The following is a saved and ordered version of a Moonglade plotline. Thus I am not the sole writer here and will therefore give all who have taken part in this story there due credit. It will be organized into chapters and parts. At the end of every part, I'll state whom the writer of that part was.
A pile of bones; a tribute to the fallen who had come after the Book. The skull crested upon it glowed tirelessly, hungrily. Abiding its freedom.
The downs were restless today it knew. For more adventures or warriors, or -- ah it did not matter. All would pay tribute among the bones. The dancing skeletons stopped their mindless ritual, the intruders had arrived.
The Lich was afraid, the Book had sensed. Much to its delight. Two High Elves and a Troll, an interesting, and ironic group.
Clashing of swords and dagger approached, and the Book felt their presence closer and closer.
Release me. It told the Lich. Release me and your life is spared, an oath.
Foolishly the Lich discarded the Book and made haste. This only made the Book calls more determined as at last, the three invaders arrived. They wore the Sigil of the Horde, embroidered in white on their crimson red Tabards.
An arrow struck home, its blunt weapon sticking through the Lich chest. It began to cast. In answer a lightning strike slash cut through his back. One of the High Elves had appeared behind him.
The Lich wailed the most horrendous of screams. The Book rejoiced.
The Troll administered the last blow, as their enemy; the Lich, faded slowly.
The Book began releasing its aura, anticipating that one of the power-hungry High Elves would notice. One did.
“Narzor, leave it be,” his brother Wharf ordered. But the High Elf was too compelled, and soon the lanky Troll budded in. “The Lich be clutching this in his hand Elfmons. Me seen it with me own eyes.”
Narzor never held his eyes off the Book cover. “There is a name on it,” he said.
Wharf, Narzor’s brother, who was retrieving his fired arrows from the corpses, came closer.
He glanced at the Troll.
“Are you certain Wazarg?”
Wazarg gave him a drunken nod, and took another sip from the liquor the Troll always carried with him.
“Cover it up. We’ll take it with us. Calchas must hear of this.”
Narzor was fingering the glowing skull, an unknown desire dwelling in the bowels of his heart.
“I found it,” he stated more than said. “Aye. That you did.” Wharf gave him an uncertain glance, before folding a cloth around the Book.
The Book was in ecstasy, it was on its way to freedom. And every second was it calling to others, never considering the present captors his Masters.
Deep in Outland, a different Book sensed its Brothers joy and joined him in its bliss. When they would reunite, Gandling’s Legacy would blossom.
Death is no longer what it used to be.
In the life before, death had been a permanent ending and if one looked deeper, the beginning of something new. Upon the death of a Lord his lands passed to his heir. Upon the death of an enemy came the knowledge that he was dealt with forever.
Having experienced death without this finality had changed his view of it. Having seen others making the same transition as himself had forced him to re-evaluate the whole concept of it. Others died and went away to some place beyond his knowledge; Some heavenly paradise or some burning cellar in the Nethers. Bishop Abraham Tremayne did not know.
The Forsaken died yet remained here. This he did know. Around this simple fact was the whole creed of his belief focused. Their heaven or hell did not await them beyond; It was right here. Their souls had been rejected by the nethers and shunned by the light and belonged to no one but themselves.
The rain fell softly upon the shores of Tirisfal covering the whole landscape in a gloomy shroud of pale mist. There was almost no wind and the dark ocean washed the shores in neverending waves of cold crisp water. The same water that washed the lands of his fathers also encircled the vast glaciers of Northrend beyond the sea. There somewhere, on a great pillar of Ice sat the Lich King, who more than anyone symbolized death. From his dark will had the great plague sprung. His will had re-defined what used to be the final border. As much as Tremayne hated to admit it, it was thanks to the Lich King that he still remained here, in the lands of his fathers. Had the plague not forced him back from the dead, he would not be here. His dead gaze passed to the fresh carcass of a dead murloc just a few furlongs down the shore. The creature had emerged from the depths only to find a quick death beneath the edge of Captain Levis´ burning axe. It seemed as the murlocs death were of the more final variety. Captain Levis had then been harschly introduced to the ranks of the Iron Ring by being asked as a final test to drown himself. The Captain had taken his sermon on power and the various stances one should adapt to it to heart and showed this as well as his murderous willpower by submitting to Tremayne´s wishes and drowned.
Tremayne had of course brought him back to un-life again, re-born into this world in the same dead body but with a deeper perspective. This was another face of death that was within his power. At his command the dead would live again or the undead would be brought back to un-life. His submission to the disciplinary teachings of the light and shadows have given him that power. Something that in itself was a true marvel.
The shadows of the evening grew to swallow the lands of Tirisfal and lay them covered in the darkness of the Lordarean night. The rain continued to drizzle down and in crevices and shallows pools of murky waters began to appear. The rains also muffled all sound and Tremayne did not notice how one of the shadows released itself from beneath a pinetree and approached him. The silluette of a man stood behind him a long time, observing, before making his presence known by stepping up and placing himself at the left side of the drenched forsaken bishop. Ser Ivar Darkslade, Preceptor of the Iron Ring and the master of secrets.
The sudden emergence of Ser Ivar brought a smile to Tremayne´s thin bloodless lips. Darkslades arrival signalled a fitting end to today´s morbid musings by introducing yet another of the faces of death: The one who revels in dealing it. Tremayne let his mind slip back to the present and the tasks at hand. Ser Ivar Darkslade was not here for the pleasure of his company.
"Preceptor. I should be distraught at the fact that you found me here when I had told no one of my whereabouts. Had you been an enemy I would have been in dire straits."
"My Lord Bishop. How lucky for you that I am not." A ghastly smile spread on the former guard-captain´s ruined face. "I bring you the news you wanted."
"Splendid" Tremayne nodded "I would be most gratious to hear it."
"Most of what Magister Fairbreeze said checks out at a first glimpse. This Vanguard does exist and he is indeed a part of it. Not that we doubted that. He also seems generally concerned about something even when he thinks no one is looking. Something is affecting him."
"And the book?"
"I need more time to verify the existance of it and what significance it might hold. I can say this though, I watched his face throughout the exchange. The elven facial muscles are abit different than human ones, They have only 38 but can be read, even though it is a bit...awkward. He does not seem like he is lying or making things up." Darkslade fell silent a second before a thin smile appeared on his lips. "Well, at least not about that."
"Once again your service is invaluable, my old friend. I marvel at what you can accomplish in such a short time." Tremayne smiled, knowing well Darkslade´s full worth. "In fact, I have another request for you."
Darkslade did not answer but waited silently for Tremayne to continue. He was never one to waste words needlessly.
"The task I set for the Vanguard to accomplish to prove their ability as a partner. As you might have guessed I have alterior motives for choosing the target that I did. I would be eternally grateful if you....ah, oversaw the operation from a distance. That way you could personally assess the competence of this Vanguard and the worth of their allegiance. Also, there is another task that I wish performed when the vigilance of the target is....gone."
Ser Ivar turned towards him. "You are aware of, of course, that the target can sense the presence of blight and that might compromise my personal security?"
"I am. Are you telling me it can´t be done?" Tremayne asked softly.
"Just informing you of the nature of this favour so that you know it´s full worth. What is this other task then?"
"Lord Mestopheles Runestratum should be able to give far clearer directives than I could ever hope to. I would suggest a visit to him..." Tremayne´s voice trailed off when he realized that Darkslade was already gone.
The air was thick, Ahrmas noticed as he took foot outside of the inn in Brill. Heavy drops of rain teasing him. A foul stench crept up his nostrils, and nausea overtook him, as he began to cough . He squatted and vomited on the ground, not used to the smell of corpses around him.
He had just finished a meeting inside the Inn with the members of the Iron Ring, and his stomache was upside down. Both by the penetrating smell, and the disgusting manner by which the Forsaken group dealt with business.
Whiping his mouth with a piece of cloth he composed himself again to atleast a minor degree of decency. He watched the one that was called Ser Ivar walk by, and he did not take his eyes of him. The Iron Ring was using him, he knew, but what other choice did he have?
When Ser Ivar moved out of sight, a strange and awkward looking Forsaken walked up towards him. His back was hunched, and his head misshapen. He supposed all their heads were misshapen.
"Excuse me, Sindorei"
This close to the Forsaken, Ahmras could see all the little details on the Forsaken's face that death left him. Insects crawling over his head, devouring the rotten skin tissue. A worm, or a pair of worms; Ahmras couldn't tell, were oozing in one of his empty eyesockets -- a gruesome sight.
"What is it you want?" Ahmras scowled, the smell sneaking up on his nostrils again.
The hunchback Forsaken lowered his head humbly, and offered Ahmras a written parcel.
"I was ordered to present it to you, I was."
Ahmras eyed the letter curiously, before unfolding it.
"There is no name on it."
The Forsaken smiled, showing a row of missing or rotten teeth.
"Snarls was not informed with the name, I was."
Ahmras dismissed the uncomely Forsaken with a wave of his hand and began to unfold the letter, so he could read it.
It took him less than a minute to scurry through the letter, and he fumbled it . He was furious! Quickly he wrote a letter in reply, and hoped that it would reach the appropiate person in time.
If it would be known by his brother what he has been aspiring too, everything would be at an end. He would not allow it. He adressed the letter to Xaath, the brave soul who dared to blackmail him. Perhaps the meeting was a mistake? No. It was supposed to be like this.
The Road to Supremacy would become a lonesome one.
It was to Lord Runestratum's chagrin when Tremayne's thinly veiled demand came to his attention. He had attended many a clandestine meeting in the past but never one as irritatingly candid as this, nor with such poor company. The Lord had been well aware that at the meeting there would be a demon-worshipper and so had sought to excuse himself in advance, sadly Tremayne was not sufficiently foolish as to accept any paltry reasoning and so Mestopheles had found himself in Gallow's End Tavern; amusing himself by watching the candlelight play on the top of the good Bishop's bald head. Reflecting on it now, from the comfort of a warm fire and a warmer Brandy, he realised that his only purpose there had been as a demonstration of the Iron Ring’s power: had Tremayne in fact dressed him in bright, gaudy colours and painted ‘Look at me, I’m an Archmage’ on his forehead the effect would have been much the same and considerably simpler to carry out. As it was he had merely introduced himself and occasionally offered his professional opinion in regards to the Book. As the role he played had been rather minor his memory of the evening was accordingly faint, but he did get the distinct impression that much of it had been spectacularly dull.
As a man of leisure his entire life the Lord Runestratum was not accustomed to spending a great deal of time doing what he did not stand to benefit from. Sadly, however, the solitary ‘benefit’ of the evening was that his monocle was now a good deal cleaner than it had previously been, largely due to Mestopheles’ habit of fiddling with it whenever he found his interest waning. “The great mundane masses might find tales of dark tomes written by evil hands engaging but having spent my life researching into the artifacts of the Kirin Tor I most certainly do not,” he muttered to himself in between sips. Sighing deeply and conjuring a globe of light to dance before his eyes Mestopheles considered the less pleasant events of the evening. The warlock had made several insinuations through the course of the evening that made the old Lord’s blood boil. “How dare he think that I, a scholar of the nether, an Archmage no less, might not be able to resist this mere book’s allure,” he grumbled angrily (and not a little drunkenly), “Why, it is his warlock ilk that are never to be trusted near a source of power: ‘tis like moths to a flame. Me, not worthy? Bah! My study is filled with items that would make the book look like nought but a child’s play toy; in fact I have just the item on which to place it!” The Lord’s eyes grew misty for a moment (well the equivalent of, the void-like holes actually grew a lighter shade of black) as he pondered over what he just said. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do…” he stated aloud. With that the Lord climbed carefully out of the chair and (ever-so-slightly) staggered to his study.
For half a dozen turns of the moon he had been looking for something that he had lost. Something he had known throughout his life. Something he had took for granted that now was gone.
Who had ever dreamed that peace could be such an elusive thing?
He had not, of course. Being born to this world long after the tumultous times of the past he had walked the forest of Ashenvale all of his life knowing that he had an eternity at his leisure. His mind had been serene and calm. Peace had been his companion throughout each and every one of his journeys. Now he found it nowhere.
There was no peace to be found in Darnassus. He had stayed away from Teldrassil in the stormy sea since it was planted only to return just recently. He had hoped that the Priestesses of Elune could tell him where peace had gone. He had hoped to get some answers and he had; just not the ones he wanted.
And Teldrassil lacked the air of serenity and rightness that he sought. There was something deeply disturbing about it and he had learned that he was not the only one of his brethren who sought things that used to be theirs. He had left Teldrassil with more questions than answers.
"Should we take back what we once had? If so, at what prize? Or shall we accept our fate and go diminished and fade like the mortal races? What road lead to peace?"
He gazed towards the Fallen Ancient, its weight denting the grassy earth. His mission was done, and a sensation of relief washed over him like a foamy wave crashing against the surf. Atleast that didn't go wrong.
In front of him, a few yards, stood Eliphas the Unclean One. His lungs were blowing maniacal laughter.
"Oh, the killing is beautiful Ahmras!" the Forsaken Eliphas stated.
The third of the group. A humongous Troll by the name of Wazarg Bonedancer, was slicing the head of one of the Ancient Caretakers. A young Kaldorei, female. She would have probably been labeled as pretty by her own kin. And why wouldn't they, when she had curves like that?
When the blood flowed from her neck, Ahmras was ready to barf, but he held it back. It pleased him profoundly to see his dark skinned enemies death like that. He strode toward the paved path, knowing that it would lead to Auberdine.
Learn to love the killing Eliphas said in Ahmras's head, and enjoy it he did.
'We must strike against Auberdine," he heard himself say, his mind wandering back to the letter he had found earlier in his mailbox. "They have asked for this wrath upon themselves."
Wazarg, stood next to him now, and Eliphas began walking already, appearing thirsty for more bloodshed.
A blue Troll hand grabbed Ahmras's shoulder firmly, an iron vice.
"This goin' be fun, mon." And with a sharp whistle, the Troll Wazarg called upon his Raptor mount, the teeth of the beast red of flesh and blood.
The Battle had been bloody, and they had killed many Sentinels in Auberdine. And yet Wazarg and Ahmras barely escaped with their lives. He traced a finger down his cheek. An arrow had almost struck him there, he reflected as the boat was far out of reach from the Auberdine port now.
Wazarg was taking care of his own wounds, pulling the bandages tight. The Troll had saved him he realised. He had carried him on his shoulders when a Giant Cat tore through Ahmras's calves.
His strength had gotten me on this boat.
He sighed deeply to himself.
I proved to be weak, once again... You better hold your word true Bishop Abraham...
And he could only guess, where Eliphas the Unclean could have escaped too. Perhaps Ahmras hoped he laid death on the Auberdine port.
It was the early hours of night when the two orcs whent on there hunt. The elder was the orc warlock known as Burgrsch Demonvoice. The younger one was a mok'natal hunter known as Grall. Why they where going Gronn hunting was a matter of secretsy.
They needed the blood of the beast god as well as it's heart. After sometime hunting they fund a Gronn. The two sent in there demon slave and wolf partner to kill the gronn and started to cast dark spells and fire bullets. Soon the beast fell to the ground.
The elder orc drained it's blood in to a flask of iron as the halfbreed cut out it's heart. The heart was massive, around the size of a orc's head. And for the first time sens they started the hunt one of them spoke. Under the hunt the two had only communicated via hand signals and grunts.
"This heart is enormous!" said Grall whit his deep strong voice.
"Indeed..." said Burgrsch whit his dark almost evil voice. "I hope you can stomach eating that later."
".... maybe..." was all the respons the elder got to his coment.
"Will you take it?" the hunter asked looking on his blood cowerd arms whit disgust.
"Yes, give it here!" said the warlock and heald out a black bag in witch to put the heart. The young mok'natal put the heart in the bag.
"Good... it's heavy..." said Burgrsch feeling the wight of the heart.
"Aye" responede Grall.
"We better clean up" said Burgrsch and looked at the blood that staned them both.
"Aye" was all that the halfbreed said.
The two orcs washed themselfs in a near by lake and then they parted ways. The elder orc whit the gronn heart in a bag tiede to his wolfs sadel. The heart was just the beginning. Soon the Three would raise to power, soon the Council would return.
The touch of cold leather against her naked skin was something Isilvara still had not grown fully accustomed to. Her body was far to curved and sophisticated for such rough and brute armor. The very edges of the former chimaera cut into her soft, gentle skin. Isilvara was sure it was going to leave a bruise.
The room was dimly lit by candlelight, but all windows and the exit to the great tree itself had been sealed with cloth. Around her, Cenarion Circle wardens, the caretakers of the hibernating druids, took their time to adorn Isilvara with their leathers, cloths, artifacts and talismans. Isilvara felt uncomfortable with so many caretakers. She had not been undergoing this sort of royal treatment since the days of the Highborn, many millenia ago.
Although whereas she had in the past had handmaidens drown her in silks and flowers, Isilvara now suffered from lack of breath due to the tightly pressed leather armor. Her parfumes and oils replaced with salves that reeked of mayblossoms. Isilvara took a look into the large mirror infront of her.
Isilvara did not reckognize herself. For each piece of cloth that was removed from her, in favour of leather, Isilvara seemed to reckognize herself less and less. She appeared harsh, there in the shadows. Rough like the very leather that scratched her skin. Her beauty covered by veils of leather. And yet, Isilvara's face was unadorned. Her long, white hair was stripped of golden leaves, and adorned with black and purple pearls, markings of defiance. Her rings and bracelets were dropped, in favour of wrist guards. Markings of strenght.
Isilvara threw the mirror another look. It was done. Her face seemed obscure in her armor, as a porcelain figurine glued onto the base of some wooden doll. But it had to be done. She had arrived here for a reason.
"You are ready, Shan'Do...", said one of the wardens, as he took the 7'th, and last, lock of Isilvara's hair, and embrodied it with purple pearls. Isilvara felt like a troll, 7 locks to the left of her face, adorned with something as noisy as pearls. And yet, she turned, and strode elegantly towards the cloth that sealed the exit of the great tree. Outside, she could hear the voice of Priest Furan Shademoon booming in preacher.
"And though Elune is a godess of mercy, terrible is also her wrath! In distant times, she dove from the night sky to carry the souls of our fallen sisters to the Emerald Dream, forever watching over the blessed star children!"
Isilvara took a deep breath. A warden had slipped out of the cloth, ventured forth into the balcony and whispered into the preachers ear. He had nodded, and the warden had returned inside to stand next to Isilvara.
"...Any word from Thero'Shan Jaelani, warden?". The warden silently shook her head, before saying "Nought, Shan'Do... We expect she will arrive later.". Isilvara merely nodded, the booming voice of Preacher Shademoon's rising greater still.
"Before you march into battle, Sentinels of old, heed the voice of Cenarius! Shan'Do Isilvara Heartmourn, speak! Speak the will of Cenarius!"
The cloth was unveiled, and Isilvara strode onto the balcony to face the world. There, far below the Arc Druidid tree rose a roar of cheering from the Sentinels, aswell as the local citizenry of Feathermoon.
Isilvara stood there for a moment, observing the crowds. They were fearless... They craved vengence for the vile acts dealt by the treachoreus Sin'Dorei... Isilvara could not feel it below her leather armor, but she knew that the wind slowly seemed to die down, as if nature itself calmed down to listen. She felt nostalgic, and reminded herself she need to focus...Focus...
"...Ishnu A'lah!", yelled Isilvara to the masses below, her arms extended in greeting, which was in turn welcomed by more cheers and battlechants from the sentinels below. "My breathren, heed me!", Isilvara yelled. She was pleased. The roaring slowly died down, and eerie silence of expectation laying over the masses like a thick crust on a Starberry pie.
"The Sin'Dorei!...", Isilvara began, "...What are the Sin'Dorei, really? The survivors of the foul Highborn from many millenia ago? Exiled children, whom turned their backs on Elune? There is a word for this, my brethren. The word is: Traitors!"
A roar of cheers rose once more from the audience, and Isilvara's voice rose aswell.
"For millenia, there has been little or no interference between us, the chosen children of Elune, and the betrayers of our kin! But the arrow has been fired! The ursurpers have returned!"
Isilvara took a deep breath.
"Having their own magical source drained at the hands of the Scourge, the Sin'Dorei DARES to venture forth into the sanctified lands of Kalimdor, befouling and robbing us of our sacred Moonwells, blessed by Elune herself!"
Isilvara felt the cripple of voices begining to roar up amongst the masses, and hastened to speak up more before the roars would be to high.
"Within the voloptous capital stronghold of the betrayerkin, a dark prophet has risen! Enigmatic and greedily, he sends his savage minions into our lands to ravage and befoul our wells, envious of our destiny! Envious, that it is we, the Kaldorei, whom are the chosen one's of the ancients! "
The cheers grew louder now. Isilvara had little time.
"WE, are the guardians of Hyjal!"
Isilvara could see fists rising into the air in unified cheering.
"WE, are the children of Elune!"
To the east, Isilvara saw the Kaldoreian bards readying their songs.
"It is we, and we alone whom shall bear the name of Dorei, Kal or otherwise! He whom turns from the Godess' grace, is unworthy of life, a parasite, and as such, must be exterminated!"
The bards lifted their instruments to their lips, the cheering was going to erupt at any moment. She had to finish this now, and she had to do it fast. Timing was everything.
"The intrusion of the Betrayer kin into Darkshore must not be forgotten or forgiven so easely! Vengence shall be brought on moonlit wings! The storm and the wild rides with us, sisters, and together we shall emerge victorious once more!
For this is the will of Cenarius, and his will is eternal!"
Isilvara inhaled deeply, and smiled to herself as she saw the masses below erupt into cheering, singing and dancing. The bards had started their moonlit serenade, and Isilvara fell back into the dimly lit room. The Preacher, Shademoon, strolled once more out on the balcony to continue his preaching for the remained of the dawn.
Isilvara sat down, a goblet of water being passed to her. As Isilvara lifted the goblet to her lips, she was met with the golden gaze of a raven across the room. Isilvara smiled. Dawn had arrived, and would soon be followed by daybreak.
By nightfall, the rain would be stained red of sin, and Isilvara wanted Gilraen safe within her reach when that occured.
The Dorei wars had begun, and the road to Supremacy unfolded, laying dormant to those whom would seek it.
Meanwhile, far to the east, a band of Kaldorei rogues swept across the silent halls of Ironforge. Few of the Dwarven kin had awoken, and the only sound to be heard was that of the burning coal. And yet, from within a dark vault, the Kaldorei dragged out the slaugthered corpses of the Dwarven guards, amassing them in a pile in the middle of the city. Any moment now, the stench would begin spreading.
A man spoke. "Shan Gilraen... Are we ready?" "Yes. We are.", spoke a deep womans voice, and the cloaked Kaldorei mounted up, waiting for their seemed leader. Gilraen rose up aswell, riding with her brethren. But first, she placed a letter her old friend had written. A feigned leather, albeit, yet whom would knew? Would it matter?
A lone dwarven woman exited her house with the garbage of last night's dinner. She was met with the most gruesome of sights.
The dwarves of Ironforge awoke to the terrible screaming of a young woman. As they rose to the alarm, they were met with the sight of four doussin slaugthered dwarves, aswell as half a dozen of black cloaks vanishing into the dawn.
Amidst the dwarven corpses rested a letter. The scroll was pure white, with red and golden ink carved onto it, held in place to a dwarven guard only by a dagger. Not much of it's containtments were revealed at the location, but every dwarf, man woman and child, could read.
"By the order and degreement of the Royal Council Of Silvermoon...".
"You did well, Gilraen.", Isilvara said to the raven. "You did well indeed..."
Golden. Silvermoon City had always been golden and red. Magnificient and beautiful, peaceful, magical. In the distance, a lyre was played, a sad longing tune which awakened the yearnings of one’s heart and soul. Except, he had no heart. Akeion smiled bitterly as he turned from the tune and occupied his mind with something else. There were no hordes of followers, no servants, no slaves. Only Akeion Greythorn, a cranky priest swallowed in shadow, wandering aimlessly in the city. Oh, and an orc that trotted behind him, grumbling from time to time. Although he snapped and teased the elf whenever given a chance, Nehjo seemed a little restless. The priest had been unusually quiet and introverted lately, barely giving any responses to serious inquiries and normally just dismissing the teasing with a blank face. Noone understood what was happening with him, perhaps these visions he was having were finally getting to him and in his mind, Akeion was slipping into the darkness of his paranoia and madness.
“At least tell me where we goin’, huh?” the orc finally gave in, after passing by the Royal Exchange auctionhouse for the fourth time. “I could then just give ye a push when we are at the right turn. Saves us from goin around in circles like a pair of lunatics.”
Akeion stopped and looked at the orc with some confusion. What was he doing here, again? A moment or two later, he remembered. Ah yes, the orc… His bodyguard and strangely enough, a friend. He sighed and gave a shrug. “You can go have a rest for the night,” he spoke, voice hollow and dismissive. “Surely I am safe enough within the walls of the city?” At that, he sounded amused. It was among the people, in crowded places, that the most gruesome of all crimes happened. But Nehjo did not need to know that. Ake was fully capable of defending himself until help arrived, anyway. “Meh. Might as well walk around like an idiot,” the orc insisted and muttered as he stuffed his heavy shield away, lighter now and maybe just maybe a little more cheerful. Not that his company was a sunshine or anything.
The dreams had changed lately. Sunwell now varied with Moonwells, dark and damp, shiny and blue. Markings on the faces, claws, snarls and fangs… Everything was confusing. Like always. He knew he had to dip into the moonwells to empower their own strength, maybe to restore the Sunwell which had been many a times stronger and enlightening than a mere moonwell. His agents had snuck into Kal’dorei villages and cities and taken the samples. It hadn’t been a violation of their people, he had not told his spies to attack any of them. And yet now they haunted his dreams. And when something slipped into a vision, it usually had a meaning.
Akeion had to go on. HAD to see it through. The Prophecy would come true and he would be there when it happened. Only then could he rest his relentless drive. He could could rest. If eternally or simply retreating into a quiet life, remained to be seen.
Suddenly, his head was full of voices. Cries of anger and rage, whispers that alternated with screams. Grabbing his head, Akeion groaned, gasping in pain and fell to his knees.
“"We are… guardians….. Hyjal!" It rushed through his mind like a searing torture, ripping at nerves with cruel pleasure. He rocked on his knees, weeping quietly. He had had visions during waking hours before but none so strong it would cut his flesh. Hatred so raw it reached out of the spirit world and pained him in broad daylight, in his own city.
“What the hell’s wrong with ye now?” Nehjo stood closer and leaned down to pull the shaking elf to his feet only to have him fall over again. The warrior was confused, glancing around at random passers wondering just how idiotic this all looked.
Faces, angry faces, hate and pain flew through Akeion as he was caught off guard in such a indignant manner. It was maddening and not really possible. And probably just a silly leftover part of a vision he had yet to have. When asleep, he would be safe and wouldn’t hurt so much. In his awake state, it was horrible.
Grasping Nehjo’s armoured hand, he whispered. “Help me get in.” And the orc did. Hauled the elf over his shoulder like a twig and brought him inside. The damned pinky was becoming crazier by the day, he swore.
Somewhere, a lyre was played, a sad and lonely tune full of agony and bad memories.
A faint, eerie melody played through the ancient Runestratum estate. Inquisitive, and exceedingly foolhardy, listeners would have tracked the sound to an open window on the second story of the foreboding structure. The most determined of these, after climbing the rather conveniantly placed lattice located there, would have seen into a most odd room: bookcases from floor to ceiling stretching seemingly endlesly into the distance, mind-bending contrivances floating in the air, confusing shadows and shapes moving almost randomly throughout the room, arcane symbols flashing in and out of existance and, most disturbingly of all, the entire sight illuminated by faerie fire-wreathed skeletons patrolling the area. They might even chance to see, just before their flesh peeled from their bones and they joined the other overly-curious lanterns, a pair of ghostly gloves playing an imposing piano and an enrobed form standing in front of an intricately carved lectern, bedecked in magical sigils and illuminated by stray flashes of power arcing between these.
The Lord Mestopheles Runestratum tentatively stroked the head of a raven figurine, sculptured so masterfully it almost appeared to flit around its perch. This avian guardian kept its obsidian eyes on the lectern underneath it; its eldritch crackling reflected in the black orbs. "Ah the raven, so often represented by magical sculptures of old. I wonder what arcane tomes your eyes have taken in?" he mused to himself, "Soon you will have another entrusted into your expert care: I hear the previous guardian has succeeded in his paltry task." Mestopheles stayed there a moment; staring thoughtfully into the darkness and listening to the haunting tune coming from the piano. Sighing he waved his hand, dismissing the spell animating the gloves (which instantly sagged and fell onto the ivory keys), and ambled amongst his artifacts.
As he walked through the study a ghastly scene caught his eye: to his left there hung a most hideous painting. It depicted a scene, to Mestopheles' expert eye clearly within the nether, of absoloute emptiness. Such a thought is hard to fit into our material minds for we cannot begin to comprehend true nothingness yet here it was, etched in mere paint on a physical canvas. To stare into it long enough was to feel your soul tugging from its earthly tether, longing to float endlessly, lost in the abyss. It was the second to last painting in a collection created by the infamous Rodelby; a painter who had had a nervous breakdown while engaged in drawing Medivh's portrait and had made the mistake of removing his blinders to see all the more clearly. Shortly after this he was forced into an asylum in Dalaran for those affected by the abhorrent aspects of the arcane, his portrait of Medivh yet to be finished while he feverishly completed painting after painting, each somehow disturbing to the human eye. After finishing this particular specimen it is said that he threw his entire body and soul into completing the seemingly forgotten portrait; using his blood when he ran out of red paint. One day the orderlies walked into his room to find him gone, the portrait lying completed in the middle of the floor. This, the last and first of his unfortunate collection, was interred deep within this very study; locked in a cabinet to protect the minds of visitors. Reflecting on this ghoulish history brought back memories from a night, several days ago now, when the Lord had returned home one night to find an unexpected visitor.
The arrogant figure of Ahmras was lounging on a chair, drinking wine pilfered from Mestopheles' private store. His initial reaction was, understandably, anger but he was eventually mollified by the elf's ingratiating explanations. Determined to make the elf pay for his rudeness, however, Mestopheles had first informed him that the wine was the blood of murlocs (something the gullible fool had believed) and then went on to demonstrate an aspect of his power to intimidate the over-confident warlock; namely the opening of a rift in the nether in which to transport the book to any location on Azeroth (the chosen destination in this case directly above Ahmras' head). The elf had left with more questions than answers, something which pleased the nobleman no end. It was the next visitor, however, that had brought this memory to the fore: Sylvain. A recent initiate in the Iron Ring chapter, a rather secretive one at that. He had come to the house, supposedly to introduce himself to a senior Preceptor, making several claims about himself. Mestopheles had lived a long time amongst the courts of Lordaeron however and could sense something was amiss. Firstly Sylvain had claimed that Tremayne had given him his address but Mestopheles knew for a fact that Abraham, an old friend, understood his need for privacy and would not simply send a relatively unknown newcomer to his door. Secondly he claimed to have lost all magical affinity but the fel taint of demons sorrounding him was almost palpable. Determined to pay very close attention to what the man said, therefore, Mestopheles offered to give him a tour of the house; all the while watching his reactions and hoping to see into the motives of this stranger. The cause had seemed lost however until he showed Sylvain a Rodelby painting; his reaction to both the painting and the story of the man had been most perplexing. Shortly after this he had excused himself and the two parted ways, the lord's mind still considering the oddly reticient warlock's intentions.
Images of agony flashed through his minds like thunder raining lightning over the ocean. The horrifying sensation had been overwhelming him for quite some time now, but now at last it was receeding. He was slowly threading towards the lands of the awake again. Slowly the images became more definiate as Asandril started to realize that they were fragments of his memory of recent events. A cold dread almost subdued him when he suddently knew that if the images where memories, opening his eyes would verify the horrible truth. The imagined agony would become real.
Shrinking away from the inevetable was not the Kaldorei way but Asandril wanted to be more aware of what he would see when he opened his eyes; so he faced the agony and started to walk down memory lane.
The pillar of green fire was the first thing he remembered. A ghastly sick fire that had sprung up like a twisted demonic parody of the world tree in the foothills below what was now aptly named the felwood. He had started running toward it, quickly had he measured that it must have originated in the Grove of the Ancient Onu, where he had been just a day before to seek the wisdom of the ancient. The ancient, renowned for his affinity with the northwestern part of Ashenvale now labeled as "Darkshore" had been troubled, he recalled.
Twig and tree, root and bough. Images of running flashed before him next. The forest did not hinder him, the forest was his home and he had spent countless turns of the moons within it. In a time that was shorter than any of the mortal races would have managed he had sprung out into the sacred grove only to behold an image of terror before him.
Ashenvale forest where under atack. War had come to under the shadows of the trees again, not a decade after the Burning Legions invasion. The Pillar of demonic fire had been an assault on Onu himself by foul and twisted magicks forbidden for eons. Howlling with agony of being beset by such unholy corruption, the burning ancient had fought in vain. Asandril recalled stains of rot and corruption throughout his mighty body and had realized the ancient was dying.
He had been to late. corpses of two visitors to the grove laid horribly mutilated on the ground and the assailants had been leaving, appearantly satisfied with their deed. Asandril had glimpsed one of them for a split-second....
With a shudder of pain Asandril opened his eyes and sat up straight in one, rigid motion. Before him laid the Grove in ruins, befouled by the fires and corruptions of demonic magicks. He had known this though as he had realized his memories where true. What had caused him to jerk upwards was when he had remembered the brief glimpse of the assailant.
It had been one of the exiled Highbourne mastering the demonic fires. Asandril was sure of it. Once before had they brought ruin over them all with their reckless use of the forbidden and they had been banished for it. Now they appearantly did not regard their banishment and had returned to bring chaos to Kalimdor once again. A blow had been struck in a must treacherous way!
The fury brought the pain back, an intense throbbing at the back of his head. Something had struck him from behind he realized, leaving him senseless for Elune knows how long. Asandril disregarded it and stood up on wobbly leggs and limped towards the blackened ruin that was the body of Onu. He had to know for certain before he brought word to Auberdine.
A light rain was falling and probably had been for some time. The bark of the ancients body was covered in wet ash and in some places the rotting corruption had bit so deep that he could fit his fist into the wounds; but to his great relief the ancient was alive. Asandril had started his journey back to Auberdine then to bring world of the assault by the befouled highbourne and find a druid that could help mend the ancient.
Siteing in his offices like he always did, looking over the latest pappers about Council bissnius when the door was cast open. And Halduron Brightwing, the leader of the Farstriders enterd his hombel chamber. He was angry, no, furious. I his hand he had a report from his spies.
"M-my Lord Brightwing, w-what are you..." said Essmir.
"What is the meaning of this!" roared Brightwing and smased the report on Essmirs desk.
"I-I don't k-know what..." said Essmir and read the report. According to the report there had been a massacre on Iron Forg guards. And on them there had been a letter in common stating that it had been done in the namn of Royal Council of Silvermoon.
"N-no... No... This can't be..." said Essmir and whent through the Council protacals. There was noting there, no order on an attack. They had even voted agenst forming a Royal Council army or defens force.
"Look, it says that the Royal Council did not even form any armed forces. Or sent any assasins. This is a set up my Lord."
Halduron Brightwing inspected the protecal. Then nodded, and said:
"It would seem that someone wants the dwarfs to hate us... I comand that you send letters reporing this to the Royal Council!"
"As you comand my Lord." said Essmir and started writhing at ones.
/Me via alt
Tremayne glanced through the letter for the third time, pondering the contents of it. Someone had murdered dwarf guards in Ironforge and accourding to Mr Shadowarrow someone wanted to pin the murder on the Royal Council of Silvermoon.
He could not have asked for a better opportunity. The Lord Preceptor of the Iron Ring leaned backwards in his chair and smiled to himself. There was an enemy out there, an enemy to the Sin´dorei. Or at least the Sin´Dorei would percieve it so. There was also the possibility of someone claiming allegiance to the Horde that was behind this deed. Someone who wanted war.
Someone like himself.
It was best however not to publicly announce that possibility. The Sin´Dorei position within the Horde was weak and only recently had the barbarians in Kalimdor reluctantly agreed that they were of more use than bother when some Sin´Dorei emmissaries had come to Thrall bearing proof of the securing of the eastern parts of Eversong forest. It was still a tenous alliance and it would not do to have the Horde looking for traitors in every corner and again associating the alliance with the elves with trouble and grief. No, The Horde needed a common enemy and more so, the Sin´Dorei needed one. So did the Forsaken. Only in a state of war would they be seen as allies. Given a few years of peace Abraham was certain that the Orcs, Tauren and Trolls would turn against them.
If it was an enemy not of the Horde, then who could lay behind this attempt at war-mongering? The possibilities where myriad. The Burning Legion´s agents would benefit from an open war that weakened both parties. So would the Scourge and the Merchant Princes of Undermine would assuredly profit immensly in a state of war, with their alleged neutrality. The Kaldorei would have reasons to mount a war on the Sin´dorei, as they would be furious by now. The "Blood Elfs" where after all exiled from Kalimdor for forbidden practices that according to the dirt-worshipping savages were the reason that the world almost was ruined. Now many of the exiled had returned to Kalimdor and some even entered Ashenvale. This most be viewed as an abbhoration by those who exiled their kin, conveniantly overlooking the fact that they themselves had landed contigents of armed forces on the shores of Eversong.
It all came down to who was the most convenient enemy and that was an easy answer. It had been a long-term goal to escalate the dorei conflict and in this he would oblige his hidden enemy. Picking up a stack of papers Abraham dipped his fine quill pen in dark ink and started to pen down a few letters in a flowing delicate script.
The forsaken stood hidden amongst the rocks and trees observing the tranquil scene before him. The elven druids went about their tasks tending to the large form of the ancient tree elemental unaware of the storm that approached. The Ancient stirred briefly and Darkslade tensed, he had used all his abilities to move so close to the grove undetected but now he feared the Ancient would somehow detect his presence as an aberration amongst the teeming life of the forest around him. He relaxed once more as the Ancient settled once again.
Minutes passed and Darkslade began to wonder whether Ahmras and his force had run into trouble on the road from Splintertree Post. His musings were suddenly shattered by the roar of a green meteor plummeting down from the sky to plunge into the heart of the grove. Elves were flung in all directions from the force of the blast and even the Ancient cowered back attempting to shield itself from the green flames that spewed forth in all directions. From the rubble a huge demonic figure that Darkslade recognised as an Infernal from his Outland travels rose and began to attack the huge Ancient. In the same instant a large Troll appeared blades flashing striking down the Ancient's tenders still dazed from the blast. At last Darkslade spied Ahmras himself arrogantly striding into the grove, a forsaken was with him concentration etched on his rotting features as he battled to keep the Infernal in control.
The fight was swift and bloody and although Darkslade itched to join in he stayed where he was observing and memorising all that he would need for his report back to Bishop Tremayne. As quickly as it had begun a sudden hush settled over the area as the Ancient fell and the infernal was banished back to realm from which it had been summoned. Ahmras and his cronies surveyed the scene flush with their success.
We must strike against Auberdine," Darkslade heard Ahmras say, "They have asked for this wrath upon themselves."
This was not part of the plan Darkslade thought, the target had been the Ancient and this objective was achieved. Auberdine was a far different target, guarded if not heavily so and more than a match for Ahmras's small band he suspected. He thought about revealing himself and forbidding this strike and then decided against. Let the fool stir up more trouble, besides the distraction of the attack on the town would delay help arriving at the grove and would give him time to fulfil his second mission here.
He suddenly became aware of movement to his side, a young night elf, a hunter judging by his garb was creeping through the undergrowth to his right his mouth agape as he witnessed the devastation of the sacred grove. Ahmras and his band had begun their move North to Auberdine and Darkslade was unsure whether this elf would have seen the Blood Elf 's face. Stirring from his hiding place the forsaken began to silently move to intercept the night elf. The elf was oblivious as the Forsaken removed a padded club from his tunic and closed to within a few feet of the elf. Some hunters instinct suddenly made the elf turn but it was too late, the club impacted on his head with a resounding thud and the elf crumpled to the floor.
Without a backward glance the Forsaken made his way towards his second target of the night the small shrine set a few metres away from the grove. Pulling a small vial and a tightly rolled scroll from another concealed pocket on his tunic he approached the small glowing pool of water held in the Shrine's font. The Archmage Mestopheles had assured him that the scroll would nullify the magic of the water long enough for a sample to be retrieved safely. The strange words on the scroll seemed gibberish but he read them aloud over the font as instructed. As he reached the end of the scroll the light of the water dimmed. Gingerly the Forsaken dipped the vial into the water, cursing as his glove started to sizzle as his tainted flesh met the purity of the waters.
Nonetheless the sample was obtained and carefully making sure the stopper of the vial was secure before pocketing it the Forsaken melted back into the shadow's. It had been an interesting night....
Leaving Shadowfang Keep after his meeting whit The Master Burgrsch was had left the Gronn heart there. In the Keep where the Ghost had taken up his stay, the Home of the Council. He had taken a young Orc warrior whit him. A orc he had known for a lonh time, a Warsong orc. A good leader and comander.
A new Blackhand, only whit a brain this time. The Master had been more intrested in him then the Gronns heart. Witch the elder orc could understand. Soon the Gronn heart would be put to good use. Of corse he had heard the rummors. The elf where going to war, the Council could use this. To unite the Horde and build a network that could rule it.
Maybe even the world...
The elder sat down in the Inn in Garadar remembering the meeting he had just left.
The wind swirled and twisted through the leaf-dappled moonlight of Moonglade, tugging and teasing the long white hair of Eulyss Stormspear as he sat in contemplation beneath a mighty oak. His golden eyes half open, he gave no indication of seeing the arrival.
"Ishnuh a'lah, stranger." His soft, weary voice greeted the intruder of his meditation. He listened patiently to the news, reflecting that his brother would be the better recipient.
"Very well. I shall see that he hears of this. In any event, you have my support, by tooth and claw."
The stranger departed, leaving Eulyss to ponder how he would break the shocking discovery to his brother Eucharion, and who of the Order of the Abbey of the Dawn could be trusted to put aside loyalty to the Templars temporarily.
The Eversong Woods were at peace, the boughs of the eternally colourful trees stirring beneath a gentle breeze, the sunlight illuminating the leaves that carpeted the forest floor in a multitude of autumn shades.
From the jutting spire of the Sunsail Anchorage, Sylvain Corvinius eyed the Wretched which swarmed below with a haughty gaze, lifting a goblet of wine to his rotting features to take a soft sip, and then smack his decaying lips appreciatively.
"A fine bouquet, a sore shame it lacks in taste and odour," he sullenly remarked to himself, allowing the goblet to slip from his grasp and fall shimmering in the golden rays to the hard earth. Allowing himself to sink back into his cushioned chair, he reflected on the recent events that had chanced upon him, a slight sneer adorning his features.
The Magister he had encountered in Silvermoon had posed little threat, his drugged wine loosening his tongue and eventually leaving him out cold on the floor of the Inn. With the information he had acquired, Sylvain had swiftly incorporated himself into the Iron Ring, where he had come across another interesting character, the Arch Mage Mestopheles Runestratum.
At the thought of their brief meeting, Sylvain's hand slid to his chest, massaging it slowly and methodically without even truly realising it himself. Dalaran. Indeed his thoughts had never left the place, his intentions growing each day among his also deepening madness. His lust for refuge had not only granted him that, but new possibilities...
Soon. The single word which provided Sylvain with so much comfort. His keen hearing had picked up traces of the conversation between Ahmras and Mestopheles at the estate in Silverpine, and ever since he had obsessed over its purpose. All he knew, was that some form of powerful, arcane artifact lingered there, somewhere, and if he was to have his hands on it, a renewed course of action against Dalaran and it's ignorant denizens would be open to him.
Sylvain smiled widely, allowing his hand to return to the arm of the chair like the other, dead eyes failing to reflect the sunlight. Soon, he would have his revenge and all of Azeroth would learn to fear the name of Count Sylvain Corvinius!
Daley covered his head as a small vase flew past and shattered into the oaken wall.
Another bam, and another painting, this one of a particulary shiny fruit Daley would assume was some sort of star-apple, fell onto the floor, shred to pieces by green nature magic.
"Defeat!? I'll show them defeat!"
"Issy! Calm down!".
Daley had rushed forth and grabbed Isilvara's arm, just as the enraged druidess was about to throw a very old and very delicate looking spectral orb out the window of the colossal druid tree. Isilvara merely dismissed his human hand, sighed, and then calmly placed the orb back on a table with both her hands. Daley stroked his hand through his own hair, exhaling. Isilvara had been rampaging for hours.
"Dis not as if the night elves have been defeated, innit? I mean yes, your personal forces and your mercenaries have failed in gaining allies, and you are losing ground in Eversong, but..."
Isilvara slowly turned to face him, her eyes on the verge of tears, and yet her wrath clearly visible. Daley was sure she'd explode any moment.
"...But?...But what?", Isilvara said, barely hiding her fury. There was something bestial about Isilvara when she was angry. Many times, one would have to blink when they learned she was a druidess. She was sometimes refered to by other druids in mockery as "The moonlight", or "she whom never has dirt under her nails". And yet, there she was, growling like a frenzied bear. her hair a mess from all the stress the Dorei wars had wrecked on her, dark shades under her eyes from the lack of sleep and nourishment. Her teeth gritting as she spoke, fanglike and menacing. Exhaustion and under nourishment was as visible to Daley as his own left hand. It was hard for him to grasp the fact that somewhone so faelike and enchanting could stand before him, appearing as a wicked witch. Isilvara truly did appear her age, for once.
Truly, she had lost alot of influence within Kalimdor with what many Kaldorei refered to as "the war of the blind". They did not agree with Isilvara's views upon the Sin'dorei, nor the threat the so called prophet posed against them. Rather, they accused the druidess of madness and corruption.
"...But WHAT!?", Isilvara repeated.
"There's still tha council of war, innit?"
Isilvara sighed. She turned and covered her face with both hands, breathing slowly.
Daley tried to get the facts together. The massacre of Ironforge guards had failed miserably, as the Royal Council had sent emissaries to Ironforge. It was now impossible for Isilvara to earn the enmity of the Mithril Guard against the Sin'dorei, atleast without revealing herself, and thus any chance of even hoping to gain the assistance of the so called Stormwind Militia was futile. If the Kaldorei themselves would not support the Dorei wars, then who would?
"Leave me.", Isilvara commanded Daley, hoarsely, her voice strained from screaming. "I need time to think...".
Daley started walking towards the exit of the great tree, leading to a long set of stairs going downwards towards the rest of Feathermoon. However, he suddenly turned and said:
"Issy...Maybe...maybe it's time to accept defea-"
"DON'T!", Isilvara said, still not facing him. Daley sighed, turned, and walked, mumbling to himself.
"...More stubborn then an Alterac Ram..."
- * *
Laughters. Hordes of laugher. Fingers were pointed at Isilvara, gloating, laughing. She was naked, reveling in a pool of blood. The blood of her breathren, the blood of her fellow druids. As she rose from her pitiful pool, she watched around her was Kalimdor was set to the flame. She saw the tree's burning, the villages crumbling to ashes, the cries of Kaldorei women as they were forced upon by savage orcs. To Isilvara's left, Isilvara could distinguishly make out the corpse of Daley, and the head of her youngest student, Jaelani.
Suddenly, there was a bright light. The sun had rose in a second. The landscape had changed...She was in Quel'Thalas, dressed in nothing but chains, being escorted through the laughing crowd towards the Court of the Sun. Children were throwing rocks at her exposed body, and Sin'Dorei men and women alike spit insults. Isilvara's body was full of wounds, some still open. She was weak and dehydrated, and the chains around her neck, wrists and ankles were heavy, warm, and wet from sweat and blood.
Finally, the guards that escorted her stopped. Isilvara felt the poke of a spear in her gut, and with a gasp, fell to her knee's, her silvery white hair touching the ground. Infront of her, the sun was blocking her sight, but Isilvara could clearly make out that there were men and women infront of her. Sin'Dorei men and women. She knew she stood before the Royal Council of Silvermoon.
Suddenly, a man stepped forward. "I, Essmir, chairman of the royal council of Silvermoon, hereby declare the trial of Isilvara Heartmourn open."
There was silence. Isilvara could feel the heat of her own breath against her chest.
"Isilvara Heartmourn. You are hereby declared guilty of witchcraft, murder and fanatiscism. You are a prisoner of war, and your sentence's have been selected by the council."
Isilvara saw two council members exchancing looks, as a purple scroll was handed down from one to another until it finally reached the man known as Essmir. He unfolded it, and read loudly.
"By the power and authority granted to me by The Cenarion Circle, The Cenarion Enclave, The Cenarion Expedition and the Cenarium, I, Shan'Do Cherwina Dawnstrider, hereby strip Isilvara Heartmourn of the title Shan'Do, and her membership in the Cenarion Circle, The Cenarion Enclave, The Cenarion Expedition and the Cenarium are hereby revoked."
Isilvara grit her teeth as the Sin'Dorei around her cheered, roaring with mockery and celebration.
As she raised her eyes once more, Isilvara was another scroll being passed to the chairman.
"And now, heed the words of the prophet, Akeion Greythorn! Lord and master of Vermilion!"
And there he was. Isilvara glared with hatered unmatched as she smirking elf lord approached, carrying with him the scroll passed to him by Essmir. He raised his arms to order silence, and then started reading the scroll.
"By the order and degreement of The Royal Council of Silvermoon, heed me!..."
But Isilvara heard something else. Her golden eyes burned with hatered as they met with the cold, jade glare of Akeion. In her head, she could hear him, whispers of paranoia and despair.
"So...We meet at last... And under what better circumstances?"
"...That the renegade druidess be sentenced to death. First, however, it is of outmost importance that we sort out the betrayers of our kin! The TRUE betrayers, that be!"
Isilvara's heart froze, and her eyes widened. Akeion's cold stare met with hers once more as his whispers echoed inside her aching skull.
Isilvara heard the moan of agony from a young man, being thrown in the sand to her left. Her heart was filled with dread, and though her chains did not allow her to turn her head to the left, she could clearly hear his breath...
"...Dakrin Sunstone, the Royal Council of Silvermoon hereby declare you guilty of heresy and desertion. I hereby sentence you and your immortal soul, to death."
Isilvara wanted to scream, but there was no breath left in her. No energy to struggle. All she saw was the shadow of Lloth Silkspire, the Sin'Dorei rogue, materialize and the touch of metal against skin as her nephew was beheaded.
"NO!", Isilvara screamed, as she rose from the floor. There was silence around her, and the night breeze carried with it purple flower petals in the room Isilvara had shattered. She was awake now. She was soaked from sweat. Somewhere in the night, a harpie was singing.
Sun rose. Daley brushed the last of the morning tiredness away from his face as he dressed. He felt like a dog, having slept in the grass outside of the great tree. But now he stood up, and marched upwards the great stairs to see if Isilvara had calmed. But as he entered, the tower was empty. All the broken furniture and artifacts had been swept away, and there was not a living soul in sight. Daley later learned that Isilvara had taken the boat into the mainland, and so followed.
It took him hours, but eventually, Daley found Isilvara standing infront of a small tree, chanting. As he approached, the tree sprung to life, unrooting and marching down the hill.
"...Issy? Whatcha doin?"
"...Do not disturb me, Daley.", was all she said before halting to the next tree, exhausted and hoarse. Daley went forth to support her, but Isilvara merely pushed him away. A second seconds later, yet another tree had come awake and followed the first one's lead. Infact, Daley had been wondering why there were so many holes in the ground. But now he knew.Now, he realized.
"This is madness, Issy.", Daley said. "No...This is practice...Akeion can not evade my wrath forever...", Isilvara said trancelike, as if still asleep. She walked towards the ravine, and Daley walked with her. He came to a stop at the ravine' edge, gasping at the bizarre view of a thousand treants and ancients standing in lines, readying for war. The entire forest seemed to have been raised.
"Issy!...What have you done!?" Isilvara said nothing for a long time, the echoes from the dream still lingering in the back of her head. "...If I can't defeat the Sin'Dorei of Eversong...", Isilvara said, raising her hands to the skies. The clouds seemed to change, the skies growing darker. "...Then Eversong Forest itself shall rise to consume them!"
Without further warning, rain fell from the skies, thunder and lightning following it. At once, the army of treants and tree spirits started marching as one towards the boats at the north, enslaved, created for the sole purpose of war. Isilvara's rain spell had drained all of her remaining power, as she collapsed in Daley's arms.
As Daley watched the legion of treefolk make it's way towards the boats, he could not help but to chuckle at the irony. His friend had done everything in order to protect theese forests...The very same forests which she had now awoken, enslaved, and sent to war to face certain death.
How the Cenarion Circle and the Kaldorei would react when they learned of this, he dared not think of. Daley mounted his trusted steed, with the uncounscious Isilvara sleeping on his shoulders, and set off into the wilderness of Feralas.
Hizazan peeked inside the abandoned hut, that stood in a shadowy corner of the Drag. Dirt and blood stained its insides, though one would hardly notice since the only source of light was a hole in the ceiling, which only iluminated a small spot in the middle of the room. A worn chair stood in the beam of light.
"Sit down" a deep voice commanded. Hiz tried to locate the source of the voice, but it seemed come from everywhere around him. He approached the chair cautiosly and sat down.
"I think you know why're you're here Frosttusk" the voice said.
"Yah, I know mon. An' call me Hizazan. Ya aint got da privileges da refere ta me wid' dat name" Hiz answered, still trying to locate the voice.
"As you wish, Hizazan. We have one last task for you, before you are off the hook"
"Fine mon. Whatevah. But dis damn bettah be da las' one or I'll hunt ya down an' split ya 'ead from ya neck" Hiz hissed.
"This will be the last task, that we promise. We need you to retrieve an artifact. Rumor has it that a book of great power has ended up in the hands of some of your fellow Horde friends. As you might figure, we cannot let that happen" the voice instructed.
"So ya wan' it back? A'ight. I can do dat mon... I be allowed to kill, right?" Hiz asked.
"You can do whatever you want, just aslong as you get that book and deliver it to us. And then your debt will be repaid. There is a scroll under your chair which describes the details. Do not disappoint us" the voice answered.
"Da word disappoint aint in my vocabulareh mon" Hiz grinned and grabbed the scroll under the chair. He stood up and went outside the house. A chill ran down his spine. He quickly turned around on his heel. The house was gone...
Grand Master Rogue Fahrad was pleased, his men had found out things about the elder Orc they had kidnaped then most of his own peolpe knew. Not even the spies of the Horde or Alliance had got this much information on the old warlock. And it was this that hade lead to his kidnap.
However not all of his followers was happy whit the situation. Lord Jorach Ravenholdt, thought it was to risky. As he always did, this of corse irritated Fahrad.
"What if this Orc cult chooses to simply storm the Manor?" asked Jorach.
"And risk making themselfs known? Not to mention that the life of one of the highest ranking officers? I think not..." said Fahrad whit a annoyed tone in his voice.
"So lets say they give you what you want..." beigan Jorach but was cut of by Winstone.
"My Lords, the letter has been sent and the prisoner is safely placed in the basement. Under the guard of Master Thunderwood." reported the good gentleman. Fahrad liked Mr Wolf as he often called himself. He understood that just becose you stole and killed for a living you need not be uncivil.
"Wait, did you just say: "What you want"? Was it not you that said that we could: "Make this information work for us?", tell me if Im wrong!?" almosed screamed Fahrad. He dissliked loseing his temper, as he tought of that as a sighen of weakness.
"I meant for blackmail or to sell! Not to used it in some sceam to join the blasted Shadow Council!" said Jorach wail grining his teeth in anger.
"Money?! Was that all you tought we could get out of this? We have the chans of becoming a part of a world power! And all you can see is the money!?" now Fahrad screamed and shock his head. "You are both exuse!"
"As you will mi'lord." said Winstone and left.
"I demand to speak whit the orc later!" said Jorach and stormed away. _________________________________________________________________________________
Burgrsch was wake by something liking his face. As he opende his eyes he saw that it was a cat. The next thinh he notesed was that all his cloth was missing, as well as his sword. He was next to naked lying on a stone floor. And a dwarf armed whit a dagger was standing over him.
"Ye'r awake? Good, now don't ye be sceard. We won' be hurtin' ye... Unless ye cult budys not be givin' tha boss what he want cose then we will have to be cutni' ye." said the dwarf whit a warm smile.
"What? Who are you!? Where am I?" asked Burgrsch.
"Why, your in the celler of the Ravenholdt Manor! Sorry about the taking all your stuff really! Seing a almost naked orc ain't exacly what I call a fun thing! But we can't have you use magics on us now can we?" the one whom had anserd him was a gnome.
"Wait a second... Are you from the Alliance? For if you are I will not talke!" said Burgrsch diffantly.
"We? Alliance? Ye be a fun' orc lad! No, we are part of tha Assassin’s League!" said the dwarf.
Burgrsch did not know what was going on. But one thing was sure he was in big trouble. And he could only hope someone would save him.
Ximrana had not always been called "Tainted-Blood". One she had been called angel, or diven being. Her last namn had been Dreakmore. After her mother Lady Erina Dreakmore, her father had been a orc warlock. She did not remember it all but she had been told after her mother and all members of the Cult that had spwaned her and the other 12 children of half-orc blood had been killed.
What thos who enslaved her at the tender age of five was that her mother had been apart of a evil cult who worshiped demons. They had belived that she and her kin the half-orcs where a higher form of life. That the fusion of orc and man created the beast being one could imagine. But the same peolpe also repetedly toled her that they where wrong! And that she sould be thankfull they where good peolpe whom did not kill her.
But as Ximrana now sleeped after finally becoming free. Free of Alterac where she had been a slave untill the City had fallen when she was at the age of 15 years. And then taken to Northshire Abby, where the monks made her "repent" her dark heritage. She had done that for 8 years and more. And now as she sleeped as a free women on the other side of the world among big blue beings whom spoke her toung whit a deep acsent she dreamt.
She dreamt about her mother holding her in her arms. She was young not older the maybe 4 years. Her mother smiled. Her mother the fine lady of Alterac, Lord Aiden Perenolde knew about the Cult. Infact he was one of it's leaders. He had, as he said, forseen that the Horde would win. For theres was a race far superior to humens. Thos this was the only way to avoid being annihilate.
Three of the cultist where standing in the center of the fine chamber chanting and making purpel lights come from there hands. Making a circil in the air that looked ilke a hole in space. It stinked, but Ximrana was still happy. Becorse this only meant one thing, her dady was coming to see her. And then a orc stepped out of the circil. But it was not her dady. It was the sceary orc. Non of the half-orc children knew him by namn but all the adults called him master.
"Ah, I tought only the familys where having there reunion master... I... " the one whom spoke was Lord Aiden Perenolde. He was speaking in the orcs toung, out of respect of the master.
"Oh, shut you mouth Aiden! I come here whenever I pleas! It also happens that the Warchieftan comands more information... He do not trust you as I do, my friend..." He spat the last word as if it made him sick to say. Lord Aiden Perenolde bowed his head and followed the sceary orc out. The sceary orc, or master. almost never looked on the children.
"Here he comes love..." whisperd mother in her ear. And there he came her dady. He was much older then her momy. And she had only seen him a few times before, this time he was whering only a pair of colth pants a belt whit a big burning blade in it. The other orcs sometimes called him the Blade of Hatred.
She ran to him and he welcamed her whit open arms. Most orc males whos half-orc children where girls would not so much as look on them. But not her dady, he huged her whit thos big strong arms and hoist her in to the air. Smiling all the time, he even kissed her. Something only the other orc females did to ther half-orc children. And she knew he loved her.
"How is my little earth spirit?" asked her father that was his nicknamn for her.
"Good dady... And dady guess what?"
"I missed you!"
"I missed you to..." after saying that he kissed her on the forhead. But the the deam turned from good to bad. The scaey orc came back followed by a shaken and swetting Lord Perenolde.
"I am sorry my orc-breatheren. But as you knew when coming here we could not stay as we use to. We are called to war, and most return to the Horde now." said the scary orc and walk to the three chanting men re-entering to hole and left.
"Your leaving so soon? Burg, my love?" Erina asked her father whit tears coming from her eyes.
"I am sorry to say yes... We march to war ones agen... And we most go... We may not see one another agen for a long time..." anserd Ximrana felt how her small hands griped her dady harder and harder.
"No! You can't go dady! Pleas!" she cryed tears poring out of her eyes.
"I am sorry but I most go..." he gave his child to her mother, kissed her and her mother one last time en left via the hole. That was the last time she saw her father.
The next image was even worse. She was in her mothers family manor, but there was fire every where. Peolpe where screaming her mother ones more had her in her arms. She was runing followed by three of the familys guards, there where fleaing the house via a secret tunnel, the entrens to it was however in the main hall. All other guards where dead. Killed by falling buring logs or arrows fired in to there house.
As they came in to the main hall something hit the bared front doors. The doors shoke and racked, almost throwing themself open. And then they where hit ones more, on the other side stode humen soldiers. The pair holding the battleram jumped to the side and the soldiers behide them fired there crossbows. It was only quick thinking on the guards part that saved Lady Erina Dreakmore an her child.
Crying Erina held out her daughter screaming:
"Here take her! Kill me! Rap me! Just don't hurt my child! I beg of you pleas!"
"Privet Wilkins take the littil moster!" comanded a man in armour that ones had been shining whit. On his tabard he had a whit hand on a blue background. As he had comaned a soldier grabed the half-orc holding her tight.
"Kneel heretic!" he said to the mother raising a massive two handed hammer. Lady Erina Dreakmore fell to her knees crying. "Any last words?"
Erina looked at her child and said: "I love you angel..."
As soon as she had said the word "angel" the hammer fell and crushed her skull. Ximrana got some of her mothers blood and brians on her face. The man whom comanded the gruop of soldiers wipe the blood, skull and brians of his weapon. "A heretic to the end... one most respect that devotion..." He mutterd.
"And the kid, Sir?" asked the soldier holding Ximrana who had stoped crying, It was not that she wasn't sad. But more that she was to crused to cry or do anything but look on the pool of blood that had been her mothers face,
"Comander Aedelas Blackmoore, has for some reson comanded that all half-orc abominations we find are to be left alive. I have no idea why... But I am not going to qvestion my orders..." anserd the man in blood staned whit armour.
At this note Ximrana cast herself out of sleep gasping. She had had that deam many times, and it always got worse. She cryed, it was the midel of the night and all around her was dark.
/Me via alt
He was short of time, he realized. The irony of it almost made him laugh out loud like a madman. He had risen from the dead and with the healing skills at his disposal he could maintain the freshness of his undead body indefinatly. Years from now, decades, centuries even, -Bishop Abraham Tremayne would still walk this earth if no accident or enemy tore him from it. Time was not an issue, should not be an issue for one who had conquered death. Yet he was short of it.
The long awaited returns of the Countess Zian de Reich and Lady Lyenna Hellebrandt had both been welcome, yet disturbing issues had been raised from it that demanded his personal attention. Ahmras had fail to make contact since his brazen assault at Auberdine, which could be interpreted in alot of ways. The game must be played even when players are amiss. Hostilities between the elven kindreds had failed to move to open war yet. Soothing voices on both sides had preached a clemency that on the Horde side almost bordered to treason, -certainly to cowardice. Add to that the clumsy attempt to frame the Lord Mestopheles Runestratum for an assault of a barkeep in Silvermoon.
So much to do, so little time. Yet, the task was not a daunting one. In every situation there was an opportunity. The issue was to find them and use them to their full extent.
In one dark evening both the truth and a great evil were set flying in to the night sky and with it the ill-fated conspirator riding the winds of his foul fel magics. The Lord Runestratum mused on the many and intricate ways in which to level vengeance against the fool who would seek to steal an archmage's belongings and consipre to keep him trapped within his own home. He regretted his decision to humour Sylvain now; now that the warlock's true power and cowardice had been revealed. Surely it would have been better, in hindsight, to destroy hi mand his coiterie the very moment they stepped foot on Runestratum soil. Sadly this had not been so and now a potent magical artifact was in the hands of a man who Mestopheles would be hard pressed to entrust a simple razor blade. That is not to say Sylvain overpowered him of course, events (as they are inclined to do) had transpired in a far more convoluted fashion...
I remember a great thirst. An overpowering urge. A need in its most primordial sense... Accordingly I reached for the brandy bottle and poured myself a glass. Such is the way I spend most of my evenings: warming these old, dessicated bones besides a fire while sipping upon the 'fire from the vine' as I call it. In fact it would be reasonable to assert that this was my last remaining pleasure in an existance devoid of feeling. Of vitality. It had not always been this way; in life I had been something of a hedonist and had eagerly consumed every experience on offer. But I digress. Suffice it to say that this was how I was found when the young but decidedly cold figure of a Sin'Dorei walked through my door.
"You are to remain here." She stated as her companions filtered through my doorway: a troll and another two elves. With apathetic eyes I took in the scene and must admit to scoffing somewhat: the very idea of these.. .these whelps atempting to put a great man such as I under house arrest was absurd. So absurd in fact I couldn't help but feel that this was a joke of some sort. I had been expecting company of course; Sylvain had promised to deliver unto my caring hands those that had arranged the inept framing of my good self. Sylvain's knowledge and eagerness to please had aroused my suspicions beforehand and coupled with his suspicious visiting of my abode some time ago I was decidedly wary of his motives. So it was to no particular surprise when he threw his shadow across my domain.
In all fariness he had attempted to disguise himself, alas his disguise was as useless and meagre as his plots against me. After all; who precisely was he attempting to fool? An archmage is the answer. An archmage who had been dabbling in politics since he was a child and considered this sort of thing nothing more than a rather tiresome game. It was obviously to his conternation, then, when I stated his name. It would not be too far to say my insight in to the matters helped me identify him but the main credit goes to the 'true-seeing' spell inscribed over the house by my predecessors long ago. I would probably have seen through it beforehand by my own merit of course. My observational skills have always been praised quite highly. I would go so far to say that they are unsurpassed amongst my 'peers'... Where was I? Oh yes. Sylvain entered the house with an air of smug self-satisfaction. It would seem he had prepared something of a soliloquey but I cut him short; while satisfying to the actor they are most wearying to everyone else. In hs defense he didn't let it faze him and made his commands very clear: he wanted the book. He didn't know what book, just THE book. I, being in possession of all the facts, knew exactly what book he was talking about but decided it would be ammusing to play the fool as it were. Realising it would be useless interrogating me (if he had tried he would have found himself severely lacking in the body department I assure you) and set about rifling through my belongings. I found this rather vexxing; it was a most crass and vulgar thing to do. Besides which they were most uncivilised about the entire affair, throwing priceless contrivances and antiques any which way. It was at this point I decided enough was enough and confronted the fool about it.
I shan't bore you with the details as undoubtedly should you ever hear him recount the tale (though I wouldn't pay much attention: he is quite the bore) he will spend a great deal of time recounting his 'marvellous' schemes and 'ingenious' plots. Suffice it to say he revealed to me that he was the one who had arranged everything. Fortunately one of his henchman chose that time to locate the book and activate the ward I had placed upon it. He was immediately struck ill of course and Sylvain faltered in his grand speech. This pleasent distraction did not last long sadly and soon enough he was at it again. It was most irritating and I was contemplating crushing him there and then when he gave the order for them to attack me. Me. A Lord (and an archmage no less) inside my own home. This act of savagery simply crossed the line. It is most improper and rather barbaric. Put simply what followed was a prime example of when one as powerful as myself becomes annoyed: a veritable symphony of ice, fire and arcane magic flowed through the air as I unleashed the power of the nether upon them. Not the full brunt of course, I am not so crass as to waste it on simpletons who cannot appreciate the fine art of manipulating the forces that power this world. By the end they were all disabled and no longer presented any form of threat (not that they did beforehand of course, not to me anyway) and I turned my attention back to Sylvain who despite his blustering seemed ratehr ashen faced.
A brief magical battle followed and, despite myself, I must admit to being a tad impressed with his skill. Consorting with demons is certainly a potent path to follow, if not a corrupting and incredibly foolhardy one. After some time I grew bored of the affair and decided to show him a sample of true power. Mixing the magic stored within my household (magic weaved in to the very timbers by generations of Runestratums) with my own I prepared a spell. A most powerful spell. When it was unleashed the unfortunate warlock was sent flying in to the opposite wall and crumpled in to a heap at the bottom. Somewhat like a puppet with its strings severed. I ensured he was down and mocked him for his idiocy and turned to deal with the others who had this point recovered enough to stand. This was when Sylvain showed the full extent of his cowardice, savagery and unrefinenment. The uncivilised cad actually fired at me when my back was turned. Momentarily dazed he sprang at me, stole the book and fled. By the time I had recovered he was gone and I was left with his weakling followers.
To cut a long and rather tedious story short I cured there curse-stricken comrade, interrogated them, discovered they were under a glamour, removed it and then placed them under one of my own. To their knowledge should they seek out Sylvain they shall die horribly. Which is true, to a certain extent. What I didn't reveal of course is that so will he...
Grand Master Fahrad had no intrest of hearing the Taurens exuses. He had faild in keeping the elder orc inprisoned. He had clamed that a rogue had helped him escape. But what of it, it was still the taurens falt. He had been the Orcs jailor and his prisoner had escaped.
"Enough! Enough of your exuses! Your fired!" Fahrad screamed in anger.
"B-but boss... It wasn't my falt! She played whit my mind and sneacked in weapons to the orc... I..." the Tauren tryed to explan.
"One more word and you'll be dead and fired! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!!!" Fahrad roared.
The Tauren snorted and made the misstake of speaking agen, he said: "What about my pay!?"
Whit a insane roar and assailed the Tauren. The massive being roared in pain and grasp his head. Where is right ear had ones been. Shacking in anger the finest Rogue in all of Azeroth said whit his teeth pinch he said: "Thats all the pay you'll get... Now one more sound and next time it will be your head... Now go!"
The Tauren left fast fearing for his head. But Fahrad was still not alown. Lord Jorach Ravenholdt has at his side, he was smilening. He put his hand in the inner poket of his clothing and pulled out a letter.
"We got this letter from one of our spies this morning. It's from the old orc." said the old Lord whit a smile.
Fahrad knew that the Lord Ravenholdt never did anything for free. And this letter heald the fate of Fahrad. He had to know what was whriten in it. No matter the cost.
"What do you want for it?" asked Fahrad.
"Your promis that whatever dark rits this cultists want us to do I will take no part in them! And the same gose for any who feels the same way I do!" said Jorach whit a smile.
"And you most promise not to let this intefer whit Ravenholdt bissnis! We still fight the Syndicate! No matter what!"
"Done and done! Now give it!"
"Say 'Pleas' Fahrad..."
"Pleas give it!"
The elder lord gave him the letter. And he read the words, they made him smile. He had done it, even tho the orc had escaped he had been impressed. Impressed that there spies had found him out and that they had so easly traked him down. He, Grand Master Fahrad was now a member of the New Shadow Council.
"We are running out of test subjects, milords" The unease was plain to see on the chief embalmers bloated face as he was kneeling on the floor in front of the area Tremayne occupied together with Lord Mestopheles Runestratum. Besides being a healthy bit of respect for two of the Lords of the Iron Ring, his expression was also a sign of failure.
"Running out?" Mestopheles scoffed. "Not two weeks ago you were given almost 40 subjects. How in the nether could you have managed to go through all of them is this short time?" Mestopheles appearant annoyance made the embalmer even more nervous than before.
"Surely there is some progress to report, child?" Tremayne said before Lord Runestratum could verbally flay the chief embalmer. "Me and the good Archmage here are just dying to here about the yields of your labours."
The Chief embalmer thoughtfully scratched the blackened rash on his cheek as if truly contemplating before he proceeded. "Well milords. There is of course. Night Elven flesh can be sewn and stiched just like any meat, but I believe that it is less likely to spoil and go bad, sers. Fine Abomination meat ´tis"
"We already knew this you peasant imbecille." Mestopheles shot the Chief embalmer a baleful glance. "How do they react to the fluid and in what manners have you applied it?" He had spent weeks researching the waters that were retrieved from Darkshore by ser Ivar and found certain iregularities that merited further testings. A reagent fluid had been devised through painstaking labour to be tested on the Night Elves taken from the Ghostlands expedition. 52 Night elf bodies had been transported by the meatwagons to Undercity and 35 taken alive for "questioning", as they had informed their Sindorei allies. It was the first time they had such an abundancy of test subjects from the reclusive Kalimdorian race.
"I´ve fed it to them, good ser. Also three have been conserved in the substance. They all turn ill and die from it milords. That is why I need more bodies." The Chief Embalmer crossed his arms over his chest and nodded sagely.
Tremayne had heard enough. "Lord Runestratum, it seems we need to make three changes before proceeding with the experiments. The good Chief Embalmer here has used up our supply by performing the same test over and over again. A test which incidentally destroys the subject and thus can be tried only a limited amount of time. We need a new supply, we need to discuss what can be added to the formula, and we need someone else to lead the field testings. Someone more ..capable."
The look of stupefied fear on the Chief Embalmers face was almost enough to soothe the fires of rage that grew within him. Such waste! "You, child. Have failed the Forsaken with your uselessness. A Forsaken that cannot serve squanders the dark gift and has lost all priviledge to continued existance. This is a grave sin, child."
"W-what... p-please milord... I-I.. What will you do w-with me?"
"Rejoice, child! I shall absolve you and you will atone for these sins and no longer be useless." It was child´s play to dominate the simple mind of the embalmer and have him go himself to the Apothecary society and ask to be cut up and have his part used to give birth to another Abomination to keep the Queens peace.
Mestopheles stroked the arm of his chair thoughtfully. He had warned Abraham from the offset that trusting the sample in the hands of a fool, a peasant fool no less, would be nothing but a waste of time. Indeed; had he had more time to look at it the breakthrough they needed would have undoubtedly come. Afterall, HE was the Lord Mestopheles Runestratum! Last in the line of the illustrious Runestratum family, proud archmages of Dalaran every one. That... creature was none of this. He was a country bumpkin awarded social status because he was handy with a needle and had the good fortune to die and be raised again. It had been a most perilous endeavour to acquire these subjects and each one was wasted; frittered away. Mestopheles scowled at the thought of this and brought the amber liquid to his atrophied lips (one of the few pleasures remaining in his unlife).
While staring in to the liquid as it danced inside the glass the Lord Runestratum could not help his mind turning to more troublesome matters; Abraham's actions were justified and in his place Mestopheles would have done far worse, but when his old friend spoke in the manner he did he could not help but feel a little unnerved. Mestopheles had lived a long time and in that time had heard that tone before; invariably from the mouths of fanatics and zealots. He trusted in the sanity of the good Bishop (at least insofar as a man such as Mestopheles can trust) but occasionally feared that perhaps insanity had taken hold of the once care free man and in this case had tempered his mind till it was hard as diamond. Still, even if this were true the man had his uses and it was through his dealings the Iron RIng had become a powerful Order once more so the Lord was confident enough to be able to benefit from the situation and leave as soon as the situation got... interesting.
Determined not to worry himself unduly the aged Archmage extricated himself from the chair (a slow and painful process for all involved) and willed himself in to his study where the object that had tormented him for months lay. The eulsive agent of success for the Iron Ring's plans were contained in that little vial and yet it had, true to form, thoroughly stumped him. Sighing he carefully pushed it to the side of the work desk and muttered a cantrip under his breath to detect any scrying spells. Satisfied with the results he proceeded to withdraw a complicated-looking rod from within the recesses of his robes and tap one of the desk's many compartments; this flashed an angry green and proceeded to fizzle out of existance, replaced by a seemingly empty void. Mestopheles seemed unpertubed by this turn of events and repeated the procedure with several, apparently randomly chosen, other compartments. The very last one, however, opened normally; as if the actions of its brethren had never occured and the desk was nothing more than its namesake.
From within it he took out a tiny sliver of blood red metal. If the Dark Lady knew he had kept this for himself he would undoubtedly be killed but as a previous member of the Kirin Tor he could simply not allow such an artifact to slip out of his hands without at least keeping something. He laid it on the desk and staired at it awhile, willing his hands to stop trembling. It was always like this beforehand; the anticipation of what might be ahead. Researching powerful magical artifacts had always been the Lord's greatest thrill in life and even now he could not stop himself from feeling that momentary surge of fear and excitement. He laid back for a moment, savouring this tantilising moment. Finally satiated he placed the maginifying goggles over his eyes (a complicated contraption comprised of glasses, lenses, metal joints and leather straps) and set about his business. It was much to his surprise when the vial containing the moonwell water shot across the desk and stuck fast to the bloodstone. Mestopheles had played this game too long to display surprise but he was momentarily taken aback; in his long years he had not seen such a violent attraction. It was in these same long years that he had learned to trust his instinct in these matters so with nervous anticipation he removed the vial's stopper and, momentarily whispering a prayer to any who might hear him, dropped the sliver in to the glowing water...
When Mestopheles awoke he found two things: firstly his head felt like someone had forcefully attempted to pry it open and secondly there, lying on his desk, was the inexplicably stoppered vial containing the agent of the Iron Ring's success.
The elder Orc entred the Undercity scribe's quarter. Not many know of this the bureaucracit heart of the Horde. True it was not many things that where done via bureaucracy whit in the Horde. Thos the scribe's mostly worked for mages and warlocks or in some cases priests. The unliving men and women that worked there did not ask qvestions, and that was just howeveryone liked it.
"Ah... Masster Burgrssch... How good to ssee you..." hissed the Book Printer Chief when he saw him. His had his cheeks had been ripped apart.
"Indeed... Are the books I ordered done?"
"Yess... There coverss are indesscript black ass you ordered... And no one whit know how in the magic artss have read the bookss ass you whised..." said the undead printer.
"Exelent... Here is your pay..." said the elder orc hand handed the undead a bag full of coins "And here is a little something to help you forget about this books." added Burgrsch and put 5 gold coins in the printer chiefs hand.
The undead smiled showing his rotten teeth and puting the coins in his own pocket. "What bookss?" The orc warlock smiled and had his felguard put the 13 books in a bag.
The elder had namned the books the Black Books. They where spell books holding all but the most powerfull of the Shadow Codex spells and rits. The books where pland to be given to the members of the New Shadow Council of mayby just maybe the warlocks of the Coven. To whom ever he gave him them the books would be most usefull.
Archon or was he Me'nar now? Even when meditating as the Phoenix had teach him, he could not tell anymore. But one thing he was sure of, the Red Phoenix had given up his plans to free his former masters. The Old ones would be left to sleep and dream as they had done. The two minds where becoming one and as they did the world apperd difrent.
Going to his sisters ritual chamber he opened the box in which the Flaming Blade layed. Looking at it now he saw the dark and twisted being whit in it. A demon spirit, a being of fire. Much like a Infernal, but much more intelligent. It used it's mental powers to hide itself and take over the mind of thos it believed to be usefull to it's plans.
Holdig a hand over it the Blade spoke to him: "So you are not blind anymore mortal? Will you now end me?" it asked.
"Why sould I end you when there could still be a use for you? Will you not join whit me beast?" asked the Count. Tho the right to be Count might no longer be his, after all Higbore law stated that ones a alian power enterd the mind of a ranking nobel his titel was forfite.
"I join powers whit a mortal that carris the ghost of a Pheonix? Ha! I am the creation of Kil'jaeden! Why sould I bend my will to a mortal?!" was the arrogent anser.
"If you joined whit me and my Order you would be more then a servant! You would be our reverd source of power. Maybe even someone would be willing to give themselfs to you. You would be free!"
"I am free fool! You can not keep me inprisonde!"
"Is that so?" whit that Ravenblade closed the box sealing in the Blade ones more.
He left his sisters chambers and walked back to his own. It was becoming clare to him now. The power the Order needed, his whol poelpe needed was staring them in the face. It was in the spirit of the five races of the Horde. If taped in the right way they could be used to bring glory and power to the Flaming Blade.
The Blood Elfs themselfs had the spirit of the arcane in there blood. Whit that they could controll anyform of magic and tap the spirits of the other races on the power needed. The Orcs had a deep and profane strength whit in them. This would prove most usefull if handeled the right way. The Forsaken where driven and there spirits where full of anger. They where the fuel needed to keep there plans in motion. The Trolls had darkness and light whit in themselfs. There would give them balance in there qvest. And of corse the Tauren. Who's spirit was the spitit of wisdome and honour. They would keep them from losing focus and not go to far in there plans.
Together whit the power of the Flaming Blade they could forge a power that would make them all invulnerable. He now saw how wrong he had been looking down on the other races of the Horde. Only whit there aid could he hope to creat what he wanted done. They where all primal races, the spirits choicen. The future of the Blood Elfs. He gave them all symbolic names so that non, exept those he trusted, would know what he truely ment.
The Blades spirit would be called the Flame Spirit. The Blood Elfs he would call the Sun Spirit. The Orc's was the Rock Spirit. The Forsaken was the Ice Spirit. The Trolls where the Wild Spirit and the Tauren was to the called the Wind Spirit. All was apart of what was to come, the Blade would one day join the Order. The lie of being given power was to much for any demon to give up. The six sprits would bless them and glory would return to the Order.
/Me via second main
The place held an air of significance and revere. Roosting proud on the steep cliffs that marked where the Eversong Forest ended and the crashing seas began stood aloft the slender tower that was the ancestral land of the Queen Sylvanas Windrunner. He could imagine it how it was before, when the forests still were green and golden and the peace of Silvermoon still held, bar from the occational Amani raid. How the Queen had ran laughing with her sister as a child, long before she was appointed Ranger- Captain of Silvermoon. How the delicate Windrunner mansion had not been overran with decay and inhabited by the foul servants of the Scourge.
The charred corpse of a Cultist Acolyte pulled him back to the present and for a second a wave of emotions crashed over him before he could surpress them and reagain the stoic calm that had seen him conquer and overcome all obstacles in front of him, even death. The creed of the Cult of the Forgotten shadow was that its ablest servants mastered circumstance and forged the world around his will. The Forsaken, including the Queen who had in the life before, lived just here. There were tasks at hand, circumstances that needed to be mastered and neither reminiscing nor frustration was allowed to distract him. Serene calm and an awareness of events around him were needed.
"Lord Preceptor." The voice belonging to the Baron Verayn de Vere was calm, not betraying the exhaustion the mage from Kul Tiras were certain to experience after his trials on the long road through scourge infested lands. "The Countess Zian Reich bids me to inform his excellence that the remaining few Acolytes have barred themselves in chambers in the upper reaches. She expects them to be dealt with soon." The Barons mastery of the forces of the arcane were impressive, but he was at the uttermost end of his endurance now, Tremayne could sense it.
"I am pleased, dear Baron." He said, turning to face his fellow Forsaken. "You have performed admirably, as I had anticipated. I select none to join our ranks that are short of extraordinairy." It was true of course. The Society of the Iron Ring was an elite and would not benefit from those short of ability. There was another thing that joined the Knights and Brothers of the Order and that was their noble birthright, were The Barons just now was needed.
"You are to kind my Lord Preceptor" The Baron bowed down lavishly. "The Countesses void-creature is tearing down the doors as we speak but I fear that a few escaped towards the village earlier. Reinforcements should be expected soon. My advise would be to leave in a not so distant future, Eminence."
It had been expected. The Scourges hold on these parts of Eversong were to strong to be ousted even by the three of them. Their numbers would eventually overwhelm them and now matter how much he detested them desecrating the Queen´s Birthplace, he would have to leave them to it, or suffer consequences to dire to even contemplate.
"We will move out soon and head for the safety of Tranquilien but first, Baron, tell me. How goes your dealings with the council in Kul Tiras regarding your holdings and goods?"
The Baron frowned. "Slow enough, and as you might understand pleading my case in front of them would prove...ah, difficult." The Baron had managed to hide his death from his countrymen and claimed to be on a prolongued journey. The charade would be quickly discovered infront of a scrutinizing council of course. "Still, I have access to parts of my old merchant fleet through middle hands, albeit not as much access as I would like, eminence."
"Excellent" Tremayne nodded. " I take for granted that your access is at least sufficient enough to produce one ship built for Ocean travel, no?"
"All ships of Kul Tiras are build for ocean travel. It can be done but it may take some time. Might I ask why I am granted this opportunity to be of use, Eminence?"
"You may. I intend to sail across the ocean and circle past the north end of the Kalimndorian continent. We are going to war."
It never ceased to surprise Daley how enigmatic the city of Eldre'thalas was. "Dire Maul", some called it. "Ogre's nest", others said. Not many actually knew of the Shen'dralar's survival into the present.
Daley turned his head to the right, as he descended the stone stairs into the librarie's sanctum. To his left, Isilvara walked in silence. She had regained her colour once more, and her skin had returned to it's normal, purple colour. Her alabaster skin and weary eyes seemed like a distant memory. He himself had gained some weight back. Daley stroked his fingers through his own hair, grinning as he saw himself reflected in the silvery floor. He was a young man, he knew that, but despite his short lifetime of twentytwo years, the human warrior had lived to see things most elderly archmages would kill for.
It was hard for Daley to think that just a couple of months ago, both he and his companion had been on the verge of defeat. Broken husks of their former selves, weak from starvation and stress. Daley was pleased with his anatomy. He had gained more flesh on his arms, and his skill with the sword was at it's peak. Isilvara had regained the vermilion glow in her eyes, and was once more capable of speech, something Daley was relieved at, seeing as the druidess had been unable to summon the strenght to cast any spells or cook any meal.
Now, however, the two of them walked like royalty through the mirror floors of Eldre'thalas. Their ego and defiance shone around them like a radiating aura, and all whom set their eyes upon them could feel the immense ambition they posessed...Or perhaps, Daley considered, it was the stench of rotting flesh that attracted their attention. Truly, the sack which Daley carried with him still, did reek something awful. Blood dropped from it, and wherever a drop of blood would fall, a flower or some other sort of weed would instantly grow, much to the annoyance of the Eldre'thalas inhabitants.
No matter. After a good half an hour of walking in silence, Daley and Isilvara finally emerged at the desired location. Infront of the duo awaited a giant, opal gate...
Three days earlier.
"...Are you sure this is such a good idea, Issy?"
"What other choice do we have?", the Druidess said, barely dodging the attack of a treant, firing of a bolt of emerald fire to destroy it.
"When you said that you need more power...", Daley said, allowing his blade to fall down upon yet another treant, dismembering it, while his shield took a heavy blow of pink flames, "...I thougt you ment something like a potion, or perhaps a spell..."
Daley jumped backwards, as pink flames erupted at his feet. He raised his shield in defiance, as Isilvara took the form of a dark raven to avoid the devestating blow of what appeared to be a living root from the earth itself, landing on the ground next to Daley, and returning to her humanoid form.
Infront of them, the Keeper Of The Grove was boiling with fury, and the very glade itself seemed to obey his whim.
"Isilvara Heartmourn, and foul human whom walk with her!...". the Keeper's voice boomed, as if strengthened a tenfold by the wind, "You have tricked me here with lies and deceit, and now you DARE raise your hand against a child of Cenarius!?"
Daley eyed the keeper's hands. One hand was normal, like that of any other Night Elf. His right hand, however... It had always been a mystery to Daley, the anatomy of theese beings, called "Cenarians". Their right hand was abnormally larger then their left one, and whatmore, it appeared to be clawed, twisted and made of...Wood?
Truly, in one moment, Daley saw the keeper they had lured out twist his wooden hand in a spellweaving fashion, and they had appeared like roots. Then, he had with his own eyes witnessed how the keeper had morphed his hand into a wooden blade, or worse yet, a spear to penetrate Daley's shield from several feet away! Still, Daley thougt of Isilvara's desire as foolish, perhaps more foolish then anything so far...
"Oh, mute are you? I care not! Nobody defies nature, and get's away with it! Not even a druid!", the keeper roared as he launched at the duo. Isilvara smacked her hands together, and then placed them at the earth. Giant roots erupted from the earth and bound the keeper, whom quickly raised his wooden hand to dispel the druidic magic.
This second was all Daley needed. With ungodly speed, Daley had forced his shield into the throat of the keeper, and then used the shield as the means of ascension, carrying him high enough to cut the wooden hand from the Keeper's arm. Daley then jumped of the shield, landing on his back on the grass, and rolling over to avoid the sheer volume of blood that fell from the screaming Cenarian's hollow wrist. Where the blood fell, grass instantly appeared to grow with unatural speed.
Isilvara clapped her hands together, muttering a hasty incantation, then raced forward towards the Keeper, whom had now used his free hand to remove Daley's shield from it's strategic location, and discarded it. Even though he was bleeding from his wrists, throat and coughing enormous amounts of blood, the Keeper still seemed hellbent of bringing death to the traitorous duo, and raised his left hand to order the roots Isilvara had summoned previous to turn and entangle their birthmother.
A loud "BAM", and the smoke from Daley's rifle prevented one root from reaching it's destination, but another found it's way to Isilvara's wrists, binding them together to stop her spellcasting...Just as she had hoped.
Isilvara placed her hands around the root, muttering incantations. The Keeper bellowed in howling rage as he prepared to strike at Isilvara with a wrath spell, but he never got to finish his incantation, as suddenly, the very root that had bound Isilvara's hands now turned to bark, and darted like a spear through the Keeper's chest.
Daley watched in wonder as the large Keeper froze. Things seemed to move in slow motion, as the Cenarian's bloodpour halted. Daley assumed that the creature's vitae had been depleted, for his wounds merely dripped now. With grace befit only to such a holy creature, the keeper fell to the ground, the golden ember light in his eyes dying out together with his heartbeat.
Daley regained his sense and hurried to the corpse to withdraw his shield from the ground. It was covered in weeds and roots. Isilvara, too, struggled to break free from the now immobile roots.
"...Right. Tell me again just why we killed this thing?", Daley said, sitting down amidst the flowers, breathing heavely.
"This "thing", as you refer it too...", Isilvara said, moving towards the creature's great, wooden hand, laying seperated from the rest of the corpse, a few feet away, "...Is a Keeper Of The Grove, a descendant of Cenarius, and thus, an extremely potent wielder of Fae magic."
Daley arched an eyebrow.
"So when you said you needed more power?...", Daley begun, now chewing on a long straw of grass, eyeing Isilvara as she knelt down to pick up the wooden hand, wrapping it in cloth after cloth, "...You ment more,errr, druidic power?"
"Something like that." Isilvara said casually. Daley frowned at her tone. The fact that she could so easly slay something so holy and revered as a keeper without betraying a whim of emotion, disturbed him greatly. Then again, he could not see her face. He could not see the tears of regret falling to join the pool of blood and flowers, nor could he, however, sense the omnious glare of greed in Isilvara's eyes...
Daley strechted out his plate covered arm, and knocked once, twice, three times on the door. The very touch of plate against stone echoed like war drums in the large hall, and Daley's mirage in the mirror floor seemed to grow a shade paler...
It was silent in this part of the city. No soul moved, none was closeby. Infact, Daley was so used to the silence, apart from his own footsteps, that he jumped as the doors cracked open. At first, Daley thougt they were opened by some arcane spell, and so he nearly jumped once more as he saw what appeared to be a very young Kaldoreian girl, dressed in white robes, greet the duo inside. Her hair was as sparkling white as her alabaster skin, and she looked sickly there, staring down at her own feet. Daley felt a rush of pity rise in his throat. He knew not of Night Elven agings. He knew for a fact that Isilvara to his left was living well beyond her twelwt'h millenia, but he had no idea of how old the child infront of him could be. In his eyes, she wouldn't be more then seven or eight, even if she told him she was several millenia of age.
"This way, please...", the girl spoke in a hollow, weak voice which made a chill creep up Daley's spine. "...The mistress, Anariel, awaits you in her working room." With those very words, Daley's chill trippled as a cold wind swept out from the room, bringing with it the stench of decay, overcoming even that of the bag he was holding. The girl had looked up. Daley was not sure if he had expected the girl to have silver glowing eyes, white glowing eyes, or perhaps gold glowing eyes. He had been under the impression that she would, infact, have eyes. Now he saw, however, that there were merely empty sockets. Infact, the little girl's very lips seemed to be sewn together by coarse thread, and she walked with a severe limp as she turned to walk down the hallway, past the gates.
Without question, Isilvara set of in a straight march after the girl, and Daley swallowed deeply before following.
The halls they were walking in were ice cold, and the walls were portrayed with paintings of various flowers and strange runes. Daley could hear the opal gate closing in the distance, as blue mists surrounded his feet. The stench of decay only grew worse, and when light finally filled his vision, the feeling of bliss lasted for merely a second before nausia overcame him.
He was surrounded by corpses. Rottings corpses of various animals and humanoids, the majority of them Night Elven, but some humans and orcs could be spotted aswell. Some of them had their ribcages splinched opened, and many missed limbs or flesh. Blue mists still covered the floor around them, but in the air above them, green mists spread like clouds. It was as cold as the very dunes of Dun Morough in this room, whever that may be.
"You took your time, my dear...", a chilly voice spoke. For a moment, Daley thougt it might be Isilvara, but she, too, appeared alarmed and they both turned their heads towards the opposite direction of the room, where a tall, Night Elven woman dressed in black robes approached. Daley was just as enarmored by this lady as he was disgusted. Before him stood Anariel, the fair. Anariel, the bold. Anariel, the Necromancer.
He hadn't heard Isilvara speak much of this woman, for the very thougt of a Kaldorei practicing necromancy was enough to chill even her spine, but what little he had heard, had made his stumage upset.
"If you have come for your Shadowing Sentinels, I must apologize, but your order is not yet ready. The children are still in a cryomantic state.", Anariel said as she approached Isilvara, parking herself infront of the duo.
Daley arched an eyebrow at Isilvara. "...Your "order"? What order?", but Isilvara merely dismissed his inquiry with a casual wave.
"Alas, it is not what I have come for." she said, defiant.
"Mhm?", Anariel said, bemused. If Daley hadn't known better, he'd misstake the woman for a Banshee. So pale was she.
"Indeed... I need you to attach this...", Isilvara grabbed the bag from Daley with such force that Daley was caught off guard, gasping slightly in surprise, but saying nothing as Isilvara withdrew the wooden hand from within the bag, which now had it's insides sprouting weed and flowers, "...To my own wrist."
Daley gasped, and stared dhumbstruck at Isilvara. Anariel smirked, somewhat bemused. Isilvara stood unchanging, her voice unfaltering, her face neutral.
"By the light, you ain't seriousleh suggestin' that ye attach that..."thing", to yer own arm, are ye!?", Daley yelled at Isilvara. This was way out of hands, literally.
Anariel nodded slowly. "Hm... Yes, yes I can do that. It will cost you though, as you sure know."
"I am well aware of the price.", Isilvara said confidently.
"You are, are you?", Anariel said, still smirking, still nodding, "And yet, the large sacks of golden coins seem to avoid my eyes, but perhaps I have a blind spot, or perhaps the coins are made out of thin air?"
"I will pay you by means of information."
Now, it was Anariel that was dhumbstruck. The effect lasted merely for a second, however, as the necromancer quickly regained her cool composure.
"...Well then. Let's hear it."
There was a deep silence for a moment. All that was heard was the echoe of the dripping blood from the keeper's hand. Strangely, Daley thougt, for this truly disturbed him, the blood dripping onto the cursed floor remained just that, blood. No flowers, grass or other weed grew from it.
"The Iron Ring are preparing an assault on Kalimdor."
Anariel arched an eyebrow. Daley blinked sheepishly.
"And you do, of course, have proof of this?"
"I am confident in the belief that, had I been lying, you would be able to tell, and I wouldn't leave here alive."
Daley once more watched the two women stare eachother down. He was growing increasingly uncomfortable. His fingers and toes were now numb from the cold.
"...And how do you know this is true?"
"A little bird whispered into my ear."
"This little bird would not happen to be one of my Shadowings, now would it?"
"That is of no importance. However, no, such is not the case."
Once more, the women were silent. Anariel finally broke the silence.
"Fair enough. If you would please place your wrist on the table, we can begin the transplant."
"...Wrist?", Daley said, dhumbstruck. Anariel merely arched an eyebrow at him.
"Well...", she said, "I know you humans aren't known for your intelligence...But as you can see here, there are three hands, alas, only two arms."
Daley's eyes widened as Isilvara walked up to the runic table, seemingly having appeared out of nowhere in the blue mists, withdrew her wristband from her naked right arm, and placing it on the frozen, cold surface of the runed stone table.
The girl from before, the undead child, returned to Anariel's side, handing her a runed, silver blade.
"I will not lie to you, Isilvara... This will...Hurt."
"Just...Just do it.", Isilvara said defiant, bracing herself for the incoming pain. Daley merely bit his teeth together.
That night, a womans scream echoed within those frozen halls, never to reach Eldre'thalas in the halls above...
The room was silent. Anariel sat upon her stone throne, her fingers pressing against eachother in her lap. She was immune to the cold, and she had been for a long, long time. Alas, she could not stop to think of what Isilvara had told her.
"...Does she really believe that this hadn't reached me before?", Anariel spoke out loud. "What troubles me is that she knows..."
"...The Iron Ring holds much influence in Lordaeron...", a young, male voice spoke from somewhere behind the throne. "...Such a powerful force can not be hidden. Rumours are bound to spread, it's merely a question about picking them up, and seperating the truths from the lies.", the young man said, as he stepped out from behind the throne. The young Blood Elf sported blue glowing eyes, and red hair. He was adorned in light plate armor, and leaned towards the left side of the throne, arms crossed, and spoke velvety soft. Had he hid his face and ears, one could easly misstake him for a human adolescent.
"You are correct, Dakrin.", Anariel said, still letting her fingers press towards eachother in a bizarre rhytm. "Never the less, The Iron Ring must land on the shores of Kalimdor, and they must not be defeated before they've reached Darnassus..."
"Obviously.", Dakrin said, betraying no hint of emotion, nor opinion.
"Return to Silvermoon."
Dakrin did not react.
"You will allow yourself to be captured by the Akeiri fanatics. You will fight to avoid capture, and then be defeated to convince them that your capture is genuine. You will then, under torture or not, hint your allegiance to the alliance. You will make sure that, to every cost, the Sin'dorei will arrive onto the shores of Kalimdor, equipped for war."
Still, Dakrin said nothing.
And with this dismissal, Dakrin's footsteps died away as he made haste down the hallway, his platecled feet leaving no echoe in the frozen halls...
"I am sorry, m'lady. His lordship is currently not receiving visitors. Can I perhaps take a message?". The doorman was the soul of courtesy, but he did not budge an inch, and managed to look down his nose at Lyenna even though it had rotted away years ago. These well-bred servants could smell her base-born blood a mile of, it seemed, and death had not robbed this one of the ability.
"No.....or on the other hand, yes. Please tell Lord Rizzt that Lady Hellebrandt requests an urgent meeting...on a matter of grave importance. "I shall tell his lordship......again. ....Now, please excuse me, "my lady"" And the door wash closed in Lyenna's face.
Silently fuming, Lyenna gathered her skirts and accepted the stable boy's help to mount her horse-construct, Purity. "Damn the man", she thought to herself. She had not conquered death, forsaken her order and her faith and taken up the name of her father to be shown the door by a mere servant. She would have words with Lord Rizzt on his return,oh yes.........if the Preceptor did not get to her first.
Lord Mestopheles was not a man to ignore, and his orders had been quite specific. Unfortunately , Lord Rizzt had gone to ground for some reason, and without him Lyenna could not proceed with the plan.
Then again, she could hardly be blamed for the warlocks absence nor his negligence.... And then it struck her.
If presented the right way this could be a perfect way to weaken Rizzt's pull within the Ring. She had been doing her out most, but the decadence of the other noble had made all her work for naught. And his servants had been most uncooperative too. ......Yes, that sounded convincing. It would not hard to believe the failure was entirely on at his end....and the more spectacular the failure, the longer he would fall.
Lyenna smiled and pursed her lips. She was very good a playing the innocent. If she added some batting eyelashes, she might even pull it of.
As she rode into the night, she wondered vaguely what would happen to the Iron Ring's plans in Darnassus with her mission unfulfilled, but quickly dismissed her worries. She was an alteracian at heart, and knew that self interest was a virtue. To quote her lord father: "If you have to ask "What's in it for me", you are already wasting your time"
It was after midnight when the noble Sin Dorei heard a pounding at the door. The Royal guards of the Silvermoon Court had grown uneasy. He rolled of her body and she got up, wrapping a shawl around her while cursing the abrupt end of his brotherly love. Rasputyn motioned to a young livery-clad troll servant inside his bedroom to open the door - stroking his wound on his cheek. The guard bowed before the nobleman, handing over a letter baring the seal of the Iron Ring. The elf wondered if these Forsaken ever needed sleep, and opened the seal to read the letter. The once bright candlelight seemed to turn eerie when he read the words… Without any warning, nor word from Council or Court a force was gathered to attack the Kalimdorian traitors. The letter was signed by Bishop Tremayne, one of the forsaken advisors of the Royal Council of Silvermoon.
Politics was a mechanism that could be analysed and constructed, in that sense it was a machine. But those prominent members of the Royal advisory Council naively allowed the clear-cut political game to be obscured by the hydra of emotion. As Councilmember and representative of the Royal Court Rasputyn had learned to live with this, although it was uncomfortable. But this Forsaken had caught his intrest, especially since this Bishop could distain emotion from the art of politics. They had talked in the past. A meeting took place in Brill, it was arranged in all haste. It was a strange gathering, but of political importance. Bishop Tremayne seemed only interested in one thing, his own matters - that’s why the Sin Dorei Lord liked this Forsaken. What the nobleman didn’t like, was the insulance this Forsaken had to assume he would be a tool for this undead’s goals. But a militairy force against Darnassus, was a shared goal. An attack was imminent and coming soon, they needed all the arms that could be assembled. They needed assistance from the Court to be victorious, and there was not much time left...
He left the room and walked down the corridors, passing the principal guards, who all presented arms and went out in the palace courtyard. It was too early in the morning, the sun was still low in the sky.
How should he bring this news to the personal advisors of the Prince-regent. His Lord, Florindo, being one of them should be informed about this immediatly. Although waking him up at this hour, with his Lady Morgania at his side, did not seem opportune. Especially because his wife was not fond of early wakes, the Forsaken, or pretty much everything lately. How would the rest of the Court react, …then he stopped walking. The nobleman stood there, with the sun reflecting in his emerald eyes. Out of the slave barracks stepped a troll with tribal tattoos covering most of his torso. Zul’fan sighed at the smirk on Rasputyn‘s face, it always forebode ill fate. The troll bowed and sighed even more when the nobleman coldly stared at him walking obediently towards the sleeping quarters of the royal advisor with Tremayne’s letter in his hand.
The Captain´s chambers aboard the Nadressas Trident where quite spatious and well equipped to be on a merchant ship. It was however, Tremayne had quickly discovered, Ill suited to cater to the whims of a dozen nobles when it was the only suitable area on the ship for men of quality to congregate. After only two days at sail Tremayne had quickly discovered that his need for solitude would not be met as long as he lodged in the Captain´s chambers. So, after a seemingly foolish wager over a game of chess with the Lord Mestopheles Runestratum, Tremayne had "lost" the priviledge as the highest ranking member of the Iron Ring to reside in the foremost quarters to the same Mestopheles. Instead he had moved to the chambers disgruntidly inhabited by the same archmage before, which were far less lavish but far more distant from the congregations before. Tremayne was rather pleased with the accomodations he had made. It would not have done well to willingly trade down, but a wager was another thing. He could do that without loosing face. Let the Lord Runestratum host the daily gatherings, at least now he had somewhere to retreat when the need for contemplary solitude arouse.
Of course, just a few days afterwards he wished that he had not made the exchange just then, when they passed just north of the Maelstrom. The skies were painted with a net of lightnings day as night, and the seas formed mountains and valleys of grey water more impressive than the Arathi Highlands themselves. During those stormy days there was almost no congress and the Lord Runestratum had his chambers undisturbed for most parts. Of them all only the Baron De Vere were undetered by the harch conditions, -he instead seemed to revel in them. Kul Tirans where a strange breed, wed to the seas! More than once, when their vessel where thrown hither and tither as a child´s toy he remembered sailing on Lordaemere Lake as a child and how he had called the gentle puffs of winds for hard. How perspectives change with age and wisdom!
The days past. Voices were raised to go ashore at Ratchet or outside Durotar, but Tremayne would have none of it. Had they wished the goblins to have news to sell he would have travelled by Zeppelin instead of by boat. In no way were their travel clandestine and neither did he wish it to be; but the goblins had an uncanny nack for getting to close for comfort and he did not want any Kaldorei intressant to know their exact route. It was a keen act of balance, the Kaldorei were lethal in their own forests. Their dark magicks allowed them to meld with the shadows and there were stories of the Warsong clan walking past whole squadrons of invisible enemies only to be surrounded and annihilated later. He had no particular wish for that to happen to them. No not at all.
The Northen shores of Kalimdor came as a welcome relief, but it was not the barren shores of Durotar as most of them would have expected, but the long strands of Azhara, named after a Queen of old so beautiful that men killed for her favour. The Baron de Vere had skillfully navigated them north of Orgrimnar and out of sight from prying eyes. Ahead on their journey awaited the rocky, frozen shores beneath Hyjal´s monstrous shadow and the lands of winterspring. Unfriendly, barren lands with no places to dock or lay anchor, so it was agreed that they would stop a few days just North of Azhara while the Baron´s men would forage for supplies amongst the local forbolg tribes. Then they would embark on the last part of their journey.
Verayn grinned as he braced himself in the prow for yet another crashing drop from wave to wave. Salt spray flew up and drenched him, his oilcloth coat whipping around his body in the howling winds. Not for nothing was this stretch of water named the Bay of Storms.
Lightning forked across the sky, and a rumble that started bone deep boomed over the ship. Sailors cursed and swore as they hauled in line and lanyards, reefed sails, and skidded across the wet and slippery deck.
'My lord, yer should go below decks..' began the first mate, clutching his sodden cap in both hands.
'Do not presume to tell me what I should and shouldn't do. I shall remain here.' Verayn gazed coldly at the sailor as he backed away. Honestly, as if the scion of the de Vere family belonged anywhere else on a ship than at the bow, guiding the craft with arcane senses.
Like most mages, Verayn had been tutored in the three schools, but the manipulation of water and ice was the one that sang in his blood. True, those who dabbled in fire magic might well believe themselves to be more powerful than he, but Verayn had found such men to be brutish and unsubtle; the ten ton hammer to his delicate needle. Having spent a summer season aboard ship as was traditional for all de Vere sons, he had learnt the ways of wind and wave, and being here was as close to feeling alive as he had felt since awakening Forsaken.
He wasn't oblivious to the way some of the other lords looked at him; some felt it was unseemly for a noble to get his hands wet and to have spent a not inconsiderable amount of time dealing with merchants and house finances. But, such was the lot of the fourth son, and Verayn had thrown himself fully into his duties.
And how that was paying off now, he thought, eyes coldly scanning the shore.
Water. It's the most powerful of the elements. Some would argue that each element is just as powerful as the next, but in essence, water has, was and always will be the dominant force behind nature. Water can move mountains and extuinguish fires. It's completely immune to the howling winds and their powers. It is so ironic, then, that water is the most tranquil of the elements. The most peaceful, the one that grants life, the one element that do not seek the destruction of others..."
"...Ye going nostalgic on me, are ye?"
Isilvara turned her head to face Daley. Truly, ever since she first step foot in the Eastern Kingdoms, she had been envious of the tenacity, spirit and optism of the human race. Even now, as they both sat still on a cliff in the middle of the raging storm, his spirit did not falter. Isilvara did not understand it.
Lightning struck again. Isilvara wrapped her cloak tighter around her frozen body. It did not help much, the cloak was just as soaked and cold as the rest of her robes. Water dripped from Daley's plate armor like the stream of a river, the rain was deflected from his shoulders. Yet, Isilvara couldn't help to think of whether or not it ment Daley must be frozen inside, from all those small cracks where water could pour through. She dismissed all such thougt, however, as another bolt of lightning struck.
The lands of Azshara were unforgiving and harsh. This storm was unnatural, it was as if the mere knowledge of enemies approaching the motherland brought with it great disturbance to the natural order of things. Isilvara had seen animals leave for the south, several months pre-season. She had witnessed the birds fly across the sea, even though their mating periods would last for two more months. Something was disturbing them, she knew that. But what could it be?
Animals had always been closer to the primal instinct of nature then the Kaldorei. True, the Kaldorei dedicated their lives, culture and future to understand and protect nature, and yet, Isilvara could not help to think that most druids envied the simple beasts for their innate understanding of how to live their life. They had a meaning, they had a purpose, and whatever it may be (For the Kaldorei could not understand it), the animals seemed satisfied with it, not bothering with such mundane questions such as "what" or "why?".
"Oi. 'ere it comes!", Daley yelled as he poked Isilvara on the shoulder, rather abrubtly, for the druidess fell of her rock with her face down in the mud, mumbling something incomprehensible.
Coughing, and wiping the mud off of her face, Isilvara accepted Daley's stretched out arm and stood up, gazing out over the Bay Of Storms with renewed interest. She could not see it. She could not see any of it. The ocean was as dark and menacing as the night sky above them, and just as equally clouded by nature's wrath. Where lightning storms danced across the skies, tidal waves the size of monuments rose to consume eachother before finally joining the ocean once more, only to become new waves.
That is when Isilvara saw it. A tidal wave rose in the far distance of the darkness, but just as it was about to crash down, it fell...backwards?
Isilvara took a few steps forward, now standing a mere inch from the edge of the ravine. Water poured down her feet and down into the darkness below, and Daley was greatly disturbed by the fact that she stood so far out. But Isilvara was oblivious to this. She focused, her eyes burning like vermilion orbs in the unforgiving storm. And yes, there it was again! A great tidal wave had risen, but seemingly out of nowhere, it had been forced back, and fell into nothingness. It was not natural. This was magic, Isilvara was certain of that!
"...They are here.", she said, "...It must be their ship. Something, or somewhone, is abolishing the tidal waves..."
Daley arched an eyebrow, trying to steady his gaze to see what Isilvara spoke of. He dismissed this attempt later, however, not having access to elven senses, nor any understanding of how water should and shouldn't move. He was rather surprised, however, when Isilvara strechted out her hands, and allowed herself to fall. His first reflex as she leaned over there, in midair, was to run after her in hopes of grabbing hold to her robes. He sighed out of relief, however, as he saw the woman leave behind her elven shackles, and take on the form of the raven, flying down with inhuman speed to face the waves below...
Isilvara shivered. Water stood up to her waist, and for each step she took into the unforgiving ocean, the multitude of waves seemed to increase a tenfold. Perhaps it was merely her imagination, perhaps not. She knew what she must do. She had to force nature's hand. Isilvara giggled slightly, bemused in her dark apathy at the pun she had just made, as she raised her new, wooden hand. The stiches of the arcane rune thread still glowed and eery green light in the dark waters, and the salt from the ocean burned Isilvara's wounds like a judgemental flame. But it had been worth it. The patience, anger, suffering and pain had all been worth it. As Isilvara raised her wooden hand from the ocean, and reached for the skies, she stood amazed at the vitality of her own influence. The skies moved, circulating around her like a ring of lightning in the far distance. It was a basic spell to conjure storms and hurricanes. Isilvara had, however, never dreamed of the magnitude of power a Keeper Of The Grove had, however. She was about to find out. Her Apathy was faltering, and greed and malice filled her eyes as images of suffering Sin'dorei flooded into her mind. Another wave tried to push Isilvara back, but this time, she merely took the hit. The pain was nothing, she stood her ground. Isilvara was lost in images of self satisfaction. The corruption of Arcane Magic was nothing compared to the corruption of Druidic magic. Mortals were never ment to possess the magnitude of influence over storms that Isilvara had now. It was the very reason that the Kaldorei did not embrace the arcane arts, corruption, seld indulgance...
Isilvara inhaled a deep breath of the salty air, as the water started moving around her, mimicing the skies above. The speed increased, and the sound of thunder made Isilvara's ears bleed. The salt from the ocean did not ease the pain, but Isilvara was oblivious, lost to her own greed and wrath, images of vengence and of victory.
It came as no surprise, then, that as a arcane lightning storm was unleashed upon the shores of Azshara, raging like a crazed tauros across the sea towards the unknown seafarers, that Cherwina Dawnstrider sighed deeply from her tree, far, far above the unforgiving oceans. Her friend had been completely lost to the nigthmare's infection, and the coming of hostile adversaries from across the sea was not going to improve the condition of the current Kaldorei political catastrophe. Darnassus would fall into chaos, as the Temple of the Moon and the Cenarion Enclave dabbled amongst themselves, indulgent in their own political greed. The coming of war could very well result in the downfall of Teldrassil as a whole.
Cherwina glanced to her right. Daley glanced straight back at her. Both sighed at eachother.
Cherwina took of, her raven wings struggling to force herself forward, against the unatural wind. The raging tornado boomed like wardrums in the air around her. Darnassus needed to know.
War, was coming to the Kaldorei.
A lone forsaken sat before a small fire, atop an otherwise empty hill. Staring into the crackling flames, Rizzt began thinking of his home. What was happening back in Lordaeron? What of the other members of the Ring? As far as he was aware, none knew of his whereabouts, and his servants had explicit orders to keep it that way. Lady Hellbrandt would be less than pleased with the former archmage's absence, he was sure. But, although Mestopheles' letter had instructed Rizzt to work with the priestess, this was something he had to do alone; he had paid the price for trusting others in the past. Lyenna would play her part soon enough.
'Attack the city of Darnassus...cause as much destruction as possible...failure is not an option.' Mestopheles didn't like to make things easy. If he didn't know the impact this assault could have, Rizzt might have thought the whole thing a plot to get rid of him. The warlock laughed to himself; even if it was a plot, Rizzt loved a challenge. To him, the fact that his target was heavily defended meant he got more loot; the fact it was situated on top of a giant tree merely meant that alliance reinforcements would take longer to arrive.
Turning to look at the maze of pathways and buildings below him, Rizzt couldn't help but feel pleased, he had outdone himself this time. He would take advantage of the kaldorei's foolish arrogance. A month the forsaken had watched them, right in front of the elves' noses. Not once had a sentinel moved an inch from her post, so confident were they that nobody could be hiding somewhere; that they could reach the tree at all. Soon, Rizzt would show them just how ill-prepared their 'impregnable fortress' really was.
Darkshore was bleak and dreary. Another visitor would have felt drained by the lack of colour in the gloomy lands. Had it been for the vista alone, Tremayne would have felt at home. As it was now the Dark Elven mastery of this land seemed to be absolute and it made him feel uneasy. Something in the air made it perfectly clear that they did not belong here. This was not their place. They were unwanted intruders and the forests hated them.
As well as they should. Before him the burning rooftops of the coastal town of Auberdine burned with bright fire, lending the colour-devoid area some life, painting the grey skies orange and black. Sickly vapours rose from broken houses where the Meatwagons had dumped their diseased cargo and before him on the ground laid a dozen broken Sentinels from the contigent that had charged at them first. With only a quick glance he could see which of his fellows had been the bane of them. The victims of Lady Lyenna had their faces relaxed in unnatural ways, drooping eyes and sagging flesh, as if their faces had been melted. A thin coat of glittering ice was a thing of both beauty and death and the card of the Lord Mestopheles Runestratum; whos mastery of the murdering cold sometimes only left frozen shards of frozen red meat. The ones who had perished at Lord Rizzts hands had the looks of those who had been dead for months, maggots crawling from diseased and rotted corpses, full of corrupt and bile.
No wonder the forest hated them. Tremayne smiled to himself as one of the meatwagons dispatched their deadly load with a "Twhung" beside him.
"Milord, we have breached the outer defenses." The hulking shape of the Knight known in death only as Dreadnaut stood before him, his dark armour wet with glistering blood, none of it his own. "You may safely move in now."
"Excellent" Tremayne nodded. "Dispatch a detatchment to the east to guard against movements at our flank. We are sending in the meatwagons." Confidentaly he strode forth towards the streets of the heathen city as the silent ghouls behind him started to haul their macabre siege-engines forth. Dreadnaut had spoke true indeed, the defenders had retreated or routed, but many laid slain. It was the ghoul´s unsavioury task to take care of the dead fallen and start loading them onto the wagons. New test subjects aplenty they would have. A mere mile out at sea were the Baron de Vere and his ship, ready to recieve the cargo once it was ready.
"Any sight of our allies, ser Knight?" Tremayne asked as Dreadnaut returned from relaying orders.
"The elves from Silvermoon have fought their way from the south and done so bravly. We should meet them up ahead." Tremayne was pleased at how fast the Lord Baâl had been able to muster champions and come forth, proving the Court of the Sun not only shrewd on the political area, but capable of swift action as well. He would remember this in future dealings with them. The Call to arms had been sent to two parties but only the Court had seized the opportunity to use it to their advantage. Also, the appearant blood elven part in the assault on Auberdine would help relay the message that he wanted sent forth. The ancient exile had been broken, the Kaldorei must respond to this.
The war would soon come.
The Auberdine townsfolk and guards were a stark contrast to the disciplined unit of the Sin’dorei nobleman. Rasputyn could see this fight would be to his company’s liking - especially to the minions he send out as first wave. It was like a simple knife of a workman, cutting away the filth of life. So that the surface of the wood would become pure again. While another house was cleansed he stood on the balcony looking out for the second force to arrive. Through the screams of dying families he cursed the lateness of the Bishop
The coppery smell of blood was taken over by the stench of decay when the meatwagons rolled into town, accompanying the warband of the Iron Ring. His eminence Tremayne led his zealot force straight to the Moonwell of the town, cutting down any Sentinel that effortlessly tried to stop the Forsaken. The Sin’dorei joined the unit and was quickly accompanied by other Horde warbands, who adorned their armor with severed Kaldorei limbs and heads. Tremayne ordered to protect him at the Moonwell, while a dozen ghouls pushed the screaming townsfolk into the wagons. From the corner of his eyes Rasputyn could see the Bishop taking water out of the well and casting some ritual over the energy source.
This alliance proved to be beneficial for both parties, … that was his first report as second chairman of the Royal Silvermoon Council at the following meet. All attending councilmembers agreed on hearing the Bishop and decided that it was time to prepare for war… it was imminent.
Lord Archon Elrics Ravenblade was splinterd. On the one hand he was sure that any hope for his peolpe to be come powerfull and strong agen layed in the old home lands. In the hands of the Kaldorei, and they would never give his peolpe what they needed. A war was the only way to pursed.
But on the other hand his peolpe needed the Royal Council of Silvermoon. And now they where being drawn in to a war they had littel intrset in it seamed. Many of the Councilors seamed most unwilling to send any of there kind in to war. Some even argued that Silvermoon had more pressing matters closer to it's own borders.
As first chairman he had some power. But he could not make the council vote according to his plans. But something had to be done however, he had to make it clear where he stode in all this. If the Council agreed on going to war many relics of Kalindor would at last fall in to there rightfull hands. And even more important...
The other races of the Horde would get a new found respect for there new alies. Even tho Thrall would not be impressed unless he was made to see how the Kaldorei keeped relics of power they hardly used that could save the Sin'dorei out of old hate. Maybe even the Warcheiftan would stand whit them. But even if there leader was a voice for peace, the orcs where warriors. They would see how the Sin'dorei foth whit honour and they would love them for it.
But if the Council refused to send soldiers... If it seamed like Archons peolpe had others fight there battles. Then there would be resenment from the Orc's and probely the trolls as well.
One thing was sure however, next time there was a battle Archon would see to it that the Flaming Blade had champions among the ranks of the Sin'dorei forces. If not he himself could go, then he would send the strongest among them in his stead.
/Me via second main
Lyenna had never been warlike. Much as her father, she had like the cutting remark better than the cutting blade, and the courts and refectories of Lordaeron had been her battlefield for years before her transformation into her new unlife. There where something barabaric about enjoying slaughter, violence was always the last refuge of the incompetent.
Yet, as she gazed upon the burned ruins of the Dark Elf town, she had to admit it had a certain beauty to it. After her death, she had started to appreciate the dark side of the world more and the screams of the dieing did indeed carry a certain melodious quality....a symphony of pain.
Lyenna caught herself staring to hum along, swaying slightly to the quiet tunes only she could here. With a monstrous effort she pulled herself out of the trance. This was not the place for indulging her baser pleasures. After her initiation into the Shadow, she had felt these strange distractions more and more….but she was the mistress of her own will, and even a month of torture at the hands of the Crusade could not break her mind! She was of the blood of Strom.
With a scream of rage, a Dark Elven sentinel charged out from the burning building ahead of her, wielding a strange glaive in a deadly arc. Lyenna made a surprised yelp and stepped back, just in time to avoid being decapitated. Striking out in fear and anger, Lyenna called forth a shield of force, parrying the second strike with a reverberating gong. Uttering one of the 107 hidden names of pain, Lyenna fried the elf’s synapses so that it fell convulsing to the ground. The Sentinel’s own muscles burst from its neck, showering the priestess with blood.
Disgusted, Lyenna stepped over the fallen warrior. She would have to burn this gown and the shoes as well. Elf blood did not wash out. She sighed sadly. These shoes where among her favourites.
Lifting her gaze, she saw that vitory was theirs. Already, she could see the Sin’dorei vanguard storming the ships in the bay. The meat wagons was rolling up to consume the dead, and Lord Mestopheles was already reaching the end of his ritual. Lyenna smiled to herself, unconcoiously licking the elfblood from her face with a greenish tounge. Her gaze fell upon the barely visible silhouette of Teldrassil at the distant horizon. She could definitely start to enjoy this war…..after all, the opportunities were endless.
As she walked towards the harbour of the elven village, Lyenna started to hum.
The gentle breeze was dying down.
The moon had since long risen in the distant north.
"Your preachings aren't easing my pain, Dakrin."
"Perhaps your pain does not deserve to be eased?"
"Silence. Do not presume to speak to your elderly like that."
Isilvara said no more after silencing her nephew, and instead re-buried her face into the palms of her hands, the slight breeze taking up speed again, and blowing her white hair across her face. She was leaning against the dark tree there, on the hilltop overlooking Ashenvale, and the air was filled with the sound of crickets, owls and the singing wind.
"Suit yourself. But silence will not redeem you."
Dakrin leaned onto the trunk of the tree from one of the larger branches above. The Blood Elven teenager looked strangely out of place in the otherwise serene enviroment. Whereas Isilvara, the tree, even the moon seemed to match in some absurd way, Dakrin did not. Purple, white and green seemed to be the colours that were balanced in this part of Ashenvale. Dakrin's flaming red hair, blue eyes and red armor cut like a flaming scar against the perfect image of Kalimdor.
"He should not have stopped me...", Isilvara said, removing her hands from her palms.
Dakrin closed his eyes.
"...My storm... My storm would have..." "Would have what?"
Isilvara fell silent.
"That's what I thougt."
"Oi! Issy, you there!?"
Isilvara looked up, alarmed. The voice of Daley Entronia had reached her as if from a world apart, from a distant dream. And yet, as he lolled up the very hillside Isilvara sat brooding, he seemed just as real as her own left hand. Her right hand, however...
"By...The...Light...", Daley was saying through heavy breath's. Sweat was pouring down his cheeks and fell like rain from his heavy plate armor. His hazelbrown hair appeared much darker in the moonlight, and his eyes were eclipsed by his hair. It was starting to grow long, Isilvara thougt. Humans were so diffrent from Dorei... "I've...Been...Looking...Everywhere...For...For...You!..."
Isilvara turned away to face the fullmoon. Daley sighed.
"Tell sir Daley that I have no wish to speak with him.", Isilvara said, her eyes resting on the fullmoon in the north.
Daley's breathing ceased in volume.
"...Who are you talking to?"
Isilvara turned to face Daley, her eyebrow quirked. She raised her gaze to the branch above, alas, it was empty...
"I...It...", Isilvara turned to face Daley again, "...Nowhone."
Daley removed his plate shoulders and threw them with a thud to the ground, placing himself next to Isilvara on the soft grass. He wish he could remove his armor as easly as he could his shirt in days of peace, for he would very much wish to touch the grass, and feel the earth. Alas, it was not a option.
"...You are thinking about Auberdeen, aren't you?", Daley said, he too, raising his eyes to rest at the Moon in distant north. Isilvara said nothing.
"Your spell would not have succeeded. Even if your storm had grown in power, something or /somewhone/ on that vessel could control water... You'd have wasted all your energy to no avail."
Still, Isilvara was silent.
"As to why Cherwina did not alert Darnassus in time, or as far as we know, at all, I can not answer..."
"I wonder...", Isilvara said, and Daley turned to face her, "...Why was Cherwina there, in the first place?"
Daley sighed. He hated riddles.
"Look, there's no use sinking into apathy in times like theese. You've got that new arm of yours...", Daley said, pointing to Isilvara's abnormally large wooden hand. The stiches were still etching in the purple skin of the elf, an minor infection having grown from the exposure to salt water, "...And if we alert Darnassus about as much as we know..."
"You mean, surrender myself for heresy?...", Isilvara said, "Being responsible for the re-ignition of the war of the ancients?..."
"You take things our of proportion.", Daley replied, "...But yes. Something like that."
Isilvara turned once more to face the moon.
"I'd have my title of Shan'do revoked."
"...Yes.", Daley replied.
"I'd have to face death, or worse, imprisonment for my heresy."
"...Yes.", Daley replied again, just as casual.
"...I'd never be forgiven for the murder of Keeper Blossomclaw. I'd have to bear the shame for eternety."
"...Yes", Daley replied, once more.
"...You'd win your soul back."
Isilvara turned to face Daley. She looked weary.
"You speak to me like a priest to a sinner." "I speak to you, as one friend to another.", Daley said, placing his hand around Isilvara's shoulder.
"...It's a beautiful night.", Isilvara said, blocking out the images of bloodshed and murder. Daley said nothing. "...I'll have to cherish this sight. As the sun rises, I will return to Darnassus, confess of my heresy, and..." "Say no more.", Daley said, taking a deep breath. The two friends sat there in silence, watching the moon slowly fall down, awaiting the break of dawn.
Meanwhile, a lonely doe allowed the juices of the fresh grass to gulp down it's throat as it chewed the plants to pieces. It's nutrients would strengthen the doe, and give her the strenght and vitality to survive in theese blessed lands. The starlight gave excellent sight of the surrounding area, and so, the Doe did not worry about not being able to spot predators, giving her confidence enough to feed in peace.
Or so she thougt, into the last second of her life, as the black felline that had appeared out of nowhere, as if stealthed, tore the last breath from the doe by severeing the neck from the rest of the body. The blood of the doe spilled out into the grass, nurturing it as the grass had nurtured the doe. The felline's body wore strange markings as she devoured the doe, licking her paws clean of blood and gore for each bite the carnivore could muster.
"And you wonder why they call you a savage race?", a voice had spoken, the cat was quickly alarmed, turned around, and bared it's teeth and claws. The red haired adolescent standing there, leaning against the tree, did not flinch.
"...Mrrrr...It's you...", the cat spoke, her voice deep and ancient, as she stood up on two, morphing into a elven woman of ancient grace.
"You aren't happy to see me, Cherwina?"
Cherwina wiped some blood from her mouth with her fist, and licked the rest from her lips with her tongue. Her golden eyes appeared eerie in the dark night, for the moon had started to fall in the north.
"I've sacrificed many of my kin for the safety of Eldre'Thalas... I'd think I'd atleast be able to feed in peace..."
"Be that as it may, the lady Anariel has one more task to ask of you."
Cherwina glared at the young man.
"Do not play games with me, Dakrin. You claim to have no allegiance to the Sin'dorei? I care not! You are still Quel'dorei, and that's just as bad."
"Such manner. Truly befit for a so called /Dark Elf/".
Cherwina gave a hiss akin to that of a angered cat, or a voracious serpent, and green fire started to emit from her fingertips.
"Calm down.", Dakrin said casually, still not flinching, "Don't make things harder then they allready are."
Cherwina growled, but lowered her hand.
"The lady Anariel has ordered me to return to Silvermoon and be captured, thus in some way convincing the remaining Sin'dorei doubters to lay siege to Darnassus."
"...And what of your aunt?"
"The lady Anariel foresaw the Iron Ring's success in Auberdeen. She has made certain that Isilvara will surrender herself to the Cenarion Enclave, or the Temple Of The Moon."
"Sometimes, I ask myself why I am doing this...", she said, antagonized.
"...Memories, the lady would say, I assume."
Cherwina stared at her feet.
"A vast empire where the Dorei are once more united as one race, submitting all others as minions or lesser worthy vassals... A empire, once more led by a queen, Anariel, whom we would all love and worship just like Azshara herself... Is that not what you dream of? Is that not what you reflect on at nights?"
Cherwina kept staring at her feet. "...Memories?", she said weakly.
"Yes... Memories.", Dakrin relied.
"...Memories." Cherwina said, nodding. "So be it. I shall take flight to Eldre'thalas and heed the lady Anariel's words."
Dakrin bowed before Cherwina, curtiously.
"And I shall sneak onboard one of the Iron Ring's vessels that are due to return for the Eastern Kingdom's, before exposing myself to the Vermilion cultists."
The two looked inte eachother's eyes. Dakrin's, a velvety blue, light as faint as snow, against Cherwina's, an intense golden colour, bright as the moonlight in the dark night.
"For the vision of Azshara.", Dakrin said.
"...For the vision...For the vision of Azshara...", Cherwina replied, watching mute as Dakrin vanished from sight, as a fading light in darkness.
She did not know the great scheme of things going on. She did not understand Anariel's visions, nor what part theese wars had in it, but she knew one thing, and that was that the slaughter of Auberdeen was merely the first of many, many casualities that was due to follow in the wake of war...
"The field is lost" Sentinel Nal´Shea´s voice was weary and grim. Around the band of perhaps two dozen or so sentinels who still held Fish Eye Tavern the fires where starting to catch at an alarming rate. Something had begun to beat on the door and it was a toss up on who would get them first; the fires, or the undead outside. Somewhere behind him someone started to cough violently from the black smoke that seeped in from every crevice in the timber.
A loud crash heralded a gift from the undeads twisted siege-engines as it tore a large hole in the northen wall. A hole large enough for the atackers outside to enter the building. Through the veil of the ghastly vapours from the diseased meat and bone that had come through the walls Asandril could see pale, boney fingers grip the walls a split second before rotted and corrupted faces appeared in the opening. Like greedy maggots on a festering wound they were, eager to feast they crawled inside the tavern only to find.... nothing. More ghouls in ragged and rusted armours entered the room, dark with smoke from burning wood. Lacking all caution they assumed that the defenders had fled to the upper level of the building and heedlessly ran towards the stairs. Perhaps two score entered.
All of them was dead again within a minute. From the dark corners of the room came the Sentinels of Auberdine, glittering steel like lightnings of vengeance when their war- glaives took a gory tribute from the enemy. The gifts of the night were theirs, and even if the undead had atacked in the day, the darkness created by the fires allowed them to meld in the shadows and atack as only the Kaldorei could. Dearly did the dead pay!
Still the Sentinel officer had spoken truly; the field was lost. The Beating on the door still continued and the fires still spread. They could meld with the shadows inside the building, but outside they would be without that advantage. There were no united resistance left and fighting against a stronger enemy at a clear disadvantage was domed to fail.
"We must retreat to the woods." Someone shouted. "We cannot defend what is already lost, but they are no match for us under the trees." Asandril yelled in agreement. They could flee and stay ahead of the enemy until nightfall, then they would learn to their dismay what it meant to war on the Kaldorei on their own soil.
A newly made fire was crackling in the hearth, dawn was still a couple hours away and Zarendir wanted to keep the chill at bay, dressed only in a loin cloth as he was. In front of him, on a bed, his old clothes lay scattered. A supple green leather tunic, a pair of breeches in a color long since worn beyond distinction and a pair of soft brown boots made of shadowstalker skin. Beside them lay a bow made of ash only sparsely decorated with silver engravings. It was his favourite, simple and flawless, crafted with the passionate precision that only true masters can achieve. In its simplicity it was a thing of beauty, and it had served him well in the life that he had chosen, the life he had intended to be his last. Now fate had forced him back to the endless circle of life, were death no longer was chosen, but earned.
With a sigh he turned away from his old belongings, now only symbols of a past life, and turned towards a heavy cupboard that dwarfed the otherwise diminutive cabin. With a deep breath Zarendir swung open the iron hinged oaken doors and unleashed the full fury of his past. Before him hung an impressive black armour, scale upon scale in the thousands, and over it a deep blue knights tabard. A tall composite bow able to pierce even the heaviest of armour well beyond a distance of nine hundred feet hung on a peg beside it.
The first rays of sunlight were awakening the city as a tall dark figure clad in a black scale armour knocked on the door of the Alliance Forces admissions office in Darnassus. A clerk with a newly awakened appearance opened the door and peered at the stranger, but before he had a chance to inquire about the reason for the disturbance, the armoured figure had pushed past him into the room. -“I need to be reinstated. Now. I want the full privileges and jurisdiction of a Knight Champion and I want the formalities to be done before the sun clears the rooftops, understood? I’m leaving the city before noon. There is work to be done”. And duty to fulfil, he thought to himself, a duty to his people and not the alliance, but having them think that this was a matter of mutual benefit would cause no harm. Hopefully at some point it could even prove beneficial. The drums of war had awakened.
Mestopheles patted his pockets; searching for his supply of pipe weed. He had never been much of a smoker but rough, uncomfortable ship rides tend to bring out the worst in people. Having located the silver case he kept it in he puffed away merrily and readied himself for the coming trials. Generally coastal raids were beneath him (in life he had paid mercenaries to do that sort of thing, such manual labour was not befitting a Runestratum) however in this case he was the only one actually qualified for the task at hand. To the rest of his comrades this was a simple act of war designed to further inflame the Dorei relations but to the Preceptors of the Iron Ring it meant so much more.
Abraham had done a noteworthy job of spinning it he mused, to the one side he preached vengeance against their weak-willed and savage cousins, to another he promised riches and excitement and to a select few he whispered of the advantages to be had in a conflict between the elf races. There were only three men on Azeroth who knew their true target however: the moonwell of Auberdine. Closest to the new world tree its magical properties were stronger than the others in that part of the world; protected by a whole town it would not be easy but Mestopheles required another sample for his studies. He was getting close and he knew it; he simply needed more time and more test subjects.
The imposing figure of the mercenary known only as Dreadnaut awakened him from his reverie: the signal had been made, Astranaar was ablaze. Quickly muttering a few protective cantrips the Lord joined his comrades, the knights of the Iron Ring, in their speedy flight to the doomed settlement. Under cloaks of the finest black silk they glided across the shadowly landscape leaving only death as a sign of their passing. Soon the tranquil shape of Auberdine loomed below them and Abraham raised his hand to signal the end of their journey; his bald dome and withered yet noble features cut an imposing figure in the dim light, his robed form appearing haughty and proud. With the slightest of a sadistic smile the Bishop lowered his hand once more and chaos was unleashed upon the town...
An objective watcher might have seen a pattern in the chaos as certain figures cut a swathe through the towns defenses, seemingly at random, but all in a purposeful manner. An even more eagle-eyed observer might have seen how occasionally they made the minutests of changes in their course as if guiding (slowly but surely) the raid to a specific location. The town was now entirely encircled by a force of Sin'Dorei and various horde mercenaries, two high ranking members of the former split off from the rest of their ranks and joined Mestopheles as he strode past. By this time the aforementioned observers (if not already dead) would have seen the intended destination of the Archmage but it was too late to rally a defense; the plan had worked masterfully. Elated with the flush of success Mestopheles climbed the steps to the moonwell, his entourage flanking him for his protection. Reaching in to his robes he withdrew a sinister looking pouch containing what appeared to be multi-coloured sand. He opened this and, after stating a command to his guardians, threw in to the air. An onlooker not versed in magic would be forgiven for gasping at this point as the sand did not drop but rather stuck. It encircled the mage and as his chanting began patterns (both terrible and arcane) started to emerge; the protective magic on the moonwell was as old as time and so it called upon all his power to dispell them one by one. The water in the well began to churn and boil as jagged bolts of magic arched across its surface, probing a way past the barrier.
Suddenly the sounds of battle echoed close and concern gripped his heart; at the moment he was entirely defenseless: his life in the hands of his guards. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a sentinel burst in to the streets from a burning building, her weapons bloody and her eyes crazed. For a moment he entertained visions of his funeral but then a spear flew from somehwere outside his peripheral vision and embedded itself in the elf's side. She stumbled and croaked a few words in their alien tounge before collapsing in a bloody heap. Allowing himself the luxury of sighing with relief he turned his attention back on to the spell and was delighted to see it nearing completion. With a bust of will the protective shield shattered and the lord collapsed to his knees, exhausted but joyous. It was at this point, with his usual miraculous timing, the Lord Preceptor of the Iron Ring calmly stepped past his panting friend and dipped a vial in the waters before striding off again, a momentary inclination of the head the only sign of any appreciation. Staggering to his feet the Lord watched him go a moment, a hint of hunger in his eyes, before joining the fray once more.
A purple leaf fell slowly to the ground, falling like a feather in a slight breeze across the tranquil city. Far ontop the majestic branches of Teldrassil, the city of Darnassus stood shielded from the seemingly un-natural storm that had ravaged the coasts of Kalimdor for days. Though the city appeared tranquil on the outside, it was but a facade.
Rumours were spreading. Rumours of past blood traitors having sailed across the seas with undead allies, bringing with them plague and pestilance, magic and taint. Rumours said that the city of Auberdeen, just of the coast of Rut'theran, had been the victims of severe attacks, and this made the denizens of Teldrassil shift uncomfortably in their beds at times.
Why, some even said that the unholy alliance between Forsaken and Sin'dorei breached the borders of Darkshore, and forced their way into Rut'theran. Of course, such talk was quickly silenced, or else dismissed. For whom would be able to thread upon the soil of the Night Elves without their notice? None would dare to strike at the heart of the Kaldorei's power without the fear of being unpunished. This ignorance was truly bliss in the hearts of many Kaldorei. Of course, there were those that knew otherwise.
The full moon did not reveal her face this bright night. And yet, the city was lit by gracious fairy fire, aswell as the pale glow of starlight. Wherever one would gaze upon the silent city, Sentinels were patrolling, their glaives kept ready at hand, their eyes watchful for alien elements.
Dusk had fallen merely an hour ago. The Kaldorei were awakening, within mere hours, the merchants and entertainers would fill the streets and bring life to the nocturnal culture of the Kaldorei. The sisterhood of Elune had allready started their hymns and songs within the alabaster temple, and the druid Shan'do's took their Thero'shan apprentices to the heart of the city, the better to teach them of astronomy and stars...
...Speaking of which...
Cherwina Dawnstrider walked with determined steps down the purple ledged stairs that had led to the Arch Druid's tree. Her gaze was stern and straightforward, but her mind was elsewhere. Perhaps that's why she did not notice the shadows that moved to her left, nor the soft purring of the great felline that jumped down from some unseen branch in the distant night. And so, naturally, she flinched when she heard that deep, female voice speaking to her.
"You've been in there for quite a while...", the black saber spoke through hissing teeth. Cherwina tried hard not to look up to the Arch Druid's gate, as to confirm the assailant's suspiciouns. She had no reason to fear the beast, and yet, she had a tingling senastion that she should perhaps not give away to much information far to freely.
"I was summoned...", Cherwina said casually, weary from the debattes of the evening.
"Must have been an extremely interesting herb."
"That does not concern you, Isilvara."
This time, it was the saber's turn to flinch. Cherwina sighed wearely. The two stood there for a few moments, staring at eachother, until Cherwina finally broke the silence.
"...Walk with me.", she said, resuming her determined waltz down the spiral tree. Isilvara walked at her side, her tail trailing of into the ground, her nose and ears twitching as was the nature of felline beings.
As the duo walked around the tree, Cherwina came to stop. The two druids stood there in silence, the elf and the saber, the full glory of Darnassus, theirs to behold. The songs from the Temple to the north was echoing through the otherwise silent night. The city was coming awake.
"...It's strange...", Cherwina said, luring Isilvara's curiosity, "Even though we are far from the mainland of Kalimdor, and our skies are clear... I can almost taste the storm, as if it was just beyond the borders of this mighty city..."
Isilvara turned her head to face Cherwina, her Vermilion eyes meeting the bright gold of Cherwina's.
"...When will you abolish your spell?"
"I did not cast it."
"Do not lie to me, Isilvara.", Cherwina said quite calmly.
"I tell no lies. This storm, whether it be sorcery or not, is not my doing..."
And the druidess turned from Isilvara, again staring at the city of starlight, shining in the increasingly darkenning night. There were not many moments of silence, however, before she started speaking again.
"Atleast have the decency to take on your true form when adressing me."
"I am more comfortable in this form, thank you."
"Of course you are. Might be hard to explain that new limb of yours."
Isilvara flinched, staring into Cherwina's weary, pacifist gaze with vermilion fury. And as if reading her mind, Cherwina spoke, just as calm and just as casual "Oh yes...Yes, I know."
The saber turned away, closing her eyes. And within a few seconds, the felline morphed into an elf, dressed in not much more then a leather robe, armed with little but a wooden staff. Isilvara looked weary and torn, and her eyes gave the impression of a defeated being. The focus of Cherwina's gaze was not Isilvara's eye's, however. No, her gaze fell entirely on the wooden claw-like grasp that adorned Isilvara's right wrist. The hand appeared bizarre in the light from the lanterns behind her, and fireflies seemed to flock to the wooden limb as if it was made of fire, their eerie glow making the abnormality appear even more sinister.
"...Whom...", Isilvara said, staring into the floor, her hair covering the features of her face. "...Whom else knows?"
"Why, the one's you've told I'd assume.", Cherwina spoke casually, turning her gaze back towards the starlit city.
At this, Isilvara was surprised, and her gaze was focused on Cherwina's, whom in turn had eyes for nothing but the little elves in the distance, living out their usual lives, walking to the market or the temple to pray.
"...You... Haven't told anyone?"
"I see no reason why I should. You'd most likely be executed, and I don't see what I, nor nature, would gain from your death..."
Isilvara turned to face the city aswell, her gaze absent. Cherwina spoke again.
"...The Circle Of Aessina is being reformed. I am not certain of whether or not the speakers there are aware of, or even acknowledges the so-called attacks from the Sin'dorei, but something has forced the hand of nature, obviously..."
Isilvara turned to face Cherwina.
"Inhale deeply.", Cherwina said, casually as always. Isilvara did so.
A scent of dew filled Isilvara's lungs. A scent of grass, blossoms, honey a nectar, but the scent of dew was dominant. Isilvara reckognized this smell, but she could not place a finger on what it was...
"...What is it that I smell?", Isilvara asked Cherwina. The elderly druidess merely pointed upwards, towards the dark sky.
"...The calm before the storm."
Isilvara looked upwards... There were no stars to behold anymore. Where there had been lights in the billions a few moments ago, there was but darkness.
"I... I don't understand."
Cherwina started striding off again, away from Isilvara, down the spiral staircase. Her feathered leather robes dragged like a royal coat behind her.
"Our race has conquered our sacrifice at Hyjal, with the aid of a vision...The vision that Teldrassil is allmighty and that ontop of it's branches, we will remain unharmed by the raging storms of change, that constantly twists and warps this world... It is truly the calm before the storm."
And with that, the druidess kept walking, almost vanishing from sight around the great tree balcony.
"Wait!", Isilvara yelled. Cherwina stood still, but did not turn around. "What...What does that mean!?"
"...The calm has ended.", and so, Cherwina Dawnstrider left the scene, leaving Isilvara alone on the balcony. With a deep sigh, Isilvara turned to face the city, somewhat darker from the lack of starlight, but bright never the less, like a shining beacon of light in a world of shadows.
Isilvara did not notice the drops of rain that fell upon her arms from the skies, nor did she understand why she was suddenly shivering. Only when the distant drums of thunder echoed across the starlight city, and lightning danced across the blackened skies did Isilvara truly understand.
The storms of change had reached the Kaldorei at last. Isilvara stared at the falling rain, and for the first time in many millenia, felt true despair.
The dark waters of the veiled sea seemed not to reflect the lights of the burning city, but swallow it. The grey cloads aloft on the skies above steadily grew darker to herald the coming night.
It was time to leave.
Tremayne carefully felt the vial containing the stilled water from the Auberdine moonwell. It had disturbing qualities and he was content that his time with it would be limited. The retrieval of it had been smooth where it could have been a nightmare. The heathens had in their arrogance not been expecting a visit and it seemed as if a large part of the Sentinel garrison had been dispatched to meet the threat at Astranaar down south in Ashenvale. To ask the warriors of Strife to lay siege to the outpost had appearantly been a succesful move. Swift and sure had their stroke been, from three sides had the city been assailed. The champions sent by the court of the sun had come from the south, strife had sent a force from the east, and the Iron Ring moved from the north. The objective had been clear: Secure the docks at all costs. The docks lay close to the Moonwell that was their true target in Auberdine, but that information had not been necessary to share with those not in the Iron Ring. The lord Baâl had observed the transpirerings though and would assuredly ask the meaning of it when an opportunity arouse. The lord was no fool and perhaps a token of trust would serve as political capital for the future?
That was a decision for later. The dark waters of this coast could swallow him as well if he did not focus on the task at hand. They needed to leave Auberdine before dark. In the shadowy recesses of the forests the sentinels where regrouping. Already accounts where shared and their numbers measured. The counterstrike would be merciless when it came and he had no intention of staying to recieve it.
"The ships are ready, Eminence." The usually overtidy gowns of the Lady Hellebrandt where stained and splattered with blood yet the Sister Superior seemed not to notice but curtsied as still in the monestary, surrounded by secure stone walls. "I would never question your will, Eminence, but it seems to me that there can be more had from staying abit longer than setting sail now. We meet with feeble resistance and could double our spoils." There was a greedy fire in her eyes that for a moment reminded him of the taint in her blood.
"Ah, dear sister, do you wish to stay amongst the common soldiers and seek for goods and gold?" Behind them the duo of meatwagons appeared, filled to the brim with their ghastly cargo but the docks needed cringed nor broke. The Kaldorei built sturdy docks it seemed. Lyenna had seen them too and the greedy fire went out as the reality of the situation sunk in.
"No, Eminence. I do not."
"Of course not. How silly of me to even insinuate such a thing! A Hellebrandt risking it all for a few trinkets would be unheard of." Tremayne mustered a fatherly smile. Her Lord Father had been a most astute polician and had never taken risks on the fields of battle. Indeed, he had often only appeared when the field was certain to be won. Tremayne held nothing but admiration for the man. "Inform the Court that the time to extract is now." The Sin´Dorei would assuredly use magicks to portal them to Silvermoon, heedless of the dangers from overusing it.
As Lyenna relayed his last message he turned and went up the gangplank to their vessel, deftly piloted by the Baron de Vere who had layed anchored to wait for their given signal. From here the ship would sail south, to the Horde outpost on Zoram strand. There the lords of the Iron Ring would disembark while the crew of ghouls would take the long route back over the ocean with the bodies of the slain elves. The ships seized from the Kaldorei would serve to vessel a contigent of blood-mad warriors of the Horde to Darnassus, and defy the elves in their strongest hold. They were not expected to survive the night, but there purpose was another.
Every war needed its dead to honour.
The armour weighed heavily on his shoulders, unaccustomed to its weight it was still a familiar feeling, like a returning memory from days passed. Some of the scales had worn through this woollen tunic, as old as the armour itself, and were now bruising his skin underneath. The last time he had taken it off he had thought it would be for good. What’s the use of repairing something you will never need? In retrospect the assessment had proven false. His blue and golden tabard was stained with dust and dirt, a testament to his travels. But now it was done. The call had gone out. From the forests of Ashenvale to the outpost of Sylvanaar the people knew. The Circle of Aessina has been reborn.
How many would come? How many would heed the call? And how many would believe? We have never been conquered Zarendir though as he returned the spare parchment to his brown leather satchel. Human nations have risen and fallen, the Dwarven kingdoms split by kin strife, the gnomes evicted from their homes. What the Draenei must have gone through Zarendir did not even dare to speculate. All this while the vigilance of the sacred forests never faltered, why should we be afraid now?
There had been something very unsettling about the assault on Auberdine. A cold precision he had seldom encountered on the fields of battle, and he was no novice in the art of war. The rage of the orcish warriors were a terrifying sight to behold in the heat of battle, the Taurens veritable bringers of destruction in all their might. But this, only the forsaken could approach death with such insignificance. He had arrived shortly after the attack. Pieces of burned wood lay strewn across the ground, a shield broken in half, some of the buildings still aflame, survivors aimlessly wandering around, still in shock, unbelieving. To someone unaccustomed to the destruction of war it certainly looked like chaos, but the unwavering determination that had caused all of it could still be seen in the wounds of the land. And in the centre of all of it lay the Moonwell.
Someone had once told him that the Moonwells were like reflections of the world. In their shimmering waters lay knowledge deeper than anyone could imagine, a memory of ages past, a memory of things long since forgotten, a memory of every deed and every transgression ever committed, an image of everything that has ever broken the surface of its scintillating waters.
Those responsible would not go unpunished.
Lord Archon Elrics Ravenblade had given the elder orc a task. Find and beat the Tauren known as Armos. He had discribed the tauren to the elder warlock, he had told him to make him hurt. But there was something about this tauren that made Burgrsch Demonvoice feel like he could have better use's. Thos the old warlock made up his own plans. He was going to give the Tauren a offer he would not refuse.
A chans to become part of a dark power on the raise. He was a bandit, not a cult leader. That was regretibol, but they would do for minions. The Council needed to have there armed forces. Sure that he would succed the elder orc seeked him out. He found him in the Ghostlands.
The meeting whent good. The followers of Armos was indeed scume, but the Tauren himself was impresive. Part of the old orc wonderd if he had been abel to put the hurt on him had he tryed. After all his "Order Master" had tolde him that he did not exaclt play fair. Armos agreed to join the New Shadow Council and said that he would come to the next meeting of the Council.
It was good, and then the elder came to the two tasks he had for the Tauren and his brigants. Both of them important to the Councils plans.
"The Council feels that a war betwen the Night Elfs and the Blood Elfs will be most usefull..." said the Orc.
The Tauren grined and said: "Aiming high? I like that!"
"That is why I want you to irritat the Night Elfs!" said the elder warlock.
The Tauren agreed and descused how to care out the order. He seamed inclaned to wage battle on the elfs of Ashenvale and Darkshore. Not that the old orc cared how it was done.
"Also it is well known that the body of the Master Gul'dan was ripped apart after his death." said the orc.
"Aye" said the tauren.
"We know where his skull and heart is. But his eyes are lost... All we know is that there here on this world." said the elder orc. This cused the band of brigants to specelat on where the eyes of Gul'dan might be. The onlt clue as to where they might be was that the masters corpse had been ripped apart by Ner'zhul. And that the eyes might have been given to members or allies of the Old Horde.
spray of snow from the mountains above betrayed the presence of the winds that always seemed present at the hights of the Alterac mountains in central Lordaeron. The fields of the lands below where not yet covered with snow, but frozen hard and solid in the Lordaeran night. From a mile or so below the lights of Strahnbad shone from the few houses that was still kept by the Syndicate and its cronies. Not 10 feet from where he was standing lay the cooling corpse of a sentry, getting slowly covered by the fine dust from the mountaintops that danced in the winds. The Syndicate kept a close perimeter around Strahnbad, and rightly so. The Scourge had never laid claim to it, but where not far away. The Syndicate had reasons enough to fear the vengeance of its southern neighbours as well; In fact, they had few friends about at all. The sentry had been cleverly hidden and had it not been for his mastery of mending his undead flesh Tremayne might have been the one getting covered in snow instead. Fate had willed it otherwise.
From the south a solitary figure was visible on the road, walking ever northward, open and proud, fearing not brigands nor the ogres that was said to be encamped around Gallow´s corner. Tremayne had been watching him for more that half an hour now and knew him for who he was. He had sent for the Margrave Mardagg von Thierhoff to meet him here, close to where his family once reigned over lands and peasantry. The meeting with the Margrave was one of paramount importance for the future that was ahead and the first matter of business he had seen to after his return from Ashenvale forest a week ago. Things where in motion now which required the Iron Ring to move swiftly, yet without the carelessness that haste oft brought with it.
The cause demanded no less.
The sound of heavy breathing, though present, was unheard. Or perhaps it was to weak to be heard? Regardless of the matter, the only sound that accompanied Poesi's echoing footsteps in the dark dungeons were that of dripping water somewhere in the darkness below her. Sprockz'nit, the cowardish imp that accompanied Poesi kept close to his mistress, tugging her vermilion coloured robes as they descended down the halls.
It had been a brilliant plan. Poesi had long wished to speak to the one confined within the Vermilion dungeons below the guildhalls, but acces had remained denied. With some well made food, a touch of hibernal potions and some really hungry guards, it had been an easy match to make her way inside.
Unlike the halls of Vermilion above, which were large, roomy and splendid with glamour and light, the dungeons were steep, moist, dark and damp. Poesi had been walking in this dark spiral stairway for ten whole minutes now, the torches on the wall barely litting up the very step infront of her.
At some level, Poesi felt guilt. She knew that her master, the Prophet Lord Akeion would not agree with what she was doing here, and if she was discovered, she had no doubt that she'd be severely punished. However, she wished nothing but the best for her lord and his followers, and kept telling herself that if walking behind his back to best serve him would lead to the best possible outcome for her lord, then so be it.Repeating this to herself again and again inside her head was what kept Poesi going onwards into the deep dungeons.
Poesi had to constantly remind herself that she was infact still in Silvermoon, and not some Forsaken tomb in Lordaeron. The lack of fresh air made her slightly nauxious, and the absence of proper light was the source of a minor headache. The constant dripping of water did nothing to improve the condition either.
At last, Poesi and Sprockz'nit made their way to the final star. Almost falling over, tripping on her own robes, Poesi cursed out loud for a moment before moving on. The duo had arrived at a tunnel of sorts, and greenish light could be seen in the distance. Poesi decided to walk towards it.
After an additional ten minutes of walking, Poesi came to her desired destination. Her fists were clenched at her side. Poesi straightened up, nose held high, and strided like a proud queen into the chamber that awaited her at the end of the hall.
The prison-cell looked exactly like Poesi had immagined it. She was now within a cavern-room of sorts, cut out of the very obsidian stone floor that posessed it. There were no furniture, no guards. All that existed in the room were torches of green flames on the walls, a few plates stuffed with moulded and rotten food, and rusty metal bars. Beyond the bars, however, was complete darkness. You could see nothing there, it was as if the light of the torches shunned that area. Poesi assumed this was intentional, to distress the captive on a mental level. She was about to find out if this technique truly did work, as the sorceress approached the prison bars with light steps.
"...Brother?", Poesi spoke with her gentle, seductive voice. It was a very bizarre voice indeed, that Poesi possessed. Though she would never be a grand singer, nor a poet of great renown, Poesi's voice was torn but strong, like that of a woman whom had been smoking great weight of tobacco's for decennias. Her voice, however, changed little in the room. And so, Poesi spoke again. "Brother?", she said, even more softly.
And then, suddenly, in the darkness behind the bars, two green orbs of light appeared slowly, as if something or somewhone awokened in there, and opened their eyelids slowly. Poesi smiled, atleast he was still alive.
"Who is it that disturbs a traitors sleep? Can a man not find peace, even in dreams?", said pained, yet lighthearted voice from within the darkness. It would not be hard to pin the voice down to a young man in his late teens. The voice was but one thing of many that made Dakrin far more like a human in mind and appearance, then the Sin'dorei he was.
"For your crimes, my brother, you shall be lucky that you are able to dream at all."
There was silence. Poesi hesitated about having to break it, however, she was spared this fate as her brother was the one to speak first.
"...Poe?", there was a sigh. Poesi had not expected that. "...So he got you, didn't he?..." "No, my brother. I am no prisoner of the Prophet Lord. I am his servant and pupil by choice." "A puppet is a puppet.", Dakrin replied, "No matter how a man decides to have his threads bound, the fact remains, they are bound to the will of another."
Poesi now heard Dakrin's footsteps echoe in the darkness behind the bars, as his eye's glow grew more intense. She could at last see his pale hand touch the cold, black metal of the prison bar. Poesi took a deep breath, taking in her brothers appearance.
The adolescent was but seventeen years old. He was very young, even by human standards, and even more so by elven. And yet, Poesi had never been able to look upon her brother as a elf. He had always had mind-plagues that had bothered him. He would seldom feed, insisting on the fact that excessive body fat would be his undoing. Poesi had never seen another elf spend so much time to physical labour and training. Swords, Horse riding, various sports. Time that should have gone to studies and magic was placed in brutal human games.
Even his appearance had been un-orthodox. Of all of Poesi's seven brothers, Dakrin had been the only one whom did not walk the path of the magi. He had never allowed his hair to grow below his shoulders, he had never, ever dressed in a robe, nor had Poesi any memory of seeing him feed on "un-healthy" things (or atleast, what he himself deemed as unhealthy).
And the result had been that abnormal appearance of slightly tanned skin, brimming red hair, and most brutish of all, muscles. An elf with muscles was of the lower cast, forced to do labour due to lack of servants and magic. Muscles in Quel'dorei society had never been a mark of good personal physique, but of poverty, something that had never stirred well with the Sunstone family, of which Poesi and Dakrin were the last to draw breath to this day.
Perhaps that is why Poesi was so shocked at her brother's appearance now. His tanned skin had turned pale, and his brimmingly red hair appeared almost brown in the shadows. Poesi had never seen Dakrin cast a spell in her entire life, nor imbibed in uneccesary mana. Infact, even post the destruction of the Sunwell, his eyes had remained the vivid blue colour Poesi had herself once possessed.
Puritans were doomed to fall sometime. Poesi raised her hand, uncounsciously, to touch her own face, think of her own eyes. Green. Corrupted. Just like her brothers.
"I find it ironic...", Poesi said, to break the silence, "That you left Quel'Thalas, free from our kindred's thirst, fled across great oceans into Dark Elven terrotory, to learn of how to harness this thirst, only to fall prey to it."
"Your concern is appreaciated...", Dakrin retorted. If this was sarcasm, Poesi had trouble detecting it. Dakrin sounded so defeated, when he turned around. Poesi had to be quick to speak, she could not risk him starting to ignore her out of restlessness.
"...I see that you have eaten nothing of what they've been feeding you theese last months... How come you've survived?"
Dakrin turned around again. Poesi and Dakrin stared at eachother for a moment, none saying a word, before Dakrin extended a hand. Poesi blinked. She could have sworn she had just seen electricity in Dakrin's palm. But no, she was not deluding herself. Another piece of lightning emitted from the young man's palm, this time materializing into a small orb, before finally becoming a small object in his grasp.
Poesi leaned closer to learn of the item's origin, as Dakrin held it up.
A big, red, shining apple.
"Even more irony.", Poesi said, "You saught to combat demons, and you learned magic."
This time, Dakrin did not even reply.
"I do not understand it, brother. What could the Kaldorei offer you that the Prophet Lord Akeion could not?"
"Speaking of him...", Dakrin said, throwing the apple in the wall. Poesi heard the impact. It was not a soft "splat" as she had expected, rather, it sounded like crushed glass against stone floor. "Does your beloved lord even know that you are here?"
Poesi smiled. Did he know? She had no idea. He might very well have even foreseen it.
"I am here of my own initiative, brother..."
She could not help herself. Dakrin was her younger brother, there was about seven decennia between them, and during the young man's seventeen years of life, Poesi had never once seen her brother in a more wrecked state.
Most of the Sin'dorei had become what they were, and had to deal with their withdrawal together, as a society. It plagued her to see her brother infront of her, forced to absorb magic he had never needed, and now forced to deal with his addiction. It was cruel, Poesi thougt, and her respect for her Prophet Lord skyrocketed. How genious. How effective.
"...Theese Kaldorei Demon Hunters your trained under..."
Poesi started caressing her cheek. It was cold.
"...Did they force you to siphon fel energies?"
Dakrin made a hint of a shrug.
"It's part of their lifestyle. It's a life I tried to embrace..."
Poesi's and Dakrin's eyes met for a second, and in that second, Poesi knew exactly what needed to be done.
"Sprockz'nit!", Poesi called out loud, summoning her imp from outside the room. The wretched creature came crawling into the room, sweating quietly for himself.
"Mistresssss called for Sprockz'nit?"
Poesi threw her brother a quick glance. Though it pained her to see his eyes as emerald as her own, the brimming hunger in his glare forced her to smirk
"Yes, I did. I wish to tell you that you are no longer under my service."
The imp blinked, clearly surprised.
"Mistresssss meanssss... I isssss free?"
"Yes, imp. You are free."
The imp broke out into laughter, tears of joy and relief pouring down.
"Free! Free! I isssss free! Free!"
The imp cackled maniacally, starting to dissolve from this plane of reality. Poesi turned to face her brother, only to see him smirking. To her surprise, she was smirking aswell.
And then, they both acted out of reflex. Poesi raised her fingers into the air, and an arcane wind instantly began to fill the otherwise silent halls. With a simple gesture of fingers, Sprockz'nit the imp was flung with a squeak worthy of a quillboar into the obsidian bars, where he was captured by invisible hands, hovering in mid-air infront of Dakrin, desperate to break free.
"What isss? Missstressss promisssed freedom! FREEDOM!"
Poesi said nothing. She did not understand what she was actually doing. All she knew was that, as the arcane winds ceased, she drew upon some sort of primal joy, like a beast, watching the fear and panic of the demon.
Dakrin's hands made a few light hearted moves in the open air, as if caressing the imp from a distance of a few inches. The imp, still in panic, seemed to hover in mid-air mere inches from Dakrin's palms, never hovering outside of theese. If Dakrin moved his hands due south, the imp would always stay between the polar opposites of his palms.
"No... I hassss sssserved valiantly. Freedom! Misssstresss ssssaid freedom!"
"Silence!", Dakrin shrieked in a voice which sent chills down Poesi's spine. It was akin to a banshee shriek, though Poesi was certain it was merely the amount of arcane residue in the air that twisted reality, so that she heard and saw was slightly altered.
Poesi couldn't, however, block out the dying shriek of the lesser demon, nor the savage image of it being torn to pieces and dissolved into purple lightning between her brother's palms, before he finally absorbed the entity in a deep breath.
The silence that followed was akward. It was then, that Poesi for the first time that day, truly let out a chuckle. And her brother responded by staring at her, surprised.
"Brother, ah, my beloved brother. You have just removed all my doubts." "..." "No matter how much you deny it...", Poesi took a step closer to the iron bars, and Dakrin did the same, from his side. "No matter how much you supress it..." She took another step, as did he, now clenching the black metal bars, his face pressed towards the springs. "You are, and will always be Sin'dorei."
The two now stood face to face. She, smirking, victorious. He, expressionless, defeated and tired.
"And it is a good thing, brother. It means that there is a gateway to survival and a chance at redemption." "No." "No?" "No." "What do you mean no?!" "I mean, I refuse to switch from one delusional prophet to another."
Poesi sighed.Closer her eyes, and opened them again. She could see her own eyes reflected in her brother's Iris. But something was changed. They were still vividly emerald, but in the depths of her own Iris, the colour was... Pink?
"...I can not believe you are staring at me with the gaze of Heartmourn...", Dakrin said, as if hypnotized, unable to avert his gaze. "You leave me little choice, brother." "You should know better then to dabble in ancient Kaldorei magics..." "Do not try to lecture me. I am older then you. And I know for a fact that you've been using it yourself to gain favour...Does the name Aenluv ring a bell?"
Poesi half-expected Dakrin to reach out and choke her with the mentioning of Aenluv. But the gaze of Heartmourn, the ability to charm and persuade any man or woman able of affection, kept her brother at bay.
Poesi knew she could not maintain the gaze forever. Carefully, she extended her right hand past the iron bars, and touched her brother's face. The eyes never stirred from eachother, never blinked.
"Don't do this...", Dakrin pleaded to his sister. But Poesi did not flinch. Her hand caressed her brothers cheek, and then his hair, stroking her fingers through it, placing it behind his own ears. Poesi knew how to make men relax, and it was vital for her to get her will through.Allready, she could see Dakrin's eyelids starting to fail him. Lack of real substenence and the drain of his arcane addiction had taken it's toll. He was more experienced then her to use the Gaze of Heartmourn, it had, afterall, been the very reason he had un-intentionally won the hearts of both Aenluv and Varnis, Poesi was sure, but in his current state, Dakrin's experience with the gaze ment little.
His eyes were closed now. Poesi had managed to force him into sleep, and so, she safely leaned forward to the bars, and caressed her brothers ear, whispering:
"You will surrender your life and will to the Prophet Lord. You will abandon all allegiance to our blood of the night. Shall a time ever arise where you ask your heart to guide you, when you feel that your master's will can not be carried out, the answer to your question, whatever it may be, shall be your own blade, aimed at your own heart, forced by your own will and hand.
This is my will, as the one person in this world whom loves you the most. This is the will you will follow.
Theese words and this night has been for our minds only. None else shall ever know."
Poesi sighed at her sleeping brother. She knew for a fact that such a spell did not exist. But perhaps that did not matter. Perhaps, aslong as Dakrin thougt he was under the effect of a spell, he would do as she asked. With a kiss on her sleeping brother's forehead, Poesi donned her cloak, and darted for the spiral stairways. Dawn was approaching, and she needed to be in her bed as the guild awoke.
Back and forth. Back and forth.
Isilvara walked the same path around the circular room, anxious, in deep thougt. The night had recently fallen outside. Allready, Isilvara could hear the hymns from the temple to the north of the Enclave.She could hear the Sentinels march. But above all, Isilvara could hear the echo of her own heartbeat, pounding like drums against her chest.
Back and forth, Back and forth.
Isilvara stopped dead in her tracks, raising her one still functional hand to rub her template. The headache was immense.
"Will you sit down, allready?", the smokey voice hissed from a table-arch, placed in the middle of the room, "You're driving me insane!".
Isilvara merely waved off the remark with her wooden hand.
This tree. Isilvara's tree. A fine tree. Sure, it was not as big as the Enclave's gathering tree, where Fandral summoned his advisors to hold council, nor was it as tall as the communal tree of Feathermoon. But it was her's, and that could essentially be felt by merely looking at it. The tree grew about sixty meters in a vertical limit. It had but two rooms, but theese two were spacious. One room was filled with all manners of vials and scrolls, tomes of ancient lore and forgotten history. The floor was cluttered with books of human history and culture. A so called guitar laid somewhere in a corner, broken. Isilvara had never learned to master the peculiar human instrument.
Then there was the upper floor. The floor where Isilvara and her companion were now conversing. It was much like any top-floor, for those who know of Kaldorei architecthure. The room, however, was rather empty. The space was void of furniture, save for a velvety purple wall cabinet aswell as the table-arch in the middle of the room and the eccentric blue orb that floated above it. All matter of things that had earlier inhabited the room had been banished to the underfloor, becoming the source of the untidyness.
The entire room was lit by the eerie blue light emminating from the floating orb. And whilst Isilvara merely walked back and forward in the room, her companion, Feralus Barkshadow, had his crooked nose deeply to the surface of the orb, studying it with visual interest.
"Mhm...Interesting...", the man would occasionally say, without ever bothering to actually explain why. The young druid appeared to see things in the orb that was not visible to the unlearned.
"Thero'shan Barkshadow.", Isilvara said, finally erupting after the man's fifteenth self-announcement of how interesting the orb was, "Have you actually been able to scry something from the Moon-Crystal?"
"Patience, Shan'do, Patience."
Isilvara did not like to be ordered around by her students. Before she could retort, however, the young man spoke.
"The boy's mind is being blocked somehow. Something is .... intercepting..."
Isilvara turned around, her hair billowing in a light breeze as she did so.
"Intercepted? By whom?"
Barkshadow said nothing. Instead, he closed his eyes and started forming words with his lips.
Isilvara could not read them much clearer. Barkshadow would have to explain to her himself, once he awoke from his trance.
"Scrying, are we?"
Isilvara's attention turned to the deep female voice that had just flown in through the open doors. The scent of jasmine and the indigo curtains billowed in the wake of the wind that had followed this lone raven into Isilvara's home.
"Gilraen. You took your time.", Isilvara said, greeting the raven.
"I have just returned to Kalimdor. Sir Daley Entronia wishes to inform you that he and his companions have set up camp near Light's Hope Chapel. Sir Entronia and the other humans will be at the border of Sin'thalas within a few days."
Isilvara nodded, caressing her cheek as she did so. Her skin was dry. It annoyed her.
"And so, the souther borders are under Kaldorei control, yes?", Isilvara said, whilst moving towards her cabinet, stopping only to withdraw a small stone basin of a blue lotion, adding a touch of it to her face and rubbing her cheeks.
"For now.", the raven spoke. "Tell me, Shan'do, what exactly ARE you scrying after? And does this have anything at all to do with all theese strategic errands you ask me to perform?"
The raven appeared puzzled. It was true, during the last few weeks, Isilvara had sent Gilraen on errand after errand. She had been sent to Lordaeron and Sin'thalas to commune with the forces there. She had been sent to Eldre'thalas and Mathystra to communicate with "Queen" Anariel and the Shadowwing Sentinels that dwelled with her. Mostly, Gilraen had been sent to observe the situation within souther Sin'thalas, known as "The Ghostlands".
Ao'wynn in particular had suffered tremendous amounts of troops, and Isilvara liked to feel updated. She had herself not left the confines of her tree for weeks, atleast not in a reckognizeble form. It was a great cost, that power came at. She realized that, now.The freedom to walk in the light of the moon, or at open roads was a luxuary she could not afford. Isilvara reminded herself to not take such things for granted in the future.
"We have reasons to believe...", Isilvara began, " That the Sin'dorei are once more on the move. Dakrin has vanished from my sight, and our forces are dwindling..."
The raven gave the shadow of a nod, or atleast as much as a raven could muster.
"And so, you decide to strike the first blow?".
"I choose to strike the first, and final blow. Theese hostilities must end. We do not have coin, nor enough sisters and brothers to waste. The Sin'dorei have fewer, however. Silvermoon's capitulation is inevitable. I merely await word from Sentinel Commander Shaydel Ishida so that I can-"
"You will be waiting for a long time, then, Shan'do.", Barkshadow said out of the spring of his mouth. Gilraen and Isilvara both turned to face him.
"How so, Thero'shan? Speak your mind."
Barkshadow's face was puzzled, as if unsure as to how he would select his words.
"The sentinel commander...She's dead, Shan'do.".
Isilvara sighed deeply. This was a major blow to their plan. Had Isilvara had her way, word would have been sent to Draenor, summoning the Sentinel Captain Narrila Vlongoth back into service. However, special...Circumstances regarding the Expedition prevent such summons. Instead, Isilvara now faced an enemy at the verge of defeat, but with the forces leaderless.
"Shall I send word to the Sentinels?...", Gilraen asked, spreading her wings in preparation for flight.
"No.", Isilvara said firmly, standing straight. "No, it is time that I took a more personal interest in this struggle."
"...What are you saying?", Gilraen spoke, her confusion evident in the tone of her voice. Isilvara's face turned, her ember eyes blocked by her bangs, but her smirk undeniable. "I shall follow the next shipment of re-inforcements into Sin'thalas. It is time to face theese Iron Ring cultist and their pet Sin'dorei goverment eye to eye."
Gilraen stared at Isilvara in astonishment, as if waiting for the punchline of a very bad timed joke.
"Are you INSANE!? You're not seriously going to step foot in Sin'thalas before it has capitulated?"
"If I don't, it never will." Isilvara said, shrugging."Besides, I will not be alone. The forests are with us, always."
Gilraen warped in a cyclone of smoke, and in mere seconds the black raven had now been replaced with a Kaldorei woman with green hair and immense wrath.
"Isilvara! You know what is written in the Obsidian Scrolls! If you travel to Sin'thalas, you will die!"
"ENOUGH!", Isilvara yelled, caressing her templates. "I will defy the stars! Destiny exists only in folklore and children's tales. You should know better by now."
"But EVERYTHING that has come to pass theese last few months have appeared randomly in the Obsidian Scrolls!", Gilraen argued, "Can you not see it? If you go, then you will merely fulfill that which the Highborn Seer wrote! "The dead shall walk hand in hand with noble elf"!? "And the skies turned a darker shade of reality, clouding out the pale moonlight. Alysteris the poet, Alysteris the bard, she sang alone as the heavens cried with her, sending with it a downpour so great that-"
"Yes, yes, I know what it says. I have read it more then you have.", Isilvara said, dismissively.
"Then listen to reason! Do not go!"
"I will go."
"Then you will die!"
"So be it!".
There was silence.
"Isilvara, I speak to you as a friend. Anariel's vision is to once more unite the elves under one kingdom, with herself as supreme queen.I have no idea what promises she has made you, or what you will gain from supporting her, but I ask you, please, PLEASE, abanadon this...this madness!"
"...I do not ask for your compassion, I demand your obediance!"
Gilraen's teeth were visible, tear's of anger formed like pearl-drops in the corners of her silvery eyes.
"As you wish then, "Bringer Of Storms". I'll make the preparations. We leave at sunrise.", Gilraen said, transforming back into her raven form.
"We?", Isilvara said, confused.
"We.", Gilraen replied, before spreading her wings and taking off out through the windows.
"...We...", Isilvara said quietly to herself. A moment of silence, a moment of bliss.
A moment of peace. The peace before the war.
The calm before the storm.
Weeks had gone by before the Royal Council of Silvermoon assembled. As second chairman, Lord Rasputyn led the meeting, and the votings went as expected. This task, this calling, was not the result of desire for reward. Apart from the Court, only the Forsaken representative of the Iron Ring, send by Bishop Tremayne, acknowledged the foolishness and stupidity of many councilmembers. No more could be expected from a unity of commoners, henchmen and would be politicians, opposing nobility in the name of liberalism and acting as they are equal. It was an uneasy development towards treachery if one would not fell the growing tree of insolence. Governing is by nature inscrutable, but to some it had been given to see the undercurrents of society’s maelstrom, to master it’s logic and to understand the truth that most of these lowliest members were blind for, … praising impurity and infidelity with little derisive smiles. Not many understood that unity does not mean equality, if only they could see the truth projecting on the Lord‘s emerald green retina. Being a voice of reason the Forsaken spoke out that the council would as well ‘appoint rats as new members of this convocation’ if they would keep on insulting their Sin’Dorei society with such naivity. The second chairman and his fellow representatives of the Court agreed with the comments on the display of mockery by the advisory Council of the Principality. The others Houses disagreed, as expected…therefore one could not take offence.
It proved why the Prince-regent had no other reason to allow such a Council just to please and control the masses. More then organising a charity event or party had not taken place, this gathering was too flawed, too weak, too blind… whispering the Court was evil. It gave the noble Sin’Dorei a feeling of control and a dismissive smirk, whenever he observed their mistrust. He had invited the representative of Undercity to turn their eyes towards a common goal, towards revenge on the Kaldorei. These Night Elves had settlements in the Ghostlands, close to Silvermoon, sending spies and making small sneak attacks on travelers. Many times, first Chairman Ravenblade had started a topic about it, but no actions had yet been taken by his House against this provocative presence of the enemy. Was it not, first and foremost, the will of the Light to burn away the filth in it’s great fire. Then the time had come to decimate these creatures of the night, that once were brethren before their betrayal. For the Sin’Dorie nation has become enraged against the Kaldorei and furious against all their host, their treachery has doomed them, has given them over for slaughter. They will fall, as leaves from their World Tree. It didn’t take much time to convince all present that the goals and plans of the Forsaken and the Council could be strategically united in one day, in one swift attack against the Kaldorei forces. The plan was very simple, Rasputyn had always held the view that the very simplicity of complicated plans made them successful, many years of military and political studies grants one that knowledge. At last the military alliance of the Horde, this unity, would bare fruit. At last the Council agreed unanimous, as was expected…
Outside it was cold, like there was a storm coming up. In thoughts he crossed the Royal square, ignoring the salutes of the guards. Diner was served by the undead automatons, while an orc servant informed the noble of current events. Ihriel, a most talented huntress in comparison with many rangers, had caught a renegade Bloodknight who betrayed his race and Prince by affiliating himself with these Scryers, and fled the wrath of justice. The orc had seen him and described the captive. The paladin’s eyes seemed to bore no shame, his apathy gave his captivators displeasure after the hunt. The servant and his master knew too well that this attitude would lead to a very uncomfortable stay in the cellars awaiting trail and certain death… the death of a traitor.
In ancient times of hardship, toil and war there came a whisper one day speaking of lands of lush and fertile beauty hallowed by the light, and untouched by conflict. The whisper became a rumour, the rumour became a promise of a better world that beckoned in the north. Eventually, a band of Pilgrims left the great city of Stone and ventured to make good of the promise that had started as a whisper. Daring the high passes, frozen and desolate, they came at last weary to the northward foothills and beheld their promise, vast, wild and pure. Giving thanks to the light these first pious men raised altars and churches to honour the faith who had rewarded them so. The lands became hallowed and when the high passes had been conqurered, more and more left the world of war and the great city of stone behind and the promised land prospered and grew to a mighty nation, proud and unconquered. For more than one thousand years, it stood like a beacon of hope, a promise that had once been a whisper.
That promise was now broken. "Plaguelands" was the name the once-hallowed nation now carried. The seeds of betrayal and corruption had fouled what was pure; In the search for immortality a magician had invited death and offered all other lives for existance eternal. Sacrificing all for revenge, white and hot; a Prince of the blood of those who had first hallowed the lands had doomed those he once sought to protect and was now the enemy of all life. A disease that was the progenitor of a genocide that was so horrible that it gave its victims no peace, not even in death. Like twisted, rotting puppets dancing awkwardly to unseen strings the undead scourge had devoured and destroyed. A disease so cruel, so potent; - Would it not plague the very land in equally malicious ways? The answer to that question was all around. Where the grass had once been green, it was brown and dead, spotted with grey fungus. The trees where swollen and bloated, seeping foul liquids of diseased sap, eternally bleeding. The wind who had blown crisp and cool now carried with it a fragrance of rot and corruption. A human being now was in peril by just walking the lands that had once been holy.
He had seen it before, but the corruption of his homelands stirred dark thoughts within him still. It had been more than a fortnight since he left the Margrave by the high passes to Alterac. A fortnight spent travelling scourge -infested lands alone towards at last the sanctity of Tranquilien in Eversong forest. He had near been discovered near Corin´s Crossing and had fought a hard battle against a courier serving the Scarlet Crusaders in Stratholme; but he was nearing the end of his journey through old Lordaeron. Before nightfall he would reach the sancity of Light´s Hope Chapel, if it still stood. One could never be certain of that, given the perilious position of the place. From there it was not long to the once so guarded passes of Quel´Thalas, -the birthplace of Queen Sylvanas. Every step drew him closer to his destination.
Lord Archon Me'nar Ravenblade followed Kalegh Redsun and his beloved Order in to the Ghostlands. There target was An'owyn, the faul night elfs there where all spys. And there had been rumors about mercenary camping whit the spys. But they where soon shows as false.
All the Flaming Blade meet where the weak spys whom fell like leafs. Archons sister did not even lift a finger herself but had her demon slave ripp her enemys apart as she walked the grounds. Soon the ground was cowerd whit the dark red blood of the Night Elfs.
It toke the Blade only a few minuts to kill of all of the faul beings. Archon was a special imprest whit a tauren warrior, a new recrut. He's strength was unmatch bay any of the other warriors of the Order. Whit savage brutality he tore through the elfs like they where paper.
Archon had never see that sort of power in a being that did not use any form of magic.
Soon the Ghostlands where clean. But the armed forces of Silvermoon where now drunk whit bloodlust. And so they marched on to attack one of the Night Elf strongholdes. Archon on the other hand was pleased whit the battle. Thos he leaft the comand of the Blade to his sister and watch the forces of Silvermoon march in to war.
The battalion took off on their wyverns, and filled the dusk sky over Feralas. The Kalimdorian spy camps in the Ghostlands had fallen like the night , burning with the fires of vengeance, cleansing the soil. The news would undoubtly have reached the Alliance forces by now, a distraction that fitted the plan perfectly, since the New Horde’s true objective was Feathermoon Stronghold. Riding to the home of the Sentinels called Shadowleaves, Rasputyn silently enjoyed the growing bloodlust within the ranks.
The troops embarked on the Sentinel island and clashed with the armed forces of the traitor Alliance, together with the other Generals he tried and maintain order within the ranks of an unstoppable force. The violent sound of battle all came to him at once: death screams, clanging weapons, deafening arcane explosions. There she stood, behind her warriors…Shandris Feathermoon, leader of the cadre of Sentinels stationed at the Alliance stronghold, shouting orders and piercing the assaulters with her arrows. A worthy target, a legend in Elven history and warfare, a chapter on its own. But she couldn’t keep the mobs back with her marksmanship, too many opponents, not enough guards, not enough arrows… The Kalimdorian General levelled a vicious kick into a Tauren’s ribs, spinning around and driving her glaive into a Sin’Dorei’s stomach. Dodging a clumsy lunge, she was caught by a life draining spell, too late to feint the crushing blow of a polearm in the back of her skull. Shandris eyes popped out, vomiting blood, trembling on her legs, no longer able to stand. The motionless heap of flesh was ripped apart by Forsaken, feasting on her organs. An orc decapitated the body with his axe, shouting a warcry while raising her head in his bloodied hand. No spirit healer would easily grand her life back… maybe her time had come, defeated and disgraced. The legend of old had no place in the dawn of this new world, she was best forgotten.
The screams of the Night Elves dying blurred into a single, long shriek. The Lord paced slowly along the battleground trying to maintain a view on the situation; when from the shadows a Kalimdorian rogue backstabbed him. Rasputyn tasted blood, turned and raised his axe in a defiant guarding position, calling upon the healing powers of the Light. From the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of a young Dark Elven female… she vanished as quickly as his wound. He hoped she would escape, and tell the tale of her nightmares to her race.
The Paladin met the dead gaze of Bishop Tremayne, his eyes glistening in the light of the fires. Their smirks promised a bigger target in the future...
Count Quadron Cryptwalker closed his eyes and took a deep breath of the cold sea-air. The winter was near, he thought. Too near. The gnome opened his eyes. The cold weather didn't come alone, with it also came the painful memories. Usually, Quadron would have greeted with open arms any new image from the past, any piece of information. These, though, had haunted him all too long. One could think that he would have gotten used to them, but that was impossible. Gnome shivered. Like the memories, cold weather was as hard to get used to. Quadron turned his back to the sea and walked the deck inside the Silver Rose's ship.
When he got in his personal capin, Quadron sat down on the side of his bed. There was a large mirror, golden ornamentation rounding it, just opposite the gnome. Count sighed seeing himself in it. A pale, wrinkled face was staring back at Quadron from the mirror. There were a few fresh scars on his face. "Cursed elves...". The memory of the last night's beating was all too fresh in mind, and the effects of it will most likely be feeled for some time in his body. "Why, oh why did we even try?".
The words of Lady Xantippe were echoing in Quadron's ears. "...Didn't it like, blow up or something?... When Arthas attacked Quel'Thalas?..." Arthas Menethil... "That foolish human!" Quadron had sprung up on his feet and yelled, without even noticing it himself. The pain in his muscles, though, forced him to sit down again on the bed. "Cryptwalker, think straight!", he thought by himself. "All is not lost yet. There must be some way to resurrect the powers of the Well. Hmm... Whatever it may be, I shall find that way. I must find a way..."
Unfortunately, the Count's narrowmindnessnes took the best of him. He grinned. "Let us do this their way, then", he thought of the last night's events. "If the elves want war, then a war they shall have". After this, the gnome soon fell asleep.
The battle had raged back and forth for days now in the frozen valley in the Alterac mountains. Neither side being able to gain the upper hand over the other until just a few minutes ago. The Stormpikes and their alliance lapdogs had staged a massive assault on the strategic pass known as Tower Point, and gambled all upon securing the control of the pass to begin a siege at the Frostwolf village. They had failed, but just barely.
Standing amidst a heap of broken bodies Bishop Abraham Tremayne eminated thin tendrils of smoke in the chill air. Smoke from the blood that covered him after the recent engagement. Blood that were not his own but soon would run as cold as it. It had taken a great deal of effort to survive the last onslaught; where three enemies had broken through to his position. One had been a Kaldorei sentinel, whose mastery of the shadows had allowed her to stealth close enough to impale him on her sword. A wound that would have killed him, had he not already been dead.
Tremayne absently touched the tear in his robes where the blade had gone through, remeniscing over the events that had lead him to Alterac Mountains. Paying no heed to the dying grunts of the orcish defenders who still where bleeding their life away in the cold snow he remember the assault on Feathermoon Stronghold and the swift victory of the Horde army. Surely this provocation would drive the Kaldorei to reprisal although none had been appearant yet. Understanding the ways of the once immortals where a hard task, only their views on time alone were enough to alienate them from the rest of the sentient population of Azeroth.
Then there had come an atack on Sepulchre not from Kaldorei culprits but from the Scarlet Crusade and a new enemy known only as the cult serving some obscure God-figure named Vidomi. The Deathguards had alerted them of the presence of the enemy forces yet it had been all they could do to beat back the atack. The first onslaught of the atackers had been so violent that they had been forced to retreat to the crypts to regroup in order to survive. It had taken all of his skill to mend and strengthen his comrades enough that a counteratack had been made possible. He recalled sallying forth from the crypts to the sounds of the slaughter above with just anger and finally beating the atack back. His collegues in the Iron Ring had been stupified when he had halted the atack just before annihilating the final shreds of resistance in an appearant act of mercy. They had obeyed orders and done his bidding, but other less disciplined of the forsaken present had caused the survivors to stir again and scatter and free themselves. Tremayne had his reasons for doing as he had done and neither mercy nor clemency qualified. It had been simple political shrewdness: To argue his case infront of a Horde warcouncil he would gain from appearing as the benevolant party. Also, he needed to know from where the atackers had gathered. He had indeed learned that and the realization of what that could mean was more chilling than the winds howling through the Alterac Valley. The atackers had rallied in Ambermill, which answered to Dalaran authorities.
Dalaran. The jewel of magedom and a powerful member of the city states of Lordaeron of old was an enigma now. The grand city had been hit hard by the burning legion and scourge and had then sealed itself from the world by an impenetrable dome of force. The Ambermill faction where indeed hostile to the Forsaken, but Dalaran had not officially joined the new Alliance. Not yet, at least. If they would sally forth from their dome and proclaim themselves Allied to Stormwind, Darnassus and Ironforge, it would have dire ramifications. The whole balance of power in the North would drasticly change to their disadvantage and that could not be allowed. He must find out where Dalaran stood now, and if necessary act to prevent political unity behind the walls of the dome. Dalaran had always consisted of factions arguing with each other and he was on very good relations with one of them, the Violet Eye. He had pulled what strings he had that night to get the flows of information started. Knowledge was power. Thus, he had found himself in Frostwolf territory to personally inspect the strength of the orcish forces and improve relations there as they too stood threatened by Dalaran if it emerged as Alliance. He had been told about a recent increase in hostile activity and had deemed it necessary to ride out to the front himself to stem the flow. Frostwolf village must not fall.
His problems did not end there. There were rumours of a dwarven contigents of sturdy fighters that where marching north from Ironforge to strengthen the garrison at Eerie Peak and in Silvermoon the Royal Council was in turmoil and the word he had was that things where dire indeed. He had dispatched Margrave von Thierhoff as an emissary to the council with strict instructions and could only hope that the Knight would arrive in time for the session. The troubles where brewing everywhere, festering like putrid pools. It could be coincidences, but he wouldn´t stake anything on it.
The scent of fragranced candles wore heavy in the large room, and the dim light of theese candles threw shadows that were indeed pleasing to the tired eye. The silken sheets were smooth against her naked skin, cool, but not to cold, just the way she liked it.
And yet, Magistrix Poesi Verdande seemed unable to void her concerns and enter sleep.
She turned, once, and tried to supress her face into her silken pillow. It did work, for a second or two. Poesi thougt it was shame for her to need to draw breath, as she was quite comfortable with her current position. And so, she shifted again, this time lying down on her back, her emerald eyes fixated at the roof of her four poster bed.
The room was silent at this time of the night. The only sound besides Poesi's own breathing, would be the dancing flames on the fragranced candles, licking away at eachother during the long hours of the night. And yet, in Poesi's mind there was turmoil. Voices of a doussin politicians screaming, commoners yelling at the nobles for warranting foul decisions, assassins whom saught to undo the opposition of their greedy, longfingered masters...
Such as the state of affairs in Silvermoon.
Indeed, today had been a grand day for the Royal Council. It had been simple enough on schedule - A few guilds whom saught membership, the election of a new chairman.
And then it had come, like a swing from a axe in the back, the dire question everybody was thinking about, but nobody had dared to speak out loud:
"...Why must we follow the prince?"
It was a delicate topic, and one which was prone to both debatte and conflict. True, many amongst the Royal Council, Magistrix Verdande included, had heard the rumours of what the Prince Sunstrider and his precious Sunfury was doing in "paradise". Many were the believers in the so called "Scryers", but few were those willing to speak loudly about it.
Then news had reached Poesi's ears of the Prince's supposed defeat at Tempest Keep. Allready, rumours were circling about Sunfury Sin'dorei having been seen setting up camp within the Sunwell Plateu, but even the Royal Council of Silvermoon was not informed by the Prince Regent, nor it's court.
Chaos had begun to emerge allready, Poesi knew this. Allready forces started to gather, and whilst none spoke of strife, Poesi had noticed that guards were more alert then usual, private guilds and orders were starting to make it a custom to bear arms in the streets of Silvermoon. Pact after Pact was made between guilds, and more eyes were placed upon The Court Of The Sun and the Phoenixheart Order.
Poesi had noted, to her horror, that even her own guild of Vermilion seemed to be thrown suspicious glances by commoners on the streets. Rumours were abound that Scryer and even ALDOR representatives were preparing to launch ambassadors into Azeroth and preach of the Prince's betrayal. Poesi could not even begin to fathom the consequences this would have upon her people.
Desperate for counseling, Poesi wished to seek out the High Chairman Ravenblade and speak with him - Though in the direst hour, the first Chairman Archon Ravenblade had resigned from his post.....
And hell had broken loose. The meeting ended abrubtly, with not all guild's having their voices heard, and no new chairman having been elected. On this day, even Poesi had felt a dagger against her back, from a lowly assassin by the name of Jakino, a so called vigilante, willing to go to any lenghts to quell the Sin'dorei rebellion and silence all whom would oppose the prince.
She had been saved, luckily, by a former noble of the Court, a certain Magister Aelric. Poesi had been a subtle supporter of the liberal parties that saught membership into the council, and many reservatory parties opposed them greatly. It was not unheard of for nobles of wealth and power to hire lesser assassins to do their dirtywork.
Poesi shifted in her bed again. The Iron Ring had not attended the latest council meeting and were unaware of the chaos that had risen. Silvermoon was on the verge of civil war, their forces and resources spent on the war against the Kaldorei, whose counter attack was still spoken of in the shadows of the night, and to top it off there were now rumours of Dalaran having joined forces with the alliance, pushing forward into the northern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms.
Poesi's eyes widened as a grim thougt hit her like a falling star: They were surrounded.
Sure, now the horizon was still visible, and the forests healed... But it could change at any time. Poesi dreaded for the day she would awake to see Kaldorei ships lay siege to the eastern and western borders, seeing dwarven and Dalarian troops marching through Eversong from the south, and at last facing the truth of the Sunfury from the north - all at once.
Not to forget the Court of The Sun and the reservatists influence in Silvermoon, should such a truth have to be faced. Anything short of a Civil War seemed insufficient.
Poesi finally did fall asleep that night, though her concerns continued to echoe her mind, and her dreams.
The old orc was trobeled. The Shadow Council had not found all the items of power it truly needed. The Blood Elfs seamd ready to ripp one another apart. And whispers about some damed prophecy seamd to have taken Lord Ravenblade under it's wings. The good elf was a fool tho, a most insightfull cleaver fool. But a fool non the less.
The only good thing about this change in the elf mage was that he trusted Burgrsch now. This texts spoke of savage elders. And the old orc was whery much that. The texts had some power tho. They had been writhen long befor Orcs ever came to this world. And yet they spoke of them.
Also the fallen human prince that had become the Lich King was ponited out. The texts said he was the first sign of the end of the elfs old ways of life. The first omen of the fall of there kings. Maybe it was so, but how could that harm the Shadow Council? If anything the elfs would fall in line and come to understand and accept there new place.
As the survents of the Horde. And as soon as the Blade had found Zayn, who had been missing for some time now, the Council could start it's newest plot. On the reqvest of one of its most powerfull members they would cut down the Court. The rain of the Prince survents would end and a new order rise form its fall.
Of that the old one was sure.
Zul'fan sat in his hut, in the area his people had just recently claimed for headquarters.
In the shadow of the old Amani Empire, on their grounds...On Troll grounds, Zul'fan reminded himself...And with the name of that other Empire of old.
Something old, something new...
Though he was now free of the mind-controlling spell cast so long ago on him by the wretched Morgania of the Court, his mind often wandered back. Mostly towards particularily humiliating events...Or in this case, towards the efforts he had been part of to help the organisation known as The Iron Ring.
Though he was now free, and gathering his own forces, Zul'fan could not help but ponder whether he should leave their cause to rot - or help them once more. Zul'fan, having had his share of battles, and attuned to the scent of trouble knew that something big was brewing.
Ah well, thought Zul'fan. Let the Arch Bishop come to me, should he choose to. The Empire would still need time to grow before being able to help properly with a war...But Zul'fan was never one to say no to a good fight. Especially, he thought to himself, leading my own Tribe, my own People...My own Empire into battle.
Zul'fan pondered these things, and more, while looking out over the area from his vantage point. Ah, such a sight, to see those who followed him already up and working, even though dawn had not yet fully arrived...
How could this have happened? The Prophet Lord would be furious!
A smaller twig slapped her in the face as Poesi ran through the dense forest lands of Eversong, but she cared not. Her flamboyant golden-red robes were esnared by a root on the ground, and a large piece of cloth was ripped as she pulled it apart, but she cared not. Her lungs were aching out of protest in pain at the sudden and unexpected physical strain from having been running for twenty minutes in pursuit, but she cared not.
Even as she screamed, her throat and lungs burned as if on fire.
"Brother! COME BACK!"
She knew it was a futile call. Even now, she saw Dakrin Sunstone, the traitor of Silvermoon cross the River Elrendar, vanishing into the ghostlands, but she would not give up chase. Poesi's naked feet shivered as they touched the cold and wet surface of the wooden bridge - Her shoes had been unfit for running long distances, and had been discarded on the streets of Silvermoon as she began the pursuit.
Even as Poesi ran through the ghostlands, she pictured in her mind for what must surely have been the hundred time that evening, how everything had started...
The Magistrix Poesi Verdande had been unable to sleep, nightmares of hellish shadows engulfing her mind. Such was natural when you dealt with demonic forces - Demons were, after all, slaves to the will of it's master, and would constantly seek to break free - by any means neccesary. Unable to allow herself the luxuary of sleep that evening, Poesi had donned her robes and made her way down the guild halls, and alas, into the dungeons below.
Her brother had been imprisoned there for several months now, and always appreciated her company... Or atleast, so Poesi would imply to herself. In truth, her brother's mind had been ravaged by the Prophet Lord's continuos intrusions. If Poesi did not think higher of her master, she would say he was desperate for answers, desperate enough to sacrifice a young soul such as Dakrin's. Poesi did not argue, she knew deep down that the Prophet Lord's will was absolute, and yet she could not help but so sympathize with her younger brother. He was but seventeen years old, a child in the eyes of many, and a full grown in the eyes of few.
But age did not matter - A traitor was a traitor, and Poesi knew that had it been anyone but the Cult of Akeiri Vermilion whom had captured the vigilante, he would have faced certain execution before the Royal Council. His very existance was a closely kept secret to the Akeiri.
Yet, as Poesi had decended the dark spiral stairs this evening, she had been pushed aside. Caught unaware, Poesi had slammed into the wall and taken a blow to the back of her head. As she had stumbled there, strong arms had caught her. Had she not known better, she would have thougt herself to be embraced by a human, but as she opened her eyes, her eye's were struck with terror. Her brother, Dakrin, had looked down upon her with concern, as she had been knocked off to make way for his...
And then it struck Poesi. Dakrin was not in his cage, he was running upwards... He was escaping!
Poesi's realization must have reflected on her face, for her brother, superior to her in physical power, had pushed Poesi against the wall as he continued his ascention to the main hallway above. Poesi had given pursuit, desperate cries to summon guards to catch the Prophet Lord's prey.
And yet, as she arrived in the hallways, her brother was nowhere to be seen. Two male guards lay on the floor, no sign of physical harm, the presence of sentience gone from their blank, expressionless eyes. That the two were truly dead was deeply questionable, as Poesi could still hear their heavy breathing - Alas, she had no time to care for them. Dakrin was a prisoner of the Prophet Lord, and thus he was the property of said master, and she would not allow the traitor to escape.
As Poesi made her way through the large oaken doors, into the silent nocturnal streets of Silvermoon, she was faced with even more fallen guards - Neither of them truly dead, but nor sentient. It was as if a cold wind had come and stolen their breath away, stealing with it their will, their ability to think or speak. Poesi doubted this was arcane spellwork, nor that the effect was permanent. Behind her, several feet above, laid the vast golden balcony bordering to the Prophet Lord's master bedroom. Poesi heavely considered to awaken the lord and inform him of the situation, but decided that it may give Dakrin far to much advantage of terrain. The traitor-child had consorted with Kaldorei, and learned their ways. Poesi had no doubt that, should her brother reach the forestlands of Eversong, he would be impossible to track.
...And here she was, running through the dark and unforgiving ghostlands. To her far east laid the Dead Scar, a terrible reminder of the fate that had befallen her kin. And to her west laid a reminder of glorious victory - A shattered Kaldorei siege unit.
It had been not even a month since the destruction of the invading Kaldorei forces, and Poesi was now more then ever, truly thankful for not having been there to witness it first hand. Having heard of the Kaldorei's shadowy magicks and the ability to turn themselves to pure darkness, and hide in the shadows was enough to make Poesi paranoid in walking near shadows even in the streets of Silvermoon. She needed not that feeling here, so close to former Kaldorei camps, in a dead landscape whose very earth was soiled with shadowy powers.
And finally, Poesi caught up with her pray. A few feet infront of her, Dakrin laid on his knee's, breathing heavely. Poesi slowed down her pace, trying to catch her breath. Her brother would go nowhere. His red flaming hair had grown long enough to cover half his face by now, and Poesi would not lose sight of him again, having now adjusted to his colours. Slowly, she walked up to the young man, when she realized, he hadn't collapsed on his knee's... He was kneeling.
Poesi took up the pace again, a feeling of immense dread pounding in her chest, as if her heart was telling her not to approach but rather to turn back and flee. As always, Poesi ignored the yearnings of her heart, and followed the logic of her mind.
Surely not... Surely not...
Poesi felt small rocks make themselves reminded under her bare feet as she sped up towards her brother, mere feet away, her heart beating faster and more painful then ever before.
No... I am just being paranoid. They were defeated. They were defeated.
And yet, as Poesi reached her brother, she saw what he saw. Her hand fell upon her brothers shoulder, uncounsously pressing her leg against his back. Poesi known true fear merely once before, and that was as she fled from the voracious jaws of the undead scourge. That feeling of dread made itself reminded now. Once more, she stood frozen in place, her eye's resting on what she feared more then anything. Once more, her terror petrified her, rendering her unable to speak, to move.
Infront of the two siblings, a shadow stirred. The tall woman's skin was the colour of a black grape. and her hair the shade of ivory. Her robes and uncountable scarves radiated like moonlight, white in the darkness. The long ears were adorned with silver rings en-masse, and her breath created mist in the night air, even though it was not particulary chilly.
Truly, Isilvara looked nothing like Poesi had immagined. The young Magistrix had expected a being of faelike beauty and immense allure, and yet she was faced with a beast, an animal in elven form.
The Kaldorei stared at her. She had her eyes closed, but Poesi knew, she knew that the savage woman was inspecting every inch of the Magistrix's body, calculating best how to rid herself of her presence.
Poesi did the only thing that seemed sensible at the time. She raised her hand and aimed two fingers at the beastlike woman, chanting.
"Shadow Bo- !"
The next thing she knew, the Magistrix was gasping for air. She felt cold, for her circulation had been cut off. Poesi found herself restrained on the cold earth. In the blink of an eye, thorned, black vine's had launched themselves from the air and grasped Poesi by the ankles and wrists, the thorns digging deep into her veins, forcing the gush of blood. A fifth vine had placed itself around her throat like a voracious snake, choking it's prey.
This isn't happening... You're supposed to be dead... You're supposed to be dead!
Poesi's horned, rimmed and square glasses had fallen to the ground, and her eye's were teared. Alas, Poesi could see clearly the tall being dressed in white approaching her slowly, taking her time. Poesi pondered for a moment as the feeling in her limbs died away. She did not understand how she could still be alive. More then two minutes had passed since the vine had esnared her throat. Poesi figured that the thorns that had forced their way into her veins must carry a venom that sedates her muscle, and that was the root of her apperent paralysis. By the same logic, Poesi assumed the venom carried Oxygen directly into her blood. She was alive for a reason - The Kaldorei wanted something from her.
At last, the woman had reached her quarry. Poesi did not like being forced to her knee's, kneeling infront of her master's nemesis. Not a single word had been uttered by any of the three, and Dakrin was completely blocked out of sight by the billowing scarves of the Kaldorei woman. Poesi counted them to several doussin. In truth, Isilvara did not sport a robe at all. Poesi noted that the tall woman wore a modest tunic and what appeared to be pants of linen fabric, both white as marble. Doussin's of scarves worn by the Kaldorei gave the strange impression of billowing robes, but for what purpose, Poesi could not fathom.
"A'la'dieb. Nul felunevath Tal'kierthan." , the woman's deep voice spoke crudely. Poesi's grasp on the Darnassian tongue was vague at best, and the ugly words ment little to her.
"...I...", Poesi coughed forth, mindful of not moving her jaws to much in fear of the thorns, still deeply embedded into her throat, "...I...Do not...Do not understand..."
"A'la'dieb. Nul felunevath, Tal'kierthan.", Isilvara repeated, slightly louder and even more demanding. Poesi reckognized the tone of voice as a command, rather then a request.
Several minutes passed. The ache in Poesi's wounds made themselves reminded immensely. Poesi shivered, as the Kaldorei spoke, crudely and with a ugly accent very much akin to that of trolls.
"You... Ish Akeion?"
The Thalassian words were crude, and sounded as if they had been uttered by an orc with a trollish accent.
Poesi said nothing. Several more minutes passed.
"...You... Ish Rashputin Bachall?"
"Yes... Yes, I am Akeion...Rasputyn...Baal..."
The Kaldorei was clearly under the impression that the two were the same persona, and Poesi had decided that they must both be protected from whatever it was that the savage woman wanted from them. Her valiance was rewarded with pain, as the vine's stirred, gashing open deep wounds around Poesi's wrists, ankle's and throat. A quiet moanful pain escaped Poesi's lips.
"...You ish no Akeion Rashputin Bachall... You no Tal'kierthan..."
And then, Poesi heard it. The voice of her brother, murmuring something incomprehensible in darnassian. As the vine's had shifted in position, Poesi was now able to raise her head, and her confusement was immense. Dakrin was still not visible behind the billowing cloaklike scarves, but the being that stood before her could not be Isilvara. Infront of Poesi stood a faelike, enchanthing creature. The Kaldorei woman radiated with grace and beauty. She still had not opened her eyes, and appeared as a strange sleepwalker, as if dreaming.
Spellwork... Her legendary beauty is nothing but spellwork...
Poesi knew not how long her brother had watched her, but his voice disgusted her. To hear a Sin'dorei speak in the crude Darnassian tongue... Disgusting. Nor was his words welcome when they flowed on in Thalassian, intrusive and treacherous.
"Shan'do Heartmourn wants you to reveal the location of Tal'Kierthan's stolen blades."
Poesi had never been so disgusted with another Sin'dorei. Truly, not even Crimvar Phoenixheart would be able to top this taste of hatered in Poesi's mouth. Even so, the name "Tal'Kierthan" had been heard three times so far within the last hour, and Poesi still did not understand who or what it was. It was then that Isilvara's left hand slowly reached for something in her belt. Poesi caught a glimps of something wooden, concealed amongst her right hand within the many scarves, but focused on the object Isilvara was reaching for. Poesi's eye's opened widely as Poesi withdrawed what appeared to be an ivory blade, it's hilt white as snow, and the blade reflecting the pale moonlight above. For a moment, Poesi thougt her execution imminent.
That is, until the Kaldorei raised a disgusting, wood-like index finger from her right hand, pointed at the sword she was holding, and repeated: "Tal'kierthan... Tal'kierthan?"
Poesi glanced once more at her brother, his silhuette now visible in the shadows behind Isilvara.
"...Tal'kierthan's songblades were crafted by the Kaldorei priest with the same name several centuries ago... Each is imbued with strange "songs", magic from era's lost... The roots that currently hold you in place is the so called "song" of this particular blade..."
Isilvara said, quietly: "Lim, Mishadorei."
A strange elven song started echoing in whispers around the glade, mournful. A voice, a child's voice, echoed in what appeared to be a very sad lullaby. Although of what it sang, Poesi could do nothing but guess.
And Poesi felt the roots that bound her vapourate into smoke. Free from the support of the vine's poison, Poesi's lungs momentarily collapsed. She coughed severely, drawing many a breath before being able to support herself. Poesi's vocubalery of Darnassian was narrow indeed, but she had understood. "Lim" was the Darnassian equivalant of "light" or "shine". "Dorei" was universal elven tongue and meant "Child" or "Children". "Misha", however, Poesi had heard merely in druidic conversations between tauren. It did mean something akin to "Vision" or "Dream", although Poesi could not place her finger on what exactly. Basically, the Kaldorei woman infront of her had told a Dreaming child to shine?
Poesi was given no time to contemplate, however. In the far distance, Poesi heard voices yelling, and heard the sound of Hawkstrider's shrieking their birdlike callings.
"Magistrix!? Are you there!?" "Lady Verdande, where are you!? Are you well!?"
Of course. There must have been a guard switch, and the bodies of the others must have been discovered. Poesi felt an familiar numbness spread in her body. She glanced down at her wrists, and noticed that where there should be wounds from various thorns, there was no visible sign of injury. No scar, no dead tissue. As the Magistrix raised her head, she witnessed Dakrin and Isilvara gaze into the distance, where the voices originated from. Without as much as a second glance at her, Isilvara vanished and became darkness - As was custom for her race. The ability to shadowmeld, and become one with the dark surroundings was a myth spoken of in Sin'dorei horror stories of their savage cousins.
Dakrin, however, gazed at his sister with hesitation in his eyes. Poesi wanted to bite him, to curse him. But she could not summon strenght even to bare her teeth. The sedative poisons were forcing her into sleep. The last thing she saw was her brother vanish in a similar way to the Kaldorei woman, followed by a blurred face of a Sin'dorei man. She had been turned on her back, and felt the embrace around her numb body. Although her vision went black, the Magistrix could still hear the men speak of her.
"Look at her eyes... They are blank, just like the guards." "Curses! Then she will be paralyzed for atleast an hour, just like the others! Sunstone will escape!" "No matter... Bring her back to Greythorn Hold. I shall speak to Magister Shine and General Falanaar about this before consulting the Prophet Lord..."
And then, Poesi fell truly asleep.
The Old orc wacth the members of the Council leave the keep. They had been fewer then he had hoped. The Tauren had not come, tho he hardly mornde that. He was strong and powerfull yes. But he was undiscipline to the borders of a chaso spirit. What trobleld the Master of the New Shadow Council more, was the fact that Mistress Blackheart had not been there.
Master Demonvoice had looked forward to seing her. Maybe even fight her for control over the Council. He would even had welcomed her arrogent elf brat of a apprentice. Or the Countess Ravenblade. But they had not come. Only the three and young Poesi had been there, it made the elder warlock smile to think that she had tryed to hide her skills. Calling herself a mage, a mage ha!
As he became alown in the Keep he thought about the plans the Council had made. The Shadow and the elf warlock had made plans to gether evidence agenst the Court. And he himself had made plans to from a force of arms to do the Council biding at last.
He hoped that the Council would soon grow in power. And he could almost feel how it would...
The silence of the Silverpine forest was broken with a short laughter. Not the laughter of someone who was happy, but the bone-chilling laughter originating from the dead lungs of a walking corpse.
Lord Mestopheles Runestratum turned around and met his gaze with an expression of puzzlement plain on his undead features. a twig had entwined itself in his glossy black hair and his fine garments where covered with dirt and grime from the hike through the uncharted forests he had hawked and hunted in as a child.
"What is so funny, Abraham?"
"Us." Tremayne answered. "This situation. The proud scions of the Tremayne and Runestratum families stumbling through the wilderness in the dark; tripping on every root and finding every puddle of damp mud that has been placed in these forests by malignant Gods in times past. By the powers, Mestopheles! This was not a path we envisioned those brisk summer nights in Dalaran when our ambitions and lives lay ahead of us!"
Mestopheles frowned and looked over himself with disgust before uttering a short spell that seemed to instantly bring the luster back to his expensive clothings. "We do look and behave like highwaymen Abraham." He replied dryly. "Your Lord Father would turn in his grave if he knew."
"My father was a stern man and I would rather he rested eternally than stirred and turned to hold a sulphurous speech about my misdoings. It was enough that I turned in my grave, name him not!"
Now it was Mestopheles time to laugh. "Stern indeed. Oh I would have payed handsomly to be there when he learned about that peasant maiden of yours in westfall. I would have payed even more not to have been in your place then." Talking about events that took place in a time 3 decades ago when the world held color and warmth to them both raised his spirits somewhat.
"Luckily he was in Hearthglen and a continent away when he found out." His father had threatened to disown him and had it not been for his uncle he might have indeed. "Had I been..."
He was disrupted by a flash of blue that came through the trees from a short distance away, briefly illuminating the landscape before hitting him square in the shoulder. A cold painful numbness spread in his arm that he quickly supressed before calling upon his powers to shield him. Within seconds half a dozen arrows thumped against his shield and fell to the ground. Not 30 feet away a group of armor clad soldiers bearing the violet of Dalaran charged at them while behind them a mage started to chant to throw another spell their way.
Mestopheles had quickly stepped behind his shield with reflexed honed from generations of self-serving Runestratums who all had inbreed knowledge of what their best intrest was in each situation. "Lower ranked Dalaran soldiery." He said briskly. "I am reluctant to slay my countrymen but if what you said earlier.."
"We cannot be seen by anyone alive." He interupted with force. Mestopheles nodded, and stepped in front of the shield with a look of grim determination on his face. The men was almost upon him when he incanted words of power and summoned the unbridled fury of the north to strike at his assailants. Where the Dalaran mage had illuminated the forest with a bolt of pure frost Mestopheles froze the world around him. In an instant the trees and grass where white and silver and the soldiers dead with their very blood in their veins frozen solid in an instant. The Dalaran mage officers second frostbolt was like throwing a snowball at a glacier with the intention of destroying it. Tremayne reached out and seized control over the last survor of the patrol´s fragile mind and forced her to her knees in the frozen world Mestopheles had created.
"We are close to Ambermill now, Abraham. These Dalaranians must have come from there."
"Aye, it is as I told you, old friend. I did not wish to aggreviate you, but I must know more. These Dalaranians aided our enemies and the scarlet crusade and allowed them to stage an atack from their territory. I am deeply worried by this as you know. We have had no word from behind the dome in years now and I must now how things in Dalaran stand now." Dalaran was made up by myriads of factions and the Magocraty saw representatives from the most powerful of those. So far Dalaran had not declared for the Alliance but had stayed neutral and Tremayne needed to know if that was about to change. If Dalaran declared for the Alliance their cause would take severe hits and the whole powerbalance in the north would shift. All he knew was that this faction that held Ambermill had supported their enemies, he needed Mestopheles to tell him who they where and what powers they wielded.
Dalaran must remain neutral at all costs.
The old orc was still take a back by what happened. He had fought Mistress Blackheart and he had lost. He was no longer the Master of the Council. He was now only a high ranking member, but it was not over. Part of him wonderd if this was the spirits testing him, or if his time as ruler was just over. In any case things where changsing.
Maybe it would soon be time for a new war... The Elven wars seamed to be coming to a end. And if that was true, there would soon be a new chapter in the history of the Horde.
The following takes place at the time before when Lord Archon Me'nar Ravenblade left the Royal Council and to the date of today:
The book seller seamd almost scread to sell Lord Archon the book he had asked for. But he deared not sell it, after all he was the First Chairman of the Royal Council. If he had not sold him the book he could have reported him to authority's for even having the text in stock. The Prince Regent had it outlawed not long ago after all.
So he toke the Lords gold and gave him the tome, it was ancient printed only a few hundred years after the funding of Quel'Thalas. It was intiteled: "The promise of Dorini'Thalas"...
Lord Archon Me'nar Ravenblade, knew there where dangers in owning this tome. There had been 50 copys ones, but after the Prince Regent had taken contact whit Silvermoon agen all but a few had been burned. And there owners had been beaten by the guards. Calling them disloyal to the Prince, back then Archon had not thought about it much. But now...
His grand father had one owned a copy. As a reminder that noting was everlasting he had toled Archon when he was a childe. His father had sold it not long after the grandfather died. Archon only recalled the meaning of the namn of the kingdom the text spoke of. It meant the Kingdom of the Spirit, could it be meing the ways of the shamans?
When he was back in his own chamber he toke out the book and read it. All if the 7 verse's.
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! The land shall blead. And in that blood we shall bath. In that sorrow, we shall find hate! But hear thu, my warning! That hate shall steal the mind of our King. And he shall be as the bringer of death himself!
Thu have been warned! Now take heed, for I do not tell lies. Tho Kings and Queens will say I do! But heed me Elven child! The High Home will fall, and if it raises it will raise as a place of the damed! Only if thu find the path of the spirits will thu save our kin.
Thu have been warned. Thu most now chiose. Thu have been warned!
The Light will turn to Darkness
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! A son of a human king will be blinded by hatred. Watch for him! He will go to the Frozen lands in the North and there he will find death! He will return to slay is father and betray his peolpe! For he is the bringer! He is the bringer of death, and death and only death will follow him!
He will bath the High Home in blood and break the back of our Kingdom. He will being the Burning horror back to our world and cast us all to the flame. He will watch as the outlanders kills the might heart of the Forset. He will betray the demons and give a weapon of pure darkness to the Kaldorei.
He is the first sign of the fall. He is the enemy of all whom art free. Tho Kings and Queens will say I lie! You most heed me Elven child! For from his evil hate will take root in our hearts! Only the Spirits can save us!
The Slayers and the Heart
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! When non will hold our hand only the freed slaves of the bringer will take it. Only them and the outlanders that slayed the mighty heart will aid us. But the Heart, tho it's owner will die, shall never truly die. But the Burning horrors will steal it! They will hide it well! But it shall also be forgoten! Thu most find it!
The outlanders will bring you ways to speak whit the spirits. And the Spirits shall lead you! They shall lead you to the heart of the forset, Elven child, and whit it the path starts. The path that will lead thu to our new destiny. It leads to Dorini'Thalas. The spirit home, and from there thu will heal the other Elven children.
Seek the Heart in the Frozen lands, for the bringer has stolen it whit him. Seek it in the cused woods, for the demons know it well! Seek it in your own soul and the soul of the wise plane walkers, for you all feel it's power!
The betrayer betrayed
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! And that brightness will bring power, but at a price. A prince betraying princes, leaving them to die in his place. A prince betraying his father's dreams to bind the light. A prince who will fall in turn to the rising king.
That king shall rule the light and the power it brings. And the Kingdom of Blood will bleed its own children to feed it. They hide behind the light and bow before its master. For they fear their hunger more than than they love their souls.
Turn back now! Turn back from the path of betrayal and deceipt! For the brightest light casts the deepest shadow.
Blood of stars, Bone of shadow
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! In the forests of the old empire a son of the starts will steal a skull of shadows. As the skull gives him its power so shall his blood turn to darkness. As his blood turns shall his soul be tained for all time. As he is tained his brother and the one he loves will cast him out.
He will awaken the serpent's of the blackend sea's. He will try to slay the King of the dead and be cast out of this world. But the serpent's will find the heir of the Sun. They will offer him aid. And he will take it as he is beaten by humen and hunted by the dead.
Pacts will be made, a prince kneels befor the son of the fallen stars. In a valley of darkness the son of the fallen stars will rule a broken kingdome. In a storm of stardust the prince of blood will steal the chariot of imortals, there darker pacts will be made.
War of Night and Day
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! In the mother of all lands, the night will awake. The awakening will unite all life and end a war. From the dawn of peace, comes the dusk of strife. From the death of peace, war is born.
The lost children will rise and walk hand in hand with savages. The lost children will follow the path of long dead men. The long dead men will start a crusade against the night. The night shall be rallied, and it's children will bring war to the land of the dead.
In the land of the dead, a gathering of lost children gathers. Within the gathering, power is divided. The power is given, but more is taken. Strife rises from the gathering.
Hear one, hear all! Hear the tell I tell thu! For one day when the sky is bright, death shall come! But do not despair, for thos brave enough to walk the path there will be light! For as the spirits of the worlds take the mind of our King they give us new guidance. They give us the aid of spirit speakers and prophets to lead us in to a new light! They will lead us to the Spirit Home. The new Kingdom of the Elven children.
The savage elders will extend there hands in friendship even efter all the eons of hate. Thos whom over come there hate shall be blessed. Thos whom misstreat this elders that ones share our blood shall be cast out. There shall one day be war betwen the followers of the fallen prince and the free elven children.
That war shall bring the final battle of the elven races. Thos whom follow the prinse shall become damed and will on longer be elven. Thos whom stay free shall grow and be come the new race united in harmony.
Lord Archon was sure of what he needed to do. The time of blidly following the Prince Regent was over. It was time for change. The firs step on that path had to be the fall of the Court of the Sun! Whit out the Court the Prince power over Silvermoon would be weakend. And the Royal Council could then, and only then be reformed.
The war whit the Night Elfs would have to wait. This was more important. First his peolpe would need to become free from the Prince. And then there path from there would be choisen whit great care. For he would lead his kin to Dorini´Thalas. If it so ment his own death...
The old orc was trobeled. The Shadow Council had not found all the items of power it truly needed. The Blood Elfs seamd ready to ripp one another apart. And whispers about some damed prophecy seamd to have taken Lord Ravenblade under it's wings. The good elf was a fool tho, a most insightfull cleaver fool. But a fool non the less.
The only good thing about this change in the elf mage was that he trusted Burgrsch now. This texts spoke of savage elders. And the old orc was whery much that. The texts had some power tho. They had been writhen long befor Orcs ever came to this world. And yet they spoke of them.
Also the fallen human prince that had become the Lich King was ponited out. The texts said he was the first sign of the end of the elfs old ways of life. The first omen of the fall of there kings. Maybe it was so, but how could that harm the Shadow Council? If anything the elfs would fall in line and come to understand and accept there new place.
As the survents of the Horde. And as soon as the Blade had found Zayn, who had been missing for some time now, the Council could start it's newest plot. On the reqvest of one of its most powerfull members they would cut down the Court. The rain of the Prince survents would end and a new order rise form its fall.
Of that the old one was sure.
Lord Archon Ravenblade was trobeled. The Order of the Flaming Blade was losing it's power. It's members growing complasent as inturnal strife threathened to ripp it apart. But there was even now hope. Hope that could be found in the lines of the prophecy.
He would seek out the "Savage elders" and seek there council. He would turn away from the dieing kingdom and lead his followers whit him.
Shara Heartroot shivered, not only from the cold but also in anticipation. She was going to meet him last she had seen him up close had been when he had come to clame her husband. A member of the Cult of the Damned. She had fallen to her knees begging him not to take her husband. He had then offered her to join whit the Cult and be whit her husband for ever and ever.
She had accepted, at first for the love she felt for her husband. And then to survey next to him, and as time passed, she lost her love but gained something ells. She had a purpose, there was meaning to exists, that meaning was to follow the command of the Lich King. She could hardly remember her husbands name, and if they did not shear the same living quarters she doubted she even remember how he looked.
She knew they would never have children, unless there King commanded it, but that did not make her sad. It had ones but that was long ago now. As she climbed the steers to her beloved King she found that she wanted to see him. The feeling was so strong that she knew that if she would fall and die her spirit or dead body would walk up the steers. Now she could see him, a small court of Necromancers and other servants in circle him.
Whit a wave that was so small that non would have seen it if not all eyes had been on his smallest movement commanded that the court parted to give Shara room. She walked forward and fell to her knees, kissing the icely foot of her King.
"Speak Cultist" her god said to her. He had spoken to her, she this small miserable little shell of a human.
"My King, I have news... " she started then cut herself short. How was she to say this, how could she even think of speaking to this God, it was hybris even to think so.
"Shara, stop! I may be your god, but as all Kings I have use of my servants. So you most tell me why your master Kel'Thuzad send you here?" said the God siting on the throne before her.
"Y-you... know my... "
"Of course I do... Now pleas Shara, speak!"
"As you command." she said and felt how badly she wanted to tell him. "Master Kelthuzad has sent me to tell you that the Age of Prophecy is upon us. The final sighs will soon be well known by all. The mortals will try to break us as we did the Legion. We most be ready my Lord. My King I can travel faster back to my Master if I am one of the holy undead."
Her God smiled and then spoke: "No... You will be my spy in Dalaran. I feel that your mind is strong and your love for me is great. Now go!"
Lowering her head, crying she ones more kissed her Gods foot. And then she walked away crying. Not only because she had not been given the gift of undeath but also because she had to leave her god. A part of her wanted to jump of the tower and fall to her death, but that would mean going against her Kings will. And that she could not do.
Sleeping next to the Pools of Vision as she often did they came to her. Or two of them did in any case. Ther'Zule the Burner of Souls, thin and sickly circled her several times before the other of the Masters of Old appeared. Azurix the Mask of Fear soon followed, he was far more calm and seamed at home in his spirit form.
"Wake her! Wake her now!" demande Ther'Zule.
"Patience fool! She will wake soon, she feel our presens..." said Azurix calmly.
"What is it you want?" asked to young half-orc slowly raising from her sleep.
"Is that any way to speak to your dark gods!" hissed Ther'Zule
"We come bearing news from the Master. He commands that you speak the Heart of Cenarius, tell the Council that the Masters of Old commands this!" answered Azurix.
"I will do as you ask... But I am not sure Mistress Blackheart will hear me..."
"She is blinded by the greatness of the Master... His mind sends all he sees and knows in to hers... But no mortal can Handel vision as that! That is why we can only tell you to look for the heart and to start looking in Felwood!" hissed Ther'Zule and snarled.
"I understand... I will tell my father and the mistress... If she won't listen... Then so be it..."
"Good... We will be watching you shaman... The Shadow Wars has begon..."
The one true king walked the lads where his alchemist examend one of his greatest relics. The legendary Heart of the Land. Under it a zombie was chained to the frozen ground. The god of the undead had been told that ones exposed to the hearts power even the undead became... life like. In this case despite the freezing cold and rooting flesh a flower had taken root. It seamed to not only bloom, but also attempt to rule the dead body.
Some of the cultists even said the flower spoke. And spoke ill of him. This was indeed a great treasure, and ones it followed the will of the Lich King all would kneel. The dead, the living, the damned and the blessed. The world it self would bend to his power, for there was only one thing he could not stand. And that was things not following his will.
Looking at the flower this small thing of life and beauty in a land of death and ice. He marveled at this will. And he wondered, could he bend this thing, this creation of the Heart follow his command? grasping the frail crown of pencils in his hand he reach out and thought it's mind.
"You know who I am?" he asked.
"No, but I know what you are." answered the flowers mind, the answer was slow and lacked power, but it was whit out fear.
"Oh, what am I then little flower?!"
"You are King of the rooting and weak of mind. Your reign will soon come to a end."
"You are wrong! I am the Lich King, god of the dead. And soon whit the Hearts aid god of the living as well!"
"You are mistaken, the heart will never aid you. And mortals will one day soon slay you. How can you then be what you say you are?"
At this insult the Lich King ripped the plant from the long dead body. It's roots tearing the body to pieces screaming in anger he cast the cursed thing to the frozen ground and cut it in two whit his blade. The life left the plant at ones. Still shacking in anger he turned to his cultists.
"I want the hearts power! Give it to me and you'll be rewarded whit holy unlife. Fail... And I'll see to it that you all live for ever more!"
And whit that the King of the Dead returned to his throne.
Poesi was not a leader. She had always known this and always admitted the fact that she would probably drive the rest of her peers to oblivion, whether it be playing team-ball as a child or leading an army as a fullfledged Magistrix.
No, the Magistrix Poesi Verdande knew her limits. She would leave warfare and strategic shouting to those more fit for it, Nobles and veterans of war. And thus this was a very uncomfortable situation for the Magistrix.
Used to rule in shadows, using puppets and magics to make her way across everyday life, the Magistrix felt extremely exposed and vurnerable now that the Warlords of the horde turned to her for advice. This was never supposed to happen, her name was never ment to be known to anyone outside the covens and orders of which she attended. How did a simple Magistrix get drawn into open war? How would she get away?
And so, the Magistrix gritted her teeth. She was sitting at the far end of a long, oval table. All around her sat summoned advisors - The Warlords of the Horde wanted directions, they needed to know where the threats were imminent lest they direct their forces and spend resources in vain. But the Magistrix had nothing to tell them.
The Forsaken advisors were cursing the Sin'dorei for being closeminded and selfish, and the Sin'dorei advisors barked at the Forsaken for being manipulative and serving their own ends. The Magistrix could understand both of theese.
The situation had distorted severely. Nethergarde Keep or Ambermill, those were the questions. Two targets that were going to be eradicated and purged of alliance influence in order to maintain neutrality between Dalaran and the Horde.
There would be no Horde banners swung at the dawn of battle, oh no - That would be to invite the wrath of gods. Something still had to be done, however, as the Violet city leaned onto the Alliance shoulder like a small child to her mother. The Kirin Tor couldn't fall to the alliance. They simply couldn't.
And so the Magistrix drew a heavy sigh, accepting the goblet of water that was passed to her from one of the maids. The squabbling infront of her reminded her of a circus with slave men and beasts devouring eachother for the amusement of their peers.
Magistrix Poesi Verdande, however, was not amused.
Bishop Abraham Tremayne stood silently in an alcove in the grand hall, listening to advisors arguing about how to retaliate against the alliance for the mishaps at the Warsong lands in Kalimdor. A campaign he had deliberatly missed to send forces to as a defeat there would serve his purpose better than just regaining the status quoe on the Ashenvale border. Feelings of loss, of hurt pride and the rememberance of wounds taken provided the perfect breeding ground to work on directing a massive horde effort against a worthier prize.
Such as aqquiring some leverage in the Dalaran situation. The Magocracy acting beyond the dome still hadnt openly proclaimed themselves as part of the alliance and to keep things so was his prime concern. Appearantly there were strong contigents high up in the Magocracy that had gone so far as to press openly and violently for joining the Alliance by taking liberties of late. Pups no doubt, eager for glory and driven by the hunger that fills every student of the arcane. A hunger that could not be sated by remaining inside some dome listening to old greybeards squabble and wait. Tremayne could understand the reasonings behind the atacks and if he knew anything of politics he could be certain that the "greybeards" in the domed city had scolded them for their inprudent actions. Called them insufferable fools to incur the wrath of the Horde and warned them of reprisals. Equally certain was that the supposedly glory hungry pups had secretly hoped for a such to better be able to earn their fame and renown.
Thus, a strike now would not be a political risk, but a show of strength. Atacking Dalaran itself was to invite every faction inside to unite against the threat and strike back with everything they had to survive. This would for sure drive them to open negotiations with the Grand Alliance and the whole power balance in the North would change to the worse. This would anger the Queen, who had only a few days ago hinted that the time for reprisal against the traitor-prince could be imminent. A war with Dalaran would mean another front needing attention.
Nethergarde Keep however..
A faction acting almost independently for the last decade, openly friendly with the alliance. Their once so important task, to guard the portal, was now almost obsolete. This would make them expendable in the eyes of the prudent Magocrats and send a strong message forward as well. Nethergarde was perfect.
He did not speak however. The perogative of the wise was to speak only when needed, and if so, to make certain to be the last speaker. If the opinions would sway towards his end, he wouldn´t need to speak at all. Wishing it would be so, he retreated further back to avoid notice, and kept on listening.....
Antus was deep in thought. Everything seemed to be happening at once now. He had had all the time in the world, and now he seemed to have little. Alterac Valley was as hectic as ever, several high ranking members of his Regiment had taken leave temporarily to seek their own goals, the Sin'dorei needed support in their struggles recently, and the recent massacre at the Warsong Lumber Camp still played on his mind.
Sudenly, a knock on the door. More disturbances.
"Enter." called the Warlord, looking up to see who dared disturb him at this hour.
A small, plate-clad Forsaken woman entered, looking at Antus with a slight grin. She gave a short salute before walking up to Antus' desk and dropping a small sack and a letter on his desk.
"This came for you, Warlord"
Antus paused a moment, looking carefully at the objects covering his paperwork. Extending a hand, he first poked the sack, feeling many small, disk shape objects move as he did so. Raising an eyebrow, he next picked up the letter, carefully opening it and reading the contents. A few moments passed, and he sighed. Another thing to worry about.
"Alluccia, take the sack of gold to my vault and store it with the rest." The Forsaken woman smiled and did as was ordered, leaving the room quietly and shutting the door behind her softly.
Antus re-read the letter. Nethergarde Keep it was then. He'd make sure his Regiment was ready for the attack, all that was required was date to be set. Re-reading the letter for the last time, he smiled. If the words were true, he would have a lot more influence this time as to how the Horde forces were organised. He slid the letter onto the desk, and made for the door....
The large wooden doors flew open, unleashing an icey northern wind into the Barracks, chilling all those inside. A large figure clad in plate-armour marched in, his boots thudding against the floor in a perfect beat, a long furry cloak draped over his wide shoulders. His eye sockets flared around the room, blazing a dark deep red colour. He scanned around furiously for a few seconds.
Antus Draconus was annoyed.
"All of you, get up and ready NOW!" He roared at his Regiment, all of which had seemed to be resting for the past week while Antus was away.
And he had been away, on a mission far away, for her... the Dark Lady. But this was not about that. The moment Antus had arrived back he had been bombarded with letters and requests from different Diplomats regarding a completely different matter. Nethergarde Keep. It had been pushed to the back of Antus' thoughts for a while now, but regardless, he knew it was coming. But it seemed no-one was willing to step up to the position of taking charge of the Horde forces, so he had been drafted in to sort out recruitment.
"We're heading out immediately! We're travelling light, so bring the minimum you need to keep your damned souls living and ready to fight!"
With a snarl the Warlord turned on his heals, leaving his men to scarper about their living place preparing themselves. They'd pay for their laziness in time, and Antus made a mental note to speak with his Officers of their responsibilities too. But now he needed to think... needed to relax. His recent mission was still on his mind, and he wanted to clear his head.
"You have an hour!!" He bellowed backwards through the wooden doors.
Antus let out a sigh as he lowered his head. Yet again, War was just around the corner.
Dean had ever been the lojal survent of the Lich King. He had kneet before Kel'Thuzad and did so still. He had under the last mouths had a grim mision given to him by the King himself. As his wife spyed on the wizards he was to gather champions.
Champions that would be transformed by the greatness of the allmighty Lich King. Thos lucky few he would gather would become the Masters new Death Knights. But before he could choise he was forsed to spy on the Horde and Alliance alike. But lucky for him the Cult had spies every.
The reports that intrested him he looked in to himself. One of this was the reports of a orc warriors. Not a sesoned veteran true, but old enough to remember the inturnmet camps and the first and second war. The intresting thing was how he was fighting against the Scourge. He seamed to have a burning hate for the Kings forces.
And he fougth them in the Blood Elfs homelands. Not seaming to cear how long he was from home and family and loved ones. This hunger for combat whit his most hate of foes facinated Dean. The blind bloodlust almsot made him feel fear. The orc had been seen ripping the heads of powerfull undead warriors in the Scourge, even biting them off.
But most impresive of all. He and a pair of Blood Elfs had done what non had done before them. They had killed Dar'khan and the orc had ripped his head of whit his teeth. Not wasting any time master Heartroot gatherd his gear and teleported to Undercity where the orc had last been seen.
He found the orc at the translocator in the Ruins of Lorderon. The orc drew his elven blade as soon as he saw the necromancer. "Whom ever you are human, your dead!" snarled the orc. "Oh, I think not..." said Dean and cast a spell that summoned ghosts that grabbed the orc warriors limbs. Roaring like a traped wild animal the orc tryed to ripp himself free, but the hands of the dead where like steal. "You sould look on this whit pride orc. You have been choisen to join the most finest of the True Kings forces." said Dean and slowly walked towards the orc taking out a vail containg a blue, and faintly glowing, fluid. Rubgrsch understood what was happening and clampt his mouth shut. "Now, now... You need to take your medicin if you are to grow strong." moked the human and had his minions force the warriors mouth open. And then he poured the vails containts in to it.
The orc felt like he was going to be sick. The world had begone spinning, dark blue spots apperd infront of his eyes. His body whent cold, and that cold spred to his mind. And then the world whent black. When he woke he was in a dark chamber, chained to the floor. All around him where the workings of necromancers at there center was a tall dark being dressed in black plate armor. "A fine specimen Heartroot..." said the dark being. "Now all I have to do is take his soul."
The footsteps of there Baron echod in the hall as he walked around them. They all sat perfectly still. Any whom moved whit out the order to do so was taken away to be killed. All of them, male and female, had lost something coming to this place. Some had surved the King for years others like the orc had just resently been taken.
They had saved his beard and braded his hair in to one singel lock. His green skin where turning gray and he had long felt the emtyness where his soul had been. The Baron had taken it himself, it had hurt in ways the orc had not belived possible. But now he missed even that pain, well a part of him missed the pain, the rest of him felt noting.
Next to him a gnome sat. The old Rubgrsch had killed the damed being and then stared to fight his way out of this place, or die trying. But the new Rubgrsch just sat there as orderd. He was becoming less and less of a orc and more and more of a Death Knigh.
The gnome next to him made a small movment. He scratched his nose whit one finger. Baron Rivendare eyes locked on the gnome in the fraction of a second. His hand flew out and pointed at the illojal gnome and he declerd in his dark voice: "You moved soldier! Did I say you could move!?" "Um..." "Anser the qvestion!" "Well..." "Disciples! Did I give the order for this maggot to move!?" "Sir, no sir!" all of them replayed. "Just as I tought... Your useless maggot! Report to the hole!" "But sir, my nose..." "NOW!" the Baron roard, there where no room for exuses, no exptions and no mercy. All whom failed at there tests where sent to the hole. The only way out of that was to fight one of the Knights that had succeed and live. The gnome bowed and walked of to the hole.
The Baron started to circil around the remaing knights. His ice cold eyes on them as he walked. Then he stoped and turnd towards them. There eyes did not meet only becose to do so they would have to move, and non had given the order. "Knights! Raise!" roard Baron Rivendare. Immediate all of them got on there feet. "Knights! Whom is your king!" "Sir, Arthas Menethil!" "Knights! Whom is your god!" "Sir, Ner'zhul!" "Kngights! For whom shall you kill and die!" "Sir, the Lich King!" "Prove it... Kill the Knight to your left..."
At his last order the hall was transformed from a quiet meditation chamber to a slaughter hose. The orc made a wordless pacted whit the human two rows to the right of him to kill the blood elf betwen them. Only afterwards when the elf was dead om the floor Rubgrsch turned his bloody hands towards the dwarf to his left. Said dwarf was wreselig a troll whom had tryed to bite his foe, but only borken one of his tusks.
Rubgrsch grabed the dwarf by the beard and pulled. The dwarfs head flew forward and his eyes was pierce by the orcs armored fingurs. Crying in pain the dwarf let go of the trolls neck, but it was to late. Rubgrch grabed the dwarfs throat whit his sharp, armored fingers and ripped it open.
Blood coverd the floor, the dead and thos still living. This was the fifth time the Baron had given the order to kill. The first time he had killed one of the Knights to make his point clear to all. He had not needed to repet himself ever seens. Rubgrsch had been wounded a few times in this battles but he had allways walked away. He had lived.
When it was over less the half of the Knights lived. The Baron was pleased, he gave them a grin and then said: "Good... You are dissmised..." "Sir, yes sir!"
/Me via alt
It is all over now...
Lombardic De Valter, weakened in body after the contigency who brought him back to life and more, wounded in heart because he failed...
Thinkin of time beyond, he wanted to see Castle Valter again.. But it not exist now. After the treachery of the Dark Lady before the orc invansion, the castle is now dust.
He sensed her influence on the last battle. He hears her laugh. Her face appears as she was known once. A young darkhaired female human. A pretty face that could make anyone to trust her. She starts to speak: 'You are failed once more. Did you think Seriously that could stop this? You lost your mind?' 'I am fighting on my beliefs. I am fighting of what I dream of. And I am doing it in honor, something that you lost forgotten.' 'Honor, Bah! Power... yes Power.. and I got more! I am back again to haunt you once more. The gate is open.. I am back. Think of it and Despair' 'My death is no in vain. Your power grew but mine aswell. The world changes. Soon we will be equal and I will destroy you once and for all' 'You know you cant... You are cursed by me. Every beat of your heart sounds because of me. You are here because of me. You become what you become because of me' 'I have chosen a different way that you may think. Your mistake was to split me. You are one now, we are many.. and full in power....' 'We will see, we will see......' The image starts to dissapear. Lombardic tried to catch a hint of where the Dark Lady is now. Snowy regions.. but its not like Winterspring. Seems more harsh.. 'Yes! Northrend. there you are hiding. There i will find you at last!'
But a bitter thought took any little bit of happiness of this moment. 'So many died, and we could do nothing. At least we tried.'
He walked outside Nethergarde Keep. The air was heavy of the smell of corpses everywhere. He senses more that the polluted air.. He senses dark energy everywhere, from the mass pain and death of so many soldiers.
"Magistrix, your actions opened the way to horrors walk again...'
He prayed for a last time and moved away....
The sound of battle was all around. The clash of metal on metal, the screams of pain and fear drowning in the roaring of fires hot enough to melt steel. Orders shouted out that was never heard by any but those closest to the captain relaying them. The sound of a storm of arrows descending from above like messengers of death.
Bishop Abraham Tremayne had seen battle before and was resolved to stay calm and focus in the sea of confusion around him. At his left side Nourken Blackhorn and Ser Ivar Darkslade hewed at a contigent of Stormwind infantery with ferocious vigor and lethal precision. In front the Elf Captain Elturion Sunfighter forced his way ever forward over the remains of the shattered gates of Nethergarde Keep; His armour blackened from the fires the Dalaranians had thrown against them. A bit further ahead and to the side the Commander Draconius of the Shadow Stalkers laid about him with his monstrous greatsword, dealing out death grimly as a dealer gives cards. Behind him Lord Aramaine and Demitrus Solon uttered words of power that sent the fury of fire and ice against a phalanx of shields that remarkably held their ground.
This was not right. There should be no enemies behind them. Something was very wrong.
He instinctivly re-inforced his protective shield at the last time as all hells exploded around him. Bodies burnt to cinders, the ground erupted and throw boulders of stone about with force enough to shatter bones. Lightning flashed from the dark skies above, striking down with relentless force and deadly aim.
His shields broke and half a dozen arrows hit him in his torso and upper arm before everything around him went dark.
Knights’ blades shone from squires’ preparation Wizened wizards waited in quiet meditation Heroes chattered happily, full of battle’s elation Tabards of all colours; Alliance from every nation
For the Alliance! For the Light! A golden figure’s declaration As priests preached blessings to bolster constitution And sentries reported back, bent double with exhaustion The Horde were on the move, prepare your fortification
Horde roars deafen armies on occasion It seemed to Nethergarde this would be no exception Knees knocked together in fearful anticipation Orcs bore down on men in bloody invasion
But heroes are steadfast and stood their crowd in spite of this suppression It wasn’t long before trolls lay, victims of evisceration My own flaming halberd sliced many an aberration And it wasn’t long for all present to draw a clear summation
A victory, clear and true! The Horde fled in desolation The Alliance were united in happy jubilation But a small crowd gathered, away from the celebration For one knight died, too late for resuscitation
Still, though death took its toll it didn’t stop the exultation For disgraced leaders of this attack, no more orders would Thrall sanction Peace was won at a small cost, through force and not evasion And valour and bravery shown at a battle of Horde creation
Blood stained the ground where he lay. The force of the blast had caught him off-guard, but fortunetely, his rune-encrusted armour had absorbed the fiery wrath of the mage. So now here he was, amidst the Alliance forces, laying face up, watching the darkened sky above. He expected death, but none came. Instead a voice, one that he recognised as one with authority, one belonging to a Draenei Female.
The Alliance Commander.
Antus stood up slowly, peering around at the Alliance. They glared at him, some in fear, some in anger, some in confusion. Dwarves, Humans, Elves, Gnomes... all were there to witness the Warlord fall now. He leaned down and picked up his sword, feeling the familiar grip, feeling the weight, preparing for his last stand. He watched them circle him, trap him in so that escape was impossible.
But they did not attack. Instead, the Draenei who had shouted stepped forward, her plate-armour now stained with the blood and dirt of the battle. She examined the Warlord for a moment, before saying something in a foreign tongue. He watched her take her weapon, and smiled.
A challenge of honour.
"You have fought valiantly today, Commander. As have your men. But now it is time to show you the foolishness of fighting a Forsaken...." The Warlord's voice showed he was smiling. He has not faced such an honourable opponent for years.
They bowed, and readied their weapons.
Shouts went up, both insults against the Warlord and Cheers for the Alliance Commander. The Forsaken clutched his sword, trusting in it's sharpness, his armour, his skill. If he won this last battle, he would have egained honour for his people. The Horde.
They both charged, each with determination in their eyes. Blades flew, spells were cast, and there would be one winner....
Antus looked down at the female Draenei. He had torn a large chunk from her arm, and saw blood flowing down across her armour. However, she did not weep, she did not scream... she merely looked up at the Warlord, showing her pain, yet remaining strong. He approached her, and noticed several of the Alliance readied their weapons. With a small smile, he knelt down, and gently put a hand on her shoulder.
"You fought valiantly indeed." Antus smiled. He felt the wounds she had caused him across his body, but he did not care. Slowly, he rose to his full height, and smiled as several members of the Alliance began clapping, and slowly, they cleared a path out of the Keep and into the Blasted Lands. Now he would return to Stonard. He would return knowing he had done his part to regain honour and peace, for now.
The battle of Nethergarde Keep was won by the Alliance, but to Antus, the battle to prove that the Horde should not be forgotten had been won.
With sorrow dripping from his face, Thyr Fairhand looked over the battlefield. So many deaths... So many wounded.
He had tried to stop them. Together with Lord Lombardic De Valter, he had tried to reason with both Alliance and Horde. But were they Horde? Renegades, some nobles of the Convocation had called the leaders of the Crimson Storm, and one in particular. No. This is not the time for doubts. Thrall would never approve of military agression towards the race that helped us banish Archimonde... He had listened to the Guardian once, and would listen to those who followed the wake of Medivh as well. This was not the Horde. And yet, every soldier had screamed "For the Horde!"...
A painful shock goes through his body... The axe of the dwarf that nearly killed him had left a nasty wound. No, he was not nearly as powerfull as the great Guardian of the Tirisfalen... Far from it, it seems, according to the bleeding. But then again, the Council never was as powerfull as the Guardian. Easily disposed of when they were no longer needed by the corrupted Medivh as well. Perhaps the Council should hide again, and was it a mistake to reveal his plans... No. Hiding now would be a sign of weakness, of public vulnerability. And if there is one thing the Horde races shared, it was a hatred for weakness. He knew that.
And it's too late to hide it's existence. The world knows about a new Council of Tirisfalen, that has taken up the oath it's ancestors made... An oath that this world would not fall to the might of the Legion. Some claim the Legion is already destroyed, that Kil'Jaeden has fallen to the migth of some champions. Fools! Aegwynn made that mistake, of underestimating Sargeras' might.
No, the task is not done. The world does no longer need Guardians, but they do still need a Council of Tirisfalen that reminds them who is the real enemy. Allies had to be sought, enemies had to be sabotaged... If this group of renegades was out on chaos, they would find at least one to oppose them.
Dwarves... Idiotic, drunken and violent dwarves...
Kevarus had been put in charge for the preparation of the outer defenses by Lord Guderian, and could not have ANYONE run of. The scouts had already been sent towards Stonard, and he could not allow these two drunken morons to put these men and women in harms way.
Kevarus rode out on his ram, having his faithful bodyguard and friend Zelani by his side. The two riders rode swiftly over the endless barren wastes of Blasted Lands. When they finally got to the marshes he heard guns fireing. - Lady Zelani, get ready for battle!
The dwarves had encountered a Stonard orc, which they had shot down in cold blood. They both seemed a little surprised about the human and the draenei arriving at the site. - Wha' are ye doin' here, human? - I am here to stop you two morons from killing our scouts! - Ther' be no scouts her'. Only thes' greenies. Kevarus breathed heavily, barely being able to get the words out. - GET BACK TO THE KEEP!
The dwarves looked at him, then each other. Then burst out into laugher and ran further into the swamp. Kevarus and Zelani rode after them.
The dwarves stopped and looked into the stronghold. The walls was crawling with soldiers, and the gate was shut. The dwarf with a rifle aimed... then just as he was about to shot, a flash of light blinded him. - HOLD! DO NOT ATTACK! Kevarus was furious. Just as he was about to dicipline the dwarves, the gates opened. Out came two elves who started riding against them. Kevarus understood they must be diplomats of some kind and told the other three to avoid bloodshed at all costs. He then rode up to the emisaries. Just as he was about to greet the diplomats, a bullet flew past his shoulder. It hit one of the elves who immediatly fell of his horse, lying motionless on the ground with a expression of shock in his face. The other elf stared at Kevarus, then the elf. His expression showed he was stunned by this act of violence, yet scared about what was about to come. - DWARVES, DO NOT... To late. The axeman of the two came charging in, wounding the other elf gravely. Kevarus just looked at the two dwarves with a sad expression. The two started screaming: - CHARGE! ATTAAAAAAACK!
Kevarus just turned his back on the two attacking dwarves... Let them die. Why would it matter? Nobody would be able to stop the conflict now. He called on Zelani and rode back to the keep and reported the two dwarves MIA. Stupid, drunken race...
Far away from Nethergarde Keep, Amasofia watched a group of soldiers carrying a dwarven prisoner away, ready to be executed. Since she had nothing to do, she followed them. She was the only who would see this dwarf die...
One of the soldiers read out aloud the charges. "... accused of body snatching, plundering, ..." Body snatching, she wondered, and she asked one of the guards.
"The man was stealing bodies, miss, we intercepted him when he tried to sell them to a warlock. Now leave me be, I don't like what I have to do now..."
With a strange look, she observed the dwarf. Why would one be stealing bodies?
Yelled the dwarf, and Amasofia looked up.
"Lass... You're not one of them. This I found on a nearly dead elf in the swamps. Nasty blow he took, and unarmed he was!"
"Shut up, scum!" Yelled the captain.
The captain gagged the dwarf, but this one managed to take a piece of paper out of his pocket and gave that to the soldier next to him, with a begging look. The captain did not wait anymore, and decapitated the dwarf on the spot.
"Let's go, we've wasted enough on this piece of..." The captain looked at the young girl. "Go home, girl, and try to forget what you've seen... This criminal deserved no mercy."
When leaving, one of the soldiers handed a paper to Amasofia. "To the defenders of Nethergarde Keep" was written on it, and it bore a seal that looked elvish.
Wondering what this was all about, she made her way back to Stormwind. Sure, someone who sells dead bodies is no good... But what did he speak about? A letter? From an elf?
Well, it can't hurt to bring someone a piece of paper... But what if the dwarf was lying? Could it be a treasure? A hidden message perhaps? She opened the letter, but it held no information she could make something out... Well, there would be better be a reward for bringing this to the right people! But who are the right people? Defenders of Nethergarde?
Amasofia decided to find out.