BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “The Uber-Drecche of Forlattheim” by E.J. Tett
Dust drifted down from the roof of his workshop and he breathed it in, coughing and clutching a hand to his chest at the pain. He could smell smoke and wondered how much of Forlattheim was still ablaze. He coughed again and tried to move but the pain shot through his body and stopped him dead.
Not quite dead, Tharoon thought, smiling grimly. He looked around his destroyed workshop, his eyes roving over the broken bottles and boxes and orbs, until they settled on a crystal amulet fallen beside an upturned work bench.
His people had scorned him for his work, called him a fool and a menace. They had forced him to the outskirts of their coastal settlement, a place in southern Ragnaros, and would have pushed him farther had they been braver.
When the drecche came, they attacked his workshop first. Tharoon fought back, with magic at first, and then with his fists until he was overwhelmed and beaten down. The drecche ransacked his workshop, but the creatures were too stupid to take anything of real value.
And then he lay, listening as the drecche moved on, slaughtering his fellow dwarves and drowning them with their sheer weight in numbers. Tharoon wondered which greater fiend had sent them, wondered and then decided he didn’t care and that if he survived, vowed he’d get his revenge. Revenge not for his fellows, but for himself, his workshop and his years of work now destroyed.
* * *
There was a hole in the roof and a shaft of sunlight cut through the dust, catching the crystal edges of the amulet on the floor and making it sparkle.
Move. Tharoon tried to command his limbs but they felt too heavy, too tired, and he could barely ease himself into a more comfortable position, let alone heft his weight to stand. He gazed at the amulet, licked his dry lips, and told himself that if he didn’t move, he’d die.
Something stirred by the open door. Tharoon craned his neck to see what it was. Dwarf or drecche? Or something else?
A foul smell drifted to his nostrils and stung the back of his throat, causing him to cough again, and he knew then that the drecche were back. He sat a little straighter and saw the creature at his door, its huge, slug-like body pumping a hideous smelling gas into his workshop. It was alone and Tharoon laughed.
“Here!” he called. His voice croaked out and he growled in annoyance at how weak he sounded. He took a breath and called again, louder, “Here!”
The drecche turned its fleshy head, its dark, beady eyes seeking him out. It came towards him, its arms starting to protrude from its body to reach for him and finish him off.
“Wait,” he growled. “Don’t you know who I am? I am Harmr’Tharoon, the greatest dwarven sage of our time. If you spare me, help me, I can give you power beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.”
Tharoon watched as the drecche stopped. He saw its greedy little eyes light up and he barely managed to suppress his grin. “You don’t believe me?” he asked. “Then pick up the amulet by your side – yes, that’s it – and bring it to me.”
Thick arms emerged once more from the creature’s slug-like body as it took up the crystal amulet in its hooked claws and raised the object up to inspect. Its eyes blinked, the lips drew back, revealing needle sharp teeth. The creature placed the amulet in its mouth, biting down as if testing it.
Tharoon’s heart beat painfully in his chest. His time was running out and if this stupid creature ate the amulet…
“Bring it to me,” he said. “I will share its power with you.”
The drecche moved toward him, its body rasping across the dry floor. It bared its needle-teeth and held out the amulet.
“Good,” Tharoon said. “A little closer. Good…” He grasped the crystal and looked into the drecche’s eyes. The creature wasn’t going to let go.
Tharoon laughed. “Yes!” he hissed as the amulet activated, glowing with power between them. He could feel his life force being sucked from his dying body and flowing into the drecche. Looking at the drecche, he knew the creature could feel it too.
“Prepare yourself for real power, simple creature,” Tharoon said.
For a moment he felt dizzy, confused. His vision blurred, doubled, and then cleared and he saw out of the eyes of the drecche. The body of the dwarf, his old body, began to desiccate in front of him until nothing but a pile of ash remained.
Tharoon lowered his arms and dropped the amulet to the floor. He felt different and yet strangely familiar. Looking down at his body he saw that although he had become the drecche, he was so much more than that. He was the Uber-Drecche, half dwarf, half drecche.
He wouldn’t mourn his old body. He was alive and free to do whatever he wished. Turning toward the door, he laughed loudly, his lungs pain-free and clear of smoke and dust. As he stepped outside he saw the chaos that had come to the dwarven settlement. Bodies, both drecche and dwarf, littered the ground. Smoke rose from dying fires into the air.
He would rebuild Forlattheim and make it his own. With the drecche onside, he could do anything.
Tharoon smiled and turned away. “Time,” he said, “to make my army.”
BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “The Uber-Drecche of Forlattheim”, written by E.J. Tett, published by XEI is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.