A meeting on the road
Bael Modan, Southern Barrens.
Varuul leaned on his staff, resting for a moment from his task. The small bodies piled at his feet and scattered across the small courtyard were the bloody product of his labours. He glanced down at the face of a dwarven rifleman, ruined by a ragged tear and the beard matted with blood, but the eyes peaceful in death where he had seen only battle rage in life. There was an animal roar from behind him, and he spun, calling forth the magic from deep inside the earth even as he saw the berserk dwarf warrior charge, his sword held high and foam flying from his snarling mouth. Time seemed to slow as the magic gained momentum, and he found it strange that he noticed small details of the dwarfs' armour, the metal rivets studding the hardened leather and the cloth pouches that hung from the belt. The dwarf had run barely two steps when Varuul finished his casting. The world seemed to rush forward to meet him as a crackling ball of energy left his hands and slammed into the charging warrior, sending it spinning sideways, its chest torn apart and its sword falling from numb fingers. Varuul lowered his hands, green sparks still leaping between his fingers, and gave silent thanks to the Earth Mother for lending him her power. The dwarf lay dead, its spirit returned to nature before it came to rest next to the corpse of one of its kin.
Striding over, Varuul quickly searched the body of his latest fallen foe, and found that it carried the final component that he required. The dwarves would pay for defiling this sacred ground with their digging.
. . .
Varuul traveled south, returning to Bael Modan. In his pack, he carried the device made from the components he had recovered, the explosive that would make his vengeance complete. It had taken two days to have it made, and he knew that the dwarves would have rallied their remaining forces and called their diggers back in defense of the keep. They knew he was coming, knew that he would not rest until he had broken the keep and killed every one of his enemies, but still they remained, their greed for the valuable artifacts of Bael Modan driving them to stand against nature itself.
His hooves impacted the road in a steady rhythm as he maintained his easy, ground eating run, his staff upon his back as he covered the miles to the dwarven dig site. A herd of gazelles ran alongside him for a time, recognising him as a protector of nature and joining him on his journey without fear, until they sprang away towards an oasis, weary from traveling in the heat of the barrens. Varuul kept up his pace. There would be no rest until his task was complete or his spirit returned to nature, his body to the earth.
He saw dust rising from the road ahead, behind a large formation of red rocks, and slowed to a walk, preparing his magic and readying his staff. Many dangerous beasts roamed the barrens, but no beast traveled on the road, and he was wary encountering one of the groups of night elves who had recently been raiding the small settlements in the area. Alone, he could not hope to stand against a party of elves, but the barrens offered little cover, and whatever was ahead would come around the rocks before he could reach them. He would make them pay for every drop of his blood, if elves they truly were.
He was surprised to see a small figure emerge from behind the rocks, walking along the road, which stopped suddenly on seeing him and eyed him warily from some distance away. It was smaller in stature than even a dwarf, and wore an oversized pointed hat and carried a short staff, which despite their scale were recognisable as the trappings of a mage. Varuul advanced cautiously, his magic held ready and his staff before him, until he was close enough to see from the pink skin and large eyes that this strange traveler on the gold road was a female gnome. He set his feet and raised his hands to call up the power of nature to destroy this intruder, this arrogant gnome who thought she come alone into the barrens to murder innocents and defile the land, as the elves did. As he prepared his spell, he met the eyes of the gnome, and something made him stop. His magic dissipated and he lowered his staff. The gnome had made no move to attack, and had not called upon the arcane magic that was obviously hers to command, but stood looking at him, a sad but resigned expression on her face. He moved closer, and still she watched him, seemingly surprised that he had not attacked, and curious about the massive druid who cautiously advanced, stopping to stand a short distance in front of her, leaning on his staff.
Varuul reached out with his magical senses, made keen by long meditations that had made him as one with nature, and he felt no hostility from the tiny mage in front of him, only fear and sadness. Reaching further, he sensed an aura about the gnome, something about her that suggested an understanding of the balance and a love of nature, even if she did not serve it as he did. He withdrew his magic, and regarded her with his physical eyes only. Abruptly, she stepped forward and bowed to him, holding her floppy hat on her head with one hand and her staff in the other, then stepped back and gave a grin, her fear evaporating as he remained passive and did not threaten her. Amused by this display, Varuul returned the bow with great formality, and stepped to one side of the road. Seeing this, the gnome waved, and picked up her small feet as she continued along the road, passing him with another grin as he allowed her to continue on her way, convinced that she would do no harm to the fragile balance of the land.
As he shouldered his staff, Varuul considered this strange meeting with a gnome. How similar to the dwarves she was, yet how different! Perhaps not all of the pink skins shared an evil need for destruction and conquest. Thoughts of his vengeance upon the dwarves fading, he took the explosive device form his pack, and turned it over in his hands. He had already killed a great many of them and destroyed their equipment, enough to set the digging operation back months. Perhaps like the gnomes, not all the dwarves were savages, perhaps he had made his brutal point well enough. He took the fuse from the explosive, and dropped it in the road. He would wait, and watch the dwarves, they at least deserved a chance to accept the lesson he had taught them, and put right the wrongs they had done. If they continued upon their destructive path, he would destroy them in turn. But if there was good in them, if they could learn to coexist with nature instead of fighting it...there had been rumors of a strong leader arising from the ashes of Lordaeron, a leader who wished for all races to live in peace. Perhaps he would seek out this Lord Takumi.