This is part one of a short story that may or may not lead to some epic conclusion.
Keep in mind all of this is head canon and should not be considered lore. It’s basically a Stream of Consciousness; a type of writing I really enjoy. I have no idea where the story will lead. It runs on its own, free from plans and plots and everything else. In fact, it might not even be very good writing. Still, somewhere in the expansive universe of World of Warcraft I guess there’s a small shelf marked “Pulp fiction”.
You’ll find me there, probably.
I was somewhat inspired by the talk about virtual realms. Also, there’s probably some hints to the upcoming patch 5.4. Most of all it’s sort of a look at Cross Realm Zones from an azerothian view. You know, once upon a time it seemed as if you were all alone in the world. then nametags started popping up everywhere. Now? These days?
The world is crowded.
– – – – –
It was raining. It was always raining in Gilneas. In fact, the few times it didn’t rain, Gilneas misted. Mist is very thin rain who thinks it’s smoke but to scared to fall. Basically it’s a problem of trust. And, of course, over time, rust.
Shuanna knew she had been here too long. Her armor had a reluctant squeaking noise every step she took. For a casual observer she was wearing something akin to metal underwear. What she really wore was something far more effective; full plate made from ghost iron and other peculiar minerals. She suspected there was some sort of stone somewhere. The armor was comfortable but heavy.
The camouflaged armor depended on “extrovertigal dismorphic alienergy field modulators”. Something not of this world but an alien world only the Ethereals knew about. It was ingenious; an apparent lack of armor sometimes raised more than an eyebrow. That split second of sex appeal as a weapon was all she needed for a full swing. As for enemies, well … let’s just say they were suprised whenever they tried to poke her in the bare midriff with a Sharp Object. Take this Forsaken warrior, for instance. Yeah, that one – the one named Reginald, who just this moment tries to skewer her on a polearm.
There was a a sharp “clank!”.
“You bastard!” Shuanna said in a very sharp voice. The kind of voice a teacher use on her pupil when the pupil has spelled ‘palladin’ wrong. “Look! A scratch!”
Reginald the Warrior didn’t finish. there was a sharp “whack!”. He coughed, stumbled, fell. This usually happens when someone mace you.
Shuanna sighed. All she wanted was some lone-time. The hustle and bustle of Stormwind has gotten on her nerves. The Shrine wasn’t any better. Sure, the Exodar was always almost abandoned (no one ever seemed to find their way to the Crystal Palace). But really: The feeling had been creeping up on her for almost a year or more.
There was too many people in the world.
Reginald moaned. Shuanna stepped up to him, placed her boot on his throat and put the heavy mace – camouflaged as a Twig of the World Tree – against the ground. There was a dull “thump” and a small “crack” when a small stone shattered under the weight of the weapon. Reginald looked up at her. She looked down on him.
“I’m gonna count to three,” she said. “That’s how long you got to get to your feet and run. We clear?”
Reginald nodded as much as he could. He raised a slow, cautious hand and cleared his throat. Shuanna stepped harder. Whatever he wanted to say was not to be heard.
She stepped off him. Raised her mace, resting it on a shoulder.
It took a while whiping greenish moldy brain matter from the mace. She whiped it while she walked away, across windswept cliffs where nothing but sheep would live. Even the Forsaken loathed the place. Granted – they usually kept away because of the occasional rowing pack of worgen, but still. Wind, mist and rain.
“Eeeey!” One of them said. “Eeeyyy!”
Shuanna stopped. Curious, an almost talking sheep. With the mace resting against her shoulder she raised an eyebrow, smiling an ever so faint smile. Could it be ..? Those horns. The almost familiar bleeting …
“Uhm … you’re a sheep?”
“Aaaaah, baaah!” There was a coughing sound, almost humanoid. Then, with some obvious trouble: “Aaam! Baaah! Spell reflect! Baaah!”
The “sheep” turned and even if it toppled over it raised one of the front legs and pointed at the smouldering remains of … something. It was hard to tell wether it was a humanoid or a smoking blob. A shield in the shape of the Horde symbol laid sooty and dented a few feet away. A broken sword laid half hidden in a patch of dull yellow grass.
“Did you do that?” Shuanna said. She let the mace down on the ground; “thwomp!”. “And just what exactly are you doing here? How did you find me?”
The “sheep” waved a leg around. After a while, Shuanna realised her sheepish sister was pointing at an assortment of clothes, pouches and a backpack twenty feet away. The garments were soaked. She went over to the textile pile, riffled through the debris and pulled out a small booklet. She was accustomed to this kind of things; teaming up with more or less useless mages over the years had taught her well. Most mages with some kind of sense carried an “Easy to Read Spell Neutralizer Primer” in their bags. Accidents, such as a sudden onset of the sheeples, could happen even good ones, like Cahanna.
“Maybe I should turn you into a penguin instead?”
“Relax, sis. Just kiddin’.” Shuanna cleared her throat, flipped through the pages, struck a dramatic pose and … “Expunge!”
There was a puff of smoke. There was a short rushing sound as of air being let out of a baloon. When the smoke cleared a stark naked Cahanna lay huddled on the ground, coughing.
“Damned morphing,” she said, grunting. “Damned spell reflect. I had him, I tell ya. Had him good!” She coughed, sat up. At first she tried covering herself with her arms, then she didn’t bother. It was just her sister after all. “Damned orc snuck up on me. I had him good, then this damned green bolt comes from somewhere a–“
There was a terrible cackle, a laugh, from behind some rocks. Then a voice called:
“Yooo-hoooo! Oh gii-iirls!”
“Oh Light,” Shuanna said and sighed. “Sha.”
Sharenne climbed up on top of the rocks and hunched down. She let the staff rest across her knees, wobbling back and forth from the weight of her backpack. The rain had plastered her long, black hair tight against her skull. Her face pale, her lips a dull red. It was a unhealthy paleness, the spooky countenance of someone who’s spent the last months indoors with nothing but a grimoir and an imp as company. Still, she hadn’t lost her sense of doofus optimism.
“Whad’ya think of ma shot then, Cannie!?”
“Get out of here,” Cahanna said. She couldn’t help herself, she smiled. “Stupid warlock.”
“What _are_ you two doing here!?” Shuanna said. A sudden thought struck her. “Wait … Is the Dead One here too!?”
“Nope, last I heard from Zavvie she was still pulling carrots out of the ground,” Cahanna said. She got to her feet, walked over to where her clothes were and started to dress. “And in answer to your query: the King sent us, graciously kept in the loop of your whereabouts by our own sweet prophet.”
“Uh-huh,” Shuanna said and grunted, slightly mispleased. “He’s probably watching us right now, the old goat. But why? I was perfectly content with being alone in this ghost town, thank you.”
“Well, you know,” Cahanna sighed. She shivered a bit and looked around. There was a small pile of rain drenched driftwood on the beach, not far from her. She let go a fireball. It struck, igniting the wood with a dull “whoosh!”. As she walked down to the campfire she said over her shoulder: “We’re assigned to bring her in. All of us. Me, you and Sha.”
“Bring who in?” Shuanna said.
“The dead one,” Cahanna said.