CH1 – prologue

The human soul is easily corrupted. Even the most devout and morally conscious of men will break and give into temptation under the right circumstances. No one is without a flaw, and everyone has a weakness, it's just a matter of knowing what buttons to push.

Greed and the will to survive are enough for the average person to do things they would not usually consider. The threat of death and servitude can do wonders for ones outlook on life, especially when to avoid such a fate, all you need to do is bend your knee and swear.

Like me.

The charred ruins of the city of Stratholme stewed in the fetid flickering morning sun. The steamy heat rising from the city in putrid waves gave the illusion of invisible flames that had long since burned out from when the city was purged. There was no movement visible in these ruins of human habitation, any true vestiges of life long since expelled or destroyed. Even movements of unlife were not present which was rare for a land crawling with death. The current peace belied the truth of what had happened during the early hours of that morning while darkness had still blanketed the city.

Beneath the shade of a giant mushroom spewing plague filled mist and spores on the outskirts of the ruins a cloaked figure turned his back on the ruinous scene and made his way down the hill towards the remains of the road that linked the undead controlled northern ends of the Eastern Plaguelands with the southern lands that were slowly falling back into control of the living.

The figure slightly larger then the average man moved through the putrid undergrowth with the practised ease of one familiar with the terrain and the dangers present in this region of the world. He did not fear the denizens of the region. He could deal with them easy enough.

Stopping short of the road he stood in the shadow of a broken corpse wagon, its dark shadow along with the muggy surrounds of morning gloom providing adequate cover for him to watch the road. Recently there had been patrols probing deep into the woods around Stratholme, none strayed from the road and were always mounted, and they were strong enough to repel an attack of most wandering bands of undead creatures. They also tended towards the policy of 'shoot first and talk later' with those not wearing their colours and even then all patrols were registered, just in case some wily Necromancer or Cult of the Damned member decided to wise up and play at deception.

Since the fall of Naxxramas just a few months ago and the disappearance of Kel'Thuzad and his phylactery the Scourge had been struggling to maintain its stranglehold on the Plaguelands. The floating citadel had remained sealed since the fall of its master, sealed and silent in its vigil above the ruined city of Stratholme and the surrounding Plaguewood. As if thinking of it drew its presence a dark shadow fell over the surrounding area as the floating citadel silently passed by slowly overhead. His gaze fell back towards the road at the sound of riders approaching from the south. Drawing back deeper into the shadow of the wagon hiding from the view of the road he waited for the approaching riders.

It wasn't long before they appeared, and as the shadow of the necropolis lifted they came into view out of the morning haze. A group of five, three were heavily armoured and judging by the symbols, two were paladins, and the third had the look of a trained warrior judging by the extra weapons he carried. The last two of the party were much more lightly armoured their robes advertising potential spell casting tendencies, other then that he was unable to tell what school of magic they followed.

He could hear them as they drew closer.

"…quiet this morning, wouldn't you agree. Maybe we've finally cleaned all the fiends' out." said the male robe wearer.

"Tomas I highly doubt we have cleansed this area completely, no matter how quiet it is at the moment. So keep an eye out" commented one of the paladins.

"Just saying, it's creeping me out is all." whined Tomas in reply.

"He's not wrong though, it is quiet." muttered the female robe wearer to no one in particular while eyeing the corpse wagon as she rode by.

"What lass?" asked the dwarf paladin over his shoulder.

"Nothing." She replied turning her gaze to the road in front of her as the passed around a slight bend in the road as it cut its way north through the woods.

Niklos Darkweaver stepped forth from the shadow of the wagon looking in the direction the party had gone for a few moments before turning southwards and following the road out of the decaying and plagued woods.

Kinda short, i know but subsequent chapters are a bit longer. :)