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Short Story Contest #3 - Heirloom

Discussion in 'Contest Archive' started by SilverEx, Jan 12, 2010.

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  1. Cthulus

    Cthulus

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    Ghoulrush, nice work on your piece!
    The action seemed well thought out, and I think the story is sound and worth reading on for. I hope to read more soon.
     
  2. Ghoulrush

    Ghoulrush

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    Well, the word count is currently around 4996, so there won't be any more significant content added to the story. My original conception of the story included a final segment where Garrim spoke to Mimiron and ended up trading the wrench for blueprints to his outdated designs, but it certainly would not fit. Although in all honestly, I am still satisfied with the ending I have added. It strongly suggests the ending which would have originally been put in, except there is no need for any obvious dialogue leading to the exchange.
     
  3. Cthulus

    Cthulus

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    Well, I think you set it up rather well. Ah, so does the exchange eventually happen?
     
  4. Ghoulrush

    Ghoulrush

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    In the original conception, Mimiron was working on one of his latest inventions when Garrim walks in. Garrim has no idea how he is going to get Mimiron to give him the designs, hoping that he can convince him that it will save lives. This is the first time he had ever even spoken to him.

    Garrim starts talking to Mimiron but he is completely uninterested, never looking at Garrim at all. Mimiron was designed to guard Ulduar and Ulduar alone. However, during the conversation, the engine Mimiron was working on was so hot that it literally evaporates his wrench. Mimiron curses in anger, having tried and tried again to design a wrench that would stand such temperatures. Garrim sees this as an opportunity and offers Mimiron Thanegreim to fix the engine, not entirely sure if this plan will work.

    Mimiron accepts the wrench mockingly, saying that it will evaporate within seconds. However, he is able to fix the engine without the wrench recieving so much as a burn mark. Amazed, Mimiron determines that owning this wrench would be more beneficial to him than owning the blueprints to the outdated designs, and exchanges them.

    However, in the version I have submitted, Garrim thinks of exchanging the wrench before going to Mimiron, so things would play out slightly differently.
     
  5. TwistedImage

    TwistedImage

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    Aww.

    I'm sorry. :(
     
  6. Crazy Cow

    Crazy Cow

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    Done!
    Here are the last two segments. I'll do a full word count, fix some things, and then put the full story here.

    EDIT: Here is the full story. It is around 7,000 words long. This is not the final draft; once I change it based on any input I get and have a specific word count it will be done.
    Story Part 1

    Kahn Stonehoof looked upon the Tauren settlement with disgust. The bull-men never failed to evoke that feeling in him, and he knew his warriors felt the same. The barbaric creatures were so different than the proud Centaur that they were barely sentient, much less worthy of the lands they held. Which was why Bloodhoof and his warriors were here today; to take this land from the undeserving Tauren. The land was bathed in a red light from the newly rising sun, a good omen for the Centaur on this day. The fools had their settlement in a corner, between a sheer rock cliff and a sheer drop into the canyon of Thousand Needles, and there would therefore be no escape from the Centaur marauders. Giving out a war cry, he led his warriors on the initial charge. The attack was unexpected, and the Tauren had little time to prepare as the Centaur smashed through tents, scattered fires, and of course slew savage bull-men. The few of their warriors that stood up to the marauders were cut down by five-to-one odds, and there was little resistance to their attack. That is, until the bellows of their Chieftain rang out in defiance of the Centaur battle cries.
    Jerked awake by the combined cries of his people and the war whoops of Centaur, Chieftain Windrider immediatly knew his fears had come true. Ever since stories of entire Tauren settlements slaughtered by Centaur raiders had started circulating years ago, he had feared his peaceful settlement would be next to fall to the brutes. But he gave little time for thought - his people needed him, and so he grabbed his mighty war axe and rushed out of his tent with a bellow. Centaur vermin were everywhere - as well as the blood of his people. Several of the raiders saw him, and abandoning their looting came at him. They stopped when one of their fellows met the head of his axe at chest height, with his severed torso swinging through the air. The cowards were hesitant to come at him, and remained so, until the reason his name was Windrider came smashing down on the back of a would-be raider. Their hesitation was turned into outright panic when his Wyvern, Skysong, clawed another's chest open with glee. Chieftain Windrider had raised him from an egg, and Skysong had never been far ever since. The two had stood together in battle often, and the Chieftain hoped they would do so again after this day. But the size of the raiding party was evidenced when a dozen or more raiders formed a circle, although a wide one, around him and his pet, and a much bigger one with an axe blood-red from lack of washing came to face him. Bellowing a challenge at their leader, Chieftain Windrider attacked the brute head-on while Skysong began ripping through the centaur's ranks. His opponent was obviously more experienced at fighting, as his swings always came closer to Windrider than his own. Barely deflecting the deadly axe of his enemy, he made fewer swings and less deflections, and he quickly began to tire. He jabbed at his opponent, but the horse man leaped to the side and smashed his axe out wide away from its owner's body. Crying in victory, the centaur swung at the Tauren's exposed head - and hit.
    Crying in victory, Stonehoof swung at his opponent's exposed head, but instead hit a fast-moving blur that moved between him and his target. His axe was ripped from his hands, and staring at the winged monstrosity the bull-man had tamed with his axe in it's side, he realized the monster would be his last kill. The bull-man himself had recovered from Stonehoof's vicious deflection, and enraged at his pet's death he came at Bloodhoof, swinging hard. Acting quickly, Stonehoof reared up and struck the hilt of the axe hard with his front hooves. Knocking it out of the savage's hands, Bloodhoof realized his defeat had become victory - until the bull-man charged into his gut, snapping something and bowling the Kahn over. The two began pummeling each other with their fists, and as the Tauren took his head out of Stonehoof's gut he realized the snapping sound had been the bull-man's horn. Looking at his chest, the Kahn saw the horn lodged in his chest, but was interrupted in his examination by the Chieftain’s hands wrapping around his neck. He began to choke, and was unable to get the bull-man's hands off. An idea coming to his desperate, oxygen-starved mind, he pulled the horn out of his gut, ignoring the explosion of pain, and stabbed his adversary in the neck.
    Celebrating their victory, the Marauders left the burnt remains of the Tauren settlement behind. The vultures came soon after, swooping and crying in anticipation of the feast to come. One landed on the body of the dead Chieftain, but before it could start eating it was struck by a stone. Retreating from it's perch, the vulture backed away and eyed it's adversary - a young Tauren, with a tear-stained but determined face. She threw another rock at the vulture, then went to her dead father. She stood there for a long time, until the vultures returned. She backed up, and looked away as the vultures started to eat - but her gave fell on her father's discarded axe. Despite the beating it received from the Centaur Kahn, it was intact. While it was as big as she was, she picked it up and dragged it off with her into the wilderness of the Barrens.

    Story Part 2

    Nineteen Years Later
    Honicora woke to the cries of vultures.
    At first, she thought they were simply remnants of the dream she had been having. But as she collected her thoughts, the cries failed to go away, and so she got up out of her cot, strapped on her mighty two-handed axe, and stepped outside of her tent.
    Honicora was of average build for a tauren, standing about eight feet tall and with a fairly muscular frame. With light brown fur, darker brown spots and a deep, almost black brown hair, Honicora didn’t have many striking physical differences from the average tauren. Unlike most tauren, however, she was innovative and clever; something necessary, seeing as she had lived alone since the Windrider clan was wiped out by centaur.
    Sighting the location of the vultures down in the valleys of Thousand Needles, Honicora set off. Passing by the caves that the wyvern inhabited, she displayed the same gift her father had. The wyvern, when they would normally drive out intruders, were completely normal with Honicora around, as if she was a member of their flight. Passing through the cliffs, she stepped out into the valleys of Thousand Needles and headed towards the pillar of vultures.
    When she arrived at the gristly feast, she saw an unfortunately common sight - a group of mangled centaur and tauren bodies. It seemed the tauren had been overwhelmed by centaur and killed to the last man - the tauren bodies were surrounded by a ring of marauders. Wading into the sea of vultures, swinging the butt of her axe to scare the filthy vermin off, she went to examine the dead tauren bodies. They had the mark of the Bloodhoof clan on their totems, so she assumed they were a foraging party for the tribe living nearby. As she began to check the dead centaur - almost certainly the Stonehoof clan, as they were the biggest clan in the Barrens - one of the tauren bodies coughed.
    Turning, she saw a heavily wounded, but living warrior regaining consciousness. He tried to stand, leaning on his spear for support, but a deep gash running through his thigh prevented him from getting up. Quickly moving over to him, she began tearing strips off the clothing of nearby tauren to bandage him up, and started talking to the warrior. “Don‘t worry, I‘m going to help you, just hold still. My name is Honicora - who are you?”
    The warrior was slow to reply, as his wounds were severe and he was undoubtedly weakened, but he still managed to grunt a reply. “I am Mourg, of the Bloodhoof tribe.”
    With her guess confirmed, Honicora decided to go for quick, temporary healing instead of applying salves. They had only a few miles to go to his tribe, and despite his wounds the warrior would be able to make it. After bandaging him up, she quickly checked the other bodies to make sure she didn’t leave anyone behind, then helped the warrior stand up and start hobbling down the canyon.
    While Mourg was hardly talkative, as they moved on Honicora managed to get the basics of his travel out of him. His tribe, the Bloodhoof, were moving away from the Barrens towards the coast in an effort to escape the centaur. They were stocking up on food and other supplies to prepare for the journey, and his party was one of several sent out. They were hunting for herbs growing in the canyons when a centaur raiding party ambushed them and killed Mourg’s companions.
    Honicora doubted that the Bloodhoof would be able to simply run from the centaur, but she would hardly try to stop them. She might actually join them, in the hopes of killing Stonehoof warriors, but she didn’t know - she loved the Barrens and most of it’s creatures too much to simply leave.
    As she was thinking this, several harsh cries came from the jagged peaks above them, and another group of tauren enemies came down at them - harpies. Honicora backed up against the back of the closest stone pillar, and letting Mourg lean against it she drew her axe. They landed within a respectable distance of the two tauren, but their filthy stench still assailed Honicora’s nose. That was one of the gifts harpies had - no matter who they came across, they could produce a foul stench to offend the creature.
    One of the harpies - a slightly larger one, with scarlet feathers instead of the moldy green and brown the average harpy had - stepped forwards. Licking her lips, revealing sharp, pointed teeth, she cawed out a rough blend of barely decipherable Taur-ahe, saying something about surrendering for a quick death. In response, Honicora stepped forwards and stabbed the harpy in the gut with the butt of her axe. The other harpies burst into action, attacking Honicora and a few going for the seemingly defenseless Mourg. With ten harpies to the two tauren, Honicora began to worry, but soon stopped thinking and started fighting.
    Seven of the eleven harpies attacked Honicora, while three tried to kill Mourg and the last was on the ground, out of breath. To gain a bit of breathing room, Honicora cut a wide arc through the cluster of harpies, neatly severing a first, cutting through the chest of a second and driving the harpies back. One darted in, attempting to take advantage of Honicora’s lowered guard, but Honicora swung her fist back into the harpies’ jaw, knocking her to the side. Readying her axe again, Honicora met the next attack with an uppercut with her axe, maiming another harpy, killing a second and nearly clipping the wing off the harpy returning from her earlier attack. The surviving harpies, dispirited by their slain sisters, fled from the battle.
    In the meantime, Mourg had held his ground against his own assailants, stabbing anytime one tried to get near. When they all charged him at once, Mourg lost the use of his spear once one was gutted on it, and so met the other two with a bellow and a fist. Knocking the first back with a broken face, he started fighting the last tooth and nail, until a knee jab and elbow to the face dispatched the last of his attackers. His old wounds had opened up again, but the rags worn by the harpies were so ridden with disease he would die faster from those than from bleeding. Luckily, the harpies had ambushed the Tauren close to the Bloodhoof settlement, so with Mourg leaning on Honicora’s shoulder the two set off.

    Part 3

    After several more minutes of walking and climbing, Honicora and Mourg came out of the valleys of the Thousand Needles and came out onto the main stretch of the Barrens. Off in the distance, about a mile away from their current position, was a large cluster of tents.
    “That‘s our village, there,” Mourg said. Despite his wounds, he looked like he would make it. Setting off again, they were quickly noticed by the scouts and were met by a small party. Taking Mourg off Honicora and carrying him to one of the tents, several warriors stayed with Honicora and started to ask her about their short journey. After detailing how she found Mourg, Honicora was about to start on the skirmish with the Harpies when several war whoops interrupted her.
    Turning about and drawing her axe, Honicora saw a group of Centaur riding towards them. Luckily, it wasn’t a full war party, but about a dozen individuals, likely on a raid. The warriors around her moved to meet them, and Honicora ran right behind them.
    As the Bloodhoof warriors spread out to meet the centaur, Honicora met three of the raiders herself. She met the first one’s overhead chop with her axe, shattering the shoddy weapon and disarming her foe. The second centaur stabbed at her exposed side, and despite her jump back he still grazed her. He jumped forward for another stab, but met Honicora’s sweep at the knees, sending him screaming to the ground. As she recovered and prepared to finish him, Honicora was hit in the side of the head by the third Centaur. Dazed and temporarily blinded, she was hit in the small of the back and sent sprawling to the ground, loosing her axe in the process. The marauder put his hoof on her back, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head up. Displaying a filthy, blood-stained knife, he grinned and stabbed at her neck.
    Slamming her head to the ground and pulling the centaur’s hand with it, the stab went astray and instead went through his wrist. Crying out in pain and letting go of Honicora, the Centaur stumbled back. Honicora picked up her axe from the ground and smashed the hilt into his face, sending him back further and bleeding from two places. Swinging hard, Honicora nearly severed his torso from his body, killing him in the process. Tearing it free, she turned to see how the rest of the battle was going. Reinforcements from the Bloodhoof camp had arrived, along with the mighty figure of Cairne Bloodhoof himself. The marauders were all either dead or fleeing, and the Tauren were victorious. Not without a price, however; Honicora could see a least two Tauren bodies, both from the first group that had met her. Turning to the still-living but legless Centaur, she walked over and stomped on his head, silencing the combination of curses and damnations he was throwing at her. Cleaning her axe and hoof, she was about to seek out Chieftain Bloodhoof when he came to her.
    “Greetings, sister. You are the one who brought back Mourg, yes?”
    Bowing her head in respect, she replied, “Yes, Chieftain. I found him in the canyons of Thousand Needles after he was attacked by a centaur raid.”
    Sighing heavily, Chieftain Cairne turned to look at the dead Centaur attackers, and the bodies of three warriors being carried into the village.
    “Many good Tauren have been slain by these Centaur demons. I am grateful that Mourg did not become another of those lost. Do you know what his mission was?”
    Nodding, she said, “His group was looking for supplies. I have heard that you are leaving for the coast.”
    “Yes, we are. I am taking my tribe to the shores of the Great Sea, in the hopes of escaping from these beasts.” Gesturing towards the dead Centaur, he continued. “For years, we have been hounded by these mongrels, and I will not see my tribe die out like so many others have.” Looking at Honicora, he asked, “Where have you come from, sister? You don‘t bear the symbol of any tribe I know of.”
    “I am Honicora Windrider, the last of the Windrider clan. The rest were killed by the Stonehoof Centaur.” After a moment, she added, “I would like to come with you, Chieftain. I don‘t want to see any more Tauren be destroyed like the Windriders. Would you accept me into your tribe?”
    After a moment of thought, Chieftain Bloodhoof agreed. “You are welcome to join the Bloodhoof, Honicora. As long as you hold your own in some way, we will accept you into the tribe. And on this journey, it seems we will need all the hands we can get.” Turning to the village and walking off, the Chieftain called back, “We will be leaving in a few days, so there is no need for you to make a tent for yourself. Just join in and help any way you can.” Honicora hesitated for a moment. It had been eleven years since she was last in any kind of Tauren community, and she didn’t know how well she would be able to fit in. Looking back at the desert of the Barrens and thinking about her solitary tent in the mountains, she made her decision. Turning back to the Bloodhoof village, she walked after Chieftain Bloodhoof.

    Part Four

    Several days went by. Honicora generally made herself useful, going on hunting trips and helping load the Kodo for travel. After several days, Chieftain Bloodhoof announced that the tribe was ready.
    “Gather your possessions and prepare yourselves for the road ahead, brothers and sisters,” he called out. “Today, the Earth Mother guides us along the path to survival and peace. The supplies are ready and the Kodo packed; we are ready to leave. If any of you wish to stay here, then you will be given your share of supplies and will be free to go.” No one took up the Chieftain on his offer.
    “Very well. The sick, the old and young will ride the Kodo, while the rest walk beside them. We will be traveling south, to the coast. Follow my lead, and do not hesitate to call out for rest if you need it.” With the short speech over, he turned and started walking. The caravan of a dozen Kodo and sixty Tauren followed, with Honicora walking alongside with a pack of herbs and bandages. The food and water were on the Kodo, with the lighter things carried by individuals to save space. Several elder Tauren were riding the Kodo at the front, with the other Kodo loaded with Tauren wounded by the Centaur. Mourg was only a few Kodo in front of Honicora, and it looked like he was doing fine. As the last Tauren left their village, Honicora turned and focused on watching for the Centaur raiders that would undoubtedly find the caravan.
    For two days, the caravan was unhindered by any danger, Centaur or otherwise. Honicora was nervous about the lack of Centaur, and took every opportunity to serve on watch duty that she could. As the barren desert slowly gave way to the trees and wildlife that indicated a coastal region, the caravan was still unchallenged. As the fifth day drew to an end and the caravan was stopped again, Honicora volunteered for the first watch of the night. Settling down to watch the northern flank, Honicora put her axe on her lap and waited.
    After almost two hours, towards the end of her shift, Honicora saw something moving towards the camp. Taking a makeshift flare - a long stick with dry leaves wrapped on the end - Honicora lit it and threw it into the darkness. It landed a bit off Honicora’s mark, but it still lit up the features of at least two Centaur. Letting out a cry to alert the other sentries, Honicora picked up her axe and prepared to battle.
    She was met not with Centaur foes, but an arrow. Striking her shoulder and knocking her back, she realized her mistake too late. The fire outlined her perfectly for the centaur, a perfect shot for archers. Tearing the arrow out of her shoulder, Honicora leapt to the side as more arrows were shot at her. She ran to the location of her thrown flare, where an archer was still standing and looking for Honicora. He saw her, but too late - once her axe was already swinging. Connecting with his shoulder, the blow crippled his arm and crushed his bow. Unfortunately, his cries alerted the other archers to her presence. An arrow slashed by her ear, close to taking her out. Diving to the side, she rolled up and smashed into another Centaur. With such close quarters, Honicora hit her opponent in the side of the face with a hook to the jaw. Pushing him back, Honicora kicked him in the chest, bowling him over. She swung an overhead chop down on him, smashing into something. He stopped cursing, however, so Honicora turned and looked for another opponent.
    The perimeter of the Tauren camp was being ringed with warriors, with sounds of fighting coming from several places on the line. Chieftain Bloodhoof was calling orders to the defenders.
    “Hold your formation! The Kodo must be protected!” he called out. Figuring that she would do better on the perimeter than wandering about out here, Honicora started running to a slight gap in the line, but stumbled over something in the dirt. Receiving a mouthful of sand, she spat it out, only to have a spear stab into the ground a foot away from her head. Kicking up, she hit something and received a cry of pain, and scrambling up she swung wide with her axe. It cleaved through the belly of her opponent, who cried out, clutching his stomach, and fell to the ground. Honicora froze; he fell to the ground on two legs. Dropping her axe and bending down, she saw the outline of horns and a snout. Coughing something warm onto her hand, he fell limp. Honicora was stunned into inaction until several Tauren stumbled on her.

    Part 5

    Bound and guarded by three warriors, Honicora received plenty of dirty looks and whispers from the other tauren nearby. Chieftain Bloodhoof had ignored her excuse, and was only concerned that Honicora had shed the blood of a fellow Tauren. To make matters worse, two centaur had slipped into the camp while Honicora was stumbling in the dark, and had killed five Tauren and a Kodo before warriors had arrived to fight them, one of which was killed as well. On a more pleasant note, the coast was only a day’s march away, but Honicora was hardly cheered by the news.
    That night, she was unbound for just a minute to eat a quick meal. Sleeping in the middle of the caravan, she was hardly given an opportunity to escape. Fear over what would take place as her punishment, Honicora decided to slip away anyway. She didn’t have any of her possessions, but she knew what Kodo they were on, and so she sat and waited. After several hours, towards the end of the second night watch, she quietly got up and walked over to the Kodo with her possessions, being careful to not step on anything. With her wrists bound, she was only able to fumble the axe out. Bending slowly down to the ground, she placed the axe on the ground and started chipping away at the rope binding her wrists. After cutting herself a few times, the rope gave out. Picking up her axe and a loaf of bread, she turned to the perimeter of the camp. With the half-dozen sentries posted, she would hardly be able to sneak by. Putting her axe away and taking a deep breath, she tore a chunk out of the bread and started running.
    The sentries called out almost immediately, and the camp was almost immediately filled with the calls of frightened Tauren and battle-ready warriors. The sentry nearest to Honicora made an attempt to get her, trying to tackle her with a flying leap. Barely evading the attack with a dive of her own, Honicora came back up and continued running. She quickly ran outside the ring of light surrounding the camp, followed by a group of warriors. Honicora slowed down slightly, confident that she was safe out of the sight of her pursuers, but despite that she continued running.
    After several hours of stumbling over dunes, through scraggy bushes and once on top of a sleeping scorpid, Honicora collapsed of weariness. Barely taking the time to find a spot next to a rock to lie down, she fell asleep.

    Part 6

    Honicora was woken up by the sun in her face. Standing up and rubbing her eyes, she looked around her. It was currently noon, and most creatures were hiding in underground burrows, away fro the hot sun. Honicora was next to a tall mountain range to her right, with the desert of the Barrens spreading out to her right. With only a loaf of bread as breakfast, she needed to find some source of food. That would need to wait until more creatures came out of their dens, so until then Honicora simply started walking.
    Several hours later, creatures started coming out again. The first one Honicora came across was a hyena, who was digging through the old, bleached remains of a wagon. It turned to regard her, and Honicora killed it with a heavy blow to the head. Lacking any kind of fire, Honicora skinned it with the blade of her axe and made a makeshift rack out of some of the ruined wagon. Hanging the strips of meat out to dry in the sun, Honicora sat down in the shade provided by the remaining wood, and kept a watchful eye on the slowly cooking meat for any predators that would try to take it. After killing another hyena and hanging it up with the first, and chasing off a raptor, several more hours had gone by and the sun was slowly setting. Taking the meat off the rack, Honicora ate some of it, and wrapped the rest in the skin of one dead hyena. Leaving the scraps for other scavengers, Honicora set off once again.
    That morning, Honicora started searching the mountains for somewhere to spend the day. The best way to travel the desert was to rest by day, as walking in the blistering heat would kill someone far sooner than hunger. Hoping to find shelter and water, which Honicora needed, she stumbled across a well-worn path winding up into the mountain. Not seeing the usual Tauren skulls that decorated the entrance to most Centaur camps, Honicora figured it was safe - but kept her axe in hand in case any trickery came from the inhabitants.
    As Honicora climbed, she failed to come across any real signs of habitation. The narrow pass had sheer cliffs on either side, so at least she was out of the sun. The cliffs gradually grew shorter as she walked on, and once they were only a few feet above her head she turned a sharp bend. There, she saw three things of interest. The first was a small stream trickling from some source above the canyon walls. The second was the customary totem poles that marked Tauren villages. The third was a brutish, black-furred tauren, holding a spear at eye level less than a foot from Honicora’s face.
    “Who are you, stranger?” he growled. Despite it being a question, he managed to say it as if it were a threat of violence, which hardly comforted Honicora.
    “Honicora Windrider,” she said, startled by the sudden appearance. “What clan is this? I haven’t heard of anyone living in these mountains.”
    “We are the Grimtotem, little Windrider,” he replied, again making it sound like ‘Grimtotem’ was actually a word describing the violent dismemberment of some living thing. “You are trespassing on our lands, and we usually kill visitors for that.”
    The malice in his voice revealed his intentions. When he stabbed forward just after he said that, Honicora ducked to the side, getting nicked in the ear. Afraid of killing another Tauren, Honicora instead hit the unbalanced warrior in the back of the head with the hilt of her axe, followed by a hoof to the small of his back. He yelled, more in fury than pain, and was quickly answered by the yells of his fellow Tauren. Cursing under her breath, Honicora jumped over the warrior and started to run down the path. The warrior grabbed her leg, however, tripping her over and smacking her into the ground. Winded by the unexpected attack, Honicora was quickly surrounded by Grimtotem warriors. Dragging her up, they started carrying her into the village, one bringing Honicora’s axe with them. The first warrior, who had greeted Honicora in the first place, snarled at her and tried to gut her right then. With her wind back, Honicora was able to kick off to the side, narrowly avoiding the attack and bowling over her captors. She was immediately restrained again, but the warrior was equally restrained, although he was struggling and even biting his fellow tribesmen. The two were dragged into the center of the village, in front of a large, decorated tent. One of the warriors called out to whoever was in there.
    “Magatha, we have a visitor.” He emphasized visitor with a slightly sarcastic tone.
    The Tauren that came out of the tent was old and wore the robes of a shaman. Despite her age and grey-streaked muzzle, she radiated a sense of power and strength.
    “Well then, what have we here?” she asked, studying Honicora. The old shaman, presumably Magatha, shot a glare at the struggling warrior for a moment.
    “Arnak, be silent! I will deal with you later,” she growled. Turning to Honicora, she continued studying her for a moment.
    “Release her,” she said. The guards at Honicora’s sides let her go, although they stayed right behind her, just in case.
    “What is your name, child?” Magatha asked.
    “Honicora Windrider,” Honicora replied.
    “Very well, Honicora. You have two options right now. For trespassing on our lands and assaulting one of our warriors, you can be executed,” Magatha said. “On the other hand, you can join the Grimtotem tribe, and only suffer the punishment for assaulting another warrior, which is almost nothing.”
    It seemed an obvious choice, and after only a brief moment Honicora replied. “I will join the Grimtotem, then.”
    “Be warned, Honicora, that you simply cannot join us. You must prove yourself before we allow you to become one of us. Luckily for you, the opportunity has presented itself. Kahn Stonehoof, the leader of a local Centaur tribe, has stayed behind while his warriors go to attack a Tauren tribe. The fool will, of course, be replaced by one of his victorious warriors, but until they return he has left himself without any guards. Go to the Stonehoof village, directly across from us, in the outcropping of rock right out there.” Magatha gestured out towards the Barrens, and indeed there was a column of rock jutting out from the ground.
    “Bring us the skull of Kahn Stonehoof, Honicora, or we will kill you instead.”
    Apparently done speaking with Honicora, the old Tauren turned into her tent. Taking her axe from a nearby warrior, Honicora turned to head back down the mountain path.
    “If you fail, little Windrider, I will rip your heart out myself!” Arnak yelled after Honicora. Ignoring him, Honicora stopped for a drink at the little stream, then walked down the path towards the Barrens.

    Part 7

    As Honicora traveled over the Barrens, she considered the effects of joining the Grimtotem. They were obviously a clan of warriors, although from her short experience with them she doubted that they were the honorable kind. Then again, the hot-blooded Arnak might not be a representative of the whole tribe, and they could be just as honorable as the Bloodhoof or the Windriders.
    After spending a full day and most of the second traveling over the dunes of the Barrens Honicora reached the jutting pillar of rock. She quickly found the Stonehoof village, as well, marked by the gristly walls made of Tauren hide. Walking up to a gap in the walls, Honicora looked inside.
    As Magatha had said, the village was mostly deserted. There was a pair of Tauren playing a game with horns of some sort, but other than that Honicora didn’t see anyone else. After taking a quick rest, eating the last of her dried hyena, Honicora drew her axe and ran into the camp swinging.
    Catching the pair completely by surprise, the first centaur only had time to cry out before Honicora’s axe silenced him. The second Centaur stood up and drew a long, curved sword, calling out to warn the village of Honicora’s attack. He charged at Honicora, sword in front of him, but was met by the flat end of Honicora’s axe, crushing his side and knocking him over. With a quick overhead strike, Honicora finished him off and turned to face any new threats.
    Only one Centaur was In sight. Wearing bloodstained metal armor, contrasting with the leather most often found on Centaur, and wielding a mighty axe that was obviously not made by Centaur hands, as it was made with as much skill as Honicora‘s. He towered over any other Centaur Honicora had seen, and by default Honicora herself. He looked around, and seeing only Honicora he began to laugh.
    “Only one puny Tauren to challenge me, the Kahn of the Stonehoof?” he mocked. Readying his axe, he charged at Honicora and swung wide at her. Jumping back, Honicora retaliated with a sweep of her own as the Centaur’s belly. Her opponent drove the head of her axe into the ground with his own, then ran inside her opened guard and impaled her on the hilt of her axe. Bodily lifted for a moment, Honicora fell to the ground, gasping for air. She barely had time to roll to the side, barely missing a decapitating strike from the Kahn, and jumping to her feet she kicked the axe, still stuck in the earth, out of Stonehoof’s grip.
    “I learned from the last encounter I had, little Tauren,” he growled, and drawing a short sword he lunged at Honicora. Honicora sidestepped, and the Kahn charged right by her, off balance from the momentum of his attack. Honicora swung hard after the Kahn, but he kicked with his hind legs, knocking Honicora’s own weapon from her. He turned around, smiling at the sight of his disarmed opponent, but before he could attack Honicora took her hyena-hide backpack and threw it in the Kahn’s face. While he was distracted, she ran to pick up her dropped weapon and turned to face her opponent. HE had picked up the sword dropped by the earlier Centaur, and came at Honicora swinging both. Honicora dived to the side, and bringing her axe up in a low sweep she smashed through one of the Kahn’s rear legs. Stonehoof bellowed in pan, and limping around he reared up and kicked Honicora full in the chest, sending her flying into one of the flimsy Centaur tents. Gasping for air, she tried to stand up, but a sharp pain in her chest prevented her from getting enough breath to do much.
    Kahn Stonehoof limped over to Honicora, slowed by the loss of his leg. Desperately searching for something Honicora could use - her axe was several feet away - she realized she was lying on a pole. Shifting over to get a grip on it, she waited for Stonehoof to arrive.
    “Why have you come to kill me, little one?” he asked. “To prove yourself to some tribe, or make a name for yourself?” He snorted at this. “Don‘t worry; you will always be remembered as the rug in my tent,” he said. He was within striking distance now; with a murderous look in his eye, Stonehoof raised his sword to strike.
    Honicora stabbed him with the broken pole in her hand. The splintered end drove through his gut, a fatal wound to any creature. Screaming in pain and spurting blood, Stonehoof dropped his swords and backed away. Summoning her strength, Honicora stood up, and ignoring the searing pain in her chest she picked up her axe. Turning to face the dying Kahn, she growled, “You have destroyed dozens of Tauren lives and driven countless more into misery. You destroyed my tribe, my people and my father, and now you, too, will die.” With those words, Honicora swung mightily, striking through the Kahn’s neck and ending his savage life.
    Several hours later, as the sun set, Honicora left the Stonehoof village with her loot. After raiding several tents, she had found plenty of rotting meat and several loaves of stale bread. Eating some of the bread and putting the rest of it in her hyena-hide backpack, she took the severed head of Kahn Stonehoof, and leaning on her axe she set off to return to the Grimtotem. With her tribe avenged and the burden of the dead Bloodhoof warrior lessened, Honicora was ready to start a new life with the Grimtotem. She had a feeling that this was a turn for the better, but she hardly knew for sure. Setting out into the Barrens, she felt at peace for the first time in her life.
    Across a mighty ocean, on another continent and another world, green-skinned aliens commandeered mighty ships out of their harbors. Humans fled from a tide of death, and above it all were the watchful eyes of an evil presence, longing for the power of this world. The Tauren knew nothing of it now, but soon they would, and soon the Tauren would get a center role in the story of Azeroth.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  7. idodik

    idodik

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    I'm very sorry to hear that. I hope TwistedImage and I didn't offend you or your story.

    On another note, here is my final draft.
    Battle of the Two Hills

    Battle of the Two Hills
    By idodik
    The battle was at its peak, and Garthul Shadowblade swung his mighty blade and split three human footmen in half. They were pathetic for him, after all those years of training that he excelled in, and also because of something else he had. Garthul nearly began to ponder how fortunate he was when more footmen came striding to attack. He used an old blademaster trick: he merely split his image and let them lunge at his copies while he attacked them from the back. It wasn't difficult; he was vengeful after what their leader, Silthar, did to the orcs after the death of his precious Admiral Proudmoore. Garthul spilled more human blood: His entire family had gone out to fight Silthar and his kinsmen but that human slaughtered them one by one… But he's not going to fail, not with the item Thrall himself has given him.

    More footsteps at his back, and he turned to greet three knights charging at him, but this time he heard orcish battle calls from the opposite direction, and Moojis, a Far Seer, smote them down with his chain lightning. He had been fighting for hours now and had already adapted to the changing tide of battle, and did not let Moojis's appearance surprise him. He jumped on Moojis's wolf and they rushed down the battlefield, joining dozens of orcs that were fighting against the human treachery. As they rode Garthul smote down four footmen that jumped at them, and then he felt as if his hand was burning. He did not drop his blade but suddenly felt weakness, and swayed on the wolf. His hand rose in the air, uncontrollable, shaking and surrounded by strange red energy, and fired a bolt of scarlet: at first at nothing, but soon a mage appeared out of nowhere, screaming with pain, dropped to the ground, and was soon trampled to his end.

    Garthul regained control but was still shocked. He did not pay much attention to the awkward sensation that he had gone through, but thought: invisibility? He did not believe that Silthar allowed this; after all Silthar was known as a jealous warrior that never used magic and believed only in the blade. Few orcs had rumored that he called mages to serve him, but Garthul denied their words and claimed they were deceived. Now it turns out he was the one being deceived… He himself had participated in the assault on Proudmoore's castle so he remembered Silthar's face, but the foolish human general had escaped and claimed Theramore Isle as his, despite his cowardice in battle.
    It had been only a week, and Garthul forgot how unexpected Silthar was.
    Moojis stopped his wolf and called back to Garthul, "What was that?"
    "Mages," Garthul grunted, still shocked from the incident.
    Moojis nearly fell from his wolf in surprise, and shouted at Garthul, "Don't you say that word for nothing!" Moojis had been burned by one in his childhood, in the earlier battles for Durotar. It was the only thing he spoke unkindly of.
    Garthul stumbled and landed shaken on the ground. "I'm not joking, Moojis. I think that mage was about to kill us."

    Moojis stopped muttering and stared at him. Garthul could read the deep anxiety on his face, and asked, "Do you think he knows about Garkarath?"
    Moojis returned to earth and said, "No, that's unlikely, but it's still dangerous – he probably just fears those fighting skills of yours and wants you killed to complete the series."
    Garthul looked thankfully at Garkarath, the small scarlet-black ring that just saved his life. "If so, let him come forth. I'll crush him."
    "Don't let yourself walk into his arms; he may have an ambush waiting for you. He might not know about your ring, but he probably has some scam waiting anyway."
    Garthul nodded. Sometimes bloodlust needs to make way for thinking ahead.
    "Let's split up: you help the troops and I'll follow far behind. That way when the time comes I'll be able to show up and kill that stupid human."
    Moojis smiled and said, "Acceptable. Take care."
    "Go! I'll be waiting."

    He watched as the far seer encouraged his wolf to charge and moved away from sight. He had saved Garthul from killing himself in various opportunities: suicidal operations, helpless situations, each in another way. Moojis's wisdom was one to behold, and even Thrall called him often to his throne to hear his advice. As he stood there alone he thought to himself, you bet you can leave him alone to do his job. And so, when he waited for the right time to charge, he looked down at his left hand.

    It was covered by blood-red tattoos and marks, some of them actually
    carved into his flesh. He had never understood the runes that were marked upon them, but he knew what they meant: demonic embrace. Garkarath, Shard of Darkness, was an orcish myth from the long gone days in which orcs marched into Azeroth through the Dark Portal, and was rumored to be an heirloom from orcs that became demons themselves, their power granted from this sacred artifact. The everlasting chain of owners that killed each other to gain its trust would have lasted until today, if Archimonde, who couldn’t put the ring on but feared its power, hadn't destroyed the orc that wielded it, causing it to fling through the dark portal into Azeroth, passing out of any knowledge for centuries. Recently, when the orcs had grown independent, they have mysteriously found the ring lying at the exact location that they planned to build the Orgrimmar fortress, and the first one to put it on was killed in bloodcurdling screams of pain, and lay surrounded in blood. It was thought at first to be cursed, and the situation wouldn't have changed if Drek'thar hadn't noticed the demonic symbols on it. He took to studying it in private, and when he understood what it was Thrall was quickly informed. Everyone thought that Thrall would wield it, but Drek'thar discovered soon enough that the initial physical strength and endurance requirements (the bloody tattoos and marks), which were made to be very powerful, are shamefully too demanding for Thrall and that he would not survive them. Thrall said that he couldn't risk the price since he had to lead his nation, and so the searches for a fitting wielder begun, ending with him, Garthul Shadowblade. He was meant to be the secret weapon of the Horde, and none but Moojis and the orcs in high command truly knew what his tattooed arm meant.

    He suddenly stirred from his trance, and looked around. Orcish troops were still passing by the masses to the main battlefield, which had advanced forwards, and he watched them go and let a last wonder about Garkarath loose in his head: the ring gave him tremendous strength and agility but made him somehow lighter, which explains him riding on Moojis's wolf without making it collapse or slow down, not to mention the capability of firing bolts of scarlet, like the one that recently saved his life. Still, Garthul remembered Drekthar's words to him telling him that the full effects of the ring will only reveal themselves in time. He did not want to think what they would be, and what power and responsibility they brought with them. He focused only on the thought of his enemy waiting for him.

    Lightning flashed in his eyes, and he groped his blade. The nearby troops paused and looked at him, and he cried: "For Durotar!" and charged with them following him. He was yet again prepared to battle.


    Garthul advanced through the battlefield with the troops behind him, and as he approached the heat of battle he roared and leapt into the mass of soldiers. A blood-red flash and two were killed; five were knocked back and crashed to the ground. None of those stood to face him, and he turned to attack the other humans. He slashed them with growing fury inside him, and felt his left hand fill with sudden warmth. With a sudden determination inside him he stopped slashing for a moment, and stuck his ring in his opponent's eye hole in bloodlust. The footman screamed and shouted, tortured, but was soon aflame from the blazing hot fury of Garkarath. Garthul was beginning to enjoy this newfound way of killing when a fireball burned its way above his ear. With a fury that he hasn't experienced before Garthul withdrew his left hand from the burning human's eye, not caring if he will die or not, and punched with it in the air towards the origin of the fireball, a scarlet bolt erupting from his fist. The origin appeared as another human mage that fell screaming to his knees. This time, he thought surprised, he controlled his movements, but in great speed. Garthul was beginning to grow impatient with Silthar and tired of his mages when a bright armored knight appeared at the top of the hill ahead, a noble horse carrying him.

    His armor was brandished as if he never fought a battle with it, although Garthul recognized it from the assault on Theramore immediately; golden shoulder pads and belt, blue boots and gauntlets and a banner on his cape. His helmet had golden edges and wings as a symbol of the Alliance. His sword shone in the sun as he pulled it out of its sheath and lifted it up, and all of the humans gave a sudden cry and gained their courage.

    He had forgotten how pathetic Silthar was.

    Garthul slashed five times and four footmen came falling down before him, one wounded twice; he wanted to end Silthar's life before his friends began to exhaust themselves fighting. He charged to the small gap created by the death of the humans, and that's when Silthar noticed him.
    "Have at him!" He cried, "Let not this beast see another day!"
    Garthul raised his blade with caution as the humans caught sight of him and started advancing in his direction, and suddenly felt the bloodlust in his mind grow to a peak. His skull seemed to pulse with abnormal power, and his body shivered but seemed to be more aware of its might than possible. His eyes grew bloodshot with fury as the images of his family returned to his eyes, screaming, fearful and tortured, and Moojis words, "Don’t walk into his arms", were suddenly meaningless.
    Today, my brothers, he thought, you will be avenged.


    Silthar Sacredmane saw the one enemy he truly feared before him. Thrall was no threat for now, and even if he came it would be an honored death, but this creature would surely torture him as revenge to what he himself did to its family. The creature had just killed three of his soldiers without a blink and now seemed to advance forward. This vermin cannot threaten us anymore, he thought. His raised blade seemed to be shimmering instead of glowing.
    "Have at him!" He cried, "Let not this beast see another day!"
    He saw his forces closing in on the orc and was pleased to see that many of the creature's allies withdrew at this sight, afraid that they might be also killed. He began to ponder in what way that creature will die when its eyes and left arm began to glow blood-scarlet, and its figure was blurred by a blood-red flash. He did not see its movement clearly but it was clear that his people were struck dead one by one. The closest row to the creature backed away fearfully but they were too late- soon their heads were thrown from the immense impact of the blade on their bodies. Silthar went pale and called for his mages, but soon he discovered the corpse of the mage that shot the fireball at Garthul previously, and was filled with fear. Whatever this was, he thought, it was not orc anymore.


    Garthul did not notice his allies and his enemies alike staring at him open mouthed and was not aware of the changes happening in his enemy until he heard him cry "Retreat! Spare your lives – we will fight them near the camp!" and headed down the other side of the hill. In a blink he seemed to fly there, and found Silthar on his horse, which was galloping in fright to the camp located near the faraway shore. He was alone, armed with but a blade and a ring, he thought. Nothing could make the death of this human more humiliating.

    He charged at the fleeing humans, striking every piece of flesh that he caught in range and left their owners dead or alive, only to maintain eye contact with the fleeing coward. Silthar's followers soon noticed him and fled to different directions, just not to let that monstrosity get any closer to them. Silthar was left alone at last, and the chase continued: through narrow passes between trees, down slopes and ledges they jumped, Garthul splitting every human that got in reach. Garthul pursued him without mercy and did not lose much distance; he knew only the horse in front of him. As they approached another ledge Silthar looked back at him, and something told him that Silthar was not a doomed man yet, but he did not know why. Silthar hurried to jump the ledge, and just then Garthul heard somehow the small sound of a bow's string being stretched to its breaking point, and he had enough time to let the word "Ambush" echo in his mind before he jumped off himself.

    Garthul rose in the air and saw the arrows being launched at him, and as time slowed down he swung his sword and hit two off their course. Suddenly he felt a stab in his lower body, and realized that one of the arrows had pierced him just when he thought he was invincible. Slowly time returned to normal and Garthul landed heavily on the ground and collapsed.

    Silthar stopped his horse and dismounted it, and turned towards Garthul in a tormenting gesture. Garthul attempted to swing his blade but his arm shook in pain and he seemed to shrink somehow. Silthar seemed marveled at his victory, or perhaps his cheat, thought Garthul, and was filled with desire to rip Silthar's face off his head, but was once again struck with pain.
    "So nears your end, filthy beast," Silthar said, "You have ended many brave lives with your lust of slaying, but you shall wield a blade no more."

    He stepped forward and the archers gathered around him. Garthul felt lonely for an odd reason, like a part of him that had stormed earlier was now resting, and understood that the rampage that he had awakened earlier could not last forever. As Silthar neared with his archers, that were ready to fire at Garthul if he resisted, he realized how much weaker and more vulnerable he was without the effects of Garkarath, his ring, but despite that decided that he would not give up without a fight. He saw his family before his eyes again. Silthar was now at three arms' length from him, and Garthul desperately gathered the remainder of his own strength in order to die as a hero, and then several things happened at once.

    Silthar was already beside Garthul, and as he rose his blade to smite the final strike Garthul focused all the energies in his hand and pulled out the arrow that pierced his waist, and stood up, completely ignoring the tremendous pain searing in his body. As he raised his eyes to look at his killer he heard the sound of lightning behind him, and in a flash every human collapsed dead to the floor. It took Garthul a moment to absorb this, and when he did he grunted and said, "Looks like I owe you another one, Moojis," and felt his strength waver. What caused him to black out was the deep voice, much deeper than Moojis's, that said, "Come, Garthul, we need to talk."


    Garthul was now sitting in the hall of Thrall, who was now pacing back and forth in the room, and who had saved him from the wrath of Silthar, being a far seer himself. Garthul felt very thankful and slightly confused, and also a little guilty. Moojis was also there, sitting in the corner and smoking his pipe thoughtfully. Garthul wanted to review the last events of the day again.
    "I wish to understand again… Moojis, you say you were the one that alerted the Warchief, but why?"
    "As I saw you burst in fury and striking every ounce of flesh in sight I thought perhaps it were safer if we kept you a secret. You don't know to control your power yet and you are a danger to yourself as well as to others, as we have seen."
    Moojis stopped smoking for a moment and looked at Garthul thoughtfully, then returned to his smoking.
    Thrall said, "I have no offense for bloodlust to be our main motive to destroy our enemies, but your case was exceptional. Would you have released some greater demonic spell that lies in that ring; the security of Durotar would have been risked: perhaps you would've summoned some fiend that you couldn't have controlled, or perhaps even summoned demons."
    Garthul felt the guilt in his veins again. It was a sensation which he nearly and didn't meet, and better so, he thought. "I only did what I was instructed," he attempted to justify, "All the warriors let their rage carry them into battle."
    Moojis smiled. "As the Warchief said, you are an exception. Whoever has to take the blame is not important right now, as he intend to keep you active… But in different ways."
    Garthul raised his look enthusiastically to confirm with Thrall the thrilling news, and Thrall nodded. He feared a death penalty or that his ring will be taken from him, so the news was very relieving.
    Garthul asked, "How will I be serving you, Warchief?"
    Thrall turned towards him, and said: "As you know the battle has been covered in complete secrecy: The Alliance, that has claimed Theramore after Silthar's death, asked me to hide this shameful battle from history, and I agreed, since it would both ensure our Non Aggression Pact with the Alliance and hide your existence from history. Now that the fight with the Humans is over I have time to try and deal with the many other enemies we have, for example the centaurs, the remaining scourge etc., and in this you will be very useful."
    Garthul looked both at his friend and his leader. They both were confident in his secrecy and in its usefulness, so I should play along, he thought. The life that expected him now could possibly erase the shame of the murder of his family, and be, so he thought, a new beginning.


    Garthul Shadowblade's existence was indeed wiped off the map, as was the entire battle's: the history books were to say that the alliance had claimed Theramore immediately after Proudmoore's death, and many were to believe it. In order to maintain the secrecy of Garthul's existence, all of the soldiers that saw him outrage in battle were executed or banished to their deaths. In the ten years that followed Moojis was mysteriously killed, some say by Garthul's vengeful hunger for blood, and the constant contact that Orgrimmar had kept with Garthul was lost. His story is counted as a legend to be told by storytellers, as is his destiny – perhaps he has devoted himself to his new purpose, and will stand against the cataclysm of Azeroth, or has been given a new one, like secretly bodyguarding the Warchief, or perhaps he has been called by the demonic voice of Garkarath to its roots of Outland. Only time will tell.

    And CC, 7,000 words is well above the limit for 5,000 words! You'd better do some serious rephrasing and fast!
     
  8. Ghoulrush

    Ghoulrush

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    Pyritie, I think its time for you to commandeer this competition. Were five days away from the final deadline and the host has gone missing without appointing any judges.
     
  9. Pyritie

    Pyritie

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    huh what

    Okay so can anyone who wants to judge send me a PM with a link or two to stuff they've written? I only want good writers to be judges :p
     
  10. Momo

    Momo

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    I will have to resign. I won't have enough time to end the story let alone edit it. Good luck to all the other competitors! :)
     
  11. Ghoulrush

    Ghoulrush

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    Here is my final draft for the competition:

    Master of the Scrapheap

    Garrim stood on a raised metal platform, observing the area surrounding him. The sounds of whirling blades and clunky machinery penetrated his ears from all directions. The ground below him was filled with various mechanics and engineers armed with a variety of powerful tools. Some carried revolving saws used to cut through metal casings. Some operated larger constructs equipped with blades bearing resemblance those used by goblin shredders. These large machines tore through any metal that was too durable to be affected by a smaller saw.​

    There seemed to be a limitless supply of metal to salvage, for the Spark of Imagination was cluttered with pieces of technology that had been casted aside and forgotten. This unique location, found in Northrend within the halls of the titan city Ulduar, had recently become a prime interest to the gnomish tinkers of Ironforge. The gnomes’ leader, High Tinker Mekkatorque, believed that valuable information could be gained by studying the highly advanced technology found within the Spark. While Garrim was not a gnome, he had been chosen to lead this ambitious reclamation project.​

    Garrim was not in a particularly pleasant mood this afternoon, nor had he been in a pleasant mood for a while. He procured a metal flask from his backpack and took a swig, wiping off any ale which remained on his beard. Although many dwarves sported beards that extended to their chest, Garrim kept his relatively short in order to prevent it from getting caught in any machinery. After he tucked his flask back into his pack, Garrim examined the scene around him. His mind became disconnected from reality, and he began to forget all about the abundance of details and logistics associated with his operation.​

    Suddenly, a loud boom echoed across the hall, sending Garrim out of his stupor. The loud noise was followed by smaller sounds of the same nature, accompanied by an unsettling screeching noise. All of the responsibilities tied to Garrim’s job quickly returned to his mind. He looked down below the platform to see where this disturbance was coming from, and noticed a large number of mechanics hurrying towards one of the heavy mechanical saws. Fearing the saw may have struck a fuel tank hidden within the large scrap piece, Garrim descended the ladder which provided access to his tall platform.​

    As Garrim neared the source of the commotion, he noticed a plume of smoke emitting from the mechanical saw. Although the device had been surrounded by engineers trying to solve the problem, Garrim could easily see over the heads of the shorter gnomes. He quickly understood the situation, and told the mechanics to make room for him. Fearing anger from their boss, the engineers instantly stood aside to let him pass. Garrim stood in front of the scrap piece, breathing a heavy sigh.​

    The mechanical saw had cut straight into the scrap piece, digging deep into its inner workings. The ground was littered with shiny pieces of metal which had been torn straight out of the large rusted cylinder. Garrim silently assessed the damage which had been caused by this mechanical failure as the mechanics stood around him, waiting for his response. ​

    “The inner workings of the device that you were cutting into have been severely damaged, just cut the whole thing up and reprocess the metal. And send the saw back to the camp for repairs,” Garrim said to the crewmen around him. The crowd which had stood behind him immediately dispersed, as the various mechanics returned to their duties. A functioning mechanical saw was brought in to tear apart the ruined cylinder.​

    Garrim looked once more at the wreckage and then departed from the scene as work around him resumed. Had it been months ago, he would have written a report on the incident to be included in his notes. When the reclamation project had just begun, Garrim would routinely update a detailed log with information about items reclaimed each day, items to be reclaimed in the near future, the condition of tools and machinery, and much else. However, that was all in the past. These days his notes were much simpler, and only contained the amount of data that was immediately necessary. To Garrim, the incident which had just occurred was nothing but a minor setback amongst many others.​

    Before heading to Northrend, Garrim was a much different person. He was born to a lineage of notable Dwarven engineers, extending back to the period when Ironforge was devoid of most gnomes. Living in the great dwarven city itself, Garrim had become a talented engineer in the same manner as his ancestors. The entire reclamation project itself could be attributed to him, for it was he who presented the idea to High Tinker Mekkatorque. Garrim had received a package overseas from his cousin Modi, who was at the time located in Ulduar as a member of the dwarven Explorer’s League. Included within the package was a letter written by his cousin, which contained extravagant details related to the Spark of Invention. Modi spoke of colossal robots, floating trams, brutally effective weaponry, and machines that were too strange to even make sense out of. The letters were accompanied by a strange power cell which Modi had found lying next to a destroyed clockwork robot. Garrim immediately showed the letter and the power cell to Mekkatorque, who was amazed by both items. ​

    Upon further investigation, Mekkatorque learned that the power cell contained chemicals like nothing he had ever seen. He knew that an attempt must be made to harness the power of this advanced technology. Garrim was ecstatic once he learned that he would be made in charge of the reclamation project. He hoped that through his efforts Ironforge would be turned into a technological superpower. Months upon months of zero progress had since destroyed those hopes.​

    After resolving the malfunctioning saw incident, Garrim began to walk towards the research hub. The research hub was the location in which salvaged parts and metals were sent to be analyzed by engineers. Every couple of days, Garrim would leave his post at the platform, assigning it to a temporary foreman, and head over to the research hub for a status report. He had grown to resent doing this, as it forced him to confront the project’s failures firsthand. ​

    While Garrim was heading to the research hub, a panicked dwarf ran up to him. “Boss, we’ve got a problem. The scrap piece I was cutting into sprung a leak; I have no idea how to fix it!”​

    Garrim told the dwarf to calm down and show him the problem. After being lead to the location of the scrap piece, the issue soon became clear to him. The scrap piece was a box that was connected to a larger cylinder through several pipes. The box had been operated on by a handheld saw, and a strange liquid was lightly spraying out of the cut mark. Garrim feared that a fuel tank may have been punctured within the box, and told the mechanics in the area to stop working. All fuel found within the Spark of Imagination was extremely flammable, and the crew had experienced multiple deaths at the hands of accidental ignition. Garrim examined the leaking device, and determined that fuel was most likely flowing into the box through the pipes connecting to the cylinder. Taking out his wrench, Garrim began to tighten the pipes in an attempt to stop the flow.​

    The wrench was not an ordinary tool, for it was crafted entirely out of the rare metal arcanite and inscribed with a runic glyph. The wrench, more specifically an adjustable spanner, was a family heirloom which had been passed down to Garrim. It was a symbol of his lineage’s prowess for engineering. It was notably durable, and seemed immune to temperature and degradation. It was named Thanegreim, meaning Grasp of the Kings. Garrim always carried it with him when working, although his respect for the heirloom had begun to diminish.​

    With a loud scratch, the pipe Garrim had been tightening broke loose and began to emit fuel in a large spray. Blasted by the liquid, Garrim pounded on the pipe with his wrench until it bended to a point where the fuel ceased to flow. Drenched with the liquid, Garrim wiped off his face. Looking behind him, he noticed the group of mechanics he had halted was now staring at him.
    “Just… safely drain the fuel out of the device and then start salvaging again. I don’t want anyone working in the area until the all the fuel is drained out,” Garrim said to the crowd. The dwarven crewmember who had originally notified Garrim returned to the device and looked around for a bucket to drain the fuel into. Garrim put Thanegreim back onto his tool belt, and walked back to his sleeping tent in order to grab a dry set of clothing. The other mechanics waited around idly. The gnomes in the crowd formed a loose group and began to talk to one another, while the one dwarven mechanic left them and headed over to assist his fellow crewmember in draining the device.
    Garrim’s father had often attributed his technological prowess to the wrench, claiming that it had the ability to assemble machines that would otherwise fail. Garrim had begun to doubt these claims.
    After changing into dry clothes, Garrim once again made his way towards the research hub. Work was occurring at a normal rate, although the temporary foreman was no doubt just as miserable as Garrim was. Without any further incident, Garrim had finally reached the hub. His disposition somehow sank even lower as he set foot within this overwhelming disaster.​

    The place was a mess, with machinery strewn everywhere imaginable. Garrim had to watch his step, having often crushed fragile pieces of technology under his boots on accident. Most of the “scrap metal” salvaged by the reclamation team was not mere pieces of fragmented metal that one would commonly associate with the word “scrap”. The objects which the reclamation team sought to learn from were often fully functioning devices and machines. The engineers responsible for collecting data from these disassembled objects believed most of them to be engines, clockwork assemblies, and support structures designed as components for larger machines.​

    The reclamation process was very complicated and drawn out, especially for the researchers. Since most of the scrap pieces salvaged by the harvesters were too large and heavy to be transported to the camp whole, they had to be cut up into smaller pieces. The harvesters, fully trained engineers, did their best to preserve the important workings of the devices that they operated on, but the end result was not perfect. Salvaged pieces from specific devices were delivered to the hub in corresponding groups, along with a sketch of the original device drawn by the harvester. These groups were then organized on the grounds of the hub in vague categories that sorted them by the general makeup of the original item. The researchers then tried to take multiple pieces from similar groups and match them together in order to form a complete item. When a device was actually remade in a functioning state, it was only because the researchers managed to find very intact pieces that were large enough to fit together without requiring much insight into the actual designs. Any attempts to reverse engineer these intact pieces proved ineffective.​

    While the research engineers could not decipher much from the remade pieces of advanced technology, they could say one thing for certain: they were effective. Unfortunately they had no way of determining the cause of this effectiveness. A reclaimed engine would generate an amazing amount of power, yet the inner workings remained a mystery. A reclaimed clockwork assembly featured common gears and axels connected to strange components which the engineers had never seen before, and yet they were certain that these were the same assemblies used to power colossal robots and machinery. A reclaimed support structure could stand unbelievable amounts of force without receiving any noticeable damage, and yet the source of this strength could not be traced. The reclamation team would send many of these remade items back to Ironforge to be used in siege tanks, flying machines, and other military technology. However, the team always made sure that they did not lose too many of their research samples.​

    Finbus, the head of the research team, approached Garrim as he was examining the work being done in the hub. “Hello sir, are you here for a status report?” Finbus said to him. Even though things were looking grim, the gnome always had a way of acting cheerfully. Garrim had noticed this quality in the gnomes he worked with, although these days some of them had begun to lose their cheerfulness.​

    “Yes, how are things looking right now?” Garrim replied, although he already assumed the answer would not be as cheerful as Finbus.​

    “Well sir, we’re still having some trouble making sense out of the items we’ve remade, although we’ve found a few smaller power cells that we are currently comparing with existing power cells that have been sent to us from Tinker Town,” Finbus said as he began to enter a long chain of facts and details, none of which pointed towards any significant progress. Garrim took particular delight whenever Finbus referred to him as “sir”, for it filled him with a sense of accomplishment against adversity. Ever since King Magni had changed Ironforge’s focus from mining and engineering to archaeology, the number of dwarven engineers had gone down significantly. Few of them remained, and only a handful was as talented as Garrim. He was forced to work hard to gain significant favor in the eyes of High Tinker Mekkatorque, who was just as interested in the well being of his gnomish people as he was interested in that of his tinkers. Garrim suspected that Finbus was secretly reporting directly to Mekkatorque himself.​

    Finbus continued discussing various details surrounding the research hub, pointing out each piece of technology they were currently attempting to remake. He led Garrim to a table where all of the various notes and schematics were placed in a cluttered fashion. Ideas and concepts were constantly being changed as the researchers tried to understand the alien technology they dealt with, and old schematics were buried under piles of updated versions. However, despite this development, the research crew was barely any closer to finding any answers. When Finbus concluded his report, Garrim knew he would need to take new action in order to keep the reclamation project afloat. The research team was failing, and none of this would go over well with Brann. Brann Bronzebeard was the leader of the entire Ulduar exploration expedition, and Garrim was scheduled to meet with him the next day in order to discuss the status of his project.​

    He couldn’t meet with Brann and tell him once again that their project was still useless; doing so would most likely cause its termination. Even though Garrim had grown to resent his duties as the reclamation project’s leader, he just couldn’t stand to think of it being shut down after all the work and hope they had put into it. In order to save the project, he would need to present Brann with evidence of progress. He would need to present him with the prospect of finding a grand working contraption. Garrim knew that this would normally be impossible. All of the devices that he was allowed to salvage were mere parts meant to be used in larger designs. The reclamation project was forbidden from examining these larger designs due to objections from Mimiron, the Spark of Invention’s creator.​

    Garrim had often forgotten about Mimiron, because he was for all means absent from his life. Mimiron was a mechanical gnome created by the titans, who gifted him with an incredible intelligence and inclination for invention. Everything salvaged and researched upon by the reclamation team was invented by Mimiron. It was actually wrong to say that the team was “salvaging” anything, for the technology they harvested was not destroyed or wrecked. The “scrap pieces” were actually outdated parts created by Mimiron in the past. It was frustrating that all of the answers to Garrim’s problems lied within a person that was still alive and within the same vicinity as him. However, Mimiron would not give away any of his secrets. He spent all day and night within his workshop, making newer and more powerful designs. He had forbidden the reclamation team from touching any of his machinery outside of a certain area which he had set aside for them, for he did not wish to have his true genius taken away from him. It was amazing that Brann Bronzebeard was able to negotiate a deal with Mimiron at all given his difficult nature. Garrim speculated that Mimiron owed something to Brann, and gave away his outdated parts as payment. ​

    All of the completed contraptions and machines made by Mimiron lied outside of the area allotted to the reclamation project, meaning that it was illegal to reclaim and research them. Still, Garrim needed one of those completed devices, so he would have no choice but to break the laws which had been set. Next morning, he would tell both Brann and Finbus that the harvesting team had found a piece of technology like none they had found before, one that Mimiron must have forgotten to forbid. Secretly, he would order his team to venture outside of the legal work space and disassemble such an item. Garrim contemplated this plan as he walked from the research hub to his tent. However, not too long after he left the hub, he was approached by a group of dwarves that did not carry the tools or equipment issued by the reclamation team.​

    One of the dwarves went up to Garrim and shook his hand. “The name’s Gelman Stoneseeker, pleased to meet ye’.” Garrim politely returned the greeting, confused by the dwarves’ presence. The dwarf that had just shaken Garrim’s hand took a couple steps towards the research hub and observed it. He then turned back to Garrim and said, “we’re representatives from a prospecting company located in Dun Morogh, and we would like to discuss buying some of these salvaged pieces of machinery from ye’.”
    Garrim was quite intrigued by this offer, amazed that a company would be interested in buying the useless parts possessed by the reclamation team. Wondering how far he could use their naivety to his advantage, Garrim began discussing this proposed deal. The discussion turned into negotiation, as Garrim realized that he could make an unexpectedly large profit from this. He ultimately accepted the deal, being given a gratuity gift of five hundred gold coins. The dwarves accompanying the negotiator wanted to start picking out pieces of reclaimed machinery immediately, so Garrim lead them to the research hub. After giving them a tour of the hub, Garrim left them to pick out the pieces they wanted. A concerned Finbus confronted Garrim on the subject, to which Garrim explained the new deal which had been made. The dwarves would come once a week to pick out any items they wanted and the reclamation project would receive enough money to fund itself indefinitely.
    Relieved that he no longer had to perform illegal actions in order to maintain the survival of his team, Garrim was excited to tell Brann the good news tomorrow. Although Brann favored research over profits, he would still be happy to learn that there would be no need to shut the reclamation project down. Garrim still wondered if he made the correct decision by choosing not to steal the completed device, but was ultimately satisfied that he would not become a criminal. As all of the engineers around him began to stop their work and pack in for the night, Garrim too headed towards his tent for some well deserved sleep. After receiving a report from the temporary foreman, Garrim reached the tent grounds. He entered his fabric abode and laid down for some shut eye, falling asleep almost immediately.​

    ***

    Garrim woke up late the next morning, after having the most pleasant sleep he had experienced in months. Confident that this day would be better, he sprung up and prepared to meet with Brann. However, something was wrong. As he was getting ready, he could make out what sounded like people screaming and shouting. Garrim was concerned by this and decided to take out his rifle and pistol, afterward exiting the tent. Fearing that a fuel tank may have ignited, he ran towards the source of the noises. There were no workers in sight, not even in places where salvaging was scheduled to be carried out on that day. Mechanical saws were left abandoned, as if everyone had just vanished. Garrim’s thoughts of confusion turned to fear as he turned around a corner, where on the ground in front of him laid several dead bodies strewn across the floor with no signs of a fuel eruption in sight.​

    Garrim began to run faster than ever, the shouting getting louder than ever. Turning several corners and sprinting down multiple hallways, he finally reached the source of the commotion. Far in front of him stood a mechanical giant attacking a group of dwarves, smashing and pounding with its metallic hands. The dwarves were all armed with rifles, for they were expedition guards called in to deal with this problem. However, the expedition guards were completely outmatched. Their bullets glanced off the mechanical giant, who was easily three times larger than them. Garrim aimed his gun at the giant and fired, but his attack was just as ineffective. Lowering his gun, he tried to think of a way to stop this mechanical monstrosity. He thought of an idea and started running towards the research hub as fast as possible.​

    Back when he was in Ironforge, Garrim once witnessed a gnome giving a presentation on a lightning gun that he had created. The gun was able to overload and disable any piece of technology that wasn’t properly grounded, but could not fire at large distances. Garrim had spent weeks trying to build his own model which would possess a larger range, and even now still remembered the materials used to build a basic version of the gun. The main component of the device was gnomish power cells, and Garrim remembered Finbus talking about using some of them for his research in the hub. If he could assemble a lightning gun then he could overload the hostile robot and stop it from killing anyone else. ​

    As Garrim ran, he began to think more about the mechanical giant itself. It bore no resemblance to any of the other intact robots found in The Spark, which all looked much newer and sleeker than the one currently attacking the guards. The mechanical giant looked completely familiar, for it possessed a look identical to that of the scrap pieces harvested by Garrim’s men. The robot looked like it had been crudely assembled from Mimiron’s outdated parts, which could only mean that… those dwarves were the ones who made it. Garrim’s mind became obsessed with this personal revelation, but suddenly his attention was caught be something else. The research hub was not abandoned, for there were several goblins searching through the parts.
    There were at least ten of them. They were walking through the research hubs with notes in their hands, trying to find specific parts or modules among the machinery. Garrim stood still and observed them, both shocked and intrigued. One of the goblins looked up and noticed him, alerting his team of the intrusion. Garrim couldn’t decide whether he should run away or still try to retrieve the power cells. Before he could put any real though into it, the goblin pulled out a rifle and aimed it at Garrim. Garrim jumped on to the ground in front of him in order to prevent himself from getting hit. He crouched up from the ground, firing his own rifle at the goblins. However, he had forgotten to reload since reaching the research hub, so no bullet exited the gun. Garrim once again ducked down to avoid enemy fire, having seen that all of the goblins had drawn their rifles. He was taking cover behind a large remade engine, which provided ample protection for him. He decided that he needed to keep moving in order to avoid becoming cornered by the goblins, so after getting up to return fire he sprinted to a different piece of machinery for cover. Luckily for him, there was much remade technology lying within the research hub, some of which being particularly large.​

    Garrim continued running from one scrap piece to another, constantly returning fire. Some of the shots hit their marks and wounded over even killed a few of the goblins. As Garrim was reloading behind a remade gear assembly box, there was suddenly a loud boom which rung throughout the entire room. Garrim saw a bright flash of light through the corner of his eye and felt as if he had just been hit in gut. He looked around and witnessed a sight which he had seen several times before. One of the bullets shot by the goblins had missed Garrim and flown right into a filled fuel tank, creating a massive inferno. Garrim used this distraction to his advantage and sprinted as far as he could while the goblins where still partly distracted by the explosion. Receiving enemy fire once more, Garrim ducked behind some more large scrap pieces.​

    He wasn’t entirely sure about what his plan would be. Perhaps his goal was to kill the goblins all by himself; however that seemed impossible at first thought. For now he was just shooting, running, and reloading. Garrim crouched up and fired at the goblins, repeating this action several times while hiding behind the same scrap piece. It seemed like every time he looked the fire would grow bigger, causing more explosions as it ignited more fuel tanks. Noticing that the goblins were getting closer to him, Garrim sprinted to another large piece of machinery. He crouched up and fired, realizing that the goblins were beginning to run towards him in order to escape the flames. Confident that he would now have to fight the goblins in close quarter combat, Garrim took out his pistol and cocked it, however, he could not think of what he would do once his pistol was fired. But something else caught his attention, for not too far in front of him laid a bundle of gnomish power cells. A goblin wielding a machete then hopped over the scrap piece which was providing cover for Garrim. Garrim shot the goblin in the head with his pistol, killing him. Another goblin hopped over the scrap piece, also wielding a machete. With no guns to fire, Garrim did the only thing he could think of, he pulled out his wrench and struck the goblin in the head. The full force of Thanegreim’s arcanite body met with the goblin’s skull, partially crushing it. Garrim stood up completely in order to face any more goblins, but only one remained. The rest of the goblins had all been killed in the gunfight or routed by the growing fire. The remaining goblin tried to dodge Garrim’s attacks, but he was quickly overpowered and stricken to death.​

    The entire room was engulfed in flame and smoke, causing Garrim to worry about finding a way out. But first he would need to assemble the lightning gun. He grabbed the power cells along with several pieces of scrap metal lying around which would serve as necessary parts. With more fuel tanks igniting around him, Garrim worked as fast as he possibly could. After creating a model he was satisfied with, he struggled to find a way out of the inferno which had surrounded him. After much stress, he finally escaped the research hub. Running down the hallways at full speed towards the location where he had last witnessed the mechanical giant, Garrim began to think about the goblins’ presence in the research hub. “Venture Co.”, he soon thought, “it must have been the damn Venture Co. behind all of this.” The Venture Company was an extremely malicious goblin corporation which used the power of engineering to further their own personal greed. Garrim soon heard the sounds of shouting once more.
    He found the source of the shouting and witnessed the giant once more, still on a killing rampage. Dozens of more guards had been brought in (and dozens more littered the floor), but none of them could bring the monstrosity down. Garrim told them to stand back and prepared to fire the lightning gun, from which a large stream of electricity flew into the robot’s body. Extremely vulnerable to this massive overload, the mechanical giant began to move erratically before finally collapsing. The guards were all relieved to see the conflict finally end. Brann Bronzebeard himself was among them, and gave Garrim a heartfelt commendation. However, Garrim knew that the situation had still not improved. He told Brann that the research hub had been set ablaze and needed to be extinguished immediately. As the expedition guards went to retrieve buckets of water, Garrim contemplated the situation once more. The Venture Company had somehow found a way to assemble a functioning robot from the reclaimed parts. If the dwarves of Ironforge were to stand any chance against them, Garrim too would need to somehow unlock the secrets of the technology. The only way possible would be to obtain the information from Mimiron himself, and yet Garrim had nothing to exchange for it. ​

    However, as Garrim looked down in deep thought, his eyes focused on his tool belt. There, glimmering in the light, was something worth more than any simple trade secret.​



    (I made an edit after it was posted, but as you can see the edit was still done before the deadline)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  12. Tails96

    Tails96

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    Here! Here's mine!!!

    A Daughter's Love

    A week after the burial of Captain Varath Lightbearer ( God rest his soul), who had fallen in a raid on Stonard, his daughter, Thaila obtained a weird letter from a weird person:

    Thalia Ligtbarer,
    I beg yo to help me in a very dangers quest, cuz I must kill som monsters in som place, dunno were, but somwere in a swamp, maibe in the Sorrows, or dunno. So, pleese, I'll be in da keep.

    Lotkar, whu begs yo.
    Sory, I don't write very good.

    "Hm.... It's quite strange", thinked Thaila, after reading the letter.
    Thalia Lightbearer was the only child of Varath. Her family lived in Stratholme until the second war, then they muted to Stormwind City. With the death of her father, she became the last living Lightbearer in the kingdom of Azeroth ( her mother died on the road to Stormwind).
    Who's this Loktar? What kind of quest was he talking about? This was a mistery for her, but in spite of she was a warrior, she was very inteligent, and she really liked secrets. Therefore she was curious. She put away the letter, and looked out the window.
    'Dammit, it rains again', mumbled Thaila. 'It will never stop? '
    That night she could't sleep very well. She got out of bed very early. It was a typical autumnal dawn: everything was dark, and ... it rained, so Thaila wasn't extremely happy. She went to the Gilded Rose Inn to speak with Innkeeper Allison. When she entered, the inn was full, although the Sun hadn't appeared yet.
    'Please, we will die, if we don't get some beer!', cried a customer to Allison, while his companions laughed loudly.
    'Please, I need beer too!'
    'If don't drink, my wife will murder me! Please!'
    'Okay, okay, everyone will get his beer...' said the innkeeper. She looked very nervous and tired.
    The customers started to sing:

    Beer, beer,beer
    We drink only beer,
    Beer,beer,beer
    We're beggin' for beer!
    Beer from grain and beer from rice,
    We drink beer until sunrise!
    Beer,beer,beer,
    Our life is The Beer!

    'You look quite tired,' said Thaila.
    'Oh, good morning, Thaila,' answered Allison. She was wearing her ordinary white shirt and blue skirt. 'Well, yes, I've been working all nignt. They've come yesterday evening, and they don't want to go home. I tried everything, but I think that.... Just a moment, you can't be so thirsty!... So, I think that they will leave the inn when they will become sick.'
    'Poor Innkeeper Allison', said Thaila pityingly.'I've just came to tell you, I'm leaving Stormwind for some time. If anyone looks for me, tell him that I went to a quest to the Swamp of Sorrows.'
    'A quest? It sounds interesting. What do you have to do? '
    'That's a good question.'

    After visiting the inn, Thaila went to the keep. The guards were nowhere, only a shiny-armoured warrior was standing near the entrance. He had a shield with Lordaeron's crest on it, a sword and a hammer on his back, decorated with a golden lion head.
    "He has to be a great paladin," thinked Thaila.
    'Can I help you, young lady?' said the paladin kindly.
    'Actually, yes , sir. Do you know anything about a person called Lotkar?'
    'Lotkar? I know someone called Lotkar. Why?'
    'I've got a letter rom him yesterday.'
    'Thaila Lightbearer?'
    'Yes....Do I know you, sir?'
    'I'm Lionael... I hope, you remember me...', said the paladin trustingly.
    'Lionael ! Oh, my god, Lionael.... What happened to you!'
    'Nothing, you know, time is passing. I was a child, but I grew up.'
    'I believed that you died in Lordaeron... But what are you doing here?'
    'I'm going to the Swamp of Sorrows, I have a quest there. '
    'How funny, I'm going to the swamps too. That Loktar sent me a letter.'
    'And, do you accept the quest?'
    'First, I need to find the principal, who gave the quest.'
    'Well, that won't be easy. He's somewhere in Ironforge.'
    'Oh... Then I accept,' answered Thaila a bit unsure.
    'Are you sure? It's very dangerous.'
    'I'm sure. Totally sure.'
    'Fine. You have one day to prepare for it. Tomorrow, at sunrise, a gryphon will wait for you at the gryphon master. I'll wait for you there, too. After our arrival, we will speak about the exact instructions.'
    'All right. Goodbye,' said Thaila.
    'Oh, wait. I have something for you,' said Lionael, and gave Thaila a small pack. 'It's the necklace of the Lightbearers. I've found it among the ruins of the Lightbearer Manor, in Strarholme.'
    'You've found it? Oh, Lionael, this is wonderful!'

    Next day Thaila arrived at the gryphon tower right at sunrise. Lionael was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. Near him was standing a half-orc, with a bow in his left hand.
    'Ah, Taila. This is Loktar. Loktar, this is Thaila,' said Lionael excitedly.
    'Nice to meet yo', Thalia.'
    'Umm.... Hello. How are you?'
    'We don't have time for converstation. The gryphons are nervous,' interrupted Lionael the "converstation".
    The rain didn't stop, but even so they arrived before noon to Darkshire. They ate something in the tavern and continued the flight. Above the Deadwind Pass the gryphons became restive. Then they entered the swamp. From above the land was humdrum: only the dark green leafage and small, muddy lakes. The rain became more dense and the brown fog became thicker.
    The gryphons landed on a higher and flat island, then rose and went away. The swamp was calm, only the rain was sounding.
    'Okay, now, what do we have to do?' asked Thaila from Lionael.
    'As you know, some monsters need to be killed. More accuarately, we have to clear the way to Stonard for our troops, in complete silence.'
    'So that's our job... Oh, what the...!' exclaimed Thaila. 'Something burns me. The necklace.'
    The necklace was glowing with a pale light.
    'What's now, is there any problem?' asked Lotkar.
    But there was no time to answer. A band of orcs charged at them from the bushes with fericious roars.
    'It's a trap!' shouted Lionael, and fell stunned into a slimy slough. An orc hit him with a stone hammer.
    'Slay them all!' ordered a one-eyed orc.
    Thaila brang out her sword, Lotkar trained his bow to the one-eyed.
    'Stop!' sounded from behind. 'I want to see my emissaries.'
    The orcs moved on to make way for the source of the sound. A small man appeared in a black robe and a dark red hat with a skull on it.
    'Well, well.... So you are Lionael's company.' said the man and laughed maliciously.
    'You... you was the principal... You bastard! What is your evil plan?' said Thaila surprised, but angry.
    'Shut up!' shouted the man and stamped.'I'm not fool. What if you two escape, I'm a bit sceptic, but what if you two escape? You will blab out my hyper-super evil plan to the first reasonable creature. But I won't let that happen.'
    'So it's top secret... Wooh, how interesting...'said Thaila disdainfully.
    'SHUT UP!'
    'Ooh, someone is angry.'
    'I said SHUT UP !!!! Hey, you, cut off the head of this...this fool!'
    'OK, my sir...' ,answered dumbly an orc. 'Me kill fool... OK.'
    'DO IT, YOU MORON!!!'
    In that moment, Thaila felt the searing touch of the necklace very intensely. The pale glowing became a ray of light.
    'What the....'
    BOOM!!!
    An explosion... The "moron" blowed off and landed a few yards further.
    'What holy hany-panky was this?!' cried the man surprised.'Tell me right now, OK?!'
    'Noh...No...Not OK.... This isn't OK. This is K.O...', said Thaila ominously, and started to go towards the man.
    'Hey, get back, fool... GET BACK!!!' yammered the man a little bit scared.
    'You've wanted to kill Lionael.... That was your plan. The whole quest was a trap, Lionael didn't suspect anythng.'
    'How do you know... This is impossible.'
    'I know... This necklace tells me many things.'
    'Where have you got it? It's a magic necklace, and it's very dangerous.... But I can teach you how to use it's power's.'
    'I'm not a great genius, as You, but I'm not fool. Oh, and if you want to know, it's a heirloom of the Lightbearers.' said Thaila, and her eyes started to glow dimly.
    'Uh...That's touching...A heirloom...' mumbled the man scared. The orcs were just standing blockishly.
    'And now, I'm sorry, but we have to leave.'
    'Leave... of course, just go.... take your fried, Lionael, and the other, and...'
    Thaila got off towards Lionael, who was couching stunned.
    'LOOK OUT!!!' shouted suddenly Lotkar.
    Thaila rolled over. A the man casted a fireball, but before the missle reached her, the necklace generated a glowing sphere around Thaila, and defended the fireball. The orcs started to stampede into the swamp, while the man blinked into the woods. Howewer, Lotkar spotted him and shooted an arrow. Then Thaila heared a scream and a quiet splash.
    'Whos da fool now?' muttered Lotkar.
    'Thanks, Loktar....Can we call the gryphons somehow?'
    'I dunno, maybe...'
    But he didn't finish it. In that moment the gryphons landed right near them. They were close, and heared the orcs' roars, so when the danger was over, they returned.

    'I have only one queston,' asked Loktar when they arrived at Darkshire. 'How was da neklace so powerful?'
    'There's a story about the Lightbearers' necklace: If a true and lover member of the family is in trouble, the family's heirloom will help him...or her. But I couldn't imagine neither in my dreams, that it works also in real danger.'
    'Well, then keep it, cuz it's gud for K.O...'
     
  13. Crazy Cow

    Crazy Cow

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    Well, here is the full version, all in one section.

    Story

    Kahn Stonehoof looked upon the Tauren settlement with disgust. The bull-men never failed to evoke that feeling in him, and he knew his warriors felt the same. The barbaric creatures were so different than the proud Centaur that they were barely sentient, much less worthy of the lands they held. Which was why Bloodhoof and his warriors were here today; to take this land from the undeserving Tauren. The land was bathed in a red light from the newly rising sun, a good omen for the Centaur on this day. The fools had their settlement in a corner, between a sheer rock cliff and a sheer drop into the canyon of Thousand Needles, and there would therefore be no escape from the Centaur marauders. Giving out a war cry, he led his warriors on the initial charge. The attack was unexpected, and the Tauren had little time to prepare as the Centaur smashed through tents, scattered fires, and of course slew savage bull-men. The few of their warriors that stood up to the marauders were cut down by five-to-one odds, and there was little resistance to their attack. That is, until the bellows of their Chieftain rang out in defiance of the Centaur battle cries.
    Jerked awake by the combined cries of his people and the war whoops of Centaur, Chieftain Windrider immediatly knew his fears had come true. Ever since stories of entire Tauren settlements slaughtered by Centaur raiders had started circulating years ago, he had feared his peaceful settlement would be next to fall to the brutes. But he gave little time for thought - his people needed him, and so he grabbed his mighty war axe and rushed out of his tent with a bellow. Centaur vermin were everywhere - as well as the blood of his people. Several of the raiders saw him, and abandoning their looting came at him. They stopped when one of their fellows met the head of his axe at chest height, with his severed torso swinging through the air. The cowards were hesitant to come at him, and remained so, until the reason his name was Windrider came smashing down on the back of a would-be raider. Their hesitation was turned into outright panic when his Wyvern, Skysong, clawed another's chest open with glee. Chieftain Windrider had raised him from an egg, and Skysong had never been far ever since. The two had stood together in battle often, and the Chieftain hoped they would do so again after this day. But the size of the raiding party was evidenced when a dozen or more raiders formed a circle, although a wide one, around him and his pet, and a much bigger one with an axe blood-red from lack of washing came to face him. Bellowing a challenge at their leader, Chieftain Windrider attacked the brute head-on while Skysong began ripping through the centaur's ranks. His opponent was obviously more experienced at fighting, as his swings always came closer to Windrider than his own. Barely deflecting the deadly axe of his enemy, he made fewer swings and less deflections, and he quickly began to tire. He jabbed at his opponent, but the horse man leaped to the side and smashed his axe out wide away from its owner's body. Crying in victory, the centaur swung at the Tauren's exposed head - and hit.
    Crying in victory, Stonehoof swung at his opponent's exposed head, but instead hit a fast-moving blur that moved between him and his target. His axe was ripped from his hands, and staring at the winged monstrosity the bull-man had tamed with his axe in it's side, he realized the monster would be his last kill. The bull-man himself had recovered from Stonehoof's vicious deflection, and enraged at his pet's death he came at Bloodhoof, swinging hard. Acting quickly, Stonehoof reared up and struck the hilt of the axe hard with his front hooves. Knocking it out of the savage's hands, Bloodhoof realized his defeat had become victory - until the bull-man charged into his gut, snapping something and bowling the Kahn over. The two began pummeling each other with their fists, and as the Tauren took his head out of Stonehoof's gut he realized the snapping sound had been the bull-man's horn. Looking at his chest, the Kahn saw the horn lodged in his chest, but was interrupted in his examination by the Chieftain’s hands wrapping around his neck. He began to choke, and was unable to get the bull-man's hands off. An idea coming to his desperate, oxygen-starved mind, he pulled the horn out of his gut, ignoring the explosion of pain, and stabbed his adversary in the neck.
    Celebrating their victory, the Marauders left the burnt remains of the Tauren settlement behind. The vultures came soon after, swooping and crying in anticipation of the feast to come. One landed on the body of the dead Chieftain, but before it could start eating it was struck by a stone. Retreating from it's perch, the vulture backed away and eyed it's adversary - a young Tauren, with a tear-stained but determined face. She threw another rock at the vulture, then went to her dead father. She stood there for a long time, until the vultures returned. She backed up, and looked away as the vultures started to eat - but her gave fell on her father's discarded axe. Despite the beating it received from the Centaur Kahn, it was intact. While it was as big as she was, she picked it up and dragged it off with her into the wilderness of the Barrens.

    Nineteen Years Later
    Honicora woke to the cries of vultures.
    At first, she thought they were simply remnants of the dream she had been having. But as she collected her thoughts, the cries failed to go away, and so she got up out of her cot, strapped on her mighty two-handed axe, and stepped outside of her tent.
    Honicora was of average build for a tauren, standing about eight feet tall and with a fairly muscular frame. With light brown fur, darker brown spots and a deep, almost black brown hair, Honicora didn’t have many striking physical differences from the average tauren. Unlike most tauren, however, she was innovative and clever; something necessary, seeing as she had lived alone since the Windrider clan was wiped out by centaur.
    Sighting the location of the vultures down in the valleys of Thousand Needles, Honicora set off. Passing by the caves that the wyvern inhabited, she displayed the same gift her father had. The wyvern, when they would normally drive out intruders, were completely normal with Honicora around, as if she was a member of their flight. Passing through the cliffs, she stepped out into the valleys of Thousand Needles and headed towards the pillar of vultures.
    When she arrived at the gristly feast, she saw an unfortunately common sight - a group of mangled centaur and tauren bodies. It seemed the tauren had been overwhelmed by centaur and killed to the last man - the tauren bodies were surrounded by a ring of marauders. Wading into the sea of vultures, swinging the butt of her axe to scare the filthy vermin off, she went to examine the dead tauren bodies. They had the mark of the Bloodhoof clan on their totems, so she assumed they were a foraging party for the tribe living nearby. As she began to check the dead centaur - almost certainly the Stonehoof clan, as they were the biggest clan in the Barrens - one of the tauren bodies coughed.
    Turning, she saw a heavily wounded, but living warrior regaining consciousness. He tried to stand, leaning on his spear for support, but a deep gash running through his thigh prevented him from getting up. Quickly moving over to him, she began tearing strips off the clothing of nearby tauren to bandage him up, and started talking to the warrior. “Don‘t worry, I‘m going to help you, just hold still. My name is Honicora - who are you?”
    The warrior was slow to reply, as his wounds were severe and he was undoubtedly weakened, but he still managed to grunt a reply. “I am Mourg, of the Bloodhoof tribe.”
    With her guess confirmed, Honicora decided to go for quick, temporary healing instead of applying salves. They had only a few miles to go to his tribe, and despite his wounds the warrior would be able to make it. After bandaging him up, she quickly checked the other bodies to make sure she didn’t leave anyone behind, then helped the warrior stand up and start hobbling down the canyon.
    While Mourg was hardly talkative, as they moved on Honicora managed to get the basics of his travel out of him. His tribe, the Bloodhoof, were moving away from the Barrens towards the coast in an effort to escape the centaur. They were stocking up on food and other supplies to prepare for the journey, and his party was one of several sent out. They were hunting for herbs growing in the canyons when a centaur raiding party ambushed them and killed Mourg’s companions.
    Honicora doubted that the Bloodhoof would be able to simply run from the centaur, but she would hardly try to stop them. She might actually join them, in the hopes of killing Stonehoof warriors, but she didn’t know - she loved the Barrens and most of it’s creatures too much to simply leave.
    As she was thinking this, several harsh cries came from the jagged peaks above them, and another group of tauren enemies came down at them - harpies. Honicora backed up against the back of the closest stone pillar, and letting Mourg lean against it she drew her axe. They landed within a respectable distance of the two tauren, but their filthy stench still assailed Honicora’s nose. That was one of the gifts harpies had - no matter who they came across, they could produce a foul stench to offend the creature.
    One of the harpies - a slightly larger one, with scarlet feathers instead of the moldy green and brown the average harpy had - stepped forwards. Licking her lips, revealing sharp, pointed teeth, she cawed out a rough blend of barely decipherable Taur-ahe, saying something about surrendering for a quick death. In response, Honicora stepped forwards and stabbed the harpy in the gut with the butt of her axe. The other harpies burst into action, attacking Honicora and a few going for the seemingly defenseless Mourg. With ten harpies to the two tauren, Honicora began to worry, but soon stopped thinking and started fighting.
    Seven of the eleven harpies attacked Honicora, while three tried to kill Mourg and the last was on the ground, out of breath. To gain a bit of breathing room, Honicora cut a wide arc through the cluster of harpies, neatly severing a first, cutting through the chest of a second and driving the harpies back. One darted in, attempting to take advantage of Honicora’s lowered guard, but Honicora swung her fist back into the harpies’ jaw, knocking her to the side. Readying her axe again, Honicora met the next attack with an uppercut with her axe, maiming another harpy, killing a second and nearly clipping the wing off the harpy returning from her earlier attack. The surviving harpies, dispirited by their slain sisters, fled from the battle.
    In the meantime, Mourg had held his ground against his own assailants, stabbing anytime one tried to get near. When they all charged him at once, Mourg lost the use of his spear once one was gutted on it, and so met the other two with a bellow and a fist. Knocking the first back with a broken face, he started fighting the last tooth and nail, until a knee jab and elbow to the face dispatched the last of his attackers. His old wounds had opened up again, but the rags worn by the harpies were so ridden with disease he would die faster from those than from bleeding. Luckily, the harpies had ambushed the Tauren close to the Bloodhoof settlement, so with Mourg leaning on Honicora’s shoulder the two set off.

    After several more minutes of walking and climbing, Honicora and Mourg came out of the valleys of the Thousand Needles and came out onto the main stretch of the Barrens. Off in the distance, about a mile away from their current position, was a large cluster of tents.
    “That‘s our village, there,” Mourg said. Despite his wounds, he looked like he would make it. Setting off again, they were quickly noticed by the scouts and were met by a small party. Taking Mourg off Honicora and carrying him to one of the tents, several warriors stayed with Honicora and started to ask her about their short journey. After detailing how she found Mourg, Honicora was about to start on the skirmish with the Harpies when several war whoops interrupted her.
    Turning about and drawing her axe, Honicora saw a group of Centaur riding towards them. Luckily, it wasn’t a full war party, but about a dozen individuals, likely on a raid. The warriors around her moved to meet them, and Honicora ran right behind them.
    As the Bloodhoof warriors spread out to meet the centaur, Honicora met three of the raiders herself. She met the first one’s overhead chop with her axe, shattering the shoddy weapon and disarming her foe. The second centaur stabbed at her exposed side, and despite her jump back he still grazed her. He jumped forward for another stab, but met Honicora’s sweep at the knees, sending him screaming to the ground. As she recovered and prepared to finish him, Honicora was hit in the side of the head by the third Centaur. Dazed and temporarily blinded, she was hit in the small of the back and sent sprawling to the ground, loosing her axe in the process. The marauder put his hoof on her back, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head up. Displaying a filthy, blood-stained knife, he grinned and stabbed at her neck.
    Slamming her head to the ground and pulling the centaur’s hand with it, the stab went astray and instead went through his wrist. Crying out in pain and letting go of Honicora, the Centaur stumbled back. Honicora picked up her axe from the ground and smashed the hilt into his face, sending him back further and bleeding from two places. Swinging hard, Honicora nearly severed his torso from his body, killing him in the process. Tearing it free, she turned to see how the rest of the battle was going. Reinforcements from the Bloodhoof camp had arrived, along with the mighty figure of Cairne Bloodhoof himself. The marauders were all either dead or fleeing, and the Tauren were victorious. Not without a price, however; Honicora could see a least two Tauren bodies, both from the first group that had met her. Turning to the still-living but legless Centaur, she walked over and stomped on his head, silencing the combination of curses and damnations he was throwing at her. Cleaning her axe and hoof, she was about to seek out Chieftain Bloodhoof when he came to her.
    “Greetings, sister. You are the one who brought back Mourg, yes?”
    Bowing her head in respect, she replied, “Yes, Chieftain. I found him in the canyons of Thousand Needles after he was attacked by a centaur raid.”
    Sighing heavily, Chieftain Cairne turned to look at the dead Centaur attackers, and the bodies of three warriors being carried into the village.
    “Many good Tauren have been slain by these Centaur demons. I am grateful that Mourg did not become another of those lost. Do you know what his mission was?”
    Nodding, she said, “His group was looking for supplies. I have heard that you are leaving for the coast.”
    “Yes, we are. I am taking my tribe to the shores of the Great Sea, in the hopes of escaping from these beasts.” Gesturing towards the dead Centaur, he continued. “For years, we have been hounded by these mongrels, and I will not see my tribe die out like so many others have.” Looking at Honicora, he asked, “Where have you come from, sister? You don‘t bear the symbol of any tribe I know of.”
    “I am Honicora Windrider, the last of the Windrider clan. The rest were killed by the Stonehoof Centaur.” After a moment, she added, “I would like to come with you, Chieftain. I don‘t want to see any more Tauren be destroyed like the Windriders. Would you accept me into your tribe?”
    After a moment of thought, Chieftain Bloodhoof agreed. “You are welcome to join the Bloodhoof, Honicora. As long as you hold your own in some way, we will accept you into the tribe. And on this journey, it seems we will need all the hands we can get.” Turning to the village and walking off, the Chieftain called back, “We will be leaving in a few days, so there is no need for you to make a tent for yourself. Just join in and help any way you can.” Honicora hesitated for a moment. It had been eleven years since she was last in any kind of Tauren community, and she didn’t know how well she would be able to fit in. Looking back at the desert of the Barrens and thinking about her solitary tent in the mountains, she made her decision. Turning back to the Bloodhoof village, she walked after Chieftain Bloodhoof.

    Several days went by. Honicora generally made herself useful, going on hunting trips and helping load the Kodo for travel. After several days, Chieftain Bloodhoof announced that the tribe was ready.
    “Gather your possessions and prepare yourselves for the road ahead, brothers and sisters,” he called out. “Today, the Earth Mother guides us along the path to survival and peace. The supplies are ready and the Kodo packed; we are ready to leave. If any of you wish to stay here, then you will be given your share of supplies and will be free to go.” No one took up the Chieftain on his offer.
    “Very well. The sick, the old and young will ride the Kodo, while the rest walk beside them. We will be traveling south, to the coast. Follow my lead, and do not hesitate to call out for rest if you need it.” With the short speech over, he turned and started walking. The caravan of a dozen Kodo and sixty Tauren followed, with Honicora walking alongside with a pack of herbs and bandages. The food and water were on the Kodo, with the lighter things carried by individuals to save space. Several elder Tauren were riding the Kodo at the front, with the other Kodo loaded with Tauren wounded by the Centaur. Mourg was only a few Kodo in front of Honicora, and it looked like he was doing fine. As the last Tauren left their village, Honicora turned and focused on watching for the Centaur raiders that would undoubtedly find the caravan.
    For two days, the caravan was unhindered by any danger, Centaur or otherwise. Honicora was nervous about the lack of Centaur, and took every opportunity to serve on watch duty that she could. As the barren desert slowly gave way to the trees and wildlife that indicated a coastal region, the caravan was still unchallenged. As the fifth day drew to an end and the caravan was stopped again, Honicora volunteered for the first watch of the night. Settling down to watch the northern flank, Honicora put her axe on her lap and waited.
    After almost two hours, towards the end of her shift, Honicora saw something moving towards the camp. Taking a makeshift flare - a long stick with dry leaves wrapped on the end - Honicora lit it and threw it into the darkness. It landed a bit off Honicora’s mark, but it still lit up the features of at least two Centaur. Letting out a cry to alert the other sentries, Honicora picked up her axe and prepared to battle.
    She was met not with Centaur foes, but an arrow. Striking her shoulder and knocking her back, she realized her mistake too late. The fire outlined her perfectly for the centaur, a perfect shot for archers. Tearing the arrow out of her shoulder, Honicora leapt to the side as more arrows were shot at her. She ran to the location of her thrown flare, where an archer was still standing and looking for Honicora. He saw her, but too late - once her axe was already swinging. Connecting with his shoulder, the blow crippled his arm and crushed his bow. Unfortunately, his cries alerted the other archers to her presence. An arrow slashed by her ear, close to taking her out. Diving to the side, she rolled up and smashed into another Centaur. With such close quarters, Honicora hit her opponent in the side of the face with a hook to the jaw. Pushing him back, Honicora kicked him in the chest, bowling him over. She swung an overhead chop down on him, smashing into something. He stopped cursing, however, so Honicora turned and looked for another opponent.
    The perimeter of the Tauren camp was being ringed with warriors, with sounds of fighting coming from several places on the line. Chieftain Bloodhoof was calling orders to the defenders.
    “Hold your formation! The Kodo must be protected!” he called out. Figuring that she would do better on the perimeter than wandering about out here, Honicora started running to a slight gap in the line, but stumbled over something in the dirt. Receiving a mouthful of sand, she spat it out, only to have a spear stab into the ground a foot away from her head. Kicking up, she hit something and received a cry of pain, and scrambling up she swung wide with her axe. It cleaved through the belly of her opponent, who cried out, clutching his stomach, and fell to the ground. Honicora froze; he fell to the ground on two legs. Dropping her axe and bending down, she saw the outline of horns and a snout. Coughing something warm onto her hand, he fell limp. Honicora was stunned into inaction until several Tauren stumbled on her.

    Bound and guarded by three warriors, Honicora received plenty of dirty looks and whispers from the other tauren nearby. Chieftain Bloodhoof had ignored her excuse, and was only concerned that Honicora had shed the blood of a fellow Tauren. To make matters worse, two centaur had slipped into the camp while Honicora was stumbling in the dark, and had killed five Tauren and a Kodo before warriors had arrived to fight them, one of which was killed as well. On a more pleasant note, the coast was only a day’s march away, but Honicora was hardly cheered by the news.
    That night, she was unbound for just a minute to eat a quick meal. Sleeping in the middle of the caravan, she was hardly given an opportunity to escape. Fear over what would take place as her punishment, Honicora decided to slip away anyway. She didn’t have any of her possessions, but she knew what Kodo they were on, and so she sat and waited. After several hours, towards the end of the second night watch, she quietly got up and walked over to the Kodo with her possessions, being careful to not step on anything. With her wrists bound, she was only able to fumble the axe out. Bending slowly down to the ground, she placed the axe on the ground and started chipping away at the rope binding her wrists. After cutting herself a few times, the rope gave out. Picking up her axe and a loaf of bread, she turned to the perimeter of the camp. With the half-dozen sentries posted, she would hardly be able to sneak by. Putting her axe away and taking a deep breath, she tore a chunk out of the bread and started running.
    The sentries called out almost immediately, and the camp was almost immediately filled with the calls of frightened Tauren and battle-ready warriors. The sentry nearest to Honicora made an attempt to get her, trying to tackle her with a flying leap. Barely evading the attack with a dive of her own, Honicora came back up and continued running. She quickly ran outside the ring of light surrounding the camp, followed by a group of warriors. Honicora slowed down slightly, confident that she was safe out of the sight of her pursuers, but despite that she continued running.
    After several hours of stumbling over dunes, through scraggy bushes and once on top of a sleeping scorpid, Honicora collapsed of weariness. Barely taking the time to find a spot next to a rock to lie down, she fell asleep.

    Honicora was woken up by the sun in her face. Standing up and rubbing her eyes, she looked around her. It was currently noon, and most creatures were hiding in underground burrows, away fro the hot sun. Honicora was next to a tall mountain range to her right, with the desert of the Barrens spreading out to her right. With only a loaf of bread as breakfast, she needed to find some source of food. That would need to wait until more creatures came out of their dens, so until then Honicora simply started walking.
    Several hours later, creatures started coming out again. The first one Honicora came across was a hyena, who was digging through the old, bleached remains of a wagon. It turned to regard her, and Honicora killed it with a heavy blow to the head. Lacking any kind of fire, Honicora skinned it with the blade of her axe and made a makeshift rack out of some of the ruined wagon. Hanging the strips of meat out to dry in the sun, Honicora sat down in the shade provided by the remaining wood, and kept a watchful eye on the slowly cooking meat for any predators that would try to take it. After killing another hyena and hanging it up with the first, and chasing off a raptor, several more hours had gone by and the sun was slowly setting. Taking the meat off the rack, Honicora ate some of it, and wrapped the rest in the skin of one dead hyena. Leaving the scraps for other scavengers, Honicora set off once again.
    That morning, Honicora started searching the mountains for somewhere to spend the day. The best way to travel the desert was to rest by day, as walking in the blistering heat would kill someone far sooner than hunger. Hoping to find shelter and water, which Honicora needed, she stumbled across a well-worn path winding up into the mountain. Not seeing the usual Tauren skulls that decorated the entrance to most Centaur camps, Honicora figured it was safe - but kept her axe in hand in case any trickery came from the inhabitants.
    As Honicora climbed, she failed to come across any real signs of habitation. The narrow pass had sheer cliffs on either side, so at least she was out of the sun. The cliffs gradually grew shorter as she walked on, and once they were only a few feet above her head she turned a sharp bend. There, she saw three things of interest. The first was a small stream trickling from some source above the canyon walls. The second was the customary totem poles that marked Tauren villages. The third was a brutish, black-furred tauren, holding a spear at eye level less than a foot from Honicora’s face.
    “Who are you, stranger?” he growled. Despite it being a question, he managed to say it as if it were a threat of violence, which hardly comforted Honicora.
    “Honicora Windrider,” she said, startled by the sudden appearance. “What clan is this? I haven’t heard of anyone living in these mountains.”
    “We are the Grimtotem, little Windrider,” he replied, again making it sound like ‘Grimtotem’ was actually a word describing the violent dismemberment of some living thing. “You are trespassing on our lands, and we usually kill visitors for that.”
    The malice in his voice revealed his intentions. When he stabbed forward just after he said that, Honicora ducked to the side, getting nicked in the ear. Afraid of killing another Tauren, Honicora instead hit the unbalanced warrior in the back of the head with the hilt of her axe, followed by a hoof to the small of his back. He yelled, more in fury than pain, and was quickly answered by the yells of his fellow Tauren. Cursing under her breath, Honicora jumped over the warrior and started to run down the path. The warrior grabbed her leg, however, tripping her over and smacking her into the ground. Winded by the unexpected attack, Honicora was quickly surrounded by Grimtotem warriors. Dragging her up, they started carrying her into the village, one bringing Honicora’s axe with them. The first warrior, who had greeted Honicora in the first place, snarled at her and tried to gut her right then. With her wind back, Honicora was able to kick off to the side, narrowly avoiding the attack and bowling over her captors. She was immediately restrained again, but the warrior was equally restrained, although he was struggling and even biting his fellow tribesmen. The two were dragged into the center of the village, in front of a large, decorated tent. One of the warriors called out to whoever was in there.
    “Magatha, we have a visitor.” He emphasized visitor with a slightly sarcastic tone.
    The Tauren that came out of the tent was old and wore the robes of a shaman. Despite her age and grey-streaked muzzle, she radiated a sense of power and strength.
    “Well then, what have we here?” she asked, studying Honicora. The old shaman, presumably Magatha, shot a glare at the struggling warrior for a moment.
    “Arnak, be silent! I will deal with you later,” she growled. Turning to Honicora, she continued studying her for a moment.
    “Release her,” she said. The guards at Honicora’s sides let her go, although they stayed right behind her, just in case.
    “What is your name, child?” Magatha asked.
    “Honicora Windrider,” Honicora replied.
    “Very well, Honicora. You have two options right now. For trespassing on our lands and assaulting one of our warriors, you can be executed,” Magatha said. “On the other hand, you can join the Grimtotem tribe, and only suffer the punishment for assaulting another warrior, which is almost nothing.”
    It seemed an obvious choice, and after only a brief moment Honicora replied. “I will join the Grimtotem, then.”
    “Be warned, Honicora, that you simply cannot join us. You must prove yourself before we allow you to become one of us. Luckily for you, the opportunity has presented itself. Kahn Stonehoof, the leader of a local Centaur tribe, has stayed behind while his warriors go to attack a Tauren tribe. The fool will, of course, be replaced by one of his victorious warriors, but until they return he has left himself without any guards. Go to the Stonehoof village, directly across from us, in the outcropping of rock right out there.” Magatha gestured out towards the Barrens, and indeed there was a column of rock jutting out from the ground.
    “Bring us the skull of Kahn Stonehoof, Honicora, or we will kill you instead.”
    Apparently done speaking with Honicora, the old Tauren turned into her tent. Taking her axe from a nearby warrior, Honicora turned to head back down the mountain path.
    “If you fail, little Windrider, I will rip your heart out myself!” Arnak yelled after Honicora. Ignoring him, Honicora stopped for a drink at the little stream, then walked down the path towards the Barrens.

    As Honicora traveled over the Barrens, she considered the effects of joining the Grimtotem. They were obviously a clan of warriors, although from her short experience with them she doubted that they were the honorable kind. Then again, the hot-blooded Arnak might not be a representative of the whole tribe, and they could be just as honorable as the Bloodhoof or the Windriders.
    After spending a full day and most of the second traveling over the dunes of the Barrens Honicora reached the jutting pillar of rock. She quickly found the Stonehoof village, as well, marked by the gristly walls made of Tauren hide. Walking up to a gap in the walls, Honicora looked inside.
    As Magatha had said, the village was mostly deserted. There was a pair of Tauren playing a game with horns of some sort, but other than that Honicora didn’t see anyone else. After taking a quick rest, eating the last of her dried hyena, Honicora drew her axe and ran into the camp swinging.
    Catching the pair completely by surprise, the first centaur only had time to cry out before Honicora’s axe silenced him. The second Centaur stood up and drew a long, curved sword, calling out to warn the village of Honicora’s attack. He charged at Honicora, sword in front of him, but was met by the flat end of Honicora’s axe, crushing his side and knocking him over. With a quick overhead strike, Honicora finished him off and turned to face any new threats.
    Only one Centaur was In sight. Wearing bloodstained metal armor, contrasting with the leather most often found on Centaur, and wielding a mighty axe that was obviously not made by Centaur hands, as it was made with as much skill as Honicora‘s. He towered over any other Centaur Honicora had seen, and by default Honicora herself. He looked around, and seeing only Honicora he began to laugh.
    “Only one puny Tauren to challenge me, the Kahn of the Stonehoof?” he mocked. Readying his axe, he charged at Honicora and swung wide at her. Jumping back, Honicora retaliated with a sweep of her own as the Centaur’s belly. Her opponent drove the head of her axe into the ground with his own, then ran inside her opened guard and impaled her on the hilt of her axe. Bodily lifted for a moment, Honicora fell to the ground, gasping for air. She barely had time to roll to the side, barely missing a decapitating strike from the Kahn, and jumping to her feet she kicked the axe, still stuck in the earth, out of Stonehoof’s grip.
    “I learned from the last encounter I had, little Tauren,” he growled, and drawing a short sword he lunged at Honicora. Honicora sidestepped, and the Kahn charged right by her, off balance from the momentum of his attack. Honicora swung hard after the Kahn, but he kicked with his hind legs, knocking Honicora’s own weapon from her. He turned around, smiling at the sight of his disarmed opponent, but before he could attack Honicora took her hyena-hide backpack and threw it in the Kahn’s face. While he was distracted, she ran to pick up her dropped weapon and turned to face her opponent. HE had picked up the sword dropped by the earlier Centaur, and came at Honicora swinging both. Honicora dived to the side, and bringing her axe up in a low sweep she smashed through one of the Kahn’s rear legs. Stonehoof bellowed in pan, and limping around he reared up and kicked Honicora full in the chest, sending her flying into one of the flimsy Centaur tents. Gasping for air, she tried to stand up, but a sharp pain in her chest prevented her from getting enough breath to do much.
    Kahn Stonehoof limped over to Honicora, slowed by the loss of his leg. Desperately searching for something Honicora could use - her axe was several feet away - she realized she was lying on a pole. Shifting over to get a grip on it, she waited for Stonehoof to arrive.
    “Why have you come to kill me, little one?” he asked. “To prove yourself to some tribe, or make a name for yourself?” He snorted at this. “Don‘t worry; you will always be remembered as the rug in my tent,” he said. He was within striking distance now; with a murderous look in his eye, Stonehoof raised his sword to strike.
    Honicora stabbed him with the broken pole in her hand. The splintered end drove through his gut, a fatal wound to any creature. Screaming in pain and spurting blood, Stonehoof dropped his swords and backed away. Summoning her strength, Honicora stood up, and ignoring the searing pain in her chest she picked up her axe. Turning to face the dying Kahn, she growled, “You have destroyed dozens of Tauren lives and driven countless more into misery. You destroyed my tribe, my people and my father, and now you, too, will die.” With those words, Honicora swung mightily, striking through the Kahn’s neck and ending his savage life.
    Several hours later, as the sun set, Honicora left the Stonehoof village with her loot. After raiding several tents, she had found plenty of rotting meat and several loaves of stale bread. Eating some of the bread and putting the rest of it in her hyena-hide backpack, she took the severed head of Kahn Stonehoof, and leaning on her axe she set off to return to the Grimtotem. With her tribe avenged and the burden of the dead Bloodhoof warrior lessened, Honicora was ready to start a new life with the Grimtotem. She had a feeling that this was a turn for the better, but she hardly knew for sure. Setting out into the Barrens, she felt at peace for the first time in her life.
    Across a mighty ocean, on another continent and another world, green-skinned aliens commandeered mighty ships out of their harbors. Humans fled from a tide of death, and above it all were the watchful eyes of an evil presence, longing for the power of this world. The Tauren knew nothing of it now, but soon they would, and soon the Tauren would get a center role in the story of Azeroth.


    Sorry about the length, but this is as short as I can get the story to be. If I try to copy it into my word processor, it crashes, so I don't know quite how long the story is. I, at least, think it is short enough to be considered a 'short story,' but I guess that will be up to the judges.

    And Tails96, would you mind putting hidden ([ Hidden=Story Title] [/Hidden]) tags around your story? Thanks.

    EDIT:
    Thanks to TwistedImage, I have a word count: 6367.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  14. TwistedImage

    TwistedImage

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    Actually, as long as it's below 7000 words, it is a short story. The next step on the ladder is a novella, which starts officially at 7500 words. :p

    Also, your story is 6367 words long. Yes, I counted them. *Cough.*
     
  15. Silly Lil Ant

    Silly Lil Ant

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    My finished thing!
    (it was a little rushed at the end but oh well )

    Two races are better than one

    Many High Elves fell in battle to the Scourge and Arthas. Some of whom were then forced to serve the Lich King. One example was Sylvanas Windrunner. She was brought back as a Banshee. However, not all high elves we quite this unfortunate. Some got the peace of the grave. One such high elf was Rivena Swiftwright. She was a rather slender, dark haired Elf. Her eyes shone bright blue. She was a Dalarani Sorceress. She was native to Dalaran and ironically that’s where she died at the hands of Arthas Menethil. Rivena had one close friend, Charlie Grape. He was about 6“1, blonde, blue eyed, well built human. He had a great fondness for Rivena, which made this even harder for him.

    Rivena was in her place of study. It was a rounded room with two exits, the walls were patterned with purple and orange in a High Elven style. Glistening blue shards moved gracefully around the room from the overly high ceiling to just above her head. Bookcases, which were carved with great care and to the standards of Antonidas, were full of mystical books. These bookcases covered the base of every section of wall. In the centre of the room was a wooden table and upon it laid a giant book open on an enchanting page. But behind the book, there at the table was Rivena; holding a necklace, which appeared to be rather old, in her right hand. She was casting some sort of enchanting spell on it, at that moment Charlie ran in.

    “ Rivena! We have to get out of here! Undead creatures have entered Dalaran!”
    Rivena did not seem affected by this at all and began another spell.
    “Rivena? We must go now!”
    Rivena finishes casting and says, “Perfect, Charlie I know you will not like this, but you have to take my necklace.” Charlie attempts to interrupt but Rivena doesn’t let him, “Take it to my daughter when this massacre has finished. I know my daughter will survive, she is a half-elf, she will strive to do her best! Go and hide, you cannot fail me. My time has come, the Prince of Lordaeron shall take my life but it will eventually be his undoing!”
    Charlie runs out the room, leaving Rivena behind. A horde of undead screeched, “Anar'alah belore! Vendel'o eranu!”, with that she began to conjour a fireball.

    “Here they come! Ready yourselves men!” a General shouted.
    Hordes of ghouls rushed round the corner. His shout was heard again: “Attack!”, and with that the archers at the back fired the arrows from their bows, the spell casters began to cast their spells and the warriors charged. These ghouls didn’t stand a chance, the defenders survived with the minimal casualties. Luckily there were several priests which resurrected the fallen. One Warrior removed her helmet, swishing her beautifully ginger hair from side to side. However, this slim lady was not quite Human! Her eyes, they were a brilliant glowing violet. She was a Half-elf. Violet eyes are rare for normal High elves, it is even rarer for a Half-elf.

    “Adelle, that was some brilliant fighting just then!”, the General exclaimed, “When we have rid Dalaran of these foul creatures, I shall put your name down to become a General just like me!”
    “Oh my, I never really thought I was that good at fighting! Thank you, General Peterson!”, Adelle was so shocked she didn’t even think to see how some of the other defenders where doing.

    Suddenly there was a massive cracking sound! The towers began to fall, it was then that the defenders knew they had lost. Chunks of rock fell above the defenders, they began to move but the General wasn’t quick enough. The rocks fell on his leg, crippling him. Adelle rushed to him with many of the other defenders. “Peterson, are you okay? We will move these rocks!”, Adelle said to him with distress.
    “Adelle, don’t worry about me!”, Peterson coughs and then continues, “By the time you have moved these rocks, that tower will fall on us.”
    “Work faster we don’t have long!”, Adelle called out to the others.
    “Adelle, take my sword…”, he coughs again, “take it to my sister’s son, Michael. He lives just North of here. The sword has been in my family for generations, I just want to continue the tradition!”
    “But, Peterson …”
    “Do as I say, this is my last order! As they say in Thalassian Anu belore dela'na! Take care.” The Tower began to fall, the defenders ran out of the area, Adelle took the Sword of Life. When she was out the area, she turned to see Peterson, He repeated those words again, “Anu belore dela'na!” With that the tower fell flat on Peterson. There was no noise, no sign of pain, no cry for help, not even a splat, just a big crash on the ground.

    Adelle turns to the other defenders, “Dalaran has been lost! We need reinforcements to regain and put our city back to its former self!”, she looks round at them all. “ General Peterson gave me one last order before he died, we are to take his sword to his nephew. I wish to respect his dying wishes and take this sword. However, I cannot do it alone, Undead roam our City and our land. Thus, to go out there alone will only bring death, but together we can purge this land of the dead and respect a general’s last wishes! To this I ask for your help, shall you join me, to send the dead back to their graves! Can you take arms with me?”
    Most of the spell casters gave Adelle a scornful look, High elf and Human alike. The warriors still had their helmets on so no reaction could be seen and the archers expressions were very similar to that of the spell casters. Then one challenged Adelle, “ Why should we, the defenders of Dalaran, follow some half cast, a hybrid of both Human and High elf! She is not one of us! She doesn’t have a great race like ours to protect. She would rather fulfil a dead man’s last wish than help salvage what we have left here!”
    “If you do not wish to follow me, then leave. If you are here to protect, then go out and protect!” Adelle replies. All but three archers, four spell casters and two warriors left.
    “ We will follow you!”, a spell caster said.

    Three days later, just outside the ruins of Dalaran. It had been a hard fight out of the city. They were down five soldiers, from the initial ten. They found themselves in probably the least corrupted patch of land. The grass was a lush green, the surrounding trees were thriving in colour. Although, it seemed that way because Adelle and the others had been fighting through a corrupted city for days. “ Miss Swiftwright, how far north in Lordearon do we have to go?” one spell caster asked.
    “I am not sure Zorias, although I do not think it is much further.” Adelle replied. She looked back at her home in ruins. “ I do hope my mother made it out alive.”, she said to herself.

    Zorias Silversmith is a dark haired, green eyed and fairly short human(he was about 5”6). He doesn’t give much away about his past, he is the sort of person who lives in the present. He ended up in Dalaran by a coincidence. He happened to be travelling when he spotted a Dalaran guard who was great injured. He then escorted him to the city. It was rumoured that he isn’t Human, he just takes the form of one. However, this rumour was proven wrong when Antonidas examined him!

    The five of them entered the trees. This was probably a bad move, since many creatures would have hid in these very trees when they smelt the stench of death walking their way. This would mean both hostile and passive creatures would be present. It was not long before they heard some Thalassian, the five of them rushed over as he sounded distressed.
    “ Okay stay calm, it was not your fault, you couldn’t get there in time to warn them.”, he muttered.
    “Excuse me! Mr…?”, spoke Adelle.
    “Oh, um… oh, I’m Mendell, Mendell Sunbow.”, Mendell replied.
    “So Mendell, who were you talking to?”, Adelle confusedly asked.
    “Oh, no one, just myself. Now what do you want miss?”, said Mendell.
    Adelle instantly replied, “ We need to find the home on Michael Fairgreen. Do you know where it is?”
    “Do I know? Do I know where Mike Fairgreen lives? Of course I know, he is my best pal! Here hold this while I stand up.” Mendell hands Adelle a book, it had a series of elven letters embrowned on it, none of which Adelle had ever seen before. As he rose Adelle handed the book back to him. “ Thank you miss! You are a half-elf aren’t you!”, he said out of the blue.
    “ Yes I am, Adelle Swiftwright is my name.” Adelle answered.
    “ Thought so, you looked Human, but then I saw those violet eyes, quite extraordinary. I’m a half-elf too.” Mendell was quite unorthodox even for a half-elf. He had blue hair and green glowing eyes. The Sunbow family were an obscure bunch of Elven Rangers,(bar this one, who was Half-elf)
    “I see, but back to Michael Fairgreen!”, Adelle said changing the subject.
    “Oh yes, right this way Miss Swiftwright! We will be there by dawn tomorrow.”, Mendell said marching on. The others were speechless, they didn’t quite know what to make of him. “Adelle? Are you sure we should follow him?”, Zorias quietly inquired.
    “He seems a little odd, but then what do you expect from a Sunbow?”, Adelle answered. The five of them then laughed and followed Mendell.

    Being a solider is possibly one of the worst jobs ever. Where ever you go you will find death, what ever you do will result in death. These six where no different. It wasn’t long before they found a village that had been destroyed by the Scourge. It was a small village, only about thirty residents. A well in the centre. Blight covering the village; dead trees, grass and other plants were scattered everywhere. Yes, that means the residents are zombies. “I think we should stop off at this village for refreshments.”, Mendell stated.
    “Good idea!”, Zorias replied.
    “Yuck! What’s that smell?”, John (the Archer) asked.
    Eleanor(a spell caster) vomited. “ That smell, that is the stench of death!”, exclaimed Thaddeus(the Warrior).
    “Prepare yourselves soldiers, I think we will be killing some zombies!”, Adelle warned as she drew her sword.

    The six of them slowly walked into the village with their weapons ready. At that point in time only seven zombies were visible.
    “Seven? Is that all? I can kill them all on my own!”, John arrogantly said to the others! With that he made the foolish mistake of firing an arrow at a zombie. The zombie fell on the floor and appeared to be dead!
    Adelle confusedly questioned John in a shocked tone, “John! What in the light’s name are you doing?” The zombie then rose and made a horrific noise, “Arr! My ears!”, Eleanor exclaimed dropping her staff whilst falling to the floor.

    Eleanor Norre’ettln is a High Elf, one of the few who did not hold prejudice against the Half-elves. She grew up with several Half-elven friends, much to her parents disgust. She found that they were the best parts of both races. The strong build of a human without Arcane addiction and high understanding of magic(though not quite as superior as High Elves) with wonderful glowing eyes! The fact that she accepted Half-elves in society, lead to this tall, long blonde haired elf with florescent green eyes being cast out from society. This is one of the many reasons she for her being the way she is.

    The zombie just stood! It looked at the six of them. Adelle heard noise from behind, she turned! There were several Zombies slowly coming closer. More and more appeared out of nowhere, this was exceeding the thirty original occupants. These were the Undead from all around. “ Adelle, John, Thaddeus, Zorias and Eleanor, it has been nice knowing you all!”, Mendell obscurely said! “Mendell, shut up! Draw your bow! We are not going down without a fight!”, Adelle uneasily said.

    The zombies rushed at them, Zorias conjoured up a fire ball, firing it at several. John and Mendell flung arrows in the air. Thaddeus and Adelle charged back at them, slicing arms and legs as they went. One arrow went right through a zombie’s chest, this didn’t affect it in the slightest. “Adelle! They aren’t dying!”, John shouted. Adelle jumped in the air and spun herself round. Her sword followed making a clean cut around a zombie’s head. Blood spurted out everywhere. The Zombie fell to the ground and didn’t come back up. “You have to cut their heads off! John see if you can pin any to the ground!”, Adelle, who was quite pleased, shouted. A zombie crept up behind Adelle and was about to rip her head off when an arrow hit in the back, forcing it to tumble over Adelle! She then chopped it’s head off. “Like that?”, John shouted.
    Adelle turned and chuckled, “Yes! Just like that!”

    “They keep coming!”, Thaddeus shouted.
    “There can’t be too many more! Just keep fighting!”, Adelle exclaimed. They continued to fight the horde, then Mendell shouted, “Damn, I’m out of arrows!”
    Adelle turned to Mendell, slicing off another Zombie’s head along the way, she tossed her spare sword to Mendell calling, “Mendell! Catch!”
    Mendell barely just noticed the sword right before it hit him! It almost ended up on the floor when he caught it. While he was down on the ground he sliced he legs off the incoming horde! Adelle, turned back to Thaddeus. That was when she saw a most horrific thing in the world. Thaddeus suddenly became overwhelmed by ghouls and zombies. Adelle tried to get over to him, but there was too many! Then, all of a sudden she saw a hand pop out of Thaddeus’ head. Blood sprayed all everywhere and his brain splattered out in every direction.

    Thaddeus Renn, a master swordsman. He grew up in the forests of Quel'Thalas due to his father being interested in the way the High Elves behaved compared to Humans. When he was about sixteen, Thaddeus had become quite fond of the ways of the Elves. However, when the Orcish horde burnt the Eversong Forest, Thaddeus and his father fled to Dalaran. Here, Thaddeus learnt how to wield the blade. For fifteen years he trained, until his death!

    The hand then was withdrawn from Thaddeus’ skull. The body of the warrior dropped to the ground. There stood an Undead that looked nothing like that of the usual Undead! This one seemed to have some kind of mind. He took one look at Adelle’s blade and then turned away. Adelle looked down towards the Sword of life, it was glowing red! When she looked up, the Undead horde were fleeing.

    “They are running! We showed them!”, John said stating the obvious. Zorias and Mendell hurried to Eleanor, who had not moved since the zombie screeched. John glanced at them, but noticed Adelle wasn’t there. He looked round and saw Adelle staring at Thaddeus’ corpse. He turned just in time to see the Sword of life turn back into a metallic colour. He didn’t mention it to Adelle, but instead he called to the other, “Quick get Eleanor up! She can bring Thaddeus back to us using her healing powers!” Zorias and Mendell got Eleanor to her feet, but Adelle shook her head.
    “That … that, creature tore out his brain. His hand went straight through Thaddeus’ skull! Even if Eleanor is stable enough to resurrect him, he will be like them! We should leave him, in one of these houses!”, Adelle preached.
    Zorias came over to the body of Thaddeus along with John. They took him into the nearest house.

    “Mendell, how much further till the home of the Fairgreens?”, Adelle asked.
    “It is not far, but if this is the condition every village is in, I don’t think it to be wise in having another stop!” , Mendell answered.
    “Good, as soon as the others come outside we shall leave.”, stated Adelle.

    Some hours later, the five of them were wandering through the forest. By now it had gotten dark and the huge pine trees were rustling in the wind. As they continued the forest became even more darkened and mysterious! All was quiet, until suddenly a hooting sound came from the trees. “Oh my, what in the light was that?”, John gasped in a shocked tone.
    “Relax John, they are only Owls!”, Mendell said in a half comforting and half teasing way.
    “Ah, I knew that!”, John says hastily, “It’s just all this fighting! Those creatures they…”, he paused and then continued, “They have killed so many of my friends!”

    John was of an average human build. He had brown eyes and longish hair. Though Zorias is classed as the odd one, John has more mystery to his character. For instance, he has never mentioned his surname, nor title. This ranger was not from Dalaran, in fact no one knows where he came from. However, his generally cheery attitude to life helped him become accepted by the Magi of Dalaran! He often mentions people from his past in tales, though these tales are usually set all around Azeroth. This would mean that any attempt at pin pointing his origin would be futile.

    John continued “I’ve never even heard of a force that capable of destruction, not even those Orcs could massacre so many innocent and feel no remorse!”
    “Hey, look on the upside! We are still here. They have barely scratched us!”, Adelle said faintly as she fainted, falling to the ground. John rushed to her!
    “Adelle? Adelle!”, Zorias called to Adelle when he sighted this event.
    “Is she okay?”, Eleanor asked as she tripped on a log.
    “Don’t trip Eleanor!”, Mendell said with laughter.
    “Imbecile!”, Eleanor bitterly said, with an evil look on her face.

    John turned Adelle, who had gone head first into the mud. John notice she wasn’t breathing, so he took her armour off. There was a massive red patch on her top, it was increasing in size rather rapidly. “She is bleeding! Eleanor heal her up, quick!”, John exclaimed. Eleanor cast her healing spell, yet nothing happened! “It isn’t working!”, Eleanor stated!
    “Did she eat any of the grains at that village?”, Zorias asked.
    “That doesn’t matter right now! Mendell, how far till Fairgreen manor?”, John hastily queried.
    “Did she eat anything from that village?”, Zorias asked again.
    “Not far, in fact it is just up that hill!”, Mendell said in a distressed tone.
    “Did she…”, Zorias began but was interrupted by Eleanor saying, “Come on boys, pick her up! We have some running to do!” By now Zorias had realised none of them would listen to him, so he just helped the others run up the hill with Adelle.

    There inside this house was a man, a man not much older than twenty. He had brown hair with hazel eyes. He was sitting at a large table silently. It was as though he was waiting for the arrival of something. Then out of the blue a knock came from the door that echoed all around the old building. This knock was followed by a second knock and then a third a fourth and a fifth. The man rushed to the door and opened it. There was Mendell, who was out of breath, with the others carrying Adelle behind him.

    “Mendell? What are you doing here?”, the man asked.
    “Mike, I’m sorry to …”, Mendell paused to catch his breath, “I’m sorry to burst in like this but we need to come in!”
    “What? Why? What has happened?”, Mike Fairgreen questioned with a concerned tone in his voice, whilst Mendell barged in followed by the others carrying Adelle.
    “Adelle is bleeding! Our priest can’t heal her wound! You must have some book on curing her!”, Mendell exclaimed.
    “Right! Put her on the big table!”, Mike said rushing off to the big bookcase, pulling out books.
    “Eleanor, you didn’t do a lot of fighting back there did you?”, John asked.
    “It wasn’t my fault, that dead thing screeched! My ears are still ringing with that terrible sound.”, Eleanor replied in a defensive way.
    “Wait! What dead thing?”, Mike questioned as he stopped pulling out books.
    “This dead creature. Back at the village not far from here!”, Zorias replied.
    Mike had a horrified look on his face when he asked, “Do you mean Blackadder village?”
    “Yeah, I think that is the one! Why is it important?”, John replied.
    “It could be!”, Mike said rushing to the other side of the book case tripping over books.

    “Eleanor, did she eat any of that food?”, Zorias asked.
    “Um… I think so! Why?”, Eleanor answered in a confused manner.
    “Mike, look for a book on plagued food!”, Zorias sternly said then hurried to the bookcase.
    “What will that do?”, Mendell asked.
    Looking for books, Zorias replied, “There were these wizards who once lived in Dalaran. However, they were cast out for necromancy. While they were still in Dalaran, I atteneded one of their talks on Necromancy. They were talking about this way of using food to turn our enemies into mindless zombies.”
    “ Necromancy? There is a book about that in the other room! Mendell read through this book!”, Mike stated passing the book called ‘The Big Troll Cook Book’.
    Zorias then continued, “ I was going to report them for it, but someone already did!”
    “How does this help?”, John asked.
    “Well, if I am correct these Necromancers are behind this, and Adelle will turn into a Zombie unless we find the cure!”

    John, Mendell, Mike and Zorias were frantically rushing through the books, while Eleanor sat talking to Adelle. Adelle was unconscious but she still seemed to acknowledge Eleanor’s voice. “Yes!”, John excitedly shouted, “Look here, we need some strong alcohol, Life root and a Purple Lotus.”
    “Alcoholic beverages are this way!”, Mendell exclaimed rushing off.
    “There are some Life roots upstairs.”, Mike said rushing up the stairs.
    “We just need a Purple Lotus now.”, came out of Eleanor’s mouth in a depressed tone.
    Mendell came back with all the alcohol he could carry, followed by Mike who had a Life Root.
    “Why so sad Eleanor?”, Zorias asked.
    “My necklace, it is made from a Purple Lotus. It was given to me by my mother right before she died.”, Eleanor said.
    “Oh, Mike do you have a Purple Lotus anywhere?”, John asked.
    “I’m afraid not!”, he replied.
    Eleanor removed her necklace and broke it. “Use this Purple Lotus!”, Eleanor insisted as she gave it to Zorias.
    “Are you sure?”, Zorias queried.
    “Yes, now hurry up and save Adelle!”, Eleanor commanded.
    Zorias read the book, that John was holding, aloud and Mendell followed the instructions.

    It wasn’t long before Adelle awoke. She picked up the Sword of Life and asked, “Are you Michael Fairgreen?”
    “Yes, I am! Why do you ask?”, he replied.
    “This sword is yours! You are the closer living relative to Anthony Peterson!”, Adelle said slowly with a sigh of relief on her face. Mike took the sword and Adelle began to speek. However, she had barely enough time to say a word when a familiar face ran in through the door.
    “Mike! Is Adelle here?”, Charlie called out.
    “Adelle who?”, intrigued by Charlie’s presence Mike asked.
    “Swiftwright! Adelle Swiftwright! You know your uncle’s daughter!”, Charlie shouted coming into the main room. Adelle looked confused when Mike said, “I think he would have preferred you to have it!” Adelle began to speak but was interrupted by Charlie, “Your mother is dead Adelle! She gave me this necklace to give to you!”, Charlie gave it to Adelle. She was clearly too shocked to take everything in at once.

    The necklace was a golden chain with an Emerald green pendant on it. Engraved on the back it said:

    ‘ Adelle, my dearest daughter,
    If you are reading this then I am dead. Do not cry for me
    as this is a time of great loss. I have given my necklace to Charlie, he is the only one I
    trust enough to take this to you! I have placed some magic on my necklace. I placed a
    part of me inside. When ever you are in danger wear me and I shall protect you. I call
    this the Eternal Necklace. I love you, and I feel as though I have kept this from you
    much too long but General Peterson is your father. I told him not to speak of it to
    anyone as his rank would be stripped from him! I just couldn’t do that to him. Seek
    him out! As you know he is a strong warrior and is likely to survive anything. I love
    you Adelle, I really do!’

    The Sword of Life shone purple, but it changed to a dark sot colour!
    “Adelle, your sword?”, John stated.
    “I have a bad feeling about this!”, Zorias exclaimed.
    Screeches came from outside, Adelle looked out the window and saw that Undead again..
    “Prepare yourselves boys … and girl. We have an army to fight!”, Adelle Warned the others as she placed the Eternal Necklace around her neck and rose the Sword of Life.

    One month later, in Finnall Goldensword Camp. “Lieutenant Swiftwright, take your group to the south side! The rest of you follow me!”, ordered Finnall Goldensword.
    “As you wish! Zorias, Mendell and Eleanor walk this way! Let us avenge our fallen friends”, Adelle said. With that the four of them went to the south side to fight the Scourge!

    -The End-



    4350 words! Please say if you don't like the font because I will change if requested!
     
  16. Traxamillion

    Traxamillion

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    A Family Torn Asunder (FINAL)

    Growing up in Darrowshire was wondrous for the children that’s families farmed the lands east of Castle Lordaeron, it was gorgeous and lush, it seemed to be the epicenter of life itself. This was all true until the day the corruption of a single sword could shatter a world of peace. Arthas the Prince, made a pact with evil that day, when he held his own father at the pinnacle of his blade. Word had even spread to Darrowshire that Arthas had claimed the life of Uther, the light in this world of dark. The families of Darrowshire along with many others gathered at his tomb outside of Andorhal west of here. It seemed now that hope was lost for our people. Arthas and his scourge ravaged the lands of Azeroth, destroying everything pure and lively in his path. Without a King, nor a Kingdom, we were in peril. The remaining government officials gathered at Andorhal’s Town Hall in an attempt to direct the people and conjure up some sort of reassurance that our survival would be guaranteed. The meeting turned into a dispute between the officials, eventually involving the citizens. With news from the west, the people gathered all soldiers they could muster with the help of men drafted in. In Darrowshire we had no news of this yet, and went on with life unaware of Arthas‘ forces heading our way.

    That night I was awoken by violent knocking at the door. I sat up and looked around skittishly. My mother swung the door of my room ajar, and motioned for me. I grabbed my Teddy Bear and proceeded into her arms. She pointed to the bear and told me to close my eyes and squeeze it tight if I were to be afraid. The bear was given to me by her, she had told me that it was her bear once and her mother’s before her. Assuring me that the bear would bring me comfort in the event that she would not be at my side to coddle me. We rushed downstairs to the door where my father was speaking to a knight of Andorhal. I tried desperately to make out the words but the sounds of screaming, yelling and drums filled the air. I glanced up at my mother in confusion, she patted my head and forced a small smile out of the side of her mouth than quickly glanced up at my father awaiting his words as if it were air to breathe. My father lowered his head in despair. He turned to my mother and nodded his head, she quickly ran up stairs. You could here shuffling with heavy material. My father approached me, at the time I did not understand what he was telling me, I was so young and knew nothing of what was yet to come. He leaned forward and kissed me on the forehead telling me how much he loved me, pulled back and smiled. The way his mustache curled always made me light up inside. My mother rushed down back and forth dropping off large instruments. Finally she walked down slowly holding a sheathed sword. She was crying, my father tried to comfort her but she became hysterical. He then suited himself in the armor she had displayed on the floor. He ran his metallic hand over the shield and swept the dust from the crest that it bore. It was the Redpath’s family seal, a red phoenix grasping a sword in one its talons and a sack in the other. He attached the sword to his hip and pulled on the leather making sure it was firmly kept at his side. At times like this I had my sister to shed some light on the current affair, but I was in the dark this time around. With the family scattered in various parts of Azeroth, there was a sort of panic for the others well being. Another knight approached the house adding some insight to the conversation at hand. My father nodded in understanding and placed his helmet over his head. Although he resembled a knight his red bushy eyebrows brought me clarification that he was still the same man. He placed his hand over his heart and shut his eyes for a second. He then stared into both my mother and my eyes alike, and stepped outside the house. My mother followed with me at her hand. The gathered militia started to march towards the bulwark. My father took Shea our horse and rode to the front of the marching ranks. Mother fell to her knees and wept violently as the men made way. I had never seen her this way in my life thus far, I had no idea what to do. I handed her the bear and her cries grew softer. She hugged me close to her. I wrapped my arms around her head and pressed my face above hers. I looked around to analyze the situation and noticed my uncle Carlin running towards us. He was already suited for battle. My uncle had fought the Orcs in the second war. As like any of the second war veterans he bore a necklace of teeth and bone derived form Orcish corpses. He kneeled down quickly by us and my mother reached out and hugged him. He quickly understood what had happened and interrogated my mother about where the platoon was heading. After the discussion he made haste towards Andorhal. He had told my mother that if we had no news of the battle in two days time, to head to the chapel east of town. We headed into the house and tried to remain calm. My mother fixed me a warm meal and assured me that everything would be fine. She forced her mouth into a fake smile that was high-lighted by her soaked eyes. He smile began to twitch and she turned away quickly. I looked down from where I sat, reading our family names carved into the floorboards, “Pamela” read one of the boards. My father had carved it when I was born, along with my other siblings. I pushed out my chair and sat on the ground. I ran my fingers across indented ground. By then it was nearly morning and the platoon would be reaching Andorhal soon. I went upstairs with my mother and fell asleep in her arms. I dreamt of terrible things, I saw fire and monsters and the town of Andorhal in ruins. The next day things seemed more normal but still, the facts loomed over head. Hope was diminishing along with the beauty of our home land. A red storm was transfixed over the west where our friends and family were sent to fight. My mother remained in tears although she had improved, in that she held herself together. I tried endlessly to keep my mind busy the whole day, but like an illness, I was constantly drawn back into pain. I prayed to the gods time and time again to watch over our men and bring them home safe, though it would seem my pleading would be in vain. That night my dreams re-occurred in all of its horror. I woke abruptly when my door swung open, it was like De Ja Vu all over again my mother motioned me towards her and I grabbed my bear once again. Although it seemed remarkably similar, this time there was no one here to reassure us. My mother grabbed the rug downstairs and flung it across the room, there lied a hatch leading under the house. She opened it and placed me inside, she cried and told me she loved me over and over again. I was so confused, I started to whimper in fright. She handed me the teddy bear and placed one finger over her mouth. I understood what I had to do and shifted under the floor beneath where my name had been carved. She shut the hatch and everything grew dark. I could see a bit through the cracks in the floor. My mothers figure rushed upstairs and shut the door. Almost simultaneously the front door busted open. I winced as if I had been hit, but the pain was merely a fabrication. What entered the house was not human, it crawled on all fours and made a bone cracking noise at its every move. It stopped in the middle of the room, and breathed in heavily. Sniffing and snorting. It then screeched and sprinted up stairs, I squeezed tightly on my head hoping to drown out all sound but what followed was dreadful screams that leaked through my shrouded hearing. My eyes filled with water and the screaming ceased. I knew at this point I was alone unless my father or uncle had survived the battle. The creature made its way down the stairs, stamping its boney feet on each step. It made its way back to the door, and stopped as if it had forgotten something. It once again breathed in deeply and my eyes widened in terror. It pounced on the floor above me and started to pry the boards up. It cackled with a ghastly voice and blood dripped from its mouth and seeped into the cracks. I shut my eyes tight and squeezed my teddy bear with all of my strength. Suddenly a shout from a young being filled the house and a loud smashing noise ended the creature’s plans. I slowly opened each eye in hopes that this was all over. The rest of the boards were pried up but this time I did not fear whoever sought me. Finally a young hand dropped in and opened in my direction, I grabbed and he pulled me up. He was a handsome young man, he had a short sword and a shield that was a bit big for him, I would say he was fourteen, three years older than I. He told me his name was Darion Mograine. He was very gentleman like and tried not to startle me, but at the same time he urged us to press on, and leave Darrowshire. I asked him about the battle at the bulwark and Andorhal, but he knew nothing of its outcome. He hailed east of here at Corin’s Crossing. He was saddened when he spoke of his town, and I quickly connected the dots. It seemed that Arthas’ scourge was all around us, not only coming here form the west. Darion spoke of the same chapel that uncle Carlin mentioned. He told me that if we wanted to survive that the chapel was our only hope. Darion was smart, he had all these rules of surviving, like keeping off the roads, and traveling quietly with dirty clothing in order to blend in. We had to pass through Corin’s Crossing to get to the chapel. But with the scourge infestation we had to take a risk that would mean our lives. The town was only a mile up from Darrowshire. As we approached he pulled me with him into a bush. He pointed forward, and I witnessed terrible monsters and violence being brought upon innocent citizens. One creature seemed to have authority over the rest, He was absolutely vile, his embodiment was that of hundreds of corpses sown together. He wielded a Cleaver made from a tree trunk and a windmill blade. His other hand moved constantly with a swinging motion the object in his hand was a giant chain with a bloody hook on the end. His disgusting appearance was centered around his stomach which resembled another mouth. It had rib bones as teeth and its flesh looked like that of a tongue. It placed the corpses of the townsfolk in its gut, which seemed to empower and revitalize the beast. Darion grabbed me and led me to the forest outside the town. There was a small fishing pond on our route through were we replenished with water, we were so tired, due to the crash of adrenaline we constantly shared. We pressed onward, but stopped short at the sound of howling. We hid under a rock enclave. A pack of hounds surveyed the area, they were undead beasts with a blood thirsty appetite. Darion told me that they would eventually find us if we stayed. He jumped out and taunted them slapping his sword against the shield. They charged and he fought, he yelled to me to run, and I did. I was a ways ahead when I glanced back. Darion still stood, but so did another figure, one who was the size of a man, but casts a shadow darker than oil. The figures eyes emitted smoke as frozen and blue as Icecrown itself and the object in his hands bore markings and runes of Northrend. I ran until I was to fatigued to move, I laid in the dirt gasping for air, but my body could not deliver. I was so tired and I could see the chapel in the distance. The ground began to shake and a stench of rotting filled the air. I pulled myself upright to witness the creature of flesh that was the size of a home. I tried to crawl away but he grabbed me with the hand that once held that dreaded hook. He dragged me towards him, and my fingers filled with dirt as they carved lines into the plagued earth. I never knew if Darion survived or if any of my family had lived through the plagued war. I still wait at the farm for my father to ride into Darrowshire, it’s been several years but my hope still burns within me. I am bound to Darrowshire, my ghastly appearance is rarely recognized by mortals. I will wait for as long as it takes to see my family again. My Teddy is scattered amongst Darrowshire in pieces, Hopefully one day someone can help me find all of him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  17. TwistedImage

    TwistedImage

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    Ant, I hate the font. :p
     
  18. Traxamillion

    Traxamillion

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    Ok so we have Midnighters as a Judge, we need one more Judge. Please someone come Judge please.
     
  19. Midnighters

    Midnighters

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    The max amount is 5,000 as said in the entry form.
     
  20. TwistedImage

    TwistedImage

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    Why are you arguing when I never said anything in either direction? I simply stated that his story is, in fact, a short story; I said nothing about the contest whatsoever.
     
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