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#12759194 Oct 04, 2016 at 02:25 PM
Lord-Marshal
929 Posts
The following is a series of Moon Guard Forum Posts that I made following the Stonewatch Massacre Campaign in 2010.

Cries of war echoed through the valleys of Redridge. A tide of blue and silver armor mingled with a writhing mass of green flesh, blood ranging from red to black spilling intermittently. A breach in the keep’s stone wall was the choke point, where bodies piled on top of one another.

“We will liberate Stonewatch! Onward, for the king!”

Soldiers of the first regiment of the Stormwind Brigade, King Wrynn’s personal vanguard within the Stormwind Army, pushed forward against the Blackrock Orcish lines. A gold-clad paladin paved the way for the soldiers behind him, his truesilver war hammer flooring two orcs with each mighty swing. An aura of devotion inspired his soldiers to join him in the bloody fray.

“For Stormwind!”

Suddenly, a guttural roar broke the din of combat.

“Dragons! Take cover!”

A number of black drakes, mounted by dark-robed figures, descended upon the battlefield. Flame erupted from their toothy maws, incinerating man and orc alike. From behind the Stormwind lines, several loud thunks punctuated the air, quickly recognized by the tree-length ballista bolts that soared towards the drakes.

One of the beasts, rudely interrupted, took a bolt down its gullet – falling ingloriously as the it tore down into its body. Another bolt ripped a second drake’s wing asunder, grounding the black dragon as it writhed in agony. The drake’s rider, losing his grip, was thrown against the keep’s inner wall. One of the soldiers, taking advantage of the beast’s downfall, leapt up to impale the dragon’s eye with his longsword. The drake roared in protest, crumpling in a heap.

“Into the keep! Advance, raise your shields! We must -”

A final riderless drake swooped up and over the keep’s wall. Its’ sharp talons plucked the gold-clad paladin from the field, its grip tightening to crush the man in its grasp. The soldiers, startled by this development, scrambled to grasp at their leader – but the dragon was already out of their reach.

“N-NO!”

Its prey secure in its grasp, the drake’s powerful wings lifted it from the battlefield. The paladin’s weapon swung about his arm by an iron-wrought chain, his body fiercely protesting the crushing grip. As the drake gathered itself, it flew northward, towards the blackened mountains known by many as the burning steppes..

His soldiers faded into a sea of blue, silver and gold. He could hear their shouts of dismay and the twangs of bowstrings as every man and woman attempted to bring down the drake dragging away their commander. Nothing more than grazed the drake as it flew over the mountains of Redridge and into the desolate fires of the Steppes.

Struggling, the heavily armored paladin twisted and turned in the drake’s talons. The drake retaliated, roaring - losing altitude as it tried to concentrate on holding its squirming prisoner. The paladin’s hammer dangled below him, promising freedom if he could only reach it. The drake’s talons twisted, nearly snapping the paladin's back. His armor fought back, screeching as the metal plates ground together. As the dragon banked to the west, the hilt of the hammer swung upward - and into the paladin's grasp!

With his voice stained, the paladin spoke ancient words to the Light. His lips parted with little more than a whisper as his lungs were constricted by the dragon's grip. His war hammer lit up, power surging through the paladin's body for the briefest of seconds. With a mighy roar, the paladin smashed the head of his warhammer into the drake's knee.

The beast cried with agony as scale and bone cracked loudly. Its wings crumbled inward as it clenched in pain, sending it and it’s shining prisoner to the blackened ground in a spiral. The ground at impact rippled with black dust, an explosion sending up clouds of ash to pierce at the sky. As the cloud of debris settled, the young dragon struggled to rise on its crushed leg. Seeing its prey as not worth further injury, the drake lifted off and flew towards Blackrock Mountain.

The paladin gasped in pain. The drake's talons had punctued his golden breastplate, leaving three crimson gashes in his side. Blood pooled around him, mixing with the volcanic ash. Struggling to rise to his feet, the paladin collapsed, his strength slowly draining from his crushed body.

Slowly propping himself up on his warhammer, the paladin gathered his surroundings. His face grim, he took in the burning sky. The singed earth. The black outcroppings. In the distance, a lone white figure stood defiantly - its sword raised towards the mountain that dwarfed all others in the surrounding landscape. Tears welled in the paladin's eyes.

"I never thought it would be here."

Using his weapon as a crutch, the paladin trudged slowly towards the figure, his blood marking his slow march.

The paladin sat at the foot of the white figure, looking on to the black mountain that towered in the distance. Blood pooled around him. In his trembling hands were a scroll of parchment and a blue feathered quill, of which he penned to the best of his ability.

First Regiment, Stormwind Brigade of the Army,

It was an honor to serve as your commanding officer. You have proven to be the next generation of Stormwind’s heroes, bringing hope and order to a torn world. I die peacefully, knowing that brave hearts still stand vigilant in defense of the throne. I render full command and Marshaldom to Sir Ismond Laldere, Knight of Stormwind. Sir Kaloren Frosthand will be his second. As I have no children or living relatives of note, I devote my holdings of Westridge Keep and its surrounding province to Sir Laldere, for his devotion in service to the crown – and his worthy characteristics as a man and peer.
Let not my death be in vain. Avenge me, and send the Shadow Horde, Twilight Cult, Deathwing, and whatever other threats that may rise against our glorious kingdom back from whence they came. You have my blessing. May the Holy Light shine forever upon your path.

Captain Gezzibelle Goldenfield,

You brought happiness into my life, helping me to realize my humanity. From the moment I met you, I found love in my life and profession as a commander. You are my better half, a brilliant woman and leader. In realizing our love for one another, in these months of turmoil, I had committed myself to asking your hand in marriage at the end of this campaign. I loved you with passion, just as a woman of your care and caliber deserved. I ask that in my death, you take on the wedding band I hold in my hand, and keep it as something to remember me by. Keep me in your heart, and find a man who will care for and love you like I had. I love you, Gezzibe~

The paladin cursed as his arm gave out, his trembling sending the quill into a large black scribble across the parchment. Setting the scrolls down at his side, he stuggled to fish in his leather satchel for the ring he had mentioned. His movements jerky and weak, he failed to grasp the bauble, his hand falling limp inside the leather bag.

"Light, give me -"

The paladin's words trailed off as he noted movement ahead of him. Seven black figures crept into his blurring vision, slowly coming into focus. They were orcs.

They surrounded the crumpled body, black robes fluttering in the hot gusts of wind.

“Come to finish me off, then?”

The paladin eyed the largest of the orcs as it stopped in front of him. It replied in a guttural rumble.

“That be fitting, wouldn’t it?”

The orc growled, looking over the paladin’s ornate armor, punctured and slashed, covered in soot.

“You wear armor of a leader. You led humans against my brothers, didn’t you?”

Swinging a large plated boot from under his robes, the orc sent a powerful kick into the paladin’s side. A sickening crunch followed the impact. The paladin cringed in pain, a deep dent visible in the golden armor. The paladin leveled his gaze with the orc’s, smirking.

“I killed quite a few of them, actually. Filthy monsters are what you are.”

The paladin spat on the orc’s black robes. Roaring in rage, the orc pulled a large black mace from under his cloak - raising it high above his head. The paladin sighed, closing his eyes in anticipation. The orc’s battle-cry turned was stifled by a surprised gasp of pain, followed by a choked gurgle.

A wrought-iron longsword erupted from his chest. Black blood dripped from its tip. The orc fell to his knees and collapsed in a pile, revealing another black robed figure behind him.

“A pity, Grol’mok. That was the last time you forgot the task at hand.”

The paladin looked up at the lithe orc and quirked a brow. The orc stepped forward, positioning the longsword under the paladin’s chin, raising it to look up at the orange sky.

“Dar’tag. Mend him.”

The paladin looked to the dead orc expectantly, but gave a confused look when one of the figures knelt in front of him. The shrouded orc removed a dull crimson gem from a cloak pocket.

“Atrum vox. Vigoratus viscus quod cruor.”

The gem started glowing faintly, then burst into a brilliant red flame. The orc wound his hand back, then drove the gem’s sharpened point into one of the paladin’s open wounds. The paladin cried out in pain as his wounds seared closed, dark magic forcefully knitting his torn flesh. After several seconds, the gem had exhausted itself, wedged deep into his singed skin. The paladin groaned.

The orc who had ordered the grisly deed nodded once, extending his hands towards the golden warrior. After muttering dark words under his breath, shadowy tendrils jolted from his fingertips, winding themselves forcefully around the paladin’s wrists and ankles – binding the four limbs together in shadowy chains.

“Remove his armor.”

The paladin sighed in pain as a pair of orcs moved to unbuckle the leather straps that held his golden armor together, removing it piece by piece until he was stripped bare of clothing.

“What… are your plans, cur?”

The lead orc turned his hands to point at the corpse of the fallen black-robed heap.

“Ensuring that no one comes looking for you.”

The paladin’s gaze fell to the dead orc as dark magic contorted its form. The black robes burned away into putrid smoke. The orc’s tusks wrenched back into its head, disappearing. Its skin faded from dark green to a lighter shade, and the paladin’s jaw dropped slowly in horror as he realized what the end result was turning into. The corpse, steaming from the transformation, resembled the paladin in every way.

An exact copy in appearance.

Tears streamed from the paladin’s face as the orcs began to clothe the corpse in the golden armor. The orc leader smiled approvingly. Walking up to the corpse, the leader slashed at the flesh where the armor showed gashes from the dragon’s talons. Red blood gushed out of the wounds.

“You… you motherless bastards!”

The leader chuckled, kneeling down to pick up the two notes the paladin had penned earlier, scanning over them briefly. He then knelt down to rummage through the leather satchel.

“NO!”

The paladin struggled in his bonds as he cried in rage, held down by the other orcs as the leader found a golden ring. The orc smiled darkly. He closed the ring into the corpse’s plated glove.

“Take him. We head back for the spire.”

Blackrock Spire. December 16, 29 L.C.

The paladin recoiled sharply as he awoke, the acrid smell of sweat burning his nose hairs. Guttural voices that echoed in the distance were hardly audible over the moans and the cries of the beings housed in iron cages similar to his own. The stone walls of his cell were sharp and moist. His already battered body was strewn with cuts and rashes from sliding down them. He spat at the metal bars keeping him locked away, the metallic taste in his mouth dissipating momentarily.

The dungeon was devoid of any pleasantries he expected a human settlement to have. The only light came from the dim torches across from his cell, bones from long forgotten prisoners littered the floor along with a few gifts they left behind. Not a shred of linen lay on the ground to rest on, not a hunk of bread was provided to chew on. A death trap, to be sure.

With cuffed hands and shackled feet, he inched his way to the entrance of his cage and spied between its evil bars. He had been placed in the farthest cell along a vast hallway. The opposite wall had only one door, across from his own, and was lined with burly, gray-skinned guards garbed in thick hides. Heavy axes hung from their hips and wooden bows were strung against their backs, tucked beside their quivers. Six orcs slowly trudged their way toward him.

“The human is awake.”

A white-haired Orc with a mold-hued skin replied,

“Good... bring him.”

A crude bone key turned and the door swung free. With their massive arms, two of the beasts grabbed the paladin by the shirt and threw him to the floor. He landed with a loud crack and blood began to trickle from his nose. The same two hoisted him to his feet and began to drag him down the hall, following the steps of their wizened master.

Attuned to shadow and light, the paladin could almost feel the power emanating from the old one. The orc’s sickly physique and his ragged cloth robes and his skull-adorned walking staff told the story that needn't be said. He was surely a Warlock with power in his own right that was not to be reckoned with. Even the brutal, power-hungry behemoths that toted their prisoner displayed a fearful respect.

After begin drug through what must have been miles of cavernous network and tunnels, they entered a room with a door on either side. Only a ring of torches and the thick granite slab he was laid upon decorated circular hall. Two of the Orcs posted themselves on either door, leaving two to flank his sides.

“Montclair.”

The paladin remained silent. With nothing more than a poorly hidden smirk, the Orc gave a firm nod.

“I am Kil'Roka. Kriknik and I are in no mood for your human games. You will answer us or you will die.”

Again, the paladin pursed his lips shut. True to his word, the warlock muttered in a demonic tongue. First came nothing more than tingling and then a sensation of being pricked. Before long, it felt as if Deathwing himself had rained fire on the paladin - yet not a spark was to be seen. The paladin trembled, groaning. A few horrendous seconds later, the pain began to fade.

“..Mont…clair.”

The warlock quirked a brow, extending his hands again. The paladin screamed in agony.

Blackrock Spire. December 21, 29 L.C.

Shouts startled the paladin as he rested against the stone wall of his cell. Showing signs of extensive torture, his right eye was covered by a bloody cloth, and the rest of his body was marred with bruises, cuts, and rashes. He crawled slowly to the metal bars, watching as an orcish soldier barked orders to the guards posted at the end of the hallway. To the paladin’s surprise, the two guards followed the soldier out of the wooden doorway. Seconds turned into minutes, and the paladin was sure that the orcs were occupied for the time being. He cringed, gathering the strength that he had been saving for such an occasion. He closed his eyes, and spoke softly.

“Licenta.”

His shackles clicked with a spark of light, falling to the floor with a clank. He put his hand to his mouth, fishing out two slivers of bent metal.

Moving quickly, he started picking at the iron lock, sliding the two metal prods into the keyhole. Sweat beaded on his dirt-stained features. Putting his ear to the mechanism, he listened intently for the telltale click of successfully clearing a lock pin.

Click.

The paladin trembled slightly, closing his eyes as he listened, concentrating on maneuvering his improvised tools to clear the second pin.

Click.

The paladin froze. Slowly, he turned both of the metal tools inside the lock, sighing with relief as the mechanism popped open.

Slipping through the cell door, the paladin snuck through the dark catacombs. All posts were empty, but the sound of combat and battle cries lingered as echoes. He followed the sound, hoping that it would lead him to the surface. As he carefully lurked through the hallways, the paladin fought back the innate fear that he was heading deeper into the mountain. Grabbing one of the torches and snuffing it out, he found an improvised weapon.

After rounding a corner, the paladin stopped dead in his tracks. A single orc stood watch, facing an open doorway.

Creeping up behind him, the paladin held his breath. His bare feet made no sound as they made tender steps on the rocky floor. He pulled back his unlit torch, breathing in for a moment before he made his move.

Hurling his weight behind the blow, the paladin swung the torch for the back of the orc’s unprotected head. The bludgeon knocked the orc out cold. The hulking body crumped forwards and to the ground with a thud.

The paladin quickly relieved the orc of its armor, fitting red-tinged leggings, boots, and gloves to his bruised body. He grabbed the orc’s spiked club, leaving his torch at the orc’s side.

Peering into the massive chamber, he found what was causing the din of combat. Dark Iron Dwarves were spilling into the chamber’s far side from a hole blasted out of the rock wall, locking themselves into combat with the Blackrock Orcs. All of this, over the room’s contents; gold coins littered the floor, and chests spilled over with exotic weaponry and baubles. This was the Blackrock treasure hoard.

Both parties were too committed to the brawl to notice the paladin, who crept behind overturned crates and chests. Resisting the gold’s temptation, he moved along, blending in with the chaos. Amidst his path, the paladin stumbled when his plated boot snagged on a heavy object in the treasure heaped on the floor. Turning back, the paladin recognized the hilt of a massive claymore that was decorated with black dragon carvings. Discarding the mace in favor of this powerful find, the paladin wrenched the sword out of the heaped baubles that encased it, dragging it behind him as he fled the chamber through a passageway.

Scrambling to his feet, the paladin brandished the massive claymore – only then noting the shape and size of the blade. The weapon was nearly as long as he was tall. Its crimson runes glowed faintly along its flat face. Obviously enchanted, the claymore was easily handled despite its size.
The paladin broke into a sprint, the blade giving him new strength and determination to escape. His orcish boots clanked on the stone as he ran.

He ascended staircase after staircase, barely avoiding an orc’s gaze as he snuck through the shadows. Peons fighting over a scrap of meat. Burly Blackrock soldiers as they changed watch shifts. A dark iron patrol as it crossed a pathway above him.

He pressed on until he climbed up a long spiral of stairs. Bursting out from the wooden trapdoor, an orange sky and unpopulated landscape surrounded him.

Freedom was in his grasp.
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