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 enjoy and support more work like this.
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A Draenei Defiled
I never went back to the Exodar. It beckoned me still too close to the crown of the world. The chill of Azuremyst isle offered me no comfort. By the Naaru, duty did not compel me either. I had given my duty and the light of the Naaru did not shine upon me when I shivered alone with only freezing blood to seal my wounds. No, I had explored the world I fought to save. I had gone south, across the sea, and across the sea again.
Now far inland, my hooves clopped along the cobblestone roads of Goldshire. I carried precious silken luxuries and a single leather pouch. Smugglers had taken them from Silvermoon to Stormwind where I retrieved them. These silks are for pleasure, and for love. Neither of which shall I be ashamed of. Yet, near my destination, I crossed the village training corral. Soldiers from the human city had been thin. Far too many had been sent to the north, and far too few had returned. Here then, Lyria Du Lac, dressed in her unblemished armor drew her wooden practice sword and incited the new recruits.
In a village this small, so little entertains me. Who, after all, entertains the entertainers? I wandered to the benches around the wooden fence. The first farmhand recruit charged like an unruly bull. He was large and believed his girth compensated for lack of skill. But straight charges are predictable. Lyria dodged and redirected his weight with her shield. He stumbled on her greaves and fell face first into the mud. Lyria turned and pulled him up. Her eyes caught mine. Would that I had my veil, but all villagers know the only Draenei here. Veils do not conceal horns.
The next challenger stood up. Tall. His hair a tussled black mess. Oh, and his eyes, bright blue, outlined with the dark circles that marked him as a veteran. This man placed down a ceramic urn as if it was his child on a bench behind him. Then he grabbed a wooden shield and practice sword and prowled around Lyria. Lyria lunged first. He blocked her then let out a bestial shout. They engaged each other. Grunts and sweat exuded from this challenger. He endured the firm whaps of wood on his exposed arms. Oh, I enjoyed seeing him fight.
This is my perversion. By the Naaru, this is what brings me shame.
The stranger dropped from a final blow. One he took intentionally, I could tell. For he fell too hard for Lyria’s indirect strike. So Lyria won the duel. She held up the stranger’s arm high, declaring praises of his ability to the peasant recruits. She dismissed her class, then made her way to me.
“Yasmeen,” she spoke my name with warmth. She brushed a sweaty lock of auburn hair aside, “Is the barmaid interested in joining my patrols?”
“Oh no. Never could I handle such training,” I stammered.
“You wouldn’t need it though would you?” she said.
“What?” I gasped.
Lyria’s face spread into a knowing smile. Her eyes saw right through me. Oh prophets, why did I not wear my veil?
“You’ve never been a good bluffer, and you come here and you don’t just watch. You judge. You inspect,” said Lyria. She dropped her gauntlet and her bare hand squeezed my shoulder. “And from what I’ve seen? You don’t have the body of a dainty tailor. You don’t develop an ass like yours on the farms either.”
I pushed her hand away.
“Draenei woman are not so forward,” I feigned offense. Lyria laughed subtly at the attempt.
“Well whatever it is, Yasmeen,” she said. “You’re no wandering bard. Let me know when you’re ready to spar.”
A thousand fel curses on my perversions. I excused myself into the relative sanctuary of the Goldshire Inn. There is a room there that is mine. All mine. I fluttered out the fresh Elven silks. The glossy shimmers of purple replaced the drab cotton. A curtain frame, also smuggled from Silvermoon, hung above my bed bare of any cloth. I added the translucent sheets. A heavy woolen top blanket completed my new bed chambers, perfect for my next man.
Tonight though, I would not forget my veil. My clothing trunks held an eclectic collection of outfits from the scarlet dress given to me by a pirate lord, to a leather bodice crafted for me in Darnassus, and the sari I found at a Gadgetzan tailor. Tonight though, I would try on my new Elven silks. It was a skirt that met with my knees and fit tightly around the roundness of ‘my ass’ as Lyria called it. It’s top, though modest, invited all to imagine the shape of my breasts. Perhaps though it had revealed too much of my shoulders? Alas, I cared not for what Lyria had said.
That night, I stepped down to the early evening crowd. Farley, my innkeeper and employer, beckoned me to him.
“You look stunning, Yasmeen,” he said. “We expect a show?”
“Yes,” I said. I tilted my head flirtatiously and curtsied in my skirt. Farley is a good man. Were it not always so complicated with employers, I would share his bed as I had that captain who took me to Ratchet.
“All right,” he said. He gestured to the bar where drinks lay. “Tables await.”
I took drinks to tables, watching for men who may be trouble, and for men who may have deep pockets. Women too, enjoy me. Lyria shared a round with two guardsmen. That same soldier, with his ceramic urn, sat quietly by the fire eating mutton with solemnity. There was no mistaking his boots. Naaru as my witness, they were made from felhide.
“Yasmeen?” came a woman’s voice. I turned and saw Isabelle, dressed in blue mageweave. Her blond hair had grown a stark white though her eyes still shown a bright azure- a side effect of her years as a frost mage. “Was our arrangement fulfilled by the third party?”
“Indeed,” I said. I offered her the leather pouch. Isabelle opened it and inspected the magical glittering dust within. “Our northern friends are satisfactory?”
“More than that,” exclaimed Isabelle. “More dust, and we can rout the gnoll raiders back to whichever holes they come from.”
Most mages do not tarry long in the villages of their birth, but Isabelle held a grudge. Hogger’s Gnoll raiders had slain a rancher she knew from childhood, and she vowed not to leave Goldshire again until the worst of them were driven from Elwynn forest.
“Don’t get caught,” I said.
“By who?” said Isabelle. Her face scrunched into dismay at what she said next. “Hardly a Stormwind footman who won’t turn his eye for a silver left!”
Her spirit was too familiar. People do what they need to live. I shook my head. When I turned I saw the soldier’s blue eyes upon me. I met his, and he did not look away. I wished to know him, and that required something special. In the kitchen, I ordered a tea prepared. I sprinkled in herbs of Sorrowmoss, Silversage, and the last of my Manathistle. I brought to him a piping hot kettle and two cups.
He looked over at the tray before him.
“I ordered no tea,” he said.
“Ah but it’s a special Draenei tea,” I said. “The Outland dust enters the lungs and absorbs into the blood.”
I poured him his first cup. Faint lights sparkled in its stream.
“We sip this upon returning from far expeditions,” I said. “It cleans the blood, and the soul.”
The soldier eyed the glass. Looking at the empty cup next to it.
“Drink it with me?” he said. His voice had lost its suspicion. Instead, it was a mere plea. I poured myself a cup and lifted my veil. We sipped the spicy brew together.
“My name is Giles,” said the soldier.
“I am called Yasmeen.”
“How did you know I had been to Outland?” He cradled his urn.
“The boots,” I said. “They are made from felhide. The cracks in them are red with the color of Outland’s soil.”
“You’ve been to Outland.”
I refused to look away from this one.
“It was another lifetime,” I began. “I fought.”
“Alas no, I entered after the worst of it had been over.”
“It’s never over,” he said. His hand touched the urn one more time. I dared to ask.
“His name was Erwin,” he began. “We shared the same barracks at the Allerian Stronghold. You know it?”
“It’s a long story,” he said. “But when we discovered that he was born in Duskwood, and I born in Redridge, we promised each other that if one fell, the other would bring their ashes home.”
He looked at the urn with pain.
“How?” I asked.
“Illidan’s elves had barricaded themselves in some ruins. We thought we had the upper hand on them. But it was a feint,” he started. “Naga came from behind, and we had the bunker before us and serpents to our flanks.”
I ignored the barkeeper’s signal. Tables could wait.
“Our chance was to aim the siege equipment at the Elven position. It was desperate, and Erwin volunteered with me to operate the catapult. Our allies engaged the Naga. We took arrows and bolts from the Elves. But we succeeded. We launched burning pitch at the barricades, and the Elves had no escape.”
I knew too well what follows that. Black smoke billows in the air. Fire crackles and splatters as it burns fat, flesh, and oil together. The screaming is loud, but it ends quickly. It’s the smell that lingers upon you.
“We sent the Naga retreating,” said Giles, “but not before one hurled a spear through Erwin’s chest.”
I reached out and took his hand. Naaru bless the soldiers who come home.
“And you?” Giles said. “What happened for you to come all the way back here?”
Outland hadn’t been my last tour. Outland had been only where I began. Oh, I wished to tell him. I wished to tell him of the deeds of the Wyrmheart Centurions, but the Centurions are dead. Every last one, and I could not bear to tell him here, in a place with prying ears of those too curious of me.
“You’re not only a serving girl delivering contraband to mages in Goldshire, are you?” he said.
“You’re not only a nice soldier who yields in a fight, so a trainer keeps the respect of her students,” I said.
“Aren’t we both observant,” Giles said.
“Yes. And in truth I am more, and I wish you to see me,” I said.
“I will perform soon,” I said. I bowed, displaying my breasts, “Please, take a place near the stage.”
I finished my tea.
The musicians set up on the stage. Dwarves beat their drums and blew into their fifes. I gave Giles an inviting look as I disappeared behind the stage’s curtain. I let him wait. I enjoy letting them wait. On queue I stepped out dressed fit for a harem. Tiny cymbals clanged off my fingers, and bells shimmied at my waist.
This first dance, I had learned from a troll.
The music energized me, and I energized the room. My finger cymbals clapped in time with the percussion and fife. My hips shook, to the left and right, then moved like waves for all to see. Yes, I turned in a circle. All the Goldshire inn admired my huge round cheeks, and my naughty tail flailing about in the inn’s candlelight. Giles, he saw me. I strutted on tables spinning and swinging a bare leg above him.
I would leave little to the imagination before long. I discarded my finger cymbals at the end of the song and ended my dance in an elegant pose. The next song began, and I wiggled my fingers up the threads of my top. Releasing it, I bared by breasts for the crowd, craning my head back, a motion I’d seen so many times among the harlots of Booty Bay. Yet these motions I had made mine as I combined them with the erotic shake of the hips I’d seen among the trolls.
Lyria De Luc tossed more coins towards my stage. Oh yes, I loved to see her. Giles though? Yes, he tossed a few that way as well. But it was not until a shimmied out of my skirt completely, display my round hind quarters, shaking them towards his face that his coin purse opened completely.
“I want to give you more, stranger,” I whispered into his ear.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Watch,” I said.
I spun to the music once more, shaking my tail, and my chest towards many regulars. I taunted men with blown kisses. I winked at women as well. Lyria placed one leg up on her table and reached her hand into the fly of her breaches.
“All of you! Show yourselves to me!” I shouted.
My regulars obeyed. The Goldshire inn patrons tossed more coins, for it was my price for allowing them to please themselves. The men who watched me whipped out and stroked themselves in time with the music. Though not Giles. Giles kept his hands on his table, yet he could not hide the bulge at his pants. I rolled, and writhed for my audience. Then I kicked one leg in the air, exposing my inner sex. I touched myself, growing wetter with them, inspecting each of their erect cocks.
Which one would I beg to fuck me tonight? Right here? In front of all? A celebration of hedonism. For we are alive, and others are not. Where it any other night, I would take anyone. Or many. But tonight, I only wanted my strange soldier. I only wanted Giles.
“You are nervous,” I said as I danced on his lap.
“I am surprised,” he said to me.
“Have you not seen enough sadness and violence, soldier?” I purred. I reached down and touched the throbbing hardness of his dick.
“Let down your guard,” I began. “Be brave.”
He leaned back in his chair. I dove to his breaches. I tore open the laces of his fly and summoned out his meaty erection. I swirled my tongue around its tip. His sounds of pleasure were drowned out by the cheer of the crowd. Saliva dribbled from my mouth, for I pleased his dick with fast, brutal, bobs of my face. Pumping him up and down, I wondered if he would send his cum into my mouth. Yet, there was a tension with him. I pulled him, tasting the faint drips of pre-cum in my mouth, and looked to him.
“You could fuck me here,” I said. “Or I will fuck you in my chambers. But it is you I will fuck tonight, Giles.”
“Chambers,” he said.
I hastily gathered up my coins and my discarded silk. Some villagers cheered. Some sighed with abashed redness in their faces. Several men had orgasmed for me tonight, spilling their life seed into the inn floor. Lyria De Luc, drunken in her own self pleasure, waved me a reluctant goodbye while I led Giles upstairs.
We entered my room, and I shut the door. Giles took hold of my shoulders and pinned me to the wall. Oh Naaru, this is what I needed, his handsome face, inches before mine. I could taste his lust with every breath. His lips connected with mine, and I remembered the lust I had for him at the training pit. I became at peace with my perversions. Though more, I desired more from him than I had of other lovers.
“Giles,” I said. I placed my hand gently on his chest. “I wish for you to see me.”
“Is that why we’re here? Instead of downstairs at the tables?”
“Yes.” I guided him gently away and bade him to sit at the edge of the bed. I dug deep into one of my trunks and retrieved my sacred war hammer. I held it high and upright, showing its ovular head. On one side, shown the holy symbol of the Naaru. On the other, displayed the insignia of the Wrymheart Centurions. The clerics of the Exodar had blessed it, and it had seen many conflicts. It served as a weapon and symbol against the unholy and vile. Giles gazed at it. He knew what it was for certain.
I dropped it to the floorboards. Its weighty head landed with a callous thud. The handle had long lost its pommel. I had a blacksmith reshape its broken edges into a round tip. The smooth leather grip now served a new purpose. I dripped between my legs.
I squatted over my sacred hammer and glided its handle into my wet pussy. I rode it for my own pleasure.
“By the light, woman,” he said.
“Yes,” I said. I turned my nakedness around, showing my backside to him. I dared him to come near with a look over my shoulder. Giles tore off his shirt and then squatted behind me. His dick rubbed between my cheeks. I panted.
“So this is what you are,” he said. “You’re dirty.”
“Completely,” I panted.
He gave my breasts a savage squeeze. I continued to ride my hammer. Giles, wasted no time and reached his hand to the pearl above my gate. Oh yes, the sensation is exactly what I wanted. The subtle ridges of leather wrappings stimulated me within. The tip of my toy and Giles’s finger pressed against one another. It all brought me to a hedonistic delirium. I rode it faster and harder, whimpering in bliss until the joy brought me to climax. It is more divine than any sacred vigil, and more profound than all of Velen’s wisdom. It is a gush of insightful pleasure that all is right with the world and I am meant to celebrate it.
I heaved, dizzy with excitement. I slipped off my toy and rolled on the floor. I stumbled to stand and looked to Giles.
“I see you,” he said.
I shoved my hammer aside.
“Do you see what I want?” I said turning my hips towards him and slapping the cheeks. “I want you to fuck me. I want you to fuck me like you are killing something.”
Giles lunged at me. I threw my arms up, and he caught one of my wrists. My free hand hardened to a fist. I punched, and he absorbed the impact on his side. The blood pumped hard in my body as we grappled. His booted foot hooked around my hoof and pressed to my shin until I toppled. I grunted out as my knees hit the wood floor. My free hand flailed upwards. Giles caught it too. He had both my arms behind my back. His knee pinned my calves. He stretched me backwards, and I loved it.
“This is what you had in mind?”
I could not speak. So lost in my violent perversions that I enjoyed the sense of panic he gave me. I nodded only. Giles wrenched me up to my feet. He kept my arms tight behind me, handling me like an unruly prisoner and then shoved me onto the bed. In a moment of defiance, I leapt up at him.
“You won’t hold still!” He growled as he grappled me again. His arm wrapped tight around my torso. His other, slid behind me and unthreaded his breaches. His raw hot phallus rubbed my backside. “Now let’s finish what you started downstairs.”
Giles lifted me in the air and turned me upside down. My arms gripped his waist. My thighs hung on his shoulders. He fell back towards the wall, his thick cock slapping my face with each step. His tongue lavished my wetness. And I? I took his cock inside my jaw. I sucked him. I tasted him. Salty and warm it subdued me as my tenderness subdued him. Yet not for long. Giles thrust his hips deeper. His tip rammed towards the back of my throat, triggering drool. I gagged against it, and his pulses did not stop. Neither did the heavy pressure of his mouth against my sex.
Giles relented and dropped me to the bed.
“Turn over!” He commanded. I did so. I prepared myself on all fours for him. I presented myself, wondering which hole he would penetrate. He slapped my ass first. So hard that I squelched from the heavy thud of his hand. Then he shoved himself into my slick pussy. I opened for him, enveloping his girth, and moaning for it.
“Fuck me!” I cried.
“I’m going to fuck you,” said Giles. He glided in and out so slow it hurt. “I think you’ve had enough in your pussy today.”
Giles pulled out. He gripped my ass cheeks, spread them, and aimed for my back hole. Yes. Oh god, he would do it. His shaft, dripping with my juices, slid into my hole. I tensed against it. All my muscles became tight and rigid and then released in a bliss. Giles stuffed his way in and then fucked me with a savagery I’d not had since Northrend. It was so hard, and so wonderful, that I let out tears of cathartic joy. The sense of fear and panic had melted away. My excited heart kept pounding. Lust overtook me, and I shouted for him to put his cum inside me.
He grunted in his climax, and the spittles of his cream fired away within. He pulled out, and drops trickled with it.
Seldom do I trust someone so quickly that I share the whole night with them. Yet that night I rested my horns on the great chest of Giles. We whispered morning greetings to another and stayed warm beneath the covers.
“Yasmeen, I must ask you something,” he began.
“The Wyrmheart Centurions? Even Outland heard of them,” he began. “We also heard they perished in Northrend.”
“This is truth.”
“But you didn’t die…”
“I might as well have,” I spoke. I straddled him and rubbed his torso with my hands. My breasts caught his eye. “This is my new life now. There are no more Centurions.”
I leaned down to him and we shared a morning kiss. Giles held my chest close to him and accepted me.
“I will keep your secret, Yasmeen,” he said. “One survivor to another.”
“And I ask one more thing?” he stammered. He became so vulnerable at one moment. “I must take Erwin’s ashes to Darkshire and memorialize him there. Will you come with me?”
“Yes,” I whispered. I reached down for his phallus and stroked it until it became hard. Giles sighed in satisfaction. “Shall we celebrate him now?”
The road to Duskwood remained dangerous for two lone travelers, and I had long since discarded or sold my armaments. Giles, ever gracious, purchased a shield and a long sword for me from the village blacksmith. We walked for a day, with little more than a mule for company. We sparred beside a campfire and then enjoyed sex loud enough for the gnolls of the woods to hear. Let them come. It is a depravity to love victorious bloodshed, but we would match them. Yet, no raiders or highwaymen intruded upon our trip, and arrived at the town Darkshire. It is indeed a dark place. Webs of spiders weaved through branches of trees. The feral Worgen howled in the distant night air. The taint of undeath wafted through the dark fog.
All of that chilled me not. What chilled me was the visit to the Chapel of Ser Albrecht. His statue gazed down at those in congregation, and its stone eyes judged me the impostor. Ser Albrecht the ever loyal, they called him. For he did not desert the field even when the battle was lost. Yet it was here, among the solemn procession and chants of the Church of Light, that Giles commemorated his fallen comrade. Villagers wept. Giles shared stories of Erwin’s heroism. Hugs and blessing were exchanged, and I spoke little beyond what politeness required.
We tarried in Darkshire, sharing our bodies once more and dining at the inn. I learned then of Giles’ plans, now that his duty to Erwin was over. He had decided to enter the city guard of Stormwind. “I know well how to fight,” he said. “But I tire. Stormwind is safer than the fields of Outland.” It was a decision I understood. Goldshire had become my haven.
That same evening we met another traveler. He had a bony talisman hanging from his neck. It was the kind the Trolls made in their jungles. He carried with him a breech-loading rifle, and with an eyeglass scope attached. A pair of goggles rested on his forehead. He took time polishing his rifle right there in the inn as if it were a sacred relic. He offered drinks for us, and we learned his name. Jondreas, a bounty hunter from Gilneas.
“Gilneas?” said Giles.
“Yes, my countrymen may live in protection, but castle walls eventually become a tomb,” he said. “Hence my many travels, and many quarries.”
Jondreas had traveled much as I had. He joined a band of treasure hunters in the Alterec Mountains. It was there he had tamed a mountain lion as his companion. He adventured with them for a time before realizing that the true treasures were in bounties. He was a hunter of criminals and miscreants now and shared a tale of bringing down an Alliance traitor in Kalimdor. I both feared and admired him. Bribes to skirt petty laws are the way of the world, but traitors deserve no quarter. That is beyond a simple lining of your purse. Nonetheless, zeal for one’s people may blind one’s fair judgment.
“Tell me, friends, you both appear to be the fighting type,” he said. “Would you perchance be heading north? Towards Stormwind?”
“Not much farther than Goldshire,” I said.
“Ah would you both like to earn some coin?” he said. “My latest quarry is shackled within my prison cart outside. He needs to be watched, and honestly he needs to be fed too.”
He chuckled as he sipped his tankard.
“Every time I feed him myself, he tries to bite my hand with his tusks. Doesn’t trust what I offer him either,” he added. “What say the two of you? Guard him and feed him? Only until Stormwind.”
Marching through Goldshire, my arms would give me away to all my friends and neighbors. I needed not the money either. I glanced to Giles, who understood me with a single look.
“A kind offer,” he said. “Though we wish to travel light for the next evenings.”
“But what then of my quarry escaping?” said Jondreas. “If you care about Goldshire, why not protect it?”
“You’re right sir,” I said. “But know that Goldshire’s patrols will often accept extra work when asked.”
“Really?” said Jondreas.
“This is truth,” I continued. “Just north of the river is a watchtower. I doubt not that you’ll find soldiers there eager to fatten their coin purses.”
“Is Elwynn forest so peaceful it bores those who patrol it?”
“Only gnolls,” I said. “One named Hogger leads them all, but the simple presence of watch towers prevent them from rallying.”
“You two are an honest pair,” he added. “Thank you for the advice.”
With that he ordered another round, and bid us good night.
Jondreas took the seat on top of his prisoner wagon the next morning. Its two horses galloped off, with the burden of Jondreas’s luggage on top and some prisoner hidden behind the tiny barred windows. Giles and I waited out a storm that lasted two days and then followed the road north back to Goldshire. We passed the southern guard tower. We found no guards, and it proved a warmer place to spend the night than on the open road. Further up the road, we saw a macabre body of a gnoll. Its fur had been mangled from numerous wounds. It was tied to a tree, and its paw pointed to Goldshire.
“Terrible,” sighed Giles. “As bad as ogres.”
“I wonder what he did that made them punish him so,” I said.
“I don’t know,” said Giles. “I’ve never known gnolls to act like this, and gnolls are a rough lot to start. Hogger must be one of the worst.”
“Should we cut it down?” I said.
We looked on at the flies gathering around the dead gnoll’s face. His body already bloating, and the tongue hanged out of its jaw.
“Yes,” said Giles.
We removed the fattened body, with great care. The bounds around it cut simply enough. We placed the body along the side of the road and covered it with dry leaves. I hoped the Gnolls would be satisfied, with whatever message they tried to send to each other or to travelers on this road. I hoped too that they would claim the body.
Back at Goldshire, Giles and I parted at last. He would continue to Stormwind. I kissed him farewell, and told him I would count him among my lovers, should he ever wish to visit.
Jondreas’s cart was parked on the road outside my inn. Four Stormwind guards stood at every corner. Jondreas had set up a small ballista on top, as if his prisoner might be a demi-dragon, ready to change shape and fly off. I sneaked into the inn, awkwardly concealing my shield and my sword as I did. I placed them safely in my room before the evening began.
Jondreas was there that night when I entertained. He proved a generous customer. He tossed an entire bundle of gold at my nakedness as I performed. It occurred to me I had never taken a Gilnean as a lover.
“Would you like to join in the show?” I asked while dancing before him.
“Ahh, oh would I,” he said. “Tonight I must be vigilant.”
“Will you come back this way after you deliver your quarry?”
“I may,” he said. “You’re everything a woman is supposed to be.”
I offered my breasts to him. He touched them with hunger. Dropping more coins, he bid me good night. I stood up to spin and shake once more.
“Release your cocks!” I cried to the crowd.
At the end of the night, their enthusiasm exhausted me. I took no man into my chambers. Instead, I pleasured myself with my sacred hammer once more, dreaming of Giles and other lovers of my past.
The sounds of yipping and yapping awoke me out of my slumber. I peered out my window. I saw the orange glow of torches in the distance. Gnolls. Gnolls had dared to come this close to the village. A flare fired into the sky. It illuminated the woods in a soft white glow. I could see the outlines of dozens of gnoll raiders. Shouts came from the village. A warning bell rung.
I struggled into my plain breeches and dug deep into my clothing for a scaled leather vest. Fel curses on the gnolls for forcing this upon me. I rushed downstairs. Isabelle saw me brandishing my shield and sword. It bewildered her.
“Yasmeen?” she said.
“Where are the guards?” I demanded.
“There were no guards posting tonight!” she said waving her arms. “They’re all holed up at the western tower!”
“What are they doing there?!”
“Marching here, one would hope,” said Isabelle.
She looked at me, my chest pounding and my arms ready. She paused in confusion at me.
“Yasmeen… you’re not planning on…” she said. “I’m summoning elementals. The rest of the civilians will gather in the square for safety.”
“I am no civilian tonight!”
I exited the building with Isabelle. By then, the gnolls were already firing arrows and sending ax wielding brutes towards the town’s militia. Jondreas’s trained mountain lion pounced on a stray gnoll, ripping apart the flesh of its neck in a frenzy. The bounty hunter himself was atop his cart, impassively loading a giant bolt into his artillery. His goggles covered his eyes and glowed yellow. He fired his bolt off into the woods. It landed and splashed into a lake of flame around the gnoll archers.
“What is he doing?” shouted Isabelle. She sent a water elemental rampaging through the forest towards the direction of the fire. With the arrows stopped, the militia men rallied to Lyria. Most carrying little more than spears or logging axes. Some wore armor, and a few had bows. I charged with them. One arrow grazed my shoulder from behind. I turned and saw a trembling face of a young militia archer. Ignoring his inexperience, I spun around and clobbered a gnoll in the face with my shield. The beast let out a yip and raised his war mace overhead. He swung downwards. I feinted and plunged my sword into his ribcage before he could recover. I shoved the body away and saw the large peasant recruit bleed from his thigh. Though a sword wielding gnoll would not relent. The large peasant fought furiously, but panted for loss of blood. I hollered a war cry and engaged the gnoll.
Another arrow struck me in the forearm. My bracer absorbed most of the blow, but the pain ached.
The gnoll leapt and kicked. Too much of his weight struck my shield, and I stumbled. The gnoll landed on his back. Seizing the moment, I drove my sword down on him, but he parried and rolled away. He sprung to his feet and snarled at me once more.
A friendly arrow struck him dead in his calves. He howled and screamed. I swung my sword upwards at his throat in a mercifully quick killing blow. I looked back and saluted that same nervous archer. Magical energy burst around me. Isabelle fired arcane missiles while her elementals bruised gnoll after gnoll. Jondreas used his cart as cover and fired with precision at each incoming raider.
Then I heard Lyria cry in pain.
To my right, a dead gnoll lay on top of Lyria. I rushed over and kicked it off. A dagger had pierced her armor and lodged itself in her torso. Blood already streamed, and Lyria looked pale.
“Stay alive,” I said. I took her by her arms and dragged her to relative safety behind the smithy. I undid the buckles of her arms and then prepared to loosen the dagger.
“This will hurt, Lyria,” I said. “You will live but it will hurt. Are you ready?”
“Yes,” she whimpered.
I drew the dagger. Blood gushed from the wound. Lyria wailed in agony, and I removed her breastplate. I touched my hand to her wound, unsure if the power of the Naaru was even with me. Light glowed from my hands. Her torn flesh regenerated at my touch. The wound sealed, and the blood dissipated. Lyria’s screams of pain changed into a sigh.
“You are alive!” I said. “Does it hurt anymore?”
“Huh…” said Lyria with a tired smirk. “Anything to get your hands on me, Yasmeen.”
We arose together and turned to the melee outside. Regular foot soldiers from the western tower marched past us. The gnolls yapped into the night. Jondreas whistled for his lion to his side. He hefted his rifle, and the two of them chased after the disappearing invaders. Isabelle summoned a blizzard against the fires left by torches, and Jondreas’s contraptions.
The next morning we assessed the damage to our village. Two militia men had perished. Several more had been wounded. Let the prophets bear witness: I healed many that day of their injuries. Let it also be known that I refused any inquiries as to how. Marshall Dugan rode in from Stormwind that afternoon. While attending to injuries, I heard him in the inn’s basement, yelling at two of the guards. He demanded to know what they were doing guarding “some fool bounty hunter’s prisoner” instead of patrolling near the southern tower as they were expected.
Marshall Dugan faced anger himself later that day. The village had assembled in the town square where he spoke to them.
“Why were the guards on the west tower, Marshall?” yelled Isabelle.
“Madam, it is on me for dealing with insubordinate guards. I assure you, I will find the reason,” he said.
“I nearly lost an eye to those attacks!” shouted a militia member. “Naught for our inn’s healer! When will you return our priests to us?”
Fel curses, now they knew me as a healer.
“We have done everything in our power to bring the best veterans back from the front,” said Dugan. “Greater men than the lot that failed you, I swear it.”
The crowd rabbled. Marshall Dugan tried to placate them. I did not know how much longer I would tarry in Goldshire, yet I had grown to love this town. It had been so simple and safe, yet now it seemed no more protected than the tundra of Northrend. During this rabble, Jondreas walked towards the square. His lion had scrapes. His own leather had tears. Dirt covered his face. His favored rifle had grime where once had been polish.
In his free hand, he carried a gnoll’s head. Dugan stopped mid-sentence and stared.
“Hello?” Jondreas called out. “I heard that Marshall Dugan was here. Is that you?”
“I am,” he said. “And you are?”
Jondreas made his way through the crowd. He held the gnoll’s head aloft.
“I’m the hunter who killed Hogger,” he announced.
The crowd looked on in silence. Marshall Dugan squinted at the face and compared it to a wanted poster in the town square. He asked Jondreas further details, skeptical that this Gilnean stranger had killed the real thing.
“Here’s more proof,” said Jondreas. He pulled a medallion off his neck and tossed it to Dugan. “The mark of a gnoll chief. They don’t give that up willingly.”
Dugan looked at it and nodded.
“How did one man, alone, kill him?” said Dugan.
“A fortunate turn of events!” said Jondreas. “During the chaos last night, I saw an opportunity to chase him down. He was a clever gnoll, but not clever enough.”
I thought back to the nights before. The guards who had gathered at the western tower, who had abandoned patrols for days. I thought of Jondreas’s careful set up of defenses the night of the attack.
Giles said he’d never known gnolls to tie corpses to trees.
“You instigated it!” I cried. “You used Goldshire itself as bait to tempt Hogger out of hiding!”
“I only took good advice from a fellow traveler in Darkshire,” he said.
My skin crawled. Would that I had my hammer to hurl at him.
“Hogger is slain!” cried Jondreas to the villagers. “His strongest gnolls are dead or wounded! You good people will fear not for gnoll raiders again!”
Marshall Dugan glared. He summoned Jondreas forward. What was said between the two men, I know not. I only know that Dugan pointed towards the western tower, his face full of disgust. Jondreas seemed to accept. He walked through the crowd and mounted his cart and rode away.
“Goldshire militia?” said Marshall Dugan. “You are more loyal than the armored men who should have served you. I commend all of you.”
He watched Jondreas’s cart until he was sure it was beyond earshot.
“And if that Gilnean bounty hunting scum ever returns to your village, please deal with him as you see fit.”
With that, Marshall Dugan mounted his horse and rode off.
To be Continued
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