T'na's Return to Kempin


T'na walked down the path opened up to him by the dead.  He glanced back at Stonejaw, standing by the hideous Lich.  The Targ had a resigned look in his eyes T'na had never seen there before.  And then Stonejaw gave him a smile and a nod.  T'na owed the big oaf.  He didn't like owing people.  But, there was no denying it.  Stonejaw had sacrificed his own chance for escape to save him.

T'na nodded back, and turned toward the distant green beam of light piercing the sky.  He could only hope that Kempin, the land of the living, was on the other side of the pulsing green portal.

To either side of him, lining the path before him, were undead creatures of all sizes and shapes.  Dead humans, in various stages of decomposition reached for him with grasping hands.  Boneclaws gnashed their long bone arms together.  Dark shades hovered along the line, emanating auras of death and despair.  Only the will of the arch-lich held them back.

T'na felt the urge to fade away.  To hide in whatever cover he could find.  To escape.  He started jogging along his dead-line path, and then broke into a run.

The green beam of light rose from the ground before him, and pierced the dirty grey sky above.  T'na was breathing heavily from the journey here.  He looked back over the army of the undead surrounding him, to a point where he imagined he had left Stonejaw and the lich.  He could not see them among the dead.  

One, two steps, and he was through the portal.



Disoriented by the trip through the portal, T'na felt faint, and fell to one knee.  He was on a vast grassy plain, with only small rolling hills to break up the monotony of the far horizon that lay in every direction.  There were no trees or building in sight.  

Around him was a scene of horror and loss.  For as far as he could see, a hoard of undead were feasting on fallen horses and men.  Judging by their armor and weapons, the fallen men were great warriors.  But, it had not been enough.

T'na quickly crept to a freshly killed body nearby, and rubbed blood on his hands, face, and clothes.  He knew that to walk among the dead, he would need to appear to be one of them.  Showing no fear for anything he saw.  When he could shift from fallen beast to fallen beast and stay out of sight, he would.  When it was impossible to go unseen, he would instead attempt to go unnoticed.  And he would reserve his blink for a moment of true desperation.

An hour later, T'na stood on a hill beyond the hoard, looking back at the fields of destruction that lay around the green beam of light stabbing the sky.  He wiped the thickening blood from his face and hands.  This was Kempin.  The air tasted right.  The sun and sky were familiar.  But he had no idea where he was.

He descended the hill, away from the hoard, bound for anywhere far away from the dead.

As he walked he thought about everything that had transpired.  He smiled at the thought of Eldermont escaping the destruction.  He shook his head and eyes became wet thinking of Stonejaw's apparent sacrifice.  He wondered at what would become of the world.  

As he topped a hill, he saw 20 riders on horseback riding in his general direction.  More of the great warriors that he had seen defeated and devoured as he came through the portal.  He ducked down in the tall grass.  They hadn't see him.

He studied their dress as they rode by.  Noted the designs on their saddles and the style of axe and swords they carried.  T'na believe he knew where he was on the world of Kempin.  He had heard tales of the Grasslands of Shronth and its great warrior horseman clans.  He knew the Emperor originally came from here, before forging his long destiny on the Mainland.

T'na let horsemen go by him without a word, and without revealing himself.  Surely, the warriors would see the devastation and turn back without him having to give a warning.  But, he was unwilling to risk  revealing himself, a goblin, to these fierce human warriors.  That rarely went well.

T'na crouched and began moving through the wind-tossed grasses of the plains.  He had a long journey ahead of him.



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