This story is set in the WoW universe. A throwback to the days when I played. It's set in an alternate future where everything's gone down the tubes lol. I never thought about expanding it but one day I might. I doubt it though as I've given up WoW (for a while now LOL).
Good luck and good gaming,
Algrun Stonefist looked on in awe at the great gates of his ancestral home. Many times had he seen them but the sight never failed to make his heart swell with joy. Great runes, easily as tall as an ogre, traced in gold and bronze marked out the name of the great capital city of Ironforge. Towering above him, unchanging throughout the centuries, stood the statue of a great dwarven hero from ages past. His war hammer held at the ready, he waited defiantly, daring those who would attempt to besiege the great hold. The shafts of sunlight pouring through the early morning clouds only worked to accentuate the loving craftsmanship that had gone into such a monumental edifice. Of course, dwarves were never known for doing anything in half measure. Even those of the dark kin were masters of the craft of stonemasonry. Such proof could easily be seen in their fastness of Blackrock Mountain.
It was all almost enough to make him forget the dull ache that had settled into his joints during the long trek up the side of the cold mountain. In younger days he had walked many miles, the weather and the land never giving him pause. Now, as time took its toll, he found the cold climes of Coldridge to be as perilous a foe as any orc. “One false step you old fool”, he mused to himself, “and down you’ll take one hell of a tumble… heh heh heh.” Thoughts of sliding arse-first down the side of the snow-covered slopes brought more of a chuckle as memories of riding through Winterspring avoiding frost giants and angry dragon kin wormed their way into his mind.
“One should never be cursed as to live this long”, he muttered to himself and he leaned on his walking staff in an attempt to ease the throbbing in his knees. Sighing, he gave up any attempt at appeasing his irritated body and made his way through the gates into the bustling crowd. His thoughts turned more morose as he made his way deeper into the city. All around him he could see the signs that the war was not going well. Refugees crowded together, shoulder to shoulder, looking for food, water, shelter, anything to ease their suffering. Man, elf, and dwarf stood side by side with orc and tauren and troll.
Much had changed in the greater part of the century that had passed since the signing of the treaty between the two warring factions which brought about the stalemate and relative peace. The days of the Alliance and the Horde had long since ended. Each side had been forced to put aside their petty differences and work together with the great betrayal by the Forsaken and the coming of legions of a new demon king, Rasool’aljahennum. All feared that the Scourge, or worse, the Burning Legion, had returned to invade the world of Azeroth as they had not so long before, but this enemy was different. He bore no allegiance to the Burning Legion even if he did use its demonic minions to do his bidding. There were no waves of the undead as had accompanied the Scourge, only the unending tides of malevolent monsters bound to his dark will.
“So many gone…”
As he meandered through the swarming throng, Algrun cursed. The faces of friends long lost came once again unbidden to his mind, each a haunting reminder that he was, in fact, still alive. Without thinking, his hand found the sigil he wore around his neck and began to rub it instinctively. It did little to comfort him. If anything, the small silver hand was a cruel reminder of his own failure on that day so long ago. His thoughts darkened more as he remembered the day his order died.
“If only I had fallen. If only I was not cursed to bear this burden.”
Realizing that he had reached his destination Algrun quickly hid the pendant once more beneath his coarse woolen shirt and entered the sprawling cathedral. He found himself greeted as he always was by the gleeful sounds of children’s laughter as they spotted him.
“Hello my wee ones” he returned with as much congeniality as he could muster. “My how you’ve all grown since last I was here!”
Spying the knapsack resting on his shoulder, the children cried “What have you brought us Algrun?!?”
“Patience, patience. We’ll get to that soon enough children. First I must speak with Father Ironbeard.”
Looking around, he found the familiar faces of the poor priests put in charge of the rampaging mob of children left orphaned by the war. Times had been hard for those who had means since the coming of the armies of the demon king. Those who had nothing found their miserable lives made worse as the war ground on. Food which had been hard to come by before was now almost impossible. Had it not been for the kindness of the church many of the poor street urchins would have died long before. As it stood now, their deaths were merely postponed. Word had it the armies of darkness were once again on the march and they had set their eyes on the capitals of Stormwind and Ironforge in the west and on Orgrimmar and Darnassus in the east.
“Where may I find the Father?” he asked as he handed over the trove of treats and toys to a passing priest who sighed with feigned exasperation at being made the children’s new target for pestering.
“The father has an audience with the king now. He shall return shortly….. Marela.. Stop that…children.. Stop that! Oh why do I bother?”
Seizing the chance to calm his wayward charges , the young priest swiftly doled out the items in hopes that he might see some peace. The mischievous youths set about their playing with gusto, running back and forth with youthful abandon. “That’s all for now children.”, he said, “I shall pass the treats out later after supper. We wouldn‘t want to ruin your dinner, now would we?” This was met with a unison of dismay as the children clambered around him looking for a chance at the sweets still hidden deep in the folds of the bag.
“Children! I have a wonderful idea. Why don’t you ask Master Stonefist for a story?”
With their attention turned, the priest swiftly made his way to the kitchen’s larder to lock away the goodies. Algrun eyed the retreating priest from under his cowl only to find his look returned with a wan smile as the priest made good his escape.
"Tell us a story Algrun!" cried Ceron.
"Yes yes...tell us a story please!" chorused the gathered children in unison.
Algrun looked down at their dirty, pleading faces and smiled sadly.
“Tut tut children. Where are your manners?”
Reaching down he ruffled the young Ceron’s hair, much to the boy’s chagrin.
“Awww…Algrun… Why you have to do that? It’s embarrassing” complained the youth.
“Fine fine… You win children. Let me find a spot to rest these poor weary bones and I’ll tell you a story.”
After a bit of searching, Algrun found a spot out of the way of the trains of those entering and leaving the holy sanctuary where he could properly tell his story without worry of being trodden on or have the children scattered like a covey of quail. They gathered at his feet eagerly awaiting his story as they always did. Few took time with the poor things outside the weary priests and his stories were always greeted with enthusiasm. Many of the novices in training to join the ranks of the priesthood would stop and listen as well for his stories were well renowned, much to the chagrin of their teachers.
“Now children, what shall I tell you? Shall it be of the dragon flights and their wars? Or should it be of the boy king of Stormwind as his perilous flight from Theramore after the invasion of the evil Demon King? Or shall I simply pick one?”
“Anything Algrun” they replied with smiles.
“As you wish little ones.” Stroking his long white beard, he started his story.
"Tales have long been told of ancient kings and heroes and gods and demons. Some true, some fairy tales. Some a mixture of the two. Such is the way of all these stories. Take heed children for the tale I tell you now is one of a true hero. Long ago in the lands of Kalimdor, far to the east across great seas filled with beasts of wonder, was born a child……..
His words were cut short by the sounds of screaming and a great bestial roar echoing through the stone hallways. Algrun started. It had been long since he had heard such a roar but he recognized it. The children began to cry and squeal with fear, looking for a place to hide. “To your room!” Algrun ordered as he grabbed up the youngest, leading them to the safety of their sleeping quarters. Scores of the terrified flooded into the church seeking sanctuary from the beast that raged outside, making the short trip rough going. Over the cries of dismay and the shouts of alarm, Algrun could hear the monster’s booming voice.
“Bow before the Messenger of your coming Lord Rasool’aljahennum and despair! He who is immortal! He who is the never ending Death! He who will crush you mortals! He shall grind your bones to dust and spread them to the four winds. Your lands will burn and your crops will die and Death and Pestilence shall be the only rewards you reap! The Light is gone, long destroyed by his hand! Bear witness to the glory of the coming Darkness!”
Grabbing a passing priest, Algrun passed the children over. “Take them now!”
“What’s going on? What is it?” the priest cried.
“Darkness. Now go!”
Algrun turned and made his way towards the vestibule. “Old fool… What do you think you can do? No weapons, no armor… The beast will surely kill you” he muttered to himself. “May haps that’s not so bad.”
The sounds of battle greeted him as he exited the chapel and entered the charnel house the great doomguard had created. Broken bodies of soldiers lay strewn across the wide plaza, mingling with those of the innocents they had strove in vain to defend. Corpses filled the holy fountain, tainting the holy waters with blood and viscera. The soldiers were not alone in their fight. From everywhere they had come. Warriors, mages, druids. Even priests from the chapel had rushed to meet this terrible foe under the lead of Father Ironbeard who had come to lend his aid. All was for wont though.
The demon’s rampage could not be stopped. Priests tried in vain to heal those the beast laid low but with the coming of the Demon King the flow of holy magic had waned. The influx of darkness he had brought with him had nearly snuffed it out. Few now could draw the power to do more than heal simple wounds and fractures and they found their power now sorely lacking. Rage filled Algrun as he strode to meet the demon head on. The small silver hand began to glow as he closed the distance between himself and the beast.
As if sensing his presence the doomguard turned and scented the air. A look of confusion crossed its bestial visage.
“DEMON!” Algrun roared as he swept up the hammer of a fallen warrior and charged. “Face me!”
the creature bellowed, “Your kind is dead and gone! None of you survived the coming of the Master and the battle in the Blasted Lands!”
Wasting no time, Algrun took the hammer by its haft. Bring his free hand around, he slapped it against the runed surface the hammer’s head and began chanting. “By this vow do I pledge that while breath is still drawn the Darkness shall not stand. You stand in judgment beast. I am the Retribution of the old times. I am His hammer of Justice and Wrath.” Each blow brought forth a clarion ring, forcing the demon back. The war hammer took on an unearthly glow as Algrun swept it towards the retreating demon. Light exploded as the hammer smashed into the unholy flesh of the monster, eliciting a scream of agony. Calling on the tenuous threads of holy magic surrounding him, Algrun once again took up a chant pulling the power from the blessed grounds of the church itself.
Those surrounding the fight stood in shock at what they witnessed, unable to believe what transpired before their eyes. Many had seen the terrible power of the Demon King’s minions but only those who had lived in better times had ever seen the power of one of the holy warriors of Uther. Father Ironbeard stammered, “It cannot be…” .
Algrun parried the doomguard’s blow, feeling the beast’s immense power as it resonated down the length of his hammer, numbing his arms. “That which was once holy shall be made so once again!” The demon recoiled as the consecrated stones below its feet began resonating with holy magic as Algrun finished his prayer. Taking the little respite offered by the demon’s retreat, Algrun made to heal the damage that had been done to his tired old body. He felt some of his weariness lift as his body was renewed and fortified by the gathered priests. This done, he once again set about the task of felling his foe.
The beast was strong and Algrun could feel his strength being leeched away, even with the priests' aid. He would have to end it soon or the beast would simply wear him down. Looking into the blazing orbs of the demon's eyes, he could tell it sensed the same. Bellowing in rage, the doomguard raised to it's full height and charged Algrun.
“It is time you die mortal! No more will you meddle in my Master‘s great work! Join the rest of your ilk in Hell!”
Swinging with all its might, the demon brought its sword down. With nowhere to go, Algrun brought the hammer up once more and readied for the onslaught. The two weapons met, the hammer shattering with a discordant clang and the demon’s sword a hellish shriek. Bring its massive size to bear, the demon sought to overpower the dwarf with sheer strength alone. Rolling aside, Algrun once again called on his holy powers to smite the demon, casting a holy exorcism on the ancient monster. The beast stumbled, its power finally abandoning it. Sensing the doomguard was near its end, he made one more prayer. “In His name I call forth His hammer of wrath to smite the foe that would stand against the holy Light!!” The air around Algrun crackled with small arcs of lightning as he brought his hands together and conjured the ancient weapon.
“Your judgment has been passed demon”, he whispered as he slammed the ethereal hammer down into the dying demon.
Exhaustion settled over his beaten body and Algrun slumped to his knees, welcoming the respite as a drowning man welcomes the sweet taste of air. The stench of brimstone surrounded him as the demon’s body slowly dissipated in a fog of black smoke. Waving the smoke away, he looked to the expectant, surrounding faces. Turning to Father Ironbeard he spoke. “Fetch me some water Father. There is much work to do here and we must revive them before their souls wander too far from their bodies.”
“I’m sorry Algrun. None have the power to resurrect the dead my friend. It has long been denied us since the coming of the Demon King.”, said the father with sadness. “Best you rest now.”
Grunting with effort, Algrun stood once more, his body protesting the further abuse. “Watch Father… The Light still flows through this world. It has yet been snuffed out.”
Nodding skeptically, Ironbeard sent for the water. Within moments the scurrying priests returned with what vessels they could find, each filled with water from the bloody fountain. Algrun pulled the small charm from around his neck and in turn, dipped it in each. The necklace glowed once more as he whispered a short prayer, purifing the water. "Annoint the fallen with this water and then stand back."
For the first time in many years, Algrun called on the powers granted to him on his aescention to paladinhood and began chanting. His voice raised, he attempted to summon back those killed by the demon's onslaught. Golden haloes of light exploded around the dead as each was resurrected by his spell. Spent by the energies it had taken to bring them back, Algrun stumbled, catching himself before he fell. "See to them. They have been returned to you but they will need more care than I can give them at the moment." The priests moved in, taking those resurrected to be further healed.
Tears filling his eyes, Father Ironbeard stepped to his side and held the staggering paladin. "It is a miracle Algrun."
"As the Light wills, Father... As the Light wills."
Pulling back his cowl, he looked on the priest with his one good eye. “Father, call me Algrun no longer. That was my name before I took up my holy duties as a paladin. You may call me by the name given to me by my tutor and master, you may call me Minamoto.”
"And one more thing, I must speak with the King and his advisors. We have a war to prepare for."