My friend is fighting for her life.
Malyss has been pushing her attacks hard ever since her rune weapon copy appeared. Strike after strike, each one coming from a different quarter… Lelissa can’t keep up. She parries the rune weapon, and takes a solid hit from Malyss’ swing. She dodges Malyss’ next attack, and the rune weapon clips her shoulder and sends her spinning. She manages to catch herself before she falls, and she looks up at me… I see in Lelissa’s eyes something I’ve never seen before.
Through all this time that we’ve been together, even when we were outnumbered, in unfamiliar territory, or venturing through the frozen lands of Northrend, Lelissa always was so nonchalant about the dangers we were facing. She would always charge headfirst into the thick of battle, never showing a hint of doubt or fear of the outcome… but today, my friend knows she is outmatched, and she is deeply afraid.
For both of us.
It was the purplish glint of khorium jutting out of the side of the rocky hillside that had led Esmerellda to be perched on a rock that was, of course, not as close to the vein as it had appeared to be from the ground. While she was sure there had to be an easier way of getting to it without a leap of faith and hoping she wouldnâ€™t slide past it, she simply wasn’t seeing it. Maybe if she got to the top of the hill and climbed downwards about where it was…
But there was a patrol of ogres that generally passed by the area at the top of the hill. So far, Esmerellda had been lucky in that they hadn’t heard her grumbling and noisy climbing yet, but she was pretty sure she wasn’t fast enough to climb to the top, figure out where would be the best place to come down from, and get back down far enough that they wouldn’t see her in the time it took them to make their loop. She could always attack them and hope for the best, but they were significantly bigger than she was, and wielded large maces. The kind that would probably break bones if they hit any. Esmerellda wasn’t that confident in her melee abilities to want to take on more than one at a time, and she seriously doubted they’d attack one at a time.
Climbing was really the only option she had. It looked like there was a way to the khorium going at it from the other side, a faint path that hadn’t been visible from the ground. Upon reaching it, Esmerellda decided it was perhaps a better route than risking getting noticed by the ogres. In fact, there was only one little hop she had to make to reach the vein…
In no time she was happily mining way, trying to be as quiet as she could whenever she thought she heard the ogres approaching, picking up the chunks of khorium as they fell to the ground near her feet. Unfortunately for her, one of the ogres had heard the sound of her pickaxe on the metal, and came over to investigate without her noticing.
She did notice when the ogre suddenly roared above her, reached down and grabbed hold of her and pulled her up the short distance to the top of the hill. As it flung her off to the side, Esmerellda couldn’t help but be surprised at how close to the top of the hill the khorium actually was. She was also thankful that when she landed it was a bush that somewhat cushioned her landing, and not a tree.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have a lot of time to get her wits about her, as the two friends of the ogre that had tossed her were charging towards her. Esmerellda barely managed to move out of the way of the first one, and almost didn’t get her shield up in front of her before the second one ran into her. The force of the ogre crashing into her knocked the wind out of her and knocked her over backwards. Blinking up at the sky, Esmerellda decided the best course of action was not to stay and fight, but to run away, assuming she could make it back up onto her feet again. Not very likely, given the speed she was moving.
The third one had almost reached where she was lying prone when a strange fast-moving blur charged at it from the side. The third one roared in pain, and the other two turned to see what the problem was. As Esmerellda slowly sat up, it occurred to her that the fast, blurry thing looked a little like a Draenei wielding a large axe.
With the ogre’s attention away from her for the moment, she closed her eyes and mumbled a few words, making a few gestures to go along with them. After a few seconds, she felt immensely better as the healing power of the Light flowed through her. Standing up, she was surprised to see one of the ogres lying motionless on the ground, the Draenei busy dealing with the other two, seeming to easily dodge or parry their blows.
Or most of them anyway, though getting hit didn’t seem to slow the Draenei down as much as it would Esmerellda. Esmerellda cast two quick healing spells on the Draenei, and before long, the first ogre fell to the ground and the second started slowly backing up, deciding in its injured state that perhaps continuing the fight wasn’t worth it. By the time it actually turned around to start to run away, it was too late. The Draenei had rushed back into melee range and killed it before it made it three steps away.
“And you thought I was following you,” Esmerellda said. “Thanks, though. I really don’t think I could have gotten away from them.”
“You are welcome,” the Draenei replied.
“I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself. I’m Esmerellda.”
The Draenei paused for a second before answering. “My name is Lelissa.”
I wish I could help her. I wish I didn’t have to watch this. Malyss’ rune weapon is gone, but the damage is done. Lelissa’s left arm is just hanging limp; I don’t know if her shoulder is dislocated, or if her arm is broken. She can barely hold her mace aloft, let alone block with it. Malyss is taunting her now, slamming her mace into Lelissa’s again and again, screaming at her in that strange, dark language.
Lelissa is unarmed now. Malyss is swinging, a blazing fast attack that required her whole body and a spin… connecting with Lelissa’s already injured left arm. I see the armor crumple in, hear the bones crack as that crushing blow sends Lelissa flying to the side. Defiant as ever, Lelissa picks herself up off the floor, rising to her knees to look me in the eye as Malyss strides up behind her, hate painted so clearly on her face. Tears are streaming down my face as I look into Lelissa’s eyes for what I’m sure will be the last time.
She smiles at me, warm and caring, the smile of a Draenei… no, a woman who has been my friend and more for a long time now. She closes her eyes as Malyss brings her heavy mace down, the head striking squarely into Lelissa’s back between her shoulders, crushing the broken body to the ground.
Malyss kicks her sister’s body in contempt and leaves. No final words. Just leaving us to the cold, gray death that Northrend will give us, Lelissa bleeding out onto the cavern floor, and me, freezing to death just as Malyss promised I would.
But why am I so warm?