Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Burning Crusade: A Gnome's Tale

(A Gnome's Tale is an ongoing player fiction story, following the ingame exploits of Cyndre and Abryn. The complete story to date can be found here. Enjoy!)

The fate of all Azeroth hangs in the Balance. The unlikely pair knew it as much as any in their Alliance, as they had witnessed first hand, death and destruction at the hands of the foul demons and their terrible ilk. They were strong of mind and body, this pair... battle tested heroes of the greatest magnitude. Veterans of battles long since relegated to the hearth tales of bards and minstrels.

"Come to me Thoodhun, I have need of you," whispered the Gnome, a fel glint deep in the sockets of his fire rimmed eyes. From the shadows of the rocky perch where they awaited their compatriots of the mighty Militiae, a menacing presence emerged.

"You inconvenience me Master, provide me my morsel as per our arrangement or die where you stand," rasped the terrible demon. Reaching into the dark recesses of his skull adorned robes, Cyndre drew forth a tiny shard and tossed it to the Felguard. Inside the crystal, a purple light danced as if a living presence was trapped within...

"I shall never understand why you tolerate him," shuddered Cyndre's beautiful companion. Abryn forced thoughts of the terrible price Cyndre had paid for his powerful magic out of her mind. There was so much she would never understand about the Gnome, but she loved him despite his many flaws.

Moving further down the crest of the precipice where they took cover from the raging battle below, the full vantage of the blasted crater below came into view. The Blasted Lands were aptly named, for the scars of a millenia of wars had left these lands devoid of life. In the center of the Crater, a lone structure dominated the skyline. A doorway to the unknown... the Dark Portal. The Portal swirled with a hellish light, that neither had seen before. It was alive they knew, changed, different, and the strange world beyond was growing more visible with each passing moment.

Upon the steps, heroes of the Alliance and Horde were engaged in skirmishes with the demonic invaders, and while a tenuous truce had been struck between Thrall and King Magni, old hatreds die slowly, and battle between old enemies waged thick amidst the chaos below.

One by one, members of the mighty adventuring company, Militiae Templi, gathered at the designated meeting place. It had been many months since their last great battle with the fel lord Noth in the dread citadel Naxxrammas. So many of their number had been lost in the battles against the lich king's undead tide, that a somber mood still hung heavy upon the hearts of the noble guild. Many had been laid to their final rest, others had set off for distant worlds in search of dreams that only they could see, and many had simply seen too much suffering and laid down their weapons for the last time.

Cyndre wondered just how many were left... had the mighty company seen too much to rally for one final adventure? First one, then in small groups, the band of brothers started to assemble. His heart swelled at the sight of his comrades, some bearing fresh scars from their recent exploits, others wielding items of great power that they had found in the weeks and months since their last great battle.

The renowned warrior, Shaso, raised a hand for silence. As a hush settled over the assembled company, the warrior addressed his comrades, welcoming them back from their time apart. There was much to be done he said... they knew. There were matters of guild business to discuss... they were prepared. Great dangers lay head, and many would not return... They nodded sagely. Azeroth relied on the great guilds of the day to ride forth and protect them from the evils that lay beyond the Dark Portal... they were ready.

With a nod to the Dwarf at his side Shaso donned his great helm and drew forth the dire blade he had wrested from the hands of the foul witch of Naxxrammas, Faerlina. The company mounted as one, preparing reagents, notching their bows, and gathering their blades... Ragnar the Hunter fired an Aimed Shot at an unsuspecting Demon, and as their voices rose in a Battle Shout, the mighty Militiae Templi charged forth into the fray.

"Assist him," commanded the Gnome with a gesture at his Dwarven leader. Thoodhun Sprinted off, with a muttered curse. Glancing at his lovely Night Elven companion, he saw raw emotion dance in her eyes... Fear... excitement... Smiling, he whispered an arcane incantation and hurled a Shadow Bolt into the fray...

The war was on... The Burning Crusade had begun!

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