The Craft of War

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World of WarCraft FanFiction.

From the story:

Rackk ground herbs against the stone of his mace.  It was all that he had, having been robbed of his pestle and mortar by the arcane blast that had ripped his group apart, as well as the bag which held the needed components.  The stone would work, but he was sure to lose some of the herbs that way.  He hoped that they would be potent enough.  He watched the others mend and knew that the process would be ongoing throughout the night.   He was brought for strength, but knew a thing or two about the ways of the trees.  He was also a healer, a simple Druid (nothing compared to a priest) and it would take him some time to remedy the ailments of his group. The battle ended with a retreat, but the war would be won with the rising of the Horde flag.

Tags: grim batol, world of warcraft, short story, warcraft, blizzard, druid, warrior, mage, throngus

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Author Todd Alan Benevides
Edition Aarden Authors
ISBN n/a
Pages 15
Publication Date 2001
Publisher Todd Alan Benevides
Series  n/a
BCRS Rating  CA-13
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The Craft of War

A short story by Todd Alan Benevides


The Craft of War

1.

Rackk ground herbs against the stone of his mace.  It was all that he had, having been robbed of his pestle and mortar by the arcane blast that had ripped his group apart, as well as the bag which held the needed components.  The stone would work, but he was sure to lose some of the herbs that way.  He hoped that they would be potent enough.  He watched the others mend and knew that the process would be ongoing throughout the night.   He was brought for strength, but knew a thing or two about the ways of the trees.  He was also a healer, a simple Druid (nothing compared to a priest) and it would take him some time to remedy the ailments of his group. The battle ended with a retreat, but the war would be won with the rising of the Horde flag.

This much he was sure of.

What he wasn’t sure of – and it being too late – was what his role was supposed to have been.  Looking again at the others, he failed to see a priest.  He grunted and shook his fur.

With the Goldclover and Icethorn crushed – its juice dripping from the mace – he took the pulp of it and in his great bovine hands squeezed the berry colored juice into the crystal vials that hadn’t broken.  As they mixed together, he heard song, felt nature rush through him, and felt a calm that had been elusive up until now.  Rackk capped the potions – that now glistened against the moon – and wiped his mace clean of its almost fruity mess.

Rackk shifted his bulk – slowly, painfully – and turned toward the fallen comrades once again.  He let go a heavy, throaty sigh.

The others watched as the great bull rose slowly from his spot as they had all been waiting for his mend.

As he often did, Frond, a Blood Elf Warrior, spoke first.  “Faster!” he cried, used to being waited on (like all Warriors did).  He was the least injured, but like all those before him – all those champions that stand out front and take the brunt – he called for help first.  “You move as if you’re in season and with child!”

“And, if you moved less we’d have stood a chance.” Rem, the Frost Mage replied as he pointed his gemmed staff towards the warrior.  Rem was the smallest in stature, being a Goblin, but he wasn’t a meek sort in the least.  “I’ve seen things move less in a maelstrom!”

Frond raised his hands.  “The frost mage speaks.  The same frost mage who apparently lost the ability to throw down ice and cold to lull the enemy,” He laughed then turned his voice to a deadly serious. “If I’m not mistaken – and I’m often not – I remember seeing you toss a fireball?”

“When opportunities arise, I will cast something with a bit more…” Rem started.

“You nearly set me ablaze.” Frond said.  “Best beware.”

Rem mimicked his accuser in a childish fashion.

Oagia, the one who had stamped this party of five together and a particularly strong Shaman, stretched over a wolf pelt he’d taken out of his sack and laughed.  “Good.” He said.

Frond took notice at where Rackk was in his journey towards them and called out for his mend.

“Leave him be.” Rem said.  “He’s big.  He’s got a lot to move around.”

“He was only twenty yards away to begin with.”

“And now he’s thirty.” Laughed yet another of the damaged.  Glenda, a particularly well-handed Rogue, saw to the roasted foul she was cooking.  Next to Frond she was the second least damaged having disappeared whenever she saw the opportunity.  There was a time when it looked as if all hope was lost (which was how it ended exactly), and that was during the first ten minutes.  After that, she had blinked and vanished more times than they thought her abilities allowed.  Frond called it Dark Magic although she wasn’t of his race (Blood Elves knew all too well the guile of the dark arts). She was of the Undead and they were never to be trusted.

Their deceptions are easy to spot, Frond would often say on the subject, usually drunk and amongst friends.  You can see right through them.

 

2.

 

When all were mended, and the moon was still high above the Twilight Highlands, gracing the sky with colors of violet and pink, Frond and Rackk sat by a small fire while the others slept.  They set up camp right outside of Grim Batol, the dungeon in which they had failed, thinking that it would be as good a place as any.  Dragons swarmed the sky, holding the innards of the place at bay.  There would be no ruckus here and they rested by the torn wooden gate that had once stood proud and strong.

Frond held a map of Kalimdor and thumbed along its edges in deep thought.  Looking at him, Rackk saw that he was smiling; Frond’s eyes were distant.  Sensing the bull’s eyes upon him, Frond folded the map and tucked it behind him.  He had been thinking of a love he’d left behind in his homeland.  He was teeming with love’s sting.

Frond smiled. “Going to remember your role in this tomorrow, are we?  I’m hoping – at least – for a fairly better outing.  It’d be nice to feel your healing again.”

Rackk grunted.  He knew he had done wrong and was glad there was a smile upon the warriors face rather than his usual disdain.  Rackk snapped his fingers and a wrapping of green light enveloped Frond.  Frond took a deep breath and let the light warm his soul.

“Yes, my friend.” Frond said closing his eyes, “A better outing indeed.”

 

3.

 

With muscles finally relaxed and wounds tied, Frond dreamed.

 

4.

 

Once upon a time, when time was long and frivolous for all, Frond trained.

In the midst of a green field, young Frond raised his shield and blocked his trainer’s soaring mace.  The clash of the two things rang throughout the fields, sending birds and pollen reeling into the air.  Frond fell backwards.  His trainer, Leonic Truehair, came forward, mace high and ready for another blow.

Frond (Frond Shimmerhand as they knew him back then) jumped up from his ground position, noticed that his flimsy starter shield had been cracked and tossed it aside, raising his sword caught Truehair’s mace as it came to conquer him.  There was another clash, this one sounded of chimes.

“Good.” Truehair spit.  “Good.  You saw the weakness and got rid of it, before the deathblow came.  Impressive,” he smiled at the boy of twelve who stood before him.  Truehair had been training Frond for the whole of the young lad’s life, and it was now, in the past several months, the boy showed promise.  He lowered his weapon.  “There’s hope for you yet, Frond.  No more your father’s whelp.  One day you just might fight for the Horde Armies.”

Frond wiped sweat from his brow and tossed his hair as it was dripping with it.  Standing, he sheathed his weapon and stood before his master.  “You mean will fight.” Frond said.

Truehair sheathed his mace, and looked upon the boy with raised eyebrow.  “One day at a time, Frond.” He cautioned.  “There are still reams you need learn in order to be worthy of their view.  Orgrimmar doesn’t employ the learning but the learned.”

Frond clasped onto the hand of Truehair pulling himself up.

“I’ve heard that there are quests a plenty in the city.  One could possibly fall upon one if they weren’t careful.” Frond said having heard such things from his childhood friends.  There was always talk of meaningful quests and bountiful treasures when the young ones got together.  They would all share the stories of their fathers, and their fathers’ fathers and played a game of trying to one up each other with said tales.  “I’ve even heard that there are factions recruiting around every turn.” Frond piped with pride.  “I’m sure one of them would be glad to have such a young powerful warrior to stable.  At least for a while.” He said.  It wasn’t something that he truly wanted but he thought that he’d show his worth to the lesser clans in order to work his way up into the hierarchy that was the Horde Armies.

Truehair laughed and started towards the northern Ghostland border.  Frond followed his master’s brisk walk.

“Dreams are stifled quickly in Orgrimmar, Frond.” He continued to laugh.  “As prosperous as you are, I fear you’d be eaten alive, perhaps swallowed whole.”

“Says you!” Frond grunted.

“Aye,” Truehair said resting his hand on the young boy’s back.  He scuffed the yellowed mop of Frond’s hair, “Says me.  Come. Let’s get to Silvermoon.  We’re going to teach you a skill.  Every warrior should have one.”

 

 

5.

 

 

Rackk watched the sun rise as his teeth ground a bit of jerky.  Shadows of dragons washed over him and his companions.  The warmth of the sun sank into his chest.  His face reveled in its tone and nurturing gifts.  He thought of his homeland, Mulgore, and how long it’d been since he’d taken pleasure in the rolling hills, the laughter of friends, but that place was a continent away.  He thought about the day before, the lost quest, and their vow to try again.  He grunted.  The hairs on his shoulders shook individually much like a horse thwarting gnats.

He lifted his mace and cleaned it of last night’s potion.  When the reddish tint faded upon the stone he started anew grind of Cinderbloom and Whiptail and worked on creating Mythical Mana potions.  He knew to make plenty – he was no priest.  The road ahead would be daunting and if they were to fair well, he’d make them for the Mage and Shaman as well.

The others were slow moving on the beds they had made.  There was no reason to wake them, Rackk thought, as there wasn’t anything too pressing to consider.  They all knew – every one of them agreeing – that the Dungeon of Grim Batol, a once great dwarven fortress now controlled by the Red Dragonflight, would be hit again.  There was an item there, that when retrieved, would be Frond’s saving grace. That item would allow him to finally be geared enough to enter The Bastion of Twilight, a more sinister place indeed.  Rackk knew that his friend was in need of a successful outing in Batol.  That perfect item which dropped (seemed once every third moon after the defeat of Throngus – whose magic was great as he’d rise after every single death) was the Dark Iron Chain Boots he needed to complete his set of superior armor.  With this item worn, Frond was sure to be invited to a larger raid group – men and women who fought against the worst Azeroth had to offer – and he would be revered, a once lowly Blood Elf who would then stand among his childhood heroes, as a true warrior and savior of his race.

Rackk looked at his old friend and wondered about his fight for recognition and also his daunting attitude abroad.  They had served together, side-by-side now for a good many seasons and while Frond’s demand to become great was apparent (and often spoke of by Frond himself and those around him), his reasoning for such things were not.

Before this was to happen they would all make the journey to near-by Bloodgulch, a Horde outpost in the Twilight Highlands, for repairs and purchasing.

When they had all woke from busy dreams, the band pressed on.

 

6.

 

Rem, having shed of his robes in need of mending, stood before Naka Scaleblade, the only repairman that Bloodgulch had to offer.  Not having brought a second robe to dress in (he wanted as much room as possible for treasures and the like) he stood swaying with all of him exposed sans briefs.

“Hi, there,” Rem said when it was his turn in line.

  1. Scaleblade was all business (always all business) but upon site of the little green one, she held back a chuckle.  The day had been hard.  Many had come to her and for so many things, but to fix what was broke, to mend what needed mending had been on the top of her list.  Grim Batol wasn’t a friendly place and it was as unkind to those who entered as those who entered meant to be to it.  She held out her hand and fingered for his items.

Rem pulled his wares back some, “You can fix these?” he asked.

“Of course,” Naka spat.

“Of course,” he said rolling his eyes.  “I only ask because I’ve noticed that you only have an anvil and hammer.  It’s nothing that will fix the likes of this.” He said holding up the robe.  He had won it with another group and it was the piece in the set that would get him into the larger raids.  He wasn’t as close to Frond in achieving the invitation, but he wasn’t that far off either.  “How do I know that you can mend this, and keep all its enchantments intact?”

She snatched the robes from his little hands.  “You can’t.  Come back in an hour.”

Rem turned and headed for the inn.  “I like her.” He said to no one.

He jogged the short walk to the inn and met with his friends.  The inn wasn’t anything spectacular as it was just a circular room with tent covering, but he was almost nude and glad that the eyes of Azeroth weren’t upon him any longer.

Oagia was the first to notice.  “Little green man,” He laughed!  “What happened to little green man?”

“Apparently, cloth takes an hour to mend.” Rem said.  “I think that there might be a glitch in her system.  You all got through within the usual seconds it takes for the magic to spin.”

“Half a second,” Glenda laughed.  “Maybe she liked your green stock.” She said pointing south of his navel.

Rem pointed at Oagia.  He still held his staff.  “He’s green as well if you haven’t noticed.  All of you jest as if I’m the only green thing in Azeroth. ”

“But he’s not prancing around with his staff all a wander, now is he.” Frond said and with a swig he lost another pint into him then slammed the carafe on the table. “More.” He said to the innkeeper.

Rem looked at his weapon curiously.  Glenda laughed knowing that it wasn’t that staff Frond had mentioned.  Oagia packed a bit of tobacco and lit its end sending a great billow of smoke into the air.

“No smoking inside.” The innkeeper said.

Oagia frowned.  “This isn’t a rule.  I’ll smoke.”

“Well, smoke, but, you’ll do it outside.” The innkeeper said pointing towards the ceiling of the place.  “That’s what’s called a tarp, above us.  It’s neither wood nor stone and it burns like the wind blows.  If you’re keen on setting a new one when this one’s smoldering from your ashes, be my guest.  A quick snap to the guards and they’ll have you out.  Your choice,” He finished.  Oagia had already smothered his weed and grunted.  There was no need for the guards to enter.  This was a time for rest.  He ordered another drink and took it angrily.

Rackk grunted humorously.  He also wondered as to where the stock came from that the innkeeper sold.  Mysteries of the world, some things will be, he thought, and, he had laughed again thinking that he sounded a bit green himself (green and wise).  He was well filled and feeling the brews effects.  Rackk also felt the eyes of three Trolls (a devious bunch if there ever was) watching him and his party all too closely – Rem more so than the rest.

“Hey, mon.” the largest of the three Trolls said to Frond.  “Maybe you dress ya lil baby dol befor you go prancin’ around here, eh?”

Frond, without looking up from his newly filled carafe, smiled then drank.

“Maybe you not hear me all too well then, eh?” The troll moved closer to Frond and as he did, Frond’s eyes focused.

Rackk saw the other two trolls move cautiously behind their leader.  He was sure that they wanted nothing more than to cause trouble.  It was the way of the land when it came to outposts like this, in the middle of nowhere, where there were no real allies around.  In towns where you were neutral, it was the normal occurrence that anything could happen and usually did.

Fronds eyes stayed true to his character, and looked dead ahead.  “No, I heard you friend.  I’m just trying to think of what business of yours any of this could be?”

“What if it’s me plan to make it me biz’ness?” The troll said.

Frond jumped back and unsheathed his sword, held it high and true, and then smiled.  He felt righteous.  He felt powerful with his newly mended and polished armor.  He felt like there was no way in all of Azeroth that he could lose to this green suited Troll.  He thought…

…the Innkeeper raised his hand and his eyebrows.  “Yeah, there are rules, you know?”

“No smoking.” Oagia said.

“Besides that,” Said the Innkeeper.

Frond sheathed his weapon.  He placed his hand on his chin and pondered over the Innkeeper’s words and remembered.  It had been a long time since there had been town foolery.

There were rules about such things – in towns and cities – and in the thick of things he’d forgotten the time old tradition of the Duel.  It was a while since he participated in one (he’d always thought that they were for those seeking attention of some sort rather than anything important or worth his time) so it hadn’t come to him that if there was to be a fight with these Trolls, the guards of the place would have taken control of the situation – taking control usually meant taking a life.

“Right,” Frond said with a smile.  “Where will we take this?” he asked of the larger Troll.

The other two Trolls – both Rogues, Frond thought, as they’re weapons were sharp and their armor was hardened leather – stammered and grunted in excitement.

Weak minds, thought Frond.  Weak minds keep weak company.

Rem sauntered between Frond and the Trolls.  “There’s no need for assistant here, Frond.  I will teach these tusks a thing or two if need be.” The trolls laughed amongst each other.

Frond leaned into his little friend and whispered.  “Not to make light, Rem, but you seem to be missing some vital parts of your arsenal.  Your armor?”

Rem pushed his hands in the air above him and settled himself with a flash of arcane intelligence.  He wouldn’t have his armor (if cloth was armor) but he would have his buffs to help him.  He had no intention of letting Frond fight the battle for him, not that he thought it would be much of one.  The Trolls were green to say the least, and he had magic in his little head that would stop this rogue – any one of them – frozen in their tracks.

“I accept the duel.” Rem said exiting the tent.

Frond looked towards Glenda, Oagia, and Rackk who were just as stunned as the Trolls were.  No one had expected the Goblin Mage to accept the challenge, or had wanted him to.

The larger Troll – the one being summoned for battle – laughed with his friends and leaned in towards Frond.  “Looks like da lil one’s got some eggs in that thar sack of his if nutin else, eh?”

“There are more than eggs.” Frond said smiling.  He walked out and meant to talk to Rem, to tell him that this was a bad idea, or perhaps that he should wait until his dress was mended (maybe not say dress, he thought.), but Rem was already in a clearing and had stamped down the Flag of the Duel.

 

7.

 

Rem, ready and smiling, cast upon him the spells buffing his intelligence and armor just as screams were heard all throughout the settlement.  The sky turned a blood red and someone in the distance screamed a name: Deathwing!

The Troll (his troll, Rem thought) was the first to run back inside the Inn and was closely followed by his two bumbling companions.  As they made haste, they fell and stumbled over each other never giving Rem and his party a second glance.  There were more pressing matters to attend to and those were staying alive and making sure that they were out of Deathwing’s spewing cauldron.  This dragon, the cause of the shifting of Azeroth, was nothing to stand against.

Frond watched Deathwing with excitement and wonder as this was the beast he meant to best when all was said and done.  When he had his Dark Iron Chain, he’d be tasked in helping take this blacked, red dragon down.  He would be on the front line with his sword and shield helping him in the creation of history.

Deathwing bellowed fire upon the ground in big reams of flame.  The fire touched the earth and rolled onwards engulfing anything that dared to be in its path.  Rocks smoldered, buildings snapped into flame, and woods of all types and hardness exploded from the beast’s wicked shaft of heat.  It’s lower jaw was fashioned of iron (with plates of steel teeth snapping open), and the sound that it made when gasping for another breath – for another strike – echoed against the mountains that surrounded the Twilight Highlands causing the grounds to shutter and ears to squeal.  The wings of the dragon pushed great quaffs of air onto its own fire, onto the already burning masses, causing them to burn a richer, brighter orange.

Deathwing was on its approach when it slowed, sucked in the humid air around it (seemingly all of it as Frond and the rest found hard to breath), and spewed forth another burst of sticky flame onto the inn they’d just come from.

The Innkeeper ran out just in time, for Oagia to smile and point at him.  The Trolls faired much worse, as they hadn’t come out at all.

“No smoking.” Oagia said with joy.  The Innkeeper ran for other cover.

The group stood fast and watched the great beast.  Deathwing passed overhead and bellowed its triumph.

Glenda was the first to mount followed by Oagia then Rem.  Frond and Rackk still watched the dragon.  They were – both of them – thoroughly impressed.  With Glenda’s rise, sitting on top of her Drake, Frond found it in himself to call Rackk and tell him to mount up.  They did just that and within seconds they were hovering above a town once whole, and watched both Dragon and flames wreak havoc with all that encountered them.

All of them hovered within a few feet of each other, watching and waiting for the Dragon’s path to end.

“Eye on the prize,” Frond said and to no one, “Both eyes. We’ll camp tonight and in the morning we’ll take on Grim Batol.”

“Riches and gold,” Rem yelled!

Glenda smiled – as she was prone to do – and flew beside Rem and knocked him with her elbow.  “You might think about getting your robes.” She said, “Unless you’re planning on a ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign?” she asked to which he flew to find the repairman.

Oagia laughed.

Rackk thought that tomorrow would be quite a harrowing day.

Frond thought of his destiny.

 

8.

 

“Jewel crafting,” Leonic Truehair shouted!  He seemed a bit too eager in Frond’s eyes, both of them standing before a master jewel crafter in Silvermoon City.  “Its lessons learned that teach forever.” He continued.

“I don’t know what that means.” Frond said.

“Doesn’t matter,” Truehair said having picked up a blood gem.  “What matters is that you learn a trade, a craft, and jewel crafting it shall be.”

Frond looked over the jewel smith and turned his head and whispered.  “This is woman’s work.  I want to smith weapons, or armor.”

“Nay, it’s not woman’s work, Frond.” Truehair said without worry of who heard.  He took Frond by the shoulders and stared into his eyes.

“This is getting uncomfortable.” Frond said looking at his master.

Truehair looked at a young maiden who was perusing through the craftsmen’s wares.  He lifted an eyebrow in her direction and meant for Frond to notice.  “She’s a fine lass, eh?” he said and then decided to whisper as not to embarrass his apprentice further.  “You pick up this profession, young Frond, and you’ll be seeing the likes of her more often than any armor smith or weapon smith will.  I promise you that.  You’ll learn to craft items of such beauty that looking upon the perfectness of them will only be outmatched by the magic they hold – and there are some powerful magics bestowed upon these jewels – that any woman would and will give her love for.”

“I plan on being a powerful warrior.  Women will fall at my feet regardless.” Frond said extending his chest.

Truehair backed away from the boy and continued rummaging through a box of stones.  “Yes, so I’ve heard.” He sighed.  “And, what happens when your time as a warrior has ended, a new and younger version of you comes along, and you’re dead in the game?  You’ve got nothing but broken bones and cracked shields and none of them will do you a bit of good, Frond.  What then, hmm?  Will you rely upon stories of times past to get you through, or will you have trade to fill your pockets with gold?  Take this skill and you’ll have your gold, and a woman who’ll give you what every man wants if only once upon a time. Family means the world to those forgotten, Frond.  Your father knew as his father did before.”

“Don’t speak of my father.” Frond said lowering his gaze.

Truehair knew all too well the emotions that plagued Frond about his heritage and it was a just and true emotion; one that Truehair thought might be a pure feeling.  Blood Elves, being born of corrupted magic, were often thought as emotionless creatures, always out for a gain – a personal gain – and often thought of as being impervious to heartaches of a normal being, un-magical beings.

Frond felt as true hero’s did, with his heart.

Jac Shimmerhand, Frond’s father, had disgraced his family’s name whilst in battle.  It was a pilfering on his behalf, the theft of a rare item dropped in a tedious dungeon named Shadowfang Keep (before the coming of Deathwing had turned it ten times sour).  The boss had been taken and his loot spilled along the castle floor when Shimmerhand plucked the rare item and disappeared into the dungeon’s recesses.

In a world where your name was your honor, the name of Shimmerhand soon became synonymous with thievery and shame.  It was something that had followed him until his demise, and it follows his son wherever he treads.

The path of his father’s deed, Frond often thought, would be undone by the son.  The Shimmerhand name would be just once again.  It was during his learning of the craft did he meet the woman who was to be his wife.  She was a Jewel Vendor in the city of Silvermoon and she was the loveliest thing he’d ever laid eyes on.  She had told him (on a moonlit night; both of them skirting along the Ghostlands) that she had spoken to her father and that he said that he would have no part in this alliance between families if something was not done about the way the Shimmerhand were thought of.  Frond had told her that it was that exactly – the betterment of his namesake – that he was questing towards and that when it was achieved, he would return and they would be together.

Her name, Daunted Embersmith, but in his heart she wore Shimmerhand name already.

 

9.

 

With General Umbriss defeated, one of the lead commanders of the Twilight Hammer’s forces, Frond and his band rested and replenished their strength.  Rackk mended the party, remembering to do so this time around, while the party sat wiping the sweat from their brows.

Before Forgemaster Throngus – the one carrying Frond’s wanted item – there were still teams of enemy forces to be reckoned with.

“If your loot drops,” Oagia asked of Frond, “will we continue?”

“Nay,” said Frond.  “You’ve endured enough punishment for my cause.”

“If it does drop off of the beast, one would hope you’ll at least tell us when leaving.” Glenda whispered thinking of the reason Frond was here in the first place.  His father’s actions were known the world over.

Rackk looked over Glenda and grunted.

Glenda raised her hands.  “I didn’t mean anything by that.” She said in her defense.  “I didn’t mean anything by that, Frond.” She said in a softer tone.

Frond lifted his hand letting her conscience be set free from worry.

Rem, done with his mend, lifted off of the stone dwarven ground and ran through the next set of doors.

“Our cloth wearer,” said Oagia, “is he so brave or so foolish?”

“Impatient.” Frond said standing.  “He’s a Goblin after all.”

The rest of them followed suit and readied for the next pack of obstacles.  This batch would be a set of Crimsonborne Guardians (a fearful but soft bunch) and an incoming battered Red Drake, their pet.  There were a few of these groups to clear through and the way Frond’s pack had dispatched all thus far, they weren’t worried in the least that they wouldn’t prevail.

These monsters were practice.  Good practice.

They all knew their part in this, and they were all ready to get it done.  They pushed past the smaller mobs (however, still elite), slaughtering them without conscience or care, and before too long, they found themselves standing before Throngus himself in a great cavern of stone bunkers and fire.

 

10.

 

Throngus, two headed and riddled with muscles and pieced iron armor, was a menacing foe.  The group stood before him looking like a pack of Goblins (although Rem would have said differently) and waited for the Forgemaster to make his rounds.  He was steady lumbering, watching over those in his keep.  It was an opportunity to ready one’s self, and they all did.

Rackk made sure that his mana pool was steady.  Glenda wiped down her blades with poisons she’d fashioned the night before.  Brilliant arcs of light came from Rem’s hands as he buffed himself and friends with arcane brilliance, which increase the mana user’s pool and gave all a buff of spell power for an hours length.  It was something that Rackk was gracious for.  Frond called forth his Battle Shout and the game began.

With his sword held high, Frond then swung it into the meat of the beast’s leg.  Throngus’ armor was set on its ankles, shoulders, and wrists leaving the majority of it uncovered.  That was lucky for the group, unlucky for their foe; although as the blade sunk deep into the monsters flesh, it swung its own weapon without thought or pain.  Frond ducked before impact, regained his footing, and laid another blow against the beast’s side.  This one caused Throngus to take notice.

Throngus raised his mighty boot and stomped.  The ceiling of the dungeon rumbled into chaos and sent rocks and cracked stone to the dungeon floor.  Rem and the others jumped out of the way of the debris and re-set their positions.  Frond held the beast and kept it interested in him, and him alone.  A series of shouts and taunts almost made it appear as if Frond was in this battle alone (so Throngus had thought anyway).

Glenda, with Throngus reaching for a set of blades, stepped from behind him and started to slice and dice through the beast’s flesh.  Blood and bits of muscle started to appear as her blades swung furiously and precisely.  Throngus turned, perhaps to see what had caused its new pain, but another taunt from Frond spun it back around, back to face its slayer.

Rem threw fire towards the monster while Rackk threw heals.  Each cast of flame exploded against Throngus’ hide.  And, every so often, he would throw a series of arcane missiles that when hit, would electrify and sparkle along their foe.  Lights of blues and purples cast over the volcanic embers of the place.  Greens and pinks shone as Rackk’s healing emptied from him.

Oagia threw damage towards Throngus all the while helping Rackk with his chore of healing the group, but mostly Frond.  By now he was taking a great deal of damage.  The duel blades of Throngus were ripping through the warrior’s armor and Frond’s screams – while strong not feeble – were still screams of pain and suffering. Noticing that Glenda was taking damage as well, he tossed up his hands and summoned a bed of flowers.  The supple bed, fashioned of grass and magic, healed all within range and made sure that today no one was going to fall.

Throngus stifled his blades and from his back produced a large mace.  Lava dripped from its head and its master swung it high in large circles.  An encumbered spell was thrown upon Throngus slowing his speed but making his weapon much more deadly.  Frond stepped aside as the mace came swooping towards him.  He ran (the beast followed albeit slowly) and tried to stay away from the brunt of the weapon’s force.  Oagia, Rem, and Rackk all turned their energies into damage and threw fury towards the beast.  Glenda continued ripping at its legs and arms.  She was now covered in blood and chunks of monster.  Frond was burnt and armor bent, but all in all he was still in good health and spirits.

Throngus pulled Rem towards him.  There was neither rhyme nor reason, and when the mage was thrown back, hitting his head upon some fallen stone, it took him a second to get back in the hunt.  Rackk showered him with his healing touch and thought the capture was un-necessary.  The beast would still fall.  He was weakening.  The eyes of the beast had begun to roll.

Throngus tried with all of its might to stay balanced, to trade blows rather than just receive.  These opponents were admirable in their efforts, that much he could feel, but their efforts would be in vein.  Casting aside his mace, he wielded a phalanx – a long iron bar with its head fashioned into a skewer.  His unmark-able archers began their fury of flaming arrows.

It was now when they all felt as if the beast Throngus was bested.

The archers, there was no order to their furious strikes.  The fire soaked arrows hit here and there sticking into the stone, burning as oiled wicks.  There was a moment of frenzy, when the group – all but Frond – shielded themselves against this added attack.  Frond kept on hacking and slashing and taunting the beast to keep its site on him alone.

Rackk, with subtle movements, kept clear of the shower of fire, and forced Frond’s health once again to its max.  Feeling this, Frond unleashed a new set of attacks, roars, and sunders causing the beast to gather on one knee.  Its roar was wicked.  What was loosened from its stomp before quickly fell from the ceiling.  However, no one moved, as they were mere stones compared to the boulders that had dropped earlier.

Even Rem bowed his chest and let a pebble of a stone bounce off of it and smiled.  Regaining his composure, and leveling yet another arcane blast in the beast’s direction, finally let the menace fall with a giant flop.  The four eyes of Throngus rolled over white.  Saliva dripped from the beast’s mouths.

The enemy was defeated.

 

11.

 

Frond sat before the dead and spat blood.  He tongued the inside of his cheek at a tear caused by his own teeth.  His jaw hurt.  His body ached.  With his head hung he waited the final heals that were surely to put him on the mend.  Turning he saw Rackk lying on the cobblestone.  He wasn’t moving.

Frond jumped up and gathered with the others who had already stood around the great bull.  Glenda stood with eyes closed.  Rem leaned over and shook the Tauren.  Oagia sat beside his fellow caster and mourned.

Rackk was dead.

Frond opened his mouth to speak but didn’t, couldn’t.  He wanted to know how, when, this happened.  A few seconds before the end he had received a boost thrown by his friend, he had felt it.  It had surged him and just enough to complete the task at hand.  He looked closely at Rackk thinking that perhaps he was dozing.  It wouldn’t have been the first time he had caught his bull napping (however Rackk had claimed that he was hibernating to rejuvenate faster).  Frond pushed the arm of Rackk and then felt for the bloodstream.

He felt neither pulse nor breath.

“Shock paddles,” he screamed at no one and every one, “Shock paddles!”

Glenda touched her warrior’s mane.  “There aren’t any, Frond.” She said softly.  “He’s gone.”

Frond stubbornly twisted Rackk over so he could see his friend’s face.  This was not to happen on his watch.  Nothing was meant to happen to the healer, more so nothing was meant to happen to his companion.

“Wake,” Frond shouted!  Emotion started to well at his eyes.  “You don’t get out this easy.  This isn’t the way we talked about it happening!  This isn’t just, you stupid cow!”

Rem slowly walked towards the glistening Throngus.  His treasure was still to be checked.  Frond saw this and yelled towards his Goblin mage.

“Leave it be!” Frond yelled to which Rem stopped in his tracks.  Rem hadn’t meant to steal, but check.

“Aren’t you curious?” Oagia said.  “I mean no disrespect to the fallen, but it is why he fell, is it not?”

Frond stood from his friend, “We shall take him out of here.  He’s not to be left.”

“Agreed,” said Rem.

Glenda and Oagia agreed as well.

Frond shuffled over towards Throngus, and when he bent to lift its treasure, in his hands were the pair of boots he’d come for.  His set was now complete.  He would be invited into the world of the Heroic dungeon but at the cost of losing his longtime friend and companion.  The sweetness of the victory was soured in death.

Frond reached underneath Throngus wishing that he could kill the vile beast again, and when he’d found the metal edge of the treasure dropped, he pulled the Dark Iron Chain Boots out from under the massive body.

He looked around the scorched cavern, held his boots high, and sighed.  It should have been more grand a capture, he thought.  It would have been if not…

“Pprreettyy,” Frond heard from behind.  Rackk motioned towards the boots with a large roundish finger.  “Woot,” he said lowly and smiled.

Frond smiled a wicked smile and stood before his friend.  His heart mended.  His mind settled and still he cared not for his prize but for the life that had remained in his friend.  “Devious tricks.” Frond said to Rackk while watching the others rejoicing.

“Hibernation,” Rackk said.

Frond bent, tied on his new boots, and felt that everything was right with the world of Azeroth.  There was still time to revel in the victory before the other groups came to call upon him.  There would be times had with friends.  He would call upon his old master and tell him a new tale.  It would be a tale that would hopefully end (and hopefully not too far into the future) with the utterance of Shimmerhand to be synonymous with valor and courage.

“You know I could have fixed the Druid all along.” Oagia said on their way towards the entrance.  “No one ever relies on the Shaman.”

They all laughed.

 

The End.

This story is not a work of Blizzard.  This story is meant for competition only and not for sale.  The story is a work of fiction (of course).

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