Monday, 14 May 2012

Avenging wrath

This short story is set in the time before the fall of the Lich King. It's just a short encounter in the life of one of my characters. It's also the first novel sort of thing I've ever even attempted to write in English. Please do report any typos and nonsense grammar you find.
Soundtrack while writing: Human Fortress - The Wizard and the album 'Defenders of the Crown'

A young man let out a hacking cough, rapidly waking from a dream. Taking such a deep breath of air as cold as Icecrown's wasn't the best idea he had got. He sat on the snow, leaning against a conifer. The bloke's red hair was tied up on a ponytail. His silvery armour appeared ever so slightly too big for his fairly delicate body structure, his shield too heavy for his untrained arm. He was seemingly in his early twenties.

At first glance the man looked the same as any other Alliance soldier up north. What made a notable difference in his looks was his hair, as red as a flame, and his freckled face. Over his shoulder he held a satchel with a metallic badge on it, carved to read "Raleigh Croft." The young man stood up and looked around.

- Oliver? he popped a question with a rusty voice. He suffered from a cough caused by the weeks spent in the ice cold Northrend.

The horse known as Oliver was nowhere to be seen. He had been tied to a nearby twig, but all Raleigh could trace him by now were the vague hoofprints on the snow. Raleigh followed the trail leading to an open valley with little snow and more ice, not entirely unusual for Icecrown. Sunlight was blocked by a sharp-edged mountain for most part, leaving the area gloomy. Raleigh didn't hesitate taking steps deeper into the valley. His boots clacked against the icy ground as he walked along the trail of fresh hoofprints suddenly ending in a snowless patch. He peered around with a hint of frustration on his face.

The valley was silent - as was Raleigh. He gasped abruptly as a low snarl made its way to his ears. Young crusader Croft turned his gaze to his left, where the source of the sound appeared to be. He could tell it was no animal. The snarl sounded unnatural, far from a nature's creation. It was shortly followed by a dragging noise.

Raleigh was paralysed at the sight of the enormous flesh giant approaching him. Various rotting limbs and other body parts attached with chains and leather straps hanging from its body, it left a trail of hideous stench on its path. The paladin took a step back only to trip on an icy rock. The rough fall, however, accompanied by the rattling sound of heavy plate armour hitting the ground, startled him awake. The Scourge fiend swung its wooden mace towards the human, tiny next to the huge giant. Although losing in size, Raleigh beat the undead in agility, dodging the weapon swing by jumping backwards. The undead didn't wait to attack again and took another shot at the puny human. It was obvious Raleigh couldn't have avoided the attack. Instead he shielded himself with the piece of steel holding a blue painting of the head of a lion.

The swing was strong enough to knock him down to the ground. Raleigh climbed back on his feet as fast as he could, only to soon discover that he was no match for the flesh giant. Looking at the vicious Scourge creation, he grabbed his sword and pulled it out of its sheath made of thick leather.

Crusader's Glory was not a unique weapon. It was mass produced and given to most young soldiers before they were sent to fight the undead on the glaciers and in the frozen valleys. Raleigh held tight to the sword designed for a single hand. For the first time it felt fitting against his palm, his frostbitten fingers hugging its smooth surface.

Raleigh said a silent prayer in between breaths while trying his best to block the undead's attacks, yet running out of strength to do so. The flesh giant swung its mace on a spot not covered by the paladin's shield, hitting him hard on his side. Raleigh fell to the ground in agony. His vision got hazy and he felt his grip of the sword loosen. The giant gave him another hit, one that didn't feel as painful anymore. Crusader's Glory hit the ground with a clang. The paladin lay lifeless in front of the beast. His vision turned to black.

After what could have been ages, a flash of light cut through the darkness. Soft whispers of an unidentified language echoed in the numb mind, coursing through the veins and filling the body with life energy.

Raleigh opened his eyes. He peered at his surroundings for a brief moment, then swiftly lifted his cheek from the icy ground. He jumped up on his feet and grabbed his blade that had been lying next to him. Right by his side stood a familiar foe, staring at the resurrected paladin with rotten eyes, ready to squeeze any remainings of life from him. Raleigh gave the unholy creation one last look, then let his empowered sword cut through its leg. The magic steel shined, enchanted by the Light. It immediately stunned the undead, making it defenseless and weak. With a few more swings the abomination fell to the paladin's feet with a thump.
Raleigh collapsed down on his knees, closing his eyes for a moment of rest, leaning against the cadaver.

Something soft and warm rubbed against an algid man's cheek, stuffy breath warming his face. The man managed a smile, sealing his fingers around a rein.

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

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