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Hello everyone, and welcome back! This is the new thread for the awesome Tribulations of a Megalomaniac Warlock.
Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with this awesome story, allow me to make a short introduction. The Tribulations of a Megalomaniac Warlock is the the English translation of the very successful tale of the adventures of a megalomaniac warlock: Synapse. Originally written in French, the story is currently a few hundred pages long. At first, it was just written for the fun of it, but as time passed, it became increasingly popular, and turned into a fully grown tale, and is now arguably the most popular WoW-based fan fiction on the French forums (170 pages long, 660,000 views). As I came across it one day, I thought that it was a shame that something as silly as a language barrier prevented this tale from being enjoyed by people around the world.
Well, as it happens, the story became hugely popular on the English boards as well. As of today - November 15, 2010 - the thread is a whopping 226 pages long with well over 4,000,000 views.
Now, aboutthe story itself: it is divided into three main parts (soon four): one for Azeroth, one for Outland, one for Northrend. Each one introduces new characters, delves into older characters' background stories, and so on.
If you're new to the story, then I invite you to read through the 10 first chapters. They're rather short (indeed, much shorter than the later chapters), and should give you an honest idea of what to expect. The entire story in itself is actually about 600 pages long, and I can promise you: if you enjoyed the beginning, you will love the rest. After all, tell yourself that this thread made 4,000,000 views without being stickied: so many views can't be wrong!
Enough small talk though, on with the show! But before that, I'd like to briefly mention a couple of points:
* All credit goes to the glorious Goddess, Synapse. I'm just translating this stuff, I don't invent any of it.
* Our friends at the Warlock's Den also host a copy of this story, and I'd like to thank them here for it. Here's a link to the story on the Den: http://www.wowmb.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17321&page=1
For the Goddess!
Edit: three things.
1°/ New readers: bear in mind that the first chapters were written quite some time ago (2006 to be precise).
2°/ Old readers: bump/like/love this thread! HARD!
3°/ Obviouly, copying and pasting 600 pages worth of text by blocs of 5,000 characters is a very long and dull job. As of today, I've done the entire first arc, which goes from Synapse's first steps to the end of the Azerothian chapters. I'll post the rest later on!
Edited by Curufinwë on 15/11/2010 15:56 GMT
CHAPTER 1: BIRTH OF A GODDESS OF THE UNDERWORLD
Even as I was a little girl, in the womb of “Newchaaractehr”, I was already asking myself questions. Because unlike the other foeti (equally known as Noobs in some lands), I was conscious of the world and that I would have to be strong to be able to withstand all its trials, especially the thousands of troublemakers that make it up.
I asked myself: “what shape will allow me to dominate the world?”
My unbelievable foresight showed me 8 major races made the world. To be sure not to miss anything, I inspected them all:
* First of all, Humans:
My first impression was that of an appalling banality coupled to an obvious lack of ambition. Nothing capable of upholding my greatness. Of course, humans are open to many opportunities and can become just about anything. What’s more, the human spirit is both strong and watchful, and therefore perfect when imposing one’s will. But for the time being, I left them to the side.
* Next, Dwarves:
Well I’ll be banned; I’ve never seen anything so horrible! A dwarf! ME, become a female dwarf? I’d rather die! I quickly understood the weak mental capacities of this race prevented their apprehending the slightest subtlety; anyway, the aesthetics of dwarven females leading to confusion with the males, there was no way I could embody myself into a dwarf. The day I need to cut down a tree with a single hand, I’ll become a dwarf.
* Then, Gnomes:
These ridiculous creature’s aspect put me off the minute I saw them; but I had to admit their highly developed intellect seemed worthy of my greatness (well, almost). However, by taking a closer look, I realized that most of the gnomes’ capacities were diverted towards the sole hating of those who made fun of their size, which truly became an obsession. Having other things to do rather than yelling in order to be acknowledged as a proper being or fighting for the banning of gnomeball, I dropped the idea of being a gnome.
* The Elf:
I immediately fell in love with the elf’s physical aspect. Big, strong, slender: the perfect incarnation for goddess of my stature. Alas, its concept of magic was very different from mine, so I had to let go the idea. I was even tempted to give up dark magic to become an Elf; but then I saw the totally OBSCENE, lascivious dance of the female elf, and from there on, such an embodiment became simply unbearable to me (lewdness being the privilege of the succubus).
*My foresight then showed me a cow…Guess it was a mistake
* The Troll:
Ugly. Cunning, yes; but ugly. Someone else could have done something with it, but my ambition was to enlighten the paths of Hell with my glorious presence, and you could hardly say trolls were up to the task.
Here was a solid and smart enough embodiment for what I wanted to become. I have to admit I hesitated for a second before my foresight warned me of the male orcs’ habits towards female orcs. I’ll spare you the details, but the orc’s methods of reproduction and the linked rituals being what they are, I scratched out the idea at once (I definitely don’t feel like bringing up 150 kids)
* Finally, the Undead
True, I was attracted by its power, but can you really rule the world when you have worms wriggling all over your skin? Yes, the most powerful mages were often enough liches, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to be powerful while still ALIVE?
My foresight then reminded me that my mother and my father being both human, I didn’t have much of a choice anyway.
And so it was settled, I was to become a human, a human WARLOCK, the only career I could favour. Why? Because it united both power and the controlling of superior beings, a true path towards glory, a grand doorway to power, a highway to hell!!! ACDC for the win!!! Err, why did I just say that?
CHAPTER 2: THE LEGEND’S FIRST STEPS
After quickly going through childhood and my teens – actually, I don’t remember a thing… Isn’t that odd? Oh well, it’s probably because of my divine nature; I have no time to waste with such trifles. Anyway, upon reaching early adulthood, I decided to get things going and become a professional warlock.
I was sent before an Alliance official, bent by old age and worry, apparently weary of seeing young recruits coming and going all day long.
“I am the most sublime, the most magnificent, the most brilliant and divine –“
“That a name?” answered the old man, rather sceptical.
“Yes, it’s mine. It represents the incredible extent of my intell-“
“Synapse it is. What are you applying for?”
“I wish to become a great guardian of the dark powers, unbelievably powerful, able to master the Titans and –“
“No, warlock, write it down.”
The official did it and gave me a registered letter, finally appointing me warlock, ready to begin a grand career. He kept on:
“You’ll start your missions with the local warlock trainer, just go the Northshire Abbey, it’s easy enough to find, it’s just around the corner, head north west and-“
“An Abbey? But I don’t want to become a nun! I want to go in a demonic temple, an infernal altar! Why I’ll even go to a sacrificial circle!”
The official answered, in an automated voice:
“All humans of the Alliance must follow the teachings of the Abbey of Northshire. Once the initiation complete, you are free to go wherever you want. If you don’t have any further questions, good bye and good day.”
The old scribe nearly slammed the door at my face. There was no getting any more information on what I was to do once I got at that abbey. It happened to be quite easy to find, I keep no memory at all of the journey. Bah, doesn’t matter. Anyway, when I got there, I saw many young recruits running in every direction, bustling all over the place, doing some sort of task I didn’t really get at first.
Before I could ask one of those beginners, a guard hailed me:
“Whoa there young warlock! Have you come here to master your powers?”
“I already do perfectly well, thank you…”
“Oh ha ha, very funny. Before saying things like that, you’re going to have to do a few missions for the Alliance.”
“Missions? Nobody ever said anything about missions.”
“Well, you’re going to have to do a few if you want to progress! So here’s your first quest.”
A quest? Now that already sounded much better than a vulgar mission.
“Go see the skinner over there, he has some sort of a problem with wolves, looks like you’re going to have to go get some hides off of a few young mangy wolves.”
Guess I should have shut up.
“You’re kidding me.”
“No, why would I? You can also take care of those Kobolds over there.”
I left the guard, given the desire to just curse him was becoming a little to tempting. So I was to take care of a handful of wolves just to show them I was a nice little footman. Just they wait until I rule the world!
But, for the time being, my concern was with the wolves. I had a dagger, but I certainly didn’t feel like using it and risking to break a nail. My powers were therefore finally about to come into action. I had showed off a bit earlier, my powers aren’t really that ready. But they’re still ready enough to get rid of a few wolves.
As I got in the woods surrounding the abbey, I spotted one of the wolves I was to take care of, and who rather seemed to be interested in the rabbits hopping all about him. I softly crept up, preparing a spell. I suddenly raised my arm and felt magic closing in on me.
A shield appeared over my head. Dang. Wrong spell. The wolf gave me a puzzled look, wondering what I was trying to do there. Furious, I opened up my spellbook, cursing at my bad habit of skipping pages.
Having settled that little mistake, a throbbing shadowbolt materialized in my hand, looking very threatening. I gave the wolf, who didn’t really seem alarmed, a killer glare. The shadowbolt whizzed through the air, sending the wolf flying through the airs. Realizing those black and purple thingies REALLY hurt, the wolf decided a little payback was in order, and charged.
Cursing at the fact the wolf hadn’t died instantly, I hurriedly prepared a second spell, but the wolf was already on me, and I only made it thanks to my dagger that, hastily unsheathed and brandished over my head, allowed me to smite the wolf as it jumped to rip open my throat. The light in the wolf’s eyes died out.
As I frantically wiped the blood that had gushed all over my clothes, I realised that close combat really wasn’t my thing. Solution: I’ve got to find myself a footman.
A quick glance showed four potential footmen: a mage, a rogue, a priest and a paladin.
I started out by the mage. In order to give a good first impression and to show him the full powers of demonic magic, I cast three consecutive shadowbolts on an unsuspecting wolf that was busy grooming itself. The bloody mess that ensued gave me a broad smile and I proudly challenged the mage to do better.
He chose a bigger wolf than mine, and cast a huge fireball on it. The poor little canine disappeared with a bang, leaving only a few hot ashes. Feeling quite sickened, I left the mage, who could hardly hold back a s@*#*#*.
The rogue totally ignored me; he was actually already covered in wolf entrails, and kept on killing wolf after wolf. There was already a huge mound of dead wolves all around him. Was he a rogue or a butcher?
The priest tried to convince me that I’d make a great little helper, and that if I did the fighting for him, he’d heal me for free. I was clearly not the only one looking for a footman.
It took the paladin something like 37 minutes to kill his first wolf. Since I wanted to become powerful rather quickly, I decided to find a rather, well, you know, another footman.
Then it occurred to me: since I was a warlock, I was going to summon a demon!
The warlock trainer told me I had to be a little more experienced to try summoning a demon, but that was forgetting my incredible cunning. Having brought back to my trainer the pile of wolves the rogue had killed, she (grudgingly) accepted to teach me the summoning spell.
As I put on a ceremonial robe, the ritual incantations flowed from my mouth, and energy started concentrating itself over my head, taking the shape of some sort of magically empowered diamond.
“O great demons, o powerful Balrogs, powers from the underworld and lords of the Gehenna!
Hear my call, send me a worthy ally on whom your loyal servant shall truly rely on!
Help me! Puh-lease! “
“Those last words weren’t necessary” said the trainer.
A great mana vortex opened up, and a flame wreathed creature, a true demon, a true hell roamer, appeared. The demon came forth, and, with a shout, gave his name:
“What is that… Thing?” I asked
“An imp” answered the trainer.
“Is it strong?”
“He looks weak.”
Seeing as he was being ignored, the demon decided to…
CHAPTER 3: BIZROT THE DEMON
Squatting in a corner, the imp start mumbling a few incomprehensible words:
“Gath'zo mag zinal phad'um que dixico kaldruùm ! Dessa wazcé esth'zo glumjo ! Kàpish?”
“What is he saying?” I asked.
“No idea.” Answered the warlock trainer.
“What do you mean?! It’s a demonic language, you’re supposed to understand it!”
“It’s imp slang! If you think I’m going to go and learn every dialect of the 7 underworlds –“
“Bhakâ!” added Bizrot.
“Still, it’s a shame not to understand your own demon.”
Bizrot looked distrustfully at me, before finally speaking in an understandable language:
“I said: ‘It’s not because I’m small and look weak that I don’t deserve any respect.’ You should already feel honoured to have me as a companion, got it?”
I leaned down on the imp, giving him a very defiant stare:
“Companion? I think you’ve been mislead, shorty: I am the mistress, YOU are the slave.
MY wish is YOUR command. If I tell you to jump, you jump; if I tell you to pop your clogs, you pop your clogs, if I tell you to get some cocktails, you don’t help yourself on the way!”
Bizrot answered by a rude gesture, and barely had time to dodge my shadowbolt. The shadow trainer decided to go:
“Right. I’ve got work on the table, you’re now free to do as you like. If I were you, I’d try to get along with your demon and try a few missions around here, otherwise you won’t last long. Well, I’ve got to go: I still have a dozen beginner warlocks to break in. 15 years in the job to end up doing this…”
Once I was alone with my demon, I started thinking what I could do. Since he was so small, maybe he could sneak into the Bank of Stormwind and… Nah, never mind, they’ve probably already considered such problems.
“So,” said Bizrot. “This is all very lovely, but I’m getting bored. How about taking care of those Defias over there? I’ve heard they have pretty well garnished purses.”
“Huh? OK, sure. But aren’t they a tad numerous?”
“Well so are we; thanks to me, you’ve doubled in numbers. Isn’t that great?
I followed Bizrot to the nearby field, filled with Defias. The bandits were many, and well organized. Patrols made sure none of the abbey’s candidates went and meddled in their affairs, and their main camp was held by a dozen of them, including their leader. Their numbers had grown since the rogue had stopped by, killing many: the Defias chief had had to call in for reinforcements from the Westmarch headquarters, who had obliged. The vineyard was now held by what looked like a true army.
“They’re way too strong! If you’re so eager, why don’t you just go on first?”
“Go on? A demon’s strength lies in its brains; if you were looking for a brute, you should have teamed up with a bear or something.”
“So you just plan not do anything?”
“I don’t think so.”
And, suddenly grinning, Bizrot opened a big bag he had been dragging along since we had arrived in the vineyard. He drew out some Defias garments, who looked like they had been removed along with a few vital organs.
“OK, you might want to clean that disguise up a bit. And now, I shall show you how to get rid of your foes, Bizrot style.”
A few minutes later, I was disguised as a Defias. Their leather armour was a little to figure-hugging to my taste, and their mask prevented my breathing well. Bizrot was hiding in my backpack, whispering instructions.
“Don’t forget that you can’t cast in that armour. Keep cool, and try to act like a Defias.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know… Try to look mean and give off a stupid laugh every now and then. Right, now get to the middle of the camp, and say this.”
Bizrot whispered me my line, and I understood his brilliant trick. Half amused, half worried, I passed before the Defias guards, addressing them a vague wave of the hand they didn’t really see. Once at the middle of the camp, I announced in my most panicked voice:
“Red alert! The rogue that came earlier is coming back!!”
A score of faces turned towards me.
“What?” Said a fat Defias with a scar on his right eye. “Not again? He already carved us into mincemeat once, wasn’t that enough?!”
“We’d better run.” Said another Defias approvingly, her arm in a sling.
The Defias leader stood up:
“No, this time we are not running, we’re facing him! We’re stronger than ever, if we stand together, there’s no way he can defeat us.”
“But he ain’t human; he has the eyes of a maniac, and his blades slice through our armours like a hot knife through butter. We’re all gonna die!” Shrieked the Defias girl.
“Listen to the boss!” Roared the Defias sergeant, the chief’s right hand. “We’re staying.”
Bizrot whispered me something. Taking advantage of the crowd drawn by my announcement, I anonymously asked:
“Wait a minute, why is he boss in the first place?”
That did it. The killer blow to the Defias. The fat one-eyed Defias took my words up, arguing that a good chief doesn’t lead his men to certain death. The sergeant tried to seize him, but the girl slit his throat with a dagger. Two sides formed up immediately, unsheathing their weapons. The boss tried to calm everyone down, but that only lead to the separation into four sides, then eight, before it was everyone for his own skin. Before the end, the Defias were all butchering one another.
It was all over a few minutes later. The Defias had killed themselves to the last. The Defias leader and myself were the only ones still on our feet among all the bodies. He saw me, and almost had a heart attack when I let down my disguise. His face became white, before going red.
“Err… Synapse?” whispered Bizrot.
“You might want to put your robe back on you know.”
Having settled that small detail, I faced the Defias chief, giving him my most humiliating victory laugh.
“Ha ha ha, my incredible intelligence has overcome your men, vile bandit!”
“Whatever.” Said Bizrot.
“A warlock?” moaned the chief. “You shall die for this insult!”
The chief charged me, daggers out. Rather panicked, I shot him a shadowbolt. Alas, he took it with hardly any damage, partly parrying it with one of his daggers, rolled on the ground and jumped at me, clearly wanting to skewer me.
A huge fireball suddenly engulfed the Defias chief, who barely had time enough to scream in pain before running all over the place, desperately looking for some water to put out the flames bursting all over him. All he found was a well, and he dove in, not to come out again.
As I looked for where the fireball had come from, I asked
“Did the mage help me?”
“No, I did.” Answered back Bizrot.
“What? You? But that fireball was over-powerful!”
“Yeah, well, I don’t like fighting very much, but still, I have a few fundamentals.”
“Does that mean that you’re… *Gulp* … More powerful than I am?”
“That seems rather obvious.”
Although such a reality pretty much vexed me, I still went to inform the owner of the field that I had taken care of her Defias infestation. Alas, the mage, now accompanied by the paladin and the priest, had already claimed the victory. I was about to protest when Bizrot stopped me.
“Forget it Synapse. Warlocks fight from the shadows, and our achievements won’t be acknowledged anytime soon.”
“Yeah, but that’s just so unfair!”
“Anyway, I picked up the Defias’s purses, so we just made ourselves a nice bit of money.”
I stared at the imp differently, half amused, and half respectful towards the powers he so grudgingly unveiled.
“I don’t know why” I said, “but I feel we’re going to have lots of fun together!”
CHAPTER 4: A WARLOCK’S POWERS
Under the aegis of Bizrot, who had already had more than one master, I quickly enough learnt the ropes. I realized I still had a long way to run before becoming a true Lady of the Shadows.
The first thing Bizrot did was to write down new spells in my spellbook. Once over, he insisted on teaching me how to use them:
“Right.” He started. “Are you ready for the lesson?”
“Yes, but… Is this outfit really necessary?”
The imp had found a piece of purple cloth and had made himself a robe out of it. He also wore a small turban of the same cloth, and tiny glasses. He raised the stick he was using as a wand and mercilessly whacked me on the head with it.
“No criticizing! Just you be happy that I’m condescending to giving you lessons! Lessons are usually given by warlocks who are far less competent than I am.”
“Not the modest kind, are you?”
“Allow me to return you the compliment.”
After enjoying a hearty laugh due to that last comment and after agreeing that we were anyway both exceptional, we resumed the lesson.
“Let’s see, first we’ll need a guinea pig.”
I had been wandering around Goldshire for quite a while. The people there were rather nice, albeit reserved. They seemed clearly tired of finding half the rookies of the Alliance running around the area. Anyway, they had talked to me about a murloc village near a lake, east of Goldshire. So we ended up with a murloc for guinea-pig.
After immobilizing the subject with a very complex spell that involved smashing his legs with a cudgel, I let Bizrot show me how my new spells worked.
Bizrot waved his wand, and all of a sudden an abominable smell rose from the murloc. He sniffed at the strange smell, and uttered a strange sound, as if he were trying to excuse himself, but brutally doubled up under the pain, as a greenish haze leaked from the wounds that were appearing all over his body.
“That is the spell known as Corruption”, Bizrot explained. “One of the warlock’s basic spells, very handy, as it has the advantage of inflicting the adversary an excruciating pain over a significant amount of time.”
“How horrible! Isn’t there anything you can do about the smell though?”
“No, the smell is part of the spell’s effects. Any complaints should be addressed to the plague demon who concocted the spell. On to the next spell if you have no further questions.”
He drew his hands close to his little chest, and they burst in fire. He then waved them over his head, and it was the murloc’s turn to catch fire. He let out a few despaired cries hoping we would put him out as fast as possible, which I did with a big bucket of water. I mean, I had to keep my guinea-pig alive.
“That was Immolate” said Bizrot.
“So I guessed.”
Two guards came up, looking furious.
“Are you the ones making that racket?” One of them asked.
“Err… Yeah, we’re trying out some new spells.”
“I see,” the guard said. “Well, once you’re over playing around, we could use a hand. We’ve just had word that nigh on a hundred gnolls have stormed in from the East; they’re much stronger than our local Riverpaws, and we’re going through hell to push them back. Any help would be more than welcome, so get going as soon as you can!”
The guards left. A quick glance towards Bizrot showed me he didn’t feel like going up against those gnolls either, and we went back to our lessons. The gleam of hope that had lit up in the murloc’s eyes went out at once.
“And now”, Bizrot announced, “Curses.”
“Curses? How do they work?”
“It’s easy. All you have to do is look your enemy in the eye and whisper the right words. The first one we’re going to learn is the Curse of Agony.”
On hearing this, the murloc started saying what really sounded like a prayer.
“This curse”, Bizrot kept on, “Inflicts damage over a long period to your adversary. Very nice when you feel like killing someone very slowly.”
“Damage over a long period? What kind of damage?”
“It depends… The version I put in your spellbook is, well… Oh, you’ll see.”
Bizrot cast his spell, giving the murloc a killer glare. But the murloc still looked healthy enough; he started looking all around him, very worried, expecting to experience a dreadful pain, just like with Corruption. But nothing happened.
And right there, an arrow came out of nowhere, hitting the murloc square in the shoulder. We heard a hunter crying out in surprise that that was the first time ever he had missed a shot. Then, a branch fell off the tree the murloc was sitting under, smashing the poor thing’s head. He then realized the horror of the curse that had been cast upon him.
“This,” said the imp, “is a Bizrot-style Curse of Agony. Here, look: I pick this stone up, I drop it, and…”
Just as if the murloc were some huge magnet, the stone shot straight at him, violently bruising his jaw and making him spit out a few teeth.
“Anything bad that could happen… Will. And he’ll be the first one to know.”
“A bad luck curse,” I said, in awe. “Brilliant!!”
“One day, the Ironforge tramway left its rails to hit someone affected by this curse” proudly added the imp.
“No wonder, I mean the way the curse works, you can expect pretty much anything to happen.”
Bizrot kept on showing me a few spells, but our guinea-pig’s brutal and totally unexplainable death put an end to our lesson. However, right when it was about to die, Bizrot made me use this weird spell that made some strange purple crystal appear in my hand.
“This is the murloc’s soul, keep it well, it’ll be of use later.”
As I held up the murloc’s soul, I could feel his hatred towards his torturers. On the other hand, he shouldn’t have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The two guards we had seen earlier showed up while I was thinking about how cruel my new job was. They were walking westwards this time:
“So, what about those gnolls?” I asked.
“Dead. All of them. We just can’t figure it out. When we got there, the gnolls had already been grinded into a pulp. We did find one that lived just long enough to explain some rogue was behind it all. Can’t say we really understood what he was on about.”
“Don’t worry, it’s OK.” I reassured them.
Once they left, Bizrot suggested we go and scavenge what we could off the bodies. Finding the idea to be excellent, we hit the road. The gnolls weren’t far off, and indeed in a pitiful state. The mage and his gang, however, were already on the spot, and had covered a good part of the field, so I decided to try my luck somewhere they hadn’t yet covered.
A noise in the bushes caught my attention. A huge gnoll that had survived the massacre desperately charged at me, wielding a huge club, clearly wanting to flatten my head. It was pretty obvious the rogue had traumatized him.
I raised my arm to shield myself like I could, though I pretty much expected him to crush my head. Eyes closed in fear, I felt a light breeze caressing my arm. The club had indeed smashed into my arm, but the hit was clearly not up to the gnoll’s hopes. He looked at his club, puzzled, and tried to hit me again. Not a scratch.
“Curse of Weakness” Bizrot explained. “Comes in handy when your opponent relies on brute force only.”
The gnoll was on the verge of tears seeing how his faithful club hit as hard as a Q-tip. Concentrating on everything I had just learnt, I mowed the gnoll down with my new spells. And so I added a whining gnoll’s soul to my new collection. I felt quite sure I was going to love this soul thing.
We then headed back towards Goldshire in order to continue our quest towards the Westmarch, where I was to finish my training and start facing some real enemies.
CHAPTER 5: THE DEFIAS PLOT
The Westmarch really was a terrible ordeal. It wasn’t because of the occasional mob we ran into every here and there, Bizrot took care of them pretty well (or, should I say, masterfully set them up one against the other); it was the kind of missions I was given, who usually consisted in working in a field or cooking.
“I’ve had it with these peasants! Bizrot, do something fast before I go cuckoo!”
”Don’t you enjoy cooking?” He asked, savouring a Goretusk liver pie.
“NO! I enjoy magic. Period.”
“If we leave the farms, we’re bound to encounter tougher enemies you know.”
“Who cares, you’ll beat the crap out them like you always do.”
“I’m not all-powerful…”
Bizrot sighed, and took my hand. He cruelly pricked one of my fingers with his little dagger. A drop of blood gleamed.
“Ouch! You lost your mind or what? That hurt!”
“It’s called a blood pact. By mingling our bloods, you’ll gain some of my vitality, which should allow you not to die too fast.”
“What about you? What’s protecting you?”
“Me? Easy. Look.”
Bizrot raised his hand in a careless fashion, and suddenly became strangely translucent, like some sort of elemental, but somewhat hazy.
“Phase shift Bizrot explained. “That way, no-one can see me or touch me.”
“What a cowardly method.”
Abandoning the peasants, who were now asking me to help them harvest pumpkins, I went past the guard tower and ended up in sight of a devastated town.
“Looks like this town has been sacked.” Said Bizrot. “I wonder if the pillagers are still around.”
“I don’t know, but - Hey! Are you out of your mind?!”
A strange-looking individual had just bumped into me. He was obviously in a hurry; he didn’t even give me a second look and hurriedly picked up the documents he had let fall after running into me. A quick glance at his outfit made clear he was a Defias.
“The least you could do is say you’re sorry!”
“Shut your face !@*%!, you shouldn’t have been in my way in the first place.”
Bizrot managed to retrieve a few pieces of parchment from the still warm ashes of the messenger and began reading.
“He was soooooo asking for it...” I growled, my hands still clenched on my wand.
“Well now, this is rather instructive.” Said Bizrot. “It would seem that the Defias have some important activities going on around here. Especially in some goldmine east of here.”
“A gold mine? Let’s go plunder it!”
“Too late I’m afraid. According to the letter, our roguish friend has already taken care of it. The Defias still haven’t managed to identify him and this messenger was supposed to warn the head of this sector.”
“Poor guys. So they’re still getting slaughtered, and they don’t even know by whom?”
Even as I was finishing my sentence, a band of Defias showed up, walking out of the town. They seemed to be on a regular patrol.
“And then, the parrot goes: ’We’ve got tons of others like that at Durotar!’ Hahaha! I almost died laughing, and then – HEY! You there! Who the heck are you?”
“What the… That’s Boris, that is! Did you kill Boris?”
“Then you must be the one that devastated the East mine!”
“Of course not, well, I mean –“
“Alert! They’re the ones we’re looking for! We gotta warn the boss at once!”
Once the Defias had left, there was a long silence between Bizrot and myself.
“You are aware that every single Defias in the area is now officially after our blood?”
“And what are you going to do about it?”
“I’m usually all for, but I’m not sure that will be enough this time.”
“Come on, loosen up. What could possibly happen? I mean, they’re only Defias after all, wh-“
A bang, followed by a dark shadow falling on my eyes, and a deep plunge into darkness. An elite Defias thug had sneaked up behind me and violently knocked me out. It was already too late when I figured out what happened when I woke up in a gaol deep in the Defias base.
Painfully coming back to consciousness, I realized three other people were in the room, all three wearing mage or warlock robes, and busy drawing arcane figures on the ground.
“Ah, finally awake?” One of them said. “Well then you can attend our little ceremony.”
“I had nothing to do with the mine, I swear it wasn’t me.”
“Mine? What mine? Oh, the goldmine? So it was you?”
“I just told you it wasn’t. Hold on there. If this has nothing to do with the mine, why capture me?”
The sorcerer eyed me from head to toe, rather amused.
“Well, it appears you haven’t really made yourself many friends among the Defias; I believe one of your admirers is with us by the way.”
He pointed at someone who was waiting on the other side of the bars, a sinister grin over his lips, and a half-fried face. The Goldshire Defias chief.
“And that’s not all” the sorcerer added. “We just happened to need some great magical powers in order to accomplish our revenge. We didn’t expect to encounter many around here, but we had recently sensed a large amount of sharded souls had been amassed. And it just happened to be you.”
The sorcerer pointed at the big bag I always kept with me and that I had filled with the souls I had found here and there. Close to a hundred of them, from the useless rabbit soul to the souls of the Defias that had come across my way.
“OK, so maybe I overdid things a bit. But what’s this revenge story about?”
The sorcerer’s face darkened.
“A short while ago, a vile cutthroat, a monster, came into our lair. This rogue, I don’t remember his name, managed to come all the way here and took Lord Van Cleef’s head, slaughtering half the crew single-handed. A mage, a paladin and a priest came in next, ruthlessly plundering our treasures.”
“Now doesn’t that ring a bell…”
“So we had to find some way to revenge ourselves, and you just happen to be the answer to our problem. With all these souls, we’re going to summon a huge demon that shall be charged with crushing that rogue!”
“You’ll never be able to control it!”
“Precisely. That’s why we’re feeding you to it first. Once it’s eaten its fill, it’ll be all ears.”
“You fiend! Why feed me? I’m sure he’d be much happier with your little mates’ bodies. While you’re at it, you can also feed it that guy over there, I mean he’s already a cripple, you really won’t miss him.”
“And I’m the monster? Sorry Synapse, you really are the perfect sacrifice. Anyway, the ritual is about to start.”
The sorcerers hurriedly left the cell. The soul shards I had taken so much trouble to get had been piled on a crudely drawn pentagram, like cheese on an oversized mousetrap. I’d eat my robes if a powerful demon actually fell for something like that.
“My, my, my, what a perfectly thought out plot” said a voice right next to me.
“Bizrot? You followed me way down here?”
“Of course. Phase changing doesn’t always rhyme with running. Unfortunately, odds are this is really going to hurt: a demon is actually on its way.”
“Are you sure? They really don’t look like powerful warlocks.”
“You know, to summon a demon, all you need are the right words and a miserable enough look for the demon to accept doing you a favour.”
“That was an insult, wasn’t it?”
“No, more like a warning: something is about to come out of the vortex that is appearing, something big.”
A vortex had indeed started materializing itself over the pile of soulstones. The Defias sorcerers were all jittery, and were already gloating over my helplessness as their revenge was about to be accomplished.
As for me, I asked Bizrot to quietly pick the chains that bound me to the wall while I tried to remember some spell that could get me out of this pickle.
But it was already too late. A creature was already coming out from the vortex, massive, terrifying and unbelievably…
CHAPTER 6: A NEW DEMON? TANGKATH APPEARS!
The Defias sorcerer’s face was positively white when he saw what his spell, his beloved spell, had managed to summon.
“A walker? A pathetic void walker? Is that all? We’ll never defeat our enemies with that!”
The void walker that had materialized in the room indeed had little in common with the huge Balrog the wizard expected. The little I knew about void walkers made me realize this one was actually rather bigger than they usually are. A fat lot of good it did the sorcerer though.
The walker picked up a few shards like a gnome picks mushrooms, both happy to pick them and delighted at the idea of eating them. Nevertheless he heard the sorcerer’s comment and shot him a sidelong glance.
“It looks like your scheme has failed sorcerer” I said, just to make him even madder.
“Curse you! You’re not even good enough to serve as bait!”
“On the other hand,” said one of his assistants, “you couldn’t seriously expect much given the souls we had to work with. I mean most of them were rabbit souls and such.”
“Hum, I hadn’t thought about that. Come to think of it, we couldn’t expect anything better than some half-assed demon.”
On hearing the words: “half-assed”, the blue demon let out a deafened grunt. He raised one of his left hand’s fingers, before looking at me and asking:
“Groh braa ghhr buha?”
“Groh braa ghhr buha?”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time, but what is that supposed to mean? Did you get that Bizrot?”
“Well, it’s rather… I mean…”
“Isn’t it a demonic language?”
“Yeah, but… Well maybe not quite, you see –“
“Don’t tell me it’s some void walker slang you can’t understand…”
“Not at all, I’m fluent in void walker slang and this is quite different. Unless he’s from the 6th underworld, near Bouskha’geol, or maybe –“
“Never mind that, what is he saying?”
Seeing I didn’t have a clue to what he was saying, the void walker started waving his arms around and kept on making strange sounds.
“What is that demon, some kind of retard?” asked a puzzled assistant.
“Sign language!” cried Bizrot. “He’s communicating by sign language. Do you speak sign language Synapse?”
“No way, that’s for the handicapped. Definitely not my thing.”
“I see. Long story short, he’s asking if you’re his new master.”
New master? This demon wanted to enter my service? Perfect!
“Err, yes. Here I am! Tada! Well, now you can get me out of this mess.”
“Gruuh boh’braa gabhoo!” Answered the walker, frantically waving his arms around.
“He says: ’new master must first win duel before giving orders’”.
“Oh cr… Bizrot, do something!”
“Against something that big? Handle it yourself.”
“You could at least finish unchaining me!”
I easily dodged the walker’s first blow; he seemed to attack very slowly, as if it didn’t feel like it at all. Alas, I realized my feeble powers were no match for the demon’s thick hide, especially with no magical items equipped. I therefore decided a new approach was in order.
“ENOUGH! Hold it right there, I surrender!”
Abashed, the walker stopped dead in its tracks and asked:
“Why fight? After all, if I need such a strong demon as yourself, it’s precisely because I’m not physically strong enough to defend myself on my own. So let’s stop fighting, there is so much to be gained if we worked together.”
“Gro’ba guuu zo.”
“He said you’ve got a point.”
“What?!” yelled the sorcerer. “That can’t do! Grind that warlock into a pulp you dim-witted demon!”
The walker totally ignored the sorcerer, but I realized there were now two fingers raised on his left hand.
“So you agree to enter my service?”
“Gruh braa gooh.”
“He said: ‘Yup, you look like a swell girl.’”
“Oooh, how cute. Now how about pulverising the mean old sorcerers that captured you nice mistress?”
“He said: ’no.’”
“What do you mean, ‘no’?”
“Gabaa shaka go bhoooaaah, Tangkath go bhoooaaah.”
“He says he is a peace-loving demon, altogether opposed to any forms of aggression, and that his name is Tangkath and that he is considered wise among his people.”
“You’re lying; you attacked me three minutes ago!”
“Bhooaaaah zo bra.”
“He says he’s real sorry.”
The Defias sorcerer burst in laughter. Obviously, he had clean forgotten that he was the one who had summoned the demon in the first place.
“Hahahaha, a peace-loving demon, what a joke! That big fat lump really is the lamest excuse for a demon I have EVER seen!”
Tangkath slowly turned and faced the sorcerer, raised his left hand and a third finger popped up.
“He said: ‘That’s the third time.’”
“Huh? What?” asked the sorcerer.
“That’s the third time you’ve insulted him, not to mention your calling him a big fat lump.”
“So what? Is he going to lecture me now?”
The void walker slowly drifted towards the cell bars, cracked his knuckles, and let out a formidable roar as the sorcerer backed off under the demon’s threats.
“He said: ‘I may be a peace-lover, but you’re REALLY asking for it’, or something like that I guess.”
Tangkath got rid of the bars as if they were some thin cobwebs and caught the sorcerer in his tight grip. A dozen guards burst into the room to try to save the sorcerer. They grabbed hold onto the demon’s arms to pin him down, but…
The room was brutally repainted in red. The demon ripped of pretty much every head, arm or other Defias limb he could get his hands on. Among the pleading moans and screams of the dying Defias, we could here the demon’s laugh, some creepy “yuk yuk yuk”.
“You’re telling me he’s a peace-lover?” I asked.
“I guess he’s related to the rogue.”
“But I thought void walkers were known for being tough, not strong, or cruel for that matter.”
The blue demon didn’t stop there. He broke the door down and rushed off in search of new victims, and it wasn’t long before we could hear the poor Defias he had managed to find screaming in agony.
“Did he fly off the handle…” said Bizrot.
“Speaking of which… What are you doing here Bizrot? I’ve always been told warlocks couldn’t control more than one demon at a time.”
“No offence meant my dear Synapse, but I think it’s time you realized your demons aren’t really ‘normal’ demons.”
“And that’s supposed to be some sort of an explanation?”
“And I must say that when you speak of ‘controlling’, I find you a tad optimistic. You can’t really say you’re controlling me, even less so Tangkath.”
“Thanks for the reminder…”
“Boom? Just what is going on here?”
“Oh no. Not that. Anything but that.”
“What? Hold on. Bizrot, why is the ground tilting up all of a sudden?”
“He just breached the hull!”
“Didn’t you listen to the sorcerer? He mentioned a crew, we must be on a ship, let’s get the hell out of dodge, now!”
I stashed Bizrot in my backpack, recovered in a nearby cell. The sorcerer had, luckily enough, not touched my stuff. I would have taken a few of his own magical items, but they were soaked in blood. The ship was really starting to keel over.
I can’t think of anything that could have prepared us for the apocalyptic sight that awaited us as we climbed out of the hold onto the deck. Defias bodies were scattered all over the ship. Streams of blood flowed all around us. Those who weren’t quite dead yet scrambled on the deck, hoping to find one of their torn-off limbs. Tangkath proudly stood among the bodies, with a peaceful look on his face (well, peaceful as demons go). He didn’t seem to realize he had actually sunk a ship roughly the size of a small town.
Bizrot pointed at a tunnel that seemed to lead out of the cave the giant boat was in. I waved a Tangkath and the three of us finally got out of the Defias lair. Of course, after such a slaughter, the crime situation in Westmarch posed no problem at all for quite a while.
“He said: ‘All’s well that ends well.’”
“Yeah right. We’re once more the ones footing that rogue’s bill. He wreaks havoc everywhere he goes, and then it’s up to us to settle the problems.”
“You call that settling problems?” asked Bizrot.
“Still, I wouldn’t mind bumping into him, I have a thing or I’d like to say to him.”
“Not to mention that this time we have a monst- oops, I mean we have a demon with us that’s at least as strong as he is.”
“Who stronger than me?” asked a voice behind us.
CHAPTER 7: KILLER DEMON AND ROGUE RESCUER
It is usually said that when you’re about to die, your entire life passes before your eyes.
Well I can tell you it doesn’t. The only thing you see is the grim face of a rogue, giving you a glare that spells death with more certainty than an inferno storm.
I must admit, despite my incredible self-control, I was unable to move so much as my little finger this time.
Yeah sure, you can always say the rogue and I are supposed to be on the same side, and that there was no reason whatsoever for him to attack me, but as you can imagine, I wasn’t really thinking of that as much as I was of the heaps of bodies he left behind him wherever he went.
Bizrot was obviously thinking along the same lines, and rummaged in my backpack as fast as he could before fitting a soulstone necklace around my neck. He hadn’t had time yet to explain how those worked, but I suddenly felt I had an inkling of an idea.
“Me Krull” said the rogue. “And you?”
“Err, well… Synapse. And that’s Bizrot.”
“Traitor!” whispered the demon.
I realized Krull had nothing to do here. Indeed, after the genocide he had inflicted upon Alliance-hostile populations, the survivors had reorganized themselves and were more dangerous than ever. Not to mention paranoid, as I had experienced. Rumour had it that an entire Orc clan had been wiped out when they tried to get rid of Krull, and that the entire Horde had stormed Lakeshire, forcing the Alliance to pay dearly to get it back, just because they feared some new and deadly secret weapon.
Long story short, the Stormwind officials had had no other choice than to “thank” Krull by sending him up to the front, where his unstoppable onslaught would be of more use.
So his presence in Westmarch was rather odd.
How do I know all this, you ask?
Easy, I just read the pigeon-delivered papers.
“But what ever are you doing here, Lord Krull?”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the Stormwind bigwigs had ennobled him: it made getting rid of him easier.
“Me on mission. Me learn girl kidnapped by pirates, and me has to save her. She walr… err… larwo… err… very noisy and shiny thing, but useless.”
“The word is warlock.”
“There, warlock. You warlock girl?”
“Yes, and my new demon got me out of there before your arrival.”
Krull gazed at the blue monster, wondering how many stabs would be necessary to take it down. I really didn’t feel like finding out to be honest.
“Oh no, not at all, he very weak. He peace-lover”
Krull seemed rather disappointed. He had apparently already heard the words “peace” and “love” before, and had subconsciously associated them with very bad things.
“Why does he speak like that?” asked Bizrot.
“Then why come and live at Stormwind?”
The rogue’s face darkened, though I would not have thought it possible.
“Me considered to be… Abnormal, among my people.”
“Me too smart, make too long sentences, and even aim before throwing weapon at enemy. Me even… Wash clothes after fight.”
Admitting all this seemed to be an indescribable torture and humiliation to him.
“Tribe chief not like Krull’s differences and ban me from village. He say me setting bad example.”
“What a lovely people.” Said Bizrot.
“So me look for tribe less picky on barbarian traditions, and me land here. When me ask what job need subtlety, they say rogue. So me become barbarian rogue.”
“Well that explains pretty much everything.”
Bizrot stared at the rogue. Oh sure, he was dressed as one, but the demon sincerely doubted this rogue could steal anything without drawing every guard within two miles.
“Haven’t you noticed a … slight difference between you and your fellow rogues?”
Krull took a minute to think before answering:
“No, they all be like me. Me well fit in.”
“I’m sorry to say he’s right.”
“Me seeing you is OK, me go now. You be careful next time, me not always be there.”
Having said this, he smashed a phial of flash powder at is feet, instantly creating a dark haze, through which we could see him tiptoeing away, quite sure no-one could see him.
“Yep, I’m pretty sure I hate him.” I concluded.
“I suggest it’s time for a break” said Bizrot.
“A break? Whaddaya mean?”
Some time later, I was comfortably lounged on a deckchair, on the beach, near the lighthouse, sipping a cocktail. Bizrot had also found himself a mini-deckchair and was enjoying a drink of dragon juice.
As for Tangkath…
“He’s good.” Said Bizrot.
“Yup, definitely good.” I agreed.
“Just add a little bit of music and it’d be perfect.”
“I don’t really think that’s necessary: those murloc cries are rather melodious, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. Anyway, that murloc chief should never have insulted Tangkath three times in a row. I didn’t know that race had such a coarse word-hoard.”
“Perhaps, but on the other hand, you came up to him and said that Tangky had called him an overgrown sardine fairy. Quite the blow below the belt.”
Tangkath was slaughtering the murloc village on the beach, a red gleam in his eyes. True, I felt rather useless, but I had to get used to the fact that taking a break while your demon gets the job done was something like the fundamentals of being a warlock. Not to mention I could already see the pearls the murlocs had brought back from the depths of the see shining under the sun.
“You see, Synapse, in life, you have two kinds of people.” Said Bizrot. “Those who always feel compelled to do more, like our friend Krull, and those who have decided to benefit from the first category’s efforts, and enjoy some quality time instead of sweating.”
“Cheers to that.” I said, raising my glass.
All of a sudden, another imp appeared out of thin air, right next to me.
“Gazim?” said Bizrot, surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“I have a messssssage from the waaaaarlock traaaaaaaiiiner of Stormwind. You are called to a meeting of great importance, right now.”
The imp disappeared without another word.
“Do you feel like going shopping Bizrot?”
CHAPTER 8: A NEW MISSION
Stormwind, sweet Stormwind.
Too many people look down on Stormwind just because they think it’s a draft dodger city, too far away from the combat zones. I can understand someone like Krull doesn’t really like the natural calmness of the city, but normal humans should really see it as the haven of peace it actually is. Long live Stormwind!
It’s either because of an obvious lack of taste from my colleagues or because of some sinister plot of the dwarf lobby that people prefer Ironforge to Stormwind. I shared my thoughts with Bizrot.
“If you really want to know why adventurers don’t like Stormwind, just take a look a Tangkath.”
Tangkath was a few feet behind me, as blue and impressive as ever, but buried under a mountain of packages, among which you could find items such as dress robes, demonology treatises as well as other books, plenty of hats, cooking equipment (for Bizrot), crates full of supplies and alcohol (for me), huge bags full of tea (for Tangkath), and much more, all of it as superficial as it was essential; well, for me at any rate.
“We’ve been shopping in town for 6 hours” added Bizrot, “and you’re in no way a special case: I saw a paladin screaming in despair when he saw his girlfriend walking into a who knows how many-eth clothes shop.”
“It’s not my fault if this city’s architecture slows movement; everything takes more time to do.”
“Yeah, well people go straight to the point at Ironforge.”
“What a horrible city, I don’t ever want to go there.”
“What? You’ve never been to Ironforge? Then why hate it?”
“It’s full of dwarves.”
Having given this undisputable argument, I agreed to give my mission a little more care.
The warlock headquarters of Stormwind were in… an inn. The mages have this magnificent tower in the purest elven style (of the High-Elf King Thirinbar period, to be precise), and we get an inn. Injustice and ungratefulness truly are the warlock’s daily lot in life. Boohoo.
After introducing Bizrot to the door ward to prove I really was a warlock (the big blue lump behind me spoke for itself too), I went down the stairs and ended up in the crypt, in which most of the Alliance’s finest were waiting.
With all the hubbub, I wasn’t able to find the warlock who had sent for me. He was obviously already too busy to see me. Bizrot asked me to wait and went to ask the other imps what was going on. Something big was going on.
I waited for five, even ten minutes. Bizrot and the imps clearly had a lot of things to say to each other, and imp slang certainly wasn’t helping. I tried to while away the time by having a chat with a warlock near the entryway.
“Hello. Have you been summoned here in a hurry too?”
“No, I spend most of my time here. I’m in charge of warlock crafts.”
“May I ask what specific craft?”
“The making of dark armour for warlocks.”
“That’s fabulous! How do I get one?”
“Huh? Why not? Is it that expensive? You now, since that bit of trouble with the Defias, I have a decent bit of money.”
“Not at all, dark armours are leather. Too heavy for a warlock to be able to carry and cast with.”
“Oh, I see. So it’s only the most powerful warlocks who can wear these armours and be able to cast?”
“Well, no-one has ever managed to yet.”
“Oh… Too bad.”
Was it just me, or did all these people have bats in the belfry? I took a closer look at the assembly and noticed there was something… Odd. Every single warlock felt compelled to wear the flashiest robes, the most formidable weapons, and be as arrogant as possible to make sure no-one forgot their rank or their place in the Alliance. And the Great Demon knows how much warlocks need that: recognition.
Bizrot came back, with a strange look on his face.
“It would seem the warlock master has been made a strange request, not very long ago. He’s going to need all the warlocks he can get to be able to answer it.
“A request? Whom from?”
“’What from’ would be nearer the mark. Don’t forget the master is in direct contact with the underworld’s highest authorities. If the powerful demons who speak with him of the other world’s problems have actually asked for his help, then you can bet it’s real important.”
Bizrot wasn’t able to continue any further as the warlock master had just climbed onto a platform to address us all. This wasn’t understood at first, as quite a few warlocks who hadn’t recognized him thought it was a fellow warlock who was trying to look more important, and decided to climb up too. The master had to kindly explain it was only a speech, and that no disrespect to their rank was meant. Which took at least 20 minutes.
“Ahem, dear fellow warlocks” he started. “I have summoned you here because our friends from the infernal circles have made a rather special request. Indeed, they ask that we, err… Find someone.”
The noise rose. Who had disappeared? Had a formidable demon escaped his prison? Had a mortal once again tried to open a great demonic portal?
“This someone is a demon… a lady demon to be precise… It appears…”
The warlock master seemed distinctly uneasy as he got on to core of the problem.
“It appears Shagoth’Zul’s third and youngest daughter has once again done a bunk…”
A wave a protest rose through the entire crypt. Some started leaving already. Others were looking for something to chuck at the speaker. Others were content with yelling at him.
Two large warlocks next to me darkly spoke of the problem:
“Cattnia…” the first one said.
“A prize !**#% if I ever saw one.” Added the other.
“Of all the plagues of the underworld, they had to send us that.”
“How long again did it take us last time? Six months?”
“Yup. We ended up by finding her in Tanaris - Sunbathing on the beach, among the giants.”
The warlock master tried to bring back some order before keeping on.
“Look, I know it’s getting on all of our nerves, that we’re tired, but we are going to have to find that succubus. This time, Shagoth has also asked the Horde’s warlocks to find her.”
That put an end to the noise. Saying the Alliance’s warlocks were in competition with the Horde’s warlocks would be a mild understatement. Actually, they couldn’t even find agreements on the simplest matters, those on which other classes sometimes did. An argument had appeared (thanks to a little girl’s question) about knowing who, among the Alliance and the Horde warlocks controlled the biggest demons. Half a second later, every last warlock in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms was searching for the fattest demon they could find, and tried to enslave it.
A decent number of colleagues died in the attempt, not to mention that the greater demons, stupidly annoyed, had decided to revenge themselves by not answering the warlock’s calls anymore. Communication channels had only been reopened recently, and were still fragile. So not only was this succubus issue an eternal competition between the Horde and the Alliance, it also had a political dimension between demons and mortals. So it was important.
The master had barely said the word “Horde” that the warlocks were already all out on the hunt for Cattnia. Bizrot told me that rumour had it that according to some it was possible that maybe a certain Razal Bardt, ex minstrel, currently jailed in the Stockades for having slandered the duchess of Lakeshire (one rhyme too many about weight and diet), held some information about Cattnia. It would appear he had seen here. Where? No-one knew.
So we stormed the Stockades.
CHAPTER 9: THE HORDE IS ON ITS WAY!
The Stockades were known for being the lair of some of the worse vermin of the surroundings, and for its undisciplined prisoners, marauding all around the prison. It had been long since the guards had even thought of keeping the prisoners in their cells, it was pretty much enough for them to just chuck them some food every now and then and make sure they stayed inside.
But of course, that was before a mob of hopping mad warlocks hellfired the barricades down to the ground (how come I don’t know that spell yet? It rules!) in order to go ask the shocked prisoners a few questions.
After beating a few inmates to death, they realized two things :
1°/ It wasn’t worth beating them all senseless, as only one of them had the information they wanted.
2°/ You don’t get many answers when you forget to ask anything (although the subject usually starts confessing pretty much anything). In the end, it was the inmates themselves who handed Razal Bardt in, because the roof was pretty much about collapse with all the warlocks screaming his name.
“Is it something I did?” Asked Razal, who didn’t feel very reassured.
The warlocks started rowing on who was going to speak for them. It ended up by being a little gnome who was appointed, mostly because he was threatening to summon an infernal if we didn’t let him speak (the fact we were 65 feet under ground didn’t occur to the warlocks).
“Mr Bardt, we’ve heard that you have been in contact with the succubus known as Cattnia. Would you mind telling us where she is?”
“Cattnia? Er… No idea. What’s a succubus?”
“Some half-naked chick with horns, wings in the back, and who always has a whip.”
“Oh I see! You mean my muse! Haven’t seen for at least two weeks. She told me to call her Catty.”
“Last time I saw her it was in the Blasted Lands, she wanted to hear the latest news from the demons. She was somewhere near the dark portal.”
The warlocks all sighed in relief. For once, there was finally a chance they would find her fast, and not at the other end of the world. The warlocks summoned their mounts and headed straight for the Blasted Lands.
“I knew it.” Said the gnome.
“Zog’bul ghaka” (Oh brother…) said the spokesorc.
The Alliance warlocks had arrived at the portal as the Horde warlocks were dismounting. In other words, trouble.
“So who told you? We got it from Razal Bardt.”
“We got it from Ghazil Bardt, his brother. He died not so long ago and became Forsaken.” Answered the orc, who also spoke Common.
“Humph. Fooled again.”
“Wasn’t it Menethil last time?”
“Yeah, and you had taken the city while you were at it.”
“Only to get back at you because you had taken Brill the time before.”
It clearly wasn’t Cattnia’s first runaway.
“Right.” The gnome said. “It was kind of you to come, but this time it’s our turn to bring her back.”
“Who do you think you’re kidding? Shagoth told us to find her.”
“So what? We’re always the ones who find her, things would get too complicated if it changed.”
“Don’t blame me if Shagoth doesn’t trust you and calls us to get the job done.”
“It’s not a question of trust. It’s a simple matter of giving us the opportunity of humiliating you once again.”
I don’t really see how a three-foot tall critter could humiliate anything at all…”
Seeing things were getting a little too hot to my taste, I quietly sneaked off to the nearby hill. I was surprised to find a member of the Horde, a Forsaken, doing the same thing.
I comfortably sat down, waiting for the fight to break out. Which was only a matter of seconds. Following the orc’s ferocious battle cry, and the gnome’s higher-pitched one, things started blowing up all around the portal. Shadowbolts shot out from both sides and life taps added a little colour. Quite a show.
The undead sat next to me. Tangkath gave a growl, wondering if he meant me any harm, but he didn’t seem to.
“Hi there. It looks like we’re the two only warlocks of this miserable world who are actually able to think.”
“You speak Common?” I asked.
“I was a human before I died.”
“My name is Ehmbitterd, warlock at Sylvanas’s service. And you?”
“Synapse, warlock at my own service.”
“I see. Well, all we have left to do is to enjoy the show and wait. I don’t usually meddle in fights involving over a hundred warlocks.”
“Couldn’t agree more. Tangkath, pass the wine please.”
The fight raged on as Tangkath and Bizrot set us up a real picnic. Bizrot used a fire spell on some corn to make these weird crunchy little things, which were finally pretty good. Ehmbitterd didn’t touch them, nor did he the goretusk pie Tangkath had prepared with plenty of herbs, because undead don’t usually have much appetite. He did, however, give the wine some serious attention.
“Looks like the Horde is coming out on top, don’t you think?”
“No wonder, the allies have started murdering each other…”
“Yeah, well the humans shouldn’t have approved of everything the orcs said about the gnomes.”
“Perhaps. Hey look! I can see some undead going for the orcs!”
“Looks like the orcs shouted ‘Death to the pallid ones!’”
“So what? They were talking about the humans, weren’t they? And anyway, the forsaken are already dead.”
“Guess they didn’t take it that way.”
The fight finally turned out as a huge free-for-all tournament. Every warlock wanted to show he was the best, and after all, this was the perfect moment.
“I’ll bet on the little red-clad gnome over there. Yeah, the one who just climbed on the orc’s back and who’s whacking him on the head with his wand. He’s got plenty of aggressiveness.”
“You joking? He’s totally worthless. I even saw him screwing up his immolate. No, I’d rather bet on that orc over there, the one with a firestone in his hand.”
“Nah, his infernal is about to…Oh. Well there you go, too late.”
“Tricky bastards, infernals.”
“Not many people left now.”
In the end, nobody won, the warlocks just all cast their infernal screams and not one made it alive. So they all popped their soulstones and quickly left (it has been proved that a warlock who doesn’t have a soulstone feels a lot less like showing off than when he does).
“Well, that’s not all. We still have a succubus on the loose. Where shall we start?”
“No idea, Synapse. I suggest we search together. Odds are we’ll never find her, but you never know.”
“Of course we’ll find her! We’re the two brightest warlocks out here, all we’ve got to do is think for a second.”
“You’re wasting your time I’m afraid. Each time Cattnia was found, it was after six months of searching, and just because she felt like going home, when she didn’t have anything left to see.”
“So Cattnia comes here to do some sightseeing?”
“Groh tha’zo bho rog bra” said Tangkath.
“What did he say?”
“He said that if we’re to find that succubus, all we got to do is imagine where a succubus would spend its holidays.”
“Already did.” Answered the undead. “It doesn’t work. I’ll summon up my own succubus if you want to give it a try though.”
“It can’t hurt to try.” I said.
Ehmbitterd said a few strange words before concentrating on energy, as would all warlock. A slender silhouette appeared, clad in leather, a whip in the hand, and looking somewhat both like a girl of easy virtue and a dominating woman. A succubus in other words.
“Hello master, what can I do for you? You look like you need a cuddle.”
“Ahem, not now, thank you.”
Even the undead stay men over all.
“I wanted to know, if you were free to go wherever you wanted, where would you go?”
“You’re taking me on vacation? That’s so great! I love you boss, you’re so sweet.”
“A succubus is not an easy thing to deal with.” Said Bizrot.
We explained the situation to Sakashi, who had apparently already heard of Cattnia, or at least of her reputation. She made a list of the places she’d like to visit to help us (or rather to help Ehmby-sweetyyyyyy…). In order of preference:
“Cattnia already did, we found her at a noble’s place.”
“Cattnia tried to burn down the tree…”
“She spent a few months there playing pirates.”
“Beg your pardon?”
“Already done… Sigh.”
“That’s where we found here last time. No, this really isn’t going to work. Cattnia’s done it all.”
“Succubae are really all the same; they want to do the exact same things.” Noticed Bizrot.
All of a sudden, an idea dawned upon me.
“Hold on. You said Cattnia doesn’t want to be found for now?”
“So what is the last place you’d go looking for a succubus?”
Bizrot, Ehmb, Sakashi, Tangkath and I reached the same conclusion at the same time.
And so I ended up riding towards the monastery at the end of the day, accompanied by an undead asking me about the precise nature of my demons, which I had no idea about. Our track wasn’t much, but something told me Cattnia was at the monastery. Something also told me we were heading for big trouble too.
CHAPTER 10: LET THE SHOW BEGIN! CATTNIA GOES ON STAGE
Sometimes in life, you find yourself in some strange situations. As I was riding towards the monastery, I realized two warlocks, one undead, one well alive, accompanied by a troop of couldn’t-care-less demons, all heading straight towards the fortress of a troop of fanatic light-serving extremists, all that to find a succubus, was, well… unusual.
But to be honest, I didn’t really care anymore.
Bizrot was the only one complaining, saying that thinking by opposite was as dumb as sending Krull to do embroidery (I wonder where he is), and that if we cared in any way about what he said, we’d forget about that succubus. Let her live for goodness sake!
Despite this touching (and long) speech having convinced Ehmb’s succubus, I asked Tangkath to calm Bizrot down. Oddly enough, this time he didn’t feel very peaceful at all.
“We’re almost at the monastery” said Ehmb, who was riding ahead of us. “We can dismiss the mounts.”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. When I said “riding”, as I’m not yet powerful enough to summon a demonic Dreadsteed (all I can summon for the time is some Shetland), I didn’t have any swift means of transport (the griffon wouldn’t hear of leaving its usual course). Anyway, each time I take a griffon ride, I‘m supposed to dismiss my demons, as do all warlocks, but my demons flatly refuse. Bizrot climbs on my back and Tangkath runs behind. Don’t ask me how he does it, that idiot is really fast. So, after five minutes of thinking, Bizrot pointed me a peasant walking by with a cart. Getting the idea, Ehmb went to get it as the peasant ran away in terror (what do you expect, he is undead after all), taking his horse with him. Rather offended, Ehmb cursed at the peasant. He then saw we were harnessing a very surprised Tangkath.
And so that’s how I got all the way here, and that’s why Tangkath didn’t really like the idea of dismissing the mounts.
“Sorry, my bad Tangkath.” Apologized Ehmbitterd.
The monastery. Not a very easy to spot building. Surrounded by cliffs, half buried, we couldn’t see much more than the front door from where we were standing.
“What’s wrong Ehmb?” I asked.
“The door! I was expecting to find some guards there we could kill to get a key. As usual you see. But no-one’s there.”
“Perhaps they realized that two barely-armed guards with a key wasn’t a very good way of protecting a door?” suggested Bizrot.
“Darn. And I thought they were stupid.”
“Well that’s not getting us anywhere. What do we do about the door? Knock and wait?” I asked.
“That’ll never do.” Answered Ehmb. “No maybe if we…or if… with a rogue we could perhaps…”
“Allow me.” Said Bizrot. “HEY TANGKATH! The door just called you a vaguely blue-ish floating maggot!”
A few seconds later, the door was in pieces. Totally torn apart, but definitely open.
“Tangkath” I said. “It’s no use savaging the door, it’s OK, it’s open.”
“Where did you get an idea like that?” asked Ehmb.
“You were mentionning a rogue.” Answered Bizrot.
Despite his thinking all he could about it, Ehmb really didn’t get it. Maybe it was best not to talk to him about Krull.
The monastery seemed almost empty. Every now and then we’d come across a few patrols, but they were nothing compared to the usual number of scarlet crusade soldiers. However, the guards being rather strong, I thought it best to stay back a bit.
“You could help a bit.” Said Ehmb, fighting against a group of humans.
“You’re doing just fine; I’m saving my strength for later.”
“What about me? Can I save my strength for later?”
Edited by Curufinwë on 16/11/2010 16:40 GMT
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