by "corpse."
That was one of those things, one of those ways biased language twists reality. I was dead. Still, I'd been dead for years, but I still had had thoughts and emotions, still moved around. What is death? What is undeath? The rank and file of the scourge had locomotion, and even perception, but seemingly few thoughts and no emotions. Probably no sense of 'self,' but who can be sure? I now had vague thoughts and vague emotions, but had not retained locomotion or perception. The Forsaken had all of the above, and by all rights ought to be classified as 'alive,' but most still call them dead. Undead, sure, but undead is usually a subclassification of dead. Is that reality, or is that the lie of perception, or the lie of language, or the lie of culture?
<<Yes. All. Reality and true, culture and lie.>>
That isn't auditory. Is that perception, or delusion?
<<Not among your senses, but perception.>>
I can understand that, but it's *words*. I only know those words in visual and auditory forms.
<<Helping your understanding imparted concepts as words.>>
Who are you?
I... I understand that you are not telling me that you are somehow 'reason.' I think. You are directing me to reason. I have had many conversations not dissimilar to this, with my former self, the Dalaran spy Ra'ix, who induced death plague in herself in an attempt to infiltrate the Scourge. When my mind made contact with the vestige of her mind, she pretended to be the shade of a titan, and then she pretended to be a projected spirit of a demon from the Legion. But these manifested in my mind as auditory hallucinations, not as... extra-sensory-yet-somehow-interpretable-as-language.
So I reason that you are not Ra'ix. That is good. I would be happy spending the next millennium without encountering Ra'ix again, no matter if I spend it as a charred comatose husk of a being or not.
You might still be a delusion. Certainly a delusion could claim not to be a delusion. But, this is true of all reality. You are the only thing right now that even so much as *seems* external to my own thoughts. You are one hundred percent of my perception. so for me to disbelieve and reject you would be tantamount to disbelieving and rejecting all reality I perceive when 'alive.'
Am I close?
That has many meanings.
<<Exceeds your knowledge.>>
I know a lot. Not to brag. I've been a priest, and I've seen many things, and I introspect a lot.
<<~Infinitely~ more you don't.>>
Yes, I know enough to know that there's far, far more out there than I have considered in thoughts.
You mentioned that before. What -- why did the word "infinitely" manifest differently than the other words? It was... fuzzy.
<<Mismatch of language.>>
I... Am I to understand that you wished to convey a concept which does not exist in my language, but "infinitely" was the closest thing to it, so it manifested like that to indicate inexaction?
That's a confirmation, isn't it?
Wait -- don't say "light." It'd be tautological.
<<Exceeds your knowledge.>>
I'm going to proceed like it's a confirmation. But, it's other things as well. You're saying I'm correct. You're saying I'm headed in a direction that ~pleases~... Oh, hm. You did it to one of my words. Alright, not 'pleases' exactly, but I'm headed in a direction that you find somehow vaguely ~preferable~ ... okay, a direction you ~expected~ ... you ~hoped~ ... ?
<<Nonexistant in Common.>>
Lok'tragan ghes tor ~kogar~...
<<In any extant auditory language.>>
I... you said Common. I don't speak Common, or at least, I don't anymore. I can't understand it. The aphasia that accompanied the transformation of my physical brain into its Forsaken state rendered me unable to...
What, so, I've been able to understand common all along, it's just that I've been subject to the ~lies~ of ~my own perception~? Somehow ~fooling~ myself... alright, I take it that's off the mark.
You ~are~ light. Wait--
You ~are~ light. Not exact, but sufficient. Sufficient for my understanding? Sufficient for what you think my understanding should be? There's something... people call you light?
You are A'Dal.
I'm... honored. This must be unusual for you. If I may ask, why have you chosen to interact with me?
I apologize if I said something wrong, are you still there?
It has been ... actually I don't know, it feels like it's been an hour, are you there?
I can't seem to contact A'Dal anymore, or he is deliberately refusing contact. The passage of time has become dreadfully unknown to me. There is nothing to refer to. Tick, tick, tick... I can imagine I may be counting seconds, but are they really seconds? Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, perhaps I will count out an hour. Wait, how many ticks would have gone by in -- no. Sigh. No. There is no way I can keep up that level of concentration, and... even if I did, the act of doing so might actually extinguish what's left of my mind. I'd be a spirit in a husk, forever counting seconds. That way leads madness.
I don't like this. I want out. I want to be out. I want reality to be different in such a way that I am out.
I want my life back.
I don't want to be Ra'ix. I want *my* life, I want to remain the entity that I have been since my awakening as Forsaken. I want to continue fighting the good fight, helping organized battalions or even mercs battle the evils that beset the world. I want to make it so Deathwing cannot do this to anyone else. I want my perception back.
You are back, I won't... I will try to be terse.
... Yes, I know. Sorr...
<<Mine. All, or nothing.>>
I don't want to be Ra'ix.
<<Ra'ix is elsewhere. That won't occur. All, or nothing, physically.>>
It has taken time for this to sink in. I just want to make sure I understand.
If you return me, I won't be Forsaken, I'll be Human. And this is because you are ~unwilling~ to restore me in my existence as Forsa-- you are ~incapable~ of making me-- ...
Ah. You know, Thrall might have made a case for me, but under Garrosh... I'll be displaced again. Where will I --
I'll take it.
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