((The Scarlet Dawn is the title of a derivative piece of fiction set in the WoW universe, written by Krizzlybear for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As per the word count demands of NaNoWriMo, all spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems, and failures to adhere to canon, are unintentional, and will not be attended to until the end of November. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.))
Gaz Grimblefizz shivered as a gust of wind crept into the Everlook Inn. Snowfall was perpetual in the aptly named trade outpost of Winterspring, but the chill of winter was always sudden when the cold season had arrived. He sniffled right afterward, his lips pursing downwards at the discomfort of his work at this time of the year. The house itself was simple in architecture, but its limited practicality offered little, if any, insulation from the onslaught of cold from the outside. It was unsurprising then that the inn itself had practically no visitors this time of the year.
Tonight was an exception, however, Gaz heard several knocks on his front door.
“Ring the bell, you nitwit!” He exclaimed furiously, worried that the knocks would destroy his flimsy door.
There was silence, but it was interrupted by a peculiar sequence of blips and beeps emenating from Gaz’s engineered speaker system. The noise was music to his ears, and as he exhaled, he found himself ready to accept his first and perhaps only guest of the entire season. “Okay, you can come in now! The door is open, okay?”
As the orchestrated blips and bloops ended, silence hung once again, but this time, it had lingered for an ominously long amount of time. Whoever this person was, he was not eager to open the door himself.
“Stupid guests!” Gaz muttered under his own breath. “Why do I get all the crazies this time of year?” He hobbled off of his cozy Bear-hide chair, and proceeded towards the door, several feet away from him, but on the opposite side of the lone furnace in the establishment.
He better have a good explanation for all this, he thought to himself. As he arrived at the front door, he placed his tiny green hand on the knob and began to turn it. He stopped midway when he heard a low groan from the other side.
The sudden sound broke the silence, and Gaz’s fume of annoyance quickly turned into a trembling fear. He was a coward, despite his swashbuckler business-like demeanour, and the noise he heard immediately prompted him to think twice about turning the knob the rest of the way.
“Who is it?” Gaz whimpered, suddenly turning onery again. “If this is Krizzle Crumblespark, you better stop that, you jerk!”
His remark was replied with more silence. With an arched brow, Gaz crouched down to take a peek through the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. Unfortunately, he saw nothing suspicious from underneath, and flinched in sudden confusion.
Curiously, he stood back up and opened the door just enough to stick his head out. A gust of winter air blew into his face, and Gaz cringed at the chill that travelled from his head to the soles of his feet. Part was from the cold, but mostly due to his immense terror. What the hell made that sound?
Grabbing a Yeti-maned cloak from a nearby rack, he went out onto the front steps of the inn, only to see most of the town in front of him, devoid of any populace. It was expected, as it was quite late into the evening, perhaps almost past midnight. The storm that evening left a new layer of snow, and aside from Gaz’s own, there were no visible indication of footsteps leading up to or away from the entrance. Gaz was irked once more, wondering who or what had knocked on his door in the first place. Another loud roar of wind brushed against his ears, deafening him for a few seconds. He gave up at his line of thought, succombing to his bodily need for warmth.
Immediately, he rushed back inside, both to avoid the cold as well as whatever this unseen horror may have been. He shut the door as quickly as he could, bolting every lock in place. “Inn’s closed! Get the hell out of here!” Gaz shouted, hoping that there was nobody around to hear his plea.
He sighed as he dropped his cloak on the floor, and he shivered again at the sudden drop in temperature emanating from within within. “Lousy furnace!” He grumbled, as he wobbled towards the other end of the room, only to see that the furnace was gone.
Not gone, but rather literally ripped out of the wall and floor into which it was built. A giant hole was left in place.
“What the hell is going on he-“
The door behind him rattled with a loud shriek. The force shaking it almost knocked the bolts out of their places, and the doorbell began to chime once again, but this time with unsynched blips and bloops that rang more out of dysfunction than anything.
“OH MY GOD!”
He ran towards the door to try and brace it shut, but his steps were not soon enough, as the entrance completely collapsed to the force outside. The doorway, and significant chunks of bricks that lined it, gave way to the sight of a hulking zombie, nearly twice the size as Gaz himself.
“urrrgghhh…” It moaned. The exact same sound Gaz heard earlier.
It limped haphazardly towards him, nearly tripping over the fallen debris. Paralyzed in fear, Gaz stared into its lifeless eyes as he unnoticingly fell backwards onto the floor, his sight still fixed on the figure in front of him.
The undead individual towered over Gaz, its flesh ripped and torn in numerous places, revealing veins, muscles, and hints of visceral matter in its torso area. It raised an arm as it began to howl, showing fanged teeth and flaring, yet soulless eyes. Gaz tried to raise his own arm in defence, but the zombie’s swipe cracked through his forearm. Its massive claws raked Gaz in the face, leaving scars that ran from nose to navel.
In sheer pain, Gaz rose to his feet instinctively, running out into the main street of Everlook. He ran towards a particular house that still had its lights on, and banged on the door. Repeatedly.
Gaz could feel another surge of pain, and as he looked down on himself, he saw his green skin burst out in numerous places. His hands swelled to the point of sheer agony, as his fingers sprouted massive claws. Now he no longer had control over his own voice. Trying to scream at his own terror, all he could muster was a low goblin groan of his own.
His movements were no longer his own, but he remained aware of his own sense of sight and sound. He saw himself continue to pound against the door, and could hear the screams coming from within. He knew he was lost to the affliction that he had contracted. He saw himself tear down the door, and skulk at the human family that dwelled within.
Moments later, a group of four zombies emerged from the house, as they continued to spread out to the other buildings of Everlook. Despite the blistering wind, the resulting swarm became absorbed in their own hunger for flesh and violence.
Gaz was now part of a mob of living dead, as they ravaged and ripped through building after building, finally setting their eyes on one particular house, this one bearing the banner of a white sun on a black background.
“GWAAARR!!” Gaz bellowed, as he swung his arm at the wall of the complex, immediately felling the structure itself. From the rubble, a group of people clad in armor and tabards bearing the same symbol as the house’s banner emerged. A robed human female stepped forward from the group towards the mob and said a silent prayer as she closed her eyes.
Almost immediately, a surge of light radiated from the woman, and hit every last zombie in her vicinity. They fell back, but were not defeated. The strike was enough to incapacitate them for just long enough for the group to run away.
As they trogged through the snow, all the Argent soldiers could do now was report to their companions, and hope that the oncoming menace could be stopped in time.
((running word count: 1352. TERRIBLE! I’m so off the pace, but I was busy this weekend doing my last raids of the BC expansion. I have the whole story planned out already, so it’s all a matter of putting it into words, and hoping that it will eventually reach the 50,000 plateau. Stay tuned for part two!))