It was a clear night over the forest, and the moon shone bright and nearly full. The trees kept out the breeze, but the air was not still as Nimredel sat upon her wooden stool at the balcony of her barracks. The tall and muscular Kaldorei stood with knees spread wide, a long scimitar between them as she dragged her whetstone against the edge of the blade, sharpening it with careful practice. Her attention was focused on the curved sword, studying the sharpness in the glinting moonlight, heedless of her surroundings as she sat off duty in a light armour, dark shoulder pauldrons, gloves, boots and chest inlaid with images of leaves and branches; modest wear for a Sentinel off or on duty that only showed hints of skin at the joints and where one piece met another. She had a pale bluish skin that went with her white hair, that came around over her chest in one thick braid. Upon her stern face, she had dark markings of a leaf around each eye.
Eyes flickering along the edge of the steel blade, she gripped the golden hued hilt and twisted it about, inspecting her work as the sudden sound of a voice calling out to her took her attention. Instantly, before even looking, a smile crossed Nimredel’s face. She was so happy she failed to note the oddity that her friend hadn’t grabbed her attention with a song, as usual.
Twisting around, she looked to the edge of the trees just a dozen or so meters away and saw there Teeva Lushwillow, eyes wide and looking urgent. The other woman had a reddish hued skin, with long green hair and was dressed in an odd assortment of leather and cloth clothes, including a pair of leather boots that rose up over half her thighs, and a simple cloth shirt and suspenders. Her whole outfit was made up of earthy brown and green colours, the woman herself svelte from a life of outdoors activity and a light diet of nuts and berries. Over her shoulder was strapped a carved wooden pan flute, the instrument of her profession that she usually let herself be known to Nimredel with.
Tonight, however, Teeva stood wide-eyed and waving a brown gloved hand somewhat frantically. Calling out in an urgent but subdued voice, Teeva cried “Nim! You have to come quick!” Though her voice came out quiet in the tone they always used when avoiding drawing the attention of Nimredel’s comrades, she could hear the urgency in it.
Nimredel turned back, looking into the barracks as she paused a moment. It took only a second to ponder, however, before she stood up, sheathed her scimitar, put a hand to the balconies railing and leaped over, landing down on the grass a meter below with graceful practice. With but a split seconds pause to recover from the drop, she dashed over towards the edge of the clearing around the barracks, one hand on the hilt of her sword, the other reaching out to Teeva’s arm.
The two women clutched at each others arm as Nim looked to Teeva’s eyes with serious concern, “What is the matter, Tee? Are you in trouble?”
Giving a quiet response she simply nodded pleadingly, her mouth open as she breathed heavily from the run here.
Nimredel’s expression turned direly serious, her voice coming out deeper and determined, “Lead me to the trouble.” Without hesitation Teeva turned and began to run back into the forest, clutching onto Nimredel’s arm just above the end of her gauntlet, beneath the bulge of the military woman’s bicep.
Though roughly the same height, Nim was far the stronger, and even in her armour she easily kept pace just ahead of the green haired elf. In a steady, calm voice she asked firmly “What is it, Tee? Who’s chasing you?”
Teeva looked to Nimredel, eyes still wide and filled with concern. Her voice, however, was stalled by her heavy breathing, “It’s a monster, Nim! A monster! It devoured many of my friends already! You’ve got to help!”
Nimredel’s stern face hid the shock well, and she resisted the urge to look back towards her barracks, now lost amongst the view of trees; no, there was no time to get the support of her Sentinel comrades, obviously. Drawing her sword out of its sheath, she held the blade in front of them as she ran as if a defensive barrier against what they might find, ready to sweep forward and rend any monster in half. She tugged on Teeva’s arm as she picked up her own pace, running in the direction her friend had pointed them in.
After running for some time, Teeva pulled back on the thick arm of her friend before letting go and in a panting voice, “They’re just… up ahead. I hope they’re… not all…” She swallowed heavily, her face looking concerned as she bent over, leaning on her knees as she struggled to catch her breath.
The proud Sentinel gave a stern nod, her facial features looking tense as she placed a reassuring hand on Teeva’s shoulder, “Stand your ground here, Teeva. Your friends will need your help once I rescue them, I’ll handle it.” Without waiting for a response she spun around and ran up to the edge of the clearing ahead.
At the edge of the tree line, Nimredel peered out into the large clearing, studying her surroundings and seeking out the monster as best she could. Though she quickly and adeptly studied the area, no monster was evident. She saw no hulking silhouette against the moonlit clearing. No monstrous visage.
She began to circle around the edge of the clearing as she attempted to see if anything hid behind one of the mounds of soil and grass or a fallen tree, when suddenly back and to her left, Teeva called out “There it is! Oh Elune! Nim stop it, it’s devouring them!” Without wasting another moment, Nimredel leaped out into the clearing if for no other reason than to make herself a target before whatever vile monster out there sought the source of her friends voice.
Gritting her teeth, scimitar held out horizontally in front of her at necks height, Nim darted her head around the clearing frantically before suddenly detecting the creature. Directly before her was a giant green ooze, sitting motionless it looked like little more than a grassy mound in the night light.
The creature stirred and seemed to take notice of the Sentinel before beginning to advance towards her. Nimredel braced herself for the attack, but the ooze crept exceedingly slowly over the clearing towards her. Dropping her sword only an inch, she looked confused until suddenly Teeva sprang out beside her crying in a panic, “My friends! Nim you’ve got to save them!”
Nim needn’t have looked around to note the lack of others in the clearing, but when Teeva pointed an arm out in front of her, she noted the small saplings in front of her. “Don’t let it eat more of my friends! Nim, please!”
The Sentinel’s brow furrowed as she noted a string of two or three mangled saplings behind the ooze. Without questioning however, she began to sheath her sword and reach for her bow, until she realized she had left in such a hurry she hadn’t brought it. Silently cursing, she pressed a hand to Teeva’s stomach, “Stand back, Tee. This will get messy.” The worried and fretting elf clenched her hands together nervously, as she watched her friend stride out slow and confidently, carefully avoiding the saplings.
Nimredel lowered her blade in an arc in front of her before giving the arduously slow ooze a slashing strike. The keenly sharp blade accomplished little except accumulating a thin layer of green upon its edge, however. Looking perturbed, she gave the ooze another slash, this time lopping off a glob of green goo. Satisfied with that, she continued in the same fashion, slicing off globs of the ooze that then splattered to the ground in useless pools that seemed to dissolve into the grass.
Carrying on like this for some time in a rather repetitive and dull fashion, the Sentinel hacked away at the massive but shrinking ooze, easily staying out of its reach. After a while of studying her prey as she dispatched it, she noticed an odd formation inside the ooze. Leaning forward she saw a dark mass inside the green ooze that seemed to be slowly shifting into… something.
Teeva called out “Don’t stop, Nim! It could still get them!”
As Nimredel turned her head to give her reassurances she was not about to stop, suddenly something shot out of the ooze and struck her in the stomach. Reeling back, Nim flailed her arms and wobbled. Looking down she saw a black shard of some sort, sticking through her armour and penetrating her stomach, where blood was now oozing out around it.
After a pause while she studied it, she felt her feet wobble and she fell back onto her rear on the grass. Her head spun as her attempts to talk seemed to fail. Sounds came to her slow and garbled, but she could feel Teeva clinging to her and could tell she was saying something.
Reaching into the pack at her waist, Teeva rooted around amongst her herbs there until she pulled out a tiny, dark substance. Wafting it beneath Nimredel’s nose, it caused the Sentinel’s glossy look to vanish as her head shook, “Smells awful” she mumbled through nearly paralyzed lips.
Teeva spoke frantically, “You’ve got to get up, Nim! It’s coming!” The green haired woman stuck the black substance back in her satchel and held her friend in both arms as the creeping ooze inched towards them.
Nimredel watched the diminished but still large creature slowly moving in on her, but her limbs refused to move. She felt little more than the pain from her wound, which only grew in intensity and traveled throughout her body with each futile attempt to move. She winced from the exertion, which only sent further pangs of pain through her strong body.
Turning her eyes to Teeva, she asked her friend in pained words “Pull me back.”
Teeva nodded and stood up, moving around behind the armoured woman and curving her arms up in under Nim’s arms. With all her strength she struggled to tug the Sentinel back, but found the woman heavy beyond her reckoning. “I’m not strong enough Nim!” She braced herself and tried again, tugging the Sentinel back just an inch or two, then giving another strained tug pulling her further.
Quickly Teeva exhausted herself pulling the Sentinel back just a few meters from the approaching ooze. She slumped down behind Nim onto her two palms and struggled for breath, “You’re so heavy in that armour, Nim.”
Trying to speak, Nimredel mumbled out a few incomprehensible murmurs, feeling a burning sensation on her foot as she realized belatedly that the ooze had touched it and began dissolving through it. She blacked out.
She awoke sporadically over the next period of time. Vague memories of Teeva removing her boot and bandaging her foot, then of being behind a tree as she tended to her stomach wound.
When finally she came to again, she snapped to consciousness rapidly and jerked up into a sitting position, causing a searing pain in her side. Teeva was there before her, placing her hands on her shoulders, “Not so fast! I haven’t secured the poultice yet!”
Taking it slowly, she allowed Teeva to apply a long strip of cloth around her stomach, holding the poultice in place over her wound, as Nim herself looked around for the ooze. In a dry voice she asked, “Did you get rid of the ooze?”
Teeva kept her eyes on Nim’s stomach as she finished up her job, “No way, Nim! It’s still chasing us!” As if on cue, Nim suddenly became aware of the soft sloshing noise of the ooze, seemingly coming from the other side of the tree.
Shifting as she tried to stand, Teeva moved forward, placing herself at Nim’s side, beneath her arm, as she helped the Sentinel to stand. Nim tested her footing, her left foot stinging but otherwise fine, she slid her arm from around Teeva’s shoulders and neck and gave her a brief smile. “Okay then. So… where’s my sword?” She looked around the trunk of the tree, hearing the ooze sloshing forward all the time.
Teeva grimaced, “I wasn’t able to save your sword too…” she gestured in the direction of the ooze.
Suppressing a sigh, Nimredel stepped around the tree and looked at the ooze. It seemed to be moving a bit faster now, though still sluggishly slow. The green glob, however, had a more distinctive feature now: a scimitar that seemed to randomly move about the oozes body, the blade slowly sawing through the air as it did.
Nim finally let out the sigh in a long, drawn out exhale.
Even though the blade moved through the air fairly slowly, there was no way Nim could see herself grabbing it out of the ooze without cutting up her hand badly. Pondering the situation, she watched the ooze from just around the corner of the tree, careful not to expose much of herself.
Deep in thought, but still alert, Nim did not divert her attention as Teeva came up and grasped her arm again, “We can’t hide behind this tree any more, Nim. It’ll kill it!”
Nimredel nodded to her bardic companion, eying the tree that blocked the path of the ooze momentarily before her eyes flashed wide with realization. “Follow me,” she stated rapidly, then took off at a moderate pace, trotting off with only a slight limp.
The two elves quickly came to a nearby stream, “Help me gather some dirt!” called out the Sentinel, wincing as she began to pick up a large stone.
Doing so, Teeva followed the stronger woman’s orders, laying out a bed of dirt in the stream that did not stop the water flow, but clogged up the flow of heavier matter. Further up the stream towards the source, Nimredel built a bridge of stones through the water, the stream lapping at them and clogging a bit. The stream was hampered, but not entirely blocked. The dirt bed was now elevated out of water, and their wait began.
As the slime came back into view, Teeva waited on the other side of the stream. Nimredel called out from further up, “Careful in case it throws anything at you!” Reminded, Teeva ducked behind a large boulder like outcropping of rock and waited patiently for the ooze to approach.
As the ooze inched its way across the moist dirt of the blocked stream, Teeva called out, “Now Nim!” With great effort, the wounded Sentinel kicked at the rocks she had laid in place with her good foot. Having sunk into the moist sandy stream bed, the rocks were stubbornly resistant.
Groaning from the effort, Nimredel bent down and pushed one of the stones out of the path of the tiny stream, letting a flood of water pour down around her, soaking her armour as she clutched her wounded side and balanced on one hand that quickly was sinking into the wet soil.
Before Nim could finish dislodging the rest of the rocks from her water logged position, the flood of the stream struck the creeping green glob. The crystal clear water swirled around the green ooze and came out the other side tainted and dirty. The first wave pushed the entire ooze down stream half a foot, but it stopped and resumed its slow push toward Teeva.
The running stream was devouring the slime, carrying it down its path in minuscule bit by minuscule bit, until it lost so much of its size the scimitar fell loose from its grasp and became lodged in the raised path of dirt. The ooze itself vanished down stream as one tiny glove-sized piece of green and black detritus as Nimredel strode down and plucked her sword out of the yet again clean flowing stream.
She studied the implement a moment, noting how the leather around the handle was completely gone, but it was otherwise fine and wholly serviceable, when Teeva seemed to dance out from behind the rock where she had hid. Quirking a brow at her friend, she saw the pan flute up at her lips as its melody carried out into the woods.
The nymph-like Teeva twirled and called out happily to her Sentinel friend in a sing song voice, “And now I will sing you the tale of how the noble Nimredel Silverbough, greatest Sentinel of Ashenvale! slayed the Oozing Terror of the Moonlight field!”
As Teeva played her flute again and then launched into the epic song, Nimredel arched a brow at her quizzically, until her face broke down into mirth and she laughed with joy and relief, standing amidst the flowing stream.
It slithered and swam
Upon the dry land
Twisted and corrupt
Writhing through the muck.
But Nimredel came
Raised her valiant hand
And distracted vile evil
From the helpless lambs!
Chipping with her might
The vile evil gave fight!
Spitting into her tummy
Making us run..ney!
And then she came with a plan;
Though her foot was canned,
And she set up the rocks
And I set up the sand.
And then her sword got lose
From the evil vile’s tooth,
And it melted away,
Water strong enough to bare the burden.
And Nimredel, the trees sang for;
And the water gurgled its thanks;
And the littlest bugs on the littlest tree clapped their wings;
And the birds cried out their happy song!
For the hero that is Nim!
Selflessly charged to save the woods!
For the hero that is Nim!
The world is ever changed!