It had spread so quickly. In just a few months a stab wound from a Forsaken blade had turned into a disease that ravaged his health and flesh. He shut his eyes, turning his head to stay away from what he had seen, but the image had been burned into his mind. He shook his head, cursing. He knew the image would always would be there, as long as his weakening body clung to life, like a child to a warm blanket.
Joffrey shook his head, scolding himself for wasting valuable time. He couldn’t lose himself now, he hadn’t killed enough. He still had time before the disease took him, that time was not to be squandered mourning the soon-to-be loss of his humanity. There was always more work to be done, in the name of Lordaeron.
He replaced his gauntlet and facemask, hefted his mace over his shoulder, and stood solemnly. He looked around himself, deducing that he would be forced to continue wandering through the Plaguewood, before any large Scourge encampments were found. He returned to the mossy cobblestone path, continuing at a rather brisk pace.
Joffrey found an odd sense of peace knowing that he would die soon, knowing that he had accomplished his mission. He thought back to the formation of the Hammer, and the blood, sweat, and tears that were given to restore the Crusade to its former glory. Sacrifice was something he was well versed in. Dozens of times, he had given an order, knowing that good men and women of Lordaeron would die because of it. Yet, he also knew in his heart he would give those orders a thousand more times, if it meant Lordaeron would be restored to its people. And so would any true Son or Daughter of Lordaeron.
Joffrey slowed his pace at the sight in front of him, before stopping fully. The stench of death was clear here, even more-so than the rest of the Plaguewood. Smoke from a bonfire rose high into the sky, the fires below fueled by several necromancers. Aged corpses were impaled upon the wooden stakes safeguarding the entrance into the camp, while more fresh ones were experimented upon within the camp.
He let on a slight smirk, the only entrance heavily fortified and protected by the minions of the Cult of the Damned. A good challenge would do him well, he decided. If he were to die, it would be in battle, in the name of the Light and Lordaeron. And if he was to be victorious, it was another day granted to slaughter the minions of Hell.
He inclined his head, an unheard name muttered under his breath soon lost for eternity in the biting winds. As Joffrey gripped his mace overhead and charged, he felt no weakness or vice. He felt no fear, as he shouted out ‘For Lordaeron’ with all the strength in his lungs. He felt no pain, as the wicked claws of the damned pierced his armour, bloodying his tabard. He felt no pity, as the former denizens of Lordaeron were broken before the Scarlet Lord. He felt none of these things, for he had faith in the Crusade he had left to defend his home. He had hope that one day, the children of his friends and loved ones would live to see Lordaeron restored.
And perhaps, if the Light deemed his work finished, he would have something denied of him for nearly fifty-five years.