Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ World of War in War ❯ Pink Hair and Golden Heart ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

World of War in War.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except Baran Sunheart.
Notes: After some experiments, I found that Baran isn't that powerful. He represents a blend of Classes like a Paladin crossed with an Arcanist. His power levels are not superior to another character however he had much more different techniques and can really take on any problems without limitations.
By the way, I fear I'm going to make this story a little harem for Baran…
Chap 3: Pink Hair and Golden Heart
Rest and Relaxation.
Those two words were the dreams of many tired and sore adventurers in many and many worlds.
Baran Sunheart, Guardian of Dimensions examined the warm and welcoming interior of the Lion's Pride Inn.
The black-haired Psionist nodded to himself. Having Marshal Dughan assigning him one of the big bedrooms in this inn was a very good idea.
He turned his green eyes to his newly adopted daughter and smiled. Rin was a sweet and gentle child and his constant nurturing had banished most of the dark clouds in her soul and spirit that the slaughter of her parents and her consecutive enslavement by kobolds had brought.
Well, sometimes he wandered who was the authority figure and who was the ward. The eight years old girl was obedient, but she had a way of asking him that he just couldn't resist.
For example, she refused to address him with anything but a respectful “Master Baran”. She had also refused to sleep in her own bed and was always sleeping beside him, arguing that his bed was bigger than hers and that she preferred it.
Baran had established a friendly relation with the innkeeper Farley. He liked his food and drink and listened to his stories. It was by him that Baran finally learned where he was.
Baran had been sent by his sister into the World of Warcraft. He sighed again: He had only partial knowledge about this world since he never played the game. At least now he probably knew the reason why a Guardian of Dimension had been sent.
He could be the Burning Legion or the Scourge. Either was a threat and had enough resources to threaten other realities. There were also the Forsaken, the Blood Elves and quantity of potentials problems and enemies.
Baran had really some nice and long work ahead of him. He was almost sure that only a true union between the Alliance and the Horde stood a chance to resist and stop the future menace. A trifle, really…
The young Psychic Warrior had begun to establish a good reputation among the Adventurers Community when he helped the farmer Milly Osworth.
The woman had problems with her harvest of grapes. A gang of brigands, the Defias Brotherhood, moved into the Northshire Vineyards while she was harvesting. Although she reported it to the Northshire guards she was afraid for her crop. If the Defias didn't steal it then she feared that the guards would trample it when they chased away the thugs.
Having beginning to train Rin to help him as well as defend herself, he had the happy surprise to discover some nice psychic potential probably due to the mindlink he had forged with her.
So he hid the little girl in a big tree and used her as a sentinel while he gathered the buckets of grapes from the vineyards.
The Defias thugs had been surprised…deadly surprised. It was amazing what a little Psychokinesis could do with farm tools.
The woman had profusely thanked him and gave him and Rin two identical cloaks to protect them from the weather. But the best reward had been the gossiping around Goldenshire that established him as a helper of the people.
Rin had laughed when she saw that the two cloaks were for an adult build. Baran had winked to her and used his psionist skills to manipulate the matter. Rin had clapped her hands when he presented her a cloak adapted to her height in her preferred orange and yellow colours. He did the same to his own cloak and now harboured a dark blue one that perfectly blend with his clothes and the new dark-coloured Studded Leather Armour that Marshal Dughan gave him.
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Like every morning when he didn't have a job, Baran was consulting the Community Panels where all the works offers were posted. He did a Spock manoeuvre when he advised a Wanted poster like in the Westerns.
He reached for it with his hand when another slender hand grasped the same poster. He turned to the person to his right and his eyes widened in bewilderment.
She was a young woman, a teenager in fact. She had short and ragged pink hair and eyes of the deepest blue. She was clad in a battered sort of military uniform in black, complete with golden shoulder decorations, a short shirt with a petticoat and the symbol of a red rose over her heart. She was armed with a slender jewelled sword and it was Utena.
Baran could only gape at the apparition of another character from an anime, the Rose Prince Utena Tenjou.
“Well, I know I'm a woman, but don't you think you're quite rude to stare at me like that?”
The sarcastic remark and the cold gaze of the young girl managed to reboot the higher functions of Baran's brain.
“Huh…? Ah…! No… No!” Baran waved widely his arms as he sweat-dropped. “You have it wrong! It's just that… Well, you remind me of someone I know, but she is much younger and I was surprised to see someone else with the same hair colour.”
Utena blinked. Her natural hair colour had been the target of many teasing when she was in the orphanage. As far as she knew, she was the only person with that particular shade. She looked more attentively to the young man in front of her.
He wasn't taller than her and his deep green eyes didn't wander to her chest level but straight in her eyes. He was slightly red from his awkward first introduction and that almost made him…cute. A fresh bout of pain surged in her heart when her mind travelled to the near past as she hastily put back her shields.
Baran was puzzled. His empathic sense had felt the surge of sadness and the emotional shield she quickly summoned. He also wondered why she was back to her short hair appearance. In fact, it looked like someone hacked it with a rusted knife. Well, it was time to make a second and proper introduction.
“I am Baran Sunheart, recently promoted Acting Deputy of Goldenshire. And you are?” The Guardian of Dimension presented his hand.
Utena blinked again. This young boy… No, man, certainly didn't act like most of her male encounters. She took his hand and shook it. The handshake was firm and didn't linger to cop a feel of her: Another good point. She smiled and took in his appearance: He was garbed in dark leather armour and wielded the Alliance symbol, but she could also see foreign garb under the equipment. He was also lightly armed with only a quarterstaff.
“I am Utena Tenjou. I came from somewhere in the West and recently I am a mercenary in search of some needed gold.” She managed a small smile. “I guess I can't have this bounty, huh?”
Baran brightly smiled. “On the contrary! I would gladly accept your help on that. I have already tangle with the Defias in the region and they can be tough to deal with. Having another blade at my side would actually ease my mind.” He smirked a little. “Actually, it would also reassure my daughter that I have a partner during my ventures.”
Utena's eyes widened. “You're married?” Well, that explained why he didn't look at her like a lecher.
Baran shook his head. “No. I adopted her after the slaughter of her family by kobolds.” He beamed. “I must confess that she quickly become the apple in my eyes.” He shrugged. “Well, what do you think of my proposition? We divide the reward fifty-fifty and I'll even put a good word with the innkeeper of the Lion's Pride. He owns me a few favours.”
Utena managed to contain herself. It was better than what she had expected. They sealed the deal with another handshake and a smile and walk outside the town.
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Utena was impressed by the professionalism of her new partner. She thought first that he was an Arcanist then she decided that he was a Scout. She shook her head: Baran seemed to defy any categorization. He even said to her as they stop to eat a snack: “Specialization is a dead end, a lethal one.”
Their bounty was Garrick Padfoot, some sort of a lieutenant among the Defias and leader of a relatively small group of them in the region. The two of them managed to gather enough information from the local people to corner his lair near the vineyards east of the Northshire Abbey. He had a nasty reputation as a cutthroat.
Utena blinked in amazement when Baran simply changed colours like a chameleon when he went to scout the lair. It was incredible: It seemed to also have some training as a rogue, or perhaps a ranger with a little touch of Arcane Magic.
She had a bitter smile as she patted the hilt of her sword. She could feel it vibrating at her hip. The “Sword of Dios” was no mere trinket and she was responsible of it.
After some time, Baran came back with a nasty smirk. “Found him. I even eliminated a few Defias on the way. We now have a direct path to Garrick and he has two bodyguards with him. How do you want to do it, Utena?”
The pink-haired teenager was surprised by the offer. Baran was a leader-type of some sort and yet he asked for her thoughts in the planning. That changed her from those who gave orders and explained things after it was finished.
“Do you think you can distract the two guards as I go straight for Garrick?”
Baran shrugged. “Shouldn't be a problem. If we conserve the surprise, it should even be easy.”
“Then let's go.”
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Well, Baran had been right. It had been easy. They have rushed the interior of the shack simultaneously: Baran from the front door and she kicked the window open for her entry.
The Quarterstaff had been the weapon of choice to retain the attention of the two bodyguards and using the Sword of Dios was almost overkill against the Defias leader. Utena was now almost sure that the black-haired youth was a Jack-of-all-Trades as she witnessed the use of a magic ray of blue energy from his eyes during the fight.
After killing their adversaries, Utena had cut off the head of Garrick Padfoot to prove they killed him. It was a messy and gross job, but she nonetheless did it. She was happy to see that Baran was also repulsed by this necessity. A good thing since she considered extending her partnership with him longer than just this job.
The two of them quickly looted the corpses and departed before the rest of the Defias group found what happened. She had been flabbergasted when Baran made all the loot disappeared in…HIS POCKET?!
As they ran off the Defias lair, Baran had explained that he had a technique that allowed him to stock a great deal of stuff in some kind of magic pocket without having a weight problem. A very, very useful trick. Her future association with the young man was more and more appealing.
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Marshal Dughan was smiling when Baran presented him his new partner. It was a measure of the wisdom of an adventurer to realize that there is safety in numbers. The strangely pink-coloured hair of the young woman didn't hide the way she was walking: As a Warrior and her blade was hardly a toy.
He was even much happy when they presented him a bloody burlap sack. “Hah…! You caught him!” He nodded approvingly. “You two have done Elwynn a great service, and earned a nice bounty! Come with me.”
Baran held his promise and presented Utena to the innkeeper Farley who happily opened a small bedroom for her. To her embarrassment, the young Acting Deputy also took care of some of her other problems. Having run away from the remains of the wreckage of her guild, Utena was not only without money, but also without basic necessities.
Baran had used part of his own reward to procure her with some deeply needed equipment and new clothes. The introduction of his adopted daughter, Rin, had also been a good surprise.
The little wonder was a really sweet child with a sharp eye and Baran had been happily surprised that Rin talked with great facility to the blue-eyed warrior.
Utena had frowned when she heard Rin called Baran “Master” as it reminded her of the bad connotations of the role of the “Rose Bride”, but the little girl had explained that she couldn't think of any other reference to her saviour for now. The brown-eyed little girl perfectly understood that the young man had adopted her, but she felt duty-bound to him as more than her daughter.
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During the following week, Utena found herself more and more at ease with her new partner and his daughter. It was visible that Baran deeply cared for Rin. Almost all the time he brought her something from their missions.
Rin was also very happy of the presence of the pink-haired warrior. She even had asked her to look after her Master when they went on the roads. Utena had been surprised to learn that Baran wasn't that adverse to have Rin going with them, although she remarked that he carefully let her stay at home when the missions were dangerous.
In fact, little by little, she found herself being drawn out from her shell by those two. And she wasn't struggling much.
The Marshal Dughan had put them directly head on with the sweeping out of the local Defias Brotherhood. The killing of Garrick Padfoot seemed to have stirred a hornet nest.
During those fights she had seen Baran unleashed more and more of his strange powers. She had been surprised when he explained that it wasn't Arcane energy but an internal form of power distilled from his own willpower. The more will and experience behind, the more powerful he would become.
She never heard of Psionic Powers before, but Baran revealed to her that the potential was generally locked in most races and that only a feeble percent could hope to access it. There was perhaps one or two Psionists per generation and they didn't stand off with all the problems that Azeroth currently endured.
She didn't contest the usefulness of those powers: She had a partner that could play the role of an Arcanist, a Scout and a Healer at the same time. She had shaken her head in amazement when he used Empathic Transfer on her and transferred her wounds to him after a nasty ambush from some Defias thugs. She had been alarmed at his actions, but he healed those wounds right in front of her eyes.
They have been able to command some masterwork weapons from the Militia for those missions. Baran had chosen two daggers, one he reserved for Rin for self-defence and she took a short sword for the fights where she thought that the Sword of Dios was unneeded.
Oh, Baran wasn't without his faults.
For example, she witnessed his vicious and vindictive side when they cleaned up the mines of Fargodeep and Jasperlode from kobold infestation.
Baran had been utterly ruthless and without mercy with the creatures. The use of the power rightly named “Inflict Pain” on the kobold leader named Narg had shocked her. They get good loot from that, but she had been a little taken aback by this dark side of him. Well, he hadn't hid it from her at least.
In fact, she supposed she couldn't really say anything about it when she remembered the form of the revenge she took on the late accursed Akio, the master of her defunct guild.
On the other side, she had confirmation that Baran had a soft heart when innocent people were concerned.
He and Utena had been drawn into a conflict between two farmer families: The Maclure and the Stonefield. They managed to patch things by recovering a lost necklace from a nasty kobold called Goldtooth that actually had a gold tooth.
They even helped the young Maybell Maclure and Tommy Joe Stonefield to elope. During the course of the week they played postman with their love letters, turned Gramma Stonefield on their side, helped William Pestle to make an invisibility potion by collecting some Crystal Kelp from the Murlocs infesting the nearby lake and helped the two lovers to unite during a daring and discreet escape in the night.
Well, the gift of well-made leather gloves and the supply of Healing Potions was enough to compensate the problems and the wounds received dodging some various wandering monsters while they helped the two lovers and now, she knew that Baran was a romantic at heart.
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They took Rin with them for the next set of missions. Utena was a little nervous since they took only one tent, but thought that Rin would serve as an effective chaperone, and beside, it wasn't the first time she was “roughing” it with male company.
The three travelled deep into the forest to regulate the bear and wolf population. Seeing a bear of several hundred pounds charging at you wasn't an experience for the weak heart. Once again, the Psionic powers of Baran had been instrumental to their hunt method. He used an electrical energy wave that stopped and pushed back the charging animal. She just had to step in and thrust her blade in the heart or through the throat of the dazed beast.
Well, in fact, she felt a little envious of the little girl who could cuddle at night with her adoptive father and seemed to share some very deep bond that enabled them to “converse” without words. She frowned at herself as she recognized that she was jealous of the shared warmth between her two companions. She remembered how complete she felt when she held Anthy in her arms at night when the days and life were still bright.
They also found some more normal works at the Eastvale Logging Camp. Rin was happy to play with the children and they gathered bundles of wood and eliminating the almost constant Defias presence.
As they returned to Goldenshire, they ran into a large gnoll presence. Numerous camps were scattered in the deep forest. Baran frowned at that, talking with Utena he quickly concurred that it was most probably the beginning stage of some nasty raids upon the people of Elwynn.
With Utena more than willing to crush this problem before he hatched, they hid Rin in a big tree by creating a hidden shack with ectoplasm matter and camouflaged it. This spot would serve them as a base camp as they tracked down and wiped out the small encampments of gnolls one by one. Most had no more than a dozen creatures and fell easily to their combined might.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the case when they finally found the chief of those monsters.
Hogger was a nasty piece of gnoll. Nearly weighing the double of his fellows, the muzzle of the leader seemed permanently stained by dry blood. He was, of course, better equipped than the rest of his troops and radiated strength and menace.
Baran actually used his powers to cover his approach and poison the meal of the gnolls. The toxic berries he used took care of most of the bodyguards of the gnoll chief, but he was another thing.
Utena and Baran escaped death only by the slightest measure. If they hadn't been well supplied in Healing Potions, they wouldn't have made it. The gnoll was insanely strong and only the stronger magic of her sword, the use of mental attacks from Baran and a well-thrown flask of Alchemist's Fire had brought the beast on the ground.
They decided to not tell how narrow it had been to Rin since Baran could heal easily their wounds. However, seeing the light in those deep brown eyes, she wondered if they truly tricked the perceptive little girl.
They went back to Goldenshire to report back to Marshal Dughan. Rin paraded for her friends in her brand new clothes that they receive from a seamstress in the Eastvale Logging Camp. The Marshal was very happy of the progress made by the Dynamic Duo, or was it a Trio?
The two adventurers had really made quite an impact in the region. Already, many report confirmed a decrease in monsters encounters and the presence of the Defias wasn't as heavy as in the past. Baran and Utena had made good usage of the local armoury and Master Smiths by replacing and repairing their equipment.
When they gained their bedrooms, Utena had another surprise when Rin presented her a bundle of clothes. Her blue eyes widened when she uncovered an intact replica of her old uniform of Duellist. She spontaneously hugged and kissed the little girl who explained that she had used both the skill of the woodcutter seamstress and the power of Matter Manipulation of Baran to create this outfit.
As they climbed in their respective beds, Baran and Utena had some thoughts about the other part of their partnership.
Baran was feeling some sexual tension and wondered how it would end. He deeply respected the pink-haired girl from both his anime knowledge and the actual and real personality of the warrior, but he was also a healthy male and Utena was a stunning young woman.
Utena was also thinking about her relationship with the green-eyed Psionist. She readily acknowledged that she considered him her friend. However, she felt deep within herself some urge to deepen this relationship. She hadn't thought she could resettle with someone else after the wounds of her first love, Touga, and the dramatic ending of her relation with the Arcanist and Rose Bride Anthy Himemiya.
Rin had seen the blooming relation between her adoptive father and the newest addition to her little family and was quite content and hopeful for the future.
The three of them fell asleep and dreamed of some happy new days.
Unfortunately, they didn't have the time to take a well-earned rest.
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The very day after their return, the Marshal called them at the first hour.
“Baran, Utena, there's a new threat in Elwynn Forest! Murlocs are swimming up the streams of eastern Elwynn, scaring away fish and attacking gentle folk! I spoke with Remy “Two Times”, a local and trustworthy merchant, and his reports worried me.”
He began to pace within his office. “Unfortunately, my men are still dealing with the gnolls and the bandits and I can't spare any regulars.” He stopped and turned to them. “This is your cue. I need you two to investigate the matter. You will travel to the eastern Elwynn bridge and speak with Guard Thomas. He has been stationed at the bridge for the past week and will know the state of the area.”
He looked straight in their eyes. “Bring me his report, but don't hesitate to take initiative if you think the situation warrant it.”
As they exited the office, Utena turned to her companion. “What do you think of this?”
“Not good, not very good. The murlocs can easily escape sight and harm by using the water ways and still be able to raid anywhere in vicinity.” He nibbled his lower lips. “Rin is tired from our last venture. I'll ask her to stay here while we ensure that no murlocs can raid Goldenshire.”
Utena nodded. She was also feeling worried.
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They quickly reached the small garrison stationed near the river bridge and met with the Guard Thomas who promptly explained the dire situation.
“Yes, murlocs have settled in and around the streams of eastern Elwynn.” He sighed. “We don't know why they are here, but they are aggressive and at least semi-intelligent.”
He hesitated then continued. “A few days ago we sent two Guards, Rolf and Malakai, to investigate along the river, and they have not yet returned. To complete my report, I must know what happened to those men.”
Baran could sense the sorrow of the guard about his two missing men. This world wasn't very fair and dealt death too easily. The next words merely confirmed it. “Travel north along the river and find the guards... or their remains.”
Utena and Baran stayed silent as they searched for any signs about the two guards. It was Baran who smelled the scent of dried blood and rotting human flesh by using his psionic to boost his sense of smell.
The two friends winced when they found one of the missing men. Or rather his rests. Although much had been stripped from the corpse, Utena found nearby a medallion dog tag-like with the words "Footman Malakai Stone" etched upon it.
Baran forced himself to remain cool as he examined the pieces of body. “Hum… He has been hacked into pieces by crude weapons and I can see teeth and claw marks on some part of his flesh.”
Utena shook her head. “How can you stay so…cold? Why are you not reacting…more?”
Baran turned a sad smile to his partner. “I cheat, of course. I'm using my power to stay focused on the facts, not their implication.”
Utena stared at him. “I do not envy you.”
Taking the medal with them, the two adventurers resumed their search. It was Utena who find the last missing footman.
Upon further searching the area, she found webbed footprints leading east along the shore of Stone Cairn Lake. In the distance to the east, they could just barely see a Murloc village. Utena brought out one of the few remains of her old life: A gift from Miki, a spyglass, and pointed it to the village. She softly cursed when she saw the remains of a human corpse near a group of murlocs.
Grim, Baran looked at Utena. “We're too late?”
The pink-haired warrior sadly nodded. “I fear so. And we can't even bring back a proof. They're just too many of them in that village. Even your camouflage wouldn't cut it through.”
“Well then, I guess it's time to call some reinforcement.”
Utena blinked at the black-haired Psionist.
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Once again, Baran had used his power to create constructs from Astral Matter and gave them the appearance of a murloc. Utena actually smiled nastily at the trick: Baran couldn't equalize the numbers, but the handful of constructs would greatly help them.
Curiously, she didn't object that they attacked the village. The call for blood was an intense siren and none of them seemed eager to cover their ears.
They managed to encircle the murlocs with the constructs and when the bedlam began when the copies attacked, they attacked from the flank with Baran using again his Psionic version of the Nekoken and Utena brandishing the Sword of Dios. Although the constructs lacked the number and power to kill the murlocs, they weakened and confused them greatly before their destruction.
The murlocs fought back savagely. Their rubbery bodies seemed frail, but absorbed easily the physical impact of their weapons. Baran was forced to switch to projecting rays of fire or electrical energy and Utena used her ambidexterity to open their guards with her short sword in her right hand and rapidly thrust the Sword of Dios in her left hand through the gap.
Although wounds accumulated, the two friends could sense that they were winning. Suddenly, Utena instinctively blocked an overhead blow from a quarterstaff that actually broke her battle rhythm. She rapidly found herself on the defensive as the shaman of the tribe dealt personally with her.
She dodged a lethal spell launched upon her, but her foot encountered a bloodied area and she slipped down. The murloc pounced on her and she was forced to discard her weapons to prevent him to bite in her throat.
She cringed as she felt her strength decreasing and saw the sharp teeth approaching more and more of her vulnerable throat. She didn't understand why the Sword of Dios didn't bestow the strength of the Rose Prince to her like all the other times. Too focused and tired to spare the breath, she screamed in her mind for Baran and continue to resist. If this was it, she would face it head on.
And he was suddenly there. A vicious, almost invisible due to speed, slash from his clawed hand threw away the bleeding shaman from her. Enraged, Baran summoned his Mind Blade and revealing a new ability, threw it at the murloc. The energy blade tore open the belly of the monster, spreading his innards on the grass. The shaman died with a snarl of denial.
Utena shook as she tried to regain her breath. It had been close, too close. She remembered her mental state just after the end of her guild and a little part of her was happy that she no longer thought of suicide. On the other hand, the largest part of her mind realized how much she wanted to live and she was in a state of shock. Quite “shocking” for the supposed tough warrior she was.
Reaching with both his physical and mental senses, Baran swept out the area for other threats, but found no one alive except him and his partner. He stopped when he saw her state and acted on his instincts.
Utena found herself in a powerful embrace and someone was murmuring soothing words to her ear. She stiffened: Up till now she always had been the strong and supporting one, following her childhood oath to become a prince like the one who visited her at the burial of her parents and presented her with the Rose Seal.
Two times already, she had accepted a male embrace, and the two times she had been burned and abused and even worse. `Well, the third time is the charm as they say.'
Baran had sensed her stiffen and prepared to release her when Utena returned the embrace and he could feel her quietly sobbing in relief. With a bitter smile, he remembered the first time he saw death in the eyes: He was too young to really realize what should have happened should his fall from a tree hadn't been stop by the low branches. Nonetheless, his heart had beaten rapidly and he had found himself shaking for a long time.
The two stayed like this a moment before separating on a silent signal. Taking refuge into the routine they developed after routing an enemy, the Guardian of Dimensions and the Rose Prince searched every corner of the murlocs village, taking anything of value.
It was Baran who took care of the mortal remains of the last guard they searched for. He found around the neck of the corpse a metal medallion inscribed with the words "Footman Rolf Hartford" and sighed. Another life lost. At least, now their loved ones would be able to reach an end and go on in life… Perhaps…
Now that they have both medallions, they just had to deliver them to Guard Thomas at the bridge so that he might know the fate of his murdered guards.
The Guard saw them coming from upstream. “Hello, Baran and Utena. Have you discovered the fates of Rolf and Malakai?”
Utena and her partner could only sigh as the young woman extracted two medallions from her pocket, some dried blood still visible on it. The grim expression of the guard matched the one of the two adventurers as he took them in his hand. “You have confirmed my fears, Utena.” He closed tightly his fist around the medallions. “The murlocs are a threat we cannot ignore.” He reached for his belt pouch. “I have already written my report. Please give it to Marshal Dughan and also give those two medals back, please.” He shook his head. “I know we don't have many troops to spare, but hopefully Dughan can find someone.”
Baran waved away his worries. “Don't be too concerned about that. Utena and I already wipe out one of the village near the lake.”
Thomas's eyes widened. “Really!” He was impressed and a little fearful about the potential of the two young peoples. Persons with their potential could effectively be counted on one hand. Perhaps two, if one considered all the races of the Alliance.
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The return to Goldenshire was almost anti-climatic. The duo had little problems along the road. Mainly from hungry animals and idiot kobolds.
The Marshal was thoughtful as he finished reading the report and stared at the two medallions in his hand. “Hmm, this news is troubling. Already our defences are stretched thin with all the problems happening at the same time, and losing Rolf and Malakai to those murlocs put us in an even worse position. They were quite good, too good to be replaced easily.” He pinched his lips. “If things don't improve, there will be fighting in Goldenshire by the week's end!” His eyes narrowed. “There's only one thing to do.”
He took a parchment and began to write. “Unfortunately, that means I need you two, again!”
Utena and Baran actually chuckled at that. The young man shook his head “Yeah, we understood that.”
Dughan grinned. “Well, it'll enable me to take two birds with one stone.” He sealed the letter with his signet. “I wanted to wait a few weeks, but your talent is actually wasted in this town.” He held up the letter. “I'm reassigning you directly to Stormwind. Your reputation and you actual value has reached the ears of my superiors and they simply need people like you.”
Utena and Baran looked to each other. They had actually intended to depart for Stormwind once their financial situation had improved and the rewards they received for the last job was enough. Beside, they could only stagnate in skills and possibilities if they stayed here.
Beside, they could also notice something in the eyes of the other. What happened on the lake shore in the village murloc had left its mark and they needed to deal with it.
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Notes: It seemed a little slow, but I don't want Utena falling into the arms of Baran after just one look.