The Longest Night

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The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:54 am

Because I had to go digging for it, and it should be where we can find it on the new boards! The original post's author is at the top in bold.

Tarquin:


On the twenty-eighth of October, the first rays of dawn stole the color from a city in tatters. Stormwind was laid before the eyes of her inhabitants in muted gray - the burnt shells that shuddered and yawed like trembling skeletons; the houses boarded shut, gagged and blind to the world; the heaps of quivering, tainted things pockmarking the streets, left by victors too weary to claim the spoils. Dawn hid the horror from those few who had left their meager fortresses, and doused the world in gentle shadows.

All the lines had converged the previous night, as if the malign intelligence that animated the invaders had known a cure was at hand. The Trade District, spine of the City's commerce and dominance, was a charnel house, the great fountain choked with corpses. The banks and shops that were not sealed shut were smoldering to char, housing the blackened, malformed bones of the infected. The Canals were dotted with waterlogged corpses; here and there, tireless men and women fished them from the fouled waters so the man-made rivers could be drained and replaced. Even the Royal Harbor belched smoke into the sky, as narrow-eyed marines ranged across the docks waiting for ships packed with refugees to return to port.

And yet...it was whispered in huddled cellars, it was questioned behind barricaded windows, it was shouted from stairways slick with gore - victory. The North Square, with the great Cathedral of Light as stanchion, had mounted a defense that would live for ages, thousands housed in the catacombs while the heroes of the Outlands campaign turned back the gibbering tide. The winding greens about the towers of the Magi were scorched and bare, but the arcanists would boast the lowest population loss of any District in the city. And the Dwarven District had thundered through the night; at the height of the battle, the artillerists had made a wall of bolts and bullets as thick and high as any stone bulwark, and painted their smoke-black streets with the remains of the foe.

Then there was Old Town.

Cutthroat Alley smeared the grey sky with pitch, the last exhalation of countless tainted bodies thrown in the hovels and condemned wrecks to burn. They were heaped in the hundreds before the pedestrian, tight-barred doors of Stormwind Intelligence's modest headquarters, and neatly arrayed in serried ranks in the courtyard of the Royal Barracks that junctioned Abel Lane and Willum Street. Even the grim alleys where unlicensed alchemists and hollow-cheeked whores plied their trades were dotted with corpses, slit across the bulging throats or half-melted by some vile concoction. The Enemy had come to Old Town, and Old Town's hard-faced, sharp-eyed denizens had welcomed them with the chill of new steel and the smiles of wolves. Even now, more than any other district, they drifted across the streets in pairs and packs, beginning the long task of cleaning up their portion of Stormiwnd - "bluecoats" of the Watch, leather-clad Service agents, and men and women whose professions would never appear on any census.

On Abel Lane, between Moser and Ensley, the street was quite nearly paved with ghouls. Mounds of butchered flesh and splintered, bird-hollow bone littered cobbles slick with blood, bile, and greasy black smears. Before one two-story wooden structure, the carnage was knee-deep. Someone had made a desultory effort to clear the area before the doors, but anyone getting out would make five strides before needing a shovel to force their way through a sea of putrescent bodies.

The building had the angled, tiled roof and hanging sign that, scorched to anonymity, still marked it to any native of Stormwind as a pub. The doors had been reduced to splinters, and a cunningly constructed barrier of crates and furniture narrowed the entrance to a path barely wide enough for an average Kaldorei to squeeze through, and not without some twists and turns. On the steps before the tavern were a man, a woman and a banner. The man was a fair-haired scarecrow in a heavy black coat, with something of the sated predator to his narrow smile; the woman was a one-eyed, dawn-skinned night elf, cloak bundled about her trim form. They leaned against each other, too weary to rise, too exhilarated to sleep.

And the banner? The banner was sewn in the colors of the Argent Dawn, and perhaps a hundred of its kind had been raised in the City since the Longest Night truly began. This one, though tattered and stained, found itself in the enviable position of having never fallen since it was planted, and was distinguished by the two words painted in white on either side - once in Common, once in Darnassian, and both written by people in a hurry.

Never again.
Last edited by Aelflaed on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking

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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:54 am

Ceil:

The banner fluttered in the morning's quiet breeze. It was a stark white sun on a field of deepest black, the flag of the Argent Dawn. Unlike any other pendant of the Dawn in Stormwind, however, this banner had a phrase scrawled haphazardly across it in two languages. 'Never Again' read the pendant, in both the Common language of the Alliance and the native language of the kal'dorei. The banner was staked just outside a barricade of crates, barrels, and broken furniture, all piled in front of the reinforced door of the Pig n' Whistle, arguably the best of Old Town's many pubs. Leading down the steps of the pub and spilling into the broken cobblestone street was a carpet of corpses. Each defeated ghoul showed signs of various methods of destruction; some had chests and heads caved in by blunt force, some were burnt and blackened, others were rent, torn and sliced, still more seemed to be slowly unfreezing, and some simply showed no physical manifestation of the holy magics that had halted them in their tracks.

Two of those who had spent their night doing their share of stabbing and slicing were also probably the two who would argue the most loudly and fiercely over the Pig's standing as the finest pub in Stormwind. They were also the two responsible for the additions to the Argent Dawn banner, each adding the two simple words in their own native tongue - first Ceil ap Danwyrith in her hurried but graceful kal'dorei script, then her husband Tarquin, in a scrawl of stark Common.

These two, as the longest night slowly begun to inch towards morning, had appointed themselves the watchers of the door - they had skulked together in the shadows as a good deal of the the other defenders rested or waited near the breached back door of the pub. Now that the sun's rise was diminishing the shadows and the dead stayed unmoving, the couple let themselves rest under the banner of their cause. Around them, Old Town was still silent. In the distance, a trailing pillar of thin smoke could be seen rising from the Trade District.

"S'quiet," Tarquin said with a ghost of a grin, his voice surprisingly strong for some one who hadn't slept at all in recent memory.

"I've no complaints," his wife replied calmly, her demeanor steady and aware. "I'm a trifle tired of refusing requests for my brain."

Tarquin's grin grew, no longer phantom. "And I tire o' answerin' with steel."

Ceil gave a nod of agreement and looked upwards, towards the Dawn's banner gracefully proud above their heads. Tarquin followed her line of sight.

"Who brought thon flag, anyhow? I di'na ken any o' the Dawn showed last night."

A grin curved Ceil's lips. "Delion brought it with him from the Finest Thread." Her grin grew at Tarquin's blink of surprise. "You should have seen him with it, love..."

-

Delion's fingers hurt because he was clutching the haft of the banner so hard. In his other hand, he held his staff with one hand and a strength that, if he'd been thinking about it, would have surprised him. He could finally see the door of the Pig n' Whistle ahead, he could hear the shouts and cries of his friends defending.

Unfortunately between himself and the door was a horde of zombies.

The undead poured down the lane from the Trade District and out of Cutthroat Alley, a throng of groans and gibbering. Delion took a deep breath and forced his grip to relax. Then, without letting himself consider anything else, he bellowed a charge he'd once heard the Sentinels scream long ago. Some of the zombies making for the pub turned on the tailor, only to be met with hard blows from his staff, dazing blows across the face and over the head. Thrusting the banner into the air, Delion charged into the horde of the undead, protected only by an invisible barrier of holy light.

At the top of the Pig's stairs, some one's scream of fear and surprise drew the defenders' attention to a flash of silvery white among the rotten and decayed colors of the Scourge.

"Stars and moon, that's Delion in there," Ceil said with calm wonderment. She motioned towards the fluttering banner with the tip of her sword and said more forcefully, "Clear him a path!"

She hardly needed to cry the order - already perfectly aimed shots were snapping towards the dead, the sharp retorts as Ulthanon and Beltar's rifles found their deadly marks in the shambling dead. With a final blast of frigid air from Tirith's fingertips, the zombies fell back enough for Delion to pull himself out of their grasp. The defenders all paused just for a moment to stare at Delion with utter surprise. He planted the banner at the top of the steps, the Argent Dawn's crest untouched and clean. There was not a single scratch upon the tailor.

-

Tarquin gave a low whistle as Ceil finished speaking. They both watched the banner flutter with wordless appreciation. The very first stirrings of movement were touching Old Town, just small things here and there - a window opening, a door cracking. A patrolman and a thin second-story girl came down the lane, shoulder to shoulder, each with a crossbow in hand; heavy murder pieces, meant not to puncture, but to take off body parts. The unlikely pair exchanged nods with Tarquin and Ceil, then disappeared into Cutthroat Alley, stepping over corpses.

"Wis a sight when I got back here, thit," Tarquin finally said, when they were alone again.

"We never let it fall," Ceil said with more than a touch of pride in her voice. Tarquin pulled off one of his thick leather gloves and took up Ceil's hand with a firm squeeze.

"I ken it, darlin'."

She stroked her thumb across the back of Tarquin's hand.

"Our folk were brilliant last night, weren't they? Our Riders...I never doubted any of them, not for a single damn moment." Ceil broke the silence, the pride still strong in her voice.

"Wisna jus' the Riders, either," Tarquin replied with a nod, thinking back to the long night. "Na black-and-red, an' still they fought..." His eyes traveled to the flag again. "Like northmen. The Last Legion, likesay, or painted hillmen. Summat the world's no' seen fir lifetimes."

-

Her foot was throbbing, but Aelflaed couldn't spare a moment to worry over it, the undead were pressing too hard. She'd lost sight of any of the other defenders at the door. From her vantage point at the top of the stairs she could see the tide of the Scourge boiling up the lane, some from the Trade District, others out of Cutthroat Alley. Booming in a steady rhythm was the sound of rifles, echoed by the battle-cries and cursing of many of the Wildfire Riders. She leaned back against the rough plaster and wood wall, letting the pub help support her body, taking the pressure from her foot. There was a circle of fallen bodies around her, all lying still and most without a single mark, though any one with the sense to know could easily tell they'd been felled by holy magic, strong and pure.

To her left, a zombie came lunging over the small barricade of the dead. Her shield was heavy, but she lifted it anyway, slamming the ghoul back. It stumbled and Aelflaed raised her hammer. Instead of letting it fall, she pointed it at the zombie and a blinding flash of golden light exploded from her palm and raced along the haft, then head, of the weapon. It burst upon the ghoul and set it screaming loud enough to hurt her ears. Without moving, the paladin shook her head and murmured a prayer. The screaming stopped and the ghoul toppled atop the others.

However, in the silence left behind, a new scream erupted, a human scream, from inside the pub. Aelflaed recognized a woman's voice and without thinking of the pain throbbing through her left foot, she lurched through the doorway, left momentarily open as a surge of the dead had swept the other defenders into the street.

The first thing to greet Aelflaed inside the Pig was another scream and the sight of a skeleton over six feet tall bearing down on Elly Langston while her father and brother rushed from the bar with old swords in their hands. The skeleton gave off a noticeable wave of heat, fierce and bringing with it the scent of burning corpses. When Reese and David Langston got close, they fell back a step in surprise at the heat. Aelflaed reacted far more quickly, half running and half stumbling around the corner and past the railing, shouting the first thing to come to her head.

"Hey! Hey, you wanker!" She hollered, throwing a hand towards the skeleton. Her words weren't nearly as effective as the flash of holy light that hit the skeleton and caused it to turn towards the paladin. The flameshocker's empty eye sockets stared at the paladin, cinders burning in the depths of it's skull. Aelflaed gripped her hammer and shield in readiness.

Behind the skeleton, Elly Langston cowered and shuddered against the staircase, her green skirt torn and her face filled with fear. She moaned wordlessly with terror, until a surprisingly gentle hand gripped her arm firmly and pulled her to her feet. Neither Elly, Reese, David nor Aelflaed had seen Phileas enter the room, but there he was, a dagger on each hip and his hood thrown back to offer Elly a smile. The girl was too scared to do anything but rise with him.

"Don' worry now, lass, I go' yeh," he said, stepping between Elly and the flameshocker's back. His hands went to his daggers and his eyes went to Aelflaed. She was already grinning at him.

That was the last time the Langstons saw any Scourge inside the Pig n' Whistle.

-

In the distance, the bells of Cathedral Square were tolling, chiming safety over the city. Old Town was starting to get active, as it's inhabitants realized the battle was, at least for the moment, over. Cadets from SI:7 and Stormwind soldiers came out of the barracks to work in an uneasy alliance with ragged looking civilians who had knives on their belts and scars on their bodies. They all started to haul bodies out of doorways and off of the road, piling up the dead.

SI:7 was abuzz with activity, long white banners unfurled from every window, all marked with the bright red cross of a hospital, if only temporary. Priests and paladins from the Cathedral District started to straggle in, often bringing groups of limping injured. Tarquin and Ceil watched, pausing in their quiet conversation to share a word or two of news with those passing by. Neither ap Danwyrith, however, moved from the steps of the pub, from their hard-won ground.

"From an old story, is it?" Ceil asked, bemused, after they bid farewell to Brother Wroughtcup out of the Dwarven District. "I've a feeling, love, that last night is going to prove itself the root of a whole host of new tales to be told for some time."

Tarquin got to his feet, finally showing some of the weariness he'd been ignoring. He offered Ceil his hand, and though she seemed less weary, she accepted it up and got to her feet, her knees creaking. Behind the barricade, they could both hear movement inside the Pig, the low murmur of voices and the scraping of things being moved.

"Think the auld girl's earned her place in the books tonight," Tarquin agreed, patting the wall of the pub fondly. "But we've our share o' work still to go."

With good natured grumbling, both ap Danwyriths started to go to work breaking down the barricade. The Pig n' Whistle would open for business today, on time.
Last edited by Aelflaed on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:55 am

Ulthanon:

Dawn. A common thing. So unremarkable that it is used in statements of absolute certainty; “As sure as the sun rises,” they say. “Does the sun rise in the east?”, the people joke, and go about their day. The businessman and the schoolchild alike view the morning as nothing more than a troublesome necessity, something that prevents them from sleeping as late as they might like. For the farmer, the dawn means another day’s hard toil, as it does for the soldier and the worker.
And yet, for nigh on every man, woman and child, from Stormwind to Thunder Bluff, to see the first light of the morning was the only yearning in their hearts.

The Dread Prince Menethil had sent his legions against the mortal races with a fury that had not been seen in years. But rather than attack exclusively head-on as he had years past, to herald the arrival of the Naxxramas Citadel, he had sent forth amidst the masses the very plague of undeath that had been used against his own people so many years ago. And, just as it had in the days prior to the Third War, such nefarious schemes had proved fruitful. The first victims had probably been unaware of the nature of the grain they’d touched, milled and made into bread; they would turn into mindless zombies only some time later. But every day that passed saw the situation deteriorate, first as a gentle sliding, as reports came in of the dead walking in the shadows near home… and then as a free-fall of disaster as the contagion passed into its most ripe state, turning men into shambling automatons within seconds and pushing the panicked citizens of the Horde and Alliance to the breaking point.

---

For Andrick Kaleigh, dawn came on the snowswept hills of Winterspring.
That night had been spent, as had the night before it, battling back the seemingly endless tide of the Scourge as they made their way ever-closer to the slopes of Mount Hyjal. Together with his kinsmen he had brought down the righteous fury of his Order with all the vigor his battered body could muster… but one by one, the line had started to buckle. More and more forces had been called back to deal with the plague at home, which had stretched the lines in the remote territories too thin. Fatigue gripped the mortals in ways the undead no longer fell victim too, and slowly but surely the line started to snap as otherwise experienced and war-ready people made simple mistakes, overestimated their endurance, and were taken in a frenzy of grasping claws and biting mouths.

For Andrick Kaleigh, dawn was not heralded by a burst of light from over the mountains, but from a screaming, greatsword-wielding young woman.
To say the line had faltered would be a gross understatement. The line had shattered into a thousand times a thousand pieces, and the Lich King’s hordes surged towards the sacred cliffs of Hyjal. Only he and a mere handful of others stood in the way of countless foul creatures that the Mad Prince commanded. And then, as they’d readied their weapons and, in one way or another, come to terms with their likely fate… the entire left side of the Scourge mass disintegrated, all at once.
Chrystal Kaleigh, his beautiful berserker of a daughter, smashed into the shambling flank like an avalanche of armor and blades. While it would be folly to claim that even against this new foe, the Scourge were shaken or afraid, they were distracted, and turned a part of their collective attention away from Andrick and the others. Bolstered by this turn of the tide, they found strength where once there was none, and they threw themselves into the rotting ranks of the enemy with a savagery unmatched. A quarter hour of butchery later, caked in gore and sweat -but alive!-, the Kaleigh family stood victorious over their quarry.
As if somehow dependent on the sorrow of its enemies, the Necropolis overhead gave out a shuddering groan and lurched to the right. Its great crystal focus shattered, and it fell slowly out of the sky, listing to the south as it finally crashed into Darkwhisper Gorge. Their victory had coincided with that of a larger warband, it turned out, that had managed to destroy the three arcane “anchors” the citadel used. As the structure shattered and crumbled upon impact, sending tremors throughout the region, a cry went up that could be heard throughout the snow dunes. Victory! Victory for the Alliance and Horde! The Dawn has come!

---

For Ulthanon Kaidos, dawn came in the torch-lit streets of Old Town.

(more later!)
Last edited by Aelflaed on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:55 am

Delion:

Flashes of near blinding light lit the air everywhere, leaving ghostly glows in the back of his eyes for moments after. It gave the impression that the Scourge were coming up out of the bright after-images on his retinas, rather than staggering forth from the darkness. The fourth time Delion smote the same target as another defender of the Cathedral District, he knew he'd be doing more good elsewhere.

Even as he hurried through the streets to his store, it was clear his home District was faring better than most - just glancing across the canals the difference was startling. Here, priests and paladins of every order were in their element - over the water came a garbled scream. The bridge by The Finest Thread was guarded well, as were all the bottlenecks in the city. His home would surely be safe enough while he was gone.

Hastening inside, he didn't pause to put down his staff. He knew exactly where he had to be, but there was one item he was going to take there with him. He had a Family to support.

- - -

It took a moment for him to realise dawn had arrived, the vague greys appearing all of a sudden before his eyes. He hadn't noticed as it crept up on them all. Familiar folk of all sorts were about him, wiping knives on leather pantlegs, staring into the distance still at the ready. A set of metal-clad shoulders slumped just a tiny amount under the weight, for the first time that night. Someone blew hair out of their face. Out in the city the distant noises of the end of battle could still be heard, but at the Pig and Whistle was a gentle sussurus of noise as people came back to themselves and minds remembered they were more than tireless fighting machines. There were very few words actually spoken - everyone could feel the exhausted exhiliration in the atmosphere. Nothing needed to be said.

Someone clapped a gloved hand to his back with an amiable "huh" of air, likely Tarquin. Delion shared a weary smile with a few others. He didn't thank anyone for keeping the ghouls from attacking him with bullets, bolts and knives, nor did anyone thank him for keeping them up. It all went without saying, in a family such as this.

From inside the Pig, the faint voice of Aedis Brom came; "...You know, this reminds me of that one time.". Several Riders broke into a grin.

- - -

Walking home was more a chore than he had expected, the streets were so littered with the thwarted undead. All grace was forgotten under the circumstances, and more than once Delion showed a knee as he hiked up his robe to unceremoniously step over something in his way. He continued in this manner, tromping through the muck and bones until he caught sight of the hanging sign above his door. It had fared far better than the charred one above the 'Whistle, but would need to be refastened. The bottom story windowpanes had been smashed, but that was nothing. The door had been rent to splinters, which wasn't alarming in itself, but the tailor found his pace hurrying up to the porch with sudden haste.

Something had managed to come through, not overly long ago it seemed, and bits of cracked wood and bones littered the floor along with scattered spools of thread. The skeleton was clearly dead for good, evidenced by a smashed and hollow skull sitting on its side in the middle of the debris. In the corner by the stairs huddled his apprentice, a quietly hyperventilating, shaggy black bear. Delion dropped his staff and was by Sol'remy's side in two paces, falling to his knees and throwing his arms about his neck.

Gripping handfuls of thick fur between his fingers, he buried his face under the bear's huge jaw and babbled reassurances for them both in their home tongue.
Last edited by Aelflaed on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking

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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:56 am

Beltar:

Beltar Forgebreaker limped over to the edge of the plaza that overlooked Stormwind Harbor. It hadn't been light for long, perhaps half an hour...it was hard to tell, with the unnatural overcast that covered the sky overhead. In the dimness, everything looked normal from this great height. The ships still rode at anchor, quietly creaking as gentle waves moved them in their berths. Gulls wheeled and screeched. Save for clouds that looked almost like a gathering summer thunderstorm, all looked as it should be.

Except no one moved.

Not a single shape moved except the seabirds. No porters moved packages, no crews readied or cleaned their ships, no merchants haggled deals, no prostitutes plied their trade. The docks were deserted of life, and of unlife.

He let his eyes travel to the hills above the harbor, outside the city walls. They were dotted with bright glows of fire. Five, six, seven...nope, there's eight, Beltar counted to himself as the eighth one sprung into life. Each one of those, he knew, was a funeral pyre, and each one was burning dozens, if not hundreds, of bodies, undead and otherwise.

He'd climbed on Mountain at dawn and ridden out alone, Squealer obediently following, and picked his way through the streets to the Harbor, thankful for the surefootedness of a Khaz Modan ram on cobbles slicked by blood and ichor. No zombies showed themselves, no clash of arms rent the heavy, chill air on his journey. The Scourge, for the moment, had been beaten from Stormwind.

But it damn sure hadn't been easy...



The Trade District. Just after sundown.

"They got the healer! THEY GOT THE HEALER! RUN! RUUAAAAAAAHHLIIIIIIGHT..."

The screams out of the Gilded Rose snapped Beltar out of thought as he finished loading his rifle. He looked over at Tarquin, who was leaning against the wall of the arms shop nearby, catching his breath after finishing off another zombie. The lanky Northman sighed and raised his hood, and bellowed, "There's a Dawnsman by th'gryphon master, y'ken? Need healin', go there!" The hood came back down, and he faded into the shadows cast by the overhanging roof.

None too soon. A wave of zombies poured out of the Rose like rats, falling on guardsmen and those too slow to run from the screams. Shouts and clangs sounded, and the Stormwind Guard fought yet another doomed battle as Beltar snapped his weapon shut. He issued the barest of whistles from one side of his mouth, and smoothly brought the rifle to his shoulder.

His boar launched himself forward from a dead stop, streaking across the plaza in a black, squealing blur and slamming into the pile of zombies like some bizarre game of bowls. As Squealer began tearing at one in a fury of black fur and white tusks, Beltar's rifle roared again and again. Three feet of black wood and gray steel, with an extra foot of bayonet poking under the barrel, it was the most masterful boomstick Beltar had ever seen, much less ever owned. He'd found it in Medivh's ruined castle. He named it--with feeling, if not with originality--Black Death.

This night, Black Death would earn that name many times over.

The first zombie crumpled to the cobbles headless. Squealer plunged tusks into another one and Beltar kept up his steady drumbeat of fire, killing the second zombie before it figured out that the black form goring it wasn't the only thing causing it pain. But the third zombie must have retained some tiny modicum of its previous intelligence. It ignored Squealer and saw Beltar forty paces away, and started lurching toward him.

The dwarf stood his ground. He fanned the hammer, and Black Death ripped off three shots into three zombies. He fired again, and again, but the zombie kept coming, and then leapt.

Sheer reflex saved him; he thrust the rifle upward as the zombie lunged, and it slammed directly into the bayonet. It impaled itself, flailing long clawed hands at Beltar as he fought to stay upright with ten stone of zombie trying to push him over.

"I AIN'T DYIN' T'NIGHT, Y'BASTARD!", Beltar roared, and pulled the trigger. The zombie flew backward, a hole through most of its chest, and crashed to the stones to finally lie still.

The sound died down. Paladins and shamans in the square had finished off the rest, and for the moment, no zombies moved. Squealer returned to Beltar's side, fur matted with Shapers-only-knew-what. Beltar tried to calm his breathing and concentrate. Aright, y'fuckers, he thought to himself. Lessee...any more'a'ya 'bout? Concentrate...yes, one more, at least. Inside the Rose. He started walking past the fountain toward the inn.

"Are you crazy?", a guardsman tried to block him. "You can't go in there!"

"There's one more of 'em in there, lad," Beltar snarled. "We don't get it now, it comes out here when y'ain't lookin', infects other people, whole shitpile starts up 'gin. Now, you wanna go kill it, 'r y'stay out here an' let me do it?"

The guard, wisely, backed up. Beltar just nodded at him once, and stumped forward into the Rose, Squealer trailing behind.

The common room was a charnel house. Bodies and parts of bodies--human, elf, and zombie--were everywhere. The floor, on the tables, even a zombie arm stuck in the overhead chandelier. The body of the Argent Healer lay in two pieces, torn apart at the waist, near the kitchen entrance. Nothing moved here. But he heard a faint scrabble from upstairs.

He crept up the stairs as quietly as he could, stopping at the top to listen. He heard it again...second door on the left. Black Death came out from over his shoulder and into his right hand as he walked toward the door. Taking a deep breath, he spun around the jamb into the doorway.

The door itself was gone, shattered inward into the room. It was a small room, one of the Rose's cheaper ones, utterly demolished. Splintered furniture, pooled blood, and a zombie corpse on the floor made it obvious what had happened.

There was another zombie in the far corner, near the bed. It snapped its head up as it saw Beltar...but it didn't attack. It looked at him, almost quizzically, as if saying, "Who are you and why are you in my room. And more importantly...who am I?"

For a few seconds, the two stood looking at each other. For a second, in the zombie's face, Beltar swore he saw...fear? Sadness? Confusion, maybe?

Then Beltar sighed. "Sorry, lad."

And Black Death roared yet again.



A single gunshot from back toward the Cathedral snapped Beltar out of his Harbor-side reverie. No more followed it. The only sounds were the creak of the ships and the scream of the gulls.

Beltar looked out over the ships, to the sea. Out there, somewhere, was the cause of all this. Arthas Menethil. The Lich King. Defender, and then damn-near destroyer, of the Alliance. And Beltar knew without seeing, sure as the sun had risen behind that thick blanket of cloud, that the Riders were going North, and he was going with them. Time to be heroes.

"Heroes," he snorted. "Gods, I don't feel like no hero." He looked at the big black boar standing beside him, flecks of gray bristle appearing around its snout. "I feel old, boy. Leg's botherin' me worse'n'anytime since Anvilmar. I'm feelin' ever' one'a these hunnert'an'twenty-six years o'mine. Too old fer bein' a hero, right now, anyways."

Squealer just looked up at him with that calm, neutral look he always gave Beltar.

"An' I'm standin' in th'chill, in a city runnin' wild w'zombies, talkin' wi'a pig. Heroes do crazy shit like that, y'think?" He laughed without humor. "Aright, piss on it. Back t'Old Town w'us."

Using Black Death's stock as a makeshift walking stick, he began limping back toward the stairs, where Mountain waited at the top to take him back through the streets of a waking city of the dead, back to the Pig and Whistle, and life.
Last edited by Aelflaed on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking

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Aelflaed
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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Aelflaed » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:56 am

Phileas:

Phileas was drowsing in his usual spot - third step up on the right side as you enter the Pig - when he heard That Noise again. He'd come to hate That Noise as the zombie attacks has increased. That Noise was the odd combination of moaning squeals and groans that heralded the attack of yet another Scourge zombie. And apparently this one was coming in the Pig's back door...not the front. His gray eyes snapped open, all pretense of sleepiness gone.

The wiry young man lofted himself lightfoot over the bannister, landing more heavily than he'd have liked. Tae bloody tired tae be truly gracefu' abou' it, he thought, then eeled his way through the shadows towards the service entrance that connected with the kitchen.

Indeed, there in the doorway was yet another zombie. He wasn't sure if it had been drawn to the Pig's rear door by the scent of food, the scent of the employees, or some remnant of memory of ales shared in the pub in what remained of its shattered mind. Come tae thin' a' it...Aa prob'ly don' wanna knaw, eyther. Smoothly, his right hand snapped down to release his throwing dagger into his grip, then up and out as he threw.

The blade sank into the Scourge's shoulder with a squishing "thunk" sound. The zombie squealed its horrid warcry and shambled at Phileas, who snatched his daggers from his belt and began to dance death with it.

It was readily apparent that getting the thing to return out the way it had come in was out of the question - feckin' zombies dinnae hae a revers' gear, apparen'tly. So instead, Phileas began to back up across the Pig's taproom, shooing the staff into safer corners as he kept the thing's attention on him with taunting jabs to its ribs. As he thought he was going to be able to pull this mad gambit off, the zombie lurched towards him with an unexpected burst of speed, pinning him against the entry wall, snapping jaws at his chest and belly, trying to chew through his armor to get to the unprotected flesh beneath.

Phileas turned his head aside and took a quick gulping breath, then held it for all he was worth. Dinnae breathe in the spores, bucko... The zombie leaned forward again, increasing the pressure on him, and the rogue felt rather than heard his ribs creak.

He knew he had to do something, and fast. He took a quick glance and decided his move. He expelled his held breath to give himself a hair more room, then drew up a boot and planted it in the zombie's chest, trying not to gag at the stench of the thing. At the same time, he thrust his left dagger into its shoulder, then kicked it away towards the door. The Scourge's head came partway loose with a sound like a rotten pumpkin caving. Phileas followed up with a blow from the other dagger and fist, which sent the thing out the front door, where he saw and felt the shockwave from Aelflaed's holy magic hit the zombie, which finally collapsed, dispatched, in the pile, save for the skull, which landed at his feet.

Phileas retrieved his throwing blade, punted the skull onto the pile, and flicked the last of the grue off his weapons as he stared at the intruder. "The management...dinnae serve thy kin' here," he panted at the zombie. Remembering the now-vulnerable rear entrance, Phileas Lynch returned to the shadows to take up his post again.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking

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Jolstraer
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Re: The Longest Night

Postby Jolstraer » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:33 am

((Would it be terribly bad of me to insert a post of Jol & Mia being there, even though we weren't around for any of it because of stupid finances?))
"I left my home where the dead never rose
But the streets of gold i've yet to find
And at the end of the day all you can do is pray
Without hope well you might as well be blind, yeah be blind
Tomorrow comes a day too soon"


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