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It’s been a long time since I read the first chapter, but the first paragraph made me remember what the story was about and what had ha...

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Good day viewers

I suppose I owe you guys an explanation for the lack of activity currently: I'm pretty sure I haven't said this before but I'm a teacher trainee in English and History.

Right now I'm on my first major internship, and it's pretty rough. To give you an idea of what I have to do:

1. Try to figure out when and where to be from a pretty unclear roster
2. Make sure I get enough hours (7 hours of observation for each subject, 14 hours of teaching for each subject). I was lacking about 9 hours in total so it took me a lot of time to figure out how to make it work. 
3. Send loads of e-mails to coordinators and mentors while I'm at it
4. Get information and answer loads of questions about a) each mentor b) each class (about 10) c) each classroom d) the school
5. Do two observation tasks
6. And the biggest chunk, make lesson preparations for 28 lessons. Without going into too much detail, a lesson preparation is pretty freakin' huge and detailed.
7. Edit these lesson preparations according to feedback...
8. Make additional material for these lessons. 
9. Polish up my knowledge on whatever subjects I'm given if necessary.
10. Do two more tasks unrelated to the internship. This could have been 4-5 tasks if I'd been unlucky. For some of my colleagues, this is the case. 

And all this while only one of my three contact persons is being responsive and helpful...

I have 2 weeks to do all this starting tomorrow, because in the third week, before I start teaching, I have to go on a school trip for the first year which was actually something I should've done last year (I'm in my second year), but couldn't do due to a lack of 'study points', meaning I'll likely lose an entire week where I won't be able to do much in preparation of the actuel teaching...

When I do something, I want to be good at it however. And I know I can be even if the amount of work seems daunting. It just means that for the next 5 weeks or so, I'll have to focus on this almost exclusively...

Greetz

Teano
Fairmount followed him so closely he could feel her breathing down his neck. She only gave him some space once they'd reached the entry hall to the forecastle, where they found the others. Elena hadn’t been kidding when she said the murlocs were pressing them hard.

Jeredan and Jake had placed a table they’d most likely gotten from the mess hall against the door, and were doing their utmost to keep it there. The force of the blows sent them reeling backwards every time the door was hit. Water seeped into the forecastle slowly with each hit, which made Llorrin believe there was something worse than a murloc trying to bash its way in.

Wyll was standing a small distance behind the door, looking nervous. His face lost all colour when he laid eyes on Llorrin, and he received a glare in return. If it wasn’t for the murlocs, Llorrin would even up the score he had to settle with everyone who’d simply left him to rot in the hold right here and now. Ishrien was still recovering, it seemed, as she was resting against a wall and didn’t seem to be in any condition to fight, but at least she was alive. Allard, who’d been put next to her, seemed to be in a much worse condition. His chest was stained in blood. Llorrin doubted he was conscious.

“Captain! Good to see you’re still… Breathing! I couldn’t make much of what… Wyll was saying, but… It didn’t sound good,” Jake said, shooting him occasional glances in between his struggles to keep the enemy out.

“Well, it wasn’t thanks to him,” Llorrin said, his eyes narrowing on Wyll, who looked like he wouldn’t mind to just disappear.

“The naga is still out there, and he’s got some kind of big creature with him,” Jeredan said, placing his elbows against the table to push it back in place. “What the hell did you do down there?”

“We’ll talk about that later,” Llorrin said, trying to sound calmer than he actually was. It earned him a disapproving glance from Captain Fairmount, but luckily she kept her mouth shut.

“Can we fight our way out?” he asked.

“We’re in no shape for that,” Jeredan growled. “All of us are wounded, and there’s more murlocs on board than I’ve ever seen together in all my life.”

Llorrin gave Jeredan a closer look. He was only bleeding from a shallow cut across his thigh, so he doubted it were his own injuries he was concerned about.

“Have you tried to do something about the wounded?” Llorrin asked, somewhat surprised Jeredan hadn’t even taken the time to heal himself.

Jeredan’s face turned to ice. “Yes, I’ve done something about the bloody wounded. Not as much as Dagren could’ve, though. I’ve told you before, I’m not a healer,” he said in an icy voice that matched his face.

When he saw the shape they - especially Allard - were in, Llorrin felt a pang of regret for not forcing Dagren to come with them, but he didn’t understand Jeredan’s reaction. Jeredan had fought alongside others for years, how could he possibly mind having others rely on him so much, and why would he have bothered learning healing magic if he was so reluctant to use it in the first place? If the subject wasn’t so touchy, he might have asked him… At a later time, if they made it out of this alive.

“We have no choice, we have to think of something!” Llorrin said, aware they shouldn't expect any help from Captain Willow, unless the grizzled captain learned to walk on water.

“We could crawl out through one of the gun ports and swim to safety,” Wyll suggested.

“And I suppose you’re going to carry my armour? I’m not leaving it behind,” Jeredan said just as a vicious blow struck the door. He barely flinched even as blood spurted out of the cut on his leg.

“Do you want to drown? Or be torn to shreds by the murlocs as soon as we touch the water? Bad idea,” Llorrin said, shaking his head.

“Well, maybe we could reach the shore. It’s better than staying in here and dying,” Wyll said.

“I’m not giving up the ship,” Llorrin said firmly, taking a moment to consider his options. Then he had it.

“Elena, go and get me a pair of cannons, and make sure they’re loaded.”

“Cannons?!” Elena said, raising her eyebrows.

Llorrin smiled confidently, even though he didn’t feel as certain of himself as he tried to look. “Yes, cannons. This place is full of them. You should be able to move some of the smaller ones. Jeredan, Wyll, go with her.”

“What do you intend to do with them?”

“I don't know, what does on usually do with a cannon?” Jake japed, quickly regretting slacking off as he was forced to brace against another impact.

“Just trust me! That door isn’t going to hold very long, so hurry up. I’m counting on you, Elena,” Llorrin said.

“It’s Fairmount, ‘captain’ if you please,” she said, raising her chin a little, but she nevertheless obeyed. Jeredan frowned at him as he passed him by, like he couldn’t believe he was being pulled away from the door, and Wyll hurried out of the hall as quickly as he could, glancing at Llorrin briefly before he disappeared.

Llorrin quickly took Jeredan’s place at the door, pressing his right shoulder against the table. The creature Jeredan had referred to – whatever it was – hit the door with tremendous force. He was grateful he was able to catch most of the impact on the right side of his body, because surely the pain would’ve forced him through his knees if it’d struck the sore left side of his chest instead.

“You know, when I signed up to go with your crew back in Theramore, this wasn’t what I was expecting,” Jake huffed.

Even though he didn’t sound resentful, Jake’s words still cut deeper than he could possibly know. “I’m sorry,” Llorrin sighed.

“Oh, don’t beat yourself up over it. I was prepared to die for the cause and all that, I just didn’t expect it’d be this soon,” Jake said, sounding very matter-of-fact.

“You won’t die,” Llorrin said. He wasn’t sure if he believed it, but even so it felt good to at least pretend. Jake gave him a sideways glance and smirked, focusing his efforts on defending the door and saying no more, as if at peace with his fate. Even if he had meant to talk, they were soon out of breath anyway. The minutes felt like hours as they struggled against the elusive force on the other side of the door. When he finally heard the sound of Fairmount’s voice her haughty tone felt like a kiss to his ears.

“I must thank you for holding on for so long, it would have been a shame if we’d gone through all this trouble only to find the door broken down behind us,” she said, sounding quite happy with herself.

Llorrin peeked over his shoulder just in time to see Jeredan struggle his way up the stairs, carrying a cannon in each arm. They were six pounders from the looks of them, and he put both of them down on the floor like they weighed nothing at all. Wyll was carrying a gunpowder barrel and a sack that no doubt contained munition, and Fairmount had a torch and a lintstock, a spear-like object used to light the fuse on a cannon safely, in hand.

“Here we are. Your friend Jeredan wanted to take the 24-pounders instead, but these will have to do. I do hope you are aware, however, that this plan of yours borders on insanity? Assuming your plan is to shoot at the murlocs right after they finish breaking down the door, which I believe can't be too far from the truth.”

“Why, you read my mind, my lady,” Llorrin smiled, aware he might indeed appear rather insane, but by then he didn’t care. “I just thought that since we have the commander of Northwatch Hold among us, we wouldn’t have to worry about the safety of using cannons. I'm sure you're quite familiar with them. Assuming you didn’t just throw rocks at the orcs to defend yourselves, which I believe can't be too far from the truth, either,” Llorrin said.

Fairmount scoffed and nearly laughed at Llorrin's imitation of her speech, but Jeredan didn’t have much patience for their banter. “If you two are done-” he began, but Fairmount didn’t let him finish.

“I’m merely the former commander, though I doubt they’ve found someone adequate enough to replace me,” she corrected Llorrin. “You are, however, correct in your assumption that we did use cannons against the Horde, and that as such, I know my way around them. I was able to hit an orc scout right on the nose with a six-pounder from over two hundred feet away. Just you leave this to me.”

Fairmount set up both cannons, giving them a quick sign when she was done. Llorrin nodded at Jake and together they dragged the table back, away from the door, tossing it to one side of the hall. Then they quickly moved to stand next to the cannons. With him and Jake gone the door cracked and the hinges screamed when the mysterious creature bashed against it. Surely it wasn’t going to hold for much longer. Llorrin was just reaching for his dagger and one of his pistols when Jake offered him back his cutlass.

“Don’t worry about me, I’ve already borrowed Allard’s sword,” Jake said, patting the scabbard on his hip. “Besides, all this responsibility is becoming way too much to handle.”

There was no time to discuss it, so Llorrin took the blade, strangely grateful for the familiar feel of the weapon in his hand. He hadn’t done half bad wielding the longsword, but he’d never come this close to dying with any other weapon, either. After a moment of doubt, he chose to wield his knife rather than a pistol in his off hand.

“I doubt they’ll give us time to reload the cannons. We’ll have to hope the cannons take enough of them out so we can beat back the rest. Rush the doorway and kill them as they’re coming in, and we might have a shot at this,” Llorrin said, aware it was likely a fool’s errand. If there were really as many murlocs out there as Jeredan had said, there was no way they were going to survive, and that was without even taking the naga royal guard or the creature he had summoned into account. Llorrin wished he'd taken just a couple more people with him.

Damn it, what are Borax and Wheann doing? It was important to get us out to sea, but surely they could be doing something other than steering the ship now that we're out of the cave, he thought. An extra pair of hands or two could make all the difference in the fight to come, and, as strange as it felt, if he had to die Llorrin would prefer to do so alongside his companions, so he’d at least know what had become of them. He frowned as he considered that. Captain Adane wouldn’t know what had become of him, he'd only know that he’d failed. He remembered the painting, the one that had been modified, as if something had been erased from it. Whatever had been there had clearly too painful an for Adane cope with. Though he’d never gotten any real confirmation Adane thought of him as anything more than a soldier, the thought of putting him through coping with loss once again was unbearable. Irewyth, too, would never see him again, and he’d never find out if she even cared.

No, he had a duty to them all, and most of all he had a duty to himself, and the parents he had never known. His fingers clenched his cutlass tighter, his knuckles turning white. The lock broke as the door burst open, and murlocs rushed in immediately. The beasts seemed oblivious they were charging right into a killzone. Fairmount calmly lighted the fuse on the closest cannon. The sound as it fired was like the sweetest music, the shot tearing through the thickly packed murlocs like they weren’t even there, the force splattering their wretched bodies against the walls.

Fairmount waited for the corridor to fill up again as the murlocs, undeterred, continued their attack. She waited until the very last moment to light the fuse on the second cannon, killing even more of the creatures this time, it seemed. He heard the naga’s low voice gurgling commands in some foreign tongue, and his anger flared. His heart was beating with anticipation. They had the enemy at a disadvantage, they had surprised them and inflicted terrible losses. This was no time to wait. This was the time to strike.

“At them! For Kul Tiras!” Llorrin shouted, thrusting his cutlass forward. He charged, through the smoking remains, out of the forecastle and onto the main deck. He'd barely gotten outside when he had to duck, an ice shard hitting the forecastle and exploding above his head. He kept running, his eyes drawn towards the source of the spell. The naga was there, at the far end of the foredeck. He was bleeding, but alive. At his side the biggest water elemental Llorrin had ever seen stood. The murlocs on board the ship had been thinned out, but yet more were pulling themselves on board. They were of no concern to him. To end this, he had to kill the naga.

He spun out of the way of a murloc who rushed at him and buried his knife in the back of the creatures' head, cutting another with his cutlass as he spun. By chance his eyes fell right on the longsword he’d left on the deck. It was still right where he’d dropped it. He sprinted as the murlocs closed in from both sides, determined to reach his sword before the murlocs could stop him. Murlocs were naturally slower when they were out of the water, and he outran them easily. A murloc saw through his intentions and rushed to pick up his sword instead of coming after him, but Llorrin threw his knife into the side of the creatures’ head as it was turning away from him and reached the blade first. He was still going at full speed when he scooped down and grabbed the sword, holding both his swords out as he slid to a stop across the wet deck, with murlocs falling down on either side of him. He barely had the time to catch his breath when a shadow fell over him.

The giant water elemental appeared before him like a spirit of vengeance, blocking his way to the naga. It seemed even bigger now. Llorrin had to raise his head towards the sky just to look at the creature’s ‘face’. The creature’s arm grew longer as it swiped at him, the watery arm shaping into a blade as it came for his neck. He ducked and cut at the arm quickly with his cutlass as it passed. The touch of the ice orb froze part of the arm, which sent shards of ice falling down and shattering on the deck. There was no way to get past the creature, no way to get to the naga. Llorrin readied himself as the water elemental drew back its arms, sharp edges like those of a spear wall sprouting up out of each one. Another shadow passed over the deck before the creature could strike however, and it served to distract the elemental, which seemed to look up. Llorrin didn’t wait to see what manner of creature had cast the shadow was but twisted his cutlass around, raised it to his shoulder and threw it at the water elemental. He feared his sword would go right through the water elemental but then the blade got stuck halfway through as the ice orb started freezing the creature. The water elemental flailed left and right as the ice orb froze more and more of its body, swinging its arms so close to Llorrin face he had to drop himself onto his back to avoid them.

Then he saw where the shadow had come from. His heart skipped a beat as he mistook the creature for a dragon, but once he got a proper look at it he clearly recognized the creature as a gryphon: a proud warbeast with the forequarters of a mighty eagle and the hindquarters of a giant lion. The Kul Tiras fleet had been supported by several gryphon riders, but they were nevertheless a rare sight. Most of all, they were a welcome sight to any Alliance soldier on the battlefield. Perched atop the creature’s back was the dwarf who had called himself Kurdran III. The runes on his bronze armour glowed brightly and were clear to see even at this distance.

The gryphon turned with incredible speed and swooped dangerously close to the deck, with such force that Llorrin could feel the wind against his face as it passed. Kurdran launched a storm hammer into the water elemental, which in the meantime had become almost completely frozen. Llorrin, realizing what was going to happen, crossed his arms in front of his face mere moments before the hammer hit and shattered the elemental. He thought the ice shards were going to cut him to shreds as they flew outwards, but he felt nothing, and when he looked around him he saw only murlocs felled by the shards. They were truly numerous, for more were still climbing aboard despite these grave losses. Most of all though, Llorrin saw that the way to the naga was now open. The creature had managed to shield itself somehow, but it wasn’t going to be able to shield itself from this.

He charged, bringing his sword behind him and going for a downward slash in an attempt to surprise the naga. His longsword came down on the creature’s head in an arc, but wounded though he was the naga still managed to raise his trident in time to catch the blade. Llorrin pressed down hard even though he felt he lacked the energy to do so. He was spent, but as far as he could read an uncommon creature like a naga he could tell the beast was suffering just as hard as he was. His muscles were afire, his wrists felt like they were going to snap, his legs like they were being sawed out from under him. He had no other choice though. He had to push on. He had to do this. If he managed to push down his sword even but one inch lower and he’d be able to adjust the angle of his sword and slide it across the naga’s weapon, straight into his eye socket…

The naga inexplicably let go of his trident with one hand, granting him that inch, and more… But before Llorrin could draw in closer the creature’s free hand slammed into his wounded chest. He opened his mouth in terror but his lungs didn't have enough oxygen in them to even allow him to scream. With a final effort he pushed his right arm through, driving his sword across the naga’s neck. The fresh cut sent the creature staggering backwards, granting Llorrin just enough time to catch his fall. As he sat on one knee, panting and pressing his hand against the burning, throbbing wound on his chest, he felt he simply couldn’t push himself up, no matter how much he wanted to deliver the final blow. The tip of his longsword rested against the deck but when he attempted to use it to push himself up, the pain spread from the wound across his entire body like burning lava, becoming unbearable. The naga, too, was leaning on his trident, unable to fight on. Llorrin felt the familiar disturbance in the flow of magic however, which he was now certain was more than simple intuition, and he feared the myrmidon was about to cast another spell. The battle raged on behind Llorrin, but neither one of them had any energy left to fight. He felt like he might have fainted from the pain then and there is a voice hadn't attracted his attention.

“For Admiral Proudmoore, for Kul Tiras!” someone shouted behind him.

Llorrin didn’t dare take his eyes off the naga to see where the shouting was originating from, but he heard the war cries of countless men behind him. Gunshots filled the air. Had reinforcements arrived, or had he simply become delirious? This wasn’t according to the plan. Then again, what has been? Llorrin thought, almost smiling at the bitter irony of it all. From the reaction of the naga as it looked about the deck, Llorrin could tell things weren’t going well for the fiend's minions. He screamed in his mind. His enemy was distracted, left wide open, and he still couldn’t reach him.

Then all of a sudden light filled the deck, going into his body and cooling the burning sensation in his muscles, giving him fresh energy. He didn’t wait or hesitate. He rose to his feet and, screaming out his frustration, slashed diagonally upwards, feeling a fresh rush of adrenaline as his sword cut across the naga’s chest and warm blood splashed against his face. The trident slipped from the beast’s hand, hitting the deck, and the creature finally slumped backwards, disappearing over the railing and falling down into the sea. Finally Llorrin turned around.

The final murlocs were being cleared off the deck. Those that weren’t killed dove overboard of their own accord, fleeing from the battle. Llorrin saw the dark green uniforms of Kul Tiras everywhere he looked. He recognized several of the men, and Captain Willow was at the head of them. When he peeked down across the railing he saw the sloops the dwarves had left on the shores drifting alongisde the ship. Several ladders had been dropped down from the ship to allow them access. Kurdran’s gryphon circled the ship slowly, screeching triumphantly. Blood dripped from the creature’s talons. Someone had apparently had the clarity of mind to realize the murlocs were focusing on the ship, and had convinced Willow to take the sloops to come reinforce them. Llorrin had no idea who it could have been, but then he saw Dagren, who was no doubt who he had to thank for healing him earlier as well.

“Captain,” the paladin said, grinning wryly. Llorrin nodded curtly, not knowing what to say. His attention was quickly pulled towards Captain Willow. The veteran officer had barely any blood on him, but he was walking to the middle of the deck as if he owned the ship, and everyone was looking at him, and not Llorrin. After the constant noise of the battle the silence felt deafening. Llorrin had whistles in his ears. Captain Willow looked about himself with narrowed eyes, as if he was looking for something to disapprove of. From his face one wouldn’t have been able to tell they’d just won a victory. After a few more moments of uncomfortable silence, Willow turned towards his men.

“Men,” he said, “the ship is ours.”

Everyone raised their weapons in response and cheered. Everyone except Llorrin.
“Llorrin!”

The first thing he felt was that he was lying on his back. Then he noticed the gentle rocking of the ship. His eyelids seemed to stick to his eyes, forcing him to take his time to open them. He found himself in a relatively dim part of the ship which was illuminated only by a strange, blue light that seemed to be coming from right behind him. Someone was standing over him. Everything was still hazy, but Captain Fairmount’s white hair was unmistakable even in the relative darkness of the hold. He groaned as he pushed himself up to a sitting position, and put one hand on the painful spot on his ribs, were daggers still seemed to be puncturing his skin.

“What… the hell happened?” he asked, rubbing his eyes. They felt swollen and painful, like he’d just woken up after a bad night's rest and stared directly into the sun.

Fairmount crossed her arms and shook her head ever so slightly. “I’m not sure, I was too busy dealing with the five hundred kilos of naga that were bearing down on me. I was certain you had perished, but then all of a sudden you were… gone.”

Dead? That’s right, he should’ve been dead! The last thing he remembered was being stabbed and losing consciousness. The sight of his own dead body up on the deck was still etched in his mind. None of this made sense. He looked up at Fairmount, halfway expecting her to have grown an extra head, or something equally inexplicable. She looked fine but for the signs of battle that coated her body and armour. The droplets of blood that had splashed onto her face and hair contrasted with the paleness of her skin and the white colour of her hair. Her weapons were dripping wet with blood, and blood stained her arms all the way up to her elbows. A thin layer of sweat coated her skin, but she still smelled fresh, even at this distance.

“Shortly after I'd noticed your disappearance the ship started moving, so we retreated inside to wait until we’d sailed out of the cave. I'm positive we have left the cave by now, but the murlocs haven't gone yet. If anything, there seem to be more of them, and they're trying to force their way inside.”

Llorrin heard them. Their skittering feet, their angry shrieks, their slimy fists banging on the walls of the forecastle.

“They’re not leaving,” he said resignedly.

“What?!”

He pointed over his shoulder at the mana stone. “Didn’t you hear the naga? It’s not about the ship, or the cave. He wants this thing. Something about needing it to sap power from mages.”

Elena stared at the mana stone like she was only seeing it for the first time. Now that she knew she was trapped here, her face carried the same expression it had when she had told Llorrin about the vision of her death. Llorrin felt a pang of guilt, but took the time to gather his thoughts rather than trying to console her. The pieces of his memory were still falling slowly into place. Something hit him.

“Where are Borax, Wheann and Wyll? They were only just here. Did they just leave me here?”

Captain Fairmount frowned as she looked away from the stone. “It would seem that they did. Wyll came up to the deck to call us in shortly after the ship started moving. He told us Borax and Wheann had gone up towards wherever it is you steer this hulk of metal from.”

“Such loyalty…” Llorrin muttered, shaking his head ever so slightly. It’s almost as if they wanted him dead. At least he felt somewhat grateful that someone was making sure they wouldn't crash blindly into a large rock.

“Did you know the ship’s wheel is actually located in the second highest section of the forecastle, in an enclosed space? You can steer your ship into a storm and keep dry or go into battle without having to worry about missiles flying about your head. Quite amazing craftsmanship, for a drunk,” Elena smiled, putting one hand on her hip. Then she seemed to realize she was straying from the most important matters at hand and her amusement melted away.

“Wyll told me you were down in the hold. He seemed to be under the impression that you were dead...” Her eyes moved up and down along the entire length of his body. “And from the look of you, I can’t blame him for thinking so.”

This was unbelievable. “And none of them bothered to even check?!”

“It would seem you have spooked him somehow. We were too busy keeping our blood where it belonged to really talk. All he kept saying was ‘he activated the stone, he activated the stone.’ I, at least, got down here as fast as I could. Death is no excuse for walking away from a promise made to me, you know,” she said, her eyes straying back to the strange magic object.

Llorrin looked over his shoulder. “I activated this thing? But I don’t… I don’t have…” Llorrin stammered, looking over his shoulder. The mana stone was there, vibrant and humming with energy. If he hadn’t activated the stone, then who had? No one else here had magic. As he looked at the shimmering vortex of magic energy circling the stone a strange sensation came over him. Inexplicable as it was, he recognized something of himself in it, like the energy present there was but another one of his limbs, waiting to move on his command. When he looked at the source of magic the room around him seemed faded, trivial.

He was snapped out of the trance by the sight of Elena’s hand in front of his face. A few of her elongated nails had broken off during the fighting and small drops of blood covered her elegant fingers and wrist, which made her skin seem even whiter. Llorrin took Elena’s hand and she pulled him up to his feet with surprising ease. It also surprised him how cold her hand felt. Had she not been fighting?

“You’re really hot,” she said all of a sudden.

Llorrin didn’t know whether to smile or frown. In the end he smiled, feeling like an idiot. “Umm, what?”

“Ugh. I meant literally,” Fairmount said, rolling her eyes. “Your skin feels like it’s on fire.”

“Oh…” Llorrin said, averting his eyes and feeling his skin. He scratched the back of his head. He didn’t notice anything strange. “Maybe the naga’s weapon was poisoned and I'm fighting the poison, or something,” he shrugged.

“Poison? Look, whatever happened to you, they shouldn’t have just left you in here. They had no reason to think you couldn’t be saved. They didn’t even see you get stabbed. I tried to convince Jeredan to come with me, but-”

Fairmount stopped mid-sentence when Llorrin pulled up his shirt to look at the wound. He remembered how deeply the trident had penetrated his body. If he’d passed out he should’ve woken up in a puddle of his own blood, or perhaps not woken up at all, but he was awake and alive, and not any more bloody than he remembered. He looked across the floor and couldn’t even distinguish a trail of blood along the path he must have crept. When his hand went to touch the wound he felt what had really happened. It took him a few seconds to realize the truth because it was so confusing, but in the end what he saw and felt was undeniable. The wound looked like it’d been cauterized somehow. The skin around the wound was hot to the touch and his scars stung when he moved his fingertips over them, but the bleeding had stopped. The side of his chest was still sore, but the wound no longer seemed life threatening. Though he was grateful to be alive, the sight disturbed him greatly. It was not something he wanted to see, least of all show to someone else. He quickly pulled his shirt back down.

“Did anyone else get their ass kicked as badly as I did?” he asked quickly.

Fairmount raised her eyebrows and pouted a little at his chosen language.

“Many of us are injured, but there are no deaths… Yet. I regret having to count myself among the wounded,” she said, stretching out her right arm before him. Blood spurted out of a gash that ran from her wrist all the way up to her elbow, and Llorrin figured she probably regretted taking off her chainmail now.

“Ugly, but not a lethal injury, unlike some I've seen today," she said. "I’m curious as to how you-”

“You said the murlocs were still attacking?” Llorrin interrupted her.

“Yes, as you’re already aware. We’ve barred the door into the forecastle, but it seems unlikely we’ll be able to keep them out indefinitely… Assuming that’s what you wanted to know, of course, because I didn't think there was anything else I hadn't yet made you aware of. Now can I ask you-”

Llorrin clenched a fist. “I’d better hope for his sake Borax wasn’t aware of the naga and his connection to the mana stone…”

“Do you know how you-” Fairmount tried again, but Llorrin cut her off once more.

“What about the naga? I saw him going after you.”

“He’s bleeding from many injuries, due in no small part to you,” Elena said, smiling with mild approval.

Llorrin tried to move past her. “Then we should-”

Fairmount planted one hand on his chest and barred his way, bringing her face inches away from his. Llorrin had had no idea those violet eyes could be so intense.

“Stop trying to change the subject!” she bit. “You were dead, I saw you die, yet here you are, standing right before me. That blow should have killed you. I’ve seen enough men die to know at least that. There’s something you’re not telling me.”

At first he didn’t know what to do. Then he pushed her arm away from his chest, gently, using only two of his fingers. Her hand left a bloodstain on his shirt.

“If I have secrets they’re as elusive to me as they are to you, Elena… I’ve always felt somewhat… attuned to magic, but I’ve never managed to use it before. I promise I’ll talk to Carekon about this, if we ever get the chance.” he said, looking up. He could sense the murlocs above him. “Maybe he can explain.” Somehow, Llorrin didn’t really believe the Holy Light had interfered, and he was certainly not going to tell Fairmount about the dream. Right now only remembered bits and pieces, but as vague as it was the memory was still terrifying.

Captain Fairmount looked deeply into his eyes. The air between them seemed heavy. In the end she moved out of the way and turned towards the door, in one fluid motion.

“That’s two promises you need to keep… You’re stacking them up fast,” she said.

“They’re both in my own interest," Llorrin said, actually evoking a little smile from Elena.

“Naturally,” Captain Fairmount said. “Lead, I’d rather keep my eyes on you… To avoid any unpleasant surprises.”

“You do that,” Llorrin said as he headed towards the stairway and started climbing out of the hold. “I’ve had about as many surprises as I can stand.”
Hello,

I'm so stoked to carry on the story right now and write and post new chapters, but I have exams on Tuesday and Friday, so no (or hardly any) writing for me... I prefer to really clear my head before I start studying, or I get distracted easily, thinking about the story and whatnot instead of focusing on the text in front of me. This probably has something to do with the way I really try to immerse myself into the world I'm writing about when I am writing about it. 

When they're done though, I plan to go on straight to the finish line of this first novel, which is slowly but surely coming in sight. The way it stands now it's probably going to become a trilogy, but I may take a break in between books to edit this one some more and maybe reposting the edited chapters as merged full chapters that are no longer spread into different parts before starting out on the second part of the series (working title: Blood Feud), which is the story I'm most excited for telling.

If 'Legacy of Ruin' is mostly setting the stage for things to come, 'Blood Feud' is where it all unfolds. The conflict is going to become more complex, and there's going to be more twists, more action and more different locations for our heroes to explore. I can also already tell you that two canonical characters are going to play a big role. 

Hopefully I won't have a writer's block when the exams are done.

Regards and keep reading,

Jelle
He was fighting something, but he didn't know what it was. He was defending a city that was bright, filled with light. Untainted. Its walls stood high and proud and the houses that lined its cobblestone streets all had multiple stories and glass windows. Patriotic flags hung down from many a window, but the sigils on them were vague. If he tried to look at them closely it was as if they simply weren't there. Nevertheless the city had a soothing effect on him. This was where he belonged, where he always should be. Within these walls, he was at home. The smell of the sea breeze was in the air. As he breathed in the smell filled him with anxiety. The sea had given a lot to this city, but lately it had also taken much away.

His anxiety grew as he looked beyond the walls. There reigned nothing but fire and shadow. The fires had a hellish green colour to them, and rose higher than any natural flame should've been able to. It pained his eyes just to look at them. He could see them through the shattered gate he was guarding, drawing closer, consuming everything in their path. He and his men, a line of footmen backed up by a row of musketeers, were all that stood between the fires and the inner city.

As he looked at his soldiers he noticed something strange. They all bore his face. Every single one of them looked the same as he did, with only slight differences. He saw a soldier who was smiling: his eyes nearly sparkled at the prospect of battle. The man next to him wore an eyepatch and though his face was identical, he seemed much older, and his expression couldn't have been more different. He looked away and reached up, touching the scar on his eye, and dared not look at any of the other soldiers, instead staring out through the city gate.

The flames had stopped their approach right outside the walls, and out of that ominous sea of fire the enemy emerged. A tightly packed horde of twisting, faceless shadows of men whose weapons seemed to be one with their bodies came rushing towards them. He instinctively raised his sword, a cutlass with the same indecipherable sigil the flags had on them engraved on the pommel, up high, and shouted to his men:

“Hold!”

His voice seemed more powerful than he remembered it, booming across the battlefield. The soldiers in the front stepped forward as one, knelt down and locked their shields together, thus sealing the broken gate off with a wall of steel. Those in the back raised their muskets, aiming them over the heads of their comrades. The enemy had closed to less than twenty feet, approaching fast. He waited. Fifteen feet. He could discern no mouths on the shades' empty faces, but their chins lowered as if they were screaming, and guttural howls washed over the defenders. The ruffling of their feet on the ground as they stormed closer was like the sound of rolling thunder. He looked at his soldiers. They didn’t twitch or shiver. Ten feet. His arm felt numb, paralyzed, like something was preventing him from giving the order to fire. Five feet. The enemy was almost on top of them.

I have to... move!

“Fire!”

The cutlass came whooshing down, accompanied by the satisfying sound of dozens of muskets being fired. Due to the proximity of the riflemen his ears could barely register the blast, but he knew it was there. The reassuring, familiar pressure of the loud noise against his ear drums felt like a lover's caress. The shades' front ranks fell over like wheat to a scythe, blood splashing out of their otherwise colourless bodies as they fell. The thicker the hay, the easier it's cut, he thought, feeling an odd sense of satisfaction as he watched the enemy's blood fill the air. The feeling was short-lived, as more came crawling over the bodies of the fallen, clashing against the wall of steel before the musketeers had a chance to reload. The infantry rose up, pushing back against the black horde. The shades screeched horribly as they went down, and their weapons made equally ear-piercing sounds as they scraped along shields and armour. He joined the struggle, supporting the lines where it looked like they were going to break, and directing men to fill positions that had been left empty by the fallen.

Inch by inch, the shades gained ground. The defenders fought tooth and nail to keep them out, but the enemy was relentless, and the shield wall finally cracked, breaking like a bridge that'd been stepped on one too many times. The shades rushed through the gaps the defenders left and descended upon the musketeers, which forced them to draw their rapiers and defend themselves.

"Regroup! Regroup!" he shouted, raising his sword as he retreated. Those who could fought their way to him, locking their shields together once more and only opening the formation briefly to let comrades who managed to reach them in. Small pockets of defenders remained at the gate, cut off from the rest of them by the relentless enemy. Though he regretted it, they had no choice but to leave them behind: if they didn't set up a new line of defense in an appropriate choke point they risked being surrounded. Though he didn't carry a shield he remained in the front ranks as he led the shield wall back in between two houses, where he ordered the men to stop and stand their ground. It was difficult to remain brave before such overwhelming force. By now the part of the city they'd abandoned was so tightly packed with shades that they seemed to move as one. The flames themselves seemed to be creeping up the walls. Even at this distance he could feel their heat. The first shade to reach him lunged at him recklessly, cutting down at him, but he caught the creature's wrist and rammed his cutlass straight through it. As the creature slid off his sword some of its form seemed to stick to the blade, coating it black instead of red.

The enemy came at them in droves, and he soon realized defending the main street wasn't enough: practically unopposed, the shades were spreading out among the side streets as well, invading the entire city. They had to keep falling back along the main street just to avoid being surrounded by enemies coming up around them. Soon they had to abandon the main street, and they became locked down in a bitter struggle, fighting for every alleyway. Inevitably, the defenders became more and more separated. After what felt like hours he found himself defending an alleyway in between a weapon's workshop and a bakery with only a couple of men at his back to defend the other side. His arm became numb from the number of shades he had to cut down, but that wasn't his worst concern. Every time one of the shades fell its life energy seemed to disappear into his sword, the blackness coating his sword crawled a little bit further up his arm, and his skin and uniform was painted the sickly black colour of the shades.

He barely got a moment to breathe before two more shades stormed into the alley. He shot one with his pistol and caught the other one on the edge of his cutlass as it jumped him. Even as the blade pierced it the creature's arm still kept swinging. He tried to jerk his body out of the way, but the tip still ripped through his vest and shirt. The creature then collapsed, and once again the shade's black essence went into the sword and he could feel his skin tingling as the eerie energy tainted him. In disgust he tried to drop the sword, but his fingers wouldn't let go of the blade, stubbornly holding on to it. Alarmed by a sudden pain in his chest he tucked away the pistol and pulled at the tear in his clothing to check for injuries. What he discovered was far worse than an injury. He froze still, unable to move. The taint had reached his heart. Thick veins throbbed on his skin, which was as black as that of the enemies he'd just been fighting.

Silence reigned as he stared at the horrific taint. Everything had gone so quiet he barely realized the battle was still going on. He looked up at the sky and to both sides of the alleyway. The two footmen that had followed him inside were tangled up on the ground with a group of shades, both sides bleeding out slowly on the ground below. The hellish green flames had entered the city, engulfing it almost completely, save for the little alleyway he'd retreated to. Carefully, he walked to one side of the alleyway to peer into the streets. They were littered with countless bodies, and rivers of blood ran in between the cobblestones. None were left standing. It felt strange to be the only one who remained, yet see so many that'd been forged in his own image among the dead. He sighed and closed his eyes, trying to come to terms with this horrible situation he couldn't even make sense of. He'd only just dropped his guard when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Before he could react he was roughly jerked around. A sword shaped not unlike his own, and just as tainted, came up and drove into his ribs, splitting them in two and rending the soft flesh underneath with equal brutality. He gasped and his cutlass finally slipped from his fingers, making no sound as it hit the ground. Yet another shade materialized in front of him, bearing his face as the soldiers had.

The thing that was not him bore a scar over his eye, and its stomach had several bright red streaks on it, like liquid fire. Over his eyes and part of his forehead red marks in a shape reminiscent of leaves were painted. When the thing spoke, he barely moved his lips.

“Cease your resistance. You need only… accept.”

The creature drove his sword deeper. He felt his ribs crack and his flesh tear as the metal moved underneath the bone, every subtle movement of the blade accompanied by the feeling of countless burning needles moving outward, digging their way further into his flesh. Then the flames consumed him and all of the city with it, but he did not feel the burning sensation of the flames on his skin. He didn't even scream. He was... breathing.

He’d fallen to one knee and was rubbing his eyes with his hand. They were throbbing painfully, like he'd been staring into a fire for too long. When he opened his eyes he saw the deck of a ship below him. The flames, the shades, the corpses... All of it was gone, everything but the pain. One by one his senses returned to him, and they told him more than they ever had before. The sound of battle around him, the stench of blood and sweat, every sensation told him something. By the very tremors that went going through the deck every time someone made a step or every time the body of a defeated combatant hit the deck he could gauge their position and the direction they were heading. Despite all this, his body still felt useless, unable to endure the hardships of battle. His henchmen were being pressed hard, but he couldn't help them now. His eyes were pulled towards the door leading into the forecastle, where his minions had gone to try and get the ship to move. Incompetent as they were, it came as no surprise that they had failed. A quick glance up confirmed they were still in the cave. He’d have to take matters into his own hands.

He clutched his painful ribs with one hand and rapidly scuffled towards the door, ignoring everything around him. He was on his hands and knees, but it nevertheless didn't take him very long to reach the door. The door was an easy obstacle, the steps beyond that slightly less so, even though there were only two. His knees throbbed from hitting them on the stairs, and there were two more series of steps directly across from him, at the end of the hall he found himself in. There were doors on his left and right and at the end of the room, beyond the stairs down, as well as another stairway leading up to the far right. He chose to go down into the hold. It was there his presence was required. The stairway provided a great challenge to his frail, punctured shell, but he forced himself up. He stumbled over the intertwined corpses of a murloc and a dwarf, their blood staining his knees and hands as he pushed himself up. Down and down he went, into the pitch black hold. The darkness did not impede him.

At the bottom of the stairs, he slowed down to a crawl once again. Soon, he had reached the hold. His subordinates had cleared a path through the defending murlocs, thankfully, but the fools had no idea how to proceed from here. They were all gathered here in the core of the ship around the very object that demanded his presence: the mana stone. One, the half-elf, was touching it with his hand carefully, sliding it across slowly, like he was expecting to find an activation button or something equally dumb. The dwarf was prodding the stone with a stick and shouting and cursing at it. The shifty-eyed human merely looked on, as if his wit alone would be enough to move the stone. He was holding a torch, which was about the most useful thing the miscreant could possibly do. Useless, all of them. The stone would not react.

The mana stone was a swirling, floating blue mass of rock about the size of a small boulder which glowed and hummed softly with magical energy. Thin magic threads which he doubted his underlings could see linked it up to the sides of the ship, but the threads were void, empty, devoid of magic. Only when he came so close to the stone that he had to squint against its light did the blind fools finally notice him. His henchmen gasped in surprise at his presence, or perhaps the state his fragile shell was in. As he pushed himself up they began to blabber exclamations of surprise, fear or worry, or whatever it was they felt. It did not matter: the only thing of true importance was that they moved aside. He did not hear their voices: there was only one thing in this room that required his attention. He placed his hand carefully in the middle of the stone, basking in its light as the humming became louder and the glow became brighter. An energy awoke inside of him, seeping into the stone, powering it. The threads lighted up with energy. His lackeys backed away from the stone. He grinned. The ship was moving.
Good day viewers

I suppose I owe you guys an explanation for the lack of activity currently: I'm pretty sure I haven't said this before but I'm a teacher trainee in English and History.

Right now I'm on my first major internship, and it's pretty rough. To give you an idea of what I have to do:

1. Try to figure out when and where to be from a pretty unclear roster
2. Make sure I get enough hours (7 hours of observation for each subject, 14 hours of teaching for each subject). I was lacking about 9 hours in total so it took me a lot of time to figure out how to make it work. 
3. Send loads of e-mails to coordinators and mentors while I'm at it
4. Get information and answer loads of questions about a) each mentor b) each class (about 10) c) each classroom d) the school
5. Do two observation tasks
6. And the biggest chunk, make lesson preparations for 28 lessons. Without going into too much detail, a lesson preparation is pretty freakin' huge and detailed.
7. Edit these lesson preparations according to feedback...
8. Make additional material for these lessons. 
9. Polish up my knowledge on whatever subjects I'm given if necessary.
10. Do two more tasks unrelated to the internship. This could have been 4-5 tasks if I'd been unlucky. For some of my colleagues, this is the case. 

And all this while only one of my three contact persons is being responsive and helpful...

I have 2 weeks to do all this starting tomorrow, because in the third week, before I start teaching, I have to go on a school trip for the first year which was actually something I should've done last year (I'm in my second year), but couldn't do due to a lack of 'study points', meaning I'll likely lose an entire week where I won't be able to do much in preparation of the actuel teaching...

When I do something, I want to be good at it however. And I know I can be even if the amount of work seems daunting. It just means that for the next 5 weeks or so, I'll have to focus on this almost exclusively...

Greetz

Teano

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TEANO
Belgium
Hi there Deviants. So what is there to know about me? I've been writing for as long as I can remember, mostly spending my time writing my stories on RPG boards. Now, I've decided to finally start putting all my ideas into novels... so expect mostly writing from me. I tried my hand at drawing but have to admit I'm not very talented, maybe I'll upload a goofy drawing I did here and there some time or even pick it up again, as it's not something I have complete given up on (I'm bad at giving up...) :) My other interests include Music, Sports and Gaming. I look forward to meeting all of you :)
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Busy with college I presume?
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
It's pretty rough. 

Internship starts next week. 

Then a week of vacation in which I have to... prepare the next phase of the internship (teaching requires an unfathomable amount of preparation...), because in the week I'm supposed to make my lesson preparations, I need to do a course from the first year which I couldn't do last year, meaning I'll be gone for a week. Then 2 weeks of internship, teaching teaching and more teaching.

I need to become more efficient and generally have more energy to spend on a day to day basis if I wanna continue all or at least some of my hobbies. I guess having a good physical condition also helps you to be more energetic throughout the day (it used to be that way, at least), so maybe I should work on that. 

'Cos I *really* wanna continue this... 
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I see. Focus on your responsibilities then. Drop me a message once you're back. Or reply to my review, whatever works for you. I'll be waiting.
Best wishes!
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday, buddy! I wish you all the best!
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:iconreinahw:
ReinaHW Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014   Writer
Happy birthday
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:iconbyzho:
byzho Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Professional Artist
Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday Godliek :D
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:icondarkman69:
Darkman69 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014
Thanks 4 fav and comment !
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:iconthierrycravatte:
ThierryCravatte Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much for faving my work.
Hey I see you're from Belgium, too. Where are you from exactly (not that belgium is huge, but ...)
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014
No problem man - that's a really powerful image and it reminded me of three things I like: a Rage videoclip where you see a girl in a gas mask in a similar dystopian environment (from the song 'Never Give Up'), the game Metro and a quote from Dana Luzon who said earlier this week that 'love wins (she meant conquers) all' ;)

I'm from Antwerp, by the way :)
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:iconthierrycravatte:
ThierryCravatte Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Antwerp seems to be a very dynamic city ;)
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