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Ham shivered in the cool evening air, rubbing his arms vigorously. Priestly vestments were fine for the Stormwind Cathedral, but in the muddy foothills of this accursed basin, he found himself wishing for a warm woolen sweater. Supplies such as wool were kept for the truly cold climes, not merely brisk ones such as Arathi, after the sun dipped below the horizon. At least the golden tabard draped over his torso brought some scant warmth.
He leaned against the flag post behind him and glanced back towards the smithy. His eyes could just barely discern the silhouettes of men within, working in as much light as they dared. Ham, however, was not built for heavy lifting, and so they'd "asked" him to make himself useful and watch out for any Defiler activity. He glared at the dusty windowpane. What he wouldn't give to be inside, out of the wind, preparing to leave this constant fear...
A sudden rotten stench assailed his nostrils. The priest whipped around, slamming right into the mace aimed at his solar plexus. Its twin slammed into the side of his head a moment later. The wielder's glowing eyes narrowed as his rictus grin widened. Ham struggled to stay upright, trying to call to memory words of prayer that had saved his life before, but just as he straightened a spiked shield rammed into his side, throwing him a few feet away. Wordlessly the two assailants advanced on their prey, weapons raised to strike. As they closed in, Ham threw back his head, letting loose a primal scream focused on inspiring terror in the most stalwart of hearts.
The mace-bearing Forsaken let out a dry chuckle and leered as Ham ran out of breath. "We don't scare easily," he rasped, before striking again.
"They got Ham, Sergeant Major," the dwarf whispered harshly, peering out the smeared glass as his gnarled hands busied themselves with loading his gun.
Sergeant Major Toban turned away from surveying the labor and approached the weathered hunter, squinting to make out the scene in the near-darkness outside. Two of the foul undead creatures capered about their flag post as they tore down the proud banner of the Alliance with their bony claws. Toban growled, barely keeping his temper in check. Such flagrant vandalism in plain view of his men showed either incredible stupidity or alarming arrogance. Considering how easily they had dispatched their lookout, though, he doubted they were idiots.
He touched the dwarf on the shoulder briefly, who responded with a slight nod. Assured that his front door guard was ready, Toban turned to the bustling activity occurring towards the back. His men were loading crates onto a supply wagon, crates that contained weapons, armor, and more mundane supplies such as nails and horseshoes. All were vital to keeping a large army fighting on the front lines. The Alliance had dire need of these resources on all fronts, and it was the duty of the League of Arathor, to which Toban proudly belonged, to see they received their shipment.
Of course, the League was not the only organization set on securing these supplies, the Sergeant Major reminded himself as he unsheathed the greatsword from its place on his back. The walking dead also sought the valuable goods that lay in Arathi Basin to fuel their own war effort. Their service here not only strengthened their own forces, but weakened the enemy as well... provided they could hold their position. "Be on your guard," he murmured, glancing around the darkened smithy. The few men under his command left the task of loading and took up their weapons. No words were spoken besides the soft prayer to the Light from Toban's lips. As the last syllable faded, the troops of the League stood a little straighter, shoulders set. The Light was with them; their commanding officer would see them through.
Toban's ears caught a slight scraping against the wooden floor, and he turned towards the back entrance just in time to watch the well-laid trap of Hunter Draig spread frost oil over the stone floor. Ice formed immediately under the feet of the intruder, whose decaying feet slipped on the newly-slick surface. More curses sounded from behind in what was unmistakably Gutterspeak.
"NOW!" the paladin roared as he charged in the midst of the invaders. The air rang with the clash of steel, the crackle of flame, and the cries of the wounded. The acrid scent of gunpowder increased with every aimed shot from Draig's corner. Blood stained both the golden sigil of Arathor and the grinning skull of the Defilers as they fought feverishly in the enclosed space. Toban smiled grimly as the creature before him winced with every successful blow it landed; his prayers had been answered, and each strike was countered with the Light's power.
Slowly, inexorably, they were pushing the invading force back. As they neared the door, a frightened horse's scream cut through the air. Draig leapt from his perch and dashed through the legs of the attackers, shoving them easily aside. The dwarf pushed through the last of them to find one of their cart horses dead, the other being assaulted mercilessly by one of the undead. Draig belted out a sharp whistle. Drawn by the noise, the horse attacker looked down at the dwarf, who waved with a smirk. Snarling, he advanced on the diminutive hunter, dagger clutched in his grasp. He was stopped by two long legs cannoning into his side. Shrieking in rage at its master being in danger, the tallstrider raked and stomped on its fallen foe relentlessly.
The unearthly shriek outside was the last straw for the Defilers. They gave one last half-hearted rush and then fled, disappearing into the scrub surrounding the hill.
"They'll be back," the gruff Draig said as he scratched his pet under its beak.
Toban nodded gravely. "No doubt. But for now..." he said, and walked around to the flag post. With care, he replaced the battered standard of the Alliance. "For now, the smithy is ours."
Arathi Basin, located in Arathi Highlands, is a fast and exciting Battleground. The Basin itself is rich with resources and coveted by both the Horde and the Alliance. The Forsaken Defilers and the League of Arathor have arrived at Arathi Basin to wage war over these natural resources and claim them on behalf of their respective sides.