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The Argent's Finest

by Taylor Vincent

Early in the war. Borean Tundra.

Varendil Dawnblade stood, still as a statue, as the elevator whisked him downward into

Warsong Hold. He calmly walked down the ramp, toward one of the exits to the quarry, saluting

Overlord Hellscream, who saluted back.

When you're dealing with undead, you see, you call in an expert. One of Highlord Fordring's

handpicked Crusade force, a fighter and healer who served with distinction during the last Scourge

invasion and concurrent plague.

Varendil Dawnblade was good at three things: fighting, tailoring, and enchanting, and he was

all out of infinite dust and frostweave.

The Warsong Guards saluted next as the priest quickly strode past them toward the entrance

to the heavily infested quarry, his robes swishing quietly around his feet. A few more orcs outside

the gates cheered as the elf swept past. One nerubian skittered up. A hand extended out, a flash of

light swept down into the creature's head, and the nerubian fell.

Varendil grinned, and calmly walked out into the quarry.

Two more skitterers approached. A bolt of light dropped from the sky, burning through the

carapace and dropping the nerubian where it stood. The second leapt forward at the elf, but

bounced off the transparent shield a foot in front of the priest's face. It leapt again, and the priest

ducked, his arm moving down to his hip and then up. The creature sailed over him, meeting the

dagger he'd extended over his head. The blade flashed forward and two halves of a nerubian fell.

The elf cackled. Some of the stronger creatures took notice.

Winged beasts swooped down on the blood elf who caught one as it dove and hurled it into

the ground, where it crunched and ceased to move. He juked to the side as another snapped at him,

waving his hands and summoning chains, binding the creature there in front of him. It hissed, but
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he blasted it into the sky with three short bursts of Light, then slashed through it with a stronger

one, and its carcass fell to the ground with a dull thud.

The priest continued to walk forward, a persistent rumbling overpowering the sound of his

footfalls on the packed dirt. The priest stopped, then took one step back, leaving space for the

enormous claw that burst from the earth before him, sweeping terrain away as its owner, a nerubian

lord, dug its way out of the ground. It reared up before the priest before slamming down in front of

him.

Varendil smirked.

The nerubian raised one claw and stabbed downward, but the elf slunk to the side. He raised

the other, and this time the priest twirled away, lunging out with his arm as he did and slicing off a

chunk of leg with his dagger. Howling in pain and rage, the creature slammed itself down,

summoning a swarm of scarabs that sprayed forth before it, a wall of pincers and wings.

The priest said one holy word, and the shield reformed around him, the swarm hitting it with

a flash of energy that sent insect after insect tumbling away from the soldier of the Light. The priest

slowly strode forward through the storm, splitting the waves of insects until the web lord was

exhausted and the priest stood a bare foot from the unholy creature's face.

The nerubian hissed.

Varendil brought his hand down, a gesture of judgment, and a bolt from the heavens

followed suit, a blast of searing light that immolated the creature's head. Its body teetered and fell to

the side, still smoldering from the righteous brand.

The blood elf carefully walked forward to his target, the squirming and straining webbed

shape behind the nerubian. With a quick flash of light he sliced the webbing open, revealing the

struggling plate-clad orc within. The orc, suddenly free of its bindings, collapsed to the ground.
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Varendil extended a hand. "Call me Varendil Dawnblade," he said calmly as he helped the

orc to his feet. "And you are?"

"Bullcrap," a familiar voice said.

Varendil blinked. "Your name is Bullcrap?"

"No, that story is bullcrap," the voice said. A nerubian skittered down the side of the quarry

and toward the two. The elf and the orc turned to face the newcomer.

"How is that story bullcrap? I seem to recall that I was there, and you weren't."

The nerubian raised one of its forelegs and flopped it dismissively. "Please. I know you. You

can barely lift a sack of laundry let alone a big orc like Bruxinax in full plate." The nerubian poked

the orc's cobalt harness.

Varendil paused. "Okay, I'm not that strong. But, y'know, technically I don't really have to lift

him, I just brace myself and hold steady while he lifts himself."

The undead spider glanced at the priest's feet and rolled his eyes. "Oh, I'm supposed to

believe that the boots you make have grip? He'd have whipped you into the ground behind him if he

pulled on your arm at all."

Varendil tugged the hem of his robe up and glanced down at his boots. He then put on his

most offended face, threw down his dagger into the quarry dirt, and stomped over, leaning into the

undead arachnid's face. "Okay, you insect. You wanna poke holes in my story or insult my physical

strength, that's one thing, but insulting the tailoring is too far!" He glared at the Scourge soldier who

smirked derisively.

"Your boots are fine, sweetie. Doesn't matter, though, you couldn't lift him because you

refused to let your shoes touch that quarry, 'member?" a Warsong mage said from behind them,

where she was lazily fishing in one of the nerubian sinkholes.


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"Yep. You stayed levitated the whole time because you were afraid of the spiders burrowing

up and grabbing your feet," Bruxinax said with a shrug. He was no longer in his cobalt combat plate,

but instead back in his loose leather robes and sitting comfortably. He twirled Varendil's staff in his

hands and continued thrusting and swinging it lightly toward a miniature skeleton with a sword and

shield, who caught the butt of the staff on his wooden shield and swung his dull blade against it.

Varendil folded his arms in a huff. "That is a valid concern. Nerubians are burrowers, and—

look," he said. "Torky asked me how Master Dawnblade met his dad, and I thought I'd try to come

up with something more interesting than the boring true story."

"Aren't priests supposed to be honest and trustworthy and all that?" The nerubian skittered

back over to sit next to the orc and the skeleton, losing two spare legs and growing blonde hair in

the process. By the time it sat down, it was its normal Blood Knight self. The small skeleton, too,

was rapidly becoming caked with flesh and resanguinated until it was a happily-sparring orc boy.

Lanuria, no longer a Warsong mage, leaned over and pecked Varendil on the cheek, then

recast her line into the Thunder Bluff pond. "Saelar has a point. And isn't the 'boring' true story that

time Bruxinax rescued you and a flesh giant fell on you and sent you bouncing all over

Scourgeholme?"

Bruxinax chuckled, then picked up a pebble and sent it skipping across the pond. "Just like

that."

Varendil pouted. "Torkinax, you're my squire, you have to believe me. Don't listen to

Lanuria. Or Saelar. Or your father, for that matter."

Torky clacked the staff aside once more, then leaned forward and thrust his blade at

Bruxinax, poking him lightly in the gut. The warrior faked a wail and grabbed his son, pulling the

boy up onto his shoulders. "Sure thing, Master Dawnblade," Torky said with a shrug before turning

to Lanuria. "You should tell that story."


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Saelar flopped down onto his back in the grass behind the group. "Yeah, this should be

good."

"I hate all of you," Varendil said.