Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dragonblight 05

Thirteen Weeks Ago

Pain. But there was always pain. What was the pain of this, next to the constant pain of having to survive in a body that was already dead? It could be borne. It would be borne.

Shame. But there was always shame. Shame at still being to walk and talk, when all who had mattered were dead and rotted. Shame at eating the fallen, even when it was necessary to survive. What was the shame of this, next to the shame of surviving? It could be borne. It would be borne.

Tears. There were no tears. There were never tears. How could there be, when there were no eyes?

"You wanna have a go, Drug?"

"Oh hells, Corporal. It's cold."

"Yeah, but still wrigglin'." Laughter. "Well, the Sargeant said ta teach this thing some manners, an' fer ta remember its place. I reckon' we done got that covered. What do you say, deader?" More laughter.

"What should we do with it, Corporal?"

"Buggered if I know. Just chuck it outside, I guess. Ain't like it'll freeze or nuthin'."

Bright light. Falling. Cold, biting snow on naked flesh. Door slams. Muffled laughing behind it.

There was always laughter.

Until, someday, the dead girl promised, it turns to screams.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dragonblight 04

Two Months Ago

"Mouse? Mouse, is that you?"

The dead girl turned her head toward the voice. A group of adventurers were huddled around a small fire, keeping warm and roasting some meat on a spit. One of them had stood up - a Blood Elf, red-haired, tall for that race. Polished plate armor shone under the fur cloak he wore over his shoulders, suggesting he was one of their "blood knight" paladins.

"Hullo, Sir Tyrasstale. It has been a while."

"Come, won't you join me and my companions? We have enough to share with an old comrade."

The dead girl looked at the line of undead stretching ahead of her - guards, soldiers, alchemists, support personnel, all waiting patiently for the bowl of cold gruel that made for a typical meal here at the ramshackle town known as Venomspite. She looked back at the spitted rabbit.

"Ssure," she shrugged, and stepped out of line. "Why not?"

Tyrastale looked much as he had when they had fought against the Scourge at Tranquillien. Some grey hairs at the temples, some lines etched into his face. But the wear and tear of an adventurer's life had not diminished his rugged good looks; perhaps they had even improved them. Whatever. It wasn't like the dead girl cared, she reminded herself. She was pleased, though, to see that however he hadn't spent the past few years lounging in some hookah den in Silvermoon.

As she approached, he held out a hand in greeting. His grip was firm, confident, and didn't flinch at the touch of her cold, bony fingers. "Introductions," he said, pointing to the people sitting around the fire in turn. "This is Raladigia, Bayorne, and Darush, whom we have to thank for this lovely venison. Friends, this is Mouse. She fought with me on the campaign to liberate my homeland from the Scourge."

Various nodded greetings, and Bayorne, a big brown-and-white Tauren, sawed off a hunk of meat and dropped it onto her tin plate. It was charred on the outside and bloody in the center, but still tasted far, far better than the commisrary's gruel.

As they ate, they swapped war stories. Tyrastale and Bayorne had been partners since meeting in Hellfire Peninsula during the Outland campaign. The other two had joined them at Vengeance Landing, and they had been pacifying the Lich King's Vrykul allies in the east, just as she had been driving back his Nerubian allies in the west. They had just arrived at Venomspite the day before.

"It is a good sign that we are now meeting her in the middle," said the green-skinned orc Darush. "Means we've broken that flubbernugger Arthas' forces for good. Any day now we'll be smashing the gates of his citadel, mounting his head on a pike, and getting out of this frozen hell."

"Ya, it'll be good to be goin' home," replied the troll, Raladigia. "I miss mah husband and our two little ones. Gotta get da job done first, though."

"What brought you up here?" the dead girl asked.

"Gold. What else?" answered the troll. "Gotta pay the landlord, and the last two harvests ain't been dat good. And when you're good with a sword, there's always some ready ta pay."

"You know it." Bayorne held out a big meaty fist, which Raladigia laughingly punched. She was a tall woman, but even her hand was dwarfed by the tauren's.

"Speaking of gold," said Tyrastale, "Mouse, we were just talking about the bounty the High Executor has placed on General Abbendis' head. We think we could could get to her, but it would be a lot easier with a fifth. I'm thinking someone that knows her way around the shadows and is a quick hand with a dagger would be just what we're looking for. Think you'd be interested?"

The dead girl looked at him with empty eye sockets and grinned. "Killing Scarletss? Yesss. Yes I think I would like that very much."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Molten Front Diary 03

Day 2
So Hamuul Runetotem done had this plan where we was gonna sneak up on one of Staghelm's lieutenants. Note ta self: when a bugger comes from a long line of buggers what's idea of "sneak up on" was about gettin' at a clump of grass withouts its spottin' you, don't agree ta his plan. Now, Hamuul be a slab of overdone beef, and I's out farmin' fire elementals fer ta ease his pain. Bugger this.

Day 12
Seven instances of Sudden Bear on Top, two of Sudden Moonkin on Top, and one Sudden Firecat on Top. Glad thing I's a tough bugger. Startin' fer ta suspect these druid wimmenz like this position on purpose, though....

Day 19
Tell me again? Why is we tryin' fer ta fight fire by growin' a tree?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Molten Front Diary 02

Day 1


"The hell you doin', lyin' there on the ground there?"

"I'm trying to get some sleep, sir. Sorry, sir."

"Well great googly moogly go back a sleep kid. Yer the only bugger what knows what fuhg he's doin' 'round here. An' don't 'sir' me - I ain't yer dad."

Day 7

Mylune still makes noises like a chipmunk on helium when she done gets real excited.

Day 29

Saynna Stormrunner stands in the fire Every Glubberfubbin' Time we attack the Forlorn Spire.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dragonblight 03

One month ago:

A memory coalesced out of he nebulous cloud: a young, awkward Forsaken, struggling still to learn how to control her own animated corpse, nervously looking up at the bodies dangling from the trees, rough hempen ropes around their necks. The Scarlet Crusade had been a terrifying force, mysterious and malevolent, hunting her for the crime of not staying dead. But it was a new night, and the hunters had become the hunted.

Only one guard remained outside the cathedral. Quiet as a mouse, the dead girl slipped through the shadows until she was behind the oblivious woman. Plate armor protected her from a quick stab in the back, but the lack of a gorget left her throat vulnerable. Too late she tried to turn as the thin but strong loop of wire dropped down over her head and around her neck. It tightened before she could scream, closing her throat and allowing only a rasping gurgle to escape. Panicked, she struggled, trying to break free, completely forgetting the weapons at her belt, but the dead girl's bony hands were too strong, and a knee pressed into the small of the woman's back, keeping her off balance. Slowly the dead girl forced the larger but ever weakening woman to the ground. Just before the light left her eyes forever, another forgotten memory coalesced and the dead girl whispered, "Not so tough without your car, are you?"

What the hell did that mean, she wondered as she unlooped the wire from the corpses neck. Sometimes she remembered glimpses of her first life, when she had still been human, were strange and confusing, devoid of context. Ah well. Best to forget it, and focus on the task at hand. She stood up and motioned for her companions that the path was clear. Five forms emerged from the darkness behind the lumbermill: Bayorne the big Tauren shaman, Tyrastale the Blood Elf Paladin, Raladigia the Troll warrior, Darush the Orc hunter, and Nightfang the panther.

"Good job, Mouse," whispered Tyrastale. "We couldn't hear a thing from where we were. No indication that anyone's raised an alarm."

"Time to pay the general a visit. Everyone ready?" whispered Ral.

Four heads nodded. Weapons drawn, they walked through the open doors into the cathedral.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dragonblight 02

Four months ago:

Morning. Consciousness returned. Consciousness meant pain. There was always pain. Pain was better than oblivion. The dead girl willed her limbs to move, her body to rise from the wool blanket she had spread on the frozen ground the night before. "Happy, happy, joy joy," she whispered to herself. "I am a cheerful affront to nature."

She rolled up the blanket, lashed it to her rucksack, and dug out a tin cup and a spoon. She looked around, searching for some breakfast. She had arrived at Agmar's Hammer late the night before, too tired to do more than drop her horse off with the stablemaster and find an open spot to drop her blanket in a field of snoring orcs and tauren. There, over on that small hill. Smoke from a cooking fire, and soldiers queueing up. She threw her rucksack over one shoulder and walked over to join the line.

Reaching the peon serving what she suspected was supposed to be oatmeal out of a black cauldron, she held out her cup. The peon reached out with a ladle then, noticing her skeletal hand, stopped. He looked up at her and took a half step back, blanching at the empty eye sockets staring at him. "No. No deaders. You... you not eat here."

"Oh, for fuck'ss sssake," she replied. "Just give me some damn breakfast."

"No deaders," the orc repeated. "Sergeant's orders. You go away."

"What sergeant? What the hell is thiss? Sergeant?! Sergeant!"

She could hear grumblings behind her. Hungry Warsongs and Taunka and other less stupid orcs and tauren realizing that the line had stopped moving. Tough. She was a member of the Horde, one who had seen a lot more action and spilled a lot more blood in its service than most of them. Let them wait.

An old orc with sergeant's stripes on his Warsong Offensive tabard came out from behind a pile of crates. He glared at her and demanded, "Get out. We don't serve your kind here."

The dead girl defiantly placed her fists on her hips and glared up at him. "You Warsongss need to learn some fucking mannersss. You aren't chopping wood in Ashenvale anymore." She could feel the two orcs approaching her from behind, one to either side, but she was not going to be intimidated. "I'm a Horde soldier, and I will be treated as ssuch."

The sergeant spat on the ground. "Get her out of here." The grunts grabbed her arms. She twisted, lunged - it should have been childishly easy to break free. But dammit these two were attuned to the camp's magical wards. It gave them inhuman strength within the camp walls, and their grip was like iron. She tried to kick the sergeant, but she was off-balance and he sidestepped it. His fist slammed into her solar plexus with the force of a kicking kodo. With a "woof" the air left her lungs. He spat again, this time into her face. "Get this stinking filth out of my mess," he repeated.

They dumped her at the base of the wall, and began with the kicking. She curled in a ball, trying to protect her head and chest. Even so, at least one rib cracked before they lost interest and walked away. It hurt as she lay there gasping, slowly regaining control of her breathing. But so what? It was only pain. There was always pain. Pain was better than oblivion.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Molten Front Diary 01


Two night elves, standing on a small rise, looking over a battlefield. It is littered with corpses, most of them night elves and tauren, many still smoking. A wrecked glaive thrower smolders next to the carcass of a gutted firebird. The land is eerily still and silent.

She is wearing heavy plate armor. He is wearing ... feathers.

General Moonfall: Well, Arch-Druid, it's as bad as the reports indicated. 

Malfurion: Yes, this is a disaster. I thought we would be able to open a portal into their rear and catch them by surprise. But they knew. Somehow, they knew we were coming.

General Moonfall: My sentinels are experienced at catching poachers, at hit-and-run border raids. Not protracted battles. And your druids .... well, no offense, but most of them have been asleep for thousands of years. Against Staghelm's forces, they're completely outmatched. Over one thousand dead....

Malfurion (letting out a heavy sigh): I know. But we have no choice other than to continue. We have no choice. We must push the enemy back into the Firelands, and then hold the line, if the Avengers are to have any chance against Ragnaros.

General Moonfall: What we really need is... someone tough enough to really pull this outfit together.

Malfurion: Ratshag?

General Moonfall: Possibly.

Malfurion: Elune help us!