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Bloodbath Setting: Soon after the Burning of Teldrassil Area: Small island off of Darkshore Time: Evening Chestius was restless. Tired after his last job, but the menders saw to immediate injuries, allowing him to be up and about for the next contractual form of self punishment.. A contract back at Darkshore, a place that the goblin privateer now wished to steer far away from, had Professor Skorm calling specifically for him.. The Ethereal had a way with premonitions, and this was one he claimed to be ‘haunting’… Haunting, that was a good word for the feeling of taking flight in the smoggy skies with the massive charred skeleton of failure looming to the northern horizon… He had no idea what would happen amongst the thorns, but not even in the goblin’s six decades of life would he have imagined that this was Sylvanas’ plan all along… It was… Failure.. Pure failure.. There was nothing left now but vengeance and war, given an updraft from greed and fear.. The questions still loomed, even on his mind, and each time his gaze shifted back to the husk of Teldrassil, Chestius felt as though his heart was breaking all over again.. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way… Military occupation would have WORKED. It would have caused a standstill, a ceasefire, allowed for peace talks with the Alliance having full knowledge that the Horde was not to be conquered and converted… Maybe the Banshee Queen saw that, and deemed it outside of her own plans. Her dying people, her own fading light, and the drifting away from her ties to the living. Maybe amidst the chaos of the war she sparked, Sylvanas cooked up another plan… The goblin shook his head at the thought of what this could possibly mean. After what was done to Teldrassil, no one was sure who to trust anymore. Everything was just… Broken… The static of the Etherstone breaking up Chestius’ train of thought on the grim topic. The engineering console of the jet mounted gyrocopter lit up as the transmission patched through into the headphones Chestius wore. Hearing protection AND guaranteed communications at all times was a must, and the static brought the hunter back from his grief to the mission ahead. “Captain, sir, you are nearing the drop point. I will begin preparations for manual override, so please, in the meantime prepare for your drop.” came a raspy, yet pious voice. It belonged to none other than Professor Skorm, working ethereal assistant and one hell of a butler. The flashes of the console signified the overtaking of the controls, and Chestius eased off the wheel in order to begin preparing. First tightening the small pack on his back, then next fastening a series of zippers on his own armor. The sounds of his preparations were drowned out by the whirring and roar of the jets and engine. Regardless, Chestius prepared like any other mission he would, getting ready to drop in by a glider and take out the target. “Tell me Skorm… If this mission is a simple assassination and rescue, why didn’t we send a fleet?” Chestius asked as his eyes drifted below. He was well above it all, hidden between the clouds and patches of smoke. But below, questions began to answer himself as his assistant spoke up. Before Chestius could belay his last, he found himself amidst a briefing. “Precisely, Captain. There is a squadron of deathguards who have failed to respond for some time now. The island ahead, while rich with Azerite, was besieged by Alliance. Going by ship is impossible. And with our forces spread thin, only your machines would be able to make it through the skies in these conditions. The Alliance ships you will see below have circled the island, but many stay anchored off shore, refusing to land. We have little information as to what is going on.” Skorm replied. The destination was still a ways away, but as he donned his goggles, Chestius was able to clearly see them. A small fleet was parked outside of this little no name island! No less than six ships lay in the waters, while a seventh was wrecked upon the shore alongside a forsaken frigate. The movements were wrong. The squad sent to this island from the Horde was likely no more than a skeleton crew for the frigate they used as transport, likely here to snatch and grab Azerite… But what could be holding the Alliance off of the island? Seven ships total meant literal boatloads of soldiers, waiting to fight.. And yet they sat off shore, not even close enough to send a rowboat. Strange. “Skorm. Any intercepted comms from the Alliance here? There’s too many for this job to be a search and rescue. Somethin’s up.” Chestius replied, only to hear the ethereal reply fast, meaning he was waiting for the question to be asked… “Yes Captain. We haven’t been able to scrape much due to their methods, but it appears there is some sort of beast hiding out on the island. I’ll patch in a recording we managed to intercept.” Skorm replied before the kzzzzzt of the radio turned to the sounds of many people shouting, gunfire, and some sort of rumbling. They were speaking Thalassian, and the recording was heavily damaged, but Chestius was able to listen in. “Not alo-…. Horde…-ll been killed…-their own… Blood!… It-…..-blood! Sta-….. I repeat-….- away!” The voice of the night elf was desperate, and while ferociously chopped up, it gave out some vital information. Something was indeed on the island, and a threat to all of the survivors of this fight. Chestius’ thinking was however interrupted by the lurching of his gyrocopter, suddenly beginning to drop altitude as it neared the bailout point. The goblin swallowed hard and began final preparations. “Alright, search and rescue mission engaging. Mission title: Bloodbath, commencing in 90 seconds. Skorm, stay on my comms and cam and keep the gyro in rotation. Get a lock on my location and prepare a transmat, if our cargo is dead this will be nothing more than an in and out. Chestius on standby for countdown, over.” Chestius stated, flipping a few switches and easing up a bit. He was obviously getting himself ready internally, which was a process very few bore witness too. After so many years, one of his few forms of excitement left was the jump from a plane. The leap into a freefall was something he both loathed and adored. As he looked down, seconds ticking by, he looked to the island now setting below. His gyrocopter was coming into range as he scanned the treeline of the densely forested little island. Lights showing locations of azerite could be seen through the dense canopy, but little else would show to the carefully scanning eyes of the hunter, swiftly descending upon its prey. A flash of red flickered far into the center of the island, due south of a decent rocky spire that stretched above the little island, looking like a witch’s hat almost. The flash was there for but a second, but something immediately clicked in the goblin’s mind. A bad feeling set in almost instantly, but for something not yet recognized by his troubled mind. “Barrage incoming. Brace for shock, Captain.” came the calm voice of Skorm a fractured moment before the sound of thundering guns wracked the airspace! Chestius gripped the gyrocopter as it immediately spun and dipped, rolling to avoid cannonfire from some of the ships now not too far below. It was time, and the deployment was going to be a hot one… “Prepare to drop in 10, 9, 8, 7, ...egh Impact Sir!” Skorm spoke calmly before breaking from his calm pattern to send a warning! From the middle of the island, near where Chestius had his eye on, a large boulder broke from the treeline and launched towards the gyrocopter! By time the goblin could react, it was already a split second from impact! Kaboom! A bright orange blast lit up the sky as the rock made a direct hit on the gyrocopter! Chestius was able to just barely throw himself back before contact, the blast thrusting him to wildly spin and thrash through the air into a tumbling fall from his freshly wrecked transport! He growled as he struggled to regain composure, waiting to open his wings for the right moment! A flapping sound strained against the sounds of cannonfire and howling from below signaled that the goblin’s glider suit had activated properly, and to onlookers Chestius managed to disappear into the explosion. But the goblin took to a direction with a spirited dive, the strongly woven fabric attached to his armor secured like webbing between his arms and legs, forming a pair of batlike wings. He wouldn’t be able to fly with these, but as he dove downwards, they made a world of difference, allowing him to gratuitously slow his descent and glide swiftly through the air like a bird descending silently towards its nest… Taking aim to the southern side of the island near the beachhead where the two wrecked ships lay. The fresh night was now a desperately needed shield as the goblin made his descent over the water winding towards the beach. While his gyrocopter had jets and multiple lights to make it stand out, Chestius was entirely suited for his best defense; stealth. With all that was happening, activating a light cloaking device allowed the goblin to vanish entirely from view at the distance he flew, landing silently with a dive in the tide after breaking his fall multiple times by drawing back with his glider suit to save on impact. Crawling from the water up to the shore, the hunter whispered into his reciever. “Skorm. Report. What the fel was that?” “A… A boulder, Captain. I barely saw it, it didn’t appear to be launched from a catapult, nor was it fired… It was… just hurled at your transport… Which I am afraid lay in ruins now.” Replied Professor Skorm, seemingly dumbfounded at first. “I’m aware of the copter. Tap into my location and prepare a gate rather than a transmat, I’m moving on target alpha and beta. The wreckage may be occupied. Ask Koopa to be on standby… We got more of a problem than Alliance here.. Hear that howling?” Chestius replied almost silently as he lay out flat amongst a patch of brush just off the sands of the beach. Hundreds of feet ahead lay the Alliance ship, and on the far side, the Horde’s. As the goblin whispered, he drew and matched a pair of binoculars to his goggles, zooming his sights in on the wreckage and beginning a scan. “It sounded… pained… I’ll begin sorting through data to try and match source. For now, keep your head down and recon. I will report to you after you reach a haven.” Skorm replied, seemingly inquisitive. “Aye aye, Chestius going dark. Heed all commands forward as battle comms, codeword: Father.” Chestius replied before pushing the reciever back to the side of his headpiece. The wreckage was occupied. There were several night elves still moving about it. They had taken shelter within the broken keel of their boat to protect from the elements. No fires, no smoke. They merely huddled and waited.. They weren’t attempting to be rescued? If the Horde was still about, prioritizing escape would be wise with 6 other ships offshore… Giving away their location wouldn’t be a risk… Unless… The air had been stilling from the gunfire and crash. The ambush upon Chestius’ vessel came to an end as the goblin crawled up on the beach, and as he lay prone in the brush, scouting his target an eerie silence overtook the coming night. Howling! No, a single roar broke the freshly birthed peace of darkness, turning it to suspense and fear! Describing it was hard… Whatever it was, it was big, furious, and close… Chestius’ hair stood on end as the howling neared. If it wasn’t already sheet white from his falsified age, he’d be losing color as the feeling that had crept into his spine prior to the impact returned full force. It churned into a dreaded gut feeling. Something was very, very wrong… Even the shipwrecked elves felt it, now covering themselves in sand, huddling amidst the shadows of their former boat.. Burying oneself was used for few reasons… either to hide the sounds of armor as enemies drew near…. Or to hide scent… Chestius vanished, his body fading into shadows as he dropped his goggles and began to silently scurry through the grass! The icy feeling finally came to his mind’s eye and reared its ugly head for praise… It was the feeling of being hunted… No sooner than seconds after his disappearing act, the goblin felt it. The rumble of something taking step by step towards the beach. He crawled and scratched his way no less than fifty feet from his position, driven almost entirely by something the goblin rarely heeded, his instincts. Next came the sounds of each thump, something still hidden by the dense woods thumping and pressing through to the beach, now breaking and even toppling some young trees as it neared. Chestius activated his goggles, which switched the spectrum of the darkened night into one he could easily see through, staring into the woods where the sounds of movement warned of his coming threat. Sparks… toggling his vision showed color of a bloody red as he watched marked the way. This was it. This was what the elves were fearing.. What likely killed the deathguards. This was what took out his ship. The rifle Chestius drew from his back made not a sound as it aimed down the line at the figure now silhouette in the distance. With a final thump, it stopped just at the treeline, giving just enough visibility for Chestius to finally get a look at its form… Chestius could count on on hand how many times he’d felt his heart sink. The first time was when he found out he was the father of a boy to a witch, seeing the child used as no more than a test subject for torture… The second time was when corruption took his long time friend Hanz, driving him to becoming fodder for a monster that swept through their company, killing several of their own men. Now, Chestius felt his heart practically fall from his chest for the third time his long life of war and business… As he looked through the scope, he saw a hulking mass of an orc, glaring with eyes of pure burning crimson at the place where his gyrocopter fell amidst the waves. His barrel shook for a second as his finger, which was tight on the trigger, melted away, cowering from its only job in the field. This orc, flashing with red sparks, grunted and growled as it hid away in the treeline. Though outside of view of the elves and the warships that waited offshore, Chestius recognized what this was… This was no monster… It was Banjin… He was hulking, his eyes glazed over with a bloody veil, and his famous chi was sparking out of whack against his onyx flesh.. His clothes were badly torn and barely clinging to his berserk form. He was on all fours like a gorilla, sniffing the air and looking to the beach. This was why the elves dug in, the reason they didn’t signal, light any fires, or even show themselves… They weren’t worried about escaping the Horde.. They were trying to escape Banjin… Inhaling to speak, but silencing himself, the goblin kept creeping back. His stealth arts erased his presence enough to where even his scent was obscured. But Banjin had great senses outside of his primal form.. In that state, if the brute got too close, he’d likely be able to locate Chestius even without eyes. And as if answering his thoughts as a dare, the flaring of nostrils gave notice to the hulking monk now moving through the treeline closer, Banjin’s eyes now fixing on the crawling trail that lead to the bushes. The goggles were still there, lying amidst the shrubbery, waiting to become the battery that lead the orcish bloodhound right onto his trail! Silently cursing, all Chestius could do at this point was get distance. It was either a ship full of night elves too scared to move, or an obviously berserked Banjin most likely not about to ask the goblin to sit down for tea. This amongst hundreds of other thoughts crying out Why or How were silenced amidst the tempered heart of battle Chestius would normally pride himself upon. This situation was beyond dire… As Banjin stretched his head out of the brush, hunching over to crawl slowly towards the bush, sniffing the air and grunting, Chestius scrambled in his mind for something to do. He couldn’t attack, he couldn’t flee, he couldn’t stay here hoping to remain hidden. The pressure building faster and faster as the mad monk hissed words that would claw further at the old heart of his former general. “Ca..ptain….Betray..er….. Burned… Burned.. it… all….” growled the monk. But amidst the sensation of fear prickling at his heart alongside its partner grief, Chestius was able to feel it… ‘...He’s…. Crying…’ The goblin ached out the words into straight thoughts as he stopped in his tracks. Looking at his former employee, a man he treated and boasted about like his own son, Chestius could see the lines from tears still dripping from the monks eyes… Gripping his chest, Chestius felt his composure slip.. He inhaled to call out to his student, senses fading to a rise of emotion strong enough to topple any heart, no matter the stone amidst its make. “Targets, six o’ clock.” Rang Skorm’s voice in Chestius’ ears, tethering him back to Azeroth as he whipped around to see a night elf not fifteen feet from him, eyes and weapon trained on Banjin! Pulling the trigger was all the goblin processed as his own body immediately reacted and chaos once again reclaimed the night! A screeching flare whipped from the gun of the night elf scout, blasting towards the treeline and bursting with light right in front of Banjin! And almost within the same moment, Chestius’ hand slipped to his side to draw and fire a pistol at the elf, the gunshot cracking a split second after the initial flare! The gunfire caught the elf offguard, the bullet tearing through the air and hitting her directly in the head! The thump of her elegant form hitting the ground was silenced by the earthsplitting roar that blasted from the mad monk, thrashing about and howling as his tear filled eyes locked shut! Gunfire from the cannons offshore lead in the moments after, cannonballs hitting the waters and the beach, aiming for the target that was illuminated! Banjin retreated backwards into the woods as the cannons hit the sands and ground, shelling closer and closer, but not landing a direct hit upon him! Chestius hit the grit, deploying a smoke pellet and clawing his way into the dense brush to avoid sight from all the forces around him. Ships waiting for a beachside target to bombard with death, night elves now alerted to an assassin, and his own maddened friend out for blood… ...This was going to shave years off his life...