The Wrath Gate

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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Bricu » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:28 pm

The Vrykuls' war horns echoed through the valley. They were deafening even at the reseve lines. Bricu put the gnomish glass to his eye and looked down at the battle.

Bugger me. Bricu thought, We're gonna feel this wave... He threw his cigarette to the ground, then barked an order.

"Oi! Time t'earn our pay!" Bricu straightened his back as he shouted over the sound of battle.

"Isi, Larra , lock them fuckin' bolts down an' heave ta them blue balled bastards!" he barked.

"Ulth! Belt! Support the line. Clean fuckin' head shots on the fuckers on the Bull's left flank!"

There was banter--typical witty Rider banter and bets--Bricu called out another order:

"Fuckin' stow yer shite-talk an'FIRE!"

A volley of arrows, bullets and ballistae bolts followed.

"Reload an' Fire! I want ta see holes in Arthas' children's fuckin' skulls!"

Bricu turned his eyes behind the ballistae. Threnn was sorting through more bandages. Her shield was already out, covering the baby that was due to be born in a matter of weeks. Behind her, three magi prepared a torrent of spells--arcane, fire and ice--to smash through Arthas' army. Threnn, Stonemantle, Darrows and Crownsilver held his attention for a matter of moments.

A roar to the east, coming from the line, pulled his attention back to the fight. "Ulth, Belt, Scatter. Harry the fuckin' lines an' take clean shots! Move! Isi, Lanna, aim the quarrels for the chests, just 'bove our folks' heads. Fire at will."

Isi fired a shot that sheared off the shoulder of a Vyrkul at the front lines. Through the gnomish glass, Bricu watched as the bolt tore through metal, flesh, muscle and bone, and continued onto the saronite walls of the Wrathgate itself. Another quarrel slammed off the wall seconds behind. It carried a still living Vrkul with it. At her Ballistae, Ilarra giggled.

"OI. Brilliant!" Bricu shouted. He kept his eyes to the battle in the valley itself. From this distance, all Bricu could see were the banners of the companies and platoons leading the charge against the Bloody Prince. Most were variations on the Seventh Legion. The banner that caught Bricu's attention, leading the charge toward a Vrykul rune caster and her bodyguard, was a banner more familiar to him than any of the Seventh Legion's platoons. It was The Eye. Uthas’ Army.

Bricu watched as seven of Uthas' warriors, all on horse-back, charged the position of the Runecaster. Bricu, and the rest of Ballistate team, had a clear view of the Eye's battlefield. From their, he could imagine the details: Uthas would shout out orders, Charge, Dismount, Parry!

"Larra, Isi. Aim this fuckin' Ballistate ten degree's north, bring it down fifteen degrees. NOW"

Armed with the gnomish glass, Bricu watched as Uthas's soliders dismounted--almost in unison--and brought their weapons up to parry the downward swing of the Vrykuls massive axes. Only one of the Eye was too slow to block an axe. Bricu saw it fall to the frozen ground. Another of the Eye parried the killing blow, giving the one on the ground enough time to roll away. The Vrykul's axes spun and whirled by Uthas' soliders. The ferocity was mesmerizing to watch. They swung their axes with all of their might, howling for blood. Some even twirled their double-bladed axes over the heads--a tactic that scared off so many of the initial soliders of the Alliance. Their weapons sang through the air and their battle cry was clear over the din of battle.

The Eye did not falter. Bricu watched as Uthas' soldiers followed through like the trained, hardened fighters he feared they would be. They parried the Vrukul's powerful attacks, rushed in under their guard and knocked the Vrykul to their knees. On their backs, each one of the Runecasters' body guard was dispatched with cold efficiency.

When this fight ends, that one'll begin. He'll get more folk ta follow 'im. He'll want ta talk t'me 'bout it all...

Bricu glanced back to Threnn--she was looking past him, towards the line held by the Riders.

He'll want ta see our wee one.

Her body guards dispatched, one of The Eye used its fell power to pull her towards them. She cast her runes, calling upon her own magic to shield her from their attacks. The Eye was patient. They blocked her escape and waited for her magic to end.

"Yeh got the targets?" Bricu asked calmly.

"Aye, 'e git 'im, but..." Isi spoke




The bolt sailed straight and true...
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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Tarq » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:31 pm

He had screamed himself raw, to be heard over the lash and thunder of the battle; if blood had flew from his mouth with the spittle, he'd not have been surprised. His hands, when they weren't shaking, were stiff as claws from loading and winching the ballistae half a hundred times. Errant ice shards had scored his side and left a raw, bleeding gash alongside his neck, probably three lucky inches from death.

And still, Tarquin ap Danwyrith managed to laugh when the great colossus toppled with burning bolts in its joints, and laugh again when Chryste plummeted from the sky to splinter its fused bones and stretch it on the valley floor. Beside him rose Ilarra's shrill giggle, and some impenetrable Northdale cursing from Isi Underhill. They were turning them - maybe only a small piece, aye, less than a fingernail on a single hand, but they were fucking well doing it! "Fuckin' aye, Kaleigh, fuckin' aye!" he screamed, knowing it'd be lost to the wind and not caring.

Bricu's snarling voice, though, was perfectly audible. "The fuckin' circus in town, then?" He stamped up next to them, axe slung over his back, gauntleted hands flexing unconsciously. "Or are yeh just soddin' off?"

"Ah, piss off, Bittertongue," retorted the younger man with fierce good nature. "We got the bugger, did we no'?"

The paladin snorted, already moving to the rack of ammunition next to the empty bolt-throwers. "I stand corrected, then. Battle's fuckin' over. Who's fer some tea?"

"Oh, yeh'll ha' some fuckin' tea aright, arsehole!" Tarquin moved past him adroitly, grinning savagely - that was certainly the taste of blood in his mouth - and taking hold of the iron-shod spear. The motions of the past...however long it had been, had become second nature to him. Load up. Winch. Slam home. Cock. Aim -

Tarquin scowled and scanned the threshing mass below him. Crouched in the rubble of an ice shelf that had splintered at some point during the battle, a violet-cowled man of ponderous bulk reached out towards the lines some sixty feet from him. Tenebrous malice shimmered around his hands, gathered like swarming locusts -

- "Oh, thit's a fuckin' beauty" -

- and then the air whistled, and the man collapsed about quivering steel, squelching like a ripe tomato. "Hah!" crowed the Oathbreaker. "Take thit t'yir tea party, Bric', an -" He saw the expression on Bricu's face, felt the trembling of the ground, and was moving before Bricu roared for it. But quick as he was, even past thirty, the earth fell away under his feet. He heard Isi's shrieked curse, Ilarra's half-gleeful wail, and the buzzing bellow from beneath his feet, but had no time to put these all together into anything coherent. He scrabbled wildly at the snow, and then a plated fist slammed brutally into his arm and yanked him to the doubtful safety of the hilltop. His eyes lit on Threnn, awkward in her split-sided armor, moving forward with her hand on the sword at her hip.

Oh piss.
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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Dravir » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:50 pm

A half mile from the Riders, the tide of vrykul crashed upon the mercenary line like a stormfront. Screams of pain and the sound flesh being cleaved, of blood bubbling through horrific wounds drew a collective groan of despair from many of the hired blades, but from one combatant, there was only mad, demonic laugher.

Drenched in gore from slaughtered cultists, the orc ran head-on into the fight. While the heads of the vrykul were slightly out of reach, their long beards provided an excellent source of leverage, and so the first died, a massive axe crunching through his skull. Snaga screamed for the blood of his foes as he rode the corpse to the ground. His mighty blade chopped out again and again, shattering the spear shafts and heavy clubs that sought his own heart, and repaying the violence in kind. Limbs were shattered and body cavities opened to the merciless air. The orc threw back his head and howled, his eyes aglow a terrible red. This was true battle!

This was what he was born for! What he was born to die for!

"Blood and Death! Come to me!"

Snaga leapt from the pile of corpses, and roared as he reaped a bloody tall.

Behind him, the line was holding, barely. Dravir spat into the bloody mud, dodging another blow that would have cleaved him in half. His axe slammed against the beast's greaves, the biting edge turned, but the knee gave way with a sickening pop, sending the giant to the ground, to be stabbed and pummelled to death. A blast of channeled light stunned another, allowing two draenei to near slash it in two. He blocked a thrusting harpoon with the haft of his axe, rolling his wrists to spin the weapon around and over to chop into his foes skull. A sword smashed into his pauldron, the heavy metal crumpling like parchment, and he briefly saw the sky as the blow sent him flying back. He rose groggily, staring blankly at the corpses that had cushioned his fall, the entrails and gore that smeared over his once well-kept armour.

Snarling, he charged back into the packed fighters, eyes ablaze as he summoned the Light, the ground underneath suddenly burning the flesh of the enemy all around. Instinct guided his hands and feet, avoiding the most terrible of the attacks. Those that could not be dodged were stopped by axe or armour, but still these took their toll. Blood dripped from a myriad of small wounds, and his arms felt numb and heavy. The vrykul before him snarled and jeered as they came on, slowly crushing the mercenaries with their great height and strength.

His axe flashed through a chest, a leg, crashed against a shield. His feet trampled through the dead, the pulped flesh carpeting the ground. With a grimace, he gave up ground to one monster, blocking and parrying as he tried once more to summon the power of the Light.

Dravir hoped the boss had a really good ace card this time.


No, no. The power must flow like so.

Ah, I see it now.

Yes yes, good good.

Are you sure this is wise?

He has a point...

NO! We do this or our companies will die quickly against such numbers. We are adequately protected and powerful. Just follow the ritual as I have shown.

Five shrewd minds linked as one, focused and calm, despite the battle that raged barely fifty paces from their small, silent bodies. Their bodies positioned to the points of a star, the power which they had been channeling since the first battlecries now rushed to the center, burning runes and symbols into the ground. A gash in the fabric of the world birthed with a scream that shook those not consumed in fighting to the depths of their souls. Within the malignant tear, a pair of burning eyes gazed upon the material world with ancient hunger.

And as one of those minds broke the contact, shrieking in agony as his bodily fluids boiled within his flesh, until he was little more than a steaming husk, the Doomguard stomped forth from the portal, a bestial roar tearing from his fanged maw. Drawing a scimitar that burned with the cold of the void beyond, he leapt into flight, to smash into the ranks of vrykul.

Odurd giggled madly as he let the melding of minds drop, turning his focus to the great demon, directing it to the weakest points of the line. This was turning out to be a decent day after all. Through eldritch eyes of green flame, the goblin warlock guided his demon.

Nearly as tall as the vrykul, the Doomguard sneered at it's foes, fire roiling forth in an indescriminate wave. Some unwary mercenaries screamed before their flaked away to ash, but the effect on the vrykul was far more pronounced.

Here was a great foe for them to face, and die against.

And here were mortal souls for the Doomguard to reap and devour. Its scimitar began to batter into the roaring horde, and once again, the rear line held.

I like this game. I think I'll name him... Doomy.
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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Yva » Fri May 01, 2009 10:21 am

Form rank, take position, guard the back lines.

She fell into formation, waiting for The Priest's next order. Vrykul lay dead at her feet, but she knew this was just the start of Arthas's fury. The true onslaught had yet to begin. Ghouls, abominations, necromancers and gargoyles were the unyielding sentinels at the gates, waiting as patiently as only the dead could wait for their liege lord's command.

Form rank, take position, guard the back lines.

And so she did. There was no doubt that what she did here was just. Her duty – her function now, in this second life – was as clear to her as her own name. Angrathar meant so many things to so many people: some came for glory, some came for revenge for lands and loves lost. The Eye came because it was their purpose to be here. This fight sustained them and justified their existence. It was as vital to them as air was to a man drawing breath.

When they had nothing, they had The Priest's vision of Arthas's fall, and here at long last was their opportunity.


No, not that.

Form rank, take position, guard the back lines.

To the left, a banshee roar sent a talon of Bolvar's troops staggering, at least two soldiers falling to their knees as the preternatural wail shredded their equilibrium. Uthas's hand flitted – an almost graceful sweep of fingers, and she thought for a moment he could have composed music like that – and Alcime was moving. Blades raised, she called upon the one thing she could draw strength from: her blood. It burned and broiled inside of her, molten energy coursing through her veins, hardening her muscles and infusing her skin with magic.

The undead thing had just a moment to turn its head before she closed the chasm between them, her gauntlet opening and chains of ice dragging it forward. It tilted its head back, the evil of its voice the best offense, but ironclad fingers strangled the sound out of her. What should have been a scream was a gurgled whimper lost to the northern wind.

As she brought the sword up, burying it into the thing's middle (why did it feel like cutting taffy? That made no sense) she waited to see the fear in its eyes, but there was nothing. Drained of will, drained of free thought, the scourge just wilted and was no more.

Like I'd have been, could have been . . . No.

Not anymore. No more. No one else's mother.


She winced.

Form rank, take position, guard the back lines.
So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I'll lay your soul to waste.

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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby uthas » Fri May 01, 2009 1:00 pm

The frontlines wavered for a tense few minutes when the Black Gate spewed forth its vrykul. Where men quailed, a few dark riders moved in to bring their icy death to the giant warriors, until the men and women returned. Still, there were few of them, and they caused nearly as much fear to those under the Alliance banners as the great slavering undead. And then Fordragon came forth and showed those under the banner of the Eye what they had lost. He brought with him the Light, and the Allied banners surged forward again.

Uthas surveyed the lines, using the speed of his small unit to advantage. They were used to moving in this freezing Hell - the cold and ice slowed them no more than a passing breeze might slow a bull in anger. Only to the thickest of the fighting did they ride. Amidst the shouts and screams and roars of battle, they moved silent, guided by the raised and lowered hand of their leader. Each time they smashed into the enemy, driving them back not with skill of arms or ferocity, but with the simple inevitability of death come to earth. Each time they fought until the lines rallied and pressed forth, absorbing them again, when they would return to their mounts and find their next challenge - though they would not find what they truly sought on this battlefield. That had been lost to them.

When the Runecaster and her guardians came for them, they were ready. The shouting terror tactics of the bearded dead raiders could not chill blood that was already frozen, and without their fear, the vrykul were nothing. Uthas watched them fall one by one, seeing the face of the Runecaster twist into an expression alien to its features. The bold of the great North, the ancestors of man were not meant to be afraid. But this was the end of the world, and the Eye was something new that had not come before, and so fear crept into the hearts of the vrykul and made its insidious home. One of the dark knights raised a gauntleted hand and beckoned the Runecaster. The gesture was almost sweet, a simple flex of the fingers, open palm facing the sky - as if the knight longed for the life still lingering within the tall witch. The power of the North responded to the desire, and drew the witch to the knights of death. Uthas watched as she shouted a few words in her harsh tongue and a great shimmering red shield flexed into being around her. The Eye encircled her and planted their weapons, waiting patiently for the shield to drop.


The rock flew through the air and clunked off the fence post. The dented tankard atop the post rocked a bit, but settled back into place. "Bloody 'ell!" Bricu swore and kicked at Uthas, who nimbly danced out of the way, laughing all the while. "'s t'ree ye owe me now, Bri!" The taller boy sighed and picked up another rock. He wound back and hurled it at the metal cup, and both boys watched it sail toward the post, where it missed by a good four feet.

Uthas cackled and fell onto his back, slapping the ground. "Four! Four good meals ye owe me now! Yer tha worst chucker in the t'ree counties Bri! Ye keep up like 'is 'n I'll be eatin' fer free 'til we're ol' men!" Bricu turned and kicked some dirt onto the younger boy. "Yar, yar, laugh all ye want, pipsqueak. I kin still clock ye 'ard 'nuff ta make ye 'n orphan all o'er 'gain." The redhaired lad bent and picked up another rock, tossing it at the tankard again. He watched as it missed, and scratched at the new fuzz on his chin to conceal his smile. "Argh. Tha's five meals I owe ye."


The crimson bubble shattered into thousands of pieces as the ballastae bolt tore through it. The bolt drove sliced through the neck of the Runecaster, tearing it off cleanly with its passing. The body stayed on its feet for a few moments, still gesturing, before realizing that it was dead and collapsing. Without pause, the seven knights of the Eye mounted again and turned as one. As they rode back toward the Alliance lines, Uthas turned his head to the hill where the bolt had originated. Atop the crest of ice and snow, he could see the gleam of plate and bright swish of red hair, prematurely stained with grey. The distance was too far to distinguish features, but life sometimes makes such details unnecessary. Uthas turned his head back toward the fight and again raised his hand, gesturing at a band of five vrykul chieftans preparing to charge a gap in the line. As the Eye began to move again, inside his helmet the Lord of the Unblinking Eye smiled. "Six."
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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Tarq » Fri May 01, 2009 1:19 pm

The colossus hit the ground with an ear-pummeling thud, its uncanny bones splintering with the force of impact. Riddled with bolts, cloven through in the spine, it shuddered and fell limp, an inert mass of gristle, the malevolent force that bound it dissipating.

And from the nameless hill, its slayers looked down on what the histories would call the Battle of the Wrath Gate. They watched as the banners of stag and lion and six-pointed star surged closer, saw the glints of armor and spearpoints in the shadow of Angrathar. A keen-eyed few could even see the towering figure of the Highlord, leading his guard into the teeth of the foe, hammering warding arms and shearing away warped faces. Slowly, inexorably, the golden tide pushed forward.

They barely faltered when the horns shivered the air, bellowing brassy malice; they slowed just to the point of caution when the gates cracked to let the ancient guttural curses ring out. But it was enough for the foe, this minute loss of momentum - weakness enough for the Vrykul. "All flesh is meat!" roared their chieftains, in a tongue older than nations. "
All life is grass!" the People of War howled back, and with a rush they were upon the Alliance. The lines and formations were lost in an instant, swallowed by the shrieking, snarling chaos of true battle. Banners vanished, blood misted the air, and the shining figure of Fordragon was enveloped in struggling masses.

But the Wildfire Riders had no eyes for such. For as the horns sounded, the earth beneath the hill shuddered, and then turned inward, a frost-fanged some five yards across opening in the crest of the hill. The knot of mercenaries clustered around the ballistae plunged into the snow, scrabbling at the edges; with a creak, one of the war machines tipped over into the tunnel as its author revealed itself. A carapace scarred a thousand times, with bile and venom dripping from the pustulent flesh beneath, and translucent wings clawing hungrily at the air - a Crypt Lord. It laughed like a thousand locusts, clicked like an automaton from nightmare. "Thanks be to He," it purred and bubbled and shrieked, rearing over the Bittertongues, "For this feast. Thanks be to Arthas, for the music of the fearful prey!"

And then it was on them. Below, the Vrykul came on, a densely packed tribe with black tattoos writhing across their blue skin and shrunken heads swinging by dry hair from their belts. Bellowing for the Lich King, they trampled the ghouls and geists in their path, bounded across shattered corpses, and surged into the thin line, driving the Riders back to their own slopes by sheer force. The fate of the flank, and with the flank, the battle, hung in the balance.

In the far distance, barely audible beneath the cacophony of war, wolves howled.
Now hang me by this golden noose
'Cause I never been nothin' but your golden goose
Silver tongue don't fail me now
And I'll make my way back to you somehow

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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Tarq » Sun May 03, 2009 4:32 pm

"Guard duty," Lord Simeon Balthasar, called Goldenblade, had once written, "is the filthiest pair of words in any soldier's vocabulary." This was the standard stock in trade of the young earl, who had also added the phase Let Me Die Laughing to his family's crest and earned a reputation as both warrior and wit. Critics had scoffed at Lord Simeon's foolhardiness, the current Lord of Andorhal going so far as to state that any soldier with a real war under his belt would have prayed nightly for guard duty, or words to that effect.

Of course, nobody gave a damn now, one way or the other - Lord Simeon was centuries dead, the Balthasars fallen long before their homeland, and the Goldenblade's once-notorious writings consigned to the dusty rear shelves along with his gambling debts and the annals of his bitter feud with his own sons. Jakob Balthasar might well have been the only man alive who would think about that sort of thing, and actually had occasion to - a Knight of the Ebon Blade, here at the great battle of his time, guarding the tent.

He knew, in an intellectual sense, that he ought to have been grateful. He had more than a handful of notches on his sword, and more familiarity with the impersonal butchery of large-scale battle than he'd have liked. Even for a relative skirmish such as this, watching it unfold from a distance should have been a blessing. And there was the fact that he was ensuring that one of the only two people in the world he'd have called dear to him was as well-guarded as she could have been.

But still, with every volley of bolts, with every bellowed order that echoed down the hillside, with every corpse that slumped to the ground in the snow, he found himself agreeing more and more with his less-than-illustrious ancestor. The war, his war, was down there. Guard duty was fucking horseshite.

So when the hillside opened up, nearly swallowing ap Danwyrith mid-swagger, and he saw the shadow of Azjol-Nerub darken the sky, the visor of his helm clacked down over a satisfied smile. He glanced over his shoulder. Nothing from the other side. Nothing breaking through on the slopes, though with the Vrykul horns blaring their hunger, he had to wonder how long that might hold true. The only threat to Yva and her fellow magi was the one directly in front of him.

Convenient, that.

There were more monstrosities behind the Crypt Lord, he saw - wire-limbed geists, mostly, clambering over the edge of the tunnel. Loping towards the tent, and him. Alright, then. There were five of them around the ballistae, if the two madwomen crewing the things had survived. "Balthasar!" roared Bricu, as the Riders' captain was dragged clear of a nasty and probably messy death. "Yers!"

"I have them!" he called back, hoping his voice didn't crack. Not that it mattered, but that sort of thing gave the wrong impression. There were at least six, probably more coming. Didn't matter; if there was one thing he'd taken away from the Grand Army of Lordaeron, it was that the chain of command on the field of battle began and ended with your sergeant. They were his to deal with, and he'd worry about the Nerubian or anything else later.

Jakob slung his axe off his back and the handle dropped into his hands with a comforting weight. Geists, he knew from experience, had the minds of pack predators, without any of that convenient tendency to want to save their own skins. If they were here for the women in the tent, then they'd flank him, bait him, and throw their scrawny bodies onto his axe to get past him and to the "vulnerable" magi. Indeed, the first one loped forward and sprang directly towards him, phlegmy laughter bubbling from beneath its mask. He caught it in the air on the blade of his weapon, taking care not to bury the axe too deep, and flung it to the side as the next two came. The others fanned out around.

He took a couple steps back, one elbow brushing the guy ropes of the tent. The odds were not to his liking. A word came to mind, an ancient word that maybe only the Vrykul in the vale below might have spoken - the name of the North Wind, that hard-hearted old thane of myth. Jakob shifted his axe to one hand, and as the two lead geists came, he gripped the hilt of his sword and spoke a name.

In the shrieking of freezing air that followed, he could barely hear the gibbering response of the crowd of geists as they cringed back, their limbs slowed, their pickled flesh blue with frost. Jakob drew his sword and met the monster on the left with a sweeping backhand blow of his axe, cut at its leg as it darted away and tore sludgy gobbets from its thigh. It yelped and buckled, and his axe came around again and ended it. The next one was on him, pummeling and shrieking like one of Yva's orphans. He held his balance, jabbed with the butt of his axe, and spun back to shear its masked face away into the snow. It fell, thrashing and choking on its own bile.

He felt it then, like the tick of a clock - the point in every fight where the precision of movement and the discipline of battle fell away, and the savage urge to kill choked the vision. Even the undead were prey, he knew - automatons, animals, or damned souls, whatever they were, they howled and laughed and came for him. He met them with a wordless roar, feeling nothing but the weight of his weapons and the heat in his veins.
Now hang me by this golden noose
'Cause I never been nothin' but your golden goose
Silver tongue don't fail me now
And I'll make my way back to you somehow

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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Lansiron » Mon May 04, 2009 11:27 pm

A couple of days back...

They were a stain on the horizon.

Against the eternal white backdrop of the great Dragonblight advanced a host of horrors. Shambling ghouls, creeping gheists, ponderous abominations, stiff skeletal necromancers and soldiers who walked like grotesque puppets on unseen strings. Some of them bore devices clasped to their spines and rising high above their heads; the recognizable symbol of the Scourge represented not by fluttering banners, but crossed iron bars upon which were skewered bones; skulls, ribcages, blackened ribbons of flesh.

Among them were the riders, death knights, each personally raised to power by the Lich King himself; a stoic, commanding presence, black serenity next to the gruesome host that bore them. One rode ahead; empty-eyed shell of a horse at a canter, a forward cavalier who sounded a three-note wail from his wintery horn.

Deathcharger beneath him, Baron Titus Rivendare gazed levelly from the advancing horror, down to his old pocketwatch, clutched in his gauntleted hand. It was still ticking, despite it's coat of frost.

"Well," he murmured, "They're just in time."

The forward scout reined in before the Lord of Stratholme. The hooves of the beast he rode kicked up small white flames as it halted. The rider raised the visor of his helmet, and the face beneath would have been nearly handsome but for the white pallor that death had permanently cast upon it. He saluted.

"Lord Rivendare!" the man dismounted, and kneeled briefly, before approaching the senior death knight. "Tidings from Enki'lah."

"What word from the Temple City, sir...?"

"Johansson, lord. Bertrand Johansson. Enki'lah has fallen." The younger knight's face was placid. "Alliance and Horde forces converged on it's walls, and it was overwhelmed."

"What of Talramas and Naxxanar?"

"Both, grounded, smoldering ruins."

"And Prince Valanar?"

Johannsson's face did not change. "His broken body dangles from a spike over Warsong Hold."

"He was working to undermine Alliance forces. How came the Horde to claim his body?"

"Got to it first, it seems, lord."

"Good for them," Rivendare's tone was dry. "I expect, then, that this company is what remains of the combined Talramas and Naxxanar garrisons?"

A tall, cloaked figure dismounted from the arrived company, walking forward as Johannson continued. "We are, sir. Our orders, from the mouth of the Lich King himself, are to march with you to Angrathar."

"Where," said the approaching figure, voice clear as a funeral bell, "we catch them. We are the hammer." She cast back her hood, ash-blonde hair falling across her armored shoulders. "The Wrath Gate is the anvil." A smirk drew across her lips. "The Seventh Legion and Kor'kron forces are the slag."

Rivendare could not keep a slight smile from his face. "Though the King favoring, we may yet find some good steel to use for our ends, among the dead."

"That's the Lord Rivendare I remember from the Lordaeron campaign," As she spoke, Johansson drew back, bowing his head slighty as the superior officer stepped before Baron Rivendare, clasping his hand with a ringing of gauntlets. "Always ready to join in the gratuitous analogies."

"Lady Maraviglia Norvallen." He stepped back, and the two senior death knights began walking, Johansson falling into step behind. "Didn't you die at Tyr's Hand? Or was it Light's Hope?"

"Tyr's Hand, lord. Actually got trapped in the basement as the Chapel of the Crimson Flame burned. As you can see, that didn't last."

"You know what happened at Light's Hope, though, don't you?"

"I do, lord." The corners of the woman's mouth turned down.

"Surprised you escaped that with your skin."

"Not nearly as surprised as I. I missed Naxxramas' departure, and there was no point in trying to go back to Acherus. Had to slip on board a cargo ship for Valiance Keep. It took a very long time to convince them that I was a diplomat for the Scarlet Crusade."

The two continued to walk, Rivendare glancing cursorily over the host Norvallen had brought, occasionally nodding his approval, whether for their numbers or their general hideousness. "You didn't miss a beat in keeping that look up after your orders in New Avalon were long-since carried out."

"What can I say, my lord?" As she spoke, Johansson began shouting orders to the assembled ranks, the new arrivals moving to mingle with the old, easily falling into line with marching orders pre-ordained in their dead instincts. "I know where my talents lie."

"Perhaps. It's time you had a taste of open warfare again, though."

"I could not agree more, Lord Rivendare." Her tone still conversational, and her movements almost relaxed, she punched Baron Rivendare square in the jaw.

Once again, Johansson's horn sounded, a three-note clarion. And absolute chaos erupted.

The death knights that had come with the arrivals, moving amidst Rivendare's company, cut down the cultists bolstering the ranks with surgical precision, hot blood and offal falling along with a rain of bone splinters, the abominations flinging about the skeletal foot soldiers with childish abandon.

Rivendare's own knights were plucked from their steeds by a screaming flock of gargoyles that plummeted from an empty sky, carried high and dropped, breaking like unwanted toys on the frozen ground. Those that survived the drop, or beat off the screeching monsters before they could be lifted off their chargers, were quietly immolated in black fire by ranks of unliving arcanists.

It was a rout. The Scourge forces could not have been caught more off-guard, and what order they were able to bring themselves into quickly broke as they caught sight of new devices being raised: the dead-black Ebon Blade of Acherus.

Amidst it all, Titus Rivendare and Maraviglia Norvallen circled one another, runeblades in hand. The Baron wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth. His jaw ached, despite the necrotic energy already closing the cut delivered by the blow. "You," his voice still held it's even, conversational timbre, "conniving, backstabbing, traitorous she-troll."

"That one," Norvallen's tone was, if anything, lighter, even amused, "was from Varenna Sungale of the Argent Dawn."


"Someone I'm regretting could not be here right now to laugh at your sorry state."

The opposed death knights met, their ensorcelled weapons meeting in a shower of icy sparks. There was no opening between the two; what Rivendare had in strength, Norvallen matched with uncanny reflexes, parrying and redirecting the blows almost delicately despite the massive blade that she, too, carried, and not a single one landed.

"You should never have left Stratholme, Titus."

The Baron kicked out. Caught in the leg, Norvallen fell, but rolled and righted herself as the point of Rivendare's runeblade plunged into the ground where she had fallen, driven by a powerful, overhanded thrust.

He pulled his sword from the ground to stop a slash that would have taken his head off. He did not reply to her words.

"You should have stayed in that smoldering waste of time. You should have bottled yourself up in the slaughterhouse." Another exchange of blows, another series of cuts that came within an inch of striking home.

"You should have wasted away, or perhaps immolated yourself. You're a failure."

Rivendare's calm did not break. As he went back to circling, stepping, occasionally thrusting to test her openings, cracks formed in the ice they stood upon, forming runic patterns. Norvallen's breath turned heavy as his aura of entropy thickened, but despite the sapping effect, she still held her ground, and worse, still would not shut up.

"A cold, dead failure. What, was it pity that Kel'thuzad felt, in his nonexistant heart, letting you cling to his skirts like a frightened toddler as he flew far, far away from Ground Zero for Rivendare's humiliation?"

The Baron took stock of the situation, trained gaze not flickering from his opponent but taking in still the state of affairs around him. His forces were ground to nearly nothing, and the spectacle of the two death knights was drawing a small crowd of Ebon Blade minions with nothing left to kill.

He dove in again, in another serious of ferocious attacks on Norvallen, who yet stood, if heavily, on the rune-covered ground of his aura.

The woman was not expecting it when he suddenly dove far to the side, stood straight, thrust out a single hand, and a black lance of crackling force shot out from his palm, coiling not around his opponent, but one of the abominations standing slack-jawed opposite him.

With tremendous force, the misbegotten hulk was yanked forward, completely bowling over Norvallen, who's expression was satisfyingly shocked as she was enveloped beneath a rolling mass of flesh and dangling entrails.

Without pause, Rivendare's gauntleted fist thrust into the air. The ice beneath him erupted, and he dove into the host of hostile onlookers upon the back of his deathcharger, called to him. An aisle of smoldering death and decay scattered the surprised crowd, and he charged beyond their masses at a speed only achievable by a steed unhampered by the limitations of living muscle.

The crowd of Ebon Knights and their ghastly retinue glanced back as Norvallen stood up, face pale, and gauntlet over her mouth as if to hold back a heave. The abomination lurched aside into a vaguely upright position. It's giant, hideous face fell into a grotesque but almost comical expression of shame.

"Corpulous is big so-hoh-hoh-rrryyy!" blubbered the rotund horror.

Norvallen looked up at it, opened her mouth, raised a finger, inhaled slowly, and then lowered it. She turned. Bertrand Johansson stood before her, and behind him, the still-retreating figure of Baron Rivendare rapidly dwindling into a speck on the eastern horizon.

"Ma'am?" He inclined his armored head.

"Let him go." She shrugged, poise regained. "We cannot afford delays, and he would likely decimate any smaller force we send after him." She looked down at her hand, clenching and unclenching her fingers. "Surprised I stood my ground, myself. Still, always did want to give Baron Rivendare a good punch in the jaw."

Walking past Bertrand, her voice raised in command, and it echoed in the ears of the Ebon Knights and their host. "Excellent performance, gentlemen." She drew herself up into the saddle of her vacated deathcharger. "But, we will have a chance to outdo ourselves yet!"

Other knights reined in. Ghouls looked up from their feasts, and gargoyles circled above. "We reach Angrathar before dawn!" Her voice resonated amidst the ranks. "Divide up, and maintain formation! When the Wrath Gate is in sight, the Fallen of the Alliance shall move to the perimeter beyond Fordragon Hold! The Fallen of the Horde, to the Kor'kron Vanguard! We take the Wrath Gate, and beyond, we meet with the forces of our Lord Mograine in the blighted glacier of Icecrown!" A metallic timbre entered her words, "Ride, my brothers, to spit in the eye of the Lich King!"

The cheer of men is one thing. The cheer of dead men riding, unliving voices echoing in that metallic cadence, amidst them the rasping cries of grave-spurned malignancies, is another, and any who walked that reach of the Dragon Wastes that day heard only an affirmation of the region's cursed, haunted legends.

And so the force from Acherus rode.
Last edited by Lansiron on Thu May 28, 2009 4:51 am, edited 13 times in total.

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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Jolstraer » Tue May 05, 2009 12:11 am

The roaring, gaping maw behind them? They couldn't quite be arsed, by that point.

Into the valley they came, with fierce, ancient horns bellowing the call of their old gods. Through the shattered line of unliving flesh they came, wild axes whirling and spears hurling through the beginnings of snow.

"I'LL EAT YOUR HEART!" The Vrykul foremost in front of Jol bellowed against the wind, axe coming up in his hands in a mad overhand strike.

"YEH'LL FUCKIN' CHOKE ON ME STEEL!" Taborwynn bellowed back, and he and the others on the line rushed forward to meet the towering foes. In amongst the Vrykul the mercenaries waded, slinging steel and wielding their specialties with deadly proficiency. Jol didn't even break stride when his sword tore the legs out from under the Vrykul that had issued the challenge, and the angry force of th Light shot out from his shield and tore through the chest of the one behind it.

The Vrykul had size and strength on the Riders, but the Riders had inherent brutality in their favor. Jol spun through the second, tearing through the belly and then hacking into the neck with willful abandon. The third came through the breathing snow, wielding a cruel barb of a sword and a massive, beaten shield. Jol set his feet as the towering bastard came at him, shield and sword ready. The Vrykul bellowed in his native tongue, and his sword came down.

Steel clanged, sharp and crisp. Taborwynn's sword was raised, parrying the blade on his own. Vrykul strength bared down with all its might, but the old paladin stood his ground, teeth bared and one eye glaring back up defiantly as his sword arm remained true. The two bitter combatants remained locked in their test of wills while Rider and Vrykul alike spilled blood all around them. In Jol's gut a fierce roar was rising, as his arm began to tremble just barely under the force. It came out in a snarl, then a growl, then a bellow as inch by inch the bound blades moved away from him. His shield armed moved back ever so slowly, then slammed into the Vrykul with all his strength, simultaneously slinging the blade away and thrusting. Jol's own blade was thwarted by a shield, and the pair danced an old soldier's dirge.

Back and forth the pair hammered, searching for weakness and finding nothing but bare chances and hard shields in their paths. Cuts and flashes of blood appeared on the exposed skin of each, and they kept at each other like rabid dogs hungry for that blood. A slash, and a spin, and another cut. A resounding thud as sword met shield again, and this time the Vrykul bound Jol's blade against his shield with his own weapon, yanking it from the Paladin's grasp. Jol rebounded back with shield up, and as the Vrykul opened himself up for the finishing attack, the wily old bastard's service dagger flashed out from his belt sheathe, and plunged into the Vrykul's groin to the hilt. A merciless yank upwards, and Jol cut a ragged path through pelvis and midsection, tearing out the side of the abdomen in a sickening half-moon. The Vrykul clutched at his side, dropping his shield but still swinging blindly with that cruel sword. Jolly avoided another swing, moving to the side and behind and burying the dagger into the side of the knee, sending the Vrykul sprawling.

Jolly took his time picking up his sword, grabbing ahold of the Vrykul's helm and slinging it off of him. THe Vrykul's head fell, exposing the neck, and he chanted in some ancient tongue as Jol's sword rose and fell to finish the deed.

More Vrykul came. And Jol Taborwynn met them head on. His only hope was that he and the others could last against them long enough for someone to hold their flank, or the Riders would be done for from a two-front skirmish in the greater battle of Angre'thar.
"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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Re: The Wrath Gate

Postby Rashona » Tue May 05, 2009 11:09 am

Mother. They defile Your body, murder Your children.  Help me fight them. Power rushed through Rashona, warm and familiar as her own blood, and she leapt forward in a tawny blur.

The world was different through a cat's senses, all scent and sound and the tug of air on her whiskers.  Sight was distant and unimportant until you saw movement, there, there, where a new-fallen ghoul was dragging itself back up out of the snow.  She raced toward it, claws sheathed for silence until she struck.  Lich King or no, a body ripped to rags of flesh would pose no threat to the ones she protected. 

She dove into one skirmish after another, weaving among knots of struggling bodies, creeping up to spring on an abomination that towered over her.  Her muscles tired and her fur grew slick with gore and worse, but it was a distant annoyance, lost in the need to balance savagery and precision.  She'd long since been separated from Linedan, and had to trust his strength to keep him alive, trust the humans not to turn on Davien and Corspilla.  Be safe-  It wasn't a prayer; there was no time for prayers.

She could hear shouts, curses in a dozen different languages, and ignored them.  Warcries were for those who needed words to fight; for Rashona, the heart of battle was silence. Then she heard a thundering bellow that might have been Linedan. Her head whipped around, and the geists were on her, tumbling down the rocky slope in a jittering parody of a waterfall's power.  Almost her match in strength and agility, and rushing at her in a cascade of fluttering rags and snatching claws-


was a prayer, and it was answered.  Her body grew taller, thicker, dark fur stretching like armor where there had been fluid grace a moment before.  The black bear raked her claws across empty air and roared.

Come to me!
Last edited by Rashona on Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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