CH2 – Beginning of Redemption

The fate of Lordaeron was truly sealed the day Prince Arthas returned from the frozen northlands to take the throne from his father. The city was purged of life nearly over night to last man, woman and child the Plague of Undeath swept through the population like uncontrolled wild fire.

The cold icy blue eyes with madness burning deep within were one of the last things I remember of my truly living life. Through a plague induced fever-haze his offer of power, and life eternal was to sweet to pass up for a mercenary like me, the alternative to become one of the mindless ghouls wandering the streets was none to appealing.

Selina Fairbanks, Priestess of the Holy Light, Agent of the Argent Dawn was agitated. There was something wrong today and she knew the entire morning patrol, they had not encountered a single undead. Even the woods were quieter, not a breeze could be heard or felt. In short it was muggy and miserable.

They were just passing out of the Plaguewood, on the return journey south. If they were lucky they would arrive at Lights Hope by midday, if not earlier, with the way the morning had been. Selina rode in silence listening to her friends argue about inconsequential things, honestly does it matter how much malt beer has in it. Why was there sugar for that matter? She had to admit though Gara sounded like he knew what he was on about which was hardly surprising considering his dwarven heritage.

Their surrounds were beginning to change slowly, the mushroom trees were becoming fewer and further in between and the trees in this part of the wood were little more then bloated sacks filled with fluorescent ichor. Watching one such tree as she rode by she wondered if it would ever be possible for this land to return to normal. She had faith that it would, with work, but her practical side was not so sure. Most of these trees would need to be destroyed. Much of the surviving wild life that was found was horrendously twisted through the foul magic that permeated the Plaguelands.

Frowning she turned back to her companions, barrels now, honestly wood is wood. But if it took their mind off the strangely quiet morning then so be it, but she was going to ask anyway. "Guys I think its time for us to move on, our contract is up this week." The arguments of different brewing methods cut off instantly.

"Then go where, back to Stormwind?" Tomas asked.

"Not Stormwind, its Northrend, right lassie?" Gara said, catching her line of thought.

"Northrend, you mean the offensive we got the requestion for last night? Dangerous business that, but to strike at the heart of the Scourge, it is tempting." The warrior Darrion said.

Suddenly the other Paladin, Markus, jerked in his saddle "Enemies approaching!" his shout brought them all to the ready instantly. Darrion had barely drawn his two blades when the thicket of trees to their left erupted with movement. Ghouls poured out of the gaps in the trees swarming them. The sudden explosion of violence was almost overwhelming. But Darrion and Gara were swinging from their saddles at the attacking ghouls. There were too many to count, she clubbed a ghoul that had made it past the two fighters with her mace dazing it allowing Markus to slice its head off.

They were slowly making headway against the ghouls the she saw it, two of them. Abominations. Huge hulking sacks of meat and human body parts sown together in a sickening imitation of life. Their strength was only matched by their hunger for living flesh. The giant flesh golems were one of the most fearsome creatures the scourge Scourge had to offer. It struck fear into her heart to see them. "ABOMS!" she cried at the top of her lungs.

Suddenly there was a cry to her right as Markus was yanked out of his saddle. "More ghouls from behind!" Damn it they were ambushed and flanked, this was not good. The ghoul that had pulled Markus from his saddle was cleaved in two revealing Markus surrounded by glowing holy light wielding a large two handed sword "Damnable creature!"

Suddenly something hit her in the back of the head, and she was toppling towards the ground. The ground rushed up to meet her and her vision went black…

…Stirring she saw the battle was still raging on around her. She was unsure how long had passed. He body was sluggish, and her head was ringing. Everything was moving so slow. Tomas was facing off against two ghouls, but his magical barrier was weakening, flakes of ice splintering away from his shield. Blasting one of the ghouls with fire caused its body to collapse to cinders. But his shield collapsed at that moment allowing the other ghoul to get near him and slash across his neck and face knocking him to the ground. "Tomas, no…" darkness closed around her again.

When her eyes opened again she was met with the horrifying vision of one of the abominations scythes cleaving down into Darrion's shoulder. Letting out a huge roar the man drove his blades into the abominations head causing it to stumble back drawing the scythe out of Darrion's shoulder. The Abomination collapsed to the ground. Gara called on the light for a quick cure to Darrion's wound, before turning to face the other abomination and the remaining ghouls. There was still too many. They were strained. They couldn't last for much longer. A bone crushing sound signalled Markus's fall.

It was too hard for her to remain conscious. She just wanted to close her eyes. Why wouldn't her body respond? Light her head hurt. The Abomination swung at Gara, its arm moved so slow to her. The backhanded blow connected with the dwarf sending him flying into a tree trunk with a shattering crash. The dwarf slid down the tree disappearing from her sight behind corpses littered over the field. Darrion was all that was left, unless she could stand.

Forcing herself to hands and knees she cried out as her vision went white with pain. Gasping for breath she turned her head to see Darrion falling backwards to the ground blood streaming from the reopened wound from the scythe. "Nooooo…"

"Stay down, Priest." An icy male voice came from behind her. A dark cloak filled her vision for a moment moving towards the abomination with practised flowing movements. Suddenly the abomination gave a garbled cry before striking out at the man. The man flowed towards the abomination there was no other way to describe that viper like movement. One moment he was in front of the abomination the next behind it, with the aforementioned creature missing a fleshy arm.

Spinning with serpentine grace the man cleaved two ghouls across the middle separating the lower and upper halves of their bodies. Before they had even hit the ground he returned to the abomination driving his sword deep into its back and out its chest. Its eyes filled with unholy frenzy grew dark and lifeless before its entire body went limp as the magic that sustained it was drained away somehow. The remaining ghouls, four in all, moved towards the man. Selina watched as he raised his arm from his side revealing a black gauntleted hand, but it was too much for her to hold her eyes open anymore. Collapsing back to the ground the last thing she saw was the man with his hand raised and the ghouls closing in.


Pain, her head was aching so much. Putting her hand to her head she tried to sit up slowly. "Ouch ouch ouch, my head. Wait, how is…"

"Welcome back Priestess." A voice that made her shiver said to her right. Turning her head she saw a man in a black cloak sitting on a log on the opposite side of the fire. His hood was up so she couldn't see his face properly, but was there a smile. "I was worried my rudimentary skills in first aid would not be enough to save you. Unfortunately for two of your friends I was too late to be of any help to them. The dwarf appears to have damaged the tree he hit more then himself, but he is out cold. That warrior of yours may not survive the night."

"Who… how?"

The man was smiling she could tell, but it wasn't from mirth, no this was different. It was coldly satisfied. She wished she could see the rest of his face rather then just a shadowed jaw. "The undead have been returned to the grave that is all that matters. Your friends will also not rise either I saw to that. Not immediately anyway, not without the help of a necromancer."

Rubbing her head she considered the man's words, was he just some wandering warrior, a Paladin perhaps? His arrival was certainly well timed. "Why didn't you burn them?" she said in a soft voice.

"I believed you may have wished to do that yourself. They were your friends after all." He replied to her whispered question.

They sat there in silence for a while listening to the crackle of the fire. Looking around she took in their surroundings. They were in a shallow depression surrounded by fallen trees on three sides, and a small boulder on the other. A tree that was still standing blocked out most of the stars in the clear sky above. The small fire was well concealed but it was putting out a little warmth, not that too much was needed in the Plaguelands. Under different circumstances, this could be a pleasant camping trip.

"Do not worry about being attacked we are quite safe in this location." His cold voice came across more as a statement of fact rather then any form of reassurance yet it was strangely comforting.

Moving to her feet she swayed a moment before moving over to Darrion, kneeling down next to him she placed a hand on his forehead while looking over the rest of his body. His chest armour was removed leaving him wearing little more then blood stained bandages wrapped around his torso. Closing her eyes she called out to the light, directing the flow of divine energy through her words and gestures she poured what little she could call upon into the injured warrior.

Opening her eyes she looked down at the warrior to inspect her handy work. Colour had returned to his skin, and he looked to be breathing easier. It would have to do for now. A sharp hiss drew her attention to the cloaked man of to the side, she had the feeling he had been staring at her holding his breath the entire time she was praying. "What's wrong?" The man just shook his head and walked away from the fire to gaze out at the surroundings.

Going over to Gara, she repeated the process again, but only had enough energy to grant him a small blessing. The cloaked warrior was right though the dwarf appeared to be in a much better state then Darrion. Feeling suddenly tired, she went back to the patch of ground that had served as her bed so far and lay down. Looking towards the cloaked warrior she saw he was looking at her.

"I will keep watch, get your rest." He stated in a cold voice. Selina wondered if he intended to stay awake all night, she wondered again if it the man was trustworthy. But before long, her soft snores could be heard through the small camp.


The dawn was slow in coming, yet the humidity that permeated the Plaguelands was already in effect. The sun had barely crested the horizon when he was shaking awake the Priestess. Her eyes shot open meeting his cowled face and her mouth half opened in a scream that would have called down all the Plaguelands on them if not for the barrier he had erected to hide them.

Closing her mouth she sat up and looked around taking in the scene of the camp. Gara was still unconscious on one side of the fire, and Darrion was still sleeping on the other.

"There's only one horse, the others were killed or bolted during the fight." He said in a voice that made up for the lack of morning chill. "You will have to revive one of them enough to walk while the other rides. I suggest the dwarf." Leaving the Priestess he returned to the horse to check the saddle and tack to ensure it wouldn't provide any problems on the journey south.

When he was done he turned back to see the Priestess helping the dwarf into a sitting position. Thankfully he was still somewhat dazed from the whole affair to notice the cloaked warrior standing by horse. Let alone put that fine Paladin sense of his into play.

"Lass, where are we?" The dwarf grumbled looking around, his gaze eventually falling on the cloaked figured. "Who in the light is that?"

"It's alright he helped us with the scourge ambush. If it wasn't for him we would be mindless ghouls by now." The Priestess said with a slight shudder.

"Handy that ye would show up like tha' wouldn't ye agree." Gara said gruffly to the man.

"You're alive aren't you? Go look after your dead friends. I will get that one in the saddle. We need to leave." He said pointing towards the sleeping warrior.


Soon after there was a smoke column rising from the hidden campsite long behind a small party heading south. Darrion was riding the horse, Selina was at his side to make sure he maintained his balance, Gara was on the other side of the horse keeping pace as best he could, and in front of the group was the man in the dark cloak.

"Lass I don't know if I like the looks of this guy." Gara said, Selina wasn't sure about him either. Maybe it was that he had saved her life and she had seen him fight, but she didn't believe him to be evil. Frightening and certainly cold, but evil she wasn't so sure. Maybe he was a former soldier of Lordaeron, maybe a Paladin that had given up on the light. She had heard of such people, most had become Death Knights of the Scourge. But no Death Knight would help them like this.

Selina continued to chew on her thoughts as the day wore on and by midday she began to pick up on some familiar surroundings. She hadn't realised that they had come so far so quickly had she really been that lost in thought. Paying attention more now she realised that they were moving quite fast to keep up with the man ahead, yet she didn't feel in the least bit tired from the increased pace.

Soon enough Lights Hope Chapel came into view and the figured ahead of them slowed to a stop.

"This is as far as I go, the Argent Dawn and I are not on the best of terms." The man said in his usual cold voice.

"Where are you going to go?" she asked

"West and south, I've spent to long in the ashes of the past." His cold voice held a faint hint of sadness and was it… remorse? So he was a former warrior of Lordaeron? The man had turned and was beginning to leave.

"Hey, you never told me your name." She called to his back. "Mine is Selina."

"Niklos." He said over his shoulder before disappearing into the gloom beneath the trees.