Sins of Our Fathers, Part I (Shuanna)

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Her grip hardens as she sees him. The true iron reinforced leather gloves creak, like an old sofa, as she tightens the grip of the hilt. Perhaps it’s the sound of Shuannas gloves that makes him aware of her. Perhaps he heard her horse, a long time earlier. Either way – he don’t care. He just keeps staring into the fire, hunched down. At long last, when the silence between them becomes to much for both of them, he says:

“So … You’ve come to kill me?” He looks at her, just a glance over his shoulder. “You got away, eh? I figured you would.”
“Father … ”
“Leave me alone. Or kill me. Just get it over with, whatever you want.”
“I … I … ” she sighs, lets the mace drop and takes a careful step forward. He reeks. Unwashed, old blood stains on his leather robes and skin. There’s the stench of Broken, seeping out of his pores. His hands are mishapen, worse yet – his face is … it’s a monster in front of her. It would be a mercy to cave his head in but she can’t.

“How did you find me?” he says, stoking the fire with a branch, watching it smolder. Eventually he digs out a bone pipe and lights it. Dreamfoil and Felweed creates a greyish smoke around him, tinged with yellow that smells like rotten eggs.
“I went to the Aldor,” she says.
“Ah!” He smacks his lips. “The fucking aldor. Well, then.”
“I shouldn’t have come … ”

“No! You shouldn’t!” He turns at her, growling. Thick saliva drips from the corner of his mouth, his eyes are ablaze with drugs and primal rage. For a second or two it looks like he’s about to attack her, but then he shrugs. He sighs deeply and says with a far away tone, as if he’s dreaming: “I tried, I did try you know … I got you out of the lower levels, didn’t I? All of you, all of you brats … you know I worked my ass off to support you. That seed factory I married kept popping you out like fucking candy. Never a son, always … Always … I tried hard, you know. Sure I did. Couldn’t run fast enough tho’, the mist, the red mist …” He glares at her. “I swore I would purge Draenor of the orcs … but there’s no end to them. Once I’m done with them I’ll come after you. All of you. You … Destroyed me!”
“Please, father … Come with me? The Prophet, he ca–”
“VELEN CAN’T FIX WHAT’S BROKEN AND YOU KNOW IT GIRL!!!” He takes a deep breath for control. “You know it, deep down inside. We’re gonna break, all of us. You … Vassie … Ish. The Legion won, you see? They found a way to defeat us without having to kill us. They took away … our Light.”
“You can still remember it, can’t you? The light? You can remember the l–”
“THE LIGHT ABANDONED IT’S CHAMPION!!! Now leave this place! And Never Return! If you do, I’ll kill you all! I’ll Kill you! KILL YOU!!!”
He lunges at her, she grabs the mace with one hand and swings.

 

 

“Did you find your father, child?” the High Priestess Ishanah of the Aldor asks some time later.
“No … ” Shuanna averts her eyes. Everyone knows she’s lying, of course they do, but everyone also knows that she fixed a Major Problem. Fallen vindicator Haarkan was a friend of no one, a crazy old man in a forgotten cave in northern Terokkar. He killed indiscrimenately. Orcs, draenei, beasts, ogres … adventurers.
“Light be with you, vindicator Shuanna of the Exodar.”
“Pray for me, will you? I don’t know if it will help but … ”
“We will.”

Shuanna turns and is about to leave the temple when High Priestess Ishanah says: “Have you found your sister yet, vindicator?”

Shuanna stops, she turns halfway around. She tries not to smile but she does, and it’s not a very good smile.

“Which one?”
“Ishannah.” High Priestess Ishanah smiles. “I like that name.” She chuckles. “I’m honored to bear the name of your sister.”
“Two N, high priestess,” Shuanna turns around and nods. “A small but important detail.”

High Priestess Ishanah laughs. It’s crystal clear and loud. Several anchorites look up from their books and work, some of them frown. The Aldor are divided, because the strangers from the other side of the portal are still considered to be … peculiar. It’s been years since they first came but it’s not something someone gets used to. There’s been so many strangers …

“A wise man, covered in fur, once said to me: “Details, details!” Ishanah smiles. “We are still getting used to seeing these … oh Light, what are they called …”
“Pandaren?”
“Ah, yes! Yes! pandaren!” She chuckles. “I think we could learn a great deal about faith from these strange … creatures.”
“Yeah, well … Ish is still … I’m still looking for her, got a couple of leads. I’m working closely with a … a temporal operative.”
“Caliss? The night elf?”
“You know of her?”
“All of Shattrath knows of her. I spoke with her a long time ago. She is your sister too, no?”
“Adopted. It’s complicated.”
“Life is complicated … ”
“Eh.” Shuanna chuckles. Then she takes a deep breath. “I never figured out the timeline stuff. I mean, Kadghar tried to explain but … well you know. Cannie’s the only one who understand stuff like that. If I can’t hit it, I’m lost. This is now, I know that. When Caliss was here, I … I guess it was before?”
“Then, now, eh. The Aldor will always be here.”
“Just don’t stay too long.” Shuanna tries not to smile, but she does. It looks and feels out of place. “This world is fucked and if you don’t know it yet so are you.”

She leaves.

Beasts of the Legion

(Be advised. This is NSFW.)

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Prisoner of War interrogation number 165: Subject – Priszly (imp). Interrogating officer: Sharenne Gawry (warlock). Report signed. Co-signed: Lantresor (of the Blade).

Personal note: Suggest re-education discipline. Priszly is still a very young imp and thus extremely impressional … once I find his ‘pressure points’.

“‘All life must be exterminated … ‘ You know, I kinda liked that, ait? So’s was me and a helluva lot of other guys and bitches ‘roun’ there, ait. Kazzak was still on the mend ’cause some ‘turers had roughed him up a bit, but he never ever lost sight of things, ait. That’s a boss, it is. Keep fucking focused, ait. Da used to tell me that when we were just jokin’ ’round, you know, throwin’ fel between us. So’s all the big guys, the Real Terror we call’em, start and march out. Infernals shooting up towards the sky like fucking fireworks, you fucking who– aaaiii!.”

(Interrogators note: At this time, a series of educational techniques was implemented in order to keep things civil. Kip eventually settled down but remained standing for the duration of the interview. Asked if Kip wanted to file an official complaint, Kip stated “fuck you!”. further enhanced interrogation techniques were thus implemented.)

“My ass hurts … “What? Oh, oh, yeah. Uhm … Please no! No! So, yeah, ait. I’ll talk, dammit! Fu-uuck! Anyway. Doomguards thundering down the road, all that. Seriously, them abs, ait. Know what I’m sayin’? We just milled aroun’ ait. We’re not that important, honestly, ’cause no one really think we can do much but corrupt and stuff. Like politicians.

“Boring!

“I had this weird idea then, ait. So I’s took a leap ait. Landed square on the shoulderplate of an abyssal, ait. He be Melter, we call’im Melter ’cause he melt things. Whoa! We went so far out, you never believe it! Fucking all of Tanaan was like thousands of feet below us and then we broke through the clouds and all I saw was green smoke and sparks.

“Then I kinda tagged along with Melter. Anyway, I wun’t suppose to latch onto him okay but I sorta did and you know, Melter din’t feel a thing, ait. Well then he was starting you know fall. Then all those clouds sorta broke up ’cause he was really hot, ait … so this whole, uhm, this whole kinda really big place jus’ sorta shew up un’rus ait. So’s Melter, who found me holdin’ on, ait. He be like Bruh, no huggin’ kay ’cause that’s gay.” Then he kinda “yeah whatever gonna fuck you up anyway” and then he was like yelling, like he seriously loosing his shit, ait.

“‘GET OFF MY BACK, IMP, YOU’LL KILL US ALL!!!’

“Kinda somethin’ ’bout arrydun… arei … kinda somethin’ like he cun’t fly if there was more weight or somethin’. I mean, I don’t weigh that much, ait. We kinda crashed anyway. Coulda been ’cause I was getting a bit scared ait. So’s I kinda clawed at him and kinda ripped out his eyeball. Honest mistake. Seriously.

“Boom! Right in the water off the coast. It’s tuchni… technical.. ly … Shadowmoon. Blue Land. Melter din’t made it out, ’cause we kinda fell from like really, really high up ‘kay? I made it though. Imps can swim, ait. Melter kinda took the worst hit. Boom! Motherfucker totally knocked out, was fucking hilarious! Big crater under water, really big. Got a lot of blue and homans come out in them floaty things too. So’s what an imp’s gonna do in Hostile Territory, huh? Tell ya what an imp does, ait. Once I swimmin’ to land, I did what we do best. Imp’s giving up.

“So ait. I’m in no hurry to die or anythin’ so’s if ya could direct me to … I’M NOT SIGNING NUTHIN’ WITHOUT – say what? Oh. Oh!

‘I sign or I die’. Well why din’t ya say so, Mistress!”

****

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Prisoner of War interrogation number 186: Subject – Darlia (succubus). Interrogating officer: Sharenne Gawry (warlock). Report signed. Co-signed: Blook (“the Mountain”, marked with ‘X’).

Personal note: Suggest re-education discipline. Darlia, despite her attempts at acting out, is a very impressional young succubus, haunted by her elder sister. Repeated eductational therapy with suggested therapists, see recommendation below, will undoubtedly turn her docile and easily handled.

I suggest a six week therapy on an eight hour shift using Iron Horde prisoners of war from the Blackrock Foundry. Some of those orcs haven’t seen a female in years. We have an ample supply of enchanted manacles so ‘Darling’ won’t break until she’s been re-educated.

(Commanders note: Please dispose of IH remains after consultation with Phylarch (the Botanist). This report will be classified as ‘Top Secret Class Alpha’. Sha – No more of this, ok?)

“Oh, honey, I could give you an orgasm so hard you would literally loose your mind – and all of that with just a single little poke you know where. Would you like that, darling? I bet your pussy’s so wet right now you’re probably worried that you peed yourself. I can do that too, if you want me to. I once rode an eredar vindicator named Maraad so hard he shit himself. You would not believe what he asked me to to before I did it … ‘Ooh, Darlia, won’t you please give me some of your golden rain’, he said. I can turn your head inside out with lust, warlock … I hear you’re quite the slu–”

(Interrogators note: Due to the subjects excessive screaming the scribe could not discern what was said. Darlia settled down once we gave her some water.)

“I’ll FUCK YOU ALL!!! I’LL FUCK YOU!!! I AM THE SHADOW THAT HAUNTS VASSANNAHS MIND!!! I AM THE FILTH THAT YOU SECRETLY REVEL IN, SHARENNE!!! YOU WANT TO KILL YOUR FATHER AND I CAN HELP YOU!!! JUST GIVE IN … GIVE … IN … I can make you beutiful, my little human … you were rejected by everyone. Never been fucked by a real man. you know what they say about ladies like you, don’t you? You’re munching down on fur-covered oysters ’cause no man wants you. I bet you stink. I bet your sluts you fuck like that st—”

(Interrogators note: Due to the subjects excessive screaming the scribe had to be replaced.)

“You think you can break me with this pathetic antics of yours? Really, slut? You’re weak. WEAK!!! And ugly. You’re ugly, Sharenne! Ugly and fat! No one but your dad wanted to fuck you! And you! YOU, NERD!!! SCRIBE!!! When will you stop jerking off thinking about Lantresor and come out with it! Small people, all of you. I WILL FUCK YOU ALL!!! YOU WILL KNOW PAIN WHEN I RAM MY FIST UP YOUR P–”

(Interrogators note: Due to the subjects excessive screaming the scribe had to be replaced. Blook, ‘the Mountain’, appears to be impervious to any form of seduction.)

“Oh, isn’t that sweet? You brought a fat guy.”

(Interrogators note: Blook asked here, “Can I hit her?”. I said yes. Blook did. It was quite some time before Darlia was lucid again.)

“Fat guy hits hard … But I have to succumb, just an itsy bitsy tiny little bit. Thank you for the water, warlock. Now … Keep that monster away from me, ok? I can smell his balls, I know he wants me, but he’s so fucking retarded he don’t know what to do with his thrity inch dick. But you know, Sha … You know all about pussies, don’t you?”

(Interrogators note: I asked Blook to hit Darlia again. He did.)

“Thirsty work, it is, fucking sluts like you when you’re not even aware I do it. Aaww, don’t look so shocked. I know your dreams, warlock. I know them all … how you want to do your ‘sisters’ – and Illy, defender fucking slut Illona, the fucking draenei queen bitch holier than fucking everyone including fucking Yrel. I’d like to fuck her too, by the way. I could fuck all of you at the same time, hogtied, roasting you over fire. I’d like that. I like bitches that scream and plead for mercy.

“You. Will. Have. No. Mercy. I will rap–”

(Interrogators note: I asked Blook to hit Darlia again. He did.)

“Illona, oh that’s a good one. you know, she’ll never agree to being hogtied of course, but a human can dream, yes? I know you want her … on her knees, gagballs … You want to whip them, don’t you? Sure you do … Just give in to me, warlock … Give in, and I’ll show you the paradise that you’re looking for … I can give you your father. I can have his soul interred in a machinery of pain in the Black Temple, where nothing but the shrieks of pain echo through eternity. I can give you Vassie, anyone. All of them will be your slaves of passion! Everyone! I can show you the concubines … illidan didn’t care about them so they had to be … educated. By my sister. She taught me all there is to know about pleasure … And … pain. PAIN!!! PA–”

(Interrogators note: I asked Blook to hit Darlia again. He did.)

“Oh, how I reveled in watching them squirm as she loved and punished them all. Sluts, all of them, just like y–”

(Interrogators note: Interview aborted. Recommenced after a brief pause.)

“Let me fuck you, Sharenne … Let me eat you … You know you want it … Just take that little step, my little warlock whore … a single step. Look at your scribe? He want’s me already. I’ll ride him tonight. He’ll die happy. I’ll fuck his soul forever … and ever … and ever … and — Blaargh!”

(Interrogators note: Darlia expunged copious amounts of black filth at this point, once it became clear to her that ogron does not have a soul (as such). Interview aborted until further notice. Suggested method of further development: Exorscism, class III (the rarely seen method) and previously suggested therapy.)

– – – – –
Priszly (imp) was later recruited into the Alliance.
Darlia the Docile (succubus) was later recruited into the Alliance.
Both are currently serving Sharenne Gawry, whom they call ‘Mistress’.

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The intricacies of life, death and love

 

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I met Death two clicks south of Embari Village. Master had gone down there to buy spices, she’s taken a liking to cooking lately. Hot food, not cold cuts nor maggots (you should try some of those, the pickled one’s are great with starflower gravy, even Blook likes them!). As is my habit I sort of trailed behind her.

I know, I know … Master don’t like me shadowing her but the thing is I feel a lot more safe within a distance from Master than I feel when she’s in Tanaan and I’m on my lonesome here in the garrison. It’s just the way the soldiers glare at me … some of them, like sergeant Cranbrook and corporal Payre, they were at the Wrathgate. They have a hard time accepting redeemed scourge. I understand, it can’t be easy for them. My brethren fed on their dead friends and I guess that’s not something you forget.

I’m going to tell you about Death some other time. It won’t be pretty. I am a monster, and sometimes the only thing that can save a little girls life is a monster. Yes … Isel. That’s her. She got herself in trouble. I’m sorry for what she saw, but it’s a cruel world and I guess the young one’s needs to be tempered. I couldn’t let them take her. Agriok would agree (why would anyone hurt an old orc with half a face? I simply don’t understand).

Skinning corrupted draenei is another tale. Instead, there’s some other things I need to say. The living intrigue me more than they scare me. I know I can never be one of them, but I also know that I can be one for them. Because for some of the living, death is comforting. Some of them can’t wait to … well. Most of the times they’re the young one’s. It’s sad really. War is Hell, eh? I cut them down and Vassannah says a few words over them and then Prackrett and Moldaire, they’re the grave diggers, starts shoveling. The commander writes the letters, of course she does. ‘They died a heroes death, for the glory of the Alliance’ and all that.

The commander cries a lot. No one but me and Thorne knows about it. The other day we lost six ships in a major battle. Lieutenant Thorne had her clerks work triple shifts writing letters. She asked Eric Broadoak, the scribe, to fashion a stamp with the commanders signature, because signing two thousand six hundred letters … that’s a lot.

She cried as she stamped the letters. Wiping her cheek, stamp. Whiping away tears, stamp. In the end Thorne grabbed the commanders wrist and wrestled the stamp out of her hands. Thorne stamped the last four hundred letters.

I watched from the shadows. Then I listened outside the commanders door. Sometimes I hear her moan and cry out, usually when she, you know, have company. this time I heard her sob. I wanted to give her something, but what can the dead give the living?

Nothing.

I snuck away eventually. No one saw me. No one heard me. No one knew that the commander was grieving … Because no one but me can listen without being noticed. If she did notice me, she didn’t show it. Thorne gave me one of her looks, the “I know you’re listening, Tim“-look, but she didn’t say anything.

Perhaps the commander wants me to listen. Perhaps she want me to hear her come, hear her cry, and scream, and rage. The commander is a very, very scared draenei. She was once a slave in the Pit of Saron – and not even ghouls can forget that place.

I don’t know for sure. I want to help her but I don’t know how, because, you know? Right? It’s like Ariok told me once: “Death won’t help solve the problems and nightmares of the living. You die, but what of the rest of them? Your sister, mother, your loved one? They’ll be the one’s left with the ‘why’ and the grief, geist.

I think Ariok is right. There’s a lot of sorrow in this garrison … this war has gone on for far too long. I also know this: The commander is very, very, lonely. She’s got all her sisters around her, but even though she’s got a family, she’s lonely. And scared.

(I once saw her grit her teeth as she cut herself. She has many scars down her left leg. I don’t understand why she does it, but I’m dead … ish.)

Just like most of the people in this garrison, the commander is one of the living. The death knights don’t really feel at home here, so they stick to themselves. I’m caught in between – I want to be alive, but I can not be alive. No matter how hard I try. I’m a construct … but I am in love, nevertheless. I love a Knight of Death. My Morissa …

The living though … I try to understand them. I try to be kind to them. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I spied on sergeant Cranbrook a couple of days ago. I brought him a case of fine draneei malted wine the other night, when I heard him behind the fishing shack. He was crying, you see (Morissa tells me that the living men don’t cry unless they think no one can see or hear them; it’s ‘a guy thing’, she says – I don’t know what that means). I spied on him at first and I couldn’t quite understand why he was staring at a portrait. Then he started crying. It was very peculiar. Sergeant Cranbrook is, as they say, “a man of steel and grit“. He, as they say, “chews glass and piss barbed wire“. He is very … tough. He’s the only one who have won over Blook in arm wrestling, not even Tomok could do that!

Cranbrooks secret was known to everyone but me. Go figure, eh? I guess I’m not the spy I used to be, or maybe it was nothing important. I don’t know how I missed it, but I did – and what I missed was this: I didn’t know that men could love men the way men can love a woman. I blame my scourged brain (it’s addled with memories of a very handsome night elf that apparently was quite well endowed). There’s a lot of wonderous and strange things about the living that i have yet to understand … never mind that I’m, as some of the living calls it, “a meatpie”. Apparently the female … you know … sort of, uhm … looks like … never mind. Love is some weird shit.

Ha! Mmmhaa haa! Haaaa!

(Sorry.)

I brought Cranbrook the goods I told you about. He was quite suprised. Once we were past that embarassing moment where he tried to stab me with his sword yelling “for Bolvar!” and me screaming “I am redeemed! Honestly!” things settled down. Chao, it’s a pandaren mercenary who found that fishing is a lot better than killing so he hooked up (excuse the pun) with Nat, came running and almost went martial palms on ol’ Cranbrook. I, on the other hand, was crouching down, trying my very best to be as unscourged as I can be. It’s not an easy thing to do for a geist, you know, even though I was wearing my pink dress (no, no! Don’t you dare poke fun at me!). We’re sort of scary, okay?

Chao was standing there between me and Cranbrook and said: “What’s this then?”
“That monster … ” Cranbrook said.
“Mmmaahaaahaa!?” I said. now that I think about it, i should have been more vocacious, I guess. As it turned out though, Cranbrook had a sense of humour. Once we battled it out – and I dare say, I was very proud of my ‘and never try and judge me dude, you don’t know what the fuck i’ve been through!‘ – we became slightly more friendly than before. Cranbrook has a very big laugh. It rattles your bones. He said, he did:

“Well, girl, that’s the fucking truth. I have yet to come back as some kind of fucking bodypart sale from a fucking slaughterhouse!”
“I happen to be a specimen of extreme importance,” I said, because I felt slighlty hurt. I tossed my hair (thankfully, the blonde whig stayed on my scalp). “I was scourged before it became popular.”

Cranbrook laughed at this. I don’t understand why.

Then we spoke about death. I’m an expert, after all. You see, the living … well, they try not to think about it. They know they’ll die, of course they do, but they try not to think about it. Other things they try not to think about is the fact that they might die in a far off land, a long, long way from the one they love. The more they try not to think about it, the more they think about it. The living are weird like that. I’ve tried to think about it but I always end up shrugging and muttering a short “eh, I’m already deadish”. I just can’t understand it.

Cranbrook told me he was dead inside. I told him he was clearly in the wrong, because his blood was pumping and he still drew breath. He told me there is more to life than a hearbeat. I wanted to ask him what he meant, but he started to cry again and … well. It made me feel uncomfortable. I once was tasked with repurposing a young man we caught not far from Valliance Keep. He cried as I slit his throat (we needed his head intact so I had to convince Gerry the Ghoul not to use the Giant Mace). It made me feel, well, to be perfectly honest?

I felt nothing.

Then.

That was before I was redeemed!

I asked Morissa, she’s my girlfriend now (I asked her one day if it was alright and she said “yeah, sure, ’cause Miall don’t really like the idea of fucking a corpse” … Morry is a bit, you know, morbid, or so the living claim.) Uhm … Yeah, anyway!

I asked her the other day why people like Cranbrook think that they’re already dead when they’re clearly alive. She said, she did:
“It’s the letters from home, Tim.”
“Letters?”
“Letters, starting with ‘Dear John’ … ” then she kind of trailed off. Then she added, in a sort of hurting, dreamy voice: “Or … or ‘Dear Jane’.” She gave me a quick glance. “My full name is Jannaeh Morissa, you know, my friends used to call me Jane or Janny.” Then she stared right in front of us, as if she was staring at nothing, muttering something about “that fucking cunt” (I know what a cunt is because Kel’Thuzad gave me one but I don’t know what she meant, I mean, we’ve sort of been doing it in our own slow way, and .. uhm … Oh, right. Sorry).

She was a bit agitated. I decided to sidetrack her, I don’t know why, it just … felt like it was needed. So I said: “But Sergeant Cranbrook is called James?”
“When a man … ” Morissa sighed deeply. “Or a woman … When you get a letter like that,” she smiled at me, plucking grass out of my whig (we had been cavorting, let’s leave it at that), “it’s always a dear John, Tim. Or Jane.”
“Why would anyone send anyone a letter that would make anyone so sad they have to cry in secret or wish they were a geist?”
“Because that’s life. It’s sadness between moments of happiness.”
“Then why would they live?”
“Because those moments of happiness is what life is all about.”
“Death is easier,” I stated, nodding so hard my head nearly fell off. My brain hurt right then, because my brain, with it’s morphic memories, didn’t agree. It’s complicated being a geist.
“Being dead is not easy,” Morissa said, she sounded slightly tense. then she smacked me over my head.. “You spent five hours with me before you even made me moan!”
“Oh …”
“Right.”
“Do you think if we kill Cranbrook, he’ll be …”

But from the look on her face I knew I was wrong.

Casualty of War – Wodans Story

WoWScrnShot_112815_062915“Dey be havin’ a dog up dere, boyo, re’mber?” He grabs the head between his hands. “Ye not goin’ sleepin’ on me now, are ye?” He slaps that pale face. There’s just the smile, facial muscles drawn back, showing teeth. Then the barely audible words:
“Not like this … ”

Wodan rolled over in bed, opened his eyes and couldn’t quite remember where he were. For a few seconds the face of a human in a trench at the Iron Front lingered in front of his eyes. Then the nightmare was over. Then the room came back. The stone walls adorned with animal skins. The fireplace, big enough to drive a steamtank through. The desk, the cupboard, the bearskin on the floor. A clutter of stone- and porcelain figurines. Hulma collected them. Some of those figurines came all the way from Lordaeron and would probably sell for three or four chests full of gold. They weren’t rich, not even well off, she had “collected” her figurines the way adventurers do. Yet they never even thought about selling them, even if every week was a struggle. Some things are simply too precious, be it love or tiny little unicorns some long forgotten human artist once crafted before the Scourge came and claimed them all.
Somewhere outside a shrill gnome voice shouted“Bread from tha ovin! C’ome n’ get it fre-eesh!”. Then he saw Hulma, sitting on a chair next to their bed, holding his hand.

“Wh’e’am’I!?” He struggled to sit up, at first he couldn’t but then he did. He sighed deeply. “Muradin’s beard, lass. That was a bad one ’twas.”
“Come now, my lil’ murogh ram, come now … ” she leaned over and kissed him on the sweaty scalp. “Ju’s a ‘mare, love. Tea’s reddy.”
“Aye,” he said, and swallowed hard. “Jus’ a mare. Tea?”
“‘t’ill be mornin’, love. ye slept for two days ye did. Had to help ye with the chamber pot. Jus’ piss, nuthin’ solid. Ye were drunk as a skunk when ye came ‘ome, love.”

He blushed, slumped down back into bed and wasn’t sure if he should hide under the blankets or cry. He closed his eyes – just for a second. Then he opened them, gasping. Because it was there. Everytime he closed his eyes he saw the tusks, less than an inch from his face. Everytime he closed his eyes he saw the froth, tinged with blood and fel. Then he plunged his sword into flesh and pushed the fel orc away.

Even with open eyes, sometimes you won’t escape the images. As he lay there in bed it all came crashing back, tea or no tea waiting.

“KILL YOU!!! KILL YOU!!!”

A brute of an orc, jumping right across the trench. The monster came down with a thump right in their midst. Wodan threw himself clear of the clutching hands but Duncan was too slow.

Then the rangari arrows came, blotting out the sky. Then there was an almost naked draenei woman, falling from Light knows where, slamming a crystal mace into the orc, screaming incoherently. Wodan saw a black panther dart off into the sky, magical energies trailing behind, roaring like a wilderbeast. Then the orc was dead. The draenei spat blood, turned her fierce white eyes on Wodan and roared. He had never heard such a voice. It was feral, almost like a demon.

“KILL ‘EM ALL!!! KILL ‘EM ALL!!! DEATH!!! DEATH!!!”

Her voice broke on the last syllables. Then she ran away across the battlefield, brilliant light engulfing her, the ground ablaze with holy power. He saw Gul’Dans minions burst into white flames, screaming as they ran and ran … and died.

She slaughtered them all. Reveling in it. Hate incarnate.

“Light have mercy,” he mumbled.
“Woody!” There was a painful shriek. “Woody help!” Then Duncan, fifteen years old, no taller than Wodan, was twitching, twitching, twitching … shitting himself.

“Mom! Mommy!”
“It’ll be ar’ite laddie, healers be here any secon’.” He cradled the boy, trying to stem the bloodflow with his hands but it kept pumping out. “’tis not so bad, fix’er rite up for sure!”
“Mom … Mom!?”
“Ye frem Goldshire, ain’t ye?”
“Yeah … It hurts … ”
“Look at me laddie!”
“It’s so cold … Mummy!?”
“”Dey be havin’ a dog up dere, boyo, re’mber?”
“I … Mom? Mommy?”
“A dog, laddie! Ye not goin’ sleepin’ on me now, are ye?”
“Not like this … ” Then his eyes stopped moving. He kept the smile, facial muscles.
“Dun! Dun! Dun boyo! D’ent ye give me the zee now, boy! Dun! DUNCAN!!!”

For some reason he chuckled, laying there in his bed in Ironforge. It wasn’t a pleased chuckle, more like a sound somewhere between a gasp and a cry but it came out as a laugh. He turned his head to Hulma, smiling even though he wasn’t sure if it was joy or fear that made him grin. For a few moments Duncan lingered in the corner of his eye – so was the draenei woman. The crazy one. Then it came to him – he knew her.

“’twas the commander, love,” he said, wiping sweat from his face with both of his palms. “Ye know the tech them etereal or whatcha call ’em ‘ave. She was wearing green she was. One crazy cunt that one, you jus’ don’ wanna know.”
“Was it bad?”
“Aye … ” He sighed deeply and sat up, heaving his legs out of the bed. “’twas very bad, love. Not forgettin’ nothin’, not.”
“Ye shoul’ talk to the priest, love.”
“Phah!” He grunted. “Whatch’er can do, eh? Can’t erase me mem’ry can she?”
“Ye can’t bottle it up, love. Ye know me uncle, yeh?”
“Me not crazy, lass!”
“Ye will be ‘f’yer not talk to some’un.”

There are defining moments in everyone’s life. Wodans moment happened right there. He stood up, feeling the blood heating up his face. He pulled back his left arm and was about to swing, palm first, when he just froze. He saw her eyes widen, her mouth drop in a shocked “oh!”.

He ran across the room, crouched up in a corner and hid behind his own arms, desperate not to cry – but he did. Retching, deep, shaking screams through tears and snot.

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“I we’nt be free of this, will I?” he said at long last, looking up at nothing, seeing not Hulma but an almost naked draenei, shimmering in front of him.
“No,” she said.
“Then me done for … ”
“Love?” Hulma, her voice low, almost subdued. Yet she reached out with a hand and very gently stroked his beard and head. “It’ll be a’right, love … ye get some tea first, then we go to the priest, yes?”
“Aye … ” he nodded, lowering his arms even though he still wanted to hide. That terrible, terrible visage of an almost naked draenei was still lingering in front of his eyes. “Aye, roe, y’er right, like always.”
“In the light … “the phantom draenei slowly faded away, giving a wink and a smile. “we are one.”
“Ye think I’ll be a’right someday, don’ ye?”
“Aye.”
“’twas a terrible war, roe.”
“War will always be here,” she smiled, leaned close and kissed his lips, dry from fear and panic. “Love will always be here. Ye live with either one but not both of ’em.” She leaned her forehead against his. “I be rite at ye’ side, me murogh ram. Rite at ye side.”
“Ye know sum’thin, lass?”
“What?”
“Sometimes, ye don’t have ta die to be a casualty of war.”

Dainty Rose

“The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the king’s men cannot put it back together again.” Jocey spits a string of phelgm. “Know what I’m sayin’, girl? My ol’ pa was one of the masons, you know. They fuckin’ ruled this place. King’s still owe me backpay, y’know.” She straightens up, flips her hair, tries to sound healthy and happy as the night elf pass by. “He-eeey! Han’some, amma lookin’ for a par— yeah go on the fuck get goping then, you fucking jerkoff tree fucking hugger!”

She swings from moody to insane in seconds. Jocey is a Real Ess Three, as we call them. Stage three. She’ll be dead in a couple of weeks. Me, I’ve been careful, so far. I haven’t got scourged, not yet anyway. Nah, it’s not the scourge scourge. you won’t get what Jo got from bad grain. You’ll get it from fucking. Healers are pretty much baffled ’cause nothing they try actually works.

Oh, I’m sorry. You didn’t know that, did you? Well, see, some diseases are so terrible that the kings court don’t even talk about them. Besides, it’s mostly sailors, skanks and soldiers that got it.

So far …

(Jocey slept with the son of a noble last night, gone slumming. He’ll be coughing in a couple of days. Trust me.)

Jocey coughs. I don’t like her cough, it sounds like death. She runs a fever. Beads of sweat drips from her hairline, getting caught in her eyebrows. I always assumed night elves were immune to human diseases. You know, if Jocey can catch the plague, what about me?

I try not to think about it. I light a clay pipe – mostly tobacco, because fireweed is expensive – and drag deep. The few grains of fireweed makes my head a little like cotton. Couple of nights ago I managed to snag a draenei trader. He’s known for carrying contraband weed from Draenor. Shit’s good, yo. Tonight it’s simple leaves, he’s gone back to the Big Dee. I miss him, even though he wanted me to dress in a plaid skirt and call him daddy.

“Should’a gone to Westfall when Van was there,” Jocey mumbles. “Should’a … ”

I just nod. Jocey is drunk and sick. She always talks big when drunk and with her fever, well, you know. The only reason I still stand next to her is because she’s my friend. She’s taught me everything. I mean it – everything. I always remember her truths. I won’t ever forget them. There’s just three of them but on the street you got three seconds to make a decision.

It’s a life or death decision, too.

First truth: The Death Knight is the best, male or female doesn’t matter. Death Knights just wants to talk. Sometimes you have to rub them but they really don’t get off from it. They just want to be touched, down there, you know? Get a Death Knight and you won’t have to work for the rest of the night. Just listen, or pretend to listen. Look closely though. Some of ’em wants to hurt you. You know it when you see it. If you don’t it’ll be too late. I’ve been lucky, I’ve only met the talking dead. I always listen to them.

Some people have a lot of words inside them and no one to tell them to.

Second truth: Dwarves are the second best. They never want the “full one”. They’ll be embarassed the whole time. Male dwarves push themselves to come as fast as they can just so they can get out of the situation. Female dwarves fake it. They handle drink just fine, and most of them are so drunk that they’ll pass out before anything happens.

If you want a good nights sleep, get a dwarf.

Third truth: Wax. Yeah, wax is important. Bees wax. You heat it up a bit, then shape it anyway you want. Jocey usually apply one of her lacerations to her forehead. I prefer to just dot some stuff on my lips. Oh right, you wonder why? See, it’s simple: If you look sick you won’t get anyone but Death Knights. They don’t care if you’re stage three because honestly – nothing can be as bad as their so called life. Boils and wounds keep humans away, especially the hu-men. I’m pretty good with the wax and chicken fat.

“Check him out,” I say, nodding at the draenei coming up the street. He’s got a leather backpack slung across a shoulder and his eyes are big, suprised. “First timer, girl.”

I saunter up to him, reach out with a hand and gently tug at his pale blue mage robe.

“Hey, han’some.” He looks down on me. I see it in his eyes. It’s always the same look. A profound suprise. As if he never knew he even had thoughts like that. “I’ll be your girl if you want me to.”

“I … ” He stops, mostly because of the braying voices from across the street. The Slugs Head Inn at Harbor Lane is not a place you want to pass by if you’re not human.

“Go back to the void you fucking demon!”

An empty bottle crash against the pavement. A throng of laughing men outside the inn holds up a rope.

“Don’t mind them,” I say. “Some people don’t change, eh.”

I can’t believe what I see. The tenderfoot bluey strides across the street, hunching his shoulders. Halfway across the street he … darkens. Then things happen very fast. I just watch from the other side of the street, mesmerized, shocked. Such power … I will never forget the screams as the painful words of shadow seared the simple minds of hateful men. He leaves them there outside the pub, writhing in pain, as he cross the street and returns to me. He looks down on me, smiles and say:

“Get rid of the wax on your lips and we’ve got a deal. What’s your name?”

I strike a pose. Gotta sell the wares, right?

gnome_ptute

“I’m Rose.”

The Dark Night

This is not in any way related to World of Warcraft. Some time ago I jotted down an “as is”-thing, a rather poorly written opening to something … and then I buried it, because honestly? It was just bad. The idea didn’t leave me entirely. Since I’m not well versed in contemporary stuff – I find a lot more freedom in making up my own facts! – the story below sort of transformed … into something else, than that first very bad draft.

I’m actually rather pleased with how it turned out. Should you be so inclined, please take fifteen minutes or something and read it.

Oh.

Don’t mention O’Leary.

(Seriously. Don’t.)

I think this is the beginning of a grand adventure … it’s one of those ideas that traveled through space, like narativium do, and lodged itself in this scared piece of fatty tissue of mine.

The Dark Night.

(Yeah, it’s a working title, but I had to call it something!)

– – –

Deliah have never seen the dark night.

She’s right though. Nights come slow in these parts. Every night, as if it was shy, sorry to trespass on another day, even if it was grim or rainy or dry or hot. Sure, there’s plenty of different days – but there’s just one night in these parts.

The dark night.

It rolls down the mountainside like an avalanche of darkness. The daylight struggles, of course it does, but this is a battle the Light will lose. The burning brightness of day turns golden in that first frantic battle. Then it turns red, blood red. Then the night comes. Far, far away the glare of big cities paint an everlasting sunset against the horizon, but here … yes, here there’s just the night.

The night is the blanket of the world. It’s a quilt, sewn by hands who know nothing of the day. It’s rolls down across our little town. ”That’s how it’s always been” people in these parts say. Some people say ”It’ll be morning soon …”. They know what it means, you see. It means another day.

With a bit of luck, it’s a new day for everyone.

It’s curious how people, who knows that the night is dark and dreary as they dream of O’leary, whisper ”nevermore”.
That’s a secret! Don’t tell anyone! O’Leary … we don’t speak of O’Leary. They say, in these parts, that if you say his name three ti–

Oops.

Yet some people like the night. Some people are a bit weird (or so the other people claim, the people of the day). The temperature drops, sometimes it rains even though the day was clear and sunny. The smell of daylight shifts to the smell of night, as if nature herself did some housecleaning. The night smell better than the day. The night smells clean.
The streetlights come on at nine o’clock. It’s always been that way. The first streetlight was installed in 1781, it was an iron basket filled with firewood. A ”mr Pryttchard” was responsible for lighting it. It was supposed to keep the indians out.
It didn’t.

There’s quite a nice display made out of tin soldiers and styrofoam in the library if you want to know more about the massacre of 1786.

These days, and for a long time back, it’s been eletricity. The first electrical streetlight was installed in 1928 and since then there’s been thousands of them. All of them light up at exactly 2100 hours. It used to be that our little town bathed in light but people complained. These days, the streetlights are perfect. They shine upon the pavement in circles of light and the darkness reigns between them.

The system works, so there’s no reason to change the rules (even though night comes earlier in winter than in summer). When night falls, the display windows of the stores, those who got it, turn on their night lights. It used to be that all stores had spotlights in their windows. It used to be that Main Street looked like christmas shopping season, all year around. These days most of the storefronts have aluminum shutters. No more lights, sir, oh no. Just flood lights that come one if someone moves past a motion detector. Like everyone else, we’re scared of terrorists and thieves. Some people blame ”the kids”, others the Hollands (they’re from Away, and they’re black, and in these parts old habits die hard), but such people always find someone to blame and hate.

Pritchards Autos is resplendant with it’s lights, all through the night. Red and green and blue and yellow. Neon signs. Hanging wires so heavy with lightbulbs they sag a good two feet between the chromed steel poles. Lee Pritchard – he can trace his family back to the Light Keeper, Oliver Pryttchard – says it’s a customer support thing. People don’t know this because Pritchard have never told anyone but his husband, now deceased.

He’s afraid of the dark.

His lot is brightly lit. Someone might be passing by and glance at the cars. Maybe they’re walking the dog. Maybe they’re coming back from Pat Malloy’s, walking slowly like people with too much beer and not enough brains usually do. Maybe they spot a car, right then and there in the night. Maybe they want that car.

Well. They can’t have it, not right away.

There’s a chainlink fence around the parking lot. The two story red brick building, with ”PRITCHARD MOTORS & REPAIRS” painted on the wall between the first and second floor windows, have floodlights mounted on it’s slanted roof. Pritchard lives on the second floor. His lights go out around midnight. People think he’sa bit ”quirky”, or ”mad”, because he never remarried even though he’s only fortyfive. Still, someone undoubtedly comes back the next morning – Pritchards is doing good business, even for a small town such as this.

What town, you ask? Ah …

Welcome to Blackwood.

The night rolls in. The streetlights come on. Prichards, Malloy’s, Karpovs Fishing Supplies and a handful of other stores light up their windows. It’s automatic. It used to be the owner or some staff had to turn a switch but you know, that was way back in the 1940’s.

The stores that’s still lit? Those are the stores that trust people in this part of the world. Their buildings sit there, on the edge of the concrete sidewalk, all through the night with the windows lit. Rectangles and squares of multi colored light shimmer upon the sidewalk. When it rains, it’s like looking down a rainbow. In winter, when it snows (it used to snow a lot more), you just wait for Father Christmas to come by. Bells ringing, reindeers and all. It never happens, of course. Father Cee never comes around in his sledge. Even if he does, no one has ever seen him. Here’s a bit of local news for you: In 1963, mr Tim Labroux (he was from New Orleans originally) had his head caved in with a sledgehammer. Labs, as he was called, used to dress up as Santa. It was his wife who did him in. Let’s leave it at that.

Blackwood is otherwise a sleepy little town. Most of the houses goes dark after eleven. The only light you might see is if someone forgot to turn off their computer. There’s not many lights in the windows after midnight. People go to bed early in these parts. Everyone has at least one computer and several other devices but people like the dark in Blackwood. You won’t find much of the blue shadows, not in this town..

Those who are awake, those with the household lamps still on, well … Let’s just say that some people like to talk about those people. Funny that. A hundred miles south you can see the sky ablaze with light from New York Citys arcs, the self-contained small towns in the big city. The largest one, The Trump Arc, is exactly nineteen kilometers high.
Blackwood is rural country though. Time forgot to bring the town into the late twentyfirst century. Look over there, across Main Street. The sign above the doors to Love’s Food is a neon calendar. It spells out the time and date. Right now?
00:26:42. 03 25. 2042. The ”42” after the time is changing of course. 43. 44. 45. 46 …

However, this is an unusual night.

At 00:26:46, the clock on Love’s Food stops.

There’s a light on at 244 Birch Street. It’s an old light. Not many people use that kind of stuff, not these days. The light is glaring. It’s pristine white fluorescents. It spills out through the windows covered with plastic lace curtains and paints rectangles of light on the darkened ground. Tiny pebbles speckled with fool’s gold glimmer on the walkway. The grass appears to be tinged with wite and gold. It’s plastic grass. It’s a bit tacky, sure, but what can you do, eh? Water is expensive these days. Even on the East Coast.

Nathan Rumford lives here. He’s seventysix years old, a retired computer salesman (he started out with Apple). He usually goes to bed at ten thirty, like any decent person in these parts of the world.

Not this night.

He sort of went to sleep two hours ago. He still sits hunched in front of a half eaten bowl of spagetti in tomato sauce, his eyes staring at nothing. That’s why the Rumford House will be available for rent, to ”a woman who is honest, clean and calm. Pets are allowed (no dogs!), good internet connections!”. There will be a telephone number attached to the ad but the ad won’t show up in Weekdays in Blackwood for another three weeks (it’s still a paper newspaper even though they have a site as well). Mr Ferguson, he’s the lawyer in town, will place the ad.

Deliah will call that number.

A damsel in distress

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“She looked like something that might have occured to Ibsen in one of his less frivolous moments.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, Summer Lightning

“Would you please stop that infernal music!” For almost a minute, the band played on. Horns blared, violins squeaked. No one heard the haggard voice over the din of dirges, suited for a recently reanimated slightly fragrant mage. Then: “Stop that infernal din! I haven’t got all day!”

There was a “ploink” as one of the violinists stopped. Then there was a “oomph” as a tuba player sucked his mastiscated lips from a somewhat grimy mouthpiece and stared at the apparition with big, suprised glowing eyes.

“I say,” a flutist said, once the screeching notes came to an end. “Someone doesn’t appreciate the fine a– ouwww!”

Dorry smacked him over the head with her cain. Then she glared at all of them, one after another.

“I am not someone to be trifled with,” she said. “A lady can’t even get some decent sleep around here! Oh no, I just wanted to rest my legs a bit, found a nice hole to do it in, the next thing I know? You! Is this what the world is coming to? Dirges? When I was a girl we used to send our elders off with polka and brandy!”

She shook her cain and took a step into the midst of the band. Several minutes later, most of them rolled around on the ground clutching their aching, seeping heads. Dorry looked around across the fallen, content with a good nights work, and then set off.

“I do hope miss Harrowgate knows that I’m coming,” she muttered. “I’m not going to let Death stop me from her tea party, oh no, you mark my words you little wench … Stealing my betrothed, right under my nose, with those long legs of hers. There’s a name for people like you, young lady! It starts with Ssss …” She stopped, sniffing the air. There was a tang of life somewhere, aha! Over there, hiding in a bush. A night elf, busy with winding up a mechanical construct of some sort. It looked like a harvest golem, a small one. A very scared rat bared it’s teeth at the herald of mechanised doom.

“You there!” Dorry cried out. “Leave that rat alone!”

The night elf startled – and then, in an instant, vanished in a puff of smoke. The tiny harvester scuttled around for a bit before it came to a screeching halt in a cloud of smoke and sparks.

“Beware the living … ” Dorry said. Then she made a “tcch! tchh!”-sound with her lips. The rat thought it over for a few seconds but then realised that the world is a dangerous place. Might as well have a mage as a bodyguard.

“I’m going to call you … Rattus!” Dorry nodded. Rattus said “squeak!”. Dorry made a pleased sound, half a grunt, half a chuckle. Then she hitched up her dress, an heirloom, and set off for the putrescent lights and big underworld of former Lordaeron. “Dark Lady have mercy on your soul, miss Harrowgate. For I certainly wont!”

Full metal rogue

“I am Sergeant Caliss, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be “Ma’am”. Do you maggots understand!?”

Kick ’em hard, right from the start. That’s what my ol’ sarge used to say. I couldn’t believe my luck a couple of weeks ago. SI:7 pulled me out of Shat and sent me on some R&R in Darnassus. There’s a compound there for people like me, for Temporal Operatives. I thought I was done working backwards in time. I thought I was done working, period. Girls like me, with frayed sanity and too many citations in the books, we don’t get second chances. Outland came close to breaking me, you know. Sent back to do this or that, back to a world that died a long time ago … and then they pull me out.

I knew I couldn’t be that lucky. Not for long.

I slept for fortyeight hours upon my return, barely woke up for nature’s call. Everything was a haze. I hardly even knew where I were. Then things cleared up a bit. I’ll tell you later about the compound, but first there’s the matter of Junior.

Andrea Rawls, everyone called her Junior. Fourteen years old, ’cause the army has lowered the enlistment age for years now. First Deathwing took a toll out of the body, then Garrosh got his sacrifice. By the time the Iron Horde stormed through the portal, both the Alliance and the Horde was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Over here, the blue and gold, we got it down to science. Twenty years of age became eighteen, then sixteen, then fifteen. Then – fourteen (we call them “boosters”). There’s a rumor that press gangs enlist the aid of mercenaries and rip the kids out of the arms of screaming mothers. Ugly business, for sure. If it’s true or not, well you know, no one fucking cares. Let’s just say that the Goldshire marshall recently bought himself a new house. A big one.

Meat. We need meat. Some live, some die. In the end they’re all meat. We know it. They know it. I saw it in Juniors eyes. Blue eyes, a bit on the watery side like she was about to cry but had forgotten how. Her face was already old, lips clasped together so tight her mouth was but a stripe across her cheeks. White lips. The humans say you can spot a virgin in their eyes. They’re wrong. It’s in the face. Those who smile, those who breathe through slightly moist lips – those are the one’s who dream of fucking. Trust me. So many recruits grabbed their tiny pole that first night, thinking of me. I know it. I heard them. Then again … it doesn’t matter if you got laid or not, because here in Tanaan, well if you don’t know how to kill?

Everyone is fucked.

I’m well trained. I look for that particular face. The killer face. The solemn, already dead, face. The “I have no dreams of a future miss pinkie with my fingertips on the button”-face. I want dead people. That’s the face of someone who will survive. Life have fucked them already. They know they’re dead, time just haven’t caught up with them. Andrea was one of them. You know what we call them?

We call them the Black Guard.

That’s why your first duty is to make them fear you more than they fear Gul’Dans berserkers. Because trust me – no one wants to be the Black Guard. That greeting up there? That’s my tag line. Those young faces with beards that look like black or blonde pinstripes on their pimpled cheeks lose their luster once I’m done with them. Those young meatshields, some of them have never been kissed. Some of them barely have breasts. Meat, all of them. Boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. Andrea bled for the first time right there, grimacing from cramps but still standing. I punched two guys out, one on her left, one on her right, when they snickered. She knew why she was here. I dare say no one else did. She knew …

They were here to die.

Meat. Smiles fade, exitement turns to embarassment or fear. I don’t care about the one’s who get embarassed. They’ll be dead soon. I single out the one’s who grit their teeth. They’ll be dead later – and later is better than soon. They’re here to make my job easier. They’re meat. I’m the knife.

Junior didn’t flinch.

She didn’t smile, or blush. She didn’t step back, not even when blood spread, not even when the cramps turned her face white. She just stared at me with eyes too old for her young face. For some reason that small detail bothered me. A “One Four”, as we call them. She shouldn’t have that kind of eyes … truth be told she scared me. I was like her, once. A long, long time ago …

She had a scar running down the left cheek, from the ear to the chin. It was an old scar, neatly healed, just a white line down her face. I wondered, when I saw her, what could have caused such a scar. You know the grapewine of Lunarfall, I’m sure. Someone heard something, told it to someone and eventually I heard it. Was it true? Nah. A couple of days later during chow I asked Junior about the scar.

“So, you got cut by an orc death knight stealing your farm chickens, huh?”
“Uh-uh.” She never talked much.
“No?”
“Dad gave it to me.” She looked up from the plate of grits and stew and stared at me with those pale, watery blue eyes that was too old for a kid. Then she just shrugged, lowered her eyes and kept on eating. Hammering her knife into the grits.

I found her a couple of weeks later, out in the field. Gul’Dan hit us hard at the Iron Front. If not for the meat those damned green animals would have bumrushed all of us, straight into Talador. Less than a dozen vindicators and a couple of hundred infantry dug in right at the broken gates and held the line. It was enough time for “the specialists” to arrive. Junior was still standing, smack out in the middle of the battlefield. Just a kid, she couldn’t even hold a sword right. I walked up to her, walked straight across the still smoking remains of thousands of dead orcs.

“You alright there, private?” I said.
“I’m in a world of shit,” she said, without looking at me. Then she turned her hollow stare at me and whispered: “Seven, six two inches … “She actually hissed as she raised the sword. “Full. Metal. Jacket.”

Her body armor, simple ghost iron because True Iron was too expensive or the grunts, was covered with blood, soot and chunks of orc meat.

“I live.” She said. “Fuck it.”

Then she dropped her sword and clung to my neck, screaming. I tried not to cry. In the end, I didn’t. I held her, staring into her eyes. Ten thousand yards of staring eyes. She grinned at me, it wasn’t a smile. It was facial muscles, too hard to let go. you know what?

I had the same grin.

This is no war for children. When they grow up, what will they be? The question lingered with me for days on end. They sent Junior back to Karabor, the field hospital there is one of a kind. I put in some paperwork and eventually I heard, through the grapewine, she had been “pulled out”. SI:7 caught her.

Two days later I was pulled out as well. Maybe it was that last thing I did that got the attention of SI:7. Maybe someone just knew I was fed up. I broke the siege of Zeth’Gor. 0430 hours I just stood up behind a barricade and said “fuck it!”. then I walked into that monster of a town and carved, cut and danced. Eyes wide. Lips bared. Grinning.

I Vanished and ambushed. I shed my armor, painted myself with blood and ash. Two hundred, eighty nine dead. Men, women, children. Even their pet beasts. I never caught sight of Kilrogg, the bastard was already holed up in the Citadel. I didn’t even know I wanted to kill him. I just … I just wanted to kill.

I painted my face with ash. I smeared charcoal around my eyes. I danced the dance of death with Kilroggs orcs – naked. You want to know what fear is?

Fear is the smell of sweat, beads of stink on the body of an orc as I gutted him, from the pelvis to the ribs, and then disemboweled him with my bare hands. I force fed brutes with their innards. If anyone tells you night elves are kind … they’re wrong. Hate drove me, rode me, the best lover you can have is the smell of blood, feces and fear. I came as I killed.

They pulled me out. I was “losing it”, as the commander said. They sent me back to Darnassus, the Compound.

The first thing you should know about the Compound is this: On the heavy cloth walls in the house carved out of a tree trunk, someone has adorned the environment with “pleasant thoughts”. It’s wooden boards, filled with sentences like “Time Is A Stream: Swim With It!”. Or “History Is Here And Now!”. Or “Temporal Operatives Saved the World of Today Yesterday!”. Or “No One Ever Dies If you Know What Timeline You Are Sent To!”. Or “Chromie Wants it!”.

Fuck Chromie.

Most of us in the Compound are crazy. Most of us fall back on the simple things in life. Sleep. Food. Sex. Pain. We’re time whores, all of us. Temporal Operatives … I’m pretty sure I fucked myself once, going back in time, taking out a wizard with a quick stab in the back, then laying low … I went to a brothel in Dolanaar. I grew up there, you know. Was it me? I don’t know. She was young, she was scared, I had to hold her down and force her to lick. She did a lousy job and I slapped her.

That was me. Once. Crying as I did it but the sentinel who slapped me … never mind. That was ages ago. I grew up. Two years ago I found her, in Astranaar. I fed her with her ovaries (they never caught me). I told you we’re crazy. just like Junior said, I know this now:

I’m in a world of shit. But I am alive.

Casualty List

WoWScrnShot_090715_174211

(naval mission losses, including missing from action – MIA – and/or presumed dead):

Ambershine, Sun (passenger)
Blackpaw, Lin (surgeon)
Blixby, Dixx (engineer)
Boltcutter, Dorbin (sailor)
Boltcutter, Corbin (sailor)
Boltcutter, Orbin (2nd grade petty officer)
Brown, Rufus (sailor)
Derek, Dirk (sailor)
Glllgmmrl (Assault diver 1st grade)
Hamaa (sailor)
Hyte, Emma “Lassie” (sailor)
Iramaa (sailor)
Jerome, Carevin (sailor)
Linkgrease, Trinkle (2nd grade engineer)
Mark, Anthony (sailor)
Mordregar, Geralt (petty officer 1st grade)
Nightshadow, Luna (sailor)
Pinkerbosom, Tinky (2nd grade engineer)
Redridge, Jerome “the Mountain” (sailor)
Rinkley, Algar (sailor)
Romley, Gerhardt (sailor)
Scaffold, Urik (sailor)
Shadowhaven, Tyranne (marine)
Serion, Theodore “Laddie” (captains cabin boy)

*****

Failed naval missions comes with a price.

Remember that.

The Fel Storm

Sometimes a story decides to live its own life …

(This did not turn out the way I thought it would!)

– – – – –

Not far from the Tanaan inlet, the waves, on that frightful night, rushed to their own demise upon the black rocks of Shadowmoon. Outside Saltys small house close to the shipyard, the wind screamed around the buildings.

“Wind’s picking up,” Ravennah said.

“Aye.” Salty said. He drank deeply from his mug of ale. He tried to hide it but both his hands were shaking. “Wind’s like a woman.”

“Say wha’?”

“The shriek … ” He shrugged, burst out in nervous laughter, and then busied himself with lighting a pipe. “It’s the sound … Me herd it, lass. Bad one, this one.”

Fireweed smoke. Sometimes ordinary Dun Morogh tobacco just coldn’t cut it. At least his hands stopped shaking. Then the wind picked up. Something big outside broke, probably one of the scafolds down by the warf. The wind kept shriekeing.

Aaaaiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee!

He was a tough one, Salty, no doubt about it. Yet, on that night, as the storm grew into a fel tinged hurricane, eventually he scampered across the floor like a geist and hid in a coal box next to his iron stove. The wind yelled. The wind raged. At last it shrieked like banshees around the eaves. He could take kobolds in stride. He didn’t care much about ghouls. He sneered at orcs and spat a string of tobacco when facing a lich. But banshees.

Banshees got to him.

He was not alone on that terrible night. As the wind picked up and tore at the roof, he couldn’t help himself. He reached out with both his stubby arms and yelled “Help me! They takin’ me, lass!”. In a split second he was back at Lights Reach. Terror is the next stage of fear – on that night, so long ago … before someone tossed him a parachute. He whimpered. “I don’ wanna die ‘ere, lass.”

“This a bad night, mate … ” her voice from across the room, both frightened and reassuring. “Hol’ on ta me, will ya. We be aight, mate.”

Then Ravennah shot a quick glance at the walls and roof. Rain water was already seeping in through cracks. The timber of the cottage, built to resemble a Loch Modan dwarven bunker, was screaming, creaking, groaning. The storm pulled. It huffed and puffed. Splinters, covered with tar and grass, shot through the room like bullets.

“They come for me, lass. I know they are!” Salty covered his head with his arms. His mouth kept on rambling as if he didn’t even know it. “Was a slave in the pit and I’m ne’er goin’ back! So help me Light I kill meself first! Things the’ mad’ me do, lass. Things …” He hick-uped, mostly from the crying, some from the ale. “Oh Light me losin’ it me is!”

“Nah mate, dan’ be daft. Ain’tcha no gonna killa yaself tanight, ‘kay? C’m’ere, lil’ man.”

He crawled out of his hiding place, crying. An old dwarf, one who had survived the Pit of Saron, the Twilight Beach, the street gangs of Ironforge and once a very angry gnome intent on cutting his balls off. He slipped across the floor like a rodent, throwing his arms around her neck and coughed up phlegm and snot in her hair.

Ravennah was not a particularly smart draenei. She wasn’t as pretty as any other, but she knew that when an old dwarf needs a hug, even a stupid draenei will do. It doesn’t matter if she’s not as smart as Yrel. So she hugged him, pressing his head close to her bosom, mumblin “‘ll be ‘kay, champs, sure ‘ll be …”

She wondered though, if anything would be okay.

“I’m so afraid … ” he whispered. “Why you do this, lass? Leave me!”

“Fuck off. ” Ravennah grunted and held him harder. “I’m scared to, chubby,” She stroked his bald head, trying not to cry. “Got a sister out ‘ere ya’kno’ … Sha. Fucking human gonna go to fucking Tanaan in dis wether!?”

“Human!?”

“She’s adopted.”

“Oh …” Salty sobbed. ” We’re doomed … ” He coughed. “‘dis be the end of us, lass.”

“Nah, mate. Storm’s gonna blow. Now shut the fuck up!”

“If dis be our last night, lass, any chance of …”

She smacked him over the head.

“Oh, right. Just throwing the idea around.”

“You be aight, mate.” She smiled, planted a wet kiss on his scalp and whispered: “When storm’s over, grab me horns tiny.”

It brought a smile to Saltys face, scared as he was. He looked up at her and said:

“Oh, ‘dis ol’ dwarf gonna make ya scream, lass, got the stamina for it you just trust me!”

“I’ll be ya fuckin’ banshee ‘f ya wan’ me ta,” she said.

From Saltys reaction he clearly didn’t.

****
Ten clicks off the coast of Shadowmoon a breaking wave cut the Hungry Riverbeast in two. It was fast – so fast no one had time to yell “stand clear!” (as protocol dictated) or even scream for help. First, there was a troop carrier. Then, there was nothing. Just the howling wind and crashing waves, the floating bodies and the debris. No one survived.

Sharenne watched the transport vessel go under. She supposed she should have felt something, but she was numb. Her mind clear, her body stiff. She had to pry her fingers lose from the rope she’d been holding on to as the brig Blue Bird plowed throw the storm surge. The crew screamed and yelled – “We need to pick ’em up, chaps! Pick ’em fucking up! If anyone …”

It was in their tone of voice. They didn’t believe their own words. All of them had seen it. A giant wave of water, tinged with crackling green lightning and fire, had turned the heavy transport into sticks and shrapnel no bigger than a match.

“This is Gul’Dans storm!” she screamed at the crew. “THIS is A FEL STORM!!!”

“Then we’re doomed,” a crewman said.

She laughed at the wind. She laughed at him. She laughed at the fear in all of their faces. She didn’t want to let go of the rope she hold onto, because if she did they would see her hand trembling. She focused on not showing fear – but she was afraid. The water, all around, crackling green and smelling like rotten eggs … the deep green sea …

Sharenne couldn’t swim.

“No,” she said. “Don’t fear the fel!” She turned her face into the wind and drew a deep breath, every ounce of concentration going into her facial muscles. She wanted to retch – but she didn’t. Instead she chuckled and stared at them with her head slightly bowed. Then, once she had the attention of everyone, every single stupid sailor and marine, she growled: “Embrace … THE FEL!”

Of course it was theatrics. She didn’t belive her own words. A warlock walks a tighrope of madness and oblivion. Those who embrace the fel end up like Kanrethad. Demonology is mostly theater, of course. So her balance was impeccpable. She knew they would think she was crazy. Of course they would. Everyone thinks warlocks are crazy. The world accepted warlocks as long as they didn’t behave like warlocks. She had documents to prove she was a mage of the Kirin Tor, but on occasions such as this, it was time to drop the mask and show the world who she really was.

A demon whore (oh shush you! Everyone calls warlocks that!).

“Gul’Dan aint got shit on me!” she screamed – and then let lose a haggard laugh that made some of the crewmen cover in fear. “Behold now! True! POWWA!!!”

Then she ripped off her hexweave dress.

Sometimes, fear is the only motivation that can keep people going. Sometimes, the sight of a naked woman is the only thing that can keep them going. In extreme cases, such as this, the sight of a thirty something female warlock, her skin as pale as alabaster, her breast still ripe and her ass an ass to die for … Well, then there was the Void Lord of course. She called Metaril forth with the snap of her fingers and a terrible whisper. Whatever instant thought some of the sailors had about fucking her silly, as the bitch they all wanted, all of that turned to mental dust as five hundred pounds of shadow showed up and called her “mistress … I’m at your command”.

“Stay put,” She said, then she wet her index finger with her tongue and placed it right on the pubic hairline. “Any of you fuckers want some of this, you better get to work!” She chuckled, moved her finger down a bit and whispered “Ax’arah xia … ”

Half of the crew had a hardon as they clambered up ropes and started work. They didn’t even know why.

“You should not do that, mortal.” Metaril said.

“Oh come on, “Sharenne scoffed as she tried to cover herself in her ripped clothing. “If you had a pussy you’d understand, Met.”

“Please send me back? I do not understand this world.”

“No one does,” she said and sat down. With a heavy sigh, staring at the crashing waves and then at her trembling hands, she lit a pipe of fireweed. “No one does … ”

“Land hoe!” someone cried out.

Sharenne smiled, sucked her pipe and leaned back against a pile of tarred rope.

“Scurry now,” she whispered, as Metaril made a show of force in front of a daring horny sailor. “Scurry. Little men … And call me mistress.”

“I will gladly die for you, mistress!” the sailor said.

“No you won’t.” Sharenne grunted. “You want to live, you don’t want to fuck me. No one does. Now piss off.”

Theatrics.

“You know, mortal … ” Metaril sighed. “It’s no wonder people call you a bitch.”

“Do they, now?”

“You have a … reputation.”

“There’s one thing worse than being talked about, Lord Metaril.”

“Is there now?”

“It’s not being talked about.”

“Send me back … ”

“Fat chance, bluey.”

Metaril sighed.