Chapter Nine: Waking Up is Hell

Posted by | January 15, 2009

Hellvetica’s head hurt. All she recalled—aside from the name change—was downloading and activating the new expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, and rolling a death knight. Of course, this did help explain one thing: why she was currently among the dead.

The battlefield was littered with them, every race and class accounted among the valley of corpses as slouching half-human ghouls worked amid them. Bones exposed, dripping ribbons of rotting flesh, the ghouls labored to carry and drop dead body after dead body onto the backs of creaking wagons, which then conveyed their ghastly cargo unto Acherus.

Necromancers clad in dread black picked their way through the dead, casting boney fingers and watery eyes over the putrid crop. Hither and thither they resurrected the dead. By and large, though, the wagonloads just lay there. Alliance and Horde alike dumped together unceremoniously onto the floor waiting their turn.

After a while, Hellvetica noticed that other corpses were blinking. Apparently she wasn’t alone.

“How long have you been waiting?” Hellvetica asked a burly tauren to her right.

“About ten minutes,” he said. “The server must be overloaded. The queue message keeps popping up…”

“Everyone wants to be a death knight.”

“It’s a death knight spree,” said a troll corpse to her left. “Teach me to roll a new class on the day the expansion comes out.”

Hellvetica would have smiled at him, but she discovered she couldn’t move. In fact, she could only stare at the ceiling from where she lay. Heavy, depressing masonry creaking with giant chains and censers full of blue coals—and somehow foreboding had been carved into the stones.

“Where am I?” asked a gurgling voice, echoed a thousand times against the stones. “What is this place?”

In her peripheral vision, she watched a large man wearing heavy armor point at a kneeling animated corpse and say something in a stern tone. Gangrenous ghouls pulled themselves up from the floor and fell upon the newly reborn man with a savagery—they tore him limb from limb, spraying sluggish blood across the floor. The gurgle of death reached her dead ears and if she could, she would have winced.

“They certainly went all out to goth this place up,” she said. “And judging from the story that I got on my way in, I’ve gone from emo to goth anyway. Did you see the outfit they had us in when we loaded? It’s all embroidered black and blacker.”

“I’m a corpse,” the tauren said. “I have no opinion on fashion.”

A low chant somewhere behind her caught Hellvetica’s attention.

“This one,” another, deeper voice said. “She’ll make an excellent harbinger of death.”

“Looks like it’s your turn,” the tauren said. “Enjoy. I’ll see you out there.”

“Thanks,” she said.

Then the green light took her.

NEXT >> Chapter Ten: Student Necromancers from Hell

The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Venture and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.

2 Comments so far
  1. AlpineBob
    January 15, 2009 7:18 pm

    “By in large, though, the wagonloads just lay there”
    I believe the idiom is actually “By and large” – don’t ask me why, though.

  2. Helvetica
    January 15, 2009 8:22 pm

    Huh, so it is. Thanks. Fixing that. Homonym phrases my old nemesis.

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