*15 years in the future*
Matticus lounged on the sofa catching the latest highlights on Sportsnet. Those damned Canucks have come close every year but have yet to drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup. He took a sip from his Alexander Keith’s and heard the sound of foot steps descending. A little girl clutching her teddy bear stood there rubbing her eyes.
"Hanna, what’s wrong? Why aren’t you asleep yet?" Asked a concerned Matticus, "It’s late and you have to go to school tomorrow!"
"I can’t sleep!" She squeaked.
"Well come over here to your uncle Matticus and we can watch some hockey together."
Hannah waddled over and climbed onto the sofa. She snuggled next to her favourite uncle for a few minutes.
"Uncle Matt, can you tell me a story?" The little girl asked.
"I’d love to, angel. What would you like to hear about?"
"Tell me about the time you killed that big fish!"
"It was a such a long time ago, Hannah, but if you insist."
*scene fades to Shattrath City*
I was on my first tour of duty with Carnage. I happened to have the night off and I decided to relax by visiting the Shattrath City bazaar. The night life tends to be exotic. There’s all manners of sights and smells to take in and this night was no different. At the time, Carnage was running a joint operation with a couple of other Guilds in the Caverns of Serpentshrine.
Gnomish engineers and researchers of the violet eye developed a device that allowed members of Carnage to communicate to each other telepathically. Unfortunately, like most Gnomish devices, these often had a few quirks and features left out such as the lack of an off button. It was called the Gnomish Communications Handsfree Audio Transmitter (also known as GCHAT). This allowed Carnage to keep each other updated on the various activities they were doing.
Because of this, he knew that the operation was sustaining heavy casualties. The creature known as the Lurker below was giving them a hard time.
"Matt, we just lost one of our medics. We need you in here right now." I heard over my headset amidst the sounds of screaming and battle.
It was Keruen. He was the one running the op.
I sighed to myself. So much for a peaceful night, I thought.
"Understood. Can I expect a summon?" I transmitted back.
"Negative! L Z is hot! There’s too many hostiles and there is no way our locks can get a lock on yo-". The transmission cut off abruptly. He must’ve been shot.
I ran to the Scryer armory and grabbed a mace and a shield off the weapons rack. The Scryers and I had an understanding. The Shard of the Virtuous sat holstered and the Tryptech shield was placed firmly on my back. I placed two fingers in my mouth and blew causing a distinct shrill. Nothing happened at first but she was coming, I knew. Sure enough, the majestic gryphon gently landed in front of me and lowered her neck. I climbed onboard and grabbed her reins.
"To Serpentshrine. They need us, my friend." I whispered into her ear.
Her powerful wings flapped once and they shot up towards the sky towards the Zangar marshes away from the forests in Terrokar. He looked back down at the sight of the city growing smaller before turning his face forward to where his friends needed him most.
"There’s no time to waste. The Nagas below can’t reach us at this altitude, but there’s too many of them. I’ll have to do a HALO jump."
The gryphon chirped her acknowledgement and continued her ascent. It felt like an eternity. GCHAT was quiet. Quick inquiries generated no responses.
A squawk caused me to look up. We were approaching the drop zone. I patted the gryphon and stood up while she slowed her speed. The superstructure of the drain below was enormous. One wrong move and I could end have impaled myself. Open my chute too early and the nagas can shoot me out of the sky. Open it too late and at this speed the water could very well behave like land and kill me on impact.
My mount squawked again. It sounded like she was impatient for me to get off her back. I smiled inwardly and somersaulted backwards into the large lake that was 30000 feet below. The ground was getting a lot closer and a lot bigger. Dots turned into large snakes. I didn’t have a choice and I yanked my cord. I felt the lurch of the chute seemingly carry me upwards and slowing my fall. The naga patrols weren’t looking up thankfully.
I landed into the water and unhooked my chute. The great thing about it was that the chute dissolved in water so there would be no signs of an intruder. I swam into the main sewer line before emerging out into another cavern. There were no guards in sight anywhere. Our forces must have steamrolled them early.
I pressed onwards into the largest cave and entered the lift. I mentally conjured up the image of a lightning bolt in my head and had my palm out facing forward in the event I ran into unfriendly stragglers. As I stepped off the lift and crept onto the raised platforms, I noticed there were many corpses everywhere. Nagas were torn in half or had huge holes in them. Bog lords were partially incinerated or dismembered. I figured that following the trail of corpses would lead me to the expedition.
As I approached the last known position of the team, I felt a cold ring upon my neck and heard the locking of a rifle.
"You have five seconds to identify yourself before I separate your head from your body." Spoke a voice from behind.
I knew that voice anywhere.
"It’s Matt. Authentication Charlie Zulu Alpha."
It was Blori. He took his finger off the trigger and pulled his gun off my neck.
"Welcome to the Suck. We’re in the middle of regrouping. Let’s go." Blori said before moving ahead of me.
I could tell by his tone that he was extremely pissed. I stayed close behind him and let him take the lead. His rifle was out and he was constantly scanning. I never liked this place very much. It smelled too much like fish.
He raised his hand and I almost bumped into him. Instantly I crouched and rolled to my left behind a pillar while he took position on the right with his rifle leveled. I looked over at him and he mouthed the word "patrol". I peeked over and sure enough, two nagas wielding there tridents were slithering through the platform. Blori held up two fingers and brushed them across his lower lip. I raised my eyebrow in a "You sure?" kind of manner. He nodded. I closed my eyes and began to course electrical energy throughout my body.
I stepped into the open and unleashed a bolt of lightning that hit the right naga. The force of the bolt caused him to fly back and almost fuse into the wall before he slid down and slumped unconscious. Meanwhile, Blori stood up and dropped the other naga effortlessly with a few well aimed shots. Blori leapt up and kicked the tridents away from the oversized snakes while I kept myself charged up.
"Clear hallway. Let’s move up. They’re dead." He announced.
A few minutes later, we approached the rest of our unit who had been revived and were making preparations to have a go at Lurker again. The Mages, Hunters, and Warlocks stood on the outer platforms ready to unleash pain. Rogues and Warriors knelt prone surrounding the water while the combat medics (Priests, Druids, and me) stood on the outer edge
"Start fishin’. Let’s get this guy down so we can go home." Keruen sighed exasperatedly.
Lines were cast and a few sagefish were caught. Suddenly the cavern trembled and a large sea monster erupted from the water and locked onto it’s closest target: Blori.
We were seconds into the fight before the entire area lit up in brilliant flashes of light as spells of all variants were cast. Another Shaman had activated her Earth Shield on Blori. I activated my own Earth Shield on myself.
Sure enough, I felt Arcane Missiles whiz by my right ear. One of them even hit my own shields!
I turned around. It was Vanessa.
Ugh. Friendly fire never was friendly.
I knelt and lowered my profile some more while yellow beams coursed from person to person renewing their stamina and vigor.
Unfortunately, others weren’t as lucky. Raeve, one of the rogues, took an arcing smash and crumpled. I sensed that he was still alive but there was no way he would be able to contribute anything to the fight anymore.
"Hunters, trap. Warlocks, fear. Mages, muttonize!" Keruen ordered. A quick glance around showed nagas slowly being polymorphed into their soft, cottony cousins. Lurker was focused on Blori and ignoring everyone else which was a good thing.
"Bruce! What are you doing?!" I heard a yell and looked over to where he was.
The elemental shaman was unloading lightning bolts like no tomorrow.
Except he was on the wrong target. He was bolting the sheeps.
"Why are you killing the sheeps? You’re supposed to be on Lurker!" Screamed Raeve.
"I-I, erm, well, n-no one told me that. A-a-and I th-thought that the m-mage was going to l-l-lose control of his sh-sheep." Stammered Bruce.
The distraction proved fatal. We had sustained more casualties and the raid was going to buckle. I reached into my pocket, grasped my Ankh, and uttered a few words. Blori was thrown clear off the platform and Lurker continued to thrash about and kill off the rest of the strike force in a matter of seconds. I absorbed a hit and collapsed to the ground without moving.
After a few minutes, my ankh glowed and my body was encased in a warm light. I opened my eyes and looked around slowly before pushing myself off the ground. I drank a large jug of milk before resurrecting the rest of my company.
"Bruce, do you realize what you were doing?" Blori asked firmly.
"Well, yes. But I-"
"Good. Don’t do it again. Just focus and stay on the boss."
"I only wanted to help the mage because he had an unshee-"
"No arguments. Just do as I say." Blori said gritting his teeth together.
"I mean I don’t think I did anything wro-"
"I’m going to ask you one more time, Bruce." Blori was on the verge of losing it.
"That’s insubordination! Listen to your commanding officer for once and just do as he says." I roared. I never really did like Bruce.
"Look, I’m only trying to expla-".
"Get out of here. Get out of my raid. As far as I’m concerned, you’re done. You will not be raiding with me ever again. You’ve been relieved."
"Now just wait a minu-!"
Bruce disappeared as he was being summoned back to Shattrath. GCHAT notified me that he was no longer a member of this organization. The reason? Being disruptive and a failure to accept responsibility.
The rest of the night was uneventful. We killed Lurker right after that with no further problems. A few nights later, the Carnage strike team ascended Mount Hyjal and killed Archimonde in a Bruce-less raid.
His last words to the Guild?
"I predicted this 2 weeks before you did it… you guys are scrubs… remember I am in elitist jerks on my main. Good luck, scrub."
Elitist Jerks would never accept a player like that. His raiding career has effectively been ruined as all reputable organizations have been notified.
After I returned to Shattrath, I received the following communiqués.
But he’s gone now, and that’s what matters the most. Bruce was so paranoid. He felt that the leaders were out to get him. It wasn’t just one person who felt that way. Most of the players did. He even thought that this pickup raid into SSC was orchestrated with the intention to oust him from the Guild. I highly doubt anyone would go through such an elaborate setup. Bruce had dug his own grave from the start. His poor play and inability to remain accountable for his equally poor decision making contributed to his ejection from Carnage.
I looked over beside me. The little girl had fallen asleep.