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Delenay
Delenay
Posts: 19
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 8:21 pm
Delenay

Not As Cracked Up As It Is Supposed To Be.

Postby Delenay » October 14th, 2015, 3:16 pm

((These are some of Autumn's adventures from a year ago, and she certainly encountered a few snags along the way. This stories followed her through the months of September and November, generally getting into trouble and I finally feel comfortable posting these on a more public forum. There are only 4 but after I repost them I plan on writing a few more. One lesson she certainly learned is that adventuring sure isn't easy.))

“Thanks for trying.” Autumn Delenay said to the person she had approached about her problem before turned away. She strode through Stormwind, not paying much attention to her surroundings; her thoughts were on numerous things.

The past two weeks have certainly been interesting. The young mage had been sightseeing, visiting many of the places she has wanted to explore. With her eighteenth birthday approaching she had been able to convince her parents that she was capable of holding her own, it had come with some stipulations of course. Her age was one that she had been able to finagle around. Another had been to pass a test in magic her mother had given her. The large Unbound elemental that followed her was one thing that had helped her pass that test. I have to get this stupid hat off myself.

The hat had been something she found on the shores of Westfall not too long ago, something she saved for the recently passed Pirates Day event in Arathi Highlands. The Highlands were kind of meh, she thought, though she quickly admits to herself that her opinion of it might be swayed by the fact that she had been unable to remove the pirate hat since that night. A hat that had changed her into a ghostly Gnome. The mustache is fun to twirl evilly though. She wasn’t willing to return to her mother for help, lest she have second thoughts about her decision to let Autumn leave the keep. She sighed as her thoughts shifted to the keep, not about returning, just remembering.

Nethergarde keep has stood for years. Her parents had requested a station there and when Autumn was ten, she had expressed interest in studying magic. With little money to spare for a teacher, her mother had approached the commander and had gotten permission to have Autumn stay with them so that she could be trained when her mother had the free time. Staying there for the last eight years had been a good experience for her. She had been made to pull her weight and over time she was asked to do more and more. Helping out in the kitchens had been her primary job with her free time either spent practicing magic or with the soldiers in various ways to fight. One of the reasons why mom let me leave. Autumn glanced at her elemental as she rounded a corner into the Old District.

The only reason she had been able to summon the elemental and help prove her case to her parents had been because of a woman named Aerana Dantay. The Empress of the Twilight Empire, she had later realized. At first Autumn had thought that meeting her had been like fate as joining a guild had been another one of her parent’s requests. The Empire had also been around for years. Autumn could remember seeing its members in the keep after the demon Kazzak had opened the Dark Portal. But shit hit the fan the day you joined. That day was one Autumn was still unsure about. Not sure about any of this.

Since joining the Empire had fallen on tough times, she could see concern and anger in many members eyes. A young man, probably no older then she had approached the leaders during the very meeting she joined in and set off a chain of events that had led to the Empire’s leaders being removed from office. Each had taken it differently, some she worried about more than others. The large Draenei in plate had seemed to find comfort in the relationship with a shaman in the Citizens Branch. Good for them. Autumn frowned; shaman had confused her last night with a speech about daggers and quilts. She still wasn’t sure of what to make of that either.

The older Paladin spoke of taking over the Military Branch in its leader’s absence. Not fair for the people that were put in charge, not when you’re jumping up from the lowest rank. He should know he has to earn that again. That desire had gotten him in trouble and had led to him and one of the other senators to leave the guild. She didn’t know enough about the gnome who had created the guilds stones to form any real opinion. He did take his stone though, Miss Dantay didn’t like that. And then there’s the Worgen women. I saw her the night I met the Empress.

That was one she was really worried about. While the other senators had either taken it in stride or expressed their anger, Autumn felt Pralea had taken the news of her demotion in a bad way. She had been spending all her time since then in the Brawlers Club, fighting and drinking. Running from what she feels is her failure. ”Only thing I’m good at.” She says. Autumn didn’t know any of these people very well, but she didn’t like seeing any of them getting hurt either. The time in Nethergarde made her feel like she should offer something but she didn’t know what.

The sun was setting by now. A day spent trying to get the cursed hat off her head. A day wasted. I can’t take this damn thing off and neither can other people. Shit’s falling apart in the Empire and I can’t do a damn thing. Everything is turning upside down. I don’t want mom to think I can’t handle myself but… wait. Upside down?

An idea blossomed in Autumn’s mind as she ran for the nearest tree she could climb. If I can’t take this off on purpose, why not let something indiscriminate try. Gravity doesn’t give a damn about anything.

She frowned as she thought the last sentence. Not everything falls though… At least I hope not.

Delenay
Delenay
Posts: 19
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 8:21 pm
Delenay

Re: Not As Cracked Up As It Is Supposed To Be.

Postby Delenay » October 14th, 2015, 8:19 pm

The drums started the first night.

At first Autumn didn’t even notice them, so distant it was. The typical noises and night-time calls of the Stranglethorn Vale had stopped and several minutes passed before the young mage noticed that something was wrong. She pulled her nose from the book she was reading by the campfire and strained her ears to hear even a cricket but there was nothing. The thought of something out there, something causing all of the animals in the area to freeze or hide gave her goose bumps.

She was hadn’t yet gotten far into the jungle, her first day had been spent on the beach. There had been Troll ruins in the hills nearby but they had been abandoned and Autumn couldn’t tell when. Her elemental had shown discomfort on the beach, something out on a small island had made it act strange all day so she had dismissed it, letting it leave her side and retreat to where ever it retreated to now that it was no longer bound to the Plane of Water. That night however, she gave little thought about its feelings and summoned it back. After dousing their campfire and letting her eyes adjust to the dark, Autumn and her elemental stood ready for what ever it was out in the night, the thing she was certain would come. An hour later she heard the faintest of noises. A drum was being played somewhere out in the jungle.

It never got closer, never got louder. Just a constant rhythm, a pattern that lasted several beats before repeating. It continued until the sun rose. Since Autumn had gotten no sleep that night, she set out further into the jungle after a brief nap she managed to take in the twilight hours of the morning, her elemental never leaving her side. The second night they camped on a hill with a view of a large lake. Not wanting to attract the animals that would either live in the waters or come to it to drink at night, Autumn abstained from lighting a fire. She awoke in the middle of the night to the abnormal absence of sound. The drums had started up again; the distance away was no more or less than the previous night.

******

Autumn snapped awake with a small squeak. She felt like she had jolted a foot into the air, her heart racing and a sense of fear had her looking in all directions. What the fuck!? She thought as the drums sounded once more. They were loud enough that she felt like they were feet away. Damn thing hasn’t let me get an ounce of sleep for four fucking days! What the fuck!? Her elemental stood at her side, looking out into the dense jungle. Their campfire was lit with the smallest of embers and gave little light. Enough of this shit. If you wanted to scare me, fine, you did a damn good job but now it’s my turn! She did her best to be quiet as she rose from her sleeping mat and gather what she felt she needed. A mental command to her elemental had it shift its body from the blocky ice it usually preferred to pure water, allowing it to slip through the forest ahead of her quietly. Or at least I hope he is quieter than he is as a giant Popsicle.

Autumn only had to sneak a distance of roughly forty yards before her elemental gave her a signal. It was a feeling of danger and to be cautious of there surroundings that she suddenly felt, not something she was aware her elemental could do. Must be from him, I certainly can’t see a damn thing out here. The elemental had paused just outside a small clearing only a few feet wide. The moonlight broke through a gap in the canopy to light the area incredibly well. Almost too well, Autumn thought and crouched down even more as she approached a large leaf on the perimeter that she could hide behind. From her hiding spot she did her best to understand what she saw.

A single drum, old and weathered sat almost in the center of the clearing. The sound still played, louder now that Autumn was close to it, but there was no one around that she could see. Haunted? She pondered the issue for a few minutes. It’s not like a ghost can hurt me right? It’s just drumming… What if it doesn’t like being disturbed? Disturbed? F that. It’s kept me up for four nights in a row! I should be just as disruptive! Her compulsiveness won over the need for caution and Autumn strode out into the clearing with her elemental reluctantly following, watching her back and ready for anything. The drums stopped and the sounds of the jungle crashed, almost eagerly, back upon her ears. It was as though the jungle wanted the haunting noise that drove it back each night to stop just as much as the young mage had.

Because normality of the night returned so quickly after Autumn had approached the drum, she felt a little empowered. With her fear was gone, her inquisitive mind took over. Old as shit. There is no way someone has been moving this drum. It would fall apart. Is there more than one drum? Might have just gotten unlucky and slept nearer to this one then the others. She hesitated a moment before running her fingers along the side, as if feeling it would reveal something. “So what? An enchantment? Is it haunted?” She asks out loud, no longer afraid of the night. She considers kicking it, just to vent her anger but that thought quickly leaves her mind. Just in case. Autumn sighs and turns to her elemental. Its guard had dropped as well, which made her feel better about dropping hers, she sighs. “Let’s go back to camp. Hope nothing got into my rations.” The elemental turned to the direction her camp was and she followed. Soon after summoning it for the first time, Autumn had found out that it had an incredible sense of direction. Maybe cause he isn’t from this Plane. Senses the water or some shit. She had resolved to figure it out but it had quickly fallen down to the bottom of her list of things to do.

Because she wasn’t completely paying attention and because she was very tired, Autumn tripped on something just before she was able to leave the clearing and fell to her knees. With a swear, she rolled over to a sitting position and as she is standing up she spies something on the ground, the thing she had tripped over. Her curiosity and lack of sleep made her impulsive and she took the chance of signalling her location by casting a spell that created a small flame in the palm of her hand. The flame lit up the object better than the moonlight had and in her hands she found she was holding a small stone figure.

The Golem, it turned out to be, was clearly of Trollish origin. The design of the face and addition of small tusks reminded Autumn of the pictures and writing of some Troll histories she dug up before embarking on her trip. She glances at the drum then shivers. They skinned themselves to create the leather. Ughhh. I touched it! The golem was thankfully made of simple stone, maybe granite. Gems had probably once adorned it, she thought as she inspected some impressions in its arms and crown. The gems stones that were used for its eyes were still there. They did not reflect the light from the flame Autumn held in her palm.

“So... What do you make of this? Maybe we could get someone back in Stormwind to look at it?” She asks her elemental as she stands up. It makes a motion that Autumn could only take as a shrug and it causes her to smile. With her mind at ease and a pleasant sleep thankfully ahead of her, Autumn returns to camp in good spirits.

She couldn’t find the golem the next morning.

Delenay
Delenay
Posts: 19
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 8:21 pm
Delenay

Re: Not As Cracked Up As It Is Supposed To Be.

Postby Delenay » October 14th, 2015, 8:39 pm

Autumn crouched behind a rock that rested just inside the passage’s opening, a large flooded cavern opened in front of her. There was a decent sized island in the center of the underground lake with a sandbar just under the surface of the water, one that stretched from the passage to the island and acted as a partially submerged bridge. It was what was on the island that made the young mage hide. She had traveled to a lot of places by this point, most of them picked for their lack of danger. Each had been researched beforehand and she was sure that Blackfathom Deeps was supposed to be empty.

“Well this was bound to happen at some point, wasn’t it?” Autumn whispered to herself. She peeks out over the rock, looking out to the island where there were two people in dark robes and a large turtle. Larger than the ones in Stranglethorn, she thought. She had heard their voices and the creature’s cries of pain and anger further back up the tunnel. They are torturing the poor thing. She frowns. Might be able to stop them, then again… whatever spells they are using on it look rather advanced. She debated for a few minutes, every so often poking her head out to see, even though the sounds she heard could tell her that the two robed people did not seem to be willing to stop. They were angry at it but it didn’t seem personal.

“I’m sorry turtle.” She whispers out loud, “I don’t think I can help you.” Rabbiting one might help but I would have to walk out into the water to get close enough to cast it. She didn’t know what was in the water or if the two would hear her. Even if she could keep the element of surprise on her side and manage to Polymorph one of them, she wasn’t confidant that she could handle the other. It’s probably best to retreat and get someone to help. Just as she took a few steps backwards from her hiding spot, she heard more voices, from behind no less. Shit, did more come to join them? She tried to think of how long it had taken her to get to this point. The Deeps was one long cavern that was supposed to end in some old temple and she had made it maybe a third of the way through. How long did that take, an hour? Shit. Shit. She was now pinned and had to think fast. You need to learn how to teleport. She sighs, Not a good time to get mad at yourself Del.

Autumn moves back to her rock, the two ahead had not abated and the voices behind her getting closer. Wait, what was that? A new sound… Whispers? There was nothing close enough to her that she could hear if it were whispering. Rock grated on rock. It’s like it’s angry. She was looking around, trying to find the source, all the while painfully aware that she was running out of time, when her foot shifted in the sand. She lost her balance and put her hand on the rock as her right foot seemed to fall out beneath her. With a yelp, she pushed herself back, no longer concerned about the two robes figures ahead of her. The ground in front of her fell away as Autumn backed up, one step, two… A hole was forming, lined with rows of teeth. The whispers were louder now but just outside the point of understanding.

As she was backing up from the edge, not quite regaining her balance a thought came to her. The rock! The sandy floor of the tunnel was being consumed by this ever expanding maw while the rock had held strong. With little thought and not daring to look down, she leaps forward, over the hole but just as her feet leave the ground, she is hit from behind by powerful force. The rock that would have been her safety rushes past her and her left knee bounces off the top of it with a painful crack. The strength of the blow was enough to send Autumn face first onto the sand bridge. She slides through the wet sand face first and the water floods over her. Autumn flounders for a moment before pushing her head out of the water but finds no real footing beneath her. One quick breath is all she is able to catch a before a strong hand grabs her and pushes her back under. The two torturers. The hand keeps her face down in the sand long enough for Autumn to start blacking out, her strength proving to be nothing compared to who ever held her down, before lifting her straight out of the water. Held her by her hair, Autumn is made to stand but a sharp pain in her knee proves to be too much for her and she cries out as it is unable to support her weight. She finds herself sitting in the foot deep water again.

“Hey, get back here!” Shouts someone further ahead. The other bad guy? “Stop fucking around and help me.” Sounds human. Autumn blinks through her tears and a growing headache to look up at the robed figure that had grabbed her turn around to look at his companion. She can make out a sneer and an utter lack of concern for the other. An Orc. Something roars. Sounds like the turtle is gaining the upper hand... Move!

Up goes her palm as she unleashes a Cone of Cold spell on the figure standing over her. With his attention on the turtle he left for the other to handle, her sudden movement catches him by surprise and nets him a blast of cold and ice in the side of his face. He stumbles back as Autumn lunges forward, ignoring the pain in her knee, she stabs at one of his legs with an Ice Lance. The magic dagger cuts through his robe and draws blood but a swift kick from his other leg sends Autumn sprawling backwards. I need you! Her desperate mental command flies out to the Plane of Water.

Autumn tries rise up in an attempt to face her adversary and she almost manages to stand before he grabs her by the throat and lifts her off her feet. The angry sound of ice cracking echoes through the caverns. As the robed Orc squeezes Autumn’s throat, making her thrash, three long fingers of ice reach up over the Orc’s head from behind him and grabs him in return. He shouts in pain and releases his grip on Autumn, dropping her to the ground and giving her a third taste of sand and water. She looks up at the Orc and grins as a look of fear floods over his face as Autumn’s Unbound elemental rises behind him, the menacing sound of ice cracking continuing to echo through the cavern as the elemental finishes forming itself. At its maximum height the elemental looms over the Orc and easily lifts him into the air by his head before tossing him at the turtle behind them. Autumn manages to get a look past her elemental as the orc crashes onto the center island and sees that in coming to get her, the Orc had left his companion to die. With a new target to vent its anger, on the turtle moves faster than it had any right too and the Orc finds himself in a fight for his life.

Satisfied that the Orc is distracted, Autumn smiles at her elemental and gestures for it to come closer. “I’m glad you’re better, now help me up. Let’s find a place to hide before those other guys show up.” She grabs the elemental’s arm, nothing more than a block of ice and looks behind her after she manages to stand. “I made a lot of noise. They were bound to hear me. Let’s hope they just thought it was these two.” As she speaks, something further down the tunnel moves. At first she panics, thinking it is one of the cultists that were coming up the tunnel behind her but as she watches it she grows truly afraid. “What is that?” She asks the elemental, not really expecting an answer.

In the darkness that wasn’t as deep as when she had hid there, something twisted and writhed. With her elemental at her side Autumn felt confident enough to throw a Fireball back down the tunnel. The light reveals something she has only heard stories of. “It’s like a limb! Shiiiit. The whispers….” Panicking even more now, Autumn looks around the cavern as if she could find an answer, “Is there an Old God down here?” Dumbass, the Twilight’s Hammer was down here before they were cleared out years ago. Were they cleared out? Fuck.

The fireball only reveals the danger that is growing in the Deeps for a brief moment before hitting the cavern wall and puffing out. As it does, shouts sound from further down the passage, the other cultists had arrived. Autumn’s head snaps back to look at the elemental, “Time to go!” But where? The Hammer is probably further in so I can’t go forward. Her eyes dart around the cavern a second time, didn’t she read about some smaller caves under the water? “Can you find one of those caverns that are supposed to be around here? Maybe we can hide in there for a while.” She asks her elemental, a soft snapping sound is the only response she gets before she is lifted up in its arms. A second and a quick breath later Autumn finds herself whisked off the sand bridge and into the water. Water feels too warm for being this far underground.

Before she much time had passed, Autumn found herself being carried out of the water. The air was a bit stale and she couldn’t see a thing but she trusted her elemental enough to know that she was safe. She had it set her down on a flat rock (to avoid those holes) and after a few minutes of spell work she had a fire going. By now the adrenaline was gone, leaving her exhausted and with the knowledge that her leg couldn’t support her weight even if she wasn’t tired. After an hour of running ideas through her head, Autumn finally gives in and pulls a small pearl sized stone from the pouch at her waist. She hesitates, looking at the Guild Stone as a hint of doubt creeps into her thoughts. So much has happened in the last few days. Do I even want to ask? It’s why mom and dad said you had to join a guild wasn’t it? She sighs. Lucky I didn’t lose it.

Delenay
Delenay
Posts: 19
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 8:21 pm
Delenay

Re: Not As Cracked Up As It Is Supposed To Be.

Postby Delenay » October 14th, 2015, 8:40 pm

Autumn was happy. The monotonous work she had been assigned when she volunteered to help the Alliance on the Shattered Beachhead had helped shove all of her concerns into the back of her mind. Between her back and forth thoughts about joining the Military Branch, to trying to reason out the issues that plagued the Empire since the day she had joined, the young soldier of the Twilight Empire had not been getting a lot of sleep in the last few weeks. Autumn found that helping out here gave her the same peace of mind that she often got when had been doing chores in Nethergarde Keep.

The Keep... That was an issue she had been putting off thinking about, a hard task when its ruins peaked out over the mountains to the north. Her home for the last eight years had been destroyed by an Orcish army called the Iron Horde and very few people had escaped their siege weapons. That her mother had been one of the few who had made that retreat possible only inspired her more. “This is my chance to be just like her!” Autumn often thought to herself. She smiled, remembering seeing Corporal Nobsy when she first arrived at the beach. She had just about crushed him in a hug, probably would have lifted him right off his Mechanostrider too had she not remembered her new rank and the professionalism it requires. He had smiled back, clearly relieved. “Good to see you again Little Del.” He had said.

I may not be out fighting, but supporting them like this is enough for me. It’s safe. Her daily schedule consisted of helping with breakfast, moving items off the coast and further inland, moving items off the boats and onto the shore then helping with supper. Whatever was needed, just like I used to do. But every so often, one of the Iron Horde siege weapons that were aimed at the beach would get a shot off that went just a bit further than normal, making Autumn and many other soldiers behind the front lines run for cover. That last one… so close I got a face full of sand. Maybe not so safe. Autumn shoved the memory of the day prior away. No time for day dreaming. She was stacking a few small crates inside the bowls of one of the ships that were anchored off the east coast of the Blasted Lands.

Since Autumn was a mage, even if she wasn’t as skilled as many others, she was valuable and she and her elemental quickly found themselves managing to do twice the work many of the other workers could do. The work had also allowed her to practice her portalling, something she had always been leery about. She could open a portal from inside the boat to the shore and have her elemental carry the supplies through in half the time it took the workers to lower them off the deck and onto the rowboats that would take them to land. She was in the middle of stacking the boxes for her elemental when something dripped onto the back of her hand.

Autumn and her elemental were alone in the hold, the last group of workers for the shift had gone up twenty minutes ago and because she needed little help anymore, the young mage often stayed a bit longer. She stopped, her hands still on the box of supplies she was about to pick up and move to her pile.

*Drip* The liquid was red.

Her eyes dart to the ceiling where she saw blood dripping through the cracks of the wooden beams and planks that made up the boat. At least one person above her had been injured and was bleeding profusely. No one is shouting though. That thought rang a particular warning bell in her mind. When was the last time I heard any noises above? An Iron Horde? I’m alone and I’ve been portalling straight from the hold to the shore. If a spy has been watching they wouldn’t know I’m even here! Her heart starts racing again and recently gained fears start to resurface.

Her experience in Blackfathom Deeps had only happened a few weeks ago and the fact that she barely made it out alive was something she would not soon forget. Her first instinct was to run. To portal out and get help. Clearly the murderer was going to sabotage something. I have to get help. Would it be in time though? She had forced herself over her fear of portals for just this very reason but now she was hesitating. I bet they don’t know I’m here… Are you willing to stake your life on that bet? This very circumstance was why she had been fretting over her choice to join the Military Branch of the Empire. She knew that she would eventually be put in a life or death situation and she did not feel prepared to face that. When are we ever?

Autumn looks around the hold. She looks at the boxes stacked high and all the dark places that the few swinging lights could not pierce. I could hide down here and attack them when they are distracted… I could do this. She looks to her elemental. It had been aware of the situation the moment she had been, it was waiting for a command. I -can- do this. The first few steps into the hold creaked softly, it was game time.

First the elemental, its icy form was too large and bulky to hide anywhere. Liquid! Like the blood. She commanded it to melt and gave thanks to past Autumn who thought that summoning an Unbound elemental would just be a way to impress her mother and show her skills. She had learned so much about it since first summoning it to this Plane. Being Unbound allowed it to more easily manipulate its state and she suspected that the freedom of the form had also won her elementals affection. As her frozen guard slowly melted into a puddle on the floor and move into the main path one would take down in the hold, Autumn ducked behind a row of crates to her right. With the way they were stacked she could watch anyone who walked in front of her through the crack between two boxes. Now I just have to wait.


She did not have to wait long as Autumn had no sooner gotten into position before she heard the last creak on the steps, the signal that her opponent was now on the playing field. From her vantage point she could make out that her suspicions were correct and that the saboteur was a woman, a female orc in leathers. Her skin was grey unlike many of the orcs fighting the Alliance and Horde out at the Dark Portal and she didn’t seem to have any kind of bomb or fire starting items that Autumn could see. Just a spy? Why send one orc down in here just to see what kind of cheese we have? Heh... mouse into a trap… Just a feeew more steps.

*Spash*

The orc stopped dead in the center of the pool of water. Was that a smile? What, she thinks our boats are so bad that they leak? A grin creeps onto Autumn’s face as she sends a command to her elemental. Too fast for the Orc to react, the puddle of water that the Unbound elemental became surges into the air around the Orc and instantly freezes with an angry crack. The fact that the elemental always seemed to enjoy making sounds like that made Autumn smile even more, this one reminded her of the sound of a frozen lake cracking under your feet. In a flash her elemental had turned into a block of ice that encased female Orc. I would have used that to replicate an Iceblock spell up until a few days ago.

“Rokra?” Whispers a voice from the stairs and Autumn’s eyes go wide. There is another? FFFFF…

A second female orc skips down the stairs on light feet and creeps up to the frozen form of her friend, alert but clearly confused and as Autumn’s mind goes blank, her elemental takes the initiative. In a spray of ice and water, thick arms of ice break from the frozen tomb of Rokra. The elemental’s cold claws grab the newest Orc by the shoulders, quickly pulling her down towards the ice block just as a section of ice protrudes out. Autumn shouts in victory as her Unbound elemental effectively head butts the second Orc unconscious. The danger had been dealt with in seconds and with a grin a mile wide, Autumn walks out from behind the boxes to appraise her victory.

The first Orc, Rokra, was alive but unconscious, the time in the cold ice had stolen her breath and the second orc was sprawled out on the floor, knocked out and harboring a broken nose. Black blood was quickly pooling around them as the elemental releases the first Orc and lets her drop to the floor. It looked just as satisfied as Autumn did.
“I just beat two Orcs! Fuck yeah!” she cheered just before her eyes fall on a third Orc, a male without a shirt, standing at the base of the stairs. Something large was strapped to his back. This one had the bomb while the first two were scouts!

A yelp was all Autumn could manage as she stumbles back in surprise and a thin sliver of an Ice Lance flies across the boat’s cargo hold. The Orc takes two steps towards her before grabbing his throat and slumps down to join his companions. More black blood soon covers the floor and Autumn’s legs give out.

***********

Autumn didn’t know how long she had sat there when she realized that she was on the floor, surrounded by people. The two unconscious Orcs haven’t stirred so it couldn’t have been that long. First the deck hand had poked his head in, wondering where the young Imperial soldier had gotten too. News then spread quickly and a few minutes later an aging gnome with pink hair accompanied by a group of soldiers walked had approached Autumn.

“Autumn… Little Del, are you okay?” asked Corporal Nobsy. The use of the nickname she had been given shortly after starting her life in the Keep with her parents was able to snap Autumn out of her thoughts.

“Yeah… I’m not hurt. Just…” The Corporal nods and grabs her by the shoulders.

“Come on soldier,” he says kindly. “This is no place to sit.”

Autumn nods and takes a deep breath, her smile is back on by the time she stands. “It’s customary for adventurers to loot what they win, right?” The Corporal watched her carefully as she strode forward. He knew enough of Little Autumn Delenay to know when she is trying to pretend everything was fine. “Here, this dagger...” She plucks an odd dagger from the corpse of the orc she killed as a soldier was trying to haul him up the stairs. “I’ll keep this!”

“Autumn, you’re not an adv…” The aging gnome from Nethergarde stops talking when he realizes that the young mage he watched grow up wasn’t going to listen. Autumn continues past the soldier and up the stairs, twirling the dagger in her fingers as two thoughts keep repeating in her mind. The same two thoughts she had since she killed the Orc.

The first made her angry. It was about Blackfathom and the cargo hold, two similar circumstances with two completely opposite outcomes. She had feared joining the military branch because she thought she couldn’t handle herself in a fight. She hadn’t wanted to be the one to pull the team down; she had to prove she could handle herself. In the end, it didn’t matter at all. It’s all just fucking luck.

The second left her strangely empty inside as it was something Autumn had always wondered about. Sitting on the floor of the cargo hold, staring at her “victory”, she remembered all of those adventurers she used to talk to in Nethergarde. All those people who used to travel through the keep, the people she used to serve meals to and listen to when they spoke grand tales of wonder and danger. The one thing she had never felt was appropriate to ask was what their thoughts had been when they first killed someone. Whether by accident or by intent, she figured that it would have hit each person differently and to Autumn Delenay, the aspiring mage and newest soldier of the Twilight Empire, she found that the answer was sickeningly simple.

Killing is actually pretty easy.

Delenay
Delenay
Posts: 19
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 8:21 pm
Delenay

Re: Not As Cracked Up As It Is Supposed To Be.

Postby Delenay » October 22nd, 2015, 8:34 pm

It was about midday when there was a knock on her door. Autumn looked up from her book and smiled. Arcane Images, the business she started after returning from Draenor had been rather successful. She had gotten a wide range of people interested in photography, from couples, to weddings and events. It had even drawn the attention of a druid in D.E.T.H.A who had been looking for a visual way of making people seen the beauty of nature. With a little help from her father she had even been able to purchase an apartment in Ironforge to convert into a studio. However things had been slowing down. Sure she had the occasional client, she even had a few photoshoots set up but interest had unmistakably died down. She was hoping her new ad would draw some more attention.

Her uncle had gotten her a job with the Explorers League cataloging the multitude of rare and fragile artifacts they often found, it was during this that she discovered that there was something about the way a camera took a picture that allowed what was otherwise invisible lights or auras come through in development. Since she had recently started incorporating Apexis Crystals into a flash device to be used in dark environments and during the films development itself, she had gotten the idea to make a little white lie about cameras. Just so people come to me and not someone else who might want to start doing this. Like right now… I hope.

Autumn frowned as she opened the door, seeing no one but upon a polite “Ahem” she looked down to see a gnome. “Oh, I’m sorry. Welcome to Arcane Images, how can I help you?” She bows her head.

“Ah, yes. You are the photographer are you not?” The gnome asks, his voice reaching the typical high pitches of his kind. “Good, good. I have a job for you, my name is Krik Microspan. You see my brother and I were assigned to a series of halls in Gnomeregan that have been recently recovered. However, events have led us to believe that these halls might be… Haunted. ” He seemed to pause simply for the dramatic affect he might make.

Awesome, Autumn smiles. “Haunted? Well I can certainly help with that. I mean… what kind of activity are we talking about? Sounds? Or things flying around all possessed like?”

“Well my brother could fill you in better then I, he is the one who has seen the ghosts. To be honest, he does not believe you could help. Unfortunately what devices and measurements we have used have come up with inconclusive results and with this issue with magic right now, we feel it is best to resort to more… Mundane means of detection.”

Autumn nods and frowns slightly. The Silver Sickness had even taken a hold in her body, leaving her left arm covered in the blueish purple bruising that often comes with stage one of the infection. Pain in the ass is what this is, she thinks and she slips her bandaged hand and arm behind her, in an attempt to make a polite gesture but really hiding her infection from the gnome. Wouldn’t be any good to let clients know I have it. No one believes it’s not spreadable when they see it. After a few more minutes, Autumn and the gnome work out the details and he leaves to allow the young mage to gather up her things for the trip back to Gnomeregan. Through all that snow. Shit. I’m going to have to buy a coat aren’t I?


*******

The section the Microspan brothers had been given charge of actually started outside of Gnomeregan proper. Autumn had been led by a gruff gnomish marine, out of the fall snow storm and past two other wings before coming to the small antechamber that the brothers worked out of. Krik had arrived ahead of her having been able to ride a mechanostrider through the snow. I was stuck with some smelly ass ram. I hate this sickness, can’t even use my runesaber. Her thoughts of the artifact, one that she had convinced the League had no magical powers, were broken by another polite “Ahem”.

“Yes so here we are.” Krik gestures around the small room filled with machines and devices whose purpose Autumn could not decipher and a few chairs and a table. On the table rested a map of the wing they were in. Krik points Autumn to the map. “We have eighteen separate halls and twelve rooms to repair. There are bulkheads sealing off the halls here, here and here. They lead to areas we have not yet secured or decontaminated.” He seems more affected by the word decontaminated then the idea of the areas of the gnomish city still infested with Troggs. Must be hard having to deal with all of that toxic air. He continues, “Ventilation also had to be closed here and here. Any questions?”

Autumn looks around the room, trying to sound professional, “Yes, where is your brother? You said he would know what I had to look for.” It’s not like this is the first time you’ve actually gone ghost hunting or anything.

Krik frowns and looks down the only hall that goes into their wing. “He must be already working. I apologize. You should be able to find him after some time.”

Autumn frowns. “You aren’t coming with me?”

“No, I have work here to do. I have to get these machines ready.”

“Alright then.” Autumn sighs. Shouldn’t be hard. “Oh, can I take this map, just so I don’t get lost?”

Krik tilts his head to the side then nods after a moment. “Yes, I suppose I won’t need it tonight.” He folds the map up and hands it to Autumn who accepts it with a thanks before turning and walking down the hall.

********

The corridors of metal are relatively short as they bend and turn under the earth. There is an odd humming or buzzing sound that each of the large lights above Autumn’s head seems to produce and it gives her goosebumps. Sounds like giant insects. Why is the ceiling so high for such short people?

She gets through two rooms before coming to a stop in the middle of one very long hallway and unfolds the map to make sure that this isn’t a dead end. “Okay… I should be here, gees this is a long hall.” Her voice echoes slightly off the cold metal walls as she mumbles to herself. Autumn frowns at the sound as she takes a moment to gauging the distance. “That’s like fifty more feet before a hall to my left and I still haven’t found the other gnome.”

CHACHUNK

“The fuck?”

CHACHUNK CHACHUNK

Autumn turns around to the direction the loud sound is coming from. With each consecutive “chachunk” one of the lights shuts off behind her. Pitch black quickly moving towards her as each light goes, the light above her head goes out and the next one, and the next one. It takes less than thirty seconds for the entire hall to go black. Autumn, who did not move as the wave of blackness spilled over her supresses the first bits of fear that tries to take hold. “Alright. Sooo the power went out. No problem. It’s fine.” She tells herself. The echo of her voice sounds slightly different but she tosses that observation away the moment she notices it. “It’s fine.” I’ll just head back and find Krik. She thinks she turns around enough but ends up crashing into a wall. Can’t even cast spells right now.

This is going to suck.

With a hand on the wall she became so suddenly intimate with, Autumn walks down the hall, hoping that she’s going in the right direction. With no way to figure out what time it is and after what she thinks is “a hell of a lot longer than it should have taken to get back”, the young mage starts to get worried. That damn clinking sounds isn’t helping things either. She frowns and stops, trying to determine where the sound that has been around her for some time is coming from. I’m not getting any closer to it…. But it also is getting further away.

The sound itself is low, almost hard to make out. It starts its patter of clinks for a few moments before stopping, then resumes almost right away. Am I …? “HEY!” She shouts down the halls, which ever direction she may be facing. “Is someone there?”

The clinking stops, breaking its rhythm.

“Hello?” Autumn shouts again.

Silence.

She pouts, “Fine.” She says under her breath. “Be that way.”

SCREEEECH!

The next sound would be Autumn jumping in surprise, but she will never say that she squeaked.

The screeching gets louder, louder and closer. The suddenness of it scared Autumn and her heart was now beating a mile a minute. Her first thought is to throw herself into a spell and in turn throw that spell into the things face but there is a twinge in her left hand, almost as if it anticipates a spell and reminds her that she can’t cast spells without spreading more of the Silver Sickness through her body. Stumbling as she bumps into the wall again Autumn manages to get her feet underneath her enough to start to run away from whatever it is that is making that sound. She bounces off one wall, then another. Left… or was it right? It doesn’t take long before she completely loses track of where she is in the maze of metal halls and rooms of this wing.

One thought does manage to pierce through her fear. Light. She starts to pant as the stumbling run she is doing is pushing her to the end of her limits. Getting soft. What can I do? No spells. No spells. Camera! And much like the flash of inspiration, the flash of her camera illuminates the area for a brief second. WALL! She manages to twist and slams into the upcoming wall with her back. She presses the button on her camera and the sound of it taking its photo is overwhelmed by the scream of surprise from her pursuer, the flash blinding it and driving it away. The screeching sound stops. The clinking sounds drifting away into the dark. Not human. Autumn slumps to the floor, taking the time to catch her breath and understand what it was that she saw.

It had been small, maybe four feet tall. Dark skin and what looked like a hunch back. The flash had reflected off of three eyes, one centered in what would be the forehead of anything normal. What the fuck was that?

*********

Autumn had caught her breath some time ago and had opted to rest in the silence. In gathering her thoughts she noticed the slight shift in the blackness. Some kind of light, one incredibly dim was nearby. With a huff she stands up and places her hand on the wall, sliding along in whatever direction it took her. It was not far to go as the dim red light Like what I use in my black room at home could only illuminate a short distance before being consumed by what seemed like an endless darkness behind her. The light source itself turned out to be a red emergency light on the floor, its wires connected to an otherwise destroyed Alarm-o Bot. Its parts strewn across the floor, it managed to light up the room enough so that Autumn, used to this kind of light from the developing process of her photos, could make out other dark piles on the floor and dark splotches on the walls. Autumn reels back, there is a bad smell to this room. Not quite decay but not anything mechanical. Horrible. Did that thing do this? Was it pushing me here?!

Gingerly, Autumn proceeds through the room. Whatever was on the ground wasn’t metal. Is this blood? OH… Krik’s brother! Her hand goes to her mouth and she closes her eyes but she manages to remain composed. That she could makes her worry more.A year ago I’d probably ask if I hadn’t seen enough blood shed. Now I know that the universe doesn’t care what I see. She gulps and moves through the room. Whatever is in here is dangerous. I have to be careful.

Autumn slinks through the halls as quietly as she can, the only sound she really makes is the occasional click of her camera as she takes another photo. The camera’s small Apexis crystal, briefly being uncovered by the shutter system Autumn had constructed, flashes its bright light and gives her rare moments of sight in her otherwise black journey. Every so often she hears the dreaded clinking sound of the creature and she tries her best to hide in a corner or alcove. The sound never seems to get too close to her and after a time, passes down some other hall way. I think I know how to get back. Just a bit more.

Sounds, new ones, eventually filter to her ears. Voices coming from up ahead, ones that give her immediate relief. Gnomes Autumn holds back her urge to run forward and painstakingly gets sneaks forward towards the voices, they grow more distinguishable as she gets closer even if they are echoing off the metal walls. They are arguing. Light flicks around from around a corner.

“-ever believe me even when I say I have proof. The tests and readings are sound.” The voice is not one Autumn has heard before and as she rounds the corner she sees two gnomes in a black room. One is holding a stick that shines light from the top end in a cone and the other is stopping the first from reaching something on the wall.

“I highly doubt the veracity of your results for many reasons brother,” Says the one with the light rod, “and did your test absolutely require you to turn off the power to this wing without telling me!?” He tries his best to push past the second gnome. Autumn straightens out as she enters the room. The lights?

“Of course it did, have you ever seen a ghost in the day? With the lights off my Spectoton Viewgoggles worked perfectly and I was able to not only find the ghost but herd it towards my trap.”

“You captured the ghost?” The first gnome who by now Autumn realizes is Krik points the light rod at the one he called brother. Oh, he is alive! His brother gasps, turning around and covering his eyes.

“I am fairly positive I have but it emitted some kind of energy that blinded me and I had to take a moment to recalibrate my goggles. It had no other way to … Oh dear…”
The brother of Krik, in his attempt to block the light from shining in his face and goggles had turned and was now looking at Autumn, who had been standing in the room, silently listening to the argument. Autumn, who was trying her best to not give into her anger and shout at him after realizing that the entire scare in the halls had been perpetrated by this gnome. By the look on his face, she realized that she probably wasn’t going a good job of it.

“Brother… I do believe I have not succeeded in capturing the ghost. It seems to have followed me here.”

Feeling the time was finally right Autumn smiles and announces her presence to Krik and his brother with a polite “Ahem.”

Krik frowns instantly and shoves his brother to the ground with a great clatter as he steps forward. He reaches past him and presses a button. With a sharp pop the machines in the room grumble to life and the lights above their head flicker once before the entire wing regains power.

Autumn bows her head politely, taking the second to truly supress her anger. They are clients. You can’t shout at clients. She takes a long breath You can’t shout at clients. “Good evening, I’m glad I found you. I must apologize; I was unable to fulfill my part of our agreement, what with the lights out.”

Kirk glares at his brother as he stands up. His brother, outfitted in black leathers, has a large box on his back that rattles as he moves and the goggles that he takes off as the lights come back on, have three lenses. “Spin, damn it. You were harassing this girl all night weren’t you? This is the photographer I told you I was going to hire.”

“What? You told me no such thing. Hmm, would explain why the ghost had taken a human form, I suppose. That did confuse me.”

“Let me see those goggles.” Krik rips the goggles from Spins hand then sighs, “These are just dark vision goggles. Your “test” was doomed from the beginning with these.” He tosses them back at his brother who clumsily catches them and inspects them. “Oh.” Was all he said. Krik turns to Autumn. “I deeply apologize to you Miss Delenay. Hopefully we can get something worked out in the future but right now I have a larger amount of machinery to inspect then before and many tasks that required electricity that have sat unfinished for the last five hours. I’ll have a marine escort you back to Ironforge now that the snow storm has abated. I don’t think you want to spend much more time here at present.”

“That would be… greatly appreciated.”

*******

Autumn hangs the last of the photos that she had taken in the gnomish halls onto the string with a close pin. “Not like I got anything useful but I guess they could be fun to look at.” She sits down and waits, the developing process for each photo took around twenty minutes and this last one was one she wanted to see. She had seen part of it while she was converting the negative; it was the one where she had blinded Spin with her cameras flash. “Should I send it to them? Might be funny to see his reaction.”

Autumn tilts her head as she watches the photo dry, something else was on the photo. She stands up and walks over to it. “Didn’t think I did this one wrong.” She says as she lifts the bottom of the photo to angle it up so she can see it better. “It’s like… Auras usually it comes in while I’m doing light treatment.” Autumn blinks and jumps back a few steps. With a hand to her mount she finds that she has to exit her dark room.

As the image had defined itself, beside the reeling Spin were three blueish spectres. Gnomes, long dead standing around him, one looking at Autumn. Its eyes were black voids.

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