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Monday, 8 June 2015

Fanfic, the final.

The Unknown Paladin


Part Three

Steel clashed and the mightiest spells of our assembled host shot towards the gargantuan Gronn. His sons had done little to prepare me for the sight of him, barely contained by the vaulting cavern of his home.

A mighty giant, the bone protrusions erupting from his flesh enhanced his fearsome appearance, muscles and sinew thickly knotted limbs as large as several Tauren, measured hoof to horn. Viscously curved claws tipped fingers thicker than a stout leg. Teeth, broken and jagged but undoubtedly deadly jutted from his massive jaws, glinting in the torch light and dripping saliva.

Truly a God and King above Kings in these sundered lands.

The fury of the bestial God-King seemed boundless, as did his vitality. 
 

No wound or searing flame, nor fierce touch of elements seemed to weaken the creature. Instead, in the brief moments since the fight had been joined in earnest, he had appeared to grow, unfolding his massive bulk to meet the threat of an army.

With my blessings and the constant succour of my healing the brawlers kept their feet, nearing death only to be restored by a fist of glorious magics.

The glint in Gruul’s eye was not fear; such would be unknowable to the monster. Rather he seemed to delight at the invaders, gleeful to vent his wrath at such puny foes. Energy coursing through a body ancient and wasted by repose, stirring power long untapped and unchallenged since vanquishing the Black flight.

A hideous laugh echoed through the cavern, raining down sweeping blows as the desperate bear fought to keep the giant’s attention. A slightly built cadaver, a scout of questionable abilities danced around the thrashing fists as glancing blows crushed the unwary.

How the forsaken fool hoped to harm a god with tiny, poking envenomed blades I would never guess, but the desperate flurries were just as effective as anything else. Not very effective at all.

Blood flowed freely from dozens of gashes on Gruul’s legs, arms and torso. They did little to trouble the fiend. His growth was now clearly visible, and his strength multiplied with it.

A massive rumple took me off my feet, disturbing my tenacious grasp over the Naaru’s power. Looking around as I struggled to my feet I saw the less capable of my fellows prone or running from similar quakes, as Gruul shook his home with tremors.

Throwing a shock of potent healing magics at the tiring bear I too ran from the quake. Mid step the world froze in an instant. A surge of power flooded the room, filling my entire being.

The sweet taste washed away the bitterness of the twisted Naaru’s magic.

Not arcane, nor fel. Not even the dilute tang of elements harnessed by the Shaman. This was pure, more so even than the Sunwell.

A smile touched my lips at that blasphemy.

A wall of sound broke the moment as I was thrown towards the stalactites hanging far above.

Nausea rose and was conquered as the natural order of things resumed. The sweet taste left and the swell of the light filled my being once more.

With distaste another shock of the foul stuff left my fist, this time directed inwards. The fall had not been pleasant.

Casting an eye around, the room darkened imperceptibly. Gruul towered above, seeming to throw his fist through syrup.

The world darkened.

A step took me out of the monster’s shadow.

The world darkened.

Throwing all my weight forward in a terrific leap...

The world darkened.

... I came crashing into the troll priest, hastily shielding herself with a hushed word.

Again a moment in time extended onwards, Gruul bellowed a full throated laugh as he stamped a massive foot.

The world shattered.

The last seconds rushed through my mind, no longer slowed by Gruul’s trick.

Beyond the troll I could see the shadowy mass of a forsaken. One I recognized. That incompetent fool mage, still bursting with his stolen magic. The petrification Gruul had effortlessly cast on an army, he had just as easily smashed. The force of each shattering extending outwards wreaking terrible destruction through the forces arrayed against him.

I would not run so hastily again, being so close to the troll maiden had nearly ended me and the touch of her shielding magics around me did little but vex me with my own foolish haste.

Gruul now towered, forced to stoop beneath the cavern ceiling and breaking stalactites with every move.

The chaos of falling rock went largely unnoticed with the constant tremors and the desperation to bring the beast down before the whole of the mountain range fell upon us all.

The festering buffoon had followed me, grinning as he called for my blessings even as he sent a bolt of flame from a flailed hand.

Blessing bestowed, I glowered briefly at him, turning my attention back to the viscous melee. More had fallen as Gruul gained in size and strength, crushing those unfortunate enough to be caught beneath his indiscriminate strikes.

A soundless explosion reverberated through the cavern, and silence reigned. The magic burned in my hands for release, but no words could issue forth. No sounds of the carnage, nor the wails of the injured.

The magic flared as sound rushed once more into the world.

But too late.

With one staggering blow the bear was floored, Gruul raised a foot to finish the dazed druid. Tugging at the power of the Naaru, ripping power through the ether into me I extended my hands, palm out. 
 

The laying of hands would once have drained a paladin of every ounce of strength and life, but Kael had taught our people well that a desperate act could hold untold rewards.

Ripping at my belt pouch a cool bottle came immediately to hand.

A tiny vial of blue liquid.

In the back streets of Silvermoon, or in the ruins where the Wretched fought for their meagre, warped existence in decrepit slums, a single drop from this vial could buy the head of any elf in the city.

Bitter magic, foul and plain. But it infused me, reinvigorating after the exhausting spell.

The bear had regained his senses, and my mighty effort had given the others time to react. Bellowing a challenging roar the druid seemed to enrage, growing in size and sweeping his massive paws in a berserk effort to mangle a foe so far beyond his capabilities that the blows may as well have been swats at flies.

Gruul’s amusement seemed to wane. Perhaps the efforts of our motley army were finally having an effect, though the Gronn seemed to grow still more massive.

A roar again echoed through the cavern, and I braced, quickly throwing flashes of healing magic as I waited for the inevitable.

Glancing around, I could see the less stupid of my fellows bracing themselves. As one we flew in arcs towards the hanging stalactites.

Hitting the floor in a roll, I was ready.

The world darkened.

Luck favours the wary and a dark alcove awaited me a short run away.

The world darkened.

Throwing myself again in a marvellous leap I rolled forward. Momentum threw me forward faster than my legs would now carry me as I...

The world darkened.

... crashed into the dank stone of the cavern wall.

The world shattered.

I could hear cries behind me as I quickly closed a fresh gash on my cheek.

The torch light showed the cavern floor was littered with bodies. Few were still conscious, crawling to their feet to continue the battle.

Gruul paused briefly, possibly according some measure of honour to the bear once more prone before him. A foot viscously stamping the life from the druid ended any conveyance.

Turning his fierce regard from the melee Gruul eyed the rotting moron of a mage, gleefully bending to pluck the unfortunate from half a room away.

The end had come. These puppets had failed at the last hurdle.

The taste of Gruul’s power only magnified the torment of my defeat.

This left only one course of action, a slim chance that something could be salvaged yet.

Running forward I shrouded myself in a divine shield, wrapping the trapped Naaru’s considerable power around myself.

Gruul turned his attention from me to hurriedly maim and kill the last of the invaders.

Falling to my knees before the Gronn God I knew I must beseech him for whatever mercy he might have. I would not be an ineffective servant, and perhaps I could win the power I sought under a new master. Not the end I wished, with the captive giant humbled before the assembled people of Silvermoon, ready to crown a new champion. A new regent. But service could have rewards.

My King. Spare me that I might serve.” With a swallow I saw that I had the entirety of his gruesome attention, and the magic protecting me would not last long. “Your court is dead, your bastion in ruins. 
 

You could make good use of my power. The Naaru’s Light bends to my will, and with me as emissary there are worlds beyond this you could crush under heel!”

Gruul considered my words well, a smile touching that monstrous countenance.

His laugh once again echoed through his home.

Gruul not need unworthy runt. Die!”

Raising a fist the Gronn kept his gaze fixed to mine. The faintly glowing bubble of divine energy surrounding me did not feel too invulnerable.

The blow shattered the already failing barrier with ease.

It ends here. Not glory, not the pleasures of the arcane. Just death.



***



The shade of the unknown paladin retreated from the mouth of Gruul’s cave, the crunch of bones echoing throughout Blades Edge, a warning to any who would invade the home of the Dragonkiller.