Or "Why Ravine knows how to summon forth a Doomguard"

The Blasted Lands was not for a place such as her, and yet, there she was. The sounds of thunder rolled in the skies above and in the distance, lightning crackled as stray bolts touch downed onto the scorched earth. The air was thick with tainted magic as demons roamed every corner, leaving no living thing uncorrupted to its touch.

She could barely fathom how anything could exist, as she considered this place to be the fringe of Azeroth.

Lost in her muddled thoughts, Ravine began to wander the ravaged land on her steed. Although she had no particular purpose here, Tichar seemed to have destination in mind as it began to weave through the ruined landscape. It had been but mere days since the demonic dreadsteed was taken under its mistress' proverbial wing, and like many demons bound to her, it seemed to have a mind of its own. However, the bond they shared was weak, filled with doubt and mistrust. (No thanks to that damned pious Paladin and that... steed of his.) The mount merely obeyed its mistress when called forth, but even after being bested in the halls of Dire Maul from which it was summoned from, it still did not deem her worthy. After all, Tichar was once revered as Lord Hel'nurath's personal steed in the realm of Xoroth.

Though he acknowledged her powers, he found the mistress was too weak-willed. After all, she could be destined for greater things if only she didn't hold herself back. With her guard down, she didn't seem to notice where the demon was leading her. Didn't notice the fog swirling or the darkened sky. It was here in these dead lands, did the horse sense another. Sensed someone who embraced the powers of the Nether.

Perhaps he could help her discover the joys of darkness.

As the horse reared in a loud neigh, Ravine snapped out of daze as she was nearly thrown off. Blowing smoke from its nostrils, the dreadsteed broke out into a gallop much to the rider's suprise.

"Tichar?! What in the Nether are you doing?!" the warlock cried out as she held on for dear life, afraid of being flung onto the wayside. Turning her head, she noticed a fair amount of doomguards giving chase, none too pleased that a human had invaded their territory.

You are alone. Lost. Wandering as you search for something unattainable.

An unfamiliar voice boomed in her mind. Its tone was deep, filled with both disdain and pity for the woman.

"I'm not alone! I'm not lost!" she scowled out to no one, unsure of the origin of the voice.

She heard him... it... laugh mockingly. You shall not find them. You never were meant to. But, I will guide you to what you're destined to.

The doomguards that were once following them saw where the dreadsteed was heading, and immediately turned back. Though the demons were strong, they knew not to wander to the ruins of the north, and into the hands of one who knew how to bind them.

It was here, that Tichar stopped.

"You must've come a long way, to seek me out," an elderly voice called out to the duo.

As the dust began to settle around the strange ruins, she began to make out the decayed columns, the piles of skulls that were strewn about, and the stone slab in the middle of it all covered in candles waned with age and use.

Tichar neighed softly as the dreadsteed lowered its head, and made a motion like... like it was bowing; a gesture of respect for this stranger. Ravine was boggled by her steed's strange actions. First it was galloping through the Blasted Lands and into demon-infested lands like a madman... and now this?

The younger warlock looked up at the man, inquiry in her tone, "Who... who are you?"

The older man gave her a dangerous smile. "Name are not important, but know that I mingle in dark magic, much like you do miss." Though time had played its role on him, Ravine could sense his power. It was overwhelming and all-consuming. It was then, that a thought occurred to her as she looked around. "...The demons are afraid of this place. They do not dare come here... like those others that followed us earlier," she uttered, taking in the scene. "...A strange sanctuary. Is that why you...?"

He let out a hearty chuckle, leaving her confused. "It is not this place in particular that they fear, dear. They do not dare come near one, who can bind them so easily."

"Bind?!" She looked at him with her mouth agaped, which only served to amuse him even more. "You... you can imprison those creatures?!"

"Of course. Isn't that why you've come? To learn how to do such a thing?"

Ravine shook her head immediately, "No! My... my steed..." she turned her head, giving Tichar a sharp glare. "...He led me here..."

Slowly, he made his way towards Ravine, and inspected the woman, before shaking his head with a tsk. "Wasted talent..." he muttered. "You are so talented... powerful... and yet you hold yourself back like this. A shame... this world doesn't have many good warlocks left, you know."

She crossed her arms, muttering, "If I cannot bind my soul to one, then... then it's too risky! It'll only serve to hurt more people...!" Hearing her words, the man couldn't help but roar out in laughter. "My dear... do you not realize something? You've a particular curse at your disposal, which allows that creature a chance to enter our world. And I'm quite sure, that you've used it before though you may have not realized the consequence of such actions."

"No... " She would not believe it.

He grinned.

"The Curse of Doom... was it?"

Facing his back to her, he continued. "Do you know, of true sacrifice girl?"

"True... sacrifice?"

A thin smile curled upon his lips, "No, you don't. Youth these days..." With a tsk, he turned to face her. Though still the same, there was something... something about him that made him fierce... overbearing. Something that frightened her.

"Do you want me to teach you?"

The elderly man introduced himself as Dario. Dario the Decrepit was the title he carried, and although it may have seemed appropriate, those who can sense the foul magics that rippled from this man knew that he was far from weak and feeble.

"To sacrifice, is to give up in order to acquire something greater," he began, resting his hand on top of the stone slab. "However, often times, our sacrifices are minuscule. Things we hold little to our hearts are used as the catalyst such as the blood of a magical creature, or the limbs of a severed animal." Dario gazed at a severed head of a swine, its blood had been long caked onto the summoning circle it sat upon, before turning to Ravine. "Then there are times where we give a bit of ourselves. A bit of blood perhaps, an extremity, or maybe one of our own senses. Sometimes the costs can be high..." His words seemed have trailed off as his voice grew faint; drifting as if they were being picked up and carried away by a faint breeze before growing audible once more. "...our own bodies... perhaps our own soul."

"Yet, these are not considered true sacrifices." The older warlock paused.

"A true sacrifice, is when you're willing to give up -anything- for that which is greater. The choice of what's being renounced is not yours to have. No, it lies in the hands of what power you seek to control, and they shall take from you what is most dear to you."

Ravine raised her brow, questioning his words. "What is dear to me...?"

"...The ritual to summon one, works in a rather similar way to the dreaded curse you know of. You have seen it in action, have you not...?"

The woman remained quiet, though her eyes were wide.

"The Curse of Doom inflicts instant death amongst most creatures that walk this world," he muttered. "Yet, sometimes, there is a chance that the doomguard shall be pleased with the sacrifice of your foe, and materialize into this world, though it shant be under your command upon materialization."

The old man gave a sinister, toothy grin. "The Ritual of Doom, is just a far more consistent way to bring about the Doomguard, though it requires some extra helping hands. However, with such convenience, there is a price to pay. It shall be the will of the Doomguard on whom shall live, and whom... shall die."

Ravine couldn't believe the words she was hearing.

Someone... someone has to die in order for those... for those things to be brought forth?!

"" she stammered as she began to retrace her steps backwards.

"But the power that shall be yours to control... it is sweet... glorious..." As he uttered these words, Dario raised his hands into the air, as if calling forth to something. Something terrible. Dark energy began to crackle at his fingertips, as the old man was seemingly lost in the ecstasy of such power.

Ravine quickly scrambled back onto Tichar, having heard and seen quite enough. With a bit of reluctance, Tichar obeyed the will of his mistress as he galloped off away from the scene. The dreadsteed seemed disappointed, but he knew how Ravine's mind worked, for she would never go so far as to sacrificing someone's life for a greater power, and something that could not be bound to the soul at that.

...He would have to figure out some another way in the meantime.

(Comming soon; in the re-editing stages)