((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.))
A black widow spider crawled up a nearby wall. It was a combination of a brick and mortar understructure, panneled by polished oak and red velvet linings filling in the gaps. But that was when it was new. Now it was a mess. The oak was worn and rotted, its holes revealing the understructures. The velvet was soiled, its crimson color hiding the various stains of blood that had spilt onto it over the numerous years.
It crawled up into rafters, overlooking the room below. Large enough to fit a committee of evildoers, but private enough to keep an evil mastermind comfortable in its vacancy. The lair was adequate for the master’s likings, but due to his sheer insanity, he paid no heed to its details and nuances.
Instead, the master nestled back onto his makeshift chair, crafted from panels ripped off the floor, as well as the bones of numerous henchemen who had displeased him over the years. It was a justified action, since any form of ineptitude could have been caused by the slightest form of Scourge taint. Yes, he would think to himself. It was necessary to kill them, otherwise he had risked that his Crusade was tainted by the Scourge, the unrelenting force of undead that threatened the livelihood of the Human race, or, in light of recent events, his Human race.
The black widow receded into a crack in the ceiling. His room was completely shut out from the rest of the cathedral.
“Ah, yes. They should be here by now…if they lived”
Earlier, he had sent a trio of henchmen to the depths of Khaz Modan, where a large contingent of lepper gnomes dwelled. If his creation worked as intended, he would be able to spawn a countless horde of undead, each at the cost of mortal lives and souls. He cackled in anticipation, completely absorbed in his self-accepted lunacy.
He sensed a figure skulking behind the door to his lair.
“Enter!” Said the master.
A frightened man stepped through the doorway, paying no heed to his surroundings, or his master, who sat in the unspeakably horrid chair. He learned from his peers not to look at the master straight into his eyes in order to avoid any chance of angerring him. If he had, the consequences could cost the man his worthless, pathetic life.
“Speak, coward!” The master said. “How goes Gnomeregan?”
Trembling, the man kept focus on the floor close to his feet. Stammering at first, he struggled to force the unfortunate news from his mouth.
Sweat began dripping from his forehead, running down his neck into his armor.
“Sir…We did as you asked. We went to Gnomeregan, and was able to use the orb successfully. The lepper turned into a ghoulish monster!”
“Hrmm…” The master looked down at his henchman, aware of his discomfort. He continued studying his state of anxiety.
“You’ve done well.” He finally said. “Where are the other two?”
“D-d-dead, sir. I mean, they’re gone. The monster ran after us after the transformation, and killed the others. They turned into monsters themselves. I managed to escape.”
The master considered what he had heard. If the orb worked as intended, then the afflicted would turn into zombies. They became undead horrors much like those of the Scourge, if not the exact same.
“You’ve done well, dog!” The master rejoiced, laughing maniacally. Whether it was at the man, or at the success of his plan, or due to plain hysteria, niether of the two knew. “I can carry out the next phase of my plan. Leave, or else I will use you as a test subject!”
The henchman gave no remark of acknowledgement or gratitude. He disappeared as quickly as he could, avoiding his demise in case the master had changed his mind.
Yes, the master thought, slouching further into his chair of human remains. The orb worked, but perhaps too well. If he wanted to create his own army equal to the scourge, he would have to make sure that those who had used the orb survived themselves. It was a conundrum that puzzled him for a moment, but he conceded that there was no way to preserve the numbers of his troops, unless somehow they were immune to the effects of transformation.
The ones who used the orbs were those would need to be undead in the first place.
Arriving at this conclusion, the master stood up from his chair, skulking towards a bookshelf that took up an entire wall of the room. Sliding his fingers against the numerous spines of texts that were neatly arranged in front of him, he stopped at a spot of interest, reading the label as he tilted his head sideways.
THE DEATH KNIGHTS OF ACHERUS
He removed the book from the shelf, and opened the cover. Scanning through its contents, he let out a sigh of disapproval.
“My plans will need to be modified,” The master said. “If they are to succeed.”
((Running word count: 6001))