Aely stood still in the growing darkness, pondering her options. These weren’t green recruits, but neither were they sure what they were dealing with. If it was a ghost, she’d probably need to outwit it rather than try any kind of strongarm tactics anyway. She didn’t like her odds in the woods either – armor wasn’t quiet, but neither was anything else, and though things were very still, jumping sidelong at every noise wasn’t helping the situation. Mice were allowed to live here too, and to rustle leaves.
After a few moments of nothingness, she decided on playing to her strengths. She wasn’t Lorelli – sneaking around in the dark did her no good, and in the woods, a greatsword was as much a hindrance as a help. She also wasn’t Tarquin – able to talk her way out of any situation, knowing her enemy before he knew her and playing his advantage. Neither was she Annalea, able to literally melt into shadow, and command it to work for her. She was a Paladin of the Holy Light, a Knight of the Silver Hand, and all this skulking was only putting her at a disadvantage.
Moving quietly, she slid her greatsword back into it’s sheath across her back, and unslung Jolstraer’s shield from across her shoulders, loosening a mace from her belt as well. She knew she’d only have a few moments, but she was armed, armored, experienced, and had – she hoped – one last element of surprise up her sleeves.
She called Light into her hands, and then allowed it to surge into a shield around her entire body – effectively lighting up the area within five yards.
And then, without more than a deep breath, she strode out into the little clearing, mace in hand, and demanded “An’ jus’ what th’ bloody fuck d’ye think yir oan about anyway?”
The camp wasn’t much of a camp; there was a fire, with a small boar roasting on a spit. Around the campfire were four ratty blankets, three of which were filled with sleeping forms…dressed in Argent colors. One was a night elf with a pair of sizable lumps on his head. The fourth form was sitting on a log, half dressed in ragged armor that had long since seen better days. He was a mountain of a man, Northern at first glance, but looking as though he’d been raised by wolves. Or bears, rather, given his size. His face looked…ancient; not the aged of scholars or wizards with long years of study. It was more the face of a man who had seen Arathor’s rise, and lived for the hunt before men deigned to build huts and towns and cities. His eyes were the cold blue of Northrend’s heart, and they watched her with an unwavering gaze, as if he’d been waiting for her. His blonde hair was long and wild, hanging down half to his forearms. In the front it was wrangled into two crude braids, and they were spattered with dark spots; mud, or more likely, long dried blood.
He took her in with a long look, his bare arms resting on a massive greatsword of his own, its point dug into the dirt and his hands on its hilt. His arms…dark runes and ancient script spiraled down the pale skin of his right, a dark mixture of demonic, Vrykul, Acherun…they wound down to his hand, cresting on the back of it in the shape of the North, the shape of a land that was too stubborn to die. The crest of Lordaeron emblazoned there had an eerie glow to it, shifting from red to purple to blue and back again.
He stared at her as if she were the banshee haunting the highlands. He stood, lifting the greatsword up and laying the flat of his blade on his shoulder. His voice was gravelly, and chillingly familiar.
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