Sunday, May 10, 2009

Barraccus and Rhokk: Part 3

Don't forget to check on Crison's blog here to see what's happening with Rhokk.


Barraccus wandered through the Plaguewood, searching as he went. He did not get far before he discovered a recently abandoned campsite and found a faint trail, but he lost it quickly. He had to watch out for the packs of undead that roamed the 'Wood as well, but he had no troubles with them; the few Scourge that discovered him he cut down mercilessly. At times he could see his wife's or sons' faces while he swung his axe, but he continued on relentlessly.

He found no more signs that day, and made camp after darkness fell in a small stand of sickly-looking trees. His deathcharger stood guard outside. His last thought, before sleep took him, was that he had never named it.

Rhokk, where could you be hiding? he thought on the morning of the third day. The Plaguewood was big, but not that big, yet he had seen nothing other than a couple more abandoned campsites. Any trails he found were lost after a few yards. He finally decided he had to search closer to Stratholme, which he had been avoiding up til now. Touching his heels to his nameless charger, he moved on.

He came within sight of the ruins of Stratholme shortly after noon, having traveled slowly so he could search along the way. Starting at one side of the lake in front of the gates, he worked his way along the shore. As he went, however, he began to feel uneasy, like he was being watched. He saw nothing, but still tried to keep under cover as much as possible.

He reached the front gates of the ruined city, then finally, he spotted something. He dismounted and crept up as close as he dared, peering through the branches of a tree. There was a huddled shape near the gate, and after a minute's study Barraccus knew that it was Rhokk. Filled with both relief and apprehension, he got to his feet and began walking toward the draenei.

"I wouldn't get too close to him if I were you."

Barraccus whirled, drawing his axe from his back and dropping to a defensive crouch. Sitting underneath a nearby tree was a human. No, he corrected himself, seeing her glowing eyes. A death knight.

Staying in his position in case she attacked, Barraccus studied her, as she studied him. After several tense minutes, something in his mind clicked, and he relaxed his stance, lowering his axe. "You're Crison, aren't you?" he asked her. She nodded. "Very good guess. How did you know?" "Rhokk sent me a letter a few days ago," he told her. "He mentioned you. He said you abandoned him." She narrowed her eyes. "I never abandoned him. But he has gotten too dangerous to be around. He doesn't know his friends from his enemies anymore. I've been watching him... from a safe distance." "What is wrong with him?" Barraccus asked. "Do you know?"

Before Crison could answer, they heard a muffled shout. Barraccus spun towards Rhokk, only to see the draenei climb to his feet and start yelling and shaking his fists at... nothing. Barraccus watched, his concern growing, as Rhokk drew his weapons and rushed at a stand of skinny trees. He began attacking them, felling them one at a time. When the last tree fell, so did Rhokk, collapsing in obvious exhaustion. He curled into a ball and began crying softly.

Barraccus turned in confusion to Crison. She looked back at him with one eyebrow quirked. "You see what I mean now? That's not the first time he's done that, and he's getting worse." Barraccus shook his head and sighed. "But I have to help him. That's why I came," he said quietly. "It's your funeral," the other death knight replied. "But I'll try to help any way I can." Barraccus nodded his thanks then turned back to Rhokk. He gasped.

A blue glow was hovering above Rhokk's body. As the death knights watched, it slowly formed itself into the shape of a wolf. The ghostly animal looked down at Rhokk sadly; Barraccus thought he heard it whine. Then it suddenly looked up at him. As its translucent eyes met his, he gasped again. Then abruptly the wolf shimmered and disappeared. Barraccus stared at the spot where it had stood for several minutes, then turned to Crison. "Has that ever happened before?" he asked, and she shook her head. "I've seen things around him, but never anything clear. That's the first time I've seen what it was."

Barraccus turned back to Rhokk, then started slowly toward him. He couldn't get the look in the ghost wolf's eyes out of his mind.

It had been a plea for help.

Slowly, carefully, the death knight approached the fallen shaman.

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