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Kumai

((WR-September)) Rescuers

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Sarah ran ahead, her armor clanking. Everyone was in good cheer. She was covered in blood, but none of it was hers. Daniel had made sure of that. They were deep in the depths of Blackrock's spires, clearing the place of cultists and ogres for honor and profit. Even the usually morose Oliver seemed to walk with a lighter step.

Sarah suddenly put up her hand in warning and a finger to her lips to urge silence. Terand crouched low and moved to the shadows to scout ahead. A clear chanting harmony floated through the stone passage toward them and the party hugged the wall as they advanced slowly toward what they gradually understood to be a ceremony of some sort.

At the edge of a pool of lava whose deep yellow softly moving light made eerie shadows around the cavern, a massive orc in dark robes stood behind an altar with his arms in the air and his face to the stone ceiling so high above that it was lost in the darkness. All around the altar were similarly robed but far more ordinarily sized folks of varied races voicing the chant in obviously practiced tones that would have been almost pleasant if they weren't so ominous.

Atop the altar was a smaller female orc dressed in almost nothing, a few strategically placed strips of cloth. With a blank expression, she stared up at the huge orc leading the ceremony. 

Terand tiptoed silently into place behind the leader, unnoticed by any of the cultists, but was forced to draw back when the huge orc turned around and dipped a black stone cup into the lava. The chanting continued, increasing in volume as the huge orc handed the cup to the small one on the altar. 

Daniel hissed in sympathy as he realized what was about to happen and Sarah's plate gloves clanked as she put a hand on his arm to calm him. The nearest cultist stopped their chant to look over their shoulder, and Sarah shouted and dashed forward. "Now!" Terand was already in place an stunned the massive orc with the a swift leap that ended with the hilt of his blade driving into the base of the orc's skull. 

But even as the party scattered the ceremony and cut down the cultists, the small orc on the altar brought the stone cup to her mouth and drank down the molten rock within. Even if she had thought to scream, there was doubtless nothing to scream with. She made a slight gurgling sound as she collapsed onto the stone, flesh of her throat melting as she did.

Despite Terand's interruption, the orc leader's transformation happened anyway. His already imposing form liquified and expanded, becoming part fire part body with an echoing roar that was both a voice and an explosion. Sarah took control of the monstrous orc elemental's attention, holding up her shield as her enchanted blade slashed at every weak point she could see. Oliver and Terand made sure none of the cultists escaped.

Daniel, though, was entirely focused on the orc on the altar. His healing magic flowed through her, but he seriously doubted whether the damage she had done to herself could be repaired. Sarah would have to hold her own, as he was confident she could, while he saw to the dying girl. His work was so difficult and required so much of his attention, that he paid no notice to the fight around him as it waxed and waned and finally ended, the cult leader's lavabeast corpse oozing slowly back into the pool behind them.

When Sarah approached, wiping her sweat off her brow with the soft leather protecting the inside of her elbow, her shield was half gone, destroyed. She had a burn on the space on her chin that her helmet didn't quite reach, and Oliver was bleeding from a gash on his leg, but they had managed without their healer.

"Is she going to make it?" Sarah asked as she pulled off her helmet.

"I'm not sure," Daniel answered. "We have to take her back to the city. We have to try."

Oliver and Terand shared a look. Daniel knew what it meant. He knew they wondered what made this orc any different than the ones whose bodies littered the path they had taken down the spire, but they all knew better than to ask. They all knew Daniel's heart bled freely for any he perceived to be victims and they put up with it for the sake of his skills.

"All right," Sarah said. "We've been in here long enough for one day as it is. Let's head back."

A pair of ogre spears and Daniel's own shield as well as some of the cultist robes were pressed into service as the makeshift stretcher they used to take the orc girl back to Stormwind. Sarah smiled at Daniel as they made their way up through the spire, taking the long way. He smiled back. Their work was good for both of them, and at the end of the day, he always made sure he could sleep well knowing he had done his best to make the world a better place.

((Kumai - Twisting Nether))

Edited by Kumai

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