That’s when Naz found the courage to speak. He straightened up, put his fists against his hips and said:
“Now look here!” Then he scoffed. “Right that does it! I’m calling the cops!”
“Do as you please,” Zavannah said. She held her hand outstretched for a few moments but then she scoffed – a lot better than Naz by the way – and turned her horse around. “Fine. Do what you want then, idiot!”
“No need for name calling,” Naz said as he whipped out his arcpad and hit 1-1-9. “I don’t even know … I mean, like – who ARE you!?”
Zavannah didn’t reply. She just tugged the reins of her scary horse and set off up the street in a stride so fast that she left behind a trail of glowing shrapnel from stone and concrete. Naz followed her with his eyes until a voice in his ear said:
“One one nine, how can I help you?”
“Uh … Nothing. Forget about it.” He hung up, slapped the pad shut and stuffed it in his pocket. Right at that moment the caravan of undead bikers passed him by on the street. Cars scattered as the bikers rolled up the street, police vans slowly following in their wake.
Over the din of rumbling ancient hogs and tricycles, another thunderous sound rolled down from the north. A dustcloud of exhaust fumes and road debris built into a stormfront of yellowish smoke, rolling down the lane as if it was a living thing, like one of the Ashenvale oozes he had seen on the FaVi. Out of the dust and smoke, as if pushed through a roaring veil of powerful engines, trucks appeared. First one … then two … then more, and more. Dusty steel. Smoke-stained chrome. Trucks, flatbeds, covered, tankers. Red, black. Some had skulls and horns mounted to their hoods. Others had naked orcs or unicorns painted on their sides. Some wore the ancient – and not particularly politically correct – Horde symbol on their doors. Others had strange name tags spray painted across the side of their hood; Vindicator Rexxar Krewe, the Exarch Brownies, Uthers Orcs, Mulgore Truckers, Thrall’s Ballin’ n’ Rollin’ Trucking Gang. Horns blaring, a rythmic “mooo-moooo-mooaaaah!”. At least a dozen heavy duty trucks lumbered down the hill towards the bridge. They drove slow, as if they wanted everyone to notice they were coming. The very ground shook as they advanced.
The front vehicle, a black- and red truck with a giant dragon skull painted on the side and the message DEATHWINGS BEHIND Y’ALL! on the hood, passed by roughly where Naz was standing. then it stopped. It took some time for it to come to a halt. It was a big truck. Gears grinding, breaks screaming. A giant black cloud of smoke shot out from the eight exhaust vents. Behind it, all the other trucks came to a halt, fender to fender. Gears grinding, engines idling with a sound of predators of steel and saronite, growling. Waiting …
The dust settled. Naz took a scared step back. Through the hazy air he saw bikers stop and get off their hogs. He saw the cops scurry out of their vehicles, hiding behind wide open doors, weapons drawn. He saw people on the street stop and stare. Some ducked for cover but most appeared not to understand what was going down … not even Naz could figure it out. So he just stood there, as a prime target for whatever was going down.
The passenger door to the point vehicle of the truckers caravan opened up. The air cleared up, but slow, the dust settling like snow on cars and trade carts. He saw an orc emerge from the truck. The truck driver, a rather old woman with white hair poking out from under an oilstained cap, raised her hands. She was heavyset, at a first glance fat. At a second glance she had the kind of body you just knew could lift a tractor tire without hardly breaking a sweat. Then she spoke, her voice hoarse from years of shouting and smoking:
“I come in peace, lordaeronians! We wish no war today! Mista paliicemon! Put doo-oown ya wepa’s! I jus’ … ” She lowered her hands, slowly pulling off her cap in the motion and shook her long, white hair free. It was braided, many braids, adorned with tiny beads of colorful glass and skulls carved from ancient bone. “I jus’ wanna see ma son.”
“Mom!?” Naz swallowed hard. Then he stumbled backwards until he leaned against the iron fence around the schoolyard, slowly shaking his head in disbelief. “What … I … wh’yadoin’ere!?”
“Ya call me,” his mother said, glancing at him for a few seconds before her old, brown eyes returned to first the bikers, then the cops. She called out: “No war today, lordies!”
A scraggy biker stood up from behind the rusted bike she had been crouching behind. She couldn’t straighten up completely, her skin too tight. Still, though her body was emaciated, she moved with a certain pride as she stepped out into the street, raising her hands. Chains dangled aroundher waist. She wore a sawn off shotgun in a holster on her hip and two rifles crossed on her back. Leather, denim and pieces of metal dressed her, from head to toe. She wore heavy boots on skinny legs, clad in rough leather pants, torn and worn so that her joints of elbows and knees poked through the leather. Her knees were nothing more but raw skeletal joints, fused together by blackened ligaments. It was a very old undead. Very old. Her voice was no more than a croaking as she called out:
“Dark lady watch over you all! Lordaeronians! Mount up!”
“Oh no ye won’t!” a cop called out. At first no one saw who he was. Then the dwarf, wearing a dark blue uniform with a gilded cap perched on a mass of red hair, stepped out from behind a vehicle. His beard was braided into a single rope, tucked in between the third and fourth button of his jacket. He hoisted his considerable belly up with a short yank at his leather belt, heavy with pockets and pouches and gun holsters. Then he took a deep breath and let it fly through his walruss moustache. He started to move, walking closer to the scene. Sfter a few steps, he stopped and shot quick glances and the scene. Surveying, no doubt. “Well now … I figure on of yer owns us all an explanation. Ma’am.” He nodded at the orc, turned his gaze at the scrawny undead and nodded again. “And ma’am.”
“Dey be summon’d,” the orc said. “Like me be, offica’.”
“Turning and turning in a widening gyre … ” the undead said. She chuckled. “the falcon cries to the falconeer … ”
“Names, please,” the police dwarf said. He made a slow gesture with one hand, halfway raised. A lowering gesture. Behind the dozen or so police cars, the Stormwind officers slowly lowered their guns. A few of them straightened up from behind their covers. Some stepped out into the street.
It was a completely surreal moment.
As Naz looked around he saw the same confusion he felt. Just what in all the fel fires of the nether was happening!? Why had his mother showed up – now of all times!? And the bikers!? He supposed this would be a great moment to faint, but try as he might he couldn’t. Instead he raked out a fellie from the pack and lit it. His hands were shaking.