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The Signet of the Fallen (Page 2)
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((Another long one. A bit of a story in this one. Working on page 3, which introduces new characters. Enjoy))
“Auch, not again,” Dann moaned, looking disgusted at the mere mention of the item. “I’d been hopin’ he’da given up that obsession when Naxxramas fell. At the very least I woulda thought with the assault on Icecrown he’da been too busy to think about it.” Dann continued petting the devilsaur as it slowly curled up between him and the fire.
“What exactly is it?” Daniela asked, petting Rema who had nuzzled up to her. “I know is has something to do with when you two were fighting alongside the Argent Dawn in the Plaguelands before I even arrived on this world, but he would never give me many details.”
“There’s a good reason for that,” Dann started, clearing his throat with a cough. He reclined back slightly on the large white bear that had lain down behind him. “You remember Nuava?”
“The death knight? Yeah, it’s kind of hard to forget such a cold blooded killing machine. We met at the tournament grounds a few times, usually as I was tending to her or the wounds of someone she had been sparring with. Doesn’t she prefer to be called Nightstalker now or something?”
“Aye, but she weren’t always a death knight, and used to be quite kind. When Riker and I first met her she was a young druid working for the Circle to restore the plaguelands. The three of us struck up a fast friendship and began working together. Riker grew especially fond of her. We’d go on various scouting and gathering missions for the ‘Dawn slowly doing our part in the fight to reclaim Lordaeron,” Dann reached into his pack and retrieved a pipe and a bizarre folding device. He fiddled with the device until a small attachment opened and tip ignited. He lit the pipe with it and slowly took a drag, closing the device and putting it away.
“Hard to believe that given the way she is now,” Daniela commented placing her hands on her lap after having petted Rema to sleep in front of her.
“Though I guess getting raised by the Lich King would alter your personality.”
“Indeed. Anyway, one day we returned from a scouting mission around Corin’s Crossing and found Light’s Hope a flurry preparing to strike at Stratholme. Riker spoke with the commanders and insisted that all of us go with them. I didna object, most of his family were in Stratholme and he had moved to Stormwind only months before the city fell, and I was itchin’ for a good fight,” he took another puff on the pipe, the sweet smell of a blend of local herbs wafting through the campsite. “Long story short, the attack was a disaster. No sooner did we manage to get in then we were attacked by both the undead and those bloody Scarlets. Soon the groups started to dissolve and we found ourselves separated from the main forces pushed deep into the undead stronghold.
“The stench of undeath was nearly unbearable as we found ourselves near the slaughterhouse where they were building abominations. That’s when he appeared: Baron Rivendare. Riker had a deep seated hatred for tha man, thinkin’ him responsible for most of what had happened. I tried to calm him but he charged after him. He lunged forward and quickly knocked him off his horse. Nuava and I were close behind and tried to aid ‘im anyway we could. Tha’s when abominations from the slaughterhouse woke up. It took all of my energy to hold those buggers at bay while Riker and Rivendare fought behind us. Nuava did her part sending whatever nature and healing spells she could.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened in that fight, having my hands busy throwing what few bombs I had and trying to shoot down those abominations before they got to close, but when I turned, I saw Riker on both knees above Rivendare’s broken body covered in blood. Nuava had made it to him and was using her healing powers to fix him up when he grabbed Rivendare’s runeblade and charged at me, killing two ghouls that had just jumped down from above me with the power of his stoke and a large blast of holy energy. With all three of us fighting the minions, and their master laying dead behind us, they didn’t stand a chance. When we finally had a moment, Riker walked over to Rivendare and using tha runeblade, cut his head off and wrapped it in a torn piece of cloth. Nuava reached down and removed a ring from his finger and slipped it on her finger. None of us thought anything of it at the time.”
“Was that the ring?”
“That’s what Riker thinks, and I’m not inclined to argue with him, particularly after what happen’d next,” Dann answered, his eyes turning a bit misty as he took another puff on the pipe. “We turned to the entrance of the slaughterhouse, thinkin’ that we might be able to make a break for it and get out of the city in the confusion we just caused when there was a blood curdlin’ screech from above us. I turned to take aim as a gargoyle flew down and grabbed Nuava by tha shoulders and flew away before Riker or I could react. I started to take aim at the beast and fired but my gun jammed. Seems some of the abomination, um, guts had clogged it up. Riker tried to send a holy blast of energy, but he was too exhausted. We both watched as she was carried away to who knows where.”
“That must have been terrible.”
“It was but worse a minute or so later we saw the ring lying in the spot she had been standing. Not sure if it fell off or she dropped it. Riker went over to grab it, but before he could, the Rivendare’s horse charging back and knocked him out of the way. We heard a voice yelling about the fallen ring, and the horse ran off again, the ring was gone.”
“That seems pretty odd,” Daneila remarked, hanging on to every word the dwarf was saying. “Was someone riding it?”
“I think so, but I’m not sure. I really didn’t get a chance to look at it,” Dann responded as he turned the pipe over and knocked out the charred leaves inside. “Riker fell to his knees and started weeping after the horse ran away, dropping the runeblade in the process. I walked over to Rivendare’s corpse and found a torn piece of parchment in one of his pockets.”
“What did it say?”
“‘Take this token of the fallen and rule forever by my side in the service of the one true King.’ and was signed with a ‘K.’ I can only think that this is the note that Kel’thuzad gave Rivendare before he was turned into a lich,” he extinguished the pipe using a bit of snow from the ground. “We managed to leave Stratholme through the service entrance, encounterin’ surprisingly little resistance, and made it back to Light’s Hope Chapel a few hours later. There we met what few survivors there were, includin’ a mage who was very interested in the note. He’s the one that told Riker about the Signet of the Fallen and got the notion in his head to go after it. Said it was a powerful cursed artifact Kel’thuzad had made for his champion. Riker vowed on the spot to find the ring and destroy it, I think mostly in a rage over her death. It was made even worse when Rivendare showed up working in Acherus before leaving with Naxxramas.”
“So, she was turned into a death knight by Kel’thuzad?” Daneila asked rhetorically.
“Him or one of tha Lich King's other minions. I know she participated in the attack on the Scarlet Enclave,” Dann retorted. “Riker is the one that found her and battled her during the battle at Light’s Hope Chapel. Now that is a heck of a story, but one he tells much better than I do. I guess we can try and get him to tell it to us when we get there.”
“So you’re going to come back to Icecrown?”
“Yeah, I don’t want that daft human running off and doing anything else foolish. He’s been one of my best friends for years. Now, we need to get some sleep. You ca’ have my tent and I’ll sleep with me beasties out here,” he told her with a smile. She thanked him and walked over to the small tent and climbed inside. “We’ll go to Ironforge in the mornin’ and see if we can find a portal.”
“Works for me, I’m tired of riding on boats back and forth,” she responded after closing the tent.
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