She stood just outside the group, by herself, a bit of a self-appointed position as much as it was the spot for a paid mercenary to be. After all, most of the group already knew each other from previous campaigns. She was, in this instance, the odd one out. But she couldn’t be gladder to be here, nonetheless. Kadrian gazed up at the gate, battered and beaten down by the enourmous ram that now stood just before the tall entrance to the citadel. Soldiers of Fording’s Argent Crusade, actually in concert with members of the Ebon Blade for once, were making a stand against the consistent influx of scourge determined to shut off their brief breakthrough into the Lich’s kings domain.
“You with us, Kadrian?” a voice broke through her musings. Her head shot around, and she nodded wordlessly at the paladin who’d hired her. He was a friendly sort, determined, passionate about order to a point it might have been obsessive, but he ran a tight ship. She’d never had any reason to disapprove of his campaigns. He nodded and turned away, checking everyone else. She watched the rest of the group, her fingers tracing the edge of her daggers thoughtfully. The priest seemed nervous, unduly so. But then again, people of the Light, like them, rarely were forced away from their cathedrals. Even battle priests had a right be wary. Kadrian was not religious by any means, but even she could feel it…the ‘wrongness’ in the air, in the very ground. The priest was right to be anxious, and she glanced at the holy paladin, who stood chatting casually with one of the mages. She could see a tension in his dwarven body too, a tightness in his eyes that bespoke his discomfort. Her gaze passed over him to his companion, a tall human mage, her face open and friendly. It was clear they’d been friends for some time, their body language was very casual, and Kadrian could almost see something more in the mage’s eyes as she looked upon her dwarven companion. She stifled a snort of laughter. A human and a dwarf coupling was not unheard of, per se, but…she shook her head of that idea and moved on to study the druids. There were two of them-standing apart, both night elven. At this moment, neither were shape shifted, and Kadrian was glad for it. There was something inherently…unnerving about the ability to change one’s form, no matter how magic it was. All she needed were simple spells, really nothing more than tricks. The idea that one could patch into the nether or ley lines of Azeroth to physically change one’s shape…well, she’d seen a warlock transform into a demon once, and had barely kept her supper. One of the druids however, and Kadrian was truly surprised when she saw his face, was incredibly young. Even for a night elf-she wouldn’t have put him past 70 years, merely a child in human terms. He caught her looking at him, and to her surprise, didn’t blush or look away. He caught her gaze securely, and smiled. Kadrian found herself smiling back.
The other druid, this one female, seemed to be making it her life’s work to antagonize the priest: she was taking it well: Kad guessed one had to store patience in spades, being religious…come to think of it, that druid looked quite young, too. She shook her head. What would the dread atmosphere, the cold, bitter bite of death inside the citadel do to those grinning faces? Kadrian looked away, smiling a bit as the druid started tugging the priest’s staff out of her hands, moved her eyes across the way to another paladin, although he had forsworn his shield and instead wielded two-Kadrian winced inwardly—very heavy-looking swords. They seemed to come out of the cracks, these heavily-armored warriors. She didn’t know what to think about the Light. Of course, she couldn’t deny its existence, the mere idea and abilities of priests, paladins, even dark priests were clear indications that it was a real, true, power. One that, apparently, worked in the hands of those who did good. After all, she thought…Arthas, the Lich King, had been a paladin, once. But the Light-it had stopped working in his abilities shortly after his treacherous actions in Stratholme…Kadrian shuddered with anger. She’d had friends in that city….
No, paladins seemed to be everywhere, nowadays. The deathly, necromantic magic of the scourge and the death knights drew them and the Light like bugs. And speaking of death knights …
Now, there was one group of…if you could still call them, ‘people,’ Kadrian felt truly afraid of. Not that she would EVER admit it…but…how could you trust…I mean, really trust them? She glanced at him. He was unnaturally tall, it seemed, and held his head high, the death glow of his blue-silver eyes bitter, even if she couldn’t really see the pupils within. His long elven hair had turned the silver-grey of all death knights, like the cadaverous white of the undead. But then again, she thought to herself: he was, technically, dead. Or undead. It was confusing to think about it sometimes. She looked away swiftly, noticing his tight grip of the great bone-axe he had slung across his shoulder. As if the weapon itself wasn’t fearsome enough, taller than she was, spiked with real bones, sharpened to glisten in the snow and icy glare– he’d not even cleaned it from the last battle–dark stains covered the serrated edge of the blade. She didn’t wait for him to notice her watching him and looked away to the last member: and Kadrian wondered again how such a small people could have been made a part of the Alliance. They were only three feet tall!
The gnome mage was grinning widely as she teased the other human mage and the dwarf, who took it with well-worn ease. Kadrian tried to take the magical caster seriously, but sometimes…at least this one had fashion sense. Kadrian had been given a contract on one gnome once that had sported PINK PIGTAILS. She’d fulfilled that contract with a bit of personal glee herself.
So that was their group. Just a mere 10 people–augmented of course, with whatever the Ebon Blade and Fordring could spare…against the entire scourge citadel. Kadrian snorted. Yes, that was a fair fight. Naturally, Fording could claim they were the best, Kadriun knew they would not have been standing there if they’d not ‘performed’ well enough at that stupid tournament. Even the gnome. She glanced at the short mage out of the corner of her eye and stifled her grins. The mental image of the three-foot gnome on those smoking, noisy machines with a jousting lance 7 feet long….
Dropping his tabard declaring his allegiance to the Argent Crusade over his broad shoulders, the paladin motioned her forward to join the group, entering into his generally long-winded but still informative speech on what they were to expect. She took out her vials, both almost glowing with the fierce poisons she brewed just this morning. It was best to use recent brews: they lost their potency after a few days. Flipping off the cork with her thumb, she gingerly coasted the edge of her blades with the sickly green substance, careful to avoid getting it on her bare fingertips as much as she nimbly avoided the razor-sharp edge of the weapons themselves. It bubbled and hissed upon contact with the enchanted metal, but, enchanted as it was, the corrosive stuff had no effect. Once finished, she slid both daggers back into their sheaths upon her hips, and looked back up. They were ready. She was ready. She nodded to their leader: he turned, and led them all into the dark maw of the doorway.