((Some time back we had an RP funeral for one of our guildmates who felt that his story had run its course. Jolstraer was an awesome, ass kicking old sod, and every Rider misses him. Fortunately his PLAYER has returned for us to goof around with, but the character is forever gone.
Aely of That Place Over There opted NOT to have a ghost story, as she had a lot going on. What was really interesting and fun was how she was drawn into the story as a comforting presence for those suffering. It got me thinking: WHY was Aely spared when the rest of the guild was not. The answer, I decided, was the lingering spirit of Jolstraer, with whom Aely was very close. This story is what happened to Maggie Maunt’s ghost when he went toe to toe with our dearly departed.))
The first ran through the woods, eyes fixed on the ground beneath his boots. Every beat of feet against the earth resulted in a clang that tore through the morning quiet. The fogs had risen high, covering the land in an ethereal blanket of sweeping grays and whites. They recoiled from the first, though, making way, for he was wrong and dark and did not belong here.
Past his own domain, now treading dangerously close to the world of the living, the land would not welcome him.
She was somewhere beyond the mists, the old witch said, and he had to find her. She was his, given to him as a gift, ripe for the taking – a proper spoil of war for a conquering warlord – and so he’d strapped on his kit to pursue the prize. He would take her from where she belonged and bring her to a place where the winds sang the lamentations of those long lost.
He broke through the underbrush, sending the forest creatures skittering in fear. The clearing was beyond the weeping willow, and he pulled his sword from his back, gauntlets folding around the grip. The mists parted, signaling the end of his world and the beginning of hers, and beneath his black sallet helmet he allowed a rictus grin.
He crested the hill to peer down into the valley. She had red hair, the witch said, the color of fine spun garnet and gold, long enough to veil her from shoulder to hip. She was tale and pale, paler than good cream, the blood of the north singing through her veins. He licked his lips in wanting, hungry for a taste of such a succulent morsel, hungry for her pride and her life and everything she had to offer.
There was a bellow behind him.
He spun, bracing his legs at the second’s approach. The stranger was outfitted in gleaming silver, in armor forged by the Covenant, riding a mount of magic and light. He slid from the horse’s side and charged, bellowing a war cry, his glowing mace raised above his head. His shield was emblazoned blue and white and gold, matching the cloak that rippled behind him like water.
There was a thud and a clang as the combatants met on the hill, the first swinging his great sword in sweeping arcs, weapon shaking and shuddering as it struck against the second’s shield. The second never gave ground, grunting and growling as he took each hit. He bent his legs and held his head down as he began to push forward, using the shield as a battering ram. The first tried to jerk his sword at the second’s legs, but his blade met a protective shield, a barrier of gold that shimmered once but otherwise remained unchanged.
“Who are you! I have no quarrel with you.”
The second said nothing, just pushed onward, a single eye glowing white above his faceplate. The first stepped back, maintaining his balance as best he could while in retreat, but the hillside was steep and his feet were skimming over rocks and dew laden grass. The mace was raised above the second’s head again, poised to strike. There was another bellow as the weapon came down, swung strong, like it was wielded by a god’s own hand. As it struck the first’s sword, the dark weapon was shattered into a thousand pieces, shards of metal and wood flying in a shrieking spray of shadows.
The warlord rasped, fear coiling in the pit of his stomach.
“What magic is this, Stranger?”
The second said nothing, spinning around to swing the mace again, forcing the flat of the hammer into the first’s middle, crushing the plate in like it was tin and not ebon forged steel. The first staggered to his knee, bending not by choice but by necessity, and he jerked his head back, peering up at the face of the champion.
He opened his mouth to speak, to try and reason with this strange being, but no words were allowed to come. The shield of Lordaeron ripped through the air, a glinting thing of gold and marvel, the edges slicing through the neckguard and the skin beneath. There was a hiss and a crunch, and then there was nothing as the first fell into a heap, his form dissolving into a pile of soot and ash.