A story by Nirofen Litfuse.
Episode 1 Edit
A mounted gnome was riding his mechanostrider quickly through the streets of Ironforge this morning. His name was Brendo Fizwidget, or at least, that's the name people knew him by. He wore a large, wide leather hat that covered most of his face, making him barely recognizable as he was riding in a hurry. After a few minutes of riding he finally stopped near Bruuk's corner, the most popular tavern in the Millitary Ward, shutting down his strider and jumping down. He lifted his hat a bit, revealing large hazel eyes and a great white beard before pushing the heavy metal door and entering the tavern.
"Colonel Ironboot!" he said whole heartedly, approaching a dwarf in millitary uniform, "How are you my dear friend?". "Ah'm good ah think, accept fer the sleep illness" replied the dwarf from under his long, deep brown beard. "Yes, I know what you mean, with all the infected food I can't but cheese in Stormwind anymore, great business damage.", the colonel nodded at the gnome but didn't seem to really understand. "Care for a drink my good man?", "ney, ah'm still on duty" the dwarf refused and they both walked towards a main table and sat besides each other.
"Ah guess this is abaht yer letter Mr. Fizwidget?" asked Ironboot, his first name was Angst, as he turned his eyes to the nodding merchant. "Yes, I heard you lead a force to deal with undead in Duskwood and I wondered if I could help, old friend. You know, supplies and such". The dwarf smiled in turn and pat the little gnome on the head "aye, that wood be useful laddy, glad to 'ave a friend like ye around". Although he seemed bothered with the pat, the old gnome smiled in turn. "So tell me, what should I bring? When? Where?" the gnome asked, "Ah'm sorry lad, but the council meetings 'ave te approve everything first, ah can't tell ye anything yet...But ah'll send ye all the details when ah know 'em", the gnome nodded with an understanding but rather disappointed look at his comrade.
"I see, but just one more thing. Can I bring a few personal mercenariness with me? I've been robbed one too many times down there and I can't have you worrying about both me and my caravan." he asked, trying to sound as polite and nice as he could. The dwarf nodded and smiled "aye, yer right Mr. Fizwidget, ah'll allow ye te bring yer men, just not too many", "thank you very much, my good friend".
The merchant got up from his chair and patted the colonel's walking bomb, if it was alive he could've sworn it seemed nervous at his presance. They both traded salutes and the gnome walked slowly toward the exit. "It's a pleasure working with you my dear friend, farewell colonel." Brendo said just before closing the metal door behind him and heading towards Tinker Town on his strider.
Episode 2 Edit
Just a few hours before the merchant and colonel's meeting at Ironforge, another meeting was held in the dirty and infamous city of Booty Bay. The human baron, dressed in crimson robes and hood quietly entered the Salty Sailor tavern. The man slowly approached the innkeeper, nothing but his chin seen in the dim candle light, "I am here for Litfuse". The goblin raised his head, a large grin spread on his face as he pointed towards the second floor. The baron slowly climbed the steps, coughing at the smell of tobacco smoke.
"Over here, initiate" said a short figure, wearing leather armor coloured in black and purple, the upper part of his face was covered with a mask, leaving only his beard and mouth seen. He took one last deep breath of his pipe before pulling the mask over his lower face as well as the man in red took a seat beside him. "Evening, Litfuse, I came as quickly as I could" the man said, waiting for the figure to nod before before speaking again. "I believe you wanted me to report to you about what happens in the council, what did you have in mind?" "Please, tell me of the efforts in Duskwood, I heard the dear colonel Ironboot is involved" replied the gnome with a high-pitched yet cold voice.
"Ah yes, it seems the mountaineers would lead a war effort against the undead in Duskwood together with Starlight, Silver Sun, and other mercenary bands looking to join the council" the man spoke quickly. "I have used Baron Vardus to suggest a whole sweep of the area, the mountaineers seemed quite sure of themselves although they still don't know what exactly to do". The gnome started chuckling from under his hood "yes, dwarves tend to be so...Quick to act, rushing things, just charging in. Makes it easy to guide them in the correct way".
The baron chuckled in turn "I agree, I would even call them hot-headed. So, what do you want me to...suggest to them?", the gnome paused, thinking for a minute before answering. "We want to keep them as busy as we can for a long time, have their supplies dwindle and make them ill-prepared for a strike. I want you to convince them this time they must turn every stone in Duskwood in search for undead, knowing them they won't retreat if they made it a goal". The man in red interrupted the gnome for a moment "And what about Darkshire? And the Nightwatch? I could make the dwarves co-operate with them". The gnome smiled from under his hood "A good idea, initiate, throwing the town into chaos and fear, making them sort communications with each other, and of course extra work. All will delay the force...That's all I think".
The man in red started to get up but almost immediately returned to his wooden chair "I almost forgot sir, it seems mercenary bands use this as an excuse to gain the council's recognition, it might be useful...". The gnome stopped him "yes, I am aware of that and will make good use of your knowledge, don't worry, a word of your efforts will reach the high council." he said before jumping out of his chair and heading towards the exit "Dissmissed".
"Wait" the human shouted at the gnome "what about the colonel". "Don't worry about that initiate, I will send someone to deal with him" said Litfuse, a slight hint of a giggle in his voice. After exiting the pub the gnome slowly walked the streets of Booty Bay, watching as the sun was about to rise above the hills to the east. He strode slowly, breathing the warm ocean air and listening to the sound of the planks squeak in response to his weight. Finally he stopped to enter a shop in the main street, the first rays of the sun has already touched the houses and people were about to wake up by now. Looking carefully to his sides he entered a key to the front door and entered the shop, taking a look at the front sign before locking the door behind him. The sign read "Fizwidget's Exotic Cheese".
Episode 3 Edit
Duskwood was known by many as a place of evil, and Nirofen was now walking to the darkest corner of this vile forest. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he hated this place. The trees, the wind, the land. Somehow, they all made him feel how old he was. Nirofen quickly shook the feeling off of his bones quickly before entering the abandoned city hall. Inside two figures with white hair and violet robes awaited, the right one spoke in an elven voice "Evening Litfuse, the senate eagerly awaits your report".
Nirofen tried to take a seat on an old chair but it collapsed under him, the termites in this town were certainly working hard. "Yes, it is concerning this very place, actually" said the gnome, hopping on a stable looking table to take a seat. "You see, from what our sources in the council tell a special force, spearheaded by Angst Ironboot but including many of our old enemies decided it's time to purge the undead of Duskwood" he spoke with a low voice. "A foolish effort but it may very well hurt our opportunities to find weak spots in to attack from, the undead here are such a wonderful diversion" said the left figure with a sweet, venomous tone. This person always gave Nirofen a chill, but he got somewhat used to it.
"I agree with Sad'dai, do you have any plans Litfuse?", the elf peered at the small rogue. "In fact, I do, I ordered our men at the council to suggest a full sweep and cooperation with the night watch to make sure they waste as much time as possible helping citizens and patrolling the woods." he explained. "Obviously we can't pull attention to ourselves by making any frontal assault but by making the effort long and tiring, they would be extremely reliant on supplies.", the gnome finally smiled. "and furthermore, someone I know is in charge of the supply caravan".
The figure to the right shook her head "no, destroying all supply routes might seem too odd and they will cancel the effort, they will come prepared." After nodding and some seconds of thinking Nirofen spoke once more "what about the farmers?". The figure to the left looked interested "explain, Litfuse."
"Well you see" the rogue spoke with uncertainty "the farmers are now stocking all their food supplies to hold through the effort and the winter, but if something were to happen to all their food stocks..." The two figures looked at each other and smiled "excellent!" the right one started "the farmers would need supplies desperately while the Mountaineers still get them, a riot of angry farmers would be arranged swiftly!". "Not to mention that shooting the poor farmers would cause a severe political backlash" said the left figure with some sort of sick joy.
"Excellent work, Litfuse" said the elven voice. "You have the senates full support in this operation and we'll leave the matters to your own hands. We expect reports of further developments". Nodding, the left figure started walking towards the exit "well, I must be off, you did well Litfuse" she said while petting him. The elf spoke for the last time loudly in a sense of victory "Death, Destiny, Balance." "Honour them all" the other two embraced answered before the figures vanished into the shadows, leaving Nirofen alone. While a mixture of nervousness, excitment, and pride swirled within him Nirofen took out his guild stone and spoke inside "brotherhood, I have a job for you!". He always wanted to say that.
Episode 4 Edit
"Everyone settle down!" shouted the chairman "Please just be quiet for a moment". The main hall of the Westbrook Garrison's stone walls echoed with the sounds of a few hundred listeners talk about the meeting that was about to take place. "Gentelmen please, we have important agenda.." begged the chairman only to be interrupted by a delegate. "SILENCE" screamed a gnome with a high-pitched, ear splitting voice and the whispering finally stopped. "Thank you, mr. Litfuse." the chairman looked at an old gnome, his face twisted from folds of age and anger.
"So we're finally ready to start, miss Bellis Monroe, please fill us on the details" the baron turned to a pink haired gnome girl "thank you chairman". "So we will be stationed at three different posts" said the girl softly while spreading a map of Duskwood on the main table. "Raven Hill town square, the crossroads, and Darkshire." the gnome who screamed before climbed on the table to look at the map. "We will be stationed in the three places from nineteen zero zero each day from Monday on until we secure the area. Darkshire is the main base".
"So soon?" asked the chairman as all the eyes were directed at him. "I know the matter is urgent but you informed us but two days before, that means we will be slightly ill-prepared." Whispering sounds started to spread in the hall again. "And what about the peasants?" the ugly gnome rose again with his hideous voice. "The winter is coming and there are supply shortages. If you start razing the place with war before the people are prepared you will create a riot!". Mumblings started to plague the hall and the mountaineer girl nodded in agreement.
"Fine, we will set foot on Monday as planned and will help evacuate the people and their supplies for two days. The war effort will begin Wednesday." A small glimpse of hope sparked in the baron's eyes and he gave the gnome a grateful look, although he didn't notice. "All in favor of the new plan, to my right, all against, to my left." The various delegates moved and the new plan was accepted with a huge favor. A grin of victory spread across the chairman's face. He barely paid attention during the rest of the meeting as his mind was overflown with excitement and stress. After the meeting was finally over he sat in his chair and took a deep breath, but there was no time to rest. He earned some time, but not much, the embrace needed to be informed, and it seemed they needed allies.
Episode 5 Edit
It was only two days after the council meeting and the taskforce was already marching Duskwood. The supply manager, a merchant known as Mr. Fizwidget, was assigned to the base in Raven Hill. The colonel's orders were clear: prepare the base and evacuate every civilian you find. They were just starting to unpack the ammo crates inside the town inn to prepare for a siege on the cemetery. Brendo Fizwidget looked on the ruined inn as he unpacked supply crates from his wagon. The very same inn where the embrace consul met Nirofen just a week ago. However, that consul was already far away to the north, in the dead woods of Silverpine.
The consul was riding her Talbuk through between the trees. All the leaves were still on the trees and roses covered the ground. Yet somehow, they all felt lifeless. Like the once living trees were drained into empty shells made of stone and steel. Lonely in the woods there stood a house. Smoke rose from it's top and it was clean, yet no life were to be found inside. The consul rested her talbuk besides the other horses in the stable. Although these horses were nothing but bones. Slowly, she knocked on the door and a walking corpse, covered in black house robes and a foul odor, welcomed her in. "Welcome to my house, consul" the corpse bowed after closing the door. "Thank you very much for your kind hosting, Mrs. Underwood" she bowed back.
"Come in, have a seat, feel free to try the food. I am always happy to have business with the Faith and her followers" welcomed the forsaken priestess. The consul sat at the table but refrained from the various dishes that seemed to be covered with parasites. "I'll get straight to the point, Mrs. Underwood. This is concerning a place of common interest, Duskwood." Underwood sat in front of her guest and nodded. "This is a place where you can find a home and a strategic position for us. But it seems the dwarves have an effort to reclaim that land. Led by one with a mechanical eye and a walking bomb". "Yes, I know them very well. Those dwarves keep finding their way into my kitchen" cackled the corpse.
"So what would you ask of me, honorable consul?" she asked with a sudden serious tone. "if the dwarves succeed it would pose problems to both of us. We have men on the inside causing sabotage but it would seem suspicious if anyone but the undead would be their demise.", the consuls tone slithered through the room. "So you want me to have my boys dispose of the dwarves for you" said Esme at the consul. After a nod she continued "And I suppose you come offering more to the deal then a strategic point and an all you can eat dwarf buffet?". Underwood smiled while picking her teeth with a talon. "Yes, our main trade is information and manipulation. Surely you have something you want in mind?" asked the consul, hoping. "Well, yes, there is one thing you can help me take care off..."
The two priestesses of shadow continued their conversation, exchanging ideas of the matters in Duskwood and the pay for the help. Many minutes passed until all the details were made but eventually, the plan was set. "I like the way you think, consul. You have a deal. Just don't forget to do what we agreed on in turn." smiled Underwood. "Of course Mrs. Underwood, it shall be done." the consul said as she rose from her seat and bowed. "It's a pleasure doing business with the Faith's people. I am looking forward to inviting you again. Embrace the shadows" the corpse bowed for the last time at the consul who nodded in pleased agreement. The consul mounted her Talbuk once more after exiting and set back into the woods. "So everything is set, all in perfect motion in our chosen direction. And it will only be a week from now" thought the consul while smiling at the gray sky above her.