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Julilee

A War for Peace

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Julilee    35

Both the Grim and Sanctuary stand for peace. It is the first word of the Grim's motto; it is the first oath of Sanctuary's vows. Their methods, however, differ so drastically that the two guilds have rarely seen eye to eye. But for the most part, derision or distaste on either side has been the extent of the conflict between them. Until now.

A rogue Sanctuary member, seeking vengeance against those who in her opinion abandoned Sanctuary in its time of need, attacks a former member who has since joined the Grim. Her crusade continues, but this act has set off its own chain of events.

When this attack is brought to the Grim's attention, some of the Grim demand ruthless response; some a more measured one.

One Grim member, however, sees this as an opportunity to attack a Sanctuary member with plausible deniability.


Aware of only the attack on Kex'ti, Juli reread the letter before her a single time before slipping it into an envelope. She'd chosen her words not carefully, but with surety.

Commander Awatu Stonespire of the Grim,

I demand to know why one of your guild members, a rogue by the name of Syreena, attacked one of my guild members, a monk named Kex'ti, this evening. It was unprovoked and unexpected, and Kex'ti nearly lost his life. Both of our guilds serve the Horde, as far as I am aware. If that is not true, or you cannot ensure it is true of those you command, I will notify Vol'jin personally.

Julilee Liene

Commander of Sanctuary

After she sent the letter off, a new messenger arrived with a letter for her. She frowned as she took it.

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Awatu    15

Ignoring the papers strewn about the hallway in this small corner of the guild halls, Awatu stormed down the corridors towards the master's office. He never liked sitting inside, but time was short and he needed to write a letter quickly. Once inside the office, he sat down at the two-sizes-too-small desk and began writing a missive bound for the current leader of Sanctuary. It took a moment to recall the name of their leader, and even then he could only remember her given name. He shrugged, making a mental note to gather more information about her. The two of them had only met once before, shortly after arriving on Draenor, when a spark of tension had arisen between some of their members. Lilliana was present before his own arrival. In fact, Lilliana has been present for much of this. His brow furrowed as he thought on this. He will keep a closer eye on her. She has always been a wily one.

Satisfied with the letter, he folded it, tucked it into a large envelope, and sealed it with wax. He considered the idea of adding a protective enchantment to the letter, but decided against it should it be detected and suspected of being a trap. No, simple and straightforward will be the method of delivery, but only in the hands of someone he could trust. A call through the hearthstone and a few minutes later, a stout, young Pandaren woman knocked in the door frame of the office.

"Deliver this missive to the headquarters of Sanctuary. Go under the unassuming guise of a letter-carrier or free-lancer. Do not draw attention to yourself. Once it is delivered, you will receive more orders."

Curious as the nature of this delivery mission, she simply nodded and half-saluted, leaving for her own belongings to dress in appropriate attire. After she had left, Awatu sighed and rubbed his snout in exasperation. Emotions were boiling over within The Grim and he hoped that Sanctuary was not the true culprits behind the attempted assassination. The last thing that he needed was an internal conflict so soon after Hellscream's turmoil.

The letter was delivered silently and unceremoniously to its intended recipient.

Commander Julilee of Sanctuary,

It has been brought to my attention that an individual, a Sin'dorei Ranger by the name of Saphiara, has attempted to assassinate a member of The Grim. This member, a Blood Knight named Filora, is certain of the identity of her attacker. The attack was nearly successful, but due to Filora's own resilience and quick treatments from fortunately-nearby medics she has made a recovery. Filora has some history with Sanctuary and claims that her attacker named her a "traitor" as a motive for murder. This motive holds deeper concerns between the leadership of The Grim and the leadership of Sanctuary.

As we understand it, Saphiara still walks underneath the banner of Sanctuary, and so I bring this to your attention so that you may shed some light on this matter. If this is a deliberate act of aggression from your organization, then The Grim will respond accordingly and indiscriminately. If it is not, then we must meet and discuss the ramifications of this instigation of conflict with a settlement of appropriate justice towards those seeking to initiate this aggression. We do not need another internal conflict within The Horde, and I trust you feel the same way. I do not believe this attack was orchestrated by Sanctuary leadership and, as such, the organization has not been labeled as an enemy of The Grim at this time.

As of this writing, Saphiara is labeled as an enemy of The Grim. Once sufficient information on her current appearance, aliases, and known movements have been acquired we will begin an official scouting party for her head. Efforts to protect her will be seen as a sign of support for her actions. If credible evidence can be provided that proves her innocence, then The Grim will halt any attempts at apprehending Saphiara. False evidence or an attempt to stall the efforts of The Grim will be seen as a sign of protection or support for Saphiara. I trust that you understand.

Respectfully,

Awatu Stonespire, Commander of The Grim.

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Julilee    35

Juli paled as she read the letter. She put a hand against the doorframe and read it again.

It was a double blow; first, to have Saphiara accused of this, and second, to have her own accusations turned against her. It couldn't be true. Saphiara was bitter, but not this bitter. She still wore the tabard. The old tabard. But Saphiara couldn't believe any former Sanctuary member a traitor. The times had been dire, and everyone had done their best. And many had lived to see the banner raised again, to fight for peace and justice once more, in so doing seeing their own share of hardship of sacrifice. Even if Saphiara felt abandoned, someone who so believed in the ideals of Sanctuary would find it in themselves to forgive. Even someone who had joined the Grim.

Saphiara could not have done it. Juli grew more sure. No; what this was, was a crafty attempt to divert the blame for the rogue Syreena's attack. They would claim no such attack had occurred, just as of course Saphiara would say, and then both sides would be forced to shrug and agree to let it go. A deep scowl came to Juli's features, color returning in force, as she crumpled up the letter. Awatu's flowery words were a diversion. The Grim was taking an opportunity to humiliate them by Sanctuary's own code of fairness.

She turned to the grunt beside her. "Secure the perimeter. No member of the Grim is to be allowed within our garrison from this point forward."

Then she walked into her office and shut the door, pitching the crumpled letter into the trash bin. But then she stood there for awhile, looking down at the ball of parchment in silence. After what seemed like an eternity, she took out her hearthstone and attuned it to speak to someone specific.

"Saphiara," she said, "are you there?"

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Saphiara    11

Saphiara flinched as the voice sounded in her ear. Even though she had designed her earring to sound only in her own ear, it still felt as if the entire forest echoed with the sound. The voice sounded strained, stressed. Given the previous willingness on Sanctuary's part to leave her be, there could be only one reason for Juiliee to attempt contact.

Filora's escape had been unanticipated, but Saphiara had chosen her first target for a reason. Those individuals who had returned to the new purple banner would not suspect the threat until it was too late.

Her hearthstone, though... it had to go. She didn't need a voice in her ear. She definitely didn't need to be tracked down. This mission had to be completed, both for her own sake and for those whose voices she now represented. She unclipped her earring, placing it upon a nearby rock. Let them find it out here, and wonder why she was in the wilds of Draenor. Stepping over the corpse of the ogre, she entered the Time-Lost Tower.

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Julilee    35

When there was no response, Juli put away her hearthstone and picked up her shield. Most everyone was out in the field this evening; she would join them.

She wasn't there when Lilliana arrived.

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Julilee    35

[[ Cross-posting Lilly's post at her request. The below was authored by Lilliana here! ]]

Lilliana left the Grim's Garrison after the fierce guild meeting to stand outside the main gates, snow falling into her red hair. The wind picked up, and she stepped forward to one of the lower braziers which burned brightly. She stood close to it and glanced back to where some of her fellow Grims, including Leyu'jin and Awatu, still gathered. She had remained quiet for much of the meeting once Filora's ordeal was brought up. Her voice would have been smothered by Grims yelling for swift death and revenge left and right if she had said more than she had anyway. It didn't matter, Awatu was clear on the steps he wished the Grim to take against this, and she approved.

She held her attunement stone in one hand within her pocket, and ran her thumb across it's rough surface. She had been tasked of speaking with Kargron, Sanctuary's second in command, and her friend. She and the Orc Deathknight had not always seen eye to eye on the way that Sanctuary and the Grim ran their business, but the two had always been able to come to some understanding, at least in the way of friendship and with a similar bond that they both held. Lilliana was sure that if she could speak to him prior to engaging with the Sanctuary leader, Julilee, that the ordeal with Filora and Saph could be sorted. And that the worst case scenario, a guild war, could easily be avoided.

“Hey, Kargron, you there?” She spoke silently, without words. This was the magic of the attunement stones. And she spoke to Kargron's mind alone.

Silence.

“Seriously Kargron, I don't give a shit if you are meditating, answer me. It's important.” She tried again, pushing harder this time.

She was greeted with nothing but silence. Not even an acknowledged ignore. Just.....silence. As if she had been completely cut off, their attunement link severed.

Kargron always knew when she was frantic or in trouble. Once, when she had just about had it at a Grim guild meeting, with everyone being so wretchedly 'grim', he had sailed down on his dragon in the midst of 20 or so Grim and scooped her up and took her away. Why would he greet her with this heavy silence when she was sure he could feel her slight panic. Of course she didn't show it on the outside. But Lilliana knew that this attack on the Grim could have grave consequences. She needed to speak with Kargron before any of the Grim did anything else in retribution.

“Kargron, you damned butthead. If you ignore me, I'm coming to you. Oh yes I am.”

Lilliana canted her head, listening both with her mind and with her ears, but still – there was nothing.

“Well that does it.” She said to herself, and shoved the stone deep into her pocket. Leaving the safety of the Grim's Garrison's walls and the toasty brazier she had stood beside, she road out on her war wolf. Her destination was the Sanctuary Garrison.

*************************************************************************************************************************************

The snowfall had picked up along with the wind, as was often the case in Frostridge. Lilliana found herself quite cold once again. She ignored it, as was her usual response to things that bothered her. When she saw the high stone and wooden walls of the Garrison she approached, she sighed in relief. At least she could spend some time at the Sanctuary Tavern, and wait for Kargron. She'd find out why his attunement stone wasn't working.

She almost appeared casual as she trotted up the snowy hill that would lead her through the front gates of Sanctuary.

“No, Lilliana!” A brutish orc voice broke Lilliana from her train of thought, and put himself in front of her before she trotted straight into the Garrison.

Lilliana looked down at the Frostwall Grunt. “Hi Religar.” She prided herself of greeting those she knew by name. “What's up?” She kicked her warwolf to make him move around the grunt.

“I said no, Lilliana.” Religar folded his strong arms and glared, but with a hint of apology, at the priestess. “No Grims allowed. Orders from the top.”

Lilliana pulled her wolf back, and trotted back and forth, her face one of shock. The other Frostwall Grunt, an even larger one named Soktan, was nodding at her. “It's true.” He said. “No Grims, And you're a Grim.”

The priestess threw back her head and giggled, “Yeah, I'm a Grim, but I'm not just a Grim. I'm a friend of Sanctuary! I need to speak to Kargron guys. Can you like move aside?” She tried to move forward again.

The two orcs looked at one another, and then back at Lilliana. “No,” They said in unison and barred her way. Sokton grabbed her warwolf's harness. Since the beast knew both of the Frostwall Grunts, he didn't snap or put up a fuss. Lilliana, however, did.

“What do you think you're doing? Soktan! Religar! Seriously! You are going to let me come in! It's cold, I want in!”

Soktan began to lead Lilliana and her warwolf away from the Garrison. Soktan spoke to her apologetically, “We like having you here, Lilliana, but seriously, orders are orders. Don't make us get rough with you.”

Lilliana nearly guffawed at that. But she nodded her head and trotted off without another word. At least, until she saw Lupinum watching her from off the trail.

“Lupinum!” She shouted and rushed her warwolf towards him. The wolf pranced in the snow, and then even seemed to dance around the undead priest.

Lupinum grinned at Lilliana. “Trouble up there?” Apparently he had followed her from the Grim's Garrison.

Lilliana got straight to the point. She hadn't left Soktan and Religar so easily because she had given up. “You are just the person I need. Will you help me?”

The response from the undead priest was a simple nod and a wicked grin. Lilliana would expect nothing less from him.

Together the two priests road back up the snow covered road to the Sanctuary Garrison. Both of the Frostwall Grunts looked very confused upon seeing not one, but two Grims coming up their road. But those expressions did not last for long. Soon their faces were filled with smiles and welcoming words, as Lilliana mind controlled Religar, and Lupinum took over Soktan's mind. It wasn’t' a very hard task, controlling the minds of these two. Still, Lilliana could not have managed controlling the two of them at once, and Lupinum appearance made this 'intrusion' possible.

“Sorry about earlier, Lilliana.” Religiar proclaimed to the priestess, and rubbed her warwolf on the neck. “Soktan and I can escort you into the tavern, and you can wait there out of the cold. I wouldn't worry any about the Grim not being allowed in the Garrison crap, I'm sure that's all a misunderstanding.”

Lilliana ignored the look she got from Lupinum when the orc said that, and instead she offered a devilish look with Lupinum. The other priest seemed uncertain for a moment, but that didn't last long and he gave her a devilish look right back.

With the snow blowing strongly at their backs, the four of them entered Sanctuary's grounds. Religar and Soktan momentary abandoned their posts to escort the two esteemed mind controlling Grims to the Sanctuary Tavern. Lilliana and Lupinum hitched their mounts outside the tavern, and one of the peons ran to get some meat for both of the beasts to munch on. One of the peons, although his expression was one of pure shock to see Lilliana, even waved and blew a kiss at her, shouting, “No snowballs!” while he ran off.

Religar and Soktan returned to their posts, slapping each-other on the back for a job well done.

Lilliana looked at Lupinum. They went into Sanctuary's tavern like they owned the place.

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The tauren slapped an invoice down on the desk, causing the various empty booze bottles to rattle in their place. Cheetem lifted his head, eyes bloodshot as he groaned painfully. "Whaddya want, ya giant lug?"

Smaashum crossed his arms defiantly. "Additional charges, boss."

Cheetem took the sheet in hand and squinted at it, using his other hand to shield his eyes from the sun beginning to peek through the windows of the firm's office. It was one of their standard invoice forms, with the words "Snobal Azahlt" written on it in crayon. At the bottom, in the Total box, was written "LOTSg". The goblin groaned again and rubbed his forehead. This would have been painful even without the booze-fueled hangover he was now suffering.

"Bogorn. Buddy. Whaddah tell ya bout fillin out forms?"

The big tauren shuffled his hooves nervously. "I ain't sposda without askin' the paralegal lady fer help first."

"And why didn'tcha?"

Smaashum mumbled under his breath as he stared at the floor.

"Let's try that again with our words." Cheetem started digging through his desk for another bottle. This was going to call for more drinking.

Smaashum looked sheepish. "...cuz she's a pretty lady and I get nervous..."

Cheetem paused for a moment, briefly considering looking for a gun instead. He wasn't sure if he would use it on the tauren or himself. "Fergit it. Whatcha talkin' about, snowball assault? Yer sposda be doin' th'ssaultin, remember?"

The tauren ground his teeth. "Well, ya see boss, this Sireen lady from dem Grim people started followin' me round, peltin' me with snowballs! And fake coins! It was humiliatin', I tell ya."

"Yer a big boy, Bogorn. What she want?"

The tauren shrugged. "Iunno. She wuz lookin' fer this Sapphire lady." He stood proud. "I ain't say nothin' boss. Told the Grim lady that Jullo..."

"...Juiliee, ya lunk."

"Oh yeah." Smaashum pulled out a tiny notebook and pencil, erased a note, and let his tongue pop out as he concentrated on his writing. "Anyways, I said that Juleh wuz my client, and I ain't know nothin'. Parrently, the Grim and Sanctury gotta beef and this Sapphire lady's in dah middle."

Cheetem sat bolt upright. "Guild war? Now yer talkin! Howe!"

The third partner in the firm, a bored-looking Forsaken, popped his head into the doorway between their offices. "What."

"Ya still got that paint and the blank tabards we picked up from the caper last year?"

The Forsaken sighed and rolled his eyes. "Unfortunately."

"Well git ta paintin! We got lawsuits to manipulate!"

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Julilee    35

When Lilliana and Lupinum walked into the inn, the two mind-controlled guards in tow, Cerryan was already there, warming his hands at the fire. The shiny blood elf paladin and Warden of Sanctuary looked up, smiling and beginning to speak. “Ah, hello friends! Come, join me by the... Oh, oh no no.” By the end of his words, as he caught sight of the arrivals, his expression had changed to intense dismay. “What are you... two... doing here? You are rarely welcome, but especially not now. Commander’s orders.”

Lupinum raised his decayed hand, letting every joint crack as he wiggled his fingers in greeting. Lilliana turned a broad smile onto Cerryan, speaking in a friendly tone. “Hello, Cerryan. Your guards were kind enough to let me in. You see, I need to speak with Kargron.”

“Kargron isn’t here, and you shouldn't be either,” Cerryan said firmly. The guards paused on their way walking back out of the inn, confused expressions coming briefly to their faces.

“What?” Lilliana said, looking around as though she thought she’d spot Kargron at one of the tables. “Where is he then?”

“I see no reason why we can’t visit our fellow Horde,” Lupinum said. “Unless you do.”

Lilliana nodded in agreement. “Yeah, what did the Grim ever do to you?” she said to Cerryan. Then she grinned. “Wait, don’t answer that.”

His attention insufficiently diverted, Cerryan was by now looking past them at the guards. With a wave of his hand, a swell of Light cleansed the guards of the magic still afflicting them.

Religar blinked a few times, then exclaimed, “H-hey! I told you no!” He pointed at Lilliana. “She messed with my head!” Soktan was still too confused to speak.

Lupinum glared angrily; Lilliana was quick to deny it. “What?! No way, I so didn’t!”

“Well, you could have done better,” Cerryan said dryly, then, “And there is plenty of reason, aside from the Commander’s orders. Sanctuary’s doors are open to all who aren’t objectively terrible people. You... do not qualify.” He all but radiated righteous indignation.

“What orders?” Lilliana said, peeved. “I thought they were bullshit orders... I’m a friend of Sanctuary... and I want to talk to Kargron!”

“Kargron isn’t here,” Cerryan said. “If he was, I can’t imagine he would leave me alone with you.”

“Ahem... Lilliana, you need to leave. Pronto,” Religar said. “You and your friend.” He and Soktan moved forward.

Lupinum grumbled angrily. Lilliana folded her arms, her blue eyes narrowing. “I... and Lupinum are not objectively terrible people,” she said to Cerryan. “You know that. And I do not need to leave.” She eyed Religar, and repeated, “I need to speak to Kargron. I can’t reach him through attunement. Where the hell is he?!”

“Go find him, somewhere else,” Cerryan told her. “I don’t want to play games with you tonight, Lilliana.”

Lupinum shifted his gaze back and forth between the two. “These are not games, elf.” His stance indicated he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Send him a letter,” Soktan grunted. “You need to leave.” He took ahold of Lupinum as Religar took Lilliana’s arm.

“Hey!” Lilliana objected, wrenching away. Lupinum pulled against the guard’s grip but did not manage to extricate himself. “What are you playing at?!” Lilliana demanded. “Cerryan! Where’s Julilee, forget Kargron if you are gonna hide him from me and can’t keep track of your damned soldiers!” Then she raised her voice to a yell. “Kargron! Julilee!!”

“You get one more chance to leave, missy,” Religar warned her.

Cerryan called out, “Yes! Commander, Kargron, if you are here please come to the inn immediately!” The inn was just across from the main guild hall. He turned back to Lilliana and Lupinum and said, “Give them a moment. If they arrive, they can deal with this. If not, our business should be concluded. Is this fair?”

Just then, Grimal walked into the inn. The undead warlock, who had no connection to the Grim, blinked to see the hostile tableau.

“Why the yelling?” he inquired.

“Oh, hi, Grimal,” Lilliana said, like nothing was happening. Then to Cerryan she said, “I ain’t leaving til you tell me where Kargron is… and… hey!”

Tired of being discounted, Religar had picked her up mid-sentence and slung her over his broad shoulder. She squeaked and hissed as he turned toward the door. Soktan followed his fellow guard’s lead to start dragging Lupinum.

“Oh, hello Grimal,” Cerryan said, bemused. “These two were just leaving.”

Grimal boggled at the situation. “What in the Nether did I fucking walk in to?”

“No…” Lilliana pummeled the orc carrying her out. “I’ll fuck with your head if you don’t let me down! We are not leaving, until I speak with Kargron!” Lupinum’s struggles were similarly ignored by Soktan as the guards transported them against their will.

“They’ve been in here, well Lilly has, a half dozen times in the last month,” Grimal said, watching them go.

“Commander’s orders,” Soktan grunted. They exited the inn and moved toward the nearby gate, hauling the two Grim along.

“Let me go, you Fel breather!” Lupinum cursed.

“Oh for fucks sake...” Grimal said, following.

“This is not Julilee’s orders!” Lilliana was yelling.

Cerryan was following as well. “They are clearly not here,” he said. “I am trying to be polite in requesting your departure. The guards are acting on the Commander’s orders, and I cannot override them.”

“You lot want to start a real war? Then fine, be freaking stupid!” Lilliana hit the orc carrying her on the head and started to cast on him, calling her shadows. Religar acked and dropped her, soon falling to the ground himself and convulsing. In alarm, Soktan let go of Lupinum, reaching for his club.

“She’s trying to kill me!” Religar wailed, flailing at unseen shadows.

“Oi, knock it off,” Grimal said, unbothered. “She's defending herself from unfair treatment.”

Lilliana started to get to her feet, and Lupinum raised his hands to cast, but before he had a chance to weave any magic of his own, Cerryan let loose a surge of arcane energy that silenced both priests. “Enough of this!” he said.

“Lilly, just go before something stupider happens? I’ll talk to Julilee myself,” Grimal said.

“I’m being as kind as I can…” Cerryan began.

But the guards from the nearby gate, seeing the commotion, were already running in to pile on the two Grim. Shouts went out about Grim infiltrating and attacking the garrison. Lupinum threw sharp elbows and Lilliana was squished.

“Guards, stand down! Can we PLEASE attempt to end this without incident?” Cerryan’s words went unheard by the swarming guards. Grimal groaned and covered his goggles with his hand.

In short order, the two Grim were overwhelmed and thrown into the stockade below the barracks. Their hearthstones and weapons were taken away. Lilliana grabbed the cell bars as the door was locked. “What...... the hell..... are you doing?!” she demanded.

Cerryan and Grimal had both followed the guards down into the stockade. Religar stepped back, putting away the key and looking at her nervously. In the cell with Lilliana, Lupinum glared at the ground, working his loosed jaw. “What do you think they did, Lilly,” Lupinum said.

“My hands are tied, though I'm not entirely unamused at the situation,” Cerryan remarked.

“You just locked a Grim in your dungeon!” Lilliana said. “Cerryan!”

“I know, it’s kind of nice, no?” Cerryan might have smirked.

“While I do agree Lilly's shenanigans get a tad annoying,” Grimal spoke up, “this is too far.”

Lilliana pointed at the blond-haired elf, glaring with hot and angry eyes. “You so know better. You know I am nothing less than a friend to your Sanctuary.”

“Friends don't mind control friends!” Religar interjected peevishly.

Lupinum just shrugged, indignant.

“Ends always justify the means... but... ugh!” Lilliana said, too angry to articulate properly.

“Precisely the attitude that divides us from you,” Cerryan said.

“Oh shut up, there is no us and you,” Lilliana said hotly. “We are all the freaking same. Whether you like it or not.”

Grimal was berating Religar. “Friends don’t bar entry to friends without proper explanation either.”

“I’m sure the Commander has an explanation…” Religar said. “Probably…”

“Then get the damned woman!” Grimal said.

“The message went out over hearthstone, she should be here soon.” Religar glanced at Lilliana and Lupinum with a hint of contrition.

“You. Me. Cerryan,” Lilliana said, her eyes on Cerryan and Cerryan alone.

“Yes... all the freaking same,” Lupinum agreed. He turned his back.

Ignoring them, Cerryan said, “Grimal, Commander Julilee left very strict instructions about the presence of Grim members not being permissible in Sanctuary's garrison, no matter the circumstances.”

“And didn't bother to inform the Grim?” Grimal inquired.

“Your Commander said this?” Lupinum said, turning back around. “She condones this behavior?!”

Lilliana looked at Lupinum for a brief moment, an apology almost in her eyes, but she hid it quickly to turn her glare back at the guards, Cerryan, and even Grimal.

“I would have preferred that they were escorted out, and not... well, and not this,” Cerryan went on. “But I cannot supersede the Commander’s orders.”

“We tried to escort them out!” Religar protested. “They weren’t having it! She tried to kill me!” He looked more and more embarrassed now.

“I didn’t try to kill you, you damned wimp!” Lilliana said. “I took over a weak mind, that’s all.”

“I don’t know about kill, but there was offensive action,” Cerryan said.

“Spiders... why did it have to be spiders?” Religar mumbled with a shudder.

“Yes, yes everyone is a fucking moron here this evening, the ones in the cell included,” Grimal said.

“Hey!” Lilliana said.

“I’m not sure that attitude is entirely welcome, Grimal,” Cerryan told him.

“Last I checked I didn’t care, paladin,” Grimal responded. “I’ve been to several events where these factions got along well enough. And I want an explanation myself.”

“Fine and well, but your views on this matter do not carry much weight,” Cerryan said stiffly. “I would not have seen events play out like this, but...”

Lilliana was messing with the lock, trying to use her magic to open it. The wards turned her magic back, rendering it ineffective.

Religar shuffled forward a little toward the prisoners in the cell. “You guys want some water? Bread? Stew? My mom sent me some cookies from Orgrimmar, you can have some if you want...”

“Guard! Keep a distance!” Cerryan said sharply. “Lest we have a repeat performance.”

Lilliana looked at Religar. “Religar....you can stick those cookies up your ass for all I care.”

Offended, he made a rude gesture at her. She returned it to him. His response was to say, “You can stick your mind controlling ass up your ass!” and walk out. Lupinum held his forehead.

Most of the guards started to disperse as well, beginning to look nervous over the consequences of having thrown two Grim in the Sanctuary’s stockade, even if they were following the Commander’s orders and the two had been aggressive.

“We must all wait on the Commander to arrive,” Cerryan said. “Grimal, you do not need to stay, though I’ve a feeling you intend to.”

“At least until I see these to back outside if nothing else,” Grimal said.

“You guys are in soooo much trouble,” Lilliana declared.

Cerryan cocked an eyebrow at Lilliana. “With who, exactly?”

“Who you think, wiseass?” Lilliana replied. She started pacing around the cell.

Lupinum grinned wickedly at the blood elf. “Every action has ramifications, Cerryan.”

“I don’t intend to see them restrained long if I can help it,” Cerryan said.

Just then the tread of boots came, and soon Julilee came to a stop at the foot of the stairs. Her gaze moved amongst those assembled, stopping on the two Grim behind bars. “What on Azeroth is going on here?” she said.

“That's OUR question,” Grimal said.

Julilee looked at him for a long moment, her impassive expression unchanging. It was a look she normally reserved for Lilliana.

Cerryan was relieved to see her. “Commander!” he said. “There has been a... situation.”

“I see that,” she responded, faintly deadpan. “How did they get in here? They weren’t even to be allowed in the garrison.”

“They’re priests. Give it two seconds,” Grimal said.

“An unnecessary escalation, if you ask me, but here we are,” Cerryan said, ignoring Grimal.

Frustrated, Lilliana threw out a wave of shadow magic. It bounced off the enchanted cell walls and dissipated.

“Calm down,” Julilee told her.

“Is that Julilee?” Lilliana said, paying attention now. She moved up to the bars again. “Hi.”

“The short of it,” Cerryan said, “is that they forced their way into the garrison by mind controlling the guards, and strolled into the inn seeking Kargron for some reason.”

“They WHAT?” Julilee said, transferring her gaze from Cerryan to Lilliana again.

Lilliana looked at Lupinum and stuck her hands in her pockets, realizing how dumb this probably was, but she glared anyway.

“They did not harm the guards in any way, except when they were being forcibly removed,” Grimal pointed out.

“Your wishes were relayed, and they were... stubborn in their refusal to leave,” Cerryan said. “When the guards attempted their removal, there was enough of a scuffle to justify their temporary incarceration. And so, here we are. I have no clue what is going on or why they are prohibited, though I in no way argue with the concept.”

Lupinum lifted his shoulder in a diffident shrug. Lilliana said, “Oh yeah, cause being sat on by five orcs means there is a scuffle. More like a scuffle to breathe.”

“You're fine, Lilliana,” Cerryan said. To Juli he said, “I defer to you for judgment.”

Faced with the four of them, Julilee stared at the Grim in her stockade for several long moments. Then she palmed her face.

Eventually, she looked up again, and after another moment of silence, spoke. Her words were nonetheless serious and even. “They were forbidden because one of their brethren attacked and nearly killed Kex’ti.”

“What?!” Lilliana exclaimed, at the same time that Lupinum erupted, “Lies and slander!”

“I do not lie,” Julilee said, a statement of fact.

“Well, that explains why Kex’ti looked more Forsaken than Sin’dorei the other day,” Grimal mused.

Cerryan’s brow was furrowed. He turned to the Grim behind bars. “Is this true?”

“Who attacked Kex’ti?” Lilliana demanded.

“Her name is Syreena,” Julilee said.

At that, Lupinum let loose a small chuckle. Julilee looked at him, unappreciatively.

“I didn’t hear about this at all,” Cerryan said. “When did it happen?”

“Earlier this evening,” Julilee replied.

Lilliana had been stunned after Julilee gave the name, but now she put her hands against the bars and tried to shake them. “Grimal, you saw that happen?” she demanded.

“I saw Kex’ti recovering from poisoning, so most likely rogue,” Grimal said. “That is all I saw.”

Lilliana hit her forehead against the bars. No one commented.

“Syreena isn’t one to act without thinking or cause,” Lupinum said.

“I don’t doubt it was entirely deliberate,” Julilee responded. “However…” She sighed. “I learned also this evening that one of our own is alleged to have attacked a Grim.”

Cerryan’s eyes widened. “What? Who?!”

Lupinum nodded slowly. It wasn’t news to him, or Lilliana for that matter. Grimal just looked at Julilee, who looked at the non-Sanctuary present pointedly before responding to Cerryan. “I’m gathering the officers to speak to all of you together, soon.”

“I don’t like the lot, but an act of aggression towards another organization of the Horde is not exactly how I would see us operate,” Cerryan said, mostly to himself.

“Well yeah a Grim was attacked,” Lilliana said, “that’s why I came to speak to Kargron first... before we spoke with you, Julilee, but he’s cut off from me... See… I’m not trying to be sneaky... just...”

“Do we not have enough problems?” Grimal muttered.

Cerryan said, “I trust from your reaction that this was not by your order, Commander… Not that I think it would be.”

“I’m not sure it’s even a true accusation, and not one to counter Syreena’s brazen attack,” Julilee replied.

“What?!” Lilliana said indignantly. “It’s true. One of our Grim was attacked, nearly killed.”

“How do you know?” Julilee asked. “Did you see her attacker?”

“Lupinum saw her return to safety to the Grim, and healed her,” Lilliana said. “I came after, she told us.”

“I had to save Filora’s life,” Lupinum said. “Her blood rusts in our guild hall.”

Grimal shook his head, groaning at it all.

Cerryan turned a look on Lilliana that was surprisingly pleading. “If you had a valid reason to come here,” he said, “why would you not simply listen to me? It should be evident that I was attempting to seek a less disruptive resolution. Why do you never listen?”

Lilliana met his gaze for a moment. For a moment she appeared serious. Then, she stuck out her tongue. “Because it wasn’t the time. I need Kargron. Where is Kargron?”

“Why do you keep asking that question as if an answer will suddenly appear?” Cerryan groused.

“Kargron is gone,” Julilee said. “He won’t be back for some time.”

“So, Sanct attacks Grim, Grim attacks Sanct. That's an eye for an eye, and neither of them died,” Grimal said.

Julilee sent him a narrow glance. “If it’s true one of ours did in fact attack one of theirs.”

“It is true,” Lilliana insisted. “Why else would I force my way in here to talk to Kargron?”

“How do you know it’s true?” Julilee asked. “Did you see her attacker? I met Filora. She’s clearly the type of person who likes to stir up trouble.”

Lilliana stepped back from the bars, a dark look coming to her face. Cerryan commented, “Not unsurprising of their ilk.”

“Juli, you are in a very compromising position by having the two locked up here,” Grimal began, lecturing. “That's more wrong on your side than theirs at this point, though it’s a good portion Lilly's fault.”

“I didn’t ask for your advice, Grimal,” Julilee said. Her voice was as even as ever, but it was a warning.

“And I’ll give it anyway,” he said. “Because the Horde does not need two of its front factions at each others’ throats right now damn it.”

Julilee looked at him, but didn’t say anything this time. Instead she looked to Lupinum. “What time of day was it when you found Filora?”

Lupinum counted the hours off on his desiccated fingers before responding, “Sometime around lunch, I had just brought up some food from our kitchens.”

“Before the attack on Kex’ti, then, you know Filora was attacked. That’s all the evidence you have,” Julilee said.

“And what specific evidence do you have against Syreena?” Grimal inquired.

“Kex’ti’s word, which I have no reason to doubt. Unlike this Filora’s,” Julilee said.

“And they have no reason to doubt Filora,” Grimal said.

“They should,” was Julilee’s reply.

“Let us look at this another way,” Cerryan said. “What were Filora’s wounds like? Knowing the manner in which she was attacked might shed some light on the attacker.”

“Filora’s armor was dark with soot, or powder,” Lupinum said slowly. “She couldn't speak, so I assume her lungs were filled with blood. There was shrapnel embedded in her skin.”

“Explosives,” Grimal said.

“I agree, Grimal,” Lupinum said. “Explosive in nature.”

Julilee’s expression changed. She remembered Saphiara’s engineering skills. But all she said was, “I have yet to gather all the facts.”

Since she couldn’t use her magic and she was getting frustrated by her encagement again, Lilliana started picking up straw from the floor and throwing it at the people outside the cell. She ensured the most of it went onto Cerryan. He coughed and brushed it from his golden hair. “Very mature, Lilliana.”

Julilee came to a decision. “I don’t appreciate the two of you breaching my garrison’s security,” she said.

“I don't appreciate a Grim almost dying,” Lupinum retorted. “Filora survived by luck.”

“Oh yeah?” Lilliana was saying, her voice rising. “Well I don’t appreciate your stupidity!!”

“You don’t see us breaking into Grim’s garrison to yell about it,” Julilee said calmly.

“Perhaps you should!” Lupinum said. “We need answers!”

“The Grim would talk to you!” Lilliana said. “Not lead you away with threats of getting rough with you!”

“That doesn't sound much like Grim at all, actually,” Cerryan said.

Lupinum glared. Lilliana said, “Oh shut up, Cerryan. The Grim are for the Horde. Bite me.”

“Sanctuary is for Azeroth. Who do you think I value more?” Cerryan said.

“You people give me a headache,” Grimal muttered.

Julilee was undeterred. “Sanctuary’s directives are not to be swatted away like annoying flies because you Grim think you know better,” she said. Her voice was utterly sure. “You can stay here for a couple of hours to let that sink in.”

With that, she turned to walk back to the stairs.

“Oh no no no, you will let me and Lupinum out! Right now!” Lilliana raised her voice to a shriek loud enough for the entire garrison to hear. “OUT OUT OUT!”

“Juli!” Grimal said. “This is a mistake.”

Julilee paused only for a moment. “If them attacking one of ours was fair, surely this is fair for them breaking into our garrison.” Then she left.

“Commander’s orders,” Cerryan said. “My hands are tied, not that I’ve been presented a strong argument to go against them.”

Grimal groaned. Lilliana said, “Hey Grimal, go grab his keys and let us out.”

“I’m neutral in this,” he said. “You should have known better to begin with.” He added, “But this is not right either.”

Cerryan said, “Commander Julilee is a reasonable person. I am sure you will not be here long. Call it punishment for an inability to listen. You will be as well taken care of as can be expected of course.”

Lupinum bared his teeth at the paladin and said, “Could you be a dear and send for a couple bits of human for me? I haven't eaten in so long...”

Lilliana elbowed him, and Cerryan’s eyebrow twitched, showing he was not entirely immune to the jab. “Tch, monsters,” he muttered under his breath.

“Cobrak always keeps such good stock, I’m spoiled,” Lupinum said. Lilliana grinned.

“I’m beginning to think both of your guilds should take ‘peace’ out of their objectives because clearly you can’t be cordial with your own fucking kind!” Grimal said.

“I do not claim perfection, but I will not balk at holding those within even our own faction accountable for their actions,” Cerryan said stiffly.

Grimal turned to the two caged Grim. “My apologies to the both of you. I figured Julilee would be more sensible than this. Hopefully she won’t leave you down here for long.”

“Least someone here has a good skull on their shoulders,” Lupinum said.

“To this much I agree,” Cerryan said, obviously of Grimal’s words. “You will not languish away in our dungeon.”

Lilliana sat down with her back against the cell door. Her expression was one of indignant shock that this was actually real.

“I don't see where any of this helps anyone,” Grimal said.

“Trust me, there will be a full investigation,” Cerryan said. “If there are transgressors within Sanctuary causing turmoil when we already have enough damn problems to deal with, they will be dealt with.”

“So will you,” muttered Lilliana.

“The Grim will come for us, Lilly,” Lupinum said. He lowered a hand to squeeze her shoulder.

She looked up at him. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

“Good food and drink will be sent, and you will surely not be here long,” Cerryan said. “That is the best I can offer.”

“I’ll go find Julilee and smack some sense in to her if I have to,” Grimal said. He turned away. “Much as I despise laying hands on a woman in violence,” he added as an afterthought.

Lilliana leaned her head back against the bars. “Good luck, Grimal. That’s why I went for Kargron first. But noooooooooooo... he’s not here. No sense of reason in Sanctuary anymore!”

“No sense of reason at all,” Lupinum agreed.

“The warlock is going to find swift reprimand if he continues to press into business that doesn't concern him,” Cerryan commented as Grimal walked away.

“He cares, Cerryan,” Lilliana said.

I care, but nobody seems concerned with that.” Cerryan pouted.

Lupinum went over to the cot and lay down. He raised a hand in dismissal.

“...Very well, that will be all. You’ll be seen to soon, try not to cause any more trouble.” Cerryan turned away. “Light bless and all that.”

“Talk to me about Light when it burns you every time you use it,” Lupinum said bitterly.

Lilliana got up and threw her hands through the bars. “Cerryan…!”

He stopped, but didn’t turn around.

“If you really care… let us out. Don’t leave us in here. This is going to cause more problems… for Sanctuary… for the Grim, and um, for me… than any of us want.”

He heaved a deep sigh. “I’m sorry, it’s out of my hands.” He soon disappeared up the stairs.

“Can’t even think for himself,” Lilliana spat. “Damn elf.” She turned to Lupinum. “And damn this!” Her voice started to rise in volume again. “So FUCKED!”

“Damn this indeed,” Lupinum agreed.

There was silence in the stockade for some time. The two Grim were left alone with only flickering torches for activity. They would be brought food and water, and presumably released later, but for now, they were stuck.

Lilliana only had one more thing to say.

“…I want the cot. Get off.”

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Durk'atar    10

Though the air was crisp and cold, the sun shining down upon the snow blanketing Frostfire lent just enough warmth to keep Durk'atar invigorated rather than freezing. He had originally answered the call to battle hoping to save his ancient homeland from a second destruction, and especially hoping to encounter his ancestors in the flesh. So far, however, no sign of the Redwalker Clan had been found. Had they been destroyed opposing the rise of the Horde, just as they had in the original timeline? He prayed not.

Durk'atar pushed all of that out of his mind. While the fate of his clan weighed heavily on his mind, so too did the fate of his friend. While she had never been an open book, he and Saphiara had worked closely together in the days preceding the rise of the True Horde. Her behavior had grown increasingly disturbing after her return following the Siege of Orgrimmar, and he was worried about her state of mind.

Now there were rumors that she had attacked a member of the Grim. While both groups were focused on that woman's current affiliation, Durk'atar worried more about her former membership in Sanctuary. He had seen Saphiara's face when several former members of Sanctuary had donned the tabard once more. The raw look of betrayal, of hatred spawned of pain, had been plain as day.

He could understand the hurt. Saphiara had been through hell during Garrosh's stint as Warchief. It was hard to blame her for feeling resentment, misplaced or not. However, it looked to him as if her resentment had boiled over. Something within her had snapped. He feared that if Saphiara was not found soon, matters would escalate. Either the Grim would catch her - and likely, if their rogue's attack on Sanctuary were any indication, torture her before execution - or she would go after her own guild next. Neither potential was acceptable.

He reached the spot where the attack had taken place and dismounted from his wolf. The snow had likely long since eliminated any trace on the ground of clues to the events, but Durk'atar had other resources. The spirits of air and water had led him to this point, but they were flighty things not given to remembering events as mortals might. Stone however, those spirits had long and steady memories. An outcropping nearby was still scorched from some sort of intense fire. Saphiara had supposedly used explosives in her attack, so that was his best bet to learn more.

Durk'atar placed his hand upon the stone and closed his eyes, letting his own spirit reach out to those within the rock. Spirits of earth, I ask you for your aid. A battle between two warriors not of this world took place here. Please, show me how you were scorched by the fire. The earth spirits were slow to respond, as ponderous earth often was, but he could feel their willingness to tell their story. Within his mind, he saw the scene unfold.

His point of view was fixed, behind the elf wearing the Grim tabard. She had dismounted, apparently ready to make camp. He saw the first arrow strike her shoulder, a second taking her in the knee. The Grim dropped to heal and arm herself as another arrow missed its mark. He could see the shooter in the shadow of a nearby tree, but could not make out the identity. Still, it was enough for the blood knight to strike back with her holy spells.

A tiger attacked the knight as the shooter strafed away, and he could tell the beast was a reluctant participant. A spell stunned it, and the knight ran forward to engage her attacker. There was a brief exchange in melee, then an explosion sent both flying in opposite directions - the hunter into the trees once more, and the knight back against the stone. Frustratingly, the attacker was still hidden from a clear view.

Then, something curious. The Grim threw down her weapon and shield and raised her hands. Had she surrendered? That seemed especially unlikely. At any rate, the attacker did not relent. The tiger recovered from the stun and grabbed one of the knight's arms when an arrow sent it low, and another deflected the woman's mace out of reach. As the shooter approached, the knight was hit in the shoulder, spraying blood across the snow. The tiger jumped away, and another explosion shook the stone from which he viewed the attack.

It was hard to see, with the snow disturbed by the bomb, but it appeared that the knight encased herself in a globe of invulnerability and activated her hearthstone. When the snow settled, she was gone. The attacker ran forward to check for herself, and Durk'atar's heart sank. It was Saphiara, wearing the old hammer tabard rather than the new phoenix. She kicked at the snow, screamed in frustration, and stalked away.

Durk'atar sighed and released his hand from the stone with a parting sense of gratitude to the spirits within. He looked around for the right spot, then called out to the spirits in the wind around him. The snow swirled away from the ground, revealing a mace and shield buried beneath. Within the handle of the mace, an arrow of elven make was embedded. He picked up both items, hoping their return would at least serve as a sign of cooperation. As little as he liked the Grim, Sanctuary could ill-afford a conflict with the much larger, much more bloodthirsty group.

The shaman looked towards the horizon, in the direction of Sanctuary's garrison. The commander had called Sanctuary's officers for a conference, and they would meet with the Grim shortly thereafter. He weighed his options, his duties, and his loyalties toward his guild and his friend. None of the answers satisfied him. He would have to see what happened before deciding on the path he would walk. All he could do was ask his ancestors for the wisdom to choose the correct one.

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Julilee    35
Commander Awatu Stonespire,

I assume our mutual silence since the initial exchange of letters echoes our mutual dismay at the accusations. I have validified the charges against Saphiara Sunspell and confirm that her actions were not sanctioned by me or any of my officers, nor are they believed by any of us to be in line with Sanctuary's mission and philosophy. Sanctuary is loyal to the Warchief and the Horde and more importantly does not believe in

Juli paused there as she tried to figure out how to express herself. Needless violence? Senseless acts of vengeance, bound to prolong strife? She couldn't think of words that wouldn't either sound condescending to the Grim, or inspire condescension from them. Or both.

Eventually, she continued writing.

Saphiara's agenda.

We are at this time undergoing every possible effort to find her. When we do, a full investigation and trial will be held. Filora will be permitted to testify if she desires to do so. Regardless, be assured that justice will be served. It is in our best interests that we handle this internally and show that Sanctuary does not consider itself above its own principles.

We should speak in person regarding any additional concerns you have. I also wish to know what actions you are taking regarding Syreena's unwarranted attack on a Sanctuary member. I suggest we meet in Orgrimmar, before the Warchief, at the earliest opportunity, before any more issues arise.

Julilee Liene

Commander of Sanctuary

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