The fumes from the goblin's machines made her nose wrinkle. She peered over the end of her carpet to the scene below, where a pair of brawny orcs conferred with a tiny goblin about the best way to approach the next massive tree. She frowned. That tree was older than memory. It was venerable when the elves were young, before the Emerald Dream. How could they just cut it down?
She glanced to her left, where the elven priestess sat astride her gryphon, and nodded , pointing. The elf woman indicated a glade a ways off, and the two of them set down in silence. After a brief, whispered conference, they moved off in opposite directions. She chose her voidwalker to accompany her, it being the most quiet of her companions. It grumbled softly as it emerged from the nether, gazing at her with its unreadable, alien eyes.
Her job was to be the muscle. The priestess would provide the back up, and keep her on her feet if the orcs moved in to attack. She took her place in the ferns at the edge of the clearing and waited to hear the soft birdcall tell ing her the priestess was in place. Seeming from nowhere, liquid darkness coalesced around her hands. She could feel it's prickly, cold texture increasing almost to the point of pain before she unleashed it at the bigger of the two orcs. Instantly, her voidwalker launched itself at the other orc, engaging him before it could charge at the source of the magic.
The goblin yelped, looked around and focused on her. A snarl curled it's nasty little mouth as it summoned fire to it's fingers. Damn, a caster. She had not expected that. The little bastard was carrying an axe. She shifted her focus to him, aiming a curse that would choke off his incantation, if only for a moment. The fire died on his hands. That was all the time needed for the voidwalker to move over to engage him, which meant the two orcs were now all hers.
She grinned manically as they bulled their way towards her. It was clear they saw only a tiny human woman, alone. Their confidence made her laugh aloud. She held her arms up in the air, then brought them down in a sweeping gesture. Hellfire rained down on the hapless orcs. They screamed defiance and kept coming.
She held her ground, sustaining the spell. The first orc fell, groaning, twenty feet away. The second managed to grab the hem of her gown as he died at her feet. She stood, gazing down at her victims, partially triumphant, and partially distraught. It seemed such a stupid thing to die for. Yet she knew there was no reasoning with these orcs and their goblins. They seemed to lack any understanding of the value of the forests, except as lumber for their nasty cities.
The priestess emerged from her hiding place as the goblin ran from her voidwalker, only to die ten feet further on. She sighed and traded a silent look with the elf woman. They understood one another.
They agreed to meet later, embraced briefly and parted ways. She found her latest camp much as she had left it. She'd be moving on tomorrow, heading into Desolace. Carnnys always loved Desolace. She enjoyed trading blows with her lifelong enemies, the Burning Legion. She smiled at the thought as she dismissed the voidwalker.
These sorties against the Horde really were a kind of therapy. She chose her battles carefully. It wasn't in her to attack civilians, or even supply lines. Her targets were chosen for their moral impact, such as protecting the trees. Also, she tended to avoid engagements with the trolls and tauren, whom she respected. Truthfully, though, she knew it was only a distraction. The memories were coming faster now, seizing her at unexpected moments. It was unnerving, because they did not come as normal memories. They fell upon her suddenly, without warning, and engulfed her as though they were happening all over again, right down to the sounds and scents of the memory. She'd often come out the other side shaken. Yesterday it had been the memory of how she and Devon had tricked poor Aelya and given her to the Twilight's Hammer, practically gift wrapped.
She kicked off her shoes and grabbed the small bag of berries she's collected earlier, thinking to make a snack of them. As her feet met the warm roughness of a large stone half buried in the grass, another memory crashed into her with the force of a hurricane.
His hand was warm in hers as she tugged him deeper into the cavern. Her smile promised many things, if only he'd follow her. It was not difficult. He trusted her completely. They settled in a little alcove in the empty mine, she'd brought a picnic. She gave him a glass and offered to rub his back. He slipped out of his shirt and surrendered to her gentle hands. His skin was warm beneath her fingers. He relaxed under her ministrations. He did not notice her pick up the tiny syringe. He barely felt the needle as it pierced his skin...
His eyes, so betrayed, so utterly shocked and frightened. She teased him as she waited for her masters to come collect the latest prize...
The berries fell unheeded to the ground at her feet. The scent of him still lingered in her nose. Jander. She'd given them Jander...