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 Glory to Gilneas (Extended)

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Karinia
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PostSubject: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:45 pm

Prologue

“Thirty seconds!”

Marianna thrust her rapier into the nearest beast to her. It recoiled but refused to die. As it came to strike her again, she unleashed a magical blazing snake from her hand. The fire slammed into the monster's chest and set alight its fur. It ran away from her, howling in terror before succumbing to the flames and dying.

“Twenty seconds!”

She looked around to see if there were any more beasts nearby. George had one in his sights but he would get to it before her. He took aim with his pistol and fired. The target fell instantly as the bullet shot through the head.

“Ten seconds!”

At the front, Lord Malray was calling for his forward troops to fall back. Beyond him, the Alpha of the beasts, the one they had named Pyrefang, leapt onto a recruit and crushed his neck between his powerful jaws. Lord Malray ignored this and continued running back.

“Five seconds!”

Marianna retreated to Michael's position, checking George was close behind her. As she got there, Michael laid the flame onto the fuse.

The sound of cannons filled the air, deafening the howling of the worgen.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:46 pm

Aftermath

Marianna Nightstone leaned back against a tree, her long hair blowing in the breeze, and looked around the encampment. To her, there was nowhere on Azeroth as glorious as Gilneas. She had only in her early teens when the country decided to leave the Alliance, so she had left the kingdom. She had never wanted to go anywhere else. In the night, its true beauty could be seen, towering fir trees nestled near the Greymane Wall, lonely oaks overlooking the ocean to the west.

Now it was in danger. They were in danger.

She wasn't sure when the first reports of the wolf-men, worgen as they were rumoured to be named, had come in. As the threat increased, many of the Lords had been called upon to help evacuate the entire country to the safety of Gilneas City.

She wasn't much of a fighter. She had been a simple maid in the Devon household. George had introduced her to the stories of Gilneas military; how the country had demolished the troll, then orcish, threats in years gone past. She adored reading the various military strategies, so when the call was put out for men and women to assist against the betrayal of Lord Darius Crowley, she had began training to be a strategist.

During that time, her training had included the art of magic. 'A strategist must always be on the battlefield, ready to see every change and adapt' her teacher had said. Not physically strong enough to fight in heavy plate, she instead took the route she would eventually become quite skilled at.

By the time she had completed her training, Lord Darius Crowley had been captured, the rebellion all but crushed. She had never had chance to prove herself.

She was therefore completely surprised, when she was assigned to assist Lord Malray in the evacuation of his lands. At first she had visions of defeating the worgen, but their sheer numbers, meant only evacuation was possible. Small victories like the day before were all Lord Malray could achieve.

The worgen never stopped coming. They would retreat, only to return stronger.

She wandered away from her tent towards the edge of the camp. Like the previous month, the land was unnaturally dry. Normally mist rolled around everywhere. The camp was surrounded by a thin wall of flames. They came from a small device kept by Lord Malray, an artifact, she was told, that had come from another human city, Dalaran. Fires scared almost all the worgen.

Only the Alpha, Pyrefang, was unfazed by fire. On the contrary, he was able to summon fire himself, with disastrous effects. The Alpha was the most dangerous worgen alive. Every time he slew one of the soldiers, they would light a pyre to burn the body, as was customary in Northern Gilneas.

“Up late?” came Michael's friendly voice. She turned to see him walking over to her, his smile lit up by the flames.

“Good evening Captain Starle,” she said, curtseying.

“Come now Marianna, it is Michael for my childhood friends, have I not told you before?” He paused, realising the futility. “Anyway, you have recovered from the battle earlier?”

“Yes. It is nice to see Lord Malray going on the offensive.”

“From what I hear, Lord Godfrey is taking the fight to the Worgen in his eastern lands. We don't know how many he is dealing with though. We seem to have an endless supply, you have to wonder how they got into Gilneas,” Michael said calmly.

“Nothing could get past the Greymane Wall, not even an organised army. But I don't have time to think about it, we have an evacuation to carry out. How far to Rainemouth?”

“A few more days. After that it would be Rayborn before Gilneas City.”

“Forgive me, but I must be off to see Lieutenant Devon. Glory to Gilneas,” she said as she left. Michael repeated her farewell.

As she reached George's tent, she took a quick look around in case anyone was watching. Satisfied no one was near, she entered.

“Good evening Lieutenant Devon,” she said as she sat down beside him.

“Good evening Miss Devon,” he replied, putting his arm around her.

“Not quite yet, it's still Nightstone.”

“And it's still George Devon, best shot in Gilneas for-”

“Three years in a row,” she continued for him, smiling at him, “I know.”

“Never get tired of telling Liam that,” he gloated, twisting his prized pistol in his hand.

He laid his fingers on her neck, stroking it softly before pulling her closer and kissed her forehead.

“You're still wearing the necklace I brought you then darling?” he said, moving his hand down to the silver chain around her neck, the emblem of Gilneas made of rubies in the pendant. He had given it to her instead of an engagement ring, saying her fingers were so perfect that a ring would spoil their beauty.

“I love you George.” she said before kissing him and relaxing into his arms.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:47 pm

War

There wasn't any fighting the next day. By dusk, the tents were back up and the protective fire restored. Another day closer to Gilneas City.

Lord Malray stood at the head of the table, his personal guards a few feet away. He was revered as one of Gilneas' best generals, a veteran of the Second War. He had slaughtered many orcs and crushed the beasts beneath his feet. Marianna had read about his exploits and admired him greatly.

He was the ruling Lord of the north-west of Gilneas. His personal estate was beside the ocean and had been one of the first areas to fall before the various worgen packs. Malray had managed to escape with most of his staff and soldiers. Marianna had been among many sent to help him evacuate the other towns and ports in the region.

He wore armour similar to others in his army. Light-weight steel plates covering the entire chest, gauntlets protecting the forearm and hands and a few hanging loose to protect the upper legs. His shoulder pads were emblazoned with three chevrons to mark his rank. Lieutenant Devon had two, while Captain Starle had one. Unranked soldiers didn't have strips and as a mage, Marianna didn't wear any steel armour.

Suddenly she felt under-dressed in her simple leather tunic.

She walked over to the table. This would be her first meeting with Lord Malray. George stood nearby, twisting his pistol in his hand. She knew George was muscular, but Lord Malray surpassed him by far. She was nervous, much more so than when she had arrived a few days ago to see Lord Malray already in battle.

“Ah, you must be the strategist Genn thought I might need. Marianna with two n's Nightstone. Welcome to my meeting,” he said in a strong Gilnean accent.

“Thank you Lord Malray,” she said as she curtsied. As she rose, she saw George winking at her.

“So, we are two days from Rainemouth. It is the only populated port left along the coast since they were all sealed. At the same time, we'll have to deal with passing over the river Raine. The current bridges we have set up there will not be enough to handle the cannons. I've sent a few messengers to the town, telling them to improve the bridges for our arrival.”

“Why not just tell them to evacuate now?” Marianna replied, at first debating about looking at him in the eye before deciding to.

“There are a lot of resources tied up in these towns Marianna, things I wouldn't expect people to throw away. If we're to weather this storm in Gilneas City, we'll need every damn thing we've got.”

“But people can't evacuate if they're building bridges. Just use up the cannons here and blast the worgen into oblivion. We can lead them to the mountains to the west, drive them into a valley and pummel them with cannon fire.” Marianna became more confident formulated her plan.

“You intend for me to leave the worgen a way into the villages of Gilneas? Light be damned if I did. We don't have the ammunition to do that, and you don't have a clue how many worgen there are out there!” he retorted, pointing towards the north.

“Meet up with Lord Godfrey. Crush the worgen together. At least kill Pyrefang. He practically holds the pack together!” she replied, anger rising in her voice.

“I'll not surrender my forces to Godfrey, the man cares for no one but himself. The worgen aren't a military organisation like the orcs in your book, girl. They won't get past the walls of Gilneas City. From there we'll wipe them out. I'll not risk the lives of my people for a fight in the open. That's exactly what the Alpha wants.”

“But-” she started to reply.

“No! Listen to me girl! You haven't seen war, you haven't tasted it, what could you possibly know about it?”

She took a step back. Lord Malray looked ready to kill her.

“Let me tell you the truth girl. I never asked for a strategist, I don't need one to tell me how to lead an army. I don't need someone who thinks it is alright to question my authority. Get out of my sight!”

~~~

It wasn't until two hours later that Michael popped his head into her tent. She wiped away the tears as soon as she saw him. She didn't want him to see how she had reacted to her meeting with Lord Malray.

“Marianna, Lord Malray wants to talk with you in his tent. I suggest you get going.”

Before she could say anything he was gone. Lord Malray was probably going to send her back to Gilneas City, make her work in the kitchens again. Composing herself, she started the trek up to Lord Malray's tent.

It was larger than all the others and situated on a mound overlooking the ocean. The cannons were stored just to the left. Two guards stood outside, both marked as Captains, while more patrolled around. She curtsied to them and entered.

She couldn't immediately see Lord Malray. Instead, what caught her eye was a box lined with glimmering flames. It was open.

“The container for our little magic device, Kyr's Fire. I'm not completely familiar with how it works, but it needs to spend some hours in its case to recharge,” came the unmistakeable accent of Lord Malray.

She turned and curtsied to him as he stepped out of one of the side rooms. He motioned for her to take a seat and sat down opposite. He removed his rapier and pistol and placed them on the table beside him. He sat for a moment looking at her face, stroking his short black beard.

“I hear you have wondered why we didn't have Kyr's Fire active permanently. You're observant Marianna, I like you.”

“Forgive me, my Lord, but it didn't sound like it earlier.”

“And I apologise to you for that Marianna. It is no excuse, but I've not been calm since I lost my wife a week ago. I was wrong to take it out on you, even though I don't agree with your plan.

“The truth, Marianna, is that you are not to help me. You are to learn from me. But beyond that, you are to take over should I die. An army needs a general, a single leader. You cannot afford to let anyone else take away from your authority.

“Look at Godfrey and I. He believes in wine after a victory and taking the fight to the enemy. I believe in order. Every single one of my men wears a uniform built for war. Each armed with the same rapier, pistol and shield. I don't cut corners when it comes to the safety of my men. Together we wouldn't work.

“Never forget Marianna, this is war. War may be killing, but it is the reasons for the killing that make it bearable. That reason is to defend Gilneas, not the land but the lives of its people. Do not throw away the sanctity of life, just to kill a few beasts like orcs or worgen. Be tough, ruthless, merciless...yes...but when it comes down to it, you do not throw away lives.

“Glory to Gilneas Marianna.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:47 pm

Fallen

The following day had passed without any problems. One day from Rainemouth.

She tossed and turned in her tent. The noise of the howling outside didn't normally keep her awake, but tonight she couldn't sleep.

She pulled up her rug over her head and tried to drown out the noise. As silence descended in her head, she closed her eyes and started to dream about George.

Someone yelled outside. Her eyes shot open. Her arm reached out for her rapier. The fact she was in her night-clothes made no difference. If she could hear yelling through the rug, something was wrong.

As she exited the tent, the darkness stunned her. There was no fire boundary. No defence. In the night, in the woods, they were easy prey.

“Marianna!” Michael shouted, running over to her. He was carrying a torch as well as a rapier.

“What's happened Captain?” she exclaimed, summoning her own light in her hand.

“The defences are down. There are worgen incoming. We have to get going.”

“Where is Kyr's Fire?”

“That magical device? It's not there, Pyrefang must have slipped through and taken it.”

She thought about the layout of the camp. It was very wide, resources spread over the area. There were the majority of the explosives near her end, food in the centre and the cannons outside Lord Malray's tent.

“Get the explosives out of here! Head to Rainemouth!” she ordered.

“And you?”

“The worgen hate fire, and that happens to be my speciality. I'll do what I can.”



“George!” she yelled as she reached his tent. An explosion sounded somewhere to the west, but she ignored it. She ripped open the entrance, but found no one inside.

She held up the necklace, looking at it, as if it would tell her where he was. It didn't reply.

A howl came from nearby. She pulled her head out of the tent to see where it came from. It sounded close. She spun round to see a shape advancing towards her.

As the worgen leapt at her, a pistol fired. The beast collapsed in front of her, its fur stained red with blood.

“That's why I'm the best shot darling!” George shouted coming out from between some trees. He twisted and shot again, this time into the trees. There was a high whimper then silence.

“I'm so glad you're safe.” she said as she ran over to him. He smiled back at her calmly as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening around them.

“Get out of here darling, we have to regroup.” he said, his voice betraying heightened seriousness.

Marianna looked at him sternly.

“Guess you're not. Where to then?” he chuckled.

“You're getting the medical supplies from your tent. I'll scare the worgen off.”



It wasn't the best plan, but it seemed to work. Every single one of the horses ran through the camp and into the forest, their reins leaving a trail of fire. The scared mounts charged towards the worgen in their efforts to get away. Instead the fire just spread to the wolf-men. Within a minute the horses weren't the only beasts fleeing in terror. The pack fled into the woods.

It had cost them their horses, but for now, the worgen were gone. Now she had to find Lord Malray.

~~~

His massive tent was almost completely burned to the ground. Fires had burnt through the fabric and were eating away at the framework. The cannons were almost completely destroyed, charred metal all that remained. None looked like they would work again. Corpses littered the area, some worgen but mostly those of Lord Malray's guards.

Alone at the top of the hill was Lord Malray. Rapier and shield ready, he looked to have already killed a number of worgen. Now he was fighting Pyrefang. The monstrous worgen towered over him, his claws surrounded by fire.

Marianna started to run up the mound towards the noble. A worgen leapt at her from the side and rolled her back down the hill. He came at her with his jaws but failed to find any flesh. When they reached the bottom she slammed her feet into the worgen's chest. It staggered back slightly, enough for her to use her magic.

She amplified the friction of his fur rubbing, setting it alight. The fire from the horses may not have killed him, but her immolation would. The beast howled in pain and dropped to the ground dead.

Looking back up at Lord Malray, she saw he wasn't faring so well. Pyrefang slammed his elbow into the noble's chest, knocking him back. The Alpha jumped back to give himself room, then leapt through the air and landed on Lord Malray. His massive jaws attacked and the general cried out in pain. From where she stood, Marianna could hear the carnage, bones breaking and flesh ripping.

Hurried footsteps came from behind her. More soldiers, come to see their leader ripped to shreds. Pyrefang turned his head to look at them. Seeing he was alone and outnumbered, he fled back to his pack.

The final look she had at Pyrefang told her something wasn't right.

~~~

“I guess that makes you in charge now Commander?” Marianna asked her fiancé.

Covering his mouth, Commander George Devon lay the torch on Lord Malray's pyre. All that remained was his rapier, hanging from George's own belt. He looked back at Marianna, nodding solemnly.

“I sent Captain Starle to Rainemouth; he should meet us there with the explosives. I'm sorry we couldn't save cannons or the horses.”

“It was quick thinking to use the horses like that. We'd be dead without you. I’d like to use your ideas a little more than Lord Malray,” he said to her, smiling as he picked up his bag of supplies.

“Thank you Commander,” she said, curtseying.

“When we get to Rainemouth, I want you to show me what you can do for your new general.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:48 pm

Rainemouth

As they made their way to Rainemouth, Marianna saw some familiar damage through the recurrence of the Gilnean fog. The farms that sat on the flood basin of the river were wrecked, some worse than others. She breathed a sigh of relief that all had been evacuated yet she couldn't help but wonder what had happened.

Something in her mind didn't seem right.

As she crossed the fortified bridge that went into the heart of Rainemouth, she took a moment to look around. George held onto her hand and pointed out to sea.

“Beautiful isn't it, my love?” he said gently.

She laid her head on his shoulder and looked at the river behind them. Various bridges went across it as far as the eye could see in the twilight fog. At the far end of the river was the Rainemouth Dam, regulating the supply of water from the mountains. A majestic feat of Gilnean engineering. she thought.

“Commander Devon, Marianna!” Michael called urgently, emerging from the streets of Rainemouth. George let go of her and walked up to the flustered captain.

“What is it Captain Starle?” he asked sternly.

“Where is Lord Malray? They're saying he's-”

“Dead, yes. Marianna and I are in charge of this army now. Understood?”

Michael stood to attention and nodded firmly.

“The worgen attacked this morning, just after we arrived. Very good call to send us here Marianna, the town would be in ruins if we weren't here.”

“The Alpha is smart,” she said, something in her head clicking, “he knew exactly which tent our leader was in and took him out. He capitalised on the chaos and took a shot at the largest town in the area. Pyrefang isn't a beast, he's a hunter.”

“We defend the town tonight, tomorrow Marianna will have a plan to hold off the worgen for longer, while we get the townsfolk out.” George said, looking at her.

“I will?”

~~~

“Get all of your firewood and anything else wooden!” Marianna yelled in the town centre. “If need be break apart your homes, we need some barricades! Captain Starle, get me as much straw as you can from the farms!”

“These are our lives!” someone shouted at her. She didn't care who it was. The response was copied by others.

“Your life is your soul, not your material goods. Lose your life tonight, or lose your home. The choice is yours!” she yelled back in reply.

As she stepped off the speaking area she walked into a young girl with a flower in her hair. She could only have been eight years old. He parents ran out of the house with as much wood as they could carry.

So many children thrust into war. It was wrong.

These were the Gilnean lives she would protect. Even if it killed her.

~~~

They had spent the morning destroying all others. Now Marianna stood beside Captain Starle on the only remaining bridge. A choke point for a slaughter.

The night had passed without problem. Lighting the firewood was much easier on her strength than maintaining a wall of flames. They hadn't needed to use the straw. She was thankful for that, it would be required later. Besides the normal howling there was no sign of the worgen. This morning she planned for them to appear.

The civilian convoy had already left. Her soldiers lined the banks of the river, pistols drawn. It would take the worgen pack three days to go round the mountains to reach the convoy, by which time it would be in Gilneas. No, Pyrefang would try to get over the river.

She would force the worgen pack onto the flood plains. George would break the dam open. The surge of water, though lessened due to the lack of rain, should be enough to sweep most of the beasts out to sea. All they had to do was hold the bridges while the pack moved into the trap.

She looked up at the dam. George was ready with some of the explosives, waiting for her signal.

It took only an hour for the first of the pack to arrive. Pyrefang wasn't with them. In some respects it was a shame, he wouldn't be caught in the flood. On the other hand, the pack would act just as she wanted them to without his leadership.

Michael called out and every pistol along the river bank fired. Most went wide of their mark. The worgen howled and raced towards them. Across the open plains she saw she had gravely underestimated their speed.

They didn't need bridges. At the speed they were moving, they could leap over the sluggish river.

“Rapiers! Forwards!” she shouted.

Michael was the first to get over the river, shortly followed by more men. She stayed on the bridge, watching. It was too late to pull back. They could still flood the area but the hand-to-hand combat would bring about more casualties.

Another wave of worgen came out from the forest over the farmland. She shot a fireball into the air to give the signal to George and waited for his reply.

The dam was leaking water already, she wasn't sure why. It was coming out slowly, but still too fast for her purposes. The water would run out before the worgen reached the floodplains. Her plan was falling apart.

She yelled for the men to fall back and set alight the fields in front of them. The worgen leapt back to avoid the flames, howled for a moment then fled.

She raced up to where George was, Michael right behind her.



Pyrefang slashed his claws again at George. He blocked the attack again with his shield but killing him wasn't what Pyrefang was interested in.

The massive Alpha hurled another fireball at the dam, this time higher up than the last place he had broken through. It cracked the stone just under where the explosives had been set. Water gushed through the crack, taking the explosives and surrounding stone with them. No way to destroy the dam.

“You clever mutt,” George said with a touch of sarcasm in his voice.

He loaded his pistol again. This time he wouldn't miss the beast. As he looked up, Pyrefang was already springing at him. He fired as the flaming claws ripped through his armour and into his chest.

The world went black.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:49 pm

Truth

“Don't make any sudden movements,” Marianna said as her fiancé began to awaken, “you've broken a couple of ribs.”

He gave his usual calming smile as he saw her face, “You're OK?”

“A bit irritated and disappointed, but fine by all standards. Better than you. Though you do look good bare-chested.”

“Your plan didn't work, I'm so sorry my love. The river didn't flood the farmland. Bloody mutt ruined everything!” He said, reaching up to stroke her soft hair.

“It didn't kill any worgen, maybe bought us a bit of time, but nothing we would have lost if we had done it earlier. I got caught up in killing beasts, I almost lost you.”

“You'll have a hard time getting rid of me!” he joked, before wincing.

“It won't be long before we're in Rayborn, I decided to take a break from moving while the worgen are far behind us. We won't reach Gilneas City before we have to rest, so we may as well spend the night in Rayborn. There are a few injured and the convey isn't moving as fast as I'd like, even if they are mostly just carrying straw and explosives.”

“You're a natural leader Marianna. You underestimated the dog once, you won't again.”

“There's still something bothering-,” she began to say before realising she was talking out loud. “Could you tell your men that? They only listened because I'm to be your wife.”

He laughed again before clutching his wounded chest. Marianna rubbed her hand across it.

“Your tent hasn't been set up, but I should be able to get some medical supplies out of your bags.”

“No!” he shouted startling her. He calmed down quickly then continued “don't bother, I'm fine. I was just try getting a little attention.”

“Don't be silly, it won't take me ten minutes, she said, making her way out of the tent. George glanced after her with a worried expression.

Marianna strolled over to where his belongings lay at the edge of the forest. Soon she was away from the main group of troops, sat around the various camp fires they had erected.

As she walked in silence, something was still niggling at her. It wasn't that Pyrefang had attacked Lord Malray first, it wasn't that he hadn't fallen into her trap at Rainemouth. It was something else.

She rubbed her forehead in frustration.

“Think!”

There was something obvious she was missing.

'Missing,' she thought again as she reached the forest edge, hitting her hand against her head.

Something was missing.

She began to rummage through one George's bags half-heartedly, instead focusing on what she was missing.

She opened the next bag. Suddenly it clicked. She'd been telling herself Pyrefang was intelligent, and as well as that, a powerful spellcaster. Of all the worgen, only he could get past Kyr's Fire and steal the magical item.

Why then, did he not have it with him when he attacked Lord Malray. He wouldn't give it to one of his pack. He'd use it himself. Why would he pass up the chance to use the weapon that had stopped him attacking constantly against them.

As she pulled out more items from the bag, she stopped. There was only one possible answer. Someone had stolen it. Someone had disabled it. Someone had betrayed them. She looked down into the bag.

She couldn't believe her eyes. She stood up slowly, keeping her eyes on the bag. A pistol clicked behind her. A hand shoved her deeper into the forest, onto the floor.

He stood over her, a pistol in one hand, the bag in the other. 'General' George Devon, with a bag containing the precious magical device from Dalaran.

George Devon had Kyr's Fire.



“How...could you?” she whispered, trying to push herself off the ground. Her arms didn't want to move.

“Marianna, why couldn't you listen for once? I asked you not to go through my bags, but you had to help didn't you,” he sighed, still holding the pistol at her.

“What have you done?” she demanded. As she raised her voice, George dropped beside her, releasing the bag and placing his hand over her mouth. Her protest become a quiet muffle.

“I couldn't let Pyrefang get it. So I had to take it myself. I would have money on you wanting to take the fight to the worgen; I planned to find it somewhere in the woods.”

Flailing around, Marianna scratched her fingernails against George's chest. He removed his hand from her mouth but quickly pointed the pistol at her again.

“Why? Why would you betray Gilneas?” she pleaded.

“I didn't betray Gilneas. I just needed to teach Malray a lesson. I didn't mean for him to die, just get demoted. A vote of no confidence in his abilities, for letting us be ambushed.”

“You have betrayed us George. You killed our general. You're as big a traitor to this land as Lord Crowley. You betrayed us all, you betrayed me.”

“No! I did it all for you my love! Everything I did, I did it for you. After Malray humiliated you like that, he deserved to be taught a lesson. I knew you would be a great asset if he would just listen to you, but he didn't. It was your dream, to be a strategist. If I could become a general, I could give you that dream.”

“Me...you point a gun at me. No...you...you just wanted all this power. You wanted my ideas...to make you into a war hero?” she said slowly, blinking back tears. George put his pistol away and went to caress her face but she pushed him back.

“Marianna, I love you, more than life itself. I wanted to make you happy, make your dreams come true. Gilneas is not worthy of you.”

“Wrong...George, I love this land more than I love my own life. If you can't love this land, I can't love you, and if I can't love you, I can't believe you.”

“Then let me prove myself to you. Anything you ask, I will do for you my love. Let me prove to you my love and devotion to you. Let me show you that what I did, I did for you,” he said desperately.

“You want...” she started to say, before completely wiping her tears away, “Very well George Devon. If you truly love me more than life, then die.”

“Marianna...” he said almost in tears, after waiting a moment as if she would take it back.

“Die for me. Accept your betrayal to Gilneas and me. Die for me.”

He looked at her horrified, then hung his head. Marianna looked at him, wondering if he would stop her if she tried to move again. She slowly got to her feet but he didn't look at her.

As she edged past him, he looked up at her, staring into her eyes. Suddenly he turned and ran further into the forest. George Devon alone with his pistol.

Marianna took a deep breath, picked up Kyr's Fire and returned to the camp.

~~~

“Where is General Devon?” Michael asked her. She had called for all the troops to listen to her announcement. Many civilians were appearing too, the children trying to get as close to the troops as possible.

“He's gone. He found us this,” she said, taking him away from the crowd and showing him Kyr's Fire, “but he's gone. He couldn't cope. He's dead.”

“Marianna, there are no more commanders alive. I can't lead this army. Even it if it is only for a few more days.”

She smiled at him and strode confidently in front of the troops. They looked to her side as if not expecting to see her alone.

“Commander George Devon is gone. From now on you will follow my orders and mine alone,” she announced. There were various quiet responses, none of them helpful to her.

“And if we don't? We'll not follow some girl of peasant birth. We'll not follow some girl who messed up her own trap, some girl who Lord Malray knew was an idiot. Who do you bloody well think you are?” came the response from one of the men. She knew him as James Richardson, a spokesman of sorts for many of the others.

“Who am I?” she asked, her face turning angry and her voice dark, “I am Marianna Nightstone. I am a strategist sent here on the orders of King Genn Greymane. I am Lord Malray's official successor and I am the peasant girl who is going to guarantee that every single one of the children we have here will make it safely to Gilneas City without so much of a scratch.”

She marched over to him as she spoke, staring him in the eyes.

“Do I make myself clear! Because if you don't want to follow me, you can get out of this camp because I am not going to waste any resources on you!” she ended forcefully as she stood only a few inches away, glaring at him. James stepped back slowly in line with the other troops.

“I said, do I make myself clear!”

Michael replied first, saluting her and shouting “Glory to Gilneas Ma'am.” Shortly after, all the others did, including James.

“Then let's go.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:50 pm

Sacrifice

Rayborn was a distinctive village. It formed a small square, each of its corners home to a tall tower, each pointing in one map direction. The four entrances were along each side of the square. Unlike Rainemouth, Marianna hadn't set up any permanent barricades. She had Kyr's Fire. It wouldn't last the whole night, so she had to make it count.

As soon the pack had arrived, she had activated it around the village, the flames lighting up the wolf-men in the night.

South of Rayborn was safety - Gilneas City. There was a paved road lined with trees all the way. Before setting up the shield, she had lined the road with as much straw as possible.

“You're good with a crossbow Captain?” she asked Michael, as they stood together leaning against an inn named The Crossbowman.

“Not bad, why?”

“Get one from inside here. Up at the south tower there's a torch. When the shield fails, light your bolts then use them to set alight the hay down the side of the road. That should scare off any worgen who don't get involved in the village battle. When you're done, head for Gilneas City.

“You're staying, aren't you?”

“Yes, my magic is the only thing that can hold them for long. We at the village will buy you some time.”

“I'll not stand by and let you sacrifice yourself. I'm staying with you.”

“Do you really think I'd sacrifice myself...I have a strategy.”

~~~

“Soldiers of Gilneas. The future is before us, and it is ours to do with as we please. The life of Gilneas is in your hands. I can tell you what I would like you to do, but ultimately it is for you to do. I know you will make the right choice.” Marianna said, addressing the troops. She glanced behind her, the whole convey was ready to move out. James was at the back. She had made him pull the wagon with the remainder of the explosives inside as punishment for talking back to her.

The shield began to flicker.

In front of her she saw the pack, waiting for the time to strike. Towering above them was Pyrefang.

The shield flickered again. It was almost out of energy.

The pack started to howl. Beside her, the soldiers were tense with anticipation.

The shield vanished.

The pack charged forward at the northern entrance. Her troops held their ground at the choke point. Behind her, the villagers in the convoy fled as fast they could towards Gilneas City. She hoped the fire would discourage the worgen from attacking them.

The first wave of worgen crashed into the armoured wall of soldiers. There were a few death cries from both sides but the defence held.

“Fall back back to the second barricade!” she shouted.

As the men ran past her she shot a wave of fire at the oncoming worgen, scattering them back to their Alpha. Pyrefang howled and a second wave of worgen sprinted towards them. She rushed back behind the barricade.

Michael came running across the village square, past the now dormant Kyr's Fire, an empty crossbow in his hand.

“It's done Ma'am!” he yelled.

“Good, we'll draw the worgen in for the next ten minutes. Hold the line men!”

The next wave of worgen ripped into the defenders. Bones broke and blood splattered around. Eventually she called for a withdrawal into the village square itself.

“Two minutes and we're going! Glory to Gilneas!” she cried.

Over the next two minutes, hundreds of worgen broke into the village. The loss of lives began to take their toll on the defence.

“Get the south exit cleared!”

The surviving defenders focused their attacks and cleared out the narrow alleyway that would be their escape. One by one they fled down it.

Marianna began to call upon her magic. A quick spell and the four corner towers burst into flames. Each began to collapsed counter-clockwise, blocking all entrances and exits. She raced under the southern one just before it fell, blocking the worgen from following her. Only Michael was stood waiting for her.

“Now what?”

She held out a hand and a few seconds later, the entire village exploded in a tornado of fire. Howling ensued and all nearby worgen fled back into the forest.

“Guess Kyr's Fire wasn't compatible with my magic,” she winked before bending over, hands on knees. As exhausted as she was however, they still needed to get away. Together they turned and followed the remaining troops towards Gilneas City.



The capital was within their sights. Thankfully, the gates were still open. In front of the two of them, she could see James, slowly dragging the explosives.

“Michael, go and tell them to prepare to shut the gates! There are probably worgen right behind us!” she yelled. He nodded and sprinted past James. She continued trudging along, each step a struggle.

Suddenly, about fifty feet from the drawbridge, she heard unmistakeable sound of Pyrefang's howl behind her. She spun quickly and instinctively shot a wave of fire towards the oncoming beasts. The Alpha leapt over it and her, leaving his companions to burn. He crashed onto James' back and crushed the man's neck.

She spun again and unleashed a fireball towards the worgen. As it approached Pyrefang, he grabbed it in his claws and hurled it behind him. The bridge behind them exploded in flames.

“Michael!” she yelled. Drawing her rapier, she charged at the Alpha. He jumped at her. She managed to sidestep out of the way quickly but was caught as he swung his claws at her when he landed. They ripped into her side and she collapsed in agony, sprawling on the ground..

Pyrefang loomed over her, one foot on her bloodied back. She waited for the killing blow.



She heard a grunt and felt the worgen's weight fly off her. She twisted over painfully to see someone standing beside her.

“Get away from my wife!” George shouted, shooting at Pyrefang with his pistol.

“Marianna, get out of here, that's an order!” he demanded.

She couldn't believe it was him. At that moment, there was no one else she would rather have seen. She clambered to her feet and hesitated.

“You two, come on, the bridge won't last long!” Michael yelled. She was relieved to hear his voice. She turned and ran towards him and the city. He was stood at the other side of the burning bridge, which was quickly collapsing into the moat.



George didn't follow.

He loaded his pistol for another shot but Pyrefang was too quick and attacked him. The pistol flew from his hand and landed beside James' corpse. Pyrefang plunged a claw into George's chest.

The Alpha then leapt onto the wagon and began casting a spell at Marianna, who was still not reached the city. Struggling to his feet, George ran over to the worgen and tugged his leg with all his strength. Pyrefang's fireball went wide of the mark and smashed into the city walls.

George knelt down to try and pick up his pistol. He just moved his finger round the handle when Pyrefang's massive claw seized his neck and lifted him up.

“George!” he heard his beloved yell. He could just see her standing in the archway at the city entrance, the bridge having finally collapsed.

Pyrefang began to cast another spell with his other hand, while tightening the one round George's neck. George could feel himself beginning to black out.

With all his energy, he hooked his finger round the trigger of his trusted pistol.

“I love you,” he mouthed to her.



The wagon exploded, the sound thundering through the city and the forest. The inferno consumed Pyrefang and George as it shot into the air.

Marianna's eyes filled with with tears. He was gone.

“Close the gates!” someone yelled. She didn't move until Michael dragged her back forcefully.

~~~

She wiped the tears away from her eyes as Michael got up from the bench beside her. He looked at her for a moment.

“And you're sure you don't want a medic? Worgen injuries have killed a lot of men,” he said, his voice betraying his concern.

“I've told you Michael...I'm fine. Just leave me be.”

“Very well then. I will find King Greymane and explain what happened.” He bowed and started to leave. When he had walked a few yards he turned back and said gently, “there is no greater honour, he died for Gilneas.”

She lifted her necklace and stroked it with her finger. It was all she had left of him.

“No,” she said softly to herself, “he died for me.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:51 pm

Home

Gilneas City was not as busy as she remembered it. Where once there bustling markets now there was only darkness. Today was market day and only two stores were open, a blacksmith and an alchemist. Nothing to do with food, all the farms now shut down because of the worgen menace. In her hand she had the only bag of food she could find. It seemed to be getting rarer and rarer, and she was getting very hungry since she had returned.

It was now three days since she had returned. Three days of mourning for George. She hadn't heart to destroy his reputation now he was dead. She told herself that if she managed to save Gilneas than he would have died saving it too. Whether she believed that truly, she didn't know.

Pain shot down her arm. It convulsed quickly. She spun round hiding it from the store owners, they had few customers so one was likely to see it. She hurried to nearest back alley and lifted up her sleeve. Since returning she hadn't felt like herself. The sickness was not the biggest of her problems, but the aching of her muscles and their random convulsions gave her cause for concern.

She stroked her arm. She didn't remember having so much muscle as she had now. All the work fighting back the worgen must help them build them up. She jerked it again slightly and coughed as she did. Something was wrong with her. She was scared.

“Marianna?”

She looked over her shoulder down the alley and saw a robed gentleman standing not far from her. A hood covered his head. It only took her a second to look down at the robes and recognise them.

“Master Kalros, I am glad you are still well. I would have thought the King would have called for your services?”

“I seem to be feeling better than you,” he said, lifting down his hood. He looked right into her eyes and she simply stood there, mesmerised. He blinked suddenly and continued, “I am glad King Greymane picked my star pupil to be one of his strategists, I hear Gilneas owes you a great debt after the death of Lord Malray and your husband, bless his soul.”

“I am feeling a little under the weather Master Kalros, but nothing for you to be concerned about. I didn't think healing was your expert of expertise anyway?”

“My mother was a very good healer before she was murdered, bless her soul. You know my area of expertise in magic, they served you quite well in the war against the worgen?”

“Yes, I thank you again. Fire proved most useful against them.”

Kalros walked closer to her lay his hand on her shoulder. Now he was closer Marianna could see how he had aged in only a few years. Long grey hair reached down to his cheeks with the faintest resemblance of a beard at the tip of his chin.

“I should be going, just call on me if you need, when you need me. You know where to find me.”

Before she could reply he turned and pulled back up his hood and walked back down the way he had came. Marianna stroked her arm once again. It seemed fine now. Maybe he had helped her.

She returned home.

~~~

“Anyone home?”

Michael had already opened the front door and stepped into her hallway, so he already knew the answer, he was just waiting for her to respond.

Marianna lived in in a two room house. The bottom floor had her fireplace, table and stairs leading up the second floor, her bedroom and library. She called down for him to come up. As soon as he reached the top of the stairs he was on the small landing. Marianna liked to have a good view of the entrance doorway even from upstairs so she had sacrificed room so she could have a banister.

Michael knocked on her bedroom just to check she was descent. He knew she wasn't feeling well and he had no idea what sort of remedies medics, alchemists and healers might come up with.

She opened it and returned to sitting down on her bed. Michael looked around for a chair to sit on. Marianna already seemed to have one in the middle of the room for him.

“So, what is the situation? Is King Greymane upset by my temporary leave?” she asked, as soon as she'd finished she moved her hand from George's engagement present to her mouth, covering it up.

“I'll talk about that later, first, I want to know why you're not feeling any better. Did you visit any healers?” he said as authoritatively as he could. If there was one thing she responded to, it was authority. He knew damn well she had done nothing.

“Not yet, now what has happened? I saw Lord Godfrey was back.”

“I'm not telling you a thing until you've seen a healer, until then, I'm keeping you out of the loop. Remember I'm still your superior.”

“But you're still not a General, that I can tell. Captain Starle,” she said sternly, “if I wanted to be 'in the loop' I would go there myself. It's just a passing piece of sickness, nothing more.”

“Visit someone for help and I'll tell you.”

“I'll promise you I'll visit someone for help then you tell me, final offer Captain.”

“Deal,” he said reaching out his hand to shake. Marianna moved her hand from her necklace to shake his. She realised it was the wrong hand and looked at Michael as if asking him to swap hands. From that moment he knew something was wrong with her other hand. Very wrong if she wouldn't tell him. Never-the-less, he shook her hand and didn't press the subject.

“So Captain?”

“Well, Lord Godfrey's returned and he seems to have wiped out the Ripclaw pack completely. Pyrefang's pack was last seen squabbling against each other to see who would become the new Alpha. But King Greymane thinks that it's the end of the pack, they'll just be absorbed into the final pack.”

“Lord Philip...he was against them?” she said stuttering.

“Wiped out, no survivors. Now the Bloodfang are near the city gates. The remnants of the Pyrefang should stop them for a while but not for long. The Bloodfang are our target then. I've got a meeting tomorrow with King Greymane, Lord Godfrey and his second, Captain Steven Larner.”

“I should come too then.”

“Nope, you're going to see someone about your illness, I warned you about worgen injuries...they aren't completely understood yet. So, now you tell me, who are you going to see tomorrow?”

“My old tutor.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:52 pm

Secrets

Marianna looked down again at her book. Right on the first page, Kalros had signed it and written her address. As much as she thought this wasn't necessary, she had made a deal with Michael and she wasn't one to betray her promises. If this is what it took to get back into the action, then this is what she would do. A simple 'there is nothing I can do' was all she needed.

She knocked on the door and it creaked open. She took one step onto the floorboards to check they were safe. Rotting wood maybe but seem to support her weight. The outside of the house looked decrepit, inside it seemed no one lived there. Had he moved? She doubted it. She walked in further into the next room. In this room every wall had books on it.

“Good of you to come.”

Kalros stood in front of what seemed to be a hidden doorway, behind a bookcase. Marianna raised an eyebrow at him questioningly.

“Forgive my architecture. I had fancies as a child of owning Karazhan, a wonderful tower with hidden passages at every turn. Come, we'll look at you downstairs.”

She followed him downstairs. The room at the bottom was nothing like the rest of the house. At the far end was a large piece of circular metal, runes carefully drawn around the outside. To it's left was a cage, big enough for about five people and on it's right an alchemist's lab. The only other thing she noticed was a relay above the cage, a magical artifact designed to transfer magic from one source to another.

“What is this?” she asked. He waved his hand ignoring the question. He walked further inwards. She followed cautiously.

“I have bad news for you Marianna. The blood of worgen is fatal, for your humanity. It's not hard to see you've had the blood of the worgen added to your bloodstream, most likely due to being torn at by bloodied claws. You are succumbing to the curse.”

“What can I do?” she asked, trying desperately to be strong in the face of what she knew would be her death.

“Get into the cage, I can't sure you when I'm dead. Don't worry, my mother, bless her soul, was great at healing.”

Marianna walked slowly into the cage and sat in the furthest corner. As Her tutor closed the door and locked it, she held onto her necklace, wishing George was here now.

No good, no good at healing. Darkness, only good at darkness,” came a new voice, like a child singing. She looked around and saw it's cause. A small imp was now dancing on alchemist's table.

“Marianna, meet Biznam. Biznam, Marianna.”

No good, no good. Murder, that's why he murder!” the imp sang again. Kalros walked up to Marianna's cage and looked down at her.

“Now Marianna...how does this make you feel, to know my crimes?”

Marianna roared as loud as she could. No, it was more of howl. Her whole body began to convulse. She fell to the floor in spasms, struggling to put her feet and hands on the ground. As she twisted and turned, she looked up at Kalros.

“As I hoped...angry.”

~~~

“I still don't agree your majesty, Crowley would just make matters worse. He'd sooner join the worgen then help you.” Lord Godfrey said in his typical tone of voice. For the entire meeting Michael and Steven had been mere spectators, watching as King Greymane and Lord Godfrey argued about what to do about the Bloodfang. The King wanted to protect his people by fleeing, Lord Godfrey wanting to fight them in the closed spaces of the roads.

“Captain Starle?” King Greymane asked. Michael hadn't really been paying much attention so it came as a bit of a shock. He looked back at King Greymane before his majesty continued, “I would be interested in Strategist Marianna's opinion. The Pyrefang will soon be part of the Bloodfang so I want as much information as possible about them. I know she is on leave but is it possible she could be here within, say, the next hour?”

“She's been feeling unwell your majesty,” he replied. Steven made some form of sound but he ignored it, “she's seeing someone at the moment.”

“I have many healers and alchemists and she isn't seeing any of them?”

“Your majesty,” Lord Godfrey interrupted, “If Malray's strategist isn't available, we can't push the subject. The worgen filth are out there and we need to stop. If we don't, then more will die like Malray, Philip and Captain Larner's family.” Steven nodded at Lord Godfrey's suggestion.

“I'm not going to let any of my people die because they couldn't see a proper healer. Who is Marianna with?”

“I think it was her old tutor.” The moment he said this, King Greymane's expression changed. He looked to Lord Godfrey then whispered something. The two of them looked back at Michael.

“So the strategist is working with the traitor Kalros.”

“Captains, go and stop her. I can't have Kalros loose when the worgen are around too. Lord Godfrey and I will continue with out you. Go!”



As soon as Michael and Captain Larner had left the room, they were joined by one of Steven's assistants, mage by the name of Richard. Michael just followed the two of them as they ran to the barracks where Lord Godfrey's men were stationed. As they ran, Michael asked what was going on. It wasn't until they actually had a group of soldiers with them than Captain Larner replied.

“Kalros was caught trying to summon demons, the idiot. He murdered his own mother and tried to use her magic, luckily it didn't work. Are you two complete morons that missed this?”

“We left early to meet up with Lord Malray.”

“There is still such a thing as messages. Bah, King Greymane's men raided the house but found nothing after Kalros managed to escape.”

“Well then, he won't be in the city.” Michael replied.

Richard scoffed, “he won't have left to be eaten by the worgen. Now where is he?”
“If Marianna was going to find him, she'd look at his house, it's the only address for him she has.”

“I'll teleport to the records and find his house.” Richard replied before vanishing in a flash. Ten minutes later he was back and led the way, Steven right beside him, pistol drawn.

“Hold on Marianna.” Michael said under his breath.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:53 pm

Portal

“I really did think my mother's magic would open the portal. But I found it too refined.”

“Refined, refined, too perfect!

“Then when I first came across one of these worgen. I instantly spotted it. A curse they call it. I know all about curses. But it's not a curse. The magic in the worgen it's like a feral version of nature's magic. I reason it would work to open the portal.”

Portal. Demon. Brother.

“Shut up Biznam and make yourself useful!” Kalros yelled as he lunged at the imp. Biznam jumped back onto the table and just sat there. Kalros returned to looking at Marianna in the cage. He stood still for a moment walked over to the closed portal.

“I tried a few worgen, but even if their curse was the right kind of magic, they couldn't react with the relay. But you, I suspect will have no such problems. Remember what I told you? See every change and react. After all, you were my best student and now to find you wounded by an Alpha himself? It's like a hundred gifts at once.”

One by one, he touched each rune, each turning black when his wrinkled finger touched it.

“Can you even understand me beast? Is there any humanity left within you? Any of the delightful trusting humanity? I wonder.”

Marianna howled in pain as the relay shot at her. Fire rolled from the relay across the roof and into the portal as the final rune was touched.

“I may not be an expert on portals, and this may be crude. But it will be enough to stop them laughing. Strong enough for one...maybe not the ones that were written in Stormwind's libraries but surely something powerful. I just need a name.”

One portal, one door. One goes through then closed. One portal, one door. Their passage unopposed.

“One demon is all I need Biznam.”



“How the hell did they miss a secret passage way? Get this open!” Steven yelled. Michael stood behind him, clearly not in charge here. As soon as the bookcase was completely smashed, everyone went through. It wasn't far to reach the basement.

The first thing he saw was a cage with a worgen inside. Female. No sign of Marianna. Where was she?

Fire roared up in front of them as Steven charged forward. He leapt back. No way through. This Kalros had taught Marianna of course. He was a caster. Fire surrounded them on all sides, reaching up the roof, catching onto the wood above.

“Well, I guess I can't be so lucky Genn wouldn't find me. To be cliché, you're too late. The portal is open thanks to my prized pupil.”Kalros said in a suitably sinister tone

Michael looked back over the cage. The worgen was under attack from magic, reeling in agony. As she lifted up her head to howl, he saw a necklace around her neck. He recognised it instantly. He screamed her name.

“Oh shut up boy, she's just a beast now. Sad but at least I benefit from it. Now then, which demon do I pick Biznam?”

There was a gunshot. Michael saw Steven holding the pistol at Kalros but it did nothing, the bullet burning up around the mage.

“Crude boy, crude. Didn't your mother never tell you to play with guns. Magic is where it's at.”

There was a crackly in the air and Richard shot some form of magic bolt through the fight. Kalros spun round and casually pushed it away sending it to the side. He laughed.

“This is so much fun. But in all seriousness, Biznam, a demon's name, please.”

Beast.

“Beast? What are you talking about?” Kalros looked over to an imp sat on a table. The imp was pointing at the other side of the room.

Beast free.

At once, everyone looked at where this Biznam was pointing. The weird thing that was attacking Marianna had broken, arcane power shooting off in random directions. Richard's bolt. Marianna roared, not in pain but in anger. She leapt onto the door of the cage and grasped it firmly with her hands and feet. Then the metal began to melt.

Kalros, a look of fear on his face, shot a ball of fire at her. She hit with her paw and send it back at him. He ducked and fell to the ground. By the time he was back up Marianna was out and leapt...right over him.

“Put the fire out damn it!” Steven yelled. Richard seemed to try but it wasn't working. It wouldn't be long until the fire overwhelmed the house. One of the men tried to run back up the other way but Steven just turned and held the pistol at him. Captain Larner...willing to kill his own men for cowardice.

Michael looked back to Marianna. She had leapt onto the table and started chasing the imp, like a dog chasing a cat. Biznam was running and jumping for his life. As he ran past Kalros, Marianna knocked the mage out of the way. For the second time Kalros got to his feet, this time ready to cast a spell.

The portal flashed suddenly, then fizzled out. The swirling fire that had been at it's centre faded. Kalros swore. Marianna leapt onto of the portal, no imp to be seen. She looked up at the ceiling as parts began to collapse.

“Blasted imp! Cowardly imp! That was my portal, not to be used as your back-door!”

Kalros held up his hand again aiming at Marianna. Fire crackled around his palm, the same magical fire that was about to burn them all. A piece of the ceiling fell down in front of them. The fire before Michael momentarily stopped as wood came crashing down. Not thinking, he jumped through, drew his rapier and plunged it into Kalros' back. The mage stopped suddenly and fell forwards, crashing into the ground.

“Stop that beast!” Steven yelled. There was a shot that flew right past Michael's ear but it missed Marianna. She leapt from the top of the former portal, through the hole in the roof of the basement and vanished.

“Let's get out of here, Michael get over here. We've got a worgen hunt on our hands!”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:54 pm

Hunt

Without Captain Larner threatening to shot anyone, everyone got out rather easily. And that was the only easy bit. Now Captain Larner wanted a worgen hunt, a Marianna worgen hunt. His family had been killed by the worgen and he seemed willing to kill her if it meant he would get some solace.

Kalros had said there was nothing left of her, nothing but a feral beast. Could he really believe that? She still held onto that necklace, she was smart enough to use the imp to close the portal. She had always said that Pyrefang was an intelligent worgen, a worthy foe. But even if she was still intelligent she was still a worgen, an enemy.

“Where does she live? District, street!” Steven shouted. Did he ever stop shouting?

A worgen in the city. Surely she had to be put down.

“She's not part of any pack so she'll run to where she feels safe, now where is her home?!”

One decision he had to make, so many questions. Was she still there? Was she the enemy? What would she say? It began to rain, he had his eyes closed but he could still feel the rain. He tried to imagine her face. Every time it morphed into a worgen. But every time he still saw her.

“Cathedral Quarter, Torrent lane, thirty-five.” he lied. He made it the most skilful lie he ever told. Now he just needed to get away from Captain Larner and the others.

“Good. Captain Starle go tell King Greymane about what's happened,” Steven replied calmly, pointing in the opposite direction, “he will want to know.”

Michael nodded. At that, Steven called for his men to follow him and they raced towards the Cathedral Quarter. As they disappeared, Michael breathed out heavily. Separated, now he could get Marianna away from her house in the Military District. He thanked Greymane for the luck he was getting.

As he ran he began to limp. He rubbed his leg and only now realised he'd burnt it from the fires. He knelt down, pulled off the armour and made a quick bandage for it. He hated to slow down, as soon as Steven realised he'd been sent to Michael's own house he'd be in trouble. Still, he needed to be able to run.

Back up on his feet, his running wasn't as fast he'd want it to be. It took about ten minutes to reach her house. As went to open the door, something knocked him back. There was a flash in front of him and Richard appeared.

“Sorry Captain, no entry, least of all for you.” the mage said with an authority he didn't have.

“Out of the way, I'm a captain in Lord Malray's army and you are in my way!”

“You're not a captain in any army anymore, you'll be court marshalled, when Captain Larner gets here.”

“He can't do anything.”

“Oh, but he can kill you for treason. Giving him the wrong address, well that was obvious. Did you forget how easily I can teleport to the records centre? No wonder Malray died if he had soldiers like you.”

Michael charged at Richard. Not trying to kill him, he still lunged with his rapier. Richard vanished and reappeared behind him, and blasted Michael's back with more magic. He needed to stop him from teleporting. Michael got back to his feet and immediately jumped, expecting an attack that did indeed come. This time he paid more attention when he lunged.

Right before he vanished, Richard held up two fingers on right hand. Was that what was needed for his spell? Expecting Richard behind him, Michael jumped to the side. He spun round to see Richard attacking with a bolt from his right hand. Was that the only hand he used for magic?

Third time was going to be the charm. Michael carelessly threw his rapier at Richard. It wouldn't have hurt him but the mage still teleported away. Quickly, Michael drew out a knife and spun round, slashing down in one motion. The blade slit through Richard's fingers with easy, cutting off three of them. He screamed in pain and while distracted, Michael kicked him to the ground.

There was gunshot and Michael felt the bullet through his ribs, just catching the side. Enough to bring him to his knees. Someone rushed up behind and pulled him back up. He felt a knife against his neck, his knife. His captor turned him to face Steven, holding a smoking pistol.

Captain Larner pulled Richard up and quickly mocked him for losing his fingers.

“I want you to see this Michael,” Steven said, pulling out a spiked net from behind him, “I want you to see what we do to worgen and traitors.”

He walked over to Marianna's door and kicked it down. He and Richard entered, Michael was forced to follow behind.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:54 pm

Gilneas

Richard quickly checked the single ground floor but Michael could have told him there was nothing there. She was always in her bedroom. Richard nodded and Steven started to move upstairs.

“The mutt is cornered, she can't run. No doubt licking her wounds instead of smelling us out. Every man gets a piece of her flesh...Michael can eat his...raw.”

He was sick a little in his mouth. He struggled slightly but the man holding him wasn't going to let him budge. Instead he looked around for another weapon. Another dagger, hanging from his captor's belt.

Before he could try for it, Steven was already at the door and kicked it down. Three of them ran in and he hurt a yelp. When he was brought in he could see the spiked net had done it's job.

This was the first time he'd really seen her face. Her face was a pale grey, with I even paler around her eyes and muzzle. Her eyes still retained their goldenness she had as a human. He black hair was still the same, rugged at the front covering part of her face yet still with elegance and grace. She looked up at him, body torn from the net yet still showing off her newfound muscle. Still around her neck hung George's gift to her. Even as a worgen she hadn't gotten rid of it. He knew then he had tried his best and he had made the right choice.

“Mutts need to be put down. Here Michael, you take the shot.” Steven said. He walked over to him and pulled out one of hands from his captor's grasp and forced the finger around the trigger. Steven aimed the gun and pushed Michael's finger's at the trigger.

With a burst of strength he managed force the gun wide and shot at the window. Steven pulled the gun away and punched him in the face.

“Fine, I'll do it myself. I'll be the hero my family wanted me to be. This is for them...bitch.”

With his hand free, Michael reached down for his captor's knife. He pulled it and spun it in his hands quickly, slicing him. The knife dropped from his neck and he threw it hard at Steven. It landed in his shoulder and he fell to his knees, cursing. Michael picked up his own knife and threw it at Marianna, slicing a few threads of the net. She struggled against it once more and got an arm out. She grabbed it and send fire throughout it all. Within moment's she was free and leapt through the window, smashing it.

One of Steven's men tried to grab Michael yet he managed to kick him away. As he turned to run another leapt on his back. He leaned forwards and tossed the soldier over the banister. He leapt down after him, using him as a cushion.



Steven got to his feet and ripped the knife out. He hurled it out the window, knowing it wasn't going to hit the beast. He walked over to the guard he had for Michael. His side was cut but not fatal. As he got to his knees Steven held his gun at his face.

“One simple job and you couldn't handle it.”

He fired and the man's blood splattered over the floor, his body falling shortly after. Steven ran out of the room and looked down. He loaded his gun and fired but Michael was already out of the house.

“If Michael tells Greymane what happened, we can kiss our lives goodbye! After him!”

A few looked down at the dead soldier. As soon as Steven turned his gun on them though, they nodded and followed him out of the house.

Steven was first out. He looked to his left and saw Michael running away. Of course he'd be heading the Greymane Quarter. He ran after him.

“Worgen!” someone shouted. He turned round and saw hundreds of worgen jumping down from the rooftops. They landed upon a few of his men and ripped their throats.

“Bloodfang! Captain help!” he heard Richard yell.

He returned to looking at Michael, no worgen were in front of him he could see. He chased after him, leaving his men to their fate. They brought this upon themselves, they failed and now they could pay the price. As he heard Richard's death screams he decided he didn't need them. Only he needed to be a hero.



Michael got the bridge only to find a host of worgen on top of it. One of them looked at him and howled. He sprinted off down a side alley, heading towards the second bridge. There was an explosion behind him but he didn't pay attention to it.

He raced down the alley way only to find at the far end was a wall. Too high to climb over. He should have checked the maps first. With someone else he could get over and then to what he hoped was safety.

A gun cocked behind him. He twisted slowly and saw Steven there, aiming for him, breathing heavily. His shoulder was still bloody from the dagger and now his face had a large slash across it.

“I told you they needed to be put down. You've killed us all.” Steven said, a hint of madness in his voice.

“Help me, we've got to get over this wall and warn King Greymane.”

“And let you tell him what I've done? No...I'd rather die a hero than be a disgrace. It's all ending isn't. Me, you...this city. The country's doomed. At least I can be it's last hero.”

A shadow leapt from the roof and landed on top of him and grabbed his neck with one paw and with the other snapped his gun arm. Michael could only watch as he recognised her eyes.

Marianna twisted Steven's neck right round, snapping his spine. She held his body close to her and set it alight. A few seconds later only ashes remained. Ashes no one would know, no one would celebrate.

For a moment she looked at Michael, then out of no where she hurled a fireball at him. He held his eyes closed and heard an explosion behind him and the feel of pebbles hitting his back. When he opened them he saw her back on the rooftops, howling before she ran away. He turned to find the a hole in the wall. He stepped through and her the sounds of the Gilneas Army beginning the evacuation, as his majesty had wanted.

He took one last look back at where Marianna had been.

Before he joined the battle he spoke softly, “Glory to Gilneas Marianna.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:41 pm

Bitten

Cold. It was so cold. She wasn't used to be outside so much. Ever since she was a child, learning the ways of the Holy Light she had been confined to the halls of the city's great cathedral. A great cathedral that no doubt now lay in ruins.

The worgen. Even as she fled from the city she could hear them. They didn't let them go. They never stopped howling, they never stopped hunting. She heard the cries of her fellow group members each night.

“Run Miccaela!”

Run she did. Even though she could hear the screaming, the aching of bones breaking and simmering of blood, she ran. She ran from these mythical monsters, monsters used by parents to scare their children.

She sat back down against the tree and hugged her legs. She wasn't a child anymore, but she was still scared. Alone now. The monsters in the woods around her. She had no idea which was King Greymane had gone, no idea which road led to where. No idea where any road was. Lost.

She suddenly looked to her left. She could have sworn she'd heard something. He heart told her to look, her head told her to wait. She snuggled closer to the tree. As she moved around her shoulders, trying to get them comfortable she looked up.

She wished she hadn't.

~~~

She couldn't heal the wound. Not that she claimed to be a powerful priest, she still expected to heal a small graze. And yet, the edge of the wound seemed slightly burnt, getting progressively worse.

She coughed and fell to her knees, her hands falling onto the floor. She felt her spine creak, almost like it was breaking of it's own accord. She felt her heart pulsate and her blood rise to her arms and legs. She coughed again, choking. Her neck tore rapidly. She roared out in pain. Her entire body was shifting. Her entire body broken.

She howled once more in pain.

~~~

She walked slowly round the edge of the forest. She could smell her, the one that bite her. Her instincts told her to find her. The same instincts that told her to avoid the forest. There were pack worgen around there, eager for any meal, eager for any non-pack worgen.

She picked up a scent. A rabbit. She let her tongue caress her jaws. She hadn't eaten in days. The rabbit hopped off and she followed, getting down onto all fours and carefully tracked it. Soon it stopped again and nibbled at some plant leaves.

She took another step towards it. One more and she could reach it.

A massive worgen crashed out of the trees and in one bite devoured the critter. He turned his head and looked into her golden eyes. His eyes were red, his fur black-brown. He let out a low growl and she began to back away. Another worgen appeared behind her. Then another to her right.

Bloodfang.

They advanced slowly upon her. She tried to make a break for it, but a fourth, slightly smaller than the first, leapt on top of her, pinning her to the ground. He sniffed at her neck then let out a grand howl.

Suddenly there was shot. One of the worgen roared in pain, his leg bloodied. A few moments later, someone threw a net over him. The other worgen turned and fled, running away from the noise of the shot.

The worgen on top of her jumped off her and roared at the source of the shot. Another came, crashing into his shoulder. Submitting, the worgen tried to run before a second hit his leg.

She clamoured to all fours and raced away from the source of the shots, and the Bloodfang. She sprint as fast she she could, but found her arm wounded in the struggle. As she got onto just her feet, something slammed into the back of her. As she landed she rolled over and looked up a human face. Male, a somewhat boyish hairstyle, maybe due to living outside. His uniform showed him as a member of the Gilnean military.

She swung round one of her paws but he dodged. He rolled her over using his arms and she managed to elbow him in the side of his chest. He recoiled slightly in pain but not enough to let go of her. He forced her arms behind her back and began binding them.

“Get anything Captain?” came a voice further away.

“Not the one I was looking for, but I've found me a Pyrefang.” he replied.


Last edited by Marianna on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:42 pm

Control

It took him two days to get back to the Blackwald. He'd come here with King Greymane, to Tal'doren. It was an impressive sight, one which many of the worgen bitten by the Bloodfang had come to call their home. There had been fascinating elves, taller than High Elves with darker skin that had helped many of these feral worgen find their minds again. He had hoped to have found Marianna and brought her here.

The worgen he was bringing back struggled against her bindings. It hadn't taken her long to start using magic against him. After she nearly escaped the first time, he learnt to be more careful, it had meant he'd been delayed getting back, without the help of his party. Her fur gave her away as a Pyrefang, and since Marianna was the only Pyrefang he knew of, this girl should be able to lead him to her.

“Michael? Still bringing in more worgen?” came the voice of Captain Wester. He didn't reply, bringing his prisoner down the path. As he entered into the wonderful tree, he tied the worgen to a branch then walked over to his fellow captain.

Tal'doren was now all but empty. A new threat had arisen once they'd escaped from Gilneas. As much as there were more worgen out there, it was a three-way battle to bring them to their senses. The Bloodfang may have no longer been interested in humans, but they still hunted other worgen, intent to bring them into their pack. Likewise, the Gilnean humans wanted to bring them back to the people of Gilneas, and the newly formed pack of King Genn Greymane.

And the third faction. Intend it seemed to kill worgen and human alike. The undead. Forsaken they seemed to call themselves. He wasn't entirely sure what they were or why they were doing this. They weren't a mindless rabble, they were a sophisticated war machine. One that was going to take over Gilneas unless help could be gathered from these 'Night' Elves.

They lost ground daily to the Forsaken, and Tal'doren was next. Only Captain Wester and a Night Elven Priestess still remained. Everyone else had left, content to leave the three fountains, blessed apparently by the Night Elves' goddess Elune. Whatever it was, it was this water that allowed the worgen to regain their mind.

“We're leaving, tonight. At least myself and Priestess Valyrina are, I strongly suggest you come with us.”

“This Gilnean,” Michael replied, motioning at his prisoner, “won't have her mind back by then. Besides, there are more Gilneans out there that need freeing.

“Give it up with the worgen. King Greymane is almost ready to assault the capital, you should be there with him, with us.”

“So should Marianna.”

“Fine, if you want to stay here and get killed by the Forsaken, then stay. But if, -if-, you find this Marianna, it will be too late. The Forsaken will be here by morning, and the fountains gone.

“I'll find a way Captain. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Gilnean here who needs these fountains.”

~~~

“Feeling better?” the man asked. She didn't reply, but she certainly was. Her head was groggy, but her mind was free of the feral taint from before. She brushed her hand across her forehead. Still a worgen, still a monster.

“Do you have a name?” he asked again. He smiled back at her with a smile that she couldn't not return. She grinned with her fangs, imagined how horrible it must have been to see. He made no attempt to step back, just patted her on the shoulder as if nothing was different.

“Miccaela” she replied.

He said it was a nice name as he sat down in front of her, putting a piece of meat on her legs. “Here, have something to eat.” Seeing that she hesitated, he pulled a piece from the end off and ate it himself. “You'll have to cope without stag, I could only find fox.”

“Do you have a name?” she asked, tearing off a large chunk of food.

“Michael. Starle. You have a surname?”

“I...well. I'm sure I did. I don't remember.”

“I think you'll find it soon enough. Do you know where we are?”

“It seems,” she said, looking around at the tangled black tree almost as if it was alive, “familiar. Like home.”

“The other Greymane worgen called it Tal'doren, the wild home or something like that.”

“Other worgen? Worgen that aren't Bloodfang?”

“Many aren't. Some have formed their own minor packs, submitting to one of the major packs it seems, those being Greymane or Bloodfang. Do you have a pack?”

“I-...I think so. Like a name resting on the tip of my muzzle.” she said. Michael looked at her expectantly, yet still with eyes full of compassion. “Pyrefang.”

“Do you know who bit you?”

“I think...her scent was different to the other worgen. She smelt like...an Alpha.”

“I don't claim to understand how the pack system works in it's fullest. But could you track her?”

“I don't think I want-”

“Please Miccaela. I have to find her. She was once like you, human and innocent. If she stays in Gilneas, she will die. I can't let that happen. I have to free her mind.”

“But-”

“She's your family now. Even if you didn't want it, you can't choose family, but they are still just that, family. Miccaela Pyrefang, you have a chance to save your Alpha, save my best friend. Please. As a priestess of Gilneas, please.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:43 pm

Alpha

It took a lot longer than she had hoped to find the scent of her supposed Alpha. Thankfully, Michael seemed to be able to cope well with the outdoors, even if he wasn't a worgen. By day they would trek, him carrying the bags and her in front, trying to find a scent. By night he would tell her stories of his childhood and the memories he shared with this Marianna.

Eventually though, she had found Marianna's scent. The woods gradually became thick with the reeking of rotting flesh. Michael was lucky he didn't have to smell it, the stench constantly gnawing away at his nose, the fear racing down his spine. They were close, ever so close.

“How do you intend to get through to her?” she asked eventually, the scent getting ever closer. May one day more.

“Can you contain her? She's not a weak spell-caster by any stretch of the imagination. But neither are you, no matter how much you tell yourself you're not. My arm begs to differ.”

“Can you not bind her hands like you did me?”

“No, she'll burn them. I need you to knock her out, just slam some simple magic into her, I doubt it'll do any serious harm.”

“D-doubt?”

“I'll keep her occupied.”

“I still don't know Mich-”

“Trust me Miccaela. Look into my eyes,” he said, spinning her round, his grip soft on her arms even though he wore armour. She looked into his eyes and couldn't help smile. The eyes she couldn't say no to.

“I won't fail you Michael.”

~~~

“We're downwind, she shouldn't be able to smell us.” she whispered to him. He leant round the tree for a moment then came back.

“Good. She's unlikely to bolt,” he replied, taking off his bag and lay it beside the withered tree they now found themselves hiding behind, “she'll just try and blast me with a bit of magic if I'm unlucky. I'm hoping, finger's crossed, she won't attack me, but I'll need her to at least watch me for you to do your thing.”

“Michael, there are Forsaken patrols around, are you sure we should go through with this?”

“If they're here, they'll want an Alpha for whatever twisted studies they do. Your Alpha. It makes me more determined to get her to safety. No matter what. Now, get ready. I'll try and get closer.”

Before she could say anything, he darted off to his position. She poked her head around the tree to see when he would appear. Even before he had moved out of his hiding spot, her Alpha had smelt him, and found him. Miccaela edged closer to get a view of the situation.

Michael was safe, her Alpha was just watching him cautiously. Miccaela slowly stealthed closer.

Suddenly her Alpha lifted her head and sniffed the air. The stench suddenly bombarded her too. Rotting flesh. She cried out to Michael that the Forsaken were here. Her Alpha spun round to her instantly and growled menacingly at her. She charged at her, bearing her claws. She edged back slowly, not sure what to do.

As her Alpha was almost upon her, Michael leapt onto the worgen's back and started wrestling with her. The Alpha threw herself onto her back, Michael taking the full force of the impact.

“Do it now!” he yelled as he held onto her body.

She tried to aim her magic and realised how hard it had become now she relied so much on her sense of smell. As Michael lost one grip on her Alpha, she unleashed her magic. Her Alpha gave a small cry then stop struggling. Michael pushed her off him then stood up slowly.

“You hit quite hard...think my arm's gone limp. Can you carry her?”

“There are Forsaken near Michael.”

“I know,” he said, patting her with his good arm, “that's why we're moving her.”

She nodded and picked up her Alpha and slung her over her shoulder.

There was a snap of a twig and both she and Michael looked round. There was a blast, almost like a gun and some green gas shot towards to them. Michael jumped at her and barged her to the ground as the gas crashed into him. Miccaela got back up to her feet and saw him on the ground, unconscious.

“There! A worgen, get it!” came a grasping voice. There was another shot that hit the tree beside her. She took one look at Michael on the forest floor and ran as fast she could, Alpha still hung over her shoulder. The rotting stench followed her as she ran until another shot of the gas caused a tree to explode, knocking her over the edge of a chasm. Once she hit the bottom, she blacked out.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:44 pm

Marianna

She awoke to still find her Alpha unconscious next to her, her magic must have been stronger than she expected. The idea that she may be dead came to her and she checked her Alpha's pulse. Still there.

She found her way out of the chasm as quickly as she could. The smell of the Forsaken had gone, which meant that Michael had remained. She could almost curse herself for leaving him, she just felt she couldn't stand against the Forsaken alone. She looked at her Alpha's face and wished she was awake.

Thankfully, the fall hadn't hurt that much, her legs were still as strong as they were when she had first become worgen. This curse did have it's uses. She found it possible to follow where own scent had come from and traced it back to where the Forsaken had attacked them.

Coming up to the place, she let out a sigh of a relief.

Michael's bag, with the fountain water inside.

~~~

“Wake up, filthy lump of flesh!” someone yelled into his ear. The voice had a hint of malice, well, maybe more than a hint. It sounded dead, not something completely unexpected.

He open his eyes and found himself in a cage, complete with the skeleton of what was likely a former resident.

His captor seem to wear some form of alchemist's lab coat, one sleeve missing and a number of syringes around the other. When he turned round, he saw that most of the coat from the waist down was covered in dried on blood. His face seemed to match this, it's stretched contorted skin looked like a nightmare.

The undead plunged one of his syringes into his arm and extracted some blood. Michael didn't react. His arm was still numb, the Forsaken took one look at him, expecting him to react. When he didn't, he turned to one of the armoured Forsaken.

“You're lucky Captain. Even if this one isn't worgen, his blood still a trace element of the curse. This should suffice for my experiments.”

“There was no luck about it -Junior- Apothecary. While your master is away, I am in charge here, the fact that I went to the trouble of finding a Gilnean was because of my generous still-beating heart.” he replied, clear disgust in his voice.

“Don't call me Junior, you know very well I've been Forsaken longer than that petty alchemist.”

“It doesn't matter, soon he'll be back from the main camp and we can get out of this blasted cave and back to Silverpine.”

“Doesn't matter? Everything here matters,” the 'Apothecary' continued, mixing a few vials of strange liquids as he did, “soon I will have succeeded where those Val'kyr failed. Soon I will have the made the Forsaken the greatest fighting force in the Horde, in the world.”

“This is why I hate Apothecaries.” the captain said to himself.

“A mixture. To take on any magical aspect of any curse. An elixir, to grant the strength of a Worgen with the brilliance of the Forsaken.”

~~~

It was like waking up from a dream. She could remember everything so clearly, she wished she couldn't. The fog was lifting, the red mist fading. Her mind returning like a long lost memory.

She could smell someone else was here. Familiar. But it wasn't Michael.

“Alpha...?” she said in a typical worgen voice. She didn't need to open her eyes to know who it was.

“My name is Marianna. Not Alpha,” she finally replied, opening her eyes. She looked into the eyes of the worgen that now stared at her. “Your face is familiar, your scent a memory.”

“My name is Miccaela. Michael told me to follow my Alpha, and that is you.”

“How...could you possibly think that. I bit you, I wouldn't submit to me if I were you.”

“Well, “ she replied, looking down at the ground, “in the priesthood they teach forgiveness. I have seen the rage, succumbed to it. If it weren't for Michael, I would be here. Now I need your help to find him.”

“Michael...where is he? Why is he not here?!” Marianna replied, leaping to her feet, surprising her companion.

“They took him...the undead. I- I just-.”

“Then we'll find him. I know his scent well, it won't take long to find. I won't let anything happen to him.”

“But...the undead.”

“Simple children's stories. I don't know what these undead are, but if they want to enter Gilneas, they can do so over my dead body.”

“Just the two of us?”

Marianna looked up into the sky then held her muzzle to the breeze. There was another scent on it.

“There is another. I can smell her scent. Someone else I bit. To the west. She has a hint of rot on her body.”

“The west is where the main Forsaken camp is...”

“Then I will find a closer third person,” Marianna replied, kneeling down and drawing something in the dirt with her claw.

“Where from?”

“An old acquaintance, from the Nether.”

Miccaela stood and watched as Marianna began to cast something. From the runes drawn on the ground, black mist began to rise. After about five minutes, a small green portal appeared at Marianna's head height. She thrust her arm through then pulled it out again, grasping something's neck.

An imp. A demon.

“Hello again Biznam.” she said quietly.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:45 pm

Risen

It was an interesting ring by all accounts. A sign of a Gilnean Noble, well, most likely a relation to one. There was a time in life he had served such arrogance without question, slowly trying to make a name for himself.

Now as Forsaken he had achieved that. Finally, he had access to more materials than he could ever dreamed of. Greymane had been a fool to keep them locked up. The Banshee Queen understood. She was the great releaser. A Matron of real science.

And what had become of those nobles?

The worgen. Now whoever this noble was, whoever owned the ring, was nothing more than a beast. Locked in a cage. Ready to be experimented on. He smiled as best as his new jaw could at the irony. How the tables had turned.

He turned away from the beast and carried on down the Forward Command Camp. They had made extremely good progress into Gilneas. Even if Genn had forced them back from the city, it wouldn't be for long. Nothing could stop the war machine he was now part of.

Something caught his eye. The army had come across and ruined camp and based it as it's new post. Whatever had happened here before had left a lot of humans and worgen dead. A massacre before the coming of the Forsaken. He looked over at the table where he sated his interest.

A shoulder-pad. Solid metal. Hand crafted to near perfect. He lifted it up to get a better view. The three stripes down the side signified a General. Someone who had died in combat with the worgen?

“Commander. Get over here now.” he called out, as calm as he could. Moments later, one of the military commanders was beside him. “Where are rest of items found along side this?”

“Tent just over there Apothecary Phillips,” he replied, his bony finger pointing at a small red tent. “The body is in there too.”

“Is there a Val'kyr nearby?”

“Arthura is, but she is here on special business only and due to depart soon.”

“Find her, get her over to the tent as soon as possible. Tell her I have found a corpse for her to bring back. Not some measly peasant's body.”

~~~

“Where am I? Where is the darkness?”

“You are in Gilneas General. Where you left it.” Phillips said, leaning up the Forsaken's latest soldier. He took a step back then leant out his hand and introduced himself.

“I feel...different. This is not life.”

“You are part of the Forsaken. Servants of the Banshee Queen.”

“I serve no queen save Mia. I serve Gilneas.”

“The great Banshee Queen is the queen of Gilneas. You have been dead for too long General. The beasts, the worgen, flooded the country. If not for the timely arrival of the Banshee Queen's forces, Gilneas would be nothing. Now we have joined forces to reclaim our land. Like you, I was...am Gilnean.”

“King Greymane?”

“Nothing more then a beast. The Banshee Queen is unable to help the worgen, only those that have died before-hand, like yourself.”

“She can save my family?”

“If they died during the worgen attacks, yes. That is, if you pledge your loyalty to her,” Phillips replied, toying with the ring in his fingers.

“That ring...where did you find it? It is mine. No...not mine. It belongs to my family.”

“Family...it was found on a worgen from Gilneas City.”

“Gilneas City? My brother...The worgen turned him...” the General replied, looking down on the ground.

“Brother? No. The worgen was female. She is outside if you wish to inspect her.”

Be grudgingly, he followed Phillips out. His gaze looked over the entire camp, taking all of his new surroundings in. When they reached the cell with the worgen, he collapsed to his knees. Phillips turned away from and waved his hand. His imp, Pipnzy, appeared from no where.

“Get over to Junior Apothecary Yelsman, tell him I will be arriving soon with company.”

“When soon?” the imp replied, cackling. Phillips waved his hand and the imp disappeared again. He returned to the newly risen Gilnean.

“I understand your pain.”

“You don't understand Apothecary. My niece isn't just a worgen. I fought that fur for too long. Pyrefang.” he replied spitting. “Oh my dearest Maricila, what have those beasts done to you. I had such high hopes for you. Such hopes to bring glory to the name of Malray.”

Lord Malray grasped the rapier from his belt. He roared to the sky. Phillips smiled to himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:47 pm

Bluff

“Remind me again, why I am going in there? We all know I don't want to go into the Forsaken Lair!” the imp squealed as it's little hands tried to claw away at Marianna's grip. She wasn't letting go of his neck, at least not until he submit.

From what she could work out, her Alpha had just saved the demon from being killed by an even larger demon, in the world where demons lived. Something about the imp stealing the demon's portal. Whatever the case, Marianna's summoning of the imp pulled him out of the demon world just at the right time.

But even if he did thank her, he seemed to draw the line at entering a cave full of undead.

“Because...I need a distraction for me and Miccaela to get in, and who better to bluff their way in than a conniving imp?”

“Undead, stinking, bodies and slain, if I go in there it'll be nothing but pain!”

“Biznam. You have got two very hungry worgen out here, one with her claw wrapped around your neck, eager to break it, the second a practitioner of the Holy Light. Not to mention I could easily send you back. Now you decide for yourself, where your pain will come from.”

The imp looked around, then focused on her. Even if it didn't have a human face, she could still see the horror in his face. A creature born of evil, cowering before her.

“All you need to do is distract the guards. There are stories going around that the Forsaken use demons, so as long as you convince them you are their ally, you won't get hurt,” she added, trying to not sound like she was comforting a small child.

“You said you owed me.” Marianna stated strongly.

“Not...literally.”

“Do this Biznam, and I will find you a safe place from the Forsaken and the Demons, and even me. But I need you to do one thing.” her Alpha continued, changing her tone of voice from anger to reassurance.

“Fine.”

~~~

Judging by the fact Biznam hadn't been slaughtered by the guards as soon as he appeared, he must have been doing his job. The two guards at the entrance to the cave left their posts and walked him in, each keeping one eye on him.

She waved her claw at Miccaela and she followed her into the cave. As soon as the option to get off the main floor appeared and get up onto one of the overlooking points appeared, they took it and got into a position to see the cave.

Over at one end were three large tables, with various mixtures and things onto, some smoking, some bubbling. Besides the three was another one, slightly smaller, yet this one had a robed undead stood at it, doing something or other. When one of the guards called him, he left his post and began talking with Biznam.

Further round were six cages, all empty save one. Even surrounded by rotting flesh, she could still pick out Michael scent. Besides his cage stood another guard, spinning the key around his single finger. Or at least, she hoped it was the key.

She signaled to Miccaela, and together they stealthed over to the nearest point above it. Occasionally she would look over at Biznam, but he still seemed to be keeping their gazes on him.

The two of them slid silently down the rock face and ended up behind Michael's cell. She motioned for Miccaela to stand still, and she walked slowly up behind the guard. She swung round one of her claws over his mouth and he tried to yell something. Whatever it was, didn't get out. With her other arm she pulled him down to the ground and snapped his neck.

She snapped his finger off then tossed it away from the key before another noise entered the cavern.

“What is another imp doing here Yelsman! Pipnzy is the only imp in Apothecary Phillips' employee. Phillips not be happy if he finds out you are taking someone else's orders!” yelled a new arrival. Another imp.

“Pipnzy...this imp said he was bring the master's message, that are are to leave Gilneas soon.”

“Leave? The master is returning here soon. This imp is an enemy!”

The forsaken spun back round to look at Biznam, their weapons drawn, but he was no longer there. They turned further round and saw them. Marianna threw the key to Miccaela and hurled a fireball at the nearest soldier, his flesh bursting into flames.

She attacked two more, as Miccaela shoved the key into Michael's lock. Before she heard the cell open, she heard her pack-sister scream. She turned round to see a cross-bolt sticking out of her arm. The undead soldier wearing the most exotic armour loaded another arrow and aimed at her. He looked at Marianna.

“Surrender beast, or I kill the weaker one.”

She took one look at Miccaela's face. She had already destroyed this girl's life once. She couldn't do it again. She let the grisly hands of more Forsaken soldiers grab her.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:48 pm

Agony

Their alchemist pulled the syringe out of her arm and stared at the blood inside. His face grinned, if you could call it that.

“Happy now Junior Apothecary?” the captain of the guards said, as he adjusted his crossbow.

“Of course...pure worgen blood. Pure worgen curse.”

She looked over her shoulder. Miccaela's arm was still bleeding, but not as much as she thought it might. Even if she couldn't use her claws to help heal, she could still do a bit silently. She only had one undead holding her, whereas Marianna herself had two. She moved her shoulders and tested their strength.

“Stop!” yelled Michael. She smiled at having once more heard his voice. He had been so silent, so caged. He didn't deserve this, neither of them did.

“Stop? Stop creating the newest race of Forsaken! Hah!”

“No! You don't understand. The worgen curse...it's not a curse!”

“Curse...The worgen curse...not a curse. I think you hit your head, human.”

“It's eleven! It's druidic...your curse-amplifying elixir won't work on it.”

“At what do you know about science?!” the alchemist yelled in reply. As he went to add her blood into his elixir, she thrust her arm out with all her worgen strength, knocking over one of the Forsaken. She hurled a fireball at the syringe before she spotted the captain holding a crossbow at her.

“You had your chance.” he rasped.

“No...I have other syringes, and I need her blood alive and warm.” Yelsman said, pulling another from his belt. This time he plunged it into his neck, Marianna howled. “Yes little beast. Feel the pain. This is nothing compared to what my new body will do to you.”

“Shall I kill her?”

“No, I will kill her myself.”

“Wait...her eyes. Apothecary, she cast a spell!” the captain called out, running over to him.

“Yes!” Yelsman cried out as he empty the blood into his mixture, “Apothecary...Grand Apothecary!” As the captain grabbed his hand he empty the mixture into his mouth. He cackled loudly.

“You mad fool.”

“Fool...I am a genius...no longer will the worgen be able to evade the grasp of the Banshee Queen. Glory to Sylv-” he yelled to the air before collapsing to his knees. His cheers of triumph instantly turned to cries of pain, of torture. Of Agony.

“Kill the worgen!” the captain yelled at once. As he spun round, Marianna hurled another fireball, incinerating his crossbow. He ran to one side and line of sight was blocked by another guard. She instead swung round her claw and ripped off the cheek of the other undead that held her.

Behind her, Miccaela broke away from her captor and blasted him with a needle of holy fire. His heart stopped and he stood there for a few seconds, still, before convulsing. She looked for another and did the same to him.

“Behind you Miccaela!” Michael yelled. She spun round and jumped away as the captain slashed at her with his saw. It ripped through her fur and she fell back. She immediately moved her hands to the wound to heal it.

Michael lunged his hands threw his cage and grabbed the undead's leg. He pulled on hard and he fell to the ground. The captain rolled over and thrust his sword threw the bars of the cage. Michael dodged to one side as best he could and wrapped his fingers around the blade. He wrenched it from the Forsaken's hand, even as he could feel the blood on his own. He twisted it skilfully and thrust it back through into his opponent's neck. He cough once then moved no more.

“I'm glad you actually got to kill one,” Marianna said, picking up the key that still remained on the floor. “Though it would have been nice for me to kill them all.”

As she unlocked the cage door and Michael climbed out, Miccaela got back to her feet. She ran over to Michael and hugged him as soon as he was stood up. “Your hands...” she whispered softly into his ears.

“You heal yourself first, then little ol' me.” he replied, embracing her.

Marianna looked over the two of them. She felt the same as she had when George had sacrificed himself for her. A deep feeling of regret and lose. She lifted up her necklace and looked into her reflection in the rubies. This was who she had become. Would he understand? Was he the only real traitor to Gilneas? Had he been consumed by rage just as she was when she bite Miccaela and the other woman?

Whatever the reason, for the first time since his death she realised he was telling the truth. He died for her. Now she needed to honour his sacrifice, and make her life worth something.

“Oh no...” Michael said suddenly. She took her eyes way from her necklace to look at him. “The other imp escaped.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:49 pm

Death

“You can't...just leave...me here!” Yelsman cried out in pain as they were about to leave. She almost forgotten about him, his drone of screaming something she easily ignored. It was one of the first lessons Kalros had taught her, how to ignore your opponents or allies screams and focus on the task at hand.

“You should have listened to Captain Starle,” she replied, walking back over to his writhing body, “What you so helpfully decided to take from my body was nothing compared to the pain of transforming into a worgen, nothing compared to the pain I have felt. But my curses aren't too bad, and I hope you enjoy, as you put it, 'taking on the characteristics' of my curse of agony. All the agony I have felt since your kind step foot in my country.”

“Have- argh! Mercy!”

“Put you out of your misery. No. You've died once, you won't fear it a second time. You are going to stay like that forever. I do hope your alchemist friends find some use for you, maybe as a lesson that you don't experiment on my friends.” she continued, kneeling down beside him.

Her tried to reach out and grab her but recoiled back almost instantly, screaming louder. She shot out her claw and latched onto his jaw. She pulled hard and ripped it from his face, tossing it away. She then held onto his rotting tongue and burnt it to ash.

“That is so you can't tell your friends what happened here. And in case you thought you would tell them by writing,” she said with a hint of satisfaction, as she tore off each of his hands in turn, “I'll take these too.” She held both in one hand and set them alight, tossing them agonisingly close to him. She then got back up and rushed back over to Miccaela and Michael standing by the way to the exit of the cave.

“It's still Captain Starle then? After everything we've been through.” Michael said as she stood next to him.

“I like Captain Starle, makes you seem stronger.” Miccaela replied, holding onto his arm. Marianna noticed he had an arm around her. Michael, the person that who didn't care if she was human or worgen, they were same to him.

“You're still my superior Captain, not that I think I'm part of the Gilnean army anymore.”

“Then I'll call you...hmm, let's see. Alpha Marianna Pyrefang Nightstone?”

“Works for me-” she replied as another sound resonated throughout the cave. Michael let go of Miccaela and stood in front of her.

“Such a massacre. I am glad you are still here.” came the rasping voice of another undead. She looked at Miccaela, who also seemed unable to smell him. He appeared around the corner, a familiar imp beside him.

“Oh good, I was hoping for a chance to kill you Pipnzy.” she said, licking her lips as the demon saw her.

“Oh I say,” the robed Forsaken said in a Gilnean accent, “what have you done to my apprentice? That does look quite something.”

“I'll show you first hand.”

“Well, I think I tick the box that my latest formula works. Judging by your beastly faces, you didn't smell me or my companion coming. I'm very sorry...why the long faces.”

“You made a potion to counteract your smell, you have way too much time on your hands.” Michael added.

“And there is a voice I recognise, even now.” came a second undead voice. This one, even through it's reverberating tones, she recognised, just as he recognised Michael's. The undead figure of Lord Malray, still clad in the same armour he died in walked into view, holding a new rapier.

“Lord Malray!” both she and Michael shouted. Compared to the other undead, he had alot flesh, surprising, because of his body having been burnt when he died. She could hardly believe the Forsaken could bring even a body burnt on a pyre back. And yet even without all his skin, she could see his build and face.

“Captain Starle, what are you doing with those mutts?” he called out.

“What are you doing with those abominations?!”

“I am doing what I have always done, I am serving the people of Gilneas. I am saving the country I love from the worgen menace, the menace she brings!” he continued, point at Marianna.

“Lord Malray, it's me, Marianna Nightstone.” she replied slowly, just loud enough for him to hear her.

“My strategist? First Genn, now you? I am sorry it has to come to this, but I will put you out of your misery.”

“She is an Alpha, notice how the other female submits to her clearly. She is a Alpha Malray, an Alpha that broke my apprentice. I will 'deal' with her.”

“Alpha...but she is Pyrefang. You!” Lord Malray yelled as ferociously as the mightiest worgen, “You bite my niece! Dear Maricila...”

“Lord Malray...I couldn't help it...I'm sorry. I couldn't help any of it. The rage...I couldn't help it.”

“Enough talk. You will kill the Pyrefang Alpha than Apothecary Phillips? And I will kill her pack-sister.” Lord Malray sated with such dominance. Phillips, beside him, pulled a vial from his belt and twisted it in his fingers.

“If you want to kill Miccaela, you'll have to go trough me.” Michael said, drawing his weapon.

“If you continue to side with the enemy Captain, so be it.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:51 pm

Life

Michael remembered why Lord Malray had become one of Gilneas' greatest generals. Even with just his bones, his strikes came hard and fast, Michael forced to be on the defensive since the start.

There was a flash of light and Lord Malray recoiled. He looked over behind him and saw Miccaela had created some room. She was on one knee and her face looked exhausted. He had seen casters use up all their energy on spells before and with the healing she had done, Miccaela looked liked she was suffering from the same.

“Stop casting!” Michael called to her. He brought round his sword and parried Lord Malray's next attack.

~~~

Phillips it seemed was quite the competent spellcaster. Everyone of her spells she threw at him, he would merely whisk away with a wave of his hand.

She decided she would have to kill him in hand-to-hand yet everytime she tried to get in close, he would toss what seemed like an unlimited supply of concoctions from his belt. She needed a new plan.

She opened up some room with him and he started hurling shadow bolts at her, though his aim lacked where his potency didn't. She then spun round and charged at him.

As he readied another vial, she shot a tiny fireball. The glass shattered and she leapt upon him, pinning him to the ground.

As she swung round her claw, another fireball crashed into her shoulder. She quickly put the fire out and looked over to see Pipnzy conjuring a larger fireball.

“Pipnzy thinks he's so tough, by ruining Biznam's bluff!” yelled Biznam, appearing from nowhere and crashing into the other imp. The fireball exploded and Biznam flew back. Pipnzy started to conjure another but before he finished casting, Biznam had already disappeared again.

“Find and kill the imp!” Phillips yelled. Marianna looked back at him and found he'd managed to get another vial into his hands. The mixture exploded in front of her and she flew back, slamming into the wall of the cave. Pipnzy was no where to be seen.

“Back to just the two of us?” she asked.

~~~

“Come out come out wherever you are!” Pipnzy yelled. The black swirls of the Twisting Nether hiding him well it seemed. But he still needed to get rid of that other annoying pest. There was no way he was going to win with magic.

But he had brains.

“Pipnzy and Biznam phase-shifting all around, imps dancing completely unbound!” he burst out in song as loud as he could. Pipnzy jumped infront of him and summoned a quick fireball.

Biznam turned tail and ran, singing as he went. A fireball grazed over his shoulder and he fell down, falling into what seemed like an endless void. The joys of the Nether.

Pipnzy appeared again and grabbed a hold of him.

“Murder!” he yelled, conjuring a fireball. Biznam wriggled and phase-shifted once more. Pipnzy sighed.

“BIZNAM. YOU SHOW YOUR ARROGANCE HERE AGAIN?!” a deep voice came, rebounding in the infinite. Pipnzy turned round to see a massive doomguard. As he tried to phase-shift, the massive claws grabbed him, interrupting his casting. As he tried to resist, he felt his body break.

~~~

Getting back up close to Phillips was even harder than before. Every time he cast of spell, defensive or offensive, he never seemed to run out of energy. It had to be one of the many potions he was gulping during the fray. She needed to get rid of them.

She aimed a flaming snake at his belt, but like every other time, he blocked it. She needed a new direction. A new foci for her magic. Something close to her.

She pulled her necklace off and held it in her left claw. She threw another fireball and he blocked, then countered. As she dodged his attack, she dropped her gift from George and it slid to his feet. He slammed his foot onto, shattering the rubies. As much as she wanted to attack him now, she needed focus.

But he was going to pay for that.

He drank another potion as he attacked again with his other hand. As he prepared for another, she channelled her own attack. A spear of fire shot out from the shattered necklace, crashing through Phillips' lung.

He staggered, dropping the current vial in his hand. Marianna charged at him and thrust her claw through his ribs, grasping his heart. She yanked it out, looked him in the eyes, and set alight to it.

He stared at her the whole time, fully aware of his fate. As the fire raced along his veins, he fell to his knees, then collapsed on the floor.

Marianna slowly walked over to her necklace and slowly picked it up, trying to keep any rubies still in there still with it. Holding it in her hand, she started to get over to where Michael was. As she took another step, she realised Phillips' last attack had battered her leg.

Slowly, she made her way over.

~~~

Lord Malray slammed his foot into Michael's chest and he fell to the floor. The undead twisted his sword in his hand ready to stab him.

She screamed and attacked as fast as she could. Her magic was still weak, but it was enough to stop the Forsaken's attack. As he recovered, he looked over at her and quickly marched, brandishing his rapier. She looked for somewhere to run, but could only feel herself up against the edge of the cave.

“I've had it with Pyrefang. This entire pack will die, starting with the mutts.” he said, rage clear in his voice.

“I won't let you hurt her!” Michael yelled, lunging at Lord Malray. The undead twisted around thrust rapidly. She couldn't see what happened, but she heard Michael's screams. In her heart, she knew what had happened. She roared and unleashed all the holy light she could muster, crashing like a wave into his back.

He flew over Michael's body and she saw him, lying there still. She ran over, tears in her eyes, flooding her face. She felt a sadness like nothing she had ever experienced. As she reached him and held him, she felt herself transform back into a human, and as a human she felt agony worse than even the still writhing Yelsman was feeling.

He reached up and stroked her face. She brushed his hand aside and kissed him, her eyes lost in the moment, as the light left his. She felt his lips go cold and she resumed her tears.

Marianna slammed her knee into Lord Malray and he fell to the ground. He rolled onto his front and she grabbed him, her forearm pressed up against his neck.

“What have you done?! You once told me something, something I've never forgotten!” she screamed, tear apparent in her eyes.

“I know,” he replied, his tone of voice dramatically changed, “I told you nothing was more important than the lives of Gilneans. The life of this young lady...she isn't a monster, she is a Gilnean.”

“I should snap your neck here.”

“She, you aren't the monsters here. I am. Captain Starle had it right, I am an abomination. I deserve death, I deserve my fate for succumbing to my rage,” he continued, dropping his bloodied rapier, “End it.”

“I should,” Marianna said, looking over at Miccaela and Michael's body, “but I have fallen to my rage before, I won't let you too. Michael wouldn't want me. He wouldn't care if you were human, worgen or undead. He would want you to live.”
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:52 pm

Epilogue

“You don't want us to come with you?” Marianna asked again, her arm hugging Miccaela.

“No,” Lord Malray said, looking over the secret tomb of Michael Starle, “Too many people have died. Maricila is my niece, I alone will set her free.”

“Good luck,” Miccaela said, wiping away her tears. Even if she couldn't forgive this undead for killing Michael, she didn't want him to fail in releasing the final sister of the Pyrefang.

“Phillips said that King Greymane had fled to Stormwind in the south, we will meet you there when we have escaped Gilneas. You will be fine escaping on your own?”

“Easy.” Marianna replied. “Good luck Lord Malray.”

“Glory to Gilneas, Alpha Pyrefang, Glory to Gilneas.”

~~~

“Thank you Biznam. Now I think I owe you.”

“Well, I thought, Alpha of Pyre, maybe you might teach Biznam...the ways of fire?”

“You don't want to be out of my sight?”

“You're scary it's true, but I don't want to be rid of you.”

“How about another deal. I will teach you the magic I know, if you do something for me.”

~~~

“Master!” he yelled, running as fast as his newly risen legs would carry him. He found his warlock trainer looking over a convoy of two cages. He poked him.

“Look Darren. Look at what the enemy will do to you if you fail.”

He looked over and saw a Forsaken in the first cage, wearing a military uniform. He looked liked quite a high rank. In the other cage was another Forsaken, without hands or a jaw, rolling around erratically in pain.

“Who are they?”

“The first is a traitor, ironically he took a lot of effort for the Val'kyr to resurrect. Since he was resurrected under the orders of the Royal Apothecary Society, he belongs to them. To do with as they please.”

“What did he do?”

“He released a captive worgen. The beast escaped into the woods.”

“And the other is a traitor?”

“An apothecary we think. No one knows what happened to him, when they found him, all his research was destroyed. He belongs to the Society now too.”

“One day, I will be able to torture like that.”

“Not yet novice. You can't even summon a demon.” his master stated.

“Oh, but I just summoned my first demon, Master,” he replied, stepping to one side and pointing at the imp he had summoned. “Master, meet Biznam.”

The End


Last edited by Marianna on Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:57 pm

I was hoping to finish this sooner, but I got caught up in guild affairs then had a friend keep pestering me to finish my first edit of novel I'm writing in my spare time.

Well, it's done, even if there is more to the story to write if ever get around to writing it.

Apologies if the second half isn't as good as the first. Since the start was for the Blizz Story Contest I had it double and triple checked...didn't really fancy doing that with the other half.
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PostSubject: Re: Glory to Gilneas (Extended)   Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:21 pm

This is not only wonderfully written, but a great read as well. I would recomend everyone takes the time to read this.

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