Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia


Arrows protruding from his back and skull, Kopfjagger knelt over the fallen Dwarf. Savagely, he ripped each arrow out of his own back. He did not look over his shoulder at the gasps of the women and children behind him. Balance, or as close as he could come, had been met. A life taken, a life restored. It was far more mercy than he had ever shown in his un-life and it had cost him dearly.

Once the last broken shaft was on the bloody ground outside of the house, he grinned again. His torn body would be made whole again soon. Well, he was forced to concede, as whole as was possible at any rate. Ripping the mail armor off of the Dwarf was done with practiced ease. Once the mail was removed, he dove into the chest of his fallen enemy and began to rip out the organs that would renew his own strength, renew his corpse. It would not take long, but it was necessary if he was to escape this cursed place and keep his spirit in this coil.

Meal nearly finished, he was preparing to rise when moonfire stuck him. And again. Standing and surveying his surroundings, he realized that he was in the middle of the darkened street that until moments ago was sleepily abandoned. With a curse, he turned and darted towards the steep hill and the trees that would afford him some semblance of cover.

Roots, unnaturally forced out of their mothers embrace sprang from the ground and twisted around his legs. His teeth ground again inside his skull. Druids were nasty creatures and now he had at least one to contend with. Gore still hanging from his mouth he looked over his shoulder towards the town, searching for his new enemy.

A small girl-child stood in the doorway and stared at the Forsaken. Her wide eyes held horror and betrayal. A pulse of red, driven by anger lit the gore hanging from the Forsakens mouth as he stared back at the child. I am the monster come to life, little one, he thought to himself. Learn the face of hate, and flee from it. It cannot be saved.

A cat-form was running straight down the road at the rogue. The roots would not allow the Head Hunter to move, but he reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a handful of powders. Once the druid was within five paces, he flung the blinding powder into the eyes of the cat. Rolling on the ground, mewing and squealing, the cat pawed at its eyes. Another handful of powders and Kopfjagger was gone.

As Kopfjagger stealthed away from the ordeal behind him, he allowed his rage to die down. His goal was the wood-line and safety. Precious safety, then escape. At least two druids were hunting for him. He was not sure about the elf priest but the snack before he left may have made her decide his head would be used best on a platter rather then his shoulders. He shook it off. If he was to be free of this place, best to believe himself gone now, rather than dwell on the past. So far, the past has only made his present more difficult.

The sound was piercing in the quiet hours of pre-dawn. Nothing should be moving in the house at this time of night, he thought as he pulled himself out of bed. But something was surely moving and it was entirely too close to his pregnant wife for him to stay in bed any longer. Peeking around the curtain that divided the bedroom from the rest of the house, he caught his breath before it betrayed him.

A large man was rummaging through their belongings. What if he was violent? What if his was a murderer looking to kill and rob people? Screaming, the man ran into the room and pounced on the invader. It was over in minutes, the room destroyed and a dead man lay near the turned over dining table. He had never killed before and it tore at him. Somehow, by taking a life, he was less alive and much less of a man. Looking up from the broken face of the dead man his eyes found those of his heart. Both looked away, ashamed.

These emotions will be the last of me, he thought to himself. Too often he found himself doing something, saying something or just getting his nose in where it didn't belong. These past events were proof of that. The days of exploring, learning and stretching himself to new limits was being replaced with weeping and gnashing of teeth. He shook his head as he moved under stealth.

He heard taunts and jeers coming from the town, no doubt they were cursing him, or cheering themselves for their 'victory' over the Forsaken. The humans and their alleged allies were so deluded it actually made him mad. The fools think that the simple fact that the Forsaken was chased off meant that a victory was had. He wiped some of the gore off of his face and re-fit his mask and hood. Idiots.

No, no.... time to calm down, he reminded himself again. Just walk it off. His feet were beginning to head back towards Goldshire and his hands searched for his twin swords.

He enjoyed the sense of control and power that pulsed through him when he was stealthed. He wandered the paths leading out of the town he was in, not caring where the paths led him any longer. He was safe while under stealth. The forest had countless little paths, trod by animals and humanoids. Grinning to himself, he allowed his feet to take them around the village, just not into it.

Lost in his thoughts, he recounted the past events. The Druid nearly capturing him several times, the boy and his mother, the silly frog he tried to tie into his sisters hair, the tragic death and miraculous resurrection of the child, being shot in the back by a *Dwarf* of all creatures, his little snack and narrow escape from what seemed like a pack of druids

What was that up ahead? The path forked yet again and he saw some animal prints in the soft earth. If his life would not end, perhaps it was best to seek out the little joys that make life so much more worth the living.

He drew out two small daggers in lieu of his twin swords and placed his favorite poisons on the blades. Quickly and silently, he began to follow the tracks, hunting this time, instead of being the prey. It seemed that the druids have come to play. Let them come. This day for dieing was not yet over.

((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 was packed and ready to start, with the priest watching her children she knew they would be safe. It had been a very long time since she had left her home and deciding what she may need took longer than it probably should have. Reluctant to actually leave the house, she found tiny excuses of putting this back or picking this up and placing it in this pack. No, this pack would be better for it. No, she really didnt need that after all. That would be better instead. It took entirely too long, but with a sigh, she ran out of tiny excuses. She was not going to submit to the big ones, however.

Her first goal was to find the undead rogue. Her mind firmly set, she reached above the fireplace and took down the swords. She strapped them to her sides with a great deal of fumbling and shaking hands. The swords were huge and heavy on her hips but the weight would be a reminder of her purpose. She grabbed her pack and headed for the door.



The two young voices stopped her. She turned slowly and bent to her knees. Hugging her children to her she forced back the tears. They needed to remember their mother as a strong woman and not the nervous, terrified wreck she felt inside.

"Mother has to go sweetpeas." she said to the imploring eyes, "Momma is going to find your daddy." Her voice was steady enough and she took solace in that. It was enough.

Lucia separated herself from the tiny, grasping hands and walked out the door. She did not look back. She knew that four tiny eyes watched her and she kept her back straight, her stride strong.

Down the road, away from the house, she allowed the tears to flow. Her son had died and been returned to her and she was leaving him. She pulled a piece of blood-stained parchment from her cloak. Paper kisses. She had to find her husband. If her son said he wasn't in the nether of the other world then he was in this world. Gently, she pressed her lips to the paper kisses before folding them and placing them in a safe pouch.

She would find the rogue and find a way to make him tell her where he got the paper. She would do anything for her family.

Unseen to her, a druid followed her, watched over her. Everyone has a past, and this druid had seen love snuffed out in a flash. When love is consumed in hatred, the whole world seems to mourn its loss. This druid, known only as Dahaka, had seen that happen and did not raise a hand to stop it. He would not allow it to happen twice.

Lucia felt uneasy wandering in the darkness. She glanced around the darkened path, unsure of which way to go. She was usually very perceptive and her hunch was that she was being followed. Still, it didn't feel like a threat so she continued walking, the long swords clanking together. She attempted to pull the swords up, but the cinch was made for a different waist size so there was nothing she could do. With a sigh, she let them clang behind her as she tried to locate the key to her husband.

Lucia paused at the fork in the road. Prints. The ragged moonbeams of the deep evening were being replaced with the long shadows, a morning stretching its hand over the land. The ground was washed in shadows and rays of warmth speckled randomly through the forest and lent a depth to the prints. One was that of an animal, a cat it looked like. The prints trailed down this path and became lost in the odd lighting of the early morning. Beside it was a strange footprint. It was odd and misshapen, as if the foot was deformed.... or missing flesh perhaps.

Her rogue. She had begun to think of the undead rogue as hers. As long as he held the secret of the parchment, she would not allow any harm to come to him. He would not know that of course, and she would threaten everything she could to make him speak, but no one would come between them until she knew. She would not allow him to die with the knowledge of her husband un-told.

She hoped she wouldn't have to kill anyone to prevent his death, but what must be done, must be done. Her family would be together again. Straightening, her will restored with this simple sign, she began to follow the footprints.

Circling in the dappled light and towering trees were hunter and prey, each not knowing their role completely. Seeking and stalking; aware and yet ignorant. A Forsaken was the key to so much and yet he believed his role to be over. A woman seeking answers sought hope in a monster. The protectors of nature were ready to twist nature to their bidding to assist a wife seeking the mind of a killer.

((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 stopped. Her head tilted to one side as she listened for movement. Whatever was following her was very close and although she did not think it was a threat did not make it harmless. She was getting jumpy and she knew it. Her nerves were not as sure of this situation she found herself in as her will was. She had never been alone for long, always been protected either by her husband or the guards of Goldshire. Now that she was on the road and knew she was alone she began to doubt her motivations and sanity.

She had left her children to embark on a quest that could lead no where. What would she do if the undead rogue popped out of no where and stabbed her? The thought of her children alone the rest of their lives frightened her. Their father lost and mother slain no more than a mile from their little home.

There it was again, that sound. Lucia glanced nervously around. A squirrel disturbed by something jumped from the tree above her. It chittered at her and ran into the bush.

She let out a long sigh of relief. A squirrel rustling the leaves in the tree above her made her jump again. She had better get a hold on herself, she thought. Now is the time to be strong. If ever in her life she needed to be strong, this was it. Strength of will is one thing, but she needed strength of mind and spirit if she was going to be successful. She began walking again, and passed the invisible but tangible borderline into Westfall. The Undead's footprints and that of the large cat seemed to be headed this way. The open ground set her at ease, it would be hard to be surprised out here, she thought.

Kopfjagger had finished penning his report to his Queen of Darkness and re-read it before sealing it and sending it to her through the ring-portal.

My Dark Queen,

Your humble and obedient servant has observed the village of Goldshire as requested. It pleases me to report to you their perceived strengths and weaknesses.

Human Strengths are few but can be easily manipulated. Their devotion to their family and friends will drive them to irrational and contradictory behavior. They will betray ally to save a friend. They will threaten friends to save family from a danger or perceived threat. This strength of will and devotion can be used against them on an individual level but is a testament to their indomitable will and inflated sense of duty.

Human Weaknesses are many, far too numerous to disclose in this report, but I will convey the most glaring weakness that was observed in this sleepy hamlet. Humans do not regard their peers as equals unless there is a personal connection. Their tendency to shut out the events of others, to bask in ignorance of others lives, is probably their most damning weakness. Community exists in very small, closed circles. Rarely does one hand reach out to save another unless there is already some level of personal connection. The Better them than me attitude reigns supreme. While under direct and obvious threat, a human woman received no help from humans in her own village, but instead had a dwarf and at least two night elves come to aid. The humans remain boarded up in their homes, cowering in selfishness and fear.

I hope that this report will please you and pray you have mercy upon your humble servant if it does not. I do my best for the Darkness, your Majesty. If I may be of future service, please use me.

Your servant eternal,

Head Hunter
Nodding to himself, he sealed the letter and inserted it into the ring. With a twist, the document was gone. He arose shaking his head. Why in the fel did he feel ashamed?

((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.))


Dahaka had decided that his being concealed was doing more damage to this poor womans state of mind than it was helping. He strode ahead of her and shifted out of cat, revealing himself to her. He spoke to her in the human native tongue. "M'lady, what might you be doing on this road so late at night?"

Reacting purely from instinct, Lucia had drawn a fiery blade from her waist. The flaming tip quivered inches from the Elf's face. It was the ears and his height that saved him. Sighing she lowered it with a clang to the hard ground.

"I could have killed you," she breathed at him.

She had been startled, but she was glad the incident had occurred. It proved to her that her instincts were sharp and that she could handle herself well. Putting the blade back in its scabbard was much more difficult than pulling it out, she realized. Trying to maintain a semblance of control, she fumbled entirely too long getting the stupid thing back in its case.

She finally placed the weapon back where it had come from and studied the Elf. Druid, she thought, by the look of him. A druid that had been prowling about recently by the look of his gear. Was this druid a friend or a foe? Did he witness what had happened hours before, or just happened to be in the same part of the countryside by coincidence?

Lucia racked her brain trying to find a way to get rid of him. Her business with the undead was her own and that last thing she needed was a stranger whose motivations she did not know.

"I am going to see my lover," she replied quickly. "And if he sees you he will leave. Please, I haven't seen him in a while. I am fine to travel on my own." The fact that she had packed enough supplies for days, had on her stoutest travel robes and had two massive, flaming swords at her side did not concern her in the least. No sir. She was seeing her lover was what she was about and he would just have to accept it. She tossed her hair in what she hoped was a sufficiently flippant manner and started to walk away. Her eyes never left the ground as she checked for one more sign to follow. The ground was getting dustier, harder and it was becoming difficult to make them out.

Dahaka followed her even though he did not believe a word of her lover story. There was something going on and she did not look ready to handle it. Willing, yes, but not ready. "I am sorry to disturb your search but I can not leave you alone. There evil that I feel this night. He hoped she didn't still send him away. He would feel much better knowing that she was safe and would only know that if he accompanied her or followed her in the darkness.

Lucia sighed to herself. She really wished it wouldn't have come to this. "Come if you like." she said over her shoulder, keeping in front of him slightly.

Quietly she began chanting under her breath, her hands began glowing white. She turned to the Night Elf and muttered, Sorry before slamming him with her spell.

"Baaaaa!" He was a sheep.

Lucia sighed, why always a sheep, she wondered. She kept trying to transform them into something more.... dignified, but it always turns out to be a sheep.

Knowing it would make her tracking harder, Lucia winked and felt her body being pulled forward. She landed 30 or so feet ahead. She did this until she felt there was enough distance between her and the elf for her to walk normally again.

She glanced at the ground. Dismayed, she noticed the footprints were gone. Frantic she searched. She had to circle back several times but finally she found a misshapen footprint on the hard earth. The west fork it seemed. Where is he going? She wondered to herself as she followed her new trail.

She felt drained. It had been a while since she had used those spells. In fact, she had not summoned the arcane since her children had been born and Alexi was almost nine. Nine years was a long time for a mage to be without her spells. But, she thought, if I'm to tackle the Undead, I will have to use everything I have.

Kopfjagger had been hiding and running in this disgusting place long enough. He watched the Night Elves - and there were so many of them! - wander aimlessly that he knew he would be safe now. They had not found him, nor would they. He turned towards the open farmland and the long walk back to Brill.

Then he heard the human womans voice. He turned and saw her talking to one of the countless Night Elves out and about in this thicket of putrid vegetation.

Why did her voice capture him when blades and bonds could not? He watched her converse with the Night Elf for some time before continuing on her way. He stealthed nearer to her. He needed to know where she was going. He was not sure why, but she was wearing his blades and she had determination on her face. This woman was a mystery and he was intrigued.

Surely she would not want to rend *his* flesh. He had made everything okay again.... or at least as well as he could. Perhaps that was not enough. He shook that thought away. She traveled quickly, in the mage way and seemed to be following where he had come from before circling back to her. Amused, he watched her stare at the ground in frustration.

He followed her closely, but not so close as to have her detect him. Once she had cleared the thicket and was well away from the Night Elves combing the woods, he quickly placed his hands over his blades on her side and pushed them against her legs so that she could not pull them on him. That brought him out of stealth, but she would not be cutting his throat today.

Lucia nearly leapt out of her skin when the blades suddenly went tight on her hips. Once she regained control over her body, she reacted reflexively. Not wanting to injure him, she cast a snare of ice and winked herself away from his reach. She drew both swords and rushed him before he could vanish.

The Head Hunter groaned out loud. He knew she was a mage by the way she traveled and yet here he was standing in a block of ice. Idiot. And now she was running full steam at him. This woman was insane. Clearly. Or she meant to kill him.

She wasn't very strong, but her shove was enough to knock him down. She raised the swords and slammed them down, one on each side of his neck, the steel edges forming an X in front of his face. Fire swarmed over the blades, casting a hateful, hot glow over her face. She put all her weight on the handles, driving the points into the soil. Her countenance was menacing as guttural sounds escaped while she thrust the blades deeper into the hard earth.

She stood and glared at him, unconsciously blowing stray strands of hair out of her face. Now that she had his attention, she pulled forth the blood-stained paper and held it out so he could see it. She really was quite beautiful, the Forsaken admitted quietly to himself as he lay under the crossed blades.

"Tell me," she gestured wildly as she spoke, "Where did you get this?"

She was dismayed. She had no idea how to make him understand her words. She shoved the paper at him and pointed at it. "Where?"

((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.))


Dahaka finally caught up to her and saw that she had the situation under control. He was quite impressed with the human, truth be told. It was not every day that a mage pins a Forsaken beneath twin blades sheathed in fire. He nodded his approval before beginning to summon the powers of the Earth Mother to assist her. He was going to coil roots around the Forsaken in hopes of providing a more durable hold. It was apparent that this human wanted to capture this corpse, not kill it outright.

Lucia saw the Elf begin to cast and her reaction was instant. She screamed at the Elf to stop and sent a fiery bolt into his chest. She did not want to hurt anyone but she would not allow anything to come between the Undead and her!

Kopfjagger inhaled deeply from his precarious position beneath his own swords. A satisfied sigh came from beneath his masked face. He did so enjoy the smell of cooking elf. He kept the chuckle to himself as he lay there, quite willingly, beneath the cross of fire. How this would play out was most intriguing. He mused to himself that he had not had this much fun in a very long time. Taking his leisure, he pulled off a glove and examined his fingernails. It may be time for a trim soon, he thought, as the mage and Druid battled around him. It was difficult to get a good look at his nails though. He had to twist his arm just so around the blades to put them in view. Yes, he would have to trim them soon. Fingernails and hair are the only things that grew after death. He nodded to himself before looking back up at the human and elf.

The Druid was staggering but remained upright and was quickly recovering his composure. Lucias gaze was throwing icy daggers at the Druid and several heated words were exchanged between the two. It seemed that the angrier she became, the more determined her resolve. Such a strong force of will was a marvel to be sure and one that was not lost on the Forsaken.

She was beautiful when she was angry. And today, he had made her plenty angry. His position was that his son was to never back down from a fight. That was exactly what the young boy had done. The brat from town had thrown the first punch and paid the price with a bloody nose and a leg that would cause a limp for weeks. No one gets to pick on his sons twisted arm and walk away unscathed. She felt differently and abhorred violence. Long and loud was their conversation. Eventually, she saw reason in defending rather than being abused. That glow in her eyes that was borne of anger did not fade until she was well asleep after making up had totally exhausted her. It took him days to find something else to argue about. Making up was just too wonderful to leave to random chance.

Lucia was angry. Not the put the cookie back in the jar angry. This was seething anger borne of frustration and desperation. This was the Undeads fault and that was final. She would never have harmed anyone before he entered her life and now she was blasting Night Elves with fire. Fire! If she was a cursing woman, they would have been flying off of her tongue. As it was, her thoughts boiled as she watched the Druids eyes travel from his scorched breastplate to her.

She turned back to the prone body of the rogue. He was the reason for this and she grimaced at the anger she was carrying. She gripped the hilts of the swords and leaned on them again, the tips slid deeper into the ground, the edges of the blades were now touching his skin.

She held out the parchment again and held it steady for him to see clearly. She watched his eyes rest on it. Was he smiling under that mask? Her hands shook despite her efforts to hold them still. Damn the language barrier. Damn him. How would she make him understand her?

Once the blades touched his neck, a quiet hissing noise was heard. These blades knew their owner and he knew them. They were soulbound to him and although she was currently in their possession, they knew their master. The flames licked at his face but barely left a mark. He traced his bony finger along the blades fiery edge, listening to the hiss of his flesh cooking, feeling the love extend from himself towards the blades and its echo returning.

Enough of this game, he decided. He began to sit up, his neck sliding up the blades and closer to their crossing. Steadily and smoothly he rose up, the swords sharp edge now cutting into his neck. Still further he slid up the blades, his eyes going wide with excitement. She was beginning to panic and still further he slid his head up the blades.

Today would be a most excellent day to die.

End of Kopf's Story Book 5
[<---Book 4] [Book 6--->]

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