The troll woke, vision slowly focusing on the face of an orcish death knight that peered down at him. He moved to sit up, but a muscular gray-green arm pushed him back down. “Don’t try to sit up. You’ve been badly hurt. There’s a priest from the Crusade on his way,” the death knight said.

The troll laid his head back down. Looking to his left, he saw another Crusade soldier, wounded as well, but sitting up and drinking something steaming from a mug. Looking to his right, he saw the entrance to the Shadow Vault itself, a few Knights of the Ebon Blade going about their business, only a sideways glance of mild curiosity at the two wounded fighters. One, another Darkspear, walked up beside the troll, peering down at his abdomen. He shook his head slightly, clucking, and then went on his way, carefully avoiding eye contact.

At this, the troll swallowed hard. His throat felt dry and raw.

The orc leaning over him stood up. A shadow flew over the troll and he looked up to see a drake silhouetted against the evening sky. The beast swiftly descended, the blue-clad elf upon his back leaping off before the drake could land and running over to the troll. He looked down into the troll’s eyes for a moment, then down at his stomach. His hands clapped together.

The troll again tried to sit up, but this time the elf pushed him down. The healer’s hands went to the troll’s stomach, and straining his eyes downward as far as he could, the troll saw a flash of light. Then another. A warm, liquidy sensation began to flood through his body, and he hoped it wasn’t blood.

The troll laid back and closed his eyes. This was… odd. He felt his insides shifting, moving. He felt things growing – growing back, perhaps, from where they’d been severed? – but it didn’t hurt. It just felt… odd. However, after a moment the feeling vanished, replaced with the tingling of new and improving blood flow. The troll opened his eyes, looked up at the priest.

A look of terror was on the elf’s face.

He simply stared down at the troll’s abdomen. He reached out to touch something, then stopped. “I… always… this…” he started to say. The troll started to squirm, but the orcish death knight reappeared to hold him down.

“Do you know what–” the elf started again, then sighed. He stood up, pacing around, starting to mutter in Thalassian. The troll blinked, now breathing heavily, feeling his blood pump faster. His stomach felt warm, almost hot, and he didn’t know what it meant.

After a few moments the elf stopped pacing. He stared down at the troll’s stomach once more with a shaky sigh. Slowly, silently, he leaned down, pulling up a handful of bloody frostweave. And another. And another.

“Such… such a waste,” the priest said. “This.. this could have been a lovely dress. Or some armor. A resilient, padded mantle protecting some healer or mage from the grabbing hands of some ghoul.”

He grabbed another ribbon of blood-stained cloth. “And this. This would be a flying carpet that some Kirin Tor pulled out when he wanted to get lucky.”

The elf stood up. “All gone. All ephemera. Such a waste…” He mumbled a few more words, but the troll couldn’t make them out. The orc holding the patient down relaxed his grip as he stared at the priest.

The red drake swooped down, landing and letting the elf climb aboard. The healer surveyed the area once, then lowered his gaze to make eye contact with the troll.

“You better make this worth it,” he said coldly, then patting the drake on the back. The beast launched itself into the air and flew away to the east.

The orc let go of the troll, who quickly sat up and clawed away at the remaining cloth wrapped around his abdomen. Beneath the blood and tatters was simply smooth, unblemished skin. Relieved, the troll stood. “What was dat? Was ‘e serious?” he finally said to the orc.

“I don’t even know,” the death knight replied, bewildered, staring at the sky as the drake became a speck in the distance.

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