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 Hillsbrad's fall.

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Drilac'n
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Posts : 487
Join date : 2009-10-29
Age : 26
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PostSubject: Hillsbrad's fall.   Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:51 pm

Special Thanks to Jullian Von Krakken, Haluthious Von Outon, Anethrax, Arli, the Thorns, Hollye, Erethorn, Tiaraszh, and the knights of Lordaeron. I wrote this for KoL, and it details the final day of Hillsbrad, the Fall of Southshore and The Shattering. I hope those involved enjoy it, as well as anyone who wants to read for enjoyment.




Dark Clouds slowly filled the sky, huge looming anvils that blotted out the sun, a rumble of thunder in the distance rolling over the hills as it struck Southshore. The Town itself was quiet, the bell silenced for use exclusively to mark the forewarned arrival of the Forsaken army in the following week, and the buildings fire damaged from the earlier assault but nonetheless intact. Citizens and Soldiers marched quietly, as no-one dared utter a word as they all knew what was coming, and every one of them had fear in their hearts. Nervous Children and weeping women provided the only sound in the Town, except the slow, dragging of feet. Every Man, Woman and Child not capable of holding a sword was being evacuated from Lordaeron, alongside those rich enough to avoid the battle preparations. The Tower, taken over by the military, was the centre of activity, with the docks a close second. Shipments of Armour, weapons and magical items were being imported in from Menethil, the transport ships then being used to evacuate any Citizens that didn’t have Relatives in Arathi, and preferred not to travel to the Fortified Hillsbrad fields to the west. And yet, despite the careful, painstakingly organised evacuation only one single ship had departed, and aboard were only the Nobles and traders who could afford to buy passage on this first ship. A Second waited by the Dockyard, Sails already set for the seas, Evacuees already walking up the gangplank, only a few valuable possessions in their hands. A Crow, far in the distance squawked shrilly, the stable master tried hard to comfort his spooked horses, but still all was quiet.

Today had been a long day for Hollye Zeal-Lorath. She was the Commander of the Knights of Lordaeron and, alongside Marshal Redpath; general of the Defence of Southshore. Her entire day had been filled with boring but important procedures, inspecting the civilian Recruits, checking the defences, presenting the tactics to the imported soldiers and regulating the Evacuation. And if that wasn’t hard enough, she had her husband, Erethorn, constantly worrying about her safety, fussing over her at almost every minute, the man already spooked by her role in the earlier battle and her current physical situation. He had managed to persuade several of the stronger recruits to form a bodyguard for her, a job they took all too gladly, and would follow her everywhere, until she had to literally shoo them out of her room at night. However one spark of glory was that the defences, Designed by Hollye herself, were easily sufficient to hold off a huge army, far larger than the one that had attacked two days past. Despite their shortcomings, Hollye was confident that they could hold off the undead, defences sent in from Stormwind, the nobles spooked by the Sunday assault, and worried they may lose their main trade route in the North. Stakes, laid around the Graveyard and the perimeter, offered strong protection against mounted assaults and a strong charge, completely negating any strength of arms the invaders had. Deliberate gaps in the stakes had been left, in order to bottleneck the assaulting army, rigged with frost traps to slow down their assault, leaving room for the Archers in the Tower to pick them off. Also, a large ballista, donated by Kul Tiras, sat upon the nearby hill, surrounded by a barricade of stakes, overlooking the entire town. The Town hall had also been fortified, the windows boarded up, and the main door re-enforced, holes cut in the wall behind it to facilitate crossbows. They had the eventuality of a last stand planned out, and the scales tipped in their favour. Lastly there were the Warships. Four, heavily armed Battleships anchored just over the Horizon, ready to sweep in should the Town hall be besieged, a plan that would be activated by Thirteen long peals of the Town bell. The Heavy Ballista’s mounted onto the battleships could clear the Town in seconds, should it be overrun. And then there was the Tower. Archers stood at every Arrow slit, and the Murder holes that stood above the gate ready with Molten Lead to pour down on any attackers. Marshall Redpath planned to take his last stand there, and had the wooden staircase up to the top rigged to collapse, the trap triggered by a lever at the top. Should he and his Bodyguards be forced to fall back to the tower, they would fight the undead at every level on the way, and, with a bit of luck, the Forsaken will pile onto the staircase in bloodlust, numbers far too large for its normal structural stability. At this point the Staircase will be triggered to collapse, letting the walking corpses fall to their final deaths.


Surprisingly, the Apothecaries had been decidedly vocal about their plans, announcing the day they will attack, as well as offering terms and advising Evacuation, giving them a few weeks to organise it. As such, the Evacuation plans had been carefully drawn out, and Every last Citizen should be out of the town in the following two weeks. The Apothecaries had even visited the Knights, often alone and unarmed, claiming to cling to some shreds of Honour and fairness. Another Summit had been planned for today, The Apothecaries offering one last chance before the battle for offering Terms, and Hollye planned to make use of that. The Summit was to be made on Southshore turf, in the Graveyard, between the outer and inner rim of stakes. Hollye had three trained crossbowmen aim for the meeting point, just in case anything went wrong. Looking nervously up at the Clock, Hollye watched the minutes slowly tick by before noon.

As the Two hands crossed bolt upright, a splash of water touched the clock face. Another struck the roof of the tower, as another landed in the graveyard, being joined by several others that pattered upon the dry ground. More and more drops fell, as the heavens broke and delivered their heavy payload down upon Southshore, large drops splashing down upon the town as the skies darkened, some Evacuees running for cover, others leaning back and feeling the wet rain fall on their hot, red faces. A Rumble of thunder, heard from across the hills, as a Shadowy figure steps out from the mist stepping between the stakes, a dark robed body, walking with a long rod as a walking stick. The rod, ornate in design had a red ball at the upper end clenched in a golden fist. Hearing the watchman cry, Holly turned to look at him, walking slowly and carefully towards her. Watching him approach Hollye steps out towards the Forsaken, looking at suspiciously as the Watchman shouts out to him to drop any weapons he is carrying, a command which is quickly, and strangely responded to. Unfastening his belt he pulled it out, the leather strap covered in Metal canisters with glowing green contents, vials, knives and bombs, before dropping it heavily on the ground next to him to a gasp of fear by a few onlookers. Citizens, waiting to board the boat stopped, turning to look at the sinister figure. Continuing to walk, he came closer, the lack of visibility given by the rain and mist hiding his features, yet his race was certain; he was one of the undead. Gathering her spirits Hollye, her bodyguards around her, stepped forwards as well, walking up to meet him as he stopped, standing on a grave in the centre of the cemetery, leaning heavily on his staff. As Hollye got closer, his features finally came into view, the top of his head bald, wispy purple hair sticking out around his dome, slicked back, spread out. His mouth was large, the corners held up by an intricate series of threads, one hanging loose by its side. Apart from the Staff, he was obviously unarmed.

“-Good- Evening Commander, I trust you are finding our chats… -helpful?” The Apothecary wheezed his grin stretching and his arms held wide, almost welcoming. “I –trust- you are going to listen to reason this time?”
“Say your peace, beast, and begone, you are not welcome here.”
Hollye spoke the words with confidence, given by the crowd watching her, her station bolstering her and giving her strength in the tense situation. The Apothecary on the other hand seemed to care little about the mob before him, his concentration solely on Hollye.
“And –you- wonder why –we- don’t like you… Well I am here to deliver a message to you, and the message is what I shall deliver.”
“Go on.”
“Leave Hillsbrad now. Lay down your arms and you -will not- be harmed. We ask for a tribute of five cattle, five sheep, five men and five… -women- of each of your Alliance races, to be given to the Society on a –Monthly- basis. We are also to have free reign of your lands to the south, allowed to go anywhere without fear of assault. We also ask that every last herb and spice that is owned by the Alliance to be gifted to the Society, as a gesture of… -good- will.”
“Or?”
“I kill you, right here, right now.”
Nodding, Hollye responded carefully, choosing her words;
“Give me a minute to discuss this with my advisors.”
As this Hollye turned to her bodyguards and whispered to one of them.
“He has directly threatened us. If we attack him now, it is in self-defence. No Honour lost.”
Nodding, the Bodyguard turned and sprinted away, Hollye turning back to The Apothecary, who was in the process of looking down and patting the ground with a foot, his grin seemingly absent minded, without a care in the world. Strangely, when looking at it Hollye felt comforted, but at the same time unnerved...
“You will kill me. Are you aware that you are horrifically outnumbered? What can one apothecary do against a Town full of people? Take your troops and go. Southshore is Peaceful. It-“
Hollye’s reasoning was cut of suddenly by a whooshing sound, A Crossbow bolt shooting out and striking the Undead right in the cheek. A Sound of ripping flesh is head, Hollye stepping quickly back and throwing her arms over her face in protection. Time seemed to slow, as the previous events replayed in her head, the Forsaken’s head turning on impact… it had to have killed him, a direct blow to the cheek like that… Slowly, with an air of caution, she lowered her arms, and as she saw the Forsaken, she took a shocked step back. He was standing and worse… Slowly, He drew himself to his full height, shrugging off his cloak, which fell to the floor behind him. The threads holding up his grin had snapped from the impact, and his mouth now hung from his cheeks, the corners curving dramatically down, his teeth bared and his eyes wide, blue and yellow light swirling around them and sinking into their horrific bottomless pits. His skin rippled his eyes angry and vicious. Raising his staff he twisted it in the air, spinning the shaft above his head, and called out
“What can one Apothecary do? This!” As, with a final spin, he rammed the Rod into the grave, the red wood sinking several feet through the soft soil, the fist on the top opening wide. Looking down, Hollye watched the ground ripple for a second, before a robed fist exploded out of the dirt, grabbing the earth around it and pulling whatever it was out of the earth. Another arm flew out of the grave, throwing earth and mud in all directions, the second hand grabbing the shaft of the Rod, the Orb on the top spewing out red light that flew from the crystal and pierced grave after grave after grave, figures bursting out of the ground following each light beam. Chuckling, the Apothecary turned, as the Figure rose from his grave, roaring, robed heavily in deep purple clothes. Looking at the back of the newly raised Corpse, the Forsaken said calmly:
“Helcular, destroy them,” before walking away into the swirling mist.


Hollye froze. Her hand was already on her sword, two of her bodyguards already jumping into action Swords raised against the Forsaken beast Helcular. The Third bodyguard grabbed Hollye, who was beginning to panic at the situation, and, with some strength began dragging her away from Helcular, who simply stood on his grave, his hands out under him, looking at them. Slowly, a smile spread across his face and he looked up, finally wrenching the rod out of the ground, and smiled at the Two Bodyguards. And with a wave of his hand, both fell to the ground, the skin melted off their Face, writhing in pain for a second, before laying still. Letting out a deep, cruel laugh, Helcular looked around at the small army of corpses around him, before walking slowly into the town, the Army chuckling and following him, crowding just behind him ancient swords and axes in their old withered hands.

“Hollye! Over here!”

Erethorn shouted the words over to her and her remaining bodyguard, from the front of the small defence force they had already gathered in the town square, evacuees running in all directions, screaming and panic thick in the air. Some tried to squeeze onto the ship, which was already filled to the brim, more still running up the crowded gangplank with some falling into the water, others running through the stakes off towards Thoradin’s wall, or the Hillsbrad fields. The scattering Refugees left only behind the crowd of volunteers, some braver evacuees, as well as the Majority of the Knights of Lordaeron, armed to the teeth and itching for a fight. Marshall Redpath was trying to organise the professional soldiers up at the tower, attempting to prevent an ill organised charge against their own stakes, while Erethorn and a Death knight were inspecting the Knights for the last minute, checking their shield wall, counting the troops. Finally they moved behind the wall as Hollye’s bodyguard reached them, pulling her through the Shield wall to her husband, and the wall locked together, forming a hopefully impregnable wall crossing from the inn to the town hall.

“Steady…”

The Death Knight Stood just behind the wall, a gap created around him by the defenders for safety, the spikes on his heavy black armour already having almost lost one soldier his eye. The man was chewing the end of a lit cigarette, holding it between his teeth as it bobbed up and down in his mouth, rough chiselled features surrounding his face. His left hand, a mechanical construction, rested on the pommel of his sheathed sword, the old one having been lost long ago. Instead metal fingers moved uniformly up and down on the rounded end to his weapon, tapping the alloy in a rhythmic beat. His other hand, intact but greyed from death was tucked by his belt, his thumb under the leather while his fingers hung loosely off the leather strap. Watching the Undead force build up just over the line of stakes, headed by the tall one with the staff, the Death knight narrowed his eyes and glared at them as his right hand moved up to his mouth, gripping the burnt stub of a cigarette and letting it drop to the floor, the rolled paper and smouldering ash bouncing lightly on the damp stone plaza as his metal Boots pressed down hard on the remains, twisting as the flame extinguished. Still his fingers drummed against the Pommel as the Undead slowly faded through the stakes, carefully avoiding them, walking up to face the Shield wall.

Erethorn now stood next to his wife, his long soft hair falling down about his shoulders as he ran his fingers across his luscious brown beard, running the side of his face thoughtfully, watching the undead line up opposite them. In his hand he gripped his Rapier, a two handed sword strapped to his back ready for heavier fighting in less cramped conditions. Quickly his green eyes jumped to his wife, standing just ahead of him and to his right, the woman collecting herself for the coming melee as a young man handed her the two Handed swords she always used. Closing her eyes she gripped the handle with both hands, holding the blade up vertically, feeling its strength. For a few seconds she stood there, as Erethorn looked fondly at her, before she lowered the weapon and removed one of her hands, lightly touching her stomach. Smiling quietly to himself Erethorn retuned his gaze to the front, The Undead mass gripping their weapons tightly, preparing for the charge. Prepared, his eyes thinning, Erethorn looked at the Death knight to his left, smiling faintly.
“Ready Tiaraszh?” he said with a grin, as the Death knight threw back his head and yelled out.

“Now!”

“Now!”

“Now!”

The Call echoed from three different throats, from three different areas of the battlefield as the Stormwind Soldiers loosed their bows over the Undead army, a hundred arrows shooting out of their hands and curving over their foes, the heads pointing down as they accelerated towards the Walking dead. Quickly Helcular looked up and urgently raised his rod, the end glowing red as a bubble materialised above a portion of the army, the arrows embedding themselves in the faint shield, others falling down upon the undead horde, the heads impaling them with startled screams and yells. At once the Forsaken began running, raising their swords as they went, charging the shield wall in a headlong clash, some grabbing the shields and wrenching them out of the defenders hands with surprising strength. Others placed their hands on the upper rim of the shields, pulling themselves up and jumping over the heads of the defenders, the next few lines raising their weapons to slash at the Undead raining down upon them, slicing limb from limb, weak dead flesh rending as easily as butter as, the body parts crushed down on them. With little resistance the shield wall broke, the usually impregnable defence crushed through sheer force as Tiaraszh whipped his huge sword out of its sheath, cleaving an Undead in two with the immediate swing. Forsaken crowded through the breach, and crushed him from all sides, pulling him away from the rest, but with a simple swing of his massive weapon carved a perimeter around him as he swung again, The dead simply falling to dust around him. A new cigarette was already smouldering in his mouth as he gripped it between his bared teeth, His right hand loosing grip of his sword as an undead grabbed it and wrenched it away. Dropping his sword, he grabbed the Undead’s skull with his mechanical hand, squeezing as the beast’s head crumbled, its bald scalp offering little resistance against the mechanical strength of the gnomish designed fist. As Tiaraszh tried to bend down to pick up his sword a Forsaken creature leapt onto his back and fastened his arms around his throat, squeezing and squealing at the same time. Reaching back, The Death knight grabbed the beast and swung his arms forwards, the creature loosing grip as its fingers stretched out away from Tiaraszh’s throat. Swinging his arms back over his head the Death knight threw the screaming creature at the wall of undead before him, before roaring, the cigarette falling out his mouth, and charging the wall of flesh in front of him, the spikes of his pauldrons piercing undead flesh as he sunk into the undead horde.

As Hollye Cried out the words ‘Now’ she watched the Arrows rain down upon the undead horde, her fingers crossed behind her back that they would sufficiently reduce their forced. At the shield rippled into existence, the Arrows freezing mid-air, a slight pang of disappointment at the less than successful plan. Nonetheless she watched the Undead charge towards her, bracing herself for the impact, the soldier before her taking a step back as the wall of undead hit them, the man’s shield being wrestled from his grip as the Forsaken broke through. Throwing her free hand forwards she finished the prayer she had been muttering, a symbol of light temporarily flashing in front of her as the Undead squealed, the powerful strength of the faith breaking away at the very embodiment of death, old flesh melting away from the symbol. As it faded, the battlefield growing dark again, Hollye, Erethorn right behind her, charged into the breach, Swinging her sword around at the Forsaken before her as Erethorn dived in with his rapier, stabbing a Forsaken in the leg, before driving the blade up and disembowelling it. The Forsaken however were still moving, filtering around the two of them, as they were cut off from the rest of the defenders, back to back, husband and wife. With a swing Erethorn’s rapier met steel, a huge Undead raising his sword to parry the blow, twisting the blade around and swinging it down, the thin metal snapping under the force. Following through the Undead swung his sword down, Erethorn stepping swiftly out the way, the blade cutting his cheek, a small tuft of hair falling away from his head. Unfaltering, the Undead raised his sword again, swinging it in an arc as Erethorn turned, the blade heading straight for his face. No time to think, no time to duck he managed to raise his hands to protect his face, Light forming in front of them, the sword slowing and embedding itself in the translucent force. Pushing against the weapon, Erethorn closed his fists, the light brimming around them, as the Forsaken pulled his sword back, the Paladin punching at the forsaken, his fists slamming into its face, the sound of bone crunching heard over the throng of battle. The Forsaken, disorientated but still moving took a step back, before lunging at Erethorn, long fingernails raised as weapons. Taking a step forward, Erethorn met the Undead in the middle, his fist smashing up through its unprotected chest, ribs snapping through sheer force and age. With Erethorn’s fist lodged in his chest, the Forsaken disintegrated.
Pausing for breath, Erethorn weakly pulled the sword off his back, wiping his damp forehead with an arm. How many undead were there left? Surely they must almost be gone; half of them fell apart simply hitting the shield wall… These were poor constructs, something, something wasn’t right. Raising his two handed sword he swung at the Undead before him, which simply crumbled away, their dust being washed away by the rain that now came down in streams, as Erethorn looked around.

They were gone, stained soil and gritty grass the only sign they had ever been there. Destroyed by the might of Lordaeron… At last, Southshore was safe again. A wheezing cough echoed out against the cheers and splashes of rain, and every soul around turned to face the Robed undead that was leaning weakly on his staff several metres away, in the middle of the graveyard.

“It seems…” The forsaken coughed his breathing slow and difficult, “That we underestimated you. You… you have beaten off our first army, destroyed our second… Hillsbrad is yours…”

And with that, He rammed his Staff into the ground and with a flash he was gone.

“Victory!”

“For Lordaeron!”

“For the Alliance!”

The cries rang across the battlefield, cheering and whooping from all, even the trained soldiers, who had seemingly joined the fray during the commotion. There was also cheering from the boat, that had pulled away from the harbour and was now anchored a distance away, the Evacuees having watched the battle from a safe distance. Sighing deeply, Tiaraszh picked his discarded sword off the floor, wiping several muddy footprints off the blade, before slipping it back into its sheath and lighting a cigarette, sticking it into his mouth and breathing deeply. Victory, it seemed, came easy. Too easy.

Above the town, the crew of the Ballista breathed a sigh of relief. The weapon had been turned, and now aimed at the town, in case the retreat sound was called, in which case they were to cover the retreat to the town hall. As it seemed, such an effect wasn’t necessary at all, and while one or two of the younger ones were disappointed that they missed the action, the older, wizened artisans knew deep down they were lucky. It could be far worse. As one or two of them slouched down on the side of the loaded siege weapon, The Masked Elf slipped out of the mist, a dagger already in the crew leaders back. Before two others could turn around they had steel in their throats, and as the remaining members tried to shout a warning, thin wires wrapped around their throats as several more rogues appeared. The last members of the crew fell to the ground, the sounds masked by the now torrential rain as the Masked Elf looked at the ballista. He had blonde hair, slicked back in spikes, and a red bandanna on, and yet he was entirely silent. No-one had seen them, and that was what he wanted. This Elf’s name was Arli Sunblade, and he was the best at what he did. With equal silence, the rogues pushing it, well-oiled cogs under the ballista started to move as the Ballista began to turn.

The Screams drowned out the cheering and celebrations as the huge metal tipped bolt smashed into the side of the boats hull, splinters exploding in every direction as large cracks ran up the side of the wooden boat. The entire vessel rocked heavily, water already rushing in through the gap as the oak shaft still protruded from the gaping hole like a thorn. As the town turned as one, in absolute silence and shock, the screaming could be heard across Hillsbrad, the rigging on the rocking boat snapping, the tight ropes whipping up and striking the sails, the impact causing the canvas to rip. With a groan, the main mast came tumbling down into the deck, crushing the evacuees who were tightly crowded onto the top deck, the wooden floorboards cracking under the sprain. With a groan, the boat began to split down the middle, as the evacuees swarmed the deck like ants, trying to get away from the water which rushed up the deck as it began to slip underwater. Not a single soul ashore spoke, as not one of them could do anything to save the doomed vessel. With a final groan, the boat slipped under, the raging waves in the storm closing over the top of the wooden hull, the ship finally sinking out of sight.
It had only taken five minutes.

“They are behind us! Run!”

The boy’s feet were aching, but he obeyed his father, fear in his heart. The rain splashed around them, but not a single evacuee cared, their only concern the Forsaken that had appeared in the town. Wet grass whipped their feet, the hems of their trousers soaked and uncomfortable, their hair hanging loose, clumped into wet bunches, the water running down the backs of their necks as they ran form the horror that was chasing them. The mist was all around, soaking, clingy mist, that attacked their faces as they ran, water droplets striking their skin, stinging, hurting, but nothing compared to the horror that was chasing them. The Boy, his hand clenching his sister’s fist, kept running, the girl screaming, her voice drowned out by the yells of fear from the rest of the Evacuees who had made a break for Thoradin’s wall. And there it was, the huge stone wall, rising out above the mist, thick, grey shapes almost misable in the dark. And there…

Shapes began to appear out the mist, dark shadows, with red masks. The Boys family stopped, as one of the shadows approached, a Female Forsaken, her face covered in a Black mask, yellow eyes looking out, piercing their very souls. No escape. The Horror had found them.

Panic enshrouded the town. Soldiers ran left and right, grabbing whatever weapons they could find, Red faced and worried, soaking wet from the torrential rain that clattered down around them, no-one knew what to do or what to say. The clock face, illuminated in the dark showed the time to be twenty past three, shouts and screams covering the town as soldiers attempted to light torches by the stakes to see in the mist and darkness, jumping at almost every shadow that moved. The Knights of Lordaeron were gathering in the town square, each of them panicked and unnerved by the unexpected events. Out of them, three had broken away and were discussing the events quietly, the loss of the evacuees and the screams still heard in the darkness terrifying, loud shrieks from the east enough to rout a veteran. As the darkness closed in, night swiftly falling, The Town bell began to toll. Once… Twice…

Hollye turned; shocked at the sound, her brain already figuring out what was going on. Three… Four…

Erethorn placed a hand on his sword, slipping it off his back and holding it ready, all eyes all turning towards the tower as the bell was struck again.
Five… six…

Tiaraszh spat the cigarette out his mouth and turned to the tower, the bell still swinging. Seven… eight…

“Somebody stop it!” Yelled Hollye as soldiers from all around grabbed weapons and ran towards the town hall. Nine… Ten…

As the Soldiers reached the gateway, crossbow bolts shot out the slits as whatever had taken the town hall made the most of the defences implanted. Soldiers fell all around, impaled by rods of wood. Tiaraszh grabbed his sword and sprinted after them, a bolt glancing off his armour as he turned the corner away from the slits. Smashing through the door he turned to see a Forsaken
girl pulling hard on the rope, twice more. Eleven… Twelve…

Charging the Girl Tiaraszh swung his sword up, the blade slicing right through her body, her hands letting go of the rope. Silence fell, the rope hanging loose from the rafters. Turning on the crossbowmen he charged. Outside Hollye breathed a sigh of relief, as she turned to look out to sea, no sign of the
Warships sailing into the obvious trap.

Erethorn let out a long sigh, sitting down on a fence post, wiping his brow with a sleeve. Crisis averted. They could go back to addressing the obvious
problems.


Thirteen.


Horrified, Hollye looked up at the Bell tower, the Forsaken figure visible, pulling the mace away from the Iron bell that still vibrated from the clash. The figure, in dark purple robes and metallic pauldrons was wearing a gas mask hiding his features, but waved nonetheless, the action scary…. Patronising. Slowly, Hollye tore her eyes away from the Forsaken, looking out to sea, a light appearing on the horizon, shrouded in mist. Another light appeared, and another, lastly followed by a fourth. Four warships, lives on board each one, each sailing to an unknown doom. Raging waters threw themselves against the sides of the paddle ships, the Metallic figureheads and wooden decking of the clippers closing in fast. From the shore Hollye could already see the lights growing, taking form as the closed in, thunder rumbling from the north as all eyes faced south, watching. Unfortunately they did not have long to wait, as the sea exploded under one of them, a goblin built sea mine struck by the Metallic hull, fire and water expelled from the seas with great power. Unable to stop in time, the second ship smashed into the spines lining the sides of the mines, the glass spikes shattering releasing the detonation fluid into the seaphorium charges, the mine exploding like the first, shattering the hull as water rushed in. The Third warship slowed, turning to try to avoid the minefield, crashing into the side of the second ship, the already broken hull splintering under the impact from the ram, as the third warship ran into another mine, the explosive making short work of the front of the ship. The Fourth ship, the captain confused, carved straight through the wreckages, past the perimeter of mines and safely into the bay, towards the harbour. A few sighs of relief seeped out of the crowd, but most were still shocked by the Horror that had befallen the other three unnecessarily. But one, one had escaped. Fortunate.

The Fog horn on the boat sounded as it drew closer to the harbour, the captain calling out to the town, asking if everyone was alright. The Man, dressed in naval uniform and a lovely hat held onto the front rigging, his foot up on the side, shouting out to the town. Suddenly, mid call he froze, his head turning out towards the west. His calls turned into screams, as he disappeared from sight, each head watching him turning to look to the west. There, two fires burnt, close to each other, illuminating a horned skull that floated across the water out of the mist towards them. Slowly, as the shadowy boat grew closer, the torn sails and hull of the Forsaken Destroyer shifted into view, the huge skull figurehead with two fires burning in each eye socket heading right for the Warship.

From the Deck of the Warship Captain Relantak ran from aft to stern, giving orders as cannons were pulled out and loaded, the Starboard side now heavily armed with Iron cannons. The Captain adjusted his hat and checked his pistol and rapier, Marines running around the deck, swords and shields ready for boarding. The Skull was growing ever closer, tilted slightly to the starboard side, ready to engage, the sails, despite torn, still full from the unnatural wind that had blown it from Purgation isle. The Captain could see figures on its deck, curved swords in hand; some climbing onto the balustrade behind the skull for a better look, each dressed only in cloth and leather compared to the armoured Marines. The Forsaken however, despite their lack of armouring looked frightening, a skeletal crew growling at the Warship, knives gripped between yellow teeth, red bandannas tied over their heads. On board the Warship the crew stood by the cannons, ready to light the fuses, growling back at the Destroyer as it drew up against the warship. Along the rotting wooden side of the Destroyers hull, the portholes sprung open, cannon barrels slipping out through the holes, firing immediately as they emerged from the side, the metal cannonballs smashing into the reinforced hull of the Warship. A Shout from the Captain was all the Crew needed, as they lit the cannon fuses, explosions running along the deck, the Cannonballs smashing into the hull of the Forsaken Destroyer, the rotted wood splintering easily against the impact. Again the Forsaken cannons fired, the barrels retreating into the side after each explosion to be reloaded, the weapons emerging at a frightening pace. With a crash the side of the Warship gave, the Cannonballs beginning to penetrate the reinforced hull, and despite the Warships efforts their own cannon fire seemed to only fill the ship with holes, blue and green light dancing across the gaps created by the Iron balls that the side of the ship was being bombarded by. The Forsaken on the opposite ship were already grabbing ropes tied to the mast that leaned over the Warship, the crew swinging over to the Warships deck. Panicked, the Captain pulled his pistol and fired its shot, striking a forsaken crewman causing him to release his grip on his rope, dropping into the water below. As the Captain bent down to reload, Crewmen landed around him, Marines being cut down across the deck, their armour seemingly useless against the swarm of Forsaken that now covered the ship. Cannons lay useless, their crews already dead, as the Forsaken swarmed down below the decks, death heard a few metres away on the shore, the town helpless to do anything but watch. As the Warship rocked the Forsaken began to leave the deck, swinging back to the destroyer, which began to pull away.
“Take cover!” Hollye screamed as she realised what the Forsaken crew had done. Soldiers on the shore raised their shields to the ship, others diving into doorways, taking refuge from the immediate danger. At last, the side of the Ship exploded, metal and wooden shrapnel flying out from the hull, joining the rain as it smashed down into the town, the sharp, jagged metal embedding itself several feet into the ground. As Hollye emerged from the doorway of the Inn, she watched the Warship sink into the dark waters, joining its sisters in the watery depths. Fatigued, Hollye turned to look north, out into the mist and darkness.

A bolt of lightning flashed down from the sky, the electricity striking the ground not far off. The Light bathed the town in light, a figure standing on a hilltop, not far off. Yellow light exploded from his eyes, strands dancing off his cheeks, his face illuminated in the Darkness.

“When you next see my face… Hillsbrad is doomed…”

The Forsaken’s words echoed in Hollye’s mind, as she recognised the face, the eyes, bright and clever, the power and energy brimming his entire face. And there it was, the same hood raised, crow mask in his hand. As the lighting faded the eyes remained, looking down onto the town. By his side, the skulls came into view, over the top of the hill, four Plague catapults, the arms down and the springs tight. And his voice, his deep, mocking laugh began to sweep across the hills, as the Forsaken Grand Apothecary was joined by a team of Abominations, dragging the Catapults behind them before they ground to a stop on the Hilltop. “No…” she breathed, turning around at the knights of Lordaeron around her, the impending doom peeking over the hills. “Southshore is lost… If we stay we will only die…”

She felt a hand on her shoulder, and she turned to look into Erethorn’s trusting eyes. Slowly he nodded, as pain covered her face, regret and worry covering her features. “Save who you can” he spoke, concern in his voice.
“Run! Get to the Hillsbrad fields! Get out of the Town!” Hollye screamed, the Knights jumping to obey, grabbing weapons and sprinting out of the town to the west. Looking around, Hollye watched the Defenders run, as Marshall Redpath and his soldiers marched up to her.

“Commander. You go, your knights need you. My place… is with the town.”

The marshal said, not an ounce of fear in his voice. Hollye looked at him, concerned for a second, as she nodded respectfully.
“You will not be forgotten sir.” She said, placing a hand on his shoulder. Turning, she and Erethorn left the town, leaving over half the defenders, all who refused to run, behind.

Marshall Redpath turned to face the Grand Apothecary on the hill, drawing his sword. The Grand Apothecary looked back, right at him and smiled slyly, his hand raising to his face as he slipped the Crow mask under his good, his eyes darkening, as the catapult arms flew upwards, the machines quivering as wooden barrels containing green glowing liquid shot over the hilltop. The vessels curved in the air, rotating as they turned, before coming crashing down on the Town. The wooden caskets exploded, the Liquid inside reacting with the very air, evaporating into thick green gas, immediately staining the ground, the mud melting into green sludge, every defender caught in the cloud dropping to their knees, their insides literally melting. Armour began to run, the gas eating away at its very structure, the glowing green mist rising, a plume of smoke leaving the town.

Southshore, was lost.

“What now? Some citizens and farmhands are fleeing north, to Fenris isle. Others are preparing to defend. Commander, what is the plan?”
Hollye sat in the Guild hall, her face in her hands, lamenting all the brave souls who had died, died for her, died for nothing. The Banner on the wall had been taken down, tied to a standard that lay by her chair. Her Husband and Tiaraszh stood around her, the rest of the Knights a few metres away, all hanging on to her every word.

The Red knight spurred his mount on faster, his injuries failing to slow him as he gripped the reigns with his one good hand.
“Hollye? We follow you.”

The Red knight’s hair flowed behind him, soft blonde locks, stained by blood. His wounded hand was pressed to his side, which was weeping blood, the liquid green and glowing as the army of Scarlet soldiers ran after him, their feet keeping up with his horse, their movements jolty and weak.

“Hollye?”

The lights of Tarren Mill came into sight, a construction area busy remaking the ruined town, dark metal and purple banners covering the former farmstead.

“We have one last hope. A small one… But a hope. If he fails, we go North.”

The Knight groaned in pain, his brown horse’s legs moving as quickly as they could, its head moving back and forth with speed that almost wrenched the reigns out of the Knights hand.

“What?”

Out of the darkness, shadows appeared before the Knight, one by one slipping out of the mist, forming an army of red masked Forsaken, with the odd Horde member in their ranks. Still the horse ran, the Forsaken woman leading
them, with a black mask preparing herself for the incoming Rider.


“Sythbo.”





Thorn Mistress Anethrax raised her daggers at the incoming Horse, the boy on its back obviously heavily wounded. She smiled to herself, another easy kill, nothing too hard. Behind her stood her most trusted, Arli Sunblade, an Elf with blonde hair slicked back, and a Red mask like the others. Every last one of them wore the Thorn tabard, a red wheel on a black background, a symbol of dread and fear among the Alliance. And still the Horse came, unfaltering despite the mass of Thorns before it. Surely he’s seen us by now? Thought Anethrax, a glint of concern on her face. She braced herself for the Horse’s impact, the beast closing straight in on her, getting closer and closer.
Out of the mist behind it, an army of Scarlet troops exploded from the darkness, angry, clenching swords and shields in broken hands. Shocked by the sudden change in plans, Anethrax took a step back, the Horse swerving at the last second, the beast rushing right past her as she quickly gathered her senses. Ignoring the lost prey she called to the Rest of the Thorns, some of which seemed panicked at the incoming Army. Calm again, the mistress nodded to Arli, before shouting her orders to the Thorns.

“Brothers! Tonight we get a real fight! Bathe your blades in blood Thorns!”
Turning back towards the Incoming heavily armoured horde, The Thorn
Mistress smiled. This was going to be fun.

Chuckling, the Mistress grabbed the first Scarlet to reach her, swinging her arm around and striking the human in the back, her blades slipping through a gap in the armour and sinking into flesh. Turning she went for another, her daggers driving up under the shield, a slight groan heard from the soldier. Again she twisted and took out another with ease, stepping on its plate helm as it fell, leaping over another, stabbing through the visor. Chuckling she grabbed a throwing star and sent it flying into another human’s arm, another Thorn finishing it off. Turning to another she paused for a second, slightly surprised. This one’s neck was broken, but it still fought… Turning she saw another, its throat slit, and another with a sword still in its chest. Another had long claw marks running up its body… They were already dead. All of them, and they still fought… Confused, Anethrax missed a beat as a Scarlet soldier leapt behind her, sword raised.

“He’s here.”

Tiaraszh spoke the words calmly to Hollye, who looked up at the Death knight. Behind him walked a female knight, with brown hair and freckles, dressed in a robe. She led two male knights who were carrying a stretcher, the Blonde haired Red knight lying on it groaning. Hollye sighed, disappointment and concern in her voice as she got up and walked over to him, kneeling down by the Knight, green blood weeping from his wounds.

“Get these cleaned. Sythbo, what news from Tyrs hand? I take it the Scarlet Crusade could not come?”

Sythbo chuckled for a second, coughing weakly.

“Oh they came alright… But… Commander, they are dead. Slaughtered, and raised by the Scourge!”

“WHAT?”

“I reached Tyrs hand last night… I saw the battle. A Demon, slaughtering them… Every one which fell was raised by his hand… They saw me. They chased
me but…”

Suddenly, as one of the knights drove a knife into his side, Sythbo yelled, the knight cutting away the green flesh, waving his hand over the wound as it closed. Panting hard, Sythbo looked up weakly at Hollye, the knight moving to the next wound.
“Commander, what do we do?”

“We leave. Everyone get what we can carry, and bring the message to the
Farmers. Make for Fenris Isle.”

The Scarlet squealed as Arli drove a blade into its back, twisting the weapon before he drew it out, the undead falling to the floor. Anethrax turned at the sound, before nodding to Arli and continuing the fight. The Scarlet’s were well armoured, but no match for Anethrax and her well trained Thorns, falling as the rogues drove their blades through gaps in the plate. Eventually, the last one fell to the ground, the wet grass stained with bright red blood. Taking a breath to gather her senses, Anethrax turned to her Thorns.

“Make for Brill. We are finished here…” Suddenly, Anethrax looked up at the light that came from the West, despite her strong personality, entirely speechless.

As the Plague catapults rolled into the Hillsbrad fields, the knights of Lordaeron left to the North, leaving their homes behind. Farmers and soldiers alike remained behind, charging the Forsaken forces, cut down by Abominations. As Hollye led her Knights across the hills North, she turned to take one last look at her home, but, from yells and gasps from the knights, her eyes moved skyward.

Julian Van Krakken stood on the Roof of the Southshore town hall, looking down on the blighted town, smiling to himself. Suddenly, with a shudder, he turned, and looked up and to the west, shock flashing across his face at the sky.

Grand Apothecary Cain raised a hand to his mask, the Abominations still ahead of him, as he removed the cover, the heat hitting him right in the face. Behind him Haluthious Von Outon and Helcular were looking the same way, shock on their faces.

The Sky was burning.

Flames swept across the skies, the clouds disintegrating as the lands were bathed in light, a plume of fire far to the southwest dominating the skies. Following this the grounds began to shake, trembling with enormous strength, vibrating with such power that Water was thrown into the air from its movement. Cain stumbled, falling to his knees before the fire, Helcular leaning on his staff, the sound reaching them, a huge explosion rippling across the lands. Far, far in the Distance, The dragon burst out of the churning waters of the Maelstrom, steam rushing in all directions, its mouth open in a permanent Roar.

Deathwing, had returned.

_________________
The way is shut,
It was made by those who are dead
And the dead keep it.

Skeleton in the closet.
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Voxigah
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PostSubject: Re: Hillsbrad's fall.   Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:32 pm

A very good read Cain, well done.
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Dr. Haluthious Von Outon
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PostSubject: Re: Hillsbrad's fall.   Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:01 am

Forgot to comment on this!!
The story is amazing Cain!! It's a lovely read.
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Hillsbrad's fall.
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