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His gaze swept around the near deserted dock. It was the dead of night and only a few, solitary figures shuffled around the moored ships.

With a quick tap the rider guided his horse towards the furthest ship. Rough looking, armoured figures scurried around it, loading cargo and performing last minute repairs on the old, merchant's vessel.

The guard pulled himself up from his lounging position, leaning against a pile of crates, and approached the mounted Gnome. The human challenged him, his hand hovering above a rusty looking cutlass. "What yer wantin’ ‘ere then?". Tugging his hood further down to cover his dead lifeless face, Diliamem looked directly at the pirate, His unnatural, fiery, white eyes staring into the humans. "Speak with respect to your betterss human... my Business is my own, as I am ssuposed to be here." Lowering his head again the Gnome urged his horse up the wooden plank, onto the ships deck. The Pirate offered no resistance. He just stood and watched Diliamem with a mixture of awe and fear on his weathered features.

With a sigh of frustration Diliamem set the crumbling tomb down gently besides the Polished, bone encrusted book. Sweeping his long silken cloak around his form, the Necromancer pushed the Cabin door open. He stepped out onto the deck of the pirate’s ship, shielding his eyes with a gloved hand. Shadows dam the infernal sun. Even with a full hood it still stung his sensitive eyes. "Captain", Diliamem called in his ever bored sounding voice. A lean looking human made his way across the swaying deck towards the Hooded and cloaked Gnome. "I am here Master Gnome, is there something you require of this humble sailor?"

The Necromancer's lips turned upwards in an amused smile, hidden by his shadowed face. The Pirates had at first regarded the strange Gnome with curiosity. But that had soon turned to feared respect. The Captain had been "only to happy to give over his own cabin to such an honoured guest".

After a moment of thought Diliamem answered, "Indeed...how far are we from our desstination. I grow weary of this sship. I can hardly study in such an environment...." The Gnome glanced around the pirate vessel, watching the many crewmembers, some sitting around crates rolling dice, others drinking. "Although perhapss I could experiment on ssome of your crew hmh?" The pirate captain's grip tightened on the golden handle of a cutlass hanging at his belt before he remembered who spoke to him. With some effort the captain replied, the strain of keeping any hint of anger from his voice clearly showing. "Not necessary I am sure master Mage, Northrend will be in sight within the week". Hissing in disgust Diliamem gestured towards the captain, spitting out a word of Power. An Ice bolt flew past the shocked Pirates head, embedding itself in the wall of the cabin next to him! Smirking Diliamem turned, entering the captain's former quarters again, he called out to the captain as he closed the door, "Make sure we arrive in good time dear captain. Or I sshall not be happy at all." Chuckling coldly the Gnome settles back into the, Centaur fur clad, chair. Letting his hood fall back, Diliamem examined himself in the small mirror hanging above the captain's desk. His gaunt, deathly pale face stared back at him, his burning white eyes betraying neither emotion nor thought. Waving a hand angrily, he watched the mirror explode into a million shards violently, as if an invisible fist had collided with the glass. Smiling at the destruction he caused. The gnome procured a fist sized, blood red gem from his long purple robes. Then settling back he let his mind skim across the waves.

The ship ploughed through the dark expanse of the northern sea. It’s black surface churning in a raging frenzy. The sky was like a mirror of the angry sea below. Heavy clouds hung in the sky, rain relentlessly hammered the water below. Great waves threatened to crush the small worn merchant vessel.

Captain Jarien Caldrian called out again in a bellowing tone, cutting through the angry rumbling of the vicious storm his ship was caught in. "Bring those sails down or by Uther we are all dead!" Pirates rushed about the deck, following his commands. Another wave crashed against the ship, rocking it dangerously, sending spray across the deck. With a piercing scream, one of the sailors was flung from the top of the mast to plummet with a sickening thud on the wooden deck far below.

Diliamem’s eyes flickered open. He had sensed something...else...amongst the terrified minds of the pirates. Pushing his Cabin door open the Gnome glanced around searchingly in the night. He could make out the shapes of many sailors rushing about him, bailing out water, bringing the sails down. It seemed they had decided to baton the ship down and ride the storm out. Fools! Diliamem thought to himself. Things lurked in these waters... things that would be drawn to the surface during such a violent storm. Diliamem noted the form of Captain Caldrian at the helm shouting commands to his crew.

A figure lurched out of the shadows towards Diliamem. Watching it carefully, one hand on his concealed wan, Diliamem suddenly recognised it as one of the crew. The pirate let out a groan of pain before slumping to the ground. "Hmh…what iss this?" Diliamem muttered to himself approaching the pirate curiously. Whirling around, the gnome threw up a translucent wall of solid ice just as a forked trident arched downwards towards his head. Hissing angrily at having been denied its kill, the naga flung the trident forward again. Only to have it bounce off the glistening wall of ice. With a sigh of irritation Diliamem extended his palms muttering a power word. Hundreds of razor sharp ice shards flew towards the naga too fast for its dull mind to even register the attack. The Necromancer calmly stepped over the shredded corpse and headed towards the Helm.

Captain Jarien Caldrian fully expected to meet his end here on the deck of his beloved ship. A horde of serpentine sea creatures were flowing onto the ship. Nearly all his crew were dead already! A faint glimmer of hope kindled within the pirate captain as he spotted the Gnome mage. Calmly Diliamem strode towards the helm, a bloody trail of death following him.

Cackling with glee Diliamem drew a small crystal from his seemingly endless pockets. Several hissing naga rushed towards the gnome, tridents raised. Diliamem watched the former kaldorei, his lips moving in a silent chant. Crushing the crystal in one hand the necromancer extended his palms shouting out a word of magic. The crystal dust suddenly solidified, growing in size a hundred times over! The shards exploded into the oncoming naga, shattering within the unfortunate victim’s bodies. The captain let out a shout of triumph as the shredded naga fell. But his hope died abruptly. The serpent horrors swarmed over his ship, butchering the tattered remains of his crew. The gnome mage’s victory seemed small and pointless in comparison. Captain Jarien Caldrian drew his cutlass, shouting out a challenge as he rushed into the slaughter!

Slash, hack, parry. It was a dance of death. The pirate captain stood within a ring of fallen naga. Blood streamed down his face, rendering him almost blind. Another naga came in with its trident, hissing. Ducking low, the captain flung out his sword arm. The cutlass bit deep into the serpent’s chest. Grinning wildly the pirate pulled a dagger from his belt and slashed at his opponents face. A fresh spray of blood bathed Jarien’s face as he plunged the blade into the dying naga’s face. The nimble human jumped back just as the sea serpent swung its trident out in a killing stab, desperately. Jarien tugged his dagger and Cutlass from the Dead Sea creature’s corpse then spun around, hammering mercilessly at a second naga.

Diliamem let out a sigh of boredom. These naga were less entertaining than he had expected. Even the novelty of dispatching them in cruel and painful ways was rapidly wearing off. Flicking his wrist Diliamem sent another bolt of ice hurtling into the wounded naga, pinned to the deck by several other conjured ice shards, It’s ribcage a mess of blood and exploded flesh. Quickly growing bored with the mortally wounded naga, Diliamem revered his dagger from its small concealed sheath and plunged it into the creature’s chest in one fluid movement. "To little blood" Diliamem hissed. The Necromancer muttered something under his breath in a harsh clicking language, pointing a hand at the fallen naga before him. The dead serpent’s body twitched several times before, with a loud crunch, its blood drenched heart flew into the chanting gnomes waiting hands. Smirking Diliamem clenched the heart. Its surface shrivelled and grew black instantly. The gnome dropped the shrivelled heart quickly and turned surprised as a roar echoed through the familiar sounds of screaming and triumphant hissing.

The naga was clearly the leader of this raiding party. It towered above the rest, a whirling doubled edged trident clutched in its bloodied, scaled hands. The wild eyed pirate captain raised his dagger in a mocking salute, his cutlass abandoned deep within a fallen enemy’s gut, before charging the naga head on. Roaring, only to happy to send the crazed human to the nether, the naga met the blood splattered pirate head on, great double edged trident whirling in an intricate pattern of death.

The captain was hard pressed just to defend himself from the rain of attacks; he couldn’t even send his own back. Another several strikes came at him, both ends of the trident aiming to severe his limbs. Jumping back the captain brought his jewelled dagger up to fend off any blows. The other naga circled the fight, occasionally darting in to snap at the desperate captain, hissing in what sounded like cold amusement to the pirate.

The forked trident came down again. Jarien rolled under the blow and came up behind the naga leader. With ease the huge serpentine creature spun around, slapping Jarien’s dagger away with its scaled hand, then plunged the trident through the captain’s chest. Jarien staggered back, feebly trying to tug the huge weapon free. With a triumphant hiss the naga pulled the trident out from the dying captain’s body then swept it in an arc before decapitating the pirate cleanly. Jarien’s head rolled across the body strewn deck.

"Hmh it sseemss I am in need of new transport", Diliamem muttered to himself, as he drew his rune-blade from a corpse. He heard the naga near the helm hiss louder and the sound of sudden movement, the fight for the Bloody Maiden was over it seemed. Hissing softly the necromancer drew a cloak of shadow around his form and swiftly made his way back towards the former captain’s cabin.

Slamming the cabin door behind him, the gnome placed a hand over it and whistled a string of arcane notes. The door lock glowed brightly for a long moment then turned back to its original worn brass colour. "That sshould hold the shadow accursssed creatures out long enough". Diliamem muttered to himself under his breath as he approached the small desk. Gathering his books and the precious Bone clad tome the gnome stood at the exact centre of the room and closed his eyes, spreading his gloved hands. Chanting, softly at first, Diliamem concentrated on his desired destination. His ears caught the sound of the slither of approaching naga then a loud banging noise. They were trying to get in, but the barbaric creatures would not be able to brake through in time. Smirking Diliamem drew out a small rune from his flowing purple robes. He sensed a building of arcane power then suddenly the cabin door exploded inwards, showering the casting mage in wooden fragments. Naga flooded into the cabin just as his chanting reached its climax. The rune pulsated angrily before melting away, the gnome along with it, away from the doomed ship!

Dropping to the cold stone floor Diliamem felt pain exploding in his right shoulder. Glancing down he sighed slightly. A long cruel looking arrow jutted out from his robes, blood flowing along with it. "Another sset of robes ruined" he muttered, not seeming concerned for the pain or damage to his body. Pulling himself up the gnome looked around. The dark and comfortingly familiar crypts greeted him. The weariness that had built up over the last several hours finally caught up with the injured Mage. Settling himself down Diliamem leaned his head against the arch and closed his strange unnatural eyes. His trip to the northern continent would have to wait. Another ship would be troublesome to find, anyway his contact in Lorderon had replied. The Necromancer chuckled coldly. He had a plague to start…

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