Focus Shall Not Fail Part I
- - by Saidivh Bedwyr
Part I The ArrivalEdit
"Hark!" The sentry did call out into the stormy night, "State your business in Stratholme, or Light save your wicked soul." He stood, spear at the ready, as his compatriot knocked an arrow in his bow, holding the leash of his tracking hound, which snarled at the approaching shadow. The approaching figure could be barely seen in the dark of the night, and the sheets of rain aided little as well. But it could be easily seen with the occasional flash of lightning that the man was tall. He wore little armor, thick leather and a scarlet cloak with the hood worn up over the face to protect from the freezing rain. A spear lay holstered on the saddle, and a shield was hanging by a strap across his back. A great longsword was lay safe in a wooden sheath at his side, and it bounced as the mount galloped upon the cobblestone bridge.
"It is only me, sentry, Captain Saidivh Bedwyr of Silverpine," He said, pushing back the hood of his cloak, revealing long black hair pulled into two braids going down the front of his tunic, and bright green eyes that seemed to light up the area around them. A smiling face greeted them as the hood fell back upon the shield, offering it little protection against the rain, opposed to how the shield protected Saidivh in battle, "I come to the meeting as requested by our masters." He sentries lowered their weapons, and the snarling pooch transformed into a smiling puppy. Saidivh tossed a bit of cured ham to him, which he ate ravenously. "Milord, please don’t feed the animal, they track better when they are hungry." Saidivh looked to the man, and said "If you are not careful, he may see you as his next meal." He threw the hound another bit of meat, as he prodded his horse onward. "On any note, welcome to our half of Home," The sentry turned to face the gatehouse, "Raise the Portcullis! Lord Bedwyr has arrived!"
With a creak of many hinges, and the snapping taut of several rusted chains, the iron grid rose, allowing entry to the paladin, the pointed ends making the entry seem like a maw agape into a world of darkness and fire, which was the case for half of Stratholme. Saidivh entered the maw, head held high, and smiling as was his usual wont, but not so much as he would in happier times.
Yes, Saidivh was not as happy and cheerful as he would normally have been. Usually in the charge into battle he would be found at its head, charging right into the thick of the fighting and battling the demons like the hand of the Light itself, manifested in a spear, sword wielding madman. Many he had known outside of the Crusade wondered why he fought with them, why he was one of them. They would see his true colors in the field of battle, as he smote the Enemy with such vigor it is nigh terrifying. He often thought why he was so reckless in battle, and he came up with few answers. Among them were: "It is how I am, perhaps I am truly a fighter born." And one that touched closer to home "Because I have no family to return to, I can afford to be reckless." He thought on it, and he believed that to be the truest answer. For he had no wife, no children to pass his inheritance to, no mother or father left to speak of after the Scourge ran unhindered through the countryside of Lordaeron. He wondered why he felt reluctant this time; he still had no wife or children...But Her. He saw her in his mind when he closed his eyes, sweet Mirabela whom had been there for him when he led the charge into Shadowfang, who had offered an ear and compassion to him when he was alone in the Southlands. He could not be reckless, he had to return to her, Even though she had already been seeing a man, and his eyes ached to see her yet again before his time came.
There was also Dame Felena, a courageous young woman searching for her knight in shining armour. Saidivh prayed he could be the knight, but he felt it was a lost cause. The Light had blessed him dearly by allowing him to live through so many battles and wars. He survived the Scourge, the Blackrock attacks on Strahnbrad, and the journey to Hearthglen with Arthas himself. He felt his luck may end with the coming battle, the great battle of his time. He had devoted his entire life to the Light after those battles. He repayed the Light for his survival, and felt he had been blessed too much to be blessed again. Perhaps the Light wishes me a life of celibacy, as well as my heartfelt devotion. And perhaps it desired his life as well, the rumors rung throughout the barracks and chapels of the Crusade, and of those all over Azeroth and Kalimdor: The Scourge was planning a massive invasion. Scouts reported mysterious floating structures to the north near Strahnbrad, and the nobles are frightened out of their wits.
He felt it would not be a complete loss if he were to fall. He had given two letters to his messenger, a wily and cunning tracker whom was a friend of his, to seek them out should he be slain. The letter would confess his feelings for them, and he could rest in piece, or I should say, pieces considering the Undead’s conduct in victory. Grisly creatures. He could not help but feel disheartened, though. He loved two women, and did not know whom was his one and only, like in the tales his Pa used to tell him when he was yea knee high. What he could not deny, was that he cared for them both dearly, and would put all on the line for them as he was about to do. The Scourge are unrelenting in their attacks, as reinforcements come readily upon slaying a foe. Victory is either absolute, or there is no victory at all. It’s all, or nothing. And as such, if the Crusade fails to push them back, they will force their way onwards, to the Argent Dawn’s holdings, and then the Humans of Arathi and Hillsbrad, Saidivh’s own people in Silverpine, then even further to Menethil, and the Dwarf-lands. The devastation would be limitless. All life left in the war-torn world, would be lost for eternity.
Urien slowly carried him down the street at a leisurely pace, till they came to the first intersection. A quartet of heavily armed and armoured soldiers, Crimson Guards, rose from a nearby building to greet him. "We shall see you to the courtyard safely, Milord." He said "You have little to fear with the likes of us protecting you." He could tell the crimson captain was grinning through his helm. "I pray you shall not have to show me your worth on the way there." Saidivh said "I’m running late enough as it is. Lead on, captain."
The crimson guards chuckled lightly, and formed a box formation around Saidivh and Urien, whom if you don’t already know, is Saidivh’s warhorse, and they began walking to the Scarlet Bastion in western Stratholme. The party trudged on through the dark city, where the only illumination was the fire that still burned on some of the buildings; the rain did little to aid visibility as well. The crimson warriors lit torches, and held them aloft over their heads. Saidivh did not doubt their strength, but he doubted their intellect with that act. He knew almost for certain that the light would bring attention to their selves. Still they walked on, and Saidivh said nothing to the guards about the torches. He kept his eyes on all sides, watching for movement, and keeping a hand near his spear.
They had just barely made their way past the second intersection, and were passing through another gatehouse, when Saidivh just happened to look upwards. His blood ran cold when he saw the two glistening, beady eyes gazing back down upon him. Upon Him. Their eyes met, and they stared at each other a while. Saidivh felt the fear and reluctance, and it only worsened when the two eyes doubled, and doubled again, and doubled yet again. "To Arms!!" The captain yelled "Undead skywards!"
They drew their swords, each creating the 'shnk’ sound. And no sooner than they had their weapons at the ready, wave after wave of ghoul and zombie leapt down from the gatehouse, and nearby buildings upon them. Saidivh skewered the first comer on his spear, and hurled him off to the side like a star Lacrosse player. The second came at him before he could react, and he was cast from Urien, who proceeded to kick and head butt nearby enemies. Saidivh leapt to his feet, drawing his own sword, creating the same 'shnk’ sound as the others did, and in a mighty upward slash, cut a large gash diagonally across the ghoul that dismounted him. A second challenged came at him from behind, and he answered with a spin, and an overhead chop that embedded the blade all the way through his chest into the stomach. He had to kick at the corpse to retrieve his sword. A third charged him from the side, and with a blast of holy Light, the skeleton screeched and fell to the ground, crackling like wood in fire. Around him the Crimson warriors proved their worth, as Saidivh had hoped they would not need to. They used their shields as if they were hands of the Light, to pimp-slap the denizens of Fel. They appeared as if they were everywhere, fighting everything at once. They shield-bashed/pimp-slapped the undead, sending them flying backwards into the two-dozen or so that had come to attack them initially. They moved like skilled acrobats, each movement flowed like water, and brought death like a great volley of arrows. Saidivh could only hope to be skilled as they were some day. Still he fought, and fought well.
When all was said and done, after who knows how long of fighting, for the moon was not visible, and could not judge the time, and the bodies of their assailants lay around them, their bodies broken and twisted on the ground, some still twitching in the puddles of their own watered down gore. Saidivh hated the sight of the battle’s aftermath. He hated to see the wounded in pain, and to see his own comrades pale as snow where they lay, dead. Saidivh prayed to the Light for their now saved souls.
The five stood for a minute, gathering their thoughts and their breath. Saidivh cleaned his blade with a cloth from his pack, and resheathed it. He mounted Urien, giving him a pat that said 'well done’. A few of the Crimsons removed their helms, that they may breathe easier, and they recoiled at the stench of the carrion and decay of the ghouls. "Let us continue on, before more arrive." Saidivh said, still feeling the adrenaline of the previous bout. The captain nodded, and they started walking on, till the ground began to tremble. All five of them gazed down the street, their vision impeded for the torches were dropped and now put out, and the falling sheets of rain. Lightning struck, and made their new assailant apparent. An abomination now trudged their way. "For the Crusade!" The captain yelled, and his men called out as well, and began the charge. The power coursed through his veins, and he glowed as he did in Razorfen Downs. He leapt down and grabbed his spear, and leapt atop Urien again with practiced precision. He kicked Urien into a full gallop, charging the abomination head on. He channeled the power of the Light through him, and into his spear, a light sheen coming off of the Mithril point, as he neared the beast. "Send the Lich King my Best Regards!" He yelled the taunt, as he droved his spear straight through the cursed creature. The joust struck the abomination with such force that he was nearly torn in half, and the spear stayed in Saidivh’s grasp as he thundered past. Saidivh turned and met the Crusaders, and they cheered as thunder boomed, and lightening cut across the sky. The flashes revealed a manical grin across Saidivh’s face as he basked in his victory. It was almost as if our paladin took pleasure in vanquishing the undead...
End of Focus Shall Not Fail Part I