((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.))
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