Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia

A Childs FearEdit

They began walking, the Troll now part of their party. He seemed friendly enough as he journeyed with them, but the haunting echo of long ago screams rang in Lucias head. Fires danced before her eyes and the chilling howl of large, exotic and frightening lizards ridden by grinning demons of war flooded her senses. It was indeed a strange effect that her childhood memories cast upon her. She knew nothing of this Troll but she feared and hated him on sight.

As they walked, Lucia attempted to banish the sight of her best friend Leslie and the brutal Trolls and Orcs that had chased her down. Beasts had trapped and surrounded her in the barn, fully unaware of the young Lucia in the hayloft watching what they did to her. She recalled clearly the Renegades that had attacked her hometown and stolen her dearest companion away from her.

Leslie died a week later, a shell of what she had been. After the barn, she had stopped eating, stopped singing to herself and stopped talking altogether. Leslie ignored Lucia entirely and she didn't get a chance to see her again, for Leslie refused any company of any sort. For a time even Lucia had stopped speaking. Her parents had worried, but they did not know that she had witnessed her friends terror. They believed she only heard about it from the townspeople.

Lucia attended the funeral. The sun was shining brightly, the birds chirping merrily. Thus had her childhood had been scarred. The presence of the Troll brought it rushing back to her in one fluid motion of misery. She carried a child's fear of him, and an adult's hate.

As they walked, she kept close to Kopfjagger. Her face was pale, hands gripping her robe in a magically chilled and yet sweaty grasp. Despite herself, she could not shake the feeling of the Trolls eyes burn into her back. She hoped she hid it well enough. She forced a laugh, a little twitter when she tripped on a root. She hoped it passed for a normal reaction when in the company of friends.

Slather knew that the human was having great difficulty being near him. He had expected this from the beginning and it was no shock that she would not look at him. The Forsaken was tolerating him, yet the Human in between fearing and loathing. This was a challenge to overcome as far as Slather was concerned. He understood very little Gutterspeak, and even less Common, but he could read emotions like a scroll.

Kopfjagger watched Slather and Lucia exchange meaningful glances at each other as they walked. If things were not complicated before, they most certainly were now. He noticed how tightly she gripped him. He heard how her voice was not quite right when she finally spoke a few words. She was not okay with this Troll, despite his helping them earlier. That was unlike Lucia. She was able to see the soul beneath the flesh but something was bothering her and he did not, as of yet, know what it was.

Slather racked his brain for a good hour or so as to how he could get the Human to trust him. Thick, blue fingers traced along his tusks as he walked and thought. It was obvious that she could be open-minded, and Kopfjagger was living erm proof of that. But this still doesn't completely rule out the fact that the Humans are often a bigoted and occasionally xenophobic race. Fear can be dangerous and unpredictable.

Still, Slather couldnt bring himself to blame her. Before his lifetime, nearly every Troll was a bloodthirsty killer that would wage wars against nearly everyone, including Troll against Troll. Surely, he thought, Human parents must raise their little ones by frightening their young children with tales of fearsome, bloodthirsty Trolls and Orcs. They would surely tell the children how the mean Orcs and Trolls will get them if they do not go to bed. The stories of the damage that the Horde did during the First and Second wars would put terror in the hearts and minds of young ones. And while there are some of these Trolls left out there, admittedly excluding the rot about little children and bedtimes, they are scattered and hunted down by the New Horde.

"If only I could show this Human the New Horde" he mused in his Troll tongue, knowing full well that she wouldn't understand him. "Gone is our bloodlust. We have embraced our Shamanistic past, and we hold honor above nearly everything else. What is there not to like?" Bah. It is not in a Human's nature to trust. Then he looked at her hand wrapped tightly in the Forsakens. Well, he conceded, maybe he wasnt right about everything all of the time.

He gave up on Lucia for the moment, and thought again of Kopfjagger. There was little chance he would be welcomed back into ranks of the Forsaken, he surmised. He could go back to Orgrimmar, and start a new life there. It was beautiful, in a primal sort of way, or at least Slather had always thought of it so. If only it weren't so busy all of the time. The empty flats in the Cleft of Shadow may suit the Rogue in him rather well.

Snapping back into reality, Slather heard the sound of boots running up the path behind him. An alarmed whisper soon followed. Then nothing. He paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder, but saw nothing. That meant little truthfully. The bounty ensured that they were hunted not only by the Alliance, but also by a great number of Forsaken as well as the other Horde races. Slather turned to the Undead and warned in a hushed voice, "Be on your Guard, Kopfjagger. I believe we are not alone on this trail."

Long they walked with everyone lost in their own thoughts. It was not until they were near the river and the border of Darkshire that Slather first heard the sounds of nearby.... enemies? His warning gave the rogue enough time to free his hand from Lucias grasp and pull out his blades. A quick glance around to get his bearings and Kopfjagger had a plan formed.

Humans came off of the trail with a war cry, rushing down upon the strange party of Troll, Forsaken and Human. Kopfjagger did not yet trust the Slather fully with Lucia.... and he surmised that Lucia trusted the Troll far less then him. The rogue counted four, six, seven humans running down the small hill towards them. The river that was the border to Darkshire was within twenty paces.

Kopfjagger could not shed the blood of humans so close to Lucia's home. They were less than an hours walk from Goldshire now and it was too close to lose it all now. There was hope, however.

Turning to Lucia, he stuck his blade tips in the dirt, hilts only inches from his hands. He held onto her shoulders and looked straight into her eyes. The intensity of his emotion was plain.

"My heart, you must go into the water and swim to the other shore. Do not look back. Wait for ten minutes." The war cries were getting louder and closer. It was probably a good thing that he could not understand what they were saying. "If I am not there," he continued hurriedly, "your home is nearly due north from the other side of the river."

"Go!" He yelled when she did not move. Then, he pulled is blades out of the dirt and held them in a loose, comfortable grip.

"Troll," he called out. "There will be no killing today. Slow them any way you can."

A handful of powder was thrown into the air and the Head Hunter was gone.

Kopfjagger began to slink towards the flank of the humans. They were very close now. All he had to do was slow them long enough for Lucia to get into the water safely. Today was a sorry day to die.

((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 Cost of TimeEdit

So close to home, so close to home; Lucia chanted to herself as she clung to Kopfjagger. It was heartening as well as heart wrenching. Her children waited; Kopfjagger would be leaving.

The legion of human guards was something she had not expected or planned for. She could not attack her own guardsmen and yet she couldn't allow them to attack Kopfjagger. His plight was most likely worse then hers. He would not want to kill them in front of her, but he was not one to allow them to rip him apart in front of her either.

When he told her to swim and run, head home if he didn't come to her soon, she stalled at first. If he didn't come, she would be denied her farewell. She shook her head, Ninny, she scolder herself, if you both die what kind of farewell is that! She ran.

Slather nodded to Kopfjagger as Lucia turned and bolted. He then called the spirit of Water to chill his weapon. He turned around to see their pursuers. There was little chance he could take them all alone, but he didn't have to kill them, just stall them.

The Troll Shaman smiled. This wouldn't be hard. He reached up for his Earth Totem and called the Earth to slow the Humans. Almost instantly, the Humans felt as if they weighed twice what they did before. Slather charged into them, firing Shock after Shock of Frost. He hit each human once with his Frost branded hammer, took three steps back from the nearly immobilized humans, refreshed his Earthbind totem, and shifted into Ghost Wolf form to catch up with Lucia and Kopfjagger.

A brilliant, if Slather could be so bold about his own ideas, struck him. That's how Lucia may trust him. There's no guarantee, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction. He just needed to wait for the right moment. He crossed over the river and saw the fleeing woman, but oddly enough, Kopfjagger was nowhere to be seen. In his Wolf form, he was faster than Lucia, and caught up to her rather handily. Once by her side, he shifted to his true Troll form and ran along side her. Once he was sure that their pursuers were far enough behind to start to relax, he began to do just that.

Where was Kopfjagger? Surely he delayed the humans long enough for all of them to escape. Perhaps the Forsaken was stealthed just behind them. He said almost subconsciously to Lucia in his native Troll language. "We should wait here for Kopfjagger."

He slapped his forehead. There was no chance Lucia would understand him. He stuck out his Hand in a "stop" motion, then pointed down at the ground. Finally, he said "Kopfjagger" hoping that she would get his message. Thank goodness that Proper nouns stayed the same across languages.

Lucia ran, hit the water with a splash and was making for the other side, her sounds masked by the war cries and clattering of feet above on the road. She hit the other side and looked back. Panic overwhelmed her. The Troll was coming straight at her! Without Kopfjagger at her side he had finally found his moment.

She put on speed, passing the spot Kopfjagger had asked her to wait, but he Troll was faster in his wolfish form and soon was at her side. He stuck out his hand to stop her. Fearing the worst, Lucia screamed, missing the pronunciation of her guardians name.

She stumbled on a root and tumbled down a steep slope, the dirt falling in clumps behind her. When she got her feet and looked around her she noticed she couldn't climb back out the way she had fallen in. About to find an alternative way back up she turned and then froze. Eyes were staring at her. And there were a lot of them. Spiders. She had fallen into a spider den, and at her feet was a pile of sticky, crushed eggs.

The spiders were huge. They were black and red with menacing eyes watching her. Then they attacked.

One came at her from the side, dropping down from its perch on the wall. Another came from in front of her. They chittered to each other, as if they could communicate to one another. Four, five advanced. She would never survive a fight with them all! Again her icy persona saved her. Her body cooled, her breath streamed and tiny traps of ice encased each spider behind her. She blindly ran, running deeper into the open den. She had to find a way back to the road. She could hear the spiders straining against their icy cages. Too soon they would be free.

In her fall and momentary fight with the spiders, Lucia had lost track of the Troll and the idea of him out there, silently tracking her in this pit chilled her and sent her flesh crawling. Once more she realized her hopes rested with Kopfjagger coming to her rescue and if he was unable to do so, if she was on her own.... Well, she didn't know what she was going to do.

Without any other plan, other then a nice long-lasting sheep enchantment for the Troll if he found her, Lucia just ran and then fast-walked along the wall of the den, hoping to stumble along a way out.

Slather could see the panic in the humans eyes. This isn't the reaction that he wanted. She ignored his message, and ran down the winding ridge path. Then she stumbled. He could see in seeming slow motion as she fell down the steep bluff, powerless to right herself. He felt a cold blast which sent a shiver down his spine. She was fighting something, he guessed. Peering over the cliff, he saw that it was far too steep to climb. Nevertheless, he jumped in to search for the human.

Then he saw the spiders; a whole den full of them. He really didn't have time for this. He drew his Hammer and Shield, dropped down his Fire Nova and Stoneclaw totems, and began firing Shocks. A huge spider burst into flames. One right next to it died from the forces of Nature Shocking it. Slather reinforced his weapon with Rockbiter and crushed spider after spider.

Lucia was nowhere in his sight or mind as he set another pair of totems. With the final three arachnids occupied with his Stoneclaw totem, he began to use the spirit of Air in his hands. A tiny storm raged inside his palms, and finally he released it. It hit one, then bounced to another and another, frying all three dead. He stood there, panting. After a brief moment of rest, he stood again and looked for the wayward Human.

He spotted her further down the wall. He began to pursue her once again. "I'll probably kill myself trying to help her," he muttered to himself.

Once Kopfjagger hit stealth, he heard Lucia turn and head into the water. A silent prayer for her safety was offered up to whatever god or being would listen to his feeble attempt at prayer. It was heartfelt, but he was not used to such.... trust.... in things he could not see or touch.

Kopfjagger circled the human guard's flank. The Shaman threw down totems that seemed to slow the humans to a crawl. Perfect, he thought to himself. One guard, however, was out of range of the totem and was heading straight towards the turning Troll. Quickly, the rogue brought the butt of his blade sharply, snapping its metal hilt into the jaw of the human. Grinning to himself, he thought he could almost see the stars around the guards head.

All of the humans were well slowed and this should offer plenty of time for Lucia and the Troll to get away. Turning for the water, still in stealth, he headed down the bank.

Fire seemed to writhe out of the ground all around him, setting his leathers on fire and forcing him out of stealth. One of those humans was a mage of some type. It was also apparent that he did not like the fact that his friend was going to be eating soup for a month.

He turned to face his enemies. He was going to fight with a passion not of war but of love. All that he had to do was slow them. If he could buy Lucia time to get to her children, he was willing to pay whatever price these humans were about to extract.

The mage cast ice around his feet, freezing him in place. Guards advanced slowly at first, and then the totem was destroyed and they fell upon him in a rush. He could not count them all, he was too busy fighting off their blows.

Summoning his adrenaline for this last stand, he sent his body into Evasion. It was almost as if he had grown three new sets of eyes as he dodged countless blows with a liquid grace.

Tapping further into his reserves, he summoned a technique known as Blade Flurry. Each strike landed on two foes with the same ferocity as if he focused all his energies on just one victim. His body lurched and swayed as his twins danced and his spine turned to jelly and swayed around sword and staff.

He was not trying to kill, but to subdue. But the weapons began tearing into him as his artificial abilities began to wane. He could feel his flesh fly off in chunks as hammer and sword pulled at his body. Fire blasted him in the chest and blinded him.

He was losing, and losing badly. Turning towards the water again, he summoned his adrenaline one last time and sprinted along the bank. When he had made it several paces, he threw his vanishing powder into the air and made to slip up the bank unseen.

Just then a ball of fire slammed into his back, knocking him into the dirt. As he struggled to get up a sword tip went through his arm, pinning him to the dirt. Another entered into his leg.

He could only make out the words Rogue, Forsaken and what sounded like the word Lucia had taught him for Cage. That was enough, however. He knew that he was not going anywhere that he wanted to any time soon.

His last thoughts before the sword hilt slammed into his head were of Lucia, her boy and that frog that he tried to tie to his sister's hair.

Then blackness.

((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.))

A Peaceful NapEdit

What to do? Oh, what to do? Lucia worried as she turned around in the den. The wall seemed to run forever and avoiding the spider nests was getting more difficult. They seemed to be clustering more instead of less in the direction she was headed. She was also beginning to fear something terrible had happen to Kopfjagger. He had always managed to find her no matter how far off she wandered, and with him gone so long she had begun to fret over his absence.

Before she had left Goldshire and even while she had been on the road before joining up with him, Lucia had been nervous, but confident that she could handle herself. Now, used to his strength she was again a simple, sheltered citizen of a small community. A mother first and an adventurer second. It was an odd shift in perspective. This was also not the best time for her to realize she was not as strong as she sometimes pretended. She shook her head as she continued to search for a way out of this spiders den.

Lucia pulled from the wall to avoid a grayish egg mass that was being tended by two smallish white spiders. She looked behind and ahead and spotted it, a slightly less steep slope with a tree perched on the top. The way the tree had grown on the edge had left room for the roots to poke out of the soil and hang down into the den. Lucia was sure if she did it right, she could climb out and get back on the road.

She stepped carefully around the nests and approached the rooted slope. Up close it seemed taller and much more steep then her initial estimate, but she was determined to reach the road. Just in case Kopfjagger was traveling it in an attempt to locate her. A small smile betrayed her fear.

She reached for the first root poking from the safety of the soil. She noticed the strain on the thin root immediately. It would never do! She pulled off her pack, climbing with its weight would never work.

Unburdened, Lucia grasped the root, placed her second hand above it on another and pulled herself up. Getting started was the hard part, she told herself. She had to rely entirely on her arms, which were not strong at all, to reach a place where her legs could come into play.

It was hard at first, so difficult that she had to stop and rest several times before she got into a rhythm. She pushed upward with her legs, almost hopping on the roots giving her arms a break. Once she had found her rhythm, the climb was much easier. It was almost like her younger days of climbing trees with Leslie and her cousin.

Almost to the top, Lucia missed the egg cluster, smaller than the ones inside the den, but the same grayish color as the ones below. Her foot made contact, breaking apart the mass and sending a shock wave through the stringy line of web that led to the mother of the eggs. The spider, enraged at the destruction of her young, crawled out of the darkened hole and scurried over Lucia's slipper. It climbed to the top of her slipper and latched on to the inside of the unsuspecting womans robe. Once it hit bare flesh, it sank its fangs repeatedly into her ankle.

Thankfully, Lucia had already reached the top. She was certain that she would have lost her grip from the shock and plunged back down into the den had she not been on solid ground. She smashed a hand against her robe with a startled exclamation of "Ouch!" The spider mother fell out and scurried away, back to lay more eggs in a new place.

Lucia rubbed the spot she had been bitten and looked around in vain for the tiny villain. It stung a little, but the pain began to fade and so she moved on. Eager now to reach the road, she was unaware that the spiders poison was moving fast through her veins.

On the road at last, she had another dilemma. Which way to go? She was beginning to get her bearings and she knew she was not far from her home, but Kopfjagger was last seen in the opposite direction. She turned on the road, looking one way and then the other. He had told her to reach safety if he didn't come, but what could stop him? Everything they had come across he had managed to find a way out.

Finally she made her decision, and with a worried frown she headed north, toward Goldshire and her children. She hoped Kopfjagger would continue this way and find her before she reached home. If he didn't, she mused as she idly scratched the bite on her leg, he knew where she lived.

Almost home now, Lucia's fingers constantly worried at the bite through her robe. She was completely unaware of the symptoms she was already portraying. A line of sweat had formed on her forehead, her mouth felt dry and her ankle itched. Her hands became numb and her vision began blurring. By the time Lucia tied it all together it was already too late. In a fevered, numbed state she realized she had been poisoned.

Her limbs were incredibly tired. Her eyes were red and painful to open. The ground hit her hard in the face but she nuzzled the soothingly cool earth as her body began to shut down. Peace slowly filled her to brimming. Sounds mutated and dimmed into a soft rushing noise very much like waves on an abandoned beach. She was warm, her body comfortable. Perhaps, just a small nap before well, she wasnt sure what she needed to do except sleep.

Lying in the middle of the road, Lucias body succumbed to the poison. Her breathing slowed until almost unseen, it stopped.

((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.))

Desperate ConfessionsEdit

Kopfjagger awoke tied to a thick pole held on both ends by two very large guards. He hung from his wrists and ankles very much like a boar about to be roasted. His vision came back to him quickly and his reasoning returned shortly thereafter. He was a prisoner, he was bound and he was not sure if Lucia had made it to safety or not.

Looking around, the Forsaken rogue counted his foes; four holding the poles, two walking and the mage was on a mount. For a brief second he was displeased with himself. There were only seven and yet he lost the battle. Ah, he resigned, seven against one seemed to be all too common in his battles with the Alliance and those were seldom declared victories for the Horde or the Forsaken.

Concentrating on what lay ahead of him, Kopfjagger began to study his enemies more closely. The mage on the horse seemed utterly bored. He was trying to read while riding. Back straight with arrogance, the mage did not once check behind him to see if the guards still held his prize.

The guards themselves were plain folk in standard armor, with standard weapons doing a standard job. There was nothing extraordinary about them in any way. Simple men doing simple things. Kopfjagger nodded to himself. He knew them. He was once them. He brushed off the connection and studied himself.

His body was unbroken. Ha! The fools had left all of his equipment on his body, including his swords. That was a mistake that they would regret, of that he was confident. He could not reach anything other than one hand to the other, but it should be enough.

As his fingers fumbled with the rope knots that bound his wrists he continued to look around. He was over a road but heading away from Goldshire. They were taking him to Stormwind. The stockades, if the rumors he had heard were to be believed. The stockades were infamous, much like the Apothicarium in his former capital.

The knots were tied expertly, but not tight enough. His bony fingers found play and began to loosen them. Each bounce in the bowing staff provided more play and soon the ropes were there merely for show. He was holding himself to the pole with his own hands now, the ropes hanging loose.

Grabbing the pole with his hands, he shifted his body, coiling to push the pole out of the guards hands to free his feet. Slowly, he bunched up his body and closed his eyes as if still asleep. With each bounce, his body built up strength. Tighter and tighter he wound the coil of his adrenaline until his entire body became a weapon waiting to explode.

With a burst of strength, his arms yanked back over his head and his feet kicked into the backs of the two guards near his feet. The pole shot out from their grasp and flew over the his head as he fell to the ground, flat on his back.

He sprung to his feet, pulled out his swords and slashed at the ropes binding his ankles as the guards behind him reached for their swords. Speed was his ally and surprise was his secret weapon.

Freed from his bonds, he channeled his adrenaline into speed and ran through the two stumbling guards in front of him. They were still recovering from being kicked in the back and reached out to grab where he once was. All they pulled back was air and some powder that concealed his escape.

The shouts and yells faded away as he sped towards Goldshire. He was off to the eastern side of the road, weaving in and out of trees. He would go to Goldshire first and then make his way back to the bank to look for Lucia.

His burst of speed wore off eventually, his rotted body not able to stand that level of intensity for long. Just as he was settling into a long stride under stealth, he saw her. She was curled up in a little ball, asleep. Her hair lay over her eyes and her body was.... She was not breathing!

He dashed to her side and pulled Lucias limp head into his lap. Stealth left him but it no longer mattered. She was very ill and he had to find out why.

His hands raced over her body. Modesty was lost as he searched for the source of the poison. He had used poisons for so long that their symptoms were very plain to him.

On her ankle. A white, festering wound. Swollen and oozing. Spider or scorpion. Well, they were in Goldshire so it was obviously not a scorpion.

He needed one of the venom sacs from the spiders to make a cure. He gently laid Lucia across his shoulder and followed her trail back to where she obtained the bite. The entire walk he whispered his love to her. He told her how he dreamed of her happy. How he envied her family. He told her all of the things that he was too afraid to say earlier. He wanted her to hold onto her life. If telling her how he felt, and he meant every word, would give her the strength, than perhaps his love for her could serve some purpose in this twisted world.

((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 14
[<---Book 13] [Book 15--->]

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