Even from afar, the one known as the Hunter was massive. Easily the largest flamewalker in the Firelands, his lower snake body undulated behind him while a massive spear was strapped to his back. His two hell hounds, Riplimb and Rageface, stalked on either side of Shannox.
“Yes... I smell them too, Riplimb. Outsiders encroach on the Firelord's private grounds. Find their trail, find them for me, that I may dispense punishment!” Shannox roared.
“I can keep Shannox’s attention,” Mal volunteered. “But those dogs will be trouble.”
Wiegraff nodded slowly. “Jizal will have to take Riplimb. From the night elf reports, Rageface seems to be a bit of a wild card so I want the 2 hunters on Rageface at all times. Keep him at a distance and take him out. Cyan will stay on Shannox along with Mal. Slippy and Bulalo will rotate between both hounds.”
“Target priority?” Slippy asked.
“Rageface needs to die first,” Wiegraff replied. “Then we focus on Riplimb. Shannox is not going to be happy about his hounds dying so we need to make sure Shannox is weakened before finishing off Riplimb. Make sure to stay out of his traps. Understood?”
At that moment, Shannox the Hunter appeared over the ridge to the east. His hounds strode by his sides. “Everyone spread out and get ready!” Wiegraff shouted. “Veexie and Oicmus will stay on the damage dealers and Jizal, I’ll stay on Mal.”
“Just say the word, boss,” Mal said as she unlimbered her shield and swung her sword first left then right.
Jizal did the same and swayed from side to side, grinding the reddish brown dirt of the Firelands under his boots. Wiegraff took a look at all the members of the unit and nodded once. “Misdirects and Tricks of the Trade to Mal and Jiz. Going in 3, 2, 1... GO!”
Mal executed a perfect heroic leap directly in front of the massive flamewalker and slammed his sword into the ground, the shockwave temporarily stunning Shannox. The hellhounds bayed once and charged even as Jizal’s shield flew into Riplimp and slammed directly into his nose. Bladewisp leaped back even as he fired several crossbow bolts into Rageface.
Shannox screamed in fury. “Aha! The interlopers! Kill them! EAT THEM!”
Veexie had already placed a holy shield on Jizal which Riplimb was trying his damnedest to get through.
“Go for the throat!” Shannox instructed Rageface.
Rageface roared at Bladewisp first then leaped a seemingly impossible distance, stunning and mauling Cyan. Killstrike, foregoing his crossbow for a longbow, took careful aim and slammed an arrow into Rageface’s side with the force only a longbow could deliver at that distance. Rageface howled in pain even as he bounded to the troll hunter who sidestepped to the left to catch the hellhound in one of his master’s own crystal ice traps.
“Everyone switch to Riplimb!” Wiegraff directed.
Both hunters turned their bows to Riplimb. They waited a split second for Jizal to step to the side before firing their weapons. Bolt and arrow whipped into the enraged hellhound, eliciting a yelp of pain and anguish. Jizal kept his shield raised even as the dog’s claws gouged furrows into the metal. Bulalo and Slippy sped into the fray, slamming mace and dagger into the hellhound’s hindquarters. Cyan called forth shadow and flame, keeping his focus on Shannox himself.
“Go for the throat!” Shannox roared. Rageface had broken free of the trap and bounded straight for Slippy. Bladewisp tracked the hound’s path and fired just as the hound reached the troll rogue. His bolt nearly skewered the hound and another howl of pain issued from the dog’s throat.
“He’s nearly done! Finish him off! Kill Rageface!” Wiegraff shouted.
Almost at the same time, both hunters whispered, “Kill shot.” Arrow and bolt streaked to their target, slamming into Rageface and nearly splitting him in two. His final howl faded into abrupt silence.
Shannox roared. “You murderers! Why... why would you kill such a noble animal?!” Cyan and Mal continued to keep Shannox’s attention as both hunters shifted their attention to Riplimb. Bulalo and Slippy moved over to focus on Shannox.
The hunters and Jizal made short work of Riplimb even as Cyan, Bulalo, and Slippy weakened Shannox further. When Riplimb went down, Shannox issued another cry. “Riplimb! No... no! Oh, you terrible little beasts! HOW COULD YOU?!”
Wiegraff motioned to Shannox. “Burn him down!”
Slippy moved to Shannox’s blind side and plunged both daggers repeatedly into his back, his hands nearly blurring with the speed of his stabbing. Bulalo slammed both maces into the flamewalkers’s back, just above Slippy’s blows. Cyan called down shadow and flame, laughing in glee as his spells engulfed his foe.
Shannox fell, his death shaking the very ground of the Firelands. As he fell, the flamewalker hissed, “The pain... Lord of fire, it hurts...”