(A WoW Short Story)
The quiet forests around Darnassus seemed to radiate life in the early twilight of the morning. Kynleana tightened her hold on her Battle Axe and strode from her house on the outskirts of Darnassus, the Night Elf capitol. She donned her Cloak of Ascendancy and pulled on her war boots that went up to right below her knee. She gripped her Axe and ventured into the forest. There had been rumors of a Tuaren on the Island of Teladrassil and she had set out to kill or capture it. It was rumored to be a powerful Druid, steeped in wisdom and Nature Power. She would need all her skill to deal with it. She had talked it over with her best friend in the world, Vanubras, a Hunter in Service to Darnassus.
Her double-sided axe gleamed gold in the light as she ran through the forest. Her sister, Mavranta, had offered to come along, but Kynleana declined. Although Mavranta was a skilled priest and might have been helpful, she had two major flaws. One, she was deathly afraid of Tuarens and Trolls. She had once killed a Blood Elf in a duel and its partners, a Troll and a Tuaren, had attacked her and done her great damage, she would have died if Kynleana and Vanubras hadn’t shown up and slaughtered the two for their brutality. Mavranta had suffered much that day and was never the same afterward, her bold, outgoing personality was replaced by a girl who jumped at her own shadow and hexed Vanubras for scaring her. Two, she was emotionally unstable. Due to her encounter with the Troll and Tuaren. One second, she would be laughing, the next, crying. So Kynleana had told her to stay in Darnassus. Although she had protested, Vanubras intervened and told Mavranta to stay behind.
So Kynleana set out alone. She was not scared of the Horde members, if anything she was awed that such creatures could live with inflicting such brutality. She herself had only been subjected to their brutal torture once. It was an experience she did not want to relive. She stopped for a moment to catch her breath. Sitting on a fallen tree she stuck her Axe into the ground and lay back against the tree. She knew Vanubras would yell at her for displaying such casual indifference about her whereabouts, but at the moment she didn’t care. She closed her eyes briefly; thinking she would only rest for a minute. But as soon as her eyes were closed she fell asleep.
When she opened her eyes, the first instinct that pierced her was pain, utter pain that hurtled through her entire body. She looked frantically around and saw a campfire and her Axe stuck in the ground by it. She struggled and pain again shot through her. Looking down at herself she saw her hands were tied above her head to a tree and her feet were also tied. Her cloak and boots were missing and her back screamed with pain from something extremely hot. She looked behind her to see a larger fire that seemed to be alive because every time she moved it licked her bare back, scorching her skin. She saw a large something step out of the shadows and walk toward her. It threw back its hood to reveal an ugly, full-grown Orc. It leered at her and sat by the fire. Taking her Axe it looked it over.
“Put it down!” She growled at it. The Orc just laughed and pointed at her. Immediately the fire licked her again, this time scorching her already sore arms. She screamed as it burned her skin. The Orc laughed again and turned back to the Axe. Kynleana hung her head; she had been a fool to go to sleep, if only she had listened to Vanubras.
The Orc stood and walked over to her. The fire behind her went out, and the Orc placed his hands on her hips. She shivered; his touch was cold, hard and slimy. He lifted and yanked. Her arms screamed in protest and it cut the rope tying her hands. Before she could attack, the Orc had her flat on her stomach, crushing her breasts and putting his foot on her head. Her face went into the mud and she had trouble breathing. So this is the end. She thought as her vision became over come with black spots. She then felt the pressure release as the Orc let out a roar, light illuminated her spotty vision and she saw the Orc collapse as his chest exploded in light. Just before she blacked out, she saw a tall female figure stooping down to her.
She came to again and felt he head lying on something soft. She opened her eyes blearily and saw the fire was still going. Her back and arms no longer burned and the cuts on her hips from the Orc’s claws were healed. She looked around and saw another Night Elf sitting by the fire. It was male and had silver hair that extended in two braids down his bare chest. He looked up at her.
“Feeling better Kyna?” It was Rytan, the Night Elf rouge who was her object of desire from 10 years ago. She blushed slightly but managed to retain her composure. Rytan had always called her Kyna, for what reasons, she didn’t know.
“Yes, was it you who killed the Orc?” she asked.
“Nah, that was your sister’s work, you think I’m as good healer as that?” He said, gesturing to her now flawless body.
“Mavranta! What is she doing here?!” Kynleana tried to sit up, but Rytan simply pushed her back down.
“Stay down girl, your sister’s more than capable of taking care of herself. She’ll be back in a minute. Meanwhile you should try to get some rest. Priests heal the wounds, but you’re still incredibly weak. Just lie down and try to get some sleep maybe.” Kynleana nodded and closed her eyes. She fell asleep instantly.
* * * * *
Mavranta ran through the woods, branches tearing at her face and arms. She skidded to a stop and looked behind her. It was gone. She swore she had seen a Troll coming toward her. It might have been a hallucination, but she’d rather not take any chances. She healed all her scratches and began walking back to the camp. When she arrived she saw Kynleana sleeping and Rytan sitting motionless by the fire. She walked over and sat with her legs splayed out to one side. Her robe was small and therefore restricted her from bending her legs. She tried to get comfortable but in the end, had to cast the robe of and sat cross-legged in her novice’s sleeveless shirt and pants. Rytan looked up,
“Anything?” he asked.
“There might have been a Troll but I didn’t see anything for sure.” She replied.
“All the same, I’ll stay up and watch.” He said placing a hand on her bare shoulder, “You get some sleep.”
“Are you sure? I can watch.”
“No, you can’t. You’re much to tired and frightened, don’t worry I can tell. Go to sleep Mavranta.” Mavranta finally acquiesced and fell into a deep sleep.
Rytan watched Mavranta drift of to sleep, her green short-cropped hair splayed on her robe that she was using for a pillow, her chest rising and falling rhythmically. He looked over at Kynleana, her long purple hair extending all the way down her back. He sighed, what had convinced him to come on this mad adventure? He knew the answer; he would have felt like a complete idiot to let two girls go out into the wilderness on their own. Besides, he wanted to protect them, especially Kynleana. He saw the way she looked at him, and he couldn’t help but have a sense of protection over the two sisters. He leaned back against a tree and relaxed, but only outwardly.
Kynleana opened her eyes to see Mavranta and Rytan sitting by the fire, eating pieces of meat. Kynleana sat up,
“What’s that?” She asked Rytan.
“Nettle Boar. Want some?” He handed her a good-sized piece. She accepted it and bit into it. It tasted sweet and slightly salty.
“So….” She started.
“Kynleana please don’t be angry at me. You know I wanted to come. You need help; I think we proved that last night.” Kynleana started but Mavranta cut her off. “You know that I can take of myself. And if I have you two to help me, then I don’t need to be afraid of any other creature.”
“Kyna, she’s right.” Rytan said. “She was the one who forced me to come and who killed the Orc by herself. She’s just as capable as you or me.”
“Well I don’t really have any argument against the two of you, do I?” Kynleana said. Mavranta smiled,
“No you don’t.” Rytan also smiled at her, which caused Kynleana to blush slightly. She was glad that they had come, but she still wished that she didn’t get captured by that Orc, and then she could have sent them away without any argument. But as it were, she would have to let them come.
“So, do you actually have any idea where the Tuaren is?” Rytan asked.
“Actually, no.” Kynleana replied. “But I did learn a few facts about him.”
“And….” Mavranta prompted.
“He goes by the guise of the Master Shapeshifter, but his real name is Guluminek. He’s a highly accomplished Druid, more skilled than any in Thunder Bluff, Teladrassil or beyond. He sometimes travels with his companion, a great Armored Brown Bear, which he uses to overcome foes larger than himself. Namely Draenei and Night Elves.”
“But if he is so accomplished and powerful, what is he doing on Teladrassil?” Mavranta wondered.
“Most likely he is either trying to prove his strength to the Night Elves or fulfilling some tribal rite.” Rytan said. “If the latter is false and he is trying to show the Night Elves his power, then the best thing we can do is to show him that we are able to defend ourselves. However, if the later is true than we should steer clear of him and simply defend instead of attack.”
Kynleana thought about this for awhile. What Rytan said made sense, but she still wanted to exact her revenge for her sister’s torment. Killing this Tuaren would prove to the Tuaren community that they were not to mess with the Allies, the Night Elves and particularly her. However, if she was unable to kill it, then she would be again subject to horrors beyond imagining. Mavranta stood, interrupting her thoughts.
“We should get moving if we want to find him. Do you have any lead we can follow whatsoever?” she asked.
“All I know is that two Night Elf scouts were found dead on the shore and that the killer was identified as a Tuaren Druid. He was later sighted a league north of there by a Night Elf rouge. If we assume he traveled straight toward Darnassus, we’ll meet up with him in a day at the least.” Rytan nodded,
“Then we should stay here or look for him?”
“I think we should go and look for him, but not too far incase if we miss him and he slips past toward Darnassus.” Mavranta said.
“Agreed” Rytan said, “So we move…..”
“South-South East, I’d say. That way his direct path to Darnassus would be cut off.” Kynleana replied. They gathered their things and left at a moderate walking pace. It was now well into the morning, the dew had left the branches and leaves, and the sun was shining through the trees in a bright kaleidoscope of shades of green. It was beautiful, as the forests of Darnassus were every year in the spring. Kynleana tried to admire the beauty, but here mind kept straying to the two bodies of Night Elf scouts, naked, mutilated and torn apart.
Kynleana looked behind her. Mavranta was walking with her head down, watching the ground. Rytan was constantly looking around. His eyes never stayed at one place for longer than a second. Kynleana stared at him for a minute, and then quickly looked away before he saw her. She did admit, he pleased her greatly, everything about him, his kind voice, fierce fighting skills, and his strong, muscular body rippling with energy and might. But she knew he would never go for her. She was too reckless, too headstrong. She wondered if he even thought she was beautiful. Probably not, just another one of his endless admirers. She sighed, better to keep him out of her mind for the time being. She continued walking for a minute, she heard Rytan yell something and looked behind her to tell him to keep it down when her foot stepped on a rope and the entire world was thrown upside down.
She looked around frantically; she was hanging upside down from a cleverly disguised trap that had hoisted her in the air by her ankle. She reached up to see if she could get it off when she heard loud stomping coming her way. Mavranta and Rytan immediately Shadowmelded into thing air, disappearing. She felt something wind an arm around her and lift, her feet were cut and she was gently lowered to the ground. As soon as she laws set down on her back she attempted to spring upright. But before she could move roots sprang out of the ground and wound quickly around her ankles, wrists, waist, thighs, and one around her neck. She struggled for a minute, but the roots increased their pressure until she was gasping for breath and she was sure her ribs were bruised, if not broken. She looked up and saw, looming above her, a Tuaren Druid. He was dressed in the finest armor, inset with blue jewels and decorated with many reagent plants to authenticate his power. He held in one hand a giant pike and had two protruding tusks. She saw Mavranta leap from the shadows toward him. He raised his hand and roots grabbed her feet, wound up her legs around her waist, chest and up to her neck, destroying all clothing and her staff on the way up. She coughed and gasped as they restricted her breathing.
“Why you hunt me?” The Tuaren said, looking back at Kynleana.
“Because you slaughtered two Night Elf scouts in a way that the Night Elves find both repulsive and barbaric.” She said with a look of pure loathing.
“That was not me. I come to warn Night Elves. Troll named Hozkan coming, he barbaric. Enjoy killing too much. The Horde tell him to stop. Thunder Bluff tell me to stop him. Not want to anger Night Elves further.” Kynleana pondered this, he could be lying, but Mavranta had seen a Troll, and this Tuaren did not seem to be barbaric, in fact, he was trying to reason with them, albeit in a round-a-bout fashion.
“How can we trust you?” Mavranta asked.
“You can’t. Must decide for yourself what to believe. Hozkan is no longer sane, he fight for himself. I must go, stop him quickly. You must not follow.”
“Why not?” Kynleana demanded.
“Hozkan will take you, no kill, only torture. You female. He will enjoy you. You no want that.” Kynleana gulped, that was for sure.
“So…..you’ll let us go-“
“No. I keep you here. Come back after captured Hozkan. Then me release you.”
“Why not now?” Mavranta asked
“You will follow. You have given orders to kill me. If bound you cannot disobey orders.” How did he know that? Kynleana wondered. He does have a point though.
“Alright, but maybe we could remain here a little more comfortably?” Kynleana then witnessed a first, the Tuaren smiled,
“Of course. Me erect barrier, not tie up.”
“Thank you” Kynleana replied.
“My name Guluminek”, he said. Looking at Mavranta he added, “I sorry about loss of clothes, thought you were threat. I leave now.” He retreated a couple steps, raised his hands and brought them down. A web of vines grew up around Mavranta and Kynleana. Their bonds fled back into the earth and then all was silent.
Mavranta collapsed forward, naked, onto the ground. Kynleana slowly sat up and felt her ribs; they seemed in one piece, only bruised. She looked over at Mavranta, who was deathly pale and sweating all over her body. Kynleana managed to get over to her side and held Mavranta’s head in her lap. Kynleana looked down at her sister, pale and scared from her encounter with Guluminek. Even though he hadn’t been cruel to them, it still spooked Mavranta. Kynleana stroked her hair and tried to calm her down. Just then a rasping voice jolted her out of her reverie.
“Ahhhhhh, yesss two femalessss, both vulnerable and ready for my power to be usssed on them. Yessss” Kynleana looked frantically around and saw a place in the vines where they were shifting as if they were being moved from the other side. She held Mavranta close and waited for the end. She looked up one more time and saw a hole in the vines had been created and a Troll with bloodshot eyes sticking its head through the opening.
She then saw it slowly widen the hole until it got both arms and a leg through. The other leg quickly followed. It walked closer, breathing out a horrible smell that clogged her senses and seemed to make the whole world go fuzzy. He reached down and put a hand on the curve of her waist. She shivered as it took out a small spike from a satchel at his side. Just as he was about to stick it into her skin, the Troll let out a dithering wail. She saw Rytan plunge his knife into its back and then jump back before it could retaliate. The Troll swung around and point at Rytan. He disappeared in a puff of smoke and reappeared as a sheep. Hozkan laughed brutally and turned back to Kynleana. He drew the spike out again and stuck it into her skin. Immediately the world took on a funny purple color and seemed to spin in circles. She felt Hozkan grab her by the hair and lift her up. She screamed as her breathed in her face. Gagging and coughing, she exited reality and went unconscious.
Mavranta came to just in time to see Kynleana drop from Hozkan’s grasp. He then turned to her. She shivered with fear and tried to back away, but was too weak. She quietly whispered the Shadow word for Pain. Hozkan grasped his middle in agony and went down on one knee. Then she saw behind him, tall and terrible, Guluminek. He grabbed Hozkan by his cloak and hurled him backwards. Striding after him he hurled a ball of green nature energy at him. It hit the Troll in the chest and he let out a scream. Holding his hands in front of him he struck the ground and roots enveloped Hozkan’s entire body. He then turned to Mavranta and held his hand over her. Immediately her entire body was wiped free of blemishes and her fear disappeared. He repeated this with Kynleana. She sat up and coughed out blood for a full minute before Guluminek finally removed the spike in her thigh. Casting a bolt of lighting at Rytan, he returned him to a human.
“I apologize for not tracking Hozkan faster. Still I have him now. You should return to your city. I will take Hozkan off this island. Always remember, you do not always have to fight your enemies. There is sometimes a time for peace and friendship rather than fighting and war. Remember that always.” With that he turned and took off at a jog, the unconscious Hozkan over his shoulder.
Rytan turned to Kynleana, who was sitting on the ground. He offered her his hand and she took it. He pulled her up and in one swift motion, brought her toward him and kissed her. Kynleana was surprised but welcomed it. His hand went around her back and held her tight. She flung her arms around her neck and kissed him back. After what seemed like several years, but was probably only several seconds they broke apart. Rytan smiled,
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.” Kynleana smiled back,
“I can guess”
* * * * *
A week later
* * * * *
Kynleana relaxed in the morning breeze of Darnassus. She heard footsteps behind her and saw Rytan sit down on a chair next to her.
“Vanubras back today?” he asked.
“Yea, why?” Kynleana replied
“Rytan, I’ve told hundreds of times, he’s just my friend.”
“I know.” Kynleana sighed and shook her head.
“Well I have to go. Eponex wants me down at the field early today.” He rose, kissed her quickly and left. She got up and walked into the city. Looking around she saw Vanubras standing with one arm on the wall. She walked over. He looked down at her,
“So….how’d it go?”