Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thogrum could hardly blame him. The fighting had been vicious in recent weeks, as the demons had become more desperate as they had lost ground. Thogrum and Billy had been in the middle of coordinating the next series of assaults when orders had arrived from the Alliance High Command, recalling them to the militarycommand center in Ironforge for 'Urgent Reassingment'. Thogrum recalled not being pleased to be pulled offof the lines as the final campain was being planned, but this order was extremely unusual and the High Command very seldom pulled it's field commanders unless there was a very good reason. Thogrum again glanced at the set of ordersi n his hand.
***ATTENTION ORDERS***ATTENTION ORDERS***ATTENTION ORDERS***
Recipients: Field Commander Thogrum of Ironforge
Field Commander BillyWallace of Stormwind
Subject: Change of Duty Status/Reassignment
Thogrum of Ironforge:F ield Command Staff,
Fourth Combined Alliance Army (Infantry)
BillyWallace of Stowmwind: Field Command Staff,
Fourth Combined Alliance Army (Aerial Cavalry)
Reassingment: Alliance High Command Special Military Attache,
Ironforge Military Assistance Command
Situation: As you know,Gnomish Military involvement in the war with the Scourage has been limited to a few pilots and aircraft under preexsisting agreements. Their choice not to send their troops and infiltrator unitswas suprising, but we did not have time to investigate this unusual change in Gnomish foreign policy. All this has now changed. Three weeks ago, all communication with the Gnomish Capitol City of Gnomeragon was lost.All trade has stopped and the gnomish troops on all the border checkpoints have now disappeared. Reconnisance overflights of Gnomish lands show no activity on the surface near the city, near the primary airfield or the city entrance.
Effective immiedatly, You will proccede to the Gnomish Capitol City of Gnomeragan. Evaluate the security situation, and offer all avalible Alliance resources to King Mekkatorque.
Details will be provided prior to mobilization. Proceed with extreme caution.
***END ORDERS***END ORDERS***END ORDERS***
The elevator screeched to a halt. The grim faced gnome swung open the door, and stepped out into the dark corridor. Billy and Thog followed, their armored boots clanking loudly on the metal floorplates. Thogrum stopped, and rested ahand on the wall. The familiar hum of the walls from the machinery, normally so prominent, was almost nonexsistent.The dim red emergency lights flickered intermittently. Thog glanced at Billy, who nodded ever so slightly. The tall human was very familiar with the Gnomish city, having spent much time there before the war. He also knew, felt,something was terribly wrong. "This way, Gentlemen". The gnome spoke for the first time. His voice sounded tired, and there was not a trace of the famed gnomish good cheer in it. In the dim light, he looked very old, and very tired. He turned and moved down the corridor at a steady clip.
Billy and Thogrum followed, through a series of tight corridors. After about ten minutes of walking they came to a sturdy looking hatch. The gnomish script on the door read simply " Auxillary Power Control Station 3". The gnome rapped on the hatch,and after a pause, the bolts clanked, and the dor swung inwards. The gnome moved through, and Billy and Thogrum followed.
Inside, the dimly lit room was lined with screens that each showed different scenes, with panels of flashing lights and switchesunderneath. A gnome was sitting in front of each screen, twisted around looking at the door, with hands on their weapons. They stared for a moment, and then relaxed, turning back to their screens. A serious faced gnomish woman crouched behind a console, pointing an enormous firearm at them stared for a moment and then lowered it, glaring at them before returning to her console.
A deep voice called out. Thogrum looked around the dim room, and saw an armored gnome striding out of the darkness.
"Well, I'll be. Billy and Thogrum! I knew the Alliance would send experienced adventurers, but I didn't know it would be you two!!You young pups!"
The gnome grew closer, and became visible. He was old, with a white beard, and a scar running down the right side of his face.The insignia of an infantry general was just visible on his shoulder plates.His battered plate armor made him look even larger than normal, for a gnome. He too, was heavily armed with two swords crossed over his back, and a dagger at his hip.
"I haven't seen you lads since we all taught at the Infantry School in Ironforge."
Thogrum smiled, and stepped forward and clasped the gnomes armored hand.
"General Sprungsprocket. We came as fast as we could."
"And not a moment too soon, Lads. Thank you for coming. We held as long as we could."
Billywallace spoke suddenly, a rarity for the silent human.
"Held as long as you could against what, General?"
"Follow me, boys."
The old gnome turned to the young gnome who had guided them in, and spoke rapidly in gnomish. The gnome saluted, and rapidly moved off into the gloom. General Sprungsproket watched him go.
"He's a good lad, that one. A fine soldier, and a hell of an officer. I fear I have asked too much of him as late,but we have had little choice recently."
He turned and began to walk into the dark. Billy and Thogrum followed. As he walked, Billy and Thogrum followed, watching the screens. The screens showed scenes of destruction. A glimpse of an abandoned common area, with debris strewn about. Some of the screens showed drifting clouds of green gas, obscuring what lay underneath. A third showed a barricade, manned by grimfaced gnomes in a collection of CityGuard uniforms, infantry and civilian clothing. A scene of the aircraft hangars, with mysterious shadows wandering aimlessly around.
"They came up from deep underneath, while our construction crews were expanding our water collection systems.At first, they were merely annoying, and our City Guards handled them easily."
The General paused in front of a now dark monitor screen. The label at the bottom read 'Nursery 3'.
" The first attack came in force through Nursery 3. They tunneled through the floor, somehow avoiding our sisemic sensors. We managed to beat them back, but not before they had gotten through all three of our nurseries."
He turned and continued walking slowly.
"The second attack came right on the heels of the first, while our Guards were reorganizing from the first attack. It came through the third level robotics workshop. It was simultananous with another breakthrough in the Lower City Quad. They were too numerous. They tore through the lower city. Casualties were in the thousands."
The stout little gnome's eyes had a far away look as he spoke.
"We sealed off the Lower City, after getting as many people out as we could. The High Tinker and his council made it out, barely. After a hasty conference, the recall order was sent to our troops in the field. The High Tinker knew that we could not hold without all our forces. I still recall his words. He spoke of our peoples comittment to the Alliance, and the special bond between our peoples. He spoke of sacrifice, and comittment to the greater good. He told us we must hold. The Alliance could not spare troops to assist without risking loosing the war."
The gnomish general turned and faced Billywallace and Thogrum.
"We still hold the water station, Power Station 2 and parts of Power Station 3. We hold the Upper City common area, and parts of the schoolhouse. The rest is either irradiated, or overrun. The casualties are uncountable. Perhaps in the the thousands, if not tens of thousands. We have held as long as we can."
His face hardened.
"We will never give up our city. Our race may have suffered, and indeed may be near extinct, but we willnever give up our beloved city."
Thogrum spoke: "We are here as official military representatives of the Alliance. We offer the full aid of the Ironforge and StormwindArmies. Where do we start?"
The gnome laughed grimly.
"Provide a safe place for my king, and our people. That is all we require."
Billywallace then spoke again.
"What about you and your troops?"
General Sprungsprokt smiled grimly.
"Lad, I am pushing two hundred and fifty years old. I have survived two wars against the Horde, multiple battles with the demons, and many a battle with the forest trolls. I lost three generations of my family when the Troggs hit us. My son, three grandsons, and five grandchildren. All gone. I had a family, and a clan full of life. Now, I have nothing left but my duty to my race, and my King. My troops feel the same. The young captain that brought you in had a brand new daughter in the nursery. The gnome there at the door had her infant son snatched from her arms as she fled. No, my friend. We will stay. There is nowhere else for us to go."
He turned to stare at a nearby screen, which showed the enormous central hall, once busteling with life, now dark and silent.
The dwarf, the human, and the gnomish soldiers stood together, staring at the screen.Thogrum rested his hand on the old gnomish general's shoulder.
The gnome spoke again.
"Someday, sometime, we will retake our city. Maybe not today, or next week. Maybe not even next year, but we will retake our city. Gnomeragon will rise again."shoulder.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Billy stared out the porthole of the zeppelin in horror. Just beyond the stubby wing, the engine hung, roaring like a beast in pain, spluttering and spitting sparks into the wind. As he watched, the sparks became a flame, at first small, and rapidly growing to engulf the entire engine, and shooting back into the wind. He tore his eyes away from the porthole and rapidly glanced around the cabin. His squad of human soldiers were sitting, backs to the hull on a long bench, facing their partners on this mission, a squad of dwarven soldiers. Both humans and dwarves were impassively sitting, and waiting. The dwarf right across from him was staring at him thoughtfully, but made no attempt to communicate.
The roar of the engines and the wind rushing past the hull of the zeppelin made it impossible to hear anything, anyway. Billy glanced back out the porthole. The metal of the engine pod was now soot stained and glowing red in places, but was still flaming, if anything, bigger than before. He turned again and grabbed a passing crew member, a gnome dressed in thick overalls, with a leather helmet and goggles up on his head. Since Billy couldn't speak gnomish, and the droning of the engines and the wind prevented talking anyway, he grabbed the gnomes arm and pointed urgently out the porthole. The gnome clambered onto the bench next to Billy, peered out the porthole, looked at back at him, grinned, gave a thumbs up, and continued on his way. Billy rolled his eyes. Gnomes. He glanced again at the dwarf across from him, a sergeant, by the look of his armor. Billy didn't read dwarven runes well enough to make out the name stenciled on his chest piece.
He glanced out at the engine again, and to his horror, it suddenly exploded, twisted on its mounts and fell from the zeppelin, dropping towards the scorched earth of the Hellfire Peninsula below. The zeppelin began to shudder, and with a sickening lurch, began to drop. The gnome crewmen, always moving fast, began tearing around the cabin, and popping and out of hatches at an almost supernatural speed. The pilots, located right in front of Billy in the cockpit, were also abuzz with activity. Their entire faces were covered with enormous goggles that glowed green in the front, and wires plugged their helmets into the instrument panels in front of them.
Billy looked to his left, and tapped his assistant squad leader on the leg, the armor on armor contact making a clacking that was more felt than heard. His assistant looked at him, a bit pale, but gave a thumbs up. The assistant then turned to check on the rest of the squad. Billy again looked at the dwarf across from him. The dwarf was taking the leather cover off of the biggest axe Billy had seen in a long time. He stared back, and then, surprisingly, he winked, and grinned widely. Billy grinned back, finding comfort that the dwarven soldiers weren't totally humorless.
Billy felt a tapping on his boot, and looked down. One of the pilots had twisted around in his seat and motioned Billy to lean over. When he did, the gnome yelled loudly next to his ear to be heard.
“ Ten minutes!”
Billy nodded confirmation to the gnomish pilot, and looked at the dwarf, and flashed ten fingers. The dwarf nodded, and turned to pass it along to his soldiers, as Billy did the same.
Meanwhile, a gnomish crewman, rushed to the back of the zeppelin, and flipped on a bright red lamp next to the closed ramp they had all entered several hours before. A hatchway opened forward, and three gnomes stepped out. These gnomes were clearly not part of the crew. They were clad head to toe in thick black leather armor, and had compact packs on their backs. Their goggles were up on their heads, and they were armed with a combination of daggers and short, vicious looking swords. One of the gnomes drew a dagger and was carefully dripping a liquid onto the blade. He spread it around and then swiftly re sheathed the dagger. Billy noticed the insignia on their left shoulder, a scarlet pair of crossed wrenches over a dark green silhouette of a cog. Surprised, Billy realized that these must be the famed Gnomish Infiltrators.
As he watched, they pulled their goggles over their eyes, and flipped a switch that made them glow red. The gnome at the far end of the cabin shot a fist in the air, and grabbed a lever next to him.
The gnome at the door pulled the lever, and the rear ramp dropped, exposing the aft portion of the cabin to air. The wind howled through the interior, louder than Billy thought was possible. He was suddenly very thankful for the thick leather straps securing him to the bench.
The gnome at the end, now standing next to the open tail ramp, shot a thumb in the air, and the scarlet light next to him turned green. The gnomish infiltrators charged at the door at a dead run, and lept out into space, without even pausing. The soldiers, dwarven and human alike, looked shocked. Billy, knowing gnomes, was not surprised. They were neither stupid, nor suicidal, and they ALWAYS had a trick up their sleeves.
Again the tapping on his boot from the co-pilot. The gnome held up five fingers. Billy nodded.
He flashed five fingers to the dwarf across from him, and passed it to his assistant.
Suddenly, the zeppelin lurched left, throwing Billy forward against the strap, and then curved to the right very hard, making him feel like he was laying on his back. There were flashed from outside of the portholes now, orange and white flashes that light the interior of the cabin with a chalky white light.
Suddenly, there was a feeling of falling, a screech of twisting metal, a jolt and a loud crash, and then, out the back ramp door, Billy could see the ground.
The gnome at the back door was screaming, loudly, in common, “ GO, GO, GO!”.
Billy wrenched off his straps, pulled his shield out from under the seat, and followed his squad out, hurling himself through the ramp door, hitting the ground right next to the dwarf from across the aisle.
Billy rolled over just in time to see the zeppelin fire up its three remaining engines. With a roar, and a screeching of metal, the captured zeppelin left the ground, clearing Billy's view of what lay in front of him.
He and the fourteen Alliance warriors stood in the center of a Horde encampment. The keep loomed behind him. The walls, a ways off, with guard towers at all four corners, enclosed all around. A gate in the massive wall, closed. In between the Alliance soldiers and the gate stood about forty orcish warriors, looking shocked.
Billy grinned. Now THIS was something he could get into. He stood up and drew his sword. Glancing at the sky, he noticed the smoking zeppelin coming around again, aiming at the courtyard where they stood. It's speed was rapidly increasing, and Billy thought he saw something falling out of the back ramp, and drifting in the winds. The zeppelin continued to accelerate, roaring yards over their heads and smashing right into the keep behind them, exploding with tremendous force, bowling all the soldiers over again.
The orcish officers were shouting, getting their troops into a tight square, and preparing, as Billy knew from experience, to let the archers on the walls shower arrows down on the intruders in the perimeter. Again, Billy grinned. He knew how to deal with arrows. But, before he could move, the dwarven soldiers charged, axes raised, screaming at the top of their lungs “ FOR KHAZ MODAN”.
Leading them was the dwarven sergeant, an axe in each hand, and blood in his eyes.
Billy turned to the human warriors, and roared “ COME ON YOU SISSIES! YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?” ,and charged into the fray.
The fight was short, and merciless. The orcs of Hellfire gave no quarter, and expected none. After the fighting Billy took off his helmet and wiped the sweat off of his brow, and sat on a toppled piece of the orcish keep. He needed some water in a bad way, and his shield arm was numb. He looked up at the crunching of approaching boots. The dwarven sergeant was approaching, his massive axe slung nonchalantly over one shoulder, armor scratched, bloody, and in a few places, still smoking.
“Ye fight well, Human.” He stated, in the thick brogue of Ironforge.
“Thanks. You boys did a damn fine job yourselves.”
“Ach, tis child's play. I will tell ye though, I could've gone without tha bloody zeppelin ride”
“ I hear that” Billy rolled his shoulders, feeling the sore muscles.
The dwarf looked at his speculatively, and then unhooked a canteen from his belt and held it out.
Billy took it, unscrewed the cap, and took a large drink, and almost choked. It wasn't water, but strong dwarven brandy. He swallowed it, eyes burning, and handed the canteen back.
The dwarf laughed. He leaned close, and stared at Billy's face.
“You and me, I ca' tell, are two of a kind.”
He extended an armored hand. “ Thogrum of Ironforge, at yer service.” Billy grinned, and clasped his hand in return. “ My name's Billy. Billy Wallace, and you know, I think you are right. ”
Friday, March 13, 2009
So, seeing strange ruins in a distant part of the land without anyone around to help me or tell me otherwise, I did what any dwarf would do, I went inside to see what it was. Hopefully, I could discover the origins of this out of place structure. As I pressed deeper into the musty tunnel, I began to come across restless centaur spirits. This place seemed to have been holy ground for them, and had somehow become disturbed.
It is rare to find centuar tribes that have actually evolved enough as a civilization to actually build more advanced stone structures, so I was beginning to get excited that I was on the verge of a great discovery here. That was when I turned the corner and found this:
It was an open magic portal, standing alone in a room. It must have been crafted many years ago, by a very skilled practitioner of the magical arts, since outside of the collective magical might of the conjurers of Dalaran, there is no one left in the world that can make permanent magic portals. It is a near lost art, and the power it takes to maintain them indefinitely....Well, lets just say they are rare, indeed.
Well, it was there, I was there, I had to do what came naturally! I closed my eyes and stepped through the portal. I must admit, I did not expect what I beheld when I opened them.....
I was standing in a pool of clear green water with a thundering waterfall nearby and the wet moist air filled with the sounds of life. I looked up, and could see the moon still in the daytime sky. It appeared that I was still in Desolace, but a part that was not so easily accessible. This must have been protected from the explosion of the Well of Eternity during the sundering. This is what Desolace used to look like!
I defended myself and sadly, ended up slaying the beastie. After the fell, he thanked me for releasing her from her milennia of torment, and I felt a great peace settle over the caverens.
I then wandered around for a time, looking for an exit from these amazing caves, only to find that my entrance portal was, unfortunately, one way. Well, as any good dwarven adventurer, I was prepared for this, and activated my stone, and was whisked away to my Favorite Pub in Ironforge, to share my tale with my friends in the Explorers League, and get myself a strong pint of real dwarven beer.