In the third story, our heroine finds something that could potentially destroy Azeroth as we know it.
From the beginning, Hudion had suspected Lady Sylvanas sent him on this task just to get the new recruit out of her way. This new warlock who answered to the odd name of Goody was a pain. Fortunately she did not remember anything of being Scourge, but less than fortunately, she did not remember much else, either. Hudion wished he knew what he had done to be saddled with this addlepated warlock. Had he offended the Dark Lady?
Hudion sighed as he stood guard, holding the reins of two undead horses. His companion rummaged beneath a bush, plucking fully-bloomed flowers from a fadeleaf plant. Carefully she tucked each flower into a large bag slung over her shoulder.
“Goody,” Hudion said, eying the bulging bag, “I think you have enough flowers now.”
The warlock patted the sides of the bag. She raised her empty yellow eyes to his. “My bag is full, isn’t it? Do we go back to the Undercity now?”
Hudion handed her the reins of one horse. “Soon. We can take a break first. We have been picking flowers for the past two days.”
“The Dark Lady said to get flowers, and we got flowers.” Goody swung into her saddle, her undead bones creaking audibly. “We did good, right?”
She smiled, her eyes remaining empty. “I hope the Dark Lady will be pleased.”
“Hard to say. But we did as she asked, and your herbalism has improved greatly.” Hudion mounted his own horse. “Follow me. I saw a place earlier where we can rest for a bit.”
Hudion kneed his horse around and Goody obediently followed.
“Rest,” she echoed. “I remember. Like sleeping, only with our eyes open. How long will we rest? Can I dig a hole?”
“For a couple hours. Yes, you may dig a hole.”
“I like holes. They’re comfortable. Would you like me to dig you a hole, too?”
Hudion shook his head. Perhaps Lady Sylvanas had sent him here to improve his patience. “No. I have a new book to read. I would prefer to sit up.”
Hudion led them across the flat grass to a spot near the mountains which bordered the Arathi Highlands. They were far enough from Refuge Point that the Alliance would not bother them, and this far east there were no kobolds. They should be fairly safe.
Hudion tied the horses while Goody paced around a tree, searching for just the right spot. Usually this quirk annoyed him, but since they were in no hurry and no immediate danger, Hudion allowed her to poke around for a bit. Besides, at Hammerfall he had traded a rogue for the latest volume in the Steamy Romance series, and he wanted very much to read it. He settled himself against a not uncomfortable rock and began to read.
Finally Goody crouched down and began scraping at the dirt with her gray hands. Slowly she scratched away small rocks and bits of grass, leaving a smooth indentation. Suddenly she straightened up. “Oh no.”
“What is it?”
She pointed. “There’s a thing in my way. I can’t dig it up. Do we have… one of those digging things?” She made motions of holding something in both her hands.
“A shovel,” Hudion said. “We did not bring a shovel.”
“Shovel, ah yes.” Her head crooked sideways, like a dog listening. “What should I do? I can’t make a good hole with this thing in my way.”
“Pick another spot to dig.”
“But I like this spot.”
“You can move over a few feet. Just don’t -.” Hudion glanced at the hole she had begun, and he saw a glimmer. “What is that?”
“It’s a thing that’s in my way.”
Putting his book down, Hudion went to investigate. Goody had uncovered something with a square metal corner. Curious, Hudion began to dig. But the dirt was hard and he hadn’t any fingernails left. “Get my knife from my saddlebags.”
“I have a knife in my pocket.”
“Fine. Use that.”
“To dig? Silly Hudion. Knives aren’t for digging.”
“Pretend you are cutting this thing out of the dirt then. I will get my own knife and help you.”
Together the two undead worked at the buried object, carefully scratching the dirt away to reveal a rectangular box. Hudion lifted it out of the hole and set it on the ground.
“This is like arc – arc – what is that word again? Where you dig things up?”
“Archeology,” Hudion replied as he examined the box.
“I should get a memorandum book and write these words down so I don’t forget.”
“First you must learn to read and write. Wait, I’ve got this.” Hudion prized the box open. Inside was an easily recognizable object.
“It’s a book,” Goody said. “Oh, you like books. What does it say, Hudion?”
“It looks very old.” He brushed dirt off the cover but if anything had been written on it, the letters had long since disappeared. Carefully he opened the book.
Goody moved closer, peeping over Hudion’s arm. “What does it say?”
“Heroes of Azeroth: Vol. II: The Women.”
“Oooh,” Goody cooed. “I know a hero. The Dark Lady is my hero. She saved me from bad things. Does the book tell about her?”
Gently, Hudion turned the pages. His eyes narrowed as he skimmed the table of contents. Then he turned several pages and started reading. His eyes, the same empty yellow as Goody’s, grew large. He skipped forward several pages, reading further on, and his eyes grew even larger.
“Is the Dark Lady’s story in there?” Goody asked again.
Hudion flipped to another section farther in the book and his eyes grew large as a full moon. He gasped and slammed the book shut.
“Well, is it?”
“Is what?” Hudion shook his head as if to clear it. “No, no. The book is too old. It was written before we were undead.”
“Are there other stories? Would you read them to me?”
“No.” Firmly Hudion dropped the book back into the metal box. “There is nothing good in that book. No one should read it.”
“Is that why it was buried?”
“Stories like that could… never mind. I will tell you good stories if you want but you do not need to hear those stories.”
“Is it a bad book?”
Ignoring her question, Hudion curled his fingers in the shape of a ball and pulsed them to call forth fire into his hand. Once a ball of fire had collected, Hudion took aim and flung the fire at the book. Flames danced over the cover and filled the metal box. Yet once the flames had died, the book remained intact.
“What in the name of Nathanos Blightcaller is this?” He tried again, but still the book would not burn. Next he dashed it with water but the book stayed dry.
“What’s the matter with it?”
“It must be enchanted.” Taking his knife, Hudion attempted to cut the vile book, but even that had no effect. Finally in defeat he slammed the box shut. “We must re-bury it. This book must not fall into the wrong hands, or it could change Azeroth as we know it. Help me dig.”
With hands and knives, the two undead dug a very deep hole. Hudion dropped the box into it. Together they filled the hole. Hudion stomped the dirt down and jumped on it several times. Then he sprinkled a few rocks and leaves on top of it to camouflage the signs of digging. “That should do.”
Goody raised one eyebrow. “Is it safe now?”
“That book has lain here for many, many years, untouched. I do not think anyone else will happen across it anytime soon. Now let us go back to resting.”
“Can I dig another hole?”
Hudion sat down and picked up his book. “If you must.” He forced himself to concentrate on the novel while Goody moved a few feet away and began scraping at the earth again. Quickly she whisked away the rocks and sticks, making a long, smooth indention in the dirt. Then she lay down in the hole, flat on her back with her arms folded over her chest.
“Comfortable?” Hudion asked.
For a few moments she was quiet. Then she raised her head. “Hudion?”
He did not look up. “What now?”
“If that book is about women heroes, the Dark Lady’s story should be in it. She is a hero. She rescued me from an evil man. She saved you, too.”
“I told you it is a very old book. The women in that book have long since been forgotten.”
“I wish I could read it.”
“No, you do not. You do not need to hear stories like those. If you want something to do, sort out all those flowers you picked.”
“What kind of stories are they?”
“Goody!” Hudion was exasperated. He slammed his book down on his lap. “Please get some rest and let me read for a bit.”
“Read to me. I like stories.”
“You would not like this one.”
“What is it?”
Hudion picked the book up again. “It is another Steamy Romance novel. You did not like the one I read you before.”
“I don’t understand those stories.”
“So hush and let me read. We have worked hard the past two days collecting flowers, and I would like some time to enjoy my book.”
Goody laid her head down again. For a few minutes she lay still, then Hudion caught a slight movement. He watched from the corner of his eye as Goody rolled to her side and crawled out of the hole. She hitched herself across the dirt, flat on her stomach, toward the spot where they had buried the book.
He said nothing, wondering what she had in mind.
Goody curled herself around the burial spot and gently patted the dirt. “Now, little book,” she said, her raspy voice so soft Hudion could barely hear her. “I’m going to tell you a story about my hero, the Dark Lady, and how she saved me from evil. You’ll like this one. It’s my favorite.”
Muttering under his breath, Hudion turned his attention back to his own book. Some days he almost wished Goody was still a Scourge. The small part of her mind that had survived through her transition to undead was enough to drive him crazy.