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"The assault begins now! Let's do this!" Lorna called.
Suddenly a night elf in brown robes came up to us, purple hair swaying to and fro in her dash to come here. "Wait! " she yelled, stopping us. "Kioal has to know something!"
"I'll be back," I mouthed to Ten. "What's the matter?" I asked to the elf girl.
"Your father, he's in trouble at the city! I don't know how long he can-" she started.
"What? Who's attacking him? Who?" I interrupted.
"A Worgen, his name is Troy Nightfire!" she gasped, out of breath, her hands on her knees.
That announcement made my blood run cold. My father... attacked by Troy... in the city...
"Lead the way," I growled, now furious at what Troy had been doing.
"Y-yes, of course!" she stammered, and led me to the city.
Fear and fury were racing through my body as we got closer.
Chikira knew he shouldn't have gone back to the city, but that mysterious figure was too interesting to ignore. He also should have brought backup, but his conscience told him he could handle this person alone. Right now, though... anxiety pooled in his gut.
'Curiosity wins another round, unfortunately,' he thought crossly.
He continued walking towards the Greymane Court, where he last saw the figure at. His hands rested uneasily on the hilts of his sword and dagger, which were sheathed on his hips. The mist still clung to the land here, but it was not as thick as before. Still, he found it a wee bit difficult to see very far.
His thoughts wandered back to his son, Kioal. How would the poor boy react if Chikira was badly injured, or worse, killed here?
His left eye watered a little at the thought, the right one lost long ago and covered by an eye patch. He had already lost his wife a year ago in Icecrown Citadel. He remembered how the wall of ice prevented him from helping her in her battle with her brother, Jaiden Bonefreeze. And when he heard the explosion... he nearly broke down from the sorrow.
She was his everything. He loved how her silver eyes glimmered at night, the butterfly markings on her face accenting her beauty. Her voice was like harp music - elegant and mystical. When she was still alive, she'd always tell stories to the family, which included him, their son, her, and their daughter, Shahra Darkblade, who was currently residing at Darnassus.
He had forgotten about her as well... damn it to hell, he was getting old. He didn't know why she was staying at Darnassus, though. Shahra did say that she preferred her natural home at Teldrassil. It made his heart ache a little at the thought...
"So glad you could come, Chikira," a deep voice growled, suddenly derailing his train of thought. The Rogue looked this way and that, trying to discern where it came from.
"Who's there?" he inquired, to the air. It couldn't have been his imagination, that voice was too real to put off.
"Someone your son knows..." the voice replied, and some of the mist parted to reveal a Worgen in green armor, blades on the shoulders and helmet. Skulls rested on the shoulder plates, and the man - Chikira guessed it was a man, given his frame - hefted a rather large axe in one hand, a yellow light glowing in the middle of the blade.
"Uh... who are you?" the Rogue questioned, suddenly becoming wary. Whoever this guy was, he looked dangerous.
"I used to be a pathetic whelp called Troy Nightfire... but he is no more. Instead, I have a new title," the other explained, removing his helmet and gazing madly at Chikira.
"I am Deathfang!" Troy roared.
"How... what..." Chikria was at a loss for words. When did Troy act like this?
"I see you are greatly confused. Simply put, the Aspect of Death - Deathwing - granted me the power to unleash the worgen on this nation. When that didn't work, I supposed the Forsaken would destroy you, but I knew you and your son wouldn't be taken down by mere undead. Fortunately, you can rest assured that Kioal will be safe..." the person called "Deathfang" began. Chikira cocked his head quizzically, much like a dog.
"...but you won't be. First, I'll slaughter you, then I'll go for your children. How's that for a devious plan?" Deathfang finished, a cruel smile forming on his muzzle.
Chikira's protective aspect of his personality came to the front at his adversary's words. "You will do no such thing, you son of a !@#$%... I'LL TAKE YOU DOWN FIRST!" he roared, and, unsheathing his weapons, charged at the Twilight Worgen.
"Aw... what's the matter? Is a certain old dog furious?" Deathfang mocked, sidestepping to dodge the lunge.
"SHUT UP AND DIE!" Chikira yelled, turning and throwing a knife at his enemy. Miraculously, Deathfang caught it in mid-air, and tossed it carelessly behind him like it was garbage.
"Bring it on then, you old coot!" he taunted, raising his axe and dashing forward.
Chikira parried the axe with his sword and managed to shank Troy's gut with his dagger. His enemy staggered back a little, caught off-guard - Cheap Shots were Chikira's specialty. He followed up with a hilt blow to the head, causing Deathfang to back up and use his axe's blade as a shield.
"I HATE you Rogues! Cowardly cheaters, the lot of you!" Deathfang roared in anger.
Chikira smirked. The way he saw it, he was no coward, he just knew all the dirty tricks in the book to harass his foes.
More parries on Deathfang's part. Chikira was growing annoyed. 'Some time TODAY,' he mused.
Suddenly he was thrown backwards as a wave of force came from Deathfang's body. The Rogue was knocked back a few feet, disoriented by the wave. What the hell was THAT?
"ENOUGH!" the Twilight Worgen roared, now sheathed in some dark purple aura. "I grow tired of these games! NOW YOU WILL SUFFER!!"
Deathfang charged forward, becoming a massive purple comet on a one-way track to Chikira.
The Rogue only just managed to escape the charge, landing hard on the ground from the shockwave caused by Troy's Twilight Meteor attack. He coughed from the dust scattered around him. Troy was certainly more than meets the eye...
"HOLD STILL, DOG!" the former Gilnean boomed, rearing back and preparing to perform another Twilight Meteor.
Chikira knew at that moment, Troy was long gone. There wouldn't be any way to get him back. He scrambled to get out of the way, narrowly dodging it that time.
Deathfang landed in front of the Cathedral, knocking over some trees. "GRAGH! LAY DOWN AND DIE ALREADY!!!" he roared.
Chikira knew he couldn't keep this up forever. Sooner or later he'd slip and it would be fatal to him.
"Father!!" came the sound of his son. The Rogue turned and saw that he was running towards him, looking frantic.
'Gods dammit...' he thought. "Kioal! Run! Save yourself!"
"No!" Kioal objected.
"Cute. You can wait, Chikira. Kioal...is MINE!" Deathfang bellowed. He spoke an incantation and trapped Kioal in a prison of dark energy, rendering him helpless. "Don't worry, it will be quick... though I do not guarantee that it will be painless."
Chikira panicked. He watched as Deathfang began to charge a rather powerful spell... and it looked like it would kill. With renewed strength for his son, he limped his way close, falling on one knee near his son. He was becoming exhausted, he knew it.
"DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE US! FOR THE GLORY OF THE DESTROYER!" Troy roared, and threw a massive sphere of dark power at Kioal.
Chikira shut his one good eye and leapt right into the attack, his one last thought being of joining his wife at last.
"NO! FATHER!" I screamed when the energy blast hit my father. It struck him dead center, making him shudder with spasms, then he fell before my feet.
Somehow, the Twilight Prison dissipated - I assumed that Troy spent the rest of his power on that attack - and I ran forward, catching my father's body. He was banged up very badly.
"K...Kioal..." he breathed.
"Father, please stay awake!" I pleaded, tears threatening to burst from my ducts.
A smile crossed his face. "Don't... worry about me... it will be alright..."
"No! It won't be alright! I don't want to lose you!" I objected, the tears now flowing freely.
"Kioal... look at me. Grant me one last wish..."
I looked him in the eye. Some of my tears fell onto his tunic. His eye was glazing over as his life was fading.
"Take good care of... your sister, Shahra... that's my boy..." he inquired, breathing his last breathe.
And with that, my father's spirit had finally left his body.
"No...no..." I murmured, the sorrow taking me. My father was gone...
I then remembered who did this to him. Troy...
He was definitely going to pay.
I felt anger rise within me. Pure, firey anger.
'That's it! Use your rage on your enemy!' a voice yelled inside my head.
"YOU...." I said, getting up and staring at Troy.
"Bah! Stupid old fart. Wasted my attack..." I heard him mumble.
"TROY!!! YOU BASTARD!!!" I raged, fueled by my anger. "I'M GOING TO TEAR YOU APART YOU SONUVA!@#$%!!!"
"Oh, boo. Now I'm COMPLETELY buggered."
I ran forward, intent on maiming him with my claws. I couldn't discern whether I did that of my own will or if my feral side forced me to. At the moment, I just wanted to feel Troy's blood on my fur, and see his head on a bloody pike.
I could see his eyes widen when I came at him. Somehow, he dodged my charge, and I only just prevented myself from face-planting into a tree.
"COME BACK HERE!!!" I bellowed. "I'M NOT FINISHED YET!!"
"Oh, but *I* am. See ya later, furball," he said, then quickly created a strange purple portal - to where, I didn't give a rat's ^-*! - and jumped in. It closed before I could give chase.
After he left, my anger died down, and I was again cloaked in sadness. Tears erupted from my eyes again as I returned to my father's death.
"No... (sniff) How could this happen... (sniff) I failed him... I've failed..." I muttered, completely devastated. It was bad enough losing my mother... but now him?
It was too much. Now I only had my sister, Shahra, and my uncle. I wished Uncle Isaac was here...
"What happened he-oh my gods!" I heard Tenavra gasp. "Kioal? What happened, hun?"
"Tr-Troy happened... my father's gone... I failed to protect him," I said weakly. I vaguely felt her wrap her arms around me in a hug, whispering soothing words in my ear. "I only h-have me sister n-now..."
"Shhh... it's not your fault... it's gonna be okay..."
We sat there for a few minutes, the only sound being my sniffling and Ten's voice. "Did... did you stop the Horde?" I asked after a while.
"Yes... we drove them back.."
"That's good to h-hear... I... I want to do something."
She gave me a curious look. "What's that?"
"I want to give my father a proper burial. In Darnassus... that's where me mum is buried," I said, thinking about her.
"I'll help you. It's the least I can do," she replied.
We came over to where my father's body lay, his eye unblinking. Slowly, I closed it shut.
"Send word to the night elves... it's time to go home, I think."
"Of course." And with that, she took off.
It wasn't exactly going to be a happy Homecoming, that's for sure.
It took a few days to get to Teldrassil. The night elves managed to preserve my father's body, and for that I was grateful. I helped in dispelling the Twilight Corruption on him due to the Twilight Annihilator that Troy threw at him. It wouldn't be fair for that dark magic to devour him before he was even buried.
I didn't feel like talking to anyone during the trip. I was still shaken by my father's sacrifice that I believed I wouldn't be able to handle talking about it again. Fortunately, when we arrived, a general told me that the funeral would be held in two days from now. I had enough time to recover from the ordeal, but I still had to break the news to Shahra.
It's been such a long time since we met that I desperately prayed she wouldn't run from me in my Worgen form. Ten accepted me because she loved me, but would Shahra accept me too?
I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and wound up walking into a male night elf. We fell to the ground at the same time, groaning from the pain.
"Oof!" I yipped. I really needed to stop daydreaming...
"Get off of me!" the elf barked and pushed me off of him before I could say anything. I landed on my rear, and looked up to see who the man looked like: purple braids on his neck, amber eyes glowing softly in the night. He wore a common red cloth shirt, and some leather breaches. Sandals covered his feet. "Oh, it's one of YOU..."
I cocked my head. What was he talking about?
"Why we sent troops to help you mutts I don't know, but apparently Stormrage wants you to live here. You should watch where you're going next time, dog."
I got up and glared into his orbs, snarling, "For your information, I'm Kioal Darkblade, son of Chikira Darkblade, and it's not like I have a choice. None of us wanted this, but stuff happens."
"Darkblade?" he questioned. "Oh, I remember now... he's the one that corrupted Zaihra Leafshadow and you're their bastard offspri-"
I cut him off by grabbing his throat and slamming him into a tree. How DARE he speak of my family like that!
"DO NOT TALK ABOUT MY MOTHER THAT WAY," I nearly screamed, more than annoyed at this git. "If it weren't for my parents' actions in Icecrown, you'd be a dead duck right now."
"What's stopping you... from killing me... now?" he coughed.
"I'm barely keeping my feral side from slaughtering you... so I'll let you go as a warning. But... if you say ANYTHING else about my family in the future..." I made a cutting motion across my throat to signify his fate if he insulted my bloodline ever again.
His eyes widened. "Y-yes, I promise!"
"You better..." I snarled, then dropped him. I could sense he was glaring daggers into my spine, but I didn't care. His life would be forfeit if he so much as uttered a word about my line.
Turning away, I hastily travelled towards the inn where my sister was at. With that man from earlier still in my mind, I assumed my human form and kept walking. Stares and curious eyes regarded me as I passed by.
'I'm not a circus animal, dammit,' I thought sourly. 'I'm just like everyone else. They're just too afraid to accept my visage.'
I let out a heavy sigh. They'd accept us when my father's funeral came to pass.
That last thought made my heart ache. With both our parents gone, Shahra and I would have only Isaac for comfort. Although, I did hear rumors that the goblins had joined the Horde when Gallywix was bested by "Valor Team." It would make it all the more difficult, because the Worgen would be with the Alliance, I assume, and I'd have not many chances at conversing with him publicly.
After a few more minutes of wandering about in the night elven captial, I found the inn. I looked at my reflection in a nearby puddle and found that I was incredibly unkempt: my tunic was torn in places, I had grass stains here and there on my arms, and my hair was raggedy. Yeesh, I DO look like a circus animal. Oh, well, nothing that a thorough bathing can't fix.
I supposed that Shahra could wait until I was at least somewhat presentable. I asked a Sentinel where the nearest spring was, and she told me I could use the lake that resided near Dolanaar. Thanking her, I morphed into my Flight Form and flew towards the town she mentioned.
It took a few minutes, but I made my way to the lake. I could smell the water in my nostrils, and I didn't waste any time changing to Worgen form, removing my clothing and jumping in.
Almost immediately, I could feel my muscles unwind. "Ahhhh...." I groaned happily. "Just what I needed..."
The water was moderately warm, so I felt no hurry to wash up and get back to Darnassus. I just floated there for a while, content to let the water carry me.
I was feeling so relaxed that I barely noticed the sound of hooves on grass. I didn't want to look up, but a familiar voice jerked me back to reality.
"I wondered where you went, dear. I was worried about you," Tenavra said.
I turned my head to look at her. "I needed some time by myself, but you're welcome to join if you want," I offered.
"Alright, gimme a second."
I turned the other direction and waited for her to finish removing her clothes and joining me in the lake. I heard the tell-tale splash of her jumping in, and glanced back to see her swimming towards me. "How'd you get past the Sentinels?" I asked, curious.
"I stayed at the boat helping the troops unload Chikira's body. After they were done, I figured you'd want some time by yourself, so I busied myself with planning the funeral in a few days. Is that alright?" she spoke.
"Yeah," I said, feeling sad again. I looked downwards into the water, staring at my own reflection. I'll admit, I did look rather ferocious, but my eyes could weave a different tale.
My eyes shot back up when I felt her arms around me. "What's the matter?" she inquired with concern.
"Just... I still can't get over his death quite yet," I replied, closing my eyes to prevent the stream of tears that would inevitably flow. I still felt like it was my fault Father was gone.
"Kioal," I heard her start while cupping my muzzle in her hands. "It was never your fault that your father sacrificed himself for you. I've had a similar experience, remember?"
I let my mind wander back to a particularly important memory from my training days...
Kioal was wondering where Tenavra had wandered off to. She'd normally wake after he did, but this morning he found her bed empty. 'Strange,' he thought. 'Wonder what made her get up real early.'
He then saw a note on her bedside table. Picking it up, he gazed over the writing:
I'm sorry you didn't see me this morning, I just needed some time to think about... you know.'
He instantly figured out what she meant. Her other friend, an orc warrior by the name of Magra, had disappeared recently, and they both feared the worst: becoming part of the Scourge, or worse, a Death Knight. He shuddered at the thought.
Magra was like the sister that Ten never had. He could understand how she felt when the pride-filled orc went missing a week ago.
He continued reading the note.
'If you're going to be looking for me, check the balcony. If I'm not there, then try the fountain in the center of Dalaran. I'll be on one of the benches.
He saw her signature at the bottom, pleased to find it in her own fine handwriting. Ironic, since she was a Tauren and had very large hands, dwarfing the size of his own.
Putting it back on the table, he placed on his leather garments and groggily made his way towards the Inn's balcony. Dalaran was a beautiful city: its spires gleamed in the sunlight of morning, and the various floating decor made it all the more breathtaking. He was glad their instructor, Veralus Dreambreeze, had sent them here for some well-deserved R&R (Rest and Relaxation).
Stepping out onto the balcony, he only saw the rug that was put there, but no Tenavra. The Human Druid shrugged and walked downstairs towards the center fountain. He was curious what kept Tenavra from discussing Magra's disappearance with him.
Soon, he came towards the fountain, the waters shining into rainbows from the rays of the sun. He always liked rainbows: they were a sign of luck and joy.
Looking around, he couldn't see Tenavra anywhere, until he heard her croak, "Over here, Kioal..."
He turned and saw his best friend on one of the park benches, but he noticed that her eyes seemed rather sorrowful. She was hugging herself as well, which made his curiosity grow into concern. Did something bad happen recently involving her?
He came over and sat with her, putting his hand on her back. Her eyes looked downcast, he saw. "What's the matter, Ten?"
"It's... Magra..." the Tauren Druid answered, sniffling. "You know how... she went missing... last week?"
"Yeah, why? Did something happen to her?"
Tenavra was silent for a few moments before she sobbed, "She... The Lich King... now she's a.. D-d-d-d-Death Kn-Kn-Knight..."
Kioal's eyes widened. Magra... a Death Knight? "When did you learn this?"
"L-last night... one of her allies, a troll w-w-warrior, t-told me about it... h-he was the only survivor of their r-raid..." she explained, tears slowly starting to form in her eyes.
Kioal felt his heart skip a beat. Magra was his friend as well, and he treated her much like Tenavra had: as a sister. It hurt him that she had now been forged into an undead killing machine.
"I can't believe it! She's gone!" Ten suddenly cried and wrapped her arms around her Human friend, burying her face into his chest and weeping. "She was like a sister to me! And now she's GONE!"
Kioal was surprised by her actions, but quickly recovered from it and put his arms around her as well, stroking her back and whispering soothing nonsense words into her ear. It stung his heart to see his best friend like this, a crying, broken mess.
"I... (sob) I don't know what to (hic) do n-n-now..." Tenavra said between muffled sobs and hiccups.
"Shhh... I'm here... it will be alright... go on and let it out..." Kioal breathed in her ear. His tunic was getting thoroughly stained from Tenava's salty tears, but quite frankly, he didn't give an Underbelly Rat's tail about it. Tenavra needed comfort, and only Kioal could provide that to her right now.
Soon, the sounds of her sobbing died down, reduced to her shaking in her human friend's embrace. Kioal sat there with her, not daring to move. A few minutes later, he asked tentatively, "Would you like me to get you something to eat? It's approaching noon."
"W-would you? I didn't eat much last night," Ten stated.
Kioal remembered from the previous night that she said she wasn't hungry. He didn't force her to eat anything, just nodded and let her sleep for the night. Now he knew the reason why.
"Sure, what would you like?"
"Whatever," the Tauren Druid replied nonchalantly. "I'll be fine, I guess... just shaken, that's all."
He nodded and set off to the nearest bakery.
"Yeah, I remember," I replied, finishing that memory like a Titan hologram recording.
"I still miss her... but I have gotten over it after a time, and soon, you will too. I'll be with you through it all, Kioal," my Druid friend - now my lover - told me before giving me a hug.
I returned it happily, and was about to let go when I felt her hand on my leg. Heat started to grow around my face when she began stroking it. 'Okay... starting to get hot in here...'
"Uh, Ten...?" I managed to say, but it was kind of hard, since I just wanted to groan from pleasure. My underpants were starting to feel uncomfortable as well.
"I know this may sound stupid.... but could you... refrain from doing that? I don't... want to force anything on you..."
She stopped, thankfully. I forced all of my willpower into not whining from disappointment.
"Oh, sorry. I just got carried away," she apologized.
"We should probably head back, it's getting dark," I stated, looking up and seeing stars in the sky.
"Oh my! How long were we out here?"
"Hell if I know... but no matter. Let's get going."
'What was that just now?' I pondered. 'We've only just been together for a few days... I don't want to hurt her.'
We swam to the shoreline and got our clothes back on, then proceeded to fly back towards Darnassus. I was glad I kept myself from taking her right then and there; I wanted to wait until she was ready.
It was going to be a long day tomorrow, I just knew it.
Chapter Five: A Formal Farewell...
Shahra Darkblade wondered what all the commotion was about the previous day. She had heard that Gilneas had come under attack from the Horde, and before that, they were mutated into Worgen. They had somehow kept their sanity, but the previous fact unnerved her. She desperately hoped they wouldn't try to hurt anyone during the night...
Another thought appeared in her mind, this one about her brother Kioal. It had been such a long time since she had spoken with him and their father. 'Hopefully he didn't get cursed,' she prayed.
Sighing, she looked up from her breakfast - toast and eggs - to find that Kioal had not come yet. 'Where the heck is he?' she wondered, a frown making an appearance on her lips. He should be here right ab-
Her door creaked open to reveal her brother with a frown on his face. She jumped upwards, running over and hugging him, exclaiming, "Welcome back, brother! I hope your stay in Gilneas was fruitful?"
Kioal looked at her with a sad glint in his eyes. Shahra's curiosity was piqued. What was wrong?
"Shahra... there... there's something you need to know. Two things, actually," he began.
"Sit and talk with me, then. I'm sure you have lots to tell."
She led him to an elegant-looking wooden two-seater and sat with him there, hands folded on her lap. She turned to him and looked to Kioal expectingly, waiting.
"Right... here goes..." he began.
I gulped as I began to recount the events from the previous days. I started with finding that Troy had betrayed us and set the Worgen loose, hoping to doom us all. Instead, he brought us newfound strength and power. Sweet, sweet irony bit him in the bum that time.
Then I started on the Forsaken and Orcs attacking us. Many people had died, especially good ones like Liam Greymane. Sylvanas had ran and tried to hit us with the Plague, but we fortunately stopped her efforts just in time.
Then came the hardest part... our father's death. I took in a deep breath as I started the tale:
"A night elf girl told me that Nightfire was attacking Father, and I raced as fast as I could to him. Sadly, I was too slow to stop him from wounding him greatly. Troy trapped me in a dark cage, and just as he was about to hit me with his giant blast, Father..."
I felt tears ready to detonate from my ducts for the umpteenth time. Shahra looked at me with worry creasing her features, fiddling with a strand of her green hair as she waited for me.
"He... he took the blast for me. I was unable to defeat Troy... he took off before I could hurt him."
I noticed that my sister's eyes had begun to fill with her own tears. Before I knew it, twin waterfalls fell down her cheeks as she looked down, sobbing. I saw her blue robes become stained from her sorrow.
"I...I don't... wh...."
I put my hand on her back and brought her close to me, embracing her. "I know... believe me, I've cried for him as well... but there's good news. We're gonna bury him here, next to Mother..."
She looked at me and I saw a glint of hope in her eyes. "R-really?"
"Yes... now... I need to show you another thing. Don't freak out... I know it's gonna be scary, but I need you to trust me. Please?" I inquired, putting my brotherly love for her behind my voice.
She nodded and wiped her tears away. "Go on, th-then."
I stepped up and looked at her for the last time, then closed my eyes. I called upon my inner beast to turn me into what I now truly was, and soon, I felt my skin turn to fur, my nails to claws, my legs bending back and my teeth becoming sharpened into miniature butcher knives. It felt slightly painful at first, but I ignored it by focusing on my sister.
Opening my eyes, I saw that Shahra had gone quite a ways away from me, backing into the wooden wall of her home. Her expression was that of fear, shock, and awe at my new form.
"It's okay, I'm still me," I said to calm her down. She didn't budge.
"K-Kioal..." she stuttered, her bottom lip quivering.
"If you don't want to accept me... I..."
"Wait!" she objected, running to me and wrapping her arms around one of mine. "I DO accept you, Kioal! I don't care what you look like... you'll always be my brother!"
I was dumbfounded. I half-expected her to run like hell or threaten to kill me, but she did neither. "You do?" I said dumbly.
"Yes! You're my only family now... I can't let you go because of some silly curse... you know that!"
A smile found its way onto my muzzle. Even though we had been separated in recent years, her love for me remained strong. Good. At least SOME people looked past our curse...
"Thank you, Shahra. The funeral's going to be tomorrow. Will you help wit-"
"Of course. Well, let's not dawdle! We've things to do!"
I smiled at her cheerfulness. Apparently I was wrong to think she'd turn me away.
Leaving her home, we searched around for our mother's grave. It didn't take long to find her tombstone. Like most night elven architecture, it had a rounded top, with a hole at that area. There were some words written in the woodwork. Kneeling down, I wiped off the dirt and dust that had accumulated there, to reveal a message my father left for her:
Died in Icecrown Citadel
“Her body may be destroyed beyond recognition,
but her soul and courage shall never fade."
-Chikira Darkblade, husband and father
I smiled. Father was a poet at heart. Looking left, I found a suitable place for Father's tombstone. I had the perfect message to write on it when the time came.
"Kioal?" my sister said, shaking my shoulder.
"Huh?" I turned and looked at her confusedly. I forgot why I was here in those few seconds.
"We need to prepare," she told me.
"Right, sorry... old memories and all."
I stood up and began telling her who to contact for the funeral, since our father was involved in politics and somehow managed his way through thick and thin, despite others telling him he was insane. 'That's the Darkblade way,' I thought proudly.
"Obviously Malfurion and Tyrande," I stated, mentally checking a list of all the important people Father had come to know. "And Kings Varian and Greymane."
"Got it," Shahra replied, and with a quick nod, took off to inform the leaders.
I really hoped that nothing bad would happen. I was going through enough already...
Unbeknownst to Kioal, a figure hiding behind a nearby tree was intending to wreck the funeral of his father. The figure - the night elf man from the other day - cackled to himself.
Ever since he had seen Zaihra, he had fallen head over heels for the huntress. The way her hair shined at night, her silver eyes glittering... it entranced him to no end. But despite his many attempts at getting her to mate with him, she refused all of them. It shocked and confused him. Why would she reject him?
"Zarus, are you ever going to leave me alone?" she growled once when he had flirted with her.
"Why do you not wish to be my mate? I am very strong, and I am certainly able to protect you," Zarus countered, winking slyly.
"You're an annoying idiot, you are. And besides, I've got my eyes set on another man..."
"Oh? Well, tell me who he is so I can show him-"
"A Human Rogue, Chikira Darkblade. In fact... we've already become lovers. Besides, you disgust me," the huntress retorted, talking about how he constantly talked rudely about the other races of the Alliance.
"But... why?" Zarus croaked, shocked. A human as a night elf's mate? Unbelievable!
"Because, unlike YOU, he knows me well. And I have feelings for him and him alone. So you can take your courting and shove it," Zaihra replied, a smirk on her lips.
Zarus' heart was broken into shards. How DARE that Human take his beautiful Zaihra from him!
"Now, if you will excuse me, he is taking me to dinner tonight. I must look presentable!" And with that, she ran off.
Zarus punched the tree he was using as cover. He wished to see Chikira dead, but no matter what, he always failed to. He was even more furious that the Rogue had been given children and Zarus had not.
Now that the Human was gone, he didn't know what to do... until that Worgen boy from earlier bumped into him.
"Oh, yes, they'll ALL pay..." he murmured, grinning from ear to ear. He had just the plan for the boy...
Tenavra was stunned by all the leaders coming to the funeral that afternoon. She was, of course, expecting Malfurion and Tyrande, but Varian and Greymane and Bronzebeard? She was flabbergasted, to say the least.
She also felt tense under their gazes. Yes, she was part of the Cenarion Circle, but her relationship with Kioal might cause trouble. Hopefully her lover could prevent it.
Tenavra smiled at the thought. She always regarded Kioal as a strong person, but his transformation into a Worgen only proved to strengthen that fact. And those eyes... those beautiful azure eyes. She could practically melt from them if she looked long enough. Even though he was a meek and shy boy, he could be a very powerful fighter when provoked.
She first took notice of her feelings for her friend when he had saved her from a very mean-looking group of her own faction one day.
"Hey, check it out, a hippy cow-girl!" an orc said, pointing a finger at her.
"Don't scare her, Tagrath... terrify her," a Forsaken female taunted.
"Yeah, we're gonna have some real good fun!" a blood elf man said, reaching out to grab her arm.
Tenavra was too scared to do anything. Just as the blood elf dragged her to him, a familiar voice rang out:
"Leave her alone or you'll have to answer to me."
The group and Tenavra turned to see Kioal walking towards them, a furious expression on his face. No, wait, he wasn't furious.
He looked downright PISSED.
"Go away, kid. We're just talk-" the orc started.
"Liar," the Human Druid interrupted, shapeshifting to Cat form and letting loose a mighty roar. The blood elf and Forsaken ran for it, leaving the orc. Either he was very brave or very thick.
"Oh, kitty wants to play, huh? Let's play then!" the orc taunted.
Tenavra knew he was going to eat those words. And eat them he did, after getting very badly hurt by Kioal's claws. He took off running, cradling his limp arm while fleeing.
She was so transfixed by Kioal's prowess that she barely acknowledged him coming towards her. "You okay?" he asked, a worried look on his face.
"Uh... yes..." she said slowly, gazing at her savior for the first time.
"You seem kinda shaken. How about I help you back to your quarters?" he offered.
Tenavra merely nodded, captivated by his man's appearance. Whoever his parents were, they should receive a reward for grooming their boy to look like this.
She was glad he didn't force anything on her. After that incident, they became fast friends.
She ignored the voice that called out her name. She was too busy reminiscing about Kioal saving her...
She grew annoyed now. Who was this person to intrude on her thoughts?
"Hey, Azeroth to Tenavra! Anyone home?"
Tenavra fell off her seat and onto the soft grass of Darnassus, dampening her landing. She groaned and looked up to see Kioal standing over her, a confused look on his face. "You okay honey? You seem real spaced out there."
"I'm fine, just remembering about good times," she said dreamily.
Her lover laughed and helped her up. "Well, you can save the daydreaming for another time. Right now, we have a funeral to go to."
Tenavra nodded, remembering what day it was. "Lead the way," she replied, taking his arm in hers and kissing his cheek.
She didn't expect anything to go wrong today.
The funeral began at noon the next day. Nobody stared at me awkwardly, which I was thankful for. Now that my identity was made known, I'd be welcomed as one of their own kin, if that was even possible.
Once Ten and I were seated, we looked up to see Malfurion Stormrage - the greatest druid ever known - begin his speech.
"We are gathered here today to mourn the passing and loss of a courageous man, one who shined through the darkness and lit our way towards hope-filled dreams. Chikira Darkblade. A man of few words and many actions, his adventures have never ceased to bring all of us freedom and salvation against the greatest of foes."
I looked around and saw my sister bring in a rather large portrait of our family - me, her, and our parents. We were all caught in a group hug and smiling brightly.
"Now, it is his son who shall uphold that legacy. Kioal Darkblade, if you will?"
I stood up and made my way towards Stormrage, shaking his hand and nodding.
"Greetings, my fellows. My name is Kioal Darkblade. My father was a very honorable man, for he has seen through the chaos and madness of our world and given us a bright future. He never backed down from a battle, and he always put his life on the line for us... and now he has passed, because he sacrificed himself for me."
Murmurs broke out from the audience. I caught parts of "I feel sorry for the poor kid," "Oh, if only Chikira hadn't passed..." "I wonder how the boy will feel after this?"
"And now, he lays here, next to my mother, Zaihra Leafshadow. If it weren't for their actions, we would not be standing here today. Now, I'd like to-"
A sudden scream cut me off in mid-sentence. Whipping my gaze to where it came from, I saw that my sister was held with her arm behind her back, and a knife near her throat. The person who had her looked familiar...
It suddenly hit me like a boulder to the face. That guy from the other day, who insulted our line...
He was about to kill my sister!
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" I yelled, my protective instincts going into overdrive.
"Oh, I'm doing nothing at all!... unless holding this wench at knife-point counts as doing something, does it?" the man taunted.
I could see that Shahra had a fearful look in her eyes, and it was enough to say, without words, "Don't do anything stupid!"
"Let her go!" I barked, trying to stop this conflict before it started.
"How about... no," he responded, pressing the edge of the knife against Shahra's collarbone area. I heard her whimper as a faint trickle of blood raced down her front.
"Don't make me do something I'll regret..." I warned, sensing I was out of options.
"I do believe I have the upper hand here," that git replied.
"Zarus! You will unhand her or ELSE," Malfurion boomed.
Nothing happened for a few seconds, none of us daring to move. Then suddenly, a root came up from behind "Zarus" and wrapped around his arm, ripping the knife away from him and knocking him off of Shahra. My sister ran towards me, yelping and almost crushing me in a hug.
"Gods DAMMIT! Why is it that you Darkblades get EVERYTHING? First Chikira gets Zaihra, and now he gets a funeral! I should have her!"
That made me incredibly angry. Who the hell does this guy think he is?
I vaguely heard the audience gasp in surprise at what happened. I didn't care; this !@#$%^- dared to hurt Shahra, and he was definitely going to get it.
I was about to lunge at him until Greymane roared, "SETTLE DOWN!!!"
Whoa. He might as well said that he had a device that could destroy Azeroth in an instant. Everything went silent after that.
"Thank you, Your Highness," Stormrage said to the Gilnean King. "Now, as for you, Zarus... you will leave this place, and never return."
"WHAT?!" Zarus yelled, in a shocked tone. "But I-"
"You heard," I started. "Or should I sing you some knuckle music?" I cracked my knuckles to put emphasis on that.
"You will leave for Felwood and stay there for the rest of your life. Do you understand, Zarus?" Stormrage told him.
"Fine... but you haven't seen the last of me. I'll get my revenge!"
"Yeah, yeah, save it for when you're stuck in Fel-goop," I responded.
Magical chains soon restricted his hands behind his back, and then a nearby magus teleported him to his eternal prison. 'Good riddance,' I thought. 'He deserved it.'
Turning to the King and night elf leader, I apologized for what happened.
"It's fine, Kioal," Genn said, clapping his hand on my shoulder. "I wasn't expecting that either."
"I concur with Genn. We should be apologizing, Kioal," the night elf leader added.
I sighed. Couldn't things go right for once? "May I speak with my sister?"
"Go right ahead, son. We'll take care of things here," the Gilnean leader answered.
I beamed and turned to Shahra, who was panting from her near-death situation. "You alright?" I asked of her tentatively.
"Y-yes, I'm fine..." I heard her say. "That 'Zarus' was a real.... uh... 'git'?"
I smiled at her attempt to use Gilnean slang. "Yes, he was a git. Look, I'm sorry... I didn't expect that..."
"You're okay, Kioal. Really, I'm fine. See? The cut's healing already," she responded. Sure enough, the cut from earlier on her neck was healing quick, likely from one of her Swiftmend spells. "Besides, you were the one who made that vine appear and distract Zarus."
"Uh... that wasn't me."
Her expression became surprised. "Then who made it?"
"That'd be me," Tenavra's voice confirmed. I looked behind me and saw her walking towards us, hips swaying with each step. I was mesmerized for a second until I remembered what she said.
"You did that?"
"Yep!" she replied, smiling.
"Thank you!" I said, and, not even caring that I was in public, ran up to her and gave her a loving kiss on the lips.
I heard Shahra gasp behind me when I did that. 'Oh,' I thought. 'Guess I didn't tell her about us.'
"Uh... what's going on?" she asked.
I disengaged myself from Ten's mouth and looked at my sister before saying, "Um, yeah, I kinda forgot to tell you that... I'm in love with Ten?"
Shahra's expression turned from shocked to joy. "Oh, that's wonderful! I was wondering when you two were going to hit it off," she giggled.
"Yes, well.... now that what's done is done, what should we do now? I still need to find out where Troy buggered off to," I pondered after a moment of awkward silence.
"It appears that we have dire news, Kioal," Malfurion said suddenly. I nearly jumped; how the hell did he DO that anyway?
"What is it?"
"Nordrassil is under attack from the Twilight's Hammer. There appear to be fire elementals running amok there... but I thought Ragnaros was sealed away long ago."
I gulped at that last sentence. Ragnaros, the Firelord, was a being of incredible power. Even now, just his name is enough to make one cringe in terror. "Oh no... if the World Tree is gone, then..." I heard Tenavra gasp.
"Yes, the consequences will be catastrophic. You must go to Moonglade and ask the wardens to let you and Aronus fly to Mount Hyjal. Quickly now! It's only a matter of time before we lose the World Tree!"
"Right, let's go, Ten!" I announced, and turned to leave when I felt a hand on my arm. Curious, I looked up and saw Shahra stopping me. "Um, Shahra, can you let me go?"
"I'm coming too! I'm not going to stand by and watch you fight!" my sister said firmly.
"But Shahra, I-"
"No buts! I'm coming and that's that!" she objected, hands on her hips.
I sighed. Why'd she have to inherent Father's stubbornness... "Oh, fine. I guess you can..."
"Hooray! I'll be back in a moment!" Shahra yipped excitedly, and then she ran off to do... whatever she needed to do.
"Your sister is very quirky," my Tauren Druid lover commented.
"Runs in the family, I guess?" I shrugged.
"Oh well. At least I'll have you by my side," she replied with a sly wink. I laughed in response.
Soon, I would live up to my family's legacy. I knew it was going to be hard, but hey.
It wouldn't be an adventure if it were easy, right?
Chapter Six: Once More, Unto The Breach!
"He'll be the death of us all," Isaac grumbled, staring imaginary daggers into that meathead, Garrosh Hellscream's back. The sound of gusting wind greeted his ears as the zeppelins continued their journey towards the Twilight Highlands.
He couldn't believe that Thrall had appointed this hothead as Warchief. Yes, he knew that the Horde needed a leader while Thrall was away, but Garrosh was going to run them into the ground with his war-loving attitude. The thing that proved Isaac's point was that the goblin would not be allowed to converse with his nephew anymore.
"I'M SORRY?" Isaac had all but shouted when he heard that. He was furious. Didn't that brown-skinned git realize that Chikira had saved everyone's asses in Icecrown Citadel?
"Must I speak again?" Garrosh had replied calmly, a smirk on those ugly lips of his. "You shall no longer be that boy's uncle, goblin. As of now, you no longer are related to him."
"BULL!@#$!!!" Isaac had roared in protest, wishing to slaughter this idiot. "You damn well know that your %^- wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for his father!"
"And...?" the Mag'har replied nonchalantly, unfazed by Isaac's outburst. "That relates to me how?"
"Use that brain of yours. Or should I remind you that *I* had driven the Deceiver from this world while you sulked and moped in Nagrand?" the blue-clad goblin had countered.
He had figured he struck a nerve there when he saw Hellscream's mouth curl into a scowl, his eyes becoming filled with anger. "Watch your tongue, goblin. You are very close to having your life taken."
"Admit it, Garrosh Hellscream. If it weren't for Thrall, you wouldn't be 'leading' us," Isaac replied, putting air quotes around "leading".
The Mag'har was silent for a few agonizing moments, staring at the savior of the Sunwell with contempt. The goblin mercenary returned the glare, his blue eyes glowing.
"You were just leaving," the Orc stated. Isaac could tell that Garrosh was doing all he could to not attack him.
"Know this, Garrosh: despite what others may think, I and Vol'jin agree that you're no leader of ours, and you never will be. You will be looking over your shoulder every second, fearful of who will assassinate you. And when the time comes that a bullet strikes your brain, taking your pitiful life, you will know who pulled the trigger," he said firmly, and left without so much as a "goodbye" or salute.
Miraculously, Garrosh had not sent anyone to kill Isaac or his teammates. Either he didn't care about them or took Isaac's words to heart.
'He can jump off a cliff for all I care,' Isaac thought bitterly. 'Thrall made an unwise move appointing that prat as Warchief.'
Isaac jumped when the "Warchief" yelled and started a long, rousing speech to his Horde. He almost fell off the zeppelin he was on, since his train of thought drowned out everything else. Sighing, he covertly reached near the left horn of his helmet and turned a knob that controlled outside volume he'd receive. Turning it all the way down, he laid back and watched as that axe-wielding buffoon started rambling about Gods-know-what.
When it was over, he turned the sound back up, grateful to save his ears from Hellscream's disgusting voice. 'Hopefully he'll remain silent.'
"Look! Dwarves! Haha! They sulk like prairie dogs in holes in the ground!" a Kor'kron Marine announced, pointing at a cliff. Isaac craned his neck to look and saw dwarves hiding in a peculiarly-looking house.
'Poor guys...' he thought.
The formation of zeppelins continued their aerial journey towards the Highlands when Isaac spotted Alliance ships on the waters below them. 'Oh, crap. Hopefully Garrosh igno-'
"Captain, sir! Alliance naval fleet sighted off the port bow!" a goblin announced.
"The Alliance streams in close formation without escort," the Warchief boomed.
"So much for that," Isaac muttered under his breath.
"Air guard, attack! Strafe them, now, while they cannot maneuver!"
The mercenary's eyes widened. Was Garrosh insane?
"WHAT?! What does he think he's DOING? The carriers are unprotected!" the captain exclaimed in fright.
"Sir, just how royally screwed are we, on a scale of one to ten?" Stronghold said next to Valor1.
Isaac turned to Valor3 and calmly replied, "Eleven, give or take."
"Damn. Sorry I asked, then."
"What kind of madman orders away his air support!?" the captain yelled in disbelief.
"A winner!" the Marine from earlier replied proudly.
"Dumbass is more like it!" Valor Leader countered. "We're vulnerable without the air guard!"
"Mister Gearchum, signal the fleet: Defensive formations! We're without our escort! I want interlocking fields of fire now! NOW!"
"Get ready team!" Isaac blared over his mic. "Be ready for anyth-"
"What the WHAT?!"
Torquebarrel looked up and saw something unbelievable: Twilight dragons attacking the fleet.
"It's an attack!" a Marine yelled.
"No !@#$, sherlock!!" Firecracker screamed in reply.
"The guns! MAN THE GUNS!" the captain ordered. Goblins ran to and fro as they hurried to stave off the attacking dragons. "FIRE EVERYTHING WE'VE GOT!"
"Valor2 here! Commander, I don't think we're gonna make it! Our zep' is on fire! We-HOLY CRAP! MAYDAY MAYDAY! WE GOT A DRAGON ON OUR HANDS! WE'RE GOING DO-" came Raindancer's frantic voice, before getting cut off prematurely by static.
"You there, 2? Come in! COME IN!"
Only white noise answered Valor Leader. He swore. They had lost the team's healer and diversion master... how would they continue without them?
"No... Amanda and Thom are gone..." Torquebarrel breathed.
"They're after the Warchief!" the Marine from earlier announced.
Isaac looked and saw a huge magenta colored dragon approach Garrosh's ship. His jaw slacked open. There couldn't possibly be any way he could-
"GET! OFF! MY! SHIIIIP!!!!" the Mag'har bellowed, slicing and chopping at the beast's face. After a few more slashes, the monstrous being gave a great roar and fell off the ship, blood flying from its face as it descended towards it watery demise. But not before leaving an incendiary present on its target...
"The Warchief's zeppelin's in flames! It's going down!"
Sure enough, Twilight fire was building on Garrosh's ride, eagerly torching it with unbridled hunger. Soon, the avian vehicle began to dip towards the sea, until Isaac couldn't see it anymore.
'Good riddance! Serves him right, the git.'
Isaac's zeppelin suddenly shook, and he turned to see a Twilight drake stuck in the rigging. "Oh bugger!" he cried.
"Ergh! All hands aft! One's aboard! Shoot it! KILL IT!" the captain barked.
"It's caught in the rigging!" a goblin worker responded.
"DO SOMETHING! THAT'S AN ORDER!!"
Firecracker, Stronghold, and Isaac hurried to dispatch of their deadly assailant. After a few arrows and bullets were shot at the behemoth, it too gave a mighty bellow before detaching from the zeppelin and falling off towards the water.
However, the group wasn't allowed to rest, as the ship gave another tremor before explosions could be heard around it. "Oh come on!" Stronghold cried.
"She's breaking up sir!" a mechanic said.
"Tamp down the imflammants! Batten down the carriage! Rudder for the shore!" the captain fired off rapidly. "EVERYONE TO THE PARACHUTES!"
"You guys go ahead!" Isaac ordered to 3 and 5. "There aren't enough parachutes to include me!"
"No way! I'll carry you!" the team tank objected.
"NO TIME! GET GOING!" Valor Leader responded, pushing them towards their 'chutes and waving them off. As he saw them depart, he felt another rumble.
"Here goes!" he roared, preparing to activate his thruster boots. Before he was able to, however, a mighty force knocked him forward, tossing him off the zep'.
And into the water.
"HOLY CRAP!" he said as he saw the sheet of blue race towards him.
He prayed to the elements that someone would save him before he drowned.
That's all he could make out.
He had no idea where he was. Which way was up? Down? All around?
His lungs also felt strained. What happened...
"Hey, Firecracker, I think he's coming to!" a voice said.
"You sure, 3? He still seems out of it," another spoke.
"Do what you can to get him back. We need him right now!"
"Alright, alright, jeez, what are you, my mother..."
Isaac felt something on his mouth, which confused him, until he felt a rush of air enter him. His lungs filled with the much-needed gas, and the blackness dissipated.
"Look, he's waking."
"Get the water out, too! Air means squat when that stuff blocks his lungs!"
"I got it, I got it! Just gimme a frickin' second!"
His eyes opened to reveal his teammate, Firecracker, standing over him, pumping his chest to get all the water he swallowed out. Isaac coughed and sputtered for a good while, until he was sure he could speak. "What... what happened..."
"That zeppelin we were on? Hit by another dragon. It knocked you into the water when it hit, sir," Stronghold explained.
"Where... are we?" Valor Leader asked, looking around to examine his current location.
"If I'm right, we're in Dragonmaw Port, the home of the Dragonmaw Orcs," Firecracker replied.
Isaac shuddered, not from the cold, but from a memory of that particular Orc clan when he was still in Outland, at Shadowmoon Valley. "What... are we going to do now?"
"Krogg's telling us to find the clan leader and hopefully get him to supply us with food and a place to stay. If I recall, his name's Mor'ghor. Charming."
Edited by Fangry on 3/28/2013 5:40 PM PDT
Isaac forced himself to lean on his elbows and look around, spotting houses made of mud and black-skinned orcs milling about. They gave the goblin trio wary looks, but so far they kept their distance. He thanked whatever deity had blessed them, since he didn't think he was in any condition to fight right now. He brought up a scan of his internal systems, and sighed as he scrolled down the list: one cracked rib, and some minor bruises on his body. Until those wounds were treated, he'd be unable to battle if need be. "Stronghold, could you do that for me? I don't think I'm able to."
"Of course sir!" Valor3 said, and, with a respectful nod, took off to convince Mor'ghor to help them.
“5, be a dear and patch me up, will you?”
"Yes, sir," the explosives expert replied, and set to work bandaging and fixing Valor1.
"Is there anything else I should know about?" the commander inquired. He still didn't know if Raindancer and Flashbang had survived the onslaught...
"We still haven't found 2 and 4. I hope they're alright..."
"Ditto. We're gonna need them. Keep the search going; if anything, those two are probably hiding in a cave or something."
Time passed as Firecracker wordlessly bandaged his squad leader's injuries as best as he could. After a few seconds: "Done."
"Good. Let's have a look around, shall we?" Torquebarrel said.
"Affirmative... hey, I think I see Valor3 and... he's being carried by two Orcs? What the?"
Isaac looked and saw that the prophecy was true: Stronghold was being carried by an Orc man and woman, his feet dragging against the dirt. From the looks of things, he appeared unconscious, as there was a rather large bruise on his head. Valor1 grew angry at the sight. If Mor'ghor was the cause of that bruise, he'd pay.
"Valor5, you're coming with me. I'm gonna negotiate with those guys to see if they can release 3," he barked.
"But, sir, your wounds..." 5 replied, before being cut off.
"We already have a missing healer. I'm not letting our tank go on my watch."
They both rose and stomped over to the Orcs, their targets' faces becoming scowls at the sight of the two goblins. "Move along, runts," the male grunted, "nothing to see here."
"That's my squad mate you've got there. I demand that you release him," Valor1 spoke firmly, glaring at them.
"You're in no position to demand anything!" the female laughed. "Your fleet lies obliterated because of your 'Warchief', and you expect us to comply to a mere goblin? You are certainly insane, little one."
Isaac bristled. Yes, he did blame the fleet's destruction on Garrosh, but nobody...NOBODY...called him "mere" and "little". "Am I? You should look at your own. He has demon blood in his veins, and you follow him blindly? Hypocrites, the both of you. Now release my team mate, or ELSE."
"Or what?" she scoffed, sneering. "You're going to hit us with your little pea shooters? Humor me."
"Uh, boss-man?" Firecracker stuttered nervously, tensing from Isaac's mounting anger. He noticed that his Commander's chest gem was flashing a fierce blue. Odd. What was that meant to do?
"Oh, I'll 'humor' you, alright..." Valor Leader growled, reaching to remove the chains on his gloves. Firecracker began to panic at that; he had heard that when 1 removed them, the elemental power bound inside his body would overload and grant him incredible strength. However, should he forget to put them back on, the savior of the Sunwell would enter a blind killing frenzy, unable to discern friend from foe.
"Isaac, don't!" Valor5 warned. This was the first time he'd use his commanding officer's name, and even that didn't faze him. "Please! Don't do it!"
"Unhand the goblin!" another female voice barked, and everyone turned to see a Dragonmaw Orc wielding a large axe in one hand. She wore brown-colored plating, and her arms were bare. A simple spine-covered shoulder plate rested on her right. "Now, or else."
"Do not concern yourself with us, Zaela," the male replied. Isaac had thankfully stopped himself from releasing his power to look at the newcomer named Zaela.
"You know as I well as I do that I outrank you ten times over, Kaarth," Zaela said with a very real air of command.
"So what? That doesn't mean we'll release this whelp," the female Orc spoke.
"If you do not release Stronghold..." Isaac began sternly, "you will know the true meaning of pain."
The male shrugged. "I don't take orders from goblins. Come on, Torga, we-"
"You will release him now or so help me..." Zaela barked, "I will rip out your organs with my bare hands and force feed them to you. Then I'll use your spine as a hilt for a new axe I'll make. Understand?"
Now the two Orcs looked positively terrified. They slowly placed Stronghold to the ground, then backed away until they were out of sight. Firecracker breathed a sigh of relief. Valor Leader wouldn't have to blast this place to kingdom come. "The 'F' was that?" he blurted. "Commander makes a threat and they ignore it, but you make one and they run like scared kittens. What's the deal?"
Isaac ran towards his team tank and wrapped his arm around his shoulder to carry him, grunting from 3's extra weight in muscle. He couldn't blame him; Stronghold needed it if he was to protect his teammates.
"If only you knew..." Zaela murmured, causing 5 to raise his eyebrow at her. "Quickly, to my hut. I'll explain everything."
The group trudged towards the woman's hut. Isaac wondered how the hell Mor'ghor got here...
"Well, this is great," Raindancer muttered. "We've been taken down and now we're lost!"
"Look on the bright side," Flashbang told her. "At least we have each other."
"Quit being sappy and help me out," Valor Team's healer grunted, moving a piece of scrap metal aside.
"Fine, fine. Just trying to cheer ya up," the Team's diversion master mumbled.
It had been bad enough that Garrosh had diverted their air guard away to attack Alliance boats. By the elements, what was that idiot thinking? She should have listened to Valor Leader, but she ignored his concerns, advising him that he should focus on the team and leave that buffoon to his own devices. And now look where that got them...
"Found some rations, should keep us till we find real food," Flashbang announced, throwing a bag to the side.
"Find anything else?" she asked.
"Lemme see... wrenches, spanners, more rations, armor, axes, maces... everything but the bathtub. Should last us for a few days or so till we... oh crap."
"What...?" Amanda groaned, pinching the space between her eyes. What NOW?
"Naga," Thom replied, adrenaline coursing through his veins. "Get ready."
Valor2 swore loudly, annoyed at another thing gone wrong. She saw the familiar shapes of naga men slithering up the coast, their armor slick with water, blades serrated and edged. Most of them appeared with a teal glint in their scales, while some were full green. Amanda concluded that she and Valor 4 would be easy prey given their current situation. She drew her hammers - she had a separate specialization as Enhancement when possible - and summoned ghost wolves to attack their assailants.
The sand started to grow slick with naga blood, along with cracked blades and armor. Some parts of the sand had been turned into glass from Raindancer's lightning bolt attacks, and scorching craters were the result of her lava spells. "There's... too many..." she panted, her movements becoming sluggish from exhaustion. Water could Heal, that much was true, but it couldn't relieve weariness like this.
"Then let's go already!" Thom yelled, suddenly picking her up bridal style and fleeing the scene.
"My, such a gentleman," the goblin shaman remarked in a flirtatious tone.
"Thank you fer the compliment," the Rogue replied with a slight blush.
They continued their escape until they met a truly dead end: an area where a rock slide had occurred, twigs and shards of earth littering the place. Amanda uttered the most profane curse she knew, causing Flashbang to stare at her like she just became a Worgen in under a minute.
"We are so screwed..." the Rogue groaned, seeing naga troops close in on them.
Amanda panicked. If she didn't do something, they'd die. How embarrassing to be killed by naga...
Wait. A risky thought appeared in her mind. She could use her trump card... but how would Flashbang react when it was over?
"I'm going to try something!" she announced, before whispering an incantation that would make most people cringe in fear.
Edited by Fangry on 3/28/2013 5:43 PM PDT
A sonic boom swept the area, and Amanda was engulfed in a dark purple aura. She stood in a trance before it dissipated. Her armor had changed; instead of her ringmail raiment, she wore horrifying dark purple robes, laced with frightening sigils. Her head was covered by a hood with a metal board like object jutting from behind it, copper adorning the outside. The hood made her look like a dark reaper of death, black cloth covering her skull and rotted paper-like coverings shielding her face. Her shoulders adopted a similar appearance. Her hammers disappeared, and in their place was a deathly staff; it looked to be made by Twilight Cultist hands, a skull adorning a large purple gem. Fearsome spikes curved around the skull, akin to a cage.
She raised her staff, and one by one, the naga were consumed by dark magic bolts, the energy devouring them alive - literally. Many screamed as their bodies dissolved into nothingness, until those screams were silenced as well.
As soon as it was over, Amanda turned towards Thom, and found him with a horrified expression. She guessed that it was aimed at her, and she felt like sobbing. Her secret was out, now... she was a Twilight Cultist all along. She played as a shaman who lost her "brother" to tell Deathwing where his first target was at. And now as she gazed at her teammate, she felt that she betrayed them all... she had grown to like Thom as more than a teammate, like a... boyfriend. And then she had to go and blow it up by revealing herself.
Her eyes filled with tears as she realized what she had done. "Thom...I..."
"Amanda?" Flashbang started tentatively.
"I'M SORRY!!" the former shaman yelled, and turned and ran away from him, her tears racing through her mask and onto her robe as she scurried away. She vaguely heard her friend call out to her, but she didn't care; she felt so ashamed that she couldn't bear seeing them again. Now she knew where she belonged...
The Bastion of Twilight. That was where she felt was her true home now. She had now realized that she had sold her soul to madness. She didn't care...
She had become one of them, and there was no turning back.
There were many thoughts racing through Flashbang's mind after Amanda had ran away.
'We might need a new healer,' was one of them.
'For how long was she a cultist?' was another.
'And why did she apologize after that?' he concluded.
At first he was horrified that Amanda had shown her true colors, but the way she screamed her apology before fleeing confused him. If she were a cultist, she'd have killed him on the spot, but he supposed that there was something else going on in her mind. Lately, before they travelled to the Highlands, he had caught her staring at him many times in a longing way. When he spotted her doing that, Raindancer would turn away in embarrassment and mutter something incoherent. Flashbang shrugged it off as simple flirting, and remained none the wiser. Only now did everything click into place, all the hints forming a complete jigsaw puzzle.
"So... she was into me..." he murmured. He slapped himself for being ignorant to her; now that she had ran, she might not come back to the team. Or him, for that matter.
"Commander's not gonna be happy..." he breathed, gathering his weapons and supplies. He figured that if Amanda wouldn't return, he'd be more likely to find her if there was a search party sent out.
'Amanda Raindancer, I'm sorry... I'll bring you back. I'll save you from this dark curse. I promise.'
"Orright, start talking," Isaac said to Zaela.
The Dragonmaw Orcess began to explain how and why her clan had left Shadowmoon Valley for the Highlands. As far as she knew, Shadowmoon Valley was becoming an increasingly hostile environment, due to Illidan's defeat, and so they journeyed to Azeroth for suitable land. When they arrived, they ran past the portal guards and made their way to the Highlands. Mor'ghor had assured them that this was for the best, but Zaela admitted she had her doubts.
"And that's it," she concluded.
"How come you haven't taken Mor'ghor down yet?" the goblin commander questioned.
"Yes, about that..." Zaela began. "The thing is, everyone else has been swayed by his promises of power and glory. Even though he has the appearance of a demon, most of my clan still foolishly follow him. If only I had killed him when I had my chance..."
"He's pretty powerful," Isaac interjected, "so I don't blame you for failing to kill him. However, I think I have an idea."
"Hm? What's that?" the Orcess asked.
"We stage an assault on the port with our own Horde soldiers. While everyone's distracted, Firecracker and I will recruit tradesmen and merchants to our cause. We'll have enough of a force to defeat that monster."
"Permission to speak, Commander?" Valor5 inquired.
"I think it'd be a better idea if I stay here and look after 3. There's a possibility that he'll be a target and Zaela may not be able withstand a large force by herself. Oh, no offense meant, ma'am," the explosives expert said, adding the last part in hastily when Zaela shot him a glare.
"It's settled. I'll be right back," the blue archer announced, and left the hut to find Krogg.
When Valor Leader left, Firecracker sighed. Death could come at any moment, yet it decided to spare him and Zaela.
"What's the matter?" the Dragonmaw asked him suddenly.
"Oh, um... it's just that I'm afraid this whole op will be bust," he answered with a worried expression.
"Trust me, I'm as worried as you are. I don't mind death; I just want Mor'ghor out of here."
Neither moved as time passed. To kill time, 5 began to idly poke a stick into the bonfire within Zaela's hut. Stronghold was still unconscious, his bruise having been bandaged to speed up healing.
They soon heard axes biting into flesh and gunfire being exchanged. The goblin demolitions master's ears perked up at the sounds.
"I guess that's my cue to shoo," Firecracker exclaimed, and ran out before Zaela could say anything.
A humungous moat of molten liquid surrounding an incendiary citadel.
That's what came to mind when I saw what had transpired at the bottom of Mount Hyjal. 'Dear gods!' I thought frantically. 'How can this be possible?'
“What in the world is THAT?!" Tenavra cried from behind me. We were riding on Aronus' shoulders, my lover's arms wrapped around my waist to keep from falling off. I looked and, sure enough, there floated a humongous black dragon who appeared to have large metallic plates fastened to his body. One horn was cracked, the other whole. His jaw also appeared to be entirely made of that metallic substance, which made me shudder in fear. At the moment, he was gazing down into the lava. Curious. What was he -
Suddenly a large geyser of flame arced upwards into the air, and soon after a large, familiar fire elemental rose from the infernal depths, wielding a huge, flaming, runed mace in one hand. His face was a charred skull, flames darting out from his sockets and jaw. What appeared to be infernal wings sprouted from his back, and it almost looked like another giant pair of horns. Ragnaros looked towards us and bellowed a hauntingly familiar cry:
"BY FIRE, BE *PURGED*!!!!"
“Heads up!" I called, and Aronus just barely dashed out of the path of the Lord of Fire's enormous hammer coming down to smash us out of the sky.
"The Firelord has RISEN!" the Emerald drake cried. "We must send word to the others! Let us hurry!"
Aronus flew us out of there before either monster could destroy us. Yikes... this was very disturbing. Ragnaros' return would pose an even greater threat to the World Tree.
Before long, we were flying around Nordrassil, and I felt my mouth hang open at the sight. Truly, the World Tree was a thing of natural beauty: it's trunk stretched ever so high into the air, and, if I recall, its branches held huge leaves. It sort of hurt to crane my head at an angle like that, but it was worth it.
Our Emerald ally dropped us off at a large elvish inn, where slag elementals were attacking the Wardens, and Tenavra and I dashed inside to find three druids channeling on a very reassuring sight: Ysera the Dreamer, or should I say, the Aspect of Dreams. It appeared she was focusing on a green orb of magic in her hands. We walked up close to the Aspect, and I blinked when she didn't even glance our way. She didn't flinch when I waved my hand in front of her, even with her eyes wide and open. Weird. Why was she-
“I feel it as well, Kioal Bemoth Darkblade. Ragnaros has arrived."
I looked around and saw nobody else with me besides Tenavra, the Dreamer, and the druids previously mentioned. "Ma'am?" my lover said tentatively.
“We must defeat his minions before he can join them and lend them his strength,” the voice said again. At this point, I figured it was Ysera talking, and I nodded to Ten. She blinked before returning it.
“What would you have us do, ma'am?” I inquired, itching to join the fight.
“Seek Malfurion Stormrage at the Tranquil Grove, west of here, and aid his forces in any way you can. I must seek answers from within the Emerald Dream. You must protect the World Tree until I return,” she answered. No matter what we did, the Emerald Aspect wouldn't react. I assumed that her being in the Dream is taking all of her focus, which would explain the druids channeling on her. Maybe they were helping her stay in the Dream.
“Let's get going,” I said to my lover, and we dashed out before morphing to our flight forms – hers was a brown storm crow, while mine was a blue-black raven – and flew westward to the Tranquil Grove.
On the way over, we kept seeing fire elementals and Twilight's Hammer forces pummeling the wardens, harassing the druids, and generally mucking up the place with fire and black magic. 'This is far from “Tranquil,”' I thought sadly.
It took some searching, but we managed to find the Arch-Druid and another female tauren in brown robes and a wooden mantle, holding a leaf-covered staff. We touched down in front of the platform they were on, and treaded over to them before Tenavra said, “Sir, we're here!”
Stormrage gave a polite nod. “You've come just in time, you two.
“Make no mistake about this, young ones. The outcome of this war will determine the very survival of our world as we know it.
“The Twilight's Hammer has become more powerful than ever with Deathwing's return.” I shuddered at the name... Deathfang had said it back in Gilneas. “Should they succeed in taking over the World Tree, they might strike a blow from which we will never recover.
“It is time we beat back the enemy. It is time we crushed the Twilight's Hammer,” he finished, gesturing behind me and Tenavra towards the fighting. We nodded and were just about to leave when the other tauren woman spoke up.
“Wait. There's something out there we need,” she said. “I'm Windspeaker Tamila, by the way. A powerful artifact known as the Flameseer's Staff was lost during the initial onslaught by the enemy forces. It was an ancient bone staff that granted its wielder power of the elements of fire. Its fragments litter the area around us. Find them and bring them to Malfurion. Perhaps the artifact's power will still be of use.”
“Are you sure it won't backfire on us?” Tenavra asked.
“It shouldn't,” Tamila replied. My lover remained unconvinced.
“Well, can't hurt to try. We need to hurry, though!” I said, and, without waiting for a response, grabbed Ten's hand and ran out of there to the fighting with her.
Yikes, the cultists were all over the place! Some were battling the Hyjal Wardens, while others were pummeling druids. Fire elementals were blasting night elves and tauren alike with jets of flame.
“You search for the staff fragments, I'll take care of the cultists!” Ten said to me.
“Are you sure you can handle them?” I asked.
“Yes, just get the fragments!” my lover maintained, then took off to beat down the Twilight's Hammer.
I sighed and took off to where some fire elementals were fighting Ancients – huge humanoid tree beings – on scorched ground. I looked about and saw bone fragments, trying to fight down the uneasiness in my stomach. 'Focus, Kioal! Get the fragments and find Tenavra!'
I began to pick up the fragments, zigging and zagging to and fro to dodge the combat. They looked just like bone, except with no visible fractures on them. Curious. How DID it get broken in the first place?
That question would have to wait. Once I figured I gathered enough, I turned to leave when I heard a scream and saw Tenavra caught between a monstrous fire elemental and a hulking troll cultist. She was barely keeping them at bay.
“GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY TENAVRA!” I yelled, running towards her and startling the trio. I morphed to Cat Form and attacked the troll and elemental, tearing and shredding at them.
When it was over, I returned to normal form and helped Tenavra up, and I could see a cheeky grin on her face. I blinked, and she laughed.
“'Aw... I'm your Ten,” she giggled.
“W-well...” I stammered.
“Don't worry, I'm glad you showed up. Another minute and I'd be toast. You got the fragments?”
“I think so.” I showed them to her. She looked at them with a spark of hope in her eyes before I put them back in my bag. “Let's hope that it will be enough to beat these guys back.”
“Good, we should – LOOK OUT!” She suddenly jumped on me and knocked me down, and I would have protested had there not been a smoldering crater where I once was.
We landed on the slightly charred grass – it actually felt hard, not soft – and I could hear the tell-tale sound of a fire elemental crackling in anger. I think we just pissed him off.
Tenavra helped me up and we both ran, dashing to and fro, this way and that, to dodge the fireballs that elemental was throwing at us. I admit, these guys were powerful... but they couldn't shoot the broadside of a barn house for toffee.
Somehow, we gave the hotheaded – pardon the pun – elemental the slip. Maybe it got bored and decided to go torch something else?
When we returned to Malfurion and Tamila, I gave the fragments to the latter and asked her how she'd fix it. “Don't worry,” she said, “it will work.”
The finished product of the Flameseer's Staff looked more like a man-sized leg bone instead of an actual staff. Whoever this Flameseer guy was, he must have had a bone to pick with his servants.
Heh. Bone to pick. I'm so witty.
“Now what do we do?” Ten asked. I took the staff from Tamila's hands and held it carefully in mine, as if it were a priceless artifact that was very fragile.
“Have you noticed the large fire elementals running around?” Malfurion said. We both nodded. “They are not actually singular being. They are made of many smaller elementals. If you use the staff, you should be able to break them up and take them down.”
“Anything else?” I wanted to know who was leading this band of fire.
“Does the name 'Baron Geddon' mean anything to you?” Tamila said. I shuddered. My late father had said that, before he married my mother, when he took Geddon on, he had wished he brought flame proof leather. The Baron was a living inferno.
“Ragnaros brought him back. He's the one leading the Firelord's minions here. His rampage must be put to an end! You must use the Flameseer's Staff to bind him where he stands!”
Tenavra and I nodded, and we set off towards our goals. “How are we going to do this?” my lover piped up.
“I'll get their attention while you subdue them with the staff.” I handed it over to her.
“I'm always careful,” I replied with a confident smile before morphing to cat form and running off, with Ten on my trail.
Deathfang paced the corridors of the Bastion of Twilight. Deathwing had told him to stay at this location to advise Cho'gall – an ogre mage whose terrible deeds were the stuff of legend – on leading the Twilight's Hammer to victory. Ogres, orcs, humans, elves, and many other creatures scurried out of his way, lest they incur his wrath.
But he was not thinking about the cultists in the Bastion. Nor was he thinking about being Cho'gall's adviser within the darkened halls.
No, what was truly on his mind was how he failed to kill Kioal Darkblade.
'Damn you, Chikira,' he thought bitterly. 'If not for you, I would have been done with your son a long time ago.'
He remembered, before he was contacted by Deathwing, that he was incredibly jealous of the Darkblade family, though he kept it secret by acting unsociable. Being that he had born in a shoddy orphanage, he thought it was unfair that he had been left in rags while the Darkblades were praised as heroes and saviors, given fame, fortune and glory. Troy was innocent... yet his so called “parents” had not even considered using what would happen when they did the deed. And they had the gall to leave him there, all alone, with nobody to care for him. He had come to know his mother and father as “the !@#$% and bastard who made me”.
He had got into many fights at the orphanage, and each time, the bullies would get meaner and meaner, tougher and tougher. He had no idea how he had managed to live through that.
At some point – he cared not to remember when – he had left at the age of seventeen to pursue some sort of career. Eventually, he settled for being a guard of King Greymane, since he had grown quite strong himself and could handle a weapon. At the same time, he took up Engineering, as to create toys to amuse himself when he was on break.
Then one day, he had heard a whisper in his mind. It promised him power... glory... treasure... women... many things, all of them pleasurable and enticing. All he had to do was ensure that dark beings known as the Old Gods could tear the world apart as they saw fit. At first he had balked, saying, “How can I get all those things if the world's going to be obliterated anyway?”
Edited by Fangry on 3/28/2013 8:23 PM PDT
The messenger – Deathwing, its name was – informed him that he'd get all of that WHILE he helped the cause. He had pondered that for a few moments before proclaiming, “It's a deal.”
He had been whisked away to a long, grueling, TORTUROUS initiation into the Twilight's Hammer. He had been magically and physically enhanced with black magicks, dark secrets, and horrifying weaponry. It was painful.. he still felt the scars from time to time. They throbbed... burned... with the memory.
But it was worth it, he told himself. It was all worth it... there was only one thing blocking him.
“You're brooding again,” a voice said to him. Deathfang sighed. He been given a familiar – a small, ethereal, wraith-like entity he came to know as Yzarc Dratsab – when he became a cultist. Most of the time, Dratsab would just annoy him.
Deathfang shrugged his shoulder violently, causing the small magenta wraith to fall off and land on the cold metal floor. “Jeez, somebody has issues...” it said in agitation, waving its translucent arms in a fit.
“And somebody's going to get banished if they don't leave me alone,” Troy snarled, intentionally kicking the wraith as he passed.
“Not my fault you're an actual son of a !@#$%,” the wraith replied. It continued to follow him, and Deathfang just decided to let it be.
“Sooo... what ya thinkin' about?”
Deathfang's reply was a single whispered word, in a language so ancient it would make a normal person go somewhat mad. The result was a *POOF!* and Yzarc was gone, back in his bottle in Deathfang's bag. He smirked. The crazy bastard had overstayed his welcome for today.
He hurried to Cho'gall's chamber. The ogre mage would need him, he was sure of it.
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