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Tales of the Draenei: Chapter 1: Solo Mission
Aelnon of Telredor, Paladin Trainee of the Hand, stood on the edge of the platform waiting for the lift to take her down to the marsh. In front of her were her two sister's; Kelnarie and Shendra, and it was easy to see they were siblings, all three of them had the same dusky skin, though Kel and Shen's eyes were violet to Ael's gold. Their hair styles were also different, with Ael's down to the center of her back, Kel's being a simple short cut ending at her shoulders and Shen's always done up in two pigtails. The sister's also had a difference in height; Shen was about six and half feet tall though she was still young and growing, Kel was a fine 7 feet and Ael was almost 7 and half feet tall.
"Do you really have to leave?" Shendra asked, her young voice wistful as she watched her oldest sister settle her equipment better on her back.
"You know I do little one, if I wish to be accepted into the Hand, I must do this to prove my worth." she answered smiling slightly at the baby of the family. She saw Kelnarie roll her eyes, but knew her middle sister was going to miss her just as much. "Besides, its a simple mission, I should be back in four days at the most."
The lift rose into position, Aelnon hugged her sisters, kissed them lightly on the foreheads then turned and got onto the platform. She waved good bye as the lift lowered, feeling slightly saddened knowing she had to leave her sisters alone, even if it was only for a few days.
As the lift reached the ground, she strode off it and over to the stable master Joraal who had her mount for this mission, a fine cobalt talbuk. "Here you go Aelnon, be careful out there my friend, if anything happens to you, your sisters would break." He said handing her the reins.
Laughing slightly, Aelnon took the reins and swung easily into the saddle. "If anything happens to me, you know as well as I do the entire town would look after them. Make sure Kel keeps up in her studies, and see if Shendra can finally choose what she wishes to do with her life." Waving over her shoulder, the young Paladin started off down the path towards her mission: the ruins of the Bleeding Hollow.
She though back to her briefing with one of the senior Paladins; travel to the ruins, find and kill an exceptionally vicious Ogre who had taken them over. The Orc settlement had been destroyed a few years earlier by a rampaging ogre clan that wanted the city for some reason. She had heard the orc's had done well but had been forced to flee when one of the ogre overlords, the one eyed Gronn, had shown up to finish it.
Her first day of travel was quiet, as she left the marshlands and entered the lush Terokkar Forest. As she continued south, she passed several squads of Shattrah guards and she greeted them happily, recognizing others of her yearling group working with them. Aelnon camped on the border of Shattrah and the southern part of Terokkar as she didn't want to get ambushed during the night by a rogue warpstalker.
The second day as she continue south, she went past a small group of Orc's heading towards Shattrah for one of the weekly trade fairs. She nodded at the leader, a large male wearing a stylized patch with a wolf head on it, the brown skinned being nodded back and looked away, though she saw a few of children traveling with them staring at her open mouthed. As they went past, she heard the strange orc tongue as the children burst into what sounded like questions. *I know some orc's consider us strange, but I know when I first saw one of the brown-skinned creatures, I could barely keep my eyes in my head.* she thought chuckling lightly at the looks the children had given her.
By mid-afternoon Aelnon had reached the area where the ruins where. She slowed her mount, going more carefully. She had heard this ogre was smart for one of it's kind, and she had no desire to be ambushed by it. She wasn't certain why it had chosen to remain by itself in the ruins, but it had been making a menace of itself, hunting down and killing passing orcs, arrokka and draenei. No one was safe from it. She reached over her shoulder and pulled her hammer out of it's sling, staring at the beautiful workmanship. The great hammer had been made for her by Loolruna the smith, with a special item added to the center; a rare and valuable Naaru fragment. She knew the only reason her weapon had been given that was because her father, one of the Guardians of Shattrah, had ordered it after receiving the fragment from a Naaru after doing a job for the being of Light.
The fragment made it so even if the hammer was knocked from her hand, with but a thought it would return back to her without any problem. That ability had saved her life a few times already in her training while clearing out the rogue wildlife in Zangarmarsh. She made her camp at safe distance from the ruins, ate a simple meal then relaxed and meditated for a few hours before finally sleeping.
The third day was quiet, sunny and perfect, she honestly wished she could have been doing anything except for this; hunting down the rogue ogre and slaying it. She had left her talbuk back at the camp, knowing that the large beast would have gone crazy after scenting the monster. Aelnon stalked the ruins, hammer at ready, her spells clear in her mind as she listened hard for any sounds.
She had almost reached the center of them, when a massive ear splitting below of rage erupted from the commons, followed by the sound of battle. Swearing lightly, she took off running towards it, worried something had walked into the Ogre not realizing it was there. As she entered into the clearing, she almost stopped in shock.
A lone orc female, barely 6 feet tall was trying to fight the massive 14 foot Ogre. The orc had a deep brown skin tone, short black hair, and the pugish face Aelnon was used to seeing on her kind. The Orc fought with a pair of short blades, which she seemed well skilled with, the problem was though, the Ogre had a massive broad axe which, with one slice, he would have cut his smaller adversary in half. Aelnon threw back her head and let loose with a massive war cry, causing the Ogre to falter in his attack for just a moment. The young paladin charged forward, her great hammer pulled back and ready to strike.
The Ogre charged her, forgetting about the orc and focused on the Draenei. "DIE BLUESKIN DIE!" the beast bellowed, swinging it's axe at her. She parried the blow, feeling the shock of the strike even as she pushed back, hearing the monster grunt in surprise at her strength. The ogre swung one massive hand at her, and Aelnon dodged backwards, then skipped back in, her hooved foot swinging outward and cracking into the beast's ankle. The ogre grunted and faltered for a moment, and she took advantage of that, her hammer becoming a blur as she rained blows on its legs and forearms.
Roaring in pain and anger, the ogre suddenly kicked out, sending Ael flying, her hammer going one way, she went the other. She slammed hard into a ruined building, and lay there for a moment dazed. She felt the ground shaking and looked up as the ogre swung the axe at her face. Aelnon just barely rolled to the side, hearing and feeling the crash as the blade ripped through the wall.
She extended her hand and the hammer flew to it, just in time to block yet another massive axe blow from the ogre. Aelnon could tell that it was favouring the leg she had kicked, and she swung the hammer at it again, only to have the ogre sweep the weapon away with a meaty fist.
The two exchanged blow after blow, the ogre getting a few shallow cuts on her, while she got a solid hit onto its left hand, crushing it. *Ive got him, I really think Ive got him......*She thought, losing focus for a moment. But that moment was all the ogre needed as his hand snapped out and locked around her throat, lifting her into the air.
"HEHE, NOT SO TOUGH NOW EH BLUESKIN? THINK YOU BETTER THEN BOULDERCRUSH. BOULDERCRUSH KILL YOU.....ARRRRRGGGHHHHH!" The ogre roared in pain as the orc, unnoticed by both combatants climbed up his back and drove her blades into the sides of his neck. Screaming, he threw Aelnon away and reaching back grabbed the orc by her hair and slammed her into the ground, one blade still stuck in the thick muscle of his neck, the other clasped tight in her hand.
The ogre lifted his foot, intending to crush the orc, but she was too fast, slashing upwards with her blade and cutting deep into his ankle. The beast let her go, roaring in pain again as he tried to tried to keep his balance. Aelnon, seeing the chance, charged forward, her hammer held low and struck it hard behind the knee of the good leg,causing the monster to crash forward. It's head now in range, she raised the hammer high and brought it down with all her strength, crushing the skull.
Aelnon turned to the orc, and walked over to her. "Are you alright? My name is Aelnon, I am a Paladin of the Light, I can heal you if you are wounded." She said in broken Orcish. "Heh, I am fine Blueskin, but thank you for the offer." The Orc responded in simple trade common.
"Ah good you speak the trade language. So why were you here?" Aelnon asked, feeling a little surprise. "Was here to kill that thing." She answered shortly, pointing at the ogre. "His kind attacked and killed my people, revenge."
"Ah, your a leftover Bleeding Hollow member. Take a trophy Orc, I was sent to kill this beast to prove myself for the Hand. As long as you allow me to take that," Alenon said, pointing at the Ogre clan badge on the beast's belt. "The head and weapon are all yours."
The Orc nodded, pulled her blade out of the beast's neck, wiped off the blood on its loincloth, then using the axe, which caused Aelnon's eyebrows to raise, she chopped the ogre's head off. *She's much stronger then she looks.*
"Well, it was good fighting with you......" Aelnon trailed off, realizing she didn't know the orc's name. "Gel, of the Bleeding Hollow clan, daughter of Galdren." The orc replied, picking the ogre up by its topknot and walked off.
"Till we meet again Gel." Aelnon called, grabbing the ogre clan badge and heading back to her mount. She looked at the Ruins, then mounting up, she headed home, knowing that her sister's would be surprised when she told them about the battle.
Chapter 2: Monster in the Forest
hapter 2: Demon in the Forest 98 Years till Orc Draenei War.
*Ah, Shattrah, I truly love this city." Aelnon thought, enjoying the feel of the sunlight as she stood with the rest of her squad on the bridge leading into Terokkar Forest, watching as her Captain, Geras, paced back and forth in front of them.
"So your my new soldier's eh?" The tall paladin asked, a slight smile on his face. Geras was, from what she heard, in his 6th millennium of life, with deep blue skin, a pair of large horns on his forehead, dark blue eyes, and just two tendrils on his chin. "I’m sure none of you have ever heard of me, and that’s the way I prefer it. I am just another warrior of the Light, same as the rest of you, and I’ve been assigned to train and assist you towards becoming true Paladin's of the Hand. Who knows, among you there might be a new Triumvirate or Exarch."
This caused murmurs of excitement among the Knight's, and caused Geras to break into a smile. "All right, all right, that's enough of that my young trainee's. So our mission today is fairly standard; we'll be traveling to the Auchindoun to assist the guardians there with a slight problem. There have been....rumours of something attempting to enter the crypts and make off with bodies. So far the guardians have been doing well, but they have asked for the assistance of a squad of Knights. so any questions?"
"Just one sir, what are the raiders?" asked one of the younger Knights, a female named Alara.
"That we don’t know for certain but from what the Guardians have said, it sounds like they might be Arakkoa, from the marks found in the pathways." Geras answered.
*Arakkoa.....why would they be trying to steal our dead.* Aelnon thought, as the bird people usually stayed away from the Draenei settlements, not trusting them and seeing them as intruder's.
"Alright lad's and lassies, lets mount up and head out." Geras called out, swinging into the saddle of his green armoured elekk. The other knights rushed around, 3 of them mounting on elekk's armoured like Geras, while Aelnon and 4 others swung onto their Talbuks.
The squad left Shattrah, the smaller Talbuk riders having to slow down so that larger Elekk's would keep pace. "Aelnon, Cero, Masra." Geras called out, "Scout ahead for us, keep an eye out for any dangers on the path."
"Sir yes sir." The three chosen riders saluted then kicked their mounts and took off at a gallop. The three young draenei had become fast friends during their basic training and had been thrilled to be placed into the same squad of Knights. Many thought it strange that these three should be friends, as Masra and Cero were like night and day, with Aelnon playing the sun to them.
Cero was short for male, only 6 and half feet, but he was massive, nearly 5 feet at the shoulders. He was also different in that he had no hair, face tendrils, or horns, but considering his size, very few ever made fun of him for it. His eyes were a dark grey, looking like storm clouds when he was angered, he was also dour and serious, but fit well with his two friends. His weapon of choice was a long blade and shield, having no real skill with the massive two-hander used by most of the Knights of the Hand.
Masra was a massive male, almost 9 feet tall, but he was lanky, will long arms and thin spider-like fingers. His eyes were a clear blue, and he had four long thin face tendrils, with a pair of slim tapered horns arching off the top of his head. He smiled often, and had a wicked sense of humour, especially when he was talking to Cero. Masra's weapon of choice was a massive two handed broadsword, which he was incredibly skilled with.
"So, our first true mission as a squad is to deal with Arakkoa raiders eh? What do you think Cero, will they run in fear or fight?" Masra asked, a wide smile playing over lips as he looked back at the smaller draenei. "What do you mean Masra?" Cero asked, a suspicious look on his face. "Well when they see you my friend, they'll run in fear from the tiny draenei." Laughing, Masra kicked his heels into the side of the Talbuk and galloped off.
"Masra, Cero, enough!" Aelnon called, humour and impatience playing on her face. "Captain Geras sent us ahead for a reason, now focus on that.......Masra look out!" She yelled.
The tall draenei turned to the front and was struck full in face by a low hanging branch. He was knocked off his Talbuk and lay on the ground, stunned and dazed. Cero, chuckling with low laughter, reined his talbuk along side his fallen friend and hopped off. He placed his hands on the temples of Masra and called the Light, healing the damage.
"Watch where your going sproutling, your so far up in the air even the tree's think your one of the them." Aelnon laughed as she went past them to recover Masra's talbuk. The animal hadn’t gone far, and she reached over grabbed the reins, and pulled it back to the others. "Your mount my friend. Let's head back to the squad, we've scouted far enough."
They waited while Masra remounted, his standard smile on his face as he did so, then the friends turned and headed back. Unseen by them, a pair of dark red eyes watched as they galloped off.
The rest of the journey to Auchindoun was uneventful, with no more problems or accidents. The Knight's got off their mounts and left them in the stables on the upper level of the giant mausoleum.
"Welcome Knight's of the Hand, I am Ramdor, leader of the Guardians of the Dead, and watcher's over the Crypts." The Draenei was clothed simply in robes, with a bald and horn free head and just two simple face tendrils.
"We are glad to be here to assist you Ramdor." Geras said, bowing low. "These are my Knight squad, they'll be assisting with figuring out what is going on." Turning to the squad he assigned them groups and sent them off to patrol around the massive building.
As usual, Cero, Masra and Aelnon were grouped up, and they were given the job to patrol the eastern side of mausoleum. They took off, keeping their weapons close at hand and scanning the area for any threats.
"So is this some of the life changing work we were promised, or is it just busy work?" Masra asked to no one, kicking a stone and launching it fairly far from them. Cero just grumbled and didn’t answer, but Aelnon answered anyways. "It's good work, besides, maybe we'll find some traces that the Guardians missed, after all, for all their titles they are just grave tenders."
"Suppose so, milady." Masra answered, and ducked as Aelnon took a swing at him, as she hated that nickname.
Cero suddenly stopped and held out his arms, causing the other to halt and drop into combat crouches. "What's wrong?" Aelnon asked, scanning the area around them. "That." Cero answered shortly, pointing to the ground in front of them. The others looked and saw what had made the short draenei stop; a body half buried in the ground.
"Masra, your the fastest of us, go get the Captain or one of the Guardians now. Cero, your good with spells, put that thing in a bubble so it doesn’t break apart when we try to move it." Aelnon said, and the other two quickly did as she said. It had been like this for their entire relationship; Aelnon in command the other two following her. Cero finished the Bubble and squatted down beside it, keeping one hand on it to keep it in place. Aelnon stood over him, her hammer ready just in case, she knew that just because it looked quiet, didn’t mean it wasn’t.
After about 5 minutes they heard the sounds of running feet and looked up as Geras, Ramdor and 5 other draenei's wearing the armour of the Guardians. Cero stood up, and he and Aelnon snapped off salutes. "Sir we found this." Aelnon pointed at the dead body in the bubble.
"What in the world?" Ramdor said, leaning over to look at it. "This is an Arakkoa. What's it doing here?" He looked at the other Guardians, who stepped forward and grabbed the bubble. "We'll take it inside and figure out why its here."
They moved off, carefully holding the body steady to keep it from falling apart. The Knight's watched it go, and Aelnon felt a chill go up her back. She looked out into the field and could have sworn something was watching them.
It was nearing sundown, and they still hadn't received any information from the Guardians about the dead Arakkoa. Geras set up a night watch, giving Aelnon and Alara midnight watch, knowing that these two would be best suited for it; Alara had superb night vision and Aelnon's senses were as sharp as one of the wolf companions the Orc's used.
At night time the Auchindoun was sealed up except for the northern entrance, the one facing Shattrah in case someone died during the night and they needed to get the body here quickly. The two female draenei's were placed on guard duty there, with the normal Guardians who would be at this post, patrolling within the maze of tunnels instead.
Aelnon looked over at her fellow sentry, and wondered why she had joined up with the Knights. The young Draenei, only in her 1500th year, was the youngest knight currently, and if the rumour's were true, she had been the daughter of a Priestess of the Light, hated the life and ran away to the Hand instead. Aelnon didn’t find that hard to believe as the pole arm the young woman used was incredibly intricate, with a runes and pictographs all along the shaft and strengthening spells woven into it. Those were hard to get a hold and off and usually just reserved for the priest class.
Still, Aelnon wouldn’t say anything, knowing the younger draenei would open up when she was ready. Aelnon closed her eyes and reached out with her sense's, searching for anything that matched the feeling she had experienced earlier by the spot where they found the body. "Anything Ael?" Alara asked, her eyes scanning the darkness.
"No, nothing my comrade." Aelnon answered, a little put off by Alara using the short form of her name. "But that doesn’t mean there wont be any trouble." Aelnon dropped into a seated position, "Keep watch for me Alara, going to try something I usually only do while in protective wards." The other draenei nodded, and unlimbered her pole arm.
Aelnon dropped into a trance and sent her mind outwards, scanning for any dark energy or threats. She moved around the Auchindoun in this spirit form, seeing things as they truly were, either covered in Light, or Darkness, depending on what she touched. Surprisingly, there was little corruption here, only a few spots of blight, marking some type of rogue creature; either an insane animal, a hurt tree or a creature of some evil that shouldn’t be here. As her mind expanded outwards, she passed through the ruins of the Bleeding Hollow village where she had done her first solo mission, and was pleased to sense Orc's, their aura's glowing with white light, recovering the place.
She circled around the forest and nearly cried out in pain as she passed over a giant place of blight. It was a seething circle of energy and within it....... *CRACK!* Aelnon's eyes snapped open, her hand going to her mace as she was struck hard in the face. "Aelnon, stop don’t!" Alara called to her and the young paladin stopped, regaining control.
"Why did you strike me Alara?" Aelnon asked, barely hidden rage in her voice. "Because, you had stopped breathing my friend and nothing I said was bringing you back." The other answered, a worried look on her young face.
"Then you did the right thing comrade. Whatever I found there, was dangerous, it would have killed me if you hadn’t woken me. Thank you." Aelnon said, standing up. "What now?" Alara asked, still keeping her distance from the other draenei, worried she was going to be struck. "We go wake up the captain and Ramdor and tell them about the Blight spot." The two Draenei entered the Auchindoun, and told the first patrolling guards to head to the door to keep watch.
"So that’s the whole story sir," Aelnon said to Geras about 30 minutes later, after rousing her commanding officer and the leader of the Guardians. "Whatever is in that Blight spot is attempting something evil, and it feels like the same energy I felt earlier today near that body."
"Are her power's creditable Captain?" Ramdor asked, looking at Geras. "Yes they are, she has been trained by several members of the Hand as well as a few priest in the use. She is completely reliable." The captain answered, smiling over at his recruit.
"So what do you suggest we do captain?" the Guardian leader looks tired and ancient by the light of the brazier. "In the morning, my squad will head for this Blight spot, while we do that, you send your fastest runners to Shattrah to warn them to send reinforcements. I’m hoping we wont need them, but better safe then sorry." Geras answered.
"Go get some sleep Aelnon, Alara, we'll wake you at sunrise to head out and deal with this problem." He said to the girls, pointing off to where the Knight's were sleeping. "Yes sir, right away." The two draenei turned and left, closing the door behind them.
"Was it really that bad Ael?" Alara asked in a small voice. Aelnon looked over intending to tell the cadet off for using her short form of the name, but stopped before the word was even formed. Alara was shaking with fear, running her hand up and down the shaft of her pole arm like she was trying to draw courage from it. *She's scared out of her wits* Aelnon thought, and for a moment Alara reminded her of Shendra, her younger sister.
"It was bad Alara, but don’t worry, between the Captain and all of us, were going to be able to deal with this thing, I’m sure of it." She reassured the younger draenei, patting her lightly on the shoulder. "Now lets get some rest my friend, and in the morning we go to destroy that evil is ruining our landscape yeah?" She smiled her most winning smile and was glad to get a grin back.
Morning came too soon for the Knights, who armoured up, checked their weapons and prepared to move out. Geras summarized what he had been told by Aelnon, and made perfectly clear to everyone that they would be working together as a team to deal with the threat. Before the group set out, they waited for the Guardian runners to leave, just to make sure that Shattrah would be warned.
"Alright lads and lasses, lets go!" Geras called out and took off, loping across the grasslands, followed by the rest of the squad. Aelnon, Cero and Masra ran point, with Alara in the middle, and Geras taking rear guard. The squad moved quickly, reaching the Blight spot after only an hour of running.
"Weapons out, eyes and ear sharp my students. Do not engage anything on your own, stick together and be safe." Geras said, as they pushed through the foliage at the edge of the grasslands and into the thicker forest. As they stepped into the clearing, the sight that met there eyes was staggering; dozens of bodies all over the place, Arakkoa Draenei Orc animal Ogre even a massive Gronn in the center of a circle. Aelnon and Cero kept their cool, but others of the group, Masra included threw up, unused to such carnage.
Geras stared in shock for a moment, then hearing a sound, spun and before he could react was blasted by a black orb of power. "We're under attack!" Aelnon cried out her hammer held in low defense position. Cero charged over to their captain and covered them both with his shield as he began to heal the captain of the nasty wound in his chest.
"Stay on your guard my comrades!" Aelnon called out, but it was too late as three more shadow blast erupted from the underbrush and struck several of the other recruits, sending them flying. She heard an ominous crack as one of the males struck a tree head first and dropped to the ground boneless. *Blasted void, we're down one already.* She tried to focus on the aura of the blight but the stench was everywhere.
There was an a strange crackling sound from the spot where the shadow bolts had come from, and an unearthly tongue was squawked by a strange voice. With an explosion of power, a creature burst from the forest. Aelnon felt her blood freeze as she started at it; all the bodies suddenly made sense as this.....this thing trundled towards them. The monster was stitched together of parts of others; its had the legs of a draenei, strong and powerful ending in the deadly hooves, the body was that of an ogre barrel shaped and massive muscled, the arms were orc think and sinewy with muscles bulging, and the head was the Gronn's, the one eye staring sightlessly as it moved into the clearing.
"Spread out, anyone fast use hit and run tactics. Cero, your the best of us when it comes to healing, try to stay out of the battle. The rest of us, blitz it, try to keep it off balance." Aelnon yelled, charging forward and swinging her hammer at the creatures legs, trying to hit it in the knees. But the creature was faster, blocking the blow with one giant hand, then on the follow through, cracked her in the stomach and sent her flying.
The beast took one step towards her, making a strange howling noise, which suddenly changed to a painful sounds as she saw Masra slice it hard across the back. It turned, and swung at him, but he had already moved. Another of the recruits skipped forward, her thick mace cracking down on its legs but doing only small damage. Howling it turned on her, and brought both hands down in a hammer blow that she just barely avoided.
Aelnon forced herself up, her head throbbing with pain and held out her hand to make her hammer fly back to it. She charged forward, swing the weapon over her head and dodging the hands, struck it hard in the chest, hearing the sound of something breaking. She skipped away from it as it lunged at her, the beast making that pained noise again.
Howling, the monster swung its arms out, trying to hit everyone it could, but the recruits dodged the strikes, then with battle cries of their own, dog piled onto it. The beast fell with 6 Draenei Knights forcing it down, hacking slashing and striking it everywhere they could.
Screaming it knocked them off, and standing up, they saw it favouring it's right arm and left . "You can see where to strike! For the Light! For the Naaru! LETS TAKE IT DOWN!" Aelnon called out, bringing her hammer down hard on its arm, again they heard the cracking sound and the beast screeched. Next Masra charged in, his blade flashing as he cut the beast's arm off at the elbow. Two of the other recruits hit it from behind, the one using her mace to collapse the leg, the other slicing through it with a broad axe and kicking the limb aside. Shrieking still the beast turned its blind eye towards them and Alara, with a war cry, drove her pole arm’s blade into the beast's eye and out the back of the head.
With an explosive screech, an Arakkoa burst out of the shadows from where the beast had come from. The bird man threw spells in every direction, causing the Knights to scatter. Still screaming the arakkoa stood by the body of the creature and began to cast a spell.
"NO! Its going to revive....." Aelnon's was cut off as a Hammer of Light flew past them and slammed into the Arakkoa wizard's head with a gut wrenching crack. The creature had a shocked look on its face as it dropped, its head split open like a melon.
The Knights turned and saw Cero holding up Geras, the elder paladin's hand still glowing with a white light. "Is everyone all right?" The captain asked, sounding winded as he eased himself up to his feet.
"No sir, I’m afraid not," Aelnon said, looking over at the corpse of their fellow recruit who had been thrown into the tree. She saw a brief flash of pain go across Geras face before it cleared. "Wrap him in our cloaks and lets take him back to Auchindoun, they'll deal with his body there."
It was a subdued group as they carefully wrapped the body up, then Aelnon, Alara, Cero and Masra each took a piece and lifted him up and carried him off.
Three days after the battle, and one day after their fellow recruit was buried, the squad watched as several Priests and Priestess of the Naaru dealt with the blight area. The bodies there were too seeped in corruption to risk burying, so they burned the entire clearing with cleansing fire.
It has turned out the Arakkoa had found an ancient stone, and somehow, in a way unknown even to the high ranking member of the Hand who had shown up to assist them, the stone had ensnared the bird man's mind and forced him to create the dark circle and the golem creature out of the living beings it had killed and dragged here. It had been intending to attack Auchindoun to claim the dead bodies there and use them to create more of these strange flesh golems.
The magic was ancient and evil, and with the combined powers of all the paladins there, they destroyed it. As the stone cracked and shattered, they saw an evil shadow leave it and vanish into the air.
"Is it over sir?" Alara asked, staring at where the shadow had been. "It appears to be." Geras answered shortly. "Alright squad, our mission is over, we've dealt with the darkness here.....and buried our friend. Let's return to Shattrah for some well deserved rest."
The group left the Auchindoun, feeling sober and sadden by their lost, but also gladden they had defeated such an ancient evil.
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