It was funny, really. How one moment you could be shocked learning the orc who kidnapped you was the same one who helped out your dead mom escape from a ruined city, and the next you’d be fighting for your life when some different orcs attacked.
Brulee had moved her away from the edge, towards back from where they came earlier, when one of the Horde people shouted. It was probably that creepy undead felllow; he wasn’t up on the cliff earlier, which suited Creme just fine. They had heard about the Scourge in the North and what they did, even down in Stormwind. It woudl’ve been pretty hard not to know about it, given the refugees that had poured in from the North, with their stories of folks who came back from the dead to terrorize them. Creme had hoped to never see one in her life, let alone hordes of them. And then the damn things that captured them had one in their group. It gave Creme the creeps. And it knew it too, the bastard. But Brulee didn’t want them to cause a scene by trying to escape or nothing. Which made sense; they were definitely out armed earlier.
But none of that really matter now, because they were under attack by a different set of orcs. Creme supposed it would’ve happened one way or another. The town of Lakeshire was definitely under attack, and they definitely would have wandered right into it if they had continued on their journey without interruption the next day. Just seemed a bit unfair that they had to get kidnapped before they faced them this time. At least they might’ve been expecting this… just not so soon.
The big orc and Brulee both pulled out swords and charged forward to meet their attackers. From the way Brulee had moved her aside, Creme guessed she didn’t want her in any of the combat. Certainly a noble sentiment, one that Creme appreciated for a short moment as the Draenei took on two orcs before another one went right for Creme.
Luckily, those few moments were enough for her to prepare herself. She had been waiting for an excuse to lay on with the fire spells and this seemed like a pretty good time to do so. She wasn’t gonna be caught off guard like she was last night.
IT was a large orc that was charging her. Some sort of warrior, if Creme was to judge. His lack of armor certainly made her think that, but mostly the fact that he was mindlessly yelling as he charged her wielding a giant battleaxe that made her suspicious.
“No mercy,” Creme thought grimly, before letting lose the fireball she had waiting in her hands.
Her aim was right on (it always was in school, even if the spell never turned out quite right). It blazed and roared right into the Orcs chest. Whatever he had been expecting from this scrawny human it certainly wasn’t some sort of fire. The orcs face controted from surprise at seeing the fire to pain as it seared his flesh. It barely slowed him down.
Seeing that the orc was still coming, Creme shot off several quick blasts of searing flames; super heated with bursts of boiling hot air. The grass singed as the fire went over it, and the orc staggered under the blow of each one, succumbing to the shock and burns.
Creme sent another fireball his way for good measure. The orc crumpled to the ground in a burning heap.
“He’s dead. Probably dead. Funny, I never thought the first thing I’d kill would be an orc, of all things.” Creme thought, trying to keep herself from shaking.
She looked around. The other orc was taking on a good three at once, and the Tauren was… was casting some sort of spellwork against another set. Some thorny vines of some sort had wrapped around the feet of several more orcs further away, holding them back. Their faces were contorted in rage at not being in the thick of the battle, no doubt.
But where was Brulee? Creme turned around – hoepfully no one would jump her in the meantime – and saw her Guardian fighting two orcs at once near the cliff’s edge. And it was in that instant Creme saw the two swing together, knocking the draenei off the edge of the cliff.
“No!” she cried, racing forward. The two orcs had just turned around and were surprised to see her racing toward them.
There was barely any time for her to process exactly what she was doing as she charged him. Later she considered all of it rather foolish. They swung at her as she raced forward but she dodged their sideways strikes by going under, simultaneously setting their feet on fire. That was always a good trick, especially when the heat got ramped up like she just did.
She was sure she could hear them yelling in pain, and secretly hoped they would fall off the cliffs themselves, but really had no more time to worry about such things at the moment because she just ran off the cliff herself.
It was on purpose, of course. She had to go save Brulee.
Of course, Creme did have some self doubts about her whole plan, but in her defense, it was made up right there on the spot when Brulee had fallen. “Guess in situations like these you don’t get too mcuh time to think things through.”
It looked like Brulee had fallen pretty far already. Creme needed to get a bit closer for her plan to work. She tried to make herself fall faster by making herself more aerodynamic. As she did so she prepared the spell.
The spell itself was pretty simple. A feather fall. Just made you as light as a feather so you’d drift down in case you fell from somewhere pretty high, or didn’t want that jar you just dropped to smash on the ground. The people at the mage school taught it pretty early on, since it was a nice simple non-attacking spell that taught all sorts of prinicples of magic Creme could really care less about right now. She had used it before, especially when she first learned it because what’s more fun than jumping off of roofs with your friends while you’re super light and scaring all the passerbyers?
“Hopefully I still remember how to use it or we’re both goners,” Creme thought.
A second or two ticked by and she was close enough to Brulee to cast the spell, as the ground loomed ever closer beneath them. She thrust out her hand at Brulee and willed the magic to work ((its magic ahahaha))).
“And it did! Praise the Light!” Creme thought as she zoomed past a considerably alarmed and puzzled Brulee, who was now gently floating down the remainder of the way to the ground. “Now I just need to do the same thing for me.”
Her mind went blank for one panic filled second as she tried to summon the same power that she did just a moment ago with NO FIRE coming out of her fingers this time! Another seemingly long second was spent channeling the energy for the spell, and then finally she too was gently floating into the valley below.
She looked up to track where Brulee was. Further up, and moving further a little further away from the cliff than she was. Hopefully they wouldn’t have any trouble finding each other.
Her journey down ended short, however, when she ran into the tops of one of the pine trees down in the fields below. Creme swore, because the tree was rather prickly and she would’ve rather landed straight on the ground. Instead she had to untangle herself from the branches and give a hop to float down some more, since at least the spell was still in effect.
Finally she touched down on the ground. About fifty yards away she saw Brulee landing as well, the draenei collapsing in a heap on the ground.
Creme jogged over to her.
“Il gul Sha, O azgala o gul aman!” Brulee said breathlessly as Creme got near. The draenei was sitting on the ground, limbs akimble, one hand over her chest. She was breathing heavily and shaking.
Creme tilted her head to the side. The draenei was obviously speaking a different language, but it didn’t sound like the Orcish she was hearing earlier. Maybe it was whatever Draenei usually spoke? It sounded kinda flowing, not as harsh as the Orcish was to her ears. She still couldn’t understand it though.
Brulee’s eyes looked to unfocus slightly before focsing again on her. “Oh… I am sorry… I was uh.. I was just saying … I was saying that I thought I was dead.”
“Yeah. I guess it was kinda a close one, wasn’t it?” Creme responded, trying to keep it light. She turned around to gaze up the cliff they fell – or in her case jumped – off of. Looked up and up and up to the top. Creme gulped; it was amazingly high. Suddenly she felt she made a really stupid decision to jump off; what if her spells hadn’t worked?
There was a little smoke from up on the cliff, but it was high and far enough away that Creme couldn’t hear any other sounds of the battle. She hoped that the Horde members could handle themselves well enough not to fall off a cliff.
“Pretty high though wasn’t it?” Creme said, before slowly sinking to the ground next to Brulee.
The draenei nodded. There was a moment of silence again. Brulee had started rubbing one of her horns with one of her hands; the other was trembling slightly. Creme situated herself on the rough grass, crossing her legs and trying not to be obnoxious and let Brulee collect herself some more. Even from their short time together she hadn’t seen her mentor so shaken.
“And she definitely has the right to,” Creme thought. “Most people don’t have someone handy around to stop them from falling to their deaths when they’re pushed off a cliff by some freaky orcs.”
Brulee first broke the silence between them.
“Thank you. I owe you my life.”
Creme turned to stare at her, surprised. Had anyone ever said anything like that to her before? Ever? Thanked her for any of the risky heists they had taken? Sure they might’ve thanked her, but no matter how many rough situations they had been in, it had hardly ever been life or death. What should she say back?
As quick as she turned to look, she turned her head away to hide the blush that was creeping across her face. “It- it was nothing. I just couldn’t let you get too far away ’cause of these stupid necklaces.” She uncorssed her legs and brought them up to rest her head on in a grump fashion.
“We shall have to see about these necklaces then, when we get back into town,” Brulee responded. Creme was surprised to hear that, that was for sure. But she didn’t turn her head to ask more. If Brulee felt that it should be removed, it didn’t mean that the Warden or any of them did. And it’s not like she had seen out her whole punishment or anything, really.
“I must be admitting,” Brulee continued, her voice quavering slightly, “I was not thinking of what would be happening to you when I had fallen. I suppose it is… selfish? Yes, selfish of someone to be so focused of their own worries at a time when they are beliving they are dying. … Thinking of my sister… praying for a miracle to happen that I may not perish in what would actually be rather embarrassing. I had been knowing the cliff was there but I was not paying attention as I should have been.” She chuckled lightly, ending in a sigh. “I am out of practice, just as Sister Lakosha said.”
“She’s rambling,” Creme thought ((stating the obvious)). She kept looking away though. Hearing someone ramble was embarrassing enough; watching her would make it even more embarrassing for the both of them.
Brulee continued to prattle on. “And then the Light answered my prayers, even as I was panicking in the air. You came down as well with your magic! I was so suprised to see you falling – I was almost not sure how I had stopped falling util I saw you stop falling as well. I was not sure if you were going to stop yourself as well. Did you fall off as well? Pushed off?”
Creme shook her head no. “I, um, jumped.” She sat up some to face Brulee, since it seemed she was done rambling for the time being.
The draenei’s eyes widened. “You came after me on purpose? You threw yourself off the cliff?”
“Uh, yeah. I guess so. I mean I’ve sorta done this kinda stuff before. I mean, using the Feather Fall…” Creme scratched the back of her head.
“Remarkable that you would even do so to help me! A thousand thanks to you, friend! A thousand thanks!”
“Friend? Are we friends? Does she think of me as a friend?” Creme’s thoughts felt guilty. But would she have thrown herself off a cliff for anyone who wasn’t a friend?
Brulee continued to speak, apparently unaware of Creme’s guilty conscience and still full of adrenaline. “I am not sure if I would ever willingly go off a cliff, even if I was knowing how to float down from one. I am not a, how you say… friend? No, fan? A fan of heights. Just looking down from there made me very nervous and afraid. And then as if to prove that I was afraid of them I was knocked off from them!” Her hands were thrown up in exasperation. “I do not wish to be climbing up a hill again, whether or not I have my savior mage with me or not!”
All this hero talk directed at Creme was making her decidedly nervous. She better show Brulee quick that she was no good for battles or nothing or else this would get out of hand and everyone else would be wanting to make her do even more helpful things. Not really what she was looking for.
Though if word got out to the Warden how she saved Brulee’s life – and she woudl bet that Brulee would tell him the story each time he asked – maybe her sentence -would- get reduced so there would be less time for her to have to wear the stupid necklace.
But why did she feel guilty for even thinking about doing that?
She decided to change the subject to avoid any more of those complecated feelings.
“Sooo… what’re we going to do now?” she asked.
“I am not so sure. Most of our things are either at their camp or with our horses up there…” Brulee eyed the cliff and Creme did too. Nothing seemed to have changed; she couldn’t even see anyone up there. Maybe the other Horde members had been defeated. A lump formed in her throat. It would’ve been nice to talk to the Orc who knew her mom, and now he might be dead too.
Brulee continued. “And I am not so sure what would be a good plan next. I was thinking that I would have been dead by now but I am still here. So this may require some thinking.”
Great. Brulee was usually the one who came up with whatever they were going to do next, and here she was addlebrained from a little fall. Okay, a big fall. But that probably meant that she had to think of what to do next.
“Well…” Creme started, thinkihng out loud, “I guess we really have three options. We could go back to Stormwind, or we could go try to find the Horde camp to get our stuff and regroup there, or we could try to go to Lakeshire.” The last one seemed a bit farfetched in her mind; they had just seen that Lakeshire was pretty much surrounded by an angry orcish horde.
“Hmm…” mused Brulee. “I am not sure how we could get to either Stormwind or the Horde camp. My understanding of the land here is not as good now that we are off the road.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I don’t think I could really point out which way Stormwind is in,” Creme added, slightly sheepish.
Brulee pointed off to her left. “I am thinking it is over there but I am not sure the mountains are passable if we were to be walking that direction. And since our horses are up on the cliff, or scattered about by the attackers, we would have to go by foot with no food or water. Unless we were to find some.”
Creme stuck out her tongue. “Eww. I don’t think I could tell if some plant was edible or not.”
“You could always be hunting something to eat, yes?”
“Hunt something? Me?”
Brulee smiled. “And it would be pre-cooked would it not? With all of the fireballs?”
Creme tried not to look amused at that statement. “But then I would need to like sneak up on them or something right?”
Brulee nodded. “Yes, you would be needing to do that. Hunting does take much patience, and I am assuming you have not done too much of it ever?”
“Food is sold in stores or on carts.”
“Hm, indeed. Then it would be hard to be traveling very far without knowing many directions. And I am not knowing about what you think, but to be attempting at finding the Horde camp after falling for some time, we would be having to take a long way around, yes? Unless you can make us float up a cliff?” Brulee giggled again; she seemed to be having a case of the sillies after the fall.
“No, I don’t have nothing that makes me go up.”
“Then it would also be taking a long time to get there and they may have moved the camp while we have been gone or have been taken over by the bad orcs.”
Creme frowned. “I guess if they found us up here, they might ahve found the toher Horde camp…”
Brulee nodded. “It would have many problems for us if we were to go back for our supplies and then found that the camp has been overrun and we are attacked again. If we were to even find the camp. I am afraid I was not paying as close attention as I should have to wher ethey were taking us, though I am afraid I may have forgotten anyway after a fall like that!” She laughed again.
“Um, yeah. I guess…” Creme said. She was afraid where Brulee’s logic was leading them.
“And I am not saying I am wishing much harm upon our Horde friends up there, and I am certainly hoping that they have defeated the orcs, but they likely are thinking that we are dead and it may be best for now if they keep thinking that. Especially since the ones at the camp may not be so friendly if we were to approach them, yes? So I am thinking that since these other options may be harder for us to easily travel to without being found by some of these bad orcs, that we should go to Lakeshire.”
There was a pause. Creme sucked in a big breath of air and let it out.
“You know when I mentioned that we maybe could go to Lakeshire?”
“Yes? I am aware of you mentioning that.”
“I didn’t actually mean for you to want us to go to Lakeshire. Because of all of those orcs. You know. The bad ones. Surrounding it. With a blockade.”
Brulee waved her hand dismissively. “Yes, yes. I know there are many orcs there surrounding it. But since we know they are there we can easily deal with the problem.”
“You have a plan for dealing with them?”
“I am sure one will come to me.” Brulee set a hand on her knee and pushed herself up into a standing position. Creme continued to stare at the draenei like she was crazy.
“So we’re going to Lakeshire… with no plan on how to get in there through a blockade… and no plan once we get in?!”
Brulee tapped the tip of her left horn with her left hand, grinning. “Ah – I never said I didn’t have a plan for when we got into there, yes?”
<walka walka walka>
Of course the plan wasn’t as easy as Brulee had laid out. Lakeshire hadn’t seemed that far away when they were on the cliff, but it turned out it was taking them a good amount of time to get there. Creme was getting pretty tired. They had been walking for almost the whole afternoon. The sun was getting pretty low in the sky.
Brulee glanced back at her. The draenei had definitely calmed down since after the fall, and was leading the way with gusto. Too much gusto, in Creme’s opintion. Brulee knew how to walk and walk fast she did.
“Are you needing a break?” the draenei asked her, sounding a little concerned.
‘No doubt she heard my heavy panting,’ Creme thought, slightly embarrassed. She was a city girl, after all. Marching through the hills of Redridge was a little harder than a leisurely storll (or quick sprint) across the city of Stormwind. Made her feel a bit out of shape though, to have the Draenei who was obviously older than her be able to walk around longer than her with no sign of exertion(though by how much older Brulee was than her she wasn’t too sure; obviously old enough to learn orcish from before the orcs came to this world, which was before Creme was born. But a lot of things happened then and a lot people were way older than her. Brulee didn’t look it, though. She had heard that they lived like a long time like teh Night Elves did, which was cool when you first thought about it, but then your would realize how much it would suck to be a teenager for like a hundred years or something. Not cool).
“Um, yeah. I Guess. IF we have the time,” Creme said, slowing down her walking pace a bit. She didn’t want to lag them behind just because of her. She was sure she could soldier on if needed. But a break would still be nice.
“Oh yes, there will be some time. I do not think we are very far now from the lake, and we cannot be entering the town until it is dark out.”
Creme nodded and tried to slow down her breathing some so she didn’t sound quite so out of breath. She wasn’t too sure if approaching the town at night was the best idea, but at least they woudl be less noticed in the cover of night by both the orcs and the townspeople – and hoepfully the townspeople wouldn’t mind them coming ashore much at all in the night and hopefully wouldn’t shoot at them.
Brulee looked around and picked out a nice rock to sit on. Creme followed suit on another nearby convenient rock and caught her breath.
‘Ew, I’m sweating a lot too. And it isn’t even that warm outside. Does adventuring usually mean this much running around? Maybe not. We did have horses before. I didn’t like them at first but after walkin’ I think I’d prefer fallin’ off allt he time!’ she thought to herself, wiping off her brow with her hand, and then grimacing at feeling the sweat there. She wiped off her arm on her pant leg. And then she frowned, trying to look like she meant that because it looked like Brulee was about to laugh at her antics or something like that. She seemed extra giggly from after falling off the cliff. ‘Maybe she’s usually like that when she’s not on duty watching some human kid or something. Maybe I’ve just been holdin’ her back ’cause she’s got a sense of duty and there’d be something she’d rather do but I’ve messed it all up for her and this is a chore…’ That would make more sense, it would. Only Paladins and Guards would be crazy enough to link themselves to a troublemaker in an effort to redeem then. Weird.
Her breath caught up with her again. “I guess we can go now,” she said. Creme made no movement to get up though.
Brulee leaned back on her rock. “I am not in a hurry right now. As I was saying, we are not far from the town now. We can sit around some more. I too am thankful for a rest. We had been walking for a good time just then.”
“Are you sure we’re close?” Creme asked suspiciously, eyes narrowing slightly as she looked over to Brulee for once.
Brulee nodded decisively. “I am quite certain. We had passed a landmark I had seen from the cliff and it is not too far from where the lake was, and we shall be crossing the lake in the night time when it is safer.”
“Safer, right… Wait – you saw something that looked like a landmark from way up on that cliff?” Creme asked, surprised. She made out the various orcs camps from that distance, but barely. The orcs had looked super small, and even the town’s buildings were too. “There was no way you could see any really good details up there, could you?”
Brulee looked surprsied right abck at her. “But of course! Everything was crystal clear for me, down to the last detail of the camps and the town. Of course I was not thinking that we would be approaching the town at that point, but a few of the details of the land stuck with me even after the falling.” She tilted her head to side a bit. “Was it not as clear for you?”
Creme shook her head. “No one could see that far without a spyglass or something.”
Brulee pursed her lips. “Hm… Perhaps no human could.”
“So that’s what your glowy eyes are good for huh? Seeing long distances?”
“And they can light your way in the dark,” Brulee smirked. Creme stifled her laughter. She didn’t want Brulee to think she thought she was funny or anything. That would be giving the wrong impression for sure.
But there wasn’t much else to do besides talk right now anyway, if they were waiting for the sun to set.
“So… ” Creme started, “you have a sister?”
Brulee smiled and nodded. “Oh yes, I do. She is called Shamundi.”
“Sounds like a funny name to me.”
“And ‘Creme Stonemason’ is a funny name too, to me,” Brulee snapped back lightly.
Creme felt herself blush slightly. “I guess it would be weird for you, huh. I mean, it’s pretty weird one for a Southerner too.”
“Southerner…? Oh – you are meaning someone who is from the Stormwind area?”
“Yeah. The name I got i more common up north. I guess Mom took a liking to it when she was up there.”
“Ah yes. But you see, there would be reason to think anyone’s name would sound funny if ti came from an area not near you, so you would be learning to keep quiet on such things.”
“Um, right.” Brulee sounded a bit irratated. Savign her life or not, I guess making fun of a name was a touchy kind of thing. And it was her sister’s name of course. That probably was more special than other types of names.
“So… what does yoru sister do? Is she a paladin too?”
Brulee smiled again; Creme supposed talking about her sister was still an okay topic then. The draenei shook her head as she spoke. “Oh no, Shamundi never had the patience or the interest for learning more about the Lgith’s powers. She never was very adept at controlling the Light as many of us are. Plus, she always thought the teachers were stuffy.”
Brulee smiled as Creme giggled to herself. “Ha… that’s what I’ve always thought to.”
“Oh? And you think I am stuffy?” Brulee said, suddenly looking serious.
“Uh…” Creme opened her eyes innocently. Maybe Brulee didn’t like her laughing much at all. “.. er… no? Maybe? No?” she said at a poor attempt at placating the draenei.
Brulee’s face cracked into a smile. ‘Ah, she was faking!’
“I am glad you do not see me as too stuffy. Shamundi would always tease me about these things when I was studying the books so much. Yes, she would tease me about it, as did my brother Alee.”
“You have a brother as well?” ((Though we may have covered this already earlier but I don’t remember right now))
“I did, but was killed during an orc attack.”
“Oh. Um. I’m sorry to hear that.” Creme said.
“Thank you. Many of our people have suffered from the orcish rage and lust for battle. Your to. Is that not why your mother had traveled to the north?” ((would brulee know this?))
“Yeah.” Creme nodded.
They were quiet for a moment. Creme was caught up in her own thoughts about orcs and such, how they caused so much trouble for people who would normally never meet. What a strange coinsidence that they would end up on the same planet, crash landing there.
“At any rate,” Brulee continued, “my sister kept her studies focused on the more material aspects of this world.”
“… like what?”
“Oh, the um… tinkering with metals and other things? The uh… how you say… mechanical things?” Brulee made some fiddly motions with her hands.
“… Engineering?” Creme supplied.
Brulee smiled brightly. “Yes! That is the word – I had forgotten it. Engineering. That is what she did. She fixed things like our holoprojectors and engines and other such mechanical things, and would sometimes make new ones. Exploding bombs too, she liked making those. I am sure the two of you would get along nicely, because she is usually so full of energy and you both like to set things on fire. … When appropriate.” The last bit was added on as what seemed to be an administrative afterthought to try to prevent furhter trouble from Creme.
“Haha, sounds like a lot of fun.”
“It is much fun for her. I never understood half of the things that she would talk to me about when she worked on such things. Engineering is mostly a hobby for many of our people, so perhaps that is why the more common terms were not shared as much outside of those who became experts, as many of us devote our lives to the Light. However, we all understand the need for the technology engineers produce.”
Well that was an interesting tidbit. “Oh, so most of your people are Paladins then?”
Brulee shrugged. “Or Priests. At least those who are adept at channeling the Light are. All… or almost all Draenei have some connection with the Light. It is just stronger with some than others.”
“So… all of you can heal and stuff?”
“More or less. Just rudimentary stuff come to the untrained though, such as healing of a bruise or minor scrape. The more complex wounds, they are requiring a more skilled hand or else the wound is made more worse.”
“Huh. That’s pretty cool. So the ones who aren’t as skilled with using the Light, they just do other things?”
Brulee nodded. “Of course. There are many roles for everyone to fill in the world, as you know. Many become warriors of some sort to protect the villages, like my brother did, alongside the Light wielding Paladins and Priests. And those who are comfortable safely wielding the powers of the Nether also fight with magic as Mages as well, such as what you do. We have faced many dangers as a people, from the Bruing Legion to the orcish hordes. Defense of our people was put at a premium. I suppose the times have been changed now that we are upon Azerothn and we have our many Allies to help and be helped by. I am sure it is a more peaceful time for our craft people. They are our engineers, as you say, and our tailors and our jewel makers. Embellishing things with jewels has always been a rather pleasant thing to do for ones armor.” She leaned in with a smile on her face. “Though I do not think any of those other types of jobs are glamorous as being a Paladin.”
“I suppose you wouldn’t.”
“Indeed.” Brulee looked up at the sky. “I suppose I have been talking long enough and you have been resting enough too, yes?”
Creme nodded. They had been sitting here for awhile, hadn’t they.
“Then let us get going,” the draenei said. She stood up, brushing whatever the rock may have left behind from her own behind and tail. It still boggled Creme’s mind that the draenei had tails. She had played around in her mind of trying to pull on Brulee’s but would imagine it would only make things horribly horribly worse for her if she did. Like shocks via the necklace worse. She wouldn’t put it past Brulee to do something like that iehter. If someone pulled on your tail it would be like someone pulling on your hair only worse, she suspected.
Creme got up too and started after Brulee, who was leading the way again. That was probably for the best, it was getting pretty dark out since the sun was almost down, and since Draenei could apparently see better in the dark… well, it just made sense.
“So… where’s your sister now?” Creme asked, trying to keep the conversation going.
Was it just her imagination or did Brulee’s back get straighter when she asked that?
“She… is in The Exodar,” Brulee responded.
“Oh. Um. Is she working there?”
There was more silence.
‘Did… did I say something wrong? We were just talking about her. I don’t see why she ahd to get all uptight about her now.’ Creme thought to herself.
“She…” started Brulee, but then she stopped speaking again. They were still walking though. Creme decided to let her sort out what Brulee was going to say. Maybe they were all out of sorts and had a fight or something.
“My sister… has been very ill. Since The Exodar crashed here. She was caught up in some of the worst of it and has been in a sleep ever since.” Brulee’s words were said with a tight voice and broken inbetween. Creme involuntarily gasped. No wonder why Brulee had spoken so fondly of her, and had been so hesitent to speak now. Creme never had any siblings, least not any real onse. But if someone she was close to at the orphanage got into serious trouble like that… a lump formed in her throat.
“Jeeze, you just can’t catch a break can you,” she murmured under her breath.
“Hm?” Brulee asked sharply. She hasn’t heard apparently, her head moved slightly to the side but the most Creme coudl amke out was one of her glowing eyes, overpowering the rest of her face.
“Oh. Just sayin’ I’m real sorry to hear that. I hope she gets better soon.”
Brulee nodded. “I agree. I had been waiting for her to wake up but-” She stopped speaking and stopped walking. Creme just about ran into her.
“But what?” she asked, sounding annoyed. The last thing she wanted to do was to run into a giant draenei carrying a huge ass sword on her back.
“Shh!” the Draenei said. Her head tilted to a side and then dodged towards some bushes to the left, grabbing Creme’s arm as well and pulling her roughly into the cover.
“Ow! Hey, what is-”
“Shh!” Brulee said again as they crouched down into the bushes.
Creme glared at her, but lowered her voice down to a whisper. “What, did you hear something?”
Brulee nodded, her eyes slitted. Probably either to keep them from being to bright in the dark… or because she was glaring at her for stating the obvious.
‘Well I didn’t hear nothing,’ Creme thought, just as there was a snap of a twig not to far ahead of them, followed by the sillouette of an large Orc, lit up from a latern behind them.
Creme’s eyes widened as she tried to make herself even smaller in the itchy bush Brulee had pulled them into, all with trying not to make another sound. Thank the Light that the orc up there didn’t pop up when they had been walking or else the sound of her breathing might’ve given them away!
They watched the latern lift up, moving from side to side. The orc was obviously looking for something; possibly even them? Hopefuly whatever landmark Brulee had seen wasn’t another orc camp of some sort.
“Do you see anything?” said a male voice in perfect Common. Creme nearly jumped in surprise from hearing that – there shouldn’t be any Common speakers outside the town.
The orc turned. “Thought I herd some noise,” the orc rumbled in less than perfect Common. It was heavily accented.
A second figure appeared in the lantern light some distance ahead. It was a human, wearing some sort of black leather, probably. But more improtantly, this human had a red mask across his face.
The human peered around the area. “I don’t see anything except some stupid plants. It was probably some animal or something.”
“Bunnies no talk.”
“Yes, that’s very astute of you.”
“I heard talk. I tink.”
“And I ‘tink’ that you should get back to camp where you should be guarding us from actual dangers, should they stumble across. Stick with the plan, o’ buddy boy.” The human slapped the shoulder of the orc.
“I been tinking dat da rewards haven’t been comin’ as soon as you sed dey would be.”
“The plan requires patience, my friend. They town is on their last legs. When tomorrow morning comes around, you all push through and round everyone up, give them a good scare. Take their loot. And then… we come and ‘chase you out’ like we planned. You get the rewards, we get the thanks of the people. And if they don’t thank us… well, at least we get the town.”
“But what if we kill all dem?”
“We still get the town. It will make a great base of operations..” The voice trailed off. It appeared that the human was leading the orc back to the camp.
They stayed still for quite some time afterwards, ears, straining to hear any more sounds from anyone else from teh camp they apparently stumbled close to. It was quiet.
Brulee was the first to move out of the bush. Creme stayed in it as the draenei looked around. The sun had completely set now, only the twilight lights in teh sky.
Brulee waved her hand for Creme to exit the bush, and so she did. The two of the scurried off in a slightly different direction set by Brulee, away from the camp but still, presumably, towards the lake and Lakeshire itself. They moved quietly at a much faster pace for Light knows how long before Brulee finally slowed down.
“I think it is safe to talk here,” she said, keeping her voice low. Creme took a couple of quick steps up to walk next to Brulee, for easier conversation.
“I am not sure what they were speaking of,” Brulee continued, frowning. “But it does not look very good for this town if there are humans working with the orcs. That seems very strange.”
Creme nodded, even though Brulee probably couldn’t see that. “Yeah. The Defias. They’re up to no good.”
“The Defias?” Brulee asked.
“Yeah. They’re… well… I guess they’re a bunch of renigade theives, now. They don’t like Stormwind at all.”
“Is that so? They are bandits, then?”
“Yeah… I’ve heard a lot of them are usually out in the woods. And over in Westfall. But I hadn’t heard of them out here before.”
“You seem to know much about them for being from the city.”
Creme shrugged. “Sometimes they try to drum up support from some folks in the city.”
“Would not the guards-”
“They aren’t doin’ it out in the middle of the streets where the guards are. They do it, you know, secret like. In the back alleys, where people who know about them or would be in favor of them would go.”
“In favor? Not many are in favor of thievery.”
“That’s not what they do – what they say they do, at least. They’re against the Crown ’cause of the riots.”
“Riots against the Crown? They are motivated by some politics?” Brulee sounded rather shocked from all of this, even with keeping their voices hushed.
“It’s complicated. I think it has to do with the Stoneworkers Guild. They were rebuilding the city. And they thought the Crown said they were getting paid. Except the Crown never paid them. And then there was riots.”
“Was this something recent?” Brulee sounded concerned.
“No. Happened when I was a kid.”
“Oh. And the Stoneworkers…?”
“Left town, driven out. One or the other. They formed the Defias. To get back at the Crown and get their payment. But it’s been some time. They’ve turned more to petty crimes than ones against the Crown itself. It hurts more of the people who didn’t go with ‘em.”
“Hm… Oh. I believe we are here. At the lake.” She slowed down even more.
In front of them the lake stretched out. Creme could see Lakeshire not to far away across the Lake. They had torches going. And on either side were the orc encampments. They seemed generally peaceful now. It was likely both sides were resting this evening, for the big attack they now knew was going to happen the next morning.
<Get across the lake. Next chapter is time for preparing for battlez!>
“So now what?” Creme asked. “We swim across this lake? In the middle of the night when it’s dark. And cold.”
“That is not what I had in mind.”
Creme crossed her arms. “And what did you have in mind then? Finding a boat? I’m sure all those orc camps would be just happy to lend us one. Or were we going to just sneak through them?”
“That is not the plan at all. Don’t be silly. The plan is for you to get us there.”
“Me? You must be jokin’. I can’t get us there, it’s not like I know any teleportation or nothin’-”
Brulee put her hands out to stop the whining. “No no, it is not that. It is using the Feather spell. It was making us light as feathers, yes?”
Creme nodded slowly, dubious.
“So all we are needing is for you to be casting that spell again on us, and we shall tiptoe across the water into the town.”
“But don’t they have those barracades up? And like… be expectin’ orcs showin’ up on the water too and shoot at us and stuff?”
“Do not be worrying about that so much. I am thinking we can persuade them not to be shooting us at some distance away, and we can safely make it into town without attracting too much attention from any of the enemy encampments. Hopefully.”
“If you say so…” Creme said. She wasn’t too sure this plan would work, especially since she had never tried to walk on water with a feather fall spell on before.
“And if worse comes to worse I am sure we could swim over there,” Brulee added cheerfully.
“More like freeze to death.”
“I am very sure that the Light would keep us warm! Now then, if you would like to be focusing on casting your spell we shall see if this plan is holding water, as you say.”
“Making puns already, are we?”
Brulee sniffed. “I will have you know I am mastering the playing of words when speaking the Draeni language” ((or… not. Really she says:)) “Puns? What are you meaing?”
“Nevermind,” Creme muttered. Before the draenei could ask what she meant by that, Creme briskly started preparing the spell. “Alright, I’m gonna try castin’ it now.”
A moment’s concentration on the spell – and making it not be a fireball -and Creme carefully aimed at Brulee. The draenei glowed lightly for just a brief second as the spell settled into her.
“There. Try it out.”
Brulee did so, carefully stepping one foot – well, Creme supposed it was actually a hoof – out onto the water. It stayed on the surface of the water. The draenei moved her other hoof to the water, and it held above the surface too. She bounced a bit and didn’t sink.
“It seems to be working then,” Burlee said. She turned her head to look at the town, eyes narrowing. “It does seem to be some distance away. Will you be alright casting this spell many times?”
“Um… maybe. I haven’t done too much practice doing continuous casting stuff though…”
“Then we will have to keep a brisk pace across the water. It should not be too hard as it seems to be a very calm lake, but I am not one to be looking forward to swimming while wearing full armor.”
Creme nodded and then cast the spell on herself. It was weird seeing her hands glow so much without flames popping out. Plus she had never really noticed the glow of the Feather Fall spell before. It was pretty subtle, but I guess always got lost in the light of the day… or the heat of the moment when falling down. Usually paid more attention to the ground and not to whether there was a little extra hint of light.
She stepped out onto the water and then freshened up Brulee’s spell as well. “Let’s go.”
Brulee led their jog across the water at a brisk pace. There was no talking now, just gentle splashing noises as they went over the top of the lake. The lake was very calm, just like Brulee said it was. Creme still watched her footing though. It seemed a bit more slippery to walk on water than ground, but that sorta made sense. Plus she didn’t want to fall into the water, ’cause she reckoned if she did she’d have even more trouble casting the spells, and if she stopped casting the spells they would sink down.
And boy was the spell casting hard to keep up with, especially while running. Even though it was getting chilly out, sweat from both the jogging on concentrating on the spellcasting was dripping down her forehead not even halfway to the town.
‘And now it’s Brulee’s turn for a refresher…’ she thought to herself. The draenei was starting to sink into the water a little bit, a sure sign that the spell was weakening. Brulee’s pace didn’t slow down though, a sure sign that the Draenei trusted her… or the draenei was just really sure of her footing. Or didn’t even notice herself sinking into the lake. Or…
‘Focus!’ Creme thought. She glanced down at her hand to see that instead of the plainer arcane spell that she had already subsconsciously summoned a fireball instead of the proper feather fall spell.
“Oh fer crying out-” she said. Angrily she cast the fireball into the water on her right. It was a small one, but enough to light the area a bit before it burst into steam behind her.
Brulee heard the loud hiss from the steam, twisting about to her right while still moving forward. “What? What was-”
Creme gritted her teeth. “It was nothing,” she forced out. Concentrating, she produced the proper spell and cast it upon Brulee.
‘And now one for me.’ She knew she had slowed down some but at least Brulee had too, after hearing that noise.
“We are not too far now,” Brulee called over her shoulder. “You are doing very well.”
Creme didn’t respond. She was too tired to be talking out loud right now.
‘Says the draenei running with ease. She’s probably just patronizing me for not being as fit, for barely knowing how to do a simple spell like this. I guess Sarah was right after all, wasn’t she. That it might be handy to practice. But who woulda thought I’d be in a jam like this?’
“Oh dear. It seems that the town has noticed us already,” Brulee said. It soudned a bit quiet from where Creme was standing since the draenei was facing forward this time, apparently staring at the town and them who noticed us.
‘That… was probably my bad for not concentrating hard enough. They must’ve seen the fireball and then us ’cause not much else happens across the lake, right?’ Creme carefully conjured up the next feather spell for Brulee, making sure there wasn’t mistakes this time.
Brulee apparently noticed the slightly glow of the spell being recast, because she shouted “I think I can be sprinting there from here. I will let them know we are not bad as they can welcome us to the village.” She started to take off.
“But-” Creme called, for a moment trying to keep up. But Brulee’s warrior, er, paladin training was evident as the draenei easily pulled away.
“Do not worry!” Brulee cried out, her voice fairly distant. Creme slowed down her jog some, watching the Draenei charge the village in the distance. She was running as straight as an arrow… and then was dodge something? Was it arrows? And then the draenei raised up her arm and a dazzling light emitted from it. Wings lit up her back and the area around her was clear as day.
‘Well if my fireball didn’t alert everyone in the area to our presence than that damn well will’ It was one thing to let the villagers see that no, you weren’t some orcish invasion from the sea, but Creme was pretty sure that the orcish camps on the sides would see that too. She quickly recast her feather spell on herself and picked up the pace.
And not a moment too soon. She felt a shapr gust of air brush past the back of her head. IT mussed her hair. A quick glance towards the subsequent splash confirmed it was an arrow that went right for her head – and almost got it too! Judging from the angle it didn’t come from the town either. That means the orcs must see ‘em too.
She nearly fell over onto the water in her effort to hurry up and not get shot at. A few more splashes from arrows popped up in her general location, apparently less accurate than that first shot. There were probably a good number of them aiming at her. Creme started running in an erratic pattern and speed; partly ’cause a funny moving target was harder to aim at, and partly because she was losing her balance while running on water.
Up ahead, Brulee had apparently made it to the village shore with no more trouble. Maybe she was talking with them up there at first, but she turned and pointed out to where Creme was and then obviously saw she was running for her life from something.
‘Good to see she’s at least a bit concerned.’ Creme thought. A few more arrows whizzed by. Quite a few of them were falling short. If she got a bit farther over, maybe they would get out of range. Or maybe when she got closer to the town they’d be out of range too. Brulee had the big light show but no one was shooting at her or the people who wer eon the shore.
It looked like Brulee was trying to go back out on the water but someone was holdling her back. Talking?
An arrow went close to her head again. She instinctivly ducked and kept moving forward. But finally her luck ran out as another arrow pierced her arm. Creme cried out in pain and stumbled to the water’s surface. And then fell through it.
‘The spell worse off! Damn damn damn, it hurts!’ Creme thought. She cluthced at her arm, still under the water and tried tugging at the arrow. It came out with little resistance. The water stung and the wound felt warm against the cold water. She winced and almost cried out again, if it wasn’t for all that water she would otherwise be breathing.
Creme forced open her eyes. The water stung them too, but most of her attention was more focused on the pain in her arm. And trying to get a way out of this situation alive.
She couldn’t see much with the lack of lighting. There were some blurry lights ahead, where the town was. That’s where she would have to go. Aftter getting some air. She moved towards teh surface but then an arrow plunged into teh water right where she was about to go up. It didn’t go very far down, thank the Light, but it might be more complicated if she were to surface.
‘But I need air – wait! That spell. If I can just alter it a little…’
Creme let go of her her her wound with her good arm – her right one (which was for the best since that was the arm she prefered to cast spells with) – and twisted it a bit, calling once again the arcane powers. This time she was going to focus on the ice, the water. She was in a lot of water, after all. She just needed a way to get the air without being seen.
‘First to make a pillar…’ A thin column of ice sprung forth from her hand, from the water around her.
‘And then tho hollow it.’ Ice manipulation was some of the work her teacher had her work on before. She never liked it, but it would come in handy now. If she didn’t run out of breath before she finished.
She couldn’t see it happening, but she could feel the center of her icy creation hollow out from her hand up. She made sure the top went above the water before it finished, and then placed the still sealed bottom part to her mouth. It was very cold. She hoped it wouldn’t freeze to her lips. Her right hand still held it and she opened up the bottom part.
‘Air! Sweet air!’ Creme sucked at it greedily at first, until she realized the tube was starting to melt. She redoubled her concentration on keeping the power flowing through to keep the creation from melting in the water. The water was cold but not as cold as the ice itself.
A few more arrows crashed in the water above her, but she ignored them, instead swimming steadily with her legs propelling her towards the town lights.
It took her a few minutes at least to get to shallow water where she could stand. That was probably out of range of the archers. She stood up, dropping the ice tube and letting it melt, coughing and sputtering from the water that got in, and shivering from the cold and pain. She kept walking more or less towards the town.
Creme heard a familiar voice shout “There she is!” but was too tired to acknoledge it. All the spellcasting she just did must have worn her out far too much. The second someone approached her she fell into them, blacked out.