Bloodwen: Part XIIIEdit
Sutera tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear as she gazed over the Veiled Sea. A blanket covered her, an attempt to drive away the cold morning air. Neither Teake nor Brissyr had awakened, but Srymmner perched on a nearby rock. She knew not how he had found his way from Moonglade to the far beaches of Darkshore in such a short amount of time, but was thankful for his presence nonetheless. The one-eyed cat paced closer, nuzzling her hand until she bent to his will, scratching behind his floppy ears.
Three ships approached, crashing their way through the waves from Auberdine in the north. Had the sleek shape of their bow not given them away, the purple hues decorating their sails readily identified them as night elven. As if on cue, Brissyr emerged from their hut, rifle slung over one shoulder. Teake was slower to join them, cracking a huge yawn before extinguishing the remainder of their fire.
They ate a small breakfast of cheese and bread with a bit of cooked fish remaining from their dinner. Srymmner readily befriended Brissyr when she threw him a piece, curling up at her feet to offer a plaintive expression. The night elf smiled, yet ignored his begging.
Brissyr led them down the cliff face, along a thin, worn path. It was well hidden from any that might try to spot it from the shore. Around craggy outcroppings and over weed-covered hills they trudged, all the while dropping further to the waves. There were several hazardous spots where they had to slide down on their bottoms, one at a time, for the cliff face was too steep and loose to do otherwise.
A boat waited. The night elf warrior standing guard saluted Brissyr, offering Teake and Sutera a questioning glance before assisting them into the craft. He shoved the boat off, leaping in as it cleared the beach. He did not try to engage either stranger in conversation, for there was no need. Brissyr had been explicit with her orders, and her mother only reiterated the urgency of their mission before they departed from Darnassus.
Those on the main vessel were not as discreet with their doubts. As soon as the tauren and blood elf were aboard they clustered around one another, worries and fears buzzing amongst them like angry bees. Brissyr frowned, barking orders to rouse her soldiers from their murmurings to resume their duties. Sutera ignored this, for Srymmner had taken to the quarter deck. Hair raised on the nape of his neck, he gave a soft growl as his golden eye flashed across the waters.
She was about to comment on the cat’s behavior when the ship lurched. All on the main deck were knocked off balance. The other two ships also rocked, as if some terror had risen from below and smashed into them.
Indeed, some terror had.
The black shells of the giant dragon turtles split the water as they rose. Two of them continued to ram the other ships while the third squared off against theirs. Standing atop the shell was none other than Shyv, the scarred naga raising his trident to issue the charge. Somehow he had tracked them from Tanaris, though how he had accomplished such a feat seemed impossible. They had little time to ponder such a turn of events, for armed and armored naga began spilling over the rails.
Srymmner launched himself from the quarter deck, barreling into the first wave of attackers with the night elven warriors. He slashed and bit at them, drawing them away from his precious master. For her part, Sutera sent a stream of arrows into any that turned to attack him, felling them where they stood. Where one dropped, however, several took his place, until the night elves and their passengers were outnumbered. The other ships shared in their fate, and it seemed as if their hulls were made not of wood, but of the wriggling bodies of naga as they swarmed upwards.
Sutera soon found herself with her back against Brissyr’s. The night elf’s rifle roared, sending hot shells into the approaching naga as Srymmner darted between them. One escaped his attention, bearing down on them. Sword raised, the naga swung down at their heads, taking no notice of the captain’s cabin behind him.
The stinger tip plowed through his back and protruded from his chest. The sword clattered to their feet as both women turned. Shocked, the naga could do nothing as the poison pumped through his body, held aloft by the angry, buzzing wasp. It tossed his body overboard before zipping into the fray with Srymmner.
Brissyr offered her a smile. “You aren’t the only one with a companion.”
They leapt to the side as a wooden shaft smashed into the deck. Launched from the back of one of the turtles, the operator fit another into the contraption, taking aim. Sutera, however, had little time to worry, for a group of naga had managed to swarm between her cat and the protection of Brissyr. They were too close for her bow, so she slung this to the side and drew her sword.
The first swept his weapon at her head, forcing her to duck. She stabbed out with her blade, the tip skewering him. Keeping low, avoiding the slashing, stabbing attacks raining down, she drew the edge across another’s snake-like lower half. She worked her way up the stairs to the quarter deck, hoping to make the top and scoot down the opposite side.
No such luck was afforded her, as another naga slithered up behind her. Now she had two combatants to contend with on the narrow stairwell. Blocking one from behind left her open to the one below, exposing her midriff. She was forced to press herself flat against the captain’s cabin to avoid being skewered. Srymmner gave a yowl as he saw her distress, but the cat could do nothing from his position. Their dangerous dance continued, none of the three able to do more than draw jagged gashes against each other.
She saw her chance, leaping up to catch the railing with one foot. Pushing off quickly, she found the side of the cabin with her other and leapt over the naga below. The flip scattered her arrows across the main deck as she landed. Scrambling as the naga descended, she managed to recover her bow and fire off two quick shots. Her aim was true, sending the pair crashing into the arms of death.
A naga approaching from behind screamed in agony. Sutera whirled, chilled by his anguish, only to watch as the color in his face drained. A sickly sheen coated his scales, as if some unseen leper had touched him, corrupting his body with a devastating disease.
Distracted, she cried out as a blade sliced into her arm.
Teake waded through the attackers, staff swinging. He gained the higher quarter deck, the brief respite allowing him to gauge their chances. Night elves lay scattered amongst the naga, their blood coating the decks of all three ships. No matter their valor, however, he saw the battle was a losing one. Even if they managed to hold off the advancing troops, the giant turtles would smash them to splinters.
He had to contend with one thing at a time, however. Tossing his staff onto the ground, he raised his metal hands before him. Now, it seemed, was the time he would put the Great Spirit’s words to the test. Had he, like she surmised, abandoned the magic because of his doubts, or had the magic abandoned him? There was no better time to discover the truth.
Sutera reeled backwards, slammed in the face by a club-bearing naga. The brute howled as it brought the instrument to bear again, smashing through her meager defenses and leaving her sword arm numb. His head jerked to the side, however, as a shell from Brissyr’s rifle found its mark. The night elf found her place beside her, firing away as both their animal companions continued their assault.
While Sutera’s arm dripped from her wounds, one cheek turning a dark purple, Brissyr walked with a limp. One leg seemed mangled, as if a naga had reached out a pulled a joint or two apart. A gash ran the length of her face, starting from a deep initial puncture along her scalp down to her chin.
A high-pitched, almost hymnal sound rounded on their ears.
“What is that?” Sutera asked above the noise.
Brissyr smiled, the horrid wound on her face disappearing. Grimacing as her knee popped back into place, she pointed up behind them. There stood Teake, eyes closed, hands held out as if in supplication to nature itself. Bright pinpoints of light floated across the deck of the vessel, expanding over the water to encompass the remaining ships.
The night elves, wounds miraculously healed, leapt back into the fray with a ferocity that surprised even the naga. The monsters fought back, landing blow after blow that would have killed a normal man, would have rendered limbs useless and severed life’s tenuous thread. Instead, the wounds closed as they were received, Teake’s mastery of magic keeping them in a perpetual state of healing.
“I’ve never seen a druid channel it for this long,” she heard Brissyr mutter.
Nor had Shyv.
The red and black scaled naga scowled. He sensed the shift in the battle, watching as a few of his men broke away. These, of course, were slaughtered by his officers, for retreat was never an option. With the night elves holding the lines, the warrior knew that none would be able to reach the druid. Indeed, even the tridents and magic that found their way to him were repelled somehow, as if he were protected by a magical barrier.
He shoved his subordinate to the side, taking his place behind the launcher. Raising the end of the heavy machine, he sighted in on Teake. The turtle crept closer under his command, bringing him into range. Smiling, rows of sharp teeth glistening, he pulled the trigger.
Teake never sensed the danger flung towards him. He could feel the tridents as they were repelled by the strength of his magic. At the last second he opened his eyes, wanting to gauge how well his magic was working. Those eyes widened a split second before impact.
The spell dropped as the giant spear struck, launching him through the railing and into the sea.
“Teake!” Sutera screamed, rushing for the shattered edge.
She never got the chance, the blunt edge of a blade careening against her skull. Dazed, she ran into the wall of the cabin, trying to regain her balance. She saw Brissyr go crashing through the door, rifle blasting away as the naga clawed and slashed at her. The bright flashes of the gun could be seen through the smoky glass, then the instrument fell silent. It was soon replaced by elven curses and the clashing of blades. Another blow rained down.
Far into the sea, Teake scrabbled for the surface. The giant lance had not penetrated his magical shield, but that knowledge offered him little comfort. While the metal hands provided by his ingenious cousin had been a boon before, they now might spell his demise. The heavy metal dragged him away from the light, sending him plummeting towards the far reaches of the silt bottom. In the distance he could just make out Shyv’s forces, waves of naga marching along the sea’s floor before slithering up towards the ships.
Druids, if anything, were known for their tenacity.
Aboard the ships the naga suddenly howled. Lurching away from their night elven opponents they clawed at their eyes and faces, trying to drive away the gigantic swarm of insects that enveloped them. The bugs bit their flesh, stung their sensitive faces and ears, and dive-bombed their eyes. Blinded, confused, they could do little against the night elves as they retaliated. At the same time the waters of the Veiled Sea frothed, guided by some unseen hand. They gathered their strength along Darkshore, then pushed out into the battle with such speed that no one saw them coming. The trio of ships was lifted forward, thrown far away from the naga.
Brissyr, hobbling from her cabin, sent her unengaged crew into action, ordering the sails raised before the naga could pursue them. The night elf slumped against the shattered door as she issued her commands. She knew they only had a scant few minutes before Shyv caught up.
Shyv scanned their vessels for any sign of druids, yet could find none. A caw caught his attention, whatever bird it emanated from sounding positively gloating. The crow raked along his head as it flitted over, winging towards the main vessel before the naga could react. He did not fail, however, to see the little metal talons.
Teake circled their ship once, then shimmered as he landed on the deck. Tauren once more, he wound the magic with his metal fingers, feeling the energies as they caressed the unliving prosthetics. Shyv would not catch up to them. Not this time.
The clouds grew dark. Lightning arced into the sea. The winds smashed into any naga following, sending the dragon turtles diving for cover. Those same hurricane force winds that scattered the naga proved a welcome godsend for the elves, sending their vessels speeding out into the open waters.
Drained, Teake sagged against the railing. So little did he breathe that Sutera thought him dead as she approached.
“Teake?” she asked.
His eyes fluttered open. Despite his wounds and exhaustion, he gave a warm, content smile. Do not fret, Sutera. I am drained from my ordeal, nothing more. I need rest.
Wake me when we get to Northrend.
- Bloodwen: Part XIV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXIV
- Bloodwen: Part XV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXV
- Bloodwen: Part XVI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVI
- Bloodwen: Part XVII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVII
- Bloodwen: Part XVIII - Finale: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVIII