Private Courre couldn’t stop staring at the sign that was painted on the inside of the iron doors. He was in the first row of mariners and soldiers, less than three feet from that sign. As the Hungry Riverbeast rose and dived in the surf just off the coast of Tanaan, that sign was burning a hole in his mind.
STAND CLEAR WHEN DOORS OPEN. PLEASE.
He took a step back – and a hand clamped down on his shoulder. It wasn’t a hard grip, just a soft hand, fingers gently pressing through the cloth of his uniform. He felt the chill from that touch, a chill seeping through his cloth armor, penetrating his skin, turning his bones brittle. Or so he thought.
“Stay behind me … priesss …t.”
The voice was rough, as if unusued for many years. Courre turned his head slightly, as he did he caught a glimpse of other soldiers. All of them stared straight in front of them. Some chewed Fireweed, some grit their teeth, some was pale as ghosts. Most of them prayed. None of them looked at the line of death knights behind them. All those men and women, all of them so young. Courre was eighteen, he was the oldest of his platoon.
The first wave broke across the bow of “the Beast” with a crash of water. Then everything happened very fast. Shrieks in the air, shells landing in water. Detonations of fel grenades sending pillars of water skywards, crashing down in a salty rain. The “pew pew pew” or fel missiles close above their armored heads. A tremendous blast of energy rocked the ship sideways as a fel grenade exploded right in the middle of another transport – a horde one, it was a combined assault.
The rain of sea water turned red.
Thunder rolled in from behind. Dozens of battleships opened up in a single line of fire and smoke. Dumpsters – the guys called the howitzer grenades dumpsters because of their size – rocketed across the burning sky, turning the beach into a thick cloud of smoke and dust. The sound was deafening. It made his teeth clatter.
The cold grip tightened around his shoulder.
“Stay low. Move quickly. Don’t shoot. Find cover.”
“I’m scared … ” he whispered.
Then the metal hull of the Hungry Riverbeast ate the sands of Tanaan and the doors opened. Courre would be hard pressed to remember just what happened then. There was a rain of green things, ripping everyone apart around him. He scampered across soft, bleeding meat as someone screamed “OVER THE SIDE!!!”. For some reason he couldn’t stop staring at the severed hand, caught in the doors now open. Someone hadn’t stood clear. Someone screamed in his own voice.
Then the cold hand clamped down on his forearm. The pain was so intense it closed him down almost completely – cauterized, by frigid Northrend cold.
The hand pushed him. He stumbled down, fell into the waisthigh water and almost toppled over. He raised his hands, one arm from the elbow down missing, and was about to scream when that cold hand on his shoulder pushed him forward.
“You wanna live forever!?”
He turned his already fading eyesight at her, shaking his head. Then he slumped to his knees, holding the stump of his one arm in his living hand.
“I’m sorry.” he said.
“Waste of fucking space, you are!”
As he slumped forward, that cold hand shot out and grabbed him by his neck. He was barely alive when he finally came to rest against a pile of dead gnomes and tauren. Then the death knight grabbed his head in both her hands and kissed him.
Courre rose. Twitching, groaning, slobbering – he stumbled forth, sending cascades of holy power in front of him.
He would not speak of his resurrection, not to no one.