Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Site Write, part deux

Entry #10


Somehow, it always came to the Old Gods, and a tried-and-true method to counter them had been used four times now:  Unity.

Unity, Eredis mused as he prodded the corpse of a giant eyeball, will save this world.

And yet, the prevailing attitude of 'got mine, ($^& yours' will destroy it.

Even here, in the shattered sanctum of a dead god, Eredis could feel the whispers crawling along his skin.  That a corpse's skin could crawl was, in and of itself, impressive.

I recognize this stink.  I smelled it in the Highlands.  Cho'gall stank like this before the others killed him.  Even dead, that was your doing, was it?


The death knight hesitated for a moment, then shrugged.  After the life (and unlife) he had led, having a telepathic conversation with the corpse of a dead god that lie dreaming was well within the realm of possibility.

Why? Eredis mused.

we embody freedom

Eredis arched an eyebrow.  Freedom?  From what?

all the restrictions you place upon yourself we strip it away be free be free and serve out of gratitude

A long silence was punctuated by a snort, then the wet smack of a hand against rotting eyeball.

"You'll have to do better than that, eyeball."

Still.  Now the crazy postings around Stormwind make more sense.

don't they

Entry #11



"Drink it."

"You realize I-"

"I know.  Drink it.  And throw your hood up."

Tastes like a sugar cookie, Eredis reflected.  Reminds me of...

Old Stormwind.  Not the bright, shining walls, nor the slate roofs of the placed houses, not the solid gates nor the towering Keep.  No, the Old Stormwind of his memory was the dirty back-alleys and the refuse pits, storm drains where beggar children made their homes for the dry evenings and the rear doors to the taverns where they occasionally got a chunk of roast fowl and a sip of ale in exchange for a few coppers that they managed to beg, borrow, or steal.

He could still smell it - the scent of unwashed bodies, old garbage, and night soil that sat before the shovel men came to cart the refuse off for the farmers down in Westfall.  He could see the grime on the cobblestones, and taste the greasy smoke from the back-alley cookfires that kept the vagrant population warm.

And there, scuttling under a half-rotted barrel, was a boy no more than four - hiding from the conscript teams.  They'd done a double-duty in those days; either find young ones to press into service, or get the younger ones for work around the camp.  Make them polish blades, carry lances for the Knights, and take care of the wagons when Stormwind marched to war.

With a sigh of reminiscence, Eredis closed his eyes.  Something...shifted, and he opened them again.  There was the boy, cowering under a half-rotted barrel.

With a cautious step, the hooded man came forward and withdrew something from his bag, kneeling.  He grinned underneath his cowl, sure that the boy couldn't see it. 

"Here.  Have one of these, and you'll feel better.  And don't be scared.  Whenever you're scared, think of these."

He placed the cookie into the trembling boy's hand, and turned away.  He hesitated when he heard a trembling 'thank you', and passed out of the alleyway towards the conscript teams with nary a nod.

It would be a better life for the boy, he reflected, as the same thing had happened to him.

Entry #12: Pathetic

He couldn't concentrate.  He couldn't focus.

All Eredis could do was pace on the dock and seethe.

They sought to overthrow him.  Him!  He'd survived more warfare than most of the ones had been alive - AND dead!  And they sought to have him removed?  And the newly-promoted Captain looked to quit?  To leave?

For what?  Making a stew?

This will not do, he thought as his hands clenched around the hilts of his weapons.  The Death Knights in Acherus had always had a funny (not 'ha ha', but strange) sense of humor when it came to discipline, he had discovered during his assignment with the Verdict.  If a Knight was too pathetic to do their duty, too weak to fight, too mired in insubordination to be worth their time, they were mildly titled 'Spineless'.

The difference between an empty swear and a Death Knight's use of the term, however, filled canyons.  If a Knight is Spineless, they are repurposed.  Nothing that is brought back is pathetic by the time the runeforges have banked for the day.

That is why a Sergeant and a Captain were still on the active roster, despite being titled Spineless.

Eredis' hands gripped the hilts of both his swords, drawing them to look at the undulating spines that had been reinforced with saronite and splined so that the serrated edges and blood channel brought the stuff directly into the nutrient chamber within each pommel.

The Captain and the Sergeant needed to eat, after all.  The were at the height of their useful lifespans.

Entry #13:  Animal Companions

"KOLYA!" the Draenei thundered, a Dwarven ale stein in one meaty hand, "Why did you spill the ale?"

The Draenei was very clearly drunk, teetering on the edge of a log facing a campfire that brought warmth to the deepening twilight near Thelsamar.  Baikonur had spent a long hour bickering with the Dwarves of the bustling town over animal skins, steel implements, and the occasional land rights to a tunnel somewhere near Vashj'ir.  And now Kolya had spilled the ale!

An answering snort was accompanied by the approach of a boar to the campfire.  It was no ordinary boar, having the lean muscle and large tusks that suggested that perhaps a Troll and an Orc had been bewitched and had congress with a sow after some ritual gone wrong. 

Kolya was big.  And he was also pushing a barrel along with his snout.

The drunken trader took another drink from his stein and leaned forward, balanced precariously on the log.

"Is that - KOLYA! The greatest of all my friends!  You brought a replacement from town!"

The echo of a mad Draenei's laughter echoed against the mountains, cut short by a crash that suggested that both the log and gravity had teamed up to bring low a simple trader that liked to drink.

Entry #14:  There And Back Again

After the fire had banked itself to coals, and Kolya had cuddled up with what was left of the ale tankard, Baikonur leaned back against the treacherous log that had betrayed him so cruelly and withdrew a small bauble from the inside of his shirt.

It was small and unassuming, though the depths of the round stone glimmered as if it were hiding great power.  It wasn't a ten-copper glass bauble sold to a bird man, nor was it an artifact of great power.  It was simply the component of a ritual.

He closed his eyes and started to rub the bauble with his thumb, murmuring to himself with the hint of a slur that suggested that happy drinking had gone to maudlin drinking, and then he started to speak as if he were in a different place and a different time entirely.

"Laika, dear.  I made sixteen trades today.  Furs for food, food for ale, ale for metal, metal for more ale, ale for more metal, and finally metal for everything I needed to ensure the community was properly outfitted.  These Dwarves, you would like them, Laika.  You would like everyone on this world."

"Would I?" asked a sultry contralto.  Baikonur smiled, but did not open his eyes.  He didn't need to in order to see her.  Tall, slender, with hair of silver and a button nose.  A smile that told the drunken trader that she saw right through his stories and negotiations.

And eyes that-no.  The last time he had seen those eyes, they held no life, wide and sightless, on a world that no longer had a name, or a history.

"You've called me again," the voice said.  "To tell me about your travels?"

"No," Baiko replied.  He clicked his tongue, feeling it leaden and thick against the top of his mouth.  "No, there is a different reason I called you here tonight, Laika."

She sounded amused.  "And why is that, my drunken lout?"

"To tell you that I miss you."

For once, the apparition was silent.  The apparition that only appeared when he was a casket in on special nights, when everyone was asleep and the shadows had lengthened to their longest underneath the light of an ever-present moon (or two, or even six, one time).  The apparition of a Farseer who would see no farther.

"Look at me, Baikonur."

The Draenei sighed, shaking his head.  "I cannot.  I will not.  I cannot see those eyes again."

"You will."

He shook his head again.  "No!  You cannot make me!  I only wished-"

"Baikonur, this instant."

His eyes snapped open.   There, on the other side of the fire, idly scratching the slumbering boar between his ears, was the woman he had left a thousand worlds ago.  All he could do was smile.

"You're here," he said.

"I am," she replied.

And underneath the twin moons of Azeroth, near Thelsamar, a Draenei smiled while he slept near a fire that had banked down to naught but coals.

Entry #15:  The Itch

It was there.  Center back, where his lengthy fingers couldn't reach.  As if some Gilnean street mite had poked him repeatedly with a stick, right there, and ran off laughing before he could swat it away.  But Boyd Macnormelton (everyone called him Norm, or Badger, or 'hey you', but never Boyd) had come up with a solution that sat on the table in front of him.

"Badge, what're you-"

"Not now, Rabbit.  I'm goin' to fix this for good now.  Professor Macgillycuddy's Simply Superb Serentical Spine Sensitivity Stimulator!"

"Badge, it's a windmill of scratchies with fireworks on."

And indeed it was.  This device, slightly larger than a breadbox, looked like some kind of wheel that had several delicately-adjusted claws that would run down one's spine as the device spun, ensuring that all areas of the middle of the back received adequate anti-itch stimulation.  Low-yield rockets were attached at integral points to ensure the device spun of its own accord, and would peter out only after twenty two seconds - scientifically proven by the lads at Boom Monthly to be the optimal duration for a really good back scritching.

"I said not now, Rabbit.  I got an itch I need to scratch an' then we're going to make a mint off this latest invention!"

"Oh y'do?" the small woman asked, sidling up behind him.  Her hand was already pressed against his back, the other one reaching into one of his pockets to lift the candy tin she knew was there.  "Where at?  I'll get i-"

"No you will not!" Boyd said, pushing her aside as he reached for his striker with his free arm.  "I am going to test this, now stand back!"

Rabbit did so, having acquired the tin of candies rather adroitly.  "Mmrhgtl," she responded, having squirrled up three or four lemon drops before Boyd noticed the tin was gone.

"And a one, and a two, and--"


After the smoke cleared and Boyd wasn't seeing four of Rabbit trying to cough up lemon drops, he noted that itch was finally gone - replaced by an odd burning sensation, and a rather strange draft behind him.  Professor Macgillycuddy's Simply Superb Serentical Spine Sensitivity Stimulator, however, had gone the way of all windmills with fireworks on:  tilt.

Entry #16: Dealer's Choice

"Lissen, it's real simple.  You tell 'em you're a priestess an' you're buyin' that necklace, an' I come in as a member of the Stormwind Guard an' arrest yer for counterfeit coins."

The speaker, naturally, was dressed in the gleaming armor that the Stormwind Guard was known for.  The Blues were all over Stormwind, guarding everything

Really, it had made larceny, even petty larceny, very difficult.  When someone clanging around in full plate shouting demands to cease and desist barges in on your delicate operation, the ringing makes your ears so tinny that all you hear is 'ur unner arest'.

Fortunately, the Guard were mostly after the flashy, slow, stupid criminals.  This con was a beaut.

"But Badge.  The coins ain't counterfeit."

"Course they ain't," the man replied.  "An' neither's the necklace.  But we's needin' it for evidence, right?"

"Oh, right."

"Good girl.  Now g-"

Their plan was interrupted by the crash of breaking glass as a thief clad in the dark Saronite plate of the Ebon Blade came stumbling out of the jewelry store, necklace in hand.

"I AM THE DREAD LORD BARON BONEHALLOW!" he thundered as he stuffed the necklace into his armor.  "AND YOU WILL RUE THE DAY THA--"

"Oi!" Boyd shouted, clad in his plate armor.  "Knock the noise off an' drop the shinies, or I'm kickin' you in the nethers so 'ard only spiders can 'ear you!"

Predictably, the Death Knight didn't hear him.  So, Boyd did what any enterprising thief would do.

He kicked the Death Knight in the nether regions, and was pawing through the man's belongings when the Guard showed up.

Entry #17: A Crisp Fall Day

On Canal Street, none loved a crisp fall day more than the Canal Street Baker.  It was chill in the air, but not cold enough for families to huddle around warm fireplaces.  Apples were ready to harvest.  The skies were clear and snow was coming in the next few weeks, but for today, all was well.

The leaves on the trees were turning and showing off their brilliant hues.  People walked the cobblestone streets of Stormwind with glee, looking to see what new things the cold seasons would bring.

On Canal Street, pumpkin gourd soup was the perfect dish for a crisp fall day, served with a cold cider.  And everyone could smell it bubbling in the cauldrons.

And to get that last tic of warmth, everyone brought their coins for a bowl of pumpkin gourd soup and a flagon of cider.  Business booms on a crisp fall day.

Entry #18: Demiurge

"Do you know," the Death Knight asked as he sat at his desk,  "what the definition of a demiurge is?"

The two Geists looked at him blankly.  Then again, with these two Geists, that was not terribly off the mark.

"I see," the man said as he wrote out a set of runes on a scroll with a careful, practiced hand.   "It is one who creates in subordination to another, Renfield.  Lackey.

"It is someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a god.  He can control your very being."

The two Geists looked at one another, then back at Eredis.

"Then you are...a god?" queried Renfield.

"IT MUST BE SO!" screeched Lackey.


Eredis pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose, then hesitated.

"Actually," he said,  "Yes.  That is exactly correct.  But that is not the enti-"

His words fell on deaf ears.  Renfield and Lackey, in chorus, were near bouncing off the walls extolling the virtues of the man who sat at this stone table.




Eredis planted his palm into his face.  They were going to have the Abominations opening a church within the week at this rate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

As an aside

There is so much I do want to write and think upon about being a DK in the World of Warcraft.  I just haven't had time.  Or energy.  So, as you have seen, there is a site write going on, and I think it's just the thing I need to ensure that I'm going to keep writing, and keep myself to a deadline.

Maybe I can get some thought-provoking stuff out of my brain and onto paper.

I'll keep the site write on the same post for posterity.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Site Write Story Time

Entry 1

May 7, 2012 - Surprise

The child cowered away from him every day.

Few knew why the plate-clad man walked the same route every day, but even so he was twice-born, and therefore automatically half the man that the living of Stormwind assumed he was.  This one was stranger than all the others, in that it walked the same route every day, one way, and did not return until the next.  The large circular patrol faded from the memories of most, as few ventured half as far as the man with the cold aura, and none followed.

The child followed at first.  Homeless, hungry, orphaned, it followed the man at first until the creaking of the head caused her to cower away, then scamper into an alleyway, or even once dive into the Canals to avoid his wrath that she knew, knew was hiding behind those dead eyes.   She told her friends of this, other street urchins and orphans who ranged from the Cathedral Square to grub a copper from the canals, or see if there were kind passers-by that would grace them with a biscuit, or a coin, or even a rack of foam swords if it was their special week in particular.  On select days they would get sugar cookies from the cook near the Stockades, and sit and tell stories.  Hers was of the Twice-Born Man, and his dark armor and wicked intents.  He was a warlock ("No, I've seen the ones they call warlocks at the Slaughtered Lamb!  None of -them- wear plate armor!").  He did riturals ("No, there haven't been any kids missing!").  He was evil  ("Nuh-uh, prove it!  Where does he go?").

Every day that passed, the Twice-Born Man followed the same path, and every day the child moved a little farther, to see where he went, before her courage failed and she fled.  The other urchins laughed, and teased her.  She didn't have the heart to see if her stories were real!  

That night, she declared that she was going to follow him all the way, and if she disappeared, then they would know her stories were true!

She took special care the next day to follow the Twice-Born Man on his path.  Her heart raced faster as she passed her alleyways, the canals, the safe places where she knew he would not follow if he desired to give chase.  She saw him enter a dark alleyway in the restaurant district, and stopped at the edge.

The waif stared into the darkness, mustering up the courage to follow.  With a gulp of air, she dove in after him - and ran smack dab into his plated legs not six steps inside.

Fear froze her in place.  She could see the glow in his eyes as he bent down to stare at her tattered clothes, her thin figure, and her messy hair.  She could hear the click of metal against metal as his fingers moved, drawing something from a satchel as he reached for her.  Her scream was a muted squeak as the object came into focus, and dumbounded pause replaced terror as she looked at the cupcake in her hand.

"Are you...surprised?" asked the Twice-Born Man, while he picked up the waif and set her on her feet.  She nodded, and bit into the cupcake - a squirrel of a girl, nibbling on confections.

"So am I," he said.  "I am continually surprised at the courage you young ones show.  Would you like to see what I do every day, why I take this path?"

She nodded again.  The man straightened and opened a door in the alleyway, releasing a rush of aromas - Breads, pies, cakes, and many other meals. 

"Come inside and see," he said, stepping aside and pulling off his plated gloves.  "I am certain you will have a wonderful story to tell your friends this evening."

She went inside, and he followed, closing the kitchen entry to the Canal Street Bakery.

Entry 2
Second Chances, or, 'I write about dead guys a lot.'

Once upon a time, there were two men who died and became geists. 

Their names did not mean much in life, and in death they became eternally lost.  As conventions go, they were eventually given new names after their tenure in the Lich King's service came to an end.  One was named Renfield, and the other was named Lackey. 

To continue the story about Renfield and Lackey, an aside must be made, and that aside is about the Bizarre.  The Bizarre is a living, breathing entity (for generous uses of those terms) within the bowels of Acherus where the members and minions of the Ebon Blade come to the closest to being truly human that they can manage: They gather, trade, perhaps even eat something, and they tell stories.  Ghouls, Geists, Abominations (whom are always referred to as 'they', 'we', or 'them', as they're a self-contained community) all trade what they may have found during their time of service to Highlord Mograine, the Ashen Verdict, or those elite reprobates known better as Death Knights who were ordered to serve the Blade by serving their King, Warchief, or whatever being they took a knee before in life.

It was at the Bizarre that a question was posed: What, if anything, would you go back to change?  Would you flee south, out of Lordaeron?  Shoot Arthas with an arrow?  Join the Silver Hand?

Renfield and Lackey scoffed at this question.

"That is easy!" said Renfield.  "Simplicity itself!" cried Lackey.

"We have already done it!" they chorused.

In a bustling metropolis of the dead, it's difficult to find silence.  This is because the universe is powered by irony, and little is more ironic than a community of beings that should be as quiet as the tomb showing more life than the Exodar during Noblegarden.

And yet, for the briefest of moments, the Bizarre was absolutely silent.

"Rggrgrawwglglrgh!" cried a Ghoul (which, as it happened, was Ghoul for "Please explain, sirs, as few have ever experienced this kind of wonder before.")

"We were given the option to return by one of the Infinite Dragonflight!" Renfield noted.  "To change one event in our lives!" added Lackey.

"We had to take it up on its offer!" they cried in unison.

"Rgl?" ("And I believe any of us would, sirs, but please tell us - what did you do?")

"We lived in the town of Andorhal!" Renfield exclaimed.  "We were assistants to the mayor of the town!" added Lackey.

"The Infinite Dragons took us to the evening before the city fell!" Renfield continued.  "Yes, to the time when we could effect the most change in our lives!" Lackey added.

"And there we were, in our beloved city, alive again to change one moment!" they exclaimed in unison.

The hush came over the Bizarre again.  Corpses of all shapes and sizes pressed in on the two Geists to hear what happened next.  The unofficial spokesbody, the Ghoul queried, "ARglgr?"  ("What a dream, to live again, to breathe the sweet air and feel the cool upon your skin!  To walk in the moonlight and ne'er feel the pang of hunger for flesh, to merely be and not exist.  Aie!  I wax poetic during your tale, pray continue!")

"We moved with purpose!" Renfield cried.  "Our goal was clear!" Lackey agreed.

"We went to the Inn, and we had the roast beef dinner!"

The nature of the silence changed.  It went from a polite, rapt, engaged silence to one chilled with the hint of malice.  It was the type of silence one found when sipping a fine Gilnean Red and finding a rather cheeky Forsaken had left a...cheek in your glass.

"It was the best, tenderest roast beef we had ever eaten," Renfield temporized.  For once, Lackey was silent in polite remembrance of his last meal.
Entry #3

"What do I want that for?  It's worthless!"

The Draenei man looked over the bauble he'd offered, turning his head to regard the creature that had queried his purchase.  Instincts born of ten thousand years of practice took over, and the smooth smile that reached the very tips of his ears was on his face.  Fellow exiles knew Baikonur to have a smile that could disarm a Windroc of its talons, or a Gronn of its desire to kill and eat...well, everybody. 

It was the smile of a trader, and a trader's bread and butter is made of worthless items.

"This?" Baikonur asked, presenting the bauble as if it were a prized treasure - which, indeed, now it was.  "This is a priceless treasure, not to be confused with worthless trash!  It has survived the Legion's scourging of no less than three worlds!"

The creature stopped in its tracks.  Baikonur knew what it was, now, it had been some time since he had seen Arrakoa willing to speak with him, but now that this Darkmoon Faire has begun on the island, he had seen so many old faces that were familiar, yet were not at the same time.  And here, in his hand, he had a priceless treasure.

"Here in my hand," stated Baikonur, "Is history, my friend!  The historical jewel of a peaceful race that sadly did not survive the Legion's wrath!  It was pressed into my palm by the Grand Seer Reepicheep, who foresaw the falling of his people.  He begged me, sir, begged me to find a like mind to covet and care for this stone so that the memory of his people would live on everlasting!"

"A historical jewel," the Arrakoa muttered.  It did not seem convinced.

"A historical jewel," Baikonur repeated.  "The last vestiges of life of a long-dead people.  Bird people."

That brought the Arrakoa up short.  "How much?" it asked.

Coin changed hands, and the Arrakoa was the proud owner of the Reepicheep's jewel - that an enterprising Dwarf had given him after he had finished with some cut glass pieces for the Faire.

Baikonur waved and went on his way.  "I'm getting rusty," he said to himself, "But there's always someone to put value on something."

Entry #4

"It is done, my lord."

'Lord'.  That's a new one.  How many years have I been avoiding the trappings of nobility?

The Death Knight stood wearily on the dais where but minutes before, Lady Sylvanas had fallen to a Draenei's spine - still wriggling, mind you - with the brain-stem wrapped in leather.

"The most useful the Sergeant has ever been," he mused as two Geists hauled off the body.  He kicked the bow aside, noting to himself to turn it to dust in front of the collected Hunters of the Horde later.  He would have to make his presence known, and more than a few would find that incredibly funny.

"What will you have us do, Lord?"

The Val'kyr that hovered to the Death Knight's left was the model of subservience.  It had been nearly fourteen years since their positions were reversed - first came freedom, then came vengeance, then irony rolls on in to bring the trifecta.  He was King of the Undercity.

"Recall the Royal Apothecary Society.  I want any and all plague strains held for testing and then stored for a rainy day.  The Wrathgate was bad, Gilneas made it worse.  I won't throw away a weapon, but I want both the Alliance and the Horde to be quite certain the only thing walking around down here after another siege will be ghosts.

"After that is complete," he continued, "Send two Death Knights as emissaries to the Horde and Alliance.  Have them know that the Undercity is now independent and we will suffer no sieges upon these walls.  Have the two reiterate the plague stocks as a note of deterrence."

"It will be done, Lord."

The Val'kyr flew off to begin the onerous process of herding zombified cats - that is, the apothecaries.   She passed by a hooded Forsaken that came forward to salute Eredis as he stood on the dais.

"Everything is transitioning according to plan!  Hee!" she said. 

"Captain," Eredis said,  "Good, good.  You saw the Val'kyr just leave - assemble the Dark Rangers.  Request the Val'kyr to assemble in the rear courtyard and read them this."  He handed over a rotted parchment that had a curious seal - one of a skull and crossed runeblades, though the skull wore a baker's hat. 

"What's this?" the Captain asked.

"A royal declaration to decimate the Val'kyr.  I want them to be absolutely certain they exist at my sufferance, and my sufferance alone.  Ten percent reductions in their numbers should get the idea across."

"Hee!  This'll be great!" the Captain exclaimed - and with a puff of smoke, she sped along the shadows to do his bidding.

"RENFIELD!  LACKEY!" the Death Knight bellowed.  Two Geists ambled in, faces rubbing across the floor in their zest to appear humble.

He extended two more parchment rolls, one to each.  "One goes to Highlord Fordring, the other to Highlord Mograine.  You are to present them both, personally, and await a response from each.  I will have them know that the Undercity desires peaceful coexistance with the components of the Ashen Verdict.  Her borders will encompass all they do now, and we cede the territory in the Plaguelands to each to do as they will.  Now go."

"Yes, Master!" Renfield cried.  "We will do as you ask!" yelled Lackey.

"We go!"


"...And that's what I would do if I were King of the Undercity," Eredis said as he reeled in another fish.  He and a Draenei both sat on a quiet dock, fishing the day away.

"So you would create-"  the Draenei started.

"Yes, an undead haven," finished Eredis.  "Think of it like Shattrath, only a minimum of Light and a place where the undead can get back to what they were doing before we all died."

"Interestink," mused the Draenei.

"I thought so," replied Eredis as he cast his line back into the water.  "What would you do?"

Entry #5
Past Tense

New Hearthglen was burning.

Few Crusaders ran to and fro with buckets, desperation fueling their efforts to dampen fire that seemed to burn even the white stones that they had used to build their city.  A splash of water here and there did nothing to quench the conflagration that had gripped what was viewed as their great, shining hope for a future free of the Scourge.

Abbendis was dead.  She did not survive to see Arthas destroyed, and it seemed that the Crusade would not live long past the moment that the traitorous Alliance called 'Kingsfall.'    The Admiral had gone missing as well; there were rumors among the survivors that he had appeared at Onslaught Harbor, then vanished again while the legions of the dead, led by the Knights of the Ebon Blade, tore their naval base apart soul by soul.  Now they had come for New Hearthglen, and to crush what little remained of the Scarlet Onslaught.

James, the wall guard, had never felt like he should be called an 'Onslaughteer.'  'Crusader' had a much better sound.  It was nobler, so noble that the Argent Crusade had stolen it.  And now, Crusaders were en vogue, and he was standing guard on a wall waiting for the end of the world, dark figures visible around small cookfires in the distance.

He explained this in great detail to the scarlet-robed figure that had joined him on the wall that evening.  The robes were so voluminous that he couldn't tell if the figure was male or female, but it was slight, and wore the most supple leather gloves he ever did see.  It wasn't until the figure interrupted his tirade with a soft query that he realized that it was a she.

"What is 'Life', to you, James?" she asked. 

"Well isn't that a little philisophical?" he retorted.  It didn't stop him into launching into a detailed response of what he considered life to be, including doing one's duty, doing what they enjoyed, taking pride in their crafts, being with their loved on-

"Being with your loved ones is to be alive?" she asked.

"Well, I think so," he responded.

"Strange," the figure in scarlet robes started, "As I had a loved one.  I suppose I still do, and I loved him even if he did not know it.  If he did know it, he did not show it overtly.  And yet, love can turn to hate.  I could hate him for what happened, and did.  Hated him for what he became, and what I became.  Is that living, James?"

"You should hate the Scourge, miss," he replied.

"I do," she said.  "And I hate him, for he is out there."  She pointed with a gloved hand into the evening, towards the shadowy figures and the cookfires.  "And yet, I still love him, for he found the strength to let me go instead of chaining me to servitude.   Is that not love, James?"

"I-what?" James asked.  "You mean you- he's- A Death Knight?"

"Yes," the figure replied.  "It would have saddened me once, but I still feel love, and hatred.  And now here we are, on opposite sides of the wall."

"He-Who are you, anyway?"  James asked.  His spear dipped.

"I was called Nancy, once," came the soft reply.  "And I am again.  If one feels love and hatred, are they still alive?"

"Well..." James started.  "Yes.  Yes, I can feel both, and I'm alive."

There was a moment of silence from the figure, then the barest of whispers in James' ear. 

"Were, James.  It's better this way."

The smell of decay was nearly overpowering.  Formaldehyde, rot, mold, and-dark bread?

The sentry slumped to the ground as the figure removed the dagger pressed into his kidneys.  The Forsaken looked across the gulf and the darkness, seeing the dark figure in plate raise his hand.

"I am dead, and I am alive," whispered Nancy as she raised her hand in return.  "And I hate you for dying, and I love you for freeing me."

She had disappeared from the wall before the smoke bomb had touched the battlement, but few noticed over the screams of mounts and men as the angry dead flew in on wings of bone.

Entry #6

"That will come to two silvers, four copper."

"That's robbery!"

Stormwind was busier on sunny days, especially in the restaurant district.  Anyone and everyone needed to eat, and for those who didn't cook, a fowl pie or a sausage-inna-bun was an acceptable pick-me-up - even better if one could sit outside on the canal's edge and enjoy the day with their favorite company.   Still others had to get their supplies to cook their own meals for the day, and the dickering on prices could get a little...heated.

So it was between a man robed in scarlet and black, and a tired baker who looked as if he should have been felling trees in the Grizzly Hills with but one punch.  The baker held a box with what looked to be a dozen sweet rolls.  The man in scarlet and black had a knife, and a book.  He was very agitated.

"Do you know who I am?" the man in scarlet and black thundered.  "I wield the very forces of darkness!  I consort with demons!  I could swallow your soul!"

The baker responded with a tired sigh.  "And you're going to prove it," he responded, "Aren't you?

"Look," the baker said, leaning in a bit further, "I've seen your type.  You're a silver for a baker's dozen in these parts.  You're wasting your time and mine, your energy and mine, and I have much more to waste of both than you do.  So I will give these to you for two silvers, so that I may go back to helping others enjoy their day, and you may gorge on sweet rolls in the alleyway behind the Slaughtered Lamb."

"Wh-Why you-" the man in scarlet and black sputtered.  "I will have your soul for this!"

"I guarantee," replied the baker, "That you won't want it."

Alas, the man in scarlet and black would have none of it.  He was already chanting in a guttural, broken tongue that caused passers-by to stop and look at him.  A trio of patrolmen stopped well out of accosting range, and, once they saw whom was in accosting range, began to whisper amongst themselves.  As if bidden by an unconscious directive, a circle of people formed around the two at a respectful distance.  The baker's tray of fowl pies cooling on the sill vanished.

With a slash of his dagger, the man in scarlet and black had opened his palm and flicked the blood welling upon it onto the cobblestones, where it was eaten b a growing circle of sickly green magic.  It continued to grow until a portal was big enough for a demon to step through - a large, bright red Doomguard who blinked in the gentle yellow sunlight, then roared its defiance to the baker that stood before him.

Or, it did.   There was a flash of sunlight against metal, and a cleaver found its way into the maw of the beast.  The roar was cut off with a choked sound, and it fell to the ground with a crash.  Almost instantly, it began to dissolve.

"How did-Who-What?"

The baker waved over the trio of patrolmen, two of whom were handing off small pouches of coin to the third, whom led the trio with a satisfied grin.

"There's always someone more dangerous, lad," said the baker as he stepped forward.  His fist lashed out, and clocked the budding warlock right on the temple.

The man in scarlet and black dropped like a sack of potatoes.  The baker knelt to withdraw two silvers and four coppers from the warlock's belt pouch, and left the box next to the unconscious man.

"Good afternoon, Baker!" called the lead patrolman. "Another one today?  How many is that this week?"

"Six," said the baker as he retrieved his cleaver, which was now alone on blank ground.  "Something about the sweet rolls.  You three should take them as thanks for a job well done."

No further bidding was needed, and the young man in scarlet and black was trussed up and taken away on charges of disturbing the peace.

Colonel Orill made a mark on a chalkboard next to the door of his establishment, and went back inside to pull another tray of fowl pies from the oven.

Entry #7

"So what I figure is, we stay here in the back and make nice, wait for the two lovebirds to get hitched, and then we step forward and unveil Professor Macgillycuddy's Prestigious Photo Pops!"

"That's a stupid name."

"Might be, but it's a plan destined for greatness."

 "Greatness nothing!"

"It cannot fail, Rabbit.  They'll see they can pose up, all pretty, an' we get paid an' bring the pops back in six to eight weeks!"

"You expect those two lovebirds to shell out their hard-earned golds for pops they'll never see?"

"Well, when you put it that way, Rabbit, no I do not."

"That's what I-"

"I expect them to shell out their parents' hard-earned golds, Rabbit."

"An' why is that, Badge?"

"Because they're gettin' married, Rabbit.  Everyone expects the blushin' bride an' nervous groom to be irresponsible in this day and age."

(This is a conversation between my Worgen prot warrior, Boyd Macnormelton, and his cheeky rogue partner-in-crime, Ilva Swift.  They're the 'Team Rocket' of Azeroth, I swear.)

Entry #8
Electrons in Flight

There was something about the Farseer that the Exarch just couldn't shake.

At first, it was duty.  He was asked by a very nice man to ensure that the Farseer, whom was well-known for her preference to avoid everyone and anything that may have looked like civilization, was well fed.  Ortuuze may have been out of shape, but his sense of duty was still strong - and besides, he had been told that the Farseer cooked an excellent Mudfish.

When he saw the Farseer - lithe, but fierce, powerful in every way, yet serene when the herbs flew into the fire and the mists obscured her sight for everything but the Seeing - he knew she was beautiful in this, and he resolved to be as charming as he could.

This, it turned out, was to be sub-optimal.  His first attempt at courting - the request for a kiss in exchange for a delivery of food - ended in the Exarch quite literally falling off a mountain when her electric temper manifested in the form of an arc from her fingertips to his very shiny - and conductive - plate armor.

It was then that he knew there was a spark there, and he would endeavor to pursue it.

Over the months, it was clear that this attraction was good for his body and soul.  He had let himself go, Ortuuze had, by garrisoning Shattrath.  Lean muscle had turned to flab, but this Farseer's preference for remote places had leaned him once more into an Exarch worthy of the name. He was fed in his favorite dish, the Mudfish, and she sampled from the finest confections that Stormwind had to offer.  Her outright hatred of him cooled to antagonism, then dislike, then...something else.

"Why do you continue to come to these places?" she asked, one day, after he had barreled through a thick underbrush in Un'Goro crater, then scaled a cliffside to find her.

"It is simple, Farseer," he replied.  "The Naaru have a plan for everything, and they have told me that nothing in this life is worth having unless one works very hard for it.

"And for you, I work hardest of all."

Entry #9
Icecrown, Redux

The Frozen Throne.

The sound of ice crunching underneath plated boots was lost in the freezing wind - not something that Eredis precisely noticed, as his own armor was covered in frost, and, well, he was dead.  Temperature doesn't matter as much when one is dead.

There was little, if anything, that was left in the Citadel.  Cleanup operations had gone according to plan and with minimal losses.  After Tirion's victory at the summit - of which Eredis had not been a part, having been on SKYCAP at the time - the Scourge were easy pickings.  He made more from the reselling of the treasures and scrolls his mercenary squad had brought back than he spent hiring them in the first place.  And then, one day, everyone agreed to get the hell out of Icecrown and stay out.  Only the Ebon Blade would redirect their Knights to stay behind to man the ramparts against the reduced Scourge who wandered the wastes, or stood by in icy stasis, waiting for...something.

The reason was something that every Knight instinctively knew: The Scourge were never a passive force unless directed.  So they watched the passes, bottled the Glacier in, and waited.  Tirion knew why.  Mograine knew why.  And now a beleagured Colonel of one of the few remaining Ebon Blade units left to ensure the world remembered they existed knew why.

There must always be a Lich King, and a Lich King there was.  Eredis could see him ensconced in the Throne, his eyes burning with the same unholy light that powered those of the Ebon Blade.  Burned beyond recognition and covered in ice, but Eredis had an idea or two of whom was entombed, and so the Death Knight could do the only thing that came naturally.

As the snow whirled around the Frozen Throne, Eredis bowed his head before Bolvar Fordragon, Jailor of the Damned, and knelt in silence. 

Long moments passed.  They stretched into seconds, then to minutes, then to hours.   Powder began to well up against Eredis as he knelt, standing a vigil of the evening in honor of a man that had sacrificed much for the world he had lived in, and continued to sacrifice in order to maintain that world's zest for life - by holding in check the force that could, and would, destroy it.

It would not be until the sun rose again over the jagged peaks of the Glacier that Eredis would rise from where he knelt, breaking himself out of the ice and snow to stand before the Frozen Throne once again. 

Eredis turned and left without a word.  There was nothing in the Citadel for him, and upon the discover he had made - well, he had completed the task that had brought him to the Throne itself.