It didn’t take too long after they had left Venomspite before the four adventurers noticed the influence of the fel citadel of Naxxramas effecting the landscape. As Noxt hobbled along with them he explained that in the past this area of land was dedicated to farming resources for the Alliance forward camp in Northrend. It had been plowed and seeded all the way to northern mountains of the Howling Fjord. Small barns and fields of corn and grain had sprung up almost overnight as the indentured serfs of Stormwind brought fertility to the previously barren fields. But then Arthas had turned.
The betrayal of the Arthas spelled doom for the small military force as it was subtly poisoned by the Lich King’s lies and machinations until it became a scourge army. The fields were to summon the same fate as well. The seeds of death were sown into the ground along with the crops and they yielded a terrible poison in their own right. As the army fed on the altered grain they grew sick and eventually perished, adding their numbers to Arthas’ growing forces. Since the last trusted harvest, the fields had sat untouched by the hands of mortal men, slowly falling more and more to the Lich King’s control.
The barns had fallen into disrepair and sat as dilapidated testaments to the Alliance’s defeat at the hands of their fallen leader. The once ploughed fields were either covered in frost and snow or yielded dead looking brier plants, their sharp spines secreting an viscous, milky substance. A constant fog shrouded the land and shapes always seemed to be moving just off to the side of your eyes. All of this under the baleful eye of Naxxramas, which had relocated to the farmed fields after the failed offensive on the mainland. Just the proximity of the fel fortress was enough to begin blocking even the sun’s presence from the fields and further allow the Scourge’s stranglehold on the lands.
“And along the southern side of these cursed lands,” explained Noxt, “We four merry adventurers be. Makes your soul burst with pride, eh, gentlemen?”
The other three threw murderous daggers with their eyes at the chatty mage who seemed to be enjoying the hurried journey a little too much so far. Leaning heavily on his staff in order to overcome the stiffness in his joints inherent with death, the emaciated spellcaster seemed to almost be skipping with glee along the dirt road. He began to croak out a further explanation about how the Forsaken had been able spread a plague among the undead in order to clear the area around Venomspite. Scrat sighed and brought up his cowl in order to protect from the hot, greasy rain that had begun to spatter intermittently among the group, leaving the smell of rotten eggs behind.
Suddenly, he noticed something odd, a further darkening besides what they had grown accustomed too walking along the southern beam fences of the Alliances former farmlands. Scrat stopped for a moment, bringing Dueg to a halt behind him as Noxt continued to natter on to Reyk, who didn’t notice the other two pausing. Dueg frowned, “Let’s get a move on, shaman, you know we can’t camp until we get well clear of these lands.”
Scrat looked back at Dueg behind him, “De sun be settin’, mon. Bad mojo is about.”
“What? How can you even tell, it’s been dark as night since we enter-” Dueg stopped suddenly as the giant brier patch on the opposite side of the fence began to gently vibrate, making a clicking noise into the blowing wind. Reyk and Noxt stopped, seeming surprised to have been separated from the other two companions and then looking out onto the field as another section of the briar patch began to vibrate as well. One by one, small sections of brier began to rattle in the stirring breeze as the whole patch suddenly seemed to shaking, the very ground below four starting to shake.
Scrat and Dueg began moving back towards their companions, beginning to feel the idea of being separated may not be a sound one as the rattling began to intensify in sound and force. Reyk drew his sword from his scabbard as Noxt suddenly straightened himself up and raised his arm, waving arcane runes into the air. As the ground around Reyk flared with light the fence between the two groups burst outward in an explosion of fury and limbs as two gigantic undead spiders burst from the Brier. They quickly turned from each other, raising up on their back legs and presenting only furiously moving forelegs and venom dripping fangs.
The first spider lunged at Reyk and met with a thrusting shield, slightly splintering off the end of one of it’s fangs as it tried to tear at his armor with it’s razor sharp forelegs. Unfortunately, Reyk couldn’t find any weak spots presented, instead striking at the base of one of the legs and meeting with only a nick on it’s hard exoskeleton. Noxt began to circle around behind Reyk to get a clear shot at their arachnid attacker, not wanting to hit Reyk. On the opposite side, Scrat quickly moved forward to engage the spider as Dueg summoned forth a divine shield to block the poisonous fangs of the spider. Scrat shot forward as legs and fangs furiously stabbed at the bubble of hardened light, his mace landing with a crunching thud against the right half of the monster’s face. It reared back, letting out a loud hiss as it’s ruined fang and pedipalp now hung uselessly from it’s face.
Wrath of light, smite my foes with your fury! Dueg shot his hand forward, focusing the power of the light into a ball of pure energy and channeling it into the retreating spider. The light exploded against the creature’s abdomen, causing two of it’s legs to collapse and a burning, cracked carapace along the left flank of it’s abdomen. The monstrous spider turned, trying to scurry back into the briar as quickly as it’s six legs would allow. Spirits of lightnin’, be givin’ me yer aid! Scrat fired a ball of pure electricity at the creature, watching in satisfaction as the already weakened exoskeleton cracked and burst under the strain and the animal fell dead, half it’s ograns exposed and bleeding. Dueg looked up from the mess in time to see the other spider explode in a roar of flames as Noxt was finally able to get a clear shot.
The four quickly reconvened, and began to move quickly, the base of the mountains coming just in sight before the fog began to thicken with the onset of night. Though the sun had been all but completely blocked out by the dark clouds streaming constantly from Naxxramas, the white moon was surprisingly obvious through them. As it began to rise, it’s cold light seemed to center on the group, making them a beacon moving along the south of the Scourge’s lands. The four began to almost run, knowing that soon they would be beset by the locals and what that might entail and for once, Noxt was silent.
After about twenty minutes they saw what appeared to be a giant fallen tree crossing a chasm. The tree had long allow been hollowed out, leaving behind a usable natural bridge. As the four began to move with even more vigor, realizing this was the natural bridge into the Grizzly Hills, they saw two massive shapes move to block their exit. The four slowed slightly, unsure of their next step until they heard a strange howling begin to come up behind them. The sounds of hunting dogs or wolves beginning to take to trail. Reyk looked at the other three and nodded as they turned and determinedly made their way to the bridge.
The two shapes resolved themselves into two gigantic stitched abominations. One had two long half rotten tentacles hanging from it’s right side and a huge, misshapen arm ending in a razor’s edge. Upon the bloated, muscular body sat a surprisingly normal looking head, it’s beady eyes looking down at the four. To it’s left sat a similarly sized abomination, except this one had two huge arms and a third one placed where it’s head should be. While it’s two main arms held no weapons, the one where it’s head should be had a small steam run device which whirred a wicked logging blade.
The one with the head began to speak, “Eh, now, wot’s all dis den? Yous for is s’posed t’be back there get’n ground up n’ cawt now in’t ya?”
The group looked at each other, perplexed for the moment until Noxt stopped forward, “We’re, uhm… we’re not sure what you mean.”
Small Head looked perplexed for a moment, “Master says yous for on loos, that yous is for da chop. We’s s’posed ta make shor you don’ leaf.” The whirring arm head of his companion nodded up and down a couple of times in agreement.
Noxt looked back at the other three and grinned then turned around, “Oh, well, if that’s the case, I guess we’ll just have to go back and get chopped. Are they the ones making all the howling?”
Small Head nodded, “Ya, that the-” Suddenly it’s head erupted into flames as Noxt thrust his hand forward, calling upon fire’s blessing. Arm Head suddenly went berserk, the whirring circular saw kicking into high gear and letting out a piercing shriek as it shook back forth in front the bridge, slicing into it’s companion’s abdomen and spilling it’s stolen guts onto the ground. The hing stepped back in confusion as it heard small head’s painful screams die away. The four companions seized their chance as Noxt waved them forward and dashed past the whirring behemoth. As the thing heard their boots begin to plunk against the wood it turned it’s deadly blade slicing down and splintering and chopping the wood, desperately trying to find one of them.
Dueg was the first to feel the shifting as the all out full out ran across the ancient span. The humongous thing was trying to follow them and it’s massive weight mixed with desperate cuts is making into the long dead trunk was causing it to splinter and crack further. Dueg could see that they weren’t going to make it though the all were putting on extra bursts of speed to try and beat out the inevitable. However, it was too late. Slowly, inexorably, the dead tree splintered and cracked and began to fall into the chasm stretch out below them. Dueg had only a second to yell out a warning before the wood disappeared out from under him and all four of the companions entered free fall.