Friday, October 26, 2012

A Single Step

Thanks be to the Light!  My training has finally ended, and I have been bestowed with the title of Paladin at last.  I have faced trials of fortitude, strength, and faith, and surpassed all of the challenges laid before me.  I yearn to enter the great world of Azeroth and beyond, and bear forth the Light; a vessel of healing and defense to the weak, and an agent of righteous retribution to the wicked and corrupt.

I had recently learned of troubles in the vineyards of Northshire Abbey.  Packs of wolves had been harassing the citizens, bands of kobolds had been infesting the nearby gold mine, and bandits were pillaging the grape harvest.  I saw no better opportunity to begin my journey than this distressed valley.  I set out for Northshire at first light.

My reception by the local Marshal was well received.  He seemed elated to have assistance with the sudden threats that had plagued his watch.  He introduced me to the local citizenry and assigned to me my first task: culling the booming population of increasingly-aggressive wolves.  It took no time at all to isolate a few of the mangy beasts from their packs, and my warhammer made short work of them.  I also harvested a fair amount of meat from the creatures to provide the local traders and craftsmen with materials for producing rations and jerky for the beleaguered guards.  With my first task complete, I returned to the Marshal.

So grateful was the Marshal for my assistance, he gave me passage into the heart of the Abbey, where a wizened and disciplined elder Paladin had taken position.  As I passed through the hallowed halls, I marveled at the craftsmanship of the old, stone walls and magnificent painted glass windows.  My footsteps echoed through the halls, as the tall ceilings loomed overhead.  I paused to reflect on both the skill of the men that carved these walls, and the majesty of the Holy Light that inspired them.

I met with the esteemed Paladin and paid my respects to his station.  We communed together with the Light, and he imparted upon me new and improved techniques of our order.  I thanked him for his time and assistance, and returned to the front of the Abbey.

The Marshal signaled me as I returned. and asked if I would be willing to continue to assist with his troubles. I, of course, obliged.  The guards had reported a startling increase in the kobold infestation within the nearby gold mine, and my help with investigating the issue was requested.  I quickly made my way to the rear of the valley and positioned myself outside of the mine's entrance.  The burning smell of campfires and crude forges stung my senses as I approached the threshold.

I heard the chattering of kobold voices, and the plinking and clanging of shoddy mining picks against stone and ore.  I ventured through the cavernous opening and deep into the halls of the mine, steeling myself.  I softly said a prayer to the light, and felt its holy strength flowing into my weapon, imbuing it with righteous power.  The chattering grew louder, in broken Common.  I could decipher plans to encroach on the people of the valley, usurping the resources and displacing those they did not kill in the assault.  I had heard all I needed to.  I struck.

My weapon was a blur, the kobolds were caught unprepared.  I struck two down before the rabble even realized they were under attack, and two more yet before any defense could be mustered.  The beasts charged, flailing madly and shouting in their guttural tongues.  They fought wildly, but were crude and undisciplined.  I easily parried their flurry of strikes, and retaliated in kind.  After nearly a dozen had fallen, the mob scattered into the depths and recesses of the mine.  Confident that any plans of an organized attack had been thoroughly quelled, I returned to the Marshal to deliver the good news.

It was not, unfortunately, reciprocated in kind.

During my time in the mines, the bandits east of the river had made a bold move on the vineyards.  They had swept through with such speed and ferocity that the Northsire guards were driven back to the Abbey's perimeter grounds.  My task was twofold: subdue a number of the thugs, claiming their red bandannas as a message to the rest, then retrieve as much of the pilfered grape harvest as possible.

I swiftly made my way across the small river and took a position near the fenced fields.  I spotted a group of bandits gathering around a large bucket of grapes, muttering unflattering remarks about the poor steward of the harvest, a young Ms. Millie Osworth, as they rummaged through her stolen crops.  I charged, bringing the hammer across the back of the bandit closest to the fence.  He crumpled to the ground, quickly gathering the attention of his comrades.  The bandits were fierce, and much more capable fighters than the kobolds, but the Light was with me, and my strikes landed true.

The skirmish had ended quickly, and I retrieved the bandannas, stuffing them into the leather pouch on my hip.  I then proceeded to hoist the barrel of grapes up from the ground and turned back towards the Abbey.  I repeated this process a half a dozen more times, until a grateful Ms. Osworth informed me that I had recovered enough for her needs.

During my task, the Marshal had sent a scout to observe the bandit activity to the north and east of the vineyards, and had obtained valuable information towards stemming the flow of their violence and aggression.  He had identified their leader.  I assured him that the request need not even be made, and headed towards the camp of Garrick Padfoot; the leader of this particular group of bandits, who we had come to discover were part of a group called the Defias Brotherhood.

Seeking to alleviate the people of Northshire from their troubles, I approached Padfoot's tent and issued a challenge.  The bandit sneered, and unceremoniously charged.  His attacks were swift and unpredictable, his skill far greater than those he supervised.  A dagger bit into my arm, and another into my leg.  I raised my defenses, unprepared for the ferocity and capability of this foe.  Pain surged through me, though I remained stalwart, knowing the Light would see this through.

As if to answer my prayers, a warm glow began to emanate from my wounds.  The flesh mended, and the bleeding stopped.  I thanked the Light for its healing embrace, and used the moment of surprise my healing evoked in my enemy to shove the head of my hammer into his stomach while his guard was down.  He stumbled back, and one of the daggers fell to the grass.  Following through with a lateral strike, I felt bones shatter beneath my weapon as the other dagger flew from his grip.  With a final blow, I ended the threat that Garrick Padfoot and his Defias Brotherhood compatriots posed to the small valley and the citizens within.

Returning to the Marshal, I happily delivered the news.  Ecstatic, the Marshal wrote me a commendation and  advised me to report to his counterpart in a small town down the road to the southwest, Goldshire, for further reward.  I thanked the Marshal, and began to make my way down the road.  As I approached the gates to Elwynn Forest, I turned and glanced over my shoulder at the Abbey.

I smiled pensively.  This was but the first step on my journey; but what a grand journey it should be.