by Hinote Kirase
The title of this alone is undoubtedly going to get me some sharp looks and narrowed eyes, but I get enough of those already, so whatever. I don’t care. Nevertheless, I’ll preface this by saying it isn’t what you think; I’m not writing in defense of the Twilight’s Hammer, Deathwing, their goals, their motives, or the end of the world. I think by this point even the deepest of Twilight’s Hammer sleeper agents have revealed themselves, because their final goal, the Hour of Twilight – the end of Azeroth – is at hand. The chips are all down, we know who the bad guys are and who the good guys are, and everyone’s going all in. If you’re getting the impression that I’m trying to hard to convince you that I’m on your side, it’s because previous events have left me with little faith left in the wisdom and judgment of the masses.
But that’s another story.
I’m writing this to reflect. On what, you ask? Everything. My life. The lives of my family, friends. The life of Azeroth itself. Who I am to myself, who I am to others, and perhaps more importantly, who I’m not. There are some who would say this is a frivolous use of time in such a critical moment. “Azeroth needs saving,” they’d say, “and you’re sitting here daydreaming about the past instead of doing something important.” Those people are wrong. It’s not their fault; it’s a difference in life experiences. Most people don’t see the end up close. Most people don’t venture into the darkness and constantly wonder if they’ll ever come out again. Those that do know that these moments are important; perhaps even more important, in some ways, than stopping the end that sometimes follows.
The Hour of Twilight is a special case, one that I think many overlook the significance of. While personal flirtations with death can often be cause for equally personal reflection and growth, this is a global matter. As such, we have to examine not only ourselves, but everything, everyone, around us, because after the smoke clears, it may all be gone. This is why the Hour of Twilight is important, and why Deathwing may be doing more harm than good to his ultimate goal by initiating it. Because you see, when the world is about to end and everything we know may disappear before the next daybreak, we have to ask ourselves: Who are we really? When there’s nothing left to stop you, no more excuses to be anything, anyone but who you truly are, who will you be?
Not everyone has a good answer to this. There are those who will rise to the occasion, devoting their entire beings to pushing back the apocalypse; the heroes we hear about in stories and memorialize in songs and statues. Many of them will die in the process. There are those who will panic, and those who will watch, unbreathing and helpless, hoping and praying that a miracle will happen. There are those who will give in to their fear and despair and embrace anarchy, killing and looting and doing whatever else they feel like because they feel it no longer matters. The end of the world, the end of everything we know, is the truest test of who we really are. The closer we come to that end, the closer we come to really being in touch with that. The closer we come, the more clearly we see the limits of this world, and ourselves, and the sooner we can break those limits.
This is why Deathwing’s plan is, ultimately, an enormous gamble; should he fail – and I’m confident he will – then he has not only failed in his mission, but made us stronger in the process, because in pushing us so close to the edge of oblivion, he will have forced us to the realization that we can push back. As with Arthas before him, he will have condemned future allies of the Old Gods, and indeed anyone else who would threaten Azeroth, by driving her heroes to perform feats that defy description, to render things once thought impossible mere obstacles, and to surpass the limits of our own mortality. That which does not kill us, after all, only makes us stronger. Indeed, if Deathwing fails, he will have ultimately done more harm to his cause than good by preparing us for the trials to come.
That’s why I’m writing this, and why I’m looking forward to the final moments of the Hour of Twilight with great anticipation. Ask yourself sometime what you’d do in those last moments. What kind of person would you be? Will you succumb to your final limitations, or resist them? I know not everyone has it in them to be a hero, but think about it for a while, and if nothing else, try not to be one of the anarchists, because if the world doesn’t actually end, you’re going to spend a lot of time in a jail cell wishing it had.
Hinote Kirase is an experienced warlock and officer in the Order of the Rose. Her first draft of this was written in the blood of a twilight drake. You can guess what kind of person she’ll be.