Her breath echoed in her ears, her feet pounded on the ground. The target was down, mission accomplished. Now all that remained was to get out, alive. Damn it! She should check the backgrounds of hits in future. This one seemed to have been well loved, that or the locals and passers by in Elwynn were bored and needed something to shoot at.

She swallowed a loud yelp as a crossbow bolt thudded into a tree beside her, three inches of the lightweight metal shaft sticking into the wood, some sort of liquid residue around where it had hit the tree. Poison, no doubt. She shuddered, thinking of how easily it had got through the gnarled bark and what it would have done if that had been her.

Her mutilated ears twitched towards any sound, her legs straining to gain ground, bounding off fallen logs, staying bent low and zigzagging behind trees. A bullet zipped past, ripping through her cloak on the way to explode like a small grenade on the ground ahead. This time she did scream – a small strangled noise, before swerving to the right and putting on a burst of speed, reaching into her pocket to check her hearthstone. Judging by the feel of its magic, it was a good half an hour before it would be good to use again. A frustrated growl escaped her lips. At least two after her, only luck had kept her from both the bullet and the bolt, and goodness knew how many others without the marksmanship needed to shoot a fleeing target.

A twig snagged on her hood, pulling it back away from her face, identifying her to any who knew her; Faern Flameshine. A Horde ‘ambassador’, or so they believed. Hell, she’d never asked to be known as an ambassador! Her actions weren’t even supported by the Horde, and she wasn’t even sure it was widely known within the Horde. Oh, hell, she needed to sort that ou—

Something cold thudded into the back of her cloak, slicing through the leather at the back of her armor and into the flesh of her back near her shoulder blade, pain flaring up and down her spine although the wound itself was numb from cold. An ice lance, already beginning to melt, a large icicle spear in her back. She screamed, more from shock of the cold and pain more than anything, and threw herself behind a tree, staring at the bark to see if there was a way up… No. No way up. Damn!

She readied herself to move again, then the very tree struck against her, roots writhing up from the ground to grab around her ankles and slowly moving up her legs, holding her fast, the roots sprouting thorns which cut into her skin and armor, almost shredding her lightweight leather trousers – her boots held, designed to cope with shredding and so forth. She was running out of energy, but yanked the daggers from her belt, slashing and stabbing at the roots on her legs. Chips of wood fell away, but they kept coming, binding tighter, thorns cutting more. With a desperate cry, she grabbed a grenade from her belt and removed the pin with her teeth, dropping it amid the vines and thorns.

Four seconds.




She concentrated hard, already drained from running too far too fast, calling up a very short term shield around herself, faint flickering golden light shielding her skin, but not her armor. The leather of her trousers burnt and blackened. Damn, beyond repair now. Her boots blackened too, turning brittle, her chest armor – reasonably fire retardant, a ‘must have’ for engineers – and her mask darkened slightly but held firm, as did her gloves and shoulder pads. The explosion of the grenade blinded her temporarily, burning the vines and thorns to dust. She lurched forwards, throwing herself against the now brittle and burnt bonds, barely a second left on her holy shield, relief surging through her as she stumbled free, shield flickering out of existence and sprinting ahead… right into an incoming pyroblast from a Draenei mage. Her eyes went wide, the light of the fire showing her features clearly through the soot left by the grenade; no right eye, right side of her face a smooth scar, both ears cut off half way along the length, looking almost like a human veteran if it wasn’t for the evident youth of her features, the angular bone structure and of course the green glow of her remaining eye.

The giant flaming bolder zoomed towards her, time seemed to slow. Well… bugger, that’s going to hurt if it hits me. Will they even find the pieces? Reflexively, she called up her shadow to cloak herself, the darkness swirling around her, embracing her, eagerly devouring the brightness and power of the pyroblast. She kept running forwards, not having bothered to slow when she saw the pyroblast; it wouldn’t have made a difference if it had hit her anyway, apart from maybe the placing of a smoking crater and her sooty remains.

Grabbing at her trousers, a patch of which practically turned to dust in her hands, she found her pack of flash powder and a store of irritating dirt. Flinging it into the eyes of the mage, who was already charging up another fireball, she threw the packet of flash powder at her feet. Catalysts in the small packet sparked, causing a small flash-bang, followed by large amounts of smoke. Ready for the flash and the bang, Faern was unaffected, using the distraction to disappear into the shadows, slinking south towards the river that marked the border with Duskwood, joining with the river that bordered Elwynn and Westfall.

There! An oak, low hanging branches over the river. Hope flooded Faern’s exhausted mind, she left the safety of the shadows and sprinted towards it, crabbing onto the branches and pulling herself up into the relative haven of the canopy. Safe, for now. She carefully retrieved her dimensional ripper from a flameproof pack under her cloak around her waist, connecting the wires to herself before pressing the ‘Go’ button, which incidentally was the big red button. Ten seconds later, a large explosion could be heard even in Stormwind, the top of the tree blackened and dead.

Faern grimaced, thrown head first out of the teleporter in Area 52, Netherstorm. She pushed herself up, feeling as if there was something slightly wrong with her legs. Grimacing, she looked down… Ah, Draenei again. The ripper sometimes did that to you… it would be at least an hour until she got her normal form back. Meanwhile, she needed armor repairs and healing.

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