The Death of Coalbrow

Cute and Quiet. Makes a lot of hand gestures, a bit like Yoda, but less green.

Topic/Postby Gergel » 10 Dec 2012, 16:29

The Death of Coalbrow

(Please note: I have no intention of actually killing Coalbrow off, now or in the future. This is just a totally fictional piece of... fiction.)

* * *

"I'll have a Sulfuron Slammer!" a customer told the barkeep of the Blue Recluse.

"A bottle of Pinot Noir for me," another requested.

"I'll take a mug of milk!" said a burly dwarf, peering over the counter. There was a moment of silence in the bar. Eyes turned towards the dwarf. The barkeep was speechless.

"I... We..." he stammered.

"Bu-wa-ha-ha-haaaa!" the dwarf guffawed. "Totally gotcha! Ya should see the look on yer face!" He slapped the bar with a hand. "A Stout for me! In fact, make it three!"

And the usual evening life went on in Stormwind.

Until a haggard group of adventurers slowly walked in. They looked as if they had been in a battle, on the losing side. Their armour and clothes were torn, cracked and hastily patched. One was hobbling with a crutch. Another had his arm in a sling. There were scratches on their faces and hands, that looked like they had been healing for a week or two.

"Woah," said the barkeep in a friendly manner. "What happened to you, boys? Been fighting Orcs?"

The apparent leader of the group sat down heavily at an empty table. "Worse."

"Yeah. Much... worse." His comrades also took their seats.

"Ya look like ya need a drink!" said the burly dwarf who had been asking for milk. "Hey, barkeep! A round for these boys. And one for me!"

The adventurers raised their mugs solemnly. The leader waved at the barkeep. "We... were wondering... Is this the bar that Garrshammer Coalbrow used to frequent?"

"One of the bars, anyway," cackled another customer. "He doesn't really leave any bar untouched when he's in town. But yeah, he and his friends seem to hang around here all the time."

The head adventurer nodded gloomily. "Yeah. So we heard. Well. You probably want to raise this toast with us, then."

"Hah! Raising a drink TO Coalbrow and not WITH him is a rare thing!" cackled the dwarf. "What, is it his birthday or somethin'?"

"Oh! I know!" said a middle-aged human sitting in the corner. "He finally found the Deep Gnomes he'd been looking for so long? Have to drink to that!"

The adventurers shook their heads. "No. Not really. It's... Well... More of a... To remember him. He is dead."

"Oh yes! He kept going on about Deep Gnomes. Said he'd try to find them by luring them with my soup!" He didn't really appear to be listening.

But the rest of the bar had gone silent. "Dead?" said the barkeep.

"We were there. It was a hero's death."

The barkeep repeated: "Dead?!" He looked like he had been hit with a hammer. The man's eyes moved from one adventurer to another as if hoping that it was all a big joke, trying to catch the party winking to one another and getting ready to yell a big "gotcha!".

There was no "gotcha!". The adventurers looked down into their mugs gloomily.

"No. This cannot be!" mumbled the barkeep. He covered his face with his huge palms. The man's body slumped, wracked sobs came from behind the cover of his hands. The customers looked at him with sympathy. He must have been Coalbrow's close personal friend.

"NOOOO!!! MY PROFITS!!!" the barkeep cried aloud and started to cry inconsolably.

The story unfurled, once people had calmed down and the adventuring party had had a few drinks.
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Topic/Postby Gergel » 10 Dec 2012, 16:30

Part 2

The group was exploring the north-western parts of Storm Peaks in Northrend. After the evils in both Ulduar and Icecrown had been vanquished a few years back, the area was quite safe, and also full of hidden treasure. The few angry bears or a stray zombie were no match for the adventurers whose skills had been tempered by the fires of Deathwing and waters of Pandaria.

After a few days of easy adventuring they came across a solitary dwarf. He and his nether dragon were flitting back and forth between Storm Peaks' rocks and cliffs, and they heard him long before they saw him as his cheerful yells of "HERB!!!" were echoing in the mountains. Garrshammer Coalbrow, as he introduced himself, quickly hooked up with the group. His healing spells came in handy occasionally, and his shadow spells complemented the melee-heavy band nicely.

A few days passed. They mined ore, gathered skins, picked herbs ("HERB!!!"), traversed deep caves and looted treasure which was being guarded by iron dwarves, ice elementals, giant bunny-rabbits and walking undead skeletons. One chest even had the undead skeleton of a giant bunny-rabbit as its guardian. This was a little bit awkward, especially when it summoned an additional swarm of undead skeletons of ordinary-size bunny-rabbits.

Everything went wrong on the day when they caught an iron dwarf that was fleeing in terror. It completely ignored the adventurers and attempted to simply rush through the group even as they wrestled it down. The only few comprehensible bits of information that could be gained from the rambling creature were "beer" and "elemental".

Intrigued, the party moved on, tracking the iron dwarf's escape trail. After an hour they heard sounds of battle. A half-hour later the source of these sounds became apparent. A massive elemental creature was laying waste to a rapidly dwindling group of iron dwarves. The dwarves had apparently summoned the elemental into the world, but were uttely unable to control it. History repeating itself, very obviously.

There was an overbearing stench of alcohol in the air. As an iron dwarf corpse landed next to them, it became obvious to the adventuring party where the smell came from. The dwarf was drenched from head to foot in various kinds of alcoholic beverages. Coalbrow's sensitive nose immediately picked out a combination of wine, stout and hard spirits. The being before them was an alcohol elemental!

("An alemental? Oh, I've seen those in Pandaria!" someone among the bar crowd said dismissively. No. This was not one of these cute fizzy squeaky-voiced native spirits. Imagine an elemental lord -- Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Neptulon. The alcohol elemental was only slightly smaller, made entirely of whirring multicolored fluids, liquid arms as big as tree trunks, two brightly shining brownish-yellow orbs for eyes. It killed iron dwarves with mere touch.)

Unwilling to engage the creature without a solid reason ("But-but-but it be LIVING BOOZE!" coming from Coalbrow was not considered a particularily solid reason by the rest of the group) they hid at the edge of the battlefield and watched the iron dwarf army getting obliterated. A mere quarter of an hour later the booze elemental was the only living thing left.

Then it turned. And bore down on the adventurers. It had been aware of them for some time, apparently, but only now deemed them worthy of its attention. Escape was not an option, so the group engaged.

The fight went fairly well in the beginning. Compared to the iron dwarves, these adventurers were of much sturdier stock and held their own. Coalbrow even took the time to take a drink out of the being every now and then. Unfortunately their blades, hammers and spells seemed to have negligible effect on the elemental, so one of them came up with a great idea -- it's booze, therefore it should be flammable. So he lit a torch and tossed it at the elemental.

That did not turn out very well. Whatever mystical force was replenishing the creature's alcoholic form as it was being hacked and blasted off by the fighters was apparently also strong enough to counter the loss from burning. And instead of taking blows from massive arms made from alcohol, they now had to take blows from massive arms made from alcohol that were ON FIRE!

Under the relentless barrage of slicing streams of near-solid alcohol, massive waves of dark ale and blows from flaming fists the adventurers were forced to start falling back. Step by step the creature herded them closer to a massive cliff face which rose straight up from the ground. On their side was a sheer drop into deep abyss with the ocean somewhere far at the bottom.

"It be booze, mon!" yelled Coalbrow then. "Ah will not be beaten by booze! Ah will NOT BE BEATEN BY MERE BOOZE!"

"Ah know its weak spot!" The dwarf pushed aside his well-armoured companions and with what sounded like a string of curses in Dark Iron Dwarvish and also Trollish, ran up to the alcohol elemental.

The others tried to grab him but the little booze-slick dwarf evaded their grasp easily. "Run away!" Coalbrow yelled back at them. "Dis not gonna end well if ya stay too close!"

Then at the elemental: "Ya big overgrown puddle o' moonberry juice! C'mon! Show me wot ya got! Ah gonna drink ya up, ya hear me, mon! Eat me! Eat me, eatme, EATME!"

And, to the horror of his companions, it did. A flaming fist came down right on top of Coalbrow, immersed him entirely and lifted the tiny body up to the booze elemental's piercing eyes. Coalbrow made a rude gesture and made gulping motions -- apparently drinking the arm which was restraining him.

The glowing eyes flashed bright. There was nothing the others could do to stop the elemental pulling the dwarf into the bulk of its body, to drown in alcohol.

("Wot a way to go!" said a dwarf among the listeners. "This is the way every dorf's life should end! Drowned in a vortex of living booze!")

Except there was a sudden flash of yellow light in the middle of the swirling booze. Coalbrow's body was surrounded by a bubble of air as alcohol was pushed aside by a Power Word: Shield. He cast another spell. A cloud gathered around his feet from his levitation magic, it solidified in a fraction of a second and then pushed him upwards with great force.

The dwarf's surge through living liquid stopped only when he had reached the very top, right between the two glowing eyes. Grinning victoriously, he reached out his hands and grabbed these orbs.

And he drank them both.

The alcohol elemental thrashed back and forth. Its fabric de-stabilized. Big chunks of various kinds of booze splattered everywhere. Coalbrow gestured frantically, still surrounded by heaving alcohol. "RUN! RUN AWAY!" he mouthed. And the surviving adventurers could do nothing but turn and flee.

A massive rumble made them turn around and watch the death throes of a mighty alcohol elemental. It shrank briefly into a blob of liquid, then expanded violently, and exploded in a final huge blast of booze. Rock underneath it cracked and the elemental, Coalbrow and most of the stony platform were lost into the depths of the precipice near which they had been fighting.

* * *


"And that was it. The booze explosion tossed us all over the place and it took us a while to recover enough to make it back to civilization. We looked for Coalbrow's body but... well, with that kind of a cataclysmic blast... there was no trace of him after the rocks stopped falling."

* * *


There was a lovely quiet funeral ceremony in the Stormwind cemetery for Coalbrow. There was no body to bury, but Rhyme and Punishment guild erected a memorial stone in the shape of an ale mug. Father Stoneage said a prayer to the Light. Tormeron rambled something about Pygmy Orcs and ordered Toot to go jump in the nearby lake to see if there were any of those in it, but people just tuned him out. Gathered around the gravestone, they took a commemorative drink and poured a flaming Sulfuron Slammer in front of it. Then the group, which included the barkeep of the Blue Recluse, moved to the bar and spent the rest of the evening drinking. Also, Tormeron offered soup to everyone. At this, people kept looking around, hoping for Coalbrow's ghost to pop out of nowhere with a "Don'. Eat. De. Soup!" wail. But there was no ghost. They did not eat the soup, anyway.
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Topic/Postby Gergel » 10 Dec 2012, 16:30

Part 3

Time passed. Lives went on. There were still toasts to Coalbrow in the Stormwind pubs. In the Blue Recluse these were always accompanied by the barkeep's deep sighs.

It was a rather unpleasant evening. A stormwind was upon Stormwind. Lightning flashed in the sky, rain poured in a torrent the likes of which were usually only seen in the jungles of Stranglethorn or the forests of Feralas. Everyone with any sense in them was huddled up in a bar, pub or tavern. Even cutthroats steered clear of the overflowing streets.

The heavy steps at the door of the Blue Recluse came as somewhat of a surprise. Was some poor sober bastard really braving the weather to make a late entry among the crowd of drinkers?

Clad from head to toe in what at first glance looked like massive saronite war plate, the newcomer stepped into the light. His armour covered him entirely, only cold twin orange flames could be seen from the eye holes of his helm.

A Death Knight? Not an unusual sight in and of itself. A few years back quite a few of them had emerged from the Plaguelands and lent their strength to Alliance and Horde in their battle against Arthas, the Lich King. But since Arthas had been defeated, no new Death Knights had arisen. There were rumours that the Dark Lady of the Forsaken had been trying to duplicate Arthas' achievement, but she had been utterly unsuccessful.

Therefore this unfamiliar Death Knight was a surprising sight.

Rainwater dripped from his armour. Droplets gathered on top of the metal spikes that adorned it and splattered on the pool at his feet.

The figure picked a heavy metal staff from his back. A staff? Yet another curiosity: Death Knights wielded swords or axes, none had been seen with a staff before. It was covered in runes and at its top was a huge amber gem. The figure raised it a little, then brought the bottom end of the staff down on the floor with a dull thump. Immediately all water on his body jumped outward and splattered on the floor, leaving him completely dry. For some reason there was a rather strong smell of alcohol in the air around him, although few noticed it because of the rather strong smell of alcohol all around the pub.

That was even more unusual. All eyes turned towards the newcomer.

"Oh, hello Coalbrow!" said a voice in the corner. "Did you find the flying murlocs?"

People rolled their eyes.

"No, Tormeron," the Death Knight said in an echoing voice from beyond the grave. "But ah did find an Elder God."

He reattached his staff to the holder on his back and lifted his heavy helm off his head.

It was definitely Coalbrow. But not the jolly living Coalbrow everyone knew and remembered. His face was ashen gray, his beard and hair had gone from bright orange to black as coal. And his eyes glowed brownish-yellow.

"Ah need a drink." The dwarf stepped towards the bar. Poor Blue Recluse barkeep seemed unable to move -- he just stood and stared. Those glowing eyes stopped on him briefly, then Coalbrow reached out his arm and a bottle of Sulfuron Slammer leaped from a shelf and into his waiting grasp. He dropped a coin on the bar-top. "How ya been, mon?" Coalbrow asked as he sat heavily down at Tormeron's table and poured himself a Slammer.

Then there was quite a lot of noise, people running about, shouting, asking questions, carrying around and consuming alcoholic beverages.

"So," said Tormeron completely unfazed by the commotion. "Death Knight?"

"Not quite. Booze Knight."

Tormeron rolled his eyes. "And people call ME crazy."

Coalbrow lifted a finger. All of the ale in Tormeron's mug rose out of the container but still retained the mug's shape. A moment later it gently lowered itself back into the mug.

"Booze Knight, eh? Still not the weirdest thing I've seen. This one time I saw a dwarf that spoke like a troll..."

At this point the commotion reached their table and there were quite a few questions (and even more drinks).
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Topic/Postby Gergel » 10 Dec 2012, 16:31

Part 4

L'ykr slumbered deep, deep under the massive mountains of Storm Peaks. It had been asleep for aeons, long since before mortal races roamed the world above.

It was a peaceful being, comparatively, for an Old God. L'ykr did not touch mortals' dreams. It did not whisper into their ears, despite what some might claim. It did not crave worship and even though countless mortals devoted their lives to L'ykr, they did so unknowingly.

L'ykr dreamed.

Its mind was stretched out into a countless myriad of tiny little fragments. Each was bound to a minuscule section of the physical plain, each perceived a sliver of the mortal world. And all of these slivers together merged into the consciousness of the Old God L'ykr. It saw mortals' joys, sorrows, births and deaths. Billions of fleeting instances in every passing moment.

Aside from ancient rock around it, nothing physical had come into contact with L'ykr for untold millennia. Its devoted mindless elemental servants floated in complete darkness beside it. They saw little use. Perhaps once in a ten thousand years. There was nothing L'ykr could need from the outside world.

So it was slightly surprising, if such a word could even be used, when one of the servants was forcefully ripped from its cradle and pulled upwards by summoning magic of mere mortals. L'ykr did not concern itself with its fate. Another would manifest momentarily. Assuming one considers a hundred years to be a "moment".

It was slightly more surprising when, through the sliver of consciousness that was the elemental servant, L'ykr saw its destruction and long fall deep, far and back into the Old God's sanctum. Lifeless splatters came to rest near the cradle where it had been idling for a million years or so. There was a most unusual breath of fresh air, an avalanche of very young rocks, and finally a... something... the likes of which had never been seen in the depths of its dwelling.

Such things scurried around only in L'ykr's vision shards. Most were its devotees. L'ykr knew them all. It knew this one, even through its broken and destroyed corporeal form. Its ghost was still clinging to the dead flesh. A speck of consciousness that would soon flicker out like a spark.

The ghost's next action was inconceivable. L'ykr sensed a great flash of joy from it. It released its hold on the lifeless flesh and moved closer to the Old God's perceivable physical presence.

It attempted to drink L'ykr!

For the first time since the first cell of yeast came into existence, L'ykr's consciousness pulled away from its innumerable receptacles and every single of its threads focused on the little ghost. At that instant, for a few moments, everyone in the world was sober. Every flask, glass, cask, bottle, keg of alcohol lost its potency and was as plain as though it were water.

L'ykr inspected the ghost. It sensed the soul's annoyance at being pulled away from the God's form. Its desire to immerse itself in it. Eternally.

How curious. It was the first time ever for it to feel anything other than complete indifference towards mortals. L'ykr's gaze fixated on the soul and through it, the crushed body.

Something as powerful as the full attention of an immeasurably ancient Old God changes its target. Without the God even noticing, an echo of that power lingered in the soul's essence, which stopped its struggles.

Garrshammer Coalbrow looked around with a strangely disjointed sensation. He had just woken up from the most wonderful dream: being in the presence of all the alcohol in the world and almost being close enough to reach out and drink it! He was in complete darkness, and yet he could see. A soft glow flickered everywhere. Its colour would be as impossible to describe to another mortal as "red" to a blind man. In alcoves Coalbrow saw coherent and brighter shapes standing perfectly still. There were large and more irregular splotches of it all over the cavern. And finally a very familiar small dark crumpled shape with the glow covering it entirely.

"Dat be mah body." he thought. "Oh. Ah be dead. How sad."

Coalbrow recalled his final actions. "Got keeled by a big giant splorch'o livin' booze. Eh, dere be worse ways ta go."

This memory made something go *click* and he recognized the solid glowy shapes standing around the chamber. More of those alcoholine elementals. A lot more. But these did not look like they intended to attack.

The dwarf's soul moved closer to his corpse. Coalbrow knocked on his own head, or tried to, since his incorporeal knuckle just went right through it. "'Ey! Lemme back in!"

A single tendril of L'ykr's consciousness gazed at him from behind. The rest of the Old God's mind had already returned to its customary spread-out state. Alcohol had potency again and drinkers were drunk once more. Still, that oddity of a mortal would perhaps bear another moment's attention. The tendril poked Coalbrow's soul in the back.

For Garrshammer Coalbrow, it was a moment of disorientation and then there were quite a lot more moments of unbelievably excruciating pain. He was back in his body. Sadly said body was still as crushed and broken as before. Almost instinctively he reached his hand out (*crack* *crunch*) towards the nearest alcoholine servant. He did not even feel any surprise over the agony when the towering creature moved from its alcove and picked his body up from the ground.

The pain had been terrible before. At this point it rose to almost mind-breaking levels. Alcohol permeated Coalbrow's body and very being, flowed in through wounds, along veins, around broken and crushed bones, and then moved everything with irresistible force. Fragments of bone reassembled into their correct shapes. Ripped and crushed muscles assumed their proper configurations. Frayed nerve endings reconnected. In a moment his entire body was outwardly whole again, but should the alcoholic support around it suddenly vanish, he would literally fall into pieces.

Threads of pure alcohol crawled along his nerves and wound themselves around them. It was an indescribable sensation. But it took the pain away. Coalbrow's mind had survived the ordeal, he was still sane. Although, obviously, not the same. Never quite the same any more.

For a long time he lied perfectly still in his new full-body cast which was holding him together. Would he be stuck like that forever? Immobile, in deepest darkness. No. The unholy power within him healed his body and made him whole again. Not even a scar remained.

Coalbrow sensed L'ykr's presence. During his period of stillness he felt the shape of its mind and body. It never spoke to him, it probably did not even know how. It did give him a tiny bit of attention, which is more than can be said about the rest of the mortals who lived, and had ever lived, all put together. Power and knowledge imprinted on him.

Then came the time when Coalbrow moved. The control he possessed over his ethanol surroundings moved the gigantic alcoholine elemental with him, until it disgorged him with a *sploosh*. Coalbrow took a wobbling step. His bones did not crack and tendons did not let go. The dwarf stretched in darkness.

He would be needing some clothes. His own had been ripped to shreds and long since dissolved away in strong alcohol. Here, in the presence of his... master... he was at his strongest. The cavern itself bent to his will. Black liquid crawled up from the massive lake that was L'ykr. It flowed up his body and covered it entirely. The liquid hardened as it moulded itself into a shape as dictated by his mind's blueprint. When this finished, the dwarf was clad from head to toe in massive spiky plate armour. As an afterthought another spike of Lykrinite shot up and solidified into the shape of a war staff.

It was soothing to be in the presence of what he had privately named the God of Alcohol. He had all the booze he could ever want and an eternal life during which to drink it. Yet Coalbrow felt uneasy. There were still herbs to pick and drinking was more pleasant in the presence of friends.

Besides, someone would have to keep an eye out on Tormeron and make sure he would not get into too much trouble.

So with a sigh, the first, last and the only Booze Knight turned and allowed himself to be picked up by a Servant of L'ykr. Guided by Coalbrow's will, the alcoholine elemental carried him away from his master. In utter darkness they ascended for what felt like days. Until at last there was a speck of light. Taking a final drink from the arm of the Servant, Coalbrow once again stepped out into the world.

* * *


"Sooo..." Tormeron pondered, "Now you want to make us all worship that L'ykr god, right?"

"Dere be no need," Coalbrow responded in a grave voice. He looked at all the alcohol around them and the people holding, drinking and on occasion, regurgitating said alcohol. "Ya all already be doin' dat. Welcome ta de cult, mon."
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Topic/Postby Tormeron » 10 Dec 2012, 18:32

"Oh yes! He kept going on about Deep Gnomes. Said he'd try to find them by luring them with my soup!" He didn't really appear to be listening.

Is that torm?
Loving the story! waiting for part 4!
Lilandris wrote:Liandrix' words not mine, but Tormeron is a god apparently. Probably a bit like Loki.

serendipity wrote:Reason: Potato.

Events stories, Torm's events thread Suggestion box
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Topic/Postby Tormeron » 11 Sep 2014, 09:48

Gergel wrote:(Reserved for part 4)

Seems part 4 shall never come....

oh and i totally necroed this thread!
Lilandris wrote:Liandrix' words not mine, but Tormeron is a god apparently. Probably a bit like Loki.

serendipity wrote:Reason: Potato.

Events stories, Torm's events thread Suggestion box
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Topic/Postby Gergel » 11 Sep 2014, 19:10

To quote Serendipity: "Ohohohohoo".

Thank you for reminding me, Tormeron. When I was first writing this story, I couldn't really get the fourth part going. The few paragraphs I had just weren't working properly and not going along with the idea I had. But now, thanks to your necro, I got a surge of inspiration. So I scrapped everything I already had, started over from scratch, and boom, there it is!
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Topic/Postby Tormeron » 12 Sep 2014, 14:19

That was a great ending!
Lilandris wrote:Liandrix' words not mine, but Tormeron is a god apparently. Probably a bit like Loki.

serendipity wrote:Reason: Potato.

Events stories, Torm's events thread Suggestion box
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