Part I Edit
The sound of fists pounding the office door caused an instantaneous reaction in the elf. In a mid-air leap, she slid fluidly from humanoid to sleek, panther length, landing and running to the lobby without pause. Lynissa was already there, fielding a small crowd of potential customers who had become increasingly worried by rumors of a new plague spreading more quickly than ever before. A pounding again - likely the result of a guantlet-covered fist - resounded at the front door. Nikajah ignored the stares of the folks in the lobby and drew herself up into full elven form, throwing open the door, steeling her nerves to be ready for whatever lay on the other side.
"Bigglezink, Argent Dawn!" a chestnut-haired gnome cried as the door swung open. She pushed past Nikajah's gaping stare into the lobby, a hefty, double-bladed axe strapped to her back. "Which one of you here is the Director? I must speak to her immediately!" Her plate boots echoed against the floorboards, dropping bits of travel-dirt in her wake.
"Me," Nikajah said, straightening to her full height. "Come to my office." Without a further word or glance, she walked up the stairway to her office. She would make it clear whose ground the gnome was standing upon.
As soon as she closed the door shut behind Bigglezink, she rounded upon her, using her height to her advantage. "What do you mean by scaring my patronage half to death, not to mention upsetting my colleagues!?"
Bigglezink's expression did not waver. Though she wore her hair in twin braided coils above each ear, her face was as stony as any seasoned war veteran. "Betina Bigglezink, representative of the Argent Dawn, serving as messenger for Lord Maxwell Tyrosus. There's a new plague. I'm certain you've heard the rumors. Catches quickly. Turns folks into zombies. The walking dead. Need zombie hunters and there isn't much time. Also need to figure out what's causing it, if it's a new strain of the plague we've seen, and attempt to devise a cure. Obviously too much for our organization alone to handle. It's bad. Really bad." The gnome hitched her thumbs into her belt. "Willing to hire your company."
"The rumors are true then. There's a new plague..." Nikajah trailed off, sitting down hard in her chair.
"Aye, ma'am. Got a few other organizations to visit. We don't have much information yet, but keep in touch. We'll notify you of any changes." Bigglezink's plate boots slid together, heels crashing with an audible click. She snapped a crisp, military salute.
"Yes, yes of course. We'll take the job." She gripped the arms of her seat. A new, fast-spreading plague? Elune help them!
Part II Edit
Drawing her cowl lower so that it partially covered her eyes, Elisia trotted her roan mare down the dusty road wending its way through Elwynn Forest. The gates of the City of Stormwind faded from view behind her, and it wasn't long before she could see the pillar of smoke rising in the sky to announce her arrival in the thriving town of Goldshire. The clink of a blacksmith's hammer resonated through the trees.
A rustle in the brush behind her caught her attention. Sometimes Defias brigands hid along the road searching for easy coin. They would not find her so easy. She drew rein and stopped, swinging the mare around in a wide arc. Dust settled behind her, submitting to the fat drops of rain that had begun falling from swollen, dark clouds tangling in the sky. "Uuunnggh..."
The mare began to buck and rear, whinying as it shook its head from side to side, the whites of its eyes showing in nervous frenzy. Elisia pulled hard on the reins, trying to bring her steed under control, but it wrenched loose of each attempt. From behind the trees and out of the darkness emerged three misshapen figures, dragging their legs beneath them unnaturally. The stench of death hung heavy in the air, permeating her nose and causing the mare's nostrils to flare. It reared up and dumped her on the road, darting away in a burst of speed into the curtain of rain-drizzled trees in the opposite direction from the abominations.
With surprising agility for a woman in thick dress robes, Elisia came to her feet, the cowl sliding back to reveal her dissheveled auburn hair and icy gaze. Three undead, three presumably Scourge, roaming the forests so close to the town... Words of power slid from her lips in a fluid jumble, opening a gateway to the Nether, pulling a minion through from the Great Beyond. The imp screeched indignantly.
Fire surrounded Elisia's outstretched fingers as though they were aflame all their own. The firelight picked up the coppery tones from her autumn hair, framing her like an unearthly halo. The fire never seemed to penetrate those ice-colored eyes, even when it burst forth from her fingertips to envelop the lumbering corpses before her. With a cry to match her fury, the imp pelted the undead with felfire of its own, burning an intense sickly green.
The zombie's dull expressions never changed, even as they became kindling beneath the conjured weaves of flame. They slowly inched forward through the inferno, intent on eradicating or poisoning every living being in their path. With a grim determination, Elisia looked skyward and the heavens erupted in raining balls of churning fire like great lumps of coal ignited.
Part III Edit
Screaming filled her sensative ears, tugging at her heart. The townspeople were in an utter panic, half-mad with fear. Others carried the taint of disease, eyes glazed over, flesh oozing. It was those she sought out. "In the name of Elune, be purged!" Her voice rang out clear, despite its usual melodic softness.
She carried the candle with her, guarding herself against the taint. A woman came up to her, tear-stained cheeks black with dust and soot. She dragged a child nearly gone to the Scourge behind her, even as she clutched Mai's robes.
"Please! You must save him!"
She could see the child turning, the bulbous eyes empty, the ghostly pallor of his skin. Flesh peeled back and sores oozed from his skin. He smelled of decay. Mai fought back the lump in her throat.
"Leave him with me and run. Run and do not look back," she whispered. The woman grovelled still.
"I cannot leave my child! I won't!"
"Run woman! Run to the City to get help for him!" She knew it was far too late. The wide-eyed woman darted a desperate look between Mai and her child.
"I will be back Bairn. I will be back for you!" She scrabbled away, running for the City gates.
"Elune make this quick!" The child began to tremble, reaching out with slow, controlled movements. Movements meant for her. She called down a pillar of holy fire. It struck the child's corpse in the chest, burning him from within. The explosion left only motes of decayed dust behind.
Mai scrubbed the tears flowing down her own cheeks. There would be time to mourn... but now was the time for battle.
Part IV Edit
She was one with the blade, and the blade was her. It leaped like a serpent from her grasp, plunging into one foe before swinging around in an arc to catch the head of the one behind her. Her mind was surprisingly quiet; there was nothing but she and the dance.
Still the onslaught came, more turned and more turning as they fought. Her long silver tresses stuck to her face, matted there with a sheen of sweat, but it was not part of the dance, and thus, not a part of her. Muscles corded and worked and strained, but she felt nothing of it. Her body was a tool, wrought from hours spent in training, and this was the reward. She could almost feel Elune filling her, so close she was to the Goddess, to the center of her being, when she danced with the blade.
Her eyes closed and opened. The music had faded; the dance, ended. Severed limbs quivered in the final throes of death: eternal death now, traded for that grotesque animation that had been forced upon the bodies. She had freed them, each one, with the Grace of Elune, with the twitch of her sword. The stench finally reached her nose, stinging her eyes with its intensity. She scoured away the sweat with the back of her wrist, shoving slick hair from obstructing her view. She needed to see, to see what she'd done, and to remember.
Sickness seized her belly now that she was no longer infused with the Strength of the Goddess. Gripping her sword hard by the pommel, she emptied her stomach with a loud retch. It wasn't the disease; no, it was the battlefield that had her sick up. Without a word, a water skin was shoved under her chin. She brought her eyes up to the source, a hard-faced man whose features could have been chiseled from stone. Plate encased his head, though there were dents in his once-shining breastplate and greaves. There was too much knowing in that steel-gray gaze.
She accepted the proffered water, turning the skin upside down and washing out her mouth before gulping the cool liquid greedily. He gave her the slightest of nods, the short acknowledgment of one grizzled war veteran to a battle mate.
In a voice like gravel against metal-encased hooves of the human's steeds, he uttered, "The next wave is coming."
Part V Edit
It was a mad race. Race to the next invasion. Race to the stones where the necropolis deployed a new undead unit. Race to destroy them. Her tracking skills proved quite invaluable as she gently urged her saber forward in feline-speak; just a few soft words directed their path.
The next crystal came into view. She was off Dravik's saddle in one fluid motion, running alongside him with Xiana sprinting before her. The panther's legs barely seemed to touch the ground in her burst of speed, muscle rippling along her sides with each stride, each bound. Jasaeri's bow was drawn before she even stopped her dead own dead run, arrow nocked and ready to be loosed.
There was a roar as feline claw met inhuman flesh, raking through the diseased, the distorted, the soldiers of the Lich's command. Jasaeri filled each new spawn with arrows to the head, several splitting the shaft before it to bury into the undead skull, taking many more than average to fell the Scourge minions. The Alliance and Horde alike swarmed the necropolis-generated unit, all a mad dash before the next one, and the next, and then a new location entirely...
It was as exhausting as it was exhilarating. Jasaeri hadn't even needed the Sentinel orders brought to her by her hawk owl, Curmudgeon, to know that she would be sent to the Argent Dawn and deployed to respond to the Scourge threat. She'd even seen victims of the New Plague - as so many began to call it - ravaging Azeroth and beyond. They seemed to have leaked through the Dark Portal itself and contaminated Outland, as well. But her first duty was here; leave the cleansings to the Priest-Sisters.
Arrows flew from her fingertips in a circle without pause from quiver to bow to skull to quiver again. Xiana was on a rampage; she could feel the anger - nay, outrage - oozing from the Bond. The animals loathed the unnatural.
"South!" someone cried, and the race was on again.