His limbs ached, reminding him of the agony he�d suffered though the torture had stopped hours before, the applications of pain spaced just far enough apart so that every blow felt new and fresh with none overlapping to dull the sense of the next.  Leering faces, hideous laughter, derisive taunts accompanying each new violation of his body and soul.  What was done to his body was bad enough, but what the fel-touched were doing to his mind … he prayed every night, not to escape, but that he�d maintain enough of himself not to break under their torture and betray his comrades in arms.  He looked at the fresh network of scars traced along his skin and laughed inwardly, bitterly, at the memory that rose.

�Noot afraid the war�s gooin� ta mess up that pretty face o� yers?�

He laughed at the dwarf who grinned widely in return.  �No, sir, I�m not.  Besides, I distinctly remember a certain gentlemen telling me the ladies find scars �exciting�.�

The older paladin chuckled in return.  �Aye, that I did laddie.�

A startled yell broke though his reverie.  Cringing, then feeling ashamed for it, he set his back against the stone wall behind him and prepared himself for whatever would come next.  What did come wasn�t anything close to what he was expecting; the yells were quickly followed by harsh commands and the sound of furious activity outside the cave in which he was chained. Commands changed to agonized screams, accompanied by the unmistakable crunch of bones breaking and rip of rending flesh. Minutes seemed to stretch into hours as the horrifying sounds echoed through the cave, making him wonder what was in store for him next.  Then silence.  Dead silence.  Not even the noises of the creatures of the night broke the stillness.

A moment later he slowly became aware he was no longer alone.  Glowing eyes entered the cave, eyes he hoped he�d never see again in his life.  The blue-edged amber captured him, held him more securely than the shackles imprisoning him.  Whatever it was that watched him kept to the shadows.  The light slowly entering the cave as dawn arrived was broken in eerie ways across its body, making it difficult to discern shape or movement.

�He isn�t here.�

The rough voice surprised him enough to break past some of his fear. �Who isn�t here?�

A low rumbling growl ended in an almost plaintive whine.  �The Grand Marshal.  He was here.�

�The Grand Marshal?�  He shook his head.  �No, he�s not.  He was here but they took him and some others away.�

�Where?�

He flinched at the snarl following the words but cowered as the eyes, those eyes, focused on him with what he knew was murderous intent.  �I-I don�t know.  They l-laughed as th-they took him away.  He was a-alive wh-when they left w-with him.�

The light in the eyes flared, taking a greenish tint.  Not fel green, but a green that might have comforted him if it wasn�t in those eyes.  He didn�t dare move as he felt something wiggling underneath him, winding its way through the cuffs on his limbs and the chains connected to the stone.  There was a brief, uncomfortable tightness before the metal wrenched apart, sinking to the ground beside him.

�Leave.  Tell the Templars I�ll find him.�  The harsh voice seemed to soften a bit.  �I�ll bring him home.�

He waited a moment after the eyes had vanished before rising and moving the entrance of the cave.  Stepping outside, he stilled in shock at what lie in front of him.  Bodies lay everywhere.  Demon bodies.  Eredar bodies.  Human bodies.  Tauren bodies.  The faces he had seen, the visages that had tortured him lay dead; every corpse gutted and ripped apart with pieces tossed in all directions.  Blood.  So much blood.  Spatters along the rocks, the tents, the ground.  His gorge rose as he slowly made his way through the camp and he had to cover his mouth to prevent what little nourishment they�d given him from exiting his body.  Carnage.  Now he understood the true meaning of the word and he desperately prayed to the Light he�d never have to see its like again.  Nearing the center, he froze once more.  A spot had been cleared and a few words were crudely etched into the ground, fel blood filling the channels of the letters.  A single, bloody paw print rested next to them.  

Give him back

A mournful howl filled the morning sky, changing to an agonized, unearthly scream.  Fear finally took him and he ran, not knowing where he was going, not caring, so long as it was away from there.

—-


A report of the incident is sent to Greywatch along with a letter addressed to Arialynn:


Justicar Dawnfield, 


Please accept my late condolences for the loss of your husband.  He was a good man and a fine leader.


I wish to thank you for the return of one of my men.  We’ve lost so many already that the return of even one is an unlooked for blessing.  He’s recovering from his ordeal and wishes to send his thanks for his rescue.  Though I personally appreciate the thoroughness by which your agent eliminated the camp where my soldier was held, the manner by which the elimination occurred as evidenced by the destruction left behind was a bit more extreme than is usually sanctioned by Alliance military forces.  The official report filed contains less detail than the one I’ve sent to you to prevent any potential remonstrations to whomever your agent was.


Thank you again for the work your people are doing for us here in the Broken Isles.


Lord Bennett Cowedon

Commander, Alliance Military Forces

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