Winners’ Week continues at WTT: [RP], Too Many Annas, and Lorecrafted! We know you’ve all been bouncing on the edges of your seats like excited Kaldorei waiting for the next winner in the Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest, and we’d hate to disappoint. So, go get yourself a cold glass of Moonberry Juice or some Tasty Cupcakes and settle down to read today’s winner!
Let’s have a round of /applause for our Honorable Mention, “Missing Friends,” submitted by Illithias of Feathermoon and based on the quest of the same name in Terrokar Forest.
Every leaf glistened in the low, pre-dawn light; drooping with the night’s dew. Not quite yet time for the dawn chorus, the sun approached the shattered world’s irregular horizon, and the forest began to lighten. Insects chirped and whirred in the undergrowth; the filigree wings of the giant moths of Terokkar beat a rhythm in the space between the bushes and the boughs. Illithias crept through the undergrowth, hunched almost double. Despite her size and the bulk of her armour, only the whispering swings of disturbed branches or the soft crack of the bracken underfoot marked her passage. The leather hood hanging over her face collected the droplets as the leaves brushed by – fat drops of water falling from the brim, in front of the soft silver glow of the kal’dorei’s eyes.
It had taken a few hours painstaking, early morning travel – half running, half crawling through the brush. But eventually Illithias made it to her goal – a clearing of a few tall, older trees in the far eastern reaches of the forest, abutting the foothills and mountains dividing the forests from the rolling grasslands and floating land islands of Nagrand. There was the first stirrings of activity in the clearing, central fires were lit, and sporadic movement through the branches and between the trees was visible. The stench of roasting meat wafted across to the elf from the middle of the clearing tree-village – she had deliberately approached from downwind. Ensuring that the wickedly curved forearm blade was still affixed securely, Illithias drew her jagged longsword from it’s scabbard, and rose to her feet. The sibilant hiss of the sword was the only announcement of Illithias’ entry into Veil Skith.
Vekrik stood over his small campfire, the butt of his spear propped into the curve of a root for support – he leaned on it heavily. His beady eyes scanned the edge of the woods, looking for any signs or hints of the wolves or stalkers that prowled the area. Or, better still, another lost or misguided traveler or refugee. His beak clacked open and closed a few times as he worked his tongue over the edge of it. His shoulders rose and fell with a slight avian sigh. And he let out a yelping squawk and jerked up as an unexpected jolt tore into his lower back. Pain flooded him. Scrabbling to pull his spear right and failing – his fingers frantic with shock – Vekrik felt a heavy form press against his back, hot breath in his ear.
“Dorados’no.” it’s voice snarled. He didn’t have time to respond; a white hot slash along the heavy bob of his throat prevented that.
Subtlety was out of the question by now. Disturbances could be heard all throughout the Veil – corpses were being found. Illi dropped the pretext of her covert approach, running full tilt through the clearings. Any arakkoa that found itself in her way was quickly dealt with – more often than not without and change to Illithias’ stride. Broken birdmen left in her wake, she tore towards one of the main trees in the clearing – larger and older than it’s brethren, and heavy with buildings and platforms. Illi run, leapt, and began scrabbling up a rope ladder as quickly was her adrenaline fueled muscles would pull her.
She dragged herself over the lip of the platform, breath whistling between her teeth clenched from the exertion. The kal’dorei pulled herself to her knees, then to her feet, straightening herself – and coming face to face with another of the skettis. It opened it’s beak wide and screeched in Illithias’s face – she stumbled back, momentarily, and almost lost herself over the side of the wooden platform. It advanced on her in it’s race’s typical bobbing gait, swinging it’s blade low and lazily. Dropping down into a combat stance, Illithias brought her weapons up ready – not a moment too quickly. The arakkoa swung out with savage grace, air keening as the sword cut the air. Ducking behind her left arm, the elf caught the sword between the guards and edges of her forearm blade, twisting her wrist to pin the birdman’s weapon. Lunging forward, Illi lashed out with her head – butting the arakkoa once, twice in the head. It screamed as an ugly crack shot through it’s beak. Illithias cursed as more teeth were jolted loose. Maintaining the momentum, Illithias pushed forward, sending her adversary falling backwards, striking out – and slashing through the arakkoa’s head. It was dead as it hit the platform flooring. Panting and wiping the blood from her chin, Illithias leant down and pulled the keyring from the slain birdman’s belt.
“Are you here to rescue us?”
Illithias worked quickly through the keys on the heavy iron ring in turn, trying each in the padlocks holding the cage closed. The refugee children within crowded the door as she frantically tried each in turn, cursing in Darnassian all the while.
“I think they were going to eat us!”
“Are you a night elf?”
“I miss my family!”
“I like Goretusk Liver Pie!”
With a final click, the last padlock sprung open and clattered to the floorboards. Illi rose back to her feet and swung the cage door open. “Right – everyone out!”
The assorted children surged out from their confines, milling about Illithias’ legs. Most of them came up to her knees. There were a lot of them. How was she going to get them out? “Right. All of you.” the elf kneeled back down again. “I want you to all get on my…” llithias’ voice trailed off as she looked at her shoulders – both of the dark kal’dorei forged pauldrons covered in crescent blade designs. She looked back down at the various children, all looking back up at the strange, ugly elf. She sighed. She reached up and unfastened each in turn, taking off each shoulderpiece and throwing them into the canopy. “Okay, now. Everyone up on my back and shoulders.”
The children scrabbled up onto Illithias, grabbing purchase on her back, shoulders, clothing, necklace, straps, hair, ears. She stood, a little unsteadily. Hoots and screams echoed through the treetops – the avian screeching of the arakkoa of Veil Skith got louder as the birdmen warriors got closer.
“Now, hold on…” Illithias took three running paces to the edge of the platform and leapt off – hands grabbing wildly for a vine or a branch as childrens’ screams rang in her ears.
“Thankkk you very much, kkkal’dorei, for all that you’ve done…” Kirrik the Awakened croaked out.
Ankle deep in the grey ash of the Bone Wastes, Illithias was back at the temporarily halted refugee caravan. The arakkoa “leader” of the motley ensemble was thanking the berserker profusely – Illithias was trying to calm the birdman’s exultations and extract herself from the situation. Illi just wanted to return to the road, onwards towards Shadowmoon. A small tug on her belt grabbed her attention, she turned and looked down. A small human boy stood there looking up at her, eyes white against the smudgy, ashy face.
“Um, ma’am… thank you for… bringing my friends back. I wanted you to… have this…”
An old and battered device or toy of gnomish design sat in the boy’s hands. He gestured up at Illithias. She took the clockwork creation gingerly from his hands. She opened her mouth to say something, before pausing, and closing it again. She patted the child on the head instead. Turning, she headed back out of the caravan-camp hybrid, to where her sabre was stabled. No-one saw her wipe at her eyes as she brought her hood back up and over her head.
Congratulations Illi! You have looted a chest that contains a TCG Loot Card – Please email the loot master at midsummerwriting at gmail dot com to receive your prize!
Please check back tomorrow to see the third place winner in our Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest!