(Part 9) For a complete list of this series, please go here.
Aerissa entered the kitchen of the Inn excitedly, waving around a piece of parchment. Twyla's head bobbed up and down as she tried to focus on the moving poster. She placed a hand gently on Aerissa's wrist, stilling the poster.
“Rissy, are ya sure ye want to go after one of them?” Twyla snapped her finger at the wanted poster in Aerissa's hands.
“One of them? Twyla, I'm going to get both of them,” she said with stern determination. She flipped the flier over, eyeing the crude hand drawn faces.
“Both?” Twyla coughed, shaking her head in disbelief. “Child, ya gonna kill ye and Locke there. Those abominations are not ta be trifled with. They be on the poster an' offerin' rewards cos they not easy to…” She saw Aerissa tap the parchment a couple times, nodding curtly. Twyla let out a long breath, “I wish ye tha best o' luck, dearie. I… I will keep ya bed fer a bit, hm?”
The corners of Aerissa's mouth turned up ever so slightly. She appreciated the kindness and concern Twyla expressed. Aerissa could not recall many others that had shown any regrets at the thought of her life being in danger. “Thank you, Twyla. But do not worry. Locke and I will be back before the sun sets more than twice.” She rubbed and patted Locke's side. “We shall retire for the evening so we may be well rested for the hunt tomorrow.”
* * *
Aerissa rolled her neck from side to side and stretched out her back. She did not want her muscles to stiffen up as her and Locke watched and waited for Knucklerot and Luzran, two of Dar'khan's fearsome abominations. Dar'khan, Aerissa had learned, had established a fortress of destruction within the walls of Deatholme. It had become the Scourge headquarters for this region of Azeroth. Dar'khan settling within Deatholme was one of the reasons why the other races of the Horde looked upon the Blood Elves with suspicion, since Deatholme was so near to Silvermoon City.
Appropriately enough, the Dead Scar began at Deatholme. Within the fortress walls, Dar'khan and his lieutenants continue to train and create more Scourge from fallen Horde and Alliance races alike. Knucklerot and Luzran are abominations created to serve Dar'khan and his forces. They are terrifying to every sense possessed by a living being. They stand over 8 feet tall and weigh over 500 pounds. They are pieced together out of corpses and body parts of the dead. The entrails of most abominations look to be on the verge of spilling onto the ground as they hang out of gaping sores in the bloated, plagued skin. Abominations are quite strong, as Aerissa was warned, for they not only have two arms at their sides, but another that is grafted onto their back, all of which are disporportionate. They in fact, possess the strength of several men. This third arm has the ability to catch victims within it's 360 degree swing, making abominations a deadly foe with multiple attack abilities at once. These foul damnations hunger for flesh, living or not, making them even more ruthless.
Twyla had informed Aerissa that since abominations are laboratory creations, they are only as dangerous as their creator. This had puzzled Aerissa, prompting her to ask if there were any such monsters that were not dangerous. Twyla told her about the abominations that guard the Forsaken capital, Undercity, that was built beneath the ruins of the old Human city of Lordaeran. Aerissa silently hoped she would never have to enter the Undercity. Twyla would not tell Aerissa much about how abominations are created, only that it takes a grand understanding of necromancy.
Locke lifted his head, sniffing at the air. The stench of the abominations often forwarned of them miles before they could be seen, if the wind was blowing in the favor of any potential victims. Knucklerot and Luzran were created and commanded to patrol along the Dead Scar and around the vicinity of Deatholme, killing anything that posed a threat to the Scourge and Dar'khan.
Aerissa and Locke had spent a day learning their patrol routes. She was pleased that her patience allowed them to discover the two abominations were quite predictable and only veered off their routes in pursuit of those they deemed to be enemies. Aerissa had noticed, however, that their pace was not identical. This created times that they crossed each other's routes and were a double threat for a few miles. Aerissa and Locke found a place to hide and scout from, laying in wait for the perfect moment. Aerissa planned to attack each of them separately. She knew that her and Locke would be no match against both of them at the same time.
She stared at Locke, keeping her thoughts focused on images of Knucklerot's and Luzran's demise. She looked calm upon the face, but inside, she was a bundle of nerves. Locke turned his piercing yellow eyes to her, bobbing his head.
We will succeed.
Aerissa smiled as he turned his gaze back upon the Dead Scar before them, waiting. She felt her resolve and confidence strengthen as Locke's words entered her mind. Yes, they would succeed. She tilted her chin up, feeling boosted. The rotting stench wafted through the cool air, burning her nostrils. It would not be much longer before Knucklerot would be within her sights.
They did not have to wait long. The hulking abomination plodded along the path. The heavy chain he was dragging clanked against the ground. He grunted with each thunderous step of his bloated and plagued feet. Locke crouched, wiggling his hips as he prepared to pounce. Aerissa aimed her bow at Knucklerot's head, his mouth agape in a mindless grin.
Knucklerot paused, looking side to side. “Foooood?” his deep voice bellowed.
Aerissa drew the arrow back, ready to let it fly from her bow. Locke's ear twitched back in her direction, hearing the creak of the bowstring drawn taught. He leapt out from behind the boulders, biting at Knucklerot's ankles. The huge monster stomped his feet and swung his chain at Locke, but Locke was too agile for him. Locke would swipe at his legs, then duck around behind him, confusing Knucklerot. He would try to spin around to catch Locke, muddling his dimwitted mind and tangling his feet. Aerissa began to unload her arrows into his thick neck as fast as she could draw them from her quiver.
Knucklerot let out a snarl as he tried to yank out the tiny arrows. He kicked at Locke, tossing him back a few yards. Aerissa's winced as Locke yelped in pain. She continued to unload on him, firing off several arrows at once. One pierced his eye and several more penetrated the flesh of his neck. Aerissa could see a mixture of blood and puss spilling down his chest. Locke swiped at the back of his heels, cutting deep into the rotting flesh.
“Noooo-” gurgled from Knucklerot as he fell to the blackened ground of the Dead Scar. His body jerked and twitched as he made final attempts to injure his attackers. Aerissa slowly approached, staying out of his reach until the body was still.
“You too,” she said as Locke limped over to her. She frowned, seeing him holding up a paw. His fur was matted with dirt and blood. She patted his head then ran her fingers through his fur, checking for any unseen injuries. Most of the blood splattered onto him came from Knucklerot. Locke sat down, holding his injured paw in the air. She knelt beside him, examining the paw. One of the pads on his foot had been cut and dirt was getting into the wound. She pressed her fingers on either side of the wound, milking a bit more blood to wash out the dirt. Grabbing the water skin she'd packed, she rinsed the wound and wrapped it with cloth bandages.
Locke sighed, licking his chops. She poured water from the skin, letting him lap at the stream it created. Aerissa took a few sips herself, wiping at her damp forehead. The fight had been close, but she was proud that they were able to bring down such a wretched beast. Standing up, she turned to stare at Knucklerot's corpse. Lots of insects had appeared and were buzzing around the spoiled flesh. Aerissa nudged the corpse with the toe of her boot. Satisfied that he did not move, she walked around him, surveying the kill. Stopping near his head, she stared at the lifeless grin in thought.
Aerissa unfolded the wanted poster, skimming it quick before folding it back up. “Proof….” she mumbled as she jammed the parchment back into her pack. Moving closer to him, the stench became overwhelming. Aerissa jumped back, burying her nose into the crook of her elbow. She shook her head, gagging and coughing, her eyes stinging.
Locke also surveyed the remains as he sat next to Aerissa. Limping closer, he raked his sharp claws across Knucklerot's neck. Aerissa nodded and gulped in a fresh breath of air. She wished she had been able to buy a new dagger as she withdrew the small throwing one she still carried. She worked diligently, cutting through the neck between breaks for fresh air. After about an hour, Aerissa succeeded in claiming the proof she would need for the reward.
Aerissa bagged the head and tied it closed. Unfortunately, this did not keep the smell of decomposition contained.
“One more Locke, one more…” she muttered as she hefted the bag over her shoulder.
** Please note that some of the events included in RP pieces are based upon actual in-game role play. Also, some of the events and/or character names may have been altered during the transition from in-game RP to story formation. **
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