Posthumous: Blue Sky Horror

“…Kheiro?”

“I do not know, Liam” came the Tauren’s response.  “Nor do I recognize the type of cargo it carries below.”

Drake was continuing to bark and gnash his teeth as the topside crew took in what they were seeing.  Liam knew something wasn’t right, but was in no place to think what it could possibly be.  Not on his wisest day.  “Flagsworth.  How long until we’ve passed Theramore?”

“At this point, be about twenty an’ we’re good and past.”

Liam looked back up at the zeppelin in the sky.  “Anyone care to guess how long before that thing is over our heads, going on the assumption that it stays its course?”

They muttered amongst themselves and then decided to simply watch for a moment or two and gauge the speed of the vessel.  The best anyone could guess was half an hour at best, and none of them could be absolutely certain.  Though Kheiro did suggest the ship was moving slower than normal, likely due to the blue object hanging below.  Had the group not been focused on the zeppelin, they might’ve noticed an equally pressing scene more quickly.  It was Morrison again who spotted it first.

“What in the hells has happened there?”  He was pointing at Theramore.  There was smoke pluming upwards from numerous points, and the stronghold had clearly been under attack recently.

“This is not good, Liam.  We must not be here.”  The words sounded strange coming from the Tauren.  Kheiro was always sturdy and grounded in his thoughts and his words.  These came with a hint of urgency that curled every ounce of Liam’s body and it was a feeling he did not want to experience.  Not in the moment, nor ever again.  He told Morrison to get back up in the nest and Flagsworth to open the sails to full.  He might not have known a great deal about being a captain, but he had a small sense of how to get moving.

“Kheiro, you need to tell me what’s going on.  What has happened here?”  Liam defied his body and remained calm as he processed what he saw.  Guards were dead.  Docks were broken and shattered.  Ships were sank in the harbor as it came clearly into view.

“I…do not know.  But the Alliance would not attack itself, so I can only fear for the worst.”

“Which is…?” Liam could read a map as well as anyone but wanted Kheiro to confirm what his eyes were telling him.

“Something has caused the Horde to attack here,” the words came out more as a sigh from the Tauren.  “I do not know what, or why, but as sure as I stand here now I believe it to be the case.”  He paused to look back at the zeppelin that they were seemingly inching away from.  “I fear that ship is no coincidence either.”

They stood and watched the ship and took turns taking in the damage to Theramore.  Even from their distance they could tell the Isle had faced a wrath that it had not expected, though the Keep still stood above the walls if one squinted through the smoke.  Flagsworth kept the ship at full speed and on a safe course, while Morrison would only come down if there was something dire or new to the situation.  It was all anyone could do to just wait out the situation.

Drake continued to bark, but even he had toned down to mostly a growl as they continued to push past Theramore.  The dog was as concerned as ever, but seemingly tired of barking for such a lengthy time and realizing he could do nothing about his agitation.  Liam felt much the same, almost helpless.  They were going to get past Theramore Isle as they had planned, but what would they find in Ratchet now?  All the confidence he had from the moment they took the ship began to fade to uncertainty.  What he had been told about a key point in Kalimdor, a continent he had never been to, lay waste before him.  Strategically speaking, something was going on in this land that even Kheiro did not know or suspect.  Not having the Tauren’s conscience and guidance and certainty was unsettling to say the least.

From their distance, they were finally in position to have a sound view of the cove just off from the harbor -though it was a fading one.  It didn’t have to be close up, or clear for very long, as even from their distance they could tell what Kheiro thought was exactly the truth.  As the Tauren pointed, Liam saw what a half sunken Horde ship looked like.  And it wasn’t the only one.  They saw several.  The Horde had in fact attacked the Isle.  Liam wondered who had won and if this changed anything.  His mind raced with “what if” scenarios about things he knew nothing even before the events he had witnessed.  His calmness remained on the surface, as he knew not what else to do.  He felt pangs of sadness as he briefly made out another body along the outer wall.  This soldier was far bloodier than previous ones he had seen on the other side of the wall.

Darker.

Redder.

Warmer. 

Tastier. 

Delicious. 

POWER! 

Morrison’s words rang out and Liam found himself perched at the edge of the ship, almost ready to leap into the sea below them.  He couldn’t explain how he ended up in the position, or how long he’d been there, but as he looked up they were finally past the stronghold.  However, the zeppelin had gotten there faster than any of them had expected and they found themselves now just far enough away to see it pass over the human settlement.  They were also close enough to see something blue drop off the bottom of the ship and slowly descend to the target below.  Truth be told, it did not happen slowly.  It was but an instant before it dropped and before it could even hit the ground, it exploded in a radiance of blue.

Posthumous: The Calm Outside The Storms

The clouds overhead continued to threaten rain, but thus far had failed to let loose.  Aside from the occasional drizzle, that had been the trip since their departure from Gadgetzan.  Had they sailed the deeper waters as a ship normally would, the weather would have been much more drastic.  Any of the crew members could see the storm off in the distance.  Were it not for goblins, of all people, they would have been smack in the middle of it.  Instead, they had remained fairly close to shore and thus even lost time through some careful moments of navigation, the worst of which came along the Eastern Mountains that divided them from The Shimmering Flats.

It was during this particular stretch that Liam actually interacted with some of the other crew.  He learned Flagsworth hadn’t always wanted to be a seaman.  He had heroic ambitions, but things just had a way of being the right place at the wrong time for him.  The cook had an odd name, but everyone called him Saunter.  Watching him walk out with a meal, beaming with pride, it was no wonder why.  The pride was well deserved, too.  Saunter could turn several nothings into one hell of a meal.  There was even a dwarf -a curmudgeonly fellow named Dugger who was in charge of the cannons.

Kheiro had provided more insight and history into the land.  Liam had remembered stories of people sailing to Kalimdor during the Third War, but Kheiro explained exactly how Theramore Isle came to be and the agreement made between the Warchief Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore that allowed the humans to still live there.  The Horde were forbid from attacking, but that didn’t mean everyone sat back.  Apparently there was even a group of Tauren that would occasionally venture close enough to try and cause trouble.  Kheiro had made it clear they weren’t Tauren to be proud of and they most certainly weren’t the Tauren in the Horde.

There was also talk of a rumoured Dragon’s Lair, but according to the Tauren, that’s all they were.  There could be someone who could confirm it, but he had not seen it with his own eyes and if the words did not come from someone Kheiro strongly trusted, he wasn’t likely to believe it.  Also if there were individuals who knew of the Dragon’s Lair, there was a good chance they never made it out.

Liam also made a point of taking time to himself.  With Drake by his side, he would look back on the things that have happened thus far.  He would take in memories.  Some were as if he were there in that moment, and others he could barely recall.  The biggest one that continued to plague him was the cause of his death.  He could not remember the cause, or even the time leading up to it.  It was as if he died and backtracked.  That his life and death overlapped one another.

It was this that troubled him on the day they were destined to pass Theramore Isle.  Knowing there were humans like he was, bantering about with their daily business.  Just as he used to.  Not a care in the world, nor a concern.  A small part of him was jealous, but it was the trying to remember those days that bothered him most.   He sighed heavily in the warm sun, the first in several days.

“Flagsworth.  Can we move out to sea and avoid the Isle entirely?”

“Not according to Mor’son.  He’s up in the nest and says he can still see it’s rough.  Least, that’s what he said a half hour ago.”  Flagsworth looked high up the mast and then out at the water.  Liam followed his view and it indeed looked significantly darker.  “Like th’ Tauren said.  Long as we don’t port, or get too close, shouldn’t be too concerning.  Well, so long as they don’t see no Horde aboard as we pass.”

Liam understood what Flagsworth was getting at.  Himself and Kheiro needn’t be out in the open for all the world to see.  Peaceful as they were, those on guard around Theramore probably weren’t the type to take chances…least of all with an Undead.  They’d simply have to wait it out in the Captain’s cabin.  With the Isle almost close enough to distinguish the stronghold from the horizon, that time wouldn’t be much longer.

Drake began to growl, which startled Flagsworth enough to take a couple of steps backward.  It wasn’t the crewman that had the dog rattled.  He was looking towards the marsh area beyond Theramore.  Liam squinted but given the sunlight and distance he couldn’t tell what Drake could be looking at.  There were certainly no signs for concern, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t something to be concerned about.

Liam felt the deck rattle a little as Kheiro’s weight glided slowly across the ship.  He had heard the dog as well and came to investigate.  “What does he see?”

“We can’t tell, Kheiro” Liam answered. “I don’t see a thing.  Would they have the range to attack us out here?”

“Mmm, perhaps,” responded the Tauren,” but they have no reason to.  Theramore defends rather than attacks.”  He raised a hand up to his brow and looked out.  Kheiro shook his head to suggest he couldn’t see what Drake was continuing to growl at.

The dog started to full on bark and gnash his teeth when they got several lengths closer.  Once again, those around Drake tried to see what upset the dog so much.  They were so focused on what the dog was looking at that Morrison was halfway down from the nest before anyone even clued in.

“You’re looking in the wrong place” he hollared.  “He’s not looking there, the dog is looking at the sky.  Right there.”

They all turned their heads further upward.  None was struck by anger, or fear, or concern.  They simply wondered what the Zeppelin was doing, and what was hanging below it?

Posthumous: Stars And Sand

Liam stood on the balcony of the inn and looked out across the desert.  It was a clear night across Tanaris, so even from Gadgetzan he could see as far as the northern Troll ruins and even make out the Silithus outline in the sky to the southwest.  Of course, Liam couldn’t have named any of those places before today, let alone determine where they were.  It had been a long day and he just enjoyed being outside.  While there was still hustle and bustle throughout the town below, it was somewhat quieter up above.

Liam had put a little faith in Flagsworth and entrusted in him the docking of the ship, and it pleasantly had gone off without a hitch.  He also kept his word with the alchemist when Drake awoke.  He spared him his life, though they did end up selling him to Nigstrom, the owner of the cage fighting that was an incredibly popular attraction.  It took several of them, but they convinced him that having a medic on hand would be good for business.

He left Flagsworth to determine who would be best for the transaction of goods versus new goods to transport.  Surprisingly, he selected Kheiro.  He said the Tauren was far wiser than anyone on board and Liam had to agree with him on that.  Plus, Kheiro knew the port of Ratchet rather well and that was their next destination.  It only stood to reason he could gauge what would be of value there, too.  Plus, he could be trusted not to run off with the gold, or blow it in a game of Bilge Dice or Kings…

Liam took the hint from a pestering nose and squatted down to give Drake a scratch.  A thorough one, almost making up for the days they had missed out.  As always, his thoughts came out loud to the dog.

“How did we end up here bud?” It was an answerless question of course.  “It feels like just yesterday I awoke in the grave, with no idea how I got there.  Now, we’re sitting here and I have no idea how that came about either!”

The dog looked at him, cocking his head slightly toward the boney hand scratching him behind his ear.  Liam looked at him and knew the dog didn’t have an answer.  He also clearly didn’t care what the answer was, he was just happy to be back with his master.  Liam was happy to have him back as well.

“Liam.”

He turned to see the Orc coming through the archway and stood to greet him.  The hulking green man stepped across the balcony and towered over Liam.  Not nearly as much as Kheiro did, but the height and girth was more than enough to show just how meager Liam was in his undead form.

“Are you all set, Logard?”  When they left the ship anchored just off the coast, the orc had made it clear he would not be returning with them now that he was no longer a prisoner.

“I am.”  He paused to size up Liam.  “I don’t do thanks well.  But, I owe you my freedom.”  His eyes focused on Liam and seemed to almost be looking into him.  “I don’t know what happened on that boat, but I do know that much.”  He didn’t say anything more.  He merely pounded his chest with his forearm, then turned and left.

Liam looked down at Drake.  “No, I don’t think I’ll ever find any comfort in an Orc’s presence either.”  He leaned on the hard rock railing of the roof and stared out once more.  Liam considered himself of reasonable intelligence, but he was at a loss for his current journey.  When he was alive, everything had purpose.  In the time since he was no longer alive, it’s been more of a take what came his way approach.  He wasn’t sure how he felt about that or how he felt when he thought back to how he became in charge of the ship.  What did happen to him anyway?  He was still in control, he just didn’t care.  And would it happen again?

“We have finished our exchanges with the merchants and other ships.”  Kheiro’s deep tone calmly interrupted Liam’s thoughts.  “I have done my best with what goods we had.  Your crew is taking the wagons back to the ship now.”

Liam stared an eye right through the moon as Kheiro knelt down to remind Drake he had not forgotten him.  The dog snatched the small piece of Talbuk Venison the Tauren had brought him and laid on the ground, tearing at it vehemently.  “You just have to keep poking me with those Captain comments don’t you?”

Kheiro stood and turned to Liam.  “My moments of casting an innocent jape have passed.  I speak now in the literal sense.  Whether it pleases you, or it doesn’t, you have been deemed the Captain of the ship.  The crew, as such, is yours as well.  Thus my remark.”

It didn’t matter what he said.  The moment the Tauren started talking, Liam felt like a jerk for immediately attacking Kheiro.  The adventure thus far could not have been much easier for him as well, and he was the only friend outside of Drake who Liam had in this life after life.  He looked to the Tauren to apologize but no doubt sensing that, Kheiro changed the subject.

“Ratchet is our destination, but our journey there might not be without obstacle,” he said.  Reading Liam’s face he continued.  “The Goblins, while honestly dishonest, have some interesting technology.  If that is to be believed, then hard rain is expected among the deep waters.”  He scratched his forearm slowly before continuing.  “The consensus is that we’re far safer not straying far from shore.”

“I see no problem with that,” said Liam.  “If it takes longer, that’s not a big deal is it?”

Kheiro looked at Liam as he always did when he was about to teach him something new.  “It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of where it takes us.”  The Tauren turned to look towards their docked ship.  “Unless marked as an Alliance vessel, few ships are welcome in Theramore these days.”

Posthumous: Conscious Waves

Liam looked at Kheiro and just shook his head.  “Everything I’ve seen of you and this is what makes you laugh?”

The Tauren calmly replied.  “I am merely amused at the situation.  You, a man from a port town, came to travel with me to see what was out there for you.”  He paused and looked out at the water.  “I see irony in you becoming a captain.”

“Oh yeah, it’s hilarious.”  Liam couldn’t help but get worked up at the idea, regardless of Kheiro’s calming voice.  “Rest easy I’m fixing this as soon as I can.”

“I have…no doubt.”  Kheiro seemed distracted as he said so.  He was looking out across the water and even Liam noticed the Tauren’s end of the conversation taper quickly.

“Something wrong?”

“Hmmm?  No, not wrong,” a reply that didn’t see to be the usual natural answer Liam was used to.  The look on his face must have suggested as much and a hand came up on his shoulder.

“We Tauren speak of ‘Walking With The Earthmother.’  It is a small prayer and yet holds much meaning.”  He turned and looked at everything that had happened on the deck prior to his revival.  “Even in dream, walking with the Earthmother is a true blessing.  But I did not walk with the Earthmother.”  He wiped his hair out of his face and continued.  “Liam, my friend, I was in darkness and shadow.  The light was there, in the distance.  But I was bound by my ankles.  I could not move.”

Liam just looked at the Tauren in that same puzzled sense.  He wanted to say something, but was at a loss for words as he felt completely dumbfounded.  “…and this is…bad?”

“Hmmm?  It could be.  It means future conflict awaits me.  It means that I will choose on my own.  When the time comes, the Earthmother will not be there to guide me.”  Kheiro closed his eyes as the winds picked up and washed the open air across his face.  He then turned back to his friend.  “So, as you see…something isn’t necessarily wrong.  Just….intriguing me.”

Liam did his best to comprehend the Tauren way and train of thought…or how one has a dream like that or even takes it as certainty.  His mental grasps were interrupted by his almost least favourite crewman.  “Captain!”

He sighed.  “Yes Flagsworth?”

“Sorry, sir.  Don’t mean to be botherin’ you.”

He was still the only one with enough stones to willingly approach Liam.  Try as he might to will the crewman away, he had to give him that.  “What is it that you want then?”

“Well, sir.  With you being Captain and all..” Liam hated every time that word was uttered in his direction.  It was a cruel enough joke that did not need a running punchline.  “We should be hitting shore in the morning and we’re just wondering what you wanted to do about that.  I mean, the original plans have kinda gone down the whirlpool at this point…”

“Yes, Flagsworth.  I recall.”  He shot a glare at Kheiro, who simply turned his head towards the ocean breeze.  “The original plan was to try to sell us to some Goblin in Gadget Town..”

“Erm, that be Gadgetzan.”

“GadgetZAN.  For what?  Fighting in a cage or something?”  The crewman nodded.  “Well, let’s consider things for a moment.  The person who was going to do the selling, is dead.”

“Aye…?”

“And the buyer is merely someone always looking for what boils down to as slaves.  He only buys what’s brought in front of him…”

“Aye…”

Liam stood there for a moment, using his hand to conduct the inevitable result that should come at any moment.  Annnyyyyy moment.  Any.  Moment…

“OH!  CAPTAIN!”  Flagsworth shouted for the entire sea to revel in his epiphany.  “If we never talked to Nigstrom, then he doesn’t know that we had anything to sell him in the first place!”

It was all Liam could do to keep from pulling out his already thin hair.  He did his best to calm down.  By this time Kheiro had slowly moved his way to the stern, no doubt to continue chuckling in peace.  Liam switched his thoughts back to Flagsworth.  He asked for the details about Gadgetzan and the nearby area.  That it was a desert port wasn’t exactly exciting to Liam.  Still, Flagsworth assured him it was a safe place to drop anchor as the goblins took no guff from anyone.

When Liam finished speaking to Flagsworth, he sent him below to pass on the plan and then for him to return to man the Helm.  Someone needed to guide the ship and it wasn’t going to be Liam.  They’d end up in the Maelstrom with his luck.  He strode (as best a dead fellow strides) over to Kheiro and shared the view trailing the vessel.

“Gadgetzan is a good place to rest for a night or two.  It will be good for all of us.”  Kheiro had turned toward Liam for the last of his words.  Before he could interject, the Tauren continued.  “I do not know what happened here,” his arm waving over the deck behind them.  “Yes…it has been explained.  But that does not sound like the man I have been traveling with these days.”  Liam had to agree with that.  Even since he spilled (and drank) the captain’s blood, he had been more irritable.

“I can explain it, but at the same time I can’t.”  The words were as cluttered as his head trying to wrap around it.

Kheiro nodded.  “That will occur from time to time.”

Liam’s response just came out.  “Kheiro, it’s not often I come right out with it with you, but I honestly don’t know what to do.  About this…about this.”  His arms were wide and aimed at the ship.

The Tauren paused as only he could and absorbed the open air before responding.  “Consider that you have been without your friend for several days now.  Consider that many of us have a breaking point.”  He then scratched his chin and looked about the ship.  “We were headed to Ratchet before this…” An arm came up on Liam’s shoulder.  “Perhaps we can still get there via sail.  That is…if you know of any captains.”

If Liam had the same strength as the last time he was on the deck, someone would be tossing a rescue line into the water right now.

Posthumous: Oh Captain, My Captain

Kheiro was awake but still groggy at this point.  Still, it was a step up from an unsconscious form of groggy.  Whatever the alchemist had been pumping into the Tauren, he must have injected a large volume to keep Liam’s massive comrade that sedated.  At the moment, Liam was ill concerned with that matter.  Part of it was due to the fact Kheiro was (relatively) awake.  More importantly to the fact, Liam was waiting for the alchemist to revert whatever he had done to Drake.

When the crewmates had brought him before Liam, the alchemist uttered something about paralysis and such.  Liam was having no part of it.  While his rage did expire, there certainly wasn’t patience to be found in its place.  Instead, with the captain’s blood still wet on his jaw, Liam merely told the alchemist to fix it or else. Some muttering crewmen said more than enough to make it clear to the alchemist just what “or else” meant.

So, shaking in his robe, this man had vials and herbs in a small box and was doing his best to put all the ingredients together.  “Even a Bronzebeard dwarf couldn’t work under this pressure!” he said out loud.

“A dwarf wouldn’t have done this in the first place.”  Liam answered.  “Dwarves are noble, brutally honest, and stubborn to a fault.  They are not tormentors.  Save for the Dark Irons, but that is not the discussion we are having right now.”

The alchemist hung his head and given his situation may very well have been praying for a miracle, or a quicker death than he was likely facing.  Taking one slightly larger vial, he mixed the contents of three more in it, capped it and shook it vigorously.  When the purple substance had settled in the vial he looked down at the dog and reached for him to deliver the concoction.

“No.  I will do it,” Liam stepped forward.  “You are still responsible for this, but you have a greater chance of living if Drake sees me before he sees you.”  With that, he took the vial and swallowing all the pain of seeing his friend hanging above the deck, he poured the contents into the dog’s mouth.  Drake’s head fell limp once more and all waited silently.

Nothing.

Liam remained on his knees, holding his friend.  His emotions began to swell once more; sadness, grief, anger, rage.  Revenge.  He set the dog down, sprung to his feet, and turned to face the alchemist again.  “You have failed.  You have lied.”

“N-n-n-no,” he stuttered.  “This is not something that can be fixed in mere minutes!  It will take much longer for the potion to run its course and remove the Paralytic Poison that remains in his bloodstream!  Honest!”

Liam sat in skepticism.  His emotions were swelling and he wanted nothing more than to unleash them upon the man responsible for the current fate of his friend.  He stepped forward when a voice to his right interrupted him.

“Um, beggin’ your pardon…but…well…I think he’s being honest.”

Liam turned towards the voice.  He found a man about the same height as himself.  He had a black ponytail and a sea beard of several months.  Liam cocked his head and stared.  The man, surprisingly, held his footing.

“I saw a thief shiv a powder monkey once and…um…took a day for it to wear off once they settled the poor bastard.”

Liam looked at the man for a moment before turning to the alchemist.  “Fair enough.  You may sit in a cell until this time tomorrow.  Do what you will until that time.”  Two crewmen took the hint and escorted the willing alchemist to a cell.

“Erm…not to push what little luck I might have…”

Liam dropped his head for a second.  “What…?”

The crewman stepped forward a bit at this point.  “Well, um, we’re just wondering what the plan is, captain?”

CAPTAIN?!?!”  Dead or not, seems Liam could not have possibly heard that correctly.

A slow, heavy laughter began to drown out the confusion.  Kheiro was awake.  And surprisingly amused.  That tone of his once again settled Liam, like it seemed to do every time.  “I see much has happened during my slumber.  In the dream and out.”

Liam stopped for a moment and collected himself.  “What do you mean by in your dream Kheiro?  And more importantly, let’s get back to this whole CAPTAIN thing!”

The sailor looked at his mates before continuing.  “Well, sir, there’s a code of the sea, as it were.  You become a captain one of two ways.  The first is kinda obvious.  Sumthin’ happens to the captain and a vote replaces him.  Or…well, someone kills the captain.  Then the wheel is theirs.  I reckon’ you kinda took care of both today, so…”

Liam couldn’t imagine his life after death becoming any more outrageous than this moment.  His rock of a comrade was nearly laughing, his best friend still wasn’t moving, and he appeared to be the captain of a ship.

Posthumous: A Storm On The Sea

Liam let out a gutteral howl of rage and agony.  “YOU BASTARDS!” 

He was seething through his entire core.  The two guards were laughing with sheer enjoyment at the torture the sight of the hanging dog was clearly causing their prisoner.  The one who had yanked his head back to see it in the first place had let go at this point.

“Aww, look.  He’s going to cry.  Oh wait, the dead don’t cry!”  The two laughed even more.  For a split second Liam was a teenager again in Southshore.  It was the same laughter, only this time it was Alistair and his friends.  That’s when it happened.

One of the guards had gotten too close to the cage.  In Liam’s rage his arms shot through the spacings and grabbed the guard by his shirt.  With an unknown strength he yanked the guard back towards him, the wood of the bars splintering in all directions with the force that came through them.  Liam drove his hand through the guard’s eye socket and shot to his feet in the blink of an eye. 

His other tormentor barely had time to stop laughing before Liam leapt at him, knocking him off his feet.  He clawed at the guard’s face relentlessly, ripping the flesh from his face until the man was dead, and even for moments after.  Only when he felt a sword come down across his shoulder did he turn his attention elsewhere.  One of the other guards had come down to put an end to what was going on.  Unfortunately for him, a sword was the last thing that would slow Liam at this point. 

He spun around, grabbing the man by the wrist and with a swift yank to get the rapier, discloated the man’s shoulder.  As he howled in pain, Liam turned the sword and drove it through the man’s neck.  He dropped to his knees, his good hand trying to hold himself up on Liam’s chest as he fell. 

The other guard had been much wiser.  He had run into Captain Grillsen’s quarters.  The two came out, with the captain pistol in hand.  Liam stood, arms wide, beckoning for the pirates to come at him. 

“I will send you both to hell for what you’ve done.  Not even the Dark Lady herself will be able to bring you back.”

“Blah, blah, blah” Grillsen mocked.  And then he fired the pistol.  Liam winced as the shot tore through his collarbone.  But he stood his ground, much to the surprise of the captain.  Two more rounds came as Liam stepped forward, the second one catching him in the jaw.  Still he would not relent.  With a shocked crewman beside him, the captain fired three more as Liam angrily stalked them both.  Even in his rage, Liam could count.  Grillsen was holding a revolver.  Six rounds had hit him.  Six rounds had burned him.  Six rounds hadn’t stopped him.

Grillsen cowardly tried to shove the crewman at Liam, but he just grabbed the man by his collar and threw him across the deck before continuing towards his goal.  The captain had meant to use the instance to run back to his cabin.  Liam wasn’t letting that happen and had caught Grillsen by the hair before he was even halfway up the stairs. 

There was no smirk this time.  No bravado or swagger.  The arrogance fell as the urine down the captain’s trousers.  Liam savoured the moment.  The captain pleaded for mercy and Liam just stared him down.  He wanted Grillsen to truly feel fear.  To suffer.  To know agonizing defeat as his very essence was taken from him.  So first, Liam broke his wrists. 

The captain wailed as other crewmen came upon the deck from the cabins below.  As Liam dug his nails through Grillsen’s shirt and down his chest, they seemed to have no idea what to do.  They weren’t expecting the sights they saw on the deck.  Even the Orc had woken by this point, but Liam could have cared less if his audience was the size of Stormwind.  He meant to backhand Grillsen to make him suffer more.  Instead he knocked half his teeth out and turned his head halfway around in the process.  The captain went limp and fell to the deck.  With the crew and orc watching, Liam dropped to his knees. 

He felt it stir within him.  A compulsion.  A desire.  It must be done.  And so, Liam pulled up the captain’s corpse, and began eating his flesh.  The blood was still warm as it poured down his face.  He had never eaten anything so exquisite.  His body sang out with approval and ecstasy.  The crewmen either ran below, or were vomiting.  Even the orc had turned his head at this point.

When he finished his meal, he was calmer.  Clear headed.  He had no remorse for what he had done on the deck.  But he wasn’t finished.  Grabbing the keyring from the smug bastard he had pulled through the cage, Liam freed the Orc.  He was saying something in Common, but Liam didn’t care.  He stormed down the stairs where the crewmen were waiting for him.  They were sword in hand, but the fear permiated from them in a beautiful scent.

“Listen closely.  I will not repeat myself.  Those of you who want to die, step forward.  Those who don’t need to do but three things.  Bring me the alchemist and the Tauren.  And UNTIE THAT DOG NOW!!!”

Posthumous: Rough Waters

For the first time since he awoke dead, Liam was cursing.  Pretty much every word he learned, and even a few he seemed to be making up on the spot.  Not that anyone was listening to him. 

It had been three days since the pirates had captured them on the path to Booty Bay.  Three days since Liam got caught.  By a net, no less.  As the rain came down upon his cage Liam didn’t feel it, but he knew shame just the same.  Liam looked up at the grey clouds and wondered how he had gotten to this moment.  He had died, the circumstances of which he still had no knowledge of.  He came back, and surprisingly found Drake waiting for him.  They met Kheiro, and by met the Tauren literally saved their life as it were.  But what was the point?   To suffer? 

Looking around, he took in inventory of his surroundings.  Not much had changed from the last time.  An Orc passed out in a nearby cage, two guards holding them, two more at the top of the stairs, and Grillsen’s door was still closed.  The smug captain was so proud of himself that Liam wanted nothing more than to put an arrow up through his jawbone and watch it come out the top of his head.

“A Tauren and an undead.  Should make for a sizeable coin purse.”  Yeah, he was all smiles when the three of them were caught.  When Drake bit one of the pirates through the net Grillsen realized he had more than a simple mutt in front of him…though where the dog was now, Liam couldn’t say.  He had no idea where Kheiro was.  Actually, he didn’t even know where he was.  Somewhere on the ocean. 

Two days earlier he remembered seeing a small port from far away as the ship set sail and headed north.  Did someone mutter something about Bay?  Booty Bay, what was supposed to be the original destination of he and Kheiro?  It wasn’t as though Liam could even fathom what the place looked like or how to find it now anyway.  He could get close, since he was always pretty good with directions once he had been somewhere.

But now he was nothing more than a prisoner.  He had no idea if the friends he had in this after life were even with him anymore, though he had a strange feeling Drake was still nearby.  There was no way of knowing with Kheiro, though.  Liam saw the efforts made to keep him and the Orc captive, he imagined they’d have a setup tenfold for his Tauren friend. 

“I don’t suppose I get to know where we’re going yet?” Liam wondered aloud to the guards.

“What it matter to ya?  It’ll be there’n we get there.”  Friendly as ever, that one. 

“He’s still drying out from last night, don’t mind him.”  The other guard had a calm voice about him.  Not like Kheiro, but certainly not the kind befitting of the rest of the lot he’d seen.  “The rain here on deck doesn’t help things either.  But since we’re going to be a while yet, we’re crossing The Great Sea.”

Liam couldn’t help but shake his head.  The last time he’d been in waters connected to the Sea, and on a boat, was coming from Menethil Harbor with the dwarf.  Only this time, there was no land in sight.  “Could I ask one more question of you?”

“I’m in a good mood, why not.  What else would you have me answer, dead man?”  Now he fit in.  He had that same smirk Grillsen had.  Liam had to keep his emotions in check ever so slightly.

“I just wondered if you might tell me where my friends are.”  Liam spat as the ran came down harder.  “I’ve not heard them or mention of them since we left.”

The guard smiled at his partner.  “That big fellow, the Tauren.  He’s passed out down below.  Handy having an alchemist in the ranks to keep him that way.”

Liam looked away in disgust.  The mighty Kheiro, bested by a simple liquid.  Then again, at least he was alive.  Why was a completely different question.

“Aren’t you going to ask me about that hound of yours?”  Liam really didn’t like the tone he got from the guard.

“G’on.  Ask’m.”  The hung over one was grinning widely now and if Liam’s stomach could turn, it probably would.  He looked away from the two of them, more comfortable with the unknown than whatever they were suggesting.  

A hand reached through the cage and grabbed Liam by his hair, snapping his head back.  The rain came pouring down on his face.  “Look you undead son of a bitch.  Open your eyes and see for yourself where that filthy dog is.”

Liam’s eyes were open, but the rain was pouring in.  Slowly he focused through the rain.  Through the bars of the cage.  It still took a moment to see.  Halfway up one of the sails, on an outstretched beam.  Hanging from the beam was his truest friend in the world, completely limp.