May 5th 2010 4:14PM I would vote for Fashion Champs >.>;;
May 5th 2010 4:14PM Even in the darkest hour, when all hope seems lost, comments like this bring a little warmth to the black ball of hate that resides in my chest.
May 5th 2010 4:11PM This is fair.
My reasoning for counting him 'as a tank' is because, at least the horde champion, Mokra is carrying a shield. Blizzard has previously given odd class abilities to NPC's that shouldn't really have it if they were player characters (e.g. Eadric's Radiance, and Hammer of the Righteous work differently) but I accede that Mokra's abilities are far more in line with the Arms warrior.
However, if you consider how it would be if they had made him a proper tank, most of his abilities would be threat and aggro gaining ones, which don't work on players. I don't think Blizzard has ever done a 'tank' style boss that forces you to attack it, the closest they've ever done is giving shields to various bosses (such as Mokra and, again, Eadric).
Apr 28th 2010 1:03PM +1 Eadric the Pure.
Who else is going to stop the PVP Champions?
HAMMER OF THEEEE RIGHTEOUS!!
Apr 26th 2010 3:35PM Confessor Paletress bowed to the Argent Champions that had just bested her, and withdrew to the side of the Colisseum as she'd been instructed by Tirion, earlier. Her fallen allies got to their feet, and healed each other, away from the center of the battleground while Tirion lauded the Champion's achievements.
Tirion's proud voice boomed down from his position up in the Colisseum's master box.
"Well done. You have proven yourself today-"
Tirion was cut off by Arelas Brightar, who was pointing up near the roof of the building.
"What's that, up near the rafters?" he asked. Paletress glanced up where Arelas was pointing, and noticed a shadowy form. At Arelas' announcement, the form swooped down, and revealed itself to be an armoured knight riding an undead gryphon. Paletress recognised him as the Black Knight, which was a surprise, because she was sure he had been vanquished earlier.
The Black Knight dismounted from his gryphon, striding forward towards Arelas. The gryphon leapt upwards, and sat atop the Colisseum's ramparts.
"You spoiled my grand entrance, rat." The Black Knight seethed with anger. He gripped Arelas tightly with dark magic, and flung him away at great speed. The herald landed poorly, giving out an anquished cry as he tripped and landed on his head. The crowd gasped as a loud crunch gave away the High Elf's fate.
Tirion yelled down angrily, "What is the meaning of this?"
The Black Knight laughed, advancing towards the startled champions.
"Did you honestly think that an agent of the Lich KIng would be bested on the field of your pathetic little tournament? I've come to finish my task."
With that, the newcomer lunged towards the champions, quickly cutting one of them down, and turning on another.
"THIS FARCE ENDS HERE!" he cried triumphantly, gutting a third Champion while the remaining two quickly fumbled for their weapons.
Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind, was also in attendance. He got to his feet in disbelief as his champions were quickly slaughtered.
"Don't just stand there; kill him!" he yelled angrily.
"A waste of flesh," the Black Knight said calmly, decapitating a fourth champion. The fifth one got their weapon out just in time to deflect the Black Knight's attack, but then was cut down from behind. The Black Knight smiled at his new pet zombie, Arelas Brightstar.
Paletress glanced up at Tirion, silently asking for his permission. She caught his gaze, and he nodded to her.
She strode forwards, and called out to the Black Knight.
"Well then, let us begin."
The Black Knight turned to face the Confessor. He pointed towards her, and the zombie-Brightstar leaped forward in a tremendous bound, landing in front of her. It made to lash out at the Confessor, but it was cut down by the combined onslaught of her escorts, first stunning it, and then burning it with holy fire.
"My apologies, Arelas," Paletress said quietly. "You shall be given a proper burial after I have disposed of this beast."
The Black Knight chuckled, and cast a bolt of black energy at one of the Priestesses accompanying Paletress. The girl slumped, stunned, while the rest of the group counter-attacked. Three Monks and three Lightbringers charged the Black Knight, while the Priestesses remained with the Confessor, healing their allies.
The Black Knight smashed one of the Lightbringers down with a crippling barrage of attacks - Icy Touch, Plague Strike, and then a brutal Obliterate that cut the unfortunate Crusader in two. But the remaining five melee were not insignificant, and between their combined weight, quickly brought the Black Knight down.
"Over already? Oh well," Paletress said, turning to raise her fallen comrade.
But the Black Knight got up to his feet again. There was a heavy explosion inside of his body, and all of his flesh was blown clear away.
"Ahaha...my rotting flesh...was just getting in the way."
The rotten chunks of the Black Knight's flesh did not lie still. They wriggled and writhed into the soil of the Colisseum, and like young saplings, quickly sprouted into fully mature zombies.
"What...that's...not possible," Paletress said, shocked. Her escorts responded quickly, slicing up the zombies, but in the confusion, the Black Knight was free to reign unchecked, breaking through the cluster of Crusader's, and striking down the closest Priestess.
"That won't do," Paletress said, blasting the Black Knight with Holy Fire. "You are not welcome here."
Some of the zombies that were badly injured, but not yet slain, started to combust. One exploded, injuring another of the Lightbringers. The rest of the Crusader's gave the combusting zombies a wider berth. The remaining Lightbringer turned and attacked the Black Knight from the rear, flanking him against the Confessor.
The Black Knight gave no pause to his attacks. He poisoned the ground - a rolling wave of desecrated soil expanded out from him, and he struck at the Confessor with his jagged warblade, catching her on her upper arm and knocking her down. He stepped forwards to finish her off, but was foiled by the Lightbringer behind him. Paletress quickly got to her feet and narrowed her eyes.
"You will consider your past misdeeds," she said angrily, shielding herself with a powerful damage reflection spell.
"Past misdeeds?" laughed the Black Knight. "I could be here for quite some time...what's that noise?"
One of the horses kept at the side of the Colisseum for the first encounter was rearing around in confusion. It broke free of its harness, and raced towards the Black Knight. Atop its back was a glowing, vaugely humanoid figure. Paletress knew it had the appearance of the mounted rider that had defeated the Black Knight during the tournament, weeks ago. But would the Black Knight remember...?
"Wait...what...you! No, that's not...raaarh, a chance to make up for my failure!"
The glowing figure dismounted from the warhorse, and charged the Black Knight. He struck the incorporeal figure with his sword, casting yet more dark incantations upon it. Paletress could see the darkness eating into her light projection, and she cast Renew on it to strengthen it. Meanwhile, the surviving members of her escort continued to lash at the Black Knight. Finally, underneath the combined weight of the continued magical attacks, the Black Knight dropped once more.
The Confessor shrugged, and dismissed her golden image.
"I guess that's the second end of the Black Knight. We'll have to bury him in different places to...oh."
The skeletal remains of the Black Knight reformed themselves into an approximation of a skeleton, the broken and twisted bones hideously malaligned.
"I have no need for bones to best you," he cackled. There was another explosion from within the Black Knight's body, and the bones crumbled to dust. There, inside the whirling cloud of bone, a faint ethereal image could be picked out.
The Confessor wasted no time, and immediately blasted it with Holy Fire. The spirit responded likewise, a strange shadowy nova enveloping Paletress.
"Marked for death," the Black Knight drawled. "Now you shall feel...Death's Bite."
The Priestesses around Paletress cast heals onto Paletress. The Black Knight sighed in irritation.
"No, stop that..."
The Lightbringers and monks continued to smash into the Black Knight's spirit, their light-touched weapons searing at the darkness he was made of.
"No, I can't...why can't I hurt you..."
Paletress stood quietly by while her escorts continued to break the Black Knight down, and heal whomever he tried to harm.
"I'm sorry," Paletress said scornfully, "But your best just isn't good enough."
"NO!" the Black Knight yelled. "I cannot fail...again!"
The spirit shimmered, and vanished. The Black Knights weapons and armor remained on the ground, the only trace that he had ever been there. Confessor Paletress kicked at the armor, and looked around cautiously, waiting for the Black Knight to make yet another bizarre recovery. After a few more moments of silence, she untensed, and started reviving her fallen comrades.
"We are done here. I wonder what next challenge awaits us?"
Apr 19th 2010 1:10PM Zul'tore, troll Champion of the Argent Crusade, was being very, very quiet.
He looked at the rest of his group - Deathstalker Visceri, Runok Wildmane, Mokra the Skullcrusher, Eressea Dawnsinger - and lifted a single finger to his lips.
"It's Devourer season," he grinned. He sighted along his crossbow down at the blisfully unaware Devourer of Souls, quietly enjoying a cupcake buffet. (That's 'buff-ay' for all you Sindragosa fans, not 'buff-ette'.)
The saronite arrow pierced through the air and struck against the Devourer's hard carapace. It bounced up awkardly and veered off in to the ground.
The Devourer turned and gazed with annoyance at it's attacker.
"You dare look upon the host of souls?! I SHALL DEVOUR YOU WHOLE!"
Zul'tore pointed at Mokra.
"He did it," he grunted. "I mean, uh, misdirect."
Mokra, the Orc Warrior, took a moment to catch on, then readied his axe and shield.
"Right! You're going down, round blobby skull thing!"
Mokra charged forward towards the Devourer. It glared at him balefully, then opened its mouth. A fat purple bolt of lightning shot out from the Devourer's mouth, and caught Mokra around the middle, but he pressed on, slashing with his axe at the Devourer's side. Runok cast a healing spell and undid the corrupt workings of the Devourer against Mokra, and then the rest of the group joined battle. Eressea unleashed a giant fireball, while Visceri neatly shadowstepped around to the back of the Devourer and wailed away at it with his dual daggers.
The Devourer grimaced, and cast another strange blob of magic - it sailed overhead and veered towards Runok. He moved out of the way, but it zoomed in on him unerringly, until it connected, and a blue line was visible between the Devourer and Runok.
The old Tauren raised his hand in warning and cried out in pain.
"It's sharing damage with me. Ease off a moment."
The group withdrew momentarily as Runok continued to heal himself and Mokra. The Devourer blasted Mokra with another jet of purple lightning, but couldn't seem to out damage Runok's healing.
Frustrated, it broke off the blue link, and leaped over to Visceri, slamming into the ground hard underneath him. A dark purple mark scarred the ground, and the group instinctively shied away from it.
"Curse you!" the Devourer yelled in frustration. It seemed this group knew all it's tricks already. "Stare into the abyss, and see your end!"
At that moment, the Devourer flipped around, presenting one of it's many different faces to the group. The new face had its mouth perpetually open, and a brilliant beam of the purple lightning poured out in an inescapable torrent. It slowly turned it's gaze of death around the room, and the group readjusted around it. The Devourer growled angrily, and switched faces.
"SUFFERING! ANGUISH! CHAOS! RISE AND FEED!"
Now, the long-dead souls of the fallen emerged from the Devourer's carapace. They drifted around aimlessly, slashing at the champions they drew near. The horde champions found their weapons to be ineffective against the insubstantial things, and backed away, helpless. After a short time, the souls, freed from their prison, faded away.
Mokra caught the Devourer with a might blow, cracking it's side. Instantly, the others exploited this momentary weakness, caving in the side, and leaving a gap directly into the center of the undead monster.
Eressea finished channelling her fireball, and directed it through the gap.
There was a muffled thud, and the purple glow in the Devourer's eyes was momentarily replaced with red. Then it faded.
"The swell of souls will not be abated!" howled the Devourer. "You only...delay the...inevitable..."
The Devourer dropped to the ground, sagging and helpless. What little unlife remained in its eyes faded after a few moments.
Runok walked forwards, and tapped the skull curiously.
"Well...that was unexpectedly easy."
Apr 14th 2010 6:56PM I once read on Elitist Jerks that Watcher Hodir was Greatfather Winter.
When Hodir assists you in Ulduar, he says "May the veil of winter protect you, Champions."
Guess what the Christmas hat is called?
Apr 5th 2010 3:48PM Eadric pursued Jaina Proudmoore, as she in turn chased Arthas, son of Terenas Menethil, ex-Prince of Lordaeron. He was the traitor to all of humanity and its allies, now, and had become something else entirely: The Lich King. The girl called to the one she once called all of her secret, special names, but he had no interest in it.
Around him, Eadric could see the mighty fluted buttresses that kept this decrepit hall from collapsing. They were made of saronite, and had been twisted and warped by some cruel architect. Lining the walls and floor, the skulls of the many thousands that had been slain to the Scourge half decorated and half supported the mighty bulwarks around them.
It sickened him. Not since that horrific place of genocide, the cruel path of ‘glory’, had he seen such willful desecration of the dead. So many lives had been lost – and for what? To become no more than furniture? Even animals bodies were treated with better respect, every scrap of bone and flesh were useful. Here, these bones were less effective than stone and more difficult to maintain. They were here to send a message to any who came here. Many people thought Arthas just didn’t care about the living any more. Eadric knew better. It wasn’t that Arthas didn’t care. He delighted in causing suffering. This willful disrespect was his way of showing that he had beaten the fear of death, and openly mocked it.
Eadric sighed deeply. The many empty eye-sockets in the floor and walls stared demandingly at him. Some pleaded for freedom. Some demanded justice. Some – the smaller, children’s skulls – the simple look of the helpless that he had come to know so well.
This was why he had joined the Argent Dawn. He had learned full well that the difference one man could make in this world was very small. No matter what spirit one contained, even the light of the strongest could be snuffed out by another. Before him and behind him was proof of that: Arthas, striding confidently up stairs ahead, oblivious to his pursuers. And back from where they had come; the memory of Uther, still standing strong, his spirit trapped in Frostmourne.
It was not vengeance, or fury, or anger that drove Eadric forward, through those dark halls of the damned. No, he thought softly, quietly repressing the many urgent demands placed upon him by the countless dead around him. A paladin did not allow dark feelings to control their actions. So that was why, even though he was in deadly peril from Jaina’s reckless disregard for all else, he could understand the force that compelled her now. He did not pity her. He too knew had known the feelings she held in her heart. Those feelings were what marked the difference between the pursuer and the pursued on this day. He prayed that she would never forget the bittersweet heat that pushed her forwards.
The shadows before him coalesced into a paler form. He recognized one of the many bone giants that dominated greater Icecrown. Jaina had already passed before it – it now turned and barred his way.
The fetid stench of the rotting dead rolled over him as it spoke in its deep, gassy baritone.
“You are not worthy to face the Lich King.”
Eadric stopped, and raised up his war mace.
“I must humbly disagree. See, I have brought my qualifications with me. Their names are faith, and duty.”
The bone giant lunged forward, swinging its massive war axe. Eadric stepped backwards, brought his mace down, and then arched it sharply around and across. He caught the bone giant directly on its wrist with his mace. The bones crazed, but they did not break. The giant reeled slightly, and then brought its axe in a backwards arc. Eadric turned, faced it, and blocked it with his mace and shield together. The force of the blow pushed him backwards momentarily, but he held his position. His plate boots dug forcefully into the ice-covered skulls beneath him. For an instant, they were locked like that – the impossibly tall undead monstrosity, and the stout, valiant knight that barely came up to his knee.
There was a crack of thunder; a tree splintering, a branch falling. Where the giant’s wrist was cracked, it now tore apart. The axe fell to the ground with a dull thud. The giant’s mummified face gave the faintest betrayal of surprise.
Eadric stepped back again, keeping his shield and weapon at the ready. The giant gestured with its good hand, and more shadows emerged from the corners of the room.
Eadric’s sharp eyes cautiously tracked the shadows as they solidified into a new form, one that mimicked his appearance. But the shadow-thing was afraid of the light. It couldn’t show the shine on his armor, or the burning spirit in his eyes. It was inferior in every regard. Eadric smote it down with his mace, infused with the power of righteousness and the Light.
The frost giant general fell back, its weapons and tricks of no use against the Argent Crusader. Eadric gave it no time to recover. He rose up his shield and charged it with the Light of the Dawn.
“Shield of the Avenger!” he cried out. The glowing white shield flung its holy image off into the bone giant. Where the light met the darkness, the shadows fell back. The power of the Lich King over undeath was broken. The giant collapsed, rotting bone and sinew giving way all at once, into a filthy cloud of debris and gore. The bones lay as but small chips on the ground.
Eadric respectfully strode past them. The haunted eyes of the dead watched from beneath their permafrost cage. Watched, and waited. Waited with hunger, loneliness, and hopelessness. He had seen it before. This was the look in the eyes of Crusader Brisenbrad, when he had first met the dying Crusader in that windswept, forsaken corner of Icecrown. Eadric had journeyed hard and entreated many mighty beings to save him, all for naught. But each time Eadric had returned to Brisenbrad, the despair and fear in his eyes had lessened. Eventually, Eadric could but bring only a few moments of respite to the slowly fading hero, until finally A’dal himself had arrived to claim him. The Light of the Naaru seemed far from Eadric today, but he remembered wise Khadgar’s words when he had first arrived at Shattrath. They gave him counsel even now, though that day was long ago.
Eadric hurried after Jaina. He could see ahead of him, just atop the stairs, the mage and the Lich King trading blows. From this distance he couldn’t see who was winning, but as he closed, he could see the grim tale. Fresh red blood spattered the ground, and her shoeprints had streaked it. Her breathing was ragged and desperate, and he could see many rents in her armor and cuts where she bled freely.
He looked at Arthas; the Lich King was barely injured, and appeared to be laughing. Of course; he was toying with the girl.
Arthas delivered a backhand blow with his spiked gauntlet to the side of Jaina’s face. She span around and crumbled to her knees, raising up her staff in anticipation to block a blow that never came. Arthas had paused momentarily to size up the new arrival.
“So…your friend came, just as you promised, Jaina. This old one looks weak. Perhaps he can have some use as fodder for the ghouls.”
“Prepare yourself,” Eadric warned, “I will not hold back.”
There was a brilliant flash of blue. Eadric narrowed his eyes slightly, but did not look away, ready for anything the Lich King had to throw at him. But he was not ready for what actually happened – Arthas appeared to be frozen in a solid block of ice.
Then he realized, and looked to Jaina, who looked back at him, shaking her head.
“No. He…he is too strong. We must run.”
Eadric glanced backwards down the corridor from where they had come. The doors sealing Paletress and their entourage away from them were still firmly closed. Searching around, he discovered there was another passage leading away to the outside. He nodded, and then glanced back at Jaina.
“Can you use your magic to teleport us to safety?”
She looked down, embarrassed, and shook her head. “I’m sorry. It’s not ready yet.”
“Then indeed, we must take flight.” Eadric looked more carefully at Jaina’s state as they moved towards the exit path. She was very badly wounded. Just as he was about to cast some healing magic on her, there was a sound like glass breaking, and Arthas gave a triumphant shout. The Lich King was free.
Eadric looked up the long passageway to freedom. It was perhaps three hundred yards, maybe more, but there was a gentle curve to the right and impossible to see where the exit lead.
“Can you make it?” he asked Jaina. She nodded, and immediately started limping up the path. Eadric started running with her. Behind them, the heavy footfalls of the Lich King could clearly be heard, despite the dense snow that covered the footpath. His deep, reverberating voice carried easily up the pathway to their ears.
“There is no escape!” he taunted. Abruptly, a sheet of ice sheared up, blocking the path ahead of them.
Behind them, the Lich King closed. “Death’s cold embrace awaits,” he intoned.
Jaina sized up the ice wall. It was far too tall to climb over, and obscenely thick. There was no way the Paladin could carve through it with his mace.
Eadric had turned, and was facing down the Lich King. Arthas, some distance away, was content to casually stroll up the slope. He was sure his prey was trapped. Just to be certain, he tapped into the power of Frostmourne, and summoned a few of his undead minions. Around him, ghouls clambered their way out of their frozen graves, and started on their way towards Jaina and Eadric.
Jaina glanced back and saw the situation.
“I will destroy this barrier,” she said hurriedly, “You must hold back the undead.”
“As you wish,” Eadric replied. “Come, ye honored dead. Your final rest draws near.”
The ghouls scrambled their way up the slope in great leaps and bounds with inhuman speed. Eadric was ready for them. With great sweeps of his mace, he crushed the skull of the first one, and sent the second careening off the edge of the path. It fell screeching to the boulder strewn floor of Icecrown basin.
“The Light is with us,” Eadric called. He began to glow brilliantly, searing the eyes of the ghouls around him, causing them to stagger helplessly. He took advantage of their momentary disability, quickly striking them down. As the last one fell, a larger form took their place – a vrykul, a willing supplicant of the Lich King’s dark blessing, and subsequently bestowed with more power. Eadric waited for it to draw close, but it held off around thirty yards, and waved around its hands, chanting. It was evidently a magic user, and thus demanded a more appropriate response.
Once again, his shield glowed with holy power. The honey-gold flared and spoke words of peace and tranquility, but the vrykul wanted none of it. Cursing in annoyance and frustration at its interrupted spellwork, it lurched forwards to grapple with Eadric.
“Wretched creature, you who gave yourself willingly to damnation. May you find eternal rest away from this place.” Eadric raised his hand and pointed at the creature lumbering towards him.
“In the name of the Light, I do forgive you your misdeeds and your choices. May this exorcism grant you the freedom that you still don’t know was lost.”
With that, another blast of holy light tore through the vrykul. It staggered about confused, but pressed on. Eadric ran down the slope and met it halfway. His mace flashed once, twice, and then the vrykul was down. But the Lich King drew near. The chill of his presence scorched at Eadric, who backed away hurriedly. This was not something he could fight against.
He turned to look at Jaina’s progress, and was relieved to see at that moment the barrier came down.
“It’s down!” Jaina yelled. “Move, move!”
Jaina was already sprinting up the path. Eadric turned, and ran, quickly catching up to the young mage. Normally, old and as armored as he was, he should never catch up to the girl, but her wounds were too great to simply ignore. He prayed that help was near.
Behind them, the Lich King spoke again. His voice carried unnaturally to their ears.
“Succumb…to the chill of the grave.”
A second ice barrier formed in front of them. Jaina paused in front of it, and immediately started trying to melt it down.
“Another ice wall! Keep the undead from interrupting my incantation so that I may bring this wall down!”
Eadric had already turned back to face Arthas. The slow pace the Death Knight was making had bought them some time, perhaps a hundred yards. Then, Arthas raised his wicked sword once more, and the dead rose from the ground again.
“They are coming,” Eadric said, “But I am ready.”
Eadric could see there were a greater number this time – behind the ghouls that had flung themselves in the air were more vrykul, and a large, fat abomination. Its glutinous flesh jiggled grotesquely, while its disproportionately thin arms waved a variety of weapons.
“Come, then,” Eadric added. “Let me show you why darkness fears the Light.”
The rain of ghouls landed all around him as he once again started glowing brilliantly with the power of the Light. Burned, the many ghouls staggered around helplessly. He brought one down with each swing of his mace, striking with his shield and stepping on their broken bodies to finish them off. Then the vrykul drew near. He didn’t wait for them, and advanced towards them while they attempted to cast their spells against him. Some pierced through his armor, and he felt the cold darkness seeping into him, but many splashed futilely against his Shadow Resistance Aura. With that, he crashed into the first vrykul, bringing up his shield.
“Hammer of the Righteous!” he cried, blasting it heavily in its torso. The beast crumbled backwards, and he redoubled onto the next one, slashing at it with his mace. Then, the squat, fat abomination was near. It reared back and vomited a torrid stream of fetid liquid. Eadric strafed sideways around it. In the corner of his eye, he could see thick, black maggots wriggling on the burning snow.
Eadric brought his mace down low, catching the abomination on its knee. Some Crusader’s preferred swords, or axes. They preferred the precision of the blade, or the brutal efficiency of the axe. But Eadric knew that the best weapon for fighting the undead was the mace. Axes and swords were perfect for making your foe bleed. But when you needed to break your enemy, nothing matched the shock value of a mace.
The abomination’s kneecap broke. The hugely fat creature immediately sagged, falling helplessly in the snow. Its many arms flailed angrily, trying to catch Eadric. Helpless as it was, he had little trouble dispatching it with a few well placed strikes to the face. Its bloated corpse continued to jiggle grotesquely even in its second death.
Behind Eadric, he heard the sound of the wall crumbling, and Jaina’s voice calling to him. It was time to move on.
Eadric turned, and ran up the pathway. Ahead, the path cut into the side of the mountain. A sliver of rock covered the route in a natural roof, but it looked dangerously unstable.
The path seemed clear, but the Lich King was not done.
“Another dead end…”
Once again, an ice barrier formed in front of them. Jaina seemed to have regained a little of her spirit.
“Don’t give up,” she yelled, “We’re almost there!”
Eadric turned back. Arthas was summoning more of his undead. This time there seemed to be many more.
Eadric took a moment to analyze the situation. There appeared to be distinct waves of enemies coming at him. First, the lightning fast ghouls. He could defeat them easily enough. Then, more slowly, the vrykul – he had to advance down to them, because they would not come to him. Finally, the slow, waddling abominations. As long as they were arriving in this disorganized mess, Eadric could beat them by applying his strengths to their unique weaknesses in order. If Arthas happened to throw them all together at once, well, that would be another thing.
Eadric readied himself, switching his Aura back to increased armor, Devotion Aura. Ghouls leaped towards him. The first one was about to land directly on him, so he delivered an upper cut with his shield before it could do so. The creature’s bones could not withstand the combined might of the Crusader’s strength and the titansteel-forged shield. It snapped, and bounced back into a crumbled mess a few feet back.
The remaining ghouls landed, and started slashing at him with their bare hands. They were largely ineffectual, his powerful plate and Devotion Aura absorbing almost all of their attacks, but a few caught at him before he once again blasted them with Holy Radiance. This time there were too many for him to cut down before they recovered. More beat at him, but he crushed them down mercilessly with his mace.
He felt a shadowbolt impact against him, and realized the vrykul were already in range. Two ghouls were still scrabbling at him, but he decided the vrykul were a greater threat and subsequently a greater priority. He switched back to Shadow Resistance Aura, and raced down the slope to the Vrykul.
Once again, he delivered a brutal Hammer of the Righteous, his shield smashing the brittle creature. He took a moment to turn and smash one of the ghouls down with his mace, and then ran towards the next vrykul.
An abomination stood in his way. He tried to catch its knee again, but it blocked his attack with one of its many flailing limbs, and struck back at him with a large chain, tripping him. As he fell, Eadric angled himself to land on the last ghoul that had been scrabbling at him. The immense weight of his plate was more than enough to crush the little creature into thick, black goo.
Eadric rolled, and got up, narrowly missing a scythed claw that the abomination had flung at him. Its rusted barb caught in the ice, buried up to the hilt. It tried to pull the weapon out, heaving with all its bulk. It slowly started to withdraw.
Eadric brought his mace down, and smashed the last link of the chain, right where it met the scythe. The link snapped. The abomination, still using all its weight, overbalanced, tipping backwards and fell on its back. It still had enough momentum that, with the gentle slope on the runway, caused it to start to roll downwards. Gathering speed, it picked up snow, the vrykul Eadric had originally intended to go for, and knocked down another abomination. It then carried on, rolling at great speed towards Arthas himself.
Just as Eadric thought he might have accidentally one-shot Arthas, the Death Knight pointed at the mess of undead. Dark lightning flared out into the multi-limbed ball of meat, and it exploded into red paste. No trace remained.
He felt the ground rumbling, and looked back to see the ice barrier that Jaina had been working on crumble. She turned to say something to him, but she could see he was already running, so she turned and fled too.
But before them, yet another ice barrier appeared.
“How long…can you fight it,” Arthas asked, but there was a faint irritation in his voice. Eadric wondered how long before Arthas ran out of patience and started running after them himself.
Jaina yelled back at him.
“Your barriers can’t hold us, monster! I will shatter them all!”
Eadric remained silent. He watched as Arthas raised a veritable army of scourge. He acknowledged internally that this would require some effort.
Ghouls appeared around him. He stunned them with radiance, and started laying into them with his mace. But there were so many! Already the Vrykul were upon him. He stunned the ghouls again, and then made after the vrykul, striking them down with his Hammer of the Righteous or Shield of the Avenger. Whenever he could, he stunned the ghouls on him with radiance, and clobbered them into a bloody mess.
As he approached to deal with the upcoming abominations, he could see Arthas, behind them, raising more undead. It looked like he was going to have to deal with all of them at once, after all.
“Showtime,” he announced. “Wrath of the Avenger!”
Brilliant, golden wings sprouted from his back.
“In Lightbringer’s name! Have at thee!”
Eadric ran forward, slashing his mace from right to left, imbued with the power of the Holy Light. The two abominations before him were cut down immediately, and then he turned and crushed the ghouls that had been upon him earlier. They were instantly replaced by the next wave of ghouls, and already more vrykul and abominations were here.
Eadric waded through the mess of battle, crushing ghouls with every blow, and trying to avoid the worst of the abominations attacks. Their immense strength rocked through even his reinforced armor, and he shuddered to think what would happen if he was caught in a stream of their black vomit.
He moved over to one of the vrykul, rationalizing that if he was near them, there was a chance his area of affect attacks would bring it down. He stunned it with Hammer of Justice just to buy himself some more time.
He blasted the swarm around him with radiance, surprised to discover the vrykul and the abominations were vulnerable to it too. He used his few seconds of breath to cast a healing spell on himself, then to smash another abomination in the knee. The fat thing rolled sideways this time, eventually plummeting down the side of the cliff. Another day, he might have stopped and listened for the inevitable SPLUTCH of it impacting on the ground, but for now he had more important things to deal with.
He hammered the vrykul next to him with his shield. It dropped, and he moved on to the next one. The clump of ghouls and abominations moved with him, wailing in on him and beating him severely. He kept his shield up and blocked the worst of it, but the shadowbolts from the vrykul and the bruising the abominations were giving him were starting to add up.
The wings on his back faded as fatigue started to set in. As he backed towards the vrykul, continuing to beat at the ghouls pursuing him, he cast a glance up towards Jaina – but she was still busy working on the ice barrier.
Eadric turned, and took a step-lunge towards the next vrykul, interrupting its cast, then stepping past it to put his back to the wall so that his enemies were forced to come from his front. An abomination chose that moment to open up with a stream of horrid vomit. Eadric strafed away, avoiding most of it, but the viscous sewage splashed onto his right arm. It was warm, which was an unexpected benefit, but it was also acidic. The warmth flared up into an unbearable burning sensation after a few seconds. He was thankful for his armor keeping the burrowing maggots out of his flesh.
Eadric stunned the group with radiance again. He didn’t want to risk having a vomit stream in his face, so he smashed the last abomination down, and then dispatched the rest of the group.
There was laughter nearby.
Eadric looked up – the Lich King was close. He noticed, now, a strange swirling vortex around Arthas – a vortex that now encircled Eadric’s feet.
It was cold – icy cold. So cold that it burned. Eadric backed hurriedly away, and sprinted after Jaina. To his horror, he saw a small swarm of ghouls beating at her, and a vrykul casting more shadowbolts at the girl. They must have slipped past him while he was fighting earlier.
Eadric ran towards Jaina, slashing at the vrykul on his way. It staggered, but didn’t go down. He continued running up towards the ghouls, stunning them with radiance, and smashing them down. The next shadowbolt came for him. He cried out in pain, then turned to run towards the last vrykul. Arthas had advanced up nearly towards it. Fighting it meant stepping into the frozen whirlwind around him. As he watched, it readied another shadowbolt. Staying here meant death.
“So be it,” Eadric said. He hoisted his mace, and charged down the slope.
Bitter, icy daggers slapped into Eadric’s face. His Frost Resistance Aura did little to weaken the overwhelming power of the Lich King. Eadric quickly dispatched the Vrykul with another shield slam, and then considered for just an instant if he should attack Arthas. But he knew that this was the same mistake that had cost them Overlord Saurfang and Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. Eadric was humble enough to acknowledge he was not even half the man that Bolvar had been, and if Bolvar had fallen to the Lich King, then Eadric himself had no chance.
He turned and ran towards Jaina, Arthas’ laughter in his ears. But then, the barrier crumbled.
Jaina cried out to him.
“There’s an opening ahead! GO NOW!”
The slow, methodical footfalls of Arthas changed into a rapid beat. He was running after them.
Eadric and Jaina sprinted to the opening. The pathway slowly headed downwards, and then onto a landing platform. Jaina ran to the end of it, and stopped.
“It…it’s a dead end,” she said.
“You’re mine now,” he drawled, standing at the entranceway.
Eadric glanced at Jaina.
“Can you teleport yet?” he asked.
“No, just my hearthstone,” she replied, shoulders slumping in despair.
“Then use that.”
“But what about…”
“Surely you should know that running away is my specialty,” Eadric answered cheerfully, “So do not fear for me.”
Arthas paced towards Jaina, but Eadric stepped in his way.
Jaina reluctantly pulled out her hearthstone, and started fading away. The last thing she saw before vanishing was Frostmourne, striking Eadric’s shield.
“This was very foolish of you,” Arthas said to Eadric. “I was once a paladin. I know you cannot use your divine shield so soon after avenging wrath. You cannot leap to safety.”
“That is true,” Eadric replied.
“What. So you always planned to trade your life for hers.”
Eadric didn’t immediately respond, strafing around and blocking another swipe with Frostmourne on his shield.
“Of course, no. But this is better. She is young. I am old. And as long as one of us escapes, we win. Better the one that has more life to live.”
Arthas shook his head.
“Do you not think that everything that happened here was not of my choosing? I wanted her to know these things so that she would tell her friends. She escaped because I always wanted her to. You being here is meaningless. She brought you here only to die.”
Arthas lashed out with Frostmourne horizontally, and feinted up and over to the other side, catching Eadric on his mace arm. He dropped his weapon, but fortunately he had a titanium weapon chain, and caught it up again quickly.
“I do not fear death,” Eadric answered, “or pain, or suffering. Only failure. No matter the outcome here, this is my victory.”
Arthas continued. “Ugh. You remind me of Uther. You and your moral high ground…please, spare me your wasted lecture on the Light and its power. If you die without irritating me, I may even let you have a shred of your own will once you have become my servant.”
“The Light is…”
“SILENCE!” Arthas yelled in fury. He reached out with some dark power, and bodily lifted Eadric into the air by his neck. Eadric gasped and dropped his shield, reaching up and trying futilely to relieve the pressure on his neck. Arthas hurled the old paladin into the side of the cliff face that they had just emerged from. He bounced off the rocky walls, and landed on his back. He slowly, painfully rose himself up, but the hard plated boot of Arthas forced him back down.
Arthas put Frostmourne to Eadric’s chest, and chuckled.
“Hmmhmmhmm…with a snap of my finger, your soul will languish for all eternity. Do you understand now, who is the master of your fate? It is me. I am death. There is no light here, in these damned lands of the dead.”
“You’re wrong,” Eadric gasped. “The Light…I brought it with me. It’s inside…”
Arthas growled, and pushed Frostmourne easily through Eadric’s plate and clothing underneath, but couldn’t pierce through his skin.
A brilliant glow surrounded Eadric, forcing Arthas back.
“What is this?!” he demanded.
When the glow faded, Eadric was standing again, mace and shield in hand.
“That…was Ardent Defender. Maybe if you’d kept on being a Paladin for long enough, Uther might have taught you. But maybe not. The path of the Protection Paladin…is not for everyone.”
He then checked his wrist.
“It seems Divine Shield is good to go again. So, I’ll be seeing you.”
A faint bubble of light surrounded Eadric, as he started channeling his hearthstone.
Arthas beat furiously at Eadric, but the bubble absorbed all damage.
He winked slyly at Arthas, then disappeared.
At that moment, the proud Alliance gunship, the Skybreaker, rose up along the cliff. The sunlight reflected of the gilded metal curves of its many turreted cannons, which now turned and pointed to face Arthas. Jaina Proudmoore was on the deck, pointing at Arthas.
“There he is! And Eadric…oh no! Where is Eadric!?”
Arthas strode back down the passageway, swinging Frostmourne with irritation. Behind him, cannons brought down the rocky pathway, collapsing it completely.
Arthas turned again, watching through a small gap in the fallen rocks. He could see Jaina and Eadric on the deck of the boat, frantically shouting in triumph and hugging each other.
“So,” Arthas chuckled, “two little chicks get away to spread my tale about the sky falling. That is…better than I had planned.”
The Lich King turned, facing down the long rampway that he had just walked up. It was strewn with corpses. Nodding in satisfaction, he returned to his chambers.
The empty eye sockets on the walls kept to their sullen vigil. They still waited for a hero to save them.
Mar 31st 2010 10:36AM The Horde faction champions were casually relaxing in between bouts of combat, not far from the Argent Tournament fairgrounds. The snow-capped peaks of Northrend dulled all sound, and the five friends were enjoying a moment to themselves away from the commotion of the competitors and their mounts.
However, while they rested, drinking fine wines and delicate foods, they were interrupted.
Zul’tore, a paranoid troll hunter, quietly rose to his feet, and looked around warily.
“Something’s a comin’, ma friends.”
The others set aside their food and eyed their weapons, save for the Orc, Mokra, who continued gnawing at a turkey leg while watching in the direction Zul’tore was indicating, with wary eyes.
From out of the light snow being drizzled about, a humanoid form was faintly visible. It was partially transparent, making it hard to see.
The Tauren in their company growled, and got to his feet. “Scourge.”
Eressa, a blood elf mage stood up, and held out her hand. “Hold – it might be a friendly undead,” she said, glancing at the last member of their group, Deathstalker Visceri. The undead rogue had no need for food or drink, but enjoyed the company of his allies.
The figure in the distance drew closer. He was clearly heading directly for them. As they watched, he reached behind his shoulders, and heaved a large double handed war sword to his front.
The ghostly figure cackled, and spoke.
“Aahahaaa, so the fledglings have left the nest. Too soon, little birds, too soon!”
The champions picked up their weapons, and stood ready.
Runok Wildmane, the Tauren shaman, grunted. “You speak with confidence, death knight. How is it that you have such free will and yet do not join your comrades in the Ebon Blade?”
The figure shook his head, and responded.
“Do not mistake me for the same common plebian filth that fills your children’s playground. I am Marwyn, Commander of the Scourge. Your short, wretched existences are about to come to a painful and abrupt end.”
Eressa laughed dismissively. “I think not,” she retorted, and started channeling a powerful fireball spell.
Marwyn pointed at her. There was a short, fat bolt of electricity. It arched out and circled around the blood elf, but did not harm her. Meanwhile, Zultore snapped off an unending barrage of arrows into Marwyn, to no discernable effect.
Runok responded with his own chain lightning. Blue forks of electricity snaked out and scorched the Death Knight. Marwyn turned his hand over. A dark circle formed under Eressa, but it – like the previous attack – didn’t disturb her. She finished her incantation, and pointed at Marwyn. A large fireball blossomed from her hands and streaked into the Death Knight, but he kept on advancing.
With his other hand, holding his sword, Marwyn indicated Runok. “It is time for you to feel the years upon you, old cow.”
Runok coughed and gagged, falling to his knees. Visceri moved next to him, to help him to his feet.
“It is a momentary weakness, Visceri,” Runok gasped, “Do not fear for me.”
Eressa started preparing a second fireball spell, more powerful than the first.
Marwyn advanced towards her, but the Orc, Mokra stood in his way. Mokra lashed out with his sword, slicing and bladestorming his way into Marwyn.
Marwyn neatly sidestepped, belying an unexpected grace, and snapped another spell onto Eressa. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she continued her cast. “Shadow magic!” she yelled. “He’s using shadow vulnerability debuffs and then –“
Marwyn brought his blade around in a brutal horizontal obliterating slash, neatly severing Eressa’s head from her shoulders. Her shocked expression changed to anguish and horror. Her body twitched and spasmed, falling to the ground and shuddering with muscle-memory-instinct contractions.
“Don’t go spoiling all my secrets, little girl,” Marwyn growled. Then, the prior spell he had cast on her – shared suffering – activated and split her pain with the nearby Runok, already weakened from his previous cast.
The old Tauren gasped and keeled over in unspeakable agony, feeling Eressa’s death pangs as if they were his own.
Visceri shadowstepped behind Marwyn, and skillfully slipped his daggers in between the gaps in Marwyn’s armor, eviscerating the phantasmal flesh. Marwyn continued on, registering pain in the same way a normal mortal would acknowledge the difference in feeling the sun makes when a cloud passes before it.
Mokra leaped forward, catching up Marwyn and knocking him about. Zultore took a moment to ready a more powerful attack, familiar with Mokra’s tactics. Marwyn came to his feet next to the incapacitated form of Runok.
“Ah, how considerate of you to place me directly next to your helpless and undefended healer,” Marwyn taunted, as he placed two feet of solid steel directly through the old Tauren’s chest. “Honestly, what kind of warrior uses a knockback ability in a group? Haven’t you run dozens of raids by now? Or are you wearing welfare epics?” Marwyn continued to ignore Visceri’s repeated stabbings, but the rogue was starting to make some good headway. Vast gobs of immaterial goo were streaking out of the Death Knight’s back. Marwyn sighted up at Zultore, who released his aimed shot, landing it directly between Marwyn’s eyes.
Marwyn sighed, sagged, and collapsed in the snow.
“Great shot, Zultore,” Mokra called, then anxiously moved to see if anything could be done for Runok.
Zultore rejoined the group, sighing and shaking his head at the state of Eressa.
“Oh no, mon. Dis’ gonna be a big repair bill for yer, girl. Dem Argent Tourney lads won’t pay for rezzes outside da tourney grounds.”
Visceri stabbed Marwyn once again for good measure, then moved over to Eressa’s decapitated head. Looking into her green mana-stained eyes, he could see there was still some semblance of consciousness, and she was looking behind him. Visceri turned, just in time to see Marwyn ram his broadsword through his chest and spine.
“But…but…you were dead…” he gasped.
“No. I just went ‘aaaah’, and fell over. That doesn’t mean I’m dead! You should know of all people that mortal wounds have little meaning for the already deceased. To really put down the undead, you’ve got to…break them…”
Marwyn twisted his blade, putting his foot to Visceri’s chest, and kicking the rogue off, and stomping down, shattering his skull into fragments.
Zultore feverishly reloaded his weapon, and Mokra charged Marwyn, eager to avenge his friends and make up for his earlier mistakes.
“Oh, you again?” Marwyn asked. “What particularly bad strategy will you employ this time?”
“Shut up!” the Orc yelled angrily, lashing out with a mortal strike. Marwyn sighed.
“Really, didn’t I just say that mortal wounds…oh, never mind. Do carry on.”
Zultore called out to Mokra. “Don’t listen to him, mon! He’s jes tryin’ta get to ya!”
Marwyn reached out to cast another spell on Zultore, but Mokra snapped his blade across and interrupted the cast. “Ouch,” Marwyn muttered, “Stop that. Also, you should move out of that shadow debuff that killed your girl. Just saying.”
Mokra sneaked a look downwards. There was no mark on the ground. It was a bluff. He looked up to see Marwyn finishing another cast, but this time it was on Mokra.
“Let’s talk about something,” Marwyn continued, having applied his corrupted touch to Mokra, he now placed a well of corruption underneath the Orc’s feet – the orc who had just verified there was no well of corruption there. “Let’s talk about something you don’t have. Like healers.”
“Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!” Mokra yelled, stabbing through Marwyn’s guard, and ramming his sword straight through the phantasmal plate armor and chest of the Death Knight. Marwyn coughed. Then he placed his hand on Mokra’s wrist, still holding the blade that pierced his chest.
Mokra felt the same fatigue and anguish coursing through him that Runok had felt earlier. He jerked his sword back, but it was too late.
He fell to his knees, realizing now that he was somehow in another shadow well, and doomed. None of his attacks worked, and most of his friends were dead. There wasn’t anything they could do…
Zultore continued shooting Marwyn. Marwyn had left Mokra on the ground, alive and unharmed, and sprinted up towards the hunter. Zultore disengaged, leaping backwards, but Marwyn pursued him, laughing a high pitched, shrieking giggle.
“Noooo escape!” he taunted, lunging at the fleeing hunter.
Zultore turned. “Guardians of Ulduar, come to me!” he cried. “Thorim, watcher of da lightning an’ storms! I call to ye now to pay da favor ye owe me; grant me Norgannon’s gift!”
Marwyn slowed at the mention of the ancient, forbidden names. “Ahhha, look at you, using naughty big words. Needing other people to fight for you…how pathetic.”
Zultore didn’t respond. Overhead the storm clouds gathered. Thunder rolled from lightning unseen, but the arrows in Zultore’s quiver glowed blue.
The troll sighted up another shot.
“I be warning ya man. I been to da bad voodoo places. I seen the baddest things an’ in da place of the dead, where your master aint been, many skulls be under my name. I not be afraid to call in all my debts to be taking you out…for me friends.”
Marwyn looked more carefully at the hunter. Adorned on his belt were all kinds of strange troll things, but here and there he could make out dangerous markers of warning – the keys to Karazhan, the mark of the Champion of the Naaru, the Argent Dawn sigil of Attunement to Naxxramas, a dagger made of stars…
Zultore let his arrow fly with a roar of thunder and a whoosh of wind. It pierced straight through Marwyn like a bolt of light – and carried on through to embed itself tidily in the back of Mokra’s skull. The orc dropped forward.
“N…nooo!!!” Zultore cried.
Marwn staggered. The saronite arrows had punched through the Lich King’s protection, and for the first time in an eternity, he had felt true pain.
“S…so…you have brought the blood of Yogg-Saron with you. Do you know the meaning of what you do?" The Death Knight looked up at Zultore. He glanced back at the fallen orc, then resumed his resolute advance on the troll hunter, shaking his head.
"Little greenskins that don't like fire shouldn't play with madness," Marwyn said angrily.
Zultore remained silent, and opened fire with a withering volley of saronite-tipped arrows. Marwyn whirled his broadsword overhead, beating away several of the projectiles, but some still found their mark. Zultore continued to fire, now strafing around, avoiding the black patches Marwyn placed on the ground. But Marwyn was still closing ground. Soon Zultore felt the same sense of weakness and fatique in his limbs that had troubled Ranoc and Mokra.
Zultore understood now. There was no way to defeat Marwyn with all his comrades already down. They had underestimated the Death Knight, and paid for it with their lives. He lacked the energy now to rapidly withdraw as Marwyn closed, and brought out a pair of axes.
"How disappointing," Marwyn said. "I had such hopes for you. But here you are, a melee hunter."
Zultore struck out at Marwyn, but the Death Knights big warsword had greater range. Marwyn laughed as his sword caught Zultore in his torso, lifted him up in the air, and slammed him down on the ground. Marwyn stepped up, and kicked the axes out of Zultore's hands.
"You won't be needing those," he said, and put his sword tip at Zultore's throat. "Not a bad effort, I must say. You're a better challenge than most of the bumbling idiots that come running into my Master's halls and fail dismally. But you let your healer die, and your tank is a great fool. You don't work together as a group."
Zultore sighed. There was no way out. And now a member of the Scourge was lecturing him about the value of friendship and teamwork. Wonderful.
Marwyn snorted, then lifted his sword away.
"Well, little piglet, it's your lucky day. My Master's will spares you for a better purpose. He awaits you at the frozen throne, atop Icecrown Glacier. If it were my decision, you would be no more than a festive decoration, your guts twined from tree to tree here."
Zultore unsteadily got to his feet. He reached into his belt and cautiously sipped down a healing potion. The great pain in his torso subsided. Then he asked Marwyn, "And my friends?"
Marwyn shook his head. "My Master's offer is only for one, and it shall expire soon. Run away, little girl. Run away."
Zultore turned, and fled. Marwyn watched him go.
"Yes, run," he said softly. "Run to meet your destiny. It's bitter, cold embrace awaits you."
Mar 24th 2010 1:20PM I don't think WoW Insider author's are meant to respond to comments like this, but I'm not actually an author, so...
As a tank who has taken out the Lich King, I can say that the trash before Falric is significantly more difficult than Falric himself. I've run Halls of Righteousness enough to speak with authority; hell I even ran around with Falric's Wrist Chopper until I upgraded to the Facelifter.
I make my decision based on the following things -
A - In the circumstances, which one do I think would do better?
B - If there are any pursuasive reader comments (An excellent story by another inspires me!)
C - If there are any major fight mechanics that significantly favor one boss over another.
We (the judges) do not talk about our decisions in advance and then choose to match them up; at least, if they do, they don't tell me about it :C The whole point of judges being used instead of just reader comments is to help balance out oddball situations like Eck losing to the Tribunal of Ages (noooooo). Sure, we'd like the fan favourites to win, but we'd like them to win because they deserved to win, not just because too many people fail at Occulus.
Now, go read my Anub'Arak versus Eregos story again. Maybe it'll cheer you up