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Dead Man Walking

-by Booth



Part One: RainmakerEdit

"Looks like rain, greenskin."

Booth flashed his corn-kernel teeth in a grin to Nargesh. The orc looked up. What was his boss talking about? There were no raindrops, just stars shimmering above a clear Muglore sky.

"Ah think there's gonna' be a storm tonight, greenskin. That rain's a'comin'. You ready for rain? Sometimes it just... comes outta' nowhere." Orbs as yellow as his mouth glared into Nargesh's eyes. If there wasn't going to be rain before, Booth looked like he was prepared to will the clouds to fall.

"Well, I like storms," Nargesh said, doing his best to hide the awkwardness of a prophetic weather conversation in the middle of tribal Thunder Bluff. A guard covered in a smattering of leather, mail, and blades passed by the two men without giving them a second look. The two Tong agents were just more faces in a crowd of sleepy-eyed adventurers perparing for the end of their day.

"Yeah, but ya' don't wanna' be caught out in storms, greenskin. An' ah think the storm that's comin' is the kind ya' wanna' stay away from." There was a shine in Booth's eyes like that of a mischievous child. "Ya' know what I'd do if ah were you caught out in a storm? I'd pick mah'self up an' run fer the nearest, biggest buildin' ah could." The eyes flicked to a nearby building with a couple of Cenarion guards at the door. Nargesh nodded slowly--whether he sincerely understood what Booth was suggesting or he was humoring the undead was not betrayed by the orc's eyes.

"Don't you worry, though. I'll be back ta' get ya' if the rain starts fallin'." Booth's bony fingers fumbled over a small pocketwatch. He looked down at the timepiece's face and his grin grew. "Rain's comin' now, greenskin," and with a snap of his fingers and a pop of light Booth was gone. Nargesh leaned against the large wooden sign next to him and grunted.

Thunder Bluff was renowned throughout the Horde as a place of astounding tranquility. Ten hollow beats of a drum echoed across the mountains. The grindstones of mills lazily churned grain for the next morning's bread. The first cool Fall breezes sang through the city, and leather tent walls quietly flapped in reply.

Booth had already settled in a new spot higher up on the central bluff; a side road where even the guards forgot to travel. His voice crackled over his radio. "Stick n' stones. Make it happen, buddy."

Angry yells from the Hunter Rise began to tear through the peace of the night.

Something heavy slipped into Booth's hand. "It is done," said a whisper from behind. Booth nodded, pushed the object into his pocket and looked up the road. A giant black silhouette framed against the moonlit sky gazed at him from down the path. The yells came closer. The ground rumbled as a second form took shape between the tents. Two large, angry cow eyes froze Booth to the ground. He quickly pulled the brim of his dusty hat over his eyes and snapped another pinch of flash powder between his fingers.

Nargesh raised his chin as Booth slowly trudged down the path toward him. Booth never seemed to be worried when on the run; even then he didn't betray a flinch as screams in Taurahe roared over the bluffs, most likely for him. "Come on, greenskin." He pointed to the edge of the bluff, near the back lifts. "Let's go watch the storm."

Part Two: Stormy WeatherEdit

It started with a drip. A small bead gathered at the tip of a long grass blade. A tauren sputtered his last bloody coughs onto the ground. The trickle started again. Another drip of crimson fell on the rolling Mulgore plains.

Wind hushed through the brush and pushed against all those in the field, rushing into their bodies. One by one the tauren were toppled in the gale.

Garond was fleet on his feet, quickly cutting down every guard that dared to challenge him at the base of the lifts. War drums erupted around the city. A party of tauren passed by Booth and Nargesh at edge of the bluff as the two men watched the scene below. A pair of familiar, hateful eyes met Booth's as the tribal leaped onto a descending lift. Booth watched and shrugged as the defender tussled with Garond below.

"What did ah tell ya', greenskin? Can ah call 'em or what?" Booth thrust an elbow into Nargesh's rib. The orc grunted in response. "An' lookie there... the rain's gettin' harder."

A group of humans, elves and dwarves crested the hillside. The natives at the base of the bluff braced themselves for battle, though they were unable to hold back so many with so few. The small party of tauren stood shoulder-to-shoulder and desperately defended against a flurry of blades, wincing as ice and fire crashed against their skins and arrows and bullets split their armor. With small steps the three tauren backed to the lift.

Booth stepped back from the ledge. His teeth were grinding. He expected a bigger battle. "Go on! Get outta' here," he snapped to Nargesh. The orc blinked as he scanned the area in confusion (he was not chosen for that nights activities because of his stealth). "Ah said, hide!" The undead's glare told Nargesh that he had at least leave Booth's sight--after all, if Booth couldn't see him he technically was hiding, if only from his boss. As Nargesh dashed away Booth slipped behind a large support beam behind the Cenarions' building.

Booth sneered--the group of tauren arrived at the top of the lift, bloodied and exhausted. They made their way onto the bluff from the lift platform while nursing each other's wounds as best they could. Booth watched in horror as the biggest man halted and set his eyes into the town square ahead. He knew that look. It was the look for a hunter finding his kill. The beast straightened his back. The old warrior had an air of nobility and radiated wisdom.

Wisdom and anger. And he followed the path Nargesh ran.

"What are ya' waitin' on, pinkskin! Get up tha' lift and start makin' some noise," the undead spat over the radio to those at the base of the bluff. Kennia shot a few angry shouts to Booth about patience, but the situation blinded him to any reason. Booth peered around the corner of his hiding place and looked into the plaza. The three tauren had surrounded Nargesh. Fingers were thrust. Voices were raised. Booth stomped his foot and cursed.

A guard at the top of the lifts cried out as an arrow pierced her side. She fell to the ground, screaming in surprise. Nargesh was hardly an issue to the tauren, anymore, as the Alliance party had spilled out of the lifts and was trading blows with bluffwatchers. Booth screamed through his radio and Nargesh ran back to him. He shoved Nargesh into the shadows behind the Cenarion building and glanced over his shoulder to see the battle at the lift, only to jerk his body in shock.

The big cow just wouldn't give up.

A large, fur-coated monster towered over Booth. Leathers and feathers d**!*d his body, and a worn staff twice Booth's size was gripped in the beast's hand. He shook the staff angrily as he spoke down. Booth kept his head level, hiding under his hat from the giant's gaze.

"Uku chi haloyakee mani ti'ha sechalo!"

"Ain't understandin' a word, cow man."

"Aloaki awa chi e ki porahalo."

"Sorry, buddy. Ah don't speak crazy cow."

The tauren released a heavy snarl. One of three massive fingers pressed into Booth's chest. "Aaaaah... bommmmm... eeeee... naaaa... shun...."

A yelp from behind the tauren broke the moment. One of his party took a rather nasty blow to her side and was searching panickingly for her friend.

"Better git' goin', buddy. Ah think they need yer' help." He laughed as the tauren snarled again and ran to the battle.

Booth turned back to Nargesh with a grin that could shake a Scourge. "Let's go get ta' work."

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