Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Hunt and The Horde

As the flying ship docked into Warsong Hold, I stepped off the platform and stamped my feet on the cold stone floor. My comrades had mentioned Northrend was cold and I’d prepared accordingly. Still, the bone numbing freeze that penetrated my skin was like nothing I’d ever experienced.

“You! Hunter!” A gruff voice shouted in a commanding tone. “Zaytsev, right? Lord Saurfang and Commander Hellscream await you in the War Room! On the double, soldier!”

I snapped a quick salute, slamming my fist into my breastplate, before running down the stairs toward the War Room. My faithful wolf, Ulric, was on my heels, his thick fur ample protection against the cold.

“Hunter Zaytsev reporting as ordered, sir!” I saluted even as Saurfang and Garrosh looked up from a pile of maps in the center of the room.

Garrosh’s eyes narrowed. “Ah, you’re that hotshot hunter everyone’s been talking about eh? Able to hit a robin’s eye at two hundred paces, they claimed. Unless you can shoot right into the Lich King’s helm, I’m not impressed.”

Saurfang sighed, obviously used to such words. “Welcome to Northrend, Zaytsev. It heartens me to see young and brave Horde soldiers taking up arms against the Lich King. First things first, soldier, here are your orders. The way to Icecrown Citadel is long and difficult. When the time is right, I’d dearly want to be there when you do shoot right into the Lich King’s cursed helm. Until then, hunter, lok’tar ogar! For the Horde!”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hiatus and Transformation

Given our guild's recent upheaval and inactivity on the raiding landscape, I will now be officially placing my main character, Bladewisp, on sabbatical. He'll show up from time to time only for inventory management purposes and other such mundane tasks. Otherwise, he'll be cooling his heels on the bench, so to speak.

Doesn't mean I'll stop playing though. Allow me to introduce my new Horde alt, Zaytsev, orc hunter. I'll be focusing on leveling him up so as to experience life and leveling Horde-style.

In case you're curious, Zaytsev is the name of a Russian sniper back in WW2 which formed the basis for the movie "Enemy at the Gates" starring Joseph Fiennes and Jude Law. Cool huh?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #6)

The Skybreaker cast its lines and moored itself at the entry to the Upper Spire which SI:7 agents said the Scourge called Deathbringer’s Rise. The Alliance vessel was well-stocked and we all replenished much-needed supplies as we took a breather before assaulting the heart of Icecrown Citadel.

I thanked a human fletcher for providing me with enough iceblade arrows to fill my depleted magical quiver while, nearby, both Brutusk and Jarvisius chatted up an herbalist who provided them with herbal reagents for spellcasting. Even Brendah managed to refill vials of poison from a shady crewman.

Avierra was conferring with Muradin. “Any news concerning the healer we sent back to Light’s Hammer?”

The wizened dwarf shook his head. “Nay, lass. I’ve had no word from the Highlord. I suggest ye concentrate on the task at hand. No telling what’s inside those doors.”

Avierra nodded in agreement. “Have we figured out a way to open those doors?”

Muradin shook his head. “One of my goblin crewmen is thinking about explosives but there’s a danger of damaging the Skybreaker in the blast. I’m fairly sure the doors are booby trapped so I’ll be sending a team of… volunteers to check them out.”

The paladin cocked an eyebrow. “Volunteers?”

Muradin shrugged. “I’m pretty sure they’re SI:7 but the King doesn’t want me to blow their cover, apparently.”

“Of course,” Avierra remarked. “Wouldn’t want to do that…”

One of the crewmen came bursting through the door. “Captain! You’ll want to come see this.”

Muradin and Avierra rushed out on deck and were greeted with the sight of a lone undead orc standing before the now-open double doors. “For every Horde warrior you kill, for every Alliance dog that falls, the Scourge grows stronger. Even now, the Lich King’s val’kyr work to raise your fallen into Scourge. Come, let me show you the power that the Lich King has bestowed upon me.”

Captain Muradin’s amazement was clear. “A lone orc? Against the might of the Alliance?? CHARGE!!!” Five Alliance soldiers rushed in to engage the undead orc. They were all taken by an invisible shadowy force by the throat and raised high in the air as the orc laughed. The soldiers struggled in vain as Muradin stood in shock.

“Dwarves…” The orc chuckled.

“Engage the orc!” Avierra roared. Azmuth and Mal rushed in from opposite sides, having already decided not to take the direct route. Calimdan, Brendah, and Jizal were close behind, wicked claws and steel hammering into the lone undead guardian. Jarvisius and I hurled magic and arrow from a distance, one on each side. The healers were spread out in a fan-like formation to cover as much of the platform as possible.

“He’s getting stronger!” Azmuth warned as the orc seemed to shrug off blows that would have felled most normal undead monsters. “Not sure how long we can keep this up!”

Avierra clenched her teeth. It appeared as if the orc was feeding off the blood being shed on that platform. Crimson globes appeared to float off of us that were, in turn, absorbed by the undead orc. “He’s feeding off of us somehow!” Avierra shouted as she redoubled her healing efforts.

The orc gave a massive heave that sent our people sprawling and laughed. He raised both fists into the air and crimson lightning arced down from the sky. In their wake, a pair of blood beasts had appeared. Even as we proceeded to engage, Avierra gave a warning shout.

“The blood beasts will feed him further,” Avierra warned. “Don’t engage them. Let Jarvisius and Bladewisp take them from range!”

I quickly nodded at Jarvisius as I loosed a distracting shot at the nearest blood beast. It roared and came crawling toward me. While its movement speed was slow, I had to make sure to keep out of its reach. I dropped a freezing trap before leaping backward. The trap slowed the beast even more, while I fired three explosive shots in rapid succession. The explosive charges in the arrows burst into flame from within the beast, incinerating it from the inside out. On the other side of the platform, Jarvisius and his pet imp Zignar were likewise making short work of their own blood beast. I quickly turned back to firing at the undead orc.

“It’s working!” Hotohuri shouted, in tree form. Until you’ve seen a tree shout, you haven’t lived. “His wounds aren’t healing themselves!”

We redoubled our efforts. Twice more, he summoned a pair of blood beasts and both times, Jarvisius and I took them from range and destroyed them before they could energize him further. Avierra assisted on these, dropping a holy stun on both beasts to give us more time to kill them.

Mal swung a particularly vicious blow at the orc. Instead of shrugging it off like he did before, the orc appeared to stagger, opening him up to a few blows from Brendah.

“He’s weakening!” Mal crowed in triumph before the orc roared and fetched Mal a well-placed blow that sent the night elf warrior sprawling. He shook his head to clear the cobwebs before giving a shout and rejoining the fray.

The undead orc heaved, sending all our melee people sprawling for a bare split second. He pointed a finger at Hotohuri (in tree form) and his eyes seemed to burn with fury. “Mark of the Fallen!”

A brand magically appeared on Hotohuri’s trunk, seemingly burned into the very wood. As our melee assaulted the orc again, the orc smashed his fist into Mal. The night elf warrior staggered, blood flying from his nose and mouth. Hotohuri, yards away, felt the blow as if she was the one struck and fell to her knees, coughing and spitting blood.

Avierra noted this and her eyes widened. “Take him down now! Hotohuri’s gonna need heals!”

Hotohuri shook her head, leaves swaying in her tree form. “I can heal myself. Keep our people alive! Take that orc down.” Even as she spoke, more wounds seemed to magically appear on the bark of her tree form. She cast more healing spells on herself, barely keeping up with the pace of damage being inflicted.

Everyone redoubled their efforts. Jizal flicked me a hand signal, quickly echoed by Jarvisius, Calimdan and Brendah. Azmuth noted the signal and hissed, “Hysteria on Jizal.”

Jizal’s sword glowed a near-phosphorescent white, Jarvisius began to gather fel power for a massive fireball, Calimdan edged back slightly to give himself room to swing, Brendah dug deep into her bag of tricks and both knives came up sizzling with deadly poison. I nocked an arrow and fixed my eyes on the orc’s left eye, everything else became muted and time seemed to slow. Kill shot time, I thought to myself.

“NOW!” Avierra roared.

Jizal’s incandescent sword slammed into the orc’s back with savage holy power.

Jarvisius let loose with a massive fel fireball that engulfed the orc in green burning death.

Calimdan rushed in with a clawed swipe that struck at the orc’s legs, hamstringing him.

Brendah jammed both knives bubbling with deadly poison deep into the orc’s bowels.

My arrow flew straight and true, burying itself to the fletching in the orc’s left eye.

Everyone leaped back as the orc shuddered and fell, hitting the ground with a boom that shook the very walls of the citadel. The orc’s helm rolled away and we got a look at his face. “It’s Saurfang the Younger,” Brutusk noted. “He was taken at the Wrathgate, along with Highlord Bolvar.”

“At the very least, he now rests in peace,” Avierra said.

The mark on Hotohuri faded away upon Saurfang’s passing. Soon, she was capering around the platform, still in tree form, and glad to be alive.

The Horde ship returned at that point, with Saurfang the Elder having heard about his son falling to the Alliance. While Muradin seemed inclined to stop the elder orc from taking his son’s corpse for burial, King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind intervened. For once, it appeared as if the hope for peace between the Horde and the Alliance was not so fleeting.

Before the old orc leader left with his son’s corpse, Mal turned to Brendah. “Don’t you want your knives back?”

The little gnome made a face. “Pfft. I’ve got knives aplenty.”

“You sure? Hate to lose a good knife, much less two.” Mal observed.

“Shut up, night elf,” she hissed.

“They looked expensive,” Mal noted sadly.

“I hate you, Mal,” she said.

The night elf warrior grinned and sauntered away. “And you’re still a poopyhead!” Brendah shouted after him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #5)

I shook my head wearily. “That was a close call. If she had re-animated and empowered 2 more of those minions, we would’ve been overwhelmed.”

“Good thing she didn’t then,” Brutusk remarked cheerfully as he rummaged around in his bag of herbs.

“On the platform, everyone,” Avierra instructed. “If SI:7 intelligence is to be believed, this should take us to the Skybreaker. The airship will then take us to the Upper Spire.” The platform’s regular rise and drop made it easy to clamber on from the Oratory of the Damned and hop off at the top. Once there, we came upon heavy fighting between Alliance and Horde soldiers.

“Orgrim’s Hammer has already left!” One of the Alliance officers screamed at us over the howling wind. “It’s a three-way between us, some of the Horde soldiers, and the Scourge. The Skybreaker is moored off to the left. You’ll need to fight your way past the skirmishes.”

Mal whistled as he observed the skirmishes ahead. “This should be interesting. They haven’t spotted us yet. We can drop on them like a hurricane and they’ll never know what hit them.”

Jizal nodded in agreement. “I like your plan, Mal.”

The night elf warrior smirked. “You always like my plans.”

Jizal shrugged. “We’re still standing here talking?”

With cries and howls, we descended on the fighting like screaming banshees, crashing into the Horde soldiers and breaking through their lines like madmen. Our healers stayed back, making sure we got healed when the fighting got too confusing. I was firing 3 arrows at a time, each arrow hitting a Horde soldier. I reveled in the chaos of it all. It felt good to let loose.

In the middle of the fighting, Mal and Jizal stood back to back, swords arcing up and down in silvery lines of glimmering death, ending in trails of crimson on the icy stone. Avierra took the outliers, supported by Azmuth and Calimdan. They made short work of the Horde healers, quickly sending them to their deaths.

We veered left and came upon another knot of fighting. Mal leaped high and brought his massive sword crashing down, cracking the ice-ridden stone and hurling soldiers aside, Horde and Alliance both. Jizal followed at Mal’s heels. “For the Alliance!” The paladin screamed, rallying the Alliance troops, still dazed from Mal’s charge.

The soldiers roared and pushed forward, bringing swords and maces to bear. The Horde fell back, stunned. I grabbed a curved shield off a fallen soldier and rode it down the slick ice stone, firing arrows into the Horde massed on the steps. At the last moment, I leaped off, fired 3 more arrows, and saw the shield fly off the steps and embed itself in the throat of a wide-eyed orc warrior.

I spotted a Horde healer near the back of the lines trying to get away. An aimed shot later, and he was lying on the cold stone, choking on his own blood with one of my iceblade arrows sticking out of his throat.

“Not a very honorable kill, Wips,” Adialetha noted.

“This isn’t a very honorable war, human,” I noted irritably, firing off another arrow. “If need be, I’ll slaughter them like animals if that’s what it takes.”

The human priestess shook her head sadly, as if in regret. Her eyes suddenly widened and she began to choke. I stared at the black-fletched arrow sticking out of her throat. That was a kill shot, no mistake. I looked around wildly and spotted a Horde troll archer taking a bead on me. I snapped a shot at him, forcing him to duck down behind a wall. “Healer down!” I shouted even as I leaped to the left, keeping my eye on the archer. Our priestess had sunk to her knees, blood pulsing onto the stone.

My eyes narrowed into slits as I drew another arrow. The troll had lost sight of me and was taking aim at other targets. As soon as his head cleared the wall, I released my shot. It sped straight and true, slamming into his head with the force only a longbow could deliver at that range. His head burst open like an overripe melon. One shot, one kill.

Brutusk and Hotohuri were already at Adialetha’s side, doing what they could to heal the extensive damage wrought by the kill shot. “This is beyond our skills,” Brutusk admitted sadly. “She needs to be sent back to Light’s Hammer. Perhaps the Highlord will have healers who can bring her back.”

Mal whipped out a strange-looking device. “This is Rage On mercenary company,” he spoke into the device tersely. “We have a healer down in need of evacuation. Can you assist?”

The response was immediate. “Place the device on your healer and step back.”

Mal did as instructed and a bright shimmer engulfed the corpse of our priestess. In a flash, she was gone. Hopefully, to someplace where she could be brought back to life. But for now, she was lost to us.

Avierra turned to Jarvisius. “We’ll need a teleportation gate,” Avierra was saying. “I’ll have to take over Adialetha’s healing duties. That means Azmuth and Mal will be taking point. We’ll be bringing Brendah in now.”

Azmuth nodded. “Having a rogue will make it easier to find and disarm any traps.” Brendah was our resident expert on all things dishonest and shady including, but not limited to, poisons, lockpicking, booby traps, and other such nefarious devices. She was a gnome who’d grown up in the deeper recesses of Ironforge. We always made sure to check our gold whenever she was around, but she was a solid member of our crew, capable and dependable.

Jarvisius cast the teleportation gate spell and, in a matter of a few seconds, Brendah arrived, an impish grin on her face and a well-balanced knife in each hand. “Hey guys, about time you brought me in here. Good thing I wore extra clothes. It’s cold!”

Jizal was listening to an Alliance officer off to one side. “Thank you for the assistance,” the massive draenei was saying. “We were outnumbered before you arrived. Captain Muradin is aboard the Skybreaker and waiting for you. We will guard your rear.”

Avierra nodded curtly. “Let’s move out, people!”

We encountered an undead frost dragon blocking the way to the Skybreaker. It roared its defiance at our tiny company. Azmuth and Mal glanced at each other before drawing swords, roaring in turn, and rushing in to engage. Calimdan, Brendah, and Jizal were close at their heels while Jarvisius and I stayed with the healers. The undead monster gave a final ululating scream before crumbling to dust in the wake of our assault.

We ran to the waiting skyship moored on our left. “About time ye got here,” Captain Muradin remarked as he signaled for the lines to be released. He was a stalwart dwarf, one of the longest residents of Northrend from the Alliance side. “Let’s be off then. We’ve got a meetin’ with destiny. Hold on to yer hats!”

As the skyship’s engines shuddered with power, the Skybreaker rose gracefully in the chill air. “What in the blazes is that? Grab me spyglass, crewman.”

Muradin squinted into his spyglass before stiffening. “Horde, sailin’ in fast and hot!”

A goblin was already scrambling among the crew, distributing rocket packs in case the battle got ugly. Avierra was already issuing orders.

“I want Bladewisp and Jarvisius manning those cannons,” she was saying tersely. “The rest of us will defend the Skybreaker. The Horde will definitely send their people across. We cut them down and make sure to defend those cannons. The faster we bring down Orgrim’s Hammer, the sooner we’ll be able to make our way to the Upper Spire.”

Jarvisius and I were already taking our places at the cannons, testing the controls and adjusting the aiming reticles. As soon as the Horde skyship was in range, we commenced firing. The massive boom of the cannons was punctuated by the screams of Horde soldiers who had teleported onto our ship. Mal and the rest of the company were obviously taking care of business.

In the distance we could vaguely hear the Horde captain shouting. “We’re taking hull damage. Get a battle mage out here to knock out those cannons!” A blood elf frost mage ran out and lifted both hands into the air, incanting a freezing spell on our cannons. In short order, our cannons were useless.

“Az, we’re taking Bladewisp, Jarvisius, and Calimdan over there and taking out that mage!” Avierra screamed as she engaged her jetpack. I quickly engaged my jetpack and sailed over onto the Horde ship. I targeted the frost mage and released an arrow before even landing. From the corner of my eye, I saw Jarvisius shoot a green-tinged fireball at the mage even as Calimdan, in cat form, careened into the mage in a direct assault. Azmuth was keeping the Horde captain, a hideous orc wielding a massive axe, busy with Avierra’s healing support.

“Mage down!” Calimdan shouted as he engaged his jetpack to jump back. I did the same and was quickly back in my cannoneer seat shooting cannonballs at the Horde ship.

This sequence happened a few more times before the Horde ship disengaged, having taken too much hull damage to stay in the sky.

“I hate sailing,” Hotohuri was saying as she shimmered into night elf form.

“Technically, we were flying,” Jizal reminded her.

She shrugged. “Same difference.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #4)

We quickly ran up the curving steps, mindful that time was of the essence. At the top of the steps was a huge hall with many undead Scourge kneeling in supplication. It appeared they were listening to a large Scourge leader who looked like a particularly overgrown Nerubian overseer speaking. Her words rang out clearly throughout the hall.

“Fix your eyes upon your crude hands! The sinew, the soft meat, the dark blood coursing within! It is a weakness! A crippling flaw! A joke played by the creators upon their own creations! The sooner you come to accept your condition as a defect, the sooner you will find yourselves in a position to transcend it!”

“Through our master all things are possible! His power is without limit, and his will unbending! Those who oppose him will be destroyed utterly! And those who serve, who serve wholly, unquestioningly, with utter devotion of mind and soul? Elevated! To heights beyond your ken!”

“You have found your way here, because you are among the few gifted with true vision in a world cursed with blindness! You can see through the fog that hangs over this world like a shroud and grasp where true power lies!”

Avierra’s eyes narrowed. “She’s standing right in front of that platform. See it rising? That’s our way up to the Skybreaker. We’ll have to get past this hall first. Information?”

Azmuth stared at a milky orb and it began to swirl. He appeared to listen intently for a few moments before shaking his head with a sigh. “This isn’t going to be easy. This hall is called the Oratory of the Damned, for obvious reasons. Getting through the kneeling supplicants won’t be a problem, of course. It’s the big one we have to handle with care.”

“Her name’s Lady Deathwhisper,” Azmuth explained. “She is the supreme overseer of the Cult of the Damned, which is why all those Scourge are listening to her rant. Her position enables her to call upon legions of her minions to keep us occupied. She also has a mana shield which we’ll need to break through before we can even start fighting her directly. She’s able to empower her minions, making them tougher and stronger. SI:7 operatives have noted that she rarely leaves that area of the room.”

“She summons 2 types of minions: fanatics and adherents,” Azmuth continued. “Fanatics are vulnerable to magic, but shrug off physical blows. Adherents are the opposite.”

Avierra nodded her understanding. “Let’s have Mal, Calimdan and Bladewisp on the adherents. Jizal, Azmuth, Jarvisius and myself will be on the fanatics. We’ll need to hit that mana shield of hers after her summoned minions are downed or we’ll be overwhelmed.”

“Be aware that she can empower her minions, so those have to be burned down quickly,” Azmuth reminded everyone.

“Let’s clear these supplicants first,” Mal ventured, already swinging his sword.

Avierra rolled her eyes. “Fine, let’s clear out the supplicants. Brutusk, please do not run toward Lady Deathwhisper. We don’t want a repeat of… well, you know.”

Brutusk seemed offended. “Why, I would never…”

Avierra waved his next words away even as Mal rushed forward to engage the supplicants. We made short work of them and soon, were faced with just Lady Deathwhisper. She seemed not even to notice that all her supplicants were dead. She seemed to be gazing upward adoringly, as if seeing the Lich King himself.

“I think she’s insane,” I whispered.

“Time to put her out of her misery then,” Jizal responded cheerfully.

I quickly nocked an arrow and pulled, cocking an eye at Avierra. She nodded quickly and was moving even before I released the iceblade shaft. It sped straight and true, smashing against an invisible shield that shimmered like a heat wave. My wolf Lobo rushed in to attack as well, ramming himself against the shield.

She seemed to notice us for the first time. “What is this disturbance?! You dare trespass upon this hallowed ground? This shall be your final resting place!”

Three shimmers heralded the arrival of 2 fanatics and an adherent from the alcoves on our left. Mal and Avierra rushed forward to engage, closely followed by the rest of our group. I shot a few more arrows at the shield before switching to engage an adherent.

As her minions fell, she roared in fury. “Take this blessing and show these intruders a taste of our master’s power!”

A fanatic suddenly screamed and grew larger, joints popping grotesquely. “Burn it down!” Azmuth shouted, leaping into the now-empowered fanatic’s path and delivering a powerful blow that would have decapitated a giant. The fanatic simply grinned and reached for the death knight with grasping claws. Azmuth evaded them and spun away, running toward the other side of the room. The empowered fanatic howled and shambled after him. Meanwhile, I had five arrows embedded in its flesh within the blink of an eye. Jizal and Calimdan bashed into the thing from behind. In short order, it was nothing more than a pile of smoking remains.

“On the mana shield! Now!” Avierra instructed.

Everyone turned their attention back to Lady Deathwhisper and unleashed everything they had with steel, claw, spell, and arrow. About 3 seconds later, 3 more figures shimmered into being from the right alcoves, this time it was 2 adherents and a fanatic. I hesitated a bare moment to shoot another arrow into the mana shield before swinging my bow into alignment with an adherent. Within a bare second, I had shot arrows into its chest, throat, and forehead.

Lady Deathwhisper raised both arms. “Arise and exalt in your true form!”

The adherent that should have been downed rose once more, eyes glowing and crackling with raw energy. I shot more arrows into it, aided by Calimdan in cat form who rushed in from the side with flashing claws. Between us, the re-animated adherent went down screaming.

Lady Deathwhisper hissed as she pointed at the fanatic. “I release you from the curse of flesh!”

The fanatic roared in pain as it grew to enormous size, flesh stretching over suddenly-enlarged bones. A fey light entered its eyes as it turned its attention to Avierra. “Burn this one down!” Avierra warned as his Hammer of Righteousness spell slammed into the empowered fanatic, slamming it to the ground. It simply rose again, ponderous, and fixed it eyes on Avierra.

Jarvisius threw fel fireballs into the thing from the side while Jizal and Azmuth hewed with steel and magic. The empowered fanatic went down, but too slowly. Already, 3 more shimmers presaged the entry of another set of adherents and fanatics.

I barely had time to take 3 more shots at Lady Deathwhisper’s mana shield before engaging another adherent. We downed this group faster than the previous ones so we had more time to pound the mana shield. It appeared to be weakening under our assault, winking in and out of existence as our spells and steel slammed into it.

“Hold! We can’t take her and another set of minions at the same time!” Avierra warned.

We stopped our assault even as another 3 shimmers heralded more minions. We killed them hastily, aware that the mana shield was about to go down. “Clear! Take down that shield!”

Spells, arrows, steel, and claws smashed into the mana shield until it winked out with an incongruous pop. Lady Deathwhisper’s eyes widened in shock. “Enough! I see I must take matters into my own hands!”

Avierra and Mal rushed forward to engage, with Calimdan, Azmuth, and Jizal close on their heels. Jarvisius and I hung back, hurling spells and arrows at the now-unshielded Lady Deathwhisper. Ghostly figures materialized from the side alcoves, rushing toward us only to explode on contact. We learned to run away from them on sight. She cast deadly shadow bolts from her hands and we interrupted them with spell and arrow as best we could.

After an interminable time, she seemed to falter. “Burn her down!” Avierra screamed. “For the Light!”

Jizal took up the cry. “For the Light!” He swung his sword with all his might. Azmuth quietly declared, “Hysteria on Jizal.” The sword glowed with a blinding light that seemed to consume the undead monster upon contact.

Lady Deathwhisper crumpled to the ground, a smoking pile of pale dead flesh and torn robes.

Jizal seemed to be panting as he leaned on his sword, still smoking and crackling with holy energy. “That was fun. Do we get to do it again?”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #3)

We were clustered behind a wall near the massive doorway leading to the lair of Lord Marrowgar.

“Alright, listen up,” Azmuth hissed, raising a gauntleted hand. “The Highlord’s scouts and King Varian Wrynn’s SI:7 reported in with information concerning Lord Marrowgar. He’s an undead construct created from the bones of thousands of vanquished adventurers like us. He seems to absorb everyone he kills, making him larger and stronger. Notice the distinct lack of corpses or bones. Those are incorporated into his frame and absorbed.”

“But he’s huge,” Brutusk remarked. “How many people has he absorbed?”

“That’s unimportant at this point,” Adialetha replied flatly.

Azmuth nodded. “Agreed. As Adialetha mentioned before, Marrowgar makes bone spikes erupt from the ground, impaling a random person every time. The spike must be destroyed and the impaled person healed, otherwise that person is dead. He also makes cold fire erupt in a line on the ground. These can, and should, be avoided. And then there’s the whirlwind…”

“Reports vary on this ability. From what we can gather, Marrowgar turns into a whirling dervish of bone, fire, and steel, moving quickly from one end of the room to another. Every time he stops, he shoots 4 rows of cold flame in the 4 cardinal directions. He stops around 3 times, so there’s a lot of cold fire on the ground. The whirlwind lasts for a few seconds, then he goes back to using his bone spikes and occasional cold fire.”

Azmuth turned to Avierra. “Orders?”

Avierra grinned. “You’ve been doing great so far. Your call.”

Azmuth chuckled. “It’s your funeral. Jarvisius and Bladewisp, you’re on bone spikes. Your ranged capabilities give you the best shot at taking the spikes down quickly. Avierra and Mal will keep Marrowgar busy. Calimdan, Jizal, and I will stay just beneath Marrowgar, where the cold fire can’t get us. Brutusk and Hotohuri will stay with the melee and keep us alive. Adialetha will stay with the ranged.”

“Once the whirlwind starts, anyone in Marrowgar’s path will scatter. Each healer will take a third of the room and stay there, making sure everyone in that area gets healed. Everyone runs and everyone avoids the cold fire.”

“Any questions?”

Mal raised a hand. “Can I have his axe afterwards?”

Azmuth sighed. “Any relevant questions?”

Jizal was standing right by the door, clutching his sword in both hands and swaying from one foot to the other. “Jizal…” Azmuth called testily.

The young retribution paladin turned. “What? I was just… surveying the battlefield.”

“Wait for Avierra and Mal to engage Marrowgar,” Azmuth reminded him. “We don’t want a repeat of… Well, you know. Just stay behind them.”

“Pfft, I never have any fun…” Jizal moved away from the door dejectedly.

I threw my pet wolf Lobo a treat even as I chewed on more blackened dragonfin. I was addicted to the stuff. Oh, did I never mention Lobo before? Lobo is my pet wolf who I rescued from a Horde training camp when I was still a young hunter. He was supposed to be a Horde wolf mount but being the runt of the litter made that impossible. I brought him out of there and trained him. He’s been my faithful companion ever since.

I patted him on the head as he chewed on his treat. Pretty soon, he’d be chewing on Marrowgar. I unlimbered my bow and made sure my magical quiver had plenty of arrows.

“Let’s go,” Avierra said. She incanted and called on the Light for strength even as she rushed into battle, closely followed by Mal. I quickly put up a hunter’s mark on Marrowgar, outlining him in vivid red, while ordering Lobo to rush in and attack.

Marrowgar roared in anger. “This is the beginning AND the end, mortals! None may enter the master’s sanctum!”

He swung his axe at Avierra. The paladin met the axe mid-swing with his sword, stopping it cold. The monster screamed with fury. “The Scourge will wash over this world as a swarm of death and destruction!”

Jizal, Calimdan (in cat form), and Azmuth followed in Avierra and Mal’s wake, magic, steel, and claw scoring against the undead behemoth. Jarvisius and I stayed near the door, within easy reach of both our other companions and Marrowgar. As planned, Hotohuri (in tree form) and Brutusk went in with the melee while Adialetha stayed with the ranged.

I quickly fired arrow after arrow, hands blurring with the sheer speed of drawing, nocking, and releasing. Jarvisius, a few yards away, cast spell after spell, his trusty demonic companion Zignar right beside him throwing fireballs into the fray.

Abruptly, Marrowgar reared up and roared. “Bound by bone!”

A spike punched up from the ground, impaling Jizal. “Jizal impaled!” Azmuth warned.

Jarvisius and I switched targets and hit the spike with all we had. Arrows and fel fire smashed into the stone spike. In a few seconds, the spike crumbled to dust and Jizal landed on his feet, Hotohuri throwing a healing spell on him to allay any lingering effects. He went right back to swinging his sword, hardly missing a beat.

Marrowgar howled. “BONE STORM!”

“Scatter!” Azmuth shouted, even as he leaped back and ran to the room’s periphery. Everyone else followed suit. Marrowgar whirled in place, axe held outward, before swinging first to the left, then to the right. I ran, first right, then left, before disengaging and leaping backward, sailing over 2 intersecting rows of cold fire on the ground. Even as I was moving, my arrows never stopped flying, tracking Marrowgar wherever he went.

When the whirlwind ended, Avierra and Mal again rushed forward to engage, closely followed by the rest of the melee and the 2 healers. Rinse and repeat, I thought to myself.

“Stick around!” Marrowgar shouted mockingly. Another bone spike erupted, this time impaling Adialetha. Again, Jarvisius and I turned to pepper the spike with arrows and spells. In short order, the spike crumbled and Adialetha cast a healing spell on herself for good measure.

And so it continued.

The bone storm hit us twice more and both Calimdan and Jarvisius were impaled over the course of the fight. I felt the scorching cold of the cold fire on the ground to ensure Jarvisius was freed of his bone spike in time.

After moments that seemed to last lifetimes, Lord Marrowgar crumbled into a horrendous pile of smoking bones, his axe buried under the rubble. At the last, he simply whispered, “I see… only… darkness…”

“I hate this guy,” Mal observed, panting. “He can keep his damned axe.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #2)

Highlord Tirion Fordring’s words echoed down the cold stone halls.

“This is our final stand. What happens here will echo through the ages. Regardless of outcome, they will know that we fought with honor; that we fought for the freedom and safety of our people. Remember heroes, fear is your greatest enemy in these befouled halls. Steel your heart and your soul will shine brighter than a thousand suns! The enemy will falter at the sight of you and will fall as the might of righteousness envelops them. Our march on Icecrown Citadel begins now!”

“The old man talks too much,” Calimdan remarked in cat form as we sprinted down the hallway. “So much for the element of surprise.” Facing us at the first portal were 3 undead guardians.

Avierra signaled Mal and he peeled off to the right and engaged 2 guardians at the same time. Hotohuri shapeshifted into tree form and already cast her first healing spell on the warrior even before he had rushed forward. Avierra’s spell smashed into the third guardian who stood on our left. The rest of us knew what to do.

Jizal, Calimdan, and Azmuth rushed forward in Avierra’s wake, moving to stand behind the undead guardian and attacking it with steel, spell and claw. Jarvisius and I halted a few yards away. He began to cast his usual array of spells while I let fly with shaft after shaft of deadly arrows. Adialetha and Brutusk stood nearby, making sure everyone that got hurt was quickly healed.

In short order, the guardian was felled and Avierra calmly pulled a guardian off of Mal. The rest of us quickly switched and, before long, all 3 guardians were smoldering corpses at our feet.

“That was easy,” Jarvisius noted cheerfully.

Azmuth shook his head. “From your perspective, perhaps,” he replied, in a deep resonant voice that seemed to come from beyond the grave. “Those guardians were far stronger and tougher than the mere doormen they appeared to be.”

“Azmuth’s right,” Avierra agreed. “Be on your guard. The Highlord’s scouts informed us that there are 2 sets of guards further down. We’ll be taking the left side first, followed by the right. It’s likely Arthas left us a few surprises along the way.”

Just as Avierra had mentioned, there were 2 sets of guards which we dispatched in quick fashion. I chewed on some blackened dragonfin as we continued down the corridor. Suddenly, a huge roar sounded from the right side of the hallway, directly behind some pillars. Out of the darkness a skeletal warrior easily twenty feet in height stepped out and smashed a gargantuan sword on our party.

We scattered, even as Avierra and Mal leaped back before rushing forward to engage the giant skeleton. Azmuth, Jizal, and Calimdan were a step behind. Jarvisius and I leaped to our feet and instantly got to work. Sizzling fireballs and screaming arrows went up in a barrage to savage the mindless undead sentinel. Brutusk, Adialetha, and Hotohuri had their hands full keeping everyone alive.

My right hand was a blur as it drew arrows from the quiver at my back, nocked them in place, pulled, and released, all in one smooth motion. I was picking targets seemingly by instinct, aiming for exposed joints and flickers of the unholy magic that bound the thing together. After seemingly endless moments, the skeletal giant began to falter. We renewed our efforts and soon, all that was left was a smoking pile of giant bones.

“Let’s try to avoid those, if possible,” I commented between gulps of tea.

“Seems we set off a trap,” Brutusk observed. “I saw a sigil flash over there before the skeleton came to life. It’s likely there are other traps throughout this corridor.”

“A rogue would come in handy to find and remove those traps,” Azmuth noted. “I know this highly qualified gnome…”

Avierra shook her head. “No time. You heard Muradin. We need to get to the Skybreaker through the platform and gain entry to the Upper Spire quickly. We’ll just have to be cautious, but quick.”

“Time to move out,” Mal warned. “We’ve little time.”

We encountered 3 more groups of regular undead guards and 2 trap-activated giant skeleton warriors along the corridor before it terminated in a massive room flanked by 2 upward sloping spiral staircases, one of each side. In the middle of the room floated a massive skeleton warrior, half again the size of the trap-activated ones. It had 3 heads where its single head should have been and chill blue fire ringed all 3 heads. In its hands was an enormous 2-handed axe that glowed with the same chill blue flames. It appeared to float, having no discernible legs or feet.

Avierra stared at the thing for a while. “What do we know?”

“It’s named itself Lord Marrowgar,” Adialetha replied. “Some of the scouts returned with reports regarding this creature. Aside from the obvious danger of the big axe, Lord Marrowgar makes bone spikes erupt from the floor, shoots rows of cold fire, and has a devastating whirlwind attack.”

I sighed. “Any good news?”

“There’s one of him and 10 of us,” Adialetha replied with a grim smile.

“Fabulous,” I said, flexing muscles already sore from the previous fights.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bladewisp's Diary (Entry #1)

With fiercely beating hearts, we entered the massive gates of Icecrown Citadel. The dark stone and iron complex appeared to brood amid the mountains of Icecrown in the northern area of the continent of Northrend. Having completed the Trials of the Argent Crusade, our band of so-called heroes had been tasked with being part of the vanguard for the attack on the Lich King Arthas Menethil. Supported by an alliance between the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade, now known as the Ashen Verdict, the way was made clear for us to spearhead the thrust into the very peaks of the citadel.

The Ashen Verdict had done its part. Fighting a pitched never-ending battle, they had secured a beachhead at the gates of the citadel. With a sizable force of soldiers, Highlord Tirion Fordring and Highlord Darion Mograine punched a way into the citadel at the Lower Spire.

Thus was the outpost of Light’s Hammer created, on the blood and corpses of the Alliance’s bravest men and women.

“Look sharp, everyone,” our leader Avierra hissed. She was a human paladin from the Alliance capital city of Stormwind. Even as she cinched her plate armor into place and examined her large 2-handed sword with a critical eye, her lips were moving in a prayer to the Light. “Mal and I will take point.”

Mal was her second, a night elf warrior from the outskirts of Darnassus. He hefted his oversized 2-handed sword in hand and grinned as if this was all just a game. “Hopefully, we run into some lovely damsels that need saving on the way.”

Avierra sighed. Mal’s behavior had always been a sticking point with her but there was no doubting his skill.

Our healing team was led by Brutusk, a draenei restoration shaman, supported by Adialetha, a human holy priestess, and Hotohuri, a night elf restoration druid.

Rounding out the team was Jarvisius, a human destruction warlock, Azmuth, a formerly human unholy death knight, Calimdan, a night elf feral druid, and Jizal, a human retribution paladin.

Oh, and of course there is myself, Bladewisp, a night elf marksman hunter. I adjusted the straps of my breastplate and unlimbered my longbow, a monster of a weapon close to my height in length able to hit the eye of a bull from 100 yards away or slam an arrow down to the fletching in the pallid flesh of an undead abomination. I pulled my helm low over my eyes and leaned against a nearby pillar, awaiting the signal to deploy.

Jarvisius was busy sorting various reagents in the pouches at his belt as he approached me. “You ready for this, Wips?” He seemed excited, almost eager to be off.

I nodded. “I’ve already got an arrow reserved especially for the Lich King’s eye.”

The warlock chuckled, a hollow rattling sound from beneath his dark hood. “We’ll have to get through his minions first, hunter. They won’t go down easily.”

I shrugged. “His servant, Anub’Arak, nearly killed us at the Trial. We still kicked his ass.”

“Let’s not get overconfident, hunter,” Adialetha remarked as she approached. The priestess appeared to be limned in a holy glow. The light seemed to push the darkness of the citadel back for a moment. “I’m certain we’re not the only team of heroes to brave the challenges within, just the latest. Be on your guard. Light help us all.”

“Light help us all indeed,” another voice replied. It was Jizal, who seemed more concerned with bashing heads than praising the Light. The light in his eyes was fervent, almost maniacal in intensity. “And Light help those undead monsters within. Their end draws nigh.”

Our discussion was interrupted by Avierra bashing her sword against the cold stone of the citadel. “Listen up, soldiers of the Alliance! Highlord Tirion Fordring speaks!”

Highlord Tirion Fordring rose from his seat and faced us all. He was resplendent in plate armor that glowed with the power of the Light. “Our march upon Icecrown Citadel begins now!”

Suddenly, seeming to come from the very stones of the citadel, the voice of Arthas, the Lich King, boomed out. “You now stand upon the hallowed ground of the Scourge. The Light won’t protect you here, paladin. Nothing will protect you…”

Avierra raised her sword high and it began to glow with a radiant light. She beckoned and we gathered around her just at the mouth of the portal leading into the citadel’s Lower Spire.

Tirion unsheathed his fabled sword Ashbringer and pointed it at the portal. “ARTHAS! I swore that I would see you dead and the Scourge dismantled! I’m going to finish what I started at Light’s Hope.”

The Lich King laughed. “You could have been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife. But that honor is no longer yours. Soon, I will have a new champion. The breaking of this one has been taxing. The atrocities that I have committed upon his soul. He has resisted for so long, but he will bow down before his king soon.”

Suddenly, a new voice rang out. “NEVER! I… I will never… serve… you!”

Muradin Bronzebeard, the Alliance representative for the dwarves, seemed to turn white as a sheet. “That was Highlord Bolvar Fordragon! I thought he’d perished at the Wrathgate. We cannot let the Lich King turn him. Prepare the Skybreaker for an aerial assault!”

The Lich King laughed again. “In the end you will all serve me.”

The dwarf spoke to Avierra. “You’ll need to find a place within from which to board the Skybreaker. There’s a platform just above the Lower Spire. You’ll need to fight your way there. Hurry, we’ll be there to transport you to the Upper Spire. Time is of the essence!”

Avierra signaled. She and Mal moved out closely followed by Jizal and Calimdan. The healers came next, flanked by Azmuth and Jarvisius. As usual, I took up the rear, arrow nocked and bow held at the ready.

Thus we entered Icecrown Citadel, stronghold of the Lich King. Light help us.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Guild Raiding Updates

Well, it's been a long time since my last post and things have moved onwards and upwards (quite literally!) for my guild. Rage On has started tackling Icecrown Citadel after patch 3.3 and progression has been the order of the day.

Our guild has managed to down all the bosses in the starting area Lower Spire, counting Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, the flying ship event, and Deathbringer Saurfang.

At the moment, we are working on the Plagueworks and having limited success. Thus far, we've downed Festergut once and have made multiple attempts on Rotface. Precious continues to prove a challenge while Stinky is fairly uncomplicated.

That's about it. Cheers!