Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Story of Vlad: Chapter III, Rotten to the core

Chapter I, The Assault
Chapter II, He who resists

Silence had fallen upon New Avalon. The fight had ceased, but it was only a matter of time when another attack would be launched. Vladan made his way to the Scarlet hold. It was likely Brigitte Abbendis was there. If she wasn't already aware of Quimby's death, she would soon be.

The hold stood proudly on a hill. Normally it was strictly guarded. Not only by a couple of guards, but multiple in each section of the fort. This time the building was empty and quiet, almost sleepy in nature. The old, wooden stairway creaked under each step the man took. As he approached the main room, he cleared his throat. Ready to meet with the Scarlet leaders and Birgitta's family, he knocked on the door frame and entered the chamber as he spoke.
- High General Abbendis, I wish to inform you that Mayor Quimby has b-
As the warrior raised his leer from the floor, he clammed up abruptly.
- So the wretched pest succeeded? What a pity. My hunger to break those brittle bones grows every minute.
The deep voice echoed hollow. Its source was guarded by black armour, seemingly made of saronite. Long silvery hair descended softly on the shoulder plates. Light blue glowing eyes had an ironic glimmer in them. A set of thin fingers found their places around the hilt of a long runeblade.
The death knight rose from the chair he sat on and slowly walked up to Vladan.
- You see, not everyone makes a death knight. Initiates are so feeble. It is almost a waste of time to resurrect them at all.
- Where's Abbendis? What have you done to my daughter?! You sick beast!
Vladan raised his sword at the death knight, but couldn't hold on to it. As the death knight pointed the palm of his hand towards Vlad's throat, he felt unable to breathe. His grip of the sword loosened, causing it to slip out of his hand and fall to the planking. He made an attempt to squirm out of the scourge knight's grasp, but the power was insuperable. He felt pushed against the wall, until the death knight finally lowered his arm.
Vladan collapsed on the floor. His head pounded and his vision was blurry. He could hear his heart beat, but it appeared much slower than normally.
- Your daughter? YOUR DAUGHTER?! Worry not, you'll meet her soon enough!
The runeblade pierced Vladan's chest. It struck him like a cold embrace, devouring his life energy, more with each sip. The sound of his heart beating, as well as the death knight's voice, faded away.
- For a brief moment..., the knight in black armour pulled the blade out of the body, turning towards two other death knights that had arrived at the scene without notice. - Take the corpses to Acherus. There's work to be done.

. . .

Isa Jelen held her hood at the windy docks and looked at a departing ship. It was the first ship to have accepted civilians aboard. It would make its way to Northrend, as would a few other vessels.
- Isa! Isa, is it you?
Isa looked surprised as she turned around. Birgitta Barrett jogged happily towards her. She held a bundle on her arms.
- Birgitta!
- I believe I have something you've been missing, Birgitta smiled widely, handing the bundle over to Isa.
Isa uttered a silent moan as she unwrapped the cloth cocoon. She lovingly embraced the baby girl, seeming peaceful at long last. Nathaniel Barrett walked up to the two women, holding the hands of two children. Ethan and Noah were Nathaniel and Birgitta's sons.
- They assaulted from within, Birgitta told Isa, who had begun to breastfeed her daughter.
Isa looked at Birgitta with wide eyes as she informed her about the situation.
- How did they manage to do that?
- Obscure, don't you think? Their death knights had snuck into the town hall and killed Mayor Quimby. They've taken the town hall and the orchard. I haven't heard any news from the chapel.
Birgitta groomed her long mahogany hair. She was nearly a decade older than Isa, but always looked amazingly refreshed. She claimed the energy of her children to keep her youthful. Noah and Ethan sat on a log next to Nathaniel. The boys were dressed in white shirts, dark grey vests and lighter grey cotton pants, very similar to their father's outfit.
- And the hold? How is the hold? Isa stuttered.
- Same as always, I suppose.
Birgitta's reply was negligent. Nevertheless, it mildly relieved Isa's worry over her husband. She remained tense as Birgitta spoke.
- Where is Vladan, anyway?
- He went... to look for you. For Milka.
Isa looked down to their sleepy daughter. Milka Ekaterina was only a few months old.
- Missus Jelen, there are still soldiers up there. He's probably helping with the ballistas. He'll return when they're set up, Nathaniel joined the conversation. Isa let out a saddened sigh.
- Come on, I can't stand seeing you like that, Birgitta comforted her. - Think of the new life you'll get up north. Everything will be fine. Milka can grow up in a land of peace and the two of you can grow old together.
The thought Birgitta forged on Isa's mind put a minor smile on her face.

A foghorn stemmed from the distance. Everyone in the shore took notice of it. Not only did it bring a breeze of hope, but also competition. People wanted to get out of New Avalon as soon as possible. They wanted to feel safe again.
As the ship slowly floated closer to the docks, a bunch of people gathered to wait for it. The anchor was thrown into the water. A man with a long, thin scarf jumped off the vessel. He waded to the shore and tied a rope to a sturdy wooden pillar, then walked up to another pillar. A bulky man on the ship threw another rope to him, which he tied to the second pillar, just like the first one. Three Scarlet soldiers disembarked from the ship, carrying heavy two-handed swords. They settled on both sides of the ramp. A Scarlet captain walked down the plank. With his greying beard and bushy mustache, he appeared to be in his 50s. He cleared his throat while holding a piece of paper before his eyes.
- Citizens of New Avalon! With the right I have been granted, I shall now list the families that are entitled on the next voyage. When you hear your name, please gather your children and spouse, and report to me.
The crowd awaited silent as more people gathered around the red and white captain.
- Abbey. Abbendis? Damn it, where's the high general?
- Captain Danell, a feminine voice requested from aboard. - Captain Danell?
Scarlet Captain Stanley Danell turned towards the source of the voice.
- High General Abbendis said she'd take another ship. According to High Abbot Landgren, there's something they need to take care of in Tyr's Hand.
Danell groaned his reply to the woman before continuing the roll call.
- Barklay.
An old man dressed in a rugged suit held the hand of a woman of the same age, walking her before Danell. The captain had a brief word with the couple before allowing them on the ship.
- Clay.
A young woman, barely in her 20s, escorted two cranky children up the ramp.
- Hudnall. Kipling. Perry.
As the roll call went on, families of very different kinds stepped aboard, one after another. Isa peered at the passing people. Some of them she knew, or at least had known. As their family names were called, they didn't look back. Birgitta cursed their arrogance.
- I hope that damn ship sinks, she hissed.
- Wilcox.
Henry Wilcox, a retired Scarlet guard stood up and straightened his back. He picked up his satchel and walked up to captain Danell. As Danell moved over to let him enter the ship, a sword suddenly blocked Wilcox's way. He looked at the wielder with a questioning look, which transformed into an incredulous one as he caught a sight of the armed person.
- I think you misread that, a conceited male voice blurted at Danell.
- Cut it out, commander, Danell ordered immediately. - If I require your assistance, I'll make sure to request it.
Casey Morgan peered down to Henry Wilcox with narrowed eyes.
- Do you happen to remember the time I promised you'd regret what you did to me? Our journey to Northrend appears most... promising... Cox-ie.
- Mind your own business, will you! Danell yelled at Morgan, who receded grudgingly, glaring angrily at Wilcox. - We need to set forth as soon as possible. This is a waste of time.
Danell looked at the crowd as if he had forgotten all about the piece of paper in his hand. He rapidly turned his gaze back to it.
- Barrett.
- Did you hear that, Nathaniel? Birgitta screamed joyfully. -We've been selected!
Nathaniel remained calm and silent, merely looking at his wife. He stood up and picked up a backpack that lay against the log.
- I guess we had better get going then.
- We had! Come, boys, come on here, Birgitta rushed her sons, then turned to Isa. - Dear friend. We'll be waiting for you.
The two women shared a hug. Hesitatingly Isa began to speak.
- Birgitta. I'm going to ask you a big favor.
Birgitta tilted her head slightly, looking at Isa awaitingly.
- I'm going to wait for Vlad. I need to wait for Vlad. Even if our name was called, I couldn't leave without him. Please, please take-, she swallowed, still hesitating. - Take Milka with you.
She wasn't sad. She was sending her daughter to safety. She gave Milka a longing gaze before gently handing the bundled baby over to Birgitta, who carefully held her on her arms. Birgitta smiled warmly at Isa.
- She will be safe with us.
Relief glittered in Isa's eyes as they got damp.
- Barrett!
- Coming! Birgitta made a fast turn towards the captain.
Isa smiled her immense thanks at her friend as she peered over her shoulder, then climbed aboard.
- Morgan. Ruskin.
Captain Danell tucked the piece of paper into a rugged fanny pack hanging on his waist, giving the crowd a last look before nodding at the soldiers next to him. He walked up the plank as the soldiers loosened the ropes before entering the ship and pulling the ramp up.
The ship slowly set forth with a bunch of civilians aboard. They looked scared and fragile as the ship departed the King's Harbor. Isa stood at the docks for long after the vessel had disappeared from sight, just staring into the vast horizon.

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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