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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years later, as my blood seeped slowly from my body, I remembered the first time I met him. I was about to be claimed. The gnoll claiming me was large, likely an eventual warden for our pack. He was brown and spotted gray, his fur matted and tangled after two days of pursuit. His hide was covered in scars, earned both in battle, and by ritual branding from the pack shaman. The runic scars on his chest were said to bless him with magical powers if, and likely when, he became a pack leader. The lightning imbued maces of wardens were a testament to the runes’ eventual power. Two, slightly smaller gnolls watched eagerly, ready to step in if I made things more difficult than necessary. Either of these brutes was nearly as dangerous as the spotted gnoll, though they would never attain the social standing or the mystical prowess. They were both as unkempt as the mottled male. They had followed in pursuit too, though, unlike the large, scarred gnoll, neither would have been able to find me had they been alone.

I had done my job well. I had run long and hard. I hid, tricked and fled better than any other pack females. I had proven that though I was only seven years old, just barely having reached maturity, I was the most fit and cunning female in the pack. Yet, to the pursuing gnoll’s credit, he had never given up. He had run, searching for me, for two whole days. And still he caught me.

My flight had gone from our home in the forest over many unknown lands. I could have spent days investigating any of the areas had haste not played so firmly in my mind. I traversed grassland filled with many exotic herbs and plants, rocky hills that were called home by hideous horse people, and finally, now, another forest, more primal and dark than my home. The trees in the forest were covered in a dark red bark that could only be compared to dried blood. The leaves high above were also red, and shaped like three pronged spear points. The light that filtered through the trees gave the forest an eerie red glow.

Intermittently the trees were carved into living statues. Clearly the ancient carvers had been gnoll themselves. They depicted large, fearsome wolf-like bipeds. Their features were greatly distorted, accentuating muscles, fangs and claws. But though clearly gnolls, their expressions were as hideous and hate filled as any beast has ever seen.

As frightened as I was, I was also excited. This gnoll would likely be the warden of the pack, and given his strength, endurance and cunning, perhaps the warden of many packs. Now that I had been caught, I stopped resisting. Through my flight, I had earned the right to be this gnoll’s mate, and I wasn’t about to ruin it by resisting further. If I did, I would likely be brutally beaten as I would have been had he caught me too easily. And so, as he approached me, I trembled, blood coursing with terror, and glee.

He was ten feet away. Now five. Now three.

There was the sound of a twig snapping just out of view in the forest. My attention was solely on the gnoll approaching me, until another figure stepped out of the forest.

The gnoll that entered the clearing was even larger than the one who now was standing directly overtop me. He was as large as the spotted gnoll and half yet again: more heavily muscled, and with a thick, brooding, jaw. One of the small brutes howled to alert the future warden.

The scarred gnoll whirled around to see the stranger who had entered the clearing. He growled a command to his underlings. As a unit, they encircled the strange giant, slowly closing in until they were only steps away. The group of gnolls drew their ball-and-chain maces.

The giant gnoll made no threatening gestures, though perhaps only because he was unarmed. He said in an easy and rich voice, “Let her go. You shall not claim her.”

I was astonished. Not only was he challenging the spotted gnolls right to claim me, but he seemed genuinely calm as he faced the three armed gnolls.

The brute directly behind him suddenly sprung into action. He swung his mace at the giant’s head. The giant gnoll suddenly became a blur of motion. He ducked, and using the attacking brute’s own momentum drove his shoulder into the gnoll’s stomach. With the same action he twisted, and wrenched the mace out of the gnolls hands. He straightened and rounded on the other brute. The giant swung his mace with such force that when it struck the other mace, which was also in mid swing, both maces shattered, sending shards of metal flying to embed themselves in the bloody tree trunks. The scarred and spotted gnoll snapped to action, seeing that his friends had failed. He swung his weapon. The giant reached out a massive hand and grabbed the ball of the mace and tugged. Neither beast would release its hold, and slowly the force from either side pulled apart the links that attached the ball to the handle of the mace.

As I huddled at the edge of the clearing, shadowed by the enormous and strong boughs of the trees around us, I looked up to see three ruined weapons, yet all four gnolls remained standing: one winded, two humiliated, and the last standing victoriously in the middle.

The Giant spoke again, “Go, She is not yours anymore.”

In one last desperate attempt to regain his prize as well as his dignity the spotted gnoll hurled the wooden mace handle at the giant’s chest. It bounced ineffectually off his broad, muscled chest, and the three gnolls backed away, and eventually slunk into the forest, heading the back the way they had come.
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Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Giant turned towards me and said, “Come, Follow me.” He then turned, dropped to all fours and loped easily off into the woods.

Using my front paws, as well as back, I followed him through the dark underbrush. I easily kept pace with him, despite not having eaten in days, and was able to study him as we ran. Though larger and more muscular than the warden to be, he was completely unscarred. I wondered at that. Among gnolls, it is a mark of honor and status to have a scar, and beyond that, even pups of two had gotten cuts and scratches enough to scar. I wondered how it would be possible to be totally scar-less; it was as if he had just been born, or if he had just been sent by the gods…

As we continued running, the trees began to thin. Light broke through the bloody leaves and we reached the edge of the forest. A group of shabby huts jutted from the ground like over-large anthills. They were arranged in a rough semi circle around a large fire pit on which a wild boar was slowly cooking. In the tiny village many figures were moving methodically about their daily tasks and preparing for the evening meal. I looked more closely at the figures in the camp, and froze.

They weren’t gnolls.

What could my rescuer, kidnapper and guardian be doing in a camp of non-gnolls? He turned and looked at me with a humor that danced on his face. “This is home. Must be a bit of a shock. You won't be hurt.”

That was easy for him to say. My entire life I had been taught to hate and fear other races. Humans, Orcs, Trolls, and many more, all had been killing my kind for centuries. They say that we could be a threat to civilization if we would stop infighting. Pah, the real reason we have never been a threat is that they, all of them, are always killing us, destroying our homes, and taking our prey. Gnolls have never had a glorious civilization because glorious civilization has always destroyed us. Gnolls had every reason to hate other races. And as I was a lone wolf away from my pack, I had every reason to fear that camp.

Nevertheless I forced myself to stay calm and follow him. I walked, quivering, into the shabby camp. Upon seeing a newcomer the residents gathered to see what had stumbled in. They were all different races. Humans had mingled with orc, and tauren had mixed with gnome. He pushed his way through the crowd as if it weren’t there. When he noticed that I had been swamped by the inhabitants of the camp, he turned and spoke in some foreign language. The gathering of people dissipated, and he continued to lead. We headed for a hut and when we reached it he pulled open the kodo pelt that served as a door. He motioned for me to enter and said, “Sleep, you have much ahead of you.
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Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dreams were troubled that night, which is hardly surprising given the events of that day. I can no longer remember the specifics, and likely forgot them minutes after I awoke. Nevertheless, when I did wake, I was frightened, confused and disoriented. My subconscious mind had attempted to process what had happened, and had instead simply gotten things more muddled than before. I stood up and stretched, letting a soft howl escape my lips as my worry-tightened muscles pulled into proper alignment.

Light blinded my shadowed eyes the as the tent flap was thrown back and a tall elf walked into the tent. Her eyes glowed softly red, and the very air around me felt as though it were filled with energy. Her long straight black hair flowed past her waist and though her clothes were mere scraps of cloth held together by rough thread, she had a regal bearing about her that awed me. At the time I was filled with fear more than anything else.

I thought then that though she seemed powerful, she was hideous. Small shoulders, useless fleshy sacks on her chest, and limbs that looked as though they could barely support their own weight. Although many of these characteristics could be said if comparing a female gnoll to a male one, I was still appalled. Females were supposed to be more slender than males, yes, less muscular, but for a reason. We females can move swiftly, and with more agility than our male counterparts, we can run faster, and though we are unable to fight as well, we can survive. This female looked useless. Looking back now I realize that from most races’ points of view, she would be considered gorgeous and graceful, but I knew less of the world then.

She motioned with her hand for me to follow, and she led me out into the camp. Again I felt alone – exposed – but this time I was determined not to let it show. I strode out, walking on only two legs, staring defiantly back at any who gave me a quizzical look. Outwardly I was calm, but inwardly I was consumed by fear. Only when I saw the giant did my inner feelings begin to match my façade, and then, only for a moment.

When we reached him, he again spoke in a foreign tongue and dismissed the elf, who promptly strode confidently into the forest. He turned to me and said, “This is your new home. I suggest that you stop pretending not to be frightened. You will first need to learn the common language of these people. This is Rul Stonetotem, he will be your mentor.”

Rul was a white tauren, though I did not at that time know them by that name. Even if I had, it may have been hard for me to recognize him as such. He was old – ancient even – and the only features that defined him as a bull were two horns emerging from the area that I assumed was his head. His frame was so bent that his eyes could barely meet mine when he looked up at me. His hair was white, and completely without spot or even dirt. When he spoke, his voice was dry leaves rustling in the trees. Though I couldn’t understand him, I sensed that he was speaking kindly. By the time I had absorbed the strange appearance of this bull, the giant had disappeared.

The old tauren spoke again in his dry, soft voice, and motioned for me to sit on the spongy grass. I did, and he spoke again, this time as if he were apologizing for something. He reached forward and lightly rested his fingers on my temple. He began chanting, and as the words washed over me, my eyes locked on his. His grey blue eyes began to glow. I tried to look away, but was unable. As I stared into his eyes, it seemed as though they were expanding, growing, until they were all I could see. Yet they kept growing. In his eyes, there was a void. At first I thought that it was completely empty, but slowly, I began to see.

There were stars. Stars all around, brighter and more beautiful than on the clearest night. As I beheld the universe in the tauren’s eyes, I felt a prickling on my scalp. All at once the vision of the stars was gone. I saw nothing, and my head felt as though dull knives were slowly being ground into my skull. Pain exploded behind my eyes, and my voice raked the back of my throat as a roar of agony screamed from my chest.

Then it was over. I panted; tears flowed freely and unabashedly as I lay on the cool grass. I looked up at the old bull. Tears were flowing from his eyes as well. Clearly, he had suffered no harm, yet he wept for my pain as if it were his own. He spoke softly, and with the same voice, though this time tinged with sorrow, said, “I’m so sorry.”

My mind, which already felt as though it would explode, reeled. He had said the same words before he reached out and touched my head, but this time I understood them. In an attempt to express my confusion, I spoke, hoping that if I had understood, I would also be able to speak. Instead, the familiar guttural growling and barking of my native tongue escaped my lips.

The tauren shook his head. “I gave you some words, but not all. And speaking will take longer. For now go sleep, this learning is hard on mind and body.”

I followed his advice, stumbling back to the tent I had slept in the night before. Every part of me was exhausted, even though I had been awake for little more than an hour.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And thus my week continued. Everyday, I would be awoken by the same elf. I would eat a large meal, and then go to have my mind blasted with knowledge. Every day, my understanding grew, and by the end of the week I was speaking fluent Orcish. My mind no longer knew the absence of pain, though the old tauren assured me that it would fade in a few days. Apparently the mind can only absorb so much, and if you go beyond that point, you begin to feel it.

Exactly one week from the time I entered the camp I saw the giant again. He had vanished from the camp after introducing me to the tauren, and if I would ask the elf, or any other villager, they refused to explain where he had gone.

When he entered the camp that afternoon, he had slung over his shoulder a half rotted… thing. It looked like it may have been human or orc once, but something had happened to it. It had long fingers that ended in sharp claws, and its skin had all rotted away exposing a frame of bone and sinew. The giant walked into the camp and dropped the corpse in the middle, near the camp fire. I, and the rest of the camp approached cautiously to see what it was. When I got closer I saw that exposed bone that once had been the things head was crushed as if by a boulder.

The giant spoke in a soft, but commanding voice. “This ghoul was found in the forest. The scourge hasn’t been seen in Kalimdor since the third war, and for a common ghoul to be found alone in the woods, clearly compelled rather than mindless, bodes ill for all. It had a purpose, and where there is one ghoul, there are more. Likely both alliance and horde are threatened right now. I urge you all to return to your respective homes, regardless of prior history. Unfair debts and old grudges are much preferable to joining the Lich King’s army. This camp has been a refuge to many of you, but that time is over. Go home, we are no longer safe.”

I soaked in his words. They explained so much about why the camp was here, but left many more about what the creature was. Who was this Lich King? And where was I to go?”

The camp instantly became a furious hive of activity. Everyone seemed to have things to pack and people to bid farewell. I had neither, so I approached the giant to have him answer a few questions. I started to call out to him, and realized for the first time that I had yet to find his name. Somehow it seemed natural to call him “the giant” in my head, but when I tried to call on him, I realized I had no idea how to address him. I walked up to him and tapped his arm. He turned and looked at me quizzically.

“I’m sorry, but what is your name?”

He laughed a deep booming sound that seemed to echo through the camp. “I wondered when you would ask, but I hardly expected it to be when we are preparing to leave camp. My name is Ragth.”
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stared. Ragth meant divine in my native tongue. It fit him so perfectly that I too almost began to laugh. My mirth faded suddenly when I noticed a large gash on his forearm from which blood was oozing, and creating a small pool beside him. I gasped and pointed to it. I said worriedly “That needs to be healed.”

He looked down, as if surprised to find himself injured. “Hmm, I suppose that ghoul left its mark on me, though not as much a mark as that crushed skull I gave it. I suppose I should deal with it. The plague is passed through wounds such as these”

And with that he took his other hand and ran it over the gash. Where his had passed the wound disappeared, leaving only undamaged light brown fur. The only sign that he had ever been injured at all was the pool of blood that was slowly sinking into the soil, leaving a dark red stain where I had been. I had never seen such healing, even among the forest trolls with whom my pack had often allied. It was yet another mystery surrounding the giant, Ragth.

Many questions still unasked, and with his health no longer in danger I continued to pester him with questions. “Where am I supposed to go? If I go back to my pack I will be killed? And what was that thing you brought here? Did it look that way when you fought it? And who is this Lich King you mentioned?”

He answered, “You will come with me. We will be going with Rul to Thunder Bluff, home of the Tauren. They are most likely to accept fellow beasts. As for your other questions, I will answer them when we travel. For now, help Rul prepare of the journey. I have a few things to take care of before we leave.”

I did as he said. Helping the ancient tauren was time consuming, but easy. As we worked he talked about the history of the camp. I learned that he had started it years ago in attempt to make a place safe from hate and greed. Everyone shared everything, and they lived in peace – until now. His heart was filled with sorrow seeing that his work had come to nothing. But he contented himself with guiding us to Thunder Bluff where we would be safe. Kindness from a non-gnoll, and it surprised me.

By the time I went to sleep in my tent for the last time I was utterly exhausted. Rul had seemed to have an endless stream of tasks, and I would be glad to be on our way, rather than preparing to leave. Sleep came quickly and left before I had a chance to notice.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The journey was rather dull. I learned in traveling the history of the Lich king, and what that ghoul had been. Rul told me the history of the great wars between orcs and humans, and of the war between all of Azeroth and the demons. While the stories were fantastic and the scope seemed unimaginable, none of the stories affected me, or my pack, and so I found that the stories were informative rather than engaging. Until nearly the end of our journey, nothing important happened.

On the third night of our journey to Thunder Bluff we had mostly established camp. And Rul and I had done all we could to prepare ourselves for the night, Ragth was in the woods hunting for our dinner. Rul, who was usually quite quiet and introspective, chose that night to unload his thoughts onto me. We were sitting around the campfire, and in its light, he looked more ghostly than usual; His white fur shone brightly in the otherwise darkening gloom. Somehow though the fire glowed orange it seemed as though he had a green tinge to him. And though I dismissed it as a trick of the light it seemed to me that I could almost see through him.

“I will never understand him. No amount of time explains anything.” The old tauren said without taking his eyes from the flickering tongues of flame.

I was caught off guard by his speaking at all and failed to understand who he was talking about. “Who?” I responded dumbly.

"The only other person either of us have seen for the past three days, who else?”

“Oh,” I mumbled feeling foolish, as I usually did if I found myself talking to anyone since coming to the camp. I was so innocent of the world, that even when I wasn’t surprised to be in conversation I came off as daft.

“I found him 12 years ago. He was only a tiny pup then, no more than a year old.”

“You raised him?” I exclaimed feeling foolish again for not having realized earlier.

“Yes, as much as anyone could raise him. He always acted on his own. Not once has he taken council, not from me, or from anyone else he has ever known either. But I tried to raise him and teach him as well as I could. I was still a wanderer when I found him in the woods near where he found you.

“Though I am ancient now and it seems as though my age would cause the white hair that you see on this old hide, that’s not the case. I have been free of color all my life. Among tauren white fur is a sign of a prophet, though not the kind that most welcome. White tauren, or spirit walkers as we are often called, are said to signal trouble ahead, or the end of an age. We are revered… and feared. And that fear, from my family and those who otherwise may have been my friends, was what drove me to wander for years. In fact, it is this status of respect and fear that should allow me to introduce you to tauren society. If any other bull asked what I will ask of them, they would be laughed at, and you would be barred from entering Thunder Bluff.

“Although I resent my self exile from society, it was that that led me to Rathg. I had been wandering the forest, looking for the source of the strange carvings on the trees there. It seems that that is the birth place of the gnolls. I did not yet know that, and gnolls are unknown to almost all in Kalimdor. And in my search of what the creatures depicted on the trees were, I stumbled across a tiny light brown pup, closely resembling the beasts of the trees. In order to learn more about these beings I decided to raise him. And, if he grew into a beast of intelligence, as the carvings indicated, I would have the first and only companion in my life.

“Although I searched for the origin of this pup, I could find nothing in the forest that explained why I had found him there. No gnolls have lived in the shade of those bloody oaks in centuries, there were no tracks but those of a young gnoll. He seemed to speak his native tongue then and, as your interaction with him has shown, he does to this day. He babbled words at me, though he seemed to repeat one with an almost religious fervor. Ragth. Ragth. He spoke it over and over during the day, and should he be troubled at night the first cry from his lips was the same. I called him Ragth and from the day I named him his fixation with the word ended. I raised him in the camp, though then it truly was a camp rather than a village. Over the years, strangers found us. We lived in such a simple, peaceful way that few that discovered us left. Over time our little camp developed a reputation in both factions as a place of peace and acceptance. It truly is sad though, that is all over now.”

He sank back into silence. I lowered my eyes attempting to take in all the information. It answered so many of my questions about Ragth, but it left one more that had not been addressed since we left the camp. “I… I know you don’t know where he came from, but where did he learn to heal himself like that? Did you teach him?”

“Hah, I tried to teach him the ways of the shamans when he was growing up. He hasn’t the ability. No, He cannot control the elements, and he has had no exposure to any who could teach him any other kinds of healing. I do not know where he learned such miraculous healing. It is yet another thing about him that has no answer. He simply has always known how to heal himself. It is similar to his strength. I have seen more gnolls now than when I first found him, and none, not even the wardens or overlords are near his size. When you saw him fight he was simply trying to frighten those gnolls into running. Should you ever see him fight out of need or wrath… then you will see him at his most fearsome. In the camp, we had the expertise to make weapons with which to hunt or fight, but he has yet to need them. He is as peaceful a soul as you will ever find. He avoids confrontation as much as gnolly possible. Had that ghoul not threatened the camp, he would have let it be. If he fights, it is not for himself, but for those he loves.”

The conversation ended. I could think of nothing to ask. Either I understood, or I understood that there were no answers. After only a few seconds pause, Ragth walked into the light of the camp fire with a buck slung over his shoulder, neck snapped. Though I thought nothing of it at the time, I am now nearly certain that he had heard the entire conversation, as if he wanted me to understand him as much as possible. He entered as if nothing had occurred, but something in the way he looked at me suggested that he was satisfied about something.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rest of the evening passed relatively uneventfully. I slept uneasily thinking of what I had learned talking with Rul. In the morning I awoke still feeling slightly tired. I had no idea of the spectacle the day would bring.

As we traveled I shuffled along trying to blink the sleep from my eyes. I carried most of Rul’s lighter possessions, and Ragth carried the larger ones: neither of us had any things of our own, and Rul was too frail to carry them himself. We walked mostly in silence, focusing ourselves on placing one weary paw or hoof after the last. Soon after the Sun had touched the top of the sky the silence was suddenly broken.

Ragth threw Rul’s possessions to the ground and sprinted ahead. Both Rul and I stopped in surprise. I threw a questioning look to Rul, who responded with, “He saw something ahead. I’m not sure what. His eyes, along with everything else about him, are unnaturally good. Given his reaction it was probably a threat.”

I began to slip the packs off my shoulders, getting ready to run to Ragth’s aid. “Does he need our help?” I said with a hint of a nervous growl.

Rul chuckled. “Hardly. You are more likely to get in the way than help. Keep those bags off in case we need to run.”

As Rul finished speaking the urge to go help Ragth evaporated, replaced with, as Rul had suggested, the urge to run. Clearly in view now were two approaching figures. I recognized one as being a ghoul, like the one that Rul had killed earlier. Alive, or undead, the thing was much more intimidating. Its skeletal frame was permanently bent into the posture of a beast about to pounce. Its muscle was a sickly dark red, and could be seen where the grayish leathery skin had been peeled back. Its claw-like finger were prowling ever closer to us, and its fanged head clacked excitedly sensing prey ahead.

Walking next to it was… something I hadn’t seen before. It resembled a large spider. Its huge bloated grey body was covered in black hair from which protruded huge spikes that looked capable of impaling an orc. Thick pointed legs held up the body, and the sharpened ends sunk feet into the soft ground with every step. A human like torso covered with bandages sat at the front of the body. Perched atop the bandages sat a large spider’s head that looked at its surroundings with a cold precise calculation. The arms that emerged from the bandaged torso also looked relatively human until the hands, which only had only two long pointed fingers and a similarly shaped thumb. All told the creature stood around ten feet high, and walked with a determined stride that suggested it had already seen the travelers.

I realized that Ragth was nowhere to be seen. I whirled and grabbed Rul’s arm and began to pull him away from the creatures as quickly as his legs would take him. Glancing backwards to see how quickly they were advancing I saw something that made me stop in my tracks. Ragth had appeared once more and was running purposefully toward the ghoul. I turned in horror, no longer fleeing, expecting the two creatures to overpower him. Yet they either seemed not to notice him, or chose to ignore him and simply continued to advance.

When Ragth reached the Ghoul he reached out, picked it up by its arms, and hurled the whole thing at the spider-thing. Ragth then began to lope calmly into the woods at the side of the path. The ghoul bounced ineffectually off of the other monsters chest, and after dropping to the ground began clacking excitedly and chased the fleeing gnoll into the woods. The spider creature looked at its chest, toward the running gnoll and then back at us. After considering for a moment it once again resumed its path toward us, trusting the ghoul to take care of the gnoll.

Rul looked at me and chuckled. “We aren’t in any danger.” He said confidently. “Ragth wanted to avoid a fight, but looks like the scourge is determined. Once he drives the ghoul off he will return to us, have no fear.”

I once again began backing up, however. I didn’t have quite as much faith in the giant gnoll as Rul did, and wasn’t about to take my chances with a fight with a monster nearly twice my height and twice again as long.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure enough however nearly a minute later, right before the creature reached the patiently waiting Rul, who now looked as though he had made the wrong choice and seemed to consider running, Ragth burst from the trees again and hurled himself at the body of the spider-like monster. When Ragth hit the thing it was thrown off ballence and was forced to take some lurching side steps to retain its feet. It wheeled, suddenly considering Ragth to be a threat worth addressing. It threw forward its arms, and thick black beatles streamed from beneath the bandages, crawling first to the fingers before launching themselves off toward Ragth.

Ragth, who had lost his footing after slamming into his spidery foe, rose to his feet and was swarmed by a cloud of insects that began tearing away his flesh as soon as they landed. Ignoring the little beasts chewing away at his hide, he again hurled himself at the monster, this time aiming for its front leg. He got to it and, grabbing the joint in the middle of the leg, pulled with impossible strength until a loud crack was heard and the leg was severed at the joint. The beast, having a column of support pulled away, lost its balance and fell ungracefully to its belly. The arachnid head looked around: confused as to what had happened. Ragth used the hair and spines on its back to climb it until he stood on its shoulders. Using the sharp foreleg of the spider as a spear he stabbed through the top of the head, and with his incredible strength drove it until it was halfway into the bandaged torso.

The beetles that had been ripping his flesh suddenly stopped, as if they sensed the death of their master, and, flowing down Ragth’s body descended onto the beasts fresh corpse and began to hungrily devour it instead.

As the corpse shuddered another noise was heard from the woods, and the ghoul that had disappeared following Ragth emerged, loping awkwardly toward Rul. Ragth, ignoring his wounds jumped to the ground and lunged at the ghoul. Again grabbing its arms he held it up, pulling its arms apart until it was suspended in the shape of a cross. The ghoul, helpless to use its foreclaws began to rake Ragth’s chest with his hind legs. Muscles bulging, Ragth didn’t move, and continued to pull on the ghouls arms, oblivious to the claws shredding his front hide. With a sickening ripping noise the arms were pulled from their sockets, and separated entirely from the ghouls body. The ghoul fell to its back, and tried vainly to rise without a way to prop itself up. Ragth, gasping from exertion stumbled over to the struggling ghoul, and placed a paw on its head. Pressing with his full body weight, he crushed the skull, until the body moved no more.

I stood staring in awe and in fear of Ragth. He had killed two servants of the Lich King, single handedly, and without a weapon. During the fight I had seen a rage present in him that I hadn’t seen before. His face had twisted into a snarl that made him resemble the statues in the forest more closely than the kind gnoll who had brought me to shelter. I cowered and backed away from him as he stumbled towards us.

Then another emotion crept into my heart: pity. He was in a terrible state. Patches of fur had been ripped out, exposing muscle that had been chewed and torn by the beetles. His chest bore thick slashes from the claws of the ghoul, and nearly all of his fur was stained with blood that poured heavily from wounds all over his body. I straightened and started to move to help him. Before I could reach him, he held up his hands, and I again had reason to cower: this time in awe. His entire figure was enveloped in light too bright to stare into. It grew brighter and brighter, until he looked like a miniature sun. And then… it vanished, an in its place stood the healthy, unscarred and uninjured gnoll that I knew. He looked weary, but healthy. He looked solemnly at Rul and me and said, “Lets hurry, I want to set up camp away from these bodies, but I can’t travel much further today.”
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Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I carried all of the bags, knowing that we were traveling only a short distance, and Rul and I supported Ragth’s weight as we walked. We staggered slowly away from the scene of carnage. After a mile Ragth growled in a weary voice that he could go no further. Rul set up camp in his slow steady manner and Ragth immediately fell asleep. We still had enough meat from the previous night that we didn’t need him to hunt, and once the food was cooked we were able to revive Ragth long enough to make him eat before he again slipped into heavy sleep.

I looked at Rul, who again seemed to have a clear green tinge as he sat at the campfire. “I need some time alone.” I said.

He nodded and responded. “I trust you can flee if any danger arises. It isn’t likely that the Lich King will have many more servants in the area, so You should be relatively safe.”

“Thank you.” I said. “I should be back soon, but I… I need to think.”

And with that I turned and fled into the forest. Walking through the trees I felt more at home that I had through the whole journey so far. Even if there were no gnolls nearby the gentle hum nature was soothing, and reminded me of my pack. I still didn’t quite know what to think of my current situation. Ragth had appeared from nowhere, and taken me from a brutal, but comfortable future. Now what did I have? I was away from my pack, and the people that I had grown up with, and my future seemed far less certain that it had when the future warden had stood over me. And was this path any less brutal? Certainly I, as a female gnoll, was being treated better than I ever had been and I wasn’t likely to be claimed against my will anytime soon, but was I any safer?

Those monsters… the ghoul, and the other thing… clearly they had intended to harm me in a way that had never been considered back when I was part of the pack.

And Ragth… everything always seemed to come back to Ragth. Ragth was an eternal source of confusion for me. Most of the time he seemed like a savior to me. He could be kind and caring like a mother with a newborn pup. He seemed to think of himself after everyone else. Even when he had let me loose in a camp full of strangers he had done so for my sake, to help acclimatize me to other races. And he had given Rul the task of teaching me the language, when Rul clearly had other important duties to the camp. I owed almost every good thing about my current situation to him, yet I also seemed to owe all my worries to him as well. I never would have been placed in the midst of strangers without him. And who knows if I ever would have had to worry about the Lich King or his minions if I had stayed with my home.

And that day, in the fight, I had seen a side of the giant gnoll that had previously been hidden. Even when he had tried to distract and drive off the creatures he had the same serenity that I expected of him. It was like Rul had said: he tried to avoid the fight if possible. But when he had been forced… something had changed. His face had glowed with rage, yet behind the mask of hate, something else was evident. He had been filled with joy in the chaos and carnage. He had enjoyed killing the spider monster and the ghoul. Even the injuries that pained him so much seemed to fuel his hate and joy.

Then it was gone. Once the battle left him, so did the chaotic will that had possessed him. He appeared weary, worn, and injured, but no trace of the glee that had disturbed me. And then again, was the miraculous healing that this time seemed to sap all his remaining strength. Nothing about his actions or his abilities added up. Even just thinking about him I was filled with awe and fear.

I looked the forest around me and realized that evening had come. A cool wind blew in waves through my fur. I shivered and began moving back towards the camp. I was comfortable enough in nature, that even as a stranger in those woods I new where I had been, and where I now needed to go. Even more than most gnolls I had always felt at home in the woods. Many gnolls found solace in their crudely made hovels, but I had always found peace in the calm chaos of nature.
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Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I got back to camp, I found Rul sitting where I had left him, though hours had past. He had tended to the fire and it still crackled merrily. I sat across the fire from him tried to voice one question about the day’s events. I opened my mouth and the breeze blew the smoke from the fire into my face. I coughed, and stumbled to my feet. Rul chuckled and moved aside so that I could sit in a less dangerous spot.

After I had coughed a few more times I asked, “What was that spider thing? Was it with the undead too?”

Rul answered, “That is what is called a crypt fiend. They are some of the last remnants of a nearly forgotten race called Nerrubians. The old and evil empire was the first to fall to the Lich king. After he had defeated them in the War of the Spider he resurrected the spiders to serve his will. They were seen often on the battlefield during the third war, but to see them this deep into Kalimdor now… is unheard of. If the Lich King has enough power to casually use them as scouts this far into horde territory things must be worse than we thought. We should hurry and attempt to get to Thunder Bluff as quickly as possible.”

“But… how is it that they appeared so suddenly? Wouldn’t the races have more of a warning than this?”

“Perhaps they did.” He replied wearily. “In our village on the edge of civilization news was rare. For all I know a full blown invasion could have been going on for weeks. Unfortunately it is also possible that the Lich King simply launched an invasion without warning. When all but the greatest lieutenants of the Scourge are mindless minions, it is next to impossible to gather intelligence, and it is harder to predict the cold calculating will of Ner’Zhul. We know that he was once a great leader among the orcs… but how he became the lord of the dead is still a mystery.”

“Were… were you alive during the third war.”

“Yes, although I was just a calf. I was in Cairn Bloodhoof’s tribe, and was among the first tauren to meet the orcs. When Cairn and his war band went off to war alongside the Thrall I was left behind, too young yet to fight. Perhaps the third war was the cataclysmic event that my white fur was supposed to predict… although if that was the only reason for it then I have lived a long life of hardship for an event long past.”

I felt sorry for forcing him again to think of his exile, and I tried to change the subject, but he interrupted me. “Don’t feel that you have done anything in reminding me of my pain. It is on my mind more than usual as of late. I suppose traveling back to Thunder Bluff is reopening old wounds. Don’t trouble yourself about me, you will face far more judgment than I ever did. However, as I mentioned, we should hurry to Thunder Bluff tomorrow. We should be able to get there with one more days travel. We should both get some rest, so I would suggest you go try to catch some sleep while you can.”

I rose and retreated to my hard patch of ground and followed his advice. That night I slept fitfully with dreams troubled by visions of bloodshed.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next day we traveled quickly. Ragth had recovered in the night and was again able to travel easily. He looked slightly different, although I couldn’t explain what had changed. He was still unscarred and with smooth, glossy brown fur, but somehow he looked more… dangerous, though perhaps it was only my perception that had changed. We traveled quietly, each lost in our individual thoughts.

Soon Thunder Bluff appeared in the distance. Once I could distinguish it from the mountains behind it I was awed. It stood in the middle of a giant prairie, yet it must have been two hundred or three hundred feet above the ground around it. A giant city perched on top of a plateau. The city itself also awed me. If, as Rul had said, the city spanned the entire Bluff, it would be immense. Tens of times larger than the makeshift village we had lived in before. And… I didn’t know how we would possibly get up to it.

As we walked ever closer it only got larger. After what felt like hours of walking we finally were only a few hundred feet from the cliff that marked the cities edge. Rul directed us to the left and began to lead us around the side of the cliff. And then he stopped. I gasped. Ahead of us was a platform. At first glance it would look like a dock that had lost its water. Seconds later one would notice large circular platforms at either end of the dock, each covered with a basic tent to keep off the rain. And then, before really having time to question the platforms’ functions one would see the impossible. The platform would launch into the air and travel to the dock that hung precariously off of the top of the cliff.

Rul laughed, a soft sound, but rich and with a genuine glee that I had not heard from him before. He again began to walk forward, leading us toward the lifts that continued to move up and down as if directed. As we mounted the steps leading to the platforms I felt something change. The air felt different, as if a storm were about to be unleashed, but I dismissed it as my imagination.

We stepped onto one of the lifts. It looked as though it could hold about twenty five gnolls at a time, and sturdy enough to bear their weight. I braced myself for a jolt. Abruptly the storm that I had felt brewing let loose. A mighty wind swirled around the lift and began to move upward. The tent, that I had assumed was used to provide shelter from the rain puffed out, filled with air pushing it toward the sky. The world dropped away, and suddenly it was over. A smooth and steady, but still strong wind held the lift immobile in the air. We walked off of the lift and onto the dock. When I stepped from the dock at the top of the cliff onto solid ground I released the breath that I had unconsciously been holding.

Rul chucked again. “It takes a bit of getting used to. It is the pride of the city. Its hard to get an army off of the Bluff, but it is impossible to get one on that shouldn’t be here. Good thing that we got here before the hunters, farmers and traders return to the city, we could have been waiting for nearly an hour.”

I, still slightly dizzy, looked at Ragth who looked as unperturbed as usual. Looking back at Rul I asked breathlessly, “How… how does it work?”

He chuckled again. “It has something to do with wind, but you gathered that already. They say that the shamans and druids designed it when the city was first being built. That was even before my time. I’m sure that a few scholars here in the city could tell you, but I never bothered to track them down.”

I began to look around at the city. It was… fantastic. Larger than any gathering place had any right to be, it was abuzz with activity. Tauren streamed busily around, going about the business of their daily lives. After I had accepted… no, grown numb describes it better, to the shock of the vibrancy of the city I noticed that our arrival had caused quite a stir.

Tauren had gathered around to gape in confusion at the odd looking new comers. Certainly it wasn’t everyday that a white tauren, a spirit walker, returned to Thunder Bluff, and the addition of two strange doglike humanoids must have made it seem as though a freak show had walked into town.
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Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One bolder guard pushed through the crowd using the blunt end of his long spear to create a path. He walked up to Rul and demanded in a harsh voice, “What are they doing here?”

Rul gazed at the guard for a few moments before responding, “They are here on my authority. Should you wish take it up with my superiors you can go pray to your ancestors. I’m sure they will affirm my influence. In the mean time you can assist me and escort to Cairn Bloodhoof’s Tent.”

The guard looked abashed, and lowered his gaze. “I’m afraid I cannot do that,” The guard answered. “No one is allowed to see him at this time.”

Rul spoke with a commanding edge in his voice that I had not heard before. “You will escort me to his tent nonetheless. Surely there is nothing prohibiting you taking us to his general location.”

The guard nodded glumly and turned. With his spear he again began to push his way through the crowd. We followed him and the eyes of the spectators pressed all around, causing my hackles to rise.

We walked through the streets of the city as the guard led us through the twists, turns and varied plateaus that made up Thunder Bluff. Eventually we got to the far edge from where we had entered the city. Ahead was a massive tent that seemed to be made of the hides of many large bull-like creatures. And above the tent stood an equally massive totem. It looked ancient. Carved into the shape of many different animals and painted with runes and glyphs that denoted authority. The paint near the bottom was fading, and seemed to get more fresh as the runes spiraled up the totem. The entrance to the tent was large enough to be a fair sized tent in its own right. It stood out from the main structure five spans and opened wide enough for four gnolls to easily walk through abreast. Standing at the entrance stood four guards, their spears held crossed over the entrance making clear that admittance was strictly forbidden.

Rul walked up to the guards confidently with Ragth and I well in tow. Without hesitating he said, “You will let us through.”

The largest guard barked back, “No one is allowed to enter.”

Rul looked at the guard with what seemed to be a very inappropriate gleam of humor in his eye. “Hmmm, let’s see about that.”

Rul reached out and grabbed Ragth’s and my arms. When his hand touched me I felt a freezing cold jolt run through my body, as if I had suddenly been dropped into freezing-cold water. It was so cold and shocking that I didn’t notice when Rul pulled us past the guards and their spears into the tent. I only noticed when suddenly I saw a spear sticking through my chest.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow I was… alive?

I looked down and saw that the spear truly was sticking through my chest. Stranger still, though, was that my chest wasn’t. It had turned a pale green and I could see straight through my torso and legs to the ground beneath me. I looked behind me at the guards who were furiously and futilely trying to stab all three intruders.

I heard a deep, rumbling voice call out, “Hold. These can stay. Now leave us in peace.”

The guards reluctantly withdrew their weapons from the space that our bodies would normally have occupied. Chagrined, they walked out of the tent.

I gasped. The cold feeling that had enveloped my body receded as Rul withdrew his hand from my arm. Warmth crept back into my body, like sunlight soaking into cold bones after a long winter.

The voice that had dismissed the guards spoke again, though my eyes had not yet adjusted to the darkness of the tent and I could not see whose voice it was. “Rul, it is good you returned. The earth mother rejoices at your presence in our midst once more. What brings you here? And what… or who are these creatures?”

Before Rul could respond a lighter more youthful voice interjected, “Father, you must not speak. Rest. Let these guests tell what they will.”

By this point my eyes had adapted to the light in the tent. I could make out three figures positioned close together ten feet from us. The first seemed to be ignoring our presence completely and seemed preoccupied with the second, who lay weakly on a massive bed. He was a massive tauren, larger by feet than the any guards outside. He looked sick, or old, such that despite his size he appeared helpless and feeble. The last figure was easily as large as the tauren on the bed. Even larger than Ragth, he held a massive halberd easily in one hand, his other lay reassuringly on the shoulder of the prone tauren. Strapped to his broad back was a totem to large for me to even conceive of lifting.

Rul now spoke introducing us to the three tauren.

The largest tauren in turn told us their names. He said, in what I recognized was the lighter youthful voice, “Over there is Sal, he is the druid tending to my father.” The tauren who had been ignoring us briefly acknowledged our presence before returning his attention to the tauren on the bed.

The large tauren again spoke, “Here on the bed is my father, and leader of Thunder Bluff, Cairn Bloodhoof. And I am Baine Bloodhoof, chief general of the Braves, the soldiers, of Thunder Bluff.”
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow it seemed like I should have been awed, but I simply didn’t really know what all the titles and names meant. Looking back I wish that I had bowed, or kneeled or somehow demonstrated my deference, but even Rul did no such thing, so I can hardly be blamed for not knowing what to do.

Rul spoke as if he were talking to old friends rather than the leaders of his race. “My village, of which you have no doubt heard, has disbanded. Ghouls and other creatures of the scourge were seen near our borders and I decided that we didn’t have the strength to defend ourselves if we were attacked. But this isn’t what bothers me. What the Nether is the scourge doing this far into Kalimdor?”

Baine responded, “Before I tell you anything I must establish one thing. You are only even inside this tent by my grace, and by virtue of your white hide. Any information I give you is in the strictest confidence. No word from my mouth leaves this room. Understood?”

Rul nodded his consent with as much humility as he could manage, though there was clearly a glint of humor in his eyes.

Baine resumed, “And before I tell you anything, you must answer a question of mine. What in the Earth Mother’s name are you doing bringing these… dogs into the tent of the leader of the tauren, who incidentally is likely on his deathbed?”

At the word dog Ragth began to growl and dropped to all fours preparing to pounce. Rul hastily put a hand on Ragth’s shoulder and whispered something into the huge Gnoll’s ear. Ragth remained on the ground, ready to strike, though he ceased the menacing sounds coming from the back of his throat.

Rul then looked up at the immense tauren and replied sincerely, “I wish I could give a better answer than this, but they are my friends, and they have no where else to go. They are gnolls, canine humanoids from the Feralas region. Shunned from their tribes they joined my camp and became integral parts of the community. More than any, their lives were disrupted by the scourge sighting. They have nowhere to turn, and I have taken them under my wing.” While Rul was clearly bending the facts in our favor, I was glad to let things be.

Baine responded, “I’m sorry Rul, while that would be a decent enough reason in normal times, we cannot afford to have any strangers underfoot if we are possibly going to be at war with the scourge.”

“They will not be underfoot, I assure you of that.” Rul pleaded desperately, “I will personally look to their care; you will not have to divert any manpower on their behalf. And besides, they can be assets. The girl can be put to some use, I’m sure she could be put to some discipline, maybe a hunter, or even a shaman or druid. As for Ragth, You’ll not find a better fighter in all Thunder Bluff. On our journey here he slew, single-handed and unarmed, a ghoul and a crypt fiend. If your braves could say the same Thunder Bluff would be in no danger.”

Baine stood in silence, brooding over Rul’s words. “Fine, they may stay. And I will allow them to hear the reports about the scourge, they have as much right as any. As for why the scourge is this far in Kalimdor, only the Earth Mother knows. We have had scattered reports of minor scourge attacks from nearly everywhere, though none of our scouts have been able to find any real sizable scourge presence. It’s almost as if these bastards are dropping from the sky. The only clue we’ve had is a rumor that about three months ago some young orc and a forsaken appeared in Orgrimar with a story about how the scourge had brought back a demon from the grave. Normally this would not have carried much weight, except that a couple weeks prior the bones and armor of Mannoroth had disappeared from the orc capitol. It seems now that former companions of the orc and forsaken, a tauren bull (“shamefull” he muttered under his breath) and an undead troll had taken them to the sight of Mannoroth’s death in preparation for his resurrection. This may give a clue as to what the Scourge has been up to recently, though tells us little about its future plans."
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:33 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Keltor



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though I understood little of what had been said I could tell that it was bad news indeed. Rul looked shaken and Ragth’s fur was standing on end. Rul asked hesitantly, “Why would the lich king go to so much trouble for one more servant? Even one so powerful as Mannoroth? His influence has been growing stronger yearly. Assaults on Northrend have always proved disastrous. It hardly seems like one demon would tilt the balance in a war.”

Baine responded wearily, “That is what has been troubling us more than anything. Even for the Lich King, this makes little sense. Nor do the probing attacks show any sign of a unified strategy. Unfortunately we are as clueless about Ner’zhul’s plans as before we learned any of this.”

A dark silence fell over the tent as we all reflected on Baine’s words. A hoarse, rasping cough ripped through the quiet and the huge frame of Cairne Bloodhoof bent painfully. Sal, the doctor who stood by Cairne leapt to his feet and began chanting. Green light began to glow around his hands as he tried to channel health into the ailing leader. Cairne’s coughing continued to worsen and soon blood covered the bed which he lay on. Rul, suddenly transparent, joined Sal in chanting and his whole body turned green as he too sent spell after spell of healing at Cairne. The old tauren was illuminated by the spells being cast upon him, though they seemed not to have any effect. Seeing his body in better light I could see just how ill the leader of Thunder Bluff was. Despite his massive size he was clearly wasting away. His ribs could be seen, and patches of hair had fallen out all over his body. And with the light of the spells I could see that the blood that Cairn was coughing up was coming more strongly now.

Baine sprinted out of the tent bellowing over and over, “All healers come to Cairne’s tent immediately. Ragth walked hesitantly to the sick tauren and placed his hand on Cairne’s shoulder. Ragth closed his eyes and his hand began to glow. Golden light crept from his hand and slowly began to cover Cairne’s body.

When the light had covered nearly half of the Old Tauren’s body Baine returned with a small army of healers behind him. As they entered the tent and saw the golden light enveloping Cairne they all stopped, dumbfounded. Rul and Sal had stopped casting, and the tent watched in eerie silence as the glow completed its journey over Cairne’s body. The old leader had meanwhile stopped coughing and seemed much more comfortable.

When the light had covered Cairne’s whole body, Ragth slumped to the ground. The light quickly receded and healthy looking tauren lay on the bed. Baine rushed to his father’s side and dropped to his knees at Cairne’s bed side.

Cairne looked up at Baine with a look of pure joy and said, “Look after my people.”

Baine began to respond in a confused voice, but was interrupted when Cairne again began to glow. Light shot from his eyes and mouth and Cairne sent a joyous and guttural roar to the heavens. Cairne grew brighter and brighter until looking at him was like gazing at the sun. Everyone away, except Baine who stared into the inferno with a horrified wonder. And then it was gone. The light had disappeared and all trace of Cairne Bloodhoof, Elder of Thunder bluff, had gone with it.
_________________
Sapphires vie for your attention. She dances. They mean well in their way. The priest says please, "I can't stand my knees and I cant bear her raven tresses caught up in a breeze like this."


Last edited by Keltor on Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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