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Julilee

Julilee's Journal

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I returned Vilmah's journals to her... and after last night, it seems appropriate to start keeping my own.

Sanctuary has risen. I wasn't the only one who believed justice should never die. And it never truly did -- Vilmah and Nojinbu were still fighting for it all along, even when Garrosh sought their lives. Compared to them, I am a mere initiate. Less, really... I already had no accomplishments to my name, no hardship under my belt. Except, now, for last night's endeavors.

We met at the Blasted Lands base camp, as Nojinbu indicated. He was prepared to give orders, to lead the charge. But then Saphiara spoke up. I don't know, yet, her entire history with the guild, why she said what she did then, but she was right. I was the one who raised Sanctuary's banner. It fell to me to lead. And I told Nojinbu what I intended, and he accepted it.

Several other members of the Horde who were at the base camp decided to join us. I organized the group, and we headed to the Red Portal.

We came in too close, and were met with hostility. But then I had a chance to approach them under a flag of truce. I had expected... to be able to say my piece, at least. If nothing else, it would be a fair warning to this Iron Horde that Azeroth would not be an easy conquest. A show of strength and confidence. I'm no fool; I knew they were not here to make friends. But they just laughed and pulled me down before I had done more than announced my intentions.

The others came, but so did ranks upon ranks of the Iron Horde. We were forced to retreat, barely escaping. I have never come so close to losing my life. It was a sobering experience.

But not one that dimmed our will.

We recouped, and I decided that we should return for a second strike, unexpected on the heels of the disastrous first. Some, including myself, were still injured, but none shirked the task. And the second foray was successful. We drove them back, routing nearly the entire camp. We let their dragonriders go, to bring word back to their superiors.

There was much to discuss that evening. Between their armaments, Garrosh's escape on the back of a bronze dragon, and the presence of a younger Warlord Zaela at the portal, it seemed highly likely these Iron Horde came from some sort of alternate timeline. But much of the how, and the why, we cannot even begin to speculate on yet.

At the end, Vilmah told me I was brave. I told her it was no less than she would have done. She agreed, if wryly. And then she and Nojinbu took up Sanctuary's banner one more.

A wrong has been righted, I think. At least, it is begun to be.

Later that evening, five more came to the banner, including the entire remaining regiment of the Order of Eversong. This after two joined earlier that day, before the assault. Sanctuary is now truly a force to be reckoned with again. I have promoted a number of officers to assist me, first among them Kargron, with Nojinbu and Vilmah of course holding honored positions, and Cerryan from the Order as well having proven himself. As our ranks grow, I may find more whom I can trust deeply.

I am Julilee Liene of Sanctuary, and while I would not say I fear nothing... there is nothing I would not face for justice. For the Horde. And for Sanctuary.

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I spoke to Saphiara last night, and learned some of the reason for her bitterness. I'd known she tried to lead Sanctuary under Garrosh's rule, after Vilmah, Nojinbu, and others went underground, but I hadn't realized she held it against them that they abandoned the banner. I can't say for myself which position I would have taken... To allow the banner to fall is no small thing, but lives were at stake.

I may have to make such a decision someday, if such circumstances or comparable ones were to arise again. And I know a variety of experience and opinion will help me make better choices. So I asked Saphiara if she would take an officer position. She said she wasn't prepared to lead, but agreed to be an advisor.

I also spoke to Civarra yesterday evening. She turns into quite the chatterbox one-on-one. She mentioned another former ally of Sanctuary that I should try to locate. Though... I find myself wondering where these allies were in Sanctuary's darkest times. But surely everyone with a fair, open mindset found themselves threatened during those days if they spoke up. I cannot blame them for protecting themselves... although in that I can say with surety that I would not have done the same.

Something else significant happened yesterday as well. I made contact with a friendly member of the Alliance, Tuuroto of the Order of the Redblade. He made an amicable overture and I responded in kind. We may be meeting soon. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity, but am trying to remain cautious.

I need to catch up with some of the initiates -- Blodwyen, Paunch, Foozle, Drixle, Kenjin, Somer. I want to speak to Kargron, too. I told him after the battle that I was glad I could depend on him, but we should speak more. Of everyone in Sanctuary, he is the one I trust the most to understand and support my intentions.

There is someone else I find myself trusting as well, but his loyalties lie elsewhere. It's best if I maintain a distance.

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Another new initiate last night. I've run out of tabards at this point, what with ten new members this week. That not being an exaggeration. Luckily, Faelenor had one handy.

He seems like a thoughtful person... but I have the feeling there's something going on I don't know about. Just something he said. I might ask him if he needs help, the next time I see him. I should speak to Amalyn as well, and get to know her better.

I did get an opportunity to speak to Blodwyen, but somehow I just ended up sounding like I doubted her. I didn't mean to. The oaths don't have to be a struggle for everyone. Some people may be born for them, and never have to give them much thought. But I have to wonder how to tell those from those who fail to give them the reflection they deserve until a difficult choice is upon them.

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The Horde has begun making preparations to take the Red Portal. There is no doubt the Alliance is seeking to do the same. I hope to speak to Tuuroto of the Order of the Redblade soon, and perhaps we can coordinate our efforts. The Horde and the Alliance have worked together before when we shared common goals, or at least a common enemy... It is good a place as any to start anew, and set the example.

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day. I spent some time cleaning the guildhall. I threw away much of the junk, but came across some old papers that appeared to be a partial roster of Sanctuary before Garrosh. Not all of it is legible, but I can make out quite a few names. I'm going to try to locate them... Maybe there will be others waiting to take up the banner again, but at the very least the efforts of those who fell should be acknowledged, and forever remembered.

I did find out previously that two former members of Sanctuary are still around, but have joined a different guild. Which guild is a surprise: none other than The Grim. That is, those whose motto is "Peace Through Annihilation," and believe the only way to protect and advance the Horde is to completely destroy its enemies.

I have no idea what to make of that kind of change of heart. What must one go through to have a complete reversal of morality? And I confess that I can't help but feel, narrowly, that if one is capable of believing that the ends can justify the means, one never really believed otherwise. There are no shades of justice.

I will seek them out anyway, to speak to them. The first is Malethia. Even if it is an uncomfortable or hostile encounter, I must know.

While I was cleaning the guildhall yesterday, I started thinking about renovating it. The goblins pretty much just patched it together enough to pass regulation... with a well-bribed inspector. We've also gotten so many people that there isn't even enough room for everyone. I started daydreaming of having an entire garrison where we could marshal our forces, make preparations, and rest when needful. It will be a long while before we have the resources for anything like that, though.

In the meantime, we make do with what we have. Everyone is very generous with one another, more than happy to share what they've accumulated. I prefer it this way, rather than relying on my parents. I haven't even talked to them in weeks.

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I did speak to Malethia. It wasn't as unpleasant as I suspected. I'm not afraid to stare hate in the eye. I can, and can look upon it with compassion. What happened to her shouldn't happen to anyone. I vowed that I would never give up on a member of Sanctuary. I will never cut my losses, or place such priorities on the back burner and forget about them due to other concerns, no matter how pressing. I've vowed it.

I'll send out the couriers today.

Nojinbu accompanied me to speak to Tuuroto. I ended up telling him much more about Sanctuary than he did us about the Order of the Redblade. But he indicated his guild was formerly allies with the Order of Eversong, so it seems I can lay those concerns to rest. If Cerryan and the others trusted him, he must be trustworthy. The next time we get together, hopefully we'll speak more about specific plans for our guilds to work together. He did mention putting on a gathering so that our members could all get to know each other. That seems nice; but I don't know if there will be time for that before it's time to take the Red Portal.

Nojinbu also made me realize that I was still looking to him too often. It's one thing to ask him for advice and another to defer to his experience. I realized that I'd been unsure about my own position in Sanctuary since his and Vilmah's return, but it seems neither is prepared to take up the mantle of guildmaster again. I must do my best, or, as Nojinbu said, better than that. I have to be what Sanctuary needs.

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I'm not sure how to describe yesterday. All I can think of is the Tarot reading that Tuuroto performed. The cards indicated that fate itself would be the genesis of Sanctuary's victory. But the cards were no more than randomly chosen pictures into which we read what we wanted to see; or so Tuuroto claimed. Yet the coincidences are surely enough to give anyone pause.

Nojinbu and I were unexpectedly called to Razor Hill when a defense alert went out. However, when we arrived, it was peaceful. But almost immediately, we were approached by someone seeking help. He spoke of a vision that was haunting him. And he knew the names of some old Sanctuary members – some older than I'd ever heard of, even with the partial roster I'd found, but which Nojinbu recognized. Piecing together what was in the vision, we determined that whatever it was indicating was surely located on the Timeless Isle. So we went.

We ended up stranded on the rocky bluffs. Nojinbu was sure it was a trap, but I knew we could handle it if it were. Then... a ghost appeared, and took on corporeal form. And he recognized Nojinbu, who after a few moments of disbelief recognized him as well.

I almost didn't place the name at first – Vilmah had only briefly mentioned the Warboss before her in her journals. But it was Grisch, returned from being trapped in the twisting nether.

From there, he had watched different "streams" of time, as he had referred to them, which included such possibilities as Vilmah and Nojinbu taking down Garrosh together, and another where Gamon became Warchief. Only now had he finally been able to find the right timeline... although one might wonder, with an inexperienced Sin'dorei leading Sanctuary in this one.

At least I'm not Warchief.

Grisch seemed gladdened that I had done as I had and raised the banner again. He was swift to swear himself to it once more. He and Nojinbu spoke at length that evening, but I was called to other business. I wish to speak with him much more in the future.

The business was that three more members of the Order of Eversong returned, and wished to join their comrades in Sanctuary. Cerryan was not there to sponsor them, but Faelenor was, and Amalyn. Two of the applicants were quiet and amenable, but the third was not.

I hadn't expected to ever face an applicant who was dubious. Typically, one doesn't seek to join a guild like Sanctuary without truly believing in the purpose it espouses. But I suppose some might find they have other motivations, such as staying in the company of their friends. I told him that he must abide by the oaths while he is in Sanctuary, but that he may leave at any time if he decides our guild is not a good fit for him. I will have to watch him, and find an opportunity to speak to the others on a more personal level.

That night, two more former members of Sanctuary returned as well. Both had taken up other positions in the Horde well before Sanctuary's downfall, but sought to rejoin as word of Sanctuary's unprecedented revival spread. One was a former officer. I'm beginning to wonder how many officers I will end up with if I keep promoting everyone who has proven themselves. Those called to Sanctuary have a tendency to do that.

I spoke to Faelenor, too, and he asked that I consider him for officership. I told him I promote those who have earned my complete trust, and he may yet do that. He took it upon himself to give me a good deal of advice. I wasn't offended by any of it; as I told him, I have little in the way of pride. I realize I am completely inexperienced compared to many of those now surrounding me. I appreciate his good intentions... but it does make me wonder where the line lies that separates such intentions from doubt.

I may have little experience in the world. But I have a conviction; an unshakable one. I don't need anyone else's approval, or belief in me. I'm going to do what's right regardless. I will always choose what's right.

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Something bad happened yesterday. I'm not sure I want to talk about it. It's hard to not let it color my view of the world somewhat... But I always knew people were flawed, and some more so than others. I want to stay a trusting person who sees the best in everyone. And it's not like the worst happened. Too, I have to keep reminding myself it wasn't my fault. The shock should fade with time. I hope so, anyway.

Later on, Kenjin asked me for something. I get the impression she's very shy and hates to ask anyone for anything. She told me she was from the Zandalari tribe, which I hadn't realized, but she didn't follow her people on the warpath, even after the Cataclysm destroyed their home. She wanted a new home, so I told her she could have a room in the guildhall, and I'd help her clean it up. It's next to mine, now.

I asked her if she believed in fate; in destiny. She told me she didn't, because it was too cruel to think that she and her people had been singled out for punishment by some divine force. I realized she was completely right. To believe that Sanctuary somehow deserved fate's blessing while others who have suffered didn't is unfair and judgmental. I may believe that justice is the noblest goal in the world, and that it will always prevail; but there are far too many injustices perpetrated by fate to believe it could be working in justice's favor. My discovery of Sanctuary, meeting Cerryan, finding Nojinbu, Grisch's return from the twisting nether -- all fortuitous for Sanctuary, but not destiny. Just random, blind luck.

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Yesterday was a long and at some points harrowing day. Sanctuary was, by order of the Warchief, one of the last Horde forces to enter the Red Portal. A few of us had gone earlier, or had other assignments – including Vilmah – but two parties of us were ready at the appointed hour.

The first order of business was seeing to closing the portal. We were faced with some undesirable consequences for doing so, but the alternative was worse. From there, it was a race to survive as Iron Horde forces dogged our heels. But we managed to deal some blows as we escaped – and along the way, we freed a score of prisoners the Iron Horde had taken.

Everyone stayed together, watched out for each other, and rose to the occasion. Sanctuary suffered no losses. I am so glad.

It was the Frostwolf who became our allies in the midst of it. In the end, they granted us a parcel of land in their cold, ruggedly beautiful mountains. We began building yesterday, and established a rudimentary garrison. The guildhall in Orgrimmar will be getting much less use now; but at least we can get back to Azeroth.

When we had walls around us again, the beginnings of a barracks, and a warm fire, I called everyone together. All of the initiates who had survived the ordeal of the Red Portal had proven themselves worthy of recognized rank in Sanctuary. Those who were too far-flung to make it to the garrison last night, I will promote later.

I write this now while evaluating future plans and missions. One of the members of the other Horde forces who stayed to help man our garrison just referred to me as "Commander". It sounded strange, but... not wrong. Maybe I've finally found the right title to assume. "Warboss" never felt right.

Julilee Liene. Commander of Sanctuary.

I wonder if my parents would be pleased. But I'm not curious enough to bother inquiring.

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I'm often called a practical person. I look at the big picture, and measure my words and my actions. I'm not impulsive. At least, not often.

Kenjin felt it necessary to remind me of the oaths. I know she knows nothing of those we were facing, but it was disheartening nonetheless. I told Faelenor I don't have much pride, but maybe I do. Maybe I just hide it, and it comes out at times. Why else would it bother me that she did that? I don't want to fail Sanctuary... I want to lead by example. Still, I'm no paragon, and I don't believe I have fate at my side either. I'm bound to make mistakes at times. It will be up to me to realize them, and learn from them. And perhaps I never realized that one might have to apply the fourth oath to one's self. Forgiving yourself... That is a challenge.

I hope I have not made us enemies.

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The past few days have gone by so fast. The construction of the garrison continues at a rapid pace. Everyone is contributing resources to their own projects, so we'll have nearly everything we could need.

And we continue to make progress across Draenor, making what allies we can. We've faced parts of the Iron Horde at times, and dealt what blows we could. There have been losses, but still none in Sanctuary. I work hard to endeavor that that does not change.

On a smaller scale, I seem to have re-attracted the attention of the Grim priestess I met some time ago. Lilliana is her name. We didn't get off on quite the right foot, what with her scoffing at me when she found out Kargron had sworn himself to Sanctuary's cause. But she seems to want to correct that... my dislike, that is. Without actually changing her own opinion. By showing up wherever I am, constantly. I have no idea what she's thinking most of the time. But we were in the same area and teamed up for some objectives.

Then she called in her allies when some Alliance attacked us, and the group of them embarked on a hunt. I didn't want any part of it, and was frustrated to have been involved at all. I would have stopped them if I could have. But all I could do was leave.

I saw Paunch later, and had the opportunity to promote him. It turned out he knew Lilliana, and he invited her back to the garrison. I took the opportunity to ask the both of them their opinions on some matters. Lilliana seemed surprised I would seek her opinion, but I've always felt that everyone has something they can learn from someone else. However, the question I asked her still remains unanswered, to me.

One other thing. Faelenor delivered a letter from someone named Lysimachus dej Dynastus. The surname is familiar from my time in Silvermoon, and Faelenor and Amalyn indicated he came from a powerful family, but I never paid much attention to politics and the social scene of my home city. I've always been one for doing, not for talking. I'm not sure what his interest is in Sanctuary, but I responded with an invitation to meet. We'll see what comes of it.

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Lysimachus joined Sanctuary last night. He seemed a bit erratic at times, but he swore the oaths. He does seem genuinely glad to be a part of the guild. He also mentioned contacting some of his old associates. I suppose we'll see.

Kargron and Kenjin appear to have represented Sanctuary well at the meeting with the Outriders. I will have to see about meeting with their leader soon. It was mentioned that they are allied with an Alliance guild, the Twilight Empire I believe it was called. Between them and the Order of the Redblade, it seems we might have a significant faction of the peaceable building. I'm excited to see what comes of it.

It's hard to believe sometimes how much it has all grown. I didn't foresee this when I stepped into the decrepit guildhall I'd purchased, or even after I finished reading Vilmah's journals and first decided to raise Sanctuary's banner again. I just knew this was what I had to do. Now, Sanctuary thrives again, and the ideals it stood for with it.

There is much yet to do, however. It will not stay strong without continued guidance. We are all occupied now working in Draenor, gathering allies and gaining what we can from this land, but as our hold strengthens, we will need to have new objectives, and the structure to go with it. I must gather and speak to my officers before that time comes so that we are prepared.

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I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, and it's affecting me. I feel rushed and less optimistic, despite the fact we're continuing to make excellent progress. I'll try to get more sleep tonight, and hopefully this entry doesn't end up sounding too negative. I have a lot to cover, and sort out in my thoughts by putting to paper.

We had a guild meeting this weekend. I took the opportunity to remind everyone of the values Sanctuary represents. The four tenets, of course; but also that we are all good people who wear the purple and gold, and that we are expected to be laudable representatives of the guild at all times, no matter the circumstances or conflict. No incident prompted the reminder, and I don't think anyone took it amiss, but I wanted to affirm what we are as we continue to grow in numbers and influence. I want everyone to have faith in one another, and the banner, and know that there are clear expectations to live up to.

We also made some decisions amongst the officers. Nojinbu will be taking on strategic planning in the defense against the Alliance. And a new initiate, Cylindryl, will be organizing forays into some enemy territories. She may prove herself in time capable of much more. Of course, I need say nothing regarding Nojinbu's capabilities.

Right before the meeting, I sought out one of Sanctuary's former leaders. He had tried to take up the mantle after Vilmah, Nojinbu, and most of the others went underground. Ultimately, Sanctuary faltered despite his efforts. He had stayed with the Horde. I saw in Durk'atar a chance to learn how to avoid the same pitfalls. It is a different time now, with a new Warchief, and I have no doubt that that has much to do with Sanctuary's success thus far... but I will take every opportunity to learn how to prevent Sanctuary from falling to ashes again. He agreed to return and advise me.

A few days ago, I also met with the guild leader of the Outriders. Kiraleen and I discussed our common goals and current circumstances. The Outriders expend most of their effort on Azeroth, it seems. Sanctuary, by contrast, has been almost entirely focused on Draenor. I did offer our assistance to them in one arena: Silvermoon politics. It's never been my forte, as you'd probably imagine for someone who's never paid it the least bit of attention, but a number of other Sanctuary members have mentioned political ties of their own. If Kiraleen is working to have the Outriders' goals better supported by the Regent-Lord, that would be in Sanctuary's realm of interest as well. I still need to discuss with Cerryan, Faelenor, Amalyn, and Lysimachus what they can do to help advance a peaceful agenda in Silvermoon.

I debated not mentioning this, but I think I will. At the end of that meeting, a rather strange conversation occurred. One of the Outriders, Goldsworth, mentioned that her late partner had been an orc. Kargron ended up asking if it was normal for elves, or others, to partner outside their race. I know Kargron has had other questions about race before, but this one really threw me. I didn't know what to say. Luckily Goldsworth was happy to answer the question.

It made me think about him, although I'd deliberately put him out of my mind since coming through the Red Portal.

We ended up seeing each other later. To my surprise, he had left the guild he was in. I came to understand why he had joined in the first place. Knowing that would almost be reason to stop being so cautious, but there is still plenty reason for that. For now.

Anyway, one other thing of note happened recently. Sanctuary's garrison underwent an inspection. Since we receive support from the Horde, they wanted to ensure our defenses and buildings were up to spec. A Lieutenant-General came, one who apparently had a longstanding relationship with Sanctuary. He didn't go easy on us, though, and his recommendations were spot-on. We made the suggested changes, and our garrison is fully defended and stocked now. Kenjin seemed dubious about the entire affair, however. She didn't want us to be compelled by the Horde. I told her that we should have no fear so long as we are willing to sacrifice the Horde's aid; which we are should their goals no longer align with ours. There is no slippery slope when it comes to upholding justice.

I think that's most everything, for now. Just going to organize a few more missions before I seek sleep.

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Things remain busy in Draenor, and elsewhere. We had a successful foray into Molten Core this past weekend. In the process, we made a number of new allies, including a warlock named Grimal from a guild called Infection. Durk'atar warned me that their goals would not align with Sanctuary's, which certainly seemed accurate considering what Grimal said at times, but if we're willing to work with certain others when our actions serve the same purpose, this was no different.

Durk'atar also expressed some concern about Saphiara. He said she was dangerously bitter. I agree, but the danger is only to herself. I hope with time she will heal.

Recently, I made the acquaintance of a Blood Knight by the name of Elanderik. He's a veteran of many campaigns, and the experiences he's had have made him cynical, but I can tell that there's good in him. He's an excellent fighter, and I'm sure we'll continue working with him as we advance in Draenor.

And we continue to advance. Cylindryl is organizing a foray into Highmaul next week. It will be challenging, and may require working alongside many others who do not share our values. But we can do what is necessary without ever compromising.

This is my life now. It's hard to remember when it wasn't. When I was still just a warrior in training, trying to be what I was supposed to be. I wonder if anyone from my old life would even recognize me, or if they've heard rumors of Sanctuary's success. I wonder what they would think – but I don't feel any pressing need to find out.

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Things have settled into a pattern. Gather resources; plan missions; assault the demon forces in Shattrath. Well, it seems like a group of us are fighting in Shattrath almost every day. Otherwise, there are occasionally other things, other tasks to be done. And sometimes, they are significant.

Tonight we venture into Highmaul. It will be the fourth great undertaking as a guild since Sanctuary's revival. First we scattered the forces outside the Red Portal; then we took it. Recently, we returned to Azeroth to clear Molten Core. Now we will face the ogres and their allies. We have some alliances to bolster us, and I'm confident we will prevail, though I take care to be prudent and plan carefully. Cylindryl will be an asset in that.

We also seem to have acquired another... asset. I'm beginning to reconsider agreeing to what I did, however. It is a slippery slope to the dishonorable, no matter how noble the justification. I, and Sanctuary, will not be the first to give offense.

In more cheerful news, we're planning a get-together with the Outriders this weekend. That should be a fun time, a good chance to relax and be social. But I have no idea what to wear. I haven't put on anything since armor in a long time... My guildmates probably wouldn't even recognize me in something else.

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Last night was enormously successful. We are all just beginning to figure out how to work together, but it's apparent everyone is very skilled, attentive, and dedicated, and in time I know we will be even more effective. We downed two of Highmaul's strongest foes, including the second, the Butcher, on our second charge – very nearly our first. I'm sure we would have had the third foe as well if we hadn't decided to cut our time short.

It was nice to be fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Kargron. I've come a long way since needing his aid for minor missions and dungeon delving. It also makes me proud to be fighting alongside Nojinbu and Durk'atar, longtime Sanctuary adherents, as well as newer members like Valerel and Cylindryl who are proving themselves just as committed. I had some doubts about Valerel at first, but he seems to have realized that Sanctuary does, in fact, mean business. And of course there's Cerryan, who I never had any doubts about.

As well, we had a few allies join us. One was a priest from Borrowed Time by the name of Kevalak. He is an associate of Jesmotguin, another old member, who sent him in his place. There was also Nettles, whose steady nature has earned her a well-deserved reputation as helpful, and Grimal, who is reliable and effective if still of dubious alignment. And we had four others join us, recruited from the Horde, all of whom proved more than competent and easy to work with. I hope to see them again on our next foray.

I want to ensure I catch up with other members as well... I see Eiverdein occasionally, but it's been awhile since I've seen a few others. I know Vilmah and Grisch are both busy. I'd like to see how Blodwyen, Civarra, Kenjin, Amalyn, Faelenor, and others are doing.

That reminds me. I spoke to Brooser recently. He was very upset that a friend of his was being less friendly. Specifically, he wasn't accepting hugs. Brooser is kind of a huggy person. Anyway, it made me suddenly remember shortly after I met both Brooser and Faelenor, and the latter also declined to hug Brooser. I can't imagine there's any normal reason why anyone would be so unkind. I mean, I've hugged Brooser, and it was fine. It's a bit of a mystery to me right now. I spoke to Brooser's other friend, but he didn't really explain it. I think I'll ask Faelenor next time I see him.

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The past two days… could have been better. Of course, they could have been worse, much worse. I’ve just been having a hard time maintaining patience lately in the face of problems. Then again, maybe that’s an understandable reaction when someone gets murdered on your dinner table.

Hyperbole aside, the Winter Veil celebration wasn’t all bad. There was good food, great drinks, excellent conversation. Kargron even laughed. Snowballs were thrown and gifts exchanged. I have no idea how Lilliana and a few other members of the Grim even found out about it, but I guess technically they’re… allies. I was going to say friends, but I just couldn’t. I really am having a hard time being positive. Anyway, it was generally more good than bad, even if Valerel didn’t even recognize me at first. I think. I’m not sure. Rellivia said she liked my dress, at least.

We attempted to return to Highmaul yesterday, but it didn’t go nearly so well as our first foray. We were missing a few key members who couldn’t make it, including Kargron and Cerryan. This coming Tuesday we should be at full force again, so I expect it’ll be much better, but I never want to have to try to coordinate with random mercenaries again. They have no patience. Cylindryl mentioned recruiting; I wonder if there would be more interested in joining us for these expeditions. I’ve reached out to everyone I could think of so far.

What else? I had an interesting conversation the other night with a certain someone. I asked his advice on the dilemma I was facing. His answers surprised me, but in the end, they made me more certain of my decision. Spying is an act of war, and if a war is to start, Sanctuary won’t be the one to initiate it. Not now, not ever. And as long as I keep that in mind, I think our cool but cordial business relationship with the Grim will carry on.

It’s too bad the one time I met their commander, I managed to stick my foot in my mouth. I’m not sure what I could have said otherwise, though. In the end, I suspect we’d have little in common regardless.

One good note is that we’ve had a small surge of new members. Rellivia, a hunter, and Jinsai, a monk, both recently joined, as well as a friend of Lysimachus, Godrick, another hunter. The last will need watching… not because I doubt his morals, but because he seems a bit… easily influenced. Lysimachus isn’t a role model I would have chosen for him.

More missions to plan and resources to gather. I rearranged the guild vaults yesterday. The glorious life of a guild leader. But it was never glory I was after. I’m content planning and preparing. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that things can escalate very quickly.

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I’m writing in my journal less often now. It correlates with my reduced patience, I think. What is it that has me so dissatisfied lately? I have nothing to be unhappy about. Sanctuary is successful in all its endeavors, and growing every day. I’m not wanting for friends. I even have someone I’m seeing. Maybe it’s just the holidays. They were never a good time for me, growing up.

I did get one Winter Veil gift, from Valerel. I’m wearing it right now; a charmed necklace. I didn’t know he was a jewelcrafter. I also sent Blodwyen a belated gift, something I found that I thought she’d like. She’s been working on gathering up a new set of armor and I found one of the matching pieces for sale.

We’ve had a good number of new recruits in the past week or so. I would have thought that the amount of incoming personnel would have slowed as the Horde’s foothold in Draenor solidified and efforts turned to more maintenance than new discoveries, but apparently not. It’s just as well, for there’s still plenty to do. We are going to the battlefields tonight, and back into Highmaul tomorrow.

After the holidays are over, I’m going to try to reach out to the Twilight Empire. I’ve heard nothing but good about them. Also, I haven’t heard anything from the Order of the Redblade recently; I should try to contact Tuuroto.

There was something else… One of Lilliana’s compatriots, a rogue by the name of Drinn, made some remarks that I wonder if I should investigate. She strongly hinted that in the past she had been employed by Sanctuary for less-than-commendable work. The name she gave was Ninorra. I didn’t see that one on the partial roster I recovered awhile ago, when I sent out the letters. Regardless of if there’s any truth to the rogue’s words, if Ninorra was Sanctuary, I should try to reach out to her. And maybe speak to Vilmah.

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Well, it's been an eventful time since my last entry. Between the usual round of new initiates, defense of Horde individuals and territories, and forays into Highmaul, we started a war with the Grim.

At least, it starts to appear more and more likely as I fail to contact Saphiara. She is completely unreachable and cannot be found.

All this time, I thought she just needed space, and time to heal. I may have been wrong; so very wrong.

We must find her first, regardless.

No time to write more. Highmaul, then to speak with my officers.

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We didn't get a chance to have our meeting last night as we decided to extend our foray into Highmaul. We got further than we had yet. Everyone is working together much more smoothly, too. We've found a rhythm, and everyone understands their place.

We had some allies with us, some of Kex'ti's old band, some Borrowed Time, some of Infection. One of them, from Kex'ti's group, came to Sanctuary's banner afterward. Baern started bluntly that he was a mercenary, but he said he fought for the soldiers beside him. In a way, that is why we fight, too. He swore the oaths, but I will have to see if he is in fact a good fit for us.

The meeting must happen soon. I haven't heard anything from the Grim since letting Lilliana and Lupinum go, but I don't believe for a moment that they've moved on. Durk'atar is out looking for Saphiara. I hope he finds her.

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To say things have escalated would be accurate. But I should start at the beginning so I can record and mull over everything that's happened.

It began, at least for Sanctuary, when Kex'ti called out for help over the hearthstone. He had been attacked by a rogue, and though he had driven her off, he was succumbing to the poison. I was able to reach him in time to administer an antidote, but he nearly died. If my hearthstone hadn't been in range... And then he told me his assailant was a member of the Horde, someone named Syreena – of the Grim.

Before that night, Sanctuary had worked together with the Grim, albeit grudgingly, when the need arose. Assaults on Shattrah or the Pit; delving into enemy strongholds. I'd had an unfortunate run-in with their Commander once previously, but though there was distaste on both sides, we recognized that we both served the Horde, and that at the very least the ends we sought were the same. Peace.

So that night I ordered the guards to allow no Grim within the garrison until further notice, and wrote an admittedly scathing letter to the Commander of the Grim... but that was all I knew at the time. The letter had hardly departed, however, before one arrived for me.

Their commander, Awatu, claimed that one of our had attacked on of theirs. At first I could only assume that it was a defensive, reactionary lie, to justify Syreena's attack; but the individuals they named gave me pause. It was Saphiara, he said, who attacked Filora.

"She's a threat only to herself," I'd told Durk'atar when he expressed his concerns to me about her. I'd seen Saphiara's bitterness, yes... heard her voice her grudge against those who, in her eyes, had abandoned Sanctuary in its time of need. Like Filora. But I couldn't believe she would see going rogue and attacking unprovoked as justice. She had agreed to come back to the banner. She had been the first after me. She had believed so strongly. Even if she had suffered for it, she had truly believed, and nothing can break true belief. Or so I thought.

I couldn't reach her; hadn't seen her in at least a month. I'd thought she needed space. Now her silence sounded damning.

Then, Lilliana and Lupinum, of the Grim, came to the garrison while I was away. As Lilliana was one of those with whom we had worked the most from the Grim, and she had a longstanding relationship with my second in command, Kargron, she had been chosen to make a diplomatic overture. That might sound sensible, but the wisdom of the choice was... debatable, illustrated when she was turned back by the guards, and decided to simply mind control them to get inside. After Cerryan confronted her and the guards sought to remove her and her friend from the premises, the two Grim fought back with force and as a result were thrown in our stockade.

Lilliana was rather shocked when I returned, and, hearing the explanation of events, decided she and her friend could cool their heels behind bars for awhile. But I wasn't going to tolerate such disrespect of Sanctuary's sovereignty within our own garrison. Especially not from someone of the Grim. I gave orders that they were to be released after a few hours, and they were.

Things were quiet for awhile. I notified my guildmembers of the conflict and told them to be wary of Grim. Someone came to join our ranks, who turned out to have a sister in the Grim. He seemed sincere, though, and I ended up turning him away only because he had perhaps not given the ideals Sanctuary stands for enough thought. Then I met with my officers to discuss Saphiara.

Durk'atar had found the site where the alleged attack on Filora had taken place, and through his connection to the elements, he was able to see what they had seen. There was no doubt. Saphiara had attacked, and unprovoked. Filora had even thrown down her mace in surrender.

We would need to bring her in for a trial, and sentencing. Our efforts to find her thus far had turned up nothing, but the shamans, Durk'atar and Grisch, spoke of a ritual they could perform to find her. They're still working on gathering the necessary reagents. While we've continued to search for Saphiara, she managed to hide from Garrosh and the Kor'kron for years, and I doubt we will find her through conventional methods.

Things were quiet... for awhile. I wrote Awatu a second letter affirming our belief in Saphiara's guilt, and our right to be the ones to bring her to justice. I never received a response to that one, either.

Then, the broadsides. I still don't know who was responsible for them, though certainly many of Sanctuary believe it's the Grim. But while investigating, we came across a war party of the Grim in the Arathi mountains. And learned they intended to attack an undefended Alliance town, and slaughter everyone in it down to the little ones.

There was a confrontation.

Saphiara showed herself.

But we got away with our lives, and most of the Alliance families saved. Nothing else, but it was enough.

The next day, their commander finally did reach out to me. He asked for a meeting. With my people gathered, we met them at Bladespire Citadel.

I'm still not sure why he asked for the meeting. To gloat? To make a show of force? We appeared to have almost even numbers... except that we knew there were rogues in their ranks who were not showing themselves. Grumak even detected Syreena there, though Awatu claimed she was "indisposed".

It was a thoroughly unproductive meeting in the end. They named us allies of the Alliance, failing to make any distinction between innocent and guilty, combatants and non-combatants. I told them their philosophy had its chance with Garrosh, and that Vol'jin respected peace as they did not. We left before they could take any action.

So we stand now, with open hostility between our two sides. It was bound to happen, I suppose. We are diametrically opposed.

I can only hope that they take my words to heart and don't attempt any violence against us. If they do... reprisal will be swift. And just.

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I've really fallen out of the habit of writing in my journal. Maybe it's because it feels like nothing good ever happens anymore. Well, that might be a bit overdramatic. But it was easier to write when things were, well, easier.

We haven't lost ground in Highmaul, at least – though now there's the Blackrock Foundry to take. We need greater numbers if we're to make any progress. But Sanctuary isn't a guild one joins lightly, and the pool we can draw from is limited. That we've been able to mount these assaults at all is more than I expected at the start. Still, we could do more if we had more to join us on these forays. We've gotten by with finding mercenaries to hire and have had some success in the Foundry so far relying on them.

And on other fronts… well, things haven't been so great.

Grimal decided to lecture me on sending Naheal to scout Aerie Peak. It was the last straw. I really let him have it. It's easy to judge from the sidelines, or even better, after the fact. I'm pretty sure his coping mechanism in life is to believe he's unappreciated and that's the cause of all his woes, but I'm not going to indulge it any longer.

I'm not one to try to demand respect… I know it's earned. But I won't tolerate disrespect. I'll listen to dissenting opinions. I won't listen to someone who plainly thinks I have no idea what I'm doing, and condescends after I explain my reasoning. I spend my every waking moment looking for the best course of action for Sanctuary. Show me someone who cares more than I do, and then I'll set aside my own opinion.

Getting the same kind of treatment from Naheal, though, one of my own guildmembers… That was disheartening. I'd thought, when he first joined, that I sensed the same spirit in him. I thought I could tell when someone believed. Truly believed. But I was wrong.

This conflict is making it all too clear that not everyone is cut out for what Sanctuary requires. It requires everything.

For awhile at the start of this, when I was presented frustrating scenario after frustrating scenario, I was starting to think that maybe I was being unreasonable in some ways. Maybe I was being impractical, and it would endanger everything I aim to serve and protect. Playing by the rules when the other side doesn't is crippling. And, as Jinsai said, you can't help anyone when you're dead. But then I stood before the Grim onslaught… and if I'd died there, I realized I would have no regrets in the afterlife. Even if living meant I could have saved a hundred more innocent lives, I could never have lived with myself had I sacrificed a dozen to do it. My job is not judge or arbiter. It never will be.

I don't begrudge those who decide that this path isn't for them. People have the right to seek their own safety and happiness first and foremost. But the moment you start believing that the ends justify the means… that's the moment you've lost the path you claim to follow. That's the moment you start becoming everything you fight against.

I should speak to Vilmah or Nojinbu soon… I need to hear from someone who understands. And maybe… check to make sure I'm not losing touch. I am so sure as I write these words, surer than anything else in the world, but there are many who have more experience than I do and it wouldn't serve Sanctuary if I didn't seek their advice. I wrote the oath that tells us to set aside our pride and this is the least I can do to live by it.

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I just keep thinking that I don't know what else I could have done.

For so long I believed that there was a sharp, bright line that divided the people of this world. Those who believe the ends don't justify the means, and those that do. Those who believe justice can't be bent, and those who think it can and that it's still then justice. Anyone who once believed in Sanctuary and turned away from it, I felt had never truly believed.

But I watched him grow disillusioned. He started out wanting to do the right thing. In the end, he concluded that that wasn't what Sanctuary stands for.

I could say that he's just another who never actually believed. That would be the easy way to avoid cognitive dissonance. But that wouldn't help anyone. Not him. Not me. Not Sanctuary.

Even so... I have no idea what to do with him now.

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I wonder if I should have mentioned to the new recruits, Dredaega and Bogartz, that we're embroiled in wars on three fronts right now. At least the Grim haven't made any sallies in our direction... but this curse business is troubling, and the Iron Horde continue to pose a problem to the Horde as a whole. Hopefully, these recruits won't find they've signed up for anything they're not prepared to face. Most that are drawn to Sanctuary don't.

Naheal is being stupid again. He seems to think afflicting himself with the curse might somehow accomplish something. Note, he doesn't have any evidence it will. But if there's some minor chance, no matter how ridiculous, he feels obligated to throw his life away at the first opportunity. How am I supposed to talk sense into that? I can't. And what orders I give him I'm sure he'll disregard if he thinks it's for the greater good. Nevermind that he can't help anyone if he's.......

...I'm going to have to think about that.

...

Strangely, I'm beginning to get used to this constant conflict. If running from one emergency into another is how it's always going to be, I'm prepared to handle that. I'm prepared to handle Lilliana and Grimal and Konro and whoever else wants to block my path. If there's something out there that can deter me, I haven't encountered it yet.

Funny, when I first wrote the vows, I thought I would need to revise them over time. So far, that doesn't appear to be the case. Except maybe the fourth one. I really should have called it "self-sacrifice" instead of just "sacrifice" because people get confused when I mention it. Not sure if I want to keep it the way it is just for the sake of tradition at this point, though.

But I often wondered if I would change over time... I'm well aware this is my first campaign; that I'm barely out of training. That I have little real-world experience, and that my assumptions can safely be assumed to have a touch of naivety. I questioned myself with Jinsai. With Naheal. With Saphiara.

Am I changing? I am, but there's no compromising involved. No changing of the core values that I have always known were true. I told Kex'ti recently that it's an obligation to me. I've led a privileged life... I've never been visited by tragedy, maligned by fate, stricken by the greed of another in any measure that could be considered significant. I was born with privilege and also the sight to see that not everyone was. Everywhere I look, injustice. Everywhere I look, an opportunity to help. And how can I not?

I know I'll make mistakes. I know I have made mistakes. But I can never stop trying, never believe I should stop trying.

There's got to be some reasonable place to draw the line, though. I won't throw away my life for a bare chance at a slim benefit. Yet I would to save a town full of innocents, even though in both cases, that means in the end I could do no more. Where is the line... How do I defend it?

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Sanctuary has been quiet lately. Every single one of my officers is busy attending to their own matters. Durk'atar has his hands full with Saphiara; Vilmah and Nojinbu are pursuing the underground avenues; Kargron has been gone on sojourn for months; Cerryan has been occupied with personal matters; Cylindryl had to take a hiatus as well; and who knows where Grisch is. I still see a few sworn members around the garrison every day, but most of them are attending to regular matters in Draenor or Azeroth at the Warchief's command. Since Naheal quit, it feels like it's effectively just Kex'ti and I left to pursue Sanctuary's uppermost goals.

If I could only choose one person to stand by me, though... it would be him.

Makul and I broke up. I'd been busy with Sanctuary, he with his assignments, and while we care for each other and enjoy each other's company, it just didn't feel like it was going to go anywhere. The feeling was mutual. I still hope to maintain a good relationship with him, and will always be grateful for his thoughtfulness when I needed it.

But... new opportunities are good. I'd forgotten what a rush a new relationship is like, not that I have a lot of experience with such things. He seems just as enthusiastic, though. So at least if I'm being an idiot, I'm not alone in that.

I think it's okay that Sanctuary has been quiet. Such things tend to rise and fall in cycles. Like the phoenix, if maybe not always so dramatically. Sanctuary is a home for many; though they may wander, they will always return. I will hold down the fort, and keep Sanctuary's lantern lit for them when they do. We'll work with what we have. Sanctuary always has.

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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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