The Autobiography of Hroderick Wahl.

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The Autobiography of Hroderick Wahl.

Post  Hrodwulf on Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:50 am

Youth... Ah sweet youth. While one is young, it feels as if it will last forever... At least, it seemed to me as if it would last forever, and I honestly hoped it would. I will never forget those long midsummer days spent running around Duskhaven, wooden sword always in my belt or in my hand, declaring myself leader of my little band of youthful companions. In a way I was their leader... Whenever it was decided we were to try to hunt down a fox, I led the way. If the game of the day was stealing vegetables from the Hammond Farmstead, or fruit from the Crowley Orchard, I was always the first one in, and the last one out. Always.

My nights were filled with stories in front of the fireplace, told to me in harrowing detail by Grandma Wahl. Sometimes the stories were about the initial appearance of the barbaric Orcs, and how the Seven Kingdoms had stood together and bravely fought just to hang on to their existence in Azeroth. Other times, the stories were about the arrival of the demonic forces of the Burning Legion that had come to destroy Orc and Human alike.

As the spring of my life began to fade and the Greymane Wall was shut, the stories began to take on a much darker and dreary note... Gone were the conclusions of triumph and glory for mankind, replaced by endings that sounded more like ominous warnings, telling me to prepare for an evil that lurked just outside the great wall, ever waiting to strike, should we let our vigilance falter for even a second... She spoke of vast armies of undead monstrosities, mindlessly and relentlessly marching across the lands to the North... She also often spoke of a particular Warlock named Arugal, who was known around Gilneas for the working of magics so foul that the citizens had begun to not only question his sanity, but his very humanity...

On my thirteenth birthday I was sent off to Gilneas City by Grandma Wahl to begin learning a trade. She had set me up with a local blacksmith and I was to spend five years as an apprentice. It was definitely hard work... Heating the metal to just the right temperature... Learning to hit just the right spot with the hammer to give it the right shape... Being ever mindful of the weight distribution of the materials as to not make the piece off balance and cumbersome to use... I never really noticed until my apprenticeship was over that in those long five years of constant laboring with forge and anvil, I had not once made anything such as a plow or a horseshoe, but only weapons. Weapons... Armor... And shackles...

I was no longer a youth... Ah sweet youth, once it is gone it seems like it was so fleeting... At least, that is how it seemed to me as I spent even more days and nights practicing my craft. Sometimes the shipments of metals were either behind schedule or non-existent, having been delayed by weather, lost to pirates as they made their way by boat to Gilneas, or simply already being bought up by other kingdoms. In those times I kept bread and meat on my table by taking a few shifts of watch duty with the Gilnean Guard. My work as a blacksmith had given me the proper build and knowledge of arms and armor to fill the job nicely, but something about saluting and repeatedly giving the same tired report of "nothing on this side" struck me as irksome.

This was my life. Or... Was supposed to be my life... Maybe in some years time I would find a nice girl, settle down, and have a few children. Hopefully my children would have a youth similar to my own, with days full of adventure and nights full of Grandma Wahl's stories. But as one cannot clearly see the future for what it is until it is truly upon them... This was not to be...

As the years rolled on, I found my self in service to the guard more often than sweating at the forge. In these times it was not enough to only be prepared to use arms and armor, for there was many a time I was actually forced to use them...

The beasts were savage and ruthless... Nearly as strong as any two Gilneans. Their eyes burned with a feral hatred that seemed to completely fixate on whatever or whoever they had decided was to be their prey. The thing that disturbed me the most about these... Things... Was not the ferocity of what we faced, but the frequency with which we faced it... In the first few seasons it was just two. Then over the next few seasons the guard had encountered nineteen of the filthy mongrels... The very next season it had been several more than all of the previous seasons combined, and now they had begun to travel in groups. As their numbers continued to increase their tactic of never appearing more than a few yards outside of the treeline had turned into invading outlying shacks, which became raids on farmhouses, which then shockingly grew into attempts to vault the walls of Gilneas City itself. Also the... Packs...? Started to include a score or more individuals whereas before they had never been larger than three. But all of this was nothing compared to what was to come...

How many there were I do not know... Hundreds? Thousands? An uncountable amount... Not that I could really do any sort of counting amongst all of the fighting, blood-curdling screams, and flame-etched silhouettes of towering wolf-men pursuing their next helpless victim. If it were not for the efforts of King Greymane and the valiant sacrifice of Prince Liam, nothing would have been left of Gilneas but rubble and corpses...

After the battle was over, and Gilneas was secure, a new threat loomed in front of me and the people of Gilneas... It turned out that those bitten by the Worgen, as I had learned they were called, became Worgen themselves... Thankfully for me I was not bitten during any of my previous nights on guard duty, or during the battle to save Gilneas from the Worgen onslaught. No, my bite would come later...

It was a dark night with a baleful quarter-moon hanging lazily in the sky. My patrol had been dispatched out past the north gate of Gilneas City. I was part of one of the many patrols that went out, again again, with the mission of capturing our fellow Gilneans who had been turned, in hopes of curing them. I had spotted some movement in the treeline up ahead and informed the Captain. He told me since I was the one who thought he had seen something, I would be the one to check it out, and I was only to call for aid if it turned out to be a definitive threat. I lit my torch and entered the wooded area, and a little further ahead of me, just outside of my torchlight... I saw it again. The rustling and shaking of bushes as they were snapping back into place from being parted to make way for something to pass through... What I hadn't seen was the actual form of a Worgen, and I knew that was all the Captain would be interested in. As I ventured deeper into the choked undergrowth, it was almost as if whatever was out there was taunting me...

I followed the thrashing sounds for quite some time, absolutely determined in my hunt, and then suddenly, the sounds stopped... I froze in place, straining my eyes to see beyond the limits of the sparse light thrown off by my torch. The rustling started again, but this time it was coming straight at me. I drew my sword, planted my torch into the ground, and braced myself for the incoming barrage. Right as I sunk into my stance the clatter twigs and vines was right at the edge of my torchlight, and bursting from the tangle of plants came... A boar... The boar veered off to my side a little and ran past me. I turned to watch it go as it crashed on into the darkness and disappeared back into the twisted up wall of foliage. With a wide grin and a soft shaking of my head I placed my sword back in it's sheath and turned around to retrieve my torch. That is when I saw it...

A massive black Worgen loomed before me as a silent colossus of fur, fangs, and two glowing red eyes that I can only compared to glowing embers suspended in midair. For barely a moment we both stood perfectly still. I looked the beast directly in it's eyes and could see the utter rage and hatred welling up in them, then the beast's jowls began to vibrate as it issued a low growl. The attack came suddenly and savagely...

Springing forward out of its' statuesque pose it threw one of it's clawed hands at me in a wide arcing swipe that was aimed directly for my head. I had begun to reel back just as it had started the assault and instead of connecting with my head, the Worgens' mitt took me under the left pauldron, completely rending it from the harness attaching it to my arm. As I stumbled backwards from the blow I tripped on an exposed root and fell, the feral horror wasted no time in pouncing upon me, opened its' jaws wide, and dropped it's salivating maw ravenously towards my jugular. I managed to bend my body to the right slightly and the bite that was intended for my neck instead landed upon my unarmored left shoulder and collarbone, the sickening sound of flesh being torn open was accompanied by the crunching of bone and in a moment of sheer panic I grasped for my torch which was still standing where I had planted it. The metal of my gauntlet clunked against the wood shaft of the torch and I quickly wrapped my hand around it and shoved the blazing end into the beasts face, ramming into the creature with so much force it went out with a loud sizzling hiss. The gargantuan Worgen released the hold his fangs had on me, jumped back, and disappeared into the indistinct shadows of the now barely moonlit woods. As it went it emitted a serious of bone chilling howls, almost as if it was ominously heralding in this new chapter of my life...

My absolute terror faded to shock at what had just occurred and at how close to death I had come, this feeling soon turned into relief for the simple fact I was still alive, but then almost immediately it grew into the nagging din of worry... For I had been bitten, and I knew full and well what kind of fate awaited those who had been bitten... At that very moment I decided I would not breathe a word to the Captain about what had happened to me. I reattached my pauldron to cover the wound and headed back to the rest of my patrol. Even though I was sure my left shoulder was completely destroyed and useless... I oddly felt no pain.

The patrol ended and I returned to my modest lodgings. I lay on my straw bed as my mind continued to revisit my battle with that Worgen over and over. Those glowing red eyes that conveyed nothing but a desire to kill... The way that those eyes had locked onto mine for the slightest of moments before the beast had launched it's attack. Even in my sleep those eyes continued to haunt me...

I awoke the next day to find that the most curious of things had occurred... The mound of torn flesh that had been my left shoulder the night before was completely healed. So much so that I would have thought last night had been nothing more than a terrible dream, if not for the fact that my shoulder now bore scars that formed the very apparent pattern of teeth marks. Human teeth marks... Feeling as if my wish of being able to keep last nights events to myself had come true, I shrugged off my new scars, and began to prepare some breakfast. I had intended to have some eggs with a bit of ham and beans, but the next thing I knew I had consumed the ham... Raw... The eggs... Whole... And I had no interest in the beans at all, even though I was still starving...

As if compelled by an outside force I left my house and began to head toward the butchers. On my way there a man accidentally bumped into me on the street. It wasn't even that hard of a bump, and I knew that the man had not done it intentionally, but for some reason this almost uncontrollable anger welled up inside of me, and accompanying it was this strange desire to... Eat him.

In that moment it had become blatantly obvious to me what I was turning into, and the shame of becoming one of those... Things... Of actually going through the full change inside of the Greymane Wall was something that I would not allow. I decided to leave Gilneas then and there... My escape would be immediate and swift. I would walk through the woods toward the border of my beloved homeland, keep my head tucked into my hood as I passed the now battered gate, and simply stride off into the Silverpine Forest, hopefully unnoticed, with the intent to never return. Everything was going according to plan until halfway through the woods I began to feel as if I was burning from the inside out. I did my best to carry on, but the pain became so unbearable that soon I was doing little more than dragging myself through the fallen branches and sparse undergrowth. A wave of confusion washed over me and I became unsure of if I was even going in the right direction... Then the abyss of unconsciousness took me.

When I came to I was in a farmhouse... Not entirely sure of whose it was or how I had got there, I slowly rose to my feet... Everything was hazy... My thoughts came in quickly and left before I could really grasp their meaning... I saw flashes of images in my head... A little girl huddled in a corner, sobbing into her knees... I became distracted by the sound of wheat rustling in the wind, then fell back into the images... A man approaching me with a pitchfork in his hands, his face plastered with a look that said he knew full well he was going to die but that he had no choice but to try to fend off this threat to his family... A teary eyed woman begging me to take her and leave her children alone... More rustling and the soft sound of tiny paws scurrying across freshly over-turned earth that rested below windswept fields of grain. A mouse? I sniffed at the air, hardly noticing what I was doing and having no idea as to why I was doing it... What followed my sampling of the air was a rapid fire procession of thoughts that drew all of my attention into a single pinpoint of focus that gave itself voice and repeated itself into a deafening cacophony. Blood... BLOOD... I smell blood... BLOOD... WHERE'S the BLOOD?! I NEED the BLOOD!! GIVE ME THE BLOOD!!

My eyes whirled around a room which was covered from floor to ceiling with the sanguine secretions of several human beings. It was all so vivid for me... Seeing their blood... It is the most vivid memory I possess to this day... I saw details in the blood that I cannot describe, but some that I can... I could tell exactly which splatters belonged to which victim, even if the splotches were overlapping... Exactly how far each drop had moved away from the owners heart before it had been relinquished from it's fleshy reservoir... The age of the victims, the youngest of which was five... The precise level of fear they felt at the prospect of death at my hands... So many details... So many things I will never be able to get out of my head... So many things that even now snap me from my sleep into a sitting position, breathing heavily and drenched in cold sweat.

Then I noticed the bodies of my victims, laying in the most awkward positions, their lifeless eyes sitting in the sockets as if they were made of glass... Two were missing limbs... The little boy was missing his head... The woman who had begged and pleaded with me had been mauled to ribbons and her lax body laid haphazardly over the remains of her children... The body nearest to me was that of the man, one broken half of his pitchfork in each hand, laying face up with his right leg strewn over his left causing him to go up on his side from the waist down.

Somewhere deep inside of me, I recoiled at the sight... Whatever part of me that was still human wanted to fade into nothingness, just so I could escape the knowledge of what I had done... But this other thing... This THING I had become, had a whole different prerogative... A simpler, more primal notion... An ingrained desire borne of no other merit than it was what it was... That notions was... To eat them.

The thing I had become was halfway through a leg when the guards came. Before it could do more than issue a low growl, it was bound by magic... Then shackles. I took a fleeting ounce of relief knowing that the irons that now restrained this thing could very well have been made by my own hand. They dragged us out of the farmhouse, packed us into a cage, loaded the cage on a carriage, and began wheeling us to someplace... Somewhere... The smell of human flesh that wafted by interested it far more than where I was being taken.

Days and nights came and went slowly... What made them seem longer was not only the heightened senses I now had but more so the ever increasing hunger that wracked my body. After a few days of being locked up and force fed potion after potion through an apparatus that seemed to me more like an implement of torture, my consciousness and the consciousness of this thing I had become had started to come together. This ravenous monster was becoming less and less an intruding presence that I was trapped within... It was starting to become who I was...

A few weeks had gone by... The pain from the hunger was unbearable, but the ability to completely remember and relive what I had done was even worse... on the twenty-seventh day of my captivity, I spoke for the first time since the change... I say "I" because the feral need to feed and the deep self loathing were no longer divided, they had become one. One in purpose, one in mind, and one in desire. I poked what could fit of these misshapen appendages I would eventually come to call my fingers, out between the bars of my cage and began to wiggle them listlessly in an attempt to garner the attention of a man I felt I somewhat recognized. When he finally noticed my movements he turned and looked down at me with profound pity. At that moment, with all the will I could muster in my famished and distraught condition I managed the shaky utterance of these two words...

Kill... Me...

Hrodwulf
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