Winter Come Again, Part Three
Aubrey climbed the rocks on the outer rim of the ogre compound, between the southernmost tower and the cliffside. He shimmied easily between the shear jagged boulders, and made his way silently to the tower. He crawled in between the large stone legs, and clung to the side, directly above one of the two ogres guarding the southern pass into the complex. Dressed in matte blacks and blues, he was just a dark shadow. As silent as a falling feather, he released his grip on the tower and kicked off of the rock. He unsheathed a dagger in mid-air, landed on the ogre like a child riding on his large father's shoulders, and deftly slashed the brute's throat. The other ogre in the pass heard a mumbling gurgle and turned to check on his partner. He was rewarded with a dagger thrown into his skull. Aubrey was at the dying ogre's side in a flash, helping him slowly to the ground to avoid a noisy crash. The elf retrieved his dagger and clicked his comm to signal the others.
A huge black shadow moved along the side of the ridge, south of the tower. It materialized into Trask, a giant draenei in dull black armor. He stayed just out of view of the tower. He also clicked his comm, signaling that he was ready. Fay's voice whispered over the comm. "Sicle has cleared the south pass. Avalanche is in position. Let it hail." With only the slightest whistle, an arrow soared out of the darkness, taking the tower guard in the eye. The ogre toppled from the tower, but Trask was there, catching him to muffle the noise. The big draenei stuffed the ogre between the legs of the tower, then crept towards the middle tower. He clicked his comm to signal, and another arrow fired out of the dark. The middle tower guard fell dead and was caught and hid.
Aubrey had already climbed through the legs of the middle tower and waited to take out the north-pass guards. These ogres seemed to be in conversation about something, in their thick brutish language. The further ogre was turned in, looking almost directly at Aubrey's position. The elf moved imperceptibly slow, positioning himself directly behind the closer ogre's back. When he was confident that he was blocked from view, he took slow steps into the pass. He'd have to make this quick. Slash the closer ogre's throat from behind, then toss another dagger in nearly the same moment. That was the plan. He took a step, and another, and another. Two more and he'd be in range. Suddenly, motion caught his eye. He glanced to his left and froze. An ogre had just turned the corner beyond the tower. He had two large mugs, apparently for the guards. He was frozen as well, gaping at Aubrey. Aubrey gaped back. The elf recovered faster. He flipped a dagger, end over end into the intruder's throat. The unfortuante ogre lurched over with a grunt and a crash. The guards turned to see what had happened right as Aubrey sprung forward with a frustrated curse. But it was too late. As Aubrey cut down the closest guard, the other was bellowing a warning. The complex sprung to life.
The last tower guard had time to fire two arrows at Aubrey before he, himself, was cut down by arrows from the darkness. Aubrey engaged the last guard in the pass, but it was a short fight. Trask quickly joined Aubrey, drawing two huge axes. They watched as more than a dozen ogres poured out of the large building, straight towards them. Fay bellowed in their ears, no longer worrying about stealth. "Glacier, assist the north pass!" Marcus Creston rushed out of the darkness, shield and mace at ready. He stood with Trask, ready to take the brunt of the attack. "Sicle, get to our target. Let the others distract. Hail, Sleet, send in your boys. Get close for eye-level cover on Av and Glacier. GO GO GO!"
With practiced ease, many things happened at once. Aubrey seemed to melt into the shadows. Dell and Teague's arrows began darting past Marcus and Trask, taking out the first few charging ogres. As Trask and Marcus charged the mob, they were joined by a large black gorilla, and a thick-muscled, teal plainstrider. Trask and Marcus tore through the middle of the mob, back to back, fighting in a slowly spinning dance, never giving the ogres a clear opening. The animals seemed to dance with them, on the outskirts of the fight. The gorilla would grab the ogres and toss or pummel them to the ground, where the plainstrider would sprint past, slashing open throats, tendons, and bellies.
A bellow deafened the combatants. All, even the ogres, paused to look into the black sky. A silhouette darker than the clouds was gliding through the gorge towards the complex. The ogres cheered and renewed their attack.
Fay's voice hollared in the comm again. "The drake!"
Teague chuckled into the comm, "No kiddin'? Thought that roar was a chicken-hawk."
Fay didn't sound happy. "Just pepper him. We're incoming."
Teague and Dellias focused fire towards the swiftly growing shadow. It was too dark to aim with any accuracy, even for the elven brothers. Just as the drake descended towards the combatants, a blur of blue, black and brown dove from the sky and hit the beast in the chest like a bullet. The drake twisted in the air, nearly losing flight, but regained its balance and glared around for its attacker. It spotted its prey, flying straight up. Fay, on her gryphon Marcus, was shouting taunts and curses behind her. The drake bellowed another battle-cry and gave chace. "It's Netherwing. Onyx. Light help us, this thing is big." She said.
"We've fought bigger." Dekkett said.
"Yeah, but not in the dark. Just be ready. We'll do this by the book." Fay said.
"Who are ye talkin' to, lass? Y'feelin' rusty?" Dekkett laughed.
"Just do it right. He's gaining. Here we go!" Fay had gained high altitude with the drake on her heels. Just as the big drake could nearly nip at the gryphon's tail, Fay reared him back. Marcus tucked his wings, making himself into a small ball and turned, hitting the drake full in the chest. The gryphon dug his powerful fore-talons into the shoulders of the drake and held on. The drake screamed in pain and rage and flapped its wings in a panic to stay aloft with the new weight. It snapped its jaws towards the gryphon's head, but Fay wielded a barbed lance, jamming it at the drakes mouth and eyes every time it tried. Marcus held on tight, digging and raking at the shoulders.
Dekkett and his gryphon dove in from above. They slammed into the back of the drake and it roared in frustration. Dekkett's mount grabbed onto the thick muscles of the drakes wings, behind the shoulders, and began to rip at them visciously. Its head reared back, trying to snap at the new attacker, but Dekkett also had his lance at ready. He and Fay jammed their lances into the creatures neck. Their gryphons ripped and tore at its shoulders and wings. The combatants were crashing towards the ground at full free-fall now, tumbling end over end, but still the gryphons did not let up. When the drake's muscles seemed shredded to satisfaction, Fay and Dekkett gave the command to release. The gryphons unfurled their wings and let go. The drake screamed in rage and pain, and crashed through the stony spikes of Blade's Edge. It gave a final cry as it ran itself through on a large spike, and hung there limply.
Fay and Dekkett glided down through the canyon and landed in the complex. Marcus Creston stood by, cleaning his mace. Trask was calmly walking around the piles of ogres, making sure they were out of their misery. Teague and Dellias stood by chatting and laughing, and their 'pets' stood not far off, seeming to chat in an odd parody of their elven counterparts. Pelp walked around with a notebook, taking notes on everything. Near the north pass, Aubrey stood over some kind of bundle on the ground. Fay leapt from her gryphon and walked to the bundle. Aubrey gave her a nod. "This is our boy." The bundle was a figure, wrapped in sackcloth and tied tightly with rope.
Fay nodded. "Good work." She looked around. "Everyone. Good work. It could have been quieter, but--"
"What fun would that have been?" Teague asked. Dellias chuckled and punched him in the shoulder. Teague punched back, much harder.
Fay smiled. "All right then, let's get him out of here."
A door opened to a small, dim room. Trask walked in with the bundled figure over his shoulder. By now, the bundle was squirming and cursing through a gag. Trask set the bundle in a chair. Fay walked in and nodded to Trask. The draenei ripped off the top of the sackcloth, exposing a sweaty, beaten-up, angry looking blood elf.
He glared at Fay, then looked at Trask. He suddenly looked worried.
Fay gave him a pleasant smile. "Don't look so alarmed. My Avalanche here won't give you any trouble. Now, let's talk." She motioned to Trask again, who pulled the gag off of the blood elf. He spit a few times, and tried to compose himself as best as he could, being tied and relatively immobile. He settled his glare back on Fay. "Now, my friend. We've got some questions for you. Questions that I'm sure you already know that we're going to ask. So, let's make this easy. Just tell us exactly what's going on, and you'll be just fine." The blood elf clearly understood common. He seemed to consider her words for a long moment, then gave her a cold smile.
"I'll take my chances with the draenei." he said.
Fay grunted and shook her head. "All right then. But I already told you, he isn't going to give you any trouble." She leaned out the doorway, looking around the corner. "Frostbite. Rime. You're up."
A man with red hair and robes walked in, followed by an elf with blonde hair. The man had an eery smile. The elf looked grim.
"Boys, our friend doesn't feel like talking. Let's give him a chance to loosen up." Fay nodded to the man first. "Frostbite, you get to do the loosening." The man's smile broadened. "If that doesn't work, Rime, just rip everything out of his head." The blonde elf nodded. "Have fun, boys." Fay left the room with Trask following. He shut the door firmly behind them.