Author’s Note: Wrath of the Lich King
This Story takes place just after the events of “Wrath of the Lich King” and on the alliance side. Please support more work like this because there are more. Become a Patron!
One Last Villian
It’s good to have friends who are smugglers. Getting out of Stormwind hadn’t cost me much, and they even had equipment they were eager to part with. They saw us as far as the roads between Stormwind and Goldshire, and cautioned us of guard patrols there. Guards who wouldn’t turn their eyes away from a freed orc, not when there had already been a bounty on his head.
Buntaro and I cut through the woods themselves. One evening, I sat near a small fire, roasting a pair of rabbits. Wolves howled to each other in the distance. Hooting came through the trees. Buntaro returned after setting some traps near our hiding space. He looked wild in that sleeveless whelp scale shirt the smugglers gave him.
"Come here, handsome," I said. I made space for him on the blanket. Buntaro cuddled next to me, and Tsali lay at our feet. We shared our catch together.
"Delicious," said Buntaro. He chomped down on the meat, and chewed it slowly. "I haven’t eaten a real meal in weeks."
"You haven’t eaten one yet. This is only to start," I said. I took my own share of the rabbit.
"Oh?" he teased. "Is this the appetizer? You have the servants coming with our next meal? Is it duck and pea soup?"
"No, silly," I said. I tossed Tsali some. He gobbled up the meat. "But tomorrow night? We will be at the Goldshire inn. You know what Innkeeper Farley cooks? Roast pig spiced with cloves and orange peels."
"Hmmm, that does sound good," said Buntaro. He tossed Tsali a share of the rabbit.
"He serves it on top spiced red potatoes," I added. "Then you wash it down with the beer, brewed out in the country side."
"Oh my that does sound good!" said Buntaro. He devoured his share of the rabbit.
"You can see why I stay there for so long," I said. In our trip, I had long since shared with Buntaro why I stayed employed there, and what I did. Buntaro knew of my lovers, and my dances. He craved to see it himself. "My room upstairs will be safe. It will be comfortable."
I snuggled closer to him, rubbing my hands up his back, touching the great muscles beneath the scaled armor. I undid the first of its buckles. Buntaro’s breathing grew heavier.
"The sheets I have? Comfortable, warm silk. I have a fur blanket to keep us both warm at night," I said. "We can stay there as long as we need."
I removed his chest piece. His warm chest simmered at my touch. Then I laid him out on his back, and rolled on top of him. He pulled my face to him, and we kissed. I stripped myself of my own clothing, and then undid his pants. I wrapped my hands around his erection, pumping it up and down. I’d never forgotten the sounds he made when I pleased him so. Hearing them, out here under the stars, reminded me of our nights in Northrend. I leaned down and teased his shaft with my tongue until he became as hard as rock. Then I mounted him, and took him into myself.
"Kolapi!" I moaned as my pussy sank down onto his shaft.
"Yasmeen…" he said looking me in the eyes.
I rode him next to the fire that night. Our grunts and moans joined with the sound of howls and chirps in the dark air.
Goldshire’s western side stood unsuspecting of two travelers off well of the road. It neared dusk as we approached, and there, we came upon Lyria and one of her recruits. It was the big guy, who still walked with pain from where the gnoll injured his thigh in the attack weeks ago. I called out to Lyria. She and her militiaman came towards us. She peered through the late sunset at us both. She stopped for a moment when she saw Buntaro, standing and proud.
"So it’s true, Yasmeen," she said. "You rescued an orc from the stockades."
"What?" I said. I had told no one.
"We had a visitor," said Lyria.
"The hunter," said the militiaman. "He came through here again."
"What has he done?" I said.
"Easier to show you," said Lyria. "Both of you come."
"The orc too, ma’am?" said the militiaman.
"Yes, the orc too," said Lyria. "He travels with our healer and the best fighter this village has ever seen, or did you forget how you got that scar on your leg?"
The militiaman stammered.
"I just mean what if the hunter comes back?" he said. "He’s going to hurt people again, and we don’t need no more trouble."
"Someone will get hurt if he comes back," said Buntaro in a calm menace.
"Ahh right," said the militiaman.
We were led to the inn. Farley had set up two cots in a spare room. On one lay Rhombur. His face looked a tint of green, and his skin had a clear fever to it. He had bandages on two limbs. On the other, lay Isabelle, who looked so much worse. Her face, already pale and icy, looked aged. Her eyes had sunken back, and dark circles surrounded them. Her lips had a blackened color to them. Still she looked alert, sitting half up, and crossing her arms over her chest in protection.
"What happened?" I said to Lyria.
"After word got out that the great orc Buntaro had been busted from the stockades, and a Draenei may have helped him, Jondreas returned, and asked questions." Lyria began. She told me that Jondreas sneaked into the village, and prowled between buildings. Rhombur had been the first to catch him and confront him, and became a victim of a poisoned dagger. Still, he rang the alarm and the rest of the militia went after Jondreas. They found him outside of town, with Isabelle as his captive. He had her hands bound in one of his contraptions, and she screamed in pain as he tormented her with another gadget. He had been chased off, they went on his trail, but lost him
I examined Rhombur first. I know nothing of diseases or magical curses, or poisons. I’d only seen something like the green tint of his skin his blackened veins among soldiers who fought ghouls too closely in Northrend.
"Yasmeen," he said.
"Hold still a moment," I said. I placed my hands on him, and called on the power of the Naaru once more. Light glowed over his body, healing him. Yet I knew that I could only do so much.
"Do you feel better, Rhombur?" I said. His skin had turned back to a healthy color, though his skin burned to the touch.
"I do," he said.
"You’ll need to find someone to get you to Northshire Abbey," I said. "Tell the priests there you were stricken with the ghoul flux. They can remedy you completely."
"How did I?" he said. "Was Jondreas a ghoul?"
"No," said Buntaro. "He’s an alchemist who will turn any disease into a weapon. He doesn’t care how much pain it may cause. Count yourself lucky it didn’t spread."
Rhombur glanced back and forth between me and Buntaro. Buntaro squatted near Isabelle, who pulled away in fright.
"Please, let me just look at your hand," he whispered kindly. She extended her hands out to him.
"By the light, Yasmeen," said Rhombur. "Are monsters like Jondreas everywhere outside Elwynn forest? Is that what it means to adventure? To be at the mercy of people like him?"
I had no answer for him. I turned over to Isabelle and Buntaro.
"Look here," said Buntaro. He pointed to the scarred and purple skin around Isabelle’s wrists. "Marks from spell shackles. It’s a torture device the Burning Legion uses."
"As soon as he clamped those on me, I could not cast a thing," said Isabelle. "It hurt so, but not like what came next. Not when he demanded things from me."
She showed us elsewhere on her body where it had been pierced. The wounds looked like bites.
"He mana burned you, didn’t he?" I said.
"He kept asking about you when he did," said Isabelle. "Had a message for you. Said he was heading eastward."
"All that injury because of me and Buntaro?"
"I’m not as bad as I look," said Isabelle. "Mana has been trickling back to me. I’m going to recover, and then I’m going after him."
Lyria shook her head.
"You’ll be barely in condition to ride with us, Isabelle," she said. "What good would you be when we find him?"
Isabelle raised her chin high.
"This is my village as much as it is yours."
"You left when you were twelve!"
"Shut it!" said Isabelle. "I will be there when we capture him. I will see him suffer for what he did to me, and to Rhombur, and to every one else who is here."
"Isabelle…" said Lyria in a tense calm.
"Lyria," I said, changing the subject. "What’s this about a march?"
Lyria, glad for the distraction, shared what would happen next. She planned to head to Stormwind the next morning and appeal to Marshall Dugan himself. He knew he owed Goldshire a favor after the complete disaster weeks ago, and mounted knights would be the minimum she would ask for. The militia? They knew the forest well enough. Besides, Jondreas had departed on his cart. Fresh wagon tracks would be hard to miss.
"We’re joining too then," said Buntaro.
"Kolapi…" I began.
"What?" he said.
Lyria looked nervous, as did Rhombur and Lyria. This wasn’t Northrend, where the need to survive and fight for a common purpose overrode the bad history between the orcs and humans. This was Goldshire, a place where humans picked their allies with their fears.
"You’re still an escaped prisoner," I said choosing my words carefully. "I can’t protect you from the entire city guard. Buntaro, please I don’t want to see you in a cell again."
Buntaro nodded with frustration.
"Yes, I see," he muttered.
Lyria rode off that night. Isabelle, for all her determination stayed in her bed. Sadly, we had a few mana potions in the village. Though she could take them only slowly. Mana burn scars so deep it slows the rejuvenation process. Inkeeper Farley prepared a meal for all of us, and insisted that Buntaro eat in the common room with us all. Buntaro ate everything. The villagers were slow to open up to him, but when he discussed how he had been captured by Jondreas they listened. Even Rhombur, still recovering, sat respectfully before Buntaro’s stories of combat in the frigid north of the world. Yet more than a few cautious, and nervous eyes diverted from him. I retired upstairs with Buntaro after our meal. There, in my chambers, Buntaro paced back and forth. Annoyed that he had been snubbed for his chance to chase down the hunter who had so wounded him, he grimaced.
"Knights?" he said. "Men on horses thundering away through trees? They might as well announce themselves with trumpets."
"The same knights would pursue you," I said.
At that Buntaro gave me a look. I knew what it meant.
"Buntaro, we are not in Northrend. We are among simple people," I protested. "They do not see you as I see you."
"Neither did…" he began before stopping himself.
"Neither did Taluv see you as I see you in Warsong Hold’s great Hall," he said with a sigh.
I crossed my arms. We stewed in our frustration.
"I wish they would accept you, as your people accepted me," I confessed at last.
Buntaro waved his hand and grunted.
"Your innkeeper," said Buntaro. "He accepted me at least. So what do we do now?"
Standing up, I made myself as confident as I could.
"Let’s forget all this, Buntaro," I began as if reciting a speech. "We can travel to Booty Bay in two weeks and be on the other side of the world in two months. I have enough gold to get us a caravan for what little I care to carry."
Squinting first, Buntaro shook his head.
"Yasmeen, you know that you’re a bad liar," he chided. "Come on, you don’t want any of that right now."
"No I don’t," I pouted.
"Jondreas hurt me," Buntaro said gesturing to himself. "Now? He’s hurt your people. People who were your friends, and people who respect you. You would not let this go would you?"
He spoke the truth.
"No, that Gilnean captured you. He tricked me. He set gnolls upon our own village," I grumbled. "I have to do this."
"We both do," said Buntaro. "We head out tomorrow, ahead of knights and their noise. I bet he left tracks in his cart. Shouldn’t be hard to find."
"Because he’s laying a trap," I added.
"Oh I know!" declared Buntaro. "I don’t care. He won’t catch me again."
Walking towards my kolapi, I opened up to his arms. I would fight for him, and with him, in ways that I knew I could not within my own village. It would be madness to go after Jondreas, but he was still only one hunter. We were two, and we were angry. Jondreas would fall, and then? I would never again leave the side of my kolapi in peace or in battle.
The morning arrived and Buntaro and I set out for the road, dressed for tracking and the skirmishes as he had so many times before. Down stairs, we found the inn’s hearth blazing. Innkeeper Farley looked at us both.
"Yasmeen," he said.
"Farley," I added.
"You look dressed for danger," he said.
"I am," I said.
"You’ll be coming back? Staying again?" he said. "Ah no.. You won’t will you? No matter what happens, you’ll be moving on at last."
Having been understood, nothing needed to be said..
"Tell no one that we departed, Farley," I said. Can you do that?"
"Never saw you," said Farley. "Come back alive though. One last time? We can say good byes proper then."
"Thank you Farley," I said.
With that, Buntaro and I sneaked out of the inn. Jondreas had left a deliberate trail, one so obvious that Buntaro grew even more suspicious. Thus, we diverted away from the main road and into the woods. It lengthened our trek, but it allowed Tsali to sniff the air, the soil, and anything else that could indicate traps that Jondreas had no doubt set. In the evenings, Buntaro would set a perimeter as he often did. Only on the coldest nights did we create a fire. Our food consisted of dried rations. Still, it warmed our bellies and sustained us.
One morning on the roadside, our fire had long since burned out to ashes. Tsali paced around the edge of our camp. His chest out and his ears forward. Buntaro squatted on the ground near me. He drew his kukri and sniffed the air.
"What is it?" I whispered.
"Their fur. I can smell it," he said. I slipped out of my bed roll and hefted my shield and sword as softly as I could. We put our backs against one another, and rotated around. Tsali barked towards the north east. Then we heard a cold metal snap to the west. A gnoll yipped in pain. Both Buntaro and I turned to it. Then Tsali yelped and there was a thump. Tsali was caught in a net and being dragged away.
"No!" cried Buntaro. He ran after the net. Only then did the yaps and howls of gnolls break through the morning fog. They revealed themselves to us. Each one clad in hide armor, stuffed with branches, twigs, and leaves imitating the brush of Elwynn around it. Preparing for a fight was our only natural reaction. Uncertain, I stood my ground as a gnoll approached us. Barking and order to his comrades, he sized us up likewise. Growling ceased as our foes relaxed their weapons. This gnoll’s arm had lost patches of fur, and in their place were scabs and tiny boils.
"I am Snarg," the gnoll spoke. "I want peaceful talk."
"I am Buntaro. I want my worg."
"Gnolls do not injure our cousins," said Snarg. He looked to me. "Who are you? Why are an orc and a she-devil wandering our forest?"
"I am a draenei!" I said. "My name is Yasmeen, the name of who shall kill you if you harm Tsali or Buntaro."
Barking resounded. Snarg yapped and the gnolls calmed down. One spoke in their own language to Snarg. Snarg’s ears perked backwards, and he responded, keeping his eyes on me.
"Okay, Yasmeen," he said. "Share a story with me. Tell me about traveling north from the forests south of the river. You had a human."
"What?" I stammered.
"Speak, she-devil," he sighed.
"I traveled with a human yes. It was there we encountered a gnoll corpse tied to a tree. We took it down and covered it with leaves."
"My scout watched this," he said. "Why did your people kill my kin and disgrace his body?"
"We had nothing to do with that!" I declared. "We seek the one who did. Jondreas, a hunter from Gilneas. He is not from my village."
"This Jondreas," he said. "he fights with a lion, wears glass eyes, and fires diseases from his cross bow. Yes?"
"He uses a rifle," I said. "His glass eyes are yellow."
Snarg’s expression relaxed at last.
"I healed many in Goldshire," I added, indicating towards his diseased arm. "I can heal that too."
"First, tell me why you seek this man," said Snarg, pulling away his wounded arm.
"I’ll tell you why," began Buntaro with indignation. He told Snarg the tale of getting captured in Stranglethorn, and of Jondreas abuse of the people of Goldshire. I added how Jondreas had antagonized the gnolls, and endangered our village. I told the gnoll chief the truth. Snarg listened.
"I warned cousin Hogger not to attack," sighed Snarg. "Now, this Jondreas has taken his head. We will remove his in repayment. My scouts tracked his stink eastward."
"Then we want the same thing!" I said. "Let me heal you and allow us to leave."
"If you can," said Snarg. He extended his diseased arm.
"Release my worg first!" grunted Buntaro.
Snarg barked an order to the other gnolls. Tsali was returned back in his net and placed in front of Buntaro. Buntaro cut the ropes and Tsali leapt out and came to heel. Snarg held his hand arm out. I sheathed my sword and invoked the power of the Naaru. Golden light swirled around his arm, and the boils and scabs disappeared. His armed cleansed, Snarg rubbed his bare skin.
"Are we free to go?" I said.
Motioning us to sit, Snarg himself sat upon a stump. He offered Buntaro’s trap back to him. It had been sprung, with no trace of blood or injury upon it at all.
"The Gilnean does not hide his trail," said Snarg. "He expects us to come at him with full force. For days, we have tracked this hunter. I have always sent only two or three to follow him."
"He sets a trap as we wait here," said Buntaro.
"Yes!" said Snarg. "Which is why we wait, outside this cave he hides in, until he wanders out. I am not my cousin. I am patient."
"And you risk less of your people in doing so," I added.
"Let us go," said Buntaro. "Show us this cave. We will flush him out for you. Do what you wish after."
"What will you do with him?" I said.
His shrugging replied first.
"Kill him. Eat him," he continued. "All in good time though. He can’t stay in the cave forever."
"You might not have time," I said. "A contingent of knights are gathering in Stormwind right now. Do you think they’ll miss that trail anymore than you or I did?"
"What? No!" said Snarg, shocked. I nodded at him. He discerned I spoke the truth.
"Let us fight with you," said Buntaro. "You can have his head, liver, spleen, for all I care. I only want to know he pays before I leave Alliance territory, for good this time."
Knowing for certain that invading the cave would be a trap, and knowing also that there may never be another chance, Snarg still shook his head in dismay.
"Are you better at spotting traps than setting them?" said Snarg. He gestured to Buntaro’s trap. "We will enter first. All three of us. Together. Yes?"
"Agreed," I said. Buntaro gave a stern salute.
We moved with the entire company of gnolls, with haste, eastward through Elwynn. We arrived at the edge of Redridge, where the trees were sparser and rocks more prevalent. Snarg pointed out to Buntaro the locations of several scouts, and we all saw Jondreas’s cave as plain as the sky. The mouth of the cave looked large enough for both a man and horses to pass through, and his cart was parked next to it. Smoke came out of the cave’s mouth. Snarg had told the truth. The trap was obvious.
Nonetheless, we trudged into the cave. Buntaro kept Tsali close. He waved a torch near the floor, and near the dangling stalactites at the cave’s ceiling. Rope was illuminated in its orange flickering. Buntaro squinted in suspicion.
"You smell it, Snarg?" he said.
"Sleep petals," said Snarg. "They smell like tulips and honey."
"Yeah they do don’t they? " said Buntaro. Following the rope with his eyes and fingers, Buntaro came to a wall. He found the trigger mechanism, and then it led to glass bottles filled with a concentrated pink fluid. The vials had a tiny crack near where the corks stuffed into them.
"Huh.." Said Buntaro.
"What is it?"
"They’ll make good throw weapons," said Snarg. "Let’s split them among us."
And so we did and proceeded further down into the cave, following the scent of smoke.
Deeper within, that’s when we heard the yapping. I hefted my shield. Buntaro readied himself. Snarg? Snarg looked afraid.
"Torch!" said Snarg. "Light my torch now."
Buntaro did. Snarg creeped around the cavern walls and we spotted a group of gnolls devouring one of Jondreas’s horses. They huddled away from a campfire. Snarg tossed the torch towards them. The gnolls jumped away from it. Their mouths frothed with blood and foam. They looked terrified of the fire, and growled towards us. Near them, broken bottles dripped out toxic liquid.
"Run!" cried Snarg.
"What?" I said.
"They’re rabid!" he said. "Go!"
Buntaro hurled one of the vials in the direction of the gnolls. A cloud of pink haze burst out in the firelight. The gnolls inhaled it in, dazed, but not sleeping. I grabbed my kolapi and Tsali and we rushed out the way we came. Barking echoed behind us. How many? I could not count. Their foul sounds terrified us all the way into the open light. Snarg shouted at his warriors. I saw the fear flash across their faces, and then I saw the courage of their charge. Their crude shields crashed against the onslaught of at least a dozen ravenous, clawed, and biting enemies.
Buntaro, feared too much for Tsali. Having cleared distance, he readied a bow and fired arrows at our enemies. They struck the mad brutes but didn’t phase a single one. Intoning retribution I charged into the melee. Arcs of holy fire struck each furred monsters when they assaulted our allies. One brute grabbed hold of my shield. Clawing and biting tried to rip it from my grip. I could not get a clear swing at him. Howling remorsefully, a gnoll warrior speared him in the back. I pushed him aside and made ready to engage the next enemy.
Charging hoof beats pounded the ground behind me. I looked behind me and saw Marshall Dugan and several Stormwind knights ride. Behind them the Goldshire militia waited.
"No! Stop!" I screamed. Snarg’s gnolls yelped a retreat, struggling to clear themselves of the onslaught. In the confusion, I tossed one of the sleep potions towards the galloping knights. The wind carried away the gas. Buntaro fired arrows at the incoming calvary, and an arrow struck Dugan in a shoulder plate. Yet he persisted. One knight passed me and skewered a rabid gnoll. He drew his sword and pursued the others. Right as Marshall Dugan and the other knight made their way, I shouted and consecrated the ground. A great flash of yellow fire flared around me. The horses, pain searing their undersides, reeled back. Controlling their steeds proved difficult for them all. One knight fell from his saddle.
"Yasmeen!" Marshall Dugan shouted. "What in the nine hells are you doing?!"
"I said stop!" I waved my arms frantically at the militia archers. "All of you stop!"
When the dust cleared, I found Buntaro wetting his daggers on the last of the rabid gnolls. Snarg’s warriors had dismounted and cornered the zealous knight, and aimed their weapons at him. I broke up the confusion and sent the knight back towards the militia. It was then I noticed Lyria Du Lac commanding them. Isabelle rode with them too, her face was still gaunt and weak from the mana burn. Injuries abounded among the gnolls. A few of them were killed. At least one had the tragic death of dying beneath a charging warhorse.
It took all my patience to gather Snarg, Marshall Dugan, and Buntaro together. Lyria joined too, as did Isabelle.
"Alright?" said Dugan. "What’s going on? We tried to save you from these mongrels, and now you say you’ve been working with them?"
Isabelle glared coldly at Snarg.
"Watch your tongue, human," said Snarg. "I hear every word."
"It speaks!" exclaimed the Marshall. "What about you, orc?"
"Watch it, ser!" I said. "You will speak to my companions with respect."
"How’s your shoulder?" chided Buntaro. Dugan rolled his eyes, and pulled the arrow out. It released cleanly. Dugan raised his palm to his shoulder and healed himself.
"Fine, thanks for the concern," he said flatly.
"Be thankful!" added Buntaro. "I don’t barb them."
Conversing did not go comfortably. Everyone, in the heat of anger, simply wanted to fight. Still, once the rush of combat subsided in us all, our heads became cool enough to deal with the task at hand. We made for an agreement. The marshal went back to his militia, and Snarg to his warriors.
"You’re going to have a rough time explaining me, aren’t you Yasmeen?" said Buntaro.
"What’s there to explain?" I said. "Would they even understand?"
"They might," he said. "We did just stop them from killing every gnoll in Redridge."
"I don’t know."
Arriving for us all began with Snarg. Dugan returned after I did, Rhombur was with him this time.
"He’s got an idea if you want to hear it," the Marshall said.
"Used to play in these caves as a kid," said Rhombur. "That one? Sure as I stand here has a long tube you can crawl through."
"He’s right," said Snarg. "I noticed it when we entered there. Where does it exit?"
"Not far," he said.
"But Jondreas could be anywhere in this valley by now," I said.
"Only two ways out," said Marshall. "I can have the patrols monitor the river. The other way out is the pass towards Blackrock territory."
He turned to Snarg.
"I think your people know these mountains better than ours," said Marshall Dugan. "Can you track him?"
"We will not," said Snarg.
"What?" I said.
"My people were bitten," said Snarg. "Bitten by rabid gnolls and the disease will spread. We will go to our witch doctors. We cannot, and will not fight."
Snarg squinted at Dugan.
"Neither will we risk more warriors to the fury of men on horses."
Snarg and his gnolls saw to their own dead. They bound their fallen warriors in blankets and carried them away. How gnolls handled their deaths I could never learn, but it could not be cannibalism as is so common a story among humans. The diseased gnolls, they did not touch. Preparing a pyre remained our sad duty. Furthermore, we could not expect the gnolls to touch the poison bottles that Jondreas had left behind. Spreading that strong distillation of rabid disease could only bring ruin on us all. We burned those bottles with the fire. That disgusting smell brought with it terrible memories. I distracted myself and joined with Dugan and Isabelle as they examined a map. The redridge valley had only two exits. A pass leading towards the Blackrocks, and the over the rivers towards Elwynn or Duskwood.
It was too much to patrol without the gnolls. In the end we knew we had something. We had Buntaro. Jondreas would not leave this valley until he had him, and that meant we had bait. Marshall Dugan divided his men into squads to cover the passes and the rivers. That left little for us. Only Isabelle, myself, Buntaro and Lyria remained.
We knew we could not stay near the pyre. Not even for the night. Jondreas had set a trap, and we dodged it. Lyria led us up a path to an abandoned, and partially collapsed mine. There we warmed ourselves near a fire and contemplated our next step.
"The valley is too damn big," Isabelle still shivered in pain. She tried nonetheless to conjure a scrying bowl to search for our enemy.
"Isabelle you’re going to faint again," said Lyria.
"She’s right," said Buntaro.
"Don’t tell me what I can’t do," snapped Isabelle.
"Not her," said Buntaro. "I mean you. You’re right that this valley is too large. I could track for weeks and not catch up with him."
Isabelle blinked, suddenly chagrin at her own temper.
"Then you know I must scry," she said. "No matter how much it hurts. I’ll find him if it kills me."
"Isabelle," sighed Lyria. "You can’t…"
Before Isabelle snapped at her I motioned Lyria to quiet.
"Look we’re going to help you scry," I said. "There’s one thing we have to do first."
"What’s that?" said Isabelle.
I described the mana tide totem. I told her how it worked, and what we would do to ignite the flow of refreshing mana. After the battle, I needed it too. Buntaro held me close as if protecting me from Isabelle’s moral gaze.
"Harlot magic? With him?" she said. "Never have I encountered such in my studies."
"You can trust it," I said. "I’ve fought with Buntaro. This is truth: I’ve done it more times than I can count. Even arcanists benefit."
"But shaman magic and sex?"
"It’s no more taboo that what we’ve done," said Lyria calmly. She looked over to Isabelle with vulnerability I had never seen on her. Isabelle’s ice blue eyes opened as wide as saucers. She stammered to say something, but could not.
"These two are about to fuck before us and you think we have some secret we can still keep?" said Lyria.
"Oh my," whispered Buntaro.
"How long?" I asked.
Isabelle spoke choosing every word with effort
"First time was when I visited after six years of mage training," she spoke. Her arms uncrossed and her breathing steadied. "After that, it was anytime I returned."
"Until that night Hogger killed Jacob," said Lyria. Her words were full of pain. "That was the last night we spent together. At my home."
Isabelle turned away and tears began to dripped down her pale cheeks.
"He went out that night to look for me," Isabelle stammered. "I know it. I was supposed to be setting wards at his ranch that night… but I hadn’t seen Lyria in so long…"
She let out a little quiet sob in catharsis.
"He scoured the woods thinking I was taken. That’s when Hogger got him. Because of me," she said.
We sat there in silence for a time. Hogger had slain Isabelle’s childhood friend. No wonder she could never leave the Elywnn after that.
"You can’t blame yourself," said Buntaro. "Hundreds of decisions are made in any conflict, including the enemy’s decisions."
"My decision was love over duty," said Isabelle.
Grieving was upon Lyria’s face. It hurt her to hear these words.
"Isabelle, love is why we do our duties. Love is why we fight," I said. I came out from Buntaro’s wide arms and held her hands. I then took Lyria’s and placed them into Isabelle. "Let me show you what I learned in Northrend."
Moments later, the blue glow of mana illuminated the room from the pool of the Mana tide totem. Buntaro and I were upon each other, moaning and growling while we removed our clothes. Overpowering me after a struggle, my kolapi had me on my back and underneath his arms. I loved how we exchanged kisses together like that, already the tide bubbled as my breasts engorged and pressed against him. I looked to Lyria. She held Isabelle’s head in her arms, caressing her white hair. Isabelle’s eyes still glistened from tears, yet already she looked warmer. Lyria lifted Isabelle carefully up and began to untie the top of her clothes.
"Wait…" said Isabelle. She looked scared.
"For what?" said Lyria, unbuckling her own armor and casting it aside. She removed her top, and displayed her breasts towards Isabelle. "If you really mean you don’t need this, I’ll get dressed again."
I was riding Buntaro now. My hips writhed on top his cock. It was good, yet my heart fluttered in fear that what needed to begin would not. Oh Isabelle, do not be afraid. She gulped down, and leaned up towards Lyria, their lips touched, and Isabelle melted into Lyria’s embrace. Soon, she was undoing her mage’s robe as if it burned her body. Blue light of mana and the orange glow of the fire glowed on her porcelain skin. Lyria pressed close to her, and her free hand touched between Isabelle’s legs. Never had I heard such cries of relief and joy from them before.
Our sex imbued the tide totem. Its streams of mana gushed forth and flooded our small cave. Isabelle and Lyria asked to touch me as well, and touch me they did. Exploring me, their hands grew incessant and curious. Isabelle, growing reckless and bold after her orgasm, begged me to change partners. I was filled with pride at her courage, and grew even prouder when she climaxed with my kolapi. Lyria? Her lust for me knew no bounds either. Her lips tasted of the juices of her long missed lover. "Thank you, Yasmeen," she whispered. Then, kissing stimulated between my legs.
I had never seen Isabelle without clothes covering her shame. Though there, while all of us were nude and relaxed in that stone cave, Isabelle stood tall and near the fire we built. She recited a spell, and her eyes glowed into a solid yellow. Glyphs of magic rotated around her head as she moved her arms like one swimming through a fog.
"I see him," she said.
"Jondreas?" Lyria asked.
"Yes," she said. "I see where he is. I see what he wants. Oh we will have him."
The divination trance held her still for several minutes more. The glow in her eyes intensified, and her mouth curled into a feline smile. When it ended, the magic faded and her eyes returned to their pale blue. She was with us again.
"I know what we can do," she said. "I see… I see us capturing him. Here is what we must do."
It had been weird, uncomfortable, when Isabelle demanded that Buntaro and I remain in the cave for one more day. It made little sense to me, or to Buntaro. Both of us had nothing but Jondreas’s bloody head on a pike in our minds. Yet she insisted that we must not only stay, but must not leave the confines of the cave. All we could do was watch the sun move, as she had instructed us, while she and Lyria marched away.
Then our part came. Buntaro drew his dagger and wet it with his own blood. We marched through the woods together, leaving faint drops of his wound on rocks, on trees. We went through the thick brush until at last we arrived at a fallen tree before a boulder. Tsali yapped loud. We knew our quarry was near. Setting a frost trap was Buntaro’s first in ages. Then we continued along the mountain side.
A snap of a trap and lion’s pained roar broke the silence of the wood. A bullet whizzed past my horns, and I raised my shield. Notching an arrow, Buntaro leapt behind a tree. Another bullet crashed into its branches, sending splinters around.
"Can you see him, kolapi?" said Buntaro. Buntaro growled beside me.
"No," I said peering through the woods. "Wait…"
A flash of light, as unmistakable as a mirror in a desert sun, flickered near some brush.
"Yes I do," I pointed discretely.
Buntaro drew an arrow with an explosive at its head.
"Okay, this is going to be loud," he said.
"I won’t fear it."
Buntaro muttered an order to Tsali. He bounded off to the right, and I to the left. We charged towards Jondreas’s position. Several more shots whizzed past me, and other collided with my shield. Tsali growled as he dashed madly through the trees and brush. Then, a friendly arrow flew past my flank in a great red streak. I raised my shield as flame and sulfur exploded. Upon lowering my shield, I saw the singe bushes where Jondreas had been, he arose, in a soot covered sneer.
"Damn you!" I roared.
Jondreas flung a glass vial, and a stinking cloud of brown gas billowed out. My eyes began to tear in resistance, and dammit, I tried to charge through it anyway. A bullet struck my armor, penetrating through and wounding my shoulder. I fell back and Tsali ran towards me. His jaw gripped my collar and dragged insistently at me.
"Yes, yes! Fine," I protested as I inched my way back. Shootings continued over our heads. Buntaro fired more arrows in return.
Buntaro met me, covering his mouth against the fumes, and we moved around the cloud, towards a hill overlooking a field.
"She did say not to charge," coughed Buntaro.
"I know," I said. "I don’t care."
"We do our part, they do theirs," said Buntaro. "Come!"
We crawled on our bellies until we could safely over look the clearing. Jondreas was on the run. My kolapi, he had a clear shot. I had seen him make so many kills at such shorter distances. His eyes squinted down, for I knew too that he wanted this shot to be his.
Running fir the coverage of a grove, Jondreas didn’t see the trap. As he stepped, a large green glyph appear before his feet. A pillar of flame erupted from the ground, and Isabelle appeared from her hiding. Jondreas tumbled back and rolled down a hill side. Firings of frost streaked towards Jondreas. Still, he evaded most, until an arrow struck him in the calve.
Jondreas screamed in pain. From behind a stone, Rhombur revealed himself. He notched another arrow, and shot a flare skywards. Marshall Dugan galloped in, followed by the rest of the Goldshire militia. Jondreas raised his rifle to fire again, only to be struck in the chest by another of Rhombur’s arrows.
"Good shot, that one," said Buntaro.
Hearing him say that warmed my heart, as much as it excited me to see Rhombur act as brave -and as skilled- as he did.
With no escape, Jondreas dropped his weapon. Still, the militia regarded him with caution. Marshall Dugan dismounted and exchanged words with Jondreas. I could not hear them, though only knew that Dugan spoke with the dour dignity worthy of every Paladin before a cornered enemy. Isabelle though? She broke the calm with words harsh and spiteful. Marshall Dugan shook his head, and motioned for her to calm. Tugging her away, Lyria comforted Isabelle as best she could.
Jondreas said something else that made Isabelle shout at him anger. Dugan stood between Jondreas and a glaring Isabelle, wise enough not to turn his back on one like Jondreas. Sulking became Isabelle’s last resort.
"By the Naaru," I said. "The light’s justice will have its day in the stockades."
Buntaro grunted in disapproval.
"Yasmeen…" he began. A roar of flame burst through the air. We looked, and witnessed Isabelle. Tendrils of fire burst from her hands, and immolated Jondreas as he screamed. Screaming never lasts long like that. My heart beat in shock, terror, and though I wished it were not so, satisfaction in what I witnessed. Dugan slammed his face into his gauntlet and then cried out in frustration. Yelling back, Isabelle’s words were loud enough for me to hear: "You said, ‘deal with him as you see fit’ marshall!"
Caught in his words, and tired of our chase, Dugan shook his head. He mounted his horse called to his knights and rode away.
Two days later, veiled in my silks, I once again prepared myself behind the stage curtain. The music broke through the night and clapping welcomed me in. Sauntering out to the stage, with a flow of silk behind me, I was lusted after by Lyria, Isabelle, and above all my Buntaro. My short dance of Booty Bay harlotry inspired the crowd to share a few coins, and I bowed for them. Many of them were militiamen, including my Rhombur. He looked healthy now, fully cured of the ghoul flux.
"Who threatens our village and lives?" I called to the crowd.
"No one!" chanted the militia.
"Who raids our fields, or assaults our merchants?"
"No one!" they chanted again. Lyria tossed me a singed pair of goggles.
"No one! Indeed!" I said, holding it up in the air. "Now let us celebrate all together."
Lyria and Isabelle cuddled close together. Already Lyria’s hands rubbed her lover’s body. Sharing my breasts with them delighted me and all. Stripping myself of clothes, spinning in a sensual dervish, made me wetter. That’s when I began the orcish chant of victory. Buntaro joined with me in a deep throated vowels. I egged on Lyria and Rhombur to follow along. From them, the rest of the militia followed. They knew not what it meant, no more than I did that first night so long ago. They need not know the words to know it was right.
I brought my Buntaro up to the stage, and he hefted my nakedness into the air to thrill chanting crowd. He brought out his cock and fucked me in a standing position before the humans. Orgasming had never been stronger here than with him. I wailed in victory, and then saw Lyria and Isabelle in their thorough of lust.
"Your turn, Lyria," I said crawling towards them.
"Huh?" she said taking her lips off Isabelle.
"This is the Koh’stagig," I said. "You two shared in the victory. Now share in the celebration."
Isabelle’s pale eyes glistened with want.
"You mean? You want us to…" she said.
"Shame is the last enemy to die," I encouraged, caressing her cheek.
"Yes. Yes you’re right," said Isabelle. She brought Lyria up to the stage and they were upon each other like a pair of wild foxes. I reclined with Buntaro, excited with what we saw. Lyria, always strong and confident, showed no difference in her sex. Bringing Isabelle to her back and getting her completely nude happened as fast as an ambush. Isabelle threw her hands over her head and accepted Lyria’s kisses on her lips, and the bites at her skin. When Lyira pushed fingers into Isabelle, the penetration was announced with a cry of passion. All the while the chant of victory continued. We were alive. We had done our duty. We had saved what matters in the world.
I spent my remaining days saying my good byes, and arranging for a cart to carry my few possessions. My clothes? Oh I knew I could not carry all of them. I shared some with Isabelle, who wore my silks with faint embers of sensuality growing within her. I would miss them all, and hoped to see them someday again. Buntaro and I took to our cart, with Tsali riding in the bed behind us.
While we finished a meal by the roadside, Tsali’s ears perked forward and chest puffed out. He sniffed the air and pointed with his nose and Buntaro peered towards the brush.
"Buntaro," I whispered, indicating upwards to a tree. There, crept Jondreas’s mountain lion, fur standing up high and ears flat.
"Well there he is," said Buntaro.
He watched the animal closely as he walked along the branches near us. Without any certainty, it simply crept back and forth in the trees. Buntaro readied his Kukri. I picked up a piece of the chicken we had been eating. Waving it in the air capture the lion’s attention. I tossed it away from us. The lion hopped between branches, then to the ground and devoured the hunk of meat.
"Okay let’s go," I said.
Buntaro sheafed his Kukri and ordered Tsali to stand down.
"Just watch," he said.
As he stepped for the cart, the lion approached us. Ears up and fur down, it let out a quiet roar.
"Large cats?" said Buntaro. "They make no noise unless they want to."
The lion stepped closer towards the food, and towards me.
"He…" I began.
"She’s yours now," said Buntaro. "Give her a little more food. She’ll eat out of your hand this time."
Trembling, I offered a chunk of salted pork to the lion. She sniffed it, then consumed it. Her rough tongue grazed at my palm. The rough scraping felt somehow tender.
"What now?" I said.
Buntaro mounted up on the cart with Tsali. I took a seat beside him. The lion looked up at us all, then jumped up and sat down near me. Buntaro cracked the reins, and we went at last towards our new adventures in Booty Bay.
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