Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia

Face of WarEdit

Lucia reached the first sentry and gasped for breath. Horde. An army. Just beyond the hill. They are coming. Countless numbers of them. Headed this way.

She watched, panting for breath, as the guardian of Southshore scrambled back to rally the rest of the soldiers. Lucia passed through them and made for the house. Once inside, she quickly looked over at all of her treasured plants. There were too many to carry, she realized. Quickly, she grabbed one of her favorites and rushed out again.

All around her the humans were preparing to defend their little settlement. Just as Lucia cleared the threshold of her dead half-sisters house, the horde came. A massive wave of them, rushing, surging like a wave of metal and flesh, teeth and rage boiled towards the front line. A soldier beside her whispered to himself, By the Light so many of them! His fear echoed her own.

What Lucia assumed was the guards leader in Southshore stepped forward and drew his sword from its battered scabbard. He lifted the gleaming blade high and addressed those assembled in a confident, commanding voice. This blade has bathed in blood many times, and it shall do the same again. Take heart, my brethren! This is the moment of truth. We have faced this evil before and prevailed. Today will be no different. We have the Light on our side and it will protect us! Draw your weapons and prepare to be heroes once more! To war and to victory!

The Alliance crowd cheered as swords were unsheathed and bows drawn with arrows knocked at the ready. They lined up, rank behind rank and stared in the face of death. Behind the warriors, the healers were preparing for the wounded, Paladins were calling forth the light to bless the combatants as hunters calmed their pets. All was at he ready and then the Horde came. Over the hill they surged, swarming like gigantic ants. They were moving as a pack of wolves, spreading out to ensure that their prey could not escape. Nearly as one, they jumped off their mounts, drew their weapons and slammed into the line of humans, shattering it like thin glass.

Lucia ran, clutching her flower pot. She headed into the woods and crouched behind a large tree trunk, trying to make herself as small as possible. Cautiously she peeked around and watched breathlessly as Southshore began to fall. The screams of war turned to fear and pain as steel and spell ran the alliance into the ground, driving them back. Blood flew as weapons tore through armor and meat.

Everywhere she looked, someone was being ripped apart either by blade or by spell. Lucias stomach turned as the undead began feasting on the still warm carcasses of the fallen. Fires were flared up from nearly every building in the small outpost. As she watched, her new home caught and began to burn fiercely. All her beloved plants were gone, save the one she clutched.

In Southshore the horde cheered their impending victory over the Alliance. The town burned as they drove the heads of the slain onto pikes and celebrated. Lucia had seen enough. It was no longer even remotely safe to stay where she was hidden. Already the horde began to fan out and search for survivors. She made ready to flee deeper into the countryside.

She turned and met the imposing form of a Troll; a rogue by the looks of him and his equipment. It dawned on her that had been watching her watch the battle. With lightening speed he drew a jagged dagger and laid it against her neck. With the blunt edge he forced her chin up, further exposing her throat. He nestled the dagger there and grinned at her wide fearful eyes that silently pleaded with his. She swallowed convulsively and felt the edge press into her skin.

The Trolls grin grew wider and he drew a second knife. He toyed with it for a moment, his eyes never leaving hers as she followed the blades movement. Viciously he brought it up and whipped it across her face along her cheek, drawing a thin line of red that marred her face. If she lived the cut would scar leaving her forever marked as his victim. She whimpered as the troll drew his tongue along the blade, savoring the taste of her blood. Her eyes lowered, no longer able to look into the face of war that tormented her.

The Troll chuckled softly to himself as he toyed with the human woman. It was a tormenting sound that sent shivers down her spine. She whimpered again as he began to press the first dagger into her exposed throat. He seemed unpleased with the angle of her head and sheathed the second dagger. Immediately he gripped the back of her hair in a tight fist. A cry of pain escaped her lips as he yanked her head further back.

Behind her Southshore had ceased to exist and before her death held the visage of a Troll wielding a sharp blade pressed against her bare skin. The blood began to flow as the edge slowly crept into the tender flesh of her throat. She closed her eyes against her tears and prepared herself to die. Perhaps, she thought, it was time to just let go.

((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.))


Kopfjagger was moving as quickly as he could, swinging wide around the army on foot while under full stealth. He could not allow the Horde army to see him, but he could not delay. Already the vanguard was at the hillcrest just north of Southshore. He had to risk pulling out of stealth. Trading safety for speed, he began a full sprint towards the western side of Southshore.

The sounds of battle met him as he sped towards the Alliance outpost. The sounds of war competed with the wind rushing through his ears. The human line had already fallen and now he was close enough to see individuals instead of a sea of armor. Faces contorted in rage and fear flashed past him as he sped onward, deeper.

The main battle had not taken long, he was sad to see. He was hoping that he would be able to sneak in behind the fight and rescue Lucia before the Horde swarmed. But already the buildings were burning. The guards were slaughtered and their heads already being mounted on pikes ringing the city. His delay may have cost him more than he could stand.

He reached the first buildings near the water and wrapped the light around him so he was no longer visible. The need for speed was replaced with caution. The Forsaken summoned his adrenaline and rushed past the Horde celebrating their victory and seeking out fresh kills. His Brothers and Sisters were feasting upon the dead and he checked the faces of the fallen to see if any of them were his beloved Lucia as he sped past.

A woman screamed out. He knew it was Lucia and that she was very close. Cautiously turning a corner, there she stood. She was raised all the way on the tips of her toes, her head pulled back and a Troll hand knotted in her beautiful hair. She was not dead yet, but it was only moments until the Troll would be finished with her.

Kopfjagger sped around Lucia, pulling out his twin blades. Once he was behind and slightly to the left of the Troll, the Forsaken buried one sword into Trolls back and the other into the back of its head. The sound that came from the Troll was most satisfactory. It sounded almost like a huge frog croak.

The troll spun and prepared to lunge after its attacker but Kopfjagger was already in his deadly dance. He had done this so many times, and each time his prey reacted the same way that his combination of moves was as fluid as the blood pouring out of the troll. Blade met blade in a clang of metal. Flowing, sliding, dancing his way around the Troll and his blades, Kopfjagger was in his element once more. Fluid, graceful strokes slid their way around defense and coaxed their way into the meat of the Forsakens adversary. Soon the head of Lucias assailant was laying at the feet of the Head Hunter.

The Forsaken turned to look at his human love. She was covered in blood, as he was sure he was. She was shaken and trembled slightly. Her small hands clutched a sapling which shook in her nervous grasp. He began to smile at her but from behind her an axe flashed over her head. He flicked his wrist and a dagger sliced through the air directly over Lucia's left shoulder, landing with a squish in the eye of a now very angry and screaming Orc.

"To the water!" he hissed loudly at her. "Go, I will follow," he called out to her. The Orc was most displeased and looked at the Forsaken betrayer with levels of hate that Kopfjagger thought only the damned could obtain. The Orc swung his axe at the head of its Forsaken enemy but Kopfjagger ducked under its wide arc with ease, sliced the tendons on the Orcs leg and then neatly placed his sword through the Orcs chin as it fell. The Orcs helm was dangling on the tip of the sword like some sort of strange new battle helm.

Kopfjagger quickly removed the blade and cleaned it on the back of the fallen Orc. He turned to head towards where Lucia had been and, not seeing her, stealthed and began to make his way to the water as fast as he could. There was safety in the water. The Horde did not like to pursuit its prey for long. Victory can only be measured by what you have conquered. The more area that was conquered, the longer it took before you could celebrate. The Horde was not likely to venture too far from the confines of Southshore. Now, he just had to find Lucia again.

Lucia ran. She hit the water and kept running along the bank, never wanting to stop. She ran until her lungs burned and her muscles cramped. She ran until her vision blurred and her body rebelled. She fell to her knees and crawled a few feet before she giving up. She retched. The tension of the past few weeks finally coming to a head washed over and consumed her.

Her throat hurt and her face burned from the cuts. The falling tears ran into the open gash on her cheek and the salt inflamed it more. She brought a hand up to her raw throat, blood on her fingers, blood everywhere; she was covered in it, her own mingled with Horde.

She began to sob, her breath hitching yet she couldnt make herself stop. It was all too much. She knew it then; she was going to die. He would never leave but she would. Be it days, months or years she would eventually die and he would forever live on. His people would forever hunt her, eventually kill her.

Her arms suddenly ached to hold Kopfjagger. She had not touched him for years, except for the brief moment in the stockades when she had brushed away his tears, and she realized how much she had missed him in her life. Her strength. She wanted to be strong for him, she wanted to meet his strength with strength but she was weak. And now she would be scarred, no longer pretty.

Why couldnt they have happiness? Why couldnt they let them be? She had never caused them harm! Lucia wasnt even sure of who they were anymore. It seemed to be everyone. She wanted no part of this war that waged around them. She wanted peace, and she wanted him only.

Weakly, Lucia waded into the water a few inches and frantically scrubbed. The water turned red as the blood washed away from her body and still she felt un-clean. The scars ran deeper than the cut on her neck and face. She shook, her body pushed to its limits, and her mind began to give way. Slowly she retreated to a safer place. Deeply in shock she drifted into the warm place that she had visited once after she had seen Leslies torment. On her knees in the water, Lucia faded, the smell of daisies overcoming the stench of blood. The sight of red was slowly replaced by glorious greens and vibrant hues. Sand turned into grass and Kopfjagger came.

Lucia stared up at him and smiled. He strode upright through the flowers, the meadow surrounding them. He was handsome, flesh whole and scars gone. She rose and met him halfway looking deep into his eyes. She was home. She was safe and he was with her alive and no one would find them here. She laughed merrily and he picked her up and twirled her around. Held tight, held safe. Thoughts of the war gone, both of them, whole and complete together forever in her meadow. He spoke gently to her and caressed her face. The sun beat down on the two happy lovers with no worries, no cares but each other. It was perfect and Lucia never wanted to leave.

In the real world the water beat against her still form, the only part of her still in reality as her mind was encased in its own world. Her face lacked emotion, her eyes had gone dull, her breathing slow and even as if she simply fell asleep where she knelt. The wound on her face continued to bleed. Drops of blood fell off her chin and plopped into the water to be washed away. The tiny nicks on her neck swelled and purpled. Her face was still covered in blood and gore from the decapitated troll and wounded Orc. Her blood mingled with theirs and she lay entwined in the meadow with Kopfjagger. Safe... Happy... Beautiful... Lost.

((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 Face RememberedEdit

Slathar let out a cry of victory and pressed onward. Southshore was burning. Death lingered all around as the smell of burning wood and flesh warmed his battle frenzied mind. He finally pushed through to the docks. "Burn everyting! Leave nudding standin! Everyone musta be diein today. Human, elf and dwarf must die for da Horde!" Slathar cheered until hoarse.

His escape had taken a long while. The Shaman was proud that he had managed his way out of captivity by his own cunning. Weeks it took to figure out how to turn his hands into weapons of fire; just as he would usually apply to his weapons. No matter the metal, fire would always prevail if hot enough. Now, when he faced his enemies, images of being captive fueled his bloodlust.

Slathar enjoyed the carnage and death of battle. He relished it as his inner Troll took over. All he wanted was more flesh to rend, more blood to spill. He needed to kill, everything that wasn't Horde needed to die for not being Horde. War begot lust which fueled the desire for more war. It was a cycle that his kind had known for generations upon generations. Life never tasted so sweet when it was in jeopardy of ending. The senses tingled. Colors were more vibrant. Everything was sharp; clear.

He and a small scout party went out to look for survivors that had escaped. No one was going to escape today. No one. Soon enough they came to a kneeling form in the waves. Slather raised a fist and halted the rest of the party. He wanted to see what this was all about personally. The others spread out, searching for more victims along the beach. Smiling, the Troll drew his shield and spiked mace and slowly went towards the form.

It was a human, a female, based on its shape. However, he noted, her mood was unusual. She just knelt there, though Slathar made no attempt to keep quiet. Something in the back of his mind tickled him as he approached. Something familiar. It was like a buzzing that would not relent no matter how he tried to fend it off. Unknowing, his mace was lowered and his shield was now held tentatively in his blue hand.

He knelt beside her and looked into her face. It was her alright. He was good with faces; it was the same human he had seen outside the Undercity and at Nesingways Camp. She was bleeding quite badly, but she didn't seem to care. She was in a kind of trance, just staring out completely devoid of any trace of reality. It was the strangest thing he had ever seen.

Slathar grabbed her shoulder and shook it. He then realized that his bloodlust was gone. Somewhere his mind had locked off his lust as he approached the human woman; helpless on the shore. Why not kill this human? She was nothing more than another enemy, another weak creature taking up Horde space. Still, he thought to himself, he needed to find out what her connection was with the Forsaken. His curiosity ruled him now. So strange, this human woman and that Forsaken.

He shook her again, trying to snap her out of the trance. He hoped for both their sakes the Horde party he was with did not return. The Forsaken might be nearby, and he wanted to find out what was going on between the two. He shook his head at his own predicament before giving the woman another shake.

When Kopfjagger looked, she was gone. He smiled to himself. When he said run, by the Dark Lady, she ran! The air whistled as he ducked under another blade. This one was from a human whose eyes were wide with freight. They were blue eyes, like the morning of a cold winter. Two quick and fluid movements brought clouds into that crisp morning as blood pumped from the neck of the now peaceful human.

Kopfjagger turned towards the water and began to run at full speed. He was nearing the edge of the remaining skirmishes when a small child, a boy with brown hair and stained cheeks, ran from an open doorway towards an armored corpse in the street. Kopfjagger swung the flat of his blade against the boys head, never missing a stride. He said over his shoulder to the stunned boy, "Sleep now. The nightmare is just beginning," as he kept on running.

His spine tingled as he made it to the pathetic dock. Looking up he saw a huge red magical arrow bouncing over his head. A stream of profanity flew from his lips as the arrows began to pound into his back.

He hated hunters. He even hated Horde hunters. The arrows hit too fast to even count. He tried to use his vanishing powder, but he knew it would not work. It never worked. Nothing ever worked.

Pound. Pound. Pound. He could feel the arrows rip into his back.

The dock!

He jumped off the small bank and scurried under the dock, out of sight of the hunter. He dove under the water and began to swim the length of the dock, making sure that it was still over him. You cannot hit what you cannot see and that was his only hope against the fierce pounding of a Hunters bow.

The arrows stopped.

He hugged the slimy bottom under the dock as he swam away from Southshore. Lucia could only have gone in one of two directions, and he was pretty sure it was not closer to Tarren Mill. He continued to swim for several more minutes, deep under the water. His movements tugged and pulled at the arrows in his back. He grunted with each stroke but onward he pulled his body through the water.

Slowly and painfully, he made his way up towards the bank. Very slowly, he let his head gently break the surface of the water. His eyes squinted against the pain as his hands began to remove the arrows. He kept his mouth under water as his eyes searched. Grunts of pain made tiny bubbles in the water. The magical arrow was gone now, he was pleased to see.

Further down the bank he saw a Horde party searching. He swam parallel to them when one of the Trolls waved the others off. The arrows were out of his back now, but he was not the fighting machine he was just a few moments before. His body was crippled and dangerously close to releasing his spirit. He had to be cautious. Something was causing his vision to blur, but he forced his eyes to focus on the shore.

The Troll was bent down over something. He watched as the Troll started to shake something... a woman... LUCIA!

Kopfjagger sprang from the water in an almighty racket. His twin blades were out and he was screaming a war cry at the Troll before he even knew he had moved. Lucia was limp in the Trolls hands and all he saw was blood covering her.

((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.))

Searching for PeaceEdit

Slathar jumped from surprise at the Forsakens furious movements. He immediately stood up, dropping his shield and mace on the sand. He held up his hands showing that he meant no harm. Slather realized that he was not in a good position. Kopfjagger would most certainly attack him, and since Slathar's mace and shield were now occupying the beach, he really could not defend himself. That was the point, after all. See, the thought earnestly to himself, I am not a threat.

Still Kopfjagger moved towards him, seething and fuming. Slather spoke quickly to the Forsaken that was storming through the water. "Mon I not goin ta harm da human, or turn her in. You and she are free tah go. I was only trying to wake dah girl! She be in a trance or something like dat." Slathar said, trying to get the words out before he met the same end as the inhabitants of Southshore. "Perhaps, we can help wit dat, yeah mon?"

He still wanted to figure out how a Forsaken and a Human came to be so close like these two, but that could wait. He concluded that it would indeed be hard to solve that mystery if he was not longer alive. It was now all up to Kopfjagger, literally. Slathar's life was in Kopfjagger's hands, and Slathar nervously waited to see what he would do with it.

The enraged, Forsaken already had his blades in motion when he recognized the Troll from his flight from the Undercity. With a strain on his already badly injured body, Kopfjagger redirected the blades to pass over the Troll's head, spinning his body around by the force of his swing. He buried the tips of the swords in the sand and fell to a knee. He was not using the swords to prop himself up. He just needed to keep them from slicing through the Troll and putting them in the sand was the best way to ensure that.

"Lucia," he panted. "She must still live," he coughed. Black goo fell from his mouth, staining the sand.

Kopfjagger crawled over to her and placed his ear directly over her mouth. She was not moving but he could hear her breathing. Some words were half formed on her tongue, but he did not try to make them out. Time was slipping.

"My pack," he gasped at Slathar. Slathar helped him get his pack off of his battered back and Kopfjagger went to work with his herbs. He pulled out some Mountain Silversage and Golden ... His mind began to betray him. Golden something... and began to mix the most potent healing potion he knew.

His focus was sharp on craft and concentrated fully upon mixing the healing potion. He did not notice the small beach, the waves lapping against the shore, the beautiful sunshine or the birds that were flying only inches above the water. Lost to him were the high, white clouds that graced the pristine blue sky. The light woods and green hills that were just beyond the beach did not hold his interest either. He focused everything in his being on saving a tattered human lying broken before him.

Once his potion was complete, he looked up at Slathar. "Please give warning if anyone comes near. It will take a few moments for this to work." Absently he wiped blackness from his mouth.

Kopfjagger gathered Lucia in his arms and tenderly moved her hair from her eyes. He began to whisper softly to her that she needed to drink and that everything will be okay. He was with her now and he would never leave her side again; not for any reason. It broke his heart to see her in so much pain.

Slowly he dribbled the healing potion into her mouth. He would soothe her with his words and his touch as she drank more and more of the potion. His cold lips would press down on her forehead and his arms rocked her gently back and forth as he nursed her back to health. When her eyes opened, he slowly pulled her into him in a tight and loving embrace. He was not crying however, that was just water that had taken its time to slide off of his bald head.

Her teeth flashed in the sunlight. She placed a hand over her brow to block the glare of the sun from her eyes and watched him approach her. On occasion he would leave, but he always came back. He always returned to the meadow that she was caring for, and she grinned wide to see him: Kopfjagger.

He picked her up and swung her around, laughing as she laughed. She slid down and just stood there, her arms around him and welcomed him with a kiss. Welcome back she whispered.

He smiled at her and declared, I will never leave you alone for long.

She smiled again and responded, I know. She gazed at him. I love you so much. Sometimes it aches, like I have stopped breathing when you go away. We are safe here, no one can find us. Lucia wondered why she kept saying that; why would it matter if people found them, two humans in a meadow. But she still repeated the line whenever she saw him, No one, never.

Kopfjagger looked down at her and smiled a sad smile. You will leave me for better things, because you love me more than the meadow. But stay as long as you can with me I love you as well. He caressed her cheek, You hurt yourself?

Lucia shook her head, No, ignore it; it will go away in time. I just want to be held. She shivered and he shook her gently. The shaking stopped and they just walked together, feet passing over wild grass. She wanted to dance. She wanted to plant. She wanted to stare at the sky and ask unanswerable questions. Peace. But something was coming to her meadow; she could almost feel it, something.. Frightening.

Kopfjagger looked over his shoulder and gripped her waist. She turned and blinked. Was that a troll? But the shadow wavered away. Kopfjagger looked at her. Stay, Lucia, my darling. Stay a little longer! He pleaded. She glanced back at him, his face flickered, whole and handsome, next ripped and rotted, then back.

She touched his face for a moment and nodded. I will stay. Why would I want to leave you, my handsome rogue? I wont leave, I promise. Desperately she gripped him tighter and drew a deep breath, the scent of herbs and flowers mingling with the raw earth. In the distance the thunder rumbled, and the rain began to fall.

Kopfjagger, her love, smiled at her again, a smile so sad that tears began to edge into Lucias eyes. She would not leave him! She vehemently declared to herself. He needs me and I need him! Lightning ran ragged across the sky, and the wind blew, carrying with it the scent of blood. Her eyes opened and she saw the rotting face of her protector. Glowing eyes peered into her own before she closed them again. She would not leave.

((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 21
[<---Book 20] [Book 22--->]

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