The Unknown Paladin
An argument seemed to rage amongst the colossal ogres.
Such a vulgar language, but thankfully easy to decipher.
Laughably simplistic actually. How such a force that dwelled within could waste time with the disparate tribes of its brethren in these accursed mountains was a mystery. The Dragonkiller could walk out into the world and bring armies to their knees, with or without his sons. Instead his puppet King raged at rebellion and the strange whispers of a new ogre power rising.
Soon those problems would be meaningless to them all. Death held all the answers they would ever need.
The scouts we had sent forward returned. We would have to take down the council to get to their master. Just as I had predicted. Still, the news that more ogre sentries also lay beyond was fresh. I doubted the foolish creatures would give us any trouble, even if they heard the massacre of their King.
Our fighters split, a small team of healers staying with a single warrior at the mouth of the tunnel into the wider cavern. The foolish mage, recovered from his most recent end thanks to one of my fellow healers, advanced on the council of ogres. Still oblivious to their impending doom they did not notice the suspicious shadows invading their stronghold. Our scouting party had confirmed our strategy. The bear-commander had scried out our course true, somehow. The inferior races often had their uses and this shape-addled creature knew well enough how to fight.
Not so unlike the ogres before us, and seemingly as easily manipulated.
The mage’s hands burst into flame as he readied a massive ball of flame. The first attack, and our signal.
The conflagration grew in size as it travelled, soon warning our quarry of our presence.
Too late for them.
More parties thrust forward from the flanks, each drawing a single opponent.
Divide and conquer.
Simple and hopefully effective. The king rushed towards the mage, roaring his fury as his own magus threw torrents of flame at the hapless wizard. Laughing, a towering Tauren took aim through a massive gun and fired a round into the King's face.
Through no magic I could detect the King's rage was instantly redirected... at the warrior standing nearby my group of healing specialists.
The Light surged through me as I bent it to my will, shaping its holy energies to help the foolish shield bearer weather such an onslaught.
Not even my mastery of the Light could accomplish this alone. The troll priest and a walking corpse of the same caste stood at my shoulders. Aiding my endeavours with their own paltry magics. Vessels for a power beyond them, begging for the guidance of that which I controlled. Pitiful light-lovers unable to see that they worshipped a power that should be at under their heel.
Still, they achieved their purpose; to bolster my own masterful efforts.
The warrior could not lock horns with his opponent. The King of the ogres was no paltry foe, for all his servitude to a greater power. He towered above us, horns of his own sprouting from flesh in a grim imitation of the Gronn he served. Instead the beast-man thrust forward his shield, striking the towering monster with mocking blows even as he fended off attacks. It did little to trouble the thing, but such a massive body held a small mind, easily distracted from those he might destroy with little more than a glance.
A gargantuan Felhunter could be heard baying further inside.
A weakness overcame me as its very presence began to drain the arcane flows of power from around it, such an abomination should not be loose. Fortunately we had practitioners of the fel arts amongst us. That they were inept was an unfortunate consequence of their inferior ancestry, but even as my resolve began to falter the feelings receded. Finally the hounds of the legion were contained.
Shouts sounded from further inside the cavern. Even with a span of rock to conceal it, I could feel the magic. Such magic. One of the creatures had erected an ethereal barrier, and even still had strength left to bend it’s crude powers into a healing spell more potent than any I could call, save perhaps at the expense of my very life.
I willed the spell to its end, the thought of such arcane might coursing through the air came as a thrill, intoxicating, almost able to satisfy the lust that burned within. But the barrier fell to a massive onslaught as my allies redoubled their efforts. A startled cry cut through the sounds of fighting instead, satisfying enough in its own way. A wail soon after told of the fate of the unfortunate ogre.
Such a pity it could not have been crippled but left alive. Silvermoon would have feasted for weeks on such vigour.
For a price.
With the first member of the ogre council defeated even such dull creatures as these balked, seeing their own doom. The High King let out a booming roar.
“You not kill the next one so easy!”
The bluster sounded hollow even to my ears, standing bare feet away from his deafening shout.
Soon, two resonant thuds told of two more of his followers joining their friend in oblivion, almost in tandem. The cadaverous mage had done well keeping the ogre magi occupied, the buzz of energy told of the great struggle. The repeated theft of the ogre’s spells had come in useful, though I might wish the festering bastard would choke on them. Under other circumstances I might have fed the ogre its tormentor, for its enslavement would have been a prize above almost any other.
Entry to its master’s den could further my cause more.
The needs of others could not deter me in this.
The mass of my savage companions mobbing the last of the council quickly overcame its defences. Only the King remained to thwart my designs.
The massive ogre paused at this, seemingly defeated, before his shoulders once more squared in defiance.
“You will not defeat the Hand of Gruul!” The glint of madness in his eye hinted at what was to come as a berserker rage descended.
Lifting his hammer high he swung it wildly, soon blurring into a maelstrom of destruction. The brawler of a Tauren held his shield to its best effect, struggling to keep the vast ogre’s attention. Blood pooled and the ground became slick, but still the brute raged until his maddened state seemed to make him glow.
With a bellow far more bestial than even an ogre's usual grunts he paused his mad whirlwind, throwing aside his immense hammer he charged into the heart of the raiders to rend his enemies bare handed. Limbs struck my fellows as one unfortunate was torn apart in seconds. Even could I tell apart the barbarous races at a glance, never would I hope to identify the victim; such was the devastation.
With the might of the Naaru bent to my will I fought to counter the assault, others of the healing arts following my example. Even Kael himself would marvel at the efforts of my allies as they continued to attack the crazed giant, worthy tools for my goals.
Summoning forth holy energies to assault the beast I cast them forth, hoping to add a final shock, ending him. The effort was sadly wasted as his death rattle sounded. But one last curse could he voice before the light faded from his eyes, barely a whisper, but heard by all.
“Gruul will... Crush you!”
The monster’s threat could not be easily ignored.
The Dragonkiller awaited and the combined might of the ogre nation lived and died on his whim.