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Ubu the flaming bear
First off, In case you somehow missed it: Burning Crusade!

But that's not the only thing burning. Check out Tom's awesome story below. And remember: If you ever want to submit anything to the site, post or PM me on the forums and I'll give you all the <3 that I'm legally allowed to give.

Story by Tom, Level 60 Hunter on Cenarius

The smoke from the ever burning fires of Stratholme filled his nose. Breeze blown waves drifted into him. It was an odd mixture of smells. The dry smoky smell that, to him, symbolized burning logs, a happy hearth, and a good mug of ale was mixed with the terrible acidic stench of burning flesh. At times, brief gusts of wind would leave behind a moment of scentless calm, but the stench always returned, and stronger for its absence.

“Why is it that a burning body smells bad, and a cooking steak smells good,” Tom asked no one in particular.

He slapped Pson’s light brown shell, causing a light cloud of ash to spring up and slowly drift back down to coat the shell once again.

“I don’t care to discuss that right now,” Branwenn replied as she flicked an ember out of Ubu’s thick brown hair.

Her green eyes tracked the ember as it whirled and twisted it’s way to the ground. Tom surveyed the street. The lined up homes and shops burned fiercely, the terrible magics of the scourge eternally fuelling the unending fires. A steady drizzle of fiery embers drifted down between the homes. They danced like swirling fireflies in the unsteady breeze until finally falling to the cobblestones and fading away, adding one more dot to the thick layer of ash.

“Explain to me again why we are here,” Branwenn asked as she watched a ghost drift past her.

The ghost almost appeared to not realize it was dead. It was checking it’s shopping list and drifting towards the inferno that was once a bakery.

“We were passing through and it looked interesting,” he replied as he
noticed a box marked with S.M.L.C inscribed in bold letters.

His mustache hairs began to stand on end. “My treasure sense is tingling,” he said and started to walk towards the crate.

“We were neither passing through the area nor does this place look overly interesting,” Branwenn replied as she followed Tom, their footfalls causing a low cloud of ash to pillow before them.

Pson, who as a giant turtle has an unfortunately low slung neck, began to
sneeze and make what could only be interpreted as turtle coughs. Tom
leaned down, not a far reach for a dwarf, and wrapped a piece of cloth
around Pson’s head, covering his nose and mouth.

“Ha, now you look like a ninja turtle,” Tom chuckled.

“What does S.M.L.C. stand for?” Branwenn was looking dubiously at the crate.

“Um…, Stratholme…million…little coins,” Tom replied as he pulled out his axe.

“Seriously, what does it mean?”

“Not sure to be honest, but who cares, treasure sense is tingling,” Tom said as he wedged his axe under the crates lid.

“Treasure sense is tingling,” Branwenn mumbled as she grabbed the handle of Tom’s axe and helped him push down.

The nails squeaked as the lid slid up. After a minute of prying and pulling the lid dropped to the ground revealing the treasure hidden within.

“Cheese and melon juice,” Tom didn’t try and hide his disappointment.

“Oooh, cheese…” Branwenn grabbed a cube of cheese and started to pull the wax back. She smelled the cheese. “And it’s still good.”

Tom grabbed three bottles of juice and dropped them into his backpack.

“I suppose a little extra drink never hurt,” he said.

“Ubu loves this stuff,” Branwenn said as she tossed a cube of cheese, wax and all, onto the ground in front of Ubu. Ubu sniffed it once, then took it in her mouth and began chewing. Bear slobber dripped into the ash on the street as they began walking down the ember filled boulevard.

“Serious money, loot, and coin,” Tom said, Pson shuffled along next to him and Branwenn fell back about six feet. She had an arrow already nocked.

“Stratholme melon liquid and cheese,” Branwenn replied.

She surveyed the street ahead. She was oddly relaxed. The rows of burning buildings made poor hiding spots leaving only the open street for the approach of enemies.

“Hmm, that might actually be it,” Tom was cut off by Branwenn.

“Shhh, I hear something.” Branwenn turned her head slightly and concentrated.

He could faintly hear something. A low drumming sound. It slowly became louder, more resonant. It’s steady tempo drumming louder, until he could feel it in his toes.

“It’s big,” Branwenn said quietly.

“And getting closer,” Tom added.

“Grab some cover,” Branwenn looked around for something to hide behind. The blazing rows of houses offered no hiding spots. She jogged over to a mail box and disappeared into its shadow.

“We can hide there,” Tom pointed to a couple of S.M.L.C crates stacked near a rock wall.

The drumming became thumping as he clamored behind the crates, one falling to pieces as he did so. A sickly sucking sound was his first indication that something was wrong. Pson’s snap was the second. He looked down and saw a ginormous maggot firmly attached to his boot gnawing it’s way through the layered mail. Pson was snapping his way through another maggot, and several other maggots were attached to Pson’s armored skin or his own boots.

“Quiet over there,” Branwenn whispered from somewhere.

Ubu stood by the mail box gnawing on some cheese as though a bear in the flaming ruins of Stratholme was a normal occurrence. But then again Pson, the four foot tall turtle wasn’t exactly gonna hide behind crates either. He pulled his axe and hacked down on one of now five maggots attached to his foot. It sliced halfway through the eight inch thick maggot. It’s gnawing barely faltered, but several normal sized maggots fell out of the axe wound.

“Gah, the maggots have maggots here,” Tom said as he lifted his axe again.

His blood covered glowing blue axe acted like the perfect signal beacon to the fleshy monstrosity that strolled around the corner. The drumming stopped as it stared at Tom’s hacking axe. Every jiggily bit of it’s poorly sewn enormous bloated body stopped for just a moment as it’s all but dead brain tried to figure out what it was seeing. Each rise of the axe brought it over the top of the boxes, its fall from vision, and re-emergence back over the boxes appeared to the creature as a bright OVER HERE flag.

“Tom, stop that, it’ll see you,” Branwenn whispered.

“But they’re eating mah turtle…and mah feet,” Tom yelled as he continued to hack at the maggots, some of which had breeched the mail surface of his boats.

“Juvinea melivilona,” Branwenn cursed in elven then flicked her hand, giving Ubu the order to attack.

Branwenn’s cursing caught Tom’s attention and he peered over the crates. He saw the huge monstrosity doing it’s best to run up the street towards him. Each step caused its bloated sewn together flesh to jerk down violently with so much force that it should have been ripped from its body. Instead it was slingshotted back up with enough force to nearly lift the creature off the ground. The over all effect was rather grotesque nearly causing Tom to yell “RUN!” Instead, he chose the infinitely stupider plan of ordering Pson to attack.

Ubu and the creature smashed into each other. The effect was about the same as if a rock and a ball of saran-wrapped jello had collided. Neither side was hurt, but both had stopped in their tracks. Swish, and an arrow hit the monster. It sunk in almost to the fletching and had no apparent effect.

The creature raised one of its three arms, the fiery drizzle reflected off it’s over-sized cleaver. It swung down, the blubberous fat shifted to the wrist, giving it even more power. The descending blade missed Ubu by about 3 feet and sent a shower of obliterated cobblestones in every direction. Ubu swiped a clawed paw across its oversized belly. A red shower drenched Ubu as what was probably not jello gushed from the three foot long rend.

BLAM, Tom’s first shot arrived as Pson snapped at the beasts cleaver hand. The bullet had almost no effect as it disappeared into the abundant body. The only sign of the impact was a small red hole and a ripple of flesh, like a rock falling into a pond. Pson however, had better luck. His snap had snapped the handle of the cleaver in two. The now chipped blade clattered to the ground.

Swish, another arrow sunk deep into the creature. A fat fist hit Pson like a hammer. The blow knocked his feet out from under him, sending him crashing to the street. Ubu took another swipe, blood and bits of unidentifiable innards spilled to the ground. BLAM, and another ripple slid across the creatures body.

A powerful backhand sent Ubu flying through a nearby shop wall. Flames erupted from the ragged hole her bear body left behind. Branwenn mumbled and a glowing blue arrow shot into the creature, followed closely by a green glowing arrow. They both had little more effect then the regular arrows, with the exception that one of the wounds was dripping green ooze. Tom chanted the magic words of weakness and pale green bullet sent another ripple cascading across the monstrosity.

Tom took a moment to club at a particularly successful maggot with the stock of his rifle. Both his feet were starting to feel weak, like he was standing in warm oatmeal. It was kind of comforting, but tough to stay standing.

Cobblestone shrapnel flew in every direction as a powerful downward punch drove Pson six inches through the street stones. Legs and head withdrew into the shell as blow after blow rained down on the hard back.

BLAM, swish, thump, thump, BLAM, swish, thump, thump. The creature continued to ignore the incoming shots, as they were having next to no effect and continued to pound on Pson's hard shell. Tom could hear the distinctive cracking sound that meant Pson’s shell was beginning to succumb to the constant assault but was helpless to do much as his feet finally failed and he fell to his knees. The maggots quickly shifted to his legs and began gnawing through his mail leggings.

A fiery ball of hair erupted from the nearby shop and landed on the monstrosities back. Ubu sunk her claws deep into its fleshy back and began to gnaw on the back of its head. She seemed intent on comparing the tastes of cheese and monster brains. Pson tentatively stuck his head out of his shell and looked up at the creature. He was wedged into the ground too deep to get his legs on the solid ground but he was close enough to bite the monster’s leg. He twisted his head sideways and snapped his powerful jaw. It was a solid hit, flesh tore and the crack of bone could be heard.

A meaty fist finally got a hold of Ubu’s smoldering fur and sent her flying down the street. The momentum of shifting flesh pulled the creature into a lurching step. Attached to leg through an unyielding bite, Pson was yanked out of the hole in the street. Turtle and foot crashed to the ground together. Pson slide towards Tom, foot still in mouth.

The creature, slow to realize it was one foot short continued it lurch towards them. Its stump of a foot hit the cobbles and slid backwards. It crashed to the ground hard enough to toss Tom a foot into the air. It’s massively oversized body briefly flattened out as the extra flesh continued its descent long after the beasts skeleton stopped falling. The force of its impact sent ash flying into the air in a huge billowing cloud.

BLAM, Tom’s shot straight into the gaping head wound that Ubu had made. Branwenn dropped her bow and pulled her swords. She closed the short distance, jumped over a low swing from the prone creature and hacked at its head.

With Branwenn’s proximity to the creature ruining his shot, he turned his rifle at the remaining maggots and fired point blank at them. It took little more then a minute for Branwenn to finish her beheading of the beast. She jogged over and helped Pson and Tom kill the remaining maggots.

“See, I told you it would be fun,” Tom said as he channeled healing energies into Pson’s shell.

Branwenn shook her head and, along with Ubu, walked towards the exit. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll catch up,” he yelled after her as he rubbed feeling back into his legs.
28 Oct 2005 by carwin

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