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The Gold Job
#1
(The following story will get a bit gory, and it may be a bit offensive to some players)

On most nights at the Inn of Southshore there would have been merry making and drinking, where honest working folk would retire for the night and look forward spending their daily earnings. On a night like this though, things were silent and morose with an air of tension and fear, the folk of Southshore sat in huddled groups, some drowning their sorrows, others just trying to forget the worries of the recent disasters spreading across the nearby communities.

Sitting by the fireplace was a young man, his features were concealed by a ragged linen cloak, and his green eyes looked into the fire with only a look of irritation which barely hid the inferno of rage and anger which roared within him.

On his lap was a rusty iron axe of the kind often used by loggers upon the table to his side was an old hunting crossbow, the wood was chipped and cracked, the metal was rusted on a few spots, but thankfully the mechanisms which allowed it to fire a bolt were perfectly fine, thus still making it serviceable.

The young man was waiting for someone, he had heard about a band of adventurers wandering into town and helping out with some of the local matters. As if a bunch of walking fish or eel people were somehow the real problem! His hands clenched into fists as his impatience began to get to him.

He tried to get help from one of the adventurers earlier; a massive southern man who drank like a dwarf and had been too drunk to help him, the second he tried to ask for help from, another southerner of a significantly lighter build simply said he was busy and was quick to turn his attentions and coin to the waitress.

The third adventurer he was frightened to even bother trying to ask help from for despite her size and seemingly friendly demeanor, she was a witch which terrified him. The fourth one had left town according to the local flight mistress, so he waited for the last one who was out there somewhere in the darkness of the wilds.

“What can I get you?” suddenly came the voice of the waitress asking sweetly.

The young man was startled by the woman and looked to her, he was quickly distracted by her pretty face, and her exotic dark skin and especially her white dress which showed a bit too much cleavage that made him want to shift one leg over the other.

“j-just some water and bread please” he said rather nervously.

The waitress nodded with a smile and walked away to get his order, his gazed lingered upon her hips which swayed in a way which distracted him. Shaking his head his thoughts went back to the last adventurer, wondering if he perhaps that one would be the right choice.

Quietly kneeling under a copse of trees, Haelna breathed steadily, her breath misted in the cold night air as her right hand gripped the handle of a bow while her left held an arrow notched and ready. Her right eye peered into the scope she had placed upon the weapon; she was covered in the shadows of the night, the moon and stars offering little light upon the world below.

In time she saw the orange glows of torches, shifting her aim to the light she saw there were three of them, the torches were each held aloft by a party of hunched creatures with pale skin which had rotted and revealed bones on many areas.

Looking at the group, her keen sight was able to make out what equipment they carried, one was a male clad in dark robes and carrying a staff upon his back, likely a magician of sorts. There was another male clad in dark mail armor whose head was protected by a coif and wielding a massive mace upon his back, the last was a female she thought clad in dark leather armor and whose face was concealed under a hood.

Haelna could not see what weapons the last one carried, but the dwarf could confidently believe the last one had at least a dagger or two. The group walked down the cobbled road, the warrior was at the front followed by the rogue and the magician, obviously on the lookout for trouble while talking in that odd language once spoken by humans of Lordaeron, and so she waited and watched hoping her cover would not be blown.

Tensing her grip she began to breathe steadily once more, her sights now focused on the magician she calculated the speed of which the group was travelling and how fast her arrow would fly. Pulling the string and letting loose, the arrow flew towards the magician, quickly reaching into her quiver she pulled out another arrow and heard a shout of pain and a loud roar in the distance.

Swiftly pulling back the string again she loosed another arrow aimed at the magician again, she saw as the magician gripped the first arrow upon his left hip, she wondered if the magician knew or could even feel if the arrow was tipped with poison, the magician was then struck by the second arrow this time to his shoulder, and was quickly struck by a third through throat, causing the magician to gurgle dark blood before another arrow lodged itself into the side of his head.

As Haelna fired her arrows into the magician, the warrior and the rogue were assailed by a massive brown bear which charged down upon them with amazing speed, the rogue leapt out of its way, but the warrior only had time to throw away his torch and grab his mace.

The warrior was struck down by the bear’s sheer weight, as the bear raised its right paw to bring down upon its foe, the warrior who still gripped his mace stopped it with shaft, blocking it and struggling against the bear’s weight.

From the shadows suddenly came the rogue wielding twin daggers, her blades flashed into the bear’s thick hide, scoring several bloody strikes, the bear roared in pain and attempted to backhand the undead woman of who was able to gracefully dodge the blow before throwing a knife which struck the bear upon the its chest.

The warrior quickly thrust the head of his mace at the bear’s face striking the creature upon the snout and felt the satisfying crack of bones; the bear reeled back and began to feel the burning effects of the poison in its system.

Going into frenzy, it roared its defiance and stood its ground, the warrior quickly got back upon his feet roaring in challenge and charging the beast, the rogue circled around the bear attempting to flank it. Quickly marking and taking aim at the rogue, Haelna fired another shot this one she had focused her will into, imbuing it with arcane energy.

The arrow blazed with bluish energy and struck the undead woman upon the small of her back, the rogue shrieked in pain and turned to see where the shot may have come from, she was greeted by a second poisoned arrow which struck her where the heart should have been before another shot struck the undead woman in belly.

The warrior did not have time to register what had happened to his companions as he battled the bear, his mace swung left, right and in other directions trying to confuse the beast which attempted to back away and swat the weapon, the bear then left itself an opening the warrior exploited and swung his mace into its ribs, he felt the satisfying crack of bones.

Yet the bear still stood, it swung its right paw at his face, slashing it and staggering him aside yet still remaining on his feet. The warrior did not have time to recover as an aimed arrow struck directly into the back of his right knee, lodging into the bone and eliciting a shout of pain. The bear was quickly upon him, its jaws clamping down upon the warrior’s head, crushing it like snapvine watermelon.

Lowering her bow, Haelna quickly went for her axe and sword to make sure the three were truly dead. Cautiously moving forwards she first went to the body of the magician who laid still, beneath his hood, she was disgusted to see he was missing his lower jaw and wondered how such a creature could still use magic, let alone even function, reversing her grip upon her sword, she plunged the blade down into the magician’s neck and began sawing, it’s blood spattering upon her armor.

Rising up, she then went towards the body of the rogue, passing her bear which growled at her as it continued to maul at the body of the warrior. Going towards the body of the rogue, she wondered if she should do the same as she had done to the magician, she knew rogues could be deadly and cunning, deciding not to risk it she sheathed her weapons and pulled out her bow.

Carefully aiming at the still form of the rogue she fired an arrow which struck into the side of the rogue’s neck, the second and third was then lodged into the side of the rogue’s head. After making sure the rogue was dead she pulled out her axe and used it to sever the head from the neck, dark blood gushing out over her leather gauntlets. Turning her attention to her bear which had finally spent its anger, the creature limped towards her breathing heavily with drool and blood dripping from its maw.

Reaching into her pack, she pulled out a vial which contained a red liquid, removing the stopper she placed the potion upon the bear’s mouth which raised its head and began to eagerly imbibe the alchemical formula.

Swiftly, the bear’s wounds began to mend without even a scar, but it still remained weak from the poison which coursed through its veins, throwing away the vial, Haelna then reached into her pack again and produced a second vial this one containing a greenish liquid which could remove the poison.

Giving the bear the anti-venom in the same manner as the healing potion, she then gave the bear its reward, a large slice of cured ham.

As the bear greedily devoured the ham, Haelna went to the body of the warrior and saw that his head had been gored heavily with brain matter leaking out, just to be sure, she beheaded the slain warrior, and making sure that each of the three would have met a final death.

Placing the heads in a sack, she went about looting the bodies for anything useful as well as recovering what arrows she could; each of the undead carried a sack containing several human skulls, many of which looked as if they had been recently flensed, quite anger built up within her as she searched for any useful.

To her delight at the least she found more than a few coins of silver and several coins of copper, and she had even found a gold piece, she then began stripping the bodies of their equipment and placing them in another her other packs.

Hearing the howls of wolves, she reminded herself that orcs rode upon such beasts as a human would upon a horse. Deciding that perhaps it was time to go she looked to her bear of which he had named Ulli and said in her native tongue “Come on, let’s go”

With that the two went off across the hills, wary of any ambushes much like the one they had set up, for in lands such as Hillsbrad Foothills, nowhere was truly safe.

It was now almost midnight and the rain began to pour, members of the Southshore militia remained vigilant for any threats while the local inhabitants went into their homes, locked their doors and had gone to bed. At the inn, the innkeeper yawned sleepily as weariness began to get over him, he noticed the only patron which remained was the young man with a crossbow who seemed to have dozed off on the chair in front of the fire place.

He did know who the fellow was, but he had paid for a room at least and had paid for his orders, despite getting the cheapest ones. He had said something about waiting for someone, the dwarf he supposed as he had seen him talking with the other adventurers, likely some lad who thought that with all those adventurers going about, he would want to join up with them. “Ah the foolishness” of youth thought the innkeeper before deciding that he should close down for the night.

Going to the young man to help escort him to his room, the innkeeper heard a sudden knocking at the door “that should be the dwarf then” thought the innkeeper. He headed for the front which was sealed with a thick wooden door to which he opened, looking down to see the dwarf woman and her bear, both of whom were dripping wet.

The dwarf woman wore a suite of darkened chainmail armor which was looked liked it had seen much use; curiously the dwarf wielded a bow with a quiver upon her back, while carrying an axe and a sword to her sides. Gesturing them to come in, the dwarf and her bear walked through the door; he heard the gentle jingling of the chain links and the groaning of the wooden planks as it tried to resist the bear’s weight.

The innkeeper had once grumbled at the thought of adventurers bringing in their filthy and often insane excuses of pets, once for example it had been a dwarf with a wolf, another time it had been one of those weird purple skinned elves from across the sea with a hawk which squawked and flew around almost knocking things over, and another time it had been another elf with a raptor which terrified him even more than the wolf.

The best patron he had was a dwarf who brought a crocolisk which at the least did not enter the inn and resided upon the shore, still he supposed that as long as these adventurers keep paying him for the food, drinks, rooms and even the extra cost of having their pets around, he should not complain as much.

“I trust your night has been pleasant milady?” asked the innkeeper in a friendly tone and trying to conceal his weariness.

The dwarf looked up at him with those brown eyes, her hair was brown as well which reached to her shoulders with three braids. Her flesh was quite fair of skin almost pale though, she had freckles on her round face and he supposed she was quite pretty in a way, but certainly not as gorgeous as some of the human or especially the elf women adventurers that would sometimes stay over, especially the ones who seemed fond of gear which was ‘distracting’ to say the least (not that he was complaining of course).

“You can say that, yes. I’d like a Flask of Port please” replied the dwarf. When this particular band of adventurers first came in a few days ago, the innkeeper was a bit surprised at first about the lack of a thick accent from the dwarf like other dwarfs customers, but he had simply dismissed it as of being nothing.

“I will get it right away milady” he said bowing “By the way there is a young fellow looking for you in front of the hearth” The dwarf woman gave him a curious look her right eyebrow raised

“Oh? And who might that be?” asked the dwarf

“I do not know, just a lad probably fancying on being an adventurer I guess” shrugged the innkeeper.

The dwarf woman nodded then went into the common area; he hoped that this would not lead to a fight for he had seen more than a few adventurers start fights and make a mess of things, whether it is in his inn or elsewhere in town. Yawning again, he reminded himself to go get that flask of port wondering if perhaps he could do with one himself too.

Walking into the common area, Haelna looked to her left and saw a young human, probably still in his teens but she was no expert in telling age with humans. The human was seated upon a chair, his head was leaning back and snoring, the hood upon his cloak had fallen revealing his clean shaven face, his hair was light brown and styled in the way common among the human peasantry. She noted there was a pair of poorly maintained weapons, a woodsman’s axe and hunting crossbow on the table beside him.

Going to the human to see what this was about, she heard the steps of the innkeeper making his way to the cellar and the paws of her bear as settled its bulk by the hearth, now standing beside him she tried tapping on his shoulder, but the human remained asleep. Rolling her eyes she began clapping loudly near his ears which jolted the man awake, startling him and causing him to look around the inn, clearly not even bothering to look down at the dwarf woman.

“Hey, down here” Haelna said

The human suddenly turned his head in her direction with an almost comical look which had a mix of alarm and sleepiness. Getting up the human looked down at her, his eyes soon widened in surprise as he noted her bear which laid its bulk down by the hearth, his face soon adopted a more serious expression, of which she noted there was a certain dangerous glint in his eyes, the kind someone has when he looking to spill some blood.

“You’re an adventurer I hear” the human said.

Nodding towards him, Haelna replied “I am, yes. And what is it to you, human?”

“I -I want to hire you, I am willing to pay” he said rather abruptly while reaching for a leather coin pouch on the side of his belt

Raising an eyebrow with her curiosity piqued she replied “Exactly what kind of job is this? And how much are you willing to pay?”

Opening the pouch in front of her and showing its contents, it was full of silver coins, the human then spoke “I want to hire you and your friends to help me protect my village; I am willing to pay each of you fifty silver coins each”

“I see…” said Haelna with intrigue “and to what exactly do you want to us guard your village from?”

“We need protection from the raids of the Horde! Especially from those undead monsters calling themselves the Forsaken” said the human a little too loudly

Giving a soft grunt Haelna then asked “And will my friends and I have to just defend your village? Or just kill as many as we see?”

“Both!” said the human quite hotly “The fiends have been raiding my village, murdering my friends and neighbors! We are just farmers, miners and wood cutters not soldiers. I want those monsters to pay for what they have done!”

The beginning of that last sentence also made her curious, looking to the human she said “I, human? Do you mean that you personally wish to join this venture?”

The human looked a bit surprised; he retorted angrily “Of course I am! Were you not listening!? Those bastards have been murdering the folk in my town! It’s time we fight back!”

Nodding to the human, Haelna replied “Well in that case then, I shall have to speak to my companions, I personally have my interest piqued but I shall see what they have to see what they have to say”

“Please! We need these attacks stop!” the human begged with desperation

“All right, all right no need to be all excited about it. Let us meet come the morrow and we can discuss the rest of the details with my companions” said the dwarf calmly. The human nodded and thanked her, she could see he was rather relieved by her acceptance; the human then looked to her and offered his hand.

“Thank you!” he said with much gratitude “I am Stefan Halson, ma’am.”

Taking the hand and giving it a firm shake, Haelna then said “Haelna Aedurn, at your service”. With that the dwarf woman then went to the bar to pick up her drink, the exhausted looking innkeeper handed her the flask, to which she thanked him and handed him a few coins.

“I trust the lad has not given you any trouble milady?” said the innkeeper with a weary and forced smile.

Nodding to the human, Haelna then said “Quite the other way around really, I believe my friends and I may be staying a bit longer”

The human nodded then said “Have pleasant night milady”

“And to you too” she said before looking to her bear which seemed fast asleep on the stone floor in front of the hearth, while the human Stefan was gathering his belongings, he nodded to her to which she nodded back before making her way upstairs.

Going to the room her party had rented, she gently opened the door which creaked open; she could hear the familiar snoring of some of her companions. Entering the dark room which only had lighting from the curtained window, she skillfully made her way to one of the two beds, on most days the members of her party would have to share, fortunately due to her size as well as that of two her other companions it was quite simple to make space for three to be in one and two upon the other, but for now as one of their members flew to Ironforge there would be more space.

In the dark she removed her armor, leaving only her trousers and a fine brown cloth shirt she had received as a ‘gift’ from another hunter in Loch Modan and setting her bow and a quiver as well as the leather sack containing the three heads by the eastern wall alongside her rifle and ammo pouch. Quietly making her way to one of the beds with the flask of port and a goblet in hand, she climbed upon the bed.

With her legs dangling down she opened the flask and began to carefully pour the drink into the goblet and managed to do so without spilling a drop. Raising the goblet to her lips, she slowly began draining the port, enjoying the warmth in her throat and belly as well as the taste which she found pleasing.

After finishing her drink and setting both the bottle and the goblet by the night stand, she settled down under the sheets which were already warm from the body heat of one of her companions, she could smell the reek of cheap ale which did little to bother her. Relaxing herself, she allowed the comforting darkness of sleep to consume her.

The night passed quietly with only patter of rain upon the outer structure of the inn, and the soft sounds of the waves lapping against the shore. Haelna awakened to feel the easing of pressure upon the bed as her companion awoke, going back to sleep she would eventually awaken again as the rest of her companions began to stir and make their way out of the room, eventually she would find sleep again.

Hearing the creaking of the door which was followed by a delectable aroma and the jangling of chains, Haelna could hear someone was moving towards her, slowly opening her eyes she was greeted by the sight of a human man wearing chainmail armor; his hair was dark brown in a loose style with a well trimmed beard growing around his jaw, the human set a plate of food and a leather skin upon the night stand which was missing the flask she had purchased the previous night, he then opened the curtain to allow the light into the room which momentarily blinded Haelna.

“Wakey-Wakey lil missy” said the man in a playful tone.

Squinting her eyes against the light she raised her left forearm to cover her eyes and her right to help prop herself up with her back to the head rest.

“Ugh, what time is it now Arion?” she asked groggily. The human man, one Arion Tahir grinned at the dwarf woman and replied

“Should be mid-morning now, I see you had a successful hunt last night”

Nodding to the man in acknowledgement, he nodded back and went to the west side of the room where several bags were placed, Moving into a seated position, Haelna stretched her limbs and yawned, she then rested her limbs by her side she looked to the nightstand and reached for the platter of food.

Upon the plate there was a large white wedge of Stormwind Brie and the steaming yellow form of an omelet made from the eggs of raptors, keeping the plate on her left hand she reached for a fork by its side and began wolfing down on her meal and washing it down with the contents of the skin containing spring water.

Picking up several bags, Arion then looked to Haelna and said “We’ve already had a chat with our new employer”

“And?” asked the dwarf

“We have all accepted it, although Leo has his reservations against it” said the man referring to his brother Leorion Tahir, a large human male with blonde hair done in a dashing style, clad in chain mail armor and wielding a great sword. Likely the man was still cross about that escort job back in the Wetlands when some elves were trying to make their way to Stormwind, “But the pay is good so why not?” finished Arion.

“And what does Mirry say?” asked Haelna, referring to their party’s Warlock, a blue eyed female gnome clad in dark red robes with black hair done in a long pony tail style and had a preference for destructive sorcery.

“As happy as a child on Winter Veil” he said with a chuckle. “I am going to go down and head over to the alchemists” said the man before waving a farewell.

Waving back, Haelna went back to her meal. When she had finished, she placed down the plate and the water skin by the night stand and got off the bed, she made her way to her equipment and began putting on her armor.

After her armor was equipped she began picking up her bags noting the leather sack with the heads was missing but dismissed it to her companions, she began deciding whether she should use her rifle or a bow today, after a few moments of thinking she decided to use her rifle, after making sure her equipment was secure she went out of the room and down into the common area.

Making her way down to the common area, she saw the inn was quite full. The tables were filled with a mix of off duty militia, a few of the locals and quite a number of other adventurers from others races, looking over the crowd she saw her companions upon a large table by the hearth along with another company of adventurer.

She saw the large form of Leorion in conversation with a dwarf clad in plate armor, the human then caught sight of Haelna and waved to her, she waved back and made her way past the various patrons.

Taking a seat by her party with her back to the hearth and with the gnome Mirry to her left and Leorion to her right she faced the party of other adventurers with a polite smile, many of whom she recognized from previous adventures.

She could see there were two other dwarves, one was the plate clad fellow named Dorandor who was a brown bearded warrior, skilled with hammer and shield. The other dwarf she recognized gave her a lewd grin to which she returned with a wink, she knew this flame bearded dwarf as Morinor, a rogue who forgoes subtlety and surprise with cunning brutality, in other words he fought dirty.

There were two gnomes as well, one was a brown bearded gnome warrior named Gnorren of whom she had found amusing because he acted more like a dwarf than a gnome complete with an axe that was bigger than he and yet could easily lift it. The other gnome was a white mustached mage named Nighble who favored the use of arcane magic over the elements.

The last member of the other party was an older dark skinned and auburn haired human female who had a cold air of superiority and arrogance which some mages annoyingly had; the human wore a black silk robe and eyed the warlock Mirry, she learned the human was a warlock as well who went by the name of Valeria Ashe, Haelna noted that the other warlock had an odd accent of which she could not identify.

The two parties of adventurers exchanged pleasantries and chatted amongst the each other. They exchanged introductions and took time in catching up and sharing adventures, it turned out that the other party had also been in the employment of the human Stefan Halson, according to Dorandor, the lad was paying all of them with his family’s life savings.

She had also learned that their fifth member had also just returned via Hearthstone and was currently at the alchemist shop, eventually the social gathering would come to an end when their employer finally arrived; Stefan wore his ragged linen cloak while garbed in a cheap suit of a militia’s chain mail armor with his crossbow and axe to his back.

Raising their heads to their employer the lad cleared his throat and said

“Right, uh… let’s get started” getting up one by one the two parties of adventurers left their payments on the tables and made their way out.

Stepping in the cool misty morning air, Haelna took a deep breath of the mixed scent of the sea and the fresh rain; she heard a series of heavy steps to her side and saw her bear walking up towards her with a fish in its mouth.

Gently stroking the bear’s head the party was rejoined by Arion and a human woman with golden blonde hair done in a bun style, she was dressed in white robes and carrying a silvery mace in one hand and a staff in the other, the woman was their party’s fifth member, a priestess named Azlaine Schreiber who was trained in mysteries of the Light.

“I have been informed of our current venture by Arion and I believe this endeavor shall be worth it” said the priestess in a warm tone with a welcoming smile.

She then began whispering a prayer, and Haelna suddenly felt invigorated by the priestess’s prayer knowing that her already resilient dwarven constitution would be imbued.

“So which way to your town?” came the child like voice of Mirry with much enthusiasm as she often would at the prospect of battle.

Stefan looked to Mirry and said “We head northwest; we might want to avoid the roads this time.”

“Bah! Let them come and try!” came the deep baritone voice of Dorandor as he stroked his beard.

“I could use the exercise” said Leorion as he pulled a chainmail coif over his blonde hair “How ‘bout the rest of you lot?”

Considering the numbers of their group it was unanimously agreed that they should follow the road. The party traveled in a semblance of a formation, Leorion, Arion, Dorandor and Gnorren were at the front in a semi circle pattern with each of them being warriors, at the center of their formation was Mirry, Azlaine, Nighble and Valerith each one a magician with the warlocks flanked by Imps which made Stefan uneasy and Ulli growling in caution, of course the rest of them also felt the same but had grown used to it over the course of their adventures. At the back was Stefan, Morinor, Haelna and Ulli, the dwarves occasionally looked back to see if anyone was following them but Haelna was confident that there were none.

The party arrived at the Stefan’s village, a settlement called Geldbauer without incident after a few hours out of Southshore. The village itself was situated upon the hills by the Alterac Mountains forming a natural barrier on the north western side, the village itself was composed of a Town Hall with several peasant farms, barns and wind mills around it according to their employer the village currently had over ninety people.

They saw a Lumber Mill of an old High Elf design, a barracks which also had an old design from the second war, a blacksmith which seemed closer to the contemporary style commonly used by the Alliance military and even a church.

The settlement itself was a sorry place, signs of battle and damage were everywhere from burn marks upon the buildings or the earth, shattered fences and windows and masonry, they had even noticed a number of freshly dug graves, they passed by several nervous looking peasants and more than a few militiamen who looked to be on edge.

One of the Militiamen tried to halt them, he was a middle aged black and grey haired man with a bushy beard and large buggy eyes, the man was wearing a leather cap over his head, he wore a set of rusty scale mail armor which seemed too large for him and wielding an axe and shield, the man tried almost pathetically to look imposing, instead he seemed more of a nervous wreck.

“H-Halt there travelers!” shouted the man in a thick accent common amongst the human peasantry as the adventurers closed in.

There were a number of equally nervous looking men who hardly seemed the fighting sort, many seemed too old or too young to even be in a militia. Gently making his way to the front of the group, Stefan loudly spoke and showed his face to which the militiamen recognized

“It’s all right! I brought them here” said their employer

“By the Light! Stefan you actually got some adventurers to help us out!” said the militiaman with much relief.

“Afore ye be getting yer opes up, longshanks” came the gravelly voice of Morinor as he made his way to the front of the group as well “This ere jus be a job fer us, da lad ere be payin us ta go en keel sum zombees an orcs, we be gettin paid then we go bugger off”. There was a unanimous series of agreements from the adventurers, even the priestess Azlaine nodded in accord.

The militiaman seemed disappointed “We’ll pay you all what we can, even offer you all free food and board if you can help end these raids”

“We will have to wait and see then won’t we?” came the high pitched raspy voice of Gnorren as he hefted a massive bearded axe and casually rested its shaft over his right shoulder.

Haelna raised her hand to get the attention of the crew, when all eyes were upon her she said “I suggest we split up into pairs and survey the area, get a lay of the land”

“That be good thinking” said Dorandor as he began supping from a pipe “Val yer with me to the northside o town, let’s be meeting aroun the Town Hall by noon”

“As you wish” replied the warlock with a nod and the two moved towards the north side of the village direction

The two brothers were already making their way to the west side of village with Leorion taking the lead and hefting his sheathed great sword upon his shoulders while Arion raised his right hand and said “We will go west then” before going after the larger man.

“Oi lass” barked Morinor with a mischievous grin and eyeing Azlaine “Fancy a look abou’ eas of ‘ere?”

“I shall bear the light towards the shadowed path” was her cryptic reply.

The two then went to the eastern side of the village, Haelna became a bit worried at whatever it was the rogue was planning, she was forced to remind herself that Azlaine was more than capable of beating an orc to death with her mace, but still when it was a scamp like Morinor, one would have the right to be worried.

Pointing south to the road Nighble said “I will head over there then” and made his way there.

Gnorrin followed after him and said “I will go make sure he doesn’t get himself into any trouble”.

This left only Healna and Mirry, nodding to her companion who gave a thumbs up and a grin the two began to make their way east.

“And what about me?” asked Stefan with only Haelna and Mirry to hear him and the two looking back.

“Yes? What about you?” asked Haelna

“Surely there is something I can do! I am the one paying you all!” said the human rather exasperated

“Oh relax!” said Mirry with her left hands waving down and her face looking to the side. “Just find a safe spot and let us professionals handle it” she said proudly with her back straightened and pointing her right thumb to herself

The human looked infuriated and said with more assertion “I insist that I take part in something, I will join you two!”

The gnome shrugged and said “fine whatever, you better stick with us though, I’d be pretty mad if you just dragged us out here and died before we can set something on fire”, chuckling at this, Haelna took the lead with Mirry, her imp and Stefan behind she and Ulli. As Stefan stomped forwards to catch up with the two, Mirry looked to the dwarf and whispered “What a high strung human, so annoying!”

Giving an amused grin Haelna whispered back while looking into the horizon “Agreed, I feel there is more to this than just defending his home though”

“Oh please!” snorted the warlock “We gnomes just lost our city and we aren’t constantly whining about it, a lot of us are even helping out on other people’s problems”

Haelna nodded and suspected as much, she felt that the current attitude the gnomes seemed to have towards Gnomeregan would mean that they will be staying in Ironforge for a long while. The party then scoured a section of the hills near the village; they stopped at one point to allow Mirry to summon a demonic hound she knew were called Felstalker in case of any hostile magicians.

The ritual itself set all of them, surprisingly even Mirry on edge as she began looking about area with nervous alertness, they later bumped into Morinor and Azlaine, with the latter giggling and genuinely amused at one of the former’s many exaggeratedly lewd tales with the two eventually reporting of no troubles.

Parting ways from the two they went southwards towards the road, it was almost noon by now and the sun was starting to become rather hot. Pulling a skin of water from her pack, Haelna took a large gulp before handing it to Mirry who offered her thanks and then to Stefan and then grabbing a separate skin for her bear. At the edge of her hearing Haelna heard a shout, a high pitched war cry and her eyes widened in alarm

“I think Gnorren and Nighble are in danger!” she said with alarm and pulling out her rifle, Mirry nodded and reached for a short sword and a scepter carrying a dark red stone, each item was by her belt

“How do you know?” asked Stefan clearly confused

Focusing her will to channel the animal aspect of the pack; Haelna quickly responded “I heard it, now come away!” With that she began running towards the direction of the two gnomes, Ulli, Mirry and her Felstalker were quickly behind her while Stefan began sprinting as well and had almost lagged behind them.

Their legs carried them over the grassy hills with great alacrity, to their relief they would find the gnomes to be alive, they found Gnorren sitting upon the head of an orc with its face down into the mud and garbed in dark leather armor, the brute was certainly dead with burns upon the body and the axe of the gnome lodged into the orc’s spine.

“Damn rogues! Hissed Gnorren as he clutched his left shoulder and looking a bit pale “bastard thought he could take me” continued the gnome with a grimace “Surprisingly fast too, bet he didn’t count on a mage to pop out and start chucking spells”

Looking about Haelna did not notice Nighble about and deduced the mage must be skulking about with an invisibility spell. She noticed Mirry going up to the injured warrior and handing him a green stone, Gnorren thanked her and took it, he then closed his eyes trying to focus, the stone then crumbled into dust with Gnorren opening his eyes and looking much better.

“By the Light what happened here!?” came the sudden voice of Stefan, the adventurers spared him a brief glance but it was Gnorren who replied

“What do you think!?” said the gnome and jerking a thumb at the dead orc “I got attacked, and now this dummy is dead”. Getting up to his feet, the gnome then wrapped his gauntleted hands across the handle of his axe and pulled it out with a grunt, resting the axe over his shoulder once more he looked to Stefan and said “We got this place checked out, I am heading back to your village and grabbing something to eat”.

Before he left, Gnorren walked up upon the back of the dead orc, he then took his axe in both hands and raised it for an overhead chop, with a shout he used his strength to cleave the dead orc’s head in twain from skull to jaw, spilling blood and brains into the earth.

“Well now I’m hungry!” joked Mirry, the gnome warlock then began whispering an incantation, embers of arcane fire began to materialize around her hands and the body of the orc caught aflame and began to char with the smell of burning flesh which fittingly reminded Haelna of roast pork, she could see Stefan was more than a bit disturbed.

“Come on” Haelna said waving her right hand to her companions and gesturing to head back to the village. The party would catch up with the two gnomes and made their way to the Town Hall ahead of the other adventurers.

Taking seats on the grass in front of the town hall, the adventurers pulled out several food items and began eating quietly while Nighble who appeared out of nowhere began handing out bottles of conjured water. Eventually they would be reunited with their companions and the group began having lunch and discussing what they can do

“Not exactly the most defensible of places” said Haelna after swallowing a piece of lion steak.

“Aye” agreed Leorion “This village could use some guard towers”.

“And some sturdy walls too” muttered Dorandor holding a tankard of thunder ale, to which the big man agreed as well.

“Not mention some fellows who actually know how to fight” added Arion as he held a clay bowl of steaming turtle bisque

Stefan and the militiaman who had greeted them earlier, whose name they learned was Horace Fiedler was the closest thing the village had to a captain on the count of having served in the early days of the second war.

“Well a lot of us used to serve in the Alliance army back in the second and third war as workers” said the man while running his right hand over his beard. “I suppose we can go dig up stones from the gold mine and use the wood from the forests to make build some defenses”

“Ya know…” came the voice of Morinor with a gleam in his eye and running a hand down his beard, “we be prefessnal adventuras, fer da right price o mebbe I dunnae… a wee few coins o gold each we kin elp train y’all ta be fightin bak”

“But- but that gold is supposed to be shipped to Stormwind!” said the militia captain rather surprised “We will just end stirring up more trouble if we withhold our shipments of gold and lumber!”

“Bah! The humans down there are kind o a joke in keeping their own lands safe!” interrupted Dorandor, who then gave a quick look to Arion, Leorion and Azlaine “no offense intended” he added raising his hands up in an apology.

“None taken, for sadly there is truth in the matter” replied Azlaine. Curiously, Haelna noted that Valeria was not involved in this apology and began guessing that perhaps the woman was not of the south.

“Look at it this way” interjected Mirry, “if things are as bad as you say it is, then the Horde will eventually kill you all, but if you pay us to help you, then the worst thing that will happen is that Stormwind soldiers will come in try to arrest you guys, you all can just pin the blame on the Horde raids or those Syndicate fellows and they will be forced to protect your little town.”

Stopping to take a sip of moonberry juice she then continued “then everybody wins! Your town has protection whether it is you guys being able to do it yourselves, us or the Stormwind army doing it for you, we get paid in the end and maybe some orcs or zombies die on the way!” The two humans just stared at the gnome girl, dumbstruck by her logic.

“I… I guess we can” Horace said after a few moments of silence and scratching the back of his head. “I will talk to the others and see what we can do” the man said ending the conversation, and leaving the adventurers to their meals.

“Aye… nice un thar lassie” said Morinor grinning

“What can I say?” shrugged the gnome “I got my eyes on a nice pair of shoes at the Auction House and I intend to get it!” When their meals were finished the party then split up into the same pairs again, they patrolled the town without incident until nightfall.

As darkness fell over the land, the adventurers were given beddings at the barracks which seemed as if had not been in use for years. Settling their equipment and picking out their bunks, Dorandor went up to the war room with Horace and several militia members to discuss how they can better defend the town.

Haelna herself went to the ramparts of the main building, the moon was covered by dark clouds and the smell upon the wind suggested a strong possibility of rain. Her eyes peered into the darkness, looking out for any signs of trouble, her gaze settled upon the human town, she wondered if they could actually pull this off.

Crouching down underneath the brush, Jeremiah Harkin watched as the lights dimmed in the homes of the living, faint memories of what he had once been in life raced across his mind, like dreams one could not entirely remember after awakening from sleep. There were images of blood and death, he could remember the begging and screams of living people, he saw a man, cruel and violent, hiding in the shadows.

He was an outlaw he believed, likely nothing so different than what he did now, no longer did he have to live entirely in the shadows where beasts and monsters lived, seeking out the wealth of others. He was a free man if one could say so, an adventurer now by the look of things, his lips curled in a grin at the irony of how much better his ‘life’ had become after that grain heist in a town he could not quite remember the name of.

Looking behind him, he saw the four pairs of yellow glowing eyes of his companions, in life they had been brothers in crime, now in undeath that bond remained stronger than it had been. He felt a hunger in his gut and his thoughts turned to a fresh feast that awaited them, he wondered if he could get a chance at eating woman flesh, he so did enjoy its taste more. Gesturing his companions to advance, the band of rogues advanced into the village, hungry for meat and coin…

Garret stomped his boots upon the earth trying to get some feeling into his feet, he was standing guard by a barnyard where the village kept many milk cows, the night was cold and dark and he had a feeling it was going to rain. He wondered when his shift would be over as weariness began to get to him, his right hand reached for a flask by the side of his belt his hand patted against his leather jerkin, confused he began patting down elsewhere around his waist searching for his flask, he then heard a raspy chuckle from behind looking back with eyes wide he saw what had once been a man but no longer.

The creature’s flesh was pale, leaning upon the front doorway of the barn its body was covered in black fur he quickly realized was armor, bones were exposed around the elbows and knees, its hands ended in bony claws, yet most strikingly were its yellow eyes which glowed with witch light, the creature was holding his flask and taking a swig.

He tried to turn back to shout an alarm but felt a sudden flash of pain in his gut, his vision blurred and the agony was intense, he felt his insides were on fire as the blade twisted, blood spattered from his mouth and his vision settled on another of the undead creatures, this time one with a sickly green skin almost like that of an orc, but clearly of the form of having once been a man.

The creature ripped its blade across Garret’s belly, causing his entrails to spill out, the man then fell down upon his knees and began to feel cold, he felt an impact upon the side of his ribs as one of the undead kicked him and causing him to lie upon his back, the last thing Garret saw as darkness began to take him were the creatures holding his glistening entrails to their mouths and devouring them while the horrible noise of their feast and their laughter filled his ears.

Stefan squeezed the trigger on his crossbow and the recoil of it struck against his shoulder, the stock of the weapon pounded against his padded pauldron, softening the blow. The bolt flew towards the target which was nothing more than a scarecrow with a poorly painted orc face upon it; he cursed as the arrow missed way off from the head and struck against wooden wall of his house which was filled with many such holes. He knew with aim like that he could not possibly protect himself, sighing in frustration he moved towards the wall to retrieve the bolts.

Pulling the bolt out of the wall, he tested the tip and cursed that it was now broken, tossing the projectile aside, he suddenly began to hear the sound of wailing and bleating from one of the barns.
Oh Light not again! he thought with alarm, grabbing his axe he quickly went about grabbing his armor and putting the thing on.

After about a minute or so fumbling with the mail links he ran towards his front door to see several men and women panicking and trying to throw water from buckets at the flames.

The bell at the Town Hall then began to ring, a crier shouted “Fire! Fire!” as panic began filling the hearts of the people.

“Stefan!” shouted the voice of old man Jenkins “Get a bucket we-“ in a sudden moment the old man’s voice was cut off, his eyes rolled to the back of his head, blood gurgling from his mouth, falling to his knees, Stefan saw a knife sticking out from the back of the elder’s spine.

Behind the old man was one of the undead, the creature’s face was concealed by a mask of black cloth but he could see its bluish skin and yellow glowing eyes, he heard fresh screams from the crowd that tried to put out the flames, the undead then began rasping a devilish laugh at him.

“Yaaah!” shouted Stefan as he charged the creature with his axe, it stood perfectly still as he charged and he swung at it as if he were trying to chop down a tree. The undead creature dodged the attack quite effortlessly and ducked underneath his second swing, the undead then shot its head forward, head butting Stefan across the face and breaking nose, anger and terror built up in the young man as he tried to strike the monster but it continuously weaved around his axe mocking him with its laughter.

Attempting for another swing, he heard the loud boom of a rifle and saw as the monster’s head explode in a shower of blood, brains and bones. Looking to his right at the direction where the shot came from he saw it was the dwarf woman, Haelna who had a grim look upon her face.

Swiftly reloading her smoking weapon she shouted something in the dwarf language and pointed towards the crowd, he heard the loud roar of a bear as the beast charged forwards.

The dwarf woman took aim and fired another shot at the crowd, he feared she might hit one of his friends but saw as an undead was struck in the shoulder, the creature recovered in time to leap away from the bear’s charge and he saw as three more of the creatures swiftly sprinted their way towards the dwarf.

Shouting a word of warning he tried running towards the nearest undead and swung his axe in an overhead chop, his blade sliced through air as the monster ran past his strike, he looked in horror as the three nearly closed in with the dwarf woman.

Suddenly one of the undead was set ablaze, his black fur armor scorched and blazed before a black ball of what seemed to be pure darkness struck the creature of which was followed by a pair of fire balls. The undead stumbled and tripped from the sorcerous assault and a purple stream of energy began to emerge from the rogue, going towards the gnome witch. Stefan then heard another boom and the creature’s chest blossomed in dark blood.

The other two were quickly assailed as well, one was knocked down by the large southerner Leorion, the man roared loudly like a lion deafening the undead before smacking it in the face with the hilt of his great sword, the undead was staggered back by the attack with blood pouring from its nose. The undead recovered quickly enough to leap back barely in time to avoid the great sword from crashing down upon its head, as it leapt back, the rogue was suddenly charged by the other man, Arion who began delivering a swift rain of blows from two swords.

The undead managed to dodge and parry many of the attacks and was quickly hard pressed against the furious assault, the rogue attempted to disengage from Arion but the great sword of Leorion caught the rogue in the back, slash a deep trench into the creature’s lower back before the two swords of Arion impaled it upon the chest and spattering the man in dark blood.

With a savage shout Arion lifted the undead up into the air and the creature slid further down to the cross guards of his swords, another sudden stream of purple light emerged from the rogue and connected to the other witch, the man then ripped his swords out from the rogue before the great sword came down splitting in twain the skull and neck.

The third undead which charged at Haelna was engulfed in a kaleidoscope of lights with the creature suddenly moving more slowly, the undead seemed to notice this as well but did not have time to react as the gnome warrior, Gnorren charged towards the undead, the gnome spun around the rogue with amazing speed with his axe slashing against the creature’s hamstrings.

The undead shouted in pain and tried to retaliate, but his movements were slow and awkward, the gnome then contemptuously severed the rogue’s hand from its forearms. The dwarf Dorandor then charged in, he struck the undead in the back of its right knee, his hammer shattered the creature’s exposed bones and it fell with a cry of pain.

The dwarf stood over the undead with a glare of contempt, he roared with his hammer held high, and another stream of purple energy suddenly emerged from the creature and into the gnome witch before the weapon smashed the skull of the rogue, spattering the dwarf and the gnome warrior with blood and cranial matter.

Jeremiah Harkin fought furiously against the bear, a bullet had shattered the bone on his left shoulder, it dangled uselessly as dark blood drip from it, he managed to cut the bear more than a few time but it only enraged the beast further, he knew he had to flee for things were not going as planned.

He crouched under a swipe from the bear then tried to plunge his dagger in a reverse grip against its jaw, but suddenly a searing blinding pain engulfed him as fire struck down from sky and burned him in a way that no fire could, as if his very essence was repelled by it.

He tried to howl in pain but the bear struck him over the side of the head before he could, bone crunching strength fractured his skull and the undead adventurer struck hard against the ground, trying to get up his vision swam and he felt like he was going to pass out. Through sheer force of will, common amongst his kind, he regained his senses.

“Oi corpsie!” came the sudden call of a gravelly voice, as Jeremiah Harkin looked up he only caught a glance of red bearded dwarf before a pair of daggers plunged into his eye sockets, he screamed in further agony as blood gushed out and yet he still lived “Da ells ya cryin abou corpsie!? Ye an elf!?” shouted the voice of the dwarf before he received a painful kick in the mouth which shattered many of his teeth.

He suddenly felt the burn of poison rushing into his veins and reaching to his brain, while the pain lingered with great intensity he suddenly had difficulty moving his limb, the undead tried to crawl away blinded and he could hear footsteps behind him upon the grass.

“E’s all yers Val” the dwarf said in a mischievous tone

“Most kind of you” came the aristocratic voice of a woman with a Gilnean accent, Jeremiah Harkin suddenly felt something pulling at him, it was not a physical thing, but something deeper which terrified him even more than actually meeting the true death.

As he began to lose control over his body and death began to take him, he felt a sudden sense of weightlessness and vertigo, his vision suddenly returned with an amethyst like sheen as he sew the face of a coldly beautiful woman who looked down at him with a contemptuous look, his vision then spun as he moved too swiftly, he could not move and felt like he was paralyzed, then again he knew darkness, yet he still remained conscious and aware.

Placing the Soulshard into her pack, Valeria Ashe took a quick survey around the area and noted the stunned silence of the peasants. The gnome magister, Nighble was by the burning barn, casting spells of frost to put out the flames, her companions went about looting the undead for anything useful and began severing their heads and preparing the bodies for incineration.

She could hear the priestess calling the peasants to attention and requesting for the dead and the wounded to be brought to her, good she thought.

Let the peasants come to welcome their company and their rewards would be many, Valeria then watched as men and women began limping or carrying the wounded to the priestess, she knew it would certainly not do to let the priestess have all the gratitude.

Waving to the gnome warlock and gesturing for her to come hither.

“Yeah? What’s up? asked the gnome in an oddly giddy tone.

“Seeing as how Sister Schreiber is occupied tending to our hosts, I propose we ease her burden” she said while pulling out a Soul Shard

“Sure why not? I got lots of Mana to spare” said the gnome.

The gnome then called out to Nighble in their native tongue, the magister had just finished putting out the flames, Mirry waved and said in something in gnomish, the mage nodded and made his way to their group. With that the three gathered around in a circle began performing a ritual, the curious peasants quickly looked to them with readied weapons in their ignorance but had wisely stayed their hands.

When the ritual was complete, the soul shard crumbled into dust and she could hear the faint cry of agony from the soul which was trapped within, a massive stone altar materialized at the center of the group, feeling spent of magical energy, Valeria and Mirry began picking up green stones from the Altar and advancing towards the peasants with injuries.

Going to a pale skinned man who was waiting for his turn as he bled heavily from the side where an axe blade had cut deeply underneath his right armpit, the peasant looked in fear at the warlock and the strange green stone she carried. Handing one out to the man and demanding him to take it while speaking as if she were ordering a servant, the man nodded and took the stone, looking at the object in fear Valeria instructed him to focus his thoughts upon the stone.

The man nodded nervously and did so, as his eyes lingered upon it the stone crumbled into dust much to the man’s surprise, with gasp the man dropped the crumbling thing and began to frantically utter a prayer as a golden light surrounded him, he then suddenly stopped, patting where his wound had been and noting his wound was gone without even a scar

“By the Light!” shouted the peasant “I am healed! Bless you milady! Bless you!” the man said bowing to the warlock and heaping more gratitude upon her. She could hear Mirry being given similar praises as well and soon a number of the wounded began asking for the stones as well.

With a slight smile, Valeria grew confident the peasants would be more appreciative of the presence of both she and Mirry better that than letting the simpletons live in fear and then perform something stupid such as forming a lynch mob thus forcing her to waste Mana in pointless annihilation. As more of the wounded began clamoring around her, she began handing out more of the stones and wondering if perhaps after this little venture was done she might have to start charging people for such stones.

“Uh excuse me” came an embarrassed voice from behind her turning around to see their employer, the boy looked to have a broken his nose and was quite the sorry sight, she gave a cold smile and offered him a health stone, the boy then took the stone in both hands and concentrated upon it, the stone crumbled and she saw boy’s nose realign itself as he was bathed with a healing light. Perhaps now I should start charging them she thought calculating what would be a fair exchange.

The following days after the attack had been gloomy ones with rain pouring from the sky regularly yet the people of Geldbauer began going about their day with less fear and more confidence than they had in weeks. The priestess had used her magic to resurrect those slain in the attack, but some were more difficult to bring back compared to others as such she spent the night bringing back the dead while the adventurers who were skilled in the ways of healing did their best to see to the wounded.

The town began looking to the dwarf, Dorandor for leadership and guidance; he assumed direct control of their efforts like an Alliance commander, giving out orders on what they should build or what resources they should gather. Eventually they started organizing groups to begin constructing wooden palisades and defense towers.

The four warriors alternated between training the militia or organizing groups of the townsfolk to go out and search for deposits of ore so that they could forge new weapons and armor. It was by the fifth day of the adventurer’s stay that the militia began seeing fresh new weapons and armor for their usage, each item crafted by with competent skill.

The magicians made themselves busy as well with the priestess organizing the restoration of the local church and turning it into a hospital where the sick and injured were treated, the warlocks and the mage began placing enchantments and wards upon the towers they had constructed, ensuring that such things would alert them of any raiders that may attempt to sneak into town.

The two other dwarves, Haelna and Morinor alternated between helping the villagers craft new crossbows from the former, and crafting leather armor from the latter. The two dwarves also were in charge of organizing hunting or scouting parties to bring back meat from the local wildlife or to keep watch for the Horde or other raiders. Of course not all of the days passed without incident for the militia and the adventurers were forced into skirmishes with Horde mercenaries and adventurers or other things from the Syndicate, the ogres, trolls, gnolls and other hostile beings.

The raids from the Horde though were mostly sporadic and not always coordinated, sometimes it would be a small group or a single individual of varying skill and abilities, other times it would be a larger group wherein the militia left it to the adventurers to deal with them. Over time, messages and letters from Stormwind began arriving questioning the whereabouts of the shipments of gold and lumber, following the advice of the adventurers Horace mentioned the troubles with Horde raiders and Syndicate gangs in his replies.

As the town continued to survive they had also begun to receive what training they could, the warriors taught them how to fight with sword, axe and mace, the dwarf woman instructed them in marksmanship, among the members of the militia, it was Stefan who became the most determined to learn from the adventurers, he regularly took part among the militia training to become scouts.

In their time within the village, the party would learn more of their employer; Stefan Halson had been the son of a Lordaeron footman during the second war. Unfortunately the father of Stefan met his end amidst the outbreak of the plague during the third war; Stefan’s family was forced to flee among a number of refugees after the mad reign of ‘King’ Arthas across the northlands.

The Halsons were among one of many families that settled in Geldbauer during the third war and had been there ever since. When the Horde raids began, Stefan had an older brother who tried to help defend the village but was killed by a Forsaken warrior, his mother had also been killed in another raid when a group of undead and orc magicians rained sorcerous fire down upon the village.

It seemed quite obvious to them that their employer not only wanted protection for Geldbauer but also revenge for his family. Retribution of course was something each of them could serve in generous portions, often they would escort the boy hunting for any Horde travelers. The adventurers continued to remain in Geldbauer as they received payments in coin from the village with Stefan already having paid them, but the group remained due to the profits they made.

With a savage grunt, Haelna tore her axe out of the side of a Forsaken. Her weapon dripped with dark blood and she grimaced in pain as poison burned through her veins and blood ran heavily from the side of her stomach where she had been stabbed. Quietly snarling, at the undead that attacked her, she was glad that Morinor and scouts had been there to assist her; she had used herself as bait much as she often would and travelled ahead of the group.

When the undead rogue attempted to ambush her, Morinor and the party of scouts, each of whom were also trained by Morinor in the ways of stealth had participated in the counter ambush and overwhelmed the undead. Focusing her will and reaching into her people’s innate power, her flesh began to harden and she could feel the poison dissipating while the blood upon her wounds staunched. Reaching into her pack, she removed a roll of mageweave bandages and began wrapping it around her stomach.

She did not bother to watch as Morinor began to sever the corpse’s head, after finishing with the bandages she pulled out a flask of oil from her pack and began pouring its contents over the body, asking for a torch to be brought from the scouting party, the dwarves set the body ablaze.

“Why do you all keep severing the heads and burning the bodies?” asked the voice of a young militia recruit named Dieter who was now clad in a full set of leather armor provided by Morinor and wielding a freshly crafted crossbow.

“If you haven’t noticed” replied Haelna in a matter of fact voice “we live in a day and age where the kind of magic used to bring the dead back to life are no longer rare” The human still look confused and the hunter continued “To put it simply, we need to make sure whoever we kill stay dead so that no priests, no shamans or any kind of magic could possibly bring them back, and we must be thorough”

“Aye! Le’s be gettin bak ta town dan!” announced Morinor “I go’ meself a hankerin fer sum spydar sassage!” at the rogue’s words some of the humans began to look a bit queasy which amused Haelna to no end. The party of dwarves and three humans travelled westwards back to Geldbauer, in over two weeks the small open village looked more like a fortified Alliance outpost.

Wooden walls with sharpened iron bronze spike at the top surrounded the settlement in an almost perfect circular ring, a gate was built to deny or allow access entry, the Town Hall had been renovated into becoming a Keep, stone Guard Towers were situated around many areas, each one was garrisoned by at least three crossbowmen who could fire with decent accuracy.

As the party advanced to the gates of Geldbauer, they were greeted by the sentries who waved at them and the dwarves waved back. They passed by Dorandor who was busy overseeing the peasants as they began nailing large iron bars to the back side of the gate, the warrior greeted them in their tongue and they gave a casual salute to him.

The iron gates of the barracks remained open, they passed through the gatehouse and into the courtyard which had become a true training ground where the militia would hack, slash and shoot at wooden dummies or targets. There were also a number of villagers bringing in food and drink to the militia members in training.

They passed by the two brothers, both of whom stood in a ring of wooden pegs and rope, each wearing only boots and trousers, their bare flesh glistening with sweat as the two men sparred with wooden swords. Casting a curious glance Haelna noticed more than a few of the human women eyeing the two men with interest.

Heading into the main building they made their way into the mess hall where the adventurers regularly dined. Several platters containing piles of meat, fish, conjured bread and bottles water lay stacked around the center as the adventurers dug in.

The dining hall had a large circular table with ten seats around it, Haelna noted that aside from Leorion and Arion, Dorandor as well was not present; she did not give it much thought as he was likely somewhere about giving orders or forging something. Taking a seat besides Azlaine the priestess gave Haelna a nod of acknowledgment and spoke

“Blessed it is that you have returned dear friend, I trust you have found some heathens to smite?” said the priestess with a weary smile as she handed Haelna a plate. Placing a slab of lean venison and a whole smoke sagefish upon her plate, Haelna looked to the priestess and replied.

“I was attacked by a rogue earlier, as you can see I survived and he did not” she said with a grin

“I trust you were not too badly injured?” asked the priestess with a bit of concern

“Wounds that I will recover from in time” said the dwarf

“That is good to hear” nodded Azlaine with eyes closed and a smile on her face “For it is through suffering that we learn to endure, and through hardship we gain strength” spoke the priestess, reciting some catechism.

The party was soon reunited with the two brothers who occupied some seats between Azlaine and Valeria, Haelna noticed with amusement the distracted looks from the two women as the two men were still wearing the same garments from the ring, she had to admit that both were easy to her eyes, but she often found humans to be way too tall for her tastes and the general shortness of their beards to be off putting as well.

As the adventurers ate their meals and discussed further ideas on what they can do to improve upon the village defenses, they began to hear the ringing of the bell at the keep signifying the call to arms

“To arms everyone! To arms, raiders incoming!” shouted Stefan as he ran into the dining hall. The boy looked around to see it was only the gnome mage who sat alone while putting a tankard down upon the table and belching quite loudly. The gnome then hopped off his seat and began stretching his arms.

“They are already at it you know” said the gnome. The man then looked around the hall with confusion, until he heard several foot steps behind him, looking back to the gnome, he saw the gnome’s hands were surrounded by balls of light and muttering in something he could not understand, the gnome then raised his hands to the air with a little hop and vanished into thin air.

Sorcery thought the man and reminded himself that the gnome was a sorcerer. Right let’s get to it then he thought to himself as he checked to see if his crossbow was properly loaded before heading to the gate

Roaring a war cry in dwarven, Dorandor smashed the boss of his shield into the face of an undead warrior wielding a great axe. The undead was staggered by the attack, but a troll rushed in with a spear in both hands and thrust the weapon forwards to the dwarf’s helmed face. Swiftly raising his hammer in an upwards arc he pushed the spear tip up and followed through with a head butt from his horned helmet which pushed through the chainmail links protecting the troll and piercing its gut.

The Troll grunted but stood his ground and thrust his knee towards Dorandor who took the blow with a grimace and responded by smashing the rim of his round shield into the right side of the troll’s ribcage and feeling the satisfying crack of bones. The undead recovered quickly enough and charged towards the dwarf, roaring with fury and bringing his axe downwards in an overhead chop, the dwarf shifted his shield in time for the axe blade to crashed against his shield.

Grunting in stubborn fury, Dorandor prepared his hammer for a thrust before he felt a sharp pain against his right arm as the tip of the troll’s spear found purchase in his elbow as it punched through the mail links around it. He felt the bone shattered and tried to swing his hammer at the troll, but the blue skinned creature parried his weapon before an axe crashed into his left pauldron and forcing the dwarf upon his knees. Roaring another war cry hoping the two would run off and allow him time to recover, the two warriors merely laughed at him before raising their weapons for a killing blow.

All around Dorandor the militia were doing their best to fight back against the raiders, but these ones were both numerous and powerful, magicians rained volleys of fire, frost, lightning and shadows against the defenders of Geldbauer, killing many. Crossbowmen upon the guard towers opened fire as well, but their shots struck against magic shields which protected the spell casting raiders, and those who were harmed were quickly rejuvenated by healing magic. There were also a number of close combat fighters who were making shot work of the militia.

Glowering in defiance at the troll and the undead, the two weapons crashed into a shield of light which materialized around Dorandor, and he began to feel a sudden warm surge inside he knew to be healing magic. His wounds began to heal at a slow rate but not enough for his broken arm to be of any use, fortunately though he heard the roars of fury from his fellow warriors.

Charging into the fray, Arion thrust with one sword at the troll’s face, the troll barely managed to block the blade with the haft of its spear. The troll did not have time to react to the second sword though which plunged into the savage’s neck, piercing through exposed flesh between where a man’s collarbone should be and tearing into its throat. The troll collapsed upon its knees, its vision began to falter before the human swiftly placed his swords around its neck and decapitated the savage in a scissoring motion.

The undead warrior was at the same time charged by Leorion, the man charged with his sword trailing behind him, the man then swung the weapon in an sideway arc that went over Dorandor’s head, barely missing the dwarf’s as the blade crashed into the plated side of the undead’s stomach. The undead grunted in pain as if it were struck by a hammer, the undead warrior’s existence was quickly ended as a boom from a rifle launched a bullet which tore through the creature’s throat and sending it to the true death.

The sudden arrival of the three warriors was quickly noted by the Horde raiders. An Orc Shaman wielding a pair of hammers which dripped with human blood swiftly began chanting to the spirits with lightning crackling across his hands. He did not have enough time to finish as pain exploded upon the back of his legs as a blade cut through his chainmail greaves and into the back of his left thigh, the shaman yelped out in pain before he heard a clatter of metal plates going to his right and the agony burst blossomed as his right arm was swiftly severed off from the elbow.

The Shaman tried to smash his left hammer into his attacker and he struck against the shaft of an axe, to his surprise it was a gnome in plate armor with a massive brown beard. The gnome then pushed the hammer away and thrust his axe forwards with the blunt end crushing the orc’s groin, with a shout of pain and attempting to clutch his tender bits. The orc did not have time to see the axe blade which severed the orc’s head in twain from the jaw and showering the gnome in a fountain of gore, the gnome then spat on the corpse and stomped down upon upper half of the head while hissing in his native tongue “Try reincarnating from that!”

Taking aim at the Horde raiders, Haelna squeezed the trigger of her rifle and the weapon unleashed a puff of smoke and fire, propelling another bullet, this time striking a black furred Tauren warrior wielding a pair of claws. She hit its left thigh as it attempted to wrestle her bear with its hands clenching the bear’s paws before several militia men managed to dig their spears into the flanks of brute. Her bear then overpowered the Tauren, forcing the warrior back and the bear bit into the Tauren’s snout, the massive bull creature then punched its claws into the bear, stabbing the brown ursine in the gut and pushing it way, but the bear’s teeth tore out a massive amount of flesh from the warrior’s snout

Roaring in a frenzied agony, the Tauren flailed its arms striking many militiamen and causing many to fly off their feet with deep wounds and crashing into the earth among their dead comrades, with more than a few joining them. The warrior roared in challenge as the bear roared one of its own towards the bull and the two massive creatures charged towards each other. Having reloaded her rifle, Haelna fired another shot at the Tauren, this time striking it in near where a human’s heart should be, the Tauren roared in pain and stumbled, her bear then crashed into the bull with a frenzied strength and began mauling the bull. A fresh group of militia men then rushed the Tauren and began plunging their weapons into the beast and slaying it.

She heard the catechisms and prayers of Azlaine beside her as the priestess focused her healing magic upon the warriors and Ulli. Taking aim once more, this time at a troll female wielding a pair of bloody axes and fighting Arion in an almost dance like fashion, she noted something which caught her attention and spun around and fired her gun, the weapon boomed and fired a bullet which whizzed through the air and into the brick wall of a chimney as female orc rogue stepped to the side barely dodging the shot.

The orc rogue then leapt forwards with daggers raised, Haelna did not have time to reload so she leapt backwards while swiftly reaching for her ammo pouch. The orc then attempted to lunge her daggers into Azlaine but only succeeded in striking the divine shield of the priestess whose eyes glared balefully at the orc and wailing loudly like a banshee.

The orc ran away from the priestess, while attempting to cover her ears before a loud boom from Haelna’s rifle fired a bullet into the orc’s belly, knocking down the greenskin who began spitting blood from her mouth. The orc was quickly marked by Haelna and several of the militia crossbowmen turned their weapons to the orc, the rogue was quickly turned into a pin cushion by the single volley of crossbow bolts.

As the orc lay upon the grass dying from several wounds, Haelna placed the barrel of her rifle upon the orc’s skull and prepared to finish the greenskin.

“Halt Haelna!” came the voice of Azlaine as the priestess walked towards the orc with a concerned look in her eyes.

Easing her trigger finger, the dwarf kept her rifle on the greenskin’s head, the priestess gently pushed the gun aside and nodded to the dwarf who understood what the priestess intended, Haelna then turned her attention back to the battle at the gate. Azlaine looked down at the injured orc who was desperately in need of a healer; both had blue eyes so much like each other.

“The only redemption for you kind” she said in a kindly tone as she began reaching for her mace and raised it up over her head “is in death” ended the priestess then brought her mace down upon the orc’s face, breaking bones and teeth but not quite killing the green skin before she brought her mace down again and again.

Her white robes and face were spattered with orc blood, her silvery mace was also matted in gore, her face had an expression of serenity throughout the whole event which had just occurred, and she then turned her attention back to her companions who fought valiantly at the gate with a prayer upon her lips.

As the battle at the gate occurred when the Warriors, Haelna and Azlaine rushed to the aid of Dorandor and the militia, Mirry, Nighble, Valeria, Morinor and a small group of militia members snuck outside where the Horde magicians were.

Hidden by a spells of invisibility they spotted six enemy magic users. There was a Tauren druid casting healing spells upon her companions, there was a male troll shaman doing quite the same, two undead mages casting spells of fire and frost, an orc warlock accompanied by an imp, both of whom were casting flames and an undead magician who was wreathed in shadow energy and chanting dark prayers towards the defenders of Geldbauer.

The four adventurers knew the healers would have to be dealt with first, Morinor ordered the militia to follow him and attempt an ambush. As one the magicians began speaking in sorcerous tongues breaking their invisibility, the enemy magicians did not notice the three at first until a sudden barrage of arcane energy; fire and shadows begin to strike them. Valeria swiftly cast a spell upon the orc warlock’s imp, enslaving the creature and causing it to begin hurling fire at its master who swiftly impaled the demon upon his sword and returned to the magic battle.

As the druid and the shaman took notice of their ambushers, they began channeling the powers of nature and the spirits to bring forth healing magic upon their comrades, but the two were quickly incapacitated by the sudden appearance of two bat winged women with silky black hair and blue glowing eyes which mesmerized the two, thus denying the raiders their powers.

The battle between the magicians became a truly devastating thing as the mages, warlocks and the shadow priest furiously hurled spells and counter spells at each other. A devastating volley of spells were exchanged and each crashed against shields of magic, while the defending magicians may have had the element of surprise to begin with, the battle favored the raiders for their numbers and each side knew it would only be a matter of time till the defenders were overwhelmed, it was unlikely though the raiders would be expecting another ambush.

A few seconds after the magic battle began Morinor signaled to the scouts to open fire, the humans launched volleys of crossbow bolts at the horde magicians, each bolt striking uselessly against their arcane defense, weakening it bit by bit along with those of their allies. Morinor himself dashed forwards to the enemy mages, he carried in one hand an empty bottle which once contained an alchemical formula brewed by Azlaine and in the other a loaded double barreled rifle.

“Oi ye! Catch!” shouted the rogue and throwing the bottle at the shadow wreathed undead priest whose attention was turned towards the militia, the bottle shattered uselessly against the shield and the undead began casting a spell towards the oncoming dwarf. Morinor then took the rifle in both hands and squeezed the trigger; the two barrels boomed and fired a hail of metal balls towards the priest, which finally shattered its already weakened defenses.

The priest struck the dwarf’s mind with a surge of shadow energy, Morinor gritted his teeth in pain but with typical dwarven toughness he surged forwards with the affects of the potion greatly nullifying the spell. Not having time to reload he dropped his gun and reached for a knife and hurled it towards the priest, the blade struck the undead in the shoulder who took the thrown blade with a grunt and continued chanting until a pair of crossbow bolt struck him in the chest and interrupting his spell.
As the priest then began a casting new spell the dwarf leapt forwards and kicked the priest in the chest, winding the undead and causing it to stagger back. Morinor swiftly delivered a series of cuts and strikes from his new pair of short swords before striking the undead where a living man’s kidneys should be, he was a bit surprised when the undead actually reacted to this and was quick to exploit an opportunity.

Leaving his right sword in the priest, he shot out his right hand towards the undead’s lower jaw and his leather gloved hand caught something wet and slippery, he quickly realized with disgust that the undead was actually missing its lower jaw and he had grabbed its tongue, he was unable to tell due to the shadows surrounding it. Pulling down with all of his might he brought the priest’s head down towards his left sword where the blade punched through the roof of the upper jaw and burst out from the upper part of the undead’s skull. Blood spattered the dwarf and he twisted the blade, leaving it in place and reached for his old daggers.

With the death of the Shadow Priest, the remaining Horde magician’s knew their situation had become dire. As the scouts began pouring more bolts upon the backs of the mages, the crossbowmen upon the guard towers continued their volley. With their magical defenses weakening they began to feel the agony of several dark curses placed upon them by the human warlock, while the female gnome continued to hurl a barrage of fire and the and the male one focused his magic upon defending his comrades.

The orc warlock focused a large portion of his mana into hurling a massive ball of fire against the succubus which held the gaze of the troll shaman. The daemonic woman did not see the flames until it was too late and became engulfed in flames and shrieking in agony, the shaman shook his head trying to battle the remaining affects of the demoness’s spell. He then tightly gripped his axe and finished off the succubus with a clean chop to the neck, the troll then began chanting and channeling the power of the spirits to heal his companions but quickly found himself babbling in an incomprehensible tongue before suddenly feeling an all consuming sense of fear which clouded his mind.

At the same time the orc warlock hurled a fireball, the undead fire mage swiftly casted a counterspell upon the other succubus. The demon woman was quite surprised as the druidess was a bit disoriented; the fire mage then felt a sudden flash of pain as a pair of blades began flashing in and out against his back followed by several crossbow bolts. The mage was swiftly killed when a crossbow bolt took him behind the skull with the tip bursting out from his right eye.

The horde magicians were now down to four, but the healers broke out from the seductive gazes of the succubi. The druidess was quickly assailed by the remaining succubi, the demon woman’s whip lashed out against the tauren as she called for bolts of moonfire upon the demon woman who shrieked in pain, the tauren swiftly transformed into the a large black cat and attempted to flee, but found herself slowed by the gnome mage, agony suddenly found its way into her body as Valeria began pouring hexes and curses into the tauren while other gnome hurled bolts of fire.

The druidess swiftly turned herself back into a humanoid form and casted a spell to rejuvenate her wounds, but the affects of the curses and flames harmed her faster than she could heal, as the tauren attempted to cast another spell, she felt something swiftly wrap around her neck and choking her. The druidess saw it was the whip of the demoness whose flesh was burnt and her eyes glowered with hate. The druidess suddenly felt a wave of pain as something began to pull at her very soul and fear began to creep into her, she saw a massive wave of flame fly towards her and felt a swift sense of weightlessness and vertigo.

As the druidess fell with her soul taken by Mirry, the gnome turned her attention back to the shaman who broke free from the fear spell attempted to perform a spell of healing but was counterspelled by Nighble, the two warlocks then began pouring their dark magic into the shaman who did not flinch as the volley of shadows and fire struck him. Through sheer effort of will the shaman attempted to call upon the spirits with lightning struggling through the curse which caused him to keep speaking a language not known to him, the shaman was never able to finish his spell as a pair of massive skull shaped bolts of shadows struck him.

The magicians on both sides were now spent, their reserves of mana had quickly been burnt away in the battle of spells, but Morinor and the militia had no such worries. As soon as the dwarf finished the fire mage, he was quickly upon the orc warlock who began firing bolts of flame and shadows at the dwarf. Morinor was struck by these spells and it was only through the affects of the potion that he was not slain outright; cursing the orc in his native tongue he managed to close the distance and jammed both his daggers into the warlock’s knees.

The warlock howled in pain and the dwarf quickly pulled out a pair of throwing knives and used them to stab the warlock in the sides of his neck, blood gushing over the dwarf’s leather gloves before finishing the orc with another pair of knives into the eyes. The undead frost mage swiftly encased himself in a block of ice, preventing the crossbow bolts of the militia from outright killing him, but already a trio of bolts had struck into the sorcerer and within the block his eyes shifted to see the death of the warlock and the dwarf sneering at him.

The dwarf then raised his right fist and the volley of crossbow bolts stopped, the dwarf then pulled his daggers out of the warlock’s knees and reversed the grip while giving a menacing look. The mage knew he was deplete of his mana and knew that he had only one chance of survival left, as the block of ice melted the mage raised his hands and shouted

“I yield! I yield!” rasped the mage in the common tongue, he was expecting to be pin cushioned by more crossbow bolts but when none struck against him he hoped that this would actually work. The dwarf then took a step to the side and said with his right hand gesturing him to go.

“Tell yer buddies tha dis ere town ain’t willin ta tak it oop da arse any longa!” said the dwarf in a threatening tone.

The undead could not believe his ears and actually knew he would make it, giving a swift bow to the dwarf he began running off in the direction of Tarren Mill, as he passed the dwarf the mage’s knee hit something hard and he tripped face first into the scorched earth. He barely had time to register as one of the warlocks began casting a spell to drain his soul and the dwarf jammed his daggers into the back of the mage’s skull.

“Ya forgo ta say yer thanks” said the dwarf, spitting on the corpse and gesturing for his companions to make their way to the gate.

With the aid of the adventurers, the defenders of Geldbauer proved victorious against the horde raiders. The last remaining raiders were among the close combat fighter. There was heavily armored undead warrior of whom wielded a sword and shield but was overwhelmed by Gnorren and Leorion.
A swift troll female who masterfully dodged, blocked and parried the strikes of Arion while delivering several blows against the man, but her dance faltered when a bullet from Haelna struck the troll on the head. The troll’s helmet prevented her from being killed outright but it was enough to concuss her and slow her down long enough for Arion to run her through with both swords.

Among the last two remaining raiders were a tauren shaman that wielded a painted log as a weapon, the tauren transformed into a wolf and attempted to flee but did not get far after being intercepted by Morinor and the magicians. The final raider was an undead rogue who attempted to escape as well but was quickly overpowered by the warriors who beat down the rogue and allowed remaining members of the militia to finish it off as they vented out all of their pent up anger and fear of living under the constant threats of Horde raids.

When the battle was over the adventurers were quick to begin tending to the wounded the best they could while Azlaine began making her preparations to perform resurrections. Unfortunately the dead and wounded were so many that by the end of the day two dozen villagers became impossible to bring back and were given funeral service. As the weary priestess gave last rites to the dead, the mood became somber but at the same time there was a sense of hope that they really could survive.

The day following the attack Haelna looked over the ramparts of Geldbauer, her keen eyes kept watch across the grassy hills. She then caught a flash of light in the distance, pulling out a looking glass from her pack she extended the cylindrical device and place her right eye to the narrow end. She saw a band of mounted humans carrying the blue banner of Stormwind towards Geldbauer.

When the band of human riders arrived they stopped at the gates and were met by the adventurers. The lead rider was a human male clad head to toe in golden plate armor which left his bearded chin exposed and his eyes glowed blue with magical light, the man looked down at the adventurers with a curious look

“I am Lieutenant Commander Gottlieb Bruggen, Paladin of Stormwind and I demand to speak to whoever is in charge here” said the man as if he were addressing soldiers under his command. Dorandor then stepped forwards while giving a respectful salute.

“Whatever the problem is ye can tell it to me paladin” said the dwarf while looking at the mounted man in the eye.

Gottlieb nodded towards the dwarf and responded “This village has failed in its obligations to supply the Kingdom and the Alliance its quota of gold and lumber for the war effort, how do you respond to this?” questioned the man.

“I can answer that milord!” shouted the voice of Horace Fiedler over the ramparts “I will be right down there!” shouted the man as he climbed down the ladder and made his way to the gate and passing by the adventurers who made way for him. The militia captain had become more confident with the training and help of the adventurers and had given him, the man then smartly saluted the knight

“It’s like this milord, we’ve been sending messages back to Stormwind about our trouble with the Horde and the Syndicate, but no one was coming to help us” said the militia captain, some of the adventurers began gripping their weapons tightly hoping the man would not rat them out but preparing for a possible confrontation. “Then this here lot of brave heroes come in and offers their help, why just yesterday milord they helped us fight back a horde raiding party they did”

The paladin then looked back to the band of adventurers and began surveying the walls and the state of the walls, he then turned his attention back to the militia captain who continued

“So anyways if it weren’t for their bravery, a lot of us would be dead. We ain’t fighters milord, but these heroes have been doing their best to help us out” finished Horace. The man then gave another appraising look to the adventurers and a nodded

“I see then” said the paladin “I suppose we have you all to thank for this then.” With that the adventurers eased their weapons and the man continued “Under these circumstances then, the village of Geldbauer will be formally garrisoned by the Stormwind army. I pledge by the Light and by the ideals that keep our Alliance together that this town will remain secured and defended as long as the its citizenry obey the laws of our Kingdom”

“I am sure everyone here will accept milord” saluted Fiedler.

The Paladin ordered his knights to move their horses into town while they were guided by Horace, along with Gottlieb came an elderly human mage in robes of white and blue while wearing a silver cap, the mage looked more than a bit annoyed at the decision of Gottlieb

The paladin then spoke “I am sure you all expect some sort of reward for your parts in defense of the king’s lands?”

There was a unanimous series of agreements from the adventurers, the paladin then turned to the old man “Magister, if you would kindly arrange for transportation for these heroes?”

“I can hardly wait” said the old man grumpily while rolling his eyes and he began to chant a spell.

Beside the mage a shimmering disc of light began to appear and soon several men footmen, crossbowmen and peasants began walking out of the portal. As the soldiers and workers began moving into the town and carrying supplies, the paladin called to the attention of one of the footmen wearing an officer’s tabard, the soldier marched out of place among the lines and gave a salute to the paladin

“Orders?” asked the gruff voice of the footman

“Sergeant, I want you escort these adventurers to the quartermasters, tell them that these heroes deserve a commendation” said the paladin before kicking his horse into a canter and heading into Geldbauer.

“Oh hold up first” said Arion “Give us some time to gather our things before we get going”

The footman nodded saying “Of course” and took up a guard position by the portal. With that the adventurers went back to the barracks and began gathering their belongings before the soldiers began setting up their billets.

“Well that’s that then” said Mirry as she gathered up several enchanting reagents

“It was fun while it lasted” said Leorion, as he secreted a pouch of coins into his pack “still, one of the best jobs I have had” he added with mirth

“I could use the change of scenery” added Nighble as he curiously tied a cloth bag to the end of his staff like a hobo.

“I am ready” announced Haelna to her companions after placing a series of tools into a metal case. The companion walked out of the barracks with their belongings, as they exited the main building they saw a crowd of several villagers waiting for them. The men and women of Geldbauer gave their thanks and praises to the heroes as they passed and offering gifts of food, drink, or what coin they could spare, among them Haelna saw the boy Stefan who saluted the adventurers and proudly announced how he will sign up to join the Alliance army when he gets the chance.

The boy had fought as well during the last raid among the crossbowmen, the lad thanked them for everything and promised to repay them one day. Other villagers as well had said there farewells which was a quick and simple thing with little ceremony when the adventurers arrived at the gate they saw the footman sergeant still standing on guard duty, the man saluted them sharply while a pair of mages maintained the portal. As one the group entered the portal and back into the safety of the Alliance.

That evening at the Blue Recluse, the party celebrated what coin they had earned both from their previous venture and their reward from the Stormwind quartermaster which a bit disappointingly was just ten silver coins for each of them. Still they drank, ate and made merry as they socialized with other adventurers, sharing tales from across the world.

Sitting by a table in front of the Blue Recluse, Haelna poured herself a glass of red wine. Swirling the dark liquid around she looked to her current drinking companion, a night elf named Kalandir Ulam’aran. The elf’s hair was long and white with a well trimmed beard which covered most of his chin, the elf also had a goblet of red wine, the two were garbed in simple clothing, much like that of the local citizenry

“You are a hunter, yes?” asked the elf as his golden eyes gazed curiously at the dwarf and giving her a warm smile before taking a sip of wine

“Indeed I am” said Haelna with a bit of a smile, this was actually her third glass from a second bottle and already she was feeling quite warm and sociable.

“Most fascinating” replied the elf “I am a hunter as well, and I am rather new to this land.” The elf then took a sip and continued “Tell me fair maiden, where would one such as myself find an excellent place to hunt the most dangerous of prey?”

“There are many places really, to the North in the Plaguelands you have the Scourge, not from here the Burning Realms where the Dark Irons and the so called Old Horde fight for control, in the forests south of this city there are wolf like monsters that walk like men and make for excellent cloaks” the dwarf then took a sip from her glass and continued, but if it is battle you seek then the highlands of Arathi or the Valleys of Alterac where dangerous prey can be found aplenty”

The elf nodded with a smile and took another sip, after a moment of silence Haelna asked “And what of Kalimdor? Where would one such as myself who has never been to that land find the most lucrative of prey?”

“Now where to begin?” asked the elf “Ah yes…”
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