It was a cold misty evening as Emanee rode out of Ashenvale on her sleek white tiger. She had just seen Estergon leave on a gyrocopter in search of a cure, many of the others in the agency had already left on a new top secret mission to which she was not privy. She sighed as she looked back towards the flight master Ė did everything have to end up this lonely?
She thought back to a memorable night when Lorona - a long lost friend had found her in Ashenvale, dried her tears and given her hope. Why did it now seem so pointless?
Continuing out towards the Silverwing Outpost she continued to think over the events of the past few years, the wonderful times she had on Triksy's boat, of Rammy and her hen-do, to the great parties of the Exiles. Of Closed Circle - the agency in which she had been a part of the exploring team, and supply mistress... at times even leading, under Validus' careful gaze. She stopped Annie (her war tiger) briefly to allow tears that had formed to dry and fade away - yes, the past few years had been good on her she thought, even if she had been forced to leave Closed Circle and left to fish alone. The new business was booming, maybe in time she would find a new group like the Agency to explore and to heal... until that point she would collect herbs and fish.
As she arrived at Silverwing Outpost she was quite surprised that no-one was outside to greet her. Jumping from Annie she grabbed her bag of freshly collected herbs and wandered inside.
"Hello?" She called out.
Emanee looked around in disbelief at the empty woods and made her way up the ramp to look inside the outpost. Again, she called out, but the same silence echoed around. Emanee knew something wasn't right and immediately sat down in a state of concentration. Remembering back to her days as a member of the Exiles, she attempted to reconnect to the great mind link that Archdruid Hiddenshadow used to remain in contact with all who followed him. For a brief moment she felt the touch of another mind and her heart jumped at the thought of communicating with one of her former comrades in arms. Suddenly, her body went cold and a shrill and anguished cry invaded her thoughts, causing her to reel back in pain. Sweat dripped from her brow and her spine quaked as the terror slowly ebbed away as Emanee withdrew from the mental invasion and attempted to regain some composure.
Still shaken from her experience, the druid walked back out onto the forest floor and continued to try and work out what had happened. Wandering on the path that led south from the outpost, all of a sudden Emanee found a scene that almost turned her stomach. Resting over a now smouldering fire was a chestplate and inside that chestplate was a torso that was more bones than meat. Rushing over, anxious to find out what this meant, Emanee knocked the chestplate from where it was so she could see the markings on the front. Now charred from the fire there was very little to be seen of any decoration, but the moulded insignia of the soldiers of Silverwing was still visible.
Her stomach could take no more. Doubling over as her body was repulsed by the realisation of what had happened, Emanee gagged all over the forest floor and then collapsed in a shivering foetal ball. As she lay there, she became aware that something, or someone, was watching her. Slowly picking herself up and sweeping her hair from her face, Emanee turned sharply as a twig snapped to her left. Even as she did so she heard a familiar cackle, near and yet distant, echoing around her. A rustle in the trees made her turn around, but she saw nothing behind her. Bracing herself, the druid cast Mark of the Wild and strained her now heightened senses to see what was stalking her.
Then it came, a crashing of the undergrowth from her right drew her attention just in time as a large Orc ran headlong towards her. Crouching down as best she could, she raised her staff towards him as he leapt towards her. Falling backwards, the druid raised her feet and kicked as herd as she could, throwing the Orc over her head and bring him landing on his upper back. Springing to her feet, Emanee turned to find that her assailant had already rolled to his feet and was drawing his weapons to prepare for another attack. Emanee's mind was racing; it had been a long time since she had had to fight on her own. Normally she would be healing her friends as they fought together to defeat a foe greater than their own powers, today she found herself against an Orc who was clearly bent on her destruction. Trying to remember all her combat training, Emanee didn't have time react as an axe came flying at her and hit her in the ribs, breaking through her leather armour and cracking a couple of ribs.
The pain seemed to focus her mind, however, and she cast Entangling Roots and Insect Swarm. Her attacker immediately found himself being attacked by the very earth he was standing on and a large swarm of all manner of flying insects. Fighting them off, this gave Emanee the time she needed to cast Healing Touch on herself, healing the damage done by the thrown axe. Now back to full strength, she turned to find the Orc had also fended off his problems and was now getting ready for another attack. He charged, leaping high and holding a large war axe in both hands which he brought down towards Emanee's head. However the druid was too quick and she jumped back several feet as the axe buried itself in the ground. Letting it go, the Orc drew two smaller axes and charged again. But Emanee was ready this time and a large gust of wind knocked the Orc back several meters. She then cast Entangling Roots again, which this time wrapped around his legs and held him firm. Emanee hit him with a Moonfire and began chanting as she started to channel the most powerful Starfire she could.
It was then that she noticed - in the thick of concentration - in the corner of her eye, a figure emerging slowly from behind a large Ashenvale tree. Emanee, who a second ago had believed herself of having the advantage in the fight, was now filling up with doubts. Was this figure a comrade to the Orc? If so was it going to join the battle against her? What if it was an adversary using ranged weapons?
Emanee realized that the battle could take a dramatic and dangerous turn depending on who or what this figure turned out to be. Still chanting steadily she now kept her eyes fixed on the slow moving figure. The battle could be decided by how quickly she discerned its identity. As the figure stepped out from the shadows Emanee felt her leg muscles tense up, getting ready for swiftly dodging any kind of incoming projectile.
As the figure stepped into the moonlight many thoughts raced through Emanee's mind; "Is it a troll? No it's a blood elf? No it's... it's...". She could thus far see that the figure was wearing an elaborate red robe and a thick grey belt. Further more on the belt she could now see a dark red dagger hanging at the side. What was this feeling? she thought. The figures attire seemed known to her. In fact she saw that the figure was clearly a human and as the human figure got fully illuminated by the moonshine she recognized the man to be John, the mage. With great delight and relief she paused her chanting to shout: "John! I'm so glad you are here. Help me! This Orc attacked me!" John had been part of the expeditions mounted by the agency for as long as Emanee had been in it's service and they had become quite close friends. John who was an expert on ancient artefacts and a fully trained mage had also been in the back when the expeditions ran into danger and battle erupted. The feeling of absolute assurance grew up fast in Emanee's mind. There was no way this Orc could win now, she thought, I'm safe.
John reacted quickly and faced the entangled Orc. Flames started to manifest around Johns' hands as he started some sort of spell casting. Emanee returned her eyes towards the Orc as she resumed her chanting, she could feel the energies getting more and more concentrated with each word chanted. Nearly there, she thought. Although the Orc could die before she was actually finished. She had seen it before and it was not a sight she particularly liked, when the destructive power of a fiery mage spell hit an opponent. Yes, she had seen it many times before and this time she didn't mind the inevitable display of raw violence that would affect this vicious Orc.
The roots and vines that entangled the Orc hold him in an unrelenting grip. His focus is entirely on getting free of them, the Orc let out a roar of fierce rage at the ground where his captors had grown from. While watching the Orc fighting to get free, Emanee slowed her chanting as she had a curious thought. Why hasn't the orc burst into flames yet?
She turned quickly to see what happened to John but saw him just standing where he had come out of the shadows. Standing straight and facing Emanee squarely, a grin started to grow on his face. It grew wide, almost inhumanly wide. Emanee's chanting slowly halted as she stares confused at her friend. She felt a chill down her spine and her surroundings darken as if a thick cloud had just blocked out the moon. John was, strangely enough, still illuminated, as if still bathed in moonlight. His grin sickly widened further but a shadow came in to cover his face and most of his torso so his upper body could only be seen as a silhouette.
Emanee felt like her strength left her and she couldn't help but drop to her knees. The energies she was channelling for her spell quickly dissipated and with it she also felt hope leaving as well. Confused thoughts flowed through her mind. What is happening? Is this real? Is that really John? she thought. Confusion, doubt and despair circled through her mind like a wild torrent when a voice spoke to her in her head. "I'm afraid, my dear, that I can't pass on this opportunity to take your... soul." followed by a long, deep and echoing cackle. Emanee didn't recognise the voice but couldn't believe how familiar the way the voice had said 'my dear' had been. Finally when her denials dissolved a great horror gripped her. It really was John doing it to her.
In the dark silhouette now lit up two glowing perfect circles of yellow light emanating a foreboding aura, but strangely not lighting up any of the figures shadowy areas. Emanee could not look away and stood on her knees, paralyzed. The dark figure then raised one hand and held it toward Emanee open and flat. Then, with a great jolt, Emanee felt as if her essence was attacked from all sides by great number of invisible hands. She felt violated despite having received no physical contact, then she realised that it was her soul that had been attacked. The purpose of which was to 'uproot' it from being firmly attached to her body. At this point she felt a slight breeze, touching her, gently at first but then it picked up. It's no ordinary breeze either, she could feel it pushing on her soul as if intent on pulling it from her body.
Then the dark figure stepped back into the shadows and the world around Emanee slowly got lighter, as if the thick cloud had passed. She felt that she could move again, although she was greatly weakened and barely had the strength to stand. But she still felt the strong breeze inside her, despite seeing no movement in the grass or trees.
The Orc who was bending away the last of the roots around his left foot reached for his great war axe sticking up from the ground. Seeing that his foe was slightly dazed, he immediately took advantage and charged straight at her. His shoulder caught her just under her ribs and lifted her clean off her feet. As she slowly picked herself up she felt metal against her face, pushing her back with great power and speed against a nearby tree. The Orc then made ready to hit her again, using the flat side of his massive axe as he had just done and hitting her square on the nose.
Emanee spat blood and felt a lot more now pouring from her face. Leaning heavily on the tree, she was still reeling from the shock that her friend had betrayed her. Placing both hands wide on the tree to steady herself, it was all she could do to stop herself from being winded as the Orc leapt on her again. Pain seared through her body, emanating from both her wrists where cold steel blades now held her fast to her beloved forest. The Orc also latched on to her face in a cruel, vice-like grip and seemed to be sucking the very life from her. In an act of desperation, the druid drew up her knee and planted it firmly at the base of the Orcís chest armour. The raging green monster staggered back, winded, but then gathered himself and picked up his huge axe again. Then, with a howl of rage, he ran straight at her and swung his axe.
Emanee felt a sudden tearing pain in her midriff and then went cold. Almost in slow motion, she looked down and saw half the axe blade protruding from her body as blood and her internal organs spilled out. The world was getting dark around her as she then saw her legs fall away from the axe and she looked up again, searching for a reason why this had happened. But all she could see was Johnís hand beckoning from the shadows and slowly but surely she felt her body and soul separate as her upper torso lay hanging on the tree.
In those last moments of conciousness all she could think of was "why?", A question she had so often uttered and yet so rarely recieved an answer to.
John carefully captured the soul in a shard of pink crystal placing it carefully in his bag, moving quickly away from the Orc who was begining to dissect the now empty shell of Emanee Duskfollower.
"We are the ones that want to choose; always want to play but you never want to lose."