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Viscar

What's found in Northrend

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As the patrol neared Wintergarde their mood improved with the promise of hot baths and warm beds becoming more certain.

"What's found in Northrend stays in Northrend!" declared Corporal Tinkerbolt. The patrol unit's engineer pulled an arclight spanner from his belt and pointed it at Corporal Redbeard in faux-menace. The erratic motion of his mechanical mount bounced him around, but the spanner remained firmly pointed at the dwarf.

Corporal Redbeard frowned and nodded seriously. "Aye, lad, it'll be spent on some beer." The dwarf paused, and then his face cracked into a wide grin and he laughed "..and pissed out inta da snow, Ah promise!"

The laughter of the group slowed and was lost in a gust of cold wind and snow flurries as their scout burst into sight ahead, his giant cat closing the distance in what seemed to be only a few graceful strides.

The night elf's voice was calm but the slight drawing of his eyebrows together did not go unnoticed. "There is something ahead. It appears to be a casualty. It may still be alive." His shoulders shrugged slightly. "It may be a trap. Follow me." The elf turned his cat and the unit quickened their pace.

The unit approached the dark figure sprawled in the snow silently. A hand signal from the captain scattered the group, leaving only the warrior and the paladin to approach the bundle of clothing directly. Both drew their weapons and with assurance from the nods made in the shadows around them, the paladin kneeled and turned the figure over.

"Is he alive, Martonn?" The warrior captain kept his eyes on his surroundings. Martonn removed a glove and placed it under the human's neck.

"Yes, his pulse is low, but, let me try.." The paladin bowed his head for a second, mumbling a quick prayer before placing his hand on the man's brow. A brief glow surrounded his hand that grew, surrounding the victim's head and further around his entire body before the paladin pulled back his hand.

The body coughed and rolled onto it's side. It attempted to curl into a fetal position but was stopped by a sudden spasm and it cried out in pain.

"Here, drink..." the paladin poured a small stream of water over the lips of the man, who sputtered and turned his face away, coughing blood into the snow. Martonn put the canteen away, and uttered another prayer for the fallen. "It is as much as I can do, for now, Captain. We should get him to Wintergarde where the clerics can give him their full attention."

The captain's eyes searched the landscape again, still looking for scourge or even Horde attackers. "Very well, you'll have to carry him on your horse. Let's get out of here, we're too close to Venomspite for my comfort."

The unit converged and remounted, their conversations hushed and unsure as they continued their way home with their unknown ward.

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Paladin Martonn carefully dismounted, one hand stabilizing the injured man to keep him from toppling off the horse. Once he had two feet on the ground, with a small pull he managed to catch him and spin him into a semi-upright position. The man's face was swollen and pustuled, his graying mustache and goatee a stubbled mess of roots that still smelled of burnt hair. Martonn wrapped one of the man's arms around his shoulder and dragged him into the small inn that sometimes served as a medic station when needed.

The innkeeper was an elderly woman by the name of Dauleen. When she saw Martonn and his burden she placed her broom against a chair and waved him towards her. "I gotta room offta the side ovah here, bring 'im this way." Martonn shrugged his shoulders, adjusting the man's weight closer and followed Dauleen into the small bedroom.

Dauleen pushed some quick-light under the kindling and logs already waiting in the room's fireplace and with a few deft strikes of flint had the beginnings of a fire started. Over her shoulder she watched Martonn bring him into the room, dropping him onto the small bed. "You'll needta clean that one up before tossin' him under tha linens." She squinted her eyes at him. "Don't recognize him, from the village, or..?"

Marten shook his head and collapsed into a chair near the bed. "Found him up behind Venomspite. Not sure where he's from, but hopefully we can get him patched up and he can let us know."

Dauleen frowned, turning her gaze back to the fire. She grabbed the poker and pushed some of the lit kindling closer to the smaller bits of wood. "You think he's one o' them Scarlet maddies? You'll need ta put up a guard here, if'n he is, don't want the place ruckus'd up, ya know."

Marten returned the frown. "His clothes don't look it, and we didn't find any insignia's. Would help explain how a lone man would be out in the middle of nowhere though." He sighed and pushed himself up to standing. "Course, with all the mercs and would-be heroes coming through here anymore, could just be one of them."

"I'll bring ya a pail o' hot water and some towels and fresh bandage cloth to clean 'im up." she said, moving from the fireplace to the door of the room.

"Thanks, Dauleen, may the Light bless you." he replied, carefully pulling one of the injured man's arms out of its coat sleeve. Under his breath he whispered, "and bless you too, stranger."

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Cleric Canvimus exhaled, her frame shrinking as the Light withdrew from her. Her head tilted forward for a moment, then she stood, straight, her eyes opening slowly, and she inhaled deeply.

"It is all I can do for him," she said, taking a step back from the bed.

Martonn nodded. "Thank you, Sister." He glanced over at the stranger. "He seems to be resting easier now, perhaps he'll wake soon."

"Perhaps. Perhaps your riddle will be solved soon, Brother."

"We can only hope, Sister. We can only hope."

====================

Dauleen peered into the room before quietly stepping into it with the bundle of wood she'd brought for the fire. The paladin was asleep in his chair, a dark woolen blanket wrapped around him. And the stranger, she glanced over to him, his eyes were fixed on her.

"Who..are you?" his voice was raspy, thin.

Dauleen jumped despite herself.

"Oh, thank the Light. Martonn! Martonn, he's awake."

Martonn jerked to attention, the blanket falling to the floor as he stood up.

"Who...?" the stranger tried to speak again, his question lost as his body convulsed in a series of weak coughs.

"Oh, hey there, shhhh..shhh.." Martonn leaned over the bed, holding him down gently till the coughing subsided. "Dauleen, could you send word to Canvimus that he's awake?"

Dauleen nodded. "Of course, I'll go now."

"Thirsty? I have some water here..." Martonn crossed the room over to the dresser and the pitcher of water sitting on top of it and poured a glass. He turned and eyed the stranger before returning to the bed. "My name is Martonn. We found you in the pass not far from here, err, Wintergarde, in the snow, nearly dead. Could you tell me what happened to you, friend?"

Another round of coughs wracked the man. Martonn reached behind his head, holding it upright while he tipped the glass into the man's mouth, pouring a short stream of water in before gently laying his head back onto the pillow.

"I...I don't know. I don't...remember.." His voice slowed as sleep started to take over again.

"Your name...what's your name?" Martonn leaned in close and shook the man's shoulder briefly. His voice raised in frustration. "What's your name, friend?"

The stranger's eyes fluttered open for a moment, confused. "I..I don't remember."

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Martonn recognized the look on Cleric Canvimus' face. He wasn't even sure why he felt it was so important to know where the stranger had come from. "But Willem can barely walk, wouldn't it be better for him to stay here, with us?"

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, Martonn, there is nothing more I can do for the stranger. His lungs were nearly destroyed and he needs a warmer climate. I'm sending him to Stormwind where his body can recover and perhaps, with time, maybe his memories will return." She walked to the door and held it open for him. "Is there anything else that you need, Paladin?"

Martonn frowned and shook his head. "I think it's a mistake. I just have this feeling that there's something important about him, and it'd be better to keep him here in Northrend." He watched for a reaction from her, but found only the calm gaze of a priest who'd made up her mind. "Very well, I'll let him know of your decision." He bowed his head slightly in respect, and left for Dauleen's Inn.

=================

The stranger they had named "Willem" was sitting in the main room at the table closest to the fireplace. He smiled when he saw Martonn, but the blast of cold air coming in through the door caused him to start coughing. Martonn quickly closed the door behind him and walked over to where Willem was sitting. Willem crossed his arms across his chest as the coughing continued, holding his torso as still as he could until the attack subsided.

"Painful?" Martonn guessed, as he sat down in the seat opposite of Willem.

Willem nodded, his face scrunched up in pain. "Aye, I don't know what hurts worse, the burns or the way my body aches every time I have to cough." He reached for the cup in front of him. "The hot sansam tea helps though, thank you for the gift."

Martonn nodded and smiled. "My grandmother always made it for anyone in my family that caught the cold, I figured it might help you. So...any luck on remembering anything?"

The corner of his mustache twitched before he shook his head. "I see," his hands raised to his face and he spread his fingers wide, "images, in my mind, bits and pieces that I try to catch and hold onto, but the more I try to focus on any specific thing it slips away quickly into the darkness." His hands returned to the table, and he shrugged. "I think I might have a daughter, there is a girl's face that I see often, but again, it disappears when I try to focus on it. I also have flashes of priestly robes and scenes with candles and other, darker flashes of what I think are undead. I might have been captive, or maybe we had captured them? I'm not sure."

"The scourge do not take prisoners, and I cannot think why you would capture them. They are mindless and unredeemable," Martonn scoffed.

"Yes, I'm really not sure what it means."

Martonn stood and grabbed a poker next to the fireplace. With it he pulled the grill open and apart far enough to drop a fresh log onto the fire. Sparks shot up the chimney as he repositioned the fresh wood on top of the logs already there. He poked it a few more time to insure everything was solidly positioned before returning the poker to its stand and turning back to Willem.

"Cleric Canvimus is sending you to Stormwind, to complete your recovery there. I am to take you to Dalaran and the great mage portals there. One of the Brothers of the Light will take you to the Cathedral until you regain your memories or recover sufficiently."

"Stormwind. I, sort of remember it. Again, just flashes, and they seem pale in my mind. I think maybe I haven't been there in many, many years."

Martonn nodded. "Can you remember other cities, maybe? Goldshire, Lakeshire, Westfall?"

Willem shook his head, "I can see them on a map, but I don't remember anything about them..." He broke into a fresh round of coughs, again hugging himself until they eased up.

"You should rest, we will be travelling tomorrow, my friend." Martonn stood to leave, but paused at the door. "The girl, perhaps if you can remember her we could send word to her that her father lives and you would have someplace to go?"

Willem frowned. "Something tells me she has no wish to see me. She does not seem happy in my memories."

Martonn nodded. "But if we could find her, she could help you gain your memories back. When you reach Stormwind, find an artist to render up a picture of her, and perhaps someone will recognize her."

Willem smiled. "I will do that.

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"I'll be all right, Martonn." Willem grunted as the paladin tightened the belt around the layers of clothing and woolen coats the paladin had insisted he wear for the flight to Dalaran. "Really, do you want me to pass out on the gryphon from suffocation? I can barely breath under all of this weight."

Martonn chuckled and stepped back. "The gryphons are trained to fly specific paths, so you won't need to guide it. I'll be right behind you, should anything happen."

Willem looked over at the beast, but didn't move towards it. Instead, he frowned and shifted his weight to his left leg. "Are you sure it can carry both of us? It doesn't look...big enough."

Martonn slapped Willem on his upper arm and laughed. "They are stronger than you think. They carry draenei without a hitch, I think they can take me and a scrawny half dead stranger." Martonn winked and took the reigns from the gryphon master and mounted the creature. "Come, we don't want you out in this cold any longer than necessary, let's get flying." He held out his hand, which Willem took after a moments hesitation. The paladin grasped his forearm and pulled him up on the gryphon's front saddle.

The gryphon's wings opened up wide and swung down, capturing the air and pushing off into the sky. Willem grabbed the saddle as the muscles of the creature tightened and released. The sound of feathers and wind filled his ears. White noise and the rocking motion triggered an urge to sleep and something familiar, something just beyond the grasp of his memories. He turned his mind towards that feeling, and chased after it even as it disappeared around a corner. He tried to focus on the corner, to find his bearings, but then the image of someone slid past his peripheral vision. He turned, and saw her, her bright blue eyes accusing him of...something.

A blast of cold air and snow hit him from the side, and the gryphon rolled towards the sudden storm. Willem gripped the saddle tighter, unable to breath as his lungs emptied, but refused to refill. From behind him strong hands held his arms, steadying him against the forces trying to pull him off of the gryphon. He coughed, the burning in his lungs ignited again. He gasped, opening his mouth wide and forced his lungs to breath in the air, but it was rejected violently, his body coughing out the air before he could make use of it. Again he sucked in the air, his body suddenly awake and struggling for the air it needed, but the coughing took over. He could hear Martonn behind him yelling his name, but it wasn't really his name. Who was he anyway? He struggled, suddenly somewhere else, ropes binding his arms tightly to his torso.

"Let me go, you scourge loving traitors!" He screamed with what was left of his precious breath and passed out, slumping forward into the neck of the gryphon.

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(( Resurrecting this story, I've missed this character!))

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Whillem was warm, comfortable.  He could see that the light beyond his closed eyelids was muted, and the sharp smell of bleached clean linens filled his nose.  He took in a deep  breath and regretted it immediately.  Violently, his lungs fought against the exposure to fresh air, wracking his body.  Slowly, he found an equilibrium between sucking in enough oxygen to relieve the panic but not so large to force damaged lungs to itch.

He looked around his room.  It seemed a standard inn room, and from the not-so-muffled sounds of life outside his window, likely in Stormwind.  There was no one else around, but a fresh set of clothes and a soft white priest robe was set out for him.  A letter stood propped against a mug of water, addressed to "Whillem".  A brief feeling of vertigo hit him.  It wasn't his name.

But it was for him.

He drank some of the water, calming his itchy lungs.  He fiddled with the envelope, part of him not wanting to read it, and part of him desperate for an answer to a question, any question.

Quote

 

11/18/626

"Dear Whillem,

The priests in Dalaran were able to stabilize you after I got you there.  Nick of time, they said.  I stayed with you for another day but unfortunately the war against the Lich King isn't stopping for little old me, or you, for that matter.  You haven't woken yet, so I thought I'd leave this note for you.  They say they will transport you to Stormwind when they are able.  I do pray the warmer climate will give you relief and bring you back to full health, the Light willing.

I enjoyed our brief time together.  When you remember your story, please find me, and tell it to me.

Your friend,

Martonn."

 

He held the letter open, reading it over a second and third time.  His treacherous brain refused to let him remember anything before he met the man who took the time to write this letter.  He was grateful for the paladin's friendship, but it also left him feeling awkward.  Why would this man befriend a complete stranger? 

Whillem felt like this wasn't something he would have done if the roles had been reversed, which only frustrated him further.  Who was he?  Who was the girl?

A growl escaped his throat.

The fluid in his lungs reacted, sending him back into his bed to keep the spasms from throwing out his weakened back.  When they subsided again, he was too tired to stand again, and instead embraced the restless darkness of sleep.

 

 

 

Edited by Viscar

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12/12/626

Dear Martonn,

I apologize for not writing sooner.  It has been a difficult month, but my lungs have finally cleared up.  My body is still weak though.  Brother Joshua tells me I will likely be susceptible to pneumonia for the remainder of my days.  I can go on short walks now and that seems to help.

I have started training at the Northshire Abbey.  The training goes well, I think.  Gestures come naturally, but spoken spells still require some repetition before I can cast them reliably.  They are allowing me access to their amazing library here.  It is baffling both to the healers and to myself why I can remember some things, or, after reading about it, it’s as if a dark curtain in my mind is flung back and the knowledge and light floods in.  I really do believe I was a priest before I lost my memory, or at least spent some time training as such.  Time will tell if I continue to pick things up quickly.

The people here are in good cheer from the Winter Veil festival activities.  I have mostly avoided them, choosing to spend more time in the library.  I am desperate to know who I was, and the more I learn, the closer to the truth I feel myself getting.

I hope this letter finds you well.  We hear stories of the war, and I pray the Light keeps you safe.  I never thought to ask if you had family.

In the Light,

Whillem

 

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Edited by Viscar

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