(This story is written based on a wowchatlog recording and is editted for clarity and continuity.
This was Act II of a multi-act RP event, using DnD-style turn-based combat.
Contact Rarahn or Kerala if you would like an invite to later Acts, hosted after the holidays)
The air is still and quiet today. Heat radiating up from the warmed lands below provides only the barest of thermals, and Kerala works too much to maintain altitude. She glides downwards in slow arcing circles above a tent just inside the Great Gate. She can see the dark mane of Konro far below, an inky spot against the light red-brown of the gravely soil around the gate. The soldier is the only person she can see, but slight movements show that he speaks with someone inside the tent.
Unconscious adjustment of feathers, a slight angling of wing and tail, and Kerala enters a swift dive earthward. Wind suddenly screams over and around her, glorious. Her eyes, the eyes of a storm crow, picks out the target- a pole support of the tent with a bend in it near the top. A perfect perch.
Kerala snapps open her wings at the last possible moment, catching air and straining with it to support the sudden weight of the rest of her body still trying to fall. Her instinct is to scream out, a raptor shout of triumph over the element of air, of sheer joy of flight. She resists, instead riding out the momentum of the stoop to brush the dry winter grasses, then turn back skyward. A few precise flaps of her wings, the swing of claws and the clamp of talons. The perch is quietly hers.
Kerala abandons her stealthiness and instead preens feathers idly. They feel funny, all out of place after being beaten with air.
Taurahe words float up from the hollow interior of the tent, the voice soothing. “Kerala, how long have you been up there?” She can see light gleam off Rarahn's one good eye as he peers at her through the apex of the tent roof.
Kerala ignores him. The urge to straighten her feathers is too pressing, they must be fixed!! She finally finishes and fluffs herself. Better.
“Kerala.” The soldier has notices her now as well, and her name is used in lieu of a greeting. Konro's scarred face is set in the perpetual scowl it usually is, as if something has annoyed him.
Kerala flaps twice off her perch. The shift happens in the blink of an eye, to them.
Feathers suddenly flatten, like a tattoo on bare skin. Wingtips split twice and thicken, becoming fingers. She can see her beak change position. It softens. Breathing holes become large nostrils and disappear over her forming muzzle. Teeth grow in a jaw that expands rapidly to accommodate them. Her tongue widens. Her vision dulls. All the while she is growing in size, becoming tauren. Her bones pop constantly and grind as they change angles and shapes. Her neck arches out above and behind her shoulders as all the bones suddenly fill, becoming strong and heavy. She can feel the pull of the earth suddenly, like an anchor. The giant clawed feet of a raptor shrivel inward until only talons show. Those melt into a familiar split hoof. Ears shoot out from the side of her head, as well as horns. Fur sprouts in crazy patterns all over, almost itching.
From tiny storm crow to a tauren eight feet tall. A miraculous moment to her, the barest instant in the rest of the world.
“Hello there” she says.
Rarahn has stepped to the doorway of the tent. “So,” he says, continuing the previous conversation, “I wish I could tell what we should expect. Truth is, we don't know.”
“Very reassuring” drolls Konro. Yes, he must be irritated with something, as usual.
Kerala just leans casually on her spear, briefly admiring the blue-tinted world through it's new counterweight crystal. Finally she says “It should be interesting.”
Rarahn continues “I've sent a notice to the other races too. Hopefully we can get some more to show.”
Kerala nods at him.
Konro crosse his arms moodily. “Even the Forsaken?”
“Well, it was to the Horde, so they could probably show up? Doubt it.”
Kerala twists the spear-point in the gravely earth, forming a small hole. It was amusing to see the dirt bits continually fall back in the hole. Her mind was flitting around the problem of a mine on Draenor that apparently needed her personal attention.
Rarahn looks around, with a frown. "This is disappointing, so far."
Kerala says “The investigator did say a smaller team could investigate more efficiently...” she trails off, hearing footsteps. A slender blood elf makes his way up the path to them. Kerala recognizes Kexti from the Great New Moon back in October.
Kexti reaches them and bows down graciously. “Greetings” he says in orcish.
Konro grunts at the elf as Kerala and Rarahn switch to orcish and answer in sync “Greetings, friend,”
and Rarahn continues with “have you come to assist us this evening?”
“Indeed. I was passing through and Kerala invited me to help with the investigation.”
“Excellent” says Rarahn, “Did she tell you what we will be doing?”
Kerala does her best to look innocent, not recalling if she had or not. Had it been Kiraleen? Kexti? Goldsworth? Any of them? Her memories jumbled lately. She needed more sleep.
“I heard that someone has gone missing?” Kexti's tone was a hopeful guess as he scratches his goatee.
Kerala corrects him. “We found the longwalker last week, murdered.”
Rarahn says “We're scouting out the quilboar this eve.”
Kexti does not hesitate to express his sympathy. “Oh. My regrets.” Kerala acknowledges him with a nod.
“Several clues have led us to believe that they are behind the attack.” Kerala explains.
“He was weak,” Konro interjects. “I mean quilboar?” The soldier does quite make a face, but his displeasure is obvious.
Kexti frowns. “I was unaware the quilboar were still a threat.”
“It's rude to speak of the dead that way” Rarahn says to Konro. The soldier just grunts again.
Kerala nods at Kexti. “Indeed, they are.”
Kexti begins digging in his packs. “Might we share a meal before we begin?”
Konro perks up at the question. “Did you bring ale?”
Kerala continues speaking as Kexti brings out several things. “Our Camp Narache still deals with them occassionally, even after our archdruid....” she pauses with a smirk “Gifted them with the water they needed.”
Kexti begins combining things to make what looks to be an actual meal, which makes Rarahn shift uncomfortably.
“Not sure we really have the time for that” he says. Kerala's comment makes him laugh, though.
Konro is watching the elf impatiently. “Any alcohol at all?”
Kexti looks up and says “Oh of course.” He digs for other things. “Let me prepare something.”
Konro smiles. Kerala just eyes the ingredients in the dish that had been made. Vegetables, but mixed with shrimp and some other meat bits all in a sauce.
Kexti pours some liquid out of a bottle that has berries and other things floating in it.
Konro tries it and says “Yes.” After another taste, “I like this.”
“I've had to make due with brandies and meads, lately.” Kexti explains. “I apologize for the lack of beer.”
Rarahn says “Try not to get drunk. We're leaving soon.” Konro's cup already begged a refill.
Kexti starts to pour, then thinks better of it and hands off the bottle as he turns his attention back to the other two. “What was that about the Archdruid ? I admit some...inexperience with Tauren customs.” He eyes his hands sheepishly.
“Oh, a tale that I got some pleasure out of learning” Kerala says. “The quilboar were being more a nuisance after the Cataclysm, raiding supply trains we were sending to Orgimmar to assist in the water shortage.” Another newcomer... ah, this was Kwam approaching. “The late Garrosh was pushing to attack, and an attempt left his group destroyed, and his corpse would be in the tunnels still if not for Baine and the Sunwalkers.”
Kwam looks around a moment, then salutes the group.
Konro actually pauses, bottle halfway to his lips and stares at Kerala as Kexti greets Kwam warmly. “What?”
Rarahn says “Glad to see you here Kwam. We're about to leave in a minute.” Kwam nods to Rarahn.
Kerala ignores Konro, speaking to Kexti. “Once we determined that the quilboar were in dire need for water as well, Hammul gave it to them, by creating the lake and flooding them back down their tunnels.” She then greets Kwam, who smiles at her and gives a wave.
“I suppose this will have to do” says Rarahn. He glances over the group. “Shall we depart?”
Kwam shrugs. Konro, bottle back in places, manages a grunt. Kerala notices when the soldier lowers it again, it is empty. Kwam sees as well. He blinks at Konro, then salutes him.
“Elder” Konro acknowledges Kwam.
Kwam looks at Kexti, briefly distracted, before he replies. “Soldier.”
Forestalling further pleasantries, and perhaps new food and drink delays, Rarahn takes a step forward. “So are we ready?”
Kwam nods at Rarahn. Konro uncrosses his arms. "Let's go."
Kerala-Ravenholdt slings her spear. “I am ready.”
Rarahn heads for the Great Gate. “Then let us be off.” Kerala falls into step with the others
After a moment of traveling as a group, Kwam looks around, his expression nostgalic. “I remember the days when our people would run the plains...”. Kerala smiles at him.
“That was when, 50 years ago?” Konro quips.
Kerala shoots him a frown, biting back an angry retort, but Kwam just shrugs off the jibe. “Many seasons.”
Rarahn leads the group out into the fields on the other side of the Great Gate, now called fields of blood. The ruins of Taurajo still stood in the distance, like the burned bones of a poor beast. The litter of stains of the fighting that had gone on here would take some time to fade, with as little rain as this area got. Mostly, this was now just a home to temperamental thunder lizards, close cousins to kodo.
Kwam raises his eyebrows as they come to a stop, looking around. He eyes a Stormsnout thunder lizard for a moment before looking to Rarahn for an explaination of what they should be doing. Kerala watches the thunder lizard with a smile.
After a moment of surveying the area, Rarahn asks “Where shall we check first?” He seems unsure of himself, faced with the fields of grasses stretching out before them. The photo of the longwalker could have been taken anywhere. He pulls out a small hide map and unrolls it.
Kwam just stands quietly, perhaps thinking. He looks around, then opens his mouth to speak. “Where are the fish?” Kerala doesn't think he is very funny. She hopes he was trying to be.
Kexti asks “Do we have any leads?” reminding them all that he had not seen the photograph.
“Taurajo?” suggests Konro. He was looking at the ruins.
“I doubt we'll find anything relating to the quilboar in Taurajo.” Rarahn answers.
Kerala answers Kexti “The Lonwalker was found near the road.” She looks to Rarahn. “Perhaps we could find a trail in that area.”
“....wait.” says Kwam. He is looking at Kexti, confused. His eyes squint as he looks at the blood elf more closely, the corners of his eyes creasing in well-worn lines. His nostrils flair, sniffing.
Kexti-Ravenholdt glances sideways at Kwam, who is still studying him intently.
“This will be good,” Rarahn muses, map forgotten.
Finally, “Is this a different elf than the last one?” Kwam sniffs Kexti.
Rarahn points out “... The other was female, Kwam.”
Kerala nods at Kwam “This is Kex,” she explains. Kwam just blinks at her.
Kexti smiles at Kwam, who glances at Rarahn, then back to Kexti.
“They all kinda do look the same.” Konro offers.
Slowly, Kwam just goes “....Oh.”
Kexti laughs goodnaturedly. “I can certainly empathize with that. It took me a long time to differentiate Pandaren.”
“Then well-met, he-Elf! I am Kwam, of Darkhorn Tribe. Who are you?” Kerala just shakes her head behind them, glad that Kexti was such an understanding and flexible elf.
“I'm Kex'ti. Most recently of Kun Lai.” came the answer. Suddenly he draws his blade, looking past Rarahn. “To arms!”
The source of his surprise is so obvious then that Kerala's anger flares. At herself. The ground vibrates slightly in a fast rythym. One of the Stormsnouts, peeved at the group's proximity to his claimed territory, has begun a charge at them. Likely they had not seen, and thus ignored, a threat display. There was no stopping this now.
Konro-Ravenholdt grabs his axe, ready as always. “For the Horde.”
“Well watch out, Kexti of Kun Lai!” Kwam finishes the introductions in a hurry. He stands ready, waiting to see what Rarahn does. Beside him Kexti is tense, his face in a grimace.
Kerala stands behind the males, tense. Her instinct screams at her to ready her spear. She fights it. They should not have to fight this animal. The Stormsnout is serious, though. This is no feint, and he does not waver in his charge at them.
Rarahn quickly transforms into his savage bear form and taunts the thunder lizard into focusing on him with a loud roar. Seeing the success of the tactic, he crouches into a defensive position to take an attack for the group.
“That beast is not likely to back down,” Kerala says quickly. “We've angered it.”
Kwam doesn't hesitate. He places his totems, ready for battle, and strikes at the lizard! Kexti leaps at the beast's flank with a mighty kick! Konro leaps near the Stormsnouts leg and hacks into it with his axe.
Kwam grimaces as his spell-enhanced fists hit the Stormsnout's thick hide, largely ineffective.
Kexti's aim is off, and his kick misses, but suddenly the Stormsnout roars in agony as Konro's axe cuts into his leg. When the lizard steps down on the limb, Kerala can see that the leg is seriously damaged. The Stormsnout will favor it.
Kerala is torn, unsure of what to do. The thunder lizard roars again in rage, and she hastily adds to Rarahn's defense with an Ironbark spell, and casts this at the reckless Konro as well. Kerala eyes the Stormsnout with pity.
The Stormsnout unleashes a massive electrical attack. Lightning sizzles to Rarahn, arcing completely through him to zap Konro as well.
Rarahn's fur snaps outward in all directions, standing on end. An unpleasant singed odor fills the air. He quickly shakes off the electrical discharge and slashes at the Stormsnout's face in response. Kwam takes his cue from Rarahn punches at the side of the lizard's face as well. Kexti opens his palm and strikes at the lizard's spine! At the same time, he unleashes a pulse of mist to sooth Konro's wounds. Konro slashes at the Stormnout's face with a jerky movement of his ax, his chest smoking..
Blood wells and begins dripping from deep furrows left by Rarahn's wicked claws. Kwam's hit this time is solid, and the thunder lizard recoils. Kexti's strike hits, but the lizard's recoil lessens the force of the blow. Konro's ax is off, but it is sharp, and another shallow slice begins oozing.
Kerala casts again, encourages the natural healing to speed in Rarahn and Konro. She feels the strength of the magic curing the burns in her Brothers, even as the Stormsnout's life is draining away.
The thunder lizard reverses the momentum of his recoil, striking blindly. He smacks his massive head against Rarahn. The blow knocks the druid back slightly, but doesn't really hurt him as intended. Still, Rarahn's swipe is disrupted, his claws skimming skin. Kwam watches his Searing Totem send a fireball at Stormsnout.
Kexti abandons his attacks for the moment. He amplifies Rarahn and Konro's chi, shielding them with faster reaction times.
A voice sounds faintly in Kerala's mind. She watches the fireball churn and dissolve against the Stormsnout's hide, confused. Oh. The hearthstones.
Kwam shouts to be heard through his own stone. “Hail, sister! We require your assistance!”
Breygrah's voice sounds only mildly surprised. “Ah, I will be on my way then. Where shall I head?”
Konro mumbles something about stupid lizards as Kwam relays their location to Breygrah so she can come to them. He swipes again at the Stormsnout's leg but stumbles and misses, earning a quick glance from Kwam.
The Stormsnout blows air through it's nostrils. It was a sign of distress, of pain, but Konro interprets it as thunder lizard laughter, apparently, and he roars back at the beast, infuriated.
Kerala can sense that the damage done to the lizard was killing him, but slowly. They might trade many more blows with him before he could be defeated. Turned as it was to guard against Konro's deadly ax....
Kerala sends her spear in a swift flight to put an end to the poor thunder lizard... it flies true, striking in the gap between Kwam and Rarahn. The point sinks deep and finds the beast's heart.
Kwam cheers at her. Kexti cheers as well. Kerala follows her spear to the thunder lizard.
The Stormsnout wavers a moment, then collapses to the ground, dying. It doesn't take very long until the breaths stop, and the eyes stop blinking.
Konro kicks at the Stormsnout's lifeless body.
Rarahn, no longer a bear, congratulates her. “Nice finishing strike Kerala.”
Kwam looks from the corpse to the druid. “I have a feeling this won't be easy. Should we focus on the investigation?”
Kerala retrieves her spear in a swift yank and glares, furious, at Konro. Kwam doesn't miss the exchange, and he turns his gaze from the soldier to her. He is silent.
“We should probably try to avoid more Stormsnout territories.” says Rarahn.
Kwam, eyes still on Kerala, nods agreement with Rarahn.
Kerala uses her hearthstone. “Breygrah. On your way, please tell the hunters we have a thunder lizard here that needs attending to.”
Kexti sits down to catch his breath as Kerala wipes off her bloody spear on the grasses.
A few minutes later Breygrah appears, waving. She is wearing a Horns of the Shuhalo tabard and carrying an ax almost as large and Konro's. Kwam smiles at her and raises an arm to greet her.
Konro grunts. Kexti salutes Breygrah with respect. Kerala continues wiping off her spear. The grass isn't working well, smearing the bright blood more than removing it. She adds dirt and continues rubbing. She has to get it off.
“What's happenening?” Breygrah asks in Taurahe
Rarahn answers in orcish, “We just finished felling this Stormsnout who unfortunately attacked us on our way.”
Breygrah nods as Konro mumbles his earlier comment about stupid lizards.
Breygrah-Ravenholdt sniffs the air. “This place feels fam-” she cuts off as she realizes she's talking over Kexti, who was asking where they should go next. In orcish now she apologizes. “Oh, excuse me. Did not see you back there.”
Konro looks at his map. Rarahn and Kwam browse it as well.
“What's the closest quilboar area, minus the ones so close to the Kraul?” Rarahn wonders.
“North of us.” answers Kwam. “...I believe.”
Rarahn sees the area in question. “Ah, yes. That would be it.”
Konro nods as well. “It'd be fastest to ride.” he says.
Kwam-Ravenholdt appears very interested in Breygrah's tabard.
Kexti says “Shall we, then?” Breygrah nods at him.
Various whistles and calls sound as they each summon their mounts. Konro yells for his wolf. “Stranger! To me!” and pat's it when it runs over. Kerala shifts to a storm crow, feeling awkward standing on the dirt surrounded by tall folks and their animals.
Konrolooks over at Kexti's wolf. Kexti notices the look and asks “Something amiss?”
“Do they breed wolves for little elves like you?” the soldier wonders aloud. Breygrah laughs.
“Not especially. It just so happens that there's wolves the right size for everyone in the Horde. After all, even a pack has its runts.”
Breygrah adds “I am sure wolves are trained well enough, even if they were large.”
Konro continues petting Stranger. “All packs have their alpha's though.”
Kexti's reply was as good as any druid's. “Perhaps. But small things inevitably find their way to thrive.”
“Let us be off.” says Rarahn.
The group rode on, Kerala flying above them. After a while they stopped and dismounted to rest the animals. The litter scattered across the fields still meant that the riders needed as much of a break as the mounts, from having to watch for hazards. They were just about ready to continue when they heard strange sounds.
Rarahn points, then at a loud POP he leaps aside. Dirt flies from a bullet hitting the ground where he'd been. Two human footmen and a dwarven rifleman step out from hiding.
Konro sends Stranger away with a slap, grinning. “Told you we would run into Alliance.”
Rarahn sighs “Well I was hoping we'd avoid it.”
“Always popping out somewhere, can never let anything be.” Breygrah complains.
Kwam looks at Rarahn. “Why? They might have beer and want to share it. Or,” he argues, “they might want to be killed, Either way, we get beer. I'm thirsty.” Kwam smacks his lips together.
Breygrah roars, ready for a fight. Kerala frowns at the Alliance.
Rarahn quickly turns into a bear and roars a taunt at the one of the footmen, while attacking the other with his claws. The footman takes a solid hit from the bear, getting knocked back! His armor sports claw marks and a large crack, and he wheezes. Maybe a rib is broken?
Breygrah begins her charge then. Her axe gracefully swings through the air! And hits the dirt. Kerala can't help smiling.
Kwam spirit-walks behind Rarahn, straight for the dwarf. He swings his fists wildly about while muttering, "By the fury of lightning fire, give us your beer!" The rifleman, in complete surprise that he was attacked, takes quite a thorough beating from the furious thirsty shaman before he knows what's going on.
Kerala quickly rejuvenates Rarahn and Kwam to protect them While Kexti surrounds himself and Kerala with mists to cushion incoming blows.
Konro-Ravenholdt swings at the undented footman's head as he shouts “GIVE ME YOUR BONES!!!” The human manages a slight dodge. Konro's ax slams into the human's armored shoulder.
The second footman, gasping, slashes at Rarahn, cushioned somewhat by Kerala's magic.
The rifleman is desperate to protect himself from Kwam. He points his gun straight at the shaman, and pulls the trigger. The gun kicks, knocking the rifleman back a little and burning him, but Kwam also jerks as a bullet hits. Kerala-Ravenholdt laughs at the stupid rifleman, sensing Kwam's wound isn't serious.
Konro's footman scrambles away from the tauren trying to decapitate him. He switches targets to aid his dented comrade, slashing at Rarahn angrily with his sword. The weapon flashed in the sunlight.
Rarahn ignores the wound. He roars to attract the dwarven rifleman to aim at him, while he crouches down to defend himself against all three enemies.
Breygrah swings her axe again, angrily. Both footmen manage to dodge.
Kwam punches the dwarf rifleman right in the eyes. The rifleman drops like a puppet without string, and proceeds to die quietly. Breygrah cheers at Kwam!
Kerala touches Rarahn with a strong heal, but he needs more. She encourages his natural healing to bloom and heal Rarahn's wounds.
Kexti applies a soothing mist to Rarahn, and rolls suddenly into the melee. He delivers two swift strikes as he stands up beneath the undented footman's chin! Breygrah holds her ax defensively as she watches the monk work in awe. Kwam cheers.
Konro tries a decapitation again, this time at the wheezing footman. His ax slashes at the footman 's neck but the human ducks, aborting an attack he had been making at Rarahn. The colored plume from the footman's helmet flutters to the ground.
Konro roars in fury. “STUPID HUMANS AND YOUR STUPID HELMETS!!!”
The dented footman manages a slash at Rarahn's face. It's a very good thing bears have such thick hides. Despite an attempt to dodge away, the sword hits. Rarahn's thick neck is sliced, the loose rolls of fur bleeding. Kerala knows the wound is minor.
The bald-helmeted footman is off-balance from avoiding Konro's deadly blade. Rarahn sees the opening and takes it. The bear pounces, ignoring a feeble attempt by human to shield himself with is sword. Long claws find gaps in armor even as jaws work at the neck. Rarahn's teeth come away bloody, and the footman no longer moves.
Breygrah lets out a roar and throws her ax with one hand at the remaining footman. He aim is true and it strikes him with a metallic CLANG.
The human is alone, and now knows the grave mistake that was made in attacking this group. He sneers at Breygrah. "You mean, you're actually fighting? I thought you were moral support over there!" He takes Kwam's ball of lightning to his exposed back. The man jerks for a moment, violently.
Kerala silently sends her healing magic at Kwam and Rarahn.
Kexti feints, and then kicks at footman. The human tries to evade, and instead only manages to get Kexti's foot in his groin, instead. He yelps in surprise.
Konro doesn't miss his final opportunity. He runs up to the footman and slices at the human's neck.
“The human falls!” shouts Breygrah as the human proceeds to do just that- in two pieces.
Kwam and Breygrah cheer at Konroas he roars with bestial vigor. Breygrah roars back at him.
Kwam looks to Konro. “Well, Thirtyseventhinfantryhoof. I wasn't sure you had it in you.”
“Man,” Kexti says “Humans are the worst.” He looks tired.
Kwam disagrees. “Sometimes, they have beer.”
“Friends, I must depart.”
Rarahn is looking around. He points. “There is a ravaged quilboar hut over there. Let's investigate.”
“Come, he-elf!” says Kwam. “See out the investigation!”
Kexti shakes his head at them. He's done, but he doesn't leave the old shaman high and dry. “Please take my keg before you continue forth.”
Kerala smiles at the blood elf and thanks him. “You fought well.” Kexti bows down graciously.
Rarahn salutes Kexti with respectas Breygrah says “Thank you elf.”
Konro is busy venting his rage by stomping repeatedly on the human's chest and head. Kerala is sickened and turns away. She hears him muttering as he works. “You stupid goddamn human.”
The slender blood elf climbs onto his wolf. “Best of journeys, my tauren friends. Sinu a'manore!” He rides away as the rest of them mount. All but Konro.
Kwam has to shout for his goodbye to be heard “May the winds guide you, Kexi of Kun Lai!”
Breygrahthinks for several moments while tapping her chin. “Shindo....!” She looks around for Kwam, who has begun riding off toward the hut that Rarahn had pointed out earlier. “Oh, he's gone.”
Kerala shifts to a storm crow. She flaps hard and leaves as Konro continues to stomp on the human's head.
Eventually, the group slows to a stop and Kerala glides back down to them.
Konro has caught up by now, and he sits patting his wolf, taking in the scene with everyone else.
Kerala had seen most of it already from the air. Nestled against giant vines spiked in wicked thorns there are several small huts. Off to one side there is a larger hut, and an area behind it ringed with a fence of large tusks. The Horde recently was able to kill all the quilboar who inhabited the area, but failed to investigate the area. Several quilboar corpses lay where they had fallen, many bloated and beginning to decay. Ragged holes in the bodies attracted flies. Scavengers had been at them.
Breygrah grimaces “Their stench is everywhere.” she says in Taurahe.
Rarahn finally says “I suppose we should look around.”
“No, really?” Comes the sarcastic reply from Konro. The soldier kicks at the body of a dead quilboar.
Kerala looks around idly, not knowing exactly for what. She eyes the giant thorn vines, a bit unnerved by their presence.
Breygrah notices Kerala's gaze. “I wonder what they go to.”
Konro, done with his previous activity pulls out his map as the others continue to poke around these first small huts. “We could just go to honors stand instead.” He pointed on the map. “Have some fun.”
Breygrah hacks after getting a whiff of the feeding troughs.
Rarahn looks up from what looked like a pile of quilboar belongings. “We're investigating quilboar, Konro.” The soldier just grunts his displeasure. “Let's move onto the next hut,” suggests the druid.
After poking around the next hut some more, Kwam says “The solider has a point. Didn't we see an alliance standard at the murder site?”
Kerala uses her spear to prod one of the quilboar corpses, inspecting it. Breygrah tilts her head as she thinks back.
“Yes,” Rarahn admits. He adds “one covered in dirt, and half buried. The Alliance have been fighting here with the Horde for months.” He points at the large hut. “Let's move on.”
Keralanods her agreement with Rarahn's suggestion. “I found nothing,” she reports.
The group moves to the largest hut, stepping around bodies and peering at anything of interest as they go. They reach the hut in little time, and fenced ring draws their attention. Dark reddish-brown stains on the ground told the group what Kerala already knew- this had been a fighting battleground.
Konro was the first to say it. “The Arena.” Kwam looks around, then raises his eyebrow inquisitively at Konro.
“Let's look around again.” Rarahn reminds the group of their mission.
They fan out again in a search pattern. Kerala wants to get away from the arena. She heads to the hut and begins poking through disheveled piles of broken weapons, spilled and spoiling foodstuffs, and clothing. By chance while prodding things with her spear, the point drags through the dirt and unearths a bit of parchment. It has markings on it. She picks it up shouting immediately “I found something!”
Breygrah pokes her head up over the short earthen wall of the hut, sniffing the air. She was the first to come in to see what Kerala held, followed by Rarahn.
“What'd you find sister?” asks the druid.
Kerala looks at the crumpled paper. The marks aren't really that recognizable to her, and she quickly hands off the crumpled paper. “I don't know.”
Konro's voice sounds, strained in effort. “WE'RE BUSY!!!!”
Breygrah laughs. “They're sparring,” she explains, seeing Kerala's look. Kerala rolls her eyes, not looking. Typical. Breygrah, watching the fight whispers loudly "It looks like Kwam's winning."
Rarahn peers at the note, also ignoring the two males. He manages to smooth out most of the wrinkles, and blow off the rest of the dirt. As he inspects the paper, he mutters to himself. Kerala can barely hear the word “attack”.
Breygrah, however, is all ears. “Mulgore? Where?”
Rarahn now displays the smoothed paper, holding the jagged edges of a major tear together. “Let's hope this wasn't recently written. But just in case...”
Kerala recognizes the map drawing now. Marks that she had thought to be letters instead seemed to pin point strategic locations. She can't help but to think the likeness of Mulgore is drawn rather well, for pigmen who can't fly.
“So the Longwalker wasn't a random case of wrong place wrong time?”
Shouts from the arena betray Kwam's victory over Konro.
Rarahn shakes his head. “There's a chance he uncovered a plot to invade Mulgore.” Kerala sighed.
Breygrah asks “Have there been any reports of attack recently?”
Again, the head shake. “None, other than those at the camp.”
Kwam and Konro walk up to the hut, both breathing hard. Kwam looks around.
The sudden blast of a horn makes the group turn to look! It makes Kerala flinch, ducking down by reflex. Annoyed at her reaction, she quickly stand back up and looks. There is a quilboar riding a giant boar marching into the arena with two others.
Konro grins wickedly. “This'll be good.” He leads the way out of the hut and around to the gap in the fence on their side of the arena.
“What do these pigs want?” Breygrah says, ax ready. “We will step on their heads.” Konro laughs.
The quilboar sits on his boar, his beady little pig eyes glaring. “I am Snarglesnoff the Butcherer!” he declares. “Who are you to,” the quilboar snorts, “invade quilboar territory?!”
The boar was massive, easily bigger than any two of Kerala's Brothers combined. The quilboar were small, but she knew better than to think they would not be dangerous as well, if not moreso. This fight would not be easy. It might actually be very difficult. She digs in her pack briefly.
“Let's find out what he knows.” Rarahn's expression is stern. “Forcefully.” Konro grins wickedly at the druid, who has suddenly become a bear.
Kerala finishes fiddling with a bit of cloth. She shakes out a banner and shoves it into the ground at the edges of the arena as Konro roars wordlessly in answer to the quilboar's challenge.
She yells “We are the HORNS OF SHUHALO!
Konro adds “AND YOU DIE TODAY BUTCHER!!!” Even louder he finishes “I WILL RIP OFF YOUR HEADS AND STUFF THEM INTO YOUR REARS!!!!” His words earn him a brief glance from Kwam. And then Kerala watches as they all charge into battle to meet their foe. She hesitates, watching anxiously, but they are still within range.
She stays outside of that ring.
Rarahn attempts to taunt Snarglesnoff but his roar is ignored. Instead, he crouches down to defend.
Konro launches towards the quilboar healer and kicks him square in the chest. The quilboar's breath is forced out in a surprised oink.
Breygrah raises her shield and charges toward the other quilboar healer. The quilboar raises it's staff and manages to block some of Brey's attack. Her ax hits, but not with the force behind it she intended. Still, the thing staggers back, seriously wounded.
Kwam attempts the same trick from before, spirit walking. Something goes awry, however, and he ends up behind Breygrah's opponent, his expression a bit surprised.
Kerala rejuvenates Rarahn. She shields him with skin like Ironbark just as Snarglesnoff attacks from atop his boar. The Butcherer strikes Rarahn hard with both an ax and spear,. The strike is coordinated with the boar to add its weight behind the blows. Kerala can hear the snap of ribs as Rarahn is launched sideways!
Kerala gapes at how strong the quilboar is.
Konro also stares in amazement. “Thralls Balls” he curses, almost in admiration, “that's a quilboar!” His quilboar takes advantage of the distraction to raise it's staff into the air and fully heal itself.
The quilboar between Kwam and Breygrah does the same for itself.
Taking on each enemy alone would never work. Kerala screams “Work together, Brothers and Sister!”
Rarahn, now closest to Konro, lunges at that healer and tries to maul it. The druid misses, wheezing, but still manages to slash the pigman with a sharply clawed paw.
Konro and Breygrah attack.
Konro swings his ax, a determined expression on his face as Kerala cheers him on. The soldier brings his ax down on the quilboar's head. He misses, hitting the quilboar's shoulder, crushing bone and cutting deep into his flesh. The quilboar screams! His arm now dangles uselessly from a flap of bristly skin.
On the other side, Breygrah shouts angrily at the quilboar healer as she towers over it and swings her own ax in a mirror of Konro's maneuver. Her ax arcs at an angle into its shoulder, cutting and continuing through. The limb thuds into the dirt.
Twin fountains of bright red splash into the arena.
Kwam sends an arc of lightning sizzling into the amputee quilboar. The electricity snaps into it, makes it jerk in spasms, and jumps to Snarglesnoff on his boar. They roar as lightning chains through them to the other dying healer. It also spasms, smoking, until it falls over. There is the stench of charred meat and burned hair.
Breygrah roars in triumph!
Kerala finishes casting and Rarahn breathes easier as his ribs knit themselves back together. Another swift cast mends more of the damage done to his body.
Snarglesnoff swings at Konro next with his weapons. The soldier doesn't carry a shield like Breygrah. His exposed arm gets cut, but he manages to successfully deflect the deadly weapons.
Rarahn tries to distract the Butcher from his target. He smashes at the boar that Snarglesnoff is on, but doesn't do much to it.
Konro follows Rarahn's lead. The burly warrior whips his ax around at the boars head, smashing hard.
On the other side, Breygrah uses her shield like a battering ram and charges into the side of the boar.
With the mount distracted, Kwam simply punches Snarglesnoff in the face.
Kerala works to further heal Rarahn of the crushing damage he sustained.
Konro, ever alert, is the first to notice a newcomer to the arena. “How long have YOU been there!” he asks suddenly, causing Kerala to glance upwards.
Standing just above them is another familiar shaman. Breygrah lets out a happy cheer. Cahote is dressed in her customary mail armor, trimmed in red, and she looks ready for a fight.
Cahote leaps down from the brambles, shouting. She roars throwing her healing wave to Rarahn, and casts a shield up on Kwam. Kwam gasps in surprise at Cahote's appearance in the middle of the battle, while Rarahn rumbles in thanks.
Snarglesnoff leads his mount into a lunge aimed at Rarahn. The powerful boar hits hard, and Rarahn is suddenly airborne. Kerala can feel: this hit was even worse than the last. Rarahn thuds to the dirt with a whimper, arched in a defensive crouch. He doesn't want to die!
Konro hacks at Snarglesnout the Butcherer with his ax, but while the quilboar was distracted watching Rarahn flying through the air, his mount was not. It sidesteps, and the ax slices into it's much tougher hide.
"You will pay for that!" Snarglesnoff cries out.
Kerala can see that the boar is much smarter than it's rider. Breygrah must have reached the same conclusion. The warrior holds her shield up in defense and swings her own ax at the boar's nearest leg, but the blow hits mostly bone.
Kwam continues his focus on the quilboar rider. He launches a lightning bolt at Snarglesnoff. It breaks against the quilboar's weapon, crackling down his arm, but dissolving before it can really do damage.
Kerala rejuvenates Rarahn, trying desperately to keep him standing. She encourages the life left in him to germinate and regenerate him faster. He straightens some, and takes a step back toward the battle.
Cahote sees Kerala focusing on Rarahn and uses her riptide to deliver some extra healing.
Snarglesnoff the Butcherer switches his focus unexpectedly. He kicks his boar, trying to send it at Breygrah with a shout of "Die, cow!" Confused, the boar obeys, but not fast enough. Breygrah is only grazed as she dives, sliding sideways to a knee, and lets out a mocking guffaw.
Rarahn takes the opportunity to slashes at the boss, but his blow is weak. He's taken quite the beating.
Breygrah has an inspiration. She suddenly hunches to the side struck by Snarglesnoff's boar, feigning injury more serious than she'd actually sustained. “Oh no!” she shouts, “I'm dying, quilboar!” Breygrah waves her axe around haphazardly with her “injured” arm, trying to keep Snarglesnoff's attention.
Konro tries to slam his weight at the boar. He slips instead on the blood-slicked hide, stumbles and falls almost beneath the beast. Cahote gasps, earning an angry glare from the soldier.
Breygrah raises suddenly and drops her ax with a deceptively accurate swing onto the boar mount's head. She immediately returns to her injured floundering. “Help me from all of this dying I'm doing!” Seeing that this isn't working, she switches tactics to make mocking squeals at the enemy instead.
Kwam unleashes a powerful elemental blast against Snarglesnoff, trying to dislodge him from his mount.
Kerala's spells bloom within Rarahn, healing him further as she casts another one to mend him.
Breygrah continues to taunt “Hey pig! I bet your mother fights better than you!” She slams her ax against her shield.
Cahote wields The Oathkeeper above her head and smacks at the boar. She screams a spell of protection upon Rarahn as she does so.
Konro roars as he regains his feet.
Snarglesnoff blows a warhorn on his belt. Two more quilboar leap up from where they'd been waiting in the grasses and rush to the arena.
“Pets?” says Cahote. “More Blood for your axe, Konro!” The soldier laughs.
Now reinforced again, Snarglesnoff hits Rarahn with his spear, boar charging at the druid with ferocity. The quilboar's aim is off. The spear acrapes along Rarahn's shoulder and rolls free. It's a wound, but not debilitating.
Konro screams “I'M SENDING YOU BACK TO THE HELL YOU CAME FROM!!!!”
“More pigs, lining up for slaughter.” Breygrah agrees.
The quilboar healers immediately begin casting. They both successfully finish healing spells on Snarglesnoff before Rarahn can stop them. The bear smacks the healer closest to him, but doesn't land claws on it.
Konro, infuriated from his embarrassing fall, most likely, runs up to the other healer and tackles it. He promtly bites the quilboars face. The soldier's teeth leave bloody gashes in the quilboar's muzzle, but the damage is superficial. The quilboar's surprise mirrors Kerala's own.
Breygrah charges to Rarahn's aid, then slams her shield into the tiny pig healer. The thing is knocked backwards nearly off it's feet. He lands with a squeal in the perfect spot for Kwam to punch right in the back of his porcine head.
Kerala sends another powerful touch of healing to Rarahn, surprised to realize that it mends him back to complete health. She sends her next spell to Breygrah, happy to sense her Sister completely mended as well.
Konro gets momentarily distracted as a night elf rides past. He roars, as much at it as the quilboar trying desperately to wriggle free from his grasp.
“We have an enemy already, Warrior-” yells Cahote “Don't divide your attention!” She eyes the weak outnumbered healer and leaps upon it with the Oathkeeper, smashing it even as she shields Konro from incoming attack with her spell.
“Shut up!” comes the soldier's reply. But he obeys.
Cahote's victim squeals as it dies surrounded by Shuhalo.
Starting to realize his peril, Snarglesnoff begins to get desperate. The quilboar leader throws his spear at Rarahn. The throw is hasty and poorly aimed. It hits the ground sliding, and manages to jam into Rarahn's paw as he heads for the other healer.
“Stinking pig!” exclaims Breygrah.
The quilboar in Konro's grasp takes advantage of his distraction by selflessly casting another hasty spell to heal his leader.
Breygrah continues her tirade as she follows Rarahn. “A disgrace to civilized pigs everywhere!”
The bear druid smacks into the next healer with a roar, hitting him with all of his bulk. Konro and the pigman go flying to the ground.
The soldier bites the healer's right ear off. He must have hit a vital vein in the pigman's neck as well, for blood begins spurting from the wound. Konro spits out the ear as he stands. He has to move out of the way as Breygrah charges in and stomps the ground to send a shockwave through it.
The healer shudders though the warstomp, and then is still. It is dead.
Kwam had not followed the others to the last healer, but had summoned two spirit wolves. He sicked them now on Snarglesnoff, attempting to have them chew off his parts.
The wounded boar screams under the onslaught. It falls, sending Snarglesnoff tumbling from his seat. The spirit wolves proceed to tear at the boar's dead body.
Cahote cheers “Feast well, spirits!”
“DIE PIG!!!!” yells Konro.
Kerala again mends her Brothers, healing Konro and Rarahn. She shields Rarahn, making his hide as durable as the bark of an ironwood tree.
Cahote is distracted a moment by the blood on her hammer and her gaze grow distant. Eyes milky and wide, she turns to the quilboar leader and bellows, smashing at him twice with the head of the maul.
Snarglesnoff yells in anger at the loss of his mount. He stands, both wepons at the ready. He must have retrieved his spear from the dirt. He screams"You cow people die!" and swings furiously with his ax.
Rarahn leaps to intercept the attack. The druid takes a solid hit, ruining the maneuver enough that Kwam is only grazed. His furry bulk smacks into the boss as the druid ravages Snarglesnoff with his teeth and claws.
Konro swings his axe around, but misses completely. The momentum behind the powerful blow swings the soldier completely around and he loses his footing for the second time.
The Horns continue to attack relentlessly.
Breygrah smashes Snarglesnoff with her shield, causing the quilboar to stagger back. She took the opportunity to slash him then with a quick swing of her ax.
Snarglesnoff roars in pain. "A-Ah! No! Bad cow. You hurt Snarglesn- OFF!!!." Kwam is right there. He punches Snarglesnoff right in the corner of his jaw, interrupting the Butcherer's words.
Kerala heals the slice in Rarahn's hide.
Cahote-Ravenholdt roars again, nostrils flaring out as she swings with precision at the quilboar. She shows her teeth at the enemy. Oathkeeper connects twice.
Snarglesnoff screams then with inhuman rage at the onslaught. He swings at Rarahn, infuriated, and the quilbaor's ax smacks the druid. He goes down hard, staggering against the others. Kerala gasps- that strike was just as strong as the ones from the boar! The Butcherer was MAD.
Snarglesnoff stabs at Breygrah with his spear. She is unable to avoid the jab. Breygrah screams in pain “I will crush your head pigboy!”
The Butcherer ignores her, instead attacking Konro. The quilboar leader kicks at the prone soldier with his sharp hoof.
Rarahn unleashes the power coiled in his ursine haunches to leap from the ground. He mauls Snarglesnoff, knocking him onto the ground beside Konro. The angry hurting warrior returns the favor in kind by kicking the quilboar directly in the throat with his own hoof.
Snarglesnoff coughs up blood and falls limp against the ground in defeat. Kwam cheers at Konro! Rarahn shifts to his natural form. Kerala's magic heals him even as he is backing away from the defeated quilboar.
After a moment, the Butcherer manages to gasp out "S-Stop! You win!" He looks up still struggling to breathe, surrounded by angry Shuhalo, fully healed and weapons ready.
“What are the quilboar planning for Mulgore?” Rarahn demands.
Cahote looks down at the boar, breath heavy and eyes still glossy. She grips the handle of her maul, but then puts it away to listen to the interrigation.
Snarglesnoff coughs up more blood before he can speak. "D-Death. Your people will die! quilboar armies will march on you all!"
Konro savagely kicks the quilboar again as Kerala shakes her head. No, that was not going to happen.
“WHEN?” demands the druid.
"S-Soon..." Snarglesnoff gasps. Then the quilboar's eyes roll back, and he passes out.
A bit deflated, Rarahn wonders aloud “What should we do with him?” Cahote looks to Kwam for the answer, out of old habbit.
Konro puts one hoof on Snarglenoff's chest, pressing hard to test the reality of the unconsciousness. Kwam begins searching through Snarglesnoff's pockets.
“Put him in a cell.” suggests Breygrah.
Kwam finds a flagon of ale and some Peacebloom. He quickly tucks away the Peacebloom, and takes a swig from the flagon of ale.
“I agree about the cell.” Rarahn says. “We might have to question him later.”
“Let's kill the bastard.” says Konro. He pulls his knife out and kneels.
“I wonder how he would like cold weather.” Breygrah muses with a sly smirk.
Kerala's memory flashes with similar scenes of a victim defeated in a ring with kinves held above them. She runs into the arena to stop Konro “No Konro!” she yells.
Konro looks up at her seriously. “I'm taking a souvenir.” he says. He starts to saw through the quilboar's right thumb. Kerala looks sickened, but doesn't stop Konro now.
Kwam has been distracted in his thoughts. “Chieftain? Your call. I suggest we take him to Baine's people.” He is looking at Kerala. Her expression causes him to look down to see Konro and his grisly work.
Breygrah cringes and shudders. “Gross.”
“So he won't fight again.” Konro says simply.
Cahote-Ravenholdt does nothing as her eyes look past the warrior and his grim reminder.
Rarahn attempts to keep to the topic at hand. “I can deliver the quilboar to Baine.”
Kwam peers at Konro as he works. The soldier finishes with one thumb, and moves to do the same to the other hand.
Kerala-Ravenholdt jabs the crystal end of her spear to block Konro. Her tone is commanding. “One souvenir is enough.”
Konro looks up from his knife. “You want him to fight again?”
“You took the thumb from his main hand. Leave the weaker one.”
Konro stands up, thankfully not arguing.
“I shall take him over now.” Rarahn volunteers, “I believe we should separate here.”
Kwam nods. “I fear I must depart. Watch over yourself.” Rarahn bows to the shaman. Kerala mumbles a goodbye.
Cahote takes a few more deep breaths and shakes her head, shutting her eyes. She snorts and lets the haze clear from her vision.
Rarahn grabs the left arm of the quilboar and looks to Kerala, gesturing to grab the other. Kerala doesn't say another word to the group. She wants to be away from this as soon as possible. She grabs the other bloodied hand, ready to help.
Together, the two druids take the quilboar away to Thunder Bluff.