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Dog of the Dead: Living - by Cwnannwn

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2006-06-19 16:06:19

She sat alone at the bar of the tavern, staring down at the warm bowl of porridge in her hands and carefully spooning it into her mouth. Her cloak was wrapped tightly around her, a vain effort to fight the chill, the coldness she felt even as fever ran through her blood. She had hoped the fresh hot breakfast would have warmed her, but somehow it made her feel even colder. Wonder if the tavern owner lied 'bout it being from the newest shipment in, and instead used some reserve that had gone bad. Wouldn't put it past him. Occasionally a wracking cough would shake her body, but none of the other patrons paid any attention. With a bitter twist of her lips, the woman sneered to herself. I could drop dead here and I doubt any would give it a second thought, save perhaps the thought of rifling through my pockets, or stealing my sword. She shifted, trying to keep the cloak close but at the same time keep it from resting to heavy on her back.

They never care. She thought. I fight for them, protect them from themselves, and they never care. They pretend they don't hear when the poor whore gets murdered in the ally, and say they know nothing when we come to question. They spit on us when I come to arrest their son, never mind that next he could have stolen from them. They watch their neighbors building burn and never think to grab a bucket. They watch the children starve in the streets and never offer even a coin. Even my comrades in arms, the proud guards of Stratholme, turn blind eyes when their commander decides one uppity young guardswoman needs a lesson…

Never expected that when she picked up her badge the first time she'd be whipped for her ideals. She'd been reprimanded for doing her job, arresting belligerent drunk that had nearly raped a serving girl. He'd even attacked her when she forced him away from the girl, so of course she'd subdued him. She was just doing her job, didn't even hit him that hard.. But when the light of morning filtered through the windows of the jailhouse and it was discovered to be one of the cities noble sons she had brought in, it was if she was the criminal herself.

Cowering hypocritical curs. Pledge to stand for law and justice, but break the pledge soon as someone who might offer you a bit of gold walks into view. Then demand I APOLOGIZE to the whelp? Dammit I was in the right, rich brat deserved more than the clock to the temple I gave him on the way in. Almost wish he'd drawn a sword so that I could have really laid into him. Apologize? Bah, the lashes were well worth the look on his face when the spit hit him.

Chuckling lightly to herself, and wincing at the fresh stripes on her back, she finished her drink and headed for the door, though the chuckle turned itself into another deep chest cough. Inwardly she cursed this damned illness again, but then smiled as she was smacked in the shoulder by a large furry nose.

"Hey there Blue. How's my buddy eh? How's my big stupid boy?" Grinning she reached up and stroked the muzzle of her horse. "You're a real friend ain'tcha? Ain'tcha? Yes you are ya big lug. Better person than most I know. Hungry?" Reaching into her pack she pulled out a small bag, shaking some of the grain within into her palm. "Look what I got for you, yummy fresh grain, just for my boy." Smiling she let the horse take the food from her hand, then went to fasten the last of her packs behind her saddle. "No worries boy, promise I'll getcha a nice stall at the inn when we reach Corins, letcha rest your hooves while I look for work. Maybe some traders or something looking for guards on the way to Lordaeron. Sound like a plan boy? Yeah, I thought so."

Taking the reigns of her mount in hand, the dismissed guardswoman lead the way out onto the streets. She was surprised at how packed they were, crowds gathering and heading, like she, towards the gate. Frowning in slight irritation, she turned to a nearest person beside her and asked what was going on.

"We go to see the Prince! Arthas has come to the city, who wouldn't want to go catch a glimpse of so brave and noble a paladin of Light?" The man smiled at her, his enthusiasm matching the people around him.

She snorted. "Me for one, just hope the bloody princeling ain't blocking the gate. I got places to be."

"But…he's the PRINCE…"

"And likely would as soon scrape mud off his boots as look at the likes of us. We ain't worth notice to his ilk, though I reckon he expects the whole city to turn out and greet him anyhow." She coughed again, and spat the resulting phlegm on the street. "Which is fine, long as he ain't blocking my way out the gate."

"Well," the now indignant craftsman said, drawing himself up and giving her a haughty disapproving glance, "you are wrong. He's the heir to our fine king, and a holy paladin, and he does not deserve to be badmouthed by some sickly swordwench. Good day!" With that he disappeared into the teeming masses.

How lovely, she thought as she walked, ignorance truly must be bliss. Guy must be lucky, seems he's never come anywhere near a highborn, so he still believes the slop they try to lull the unknowing into thinking about them. He's hoping he's never disillusioned.

Pushing her way through the people ahead of her, eventually she was in sight of the gate. From the distance she couldn't make out much about the prince and his men, other than their armor glinting as they came up the road to the city. Climbing onto her horses back for a better view, and an easier time moving through the crowd, she watched them approach, and was little impressed. Even when they drew even with the guards on the edge of town and drew their swords for what she expected was going to be some ridiculous pointless salute.

What kind of salute is that anyhow? she wondered. They're holding their swords not in respect, but almost like they're about to… Her mind froze in shock mid-thought as the first sword sliced open the throat of the Stratholme guard. The crowd around her stood motionless, watching the bright blood spray out, oblivious for that moment to the fact that princes soldiers still approached. Over the silence of the dumbfounded masses, the voice of Arthas could be heard as he pointed at the citizens and the town.

"Destroy it all."

With those words panic erupted as the people realize the gravity of their situation. In a surge they pressed away from the gate, fleeing back into the city. Some of the guards broke ranks and sought to flee as well, some blending into the crowd and joining the mob now mindless with fear, while others retained some sense of courage or duty and stood their ground, buying time. But the soldiers were too many and the guards too few. While guards were engaged in combat other soldiers flowed around them and began cutting into the unarmed, fleeing townsfolk.

Barely managing to control her mount against the press of bodies, the former guardswoman didn't even stop to make a choice, for there was no choice to be made. Kicking her heels into Blue's flanks, she moved against the crowd, drawing her sword, trying not to trample the people around her as she closed on the attackers. But the going was so slow, she watched a woman disemboweled, a mans skull caved in, even a child speared as she fought forward against the mob. She was still fifty yards from the nearest foe when the arrows took her.

She cried out as the pain stabbed into her shoulder and side. Nearly dropping her sword, she gritted her teeth against the pain, leaning forward in the saddle with a feral snarl I will die here today but dammit I will buy these ungrateful sheep time. Light grant me the YEOOWW!! A searing stab of light burned through her skull, more painful than anything she'd ever experienced. She crumpled, toppling from her horse and landing heavily on the cobbles of the street, the arrow below her ribs landing under her and pushing itself further in, the arrowhead erupting out her back. She screamed, but the sound only blended with the rest of the yells. The terrified peasantry trampled around her, and finally over her, as a fear blinded man in his panic unknowingly kicked her in the head. The foot connected solidly with her cheek, and she sank into cold darkness, hearing the screams of city and smelling the first whiff of just kindled fire.

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