“Hey, take it that that rib’s holding up?”
Asteria paused her actions and glanced towards her plate-armored companion, who was leaning against the wall, weapon propped up next to him as he kept a hand at the bottom of the pommel. Asteria herself was armored up as well, wearing reinforced leather armor that was still easy to move in. She shrugged at her companion. “It’s fine, got it tended to. It’s still sensitive, but it’s manageable.” She then went back to wiping her blades before glancing around them again.
On the ground around them were the still and bloodied corpses of dark-robed individuals of a variety of races, each different from each other except for one thing: they all had bearings or markings of the Twilight’s Hammer, worshipers of the Old Gods. Pests hiding amongst populace of Azeroth’s races and factions, but now more active than they have been since the Cataclysm.
Asteria eyed the corpses, frowning as she completed her task. “There were more of them this time. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing… what do you think, Orei?”
The plate-armored individual, Oreidin, shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know. Given our recent luck, probably not a good thin-“
Both Oreidin and Asteria turned their gaze as they heard footsteps approaching, spotting two individuals approaching them. A male Pandaren in plate armor and a male Dwarf armed with a sniper rifle and an axe approached them, both looking like they had seen combat as well. Asteria raised an eyebrow towards them before focusing on the Pandaren. “Any luck, Junang? Bolt?”
The Pandaren, Junang, heaved a sigh before moving to plop rather loudly on a clean part of the floor. He then looked at Asteria before nodding. “We found some correspondence between them and other cells.” He then scratched his chin lightly. “Unfortunately, they’re coded. And the cells they’re communicating with are from various other locations. Elwynn, Westfall, Duskwood, Redridge… even ones to the Badlands, Loch Modan, and the Twilight Highlands.”
“Aye,” ‘Bolt’ said, his long, braided beard moving as he spoke. “William’s collectin’ it all ter decode back in Stormwind. After that, there’s just the effort ter notify the other teams. Lad’s gonna be up all night, given ‘ow much was there.”
Asteria looked at the two and sighed, leaning her head back against the wall behind her. “Fuck. Well… at least this group had more info than the others.”
“Indeed.” Another pair of footsteps led to all four of them looking down the corridor again. Approaching them was a male Human, dressed in an impressive manner that hardly reflected the carnage around them. A well-kept suit and tie, complete with a coat, and a walking cane with a lightly glowing gem at the top of it. And despite the scene around them, not a spec of blood was on him. In his other hand, at his side, was a sealed briefcase.
Asteria eyed the man and grinned. “Got everything you need, William?”
William Stradtner looked at Asteria and nodded, lifting his briefcase briefly in reference towards it. “As far as I can tell, yes. The cleanup crew will come by and collect anything we might have missed and deliver it to us.” He then regarded the others, specifically Bolt. “And if it does, so be it. Our employer is getting anxious and is requesting all cells to send in reports on everything they know and have.”
Asteria scoffed lightly. “Yeah, after finally sending more than vague orders after so long…”
William turned his gaze back towards Asteria. “Perhaps, but the Black Prince had his reasons. And perhaps it was for the best.” He glanced around them. “Nevertheless, we should depart before anything else occurs.” He then began continuing onward, moving carefully around the bodies and mess on the floor. “Tomorrow will be another busy day. And if I recall, you have a shift to work tomorrow, Hallewell.”
“Yeah, I do,” Asteria said as she and Oreidin stopped leaning against the wall and began following, with Bolt moving as well and Junang bringing up the rear after heaving himself off the ground. “Don’t want to be late for that.”
“Yeah, bet you don’t want to be late getting back to that bed you’re sharing,” Oreidin snickered. “When do we get to meet them again?”
Asteria looked towards him and grinned. “Never.”
“Better keep it that way and not make mistakes, lass.” Bolt said. “Best ter keep personal lives out of this. Don’t need another incident like th’ time with Junang’s wife…”
“Hey,” Junang voiced, “leave my sweet bun out of this. She was just worried because I had forgotten my dumplings.”
Asteria snickered to herself. “And that is why I keep all this separate from everything else. And intend to keep it that way.”
As the group made their way out of the building they were in, each of them began covering up their head in one way or another before continuing and going their separate ways for the evening: Warthilan and Bolt pulled up hoods over their heads, while Junang put on his helmet.
And Asteria, having a preference for masks, pulled up one over her face and a hood over her head.
Characters (all of them my own):
Oreidin – male human warrior
Junang – male Pandaren warrior
‘Bolt’ – male dwarf hunter
William Stradtner – male Human caster