A Night Elf Huntress scanned her surroundings, seemingly alone in the wild. The trees kept the land dark, the terrain and murky water all blending together in the shadows of the Wilds. She carried a blade and her bow, with her blade sheathed at the side of her hips and her bow strapped across her back. Her hair was tied up to keep from being distracting, and the silver sheen to her hair caught what little light there was and reflected it. Her eyes picked up the trail and she sprang forward, legs barely touching the surface as she sprinted forward. Her passing remained quiet, and many of the predators and prey in the Wilds did not notice her. She crested the nearby hill, and looked across the rest of the Wilds.

 

Ahead of the Huntress, barricades rose atop a nearby hill. A few guns peeked over the top of the barricades, but not as many as there should have been. She grimaced. She had travelled as quickly as possible, but many things had slowed her down and she had been on foot for the past several hours. She drew her bow, carefully advancing towards the fortifications. It could have been claimed by the Horde while she was en route. She approached the barricades and relaxed as she heard Common being spoken, standing up and calling attention to herself. A familiar figure stood high, smirk plastered on his face with red hair caught in the breeze. His blue eyes turned, and then his head caught up and he grinned.

 

“Shira!” He called out, quickly stepping to her. “I was beginning to think you would never arrive. I am glad we will have your archery skills backing us up, now.” The man gestured to the rest of the group and the fortifications. Two Dwarves, male, three Humans, two men and a woman, and a male Draenei. The Huntress took the gathering in at a glance, deducing skills from the armor and weaponry the people sported. The Draenei and the two Dwarves held onto the guns whose barrels she had seen earlier. The ginger-haired man who had called her here had two slender blades strapped to his waist and a small gun in one hand. The Humans were harder to gauge, one wearing the flowing raiment of a man of the Priesthood. The woman wore an expression of barely maintained tolerance and a darkly coloured robe that barely flowed. She smelled of fire and brimstone, strangely, and Shira found her off putting. The last member had a tower shield nearby with one sword strapped in at his waist, and a greatsword across his back. She nodded to herself and wished they had more people for the outpost’s defense.

 

The man called her over and set up a map on a makeshift table, cobbled out of supply boxes. He gestured to it, and smiled. “We are here,” he pointed at a marking on a hill on the map. Similar markings were nearby. “We are mostly here to keeps eyes on the Wilds and make sure nothing sneaks up on the artillery positions to the south. It has not been quiet, but we’ve held our ground for awhile. I sent out other requests to allies of myself, but I have not seen Sigmar or Jarrick in months. We’ve got Bjornir on the right, with the blonde hair, and Cragg on the left, with the black hair. Baruud, over there, is the big fellow and our current cook. Not bad, either. Our attached Priest is Victor, with his brother, Alain, and his sister, Larissa. Now, you’ve met the company. Thanks for comin’.”

 

Shira nodded to each of them, “The name is Shira, and I am not sure how you all fell under Sielic’s leadership, but hopefully we can all survive and keep this a decent place.” She smirked at the redheaded man, and stalked over to the barricade next to Baruud. “Have you seen much action? Is it mostly Horde?” She peered down the hill to the nearby swamp. It was dark, shadows moving just beneath the surface. Baruud chuckled. “Yes, has been very interesting. Some Horde have been here, yes. We have good time, though. Not very tough, and very well supported with other outposts. Good position here, I say. Most people listen to Baruud, too. Too big to ignore!” He laughed loudly.

 

Sielic looked across the fortification. He did not worry about the position. He did not even worry about being hurt, or killed. He worried about where old friends had been, but was rejuvenated by seeing Shira. He had known Shira for almost nine years now and was overjoyed to have her watching his back. He knew his fiance remained on Pandaria, as well. Her boat out of Theramore, before its fall, having been forced aground here. The Horde were here, but so were so many other things, such as the Mogu and the Sha and the Mantid. All of them wanted to kill him and his own. Neutrality had little place to be found in this warzone, and so Sielic had packed away his Templars tabard. He knew many of them had traveled north, and he had remained behind to train at the Monastery. When he set out to catch up, he found warfare and hostile combatants facing him, and driving him south. He ended up down here, where Alliance forces were stretched thin, as always. They sent him and this group out to establish this outpost. He sighed.

 

“Alright, folks. Night time is falling. Baruud, first watch with Shira. She’s good at night with a very good eye. Second watch’ll be Larissa and myself with third watch being Bjornir and Cragg. Rest up, who knows what tomorrow’ll bring.” He grinned as camp was set up in the barricades, laying out his own bedroll and catching some shuteye as he could.

 

 

Baruud and Shira kept eyes out of the small outpost, but the night remained quiet. The forest continued to sing its song as beasts slumbered and others stalked through the night. It remained quiet for several hours and Shira roused Sielic and Larissa for their watch, taking a spare bedroll and setting herself up to catch some rest. Sielic smirked at her as he took up a spot next to the barricades, eyes on the trees. Larissa uttered a minor incantation, and her eyes took on a dark hue as she gazed across the swamps.

 

Sielic looked around after a while and gave a soft sigh. He missed full nights of sleep. It was not a comfortable existence in the outpost, but he did what he could. Luckily, the Dwarves had brought many kinds of alcohol with them. They were great company, as was Baruud. The other humans were not as great for company once they discovered he was afflicted, but such was life. He looked around and shook his head as he saw Larissa had positioned herself as far away from him as possible. “I’m not contagious, y’know.” He received no response. “This’ll be a long watch.” He passed the time while whittling a small piece of wood down. Soon, though, he roused the Dwarves and smirked. He patted Cragg on the back. “Do not have too much fun, eh?” Sielic went back to his bedroll and fell back to sleep. The Dwarves grinned as everyone went to sleep around them. They both pulled out jugs and began to drink. They knew the fastest way to pass watch and it did not take long for daylight to break and find the Dwarves drunk and rowdy, as they always were. The camp began to stir anew.

 

Sielic stood up, stretching and stripping off his leathers. He heard Shira awake and began to speak to her, “We have a clean lake behind us where we can grab a soak to not smell so dirty. I’m headin’ there now, then I can show ya where it is.” He turned to see Shira already stripped down as well, smirking at him as she passed. “I saw it already, and I am going there now.” She stepped up to Sielic. He folded his arms across his chest. “Hey now,” he said, as he held up a finger, “I am going first, and that’s that.” The two smirked at each other, a competitive friendship long standing in their minds, and then began to sprint down the hill to the lake.

 

‘Maybe this won’t be so boring,’ Sielic thought as he waited for Shira to finish her dip in the nearby water. She had just barely made it in first, and forced him to wait back at camp. Baruud chuckled, telling a story from his life. The Draenei had known much suffering as a race, but many of them had kept in good spirits. Shira came sprinting up the path shortly, and Sielic grinned. “About time, ya lousy friend. I’d have beat ya if ya hadn’t cheated.” She managed to get into the outpost, and barely caught her breath before speaking. “I saw Orcs and Trolls down there.” The camp froze for a moment, and then everyone scrambled into action. The guns were loaded, and the force hunkered down against the barricades.

 

Sielic brought up a spare scope the Dwarves had brought with them. He could barely see the Horde members down by the water. “I only see about ten of them. Likely a scouting party, light armor, bows, axes, and spears. We’ve got the high ground, and the barricades. We’ll be fine.” He lowered the scope and knelt down next to the barricade. The moments grew long and silence filled the air. Soon, the sound of footfalls coming up the path bounced through the camp. “Well, let’s give them somethin’ to report, eh?”

 

The Horde party slowly approached the barricades, the Trolls insisting they could smell Alliance dogs behind them. One Orc stepped closely, a light ax ready to cleave through any defenders. A man sprung forward, letting fly with a dagger that sank deeply into the Orc’s forehead. Much deeper than it should have from a human. Gunfire echoed in the ears of the combatants, and arrows were loosed skyward to fall inside the barricades. The leader of this band of scouts turned to his warriors and roared loudly as they charged the barricades. The first Orc crashed into the barricade, shoving it aside. His victory cry was cut short as a heavy shield smacked into him and threw him to the ground. The opening was made, though. The Horde party shouted war cries and roared to the sky as they charged. Bellows emptied from the guts of the two Dwarves as they gave another volley with the quiet Baruud.

 

Shira glanced around, picking her target carefully. Her arrow sank deeply into the leg of the nearest Troll. She had settled on maiming to try and keep the rest of her allies safe. Another arrow flew from her bow, dropping the Troll to the dirt. The Trolls hands scraped the terrain as he slid back down the hill. She looked back to make sure nothing had come from the other side and saw Larissa let a bolt of dark magic loose. The dark magic crashed against an Orc and tore flesh from bone as he crumpled into the earth beneath him. They still charged, though, and it was barely even in numbers. Shira looked around, ‘Even numbers won’t cut it when Orcs match the strength of a Draenei at least’.

 

The Horde reached the barricades, shoving them wide and letting out frightening roars. Alain rushed forward to meet them while Larissa and Victor dropped back, both muttering spell incantations. Baruud stepped forward with Alain, his heavy gun functioned as a heavy club just as easily and the two battered the Horde attackers. Cragg and Bjornir turned and got off another set of shots. Baruud’s gun threw back two Trolls before one managed to slip in and score a deep gash to his abdomen. The sight of blood put the Horde attackers into a rage and they drove Alain back, Cragg and Bjornir joining the crazed melee now. The warleader threw back his head and howled in fury.

 

Sielic had seen the Troll fall to the ground, and he had been quick to leap from the barricades and end it. In those brief few moments, the rest of the Horde had pushed to the barricades. Sielic turned and saw Baruud go down. His thoughts turned inward, and he unlocked the cage. His howl drowned out the cry of rage from the Orc, and a few of the Horde turned back to see what had made the noise. A Troll managed to bring up his bow in time, drawing an arrow back and loosing it. The arrow drove into the beast’s eye, but he ripped it out and tossed it aside, ignoring the blood. His claws swept out, taking the Troll high and low. As the Troll’s blood seeped from his neck and thigh, the beast moved on and let the Troll die.

Cragg managed a brutal blow to the lead Orc’s knee as an arrow sank into the Orc’s neck. Larissa and Victor cried out simultaneously, a holy bolt traveling parallel with another bolt of dark magic came over the shoulders of Alain and struck two more of the attackers. Alain followed the magic and charged, shield pushing the enemies back while they were stunned. Between the beast crashing into them from behind, and the renewed charge from the outpost, the Horde were caught. They fought wildly, axes swinging, but it was not enough. One by one, they went down. As it ended, Sielic resumed his human form. Blood still flowed, but his remaining eye let him see that everyone had made it so far. Baruud had a huge gash, but Victor was already healing it. He saw cuts covering Alain and Bjornir, while Cragg only had a few. Shira, Larissa, and Victor were untouched. ‘Good,’ he thought, ‘This could have been much worse.’ He stumbled back into the camp and sat down, bandaging his head out of instinct while he waited for the Priest. ‘Everything seems so slow,’ he thought, ‘I’ll just rest while I wait.’ He leaned back against the barricade and watched the light fade from the world.

Author Sielic
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