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The Scourge Cometh. (Open RP)
#1
Open RP Rules Summary:

1) Please stay consistent with the other players.

2) You are not the Hero of this story, neither am I. We are beings simply caught in great events.

3) Be descriptive in your narratives.


Setting: The scourge invasion has come to Winterspring. Above a great citadel of evil floats in the sky, raining down energy to shards scattered across the landscape. Alliance and Horde participate in a desperate struggle far from civilization amongst the snowscape. The floor is carpeted in snow and the wind is biting and cold. For hours the battle has raged on as the old dead are replaced with the knew.
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#2
"Crows will be the winners of this war", With a grunt of disgust, Damoxian crushed the heel of his boot into the half decayed chest of a fallen zombie, his muscles tensing as he pulled the tines of his staff from the gory memory of what had once been human and then
had became all the less due to the plague of the scourge.

They had been fighting for hours, the cold of Winterspring intensified as they engaged an enemy beneath the shadow of a flying citadel. As soon as one of the undead fell, a dozen others rose from their place to join the battle. If one of their own fell, it was best to burn the body quick, lest it too joined into the frey on the side of their foes. Thick clouds of bloated corpse flies zipped amidst the carnage to sup on the twice fallen.

Words of demonic nature curled unnaturally to the Orc's tongue, his body twisting to the side as infernal flame danced along the nails of his fingers. His hand thrusted outward as he sent the flame slashing down an oncoming Ghoul, its rotted skin discoloring more as it began to bubble in a hideouse manner, slougthing off its body.

But the dead feel no pain.

The ghoul was closing the distance between itself and Damoxian, its gait clumsy and hindered by the thick layer of snow. The warlock uttered words that started his own flesh roiling, the skin growing thicker, discoloring as a demonic layer of flesh began to crawl along his own. Then his jaw unhinged as Damoxian let forth the call of battle and slammed his shoulder into the oncoming ghoul. Two bodies collided with the sick crack of bone and flesh. A lance of searing pain ran up the length of Damoxian's arm, leaving it numb as he and the ghoul both reeled back from one another, both falling down into the blood drenched snow. Planting his staff into the ground, Damoxian grunted out a breath of agony as he dragged himself to his feet, the light fading from around him as he began the incantion that would infuse the very shadow with destructive essence. Lifting his staff from the ground, he thrust the glowing, jeweled tip outwards, pointing it towards the fallen ghoul.

"Damoxian, down" The scream was blurted out from the side of him, causing the Warlock to fall to one knee on reflex alone. The harsh after chill of icy wind cutting across the place his head had been roused him to skuttle around. Four arms thick as tree trunks extended from a body of sickly pale fat and muscle, a bloated patchwork of stiched together parts that came together in a gigantic monstrosity of hate and bile. The place where its stomache should have been instead held an exposed cage cracked open ribs that continually gushed noxiouse sludge, sloshing and spilling over with its every movement. Wild eyed, its horrifically deformed, stitch-laden face peeled back around its mouth and belched forth a gut churning cry of anger as its prey escaped death.

With droplets of sweat trickling lines down his forehead, Damoxian's widened his golden eyes a fraction as he began prepration for another spell.

Behind him the ghoul pulled itself up from the snow, looking at the Warlocks exposed back and then shambling in, hungry for the kill.
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#3
A flash of emerald light flew over the warlock's head, finding it's mark deep in the abomination's open chest cavity. The creature screamed as it stumbled back, momentarily stunned while the essense of life's wrath coursed through it's veins. Damoxian turned back to see what had caused this, to see the white shape of Haida breathing deeply in the winter air. "Thanks," snarled Damoxian, "I would have had this one myself..."

"Not to worry," replied Haida, "You still can." Haida lowered his staff in a ready pose. His weight shifted, deepening his left hoof into the crystalline snow. Electricity charged around the tip of Haida's staff and a look of defiance set in his eyes. Grinning, Damoxian turned his attention back to the lumbering beast. The pale-skinned orc's hand glowing with a firey delight. He pointed a wavering finger at the creature and roared a curse. The abomination leapt into flames, coursing and smoldering the creature until a thick noxious cloud filled the area. A crackle of electricity filled the creature as a gale formed around it blowing the gaseous taint from the area. There, motionless and scarred, the ghoul toppled into the ground. The snow lurched a deep moan as the abomination slid downhill.

"Disgusting things, aren't they?" asked Haida, his breath heavy in the chill air.

"That they are," replied Damoxian, his nose curling to the smell. "At least you cleared the air of it's taint. And here I thought you were only good for snuggling squirrels," he jeered.

"We shall continue this another time, Pale One. There is more to tend to." Haida reached down to a small spruce--snapped in the fight--and a new bug grew from it's injury. He looked from the plant to the shadowing citadel above. Lifting his weight back up and swinging his staff, he readied himself for the collective onslaught of the lurching zombies below.

"Indeed," sneered Damoxian, eyeing the ancient grimore chained to Haida's belt. He let the thought slide, and prepared a cursel for the next closest ghoul.
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#4
"Your shoulder is hurt..."

The pale and lithe form of Dispaya, the undead mage appeared from the swirling mists of snow. She was wearing only a thin white robe, for the cold of winterspring could do little to offend her undead form. The white was stained with blood and debris from the days battles which had been long.

She knelt and tended to the large Orc's wound though he showed little appreciation. With the trained hands of a medic she carefully prodded the wound. Damoxian's left eye flinched a bit from the pain, though he would never show any sign of weakness.

"Fah! Leave me be little magical corpse...stop poking at me..."

Dispaya ignored his gruffness and continued about her business. She produced a runecloth bandage from the folds of her cloak and began wrapping the orc's arm in an attempt to isolate the injury and keep it stable.

"Magic will heal this but it must be set first. If it is healed in it's current state the arm may never move properly again. We are going to have to find some cover..."

"Where are the others?" Haida asked his question ernestly.

Dispaya looked back at her friend and her words held much weight.

"I fear we are cut off. The scourge soldiers circled us using the snowstorm for cover. They are now just over the ridge there. We will have to find you a safe place to rest my friend...somewhere out of the weather..."

As Damoxian's arm became stable, her next words were cut short by her own cutting intuitive sense that suddenly overwhelmed her. As a mage, Dispaya posessed the keen insight that many of her fellow mages possessed, and as a former scourge she had never completely lost touch with the psychic will of her former masters.

"oh dear...I fear it is too late."

Haida sniffed the air.

"Aye...They are upon us. Prepare yourselves!"

The three stood and instinctively stood back to back to guard each other. Damoxian gripped his staff in one powerful fist as he took a traditional orcish fighting stance with the staff extended and held under his arm for stability. Even with only one arm his power was mighty.

At first they heard only the sound of the chilling winterspring wind, until finally that sound was broken by the unmistakable shuffling of footsteps in the winter snow. In another moment, silhouettes appeared in the surrounding mists and began slowly lumbering forward. Damoxian counted no less than a dozen of them coming in from all sides.

They were now cut off...and completely surrounded.
Sing True Ironsong!
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#5
Just as the footsteps grew louder in the echoing mist, so did they grow quiter, muffled. It was not that they were withdrawing, but that the wind and snow began to pick up around the three, buffeting and impeeding the undead creatures who attempted to come near, their tounges flicking out to taste the promise of fresh flesh on the wind. Gutteral moans of desire turned into grunts of displeasure as ice began to form around their bodies, binding them to the snow drifts around them. One gave a howl and broke free, running with the renewed strength of a ghol in frenzy, dispite the thing layers of frost which patched its frostbit flesh. I never did get within 30 paces of the trio.

A shard of ice came wistling through the air, slamming into the ghoul. It fell back, looking for a momment, confused, but this was extiniguished by another shard which severed its neck, send the creatures head spinning to the ground in a spraw of blood and puss.

From out of the mist came the source of these icy powers. All black and purple, with a layer of hoar over every facet. His eyes were sharp with intelligence, and glemming like tiny spheres of ice.

'Come now, this will only slow them down for a momment. There is a passage to higher ground this way. Perhapps on the hill we will have a better chance, I saw a group of 5 banshees comming to join their comrades." Ebberk said, a bony hand pointing back the way he had come.
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#6
Away from the main body, a ghoul locked in combat struggled with his opponent. His claws were very limited in effectiveness against the plate armor, and the wounds in the cracks of the armor from its hands and teeth were a diversion at best against the bulk of the Tauren Warrior. The ghoul slashed at the Warrior, but he parried with his mace, and gave him an easy position to knock the ghoul off balance. The ghoul staggered back, and the warrior pulled back his mace to finish him off. The ghoul collapsed along with its skull in a splash of ichor. Ronx looked over his enemy and noted the fresh wounds, a number of dents and rends from the mace he wielded, but Ronx found his prize. The ghoul wore tattered cloth around its waist, barely the only reminder it had of a past life, and hidden within a pocket on the side of the cloth was a few pieces of silver, and hidden within the ghoul's body was a few necrotic runes.

A single ghoul, child's play, but it's not with the main body...

Ronx noted that several other Scourge wandered too. If their coordination was faltering, thier lead unit was weakening, and an offensive on the Necropolise above had begun already; but if they were fanning out to explore, they had brought in extra troops or any opposition has yet to arrive or survive; or perhaps another circumstance.

Ronx moved on, the ghoul's spine snapped under Ronx' hoof, another injury it wouldn't take care of. Ronx did likewise, and foolishly didn't take care of his wounds, because most would be fine in moments, and the vile mixture that comes from most ghouls' maw would be purged in minutes, as it always had. Ronx dropped into the battle stance, and moved on carefully. The wind blew a biting mix of icey chill and the foul noisomeness from the Scourge around him. The feel of the wind chilled Ronx to the bones, but he controlled himself and endured, nay, embraced the icey chill of Winterspring. Though he could endure the pain of the cold, the dark miasma of undeath and dismal magicks were not something to be enjoyed. Ever.

Ronx moved toward the main body with a snail's pace, being careful and alert, perhaps too much so. A mmotion out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He saw nearly a dozen Scourge, chasing a party retreating up a hill. Ronx unsheathed his bone-work bow, and shot a wicked arrow at the left flank to try to attract some to him while the beings he couldn't identify through the icey wind retreated, and hopefully survived. Ronx readied his mace again readied himself to show the unbridled wrath of a warrior in battle.
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#7
The small band hastily made their way through the biting wind and snow while the skies above crackled with the sound of distant thunder that seemed to announce that evil had come to winterspring.

From their rear flank, shouts and groans could be heard just over the sound of the chilly biting wind. An undead General shouted orders to his men.

"Hunt them down...destroy the living!" it shouted.

Dispaya tried to find her muse. "The living..." though I am undead, the very meaning of undeath is life. We are all alive...though perhaps only in a different state." She wondered if her mage-friend Ebberk would agree with her. She thought perhaps not but it would make a wonderful topic for debate with him one day, should they ever make their way safely out of this.

She wished Sreng were here, and the others. As a tribe Ironsong could never be matched. But they were not together and instead had been dispursed all over the many lands of Azeroth in orrder to fortify and hold the scourge invasion at bay. As a tribe, Ironsong had stood together against the denizens of Zul'Garub and the fiery Molten Core. "I do not know where you are, but today little father..." she thought, "...when the battle comes I shall make you proud."

They reached the hill of Ebberks choosing and Dispaya agreed that it was a fine place to make a stand. Several large boulders could provide some cover, and at least here they could see what was coming from all sides. Her human father had been a master military strategist, and he would have approved.

Damoxian made way to the highest rock using his staff to propel him up to the top of it. Dispaya noticed his grunt of pain but she did not think anyone else had heard. She also noticed that his arm was beginning to turn color, a sign that the injury was now becoming worse instead of better. she admired his courage, no matter how stubborn he was.

Once on top, the great Orc shouted a threat into the winds as they whipped his robes all around him.

"Let them come!" he shouted.

Come they did.

The undead army first gathered at the foot of the small slope. They had tracked the small groups footprints in the snow and Dispaya knew that the ghouls could smell their scent as well...at least, the scents of her living comrades.

The banshees soon followed, and with her spyglass the mage also saw the undead General, mounted on a skeletal steed. He must have been the one shouting the orders she had heard earlier. He was clever and did not unleash his charges but instead held them until all were grouped so their numbers would be stronger.

She looked around at her friends who were making hasty preparations. She closed her eyes and tried her best to focus the power of her mind. Her spells would not fail, but she knew that she was also no longer at her full strength.

Ebberk stepped up beside her and stood at her shoulder as his keen undead eyes watched the small gathering below.

"If we are defeated we will be turned to slavery." he muttered.

"You were lucky never to have served the Scourge, Master Ebberk...my memories of that time still haunt me."

"Have faith in your skills Dispaya...they will serve you well still..."

Together, the small group began casting spells on each other to bolster their strength. Haida once again took the form of a large bear. It would be his greatest chance of survival against such a great number of foes. Damoxian speared his great staff into the ice, reached into his robe and withdrew a small glowing object from his belt pouch. He clutched it close to his heart and uttered a spell of some type under his breath. Dispaya thought she saw the small object flicker with some unearthly power.

The attack came with no warnings or demands to surrender. Death was the only objective of the attackers. Death would add to their numbers and make them stronger. If she were taken, Dispaya knew she might once again lose her free will to the Scourge. Though she was now stronger than when she had once served them, she knew even her great power might be no match for the higher Scourge leaders. She might even become the servant of Kel'Thuzad himself...a thought that fairly sickened her.

A series of ice shards from Ebberk cut the first ghoul in two. He next wheeled and fired several more magical bolts at an oncoming banshee which slowed down, froze and finally exploded.

Haida held fast until the undead were almost upon them. He then leaped into a small group and began taking swipes. Ghouls and skeletons began flying in every direction around him.

Dispaya focussed and unleashed the power of fire. Her first blast impacted one of the charging banshees who burst into magical flames. Her second bolt finished the job as the undead elf screamed and disappeared in a magical whiff of energy, it's soul now free at last.

Damoxian placed the small glowing idol in his mouth and chomped down on it. He then plucked his staff from the ground and casually took the head off of the first skeleton that reached him with a graceful spinning motion. A ghoul followed and the Great Orc lept from the rock with a loud battle cry and landed with a solid crunch on top of it. He next stood and crushed its skull with a downward thrust of his staff. He seemed to chuckle with amusement at the ease of the kill.

The attacks continued as dozens more of the undead horrors reached their small clearing. The group fought savagely and with their remaining might, but at last the sheer numbers of their enemy started to overwhelm them. Haida's fur was becoming bloody from injuries. Though he fought fiercely the sheer numbers were quickly becoming too much to handle.

Damoxian's fevered amusement was short lived as two ghouls reached him from the rear and pounced. Several more followed as the great warlock went down under a small wave of the creatures who continued to pile on top of him.

Ebberk retreated back into a small outcropping. His magic was beginning to wane and the power of his ice spells could no longer slow the oncoming waves of attackers or keep them at bay. In a last desperate move he summoned his power to conjure a crystal ice barrier to surround and protect him. Now encased in ice the scourge surrounded and clawed and scratched its surface. Though safe for the moment, when the spell finally failed he would be surrounded and probably torn limb from limb.

Dispaya felled another of the banshee apparitions with a wave of arcane energy. She called upon all of her remaining reserves and focussed her magic into one massive onslaught of arcane power. The creature was riddled with several waves of glowing missiles before it finally dispersed, but that was the end of her energy. She had enough left for perhaps only one more spell.

The blow from behind was devastating and with a loud crash her vision blurred and she found herself face down in the newly falled snow. The boot of the undead general stomped down on her neck further driving her face into the cold.

With an ethereal voice it whispered to her...

"You icy friend over there shall become our servant. Your friends will join with our armies, and you will return to your place at the side of your master Araj, white Lady. We have missed your company and fine taste for destruction."

She tried to speak but found only a mouth full of snow. She looked to her friend and watched as Ebberks ice cage finally collapsed and the undead surrounding him closed over him pulling him to the ground.

Haida finally collapsed as well under the wave of attackers who grabbed and held him. His power and concentration now expended, he shape shifted back to his Tauren form and fell to his knees.

Dispaya feared that her friends would be lost.

It was then that Damoxian threw off his attackers with a sudden yell and exploded back to his feet. Ghouls flew in every direction as he turned to come face to face with the point of the undead generals black runeblade.

"This is the greatest victory of all...the legendary Damoxian will now become a member of the Scourge! Now we will take your soul and you shall become one of Kel'Thuzad's finest boot polishers." the creature laughed.

Damoxian laughed as well, and with not another word spit the idol from his mouth onto the icy rock at his feet. He next stomped on it with the heel of his boot and cracked the crystal figurine which shattered in a puff of magical energy.

Behind the great warlock a magical gate opened and a large demonic infernal appeared towering behind him. It looked about now eager to do it's new master's bidding.

The undead general's gaze merely shifted up and up as he began to comprehend what was about to happen next.

Damoxian smiled and made only a cursory comment.

"Polish this..."

The infernal attacked. It pounced on the general and began flailing its huge demonic arms into the creatures armor. The general struggled as it called for its minions who let go of the Ironsingers to rush to their masters calling. They began leaping on the back of the demon and clawing at its pale yellow flesh with their claws. The infernal ignored the smaller ones and continued to pummel the leader, forcing him back away from the group.

When the 2 remaining banshees tried to defend their leader, the demon reached forward with two massive fists and plucked them out of the air. Now with a banshee in each massive fist, it then collided them together where they both dispursed in a blast of twin screams and magical energy.

Dispaya pulled herself to her feet and rushed to Damoxian who had collapsed from his injury and exhaustion. Once there she called the others. She needed to get them out of here desperately and would have given anything for one of her port stones, but the scourges spells in the past days had seen to the ruin of all magical transports. Ebberk helped Haida to his feet and together they stood. The group threw their arms around each other to help make a getaway, and Damoxian was the most vocal telling them he did not need their help.

Behind them, the infernal pounded its fists into what remained of the undead general's skull until it finally gave way and cracked into a thousand pieces. Its task complete, the demon once again folded space and vanished through a gate of brillaint swirling colors, taking a few of the clinging scourge along with it.

Once the giant demon vanished, the remaining soldiers instinctively turned back towards their prey, the small injured band now struggling desperately to make a getaway. With a single mind, they all turned and moved to persue.

Haida cast a glance over his shoulder and knew that this would be their final resting place. There was no where left to run and the remaining scourge soldiers were now on the march towards them once again. It was then that his keen druidic senses felt something. The ridge they stood on was made of ice, but below it he could sense life of some kind. But that would be impossible unless...

"A cave." Haida shouted.

where?" Dispaya looked around in confusion. All she could see was the icy slope around them.

"There is a cave below us...I am sure."

The mage looked down and dropped to her skeletal knees. the snow and ice was thick here and she had no way to open a portal.

"Fah..are you sure Druid?" Damoxian asked through a haze of fever. "Perhaps you are only smelling daisies again..."

"I am sure..." Haida looked again over Ebberks shoulder as the undead army continued to converge.

"Then let us find out." The mage girl responded. Everyone...take hold of me. Ebberk, do you still recall how to conjure a little fire?"

"Aye Dispaya...he mused upon understanding what she had in mind."

"Then do so now!"

She conjured with her last remaining energy and called down fire from the air above them. Ebberk conjured as well, and though a mage of icy disciplines, Dispaya was glad to see that the old fellow still knew how to summon the power of fire when he needed it.

The blast rippled and struck the ground with great force and all of the ice there instantly turned to vapor.A hole opened in the surface of the world, and the small band collapsed through it. Dispaya and Ebberk both cast spells to make the group float, though the landing was still not pleasant due to the added weight of the others. They fell a full 100 feet or more into the dark cavern below and landed with a series of loud "oofs" just as the scourge arrived at their former location.

Two of the ghouls fell through the large dripping hole and one landed with a resounding crack that left its undead body motionless. The second landed more heartily though both of its leg bones gave way under the impact. It pulled itself to its hands and continued to crawl towards them. Haida stomped a large hoof down on the creatures back to hold it motionless, while his second stomp destroyed what was left of the creatures skull. It was once again truly dead.

With no general to lead them the remaining scourge wandered around by the open hole, but soon lost interest and memory of their prey. They eventually wandered off into the snowy foothills.

***

The cave was dark with a few tufts of mushrooms and a strangely colored algae that grew up the walls. A few hours passed in the quiet dark and the groups only light came from the hole now 100 feet above them.

Haida made the final preparations on the long runecloth wrap that would now be used to pull Damoxian's arm back into place. The coloring now was worse and if it were not set soon Dispaya knew that it might be lost. He made small talk with the Orc as the undead girl slowly maneuvered the arm into place.

"If they return can you summon another of those things to fight for us?"

"Ahhh...that was my last trick..." Damoxian grumbled. "When the next wave comes we shall meet them on our feet and not cowering behind servants who are barely worthy of fighting with us. Had I been at my full power I should never have needed to waste such a measly trinket..."

"Of course not dark one..."

She noted the beads of sweat on the orc's brow and at the dilated state of the pupil's of his eyes. He was now growing sicker and even more delirious.

It was time and they were ready. Damoxian braced himself as Haida wrapped powerful Tauren hands around the cloth, whose other end was wrapped several times around the grumpy Orcs wrist.

"On three..prepare yourself pale one."

"Fah...let it be done...I have not felt anything this pleasant in weeks!"

Haida counted, "one...two..."

He gave a tug and there was a loud resounding >CrAcK< as Damoxian's arm popped back into its rightful socket.

The Orcs eyes rolled and he let out a loud sigh, but no other noise. If she wasn't sure, Dispaya wondered if he might actually have enjoyed that.

Haida knelt beside his friend and called upon the healing power of nature to mend the damage. A swirl of green magic engulfed the arm and once clear it began returning to it's usual color. Damoxian smiled pleasantly, let out a sigh and then promptly passed out.

Satisfied that they had done all they could, the crew looked around and back at each other. Where to now? there appeared to be no way out. The cave was cold and nightfall was coming. Soon they would be in total darkness. Ebberk knew that he would survive the cold, as would Dispaya for they were not subject to the elements like their living friends.

Haida was much more concerned. Damoxian was growing sicker, and down here, in this pit of darkness, with no wood for a fire, the night was about to become unbearably cold.
Sing True Ironsong!
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#8
Pain is the feeling of weakness leaving the body. It is the threshold that lesser beings fear to cross in their mewling concerns for mortality. Without pain, what can they truly know of life? Conflict was the key to greatness, for one could only measure themselves truly by the enemies they kept and the creatures they had vanquished. Damoxian Dread-Caller felt pain, an abstract thing as the waif like Dispaya used her deceptively delicate pale skinned hands to secure the Warlock's arm into place across the breadth of his torso. He may have said words, they were a distant thing, sounds without meaning as he hauled himself from the snow covered ground of this wasteland.

Dispaya's words began to coalesce into something coherent within the Damoxian's ear.

"I fear we are cut off. The scourge soldiers circled us using the snowstorm for cover. They are now just over the ridge there. We will have to find you a safe place to rest my friend...somewhere out of the weather..."

Dispaya had turned to speak these words not to the warlock, but to the other companion who had joined the fray. This was the Tauren Haida, the great white coat Tauren who had been blessed long ago with the earth mothers favor. He stood proudly and at ease within the snowfall, but his massive bull-head shook with dismay at Dispaya's words, sending a cascade of frost around him as that great mane whipped about.

"Aye...They are upon us. Prepare yourselves!" Haida bellowed it over the din of footfalls that crashed heedlessly through the snow even as beneath his stark white pelt, small barbs of wood drilled their way forth from his flesh and stood ready to impale those who would try to bring him down.

Damoxian was still silent, his half lidded eyes filling with a dim radiance as he propped his staff beneath his arm. He could hear the sound of approaching undead, he could trace the shadowy outline of them as they began to press through the downpour of falling snow. But more than any of this, he could feel the heat of his blood coursing through his veins, the hard pound of his heart as it crashed erratically. Damoxian's lips twisted into the closest thing to a smile of pleasure they would ever know. "Let them come. Let them all come." his whisper was lost to the sound of howling winds.

And then it ended, as soon as it had begun. The unnatural cold of his place began to suffuse the landscape with an ever greater intensity. Half decayed limbs that were reaching forth suddenly seized up and locked into place, unable to respond any more. The gibbering of the undead was frozen in their throats and through it all stepped another of the undead. But he was not of the scourge, he was Forsaken. Ebberk was a gleaming creature of ice crystals and decayed flesh, his body skeleton more at home within the raging snowstorm that it could ever be under the intense heat of Orgrimaar.

'Come now, this will only slow them down for a momment. There is a passage to higher ground this way. Perhapps on the hill we will have a better chance, I saw a group of five banshees comming to join their comrades." Ebberk said, a bony hand pointing back the way he had come. His words slurred as the ice that had gathered in his jaw saw fit to make his speech difficult.

The words made sense to them, but amongst the group the warlock seemed ill pleased, delayed the sirens song of battle. Despite the cold wisps of steam curled restlessly from the snow at the warlock's feet as the paleness of his skin became flushed with unnatural vigor. His agreement was silent, his movements feral as he stalked the rest of them, moving towards the hill that Ebberk was to guide them too.

It would prove a short journey, the small hill of jutting stone lay just beyond the swirl of Ebberk's intensified winter chill. Behind them, the sound of cracking ice could be heard as the waves of undead broke apart those unfortunate enough to be left frozen, picking up their shattered and frost encrusted limbs to use as weapons as the hunt raged on.

Despite his injuries, Damoxian moved past the others beside him, planting his staff into the ground to propel his pale compellation of muscle and grit to the highest rock amongst them all. As he ascended, his nostrils flared, dragging in the cool winter air, mixed with the harsh scent of blood and decay that littered the field for as far as the eye could see. And then the shout came, the first intelligible thing that the scourge had spoken on this field of battle. A scourge commander had finally taken to the field.

"Hunt them down...destroy the living!" it shouted.

Damoxian planted his feet upon the slippery stone surface of the rock. In his eyes, great and golden, danced motes of shadow that erratically flung themselves through the midst of his vision. A freezing wind whipped at him, sending his robes rippling back from his body, exposing the muscled pale green skin below. Damoxian's arm tore forth from its bandages with a slight cracking noise, his hand coming to grasp the great bone helm that lay across his brow. He tore the helm off, revealing his face to the coming throng of undead that gathered at the base of the hill. And Damoxian laughed, a horrible thing of cruelness and spite. "LET THEM COME" His voice drowned out even the wind as he felt the blood lust slip over his person, the legacy of his demonic for bearers throwing him into a fit of destructive rage. Snow evaporated as it touched his body, his green skin peeling as a nimbus of flame burst about him. Damoxian roared the foul obscenities of the demonic tongue and caused fire to rain down upon the ranks of those below.

The Magi tossed fire and ice into the oncoming ranks of scourge. Haida drew upon the primordial power of nature, his body becoming even more massive as muscle and sinew twisted about with bones cracking and seamlessly mending into place till what stood in his place was no longer Tauren, but one of the great dire bears of old.

In his rage, Damoxian grew terrible. An upthrust of his hand signaled a glut of fire burn inside of an oncoming ghoul, his eyes and nose leaking flame as it burned into non existence from the inside. The warlock was not done however, not in the least. In his madness his hand curled down into the folds of his robes, seizing upon the materials for a thing forbidden to his kind. A green rock was held in his hand, vaguely given the form of some primitive idol. Its surface rippled with an eldritch green light that seeped through from deep seeded cracks. Damoxian knew the forbidden spells and he chanted them eagerly, raising the stone towards his lips before he swallowed it whole, consuming its essence and letting it rip through his body like boiling liquid lead.

The undead closed the distance, a skeleton crawling up from an undefended flank of the rock, challenging the warlock with bony claws that swiped without mercy. Damoxian swept his staff across the creatures brow with a mighty *crunch* that sent its skull flinging into the gale of wind as nothing more than a horde of fragments. Feral were the eyes of the great warlock as he hurled himself into the mix of undead below, whirling his staff around to slam into a clump of ghouls tried to scramble up to meet him.

Two ghouls had managed to make it further than the warlock knew. From behind he felt their hands slash into him, his flesh yielding to the cruel barbs that drew away skin and muscle with a terrible savagery. Damoxian fell into the snow, now colored with his own blood and the smoking remains of fire ravaged undead.

Others fought here, Damoxian knew this in some remote corner of his mind where reason still remained. But his world was one of red haze and death, his body struggling against two ghouls that should by all rights be more physically powerful than he. But the blood rage was not to be discounted, never discounted. As he punched and kicked at his attackers, the rage built up to a crescendo. Torn and bloodied as he was, Damoxian became a creature of living flame. His body short for with fire that oozed from every pore, searing him as surely as it did those around him. Hellfire coursed from him to burn the ghouls who savaged him, sending them into the air as ash and gibbeted flesh scourged from what once resembled a humanoid thing. Damoxian thrust himself to his feat, his skin a mess of blackened skin cracked and bleeding, his horrible rictus of a grin flashing through the haze.

The undead commander dismounted, vaulting from his saddle and drawing forth the night black blade that lay within its scabbard, moving with greater purpose and more practiced skill than its minions as it closed the distance to the battered warlock beyond. Once more it babbled something that Damoxian comprehend only through a distorted red haze, the undead commander's blade snaking forward to try to put and end to the warlock's existence.

The image of chains around his wrists sprouted in Damoxian's mind in response to the words, the sight of a brother, bloated as he swung listlessly three feet from the ground with his own warharness strap used to wrap about his throat. The commander had spoken words of slavery, it would be the last mistake he ever made. Rage, so much rage. Damoxian's staff smashed the incoming blade aside enough that it merely glanced across a rib as it slid by, glistening now with the warlock's own blood. He opened his mouth and blasted the corpse with a sound of pure and unadulterated hatred, the crude idol trickling down from his lips stained with the necessary bile of his Damoxian's own essence. It seemed even the undead could know fear. Clouds stormed above the battlefield, great billowing gray masses of them coalesced to life. Haida would be able to tell they were nothing natural however, even before they began to implode upon themselves, forming a vacuum in the center. Greenish flames erupted from the center and expelled a massive stone of burning green flame from within its depths. The impact rocked the battle field, sweeping undead from their feet as the earth rocked in rejection of this unnatural presence upon its soil. Damoxian gave one last scream of triumph and then sank to his knees.

The blood lust had ran its course, Damoxian saw the image of chains shattering from his wrists and banners of the Horde being brought up over the burning husk of a prison camp. Despite the pain, despite the fact that his limbs would no longer respond to his commands, Damoxian knew once more the taste of satisfaction. His body crashed down into the snow, a smoking ruin that had pushed itself far beyond its capabilities. For Damoxian, this battle was now over.
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#9
Ronx sat rather comfortably eating a Dried King Bolete. He was in his element, and the environment reflected his personality. The wind had subsided, and the sun was setting, giving interspring a calm and serene feel, but it could change to a furry at any time, and the Scourge was a deadly presence that could appear at any time. Ronx was calm, cool and collected, but a more passionate nature underlied his calm exterior, and it showed from time to time, and he could become savage and violent at any time as well. He felt at home, and he rather liked the night sky of Winterspring.

Ronx focused his mind once more at the task at hand. The mushroom he was eating was to restore his strength. Behind him lay a trail of bodies that was formed gradually over the few minutes he moved. He stil had no inkling of the status of the Scourge, though thier attacks has subsided in unless they found you. He moved on following the group of he tried to help. He knew some of the tribe was here, and he hoped they could show up soon. He moved on to a few boulders that the group moved torward, followed by a small army of Scourge. Ronx came across what appeared to have been a battlefield. He searched the area for a sign of any sort. Broken bodies of skeletons, zombies and ghouls, and the scattered collars and shackles from defeated Banshees littered the ground, and a different type of a Scourge, probably thier general judging from his markings, but his skull was shattered, also a set of charred spots on the ground from something Ronx didn't try to figure out at that point. He examined the surrouning area and found a hole in the ice in the slope.

Ronx looked through the hole in a prone position and saw four beings laying on the bottom of a cave. Ronx was surprised they could find a cave through the ice hill. He could barely make out the shape of the four figures. His eyes adjusted slightly and he could tell they were two Forsaken, an Orc, and a Tauren, his eyes adjusted more and he could make out their tabards, and Ronx almost chuckled out loud. After a few minutes, Ronx could tell who they were, Ebberk, Dispaya, Haida, and Damoxian. They were taking cover in the cave, and were trapped inside. They neeeded out or they would freeze to death over night.

Ronx searchd through his bags to find something of use. He found a Goblin Dragon Gun and a Compact Mechanical Reaper, perfect for cutting and melting the ice. Ronx yelled to the froup below, "Hello down there!" He listened for a response. The form of Dispaya stood and answered. "Ronx? is that you?" "Yes it is, here!" Ronx lowed a bundle of dried mushrooms, heavy Runecloth bandages, the dragon gun and the compact harvest reaper, all wrapped up in a runecloth strip and lowered by a makeshift rope of bandages. "Dispaya, climb up the rope." Dispaya did so after untying the bundle. Ebberk took the bundle and examined the contents. He gave the food and bandages to Haida, and took the reaper and dragon gun. He looked up to Ronx and gave a small nod, knowing what to do. Ebberk looked at the flame-throwing device with distaste, then set the reaper to work on the ice wall, calculating the most effecient angle to the surface with his great mental prowess.

Meanwhile Dispaya shimmied up the rope, and when she was close enough, Ronx, grabbed the Forsaken by the hands with one arm, and easily lifted her light fror up to the ground. Ronx looked at Dispaya with a grimace, "So what happened now?"
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#10
Interlude:

The sun beats down on a white-sand beach as the tide slowly rolls in.

"It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"

"Yes, mother, it is."

"I'm glad we're out here now, aren't you?

"It certainly is peaceful."

"Those dryads from the Cenarion Circle are so nice. Why are we fighting the alliance, again?"

"I'm not sure, mother."

The surf rumbles. The land darkens as the sun passes behind a cloud.

"There's less people around here now than there used to be."

"They were called to front-line duty."

"I thought I heard one saying it would be nice to be in Orgrimmar again. But there haven't been any major battles there in ages."

"... Yes, mother."

The two watch a crawler skitter past in search of food.

"There's a dark cloud on the eastern horizon. It's been there for days."

"Perhaps Mulgore is getting bad weather."

"It looks farther away than that, but... it's so big."

"Maybe the mages are making thunder clouds to irrigate the Barrens or Durotar."

"Are you mocking me, Thak?"

"No, mother."

Mother and son look on as a scavenger bird pounces on the crawler. A thrown rock scares the bird off long enough for the crawler to escape.

"I've heard that the scourge is advancing."

"I've heard that too, mother, but there are no scourge in Desolace."

"Is it bad?"

"... We're safe here, mother."

"What's going to happen?"

"... We'll be safe here."


Mother and son walk back to the village in silence as the sun emerges briefly from the approaching clouds. She stands on the dock, staring out at the sea. He returns to his cluttered room, and unearths a small trunk. He blows the dust off the top, and opens it. He carefully removes trinkets and drawings, memories and secrets of times past. He removes from the very bottom an old, torn scrap of blue silk, regarding it for a moment before hiding it in a pocket. He repacks the chest and returns it to its previous place. He leaves the village's tropical paradise, walking to a deserted slope of the nearby mountain. Once he is certain no one is nearby, he regards an inconspicous pile of rocks. He shifts some of the rocks to uncover a human form covered in wounds and scars, many old, some new. He wonders whether the new wounds he had inflicted granted only more pain, or perhaps freedom.

He draws from his pocket the blue silk scrap, and stares at the insignia upon it. He thinks on the nation it once represented, on its downfall and partial rebirth. He recalls the events that lead to this gift, and the one who had presented it to a young troll. After a few moments more of hesitation, he carefully places the scrap of silk onto the corpse's chest, where once it would have been proudly displayed. He wonders whose son the corpse once was. After a moment to survey his handiwork, he covers the body with stones once more.

He walks back to the coast slowly, taking the time to admire the lush foliage, the colourful wildlife, the sweet air, the exquisite beach. Truly, he thinks, this a paradise on Kalimdor.

Where there was one, there may be more. He keeps hs hand close to his mace.
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#11
::A parallel account::


They climbed the snow encrusted hill, the four of them. Damoxian, one of the hordes mightiest warlocks, an odd mix of useful power, and possible disaster. Ebberk had prepared against the chance of betrayal. A warlocks soul was never just their own. Thin lips pursed together, seeing that the warlock was not so mighty at the moment. His arm pained. Though mages have no true healing abilities, they have their ways is easing pain. At least Ebberk did. With a subtle twist of hand and tongue a cold numbness poured from the air into the orc’s arm, just enough to take the edge off.

Behind him he heard the light steps of Dispaya, and could feel her presence beside. Thoughts drifted back to long ago, when his powers were still diminished and his jaw frozen shut. That is when he first meet the other mage, she also burgeoning in her powers. Together they had defeated several threats in the Silverpine. Now at sporadic, he missed those old times, when threats were small, and more time was spent traveling in company then the constant battling they faced now.

A prickling sense flashed over the back of his neck, magic was coming. He readied his hands for a counter, or a spell of shielding, but none was needed as the spell was benign. A voice whispered in is ear. "Archmage...you still wearing the trappings of a illusionary life. You were nothing but a school teacher, and still your powers are hardly enough to use the title." Ebberk almost flinched at the sudden intrusion. An intrusion felt long before when he was a mere dabbler of the arcane arts, a resident of Moonbrook. It was this voice which lead him north, first to Dalaran, and then to Northrend itself. Even now, so wrapped in ice, he felt cold at the thought.

“Leave my mind tempter. I followed you once to my own demise, I shall not do it again.â€
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#12
((Ebberk...I thought yourlast post was brilliant..well done!))


***

"Ronxy!"

Dispaya hugged her Tauren friend as soon as he dropped her back to the ground.

"It is good to see you my friend...have you seen any of our other comrades?"

"No Dispaya...we were seperated in the big battle yesterday...I have been wandering alone until I chanced come upon you here."

"The others will not be able to climb out so easily...and Damoxian is injured."

She dropped to one knee and watched as Ebberk started the small robotic digger. Technology always fascinated her...so strange that bits of wire and gears could accomplish that which even some magic could not.

"That's quite a contraption you made there my friend." she smiled and delivered the compliment, hoping it would bring Ronx some peace for she sensed the worry all about him.

Ebberk looked up to the hole above.

"I estimate 6 hours or more to cut through to the surface. The sun is setting...it will be cold here soon...too cold for the living."

Ebberk then picked up the strange looking "gun," gave it the once over and tossed it aside. She thought he muttered something but the echo and distance made the comment indiscernable.

("Useless Goblin...")

She looked around for something they could use but the landscape was barren. Her weight had been no match for Ronx's, but the rope was thin and she feared it would not hold Damoxian's weight. She feared risking him further injury, and the icy slope would make anchoring the rope against such weight difficult. Together they might be able to pull the ice mage free, but Ebberk was in no immediate danger down below, and his skills would be needed to fix the reaper if it should stop working.

There was another problem as well. Scourge were still in the hills all around them. It would only take one to discover them and call for help, and they might again be set upon by unmanageable odds. In a way, she thought Damoxian might be safer down below for the night. at least there he would be out of the wind and cold. She only needed to find a way to make him warm. Should she go for help or stay?

She weighed her options but soon found she had little choice but to return to her friends below. One of her greatest magical skills was the command of fire, and Dispaya knew that might be the only saving grace for her friends. She had no wood, but perhaps the bandages Ronx had brought might provide a solution. They had only to get through one night.

"Ronxy, do you have any more of those bandages?"

"Aye Dispaya..."

He went into this pack and withdrew another wadded stack of them and handed them to the mage.

"I could send you for help, but the hills are crawling with scourge right now. Alone you may stand little chance if they spot you. Going below may be a death sentence as well if that little robot of yours fails. There may be no other way out."

At that moment the shrill scream of a banshee echoed through the hills around them. It was close...very close.

"I think I will take my chances with my tribe...we are always stronger together than apart."

"Agreed."

She pulled forth her enchanted dagger, one of the great prizes she had found while adventuring with her tribe, and drove the blade deep into the ice at the top of the hole. She then tied the rope around the handle. It might hold enough for her to climb back out if they became trapped once again. Once secure she pulled some snow around the weapon to hide it from view.

She then put her arm around Ronx and once again uttered the spell that would enable them to float to safety.

***

As soon as the pair had jumped, a banshee and several undead ghouls came by the area on patrol. The creature looked around, scanning the landscape as if it sensed something. Something had been here...something living...but now it sensed nothing. Slowly the patrol made its way back into the surrounding hills.

***

"Fah...so nice of you to join us Tauren...thank you for bringing him down to us little magical corpse...now I can skin him to make myself a nice warm blanket..."

"Damoxian...mind your manners..." she smiled. The Orc was still delusional and fevered...but he had lost none of his zest for dark humor.

She unwadded the runecloth and set about making preparations. Dispaya was a skilled alchemist as well as enchantress and she would need every ounce of her skills to make her plan work.

Ebberk tended to the robot and continued to nurse it along as bits of snow and ice went flying in every direction. He gave her a few cursory glances and seemed interested at what the girl was up to. He knew this would be interesting for Dispaya could be very resourceful when she needed to be.

She first bid Haida move a large rock into the center of the clearing, taking care to brush all ice and snow from it. A minor fire spell warmed the rock and dried it quickly. She next began wrapping the rock with the runecloth until the wrappings were several layers thick. she wrapped all they had, until the rock began to look like a large pink ball.

Producing a few alchemy vials from her pack, she took some bright orange vials containing a thick liquid and began pouring them over the pink bandages until the ball was soaked and dripping with the stuff.

"What is that you are doing?" Ronx wondered aloud.

"Fire oil...its highly flammable...but the bandages themselves are made of runecloth and will burn very slowly...with a little magical help of course." She smiled.

"It will not burn at all except for the top, for fire needs air." Ebberk added.

She produced a small silver rod from her enchanting pack...placed her hand on it and uttered another minor spell. She then touched the rod to the rock which slowly levitated a few feet off the ground where it stopped and hovered gracefully.

Around them the cave had grown dark and the cold was becoming bitter. Haida's fur was now covered with ice flecks and Damoxian's breath heavy with mist.

"Stand back Master Ebberk...you may not appreciate this spell as much as the others here."

Ebberk nodded and went back to his work. Was he talking to himself just now she wondered? He seemed oddly distracted and Dispaya sensed something was wrong, but for now she had other matters to attend to.

She reached forward with her finger and uttered the simple word "ignite!" and the floating pink ball exploded into light and warmth. It looked like a miniature sun floating in the cavern. The ice in the clearing immediately started to melt and Haida gasped at the beauty of the mage's creation.

"Bravo!" Ronx replied with a clap of his hands.

As the cavern filled with warmth, Haida took a few pieces of meat from his pack and used his dagger to spear and cook them over the now burning flame. Dispaya conjured a bit of bread and water for her friends and then returned to tending to Damoxian who was now beginning to utter curses at imaginary enemies...perhaps he was dreaming of battles already fought?

She took a few healing herbs from her pouch and mixed them with the water before heating it...and put the cup to the large orc's lips so he could drink. she then wiped the sweat from his brow with a folded bit of runecloth.

The night was long...perhaps one of the longest each of them had ever experienced...but the company was fair, and soon stories began to trade hands as the motley crew tried their best to survive the cold.

With a sputter, the small reaper bot stopped, and the sudden silence filled them all with dread. Ronx went to help Ebberk try to fix the failing contraption which now represented their only hope of escape.

"Get that useless gun...we will need some parts from it to fix the servo..." Ebberk muttered.

Ronx complied with a sigh and retrieved the strange weapon from the ground where Ebberk had dropped it earlier. Together they began taking it appart and discussing their options in a language Dispaya herself did not understand...the language of tech-nology.

She turned back to the others and sang them a song...it was a lullabye her human father had sung to her as a child. Her voice was soothing and ethereal to them and soon calmed everyone's worry.

(singsong) "A gentle breeze...from hushabye mountain..."

In the stillness of the cave and warmth of the fire, Haida finally found a bit of rest.

***

In the foothills above, a clever banshee stood overlooking the nearby hillside. Under the dark of night, a light flickered on the landscape like a beacon...coming from a small hole in the snowy hillside.

"The living are there!" she hissed.

***

Morning came and Haida opened one frosty eyelid and looked around. Sunlight was once again streaming in through the hole above, and Dispaya's mini-sun now lay smouldering on the cavern floor next to him. The rest of the small band was gathered outside the small tunnel created by Ronx's digger, which was now smoking at Ebberk's feet.

"We'll get no more work out of this fellow." Ebberk solemly replied. And still no surface."

But they were close.

Dispaya crawled out of the tunnel and stood.

"I can see the sunlight through the ice. Stand back everyone.

Now back to her full strength after a full nights rest, the mage conjured a spell and a huge pyroblast of fire rocketed down the tunnel and exploded sending bits of ice and snow flying.

A second.

A third and the way was clear. The final blast opened a door to the outside world as a second source of light now filled the cavern.

Dispaya jumped into Haida's arms and squealed with delight. Ronx smiled and nodded to Ebberk.

"Your machine did well." Ebberk stated matter-of-factly.

"What is all this commotion? Can't a soul get any rest in this confounded place?"

They turned to spot Damoxian now fully on his feet again and except for leaning on his staff for support, he looked none the worse for wear.

"I knew you would pull through Great one." Dispaya nodded to him in respect.

"Of course...of course. Now let's be out of this blasted place before we all freeze to our deaths here! Bad enough having one corpsicle hanging around...we do not need any more!"

As Damoxian strode past, Dispaya smiled as her friends looked to the smouldering rock at the caverns center.

Ronx walked back over to his dangling rope, gave it a tug, and Dispaya's dagger pulled loose and fell ernestly into an outstretched hand. He bowed and handed it back to her, being careful not to touch the blade which would dishonor such a finely crafted weapon.

Together they emerged back into the world, a bit better rested than the night before...but they could never have been ready for what awaited them...
Sing True Ironsong!
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#13
Leaves brushed past his face. The smile of the sun beamed down on him as he strode through the forest. His legs light, his movements taking flight over the verdant hills. But there was something, there was a reason he was running... The thought of this shook him and a bead of sweat formed on his brow. He leaned his head back, and roared a bellowing roar, and picked up his pace.

That's when he sensed it. He was being persued! He caught sight of the... no he couldn't make it out... but he knew it was behind him. His thin legs triumphantly soared over a fallen tree. And he knew then it was on his tail. The tree was consumed by a shadow!

His fur, a brilliant white, was consumed into a deep charred ash. The land around him dried of it's green and blossomed into a stark white. The sky of a summer day grew dark into a chilled winter's night. Ice formed on the limbs of trees and fell around him, crashing. Still he sped on, he knew without a doubt a shadow was descenting upon him. And he knew he had to look for some safe place. He had to see further, see where he was headed.

Instantly his vison pulled back, he was following his own form. And that's when it hit him, he couldn't
be him! In his vision he was looking at a black stag speeding across a forzen landscape, this was him! But how? The Druids of the Stag were a myth! None had been seen or heard of since the fall of Malorne. A deep sadness erupted within his core, but he fought it back, he knew now this was a dream. He had to understand the message being shown to him. Another ice shard desended crashing to the side of the deft stag, who lept over it with a near grace.

That's when he saw it, he was pulled back further now and saw the forest around him being consumed in a shadow.


Haida woke gasping for air. He could sense it now, even in the ice cave. The trees outside were screaming in pain. There was nothing he could do for them, their methusalah roots would course energy into their great forms anymore. He looked about the room, light with the flickering flames of the firepit. Damoxian was tended to, his good arm holding onto his bandaged one as he slept. Past the warlock's form lied the broken skull of the fallen ghould. It's head been smashed under the weight of Haida's hoof. Ronx was just on the edge of the light, standing, leaning against the soft moss of the rock wall, fast asleep. Haida was impressed, Ronx was still wearing his battle gear,and weapons; crude, the Grim ways. But this was not the time for such petty disagreements, he shook his head and saw Dispaya sat staring into the fire. Her thoughts seemed focused, but Haida couldn't come close to fathom what she was thinking . In the months he's spent within the Ironsong Tribe he had learned much of the Forsaken, yet he was ever suprised. Behind him he heard the rumble of Ronx's machine, he sensed Ebberk was somewhere there, an icy chill rose from there more than anywhere else in the cavern.

Haida's fur stood on end. He inhaled deeply and soothed his mind. He crabbed his cloak around him more and layed back down, falling deep into sleep again.

~~~

He woke in the morning with an intense sense of urgency. There was commotion all about him but the sunlight revealed the room about him even better. He went to work collecting mushrooms and fungi from the cavern floor. He screped moss of the rocks, who knows when they might need to eat next. Who knows what herbs he would find amogst this mess of plants, but he hoped something would be of use. He was practically shovelling plants into his bag. That's when he turned and saw Dispaya casting an enourmous flash of fire at the ice wall. And explosion rocked the cave, and she came skipping back towards him jubuilant and bounced into his now earth covered arms. She seemed to care little that his white fur was caked in mud, earth and roots.

"Your machine did well," Ebberk stated cooly.

Damoxian rose to his feet, "What's all this commotion? Can't a soul get any rest in this confounded place?" The group turned to look at the orc, balancing his weight with his staff, but looking fully rested and healed. Dispaya swung out of Haida's arms and and looked Damoxian well over.

"I knew you'd be well, Great One," she nodded to him respectivley.

"Of course...of course. Now let's be out of this blasted place before we all freeze to our deaths here! Bad enough having one corpsicle hanging around...we do not need any more!" Damoxian sneered as he strode past the group.

From the corner of his eye, Haida saw Ronx polietly pass Dispaya her sacred blade back. They both bowed to each other, and she sheathed the dagger to her belt.

Following the others out the gaping ice maw of the cavern, Haida strode into the pale sunlight of the winter sky. His eyes took a moment to adjust, and he raised an arm to block out as much of the light as he could. He straightened to a full hieght as he gazed out before him. Slowly his lowered his astonished hand as harsh reality set in. He now knew why the trees were screaming in the night.


Before them rose two massive machines. Both grimaced at them with vicious metal teeth. Both rode on the massive turnks of felled trees. Their backs sprouted capapults which would launch the collected mangeled corpses within. To the side of one a pair of ghouls tugged at the form of some recently dead soul. They pulled the body of the wagonlike machine and consumed it's cold flesh with vigor.

Two banshees swirled in the air above the companions. Their mouths held shut for now, but Haida feared when they would scream their enticing screams. As
his eyes followed the swirling undead elven women, Haida looked at his companions. Damoxian eyed his foes and his finger nails dug deep into his staff.
Ronx hefted a mighty axe, ready for battle, his teeth barbarically snarled at his opponents.
But chill rose over Haida as he looked at the two Forsaken, transfixed at the sight of a most menacing figure.

Rising above them was a pale form on a rotten steed. The horse moved with a mockery of life, as Haida looked closer at the figure. Tied around it's neck was a vulgar carcass cloack. The two hooves locked around in front, and a massive wooly black bulk descended around the death knight's form. The dark eyes of the black stag's head looked down at the group from atop the knight's head. It's dark antlers clamoring still for the sky atop it's new host's head.

The knight's arm was outstreched, it's first and last fingers jabbede outward and pointed at the two Forsaken. Haida realized why Dispaya and Ebberk stood transfixed. Somehow this fiend was attempting to control them. He may even be controlling them. Haida's mind raced and with a deep sadness his hands moved to the smooth leather of the tome chained to his waist.

He pried the book free and opened it. Time seemed to slow as he read from it's pages, "Clazzh naz kath, max nazzh kath za!" Haida's word roard out in a cacophy of sound, his left arm shot out, flinging mud and moss towards the undead contingent. A crack of energy pulsed and one of the bony forms reached for it. It was no his, Haida held the undead creature disguested by it's presence in his mind, and had it lash for the mounted death knight. The creature leapt with a sinew tight agility and bared it's teeth on the knight's shoulder. The mounted being screamed in pain.

"Now!" Haida shouted, regaining himself in the world "For Kalimdor!" he roared!

Ronx's bulk snapped into action. Damoxian shrouded himself in shadows and flames. Ebberk and Dispaya were again free of their control and began the chants to summon magical energy their way.
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#14
Mind's Eye


The first time she heard her human father's voice had been the night before while sitting in the cave with the warmth of her fire orb barely holding back the cold of Winterspring's night.

"Daughter...I have missed you...you must return to me...to us...for this is your true place."

She had recognized the voice, but did not think it could be possible...

"Father?"

"I have missed you daughter...please say you will return."

"Father, I..."

A cold blast from the nose of Damoxian shattered the vision and cleared her mind. She wiped more sweat from the Orc's brow and gave him another sip of the elixir, which he spit out due to the horrendous taste.

"Ptew...Fah! You are trying to kill me...poison me! Corpses walking about...you can never trust them..."

The Orc was delirious with fever. She continued to nurse him through the night for Dispaya did not "need" to sleep as a human would, though she knew that without taking rest, her magical energies would continue to weaken.

***

By the morning they were free of the cave, and she felt the familiar presence again even before stepping forth into the Winterspring sun. The landscape, once so rich with the smells of nature, now smelled like death, and the unnaturalness of the Scourge pervaded the air around her. She caught sight of the huge war wagons and saw the undead shambling around them, and she saw the Deathknight too, but only for an instant.

The voice in her head was sweet...and familiar...the voice of her human father once again. As she emerged from the cave he called to her once more. The voice grabbed hold of her psyche and the pull was both intoxicating and powerful.

In the astral recesses of her mind her father stepped forward and spoke to her. In that world she was a human girl once again, and standing in her family home wearing the dress of a daughter of nobility. Her father came and placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed her on the forehead. She reached out and took his hand.

"Return to us white lady...we miss you..."

"Father… why have you come?"

"I have come to take you home child! You have been gone from us for so long..."

"I missed you as well father."

"So powerful you have become...more powerful than I had ever thought possible. You are not worthy to serve this "Horde.â€
Sing True Ironsong!
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#15
The battle was about to commence, soon two forces would throw each other into combat until one or the other lay as little more than dust upon the breeze. Battered still from earlier conflict, Damoxian stood ready to once more rejoin the festivities.

As fire and shadow swirled around him, his hands moved to pull forth a string of steel
from around his neck. Links of chain bore within them small shards of a purple crystal substance that swirled with some form of malevolent sentience. Each shard held within it a ethereal portrait of the being from which it had been harvested, an immaculate soul that had been shredded by the arts of a Warlock.

Damoxian chanted words drawn from the vilest realms of the nether, a pact of service being called upon. From within one of those purple shards, a creature that vaguely held the shape of a Murlock let out a burbling scream of horror, before its essence shattered the shard and was drawn into a small maelstrom that even now opened to his side.

From the depths of this swirling morass, a long and svelte leg of delicate pink flesh came through, with skin so flawless that one never had the urge to look down further to the cloven hoof that was attached. Feminine curves followed suite, a being of nebulous beauty, unearthly in its appeal came through the rest of the way. Alluring enough to arrest the eye of even the sternest being, Zhuk'Nagma let forth her trademark hiss of pleasure upon entering the mortal world, cracking the long leather whip at her side as she wiggled in anticipation.

A conduit opened between Warlock and Demon, each fed upon the other as the shadows began to ooze from the walls and pool about each of them, intensifying the sense of power that clung to both.

"Mmmm Master, I see you summoned me for something besides...recreation. Pity"

The succubus drew a single nail across the warlocks chest as she curled up near his side, the length of her tail swirling around her leg as she turned those come-hither blue eyes towards the oncoming scourge.

The warlock stood stoic despite the teasing gestures given by his servant, his words clipped and to the point

"Cut them down. If your service is worthy enough, you can linger long enough to drain what little life essence you can from the fallen"

That the fallen might be allied as well as enemy made for little concern for the warlock. Instead he set himself to the task at hand, his fingers weaving into the patterns of yet another fel incantation. When the last word spilled from his lips, the shadows of a forgotten soul blazed from his fingertips, screeching silently as it shot through the distance to slam into the bulk of one of the mobile catapults, the sheer force pushing it back through the snow.

It was then that he heard the screams of the Banshee, causing his hard to pump faster as an unearthly grip of fear began to dig its nails down into the warlocks heart of stone.

Damoxian Growled at his demoness "Deal with the Elven carrion" Even as he spread his legs, hunching down to avoid a corpse flung with horrible force from the same catapult he had engaged with his magics.

Juk'Nagma laughed, her eerily captivating dance sending her through the snow in little more clothing than was required to remain descent. Long wings of shadow spread out behind her as she whirled through the snowflakes from above, her sinuous whip flashing out here and there as lines of sheer pain were scored upon the banshees incorporeal essence. As they clawed at her she danced round, her body flexible as it weaved around their blows...and if one scored a hit, it just caused her to purr with pleasure as a devilish tongue licked her all to perfect lips..then she danced on.
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