This morning I had one errand to do, fetch the Scalding Mornbrew for my Uncle and Durnan Furcutter and then return their mugs. I got up early and dressed in the new outfit my father had given me, made sure I had ammo for my gun and that my axe was as sharp as it could be (which in all honesty wasn’t very) and off I went.
On my way to see Mr. Pridedrift I encountered Talin Keeneye who fancies himself a renowned hunter but in reality is so scared of the Crag Boars that inhabit our valley that he rarely ventures away from his small camp. “Bryanne! Do ye think you could take some time and make me huntin’ grounds safer? These Boars are all riled up and seem to want to attack anything that moves, if’n you’ll take the job I’ll gladly pay you some copper coin.”
I didn’t really need the money as Dad has always seen to it I had plenty, but I was in a foul mood and taking it out on a few Boars seemed like fun. So I took the job and told him I’d take care of it after my errand.
Upon entering Mr. Pridedrift’s camp I, or more correctly my outfit immediately became the center of attention. Everyone recognized my Father’s craftsmanship when they saw it and they all wanted to know if he was visiting. After explaining that he had sent the package I finally got the Mornbrew from Mr. Pridedrift. I asked him if he would mind if I killed a few boars for Talin Keeneye on the way back. “Take yer time lass!” He responded, “just get them back to me before supper time and all will be well.” With that I was off like a shot. Mornbrew is a tricky drink on the best of days, it had to be consumed while it was hot if it was to be any good. Fortunately I made it to Anvilmar in record time, collected the empty mugs into my pack and headed out.
On the way to return the mugs I shot an even dozen boars. Mr. Keeneye was more than a bit drunk when I delivered them, but he still paid me the agreed upon 5 copper per corpse. With that I delivered the mugs and set off for the pass into Dun Morogh .
Upon reaching the pass I spotted Mountaineer Thalos monitoring the entrance to the cave. “Trogs getting to be a problem again Thalos?” I asked “Aye, they seem more riled than usual, but I imagine you’ll be able to handle them just fine.” With that news I made sure my gun and axe were ready and entered the cave. Thalos wasn’t kidding, normally you could keep a good distance from them and slip by. Now it seemed that they would attack anything that they saw move. To prove my theory I grabbed a rock and threw it near two of them. Sure enough they set upon it like a pair of rabid animals after a piece of raw meat.
After making it through the pass it took me a couple of hours to jog to Ironforge and after catching my breath I found Rostislaav alone at his usual table upstairs in the Inn, drinking. “Rostislaav, we need to talk.” I growled. “My darling Bryanne! I have been expecting you, come, sit.” He half-slurred while futilly grasping for the chair just out of his reach. “I hae no time to sit my blue screened friend, you have been playing me for the fool all this time and I mean to put an end to it!” “My dear lady” he said while bolting out of his chair, “vhatever could hyou mean?” “I mean that story about your family jewels! You’re not telling a real story, you’re making a perverse joke aren’t you?” “My dear” he said with a wink “vould hyou like to find out?”
Now at this point I must inform anyone who has not seen a Dranei that they are big; Rostislaav is nearly twice my size in height and weight, but none of that mattered to me in my anger I simply did what any good Dwarf would do. I punched him. Unfortunately for him, because of our size difference I found out that he was indeed playing a perverse joke. He bent over letting out something between a gasp of air and a scream and in a flash I was on him pummeling him. We crashed down the steps to the main floor of the Inn and that is where I paid the price for forgetting about the difference between our two races as he literally landed on me. The last thing I remembered was a big blue mass coming my way as I fell backwards.
When I came to it felt like something was slowly warming me from the inside out. I heard an unfamiliar voice say: “Good she’s coming out of it, just a little more and I think she’ll be all better.” I slowly opened my eyes to see Gwenna Firebrew hovering over me with a wet cloth, but off to the side was an odd glow. I looked over and there was Rostislaav in what appeared to be deep concentration with his hands glowing. Then it dawned on me, Rostislaav was a Paladin!
“I… I think I’m OK now” I said struggling to sit up. As I did the room began to spin and heave violently around me. I groaned rather loudly and Mrs. Firebrew helped me to lay back down. “There, there Deary you still need to rest a moment, not many creatures in this world can break a Dranei’s fall and live to tell the tale. Rostislaav, I think you’ve done all you can for her for now.”
The light dimmed and Rostislaav paused for a moment as if gathering the energy to do anything. His head was slick with perspiration and for the first time since I had met him his goggles were off. It was only then that I noticed his eyes. One had a small, dark patch over it and the other just didn’t look quite right. I knew the Orcs had done some damage to him, I just never knew how much.
“My most humble apologies Bryanne I did not know you would take such offence to that joke. Nor did I mean to injure you.” “I… It’s my own fault, I shouldn’t have let my temper get the better of me. I’m the one that should apologize to you.” “Ach, finally some sense gets into that famously thick Beastclaw skull” Mrs. Firebrew interrupted “here’s a Flagon of Meade for you Bryanne and for you dear Rostislaav a bottle of our best Pinot Noir. Now we’ll leave ye both be so long as ye promise not ta wreck the place!”
Very gently Rostislaav helped me sit up, the room still spun a bit and I could swear I saw some strange antlered, purple creatures dancing in a line outside, but this time I managed it without passing back out or losing the contents of my stomach. “There now, let’s hope that meade helps with your recovery.” I took a sip and felt its warmth spread through my body. Mrs. Firebrew remembered that I liked my Meade warm and spiced, something she had done to perfection! I laid my head back and closed my eyes… “Hyou must not be going to sleep Miss Bryanne, not for a bit yet anyway.” Rostislaav gently said in his deep accented voice. “I have just the thing to keep you avake, yesterday was a big birthday for you, no?” Not wanting to be rude, but still yearning to just rest I sat up. “Yes it was, I turned 40 I am now officially considered an adult and as such I get to choose a path for myself.” “And I bet you’ve had one chosen for some time haven’t hyou Bryanne, hyou wish to go and join your father in his adventures?” “I… when… how… how did ye know?!” “I could see it in your eyes m’lady. Every time you would get a letter from your father, anytime someone came calling from Outlands I could see it. One vould have to be blind not to.”
I sat there stunned, did everyone know me so well? Rostislaav interrupted my silence “Now, I believe the giving of presents is customary for one’s Birthday?” and with that he produced a large, long canvas wrapped package appeared and laid it on the table between us with an audible thump. “These are all yours.” I looked up at him and wanted to start crying, just a short while ago I wanted nothing more than to beat him and now he was presenting me with gifts?
I carefully unwrapped to package and inside found a new gun with a scope on it and several pouches of ammunition for it. “Be careful with that ammunition,” he warned “it is explosive to increase its effectiveness.” Looking at the gifts I exploded myself. Ignoring my headache I was out of my chair, over the table, hugging him and crying all at the same time.
“I can’t wait to show these to my Uncle tomorrow!” I exclaimed. Suddenly I felt Rostislaav stiffen “Hyou do not plan to return tonight?” “No, it is already getting late the guards will surely have closed the pass until daylight with the Troggs acting as they have been.” “This is not good, I have been hearing talk from people who travel here from the Norternmost reaches of the Eastern Kingdoms as well a some from Kalimdor. They report seeing strange ships appearing out of the North, vhich disappear as if they never existed. One part of the description of these ships has remained consistent. They glow vith a green aura.”
With that description it was like I had fallen into a frost trap, I physically started to shiver. “No… it can’t be, not them, not again.” “Hyou know of the Scourge then?” “Aye” I said settling back into my chair “my mother died in battle against the Scourge. Those were terrible times, to think they might be happening again…” “Do not fear my friend, rest tonight and tomorrow you will be safe back in Coldridge Valley.” “But what if they come while I am sleeping?” “Fear not, tonight Hyou shall stay in my room. I vill keep watch and ensure your safety.”
With that he led me to his room. I had never seen it before, it was sparsely furnished for someone who had been in residence for so long in Ironforge. Besides they usual furnishings provided by the Inn there was one rather large bag in one corner. Sticking out of the bag I could see the handle of a weapon. Rostislaav picked up the bag with ease and walked back to the doorway. “Please make Hyourself comfortable, I will change in one of the extra rooms.” With that I was alone.
I thought about changing into the sleeping clothes I often carried with me, but decided that if something happened I’d be better off If I just had to grab my boots and go. So I kept my new armor on, made sure my gun was loaded and placed both it and my axe in easy reach and lay down. I must have been more tired than I thought because I fell asleep right away. I remember waking up once that night thinking I had heard a strange noise. Standing in the doorway with his back to me was a fully equipped Dranei Paladin with a massive mace across his back. Feeling safe I went back to sleep.
“Bryanne! Vake up! Vake up!” Rostislaav was shaking me awake sounding very urgent. “What is it?” “The Scourge! Zombies have been appearing in Booty Bay and I just got vord of one in Stormwind!”
By the time Rostislaav had finished his sentence I had my boots on and had grabbed my axe and rifle. “What do we do?” “Hyou will go back to Chillbreeze valley and varn everyone on the way, I vill stay here and help defend the city.” “But I want to fight!” I pouted. Rostislaav’s features softened “Bryanne, the others must be warned and while you have a fire in you few lack, you are not yet experienced enough in combat to face a threat like this. I vould never forgive myself if I let hyou stay and hyou got hurt or vorse. Please for the love of the light, go! I vill go vith hyou as far as the city gates, but hyou must warn the others!”
Mrs. Firebrew appeared and handed me a small package “this will fill your belly this morning but not weigh you down, Deary. Please be makin sure my cousins in Kharanos are warned will ye?” “Aye, I’ll tell them personally, tis the least I could do after Yesterday.” Mrs. Firebrew chuckled “remind me when this is over and I’ll tell ye some stories about want yer father has done here. My dear you no trouble compared to him! Now, best be off with ye.” I gave her a quick hug and with Rostislaav at my side headed towards the city gates. It wasn’t that far to the gates, but Rostislaav spent the entire time assuring me he would be OK. Still as I gave him a hug goodbye I couldn’t help but feel like something was going to go terribly wrong.
It’s a good thing that I always jog when I go places, because today I needed to run. My first stop was at Razzle and Ozzies. The two Gnomes were happy to see me as always and didn’t seem at all concerned about the Scourge. “Don’t you worry, we have ways of avoiding them should they get this far.” They spotted my gun and spent a few minutes fawning over its construction “Trained by a Gnome if I ever saw it” was Razzle’s comment to which Ozzie agreed. I said my goodbyes and went to warn the Firebrew’s cousins. Their reaction was entirely different from the Gnomes. As they both grabbed packs and prepared to leave. “We hae a safe place in the mountains if ye want ta come with us lass.” I declined as I had been entrusted with spreading the warning.
I got through the pass with no trouble at all, the Troggs were nowhere to be seen. Preparations for the defense of the valley began immediately after I arrived. So here I sit in my own room thinking of all the people back in Ironforge. We have already heard word of a few zombies in the city. I hope Rostislaav is all right, I just can’t shake that odd feeling…