((July Contest))) Dead Heroes

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((So sorry this is late!))


“….and that is why you should never try to milk a kodo!”   Loud, drunken laughter rang out at the long table in the Filthy Animal, where an old orc just finished his joke.  A Sindorei death knight female laughed along with them, happily clapping hands to cheer for the entertainment.  

“Catalinetta? Is that you?”  a female voice inquired, interrupting as Cat was about to take a drink of her whiskey.

The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but it had been a long time since Cat heard it, and she couldn’t place it.  Her pigtails bounced as she turned toward the owner of the voice and saw a pretty blonde elf woman.  Cat smiled, but it took her a moment to pull the name from her memories.  “Hi….Lyanae!”

Lyanae came from a family that was much richer than Cat’s, and she was never shy about letting Cat know that.  They knew each other briefly during Blood Knight training, but they weren’t exactly friends.  Lyanae, of course, wouldn’t lower herself to be friends with people who weren’t in the upper circles of society.   Now Lyanae was dressed in plate armor that was mostly gold with red trim, a Blood Knight’s armor.  Cat wanted to be a Blood Knight, but she had died before her training was complete, and her life took a very different path than she ever imagined.  Now she was a Death Knight, and not very happy about being undead.

“It’s so good to see you! How’ve you been?” Cat asked sociably.  Lyanae’s snobbishness toward her was a long time ago.  Surely a Blood Knight would have long ago let go of such pettiness, especially with what was going on in the world now.  There were much more urgent matters than how much gold someone’s family had.

“Wonderful,” Lyanae said without much expression.  Her fel green eyes looked Cat up and down as if she were a dirty bum off the streets.  Her lip curled in distaste.  “Much better than you by the looks of things.  I didn’t die.”

Cat hid a frown and smiled again instead.  “It’s okay.  I can still do almost everything I did before.  And more, actually.  I work with a group called Sanctuary now.  They help a lot of people and try to make peace between the Horde and Aliance, so I’m doing okay.”

“I’ve heard of Sanctuary and their deeds.  Still trying to be a hero, are you, Cat?” Lyanae asked.  Her tone held the perfect balance of friendly interest and cruel teasing, so Cat couldn’t be sure of her intent.  

“Sanctuary helps a lot of people,” Cat explains, deciding to give the other woman the benefit of the doubt.  “Can I buy you a drink?  The whiskey’s good here.”   As if to prove it, she lifted her glass toward Lyanae in a one-sided toast and took a drink.

“Can you even taste that?  I mean, you’re dead, right?”  Again that balanced tone as Lyanae looked the death knight up and down again.  “Does your body even still work normally?”

Catalinetta decided to change the subject, not wanting to talk about her state of undeath.  “Are you out here to fight the Legion?” That was a stupid question, she thought as soon as the words were out of her mouth.  Why else would a Blood Knight be here?

“No, I’m here for the fancy parties,” Lyanae said with a roll of her eyes, gesturing to the rugged interior of the Filthy Animal.  “Of course I’m here to fight the Legion.  Why else would I be here?  Why are you here?”

“Sanctuary is fighting against the Legion too, so I’m here with them.  They have-“. Cat was interrupted by a scream outside followed by sounds of combat.  

Cat and Lyanae both rushed outside to find a rogue felguard in the street.  It wasn’t the first Cat had seen in Dalaran, but it made no sense.  Why would the Legion send one demon into a city full of mages and combat-seeking adventurers?   A few such adventurers were in battle with the demon while civilians scurried up the stone stairs next to the Filthy Animal’s entrance.  Cat and Lyanae joined in the battle.

Just as the demon was bringing a giant sword down at a troll’s head, a bubble of Light encircled him, thanks to Lyanae.  The troll dodged to the side, and the demon’s sword glanced off the bubble.  Once the troll was clear, Cat caused the ground under the demon to bubble and rot, infecting the demon’s feet.  The disease spread slowly but steadily up its legs.

A few totems lay scattered on the ground just a few feet away, with an older orc laying on the ground among them.  He was still breathing, but barely.  While Cat continued to assault the demon with rot and deadly diseases, Lyanae healed the orc shaman.  Finally, after Cat’s continued attacks, along with some blows by the other adventurers involved in the battle, the demon staggered and fell.   

Cat moved in with her runesword drawn to finish it off.  Just as she was about to strike at the demon’s neck, a golden hammer nudged her sword aside.  She looked up in time to see Lyanae lift the hammer again.  In the next instant, the hammer came back down hard, crushing the demon’s head.  Cat was confused by Lyanae’s apparent need to claim the killing blow for herself.  It was a demon, and Cat and Lyanae were on the same side against them.  Weren’t they?

“You’re dead, Cat,” the Blood Knight said with a smirk.  Her tone was clear now, lacking the false friendliness to mask the disdain.  “Dead people don’t get to be heroes.”  With an arrogant toss of her head, she turned to walk up the hill back into the main part of the city.

Cat watched her walk away with a mixture of emotions.  Eventually, she went back inside for another whiskey, pondering the truth of Lyanae’s words.


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