Tussle in the Jungle - Chapter 5
After hearing the commotion coming from the direction of the tower in question, the demon hunter eases himself back down to the ground and turns to his sister.
"Here is the plan, there is a watchtower to the northwest a mile distant. I need you to teleport me to the top level. Sedra has already begun her assault on the ground. If we time our attack right, we should be able to take the guards by surprise. Once the tower has been cleared, we will head to the roof, then you can teleport us out."
Fendassa nods in affirmation, her expression determined.
"You got it, bossman!"
At this, Veldrinas gives his sister a perplexed look.
The elf only rolls her eyes and returns his look with an annoyed one.
"Ugh, we can talk about it later. It's something humans say. Now are you just going to stand here all day, or are you going to get going?"
Veldrinas shakes his head with an amused chuckle and draws his blades from their sheathes. A savage grin splits his features as he relishes the prospect of the upcoming brawl. As Fendassa raises her hands to cast the spell, the demon hunter takes a running jump onto the nearby stack of crates, and as he leaps into the air, he is instantly teleported onto the roof of the tower.
The sound of combat from below the tower is what reaches him first as he clears the portal's corona, the grunts and groans, the clatter of metal on metal and more. His leap lands him right behind one of the four archers leaning over the edges, trying to line up shots on the action below them.
Veldrinas wastes no time as he leaps into action, and in the blink of an eye, the archer in front of him is cut down, and then another in short succession, their headless bodies crumpling unceremoniously to the floor. By the time the remaining two sentries turn around to deal with the unexpected assailant it is already too late. The surprised looks never leave their faces as the demon hunter's blades are swiftly thrust through their skulls.
As Veldrinas withdraws his blades and begins running towards the hatch to the next level down, he reaches out with his mind, hoping to ascertain Sedra's condition, as well as her position within the tower. Despite trying to remain calm and calculated, he cannot fully suppress the excitement of battle rushing through him as his thoughts brush against the eredar's.
Sedra, I have successfully cleared the top level. I am about to begin working my way down through the rest of the tower.
From below, her thoughts brush back, even just the light surface contact tainted by a haze of pain. I'll have the base cleared in ju-
He can feel her sudden flash of pain, quickly silenced, and the lingering surprise behind it. Sedra's thoughts pull away from his, her attention focusing on the scarred and tattooed elf sauntering toward her as she rolls back to her hooves, some sort of white-coated Forsaken trailing at his back. She eyes the glaives of green-black metal in his hands, watching green flames flicker along their lengths, and curses under her breath. Another wet cough spatters blood along her lips as she gasps slightly for breath, holding her blades ready.
"You don't sound so well, draenei," the undead chuckles, dry voice echoing with hollow death. "I'm a doctor. Perhaps you'd like to submit to examination?"
She sneers, barely glancing at him and focused on the bloodelven demon hunter. "I'll decline."
Veldrinas pauses before the hatch as the connection is severed, his thoughts racing, trying to think of any way he could get to Sedra as fast as possible.
"Fel, I will need to hurry if Sedra is going to make it out of here in one piece."
As his spectral gaze pierces through the floor beneath him, he discovers that due to the tower's construction, stairs wrap around the interior of the walls and lead all the way to the ground level with no other floors in-between. Tough to fight your way to the top, but incredibly easy to make your way down through the small space left in the center of the structure if you could survive the fall that is.
At the bottom he spots his void knight companion surrounded by forsaken guards as well as one sindorei demon hunter and a familiar forsaken apothecary.
Veldrinas recognizes him immediately as the same apothecary who had tortured the human paladin near to death, and who knows how many others.
As a plan takes shape in his mind, the hunter opens the hatch but stops when his ears pick up something other than the din of the encampment and the fight beneath him, the sound of leathery wings flapping.
The hunter glances up, following the sound until he spots them, two zandalari pterrodaxes flying towards the encampment, only a mile distant. On one is an aged orc warrior, the massive black spiked warhammer slung on his back clearly visible even from this distance. On the other, a blood elf hunter rides gracefully, and flying next to him a large serpent, pale and ghostly.
Veldrinas barely gives them a second thought as he falls through the hatch, his spiked leather kilt fluttering as he plummets towards the ground.
Sedra tries not to look as relieved as she feels when Veldrin drops into the situation, landing with a thud like a small boulder. The blood elf moves immediately, dashing in a flash of felfire to try to take him out before he can set himself, but the void knight moves almost as quickly, imposing herself between them. She catches his striking glaives on her swords as her friend straightens and immediately moves, ready.
Two of the Forsaken guards fall before the sin'dorei extricates his weapons from the eredar's hissing, shadow-riddled swords.
After dispatching another forsaken soldier, the demon hunter rushes to attack the apothecary, who had retreated a few steps to mix up some sort of concoction.
As the undead finishes his work and prepares to throw said concoction at Vasedra, the demon hunter intercepts him and the vial misses it's intended target, instead unloading its contents with a loud hiss on an undead who was about to attack the void knight from behind.
The acidic compound quickly eats away at the forsaken's armor, then the rotting skin and bones beneath until there is a gaping hole where his neck and chest should have been. After this, the unfortunate undead collapses with a gurgle and rises no more.
As Veldrinas wrestles with the apothecary on the floor, who is proving to be stronger than the average forsaken, the sindorei demon hunter leaps towards the void knight with a snarl, his tattoos glowing bright and fel flames licking the edges of his warglaives.
Her blades chortle in mad glee as she catches his glaives, one for one. Around her, the jungle air begins to mist as the temperature drops, and the demon hunter's heated breath becomes visible as puffs of white steam.
Sedra scowls at the blood elf as they trade blows, nearly even. Her form has a subtle little shadow echo as she moves, a hint of power in her speed, and bright ice with oddly-deep facets forms in the air around her, swirling. She doesn't bother to say anything just sending razor sharp icicles flying at his traditionally bare chest.
The demon hunter growls angrily as he vengefully leaps backward, but not before a few of the ice shards pierce his chest deeply.
He shrugs off the pain as he lands, his demonic tattoos glowing bright as he undergoes a metamorphosis. His feet meld into hooves, leathery wings sprout from his back, and he grows in height to at be at least a head taller than the eredar. With a darkling chuckle he extends his glaives forward, and felfire bolts are sent streaking towards the void knight.
Sedra doesn't have time to say the curse she's thinking as she leaps to the side, turning what would undoubtedly have been a hole in her chest into a trio of lines of wide char marks across her back. She lands gracelessly with a pained cry, and one of her blades skitters out of her numb left hand to slide away through the trampled grass.
She struggles to get her arms and legs under herself, retching a mouthful of blood into the grass, but when she sees the shadow suddenly loom over her, she manages to roll to the side. The felsick glaives impale the dirt where her chest was, and she reacts on instinct as she looks up at the blood elf. Her hard hoof slams into the enemy demon hunter's head, sending him momentarily reeling.
The blood elf shakes his head as he yanks his felglaives out of the dirt. With a deep growl he slowly advances on the fallen void knight.
"You are weak," the sindorei snarls, "I shall grant you a swift death, but it will not be painless."
He raises his fel sickened glaives over his head with a cruel smile, about to deliver the killing blow, but suddenly, he stiffens as a sword point sprouts from his chest and his weapons fall harmlessly to the ground.
The blade is followed shortly after by another one through the hunter's neck, severing his spinal cord and killing him instantly. Some of the elf's demonic blood spatters onto Vasedra's armor as he crumples to the ground heavily, taking the swords with him and revealing Veldrinas standing there, battered, but triumphant. Behind the hunter are the lifeless bodies of the forsaken guards, as well as the body of the apothecary, his head bent at an odd angle.
The night elf offers a hand to his companion with a grin.
"Thought you could use the help."
The eredar at his feet nods, her face tight with pain.
"Thank you," she huffs, clasping his hand. As he tugs her back to her hooves, Sedra grimaces and pales, but she forces herself straight. She doesn't seem in a particular rush to let go of him, however, wavering slightly.
She sheathes her remaining sword and glances sidelong at where the other lays in the grass, shadows writhing through its dark metal as it keens for her in mournful multitudes of voices. Sometimes in the noise, Veldrinas can hear pleas to her by name and to "Desire". His companion ignores it for the moment.
"We mu-" The void knight pauses to cough and rummages into one of the pouches on her belt even as she continues, her lips extra dark with azure blood at the corners. "We must keep moving. Let's get to the roof."
The demon hunter frowns in concern as he takes stock of his companion's condition. "You do not appear to be well, perhaps we should rest for a moment."
As he says this, the aged orc warrior and blood elf hunter Veldrinas spotted earlier emerge from behind a nearby row of tents, their weapons at the ready with forsaken and zandalari forces marching behind them.
"Well, well," the orc remarks wryly, "looks like we have ourselves a couple of alliance intruders."
"Indeed." His sin'dorei companion responds with a smirk. "They should have known that it was foolish to think of venturing so deep into horde territory and not have to pay the price. Perhaps we can show them the error of their ways."
Sedra turns to face them, her face twisting as she abandons whatever she was after in her pouch and reaches a hand out toward her escaped sword. The blade keens as shadows deepen around it, and it suddenly leaps from the ground to sail into her hand.
She leans closer to Veldrinas to mutter, "We need to run. Get to the top of the tower!"
Veldrinas nods once as he mutters back, "I could not agree more."
As the elf turns and bolts for the steps, a hawkstrider feathered arrow thunks into the wood in front of him, barely missing his face by a few inches.
At the same time, the orc warrior charges the injured eredar, intending to pin her to the wall.
The void knight follows fast on her companion's heels, her speed nearly a match to his, but with the rasping of her breath loud in her ears, she barely hears the orc's charge in time. She dodges to the side, avoiding his intent and his blade, but his meaty shoulder catches her tumbling off to the side and missing the stairs altogether.
The warrior starts to turn toward her with a sneer as she scrambles back to her feet. That sneer, however, turns into a look of shock as her shadowed blades fly out of their scabbards to bury themselves in his gut, punching straight through his armor. Sedra doesn't bother with a gloat or a kill, just dashing back to the stairs. Her swords yank themselves out of the enemy just as suddenly as they impaled him, and she reaches out to catch them both, shoving them back in their sheathes without breaking a stride.
"Fel," she wheezes under her breath, "I'm going to feel all this, tomorrow." To reinforce the comment, another arrow whistles by, slicing across the leather covering her calf.
The orc warrior grunts in pain as the keening blades pierce his abdomen. As they are pulled out, he falls to his knees heavily, covering the bloody wounds with one massive hand and using his warhammer for support. He does not attempt to chase after the fleeing eredar. The forsaken guards however, charge forward with a battle cry, eager to spill alliance blood.
As Veldrinas bounds up the stairs some feet in front of his companion, taking them two or more at a time, the blood elf's wraith-like pet appears seemingly out of thin air and bites the demon hunter in-between the shoulder and neck with its fanged maw. The night elf jerks in surprise as the expected sting of pain and subsequent burning sensation of venom being secreted into his bloodstream never comes, it is almost as if the creature hadn't just bit deeply into him. But then as his whole right side goes very cold and numb almost instantaneously, he remembers too late that this creature's ghostly fangs could paralyze any victim for hours with just a single bite.
"...Oh fel." The elf manages to croak as he collapses heavily to the stairs, the rest of his body going cold and numb, and unable to even lift a finger.
The serpent hisses triumphantly and releases its hold on the now prone demon hunter, turning to fix its gaze on Vasedra in preparation to strike her as well. But as it rears its head back for the blow, it is suddenly encased in a block of solid ice and plummets to the ground some ten feet below with a loud crash, but remaining intact.
"Thought you two could use a hand." Fendassa calls cheerily from higher in the tower. "Plus, you were taking too long and I wasn't getting any younger just standing out there."
The mage punctuates her sentence by throwing a fireball towards the leading forsaken troops climbing the stairs, engulfing them in flames.
Fendassa waves her hands, and with a flash of arcane energy, Vasedra and Veldrinas find themselves on the top floor of the tower with the kaldorei mage standing there with a satisfied grin. The human paladin is sitting against the wall, still in the same condition as before, but still alive.
Sedra wastes no time. Two small cylinders come out of the pouches on her belt and follow Fendasa's fireball down the stairwell. The tower rocks precariously after the resulting pair of explosions, but she seems unconcerned. As she crouches by Veldrin's fallen form with a pained grimace, reaching for him, she gasps out, "Get us out of here, mage, because we have..." She has to pause to cough, blood speckling the wood at her hooves. "... We... we have about twenty seconds until we all end up in cells."
The eredar drags the demon hunter's arm across her shoulders and grunts with the strain of lifting his limp body as she tries to stand.
"L-ngh!-lightless Depths, Veldrinas!" She curses under her breath, aware that he's still conscious. "How rotting much do you weigh?!"
Veldrinas grunts softly in annoyance at Vasedra's comment, but he is unable to do anything more than that.
Fendassa, meanwhile, springs into action. She bends down and with surprising strength, pulls Alayna up to stand. The human's legs buckle from exhaustion though and she leans heavily on the mage for support.
Flecks of blood stain the floor as a wet cough assaults the paladin who turns to look up at her friend.
"It's... no use," Alayna croaks weakly, "if... you leave... me, you... will... have a... better chance of... escaping."
Fendassa shakes her head vehemently. "No! I refuse to leave you behind. Not after all we've been through. You WILL make it."
Fendassa waves her free hand through the air, hurriedly speaking the incantation to summon a portal that would take them to Boralus and safety.
As soon as the last words of the incantation leave her lips, her hand begins to glow with arcane energy as a portal shimmers into being in the center of the small space, revealing the Boralus portal room on the other side.
Sedra is in motion instantly, and she drags paralyzed Veldrinas to the event horizon only to dump him through with a grunt. He lands like an unhappy sack of potatoes on the stone tiled floor in Boralus.
"I'll get th-" cough "... the human." The tall eredar strides over, wasting no time, and yanks the paladin up, tossing her over her shoulder. The grimace she wears as she does it is related to the burning pain from her wounded back.
"Follow immediately, mage," she grunts out.
Veldrinas hits the tiled floor with a loud slap and as he lies there like a slug barely able to move, Vasedra can hear one word escape his lips, the annoyance in his tone clear.
The paladin's breath is ragged as she is hoisted onto Vasedra's shoulders. A groan escapes her as blood from her wounds trickles down Vasedra's leather cuirass to mingle with spattered undead ichor as well as the eredar's own blood, creating dark, sticky droplets that drip to the floor intermittently.
Fendassa tries to protest as soon as Alayna is taken from her, but before she can voice her displeasure, the void knight jumps through the portal, barely avoiding tripping over Veldrinas's prone form in the process.
The mage shakes her head and sighs tiredly as she follows the eredar through the portal, closing it behind her with a dismissive wave of her hand.