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Katrynne last won the day on February 10 2017

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  1. "Care to explain to me why you countermanded the orders of the Mandate to keep a filthy pinkskin alive?" Ruuki, a tauren Sunwalker and The Grim’s High Inquisitor, walked through the stone and wooden hallways of the Grim's guild hall, the flames dancing along the edge of Ashbringer casting twisted shadows along the walls. Kiannis, her subordinate, walked alongside her as they made their way to the portal Mai'kull had left open to where the bounty lay bound. Kiannis held a cold countenance as he stalked a half-step behind the High Inquisitor. It had been the late evening when he had entered her office and requested her presence, and now it had become truly dark. The small ember of the elf’s cigar lit up his features in the flickering darkness, followed by a billow of skunky smoke before his retort. "In death, lies her only service to the Mandate,” the elf explained. “This is no rank soldier, this one was a hunter. One who sought us specifically. And for that, she will be made an example of." He smirked only a little at his unseen machinations. Going through a mage's portal always left Ruuki with a creeping feeling on the back of her neck, and this time was no exception. Stepping through into the dimly lit room, she glanced about, her nostrils flaring slightly as she identified where the Worgen, filthy as she was, lay in the dank pit. She stood above it at the edge, and the golden glow of her sword almost made her appear to be a hope for salvation... or an executioner surveying their next victim. She scoffed. Stepping effortlessly through the dimensional tear that is teleportation magic, the elf drew his hood down and dropped the stubby butt that remained of his smoke, quenching the thing with a stomp. Working up a toothy grin, he rose to stand beside the High Inquisitor. "This? This is the dog you paid ten thousand gold for?" she asked. The hood hid a fair amount of her features, but her voice carried well in the small room, filled with tangible disdain for the broken creature. "You paid far too much. You'd best make what use you can of her before I put her down." "The payment is irrelevant, and her use will strike fear in the Alliance." "Get whatever information you think she holds so that we can be rid of her,” Ruuki ordered. “We've better things on which to spend our resources and time." She scoffed as she noted the light flickering off the pieces of gold littering the floor. "Though apparently Mai'Kull doesn't think the same." He looked down at the netted woman in rags. She was in bad shape. For several days, she had been forced by the nets to sit on her broken legs. The spells and enchantments in the stone had been slowly but steadily siphoning the strength from her. At first, she didn't move when the two approached. Eventually, she mustered the strength to slowly lift her head and pin back her ears. He narrowed his eyes at the peppering of gold pieces in the pit, but continued, taunting into the pit in a slightly broken common, "Well, Worgen. You were after The Grim. I am sure this is not how you hoped your 'hunt' to end." Ruuki was not amused at Kiannis's answers, and she watched dispassionately as he spoke to the creature in the pit. She walked a little along the edge of the hole, the golden glow of Ashbringer following behind her and continuing to illuminate parts of the room that had been wreathed in darkness. "My only regret," the prisoner rasped. "Is that I didn't kill more of you before my hunt was ended." Kiannis had drawn down his hood as he spoke to the beast and now seemed intrigued at her words. "The only deaths of late have been lowly guardsmen." the elf nudged his scruffy chin against his metal fist, as he worked this out, "So.. that was you. Impressive that you found our hall, and even more-so that you survived your exploratory attack." He sat squat on his haunches at the edge of the pit, peering down on the woman with a sour mix of disdain and acknowledgement. She had bested him, once, in Suramar. That encounter was the spark that had ignited her bounty and sealed her fate. "You will bear for me a whisper of the Mandate, to the dogs of Dalaran. Tell us, then- Who set you on this hunt? Whom do you represent?" The dim, flickering light of the cavern revealed a small twitch in Kiannis' mouth--a smirk. He pondered the woman's fortitude, if she still had any fight in her after the weeks of isolation and deprivation she had been subject to. He also, for the first time, took real stock of the worgen, his eyes darting from neck to finger to ear, in search of any sentimental items that the executioner may have overlooked, but the only thing of sentiment she regularly wore—the golden wedding ring on a chain—had already been taken from her, along with all of her armor, weapons, and other items she had in her possession when she was captured. She had been left only with her simple leggings and tank top that she wore under her armor, neither of which offered much protection from the barbed net that held her in place. "Lowly guardsman," Kat repeated quietly. She was silent for a moment, as she considered her numerous Grim encounters over the past fifteen months. Some were certainly low ranked--guards, messengers, scouts, and the like. But not all of them. "You once had among your number an elf. She was...not as slender as most elves. Filora. Was she a lowly guard as well? What about the troll known as Xek? Was he also a lowly guard? "As for who set me on this hunt,” she continued, “the answer is simple. You did, when you captured and tortured Chancellor Skylah Mackinzie.” Her voice had thickened into an angry growl as she spoke of Skylah, and she strained against the nets holding her in place. She was weak from her capture and captivity though, and the nets held her easily in place. All she could do was glare at the two Grim. "You are monsters." Kiannis did not seem it, but he was slightly taken aback at the captive’s words. He had known of Filora’s death, but not of the details. Xek he had only met in passing, and to learn that this prisoner had Grim blood on her blades instead of only annoyances--was bittersweet. He gazed sidelong at Ruuki with the same small smirk he had held since he had entered the chamber. "Still a waste of resources, High Inquisitor?" “Depends on her answers,” Ruuki said, and then she remained quiet, allowing Kiannis the lead in questioning the worgen, as it had been his little project to capture her. The elf gripped the ledge with one gauntlet and guided his jump downwards, for a moment wondering if the High Inquisitor had known the details of those deaths. His form wilted some under the magical drain of whatever Mai’kull had done to the place, but he had the vitality to withstand its effects for now. Looming over Katrynne’s form, he delivered a swift kick to her midsection, knocking the breath from her. She hunched over, gasping and then coughing as she fought to breathe again. "You misunderstand, woman. What tabard do you wear? Whom do you count as friends and allies? Who.. am I sending this message to?" If she thought he didn't already have access to the answer to his question, she may have refused to give it to him. But she'd already made it clear she started this after the torture of another member of the Empire, and Lazarus knew what organization she belonged to. She suspected this question was merely a test. Kiannis circled his prize, prodding with his greaved feet at the barbed net that encased her. The movement of the hooks brought fresh pain to already sore wounds. "I serve the Twilight Empire," she answered through clenched teeth, "but this hunt was my own." Ruuki scowled deeply, her nostrils flaring ever so slightly in restrained anger. She stepped back. Surely in the state the prisoner was in, Mai’kull had drawn more than enough answers from her, and he would have ways to ensure she was telling the truth or just lying her ass off. "Is that so.." The elf mused to himself. He did not know the intricacies of the Alliance guilds, and knew less about the major players that ran them. Skylah was a name he recalled from archives, before he had heard the call of The Mandate, and his sources in the Path had told him little more than he had announced on the bounty. Kiannis's gauntlet swiftly found Katrynne’s neck, raising the woman to the tips of her toes. Kiannis peered for a moment into the woman’s eyes, seeking whatever he may glimpse behind the gaunt gaze. Determination burned within--strength enough to not break under the strains of all this detrimental magic and neglect, at the very least. He considered for a moment, the worth of torture, and of pain, and what this woman may or may not know. The moment passed. With some considerable effort and a scowl to match, he heaved the woman up, causing the net’s barbs to rip through her flesh as she was pulled free of them. He shoved her onto the main floor, scrambling up over the edge to follow her tumbling form. The look he gave Ruuki could be considered a glare if he were more impudent. "What should have been done with this killer of Grim, then, High Inquisitor? A swift death would be too forgiving." Kat gasped for breath through the pain of the rough handling. Blood dripped from several wounds where the net was ripped free of her skin, and her broken legs screamed in pain renewed. With great effort, she propped herself up on one arm, glancing around the floor near her for anything she might use to her advantage—an object to use as a weapon, cover of any sort, even something to use as a distraction. Seeing nothing, she pushed herself to a sitting position and looked up at the two Grim. Aside from the obvious agony she was in, her expression revealed little else. "I doubt she has further use to us,” Ruuki answered. “We should 'return' her to her fellow guildmates with a message." Ruuki held a hand out, the gauntlet glowing golden as she called Judgment down upon the broken woman. Light and heat intensified around Kat, setting parts of her clothes and fur smoldering. Kat finally gave voice to her pain, groaning aloud. She writhed and scrambled on the floor, seeking escape from the agony. But even if her legs weren’t broken, even if most her strength hadn’t been sucked from her through vile spells, there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, in this dank room that served as a cell. "By the law of the Mandate I find you guilty of crimes against the Grim,” the High Inquisitor stated as she delivered her sentence. “Your punishment is death, and you will serve as a warning to your little pinkskin family. They will meet the same fate as you next time we see them. Your actions have put marks on all of their heads." Ruuki moved her hand upward, fist closed this time as a golden hammer materialized and began descending rapidly, smaller orbs of power swirling rapidly around it to bombard Katrynne with pain as the Execution Sentence was carried out. From that point, the suffering was blessedly short. In that moment, even through the suffering, Kat did not fail to see the irony. Her death was brought upon her with the Light, after she’d spent the better part of her life seeking it. She did not have time to consider whether that was a good omen or ill, before all that remained of her was a smoldering corpse, stinking of scorched fur. ((Written by Ruuki, Kiannis, and Katrynne))
  2. Lazarus appeared in the crypt with a snap from the portal. His customary red robes were worn sans his usual cowl. No light emanated from his dead eyes and his scalp was utterly devoid of hair. Walking over to the pit that the beast was in, he looked down at her now pathetic form and clasped his hands behind his back. “Good day,” he stated. Katrynne’s ears turned as she heard someone nearby. She slowly lifted her head up and opened her eyes. Her nostrils twitched, and she recognized the undead gardener she’d attacked in Silverpine Forest. She tensed, but the spells and enchantments holding her soon reminded her that any struggles would be pointless, so she simply watched him expectantly. The man flicked a hand and a small portal appeared behind him. He hopped into the pit, landing softly, whether by enchantment or otherwise isn’t immediately noticeable. Once in the pit, he snapped his fingers and a heavy oak chair appeared behind him. Sitting in it, he looked down at the prisoner. He could feel the work of the stone pulling at his strength, but he didn’t seem to care. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. “I saw you in Silverpine,” Kat answered dully. Her words were soft and slow, as she tried to conserve what strength she might. “That is not what I asked,” Lazarus said, his words even and crisp. “I asked if you know who I am.” He paused, looking her over. Something at her neckline caught his attention. “Your answer is irrelevant largely. I doubt you care. But here I am.” He paused. “I am Lazarus S. Graysong. Former Keeper of the Twilight Empire.” He lowered his voice so that none outside might hear. “Friend of Katelle, and her sister Ketani. Friend of Siane Dawnlight.” He crossed his right leg over his left. “You see, I lost my memories when I became what you see,” he continued. “That person you smelled was Ketani. Visiting me to see how I was doing since my condition was known to her.” The worgen showed some interest at his words. “You were of the Empire, and then you joined these monsters…why? How could you, after everything they’ve done?” “You’re a terrible listener.” He sighed and shook his head. “I lost my memories, you dolt.” “But now you have them back,” she argued, showing no reaction to the insult. “And still you are one of them.” A thought slowly came to mind. “Do they know?” “Which they do you speak of, dear?” he asks. “My life is complicated, and I joined The Grim because they were kind to me in my state. I know who they are now.” She shook her head ever so slightly, suddenly finding her question unimportant. Surely, he was not here to justify his associations to a prisoner. “Why do you tell me this?” “Because I am deciding whether or not to offer you a mercy.” “What mercy?” she asked skeptically. He got off his chair and leaned in closer, peering at her neck. “Are you going to bite my neck as payback?” She referred to when she came upon him in Silverpine and attacked him by grasping his neck in her jaws and shaking him like a rag doll. “What a queer question. I am not a vampire. You will die here, my dear. I cannot change that. I do, however, have respect for Katelle. She would want me to protect you. I am not the only warlock here.” He sighed and looked her in the eye. “What do you think the others will do with your soul as a plaything? I can have it sent to Katelle if you desire. Or not. Perhaps you trust the other Grim more than I do.” Just as Kat was thinking this was a trap of some sort, and there was no way she would agree to letting this warlock suck out her soul, Lazarus reached for her neck. Too late, she realized what had caught his attention there. Alarmed, she snarled and tried to snap at his hand as she felt the chain of her necklace break with his pull, but the spells weakening her slowed her movements too much. “My. It seems you have a friend,” the warlock said as he held up the necklace—a simple golden band hung on a copper link chain. “Tell me. Do you want a mercy? Or do you wish to try your luck? I can offer no more to you than that.” Her gaze was fixated on the wedding band dangling so close to her, and yet, so far out of reach. In her head, she knew it shouldn’t matter. It was just a ring. She would likely be dead soon and have no use for it anyway, so why should she care? But she did care, and her voice was hollow as she turned down his offer. “I trust you no more than I trust the rest of them.” “Fair enough. I have offered my favor, though it seems to you a monster I remain,” Lazarus said. He looked at the necklace, twirling it idly. “Does the hunter have a special friend? Does this person live, I wonder?” Kat closed her mouth and looked straight ahead, feigning a lack of interest in the jewelry even though it tore at her heart to see the precious object in the hands of a Grim. Lazarus went back to his chair and inspected his prize. “Silence. How charming.” His voice grew deeper. “Do you know that special items can bind people? Some even speculate that a piece of a person might even be connected to such things.” He held his palm out and the ring floated above it. “I ponder what I might find if I look. Would be a pity for me to ruin your expectations of me.” The worgen woman looked back at the ring as he spoke. She had expected bad things to happen to her in the hands of The Grim, but she never expected anything like this. She didn’t know if he could actually do what he threatened, or if there was still enough of a link between the ring and the one who gave it to her after all these years. She strained against the nets holding her in place, but it had no effect in her weakened state. She wanted to rip free, to lunge at him, to rip out his throat and take back the ring, but she was quite aware of the reality of her situation, so instead, she pleaded softly. “Leave him be.” Lazarus seemed to deflate over her plea. It lasted a moment before he spoke again. “Him? Is he not one of your own?” He clasped his hand over the ring. His voice rose as he continued. “You would have killed me without a thought. You tried to kill my friend because she defended me.” He stood over the woman. “Why? Why should I care?” The Grim was going to kill her, and probably torture her. Of that, she had no doubt. She had no desire to endure their hospitality any longer than she had to. She wondered if she could push him into ending it all now. With effort, she dragged her gaze from the golden band to the warlock. She snarled and pinned her ears back flat against her head. “I would kill you still, if given the chance. I would kill any of you. Monsters.” “Your argument for my caring is unconvincing,” he informed her as he put the ring in his pocket. “You tried to take from me. Now I shall take from you. I hope you told him goodbye.” The warlock’s eyes flickered. She closed her eyes briefly, trying to hide just how distressed she was over the loss of the ring. She didn’t bother to tell him that the man who gave it to her was already dead. Maybe that would make his spellcasting, or whatever he had planned for it, more difficult. If not, if he managed to do something to that man's soul, then Kat would surely be twice damned. Lazarus regarded her coldly, and then his expression softened. “I do not understand you. Have you any words for me to give to the Twilight Empire?” Although she obviously distrusted his intentions, she nevertheless gave a generic answer. “If you actually do have contacts there, as you say, then I would ask you to tell them that I am sorry I have failed.” His face tightened. “And I am sorry I never killed Skylah. We all have regrets.” He took the ring from his pocket, as if he knew it was the token of her own deepest regrets. “Die well.” With the word spoken, the chair behind him vanished. “I had heard rumors you were Skylah’s pet,” he muttered, his eyes glowing, when he noticed her reaction to his words about Skylah. Her expression was hard, and a soft growl rumbled through her throat. “Pet? I became close to her,” she growled. “Enough to know what you monsters did to her.” “She tormented me. When I was alive,” he said as he stepped closer to her. “Antagonized me. Goaded me into attacking her. I never did.” His eyes glowed brighter. “She is a monster. Not I.” “I will not believe your lies,” she said with certainty. “They don’t matter anyway.” Lazarus began giggling. Something about it seemed off. “Of course not,” he stated. “I’M THE MONSTER!” He screamed as he jumped at her and shoved her head to the floor. Her hackles rose, but she had no chance to avoid his attack, being trapped as she was. In a weak attempt of a counter attack, she snarled, mustering what strength she could to bite him. Although she managed to get a grip on his arm, it didn’t seem to matter to Lazarus. The sane part of his mind had been pushed aside by anger and dropped into the swirling madness. Skylah had wronged him. This beast, Skylah’s hand, had tried to kill him. There was no room for anything other than hatred. With a cry, he latched onto her and began siphoning her vitality. A green wave began ebbing and flowing from the hound to the man. She shook her head with his arm in her jaws, but his spell, along with the floor spells and enchantments on the nets that held her in place, soon made her too weak. She went limp and suffered in stillness. Even her growl faded to a whimper and then it too was silent. Lazarus still held her in his draining spell, his mind guided by years of repressed anger being projected on another. Inwardly, he knew it wasn’t rational, but the dam had broken and it wasn’t stopping. He was aware that somewhere along the lines he had started crying and that awareness gave way to his realization that his spell had stopped. He wasn’t sure if he had killed her or just lost focus, but panic set in. This isn’t what he wanted. In horror, he pushed himself away from the beast as his mouth worked wordlessly. He found himself back at his manor by reflex, and wordlessly walked into his study. He was trembling and the woman’s ring weighed heavily in his pocket. Back in the cell, Kat still breathed, but barely. Some time later, she came to, though she lay still, tangled within the nets, waiting for some strength to return to her, and unsure whether it ever would. “Light save me,” she breathed.
  3. With his assailant distracted Mai’kull reached for his trump card, “REAVES!” the mage cried out. With a thundering crash, a small mechanical shredder droid no bigger than a gnome dropped to the beach at its master’s side. “GREETINGS MASTER!” it chimed in an oddly chipper tone. “Reaves, activate combat mode, NOW!” Mai’kull barked, taking hold of the blunt arm on the machine. “AFFIRMATIVE!” it sparked. Something inside revved up like an engine roar as Green Fel-Flames issued from its back exhaust-port. Electricity surged from every joint on the construct as it began to grow, to almost twice the size of a well fed Tauren. A small cockpit opened in the front of the machine which Maikull crawled inside before it sealed shut once more. “COMBAT MODE ACTIVATED, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WEAPONS ARMED, HULL INTEGRITY: 100%” the mechanical recited. Its voice now booming, almost as ominous as the Doomwalker that guarded the Black Gate in Outland. Kat could hear the commotion, but it wasn’t until she regained her vision did she see the hulking behemoth before her. “TARGET IDENTIFIED” it announced as its Cannon Arm aimed directly at her. There was movement from inside the cave, she hadn’t noticed it before, but a Pandaran Monk was now standing there, bearing the banner of the Grim across his chest, but even he stood there stunned at the sight. He must have come out when she charged at the mage, but he wasn’t moving towards her. She looked back at Reaves as an intercom screech pierced the beachfront for a moment before clearing up the all too familiar voice. “Come now, Kitten…one last dance for daddy…” Maikull’s voice echoed, followed by his maniacal laughter, as the main cannon began to hum and charge for an attack. It was time for Kat to leave. She plucked a grenade from her chest piece and tossed it at the machine. A small explosion caused sparks along the thing's torso where it hit, but it didn't seem to do any real harm. The worgen turned to flee, vanishing into the shadows. Mai'kull, however, still had his goggles on and had no trouble following her movements. He triggered the machine to shoot rapidly, firing Gunpowder charges at her, which knocked her out of the shadows. She sprinted away anyway, trying to outrun her attacker long enough to get to the rocky hills where she might find cover. The death knight she had scented earlier, hidden until now, finally entered the fight by lashing energy out at Katrynne and yanking her back to him. She hadn't even regained her footing when Mai'kull's machine jumped through the air toward her. Dull cracks sounded through the air and she yelled half a second later, when pain consumed her legs. The machine had landed on them, breaking them both. "Your hunt is over, Kitten," the mage said as he aimed the machines cannons down at her once again. "Peace through annihilation!" Kat snarled, but she was crippled and pinned down. She saw the flashes of gunfire and barely felt the impact of the shots at point blank range before she plummeted into the dark silence of death. ((written by Maikull and Katrynne))
  4. As Kat launched herself at the mage to Mutilate his abdomen, he was already prepared to move. Shimmering backwards he readied his Ebonbolt to fire. Kat kept her eyes not only on her prey, but the two looming minions she was now in-between. The Water Elemental fired a Water Bolt as the Voidcaller launched a Void Bolt. The slow movement of the two creatures even at this range was staggering. Using her elusiveness, she feinted through their attacks which scraped against her armor. She could see the Mage was almost ready to unleash his spell, and she attacked again with a Vendetta. Shadowstepping, she seemingly teleported behind the mage, slashing at his back with her daggers so quickly it appeared as if time was a blur. She stabbed him with both daggers, contaminating the wounds with deadly and crippling poison. Yet Mai’kull had anticipated her shadow stepping, and had saved his last Shimmer for this moment, launching forward once again into the embrace of his minions as his Water elemental fired a Freezing blast at her location. Ice clung to Kat’s legs. The Icy Veins coursing through the mage’s body kept the spell he was weaving intact, and with his target immobile for the moment, launched the Ebonbolt directly at her, catching her square in the chest and knocking her out of his snare. Fighting through the pain with a duck and roll, Kat was back on her feet and noticed the sizeable distance between her and her foes. Mai’Kull launched a Ray of Frost at his foe, followed by a Water Jet from his Elemental. There was not much in terms of cover, but there was some. Jagged rocks protruded around knee and hip height in various places. As the spells tagged Kat in various places, she slipped into a Cloak of Shadows which resisted the harmful effects as she dove for the nearest rock structure to break line of sight. She could hear the mage laughing at her. And her sense of smell reminded her, the caster had others about. She had to end this quickly. “Come out…Come out…Wherever you are….” The undead sang. He ordered his minions to circle around opposite sides of the rock to flank his opponent as he began to back up and prepare a new spell. As the elementals closed in on her, Kat jumped up onto the rock and Sprinted off it, running at the mage. It was unexpected for sure, but she was not the only one with tricks up her sleeve. The Mage instinctively readied his Ice Barrier. As the rogue came at him, he saw a blur as she sped toward him. He had prepared the spell in his mind for as soon as she showed herself, and commanded an Icy Nova within the cave, freezing Kat once again but a few feet from her target. The Minions took heed of their master’s telepathic orders, and turned to face her, closing in and reading another shadow and aquatic barrage. She was having none of this nonsense, again reaching into her bag of tricks, Kat produced a small pouch she tossed at the mage, blinding him momentarily and preventing him from an immediate assault. As the elementals launched their attacks at her, Kat deflected both attacks with a precisely timed Evasion, and breaking herself free from her frozen binds. Wasting no more time, she struck. She whirled around, slashing at the two elementals that had closed in on her, then leaped into the air. Mai’kull had just recovered from her blinding agent as he took notice of her absence before him. It was too late for him to react as his eyes sluggishly traced her path above him. Katrynne came down upon the mage with Death from Above; both daggers with such a force that it crumpled him to his knees. The daggers dug straight through his cloth armor and into his chest cavity, Kat spared not a second sawing the blades deeper to cause as much internal damage as she could, reveling in the look of shock and horror upon her victim's face. The sound of ripping flesh and his gurgling noises almost made up for his consistent taunting. Yet despite the shock and the pain, the mage managed to snap his hands up, grabbing the rogue by the wrists. In what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt at life, the mage encased himself in an Ice Block with a flash, trapping her at arm’s length along with it. She couldn’t pull her arms out of the Ice Block, and knowing others were around only raised her uneasiness. Looking around to her left she could see the water elemental evaporating, dropping its cuffs on the ground, but no Grim. Looking into the Ice Block itself, the lights in her target’s eyes faded to black, The Mage was dead. Now if she could only get out! Looking to her right she could see the void-caller begin to slowly dissipate, but the shadow essence of the creature did not fade away, instead seemed to pool to the ground and seep towards her and into the Ice Block itself. Preparation. Mai’kull was more of a tactician than a fighter; he knew a simple one on one bout against the rogue, even handicapping her stealth ability, was going to stack against his favor. That’s why he had approached the Reaper Warlock Malhavik beforehand, locking his spirit within a Soulstone. The shadow energy of the Void Caller soaked into the Ice Block and activated the life restoring magic. Kat watched the lights in the Forsaken’s eyes burst with a bright, burning light. Her hands were growing hot as if the mage was catching fire. A primal roar filled the cavern as a Blast Wave erupted from the Ice Block, breaking the frozen enchantment, and sending Kat flying back crashing into a small pool of water. Even with his goggles on, Kat could see the intensity of the burning mage’s glare at her as tinges of magic flickered off his form. Despite being engulfed in flames, a Blazing Barrier surrounded the Pyromancer, the heat generated from him was slowly increasing the temperature inside the cave. There was seemingly no pause from the mage’s resurrection and his assault. Perhaps the Rune of Power he stood on taped into the Time Warping magic, for the speed at which he hurled his Fire Balls at the Worgen seemed almost un natural. Not only was the conflagration of fire infighting the air around her, but the ground itself was erupting from multiple flame strikes and leaving behind a path of embers on the ground that burned her feet as she ran. If she didn’t stop this assault soon, she was cooked. She knew the mage had popped all of his offensive enchantments at once, a mistake she was going to make him surly regret. Using her evasion, she pushed through the damage of the Fire Blasts from the mage and closed the gap. Her timing could not have been more perfect, as the flames that engulfed his form began to fade as she reached him. Spinning around she kicked the mage square in the chest, which unrooted his feet from the ground and sent him to the ground. Kat’s Vendetta had her already lunging at the spell weaver with daggers at the ready to Mutilate her opponent. Stunned from the kick, and unable to call upon his spells, Mai’kull withdrew the handle of a small gun from his belt and fired at his attacker, catching her in midair with a Net-o-Matic Projector. The net’s hooks clung and wrapped around her as she dropped to the ground not far off from the mage. As she quickly cut and tore through the bindings to freedom, Mai’kull had already gotten to his feet, and activated his rocket boots, sending him running from the cavern onto the beach front at blazing speed. By the time she had regained her footing, the mage had restored his variable distance sending streams of scorching fire at her. Comparatively they were nothing paralleled to his first volley of flames, but she suffered too much at his first attack, and had to jump behind the cavern walls, drinking from a crimson vile in her belt to sooth her injuries. “STILL HIDING KITTEN!?” The mage shouted, as he readied another flame strike at the maw of the cavern. She couldn’t stay in. She was certain he would turn the cavern into an oven if she remained inside; her best bet was to engaged the target out in the open. At least there she could try and flee, this battle was dragging out too long, and the two others she could sense still had not revealed themselves. Withdrawing a Gunpowder Charge from her belt, she lobbed it at the mage, and in response he blinked out of the way, just what she was hoping to force him into. The Assassins Resolve peeked as she emerged from the caves entrance cloaked in shadows. She charged at the mage who responded by converting the floating orbs that orbited him into Phoenix Flames that flew towards her. She responded by throwing a fan of knives in front of her which caught the spells in midair, exploding on impact. The shockwaves of the blasts were partially absorbed by her cloak of shadows, but she could still feel pain from it. As she closed the distance, she could see the mage turn his back to her running away from her at an enhanced frenetic speed, but that would not stop her as she used Shadow step to appear right in front of him. Daggers at the ready, she Eviscerated the forsaken, and delivered a sinister strike to his abdomen, rupturing his spine. But she was so focused on unleashing her attack she did not notice what he was holding in his hands until it was too late. The mage had turned his back for a reason, as he held in his hands a Gunpowder charge, the pin already removed. Her eyes trailed up at his face, which twanged from the pain of her attack, but still held a malevolent grin. The resulting explosion sent both combatants flying away from one another. Maikull landed in the open sands, and Kat was thrown into an abandoned Murloc hut which collapsed around her. Maikull was now in bad shape. His Blazing Barrier had soaked most of the damage from the explosion, but notwithstanding his cauterization of the wounds her initial assault had left him crippled and unable to feel his legs. Katrynne was in worse shape. She somehow managed to Cheat Death, but this fight was over, she had to get out of here. Weakly pushing the rubble off her, the world was slowly tilting back and forth, her head was pounding and vision was blurred. She could make out the mage laying in the sand, and she was sure she had delivered the neurotoxin to his spinal cord. He wasn’t going anywhere. She knew she was in bad shape, but no one was rushing to his aid…perhaps the smell of the panda and other undead she detected was just a lingering smell. They had ample opportunity to ambush her during the fight if they were there hidden somewhere. Finding the last, unbroken rejuvenation potion hidden in a flask in her boot, she drank from it swiftly, feeling a bit of her vitality and energy coming back to her. Taking a deep breath, she withdrew a small dagger from inside her belt, her own blades falling away from her somewhere after the blast. Mai’kull was however laughing as he rolled over, pushing himself up and looking at the Worgen. “So now the final bell tolls…you going to try and finish this, or am I going to put another little child in the hospital from my next love letter to you?” “There won’t be a next time…” Katrynne growled as she slowly advanced on the mage. He couldn’t walk, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t cast spells. “…and it looks like your friends aren’t coming out to save you.” Kat snarled, giving a side glance at the cavern, still no movement from within. Her eyes affixed on the mage again. He couldn’t be allowed to live, not with all he had done, not with all he was capable of. She needed to get out of there. He could have called for backup, but this was possibly her last chance to end the monster before her. She ran. Her muscles cried in protest, but she pressed on. This was the end. The mage tried to crab walk back away from her, but the distance gap closed almost instantly. Kat raised the dagger high above her head to crack open the evil little corpse’s skull. He had initially held up his hand as if a makeshift shield, but it was a ruse. His hand dropped as she brought the dagger down, and spewing from his mouth was a long torrent of flames--Dragons Breath, at point blank range. Instinct kicked in and the knife dropped from her hands as she clasped them over her face to shield from the flames, but the damage was already done. Staggering away from the mage she cried and cursed loudly as she tried to get the ash out of her eyes and snout. ((written by Maikull and Katrynne))
  5. The smell of Tirisfal Glades, and so many undead residing in one place, reached Kat well before she reached the border from Silverpine. She directed her black gryphon to land. She would travel on foot the rest of the way. She dismounted and changed into her worgen shape. Leaving the gryphon to browse and hunt on its own, she made her way through the forest. It was no secret that the Grim guild hall was near Brill. Kat had to move cautiously through the enemy territory, but she managed to avoid being seen by keeping to shadows and shelter provided by trees and rundown structures. Eventually, after some searching and following scent trails to a place heavily visited by people of various Horde races, the Grim base came into view. She remained hidden in a patch of trees and low foliage a moderate distance away. She snorted in frustration. Too many guards surrounded the place for her to have even a slim chance to get inside. The sound of footsteps a short distance away caught her attention. An orc was walking toward the Grim base. He wore the familiar black and red tabard. She hesitated a moment, remembering the tabard on an elf woman who was not Grim. But surely this close to the Grim base, this orc must truly be a Grim. Kat slowly drew a dagger and waited. When the orc was as close to her as the path would take him, she leapt from her cover and launched herself at the unsuspecting orc. He staggered with the impact, and by the time he’d caught his balance, Kat had wrapped herself around him, using her legs to hold her position. One of her hands was pressed tightly over his mouth, and the other slid a dagger across his throat, before he managed to throw her off and make a gurgling sound. Kat looked toward the building. Two Forsaken guards didn’t seem to notice anything. There was still some brush between her and the Grim base. She wondered, if she could get inside, how many Grims might she kill before they stopped her. The engineering bombs were fastened to her armor in such a way that if she jerked them free, the pin remained fastened to her armor. In this manner, she quickly threw three bombs at the two Forsaken guards. One guard was knocked backward, and the other got one of his legs blown off by the explosion. The third bomb imploded harmlessly against an invisible barrier over the building. Kat snorted. She wasn’t getting in that way. A handful of Grim emerged then. Their races varied as much as their ready weapons did, but they all had the same dangerous expression. She threw another bomb at them, but a shield of some magic surrounded the group, protecting them from the explosion. A Sin’dorei among them raised a bow. Kat turned to run, dropping down on all fours for faster travel. The magic shield fell, and the group came after her. She turned her head for a glance over her shoulder, and an arrow launched at her, grazing her forehead over her right eye and prompting her to run even faster, weaving through the forest. When she could no longer hear them behind her, she slowed to an easy lope that would carry her into Silverpine where she’d left her mount. A short time later, she came upon a rundown manor. A Forsaken man was outside, inspecting the small garden in the sunny afternoon. A few weak plants grew in the ground there. Kat paused for a breather, taking cover under a tree as she watched the man. He smiled at his plants, and hummed, seeming remarkably happy for a Forsaken. Lazarus bent over the garden, fussing over it. He produced a small trimmer and clipped around a carrot. Kat tensed. As he moved, she caught a glimpse of the red and black symbol of the Grim stitched into his clothing. Kat wiped her forearm across her face, wiping blood out of her eye from gash on her forehead. She pulled a dagger as she advanced on the man. She did not notice a nearby ward flaring vividly to life, warning Lazarus of an intruder. “Oh,” he said to the warning light, and then “Ah,” he managed when he turned to see the angry worgen. “Filthy Grim!” Kat growled as she raised her dagger. Lazarus screamed. The door on the nearby house burst open, and a positively angry looking succubus appeared. Her eyes found the worgen and she roared in fury, although she was too far away to really accomplish anything. A fur tipped ear turned to the sound of the door opening, and Kat caught a glimpse of the succubus, along with a scent. A human scent, and one she vaguely recognized. She stalked toward the Forsaken. “You have a human in there, Grim?” Lazarus blinked. “Well. Hello.” He looked between Kat and Vilrida, the succubus who was advancing slowly toward them. Oddly though, she wore a simple robe rather than anything overtly sexual as most of her kind seemed to do. She did still carry a whip though. Lazarus spoke to Kat. “I do not possess a human, no. What a peculiar question! Do you possess a human?” A feral grin twisted her wolfish face at the question. “….in a manner of speaking….” She tossed the dagger from her right hand to her left, then used her free hand to pull the pistol from her boot. She fired one shot at the advancing succubus. The demon cried out and fell to the ground. Lazarus looked from the succubus to the worgen. He looked shocked. “Wh-why?” Shouts sounded in the distance. Kat heard them and flatted her ears against her head as she looked back to Lazarus. “Because you are monsters. All monsters must die.” As she spoke the last word, she leapt at him with bared teeth. He hobbled backwards, falling onto his back. Kat landed on top of him. She closed her jaws around his neck and shook him violently. The Forsaken cried out as he was whipped around like a rag doll. His cries grew quiet after a few shakes and the glow in his eyes faded. The shouts in the woods grew closer, and movement could be seen through the trees. The approaching Grim party was prompted to even greater urgency by the Forsaken’s cries. Kat released Lazarus and turned to run, yelping as an arrow sprouted from her arm. Lazarus’ body became engulfed in fel flame. After a second, he sat up. His hair burned away in the heat, and he shouted a demonic word, sending fire snaking toward the brush the worgen had just disappeared into. The scent of scorched fur wafted back to him, but Kat continued to run. He stood in one place as the Grim party rushed past him, his eyes flickering with fury. Then he gingerly carried the fallen succubus inside the house. After a long, winding run, an exhausted Katrynne finally felt certain she had lost her pursuers. She took a brief rest, before finding her gryphon and returning to the Broken Isles. ((Attack on Grim base and death of Grim NPC were done with Awatu's permission))
  6. Katrynne did not sleep that night, nor eat the next day. She was in Stormwind, sitting outside the Cathedral as she often did, when the message came to her, as she knew it would. General Larmont summoned Kat to her office. Katrynne had made no secret of her Grim hunt, and had even spoken with the General about it after the recent city attacks. She knew that Katelle agreed with her, but as far as Kat knew, it was still unclear where the Council stood on the matter. One thing that always had been quite clear, however, was that the killing of any non-hostile Horde was not permitted. Although the breaking of that law was secondary to what the killing did to her standing with the Light, it was still a concern. She would not be able to hunt if she were locked in a cell. A few minutes before the Cathedral’s clock began chiming the hour, Katrynne approached the building that housed the General’s office. There was a blood stain on the porch. It was old, but the scent still lingered, sheltered by the porch roof and winter temperatures. Kat didn’t recognize the scent of whoever it belonged to, so she went inside and didn't concern herself with it. It had crossed her mind that she might be greeted by several Keepers and locked up somewhere, but only the General seemed to be there. Kat walked up the steps and stopped before Katelle’s desk. “General,” she greeted cautiously, not knowing what to expect, though she had no doubt why she had been summoned. Katelle looked up from the scrap of parchment before her and offered Kat a small, tired smile. She dipped her head respectfully. “Katrynne. Thank you for coming. Please, have a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?” “No, thank you,” Kat answered as she sat wearily. “You look as though you’ve seen better days,” Katelle murmured, noticing the dark circles and troubled expression on Kat’s face. “Everything alright?” “I’m fine,” Kat said. It was an automated response, just to move the conversation along. “You wanted to see me?” she prompted. Katelle smiled wryly, clearly unconvinced. She didn’t comment further. Instead, she got straight to the point. “What happened in Booty Bay yesterday?” Kat had no doubt that the General already had the basic facts, but she stated them anyway. In some ways, Katelle’s empathy and understanding were worse than if she’d been judgmental and accusing. “You did what you had to do, under the best of your knowledge, Katrynne,” Katelle said after Kat recounted what had happened. “It’s nothing more than what I’ve done myself.” That’s why she was so understanding, Kat thought. She’d made the same mistake herself at some point. “You have? How do you get past it?” Katelle’s lips flattened as she considered her answer, mashing them together for a moment before offering a vulnerable smile—and vulnerability was not something she shows often. “Sometimes I’m not sure that I have gotten past it. But…one day at a time, Katrynne. One day, one hour, one minute even, and I just keep telling myself that I couldn’t know the truth without maybe being dead myself.” Katrynne nodded, her hand absently going to the ring on a chain around her neck. “It will never end, I think.” She had lived so long with the guilt of what she’d done to Alain all those years ago. It had never faded. There was no getting past it. As Katelle continued to reassure her that there was nothing else she could have done without putting her own life at risk, and they must keep moving on, Katrynne realized that the General was perhaps speaking to herself as much as to her audience. “If you need some time, Katrynne…some time to come to terms with what’s happened…nobody could truly fault you for it. I needed…more time that I’d rather admit, after…” Katelle trailed off, finally shaking her head. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and sometimes it makes it easier to move forward.” Kat slowly released the ring and lowered her hand to her lap. “Time won’t help. I know that. And The Grim won’t take time off from their killing and terrorizing. I must work harder to put an end to this.” “No, they won’t,” Katelle agreed with no small amount of resignation. “Just try to not lose yourself along the way. It’s disturbingly easy to do.” “I know,” Kat agreed, thinking of the year she had willingly lost herself in the Storm Peaks after Zak’s death. “I won’t.” After she left the General’s office, Kat went to the house in Old Town that she'd inherited from Zak. It was a small house. She had kept the smaller of the two bedrooms. The master bedroom remained as it had while Zak lived there. The cellar door creaked as Kat opened it. She swiped at cobwebs as she descended the stairs, lighting torches as she went. When the room was lit, she surveyed the small armory before her. This was only a portion of the armor and weapons Zak’s team had kept in Gilneas when they hunted worgen. The items were all dusty, but they had been well made, and most of it was still in fine condition, lacking only a good cleaning. Kat gathered an armful of weapons and took them upstairs to give them just that. Several hours later, Kat had her usual blades strapped to her hips, a small pistol in one boot, a knife in the other, and a set of throwing knives on her belt. She also had several simple engineering bombs attached to her armor. She looked longingly at some of the other weapons still gleaming on the floor, but she didn’t want to weigh herself down any more than she already had. She stepped outside, locked the door, and headed for the portals.
  7. A street beggar ran up to Katrynne in Dalaran. Impossible to tell whether it was male or female, the youth had a dirty face and the typical short haircut to stop lice from infesting it. He or she wore dirty clothes and well-worn home-made boots of wood and canvas. “That man took some Grim elf woman to Booty Bay,” the child panted. Kat decided it sounded more like a boy than a girl. “I couldn’t risk following him, but it looked like it was important. He was almost dragging her through a portal.” Katrynne pressed a few coins into a dirty hand, and ushered the child to be on his way. Something’s not right, she warned herself. How would a little street urchin know she would be interested in following a Grim? She had not been quiet about her goals lately, but she couldn’t imagine why such a child would take interest in her hunt. She would not pass up the chance to catch a Grim though, and she hurried to retrieve her gryphon and then headed for the portals. She rode through the sky over Booty Bay until she spotted it—the horrible red and black cloth of The Grim. The tabard was worn by a blond-haired Sin’dorei woman. She stood by a fire, talking to none other than Baal’themar Dawnsorrow. Kat had suspected he must still have friends among The Grim, but she would not stay her hand for him. The black gryphon flew low over the pair. With blades in hand, Kat leapt from her mount and landed on the woman. Baal made no effort to interfere as sharp blades slashed through his companion’s throat. He simply watched as the woman grabbed at her throat in horror, her blood pouring onto the stones below. Katrynne watched him warily. He knelt next to the bleeding woman as the life in her eyes slowly faded, but he did nothing to try to stop the blood flow. “Shh,” he soothed, speaking in Orcish. “It’s okay. I’ll make sure your children are well cared for. You have earned some rest.” The woman paled and died without any fuss as the blood stopped spurting and slowly leaked from the wound. Katrynne wiped her daggers on her leggings and took a step back, preparing to leave. She raised her arm to summon her gryphon back. Baal pulled the tabard off the woman’s body, revealing her blood-stained dress and a small handbag. "Well done, Katrynne. You are wonderfully predictable." He spoke common now. Opening the handbag, he pulled out a picture of children. “Did you think it strange that she was unarmed? Or does it not matter, so long as the tabard is on them?” Kat paused before mounting the bird, turning back to him. “Armed or not, they must die. My goal is to destroy them. I care not about giving them a fair fight.” “You just killed an innocent woman.” He looked at the picture, then handed it to Katrynne. “And a mother.” Becoming irritated with whatever game he was playing, and still with the feeling that something wasn't right, Kat pointed at the tabard in his hand. “She was Grim.” She tossed the picture into the fire after barely glancing at it. “She wore a tabard I paid her to put on,” Baal stated. “You what?” “Ah, now you care? This woman worked as an escort. I paid her to wear this tabard to prove a point. And you came through.” Katrynne frowned, horror crossing her expression as she realized what she had just been tricked into doing. “You set her up to die. By my hand. Why?” “To prove a point. You shouldn't attack someone just based on their tabard,“ he answered, and she remembered something he had said when they met outside Thunder Bluff: Then you would have attacked me because of a tabard. Horror turned to disbelief. Disbelief turned to rage. “Why would anyone wear that thing if they're not Grim? Why would you sentence her to death just to prove a point?” “I didn't,” Baal countered. “You could have waited, could have studied the target, but you chose to attack, blinded by what you believe.” And Kat remembered something else he said that day: Monsters are everywhere. They hide under lies and people skin. “I have studied you, “she said, her voice shaking with anger, “enough to know that you are still a monster.” Baal’themar was no longer Grim, but he was still evil. Perhaps there was no redemption for people like him. And if not for him, then likely not for her either. “And what are you?” he challenged. Kat was a monster herself. She knew she always had been, ever since that fateful day when she’d been bitten by one. But she wouldn’t tell him that. Instead, she’d show him. Bones broke and reformed. Muscles stretched and contracted. Fur sprouted from her skin. “Your end,” she answered, her voice rougher in her worgen form. She lunged at him with her daggers, slicing at his torso. He disappeared, and then he taunted her from the shadows. “Better ditch the body Katrynne. You don't want the guards to find her.” "She is your problem now." Kat had no intention of hiding the body, or hiding from what she’d done. She had killed a woman who had done nothing more than wear a piece of cloth for some coins, probably to feed her children. If Kat had ever had the slightest chance of the Light’s forgiveness for her sins, it was surely gone now. "I doubt that very much.” His voice faded with a soft laugh. "You'll learn to see things for what they are soon enough." Troubled, and still enraged, she mounted the gryphon and kicked him roughly in the sides to take flight.
  8. Katrynne waited along the road to Thunder Bluff, hidden in some trees. Her source said that a Grim often went to observe the lighting of a bonfire there. She waited all afternoon. Finally, late in the evening, her target appeared. There was no question that he matched the description in the secret message: a blood elf over seven feet tall, claw-like hands, and missing an eye. Kat stepped out from her hiding place as he passed, and she leapt up to strike him on the back of the head with the hilt of her dagger. While he recovered, Kat darted around to his front, raising her daggers to strike again. She hesitated as she noticed his tabard, and pointed a sharp blade at it. “Not Grim now?” she asked. Although she had studied orcish at one time, her skill with it was questionable. Baal flinched from the strike, expecting the sting of a blade while he recovered from her initial strike. When no further attack came, he stopped and looked at the woman in front of him, tilting his head at her question. “No, I’m not.” Kat still held her blades up, ready to attack. “You were.” The information her source had provided was outdated, but perhaps she could learn something useful from this former Grim to aid in her hunt. The elf put his daggers away, nodding for her to follow him. In a thick Lordaeron accent, he instructed her to follow him to a safer place. His attacker looked suspicious at the suggestion, but she nodded her consent, and they headed to some nearby cliffs. Baal folded his arms and looked over the woman before him "So... you have lost your fur since we last met." Kat twitched, and something crossed her expression briefly—embarrassment or shame? She knew he was referring to their last encounter, nearly a year ago, when she thought she had killed him on Darkmoon Island. She had been in her worgen form for that fight, a form that still made her uncomfortable in her own skin. “Temporarily,” she said. He rested a hand on the hilt of one of his blades, ready to defend himself. “Why do you care if I’m no longer Grim?” Kat still held her own weapons in hand, as if she still hadn't decided whether to attack him or not. She dodged his question with one of her own. “First tell me why no Grim now?” “I no longer fit with them. Our paths went in different directions.” When she asked why again, he thought about the translation before answering. “The old kings went away…and the new I don’t trust.” This was new information for Kat. She hadn’t heard there’d been a change of leadership. “But you Grim when hurt Skylah. You did?” Baal shrugged. “I don’t know ‘Skylah’. I have hurt a great deal of people…. Alliance and Horde.” Kat studied him a moment, considering his answer. She decided he would remember Skylah if he had been involved in her capture and torture. Either he wasn’t part of that, or he was lying. “Recent attacks on Alliance cities? You there?” “No,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I won't fight alongside people I don't trust.” Kat stared at him silently for a long while—troubled, undecided. The elf gave her a sly smile. "Baal'themar Dawnsorrow is my name." After a last moment’s hesitation, she finally put her daggers away. “Katrynne Simms.” “So, Katrynne, why do you care if I'm Grim or not?” "Grim monsters. Must be destroyed." Baal grinned and nodded slightly. “How do you know I'm not a monster? I did tell you that I have hurt people. Does the tabard really matter?” "It matters. I hope monsters can be forgiven..." She shakes her head, trying to think of the right words. "Redeemed... if they try to stop be monster." That was why she stayed her hand. He was no longer Grim. If she killed him anyway, it would mean she did not believe he could be redeemed. If she believed there was no redemption for him, she could not hope for the chance of such for herself. “And what defines a monster to you?” he asked in a calm voice. “Hurting innocents,” she said simply. He grinned. “So, hurting the guilty is alright?” “That not the battle I choose to fight,” Kat answered with a shrug, struggling for the words with her rough orcish. “That for the Light to decide.” “Fair enough,” he said, with a shrug of his own. “So, I take it you came all this way to destroy me only to be disappointed. Let me offer you a meal at least. Break bread with an ex-Grim.” Kat was taken off guard by the suggestion. She watched quietly as Baal prepared a fire and then threw some steaks on a pan over the open flames. They sat apart from each other, and she pointed at his tabard, which bore a symbol she did not recognize. “Who? Peaceful?” “Red moon,” he answered, then he shook his head and corrected himself. “Rutilus Luna. Yes, understanding and honour bound.” They spoke about his guild a bit, then as he flipped the large Shoveltusk steaks over, she asked if he was no longer a monster. “I don't hurt the 'innocent' but I hurt people. different kind of monster.” She nodded in understanding. “Hunter. Like me. Hunt monsters.” “Hunters take only what they need, nothing more,” he said after considering her words. “I punish.” “Who?” ” Monsters that hide under fake skin,” he said. “Monsters that pretend to be people. Them and their spawn, their kin, and their allies.” Katrynne nodded in approval “Yes. Grim. I hunt them. But hard to find.” He shrugged. “Not the Grim... only if I'm attacked by them.” He took a stick and poked it through the steak before handing it to her, then doing the same with his own steak. Katrynne sniffed the steak cautiously before taking a bite and chewing carefully, still suspicious. Baal’themar ripped into his meal with all the manners of a wolf. They talked as they ate. She questioned him, trying to determine if he was still loyal to The Grim. “Alliance have hurt some Grim, so they hate powerful,” he told her, though he had no plans to change what she thought of The Grim. “Some... like me, hate both Alliance and Horde. Both have monsters. Sanctuary have monsters too. I’ll tell you a tale.” Katrynne was surprised to hear such an accusation about Sanctuary, a guild she had come to know as peaceful, just like the Twilight Empire. Baal looked into the fire as he told her a story of a woman pregnant with a half-human child. According to the story, both Grim and Sanctuary tried to kill the woman’s baby, by gutting the mother. The woman fled to Borrowed Time where she bought her safety from the mercenaries there. “Why?” Kat asked, still on the fence about whether this was all fact or fiction. Baal grinned. “Because, Sanctuary is not peaceful. They pretend to be nice, and good. Just like the monsters that hide in people skin, they hide in codes of honour.” Confused, Kat argued that Sanctuary was peaceful. She’d met some of them. Baal said there was good and bad among them, just like in the Grim. She countered that she’d never met a good Grim, and he pointed out that he would have spoken to her like this even when he was still Grim, but she shook her head. “I would have fought you if Grim.” “Then you would have attacked me because of a tabard,” he said. “I haven't changed...” “You chose not be Grim. That is change.” “If you say so.” “It must be so,” she argued stubbornly. Since she had crossed faction lines for help in her hunt, black and white were blending into gray, and the line between right and wrong, once so clear to her, had become blurry and faded. Such confusion brought conflict to her thoughts and doubts to her intentions. She grasped for something solid. “Sanctuary must had reason to want baby. They peaceful.” The giant elf smiled. “Believe what you like, but perhaps keep an eye out. As you said... Monsters are everywhere. They hide under lies and people skin. You'll see.” He stood and offered her his hand to help her up. They offered each other friendly farewells. “We should talk again,” Baal suggested. “Maybe in Dalaran and the bar they have.” She gave a non-committal answer as his hearthstone took him away.
  9. The dagger that Katrynne had tossed into the water just before her confrontation with Mai’kull contained the reply to a message she had received engraved on one side of the blade. Katrynne’s response was engraved on the other side, naming the date and time of a meeting. She assumed the recipient did somehow get the dagger and its message through some magical means, because a Sin’dorei death knight showed up at the meeting place at the given time. The elf woman spoke common with an ease that belied it as a first language, though the echoing of the helmet made the voice qualities hard to discern. She eyed Katrynne up and down for a moment before nodding. “I appreciate your lack of posturing.” Kat examined the woman in return, her nostrils flaring slightly. “I didn’t think I had a need for such here tonight. You are the dagger messenger?” The other woman nodded once. “No names. This works better if there’s nothing to say if the unfortunate occurs.” Kat nodded her understanding. If either of them were heavily questioned, they wouldn’t be able to give the other one away. Not that Kat was exactly keeping her hunt a secret from anyone, but she respected the other woman’s desire to protect herself. “Fair enough,” Kat agreed. “You know mine. What shall I call you?” “I know your….” Kat began, then chuckled softly. “Dagger Messenger is to be your name?” “Red Lady, though I suppose if this partnership works, you may be receiving many, MANY more of those.” “You wish to help me hunt the monsters,” Kat said. “I’m curious. Why?” “Because you’ve shown yourself to be apt at it,” the Red Lady said, “If a tad obvious. Your trail in Ratchet was easy to follow. I believe that with your help, an agreement can be struck. You aid me with finding mine, and I will do the same with yours.” “Easy to follow, yes,” Kat agreed with some amusement. “If they had heard about it, they may have come for me, and shown themselves. And you hunt someone I can track for you. Who?” “The last remains of the Scarlet Crusade.” Kat didn't know much about the Scarlet Crusade. She knew that the recently deceased Dr. Tyrell was a former Crusader, but she never learned what that meant. The doctor had seemed like a good man though, and if the rest of the Scarlet Crusade were like him, she would not help. “Why? Have they done bad things?” “The Scarlet Crusade is…was a group that formed in the Third War. Paladins of the Silver Hand, soldiers forced to flee their burning city, citizens forced out of their homes. Countless refugees from the Scourge attacks. Under that hatred and loss, they formed a military group dedicated to ridding Lordaeron of the Scourge. Sadly, they did not stop with that.” “What did they do?” “The same thing every fanatical group does,” the Red Lady explained. “Kill everything that’s not them. Bury themselves in lies so deeply they begin to believe it themselves and continue on their wicked ways, believing that they’re the emissaries of justice.” “Did they hurt innocents?” Kat asked. “Depends on your definition. If you were a human who was willing to join them, then they would probably take you in.” “And if I was not willing to join them?” “If they were feeling merciful, they would slay you. Otherwise, they would convince themselves that you knew something you refused to tell and break you upon a rack, torch you over coals, or carve you apart while cackling. They were very good at torture, so good that they even could make a Forsaken break under physical pain. “The long and short of it is,” the Red Lady continued. “These filthy idiots have been kept confined for close to a decade within their holdings and slowly losing ground. But every time they’ve sprung up or begun a new campaign, it’s under the command of the Nathrezim. The Ebon Blade finally did what should have been done years ago, and slaughtered what remained within the Scarlet Monastery. I don’t like the job to be left unfinished.” Kat had heard enough. “How can I help, and what will I get in exchange?” The Red Lady told her that she would help locate and hunt down The Grim, for a price. The price gave Kat pause. She didn’t like what she would have to do in return, and she nearly called off the whole deal right then. However, she was getting desperate. Azeroth was a large place, and she was having trouble tracking her prey alone. Such help as the Red Lady was offering, she told herself, must be worth the sacrifice she’d have to make. Her soul was damned already. If she must take a few more steps toward eternal torment and darkness to rid the world of a few more monsters, so be it. The Red Lady also had a compelling argument for why this was all necessary, and encouraged Kat to find out the truth herself. “The first one is on me,” the Red Lady promised. “You’ll see that I’m good to my word. After that, think of a way to honor our agreement.” Kat agreed, and, after agreeing on a place to check for future secret messages, the two women shook hands on the deal and parted ways. Several days later and still tormented about her end of the bargain, Kat received a secret message, hidden in the hollow hilt of a throwing dagger. The message gave a description of a target, along with places he frequented and his usual companions. Kat recognized the description as that of a Grim she had fought months ago, on Darkmoon Island. She thought she had killed him then. Apparently, she was wrong, but now it looked like she might get a second chance. ((By Katrynne and anonymous))
  10. Mai’kull sat atop his rock in Margoss’s pond. His lure flew lazily back and forth into the water and he enjoyed the evening breeze. After his successful campaign against the Alliance, he had taken up the relaxing sport of fishing. It was quite therapeutic and mind numbing, which is something the Magister was in dire need of in-between his research. Katrynne Simms approached the water with an ornate dagger in her hand. The blade of the dagger had words engraved on it on both sides. 'What a strange way to send a message', she thought. Still, she wouldn’t turn down a potential source of help, especially after a recent card reading with the Starseer encouraged her to remain open to unexpected options. It could be a trap, of course, but she would take that chance. After a quick glance around, she tossed the dagger into the pond as per the instructions she received, and she trusted it would somehow find its way back to the message’s sender. Upon hearing the splash behind him, Mai’kull turned around to see an armor clad human standing along the bank. He grumbled at first, shooing her away with his free hand. Several Alliance came to this spot to fish, however this was his spot, and no amount of intimidation was going to make him move. Katrynne’s nostrils flared as she caught the scent of the Forsaken Mage. He was the same one she and Sir Cavanaugh ran into in Dalaran a few days ago. This was no ordinary Forsaken…he was Grim. Mai’kull looked the human girl over a few times, seeing the look of anger and hatred on her face. Thinking back, she did look familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. Clearly, she wasn’t going to go away, whatever her grievance with him was, wasn’t going to be over his fishing spot. “Can I help you?” the Undead spoke in a very broken dialect of common. It had been YEARS since he spoke the language, since before the Sacking of Silvermoon when he was but a child, but he had a recently refreshed himself on the basics of the Alliance linguistics to better monitor his enemy’s movements. “You can help me by dying,” the huntress growled softly. “Are you going to come over here and fight, or are you going to make me get my boots wet?” She drew her daggers from their sheath as she stared at him, studying her prey in a calm and calculating manner. ‘She’s kidding…’ he thought to himself as he quickly tried to decipher the woman’s words. As he confirmed his own translation he began to chuckle, putting away his fishing rod. “You…must be confused.” He choked out. He had taken the Kirin-Tor’s course on Arcane Linguistics but even that did not make speaking common feel anything less than revolting. He stood upon the rock now facing the human and laughed some more, “Let’s think about this, shall we? You want to pick a fight with a Mage…who’s standing in the middle of a lake, surrounded by magical water that he’s fully capable of manipulating. Mommy and Daddy didn’t teach you much on common sense, did they?” Kat’s eyes narrowed as she glanced for a moment at the water, then back to the yammering corpse. “So…what? Going to hide out in the water then? Filthy Grim. Afraid of a fair fight against a combatant? I hear you're only capable of killing innocent civilians and children.” ‘Fair Fight?’ he thought as he began to analyze his opponent. She knew he was Grim, and mentioning civilians, this was probably related to the attacks. He wondered for a moment if she knew he was the one who organized the whole thing, or if she was just a screw-loose out against the Grim. Light Armor, Leather, and twin daggers…she’s a rogue at least. Not a smart one at that, since she showed herself to her opponent. Her bravado would be her downfall, Mai’kull only had to push the right buttons… “All right then…don’t say I didn’t warn you…” the he teased as magical energy combusted from the fishermen. His entire body became engulfed in flames, his figure began to twist and bend in the combustion until it extinguished a few seconds later. Mai’kull Fireweaver, Maleficar of the Grim stood tall in his Bloodmage Battle Regalia. Clutching one hand on the hilt of Felo’melorn at his side, the Grim Magister grinned at the girl before him, it was Show Time! “You know the Kirin-Tor don’t like it when we get rough on one another…” the magister said, pointing behind him to Conjurer Margoss. “So instead let’s play a fun little game…” Kat’s glare never left the mage. If her hatred could be expelled from her eyes, she would put Demon Hunters to shame. “I’m not really one for playing games with YOUR kind,” she snarled. “Oh…but you’ll like this one…It’s called King of the Rock, and I’m the King!” He held his hands outward and spun around on the spot, clearly mocking the rogue. Withdrawing a small pole from his bag, he drove it into the rock, which quickly expanded into the Battle Standard of the Grim. “The rules are simple. You want it, come and get it!” he teased, swinging one handed from the battle standard while beckoning the ‘come hither’ motion with his free hand. Katrynne disappeared from the water’s edge, and in one swift Shadow Step, she appeared on the rock behind the mage. Gripping the dagger in her main hand she spun around without hesitation and reached to slash at the Magister for a crippling Garrote. But Mai’kull was waiting for her, and with the power of Arcane Momentum, he shimmered backwards through the rogue’s attack and over the center of the lake. Mai’kull landed in the water with a great splash but kept his eyes on the rogue. She couldn’t pull off that trick again for another half minute, plenty of time for him to wrap this pursuit up. He laughed as the rogue turned to face him once more, now she looking down on him. “Well done!” he shouted, clapping his hands as he floated along the water’s surface. As he anticipated, she was easy enough to bait, and now Mai’kull had her RIGHT where he wanted her. “Your Majesty!” he mocked, “I humbly surrender my throne to one so WORTHY!” he cackled as he began to slowly swim backwards away from the girl, “But I wonder if your new subjects would feel so welcome to the idea?!” he grinned, withdrawing a small stone from his pocket and flicked it up into the air. It was as if Time Slowed down, watching the stone flip up and over in the air, reaching its apex before descending back into the lake. As it hit the water’s surface, it made no splash or noise, but almost immediately melted into the water without so much as a ripple. The Forsaken had already Shimmered back again to the opposite side of the lake as the magic took hold. Katrynne and Mai’kulls eyes locked for a moment on one another before the great disturbance shook the fishing retreat. The Colossal Water Elemental Aquaos rose up from the waters depths in a bout of rage. Its gaze first went to the one who summoned it, but Mai’kull was already slipping into the void with a spell of Invisibility. It then turned its full attention to Katrynne, and with a giant swipe of its aquatic claws, knocked the rogue off the rock and into the lake itself. As Kat fell through the water, her body shifted into worgen form in anticipation of battle. Irritated at the delay in attacking her prey, the huntress shoved the mage to the back of her mind to focus on the more immediate threat. She held her breath and began to swim up toward the surface, but suddenly, the water around her feet froze, holding her firmly in place. While she chipped at the ice with her daggers, an icy bolt came at her through the water and struck her in the chest, knocking her feet free of the ice. With her lungs burning, she swam to the surface. The giant water elemental was shooting a jet of water at her. She dove under the water to duck under it. When she came up again, she launched herself at the creature, her two large daggers slashing through the water beast. It shot another freezing water bolt at her that caught her in the side. She grunted, grit her teeth, and continued slicing at the thing. Finally, the elemental dispersed into water droplets and mana motes that fell harmlessly into the pond. Kat knew it would reform later, but for now, it was no longer a threat. Soaked and panting, the worgen woman dragged herself to the edge of the pond where the water was only ankle deep. She looked for the Grim, her nose quivering trying to catch his scent, but she he was gone. She knew that the sneaky little bastard used the elemental as a distraction to escape. She sheathed her daggers and pinned her ears back against her head and roared. “COWARD! STOP HIDING AND COME OUT!” Just then her ears perked, she could hear his voice fill the small lake, undoubtedly through some magical means. “Poor Kitten…Look at you now, all wet and dirty. I did warn you not to pick a fight out of your own element.” “I will find you again. And I WILL kill you, Grim!” She fumed with anger at his coincidental use of an old nickname, one that only one person had ever called her by. Out of habit, she lifted one hand to touch a ring hanging on a chain around her neck. “Grim? So formal…least I can do is reward you and tell the name of who it was who got you all hot and bothered, Shall we?” The surface of the lake under her feet began to ripple, as the image of the Mage appeared, as if he were standing next to her, a malevolent grin plastered across its face as it bowed to her own reflection and blew a kiss, “My name, is Mai’kull Fireweaver…and I look forward to seeing you again, Pretty Kitty. Very soon.” With a vicious snarl, she swung her claws through the watery illusion, sending the droplets to rain back to the surface below. ((written by Maikull and Katrynne))
  11. A low growl rumbled in the worgen woman's throat as Katrynne heard the news. A group of Horde, led by The Grim, had invaded the Alliance cities and slaughtered so many innocent people. Her fingers wrapped tightly around the swords at her sides. Those monsters! All this time, she had been hunting the Grim, and now when they dare to invade the Alliance cities, she was too far away to do anything to fight them. They had to be stopped. Seething with barely controlled rage, she headed to Stormwind to pay a visit to General Larmont's office.
  12. Katrynne knelt at the gravestone on one knee, her head bowed over her hands resting over her other knee. One hand lifted to hold the gold ring that hung on a chain around her neck. “I went to a funeral a few days ago,” she said quietly. “One of the men I escorted into Gilneas to find property for them. That seems so long ago now. He was their doctor, and a paladin. He seemed like a good man, and I’m sure the Eternal Aegis will feel the loss for a long time to come.” She fell silent for a few moments before continuing. “His father spoke at the service. He said even though he, the father, was no longer connected to the Light, he knew his son would be received by it. That brought to the surface some of my own long held questions, and so I sought answers soon after from another who serves the Light. “I’ve been in need of some answers of late. The constant death and battle on the Isles…. The thought has crossed my mind more than once, I admit, to abandon it all, to go back to the North, back to Cole, and forget everything here.” She shook her head apologetically. “I know, I haven’t told you about Cole. You wouldn’t like him. But that’s a tale for another day. “I suppose I could have gone to the sisters with my questions. They use the Light in their healing duties. But they seem more distant since the move to the Isles. They are kept busy in the infirmary together, and I don’t see them as much anymore. I fear I have fallen out of their confidence. And they also use shadows as well as the Light. At least, Lady Brianna does. I’ve seen her wield them, and I witnessed up close the horrific damage it caused. No, I needed to speak with someone who had a much purer connection to the Light. “Although I’d only spoken to him a few times, and briefly even then, Sir Cavanaugh seemed quite agreeable to meet with me.” Kat paused, lifting her gaze to the gravestone with a soft, sad smile flickering ever so fleetingly across her lips, before it disappeared again into her more usual solemn expression. “In some ways, he reminded me of you. Perhaps that’s why I found him so easy to talk to. I hope to have more opportunities to speak with him in the future. “I didn’t tell him specifically about Alain, but I told him enough for him to know I am damned. And that I am a monster. And even so, he assured me that redemption may be within the realm of possibility. Yet even with his assurance, and as much as I desperately want it, I still doubt that I am, or will ever be, deserving of such. Being watched by things with no eyes, gnawed at by things with no mouths, never-ending pain and torment—that’s what awaits those not received by the Light. I do not relish the thought of such a fate, and yet, I cannot believe that’s not exactly what I deserve.” Kat sighed after a few moments of silence. She stood and adjusted the swords at her sides. “I should return to the Isles. There are still monsters to slay out there. Including the Grim ones. I came across some a few days ago. I took down two before I was driven out of the area by a third one. A Forsaken priest in red and black robes. Now I am determined to find him again and end him, along with any other of the wretched monsters I can find. “Farewell, Zak.”
  13. It had been months since Katrynne had visited the Stormwind graveyard. Now she returned. Her usual careful composure barely concealed her weariness as she knelt by the headstone. “I could use your guidance, Zak,” the woman whispered. “The Legion invaded Azeroth. So many demons. We drove them back, most of them, to the Broken Isles. The mages even moved Dalaran to there, so we we’d have a base of operations to fight from. And so we fight. And fight. That seems to be all there is now—battle and bloodshed. “The sisters stay in Dalaran, tending to the never-ending wave of injured in the infirmary there. I don’t know where the knight spends his time of late. I see them at the meetings, when I go. Mostly, I hunt, alone. “It started with the demons. Then those corrupted by the demons, including some heroes of Azeroth’s past. And naga, presumably assisting the Legion. And harpies, and murlocs, and Vrykul, and pirates, and ghosts… So much death. So much killing. And, aside from the occasional bear or stag I kill for a meal at the end of the day, I’m not always sure why anymore. I just continue, moving from one target to the next.” Kat was silent a moment, studying the bloodstains deep in the cracks of her gloves as she flexed her fingers. She frowned, her gaze remaining fixed on the tell-tale leather as she spoke again, nearly in monotone. “And then there is Surumar, an ancient city of ancient elves. Apparently, some of the elves made a deal with the demons long, long ago. They put the whole city under a shield and blocked off the rest of the world.” She scowled distastefully. “You can imagine how that turned out. Now there is basically civil war there, with the elves who don’t support or serve the demons rebelling against those who do. The rebels look to us to help them. I have killed countless city guards who were only doing their job, at the request of some rebels who assume me to be an ally because they too fight the demons. “And all those elves who are banned from the city suffer daily because they’re forced to stay away from the source of their magic. The most afflicted are called Withered. The less affected often bid us to round up the withered for them, so they can use them as soldiers in their fight. Other times, they ask us to kill the withered, their own people, to put them out of their own misery. And, Light forgive me, I have.” The woman was silent again. A breeze ruffled the leaves on the nearby trees and teases the loose strands of her hair. After several minutes, Katrynne furrowed her brow. “Today I came across an orc battling a mighty stag. The stag was winning. The orc was badly injured, but he still held his ground and fought bravely. By the time I reached them, the orc had stumbled, and the stag was about to gore him. I attacked the animal, and I thought I might succeed in saving the orc’s life. Instead, I killed him. I threw a poison bomb at the stag’s head, but my aim was off. It hit the orc, who by this point could barely stand. And he wasn’t the first accidental kill.” Kat looked down at the blood on her gloves again. “There’s a place under Dalaran filled with vicious, blood-thirsty killers. Maybe that’s where I belong. At least there I won’t be able to hurt any innocents. Just monsters to put down. Until they put me down. “Goodbye, Zak,” she whispered from under a bowed head. She rose slowly, her expression hardening again as she turned from the grave to make her way out of the cemetery.
  14. “What do you do when those whom you thought could be your saviors in freeing you from the monster you are, turn out to have such atrocious beasts within themselves as well?” Katrynne finally asked the gravestone, after several moments of quiet reflection. “They are priestesses, servants of the Light. It’s one of the reasons I chose them. Or perhaps not servants of it. Perhaps only wielders of it. Can someone be one without also being the other? “I caught one—one of the Grim monsters—like I said I would. For her. But they wouldn’t wait. I wondered through the whole thing…. Would she have been as gruesome?” She didn’t admit it aloud, but she believed now that Skylah would have been just as violent, if not more so, in the task of ending a Grim’s life. Katrynne was already kneeling, and now she bowed her head over her knee and closed her eyes. Filora’s words came back to her from that day, You’re just as…evil as…you think we are.” Even though the words were directed to Brianna, Katrynne found that she couldn’t deny the accusation. Not for Skylah, not for Brianna, not for herself. “I set the whole thing in motion,” she whispered. “I made it possible for Brianna to have a target for her own darkness. Are they the monsters, or am I? Or perhaps everyone is, and there are no truly good people in the world.” With a sigh, she stood, wiping a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand. She looked down at the gravestone. “Or maybe I’m off the head. The knight certainly never seems to approve of anything I do or say, so maybe I have gone mad and spout only nonsense. “For a time, I had hoped there was a chance, however slim, of being welcome again in the Light. Because of these events, and for my part in them, there will be no redemption for me, I am certain of it. “I’m leaving tonight. I need to be away from here for a spell. Also, a friend is in danger, and I will not leave him to such a fate if I can stop it. A little solitude will do me good while I search for him. But not too much, I know. I’ll be careful,” she assured the stone. “I will return.”
  15. All of the posters along the main streets of Stormwind were torn down, and all but one were burned. Katrynne did not consider that they would be replaced before the sun rose again, but it wouldn't surprise her either. The discussion was had, and a plan was set. It wasn't necessarily a good plan, but it was the plan they'd come up with. As the last ashes of the posters cooled and crumbled in the hearth of her place in Stormwind, Katrynne picked up a bag and headed out to her gryphon. She rolled up the remaining poster she took down and tucked it into a saddle bag. As the moons rose over the capital, so too did a dark gryphon, bearing a somber rider into the night and out of the city.