World of Warcraft Fiction: Cruel Fate

"Are you sure about this?"

"Not really, but do I have a choice?" Rory smiled at Gwynn. The night was silent, except for the soft chirping of crickets. Gwynn looked around at the thick forest of trees surrounding them.

"I'm worried, though. They already found and killed one of our other agents, they could find you out too."

"Gwynn, don't worry! I had a life as a thief before I took this job. I have a rep, no one will look twice at me. And no one knows about this place, trust me on that. No one will hear us."

As if on queue, bushes nearby shook, startling both Gwynn and Rory. Out from the bushes hopped a small brown rabbit.

"Well, he doesn't count, he's just a rabbit." Rory grinned at Gwynn. She smiled back.

"I do love that grin of yours... I love you. Please, please be careful."

"Me? You're the one running into the thick of things like you're invulnerable. You have more to be careful about than I do."

"I know, it's just easier to worry about someone else than yourself."

"Now you know how I feel." It was Gwynn's turn to grin. "Don't worry, m'lady, I'll be back." Rory kissed Gwynn gently on the lips. For a moment, the two embraced as if it was the last time they would see each other. Finally, Rory turned in silence and disappeared into the forest.

"Goodbye..."

~~~

"Hello, Rory!"

Rory awoke in a haze of pain and confusion. The last thing he remembered was arriving at the Defias stronghold. As some of the haze lifted, he realized he was bound tightly to a backboard, metal clamps holding his legs and hands fast against the upright slab. As his vision cleared, he saw who was standing in front of him.

"Van Cleef... what... why am I here? What did I do?"

"Oh, come on, Rory. You didn't think I knew?"

"Knew? What are you on about?"

Van Cleef's armored hand drove hard against Rory’s jaw. Rory spit out blood, coughing violently.

"We're not stupid here. I'm not stupid. I know everything that goes on in my brotherhood."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Ah, the classic lie. Of course you know what I'm talking about. I know you do, I have good agents, remember?"

"Agents? Is someone saying I betrayed you? I swear I haven't; and I will kill the man who says otherwise."

Van Cleef laughed for a moment. Bending closer to the tortured man, he smiled. "Who said it was a man?"

"What?"

"You don't think she really cared for you, do you?"

"W-what? What are you... who do you mean?" Rory grimaced... trying to cover his slip he continued with a sloppy grin. "I've known a lot of ladies, you'll have to be more specific."

Van Cleef’s fist once again slammed hard against Rory’s jaw.

"You know her as Gwynn."

"Gwynn?" The haze returned, blurring reality...

"Yes?"

"You're name is Gwynn?" In front of the Cathedral the two sat on a bench. The day was bright and warm.

"Why would I lie to you?" Gwynn smiled.

"Oh, no... I didn't mean you were lying. It's just... Gwynn fits you so well. It's a very pretty name."

Gwynn looked up at the clear sky for a moment, still grinning. "A Rogue that's a sweet talker. Now that's original."

"Hey! What can I say, I'm me."

"I didn't say I was complaining." Gwynn turned her head to look Rory in the eyes. "Her eyes... they're so blue, so pretty", Rory thought.

~~~

"At least you're not complaining." Van Cleef stared at Rory. His eyes were dark and cold.

"Kinda... *cough* hard to talk when you keep hitting me like that."

Van Cleef laughed; a laugh cruel and uncaring. It was enough to make Rory shudder through his pain.

"So... Gwynn... what a wonderful woman she is. I mean, even I wouldn't have thought to put an agent so close in Stormwind. A Defias pretending to be a paladin... pure genius."

Rory snapped his head up quickly, and immediately regretted it. Van Cleef smiled again.

"Do I have your attention now? Good." Van Cleef pulled up a chair and turning it backwards, he straddled it.

"We know Gwynn by a different name. What her name is really is unimportant. However, she wanted you to know everything before I kill you."

"Kill me?"

"Of course! I'm not about to let you go free. You've served your usefulness as a patsy. Now I'm done with you."

"Gwynn... I don't believe it... it's not true." Rory's speech was slurring; the pain was becoming too much and he was slipping out of consciousness again.

"You don’t really think a woman like her would fall in love with you, do you? For someone who lies so much, you are extremely gullible." Van Cleef chuckled. "What could she possibly love about you?"

~~~

"Your humor."

"My humor? That's what you love about me? Not my chiseled jaw? My manly physique?"

"Oh, of course I like that, but half the men here in Stormwind have that. Your humor is unique. I love that."

The tavern light was low, the two sat in the back eating their dinner.

"I also like your ruggedness, your musky smell."

"My musky smell?" Rory sniffed himself. "You’re right, I should take a bath."

Gwynn laughed, a sound that gave Rory goose bumps. He loved her laugh... so free, so full of life.

"So you like rugged men, huh?"

"No, just one rugged man."

"Who'da thought, a clean Paladin loving a rugged, smelly thief." The two leaned closer.

"Stranger things have happened..." Gwynn looked him in the eyes again. "What do you love about me?"

Rory looked back at her. "Your eyes."

"My eyes? That's the best you can come up with? My eyes? You can lie better than that." Gwynn smiled at him, he knew she was teasing.

"I’m serious, Gwynn. Your eyes, they show who you are. I can't stop looking into them, I could get lost in them."

"You're really serious, aren't you?"

"Very serious."

~~~

"Seriously, Rory... Rory... wake up. It's almost over."

Rory rolled his head. His jaw was unhinged and it was all he could do not to pass out from the pain again.

"She betrayed you, Rory, just like you tried to betray us." Rory shook his head as much as he could; which wasn't much. When he tried to speak, all he could do was groan. Van Cleef stood up and pulled a dagger from his belt. Walking around behind Rory, he spoke once more.

"Now that you're almost dead, and all has been told, I am ending your life. You will die a fitting death for a rogue."

With that, Van Cleef plunged the knife deep in Rory's back. Rory's eyes widened in pain. Breath escaped from his mouth, and the name "Gwynn..." could be heard. With that, all life left the man once known as Rory. His eyes remained open in horror... not of his death, but of the betrayal by his love.

"I didn't know we had an agent undercover as a Paladin."

Van Cleef turned to a man in the corner of the room. "We don't. No one's that crazy."

"How did you find out? About him I mean?"

"Luck. One of ours was passing by and heard his last conversation with this Gwynn. The rest of it played out in his mind."

"What should we do with him?"

"Dump his body outside Stormwind. Let them deal with the smell."

~~~

"M'lady Gwynn?"

"Yes? Benedict, come in. What's wrong?"

Benedict shuffled and looked uncomfortable. "It's Rory, m'lady... he..."

"What?! He what?"

"Maybe you had better look for yourself." The priest turned and quickly walked out of her room, Gwynn following close behind. At the gates of Stormwind, a crowd had already gathered. Many of the guards were keeping them back, forming a circle around something.

"Benedict, tell me! What's going on?" Benedict said nothing and led her through the crowd. One of the guards let them through. Then she saw him. A burlap bag lay next to his body, no doubt that was what carried him here. Tears filled her eyes as she ran to his body and knelt down. His body was battered and broken. His face was barely recognizable. But it was Rory, there was no doubt in her mind.

"M'lady... I'm... I'm so sorry." Benedict turned and walked to one of the guards. Gwynn cradled his body close to her, his blood soaking through her clothing. The crowd grew silent and the only sound that could be heard was the sound of her sobbing.