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Several hours earlier...
Over one hundred tonnes of golden steel and reinforced iron was not something you wanted to see flying through the air on fire. This was especially true when it was -your- one-hundred tonnes of golden steel and reinforced iron. Vimmi Spannershield watched as one of her precious siege tanks sailed through the air and collided with the ground with a mighty quake. It kicked up a spray of dirt and blood from the ground and people it landed on, and the eagle-shape of the steel-face crumpled inwards, destroyed.
There was a hollow roar, as the Twilight Dragon which had pushed the siege tank off the ridge, now dived down directly through the air towards the patrol. More specifically, the Gnomish Commander itself. More than just the wind rippled around the undefined edges of the shadowy beast as it plummeted towards the Gnome with malevolent hunger in its eyes. Vimmi shook her head in disbelief and readied her weapon, if she was going to be dragon food she would go down fighting.
Yet, from the console of the downed siege tank, Bearlan Thunderbelly coughed up blood and reached over the damaged console to a flashing red button, it was labeled ”Aerial Barrage.” He flicked a switch next to it, and the top of his siege tank (which lay on a near-horizontal angle due to the nature of the wreckage) whirred open revealing what appeared to be a rack of numerous fireworks. Bearlan then with vindication slid his bloodied fingers over the console and jammed his fist down on the flashing red button.
Vimmi Spannershield dug her heel into the dirt, bent her knees and brought her shield up high. She prepared her body for evasion if necessary, she did not intend to become dragon-food just yet. Yet as the angry dragon drew closer, the pilot light of her flamethrower prosthesis flickered and crackled, and she engaged the fuel release. There was a hiss, and immediately a great plume of flame roared out the barrel of her weapon.
Whether it was enough to deter the dragon she'd never know, because immediately as her flamethrower exploded into action, the downed siege engine unleashed its payload. At such close proximity, there was not enough time for the aerial barrage to scatter, and every one of the little missiles collided with the hide of the swooping dragon. The result was messy, bloody and explosive death.
Vimmi's diamond visor was immediately splattered with blood and gore, and for a few seconds dragon innards rained from the sky. A disembodied jaw landed two feet in front of the Gnomish Commander still bared wide to gobble her up...
Needless to say, the ambush wasn't going according to plan.
What had been perfectly planned, with ideal logistics and great timing had turned into a blood-bath for no apparent reason other than a underestimation of ability. The Twilight Dragons had wreaked havoc on the tank-line, and without the heavy support the numbers of the cultist had proved much more deadly than expected. The Patrol were still winning, but the battle was definitely not as one-sided as the Commander had hoped.
“Siege Tanks Thundergut and Broadwave,” Vimmi shouted through the communication system she had liberated from Highbank. “Switch to aerial barrage, cover our retreat, keep those drakes off our backsides! Things are getting dicey, we're pulling out of the valley...”
Vimmi Spannershield had arrived back to a war torn highlands, and it had worked like a knife to the heart. The woman stood almost paralyzed atop the hill of the zeppelin wreckage and shook her head in disbelief at the world falling apart around her. How could this happen, how could they murder each other en masse while Deathwing roamed free, while the Twilight Cult decimated the environment. Were they blind? And, was this her fault? Did her small attempt to help just doom the Twilight Highlands to defeat?
“No,” she growled defiantly, she had never given up so easily before and she would not do so now.
“Borean Patrol!” she shouted, as she turned back to the wreckage and the rubble, corpses strewn amongst the jagged wood and seared metal stayed silent while the crackle of flame dominated the area. There were survivors, she could see them. There was no time to count the dead, there was no time to say sorry, there was no time to stop. Vimmi Spannershield knelt down and pulled a large chunk of rubble off of the closest person.
“Roll call!” she called, a desperate attempt to get anyone still alive out from under the burning rubble and in front of her. “We can't stop yet, help any survivors out from the wreckage, we have limited time... Get ready to march to Grim Batol!”
“Spannershield!” a voice croaked from the bottom of the hill to the gnome’s left. A hunched form lumbered through the smoke toward the commander, difficult to make out due to the sooty haze, its unfamiliar squat shape, and the halting manner in which it moved. Its progress up the rubble-strewn incline was painfully slow and when the apparition finally materialized through the gloom it was revealed as the shaman, Kreska. The orcess’ tall frame was stooped awkwardly forward as she wrapped her left arm tightly across her stomach; her right hung uselessly at her side, bent in an unnatural position at the shoulder. When she drew closer the scrapes and bruises on her face became visible but these were not a concern, earned from the battle earlier that day and already half healed. However fresh blood trickled from between the injured woman’s lips and stained her pointed yellow teeth bright red.
“I see you are still as difficult to kill as ever, Commander,” she growled through clenched teeth, her husky voice even hoarser than usual thanks to both the smoke and pain. Blood leaked steadily from between the fingers clamped across her abdomen and she spat out a mouthful of it mixed with ash and dirt and thick mucus before speaking again, her voice marginally clearer than before, “I don’t suppose you know if any healers made it as well, do you? I could use… some help.”
Kreska briefly peeled her left hand back and revealed several inches of a large wooden shaft protruding from her belly. As she pulled away more blood rushed from the wound, streaming down her legs and splattering on the scorched ground at her bare feet. After the short glimpse she gave the other woman, the shamaness quickly replaced her hand in an effort to staunch the flow.
“Even if I could pull it out without my right arm,” the orcess jerked her chin toward her dislocated shoulder, “I wouldn’t have the strength to mend it myself before I bled to death.”
Despite discussing her probable demise, Kreska spoke in her usual matter-of-fact and unflinching manner. The fact that she was moving under her own power at all was a testament to the hardiness of her race; most others would be lying down, gasping their last after receiving such an injury. Instead, the woman had exerted her willpower and what small amount of healing she could muster to pull herself together and stagger up the hill, at the orders of a person she tried her best to despise. The orcess managed to stay on her feet as she glared down with grudging respect at the diminutive warrior and waited for her response.
Edited by Istella on 10/10/2012 6:43 AM PDT
Adrian stirred awake. Last thing he remembered was a crash, and being lifted off the ground. His hearing was muffled, but he could hear the orders given by his Gnomish commander. He could feel flames licking at his exposed and and he lifted it up.
He lifted his head and looked toward his feet. Cuts and wounds marked his body. What worried him was a deep gash in his right thigh, a large amount of blood had poured out. He was afraid he cut his artery and tried sitting up, only to be greeted by a stabbing pain in his left shoulder. It had been dislocated.
Reaching into hos bag with his good arm, Adrian produced a cravat. He tied it around his thigh, cutting off the circulation. He put a piece of wood in his mouth and held his left elbow out, dropping his body weight onto it, replacing his shoulder with a shout of pain.
He stood up, hobbling and picked up his backpack and rifle, which was sticking out of the ground by its bayonet. He limped towards the rally point, limping and feeling the effects of his leg wound. His rifle as a makeshift crutch, he made an agonizing way up the hill.
"No need to worry any more, I'm just a bit banged up at the moment." He lost balance and fell, sitting up on his elbows, "I may need some help." He finished. The wreckage looked worse from up here. Landing right on top of them, corpses were strewn about. He couldn't count between them and the survivors.
The Einherjar looked around at the utter devastation, the charnel house, the abattoir that the interior of the temple had been turned into. The dead, of which there were many, and the wounded, of which there were very few, were scattered all over. There were no unwounded. Ein could have cared less about most of the fallen; he had never really known them, after all. There were a couple, however, that had struck a cord with the Death Knight: kindred spirits, if you will. One of them was dead, although it looked as though she had taken more than her fair share of cultists down with her. One of them was wounded, but it looked like he would survive. The massive human walked over to the barricade he and the Worgen blademaster Fenris had held so desperately, stood, and stared at the battlefield.
“What was the purpose of all this?” he muttered. “What answers are there to find here?”
The Death Knight lay on the ground, empty eyes staring at a blood-red sky from behind his helmet. A few inches below, nearly a foot of jagged steel splinter protruded from his throat. He could no longer feel pain, but he could feel his blood slowly running out of him: without a heartbeat to drive it, it was more leaking than spurting out, but it was draining nonetheless. His spine was probably damaged, and even for a Death Knight, there were limits to what could be endured. How easy it would be to simply lay there as his life slowly drained away, to simply give up and abandon the tribulations and torments of a hellish world, to let the planet that had never given him anything but pain tear itself apart and curse it with his dying breath as it did. Of course, he no longer breathed. It was yet another “gift” of the Lich King.
But, despite the temptation, he was not yet willing to give up on life. There was a purpose yet to be fulfilled. He still had a duty to fulfill.
The Einherjar brought a gauntlet up and violently yanked the shrapnel from his neck, throwing it aside. He drew from his reserves of runic energy and the hole in his neck writhed and closed itself, the blood rune sufficing to heal his injury. The familiar glowing blue mist started pouring from his eyes once again. He sat up and looked around, taking stock of the crash site. He couldn't see any survivors where he was, but that didn't mean there weren't any to find. Ein stood up and walked over to where his sword was sticking up out of the ground and effortlessly pulled it from the burnt earth. He put it into the holder on his back and walked through the rubble, searching for any survivors. It looked like he was near what had been the engine room of an airship. Streams of burning fuel were leaking out of points all over the rubble, and he carefully walked around those. A Tauren had been crushed by part of the engine housing: rather unfortunate, that.
Ein swiveled his head to where he heard the shout: that sounded like Spannershield. Abandoning his search through the wreckage, he turned and walked uphill towards the gnome: he could see other people making their way up the hill. After he arrived at the hilltop, he stood like a Saronite-clad statue and looked down at the diminutive gnome.
“The Einherjar, reporting himself undamaged and at full readiness for combat.”
A pile or rubble shook and quaked, something stirring within..
A chuck of metal flew off as a stone claw punched it away before it quickly retreated back into the rubble
The rubble exploded, leaving a rogue woman, clanned in red, gold and black armor in it's place, two flaming claws glowing brightly by her sides. "Perfect timing, really...amazing eve--Ack!" the girl was interrupted as a sharp pain struck her side, her claws vanishing into two shining bracelets that seemed to be burnt into her wrists. One of the girl's hands shot to her side as she fell to one knee, gasping in pain "So then..." she muttered under her breath, looking at the wreckage "....who's 'Brilliant' idea was it to drive a Zeppelin into us?".
The girl's name was Perfection Lionsheart; Assassin, and proud member of the Borean Patrol. The plan that was suppose to go well turned into a nightmare; Dragons, Twillight cultists, you could say that the Ambushers became the Ambushed within what seemed to be little time at all, then a Zeppelin pops out of no where and decides to add to the list of problems along with that.
Slowly standing, Perfection began to make her way from the wreckage, leaning over to try and minimize the pain that she was feeling in her side.
"Borean Patrol!" A familiar voice shouted. It sounded small, harmless even, but Perfection knew the the owner of the voice was not any of those things. That was Vimmi Spannersheild, Leader of the Borean Patrol and a hardcore veteran fighter. For a gnome, Perfection knew she was a deadly fighter, and was also her Shan'do's idol for her great leadership. When she had heard that he signed her up for the Organization, she was almost shocked, but didn't really argue.
Now here she was, with probably a few cracked ribs and still fighting to follow her orders, Perfection felt that she had grown up a bit, and learned much from the small Gnomish Commander, and respected her authority more than anything. Mostly because she didn't want to end up on the had side of that mechanical arm of hers....especially since she help make a crystal saw blade for it.
"Perfection is here....though...not as 'Perfect' as you would expect her to be" she would say in a punny tone. Though in pain, she smirked, walking over to stand in front of Vimmi and give her a small yet painful salute, a noticeable wince would have been seen as she made the movement.
Lia and Coron
A black armor clanned figure would have been laying on the ground, a wooden beam laying across it's back. It was a female, Sin'dorei at that, a blue elementium scythe laid at her side. "Ooow..." the woman groaned as she tried to get up, only to realize that she was being pinned down by the wooden beam. Muttering angry swears under her breath, she slammed her right hand into the scorched earth, cracking it with strange unnatrual strength. A rune glowed amber on the plated glove she wore, allowing her to slowly push her self up to one quickly pull one knee to help support her weight along with the beam.
Another rune of the same nature glowed in her boot, allowing her to continue to lift the beam off of her before she was able to throw it off with ease. Checking her armor, it was unscathed, however she couldn't get any response from her left arm. Inspecting it carefully, it was dislocated from the shoulder, and the pain coming from her lower left leg also indicated that she might have either fractured or sprained something. Either way, it was unpleasant.
The sound of her name snapped the woman back to reality; pulling up her visor to reveal her face, her jade green eyes scanning the wreckage for the source of the voice. "Coron!? Core where are you!?" she called. Coron, a Kaldorei Druid that she had met in the Patrol. Their relationship started as friends, and slowly grew into something that neither of them expected, but never minded either.
You could say he was her 'mate' as the Kaldorei refereed their girl-friend or wife to, but they kept it brief every now and then, mostly because the Borean Patrol (Being what they were...the Borean Patrol) was always busy killing something and little down time, but even so, they managed to sneak in a time together there and then, but other than that, she just killed things along side him and Vimmi.
"Lia!....Over here!...Ack, Dammit!" Coron shouted, he sounded in pain, in trouble, perhaps both. It worried the Sin'dorei, but she had to take it easy given her injuries, either way, she limped as quickly as she could to where she last heard the man's voice.
Coron was pinned to the ground by a metal beam which pressed painfully against his chest, making it hard to breath along with he had probably broken a few ribs. His side was bleeding, nearly impaling himself on a small spike from the zeppelin, blood slowly ozzing from it. He saw Lia's outline through the smoke, relief washing over him as he smiled and opened his mouth to call to her.
However, it wasn't her.
It was just an armored cultist, arm missing and blood ozzing from like a fountain, limping heavily, a bloody dagger in it's hand. A large twisted smirk would be plastered on it's face, a human, his eyes crazed and sort nothing but blood of his enemies "Having a bit of.....trouble there.....Druid?" the Cultist rasped, slowly making his way towards him "Don't worry....you're gonna die anyway...so no need...to panic"
Coron growled "Well screw this crap" he muttered under his breath, raising his free hand and preparing to launch a wrath bolt at the Cultist's face. Before he could even mutter a word, Lia's scythe flew through the air and beheaded the Cultist's head, blood splattering the scorched and hard earth "Not on my watch, bastard" the woman scowled, dropping her scythe to aid Core.
"I was worried you were dead...." Coron said as Lia began to search for a way to lift the beam "I'm fine, love..." was her reply, though her wounds showed otherwise "Just a few scratches here and there...but you need to be attended to right away. "You're arm is dislocated...you walk with a limp. Lia...don't try and lie to me..." The Warrioress waved her good hand at the man to silence him "Enough, I need to lift this beam...I'm going to need your help"
"Right" Coron nodded, Placing his hands on the beam and preparing for Lia's word "Ready when you are". Lia nodded "Right...one....two..." the rune on her glove glowed amber once more "....Three!". The two began to lift/push the beam off, which came off easy thanks to Lia's strength rune. Once it was off and out of way, Coron slowly sat up and placed his hand over the wound and murmured what healing magic he knew to stop the bleeding.
Lia sat by his side, raising a gloved hand to gently take his shoulder, a soft smile tugging at her lips. The Talon returned her gaze and smirked, but his gaze soon fell upon her shoulder "Let's fix that up..." he would say, finishing healing his wound and gentling taking it in his hands. "Are you sure you can--OW! AH!" she shouted in pain as with in two swift movements; Core relocated her shoulder bone into the socket, murmuring a few small healing spells to ease the pain.
"There..." he said, rising slowly "I have a few broken ribs, but that can be dealt with later....where's my scythe?". Lia looked around, Coron's scythe was exactly like hers only with out the runes, which she located near a pile of rubble. "Here" she carefully limped over to pick it up and return it to him, the Talon smiling and taking it and sliding it into it's holder on his back.
When he was sure he couldn't find any more serious injuries on himself and Lia besides the ones they already have, Coron threw Lia's arm around his shoulder, quickly picking up her scythe to hand it to her before looking around the wreckage "That was....intense...to say the least". Lia sighed, getting a better grip on her scythe before leaning her weight against the man "Yea...c'mon, let's go find the others. I hope they are alright, especially the Commander"
Coron began to help her walk through the wreckage and rubble, being mindful for any surviving cultists that might be around "You and I both know that it's gonna take more than a crash like this to kill that gnome...she doesn't die that easily, she's to stubborn...just don't tell her I said that". Lia giggled "True....and I wont. Promise"
"Commander Vimmi!" Lia called at the sound of the small Commander's voice. The warrioress insisted Coron take her to sit her down a respectful distance at the Commanders side, Coron leaning down to take a look at her foot and heal what he could despite his own injuries. Perfection smirked at the two "Glad to know that you two are still alive at least!". "Just, would be a better way if saying that one, Angi" Lia said, leaning on her hands before turning to the Commander, her face filled with worry, noticeable seeing as she had her visor up "Are you alright, Commander? Is there any others besides us that are gathered now? Even the Bone Witch?" She sat there, cringing in pain as Coron worked and waiting for her response.
Edited by Cøron on 10/10/2012 8:33 AM PDT
Ashok was reveling in the battle when the call for retreat came. "Why retreat? I still have a bone to pick with these children..." He muttered under his breath but he soon began to give ground, hacking at a cultist that decided it was a good idea to chase after the ex-Paladin, losing an arm in the process of stabbing forward. The cultist cried in pain but soon lost that ability as on the reverse swing Ashok decapitated the cultist. "This is pathetic..." He muttered angrily, his rage mounting as he moved to join the rest of the Patrol in a retreat...
The words broke through Ashok's unconcious mind like a knife through butter, forcing the warrior into a sitting position which brought a stream of expletives out of him. "F*cking c*cksuckers!" Ashok shouted as he looked down to inspect himself to make sure he was not too badly damaged. "Oh for the love of all that is holy..." Ashok muttered to himself as he noticed the dents and rends in his armor. He would be spending the next few days repairing it, if he got the time that is. It was only then that he noticed the sharp pain in his left side and the blood seeping out of his armored right leg.
Grumbling to himself Ashok quickly found his pack not far away and rummaged through it till he found his embersilk bandages, working quickly Ashok dunked the bandages in a sticky substance of anti-infection and then pulled his armor off to apply the bandages to his leg. Once those were tied on tightly Ashok knew he had done all he could and got up, stretching and flexing his muscles to make sure nothing was damaged. As he did he noticed his leg was a little tight and so he worked it more than the others, he would need it in the coming fights.
Moving through the wreckage Ashok started to notice the others already with the Commander. Ashok was still trying to wrap his head around the idea of having a Gnomish Commander. But he was a soldier, or he used to be... Now all he was, was a mercenary looking to make a living. "More like looking to survive..." He muttered to himself as he joined the others on the small hillock. "Longshadow here." He said, not trying to engage in conversation nor wanting to. He was here to do a job and survive.
That was his motto now, as much as it hurt the ex-Paladin he knew that nothing could change that now. The Light was gone as was his old life, this is all he knew now. War and death.
A white blur darted through the battlefield in the Twilight Highlands, everywhere it went another few cultists fell, dead, or dying. Stopping to take stock of the situation, the blur was revealed to be a large feline, in truth the cat was a druid, Sammuroth Stormfury was his name. The druid sighed as he surveyed the battlefield, "It doesn't seem to matter how many we kill, more just take their place," the cat had been in the Highlands for awhile now, but no matter where he went there was fighting. What perturbed him most was that it was not only against the cultists, but the Horde and Alliance couldn't keep themselves from killing each other, sometimes to the druid it seemed like he was fighting against the Twilight Cult alone. "Well I guess that isn't that bad, I usually fight my battles alone," he could sense the presence of the "other" in his mind, but it had deemed to not interfere with him, yet. There was not much more he could do here, the Horde and Alliance forces were finally beginning to push the cultists back, and once that was finished they would turn on each other. Sammuroth had no intention of getting drawn into a Horde, Alliance conflict, he had killed his fair share of cultists, he had actually hoped to find either some Black, or Twilight dragons to take down, but that desire had been dashed quickly.
"These cultists are barely anything more than civilians with weapons thrown into their hands, and though it pains me they must be dealt with," deciding to leave the rest to the Horde, and Alliance the druid pulled out of the battle. He had received word, of a major battle set to occur at the bastion of Grim Batol, so he decided that was as good a place as any to head next. "Hopefully we can win a major battle against Deathwing's forces at Grim Batol, it would definitely show him that we won't just roll over and die." As he made his way to the bastion, the druid noticed some smoke on the horizon, "There weren't any major battles happening in that direction, at least none that I have heard about." This needed to be investigated, so Sammuroth changed direction and headed for the smoke, as he neared to be safe the druid stealthed, and crept over the last hill. Looking down into a small valley the druid could see the wreckage of an airship, and the smell of death permeated the area, what the fel, happened here.
The druid scanned the wreckage, searching for any survivors, a shout turned the druid's attention towards, a diminutive figure, not far away, he could see a few others pulling themselves from the wreckage, and falling in next to the smaller figure. Hmmm, what are these people doing out here, and what happened, most of them appear to be critically injured, perhaps I should get a closer look. Picking his way down the hill the cat crept towards the group of people, once he got near enough he heard a distinctly gnomish voice, say something about heading to Grim Batol. So these people are going to the same place as me, but are the friends or enemies, they don't look like cultists, but there are quite a few members of different races here. They aren't druids, or shamans, at least not all of them, but I have never heard of any other groups made up of such a diverse mix of races. I think I had better keep an eye on them, we are heading to the same place anyway, the druid hid in the shadow, of a nearby piece of wreckage, and waited for the group to depart.
Turle opened his eye.
The Gnome lay still for a moment, gazing towards what little of the sky he could see beneath the rubble that partially buried him. His first thought was to push the rocks and other debris away so that he could clearly assess the situation. However, it seemed as if one of his arms wasn't quite working properly. He tilted his head just slightly to the left, trying to see if he could discern the reason as to why his body refused to cooperate. "Oh...." Was all he could muster upon seeing the broken and bloody appendage stretching off to his right. Several rocks and debris from the zeppelin lay atop it, crushing it to the ground, nearly flattening it. Sighing, he dared to look to his left trying to assess the damage to his other arm. He could at least feel that one.
Several agonizing moments later, he had freed his left arm from the debris and now struggled to free himself entirely staring with his right arm. Once it was cleared, he could only stare at what had once been his sword arm. Broken, mangled, most likely beyond repair of even the most skilled healer. "Well, at least I can still club people to death with my shield." He chuckled, a spray of blood shooting from his lips to stain his breastplate with crimson. Humor, so useful even in the most dire of situations.
Turle tried to sit up, lifting himself with his one good arm into an upright position for barely the span of a second before he dropped. The pain was intense, blinding. Yet, there was something else, something that his mind also registered. There was pain, however, only in the general area of his upper body. He could not feel his legs but he had carelessly attributed that to being covered by a bunch of crap. Still, he couldn't help but think, what if the damage was worse than he initially thought?
"Anyone out there? I seemed to be trapped and could use a slight hand. It has become apparent to me that multiple rocks sitting atop my body are in fact hindering my ability to maneuver as properly as I want to."
He glanced around as he spoke, straining his ears to see if he could hear the sounds of life around him, the Patrol couldn't be -that- scattered from where he was. He waited, and waited, and waited. Silence.
The warrior sighed and began to thrash about as best he could, jerking his body back and forth in an attempt to pry himself free like some wriggling little worm. At first, nothing was accomplished was bringing on waves of pain that took his breath away. He ignored it though, clenching his teeth as he struggled against the weight pressing down on him. After what seemed like ages, his efforts finally paid off and after a rather sickening "pop" he was able to pull himself backwards.
Turle chuckled, coughing up blood the entire time but not being able to help the sudden urge to laugh. Thinking back, no one thought he would get this far, no one thought he could become a great warrior at all! How they had laughed, how they had teased him on his height, the nickname of "Turtle".
"Bastards, if you could see me now!" He yelled out to no one.
"Now then, what's the damage?" He asked himself, his eye drifting down over his frame, inspecting carefully as it moved along. Arms? One down, one left! Still good! Chest?...Ch..Holy hell.. Crimson. It was all he could see upon glancing down beneath his chest level. There was blood everywhere and worst of all, he couldn't even lift himself up enough to check on his legs, though he was sure that he didn't really want to see in the first place.
He also managed to take notice of a hole in the side of his breast plate, a hole where the crimson was starting to leak out. It became apparent that the weight of the rocks had served as pressure to stop his bleeding, and now without it present, he was bleeding to death. Great..just great
The Gnome laid back, resting his head on the hard ground beneath him, stained with a pool of blood that continued to grow in size. His gaze drifted heavenward, not focused on anything in particular. So, this was it? The final page in the chapter of his life story, the page was filling and there was no other to turn to. He sighed. Looking back, it had been a good life. He had done many good things, things he could be proud of. He overcame everything to be what he wanted to be, despite being told it was impossible.
"Not so bad then..not so bad at all." He wheezed out, managing to smile as his eye started to close. The picture blurred, everything was fading away and a great darkness was settling in.
Alone. Is this the reward for all my effort? All my hard work? To lay here alone and die off? As if the thought triggered something, the darkness parted just enough to show a figure. A Gnome walking towards him...Vimmi. His smile widened. No, he was never alone..
"See you soon, Commander."
Turle closed his eye.
"Marilyna, will you quit all that whining and come along!" The warlock shouted behind him towards the succubus following at a distance behind him.
He didn't even know why he had summoned her, it was still quite some distance to his destination and he knew he would have to put up with her the entire way. So, why? He let that be the center of his focus as he trudged along, drawing his robes tighter around his frame to conceal the undead state of the frame hidden beneath. His staff rested comfortably on his back, within reach if he needed to react to anything attacking him, though he doubted that anything would given the powerful aura of fel energy sweeping about him.
"Masssterr, carry me! MY feet hurt! My legs hurt! My butt hurts! Where's your steed at? Why aren't we riding it?! It's not like you need exercise, you're dead!"
Kortanus sighed, gritting his teeth as he turned to face Marilyna. The glower of violet from beneath his blazed as his attention focused on her, causing her to stop and cease her speaking immediately.
"Uhh, just kidding? I love you, Master! You're..so.." Handsome? Ugly? Dead? How could one really compliment him? "So..powerful and intelligent!" She chimed in after giving it some thought.
The Forsaken just shook his head, lifting his right arm and pointing it in her direction. The succubus closed her eyes tightly, bracing herself for pain, but after several moments opened them to find something else entirely. A vortex of fel energy was spawned just in front of her, rising up from the ground, spinning violently and nearly pulling her into it. When it dissipated, a fiery steed stood in it's center, rearing up and scattering green flame about the ground.
Marilyna stifled a giggle and immediately jumped atop the steed which trotted in the warlock's direction. With difficulty and minding not breaking off any of himself in the struggle, he pulled himself atop and set off again. The Grim Batol was still a few hours away, he knew that would be where this "Borean Patrol" would be. They fitted him nicely, a neutral group comprised of Horde and Alliance alike. It would be easy to infiltrate and use them to succeed in his true purpose.
His bony lips attempted to curl up into a smile but didn't quite make it. Over his current set of thoughts, he could barely hear Marilyna complaining about something else entirely.
Edited by Turle on 10/10/2012 12:32 PM PDT
"Ithalin. I am dispatching you to the Twilight Highlands. Both the Horde and the Alliance request our aid, and we must give it to them." Mograine turned away and proceeded back into his private chambers within Acherus, leaving Ithalin in the long hall in front. He made his way back to the main area with ease, and watched the trainees of each school for a few moments before proceeding to the teleporter that would deposit him on the upper floors of Acherus. He walked over to the balcony and called for his new drake, Vaelstraz. He quickly mounted the drake, and the two departed.
Ithalin could feel himself being dragged. It felt like two people, and they were having a conversation. Either that, or it was one crazy man. He couldn't feel his helm around his head, nor the weight of his rune scythe. He paused his little self-examination when the two continued their conversation.
"Ey mon, are we gonna eat this one?" A troll, and from the tone of voice, a male troll, said.
"No, no we are NOT going to eat him. We're going to take his gear and finish off the job the zeppelin started." A human, male again, stated.
"But mon, I could put his skin in a stew, dig the marrow out from his bones and put dat in to, be real tasty!"
"Hmmm. Doesn't sound too bad. I'll consider it." The two leaned him against a tree and began talking again. Ithalin carefully 're-started' his left eye and looked around carefully. He was in a wooded grove, with many trees. He could see the troll and the man, dressed in black robes, talking with their backs turned to him. He noticed a rather long section of steel piping protruding from his right knee, and could feel that his right wrist had been broken or dislocated. Nothing a little healing can't fix, but these bastards in the other hand.
Ithalin was reaching towards the secret compartment in his chestplate where he kept his daggers, but just as he was about to open it, the troll turned around. "Ey mon, he's awake! Can I cook him now?" To accent his statement, the troll pulled a rather large meat cleaver from his belt.
"No, not yet. I want to have fun with it first." The man pulled a dagger from his robes and leaned into Ithalin until his face was a few inches away from Ithalin's. "I'm going to dice you up so we can make a stew out of you. And it's going to hurt, a lot. For you." Ithalin opened up his left hand and chuckled.
"Your right. This is going to hurt, a lot. But not for me." Ithalin shot his hand over his body and grabed the man under the chin, and at the same time sent waves of freezing cold into his nervous system and blood vessels, freezing him and slowly killing him from the inside out, while also crushing his jaw with a plated hand. He saw from the corner of his eye the troll getting ready to throw the cleaver and slung the man toward the troll, knocking the troll over and lodging the meat cleaver in the man's spine.
Ithalin yanked the metal pole, with a great amount of effort and pain, from his leg and stood up. He walked over to the still dazed troll and stabbed him through the eye. He pulled the pole clean and stabbed the man through the back of his head. He left the pole in, and after a few moments of channeling, created a cane out of solid ice. He gripped it with his left hand and walked over to his assailant's bags, where he found his helm. He put it back on and set off to where his rune scythe was, at the crash site, with his skeletal dragon.
As he came upon the crash site, he had just finished casting the appropriate spells to heal his leg and hand. He absorbed the cane back into his left hand a walked over to his dragon, Vaelstraz. The dragon was broken against a tree, unconscious with a rune scythe a few feet in front of it. Ithalin picked up the scythe and felt the power it held surge through him once again. Ithalin nagged at the dragon's consciousness until it awoke. Vaelstraz, we have work to do. Get up. The dragon slowly regained it's footing, and walked with it's master toward the grouping of men and women, Horde and Alliance, gathered atop a hill. Ithalin figured this, from Vaelstraz's scattered thoughts and memories, was where Spannershield and the patrol were grouping up. He walked up to the group of his former comrades and said, "Ithalin Frosthand, ready for orders commander."
1 month ago, Tol Barad
Two weeks had passed. It was supposed to have been a 3 day mission. Scout ahead of a supply caravan and escort them safely to the Eastern Spire. The Horde controlled the northeastern region of the island. It was only a days journey from Hellscream's Grasp. None of the wildlife dared roam near the armed caravan and not a single Warden in sight during the trek. Yet, no one was prepared for what happend next.
In a bold move, the Baradin Wardens launched a large scale offensive against the Horde at the Ironclad Garrison. No one knew where or how the Alliance managed to muster that kind of force, only that it started in the night. And it was swift. If the Horde defenders didn't last the night, they would suffer a serious blow to the war effort. Should the Alliance had succeeded, the Eastern Spire would have been next, and would have fallen.
In response, without orders, the Spire Commander led an assualt against the Wardens in hopes of diverting their forces and buying enough time for reinforcements to arrive from Hellscream's Grasp ((which I'm sure would have evolved into a major fortress instead of the small camp it is in-game)). With the help of Rukurgan and the other members of the assualt, it was a success. However, it was short lived.
While the Ironclad Garrison recieved their reinforcements late the following day, the Alliance proved to be quite resiliant and adapted with ease. With the offensive now diverted, the Eastern Spire forces quickly turned to the defensive. The Spire Commander ordered the assualt party to conduct a tactical retreat back to the spire where they can more effectively counter the Alliance forces.
And so the battle waged on for nearly two more weeks. The Alliance couldn't set one foot near the Eastern Spire as they were bottle necked into one of the three points of entry onto the area. The northern bridge. Any attempt to enter from the other two bridges would have made the Wardens vulnerable to a counter offensive and ensured their defeat.
The Eastern Spire defense now served as a wall of spears. Reports from the lookouts atop the tall spire revealed the Horde was now pushing the Alliance back towards the east. They will soon retreat, surrender, or die.
Supplies were beginning to thin. Every arrow Rukurgan shot had to count. He saved them mostly for any small strike team that dared attack from the other two bridges. It was rare, but, when it did happen he needed access to bow attacks. For the main defense, he cycled in and out with the other warriors utilizing his spear. Meanwhile, his companion the pale wolf of Ashenvale, Silverfang, patrolled the area and alerted the spire defenders of anyone who may have slipped past. Occasionally, Silverfang received some action of his own and killed a few intruders.
"Outrider!", a yell came from behind calling out for Rukurgan.
The orc was perched atop the hillside with some of the other archers observing the battle during his respite from the melee. He turned his head in response to the summons and narrowed his eyes to see who was calling for him. It was the Spire Commander standing at the base of the hill with three warriors standing to his rear, two orcs and a troll. The Spire Commander was a hulking tauren by the name of Raego. A broken horn and plenty of scars commanded respect from anyone he met. Without a moments hesitation, Rukurgan made his way down the hill.
"Commander!" the hunter saluted.
The tauren, even more massive up close, saluted. "We've received word from Hellscream's Grasp. You have new orders to return to base effective immediately."
It took some restraint to not protest against the new orders. He wanted to stay and not abandon his brothers in arms during this most critical point in battle.
With some reluctance, he replied, "Understood. I'll gather my equipment and leave now."
The veteran commander sensed the orc's conflict and grasped his shoulder tightly. "These three warriors brought the news. They will stay and fight in your stead. Worry not. Victory is at hand. You are needed elsewhere. Now go."
Rukurgan's chest swelled with pride. "Lok'tar ogar!"
"FOR THE HORDE!" the three warriors cheered.
Now reinvigorated, the hunter quickly collected his equipment, resupplied and called on Silverfang. With the battle to the northwest, he would have to take the path just south of Baradin Hold. Contested territory. He will have to tread carefully, but, swift nonetheless. That route will take him three to four days if he runs into little resistance. With no time to waste Rukurgan set off with his companion to Hellscream's Grasp.
Edited by Rukurgan on 10/10/2012 2:50 PM PDT
Gaream was sitting inside a tent inside the main horde camp at Grim Batol, being briefed by some orc about his target. Said orc had a name, but Gaream had not bothered to remember it. He was low in the chain of command, as evidenced by the fact that the orc had been the one sent to brief him. The chances of him meeting said orc after the battle was done were low. He never really saw anyone important, particularly with orcs, since he was a rogue, something these orcs, while knowing they needed to use them, did not like. These orcs seemed to be obsessed with the concept of “fighting with honor”, although their new leader seemed to be an exception to that, from what Gaream had heard, something that apparently was not done by stabbing people in the back like Gaream was trained to do. Personally, he had never understood why people cared about honor. It didn’t matter how much honor you had when you died, dead is dead, something many of his fellow forsaken could attest to.
Not that he cared what orcs thought of him, or anyone really for that matter. He served the forsaken and the dark lady. She had seen fit to ally with the horde for the moment, but that could change at any time. So he made sure to never get too cozy with them. He didn’t have anything against them, or most races for that matter, even the alliance ones. It was only the humans he hated with an undying passion.
Suddenly, Gaream heard the word target from the orc, and started paying more than half attention to him. “Your target” the orc said “is a human, currently commanding the western flank of the alliance forces, named….”
Gaream stopped paying attention again, having all the information he would really need. These commanders were always easy to spot, always making a show of themselves with a lot of yelling, usually from horseback. You could find them easily if you know what to look for. His name was not important.
Gaream had not always been like this. Time and death, along with his experience working as a rogue for the forsaken had turned him into a cynic. For instance, names. When he had first risen, he had spent the first few weeks after joining the forsaken trying to remember his name, as he had forgotten it. He took the name Gaream off of his gravestone, the only word on it, and tried to find out his last name. Eventually, he decided it didn’t matter. Names were just labels. Half the forsaken had not remembered their names anyway, and just picked one at random. In the end, no matter what race you were, it didn’t really matter what your label was, Gaream thought. You were just a sack of flesh, blood, and bones. Nothing you do can change that.
“You got all that, undead?” the orc asked.
Forsaken, Gaream thought, not undead. Don’t lump me in with the mindless scourge. “Yes sir” he replied
“Good, then get out of my tent”
Gladly, he thought. He left the tent and sat down on a bench, sharping his daggers in preparation for the battle to come
Once she has walked the streets of Stormwind, proud to be a member of the Alliance. Spending countless hours devising methods to protect the innocent citizens. The military had put her to work many times. She was not on the front lines anymore. The Lich King was dead. But the war was not over, it would never be over in her lifetime. She grew to accept that. But she no longer participated in the military actions.
Stormwind was no longer her home. In fact if they saw her she would probably be arrested for aiding and abetting a wanted criminal. Something she had done willingly. The man she had given her heart to. But he had left her, the day before their wedding date. Ashok had been called to the front in Kalimdor. Somehow while there he had lost his grip on sanity. He had gone berzerk on the battlefield and killed more than Horde. He had killed a friend.
Mara did not know the total story. But she had sought him to find out why he had not returned to Stormwind. The answers she found were not good. For a brief time she tried to help him. Tried to bring him back home. But it was not to be. He could no longer be considered a hero of the Alliance. He refused her, left her standing alone and lost.
Her heart shattered, she tried to return to Stormwind. Only to find there was a price on her head as well. It was only through the grace of a few close friends she was able to get into the city and retrieve a few precious things and leave. One friend had begged her to join this band of kindred spirits. She found Horde and Alliance in this group, fighters every one of them. Led by a gnome warrior who was a legend. Vimmi Spannershield.
The group fought under a grey banner, proclaiming themselves the Patrol. They sought to kill the common enemy of all. The Twilight Hammer. And they fought well together, had excellent rapport. They all seemed to be dedicated to Commander Spannershield.
Mara found her way to their camp in the Twilight Highlands and signed up in a very private and delicate manner. She had seen Ashok in the ranks, he did not see her. Asking Vimmi to allow her to fight with them against the Cultists, she only asked for one thing. She wanted to be called Salle. Her true name would never be mentioned and she would not be asked to reveal her features or voice unless absolutely necessary.
Her duties were explained to her and she obeyed orders without question. Most of the time she was on the opposite end of the battlefield from Ashok. Never speaking to him or even acknowledging his presence. "Salle" kept to her tent and seldom left it except for briefings. In battle she was ruthless. Mowing down Cultists with precision and flair. Her face covered with a veil and a hooded cloak over her features. Her staff was plain and had a simple blue gem enclosed with a elementium bindings on the ashwood.
Inside her tent she often heard others speaking, once hearing his voice around the campfire. To face him would only bring pain and grief. It was better to just fight and do what she could to survive. One day at a time.
The battle they had fought had been grueling and painful. Tactics was never something she understood. For some reason they had gotten caught in the middle of such destruction and chaos she lost sight of nearly the entire company. Blinking and firing off blast after blast of arcane until her energy was nearly gone. More than once she had drawn from the pendent around her neck. Artillary fire had sent her flying at one point and she landed in a heap at the edge of the area. Losing conciousness she was not aware of the approach of the zepelin.
She awoke to the smell of smoke and the flare of small fires. Smoldering wreckage and bodies everywhere. She had been thrown clear, but not free of injury. Thank the Light and small miracles most of it was minor cuts and mostly bruises. Her first thought was where was the rest of the patrol. Standing up was a chore, she staggered and nearly fell. Gropeing around she found her staff and used it as a cane. Brushing off her robe and straightening her cloak, she made sure her face was covered and started off in search. The distant call of Spannershield gave her a clue to where the rest of the Patrol was gathering. Silently she made her way to the clearing. Stopping to nod at Vimmi and wait for new orders.
Lynara stood near the back of the group, drawing the string on her bow; arrows formed from pure moonlight as she let them fly over the ranks of the Borean patrol and into the cultists. The situation was getting bad, many cultists and drakes were ambushing the ambushers. “Things could not get worse!” she said while shooting arrows at a near unstopping rate. Then she saw it, the horde zeppelin was coming down right on top of her. “Goddess!” She shouted before running at full speed.
She jumped over a large boulder and rolled under a downed tree that was hanging over a small ditch. She quickly resumed her run as the Zeppelin came down to ground. Then the world exploded. The force of the explosion threw her off her feet a good twenty yards before she hit the ground hard, everything went black.
Pain is what woke her, pain that course through her body form a leg that was clearly broken. She painfully opened her eyes to see the skies above. She tried to sit up, but could not. Then she saw the piece of shrapnel in her leg that looked like it cut all the way down to the bone. She has a few other pieces of shrapnel in her back that prevented her from sitting. She cautiously rolled herself onto her belly, cursing the fact that shrapnel had peppered her back, but only the unprotected parts were hurt. The elementium armor she wore had done its job for the parts it covered.
She heard Vimmi call out and located the source of her voice. She began to drag herself towards Vimmi. If she stayed where she was she would surly bleed out. As she picked up momentum she forced herself into a stand, hopping towards the gnome, her teeth were clenched so tight from the pain she was worried they would shatter. She was using her bow to balance herself as she was literally hopping on her uninjured leg. “L… Lynara reporting.” She said as she stumbled and fell down when she reached the top of the hill. “Someone want to help me get this shrapnel out of my leg and back?” She asked one of the others that had gathered.
"Scout duty? Are you serious?"
That had been the first time the undead elf had displayed any emotion since coming to the highlands. The first time she'd said much of anything, actually. The elf had been sent along with other forces from Undercity to supplement the Horde's push against the Twilights. Some of them had gotten sidetracked, of course. Taking petty revenge on the Alliance pleased some of her kin, and more than a few of the Forsaken warriors. The Orcish commanders did nothing to stop this wasted effort. To Cenerae, it had seemed a foolish thing. The Twilight cult was more dangerous than the Alliance. The greater threat.
She had employed her bow well so far, racking up an impressive tally of dead cultists, yet with little more than a quiet sense of pride as she did so. A job well done was worth taking pride in - she did not boast of a single kill like the Orcs seemed to like doing. Perhaps the blood-drunk fools would get themselves killed, and someone competent would be put in charge. For now, the Horde's offensive had broken against one of the final points of contention - Grim Batol.
The old fortress was still strong, and backed up by the elemental forces and dragons employed by the cultists the Horde forces weren't really getting anywhere. The fighting had been fierce, and many warriors on both sides had fallen. And in their infinite wisdom, the orcish commanders took one of their best archers off the front lines. For scout duty.
"Are you serious?" the elf asked again, her hollow voice ringing out through the small command tent with more than a little incredulity.
"Listen, elf, I am the one in charge here. I say we need you to scout. And you will do so or I will take your head! We need to know where to hit them, and you're the only capable one around in camp."
The Orcish commander was another bluster-and-threaten type. Cenerae disliked that kind of tactic. Inspiring your troops was more efficient than trying to strong-arm them. Especially when it was a no-name commander she didn't even recall seeing at any point in this campaign. But still, she was part of the military effort. And so she had to tend her part. Merely sighing, the ranger settled for nodding in acquiescence, and left the tent to find her gear. Never mind the fact that there were already scouts in the field - maybe they'd gotten captured or killed. Maybe the orc just didn't like her.
The camp was quiet for the moment, torchlight giving some vision as the sun struggled to peek over the horizon. The few soldiers up and about this early gave the dark ranger a wide berth, as if sensing her annoyance and wanting to have nothing to do with it. That suited the elf just fine - the less conversation people tried to strike up with her, the less time would be wasted getting this idiotic chore over with so she could return to employing her deadly bow. Silently, the elf located her equipment, strapping both of her red-tinged swords to her belt, and slinging both bow and quiver over her shoulders carefully.
Moving stealthily as she could through the grassland, the ranger began to circle the Twilight camps, trying to make a note of numbers and equipment. To her dismay, there were too many troops present for the Horde forces to tackle by themselves. They would need to ally with the Alliance - except such a thing would never happen. Not with the battle obssessed idiots running the military now. As the sun came up, the elf realised she was risking exposure, and ducked behind a nearby boulder overlooking one of the smaller camps. The waiting began, as did the test of the elf's patience for the waste of her talent.
Ashok noted that more were joining them on the hill, he didn't know many of them, choosing mostly to keep to himself speaking on about a few things and even then it was short statements. Once, long ago, he would have enjoyed such conversation around the campfire, such companionship from like minded individuals. Now all he saw was red and black; the need to keep fighting for survival to one or two steps ahead of those that sought to claim him.
It was not what he had expected of his life but this is what he had to do and so Ashok shrugged away those thoughts as he turned to see another join their ranks.
“Someone want to help me get this shrapnel out of my leg and back?”
Quickly moving forward and setting his pack down next to the elf Ashok inspected the wound. "This will hurt, but if you are willing I can remove the shrapnel and bandage you up well enough to keep up with us to Grim Batol, fighting on it though... I am unsure if that would be wise." Ashok said, his voice slightly rougher than he expected; probably due to the fact that his own leg injury was starting to give him some throbbing pain which he continued to ignore.
Pulling out his first aid kit Ashok waited to hear what the Elf wanted, he didn't know if there was a healer present or not which is why he waited. A healer would do a much better job than an ex-Paladin who had no magic left in him.
Lynara watched the human warrior called Ashok walk over at her request and inspect the wounds. Then he said his assessment.
"This will hurt, but if you are willing I can remove the shrapnel and bandage you up well enough to keep up with us to Grim Batol, fighting on it though... I am unsure if that would be wise."
"I am not some delicate helpless flower. I am tougher than that. Pull this out of me and I'll be fine as long as it does not get infected." She said as she prepared for the pain. It was her leg that worried her the most. The shrapnel was deep and rather large. "Next time don't park us under a zeppelin commander." She said with a light chuckle. Even the light laugh hurt because of the metal in her back.
She moved into a more comfortable position that allowed Ashok a better angle to pull all the shrapnel out of her body. "Lets get this over with." She grunted.
Adrian began feeling a bit delirious. He sat up, rotating his arm that had dislocated earlier, he looked down to his leg. The bleeding had slowed, but not stopped. He loosened his tourniquet slightly, pull out another and put it on. He pulled out a coagulation powder and poured it on the wound. It burned excruciatingly. He inhaled sharply and let out a muffled yelp.
"Can I get assistance getting this job done?" he asked around. Others had joined, mostly all of them wounded in one way or another. He didn't expect help right away as he was self treating as best as he could. He unbuckled his plate vest and lifted it over his head, dropping it next to him and pulling his goggles down around his neck. He lifted his rifle and popped out the bipod, setting it so it didn't get mud anywhere that would cause a malfunction. He propped his leg on the barrel so it would sit above his heart level and laid back. He remembered his whiskey in his bag and pulled it out, pulling the cork out and taking a drink.
"You know, I feel better." he said jokingly.
From the shadows the druid watched as more and more people joined together, well it's obvious enough that these people are all part of the same group, but what group is the question. Sammuroth was surprised any of them were alive, discounting the Death Knight, the others should in all likelihood be dead, many of them came forward with shrapnel impaled on some part of their body, and as far as he could tell there wasn't anyhealers among the group. Well if any healers had survived the crash, they could still be trying to pull themselves out of the wreckage, even if the druid knew whether or not these people were friend or foe, he couldn't help them with their wounds anyway. It seems the gnome is the leader of the group, though a lot of the people gathered don't look very happy with her, I wonder what happened. He was wasting time he needed to get to Grim Batol, but if this group proved to be a threat to Azeroth's defenders, the druid couldn't just let them wander around freely, no matter how wounded they were. [i] It's still the best idea to keep an eye on them, they will head out for Grim Batol soon enough, the cat wasn't very concerned with being spotted, even if he was in their state there was no way they could catch him anyway, so he was content to sit and watch, for now.
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