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  1. [[ The next, less dour, chapter following Grief. ]] The zeppelin flight from Tirisfal to Orgrimmar had left Khorvis covered from head to toe in kodo vomit. Bes'thra, the orc's trusty mount for the many campaigns since the Horde landed upon Kalimdor's shores, was having none of the early spring turbulence patterns that gusted 'round the Maelstrom. Despite Khorvis's best efforts to placate the wailing beast, wave after wave of partially digested dehydrated dwarf meat (as was her favorite) splashed through the Thundercaller's hold. Considering the unruly headwind and the extended trip, Khorvis emerged from the Skyway's lift in a mood foul enough to sour springwater. The Voidcaller which had lingered about the Harbinger since his return from the Shadowlands ghosted beside Edgar, who scampered by his master's side with Bes'thra in sickly tow, making pitiful soothing motions only to be swatted at by a meaty fist. "Stop it! Just bloody stop!" the orc yelled, completely losing his temper. "I just do need a moment to think! Hands to yourselves!" Boneslave recoiled in fear, retreating to Bes'thra to check the kodo's harness and straps which secured the majority of his master's worldly possessions. Given the age and condition of the creature, it was unlikely that she was any longer suited for combat. A beast of burden and the caravan would be her retirement. Khorvis watched the elevator ascend away and sniffed the air of Durotar. Chilly, and with the same sweaty musk that soaked the old timbers of the capital, albeit quieter now that the bulk of the war machine was engaged on the Broken Isles. A few peddlers wheeled their carts down the path into The Drag. A rogue wind blew a whirlwind of dust along the same road, and Khorvis, giving in to what was either habit or instinct, followed. The early morning sounds of Orgrimmar's less desirable quarter were familiar to the orc. The clanging of the scrapper's hammer, irregular in the haze of a hangover. A shouted quarrel between a domineering warrioress and her browbeaten mate. The leather hawker's barking, overselling what were clearly the under-tanned hides of sickly gazelles. All of these noises harangued over the constant creak of the shade sails which hung at the canyon's crest. Ignoring the wastrels, Khorvis marched onward along the curving path. These cretins that holed up in Orgrimmar's cliffsides were to him nothing but cowards. The aged and the children were to be forgiven, for they would only be dead weight in the war against the Legion, but many of those still rotting in The Drag were orcs, trolls, and goblins in their prime. In his life before the Grim, Khorvis would have been counted among them, were it not for the wise urging of a wily troll. Their selfish stench now disgusted the veteran. The caravan and the gust of wind came to a stop at a small pool near Nogg's machine shop. With the spreading of tiny waves and fleeing muddy crawfish, the dustdevil subsided, leaving the orc and his band without a guide. Edgar led Bes'thra to the water's edge with an uncanny gentleness to let the kodo drink her fill. Harumphing, Khorvis sat his own self down upon the dock to consider his next move. The Voidcaller - Khorvis would need to designate a name for the minion if it refused to depart - caught up with the party, its arms overflowing with scrolls and inks. Clearly it had been to the Mighty Pen to patron the great scribe, Zilzibin Drumlore, to procure what the elemental assumed its old master would require. Khorvis only grunted and gestured towards Bes'thra. Drumlore would likely be sending a blighted invoice for the lot, but he had too little energy to scold the shadowling. Instead, Khorvis gazed into the pool and thought back to the words he had exchanged recently with Elder Duskheron... The Taureness sat at the Filthy Animal's bar, nursing some Vry'kul-brewed swill. She explained her understanding of her relationship with the elements. "They are your guide. I let the waters mend our comrades, as that is what their blood is mostly made of." She seemed thoughtful. "Though I suppose there is a little bit of each element within us. The air of our breath, the earth in our bones. And the fire in our hearts." Khorvis seemed skeptical. "You call them guides, these elementals. Why not command them properly as subordinates? Would this not be more efficient in battle?" Elder Duskheron chided the orc, explaining, "Do you not trust your axe in battle, that your swing will be true thanks to training? Time. Practice. Patience. With these things, you will grow into your own power." The truth of it dawned upon the orc in a flurry. "Ah, I do think I now see. The blademaster trusts in his sword when it do be cared for. When he knows that the smith worked his forge in earnest and tempered an honest blade." Khorvis went on to describe the leadership methods of Warchief Doomhammer during the Second War, and Duskheron cordially nodded along, her muzzle smiling behind her mug of ale. The night drifted on, the two exchanging thoughts on the nature of command, until they were both summoned to the Nighthold, to serve the Mandate. Khorvis's reverie was disturbed, as was the pool's stillness, by a great splashing. A quaking goblin was screaming with both hands outstretched. Her palms were ripped and bleeding, the culprit being immediately obvious having flounced into the small body of water after tearing the reins away from his handler. A massive war wolf thrashed and shook in the weedy waters, spraying all of the onlookers with scummy waves. The Kor'kron of Garrosh Hellscream had been cruel masters, bedecking the proudest of wolves with armor that would break the backs of lesser creatures. A great many of the beasts had needed to be put down at the close of the Siege, so abused had they been by the traitor Warchief's dark shaman. Not this specimen. Unruly and full of vigor, the wolf howled and stared a direct challenge at the soaking Bloodstar. Its grey coat glistened in the morning light of An'she, filtered through the massive tree at The Drag's center. Fully armored in the bone raiment of the Kor'kron, the alpha presented a fearsome visage. Khorvis was no stranger to the training of these murderous mounts. An overzealous flog could whip itself to a nub against such a proud beast, while a timid hand would be torn from its owner's limb in a snapping second. This one required a firm hand to guide it. To direct its vicious nature into a strategic outlet. He approached, palm outstretched unyieldingly. Willful Heart, or Mash'rogahn as Khorvis would take to calling the worg in the days that followed, inched forward to sniff the orc's flesh. It was in that instant, soaked in pond scum and rank with kodo vomit beneath the shade sails of The Drag, that a powerful connection was awoken between Bloodstar and the wolf. It stretched back in time, to the early days of the Horde, a commitment to principles of loyalty and honor, bound in blood and an indescribable lust for the wild reaches of one's nature. In the present, the gobliness continued screaming at the vile-drenched orc who was stealing her prized worg. "BLAHHH!!! What do you think you're doing, you lout!" She tucked her lacerated palms beneath her armpits and hopped up and down in a fury. "If you wanna canoodle this blasted fleabag, you can dang well pay for him!" The handler had obviously had enough of caring for the war mount, given the state of her agitation. "But I won't part with Shmuggles for cheap...!" Khorvis, his fingers already in 'Shmuggle's' mane, scratching the great worg's neck, considered the beast. Bes'thra was past her prime, the journey across the Great Sea had made quite clear. He would require a proper mount to continue his journey - whatever the fel The Commander had meant - and the coincidence of an encounter with such a wolf beggared belief. "I will take him." Bloodstar responded succinctly. Edgar sent the goblin handler on her way with a pouch of gold coins that left the woman blessedly speechless. Shmuggles pawed cheerfully in the pool with his gigantic pads while Khorvis adjusted his harness. He paid careful attention to the worg's movements, accepting that the spirits had brought to him so obvious a furry guide. "Water it do be, then... Shmuggles...hrmph." Khorvis growled under his breath as he mounted the worg. "We do need to amend this name of yours. It do be an embarrassment." Shmuggles only whined in response, his coat bristling. He had grown thoroughly bored with The Drag and was ready to explore other paths. "Right you do be. If there do be one place that I know to find strange spirits, it do be the headwaters of the Southfury RivE-!" Without Khorvis finishing his sentence, the Kor'kron war wolf charged off towards the Western bridge. "Gah!" Bloodstar exclaimed as Edgar and the rest struggled to keep pace. "A willful heart you do have!"
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  2. <A series of posters have been hung around Alliance cities, all bearing the mark of the Twilight Empire in the bottom right corner.>
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  3. Believe it or not, she kills with stabbing commentary more than with those Klingon weapons.
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  4. Things have calmed down a little. Sort of. I went on a mission led by T'suro Sunspear. He's a great Blood Knight, the kind you can look up to. He led me, a demon hunter named Sylarian, and a lady from Suramar named Ilduria. We were looking for a leyline that used to help fuel the shield, but hasn't been working. What we found was just a crap ton of demons, plus a Nightborne guy turned Felborne. Lots of fighting, I got banged up pretty bad, along with my armor. Sylarian got hurt even worse though, he wound up unconscious. T'suro used the Light to purify the leyline, but it took a lot out of him. He looked so much smaller after he did that, I think maybe the Light gives him a lot more than I realized. Makes him braver than I thought was possible. He'll be fine, though. As soon as I got back, another member of the Ebon Blade came to talk to me, Regdar the Red. I met him at the guild hall, and later on in Dalaran. He wanted me to come back, but he had a lot of good reasons for it. I just can't bring myself to do it, even though I know it would be a lot easier on me. They have the only runeforge I know of, and they know how to help me learn my death knight stuff, but I just can't. Not after Light's Hope, after they made us do those terrible things. I can't trust they won't do that again, and regardless of their reasoning.. and his reasoning, I just can't agree it was the right thing to do. I live with the Arath'doreis, now. It's weird, being in someone else's house, even if it is big. I didn't exactly grow up rich, so the place makes me feel even weirder. Everyone is nice, though. Sinlanna showed me to the library, and I found some books on rune and unholy magic that might help me figure out this runeforge problem. Kreyen seems to be happy. He's getting stronger, but his memories still aren't all there. It's weird, though. Sometimes he says and does things just like he used to. I wonder if maybe those things don't ever go away.
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  5. 03.23.17 I lost two friends today. Three, if I count the troll I was given as a bodyguard. Zulkaz looked so big and strong, and he had so many weapons. He said he could kill Kex’ti. I had my doubts, but I wanted to believe him. I told him to do it. Kex’ti threatened and questioned me the other day, about Karthok. Zulkaz failed. Sanctuary has him now. I saw Karthok this morning. There were no "darlings" today. He yelled at me for sending Zulkaz after Kex’ti alone. By yelled, I mean he expressed his disappointment. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard him raise his voice. Then he ordered me, ordered me to go break into Sanctuary’s guild hall and execute Zulkaz before he could tell them anything. I refused, of course. There was no way I was going to try to get into Sanctuary. They would likely kill me on sight for breaking into their hall. I told Karthok as much. I told him to send a rescue party for Zulkaz instead. But he was mean to me. He didn’t care. He only wanted me to kill Zulkaz. But I couldn’t. And then I finally pried some details about Karthok’s plans from him. I didn’t want to believe him. I kept waiting for him to tell me the part that would rationalize what he was trying to do, that would make it all make sense. But that part never came. I can’t help him anymore. And through that talk, I wondered if I had ever been his friend at all. A little while after that, I ran into Lazarus in Dalaran. Lazarus used to always be so nice to me. He must have left The Grim at some point though. I didn’t know. He had a pie with him. He said it was a new recipe—apple cinnamon—and asked me to taste it. So I did. My friend offered me pie, and I took a bite. It was cursed. Lazarus cursed me. I blacked out. When I woke up, I was chained to a wall, with Kex’ti and Lazarus standing in front of me. (And this only hours after Kiannis threatened me that if I got into any trouble again, he would “rescue” me himself. Probably with a bullet to the head.) Lazarus had cursed me and handed me over to Kex’ti. I didn’t even hear what Kex’ti said to me at first. I couldn’t believe Lazarus did that to me. I thought he was my friend. I was wrong. Kex’ti questioned me a bit, and threatened to lock me in a metal crate and drop me at the bottom of the sea if I didn’t answer him. I don’t think he realized that I agree that Karthok has to be stopped. I tried to tell him, but Lazarus kept interrupting with some kind of illusion spell or something. And then Kex’ti left, after telling Lazarus to let me go when he was done. So now I need to try to find a way to find Zulkaz again. I’ve already sent someone to punish Lazarus. And I sent someone else to put an end to Karthok. But if Karthok knows I turned against him, or talked to Sanctuary about him, he’ll probably hunt me. Baal assured me that I’ll be safe. He even did a blood magic spell on me so he can find me anywhere and know if I’m hurt.
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  6. Chapter One - The Southfury Part One Khorvis slid down from the back of the war wolf, wincing and bending over a fist clutched to his stomach. The old wound given to him by that Sanctuary wench throbbed and ached after the tumultuous galloping across Orgrimmar's western bridge. Up the edgewaters of the Southfury the party had raced at a breakneck pace, chasing the slobbering jowls of their new lupine companion. Only after a mad league did Shmuggles relent, stopping to pant and gorge himself upon river water. The aged orc glanced quizzically at the Blackrock dagger hanging from his belt, the same blade with which Shokkra had tickled his gut. He could have sworn to the ancestors that the woman had stolen it from him. One day he would need to interrogate Boneslave as to how the putrid knight came to repossess the dagger. For now, Khorvis was content to pat the wolf's mane and catch his breath. "I do think we will call you Mash'rogahn, boy." Khorvis felt the shoulder muscles of his mount flex with pride. "Willful Heart, which you clearly do own." The warrior's right gauntlet clenched in a fistful of fur. The Hand of Ashran was a vise and before Mash'rogahn could react, Khorvis shoved the wolf's entire head beneath the river's current. Great thrashing and gurgled howls shook the embankment, but the orc was as immovable as an ancient knotty ironwood. Mai'kull's voidcaller darted to and fro in a dash of worry, uncertain of what this mad orc was trying to do, but Edgar only stood stupidly with his mouth agape, admiring the strength of his master. "You must learn who do be the alpha of this pack," Khorvis growled as the scrambling of paws grew more frantic. The water was frothing with silt as Rogahn's snout dug into the riverbed. "If you do wish to be fed and rest your head within my den, you would do best to acknowledge your place, runt!" As the air ran out in the wolf's lungs, a realization came to the fore, along with a shiver and then the touching of a grey belly to the earth with bent legs. The Hand released. Mash'rogahn wrenched his soaking head from the Southfury and laid down before Khorvis. Whimpering and heaving out no small amount of riverwater and mud, the war wolf kept his snout to the earth and looked up at the orc through his great big sapphire eyes. Khorvis did not fail to notice that the beast's tail continued to wag, belying any masquerade at hurt. "There now," he said almost gently, as if he had not just nearly drowned the animal. "Did that be so bloody hard?" Khorvis stood up, letting the wolf's sweat and river's muck drip from his mechanical prosthetic. "What do you say we all enjoy a calm walk to the North... aye, Bes'thra‽" He shouted at the old kodo which was just now catching up. The burdened matriarch displayed a lack of enthusiasm for her new role and could only muster a decidedly annoyed grunt as she passed the party. The Southfury River churned between the barrier cliffs of Orgrimmar and the Mor'shan Ramparts as it had since the Sundering. An'she's afternoon rays played along the spray of the rapids which misted the water-worn rocks. Lichen clung to the shaded areas, tinting the shadows green. Where the banks had withstood the pressure, rough granite provided purchase for gnarled cedars and spruces to thrive. Khorvis let his gloveless left hand run over their furrowed bark, enjoying the familiarity of the terrain and the closeness to nature. The little spaces caught his attention, the small crevices where life took root and tiny rodents burrowed. For a moment, Khorvis had the odd sensation of seeing through his empty eye - not viewing the living world as it was, but as if time were quickly passing. The life cycles of the lizards sunning themselves upon the warm rocks, their skin curling away and leaving behind sun-bleached bones. Embankments fell away into the waters below, carrying with them pines which quickly shed yellowing, dead needles mid-plunge. An aged Tauren paddled down the river in a roughly hewn canoe, a young Brave standing at the craft's bow. As the Brave turned, the Elder had lain against the stern and ceased breathing. The Brave, now turning grey and frail, cast a white linen cloth over the bones of his ancestor. They both disappeared behind a rapid. Fiercely blinking, Khorvis dispelled the image, and the world righted itself into the lazy afternoon through which the little caravan meandered. These visions were becoming more common ever since his return from the Shadowlands. Uncertain of their origin, though he suspected the infection of his eye wound, Bloodstar made a mental note to bring it to the attention of the next Elder with whom he spoke. For now, the river babbled along mundanely. Part Two It occurred to Khorvis that his troop neared the ruins of the ill-fated brewery that he had abandoned some years ago. After crossing an aged stone bridge, likely of Kaldorei make, to the Azsharan side, they slowed their pace. Khorvis listened closely to the woodland sounds and scanned the bases of the pines. Edgar flanked to the right, wraithwalking between each elongated shadow. Above the warbling of the swallowlings and the swishing of the river, sarcastic laughter could be heard between what sounded like two orcs. Entering the brewery site's main clearing, the party came to the wide dilapidated and overgrown foundation, once intended to support the sizable facility's main building. Between the weather-worn granite blocks quarried from the nearby cliffs crackled a small campfire. A gnarled orc hunched on a log, prodding the pitiful embers with a metal rod. Scarred across the face with a nasty burn that had failed to heal properly, Grik'nish spat into the weeds through a twisted snarl. Once a dark shaman loyal to the fallen Warchief Hellscream, the fugitive orc appeared to have fallen upon hard times, if the gauntness of his face and state of his armor were of any indication. A clatter of logs punctuated the precarious mood of the clearing. Towering eight feet tall and helmetless, Oggok Ug’throk stared imposingly at Khorvis and his company, having dropped his armful of kindling. Grik'nish's head snapped up at the noise, his feral black eyes narrowing at the sight of strangers. "Nish. Company," Ug'throk bellowed in his deep bass. The dark shaman was already getting to his feet, cursing and scrambling for his cudgel. "Who in the name of Thrall's hairless nads... did they track us from Ogrimma-!" "Bloodstar?!" wailed Grik'nish. Khorvis had come to a halt, leading Mash'rogahn by the harness. Huffing and shaking her tusks, Bes'thra paused at the side, her shadow covering a skittish voidcaller. The Lasher curled the edge of his lip in a grunt that exposed both a tusk and a sickening sense of disgust for his find, as when one lifts a stone to reveal a colony of venomous centipedes. Beyond the guttural bark and a pair of crossed arms, Khorvis provided no other reply. A sucking of mud resounded from Grik'nish's boot clomping forward in the residue of spring's melt before the orc halted with hesitation. He glanced at his oversized partner and made a hasty motion. "Well. Ain't this a fancy surprise." The screechy worm spat again, this time with unnecessary emphasis. "Last we did see your nasty arse, it was covered in rotter guts while you lost your damn mind!" Despite his brave words, the shaman's only remaining ear laid back against the thinning hair of his skull. Oggok tried to mirror 'Nish's obscene smile but only managed to look like a fool as he flanked the Grim warrior. "Zug zug, boss. We thought you was gonna be a deader too." The giant kept his hands raised, purposefully showing that they were empty. It would matter little - those huge paws could crush a Halfhill melon as quick as an eggshell. "Aye, I did be dead, gone, and returned. No thanks to the two of you fools," riddled Khorvis. "Seeing how you both do still be dirtgrubbing and drawing breath, you might count yourselves fortunate that I do not flay you both on the spot for your cowardice." The warrior patted the dagger at his belt. "I do think it would be best if you moved along..." His two boots were planted squarely apart. Grik'nish had a brow covered in sweat as he waved his hands and tried to placate his surprise guest. "No! ...No reason to be so pussin' hasty, brother!" The wind began to pick up, whipping the tops of Azshara's pines. "We just ah - was thinkin' about that payment you promised! Remember the gold you said you set aside for the Tirisfal job?" The grin plastered on the orc's face was about as real as the palm tree in Everlook's tavern - the eyes were always a giveaway. Oggok Ug’throk charged first. The huge orc would have crashed into Khorvis had Edgar not taken that moment to shadowstep above the melee and drop before Ug'throk's face with a gap-toothed grin that sent the pair cartwheeling past Bes'thra in a tumble of bones and muscle. Bloodstar's sidestep also avoided a windshear flung by Grik'nish that split a fir tree some few paces to the rear. Khorvis huffed and drew his Blackrock dagger, set to gut the upstart shaman on the spot. "Stupid choice, you goatsucking peon. You forget your place - and the second chance I did give yoUR-!" His taunt was cut off as his chin clipped the earth. Ropey roots shot out of the ground and snaked their way around Khorvis's ankles, trapping him prostrate and defenseless. No matter how hard he struggled, the tendrils only constricted more tightly, wrapping upwards and threatening to cut off his windpipe. A baleful cackle arose from the throat of his adversary. "Not so tough without your whip, are ya 'Griiiiiiimey'!" Grik'nish licked his lips and stalked towards a Khorvis that was gasping for breath. The mace smacked menacingly in the shaman's palm. "No, as much as I wish I could make ya suffer, you're just too fuckin' dangerous to let loose. Mad dog!" He giggled, raising the cudgel over his head, ready to bring it down in a crushing blow upon Bloodstar's cranium. "Mad dog! Put 'em down! Put 'em GAH-!" Grik'nish's scream was silenced as Mash'rogahn's maw collapsed around his throat. A sickening crack resounded throughout the trees as the wolf tore out the orc's larynx, spraying gouts of piping hot lifesblood across the granite foundations of the brewery. Two great paws pinned Grik'nish's shoulders to the trampled weeds as the beast shredded what remained of the orc's neck, until a triumphant snout arose clenching a limp head tenuously attached to a broken spinal column. The ropey roots dropped inanimately from Khorvis's body. He scrambled to his feet, regaining his footing while taking in the gory splendor that Rogahn was enjoying. Bloodstar had seen the most brutal of close combat between hated enemies, whether they were orcs or humans, but this primal evisceration presented a spectacle too gruesome to celebrate. Backing away, fully cognizant that the shaman was beyond anything resembling life, the Blackrock dagger and its owner sought out the grapple between Boneslave and the giant. Edgar had tried to toy with the great oaf. Slipping between the tree-shadows, the deathknight managed only to infuriate Oggok - by the time Khorvis arrived, Boneslave's neck was pinned by a bulging bicep. Edgar's hacking laughter served only to disguise his Master's approach. Khorvis dug the fingerpads of the Hand of Ashran into Oggok's eye sockets and yanked the orc's head backwards. "I do think you should have kept running, coward." Unceremoniously, the Lasher dragged his dagger across the Kor'kron's neck. The skin split and forth spilled a river of what Bloodstar should have undammed several years prior. Oggok Ug’throk's head slumped forwards, taking with it the vengeance of untold innocent lives. Wiping the gore upon his leathers, Khorvis let his gaze sweep over the unsteady ensemble of limbs called Boneslave before attending his new mount. Mash'rogahn was licking his chops gleefully. A stark contrast could be drawn between the spray of red ichor decorating the worg's silver mane, yet Khorvis could only feel a sense of relief at seeing the living health of his newly adopted brother. "Mash'rogahn, you do have a warrior's spirit within those foolish bones," Khorvis muttered as he scooped the sweetmeats from Grik'nish's shattered skull. Upon the wolf's panting snout and brow he painted the orcish runes of strength and alacrity. "This day we together we have charged into battle. Let this be your Om'riggor." Were Khorvis a more sentimental orc, he might have embraced the wolf. Instead, Azsharan sunset would be content to sparkle in his wet eyes.
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  7. (( Hey, guys! As you can see, the Twilight Empire is hosting a night at Bizmo's Brawlpub Friday, March 17, at 7:30 PM. What better way to blow off steam from time spent fighting the Legion than a good, old-fashioned fight night? Everyone is invited to take part in the fun, bet some of your hard-earned gold on our brave fighters, and drink until Bizmo runs out of booze! For those that still haven't received an invitation to the Brawlpub, Delenay has kindly offered to organize an invitation farming event in the coming days. For an invitation to that event, please send a message to Delenay or myself (Aryänna (Alt+0228)). For a calendar invite to the event, please send me a message in-game either by mail or whisper. If I'm not on my priest, I can usually be found on my Death Knight, Sharifal. We look forward to seeing you all there! ))
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  8. He had never before noticed how very overbearing the cloisters of the Grim Halls felt. The curved ceilings hung so low, pressing down upon Khorvis's spirit like a vice. As the passageways stretched on, they seemed to narrow to a thin crevasse through which he would need to wriggle... then get stuck... wedged in a dark cave... Khorvis shook his head and dispelled the image. Sucking in a deep, musty breath through his nostrils, he snatched a lit torch from a nearby sconce and marched onward. It was a foolish notion, for the Grim Halls had now been his sanctum for many years. He knew the twisting and multitudinous corridors as well as any - this was a den of allies. The wing through which habit forced his stride brought the orc before a tall wooden door. A few burn marks were hidden by a new placard of etched brass. "High Inquisitor Ruuki the Reborn" Yes, his nightmarish jaunt through the Shadowlands had mirrored something of the truth. Cracking the door open, Khorvis peered inside to confirm that the office of the High Inquisitor was indeed remodeled after the Tauren woman's tastes. The only familiar items were the old bookcase that hid the passage to the tower and the Desk of Resolve. There was no sign of Khorvis's trophies and keepsakes - likely the stewards had absconded with the artifacts to storage in the Lasher's own quarters. A creaking of leather and a bony rasp upon his calf spun the Harbinger with a start and an un-orcly yelp. Recoiling in fear upon all fours crouched the decaying knight, Edgar Hornridge. The pathetic Forsaken whimpered in the shadow of his Master like a beaten hound edging away from a coiled belt. Khorvis let out a long exhale, his wits rattled, and held out his hand, palm facing up. "Come, Boneslave." The servant scampered forward, every trace of fear evaporating from his dour face to be replaced by unbound joy. "Edgar found Master!" exclaimed Boneslave as he licked and slobbered ichor over Khorvis's palm. "Through Shadow-" he gurgled "-and sad months..." A pool of excrement was growing beneath both the orc's outstretched palm and the knight's own rusted boots. Perhaps this reunion had produced far too much excitement within the patchwork heart of Edgar. "Bah!" cursed Khorvis, and he shook both his hand and boots of slickness. "You mad corpse! Come with me, we do have work to be about." The orc stomped and clomped his way from the wing of the Inquisition, past the arcades of Supplicant quarters and stairways that led to deeper dungeons, through the central Great Hall. The long banquet tables had been righted and the saloon repaired since that fateful night of battle that had whisked Khorvis away to the Shadowlands. Now the benches sat in orderly rows and the great Arcane Clock that hung from the rafters ticked with masterful precision. Still, he glanced up into the shadows of the massive oaken beams that supported the cathedraled ceiling. Did the voidlings yet lurk, lairing in wait? Was he a careless tick of watchlessness away from another eon of imprisonment? The pair wasted no time making their way through the Great Hall and down the corridors housing the rank and file proper, arriving at the private quarters of Harbinger Bloodstar. Fumbling through the pockets of his leathers, Khorvis managed to produce an old skeleton key and unlocked the door with a rusty creak. Aging trophies adorned the walls, each heavy with a thick coat of dust. A tattered banner of the old Horde here. A shattered Lordaeron lance there. What appeared to be a swatch sewn of dwarven scalps. A carefully carved wooden figurine of an orc, bearing the mark of Isadore. The trinkets numbered many, but were dwarfed by a mound of furs piled at the center of the chamber. Buzzing still with flies in the reek of old sweat and drool, Khorvis's bed beckoned with the lure of dreamless slumber to an utterly exhausted orc. He brushed past the skins restlessly, meandering among all of the possessions that reminded him of his long life. Inextricably he was drawn to the armor stand, upon which hung his darkened platemail. Khorvis ran his fleshy left hand along the armor's hard lines, admiring the craftsmanship of Ruuki. The woman had faithfully reproduced the onslaught armor the Horde had worn in the Outland campaign against the Legion. The spikes bore the aggressive runeplating he remembered from those years, which had served him faithfully in service to Warchief Thrall's new Horde. Khorvis's hand dropped away, letting one of the leather straps dangle unclasped. The armor now seemed to him as much a relic as that of Edgar's. He had need not worn it within the Shadowlands to have come to his current realization. For this was the third time that his martial strength had failed in the face of an otherwordly foe. First in the caverns of ice beneath the Lich King's Citadel, trapped for months in a freezing stasis. Again, snared by the lure of the fel, wandering the halls of Acherontia's soul gem. And finally this cowardly flight through the Shadowlands. Ice, fel, and shadow. Each time, more of his comrades were thrust into greater danger. The chamber rang loudly with the clatter of metal as Khorvis shoved over the armor stand. "Enough!" the orc howled. There had to be a better way. A more strategic way to serve the Mandate. He was tired of being taken advantage of by outside forces. Tired of being outsmarted and outflanked. Khorvis had sworn himself, flesh and spirit, to defend the mad project that was the Horde. The Mandate was the weapon to accomplish this feat. He had recruited and trained dozens of Supplicants and Reapers, and yet he was useless to them if he was ensorcelled by the very enemy that they threw themselves against. "Gather all of our belongings, Boneslave." Khorvis had lowered his hands from his face. He stared as his fists unclenched, one of green flesh, the other a simulacrum in gears and titansteel. "These Halls do be too constricting. We must seek out the Elders as the Commander did order."
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  9. I've been on TN since the beginning of BC, and while I quit mid-Cata and didn't come back till the end of Pandaria, my impression is that not a lot happened during that time other than the general decline continuing. So if that's more or less true, I've observed this community at its highs and lows, from the often-nostalgiad days of BC and Wrath through the decline to the server merger revival and to present day. My observations are generally thus: We've all gotten older, and our lives have changed. The vast majority of the community is mid-twenties at minimum and the average age probably skews closer to thirty. We've settled into real jobs and started families. We've found meaning in things outside of the game. Members of the community have even passed away. Time, with the march of life and the inevitable changes it brings, takes its toll on any community, and WoW is an aging game that doesn't bring in new blood very much anymore. That said, for those of us that continue to stick around, we've found that nothing can really replace this community. We have roots up to ten years deep and have made lifelong friends and found life partners here. Just in the past three years since I've been back I've made really good friends (you know who you are, ilu) and been a part of some really amazing experiences. We're all growing older, but we're growing older with each other. Still, it's hard not to look back on other times and miss them. Miss faces we'll never see again, if not for one reason then another. Miss a time when something seemed possible that doesn't anymore. Miss a time before something came to light that can never be shrouded in ignorance again. That's part of growing up and growing older. Sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone, and then, well, of course, it's gone and you're stuck missing it. Of course I miss the heady days of Eclipse when I spent 10 hours a day for three months writing, roleplaying, or chatting with people in the plot, basking in the new, exciting glow of inclusivity and togetherness and optimism that the server merger had brought us and which Eclipse ended up being perfectly timed to take advantage of. But that was never sustainable. The glow of the new community carried us for awhile after that, especially as a number of new or returning members kept trickling in. But eventually the shine wore off. It had to. Petty squabbles broke out, people got tired, and logging in just wasn't novel enough to keep inspiring that level of interest, and generating that energy. We weren't new, exciting people to each other anymore. We were just... the people we'd already gotten to know. And the same thing has happened with the launch of Legion. After the initial burst of excitement, we've settled into the community we're going to have, again. What can we do to recapture that feeling? Honestly, I'm not sure it's possible. That's what novelty is: something that can't be brought back. But in its place we have other things. Deep friendships. Shared experiences. Maybe we're sick of some things about each other, but other things we've become quite used to and comfortable around. Another server merge wouldn't be the worst thing. I'm not sure I can imagine it being as perfect as the first one was, though. What could compare? But I'm tending to the garden that I have. It may not be as exotic to me anymore. It may be harder to find the time to water. But to extend this rather pained metaphor, it's still nourishing to me.
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  10. Ul-Rezaj placed his Dimension-Ripper's Staff on a counter at the enchanter's booth in Dalaran. It had become increasingly more difficult to control as of late, and the worst part was... he began to hear... voices? No, that was insane. Ul-Rezaj shook his head, thinking no better. The staff sometimes broke into floating pieces, dismantling the faceless headpiece at the top, into tentacles that squirmed desperately to partake in reality. Yet, those were all weak, weaker than Yogg-Saron's minions. Still, ... echoing from the dark space that the tendrils of darkness created, Ul-Rezaj thought he heard a voice. Kosumoth. N'zoth. These sounds resonated with him in much the same way Hakkar had. He touched the piece at the tip of the statue, it divided itself into pieces, crackling with lightning and energy—desperately wailing like an animal caught in a trap. Ul-Rezaj stared at the piece; it behaved in ways unlike the necrolyte's natural talents. It behaved like a separate entity, feeding itself into Ul-Rezaj's mind. Was it stolen enery, he thought contemplatively. No, the voice replied coolly, consider it a gift. We share a master, and I expect you to continue to feed us. Ul-Rezaj stared as the portals opened. The shopkeepers fidgeted uneasily, "Sir," an elven vendor asked, "Please, take it outside, you're scaring the customers." Ul-Rezaj scowled at the elf and turned around, people were not actually worried about him, but rather fixed in obsessive fascination on the ethereal who imbued enchantments on older garb that called himself "transmogrifier." --- Ul-Rezaj carried himself into the sewers; his staff exerted enormous pressure on his back. We... are... not... finished. Ul-Rezaj pled, "What is it, then?" The staff broke into fragments again that hovered in the air, releasing the pressure on his shoulders. The air shimmered and opened up black holes. A path must be cleared, ... if I am to manifest myself in reality. Your enemies threaten to block that path. Look out! Plumes of void energy crackled with lightning and opened up gaping fissures. Warped chaotic energy shot out across the sewers, lighting up the caverness hall and exposing grueling, eye-twitching vagrants with knives. A crash and a whip of hot air stole Ul-Rezaj's breath as the collision wiped out the petty beggars. A shack crashed down on top of their bodies, forming a small bonfire that puffed out smoke in thick ash clouds. "Why," asked Ul-Rezaj. They are not as innocent as you know. From now on, I will go out before you and destroy your enemies. "I can take care of myself," Ul-Rezaj retorted. No, I will go out before you and destroy your enemies. I will break their bows and shatter their swords. I will-- "Enough," the troll snapped, now seemingly barking at nothing in the darkening halls. The shack fire dwindled. The voice grew silent. A cool darkness that could be felt swept around him. Panic started to overtake him as the void itself complied with his request for silence. Ul-Rezaj experienced stomach-churning fear, unsure of what was going to happen. He folded his arms and shivered, looking around him for something, anything, to grant consolation. I hope that it is clear now... that I am on your side. Here in these sewers, you have the perfect reality. Without me, you have no vision. With me, you can plainly see what you must do. Nothing is what it seems. Those beggars acquired wealth at the expense of others, exploiting the above-grounders who move into these sewers to buy overpriced, stolen goods. These halls have no justice, no law, no order, and we must put that down—in order to build a strong, organized society. "What's in it for me," the troll asked. The glory of your cause will shine. The idea blinked into Ul-Rezaj's mind with enthusiasm. For too long, he had fought what felt like in vain. Sure, the Legion had invaded, but that wasn't his problem. He had scurried through the streets of Suramar to keep the Nightborne locked in infighting, yet the satisfaction of doing so had not wrung any sort of grand satisfaction. The Grim pursued the same ends as normal. The Alliance had largely perished, reducing the need to fight as often. Let me stop you there. The voice cooed. You have your achieved your reality, one in which the Alliance's ranks dwindle as they continue to protect fringe outposts across the world. What you must now do is raise up your own people. Descend from Dalaran and build your livelihood, pursuing honor and strength. "Right," snorted Ul-Rezaj. My first order of business, he told himself, is to put some restraint on this talking stick. You might resist now, but you were never in control. The sooner you relinquish that notion, the sooner you will be free. "I would rather die," Ul-Rezaj scowled. No, you would not. Your fledgling grasp on reality is so strong that your greatest fear is death. I have shown you that I can prevent that. You must grant me my freedom in order for you to thrive in this world. Ul-Rezaj was not about to let that happen, yet he knew of a way to pit the beast against itself.
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  11. I've learned rather a lot of disappointing things this week. Disappointing as they are, though, they are things I needed to know. Knowledge doesn't need to be good or encouraging to be important and useful. Sanctuary is not what I remember. The warlock implied a great deal happened while I was away, though he gave no details. I should have judged the truth from the things Ninorra said, but it took Syreena to make me understand. It is, however, hilarious to me that they are now essentially everything they once hated. May they fester and burn under that pious golden lion they sweetly worship. The new supplicant, his family name sounds familiar, but my research has afforded nothing of note. Perhaps it is just a similarity. Or perhaps it is a remnant of days long past, given those he mentioned he once worked for. I shouldn't have difficulty believing what he said, but I do. The man was an outright fool, too stupid to dress himself I'm sure. And no one else could see that and turn him away when he showed his face on their doorstep? The Grim have made errors. But I also made errors while I was Grim. They correct them in the end. The supplicant himself has made an error if he underestimated Syreena. That may cost him more than he bargained for. The shaman's insistence on inviting everyone within earshot to some sort of strange orcish springtime fertility orgy was concerning at best, horrifying at worst. If it's as bad as it sounded, there may be considerable opportunity for blackmail. I suspect it will be far more innocent than innuendo would imply, and simple curiosity and an observation post at some distance will be sufficient.
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  12. As the winter's blanket receded, melting into the Telaari Basin, dreaming glories poked their heads from beneath Nagrand's plains. Clefthooves in heat, talbuks rutting, spring had arrived, and the green grasses made their annual pilgrimage up towards the Red World's sun. The winds gusting off the Twisting Nether whistled past the holy mountain of Oshu'gun, carrying the promise of change and renewal over the barrier hills into the hovels and sanctums of Shattrath City. A rogue breeze slipped through one of the portals to Orgrimmar and rattled the parchment of a freshly printed flyer hanging from a tentpost within the Cleft of Shadow. It reads: Clans and guilds of the Horde do be called to meet upon the plains of Nagrand! A Kosh'harg will be held about the Ring of Trials at the middle of the coming month and her equinox! With feasting and drink, this sacred gathering do be a time of peace and honor. Games will be held to boast the strength of our comrades. Tales will be retold to remember the valor of those who did come before us. Honor will be heaped upon those who did depart from us too soon. The old ways call on us to unite as one and look to the future. The Horde must know for what it fights! The poster is signed with a sigil stamped in red incarnadine ink, bearing the image of Blackrock Spire, the Grim skull, and the Lash. The wind swirls and dissipates, but leaves behind the heady scent of grasses. [[OOC: This is an event for all Horde! The Kosh'harg is an old tradition from the orcish clans of Draenor, before the intrusion of the Burning Legion. It is meant to be a great large festival, where all Clans come to meet in peace. No weapons are drawn in anger (aside from friendly duels) and all are invited to celebrate their commonality. Traditionally, this was a time for discussing trade and oaths, settling disagreements, and retelling stories. It was always held near Oshu'gun in Nagrand. I would very much like for us as a roleplay community to honor this tradition. The Kosh'harg has been executed successfully on other servers, and I think that it could be a lot of fun! We are not all orcs, but our various guilds form many different 'clans'. This would be a chance to interact freely outside of the usual 'tavern' RP setting. It would also need some structure. I am envisioning a series of events through a night. An opening benediction. Feasting and chatter. A dueling tournament. A storytelling contest. A closing ceremony. Nothing is yet set in stone, because I am coming here to listen to ideas! Here's a basic TL;DR: Who: Everyone's invited! (Hordeside) What: Large Horde festival Where: Ring of Trials, Nagrand, Outland When: Wednesday night in middle of April - 12th or 19th, 8pm server If you or your guild wants to participate, post here or send me a PM. The goal is to get a big turnout, so the more the merrier! ]]
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  13. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER It's time to announce the winners of the story contest. As a little insight there were three judges with at least one judge Horde side and one Alliance side, stories were judged on -Grammar -Adherence to the main topic -The Overall Favorite Each judge compiled their own list of favorites and then brought together for discussion until everyone was happy with the top choices. As a Bonus I'm adding additional prize for 3rd place. Winners Please contact me before April 20th to claim your winnings or risk forfeiture of your prize. So, Winners: Third Place Goes to.... Kexti For Red Tea! Congrats Kexti, that is 1,000 gold reward for you! Please msg me privately ant let me know which char to drop your winnings off within one month. Second Place and Winner of $6,000 gold goes to....... Catalinetta for And My Axe! Congrats to you! please msg me where you want your prize money sent within one month. Without Further Adieu...Winner of the Grand New Year Story Contest and 1 month free game time or the equivalent gold is........ Qabian!! for Design Flaw!!!! Congrats to you! Please contact me before April 20th and tell me how you want your winnings. Congrats to everyone and thank you for your participation!!!
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  14. Well then. I do believe I have an accurate grasp, now, of what exactly it feels like to have all the shards within myself ripped from me at once; though not in quite the situation I'd fantasized over. There was only one victim, and she endured it willingly. And, gods below, was it far more painful for me than cathartic. She had the good sense to leave as soon as it was over. I wouldn't trust me in that moment, either. It wouldn't serve me to drain every last bit of fel from her before I get what I need from her friend, anyway -- assuming he is capable of being of any use -- though, for a moment, it almost looked as if I wasn't going to give her or myself the option. I haven't felt that particular brand of crazy in quite some time. Even now, I can hear its siren song when I close my eyes, keeping me from surrendering to the rest I so desperately need, urging me toward inclinations I've long since shed. Luckily, any movement whatsoever quickly dissuades me from following my dreams. That man, though. Wasteful, dismissive, inattentive, far too excited by shiny objects. He actually assumed my injury was the result of some negligence on my part -- and, to be fair, it was, though not in the manner he was assuming: that I were some overreaching novice that called too much upon herself. He asked for clarification. I offered a more thorough representation of the facts, and suddenly it's a sob story? How? Why? Did *he* want to cry? I will take his reactions to mean he has no idea what I am capable of, which is exactly how I would prefer it be for the world around me, so I suppose I shouldn't fault him for that. In fact, it was a sobering reminder of Silvermoon's nobility culture; one I obviously needed, despite how disappointing it was. As long as he can deliver on what I'm paying him to do, what should I care? But if all he teaches me is how to open a pocket to some candy store dimension because he believes me to be some lost little princess dabbling with demons to shock mommy and daddy, I will gladly show him how wrong he is.
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  15. I submitted some answers and also posted in the thread Kerala posted in GenDisc.
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  16. Hi all, could you take 5 minutes and answer a short survey so I can gather data to send to the RP community managers at Blizzard? Thanks. https://goo.gl/forms/4uGixZr8NVCILLEo2
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  17. (( Bump because this is tomorrow! (or I guess technically today if you're on the east coast).))
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  18. Headshots of my three main characters, mostly drawn as an exercise in making sure I can make their faces look different. Then their personalities came through too.
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  19. It’s just a finger. I keep telling myself that. I keep telling others that, and they look at me like they’re not sure how to react to my calmness about the whole thing. It could have been so much worse. And the doctor fixed it up as best he could. My date from the auction a while back. He was not at all what I expected. He was nice. “Booze money,” the finger stealer said, and “Be glad it’s just the finger I got paid for.” That was after he made me tell him which of my hands I use more. He cut the finger off the other hand. He wasn’t unnecessarily cruel, and he didn’t seem to take exceptional pleasure in the task. He was huge, and spikey, and so strong. It could have been so, so much worse. But people don’t consider what could have happened, only what did. But it’s only a finger. For now, at least. What did happen, what I did lose, doesn’t frighten me. But what’s next? A hand? My head? Just watching my back all the time, waiting for a next strike? Every time I remember the grip of death’s tendrils around my waist, yanking me into that alley. Every time I envision those frosty blue eyes before me. Every time I catch my breath, remembering that huge plate gauntlet around my neck. Every time the stump of my pinky finger throbs, or an itch settles on a digit that is no longer there, I wonder. Who paid him? At first, I thought of Skylah. She knows who I am, or thinks she does. Would she have paid someone to mutilate my hand as payback for what was done to hers? Then I found out that the Cardman received my finger as a gift. It was even wrapped up in pretty paper. He didn’t seem to have a clue who sent it. But I did. I knew it wasn’t Skylah. She would not have sent it to the Cardman. At least, I don’t think she would. She didn’t seem the type to send grisly presents like that. I know of one who does send such gifts though, and if my suspicions are correction, this won’t be the end of it. But I can’t tell anyone, not without revealing my own identity. So I balance the risk of my safety against the new life I've begun to build for myself. It is not an easy choice, especially without any way of being certain of who's behind the attack. Aside from the sisters, who I never see any more, and Lilly, who I avoid, nobody else has shown any sign of knowing who I really am. Until last night. I tried to play dumb, but he wouldn’t have it. He said we would talk later, somewhere quiet. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to that meeting, or dreading it. In any case, although he could certainly make things difficult for me if he chose to, I am confident he can't hurt me, not without straining a long-standing trust with someone else.
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  20. Qabian was far from a surgeon, but he was an academic, so he was willing to give a laparotomy the old college try. Given everything he'd subjected the creature to so far, he was confident that it would survive anything he did to it. After the application of a carefully dosed piece of meat, by the time the mage had made his way to the laboratory facilities someone had set up in the basement of the Grim Halls in Tirisfal, the panther cub was sleeping soundly. The wide, low-ceilinged room's lighting was a disturbing cold white, despite the dark stone of the walls. The available equipment was a strangely random assortment, but Qabian brought his own kit, a set of scalpels, forceps, syringes full of liquid mana, pins, needles, and some thread, cleaned and disinfected, then rolled up in a leather case. With the sleeping cat laid out on its side on a table, Qabian tugged on a pair of specially coated white cotton gloves. Leaning carefully over his victim, the mage pressed his fingers below the creature's jaw, then slid one of the syringes into its neck. The slightest draw on the plunger and a flash of red pulsed through the blue liquid in the syringe. Qabian tilted his head, surprised at the ordinariness of the creature's blood. He pushed some of the mana into the creature, and violet flickers shimmered beneath the black pelt. He gently turned the creature onto its back, leaving the syringe dangling from its neck. When the mage touched the scalpel blade to the creature's torso, a jolt of violet lightning knocked the knife out of his hand and across the room. Qabian sighed and retrieved the blade from the floor. He moved to the sink to rinse it, only to find no taps. A sink with no taps? Just a basin? Who builds a lab without running water? No one. That couldn't be right. "I hate this place," he muttered. There must have been some water somewhere, but he didn't have the time to figure it out. He flicked the dirty blade into the basin and grabbed a new one from his kit. With a firmer grip on the instrument, Qabian sliced into the creature's flesh. Excerpts from a notebook 2.TG.P1.011 The symbols on the creature's insides are expected and familiar, part of the ritual I had hoped the troll would perform. In the future, I must make a better inspection of the facilities before engaging in surgical exploration. In the future, I don't intend to ever explore surgically again, but this is my project and I remain uncertain of its value. It would not suit me to have hired someone else for this particular task. I do what I must. I could not force my way past its bones. I expect they have been enhanced with arcane power, but I don't believe I would learn much more if I could, though it's possible that what hides there has value if the rest of the project ultimately fails. Its healing capacity provides further evidence of its unnatural origins. Stitches were not required. And yet, its blood appears normal in color and consistency.
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  21. Qabian had ingratiated himself with a certain circle of the Suramar elite. While the rest of the Horde and Alliance busied themselves aiding the needy shal’dorei affected by Legion rationing, Qabian positioned himself as a provider of new indulgences to those who needed no help. It wasn't that he had found the open-minded crowd. Far from it. They looked down on him as all good xenophobes do those they aren't raised alongside. But there was something comforting in their arrogance, like a childhood blanket. This was a world he knew and that he could operate within, reminding him of the days when he was not an orphan but said he was to make himself seem more exotic. What he brought them was bloodthistle. There were other sources, of course, but few as accommodating. And for those with a masochistic bent, higher in number amongst the powerful and bored, he showed them what Kael’thas taught Rommath the last time the Legion had been so destructive. Most found it horrifying, but a few asked for subsequent demonstrations. Repeatedly. The mage took to accepting every invitation that came his way from the city below, and they were frequent, having him in Suramar nearly as often as Dalaran. Any time he entered a room, even when his presence had been directly requested, half of the courtiers would leave, looks of disgust not remotely disguised. But those who remained would treat him to lavish feasts of seafood and abundant arcwine. It was the baths, though, fragranced, salted, and laced with ancient mana, that drew him back time and again, encouraging the mage to keep his thistle supply well stocked. Each time he indulged, the repeating nightmare of suffocating in a world without mana was deliciously reversed for several days. It was after one such bathing session when he was wrapped in a soft robe, a thistle leaf under his tongue, lounging on a balcony overlooking the city, that a shal’dorei woman approached him. She perched on the arm of his chaise, but did not touch him, breaking from the deviance he had grown to expect from those who dared to get so close. “Is it true? What they're saying about the Nightwell?” she asked. “Hm?” The heat of the steam still clung to him, and he found himself thinking through a pleasant, mana-heavy haze. “Most likely.” “What will become of us?” Not all of those eager for his services understood what was happening outside the city. They were sheltered, believing that those who had always held the power would continue to protect them. “You will adapt,” Qabian said matter-of-factly. “Will our eyes change? Like yours?” She was a grown woman, but Qabian found her childish questions off putting. “Don't you think that would have already happened?” She shrugged. “I don't think it will. Though I suppose that chapter is not yet over.” “Will we starve?” Qabian sighed. “Do you want to?” Given the sort who kept his company, the answer was not a given. “No.” “Then you won't.” “Will we have to do what you do?” Qabian grinned wickedly. “You mean feed on each other?” She nodded, looking away. He laughed cruelly. “Perhaps.” He knew the truth, but he saw no reason to correct her misconception. “My people have not needed to do that for some time, but some of us, most of us, continue. Why do you think that is?” He reached for the glass of arcwine on the small table beside him and took a sip. She took a while to answer. “Because you're horrible.” He laughed again. “And so are you. Everything will change, and nothing. In the end, you will always be who you are.” She glared at him, then her expression softened. She was, after all, willing to get close to him, to be alone with him, to inquire as to his thoughts. She was already one of the deviants. She knew he spoke the truth. “Thank you.” Usually he found those words distasteful, but not in this place. He lifted his glass in salute. “Any time.”
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  22. Hrm, bouncing off of Qabian's idea at the end there - Wow has a sort of 'world ordering' map: Instead of dedications to 'gods' it could be to one of the 'master elements' like Order, Death, Life, Chaos, ect. It's only 6 instead of 12, but hey, ideas! As for other ideas, I know Thunderhoof Clan would occasionally hold arena-type tournaments in the Stranglethorn Vale for a fun bit of pvp. They always seemed to like it. I think they called it the 'Thundarena.' I myself enjoyed the charity auctions, though life obligations always prevented me from actually attending one. It always was a good spark for RP interactions to happen after the event, not just at the event. As just a random thought, perhaps some sort of clue-hunting game would be fun? I vaguely remember parents setting up a 'follow the clues' kind of trail for competing groups of kids to see who could figure them out and locate the prize at the end first. Kinda like Geocatching? This could either be totally innocent, or taken down a darker path. For instance, innocently little clues could lead to the biggest Noble Garden egg ever made. Or on a darker side, you could be finding pieces/parts of your friend coupled with taunting notes, & your racing against time to reach them before they don't have any more parts to loose.
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  23. It was a delightfully bright and sunny day on the Arath'dorei estate as Munchkin the kitten found a way to escape from Kreyen's bedroom and traipse through the Arath'dorei manor. Her tiny gold medallion-looking name tag made a tinkling bell noise as as walked, exploring the long halls until at last, she found her way to the formal garden. It was so big! The tiny kitten used her nose to sniff out appropriate plants; lemongrass, mint, lavender. Within one of the fragrant lavender bushes, she spotted a bird. It was a small bird, no larger than a fledgling. Munchkin lowered herself to the ground. Small enough to fit in the palm of an elf's hand, she was easily hidden behind the greenery. The kitten waited until her pray had turned its back before leaping forth, tiny needle-like claws extended, her jaws clasped around the bird's throat like a snare. A single bite, and the bird was dead. Munchkin held the animal in her mouth like a prize. Blood stained her immaculate white coat as she carried the bird's corpse back to Kreyen's bedroom. At some point in the morning, before Kreyen has woken, Munchkin lay a dead bird beside his face on the pillow. She then climbed on to the pillow itself and fell asleep curled around Kreyen's neck. Unable to properly deal with the situation himself, upon waking, Kreyen's agitation forced him to put on pants and seek the help of one of the manor's staff. As the maid disposed of the bird and began to change the sheets, Kreyen closed the window he'd left open and then hobbled towards the bathroom. Munchkin followed Kreyen to the bathroom, as cats tend to do. She didn't seem to have much use for personal space. Kreyen stared at the bloodied kitten dryly as he began to run the bath, sitting on its rim as the bed was changed outside. "You've no one to blame for this but yourself," he said. Munchkin mewed expectantly. She hopped up on the rim of the tub and looked down toward the water. She then looked at Kreyen. A single paw went out toward one of his arms, grabbing for him in an attempt to pull him away from the danger below. Kreyen's hand evaded the paw deftly, swirling around to boop the small animal on her nose. Once the water reached a sufficient height, he grabbed a pitcher and put it under the tap to collect water. Afterward, he stared at the kitten for a long moment, then plucked her into the air. He let her hang there for a moment, and then deposited her in the warm water unceremoniously. Chaos. Pure, unrivaled chaos and woe. Munchkin thrashed in Kreyen's hands, her claws scraping at whatever she could find in an effort to haul her body from the liquid death that was being forcefully submerged into. Her mews were agony, her blue eyes wide and frightened. Emotions raged within the kitten; betrayal clutching her heart as she sunk deep into the depths of despair. "Shhh," The cripple cooed, scooping a hand underneath the kitten to support her and keep her from escaping. "It won't hurt you." He grabbed a bar of soap in his free hand, getting enough lather on the surface using his fingers before setting to work trying to clean the kitten's face while avoiding the needle like teeth she could bring to bear. The smell was overwhelming. A floral nightmare enveloped her senses, followed by the voice of her slave as he continued to torment her. His hands had grown strong, and he held her at bay with a severity that caused her howling mews to extend past the normal limit. Truly, this was hell. Surely, death would come soon and end this wretched existence. Once enough of the blood had been removed from her coat, Kreyen rinsed his hand off and shut off the water. His last betrayal was the pitcher. Full to the brim, the former ranger up ended the entirety of its contents onto her, rinsing off the remnants of the soap and leaving her a wet clump of once more pure white fur. Munchkin howled in protest. The warm lava-like liquid was searing away her skin and fur. If she survived this, it would be a bald and hopeless future. The kitten saw her future flash before her eyes; she would spend the rest of her life cold, furless, abandoned to the wilderness where the birds and mice would laugh at her pitiful existence. Helplessly she mewed, begging for mercy. Kreyen set aside the pitcher and pulled the drain plug on the tub, allowing the water to be sucked away. He lifted the sad little creature from her temporary prison then, but only to replace it with another. She was deposited into the folds of a towel, and then bundled up as Kreyen began to rub her down and wick the moisture from her fur with a gentle vigor. Munchkin mewed from the crushing walls surrounding her. Soon, she imagined, her bones would be shattered. Might she simply be left to die there, broken and alone? Her slave did not hear her pleading. His enormous monkey hands gripped her, squeezing the moisture from her once luxurious fur into what she could only assume was some sort of torture device. The massaging did not cease until she was sufficiently dried off and fluffed up, a discovery Kreyen found by opening the towel to check on the progress. He didn't unwrap her fully, allowing the small animal to make her own decisions about how done she was with his presence. Munchkin opened her eyes. Sweet release! Before her sat her slave, in all his contempt. She mewed for help, only to find that the pain was gone. Her bones were intact, and her fur, strangely enough, pristine. The kitten blinked slowly in her slave's direction. Had he, in fact, rescued her from her fate? Were his hands not instruments of destruction, but of salvation? With a mew of relief, she padded toward his bulky frame and rubbed her head against his soft white belly, purring loudly. Thank you, slave, she said with her rubbing, marking him with her scent, to let all who would smell him understand that he was her property, and she would care for him. Truly, you shall feast like a king on this day.
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  24. I've always been of the feeling that a community is what you make it. If you want it to be better than it is, you add to it yourself, and I think any addition, no matter how small, is good. As a result, I'm frequently mulling over ideas for events in my head, but the way real life goes for me right now, I'm extremely unlikely to get the opportunity to make any of them happen. Even my forum postings around here don't happen nearly as often as I have the ideas for them, because life gets in the way. When I'm thinking up ideas, they're usually events my character would run, which... is not necessarily the same thing as what I would like to see or attend. Academic presentations, historical tours, PvP mischief, that kind of thing. I would of course like to see more events in general, with for me the only qualification being that I have the opportunity to attend them, which... gets stomped on by real life more often than not. I don't even care if they're the kind of event I enjoy or that my character would reasonably go to. I can force him to go to almost anything. Hell, I'd even attend Cavanaugh's if I could, either as a secret Alliance or to add to the mess. All I really need is the block of time to participate. In an attempt to be more fruitful, back in FFXIV, the pantheon had 12 gods, each one associated with a month, and each also had a shrine somewhere out in the world, so each month for a year an unaffiliated RP group would go out to a stone and characters would volunteer to do presentations (poems, sermons, stories, songs, dances, whatever) related to the particular god. WoW doesn't offer anything I can think of that's so brazenly obvious, but I suppose a series of 12 anythings could be a jumping off point for something for someone.
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  25. Well we are actually organizing "sermons" that I am beginning to write and intend to invite any alliance who want to attend and maybe hear a little radical / zealous Pro - Alliance propaganda. :-) ... The first will be held at Tyr's Hand, the second will be in the Cathedral of Light in Gilneas... followed by some good old fashioned purification of some Undead Targets :-) of course this is a Horde heavy server so that prob doesn't appeal to THAT many people on the TnG. We were also thinking of hosting a PvP type of tourney, similar to how Dusk Watch used to run the ARMS tourney... but again, our RP being so anti Horde atm, precludes us extending any invites to the other side, altho perhaps a challenge or something can come of that! I am always open to ideas!
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  26. Pulling the worn chronometer from his pocket High Cleric Alphus checked its reading for the third time, harrumphing to himself. Late! Clicking it closed and returning the device to his pocket he grabbed a sheaf of reports, filing them to clear his desk of the morning's work. He should know by now this one would always be late and by his estimate, that late arrival should be just about... Glancing up at the doorway leading into the small chapel that doubled as a records room for Hearthglen, he spotted the old man who he'd just been grumbling about. The balding redhead grinned as he came in, a twinkle in his green eyes. Pointing an accusatory finger at the newcomer the white haired gnomish High Cleric raised his voice, “Oh no you don't! Don't even ask, the answer is still no! And your late, again!” Across the room the other Argent hung his head in mock dejection before shrugging his shoulders with a smile, skipping his usual greeting as he approached. “So... ya sent fer me?” He finished with a wink. Alphus gave him the stink eye but let the alluding tone slide. Better to get this one done with quickly. “Since you're cavorting around in our tabard once more, we have a mission for you.” Moving over to his desk he grabbed a sheet, clearing his throat. “Ah-hem. So, as you likely know after the Broken Shore we need every able bodied Argent we have available. However! We also need every able-bodied Argent to be much stronger, as you're pulling the weight for all those we've sadly, lost.” Alphus bowed his head for a moment in remembrance before continuing, the redhead following suit for once in respect. “As such you, Aruku Hitowa, are tasked with acquiring one of these 'legendary' weapons to enhance your abilities.” He held out the paper he'd picked up earlier to the other priest, giving him a firm look. “I remember how you're healing abilities have saved many in past wars. Should it be exponentially magnified as some say these 'legendaries' do, you'll be able to save an innumerably greater amount. That sheet has a few potential locations listed. Now go, I have work to do!” Turning about the white haired gnome dismissed the other man, pulling at his mustache as if in thought. Nodding Aruku took the sheet in hand, pausing a moment to wonder at the somewhat confusing dismissal before turning to head out with a jolly wave, “Sure thing handsome!” Azuna: Rubbing a hand over his trimmed goatee Aruku listened to the ghostly elf as he leaned on his walking staff, “So sum'un already got it?” The woman nodded, shrugging. “Ah well, thankies anywho cutie.” Smiling he blew the ghost a kiss, getting only a quirked eyebrow in response. There was one more gone. He drew a rough line through another point on the list Alphus had given him, frowning. Not many left to check. It was still early though and nice out, good traveling weather. Cheerfully he set northward towards the towering giant trees of Val'Sharah, spirits not at all dampened by having no success yet. By the time he reached a good camping spot by a merrily babbling stream the sun was already dipping towards the horizon, and under the forest boughs it got dark earlier than out in the fields. Unhurriedly the old man pitched camp, tending to the down to earth necessities before settling in at the edge of the stream. He was briefly startled with the quickly silenced sound of an animal's squall of surprised pain in the brush. The wildlife did need to eat too and at least it sounded like a mercifully quick death. As the normal forest sounds returned to the area he relaxed, returning to his tasks. Whatever it was had already gotten its meal so he was probably safe. Tying a line to the end of his walking staff he set to catching dinner, letting his mind wander back to when he first met his wife, fishing in a different forest a world away from this one. The memories brought a smile to his lips as he made a mental reminder to bring her something nice from his trip. Stormheim: Aruku stood staring at the last unmarked line on the list, thinking it over. 'The Val'kyr/Shieldmaidens.' Maidens, huh? Grinning he folded the list and tucked it away, wondering what sort of beautiful ladies might be just down this path. The large lads up in Valdisdall had happily pointed the direction to go, accompanied with boisterous laughs at the expense of the old man's small stature. Well, small to a vrykul. The deridement of the other men didn't phase him, he knew what ladies liked and he knew he could deliver. Setting on his way down the path towards Skold-Ashil, walking staff thumping solidly along with him he beamed. He had a good feeling about this one! He could see a pair of large armored ladies on top of bears flanking either side of an entry gate downhill. Raising a hand he waved at them exuberantly, smiling as he saw them raise hands waving weapons back and point their bear mounts his way. They were greeting him! Next thing he knew there were several loud pops and smoke rapidly filling the air to the point he couldn't see a thing. Some type of limb struck him, grabbing and dragging him away from where he'd seen the ladies charging forward to meet him on the road. Disoriented, he didn't know what was going on till he was sitting in a hidden little rocky plateau next to a cooing gryphon. From behind a bandanna a familiar set of eyes were peering down at him, concerned. Blinking he looked up at the other man in recognition, "Kaoin?" The human nods slightly, looking the old priest over any obvious injuries. "Are you okay?" "Ah... yah, I think so? Whatcha doing out here?" He rubs his bald spot while looking up at the leather covered man, puzzled. Did something happen? "I...umm....just happened to be in the area. Heard the vrykul here have some rather potent brew...." he trails off, sounding slightly unsure of the words he's saying. "Here, have some water and take a deep breath." Thrusting a flask at the man he rescued Kaoin poorly tried covering up whatever reason he was actually out here for. "Oh uh, thankies." Aruku looks a bit confused but accepts the water flask and sips it, not really sure what's going on. "Did ya see where those big beauties on tha road went? I think... I got lost?" Blinking the dark haired man told him they'd gone away, followed by questioning what Aruku'd been doing out there. There was a bit of back and forth as the rescuer sussed out what was going on and attempted to explain to his friend why what he'd been doing was a bad idea, while gritting his teeth and trying to contain his laughter. "Not....quite Aruku, no. They were preparing to challenge you to a battle, and not one in bed." "Awww. Bed battles are tha best battles!" He sighs, looking disappointed. "Well, guess tha means no askin them 'bout artifact thingies." Pulling out the paper he crosses off the last line on the list. Kaoin hesitates before patting his friend on the shoulder. "Maybe not. Do you need a hand getting out of here?" Taking a moment to look about he shrugs, still not quite sure where he got pulled to, "If ya could jus point m' back ta Dalaran...?" Reaching over he pats his gryphon on the beak. "Why don't you take ol' Bernard back? He knows the way and I still have a few things to check on while I'm here. Business and all that." "Well, if ya's gonna be alright without 'im. Dun wan m' kids favorite sitter left out sumwhar!" He smiles, getting to his feet. Kaoin grins, pulling up his bandanna. "I'll be safe, I promise. You just be safe and let me know if you need any help." He starts prepping the saddle on the gryphon. "Ya call if ya get inta a bind out 'ere, I'll fly 'im right back out ta getcha!" Chuckling he gives Kaoin's shoulder a fond pat. His eyes crinkle in a smile and nods, "Always. See you back at home, and be sure to tell the family I send my best." Mounting up he nodded back, “Ah'll be sure ta, good lookin!” Grinning he threw a wink at the other man, knowing full well it wasn't going to go anywhere with this one. Still, friends like these were better than any physical richness. Netherlight Temple: 'If all else fails, present this letter to Lilith in Netherlight Temple. They have a collection of artifacts that have rejected the people who found them. One might suit you.' Barely even sparing the balding old man a glance up from the letter she waved him off towards the collections. “Help yourself.” Nodding Aruku ambled over, setting his trusty walking staff off to the side before entering. The area had been sectioned off into three alcoves, each clearly marked. Turning to his right he entered the one indicating Holy affinities, looking at the much smaller selection than he thought would be present with a tilt of his head. Ah well, just ment less to sort through. Rubbing his bald spot he pondered a moment how to go about this, before shrugging and addressing the inanimate objects. “So ah... don't suppose ayh jus ask ya's if we c'n be new buddies an ya like... light up or summat?” The room responded with silence and the staffs just continued laying there. “Well, was worth a shot.” Chuckling to himself he moved over to the staffs one at a time, giving a polite nod of his head before gently touching them, one after the other. He could actually sense their energies, almost like wills in these objects, but none of them seemed... right. The staffs agreed. Or was that just his imagination? Stepping back he bowed his thanks to the staffs for their consideration. As silly as it might seem it never hurt to be polite. Into the next alcove he moved, letting his gaze travel slowly across the... less happy feeling staffs of this room. In fact the longer he stood there, the more he got the heavy sense of judging eyes on him. It reminded him of how the chapel clergy would look down on him for his 'indiscretions' and lack of austerity. Rubbing his goatee he smirked, giving the room of judgmental staves a bow and exiting. He knew better than to do more than that. That just left.... Giving the last shadowy alcove a glance he shook his head, the pit of his stomach sinking at the thought of even going near there. Nope. Home: Traveling along the dirt path wending through meadows and trees towards home, Aruku sighed. He'd failed to find an artifact that would match him, what was he going to do now? Well, the 'mission' paper Alphus gave him didn't specify an amount of time really, just 'as soon as possible.' Perhaps if he just kept aware in his travels, he'd find something before it was needed. Content with this solution he smiled, thinking of what lay waiting ahead for him. A warm, safe home filled with people he loved. His wife Janala with a herd of little ones. Maybe even a visiting friend. Probably burnt food from his partner trying to cook dinner again. Chuckling at the last thought the remainder of his melancholy from failing the search lifted. There was so much joy to be found, so many people beyond those at the end of the road he loved, how could he stay down about not finding some really old dead dude's staff? Far as he figured, strength of magic wasn't in some object, but from one's heart. And if he could find it in his heart to love as much as he did, then whether or not he had some 'legendary' thing shouldn't matter. He'd just make his love legendary instead. Then call this walking staff his wife had grown with her druidic magic his 'love pole.' Ooh, Janie'd appreciate that one! Grinning like a fool he came up to his own front door, leaning the staff aside as the setting suns rays gilt everything in honeyed tones. Knocking produced excited shrieks inside of young kids and the pelting of many small feet towards the door. Swinging it in gently to avoid knocking anyone over he hollered in “Honey, I'm hooome!” Immediately he was tackled by his herd of little treasures, falling over into a laughing tangle of arms, legs, hooves and long ears. Here, in his arms was the future he was working to protect. The next generation, who would in turn protect their kids, and their kid's kids and on down the line. Just as his forefathers and those before them, going back in time had up to now. And protect they would, making and using whatever tools they needed to. Artifacts after all were just old tools that were once new. So perhaps in the future, the tools of today would become the artifacts of tomorrow. In the last glow of sunset, a sliver of playful Light twisted along the top of the walking staff left outside, chortling to itself.
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  27. This artist I've commissioned a few times is asking for signal boosts, so I thought I'd toss this out. Feel free to hop on the thread with other artists if anyone wants. TenNine deviantArt She does batches of cheap $10-$15 portrait sketches fairly regularly and currently has one on the go. TenNine tumblr These are some of the things I've gotten from her: $15 color sketch of Kiannis $15 color sketch of my emo Miqo'te assassin from FFXIV $30 color portrait of Q with his ear cut off
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  28. I did a blog. http://highkeylove.blogspot.com/2017/02/12-cool-things-to-do-in-vegas-without.html
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About us

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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