Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia


Standing on the Zeppelin platform was not nearly as unpleasant as their last time. His captive from before was now his companion. The guards near the zeppelin were looking for a rogue and a human, not a poor, half-clothed Forsaken and a bag of bones wrapped only in a hooded cloak. Silently they stood there waiting for the zeppelin to arrive. Horde trickled in and stood beside them, unseeing and uncaring.

Lucia was visibly nervous at first. She had to place great trust in the potions disguise and it was difficult to do being surrounded by ones enemies. It was not that she doubted the disguises ability, it was the consequences if it were to fail. She felt a gloved hand slip into hers and warm, glowing eyes looked at her. She smiled up at her rogue and the tension slipped away.

Their wait was short with not a single word passing between those waiting on the platform. Boarding the zeppelin, it was hard to conceal his smile. They were heading back to Grom Gol and this potion should take them all the way there. Goldshire was within reach, he thought while boarding the goblin contraption.

They slowly made their way to the bottom hold. Again, they were unaccompanied and settled down for the ride. Smiling, he looked into the black holes where Lucias eyes would have been. She looked up at him and a smile, he assumed, spread over her skeletal face. It faded quickly, however and he knew that she was dwelling on the dark things that had transpired so very recently.

He waved at her as goofily as he could manage to try and get her to smile. Sacrificing his dignity to get her to smile worked and she giggled quietly behind a bony hand. Emboldened by her laughter, he scooted over to where she was sitting and made himself comfortable at her feet. He pointed to her boney knee and whistled softly. The bonk on his head was sudden but not unexpected.

Kopfjagger was determined to keep Lucias mind occupied on anything but what had just transpired back in the Undercity. The best way to do that, he decided, was to keep her laughing and her mind occupied. He pointed to his mouth and said the word in his native tongue for it. She tilted her head and then nodded and tried to repeat the word back to him. She got it on the second try. It took him entirely too long to say it in the human language so he just gave up and set about teaching her his language. Her mind was much more attuned to languages than his.

The long days of the summer meant that sunset strolls were possible and he took full advantage of them when he could get his bride to accompany him. It was not often that they could both break away from the daily routine of running a small farm and a house with two children, but this evening was one of them. They walked hand in hand along the rolling hills, chatting quietly about the things that made up their lives. What was said was not nearly as important as who the conversation was with. Slowly, the sky lit up as if it were on fire. Just as slowly the fire faded into the deep purple of twilight. He hardly noticed as he continuously lost himself in the loving eyes of his bride.

She was really quite good at this, he acknowledged. It rarely took her more than two tried to understand and speak a new word. He was running out of words to say and had resorted to pantomiming more complicated words. Her frequent giggles at his antics always brought a self-conscious grin but he kept on. Her ability to speak his language, even roughly, may come in handy. And, he confessed to himself, she really did have a great little giggle.

A sharp turn and the slowing of the machine driving the propeller let them know that their ride was nearly over. Reluctantly, the Head Hunter and the skeletal woman gathered their belongings and stood near the stairs. Kopfjagger was forced to take a step back as a violent hug wrapped itself around him. He smiled down at the top of Lucias hooded skull and gave it a quick kiss before separating.

Lucia's potion still had a little bit of time left to it and it would more than likely take her out of Grom Gol. He would take her as far as Darkshire, but that was where he would have to say good-bye to her. There was no way that he was going to risk any more accidents in Goldshire. She would have to finish the journey by herself. He hefted his bag with his blanket-wrapped swords loosely strapped to the top and waited.

With a small lurch, the zeppelin was finally in place. Kopfjagger and Lucia in her skeleton disguise made their way to the top deck and onto the platform in Grom Gol. As soon as his feet hit the platform, fear gripped his throat.

A loud, booming and hollow voice slammed into him. "Kopfjagger, Forsaken Rogue, you are hereby under arrest on the Authority of the Dark Lady herself," pronounced the ominous voice. The figure was reading from a scroll very much like the one that Kopfjagger had sent to his Queen. News travels fast. "The crime is High Treason and the punishment is tortured exile. Do not resist or your spirit will be sent to somewhere far worse than the nether."

The Forsaken reciting the proclamation was clad in jet black robes and had a massive, glowing staff on his back. An imp danced eagerly by his side. There were two Abominations on either side of him and at least a dozen armor clad Forsaken acting as guards. All of the Horde in Grom Gol were watching in fascination and wonder. Forsaken versus Forsaken was not a common sight.

The robed Warlock did not even chance a glance at Lucia in her skeleton form. If he looked at her, or showed any emotion towards here, they may very well figure out that this is indeed the human they also seek. Her illusion had to hold.

Kopfjagger saw no way out. He simply held out his hands. Please Lucia, he thought to himself, just go. You can make it the rest of the way. Please, save yourself and your children.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))


Lucia stood well behind Kopfjagger, still quite content with her little skeleton disguise. Then she heard the robed Forsaken speak and noticed the huge, twisted figures flanking the warlock. Those were the disgusting flesh mangled constructs that guarded the hell hole they had just fled from. As the Warlock spoke, Lucia caught a few words, "Kopfjagger", "rogue", "treason" and "punishment". Theses guards were obviously for them, except with her in disguise, the guards would take him only.

She saw her protector raise his hands towards the robed Warlock in surrender. In that moment of tension while the guards began advancing on her protector, Lucia made her decision. This man, forsaken as he was, had saved her life, gave peace to her husband and showed her a side of herself that she never knew existed. What seemed like an eternity of slow motion movements, really only happened in seconds.

Head down she made for Kopfjagger, closing the distance between her and the guards. She summoned her icy persona and sent a wall of ice to stay the guards movements. A satisfying icy-crunch was heard as ice shackled the guards and abominations from the knees down. Once the spell left her fingertips, and with lightning speed, she rushed at her rogue. Her slender frame slammed into him and pulled him with her, straight of the platform edge. The figure in black had managed to grab a hold on the back of her cloak, and when they plunged off the tower it ripped from her, exposing her skeleton form.

They it the beach hard but she pulled Kopfjagger into the water. Cold and shock from the water sucked her breath from her. Instead of heading to the surface she went further down and out, swimming with all the strength she had left. She was not going to allow her protector to be captured.

To Kopfjagger it was a blur. One moment his hands were out, ready to surrender to his captors. He had no desire to be torn asunder, tormented and tortured, but it was the only way to have Lucia be free and be with her children. Never before had the Forsaken surrendered. He had never been given a reason significant enough to overcome his own pride. If ever there was a reason, it was Lucia.

Suddenly, everyone that wished him ill was trapped in ice. Then he felt a huge impact upon his side. He was falling. Lucia was pulling him deep into water.

His smile was instant. 'What a woman,' he thought to himself. Together, they were unstoppable. Where his swords had failed them, her wizardry has saved them. Where her wizardry was not enough, he had his swords. At a time like this, it was her quick thinking and a touch of magic that had saved his hide again.

The rush of water separated him from Lucia. Although the Forsaken have incredible ability to swim underwater at great length and depth, he knew that the human body was much more frail. She was going deeper in her attempt to flee and he soon lost her in the murky depths. His pack dragged at him as he tried to catch her. Swimming blindly, he beat at the water around him trying to close the distance to where he last saw Lucia.

Arms tired, the current getting stronger and her lungs burning from lack of air she made for the surface. She hadn't realized she had gone so deep until she started for the top. The feeling was terrifying, first her temples began to ache and little spots clouded her vision. Her throat hurt and she wanted to draw in a breath even though she knew she would suck in nothing but water. Then the heaviness, as if she was in oil, the water seemed thicker as she fought for the surface. Her arms tired became weak and her swimming slowed. Feeble strokes with leaden arms did little to move her in any direction, much less towards the surface. With sudden clarity, Lucia realized she was drowning.

She found it funny, the way her brain made the connection and began bringing memories to her; parading them before her eyes. Time itself seemed to stop as she saw her life in the darkened coldness of the water. The journey she had undertaken began in hatred and resolved revenge, and ending in a life sacrificed for the one she had vowed to kill. Idly, down in the depths of the reef, Lucia's mind tied all the links together and startled herself with the conclusion. She had grown on this trip. All her life she had believed she was kind, and sincere. She had convinced herself that she was one to help the unfortunate no matter the appearances or personality of the unlucky person. However she now realized how wrong she had been. Though his actions in the beginning had portrayed Kopfjagger as a monster, she learned that he had a side that far outweighed her own kindness. Even though his flesh rotted and his body was hideously scarred, his beauty was greater than her own.

Inches from the surface, Lucia with her new found knowledge, passed out. The current took her limp form and tossed it about until bedraggled and pale she washed up on shore a few miles from the horde outpost. If anyone had come along they would have seen her, back in her human form, robes torn, hair tangled, lips blue and a gurgling sound whenever her unconscious body tried to breathe.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))

To be NeededEdit

Frantic, the truly Forsaken rogue swam faster and deeper. He summoned his adrenaline to speed his swimming, but it did little good in thick depths of the water. She was lost to him now and he was desperate to get her back.

Pausing, he realized that the currents would take her. He relaxed his body and allowed the tides to pull him to where hopefully they had carried his Lucia.

Kopfjagger was patient. His sole role in the service of the Dark Lady was to stalk prey, establish easy targets and wait for the kill. Always wait for the kill. Now, he was waiting to save someone and it was not nearly as easy. He had to fight himself to keep from swimming. It seemed to take an immeasurable amount of time but slowly his body was drifting.

His eyes, so used to the darkness, were failing him now. There was no sign of her yet. He kept searching, and looking. The pursuit of his captors was the furthest thing from his mind. He did not care if they followed or not. He simply would not be stopped.

Gently the tides tugged him ever nearer to shore. He had to relax and let them take their course. He hoped Lucia was alive after her dark swim in the depths. The Horde were not so willing to revive a human as the Elves. There was no counting on a friendly Horde priest anywhere in the area.

A tug on his boots brought him back to the task at hand. His feet were now dragging on the soil of the bank. Quickly, he sprang up, water spraying in all directions. Frantic, he began searching the bank. He ran up the bank in a roughly northern direction for hundreds of yards, the double backed, running past where he came ashore by several hundred yards. Just as he was about to turn back, he saw her.

He was at her side in an instant. Her body was cold and blue, and her breath was heavy and the sound of water mixed with air made his hands dance in frustration. He did not know much about the health and welfare of the living, it was after all his lifes work to kill them at any given opportunity, but he knew that he had to get the water out of her. He rolled her over heavily and began to pound upon her back.

Never before had Lucia savored the dappled sunlight more than this. She laughed merrily as Loria finally got one up on her brother and pushed him in the pond. Alexi caught off guard fell in with a splash. Her husband chuckled deeply beside her. She gazed into his eyes and believed this was what heaven was, a happy outing with her family. She closed her eyes to bask in the heat of the sun when she got a sudden chill. She was soaked as well, Alexi must have jumped into her lap and transferred the pond water to her. She coughed, hard.

Kopfjagger watched as what seemed like rivers of water came out of her mouth. It seemed to take forever, but finally, she coughed. More water came from her as she continued to cough but then she took in a deep breath. Color was returning to her face and lips.

He pulled her head onto his chest as he knelt next to her. Gently, holding her to his chest, he rocked her back and forth. His gloved hands stroked her hair out of her eyes as slowly life flowered once more in this precious woman.

Racking sobs erupted from her when she opened her eyes and saw the tangled growth of Stranglethorn. It was all too much for her. She felt like her family had been ripped from her once more. She had them all and now one was gone, and two were far from her. It was simply too much for her to be strong for. She buried her face in the wet leather of the rogues armor and sobbed.

Noticing the hands gently pulling her hair out of her eyes and soothing her spirit, Lucia eventually had shed her frustration and anguish. With her head still against his chest, she wrapped one arm around him as she gathered her emotions back to her.

Kopfjagger was not positive where to head next. He wanted this moment to last for the rest of his existence. She needed him, he needed her. But he knew that Lucia needed to get home to her children more. Unsure of what the next step was, if he was to accompany her further or say goodbye here, he just held her. He would hold her until he absolutely had to let her go.

Removing the last strands of hair from her eyes, he looked deeply into them. This was what heaven must be like, he thought clearly and with passion. She smiled back and with reluctance she struggled to her feet. She would need rest but on the open bank of the reef was not the place. If the forsaken guards still hunted for them, they would need a place to hide. She turned to Kopfjagger and told him what she needed. She had never been to this jungle and knew nothing of hiding places in it. He would have to take the lead once more.

Then, once she was rested, they would begin the final leg of her journey home, where she would hold her children close to her for as long as they would let her. She did not want to think of how her happy reunion would also be a sad farewell to her undead companion.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))


The moment was over and the embrace had ended. There would be more, the Forsaken rogue hoped to himself. Lucia was no longer in his arms, but as long as she needed him, he would ever be by her side. Once that need was over, he resigned, so would their partnership.

Lucia made it known that she needed somewhere to rest. Out in the open was no place for them to hide. Kopfjagger knew of a place that she could rest, but he could not be seen with her there. There was an encampment to the north where provisions awaited those that were in need. He could never remember the human name for it, but he believed it was something like Human-way's Resting Point or some such thing. There were humans and dwarves and all kinds of yummy things there. It was time to transition her back to her own people.

Sure, the humans and dwarves at that camp accepted Forsaken and Horde, but the two of them should not be seen together. There may well be Horde hunting Kopfjagger, as well as Alliance at this point. It was not often that an undead Rogue walked in public unmolested and one with an arrest warrant would attract all sorts of unwanted attention. Lucia would fair much better by herself at that camp. Of course, Kopfjagger would remain close by just in case she needed him.

He decided it would be best to wander north just off of the coast line until they were near the camp. All sorts of vile creatures assailed the two of them as they made their way north, but Kopfjagger had dealt with them many times before. These creatures used to pose a significant threat, but now, after a great deal of practice with his blades, they were merely a nuisance.

It took some time to skirt and hack their way to the Human's Resting Point, but they spotted light coming from the camp just as dusk was setting in. Kopfjagger pointed over to the camp and gently prodded her over towards it. She gestured for him to follow but he shook his head and pointed to a large tree nearby, from which he would watch over her.

She grew more insistent, but he made it clear. Separate, she was a human mage and he was a Forsaken rogue. Together, they were both hunted and wanted. He was firm and she finally gave up, exhaustion winning and warm fire beckoning.

Once she turned to head into the camp, Kopfjagger made his way over to the tree and ascended its lower branches. He made sure that his field of view included the entire camp and then he went into stealth, ready to watch over her all night.

His vantage point was perfect. No one ever looked up until it was too late. He could see her feasting upon the provisions of the camp and engaging in exhausted conversation. She looked around for him a few times, but he was well hidden.

The Forsaken perched on the branch took off one of his gloves that he constantly wore in her presence. In the failing light of evening and the flickering light of the distant fire, he studied the remaining flesh on his bony hand. Turning it this way and that, he looked at the rotted meat that hung from exposed bones. Shaking his head sadly, he jerked the glove back over his hands and resumed his watch over Lucia.

Soon, she was curled up by the fire, fast asleep as Alliance and Horde came and went, fulfilling the tasks that were handed out by the hunters here. He sat there through the night, watching his precious Lucia warm, comfortable and at peace.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))


It was a long night but already the false dawn was lighting the sky. The sun was at least another hour away, but the black of night was being replaced by the cold purple of pre-dawn.

There was only one incident of battle, involving a very familiar looking Troll and one of those People-in-a-Cans that were so difficult to kill but so tender the reward. He allowed his eyes to roll over where the battle was. He thought that he knew that Troll but his thoughts were too focused on Lucia to give him an answer. It was an amicable tickle, so he was not an enemy but how friendly he was towards this Troll could not have been that overwhelming either. He let it slide. Perhaps the memory will come in time.

The camp was the stillest he had seen it yet. No one had entered the tent Lucia eventually crawled into, he was glad to report. All seemed well thus far and he intended to see her safely to her home.

Kopfjagger let her rest for another thirty minutes or so before he crept to the side of her tent. It would not be proper to enter her tent, he thought, no matter his intentions. He had to tilt his head at that thought. What exactly were his intentions with her? He was more than fond of her and carried more than respect, but what kind of fool was he to love a human?

A very big one, he thought as he knelt next to her tent. He whispered inches from where her head was. It was time to go.

For once, Lucia slept without dreams, no haunting nightmare of her husband. In the small hours of the morning she heard Kopfjagger's voice through the tent fabric. She stretched. It had been a fulfilling night after she had entered the tent. Finally well rested, Lucia exited her tent and began freshening up. She was not too far from home and she didn't want her children to see her in the state she was in.

A tiny voice at the back of her mind whispered how this might be the last day spent with her guide, her protector and her greatest friend as well. She didn't want to think of her intentions too much. She knew she could never mean anything to him other than a friend, no matter how much she might desire something more. He would never feel that way towards her.

He could hear her stir and slowly wake. Letting her know that she needed to eat before they left, he told her that he would wait for her just a few hundred yards to the north. It was time for their last leg of this long, wonderful and painful journey.

He could not wait to see her again, but he knew that she would not want him to see her when she first crawled out of her sleep. He would wait for her to the north, and that would be soon enough.

Lucia headed down to the bank and searched until she found the soap root. She tentatively entered the cold water and washed the dirt and grime from her face and hair. It was invigorating be scrub away the grime and filth of so long a journey, punctuated by the chill of the water. Clean again, she stared at the torn robe on the bank and frowned. That would never do! She quickly threw it over herself and strode back to the camp with a purpose.

She gestured at one of the hunters and shyly asked if he might have a spare robe in camp her size. Fingers crossed, she watched him move among the visitors and pull aside one of the girls camped there. The girl waved at her and pulled forth a needle and thread. With deft fingers the girl sewed a robe from blue silk bolts produced from the chest she sat upon. In a surprisingly short time, Lucia was handed a new robe in exchange for a few silvers. Blue always looked good on her, she thought when she replaced her tattered robe. She untangled her hair until it was soft and then had some breakfast. He would be waiting for her.

When she had said her goodbyes to the hunters and the tailor girl, Lucia strolled away as if she was headed west. She doubled back eventually and headed north, trying to make sure that no one was following her that shouldnt be.

She slowed, her mind beginning to darken with worrisome thoughts. Where was he? She wondered if she had past him somehow. She stopped and glanced around. Large cats were roaming the wilderness all around her. The trees kept out the sunlight and the place could have been really beautiful if she hadn't been so worried. She moved a bit further north hoping he spotted her, dressed in blue and clean, in the tangled jungle. She passed a small shaft of sunlight that had managed to sneak through the boughs and waited for him to appear like he always did. She would sorely miss him when the time came, and he no longer popped out of the shadows to be by her side. Indeed, she would miss him greatly.

Waiting for her to come to him was more difficult than rending the flesh of his once friend the Apothecary. It was nearly maddening as he waited for her. His worry was beginning to consume him. The woods were alive with all manner of foul beasts that would view one such as she as prey.

He began to head back towards the camp when she did not show. What could she be doing? How long did it take to eat breakfast? It only took him thirty seconds or so to consume the hearts of his enemies; a full minute, perhaps, for some pickled Dwarf liver. But it had been nearly an hour now. His nerves were becoming exhausted from the tension.

He circled back. She was no longer near the encampment. He quickened his pace as he circled wide around the camp. Not by the water. Not up the bank. Not to the west. Not in the east either. Anyone passing by would have heard curses flung into the air but would not have seen the stealthed rogue circling, nor the two flame-wrapped blades swaying in time with his frustrated gait.

Becoming more alarmed than he would ever admit to a living soul, Kopfjagger began to sprint due north. He told her north, and that must be the direction that she took. He must catch her. He must protect her.

Blades out, he ran at nearly the same speed he could achieve on his skeletal horse. He dodged trees and branches, some of them lashing out at him as he sped. They were of no concern.

And there she was, in a shaft of light that fought its way through the canopy of leaves for the honor of basking her in a glow that would make an angel blush. She was dressed in new, fine blue robes. Her dark hair seemed to provide her an auburn aura of hope. She was absolutely breathtaking.

And he was in the same grimy leather that he had worn this whole trip. His bald skull had fresh sc#@!&s. His flesh rotten, carrying the smell of death which followed him every where he went. He did not fully realize how much of a monster he was until he saw his.... until he saw Lucia standing there in all her living glory. And it was glorious.

Sheathing his blades, he walked up beside her. His emotions tore at him as he pointed north and continued to walk. His leather clad hands found their way to his eyes. And again, to his surprise, liquid tears stained his gloves of war.

He did not want her to see him crying. He lengthened his stride to place her more behind than next to him.

Thoughts began to run through his head; one after the other, in rapid succession.

Tell her that you love her man. You will not have another chance. You have few regrets in your un-life, do not accumulate them now.
There is no way that she can love you. You are, after all, a hideous monster, rotted from within.
She has seen past that!
She has needed you and when that need is over, so is she of you.
Tell her how you feel so at least you can be at peace that she knows.
Tell her and watch her laugh and mock and then pity.
I need no pity!

These thoughts consumed him while they walked. He was only vaguely aware of his surroundings, but he could hear her footsteps close and behind him. It was both comforting and tormenting.

He was unaware, however, of his sobbing.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))

End of Kopf's Story Book 12
[<---Book 11] [Book 13--->]

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