Bloodwen: Part XVII Edit
The Lich King might have been aware of the Horde and Alliance camped on his doorstep. Their outposts rested on opposite sides of Angrathar, towers and tents rising as time marched on. It had been weeks since the ground was claimed, and now each faction awaited fresh recruits and reinforcements. If he knew they existed he ignored them. Compared to the power of the dragonflights and the established fortresses stretching across the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord, these pitiful forces were the least of his worries.
Scouts from both factions reported seeing the light as it floated towards them. It took several minutes before they realized it emanated from a horse and its rider, a woman accompanied by two cats. She headed straight for them but they, in their wariness, made no attempt to greet her. In all honesty the Scourge were free to come and go as they pleased from Angrathar, for neither force had strengthened themselves to such a degree to attack. They let her slip past, the stranger coming to a halt in front of the saronite gates.
Teake had no idea how they were to enter the Citadel. The gates were locked and he doubted the Lich King would allow them entry. He resumed his tauren form as Sutera dismissed the aurum courser, the steed disappearing in a swirl of light.
You have come home a disembodied voice whispered to her.
The gates swung open.
Their rumble filled the two with fear. It meant the Lich King was watching. Moreover, it meant he had something planned for them, for one simply did not allow the enemy passage. They traded glances, but their destiny was set, all the pieces having slid into place. There was nowhere to go but forward.
Teake was surprised to find the gates did not slide shut after they entered. He did not know what it meant, but marked well the passage back to it, for they might need to make a quick escape. He followed Sutera, his golden-eyed companion stealing through the dark. There was little light, save a glowing blue that crawled around them as they climbed the path. They heard moans and whispers, the shuffling of many feet as unseen masses moved. The creatures dared not approach, for the Lich King would see to them personally.
The gates behind them rumbled.
Their stomachs flipped. Not long after the noise quieted they heard a set of voices drifting from behind, a mix of abrasive phrases and hisses. They recognized it at once, for prisoners in the Maelstrom never forgot the reptilian language of the Naga. Perhaps some power granted to them by their demonic master had enabled them to travel so fast. With Shyv and his troops approaching from the rear and an unknown force waiting ahead, Teake knew there remained only one choice for him if she were to survive.
Go, he thought as he turned to face the darkness. Once I am finished here, I will join you.
“We are stronger together,” she protested.
Shyv is a distraction, one the Lich King will use to his advantage. Do not think he will not strike while our backs are turned. Why else would he allow them entry?
Sutera could not argue against his logic. Instead, she nodded, stepping close to give him a kiss on his cheek. Her touch lingered for minutes after she departed, slipping further into the Citadel and toward the waiting evil.
Teake stood alone. The druid listened as the naga approached, their scales raking against the ice as they moved. Shyv’s voice was unmistakable, sending a shiver down the length of his body. Though it had been many, many days since he and Sutera were imprisoned in the Maelstrom, his encounters with Shyv would never fade.
The one-eyed warlord spotted him. His scaled hand dropped to his side where the pain from Teake’s horns still lingered. His eyes scoured the hall for Sutera, the naga frowning. As his men topped the rise they fanned out to either side, tridents and polearms ready should they receive word to attack.
There were perhaps twenty or thirty of them. Teake could not tell, given the darkness of the hall. His mouth went dry as he regarded Shyv and his troops. Sutera was far away now, sneaking through the blackness with Srymmner. There would be no help from them. From anyone.
Shyv knew this. He also knew Teake knew this.
“Where is the blood elf?” he asked, daring to approach. “Hand her over and we will allow you to live.”
It was a lie. Shyv wanted nothing more than to end the throbbing pain in his side, the constant reminder that, just once, Teake had bested him.
She is not here.
Shyv’s eye narrowed at the mental intrusion. “Do you wish to die for her, cow?”
Teake unfolded his arms, allowing them to see his metallic hands. I think you will find me more than prepared this time, Warlord. You bested me at my weakest. I am not so vulnerable now.
The troops did not require spoken orders. With only a slight shift in posture Shyv sent them at him. From all sides they closed in, hissing like enraged cobras. His staff whipped out, catching more than one upside the head. This only served to daze them for a few seconds before they rejoined their comrades. For once he was thankful for his metal hands, for he could slap away any weapons that came too close without fear of injury.
They all knew there was only so long he could hold them off. They were too many. If it took seconds or minutes, they would wash over him, strike him dead, and continue with their hunt. Shyv was certain of it, meeting Teake’s staff with his trident on several occasions, testing the tauren’s strength and speed. It was only a matter of time.
The naga did not know of the gift given to him by the Great Cat Spirit. For thousands of years no druid was taught by the great one. Yet Teake had been singled out for a very special bestowment. He was never told when he would need it. Here in the heart of the Lich King’s territory, beset on all sides by the naga…there would never be a better time.
He threw the staff away.
They piled atop him, tips of their weapons slashing and piercing his skin. Teake writhed beneath their weight, moaning as the magic enveloped him. They felt his form shift, his muscles bulging, horns melting into his skull. Losing their grip on him, he slipped from the path, sliding into the darkness. The naga stabbed at him, laughing and hissing as they struck, believing they had slain the druid.
Shyv advanced, a grin plastered across his face. This flickered as several of his men sailed over his head to come crashing against the opposite wall, necks broken and bodies crumpling. Others emerged from the dark, fleeing as blood ran from their wounds. Most never made it past him, drawn back into the fray by some giant beast. He raised his trident.
Teake burst from hiding, bear paws slapping against his scaled skin. Shyv was slow to respond, shocked by the druid’s form. It was not that he had never encountered one that could shift into a bear, for it was a common trick of their kind. It was the type of bear.
Teake slapped him aside as easily as a horse’s tail would a fly. Blue magic floated along his skin, giving him an almost incorporeal presence. While a typical druid’s bear form might be half that of its humanoid form, his had doubled, towering over the scattered naga. Teeth crushed bone, claws sliced through their skin. Many of those that could ran for the gates, only to pound on them when they realized they were sealed. These cowards were brought to the ground in no time.
Only Shyv remained, standing up the path from the carnage. He hefted his trident as Teake padded closer. The Warlord had one shot, one chance to drop the beast before it mauled him to death. Taking aim, he hurled the barbed weapon with all his strength.
It caught the bear in the shoulder. Teake roared, shaking it from him as he charged. Shyv screamed as those strong arms wrapped around him, feeling his muscles shift and bones crack. The pain in his side was but a dull echo for this agony. Teake squeezed and squeezed, only letting go when the Warlord’s voice fell silent.
Shyv’s body crumpled to the floor.
Teake’s bear body shifted until a similarly colored cat stood in its place. Transformed, he picked up Sutera’s scent, racing into the Citadel.
- Bloodwen: Part XVIII - Finale: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVIII