{ I'd like to thank my friend Trell for taking one look at my original story, and turning it into this masterpiece. Once again, I do not own Warcraft in any way, Blizzard does. I think she got Oliver and Bauer down particularly well. I also think her Mort is great. Eisenberg doesn't get as much 'screen time' so to speak, but he seems very in character to me.

If you feel the need to Roleplay with myself or Trell, we are on the realm of Sentinels, and go by the names Traiolullen and Trell. You can probably find us at the Wayfarer's Rest tavern in Silvermoon City. Be on the lookout for more tales of Mortimer's past. }

"That's it. This is just too creepy."

There were four of them - trained guardsmen, for the most part, decked out in full armor and livery. Oliver was a militia recruit, but had a fair hand with a sword, and they had accepted the younger man into their group shortly before leaving for this circuit.

Now they stood in a clearing, filled with grass that seemed, to Mortimer's sharp eyes, to lack its usual cheery green tone. Everything was peculiarly grayed, as if someone had coated every surrounding tree and piece of greenery with a thick layer of dust. He tried to shake the impression, trying to convince himself that it was just his mind playing tricks, just the tense feeling of something coming that was making him think so, but it wouldn't depart. It did look strange, and that worried him.

"Shut up, Oliver. There is nothing out there. This is a standard patrol. We do this all the time!" Sergeant Bauer spat. He was a coarse type of man, gray-haired, with a chin bearing an impressive amount of stubble, a sure sign that they'd been out on patrol too long. He'd taken to rubbing his hand across it in times of stress - as he did now, something the other three footmen didn't fail to miss.

Eisenberg chimed in, "Hey, I'm with Oliver on this one. It is way too quiet out here. Shouldn't there be birds or insects or something making noise? Hell, ogre wardrums would be welcome right about now. At least we'd know that something was coming, instead of just standing here waiting." This last sentiment was silently shared by all: the waiting was the worst part. It curdled their insides, made them almost wish for another assault, if only that would mean they wouldn't have to continue living frozen with uncertainty.

"What do you think, Traiolullen?" Oliver tried again, unable to drop the subject.

Bauer opened his mouth - probably to tell Oliver to close his mouth, before he did it for him in a much less pleasant fashion - when Eisenberg overrode him with a hiss. "Shh. I think I heard something."

Silence fell over the oval open space. The quiet words had stopped up Oliver better than a punch to the thorax. They listened, so intensely that they thought their ear drums might pop from the effort.

There was certainly a noise. Were those wings beating?

The gargoyle smashed clear through Oliver, shrieking furiously as its claws rent through the footman's steel armor as if it were little more than cheap fabric. The force of the swoop sent both of them skidding away into the thicker woods; a cut-off cry and a fiercer beating of leathery wings informed what remained of the squad that going after the boy was a lost cause.

The now three man squad of Lordaeron footmen tightened formation, shields coming up to cover their bodies, swords sliding out between the cracks of their locked shields.

The wave of ghouls took advantage of the humans' nervous glances at the sky and, low to the ground, tore out of the woods, breaking the shield wall. The soldiers scattered.

Mortimer Traiolulllen's broadsword decapitated a ghoul smoothly, and then removed another one's arm on the return swing. He saw Sergeant Bauer holding up well on his right, running one through with his sword and pulping another's face with his shield. On Mortimer's left, Eisenberg had four ghouls on him. He, Mortimer knew, wouldn't be able to survive much longer without assistance.

"For Lordaeron!" Mortimer bellowed. His sword, moving with speed that would have rivaled that of a duelist, impaled a slime-covered, towering undead that had been getting dangerously close to crippling Eisenberg. A burst of euphoria went through Mortimer as the behemoth thrashed and then toppled, milky eyes staring into space.

The emotion was suddenly eliminated as white-hot pain erupted in Mortimer's side.

Vision blurring, the soldier looked down at his stomach to see a spear's head jutting out of his body. It felt surreal: it couldn't be. He'd never actually believed that he'd die doing this: just hours ago, he'd been contemplating returning back to the town, greeting his family and friends on the doorstep with a wave and an accomplished smile . . .

As he watched, the weapon was jerked back out. If anything, the pain as it exited became worse: it consumed him like a searing fire, and he hardly felt it a skeletal foot kicked him into the muddy ground. His body rolled, landing him in just the right position to see the leering skeleton - the very same that had just sentenced him to death - turn away and rush to engage Sergeant Bauer.

He bled freely, in such shock that he was more astounded by the amount of blood his body contained than appalled. He watched the ghouls rip Eisenberg apart, and watched them feast on his flesh, tearing away shreds and devouring them with slobbering gurgles of gluttony. It was easily the most appalling thing that Mortimer had ever seen, but it failed to register, as if his brain had chosen to filter out all other emotion that wasn't surprise. He watched arteries torn, bones crushed, every bit of his friend split at the seams.

There were no words he could have possibly thought that would have described the horror, so his mind didn't try.

As his vision was lost to him, he heard the cries of pain as Bauer's jaw was torn off and gulped down in turn. The Sergeant, as the rational part of his mind had expected, had been the last to fall.

By the time the necromancer reached his body and sent the ghouls skittering away, all that remained was his sense of smell. He lacked the strength to throw up properly, but the bile gathered in his mouth and choked him. The clearing reeked of meat and rot, like a butcher's shop that had been infested by rats.

The necromancer rested his hand on Mortimer's forehead, and smell vanished, too. He was vaguely thankful as it disappeared.

Magic flooded his veins, and he stood; another corpse warrior, another one of the abominations that the Scourge's collective subconscious informed him would soon charge and obliterate his home town. And he observed, calmly, that he was the only member of his squad whose body was well preserved enough to have been risen again.

That thought gave comfort to the small voice locked away in the back of his mind which screamed and screamed and screamed, but it didn't stop it.

It couldn't ever be enough.