Aotm Article of the Month

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Featuring: Mex

With an unearthly roar, the ragged pile of skin and bones, clad in a tattered shirt and pants, rose from the pile of bones and remains in the crypt. Blindly feeling around for any indication as to who or what it may be, it found something - a battered, rusty dagger. Holding it up, the creature examined it. While in poor condition, the weapon was still wickedly sharp and, more to the point, capable of inflicting terrible harm.

He grinned a wicked grin that reveled rows of disjointed, broken teeth. This was who he was. This was what he was. This dagger was a symbol of the entirety of his being.

The creature shambled out of the crypt, heading up towards the surface. Outside was a landscape of death and decay; dying trees dotted area, while above was a sickly green sky. In the distance was a small town; even a casual glance could show that it was half in ruins. Strange calls filled the skies, the sounds of unearthly creatures and the wail of lost souls.

A man moved to block the exit to the crypt. He was tall and gaunt, his most striking features revealed that he was clearly not amongst the living. His skin was decayed, with bones protruding from his elbows and hands, and ribs sticking out his sides. Its eyes shone with an eerie yellow light, one that suggested otherworldly power. And yet, it appeared to be living or, at leas,t doing something that resembled living.

"Ah, you're awake." It began. "We were about-"

"Hola senior undertaker!" The creature called back.

"At any rate-"

"You want me to go down town?" He asked. "Go down there and Stab stuff? I stab stuff good!"

"Well, yes and-"

"Dooowntown, that's where the action is!" He called out, breaking into something that vaguely resembled song. "Down town!"

"Well, I suppose then you should get moving." The Undertaker muttered. "Go on then."

"Hokay!" The creature (who had decided that it was, in fact, a rogue) called back. "See ya later, Undertaker!"

The Undertaker watched as the rogue shuffled down to the town, shaking his head sadly. "I swear, each new one gets more and more rancid."

The rogue had found himself some gainful employment within the town, running various jobs and stabbing Zombies. He enjoyed the latter, as it gave him a feeling of vengeance and satisfaction to sink his blade into some unsuspecting shambling wreck. Somebody had decided that he was so well suited to his role that they would send him further a field to another town, one where he would have greater opportunities to use his talents - and stab things.

And so he'd found himself in Brill, working for the Royal Apothecary Society. The Society, he was told, was trying to further the aims of their Dark Queen, a woman he'd never heard of. But since she was the queen, the Rogue felt that it was his job to pay attention to her orders and further her cause. It did gall him a bit that he was answering to a queen he didn't vote for, however.

"Hola senior Apothecarian!" He called out as he leaped into the hut of the local branch of the RAS, grinning enthusiastically. "What can I do you for today?"

"Oh, its you." The Apothecarian grunted back. "Very well, I have a new idea. There is a farm to the north-east of here, one which grows fine quality pumpkins. I want you to fetch me a half dozen of them and bring them back here for me to experiment on. Can you mange that?"

"Hokay!" he shouted enthusiastically.

"Victory for Sylvanas." The Apothacarian finished.

"I've got new pants on!" The rogue replied, then dashed out the door, shambling off into the eerie darkness of the Tirisfal Glades. Even at noon, the landscape remained a dark, shadowy place, bathed in the eerie green light of the polluted skies above. Of course, he paid no attention to this, instead concentrating on his own little song that was running through his head.

They are good to eat!
So very good to eat!
Especially when full of plague!
Horrible deadly plague!
To kill all the stinky humans!
Who eat all the puuuuumpkins!

Pleased wit himself, he shambled into the darkness. It was some hours later that he reached the pumpkin patch. Unlike the rest of Tirisfal, this small part seemed to be relatively alive. He could see a large field with numerous large, juicy-looking pumpkins scattered around it. Unfortunately, he could also see a number of humans walking around; some were clearly farms, while others were wearing red uniforms.

"Steeenky humans." He hissed to himself as he approached the field. He couldn't say what it was exactly, but he had developed a distinct disliking for living beings in the last few days. Whenever he saw something - anything - that was alive, he felt an urge to stab it. Some had suggested that it was a perfectly normal reaction to his condition. He knew the truth, however. He just liked stabbing things.

He stealthily moved into the field, keeping low to avoid detection, Approaching a pumpkin, he quickly grabbed it, severing its root then stuffing it into his pack. Confident that he hadn't been sighted, he moved onto another one, reaching out to it.

Somebody shouted something, one of the farmers charging towards him with his pitchfork out. "Hey!" the rouge shouted as he pulled out his blade. "You no take pumpkin!"

Deftly avoiding the pitchfork thrust, he skipped to one side then leaped forwards at the offending human, slashing across his chest with his blade. The farmer made a strange gurgling sound, the collapsed to the ground. The rogue looked down at the body, then broke out in a cackling laugh at the demise of the silly, stinky human. Regaining his composure, he aging looked around for more pumpkins to take.

It was some minutes later that he stole away from the field, carrying a sack full of the predacious vegetables. As he ran, a single thought kept running through his head, until the point that he had to shout it out loud. "I am a farmer!"

"Hmmm..." The Apothacarian began as he studied the pumpkins. "Not bad, not bad. I thin this should do for now." He put them down, then turned to the rogue. "I had another theory which I wish to explore."

"Soylent green is made from people?" The rogue asked.

"...I believe that the Murlocs found on our northern coasts may be useful to us." He continued, ignoring the rogue's comments. "I want you to get, say, a half dozen of their fins and bring them back to me."

"Wha?" He blinked. "I have to go get stinky fish heads?"

"Yes." He stated. "You have your duty, now go to it."

"Grrr..." The rouge muttered as he turned around. "Stupid stinky apothacarian and your stupid stinky plague. Why I have to follow your orders? Why I have to go get you all your stupid stinky ingredients? Why I have to run this way and that way like some silly headless stinky zombie with no brane in his skull because you say so? Well? Why? Why? That what I want to know! You and your stinky plan! I ask you, why you need pumpkins and fish heads and flowers and dog livers and larks vomit and Zombie bits and pocket lint and bat guano? What sort of silly stinky plague are you making? Well? What needs all that? You know what I think? I think you having no idea what you doing! You just sticking anything into a pot to see if it asplodes and if it doesn't you give it to some stinky Scarlet to see if he asplodes and if he does you say it'll work but then you go off and tell me to get you something else any way so then it probably doesn't work at all! You a very, very silly man, senior apocatherian and I no want to work for you no more! There! Stick that in your pestle and smoke it, stinky! I said it! I said it and I mean it! You are the king of the stinkies and you smell bad too!"

It was a bold and dramatic statement, he thought, one that the Apothecaries would have to listen to. Or rather, he would have, had the rouge not been talking to himself as he had been walking, and now was standing in the middle of nowhere.

"Ah poopie." He snapped, then turned to a passing Darkhound. "Doggie... what you staring at?"

The Darkhound leaped on him, teeth bared.

It was dusk by the time the Rogue reached the coast, having spent his entire journey muttering to himself while wiping slobber and blood off his leathers. Pausing for a moment, he looked down at the beach below him. Sure enough, a small army of the Fish-heads had gathered there. And each and every one of them was covered in the slimy scales that Senior Apothecarian so desperately wanted.

As he watched, a lone Murloc separated itself from the pack, wandering further down the beach. The rogue grinned as he relaised what this represented - an individual detached from the rest of the pack, just ripe for the killing. As quietly and stealthily as he could, he headed down to the beach, knife at the ready. He cautiously approached the Murloc, ready to strike it down in a single blow.

And then, at the last second, the Fish-head turned to face him. "Auarglarglarhwlarwrlar!" it called out, raising its crude spear at him.

"Auarglarglarhwlarwrlar!" a dozen or so other Murlocs added as they charged down the beach at high speed, charging towards him with their crude weapons raised. Before the rogue could do anything, he was swamped by a swarm of bodies who crashed into him in a tidal wave of slimy overkill.

"Oh noes!" He spluttered out as he tried to beat Murlocs off him. "It is the Murloc Apocalypse!"

"Auarglarglarhwlarwrlar!" the mob of Murlocs replied as they clawed, speared, poked and prodded him with whatever implement they could find. Desperate, the Rouge managed to throw a few of them off and break into a run, dashing down the beach away from them. With a loud cry, The Murlocs continued to surge after him.

"This calls for one thing!" He began, reaching into his battered vest. he'd been working on the manufacture of certain devices that he found useful in his work for Senior Apothecarian. This was one of them, a stick of crude explosives. "Eat this, fish hea-"


He never finished his statement, being swarmed again just as he loosed the crude bomb. For a moment, there was nothing but a wave of slimy scales, teeth and claws. And then came a loud explosion that tore through the silence of the evening, while clouds of black smoke leaped into the air.

"Asplosions make everything better!" The rogue commented. Battered, bruised and covered in slime, he had ended up in a pile on the far end of the beach. There was a fair-sized crater in the middle of it, with dead and dying Murlocs scattered around it. "Yeah..." He grinned again, reviling in the carnage and destruction he had caused. "Yay for destrucity!"

Pulling out his knife, he headed towards the nearest Murloc corpse, ready to relieve it of its fins.

The Apothacarian was on the verge of retiring for the night when he saw the figure step in through the front door. Battered and bruised, he was caked in slime and ichor. However, he also had a broad, cheerful grin that suggested that his mission had been successful. "Hola Senior Apothecarian!" He called out again, waving in a cheerful manner.

"Ah yes..." He nodded. "Do you have the materials that I asked for?"

"Oh ya!" He grinned, then dropped a pack in the middle of the floor. It landed with a sickening squelching noise, ooze and seawater seeping out of it. "I got you your fish heads all right!"

"I asked for fins."

"Fins, heads, guts, goosh... it's all in there." He continued.

"I see." The Apothecarian gingerly prodded the bag. "Well, you've done... excellent work there. yes, no doubt it is truly... unique what you've managed here. Definitely." He prodded it again.

"So what can I do now, Senior Apothacarian?" He continued. "Want me to whack someone? I could totally do that."

"Er... no." He replied. "Instead... I think I have a new opportunity for you, one that will make the most of your... unique talents."

"Ohs?" He raised a ragged eyebrow.

"Tell me..." The Apotharcaian continued. "Have you ever heard of the Barrens?"

The rogue tilted his head, and cleaned his ear. "Barov? Silverlaine? Riverdale? Pants?"

"Well..." He continued. "How about this. There are members of the Royal Apothecary Society in the barrens right now doing valuable work for our cause. How about you head there to... help them out a little. I'm sure they'd appreciate it. Best not to delay. I think that they'll really need you there."

"Okies!" He cheerfully replied. "I go there now!"

"Excellent." The Apothacarian finished as the Rogue dashed out the door. He watched the shambling wreck scurry off into the night, waiting for him to be well out of sight before letting his guard down. And even then, he wasn't really comfortable until he heard the rumble of the Zeppelin passing overhead.