Topic Tracking a Cold Trail (RP)
Edited by Nicci on 1/27/13 2:17 PM (PST)
Nicci knelt on the floor at the edge of the southern tram track and pulled the glove off her hand before pressing her fingertips at the edge, the vibrations were getting weaker. Smiling a little to herself, she dropped down into the track and slipped into the small stairwell leading downward as she pulled her glove back on, flexing her fingers. The walls rattled with the shaking of a tram above and she could hear the hollering and music of her destination below.
Greeting the Kal'dorei as she reached the landing were two large Pandarens, their arms crossed and ready to stop the woman until she held up a small slip to the pair. She silently thanked Elune, and The Cartel, as the two men stood aside and allowed her passage and she tucked the paper back into her pouch.
Once inside, she began to take stock of her surroundings. The pub was easily as large as a Steam tank Garage, though all of the equipment was removed from the main floor, replaced with several tables, private booths and a bar that ran half the length of one wall. The smell of over-cooked food on grill at the nearby bar was an oasis compared to the smell across the rest of the pub, a mix of blood, stale sweat and exhaust fumes filled the air.
Nicci's attention was inevitably drawn towards the central pit as she heard the whir of an engine above the hollering crowd. A Gnome flew just above the pit in a small gyro-copter while calling commentary on the latest entertainment, a human Mage pitted against a Pandaren Yeti. The crowd was cheering on the yeti, or at least she assumed they were, not many Mages she knew would take the name Crush.
She stepped up to the railing as the final blow was being dealt by the yeti; The beast struck with what could only be thought of as a hay maker, the loud crack a sign of the damage that was done as the Mage flew across the arena. Moments later, two crews rushed into the pit, one to hold back and pacify the rampaging yeti, while the other carried the still nameless Mage out of the ring.
"Well, you could say that his dreams as a fighter were CRUSHED!", The Gnome cackled at his own joke and began his post-fight wrap-up. Sighing and shaking her head at the pun, Nicci took a moment to remember what brought her to this place and walked toward what she thought was the best seat in the pub. After giving the table a once over, she could only think that the staff didn't clean the tables often, if the ale and food stains were any indication.
Soon after she sat down, a Dwarf waiter found his way to her table, rambling off the house specials, which sounded only slightly less appetizing than field rations. Thinking it best to keep up appearances and to get some relative peace, she ordered a Dwarven ale before watching the man wander back to the bar.
Waiting for her drink, she began to mull over the events that landed her here. On the surface, the gold seemed to be leaving the coffers through all the proper channels, the financier had shown her that each order had come to him with the Feather's seal. The only problem was that even the head of the Feathers of Iron, Liabelle Thorngrove, didn't know a about the transactions. Nicci didn't know how the Feather's seal was forged, but thanks to The Cartel she was able to get wind of Bizmo coming into a suspicious windfall of gold. She didn't know if the Gnome was behind it, or someone thought to sponsor the fights on someone else's coin, but she was going to get the bottom of it.
The Kal'dorei's thoughts were interrupted by the same Dwarf setting a mug on the table, giving her a toothy grin and holding out his hand, even after she paid the price for the drink. Sighing heavily, she produced an extra gold coin and set it into his open palm. Thankfully, the tip was enough to convince him to leave.
Looking across the expansive pub, her hopes about it being easy seemed to fall flat. There was no lavish food or furniture to think Bizmo was diving into other's pockets, no high rollers and no familiar faces. Setting her feet up on the table and taking a taste of the ale, which she quickly spat out, she could only hope that the leads had brought her to the right place.
"I guess i can't complain about it being dirty in here anymore...", She mused to herself, and set the horrid ale down.
Hours, and several fights, had passed during her vigil and the Kal'dorei brushed her hair away from her eyes, noting the gathering of half-empty glasses in front of her and smiling at the fact that nothing here had compared to what Feathers served, she just wished she didn't know firsthand.
Deciding that her quarry had simply not come to join in the viewing tonight, she began to think of other Feathers that could aid in the surveillance only to be interrupted again by Bizmo on his loudspeaker. "Ladies and gentlemen, It's the event you've been waiting for!" cried out the Gnome over his loudspeaker as he circled the pit. It was then she saw the biggest change of the evening, nearly all of the patrons and some staff began to gather at the pit.
Raising an eyebrow, she made way over to the pit, the crowd clambering and shouting at Bizmo along with each other. After pushing her way past several patrons she arrived at the edge of the arena. A Human woman, no older then thirty with short cut blonde hair and wearing armour that made it look like she could be in the pits herself, turned to the Kal'dorei as she arrived exclaiming, "I love these fights! Her matches are always the best!"
"Her? Who's fighting?" She shouted, straining to hear the woman over the shouting of the crowd around the pair.
The woman gave one last look towards the pit before back to the Night Elf, "Don't know, She never takes off her helmet!" Taking a breath the woman continued, "But these matches are Bizmo's best!"
Nicci began to speak another question, only to be interrupted by Bizmo on his loudspeaker, "Tonight, we have a rare treat for you folks! In this corner, All the way from the Frozen Wastes of Icecrown, the Vrykul weapon master. Holmgeirr, of Jotunheim!", As if on queue a large blue skinned Vrykul stepped into the pit from the north end as the doors opened, having to duck down to get through them. Holmgeirr towered over any of Azeroth's races, and his twin double-bladed war-axes were a testament to his strength. The veritable giant raised his arms and clapped his axes together, the sound reverberating through the pub as he saw the crowd around the edge.
"TONIGHT! TONIGHT YOU WILL SEE A TRUE GLADIATOR!" Called the Vrykul, speaking to the entire crowd.
Doing another lap around the pit, Bizmo began again "In the other corner, the woman who needs no introduction. 'The Northern Wind'"
Standing at the opposite end of the pit from the Vrykul as the gates closed behind was a woman clad in blue and grey armor, and judging by the pits and scars, had not been repaired in at least a month. The armor's design was simple, showing no hint of the artistic license some smiths have taken when forging a woman's armour. Her weapon looked particularly brutal, as though plates of dragon scale barely contained a power that leaked blue light through the cracking surface.
As she took her stance, it was evident she was favouring her right side and a bellowing taunt came from the other side of the arena. "GNOME! YOU PROMISED A WORTHY CHALLENGE, A BATTLE THAT WOULD INSPIRE STORY AND SONG! AND I FIND THIS?! A WOMAN THAT CAN BARELY HOLD HER SWORD?"
"Don't worry, I'm sure we can get the boys to sing a limerick or two for you if you win!" joked the Gnome before ringing loud bell.
"AFTER THIS ONE, YOU ARE NEXT, GNOME!" cried Holmgeirr as he hefted his axes and took a stance. Moments later, the Vrykul roared at the smaller combatant and charged towards her.
Nicci had thought Bizmo offered one last announcement as the charge began, but it was quickly drowned out by the cheering of the crowd.
Holmgeirr raised his weapons in mid charge before leaping towards the other fighter. The woman raised her weapon in response, ready to block the plummeting Vrykul. Falling upon the smaller woman, slamming his axes against the raised sword, the sound of his feet slamming to the ground and both axes scraping against the sword echoed in the chamber and a manic grin crossed his face.
Looking unfazed by the pressure put against the sword, 'Wind' pushed back against the Vrykul, forcing him to step backwards, grin on face falling away as the crowd cheered. The combatants circled each other, each moving in pace with each other, their weapons raised to prepare for the next clash. Neither opponent paid attention to the cheering of the crowd.
Above the pit, Nicci kept a close eye on both fighters, the movement of their feet and the grip on their weapons. Her leather gloves creaked as she waited, realizing that the match could end in a moment if either fighter had the opening. The crowd, even the soldier beside her, didn't have the same appreciation for what was going on; They didn't care about the fighters, they were here for the blood.
Holmgeirr continued to taunt the other combatant, "WHY DO YOU FIGHT, PUNY THING? YOU LOST AS SOON AS I JOINED THE BATTLE! GIVE UP, AND I WILL GRANT YOU A SWIFT DEATH!"
Stubbornly silent, 'Wind' stepped to her right, wincing in pain as her foot hit the floor. Nicci could think that like her armour, the fighter didn't heal herself between matches. Holmgeirr's grin returned
as he found his opening. He charged forward again, Staying relatively low to the floor he swung his weapon, pitting his Axe against her blade, the battered woman intent on blocking the oncoming blow. In the few moments after the blades struck each other, before the ringing of the metal faded, it was clear that her right side could not keep her stance strong and that allowed the giant to instead send her flying; Her blade dropped from pain numbed fingers in mid flight, moments before her back hit the wall and she crashed to the floor. As she landed, Nicci could hear the telltale signs of armour buckling.
The crowd cheered, perhaps louder this time as their thirst was close to being sated.
"So what, is the fight over now?" The elf inquired, turning towards the Human beside her, who simply gave her a quizzical glance before speaking.
"Over? Oh no. Bizmo doesn't stop these fights.", The woman turned back to the fight as if the matter was settled.
"Doesn't stop? What do--", The Kal'dorei's question was cut short with the sound of metal scraping metal.
On the floor below, Holmgeirr was pulling his Axe from the wall as the girl completed a roll that left her several feet from the Vrykul. Looking franticly until she caught sight of her missing weapon and started to move towards it, only to quickly jump back as she avoided the path of an Axe as it embedded itself into the flooring in front of her. The crowd let out a dejected cry, most were clearly against the woman now.
Holmgeirr did not allow the girl time to react again, running towards the smaller woman at full speed, barely allowing himself a moment to Wrenching his Axe from the metal floor with a squeal to rival Bizmo's announcing. Backhanding her with the flat of his Axe, he connected with the woman, sending her flying yet again; This time she was able to land on her feet before sliding into the wall.
"What the hell?! He's going to kill her!" Shouted the Elf, unable to take her eyes off the fight
"I know! These fights really are the best. The girl doesn't let Bizmo stop the fights, i nearly saw her get killed by a pair of Forsaken." The blonde turned away from Nicci to continue cheering down into the pit.
The woman, 'Wind', stood on shaky legs as the Vrykul centered himself, pieces of her armor and helmet starting to fracture and fall away. Nicci knew that the woman wouldn't be able to hold her own for much longer.
Suddenly, 'Wind' shot her hand forward, a deep blue energy swirling in the palm of her hand. The magic quickly solidifying into a ball of white chains, flakes of frost falling to the ground. Watching the fighter carefully, Nicci noted the patch of ice forming at the woman's feet, like it was locking her to floor, as she began to open her palm towards the Vrykul. There was no sound as the ball of chains shot from her palm, all the room felt was a rush of cold like a frigid wind passed by. Nicci smirked, Northern Wind indeed.
Holmgeirr didn't have time to react as the ball of magic reached him, exploding into a flurry of chains that coiled around his arms, legs and upper body until sealing themselves to the floor with ice. He struggled against the chains shouting as they restricted movement. The crowd split again, half crying for the woman to gather her weapon while the other half cheered Holmgeirr to escape.
"WITCH! YOU ARE TOO WEAK TO FIGHT AND SO YOU USE MAGIC AGAINST ME!? YOU WILL SUFFER A PAINFUL DEATH FOR--" The Vrykul's words were cut short as he felt something rip one of his axes from his grip, and nearly gawked as he saw the twisting, purple tinged claw. Following the wisps back to the woman, Nicci saw that it mimicked the movements of her right hand. half a heartbeat later, the Axe was spiraling towards the other end of the arena, the howling of the weapon's flight cut short as it embedded itself deep into the metal with a heavy thung.
Letting out a savage roar, the Vrykul began to swing wildly, breaking free of the spell more by luck then any kind of skill. Shaking off the now loosened chains, the warrior was determined not to let the woman attempt her trick again. Holmgeirr bounded towards her, grabbing at her neck and slamming her against the wall, a maddened look on his face as he rose his remaining Axe; The pit's lights reflecting off the razor metal and laugh of the frost giant bouncing off the walls.
"YOUR TRICKS WILL NOT HELP YOU, PUNY THING! YOU ARE WEAK, AND YOU WILL DIE FOR IT!"
The Night Elf in the stands above gripped the railing so hard her fingers were throbbing as she looked down into the pit, every fibre of her body screaming to stop the fight. "You're all sick! She's going to die, and you're still cheering! Stop the fight!", Nicci started to move, ready to leap into the pit, for better or worse only to stop dead in her tracks.
The crowd quieted, the moment they all were waiting for was soon to arrive, the killing blow. They sat on pins and needles for the fight to reach it's finale. Moments later, the east side of the crowd began to murmur, several pointing into the pit. Nicci had already seen what they were just noticing. The woman's blade, seemingly possessed of a life of it's own lifted itself off the ground and leveled itself as if it's owner was holding it again. The blade pivoted itself horizontally as if ready for a piercing strike and flew forward, towards the Vrykul and it's owner.
The 'Wind', leveled her gaze, her lips parting to show blood stained teeth as she growled her first words of the fight.
"We're not weak..."
The blade plunged itself into the Vrykul, cutting his laughter short and the only sounds in the arena, aside from the constant whir of the flying machine above, was the clang of the Axe hitting the ground, followed by a heavy thud as the weapon-master fell to the side, blood seeping from the wound. The crowd began to cheer.
With the Vrykul no longer pinning her to the wall, she slid out of the indent in the wall before falling to her feet with a clang as her heavy boots struck the floor. Only then was the truth of the situation apparent, the blade had pierced the Vrykul's body and the tip of her own sword had punctured her armour. Holmgeirr breathed a final curse as the 'Wind' was still attempting to hold onto her own life, as her legs gave way and she fell to the ground, the opposite direction of the Vrykul; Her helm, barely holding together, fell apart as she hit the floor, revealing long, silver hair.
Nicci stared at the girl on the floor, at her glowing blue eyes, realization flooding her mind as she whispered, "By Elune.. Mariiku!?", without even a second thought the Kal'dorei stepped onto the railing and leaped to the floor below, rushing to the woman's side. Her heart beating faster as she reached the young woman, she knelt beside her as panic started to creep into her words, the scent of blood filling her nose, "By the Nether, what were you doing here?! Don't worry, everything will be okay. Just hold still." She began Inspecting the wound, the sword didn't push far past her armour, but she knew that even this could be fatal for the young Death Knight without help.
The silver haired woman looked up at the Elf, and with what could only be called typical behavior for the girl, she smiled. "We wanted to get stronger for Miss Lia...", were the last words she spoke before falling into unconsciousness.
Mari, this was wonderful. You should write more often. I noticed very close to the beginning you included scents in the story. Knowingly or not, including the senses deepens the immersion into the character.
I really did love this. Bravo.
I always find the mark of a good story is one where you can feel yourself telling a story in the world someone else created because their world is that well constructed. That real. It was established so well by the time you got to the mage fighting that I immediately started seeing how Izby could be there. In the crowd. In the pit. Tongue coated in sawdust & blood.
So for everyone who hasn't said a word yet. Izby and Doli approve with enthusiastic fist pumps and giant foam fingers.