A careful dance

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Voca
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A careful dance

Post by Voca » 18 Jan 2006 08:24 pm

((Edited the title since I am adding to the thread and the original title fit only the first story.))

Voca pressed her back up against the wall, trying to put as much of herself under the edge of the platform above as possible. Across the track she could see the faint ripples in the air that marked the presence of the otherwise invisible succubus.

Gnooki nudged her. “Your mother’s house is close. We could just make a break for it.” In answer Voca pointed south. Since leaving the clean room they had snuck past a steady stream of leper gnomes and troggs. The threat south of them was much more serious—four dark iron dwarves stood there, talking quietly.

Anger flashed over Gnooki’s face. “Dark Irons, in Gnomeregan. How can they survive the radiation?” Voca stared at Gnooki. “If I knew that, we wouldn’t be sneaking back in wearing Diving Helmets, we’d be riding at the front of a conquering Gnomish army.”

“So what is the plan, General?” Gnooki started to perform an elaborate mocking salute, but thought better of it when one of the Dark Irons glanced their way.



“I’m bored mother. When will you be done?” Voca pushed her way into her mother’s crowed study. Books were stacked in piles all over the desk, floor, any available flat surface. The bookcases lined every wall and were overflowing. Trove herself sat in the only empty chair, balancing a volume half her size against a stack of books and the edge of the credenza. She looked up absent-mindedly. “I don’t know dear. Curing curses isn’t as easy as laying them. You’re big enough to amuse yourself now.” Voca sat down, despondent. Trove sighed. “You were easier to look after when all it took to amuse you was an Imp in a Jar. Why don’t you let the poor thing out? You haven’t played with him in months.” She pointed up to the top of a bookcase, where a jar etched with symbols was balanced precariously on top of, what else, a stack of books.



Voca stared at Gorzeeki in disbelief. “150 gold for an Imp in a Jar? Are you insane?” Gorzeeki shrugged. “Seller’s market. Warlocks want them, and with my competitor conveniently out of the way …ulghla” This last noise escaped as Voca’s hand shot out and squeezed around the imp’s throat.” “Don’t ever describe my mother’s passing as convenient,” she said. Releasing him, she whistled for her mount and in a moment was riding away across the Steppe. The faint voice of Gorzeeki carried down the path. “Too bad she never taught you the trick.”



Voca reached into her pack, pulled out two flasks, and passed them to Gnooki before reaching in again for a third for herself. “Meet you there” Gnooki said. The two gnomes quaffed the potions simultaneously and shimmered out of existence. Moments later they reappeared in a dust covered study. Books covered every available surface. On top of a bookcase, balanced precariously on a pile of books, was a dusty jar etched with symbols. Voca clambered up on a chair to retrieve it. “Thank you mother”, she said under her breath.

“Did your mother have any more stored here? We could price them at 125 gold and make a killing.” Gnooki was never one to let a business opportunity pass by. Voca pointed to a corner where a large box sat. Together they dug it out, and then Gnooki whisked them and their burden back to Ironforge.

“Do you want one of the new ones? That one looks pretty old.” Voca shook her head, clutching the jar protectively, and strode out of the Mystic Ward towards her home in the cavern.
I'm not cute, I'm just drawn that way.

"Aimer, ce n'est pas se regarder l'un l'autre, c'est regarder ensemble dans la même direction." – Antoine de Saint Exupery

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Voca
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Post by Voca » 28 Jan 2006 10:22 am

Voca’s fishing pole jerked slightly as a fish took the bait, but she was not paying attention. Instead she was watching the tall elf striding across the cavern towards her. She knew who he was, how he had been banished from Dolanaar, even what he wanted from her. Her friends had seen to that. But she had never actually seen him before, and she was curious about this most unelvish of elves.

He reached her and bowed deeply, before sitting down so she could look him in the eyes. Unelvish perhaps, but not without courtesy, Voca thought. “I’ve been expecting you”, she said, gesturing to the now dark scrying bowl beside her. Guumbah looked at the bowl and smiled. “Then I am sure you know why I am here as well”. Voca nodded. “You are seeking companions for an assault on the orcs of Blackrock Spire. You fear they have fallen under the influence of the black dragonflight. But here is what I don’t know. I don’t know why you want me to come. You have allies,” here she pressed a finger pointedly against the tabard he wore, the tabard of a Dwarvish Militia. “and not many elves bear much love for warlocks.” She watched Guumbah carefully, but if he was shocked at her naming her profession so openly, she could not detect it.

“The Thane has business elsewhere, and most of the Militia are with him. Only a few of my companions in arms are able to join me. As for your occupation …” Guumbah hesitated a moment. “… that is exactly why I have sought you out. I need someone who can cheat death.” Voca looked at him as if puzzled. “As long as the spirit healers ply their trade we all cheat death elf.” Guumbah’s ears twitched ever so slightly. “That is not what I mean. The spirit healers may knit the soul back to body, but one must spend much time recovering afterwards. Such a resurrection does not allow one to continue with one’s task.” Voca turned her attention to her fishing pole. “You seek a priest elf, if you wish for someone who can raise a fallen comrade in that slim window before soul and body separate.” Now Guumbah’s ears twitched quite noticeably. “To raise a fallen comrade, a priest must survive. I wish you to perform that magic that traps the soul in the body, so that after death one simply rises in the very spot where one fell.” She looked back at him. “Most elves cannot bring themselves to describe that practice so clearly. You understand what this entails?” “You will use the soul of another creature to do it, I understand,” said Guumbah, though his distaste was evident.

Voca laughed. “You truly are an unusual druid. And your companions? The dwarves of Ironforge do not take kindly to my occupation either.” “We have agreed that you should be invited. You will not be the first warlock to fight with us, for we understand your kind's usefulness all too well. There is a fine line between understanding the demons and working for them. It seems you have not yet crossed that line.” The elf extended his hand, and Voca laughed again and shook it firmly. “I too am curious as to what is going on under the spire. The orcs and the Dark Irons have kept each other occupied for some time, but we cannot count on that forever.”

((to be continued))

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Post by Voca » 11 Jul 2006 12:56 pm

((I never promised it would be continued promptly!))

Entering Blackrock Mountain was an eerie experience. What should have been a thriving central forge and trade area—the center of life in a dwarvish community—was instead a empty cavernous no mans land. A casualty of the conflict between the Blackrock orcs and the Dark Iron dwarves, the forge and the tomb of the architect of Blackrock was now abandoned by both sides.

The small party crept silently through the forge, watching closely for signs the orcs had spotted them. Had a proper watch been in place their silence would have been to no avail, but the orcs were definitely distracted by whatever was going on up in the spire. Following the lead of the rogue, Clouseau, Voca clambered up the massive magically preserved chains that supported the tomb and then made her way through a small passage in the outside wall of the mountain until they overlooked some orc sentries on a balcony. Some quick hand signals were exchanged between Guumbah and Clouseau, and then before she knew it both sentries lay on the ground, their throats expertly cut. A few more hand signals, and then the whole party began to drop onto the balcony. For the elves it was barely a long stride, but for Voca it was a leap of faith—she jumped, closed her eyes, and was surprised to find a rough dwarvish hand gripping her arm as she landed. She opened her eyes to see a grinning Clouseau. “Now don’t ye be falling before we’ve even gotten into the spire lass,” he whispered, before turning to the corridor ahead.

The whole venture depended on stealth. The small party would be quickly wiped out should the orcs bring the full bore of their forces against them. The key was to remain undetected as long as possible, and once detected to keep the location of the party as hidden as possible. Keep the orcs busy searching the spire for them. With that in mind the orcs were stripped of weapons and coin and a false trail was laid out, suggesting robbery rather than invasion.

The elves were naturally stealthy, though Voca was surprised that this skill, which she had only seen exercised in the forests of Teldrassil and Kalimdor, came equally easy to them in the hewn caverns of Blackrock. The rogues, of which Clouseau was the leader, melted behind barrels and chairs and practically disappeared. For the rest of the party however, including the stout dwarven warrior whose name Voca had not yet learnt, the silence was a challenge. They had a stockpile of invisibility potions, but these had to be saved for the challenge of staying ahead of the search once the inevitable detection occurred.

“In two hours the watch changes” said Guumbah. “Let’s make the most of that time”.

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Post by Voca » 12 Jul 2006 10:44 am

Voca wondered if her companions were as disturbed by what was in front of them as she was. Clouseau, Peek, and Irise were nowhere to be seen, though that was compatible with any one of them of popping up beside her at any minute. Guumbah she guessed was still behind her, though he had transformed into a cat and improbably vanished much as the rogues did. Voca had started at that, but luckily an attentive Peek had clapped a hand over her mouth before the exclamation escaped. Druids, she was discovering, had many unexpected talents. The warrior, whose name had turned out to be Ulrich, and a dwarf paladin named Kandrak, were crouched beside her, sharing the upturned table she was sheltering herself with, but she couldn’t ask either for fear of bringing attention to their hiding place. It wasn’t the first time she had hidden behind overturned furniture: the orcs were very fond of impromptu fighting. And liquor. Indeed, the combination of the two had allowed them to slip unnoticed through a large front hall packed with orcs that would otherwise have required expending some of the precious stock of potions.

What was in front of them was a quadropod dragonkin, and from his colouring almost certainly a chromatic one. Not that Voca had ever seen chromatic dragonkin before, but her mother’s books had been filled with illustrations of all sorts of creatures. The pictures of the chromatic dragonkin had been copies of copies of copies, each artist finishing in details of his own based on non-chromatic dragons or worse his own imagination. Still, from the oldest to the newest of the pictures the colour was consistent, and Voca didn’t doubt that the Blackrock orcs had restarted Deathwing’s project of breeding the ultimate draconic race. But how? Where were they getting the dragons? It was impossible to believe that this was the work of Rend Blackhand alone.

The final member of their small party, Xaus, crouched on the other side of the hallway, behind large barrels. He was holding up 2 fingers and pointing into the room. Two of them! How were they going to get by undetected?

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Voca
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Post by Voca » 06 Jul 2007 01:39 pm

((Wow, I can't believe I let this go a year. Of course I believe I hopped on a plane for Paris shortly after the last installment and stayed a month, which can make you forget anything. Clou gets thanks for reminding me with his Karazhan tales -- nice job by the way. On one hand this is now terribly much nostalgia, on the other it seems a shame not to finish it, especially since this was to eventually culminate in Voca you know, actually joining SO.))

Peek appeared beside Xaus, quickly making a series of gestures that Voca thought indicated the orcs behind them were all passed out. She wasn't sure whether alcohol or the butts of the rogues daggers were responsible. Guumbah flickered into view beside her, whispered "ready?" to the three of them, and then flickered out of view again as they all nodded aye. Ulrich charged out in a burst of speed she hadn't though was possible for a dwarf, and the first real fight of the expedition was engaged. She checked that Kandrak's soul was still safely tied to his body before starting to lay a steady stream of curses down on the dragonkin. Not perhaps what her mother had in mind when she sat her down with those books, but the knowledge of how to hurt them was coming in handy now.

The rogues were all over the unfortunate beast, as was Xaus' feline companion, while Xaus himself fired arrow after arrow from behind the barrels. Kandrak and Ulrich stood side by side in front, shields raised, though Ulrich was taking the hits while Kandrak was focusing most of his attention on keeping Ulrich alive. Voca looked around for Guumbah but didn't see him. She did however see the second dragonkin charging down the hallway at them. How in the world were they going to handle this?

Suddenly Guumbah flickered into view beside her, mid-incantation, and the second quadropod stopped in its tracks, apparently mesmerized. Guum looked down at her, winked, and then was a cat again, bounding across the room to the first beast to add his claws to the rogues' knives. Voca glanced behind her, but miraculously the orcs stayed in their slumber.

The dragonkin dropped as Voca sent a last shadowy bolt at him, just in time for the second one to awake. Ulrich slammed his shield into the open mouth, preventing Guumbah from losing a paw, and then the battle was engaged again. Surely this was too much noise ... could the orcs really be so distracted that this wouldn't pull the wrath of the whole fortress down on them?

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