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Everything posted by Fhenrir

  1. "They're animals! Scare them!" Tetsujin tried to yell at her. He'd learned a long time ago that she ignored most of his directions, but that didn't stop him from trying. Lately, she couldn't even hear him over the crowd - or at least that was her excuse. "Hit that belly spot again, it's already bleeding! Don't give it time to heal! Smash it in the head or something!" He could barely hear himself yelling over the sound of the crowd. When the drums got faster, Tetsujin turned his deafened shouting at them in frustration. "SHUT UP!"
  2. Oh hey, what a pleasant surprise! Thank you!
  3. Fhenrir Phoenix is a tauren warrior that has served the Horde for over a decade. His staunch and unwavering commitment to fighting both the Alliance and the other threats from around the world has earned him the title of Lieutenant General. In the past, he struggled to find who he was beyond his duty. He has since settled into a (mostly) content personal life, with many close allies and a caring partner. He is generally ornery and humorless, but lets his guard down around those closest to him. But now... Fenny Cranksplat, in: "A Piece of Cake" One of my earlier memories is about a cake. It was at my birthday party. We were outside the house, sitting at a public bench in the park. Dad didn't invite anybody that wouldn't pay for their own food, so there were only Cranksplat family members watching when he brought out the cake. Crappy graying grass under the bench crunched with each of his steps, and he nearly slipped on an oil stain. But when the cake came down, I was thrilled to see it slathered in pink frosting and oozing some kind of chocolate sugary filling. Dad sliced a piece for me and set it on my plate. I must've had the biggest, fattest, happiest face an eight year old goblin could have. Then my older half-brother, Rigo, snatched my plate and started eating. I started bawling. "D-d-daaaad!" Dad slapped me in the back of the head. "Shaddap. I look like a cake dispensary?" I sniffed and watched my brother eating my chocolate oozing pink cake and was about to lose it again. "Pushovers don't eat," Dad said. Nearby in a pile of junk, I saw an old bent wrench. I wiped the snot off my nose, grabbed it, and beat my brother to a pulp. "Dat's my boy," I heard Dad say while I ate the rest of my reclaimed cake. After that, Rigo went to go live with Mom. Dad knew I was a fighter. When I was gettin' big enough to do proper work, he bought me my mech-mace. Well, he said bought, but it had an inscription on the handle that read "Love, Your Little Corkscrew." The spinning gears on the head looked kinda stupid, but they were supposed to make it 42% more Aerodynamic and 69% more Ouchy. "If you wanna keep eatin'," Dad told me, "ya better make dis a worthwhile investment." I worked my butt off every day with that thing, and by the time I was old enough to make myself useful, I went and got myself a job for the richest goblin I could find. Some jerk who counted coins at the bank needed some muscle to keep thugs out. "I... see. What makes you qualified to watch our gold, Mister... Fenny Cranksplat?" the banker asked as he read my resume. Well, it wasn't really a resume. It was a paper that I wrote "Hire Me" on, cause they said I needed a resume to apply. "I'm gonna level with you, buddy. Everybody in line out there bashes heads, probably about the same as I do. But," I dropped my mech-mace on his desk. "You don't have to pay to arm me. That's less risk on your end, cuz if I die or my stuff gets stolen, you didn't pay for a copper of it." The banker tilted his head and scratched his chin. The next day, I was working for the guy. I scratched my butt and leaned into anyone who looked funny for eight hours a day, and I was making more gold than Dad ever did. I had to crack a few skulls, but that was the way of things: either He probably resented me for it. Well, no, he definitely resented me for it. The old dope tried to rob me after I'd stashed up a couple months of pay under my pillow. I woke up one night face to face with him, his hand literally clutching my bag full of gold. "Hey," he said casually, sweat pouring down his forehead. I slept next to my mace, so I had it available to bash his head in. I woulda felt bad, but he kinda asked for it. By trying to steal my stuff. Nobody at the mortgage company really asked questions when I took over payments from my old man. They were still getting their gold, so they were happy. After a year or so working at the bank, I got approached by a guy in a shady outfit with a shady agenda. "Meet me in the alley down the block by the weird-smelling dumpster tonight. Got a job that'll triple yer pay." Didn't trust him for a second, but gold is gold, and my ladyfriend cancelled our plans for that night, so I went and checked it out. Flickering street lamp just outside the alley showed me the shadow of the guy waiting for me; the flabby, spidery shadow. Trade Prince Gallywix himself came out to meet me: maybe this really was something. He also had maybe a half dozen guards - that I could see, at least - surrounding him. "Hah, he actually came, boss!" one of them squeaked in an awful twang. "That he did," the Trade Prince said through his bouncing jowls. "So, your name is Fanny, right?" "Fenny." "All right, Fanny, here's the score. My boys say you got a night shift at the end of the week. You're gonna look the other way, for about two hours or so." "Why am I gonna do that?" "So ya don't have an affair with tha fishes tomorrow," another guard said in a leathery growl. I pulled the mech-mace off my back. "You wanna rumble?" "He's strapped!" the first guard shrieked. "No need for a rumble," the Trade Prince cut in. "It's bad for business. Tell you what: you do what you're supposed to, triple your pay." If I was loyal to one thing, it was to the coin. And a Trade Prince was worth way more than any random banker. His diet alone was probably worth more than my house; Gallywix had more chins than I had fingers. "Guess I won't see you later." The heist came and went, and I ignored it like I was supposed to. Once they were gone, I didn't even finish my shift: the bank was gonna know who to blame when their gold was missing tomorrow. Soon as the sun was up, I was at Gallywix's place. "Here to see the Trade Prince." "Shove off, no appointments for today." "He should be expecting me." "He ain't expecting you." "He ain't expecting a certain guy getting paid for a certain thing that wasn't observed last night?" The guards exchanged looks. "Be right back." One of them left, and I was left staring the other guard's ugly mug for just a bit too long. I was getting suspicious. Finally, the guard came back. "Go on in." So I get to the Trade Prince, hanging out in his spider tank thing. I had a sinking feeling when I realized just how much of an oily smell that thing put off, and how much noise it made when he moved around. Didn't notice either of those things in the alley. "You hinted at something out at the gate?" Gallywix said. "The job," I prompted him. "Ah, yes. Fenny Cranksplat, correct? The AWOL guard?" I was screwed. "Maybe. Listen, Trade Prince-" I didn't even get to finish my sentence. I woke up at the bottom of a trash chute. The only source of light was a square opening about three floors up. A goblin around my age poked his head through after he heard me shuffling around. "You awake? You must be the dumbest burglar on the whole island." "I didn't burgle anything." "Sure, sure. Hey, nice mech-mace, Little Corkscrew. Worth just enough to keep you out of cement shoes." They were gonna sell my mace. "I'll kill you!" I tried to climb up, but I couldn't get up the walls. They were coated in some kind of oil; or I hoped it was oil. "Clean up the whole place and we'll see about getting you a promotion!" "Screw yourself!" I shouted back. "Just think!" he called as he threw something into the chute that obscured the only source of light. "You could be "Lieutenant Garbage!"" The source of the shadow smacked into my face: A big piece of pink chocolate cake.
  4. "Prideful" is more like "elitist" for Zuffid, and I couldn't work in Fhen's significant anger issues (because none of the others really deal with anger). It's an excellent thought exercise to see how your characters compare and contrast.
  5. Fhenrir stood near the entrance to his outpost in Draenor, arms folded. The heavy plate armor over his thick Taurahe fur kept him well insulated, but he was still close to shaking. Not from the cold, but from sheer frustration. "No." Standing on the path just outside the gates was a herd of cattle. Run of the mill cows, the sort native to Elwynn and the rest of the Eastern Kingdoms. The cows had already been parked on the path for over an hour, and they seemed to arrive just as a shipment of resources was due to leave on that very same pathway. In the center of the herd was a lone orc with the features of an old man, but the energy of a young buck. A young buck that had frequently tried to seduce Fhenrir's wife back in the day. Jobolg wore the same grin Fhenrir had unfortunately come to know very well over the last decade. "Come on, Fhen. I wouldn't approach you about if it wasn't important!" "Yes, you would." "Okay, maybe, but listen. This really is important. Like, really important. Just take a chance and trust me on this. What do you have to lose?" "A lot." "Noooooo. Who's even paying attention to this Draenor anymore? The princess has left for another castle. The ships have sailed. The armies have moved on." "Not all of them." Fhenrir still took regular duty as a tactical officer on the planet, and helped hold positions against the Alliance. Both forces maintained fairly regular excursions to take advantage of the planet's ample resources. "A lot of them! There are demons everywhere on Azeroth! So this is the perfect chance to sneak in to Draenor and- err, totally innocently examine the effects of Azerothian life forms entering the ecosystem." "Let me be clear: No." "Come oooooooooon. The Horde has a lot to gain from this!" "Such as?" Jobolg paused a moment. "Unlimited supplies of meat?" Fhenrir was hesitant; that sounded too good to be true. But if there was even a chance, he'd be remiss to ignore the opportunity. "How so?" "These cows are clones!" Fhenrir took closer stock of the cattle. Sure enough, every cow had the same spotted pattern as the cow next to it. One patch of black over the left eye, and mixed black and white across the torso. "And you can produce them... indefinitely." "Absolutely!" Jobolg coughed after that, in such a way that he was probably mumbling some clause under his breath that Fhenrir couldn't quite decipher. "And you'll only do this if I help." "Your words, my friend!" Jobolg clapped him on the shoulder. "Your words." "And you'll move this herd so my supplies can be delivered." Jobolg grinned wide and devious. "So you'll do it?" Fhenrir wasn't sure how he always ended up agreeing to help Jobolg in his schemes. Every logical part of Fhenrir's brain told him he should hate Jobolg's guts, but there was something to Jobolg's charm that always won over some small part of Fhenrir. A small part that always got Fhenrir in trouble. ~ So Jobolg, Fhenrir, a squad of Fhenrir's Garrison troops, and a herd of cloned cattle began a trek through Draenor. "What's the destination?" Fhenrir asked. Again. "You'll see, you'll see!" Jobolg was positively thrilled. Fhenrir was not. "Jobolg..." "Trust me!" "Why would I ever do that?" Fhenrir grinned, the remark meant as a tongue-in-cheek jab. Though both knew there was truth in the statement, it didn't bother either of them. Jobolg offered a friendly laugh. ~ "Why would I ever do that?" Fhenrir asked again, this time with no smile. The caravan had come to a ledge overlooking Shadowmoon Valley. From a suspicious engineering bag that held far more material than anything its size rightly could, Jobolg had produced and assembled a mechanical cannon on the edge of the cliff, with a cow-shaped hole on the back just large enough to load the cattle into one at a time. "Fhen, this is critical. How else will I find out how these cows react to being introduced to Draenor?" "I'm not a biologist, but-" "Exactly, Fhen, you're not! But I AM a scientist! It's got "ist" on the end! Are you anything with "ist" on the end?" Fhenrir paused. "I don't think so?" "I don't think so, either! So help me shove this cow into the Cowapult!" Jobolg has already started shoving one of the cattle toward his machine. "I'm not shoving a cow into anything." Before Jobolg could protest further, one of Fhenrir's troops interrupted with a terrified scream. "ALLIANCE!" A team of troops descended upon the caravan. It was instant chaos. Blades clashed and the cows scattered. Fhenrir leapt into battle and immediately cleft some unfortunate gnome in two, then whirled himself toward a crowd of Alliance. They scattered in fear, but Fhenrir got a sinking feeling he and his troops were on the wrong side of this fight. One of the soldiers he smashed was carrying a pitchfork, and that brought Fhenrir to a halt. He leapt to the edge of the cliff and looked into Shadowmoon carefully. There, between a small crop of trees, was an Alliance farming outpost. With Jobolg's Cowapult aimed at it. "Jobolg!" Fhenrir shouted. "What?" Jobolg had just launched a volley of imps at some poor farmer. It was clear Fhenrir's caravan would take this fight; there didn't appear to be any Horde casualties. But even so, Fhenrir was enraged. "You're launching cows at a VILLAGE?" Fhenrir was fine with battling the Alliance, but these looked like civilians. And the plan was to fire cows at said civilians. "Fhen." Jobolg smiled. "I'm introducing them to Draenor's ecosystem." Fhenrir took a step forward to bash Jobolg's head in, but his attention was pulled to a stray cow wandering a little too close to the Cowapult. The machine reached out and enveloped the cow; it barely had time to moo before being sucked into the machine. "DAMN IT!" Fhenrir shouted. Jobolg grinned. "Fire in the hole!" He pressed a button on his belt. The Cowapult fired. Fhenrir ground his hooves into the ground, and leapt into the air over the cliff. He'd trained for years to leap directly onto his targets, to leap onto enemies, to leap from one airborne beast to another. But never was he aiming for an airborne cow. Still, Fhenrir collided with and caught the terrified animal midflight. They hurdled toward the village, but Fhenrir refused to become a tauren cannonball now. Just before they hit, Fhenrir mustered his energy and leapt again. With the cow in his arms, Fhenrir smashed into the dirt just outside the town. Fhenrir and the cow left a huge crater, and certainly drew the attention of every farmer in the village. "Fhen..." Jobolg's voice crackled over a small engineering device he'd glued to Fhenrir's belt. "I must admit, that was pretty cool." Fhenrir's back was buried into the dirt and the cow was resting on top of him. The beast had no interest in moving, especially as humans from the village, armed with torches and pitchforks, surrounded Fhenrir and his new crater. Fhenrir thought carefully about his next move, but that's when he looked at the cow and noticed something odd; the black spot was over its right eye. "Jobolg. Why does this cow look different?" "Oh, that! It turns out stealing cows and casting an illusion over them is a lot easier than actually cloning an army of them. Cloning cows would be immensely difficult and really not worth it at all." "So..." "Thanks for helping me get these little guys here!" Jobolg's voice crackled over the device one last time. "Fire in the hole!" The humans surrounding Fhenrir scattered as the Cowapult fired from the cliffs above. One by one, cows being used as ammunition rained down upon the poor farming village and people fled for their lives. Fhenrir sighed deeply, still pinned under the one cow he'd managed to save. The cow stupidly looked into Fhenrir's eyes, completely oblivious of what he'd just done for it, and lazily licked Fhenrir on the snout. The End.
  6. Fhenrir: I liked the name of the Final Fantasy summon. Fenrir was taken, so I added an H. Zuffid: Came up with the name a long time ago, forgot about it for years, then remembered it around the time I rolled a belf paladin (for the explicit purpose of being really annoying in PvP). Makul: Named after a barbarian from D&D that I had named "Makulishtenalla" because I thought it sounded neat. As far as I know, it doesn't mean anything (or fit into the name generator!) Foozle: Goblin wizard. Reference to wizards that I think predates my existence. Leon: He's an undead hunter. Yup. Coward: Originally would have been a tauren paladin, but I already had a tauren paladin. Now he's a monk because that's what I was leveling at the time. Ow: I'm just showing off that I have silly names now. He's a Pandaren because it kind of works. Scorpion: Get over here!
  7. <p>


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    <p>D R E A M</p>

  8. <p>All good! Things are well - would be fun to catch up sometime soon. <img src="<fileStore.core_Emoticons>/emoticons/biggrin.png" alt=":D" srcset="<fileStore.core_Emoticons>/emoticons/biggrin@2x.png 2x" width="20" height="20" /></p>

  9. Fhenrir Phoenix Upon selection: "Lieutenant General Fhenrir Phoenix, at your service." Click: "Orders?" "Ready." "Ready for orders." "Say the word." "Where am I needed?" Excessive clicking: "Uh, Lok'tar?" "We need to move." "You're wasting time." "You're not Xara, back off." "I need more rage!" "Not enough rage!" *sigh* "Moo. Are you happy now?" Ordered to move: "Got it." "Understood." "Let's move." "On my way." "For the Horde." Ordered to attack: "Charge!" "For the Horde!" "For the Horde." "Out of my way!" "For Kalimdor!" Taunt: Fhenrir plants his sword in the dirt, speaks, then draws it once more. "Surrender. We've seen who the greater warrior is." "The might of the Horde is unstoppable." "Our time is now. Press the advantage." Joke: Fhenrir crosses his arms over his chest, then covers his face with one palm. He speaks behind his hand. "No, I'm not protection, and I won't carry the flag. Stop asking." "This was a lot easier with a healer glued to my backside." "How does the rotation go again? Mortal strike, whirlwind... rend? Or overpower?" (resigned) "Let's get... mooooooving." *sigh* Death: Fhenrir takes one last swing with his weapon, then collapses to the ground face first. Rebirth: "Not my time yet." "There's too much riding on this one." "I need to be here; for my family. And for the Horde."
  10. <p>The Dadrir-ening is almost upon us! Due date is a month away now!</p>


  11. <p>You're bad and you should feel bad.</p>

  12. <p>Moo.</p>

    <p>(this text added because the minimum is 5 characters. racist against tauren, TNG!! *fistshake*)</p>

  13. Baine is dead. He held out fighting for Thunder Bluff until the very last moment, and when all hope was lost he held them off while the rest of us managed to fall back. They carved him into a mantlepiece like the disgusting savages they are. Sylvannas is gone. As soon as they caught wind of Orgrimmar falling to pieces, the Undercity was abandoned. We don't know where the Forsaken have gone, but the majority of them turned out to be as trustworthy allies as you could expect. We last saw the Forsaken marching toward the Caverns of Time; we can't find out why they went there, but we know they're gone and we know it's now being guarded by the Alliance. Thrall is too busy pretending at hero to care about the Horde any more. The shaman who watches out for the world, except for us, apparently. He's taken a neutral position any time he's been petitioned for aid. He's about as good to us as Baine's stuffed corpse now. Lor'themar has distanced himself and most of the Blood Elves from the Horde. Whispers indicate he's been petitioning the Alliance leaders for a truce. All signs point to the elves rejoining the rest of the Alliance and happily mowing us down to make room for the more 'dignified' races. I never did trust them. Gallywix took off, no surprise there. He and the goblins mergered back into the wider range of goblins, who are all now mostly serving in an alliance of convenience with the Alliance. The Pandaren followed suit, wanting to be reunited with their families more than they wanted to be murdered by bloodthirsty humans. What we're left with is a ragtag group of holdouts you'd expect to win in the children's stories and the legends. But the reality is no match for a legend, I'm afraid. We are bleeding, wounded, and desperate. We limp backward day by day in a pathetic bid to ensure nothing more than our own continued survival. The Alliance butcher any settlement they come across - most of our children are dead, the rest living sheltered and pathetic excuses for a childhood while being trained to hold a spear as best they can. The Horde is dying, and we are dying alone. "We need to go on the offensive!" barked one of the other generals. I wasn't paying attention to who. "Morale is in the gutters. We need a victory!" "We won' get a victory wit' an assault," Vol'jin responded in that calculating tone he always used. "We'll only see more death." "We're starving out there," another voice pleaded. "At least bolster the hunting party's numbers. We need to eat - these half rations are doing more damage than swords or arrows ever could." "An' guarantee an unprepared defense for da next assault? We can't do it." "Time is running out. We need a choice, Vol'jin." "What we need is a leader like Garrosh! There was an orc who knew how to get things done!" "You're an idiot! Garrosh killed Cairne." "If only Cairne OR Baine were still here." "You're all wrong! I'll lead us to victory!" "Be quiet," Vol'jin demanded, and the noise died down. "Ah'll have words for de camp tomorrow. It be time for a little action," he acquiesced to the group. "Dismissed." I said nothing as the restless leaders remaining in the war council filtered out of the tent, leaving me standing across the table from Vol'jin. The troll watched me with a sad expression. I was one of the most battle-hardened survivors, and he always appreciated my input. "You made the right call," I agreed after the group was gone. "Because inaction will kill us." "You're right, Mon." Vol'jin crossed and placed a hand that felt sadly familiar on my shoulder. "Let's just hope de Alliance don't kill us first." Vol'jin walked out and left me alone with the war table. I looked down at the giant swathes of blue territory, and the little bits of red were getting harder and harder to find. Even the formerly neutral holdouts in Booty Bay, Dalaran, Shattrath, were unreliable territory now. It felt like the centaurs encroaching all over again, but there wasn't going to be an army of orcs sailing in to save us this time. I took a deep breath, and did my best to put on a hopeful face for Xara before I left the tent to go find her.
  14. The troll coughed as I unhooked him from the wall. "Mon, dis is hell! When ya gonna let meh go!?" "Progress." He watched me suspiciously, as he should. He was a dumb one, but savvy enough to know I'd likely kill him after I got what I wanted. Until then he would suffer, and I was banking on his desire to end the suffering sooner rather than later. "... Ah got what ya need," he told me finally. "The spell be ready any time." I sensed a kinship lurking in his mind and mine both, like sand, but the feeling lasted only a moment. He explained that he would need an opening of about thirty seconds, and that I would need to connect a sampling of reagents to both her and myself before the transfer could commence. Making the mix and applying it to myself, under my tabard, was easy enough. As luck would have it, Vionora appeared behind me as I pulled my tabard down over me. I wouldn't need to wait much longer to make my play. "What are you doing here?" she asked me dubiously. We were inside of a sealed cavern, after all. I'd had magical help getting inside. "Keeping the insect alive," I lied. "I ensured he had sufficient food and water." We both knew my lie was weak. I needed to turn the questioning around. "As for yourself? Why are you here?" The disinterested look she gave me sent a brief chill down my spine. "This work is no longer needed." The herald was giving up? Then... I wouldn't need to do anything. "Explain yourself," I said instead of rejoicing. She glanced behind me to the troll who stood scared and alert, and I saw her eyes flick to the book open on the ground. It was propped up against a rock. "I don't require the bond to be broken," she explained. I stepped into the way of her view and gave a signal to the troll behind me. He would begin casting the spell immediately. "You can stop," she said. "I'm going to free you now." Whether she spoke to me or the troll, I don't know. But I felt an awful scratching in my head and I knew it was too late to turn back. Somehow I knew that the troll would continue as well, despite it being against his best interests. "What do you intend to do?" I asked. She gave me a another cold look. "I do not need to explain myself to you." "Is that so?" I could hear the troll's chanting coming close to its finale. The intensity of her staring grew. "Do you seek to challenge the alpha?" "You clasp your collars and leave, expecting no consequences?" She stepped closer, her eyes on mine. An elf even her height barely came up to my chest, but she moved with confidence in the power we both knew she had. "I expect them to do exactly as I expect. Just like you." It was time. I grabbed the bag on my hip with one hand and threw it forward toward her shoulder. She was still damn fast - faster than I could be. Not only that, but she seemed twice as strong. She moved her arm into my path effortlessly and stopped my move, but fortunately the bag still burst against her arm and covered it in spell reagents. Just in time, and the troll behind me began to channel the spell through himself and the book both. Her right arm was covered, and as soon as the warlock began his spell, Vionora only had time to blink before the mark of the Eclipse on her hand burst into light so brilliant it lit up the cave through the back of her fingerless gloves. Then she gasped aloud when the spell began to take effect. The troll had to wrestle with the curse as it fought him, like a spring that resisted being coiled. But then I felt it, and it was done. The curse was mine. Vionora's curse. "W-what?!" she exclaimed. Behind me I heard the troll mutter "jus' let meh live..." and pass out on the floor. The power flowed and pulsed more powerfully than any magic I'd ever felt. I still held onto her forearm. I threw it aside and grabbed her neck with my other hand. "You are weak," I said. She struggled in my grasp, but her strength and speed were gone. The shadows were no longer there for her. She was helpless in my grasp. "There is a new alpha, Vionora. And this one is a true wolf." I threw her at the wall beside the troll's unconscious body. She bounced off the hard rock and hit the ground with a thud. "N-no... she will.. ruin ev...erything..." I moved to the book and slid it away from the both of them with my hoof. Vionora pushed herself up and clutched her hand, where I noticed the mark had disappeared. I removed my glove to see; sure enough, two marks overlapped over the back of my right hand. I turned it to show her, feeling a grin on my face. "You can't..." she spoke weakly. "I can, and I did." I tossed some of the overflowing energy as lightning between my palms. I eyed it with marvel. "You were going to throw this away with the end of the world..." "No... not anymore..." I glanced up at her. The scratches in my head subsided and I felt more at home than ever with this power. At the same time, I knew I would not be on this plane much longer. I had little left to care about and few secrets I needed to keep. "Appreciate life here while you can. The Infinites will be here to take you soon, before the Eclipse begins properly." "The... what?" "The Infinite Dragonflight," I stated again for emphasis. I saw the clueless expression on her face and decided there was no need to explain us to her. "Any last words for this world?" "No... this isn't... how it ends." I knelt down to look her in the eyes better. She would acknowledge me. "Any. Last. Words?" She looked up at me, but more through me. Her gray eyes were vague and wide with shock. "I'm sorry," she said finally. I snorted at her. "You're sorry? You're... SORRY?" She nodded slightly. "It's all that matters in the end," she said quietly. I felt the need at that exact moment to beg for help. To give it back and let this end. To become a nomad and find myself. To find myself in a way that mattered to me, and not simply in relation to those around me. Instead, all I could do was antagonize her. "What would you have done with this power?" I inquired. "I would have removed your mark," she said. It was something I wanted and loathed both. I bared my teeth and snarled to grind the thought from my mind. "Power is everything," I echoed my own internal mantra. I had power now. Thanks to the mark. She shook her head sadly. "Power isn't ultimately a goal. It's just a means." "A means to test yourself against everyone and everything. To grow and to fight and to win." "It's pointless... it's not a competition..." "Then what is left? What do you have for this world beyond pathetic apologies?" She closed her eyes and folded her arms. "To try is to miss the whole point." "Would you kill me right now if our positions were reversed?" I stood up. "I'd spare you." It wasn't a disagreement. "Should I spare you, too, then?" She opened her eyes back up and looked at me. "I'm not afraid of you," she responded to the threat. "I'm not interested in your fear." She blinked. I needed to get her attention right now. Something was very, very wrong. There was a hold that was different than anything we'd seen coming, and the hold was tight. I pulled the skinning knife off my belt and dropped it on the floor beside her. "Go on. Spare me." I was curious if she had the capacity for diplomacy in her. But no, that's not the whole truth. I also wanted an escape before it was too late. I could feel... watching. I knew it was too late to kill her. Would I be surprised? She took the knife and stood up. She didn't hesitate and attempted to stab the knife up and into my brain. The one I'd worked so hard to get. I smacked it aside with one hand and grabbed her throat again with the other. She cared nothing for me. Nothing for Fhenrir. Not once did she attempt diplomacy, and not once did she reach out to help. "You're weak in body and spirit both," we said to her. "You still consider physical strength your only escape." We squeezed down on her neck to make a point and dropped her. She dropped to the ground coughing. We would kill her, but that would cut the transfer to Fhenrir. The wrestling in my mind grew exponentially. She had failed to pull me from this. Everyone had. She looked up at me one last time. "Why do you need to prove yourself?" "... I have proven myself," I said, the last words I had. A tranquility came over our mind after he said that. It occurred to us that we had no reason to prove ourselves any more. This power was the proof. This was what we needed all along. And now that we had it we could proceed to the new timeline we'd picked out. Another would be along soon to take her, that we could keep the curse flowing. We could hear Alpha pacing restlessly below in the caverns. She was without a partner now, and would prove a useful enough tool. But we had places to be. The world would see us soon enough. We left Vionora and Tetsuju to their fates, bringing the book with us as we left.
  15. Fhenrir had sheathed his mace to make his jump easier, and it tumbled off his back when they slammed into the bridge. When they hit the ground he spotted his mace fall under debris out of the corner of his eye and snarled. "That's the second one of those I've lost to you bastards," he growled just before Fell sunk teeth into the tauren's shoulder. Fhen's growl turned to a shout as the teeth drew blood. Fhenrir thrashed with the beast and hammered fiercely at its head, over and over and over. Fell snarled and beat on him fiercely with four paws and held him in place with its teeth. Fhenrir was losing and he knew it; he had the sense to realize he wouldn't be able to beat this one to a pulp as he had some of the lesser worgs. He needed to act quick, and had an idea. Fhenrir grabbed the worg with both arms and rolled onto his back, putting Fell on top of him. He crunched himself up to kick off with both legs, as he and many other warriors typically did from standing. He could hear Alpha and Xara moving and knew their rough position. In that moment he leaned on their experience together, trusting Xara would be ready. He prepared himself for the pain of Fell's teeth being ripped out of him. "Now!" Fhenrir howled as he kicked Fell high into the air. As Fell soared high he threw the stormbolt he kept on his belt and hit his mark, crushing it across Fell's face and making the beast whirl. It also made Fell a prime target for a volley of arrows. Fhenrir didn't have time to watch the result and scrambled to his hooves, charging back toward Xara's position. It was time to get the hell out of here.
  16. "Psst. Hey, baby, over here. Buy you a drink? Name's Jaume Fynne. You can call me Jaume. Want to hear a little story, chock full of secrets? Sure you do. Oh sorry, don't mind my clumsy hands falling all over. I've had a couple drinks, but it's nothing. Plenty of fresh Blackrock Coffee in a heated thermos at the hip, I'll be good as new in no time. *glug* So listen, I grew up in the really terrible parts of Stormwind. Parents took a dirt nap when I was little, but I hear they weren't the kinda folks who'd look out for their progeny anyway. Y'know? Anyway, grew up in the terrible parts I did. Had to get real good at sneaking around to find my way. Had a real good time of it though. Got to know a lot of backsides that way, know what I mean? Heh, course you do. Right, so I got real real good at generally being a crafty kinda guy. You ever heard of Henri Fynne by the way? No? It's cool, he was a really talented kinda guy himself. Got a rep in the Horde as a lady-killer and a straight up killer, feel me? Ran with the First Legion for a long time back in their hayday. Played a pivotal part in the various assaults on the Black Temple in the Outland. He's my little cousin. Got to spend a lot of time together whenever I found my way out to Goldshire. His parents offered to help me out when they found out my Ma had died, being good and decent folk to look after their family's only kid. I declined though, since I didn't wanna be away from the city. But yeah! Henri Fynne's older, wiser cousin here in the flesh. When we ran together way back in the day folks called him Fynne the Lesser and me, Fynne the Greater. I never saw it that way though. Henri was a real class act. He deserved everything good he got and none of the bad. Thankfully he's off living a quiet life with his lovely paladin lady now, Jilli-something. They were always meant to be together I'd say. So I grew up in the crappy parts of Stormwind and got really good. I mean really good. Started to get a huge reputation, a bit of a following around Stormwind. They called me the "Caped Crusader," though I never wore a cape. Think they just liked the sound of it. Anyway, I got job offers left and right. The Night Watch out in Darkshire wanted me, the Stormwind Royal Guard asked after me, Edwin Van Cleef and his boys were desperate for me, even SI:7 was clamouring for a chance to get my expert hands. Also, forgive the vulgar euphemism, but Lady Katrana Prestor was just aching for a ride. Never took her up on it though; woulda been too messy in court. But nah, none of those opportunities really leapt out at me. I knew I was more of a "do it yourself" kind of adventurer. I wanted to take my considerable talents somewhere you could really feel the wind in your hair and appreciate the little things. I took up a sailor's life and sailed around the world, breaking hearts and making millions. You know how it is; being a ship's Captain is hard work, but the crew just kinda fell in under my command. We were really some of the best there were. We were attacked by one of the largest sea creatures you'd ever lay eyes upon one day. I barely had time to pull up my pants and give the fair young deckhand a loving kiss before the ship started rocking twice as hard as we'd been makin' it. I got to the wheel in time to see the leviathan crashing and thrashing against the ship like it had a personal vendetta. I could only save so many of the crewman from the very jaws of death before things took an ugly turn. The short version is that the ship capsized and took us all under with it. But I wasn't gonna let this thing take us down and get away unscathed. I leapt onto the thing's cranium-you know what a cranium is? It's the thing's head-and took both eyes with both daggers. It wept for mercy, but I had none after it took my crew. It swam through the water at what must've been over a thousand knots an hour, trying to shake me off, but I slayed the beast and kept a tooth as a memento. See this necklace? Tooth is one of the thing's baby molars from the back. Anyway, as it died, I realized I was stranded. Luckily there was an island nearby or I woulda had to make my peace with God right then and there. I spent days on that little island before the next crazy thing happened. I was happened upon by some pandas, wouldn't you know it? They were monks, and they decided in their benevolence and wisdom to take me under their wing. So I spent some number of years learning the whole tranquility and peace song and dance from them. Really good folks. More recently when the new-and-improved Alliance found its way to Pandaria I had the chance to reunite with them. I didn't get to stay long before I was out sailing the seas again, this time as a freelancer for Booty Bay. Met some nice booty along the way there, eh? Eh? Haha, you got me. So I just got back recently and decided it was time to enlist with the proper authorities. Things got dicey out in Booty Bay and it occurred to me that maybe I oughta serve a higher purpose in life for a little while. Look out for the Alliance and take a few shots at anyone that'd screw with us, Horde especially. You know those barbarians put a personal hit out on my cousin Henri? You know they want to kill anyone with the Fynne name? I been through a lot, but it could be trouble for me out on missions for the proper and good folks here at Stormwind. Could be my last night any time, never again to return to the loving and kind atmosphere around here. Risky as it is, though? It's definitely worth it. Only hesitation is the idea that my last night will be a forgettable one. You wanna help me stave off that grim chance and make it a night to remember?" Jaume sat across from a night elven woman, rattling off his story without giving the slightest chance for response. There had been an amused smirk on her expression since he sat down-which he'd mistaken for an invitation-that kept him talking. She listened and waited, and when he finished, finally took the time to laugh at him. Her laughing grew more and more hysterical, and Jaume had no idea how to react. "So... that a yes?" he finally asked. "You..." she started, laughed again, and wiped away a tear. "You dumb bastard, Jay Timberwood. You just saw the first pair of tits in the bar and let loose? Look at my face. Really look." Jaume stopped and took the chance to scrutinize her - more than her body this time. "I'll be damned... Alowa?" the woman he'd sat across from was an old friend. If anyone knew how full of it he was, it was her. "Going by Jaume Fynne now, huh? Trying to ride your older cousin Henri's name to some starry-eyed doe's bedroom?" "Not entirely," Jaume said with a smirk. "I'm also trying to get proper dues from the Alliance." They shared a laugh and a drink. They caught up, this time without any lies. Both appreciated the company, and neither of them minded that Jaume had tried to lie his way into her pants. Both of them were compulsive liars around almost anybody else. "Glad to see you back. Good luck with that 'Fynne the Lesser' business, Jay." Alowa got up to leave. "Ah ah." He waved a finger. "It's Jaume now."
  17. Fhen snapped to his senses as Xara called out to him. He shouted a quick "right!" to her and smashed his mace across Fell's face to get the worg's attention. Fhen leapt again, this time evading toward the cave, and hit the ground spinning. He closed the distance to Xara by intervening between her and the lesser worg, taking a blow that bounced off his whirling defense and sent the small beast tumbling away. He moved normally, then, and offered Xara a nod as he fell into step behind her. "Fell is in line. Let's move!" --- The shaman chuckled to himself since nobody else was around to hear him. "Knew they'd pull it together." He hunkered down into hiding and waited, using his natural far sight to watch the cave entrance. He watched Fhenrir and Xaraphyne run into the mouth of the cave, then resisted the urge to push the plunger early. "C'mon... move it..." he thought. Finally, both of the big worgs chased the two inside. He didn't like closing them in without any of the druids, since things had gone awry, but he knew they wanted both of the big ones in at any cost. He pushed the plunger and a series of loud explosions collapsed the cave behind Alpha and Fell, leaving Fhenrir and Xaraphyne inside with them and no support. "Suppose I'll earn some overtime," he quipped to himself as he switched into ghost wolf form and hurried down to assist the druids with the lesser worgs still outside. He reminded himself to shift back out before the druids attacked him by mistake.
  18. Fhenrir rose from beating the shadowy worg to a pulp and drew the mace from his back. He turned to Xara while she shouted and looked in time to see one of the big ones barreling after her. Fhen would later learn this one was Fell, but at that moment he hardly cared beyond the knowledge it was an enemy. It was a dangerous enemy, and it was racing toward Xara. The plan left his thoughts entirely. He was used to thinking under pressure, but the very-real danger he'd seen Xara in since this had started had him more on edge than normal. He ignored the druids and charged toward the wolf, aiming to cut it off. As Fell drew closer to Xara, Fhen closed the distance, and with a surge of energy threw himself the last bit of space into the wolf and brought his mace crashing down into the worg's head. "Leave. Her. ALONE!" Fell was less easily thrown off balance than its litter and countered Fhen with a vicious headbutt that sent him flying. He hit the ground with a heavy thud and left a crater in the dirt as he stood up. His eyes were filled with a vicious anger as he stared down the beast. --- The shaman and the surviving goblin had just dispatched the worg that attacked them. The goblin was shaking her head violently and fumbling through her bag for a hearthstone. Useless. The shaman picked the binoculars back up and surveyed the field once more. "What the hell is the Boss doing?" he mumbled aloud as the goblin hearthed away from the field. She must've been truly terrified to give up her paycheck. There was another problem the shaman realized as he looked over the surroundings. Alpha had shown up too.
  19. The giant wasp was broken under my onslaught. It lie in the dirt, twitching, inches from death. Arrows pierced through its wings and one stuck out of its abdomen. I wiped the blood from my chest and weaved a light healing spell over the wound, thanks to my newfound domination over the elements. I knelt before the twitching bug and clutched its head in in my grasp. "You are mine now. Follow or be crushed." The bug wouldn't understand my words, but it knew my intent. It followed me then, and returned to flight with a power it had never known before. I became aware of a presence behind me and turned to find Vionora looking on with an unreadable expression. "Is it more satisfying to conquer than to kill?" she asked me. "One will inevitably lead to the other," I responded. The bug was to be my tool until it had exhausted its use, then it would return to the earth broken. "Kill them," I commanded it, and it flew off to go exterminate the rest of its former hivemates. My gift of power to it made it a simple task. She watched it fly off idly. "Will you bother naming it?" "No." We exchanged looks. "Wanna give it one?" I asked jokingly. "Should I?" she asked seriously. I looked her over; not the sharpest with humor. "Something... elfy," I said, trying to be more obviously humorous. To be honest, though, I'd never named a pet and wasn't planning to start. Before now, the animals that followed me were always cast-aways from other hunters. "Neph'anis," she responded after a moment. I shrugged at her. Guess the bug had a name after all. "So. Can I help you?" "They're planning something. I need your help to disrupt it. It involves alternate timelines." I paused, and could feel my blood start to boil. "My place in time is ugly at best." "I'll get you when they gather," she said. "It will be soon." She didn't say anything else, simply looking at me. "That it?" I asked. "For now." I gave the elf another hard look. This woman was the scourge of countless fighters on both sides of the Horde and Alliance war, commanded an army of shadows and worgs and who knows what else, and... acted like a buffoon. An idea popped into my head. "Why do you fight them?" I asked. "Because they fight me." I shook my head. "Why do you fight at all?" "... I don't know. Why do you fight?" I stepped toward her; she didn't react. "The weak die," I explained. Like the rest of the Darkstorm in this time and my own. They grew weak, and they died. "To live, then." "To thrive," I countered. "To suffer." I considered that. She saw surviving, living, as suffering? The idea in my head grew. This woman had a weak soul. If I could take advantage of that, I could end the threat of Accalia right now. Time to test her mettle. "You see living as suffering." "Perhaps I do the world a favor by bringing Accalia," she said. "You've seen how this world clings to life in the face of each and every ridiculous threat it faces." "I have." "And you're part of this world." "Against my will." "You'd choose death?" We exchanged looks. She was hard to read, but my instincts were dead-on. She was weak. She wanted to die, like I had when I first got here. She had not thrived, despite the gift of power. She was wilting, and only needed the right snip to give way. "If you want to... thrive... why aid me?" She asked genuinely. "Do you think you can outfox the Beast?" A new idea forced its way to the forefront of my thoughts, like sand being pushed through an hourglass at twice the right speed. I'd overheard 'heroes' talking about a way to transfer the curse between targets, though I never found out if it was confirmed. Still, it if were possible, I could have her curse transferred to me. I could have the power of the herald, and wield with it the respect I deserve. "You intend to let her consume you, along with all that power?" I asked out of genuine curiosity, ignoring the thought of usurping for the moment. "It doesn't matter what I intend." "A lot of people think otherwise." "They know nothing." I stopped and my eyes traced along her exposed neck. I removed a single arrow from my quiver and presented it to her. "If you're that miserable, there's no need to wait for a wolf." She accepted the arrow automatically. She looked down at it in her palm, and slowly curled her fingers around it. Her grip tightened until there was the muffled snap of the shaft breaking. "It's not that simple." "You have plenty of hunters willing to take the shot, if you can't." I could end the curse right now. I could see she sought death. She looked at me and uncurled her hand, letting the broken bits of arrow fall to the ground. "My soul is bound. Death would accomplish nothing." Her eyes drifted down to the broken arrow shaft. "If that were rectified?" Her gaze shot back up to mine. "Only one can do that, and he won't." "What makes him unique?" "He did it." "And nobody else has the ability to work with souls?" "He hid the stone..." "You're speaking to your bloodhound." I said that with enthusiasm, but not for helping her. It came from the growing possibility of ending this right now. Or... of usurping her power. Yes, one or the other. She looked at me, her vague gaze growing more intent on my words. "He would destroy you," she warned. "Let him try." She made a strange motion at that, absently grasping at nothing in the air near her side. Perhaps a triggered memory? She shook her head and looked off to the distance. "There's no use in trying... this is what's meant to be..." I stepped up to her, but she didn't seem to notice. "There is no fate," I told her. "Want an example?" "I have lived enough examples," she replied vaguely. But I had a point to make and nothing was going to stop me, whether it was a shadowy elf or a conniving dragon or a god of hunting. "The Fhenrir that belongs here has two wavy horns that point forward and up. He rarely uses them in combat, but I was born with the same set. When I was forced here, mine were weakened by dimensional travel. They crumbled near the tips the day I showed up. I had them altered that same day." She watched me curiously. "I am Fhenrir from a decade ago. He still has his horns, strong as ever." On my right horn was the bracelet Memora gave me as a memento. I'd crushed it against my new fabricated horn as a reminder of where I came from, and what had happened to the woman I loved. And in this moment I snapped the fake horn from my head and held it out to her. She looked at it, baffled, and took the horn from me. "There is no fate. You want to die, we will find you a way to die." Again the thoughts of power pushed to the forefront, and a plan began to shape. "There are countless warlocks who work souls - we find one, we can find a way to get what you want." I grit my teeth and snapped the other horn from my head; this one held on tighter than the first. She accepted it when I presented it along with the first, and she had a faint crease in her brow. "These were an attempt to hide who I am. The truth is that I have no horns. Now I turn to you: you walk with both horns forward, as I did until this moment. But are they real, or are you posturing? You're able to snap off your fake persona just as easily and do away with your pikialo." The taurahe word for despair, and an emotion I was very well acquainted with. "There... is no one I could trust." "Then we will force one. I will break them to your will, as I did Neph'anis." She looked at me, and I could see the light of hope in her expression. Pitiful. "They won't be able to match him in power... unless..." She thought harder, and her hand moved to the small satchel she wore at her hip. "The tome will make anyone a greater force to be reckoned with. If they have the ability to understand it." My thoughts clashed again, like a wave smashing into a weakening beachfront. I could help her die and save the world... or I could steal her mark and let the power run through me. As it should be. She looked at me with determination in her eyes and interrupted my thoughts. "Find me your insect." With that, she disppeared back into the void. --- I would hunt a warlock that nobody would notice was gone. But my first prey would be a troll priestess I'd commanded my worg to sniff out for me. When I caught up with her, it was night time in the deserts of Tanaris. The chill winds mixed with sand would be a miserable feeling for anyone, but doubly so was the miserable feeling of sand caught in one's fur. Lilliana was in Gadgetzan, which seemed like an easy enough place to kill her and claim it was for a bounty. My task was interrupted by the sight of Darrethy and Khorvis, who had beaten me to the punch and now hung around her like a mobile. When I joined the conversation, Lilliana seemed particularly happy to see me. I'd be lying if I tried to say her warmth wasn't infectious, and I found myself forgetting what had brought me there admist friendly chatter and an introducion to something called Noggenfogger. "Fhenrir, how you been?" she asked me when the two of us had stepped outside to try her goofy desert drink. "I've survived," I replied simply. "And as for yourself?" "I've been good. Well..." She paused and offered a smile hinted with sadness. "As good as one can be when you're living in the middle of so much fighting." That was a way in which Lilliana would never understand the Darkstorm. We did not exist in spite of harsh conditions, but because of them. Combat forged me into something greater than I ever would've been otherwise. "But... just surviving, really, Fhenrir?" She interrupted my thoughts. "Where's Bob?" She looked around for my wolf, Roger. And somehow, knowing he was being talked about sent my mutt bounding out of cover to greet Lilliana enthusiastically. "Hiiiiiii!" she said with a big smile and a hug for him. It was after that greeting that she noticed Roger's transformation: he acted the same, but he had been misshapen, discolored, and energized by Vionora's magic. She stepped back and gave him a scrutinizing look. "I thought he had lighter fur, Fhenrir?" "Roger and I have both been afflicted against our desires," I constructed my sentences carefully, since the priestess had the ability to probe minds. What I said wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the whole truth either. I didn't want to be afflicted to serve under Vionora, or anyone else. I wanted to bend this affliction to my will and conquer it as I would any other challenger. I later realized I never felt her take the chance to read my thoughts. Perhaps she held a misguided trust in me. I'd formerly warned her about some hair-brained scheme Naheal suggested in my company. I suspect Naheal's further misguided trust in me was because of the face I share with this world's Fhenrir. She guided me to go back to the group and seek advice from Darrethy, but I didn't pay much attention to the advice he offered. My circumstances were different than the rest of the group, and I'd rather tell them as little as possible. --- I left the gathering in Tanaris with little other fanfare. I don't remember many of the details, save strange dreams in the night. The influence I could command if I held Accalia's power to myself, the revenge that was waiting for everyone in this world who had attempted to break me, the weakness in the hunt's herald, the scaly touch of dragons. All these things haunted my dreams, and then, I awoke back in Thunder Bluff. The thought beat now like a drum: Vionora was going to be showing the warlock this book. The warlock's eyes would be on it for extensive study, and they could be made to study how to transfer the curse to another. I could have Vionora's power in my own hands. I would take her mark for myself. I had a warlock to hunt. --- It didn't take me long to track one down. I learned about a troll with shockingly obnoxious orange hair and a repulsive personality to match. When he was alone he was either grabbing himself, reading smut, or stuffing his face. The only times he ventured out into society were to try and get his rocks off, or to resupply himself for living in the disgusting hovel he'd settled into out in the middle of the Swamp of Sorrows. He was on the outskirts of society, and that made him a perfect target. However, I underestimated him. He must've felt the tail on him and started to get suspicious. He started dodging down side streets in Orgrimmar, taking rides to nowhere and throwing a hearthstone, generally being a slippery little bastard. I caught up with him at the cantina in Azshara. He finally settled down with some booze in him, and I managed to slip a little extra something into one of the drinks he had on his belt. The group started to disperse and the disgusting slug waddled off into a shady part of the port. That's when I moved in. "'Ey, what are ya doin'!? If ya tryin' t' get frisky ya bettah 'ave a nice rac-!" I slugged him and knocked him out cold, then draped him over my shoulder. "Shut the fuck up," I said, even though he couldn't hear me. I suspect a lot of people have wanted to do that before now. I draped the unconscious warlock over my shoulder and set out. She'd have her insect soon. --- Ah awoke wit' a poundin' headache an' no idea what the hell was goin' on. Ah felt a hand over mah face an' knew somebuddeh had hit meh hard. It wasn' exactleh an unfamiliar feelin'. Ah was strapped to a tree in th' middle of Loa-knows-where. In front of meh was a face Ah hoped Ah'd nevah see again, dat o' Fhenrir Phoenix. 'E looked a few years younger, an' the color had drained outta his face. 'Is eyes cracked with lightnin' like 'e was a full-fledged shaman o' the elements. "You're going to study the curse," 'e said to me. 'Is voice sounded a bit different den th' last time Ah remember talkin' to him. " "What, you gonna make meh? We done workin' togethah, cow." "I can kill you and find another who will. I'd be doing the world a favor." Ah swallowed hard. Th' demeanor was totally different den th' Fhen Ah used to work for years an' years ago. Dis one wasn' bluffin', and the bow restin' idly in his hand was readeh to pin mah brain to th' back of th' tree. "Ah'm listenin," Ah said. "There's a tome full of the secrets to this curse. You'll be tasked with finding a way to unlock a soul-binding, and a way of finding extra power within the tome to do it. I want you to find out how to transfer the curse between hosts before you solve her riddle, and don't let on that you're doing it." 'E was playin' an angle, an' needed meh to do it for him. Dat meant Ah had some leverage once Ah had th' boss-lady between me and th' cow. Ah didn' know what the hell was goin' on here, but Ah knew what crappeh cards Ah'd been dealt an' how Ah could play 'em. Dis cow gets meh before Ah get him, Ah was dead meat. "You got it," was all Ah said to him. He gave me a dissatisfied look and pulled some engineerin' doohickey from 'is belt, den forced it down mah throat. "What you just swallowed is a bomb and listening device that will lodge in your intestines for about a month before exiting your system naturally. You misstep, your stomach explodes and you bleed out." Ah crap. Dey make somethin' so disgustin'? May hand jus' got a lot worse. Hopefully Deembah be out lookin' for me, but somethin' tells meh he ain't gonna exactleh rack his brain. "You have a nice nap here. I'll be back with Vionora." Dah cow jus' walked off den. What the hell!?
  20. One of them must've sensed the group coming. The shadow coming down at Xara was one of the progeny, and Fhenrir didn't take time to think. He dove through the air and tackled the beast to the ground, rolling into a heap and throwing punches at the things jaw. He hadn't had time to draw his weapon, so he thundered fists into the thing as he snapped at his arms and his torso. He could feel the majority of the bites getting soaked up by plate, but he knew teeth were hitting their marks too. More wounds for a team to patch up. The elven druid wasted no time in morphing into a tree and throwing restorative spells into Fhenrir. Unfortunately for the newly-wooden elf, the worg had brought backup of its own, and two smaller worgs dove into them and started snapping. "Move! NOW!" Fhen hollered to his team. The team needed to reach the mouth of the cave if they were going to secure Moonglade. --- Just above the mouth of the cave were two gob squad rookies and an orc shaman lying in wait. The energy about them had been tense the whole time, but as one of the rookies spotted the worgs attacking in the distance through a pair of binoculars, the small team got all sorts of jumpy. "C'mon, we gotta boogie! G.T.L. Mak, the odds aren't in our favor and I ain't got a spare set of pants!" The orc backhanded the cowardly goblin and snarled. "We hold position. The Lieutenant General needs the explosives detonated at exactly the right time, and that time ain't now." The other goblin piped up in agreement with the first. "Detonating now wouldn't be a total gnomish result, would it? We seal things up and give the druids time to clean up the spill of worgs." The orc shook his head again and snatched the binoculars to watch the events unfolding. "If the alpha isn't inside it's a waste of powder. Keep your heads and focus." As the orc spoke, he saw Fhenrir tumbling with the worg and desperately throwing punches. He could see at least one of the druids getting torn up. "You two need to stand tall. I'm going to offer support." Unfortunately for the orc, as he spun to confirm with the goblins, he noticed one of them drooping dead from the mouth of the other progeny. The other goblin began to shriek and run around in frantic loops. The orc drew a club off his belt and wiped his brow. His heart thumped into his ribs, but his exterior was calm and focused as the worg dropped the goblin's body and snarled viciously. "Now how'd you sneak up on us," the orc spoke softly moments before colliding with the progeny in battle.
  21. Fhenrir offered a bow to the druids when they greeted the two, a gesture that had become less common for him over the years. "Would you care to visit Raina? She's been asking for you." Fhenrir shook his head. "We need to get to work." The consistent expression of obscure disapproval on his face concealed the unhappiness with which he made the choice for him. "Is there word on the dogs' whereabouts?"
  22. I am Fhenrir Darkstorm. My Tribe, the Darkstorms, were named after the thundering skies in which we splintered from the rest of the Grimtotem. The same lineage runs through me as it does the Grimtotem, but our similarities begin and end there. My given name, Fhenrir, comes from the wolf. My older brother, Fhenrigo, has a bastardization of the same name. We were to be the two blood hounds of our tribe. We weren't. Fhenrigo became a shaman and wrestled for leadership of our dying tribe. I was an outsider, until I was pushed into a future that wasn't my own. Now I am a step removed from outsider: I am an exile, a shadow, who arrived too late. I watch as another tauren lives my life, wears my face. My own face has even been warped; white fur like my brother Fhenrigo's has stained my complexion in a way it was never intended to. Since I've arrived I've watched the profound stupidity of this Horde, and yet it bumbles on in spite of itself. The other me has physical prowess, but a weakness in every relationship he maintains. A blind eye for their faults, their evils, or their foolishness. This other Fhenrir, his partner Xaraphyne, their friends Leyu'jin and Lilliana. Fhenrir and the three trolls. These things all eye me with suspicion and treat me as an outsider, yet none of them have the guts to just shoot me. Cowards. Fucking imbeciles. How do you blend into a world that rejects you? I've found one night stands to help me forget Memora. I crushed her bracelet around my horn as a memento, but it gets easier every day to ignore the extra weight atop my crown. The ladies will ask, and I'll lie in whatever way is convenient. I had my horns reshaped, and only the bases of each remain my actual horns. The rest have been molded into wider horns that point downward. I'm often called "Lieutenant General" despite being a decade younger and blotched with a different fur pattern. These morons aren't very perceptive. When I first arrived, Leyu'jin gave the other Fhenrir a very generous offer. He was perfectly willing to slit my throat and dump me in a lake. I heard about this after-the-fact, spying on a meeting between Fhenrir and his right-hand, Makul. I decided to disappear from any life that had a trace of the 'real' Fhenrir. I took privateer work out of Booty Bay, and worked there for months until I was offered more lucrative work from the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Freelance work was easy; I hunted the foolish and sustained myself as well as my talents with it. I was also more isolated than I'd ever been. I don't know what compelled me to come back, but I did. It seemed like the same life that I'd returned to. A shadow of the Fhenrir that belongs here. The one that had killed his own former friends and family. The butcher of the Darkstorm. Nobody seemed to know or care that he had committed fratricide. Not just on Fhenrigo, but upon an entire clan of Darkstorm. I attempted to form friendships, relationships, anything. Roger was a hit with the ladies and gentlemen alike, but the old mutt did little more than begin very short conversations. They would typically start and end with him. Speaking of Roger. He is a wolfhound that found me in Ashenvale not long after I arrived. I'd taken a stroll through the nearby territories to learn the new lay of the land. I found Roger lying sadly beside the corpse of a human with a gun. The human appeared to have died of self-inflicted injuries - offed himself right by his dog. Disgusting. The dog took to me immediately, and I assumed he'd get bored and leave sooner or later. As time passed I began to give him more scraps, and that sealed it. The dog had brought his human-given name and become my companion in this foreign world. Would he have simply stayed there and died if I'd never been brought here? Either way, Roger became my shadow. A shadow within a shadow. He followed me through my explorations, my privateering, my grunt work, and my return. He even met the other Fhenrir and stayed with me. Hell if I'm able to figure the mutt out. What else has stuck in my memory? I witnessed Leyu'jin, Lilliana, and other Grims torture and disfigure a Tauren. One of these high and mighty Sunwalkers stood chief among them and watched with the creepy looks you'd expect from a serial murderer. He drank tea, even spotted me watching, and didn't care. A walking corpse among the Grim even tried to pin the atrocity on me. Kudos would be in order if he'd done so with any believability or subtlety. Instead he simply pointed and shouted. What I have learned above all else in my time among this new world is that the strong still survive above all else. That is as true today as it was in my old life. And the Horde and Alliance both are full of the foolish, the weak, the clingy, the needy, the fatty. They are both doomed if they do not adapt and return to strength. The former Warchief, Garrosh, seemed to have the faintest idea there was a problem. He screwed up by being a stupid bigot and isolating most of his allies. Varian, Thrall, Vol'jin, all seem disinterested in seeking power. Instead they fling themselves into unnecessary conflicts and kill each other the whole way. Enter Accalia. I have watched the situation develop, I have eyed the attempts to stop her, and I have been left wanting. The god of the hunt seems to understand that might is right. Nature forges itself as we should, by testing the world around it every second. Animals struggle for life and death, rocks are barraged by wind and sand and waterfalls. What remains is strength and survival. Her agent, Vionora, offered me a place as her hound. She offers power, and she is intent on using it. Her intentions are foolish. She would end everything. If her God feels the same, then they are both short-sighted. What good is power without a new test? I agreed to take the mark onto my own flesh. It sapped the color from the black fur that remained on me. It awakened in me a dominating power to warp the elements to my will, regardless of their refusal to cooperate with me in the past. It is as if I have the powers of the Dark Shaman fused into my natural abilities as a hunter. Not only that, but Roger has been given a place among the pack. His formerly silver fur and soft yellow eyes have been turned black and amber respectively. His muscles have warped and bulged with power. Yet he remains the same loyal pup he has been. And now I hunt. And the hunt is potent indeed. The scent of blood and the mark of the kill are invigorating. I will test this power on everyone. The other Fhenrir. His partner. The Grim and their trolls and their corpses. Vionora. Accalia. They will all come to hell with me. --- A voice let loose a soft chuckle and two pairs of eyes watched as Vionora infused the young Fhenrir with power and placed the mark upon him. "He is in." "Good. Proceed."
  23. The Infinite Dragonflight was always busy; between the big projects that catch the attention of the biggest names around, there are many smaller projects taking place in an attempt to manipulate time to their favor. While more resources were dedicated to pursuits like assassinating Arthas and preventing the opening of the Dark Portal, they could spare a small number to these other assignments. One such side project had been Fhenrir Phoenix; not exclusively, but he was among a list of officers in the Horde military assigned to a small hit-squad. They would ideally stick a dagger in each and move on. Unfortunately, the various openings in time provided by the Bronze Dragonflight allowed Fhenrir's daughter, from the future, to intervene as an adult. When the hit-squad of three came to claim Fhenrir's life, his daughter had charged in and struck them down. As Fhenrir woke up and charged in to help her, two of the assassins fell and one left greviously wounded. The Infinite flight had taken note that Fhenrir lived in spite of their efforts. They also noted that Raina, his daughter, had come back to the past and stayed there. While they had not claimed his life, they did bring a potent fighter back to the past, where she would not be helpful in the future. They made note of the changes to the timeline(s) and moved on. The wounded survivor was not fit for combat missions anymore, but looked into Fhenrir and found another opportunity. Years later in Fhenrir's life, as he came out of retirement and as he approached the connection of two realities, an opportunity to take from him would arise. It had a plan. "Hellscream causes a hiccup here," it said to a superior. "When our existence touches another." "Your point?" "Duplicates. Names and faces that were dead, or changed, ripe for the plucking." "Pitch your project." "This change alters the course of both its Draenor and its Azeroth. And here," it said, illuminating a section of time in which Fhenrir's clan exists, "they will all die thanks to Hellscream's change." "Why should we care?" "Give me jurisdiction over both versions of this Tauren and his clan. I will not only claim the life of one of the Horde's military officers, I will acquire a potent contact and ally." The superior considered the request for a moment. "Do it. If you do not show me results, your life is forfeit." "Understood," is all it replied, off to work in timelines and realities. ----- The Darkstorm clan: a small off-shoot of the Grimtotem that eventually produced Fhenrir Phoenix. The Darkstorm first existed in Desolace, then eventually relocated to Thousand Needles under Fhenrigo's leadership. Fhenrir had been ousted by his half-brother, then his adoptive father was slain by his ex-girlfriend. Fhenrir took revenge by brutally wiping out his former clan and family, including Fhenrigo. Fhenrigo was later resurrected by the Lich King, and became a nuisance to Fhenrir and his family for awhile longer before having his soul ousted from the world once and for all. None of it mattered to this second reality; without the Horde to take Fhenrir and the other tauren in, they would all be slaughtered by centaurs. The Infinite agent opened a small fissure in time exactly where and when he wanted to be - just before the Darkstorm clan betrayed Fhenrir. It snuck to just outside of the tent where Fhenrir spoke with the woman he loved; it was night time, and dead quiet in the secluded little Darkstorm encampment. The agent had seen this all before, but this time it would be taking the chance to change events as it wanted to... “Fhen, are you sure you want to do this?” the woman asked Fhenrir. “Positive. I cannot let Fhenrigo lead the Darkstorm.” “Fhenrir… do you want to lead at all? Come on, they send us out nearly every day. We’re barely part of the Tribe.” “Memora, he’ll take the Tribe and make it everything I hate in him. I can’t be led by somebody so damn selfish.” The Infinite agent took a moment to note the irony in Fhenrir's words, considering how selfish Fhenrir's motivations were. “Leading will take time away from us, though. You *do* like spending time with me, right, Fhen?” Fhenrir paused. "I'll always make time to spend with you," he replied eventually. “Fhenrir, I… I don’t want to lose you…” “It’s a duel, Memora. We are not fighting to the death.” Memora paused for a long moment. The Infinite agent noted that this was the moment Memora realized she would be forced to make her decision to poison Fhenrir instead of alerting him and running away together. "I… I guess you’re right," she said finally. She chose to poison Fhenrir, either proving her cowardice or her lack of true conviction in her relationship. Perhaps both, the agent also noted. “Memora, there’s something I want to tell you," Fhenrir spoke hesitantly. “What is it?” “I… well…” Fhenrir paused, and let out a small huff. “I’ll tell you tomorrow. Okay?” “Okay…” Now was the time to intervene. Fhenrir stepped outside and away from camp to escape the stress; the Infinite agent followed him. As Fhenrir moved to collect his thoughts by a nearby ledge, a small fissure in time opened just off the edge in front of him. Fhenrir noticed it, but not quickly enough to do anything; the Infinite agent lunged into Fhenrir's back and knocked him straight over the edge, into the fissure. As Fhenrir fell in, the fissure closed up, and it was like he'd never been there. Now for the second part of the Infinite agent's plan. ----- Memora had been sitting alone for about ten minutes when she began to feel small tremors in the ground. Hear a distant rumble. Her heart rate picked up. She realized if Fhenrir returned and wanted to go straight to bed, she might not get another chance; she stood up and took the poison from her pocket. She gave it a long, hard look, then glazed the fowl breast Fhenrir had prepared for tomorrow morning. "Sorry, Fhen..." she said quietly. Then, a rustling from the bushes outside made her heart skip and she nearly dropped the vial of poison. She quickly capped it and called out. "Fhen? Is that you?" The rustling stopped. She made her way to the flap of the tent. "Fhen?" she called again. Then, she opened the flap. She looked around. Nothing. She closed the flap. Suddenly, an arrow burst through the leather and into her chest. She gasped and stumbled backward, then reached for her bow and ran outside, arrow still protruding. What she saw was an army of centaur bearing down on the camp. Their fiery arrows lit up the sky as they flew through the air, landing on tents and setting them ablaze. Arrows protruded from the bodies of Memora's clansmen, lifeless on the ground. "No! NO!" She drew her bow and fired into the invading centaur ranks. A few fell, but there were just too many. They'd gotten the camp's location and planned this assault; Memora just couldn't fathom how. It didn't matter. Two, then three more arrows hit Memora. She fell to the ground, life seeping out of her. Her last thoughts were of betraying Fhenrir, the tauren she loved. ----- The Infinite agent had planned this quite thoroughly, though even its position over the flow of time couldn't reveal every variable. As the centaur approached, Fhenrigo stirred from his slumber and began to investigate. For safe measure, and possibly to introduce other variables later, the agent snatched Fhenrigo as well. It would keep him in another fissure, waiting to see if his introduction into the first reality could alter things to the Infinites' advantage. For now, one extra Darkstorm was enough. With the Tribe, Clan, or whatever they wanted to call it thoroughly wiped out, the Infinite agent prepared the next step. ----- Fhenrir came to in Desolace. As he sat up, he saw before him an empty waste where the Darkstorm encampment had been. The only sign a Darkstorm had ever been here was his wounded father, on one knee, a few paces in front of him. "Father!" Fhenrir gasped when the haze faded enough for him to process the scene before him, and he rushed to his father. "Fhenrir, listen carefully, I don't have much time." "Shut up, damn it, you'll be fine!" Fhenrir desperately tried to call upon the elements for restoration, but nothing came to him. His connection to the elements had fully faded. "Stop this foolishness and listen," Fhenrir's father said sternly. "I sensed something last night; the centaur found us. The Darkstorm is no more." "Like hell!" Fhenrir scoffed. "Darkstorm will not die, and neither will you!" "I will show you," Fhenrir's father responded, and projected an image of the chaos into his mind; in that moment, Fhenrir saw the death and the fire and the blood. He collapsed to the ground, tears wetting his eyes. "Now calm yourself and listen." Fhenrir's body shook with light sobs. He could barely control himself. Still, he stopped making noise and he was listening; that was enough for Fhenrir's father. "I used the only method I could to save us; we are many years into the future. More specifically, the future of another world. This one is like ours, but it is not the same." Fhenrir's father waited to let the message sink in, then continued. "You will have a lot of catching up to do; you must learn from your new allies, and be wary of your new enemies. Finally, there is a Fhenrir that belongs to this timeline; do not assume that all of your interests align." Fhenrir looked up, the confusion of time travel and reality switching starting to sink in. He wiped his eyes and nodded, more slowly. "Make your way to the tauren capitol, Thunder Bluff; you will have resources to call upon." "What do I do...?" Fhenrir asked nervously. "Live, Fhenrir; carry on the Darkstorm name. And be vigilant. The Infinite dragonflight is a name you will encounter soon enough. They have a negative reputation, but they are your allies. It is thanks to their connections that I could save you..." Fhenrir's father coughed and spit up blood. "Do not let their reputation fool you, and do not let your allegience be known. This reality will not understand." "Father..." Fhenrir said, watching the life fade. "May the Ancestors watch over you, Fhenrir." "May you be among them soon, Father." And then, just like that, Fhenrir's father died in front of him. The images of the death of his clan still flashed in his mind. He saw Memora dead among them; the woman he loved. He fished through his pockets and produced a charm; a bracelet she'd made for him. He slid it onto his horn, then provided a proper burial to his father. After, he gathered what meager possessions he had, and set out to find the tauren capitol. He did indeed have a lot to catch up on. ----- After Fhenrir had left, the grave burst open. The illusion of the father dispelled, the Infinite agent had finished this part to its plan; it would make an ally of this new Fhenrir, and attempt to turn him on the Fhenrir that existed here. The pieces were all in play. Soon, the agent would introduce its actual self to the new Fhenrir and cement their allegience. Hopefully, against the older Fhenrir. It was time to move to the future and see what this changed...