Chapter 5 (part 3) – The Front Line

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series Rise of the X-Syndicate

Folaji and Gwyndolynne had many things in common, which was surprising considering they both openly disagreed on almost everything.

The two young troll mages would often spend hours on end trying to outdo each other.  Who could cast the fastest arcane missiles? Who could polymorph into the cutest sheep?  The two would fight for dominance over the most trivial of things, casting their spells on the odd passing rat, which was all to often the victim their rivalry.

Despite their constant bickering the pair, had been recruited by Hallpass, who saw potential in their powers.  The two trolls quickly accepted and were soon young members of the Razorwind Guild.  They would spend hours on end listening to the teachings of the undead Mage, and continued to challenge each other at every opportunity that presented itself.

“Such blind pride will eventually get you both killed,” Hallpass repeatedly warned his two students, although he often felt as though his warnings fell on deaf ears.

After several weeks of training, the two trolls were finally ready to begin specializing in a school of magic.   Gwyndolynne quickly chose the study of Frost, whereas Folaji unsurprisingly chose its exact opposite: Fire.

There was no doubt in Hallpass’ mind that these choices would further fuel the pair’s rivalry, yet to his surprise, it had quite the opposite effect.  His two students quickly learned to manipulate the elements, and were soon training together.  Folaji would create a series of large fire plumes and Gwyndolynne would quickly put the plumes out by creating small, localized blizzards.

The unhealthy rivalry between the two had allowed both students to find the flaws in each school, and they were now able to work together and complement each other’s spells in order to get a maximum effect, something Hallpass never imagined would happen.

***

As the battle between Tarren Mill and SouthShore wore on, the rivalry between Gwyndolynne and Folaji bloomed anew.

The pair had been ordered to stay behind the line and kill any alliance that tried to get through to Tarren Mill.  Everytime an enemy soldier dropped to the ground, they counted the kill – they were going to find out, once and for all, which school of magic was the best.

“That’s 8! Frost is winning!” Gwyndolynne cheered as one of her frostbolts landed onto a bloodied gnome.  The bolt froze the gnome’s body in place, causing it to fall to the ground and explode into a million of tiny frozen pieces.

“Dat’s not fair,” Folaji protested, casting a fireball of his own.  ”Gnomes should count for half a kill!”

“Oh please,” Gwyndolynne replied, “if that’s the way we’re counting then you’re at 3 not 6!”

“Ya mean 7!” Folaji cheered, as his fireball violently struck a human priest, causing his white robe to catch on fire.  Surprised, the priest began to run in circles, but the flames were to hot, and he soon fell to the ground, dead.

Gwyndolynne jeered at Folaji.

I can’t let him win, she thought to herself.

The female troll turned and studied the battle field, searching for another bloodied enemy.  She had been selecting her prey carefully, only casting spells on foes who had already been knocked around quite a bit.  This allowed her to conserve mana all the while keeping her kill count up.  As she scanned the battle field, she saw a lot of death an destruction, and only a handful of alliance warriors who had been able to make it through the line.

She targeted one of the warriors, a large armour clad night elf, only to see him drop to the ground.  She then saw a large green Orc run over to the corpse and pull what appeared to be a large undead rag doll from under the night elf’s body.  Gwyndolynne soon recognized the pair as Hallpass and Varathron.  The two stood for a while, Hallpass burning an attacking gnome to a crisp, and then looking, almost staring, at something up in the sky.

Gwyndolynne followed her mentor’s gaze and was immediatly overwhelmed with a sense of urgency: a large ballista arrow was heading straight for him.

“Oh no!” She shouted as she ran forward, a surprised Folaji following out of trained instinct.

“Watsa matta?” he shouted.

She quickly raised her arm and pointed at the large, explosive carrying, ballista arrow.  Folaji felt his chin fall to the ground.

“Blast it Fol,” Gwyndolynne shouted.

“Are you crazy?  Dat would create a large flying fireba…”

“Do it!”

“I hope ya know what you’re doin’…”  Folaji replied, an arc of bright orange flame flying out from his right hand.  The flame rubbed the explosives on the ballista, igniting them into a large flying fireball.

At the same time, Gwyndolynne released a barrage of frostbolts at the explosion.  The frostbolts zipped through the air and into the explosion, effectively putting the fire out before it crashed to the ground.  Small pieces of burnt rubble was all that remained from the blast, bouncing off soldier’s armors and falling to ground.  A relieved Hallpass looked back at both his students with pride: he now owed them his life.

Gwyndolynne also had a grin.

“See,” Gwyndolynne she said, smirking at Folaji, “frost is better than fire…”

Folaji grumbled but didn’t respond.  Instead he only let out a light squeek as a large chunk of burnt debris fell onto his head, knocking him out cold.

***

Rigimorty ducked as he heard a large balista arrow explode in mid-air.  He then got back up and continued forward, not quite sure of where he was heading. Berenice had run off so fast that he was now lost deep behind enemy lines. Scared, he did his best to keep quiet; he had already seen today what an Alliance warrior could do to him, and he shuttered at the idea of what a group of them could do.

One small step and pause.

At each pause he listened for a sign from Berenice, yet he heard nothing but the clanging of swords and the grunts of soldiers in the distance.

Another small step and pause.

He suddenly felt something jerk him backwards and spin him around.  He was relieved to find a familiar rotting face looking back at him.

“Come on, we have to go, now!” Berenice hastily whispered.

“What?  Why?  What about the explosives?”

“I’ve taken care of them, now come on!” she tugged once again.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“I lit them okay, now lets get out of here before they blow us into pieces!”

“You did what!?”

By the time the words left Rigimorty’s mouth, Berenice had already turned her back and sprinted away.  Filled with a sense of urgency, Rigimorty began to run as well.

It wasn’t long before the ground began to rumble, a large explosion knocking him to the ground.  He turned onto his back and heard several more explosions as the Alliance explosives stockpile quickly became a large fireworks display. He got up and ran as fast as he could, hearing confusion and fear instill itself in the cries of the Alliance fighters.

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