Entry #28: Suck it, I've done 28 in a row
That Geist's screech was getting on his nerves, but at least Lackey had done what Eredis had asked.
The Knight sat at a small stone table in a windowless room somewhere in the bowels of Acherus. He had scribed a note to go out to a few select people - a copy, rather, of a note that he had received.
"Each to his grief, each to his loneliness and fidgety revenge."
Eredis snorted. Knights knew of each, though their revenge couldn't be termed 'fidgety' even on the best of days. To grief and loneliness, however...
The creatures of the 1113th knew well of both. Their operatives would sow grief and separation wherever they went, and their pasts were rife with it. Each had come to terms with their own grief and loneliness years ago - accomplished via regicide. Even so, the Knights set aside a day every year that was for them to remember what it was to be alive, and to refresh their vows to the living.
The Day of the Dead.
During last year's Day, Eredis had dressed as he did in life - a baker, and stood atop a statue in Raven Hill's cemetery to tell the people that they, the dead, wished nothing but the best of life for the living. That they died for the living and would do so again. That in doing so, the dead wished that the living would take each day and truly live it.
To grieve, perhaps, but to realize that no living being is truly alone. Everyone came into this world with loved ones, and even if they did die, those loved ones still watched and waited.
The dead, after all, are patient. They have nothing but time.
Perhaps, Eredis surmised as he withdrew a small deck of hand-painted cards, he would have the Captain and the Commander both speak on this year's Day of the Dead. There was some time, of course, but to each their grief, loneliness, and fidgety revenge.
The thought of subjecting them to public relations made his foot tap once. Fidgety, indeed.
Entry #29: By Will Alone
It was raining. Eredis could feel it hammering into the back of his skull. The mud pushing up around his nostrils felt just as cold and clammy. In reality, it should have suffocated him by now, but when one was already a corpse, mud was just an inconvenience.
A trio of folk some paces away were the source of Eredis' so-called 'dirt nap.' They each held a cudgel and looked upon the unmoving body with trepidation. They were murmuring to each other while expecting the body to rise up and menace them again. Each of them wore the tabard of the Scarlet Crusade - or approximations of it, each swatch of white silk instead yellowed with age and misuse, and the scarlet flame drying out to look like matted old blood.
"Ain't nobody I know could survive a bludgeonin' like that!"
The words gave the corpse strength. Eredis levered himself up to his feet, slicking back water against the gash in the side of his head. The gleam of bone was visible for but a moment before frost started to build over the wound. He set his gaze on the three, and said nothing.
"Wh-what are you?" asked the first. "You should be dead!"
"I am dead," Eredis responded, flexing his hands. Everything still seemed to be in order.
"N-no!" said the first in response. He lifted his cudgel again and stepped forward. "You should stay dead!"
Eredis smiled. It wasn't a happy smile, one meant to deliver warmth - it was one that ensured that his addictions - normally under control - were about to be sated.
"Your friend on the left," he rasped, "I'll call that one 'Renfield. The one on the right, I'll call that one Lackey."
"What are you talking about?!" shouted the first. The other two looked at each other, taking a step back.
"I'm going to turn them into ghouls after I kill them," Eredis responded. He could feel it now, the fear giving him power. The will to live in spite of being dead.
To continue to perform in spite of the people trying to prevent you from doing it.
"You I'll turn to ghoul food."
Eredis took another step forward, and he could feel the frost gather.
Entry #30: Retelling
"So there we were, just four Dwarves an' this cook from Lordaeron in a Steam Tank, and just over the pass were no less than three hundred Orcs!"
The speaker was a Dwarf, enough of a back-mountain breed that the assembled could barely understand him. His bright red hair and paler features(and the engraved bronze stein in his hand) proclaimed him to be of the Ironforge stock, though there was talk that the Wildhammers in the north would be coming down in the nearing days.
His audience was the exact opposite of the exuberant Dwarf - they were all dead. Only a few of them, each the living dead known as Death Knights. They'd managed to corral the Dwarf and ply him with (a lot) of alcohol to get a story out of him - one of one of their commanders, back when he was alive.
To his credit, Bergmann was playing to the crowd. His squad of Orcs had grown to an army, the reinforced column the tank was a part of had dwindled to a single vehicle, and the importance of the Orcs had grown and grown until it was Orgrim Doomhammer himself heading the forces arrayed against them.
Or at least until his stein was empty. Then one of the Death Knights would summon another round for the belabored Paladin and he would start his story anew.
"...An' that's how he got us past the Black Mountain and into Redridge, where the tank fell apart after crashin' through the gate! It's why it stands open to this very day!"
About an hour later, Bergmann staggered out of Bruuk's Tavern, where a taciturn man sat on a crate outside.
"You're getting sloppy, Sergeant," the man said.
"WHhzzzltghlnffrn," responded Bergmann.
"I recall you could've told that story with twice as many drinks. Perhaps you're just getting soft."
The Dwarf hiccuped, and the man hopped off the crate to help carry him home.
Entry #31: Confession
"What say you?"
Boyd was standing (in chains (again)) in front of a magistrate. Behind him were a crowd of angry people, howling with rage at the man while the stern-faced man in a powdered wig that looked very suspiciously blue.
"So...lemme get this straight," Boyd said. "If'n I don't admit that Professor Macgillycuddy's Unambigusously Uniform Undead Unguent, guaranteed t' unglue any undead, is a hoax, then yer gonna lock me in th' pillory an' let this crowd tar an' feather me again?"
The crowd looked on. They were hungry.
"An' if I do, I'll spend three days in a cell an' I can't come back to town for a whole year?"
The magistrate nodded. "Those are the terms."
Boyd shrugged. "It's a fair cop. Undead unguent only works on 'alf dead skeletons, not the Death Knights who keep fightin' an' drinkin' in Goldshire."
Entry #32: The Upright Man
It wasn't that Boyd hated fighting. He simply preferred not to get shot at, or stabbed, or swung at, or any of a myriad of things that equaled pain and ended with an overly worried girl clucking at his inability to get out of something's way.
The trouble was, he preferred money more than he disliked pain, and putting himself into harm's way often meant he got paid a lot more. Plenty of folk valued their skin at a fair coin, and when Professor Macgillycuddy's Delightful Daily Dehydrator ended up shrinking that poor woman's blouse to something you'd see on a Bloodsail Pirate wench, well...sometimes honest money was worth it.
This afternoon, though, Boyd needed the catharsis that fighting provided. There was a simple beauty to it, really, as fists met flesh, more fists met an inch-thick plate of tempered steel, the howls of broken hands, feet, and the whimper of grown men trying to crawl away from the fracas. It was nothing a bribe to a Priest wouldn't fix - well, that and a few tankards of the Golden Keg's best - but in the moments after Boyd's happy violence when he found Rabbit tied to a chair (with no appreciable profit in sight), the damage was enough. The only injuries he sustained were to Rabbit's professional pride at someone who didn't need a plated lunk to bail her out of trouble. Really, it wasn't even to him!
They kept a tally. It was always worth a tankard at the Keg when Boyd was able to even the score a bit.
And so, now, they had a lad that Rabbit termed 'Thickie' tied to the chair, and a small woman flailing around the room after putting her bandages back over her eyes. She'd fallen three or four times over the groaning forms of the other men - each one always eliciting a howl - until Boyd had patiently explained that, yes, he had already lifted their purses, and could she go and catch Skaven's ear for a bit of conversation?
Rabbit had muttered something about Thickie being the 'Upright Man' as she tottered off to find the head of the Canal Rats and wheedle out a bit of a reward at nabbing a team of poachers on their turf. In today's economy, one took what one could get. Boyd figured he had about ten minutes of good questioning time before the Rats came in.
The trouble was, Boyd had absolutely no questions. So he decided to take a different route.
"D'yeh know what you did wrong?" Boyd asked as he tidied up what was left of the room. He didn't listen for answers nor really wait for them. He did see a few near-gold fillings at strategic points in the woodwork of the floor, and idly wondered what they might be worth as he gathered them up.
"Three...four...five. Not terrible. Where was I? Right! Y'said you were an Upright Man.
"See, around here there's a certain...accord, I'd guess, between all the folks who make an honest livin' doin' deeds termed unsavory. Keep things on the down-low, if you catch my meanin'. Keeps the guards away, pockets not as full but certainly safer, and folks get to eat. Really, that's all we all ask for, right?"
He tucked the gold fillings away in a pouch for future use. A few minutes at the forge and he could melt them down, maybe coat a few coppers and swindle a tankard or two of the better swill.
"Well, even the street gangs might 'ave an Upright Man or two, but they always answer to each other, lest the unsavory deeds get downright uncivilized, and when the Horde and the demons and such are knocking on our doors, we can't have an uncivilized populace, right?
"So's bein' an Upright Man of the Grey Goose, you should know this, an' you went off and nicked m'girl without so even as a by-your-leave t' the Rats, on their turf, an' I suppose they an' I might get pretty angry, yeh? Right."
Boyd could hear murmuring and sounds coming from the entryway. He smiled as he heard Rabbit's higher tone, as it suggested they'd gotten top coin for the poacher's bounty.
"Sounds like the boys are here, Thickie. Bounty on a poacher's a gold a pop, two for their Upright Man. It looks like your Grey Goose..."
Boyd turned, settling his goggles on his head as he walked out.