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Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia



Dance PartnersEdit

Once she had finished readying herself for travel, he stood. She stood right beside him. He made a gesture to have her wait there as he began to walk up the bank to see what lie over the hill. He stealthed a few feet away from the hills crest and pulled out his sword and throwing dagger. He still grimaced at its light weight and ineffectiveness. Going into combat with tableware was not his idea of intelligent tactics.

Right and left down the river bank were clear but they were approaching Strangle Thorn Vale. There were many Alliance and Horde waging countless small skirmishes in its thick forests. That and the ever present wildlife made this next leg of their journey very dangerous indeed. Maybe she would change something else into a sheep this time, he thought with a bitter snort.

Not seeing anything inherently dangerous immediately ahead of them, he returned to their hasty campsite. He revealed himself to her a few feet from the fire. He made a mental note that, just twelve hours ago, she would have leapt out of her skin if he would have appeared so suddenly and so close to her. Interesting.

He motioned down the bank of the wide, cold river. He did not think it was necessary to go back into the water. He made another gesture to keep close to him as they walked. She nodded and shifted her pack on her shoulders. He didn't even want to think of what might be in there.... he carried a few herbs and extra daggers.... but hers was probably full of spare clothes, maybe some perfumes bah! He was thinking about it.

He began to walk slowly down the river bank. He was not stealthed, but he was crouched low, blades out and ready, swaying slightly as he walked. His eyes shifted from right to left as they walked, but he did not turn his head. His focus was on his surroundings now. He had learned long ago not to reveal where he was looking. That gave the enemy information they should not have.

The tangled growth of the jungle made Lucia jumpy and she did not like too be jumpy. She swung her head from side to side trying to catch any motion in the surrounding thickness. She kept glancing over her shoulder to make sure she wasnt being stalked from behind. The few times that Kopfjagger looked over his shoulder at her, he was glad to see that she was taking this seriously and nodded at her before continuing his vigil.

A crocodile the size of a Tauren was coming at them from the other side of the river. Keep moving, he thought to himself. They charge if they think you've spotted them. His head did not move, but his eyes followed the beast as it changed course to intercept them. The Forsaken kept his pace the same and head straight as the beast approached closer.... closer....

Just as the huge beast came out of water, the Head Hunter sprang upon the monstrous animal with all the coiled fury he was building as it approached. His blades swung faster than the eye could follow as he dodged and struck. The beast was huge and would take time to bring down, but this was not the first time that the Forsaken has killed.

Lucia yelped when the croc lunged out of the water. Her rogue, as she now referred to him in her mind, was on the thing before she had even finished drawing her breath. She quickly fumbled at the sword, finally drawing it out of its scabbard. Then she stood there dumbly with it. For a couple seconds she couldnt think of what to de. Finally she moved forward and swung the sword down. The flat of the blade bounced harmlessly off the animals rough hide and she was thrown back from the jolt.

As Kofjagger dodged the huge teeth of the beast, he caught sight of the mage with *his* sword in her hand. The battle would have been over by now if he was not reduced to one blade and a butterknife. In the thick of the battle he still managed to throw a frown her way.

Well, that didnt go well, she chided herself. She picked herself up. Her arms were slightly numb from the impact but she attempted to help the rogue again. This time she got the sword into the croc, but the beast whirled, jerking the hilt out of her hands. Now she was faced with an angry sharp-toothed beast and her weapon lodged in its backside.

It was a bit amusing to watch the human woman try to wield a sword longer than her arm. He would have smiled had the beast they were well that he was fighting, did not have teeth the size of his fist. Somehow, and he sincerely wished he had seen how this had happened, his sword was sticking out of the back of the crockolisk beast thing they were fighting. There it was, just sticking out of its back. He chanced a glance at the woman and she was doing some sort of excited dance, pointing at the sword and saying something.

"Take it!" he managed to make out over the roar of the thrashing beast and the churning water. Very well then. He yanked the sword out of the beast and with a flurry of twin, fire-wreathed blades the beast was down.

She watched him with wonder as he took the hilt of the sword in his hand. He moved with the grace of fog swirling above a silent grave; soundless and seemingly effortless. He now had both of his twins as he called them, and they spun in a deadly dance. Soon the crocodile was dead at his feet.

He felt rather proud of his display and turned to receive lauds and praises from the woman but instead she held out her hand for *his* sword again. At least she smiled at him. She seemed to be forgetting the danger she had been in only moments before. Her hand was still held out for the sword. Groaning, he handed his precious twin back.

Right. Fight it yourself next time, he thought to himself as he handed the sword back to her. He was very glad that years of loneliness and bitterness taught him to keep his conversations with himself in his head. His inside voice was free to run rampant with all manner of curses and it was perfectly acceptable as long as the inside voice did not sneak out.

With a deliberate purpose in mind, she went hunting. She found the perfect one a few feet into the jungle. With choppy movements she hacked at the wood until the trunk lay at her feet. She picked it up and hefted it.

Oh for the love of dirt, what was she doing now!? She was hacking on a tree branch with his.... HIS sword! He put his head in his hands to avoid having to watch. It was sad on a variety of levels.

A few moments later.... after the inaudible screams of protest from his sword had ceased, he felt a poke. He looked down and the woman was holding the hacked limb in one hand and handing back his sword with the other.

To her, she held a rod of lumber. It needed a loving touch to make it usable, but with some work, Lucia was sure she would have a nice staff. When she was young her neighbor had taught her to use a quarterstaff so it felt more at home in her hands then the sword did. To him, his beauty was dulled and tainted with sap so that she could have a walking stick. It would take him hours to get that sap off. The fire enchant had probably boiled the sap on. No respect none whatsoever.

A great sigh escaped his lips. Nonetheless, he once again touched the loving steel of one of his mistresses. He spun the blade around in rapid circles, having them sing again. It was like having a conversation with a lost friend. Then he was on the move again. There was much ground to be covered and it was best to do it in daylight.

Blast, Lucia cursed under her breath. She had to run to catch up. Doesnt he ever slow down, she thought.

He had traveled several hundred meters when he realized that Lucia intended on using that stick she hacked from the tree as a weapon. Bah! That's no good. He reached into his bandolier and pulled one of his few remaining throwing daggers into his hand. He stopped, turned and held it out to her. Her first glance was one of not understanding. It wasn't until he pointed the dagger at the staff and made up and down motions that she realized that she could use this to try and fashion a decent staff.

With the undead rogue in the lead, Lucia felt confident enough to work on the staff as she moved. Behind her was a trail of wood chips and bark as she fashioned her weapon. It was still a sorry looking piece but when they stopped and made camp she could do better work.

They moved throughout the day and were nearly at the outpost of Grom Gol when he stopped again. He turned to her and looked her up and down. This part would be tricky if she didn't understand, but it was crucial if he was to take her to his homeland.

"Trust," he said, hoping that he got the word right. He raised his eyebrows, or what was left of them, to ensure that she understood as he took out a dagger and moved towards her quickly.

((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.))

PaybackEdit

When Lucia spied the Horde settlement surrounded by wooden posts she had assumed Kopfjagger would move to avoid it. It looked huge and intimidating. Surely they would pass by it and continue to somewhere safer for the two of them. She started turning away and then stopped when he stopped to look at her. Hes eyes took in her form, looking at her up and down, as if studying her. Placing her hands on her hips, she tilted her head, as if to say What are YOU looking at?

He said something and she almost didnt catch it. Trust he said and he pulled forth a dagger.

Lucia paused for half a second and regretted it instantly. He had saved her life today. She moved toward him and nodded, she would trust him, not because she felt she had too, but because in some small way she did trust him. As she stood there watching the wickedly sharp dagger come closer to her, the had to part was beginning to win out over already did.

He let her smirk slide out of his mind. Yes, he was looking her up and down, but for once, not for the obvious reason. Her nod at him allowed him to step forward. He was relived that this would not be a struggle.

Looking her up and down one last time he was not satisfied with the state of her robes. Yes, they had been wet and slept in, but this was not the look of a captive. He knelt before her and began to surgically slice up her robes to make it look as though their march had been much longer and after a great battle. He worked his way up her body, a nick in the robe here, some dirt ground in there, another slice her. Yes, this was looking much better.

It was almost too much for her to take in stride, however. Her beautifully crafted robes were quickly turning to shambles, mud was in her hair, on her face and he seemed to enjoy this little ruse of his far too much. She was conflicted with being slightly amused and highly irritated at the same time. Then again, he HAD eaten grass because of her ideas. She did her best to stand perfectly still as the dagger tore away at her clothing.

He flinched his hands back as if scalded and let out a hiss. He had not meant to touch her there and he pulled his hands all the way back and held them up. He truly did not mean for that. He had lost himself in his work and regretted traveling that far up her body.

When he flinched away from her, Lucia was again puzzled by her reaction. She flushed, of course she did, and was glad he had backed off but did he have to be so lackluster about it? After all, she thought indignantly, I am still a pretty woman. She brought that line of thought to a halt right away. Am I mad? She was shocked at her own musings. Im upset that he doesnt want to ravish me?! She shook her head, I need more sleep!

The nod that followed the blush was a sign for the Forsaken to continue. He worked his way around her shoulders and back continuing to very precisely destroy her clothing. Once that was finished, he picked up some dirt and could not help a smile. He shrugged and rubbed the dirt in her hair and handed her the rest to smoosh onto her face and the areas that he dare not touch.

Once the disguise was complete to his satisfaction, he cut a long strip of cloth from the bottom of her robes to use as a tie. Another strip was cut to use as a blindfold. Nodding to himself, he stood back to look over his work.

For weeks she would hide from him in the evenings. The only words she would say was that she was working on her dress and that he would just have to miss her. She even stuck her tongue out once. He didnt see what all the fuss was about. It was just a dress, after all. And then he saw it on her the day of their wedding. Majestic was all he could think to describe it. He had never even seen Mageweave before. Dozens of tiny pears had somehow been sewn in. Concealing here, displaying there, the dress was truly majestic. It was a shame that it ended up in a heap on the floor, but there was no time to hang it properly once her eyes told him what to do that night. He considered it an honor to oblige his new bride. Buttons be damned.

His eyes went to the staff that she had been whittling. Hundreds of tiny strokes lovingly administered over its entire length. While they traveled, he had enjoyed hearing her hum to herself as she shaped the twig into a stout warstaff. His hand unconsciously stroked his chin as he pondered how to incorporate the staff into his disguise of her.

He held his hands out and together in front of him and shrugged again. Reluctantly, she agreed and he tied her hands so loosely to the strips of cloth that she would actually have to hold the bonds and the staff. It looked as if she was tied to the cumbersome staff and forced to carry it in front of her. It also appeared she had just walked through hell and back. Her hair was a mess, full of mud and dirt. Robes were shredded and torn, smeared with filth and her skin was tainted a brown from the dirt that was spread over every exposed inch of her. His eyes studied his work, but he sighed despite himself. She was still quite striking.

He then stepped behind her and gave her a slight nudge to have her walk towards Grom Gol. Images of him eating grass sprang to his mind, and although this was the best plan he could come up with, it paled in comparison to being a sheep. At least she was still a woman.

Kopfjagger had been to Grom Gol many times and conducted a few raids on Alliance lands from here. He knew the guards and knew the Zeppelin Master quite well. If the mage could keep her head, of which he had very little doubt, they would be near the Capital very soon. In his mind, he went over all the possibilities of what may happen, and how he would counter them. Some were more acceptable than others. The worst, he feared more than his spirit being torn from his husk.

She gripped her bonds and staff before getting a nudge to start walking towards the Horde base. Suddenly she was very nervous. Okay, downright frightened, she confessed to herself. Her encounters with the horde races had been few and none of them remotely pleasant. Now she was entering a place filled with them.

She knew she stood out like a beacon fire; a human, a woman at that and a captive of an undead. She felt sure that Kopfjagger wouldnt let anything happen to her, but what if they mobbed her. Could he fight back a group of them? And as a captive of an undead, why would he protect her? Though she tried to stop herself, she trembled a little. Trust was one thing but this was beyond insane.

So far, so good, he thought to himself as they passed through the open gateway. She was acting sufficiently meek but he had traveled with her for too long to not notice that she was trembling slightly. That was a good thing, he thought. If something bad were to happen, she would have to spring into action at a moments notice.

Hobbling between the encampments posts, Lucia tried to tramp down her panic. Eyes stared at her, conversations seemed to die off. A large, hulking form of an Orc turned his bulk and watched them move slowly past him. Lucia kept her head down, afraid if she showed any pride or defiance, someone would try to knock it from her.

Kopfjagger gently poked and prodded her in the right direction. A large tower loomed in front of them when her eyes rested on the feet of someone blocking their path. They stopped. Fear surged within her. She began to warm a little as instinct set in, a slight smell of smoke about her.

She shifted a bit, unconsciously pressing closer to Kopfjagger. The figure in front of them spoke to the rogue. Please Kopfjagger, she silently pleaded her tense body shaking, get us out of here.

"Oi!" grunted one of the Orcs just inside the gate. "Iz dat food you bring, bone-man?" The Orc thought he was being amusing, but his comment brought unwanted attention. The Trolls were brewing a nice batch of something nasty not too far away.

In his coldest voice he answered, "No, green one. This is a personal harlot and test subject for the head of the Royal Apothecary Society in the Undercity. No snacks today. If she does not arrive alive in less than one day, bad things will happen."

"What you mean, bad things," spoke a massive Tauren in his low, rumbly voice. He had just come down from the Zeppelin ramp and had obviously overheard the beginnings of the conversation. "I know no bad things between allies. You of the Forsaken are not good allies to the spirit dwellers. You always threaten. I do not like that."

"Oi! The bull speaks right, bone-man! You Forsaken always think you are better...."

Kopfjagger had enough of these games. He pushed Lucia to the ground as gently as possible while still looking to be not-so-gentle. He drew out his twin fire blades and positioned himself between the Orc and Tauren.

"Who's first?" He hated the arrogance of the living but he really did not have time for a long discussion. If he missed the zeppelin he would have to wait on the platform for the next and that was just unacceptable. Now that he had drawn the twins out, he saw their confidence drop.

Huddled on the ground Lucia desperately tried to control her panic as the horde argued over her head. She wished more then ever she could understand them. She was sure she was imagining the conversation getting worse and worse as the harsh and deep voices rose with what was obviously anger. Oh Light help me, she silently pleaded. Her rogue had drawn his swords!

I do NOT have time for this. It is bad enough we are forced to rely on these cursed goblin death-traps, much less idiots wanting to debate politics. So, I ask again.... who's first? Or would you both like to rush a lone Forsaken? Perhaps then we can see who is better? Yes?"

There was a tense silence and Kopfjagger smelled smoke coming from the mage. He hoped that she did not burn through her ropes. That would be most awkward.

"Who you wann me to kiwl Head Hunter," spoke the guard at the gate. Axehand was a good friend of Kopfjagger and they often drank the same swill together. Kopfjagger was convinced that Axehand was unaware that alcohol had very little effect on undead but his nurturing of his friendship was now paying off ten-fold. It pays to pay people to like you.

"I just want to get on the Zep, Axe old friend. But these two want to tinker with my prize first," he said motioning to Lucia now crouching on the ground.

"CLEAR OFF!" Axehand yelled. And a path was made to the Zeppelin tower. Kopfjagger bowed to Axehand and slid a piece of gold in the Orcs large, green hand.

I was never here, old friend, he whispered. The Orc nodded and smiled.

All you deadlings look da same anyway, he whispered back with a wink. The coin disappeared as Axehand walked off.

Kopfjagger prodded Lucia up with the end of sword. Silently he pleaded with her to meekly get up, not to raise a fuss, and just get on the zeppelin.

((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 Brother's LeapEdit

On the verge of hysteria, she was relieved when Kopfjagger prodded her up and again guided her up the ramp of the tower. Following the winding ramp, she gazed in wonder at the large ship that flew. He herded her on it and pushed her down into the bowels. On the main deck, she counted two Orcs, a Troll and another Forsaken. She was ushered below decks and assumed he wanted her out of the way of their sight. She was more than happy to oblige and nearly ran down the stairs to the lower deck.

She was finally able to raise her head. He was standing by the stairwell, tense from the strain of the confrontation below. She sighed. She supposed she was going to be tied up the entire trip.

Lucia was a champion, he thought to himself. She held in the horror and fear that was undoubtedly building up inside of her and moved onto the Zeppelin like a scared, captured creature. Her hands did not even fumble the ropes holding her; thank the Dark Lady for that.

Once she was safe in the bowels of the zeppelin, he made sure that no one was coming down to disturb them. No one really came down here anyway, but now they had a Forsaken rogue in the stairwell staring hate at them all. Everyone on the zeppelin had seen, or at least heard, the altercation at the base of the tower. Just to be sure, he applied some poisons on his blades so they dripped a sickly green goo while he stood there, guarding her.

The ship lurched and everyone topside settled into the quiet repose of traveling with strangers. An Orc and Troll were having a quiet conversation and kept looking over at the Forsaken guarding the stairs. Nothing to see here, he thought to himself. In his mind, he was preparing for a fight that, for once, he hoped would not come. The other Forsaken looked at him, hands on the pommels of two daggers and nodded. Kopfjagger nodded back. Do not trust the living. Kill them, was a saying among his people. His personal saying was, Do not fear the living. Kill them. Either way, the sentiment was the same.

Once he was convinced no one was likely to head into the bowels of the craft, he walked over to Lucia. He sat next to her and removed her ropes and looked deep into her eyes. Was she ready for this ordeal? She looked pretty rattled but he supposed that was a good thing. Her eyes met his and he saw determination and strength, not fear and weakness. Amazing, he thought to himself.

Unbinding her was a simple task. The bonds were for show. He made soothing noises as he took the ropes off of her and placed them at her feet. He then held up one finger and took some herbs and vials from his backpack. He smiled at her mostly because he was being *slightly* vain about his good idea he was brewing. But he also smiled because she looked like she really needed to see someone smile about now.

The trip was not as long as one would imagine. Grom Gol to Undercity spanned an entire continent, but they would be there in less than three hours. He had work to do.

Still smiling softly he made several potions for their excursion into the Undercity. If her man was alive, there was only one place he would be: the Apothecarium. If they were to find her man, and get them both back out, the prisoner thing would only work going in.

He brewed up three invisibility potions. He only planned on needing two, but just in case usually kept him alive more often than not. He also made two healing potions. Her man would more than likely need them. Lastly, he made swiftness potions for the two of them. If this man was able to drink the potion, he would be able to run.

He thought this out while he was brewing his potions, lost in thought. If he was caught he would more than likely spend then next several years in varying states of agony. The Forsaken never wanted their guests to become too comfortable with one kind of misery, so they would shake it up a bit to bring a different level of pain to the table. He had been on the other side of that arrangement before.

The shiver hit him before he could control it. She did not need to see him weak now.

They were more than half way through the trip to Undercity when he finished his potions. He looked up at her and thought for not the first time that if things were different, he would.... Bah! No time and no reason for those thoughts.

Sitting quietly on a bunk Lucia worked on her staff. Kopfjagger was working with his herbs and things seemed almost natural. If one took out the strange place it could have almost been a warm lazy afternoon spent with friends doing simple tasks. She could almost see what it would look like.

Her children playing on the bank, her and the rogue sitting under the boughs of a tree, her polishing her staff, him with his alchemy, idly chatting about nothing. Instead she was sequestered under the feet of enemies. Her rude stick of wood a pathetic weapon at best and her children far from her. A small tear slid down her cheek. She missed them so and she did not honestly know if she would ever see them again. A deep longing formed in her chest. Her daughters sweet smile, her son play-acting a man. She so desperately wanted to be home and holding them.

A thump from above startled her back to reality. She had no clue what Kopfjagger had planned, no idea of where they were going. Could any place be worse then the horde outpost? She shuddered to think how close she had come to blasting the horde above her in panic.

When he was done brewing his potions, he stood by the door again, an ever watchful guardian to her. She realized that he must be going a long way out of his way to do this. He had no obligation to her, and yet he placed himself in danger to help. She was struck by the oddity of his behavior. She knew there was much more to him them she could possibly imagine.

The Orc and Troll that had their heads together started towards the stairs. Slightly more than half way to his capital and now they are curious. Curse the living, he thought to himself.

Wha joo got der, mon, the Troll questioned. A sword and an axe were on his hips. Kopfjagger studied them both closely. The Troll wore chain armor and a wicked bow, double-curved with a full quiver. Hunter. He hated hunters. The Orc was equipped nearly identically except he had two axes and the bow was of a different make. Fel. Two hunters.

I have nothing for you, mutant, he returned to the Troll. Nor you, pig, he tossed at the Orc.

Why her hands be freed, mon, the Troll asked, eyes narrowing.

Kopfjagger backed slowly into the room, keeping Lucia behind him but drawing the Orc and Troll down the last few stairs. No one else needed to see this.

Fiery twins out and swaying slightly in his combat stance, he eyed them both. He nodded to himself. Time to dance. Today was not a good day to die, but it was turning out to be a splendid day to kill.

Focusing on the Troll, his blades lashed out in arcing circles. He was well schooled in how to attack two opponents in a flurry of blades, one swing with two scores. The first slash caught the Troll across his right side, forcing him to pull his arm in for protection. The cross-swing continued to catch the Orc across the face. Next was the back of the Trolls leg, making him squat in pain, cross swing catching the Orc on the thigh.

Axe and swords were out and countering, seeking rotten flesh. Summoning adrenalin and pushing it through his heartless veins, the Forsaken swung again, striking the Troll under his left arm, forcing the other arm in. The cross-swing ripped at the Orcs arm, slicing to the bone. Chunks of the Forsaken were being removed and flung on the ground. His hip, side and arms were being torn from him but the pain was far from him. Keeping a mental record, he knew that he was not near the point where his flesh collapsed and his spirit fled, but too much of this and he would be.

Two more sinister strikes across the Trolls stomach and thigh had him exactly where the Head Hunter needed him. On his knees, head hung low, gasping for breath. The set up was perfect. In a fluid motion and a fountain of blood, the head of the Troll rolled across the blood stained floor. The Orc had time to gasp before the second twin of fire removed everything from him that made sound. Throatless and gurgling, the Orc fell to his knees and a second head soon rolled next to the Trolls.

Kopfjagger stood there for a moment, listening for sounds other than the last few feeble pumpings of hearts that did not know they were dead yet.

Thudding down the stairs came the second Orc. He tried to yell but was quickly brought down with two swings of fire and gore. Kopfjagger shook his head. That one was a youngling. He really did not enjoy killing the young ones. There was no sport in it.

Lucia was motionless the entire fight. She sat there frozen by fear but amazed by grace. Her spells would have done little good due to the close nature of the room and of Kopfjaggers proximity to the enemy. Yet, as she watched, she realized that her rogue was sealing his own fate. No one overlooked the killing of allies. Even her rogue was no longer safe where they were going. What had she done to him, she wondered not for the first time.

A Forsaken called from the top of the stairs, his head lowered to see what had transpired. Are you safe, brother, he called out.

Yes brother. I am safe.

Excellent. Do you require assistance, came the hollow voice of the Forsaken on the stairs.

I believe I can manage this. But you, brother, should not be seen. The Head Hunter tossed a small sack of coins. To pay the b!tch, was all he said.

A nod came from the dead man at the top of the stairs. Steps were heard as he walked to the side of the zeppelin. In a booming voice, the Forsaken yelled. Embrace the darkness, before he leapt off of the zeppelin.

Kopfjagger spent the rest of the time they had until they reached the Undercity clearing the corpses from the zeppelin. His only regret was that the other Foraken would have to suffer through having the spirit healer, the b!tch, sear new flesh onto his spirit.

((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 7
[<---Book 6] [Book 8--->]

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