This one is fiction. Enjoy.
Northrend was cold.
It was always cold. Even Sholazar Basin, about as tropical as Northrend could get, was considered awfully chilly by the majority of Azeroth’s inhabitants. Most of Azeroth was warm, both in temperate and attitude. Sure, there was war, but you can’t spell warmth without war.
There was nothing warm about Northrend. It was a cold land for cold peoples. The continent held nothing soft, nothing gentle. No such thing as love here at the roof of the world, merely death at the edge of a sword or spell. Even the lowliest of earthworms carried a poison capable of killing in minutes.
Which was just fine, in the opinion of Turmja. The massive troll crouched behind a felled tree, expertly using the scattered branches and his own cloak to obscure his presence. He crouched there, invisible to all but the keenest of watchers, snow gently settling over his unmoving form. He crouched there, in the heart of the Dragonblight wastelands, completely still for hours.
He was a hunter, in the purest form. He lived for the hunt, reveled in the kill, took pride in the spoils. He had long since abandoned things like laws, rules and morality, choosing instead to live by his own wits in the wildest parts of this planet, and any other planets mages and warlocks decided to visit on a whim.
Some called him a mercenary, which is true in a sense. He would do any sort of task for gold, or whatever currency his employer decided to use, but he wasn’t just a mercenary. Being a mercenary was a career, a job, where one worked for a paycheck. Turmja did not do that. To him, it wasn’t a job, it was a way of life. He was a hunter, and so he hunted. If someone just so happened to pay him to hunt something specific, this was merely pleasant coincidence.
Some called him a psychopath, which is true in a sense. He did, after all, enjoy killing. Enjoyed it immensely. But who is the real psychopath here? The killer who embraces what he is, or the people paying the killer and lying to themselves about their own innocence? Or even worse, those who killed in the name of all that was right and just in the world?
Killing is killing, anything else tacked onto that is a lie.
And so here he was. At the behest of the Horde, he was here to execute a traitor. A young elven magister had defected to… some other faction; the specifics were irrelevant. He would hunt his target, kill his target, collect the bounty, and that would be that. Details are frivolous. Names, motives, these things were irrelevant knowledge.
He knew his target in the way only a hunter could: through the senses of a beast in addition to his own.
When given a target, most assassins come to know their target. They know their name, their routine, their clothes, their face, their friends.
But a hunter?
A hunter can taste their prey; they know their smell, they know the sound their breath makes , the distinct thumping noise of their hearts beating in fear.
A true hunter is not just a person and his pet. A true hunter is a single entity, a single soul, that inhabits two bodies simultaneously. Scholars of the world had tried to give this phenomenon a name, most had agreed to call it a “spirit bond”. But it was so much more than that. Much more.
When one sees a true hunter, they are not seeing a skilled bowman and his loyal dog. What they are seeing is two halves of the same terrifying beast.
And so half of Turmja crouched behind a tree, while his other half stalked the limitless tundra. One half a tall, built troll, an expert marksman and assassin, lying in wait; the other half a thousand pounds of unstoppable muscle and claws.
Not that today’s hunt would require the tiger half of Turmja to do anything. Merely stalk, watch, and guide the killing shot truly.
Turmja’s bow was a magnificent weapon. The bow itself was made of dragon bone, the sinew that made the string taken from the corpse of Onyxia herself. Dragons are notoriously tough creatures, and this holds true for every individual body part. There’s a reason armorsmiths like to use dragon scales and hides for their craft, and it has nothing to do with fashion.
Bows made from dragons do not make noise. They do not creak when pulled taught, they do not break, they work at peak performance at any temperature, in any environment. The only sound they make is the gentle thwish noise of an arrow being loosed. Of course, you could buy soundless arrows and eliminate even that noise.
Even if one didn’t, by the time the prey can hear the arrow, it is already far too late.
Turmja was ready. He had been in firing position for five hours without moving. His bow had been held taught for five hours. The muscles of his arms had been screaming at him for three. He would have snorted in disgust; he was out of practice. DHETA had been a good employer, but they hadn’t given him any challenges. They had him chasing incompetent fools who didn’t even have the decency to try to make a good hunt.
Turmja could not see his target. Yet he knew exactly where it was.
The slightest movement, a single finger moving the barest fraction of an inch, was all the movement necessary to fire.
Turmja could hear the magister speaking. He could smell the perfume of the pretty young elf the magister was speaking with. Turmja could hear her strained laughter, the overly friendly tone in his voice, the quiet desperation in hers. Turmja could hear every footfall, every swish of clothing, even the nearly undetectable small sound of the female elf gently putting her hair behind her ear.
Turmja could hear the flight of the arrow, the delightful music of skin and flesh being torn asunder. He could smell the tangy scent of freshly shed elven blood. Their namesake, so delightfully intertwined with magic. It positively sparkled in his nose. Like fizzy apple cider with a side of iron.
He could hear the desperate choking of the magister as he crashed to the ground, his heart torn to shreds by a fragmentation arrow. He could hear the female elf crying out in fear, hear the patter of her feet as she ran for cover.
Turmja hadn’t planned on killing her, but then again he had expected her to be insipid. Stand there in shock, yes, cry out in fear and try for a fetal position, maybe crouch over her fallen would-be lover and scream, but hide? Survival instincts were rare amongst civilized peoples.
He sank an arrow into the tree she had decided to hide behind. This was, of course, nothing more than an effort to cause her to panic. Flush her out.
Instead, she muttered a curse, took a deep breathe, and began… hmm… seemed to be incanting something related to the primal fire school.
So she intended to fight an opponent she could not see.
Both halves of Turmja smiled. At last, some fun.