Lark wasn't the only one to have a rough time at the Shattering. Yeesh.
The clerk didn't look up as Arvoss stepped up to the desk, his eyes glued to the paper he was looking over. "Name and business?" he asked briskly.
Arvoss swallowed nervously. "Ah'm lookin' fer information oan a partic'lar paladin, sah," he said.
"Davoss Torbrynn, sah."
"And your relation to Sir Davoss?" pressed the clerk, who still hadn't looked up.
Arvoss hesitated. "Ah'm... Ah'm 'is da," he finally said softly.
"Sir Davoss' father has been deceased for some ti-" The clerk finally looked up, only to cut himself off as he met the shining blue eyes of the death knight. He cleared his throat. "I see," he said tactfully. He stared at Arvoss, not exactly unfriendly but not encouraging either.
After a few awkward moments Arvoss cleared his own throat. "Look, naow," he told the clerk. "Ah'm nae aftah anneh trouble, ye ken? Ah'd jes' like t' 'ear 'ow mah boy's been doin' then Ah'll be out o' yer 'air."
The officiary blinked, then seemed to consider for a second. "Well then," he said, seeming satisfied. "Let's see here." He began shuffling through another stack of papers, then pulled one out and scanned it. Arvoss peered at it as he read. "Sir Davoss was stationed in Southshore some weeks ago," he told Arvoss after a moment, then he blinked again. He cleared his throat again as he set the paper down, then looked up at the death knight. "He, ah, hasn't been seen or heard from since the Forsaken attack," he said with a touch of compassion. "I'm sorry, sir."
Arvoss just stood still at first, then he slowly raised his eyes to meet those of the clerk. His expression had gone... hollow was probably the best way to describe it. His voice was a hoarse whisper. "Sae tha's it, then? Ye say 'e's gone?"
The clerk looked down at the paper again- it was easier than continuing to meet those eyes. "The report doesn't say, sir. It might be that he just hasn't been able to send word yet- communications are still down in some places. But... it doesn't look good, I'm afraid."
Arvoss nodded. Suddenly he looked very, very old. He rested one hand on the desk for a moment. "Thank ye, lad." Then he turned and slowly made his way out of the Cathedral.
* * * * * *
Two weeks earlier...
Davoss steered his charger back toward Southshore absently, going over the report he would give in his head. He had been sent out to look for brigands, and had found them up in the Alterac headlands, far too close for comfort. The magistrate would likely want to send out a force to deal with them. Dav wondered if he would be picked to go.
Thorn suddenly snorted and came to a stop, tossing his head. Dav patted the gelding's neck, then got him going again. But the horse only went a few more steps before halting again, eyes rolling. Davoss looked up ahead to see what had spooked him. That's when he saw the plaguewagons.
He pulled Thorn off to the side, into a stand of trees, and dismounted. Tethering the horse, he slowly crept up on foot, just in time to see the bombing start. He watched in horror as the Forsaken overran Southshore, killing anyone that tried to escape- only the knowledge that he would be killed just like the others kept him from rushing out to fight. Instead, he made himself watch as long as he could. Once it became too much for him to handle, he forced himself to go back to Thorn and mount. Then he spurred the horse into a gallop, heading away from the carnage as fast as he could.
The screams died down in his ears, and soon he slowed the horse, looking around to try and get his bearings. He realized that he was nearing the Fields, and decided that was as good a place as any to get back and make a report on what had happened.
The smell was what warned him. A stiff breeze brought the acrid scent of death and chemicals to both his nose and Thorn's. The charger tossed his head again, snorting, as Dav slowly forced him closer to the Fields. Once he was close enough to see what the Forsaken had made of it, he quickly turned his horse's head and rode away, again.
Once he judged he was a safe distance away, he pulled his mount to a stop and tried to think. The only two options he saw were to either go north up the river to Chillwind and catch a gryphon there, or head to the Wall and Arathi, then to Refuge Point. He judged Refuge Point would be marginally closer, plus there would be little Forsaken presence once he got past Thoradin's Wall. He sent Thorn off at a quick trot.
He found himself dodging Forsaken patrols as he passed by Southshore again, then made it to the river and crossed. Once past that, he spurred Thorn into a gallop again. They reached the Wall, and he pulled Thorn into a sudden halt. He stared in dismay at the Forsaken camp planted squarely across his road home, then turned the weary charger again and headed north and west, back to the river. He hoped the way to Chillwind was clear.
It happened in a brief lapse of attention. He was riding past an abandoned tower when a scourgehook suddenly flew out and wrapped around Thorn's neck, then yanked them both back. Davoss heard the horse's neck snap- the poor beast didn't even have time to scream. Dav managed to throw himself clear of the horse as they flew through the air, landing several yards away from the abomination. He lay still, hoping the undead monster would think him dead and take its time getting to him, and it seemed his hopes were granted as the thing bent over the horse's corpse. Dav held his breath, counted to five, then rose up to a crouch and sprinted for the nearest cover.
The hook flew out and caught him around the middle. He couldn't hold back a scream as he felt the tip gouge into his stomach, then he was flying through the air toward the waiting monster. Pushing the pain to the back of his mind, Davoss summoned a blast of holy power and threw it at the abom, miraculously managing to stun it. He landed in a heap at its feet, stumbled to his feet and ran as best as he could, away.
* * * * * *
Davoss stumbled to the riverbank and dropped, rolling to his side to try and protect his injured stomach. The wound burned, and his shirt under his armor was already soaked with blood. He made himself sit up after a moment, then began painfully pulling off pieces of his armor. His mail shirt had a hole in it from the scourgehook, and he tossed it aside, then pulled off the shirt. The wound didn't look too deep, and his guts were all still inside him, thank the Light. The torn skin around it was turning an angry red, however. He didn't know what disease would look like, and wasn't sure how one caught the plague anyway, but he did know that the injury needed tending, and now.
He called up all the Light that he could manage in his weary, weakened state, then directed it at the gash. It began knitting together, and some of the red faded, but he knew he needed to get a real healer to look at it as soon as possible. He tore up his ruined shirt and used the strips to wrap up the wound, then stood up and stumbled onward, heading upriver. His armor sat on the riverbank, abandoned.
To be continued...