"Contestants" The Valkyr hissed as she hovered over the arena. "Step forward, and be recognised"
Below her was an arena, a sunken, reinforced pit carved into the frozen ground of Icecrown. Its floor was littered with the remnants of those that had already fallen, while a large field of combatants had assembled within it. Around the edge of the ring stood a crowd of Vrykul, eagerly anticipating the events about to unfold.
The first to present himself was a massive Vrykul warrior; clad in a suit of ancient, blood red armour, his thick beard and long hair gave him a fearsome demeanour. "I am Slatar Steelgraav, leader of the Wastor clan" He bellowed out as he hefted his massive axe. "I have slain countless numbers of the foes of my people, laying all to waste without mercy or pity. I fight so that I may take my place at the hand of the Death God!"
For a moment, there was silence, as if all present were intimidated by the massive warrior. Finally, the tension was broken as an Orc stepped forward; little more then half the Vrykul's size, his scarred body belied his ferocity. "I am Byg Zham, champion of the Warsong clan!" He bellowed out. "I fear no foe, living or dead! I fight to honour the memory of our great leader, Grom Hellscream, slaying all who would stand against me!"
"Muscle and steel are the weapons of fools" A third figure announced as he stepped forward. A human, he was clad in ornate robes, the lithe form of a succubus following him. "I am Markos Blackhand, master of the demonic arts. I shall destroy you all, and suck out your souls with the power that I control!"
"Blackhand?" The Orc snorted derisively. "You are as big a fool as the Orc who bore that name, but far less the man."
"Do not trifle with me, green-skin." The Warlock shot back. "Otherwise you shall suffer unimaginable, eternal torment!"
"I should snap your-"
"Enough!" The Valkyr hissed. "Save your prattle; the contest has not yet begun." The two of them backed down, an eye on the other while, at the same time, watching their spectral host.
Allmost immediately, another contender stepped forward. "Me Grog'bogdogg, champion of Dire Maul!" The Ogre bellowed out, towering over even the Vrykul warrior. "Me greatest warrior of all Groddoc Ogres! Me smash all who stand in me way!" To prove his might, the Ogre swung a massive club, its haft bigger then a number of the other contenders.
Another large contestant stepped forward, a Tauren clad in mail armour, twin axes at his side. "I'm Bubba Grimtotem, of the Grimtotem Clan." He snarled. "I've slain all who stood before me, be they Alliance or Horde. None shall stop me from claiming the power I deserve!"
"You better be careful den, mon." A heavily muscled Troll, with dark blue skin and clad in colourful robes replied. "I be Hexxer Jar'rili, da last of da Drakkari. Me empire may be gone, but me mojo still be mighty. I be takin' dis prize for me own."
"Not if I stop you, Troll filth." A Gnome stepped forward, wearing heavy armour. Behind him stood a pair of Dwarves, clad in what appeared to be a collection of mis-matched cast-off armour. "I've been killin' ice trolls for ages. One more ain't gonna make a difference." He spat on the ground in front of Ja'rili. "Name's Beheral, leader of the Legion of Shadows. These are my boys, Xabbuto and Atabourne."
"You buncha softies." Another voice cut in, this one clearly Dwarven. "I've killed many like ye, and don't think this'll be any differnt." The speaker stepped forward; like Beheral's two minions, he was a heavily armoured Dwarf; however, his demeanour was completely different. His skin was black, one eye burning red while the other was hidden behind a patch. "Name's Thoren Ironfoot, champion of Raganros. Remember it, it'll be the last thing ye ever hear."
"And the last thing you will her is your own screams of pain." A third short, armoured figure confidently stated. Stepping forward, they were clad from head to toe in bright red plate that completely hid their features. While Gnome sized however, their shape suggested a different creature was underneath. "I am Grik Killmeister, the greatest Goblin rocket car racer ever to live. With this power, I will be unbeatable!"
“That power is mine!” Another contestant spoke as he stepped forward. A Blood Elf, it was clear that he had once cut an imposing figure, with long blond hair and clad in intimidating red and black armour. Now his hair was a tangled mess, his eyes were sunken, his skin pallid and his armour battered and chipped. “I am Drexallis Bloodrite, one-time champion of the Dawnblade Forces! None shall stop me from claiming this power!”
On the upper rim overlooking the arena, a pair of figures looked down on the assembled contestants. Both of them were clad in ornate, heavy armour, massive blades across their backs. One stood proud and tall, while the other was hunched, his body twisted and ravaged, clearly one of the undead. However, both of them carrier the unmistakable air of Death Knights, the chosen champions of the Lich King.
"A pathetic bunch." The shorter of the two snarled with contempt. "Save for the Vrykul and the Orc, I see none here worthy to serve, save for possibly as mindless Ghouls."
"Do not be so dismissive." The taller replied. "They may yet surprise you with their abilities and skills. On the battlefield, one's true colours shine brightest, it is in combat that men are truly tested."
"Bah." He spat. "Death is the only true test of a man."
"Contestants." The Valkyr announced. "You have stepped forward to face this challenge. Know now that there will be no quarter given or asked. Only one of you may be deemed worthy of ascention to the hand of the Death God, and he shall do such over the bodies of his fallen foes. If you leave this arena, you will forfit your claim"
"Let the battle begin!" She bellowed as she soared away from the arena, leaving no obstacle between the contestants.
The massive Vrykul was first to act. "Human Germ!" he bellowed out as he charged towards the Warlock, waving his massive axe. "I will tear your heart out and eat it!"
"Brute strength is no match for my demonic might." Markos Blackhand confidently stated. "Hedda, show this throwback the full power that I command."
The Scuccubus ran past him, lashing out with its whip at the massive Vrykul, the tail striking his leg - and not harming the creature at all. In response, the Vrykul roared, brining its massive axe down, crushing the demon in a sickening crunch of flesh and bone. Encouraged, the Vrykul shouted out in victory, a bloodthirsty roar in an ancient tongue.
"Ah." Was all Blackhand could manage, before tuning and running as fast as he could. The Vrykul didn't bother to pursue him, instead turning to face other foes.
"Markos Blackhand has abandoned the field of battle" The Valkir sneered. The assembled crowd of Vrykul observers added a hail of jeers, firmly stating their low opinion of the deserter.
Flush with vicotry, the Vrykul turned to face the Ogre, the sole contestant larger then it was. "I know not what manner of man or beast you are." He sneered. "All I know is that you stand between me and my ascension, and for that you must die!" He roared, running at the massive Ogre.
"Grog'bogdogg crush puny giant man!" The Ogre roared back, moving with surprising speed towards his opponent. The Vrykul swung its axe, only to be blocked by the Ogre's massive club. "Me not like you! You die now!" He swung out, forcing the Vrykul back.
"A worthy challenge at last! I will drink your blood!" The Vrykul swung out again, the gore-stained axe honing in on the Ogre's chest. However, the massive creature again evaded the blow, showing surprising agility.
"Me smash!" The ogre roared as it swung back, its massive club swinging at the Vrukyl's head. The armoured warrior deflected the worst of the blow away, crushing one of his armoured shoulderplates, but apparently not doing any further harm.
"Your strength is only matched by your stupidity! Die!" The Vrykul enthusiastically shouted as he swung again.
On the other side of the arena, a second pair of figures stood, their forms concealed within heavy cloaks that flapped in the chill winds. "Well, what do you think?" The first, clearly a woman, spoke up.
"Well, I think they're all a bunch of morons who deserve to smash each other's heads in." The second, also a woman offered.
"But, in doing such, there's always the chance that one will triumph and prove to be worthy to the Scourge." The first countered. "We can't risk that."
"True that. Last thing we want is another powerful Death Knight or whatever to face."
"So we stop them."
"Sounds good to me. Leap on in and beat 'em all up?"
"The smart plan would be to let them weaken each other first."
"Yeah." The second conceded. "But it ain't nearly as fun."
"Good point. Let's go."
The sound of battle was interrupted by a sudden clatter of armour as a pair of figures leaped into the arena. Both were women, both clad in heavy armour. The first, a human with copper-coloured hair tied into a tight bun, carried a massive mace with an ornate, ram-horn design to its head; the second, a Night Elf, had long blue hair and carried a greatsword who's blade seemed to be on fire.
"Who dares interrupt this sacred battle?" The Valkyr hissed.
"I am Anastasia Zogstra, Paladin of Stormwind." The human boldly declared.
"And I am FJ, Sentinel."
"What sort of a stupid name is FJ?" A Blood Elf commented. "It's not-"
Before he could finish, she sprinted across the arena, lunging at him. The Blood Knight was impaled on her blade, slumping forward as she withdrew it.
"A perfectly fine one." the Night Elf commented. "Anyone else got a problem with that?"
“Draxis Bloodrite has been defeated.” The Valkyr called out, a hint of anger in her voice at the intrusion.
"Now this is interesting." The undead observer commented. "Let the battle continue. I want to see how our would-be champions deal with this." He looked up, nodding to the Val’kyr.
“Contestants!” She hissed in reply, calling out to the Arena. “Destroy these interlopers who would dare trespass upon this sacred ground!”
“Sounds like they’re glad to see us.” FJ smirked.
“What did you expect?” Zogstra replied. “We interrupted what’s a sacred ritual to the Vrykul. And even though only one of those here is a Vrykul, they still hold these proceedings in high regard.”
“Fair enough. So I guess its time to fight.” FJ turned towards the collected mass of contestants. “Bring it.”
Turning around, Zogstra could see one of the would-be champions lunging towards her, a Dark Iron Dwarf wielding a massive axe. Standing her ground, she let him come to her, mace at the ready.
“I’ll crush you myself!” He snarled as he swung at her. “In Ragaros’ name!” Raising her mace, Zogstra effortlessly batted aside his assault, before lashing out herself, swinging at him. Surprised, the Dark Iron was only barely able to deflect her blow with his axe.
“You claim allegiance to Ragnaros, yet you would claim the unholy power of the Scourge?” She began, a look of fierce determination in her brown eyes. “The Light will punish you for your treachery!” She swung again, a brillaint golden blow striking the Dark Iron, driving him back. “Repent and confess your sins or be destroyed!”
She struck out again, her weapon again slamming into his with a bone-shaking collision. The Dwarf, despite his situation, grinned as he blocked the blow, only to cry out in surprise as a second one not only drove him back, but slammed into the head of his axe, twisting it out of shape.
“How can this be?” He snarled. “My axe is made out of Dark Iron, forged in the molten heart of Blackrock Mountain itself. Nothing that a human could wield should be able to stand against it!”
“Nothing?” She replied. “This mace is forged from Titansteel, the metal of your creators.” A certain hint of pride was evident in her voice. “Its power is far greater then the accursed ore that you use.”
The Dwarf’s single eye went wide with surprise, his jaw slack. “Titansteel? That’s impossible! It’s a myth! A legend-“
“And yet I wield it.” She finished. “Accept your defeat, Dwarf.”
“Never!” He charged at her again, waving his damaged axe wildly. “I will never be defeated by the likes of ye!” He swung at her, Zogstra dodging the blow, before striking out, golden energy encasing her weapon. The blow struck the Dwarf, shattering his axe before slamming him in the chest, sending him flying back.
Crashing to the ground, he landed in a pile of dirty snow, struggling to his knees. “Impossible.” He stammered. “Titansteel… no!” Taking one last look at Zogstra, he turned and ran.
“Thoren Ironfoot has fled the field of battle.” The Valkyr announced. “He has forfeited his place at the hand of the Death God.”
Behind Zogstra, FJ sized up the first opponent to step towards her. A hulking ogre, he towered over her; the club he carried was bigger then her body, held in fists thick enough to crush her limbs.
And she grinned confidently at them. “Ogre, huh?” She began. “You know how many Ogres I’ve killed?”
“Me Grog’bogdogg, champion of Dire Maul!” He bellowed. “Me crush puny Night Elf!”
“Champion of Dire Maul?” FJ glanced back at Zogstra. “Wasn’t Aishen the champion of Dire Maul?”
“No, she used to be the queen of Dire Maul.” Zogstra replied in a very manner-of-fact way. “But I don’t think she’s really enforced her rule.”
“Ah well. I’ll have to apologise to her for killing one of her subjects.” FJ finished as she burst into a run, sprinting towards the Ogre before lashing out at him. The blade slipped past his makeshift armour, cutting into his side. Piercing the thick skin, the blade left behind a trail of blood. Wounded, the ogre cried out in pain, however, it remained standing.
“Me not be defeated dat easy! You die!” It bellowed as it swung out with its massive club. The weapon slammed into the ground where FJ had been moments before, shattering the stone underneath it. Pulling out the club, it swing again, FJ just barely ducking below the blow.
Despite how close she’d come to being hit, she couldn’t help but grin. “Slow and sloppy, it’s the Ogre way. Let me show you some real class.” She ducked to one side, then swung out again, her blade slicing across the back of the Ogre’s leg, slicing through the muscles. The massive creature again cried out in pain, stumbling as he tried to follow her.
“You can’t follow me.” She commented as she easily dodged another clumsy blow. “Best you can do is clumsily lash out and hope that I stand still long enough to let you hit me!” She lashed out, her blade slicing into the Ogre’s gut, tearing through armour and skin.
“Me smash!” The Ogre roared, bellowing with a mixture of pain and rage. “You die!” He swing again, this one coming closer to hitting her, then another one that crashed down right by her.
“Much better!” FJ grinned. “Now you’re getting serious!” She skipped past another hit, lashing out at the Ogre, her blade skipping off his armour. “Lets see what else you can do!”
“Rraaaargh!” was the best it could manage as it raised its massive club over its head, then bought it down with a titanic blow. As it came down, FJ waited until the last moment to act, barely avoiding the blow as the club hit the ground with earth shattering force – so much so that not only did it dig into the ground, but it stuck fast.
“Not very smart, huh?” She commented as the Ogre tried to pull the club free. Backing up, she leaped at the creature, landing on the shaft of the club, then sprinting up it. The Ogre roared, swinging at her with a boulder-sized fist; in response, FJ simply leaped into the air, vaulting over his clumsy swing before striking out on her own. Her blade sliced through is neck, sending the Ogre toppling backwards, its roar trailing off to a weak gurgle as it hit the ground with a thud.
FJ landed next to her downed foe with a graceful crouch.
“Grog’boggdogg has been slain.” The Val’kyr hissed, watching the situation unfold.
No sooner had the Val’kyr announced the Thoren’s retreat then a high-pitched battle cry caught Zogstra’s ears. Swinging around, she was caught by surprise by the figure leaping at her. Half her height, the Goblin was dressed in bright red armour, each hand covered with an oversized, sharply pointed gauntlet. As she swung her mace to intercept it, the Goblin slammed into her, one of his claws slamming into her shoulder plate, pushing her back.
“I didn’t expect a Goblin.” She began.
“You didn’t?” The creature replied. “Surely you have herd of me; I am Grick Killmeister, the greatest rocket car driver ever! A champion of the dirty, a friend to the cheater, one who will win at any cost!”
She shook her head. “No, I’ve never heard of you.”
The Goblin shrugged. “Whatever. None shall stop me from claiming this power for my own!” He ran at her, launching into a furious spinning barrage of his out-swept claws, appearing to be nothing so much as a red, bipedal buzzsaw. He span at her, only to be deflected away by her mace. Undaunted, the Goblin shot back at her, only to this time be sent sprawling by a slam to the chest.
Crashing to the ground, the goblin bounced back to his feet with remarkable ease. “The Killmiester Crash suit (patent pending) protects me from even the most powerful of impacts!” He shouted out in triumph. “You don’t have a chance against me!”
“I hate technology.” Zogstra muttered
“You die now! Robot punch!” The Goblin shouted as he stuck out one of his arms, the oversized gauntlet igniting then launching itself at Zogstra. She barely managed to dodge the projectile; a moment later, he launched the other one at her. This time, she batted it aside with her mace.
“There, I’ve disarmed you.”
“Grick Killmeister is always ready!” He called back, pulling out a pair of knives. “You should just give up!”
“Why does a Goblin want to become a Death Knight?” She shot back as she stood her ground. “It seems so unusual for one such as you to want to sacrifice his freedom and wealth for personal power.”
“I don’t want to be a Death Knight.” He shot back with a laugh. “I want the power of the Lich King so I can put it in my Rocket Racer and make it unbeatable!”
“Uh… you are aware that the power of the Lich King is the power he bestows into his followers, not a tangible object.”
“It is?” Grick’s eyes, visible through his helmet, seemed genuinely surprised.
“So I couldn’t put it into my car then.”
“Difficult.” The Goblin shrugged. “Ah well, adopt, adapt and improve.” He clicked his heels together. “Killmeister Jet-powered rocket pants, activate!” gouts of flame emerged from his boots, the Goblin suddenly shooting off into the air in a cloud of smoke.
Zogstra looked up at the retreating figure as it vanished into the distance, noticing that the Val’kyr arbiter was doing the same. “Grik Killmeister has abandoned the field of battle.” It finally stated.
Moments later, a powerful blow hit her in the back, sending her stumbling. Regaining her composure, Zog turned around to see the source of the attack. A massive, black-furred Tauren stood behind her, clad in mail armour and carrying an axe in each hand. “I’m Bubba Grimtotem.” He began, a certain drawl to his voice. “I’ve fought Horde and alliance alike, and I ain’t gonna stop till I’m the champeen of the Lich King.”
“A Grimtotem. I should have known.” She sized up her massive opponent. “Traitors to the Horde, enemies to the Alliance. I should have known that there were no depths that you would not sink to.”
“I dunno what y’all are sayin’. All I know is you ain’t gonna stop me from berin’ a Death Knight!” The Tauren’s two axes crackled with power as he ran at Zogstra, waving the pairt of them wildly. “I’ma gonna flatten y’all!”
She ducked under one axe, then deftly parried the second before striking back, lashing out at the Tauren. While he managed to block her blow with one of his own axes, the discharge of holy energy from her weapon was enough to force him back.
“Hey, you’re one of them there paladins, ain’t ya?”
“That I am.” She nodded at him.
“Ah spit. I hates Paladins, I does.” He began. “Y’all come into our Horde, take our jobs an’ steal our stuff.”
“Those are Blood Knights who serve the Horde, not Paladins.” She corrected. “Besides, I thought you Grimtotems were opposed to the Horde!” She ducked under his axes, striking at one leg, causing the massive Tauren to stumble.
“Yeah, ‘cause its full of them dang Paladin Knight things!” He shouted as he lashed out again, flailing with his axes. While powerful, his blows were also slow and clumsy, speaking more of sheer brute force then any skill or training on his part. Stepping past another one, she swung at the Grimtotem; the blow slammed into him, staggering him and sending him reeling back.
“Never mistake me for a Blood Knight, Tauren.” She angrily stated. “While our abilities are similar, are methods are completely different. I fight for justice in the name of the light, the fight for only their own greed and corrupt ends.”
“I dunno all that! I jus’ know I don’t like them none!” He yelled, his axes burning with elemental fire as he again lashed out. One of them clipped Zogstra, sending her reeling. However, as he charged in to finish her off, she instead struck out, a brilliant golden flash hitting the Tauren in the face, sending him reeling.
Zogstra stood, advancing on the Tauren. She swing again, her mace slamming into his chest, doubling him over. A second hit him in the back, shattering his armour., A third came down on his skull with a wet crunch of skin and bone.
“Grimtotems.” Zogstra muttered.
“Bubba Grimtotem has been defeated.” The Val’kyr audiably seethed.
“Hey, I know you!” A voice called out.
Zogstra turned around to see a gnomish warrior, glaring at her. Short, he was bald with thick sideburns, and clad in heavy armour. Between his wrinkled face and gap-toothed grin, he somewhat resembled someone’s unpleasant uncle, the sort who you’d do anything but visit. Behind him were a pair of Dwarves, both also heavily armoured.
“Beheral.” Zogstra spat. She’d fought alongside the Gnome once in past and found the experience to be intensely unlikeable. He’d been an obnoxious, greedy coward who’d questioned every decision she’d made, not because of any greater experience or knowledge, but simply because he wanted to be in charge, regardless of his unsuitability for the role.
The other two, she figured, were Xabbuto and Atrabourne, a pair who pretty much amounted to Behral’s cronies. Both of dubious skills at the best of time, their main skill was to simply steal anything that wasn’t nailed down, regardless of if it was any use to them.
When she’d fought alongside them, it was a long and ardours struggle against implacable foes and long odds. And that was just dealing with them. The monsters they’d faced were only a minor challenge by comparison.
“So we meet again, Zogstra.” He replied, trying to look her in the eye – not easy for a Gnome. “However, this time, the advantage is mine.” He gestured to the two Dwarves. “My boys here will show you the errors of your impertinence.”
Zogstra sighed. “If by impertinence, you mean ‘telling you what to do so you don’t run off and get killed’ then I agree, it was a mistake. However, the light protects all its children, and I had a duty to protect you, regardless of your actions.” She narrowed her blue eyes, staring at the three of them. “However, now that you have come here to this place, you have show your true colours – and I will have no option but to stop you.”
“That’s just what I wanted to hear.” The Gnome grinned a gap-toothed grin. “Get ‘em, boys!”
The Gnome and his two Dwarven henchmen ran at her, both shouting battle cries in their native tongues. Zogstra simply stood her ground, mace at the ready. The three of them fel on her, only to be slammed by a barrage of brilliant golden light that surrounded her body, a veritable storm of holy energy that slammed into the trio, sending them flying back.
Xabbuto and Atrabourne hit the ground, both rolling, then immediately turning tail and running. Berhal stared at the pair of them, shouting out; “Come back here! As your leader, I command you stay and… uh…”
He glanced at the human Paladin, then grinned. “Bye!” He added, then broke into a run.
“Berhal and his fellows have abandoned the field” The Val’kyr commented, contempt clear in her ghostly voice. “They too have forfeited their claim.”
The air sizzled as a bolt of lighting shot past FJ, just missing her. Turning around, she saw a heavyset troll – probably a Drakkari, she figured – clad in bright robes, his hands crackling with power.
“Nice try, Troll.” FJ sneered. “But now I’m going to mess you up real good!” She turned to face the Troll, sword in hand, and broke into a run. However, instead, she stumbled, her feet feeling like they were glued to the ground. “What?” She snarled as she tried to move, only to find herself seemingly held in place. “What’s this?”
The troll’s only reply was to laugh. “You be in a lotta trouble now, little Elf.” He sneered. “You be caught in a Bad Juju Vortex, an’ there be no way out.” The Troll unleased a wave of violently purple energy that slammed into her, slapping her back while, at the same time, leaving her anchored in place. “And dat be but a little bit of what I can do.” He leered at her, grinning a toothy grin.
He bought his hands together, muttering an incantation before releasing a wave of purple energy that slammed into FJ, battering her on her feet. Unable to dodge or get out of the way, all she could do was endure the hit.
“What do ya think?” He grinned. “Dere be plenty more where dat be comin’ from”
FJ grinned back at the troll. “Not if I can help it.”
“Oh yeah, what ya gonna do bout it?”
“This.” She reared back as much as her immobile feet would allow, and, in an almost superhuman feat of strength, lunged forward, throwing her massive blade at the troll. Unprepared for such a move, he had scant time to react before the weapon slammed into him, impaling him through the chest and nailing him to the arena wall.
No sooner had he been hit then the spell holding FJ’s feet in place broke. She immediately broke into a run, grabbing her weapon and wrenching it from the Troll’s corpse. It was fortuitous, for no sooner had she done such came a bellowing battle cry that drowned out the sound of the Val’kyr announcing Ja’rili’s demise.
Turning around, she sighted a massive, scarred Orcish warrior, clad in black and red armour and carrying an axe in his hands. What caught her attention, however, was the tabard he wore, depicting a set of fangs on a black background.
“I am Byg Zham, champion of the Warsong clan!” The Orc bellowed at her. “And you will not stop me from claiming my prize!” He lunged at her, striking out with his axe.
FJ barely stepped back from the assault, the blade passing inches from her body. “Warsong, I should have known.” She spat before she struck back, stabbing at the Orx. His axe deflected most of her blow, but it still skimmed across his arm, drawing blood. “I fought against your filth in the war; you were just as stupid then as you are now.”
“Stupid?” The Orc roared, swinging at her again. “How dare you insult the name of the Warsong clan!” His axe again passed close to her face, only just missing it, the breeze from its passing ruffling her hair.
“It’s the truth.” She spat as she again struck at him, her blade barely deflected by his. “You Warsongs have always had a penchant for dumb moves.” She struck out again, slipping by his defences, again tearing into the already injured arm. “You drink Mannaroth’s blood on Draenor, do it again in Ashenvale, and now one of you wants to betray his people become a Death Knight? Stupid.”
“I am not betraying my people!” Zham shouted, lunging at FJ. She again managed to dodge his blow, but only barely. “I will take this power and use it for the Horde! With it, I shall destroy all who stand against us!”
“And if you really believe that, you are stupid.” She replied with a grin, ducking low then striking out at him. “The Lich King will make you his slave, and use you to destroy your precious Horde.”
“I am more powerful then the Lich King’s will! I am Warsong, the strength of Hellscream flows through me!”
“See? Stupid! If you believe that, you are just deluding yourself!” She spat, a deliberately mocking tone in her voice. “If you act like that, then the Lich King has already won. And don’t feed me that ‘strength of Warsong’ crap either.”
“You mock our clan?”
“I can and will.” She grinned. “As I said, I fought you fools back in the war. It was fun watching you run in fear from our attacks, trying to defend yourselves from a foe you could neither see nor understand.” She twisted to one side, again striking the Orc; he blocked her blade with his axe, but she continued to push him. “And the best part? Watching your beloved Grom Hellscream cry like a small child as he ran from us like a coward!”
“None shall mock the memory of Hellscream! None!” The Orc bellowed, letting out a terrifying roar. “For that insult, you will die, Elf!” He lashed out, swinging at her, forcing FJ back.
Which was a part of her plan; albeit the most risky one. She’d pushed the Orc as far as she could, allowing his anger to get the better of him and take over. Again she stepped back, making a few small feints at him and noting that he was all but ignoring her attacks in favour of blindly lashing out.
Which left him open to her.
She struck home, her blade ramming straight into his chest, digging through flesh and bone. She wrenched it free, a massive gush of blood coming with it as she did. The Orc gave a savage cry that quickly trailed off as its brain finally registered what its body was telling it. With a grunt, the Orc tipped over, crashing to the ground.
“Warsongs.” FJ spat. “Idiots, the lot of them.”
“Byg Zham has been defeated.” The Val’kyr hissed, looking down on the battlefield. FJ looked back up at it, glaring at the spectral figure, raising an angry finger at it.
“Charming” Zogstra commented as she stood next to FJ.
“How are you doing?” the Night Elf asked.
“I defeated a Grimtotem, and drove off a Dark Iron, a Goblin, a Gnome and two Dwarves.”
“Looks like you’re ahead.” FJ shot back. “I got a Blood Elf, an Ogre, a Drakkari and an Orc. ‘course, they’re all dead.”
“One of the qualities of the light is mercy, FJ.”
“True.” She nodded. “’course, that leaves but one…”
They both looked up at the massive Vrykul warrior who had been content thus far to watch the battle. Taller then the pair of them together, his gore-splattered axe, thick beard and battered armour gave him an intimidating, bloodthirsty demeanour.
“Nasty.” FJ finished. The pair of them were tired from the fighting, and battered by the battles that they had waged. At the same time, they both knew that they had a job to do, and that job would not be finished until every last contestant had been defeated. The Vruykul appeared fresh, and seemed to have the strength to destroy the pair of them without trying.
“Very well.” Zogstra stepped forward. “In the name of the light, I order you to stand down. Do so, and you will not be harmed. Take arms against us, Vrykul, and you will be punished for your transgressions.”
“You have dared to intrude upon this sacred ground and disrupt this most profane of ceremonies?” the Vrykul shot back. “You shall die for your impudence, and your deaths will seal my ascension to the hand of the Death God!”
“Well, we can’t say we didn’t warn him.” FJ shot at Zogstra.
The massive warrior barrelled at the pair of them swinging out with his axe. FJ blocked his first blow, the sheer force and momentum driving him back. Seeing an opening, Zogstra charged forwards, swinging with her mace; before she could connect, the Vrykkul lashed out, catching her with his boot and sending her back.
“He’s fast.” She observed.
“Not some big dumb brute like an Ogre.” FJ nodded, managing to just duck a second blow from the Vrykul. “And skilled.”
“I live to fight!” He bellowed. “To do battle is the reason for existence!”
Zogstra slammed him in the thigh, causing him to momentarily stumble. Her follow-up was blocked, his axe passing dangerously close to her face. A second hit from FJ sliced his other thigh, but was rewarded for her efforts by a slam from the broadside of his axe that left her reeling.
“I will not be stopped by the likes of you!” He charged at Zogstra, slamming into her and knocking her back again, before swinging down with his axe. Off-balance, she was only able to deflect part of the blow; the axe crashed into her left arm with a sickening splintering of bone. Roaring in triumph, he raised his weapon to finish her off, only to be slammed from behind by FJ. Momentarily forgetting the paladin, he turned to face the Kaldoeri warrior.
“I owe you.” Zogstra grunted as she quietly breathed a healing spell, mending her wounded arm.
“Think nothing of it.” FJ called back as she narrowly avoided being decapitated by his axe. Ducking under him, she struck out, clipping his waist. If the attack injured the Vrykul, he refused to show it. “Though I’m beginning to get a hang of their philosophy”
“How so?” Zogstra asked as she ran at him, taking advantage of his momentary distraction to strike him in the back.
“The Vrykul live to fight.” She offered as she stepped by him, striking him in the side and then again sidestepping before he could strike back. “They fight to become stronger, and become stronger so they can fight better.” He spun around, again lashing out. She sidestepped again, but it wasn’t enough; the axe crushed one of her shoulderplates, again staggering her. “I’m good.”
Zogstra nodded, again striking out at the massive warrior, her mace meeting his axe. “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.” She broke the block, then quickly swung again, her axe striking his chestplate with a brilliant crash of metal and a flash of golden light. The blow caused the massive warrior to shout out in pain, staggering back. “Simple, yet complete”
“I know.” FJ added as she capitalised on the assault, her blade slicing into the Vrykul’s back, sending a spray of blood flying as it cleaved through armour and flesh. “Almost admirable, if not for the fact that they’re murdering bastards.”
He swung around, battering her away. “I will slay you both! Death to all who stand before me!”
FJ crashed to the ground, struggling to her feet. “See? Besides, this is the best fight I’ve had in ages!” She charged at him, leaping as she struck, her blade digging into his shoulder, carving flash and bone. “Go, now!”
“Light guide me!” Zogstra called out, swinging at the injured Vrykul. Her mace, glowing brilliantly struck at him, the discharge of the holy energies surrounding Zogstra bleeding of in the form of a pair of luminous wings as her blow drove home, crushing his chestplate and the bones underneath.
The Vrykul staggered back, dropping his axe, then collapsed to his knees, coughing up blood. Her slumped forward, still propped on his hands, gasping, barely breathing. “I will… not… fail.” He grunted out. “I will claim my place… at… the side… of the Death God…”
The Val’kyr looked down at the fallen warrior, then at the pair of observers by the ring, and then at Zogstra and FJ, as if unsure of what to do. “Enough!” The voice of one of the observers called out. The armoured, undead Death Knight stepped forward, stretching out one arm. Purple energy shot from it, seizing the fallen Vrykul, lifting him slowly into the air.
“This one has shown that he possesses that which we desire.” He continued as he raised the giant’s body to be level with his. “He stood against you, giving better against the pair of you then all others had against but one. He shall be ascended to the ranks of the Scourge, a champion of the Lich King.”
“You fought well.” The second Death Knight added. “It is a pity that when we next meet, we will be enemies. I would have hoped to fight alongside ones such as you.”
An archway, seemingly made of shadows and radiating unholy energy appeared behind them. The two Death Knights, as well as the floating body of the Vrykul warrior, stepped through the portal, vanishing.
“Ah, crap.” FJ muttered. “They got away with one of them. I was hoping for none.”
“The same. After all we went through, the fact remains that, sooner or later, we will have to face a powerful, vengeful, Vrykul Death Knight.”
“Yeah.” FJ nodded. “Still, it was a good fight.”
It was some hours later that another pair of figures approached the arena. Both humans, a man and a woman, they were heavily armoured and carrying runed swords; they also bore the unmistakable aura of Death Knights.
However, this time, the atmosphere of the arena was different; there were no spectators, and no signs of life. The arena, on the other hand, still carried the scars of violence; the discarded bodies of fallen competitors still lay there, as well as fragments of sundered armour and shattered weapons.
“Well.” The woman began. “Looks like the commander was right, there was something going on here. But we missed it.”
“Very true.” The man replied. “So what do you think we should do?”
She shrugged. “Tell him mission accomplished anyway and rake up another one for the squad?”
“Works for me.”
“That being said…” She looked around. “I’d hate to mess with whoever it was who won here.”