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“C-champion? Champion? Champion?!” the troll screamed, backpedalling until she tripped over her own feet and fell back. The ghoul charged down the hillside at her, leaping onto her just as a burst of light exploded outward from her, shielding her and making the undead attacker bounce harmlessly off. The creature caught a crossbow bolt to the chest and fell backward. The Ranger-Captain that had fired the bolt from the nearby rocky outcropping cheered.

“I saw him! And all of Scourgeholme can hear you! Light, shut up!” Champion Varendil Dawnblade said, turning to magically shield the ranger with the crossbow as well. He turned farther and spread his hands apart, then thrust his palm forward, a blast of Light energy knocking the head off of a skeletal spellcaster twenty yards away. The thing’s body fell as well, and Varendil smirked, turning around just in time to see a geist leap through the air toward him, howling.

The priest’s eyes went wide and he started to lift an arm to defend himself when an orc leapt in front of him, swatting the snarling beast from midair and landing on it, squashing the thing between the orc’s shield and the ground. A sickening crunch signaled the Scourge’s bones giving way, and the orc climbed back off and charged another undead creature before cutting it down.

The priest exhaled and looked around. “Frost. Kalandra was supposed to slow the geists. Where the Nether is she?” he asked, turning back to Captain Rivenblaze, who took aim and blasted the last ghoul into the ground before gasping and pointing over Varendil’s head.

The priest turned to see the mage pinned to the ground as one of the geists clawed feverishly at her neck. He threw up his hands and sighed before stomping over to the thing, kicking it off of the mage and pinning its neck to the earth with his dagger.

He stood up to see what seemed like a quart of the mage’s blood on his robes. “Oh, come on,” he said, exasperated. “Turn my back for two seconds and my squad gets its windpipe torn out.” Exactly that had happened, the mage’s neck little more than scraps of skin and a spine, the look of someone in circulatory shock frozen on the deceased blood elf’s face. Varendil rolled his eyes, and a golden aura swept around his feet as he spread his hands and began reciting the necessary rites. Moments later, a glow burst from the ground around the mage, flowing over the mage like liquid gold and mending her neck to its previous shape, the skin marred only by faint scars in the pattern of the geist’s slashes. The blast of light also lifted the mage onto her feet, and Varendil moved to catch and steady her as her eyes flew open and she began coughing violently. Even as the coughing subsided, the mage saw where she was, saw the undead around her, and began to scream, breaking free from the priest and whirling about in a panic.

“It’s okay, you’re fine, we’re with the Argent, we have you safe,” Varendil said, trying to calm the hysterical girl, but it was of no avail. The priest rolled his eyes. “Oh, for the love of…”

He waved his hands a bit more and shoved both toward the female, forcing his presence into her mind, wincing painfully at the chaos there. Her psyche raged against his control, bashing every which way against his grip before she simply gave up and passed out. Varendil let the body fall slowly to the ground and released his mental grip on her.

“I hate when they freak out after I revive them. Brux, would you fly her back to the Argent Vanguard, let her rest?” The orc, cleaning bits of Scourge off of his shield, nodded, saluted, and picked up the girl before firing a flare into the air. A red drake dove downward a few dozen yards away and glided low to the location, letting the orc with elf in tow board.

The troll archer slid down the nearby hillside and ran over to the group. “Looks like someone saw that flare. There’s a pack of gargoyles flying in fast, they’ll be on top of us any minute,” she said.

Varendil turned to the red drake himself, who blinked back as the blood elf snapped his fingers as if trying to catch the word on the tip of his tongue. He eventually gave up. “Drake,” he said. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”

“Bakaristrasz,” Ranger-Captain Rivenblaze said.

Varendil turned back to face her. “Bwuh? Lan, how do you know his name?”

“Because I talk to people,” Lanuria replied. “You’re always busy planning for this or berating someone for that, I get to know my allies,” she said matter-of-factly.

Varendil rolled his eyes and turned back to face the drake. “Bakaristrasz,” he said. “Can you fly with three?”

The drake nodded, and the priest turned back to the troll. “Congrats, you’re gunning. Hop on and shoot them off your tail,” he said, motioning the archer to mount the drake behind the orc. “Lan- Captain Rivenblaze and I-”

“Rivenblaze? I thought her name was Captain Dawnblade,” the troll said.

Varendil blinked and turned back to face Lanuria, who averted her eyes. “Well,” she said meekly. “It’s going to be Captain Dawnblade soon enough…”

“For all the crap you give me about having a wedding,” Varendil replied, “you act like it’s already happened.” He rubbed his temples and turned back to the three on the drake. “Captain Rivenblaze and I have the best chance on the ground, we’ll slice them up as they fly in. You three cheese it to the Argent Vanguard. ”

The orc and drake nodded, and with one strong push, the drake popped up off of the ground and spun, flapping its powerful wings and shooting off toward the only free stronghold in the area. As the drake rose, a series of cries came from the area past the crest of the hill. Lanuria loaded a bolt into her crossbow, and Varendil readied himself.

“They going to make it?” Lanuria asked.

“Dunno. How good of a shot is that troll?”

“Eeeeh,” Lanuria said, wiggling her hand.

“Well, here goes,” Varendil said, throwing a shield of Light over himself and carefully walking to the top of the hill. Lanuria watched as her fiancé strode to the crest and immediately caught a gargoyle in the chest as it swooped up over the hill. The two rolled down the hill, the gargoyle snarling and the priest swearing until he rolled out from under it and blasted it with light. The undead lay still. Lanuria shot two more out of the air as they flew over the hill in pursuit of the drake and its occupants. One got past Lanuria’s arrows and Varendil’s magic, but the gunner on the drake brought it down before it got too close. As the drake flew out of sight, the remaining flying monsters turned to focus on the ranger and priest. One flew down to glide straight in at ground level, but a downward slash of magic sent it into the ground where it hit, howled, and bounced a few times off the ground like a gnome hit by a tauren until it lay still.

While Lanuria picked off two more, one of the things kept dodging Varendil’s blasts of magic, then turned to fly away and pick up momentum before charging in. The Champion switched tactics, calming himself and shackling the beast in midair. Its source of motion ceasing, the beast whimpered as it fell in a gradual arc to shatter as it hit the ground.

One gargoyle remained, and it dodged as Lanuria fired, her bolt only catching its wing. Its flight hampered, it limped away past the hill, howling.

Varendil walked up behind the ranger. “You only got a little of it? I thought you were hit capped!”

The ranger shrugged.

“Do you still have Icewalker, or did you get yet more agility? Have you been seeing other enchanters?!”

Lanuria sighed and the two started walking up the hill to see if she’d brought the thing down. They stopped when the hill in question started shaking.

“Gargoyles don’t really… shake ground, do they, Lan?”

“Not generally, Varen,” Lanuria replied.

It was at that point that they noticed that what looked like the hill past the one they were standing on was moving.

Varendil sighed in exasperation.

Sepulchus wasn’t a popular flesh giant. The gargoyles tended to steal his lunch, which he preferred alive, and drop whatever draenei or human or orc he’d had an appetite for from three hundred feet up. By the time he found it, it would be cold. And then there was the time Malfeasor the Frosted froze one of his legs midstep and he fell, rolling downhill from the Fleshwerks all the way to Icecrown Citadel.

So when he saw that it was just a priest and hunter zapping things from a hillside in Scourgeholme while the rest of the living fled, Sepulchus jumped (figuratively) at the chance to prove himself. A pair of blood elves was no problem.

The giant climbed up the hill, and the elves ran back to a safe distance. The thing roared, and Varen looked around frantically, but saw the two had no real way out.

“Well, Lan, it’s been a good run,” he said. “I love you.”

The ranger took aim and shot an arrow which landed squarely in the flesh giant’s forehead, but the monstrosity just laughed. Lanuria swore and kept firing.

Varen stood, a bit motionless. “Oh, and I thought I’d tell you before I go, I was the one that put that mouse in the closet.”

Lanuria turned. “What?”

“You said you kept wearing my robes, it bothered me. So, I thought that might dissuade you.”

“Honey, I skin dead animals to make a living. Mice are nothing.”

“Well, crap.”

The beast roared, and began running, as best something that size can shamble, toward the two. Lanuria wrapped an arm around her love, and Varen looked away to the sky behind him, where he saw something. “What th’Nether’s that?” he asked. “A drake?”

Lanuria turned “It’s a gryphon,” she said.

“No, it’s a flying machine,” Varen said.

The ranger squinted. “It’s… Brux?”

Gol’kosh!” the orc atop the drake cried, and the giant turned to face the incoming red speck, which darted past the beast’s head, then turned around so that the orc could thwack the back of the giant’s head with his shield. The giant groaned and wobbled.

Varen was staring, slack jawed, at the sight before him, and he didn’t notice the ranger pulling at his arm. “Honey, come on, we gotta go,” she said, and he blinked as he came back to reality, turning and running with her out of the path of the falling beast. The ranger was faster, making it clear, but the priest stumbled over his robes, looked up at the tower of a creature falling on him, and meekly threw up a Power Word: Shield on himself before diving one last time away from the behemoth.

Varen was caught between the ground and the creature’s shoulder. However, the shield absorbed the impact, and its round shape made it, and its occupant, rocket out from beneath the flesh giant like a ball from beneath someone’s foot. Bakaristrasz, who had just landed, had to leap back into the air to avoid the projectile and its screaming priest, which bounced, rolling up the hillside, then slowly back down. After thirty seconds, the shield gave way, and the priest lay, knocked out, on the ground. Lanuria hugged the drake, and Brux walked over to peer down at the priest.

“Okay, I guess I’ll carry you back, Champion. Let’s go.”

9 Responses to “Varendil Goes to Scourgeholme”

  1. 1 lanuriaparty April 11, 2009 at 8:21 PM

    Great way to add in the Firefly quote and nearly make me bawl.

    Having Lan so kick ass makes me really happy. Had a stupid grin plastered on my face while reading this. Amazing work once again, Taylor.

  2. 2 Thomos April 12, 2009 at 12:12 AM

    *Clap, clap, clap*

    Good story, brah.

  3. 3 Thaera Maerin April 12, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    I love Varendil’s characterization and the flow of your writing is wonderful.


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