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Justice for Ishmael

#1
A follow-up to Friday's event at Theramore. As some backstory for those who didn't attend: Unbroken were hired to retrieve a female hostage, the wife of a soldier who was among those who had stolen from a Gilnean prisoner in Stormwind. The Gilnean was an innocent mage, and the object stolen was supposedly his wife's last gift to him, and after a year of frustrated attempts to retrieve it from the guards, he had turned to hostage-taking as a last resort. The mercs had taken up temporary residence in Theramore's ruins. Ohmee and Redford kept the guards at the front talking, while Osrick and Thondalar--invisible and flying--located the prisoner, who was then rescued. However, during the rescue, things turned violent as Bixi stabbed one of the guards repeatedly in the face, and blew up two more with a grenade. The hostage, however, was safely secured. 

Boots crunched on the sand, barely audible beneath the roaring wind. The battered-looking man in dark armor looked over the destruction that lay scattered on the beach: burning beams fallen from the lighthouse' facade, black smoke torn away by the biting ocean gusts, a streak of blood over the rock... and a limp body lying to one side, in the shadows. He made his way to this, his frown deepening.

He knelt, here, reached out, rocked the man's shoulders so that he lay upon his back. The body rolled loosely, and sightless eyes stared up past yawning crimson wounds torn deeply into the flesh of the face.

"Vince," the man muttered, looking away with a shake of his head. Two more figures approached behind him, and the scrape of wood on rock told him they'd pulled the rowboat to shore. He could hear, over the roaring of the stormy sea, the violent fluttering of the ship's sails.

Someone was calling out to him, and he squinted over, straining to listen.

"...is it?" the voice was shouting. He grunted, and stood, wiping his black gloves on his leather leg armor as he made his way back around to the building's front. The door had been blown off its hinges, the wood charred--and now another figure stood there, beside the lighthouse. It was the tall, elegant black figure of their employer--but no, now he was in worgen form, his own fur singed, a battered look of battle about him.

And, as someone behind William lifted a lantern, he could see that the worgen looked pissed. There was a furious snarl twitching at his face, and his eyes glowed with hatred. Will felt his hand slipping to the blade at his hip, but the worgen curled a lip. "There's no need for that," he snapped--and turned, gesturing at the door. Will watched him warily for a moment nonetheless, but the worgen's anger didn't seem to be directed toward his mercenaries' failure.

...Well, that was one good thing, at least.

Then Rutherford was speaking past sharp fangs, his words angrily staccato. "It was those same mercenaries. They had people at the back, I suppose. How did they get past your damn sentries, Myers? We came here to pick her up and the next thing I know-..."

The words faded into the background as Will glanced inside. He could see a dark shape lying on the floor of the lighthouse, just inside, and realized almost at once that it was someone's legs; the torso was out of sight behind the broken door. Smoke was still billowing out, but whoever it was wasn't moving.

With a soft swear he pushed in, but found the hanging door blocking the way; the lantern-light behind him shifted and he could hear someone--Peter Burkes, he thought--saying something, and then Peter was right there, helping him shove the door aside.

It fell in with a slam, and a scattering of embers.

Ishmael and Anthony lay dead on the floor. William's heart dropped. "Hell," was all he said, softly. He could feel Rutherford at his left shoulder, peering in past him, but he didn't care, now. His mind was elsewhere--on Vince. Vince, who'd been about to retire to his woman and his kid, even if the guy had been a prick. Even if he had sampled just a bit too much grog. And Anthony, quiet, grim--never a bad word to say, always reliable, always business--the grief of his past kept to himself, though they could all tell that it haunted him. Ishmael, perhaps the kindest of them all, who'd insisted on staying to keep the hostage company, who'd quietly asked what they'd do if Rutherford had actually meant to kill her.

...Ishmael, who'd always been quick with a joke and a helping hand.

For a moment, Will just stared, empty and cold, a feeling of unreality swirling around him. Just like that, they were gone.

"Shit-... Ishmael," came the soft voice to one side, and William nodded blankly. "Aye," he answered. "Help me get them outta here. We'll take 'em somewhere to be buried, at least." And abruptly, the grief stirring deeply in his gut was replaced by cold rage. Those fucks. Those little fucks. He'd been nothing but polite to them, nothing but professional, and they'd gone behind his back and murdered his fucking men.

"I will not ask you," came Rutherford's gruffly high-class voice behind him, "to continue in light of your losses--"

William snorted bitterly, cutting him off. "Mister Rutherford, I can assure you--whatever you want doing, we're in. That bastard took from you. And now, he's taken from us." He was silent, for a moment, hearing more of the crew stirring behind him--more who had come to shore, more who were only now seeing the bodies of their brethren lying torn and burnt on this shitty, desolate rock.

"Whatever you want to do, we're in." He repeated this, then narrowed his eyes. "Ohmee Zapcharge, Engineer... Unbroken. And a Redford. We start there."

He turned, and saw half a dozen pairs of eyes flick up to greet his own, and saw the grief there--and the fear. He felt his own steely hatred, and he knew they were afraid of him. "We kill them," he added simply. The crew looked back down at their fallen comrades, and in their nods, he saw relief.

There would be justice.
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