The Final Patrol ((Closed RP))

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
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Gaream had slipped into the camp during the night, taking advantage of the fact that the guards were half asleep. However, the commander’s tent was heavily guarded, and he was unable to get past the guards without setting off every alarm in this place. He looked around the camp as the sun rose, looking for archers and lookouts mainly, his biggest danger at the moment. The only real vantage point for archers seemed to be a rather large bolder. Gaream could tell from where he was that no one was at the bolder at the moment, unless they were hiding behind it, an act that would make little sense since that would limit their view. He was fortunate that no one was on the boulder, as he probably would not be hard to spot from it, although he was well hidden from those on ground level.

“Men, awaken! A new day is upon us!”

And that would be the commander, Gaream thought. Sure enough, he saw a man on horseback riding past his hiding place a moment later. Gaream began considering options of attack. A throwing knife? Poison, perhaps? Regardless of his choice of attack, Gaream knew he wasn’t going to kill the commander while he was prancing around in front of his men like this. He would have to wait for his chance.
If there was one word Azeroth was far too familiar with, it was sacrifice. In times of war, blood was as much a commodity as gold and much easier to acquire. Aristocrats signed cheques full of the precious red liquid, and posted them to the battlefield where souls were reaped like grain. It was a tragedy to watch so many lives face oblivion at the hands of their superiors, but it would also be unfair to pass judgment on the nobility. They too payed a hefty sum of their own soul to play the game of war, those who traded blood and bone soon found their compassion, love and empathy rotting from their body like flesh from a corpse. Some would argue that this spiritual decay was much more terrible than the mercy of death was, soldiers live and die with their heart full of hope and their heads held high, everyone else had to watch their emotions die one by one.

To Agent Lilia Keys, sacrifice meant doing what had to be done for country and for King. It meant loyalty and loss, it meant picking the lesser of two evils and it meant following orders no matter what your moral center tried to convince you of. Keys had watched her empathy fade away, alongside her mercy, uncertainty and free-will. She was programmed to kill, without her orders she had nothing, she was a machine stuck on automatic. It was only now, back on the front lines, with missions and objectives that she could truly function.

Agent Lilia Keys sat in the command tent of the Alliance front, and ran over plans. Of course, amongst the distant explosions, word had arrived to this front that war had broken out. If the messages had been more dire, Keys might have been as bold as to withdraw troops to combat the horde, but as far as she knew Grim Batol was still of primary concern. It was a standstill, the Twilight Cult was too well dug in, and both Alliance and Horde leadership refused to cooperate. They did not have enough artillery or heavy support, only men and their wills, and will didn't do much against tideless numbers and dragons.

But there was little Keys could do, with so little forces she could only keep the pressure on the Twilight Cult, and prevent retaliation, it was a standstill until she received reinforcements. The woman continued to move soldiers around in her mind like pieces of a chessboard. Empathy had to die for method, efficiency and necessity to take root. Keys did not miss her compassion, it had no place in war.

Agent Lilia Keys excused herself from the tent, the other commanders returned to their discussions, and stepped outside. The wind rustled her toughened leather armour as she held the flap of the tent open and glanced over the Twilight Highlands. It was quiet, the silence of destruction hung over the land, she knew it would not be long before war started spilling over the rest of the Highlands, and Azeroth itself. Even the Horde here with them at Grim Batol could no longer be trusted.

“And where are you now, Spannershield?” Keys muttered, setting her eyes to the battlefield and constructing plans.
Valdemir labored to draw breath as he conjured another shard of ice, sending it careening into the neck of a cultist below him. The magical shard of frozen water sliced through the man’s exposed skin like an arrow of saronite. The man’s eyes rolled to the back of his head as he collapsed to his knees, hands flailing uselessly as he tried to stop the bleeding. This was not the first man he had killed to day, and it would not be the last. Squaring his shoulders the elder Gilnean magi attempted to draw precious oxygen into his lungs, but his deep breathes were but ragged rasps as air leaked into his beleaguered body.

I’m getting too old for this Valdemir thought to himself as he scanned the battlefield for his next target. His muscles burned with fire, as the overburden fibers did their best to answer the commands spilling fourth from his nervous system. From his position at the back of the patrol, he had a clear view of the battlefield before him. Like a dark tide, forces of the twilight hammer continued to push forward without end. He had lost count of the lives he had ended today, but it was as effective as trying to drain a lake using a tea cup. He could feel himself reaching his limit, but he couldn’t stop, if he did he would die.

Valdemir was drawn back to consciousness by a fit of body racking coughs. Fresh blood spattered on his already filthy robes but the elder mage didn’t care, the time had long since passed since he had worried about how he looked. It was one of those things that went with age Valdemir had always told himself. Once you have lived a little, your find what is meaningful in life, and put your limited energy into it. Every muscle in his body protested in agony as he tried to sit up. He was covered by rubble, but was inside a half dome of exposed space. It took Valdemir a moment to recognize what had happened….

His legs moved but not fast enough. All around him people scattered like ants avoiding a farmer’s boot. Behind him a ball of steel and fire descended impossibly fast, its trajectory pointed right at the heart of the patrol. Valdemir had nothing left. He could barely move, but when he had heard the call to look to the heavens, a short burst of adrenaline had allowed the elder mage to move faster than he thought possible. However the adrenaline was fading and his heart was pounding so fast and so hard that he feared it would give out. His body dragged to a halt, he couldn’t outrun it, he would have to fight it. HE felt the heat wave as the crudely designed vessel burned like a comet heading directly at him. Valdemir reached down, tapping deeply into the various leyline that wound their way underneath the highlands. Chanting words of ancient power, Valdemir’s hands moved like serpents as he cast his spell. As the heat began to overtake him, a purple sphere of pure arcane energy solidified between the magi and the missile of fire and steel. Valdemir counted the second to impact, 3… 2…. 1…. And then it happened.

The zeppelin impacted some dozen yards away, exploding in a fit of death and fury, sending out a shockwave of immense power. As the wave of fire and metal impacted his shield, it felt like a sledge hammer striking the elder mage square in the chest. Valdemir’s eyes dilated in fear as he the purple half dome, the one thing keeping him alive, bowed in under the force of the explosion. If he had believe in his the light he might have sent up a prayer, but being an agnostic he decline on doing something that would prove more useful. Through clenched teeth Valdemir put the last of his essence into the shield, pushing the elder magi into the embrace of darkness.

Looking around his earth and steel tomb, Valdemir looked for any chance of escape. Feebly he pressed against the walls of his prison, only a few small rocks gave way. A beam of hazy light spilled through the newly form hole, taunting the trapped man with the thoughts of freedom. Closing his eyes, Valdemir attempted to push at the opening with the arcane but all he was rewarded with was a stabbing pain behind his eyes. He had overdrawn his reserves, his body was tortured, but he had to keep trying. Digging deep, deeper than he thought he could go, Valdemir allowed himself to become immersed in the pain. His body shook in agony as Valdemir pushed out with all his might at the opening. White fire poured through his veins as the elder magi poured everything he had and more at his chance for freedom. At first nothing happened, despair threatened to overwhelm him, but at the last moment the hole began widen. Grasping his best and only chance at escape, Valdemir pushed with everything he was worth.

Collapsing through the wall Valdemir fell onto his face, and lay there. Every muscle in his body quivered in pain as he just lay there. As the warm sunlight fell on his prone body, Valdemir tried to think of why he had decided to join this rag tag group in the first place. He hated the horde, he hated them for accepting the ex-scourge members into their ranks with open arms, he hated them for what they had done to his homeland as his emotions began to get the better of him, Valdemir’s logic kicked in. “You joined them because the alliance cannot save the world while fighting the horde. How can you save Gilneas if it is consumed by the sea, swallowed by the earth, or scorched with dragon fire?” HE felt himself begin to drift into unconsciousness but a loud voice brought him back to reality “Borean Patrol, Roll Call!” the voice belonged to the commander of this band of lost souls, Vimmi Spannershield.

3 weeks ago, Tol Barad

Most soldiers would dismiss scout and outrider duty as trivial and straightforward. However, during wartime, nothing could be further from the truth. Rukurgan has taken countless reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines and worse. For weeks at a time in some cases. If one does not possess advanced survival skills, he could die from not only his enemy, but, starvation, thirst, and even poison from not recognizing a venomous plant or infected flesh.

The most deadly enemy to the scout is sleep. Rukurgan has now gone two weeks in constant battle with little to no sleep. And now, he is forced to journey across a battlefield for nearly another week. He would be foolish to attempt to travel without rest. Finding a suitable location in the middle of a warzone, however, was difficult even for a veteran scout such as himself.

The first night he and his companion spent in a small cave camouflaged behind plant overgrowth. It was nearly two days before he found a spot nestled within a grouping of thick trees. He relied heavily on Silverfang during these vulnerable moments. The wolf was a much lighter sleeper and had much more keen senses than the orc. Were it not for his companion, Rukurgan would have died many years before.

Although the orc never gave any thought to his attachment to Silverfang, losing the wolf would be as devestating as losing a part of himself. Such is the thought process of most orcs. Narrow-minded. Living only in the present and thinking themselves invincable. One of the race's greatest strengths..... and weaknesses.

Now, the greatest dangers have passed. Rukurgan and Silverfang have navigated past Baradin Hold, the most active area in the contested territory of Tol Barad, without detection. Only the swamplands stood between him and the penninsula where Hellscream's Grasp was located. Miles and miles of swamp and deadly crocolisk. Familiar lands to the hunter.

Silverfang surveyed the area as Rukurgan was knelt beside him. The orc sensed his conern. He whimpered.

Rukurgan scratched behind his companion's ear. "Don't worry, my friend," he reassured the wolf. "I grew up in lands just as this one. It should only be a day to the other side. Then our destination shortly thereafter."

Silverfang barked quietly at the orc. Rukurgan's lips curled around his tusks as he smiled at his companion.

The hunter found a decent spot behind some wild bushes to rest before making a final push for the Horde base beyond the swampland. His thoughts dwelled of the battle he had left behind and why he had been pulled from it in the first place. But, not for long before the hunter faded into as deep a slumber one could be in the middle of a battlefield.
"You're leaving?" Fenris asked as Ein packed his few possessions into a rucksack. The Death Knight snarled as he jammed a particularly obstinate piece into the pack.

"I am." he growled in reply. "I have yet to find any of the answers I to the questions I sought when I joined the Patrol. And now, the estimable Commander Spannershield has us tramping all over Deepholm helping Therazane, and to what end?" Ein slung the rucksack over his shoulder and walked out into the common area of the temple. There was no true day or night in Deepholm, but most of the Patrol was asleep.

"And where will you go?" asked Fenris as the Einherjar began walking towards the Stormwind Portal. The human paused a moment and spared a glance for the sole surviving kindred spirit he had found in the entire patrol. He had never considered anyone a friend in his seven or so years of remembered existence, but the savage Worgen blademaster was probably one of the few that came close.

"I do not know. I will try to find my answers. And if I cannot, I shall cease to be." With those parting words, Ein took the first step of what he was sure would be his final journey. A stride, a brief moment of disorientation, and the confining darkness of the temple in Deepholm was replaced by the bright expanse of Stormwind.


The Einherjar raised an eyebrow behind his helmet at the Death Knight walking up the hill: of all the people he had met, the last person he had expected to see again was Ithalin Frosthand with his iconic scythe and frost drake. The last anyone in the Patrol had seen of him, he was being carted off by the Earthen Ring for execution for the crime of murder, which seemed to be something of a miscarriage of justice to Ein. It wasn't so much that Ithalin wasn't guilty as that he was only supposed to be executed for a single crime out of multitudes.

Ein surreptitiously checked the straps holding his sword Abaddon to his back and the large revolver on his hip, then waited until Frosthand had finished reintroducing himself to the commander before striding over. He halted a bare two feet in front of his fellow Death Knight and looked him over before settling his gaze on the manically grinning visage of his helmet.

"Ithalin Frosthand. I was certain you were dead: permanently, this time, after your little debacle at the temple. Just how did you manage to escape, and what are you doing here? And how is your little pet", he gestured at Vaelstraz, "still in existence? I'm reasonably sure I destroyed it in Deepholm."
Ithalin had been reviewing the rush of images Vaelstraz was sending him about the crash and the chaos that followed. It consisted mostly of himself and Vaelstraz flying over the patrol, preparing to land and assist, when a zeppelin decided to explode and send shrapnel flying upwards, pelting Vaelstraz and his rider until he was forced to the ground and slammed against a tree, his master unconscious and with a large pole of metal sticking from his knee.

Vaelstraz had been forced to watch, still unable to move until the spells placed upon him by Ithalin healed his broken body, as his master was dragged away by two oddly-dressed men, presumably from the Twilight Hammer Cult. He had watched them drag Ithalin away into the woods surrounding the chaotic crash site. And after a few moments, blackness.

Ithalin was shaken out of the mind of Vaelstraz by a familiar voice. It was the voice of one of the detested Ebon Blade, who sell their souls for survival, pledging themselves to causes no better than that of the Scourge. The worgen who had brought down the bone wyrm Balastraz in the fight in Deepholm. The Einherjar.

Ithalin looked at the man, doing his best to smile behind his mask, which was rather difficult considering he had no muscles and only bone left on his face, and stupid considering his helm had a wicked smile engraved in glowing blue saronite anyway, but he tried anyway. "Brother, it is not so easy to kill me. The 'debacle', as you say, at the temple was simply me achieving justice for those who wished for it. The fact that I was to be prosecuted for the murder of one orc, while the Horde's generals do the same every day by throwing their men against the Cult, is a glorious display of the hypocrisy that has taken this world."

Ithalin paused before continuing as Vaelstraz had just sent him a new batch of messages and
scattered, incoherent thoughts, which Ithalin processed and left for later. He noticed that many members of the patrol were badly wounded, which did not bode well for their eventual assault. "As to how I escaped, I can thank the Alliance. They bombarded the Horde-marked cart, and I managed to escape during the confusion and evade recapture. After I was sure I was safe, I created a gate back to the Ebon Hold, where they dispatched me here."

Ithalin looked around again and saw a man who would be dead in a small amount of time without medical attention, and after contemplating helping him, decided to leave him. There was no use for the weak and the cripple in a fully mobilized military unit like the Borean Patrol had morphed into. He thought about his next words carefully before continuing. "I have returned because I have not yet completed my full tour of duty with the Patrol. I have found justice, and through it, peace. Revenge, contrary to belief, is an emotion and idea that is necessary in any course of action. And revenge for those the Cult has killed is what we seek, is it not?"

Ithalin did not quite appreciate the question regarding Vaelstraz, and neither did Vaelstraz from the pictures that he sent to Ithalin. "My 'pet' you killed in Deepholm was Balastraz. There is a large difference between him and this bone dragon. Balastraz was fully functioning, with none of the issues Vaelstraz here has." Ithalin paused and observed the movements of the group again, watching them tend to the wounded. "I found Vaelstraz here dead, with about three spears lodged in his brain. Though I have done my best to resolve the mental impairments these spears caused, he can still only communicate through pictures of memories and very scattered thoughts."
Kreska was struggling to remain upright. She had lost so much blood by now that evening holding onto consciousness was a chore at this point. Of course, with her luck, it appeared that none of the healers had survived the accident- if it had been an accident- or otherwise they were in worse shape than she was. The shamaness’ vision was getting hazy now and she was starting to sway back and forth as her balance left her, she knew her condition was deteriorating rapidly and that whatever healing she needed, she was going to have to preform herself.

Kreska had resisted the urge to remove the wooden plank immediately, if she hadn’t she would have already bled out. As it was, the pressure she was applying and the minor healing chants she had been using up until now had managed to hold her damaged body together. Now though, with her right arm still useless, Kreska was forced to remove her left from the wound in her gut, allowing the wound to flow unimpeded from it once more, in order to reach into the leather pouch at her waist. She fumbled around inside of it for a moment before withdrawing a stone slightly smaller than her fist. It was oblong and flat with rounded edges, colored dark pewter grey with golden-brown flecks. Several orcish runes were painstakingly etched into its otherwise smooth surface.

The shamaness handled it reverently, almost tenderly, though she could not keep her blood-drenched hand from shaking slightly as she raised it toward her lips. Kreska began to chant in orcish over the stone, her nearly inaudible voice hushed as much by weakness as respect. Water had always been the most difficult spirit for her to interact with, she lacked the right mindset for it to begin with and her close connection to air and fire did little to foster good will. Nevertheless, during her training the most basic healing spells had still been drilled into her thick skull, and she was thankful for them now. Suddenly an aquamarine glow flared to life, emanating from runes covering it. The light reflected back off of her gently cupped hand and shone up toward her face, casting her blunt features in stark relief.

Panting at the effort that summoning the water spirit had taken; Kreska held her hand out and slowly tipped it sideways, simply letting the stone fall to the ground. It landed with a soft plop in a patch of charred grass and as soon as it struck the ground, the glow momentarily intensified before dimming to its original brightness. It continued to do this every few seconds, the light waxing and waning in a steady, pulsing rhythm. Each time the totem shone brighter, it released a small wave of healing magic that washed over anyone in the vicinity. The spell was weak though; it could heal minor cuts and abrasions or reduce swelling and pain, but for larger wounds it would do little more than slow the bleeding. It would have to be enough to buy Kreska and the other more critically injured the time they needed.

Even more drained than before, her voice was raspy and slightly slurred as she growled, “That’s all I can manage with one hand. I have to set my arm before the swelling makes it impossible. I need someone to help me- bend my elbow upwards until my forearm level with the ground, then pivot it to bring my fist toward my body, and then rotate my whole arm back out the other direction while keeping my upper arm steady.”

Kreska spoke to the group at large, not focusing on anyone in particular, though she avoided eye contact with the Alliance out of habit as much as anything else. She had returned her left hand to her stomach, again trying to slow the bleeding as much as she could. Even with the pressure on it and the totem’s magic, she knew she only had a matter of minutes left before she lost consciousness. If she didn’t get her arm fixed quickly so she could patch up the more serious injury soon, she would be joining her ancestors before her work here was finished.
Sitting atop a great black stallion, and surrounded by a contingent of weary soldiers, Adam Orris surveyed the latest stretch of forest that the Twilight Highlands saw fit to present him with. The large horse he rode upon already presented the human warrior with quite a view, but he couldn't deny how much more enhanced his field of vision became from his company's position atop the hill he'd led them to. He sniffed harshly in disdain as the scent of soot wafted into his skeleton visor, but did nothing that would reveal his dissatisfaction with the state of the Highlands other than turning his head slightly and cracking his neck. Sitting upright in the saddle of his armored war horse, Adam tightly held the reins with a single hand while the other rested at his side.

While fulfilling orders at Highbank, the armored sodier must have impressed somebody important because it wasn't long until Alliance Command saw fit to put him in charge of a small shock force. Consisting of priests, archers, and the basic footmen, he was to lead these men and women to Grim Batol and lend support to the war effort on the front lines. He could tell that many of those under his command had great trepidation about leaving behind the relative safety of Highbank for the wilds of the Highlands, in fact, he could almost smell their unease in regards to the journey.

That was why he had to remain cold and steadfast in his position, and lead them on without allowing them to see how much he relished the possibility of being killed in the field. The fighting here wasn't easy, between cultists and the Horde it was nigh impossible to tell from which direction an attack could come. That was why he'd been sure to steer clear from the Obsidian Forest, and whatever threats lurked within that darkened forest. Even while leading others, Adam thought it best to stick to his own methods of travel; after all, none had managed to get the best of him yet.

Adam Orris had been leading them for only a hour when their silent march was interrupted by a most interesting spectacle. A zeppelin flying high overhead toward Grim Batol, most likely carrying reinforcements and weapons for one side or the other, had been attacked by another airship. The human could only guess that it was none other than the nihilistic Twilight's Hammer flying in, for they were the only group he could imagine who had a greater death wish than he. Before his company's very eyes they witnessed the ship collide directly with the first, causing them both to burst into flame and go falling from the heavens. Even now he could see smoke rising from what he presumed to be the location of the wreckage.

Though his orders were to march straight to Grim Batol, out in the field there was no one to question him, and the warrior gave the order that they would move to investigate the crash site. There were some under his command who had started to question his decision to stray from their commands, but with naught but a cold stare he silenced whatever protests may have been in the works. While it was the Horde who so often made use of such zeppelins, there was a possibility that there could have been Alliance prisoners aboard the vessels. Though such a chance was slim, and their chances for survival even slimmer, Adam Orris wanted to at least clear his conscious of what could be lying amid the wreckage. Besides that, there could possibly be much needed resources or even cultists who needed to be put down.

He currently surveyed what pathways were currently revealed to him in an attempt to guess which route might be the quickest, and safest, in getting to the crash site. He believed that he just about had a plan forming in his head when one of the other soldiers came up to his side.

"Commander Orris, do y-"

"Refer to me as Anguish, soldier. I don't much care for that title, nor my own name for that matter." He turned in the saddle and fixed his gaze on the man, his face hidden behind the skeletal visor.

Since the other man's helm was open faced his discomfort was immediately apparent. "Yes, S- Anguish. The...the troops have been wondering when we might be on the move again. A force as large as ours surely shouldn't be sitting in one place for so long after all."

"Hmm?" Adam turned a bit more so that he could look over his shoulder. "A force as large as ours? By my reckon, I never considered fifteen to be such a large number, and it's not as if we're without healers." He turned again toward the soldier, who seemed to shrink before him. "Still, if it worries you so much I guess it is about time we got to moving out. This position is beginning to bore me - I'm quite anxious to see what we'll find at that crash site." He dismissed the soldier with a nod. "Tell them to get off their asses, we have more walking to do."

As Adam Orris prodded his horse with a light tap from his boots, the soldier called out to the rest of the company. "On your feet, we're ready to move out!"
Though nervous about their destination, with Adam Orris at their head, the company was at least beginning to feel as though they were in good hands. While their commander didn't seem too keen on dealing with people, his confidence was enough to satisfy them that he at least knew what he was doing. Besides, there was the occasional rumor or two that floated through the Alliance lines; rumors of a man clad in black armor and, even in the thick of battle, fought as viciously as any demon to ensure his comrades made it out before him. Though there were several soldiers still alive who attested to fighting alongside this man, many dismissed such talk as mere hope that there was really somebody out there willing to fight and die for them. Now though the company had a figure to match the rumors to, and many of the men and women couldn't help but be awestruck.

They weren't marching for too much longer when the smell of burning wood became even stronger, and even their eyes started to sting. Their commander kicked his horse, spurring it to move just a little bit faster in anticipation, and the company attempted to increase their own pace as well. Still, Adam Orris moved ahead of them without regard that he was leaving them behind. It wasn't as though they'd have far to go anyway, and soon enough they would be at his back once again.

Soon enough the copse of trees disappeared as many of them were snapped and broken either in half or at their base, and Adam found himself facing the massive remains of a still burning zeppelin. From this side of the crash there was nothing for him to see, but he waited long enough for some of the men from his company to begin appearing from the tree line before proceeding to move around the wreckage. He kept his eyes and ears strained for survivors, but it was difficult to make anything out amid the smokey haze and crackling flames. As he slowly rode along the outskirts of the crash site, he began to frown as it appeared that most of the resources were being consumed by the flames or trashed from the collision.

Just when he considered dismissing the whole search, Adam heard a shout from farther ahead.

"Borean Patrol, roll call!"

Ah, now there's a promising sign...

The voice that spoke sounded humane enough, far from the guttural tongue that the Horde often spoke with, and it sounded too strong to have come from an Elf. Adam smiled beneath his helm, glad that his deviation hadn't been totally for nothing. In response, he called out for his own troops to come ahead.

"Get up here fellas! It sounds like there are survivors here after all!"

From behind him, Adam Orris could hear the sound of armor jostling as the soldiers quickened their pace. Though he was confident that the voice who called out would be friendly, he nonetheless reached for the longsword at his side and the shield on his back and approached with caution. Within moments he rounded another corner and, from atop his war horse, Adam spotted a gnome standing amid the wreckage as well as a number of survivors beginning to gather around her. Since they lacked the aura of miasma that most cultists seemed to exude, and though there was at least one Orc among them, he judged that she was either a prisoner or neutral party since none had put her down yet, and so he continued to approach with his arms lowered.

"I must say how I am surprised the lot of you survived that crash." Drawing closer to the group, but still maintaining a respectable distance, Adam noticed that the Orc woman had a particularly nasty splinter stick from her gut. "Well it's not like you're unscathed...looks to me like a few of you are in pretty desperate need of medical attention."
The ranger's little 'vantage point' turned out to be a good one, if precarious. Not only could she observe - carefully - two of the smaller Twilight camps, but there was also a small Alliance outpost very close at hand. And if any of the camps bothered to send anyone up the hill to check the surroundings from a better viewpoint, her cover was good as done.

"Fantastic" the undead elf muttered to herself balefully, even as she risked the occasional glance from her makeshift cover to survey the three camps in turn. No activity from the cultist camps. Just some sleepy looking guardsmen waiting to be relieved from duty. Hardly a surprise, since the Twilights tended to be less about actual competence, and more about personal zeal. Dangerous, but mostly through unpredictability.

The Alliance camp - just a collection of tents, mostly - was stirring though. A man astride a horse was yelling for his men to awaken and prepare. Or so she assumed, since she couldn't clearly make out the man's voice. Watching the camp more closely, she noted a figure skulking around the perimeter. Doing a double take in disbelief, she noted that it was a Forsaken. And he was eyeing up the Alliance commander with more than a little intensity.

"Fool!" she hissed to herself in sheer annoyance. Picking a fight with the Alliance with the cultists breathing down their necks? The orcs were even more stupid than she thought. Like it or not, they needed the Alliance to do their job so the Horde could win the battle. Impaling humans and dwarves could wait. Taking a risk, the elf scooped up a smooth pebble, took careful aim, and hurled it toward the skulking undead man. She poked her face out from her cover, in an obvious effort to get his attention. With any luck he'd not be too slow on the uptake. And nobody else would notice.

Or he'd fail to notice, or flat out ignore her, and provoke another inter-faction conflict on the enemy's doorstep.
Mara sighed as she looked at the stragglers and warriors making their way into the area. Most were injured and in no shape to fight or even to move. Commander Spannersheild appeared to be injured as well. Mara moved forward and attempted to help the gnome. Taking out embersilk bandages and healing potions from her pack. The gnome was cut and bleeding in several places and Mara did what she could to stem the bleeding. Using a bit of ice to apply to burns, and her water elemental to wash out cuts.

Taking out her needle and thread she sewed stitches where she needed to, not elegantly but necessary to keep wounds from continuing to bleed. She could do nothing for the death knights and kept going until she saw the orc shaman. Knowing that a shaman could be a good healer she was surprised that Kreska could not do more. But due to the circumstances, perhaps she could help. In a low and calm voice, "Allow me to help, Shaman. I am no healer but I can help you set your arm."

Following Kreska's suggestion, Mara helped to set the arm. Wrapping it in a bandage soaked in healing potion. Mara used a bit of ice magic to keep the swelling down as she worked. With a length of silk she fashioned a sling for the Orc. "We need to get that thing out of your gut." Mara looked the Orc in the eyes, she could see the pain the shaman was suffering. In all her years of fighting Horde she never knew any of them to admit it when they were hurting. She did not expect Kreska to do so now.

Her respect for the orcs and their ability to handle the elements was evident as she waited for Kreska to recover enough to give instructions. "When you are ready I will pull it out. The water elemental I have is open to your commands, whether to wash the wound or heal. I confess I have never gotten him to heal me. Perhaps you know the right words. Or can link to his cousins in the Elemental Plane to assist you. We have many injured and no sign of any healers as yet."

No sooner had she said that when the small company of Alliance appeared around the wreckage. With a slight sigh of annoyance, Mara turned to look them over. Some appeared to be healers. She nodded and waited for Vimmi to acknowledge them and ask for assistance. Turning to Kreska she said softly, "Perhaps we will be in luck after all and some healing will be forthcoming."
Kreska eyed the human warily. Her bad luck was as strong as ever if this was the only person who was able and willing to aid her. She might trust the Alliance members among the Patrol since the Commander vouched for them, but there was not a force on this world or any other that could make her like them. Still, no one else had volunteered and every second’s delay brought her closer to the brink. She grudgingly allowed the woman to set her shoulder, though her skin crawled at the filthy human’s touch. As the bone slid back into its socket she clamped her teeth together until her jaw ached and she felt as if she were going to grind the points off them. The only sound she emitted though was a choked snarl from deep at the back of her throat.

The sense of relief Kreska felt at having her arm functioning again could not be denied. She rotated it experimentally, relishing the pull and stretch of the tendons and muscles as they worked as intended. She waved off the human when she tried to wrap it in a bandage, aside from a few minor scrapes her arm was not bleeding and constricting it now would just make it stiff later on. She was almost considering thanking her when the ignorant woman’s last offer made the orc curl her lip in disgust.

“I do not need to force an elemental slave to heal me,” the condemnation in her tone was clear despite her raspy voice, “The spirits will choose to aid me or not- I would not take away the free will of a single one, not even at the cost of my life.”

Kreska spat out another mouthful of blood which landed at the human’s feet. She honestly would not have cared if it had struck the woman. It was difficult to say which she despised more- the human herself, the pity she felt directed towards her from the other woman, or the fact that she had needed her help. Perhaps fortunately, the shamaness did not have long to dwell on the dark train of thought, as her attention was still required elsewhere. There was no time to delay and with her right arm working again, she wrapped both her fists around the plank embedded in her gut.

The wood, although rough and jagged, was slick with her blood and difficult to get a good grip on. She took a few moments to find the right hold, clutching it tightly until her dark green knuckles turned white. As soon as she was satisfied with her hold, she did not allow herself to hesitate and began to pull slowly, steadily outwards. Her vision exploded in yellow starbursts of pain that faded out quickly, leaving black spots in front of her eyes like holes burned in cloth. Although her mouth was clamped shut in an effort to prevent herself from screaming, her nostrils flared wide as she tried to remember to breath. Her arms began to shake with the effort she was exerting, and it took all of her considerable willpower to keep from abandoning her torturous task.

I will not cry out. I will not cry out. I will not cry out, Kreska thought to herself, trying to block out all else. In spite of this, she could feel the scream building deep in her chest and threatening to claw its way up out of her throat and disgrace her in an inexcusable display of weakness. As the last few inches of timber slid out of her body, the cry nearly did escape her lips but was instead drown in the blood that welled up and flooded her throat. Dropping the freed piece of wood, she collapsed to all fours, hacking up more blood and wincing at the jolt to her sore shoulder.

At this point Kreska was functioning more on instinct and training than actual conscious effort. She was only dimly aware of what she was doing as she pushed herself into a sitting position and wrapped both arms around the gaping hole in her midsection. She closed her eyes and called out to the spirits of water and even earth, with whom she tended to have a better rapport. She rock slightly forward and back as her lips moved wordlessly in healing chants. That was alright though; her prayers were not directed to mortal ears.

After what seemed an eternity, she opened her eyes and let her hands slowly fall away from her stomach; they rested limply where they fell. She was still tender and sore and the lower half of her leather vest was shredded but the skin underneath was whole once more. Even the deeper damage had been repaired. Kreska was no healer and working such complicated magic in her weakened state had drained her nearly to the point of killing her. She panted shallowly, her eyes were glassy and unfocused, and her normally dark skin was deathly pallid from blood loss. Still, she was alive, and that was something at least.
3 weeks ago, Tol Barad

A full day of traveling at a careful but steady pace, Rukurgan and Silverfang made it across the swamplands west of Baradin Hold. These lands were mostly safe from Alliance scouts and most especially the bulk of their army. There wasn't even a sign of battle in the deeper areas of the swamps. Even for the mighty Horde, these lands would give no one the advantage in a skirmish. They were untouched. Only the crocolisk preferred to be here. Luckily for the orc, they were mostly passive. He found no trouble in getting across as it so closely mimicked the Swamps outside Stonard were he spent most of his childhood.

It was nostalgic for Rukurgan. He enjoyed that particular portion of his journey. The swamps were wild, yet, still calm and quiet. There was no war here. Part of him felt comfort and longing for moments like this. Moments of peace. They were mere emotions that left his thoughts as quickly as they entered.

He remembered stories from the elders. Tales of a simpler time. On his homeworld of Draenor. Before war. Before Azeroth. Perhaps it was more curiousity than longing. Alas, Rukurgan, Outrider of the Warsong Clan, will never know peace until he experiances it.

Shortly after exiting the swamps, he and his companion spotted a small Horde supply group heading towards the peninnsula. They quickly joined with the others as the group was heading for Hellscream's Grasp. Strength in numbers, after all. He learned the Alliance was in full retreat and the battle nearly won. Although, it came as no surprise to the orc, it was still relieving to hear.

The march lasted nearly another day before reaching Hellscream's Grasp, the mighty fortress of the Horde's base of operations in Tol Barad. Rukurgan was growing sleepier by the minute. He gathered what strength he had left to stay alert and seek out who he was to report to. His time for resting was surely soon to come.

After reporting to the officer in charge of scouting operations, he was redirected to Commander Zanoth to await further instruction. Zanoth's hut was full of other ranking members of the Horde as most officer's quarters usually consisted of. Silverfang waited outside while Rukurgan stood patiently at the entrance for the Commander to speak with him.

The orc recognized only a few others inside. Captain Prug was in charge of all operations out of Hellscream's Grasp. He had never met the captain, but, did know the orc. A few others he also recognized only not by name. They all hunched over what looked to be a map of the area. Other papers possibly detialing orders from Orgrimmar or reports from the field.

Rukurgan waited for some time before Zanoth left the table and approached him. He was caught slightly off gaurd as his lack of sleep was beginning to best him. As soon as he heard the Commander closing in, he turned to face him, snapped up tall and beat his chest in salute.

"Commander!" the hunter greeted.

Zanoth returned the salute. "Throm'ka." He sized Rukurgan up and down. Although the hunter's wounds have healed mostly, his bandages still remained and some bruising and scabs still showed. He smirked. "I take it the caravan didn't exactly go as planned."

"No," Rukurgan replied. "We made the Alliance regret their advance in the end."

"Indeed," the Commander sighed deeply. "Although, the Alliance's resolve is proving more resiliant than we had anticipated. In any case, that is not why you are here now."

Zanoth pulled out a rolled up parchment and scanned over the letter quickly and turned back towards the hunter. "You are now relieved of duty here in Tol Barad and ordered to report to Bloodgulch in the Twilight Highlands."

Perhaps it was the orc's weariness, but, Rukurgan was not entirely against this at all. It was strange to be reassigned when he knew Tol Barad was lacking in scouts. Although, he learned not to question orders unless it was absolutely warrented.

"You are to board the vessel Thura's Might this afternoon and sail through the Eastern Kingdoms to Dragonmaw Port," Zanoth continued. "Once there, you will rendezvous with the quartermaster, resupply and immediately start for Bloodgulch. You will receive further instruction upon your arrival. Any questions?"

Realizing the Commander was short on time, Rukurgan chose not to ask anything. He was confident he had all the information he needed. "No, Commander."

"Dismissed," Zanoth saluted.

Rukurgan beat his chest, "For the Horde!"

The hunter was nearly outside before he heard the Commander call out to him.

"One more thing!" Zanoth paused for a moment until he was sure he had Rukurgan's attention. "You were asked for by name."

With that, the Commander stepped out of sight. The hunter only wasted a moment on the comment. There was no point on thinking on it and he no time to loose. He had to resupply and report to the Thura's Might immediately. The crew will surely need any help they can get to prepare the vessel for departure.

The Einherjar sneered down at his fellow Death Knight from behind the blank face mask of his helmet.

"There are two things wrong with your statement. First, you assume that morality of any sort beyond mere survival extends to war. Second, the orcs expended by the droves for tactical objectives volunteered for their duties. For the nonce, at least. The shaman you murdered in Deepholm had not." Ein was briefly distracted by some snapping sounds coming from behind him. When he turned around, it was just Kreska and that new mage... what was her name? Maril or something? setting the shaman's arm. Since Ein's talents extended more to the general area of "killing people and breaking things" than the reverse, he ignored it.

"And no, we are not seeking revenge. Not most of us. We are seeking to end the Twilight Cult because it has proven itself a threat and therefore worthy of being taken out of existence. Every Death Knight should have learned by now that revenge is ultimately consuming and precludes better judgement tactically and, often, strategically. And as for your pet..." Ein swiveled his head to face Vaelstraz and fixed him with a baleful glare.

"Take care you do not end up like your predecessor. Arrogance was his downfall as much as it was your master's in Deepholm." The Einherjar was distracted by new sounds coming from near the wreckage. He faced this new sound, wary of a threat, and saw a company of Alliance soldiers: not the best thing that could have happened, to be sure, but not the worst either. Of course, since the Borean Patrol was wanted by both the Alliance and the Horde thanks to Vimmi's inept handling of the Patrol, it was entirely possible that the survivors of the crash would soon be facing a battle to the death with over a hundred Alliance soldiers: fun, but ultimately unproductive.

Ein quickly drew his revolver, still feeling somewhat uneasy about using such a weapon, but those were orders. He did a hasty check on functionality and ammunition, ensuring to his satisfaction that the weapon would fire, then put it behind his back as he faced the man on the horse at the head of the column in a position of parade rest with the revolver gripped behind his back.

"What is your purpose here? The Alliance is no friend of the Borean Patrol, so I would advise you to keep your distance unless you want to provoke a battle here." he called to the leader.
The ring of survivors grew ever larger as Valdemir hobbled over to them. Orcs, humans, night elves, races of the alliance, and the horde stood side by side, brothers in arms. A month ago he would never have thought this seen possible. Sure the alliance and the horde had worked together n the past, but after the events of warthgate, he would never thought it possible. Chuckling to himself, cause a few tremors of pain to ripple out of his body as he thought to himself, "Well you idiot it still isnt possible. The alliance and the horde would never sanction such actions. These are just a handful of outsiders working together." the mirth left him as his thoughts grew darker, "And its this band of outcasts that stand between the twilight hammer and azeroth's destruction.

The thoughts left the elder gilnean in an uneasy state. Pushing down his unease, Valdemir did his best to loosen up his body. Though the pain was still there when he moved, it was not the pain of injury, but of overuse. He thanked his lucky stripes that he had managed to avoid major damage when so many of the others were badly damaged. He was one of the lucky ones, all around him people were battered, bleeding and in need of assistance. To the patrols bad fortune, none of their healers had reported for roll call. Those whom were among the walking wounded were starting to help piece their comrades back together.

For some reason Valdemir was saved from major damage, now it was his turn to pay it forward. As he scanned the crowd for some to assist, the elder mage spotted a wounded night elf. The warrior lay prone, with a large chuck of shrapnel protruding from her thigh. Blood slowly leaked out a round the jagged shard. Not a good sign. His thoughts whirled as he tried to think of a way to remove the shrapnel with out have her bleed to death. "A turnicat would only be a stop gap," the Valdemir thought to himself, "the only permanent solution was fire. Cauterization, will still the bleeding, for now."

Kneeling next to the beleaguered warrior Valdemir felt the life returning to his body, his muscles burned but just the pain was just a tickle compared to what he had experienced, when he had tried to cast. "Oh !@#$," valdemir thought to himself, how am i suppose to cauterize the wound?" Warrior, i am no healer, but i will try my best to get this out of you, i hope you realize, this will hurt just as much, if not more, then when you got it."

in response the warrior woman retorted tartly "I am not some delicate helpless flower. I am tougher than that. Pull this out of me and I'll be fine as long as it does not get infected."

He was like her already. "Yes ma'am" Valdemir spoke softly as his hands gripped the awkwardly shaped metal piece. As he found his grip he detailed his plan for saving her. "After i pull this piece out, i will need to cauterize the wound in order to stop the bleeding. A nod was all he received, which was good enough for him. "Im going to pull it out on the count of three, one... two.." With a forceful tug, the mage removed the jagged piece of metal a count early, an old triage technique he had picked up in the snow fields of northrend. The jagged piece of metal nicked his figure as he pulled causing a few drops of blood to fall in her wound.

Valdemir was not one to put too much weight into meaning but by all tradition, they were blood brother now. before Valdemir thought of any more implications of the situatuioin, a squirt of blood from her wound drew him back to the present. Whipping out his blade, Valdemir attempted to gather the arcane to cast the simplest spell he knew, fire. As he opened himself up to the arcane, he was greeted not with a ball of fire but with a stabbing pain between his eyes. Gritting his teeth he tried again, but again he failed.

The elder mage began panicking as more and more life blood oozed from the warrior leg. Forcing himself to embrace the pain valdemir willed fire to appear. Sluggishly at first fire began to dance across the tip of his flame. Each second, seemed like an eternity as the blade turned from yellow to white hot. With careful precision, Valdemir brought the blade donwn onto the wound, hoping against hope, that he hadn't just killed his blood sister.
Since Mara's face was mostly covered, no doubt Kreska did not see the smirk on her face as the orc refused any further help. The blood spittle landed at her feet and Mara merely shrugged. "Suit yourself, and I will help whoever is in this Patrol if they need it. We need healers to see to the wounded. When you are recovered enough to do so." her voice still neutral and calm.

With that she turned to face the new arrivals with some trepidation. Her face still covered as she turned and made her way out of sight of the leader. She would continue to search for survivors and help whoever she could. Walking around until she could get a brief survey of the wreckage area, she could see bodies and some were so mangled she could not make out who or what they were. Light be with their spirits, she thought to herself. At least they would no longer suffer. Death was supposed to be peaceful. The Forsaken she had met in her lifetime had been anything but at peace.

Part of her was paying some attention to the Alliance commander as Einherrjar addressed him. She hoped he was here to help and not pay too close attention to the mage as she wandered further from them. There was still a price on her head, though she hoped there was too much going on in the Highlands for anyone to be after bounties. She adjusted her veil to make sure her face was still covered as she continued her search.
Lynara grunted deeply when he grabbed the large shrapnel in her leg. She never remembered receiving it, only the explosion throwing her off her feet. It was in her leg when she had woken up. The pieces in her back were mild annoyances compared to the on in her leg.

"I am going to pull it out on the count of three, one... two..." Then he pulled the jagged metal from her leg. She let out a cry of pain. She then shot him a glare that looked like it could melt the jagged metal he had pulled from her. Then stark realization set in on what he said earlier. He pressed a super heated metal blade against her wound, cauterizing it for sure.

She let out a low groan as the pain surged through her. "Ok... get the rest out!" She snapped. She could pummel something to death right now and just wanted the rest of the metal out of her body. She tensed and grabbed onto her bow. She spotted alliance soldiers approaching them. A death knight was addressing their leader. "Get it done quick. We might have a fight on our hands.
Gaream was still debating the best attack method when suddenly a rock fell near him. He looked in the direction the rock had come from, only to see an undead elf poking her head out from the bolder. Clearly, she was trying to get his attention. Well, not like I can do much here at the moment anyway, Gaream thought. He began making his way over to the bolder, the men still too busy waking up to notice him.

He got to the bolder after a few minutes, and moved behind it "Well now, this is a surprise. I had not thought to meet another forsaken out here." He looked at her gear "And a dark ranger, from the looks of that gear. What is a dark ranger doing out here? Last I heard, we were under a massive attack. Surely you should be busy putting holes in foolish cultists?"

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