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The Musicians Bow (Story)
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Gregory Breich settled himself down on the blanket spread on the snow behind him, the frozen water crunching beneath his weight. The human sighed happily at the atmosphere, removing the pack from his back and depositing it nearby. He stretched slightly, his tan leather clothes basking in the afternoon sun, the ice of the lake behind him glittering beautifully. A short sword and dirk sheathed in his belt rustled the blanket as Gregory laid down completely, the blanket protecting him from the damp ground of snow. His grey leather armour made him stand out somewhat amongst the blanketing snow about him, the metal adorning him flashing in the sun.
It was rare to have a moment of peace in Alterac valley, the constant battle for the region forcing the human constantly to the front lines in order to fight the armies of the Horde. He didn’t mind too much, it was his lot in life after all. However, on rare moments of peace he would come to this little clearing, trees and the lake forming a pleasant and calming backdrop for the reminiscing of his home and family in Stormwind.
Ever since the Cataclysm the Horde and Alliance had been at each other’s throats with a vengeance, their war going global and, with the Twilight Hammer mucking about it had only become worse. As such Gregory had little free time, SI7 working him to the bone in order to root out spies, turncoats and the like. The acronym of MICE (money, ideology, coercion and ego) his guide to the task and experience his best weapon.
But that was irrelevant at the moment Gregory reminded himself, crossing his arms behind his neck and short cut brown hair with a relieved sigh as the music of the peaceful forest washed over him like a wave. For now, all that mattered was the immediate. Gregory grinned indulgently as he let the calming tune of the forest lull him to rest. The chirp of birds, the soft whisper of the wind, the rustle of snow covered branches as they swayed from said elemental force, the dulcet and warming tune of the violin...
“Crap!” Gregory swore as he rolled off his blanket and into the snow just as several crossbow bolts slammed into where he had been lying moments before.
“Well damn it all, how could you idiots miss?” A furious proclamation sounded from the tree line, followed by the speaker revealing himself by stepping out from behind a tree.
Gregory sprang to his feet, weapons drawn as he examined the newcomer. A Forsaken, but unlike any he had ever seen before. The dead man wore a long and blood red jacket with large frills peeking from both sleeves and neck. A long thin sword securely tucked in its sheathe hung from his belt and, just above glowing yellow eyes of the undead man was a frock of bouncing white curly hair. A violin and its bow were clutched in his hands, the source of the pleasant music from before.
“He moved sir!” Retorted the bushes.
“He did mon.”
“Irrelevent!” The Forsaken shouted to the foliage. “I went through all that trouble to set the scene and you fools fail in the first seconds! I had to play a damned tune that blended with the forest enough to set him at ease, all you had to do was shoot him. I mean really, my bow is harder to use than the one you have yet you still cannot get a quarrel into a man lying down on a blanket in the damned snow? He practically had a target painted on him” The dead man barked at the bushes.
Gregory slowly rose from his crouch, muscles still bunched and tensed though his feet were several inches submerged in the snow. “Who the fel are you?” Gregory demanded, somewhat shaken at the near death experience, not to mention the strange argument. The Forsaken whirled about, eyebrows high on his forehead in surprise as if he had forgotten Gregory was even there.
“Ah, my apologies.” The dead man quickly declared, bowing deeply. “I have failed to introduce myself. Oh gentlemen!” Gregory shot his eyes around in surprise as the sound of instruments tuning assailed his ears. With a flurry of snow and leaves several Horde soldiers wielding instruments leaped from the bushes and up from beneath the snow with a loud ‘tra lalalala oi!’
“Upon these frozen wastes of white,
I find a foe within my sights,
A man faced with a desperate plight,
Should he stay or make flight?"
(We stand by your side in the decision you make,)
(To charge forward or just wait?)
(Either way we must make haste,)
(Lest he escape via the lake.)
"Not so fast my eager chums,
My name, it still must be sung.
With the accompaniment of drums,
Hurry, and cry out at the top of your lungs!"
(Ludwig Van Haydn!)
(The greatest composer of our time)
(Ludwig Van Haydn!)
(He stands in the way of Hansel’s slide!)
“Oh but I-, wait what?” The Forsaken voiced in confusion before a piano on a sled smashed into him from the side, burying the violin wielding dead man beneath it and into the snow with a startled squawk of surprise. The band, if they could be called such, abruptly ceased playing at sudden interruption of their vocalist with a squeal of sour notes.
The several Forsaken, a troll wielding a large drum and an attractive female blood elf with a harp gazed at Ludwig’s back, the only part visible as the rest of the musician’s body pressed deeply into the snow from being run over. The piano player as well, once he ghosted to a stop, the Forsaken peering from over the top of the massive instrument at the indentation of his leader.
Gregory, still in a semi state of shock at the extremely confusing events insofar could merely stare as Ludwig’s arms forced themselves out the hole, the Forsaken soon having levered himself out of the pit he had formed. With a scowl the undead man brushed the snow off of himself, hair horribly askew until he righted it with a huff, revealing it to in fact be a wig.
“… So, your name is Ludwig?” Gregory asked slowly, breaking the extremely awkward silence permeating the valley. The Forsaken straightened immediately, a hand amidst his puffy sleeve flourishing before he bowed lowly.
“Indeed I am! Know now that on this day you face Ludwig Von Haydn! The decomposing composer!” Ludwig cried aloud, his arms spread wide grandly. “And I have a mission, to eliminate the rogue known as Gregory Breich, to which I presume you to be.” Ludwig declared, placing his violin reverently into a case and slinging it onto his back.
Gregory narrowed his eyes, readopting his combative stance. “I am.” Gregory responded slowly.
“Magnificent, I have sought you out. Your death may be precisely what I need to add some lines to my symphony. Now then,” Ludwig grasped the handle of the rapier at his side, drawing it with the hiss of leather and taking up a fencing stance, rapier pointed at Gregory, “defend yourself musically, flight of the bumblebee if you please.” Ludwig ordered, saluting Gregory with his blade. The Forsaken on the piano nodded animatedly and, with a few keying notes began to play the fast paced song, Ludwig darting forward at the first note.
Gregory parried the first blow, and the second but the Forsaken attacked with a speed that matched the rapidity of the song being played, the rapier darting at Gregory in an attempt to impale the rogue with the speed of a dozen striking snakes. The best the poor rogue could do was parrying the blows with both dirk and blade, losing ground to the quick footed and fighting Forsaken. Gregory narrowed his eye when Ludwig began to hum slightly, the dead man’s rotted lip turning slowly into a smile.
What felt like hours of enduring the assault but could not have even been two minutes Ludwig ceased his assault, retreating several steps upon conclusion of the song. “Hmm, very good. The rhythm of your movements is very clear and defined. Right, next up is the axes!” Ludwig barked, sheathing his blade and turning back to the watching soldiers/band. A robed Forsaken cloaked in shadow nodded and pulled a pair of small one handed axes from his belt, tossing them lightly to Ludwig who caught them with ease, holding them before him in readiness.
“Right, here we go. Damon, Hansel, Chopsticks.” Ludwig ordered as he bounced on the balls of his feet.
“Of course sir.” The shadow priest who had provided the weapons responded before gliding over to the piano perched on the sled, sliding next to the other Forsaken. With a crack of knuckles the two dead men began to play the song requested.
“Wonderful! Now then Mister Gregory let us begin again.” Ludwig commented before spinning toward Gregory and slamming his weapons into the humans. Ludwig assailed Gregory with the axes and the human dodged or parried as best he could, any retorting assault on his part however Ludwig would either dodge or defeat as if he knew the attack were coming. Throughout the battle Ludwig was singing the words “chopsticks and chopstick and chopsticks and chopsticks and chopsticks and chopsticks and chopsticks.”
Ludwig abruptly broke the pattern, raising the axes high overhead and slamming them down. “Chop chop!” The musician barked, the sudden blow forcing Gregory to stumble back. Ludwig moved quickly forward, spinning about and smashing the flat of his axe into Gregory’s face.
Gregory fell back with a cry, a hand dropping his dirk to fly to the assaulted area automatically. He realized the mistake second later when the sharp and chilled feel of metal pressed against his neck. Ludwig held his axe to the man’s skin, ready to kill the rogue with barely a motion.
“Well my good man I’m afraid we reached the end of our concert. Do you have any last requests? We do a lovely rendition of Requiem for an Emerald Dream.” Ludwig asked, a murmur of affirmation and pride coming from the other members of the Horde nearby.
Gregory breathed heavily, in part from the exertion but mostly for the absolute absurdity of the day’s events. First to have been about to relax and take a nap, only to be assaulted by what appeared to be a homicidal classical music band bent on killing him. And to top it all off, they brought their own piano via a sled which had run over their leader. To top it all off, they had beaten him!
Perhaps he had gone mad? He had heard that the sun could fry a man’s brain if he stood beneath it for too long. The idea of him having fallen asleep on the blanket and assaulted by the sun a tempting scenario all thing considered.
The very real axe pressing against his neck however told a decidedly different story.
Gregory closed his eyes and sighed, he had been beaten he thought ruefully, accepting the reality before him as best he could. “Yes, the Stormwind national anthem. To remind me of my wife and child at home.” Gregory requested, his tone a peaceful one of a being who accepted their fate. There was a short pause before the rogue felt the axe leave his neck, much to his surprise. His eyes shot open in wonderment to see Ludwig stomping away from him and back towards the other Horde soldiers.
“Damnation, you couldn’t just keep your mouth shut. Oh no, you had go and spout out that bit about your family.” Ludwig whirled about and pointed a bony accusatory finger at Gregory. “You ruined it! This wasn’t supposed to be a tragic peace like Gnomeo and Juliet! We’re leaving.” The musician barked to the others.
“Wha-? But sir, shouldn’t we at least kill him?” Haydn asked from his piano, a large tauren pushing the sled mounted instrument towards a portal conjured by the blood elf in their group slowly. Ludwig scowled at the mobile pianist and redirected his finger at the Forsaken.
“Hansel, don’t think I forgot about you running me over. And worse yet, you missed your que during the first movement of Chopsticks! You’re second chair now. Damon, congratulations, you’re now first chair.”
“Yes.” The shadow priest cheered quietly, pumping his fist enthusiastically. Hansel’s face fell seconds before his piano was shoved through the portal, Damon and Ludwig following second later. Gregory remained where he had been standing for a few minutes, the crack of displaced air as the portal closed fading and the musical sound of nature returning to the peaceful clearing.
“… What the fel just happened?” Gregory demanded the empty air in absolute bewilderment.
Ludwig is actually a character I am writing for a longer story but I like him and decided to introduce the Decomposing Composer now. You'll forget him by the time I finish that story anyway so whatever.
That was a level of awesome I don't think I can comprehend.
Classical music was dead.
Then it got a rez.
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