Tazanian walks ahead of our group because it’s his duty. Whatever fiends await us must first meet with his sword. The last of the true knights of our realm, he absorbs the wrath of any evil he must, so that the rest of us don't have to. I walk ahead of our group for entirely different reasons, doing my best to keep pace with Taz while observing the rag tag band of heroes trailing behind. Tales of Ulduar will be told long after we leave its black stone walls. Lore will be built on our triumphs. Legend will be made of the great feats witnessed here. But, the memories I share of this colossal dungeon in the northern peaks will be of the unique faces now meandering behind me and the one stoic paladin who marches ahead.
"Let's move it up." Taz declares over his shoulder, causing the uneven gait of the raid to straighten. Kwaggmire, a good natured death knight, weaves his way to the front of the pack pausing once to tell Whippet a joke, and then again to wack Bloogan on the helm, forcing it down over his eyes. "This place makes my head spin" Kwag says looking straight up. "I know the feeling" Bloogan replies, still readjusting his head piece. Their smiles set against the blackness of this hallway illustrate the kinship of war better than this druid's words ever could. "Feast is down." Taz announces from the threshold of the next room. "Eat up."
The scene around the fire and feast reminds me of home. Laughter fills our little corner of Ulduar, and as the light-hearted ribbing dies down, Tazanian rises to his feet. All eyes turn to watch as he steps forward into Deconstructor's room, taking his position and unsheathing his sword. His line in the sand has been drawn and we all know in order to join him we had best be ready to fight. One by one faces grow intent and focused. I rise and take position to Taz's right. The familiar feeling of confidence comes over me as I see Elissis take her position to his left. Turning my eyes to the front I'm almost certain I catch a glimpse of Akulu stealing a kiss from his wife. Quickly shifting my eyes back reveals no evidence of such, save the growing smile on Elissis' face. "Let's get a ready check." Akulu orders now standing at Taz' side. I pull focus on the group of bots guarding the entrance... even less certain of what I thought I just saw.
The courtyard we find ourselves in features scrap heaps in every corner of the room. The bots, mecho-spiders, and various other mechanical nasties that greeted us at the entrance now lay in pieces under our feet. At the far side of the room, alone atop a platform, stands the gateway I traveled so many miles through the storm peaks to see. Blood boils in my veins, pulsating behind my eyes, as I remind myself of who waits for us on the other side of that door. Freya's fate will soon be in my hands, but for now she will have to wait... a stinking pile of metal stands in my way.
XT-002 Deconstructor stomps deliberately at the back of the room, challenging us to approach. Without hesitation Taz charges at it head on, and I scramble to catch up. The piercing ping of steal on steal rings through every inch of Ulduar as Taz' shield stops Deconstructor dead in its tracks. At once I realize I'm late to this fight. Our bravest blood elf stands unflinching at the sight of XT-002 raising a fist... and I'm out of range! Now sprinting forward as fast as my roots will take me, I see little Elissis slide to a stop at Taz' heels casting her bubble an instant before the fist rains down. For what seems like an eternity, Elissis and Taz stand alone against the steel giant... and they're winning!
The rest of the raid arrive at XT's feet with a barrage of attacks sending it into a tantrum. Moments later, sparks fill the air, angry bots emerge from the scrap heaps, and Deconstructor's mechanical heart falls from its chest. For a moment I stare past the sparking heart at the gateway behind it. Rage takes control. Moonfire, wrath, starfire... I light into Deconstructor's heart with a lust for blood. Moonfire, wrath, starfire... I start to chant to myself with every cast. Get... out of... my... way. Get... out of... my... way!
Imphyy and Kjeldoran jog off to clean up what's left of the scrap bots in the room, Akulu sifts through Deconstructor's remains, and I stand panting in place. "What happened?" I hear a voice say. Unsure of whether it was my own, I pretend not to have heard it. My composure returns and I shift myself back into tree of life form. "Let's move it up." our stoic paladin declares over his shoulder as he makes his way up the steps to the gateway. I jog up behind following his lead. Tazanian walks ahead of our group because it's his duty... I walk ahead of our group for entirely different reasons.