(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 celebration was short lived. Word had come back from Militiae Hunters in the field that the death of the Dragon menacing the Ramparts of the orc Citadel, was doing little to stem the tide of troops pouring out of the bastion of filth and desecration.
With scores of would-be heroes haplessly questing against the fel tide, and no apparent decline in the forces of the enemy, the officers of the company gathered with the leaders of the Honor Hold uncover the source of this strange occurrence.
"How could this be so," demanded the Dwarven Warrior furiously. Thorik glared angrily from beneath his dented visor, a testament to the increasing ferocity of the orc menace. Those gathered muttered curses echoing the Dwarf's anger and frustration.
A stately Draeni Warp-Scyer, raised his hand to hush the gathered assembly, "My divinations indicate some foul sorcery is at work here. We believe that they are not training these troops, but rather, growing them in some foul laboratory." He continued, "We have intercepted a dark missive and believe that they call this foul factory of flesh, the Blood Furnace."
Disgusted and terrified, Thorik shouted above the clamoring crowd, demanding the right to put an end to this, "I shall take from our number a party of great heroes, and we shall investigate this Blood Furnace." With that the Dwarf stormed out of the great keep to gather his team.
Lost in his dark meditations, the Gnome did not hear her enter. Perhaps in some light yet recessed part of his calculating mind, he could sense her and he knew her, for his acute intuition would never have let an enemy approach him unnoticed... that and the seven feet of hulking demon would have beheaded anyone but her.
"We are summoned." stated the Priestess softly.
Cyndre heard her, and in her words he could hear the will of a warrior, a born wanderer... the clarion call of the road and of places unknown was deep in her blood, and these past weeks had been hard on her. Confined to healing the many wounded, she had watched time and again as her brothers and her lover rode off, hoping only that each corpse wagon that passed the gates would bear unfamiliar visage.
"We?" asked the Gnome, hoping his mistress would finally again be at his side.
"They have need of Blood Samples from the Nascent Orcs that are being bred with the Blood Furnace, and my alchemy and healing talents are more valuable in this endeavor, then in the infirmary. Thorik requested our presence for this reason." she replied.
They had resolved to meet by the din of nightfall upon the Southern Ramparts of the Hellfire Citadel. Their scouts had found a little used service entrance, barley guarded through whence they could descend into the dire depths below the great Orc stronghold.
They were just five, but they were solid of mind and spirit. They had learned much in the past weeks, and their power had grown. This was to be their greatest challenge yet, and the dangerous path began upon this wooden stair.
As the made their way upon the treacherous precipice, visions of foul experiments taking place in the dark recesses below, filled their thoughts, and as one they shuddered at the terrors they would face...