The Gray Place

FanFic #1

Posted in FanFic by mrfenris on September 13, 2010

Part I-

In the crisp autumn morning the finest members of Gray’s Corps laid atop a small rise in the Arathi Highlands and watched in horror as the temple below them was being looted.  Perhaps the term “the finest” is stretching it for the sake of starting off this yarn.  Case in point the commander of the Gray Corps was rumored to be an excommunicated Blood Elf Paladin, the Troll mage was hung over from the previous night in Tarren Mill, and their Orc Shaman was mumbling something in a strange tongue as he rummaged in his bag of pungent mushrooms looking for another one to munch on.  They had sent their Hunter to scout ahead of them and were awaiting her return.  Behind them, further down the hill, stood an assortment of mounts and a team of mules drawing a “newly acquired” wagon whose sole content was a large ill-behaved sheep in a wooden cage.  The sheep glared hatefully at the dozing Troll mage.

Perhaps the term “horror” is also ill-used as the members of Gray’s Corps weren’t horrified by much with the exception of meeting up with the Arathi Stromgarde Militia and instead perhaps the better word to describe their feelings would be envious, since they themselves had looked forward to looting the temple for themselves.

“Bloody thieves!”, hissed the pale green-eyed Blood Elf who had been known only as Gray the past few hard years.  Rumors abounded in the Corps that he was the bastard son of a politically powerful family in Silvermoon.  Others spoke in hushed whispers that he was a former servant of Kael’Thas Sunstrider until his masters demise.  And even quieter whispers spoke of a former pious Paladin reduced to mercenary work after being driven out of the Church of Light over some sacrilegious act.  The degrees of sacrilege involved varied depending on who was telling the story.  What was known by the members of the Corps was that their commander Gray was a man worthy of respect and obedience.  At least while the coin was coming in as steady as a stream.  As of lately the coins followed more in the manner of a dribble of urine that a drunk old man had produced against an alley wall.

Gray rolled over and stared into the sky in frustration.  If he had been alone he might have beat fists against the hard ground and screamed into the clear sky.  He eyed the half sleeping blue skinned troll named Va’juju next to him.  The smell of wine and worse rolled off the troll’s exhaled breathes.  Once a promising student of the Arcane, Va’juju found himself more interested in the mysteries of the Drag in Orgrimmar where he learned the arts of women, wine, women, and gambling.  After a few brief and painful run ins with several criminal organizations he found himself “happily” serving with Gray’s Corps as they traveled across the globe and far-far away from the Drag.  He opened up one sleepy purple eye as Gray kicked him in the shin.

“Ja be wantin’ da boom booms now den Commandah?”, Va’juju asked sleepily in a hopeful rich melodic voice. He slowly tried to rise to an elbow but sank down under the weight of his hangover.  He yawned instead and picked at something on one of his yellow stained tusks.  He loved the boom booms.

“No.  No fireballs, but I want your ass awake in case anyone’s tries to boom boom us, got it?”

“Ja Commandah, Va’juju feels jah.” Va’juju rolled over in his stained robe and managed to sit up, only throwing up in his mouth a little.  “Urpp.  Dat fosacken wine be nah good da secon’ time jah taste it”.  He tried to bring his array of prepared spells forward past the cloud that the wine left, but nothing would come to the surface of his mind.  Instead he put on as serious of a face he could muster and muttered and moved his hands and fingers about.  “Va’juju put a countahspell on us Commandah.  We be safe fah now.”, he lied.

“Good.”

Gray turned the other direction and found himself looking into the slitted, barely open eyes of Durn Rocktalker an Orc Shaman he had met nearly ten years ago in a Silvermoon alley.  Gray had thought Durn dead as he had rummaged through the orc’s pockets but was amazed to find him merely stoned out of his mind.  Rumor had it white-haired much older Durn used to be a powerful Shaman of note in the Horde but had suffered one too many bad Ancestral Recalls in his youth and lost most of his mind.  What remained of his mind was often under influence of his elixirs, herbs, and foul-smelling smoke that he blew from his pipe.

“Do you understand what makes the sky useful Commander Gray?” The old Orc asked in his oddly mellow but deep voice.  The Corps members always ignored his crazed ramblings.  The green-skinned Durn rubbed the white stubble that covered his face making the bones and bits that were sewn into his armor clack and tinkle like a bizarre wind chime.

“I don’t care.  Cast a cleansing chant on Va’juju before we get started.  I don’t want his hangover getting me killed.” Gray reached down and absent-mindedly tightened a strap on his chest piece.

“It is because it is empty, Commander.” The grizzled orc reached and picked a dried flower that had been hung from his frayed belt.  Murmuring a prayer to the spirits of the sky he gestured in Va’Juju’s direction and heard the troll’s audible sigh as his hangover was lifted.  Gray opened his mouth to say something however was interrupted by his returning scout’s thick and oddly sensuous voice from out of nowhere.

“Pity it cannot cure the mage of his crabs.”

Gray rolled forward to find himself staring into the eyes of the hyena named Tickles.  Tickles’s ugly yellow eyes stared back and it gave soft high-pitched whine that sounded like a painful laugh.  He looked to the mangy beast’s right and found Tehanna the Orc Huntress crouched behind a large rock.  “Call your beast back to you.  He smells worse than Va’juju.” The female Orc gave a low growl and Tickles gave a short barking laugh and went and sat by her.

“Va’juju’s crabs don be jah concen ghirl.  Unless jah be wantin’ a bit o’ mah blu bone in jah ghreen puddin.” Va’juju sounded half hopeful.

Tehanna’s only reply was her pet Tickles taking three quick steps forward with its head lowered and a low growl in its throat.

“Enough.  We’ve got a job to do.  Teh what did you see?”

“Not much commander.  I tracked at least twenty men, horse, and wagons headed to the south past the temple.  Fresh-like.” As she spoke she moved one of her many thin black braids back behind her green ear.  Gray supposed for an Orc she was considered attractive.  She was skinnier then most squat female orcs, but her green skin covered powerful corded and knotted muscle.  Her flat face was crowned with a pair of almond-shaped eyes that took away the breath of many males.  She served with little complaint and was probably the most competent member of the Corps.  Gray knew she just stuck around to keep an eye on her great-uncle Durn.  “I counted as many as eight people at the temple.  Most likely the wagons headed south hold whatever you brought us here for.”

Gray did not like the way the marksman’s eyes seemed to look into his soul.  He always felt like she was able to see through his schemes.  In truth he himself barely knew what they were doing out here.  Most of the coin the company earned came from mercenary work in the Arathi Basin helping to secure often disputed lumber mill and farm land from the Alliance.  The Horde did not hold mercenaries in high regard so Gray’s Corps often supplemented their income on side jobs as they appeared.  He had caught wind of this temple being severely undermanned due to most of its priests being called to Northrend to fight against the Scourge.

“It’s known by the locals as the Temple Stone, an old Dwarven temple abandoned during the Troll Wars.  It’s mostly used by the local miners and farmers to beg the Light to deliver them from their dreadful and horrible little peasant lives and sheep buggery.” Gray left out the part where it wasn’t really abandoned by the Dwarves so much as they were rumored to have been eaten by something they had unearthed in the lower chambers of the temple.  No use in mentioning it since it really wasn’t “confirmed”.

“It sounds like their offerings will be of grain and salt then.” Tehanna mentioned lightly.

“Gems and jewels no doubt.” Countered Gray.  “Of the eight remaining what’s their make up?”

“Odd assortment of footman, archer or two, maybe a spellcaster of some sort.  Oh and a pack of Gnolls.”

What da Gnolls be about den?” Va’juju asked as he looked back over his shoulder as if the beast-like humanoids were sneaking up behind them at that very moment.

“Unsure.  One of the Archers has them on a chain leash.  These look like some sort of soldiers Commander, not your usual bandits.” She didn’t add the “like us” part.

“No matter.  They’ve got no idea we’re here.  What we don’t want is them alerted and holing up in the temple.  Looks like two men could hold that doorway forever, side by side.” Gray waited for a split second for Tehanna to ask why they didn’t just forget the temple and head south after the wagons.  He had thought of it but now he was curious why they’d be leaving men behind.  “We’ll go after the wagons later.” He added.  And with more men, he thought.

“Alright.  We’re light on troops so we do this in the sly.  Tehanna I want you up here on this ridge.  You give us some cover as we head down from the east.  See if you can draw those Gnolls out.  Va’juju your with me and NO fireballs inside.” Va’juju looked very disappointed.  “Durn you hang back a few ticks then follow us.  We might need some of your heal chants and mojo.”

“All you need Commander, you were born with.”
Durn philosophized.

“Right…Alright everyone got it?  You two.  East with me.” The trio headed along the ridgeline quieter then one would believe.  Gray led the way in his matte gray plate armor, his plain gray tunic and shield bore no crest or decoration.  He quietly drew an oddly dark broadsword, which bore a finely wrought hilt and crossbar and it’s long flat black blade seemed to drink in the sunlight and give away no flash of steel.  Va’juju followed barefoot, his two-toed feet leaving marks in the soil.  The mage moved surprisingly quiet, holding his gnarled wooden staff low as he loped along.  Durn brought up the rear a few yards behind, he walked along contentedly and seemed fascinated at the long grasses that swayed alongside of him and he reached out to touch something that only he could see.

Back atop the ridge Tehanna growled lowely at Tickles and watched the Hyena head down towards the temple.  She tested the pull on her wood and bone recurve bow which had been in her clan for generations.  Translated loosely into common it’s name meant “Elf Killer”.  She breathed calmly and adjusted the quiver of arrows on her hip, sorting her various arrows by their different colored feltchings.  She drew two fletched with a bright green Wyvern feathers and held them between three of her fingers.  She looked towards Gray for his signal that he was ready, saw it, and gave a low whistle to start their attack.

Tickles hearing the command, walked up to the entrance of the temple and proceeded to pee in the open doorway.  Then all hell seemed to break loose.

To be continued…

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