The Trial of Kranik cont.Edit
He stood in the outside courtyard of the Undercity, looking at the broken columns and the small wooden bridge, covering the green slime moat. He thought back to his wife, cradling his tabbard in his absence. He traced his fingers down the hilts of his daggers, that he took back from his wife’s bags as she slept. He balled his fists and looked to his right, to one of the various secret entrances into the bowels of the Undercity.
He walked up the small stairs and thrust the door open. It groaned in protest, once before grinding open. He looked at the small room before him. Several more broken pillars lined the sides of the room. The room save for that was empty. There were doors that lined the bottom part of the this room. Three for each side, save for the one that the huge door was on.
He shifted his eyes upwards, to the three balconies and the three sets of doors that lined them. He knew the ones he wanted to find, were to be found on the top floor. The bottom set of doors, were all deathtraps.
He looked over all the balconies, he could feel another presence. He couldn’t see it however. He sprinted across the room, and leapt up to one of the broken pillars. He vaulted from one to another before landing gracefully on the balcony to his left. He scanned the room one last time, trying hard to see the force he felt. Unable to find it, he turned to the three doors that stood before him.
He opened the middle door, and proceeded down the hallway. She stepped from the darkness on the balcony across from him. She stood there with a false set of shadows clinging to her like a lustful lover, covering her from head to toe in evil. She willing let the shadows drip from her as he closed the door and descended into the hell beyond. “The black sheep has come home.” she mused, to the empty room.
She turned to walk into her room, when much to her surprise she found herself with company. The King looked at her a moment, she bowed her head to him. He nodded in acknowledgment. “Well?” he hissed.
“It moves along as planned. If he succeeds, leave him to me.” she whispered back.
He simply turned and walked away from her. She walked into her own chambers, to make preparations for her guest.
He walked into the room at the end of the hall, and simply stopped. It was smaller then he remembered, the bed on the left side of the room. The right side of the room, held his old cage, now empty and quiet. He stared at it, he could see himself as a young child cowering in it as The man with the bony hands, exploded at him in anger and various tortures.
He closed his eyes in a vain attempt to shut down the images that flooded his mind. It was no use, they stormed over him violently. A growl started lowly in the depths of his chest and it exploded violently as a roar. It severed the images for the time being, he shook his head.
He looked about the room and avoided looking at his cage. There next to the bed was his medallion and more importantly the ring. He snatched it with his left hand.
As he lifted it from the night stand, a bony hand latched onto his left wrist and spun him around roughly. A bony foot slammed into his chest, knocking him off balance and stumbling back against the crumbling wall. The man with bony hands reclaimed the prize as his pet was sent reeling.
Kranik growled at him and started to straighten himself up. The man with the bony hands, raced forward and lowered his shoulder into Kranik’s chest. The wall broke under the impact, causing Kranik to spill into the next room, which was nothing more then a crumbling floor above one of the many training rooms, he had been run through.
He pitched backwards tumbling towards the edge of the crumbling floor. His left hand snagged a hunk of rock and it held him fast. However, it was to late to prevent most of his body from spilling over the edge. He looked over his shoulder at his surroundings and down to the floor, far below him.
“So. You made it out alive. How fortunate for me, now I will have the pleasure of bashing in your skull myself.” The man with the bony hands bellowed as he wrenched his mace from his belt.
Kranik looked behind him. He saw the chains that dangled from the ceiling far above him. They had been used in many exercises and they were about to be used in one more. Pulling his legs up towards his chest, he placed his feet against the crumbling rocks. He looked back at the man with the bony hands, who was stepping through the hole that he had made. Kranik waited a moment a longer, as his adversary drew closer.
With his muscles straining he waited as the man with bony hands raised his mace to bring it crashing down on him. He pulled himself forward and grabbed onto the forsaken’s left ankle. As soon as he did so, he pushed himself backwards. Springing off the crumbling rocks towards the chains. He let go of the forsaken’s ankle and the rock that had supported him, he arched his back as he sailed through the air.
He grabbed the chain and swung around it once, before coming to rest as he watched the man with the bony hands hit the floor, which promptly gave way and he and the prize cascaded into the depths of training rooms below.
As quickly as he was able he scaled down the chain, to the dark abyss of the maze. As he neared the bottom of the chain, he smirked at the irony of it all. The master and the student, one last time squaring off in one of the first areas he was trained in. Unlike the previous times, this time only one of them would walk away alive.
As soon as his feet hit the ground, he could feel the rush of air from behind him. He tucked himself forward and rolled up to his feet as the mace crashed upon the ground. The man with the bony hands recovered just as fast as Kranik was leaping back to his feet.
His old master brought out his warhammer from behind his back. With a fast arc, he swung it at his chest. Kranik leapt backwards sucking in his stomach as he did so. The warhammer slammed into the wall of the maze with a resounding metallic snap and a spark.
Kranik steadied himself a moment as the man with the bony hands spun his mace and hammer lazily around in his hands. He sneered at his once troll pet and charged forward bringing both blunt instruments to bear down on Kranik’s skull.
Kranik reached up and grabbed his master’s wrists and held them firmly from impacting his head. In the same moment, he leapt up and curled his legs in towards his chest. Lashing his legs forward, his feet pounded into his master’s chest driving him backwards. Kranik tried to hold onto the wrists as long as possible before the momentum carried him backwards, separating the two. He had hoped to rip both of the frail forsaken’s arms off. While for his effort, he managed to pull his master’s right arm free from its socket for a moment.
Kranik landed on his feet from his backward flip. He crouched close to the ground as the man with the bony hands, rolled his right shoulder and watched in dismay as it clicked back into place.
“You are gonna have to do better then that monkey.” he chided.
The balconies above the pit started to come to life, as spectators arrived. The remaining Dark Eight, stood assembled in all its glory to watch the master and the student fight for the last time.
Kranik back-pedaled as his former teacher assailed at him with mace and hammer again. It took all of his wits to avoid being beaten to death. His teacher growled and leapt at him with a flurry of hammering blows. He quickly sprung to his right, the mace missed him. He was standing on the left side of his mentor.
The man with the bony hands tried to maneuver the hammer in his left hand to hit his former pet. Kranik grabbed his teacher’s left wrist with his left hand. He drove his right fist into his teacher’s ribs. Without waiting, he changed direction and drove his fist upwards, slamming into the forsaken’s jaw. It forced his head backwards, Kranik could see that his reeling mentor was hastily getting ready to try and hit him with his mace.
Kranik turned slightly, and pulled his right hand to grab the forearm of his teacher. He pulled down with all his might, as he shoved his right shoulder upwards. He heard the elbow pop out of place. Kranik spun to his left, as the mace cut through the air towards him. He was behind his mentor as the mace hit nothing but air. Kranik placed both of his hands on his teacher’s back and shoved him forward.
Off balance, all the man with the bony hands could do was hit the ground and roll to his feet angrily. The warhammer slipped from his grasp with a clatter. Kranik smiled from under his mask.
The smile dwindled as the bones began to knit themselves back together. The man with the bony hands calmly reached down and retrieved his hammer. Kranik had seen that type of thing before, Tatimitzi had that spell and used it frequently.
He glanced backwards at the fully assembled gathering. “You stay out of this.” Kranik bellowed up to them.
His head jerked to the side in pain, as the mace crashed against the side of his face. He fell to his knees as the hammer slammed into his back.
“You fight one of us monkey, you fight us all.” He cackled in evil glee. He rose his mace one last time to smash the troll’s head open like a pumpkin.
Kranik spun to his right, his leg rigid. He swept the forsaken from his feet and rolled away, as his teacher hit the ground with a clatter. He stood up, grimacing in pain. “Then I challenge you. Here and now, to the death.” Kranik screamed pointing to the pile of bones on the floor.
The man with the bony hands simply cackled at his former pupil. “You can not challenge me fool. You can not take....” he started to say.
Kranik stood there a moment a look of bewilderment across his face. His mind was racing on why he had just challenged his former mentor to a duel to the death. He looked up to the gaggle of bony fans, something wasn’t right about this.
“So be it. The challenge has been issued. Knight, do you accept or forfeit.?” The King’s voice reverberated into the shallow darkness.
The Knight looked up at him in dismay. “You can not be serious. He can not claim my spot on the council, he still breathes.” he protested.
“Then for your sake, I hope you fix him of his breathing problem. Accept or forfeit.” The King stated again.
The Knight sneered at the rest of the council and then at his former pupil, hate glowering in his eyes. “I accept.” he begrudgingly bellowed. He locked eyes on his monkey one more time. “Im going to beat you to death, monkey. You have no idea what you have cost me.” he hissed.
Kranik blinked in disbelief as his master charged him hammer and mace sailing through the air. He narrowly avoided the mace crashing straight down on his head, but he was too slow from missing the hammer in the chest. A rib broke as he stumbled backwards, his mentor twisted on one of his feet to face Kranik quickly.
Kranik could taste his own blood trickling its way into his mouth as he rasped for breath. As he dodged the next set of swift blows, he spied something dancing on his mentor’s neck. The ring. As he backpedaled something clicked in his brain.
Temporarily distracted, he was quickly brought back to his senses as the mace slammed into his upper arm. He heard the bone break, and he managed to leap backwards out of the way of hammer. “Monkey, you just delay the inevitable. Just lay down and die now.” his mentor chided.
“You don’t die for a woman. You kill for one.” echoed in his head, his master’s words during one of their training sessions.
Kranik slowly shook his head and growled. He grimaced in pain as he drew his daggers. One of his fingers brushed the lifestone, cleverly hidden in his waistband, before joining the rest of his hand around the hilt of his daggers. Healing energies surged through his broken bones. With new found reserves, he locked eyes upon his mentor’s.
They circled one another slowly. Kranik lunged forward slightly with a growl. His mentor took the bait and brought the mace down to smash him. Kranik dodged backwards out of the reach of his mentor’s crushing metal ball.
With his mentor off balance, even if it was for a moment. Kranik seized the opportunity, he stepped to the outside of the mace. He charged forward, springing off the wall past his adversary. Once he skidded to a halt, he spun around and buried both daggers into his master’s back.
He jerked the daggers upwards, he could hear his mentor shriek. He drove them forward, pushing his master towards the wall. He muscled the smaller, bony frame around slamming him into the wall.
Taken by surprise, he let his mace and hammer clatter to the ground, as he tried in vain to get his pesky troll off of him. He tried twisting his arms to reach behind him, but the daggers couldn’t be reached from over his shoulders, nor by simply moving his arms behind his back.
Kranik watched as his master shrieked, twisted, and convulsed in an attempt to free himself. He smiled as he heard the mace hit the ground with a massive clang. He shifted his right foot slightly and found the handle of the mace. He let go of the dagger in his right hand, and in a swift motion slammed his elbow into the back of his master’s skull, driving his face into the wall.
Kranik let go off the other dagger in his master’s back, and jumped back slightly. In the same motion he flung the mace from the ground, to his awaiting right hand.
The Knight spun around to see his old pet, standing there with his trusty mace in its large troll hands. He reached down and retrieved the hammer from where its resting place. With a growl, he rushed forward.
Kranik stepped to the side as his former master swung at him. In the same motion he slammed the mace into the back of the skull of his opponent. The man with the bony hands, collapsed to the ground.
Kranik wasted no time in leaping onto the back of his fallen foe. His feet resting on his arms, to prevent him from effectively fighting back. The mace was raised once above his head, and with a thunderous crash, delivered swift retribution upon the skull of his tormentor. Moments passed with his macabre drumming of metal on bone, until there was no longer any bone to drum on, and he was slamming the mace into the rocky ground.
The Queen watched as the spectacle turned in their favor, then she silently glided away. She briefly brushed the hand of the kind in her passing.
The King nodded into the darkness. As the sound of metal slamming into the rocky ground beneath began to fade, dozens of skeletons walked into the tunnel below.
Kranik looked up when he was sure, that the man with the bony hands, could never torment him again. He stiffened slightly to see dozens more adversaries, closing in around him. He stood up over the beaten corpse. He slowly eyed all the new shambling corpses, spinning slowly around to gauge how many there were and where they were.
He mentally cursed himself, that he had been caught up in the moment that he had failed to see them encircle him. He stepped backwards past where the skull fragments were on the ground. He bent down and removed the medallion from what remained of his mentor’s neck. This is what he had come here for, and he wasn’t going to leave here without it. Whether it was to be alive or dead, the ring was going with him.
As one the rushed forward, his mentor’s mace made an effective weapon breaking bones and skulls. Sadly it was not nearly enough. Overwhelmed in short order, the skeletons dragged him to the ground, where they assailed him until the call of unconsciousness was simply too powerful to ignore.
His eyes creaked open, and he shifted his left leg from underneath him. He coughed and his body became riddled with spasms, as blood crept into his mouth. His eyes shifted haphazardly, as they fought to focus on the dim room.
The cold stone floor beneath him, and the unyielding stone ceiling above him. He cocked his head to one side. There a few feet from him, were a pair of skeletal guards, with great barbed polearms. He looked to the other side of him and saw the same thing.
Shakily he braced his arms behind him and sat up. Which caused another fit of coughing and spasms. The room was adorned with rotting velvet, a table was covered in a velvet cloth. On the table were bones, most notably hands. Human hands curled into positions to hold candles. Some had their fingers in the typical “O” shape, while others splayed out like an eagle claw and the candle sat firmly in the palms.
The guards simply crossed the blades of their polearms. Kranik licked his lips as he surveyed the room on more time. In his mind, it was simple, he had died and somehow gone to some hell, he didn’t believe in.
He coughed again, Hell was all about pain, suffering and torment. All of which he felt as he coughed. He pushed himself to his feet, to face the demon of this nightmare, when he spied more objects on the table. Most notably of which were his pair of daggers and the necklace with the ring that he had come here for.
He took a step forward towards the table gauging the reactions of the four skeletal guards in his wake. They didn’t move. He smirked slightly, and then it faded as he realized they weren’t the only things in the room with him.
He turned back to the table and that is when he saw it. It was something so small, so slight, even he didn’t think he saw it, but he felt it. A shadow, dark and evil it moved just a hair. A flicker from the candle perhaps, but there was something more to it then that. This was the same feeling he had in the courtyard.
“Im glad to see your senses are still useful to you. I would hate for you to become completely useless to me.” a soft voice hissed from the darkness.
The Queen. The voice he heard at his trial to Tiraangarde. What little hope he had began to sink beneath the waves of his beating heart, which began to pound in his ears.
She stepped from the shadows, and walked up behind the table. She made a sweeping gesture over the table, specifically over the three items that belonged to him. As she did so, the shadows dissolved from around her.
His eyes narrowed and he glared at her. His fingers curled up on themselves.
She smirked at him. “Your working hard, gauging your chances to grab your daggers and killing me. Grabbing your necklace and fleeing unscathed. If I were you, I would think harder. Your body is ailing you, I have guards, and more importantly.” her hand retrieved the medallion from the table and held it up in the candlelight, purposefully making the silver ring dance in the flickering glow. “We know where she is. She will be dead, well before you find her again.” she hissed.
He stifled a growl and glared at her angrily. “Im still alive. You need me for something, what is it?” he snarled.
She smiled almost seductively. “You are quick when you need to be.” she whispered.
“Don’t patronize me, just get to the point.” he snapped back.
“You are resourceful. We were slightly surprised to discover, you escaped Tiraangarde, you destroyed our research, and more importantly, you snuck back in to our headquarters, and for what? A simple ring. Your tenacity and training was lost upon you.” she continued.
“Why did you make me challenge him to a duel?” Kranik asked slowly.
She smiled again, “The Knight.” her voice dripped with contempt as her smile faded. “He was not always The Knight. When you belonged to him, he was The Bishop. He lost face when you came up missing. He continued to lose face as you eluded him, eventually causing him to spiral to downwards in disfavor. The council could no longer stand by as he made a fool out of himself and us in the process.” she stated.
“So, what does that mean for me?” Kranik asked.
“You were a tool, a weapon, something you have always been. You have performed a great service to us, and you can continue to do so, if you so choose.” she quipped back.
“If I refuse, if I choose to walk away.” he shot back.
“You wont make it out that door alive.” she stated calmly.
“Then it really isn’t a choice, is it?” he snarled back.
She smirked. “Well no, but I am not heartless. You will work for me, much like you worked for The Knight. But there are some great differences.” she swung the medallion lazily. “The first and most notable of which, you wouldn’t be bound here. I will allow you to carry on your life with the woman you love.” she said softly.
Her eyes wandered a moment. “I used to know what it was to be loved. A long time ago, I was going to be married, well before this.” she smiled, and then shook her head as the memory fleeted away.
“While I was in your mind, I came across many things that piqued my interest. You will find me as a far better master then you will realize. Firstly, you can carry on your life with her, and you will come to me when I call for you. Secondly, I have a cottage in countryside from Tarren Mill, it overlooks the river. I will give this to you. Thirdly, as long as you work for me, I will protect your family while you are away on jobs. This includes Shunasun, your children should you be blessed enough to have them and your sister, Tatimitzi.” she whispered softly and with that she laid the medallion back down on the table.
“In exchange for these gifts, you will be obliged to do two jobs a year for me. You will be summoned to here, and when you are done, you go back home.” she continued. She opened her mouth to say more, when his voice cut her off.
“Keishe.” he blurted out.
“Keishe, you will protect her as well, should I be away on jobs.” his voice tinged with pain but carried with it a commanding tone.
“Keishe?” she mused, rolling the word over her tongue a moment. “Fine, Keishe as well, but you will be obliged to carry out three missions a year for me. Anymore then that in one year, you will be paid a hundred gold plus expenses and bonuses.” she countered.
He paused, slowly breathing in and out. His mind carried many thoughts, the choice was in the forefront of his mind. Followed closely by Shunasun, and lastly followed by the last ditch effort of him and his chances walking away from the room alive if he were to fight them.
He looked at her, the anger in his eyes never diminished. “I accept mistress.” he whispered, and bowed deeply.
She smiled and with that, her right hand shot up into the air. A wave of energy washed over his pain ridden body as it began to mend itself. She stepped backwards from the table gesturing for him to take his effects from the table.
As he walked to the table, she slid back further away. He reached towards his daggers, and she withdrew back into the darkness. “Go back to her, I will call on you when it is time.” she whispered as she flickered from sight.
With a twirl the daggers left the table and were in their respective places on his belt. Lastly, he picked up the medallion and reverently lowered it over his head. He gazed at the ring and medallion face a moment before dropping it down into his shirt.
He turned on his heels and marched to the door. One of the skeletal guards left his post, and opened the door for him. As he stepped through, it thrust a rolled up piece of parchment into his chest. Kranik hastily took it and walked outside.
Unfurling it in the hallway. He eyed the map to his new cottage and rolled it back up and tucked it into a hidden pocket in his cloak. He walked numbly to the outside. The morning sun, beat down on him, piercing his feeble flesh and spirit. Glaring down on yet again one of his many imperfections. She had all the cards for the moment, this was far from over. That is what he told himself as he walked out into the courtyard.
“Report.” The King commanded as The Queen walked into the room.
“He is mine, as I told you he would be.” she whispered back with a nod.
“And he is sent against our enemies?” he asked.
“Not yet. Trust, even if false, needs to be earned.” she hissed back.
“They grow stronger by the day, their taint already stains the hallowed halls. They have already sent advisors to Thrall and Sylvanas.” he hissed back.
“I know my lord. This will take time, but I assure you, the results will be well worth the wait.” she hissed back.
“We may not be afforded the luxury of waiting. The Blood elves like us, are simply using the tenuous faction of the horde for our own personal gains. Their deception and misgivings may very well lead to our own plots being uncovered.” he said back.
“I know my lord, but I have a plan even for that.” she said back softly.
“Oh?” he asked.
“Yes my lord, please follow me.” she whispered. She walked over to a large velvet drape and with her left arm, she whisked it away.
Underneath was a cage, much like the one that held Kranik. This one was occupied, by a thin, reddish haired elf woman. She looked up and quickly away from The Queen.
“The tribulations of Kranik, has paved the way for other slaves like him.” she started. She pointed to the woman in the cage. She quickly changed the rest of her words to Gutterspeak so her new slave couldn’t understand them.
“Kranik, will want to kill the elven ambassadors in Silvermoon City. When he finds out that one of them attacked his beloved. We stage an assassination attempt, we show up and save the deal as my agreement, and he will kill anyone we want, including Thrall himself if need be. That woman of his will be his downfall.” she growled over the words as they escaped between her rotting teeth.
The King simply smiled. “So it will take some time my lord, but the results will be spectacular.” she finished with a sultry smile and a bow.