Site Meter Curse of Senility: 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Dread Citadel: Prologue--Chapter 1

Tobias Whetstone felt ill.

Every bone in his body ached, his skin sagged, and most distressing of all, he was secreting a foul smelling, green liquid from his mouth. As he walked, or rather, shuffled, through the lamp-lit streets of Stormwind City's night, he spat another mouthful of the foul-smelling stuff into the canal. He'd always hated people who did that, but attempts to dispose of the spittle any other way had proven inadequate.

He started feeling light headed...what had done this to him? Surely, this was no simple sickness. A curse, perhaps. Something done by an Orcish warlock to that shipment of cheap grain he'd bought down by the harbor. Yes, that was it! He'd thought the merchant who had sold it to him looked untrustworthy. Probably came straight from Orgrimmar...nether blast the man.

He spat again, looking around. He needed to resupply his shop with better grain regardless of why his current stock was so bad. But even as cheap as the grain had been, he didn't know if he had enough money left to purchase a supply of better grain. Still, he couldn't EAT what he had, much less sell it.

One thing the illness didn't seem to affect was his appetite...he was so hungry. It'd been hours since he'd eaten, and thoughts of food seemed only to increase the amount of green puss flowing from his mouth.

This time he didn't even bother to turn towards the canal when he spat, spewing the green mess onto the pavement--just in time to catch the eyes of a beautiful young woman. Oddly, he didn't feel embarrassed for his crass behavior. He just stared at her, feeling something primal deep in his gut...and not the kind of feeling a lovely woman normally inspired in him. He began moving towards her.

His mouth hung open now, dribbling a green mess all over his chin. The woman's eyes widened when she saw it. She took a step back, and sputtered

"By the light, are you okay? What's that on your face!?"

Tobias' eyes were fixed on her now, as he responded;



"And the parrot says, 'Durotar, they've got em' all over the place!" Fent burst into laughter at his own joke, slapping his fellow patrolmen on the back with a 'clang' as he did so. "Come on, you can't tell me that isn't hilarious!" he shouted as the two of them walked through the streets of Stormwind.

"Sorry" Garrik responded, "I'm I little preoccupied with this story I've been thinking's about a couple of gnomes who find this bracelet and--"

"What is that?" Fent interrupted, suddenly serious. Garrik looked over to see a woman lying in the street, with Tobias leaning over her.

"Hey! You there! Step away!" Fent shouted, drawing his sword and rushing forward, Garrik close on his heels. Tobias spared them only a glance, but that was enough for the two young guards to recognize what they saw. Enough for decade-old memories of their childhood, and the third war, to rush back to them from their nightmares.

"Ghoul!" shouted Fent, falling backwards and dropping his sword in terror. Garrik, meanwhile, drew his own sword and swung it with all the his strength, but the nimble undead easily leapt away, evading the blade, then sprang forward onto his attacker. By the time Garrik hit the ground, the ghoul's teeth were already biting into his throat, causing his howl of terror and pain to take the form of a gurgling sputter.

All his courage having fled, Fent made a scrambling dash to his feet, and set off at a mad dash for his life. But the ghoul was too quick for him, leaping again, landing on Fent's back and taking hold there with a grip like iron.

Facedown, pressed into the hard pavement, Fent began to hyperventilate, knowing he was about to die. Any second now he would feel the teeth of the creature sink into his spine, and he wouldn't feel anything ever again.

Instead, he heard a shout, and a crack, and an instant later, his head still pressed to the pavement, he saw the ghoul's head rolling along the ground to his side, harmlessly snapping its jowls at the air. For a heartbeat Fent just lay there, unmoving, unable to believe that he was safe. Then a powerful hand forcibly rolled him over, and he knew he was right to disbelieve in his safety.

A massive pile of muscle and rage stood over him, red skin barely covered by the bit of armor it wore. In its hand, it held an axe with a blade as large as Fent's torso. Before he could even scream, two more of the creatures appeared, spreading out to either side, as though they were securing the area.

A moment later, a woman stepped from behind the creature on top of Fent, and into his field of view. She wore long robes of fiery crimson, with hair to match. In her hand she carried a green, leaf-embossed staff, with a yellowing worgen's skull atop it. Her green eyes seemed afire with the emerald flames of the twisting nether. She ignored Fent, walking through the grisly scene as though it were perfectly ordinary, to look down at the ghoul's head. She stared at it quietly, as if contemplating how it got to be there. Then, with a motion too quick for the young guard to follow, she raised her staff and brought the butt straight down on the dismembered head, crushing it flat, and spattering the base of her robes with a green mess.

"Adequately done, Jhuughun. Next time, though, do try to be quick enough to save both of them." the woman said, speaking to the monster standing on Fent's chest. The creature growled at her, and Fent thought for sure it would tear her head from her narrow shoulders. But the woman merely raised an eyebrow, as if she was amused by the monster's implied threat, and carried on.

"Thaamon, Malateric," she said, looking at the two other demons in turn, "Take this young man back to his barracks. Ensure he gets there safely, then rejoin me at the meeting. Jhuughun, you will continue to accompany me as my escort. And get off the boy already, you're terrifying him."

Without another word, she turned and continued walking down the street. Jhuughun took one last snarling look at Fent before reluctantly resisting the urge to crush his skull underfoot, and following his mistress down the street.

Fent continued to lay there for several breaths. He was so surprised to still be alive that he couldn't think of what to do next. Then he scrambled to his feet to run after the woman, only to be stopped by two muscled, red arms blocking his path. The Thaamon and Malateric had been ordered to escort him to the barracks, and they didn't seem interested in any delays.

"Who are you?" he called after her, at a loss for anything better to ask. She was much further down the road now, and in the light of the moon he could only see her silhouette. But she turned, and he could swear he still saw her bright green eyes within her dark form.

"I am called Moreven...the Corpseseeker."

Then she continued on her way, and Fent allowed himself to be pushed in the direction of the barracks--so bewildered by her stare that he forgot to be afraid of the two demons herding him home.