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  1. Today
  2. That was interesting. It at least confirmed again why I go to such things. I doubt I'll use the information I gained, but the simple act of gaining it is comforting. And I learned my lesson about showing up on time. Punctuality is important for combat. It's terrible for social functions. Unfortunately, I somehow spent most of the time waxing eloquent and arrogant myself, rather than listening to others, spouting my truths like all those flag bearers I claim to hate so much. I suppose I don't mind my own hypocrisy because, as far as I know, I hold my flag alone. The bartender never had the audacity to disagree with me, but that may simply be a demonstration of his skill in his work. He also had more coffee varieties than I've ever seen at a single vendor. I wonder who those individuals the bartender has such distaste for really are. I must say I do enjoy so many of the things that have changed in my absence. For someone who is so often criticized for being too serious, I felt like I was laughing the whole time. Being called a sycophant of all things. What? I absolutely bent my knee consistently when it was appropriate, when I was being judged. Perhaps giving my ear as I did was a sycophant's act, but my judgment has passed, and I have since bent my knee to no one. Flattery is not in my nature. Given who I was readily criticizing at that bar, that should have been immediately apparent. Constant opportunity for schadenfreude also helped, and attacking those who were not present to defend themselves, though I doubt Kiannis even would, which is why I was attacking him in the first place. He'll defend the Mandate and his pack until his dying breath, certainly, but his own identity? He seems ready to subsume that in any nearby shadow at any moment. Perhaps my few conversations with him have not revealed enough, but until that changes, I don't particularly care if I'm wrong. I also neglected to mention that if I did take any concerns to Awatu, if he acted like any past Grim leadership I knew, he would sensibly put me in charge of addressing those concerns, and that is so much less amusing than simply laughing at the struggles of others. Syreena got in a very accurate slice at me, but I'm not sure she noticed, or she did and was reluctant to give me the opportunity to shut my mouth, so pulled back the inquiry when it could have done the most damage. It is rather difficult for me to dig my own grave when I'm busy acting the wallflower, hm?
  3. Yesterday
  4. Last week
  5. The Coldstar Cantina: Back in business After a long hiatus the Coldstar Cantina is re-opening! Come find us at Wyvern's Tail in Orgrimmar. Now serving on Saturdays at 7:30! In honor of our re-opening, first drink is on the house. Come drink to the Legion's fall and enjoy a variety of liquors and non-alcoholic beverages that put our competitors to shame! When: Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. (Server) Where: Wyvern's tail, Orgrimmar
  6. 4.29.17 Karthok changed Siane back to Vionora. Then he asked me to bring her to him. Maybe she’s to be the Herald again. I wonder why he didn’t just take her then. Anyway, I found her after a long search, and I got her back to the cabin. She didn’t want to help with Accalia, and I figured it would be dangerous to try to make her. She might screw things up. When she learned about who she was recently, she seemed to want to be Siane again. Baal didn’t seem able to help her. I was actually considering taking her to Sanctuary--for her sake, not theirs. They might have someone who could help her. But then she went out for a walk. Rhaen went with her, but somehow the dumb elf escorted her to Stormwind instead of bringing her back, and now some humans have her. I should cut off his ears for that. In fact, I might do just that. I saw Razvaan again a couple weeks ago. It was in Dalaran, but I couldn’t catch up to him, and I lost him in the crowd. I hired some help to find him. With no word from Zanas in months, and Iroh being more…’hands-on’ than I wanted for this job, I went to Borrowed Time. Rode right up to their gate. I thought I might be filled with arrows for how many were pointed at me. But that elf range Faelenor took the job. He’s been nice enough to me, once he realized I wasn’t there to single-handedly storm their base. His partner could do with losing an ear or two though. She’s one of those elves. Fael seems pretty sure of himself that he’ll be able to find Razvaan. And maybe that will lead me to information about Lucion. I thought maybe I could find a way to work with Borrowed Time again, or at least be on speaking terms with them without having weapons pointed at me. But Fael still holds it against me what I did to Dora that time. He said they all do. Well, screw them. If his leader hadn’t shot off my knee for no reason except just to be cruel, I wouldn’t have had to hurt Dora. To fel with Borrowed Time, to fel with Sanctuary, to fel with everyone who thinks they’re all high and mighty and can look down their nose at me. I made up with Karthok after what Lazarus and Kex’ti did. He doesn’t judge me. No more than the people at the cabin do. I enjoyed my visit with him. It was comfortable, except for the bad news he gave me—Sanctuary killed Zulkaz. But he killed Kanda, the traitor orphan I took into the Grim years ago only to have her turn on me and join the purple people. I was going to leave Sanctuary alone, and just stay away from. And as far as they know, that’s what I’m doing. But I’ll secretly help Karthok destroy them. They can all burn in felfire or die in the Nightmare, or suffer whatever he has planned for them. I fight alongside The Grim once a week in the Nighthold to restock my elf ears and scorpid poisons. It feels good to fight with them again, but I think I’ve gotten too used to fighting on my own. Sometimes I go to Inquisition to see the new recruits. It’s mostly quiet there though, outside of the regular attacks on Nighthold or on the battlegrounds.
  7. After some time, the paladin Cerryan Vyel, Crusader of the Silver Hand and Marshal of Sanctuary, answered the call to return to Light's Hope. Resplendent in crystal-laden platemail of white and gold and wrapped in the Phoenix-crested purple tabard of Sanctuary, the golden-haired Blood Elf strode through the chapel halls towards the one who summoned him, one who he had met before. "Justicar Tamaryth, it is good to see you again." Cerryan nodded in respect to the paladin, a soft smile on his marred face. I have come as requested, how can I be of service?" T'suro followed behind him, his black and red armor with gold accents framing his form well, the tabard of the Blood Knights splashed onto his chest. He saluted the Justicar. "Anu'belore. Knight-Lord T'suro Sunspear of the Blood Knights, and Blood Knight envoy to Sanctuary. I hope I'm not intruding by coming with him." Raelana glanced up, her notes scattered around her and her tabard, torn and inside out, laid out on the chair next to her. A needle and thread were woven into the tabard, her repair work clearly something to be admired. Feeling a bit disheveled, she quickly ran her fingers through her red hair and attempted to adjust the armor she is wearing discreetly. Finally satisfied with the impression she made, she rest her hands on the hilt of the blade at her side. Bowing her head slightly at T'suro, she then focused on the other blood elf standing before her, her curiosity peaked. T'suro noticed Raelana and looks her over before giving her a bow in return. Cerryan also took note of the redheaded paladin, nodding politely as he tried to determine if he knew her already, her own gaze causing him to arch a brow. "The scarring isn't particularly appealing, I know. I'm sure it's rather curious, in a grim way." Raelana raised her eyes slowly, taking the opportunity to admire his scars. Her face relaxed and her head tilted to the side as she studied, it a half smile forming. "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity," she finally said quietly, glancing down briefly at the fresh scar on her own arm before looking up and meeting his eyes. "You can tell a lot about someone from their scars and I'm sure you have quite the stories to tell. I look forward to you telling me them soon," she stated matter of factly. She continued to look at him another minute, before finally turning to Tamaryth. Clearing her throat, she said more assertively, "Would you like to debrief them or shall I?" Tamaryth nodded at Cerryan, and let her gaze flick over T'suro. She doesn't look particularly impressed with the latter, and the former drew her gaze back as she regarded his prominent new scar. Something about her serious mien seemed familiar, although it carried a sharp edge that seemed out of place. "I'll handle it," she responded to Raelana. "In short, the one who gave you that scar," she said to Cerryan, "needs to be brought to justice." Cerryan was not exactly relaxed, but her word's made him stand rigidly. The soft smile on his face faded, returning it to the more recently common hard stare he wore more often than not these days. He nodded tentatively at Tamaryth, choosing his words slowly from behind his mouth before speaking them. "I am in agreement with you, Justicar. The betrayal of all the Ebon Blade is heinous crime that -must- see justice. In truth I had hoped that this was the reason I was called here today, that we might start the pursuit of justice for the wrongs done to us in the midst of our world's darkest hour. I understand of course that the Legion is the Great Enemy, but we cannot allow those who are meant to be our allies to violate our trust and the sanctity of our order without punishment." He subconsciously gripped a hand into a tight fist. "Light knows what devilry the Ebon Blade will commit next, if they believe themselves above rebuke." T'suro listened to both of them in abject shock, glancing between the both of them before interjecting. "I must object to this! I agree that the Ebon Blade needs to be brought to justice... but it should be the EBON BLADE ITSELF that we deal with, not every single Death Knight on the planet. I know the one who scarred Cerryan. Her actions were not her own, and she's trying desperately to redeem herself for her crimes. She even renounced the Blade." T'suro turned to Cerryan defiantly. "You're one of Sanctuary's officers. How do you think the Commander will react if you try to arrest one of her own, right under her nose?" "If Sanctuary is as righteous as it says it is, it will be glad to turn over an avowed traitor," Tamaryth said scythingly. "Though from what I've heard of that guild, I am prepared for the worst. In any case, appropriate punishment must be meted out to deter not only the Ebon Blade from committing more and worse heinous acts, but any others from following their example. Order must be maintained." She stared T'suro down. "Who are you here representing, exactly?" Cerryan's frown deepened. "You assume too much, T'suro. I would take no action to 'arrest' Catalinetta without first consulting the Commander; I hardly need to fall further in her graces. But neither do I accept the pretense that Cat was not in control of her actions, that she had no alternative but to follow orders and slaughter innocents, or that she should be considered wholly innocent of her crimes because she's serving Sanctuary's continued mission." He returned his gaze to Tamaryth and nodded firmly. "Justice must be served, and deterrence must be established. The Silver Hand has not sacrificed as much as it has to be stepped on by any who would think to use our hallowed dead as tortured puppets imprisoned in their own hollow shells." T'suro tried to form a response to Tamaryth's question, but instead, he faltered. After trying to stammer something out, the Blood Knight hung his head in dejection and clenched a fist. "Loyalty to Quel'Thalas and its' rulers is paramount to all else." He said, with almost a sad, conflicted roboticism. "My leader has seen it fit to join the Silver Hand..." He grunted and shook his head. "I will obey, or else risk becoming a fugitive of my people." Raelana narrowed her eyes slightly at the conversation, a frown forming on here face. She picked up her notes and looked over them briefly. She spoke quietly to herself as she reviewed them, but loud enough to be overheard by those around her. "The Ebon Blade attacks, trying to turn Tirion into one of their own. Then they offer up Catalinetta as a symbol of peace. It doesn't make sense...." She trailed off in thought briefly before realizing no one else said anything and she was being overheard. She flushed in slight embarrassment, used to working alone, but played it off. "I understand the desire for justice, but there are other issues we need to consider. The relationship with the Ebon Blade is already extremely weak and now you want to add Sanctuary on top of that? Not to mention the fact that we haven't even spoken to Catalinetta yet to see what information we can procure from her." She shook her head slightly and furrowed her brow thinking. Finally, she turned to Cerryan and asks "Did you know Catalinetta was the one who attacked you?" She gestured to T'suro, "It seems everyone else did." "No one said we were adding Sanctuary 'on top of' anything," Tamaryth said crisply. "Merely that we need to be prepared considering their reputation for some intransigence, and if they are aiding and abetting a war criminal, then that will be a matter of our concern." She looked at Cerryan. "Please do brief us as to the current state of affairs within Sanctuary on this matter, including the criminal and yourself." "Yes, of course." His tone was softer now, though not without the stern edge. His frown saddened at T'suro's defeated compliance, but he nodded at Tamaryth and continues. "First and foremost, you need not worry about conflict with Sanctuary. We are fighting for peace, and for justice, in the name of the Horde and all Azeroth. This is a matter of justice; we will be on the side of it." "As for Catalinetta," He paused, fidgeting slightly and clicking his jaw. "Yes, I knew that it was her the moment before she struck me down. She did not know that it was me she was attacking, according to her, but whether or not her words are honest I am no different from any one of us who fell that day, and there was little measure of restraint to her actions." His jaw clenched as his bitter words hung a moment in the air. The paladin took a measured breath and exhaled slowly before continuing, the rehashed irritation in his tone not calmed by the attempt. "By the order of Commander Julilee Liene, the leader of Sanctuary, our fold's namesake is extended to the death knight. Catalinetta asserts that she has divorced herself from the Ebon Blade, and their attempts to 'reclaim' her were rebuffed, but she also claims to be repentant. If she truly means that, then she will do what is right and speak to her deeds." "You cannot repent for atrocities simply by switching the banner under which you stand," Tamaryth said, witheringly, though it was more directed at the concept than the person who may have implied it. "Certainly not the amount of pain and death she is responsible for. And--" She stopped short. "Did you say Julilee Liene?" Cerryan was about to cut in defensively, catching himself off-guard with the inclination, when Tamaryth suddenly shifted direction. "Ah...yes, that's right. Commander Liene has lead Sanctuary since before the campaign to Draenor." Tamaryth muttered something under her breath, something about 'recuse' before suddenly turning and walking away. She went over to Najme and spent some time speaking with her. T'suro blinked and lifted his head in confusion. "...So now what?" Raelana smirked slightly as Tamaryth walked away, then beckoned her page to come over from another room with a nod of her head. His eyes glistened as he walked up, clearly excited to have something to do. She folded a piece of parchment and sealed it with her stamp and handed it to the page. "Take my steed and don't leave without a response," she said discreetly. His eyes went wide and he bowed, then ran off. She sat down, leaning back in her chair and crossing her almost bare legs, then pulled a bright red apple out of her bag. Taking a bite into the crisp flesh, she put it down and flipped open a book on the table. She glanced at some notes, then picked up her tabbard and continued the repair work. Upon moving the tabbard, a completely different set of damaged armor was revealed which looked significantly more conservative than what she had on. She looked up at the two paladins standing before her. "Come. Sit with me. Who knows how long she'll be and we can certainly continue discussing while she's away. Are you hungry or thirsty?" Without an answer, she motioned to a young paladin and sent him away to get some drinks and food. She looked back up at the two, who are staring at her. She glanced around, then asked, "What?" T'suro glanced a Cerryan befre taking her offer, taking a seat while still hanging his head. Raelana looked at T'suro and smiles slightly. "You did well in battle the other day. I was glad to have you fighting by my side." She glanced at her armor. "I could have done without the repair bill though. I hope you fared much better than I did." She beckoned another young paladin and motioned at her damaged armor. "Take these to the blacksmith to be repaired, she should recognize my plate. Please and thank you." The first young paladin from before came back with several bags of food and pitchers of water and wine. He tripped slightly and Raelana jumped up to catch him. After taking the bags and pitchers from him, she tips him a gold coin for his troubles. She then lay out the food and drinks out on the table and sat back down. Cerryan took T'suro's lead, sinking into the other chair in quiet contemplation. He was caught off guard by the enthusiasm of the paladin hosting them, juxtaposed with the weight of the conversation that had just taken place. His remaining ear twitched at her mention of fighting alongside T'suro, and he lifted his head to regard her with a furrowed brow. "You were there, at the attack on Shal'Aran?" T'suro nodded. "I thought I recognized you." "Indeed, I was. I had been pulled from my previous mission to come here to assist with the investigation and hopefully to repair relations. We need everyone cooperating if we're going to win." She flipped her tabard around, but unsatisfied with her work flipped it back to continue repairing it. "After befriending some of your comrades, I was asked by if I would assist in loading out. I showed up and so did the enemy." She frowned slightly, "It was a very bloody battle. I did what I could for those refugees before turning my blade on the enemy..." She trailed off, taking a deep breath in and exhaling forcefully. She looked at her tabard again, then smiles and laughs, "I don't mind a good battle, but I do so wish it hadn't been my GOOD armor this time. I'm sure I make quite the impression in what I have on now and not necessarily the one I want to make." She waved at her red, barely there armor. "This is way more comfortable to fight in anyway, but I didn't have time to change." She flipped her tabard outside in reveling the blood knight crest. She inspected her handiwork and finally satisfied said, "There, I think it's finally repaired." She set the tabard on the table and stood up, bending across the table in a quite revealing way to grab one of the pitchers and the mugs. She didn’t seem to notice how much she was revealing or if she does, she doesn't care. She poured everyone a drink and then sat back down. T'suro blinked, observing the girl's rather... flippant armor choice. He had often seen armor like that, but always kept silent. However, seeing the Blood Knight tabard drew his curiousity. "Why wear armor like that though? It barely protects anything..." Raelana glanced down at her armor and grinned slyly. "Because I'm very good at what I do," she said with a wink. She paused a moment before smiling broadly. "You'd be surprised at the advantages it can have. Having an exposed part of my body means I likely know where people are aiming for. They often think to go for spots which are exposed when actually the best spot to go for...," she lifted her arm and points at a spot underneath her arm and between the breastplate, "...is right here." She chuckled a little before continuing. "It also means most people are stopping to stare briefly, another advantage. And they think I don't know what I'm doing, because of my armor choices, but before taking my current position I lead battles for well over ten years." She took a sip of water and then pulled out a silvery runed rod out of her bag along with some vials of dust and crystals. She said some words and wove some magic into her armor. "It helps that I have a few other tricks up my sleeves as well." "Plus I look good." T'suro rolled his eyes, trying not to look her over. "Well, I won’t deny that... what rank are you, if you don't mind me asking?" "Oh, dear me. Introductions were never made, were they. Ambassador Raelana de Bergerac, at your service." She bowed her head slightly at the two in front of her. "I serve as one of Lady Liadrin's personal advisors, but one of my specialties is in diplomacy. Hence why I was sent here." T'suro nodded a bit, offering her a brief salute. "Greetings Raelana. I'm T'suro Sunspear, and I'm a Knight-Lord in the Blood Knights." T'suro nodded a bit. "It's sort of the same rank as a Champion, but managing troops instead of training them." Raelana leaned over and grasped T'suro's arm, squeezing gently in recognition. "A noble rank indeed. It takes a lot of hard work to reach such an accomplished title." She leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs. "And you've joined with Sanctuary as well? What is your role with them?" "I act as the official Emissary of the Blood Knights, acting in official capacity to bridge relatons between the two." Raelana nodded and made a few notes on a piece of parchment. She stole a look at the other blood elf briefly before giving him a small smile and turning back to T'suro. "I'm certain you can understand the gravity of the situation we're faced here. I have my own opinions and thoughts, but I'd like to hear your unbiased opinion first on the matter at hand." She glanced back at the blonde blood elf. "Well, both of your opinions, when you're ready to discuss." She took another bite of her apple, finishing it off, then discarded the core in a nearby bin. "And do, please, help yourself to the refreshments on the table if you're so inclined." Cerryan took no refreshments, but nodded passively at her request for his eventual perspective. He appeared to still be emotionally conflicted, and remained silent as he listens to the others speak. T'suro bit his lip before speaking. "I'm... torn. I want the Ebon Blade to pay for what they've done... but I genuinely believe that pursuing Cat, who wants nothing more to do with them, is the wrong course of action." The Blood Knight huffed. "I want to protect my fellow member of Sanctuary... but as an active Blood Knight, pledged to the cause of the Silver Hand, I might be forced to bring her to her execution." The elf helped himself to an apple after speaking. Raelana nodded, thinking for a moment to herself, then pulling a small book from a pocket hidden inside her breastplate. She flipped through it, stopping at a page and looking at it thoughtfully, then pushed it back into her breastplate. Leaning forward to T'suro and said in a whispered voice, "I think she's a scapegoat." She picked up a small muffin and popped it into her mouth, satisfied to finally say that out loud. "The way I see it, there's two issues. The first: I'm not satisfied that the Ebon Blade is just... done. To do what they did, something of that magnitude, isn't just something that you let go. I think they're planning something. But there's no indication of that other than my hunch, which makes it incredibly difficult to get people to see the bigger picture." She paused to look at the other blood elf at the table. "Sir Vyel, your reputation proceeds you and it is an honor to finally make your acquaintance. I do so hope once this over we might have some time to talk over a drink," she said boldly. "Of course, the second issue is the matter of what she did to you. I'm happy to providing my services to you. I prefer punishments fit the crime, but I also believe that we can all repent and be rehabilitated. Ultimately, it would be your choice how you wish to proceed." She paused, looking between the two. "If we take this path, I believe the next step would be to question her and get as much information from her. Which means we may need to keep up 'appearances' for a bit. Thoughts?" Cerryan more or less tuned back in at Raelana's mention of him, but his countenance remained impassive. "Once this is over there are other matters to deal with. Threats to the whole of the world, and all that." He clicked his jaw, turning to T'suro. "Nobody has yet said a word about executions. The Silver Hand is not a totalitarian order. Catalinetta may be done with the Ebon Blade, but that does not make her exempt from the crimes that she committed while under their banner, as Justicar Tamaryth said. She is still responsible for the part she played, and may have information or insight that will help us bring the Blade to justice. Whether or not she is willing or able to repent is none of my concern, but I agree that the next step is to have her speak to her actions and provide the Silver Hand with whatever information she can offer." He sighed, looking down and sounding as uncaring as he can. "What they decide to do with her from there is... is also none of my concern." Raelana raised an eyebrow before pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes slightly. She grabbed a new sheet of parchment and with flourish wrote a quick letter. After sealing it, she flagged down her herald, and handed him a sack of gold. "I'm not going to make it. Be quick and when you get there give him this letter and send my apologies for cancelling." Adding with whispered, "Tell him I'll make it up to him... later." She winked, the herald turned bright red, bowed, and ran off. "Now where were we." She rubbed her forhead. "Ah yes, Catalinetta." Raelana looked at Cerryan and crisply stated, "Vyel, since you have no strong feelings as to what happens to her, there should be no issues bringing her here under the guise of arrest and allowing us to question her." "High Justicar now," Tamaryth said, returning. She turned to Raelana, eyebrows rising. "Guise of arrest? She committed a crime. No guise is required. Unless you don't believe Sir Cerryan's account of what transpired?" she asked. "Or many others of those present. It's very cute that you want to afford this Catalinetta every chance at innocence, but don't let that stand in the way of achieving justice, or you'll only invite more injustice into this world. Now, since it seems I don't get to recuse myself in this matter, shall we head out to this Sanctuary?" Raelana sighed loudly and stood up. "As I was explaining, I don't think the Blade is done. I believe she is their scapegoat. We need her cooperation, but we also need to the Blade to think we are buying their story." She grit her teeth. "If you want her to cooperate, you need her to think it's a ruse. You can arrest her later and have her stand trial if need be." Tamaryth cast a look over Raelana at the sigh. "And as I said, your theory is very cute, but unproven. There is evidence that points to her guilt beyond mere complicity. If you compromise this investigation by indulging a naive refusal to believe in the facts, there will be consequences. But we will afford Catalinetta, and Julilee, a chance to explain themselves." She scowled at that. "They will have their opportunity to cooperate, in other words. That will be sufficient." She then looked to Cerryan and T'suro, the latter only getting a brief, grudging glance. "Will you accompany us?" T'suro sighed and stood, giving the Blood Knight salute, complacent in form, his face still racked with inner turmoil. "Light's will be done." Raelana stretched, cracking her back and nec. She paused mid-stretch, noticing those who stared at her, then shrugged and said, "Old war injuries. They take their toll after awhile." She went back to stretching, took a moment to check on her wound, then packed up her notes. Her herald, who had just run back out of breath, bowed to her and edged closer. Raelana turned her ear to the herald who whispered something in her ear and handed her a letter. She opened, then shut it quickly. Her eyes lit up and she blushed deeply across her whole body. Again whispering something back to the herald, she handed him some more money. "Please don't take too long in getting that message back." She smiled, then motioned to her bags and notes, "And please have these sent to my room. You can use this to access it." She handed a smallish book to the herald, then tucked some notes into another hidden pocket near the inner thigh of her legplates. She then looked at the three others and smiles. "Well, shall we get going? I'd like to get this started." "Yes, let's," Tamaryth said, turning to depart for the portal to Dalaran. Cerryan stood as well, his face devoid of emotion. He nodded at the High Justicar, then to the others, and moved to keep pace with Tamaryth. "I do trust that we go to Sanctuary in good will as well as in pursuit of justice. Commander Julilee is a good and level-headed leader, but if pressed she will not hesitate to defend her own. The Ebon filth that came to claim Cat learned this firsthand, and I would not wish to see a similar incident from the order that we all serve. I am Sanctuary's Marshal, please allow me to take point in speaking with Commander Liene." Tamaryth regarded Cerryan for a moment, then nodded. She was generally reluctant to cede control but in this, with him, she would. "Very well." Raelana glanced at T'suro and shook her head slightly before following behind the other two. T'suro stepped through the portal, looking tense all the while.
  8. Vilmah tilted her head toward the approaching figure; an Inquisitor. Not quite as small and weak as the ones they dispatched of, earlier. This one projected an eerie presence, his toothy grin unwavering in its amusement. “I was wondering when you would open your eyes. It makes the process smoother, when you are conscious. There is less risk of damaging other parts of your brain while I sift through it.” Cobrak snarled, looking like he would bite if it got any closer; hackles raised as he bared his fangs. "I'll fuckin' gut ya ya shit-'eapin' fel-fuckin' gnome-lovin' piss-'jockin' twat! C'mere an'-" Cobrak launches into a tyrad eof abuse, shouting and cursing at the demon. If he made it angrier, maybe it would focus on him more and let the orcess trip him up or something. The Inquisitor grinned at Cobrak, entertained. He let the orc vent his rage before speaking again, his voice so smooth it was nearly comforting. “How very amusing,” the Inquisitor chuckled, glancing toward Vilmah from behind the bars. “And you? Do you have anything to say?” Vilmah’s expression was sour, but she didn’t throw a barrage of insults. Her rage was centered, a single space in the middle of her chest. “Fuck. Off.” The Inquisitor laughed again. “Very well. I will give you two a little time to grow accustomed to your surroundings. Your brains must be inflamed. That will not do for the activities I have planned. "No,” he grinned at Cobrak. “You two have wonderful secrets. Boss, Warboss. You should be glad it will be me extracting them. I may even let you live to see them put to good use.” Without giving them a chance to respond, the demon floated away. Cobrak seethed more, spitting as best he could at the retreating demon. "Thas right, fuck off!" He bellowed after, snorting. His eye turned critical then, frowning as he thought. "Hm." he muttered, thinking now. He knew who they were, meaning they specifically had been targeted. They were being kept alive to be mentally expunged, meaning this was no ordinary demon, this was a very much high-ranking one that could plan and strategize. "...Bastard's a shite jailor. Gave way more than I would." Cobrak muttered as he looked around, given time to think. The chain were too heavy to break...at least by him. he began looking a ttheir surroundings, trying to piece together if they were still on land or secured away on of the Legion ships. “I don’t think he thinks it matters what we know,” Vilmah sighed, putting away her rage for later. “He has us bound and jailed. There’s no clear way we can escape, given our lack of resources. He’ll expect us to struggle, maybe plan an escape. I can guarantee they already have a plan in place, should that happen.” "Thass why I'm thinkin' o' one now." he mutters, closing his eye once more to concentrate. He could feel Skoll's presence nearby, it was hard to discern where though. The worg had gone into hiding as Cobrak thought he would, stalking after them. The beast alone could not aid them, maybe another one could. An instinctual command is given through their link, the worg's presence retreating until he could no longer tap into it. "...Jus' 'ang on....might be a while, but I'm workin' onnit." Vilmah wiggled her fingers. She only had one arm, which meant they wouldn’t expect her to break out easily. How much did they know about her and Cobrak? Enough to know their rank, their history, and probably their abilities. “They’re going to expect you to use your animals to help us,” she said with a calm realization. “They know who we are. They know what we’re capable of. That’s a weakness on our part. The only way we’re going to get out of here is if we do something they won’t expect.” "They dinnae know alla 'em." he commented back as he kept looking around. "But that dinnae mean I'm gonan rely on that lone..." he muttered as he began looking at the orcess to appraise her. Without weapons, they were without a great deal of fighting strength even if they break free. Still, a fighting chance if... No, he shouldn't think about that. He needed to bury that thought deep down lest the inquisitor find it. "Right then..." he said, looking around. Vilmah took in another deep breath. “Cobrak,” she said carefully, her tone as even as the situation would allow. “We have to let him get close. We have to let him get close enough that he lets his guard down. That’s how we’re going to get out of here. By letting him in.” "That doesnae mean we kinnae keep lookin'." he stated back, "Aye, that do be a best bet, but I dinnae like ta rely on one plan lone...er e'en two." He sayid, looking toward the door. He positioned himself oddly, shifting his hands to grasp around one of his fingers. "'Ate doin' this..." he mumbled, knowing it would be the only way out if he seized their minds. Turning her head toward the other orc, Vilmah frowned at his muttering. "What are you doing?" "Pain. Pain anna lotta o' it breaks through mind shite." he answered, knowing well enough how to best mind-takers. "So when 'e comes back...bes' git ready when 'e tries to take our minds." Vilmah smiled a little, lowering her eyes. "You think breaking a finger is gonna do that?" "Done it fore." he said, almost looking like he would shrug. "S'ow I got free o' shite like this fore." "You've had this happen before?" Vilmah asked with raised eyebrows. Cobrak grunted, "Aye...not from demons, but from 'umes." "Humans," she repeated, chewing on her lip thoughtfully. "How'd they get into your head?" Cobrak did not feel the need to mention it was one human. "Powerful gem, sum ol' relic...could rip part minds." “I see.” Vilmah considered what that might mean. If Cobrak had experience with having his mind prodded, would it make him more or less likely to crack under pressure? What kind of secrets did he have, that the Inquisitor would be so eager to get his hands on? She thought better than to ask those questions. Whatever Cobrak was hiding, she at least trusted that they were for the benefit of the Horde and worth protecting. “Cobrak, I know a thing or two about pain. If they go for me first, I know what to do. If you see that happen, do what you have to do to break us out of here. Can you do that?” "Aye, I may think ya're bit o' a sod, but I ain't bout ta leave any Horde be'ind." he said, damning what everyone otuside his company thought him to be. "So trust me sayin' we'll git outta 'ere wit our skin intact." He stated, rolling his shoulder. Vilmah sighed and tossed her head back, flipping a few strands of loose hair out of her face. "Well.." she muttered. "..I guess that's not the worst thing I've been called," she said with a little humor. "Try bein' an ex-Grim, ya'll find a whole new world o' insults." he states, trying a weary laugh.(edited) "Please... you think I don't have history with the Grim?" Vilmah tried to fold her legs in a more comfortable position, wincing as the chains cut into her skin. "I led Sanctuary when we were still seen as traitors for being loyal to Thrall. The Grim gave me shit every step of the way. They were weird that way. On the one hand, their own leader taught me everything he could. But his members didn't make it a secret that they wanted me dead. Every day. Because I didn't want to help them burn orphanage buildings or hunt farmers. But you can bet your ass that when they asked us to join them in the Molten Core, we went." "ya think its jus' tha Grim givin' shite?" He stated, looking back at the orcess. "Juli's tha only damn Sanct I found who dinnae try ta spit on me er'ry chance they damn well git...Lookin' down from tha ivory towers, paradin' an' grandstandin' that tha rest o' us dinnae know better..." Cobrak snarled, snorting his anger still. "Shite, ya wanna know 'ow this whole bloodbath thin' started wuz when a Sanct straight up tried ta murder a Grim...Oh, an' tha resplendid damn idea o' defendin' an Alliance military base from a Grim assault!" he huffed, trying to cool himself back down. "Only thing worse than Syreena be Kex'ti...both them shitebags 'ave attacked more Horde than anyone else I know." “Well I don’t know much about Kex’ti,” Vilmah admitted. “I was gone when Juli reformed the guild. I was gone when she married Kex’ti, made him an officer.” Why she was gone, Vilmah didn’t have the strength to admit. “I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say ‘ivory towers’. I don’t know what that’s like. The Sanctuary I knew was small, just me and my Bloodsworn. We didn’t have the numbers to be cocky, and we certainly didn’t have the time or the energy. We were just trying to survive with our spirits intact.” Again, she shifted her legs. “Most of us didn’t make it.” Cobrak grunted, easing back to try and relax himself. "Well, s'changed...Juli's a good woman anna good commander...but gods damned iffin 'er choice in 'usbands makes no sense." He grunted, looking back over to the orcess. "S'changed then from wut ya know...I 'eard wut 'appened durin' Garrosh's rule, went up in flames....Remember gittin' a bounty fer you lot fore I signed on wit tha Grim...Remember burnin' it too, figgurin' out when Hellscream lost 'is damn mind." There was a moment of quiet reflection as Vilmah’s lip trembled. Closing her hazel eyes, she took a few steadying breaths. “Yeah, well, we saw that firsthand. We had to scatter. Those bounties didn’t end with the burning of our hall. They followed us, especially me. Nojinbu wound up in Pandaria, so consumed by rage he needed their monks to help him out of it. We had to send our daughter away. Our human daughter. So she’d be safe.” Opening her eyes again, Vilmah glanced at Cobrak. “I don’t hate you, or your company. I think we have a lot in common. What scares me is that there might be more, and I don’t want to see that happen.” Cobrak's eye turned down, remembering what it was like to feel so betrayed by someone he had looked up to... Had believed in. The Warchief's betrayal did not just hurt his enemies. "...A lotta people ask why we keep kids from the Alliance....lott apeople say they're slaves...er trophies." Cobrak's eye turns outward, staring off towards a direction he knew his home was. It was as natural to find it, so purely engrained into his being. "...We find 'em...sum were test subjects....fer those 'umes I said fore..." His eye withers as he remembered the day Naheal's draenei spy had found them, some starving, days away from dying. "...Others we took in cuz they 'ad nowhar else ta go...Dalyia's father made a lotta enemies...Alliance an' Horde both....enemies that wouldnae 'esitate ta kill 'er ta git at 'im." “I don’t begrudge your willingness or your want to help them,” Vilmah said quickly. She could tell there was sincerity there. “I think maybe I’m just worried that no matter how safe you think you can keep them, it’ll never be enough. Well, that’s life in general though. I think I feel the same way about everyone. She swallowed down the bitterness rising into her mouth. “I’m a little paranoid. After what happened, I can’t stop thinking of every risk. I’m sorry if I projected that on to you. It wasn’t my intention to make you feel like I was looking down on you. I don’t have the right to look down on anyone.” The orc nodded back, "...Truth be...sumtimes I look at them....Look at them an' remmeber tha humes who took way my clan...my people." He takes a deep breath, "An' I remember tha hate. I remember hatin' them...I'll ne'er not hate humans..." He admits it like it were a curse, frowning. "...But me kiddos...tha kiddos we got...they willnae know that hate with them round....They'll not become like me...so pat o' ya lot lookin' down is right...Dinnae mean I like it..." Vilmah found herself frowning a little. “You think they’re not going to know hate, but that’s one thing you’re wrong about. They’ll know. They always know. I was born in Hammerfall. Some of those humans, they tried to be kind. Like you. They tried to be kind, but there was no way they could hide the way they felt. You have noble intentions, Cobrak, but if you feel hate for their kind, they’ll know. Don’t underestimate them.” "Thass why tha others who dinnae be tha ones who care fer 'em mostly." he replied, soon bringing out a small chuckle. "...Cept Dalyia...tha lil' pup...keeps tryin' ta butter er'ryone up." The laughter rang out, a little truer with genuine affection. It died down soon enough, Cobrak dimming some. "You have plenty to live for," Vilmah said in a resigned voice. "I'll make sure I give you the chance to get out. I don't think I need to remind you to aim to kill, but just in case - don't give him the chance to retaliate. As soon as you see an opening, go for it. Take him down any way you can." "Wut? I been through a shit ton worse than this, I ain't givin' up till me arms an; legs be blown off!" The orc snapped back, almost grinning in challenge to the world. "E'en then I'll bite an' spit till then." Vilmah smiled a little, closing her eyes to prepare. "I believe you." Cobrak rolled his jaw, wishing he had his pipe. "Good...cuz we's both gittin' out 'ere...cuz I need a drink after this an' I 'ate doin' it by meself." "Last time I drank with an orc, we ran naked through the Darkmoon fair," she said without a hint of shame. "I don't know, Cobrak. You think you can top that?" Cobrak cocked an eyebrow, "That passes as normal back 'ome." A grin formed on his mouth, completely humored. Vilmah laughed a little, her voice strained. "Okay. Then let's get out of this. You've already seen me naked, anyway." Cobrak laughed too, if far a cry from his normal guffawing. "Congrats, ya kin join 'alf tha women in tha Aldor now an' brag bout seein' me buck nekkid." Rolling her eyes, Vilmah smirked to herself. "Pass. My mate isn't too keen on me going full regimental blademaster, he probably won't be happy if he hears you saw me like this too." Cobrak quirked his head, "Aye, troll ain't 'e?" "Drakkari," Vilmah answered gently. "One of the best killers I've ever known. Now he's a monk." Cobrak remained silent, suddenly looking up and down her body and seemingly very puzzled.... then again Xaraphyne and Fhenrir were a similar conundrum, so he didn't press the question. "Ne'er knew any frost trolls who werenae batshit crazy....but interestin'." "His tribe, the Frostbite trolls, they were destroyed by dwarves," Vilmah shrugged. "They weren't like the ones in Northrend. Nojinbu is the most honorable troll I've ever known. Most honorable member of the Horde, period." Cobrak grunted in affirmation, "Hmh. Seems a lil objective that statement." The orc chortled under his breath. The orcess grinned. "Yeah well, he ruined me for orcs, I'll say that. And he showed me that our people tend to have some pretty shit opinions when it comes to other races. That's why when Garrosh showed his true colors, I knew we were in for trouble. How he could do what he did to the trolls, and the Forsaken.. I couldn't bear it." Cobrak soured, "Fuckin' shite....Iffin 'e 'adnae gone fuckin' mad we woulda won tha war..." The orc grumbled, "I thought 'e wuz gonna finally wipe out tha Alliance after Theramore...Tha trolls were right ta rebel....Vol'jin wuz a good leader." Vilmah clearly felt pain with the mention of Vol'jin. "He was the best of us. The Legion.. they took the greatest thing we had. They're going to pay for that. Starting with this Inquisitor." Cobrak nodded, looking out to where the demon vanished. "...Aye, mebbe then we'll go THEIR world an' fuck up THEIR shite..EH?! Ya 'ear that fuckin' gnome-suckin' jacklobbers! Gonna run back ta yer 'ome an' string alla ya up!" There comes a bloodthirsty laugh as he yells. Vilmah blinked at Cobrak. He was certainly loud, but at least he was in good spirits. "Right.. just give me a few to get over this headache." Cobrak grunted, spitting that he did not get any attention from the shouting. He looked back over at Vilmah, cocking an eyebrow. "Magic's still ringin' in yer 'ead too?" "Yeah.." She muttered. "I have a feeling he's letting us cool down because it's more difficult to pick through our head when it's damaged." "Aye....like bleedin' out a carcass fore skinnin' it." he muttered, suddenly feeling uneasy. Like sensing on oncoming blizzard did his instincts prickle to an approaching presence. What answered his instincts wasn't an Inquisitor. Rather, it was a pair of Eredar, one male and one female. They regarded the two orcs with a chuckle, but said nothing to either of them. They seemed content to watch the prisoners squirm.
  9. The silence was deafening. There was usually always some sort of white noise. People talking, birds singing, the sounds of metal clashing against metal. The sounds of life and violence. Silence was a strange thing to come upon for someone so used to an unquiet life. It made it easier to hear her own heartbeat, which was slow and plodding, as well as her own breathing, which felt shallow in her chest. Ragged. It was difficult to breathe, and that was what woke her. That and the pain. A solid dull ache in the base of her skull, damage from the shadow magic that incapacitated her. Vilmah opened her eyes to see a blur of gray as her eyes adjusted to the dim light. Memories came trickling in; the fight, the demons, Cobrak? She wiggled her fingers, but found only one hand responded. Slowly looking toward her left, she saw that the newly crafted arm created by Gunheya and Dessim was gone. “Shit..” she muttered, reaching for the stump only to find that her remaining arm was restrained, as were her ankles. Both were connected by a series of chains and manacles, which she now saw were bound to the wall behind her. Solid stone all around, bars in front. The cold air signaled that she’d been stripped, and looking down she saw that all of her scant armor was gone, leaving the orcess bare, without even her chest wrap or a pair of underwear. “Shit,” she grumbled again, squeezing her eyes shut to refocus herself. The pain was still there, floating in the back of her head like the ghost of failure. Upon opening her eyes and finding the cell a little clearer, she looked around again only to find that she wasn’t alone. Beside her, also stripped and bound by chains, was Cobrak. Vilmah took a deep breath and cursed for a third time. “Shit.” Ears quirked to the sound of profanity, his breath sifting in like sand through a strainer. His lone eye fluttered open only to close again at the aftershocks of magic hammered dull throbs in his mind. His teeth grated with a low growl as he sucked in air. Nostrils flared as he tried to move, finding his wrists shackled behind his back and legs clamped together. How could he be captured again? Again to be tormented. Again was he caged and chained, and again did he feel the bestial rage that boiled within him at the audacity to try to contain him. He would sooner die then let another Morinth or Lazhio torture him. Death, was not in the itinerary, he had a family to return to. He needed to settle before his struggling tore his wrists off. What was the last things he remembered? Attacking warlocks... then the orcess.... then demons... then... the rage overtaking him and- and he now had a partner in this cell he now noticed. Of all the people to be stuck with... could be worse, he supposed. Could have been Kex'ti. "Hrngh." Cobrak grunted, snorting as he tried to carefully wriggle out of his bindings. "...Whar be we?" Vilmah’s loose purple hair covered half of her face, hiding her irritation at the situation that brought them together. She wasn’t particularly fond of Cobrak, or most orc males in general for that matter. She could practically feel the anger boiling off of him, the kind she worked so hard to suppress as a blademaster apprentice. “I don’t know,” she said evenly, her voice straining to remain calm. “The last thing I remember was being hit with shadow magic.” Deep calming breaths. Vilmah attempted to center herself, to consider their situation more critically. Getting their bearings seemed the best first time. “Are you injured? They took my arm, and our armor, and our weapons.” Shifting in her bindings, she considered the strength of the chains. Strong though she was, she wasn’t exactly capable of breaking metal with her bare hand. The mention of his beloved rifle gone made him almost snarl, if only to spite the pain ringing through him. Whatever that demon was, he was going to find his own head shoved up his ass! A breath followed as he closed his eyes, his body moving how it could to locate any injuries. His side immediately shot a flare of pain as he did so. Enough to warrant a cautionary signal in his mind. "...Fine.. mebbe got a rib ‘er two busted." he grunted, neverminding the fact that they were both naked as the day they were born. A thought brewed in his mind as he began reaching out with his natural beastial prowess. "...No critters round." He says after a few moments. "Not e'en a damn rat...." He grunted, trying to branch further out to contact the instinctual bond he shared with his beasts. "Do that an' ya'll be useless inna fight." Cobrak warned as he became almost meditative. He sent out his mind's eye to connect with something, anything; only for the shadow magic to throw off his concentration. He snarled and snorted like an angry bull, shaking his head as though making to charge. "Gimme sum time...I kin..." He was cut off when a third entered their delightful little conversation. “Oh good, you’re awake,” came a haunting familiar voice.
  10. Azilrog stepped through a Death Gate to Archerus' sparring level. He dragged the unconscious form of Ghostslayer behind him. "SUNSONG!" He shouted out, his voice grating. Ghostslayer’s death grip was to his ice-like blades still sliding along behind him left frost in their wake. The tauren was not only unconscious, but also had a bloody Shoulder from the slide of his weapon. He was missing his full chest plate, his helmet was cracked in and falling off, almost the leaving a shoulder piece dragging along his form, and his thigh plates were gone. Spirits hovered around Ghostslayer like a moth to a flame. Sunsong answered the call, her brow furrowed at the sight before her. "Well that didn't take lomg," she said gruffly. "Azilrog, you have performed admirably. Put him in a cell and I will see to him." Azilrog nodded and took Ghostslayer to a cell as Sunsong followed close behind, locking the cell door once Azilrog had Ghostslayer situated. "I will see to him once he wakes. You are dismissed, Azilrog. Though you may want to keep an eye on that guild you reside in. There may be trouble. Stay out of it." Azilrog nodded. "I will maintain my efforts on the Broken Shore. Sanctuary has proven to be a breeding ground for naive rebels." He saluted and marched off. A spirit lingered close to the cell, curious if it could ride Ghostslayer. After all, he was an easy ride, one of the many tortured beings the Ebon Blade had slain. It would get it's vengeance through this death knight. The human's cold presence ended up right behind the large tauren. It could be seen for a brief moment, the skin sullen and the eyes red before Ghost turned and gripped the spirit. It screamed out in terror as the tauren absorbed it into its form, clinging to it like a cat suffocating its prey. The ice around the cell built like a winter wonderland, and the wound at the Tauren's back healed along with the wound on his head. The blood, however, was still there. He tore his helmet off and threw it to the ground, getting up on legs that were once again strong. Ghostslayer peered out of the cage with purple eyes. "You," Sunsong said to the tauren with an even voice. "Explain yourself. You have been telling people a story about being exiled." Ghostslayer seethed, looking at the cage around him, the bars icing over. He clopped back and forth his eyes, turning blue as he watched the other death knight like a cat behind bars. "It is not a lie. I was cast out and attacked for many years. Why are there words why have you not done worse like the Lich king would have?" Sunsong folded her arms. "Maybe we can still use a fool like you. Tell me your story. Who cast you out?" He watched her, flicking his ear and crouching down. His tail swished slowly. "Highlord Darkmoon. He cast me out for killing his daughter." He said simply. Watching Sunsong, he slid his fingers along he ice in his cage. "When I was free of the lich king. The spirits saw me as fresh meat I could not control myself." Sunsong furrowed her brow. "So another death knight saw fit to banish you for killing his own blood. I see. Well," she huffed, clearly irritated. "He is no longer here. I would welcome you back to the Ebon Blade." "Welcome I would appreciate but I have been oathed, and the oath may conflict with what you would have me do." He said simply. "Why is the silver hand hunting us?" Sunsong clicked her teeth. "They are not hunting us. A few paladins have a grudge regarding our mission to Light's Hope. That is all." He watched the other Tauren and slides his right shoulder pad off and his gauntlets, then the seat of his armor only wearing underpants now. "Grudges will be held. It is the way of things. What would you use me for?" "You are a death knight," Sunsong said flatly. "You will be 'used' to defeat the Legion, to the best of your ability. We do what the living cannot." He seemed to consider this. "I fight the legion anyways. And of the Paladins that wish to kill us?" He shifted, looking behind the tauren, his blue eyes turning to her as if reading her. "The paladins wish to bring us to justice. They are not so stupid as to want to kill us all." "Some of them are. We are scourge to them. I have fought my fair share of Zealots. I would think I would gain certain perks for this? A new set of armor and access to a rune forge? And perhaps a more steady supply of ghosts to feast upon? Souls that are used for us are not put towards the Legion." He came close to the bars. It was cold, but some of the ice cracked off and fell where he grips the bars. "Are we planning self defense or diplomacy with those that aim to kill us?" Sunsong raised an eyebrow to the Ghost Slayer, her arms still folded across her chest. "We have provided them with a leave offering, so that we might continue to harmoniously work together. That is none of your concern. What is your concern is the fight against the Legion, which we will see finished. In return for your allegiance, you will have access to the runeforge that will grant your blade greater power. The Acherus and all its reaources will be open to you." He scratched his back and looked over his shoulder at the blood caked there, then looked back to Sunsong. "Things have changed. Besides fighting the Legion what do you expect of my allegiance to the Ebon blade?" He inquired. "I will not harm an innocent and I will not be included in a petty war agains the alliance I will protect people I will not outright harm them unless it harms the legion." "I think you will find that there are no 'innocents' in this world," Sunsong practically growled. "But we have no intention of taking any aggression against anyone but the Legion." His blue eyes focus in on her. Clopping his hooves, he let go of the bars and crossed his arms. "Innocence is not being of the legion. There is a difference between us and the Legion. We have the freedom of choice to be better than we were made to be. " He stepped from the bars, eyeing the tauren, his tail swishing and his hooves sliding along the ice. "You will have my allegiance. But I will not violate my oath in doing so." "Fine," Sunsong huffed in resignation, opening the cell door. He watched Sunsong as the cell opened, clopping hooves to step out of it. "Good to be fighting again. Better than just surviving." "Stay out of trouble," Sunsong warned, pointing toward Ghost Slayer firmly. "We do not have time to go looking for rogue death knights. There is a war to be fought." He looked to the Tauren. "Trouble is how we learn." He says idly. "I do not make allegiances lightly." "Nor does the Ebon Blade. Now go. The Broken Shore requires assistance, and there are few who can provide the strength that our kind demonstrates." He nodded and headed up to the forge. First, to obtain replacement armor. Then to have his blades forged.
  11. There was once a time when if you wanted to harass humans, you didn't have to venture quite so far from Silvermoon's gates. These days, everything between the Ghostlands and the Hinterlands was under the flag of either the dead or trolls. With one exception. Qabian stepped out from behind one of Hearthglen's many towers. The flag of the Argent Crusade was far from enough to stymie racially motivated mischief. Even when Lordaeron had been close enough to toy with, technically they had been allies. What was a little silver between frenemies? Qabian carried a small wooden crate under one arm that occasionally made scratching noises. The panther cub followed at the mage's heels, nearly invisible in the night's shadows. Occasionally the creature bounced on its hindlegs, trying to reach Qabian's crate. Qabian waited as a pair of patrolling guards holding a single lamp between them passed by, then walked calmly up the ramp to the tower. He took a handful of something from a pouch at his belt, tossed it in the open doorway, then knelt, placing one hand on the cub's shoulders, forcing it down as he set the crate on the ground to his other side. "Shh," Qabian hissed quietly as he flicked a latch on the crate. A half dozen rats scurried into the darkness of the tower. The cub fought against the hand holding him down, its haunches tensed as it focused intensely on the fleeing rats. "One... Two..." Qabian whispered, then flames flickered between his fingers, setting the cub's fur alight. Apparently unconcerned with being on fire, the flaming cat wriggled free of the mage's loosening grip and dashed into the tower. Qabian couldn't help but chuckle as he slipped back into the shadows, sliding completely out of view where he stood to watch flames spread through the greyscale tower and listen to the shouts and emerging chaos. Something icy slipped down the side of his neck as he watched, and the mage instinctively raised an arm, scanning the scene for the source. Further ice bounced harmlessly off a translucent, fiery shield, but he was no longer hidden from view. He narrowed his eyes. A night elf stood at the top of the tower, her arms held over her head as she cast her spell. "Kal'dorei?" Qabian said under his breath. There were some among the Tirisgarde, but it still struck him as odd every time he saw them using magic. No different than orcs allowing each other to be warlocks, perhaps, but it had been frowned upon among them for so long. Had there always been Highborne among the Argent? Or were they just teaching each other once forbidden spells? He flicked a gesture and the night elf's spell cut short. She put a hand to her throat, glaring down at Qabian. He bowed dramatically, then gave her a lazy salute and a smirk. Flames shot up from somewhere behind her, followed by an indistinct yowl. She was not distracted. The effect of the silencing wore off and she shouted, pointing in Qabian's direction. He laughed, vanishing in a flash of arcane mist as dazed Argent guardsmen stumbled toward where he had been standing, but he was long gone.
  12. There are ways to monetize your blog, yes. There are a lot of articles and youtube videos how to do this. Here are a couple. Also, most bloggers these days use their phones! No professional camera needed. There are articles on how to edit your cellphone photos also. https://startbloggingonline.com/how-can-i-monetize-my-blog/ https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/good-pictures-phone-tips#sm.00001hoadd2l4we1zpplu26dgxfln
  13. <.< >.> Do food blogs pay? (I'd need a better camera, I know my camera phone just isn't up to it XD)
  14. I have found a new Tribe, and it warms my heart... Since the decimation of my tribe and family during the Alliance attack on the Camp, I've been so focused on the rite of vengeance that I have nearly forgotten what it was to be around others who share a similar goal. Many of them fight with such ferocity that I am sure they do their ancestors proud, and there are several other shu'halo in this tribe, being among any number of my kin again brings a smile to my face, even during these treacherous times, there is always a hope that one day things will get better... Earth Mother willing. I was asked an interesting question when I returned the fallen Blood Knight's tome, a Forsaken girl asked me what I would do if I met a Wildhammer civilian... I found the question a bit puzzling. I have sworn the rite of vengeance against the Alliance, and so I consider them my foes, but I am not murderer. Their military is the only target I had considered, and the focus of my hammer. I did not consider such rhetorical things...a civilian is what exactly? Any who can take up arms against my people are my enemy... and what mercy did they show the Sternhorn Tribe, the Stonespire Tribe... the Camp... none. I look to what happened when the Warchief Garrosh laid waste to Theramore, how nearly the entire Horde deplored the action and eventually took up arms against him... but did the Alliance not do the same to our cities in the Barrens? For what? To gain a foothold in Kalimdor... unsatisfied with the lands they already occupy in force... large swaths in the wilds to the north and west. Always they seek power, a foothold... for the lives of my kin... where was their mercy? Where was their outrage? No... they celebrated...their glorious conquest...so will we. I will do what I must to defend my home... that is the only thing that concerns me. I have begun to learn about their mandate. It speaks of peace... the only peace this world can ever truly know. Both sides seem to seek peace, we must achieve it.
  15. Full Name: Sunwalker Oruken Sternhorn Age: 60 Race: shu'halo Gender: Male Hair: Black Eyes: brown Height: 9 ft Weight: 1365 lbs Place of residence: Camp Taurajo ( Formerly ) Thunder Bluff ( Currently ) Place of Birth: Camp Taurajo Known Relatives: Cousin - Kirge Sternhorn ( Alive ) - None others that are still alive, most of his tribe was killed during the Alliance assault on Camp Taurajo. Religion/Philosophy: Oruken is a sunwalker and reveres the Earth Mother and An'she as the source of his strength. Occupation: Master Jewelcrafter and Enchanter , while he was at the camp was also a local Brave. Group/Guild affiliation: The Grim ( Currently ) Guild Rank: Supplicant Enemies: Any who threaten his home or tribe. Likes: Peace and quiet, solitude, good meals Favorite Foods: A wide variety of tastes, he rarely will turn down any food. Favorite Drinks: Water - He exclusively drinks water, never any alcohol. Favorite Colors: Most earthly or darker hues Weapons of Choice: 2 handed mace. Dislikes: Large crowds Hobbies: Meditation, honing his crafts, from professions to combat, practice creates harmony. Physical Features: Fairly average height and weight for a male Tauren, missing half of his left horn, black fur. Special Abilities: None of note, is very solitary for a Tauren, with his Tribe being decimated and following the spirit of the Tiger since birth, the brave does not fear going it alone. Positive Personality Traits: Patient, Thoughtful, Spiritual and very strong in faith, quiet and watchful, does not shy away from battle. While independent, when necessary he is an excellent teacher and is always willing and able to help any that he calls friends. Negative Personality Traits: Very solitary, does not enjoy large crowds and stays away from cities as often as possible. While an excellent fighter and trained extensively in battle, he is more likely to go it alone then lead less experienced fighters in combat. History: From all that anyone can gather, Oruken lived a fairly standard life as a brave at Camp Taurajo. He has fought for the Horde since the Tauren tribes joined with Warchief Thrall. Had fought in several major engagements during the 3rd War and settled after the conflict ended to protect his home. During the great Cataclysm Camp Taurajo was overrun by Alliance forces, and since then he has been on a rite of vengeance against the Alliance and all who support them. Oruken also wishes to do what he can to defend the Horde and all its people against any threats that wish to do them harm. (( Work in progress ))
  16. I remember last year you were doing the bug recipes. You REALLY need to be doing a food blog because your photos, presentation and ideas are outstanding. Frankly, you should consider doing a cookbook also. But definitely blog.
  17. Regdar lit another candle as he poured over the legal documents in the hall of records assisted by one of the fat custodians in breaking down the specifics of each individual interpretation of horde law. The orcs, though the documents of the various races that appeared as well, did not seem particularly fascinated with legal nuance, and the number of awkward loopholes created by the disparate documents of seven.different races and cultures was truly astounding. But no matter where Regdar looked, the answer seemed to remain the same. No matter which why he examined or argued the problem in his head, the problem at hand offered only one solution. And that solution was awful indeed for Catalinetta.
  18. Three firm knocks sounded on the office door. "C'mon in." The voice of Cobrak was easy enough to recognize. "Been a while, Cobrak." Dessim greeted as she stepped inside. "Looks like you're full of more stitches than ME now." Cobrak made an odd noise that was a mutt of both grunting and chuckling, "Well 'ere's 'opin' I dinnae go 'ungry fer blood an' 'afta eat souls or wute'er it is ya do..." He says, gesturing to a chair and an accompanying bottle of rum. "Wut kin I do fer ya, lass?" "You? Probably nothing." It wasn't said in a way that inferred insult. "But I need someone who is a holy warrior or can at least look like one." His eyebrow cocks, a silent gesture to continue on tht thought. "I have concerns. A few months ago, the Ebon blade made an accurate presumption to how the Silver Hand would react to their plans... I won't go into details but it ended with another assault on Light's hope and a second death for one of their commanders.... He got better. There has been no counter-attack due to efforts against the Legion and I am worried about how long this ceasefire will last,” she continued. “The Silver Hand will not forgive such an ‘affront’ and paladins are not known for their sense of forgiveness. When they strike back I do not think it will end with the Ebon Blade. I believe they will hunt down every last one of us. If you have anyone who could poke their head in, I'd like to at least know the mood they see in." Cobrak folded his arms, pondering. He weighed his options then. Usually it was not his intention to be involved in such affairs as politics or tension between such groups. His lone eye closed as he pondered, then again, it was merely a job to feel out the paladins' state of mind. Could there be harm in that? If he were found out, it could be construed as Borrowed Time helping one organization essentially spy on the other. The orc tapped his fingers on the desk, pondering still. A small risk then, as Dessim was a friend who was merely concerned. "...I kin 'ave onna mine see bout it." "Thank you. I'm not asking for attack plans, just the general consensus. I know they're angry, but if the call to arms is gaining followers I'd like some warning." Cobrak nods, "Aye, notta problem...I jus' 'ope this doesnae blow up in our faces." "Then just pick someone who is either too subtle to be caught or too stupid to feel nervous about what they are doing." "I 'ave tha perfect guy." "Send me the bill then. You know where we are." She gives a small smile, now that the business was concluded without issue. Cobrak nodded, "Aye, will do." he says with a smirk, "So's when will yer Boss reopen tha Cantina nights now with tha Legion mostly limpin' back ta tha Tomb?" "It's hard to say... Between the war effort, his family issues, and Gunheya's tendency to take on projects like a pack mule I feel like we have none that could run it to our liking. But as soon as we find a spot to run the business we will try." Cobrak nodded, "I see, well iffin 'e needs any 'elp settin' anythin' up, ya tell 'im we'll be more than 'appy to lend a 'and." "I'm sure he would love it... His bitch girlfriend might not." Cobrak rolls his one eye, declining to comment himself on that subject. "Well, offers always open ta Coldstar." "And we appreciate it, sincerely." Cobrak smirks, "Right then, we'll send tha contract o'er fore 'e gits goin' ta Light's Hope." " I'll be around to make sure our crew hasn't slacked off then." A nod from the orc followed, "Good ta 'ear, sumtiems peons need a good smack'round." "Only sometimes?" She asked, cracking a grin as she rose and made her way out Cobrak let losse an easier laugh, "Mos' o' tha time."
  19. Moving through Acherus slowly, Regdar spoke softly to the human that walked with him. He wore red plate, polished and adorned with the expected skulls of his class, clanking along like everyone else that refused to lose their armor. "Things haven't changed much," he explained to the blonde human. "But I think you've made the right decision in returning. We all understand that Tirion's loss was tragic, and of course I respect that he was the one that was able to defeat Arthas once and for all. But the chips are down, Gelart. The Legion wants to annihilate every single one of us. I did the right thing and you did the right thing by trying to get one of our most powerful back in the game. Your friends will forgive you, with time." They stopped at the rune forges, and Regdar put a comforting hand on the cracked plate of the humans' shoulder. "I fought paladins for decades, and I understand the power that comes from their convictions, that righteousness they feel. But you and I aren't powered by that. We're powered by the opposite, almost. We should be murderous monsters with the magics that keep us all walking and talking. But we're not. And we're not the heroes that the Paladins are, that you once were. They get to be heroes and they need to be heroes. When they're powered by their own faith and nobility, they can't have the kind of doubt and choice that you and I do." "I doubted our attack on Light's Hope, and you did, too. It's why you chose to leave, right?" Gelart nodded slowly and somberly. "But you chose to come back because you see the bigger picture. And you choose to stay, even though you know there are going to be death knights that you don't agree with. That choice is always yours, I'm not going to force you into it and neither is Acherus." "But what I want you to do is tap into some of that ol' paladin conviction. And I don't want you to dedicate it to us, there are plenty of things to doubt coming, I'm sure. Dedicate it to the war with the Legion. Be the best soldier that you can be killing the most demons that you can kill. And if you think that the best way to do that is by coming here and using the resources we have to offer, then you know you made the right choice. Don't let me convince you of that. Let you convince you of that." Regdar let a few moments pass. This was the pitch he had given a hundred times, but Gelart didn't need to know that. He was just as conflicted as so many of the others. He knew that the Ebon Blade were taking the fight to the Legion and helping end their attacks, and that he'd be far more useful to them as a member of the organization than alone. But he'd killed two of his greatest friends and allies at the melee at Light's Hope. That was a kind of pain that he had too hard a time washing off. With Regdar, at least, he felt there was someone still in the dark, noisey halls of Acherus who understood. Gelart accepted, and Regdar helped him reconcile with the members of the Blade he'd spat on in his haste to leave. He got new armor and, most crucially, his cracked runeblade was reforged to be stronger than ever. There was no danger that he'd be warped by the dark shadows that powered all Death Knights, and he would be safe in his attempts to continue fighting the Legion. Curiously, however, Regdar couldn't help but overhear the name "Catalinetta" come up a few times as he was working through the process. It wasn't enough that he felt alarmed, just unnerved. He'd given her his word that the Ebon Blade would leave her alone, so why were there knights whispering her name to one another like this? After Gelart was set to return to fight on the Broken Shore, Regdar headed off in search of some answers. If Acherus still had Catalinetta's name on its lips, he ought to find out why. Still aboard the Acherus, a tauren death knight worked the runeforge. She was built rather standard for a tauren female from Mulgore; short white horns, white and brown spotted pattern. What may have once been soft eyes, however, were now hard with loss. She hammered her axe with the precision of a master craftsman, taking the time to admire her work every few seconds. Regdar did his best to project respect as he approached. "Not looking to take up too much of your time, but, well, I'll get right into it. I keep hearing the name "Catalinetta" among the knights. Do they mean Catalinetta D'Aragon?" Sunsong turned to Regdar and wiped a hand across her forehead. It was more out of habit than anything, as the dead did not sweat. "That is correct." The tauren peered at him for a moment, as if trying t place him. "And you are?" "Regdar the Red. I know Catalinetta, I've met her before, tried to talk her into returning to the Ebon Blade. Why are people speaking of her now?" "We have utilized her as a bargaining chip," Sunsong said flatly, returning to her work. "Some members of the Silver Hand wanted to start some sort of assenine investigation on our mission to their chapel. Rather than allow such a blatant waste of our time continue, we gave them her name. They can busy themselves with her while we continue our strike against the Legion." "Gave them her name in what way? She left the Blade after what happened, why would the Paladins care about her? "Because she is a known face who injured one of theirs. She may have left our ranks, but that has made her even more suspicious. Convenient for us. If they want someone to hang, better it be one we have no need for any longer." "That doesn't even..." Regdar was more surprised and dumbfounded than anything else. He spent half his time trying to convince wayward knights that the Blade, despite its flaws, was the right place for them only to be met with this. "Thank you for that. I hope those paladins eat their fill." He said finally, before making great haste for the portal to Dalaran. Sunsong furrowed her brow at the departing death knight. She watched him go suspiciously, but didn't make a move to follow him.
  20. Qabian sat turned around in his chair, chin resting on his arms folded across the back, and stared at the panther cub sprawled out across the dark pillows of the once neatly made bed. In other lighting, it would have been nearly invisible in the rumpled mess, but the sunbeam from the half-drawn drapes lay right across the creature. It wasn't irritating enough to do anything about, but it was more of a problem than the solution he had initially hoped for. When he had first come across the spellwork to create a weapon, he had envisioned something far more literal. Ruuki was no longer High Inquisitor, so Qabian hardly felt indebted to her for his theoretical failure regarding this project, but he had still wanted something more than this lump of an inconvenient cat. Lately, he had considered offering it to Syreena. She seemed to always have some task or other that needed doing, someone who had legitimately offended her in some way. Maybe she could find a use for a cat that you could set on fire and send into a building only to have it return a few hours later. But then there was the issue of the words. Qabian didn't believe he had ever put words to paper that he would regret, that might come back to haunt him, but that didn't mean he wanted just anyone having the capacity to read and connect anything he had written back to him. Given the nature of the magic that had created the thing, the possibility existed that a change of ownership would result in a change of words, but what if it didn't? That wasn't something he particularly wanted to risk. Qabian sighed. Nothing was going quite right lately, but nothing was going wrong enough to make trouble about either. He had missed the opportunity to simultaneously confess to murder and grind the new supplicant into the dirt. On the one hand, it always felt better when they came to understand themselves before the trouble started. On the other, it would have been good, clarifying, to have been the one responsible. Perhaps it had been a mistake to want to show him that there were those who truly believed in the Mandate before laying out how it was all bullshit but worth every ounce of chaos.
  21. T'suro knocked on Cerryan's office door. The voice that responded was terse. "Yes, what is it?" "I wished to talk... but if you're too busy." T'suro replied. There was a sigh before Cerryan responded. "No, come in. I apologize, I am just a bit overwrought." T'suro stepped in, giving his older superior a salute before approaching the desk. "What's the matter?" "It's everything. It's the attack on Shal'Aran that I should have been there for. It's the attack on Light's Hope that still burns in my mind when my eyes close. It's Shokkra missing, Karthok plotting, Kanda...." Cerryan sucked in a breath, and released it slowly. "It's the Legion intensifying their crusade on the heels of the victories we've been able to secure." T'suro sighed and nodded slowly. "I can understand all of that. I've been doing my part, but sometimes I feel as if it's just... overwhelming. This actually plays into what I wanted to discuss with you, though. Lady Liadrin has accepted my request, and supplied us with a deployment of some fresh Blood Knight recruits. There's only four of them, but they're all freshed face and eager to work." T'suro leaned against the desk and sighed again. "I already told the commander, but I'm worried they might feel unwelcome here, even with my presence. Perhaps you could speak with them?" Cerryan nodded. "I'd be happy to. Additional support from the Blood Knights will be welcome. Light knows what further predations we can expect from the Felborne who struck at us. The knights should have little to worry about, Liadrin's forces are not unwelcome here and we're stretched thinly enough that the aid will go a long way." T'suro gave the other paladin a smile. "That would be wonderful." His face fell again. "But, wait... we'd need to house them... surely the guard barracks have some empty bunks?" "I am sure that accommodations can be made, and at worst we can outsource to a local inn. They're as far away from home as we are; small comforts are the least we can do." T'suro nodded. "Fair enough, I suppose. Consider this an official request then." He chuckled. Cerryan nodded. "Now to determine how they will provide support. There are a few options I can think of at least; Shal'Aran could benefit from the security of extra hands, of course. Security here is still never in small demand, what with the latest incursion upon our compound. I wonder if..." The paladin was interrupted by another knock on his door. A moment later, a young page bearing the markings of the Silver Hand entered the room and nervously delivered a summons to Cerryan from one High Justicar Tamaryth. The paladin nodded and dismissed the page, then turned back to T'suro. "Well then, I suppose we will have to revisit this. I do not want to keep the Silver Hand waiting." T'suro raised a curious brow. "Silver Hand business? Hmm... Might I accompany you? Our orders are joined together nowadays." "Yes, of course. I was going to ask you to anyways. I have a feeling I know what this is about." With that, Cerryan stood and led the two of them out of the office and towards Light's Hope.
  22. Tamaryth was found in the small training area in the chapel, supervising some aspiring crusaders as they practiced. She was a blood elf, with dark hair and stern features. Her armor was red and gold, and glimmered in the lantern light. As Raelana approached, she steps forward, and delivered a stinging rebuke with the flat of her blade to the sloppy arm of a recruit. "Arm in," she ordered. The recruit nodded and sheepishly stooped to retrieve his weapon he had dropped. She put her armored boot on it. "And never," she saaid, lowering her voice to a low growl, "let go of your weapon. Ever." Raelana leaned up against the cool, stone wall watching Tamaryth train. Her hands rested on the hilt of her fiery blade out of habit, but as always she was alert of her surroundings. She caught Tamaryth's eye and bowed her head lightly out of respect and approval of her methods. It had been a long time since she was in training, more than ten years, but the methods hadn’t changed much. Tamaryth stepped back, letting the berated recruit retrieve his weapon. She caught Raelana's eye and nodded slightly. "Fifty strikes on the practice dummy," she said to the recruit, then turned walk over to where Raelana was waiting. "Can I help you?" she inquired. Standing up as tall as she could (which was not very tall at all), she spoke quickly and quietly. "I'm looking for Tamaryth. She knows why I'm here." Raelana said it matter of factly, certain she had found her, but unwilling to give out more information until it was confirmed. "She might, if she knew who you were," the blood elf responded. "Though at this point I'm going to go ahead and assume you're Raelana. Najme told me you'd be assigned to me." She sheathed her sword. Raelana's hand squeezed the hilt of her sword slightly. Her green eyes flickered in the candlelight and her fiery hair seemed to match her temperament. She looked hard at the blood elf before relaxing her grip, but not releasing the haft from her grasp. "Ambassador Raelana de Bergerac, at your service," she said with a brief bow of her head. "Please forgive the formalities. When you're in my line of work, you can never be too careful." She gave Tamaryth a half smile. "I'm sure you know how that can be." She paused as a recruit sauntered by slowly, only proceeding when no one else was within earshot. "I was called upon to aid in the situation; however I was only recently filled in on what's going on. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it." Tamaryth folded her arms. "We have someone to bring to justice," she said. "Ironically, she's ensconced herself in a guild that claims to be devoted to justice." She scoffs. "I hope for their sake they're unaware of her crimes. If they're not, and they've been willingly sheltering her, they're guilty of collusion and their leaders will have to stand trial as well." "Anything I should know about this guild? I believe Najme said Sanctuary. Seems an appropriate guild considering what she's accused of. Honestly, I'm surprised she's still a member, when you consider the fact she attacked one of their own. Do we know where..." She paused suddenly as another recruit slowly walks by, obviously trying to see what was going on. "...she is? Will any of the members give us trouble when we go to bring her in?" "Their headquarters is in Dalaran," Tamaryth said. "I've heard stories about them that make their actions less surprising. They're a rogue outfit by all accounts. We can certainly expect trouble. We'll start with their leader and see if we can convince her to turn over the fugitive. Unless you have another idea?" she added, almost as a token comment. Raelana pulled forth some parchment and glanced at her notes. "The greatest victory is that which requires no battle. I do indeed have another idea." Her face lit up as she looked over her notes. "Yes a very good idea indeed," she muttered to herself, a grin slowly building on her face. "Why start with the leader at all? Sir Cerryan Vyel is in the perfect position to help us appeal to the guild. Not to mention I want a chance to meet him." She looks at Tamaryth, then quickly adds, "To get his opinion on things of course.” Tamaryth’s lips twisted in a little annoyance. "I suppose we can do that," she said. "We can summon him here. If nothing else, an explanation for why he tolerates her presence, or tolerates the guild that harbors her, is one that should be answered." Raelana raised one of her eyebrows and gave a disapproving look, but didn’t say anything to contradict or disagree with her statement. "We both have questions we want to ask and things we need explained. Would you like to summon him now?" "Yes, we shouldn't waste any more time." Tamaryth looked back at the recruit, who was struggling to raise his sword to complete the task she had given him, his arm leaden after so many swings. It was a cruel punishment, but if he managed to hold onto his blade for the duration, he'd be less likely to drop it under trying circumstances in the future. "I'll send a page."
  23. As promised, I'll make a signature for anyone who takes the screenshots!
  24. That looks amaaaaazing
  25. Earlier
  26. Since spring's come around these parts, I figured I should kick off some interesting foraged food stuff! Feel free to post stuff you've tried or done too. This spring, I decided to try something I was too late to try making last year: Wild Garlic Mustard Pesto I used the recipe above as a base to start at, but found it to be too salty so reduced the salt to 3/4 tsp instead of 1 tsp. I choose to add the optional ramps, as they're in season as well right now. Had several people try it after it was made and everyone quite liked it, even the picky people! All you can really taste is a pleasant garlicky-ness, but with all the wild greens it has a nutritious punch. We also found that you -can- have too much pesto on your pasta and get overwhelmed by it, so go light if you try it too! Tonight, I put it on as a spread for my fish sammich, along with a few leaves of just picked dandelion greens and a sprinkling of redbud flowers (the pink things). It was pretty decent, but I think it'd go better with another meat besides white fish. The cup in the picture has deadnettle and ground ivy with honey tea. It's a light tea, similar to camomile. I'll be posting other things as they spring up.
  27. ((This story originally written by the player Baern on the Sanctuary discord)) Zhanhao carried a fat sack of bok choy down the streets of Dalaran, winding slowly away from the wide streets of the Magus Commerce exchange and into the small residential streets that hugged the walls of the flying city. He'd picked up the vegetables at a premium, though one he happily paid, from a pandaren farmer who shipped his wares from the Valley of the Four Winds to Dalaran through expensive, powerful portals. He had more to offer, massive soy and humongous radishes and squat squash, but the bok choy would make for the perfect base tonight in Zhanhao's steaming ramen. He found his way to the Arcanist's Abode, a poorly named tower that contained barely any mages at all. Rebuilt after the Third War to an unexpected staggering height, it served chiefly as an inexpensive residence for merchants and traders that worked the exchange, and of course, enterprising old gardeners who managed shrubbery and flowers and herbs all across the city. Having spent most of his life a travelling trader and alchemist, Zhanhao's small caravan took on grand heights when Pandaria became the focus of the Horde and the Alliance. Travelers who could get from Krasrang to the Jade Forest to Four Winds to Kun'Lai, alchemists who could teach recipes using the unique fauna found in Pandaria, merchants who could introduce outlanders to the Cloud Serpent Riders, Tian monks, Shado-Pan wall watchers, and the fishermen of the Anglers they were all in very low supply and now in very high demand. Zhanhao had little trouble translating his skills into a hefty payday, but he saw almost none of it. His wife of many years had died only a few months prior to the commotion, and they had never started a family together. Pushing it off endlessly because they had so much life yet to live, and so much love for their days on the back of a mushan pulled wagon. But Zhanhao did have a family. He had doting parents, a brother with a bundle of kids all his own, a sister who had answered the call and was still an ascetic in the Tian Monastery. It was them he gave most of his newfound gold to, so that they could have the lives they'd always wanted without worry. But he didn't leave Pandaria empty handed. Most of the world was gripped with the new continent, but for a pandaren there was still most of the world to explore. Cities across Azeroth swung into lifelessness as the focus of their denizens swept south, and so finding a cheap apartment in Dalaran and buying outright with the remainder of his gold sounded a good idea for Zhanhao. It was also easy to find employment, as an alchemist and herbalist teaching those that remained behind in the floating city precisely what to do and how to grow herbs like Green Tea Leaf and Rain Poppy. Most pandaren plants were found to be quite robust, all told, and bringing them into the city was a lucrative way for the shaman to find employment. But seeding the various alchemists' gardens with them wasn't something that he wanted to spend all his time doing. Slowly, he started picking up employment as a gardener for the wealthy all across the city who wanted beautiful flowers rather than utilitarian herbal beds. But even as the world equalized again and the secrets of pandaria were no longer in short supply, there was still one trait that Zhanhao possessed, one skill that made an unassuming gardener in Dalaran unique. The magical elevator that took him to the forty-seventh floor was one of things he loved about this city in the clouds. Unlike in many other metropolii across Azeroth, a tall tower was not in high demand. The lifts had a frequent habit of failing and being unable to transport anyone until a special arcane mage arrived to fix the enchantments governing the structure. It was on these days that Zhanhao did not love them. But when they worked, being whisked up to his apartment was a comfort to be cherished. The shaman was greeted by half a dozen elementals, two earth, two water, two air, who jumped and frolicked at his shins. They were small, no more than a few inches high, but something about their energy always put a smile on his face. He handed the earth elementals the sack while the water dove into his feet, making them sopping wet, in the hopes to clean off a few flecks of dirt and mud. As the earth pair started hefting the sack to the counter to Zhanhao's right, the wind pair flew up and pulled out one bok choy each, floating it slowly over and plopping them on a bare section of counter, impatiently. Luckily, the lightened load was easier for their brethren to carry, and they stopped up a rickety wooden ramp to get the sack on the counter as well. Unfortunately, none of the elementals could be called "thoughtful" and as they threw the emptying back on top of the small pile of vegetables already removed, it just rolled off them and back onto the floor, spilling out the entirety of their contents for good measure. One of the earthen climbed the pile and began to wave its arms frantically at the pair of air elementals, but neither seemed very willing to accept responsibility. Their competitive nature, however, kicked in when the second of the earthen dropped back to the floor and began picking up bok choy and running it up the ramp. Not to be outdone, the hovering elementals swooped in and began carrying their own, adding it to the pile they'd already started. When they were finished, all four elementals fought over the sack, trying to claim the honor of clearing the final piece of things, but the shaman plucked it from them and placed it on top of the hapless mound of vegetables he'd had. Dutifully, the water elementals slid up the ramp and began washing the food, depositing it finally into the basin on the far side of the counter. Zhanhao's apartment was narrow, but long, ending in one great, wide window that stretched from floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Its curtains were drawn, though the dark green glow of fel peaked out at every available opportunity. Before Dalaran's teleportation, he'd had a beautiful view of the ocean. Now, he had a view of the fel beam above the Tomb of Sargeras. His plump pandaren bed filled the space just under the curtain, stretching from the wall on the left to the kitchen counter on the right, itself full of all kinds of vegetables, fruit and grain that made for large meals. That counter ran the length of the room with a basin for water dividing it in half. On one side, Zhanhao seemed to keep things neat, orderly, organized, a storage space for the fresh food he brought in but wasn't prepared to eat or cook immediately. On the other, chaos rained, as the ramp that allowed his elementals to access the counter denoted that side to be their mischievous domain. In fairness, the floors were also a mess. One corner seemed dedicated just to gardening supplies, including a wet smock to work in, wet trowels and shovels and tools, and two and a half bags of soil lazily propped up on one wall. It was an odd layout for an apartment, and on the wall across from the counter, two clear doors stood as well. Most of the room was dominated by the bed at the end, but it didn't seem to belong, as if cramped in there rather than in a space all its own. After he'd cleaned himself off and cleared himself of his traveling clothes, Zhanhao stepped into the back room, careful to close the door off to any six inch intruders. What was clearly meant to be a bedroom had no bed in sight, almost no furniture at all, in fact. A single cylindrical block of jade with a fluffy pillow atop it was the only thing coming close, right in the center. To the right, another curtained window, to the left a wall with a few decorative scrolls hanging. But the main feature was across from the door as one entered. Three shelves, as wide as the wall, with tall glass boxes end to end standing on all three. They seemed to be made of discrete panels, glass framed with wood, that were nestled together into containers, maybe a foot and a half tall each. But the containers weren't the important part. Twenty three out of thirty six had a plant inside, a small flower with golden petals lilting softly to one side. Some of the rest had seedlings or buds yet to flower, though others were empty. Uniquely, one container held snow covered soil with soft, yellow grass shooting forth, so tall as to bend at the top of the container. Four totems glowing with energy lay on the floor under the shelves, one for each element. As Zhanhao takes his place atop the Jade block, folding his legs and closing his eyes, he connects to the flagging totems, slowly opening the flow of power between himself and them. It's the totems that govern the plants inside the containers, fire dictating the artificial sunlight hitting their leaves, water keeping them hydrated, earth making sure they have the proper nutrients, and air managing the atmosphere inside each of them. Zhanhao had always thought of himself as a strong shaman, able to conjure spells at their most powerful, the hottest fire, heaviest earth, quickest lightning. But the magic that he was using now wasn't about monumental exertions. It was about precision. The importance of totems in shamanistic magic was an interesting phenomanon, as Zhanhao learned that orcs, trolls, tauren and pandaren all seemed to learn the same process for decentralizing their power into totems. And while certain cultures had focused on certain uses of totems, Zhanhao had stubbornly refused to learn from them for months after moving to Dalaran. He knew his goal was to cultivate Golden Lotus plants outside of Pandaren soil, but however he tried to make the magic work, the plants withered and died before he was able to reach them. It was only after consulting with tauren shaman on the kind of magic that allowed their farmers to irrigate so effectively that the final piece of the puzzle fell into place and he was able to grow the plants in his home. By pumping huge amounts of energy into his totems, but restrict the way it flowed to a slow trickle, he was able to charge totems that lasted for hours, even days, maintaining the conditions needed for the flower to bloom. Now, the spell was routine, and by combining it with the techniques he'd learned in his training as a monk, almost a subconscious effort. Four hours blinked by effortlessly for the old shaman, only roused by his rumbling stomach. Rising from his position and sore to have remained still for so long, he fixed the pillow to make it center on the block again. His stomach rumbled a second time, but he ignored it, choosing instead to regard the lotus containers with sad eyes. He'd worked so hard, spent so long waiting for one them to bloom, that picking the petals from the flower and grinding them into alchemical powder or dropping them into boiling concoctions almost felt like slaying his own children. It took months for a lotus to bloom, daily adjustments in temperature, lighting, soil, and water. Selling one brought in thousands of gold, paid for his food, and his home, and his trips to his brother's, and medicine for his parents, but somehow the cost never seemed high enough. He broke a rule of his, placing three fingers on the glass, caressing it. The slightest changes could cause a flower to wilt overnight if he wasn't careful, a problem that he'd discovered early. This particular plant would be sold in less than a week, anyway. He'd hug it, if he could. Tell it that some child somewhere needs the magic it carried to cure them of a deathly ill. But he removed his fingers, nonetheless, hoping that he hadn't ruined it with his few moments of tender sadness. It was always so strangely painful giving up one of his flowers. Still, there was no better task that took his mind off it than cooking, and his stomach rumbled a third time just to remind him of that. Bok choy and onions and garlic and ginger and ramen awaited him, so he let out a soft sigh, shook the thought from his head and returned to a kitchen he'd hoped wasn't a mess thanks to rambunctious elementals.
  28. Signature update. Juli finally moved out of the garrison and into Dalaran! Oh and I gave Xara her old pose back, much better.
  29. New Xara portrait, WIP. Gonna be on my badge for TNG Con. Might even finally replace my forum avatar!
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The Twisting Nether Gazette is a role play forum for characters on the RP-PVP servers Twisting Nether and Ravenholdt.  We have been active since November of 2005, a few months after the Twisting Nether server originally went live.  Our purpose is to provide a safe and inclusive environment where role players can meet and interact with each other, and, of course, post their amazing role play stories, art, bios, and journals.

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