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Catalinetta

Lie - Die - Sanctify

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"I see they are growing nearer, Librarian," the dreadlord said calmly, his voice reverberating through the exposed bones of his face. Battle scarred from what looked to be many years of battle, he wore the armor of a warlord and carried what looked like a trident fashioned by the Naga.

The Inquisitor beside him continued to write in his book. Brown and grey, the book appeared to be hewn from the skin of several different eredar. As far as Inquisitors went, the Librarian was quite tall and emaciated. His eyeless face was partially hidden behind a black and red hood. "Yes, lord Udoroth."

"Soon these mortal cretins will be further along than even Kil'jaeden expected," Udoroth sighed, as if this were of little consequence. "The Tomb of Sargeras will be infiltrated. Kil'jaeden is a fool if he thinks he can win this battle with force alone."

The Librarian looked up from his book. "My lord?"

Udoroth grinned. "He needs a helping hand, I am sure.."

Another scribble in his book.

"Yes, my lord."

"Perhaps.. a way to keep them distracted, Librarian?"

A pause. "There are ways, my lord."

"Fine then. Keep them busy. I'm sure it won't be difficult to make these pests claw at one another."

The Librarian grinned to himself. It would be easier than Udoroth expected.

_____________________________________________

The walls of Light's Hope Chapel were scrubbed daily. Not because they were particularly filthy, but it provided a steady source of labor for misbehaving squires. One such misbehaving squire was a human girl, perhaps ten or twelve years old. As she scrubbed the walls with a stiff wet brush, filthy water splashed into her face. Wiping it from her one eye, she didn't bother avoiding the large scar tissue that covered half of her skull. She arrived in the chapel only a few years ago, and none of the other squires seemed particularly keen on befriending the strange-talking disfigured human. It was difficult to make friends, so she made bruises instead. Her punishment - scrub the walls.

Fortunately, scrubbing the walls sometimes supplied her with some valuable information. On this, her second day of punishment, she could hear two paladins speaking in grave voices. There had been some firm discussions since the Ebon Blade's attack, but they sounded particularly weary today. One of them, a female, spoke firmly to a rather weak sounding Sin'dorei male. Both spoke Common, which seemed unusual.

"That letter you sent to Sanctuary regarding Sir Vyel's recovery, was it ever answered?"

"No ma'am," the male answered. "He returned shortly after it was received."

"And the death knight that you witnessed? The one who scarred him? Is she still in their employ?"

The male stuttered. "I-I... I really would not know, ma'am. I have little, if any information on their organization."

The female sighed. "Very well, Jean Baptiste. Perhaps this situation frustrates me more than I  am willing to admit. The attack on our chapel was cowardly, but we are at war with the Legion and cleaning up these loose ends will take up valuable resources. Nevertheless," she continued a little louder, as if angry with him. "We can not let this injustice stand. The Ebon Blade will give us little in the way of answers, but our supposed 'allies' have provided us with the name of a rogue death knight that was apparently at the forefront of this attack."

"..ma'am? Their leader?"

"Not their leader," she corrected quickly. "But after viciously wounding sir Vyel and almost becoming incinerated with the Light, she left the Ebon Blade's ranks. They have attempted to apprehend her with little triumph. We have been warned that this could be a sign of her going feral, which would be a problem for  us."

"Ma'am.. I do not understand."

"Let me make it clear, then. That death knight not only scarred sir Vyel, but she may be responsible for many other deaths. If she goes feral and the Ebon Blade can not control her, it is up to us to make certain it is done. The blood of our comrades may be on her hands, yet she has been given 'Sanctuary'."

Jean Baptiste seemed to stutter. "..b...but.. if sir Vyel is there, surely--"

"Reach out to his old friend, the Vanguard" the female said, calmly now. "Tell her to go and see sir Vyel. She will question him about the death knight, and if his answers are unsatisfactory, she will be brought in for trial."

"T-trial, ma'am?"

The woman's voice was resigned. "Someone will see justice for the blood spilled in this holy place. Of that, you can be certain."

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It was a quiet day in the chapel, one lacking in the usual sounds of business as most of the Silver Hand made their way in and out of the Broken Isles. As the Legion continued to assault their world, the paladins found that there was little time to be spent in prayer. The lights filtering in through the chapel were muted by stained glass, and reflected off of the backs of those who were either too young or too old to fight. The former typically trained the latter, and though most were outside, a handful remained inside, kneeling. One of them, a human woman of middle age, stood from her place in the pews.

Raelana entered the chapel stiffly. It had been some time since she entered the holy place and she took a minute to glance around, noting any subtle differences since she last was there. The silence in the chapel made her uncomfortable and Raelana shifted and rubbed a non-existent crease in her freshly pressed tabard. Finally, she walked forward as quickly and quietly as she could and stood next to the woman.

The human turned to face Raelana, a calm-yet-stern expression on her face. Her dark brown hair was tied back into a tight ponytail, pulling at the corners of her tanned face. Thin creases at the edges of her mouth were beginning to darken in recent years. She looked like the type of woman who had seen a lot of hardship. "Raelana, yes?" She asked quietly in Common, not bothering to ask if the other paladin spoke her human tongue. "Lady Liadrian said that I should expect you."

Raelana stared for a moment longer at the front of the chapel while a half smile appeared. Amused at the assumption that she spoke multiple languages, but even more grateful that she actually did, she turned to face the human. She bowed her head slightly, acknowledging the human, before speaking. "Yes, my name is Raelana. Apologies must be made, Lady Liadrin's message gave me no other information, other than I needed to come here... and quickly."(edited)

"Well, given the current situation on the Broken Shore, I would not disagree with her. Please, walk with me," the human said gently, turning toward the hall so as not to disturb those in prayer.

"My name is Najme. I have been with the Silver Hand for some time, now," she said as they walked toward the front doors. "Unfortunately, an injury has kept me from being able to provide aid in the fight against the Legion. So I remain here, training and educating the next generation. I was here when we were attacked by the Ebon Blade. Were you present when that happened?"

Raelana silently followed Najme, trying to pick up clues as to why she was called. "No, I unfortunately was not present. I had received word there was an attack, but at the time was told not to return and continue working on my current assignment. If it's no trouble, would you provide me with the details?"

"Of course." Najme stopped walking somewhere near the front doors. "Weeks ago, while most of the Silver Hand was assigned to the Broken Isles, we were invaded by a force of Death Knights. Since the Legion has returned, the Ebon Blade has been resurrecting heroes for the purpose of leading them. Supposedly, this was commanded by the Lich King himself. According to our sources, he believed that it was necessary to resurrect Tirion Fordring, in the hopes that he might lead them against the Legion. I needn't explain how very insulting that is, both to his memory and to his very soul.. but they attacked us to do this vile thing, and many of our comrades were killed in the process. As I said, the most skilled among us were in the isles. Those of us remaining were the wounded, or the old.."

She shook her head.

"Lady Liadrin arrived and did battle with their leaders. The Light would not allow such a vile thing to happen, and the Ebon Blade was driven back. Thankfully they failed in their mission, but not without many casualties."

"My gods... Tirion?" She scoffed. "I'm beginning to understand why I was requested specifically. These types of situations are exactly within my  skill set." She pauses, thinking. "To attack those unable to defend themselves...they must be desperate. Hopefully they would not be so foolish as to make another attempt." She takes a deep breath in, fairly certain she knows exactly why she was called upon. "How have relations been with the Ebon Blade since?"

"As one can imagine, not good. We waited until some time had passed before actually attempting to reach out to their leadership. They seemed intent on ignoring us completely until we threatened to take it up with Horde and Alliance leadership, at which point they offered us a peace treaty; a name. Someone who was involved in the attack, and is no longer a member of their ranks." Najme shook her head. "Not only did she leave after their failure, but she has been identified as the death knight who nearly mortally wounded sir Cerryan Vyel. I believe he is a colleague of yours."

"They gave... a name?" Raelana closed her eyes briefly as the gravity of the situation became more clear. She opened her eyes and lookd at Najme. "They gave a name and nothing else?" She shakes her head in disbelief. "I suppose that's better than nothing. Perhaps we can get some more information from her." Choosing her words carefully, she continued, "What is her name and where is she now? Hopefully no one is vacuous enough to seek revenge before she can be... debriefed." Hesitating for a moment, she finally inquires, "And Vyel? What is the word on his recovery?"

"Vyel has recovered. He has returned to Sanctuary, and, to my knowledge, is still in active duty." Ashe she said this, Najme seemed almost pleased. "As for her name, it will be a familiar one to him. Catalinetta D'Aragon, also of Sanctuary. As far as we know, she has been working with them since the incident. The Ebon Blade attempted to apprehend her themselves, but she eluded capture. Therefore it is our responsibility to bring her to justice."

Breathing out a sigh of relief, she simply stated, "Well, at least something is working in our favor." She didn’t elaborate anymore as to what she was referring to. She looked at Najme, raising an eyebrow and bluntly asked, "And what justice do you think is befitting?"

"I would not be so bold as to suggest an immediate execution," Najme said calmly. "But she must face a trial, and answer to her crimes. If not for her own sake, but for the sake of those she and the Ebon Blade have hurt. Allowing them to go without punishment is inexcusable."

Raelana only nodded in response, her face hiding her true opinion well. "The expert in battle moves the enemy and is not moved by him," she responded cryptically. "Perhaps it's time for an introduction to one Catalinetta D'Aragon?"

"I would suggest first speaking with Cerryan. I have also briefed one Tamaryth on the situation. She will be joining you."

"I shall wait for Tamaryth before proceeding." Raelana bowed her head to Najme. "Light be with you."

"Light be with you," Najme replied with a respectful bow.

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The gray skinned, white haired death knight had not left the forge in over a week. During that time she had not stopped her work save to request additional information on the armament she was to create. It was a testament to undead resilience but to anyone who knew of her, a reason to be concerned.

The longer the elf went without feeding, the more distant she became as the agony increased and her skin went stiff like stone to become more receptive to the flood of life energy. As a result, her blows were fueled by unapparent anger.

The reason for such was the Ebon Blade's lax approach to the enemies in their midst. What were they doing to prepare for the Silver Hand's inevitable counter-attack? Why had they done NOTHING when the Crimson Legion sent the head of one of their knights back in a box? Why were they focusing only on the Legion? it was by far the biggest threat, but a dagger in the back would cripple you just as surely.

Impotent and angry, she stayed by the runeforges, churning out weapons to be given to new and recovered knights as they fought the foes of the Deathlord.

Azilrog lumbered to the forges, grunting through his thick metal plating. He reeked of the unholy odor most death knights do, especially in Archerus. He watched her metalwork intently, folding his plated arms across his chest. "Your work is going to get sloppier the longer you keep at this."

" My worst piece is still miles better than most knights' best." she responded, though she took his words into consideration enough to douse the blade in the trough and hand it off to one of the skeletal servitors and look towards the orc. She knew him by repuation, especially after the show produced last time with the suicidal elves. " Did they put you in charge of reanimation or did Whitemane decide we need to talk about our feelings now?" The name was spoken with a unmasked dislike.

The orc shook his head. "I'm only trying to keep the war machine of our order burning. We can't do that with emotions getting in the way, or with brittle runeblades." His voice is hoarse, still recovering from its rupture.

" If the Blade is brittle it is a reflection of the wielder who carves himself into it and bonds to the blade. Not just its creator. Why, have there been complaints?"

"Not yet, but there's nothing wrong in preemptive measure." He straightened, assessing the elf. "What's troubling you?"

" Tyr's hand is still infested with Scarlet groupies. One flyby from Stormrender and it would be a corpse filled ruin... We always need the ghouls. Yet the Deathlord won't spare even one Wyrm, even when those arrogant fools mailed back one of our members in a BOX."

" I'm worried that this offensive has attached blinders to us.'

"We gain more Knights than we lose on the battlefield, even with the Scarlet and Paladin blowback. As for blinders, the Legion is the primary threat, and the only real threat. The Deathlord and the new Highlord recognize that. Anything else can be dealt with once the Legion is vindicated."

" If all we needed to worry about was moving forward. WE would save time and material and only make half a breastplate. I don't know how much experience you have with "Holy men" but they don't take what they consider a trespass and turn the other cheek. They will strike at us as soon as they don't need us...Maybe even give us the nudge while under pressure so we fall.  These thoughts plague me. I worry more about our former teammates than I do the Legion at this point."

Azilrog's face twisted into a frustrated frown. "And so? The Silver Hand does not match our numbers, they do not match our strength in battle, and whereas the Highlord has the Light on their side, we maintain the allegiance of the Lich King. Should they strike at us, the Scourge will strike at them, and us beside them."

She gestured to him as if he had just proven her point. " This sort of attitude is what lead to our loss so many times before. We assume numbers and strength are all we need. Yet the last Lich king fell despite having five times the force that the Scourge holds now. We have improved but so have they. To treat the possibility of counterattack as unimportant is nearly welcoming critical damage to our cause. You forget that we would not be facing just the Silver hand but the acolytes of Nertherlight temple as well. Their power has too many unknown variables...Meanwhile we have not changed."

There was an approaching sound of heavy footsteps as a female tauren appeared beside Dessim.and Azilrog. She wore heavy plate, but her pale white face splotched with brown spots went uncovered. "Azilrog Deathrage," she said in a hollow sounding voice, her face neutral. "Supposedly, there is another defector within Sanctuary's ranks. This one calls himself 'Ghostslayer'. With a name like that, he may already have gone mad. Find him and either retrieve him, or put an end to him. We have suffered enough embarrassments already."

" ... Not sure if that group just has an unfortunate soft spot for sob stories or if it's TRYING to piss people off."

"Whatever the case may be, put an end to it. The Silver Hand is already barking at our door and we do not need another excuse for them to distract us from our battle on the Broken Isles."

" Barking at our doors? Have they made demands or are they still writing angry letters?"

The tauren huffed through her nose, as if the very question annoyed her. "They demand justice for the lives lost at Lights Hope. Clearly we have more important matters to concern ourselves with, so they were given the name of another stray to busy themselves with."

" Justice... What would that even mean, allowing them to pick through our ranks and eliminate whoever they pleased?"

"I am sure they intended on holding our leadership responsible or some other such nonsense to soothe their broken egos. We have bought ourselves time with this peace offering, so I suggest we use that time to clean up these loose ends."

The elf huffed and hooked her hammer back onto her belt. " Two turncoats won't be enough... And it sends the wrong message."

"It will never be enough for them, but it will relieve us of their idiocy and for the time being allow us to focus on the Broken Shore. You have a better idea?"

" Right now? No... But the idea that we will sic the rabid zealots of the Silver Hand upon you should you choose another path feels like we are insulting what was fought for in the North. We fought for liberation from the Lich King... Even if this isn't the same, promoting a 'with us or against us' mindset feels like the old way we overthrew."

" Personally, I would have dug up more reasons to convince our numbers that Fordring's retrieval wasn't only necessary, but that the ranks of the Hand deserved thinning. Would have been easy if we just monitored the Brotherhood of Light members. Their zealotry is more than enough to arouse anger."

Sunsong shook her head slowly. "Our members understand well enough why Fordring's retrieval was a pivotal necessity. That is not the issue. The issue is cleaning up stray dogs in our ranks, and that is exactly what must happen if we are to continue this alliance with the living."

" If you say so... Perhaps looking into their dogs wouldn't hurt though. They are barely united by a related belief, surely there are secrets that would turn their attention upon their own organization for a time."

The tauren turned her head to one side. "..are you volunteering?"

" If need be... Though it would be better suited to someone with tact."

Sunsong didn't appear particularly interested in 'tact'. "See what you can find. We are death knights, not diplomats. If you can find anything of value, it may be useful to us once the Legion threat is extinguished."

" Guess I could use a moment away from the forge." She shrugs

"Good. Report back here with your findings. And you," she looked again at @Azilrog . "Take care of our 'Ghost Slayer'."

Azilrog nods and salutes. "It will be done."

Sunsong gave each death knight a salute and returned to her post.

Dessim saluted wearily and strode away. She had to open her big mouth..

Edited by Catalinetta
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Tamaryth was found in the small training area in the chapel, supervising some aspiring crusaders as they practiced. She was a blood elf, with dark hair and stern features. Her armor was red and gold, and glimmered in the lantern light. As Raelana approached, she steps forward, and delivered a stinging rebuke with the flat of her blade to the sloppy arm of a recruit. "Arm in," she ordered. The recruit nodded and sheepishly stooped to retrieve his weapon he had dropped. She put her armored boot on it. "And never," she saaid, lowering her voice to a low growl, "let go of your weapon. Ever."

Raelana leaned up against the cool, stone wall watching Tamaryth train. Her hands rested on the hilt of her fiery blade out of habit, but as always she was alert of her surroundings. She caught Tamaryth's eye and bowed her head lightly out of respect and approval of her methods. It had been a long time since she was in training, more than ten years, but the methods hadn’t changed much.

Tamaryth stepped back, letting the berated recruit retrieve his weapon. She caught Raelana's eye and nodded slightly. "Fifty strikes on the practice dummy," she said to the recruit, then turned walk over to where Raelana was waiting. "Can I help you?" she inquired.

Standing up as tall as she could (which was not very tall at all), she spoke quickly and quietly. "I'm looking for Tamaryth. She knows why I'm here." Raelana said it matter of factly, certain she had found her, but unwilling to give out more information until it was confirmed.

"She might, if she knew who you were," the blood elf responded. "Though at this point I'm going to go ahead and assume you're Raelana. Najme told me you'd be assigned to me." She sheathed her sword.

Raelana's hand squeezed the hilt of her sword slightly. Her green eyes flickered in the candlelight and her fiery hair seemed to match her temperament. She looked hard at the blood elf before relaxing her grip, but not releasing the haft from her grasp. "Ambassador Raelana de Bergerac, at your service," she said with a brief bow of her head. "Please forgive the formalities. When you're in my line of work, you can never be too careful." She gave Tamaryth a half smile. "I'm sure you know how that can be." She paused as a recruit sauntered by slowly, only proceeding when no one else was within earshot. "I was called upon to aid in the situation; however I was only recently filled in on what's going on. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it."

Tamaryth folded her arms. "We have someone to bring to justice," she said. "Ironically, she's ensconced herself in a guild that claims to be devoted to justice." She scoffs. "I hope for their sake they're unaware of her crimes. If they're not, and they've been willingly sheltering her, they're guilty of collusion and their leaders will have to stand trial as well."

"Anything I should know about this guild? I believe Najme said Sanctuary. Seems an appropriate guild considering what she's accused of. Honestly, I'm surprised she's still a member, when you consider the fact she attacked one of their own. Do we know where..." She paused suddenly as another recruit slowly walks by, obviously trying to see what was going on. "...she is? Will any of the members give us trouble when we go to bring her in?"

"Their headquarters is in Dalaran," Tamaryth said. "I've heard stories about them that make their actions less surprising. They're a rogue outfit by all accounts. We can certainly expect trouble. We'll start with their leader and see if we can convince her to turn over the fugitive. Unless you have another idea?" she added, almost as a token comment.

Raelana pulled forth some parchment and glanced at her notes. "The greatest victory is that which requires no battle. I do indeed have another idea." Her face lit up as she looked over her notes. "Yes a very good idea indeed," she muttered to herself, a grin slowly building on her face. "Why start with the leader at all? Sir Cerryan Vyel is in the perfect position to help us appeal to the guild. Not to mention I want a chance to meet him." She looks at Tamaryth, then quickly adds, "To get his opinion on things of course.”

Tamaryth’s lips twisted in a little annoyance. "I suppose we can do that," she said. "We can summon him here. If nothing else, an explanation for why he tolerates her presence, or tolerates the guild that harbors her, is one that should be answered."

Raelana raised one of her eyebrows and gave a disapproving look, but didn’t say anything to contradict or disagree with her statement. "We both have questions we want to ask and things we need explained. Would you like to summon him now?"

"Yes, we shouldn't waste any more time." Tamaryth looked back at the recruit, who was struggling to raise his sword to complete the task she had given him, his arm leaden after so many swings. It was a cruel punishment, but if he managed to hold onto his blade for the duration, he'd be less likely to drop it under trying circumstances in the future. "I'll send a page."

Edited by Catalinetta

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T'suro knocked on Cerryan's office door. The voice that responded was terse. "Yes, what is it?"

"I wished to talk... but if you're too busy." T'suro replied.

There was a sigh before Cerryan responded. "No, come in. I apologize, I am just a bit overwrought."

T'suro stepped in, giving his older superior a salute before approaching the desk. "What's the matter?"

"It's everything. It's the attack on Shal'Aran that I should have been there for. It's the attack on Light's Hope that still burns in my mind when my eyes close. It's Shokkra missing, Karthok plotting, Kanda...." Cerryan sucked in a breath, and released it slowly. "It's the Legion intensifying their crusade on the heels of the victories we've been able to secure."

T'suro sighed and nodded slowly. "I can understand all of that. I've been doing my part, but sometimes I feel as if it's just... overwhelming. This actually plays into what I wanted to discuss with you, though. Lady Liadrin has accepted my request, and supplied us with a deployment of some fresh Blood Knight recruits. There's only four of them, but they're all freshed face and eager to work." T'suro leaned against the desk and sighed again. "I already told the commander, but I'm worried they might feel unwelcome here, even with my presence. Perhaps you could speak with them?"

Cerryan nodded. "I'd be happy to. Additional support from the Blood Knights will be welcome. Light knows what further predations we can expect from the Felborne who struck at us. The knights should have little to worry about, Liadrin's forces are not unwelcome here and we're stretched thinly enough that the aid will go a long way."

T'suro gave the other paladin a smile. "That would be wonderful." His face fell again. "But, wait... we'd need to house them... surely the guard barracks have some empty bunks?"

"I am sure that accommodations can be made, and at worst we can outsource to a local inn. They're as far away from home as we are; small comforts are the least we can do."

T'suro nodded. "Fair enough, I suppose. Consider this an official request then." He chuckled.

Cerryan nodded. "Now to determine how they will provide support. There are a few options I can think of at least; Shal'Aran could benefit from the security of extra hands, of course. Security here is still never in small demand, what with the latest incursion upon our compound. I wonder if..."

The paladin was interrupted by another knock on his door. A moment later, a young page bearing the markings of the Silver Hand entered the room and nervously delivered a summons  to Cerryan from one High Justicar Tamaryth. The paladin nodded and dismissed the page, then turned back to T'suro. "Well then, I suppose we will have to revisit this. I do not want to keep the Silver Hand waiting."

T'suro raised a curious brow. "Silver Hand business? Hmm... Might I accompany you? Our orders are joined together nowadays."

"Yes, of course. I was going to ask you to anyways. I have a feeling I know what this is about."  With that, Cerryan stood and led the two of them out of the office and towards Light's Hope.

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