Saturday, May 26, 2012

Story of Vlad: Chapter II, He who resists

Chapter I, The Assault

I think I failed at not making some scenes sound like Titanic. Recognise the Lovejoy character...?
Soundtrack: Rhapsody - The Magic of the Wizard's Dream

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

The town square was filled with scourge and Scarlet armies. Vladan weaved his way through the crowd as quickly as he could, heading towards the King's Harbor in the heavy rain. The path was stuffed with tons of civilians desperate to get away from the hazard. Panic dominated the atmosphere all the way down to the harbor, where people were running to all directions. A large group of civilians was swarming near the ship, where soldiers dressed in red and white had blocked the brow. Some individuals made a desperate attempt to enter the ship regardless of the armed men, who didn't hesitate to use their steel against any who rebelled against their authority.

Vladan desperately tried to spot Isa within the panicking crowd. To him every other face looked like hers. He yelled her name a few times, but his yells succumbed into those of the crowd. He kept calling for her name, and after a moment he heard a distant cry.
- Vlad!
- Isa? Vlad turned around immediately and began to make his way to Isa within the pushing crowd. Isa, although getting pushed around vigorously, also moved closer to Vlad as fast as she could.
As they met, he immediately wrapped his arms around her, for both protection and warmth. She pushed herself against his chest and caught her breath. Her face was pale and her long, fair hair soaking wet, even under the dark grey cloth hood she was wearing. They spoke to each other loudly in the clamor.
- Is Milka okay?
- I... I don't know. Birgitta had already left when I...
Vladan peered around nervously as the worry over his daughter filled his mind. The fact that he knew Birgitta would do anything for the sake of children, even if they weren't her own, made the worry slightly lighter. Still, that day no one was safe in New Avalon. There were no guarantees of anything.
- Do you have any idea where she might be?
- Birgitta? She, uhm... I think Nathaniel was in the Scarlet hold today. If the undead haven't reached the hold yet..., Isa filled her lungs with air. - They could all be there.

Vlad held Isa by her shoulders in front of him, looking straight into her eyes.
- Stay here. The scourge will be busy with the administrative buildings for quite some time. It'll take them a while to get down here.
Isa didn't say anything. In the rain it was nearly impossible to tell if she was crying, but in her eyes there was a glimmer of both desperation and hope.
- Go near the soldiers and stay there, Vladan instructed and held her tight for a short moment. - Everything will be okay, I will find Milka. Go!
Submissively but reluctantly Isa followed Vlad's command, peering at him over her shoulder as she pushed through the crowd. Vladan looked at her longingly for a moment before leaving the shore.

. . .

Scarlet blood covered the ground in the town square of New Avalon. Many had fallen under the force of the scourge, but the remaining soldiers kept fighting. Most of the undead forces had been vanquished, with a few abominations, ghouls and geists remaining. Vladan pulled his swords out of their sheaths simultaneously. He charged at a ghoul, which fell at his feet after a few slices.

A shielded man on a white, armoured horse fought a few feet away from Vladan. The paladin was surrounded by ghouls. The undead fell under his blade, one after another. As the last one of them collapsed, the man turned to Vlad. He was exhausted and out of breath. His armour was blood stained and his face bled badly.
- Soldier, he huffed. - Go to the town hall. We... what's left of us... will push the scourge back to Havenshire. Havenshire's done for. We can still buy us some more time.
The paladin looked towards the rampart and sighed.
- They haven't reached the hold yet.
The knight's words seemed true. No guards stood at the hold entrance like usually, but otherwise it seemed untouched by the scourge. Vladan nodded at the man, who soon after rode away towards the rampart. He stopped for a moment to lay his hand on a wounded soldier's shoulder, casting a minor healing spell. Relieved by the news about the Scarlet hold, Vladan gave it a brief glance before he left for the town hall.

An abomination stood at the town hall. Corpses of two Scarlet guards lay next to the undead monstrosity. As Vladan prepared to charge at it, something tightened around his waist. It was a scourge hook, a device clumsy scourge creations used to bring faster and more agile enemies to their reach. The undead pulled the hooked chain back to itself. As Vladan slammed against the abomination's body, acid spurted out of the stitches on its sides.

The vile undead squeezed Vlad between its hands. It drooled heavily as the human hung upside down in front of it. Vlad's sword fell out of its sheath and hit the ground. He managed to grab the other one of his blades and stuck it through the abomination. The slice caused green liquid to start dripping from the undead's stomach.

- Your end has come, sacrilegious beast!
The flesh monstrosity growled in a strange manner as something entered its body. What looked like a wave of light made the undead squirm for a moment before collapsing on its back. It let go of Vlad, who fell to the ground. As he picked up his sword and raised his leer from the paving, he saw father Newbury, a priest of the local chapel, point the scourge cadaver with his staff. The white cane had a golden glow surrounding it.
- In the name of the Chapel of the Crimson Flame, I swear I'll purge this land of these foul creatures!

Vladan carefully opened the heavy door of the town hall. The floor creaked as the warrior took steps towards the main room. Without a source of light other than the curtained windows, the chamber was gloomy. He spotted a figure resting on the floor near the stand. As he reached the corpse, he kneeled next to it, rolling the bulky man around.
- Quimby?
Mayor Quimby was dead. A sharp weapon had cut through his chest, with multiple other scratches on his arms and neck.
- Abbendis should be informed about this, Vladan pondered to himself. Quimby's death was no doubt a major step towards the fall of New Avalon.

. . .

Isa wrapped the grey cotton robe tightly around her. The rain had ceased. The area was left cold and foggy, the noisy crowd had fallen silent for the day. They all wanted to ask the same things. "When will there be space for us?" "Is there anywhere we can go for shelter?" Yet no one asked those questions, because they knew no answers would be provided.

A man in a dark leather jerkin stood up and walked up to the Scarlet guards. The silent soldiers eyed the peasant up and down as he took a breath before starting to speak.
- You, he began hostilely. - You won't get us on any ship, will you? You're just keeping us waiting here 'till we starve to death and then use our corpses as distraction in order to escape the scourge yourself.
As the guards showed no signs of sympathy, he continued.
- Your Light will not save you sons of a bitch when you meet your end. We all got to face judgement one day, and you... You're all going to HELL! You sanctimonious bastards! You hear me! All of you, you're going to h-
The man collapsed to his knees, quietening abruptly as a rifle was fired. A series of screams followed the raw gunshot. A woman dressed in a simple gown rushed to the man lying at the guards' feet, almost throwing herself to the ground next to him.
- Raghnall! Raghnall, please, get up! she cried out, crouched next to him. She stroked his cheek and talked to him in loud whispers mixed with her labored breath. Her hands got stained in blood as she tried to stop the blood flow on his stomach.
A man walked down the ramp leading to the ship. He held a rifle on his shoulder. His steps seemed light, his attitude carefree as his rusty spurs clacked against the wood. He walked up to the mourning woman, granting her a fast, pitiful glance. She lifted her gaze from the man on the ground and looked at the Scarlet commander.
- Does anyone else want to squawk? Rampage, perhaps? he popped a question in a cocky manner, peering around. - I have plenty of bullets left.
The fragile woman slowly stood up and stared at the commander right into his eyes, her stare bursting with pure rage and disgust.
- You... Killed my husband, she hissed deeply, her teary face just a few inches away from the commander's.
The man known as Casey Morgan looked down to the lady, his expression everything but compassionate.
- His punishment will serve as a warning to all. If anyone here wishes to live a life, and die a death more meaningful than his, they'll know to hold their horses.
The woman gave commander Morgan a vigorous push on the chest with both hands, her appearance transforming into that of a shield maiden instead of a peasant's widow. As Morgan swayed back a little, his face gave away his rising anger. He swiftly placed both of his hands on his gun and pointed it against the woman's chest.
- I take it you want to join him in wherever you riffraff end up?
She stayed quiet for a moment, just staring at him. Soon she began to speak, her calm tone of voice becoming more murderous as she went on.
- My daughter will grow up without a father. I will have to make a living for her and myself without my spouse. I have no idea if we will get to keep our home. But she will grow to despise your kind, I promise you that. She will despise you enough to never dress in your colours. You are the taint of Lordaeron. I will pray to the Light that you'll all waste away into nothingness.
She turned her gaze towards the silent crowd gathered around them, still speaking to Morgan.
- Now if you'll excuse me, I wish to give my husband an honorable burial.

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