As the shroud hit the floor, a small portilus opened in the ceiling, allowing for a small box to be lowered on chains directly over the defenseless female. When the box ceased its decent, the three robed men began channeling the power from the vibrant runes, outwards to the box. Greedily, the artifact gorged itself on the runes of power, draining them utterly. With its source of power gone, the box began to draw of the essence of the men themselves. However they were prepared for this.
The room seemed to darken as the magi spoke in their evil language. “Mor’liqua Te’serdo Pri’mortada!” The dark acolytes shouted in unison. At the command of the men, the artifact opened. The woman arched her back, jaw locked open in a wordless scream.
The moment seemed to stretch on forever, however the horrendous act lasted just a few seconds. By the time the woman sank back to the alter she was dead, her soul trapped in the dark artifact. In the wake of the ritual all that could be heard were the ragged breaths of the dark men, and a strange thrumming that emitted from the artifact, which now glowed the same sickly green of the runes.
As the artifact began its assent into the ceiling, a deep booming voice echoed through the minds of the acolytes, “You have done well my servants, the hour of darkness is nigh at hand. No longer must we hide is the shadows striking those who are alone, very soon we will have the power to cover Azeroth in eternal darkness. Soon he will be unleashed upon this unsuspecting world, and we shall become rulers of men! The devourer shall be unleashed!”
As the voice left the men, one spoke in a sinister voice, “Let us unleash the riders! The artifact demands sacrifice, and the town of dark shire shall sate its hunger!”
Jeramayan Winterfel shielded his eyes against the heavy snow as he led lily his stoic companion out of the barn to graze. One by one, he let each of the other animals out of their pens to graze. They seemed to stare at him impatiently as he scattered the hay across the snow, obviously not liking the harsh weather. Chuckling slightly to himself he stroked lily’s mane. “I don’t like this strange weather either,” he thought to himself, “I would much rather be enjoying the cool autumn nights with my family.”
The thoughts of what the weather should have been this time of year got Jeramayan brooding. The snow rarely falls hard in fall, and never this early in the year. Some called that witch craft was at work, but most scoffed at such ideas. Surely a winter such as this was bound to happen sometime… wasn’t it? A surprisingly strong gust of cold wind/snow brought Jeramayan back to reality. As the animals were about to finish their evening meal, they started acting strangely. Some began milling around restlessly while other began to mewl in a frightened manner. Before Jeramayan could figure out what was going on, a howl echoed across the wind.
Drawing his sword Jeramayan began to try and herd the live stalk back into the barn, but it was too late. In an instant, the single howl became many, and the first wolf appeared on the snow bank. Abandoning his futile attempt to herd his charges home, Jeramayan spun too face his foe. Before him stood a dire wolf, stronger quicker and more fierce then there smaller grey cousins that usually prowl the forest of Elwyn. The two stared at each other, seemingly locked in a battle of wills, before either moved however, one of Jeramayan’s live stalk bottled towards the woods.
Before it could reach the safety of the trees, three wolves descended upon it as torn the poor beast to shreds. At the beast last cry was silenced by the wolves powerful jaws, Jeramayan utter a fierce war cry and charged the pack leader. As he trudged through the heavy snow, Jeramayan could almost swear he saw the wolf grin, before it too let out a howl and charged. At the last possible moment, Jeramayan sidestepped the great beast and ran his sword across its broad back.
Turning to face the beast, the veteran warrior saw a trail of blood following the dire wolf. It previously white fur was matted with dark red blood. Sensing its weakness, Jeramayan loosed another howl and charged again. As he approached the beast, Jeramayan reached back with hi strike attempting to cleave the animal where it stood. To his chagrin, the blow hit only air. Losing his balance, Jeramayan fell hard on his back nearly knocking the wind from his lungs.