The hallowed halls of the Stockades echoed with the voices of men who were condemned to rot in their prisons or those that waited for the end of their lives from execution. Rats scurried about the floor, running through the bars and stealing crumbs from the cells. The scratching of their nails against the stone sounded as they squeaked and rummaged about. Kurai Shidosha lifted his gaze from the floor to one of these rodents, watching as it roamed about in the hall before his cell, lifting its nose to sniff the air before running away at the sound of a door opening in the distance. A commotion roared down the hall and up the stairs near the doorway, the sound of men arguing inching closer and closer. From around the corner came two Night Elves, their arms waving about as they complained with the warden as he guided them to the cell that held their commander.
“What do you mean you can’t tell us what he’s in here for?!? As his officer I demand to know why he’s here,” Mariuss exclaimed, his eyes boring into the little human male before him. The warden merely gave him a blank stare, responding how he wasn’t given any details and that this was just his job. Letting that sink, Mariuss took a deep breath and let it go, crossing his arms in defeat as finding arguing with this man gained them nothing. Zyeal raced over to the cell, leaning against the bars and peering inside. The warden bowed his head slightly before taking his leave, saying he would be back shortly when their time was up.
“Kurai? Hey, man, it’s us,” the green haired elf said, waiting for a response from his commander. The lack thereof made him rather upset as he turned to Mariuss for some assistance. The hunter peered into the cell, seeing the dark haired elf sitting on the ground against the wall with one knee up for his arm to lean on while the other leg was on its side bent inward. Kurai made no move to show he knew they were there, hoping they would leave so they wouldn’t get themselves in this mess.
“Hey, fearless leader, we’re not leaving,” Mariuss said flatly, finally earning a look from the rogue.
“Get out of here before they throw you in here too,” he said quietly. The hunter faced away from him, leaning on the bars with his arms still crossed.
“Why they throw you in here? And what was with that captain? Seems you know him,” Mariuss replied, ignoring Kurai’s request for them to go.
“They found out about us grouping up with those Horde and are using it against us. That human doesn’t like me. He thinks that I took away his glory. He was working for Lady Katrina and that’s how he got his rank where as I earned it. Now that Onyxia is gone he has no one to lean on and is probably trying to earn points with His Majesty. But I can already tell that he has a contract with Arthas. He needs that kind of power to keep him a float. I just have no proof of this. He’s probably spouting all this Horde business to the King right now,” he murmured, leaning his head back. “If I resist then I make him look like he is telling the truth so until then I’m not going to do anything. You shouldn’t either. It will only make things harder; which is exactly why I sent you away when I did.”
“Yeah well I wish you didn’t. You think we like sitting by while you do this all by yourself,” Mariuss replied, turning to glare at him. In the distance, the warden’s footsteps could be heard.
“Mariuss, that warden is coming back. He’s going to send us away,” Zyeal said, looking around. Kurai climbed to his feet, walking over to the edge of the cell, grasping the bars.
“Look, let me handle this –“
“Yeah a good job you are – “
“STAY out of trouble,” Kurai interjected, “Doing anything will just make Mitchell look like he’s right and look better. Whether you like it or not I have to stay in here. Varian is smart, he’ll figure it out.”
“Time’s up,” came the warden’s voice, its sound echoing through the halls and disturbing other inmates. The warrior and hunter stared at their commander a moment before slowly walking away with the human, not wanting to anger the man. The rogue watched them leave, leaning his head against the bars in thought. As the pair walked out of the stockades, they began walking towards the harbor murmuring to each other.
“Look, this is wrong and you know it,” Zyeal grit out, slamming his fist into his open palm. Mariuss shook his head, releasing a loud sigh.
“I know that but what else is there? I never went against anything he has said and frankly I’m not about to start. Nothing can happen to him right now so we’ll just have to wait it out like he wants. Still, I want to know how that man knew we had helped those Horde. You think he had a spy on us? Seems a little suspicious if you ask me. Even if he did, why would he do that to us? We need to find out what happened between Kurai and this Mitchell guy.”
“Where do you think we can find out about that?” the warrior asked, earning a shrug from his friend, “I can’t even think of the first place to look for information like that.”
“You think they have that kind of thing archived? We could always check the Stormwind library.”
“If we’re still allowed in there,” Zyeal commented flatly, giving his friend a blank stare, thinking of what Kurai mentioned before about them being caught next. “Though I suppose only one way to find out!” he said, breaking into a run and heading towards the Keep. Mariuss gave another sigh before following the warrior.
Hotaru finished her complete report, waiting for the King to soak in all the information she had given and give her a response. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t awake for much of the commotion involving the Horde and in its entirety didn’t really have anything vital to give about the situation. From what she had given though, there were Horde that were of their own affiliation and were making plans to join Arthas in their journey to Northrend.
“So there are Horde trying to become the Lich King’s men?”
“Yes, and I may not know much due to my lack of strength at the time but these others were trying to stop them. They aided in my rescue, sire,” she said, bowing her head. Varian’s thoughtful gaze turned into a firm glare as his thoughts went to Thrall, his anger towards all Horde grasping him.
“A Horde is still a Horde. I can’t allow any weakness to show or they will take advantage of it. I think you may have been speaking to Lady Jaina too much, Lady Hotaru,” Varian said turning his back to her. Hotaru stuttered as she tried to reason with him, nothing coming to her mind.
“M-my Lord, are the lives of your men really that easy to throw away? Can you not look over the fact that even though they were Horde they still aided in subduing the threat at Karazhan?”
“My lady, I think you have said enough.”
“But – “
“UNLESS you wish to join Lord Kurai in his cell,” the King said without looking back at her. Her face froze in horror at hearing he was actually turning his back on his own men because of his grudge with the Horde. Prince Anduin poked his head into the throne room, seeing the two. He watched as Hotaru peered at the ground in sorrow, her brow knitted in sadness as she finally bowed her head and asked to be excused.
“My lady, my lady!” the prince said, running out to her. “It’s good to see you have returned. All is well?” She looked down at him a moment before her gaze shifted to his father’s back. Anduin looked at his father then back at the elf before asking what was wrong.
“Nothing, my prince. Nothing at all. If you’ll excuse me,” she said, biting back tears as she hurried down the hall of the Keep. The young prince watched her rush away before looking at his father again. Walking over to him slowing, the boy grasped the man’s cloak, giving it a firm tug. The action broke Varian of his train of thought as he looked both ways before finally realizing it was his son.
“Anduin, I didn’t hear you come in. How are you, son?”
“Father, what troubles Lady Hotaru?” the boy asked giving him a frown. The King grimaced a bit before kneeling down near him and rubbing his head.
“Nothing you need to worry yourself with, my son. Just business for the King.”
“But I will be King one day, Father. Tell me, please. How am I to learn to be as great as you if you don’t let me help,” the prince begged, his face growing stern to show his father how serious he was. Varian blinked a little before smiling, happy to see his son show interest in taking responsibility. Nodding, Varian explained what was going on with Captain Mitchell reporting Kurai’s activities. Anduin listened intently, showing he was thinking as he did. Once his father was done, he looked up at him confused. “Father, isn’t it unwise to let something that happened get in the way of your judgment on current events. You may hate the Horde but it sounds to me like this was to our benefit that they aided us.” Varian watched him a moment before saying that the Horde couldn’t be trusted. At this the youth laughed, “But, Father, don’t we all have a common enemy this time? Surely going after the Lich King is more important right now.” Varian rubbed his son’s head playfully.
“Sounds to me someone has been talking to Bolvar quite a bit. However, you are right. What a fine and wise King you will be, lad,” the brunette said climbing to his feet. “I will hear what Kurai has to say. I still question this Mitchell’s loyalties.” Anduin smiled, fixing his hair from his father messing with it.
Hotaru waltzed out from the Keep, walking up the edge of the moat and peering into the water’s reflection below. She rubbed her temple in agitation, feeling a headache coming on. She couldn’t believe that the King had said that to her and even was thinking that they were betraying the Alliance. She began regretting taking this mission from him, feeling a sense of guilt rising from her gut. Bringing her hand over her abdomen, she closed her eyes, willing the feelings to subside. A voice called out to her, catching her off guard and causing her to snap her head in its direction.
“Hotaru! Hey, Hotaru,” Zyeal called, waving his arm about as he ran up to her. She gave him a soft smile, not being able to help that her brow was still knit in frustration. He frowned at seeing her force herself to look ok, bringing his arm up to her forearm. “Hey, is everything ok? What are you doing here?” Before she could answer, Mariuss raced up, taking a moment to catch his breath before giving her a small wave.
“I came to report to His Majesty. You guys know what’s going on?”
“Yeah, we just came from seeing him in the stockades. He told us to stay out of trouble and that he’s going to handle it,” Mariuss said, making a face. He crossed his arms again in annoyance, hating the feeling of not being able to do anything to help. “We were about to go check the Keep for any records on this Captain Mitchell. We were hoping it would shed some light on why he hates Kurai. Do you know anything?”
“I don’t remember him from anywhere,” she replied, shaking her head and shrugging. The hunter peered through the hall of the Keep.
“Well, let’s see if we can get in here and see what we can find. Before they try throwing us in jail too,” he said hurrying to the library. The other elves followed close behind, ignoring the guards who were yelling for them not to run. As they turned down the hall to the library, a commotion behind them caused them to look back to see King Varian leaving his throne room. Hotaru’s face turned into a glare, feeling a pang of betrayal as she saw him walk by without noticing them. She turned away, walking ahead of the other elves. “Wonder where he is going.”
“Probably going to go pat that old man on the back,” Zyeal snickered, following Hotaru.
The sound of angry men roared through the halls of the stockades, echoing through its walls and waking Kurai from his sleep. Leaning his head up from the wall, he peered out seeing more rats rushing about as if being chased by an enemy. A pair of sturdy boots came into the rogue’s view, causing him to look up to find the mighty King of Stormwind peering down at him. Climbing to his feet slowly, Kurai bowed before him giving his respects. Even without the Night Elf giving a sign of beginning to speak the human raised his hand to show that he was about to talk, showing he wanted everything he was about to say to go uninterrupted.
“I have been hearing many things of what happened out in Deadwind Pass. Some things I wish to have not heard and other things that are what I had asked for but don’t help this current predicament. I am here now to ask you for your report on your travels to Karazhan. I want every little thing you can think of and your opinions of these situations. I will sit here quietly until you are finished, Kurai. Please enlighten me on what happened out there and the current situation,” he said, bringing his hand down once he was finished. Kurai stared at him a moment, trying to figure if there was some hidden agenda that Mitchell may have instilled but seeing little to work with he complied, beginning with the very moment he had left the King to head to Karazhan. Varian stood quietly, listening intently to everything the rogue said to him, stopping him once he reached the part about seeing Draken for the first time. “What were you thinking when you saw a blood elf there?” Kurai looked up, shifting his weight from his spot of leaning against the wall.
“Honestly, very little. He was assaulting Hotaru. As unprofessional as it is I could only think that he needed to get his hands off of her,” he replied. Varian thought for a moment before motioning for him to continue. The mental image of the female rogue laying there helpless crossed his mind again, his face contorting into a glare before he finally moved on with his story. He continued on with how these Horde seemed different from others and how they explained that they were heading to Northrend to meet with the Lich King himself. He went into how these other Horde lead by the Orc were helping them and aided them in ridding of all the Horde save for the paladin and warlock. “They were spared for information which I have covered with you about the journey in Northrend and how there are groups trying to join his ranks,” Kurai stated, looking up at the human King.
“So what happened after you left,” he asked.
“Your men began to show so we merely sent the Horde away. I am not one to throw allies to the wolves, sir. As a fighter it’s not right,” he said, walking closer to the bars. “I will take full responsibility for this. My men have nothing to do with these actions. As their commanding officer it is my duty to take whatever actions are needed.” Varian looked up at him, giving him a sideways glance.
“Your ‘men’ are very loyal to you, if I must say myself,” he said. Kurai gave him a confused look. “Even if they have nothing vital to this certain problem they still tried very hard to help.” The look of confusion still graced the Night Elf’s face as he waited for more from the King. “She loves you very much doesn’t she? So much that she doesn’t seem to care how much trouble she can get herself in.” The rogue closed his eyes while turning his head away, a deep sigh escaping his lips.
“I told her to keep out of it,” he whispered. Varian lifted the key he retrieved from the warden, opening the cell door and stepping aside for the rogue to walk out. Pausing a moment, Kurai finally walked out, bowing to the King and keeping his head down.
“I need to know why Mitchell is so determined to keep you in here. He seemed almost frantic when I showed signs of letting you go,” the human said. Kurai let out a soft growl, raising his head to look at the King.
“He’s upset about something that happened in his youth. We were fighting in Warsong together against some Orc forces, the Outriders.”
“It says here: ‘Kurai Shidosha lead the troops of Darnassus and Stormwind to victory after clearing a path through the enemy lines in Warsong Hold and capturing the commanding officer of the adversary and bringing him before both factions, forcing the Orcs to surrender their assault with little casualty. The general of the humans was reprimanded for trying to send troops in a suicidal mission attempt at gathering grounds during the battle. The general was stripped of his rank and excused from the army after this battle of Warsong.’ I guess that was Mitchell,” Mariuss said as he sifted through more pages.
“But how is he captain of the Royal Guard? I don’t understand it,” Hotaru said looking over more books. She climbed to get a view of the books higher up, pulling one down to hand to Zyeal who glanced at it before shaking his head and placing it on the table near him.
“Think it has something to do with the King being missing before?” the warrior pondered out loud. The hunter glanced up at him from the text, giving him a thoughtful look.
“You know that actual would make sense. Lady Katrina was more in charge at the time and probably brought him back from his discharge,” Mariuss said leafing through more pages.
“So why is he still here? You really think Varian overlooked that?”
“It wasn’t exactly on the top of his list when he came back. His son was kidnapped by Onyxia after all,” Hotaru said.
“Bleh, I don’t like it. So what are we going to do now that we know this? Clearly, this Mitchell guy is mad at Kurai for something that happened like 40 years ago and is trying to use what power he has to get back at him,” Zyeal muttered as he climbed down. The female growled as she climbed down before balling her fists.
“Well if he thinks he can get away with what he is doing to my darling he has another thing coming. I can’t just sit here while he’s in that jail cell! I won’t allow it!”
“Whoa, Hotaru, babe! Calm down!” Zyeal said raising his hands up. She shot him a glare.
“Don’t tell me to calm down, Zy! I’ll hit you!”
“She’ll do it too,” came a voice from the doorway. All eyes turned and cried out when they saw who it was.
“Kurai!” they yelled running over to him while Hotaru jumped into his arms. He gave a chuckle as he gave her a gentle squeeze before looking up at his troops. Behind him, Varian stood in the shadows, waiting for the appropriate time to show himself.
“B-but what happened??? They locked you up. I was about to kill someone,” Hotaru murmured, looking away with a pouty look on her face. He chuckled again leaning over to kiss her forehead. Before him, Mariuss stood there with his arms crossed and his foot was tapping against the stone floor as he waited for his commander to start talking.
“I told you I would handle it. His Majesty was very forgiving,” Kurai responded, looking over his shoulder as Varian finally walked in from the hall and into everyone’s view. Pulling back from the female, Kurai pulled her back at arms length, giving her a scolding face. “I told you to not do anything. Getting yourself in trouble wasn’t going to fix anything.”
“Wha--- I did not—All I did was give my report!” she countered, giving him an upset look. He released a deep sigh, hugging her again and kissing the top of her head. “I was scared, baby.” He nodded, pulling away and looking at them seriously.
“Well, I’ve been informing His Majesty on what the good captain is all about and now I have a mission for you three,” the rogue said. The trio looked at one another in confusion before going back to their commander. “You are to locate and arrest Captain Mitchell for high treason against the Stormwind crown and the Alliance.” At this the elves all grinned and saluted, bowing before hurrying of to their task.
“Can anyone say revenge?” the female rogue said, stealthing and hurrying out the Keep to the Guard Keep in Old Town. The King watched as the three hurried off to do as told by their commander, finally turning back to the rogue once they were out of sight.
“I wish this matter was brought to my attention sooner. It could have avoided this whole mess. A lot was done in my absence from Stormwind though I am fortunate that I was able to take back its reins and clean a lot of things up upon my return.”
“One can only do so much, my Lord,” Kurai stated, turning his back to him and walking down the hall to the outside. As he made his way near the exit, a guard raced up, bowing his head and saluting before babbling about Captain Mitchell trying to commandeer a ship. “He’s what? Now?”
“Yessir, he and his men are at the harbor right now. They just slaughtered some of the boatmen,” the guard said, his voice urgent. Releasing another growl, Kurai took off at full speed towards the harbor, leaving a confused Varian and flustered guardsmen who turned to explain the same thing to his Lord. Turning to another guard, Varian ordered that he and the others hurry to the harbor immediately and stop the traitorous man. The roar of his voice urged the men to give chase after the Night Elf rogue, heading for the water front.
“Stop him! Do not let him leave the shore! Bring that traitor before me NOW!” Varian yelled, pointing in the harbor’s direction. Kurai hurried to the edge of the upper level of the waterfront, peering over the ledge to see Mitchell and his men below, pushing innocent men aside as they worked on readying one of the large ships for departure.
“Captain, this is Lord Varian’s vessel. It’s not ready to go out to Northrend yet,” voiced one of the sailors, bringing his arms up as if to try and stop the old man from boarding. Mitchell motioned for his men to remove the sailor from his sight, the man’s strangled cry sounding throughout the area. Kurai went wide eyed at the mindless slaughter, rushing to the ramp to get down further enough to jump safely to the main level. As soon as he jumped down and began running towards them, Mitchell caught glimpse of him, sending his men out after him.
“Slay him! Bring me his dead body so I may give it to the Lich King!” Kurai unsheathed his Warglaives, rushing the closest guard and slicing through his midsection, his blood splattering and his two halves falling to the ground. Turning right, he blocked the oncoming blow of another man, bringing his left blade up to slice this man’s arm off. A group of three came charging him to which he turned and raced the opposite direction, coming up to a pillar and running up it before flipping over them and landing behind them, turning and slashing the closest down and kicking another away. The third clashed blades with him, distracting him as about ten more men readied their bows against him. Mitchell raised his arm then brought it down as a sign to begin firing, the men releasing an onslaught of arrows. As they closed in on the rogue, a blurred figure phased in, coming up beside the Night Elf and blocking the arrows from reaching their mark.
“Vicente!” Behind them, Kuto lined up three arrows, sending them and taking out three archers near the old captain. Angered, Mitchell yelled for them to kill the Horde as well. Ruma pounced the nearest man down in his cat form, the strangled cry deafening as his throat was crushed under his claws. A deep laugh sounded from the docks as they turned to see Mitchell throw his head back and cackle.
“You think I’ll go down so easy?” His eyes burst into blue flames and his voice took on an eerie tone. Raising his hands towards his army, they began writhing in pain and agony, their flesh ripping and changing until abominations, zombies, and ghouls were in their place. “Let’s see you try these on for size,” he crowed. Turning to the ones who were remained as humans he bellowed for them to finish preparing the ship for departure while the others held everyone back. Vicente glanced at Kurai as they nodded to each other, charging the new enemies and slashing their way through to the captain. Behind them, Mug’thal released a mighty roar as he brought up his battle axe, jumping up and slashing down one of the abominations. Rushing to the ledge of the harbor, King Varian looked down in horror at the terror that threatened his city’s shoreline. He had run up in time to see Kurai and an Undead rogue begin their assault through the enemy, aiding each other in an attempt to get closer to the lich lord that controlled them. The three elves ran up beside the King upon being summoned, looking down at the horror below.
“Kurai!” Hotaru didn’t give the other men much room to try and stop her as she jumped down after her beloved.
“Wait, Hotaru!” Zyeal raced after her, hoping she wouldn’t do anything to hurt herself in her cause to help their commander. Mariuss reached back, quickly loading two arrows and sending them deep into the back of a zombie before it tried to rip its teeth into the unsuspecting Tauren druid. Mariuss glanced over at the King before jumping down to help his friends.
“Really wish I didn’t leave Lynx with the caretaker now,” he said to himself as he loaded up another arrow to shoot down a ghoul. He raced up near Zyeal, finding the warrior looking around frantically. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t find Hotaru. And before you give me a smart ass answer like how she’s a rogue and its what they do, just help me find her,” Zyeal countered, bringing his sword up and slashing through some ghouls.
“Kurai, gimme a boost!” Vicente yelled, pointing towards the men who were fiddling with the ship. Nodding, Kurai sheathed his swords, bringing his arm up as Vicente jumped up onto it and using the Night Elf’s momentum leapt towards the humans, landing before them and cutting two down before the rest took up their swords to stop the Undead. Growling, Mitchell fired up an energy blast in his palm, hurling it at the Undead rogue barely missing him. Another roar of frustration escaped the captain as he brought both his arms up to fire up another blast until a green sword plowed its way through his chest, angled upward as if entered from below. Frozen in shock, Mitchell turned his head, looking down to see the female Night Elf with her grip still on the hilt of her blade, glaring up at him with malice. All combat froze at the sight of the human being impaled, watching as he finally began screaming again.
“Damn you, girl!” he bellowed, pulling away from her and turning towards her to fire a blast in her face. Bringing up her Blade of Savagery to block it, Hotaru was blinded a moment giving the captain a chance to close the gap between them, grasping her throat and pulling her closer. “You think that will stop me!?” He lifted her off the ground, watching her kick about. She brought her blade up, driving this one into his shoulder causing him to drop her. She hit the ground, choking out for breath. Before he could have a chance to recuperate, Hotaru dove after him, grabbing him around the waist and dragging him into the waters below.
“No! Hotaru!” Kurai screamed, slashing down the abomination near him before trying to race after his love. In the water, Hotaru ripped her blades free from Mitchell’s body before hurrying to the surface. She holstered her weapons as she reached the docks’ edge, grabbing hold and pulling herself from the water. Seeing her, Kurai turned to run to her only to see a crackle of black lightening erupt from the water and wrap around her, dragging her back in. “What the hell?!” The male Night Elf rogue rushed to the waters edge, looking through to see if he could find her. Below, Mitchell pulled her closer after using Death Grip, dragging her down to drown her.
“Let’s see you hold your breath longer then me, bitch,” he said through the water. Being grabbed unexpectedly, she didn’t get a good breath of air as she began kicking her legs in an attempt to break free from him. Above, Mariuss and Kuto shot down as many ghouls as they could while Ruma took on his normal form and healed whoever was in reach. Below on the main level, Zyeal and Mug’thal worked back to back killing abominations and zombies while more Stormwind guard showed to aid them. Near the waters edge, Kurai threw down his swords before diving into the ocean after the female Night Elf. The said girl brought her elbow up, hitting Mitchell away before grabbing his left arm and snapping it straight, slamming her palm against the elbow, hearing a dull crack through the water. A gurgled cry escaped the man as he saw the elfin girl rush to the surface, choking for air. As she broke through the water, she threw her head back, her hair flying as she gasped for breath. She moved to strike who ever grabbed her, hearing Kurai telling her to calm down as he held her arms down before she clocked him by mistake.
“What were you thinking!?” he snapped, grasping onto her. She strained for air, leaning against his chest once she calmed down.
“Was… making sure… he didn’t get… away,” she choked out between breaths. She then quickly leaned back, grasping his arm and pulling. “We have… to move,” she sputtered. His instant response was why until a large torrent of water sprayed up, revealing Mitchell emerging from the depths, his flaming blue eyes glaring at the couple. “That’s why,” she whispered as her ears came down slightly. Kurai motioned his way in front of her, coming between the broken man and his love.
“I’ll kill you both!!!” the human screamed, sending blasts towards them in a blind rage, nearly hitting them each time. The water around them splashed about until Kurai sent a few throwing knives towards him, one making its way through his right hand. He screamed in pain as he grasped at his wrist before pulling the blade out. His eyes turned upward to find the elves had climbed up on the dock and were running away from him with Kurai grabbing his weapons along the way. Moving to the edge, Mitchell dragged himself upward, looking up to see more Stormwind soldiers enter the harbor area. However, something else caught his eye. There, watching from the highest level was Anduin, the Prince of Stormwind, son of Varian. Mitchell raised his left hand, stopping the men that were hurrying down and transforming them into ghouls. “Kill the prince of Stormwind! Bring me his head!” Varian turned after striking down an abomination, looking up in horror to see his son above him. Mariuss hurried beside the prince, grabbing him by the arm and dashing further into the city as more zombies dragged their limbs after him.
“No, Anduin! Mitchell, you will not lay a finger on my son!!!” the human King roared, seeing the Night Elf hunter hurry off with his son in tow. “Soldiers, protect your prince!” Varian pointed at a group of men, urging them to follow him after them. As the hunter ran through the city, people began screaming upon seeing the ghouls swarm after him. Looking around, Mariuss spotted an open door to a shop, pushing Anduin in and yelling at the shopkeeper to lock the door.
“But, Sir Mariuss, what about you!?”
“Just stay out of sight, Your Highness. Don’t worry about me. Stay safe so your father remains happy,” he said before yelling at the shopkeeper again and hurrying off, making sure the ghouls saw him. They each gave a mangled snarl before dragging and clambering after him. Back at the harbor, Mitchell watched as his hand healed before his very eyes, looking up to see Kurai poised as if to attack before him.
“Come on, old man. Let’s end this right now,” the Night Elf growled, bracing himself for an oncoming assault. The human scoffed, shaking his head.
“You’re the old man. Not my fault your race doesn’t show it,” Mitchell sneered. Having immortality at one point, Night Elves aged much, much slower then any other race. Even though it was gone, due to Archimonde, they still retained the ability to live long lives. “You stole my victory in Warsong and it only started there. Everything you gained was a blow to me. I should be the most revered in all the Alliance! It should be me!”
“I wasn’t sending men in with the intention of dying. I wasn’t killing anyone to just gain more resources! Your youthful arrogance led to your downfall. Not my victory! If you aren’t man enough to understand and accept that, then I don’t have anything further to discuss with you,” Kurai countered, holding his stance. Beside him, Hotaru brought up her swords, taking up a stance of her own to show she was going to help her beloved should the lich lord attack. Mitchell’s gaze shifted to the female, a look of disgust on his face.
“They really don’t care what happens to themselves as long as they can help you. How I’ve watched you over the years, people adoring your very presence. That should have been me!!’ he screamed, flaring up his aura. He pointed towards them, his eyes flaring, “I will take everything from you! Even if I have to die to do it!” Kurai stood before Hotaru, knowing that the human meant to target his love first. “Yes, you know I’m not joking. That’s right. Protect what you hold dear because it will make it all the sweeter when I rip it away from you,” he sneered.
“Hotaru, leave!” the male Night Elf commanded. She began protesting until he turned his head and glared at her, making her feel vulnerable under his intense gaze and shrink back. A sorrowful look crossed her face as she backed off, whispering how she loved him and to be careful. He nodded, turning his gaze back to the human who merely grinned at him. “I don’t know what you are planning but look around you,” the rogue said moving his head a bit, “Your army is falling and you have no means of escape. Just surrender now while you are able.”
“And give you ANOTHER victory?! I would sooner die! You have been a thorn in my side for far too long, elf!”
“Funny how I had no idea. I guess your anger isn’t as great as you say it is,” the rogue commented, seeing the human flinch.
“Now you are laughing at me? We’ll see who is laughing soon enough,” the captain sneered, casting Desecration, the arms of ghouls ripping from the ground to latch onto Kurai’s legs. A deep throat cackle escaped the human as he watched the rogue before him struggle to break free, slashing at the claws below him. While the Night Elf was distracted, Mitchell whistled for his horse, mounting it and charging at his target. Extending his hand, a bolt of black lightening ruptured from it, shooting forward and grasping hold of the female Night Elf, pulling her towards him. Now on the mount with the lich lord, Hotaru began pounding on his chest, trying to push him away from herself. “Well, well, look what I caught here.”
“N-no! Let me go!”
“Mitchell!! Leave her out of this! This has nothing to do with her,” Kurai screamed as he tried to break free from the ghouls. The human grabbed her hair, pulling her head back and bringing a blade to her throat, causing Kurai to yell at him to stop.
“Tell your men to stand down, Kurai. Otherwise I might have to write it out in her blood for you,” he hissed. Again the male rogue struggled against the mass of ghouls that were summoned from the spell, his eyes darting to Zyeal.
“My warrior is all that remains. The soldiers of Stormwind are not mine to command,” he replied, hoping that would be enough for him. Mitchell glanced around, finding Zyeal laying his sword down, his breath ragged and covered in blood whether it was his or the enemy’s it was uncertain. The human’s eyes landed on the Horde, turning back to the pinned rogue and tugging on his hostage’s hair again, earning a yelp from her.
“Then stop them at least,” the captain said, eyeing the Undead rogue that was assaulting his shipmen. Vicente dropped his daggers to the ground, knowing if it was his woman he would do whatever was needed. Kurai struggled against the ghouls’ embrace, straining to stay up. “That’s right, get on your knees! Admit your defeat to me,” he hissed before turning back to his men and telling them to finish their preparations. Loosening his grip on the girl’s hair, Mitchell leaned forward, licking up her still exposed neck, earning a sound of disgust from the female. “Your woman tastes good, Kurai. Maybe I should keep her.” Being distracted with his taunting, Hotaru took this chance to grab the human’s wrist with the blade, moving to try and strike up with her elbow. Ripping his arm back before she could get a good hold, Mitchell brought his free hand up to grab her head, sending a bolt of black lightening through her, earning a sharp scream as she welcomed the dark embrace. “You stupid bitch!” Zyeal moved to try and jump forward to help when suddenly his commander collapsed to his knees, using his arms to prop himself as the ghouls continued to drag him down.
“I’m going to tell you what I told that paladin: remember that you needed her for this victory,” Kurai said, glancing up to see Mitchell’s wide grin. He pulled the unconscious girl closer to himself to get a better grip as he pulled the reins to bring his steed closer.
“Finally you did something smart, elf.”
“Sir, preparations are complete!”
“Good, we are leaving then,” the lich lord said, guiding his horse towards the ship. Kurai leaned up as best he could, feeling the ghouls pulling on his arms.
“Well now,” the human began, turning his head to the side, “when did we make that agreement. I so wish it could be you that I bring to his Lordship but she will have to suffice.” Zyeal grabbed his sword again, moving to give chase when the human turned towards him, his blue eyes flaring. “Come closer and she dies!”
“She’s dead regardless,” Kurai screamed, “Stop him NOW!” With that, Zyeal saw Kurai turn his head away as he tried prying the undead off him once again. Mug’thal released a roar as he sped passed Zyeal with his axe raised, seeing Mitchell rear his horse back and begin galloping onto the ship. Vicente rolled, picking up his daggers as he came up, jumping down to try and get in the captain’s way only to have the horse race by him. Mitchell jumped aboard the vessel as it began moving away from the docks, turning and giving a triumphant cackle.
“I’ll see you in Northrend, fools!” Another wave of zombies and abominations began rushing towards them, some running by the group and into the city to cause havoc. Throwing his head back, Zyeal released a battle shout, charging in and slashing down the closest abomination before it could reach the ramps. As the ship disappeared into the horizon, the Desecrations spell grew weaker, making it easier for Kurai to rip himself away from the strong embrace of the undead, their claws scratching into his armor and flesh. Behind him, he heard the deep growl of a zombie as it moved to jump him, hearing the sharp thud of an arrow nailing it down. Snapping his head up, Kurai spotted Kuto loading up another round, giving him a nod of thanks.
“Wait,” the rogue whispered to himself. He staggered to his feet, looking about the area, “where is Mariuss?” Hearing him, Zyeal snapped his head around, then back at his commander upon remembering.
“He was with the prince. He’s in the city,” he shouted, hacking down another ghoul. Finally the wave began thinning out, giving the elves a chance to run up the ramp and further into Stormwind. As they entered the city, a group of guardsmen came running up, saluting once they saw the elves. Kurai and Zyeal noticed them hesitate once they saw the Horde behind them but they quickly looked away back at the rogue.
“The King is at the Cathedral of Light with Sir Mariuss. He sent us to retrieve you,” the one in charge of the group said, holding his salute until he was finished. Nodding, they hurried to the Cathedral, finding Varian outside in the courtyard. As soon as he saw them, he immediately asked of the captain, displeased to hear he got away. Even still he was more upset as Kurai tried to blame it on himself, telling him that this was not expected.
“No, I had my doubts about Mitchell for awhile now. I only didn’t have the proof needed to back these doubts. And I wasn’t ready to sit in a jail cell for such accusations,” the rogue replied. He looked over at the Night Elf warrior upon seeing him wobble. “Zyeal?”
“I’m fine,” he murmured, wiping away the blood from his forehead. “Most of this isn’t mine.”
“Just forget it,” he countered. He knew Kurai had enough to deal with as it was. “Where is Mariuss?”
“We brought him here for treatment. It’s pretty bad. I couldn’t get where he hid the prince. I’m hoping he will wake up soon,” Varian said looking back at the Cathedral. He glanced at the Horde behind them, asking what they were doing here.
“They are merely trying to help us, my Lord,” Kurai said, walking up the stairs. The elves were relieved to see the human King nod, letting the matter drop as they entered the church to be greeted by many worried priests and clerics. They backed away upon seeing the Horde until Kurai assured them there was nothing for them to fear. “Please, take us to the elf hunter,” the rogue asked. The clerics nodded, guiding them to the doorway in the back of the church that led to the lower levels, coming upon many beds where many soldiers required aid. On the one furthest down, they could see Mariuss’ white hair flowing over the side, the sheets and blankets splattered with blood.
“He is terribly wounded. He has lost much blood,” the male cleric replied, guiding them closer. “The King’s men just brought him in. He was trying to speak of something but fainted due to the blood loss. We hope he gains consciousness soon or we are not sure how he will end up.” Ruma walked up beside the bed, raising his hands above the hunter, a green aura emitting from them.
“Perhaps some natural healing magic will help,” he said. Kurai merely stared down at his friend’s still form, the events of what just happened running through his mind. The more he thought about it the more he began showing signs of it getting to him until he finally let out a frustrated yell, turning and punching the stone wall beside him. The group froze, watching him bring his ragged breathing back to normal.
“Look, Kurai, it’s not your fault—“
“How the hell is this not my fault?! He did all this because of me! He is a fool for being so angry about something that was in no one’s power: yes, but in the end his fight was with me and he targeted everyone else because of it. And now….” Zyeal had moved to rest his hand on the rogue’s back but stopped, thinking the contact would make him give another outburst. The King walked in, feeling the tension between the group. Kurai pulled back from the wall, giving his hand a glance before turning to the cleric, “My friend here is hoping to see the human woman we had brought in before. Miss Rozetta would very much like to see him.” The cleric shifted his gaze nervously to the Undead rogue before gulping and nodding, motioning for him to follow. Vicente gave his thanks to the Night Elf before hurrying off after the other human. Varian called for Kurai, mentioning about plans for leaving for Northrend earlier then expected now that Mitchell brought up this trouble. Behind him, Anduin, who had left the shop once hearing the commotion was over, poked his head in only to be shooed away by his father.
“Is Sir Mariuss in there, Father?”
“He’s resting, son. He needs time to regain his strength. You can speak with him later,” Varian said motioning for the youth to leave before seeing the hunter’s current state. “Now I know for a fact what has happened. I know that Hotaru has been taken and that Mitchell has escaped. I wish to push the Northrend expedition up to as soon as capable,” Varian explained to a drained Night Elf rogue who listened intently. “I want you to help lead this group if you would.”
“Your Majesty, I don’t know if I am a wise choice at this point. The attack today no matter how you look at it is my fault and with Hotaru gone I don’t know what it is I may do if something related to her were to arise. I appreciate and am honored that you wish to entrust me this but I must decline for the safety of your men. Let me make this choice while I have common sense left within me,” Kurai said softly. Varian nodded as he thought over what he just heard.
“I appreciate your honesty, however I must insist. I don’t mean for you to be in complete charge, but to be one of the main commanders. At the very least think it over, you require rest,” the King replied before turning to leave with his son before the boy asked to see Mariuss again. “And please get yourself checked out.” The rogue glanced at his hand again before watching the humans leave. As he walked to back to his officers, Kurai stopped and leaned against the wall, his vision growing fuzzy. The rogue jumped upon feeling someone rest their hand on his shoulder, turning to see the Orc captain.
“Is there anything we can assist you with? I will be informing my Warchief of the events this evening. He will be more then obliged to aid in the journey to Northrend. We share a common enemy,” Mug’thal replied, pounding his fist to his chest to show how strongly he felt about the situation. “Please, be sure to ask anything of us.”
“Thank you, is there any way we can make contact with you? They are double timing the preparations and hoping to leave in a couple of days. Until then all we can do is recuperate,” Kurai whispered. Giving the Orc a bow, the rogue excused himself, walking away and into the doorway of the room with the injured. Near Mariuss’ bed, Ruma ceased his healing, looking to Zyeal who was seated beside the bed watching.
“I have done all I can for him. Rest is the only thing now that will determine how he will be,” the Tauren said. Kuto patted the druid’s back, turning to leave to find their captain.
“Thank you,” Zyeal murmured, his head drooping as he began slumping in his chair. Mug’thal walked beside Kurai in the doorway, calling for his men that it was time to head back, saying that they needed to collect Vicente.