Monday, November 24, 2008

Ask a Krizzlybear: Frostfire Bolt Edition

6 comments
Christopher asked a question in the comment section on ony of my recent blog posts. He writes, "could you share a little knowledge about the newest Mage trick, Frostfire bolt? How does it affect us frosties with deep frost builds? Is it worth it to use? Does it replace frostbolt in our rotation of frostbolt, frostbolt, frostbolt with the procced fireball and ice lance when appropriate?"

Well Christopher, let's begin by examining the properties of Frostfire Bolt. Frostfire Bolt is a 3-second nuke that counts as both a frost spell and fire spell. This means that any and all effects that would affect either school would apply to Frostfire Bolt as well. However, when it comes to damage, it doesn't count as either frost or fire at all. Instead, it counts as frostfire, and because of this, it ignores resistances and immunities to either school. But, if the target has a general resist/immunity to spells, it will affect it.

So what does this mean for frost mages? As a deep frost raider, no longer will you be completely shut out of a fight where he boss has phases of frost immunity. An example of this would be Hydross in Serpentshrine Cavern. When he gets pulled through the beam and takes on his frost phase, your Frostbolts will be rendered useless, but your Frostfire Bolts will be able to damage him. The spell will benefit from a large number of talents in your build, excluding Improved Frostbolt and Empowered Frostbolt. This is a definite asset to have, but that's as far as it goes with regards to the spell's use. Your frostbolt still has greater DPS capability in a deep frost build, thanks to Empowered Frostbolt and a faster casting time than Frostfire Bolt.

Thus, in order to maximize the effect of a Frostfire Bolt-centric raiding build, you will have to "double dip," taking talents in both the Frost and Fire trees to boost the abilities of your spell in order to maximize DPS. Due to the placement of such talents in both trees, you simply cannot take them all. It will require proper tuning and balance of talents to both improve its damage, and cater to your playstyle.

At the end, you will end up making one of three choices with regards to the spec: deep frost with leftover fire, deep fire with leftover frost, or an elementalist spec with approximately equal amounts of points invested in each. From what I've been reading on the net, it would appear that deep fire is the ideal route to maximize the damage of frostfire bolt, and thus has more of a fire spec feel than frost.

And from one look at the talent tree, this is quite the case. Most of the fire-buffing talents on the fire tree is in the higher tiers, while the frost-buffing talents are more spread out on the frost tree. More importantly, by homogenizing the effects of Improved Scorch and Winter's Chill, it is no longer required to invest points into both, making Winter's Chill a less attractive option, as it is in a deeper tier than Improved Scorch.

But as a diehard frost fanatic, I will tell you that you can still have lots of fun with Frostfire Bolt with a deep frost build. Here's a spec that may tickle your fancy. It plays a lot like a deep frost build, but replaces Frostbolt spam with Frostfire Bolt spam. Of course this will output less single-target dps than Frostbolt spam, but by going into the fire tree, your AoE dps becomes absolutely DISGUSTING.

World in Flames, meet Blizzard, your new best friend.

Or, how about an elementalist spec? Let's emphasize more fire, but keep to the spirit of deep frost. Try this 0/30/41 spec on for size. You grab Fire Power for an awesome 10% increase in Frostfire damage, you retain sufficient snare to AoE grind effectively, AND you get to keep Squirtle! Hot damn!

With these two builds, you can do your best frost mage impression while you get acquainted with this awesome new spell. Now all blizzard needs to do is to make a dual-school AoE spell. Frostfire Storm, anybody?

Frostfire Storm
110% of Base Mana, 30 yd range
Pelts the enemy with shards of frostfire, doing 3000 damage over 8 seconds, slowing movement speed by 10% and causing an additional 50 damage over 5 seconds to each target. If the target is more vulnerable to Frost damage than Fire damage, then this spell will cause Frost damage instead of Fire damage.

Tomorrow: Frost Death Knight Impressions

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wimzig's Whimsy: I am Reborn!

4 comments


It feels...strange. The sensation of death undone. I remember nothing, yet my goal is clearer than ever. I serve the ebon hand, and I fight for them until my last breath. I fight for those I have lost. I fight for those who have lost me. I am a Death Knight, a pawn of the scourge, reformed to deliver cold vengence. Hated by many, merly tolerated by few. I accept my destiny to take arms against Arthas in his quest for power.

A mage no more, but the ice still flows coldly in my veins. Frost I shall remain, now and forever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Screenshot: A Whole New World!

10 comments

A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming!

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with youuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The All-Purpose Lich King AoE Grinding Guide

103 comments
Sick of questing now? Still only level 70? Tired yourself out from camping baby murloc cages in Borean Tundra, or opening crab traps in Howling Fjord?

Need to make some money?

If you're a mage, all of this can be answered, and then some, with my frost-tastic Northrend AoE guide! In this post, I'll teach you the ins and outs of gathering up a bunch of mobs and absolutely murdering them! And by the end, you should have the know-how to blizzard your way to 80!

Part the First: The level 70 Build!

0/0/51 (+10) - The bare bones

This build picks up ALL of the necssary talents required to maximize your AoE grind. Let me break it down to you Talent by Talent.

Frostbite - Combined with shatter, allows for blizzard crits pretty much all the time.

Ice Floes - Gets your Frost Nova sooner, so you can use it just in case something goes wrong. If you're lucky, you won't even have to use it at all!

Ice Shards - Makes blizzard crits absolutely ridiculous.

Elemental Precision - guarantees that Frost Nova hits everybody. Just in case you have to grind on mobs 1 level above you, you don't have to invest as much in Hit rating to achieve 100% accuracy.

Permafrost - Makes them go as slow as possible, giving you more time to hit with blizzard.

Piercing Ice - Increases blizzard damage.

Improved Blizzard - Makes them go even slower, giving you more time to hit with blizzard.

Arctic Reach - Lets you freeze more mobs with frost nova/Shattered Barrier. Also lets you blizzard after a blink.

Frost Channeling - Ensures that you don't go OOM sooner than you need to. Also lets you do more pulls without having to eat/drink.

Cold Snap - Your panic button, in case something goes terribly wrong.

Cold As Ice - Gets your Ice Barrier back sooner, just in case you really need it.

Winter's Chill - Increases the crit chance of Blizzard. Each blizzard tick applies a stack of debuff, so by the time you cast your second blizzard, you essentially have 10% increased chance of critting each tick.

Arctic Winds - Increases your blizzard damage. Also increases your dodge slightly, making your Ice Barrier last a tiny bit longer.

Fingers of Frost - Proc increases crit chance of Blizzard ticks by 50%, thanks to Shatter. It procs ALL THE TIME.

Summon Water Elemental - Take him only for the free ranged frost nova. Keep him on passive, so that he doesn't aggro some random mob from one of your pulls.

Chilled to the Bone - Increases chill effect of your blizzard by another 10%, bringing the total to a disgusting 85%.

This minimal build is good enough to start grinding in outlands, but since we're talking about Northrend, you have another 10 talent points to spend. If you are looking to do other things besides AoE grinding, I suggest putting the remaining points into Improved Frostbolt, Improved Water Elemental, and either Brain Freeze or Empowered Frostbolt.

If you want to really go pure AoE from 70-80 (although I really advise against it), go down the Fire tree and pick up World in Flames, which increases your crit chance of Blizzard by another 10%!

Part the Second: The Gear!

The most important stats for AoE grinding are Stamina, Intellect, Spell Power, and Critical Strike Rating. Stam and Int are important for staying alive long enough to cast your blizzard spells, and to make sure that you don't run out of mana in the middle of a pull. Spell power increases (albeit slightly) the damage done by blizzard. Not as important as the other stats, but it's very good to have. Besides, most quest reward gear give adequate amounts of spellpower anyways. Critical Strike Rating is good too, now that blizzard can crit.

Now for Trinkets, there are two items in the game that I'm glad that I saved up and/or quested for. The Lightning Capacitor and Thunder Capacitor. The Lightning Capacitor drops from Illhoof in Karazhan. Alliance-side, the Thunder Capacitor is a quest reward from a quest chain in Dragonblight given by the NPC Zivlix, located at 54,23, just north of Galakron's rest. Anybody who knows details on how to get it horde-side feel free to drop off a comment.

Why I mention these two trinkets in particular is that they have stacking effects. Each tick tha crits will add a charge to BOTH items. Since Blizzard is going to crit A LOT, you're going to have charges proccing left and right, dealing a whole ton of damage in the meantime. Testing naked on 6 theramore combat dummies, The two capacitors alone increased my DPS by about 800, compared to using the badge trinket and its brewfest equivalent.

Part the Third: The NEW AoE sequence!

Thanks to new features in 3.0, such as Blizzard critting, as well as Shattered Barrier, it's easier than ever to take down multiple mobs. Just follow these easy steps!

1) Cast Ice Barrier. Wait for the cooldown to run down a bit.
2) Run around and gather some mobs. Make sure to just get into their aggro radius, rather than walking right into them, to minimize their damage done to you.
3) When Ice Barrier's cooldown is up, cast it again as you wait for the mobs to gather around you.
4) Let the mobs pound on you until Ice Barrier breaks. Shattered Barrier will freeze all the mobs in on space.
5) As soon as it breaks, BLINK AWAY, RIGHT AWAY. Make sure you blink to a spot that's not close to another mob.
6) Turn around and cast Blizzard, making sure that the farthest edge of the targetting circle is touching the frozen mobs.
7) Cast blizzard again when the channel is close to zero. Make sure to aim it so that they walk right into the blizzard as its being cast.
8) Repeat #7 as necessary. Thanks to the snaring talents, You can fit up to 3 blizzards before they reach you. With adequate gear, you should be able to kill them before they reach you as well. If not, then Frost Nova, Blink, repeat.

Alternatively, for #3-4, you can simply frost nova while your Ice Barrier is still up, but I prefer to save that for just in case you pull another mob to you while you're in the middle of a sequence.

Also, If you have Water Elemental out before you start the pull, you can have it cast freeze during the first cast of Blizzard, so they stay in one place. They're also good for protection, just in case a mob breaks free, or aggros you from elsewhere during the sequence.

Part the Foruth: Grinding on Yellows!

Some of the best mobs that can be AoE'd do not have an aggro radius at all, and will only attack if they are provoked by an attacker. These exist mainly in the form of animals scattered around the place. You can find some that noticeably travel together in formation, thus they can be AoE'd at once, without having to lure each to a particular spot.

However, there's usually a "bull" version of that mob that does have an aggro radius, so it's wise to grab that one and lure it to the rest of the pack. Once you meet up with the rest of the pack, use Arcane Explosion to aggro the entire group, and continue with the grind, either by Shattered Barrier or Frost Nova.

Part the Fifth: IDEAL GRINDING SPOTS!

Just remember, this method works ideally when you gather a group of mobs that are purely melee-class. You don't want to be pulling any ranged classes or casters. Sometimes there are mobs that charge after aggroing, which completely disrupts the pulling process. So skip these. Here are a few of my choice favs.

68-70

Wooly Rhinos, Borean Tundra

They travel in packs, and are often accompanied by bull rhinos. Just stay away from D.E.H.T.A while you're doing this, k?

70-71

Gorloc Waddlers and Gorloc Steam Belchers, Borean Tundra

These guys are scattered close to the coast, just south of the geyser fields. You can probably grab a good number of them and then lure them onto the main path, ensuring that you don't aggro anything else. Just start at one edge of the stretch and work your way down to the other edge. When you get back to the first part, there will be respawns. Excellent group.

Iron Dwarfs, Howling Fjord

There's a large line of them surrounding the excavation. You can pull a few of them, but don't do too many, since their attacks leave a stackable DoT that is sure to kill you. A caster patrols the area, but you can pull it separately from the pack without too much trouble. Respawn is fairly good.

72-73
Wastes Diggers, Dragonblight

These guys have stackable DoT's as well, so watch out and don't pull too many at once. You can rotate between excavation pits and they should respawn by the time you get back to the first one. The Taskmaster is ranged, so be sure to pull him seperately when he patrols to the edge of the area.

Scarlet Onslaught, Dragonblight

Northeast of Wintergarde, there's a large encampment of Onslaught mobs that are purely melee. there are so many groups here that you can have a field day with multiple pulls and respawns will occur when you go back to the beginning.

74-75
Highland Mustang, Grizzly Hills


OH MAN. There are a few herds that gallop in groups of 8-10. These are the ones you want to go for. OH BOY ARE THEY GREAT TO GRIND ON. Remember. Arcane explosion to have the circle collapse on you, then Frost Nova in place. Highly Recommended!

75-76
Venture Corp., Sholazar Basin

JACKPOT! The entire Venture Corp Encampment on the northwest side of the Suntouched Pillar is made of melee mobs. Plan out your pulls, and be sure to stay a safe distance from the "boss" mobs. They're not elite, but they have some nifty ablities that can throw off your pull by a lot. As you work your way through the encampment in a circuit, you'll hit respawns again. As a tailor, I get about 3 or 4 stacks of Frostweave in 10 minutes of AoE'ing here. Great experience as well.

77-80
Skeletal Runesmiths, Icecrown

MEGAJACKPOT! Once you hit 77, you can start "attempting" to grind on these guys. All the mobs in the area are level 80, so you will need quite a bit of hit rating to ensure that Frost Nova never misses on a single person if you're only 77. There are two elongated, slightly elevated platforms with mobs on each side of them. If you do a circle around one of them, you'll grab mobs from three of the four sides. If you're feeling adventurous, you can pull all four sides. With the large amount of mobs aggroed, your ice barrier will break early for sure, so remember to refresh it in the middle of the pull, and to give some time for your cooldown to go down somewhat before you start the pull. Ice Blocking before casting Nova is an asset, and highly advised for such a large number of mobs to pull.

The best part? The respawn timer here is ridiculously low. Once you finish the pull, loot, and run off to the side to drink, they will instantly respawn by the time you're ready to start another pull.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Level 74!

9 comments
I've made about 200g selling ports to Dalaran (EDIT: 310 now, but newer figures are periodically updated on the blog banner) No lies. It helps to be one of the first mages to hit 74 on US Arygos. There are about 2 or 3 ahead of me, but I don't mind staying back to make some nice coin. The inner goblin tells me to go for the gold, not the glory!

Tomorrow or sometime this weekend, I'll be putting up some Northrend AoE guides as well as Frost boss strats for the first few dungeons that I've done so far.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

C'MON!!!

12 comments


/e taps his foot impatiently.

Future Shop is the Best Electronics Store Ever!

1 comments
Made my way down to the midnight release in one of the future shops in Mississauga, Ontario. I forged some comraderies with a bunch of people who shared the same passion for the game. We shared war stories, glory days, and our secret love for Frost Mages. Seriously, the two people in front of me and the two people behind me, THREE of them have Frost mages. TWO of them are mained.

Oh. And Because Future Shop is the coolest place ever, we get an extra bonus to our Collector's Edition:



Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be reading my artbook while I wait for the installation process to finish. You can bet your sweet canadian dollar that I'll still be wearing this helm well into Naxx-10!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

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Akin to Veteran's day in the US (who celebrate the end of the war on the Sunday), Canadians (and Australians) everywhere pay their respects today to those who fought in the first World War. In a symbollic sense, veterans of the wars that proceeded WWI are also honored. Let me take today's post to reflect on what their sacrifices have meant. Without them, we may not have had the freedom to do the simple things that we may take for granted today. For example, blogging in itself may have been outlawed if our freedom of speech was taken away.

Praise Elune for their efforts. May the light bless those who live peacefully now, and those who rest in peace. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

5 Ways to Occupy Yourself Before Wrath, Frost Style

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Thursday, right? Is that when it comes out? It's practically sitting behind me in class, teasing me and making me cry, bringing back horrid childhood memories of preschool, kindergarten and the like. And I will be the first to admit that NaNo has minimized the pre-wrath jitters and anxiety. But they're still there, so what I have now is both NaNo and Wrath Anxiety. (On a side note, I'm still writing for the Scarlet Dawn, but it just so happens that these extras are out of sequence, and I don't want to post them in that manner. Not yet, at least.)

So to deal with the compounded nature of both "deadlines," I'm compiling a tiny list to remind myself of my wrath specific goals, while at the same time find time to chunk up a few thousand words a day to catch up with the pace. Oh, I'm unemployed right now, but that's a post waiting for another day. So here you go, Cryomaniacs, have some fun.

1. Solo Dungeons

Even if it means certain death. Start small, but work your way up to bigger things. I'm talking dungeons and elites. Go to deadmines and the stockades, pull the entire room, and kill them without casting a single spell other than Molten Armor. When you're done that, stealth your way to each boss in Scarlet Monastery with proper uses of blink through patrols.

And when you're done that, solo the stairs event in Zul'Farrak. Free the Prisoners, and Slow Fall all the way down to the bottom steps and proceed to Blizzard everything in your way.

Heck, Solo Stratholme if you think you're adequately geared. Some timely Blinks and stealthy sneaking through mobs can potentially earn you your very own mount. Spicytuna has a great guide for that sort of thing. If you get the mount, go visit his site and thank him! Or rub it in, whatever, just tell him I sent ya there!

There's probably some old-world dungeon achievements that you've yet to complete. Might as well do them yourself, rather than helplessly look for others.

2. Solo Elites

Same thing as dungeons, except with elite mobs that roam around Azeroth and perhaps Outland. Go to WoWhead. Look up every single elite mob that exists, and see if it can be chilled or snared. General rule of thumb. If they can do either or both, they are killable by a Frost Mage. Start with hogger, then work your way up to those Scourge Shadow of Doom guys. Trust me, I've brought one down to 25% before the other mobs started respawning and killed me.

Simple rules for fighting elites.
- If they can't be chilled, DON'T DO IT.
- Talent yourself to maximize chill effects. Get Frostbite.
- Pop Water Elemental AFTER your first Frost Nova. Get distance, pop the ranged Nova as soon as he breaks free.
- Shatter Combo at EVERY opportunity.
- Save Brain Freeze Procs for when you're on the move.
- Pop cooldowns as soon as you can. Get your Water Elemental Back ASAP.
- NEVER Blink after a Frost Nova. Simply run/strafe away. Use blink while they're chilled for essentially the same effect, and it spreads out your kiting cooldowns (Nova/Blink)
- Plan out a kiting route ahead of time. Don't pull any extra mobs. Be aware of the Elite's maximum kiting distance (before it resets and runs back home)

3. AoE Your Way into Northrend

If you're not yet 70, there's nothing wrong with taking your time before the big expansion comes. Take the road less travelled. Go to Hellfire Peninsula and learn to AoE grind on vultures in the Valley of Bones, or just south of the Temple of Thalmat. When you're a little bit higher in level, go to Netherstorm, and take out some guys at the Junk Heap, just south of Area 52. You get some nice rep turn-in items in the process.

If you're pretty well geared as a 70 as it is, look for some interesting ways to flex your AoE-peen. For starters, on your last Kara run before the expansion, ask your raid to let you solo the non-elite trash pulls. They're grouped up in a circle that perfectly fits the ranged nova perfectly for a reason.

Or do some scourge fighting! Go look for an invasion spot that's uninhabited by players, and AoE a few of them at a time. They're melee for the most part, but they do have a ranged slow attack that deals a lot of damage when they all do it at the same time. With sufficient spellpower and HP, you probably don't have to Nova the second time anyways.

The necrotic runes are so easy to farm with a frost mage, second only to perhaps T6 prot pallies. If you're an enchanter, you can buy epics from the vendor with those runes, and DE them into Void Crystals.

4. Read up on Frost Death Knights

If you're a die-hard cryophile like me, either these guys will become your best friends, or you'll simply roll one when the expansion comes. So do yourself a favor, and go look up information about Frost Knights, and have yourself drool at the promise of some good times playing (with) one.

5. Level a Druid

Apparently, mages have a thing for druid alts, or associating with druids. Heck, even some Druids have a thing for mage alts as well, or are former mage mains themselves. With good reason, too. As a DPS spec, it's only natural that one would try out the different roles. Resto healing is perhaps the most fun thing to do when you get to a certain level. Hell, pewpewing with the chickenform is very gratifying as an alternate style of DPS. I have no qualms against bear tanking either. I've done it a few times, and currently am doing so with leyola as she ferlols her way to 70 before the patch hits. She's 66 right now, and taking up pretty much all of my time.

Okay, fine, it doesn't have to be a druid. But level something, because that's what Frost Mages excell at, and feeling the rush all over again can tide you over before Yarrrthas sticks his nose into our business.

Final Thoughts

It's coming soon. I'm excited, yes, but with all the fun I've been having lately, I wouldn't mind if it didn't come as soon as it is.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sarlet Dawn - Four

1 comments
((The Scarlet Dawn is the title of a derivative piece of fiction set in the WoW universe, written by Krizzlybear for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As per the word count demands of NaNoWriMo, all spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems, and failures to adhere to canon, are unintentional, and will not be attended to until the end of November. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.))

A black widow spider crawled up a nearby wall. It was a combination of a brick and mortar understructure, panneled by polished oak and red velvet linings filling in the gaps. But that was when it was new. Now it was a mess. The oak was worn and rotted, its holes revealing the understructures. The velvet was soiled, its crimson color hiding the various stains of blood that had spilt onto it over the numerous years.

It crawled up into rafters, overlooking the room below. Large enough to fit a committee of evildoers, but private enough to keep an evil mastermind comfortable in its vacancy. The lair was adequate for the master’s likings, but due to his sheer insanity, he paid no heed to its details and nuances.

Instead, the master nestled back onto his makeshift chair, crafted from panels ripped off the floor, as well as the bones of numerous henchemen who had displeased him over the years. It was a justified action, since any form of ineptitude could have been caused by the slightest form of Scourge taint. Yes, he would think to himself. It was necessary to kill them, otherwise he had risked that his Crusade was tainted by the Scourge, the unrelenting force of undead that threatened the livelihood of the Human race, or, in light of recent events, his Human race.
The black widow receded into a crack in the ceiling. His room was completely shut out from the rest of the cathedral.

"Ah, yes. They should be here by now...if they lived"

Earlier, he had sent a trio of henchmen to the depths of Khaz Modan, where a large contingent of lepper gnomes dwelled. If his creation worked as intended, he would be able to spawn a countless horde of undead, each at the cost of mortal lives and souls. He cackled in anticipation, completely absorbed in his self-accepted lunacy.
He sensed a figure skulking behind the door to his lair.

“Enter!” Said the master.

A frightened man stepped through the doorway, paying no heed to his surroundings, or his master, who sat in the unspeakably horrid chair. He learned from his peers not to look at the master straight into his eyes in order to avoid any chance of angerring him. If he had, the consequences could cost the man his worthless, pathetic life.

“Speak, coward!” The master said. “How goes Gnomeregan?”

Trembling, the man kept focus on the floor close to his feet. Stammering at first, he struggled to force the unfortunate news from his mouth.

“S-S-Sir!”

Sweat began dripping from his forehead, running down his neck into his armor.

“Sir...We did as you asked. We went to Gnomeregan, and was able to use the orb successfully. The lepper turned into a ghoulish monster!”

“Hrmm...” The master looked down at his henchman, aware of his discomfort. He continued studying his state of anxiety.

“You’ve done well.” He finally said. “Where are the other two?”

“D-d-dead, sir. I mean, they’re gone. The monster ran after us after the transformation, and killed the others. They turned into monsters themselves. I managed to escape.”

The master considered what he had heard. If the orb worked as intended, then the afflicted would turn into zombies. They became undead horrors much like those of the Scourge, if not the exact same.

“You’ve done well, dog!” The master rejoiced, laughing maniacally. Whether it was at the man, or at the success of his plan, or due to plain hysteria, niether of the two knew. “I can carry out the next phase of my plan. Leave, or else I will use you as a test subject!”

The henchman gave no remark of acknowledgement or gratitude. He disappeared as quickly as he could, avoiding his demise in case the master had changed his mind.
Yes, the master thought, slouching further into his chair of human remains. The orb worked, but perhaps too well. If he wanted to create his own army equal to the scourge, he would have to make sure that those who had used the orb survived themselves. It was a conundrum that puzzled him for a moment, but he conceded that there was no way to preserve the numbers of his troops, unless somehow they were immune to the effects of transformation.

The ones who used the orbs were those would need to be undead in the first place.

Arriving at this conclusion, the master stood up from his chair, skulking towards a bookshelf that took up an entire wall of the room. Sliding his fingers against the numerous spines of texts that were neatly arranged in front of him, he stopped at a spot of interest, reading the label as he tilted his head sideways.

THE DEATH KNIGHTS OF ACHERUS

He removed the book from the shelf, and opened the cover. Scanning through its contents, he let out a sigh of disapproval.

“My plans will need to be modified,” The master said. “If they are to succeed.”

((Running word count: 6001))

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Scarlet Dawn - Three

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((The Scarlet Dawn is the title of a derivative piece of fiction set in the WoW universe, written by Krizzlybear for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As per the word count demands of NaNoWriMo, all spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems, and failures to adhere to canon, are unintentional, and will not be attended to until the end of November. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.))

In the depths of a wooded area to the east of Auberdine, the Night Elven port village, a meager squirrel scampered its way up and down an oaken tree. One by one, nuts were carried up to an enclosed area towards the top of the tree's trunk. Mindlessly going along with its instincts as the world's winter drew ominously near, the squirrel continued obliviously until it had met its fate.

Midway through the seventeenth trip, the tiny critter was interrupted by a fatal swipe of a rabid bear's claw. In nature, this particular grizzly would have minded its own business as it made its own preparations for the colder months. Instead, however, a force unknown to both the predator and its prey had caused this sudden change in behaviour.

The grizzly intently stared down at its dead victim, instinctively proud of its catch, yet at the same time clouded by its sudden burst of primal rage. Soon, that rush of aggression had returned, and the bear thirsted for more violence.

Then it fell asleep.

As if under some sort of spell, a spiritual force beckoned to the animal's most basic nurturing instinct, pleading with it to regain a hold of its natural role in the forest.

No, it had said. Never will you do that.

The voice had spoken with a somber tone, and ragged the bear's brain with a calming aura. It drifted off into nothingness and ceased to be a physical threat to any living being within its vicinity.

Meanwhile, the druid who had cast the spell wiped the sweat off her brow as she took out a tiny dart from a pocket of her simple brown tunic. Confident that she had successfully subdued the bear, she neatly stuck the dart into the hide of the hibernating animal. She tensed herself in anticipation of the bear possibly emerging from sleep in primal rage, but the effects of the dart had done its job.

The druid closed her eyes, and sensed the serenity of the bear's spirit, as if it were freed from an unseen evil grasp. She accepted its thanks, and quickly disappeared from the spiritual realm that she had entered.

Minutes later, the druid appeared once again amidst the other inhabitants of Auberdine. She sneaked up to another Night elf, and handed to him several darts that were left unused during her chore.

"Your service is deeply appreciated, Leyola."

She nodded. Leyola Swiftwillow was a helpful druid, well-known to the working people of Auberdine. Even without her valued service, her pale, purple-grey skin and mysterious visage highlighted by long, wavy silver hair stood out amongst her kin. She was very tall for a Night Elf, yet her curves were apparent from her fitted tunic and thin, jet black cloak. She was an intriguing sight, and that alone may have had merit free passage from Auberdine to her home in Darnassus, a mere boat ride away.

But these were troubling times in Kalimdor, the Western island continent of the world of Azeroth. Auberdine, a town developed on the northwest coast of the continent, was no exception. Leyola was summoned to the presence of her druid teacher during the middle of an independent training exercise aimed at strengthening her mental and spiritual focus towards her own abilities.

She had meditated for hours, but a voice of concern from her master had undone all of her work, but justifiably so. If she was interrupted in such a way, it was probably due to a very troubling situation. Because of this, she was anxious to return to her home. But despite this, she did not anticipate having to pay a boat fare to get back to the Night Elven capital.

"As a servant of Elune," Leyola Swiftwillow jested in a manner that did not suggest a strong allegiance to the moon goddess, "I had figured you to grant me passage so that I could hastily fulfill my duties."

"I apologize miss Leyola," the patron said, "but I didn't know who to turn to at the time. Perhaps you can report the situation in the forest to your shan'do."

"Fair enough."

She had observed the obscurity of the behaviour of the local fauna, and attributed their radical changes to some external agent that threatened the natural balance within the woods surrounding Auberdine. Leyola acknowledged the Night Elf's plea, having sensed the disturbance, and was determined to bring up the topic with her teacher when she had the chance.

A boat pulled up to the docks closeby, large enough only to carry a few passengers and a limited amount of cargo. The architecture and build of the boat was clearly of Night Elf origin, which indicated that the female druid would be able to take her leave. With a wave farewell, she inwardly worried for the man, hoping that the Mother Moon would protect him and his town of Auberdine during this trying time.

She boarded the vessel, tightening the wrap of her cloak around her slender body.

The boat disappeared into the mists, the evening fog surrounding Leyola as she leaned unassumingly onto the portside rails. She contemplated her future amongst the Night Elves. One part of her considered that her success as a member of the Cenarion Circle was undeserved; as a child of two veterans of the Third War, their clout amongst the Cenarion Enclave was apparent, and Leyola's favor amongst her instructors was apparent. Regardless, she worked hard to become as skilled as she was, and she had vowed to put forth an effort in her work, despite what others thought.

She kept abosrbing herself into her thoughts as the boat was into the mist. Several hours passed before she arrived in Darnassus.

Darnassus was a bustling city, and the Night Elven Capital. It resided miles above the sea, nestled in the boughs of Teldrassil, the last World Tree of Azeroth. Above the clouds, the city comfortably nested its inhabitants, who scuffled about their business in the same manner they had done for as long as it had existed. Amongst its citizens, an uneasy social tnsion could be felt between both the Druids and priests and priestesses of Elune, the moon goddess worshipped by the Night Elves themselves.

The boat finished its trip, its captain tying the vessel to a rickety dock, several yards away from solid ground. Leyola, not one to take chances on the structural integrity of the makeshift port, hurried her way onto dry land. Once she had done so, she had finally reached the World Tree, standing on its very roots, thousands upon thousands of feet below the canopy where the capital lay.

She stepped into a chamber near the base of the tree. It radiated with a magical lunar pink energy, perhaps powered by the Moon Goddess Herself. As soon as she had entered, she was instantly in Darnassus. Amongst her was the chatter of passers-by, and immediately she sought the tranquility of the more rustic scenery of the Cenarion Enclave.

The Cenarion Enclave was an open, grassy sector in Darnassus that catered to all Night Elf Druids. Compared to its neighbouring district, the more commercial Craftsman Terrace, its structures were carved into the trees themselves, rather than made of its material as the numerous shops and inns were in the terraced sector. Here, the druids lived in harmony with the flora, which were merely extensions of the world tree itself.

The tallest and most grandoise tree in the Enclave housed the Archdruid Fangren Staghelm, leader of the Druids. It also served as the training center for up and coming Druids. A recent alumnus of the program, Leyola no longer visited the training center, and preferred to have her meetings with her mentor out in the open, amongst the trees themselves, rather than within.

She arrived at a spot to her liking, and sat down with crossed legs. Closing her eyes, she opened her soul to the nature around her. Her breathing settling into a slow rhythm, she emptied her mind, and a spiritual aspect of her seperate from her body. The world around her new form faded out of color into a dim, faded monochrome. She was now floating above and amongst the the clouds. She felt that she was still in Darnassus, but somehow she had returned to a time before the World Tree itself, before the separation of the contents.

The Emerald Dream. The refuge of druid meditation. She had finally perfected control over herself as she soared through it, thanks to the teachings of her teacher, who she now knew was observing her physical form.

"My child, you have come a long way."

A deep voice swirled through her from without, as if spoken from the wind as it blew through the foliage of Teldrassil itself. Having found him, she prompted herself to return to her earthly self.

Her eyes opened, revealing pupiless, silver orbits, characteristic of her race. In front of her was the form of her mentor. "My shan'do. What is it that you called me for?"

Leyola's Shan'do, or beloved teacher, Valfare Stormsong was a master of the restorative druidic arts. With great authority, he wielded the power to heal and nourish those that suffered. He channeled the power of the trees with such command, to the extent that he took the form of a tree himself. A treant, his body features mimicked that of the forests themselves. His legs curled around themselves as roots, but was capable of walking like any elf. His arms stretched out sideways and in front of himself like branches. His skin was literally bark, hardened to protect him against the harshest environments, and wrinkled around his face, making him look older and wiser than his years.

"My child, I apologize for calling you here on short notice."

Leyola stood up slowly and respectfully. "Shan'do, there is something wrong with the balance of nature?"

Valfare sighed, the features on his stonelike face drooping with slight subtlety.

"It is as you fear, dear Leyola. A dark force threatens to not only encroach on the balance of nature, but the laws of life and death itself!"

Life and death itself, the thought sent a haunting chill down Leyola's lengthy spine. Whether or this unseen evil was related to Auberdine and the rabid bears, she did not know. She never even bothered questioned Valfare about Auberdine, considering that this threat was of greater concern.

"What can I..." She lost herself mid-sentence. "...How can I be of any use? I'm just a novice!"

Leyola bowed her head apologetically, as if she had failed her master in some way.

Valfare let out a deep chuckle, one that ruffled the leaves on his own branches. He turned at the waist, looking around for something or someone.

"Novice? You don't think highly enough of yourself, my child. Your reputation reaches further than you would expect!"

Leyola's face darkened, akin to a blush. She was quite aware that she drew attention to herself unwillingly wherever she went. Partly she thought it was due to her uncommon appearance by Night Elf standards. In another way, she remembered that her parents were war veterans, and that the Swiftwillow household had a nobility due to their contribution to the third War, and their efforts at the Battle of Mount Hyjal.

In fact, she had begun to notice that her surname took on synonymity with Hyjal itself, according to talks between her former druid peers and instructors.

She shrugged. "I suppose just a bit. But I still want to earn my praise, teacher."

Her shan'do smiled. "Yes. It is as you say, Leyola. Your parents were fine warriors."

He shared his reminiscence with his student. Having fought with her parents at Hyjal, he knew the elder Swiftwillows as if they were siblings. He even took pride in bringing the two together romantically. Returning the favor, his closest friends entrusted their only daughter to his care, hoping that he could help her walk the path of the Cenarion circle.

Leyola smiled regretfully whenever her teacher told her that story. She missed them dearly, and hoped that they would return from their duties in Outland, the dreaded place beyond the Dark Portal of Azeroth.

She shook off her sudden wave of emotion, replacing her saddened face with a stern look at Valfare. "I am at your service."

Valfare shot a look of disappointment.

"I'm sorry, Leyola. There's not enough time for me to teach you. You've learned a great deal from me, I can only hope that your skills would be of best use against this looming darkness. I suppose that you know about the Argent Dawn?"

Leyola curled an eyebrow in slight misunderstanding. "Yes...I suppose I have."

The tree sighed with relief. "Great. Go to them. They'll be waiting for you in front of the Temple of the Moon."

Leyola acknowledged his request and began to make her leave. She barely took two steps before she was grabbed by a branch. Instantly, she was caught in a warm embrace.

"Take care, my child." He smiled. "You were taught by one of the best healing druids in the Cenarion Circle. You will do well."

Leyola smiled, her skin darker once more. "Thank you."

She proudly walked away, heading in the direction of the temple, a short distance south of the Enclave.

Mother Moon, watch over my student. Valfare prayed to himself. She just might have what it takes to become the Tree of Life.

((Running word coun: 5162))

In Between NaNo's

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So yeah, haven't done a regular post in a while. Blame the novel! Go ahead, I dare ya! It's my baby, so I will sit here and defend it to my dying breath. Unfortunately, I've reached a point in the storyline planning-wise that I think I may have to spoil myself with Lich King Lore, since there's a bunch of details that I need to know in order to fit the story as best as I can with the main storyline.

In-game, I've shelved Bashertin indefinitely until the expansion hits. Too much time NOT writing to do anything worthwhile in WoW, so I spent my last badges on the Scryer's Blade of Focus, and called it an expansion. At approximately a thousand or so spell damage, hit capped, and a very small health pool, Bashertin has come a long way from level 1. I'm proud of him, and I eagerly wait for the expac to hit.

And Leyola. Well, she's a different case. I've been having a lot of fun healing Outlands instances. I've been pugging out on normal UB, BF, HR, and SP so many times (rather quickly too, because at least 80% of the time, a 70 had helped out his guildie who was part of the initial PuG), that I didn't even know that I had levelled up TWICE without doing a single quest. Wild Growth? Best 5-man healing spell EVER. EVER. EVAAARRRRR!!!

Here's a thought regarding my time spent on alts, particularly with Wimzig/Leyola/Death Knight. What if Wimzig became the death knight? Something I've considered, and will get back to you on when the time is right.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Scarlet Dawn - Two

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((The Scarlet Dawn is the title of a derivative piece of fiction set in the WoW universe, written by Krizzlybear for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As per the word count demands of NaNoWriMo, all spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems, and failures to adhere to canon, are unintentional, and will not be attended to until the end of November. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.))

Thousands of feet below the surface of the earth, a wonderous city remained abandoned and partially in ruins. Expanding as far as any being could see, Gnomeregan's infrastructure stretched for countless miles in all directions. Its buildings and houses built with meticulate detail, every single structure was crafted with at least some form of technological variance from the norm. The average building stood erect on smelted metal, its parts bolted together and lined with arcano-electrical wiring for numerous automagical purposes. Whether it be for simple lighting or for visually communicative lilve transmissions to other outposts not only on other continents, but even on other worlds.

And those were just the average house. In more mechanically advanced districts, more complicated structures were present, and had more robotic, lifelike qualities to them. In the heart of the city, a grand platform appeared to perpetually hover above the rest, supported only chains to stabilize its position over the rest of the city. The sheer fact that it remained intact all these years after the city's evacuation is a wonder for even the most gifted engineers.

And yet, as fast as it had been built and develloped, it had been taken away just as quickly. The gnomes who had previously occupied that city, were invaded by a fearsome yet numerous race called the Troggs, barbaric and violent beings that emerged from the depths of the earth when the urban sprawl had gone too far. It had led to their peoples downfall, and except for a handful of Troggs, the city was devoid of gnomes.

Except for Wimzig Wintersprug.

A mage by nature, Wimzig peered into a scrying orb that he formed by himself. Through this orb, he was able to see a multitude of numerous views of the city that he had once called home. Why he always spent his time there, none of his peers knew; all that mattered to him was that one day he would help his exiled bretheren retake the city and find his missing kin.

The orb dissipated into nothingness, and Wimzig sighed. "Nothing today." He said. "They must be hiding, they must."

He drew an imaginary line in the space in front of him, and with a quick thought, a cane sublimated into form. He grabbed it in mid-hover, and began to walk with it.

For a gnome, he was quite old, but other than the cane he now wielded, his appearance did not indcate as such. With a full head of thick black hair and a bushy mustache, he passed for a gnome recently of age, even though he had studied the arcane arts for nearly two decades.

A veteran of the Battle of Gnomeregan against the Troggs, there was a sense of unease in the mage as he lightly stepped through a connecting tunnel littered with rubble from the rocky ceilings above. Eyeing the crevaces in the cavernous walls for possible Trogg encampments, he stayed alert for any ambushes. Even though it was rightfully his home, those beasts had conquered it handily, and were prone to mercilessly destroying any and all intruders.

At the end of the tunnel, Wimzig approached a large metal door, nearly shut, apparently jammed from its automatic open/close functions. Placing his tiny hand on the aged, neglected metal panels, he studied the elemental composition of the obstacle before him.

"Eleven-point-six percent Carbon, fifty seven-poin-nine-three percent Iron...Hello!"

His thin lips curved upward, turning a huaghty grin.

"Three-point-seven-seven percent solidified Iron oxide? How depressing..."

He frowned at it. Rust. Plain old rust.

Wimzig whispered a spell, and suddenly his hand radiated a yellow glow that spread through his four fingers onto the door itself. It began to hiss, as an acidic reagent began to line the surface, dissolving the rust, yet keeping the rest of the door intact.

When the time was appropriate, Wimzig disengaged from contact with the door, and walked towards a nearby panel. Pressing a sequence of keys that he remembered from long ago, the door opened with a hiss of steam coming from the vents above. It operated again as if brand new.

The end of the path opened up again, and Wimzig walked through, now appearing in a new section of the city previously blocked off from his scrying orb.

From a quick glance at his surroundings, he concluded that this was a residence district, to which his fellow gnomes would retire after a day's work in the central market areas. He picked up the pace of his step, and eventually reached a particular structure, still standing, its banner still intact and hanging from the top.

"Wintersprug Water Emporium."

For the first time since the beginning of the Third War, which had happened several years ago, he was once again home.

He was not alone.

Hearing footsteps grow louder from behind him, he concentrated on his own form, and studied the surrounding light sources. Visualizing the arcane fields flow around him, he quickly formed a line running around himself, and directed the flow at it. When the spell was cast, the surrounding light was completely absorbed, and no form of visual colour had escaped from his being. He turned completely invisible.

Still able to visually and audibly sense the world around him, he quickly settled himself against a nearby wall, monitoring the space around him.

From the tunnel from which he came, several figures clad in robes and armor marched into the vicinity.

"Is this the place the commander spoke of?" one mail-wearing individual asked.

"Yes," another robed figure replied. "The map leads to this spot."

"Keep your eyes open then," the third and final individual remakred. "There should be a few lepper gnomes around here still."

Lepper gnomes, the unfortunates who were unable to be evacuated when the Troggs invaded, were victims of the invasion. In a desperate attempt to ward off the encroaching beasts, the leader of the gnomes, Gelbin Mekkatorque, released a cloud of radaiation from the city's vents, long after they had evacuated most of Gnomeregan's citizens. Unfortunately, the attack that was directed at the Troggs also hit straggling gnomes, who had been turned into psychotic shells of their former selves.

Wimzig's former love, Karin Coldchill, was one of them.

Wimzig cringed slightly as he suddenly reminded himself of her. He continued evesdropping on the trio in front of him, who were clearly not Gnomes or Troggs. By the time he had set his focus on them again, they were now two.

The two figures in front of him bore tabards with a red crest of Lordaeron, a former kingdom from the northern region of the continent. One of them had a red hyena under his care. They both waited for the third to return from wherever he or she may have gone.

Wimzig continued observing them from his invisible state, until the third came running back to the group.

"One's coming out!" The person said as he rejoined the group, having emerged from a nearby alley.

The trio and their pet readied a defensive stance as a fourth figure emerged from the same alley, this one less than half the height of the the initial three. It was also covered with radiation, and glowed a sickly green. A lepper gnome.

The robed figure took out a glass orb from his pocket, and threw it at the lepper gnome. A fiendish green slime sprayed out at him, causing him to shake about in discomfort. As he continued to stumble around in a circle as the slime was absorbed into the body, the green glow that the lepper gnome had emitted suddenly vanished.

Remarkable! Wimzig thought to himself, still veiled, yet fully able to witness what had happened. If he could figure out what the strangers had used, then there was a possibility that he could cure his-

A loud yell echoed throughout the underground mechanical suburb. The gnome writhed with a shriek of pain as its skin began to peel at the shoulders and face. As tiny as he initially was, his form somehow grew in height significantly, but left him still significantly shorter than the three figures who had caused his condition. His back hunched, and his innards and organs became visible through the clothing, which ripped as a result of the growth.

Claws, fangs, veiny yet lifeless eyes marked the completion of the zombification of the poor lepper gnome.

It raged on its own initially, before setting its eyes on the three people out in the open. Almost as quickly as it had changed, the monster had run up to the three and gave chase.

"Run away! We need to tell the commander!" Said one of them.

Quickly, the others complied and they hurried off to the tunnel from where they came.

In an instant, Wimzig was once again by his lonesome, successfully not drawing any attention to himself from the parties who he just witnessed. Dispelling his own illusion, he came into visible form, and widened his eyes in sheer disbelief.

"Gelbin must know, he must!" He muttered. Quickly, he reached out his arms slightly to the side of him, and they began to emanate a subtle purple glow.

And just as quickly, he was gone as well.

((running word count: 2888. I'll pick things up by this weekend. Thanks for the kidn words so far, everyone! And don't worry, I promise to put at least some form of non-NaNo content in the blog. Just haven't done much besides dailys anyways.))

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Scarlet Dawn - One

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((The Scarlet Dawn is the title of a derivative piece of fiction set in the WoW universe, written by Krizzlybear for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As per the word count demands of NaNoWriMo, all spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems, and failures to adhere to canon, are unintentional, and will not be attended to until the end of November. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.))

Gaz Grimblefizz shivered as a gust of wind crept into the Everlook Inn. Snowfall was perpetual in the aptly named trade outpost of Winterspring, but the chill of winter was always sudden when the cold season had arrived. He sniffled right afterward, his lips pursing downwards at the discomfort of his work at this time of the year. The house itself was simple in architecture, but its limited practicality offered little, if any, insulation from the onslaught of cold from the outside. It was unsurprising then that the inn itself had practically no visitors this time of the year.

Tonight was an exception, however, Gaz heard several knocks on his front door.

"Ring the bell, you nitwit!" He exclaimed furiously, worried that the knocks would destroy his flimsy door.

There was silence, but it was interrupted by a peculiar sequence of blips and beeps emenating from Gaz's engineered speaker system. The noise was music to his ears, and as he exhaled, he found himself ready to accept his first and perhaps only guest of the entire season. "Okay, you can come in now! The door is open, okay?"

As the orchestrated blips and bloops ended, silence hung once again, but this time, it had lingered for an ominously long amount of time. Whoever this person was, he was not eager to open the door himself.

"Stupid guests!" Gaz muttered under his own breath. "Why do I get all the crazies this time of year?" He hobbled off of his cozy Bear-hide chair, and proceeded towards the door, several feet away from him, but on the opposite side of the lone furnace in the establishment.

He better have a good explanation for all this, he thought to himself. As he arrived at the front door, he placed his tiny green hand on the knob and began to turn it. He stopped midway when he heard a low groan from the other side.

uuurrgggghhh...

The sudden sound broke the silence, and Gaz's fume of annoyance quickly turned into a trembling fear. He was a coward, despite his swashbuckler business-like demeanour, and the noise he heard immediately prompted him to think twice about turning the knob the rest of the way.

"Who is it?" Gaz whimpered, suddenly turning onery again. "If this is Krizzle Crumblespark, you better stop that, you jerk!"

His remark was replied with more silence. With an arched brow, Gaz crouched down to take a peek through the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. Unfortunately, he saw nothing suspicious from underneath, and flinched in sudden confusion.

Curiously, he stood back up and opened the door just enough to stick his head out. A gust of winter air blew into his face, and Gaz cringed at the chill that travelled from his head to the soles of his feet. Part was from the cold, but mostly due to his immense terror. What the hell made that sound?

Grabbing a Yeti-maned cloak from a nearby rack, he went out onto the front steps of the inn, only to see most of the town in front of him, devoid of any populace. It was expected, as it was quite late into the evening, perhaps almost past midnight. The storm that evening left a new layer of snow, and aside from Gaz's own, there were no visible indication of footsteps leading up to or away from the entrance. Gaz was irked once more, wondering who or what had knocked on his door in the first place. Another loud roar of wind brushed against his ears, deafening him for a few seconds. He gave up at his line of thought, succombing to his bodily need for warmth.

Immediately, he rushed back inside, both to avoid the cold as well as whatever this unseen horror may have been. He shut the door as quickly as he could, bolting every lock in place. "Inn's closed! Get the hell out of here!" Gaz shouted, hoping that there was nobody around to hear his plea.

He sighed as he dropped his cloak on the floor, and he shivered again at the sudden drop in temperature emanating from within within. "Lousy furnace!" He grumbled, as he wobbled towards the other end of the room, only to see that the furnace was gone.

Not gone, but rather literally ripped out of the wall and floor into which it was built. A giant hole was left in place.

"What the hell is going on he-"

The door behind him rattled with a loud shriek. The force shaking it almost knocked the bolts out of their places, and the doorbell began to chime once again, but this time with unsynched blips and bloops that rang more out of dysfunction than anything.

"OH MY GOD!"

He ran towards the door to try and brace it shut, but his steps were not soon enough, as the entrance completely collapsed to the force outside. The doorway, and significant chunks of bricks that lined it, gave way to the sight of a hulking zombie, nearly twice the size as Gaz himself.

"urrrgghhh..." It moaned. The exact same sound Gaz heard earlier.

It limped haphazardly towards him, nearly tripping over the fallen debris. Paralyzed in fear, Gaz stared into its lifeless eyes as he unnoticingly fell backwards onto the floor, his sight still fixed on the figure in front of him.

The undead individual towered over Gaz, its flesh ripped and torn in numerous places, revealing veins, muscles, and hints of visceral matter in its torso area. It raised an arm as it began to howl, showing fanged teeth and flaring, yet soulless eyes. Gaz tried to raise his own arm in defence, but the zombie's swipe cracked through his forearm. Its massive claws raked Gaz in the face, leaving scars that ran from nose to navel.

In sheer pain, Gaz rose to his feet instinctively, running out into the main street of Everlook. He ran towards a particular house that still had its lights on, and banged on the door. Repeatedly.

Gaz could feel another surge of pain, and as he looked down on himself, he saw his green skin burst out in numerous places. His hands swelled to the point of sheer agony, as his fingers sprouted massive claws. Now he no longer had control over his own voice. Trying to scream at his own terror, all he could muster was a low goblin groan of his own.

"OOOooowwwwww..."

His movements were no longer his own, but he remained aware of his own sense of sight and sound. He saw himself continue to pound against the door, and could hear the screams coming from within. He knew he was lost to the affliction that he had contracted. He saw himself tear down the door, and skulk at the human family that dwelled within.

Moments later, a group of four zombies emerged from the house, as they continued to spread out to the other buildings of Everlook. Despite the blistering wind, the resulting swarm became absorbed in their own hunger for flesh and violence.

Gaz was now part of a mob of living dead, as they ravaged and ripped through building after building, finally setting their eyes on one particular house, this one bearing the banner of a white sun on a black background.

"GWAAARR!!" Gaz bellowed, as he swung his arm at the wall of the complex, immediately felling the structure itself. From the rubble, a group of people clad in armor and tabards bearing the same symbol as the house's banner emerged. A robed human female stepped forward from the group towards the mob and said a silent prayer as she closed her eyes.

Almost immediately, a surge of light radiated from the woman, and hit every last zombie in her vicinity. They fell back, but were not defeated. The strike was enough to incapacitate them for just long enough for the group to run away.

As they trogged through the snow, all the Argent soldiers could do now was report to their companions, and hope that the oncoming menace could be stopped in time.

((running word count: 1352. TERRIBLE! I'm so off the pace, but I was busy this weekend doing my last raids of the BC expansion. I have the whole story planned out already, so it's all a matter of putting it into words, and hoping that it will eventually reach the 50,000 plateau. Stay tuned for part two!))