Elwynn Forest was silent, not a leaf rustled in the tranquility that had settled over the brilliant night. Ashiaya walked over leaves on the balls of her feet, not wanting to give her position away as she crept under the dark green canopy of leaves. Her owl- Nak'artora, perched on a branch above her, quietly surveying the surrounding growth. It was a fairly dense forest, stretching from the arid mountains of Redridge in the East to the desolate Westfall, in the west (as the name well implies).
Ashiaya had made her leave of that small town- the one called Goldshire, merely a day ago, and already -they- were on her trail. She had identified them as the wielders of misfortune by instinct, and the unignorable signs; such as traces of that vile aura emitted from their person, and the way they asked questions under the shadow of the night (Specifically about a night elf druid with the likeness of Ashiaya) . Their appearance was no less menacing then you would expect. They were clad in ebony plate armor and deathweave cloaks, dark hoods obscured their faces from sight, but one could see a pair of frigged glowing eyes... O' yes, those blazing blue eyes, they are of the kind that would send a shiver down your spine.
They had entered the small town on horseback, and these were no ordinary horses, they were ghastly things, undead. The flesh (Or lack thereof) clung to the skeletal remains of a steed that had long since passed into the realm of shadows. Ashiaya knew, whether she wanted to accept it- that she was ill-prepared to fight them, not when she faced the mental strain of their master's will to break her; it was enough to stay sane as it was. The whispers had started around the time the strangers had arrived. It was hardly noticeable at first, just a faint background noise. But, as the day went on, it had come to a point where it could not be blocked out. That evening she had decided to make for the forest, before the 'Death Knights' got any information out of the townsfolk.
Ashiaya sat quietly, sighing in contemplation. She knew that she couldn't run forever. She did not even consider making a fire, that would instantly alert her two pursuers of her location, besides, her vision was not dulled by the night like the humans, and if anything it improved her already keen sight. And for the warmth.... she couldn't remember the last time she allowed herself such a luxury at times dire as these. She had nothing to cook; she refused to kill the creatures of the forest without good reason- above her own desires.
Ashiaya just sat, quietly, closing her eyes, but not resting. Her visibility began to wane as she became one with the shadows, an unique ability her race possessed. Her ears twitched at the slightest noise, but did not give enough movement to break her stealth. Nak'artora cocked her head understandingly, she was not confused by the disappearance of her companion, she had seen this many-a-time. Time was beyond telling; it could have been days if not for the calm reassuring whisper of night. The small gaps in the trees let moonlight flow down in small spectral streams and show small patches of gleaming stars. Then the light was blocked out by a cloud and she was left in complete darkness, welcoming her shadowy shroud.
It began to rain... A pattering at first, a drop rolled off a leaf and dripped onto Ashiaya's head, she did not flinch. The shower echoed through the forest like the beatings of many small war drums. Then lightning struck far off, illuminating the tenebrous sky partially concealed by the angry swaying of the trees, followed by a thundering boom. The rain did not let up, the pattering turned into beating, then pounding like the great hooves of many wild stallions. Nak'artora hooted in dismay and made for a small hollow in the tree. Yet Ashiaya, soaked as she was did not move, she was determined not to move, if she did it would undo her spell and reveal her presence, she could not take that chance. And she knew her foe would not mind the rain, but perhaps welcome it as their cover.
A blinding flash! An explosion shattering the rhythmic beating of the rain and the howling of the wind. A deafening boom! The air smelled of burning wood, one could feel the electrical charges pulsing through. You could taste, smell, see, hear, and FEEL it all at once - in one defining moment. Then it was over. The lightning only dazed Ashiaya for a moment, all around her was wreckage, the tree that Nak'artora had taken respite in had been completely obliterated, all that was left of it was a pile of smoldering ashes.All around her was scorched stumps and a charred ground, where Ashiaya had sat there was the only green patch left, in an unnatural circle. Ashiaya gently touched an amulet socketed with a deep blue stone that gleamed, reflecting the fire's angry light.
Ashiaya kneeled, slowly lifting the amulet that warded her from such a fate as her companion and set it down on the patch where the tree that Nak'artora had been. Ashiaya chanted blessings of peace and respite upon her dead companion in her native tongue with her flute like voice. With that she muttered spell, changing her form into a large pitch black feline and darting off into the woods.
The same scene of charred land seemed to replay over and over as Ashiaya made way deeper into the wood. Once she saw a patch about the size of a tavern completely burned. Ashiaya did not need to worry about being struck herself, the amulet had been a gift she was reluctant to receive from a not quite trustworthy demon (Not like there ever was a demon you could trust). She judged it best be left in the hands of nature, who knew what other numerous charms or curses could be bestowed upon it, for all she knew it was how the Death Knights found her in the first place! She still had the relic her mother had given her when she was but a child, it did more than just ward lightning, it enabled they who bared it to breath water, summon a fire elemental guardian for a minute or two before it faded away, it also kept her from falling ill, at least from "Natural" diseases, there had been many a attack from the Scourge of undead solely from Disease, you would get it and about a day later your hair would start to fall out and your guts began to rot, and numerous other ghastly things would happen to your body before you would die and become one of "them". Few survived the disease and even then, they were never the same. Sadly, it did not ward such.
Eventually Ashiaya wandered into the heart of the forest, the rain was letting up too and the sky was beginning to gray on the horizon. Yet as she was in mid-stride her ears caught the sound of hoof beats, and they were drawing near, and fast. Ashiaya increased her speed, zooming past the trees and as the density of the forest thinned, so came in sight a mountain jutting from the ground near the forest's edge. It wasn't very tall, it could be described as a rather large steep hill, but it would slow her progress undoubtedly, she shifted back into her elven form so she could climb better.
Ashiaya knew, beyond the mountain would be Northshire abbey, where new human recruits would perfect their skills by purging the infestation of Kobolds ( A Gnarled creature about 3 feet high, rather pinkish warty skin, and almost always had the habit of melting candles to their foreheads) and slaying the Bandits that terrorized the vineyards. She knew there, she could find respite, no Death Knight under control of Arthas, the Lich King, would dare enter holy grounds without being fully prepared for such an occasion, the pain would be unbearable to them!
Ashiaya hastily climbed up the mountain, griping the loose stones with care, as not to fall. Behind her the thumping of hooves grew ever louder and now it seemed at any moment she would behold the strangers and there unholy steeds. Ashiaya reached for the next rock or hand hold, there was no graspable surface, and she must take action because behind her a figure was emerging from the woods. She closed her eyes, leaping into the air, Ashiaya thrust out her arms barely grabbing something. She looked up, yes she was at the top, but that was not her concern, for the item she grabbed was a plate boot, a boot... that was attached to a figure, clad in dark plate armor and glowing blue eyes that shimmered, behind him the suns first rays broke the surface of the horizon. Instead of reflecting the light, the armor absorbed it....
The figure looked at her in fiendish delight, looked down back at his partner at the base of the mountain, then back at her, a grin spread across his face. Ashiaya had no intention with just sitting there in mortal danger, waiting for luck. She griped the boots digging her nails into the grooves and flung herself under the attacker, and rested the point of her emerald dagger in the gap between the back of his breast plate and his helmet, digging the point slightly into his neck.
She faltered, a sudden pain coursed through her body, in one instant time became an eternity, there was nothing to think of, and she could not do anything! Every fiber of her being screamed with the anguish of a thousand tortured souls. It was crushing, she felt herself fall to the ground, she could not remember why, everything was unclear. Everything was PAIN...
Then it was over.
The second figure joined the first and talked in a language that Ashiaya couldn't understand, they threw her onto the back of a ghostly steed, chunks of it's flesh was missing, its eyes and hooves blazed with the same light as the Death Knight's eyes. It's saddle was ebon, matching the armor both Death Knight's wore. Engraved Scourge insignias where welded to the saddle.
Then Ashiaya fell unconscious.