(no subject)


THE IMMEDIATELY BELOW IS AN EXTREMELY GORY PART. if this were a movie, it would be RATED R because of this scene.
Plink, plonk. Plink, plunk. Neverendingly the sound continued, thudding against the roofs of the town. The sky gaped, an open, bleeding wound uncovered by the thick clouds. Macabre red and black warred in the sky, smoke mingling into the billows that crept and crawled like masses of writhing parasites. No sun was visible - only murky, blood-colored fog looked down upon the roads of eastern Lordaeron. Roads that were, themselves, covered in sanguine gore.

Masses of moaning, shuffling figures lurched down the road, following a man hunched over on a horse. Thick, thudding footsteps carried them along - bringing with them an unbearable stench.

Down the road they followed panicked people flustered and hurried back and forth, snatching rough farm weapons and rusty relics of war. Some hurried to the chapel - murmuring assurances to themselves and their loved ones that the Light would protect them - no soulless abominations could stand on sacred ground. For after all, they were just that, weren't they? Some of the people tried to hasten into the little foothills surrounding the town, and some hid in their homes.

Thin, pale hands - nearly skeletal in their transparency - trembled in their cocoon of rough cloth. The surprisingly long fingers flexed and toyed with the fabric. Quiet, pale blue eyes closed and opened as screams, long and screeching, pierced the air in a cacophony of horror and pain. Tears crept from those eyes as the slight form of a young girl curled up closer to herself in its confined space - shut in for her safety.

She listened, trembling and shaking, but hardly daring to breathe. Thu-thunk, thu-thunk, closer and closer the sounds of the oncoming horde came. And then they stopped. She bit down on the cloth she had been swaddled in and gagged with, fearing that her teeth would clap together and give her hiding place away. She sucked a little air in, and breathed as lowly and little as she could - if they saw the wood around her shivering and quaking - smelled her blood -  she would be dead, surely.

Outside, shambling, drooling ghouls ripped at human flesh - blood pouring from the wounds they tore with their broken teeth and decorating the mouths and hands of the creatures - giving the mortal bodies a final blanket of crimson. Tears poured from the eyes of one heavily pregnant woman fading from life as she reached for her husband's corpse - a limp body with its side missing that yet moved, his wife's flesh in his maw. A dying man swung his shovel into the head of one of the fiends, cutting it down before his throat and cheek were ripped from his body with a meaty swish, followed by a scream.

A priest staggered outside a chapel, glowing bursts of light flickering from his hands and smiting the abominations as they ambled about - towards him, the hills - it mattered not where they went. Almost it seemed he would stop the onslaught - hope flickered in the eyes of the dying before they drooped down into rest - however short it might be. But - a mounted figure approached and dismounted - the priest fell...and rose again at the man's command, eyes blank and shallow.

A moment of silence cleared the air as the priest shambled into the chapel - followed by a small horde - and then, ear splitting cries of sadness and disgusted panic cracked the air as another group of villagers met the end of their current life. Another moment of screams followed by silence, and then the horde sauntered out the door of the chapel, increased in number and in blood spilt. As the mob rambled through the town, it grew in number as torn, bloody cadavers - still warm from their slaughter - rose from their raw graves and shuffled after the throng.

Another figure strode through the town square, evil emanating from his familiar form. He glanced about, smiling at the carnage - his eyes stopped on one house and narrowed. Walking closer, he saw the form of a plump, plain woman shambling after the others and moaning, adding to the eerie chorus of lifeless cries that rose from the town. Behind her, he saw a limp, tiny form - with carrot-colored braids that had been not slightly spattered with blood. A little bottle lay not far away, a dribble of black liquid pooled beneath its mouth.

He turned and walked away, following the mounted man that led the hordes - pausing as they left the perimeter of the village, glancing back at the clustering of houses. Tiny, homely abodes, previously safe and warm - now cold, empty and covered in residual gore. Something like emotion stirred in his eyes as he looked - but it died quickly, stamped out by some other power. He marched on, his sturdy armor clinking against itself as he passed the bodies of his men - the valiant men he had slaughtered, for the glory of the Lich King.


15 years later

Clink! Clang! The sound of one sword hitting another resonated through the small clearing. The chink-chink of mail armor filled the air for a moment, and then landed with a gentle tinkle on the two swords. Then the rustle of clothes followed, succeeded by gentle, quiet steps that splashed into the running water of the creek.

Quickly then the rushing of the small waterfall was dulled - it began to flow over skin darkened with blood and dirt, washing some little measure away, to float in the dammed creek. Slowly, the short, boyish figure kneeled and wet a piece of rough cloth in clean water. Stubby, dirty hands - "Never have dirty nails, it does not become a proper lady." - wrung the sodden cloth out and started scrubbing.

First, the forearms, covered in a checkered pattern of grime that had run and seeped into the skin, due to sweat and rainstorms. The cloth ran up her right arm and left behind a patch of clean, wet skin. Steadily and carefully she cleaned herself , washing her whole body twice - carefully dunking her cloth in the water and shaking it clean before she moved to another body part - before she laid her cloth down and retrieved the little sliver of brown soap she had. Cautiously she laid it on a flat rock, safe from the rushing water.  Taking special care, she pulled the thin leather thong that held her hair out of her face from her sullied locks.

Grasping the tiny cake of soap, she rubbed it against her wet hands, reveling in the slimy feel. After her hands were coated with a thin layer of the gunk, she lay it back on it's rock and ran her hands through her short hair. Curling her fingers against the thin, rough strands, she lathered it to a light foam - dunking down into the water and staying under for a moment, as soap floated free of her hair.

Standing back up slowly, she moved under the waterfall and held her face up - letting the water stream over it and wash away what remained of the dirt and soap. After a moment of reveling in the pure glory of cleanness, she sighed and stepped from under the trickle of liquid, picking up her tiny sliver of soap and wrapping it carefully in her already partially dried wash cloth. Taking another length of dry, rough cloth from her odd assortment of satchels, she toweled her thin form dry before laying out the wet cloth and moving the soap to the drier one.

Hesitatingly she slipped her sturdy underwear on, kneeling on one of the empty satchels to pick them up. Then she picked up a long, thick length of what looked to be fine, shimmering cloth up - wincing as she pulled it from the ground. Taking a deep breath, she stuck one end under her armpit and began to wind them about her chest tightly, flattening what little womanliness she had. Finishing the job as quickly as she could, one hand delved down to the pile of armor and clothing, grasping a smooth-looking shirt and dropping the half-sleeved garment over her head.

Tugging the piece on, she speedily hopped into the matching - if dirtier and more torn - pants. Gathering up the armor, she dragged it over to the stream and began the slow, strenuous process of cleaning each piece thoroughly, and then oiling it.  "Fish oil is a wonderful complement to the diet - it gives one lovely, shining hair." By the time she had oiled the last piece, the sun was more than halfway to the horizon.

Stripping to her underthings once more, she speedily washed her soiled underthings and laid them on a rock at the edge of the stream, where the warm, golden sun hit. Laying her armor in order, she pulled, from the resting place on one satchel, her small tent. Shaking out the 'weather-stopping, animal resistant, easy wash miracle cloth' - as hailed by its gnomish inventor - she lay it aside and proceeded to smash the copper poles she had obtained from a friendly blacksmith into the ground. They were bent in the shape of a crate, with one side missing, so that all she need to was put them into the ground, drape the cloth over them, and screw in the odd little rivets he'd provided. A thought paused her in her work - the blacksmith had not been a bad looking man in the least. Gathering from the smiles and favors he bestowed upon her, she could have merely given up on her dream of returning to her homeland and stayed there - as his wife.

A quick shake of her head, which sent water droplets flying from her still damp hair, dispelled the notion. She returned to her labor, tamping in the metal bits and laying her things inside. A few steps brought her to the edge of the clearing, underneath the great trees, which had dropped an abundance of branches both large and small - wonderful fire material. She gleaned a healthy armful and skittered back to her tent. Quickly the fire was set up and lit - after a few moments of healthy burning and feeding, she turned her attention to her packs.

A cursory check of the bags ensued. She withdrew a large fish - one that had flopped till she slit its throat and fileted it - and a small woven bag. The fish was laid on yet another clean piece of cloth, and the bag opened. A savory, lovely smell ensued from the mouth - she breathed deep before reaching one hand in and retrieving a small handful of spices. These she scattered over the white meat of the fish and dusted her hands, shutting the bag and putting it away. The short hands rubbed against the skin of the slithery animal, rubbing the spices in, before it, and a small, golden apple, were skewered on a long, thinnish stick and hung over the fire.

As she waited for her food to cook, she stared up at the afternoon sky and sighed.

A thin form dipped and twirled, sailed and flew about a stage. Blue fluttered about her slight body as she struck a pose, one arm in the air and the other behind her, balancing on one toe.

"No, no! You sloppy girl, that es not how you do it!" A broad, strong woman bellowed, her voice strident and thick with displeasure. The tiny girl onstage sighed and dropped her arms, her head dropping as well as the woman marched up to her. "You are so zloppy! And fat! I have never seen a fatter girl! My dancers do not have THESE!" The riding crop the large woman gestured about flicked against the tiny breasts the child bore. "Nezer, nezer will you amount to anything! Such an ungrateful one!"

A wolf's howl startled the girl from her memories - panic flickered briefly in her eyes before she controlled herself, removing her food from the fire and laying it inside the tent. She looked at it longingly, and then the loose edges of the tent. A breath gusted from her pale lips and she stood, grabbing the pack of pegs from the ground and striding out of the shelter. Quickly and smoothly she hammered the pegs into the edges of the tent cloth, effectively creating a barrier.

Turning to walk into the abode, she paused and glanced at the brook, where her armor and clothes lay. She rushed over and gathered them up, striding back to her tent. Once she had laid her clothes down, she stepped back into her tent and drew the piece of cloth that had previously been thrown wide for her admittance shut, buttoning it to the other sides of the tent and hammering a couple pegs into the bottom of it, as well.

Then, finally, she picked her piece of fish up - said a prayer to the Light for blessing - and bit into it. "Mmm..." A quiet hum escaped the hungry girl's lips and resonated quietly through the air. Quickly she devoured both it and the brown, soft apple. The dusk of twilight had begun to filter into the sky, and relishing the early night, she unrolled her bedroll and laid down, drawing her swords to the side of her resting place and laying one hand on the hilts. Her eyes fluttered closed and she prayed for the Light to bless her sleep - slowly then, she drifted into dreams.