“We’ll love you forever if you come to gnomer and help us finish final boss”
“I’ll come if you write me fanfiction :-)”
The Wrath of Ghoul
The time for Thermaplugg to pay was nigh. Ghoul’s hatred for Thermaplugg burned like a hidden coal beneath a spent bonfire. All it needed was a little air to burst back into life, and hearing the whispers from deep in Gnomeregan that all Thermaplugg’s guards had been defeated had just such an effect. He reached out to the minds of the hapless adventurers within, saying “GHOUL IS COMING. YOU SHALL HAVE WHAT YOU SEEK AT MY ARRIVAL” in hopes that he might give them pause, and preserve their lives long enough to be useful in his plan.
Of course Ghoul was not his real name, but names are dangerous things to reveal when dealing with demons and those who summon them. His passage into undeath had provided the perfect cover, cutting off the connections he’d had in life, and corrupting his visage to the point that none who knew him in life would recognize him. He was anonymous now, like the name he used.
Ghoul called forth his dark magic and summoned a flaming dreadsteed to carry him forth to Dun Morogh. He knew of a shorter path, through the use of goblin contraptions, but it was somewhat unreliable and hardly compared to the exhilaration of commanding a dreadsteed. Dun Morogh was a hostile land, but Ghoul had long ago attained a level of such power that he feared nothing. He reveled in his power and superiority over the surrounding lands as he rode.
He arrived at the gates of Gnomeregan, and dismounted. The corrupted city evoked a sense of madness and despair, but only for the living. Ghoul delighted in the sights and sounds of fleeing gnomes, and he silently recited the series of spells he would use to exact maximum punishment on Thermaplugg in his final moments. As he entered, he swatted aside gnome and trogg alike, felling them faster than they could comprehend their own demise. A short walk and he had made it to the city proper. The adventurers had cleared a crude path for him, but there were enough leftovers to keep him entertained as he strode down to the bottom of the city.
He found the adventurers right outside Thermaplugg’s chamber; a foolish three who had imagined themselves as capable as as a whole army, but were woefully unprepared for the final fight. A shaman, a rogue, and a hunter; they would certainly have perished if Ghoul hadn’t intervened. He had a brief unpleasant recollection of himself in a similar situation, long ago, but he shoved the thought aside. He was powerful now. It was Gnomeregan’s turn to fear him.
Together they threw open the door of Thermaplugg’s chamber, and the last remaining guards died in a hail of hellfire, arrows, and slashing blades.
There he stood. Once a beacon of dread and impending doom, Mekgineer Thermaplugg now only invoked hatred and anticipation for Ghoul. Ghoul could wait no longer; he charged forth, and launched a dizzying array of corruption and curses at the mad gnome. The gnome’s mechanical suit charged as well, swinging deadly arms toward Ghoul. In his madness, Thermaplugg could not comprehend that the curses placed upon him had already exceeeded his meager life force, and that his life could now be measured in seconds. A single bomb descended from the chutes (of the hundreds Thermaplugg had prepared) before his suit ground to a halt and exploded, and Thermaplugg gasped his last breath.
Ghoul felt a rush of euphoria in how powerful he had become! But the battle left him feeling… empty? A mad foe who dies without being able to comprehend his own doom… was this supposed to sate Ghoul’s rage? It did not. He turned and strode from the chamber; there was yet another wing of the city to feel his wrath.
Gnomes fell before him, their contraptions decaying and collapsing under his magical corruption. Others burned in piles as his hellfire rained upon them. And yet with every kill, as the gnomes called out curses of the verbal kind, Ghoul realized they could not tell him apart from a lowly trogg. Their deaths were empty meaningless things; in many ways the radiation had already killed them. With disgust, Ghoul strode from the final door back into the tunnels to the surface. He was beginning to crave an enemy that would acknowledge him. A proud enemy, that thought itself above all others.
The thought reverberated through Ghoul’s undead mind. Yes! the pig-men of southern barrens! They thought themselves so mighty after driving out the Tauren years earlier; they march around hiding under the protection of the magic of their pig-god while bragging about how they are the chosen race of Kalimdor. Ghoul would bring their delusions crashing down. Ghoul would teach them to know FEAR again.
But wait, he thought, if I kill them all, who will tell the tale? And then he turned and saw the three adventurers…