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  1. 6 points
    [[ Some brutal metal for Mai'kull ]] "Matron!" Khorvis howled as the dust of the explosion began to settle, much of it still hanging in the silent air. He had seen her valiant sacrifice and tumbling form thrown from the voidlord just before the blast and the ringing in his ears started. Staggering to his feet, the orc shook his head and took two steps towards the scene of the druidess's fall before his boots gave out beneath him and his jaw connected with the chamber floor with a painful click! The wraithlings had descended from the ceiling and were swarming the pool. Two of the freaks had tackled Khorvis's legs and their claws ripped into his flesh. Not far away, Baal'themar slashed and flung away his own assailants, barely escaping their shadowy embrace. "Get! Off! Of! Me!" Khorvis roared and kicked at the darkness. "You black goatsuckers! I'll have your- GAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!" The wail escaped the warrior's mouth as a shadowfiend's dagger-like claw stabbed into the delicate machinery of his engineered eye. The complex circuits and ornate housing crunched, ruining Harbinger Bloodscream's masterpiece in a shower of sparks. Khorvis squirmed and screamed, overwhelmed by a mounting pile of wraiths until a booming snarl accompanied the shattering of rubble. A massive grizzly lunged from beneath a stone pile and tore at the fiends with a broad swipe from her paw. They fell in a wave, shredded and mangled by sickle-like claws. Skittering and screeching, the voidlings recoiled away from the pool. The fury of Theira Oaksong drove back the tide of shadow in the very last moment before her strength gave out completely. A broken and bleeding tauren fell unconsciously as the elf Baal'themar raced to catch the woman. She hung limp in the rogue's arms - the man turned to Khorvis and barked an unaccustomed order to his erstwhile-superior: "There is no more time! We must retreat at once!" "Then stop da whimperin' an' get ya arses up 'ere, stone-blind fools!" Tahzani retorted from the entry ledge, framed by a glowing portal. Its twin arose some few feet from the party near the pool, finally revealing the conjuration that the warlock had been brewing throughout the battle. Baal'themar grunted as he slung the dead-weight of his commander over his shoulders. The Lasher struggled to his feet, clutching his thrice-ruined eye, and stumbled after the elf with the aid of his servant, Edgar. As a unit, they were whisked to the waiting side of the two trolls. Not a moment after the demonic gateway shuttered, the horde of shadow wraiths mustered and swarmed towards the tunnel. Lilliana flung a bolt of Light at the cresting wave of shadow and screamed, "RUN!" --- Mai'kull had taken only two strides down the tunnel within the Shadowlands before Lilliana's blood-curdling scream echoed up to his ears. Trouble. Now! His loping gait rounded a bend before stopping short at the sight racing towards him. A party of six - including the late High Inquisitor! - ran up the passage, hounded by what could only be described as a swirling tsunami of blackness crashing over floor, wall, and ceiling. Hundreds, thousands of void-wrought horrors gave chase to the mage's comrades. An army of the Shadow stretched far and away, without number. He reached into his satchel, gripping an ancient scroll. The wrinkled parchment pressed with familiarity against the forsaken's fingertips. These were the words that mapped the foundations of his arcane powers. Years unremembered in training and devotion, culminating in this very instant. It was a small comfort, the tactile sensation of something so commonplace. A base affront before the ephemeral foe. Mai'kull flung the parchment forward as it unfurled, lying flat and suspended in the air. Baal'themar heaving, Theira in luggage, Tahzani sprinting, Khorvis in agony, Lilliana waving wildly at the mage, Storm linked through in horror, and Edgar bounding at heels, all fled past Mai'kull in a cacophony of warnings. Their words washed over him, for his concentration had long left worry of his own flesh. The Dark Parchment hung only a few meters between the mage and the host of the Void's oblivion, but time slowed to a crawl. The Maleficar weaved the remaining strands of arcanistry into place and settled their threads upon the geomantic inscriptions covering the scroll. The ward activated instantaneously in a shield of light that ripped apart the Dark Parchment and spread to block the tunnel. Shadow fiends flung themselves futilely at the barrier only to vaporize in blasts of golden oblivion. The swell of shadow broke upon the cliff of Mai'kull's making, his hand outstretched as if holding a bulwark of pure power. Indeed, it required every ounce of the mage's concentration to maintain the spell as the enemy horde eviscerated itself upon an arcane cliff face. The party had come to a stop, catching their breath and watching Mai'kull's devilry in awestruck horror. They screamed their urgings to abandon the tunnel and exit the portal, back unto the plane of the living. "Leave it, mage! Retreat!" goaded the elf. "Togethah, mon!" chattered the warlock. "We kin do dis!" Mai'kull turned his head, the cowl dropping away under the backblast of shielding. The hair and flesh had been seared from his skull - only face of bone stared back at his fellow Horde. Within the eye sockets dwelt a solemn resolve. Khorvis, the darkening wound in his own eye, caught the look and understood. Dozens of comrades over the course of many campaigns had displayed the same commitment upon battlefields less obtuse. There would be no return to Azeroth for Mai'kull. The mage had chosen his fate, and the end would consume him in this land of shadow and decay. Already Khorvis could sense the forsaken's spirit slipping away. The warrior turned and helped Baal'themar carry the burden of the fallen Matron. Lilliana brought both of her hands to her mouth in a silent scream. Gripping her by the shoulder, Tahzani pulled the troll through the gateway back to Tirisfal, followed by Edgar and the rest... --- The shield was giving out. Whether it was the sheer number of voidlings that threw their corpses upon the barrier or the very decrepit nature of the Shadowlands itself, the spell was draining more rapidly than Mai'kull had expected. He watched out of the corner of his eye as the last of the party passed through the gateway, to safety. A solace he would never know again - but that was to be expected. Here at the breach, he would alight the banner of the Mandate. Closing what was left of his eyelids, Mai'kull Fireweaver dropped the shield and ignited the remainder of his arcane reserves. From within, a storm of flame erupted and spread down the passageway like a sirocco, annihilating every shadow field that it touched. The impression of fiery wings unfolded from the mage's shoulderblades and- --- Edgar dove out of the portal to the Shadowlands and immediately tackled the Blackrock Dagger, ripping it out of the ground and throwing it out of the ritual circle. The gateway shuddered behind the last of the party and as it sealed shut, it released a blast of raw flame before disappearing entirely. Unable to march another step, Baal'themar and Khorvis set Theira down among the toadstools of the Whispering Forest. While the others could only stare at where once had been the portal, now a scorched patch of earth, the orc was frantic as he shook the still form of the tauren. It was through tears of a bloodied eye that Khorvis saw the spirit of Theira depart Azeroth. The Matron's back was broken. Her body, having given every last ounce of fury to protect those dear, was lifeless.
  2. 4 points
    Rules: 1. Roll a 100 sided die (can be done digitally) 2. Your (main) character is now the race dictated by the results of your roll. If you roll your current race, you must re-roll. The point is, after all, to write something different! 3. Write a short story (500 - 2000 words, or 1-4 standard pages) involving your main character as this new race, and how he fits with the Horde or Alliance. Does being another race change your character's personality? Does it change their objectives? If the race they are changed to does not allow for the same class they were originally, how does that change your character? What aspects remain at the heart of your character that will translate if they are another race entirely? Note: Participants can write up to 2 stories to enter into the contest. 4. Post your story as its own separate thread with the tag (Race Bending Contest) in the title. Ex. Minny Fibblebottom's Lucky Day (Race Bending Contest) Example: Vilmah Bloodborne is an orc. I roll the die and get a 75. Suddenly she is a tauren! I write a short story about Vilmah the tauren, while utilizing her personality but in a completely different context. I also include (with the story) a short description of the original character, to offer some context for readers unfamiliar with them. Note: This description of your original character does not count toward the character limit of the short story. 1 - 7 Dwarves 8 - 15 Orcs 16 - 23 Gnomes 24 - 31 Goblins 32 - 39 Humans 40 - 47 Trolls 48 - 55 Night elves 56 - 63 Pandaren 64 - 71 Draenei 72 - 79 Tauren 80 - 87 Worgen 88 - 95 Forsaken 96 - 100 Blood Elves The 1st place winner will receive 10k g in prize money in-game, with 2nd and 3rd place winning 5k g and 3k g respectively. The deadline is Sept. 1st. The winners will be chosen by Sanctuary (H), Twilight Empire (A), Borrowed Time (H) and Night Vanguard (A) representatives by September 7th. Good luck!
  3. 4 points
    Qabian was working at his desk when a small pale blue crystal he had set to one side dimmed. He sighed, watching as the light went out of it completely, then a crack formed through its center, then it dissolved into dust. "So much for that," he muttered, making a space to arrange agreed-upon hazard pay. Later, he made a trip to Dalaran. As much as he wanted to talk to the thief himself, he knew that couldn't happen. There was still too much heat in the city. However, he did manage to find one of the legitimate Kirin Tor guards involved in apprethending the thief, pull them to one side, and inquire into details. Back in Silvermoon, he sat down to write a letter. Syreena, I have succeeded in making her afraid. That took very little effort. Simply inquiring into her existence and a few small threats were enough to send her on the run. Unfortunately, finding information that would lead to easily causing further misery has been far more difficult than I expected. She does not fit into the predictable pattern most ordinary humans fit. I do not believe I have yet succeeded in causing her actual harm. I may need to back off long enough for her to think she is safe to come out of hiding if my resources prove insufficient to track her down. In the meantime, I will see about causing harm indirectly through those she is connected to. I've also been told to relay the message that you're a bully. These people are children. ~Q
  4. 4 points
    The Rooks of Twisting Nether cordially invite you to help us celebrate the Midsummer Fire Festival with our annual Mount Parade around Old Town of Stormwind City! Prizes will be awarded to the best Mount-Gear* matching participants! Bonus points for matching/themed gear, mount, and pet(s)! (( *Transmorgrified or actual gear only - those who use magic or temporary illusions will be disqualified from receiving a prize! )) Third Place: 25k Gold Second Place: 50k Gold Grand Prize: Other-worldly Mount** (( ** FREE, PAID MOUNT FROM THE BLIZZARD STORE OF THE WINNER'S CHOOSING! )) (( In the past, we've had nearly 30 participants! This is a fun way to bring both the RP and non-RP communities of TN-RH together! We hope you can join us! )) To participate, simply meet at the Fountain in Old Town at 7PM Realm Time (( CDT - 8PM EDT )). At that time, Rooks' Officers will check-in/register participants and begin the Parade line-up. Once ready, we'll begin our march around the Old Town Circle. (( A pre-parade "pre-game" Tavern-RP event at the Pig and Whistle in Old Town will commence at 6PM Realm Time. )) Be sure to bring fireworks and other celebratory items to commemorate the occasion! WHAT: Rooks' Annual Midsummer Mount Parade WHEN: Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 7:00PM Realm Time WHERE: Fountain at Old Town in Stormwind City WHY: To celebrate and bring together the communities of TN-RH! FABULOUS PRIZES! (( Be sure to whisper or send a message to Atilakai, GM of Rooks, if you have any questions! ))
  5. 4 points
    “You! You’re under arrest,” Cavanaugh marched into the Legerdemain lounge, pointing an accusing finger at one of the patrons who was sitting at the bar, sipping at a steaming mug. The handful of people in the establishment looked around. A few of them got up to leave. Qabian turned just his head, slowly raising an eyebrow at the commotion without lowering his mug. Cavanaugh slammed a gauntleted fist on the bar next to the blood elf. “Now.” Qabian finally put down his coffee then lifted his hands in front of him, palms out, otherwise relaxed. “By you?” Qabian asked. “Yes, by me. Get up.” “You think this is Stormwind?” Qabian spoke slowly, plying that thick accent of his over the Common words. “You have no power here. I lived here when your father was a child. This is my city.” “The Council will see the truth,” Cavanaugh growled. “Get up,” he commanded a second time. Qabian tilted his head, then gave Cavanaugh a slow grin followed by a shrug, just as slow with a dramatic twist of the wrist. “You have such faith. Let us see.” He stood, again slow and calm, brushing non-existent dust from his robes. “But answer this: Why?” Cavanaugh took a deep breath, folding his arms across his unmistakeable white and red tabard. “Do not toy with me, mage.” Qabian held his arms to either side in a gesture of innocence, but the smirk on his face showed only arrogance. “As you wish.” Qabian walked out into the street at a relaxed saunter, his hands clasped behind his back, his face turned up to smile at the sparkling tower of the Violet Spire. Cavanaugh followed behind, armor clanking with each frustrated step. “Move faster, mage.” “Why hurry? A few more minutes delayed justice?” Qabian said, but picked up the pace nonetheless. In the foyer of the Spire, the Council were conspicuous in their absence. A human woman in thick glasses and a Kirin Tor tabard stepped forward. “Sir Cavanaugh. Magister. May I be of assistance?” Cavanaugh bowed low. “If it please, madam, this man is a murderer. I request his extradition to Stormwind.” The woman dipped her head, looking over the top of her glasses at the two men, then sighed. “Perhaps we should have this discussion somewhere more discreet.” She led them up the main stairs to one of the parlors. Closing the door behind them, she looked pointedly at Cavanaugh. “What has he done this time?” “Come now, Redgrave. You’d take his word over mine? You know me,” Qabian interrupted in Thalassian. “Yes, I do, Amberlight. That's precisely why I'd take anyone's word over yours.” Cavanaugh cleared his throat. “He murdered the night matron of the Cathedral Square Orphanage in cold blood.” “He lies. I was nowhere near Stormwind,” Qabian snapped. The encounter wasn't going quite as he'd expected. Redgrave took off her glasses and began to clean them. “You have an alibi?” “Of course. I was in Suramar.” Cavanaugh snarled. “I saw you with my own eyes, fiend.” “Prove it!” Qabian spat back. “Then you can present your alibi in Stormwind,” Redgrave suggested. “Is -- Is that a joke?” Qabian stammered, his Common suddenly fluent and accent free. “You must be joking. Stormwind has never treated my people fairly and is unlikely to hear shal’dorei truth over the lies of one of their own sons. If I must be forced to present evidence of my innocence, let me present it in Silvermoon where at least my head will still be attached to my shoulders by the time I'm heard.” “Nonsense,” said Redgrave, waving a hand. “The alleged crime was in Stormwind. They will hear the evidence.” Qabian scowled. “I see Jaina still runs the Kirin Tor,” he said in Thalassian. “Careful, Amberlight,” Redgrave warned. “That's not my name. And you can't simply interfere in my work with the Tirisgarde. Have Modera play my shadow again at least until my projects are complete,” Qabian suggested, a note of desperation edging into his voice. There were few things that mattered to him, but his own survival was one of them. “Don't tell me what to do, Magister.” Redgrave stomped a heel. “You will go to Stormwind, and the Kirin Tor will send an advisor to ensure you have your say. Will you do this willingly, or must you be forced?” Cavanaugh watched the exchange in grim but polite silence. Qabian hesitated to answer. He took a few steps backward. His expression shifted from panic to rage, then to cold determination. “Fine,” he said finally. Redgrave stepped forward, closing the space he’d made between them. “Your arm.” Qabian obeyed, but said quietly, “You’ll regret this.” “I sincerely hope that’s not a threat, Magister,” Redgrave said as she closed two halves of a thin gold band around his wrist. “You’ll find out, won't you?” Qabian muttered. The woman turned to Cavanaugh and handed him a small golden key. “He won’t be able to cast spells while the band is locked. I entrust you’ll be able to handle him otherwise.” Cavanaugh took the key and bowed low. “Of course, madam.”
  6. 4 points
    The Coldstar Cantina: Back in business After a long hiatus the Coldstar Cantina is re-opening! Come find us at Wyvern's Tail in Orgrimmar. Now serving on Saturdays at 7:30! In honor of our re-opening, first drink is on the house. Come drink to the Legion's fall and enjoy a variety of liquors and non-alcoholic beverages that put our competitors to shame! When: Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. (Server) Where: Wyvern's tail, Orgrimmar
  7. 4 points
    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! ]]
  8. 4 points
    [[ 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!"
  9. 4 points
    Khorvis went by foot from Brill to the gates of Lordaeron City. The road was one of the few still paved in Tirisfal, seeing much traffic between the Undercity and the zeppelin towers. With the Dark Lady having taken the mantle of Warchief, the count of couriers and deathguards had more than doubled in their frantic work to secure the necessary machinery of the Horde's bureaucracy. The orc ignored them all as he made his way up the hill and through the crumbling outer wall. --- Sleep had evaded him during the remainder of the night, despite how fatigued he felt. His meager cot on the second floor of the Gallow's End Tavern did not help his pain of his wounds, but the bruises were a distant second to the hauntings. If Khorvis shut his eye, that horrid image of Theira's spirit lifting from her corpse stared back at him. When he snapped his eyelid open, the creaking of the old tavern seemed to fool his periphery into seeing things. A quick movement behind the dresser. A scuttling at his bedside. More than once he got out of his covers to inspect the room, but of course there were only ordinary shadows. It was not until An'she began to pierce her rays through the gloom of the Glades that complete and utter exhaustion claimed the warrior. An unconscious and dreamless slumber lasted through the morning and afternoon, to end with a sore and stiff awakening. Khorvis glared out the window and saw that it was already evening. An icy ball sagged in the pit of his stomach. Nearly time to confront the Commander. Before setting out, Khorvis took a seat at the Tavern's tables on the first floor. He forced down a late meal of cold venison, oblivious to the greenish hue of the flesh, and flagon of flat ale. As the chunks of raw flesh tumbled down his maw, a familiar elemental wisped into the dining room, flanked by indigo lanterns... --- The Inquisition was a curious thing. Forged in the wartorn years spent in the harsh wastes of Northrend, the first Inquisitors of The Grim were merely of average rank, but fanatical beyond measure. They sought to weed out from the droves of Horde, that had flocked to the battle against the Lich King, the most bloodthirsty and like-minded killers. In the years since, the Inquisition had evolved into a more formal institution, replete with codified trials and many arcane traditions. Some would claim that present-day Inquisitors worshiped banners and medals more than the original mission, but none could deny their commitment to the Mandate. Gathered upon the ancient staircases of the inner courtyard of the ruins of Lordaeron, High Inquisitor Ruuki held court among her Dreadweavers and attending Supplicants. Standing to the side, Commader Awatu Stonespire observed the reports and instructions with his usual stoicism. Inquisitor Kiannis was concluding his conversation with the Supplicant Chumbus. "If you have any troubles, contact me and I will assist you." As the ranger dismissed the warlock, Khorvis approached the dais with Mai'kull's voidcaller in tow. He peered up at Awatu, and for a brief moment, the scene flickered. The impression of gibbets, ethereal and decorated with the hanging corpses of pinkskins, manifested behind the Inquisitors. A raven fluttered from a crossbeam of the gallows and settled to perch upon the pauldron of The Commander. Khorvis closed his eye and took a deep breath, gathering his wits. A quiet hush came upon the assembly, and when he opened his eye, he found the lot staring back. The gallows had disappeared. "Commander Stonespire," Khorvis intoned without a hint of emotion. A look of surprise had come over Ruuki's face, one that few in the Grim had ever seen: utter shock with a mix of something between relief and disbelief. It didn't last long. Awatu spoke first, eyeing Khorvis up and down. "Lasher? You have been... missing, as of late." Khorvis winced, placing a hand to his stomach. A moment of nausea passed over his face, but he squared away and trod up the stairs to the Tauren who was now looking at the voidcaller. "By the look of the seasons... aye, I do seem to have been gone for some time," the orc responded. "Many moons indeed." The Commander spoke carefully, betraying nothing with his inflections. Even as the elf Baal'themar emerged from the shadows at Khorvis's side, he only raised an eyebrow. "I do come with a foul report," barked the orc. "And submit my flesh to the judgement of the Mandate." Khorvis gestured at the voidcaller. "A minion of the late Reaper Mai'kull." "Late? Executioner was his title," spoke Inquisitor Kiannis. He stared down his nose at the orc haughtily, to be caught by a look of disappointment from Baal'themar. Ignoring the tone of the ranger's voice, Khorvis motioned to the voidcaller, which set before the Commander a burnt facemask. Next to it was placed a hearthstone, an orb of the sin'dorei... and Mai'kull's guild 'tabard', in fact an over-sized Tauren's tabard fashioned into a cape, now folded. Kiannis fought back a scowl as the realization set in. "I take it he has fallen, then?" Awatu was eyeing the remnants. "Yea, dead." Lilliana deadpanned to both her boss and Kiannis. Khorvis grunted, the events still raw upon his nerves. "Aye, Commander. I did be... lost, in a place of shadows. The Rea- Executioner- found me. He did sacrifice everything." Brushing his palm away, the voidcaller faded, its work done. With an emotionless stare, Awatu looked back up at Khovis. "Unfortunate. But at least his... sacrifice was not without some success. Your presence seems to indicate as much." Khorvis could not help but hear some note of mocking in his superior's words. Imagined or not, it rankled, but the warrior continued his report. "There do be more." Lilliana had resisted the urge to go charging at Khorvis when he had appeared... to her credit she did a very good job remaining controlled. She did now look at him fiercely, while Awatu exhibited all of the emotion of a rock. A rare example of the orc's sealed emotions came to the forefront as Khorvis choked up for a moment. It was a titanic inner struggle to speak the words aloud. He had sworn to himself the night before that he deserved his fate, and that he would continue on as the warrior he was bred to be. It was too much. He broke down and knelt before the Commander. "The Matron of Rutilus Luna, Theira Oaksong... she also do be departed." Khorvis sobbed, tears running freely before the Grim. Knitting together his eyebrows, Awatu echoed himself. "Also unfortunate." Rather blankly, Kiannis stared at the orc who had once blown out his own kneecap. A small touch of anger pulled at the side of his mouth an nose- yet he remained silent. Not so for the High Inquisitor. Ruuki stormed down the stairs towards the battered orc, her nostrils flaring in rage. Grabbing Khorvis by whatever vest he's wearing, she hauled him up to his feet with a ferocious yank. "The BLOODY HELL have you been, you twice damned son of a pig?!" Her howl sent Lilliana backing up, almost as if to use Awatu as a shield to hide behind. Even the Supplicant Somdot stood up straighter, realizing that there was some intence energry in the air. Certainly not the time to be a clown. Awatu only watched the exchange. Khorvis, his face and tusks wet with tears, growled right back at Ruuki. "The fel would you know, you useless woman! I did be locked in the shadows, chased by goatsucking horrors!" His feet nearly dangled as he was held up. Lilliana could not help but scold with a yelp. "Khorvis!!!" Supplicant Chumbus gasped while Somdot glanced at Kiannis with wide open eyes and tight lips. The ranger returned the look only momentarily. His face was a mixture of emotion - rage predominantly, and a gritted frown. Snarling, Ruuki tightened her grip. Now Khorvis did truly hang above the stones. "Quit BITCHING like a spoiled little human BRAT!" she screamed. "If they died saving your sorry hide, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!" The Lasher shoved Ruuki away and peeled off one of his bracers, one of the last metal armaments on his person. He held it aloft and shouted, "Do you remember forging these, Inquisitor? A lot of bloody good it did! There do be things in the dark, things that strength of arms do have NO purchase against!" Ruuki's tone descended from a yell to a quiet sort of threat. "Does that mean you're going to hide and pray they go away? Because you know as well as the rest of us that there is NO peace, not when the Mandate still commands us." Throughout the entire tense exchange between the two High Inquisitors, Kiannis and Baal'themar conducted their own confrontation. The ranger stared down the rogue. "Put the blades away. This is not the time." Baal'themar grined slyly at Kiannis. "If this turns ugly, you're the first," he said, following with a wink. "It will not." "We will see." Somdot slighted raised his head to stare at Baal'themar while Chumbus adjusted his tie. Over the quibbling elves, Ruuki continued her diatribe. "A sword is just sharpened steel, and armor bits of metal and leather. But it does no one any good if there's no damned heart or fire in your soul to back them up." Khorvis threw the bracer down on the ground and shook his head. "I did not come here to argue with you, Ruuki the Reborn. I did return to the Mandate, my home, to submit my failure to the Commander's judgement." Ruuki raised a clenched fist as if ready to sock him, but she restrained herself, fully clad while he was only in leathers. Instead, she turned and stalked several paces off. Seeking to soothe the situation, Lilliana moved over to Baal'themar and whatever he hell he thought he was doing with his weapons. The elf blushed at his previous Inquisitor. The woman must have put some thought into Baal'themar's head, for she looked away and faced Khorvis and Awatu, now that Ruuki had let go. Kiannis found it an appropriate time to pull one of his skunky cigars and press a lit pebble into it. His gaze lingered on Khorvis. Walking over to Kiannis, Somdot whispered, "Any chance you've got a spare one of those bad boys?" The elf did a quick double take, then absently fingered a blunt out to the Pandaren. He left Somdot to find his own spark. "I have fire," the monk said in thanks, nodding. Khorvis glanced to his right, surprised to see the elf Baal'themar. "Stay your blades, brother. I do be here of my own will." His words were punctuated by a sneeze from Chumbus's imp Laznik, who failed to cover his mouth. It's owner only tilted his head. "I know," retorted the elf, "but then... the Grim have a nice habit of chewing up and spitting out people. I'll not see that happen to you, Khorvis." Awatu snorted. "Not after the hell we went through to get your old ass back here." Lilliana placed a gloved hand on Baal'themar's arm. "He's fine, Baal'themar." She did happen to whisper silently into Baal'themar's head... something else, so that no one else might hear her. Pointedly ignoring the elf, Commander Stonespire roved over the orc's form with his gaze. "So then. What grievous failure have you brought to the feet of the Mandate?" Lilliana was unable to stop herself from getting right in the way between the tauren and the orc. "He hasn't failed at all!!! He's like... totally being a super dumbass, Awatu!" Khorvis brushed away the trolless's defensive screen - "Kodotits, woman..." - and stuck out his chin, as if begging to be struck. "I did leave you and The Grim without a High Inquisitor for months. A dead Reaper due to my bloody carelessness-" "Executioner," Kiannis interjected, to be countered with a baleful glare. "The Maleficar was risen in your absence." Lilliana piped up again. "Eh uh... there is one right there." She pointed to Ruuki, the current High Inquisitor. "And like... people die. All. the. time." "Ream my arse with a vry'kull pike," Khorvis muttered at the quibbling. "Wait, what?! Ruuki did be raised to High Inquisitor?" The warrior was incredulous. Her arms crossed and entire body tensed, Ruuki stood stoically with her rage reined. "Indeed she has," intoned the Commander, glancing backwards at Ruuki. Khorvis grunted, some of the flame being taken out of his sails. "You did think me dead," he breathed. "I thought you missing. Perhaps stuck between crates upon a Booty Bay pirate vessel," cracked Awatu in a rare taunt. Ruuki ameliorated, "It was the only explanation we could fathom. We all knew damned well you were no deserter, especially not with the Legion's invasion so fresh." "Unlike others," stated the Inquisitor Kiannis in the direction of Baal'themar. The rogue grinned. "More loyal than you. Didn't see you fighting to save a brother, Kiannis." The ranger bristled at Baal'themar's words, but was not goaded into a rebuttal. He glowered, before turning his attention back to Khorvis. "The Inquisition required direction. And so, it was given," Awatu stated matter-of-factly. Khorvis tugged at his goatee with no little annoyance, but looked again to Ruuki with appraising eye. "Aye. May be she do be fit for the rank." The wheels could visibly be seen turning in the old orc's head, working overtime. The facts laid upon the figurative table, Awatu continued to humor Khorvis. "So... you come seeking penance?" "I did swear my flesh and spirit to the Mandate, Commander." Khorvis was resolute in his guilt. "You do be in your rights to end the former. The latter does remain bound, whatever your words." Glowering at anyone but herself, Lilliana still seemed relieved to see Khorvis present that night. That relief melted into horror at the warrior's suggestion. She looked to Awatu plaintively. Awatu gave Khorvis a once-over. "I fear that any further... physical punishment would leave us with only your spirit." In moment of oddity, The Commander appeared to exhibit a profound insight. "Do you sleep well, or are you assaulted by night-terrors?" The assembly displayed their curiosity or disbelief in varying ways, from snorts, to quirked eyebrows. In the intensity of the exchange between The Commander and the former High Inquisitor, Somdot, calmed and relaxed by the blunt obtained from Kiannis, walked over to Baal'themar and scanned him up and down. "I'm not sure what to think of you sir..." Chumbus remained motionless while Laznik started to sneak off. "Think nothing, Somdot," Baal'themar soothed. Khorvis looked at Awatu strangely, as if he recognized the Tauren's foresight. Awatu made no indication of his awareness, simply awaiting a response. "No terrors," spoke the orc. "No, Commander, they did cease once Lilliana, Baal'themar, and the rest evacuated me from... whatever land of shadows that did be." He continued, unable to stop himself due to the uncanny inquiry. "But last night, at the Gallow's End, I did see spirits. Strange that you should mention this." Awatu furrowed his brow in thought. "Curious. At any rate, I could find your... hauntings to be... suitable punishment. Sleepless nights and waking screams." Lilliana was peering at Khorvis wondering what kind of spirits he was talking about. She couldn't hide the quick glare that crossed her face. Whether it was over Awatu's ruling or Khorvis's suffering now that he was back in this world, it was unclear. Ruuki was only scowling. Kiannis gave Awatu a surprised look. "You saw him sobbing. Is this the same orc we once knew?" Of course, Baal'themar's countenance mirrored his defense of Khorvis. "More a man than you will ever be," the Rutilan snarked. Chumbus inched closer to the edge of the ledge, the temper of the meeting pushing him away. "The edges of eternity change us all. It is Khorvis..." The sunwalker narrowed his eyes, as if attempting to look through the Lasher. "... but different. Something is different." Kiannis pivoted his head only slightly with gritted teeth, squinting at the Commander. He nodded solemnly in acquiescence. "He would not be the first Grim to find a new calling," offered Ruuki Khorvis was growling under all of the scrutiny. "You may command my blades, Stonespire, but you do not own my dreams." Now that he return seemed accepted by The Grim, his usual thorniness was peeking through. "I did say that there do be terrors that steel is no ward against. For the Mandate, I will see to it that I do find a new weapon." "I do not command your dreams, no," advised Awatu, "But you will find that you do not command them either." Glancing upwards, the tauren was far away from his normal stony self. "The dream-realm of the spirits is... beyond us." Khorvis seemed unsure of these words, his freshly ruined eyepiece a testament to the power of nightmares. Kiannis had noticed the activity of Laznik and pointed to Somdot. "Investigate that imp," he ordered. Chumbus remained motionless while the imp eyed Somdot suspiciously. Noticing that Laznik was urinating in the bushes, Chumbus became frustrated and dismissed his minion. "Answer me this, Khorvis." Ruuki was growing philosophically bored. "Does the Mandate still call to your heart and soul?" The woman's question dug at the crux of the issue, with regards to the Mandate and the Inquisition. Turning to the new High Inquisitor, Khorvis retorted, "I could have gone running like a child to Orgrimmar and hid beneath Sylvanna's skirts. I do be here, woman. What else would you ask of me?" "Then whether you wiggle your fingers, wield a blade, or shoot a gun, you are still a Grim." The Reborn turned the instructive nature that Khorvis had instilled into her against the orc. "I think perhaps you should work among the Supplicants as you seek out what may be a new path for you to walk." The woman was immensely pleased with herself. The Lasher was having none of it. "I did be making macaroni art out of dwarf cocks when you did be a calf, 'High Inquisitor.' I do be no Supplicant." He looked at Awatu and spoke forcefully. "As you say, Commander. What do be my rank? If I am to be of any use to the front." Ruuki shruged one shoulder, a wicked smirk on her face as she looked to Awatu. "The decision of course is yours, Commander. I was merely offering my input." "Um... Dwarf cocks... that sounds fun!" A strange interjection from Somdot earned about as much surprise as Khorvis's usual rants. The bickering evoked a tired but satisfied sense of completion from Baal'themar. The talk of pointless ranks and titles finally bored the elf. "Good to have you back, brother. I'll leave you Grim to talk about... Grim matters." He patted Khorvis's shoulder and gave a brief salute to both the orc and Lilliana. Somdot did his best to reciprocate while Khorvis could only offer a grunted thanks. Kiannis refused to back down from Ruuki's suggestion. "And I was a man before you were but a twinkle in the eye of your father. Age is of no issue, Khorvis. I suggest you speak to the High Inquisitor with... some respect." The elf had a glint in his eye that hearkened back to their initial duel at the Crossroads, which ended in a special amount of agony for the ranger. "Your new High Inquisitor keeps a loose leash on her dogs, Commander." Khorvis bluntly ignored the ranger and stared straight at the tauren with a clenched jaw. Awatu grinned... just slightly. "But a harder pull can have lasting impressions." "A taste of the Lash did many Supplicants some good. My question still stands. If I am to be of use to the Mandate, what the felsucking Illidari tentacle do be my rank?!" Supplicant Chumbus pondered the meaning of "Felsucking Illidari Tentacle" while Awatu responded. "That depends. The only rank of consequence to yourself would be that of a Supplicant. You could remain a Harbinger, and it would be as if nothing had happened. But that seems... unjust." "I vote we shoot him in the knee," Kiannis posited. Ruuki reached out and smacked her subordinate upside his head for that inane suggestion. Whacked, Kiannis tenderly rubbed at his domepiece, looking to his left sullenly. Ruuki gave Kiannis a warning look that spoke volumes before returning her attention to Khorvis. The elf held his tongue, but kept that same unpleasant glare focused upon the orc. "You appear before us, a sobbing babe, and now you give an Irredeemable colorful language and attitude." Awatu was becoming more incensed than before. "If i were to recall, the -LAST- High Inquisitor to take that abuse would have been much more... outgoing with his punishments." Gritting his tusks, Khorvis said nothing to the contrary. "I do serve at the pleasure of the Commander..." "And now you speak of the Lash as if it is some prized relic. I recall the bite of the Lash, that wretched tool that you allowed it to become." Awatu leaned forward, his height becoming a tool of the interrogation. "So, tell me, what good are you to the Mandate if your first orders of subservience is resistance?" The entire back and forth of the evening brought Khorvis into his element. He relaxed his shoulders, shifting into the familiar rote of the Inquisition. "Supplicants do be taught that they do be nothing before the Mandate. We do be forged as weapons through the Inquisition. I do be a weapon of the Mandate." He held his stance wide, despite the bleeding of a few wounds from the last night's debacle. The blood seeped through his brawler's wraps. Awatu straightened himself. "Good answer. I do not believe you require remedial training... You are molded into a weapon. But you do require refinement. The Inquisition is a tool for determining who is and is not Grim. I believe you are Grim, therefore you should not be subjected to relearning what you already know. But something is needed..." He pondered for a moment. "Weapons dull and break. You require refinement, sharpening, and repair. You will remain a Harbinger, but you will seek the guidance of our Seers." Khorvis raised both eyebrows. His eyepatch dropped and revealed his ruined eyepiece. "The Seers?" "Duskheron, Kharzak, Daxxum, and Kharthak." Ruuki inclined her head in approval of the decision. Somdot picked up the cigar that Kiannis had given him, with only a few pulls taken from it, and sat next to Lilliana. He lit up. "Perhaps they can aid you with your... hauntings," Awatu explained. "And once you are able to sleep a full night's rest, I believe your penance will have been served." "A strange request," Khorvis pondered. "But I do value the wisdom of our Elders." Awatu looked around, his eyes focusing on distant objects. "You will see." "As you say, Commander. If it do be necessary for the Mandate, I will even tame the elements!" Khorvis laughed at what he considered a foolish boast, not recognizing the portent in his own words. Awatu did not share such mirth. At the same moment, another party of Grim came wandering through the courtyard, fresh from the bowels of the Undercity. Kurg and Fanyare, as different from each other as they were both fiercely Grim, approached the Inquisition. Qabian trailed the duo, observing, with Ul'rezaj in tandem. "Heya guys!" blurted out the Sunwalker Kurg. Somdot returned the greeting with a jovial wave. "What up, Brother!" Ruuki scowled at was she now considered fools. Kurg smiled wide at Somdot and popped him in the shoulder. Glancing over at Khorvis, almost unrecognizable without his armaments, and seeing the serious mood, he quieted down. Fanyare only wondered what pit the orc had crawled out of this time. Khorvis dropped his grin at Awatu's stoic face, remembering how close he came to losing his hide. The Commander continued with an edge of warning in his tone. "This shoulder also help teach you the importance of respect to the Irredeemables and Dreadweavers." The orc winced. He recalled the events of Tanaan and how he had nearly torn the neck out of that Sunwalker... but he pushed the memory away. Awatu watched Khorvis for a moment, then turned to Ruuki. "What other business does the Inquisition have this evening?" "I do feel whole again, to be back among my brothers and sisters. I..." The Lasher attempted to salvage his pride, but trailed off as the Grim's guildmaster moved on to other matters. Khorvis felt the dismissal, and it burned. He took his place in the ranks of the assembly alongside a smirking Qabian. "None else, Commander. Unless the Supplicants have something to add?" Ruuki inspected her charges, but none had any words of importance. "Then this night is sealed to the Mandate." Awatu nodded his head under the cacophony of "Peace Through Annihilation" that ululated from the throats of the fanatics. Khorvis made in the air the orcish rune for 'peace' as the assembly dispersed. Narrowing his eyes at the orc, Kiannis pressed a fist against his own chest in a casual salute. "It is good of you to return." Khorvis managed to grunt "Dabu, Dreadweaver," through a wall of phlegm. The elf nodded once, and departed through a portal of Qabian's making. Watching the Inquisitor fade away, Khorvis voiced his annoyance. "I do swear to the spirits, I should have shot out both of that cocky ranger's knees." "Perhaps the lash would be best turned into a leash, Khorvis." Fanyare goaded the old warrior. "You keep wandering off causing trouble." Khorvis responded with a deep growl, but reined in his temper in front of the Commander. Awatu was diplomatic. "If we shot the knees from everyone we did not like, the The Grim would be a bunch of cripples." Qabian grinned at this morbid pragmatism, but Ul'rezaj was less metaphorical. "De Grim be on fundamentally good terms wit' each otha, so fah as ahm concerned." The Commander was in agreement with the troll. "For the most part, but disagreements and squabbles arise at times." Wasting no time, Khorvis laid out the facts. "I do have two tasks before me. Speak with the Elders. But first, find some fresh bandages." He offered Awatu a respectful salute. "Commander." Awatu nodded. "Lasher." The orc once feared as High Inquisitor of The Grim, now demoted to the rank of Harbinger, slapped his hearthstone hard enough for his palm to sting. The way back to the Grim Halls pulled him through, to a home he had just fled and yet had not seen in many months.
  10. 4 points
    Baal'themar fought alongside Khorvis, the large elf slashed and stabbed around his brother, he covered Khorvis where he could and attacked when the orc made an opening. He smiled, "Now watch the timbers of your house fall in flames" Baal'themar quoted the frenzied orc warrior. "You missed your calling Khorvis, you should have been a poet." he ducked under a thrashing limb. "Oh, how the woman would have swooned for you and your honeyed words." He chuckled as black sludge doused him, blinding him to an incoming attack. A thick tentacle slammed into his chest, the Iron bark and frost spells crackled with energy as their magic protected him from the spine shattering strength of the attack, the strike sent him off his feet and tumbling through the air into the filth around the pool. Slowly Baal'themar got to his feet, he shook his head and focused on the fight again. He spat out a mouthful of dirt and voidlord blood. "Heh, note to self. Jokes after." he lunged back into the fight.
  11. 4 points
    "Khorvis we've come for you!" The Lasher spun in amazement and nearly took Theira's staff in the jaw. A shadow passed over him and he quickly glimpsed the bladed form of Baal'themar passing above in what could either be an incredibly brave or utterly stupid leap. The elf connected with the voidlord, twin daggers sinking deeply into the aberration's elongated neck. Khorvis felt his muscles sloughing off exhaustion and bruises as the Matron's healing magics took hold, and yet the queerness of the Shadowlands still left an emptiness gaping in the pit of his stomach. Emitting an ear-piercing wail, the voidlord thrashed and swiped at Baal'themar. One of its many limbs ripped at the ironbark shielding and nearly gored the rogue's pink flesh before Baal'themar leapt away to his comrades' side. Vile black ichor oozed from the towering shadow's wounds, splashing into the pool and darkening the tint. The voidlord moved to counterattack, but a loud crack! shattered its momentum and it stood blinking its multitudinous eyes in confusion. Lilliana's mind blast caused Khorvis to turn again with a feral grin. She responded with a mischievous wave from the tunnel's cliff edge and twirled her staff mockingly. Tahzani seemed distracted, concocting some bizarre spell, but he too gave the trio a quick nod. Boneslave scrambled up to the orc and squatted with the fevered loyalty that only a family hound displays for its long departed masters. The fast reactions of the ritual party had bought them some respite from the voidlord, but the pause would be short. Khorvis circled behind Baal'themar, still somewhat incredulous over the heroic timing, and tugged a spare dagger out of the elf's belt sheathes. "Took you bloody fools long enough!" He would have to question the lot of them over their methods of divination. Later. "But I do not look a gift kodo in her mouth." Friendships in the orc's life were few and far between. "We have dire business to be about!" Finishing his circle, he stood between the pair and the monstrosity. Khorvis raised his dagger and pointed it at the voidlord's armored chest. "You did think to trap me in this forsaken realm, you rancid excuse for the scuff of my boot polish!" Hissing and spitting, a flurry of reverberant squeals issued from the black skull. They may have been words, but in what language only the mad could discern. "Aye, aye! But the dullard that you do be, you invited the Mandate into your very rotten home!" The warrior, now armed, began his charge. "Now watch the timbers of your house fall in flames!" At the final instant before they met, Khorvis feinted left and dragged Baal'themar's dagger through the voidlord's hamstring and the blackened pool, so oiled with a skim of the otherling's blood. Storm Skychaser's elemental blessing activated and ignited the liquid in a racing expanse of flames.
  12. 4 points
    The large cat hot on the heels of Baal'themar huffed with heavy panting to ignore the stench which surrounded them. She pounced in unison with him however calculating her leap to land at a shorter distance from the hulking monster. She unshifted back to a humanoid form as she touched down as Baal'themar sailed above her his weapons drawn. She was unsure if her magic would even work in this realm, or work the way it was meant to regardless seeing him about to collide with the voidlord she had to try. She flicked her wrists and cast towards Baal'themar bestowing upon him an iron bark and then ran towards Khorvis now at a distance conjuring up green swirls of restoration magic and hurling them towards the warrior. Theira wasted no time assessing there was none to waste - the time to act was present there would be no time to lick the wounds until this hurdle was vanquished. She shouted out staff extended towards Khorvis "Khorvis we've come for you!"
  13. 4 points
    Baal’themar ran next to the others the familiar stench of his friend slithered its way deep into his lungs, he coughed at the pungent stench of friendship and grinned. He pushed himself hard to make it to Khorvis, the sounds of muffled yelling and rough barking of insults gave him hope. He bolted through the tunnels alongside the others, as their path dropped out into a fall he could see the creature that loomed over his friend. Baal’themar leapt into the air and spread his arms wide, daggers in hand. The thought occurred to him that this creature might be ethereal and he would pass through it harmlessly only to smash into the ground. Too late now. He let out a roar as he fell toward the beast.
  14. 4 points
    Theira huffed a bit using her staff to assist her walking, the elder Tauren walked with a bit of a limp but quickened her step and pushed herself to keep up with Baal. "I may be an old girl yet but I am not without some tricks." She grinned at the elf before leaping forward with a flash of green light shifting into her feline form. With four legs versus two she would able to pad after the rogue easier. The large cat kept her eyes and ears forward as she scented the air as they ran hoping that some sign of Khorvis would reveal itself and she might be able to track him. Theira ran beside Baal'themar with claws extended for each stride surveying the horizon for any threats as they searched.
  15. 4 points
    Baal'themar felt his armor freeze, the sudden cold made him gasp. The ice magic hardened over his armor adding yet another layer of protection to his combat gear. He growled and looked at his daggers, they glowed like embers, but their heat didn't burn his flesh. Thanks Storm... he grinned thinking of the Tauren before stepping through the portal and into the unknown. Like with all portals he was ripped between reality and spat out in a slight daze. He looked back to the portal and watched Theira walk through behind him. "We don't have much time. 'the way will not survive the hour' " he quoted Chaoseater. Baal'themar looked around trying to find some sign of Khorvis. "Right well... fuck this place." He smiled at Theira and started to jog. "Think you can keep up old girl?" he asked her with a sly grin.
  16. 4 points
    Theira bowed her head towards Stormsky and the Elemental graciously accepting the gift of the earthen shield. With that she cracked a grin and walked towards the portal, she nodded towards Chaoseater and stepped through after Baal'themar.
  17. 4 points
    While Baal’themar stood waiting for the others, a fire pillar suddenly appeared several yards behind the ritual site, illuminating the entire area in the process. Within it a fire elemental could be seen and heard “I am Brazion, let the light of my fire guide you back, as your weapons burn with my power”; fire sparks started flying out of the pillar heading directly to the weaponry of the assembled party quickly igniting flames around them. Daggers, swords, arrows, whatever weapons were present, they were now empowered by a glowing red fire. Just after the fire elemental display, an earth elemental rose from the ground, looking at Theira he spoke “Matron, Petrik of earth stands with you today, your spells will have my blessing”, with these words an earthen shield was formed around the Matron of Rutilus Luna. Finally the rain and wind took shape into two more beings, Venthesh and Hialaq, an air and a water elemental respectively, “tonight, the forces of wind and water will protect those of you entering the shadow realm” they said, while the armor of those empowered by the ice crystal shined with a light blue hue. As the four elementals stood united, another presence made himself known to the party, one that wasn’t there but was watching them from afar, “Good luck” Stormsky whispered.
  18. 4 points
    "Let's get this done then." Baal'themar growled as he walked toward the portal... he wondered if he was going to return, and what state Khorvis was in... it didn't matter in the end, he would save his brother or die trying. He stopped at the edge of the portal waiting for a moment for the others.
  19. 4 points
    His bone face twitched and spasmed as Bager held back a fit of laughter and excitement. Within the mushroom circle the air had grown thick with the potential of what would be wrought here. The Steelborn had taken a dagger from the skeletal orc slave and knelt. He had been there, kneeling completely still for long minutes now, even the blue skulls of his armor had lost their glow, and the massive Warchief seemed like nothing so much as a statue. It was all the Laughing Skull could do to keep from cackling. Even now he knew the Steelborn was drawing his power, the might that Bager had first seen on his homeworld of Draenor. A power more fundamental than any of strength at arms or skill in combat. It was an idea, an underpinning. He had heard this one called many things. A Death Knight, Steelborn, Lord of War. But now he would truly be himself…. The Gatekeeper. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The rain sputtered to an uneasy end, silence fell over the circle and it’s inhabitants, and still the massive steel form knelt unmoving and unmoved. After what seemed like an eternity there was a loud crack, like the shot of a dwarven rifle, and a lance of glowing purple energy shone from a point on the edge of the circle. A glowing rune of some unknown script, seemingly punched through the very earth as cleanly as a scribe draws on parchment. Another crack resounded from the opposite side of the circle, and another, all in a rattling rush until at last thirteen glowing sigils defined the circle around the gathering. The sky above grew black consumed by an unseen void stretching into the unknown. There was a rustle of movement from in front of the trolls. The Blood crystal rose into the air, spinning slightly. Light from the runic circle played and danced within its many facets as the gen lifted over the heads of the onlookers. It spun faster, its lines blurring, the light somehow becoming more intense, casting blood hued beams across the circle until finally it shattered a sound like the deathrattle of some massive beast. Fine crystalline shards spun and ground themselves into a fine mist which when swirling as though with a mind of its own around the clearing twisting and curling around each of the participants. Serpents made of wind and mist coiled and sprang to the center of the circle where they crashed into the kneeling form of the Chaoseater where they exploded in puffs of red dust which drifted towards the ground, briefly defining ghostly unseen chains in the air. Chains that seemed to link each of the inhabitants of the circle with the inert Death Knight before fading away with the remnants of the mist. Still, all would feel the sharpening of senses, the connection between them all at the very edge of perception. After another moment of silence the wind outside the circle whipped up, and the sky above flashed with a lance of lightning. As if on queue, the stone of elemental Ice lifted from the ground, tumbling and spinning slowly in the air. Rain began pelting down in a torrent, and where it struck the stone icy stalagmites formed, expanding outward. Like it’s red brother, the ice stone spun and whirled, it drifted to the center of the clearing above the large black figure and after a moment that stretched into infinity it exploded. Icy needles shot out in every direction but the missiles were not as deadly as they seemed. They caused no pain where they struck, did not sink past the surface, but spread covering any and all in a rime of thick frost. Armor was reinforced, claws and weapons because razors sharpened by crystalline edges, and a subtle cold power permeated the party. Not the debilitating cold of most magic, but the bracing cold felt by a powerful predator in the depths of winter, one lunge away from the sustaining blood of a kill. Though the rain outside the circle continued, within it sputtered to a slow halt, becoming instead a lazy snow flurry, and finally channles in his armor flooded with blue light and the Chaoseater rose. He took one long stride forward, and plunged the black dagger into the ground. With one long glance around he regained the center and with the rasp of steel on steel he drew the massive cleaver-like sword at his back. Runes along it’s length flared to life at their master’s touch and a swirling vortex of unholy light flickered at the tip between shattered shards of steel. He faced the dagger where it stood in the ground and raised a hand to his left all three fingers outstretched. All but forgotten, the bone cube shot through the air to the massive Tauren’s hand. He turned his frozen gaze to it, turning the bauble this way and that before whipping it into the air. The bone surface was lost in the gloom until it came falling back, tumbling end over end. Black cloak whipping in the wind, the Death Knight spun, faster than should be possible for a being of his size and brought the sword around in a flat arc, catching the cube as it fell and slicing clean through. A wail of pain and fear broke free from the empty halves of the box, accompanied by sickly green and purple mist that writhed and tangled, offering glimpses of a tortured human face, before it shot towards the sword encapsulating it in a shrieking tornado of magic, until it was consumed by the nexus at the end of the blade. Purple energy crackled over the Chaoseater’s armor as he re-sheathed his dark blade and grunted. Compressed air shot from vents in his helmet with sharp bursts of satisfaction. Finally he raised a hand as bolts of barely contained energy lept out, tearing up the ground and tracing a large rune beneath him. He reached out in the direction of the blade delicately, softly, and with a gentleness unbecoming of the dreaded Warchief of the Blacktooth Grin he took reality between his fingertips and drew it aside. The deep rumble of his voice swept out in a whisper that nonetheless shook the circle and the forest around “Aparturum” Before the group a shimmering purple door stood tall, the darkness and gloom beyond impermeable past the first several feet. The Death Knight kept his arm raised and glanced to the others. “Your way is prepared. I shall hold the gate, but know this. None shall pass back into this world tainted, and the door will not remain open for the laggard. Be about your business, for the way will not survive the hour….” He turned his visor back to the portal and he seemed to dismiss them all. Again he drew his sword and stood. Ready.
  20. 4 points
    Baal'themar rolled his shoulders relaxing his body before they needed to fight, and there was no doubt... there would be a fight. He checked his blades, both still had a thick coating of poison. Baal'themar smiled. We are coming Khorvis... just hang on a little longer. He waited for the others to make a move
  21. 4 points
    Theira watched the spectacle play out before her with a mixture of interest and disgust. She slowed her breathing so not to choke on the fettered stench of decay and brought herself up to standing. Thoughts, doubts started to trickle their way into her mind for what she had signed herself on for. Being a beacon of mending and life giving itself walking into the wastelands of death. Theira frowned deeply closing her eyes with worry perhaps her presence here would attract more harm than good. The druidess shifted her weight and straightened up holding her staff in hand. She shook her head of the doubts heeding Chaoseaters warning of bringing such thoughts with them determined not to be the weak link in the chain. Her eyes opened and burned with a new sense of determination, a spark of the wilds. First and foremost she was here to release Khorvis and maintain the lives of those here. Theira stood tall and ready as she glanced to Chaoseater now prepared to face down whatever darkness came.
  22. 4 points
    Theira took her time in her feline feral form to scent the air and ground to track Baalthemar. She kept herself hidden and prowled the tall grasses and bushes the region rank with the scent of undead never sat well with the druid. She could see the gathering after some while her eyes narrowing at those attending she kept her body low to the ground so better to slink her way beside the rogue. Bright yellow reflective eyes came into focus as the druidess revealed herself to the gathering as a large wild cat. She sidled up beside Baal with a soft quiet purr the growling once as she scented the pack with the items he carried. She remained feral while she looked over those familiar and some unfamiliar faces her cat ears folding back she looked up to Baalthemar saying nothing. She settled down to beside him shifting forms, the grass around her seemed to grow taller flowers to bloom in her presence. She sat in a almost meditative stance muttering only to Baalthemar " Fear not, I will mend you as needed."
  23. 3 points
    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
  24. 3 points
    Qabian stepped into Shattrath, his brow pre-emptively raised as he approached the girl's form, slumped awkwardly up against a wall not far from where he teleported in, as though she were simply drunk. He hadn't thought they would actually catch the girl. She had been so slippery up to this point, he just assumed she would get away again. Now that he had her, he wasn't entirely sure what to do with her. His mission was simply to torment, hurt, terrorize, not acquire, not dismember. He considered thoughtfully. Dismemberment would fill all of the above categories. Qabian shook his head entirely to himself, then nodded at the rough looking Pandaren. "Pack her up." "Sir?" The Pandaren seemed confused. "Don't you have a... crate or something? I need her shipped to Tirisfal." Qabian held up a hand as the Pandaren shrugged helplessly. "Nevermind. Just stand guard a few minutes. I'll set it up. Good work. I'll double the pay, as agreed." The Pandaren nodded and leaned back against the wall. ~~ Just inside the Grim guild hall, Qabian awkwardly shoves a decent-sized wooden crate off a floating disc onto the floor with a heavy thud. He stops the first person who passes and says, "Is Syreena around? Bring her here if she is. Now." Though the crate is perfectly still, it makes a soft shuffling sound. Some time later, Syreena arrives. Her steps are shuffling and staggered, and she's grinning as she plays tug-of-war with Ber and Rabble as she comes in. "No fair, Rabble. You have three heads to pull it with!" Qabian straightens up as she enters. "Syreena. Delivery for you. I could continue my campaign, but thought you might want to offer your opinion before I drop this into Brightwater and see how long it takes the bubbles to stop,” he says, knocking on the top of the crate with his knuckles. The little rogue leaves the tug toy to the undead worg and hydra and turns to the crate as a muffled noise comes in protest at Qabian's words. "What is it?" she asks, looking to the mage. Qabian lifts the top of the crate by one corner and bows with a ridiculous flourish. "Someone you know." Inside, a human girl is bound and gagged, conscious but groggy, and not particularly otherwise harmed, except perhaps slightly bruised due to no one particularly attempting to be careful with the crate at any point. "The opportunity presented itself." Syreena tilts her head curiously, stepping away from her pets to peer into the crate. After some initial surprise, a cruel grin twists her patchwork stitched features. She reaches into the box with a dagger, placing the tip of the blade under the girl's chin to make her lift her head. "Well, well, if it isn't the Professor's little pet," she croons wickedly. "And how are those sick and twisted friends of yours doing these days, hm?" Anee blinks slowly, still groggy, and makes weak muffled noises behind her gag. Syreena moves her blade to cut a lock of the human's red hair, and then bashes her in the side of the head with the hilt of her dagger in her fist. As the girls slumps further into her box, the Shadowblade looks back at Qabian. "Now what to do with her....." she says with a grin, twirling the lock of hair between her fingers. "I know this wasn't part of your... request. I can set her loose, chase her down again, if you like, keep the game going, although she did manage to go underground for quite some time and may do that again. I do wonder where she would go. She must be learning that nowhere is safe forever and that everyone she turns to for help is likely to be killed or worse. Setting her free, perhaps with one less limb, may be the worst thing we could do to her." Qabian smirks. "But given just how vulnerable she is at this precise moment, I considered you might have other ideas." Reaching down to pet the girl's hair, Syreena tilts her head as she considers. "Well, I do owe a gift to a particular someone who likes making....'projects'....out of people." Qabian raises an eyebrow. To be fair, that could probably describe several Grim, but he decides against inquiring about who she means. “As you wish,” he says. “Just let me know if she ends up finished with this world. Then I’ll shift my focus to murdering those friends of hers that I’ve left simply wishing they were dead.” "She won't be around long enough for you to worry about again." A pause, and then she grins. "Unless you want to play with her some more first. Or you can get her friends." Her golden eyes narrow as she traces a finger along the unconscious girl's ear. "If you find any of her friends from the Eternal Aegis, I'd consider it a personal favor if they suffer horribly before you murder them." Qabian laughs. "All I want is the fire, for her or any of them. I'll be sure to let them know any screaming they're granted the opportunity to do is a gift from a friend and they're oh so lucky to get the chance. Will you need help with the crate?" "Can you have it delivered to Andorhal?" she asks, withdrawing her hand and closing the lid again. "Absolutely." Qabian rolls the disc he'd used earlier off a nearby wall. He jams the edge of the disc under the crate and begins kicking it. It's all very crude for someone who's usually so pretentious. "I can take it myself. Will there be someone waiting? Though I doubt there are many in Andorhal who would give it much thought if I just leave it in a corner, even with the sounds." She tilts her head again, eyeing him closely before finally answering. "The alchemy lab there sometimes receives packages for me... Thank you. I owe you," she adds. He grins horribly as he kicks the edge of the disc and it begins to float, carrying the crate a foot or so off the ground. "Don't thank me. After all, helping you helps me. I'm hardly being that generous," he says in a tone that's less than serious. "But I will remember that you owe me." He flicks the floating crate lightly with one hand and he follows behind as the disc carries it away. The little rogue watches him leave. She's pleased that the girl can no longer cause any trouble for her, but at the same time, she's not thrilled about being in a debt to an elf. However, at the same time, in her experience, people she owed favors to rarely called them in. Turning away, she goes off to finish her business in the guild hall so she can soon head out to Andorhal.
  25. 3 points
    Espionage is never simple. Whatever you are trying to get from your enemies, someone on your side is simply waiting for an opportunity to give to them. Back when Kael'thas was still a force to be reckoned with, Qabian played the double agent game consistently and not always smoothly, but he recognized early which side was going to win, and he refused to go down with the ship. With the current state of the Horde, there were many and more who would like to see Sylvanas knocked off her pedestal, but Qabian was not one of them. He had his issues with her, but compared to his issues with Thrall and Garrosh, they were minimal. His days of playing the Horde against itself were at least temporarily over. He did, however, have enough experience to realize that whatever was happening on his side would be mirrored on the other. For the moment, the easiest of his enemy to exploit were the Dark Irons. There would always be those who, while following their queen as faithfully as they could, wouldn't be able to resist sticking it to their old enemies whenever the opportunity arose. Now that there were some Dark Irons skulking around the Kirin Tor hoping to help fight demons, they were also relatively easy to contact. In exchange for whatever they needed that he had the ability to provide, usually murder easily traced to someone other than the person who ordered it, Qabian had a small number of Alliance mages willing to work for him. However, after the past several weeks, Qabian was getting seriously tired of seeing dwarves. Yes, they'd done everything he asked, even after he went to check their reports himself after the third false sighting, but every time he met with them and they gave their collective shrugs he had to resist the urge to just burn them all to ash. He was sure they could sense it in him, but they all seemed perfectly content to keep draining him of resources as long as he was willing to offer. Qabian began to wonder if he wasn't being played. Qabian burst into his room in Silvermoon and tossed his blade to one side with a clatter. Unrolled on top of his desk was a crude map of Azeroth, details unnecessary for its purpose. Red ink Xs were scattered across Alliance-controlled locations. Qabian snatched up a quill, dipped it in something, and slashed a new red X over what would have been Nethergarde Keep. He dropped the quill haphazardly and began to pace about the small room. His hunt for the girl had been concerned with covering as wide an area as shallow as possible, just scouting for sightings, not precise locations or hideouts. He was fairly certain she wouldn't be audacious enough to hide anywhere neutral or Horde controlled, which reduced the search area considerably. The Isles themselves were well covered. But all the while he pulled the puppet strings of another plot, his dwarves continued to turn up more and more nothing. He tapped the map as he passed by it in his pacing. "If I were trying to hide..." He muttered to himself, then amended his thought. "If I were a scared human girl trying to hide, and not in any of the places I've already looked. Hmm, Pandaria or Outland?" ~~ Allerian Stronghold was in flames behind Qabian when the goblin tracked him down with the message. The light from the fires lit the page as he read the jagged dwarvish words. "She's been spotted in the Shrine of Seven Stars. I'm confident it's her this time. She will be difficult to get to, though. She does not seem to leave. -K" A horrible grin stretched across Qabian's face. The location was more than enough. He opened a portal to Undercity. It was time to prepare Anee's next package.
  26. 3 points
    Qabian stands leaning against the curved doorway just inside The Agronomical Apothecary when Daerek arrives. The blood elf had done business with a goblin there earlier, put in an order for some flasks and said he'd wait there, making it look like he wasn't just some loiterer. Qabian brushes non-existent dirt off his Grim tabard as Daerek walks past him, opening with the ever-so-friendly statement, "She does not care about you," in thickly accented Common. Daerek shifts his pack as he enters the Apothecary, almost passing the elf altogether until he speaks. "I--pardon?" the young mage asks, blinking at the man with confused green eyes. Qabian smirks, giving the human a lazy salute in lieu of explanation or greeting. "Your girl. The one in your room. She does not care for you." Daerek draws back a little, taken aback by the elf's words. He eyes the other man up and down before speaking again. "She's not my girl," he says calmly. "Qabian, I presume?" Qabian raises an eyebrow, curious. "Yes. But I never gave her my name." The mage shrugs. "You don't have to be explicit for others to put a few things together." Qabian looks uncertain. "But why?" He then mirrors Daerek's shrug. "No matter. She lives with you, but is not yours?" Daerek looks at the man with an odd expression. "Living together doesn't mean two people have to be involved," he says slowly, as if it's a rudimentary concept. He doesn't seem bothered that this elf knows he lives with the woman in question. Qabian seems both bemused and incredulous, folding his arms across his chest. "Maybe no, but not even friends? Strangers do not do such things." Daerek actually laughs. "You would not believe how many people have told me that," he says easily. "And I'm sure I'll hear it a lot more." Qabian shrugs. "You do not care then? Neither of you care. Same home, ships in the night." The elf then stares Daerek right in the eyes and grins wickedly. "You are a liar, too. You deserve each other." The mage seems amused. "You're awful quick to come to conclusions. Are you sure you're making the right ones?" Qabian shakes his head, chuckling. "No conclusions. Only testing. Seeing what you do, how you answer. Do you know who she is?" "Sounds like conclusions to me," Daerek says lightly, shifting so that he's leaning against the stone wall of the apothecary in a mirror of Qabian's pose. "And I know enough. But I've got a better question--what's all this about?" Qabian raises his hands, palms up, still grinning unpleasantly. "Wish I knew. She is nobody, no one. Mystery. But someone I know hates her very much. Curious, hm? What did she do? Where is she from?" If he's honest with himself, Daerek is edging towards unsettled by the encounter--but he does a good job of covering it up with easy grins and laughter. "So who hates her? She's a nice girl. Seems hard to hate someone like that." "Indeed." Qabian folds his arms again, open grin shifting back into a closed smirk. "And yet. You know my name. Do you know me?" "A question with a non-answer!" Daerek slaps his knee with a laugh. "So clever." He sighs a little and gestures vaguely to the counter. "Is there a point to this? If you're just here to chat, that's fine, but I've got work to do." Qabian gives a slow nod of his head, holding that smug smirk of his. "Just chat. For now. And a warning." "Yeah? What's your warning?" Daerek regards the other man with lifted eyebrows and an expectant gaze. "You are easy to find. Easy to follow." Qabian stands up straight, abandoning his leaning posture. He mimics someone else's voice, much higher, and speaks Common without an accent. "'Oh, yes. I remember those two. They bought cupcakes by the bank. They were such a cute couple and very sweet together.'" He shrugs then slips back into his thick accent and short sentences to say, "Not my conclusions. Someone hates you. Maybe time to hide, hm?" Daerek watches Qabian with an unamused expression while the other man delivers his 'threats.' When he's finished, the youth pushes off from the wall and pulls himself up to his full height--a bit taller than the Grim elf, but not by a great deal. He stares down into the other man's face with a flat look. "You tell that someone that as far as I'm concerned, they're nothing more than a bully," he says quietly. "Now is that all? I really should get to work." Qabian laughs out loud, essentially in the man's face, intensely amused by both Daerek's dropping of his carefully maintained lightheartedness and the attempt to stare him down. The elf takes one step back in order to give a short, shallow bow with an exaggerated flourish. "Of course. But the one who hates you? No bully. For now, the bully is me." He ends that statement with an absolutely horrible grin, then turns on his heel with another lazy salute. "See you soon." The young mage doesn't seem bothered whatsoever by the mocking laughter. He seems to almost have expected it, if the smirk on his lips is anything to go by. "Two bullies are hardly any different than one," he says with a snort. "Be well, Bully. I look forward to seeing you again." Daerek doesn't appear to watch Qabian leave, instead turning towards the back counter to begin his work. Qabian steps lightly back into the street, where he's immediately accosted by a goblin. Qabian nods to the goblin, says something inaudible, and points back into the alchemist's place. The goblin nods in return and hands the elf a package. Only after the goblin skips off, singing off-key as she goes, does Qabian sigh and roll his eyes before pulling a mask up over his face and making himself scarce. Nothing was going quite the way he wanted.
  27. 3 points
    Anee was sorting through a bag of herbs on the kitchen counter, identifying each one for Teagan, Daerek’s sister who was visiting for a while, and telling her a few facts about each plant, such as where it could be found and a few uses for it. Wearing just sweat pants and a tank top, and her hair back in a ponytail to keep it out of her way, she seemed quite relaxed as she taught the impromptu herb lesson to her lone student. Buster was laying on the couch, chewing on a bone that he held propped up between his paws. Despite her exuberant nature, Teagan was a solemn student and a quick learner. She was dressed similarly to Anee in terms of comfort, but she had snagged one of her brother's button-downs, rolled up the sleeves, and tied the long shirt ends at her stomach. Every now and then she shared a bit of trivia with Anee about an herb that she’d come across in a history book or some such other place. Daerek had been gone for the morning on some errand or another, but the jangle of keys outside of the apartment door heralded his return. Buster, abandoning a bone he had been chewing, jumped off the couch and ran to the door, barking happily and jumping up at Daerek as the door opened. "Anee?" he called, shifting some packages around in his arms. "You've got a package here!" Anee came from the kitchen and took the package from her roommate with a distracted “Thanks” as she looked at the box, so he could deal with the excited puppy. Daerek laughed at the dog and put the rest of the packages on the desk before squatting down to pet Buster. “You being a good girl, Teagan?” he called out, assuming she was there somewhere. Teagan came out of the kitchen, hands on her tilted hips. "A good girl? What am I, your dog?" "That's my shirt! You're wearing my shirt!" "Hmph. The color brings out our eyes." She tossed her hair with a laugh and returned to the kitchen. Anee set the box down on the coffee table. Buster left Daerek and came to sniff the box, most interested. When Anee opened the box and looked inside, she gasped loudly and stepped backwards. She walked back right into the couch and fell on her butt into the cushions. She didn’t even seem to notice though, still staring at the box with wide eyes. Daerek looked up at the commotion and Teagan popped her head out of the kitchen, a frown on her face. Daerek sprinted to Anee. "Hey hey hey, what's wrong? You alright?" He peered first into her face, resting a hand on her shoulder, before leaning over to peer into the box. Inside the box was a head. It had obviously been dead for a very long time; by now it was mostly just a skull with a few bits of hair and desiccated flesh still clinging to it, with a light spattering of grave dirt. There was a folded piece of paper shoved in the skull’s jaws. Frowning, Anee pulled the paper out and unfolded it. "Not your father. You're a liar." With another gasp and her eyes widening even further, she flung the note back into the box and stared at it as if it might start shooting fire at her. Buster, a lover of bones, jumped up and put his front paws on the coffee table to get a closer look at what was in the box. Although it was mostly too dried out to stink out the humans, his sensitive nose just knew there was something interesting there. Daerek sucked in a breath at the sight, but to his credit he didn’t seem too outwardly phased. He grabbed for Buster to move him away from the box. "What is it? What's going on?" Teagan asked, making to come investigate for herself. Anee put the lid back on the box. Daerek shot her a single stern look. "Don't," he said sharply, uncommon command strengthening his voice. "Do not look. And do not listen." Teagan recoiled with wide eyes. "Okay," she said in a small voice, ducking back into the kitchen without further noise. The mage shifted again to crouch in front of Anee, both hands moving gently for her shoulders. "Anee," he murmured. "Why don't you tell me what's going on?" There was nothing but concern for her in his voice and gaze. Anee looked right at Daerek, not even trying to hide her fear. "He knows where I live......" she murmured, her voice filled with dread as she considered the implications of that. Fear for herself turned into an icy lump in her stomach as she remembered the Grim mage asking about family and friends. "Then we'll go somewhere else for a while," he said softly. "But you need to tell me what's going on so I know what we need to do." He squeezed her shoulders a little bit, hoping to share any kind of comfort and calm. "I should go....away from you.... You'll be safer...." then she frowned. "If it's not already too late for that. I can...go to Stormwind. It might be safer there. Harder for him to get in there....or them.... I don't know if he's working alone. I don't know what he wants with me...." Her voice started to take on a note of desperation at the end, but she managed to not panic, at least not yet. After a moment, she seemed to realize she hadn't offered any explanation. "A few nights ago.... A man asked me some questions. He said I could have his panther cub, who seemed very hungry, if I answered his questions. He asked for my father's name, and I didn't want to tell him, so instead I gave him the name of the man who owned the pub I worked at." Her brow furrows at the box with the head in it. "How could he know I lied about that?" Daerek kept a steady look on her, not relinquishing his grip. "What other kinds of questions did he ask?" "He asked about my family," she said, speaking slowly as she tried to remember everything. "I told him they were all dead. He said he was an orphan too, so we had a lot in common. He asked.... He asked who I live with, and who my friends are. I lied to him. I told him I live just with Buster and have no friends. He got suspicious and asked if I belonged to a guild, so I told him the truth on that one...." She frowned then, biting her bottom lip. "Anee." Daerek brought one of his hands up to cup her face, moreso to keep her focusing on him and keep her grounded than as any kind of an intimate gesture. She looked away from the box and back to him. "No hiding anything, okay? Not from me, not right now." There was still no reproach in his voice, just earnest concern and an intent to get to the bottom of the situation before they make a move. "If he knows where I live, he may know about you....." Her voice was barely a whisper. "Daerek, I'm so sorry... He's Grim." "Okay," he said calmly. "Who?" She hesitated, remembering his words the other night about her knowing so many Horde people. "I...I... He wore their tabard," she said, looking back at the box. "A blood elf. He cast fire spells..... He burned the panther cub." The news about the cub made Daerek wince a little. "I'm sorry," he murmured, before looking at her with a level gaze again. "Do you know this man's name?" He knew what he said the other night too—couldn’t get it out of his head--but he was expecting her to be honest with him. That expectation was evident in his eyes. Still staring at the box, she says quietly, "He didn't say his name..." "But do you know it?" She flinched slightly. "Qabian......I don't know his last name." "Okay. Why would Qabian be asking you these questions? And following up on them in such a way?" "I don't know!" she exclaimed, wondering the same thing. She looked at him earnestly. "He's Grim. Everyone knows they just kill all Alliance, not make conversation with them. I asked him what he wanted, and all he said was he wanted answers to his questions." Then she frowned suddenly. Daerek stayed silent and cocked his head to the side, waiting for Anee to voice whatever thought she suddenly had. She opened her mouth but closed it again on that particular thought, and switched to her main concern. "You're not safe," she whispered, then glanced in the direction of the kitchen. "She's not either. I'm so sorry," "I'm not leaving you," he said flatly. "It's not happening. I'll get Teague somewhere safe, but I'm not leaving you alone." "They'll kill you. Horribly." She said it calmly, but her voice was filled with absolute certainty that it would happen. "Doesn't matter. I'm not leaving you alone." He smiled. "If they wanted me dead, that mage would have set me on fire the other night. But you.... If they're playing with me, they'll hurt you, and kill you, just to hurt me. You're safer without me." Daerek was silent for several moments, green eyes never leaving hers. "Do you want me to leave you?" he asked quietly. "For your own sake? Not mine?" She knew she should tell him yes and insist he let her go away alone. But she was not that selfless, and she was very scared. Slowly, she shook her head no. She knew it was wrong, but she told herself she could run away from him later if it was needed to protect him. Daerek leaned forward and pulled Anee to him in a hug. "Okay," he murmured into her hair. "Okay. Then I'm not. You're stuck with me. We'll figure this out together." The hug surprised her, but she quickly melted into him, nearly clinging to him. She nodded her head against him at his words, but miserably felt like she had just condemned him to a horrible death "We'll be okay, alright? I promise. One way or another." He sounded pretty confident, but Anee couldn’t see his face. There was a flash of fear in his eyes--fear that he had no idea what to do or who to turn to--but if she shifted at all to look at him, that fear would be completely gone. She just nodded again. To her, it wouldn't matter how confident he looked or sounded; she didn't at all believe they would be okay. "Okay." "Okay," he echoed, mindlessly kissing the top of her head. It bought him time to think if nothing else. And then they started working on laying out a plan to keep them all safe.
  28. 3 points
    It was hard to tell at first glance where the pair were geographically. The presence of a Legion camp just a few feet away, and a nearby Felhound sniffing about at their sudden arrival, was more or less an immediate danger. If someone were to look, though, they'd see the spires of Suramar City off in the distant west. Confusion clouded Anee’s face as she took a few steps forward and then stopped, looking around. “Daerek?” she asked softly. “I don’t think we’ll find dessert here….” Daerek paled significantly, breath coming in hushed pants and green eyes wide. Wordlessly, he grabbed Anee’s arm and took a few slow steps back towards the portal, hoping to pull them back through it to Pandaria. Too bad the portal destabilized. It was gone. “Make another one?” Even in a whisper, Anee’s voice shook. She pressed close to him, fearfully watching the nearby demons. “We’re too close,” he whispered back. “The Felhound will smell it immediately. They’ll be on us before I can finish casting.” The hand not holding onto her slowly reached for a pouch at his hip. “Eighteen seconds,” he murmured, pressing a small vial of blue-tainted liquid into her hand. “You drink it, and you run. You’ll have eighteen seconds of invisibility. They’ll smell my magic before they smell you. You drink and you run. Deliverance Point is….to the south, I think. Okay?” Shaking her head, she pushed the vial back at him. “Remember I told you I can hide from them? You use this. I’m not leaving you.” She reached down to her boot and pulled out a small dagger. “Too close for hearthstones too?” Daerek looked extremely agitated at her refusal for a moment, but he forced it down. Now was not the time to put up a fuss, and he could always break down in guilt later. “If we get far enough away… There’s magic to hearthstones too.” The Felhound stood, eyestalks swaying this way and that as it searched for the source of the magic it smelled. “It’s going to smell me anyways.” Daerek took the vial reluctantly. “But we can try. But don’t come out from hiding.” Anee eyed the Felhound, suddenly remembering something about the beasts—they like to eat magic. Wordlessly, she nodded at Daerek’s instructions and waited for him to drink the potion. He popped the cork, keeping his eyes pinned on the slowly advancing Felhound. It had their mark, but wasn’t quite sure yet. Daerek murmured a countdown from three and downed the shot of liquid. He bolted, praying that he could trust Anee to act as skillfully as she’d led him to believe she can. Anee took to the shadows as soon as Daerek disappeared, and started running in the same direction. She started counting to eighteen, planning to stop running when she reached it. Hopefully they would be near each other when his potion wore off. The Felhound, however, had finally locked onto the source of magic it smelled. Though it couldn’t see the mage, it sensed the movement. It broke into a run, passing Anee without even slowing down in its eagerness to get to the magic source. With its eyestalk tentacles waving eagerly, the beast closed in on the young mage. Anee saw it and tightened her grip on her dagger, understanding all too well what the beast’s intent was. She grabbed a small rock, about the size of an apple, and threw it at the Felhound, hitting it in the back. It stopped and turned on her, tentacles waving and saliva dripping from its mouth. Throwing the rock had pulled her from the shadows and the beast had no trouble seeing her now. She pulled her second dagger from the other boot and raised both blades in front of her as she stared at the creature. Daerek heard the hound’s eager vocalizations behind him and pushed himself to run harder. He was used to running; the additional effort wasn’t a problem for him, not yet. It was when he didn’t hear the growling beast continuing its advance that he realized something was wrong. The mage chanced a look back over his shoulder, only to see his roommate facing off with the Felhound. He stopped running and spun back around to face them, horror plain on his face. His chemically-induced invisibility wore off a moment later. Any shout he might have made died in his throat, but fire sputtered into being around his hands when he started trying to cast to help her. The Felhound, sending the magic being cast, turned back to the mage, grunting and growling eagerly. “No!” Anee shouted. She charged at the beast, launching herself at its back. Sitting on the Felhound as if it were a horse, she gripped it with her legs as it started twisting and bucking. It growled and slobbered, waving its eyestalk tentacles around wildly. Anee tightened her legs to keep her seat, and she raised both daggers before plunging them into the back of the Felhound’s neck, right at the base of the skull. The Felhound lurched a few times, sending Anee flying through the air to land on the rocky ground, before it finally fell over dead. Something in Anee’s attack shocked the mage so much that his concentration faltered and the fire in his hands disappeared entirely. If possible, he looked even more horrified than he did before—but whatever it was, he shoved It down and ran to her and the dead hound. The young mage knelt protectively over Anee. The tussle had attracted the attention of some larger, bipedal demons on the outskirts of the camp they ran past. Previously preoccupied by the sight of an armored man approaching the camp, two Felguards were pointing and shouting at Daerek and Anee now, lumbering towards them with the same intent the Felhound had. Dazed, Anee sat up slowly as Daerek neared her. Even through the fall, her hands never released their grip on her daggers, and she adjusted her grip on them now as she saw the approaching Felguards. "We need to get out of here,” she murmured. "If I distract them, can you make us a portal?" A flash of light intercepted one of the Felguards, and a few seconds later an older man charged at the demons. The man was surrounded in a pale aura of Light. He raised a shield and shortsword up to block the Felguard attacks. "You kids better run." He huffed out, "These two don't seem happy." Daerek couldn’t seem to believe their good luck at somebody armored and capable. He rose to a standing position, pulling Anee up with him. He wrapped her in his arms and muttered a quick incantation, blinking them away from the fight. Making sure she could stand on her own, he slowly released her and prepared to open a portal. Anee, also looking very relieved, looked between her roommate and the adventurer. "He looks like he can handle himself. Let's get out of here." Daerek didn’t look at her once she was standing, instead focusing on his spellcasting. After what seemed like forever (but wasn't quite even ten seconds), a brilliantly shimmering image of Dalaran appeared within the confines of the portal's swirling outline. "Go," he urged, a hand on her back to push her through the portal. A moment of doubt crossed her mind at the portal, after what happened with the last one, but she was pushed through before having time for second thoughts. Besides, what could be worse than this place? She disappeared through the portal and waited for Daerek on the other side. "Come on!" Daerek shouts over his shoulder to the armored man. He turned and started chanting another spell, this one causing an icy chill to envelope his hands. The spell would freeze the Felguards in place and allow the man to run to them "safely." The old man chanced a moment to look over his shoulder to see the portal. "Look away!" He shouted to Daerek before the Light gathered around him flared and brightened to a painful level. The demons were blinded and confused. The old man then ran towards the portal. Daerek turned his head and lifted his arm to cover his eyes. When the residual lighting from the flare died down, he chanced a peek again--and stepped aside so the armored man could have a clear shot at the portal. The old man was able to get up to the portal, but waited for Daerek to go through first. "If it closes on me, I can take more than a few hits before needing to go to safety." The young mage nodded and went through the portal. The man followed soon after, deciding not to pass up an easy way out of the fight. This portal was fine. It took them back to Dalaran as expected.
  29. 3 points
    ((Straight up murder)) After two meals of bread and water, evening and morning, the blood elf accustomed to seafood and arcwine knew his strength was going to wane and he needed to set his scheme in motion quickly. Not to mention he had no idea how long he had before Cavanaugh arrived with a noose in hand. Qabian leaned against the bars of the cell, watching pairs of guards patrol through the hallway. He smirked slowly as his target finally came into view. As the pair walked past, Qabian banged on the bars. “Richards,” Qabian hissed. One of the guards jerked his head around to glare at Qabian, then came over and kicked the bars Qabian was leaning on. “Did I give you permission to talk to me, blood elf.” Qabian raised his hands, palms out. “Apologies. Thought you wanted to know about your daughter.” The guard reached through the bars and dragged Qabian up by the front of his ragged tunic. “Don’t you start with me. Everyone in here’s hoping you have an accident and end up dead.” “Quel’thalas,” Qabian whispered, their noses nearly touching. “I know who has her, and if I die, so does she.” Qabian wrapped his fingers tightly around the guard’s wrist. “We make a deal. Then I tell you how to find her. Then you kill me all you like.” Richards hesitated. Qabian grinned as he read the man’s thoughts on his face. Here he was, holding in his own hands the person who likely caused him the most pain he’d ever experienced, but if he took his revenge, he risked losing everything when he was on the very cusp of gaining it all back. He yanked Qabian forward, causing the mage’s face to slam against the bars and the hood slip back off his head, but Richards asked quietly, “What do you want?” Qabian gingerly touched his already bruised cheekbone, then sighed. “Needle and thread. For this.” He tapped the guard’s fist where it was tearing the thin fabric of the tunic. “And,” Qabian glanced over his shoulder at his larger, still unconscious but once again snoring cellmate. “A private cell. After last night, hm? That’s all. Nothing to cause alarm. Nothing to lose your job. Hm? In return, your daughter.” “Fine. I’ll be back in an hour,” Richards said, keeping his voice low. He tossed the blood elf back to the floor, with a loud, “You’re going to hang, blood elf.” “Can’t wait,” Qabian muttered, pulling his hood back up over his face, hoping he still had a few bones intact by the time it was over. In a dank, windowless cell, it was impossible to tell exactly how long the guard took to return, but he did. He unlocked Qabian’s cell and beckoned to him with one hand. Qabian lifted his hood briefly to wink at Boy, then followed Richards quietly. As they walked away, Boy’s gaze turned apprehensively on the snoring man lying on the other side of the cell. Richards led Qabian around the corner to a darker, much smaller cell at the end of the row and pushed the blood elf roughly inside. “Now tell me where she is,” the guard said, his tone angry. Qabian held out an open palm. “Needle.” Richards slapped the requested item into Qabian’s hand, then shoved him back against the wall. “Tell me!” Qabian took the shove in stride, and lifted a finger to his lips. “Shh. You don’t want others hearing what I have to say. Come closer.” Richards took a cautious step forward, as did Qabian, leaning in as though to whisper, before finally taking the opportunity he’d so carefully conjured. Qabian sidestepped the guard and spun around behind him, bringing an arm across the guard’s face and yanking backward, while the other hand tore the ring of keys out of the surprised man's grip. One of the long iron keys in his fist, Qabian drove the metal instrument inward and upward into the guard’s eye socket. The man howled and struggled, but his screams were muffled by Qabian’s arm across his mouth, and the elf put a knee to the man’s back to keep him in place as he repeatedly slammed the key as far as he could get it to go inside the man’s head. The guard bit down on Qabian’s arm, but the elf’s only reaction was a hiss of pain. He’d been prepared for that much. The struggle was over quickly. Qabian let the guard’s body slide to the ground while he twisted the keyring to extricate his makeshift weapon from the man’s eye socket. Blood dripped down Qabian’s arm from the bite wound. His torn tunic was stained brilliant red with both his own blood and that of his victim. “I buried her shallow six months ago, idiot,” Qabian said quietly, turning the twitching corpse over roughly with one foot before turning away. Qabian looked out into the hall to assess the situation. Nothing seemed out of place. He carefully watched the guard patrols for his chance, then dashed back to the previous cell, holding his wounded arm close to his chest. Boy stared with wide eyes at the bloodied elf as Qabian staggered with multiple gory keys before successfully unlocking the cell door. Qabian quietly closed the door behind him, leaving it unlocked, then rushed to the back corner of the cell, grabbing Boy by the shoulder. The elf held out the needle in his palm. “You need to do this. Now,” he hissed. The pair crouched conspiratorially with their backs to the bars. They had until someone noticed the missing guard, the trail of blood drops in the hall, or the fact that the cell door was slightly ajar. Boy took hold of the needle and the slim gold band around Qabian’s wrist and went to work manipulating the tiny locking mechanism. Boy worked in silence for what felt like eternity when strange noises began to echo through the halls behind them. “Shh,” Qabian whispered. “There is no one else here. There is just you and the lock. Nothing else exists. Just you. And the lock.” The sounds of the guards congregating in the hallway got louder. Boy began to whimper. “Shh,” Qabian said as soothingly as he could. Boy’s hands began to shake. A loud cracking sound echoed suddenly through the cell. The gold band shattered and a layer of frost began to spread out across the floor and walls of the cell from where Boy’s feet touched the floor. Qabian raised an eyebrow, rubbing at his finally freed wrist. “You’re a mage?” Boy was just staring at his own hands. “N-no. Didn’t you do that?” Qabian shook his head. The crawling frost reached their snoring companion and he stirred in his sleep. Without hesitation, Qabian gestured and the large man shrieked as he burst into flames. Qabian grabbed Boy’s hand. “We have to go. Now.” The boy didn’t have a chance to respond before Qabian dragged him into the hall where an approaching guard suddenly found herself clopping around on four porcine hooves. Qabian tossed the ring of keys into the nearest cell he passed, where its occupants were standing at the bars, curiously trying to decipher the commotion. Qabian gave them a lazy salute and received hoots and hollars in return as they dove for the ring of keys. Qabian and Boy dashed for the stairs, sowing fire and chaos ahead, the gangly teenager desperately trying not to trip over his own feet behind. By the time they finally escaped the Stockade itself, the crowd of guards collecting behind them was distracted by more and more prisoners escaping their cells. Qabian ran out into the city, locking the ankles of the guards at the door to the cobblestones with a blast of ice. “Is it true,” Boy asked, finding a moment to catch his breath as they ran. “What?” Qabian said, annoyed. “Did you kill the matron at the orphanage?” “What?” Qabian demanded again, jerking the boy towards him. “The guards... I heard them saying...” Qabian spun around a corner into an alley. “Does it matter?" he hissed. "I got you out of there, didn't I? Do you want me to teach you how to use that magic you didn’t know you had, or not?” Boy stared at Qabian’s blood-smeared face. “Y-yes?” “Here.” Qabian held out his hand, palm up. A long dagger of an icicle quickly took shape there. As Boy reached out to take the ice, Qabian closed his fist around it and slammed the sharp point into the boy’s chest. “Don’t,” the mage said, emotionless. The boy stared down in surprise at the blood spreading across his own shirt, then toppled forward. “There's your lesson,” Qabian said as he stepped over the body into the space between realities, teleporting away.
  30. 3 points
    Sometimes, in the fleeting quiet moments between battles, when my mind is left to wander as it will, it takes me back to him. Those memories are still whole, untouched by the wicked sorcery of the human professor. At times, I am grateful that these most precious memories were spared. Other times, I think it would have been a mercy if they'd been taken or scrambled with so many others. I remember the first day I met him. That day was at least ten years ago. I was buying poison in Undercity when he approached the same vendor. He seemed to know him. They made small talk and joked with each other, while I was still waiting for my purchase. I got irritated with him, but he started talking and joking with me too, as if we were old friends. He soon had me laughing along with them, my irritation forgotten. I remember sparring outside the front gates of the Undercity until we were both beaten and bloodied. And then we’d spar some more, telling ourselves we were only trying to determine which of us was the better fighter. In truth, we both knew we were evenly matched, but we continued the fights for the sheer joy of combat and each other’s company. I remember hunting mages with him in Felwood, positioning ourselves carefully -- one to ambush the mage and the other to intercept after the inevitable blink. We made such a bloody sport of slaughtering the felcloth gatherers there. I remember sneaking through Stormwind Park together, collecting coins from the Elders, and murdering any Alliance who crossed our path. We’d laugh as we ran and hid from the guards, reveling in the bloodshed and the danger. I remember the quiet talks about fighting, about The Grim, about his guild, about our pasts, about anything and everything. They were secret talks. In those days, Grims did not have close relationships with non-Grims. It just did not happen. He also led his own guild. I met a few of them now and then, but I never got to know them very well. The time we spent together was most often private time shared by just the two of us. “Marry me,” he said one day during one of these talks. I had never before considered the possibility of marriage. What would I do with a husband? What would I do as a wife? I was Forsaken. I had once been dead and was now undead. I would never be able to give him children. I couldn’t even be with him as a wife should be with a husband, and I had no desire to be that way with anyone. I was also Grim. Grims did not often marry, and they never married outside the guild. There was no chance he would abandon his own guild to become Grim. He was too willful to ever take orders from another. “I can’t,” I answered quietly. “You’re not Grim.” I expected him to be disappointed, or angry, or insulted. Instead, he laughed his carefree laugh and said, “You are Grim through and through.” He disappeared sometime after that. I thought him lost forever, claimed by a final death, or some new adventure. Two years later, I would see him one more time. Eight years ago…… The Alliance had invaded Orgimmar again. They seemed determined to kill Thrall. I was part of a small unit of Grim aiding the defense. By the time we got there, most of the Alliance had already been killed or driven off. We helped kill the remaining Alliance as they fled. As the last stragglers were dealt with, something about one of the other Forsaken there caught my attention. He cut down a druid that was trying to sprint away in cat form. In my mind, memories stirred as I watched him move and fight. He was different though. His eyes were now a frosty blue instead of the glowing gold I remembered, his daggers were gone in favor of a large sword, and he wore plate instead of the usual supple leather. Still, I knew without a doubt it was him. “Lucion.” I breathed his name without thinking. Although it was barely a whisper, he looked at me then. After all the time that had passed, I felt nervous as I approached him. “Do you remember me?” “I remember I gave you a flower in Undercity. A lotus. I remember you wearing a black dress. You are all grown up now.” We talked the rest of the evening. It was like before, but it was also different. He told me some things about the time he’d been gone, but he didn’t remember everything. Something about a warlock, a crystal, and a priest with all the answers, and something about empowering the Forsaken, but he didn’t know any details. I was so happy he was back, and I vowed to help him find answers. I never saw him again.
  31. 3 points
    "Those who have not given themselves over to the Light, are mere servants of Evil... they must be destroyed." - Kirrik the Awakened The Scarlet Hand Who we are? The Scarlet Hand is a human only RP-PvP guild formed to combat both the Horde and any other threats that arise to threaten the citizens of the Alliance. What we do? We take part in all aspects of the game, our leadership has every AoTC achievement during the Legion Expansion, as well as titles for Arena and RBG's. We are looking for like minded players who want to not only partake in some fun RP, but also all aspects of the game! We are also looking to push a more fully immersive RP experience that carries over into some raiding / BG / and world PvP events as well as coordinating other RP events. Our Goals ( IC ) 1) To Spread the teachings of the Holy Light - As a guild that is based on a "pure" version of the Scarlet Crusade, one thing we want to do is spread the word of the Light. While our organization was formed after some rather disastrous events, our goal isn't just to change the outcome, we are not just a machine of war. When we are not on the front lines, our members must remain dedicated to spreading the word of the Holy Light. 2) To rid Lordearon of all Enemies of the Alliance - Our goal as a military unit that is based out of Tyr's Hand, is to help purify the former Kingdom of Lordearon from the corruption that currently infests it. From the Scourge remnants, to the Forsaken outposts, anything within the former Kingdom must be freed from the grip of terror that currently resides there, and made ready for the return of the sons and daughters of Lordearon. 3) To Eliminate the Plague of Undeath across all of Azeroth - As the former citizens of Lordearon experienced first hand, the terror that overtook the land due to the plague of undeath still hangs over Azeroth. As a member of the Scarlet Hand we seek to bring this threat to an end and have a light-bound duty to achieve this goal at all costs. 4) Cleanse the lands of corruption - As we know, the plague of undeath, corruption of the Legion, and many other nefarious threats to Azeroth damage the lands they infect. It is our goal to work with the power of the Holy Light to help in purifying these lands, including the Capital City of Lordearon, from the corruption that has taken hold. IC Details: We are a human only guild that is based on a "pure" Scarlet Crusade. 1) Even alts must be Human, exceptions can be made to the "Human only" rule with our Emissary rank. We will allow any 1 class of any race, who wants to RP as an emissary to our organization. While technically not an IC member of the guild, and IC unable to wear the tabard, it provides for some fun RP / exception possibilities with players that enjoy the idea / ambassador type RPers, who also want to take part in content with our members. ( Aka 1 Worgen 1 Gnome, etc... can be any class ) 2) Because we are a religious and Light based organization we do not currently accept Warlocks or Death Knights. ( They -MAY- be accepted as emissaries... but this relationship will at best be hostile... ) 3) An IC interview is required 4) RP name is a must - We don't love special characters, but as long as the name is RP friendly we will consider it! Our IC Relationships: The Alliance: As a human organization we see ourselves as protectors of the Alliance. While other races are not permitted into our Order, we do not dislike any particular race within the Alliance and can work with any organization ( * ) that shares our goals and ideals. We also will protect all innocents of the Alliance whenever we can. The Horde: Openly hostile. There is no room for peace of discussion so long as they protect and aid the defilers of Azeroth. Even further disgracing themselves by allowing the Banshee Queen to become their Warchief, we must do all that we can to defeat this threat to our people. The Forsaken continue to raze the fallen of Lordearon, and elsewhere, to serve the Banshee Queen and whatever nefarious goals she maintains. Not until the Horde separates itself from the Forsaken, and joins in our cause to put the fallen to rest and purify Lordearon, can there be any hopes for peace. The Silver Hand: A former bastion of the Light, this organization has allowed itself to become polluted by the Agents of the Banshee Queen and no longer is worthy to bare the name. The new Highlord has shown to be weak, and the lack of a response after the assault on Light's Hope by the Ebon Blade proved this. While there are some noble Knights that still remain out of a sense of duty and honor, the ends do not justify the means, and so long as the Banshee Queen's soldiers remain, they cannot be fully trusted. The Ebon Blade: As would be expected, because this organization is filled entirely with the Undead, it must be purified. It also seems to bend to the will of the Jailor of the Damned, and his goals have already proven to be as vile as the former Lich King, his attempt to raise Tirion Fordring and the assault on Light's Hope Chapel requires justice. Even those who have sworn allegiance to the Alliance cannot fully be trusted. The Scarlet Crusade: The members of the Scarlet Crusade were corrupted by the very same force that brought the plague of undeath to Azeroth... the Burning Legion. While there are still some men and women with pure hearts and true goals, the ways of the original Crusade must be halted. Should any former members of the Crusade approach, they must be given a chance to repent for their actions, and if they refuse, will be brought to justice. Our goal is to purify the name of the Scarlet Crusade and it's heroes, not tolerate the corruption that took control of it. It is true we admire their fervor and dedication to eradicating the plague of undeath, but trading one dark fate for another is unacceptable. (( OOC )) We have IC and OOC channels for communication and encourage all sorts of RP across both factions! RP events are a must for us, and combining our RP with PvE and PvP is something we really want to push for, not just bar or tavern RP. IC interview is required and an oath will be taken to join! :-) If you are interested send any officer an in game mail, or in game message, you may also message us on the TnG! 18+ As we are definitely an older guild, usually looking for like aged members! Be ok with RPing with and as a Scarlet Crusader! IC drama of course will occur, but keep it that way! Keep it to the IC and not the OOC :-) If we come off like jerks, its because well... we are! Obviously evil characters who come off as insane likely won't fit! We are based on the Holy Light and a military organization so discipline is something that a character should generally have. We have a discord channel / and are always willing to help and / or come to anyone's aid! --- Recruitment - Right now as long as you are human - alts included, and not a DK or Warlock, we are recruiting! ( We also have an alt rank for other human chars who have mains in the guild - Converts- ) Emissary Rank - for non humans - Recruiting 1 of each Race - Special Privilege given to more worthy applicants - Having a major in game achievement ( Challenger or better, AoTC of the current expansion, of the Alliance, etc ) will certainly help! We are also looking for officers right now, we have several in place but if you want to step into a role and help us grow we are certainly interested!
  32. 3 points
    At the gates of Dragon’s Roost Port, the base of Borrowed Time, a small Forsaken female rode up on a galloping skeletal horse. Both mount and rider were covered in black and red armor. Although many knives of various shapes and sizes were visible on her person, Syreena’s hands were empty, except for the reins, which she used to slow the horse to a walk as she drew closer. As always, the Grim tabard was worn over her armor. She noticed that the reinforced iron composing the fortifications of the port seemed relatively new around what looked like a former battlefield. Craters littered the landscape, with any form of growth burned away by fire and oil that still had a vague scent about the place that was intermingled with the sea breeze. Briefly, she wondered what had happened here, but she was only mildly interested. She was focused on the task at hand. It wasn't long before much attention was pulled towards the gates. The colors and the description of the Forsaken woman were enough to call plenty more guards into watchful motion. Of the gathered guards one figure stood out among them. A ranger, hooded and armed with a bow in hand, stood on the wall and peered down at their guest. The dim verdant glow of his eyes studied the tabard and every weapon that clung to her. Despite the potential threat of so many guards, Syreena was both amused and flattered by the attention. Still, it wouldn’t do her any good to get shot full of arrows before she’d accomplished what she came for. As her horse chomped the bit and shook his head, Syreena remained still and calm. "Brave, stupid, or both,” Faelenor called down to her. “Either way you've managed to get our attention." He turned to each of the guards that followed him and mouthed something to them before turning back to her. "What do you want?" The guard nodded and made his way down from the wall, motioning for another one of the orcs to follow him "I want to hire someone for a job,” she said to Faelenor. The two orcs emerged from the gate and advanced upon the undead. One held a bowling ball sized orb in its hand that he tossed into the air. A red wave emerged from it to wash over the mount and the rogue in a downward motion. The horse, being battle trained, didn't shy from it, but pinned his ears and snapped at it. As the cloud fell over horse and rider, it produced and unpleasant feeling but seemed to have no effect beyond that. “She’s real,” one of the guards announced. “What the fel?” Syreena demanded, putting a hand on one of the large daggers at her hip. " Standard procedure,” the guard explained. “An increased number of Legion infiltrators warrants the checking of every guest coming into the port." The orc motioned up towards Faelenor with an affirmative hand sign. "Oh," she muttered at the explanation. "Well, you could have warned me." Faelenor drew an arrow from its quiver as her hand reached for the dagger. The bow raised and the arrow was nocked all in the same motion. "Though in your case...being real is actually the worst of the possibilities,” Faelenor informed the little rogue. "You have come here to hire one of us?” She looked back up at Faelenor and slowly removed her hand from the dagger to place it back on the reins. "That's right. I want to hire someone. For a job. Like I said." "Yeah, I heard you the first time. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going mad." Fael loosened the tension on the bowstring, setting the arrow back into its quiver, but kept his mark on the tiny rogue. "Name your business here and now, and perhaps I can find you a fool to take your job." She frowned, looking around, having pictured this discussion not happening quite as out in the open as this. She stifled a sigh as she looks back up at the ranger on the wall. "I'm looking for help in finding someone." "And your idea of searching for help was to come to Borrowed Time of all places. You understand that you probably would have had a better chance at begging Sanctuary or the Alliance for assistance." Fael pulled out his comm mumbled into it. When he finished, he pocketed the device and shouts back down. "Wait there." He moved from his spot but guards quickly take his place. Syreena held her tongue, but she frowned, trying to remember why Borrowed Time hated her so much. Surely they wouldn’t still be this upset over Dora's knee. She waited where she was, but she kept a grip on the reins, ready to signal the mount to run if guards suddenly started swarming out of the gate. "Grumpy, aren't they?" she mutters softly to Bones, her horse. "You'd think they don't want the work." A moment passed before the gate opened. The ranger walked out alone, armed with his bow and a pair of blades on his belt. He stepped carefully towards the Forsaken, signaling with a quick wave of his hand. The gates closed and the guards pulled bows of their own from their stations. Such attention from the guards that she had initially found flattering, was quickly becoming irritating. "Your window of time is short and it's slowly closing,” Faelenor told her. “This is as close to private and within the walls of the gate as you are going to get. So start talking." She was in need of their service. They could care less of what she was willing to pay. But curiosity won out over reason. She slid down off her horse and took a few steps toward the ranger, careful to keep her hands away from her blades. "I don't want to go within your walls. This is fine." Suddenly overcome with doubt about her decision to hire Borrowed Time for this, she fell quiet for a moment, hesitating before stating her request. "I'm looking for someone. I haven't seen him in...well, years. But I saw a friend of his twice since the Horde sailed for the Broken Shore, a guild mate. I'm busy with other business, but I'm hoping for help tracking down this friend to find out what happened to the person I used to know." "Almost every tracker, ranger, or hunter in this establishment has something against you. It's to your fortune that I got here first, or else you may have lost more than a knee cap this time around." Fael hooked his bow back in its resting spot, eyeing the rogue and her surroundings. The goggled lens that covered his right eye hummed as he looks around. Syreena wondered what he was looking for, then figured he probably thought she wasn’t alone. Maybe he expected the entirety of The Grim to come charging out at the gate to take over Borrowed Time’s base. In the interests of a better chance of doing business, she refrained from voicing such sarcastic thoughts. "So either you believe yourself rich enough to pay for this job or you aren't terribly keen on keeping your head... but I'll bite,” Fael continued. “Give me a little more to work on." "Everyone has something against everyone," she says mildly. "Last I heard, you guys take jobs. If that's no longer true, I'll leave." She tilted her head at him. "You want more details... Does that mean you'll take the job?" "Like any establishment that provides invaluable service to their patrons, which I can understand if you aren't familiar with that concept, we also have the right to refuse you. Given your past history with us I shouldn't really have to go into too much more detail. However, through some miracle, the order to send you away wasn't given. So, I'll ask again. The details of the job... we will need more. We need to send the right mercenaries to do the job after all... unless you want Cobrak hunting down an old friend of yours?" "I...didn't say he was a friend. I said I saw his friend," she argued, having second thoughts again. She was reluctant to admit to a group of mercenaries who hated her, what Lucion meant to her. She bit her bottom lip briefly, not even seeming to notice that her filed pointy teeth drew blood. "Maybe this isn't a good idea...." she says, as she started to turn away. She stopped though. If not Borrowed Time to help find Razvaan , then who? "Is it? Can you do business with me without bringing personal issues of the past into it?" "Why do you think you weren't made a pin cushion at the very start of this?" He held out his hand and with another wave the guards stowed their bows and moved back to their regular positions. "So, if you want to discuss a business proposition then now is your chance. Consider my interest a show of good faith." She glanced up at the guards, then she took another step closer to Faelenor. After another moment's hesitation, she began speaking only loud enough so that, barring any special powers or equipment, only he and her horse would hear her. "All right then,” she started. “I'm looking for a man named Lucion. He's Forsaken. He once led a guild called Broken Sanity. Recently, I saw his friend and guildmate, another Forsaken by the name of Razvaan, but I lost sight of him before I could catch up to him and talk to him." "Where was it you last saw him?" He asked as he shifts the bow on his back. "In Dalaran, on the street between the Legerdemain and the wine & cheese shop. Maybe two weeks ago? I saw him once before that too, on a ship leaving from Bladefist Bay for the Broken Shore." "Anyone else with Razvaan when you found him? Perhaps something more notable to help track him down. The streets of Dalaran and ships leaving to the Broken Shore aren't exactly enough to go off of. Two weeks ago leaves a large enough time frame for him to be long gone by now." Syreena’s frustration was evident as she shook her head. "No, I don't know. If it was easy to find him, I would have by now. That's why I need help." Noting the frustration, Fael gave a sly smirk. "I'm simply gauging the expenses of the work. Given the complexity of this job and the resources needed to find him I imagine you know it won't come cheap. Being that this is a mercenary establishment, talk of compensation was inevitable." She nodded, seemingly not upset at all at the subject of the cost. "How much? And also, I assume that, since this is a paid job, that a certain amount of....professional discretion....is....'standard procedure'?" she asked, using the guard's words from earlier. "That's dependent on the merc who gets the job and what their definition of professional discretion is. My interest was personal. But as far as fees go I want to make sure you understand that the more you pay the more professional the work. Dirty deeds aren't done dirt cheap. Once the contract is made and signed you are guaranteed what you pay for. " Fael looked over the rogue once more before asking his final question. "Why not go to the Grim for help? Couldn't you just yell out your mantra and have a pick of the first that yell it back to aid you for free? You had to expect that question to come about eventually?" Her brow furrowed, twisting her patchwork-stitched face. She shrugged, kicking at a small piece of debris in the dirt. "I don't see many of them much. I mean, they're busy....killing demons, and Alliance, and elves in the Nighthold, and...." She trailed off, looking up at Faelenor with a frown. "Does it really matter anyway? It's not a dirty job. I'm not trying to hurt anyone or anything. I'm sure you guys wouldn't take a job like that for me." "Discretion comes with caution. You know who you are but even if you weren't Syreena these questions are still extremely relevant. Our forces aren't exactly laying around waiting for the next job to fall on our laps. But someone has to watch over the port and today just happened to be my day. So yes, it does matter. Simply because we would be sending one of own to do the job. And if it means making sure they come back alive, I will ask for any information I find relevant. As for the job, I will talk with Cobrak and see who he wants to assign it to. If no one cares to work then I may just pick it up myself. Give us until tomorrow to decide. I will send you a message when the decision has been made." He took a step back and bowed his head. "All things considered...this is the best that I can do for you." "Oh," she says. Then she winced. "Cobrak? Are you going to tell him it's for me?" "He has eyes and ears all over the port. He'd know it was a job for you even if I decided to keep it a secret. Besides. Who do you think gave the order to listen to you? It's up to the discretion of the merc if they want your job. We don't hold them to any oath or mantra. So long as they know what they are getting themselves into and won't bring back harm to our port... they can deal with whom ever they want." She tilted her head, considering that. "He already knows I'm here...." she muttered to herself, looking back up at the guards on the wall as if they were suddenly going to start shooting at her. "Umm, okay. I'll watch for your message then. And you'll let me know how much it will cost?" "Yes yes...variable costs are just so difficult to determine right away. Now then..." He gave out a whistle and the gate doors opened. "I will discuss this further with him and I will get word to you tomorrow. Tread carefully...Syreena." "Okay. Thanks....for not shooting me." The little rogue nodded, then backed up a couple steps before turning to find her horse, who had wandered a short ways off. Apparently Bones had given up his search for grass in the burnt area. He was eating dirt. Syreena yanked his head up by the reins and mounted up, looking back at the ranger and the guards on the wall. As the gate began to close, Syreena wheeled Bones around and kicked him into a gallop, going back the way she came. The ranger stepped backwards into the port and watched as the gate closed. He let out a sigh, taking a moment to relax himself before making his way to the office. "Why didn't I shoot her again?" he asked himself as he walked up towards Cobrak’s office.
  33. 3 points
    http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/new-orleans/louisiana/united-states/usla0788 --- for weather refrences http://audubonnatureinstitute.org/ --- all about the Audubon Institue (Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium, Imax) http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/fq/ ---- lots of different history, hotels, and attractions https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Products-g60864-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html --- more attractions
  34. 3 points
    Here were the nametags, featuring art by Vilmah, Nojinbu, Tirien, Arahe, Sam, Yat, and me!
  35. 3 points
    <A series of posters have been hung around Alliance cities, all bearing the mark of the Twilight Empire in the bottom right corner.>
  36. 3 points
    [[ A continuation from the finale of Dark Star Rising. ]] The old wooden door of the Gallow's End Tavern swung open with that same familiar creak. The last billows of the squall that had crashed into the Northern coast of Tirisfal whipped into the inn behind the trudging form of Khorvis Bloodstar until he pressed the door shut with a tired grunt. Brill had been only a short march from the Whispering Forests, and the old orc had needed some time and space to clear his head. Exhausted as he was, Khorvis did not fail to notice the guarded looks that the patrons and staff gave the newcomer. It had been nearly a year since the chaos he had caused while under the influence of Mannoroth's blood, but the citizens of Brill were unlikely so quickly forget. Fortunately for him, the immediate presence of the Grim Halls and the restorative work of the Mandate upon the Glades would likely prevent a stealthy dagger in his spine. Saddling up upon an empty stool, Khorvis rested his elbows upon the bar and cradled his forehead in his hands. The damage to his mechanical left eye had ceased sparking and twitching, but the gaping hole still ached. Another piece of him missing, lost to the Shadowlands. He had departed the ritual circle quickly after reassuring Lilliana that he was fine. The troll woman could exhibit such motherly tendencies, but Khorvis had been in no mood for it. The sight of Theira's corpse and the knowledge of what they had locked behind the closing gate had been simply too much for the warrior's heart. A tersely bitten thanks, an embrace or two, a stone-faced salute, and off Bloodstar wandered through the pines - anywhere, just away from that still Tauren and the odd flower that had sprouted from her chest. At first he had angled to the Northeast, towards the Grim Halls overlooking the North Sea, but the night and the elements slowly altered his course towards Brill. The entire debacle would require some explaining, and he was not in the right state of mind to confront Commander Stonespire. Not yet. A smart warchief knew he must fight on solid ground, on terrain of his choosing. The Commander was a hard, unfeeling plinth of stone. If Khorvis wanted to escape that encounter with his hide, he would need a clear mind. So the Inquisitor found himself staring at the worn wood of the Gallow's End bar. A rough clay mug of mulled wine was pushed between his elbows. Looking up, Khorvis gave Innkeeper Renee a lukewarm smile that failed to touch his tusks. The woman returned the look with a curt nod and swept away, her tattered skirts hissing over the stone floor like a worn straw broom. It was amazing that after all these years, Miss Lauer still kept the Gallow's End running at its efficient, if rickety, pace. Truly a stalwart and indispensable member of the Horde. The thought brought him back to recent events. Theira. Mai'kull. Why had they sacrificed themselves for him? The fools! Both were important pillars of the Horde, necessary for the war against the Legion. Against the Alliance! It was such a bloody waste... Khorvis was long past his prime. The gut wound delivered by Shokkrah and the mess of his eye ached in tandem, echoing the testament. These were dangerous times, when the Horde and the Mandate required every able body to muster. Damn those addled Mad! The bar shook under the blow of Khorvis's clenched fist. Fortunately for the inn, he was unarmored, only clad in leather, though the patrons cast souring glares at the Lasher. He offered them a grumpy, conciliatory wave, returning to his drink. Taking a long swig, he let the burning wine ride down his raw throat and set the mug down. Excess liquid dripped from his beard and jowls, splashing onto the waxed counter. The deep crimson hue caught the orc's eye. He could think only of the Matron, her broken and bloody body still in the grass of the Whispering Forest's floor. His own blood had mingled with the druidess's as he had wept above her corpse. Fate was cruel. Khorvis had allowed himself very few fantasies over the years since crossing the Dark Portal. The notion of a mate, nevermind a family, was for him always a forbidden prospect, a foolish dalliance that would have only left him weak and vulnerable. It was only later in life that cracks had begun to show in that armor, and not until he had encountered the Matron of Rutilus Luna. They had never expressed any oaths or commitments, beyond the professional pact between The Grim and the Rutilans upon Thunder Bluff. Only a mutual understanding of shared sacrifice. Of a similar wish for a more peaceful world. A glance here, in the lull of battle. A hand held there, at dusk above the Gurubashi Arena. Khorvis had never let the wish touch his tongue, for fear of the inevitable. That dream had died in the Shadowlands. He took another gulp of the wine, his throat choking up under the emotional duress, and nearly spat out his drink into the hearth. Coughing and hacking, the orc wiped away at his beard with the back of his wrist. He should have expected no less. Khorvis was not a mortal made for anything but warfare. Born behind catapults firing upon Shattrath and suckled upon the blood of draenei, Bloodstar was bred to orchestrate death. He was tailored for the Mandate. Bury those foolish fantasies down deep where they could never emerge. Staring morbidly about the tavern, Khorvis noticed several trophies donated by The Grim. A broken stormhammer hung above a sidetable. To the left of the liquor stores were encased in a dusty cabinet several medals for honor upon the Battlegrounds. And over the hearth was mounted the head of doomguard, its ebon horns spanning at least as wide as a prone human. Khorvis would need to report the death of Reaper Mai'kull. The mage had shown exceptional valor in the face of overwhelming odds. His name would enter the rolls with distinguished heroism. A final Grim trinket caught the warrior's eye. A pamphlet advertising the Mandate, nailed to a post in the center of the tavern. The next gathering was soon, here in Tirisfal. Clearly his subordinates were carrying on with the good work of the Inquisition, though Khorvis had had little reason to doubt Ruuki. In his mind, it was settled. The High Inquisitor would return to the Grim the following night, at the Inquisition, and hopefully buttressed from the wrath of Commander Stonespire.
  37. 3 points
    As quickly as they had vanished, the ragged party tumbled from the portal and the massive form of the Chaoseater blinked. Beneath his gaze the tiny bone slave dashed for the ritual dagger and shattered the integrity of the spell that had opened the gate. Around the circle pylons exploded in showers of sparks, and the portal flickered but resolved once more, now held only by the Gatekeeper. From within an orange glow flared, reflecting dimly from the Death Knight's dark plate. As simply as lowering his outstretched hand, he severed the power keeping the rapidly degenerating portal open and turned, filling the space with his own form. The flames broke in midair, illuminating a translucent green sphere as the abomination that had once been Tauren shielded the party from the Fireweavers final conflagration. Ice turned to steam in a flash, and then it was over. Silence fell over the circle and the fine edge that the magic of the working had laid on their perceptions was broken. The cold blue eyes gazed down at the party. They passed over the one-eyed orc, their prize, though the Monster above knew him but little, the elf, the trolls, and finally lingered on the bloodied corpse of the Rutilan’s Matron. They looked on, impassive, as the flower bloomed from the body’s bosom. They waited and watched, and only after a long moment turned away. A matching set of eyes shimmered in the underbrush as a massive black war wolf loped out of the forest and the Warchief of the Blacktooth Grin swung up into his saddle. As he reined around he spared a final glance to the party and his deep voice rumbled forth “My commitment is fulfilled.” And without another word the Chaoseater vanished into the gloom. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ It was some time and long miles from the clearing when Bager brought his own mount into line alongside the giant Steelborn. The smaller worg layed back it’s ears and lowered it’s tail, able to sense the undead power that gripped the alpha beast that bore his master. The Laughing Skull priest turned his bone face up to regard the ominous rider. “Bager, he so enjoys the moonlight rides. Though it would seem the moonlight does not agree” he cackled up at the dense clouds above”. “Your enjoyment is the least of my concerns Grot” Came the rumbling response, sullen despite its overtones of threat. “What did you see?” “Working orcs go through the portal, only broken orcs come out” Bager shrugged, the bones and beads of his garb clattering slightly “Your servant Bager thinks maybe portals are not so good for the orcs of this place, yes?” A rumbling growl emanated from the massive metal form and he had to fight to keep his wolf from bolting. “Much and more took place in that clearing Grot. The Matron lies dead, her spirit flown. I had thought to have long years before that one passed, but I have yet another promise to fulfill.” The Chaoseater’s cold eyes turned to regard the priest at last “You will wait a day, perhaps two, then seek out these Rutilans. Offer what condolences you may, and take a measure of their power structure. I…..” a sharp popping sound split the night air and Bager realized it was gears catching as the Steelborn clenched a massive fist “I will see to their Matron” An unspoken command sprang between rider and mount, and powerful limbs flexed as they tore away into the forest towards the Sea. Bager reined up, watching them go. He glanced back the direction from which they come and the Laughing skull choked out a giggle. He immediately thought of Feathered -orc-who-walks-like-cat. After a moment, Bager fished out his hearthstone and whispered the incantation to whisk him back to Dalaran.
  38. 3 points
    As Theira lay lifeless in the ritual circle, the toadstools glowed briefly and dimly for a moment before a strange dreamlike flower blossomed from the chest of the Matrons corpse. A mourning glory sprouted with that of a strange and small pod like growth its life seemingly sustained from her death.
  39. 3 points
    Through fire and shadow, the one-eyed pair worked their daggers through the inky flesh of the voidlord. Daggers forged in the Mandate, despite Baal'themar's current tabard, struck true to their nature. Khorvis knew that of all situations, it was in combat that one's true self outed itself. The lamb would nestle and cry in fear. The wolf would show her teeth and seek the heartsblood. These were the commandments of nature, chiseled into the stone of every mortal's flesh. Fanged as they were, many of their strikes simply met smoke and ephemera - this shadowy realm twisted and contorted intent. More than once the warrior's blade clanged against the elf's, confused and disoriented in the rising smog. Simultaneously, it was becoming clearer that, despite the best efforts of Light-woven smites, rime-coated blasts, and earthen barriers, the melee was losing ground. Where one tentacle was severed, two more erupted from the flaming pool to take its place. This slow hacking at the aberration's trunks would leave the party overwhelmed. The Matron Oaksong, from her vantage, recognized the forming pattern. They were becoming the flock of sheep, boxed in and outflanked by the black wolf. It was in such a time that she knew the shepherd must act decisively. Waiting until the voidlord had turned its back again to follow the darting form of Baal'themar, Theira cast aside her staff. She drew upon the fleeting connection to Azeroth that the Shadowlands provided and shifted into her most feral, predatory form - and leapt for the shadowling's neck. Pads connected with armor plating. Claws snapped outwards and dug below, giving ideal purchase. With a terrible howl, Theira sunk her fangs into the back of the voidlord's neck. A searing race of shadow flooded her jaws, like a dam bursting and spewing forth a stagnant lake. The putrescence, far too rancid to swallow, forced her to shear away and with her bite came the upper spine of the enemy. An otherworldly shriek exploded from the many throats of the voidlord in tandem. It gyrated wildly, swinging its long arms in a frantic attempt to dislodge this most vicious assailant. One limb struck Theira squarely in the neck, sending the druid flying across the chamber to crash sideways into a stalagmite with a sickening "snap". The others clutched at the mortal wound, futilely attempting to staunch the flow of ebon heartsblood. Far too late to save itself, the voidlord thrashed in its own flaming ichor and folded in upon itself as a collapsing star in its final moments. The rapid implosion belied the deafening detonation that dropped the party to the chamber's floor. With a shiver, the wraithlings haunting the edges of the battlefield began to stir. ---- The hour was nearing its close. Reaper Mai'kull, having exhausted his patience studying the stoic horror that called itself Chaoseater, stared pointedly at the gateway to the Shadowlands. "What was taking them so long?" The mission was simple. A quick extraction. Shut the portal afterwards and seal away the shadows. So what had gone wrong? He could no longer allow this chain of events to meander its course. The Maleficar would intervene. Gathering the most potent of his dark parchments and steeling his wits, Mai'kull of the Grim pushed past the deathknight watchman and entered the Shadowlands.
  40. 3 points
    June 9th That filthy murderous heathen has escaped! I am dismayed and disgusted at the current state of the Alliance. While I was encouraged by the positive reaction that King Anduin Wrynn had when he acquired his fathers sword, the inability to defend our own boarders is becoming tiresome. Next time I capture a known criminal we will perform our own interrogation and bring the Light's justice to the fiends. There was hardly even the -need- for a trail in this case, and letting known murderers roam free serves no greater good. Evil must be fought regardless of its source. That source can be existential, from things like the Legion and Scourge or the Old Gods, but it can also come from the Horde and has for nearly as long as I have been alive. I fight for the people of the Alliance, and my homeland... I will not sully our mission with their blind political decisions.
  41. 3 points
    "Care to explain to me why you countermanded the orders of the Mandate to keep a filthy pinkskin alive?" Ruuki, a tauren Sunwalker and The Grim’s High Inquisitor, walked through the stone and wooden hallways of the Grim's guild hall, the flames dancing along the edge of Ashbringer casting twisted shadows along the walls. Kiannis, her subordinate, walked alongside her as they made their way to the portal Mai'kull had left open to where the bounty lay bound. Kiannis held a cold countenance as he stalked a half-step behind the High Inquisitor. It had been the late evening when he had entered her office and requested her presence, and now it had become truly dark. The small ember of the elf’s cigar lit up his features in the flickering darkness, followed by a billow of skunky smoke before his retort. "In death, lies her only service to the Mandate,” the elf explained. “This is no rank soldier, this one was a hunter. One who sought us specifically. And for that, she will be made an example of." He smirked only a little at his unseen machinations. Going through a mage's portal always left Ruuki with a creeping feeling on the back of her neck, and this time was no exception. Stepping through into the dimly lit room, she glanced about, her nostrils flaring slightly as she identified where the Worgen, filthy as she was, lay in the dank pit. She stood above it at the edge, and the golden glow of her sword almost made her appear to be a hope for salvation... or an executioner surveying their next victim. She scoffed. Stepping effortlessly through the dimensional tear that is teleportation magic, the elf drew his hood down and dropped the stubby butt that remained of his smoke, quenching the thing with a stomp. Working up a toothy grin, he rose to stand beside the High Inquisitor. "This? This is the dog you paid ten thousand gold for?" she asked. The hood hid a fair amount of her features, but her voice carried well in the small room, filled with tangible disdain for the broken creature. "You paid far too much. You'd best make what use you can of her before I put her down." "The payment is irrelevant, and her use will strike fear in the Alliance." "Get whatever information you think she holds so that we can be rid of her,” Ruuki ordered. “We've better things on which to spend our resources and time." She scoffed as she noted the light flickering off the pieces of gold littering the floor. "Though apparently Mai'Kull doesn't think the same." He looked down at the netted woman in rags. She was in bad shape. For several days, she had been forced by the nets to sit on her broken legs. The spells and enchantments in the stone had been slowly but steadily siphoning the strength from her. At first, she didn't move when the two approached. Eventually, she mustered the strength to slowly lift her head and pin back her ears. He narrowed his eyes at the peppering of gold pieces in the pit, but continued, taunting into the pit in a slightly broken common, "Well, Worgen. You were after The Grim. I am sure this is not how you hoped your 'hunt' to end." Ruuki was not amused at Kiannis's answers, and she watched dispassionately as he spoke to the creature in the pit. She walked a little along the edge of the hole, the golden glow of Ashbringer following behind her and continuing to illuminate parts of the room that had been wreathed in darkness. "My only regret," the prisoner rasped. "Is that I didn't kill more of you before my hunt was ended." Kiannis had drawn down his hood as he spoke to the beast and now seemed intrigued at her words. "The only deaths of late have been lowly guardsmen." the elf nudged his scruffy chin against his metal fist, as he worked this out, "So.. that was you. Impressive that you found our hall, and even more-so that you survived your exploratory attack." He sat squat on his haunches at the edge of the pit, peering down on the woman with a sour mix of disdain and acknowledgement. She had bested him, once, in Suramar. That encounter was the spark that had ignited her bounty and sealed her fate. "You will bear for me a whisper of the Mandate, to the dogs of Dalaran. Tell us, then- Who set you on this hunt? Whom do you represent?" The dim, flickering light of the cavern revealed a small twitch in Kiannis' mouth--a smirk. He pondered the woman's fortitude, if she still had any fight in her after the weeks of isolation and deprivation she had been subject to. He also, for the first time, took real stock of the worgen, his eyes darting from neck to finger to ear, in search of any sentimental items that the executioner may have overlooked, but the only thing of sentiment she regularly wore—the golden wedding ring on a chain—had already been taken from her, along with all of her armor, weapons, and other items she had in her possession when she was captured. She had been left only with her simple leggings and tank top that she wore under her armor, neither of which offered much protection from the barbed net that held her in place. "Lowly guardsman," Kat repeated quietly. She was silent for a moment, as she considered her numerous Grim encounters over the past fifteen months. Some were certainly low ranked--guards, messengers, scouts, and the like. But not all of them. "You once had among your number an elf. She was...not as slender as most elves. Filora. Was she a lowly guard as well? What about the troll known as Xek? Was he also a lowly guard? "As for who set me on this hunt,” she continued, “the answer is simple. You did, when you captured and tortured Chancellor Skylah Mackinzie.” Her voice had thickened into an angry growl as she spoke of Skylah, and she strained against the nets holding her in place. She was weak from her capture and captivity though, and the nets held her easily in place. All she could do was glare at the two Grim. "You are monsters." Kiannis did not seem it, but he was slightly taken aback at the captive’s words. He had known of Filora’s death, but not of the details. Xek he had only met in passing, and to learn that this prisoner had Grim blood on her blades instead of only annoyances--was bittersweet. He gazed sidelong at Ruuki with the same small smirk he had held since he had entered the chamber. "Still a waste of resources, High Inquisitor?" “Depends on her answers,” Ruuki said, and then she remained quiet, allowing Kiannis the lead in questioning the worgen, as it had been his little project to capture her. The elf gripped the ledge with one gauntlet and guided his jump downwards, for a moment wondering if the High Inquisitor had known the details of those deaths. His form wilted some under the magical drain of whatever Mai’kull had done to the place, but he had the vitality to withstand its effects for now. Looming over Katrynne’s form, he delivered a swift kick to her midsection, knocking the breath from her. She hunched over, gasping and then coughing as she fought to breathe again. "You misunderstand, woman. What tabard do you wear? Whom do you count as friends and allies? Who.. am I sending this message to?" If she thought he didn't already have access to the answer to his question, she may have refused to give it to him. But she'd already made it clear she started this after the torture of another member of the Empire, and Lazarus knew what organization she belonged to. She suspected this question was merely a test. Kiannis circled his prize, prodding with his greaved feet at the barbed net that encased her. The movement of the hooks brought fresh pain to already sore wounds. "I serve the Twilight Empire," she answered through clenched teeth, "but this hunt was my own." Ruuki scowled deeply, her nostrils flaring ever so slightly in restrained anger. She stepped back. Surely in the state the prisoner was in, Mai’kull had drawn more than enough answers from her, and he would have ways to ensure she was telling the truth or just lying her ass off. "Is that so.." The elf mused to himself. He did not know the intricacies of the Alliance guilds, and knew less about the major players that ran them. Skylah was a name he recalled from archives, before he had heard the call of The Mandate, and his sources in the Path had told him little more than he had announced on the bounty. Kiannis's gauntlet swiftly found Katrynne’s neck, raising the woman to the tips of her toes. Kiannis peered for a moment into the woman’s eyes, seeking whatever he may glimpse behind the gaunt gaze. Determination burned within--strength enough to not break under the strains of all this detrimental magic and neglect, at the very least. He considered for a moment, the worth of torture, and of pain, and what this woman may or may not know. The moment passed. With some considerable effort and a scowl to match, he heaved the woman up, causing the net’s barbs to rip through her flesh as she was pulled free of them. He shoved her onto the main floor, scrambling up over the edge to follow her tumbling form. The look he gave Ruuki could be considered a glare if he were more impudent. "What should have been done with this killer of Grim, then, High Inquisitor? A swift death would be too forgiving." Kat gasped for breath through the pain of the rough handling. Blood dripped from several wounds where the net was ripped free of her skin, and her broken legs screamed in pain renewed. With great effort, she propped herself up on one arm, glancing around the floor near her for anything she might use to her advantage—an object to use as a weapon, cover of any sort, even something to use as a distraction. Seeing nothing, she pushed herself to a sitting position and looked up at the two Grim. Aside from the obvious agony she was in, her expression revealed little else. "I doubt she has further use to us,” Ruuki answered. “We should 'return' her to her fellow guildmates with a message." Ruuki held a hand out, the gauntlet glowing golden as she called Judgment down upon the broken woman. Light and heat intensified around Kat, setting parts of her clothes and fur smoldering. Kat finally gave voice to her pain, groaning aloud. She writhed and scrambled on the floor, seeking escape from the agony. But even if her legs weren’t broken, even if most her strength hadn’t been sucked from her through vile spells, there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, in this dank room that served as a cell. "By the law of the Mandate I find you guilty of crimes against the Grim,” the High Inquisitor stated as she delivered her sentence. “Your punishment is death, and you will serve as a warning to your little pinkskin family. They will meet the same fate as you next time we see them. Your actions have put marks on all of their heads." Ruuki moved her hand upward, fist closed this time as a golden hammer materialized and began descending rapidly, smaller orbs of power swirling rapidly around it to bombard Katrynne with pain as the Execution Sentence was carried out. From that point, the suffering was blessedly short. In that moment, even through the suffering, Kat did not fail to see the irony. Her death was brought upon her with the Light, after she’d spent the better part of her life seeking it. She did not have time to consider whether that was a good omen or ill, before all that remained of her was a smoldering corpse, stinking of scorched fur. ((Written by Ruuki, Kiannis, and Katrynne))
  42. 3 points
    Baal’themar led Fayleah through the portal in Dalaran to Silvermoon, the sudden jolt of being transported made him feel slightly off balance, but once they started walking again the feeling passed. Fayleah leans over to him and whispers. “So, who is the target?” Baal’themar looked around to see if anyone was within earshot. “Welean Darkbane, a beast given a uniform and power. A brute in blood knight armor.” Baal’themar gripped his blade hilt. “Very quick to anger and more than willing to beat someone to death just for the fun of seeing fresh blood on his knuckles.” Fayleah looked at Baal’themar she does not fail to see their similarities... Baal’themar and this Welean he was describing... she give Baal’themar a long look, then she just nodded and opted to say nothing. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings. The two walked into murder row and slipped into the shadows. Baal’themar pointed to a large Blood Knight as he walked into the bar. “He will drink himself blind in there and then find a woman to bed, if they are lucky he will pass out before he gets violent.” Once out of sight of the guards Baal’themar took her along the rooftops to the spot he had picked out, a small ledge that overlooked an alleyway a short distance from a loud bar. He pulled a set of face masks from his pack and set them out. “Have a look in that bag” Baal’themar nodded toward a large duffle bag about the size of a man. Fayleah moved to the bag and opened it. Inside the thick canvas bag was; a skimp outfit, some rope and a gag. She looked over the clothes, holding them up… it was clearly a woman’s ‘dress’. She turned to him and gave him a sly grin. “You’ll look stunning in this.” He looked at her holding the ‘dress’ and continued setting up equipment. “You’re bait, you need to look the part. Put that on and he’ll want to eat you up.” He grinned. "This is just a ploy to get me unarmed and in this dress?" she taunted. Baal’themar slowly looked Fayleah up and down. “It can be both.” He said with a smile. He turned to allow her to get changed while he got the poison ready to knock out their target, he pulled out two gnarled roots from his herb kit and turned to Fayleah. Baal’themar tilted his head and watched as she wiggled her hips into the dress, the fabric clung tight to her stunning curves. The clothes slowly slithered up her body with each wiggle of her hips, he lost track of time as he watched. She slowly turned to face him, the dress was tight and looked almost like it was painted on her skin the fabric was so thin. He grinned and took her in. “Woah.” He remarked with a stupid look on his face. Fayleah raised an eyebrow and struck a suggestive pose, she carefully bent down to retrieve the masquerade mask to replace her goggles and complete the outfit. "You going to be able to stay focused?" She straightened up and slowly flipped her hair back, looking much too pleased with herself. “Yes… no. shut up.” He said with a grin, he remembered the roots in his hand. “Oh uh, you need to chew this up and swallow the pulp, it’s going to taste very bitter but you need to keep it down.” He handed her one of the roots. “The poison to knock this guy out is a powder, this root will counteract the poisons effects if you breathe it in.” he popped the root into his mouth and chewed hard pulping the plant and swallowing it down. Fayleah chomped down on the root and chuckled to herself. “You could use this to sweeten up Dari’s coffee.” She said as she swallowed the pulp and got ready for the ambush. Baal’themar handed her a small pouch with a powder in it. “All you need to do is draw him down the alley and blow this in his face, I’ll be waiting to take his body out of the city.” He took a look at her again. “If you need help just call for me.” he grinned. “And I’ll come save the destressed damsel.” Baal’themar laughed at the thought. "If it doesn't work I will just slam his face into the side of a building and try not to kill him" she said with a deadpan look before she slowly grinned at him, giving him a firm punch in the arm. “Just, be careful.” He knew she could easily kill Welean, but he still worried. Fayleah touched his arm and gave him a quick kiss before jumping down to the alleyway below and getting herself set up. Welean staggered out of the bar one of his knuckle split from a fight inside, the sting of it slowly faded as he drunk more wine. The fight had got his blood up and he wanted to find something soft to plow. He scanned the area across the street, normally full of whores waiting to snatch up drunk guards and soldiers. Tonight he found his usual hunting ground empty. He growled and wandered down the walkway toward another hot spot for night workers. Fayleah spotted her target, he swayed with each step. Head full of drink, he’ll take one look as this dress and not think twice about following me. She smiled at the thought. Baal planned this well, now to take our prize. Fayleah thought he walked past. “Hey, handsome… you look lonely.” She said with a slight purr, trying her best to draw him to her. Welean turned to see her, his mind raced to lewd thoughts and he stumbled toward her. Fayleah grinned and slowly walked back deeper into the alley. “Don’t be shy *hic* girl, I’ll show you a real good time. Not like the others.” Welean slurred. She continued walking slowly back. “You want me big boy? You have to come and get me” she purred back at him as he neared the end of the alley. Welean smiled thinking he had her cornered. “Nowhere to go now. Guess you’re all mine.” He said as he leaned over her, his breath thick with the stink of wine. Fayleah looked up at him and smiled, taking the small pouch in her hand. “Guess again.” She said as she blew the powder into his face. The small cloud of poison slithered into Welean’s lungs as he gasped, the effects kicked in quickly. The man fell to his knees as his body started to lose its’ connection to his brain. His sight faded and before he was left to fall into unconsciousness was Fayleah smiling down at him. The three arrived at the Cabin in the dead of night, the other guests had fallen asleep or were otherwise not in a place to watch as Fayleah and Baal’themar returned with their prey. They made their way down to the basement and to Baal’themars workshop. Baal’themar placed the unconscious man a large wooden table and strapped him down. Baal’themar walked to the long steel work bench next to the table and grabbed a sharp knife. “I’ll remove his armour, could you get my medical kit from the bathroom?” he smiled at Fayleah. Fayleah smiled and almost skipped off. “Yes, sir!” she vanished down one of the hallways and was out or sight. Baal’themar looked down at the man strapped onto the table. “We are going to have a good time… This has been a long time coming.” He removed the man’s armour, cutting leather straps and dropping the plate on the ground with a loud crash. Baal’themar had the man naked on the table when Fayleah returned with the medical kit, she had gotten changed out of her thin dress and into a light shirt and pants, something more suited for the work to come. Baal’themar took the medical kit from her and started setting out strange vials and herbs on the work bench. “These will stop him from dying of shock.” He grinned at Fayleah. “I hope you have your knife with you?” "Of course." she flicked out her skinning knife. "Can't let you have all the fun!" Fayleah grinned and stood beside Baal’themar. “Good, Remove the skin from this leg.” He stepped back and watched as Fayleah worked. Fayleah grinned and started to slice into Welean’s flesh, the man groans and slowly comes to consciousness at first he doesn’t know what is going on, his eyes blink and search the room, but he is quickly awoken as Fayleah slides the blade under the flesh of his leg and starts slowly slicing down to his foot, his shin bleeding freely. “Arrgh! What the fuck?!” Welean roared as the woman slowly skinned his leg. “Shhh Welean.” Baal’themar said as he placed his large hand on the man’s forehead. “You are going to be here a long time, let’s not start screaming so soon.” Fayleah continued slicing into Welean’s leg, she had sliced a circle below his knee and another just above his ankle, she would remove the skin in one large sheet, she held the flesh and slowly dragged the tip of her blade along his shin to start, once she had a firm grasp on his flesh she used the length of the blade to part the skin from the flesh. Welean screamed and thrashed against the restraints that bound him to the table, his strength and anger useless as Fayleah worked. Baal’themar watched Fayleah finish up with Welean’s leg, she carefully placed the skin on the workbench then turns to start on his thigh. Welean had stopped screaming, the man had gone limp in his bindings. “The leg will do for now.” Baal’themar reached out to touch Fayleah only to have her growl at him and hit away his hand. Fayleah’s face was twisted into a cruel grin, she lunged at Baal’themar as something deep within her snapped, fel-energy burned along her tattoos as her body started to grow in strength and size. Baal’themar was caught completely off guard, her sudden strength and aggression overwhelmed him and he toppled backward. He landed hard his head hit the cold stone with a solid thud, his vision slightly blurred, he watched Fayleah lose control over the demonic power within her. She stood over him her chest heaving with excitement, she watched him like a fox might watch a chicken. Baal’themar groaned and propped himself up on his elbow. “Damn it Fayleah, we need him alive. If you skin him too much he will die of shock.” He carefully got up and felt the back of his head, wet hair and warm blood met his fingers. He held his head and grabbed a medical cloth, the cloth was soaked in powerful herbs and balms. Baal’themar covered Welean’s leg with the cloth, the man had passed out. “What’s gotten you so worked up?” He turned to see Fayleah inspecting him, her demonic eyes slowly working their way over his body. She took a large step toward him and pinned him between the table and her, she stood taller than him and Baal'themar was forced to look up at her. Fayleah radiated heat from her copper skin, something inside him urged him to embrace her fel-energy. She moved close to him, her eyes lost in something primal and raw. “I want you” she purred in his ear, her voice made him weak. Baal’themar didn’t fight as the two slowly moved down to the floor.
  43. 3 points
    At one moment in time, Kex’ti would have found the arrangement pragmatic. As he walked hand in hand with Julilee, Rylie meters beyond, he would have found peace in the security of the way they moved together. Rylie just far enough away to not be obviously affiliated with them, close enough to be safe, but not near enough, for long enough in public, to draw scrutiny. Sanctuary was beset by scandal enough. His own assertions that the girl was half-Sin’dorei did much to quell any real dissent; the monk’s vague allusions to prior discretion fueled enough of the rumor mill to keep prying questions away from the simpler truth that she was not Julilee’s nor his by blood, that she was never born in the Horde, and that for political means “belonged” elsewhere. The girl once flitted between the booths at the fair. Now, she ambled. An adolescent gait offset by his personal training of her. He was proud as much of how she took to her lessons as he was of her as a person. She had faced much of the same horrors he had, with less to rely on. The monk was happy her story had come as far as it did. But the realities of his, and his wife’s, differences, were quickly catching up. Where a year before, she had sat with rapt attention on his lessons in swordplay, on stances, on center-line defense, her gaze often wandered to the uproars of the young men studying under the Kirin Tor, or the knights of Stormwind or Silvermoon that traversed Dalaran’s cobbles. She asked questions that made him uncomfortable, and argued with him on truths that were once met with easy acceptance. Her combativeness frustrated him, in truth. As much of him believed that it was part of growing up. And he believed it was for the best. He believed he was proud of her. But he was nonetheless frustrated. Julilee’s insistence on tutoring Rylie in “practical” areas of study in a time of war were proving to be the correct choice. While he certainly wanted his erstwhile daughter to be armed for the inevitable conflicts she would face, there was no denying the simple facts of politics and history would teach her to be better than he ever would have been. He was no diplomat; he could only hope that Rylie would be able to fight her battles in courts, and in the realm of public ideas rather than with blood and iron. He watched her casually drop a few tokens and walked back with three glowing mugs. Her hands shook a little bit, and she tried to avoid his gaze. “Moonglow?” He asked, in Orcish. The girl responded, trying to make the choice to bring back cups of liquor a foregone, casual rite of acceptance. Julilee looked up to him. He coughed, and smirked. Julilee and the monk often took roles of discipline and liberty in turn. She played bad cop. He played good cop. It worked for their daughter. It sometimes worked for their guild. But he knew that she had enough of the senselessness of endless debate of late, and it was his turn to tell Rylie no. Kex’ti began to correct the girl’s Orcish, teasing her even as it was better than his. Almost flawlessly unaccented. Or, rather, accented in the same way Shokkra spoke it. The fireworks of the Lunar Festival were going to start soon. The monk knew how the conversation would go. “No,” “Orcs are considered adults at 14,” “No,” Then the fireworks would start. She would raise her glass, she would drink. When he scolded her, she would say, perhaps hurt, perhaps because she knew the response would deliver a jab to him he could never block, perhaps a jab she would feel bad about later, she would say: “I’m not an elf. I can’t hear as well as you can.” His heart beat. He glanced up to the first barrage of explosions, the first in so many years to celebrate, rather than warn or explode amongst cavalry formations or swaths of soldiers. Even with the Legion descending, there were always moments to celebrate. Kex’ti chuckled, and took a pull from the drink. He bumped the bottom of the cup against the rim of Rylie’s glass, spilling some of the glowing alcohol down over her hand. She scoffed, but Julilee joined in with his laughing. “Orcs are considered adults at 14,” he said. “But if you are going to hold your liquor…it is best to start with holding the cup.” She took a sip, outrage and surprise mixing on her face. She grimaced. Then took a longer sip. “Just for now,” he said to Julilee, who raised an eyebrow, and began to sip her own drink. Rylie hugged the Commander and the monk, taking care not to spill. She would leave, after the Festival, to board in Stormwind. She could visit them in Dalaran without much trouble. But that moment was far away.
  44. 3 points
    The hand that shakes on peaceful terms will also be the one lost. People, hear me! I am Illidari Velisath Glaiverend. I trained under Illidan's order in the Black Temple before Order Halls were common among the Alliance and the Horde. I have come to warn you; this fraternity must stop at once! You think training with Kael'thas's whiny, mana-addicted screwups was fun? No, of course not, as a matter of fact, we were often at each other's throats! I ask you to remember who you are. Priests! Do the Elves who serve in the Temple of Elune really think themselves in common with that of the dead of Lordaeron? Paladins! Do the Tauren Sunwalkers, who worship the land itself, really walk by Draenic wisdom or human law? No! Why, then, do foaming-at-the-mouth Orc and Troll warriors, who glorify slaughter and cannibalism, rest on peaceful terms with a human? Consider the end result and you will realize that it all follows through. You know, we in the Illidari despise the Legion, but it would be all for nothing if an enemy of the same caliber, the Horde, tears us asunder after we have finished the good fight—battered and weary. The opportunity would be irresistible. We in the Alliance have the power to act at hand. The Horde at large are weak and leaderless. As those who ruled over the ages: humans, elves, and dwarves, we must establish an empire that is consistent with our ancestral right. We shall initiate the collection of tribute. No longer shall we think, "This land is contested territory." Instead, we shall think, "All land is Alliance land." Those who resist will pay. Starting with the Broken Isles, Alliance auditors will begin expropriations till its indigenous people recognize the sovereign authority of its rulers. Afterwards, we shall engineer our efforts to protect our vassals by cleaning up Horde dissidents who illegally leave their segregated zones (i.e. the watchful gaze from the Kirin Tor of Dalaran or any Horde wasteland like Mulgore or Durotar) to cause mischief in the land. Through tribute, we shall expropriate all of our necessities to strengthen the weak, allow our respective people to flourish, and keep the Horde in check. Azeroth will prosper under the Alliance, but none should be misled to think it will with the Horde conveniently pitting us between themselves and annihilation. Do not make the mistake of fighting a war on two fronts in a strange land, or else we will make Azeroth a repeat of Outland. OOC: Tribute is an RPPVP guild idea that I have been generating ideas for over the past few months. However, the playerbase is small, so I want at least five people by the end of the first week or two of my posting this. I know of exactly two people who have shown express support for this idea by placing characters in it. If we do not get what we need, it will be scrapped. Below is some information about our premises. 1) Tribute explained: tribute will be collected through World Quests and Mythics. World Quests will prepare the guild for greater challenges by getting members geared up, artifact leveling, and purchasing artifact knowledge. They will be completed as a means of generating RP. Players will organize on a weekly or biweekly basis to report on their advances in tribute allocation. 2) PVP. We will PVP at a fixed time. It will be small-scale (BGs, Arenas, Wargames, and eventually WPVP and RBGs). 3) The manifesto memo of "our respective people to flourish" is a means of interconnecting RP guilds. I am sure that most people who do show interest in tribute will also have backgrounds elsewhere. With interguild participation events, like what Tuuroto holds (or organized meetings), we can exchange "gifts" to our Alliance allies. Rules: 1) The guild bank will be dedicated explicitly towards profession resources (from 100-110), Battle Pets, and repairs. Nothing else. I would prefer people to either sell their mats or put them in the guild bank before they sit in the reagents tab. 2) We will not use any voice chat early on. Want to download Curse Client for PVP? Sure, go ahead. Want to use Discord app voice? Yeah, that's fine, too. For guild events, you should refrain from doing so. This is an RP guild premise. Voice chat ruins RP (an exception would be made for RBGs). 3) We will also not be using Discord for RP for any reason at all. If you want to RP, you should log into the game or write about it here on wow-tng in a thread. We are not a PVE guild. At best, the guild can run Mythics, not raids. I am in favor of running mythic carries for people since WPVP is a goal (and Mythics are kind of fun). WPVP is heavily influenced by gear, so having 1.5 million hp is nowhere near enough when it comes to the 3 million hp DK. Tribute is lawful neutral. Ranks: All members are allotted status as part of the Alliance tribute collection committee. Chairman: Organizes and hears reports from the tribute collection committee. Guerrilla: The guerrilla has proven worth. Always ready for battle and demonstrates exceptional skill in combat or politics. A guerrilla can form plans for pursuing personal ambitions. The Chairman will present the guerrilla's ideas during tribute collection for auditors to pursue. Trains Auditors. Auditors refer to guerrillas for resolving disputes. Committee Organizer: Skilled at analytics. Committee organizers assess the needs for efficient tribute collection and reports them to the Chairman. Auditors look towards committee organizers for large-scale tasks. Auditors: The primary agent of tribute allocation. Auditors are responsible for enriching themselves and patrolling the Broken Isles. Auditors are subordinates to guerrillas and the Chairman. They can appeal to expropriation (fighting), inter-guild diplomacy, or for a secret police position to spy on enemies and assassinate subversives.
  45. 3 points
    Katelle knocked upon the door to announce her presence, provided she wasn't shown in by a servant. Brianna held a little black haired girl of about five in her arms, propped up sturdy on her hip. The child rested her head on Brianna's shoulder as her arms clung to the woman's neck. She glanced towards the door at the knock, letting Rorrek see to it. Rorrek glanced back and nodded before proceeding to the door. Walking alongside him was their draenei daughter, Vatya, whose hooves clattered excitedly against the floor. The door was opened to the temporary lodgings and he offered a cordial smile. "Well met." He then stepped aside and gestured for Katelle to follow. However, Vatya had stopped and was staring openly at Katelle's stomach. Katelle offered a smile as soon as she recognized the visage opening the door. "Good afternoon, Rorrek," she greeted warmly. The rogue stepped forward, except for Vatya. Instead, she smiled in amusement down at the little girl. "Hello there. How are you today?" Brianna shifted Emily in her arms as the girl lifted her head, curious of the new person. Her eyes were slightly red rimmed, as if she had been crying, but she was momentarily distracted. Brianna gave her cheek a small kiss before glancing to the group. Rorrek saw the door closed behind Katelle as she stepped inside. Vatya remembered herself then, snapping to attention. Her little hands went behind her back as she swayed from side to side. "I am very good! Thank you!" she says as if practiced. Katelle chuckled. "Good. I'm glad to hear it." She stepped fully inside the quarters and past Rorrek, offering Brianna a smile as well--and a particularly warm one to the black haired girl, though she didn't recognize the child. Brianna grinned at her daughter before shifting her emerald gaze to Katelle. "Good afternoon." "It's good to see you looking well, Brianna. And who is this?" Katelle came a little closer, but was fully cognizant of the fears of young children and strangers. She didn't come too close. Rorrek stepped down and took Vatya's hand in his once more. The little girl clung behind his leg as she watched the guest. "Please, come and sit," he offered whilst motioning to the nearest seat and table. Katelle smiled. "I think I will, thank you." Brianna dipped her head in likewise agreement. "And you." Afterwards, she glanced to the child in her arms. "This is Emily. Say hello won't you, darling?" The little girl glanced to Katelle but, shifted her head shyly and pressed her face into Brianna's neck. She smiled sympathetically. "She's a bit tired," she said as way of explanation. Katelle hummed softly as she lowered herself into the seat, adjusting a moment until she was comfortable. "Of course," she murmured. "It's nice to meet you, Emily. I'm Kate." Vatya tugged on Rorrek's sleeve after Brianna spoke. "Ve played all night, Papa! That is vhy she is tired!" she exclaimed with pride. Emily curiously turned her face to peek at Katelle again, though half of her face was still shadowed. "...hello," she mumbled. Katelle rested a hand on her abdomen, the other on her crossed knee. The rogue made it a point to look as unintimidating as possible. Brianna glanced to Vatya and grinned. "Oh is that why you were so hard to wake this morning!" She laughed softly. Katelle grinned. "-All- night? Truly? My goodness, that's a lot of playing." Rorrek ruffled Vatya's silver hair between her diminutive horns, much to her enjoyment. "Thou sleepest as do I, to thy mother's chagrin." He then chuckled aloud. Brianna lifted a knowing gaze to Rorrek's face but merely chuckled before glancing to Katelle. "Might I offer you some refreshment? A cup of tea perhaps?" "Only if you're fetching some for anybody else. I wouldn't want to be a bother." "Oh, no bother at all. I could use a cup of tea myself." Vatya then ran over to Brianna, seemingly now comfortable with Katelle in the house as well. "Mama, may Emily and I go play now?" She asked sweetly, widening her eyes innocently. Katelle chuckled at the little draenei's beseeching, eyes flicking to Emily. The adults might recognize that she's got a hint of why she's been called. "In that case, I'd appreciate it. Thank you." Rorrek stepped forward after sharing Brianna's gaze. "Come now, allow mine hands to be of use from time to time even if therein dwells not a sword, hrm? I shall fetch the both of thee refreshment." Katelle let out a hearty chuckle. Brianna glanced down to Vatya with a smile. "Aye, of course, doll." She knelt briefly, attempting to sit Emily down so she could go with Vatya, but the small child held on even tighter. "No," she said in a fussy manner. She rubbed Emily's back in a soothing motion, alternating between comforting pats. "Don't you want to go play? You two always have so much fun together." Vatya frowned. "Emily, come and play!" Her face twisted as she thought for a moment, the expression clearing as she came to an idea. "Ah! I vill let you play vith Mama's snow globe if you do!" She grinned as if having triumphed. Emily had seemed intent on clinging to Brianna but the snow globe intrigued her, as she had been eyeing it for awhile. She lifted her head, black curls sticking to her tear stained cheek. "Really?" Katelle did her best to hide her amusement at the girls' bargaining. Vatya nodded enthusiastically. "Yes! That is okay, right, Mama?" She looked up to Brianna with hope in her eyes. Brianna gently sat Emily upon her feet, no longer dealing with resistance as the child was distracted and intrigued. "It is quite alright." She straightened Emily's dress before looking to Vatya. "Just be careful please." Rorrek in the meanwhile, amused with the situation, quietly made around to the far shelf and began rummaging about. He called back as he searched. "Indeed, listen to thy mother, little one." Vatya then took Emily's hand. "Jes, ve vill, ve vill," she said matter of factly. "Come on Emily!" The pair of little girls bounded off towards Vatya's room, out of hearing range of the adults. Brianna watched them for a moment, a smile lingering on her face, though worry crept into her emerald gaze as she turned to Katelle. "Thank you for coming." Katelle dippped her head. "Of course, Brianna. It isn't often I receive a request to meet either of you in your own home." She smiled, but the curl to her lips is shadowed. "That is Mavis Audrapel's daughter, isn't it?" Brianna returned the smile. "Aye, truth be told we do not have time to entertain near as often as we would like." She then nodded softly. "Indeed it is, little Emily. Which is precisely why I wished to speak with you." Rorrek ceased seeking about the shelf as he came to a tall and dark box. From within he withdrew what appeared to be two small teabags. He then turned to the table where a set of saucers, cups, and a kettle rested. The kettle fumed, prepared obviously before the visit. Katelle tipped her head in acknowledgement of the sentiment regarding company. Her smile dropped at Brianna's confirmation, replaced instead with worry. She remained silent, blue eyes on Brianna's green. Brianna glanced towards the children's room, able to hear the squeals of delight through the door. Satisfied they were not eavesdropping, she looked back to Katelle. "Last Sunday, Mavis dropped Emily off for a sleepover with Vatya. He was to return the next day to pick her up... but as you see, she is still with us. I know very little of the man, but I do not think he would abandon her. I fear the worst. Have you by chance, heard from him? I know that you are currently treating him. Perhaps you have some knowledge that could enlighten us as to why he may be delayed?" Rorrek laid the bags of tea neatly within the porcelain cups before seeing the kettle in hand. Steam and an invigorating scent wafted upward as he poured the heated water. Once finished he placed lids upon the cups so that the tea might steep for a time. Katelle pursed her lips, fingers drumming on her swollen belly in concerned agitation. Out of habit, she glanced towards the room the girls disappeared to; once having ascertained yet again that they aren't eavesdropping, she looked back to Brianna. "He confessed to me that he had tried to overdose on the initial brews I gave him. There was not enough there to allow him to do so successfully, but I had not made him aware of that fact. I learned he suffers from severe daytime panic attacks--usually as a result of an abrupt stimulus--and so I instructed him to speak with Aryanna before I would give him anything else that would help him sleep. I did allow him to take a much more mild concoction to take the edge off of his anxiety as the attacks occur, but there was not enough present there to allow a successful overdose as well." "I know he spoke with Aryanna. But she said he did not seem interested in discussing his night terrors or the experiences which may have caused them. He left, and had not yet returned when I spoke with her," Katelle continued. Rorrek eventually lifted one lid and inhaled the billowing scent, such producing a distinctive hint of peppermint. Satisfied, he removed both lids and took both cups by their saucers. He laid the cups upon the table between Brianna and Katelle at last. Katelle offered Rorrek a small smile and a quiet murmur of thanks. She suddenly looked very tired, and reached for her cup with both hands. Rorrek stepped back then. "Pardon the interruption. Such concoction is of a green tea infused with peppermint, a favorite of Brianna's fae companion. Thou may allowest such steep further shouldst thou desire." He then affixed himself to the conversation at hand. "Correspondence hath been sent unto the caravan, but... ne'er may we receive missive in return knowing the Starseer's penchants." Brianna leaned against the table, her brow furrowed in concentrated concern as she listened to Katelle's words. "I see," she began slowly. "Oh, thank you, darling." She gave a brief smile to Rorrek as she lifted her cup of tea and cradled it between her palms. "We have been unsuccessful at all turns thus far." Katelle 's lips thinned a little. "What of a physical messenger?" Rorrek tilted his head to the side. "Dost thou know of the caravan's whereabouts?" Ellaluna perked up, flitting over to sniff at Brianna's cup of tea. A small trilling hum was coming from her chest, almost like a purr -- and she definitely seemed to want to lap at Brianna's drink. "I know it was last traveling about the Isles. But Tuuroto's caravan is hardly an inconspicuous sight." "Searched have I about the isles to little avail regardless. Such venturing is... perilous to say the least. The last I had spoken unto Mavis they made mention of seeing farmlands arable... though, I recall not if ever he mentioned a locale specifically." Katelle glanced sidelong at Ellaluna, and casually reached into one of the pockets of her supple robes. Without making a fuss, she retrieved a few pieces of something and reached across the table to place them at the midpoint. Upon closer inspection, they are the little candies that Ellaluna was treated to the last she visited Katelle with Brianna. Brianna eyed the fae with one raised brow, moving the tea closer to her person. Rejoining the conversation she shook her head. "I do not believe he mentioned such." Ellaluna shifted her reptilian gaze immediately at the crinkle of the candy wrapper and bounded onto the table to quickly snatch one up, open it, and pop one in her mouth greedily. "Ella thank!" she mumble with a mouthful. "Ella is very welcome." Katelle then looked back to Brianna and Rorrek. "I'll see what I can dig up. Somebody is bound to have seen them somewhere." Brianna took a long drink of tea as she glanced to the door of Vatya's room thoughtfully over the brim. After a moment, she looked to Katelle. "I have been hoping. It is getting hard to placate Emily, the little dear. She misses her Father greatly." Katelle finally took a sip from her cup, having held it between both palms as if absorbing its warmth. Her eyes fell shut a moment as she savored the calming taste upon her tongue. Her eyes opened again as she swallowed. "He isn't used to having a child," she murmured. "He hadn't even thought of how Emily would feel if his first attempt had been successful. But even still, he speaks as though he loves her a great deal." "Aye, his love for her is quite palpable... though I was unaware of the severity of his mental stability. I certainly hope... he has not revisited his previous attempt." Rorrek crossed his arms and bowed his head whilst his eyes closed shut. "He spoke with great worry in regards toward whether or not such child would inherit the curse. Assure him did I otherwise." Katelle nodded slowly, mulling over both of their words. "He tries to hide it," she said in response to Brianna's comment. "Though he does not do a very good job of it when asked directly. While I hope the same, I..." Her eyes move back to Vatya's room. "I fear the worst. He knows she would be safe here, else he would not have left her. And as his father has recently passed..." She shakes her head gently, a heavy exhalation puffing from her lips. Brianna reached over, placing a hand of comfort upon Rorrek's arm, as she knew how difficult that conversation must have been for him. She squeezed his arm in silent unity before looking to Katelle. She sighed, deep worry settling into her brow. "She will be safe here, aye. We will do all in our power to see that she remains so, and as happy as she can be. Yet I truly hope our fears are without reason in the end. Was he known to drink heavily?" Rorrek smiled warmly in thanks to Brianna's gesture. He stepped closer to her and wrapped his arm about her waist before laying a kiss atop her cheek. He then returned his gaze forward. "Mayhaps there was matters of import to tend which he could not tell?" Brianna rubbed Rorrek's back absentmindedly as she leaned against him. "Aye, maybe..." The thought trailed off as she turned inward to muse silently. Katelle smiled, the expression equal parts tight--at the faint flickers of memory--and tender--at Rorrek and Brianna's show of affection. She took another fortifying sip of her tea, absently stroking her belly with her free hand. "Not that I recall, regarding alcohol," she murmurs, trying to recall. "And it's entirely possible that there was some urgent matter that required his attention, but I'm not certain. He made sure to check in with me on a semi-regular basis, especially if he needed more doses. I can't imagine his anxiety simply left him." Rorrek sighed. "T'would seem as though naught shall come to fruition immediately. Regardless, such visit is welcome after that as our abrupt summons." He glanced to the room where the children left to play. "Worry do I for her endurance..." Brianna nodded in agreement, worry and guilt clouding her emerald gaze. "She may be young, but she knows something is wrong with each passing day." Rorrek took to stroke Brianna's lower back in comfort, sympathy and understanding lining his stoic features. Katelle nods gently, murmuring "of course" to Rorrek's initial words. She follows his gaze. "Children are resilient, in the long run, but the future may very well be hard for her," she agrees quietly. "But if there is aught I can do, for either of you or her, please let me know." Brianna smiled softly. "Thank you. And I appreciate you asking around to your various contacts. Perhaps --" At the sound of Vatya's door opening, her sentence cut off. "Mama!" Vatya said, running across the room to them. "Ve are hungry." Katelle turned her gaze towards the girl with a wide smile on her face. Her eyes flicked back to Rorrek and Brianna, parental knowing and indulgence plastered across her face. Rorrek gently released Brianna's waist as he turned and knelt before Vatya. "Thou hast brought forth an appetite, hrm?" He poked her stomach which elicited several laughs from the little girl. "Jes, Papa!" Emily followed Vatya, seeming in better spirits as she bounced up to the group as well. She was carrying Brianna's snow globe in her little arms, hugged to her chest. Katelle laughed softly. Her hand pressed tighter against the side of her stomach for a moment, and she took another--final--sip of tea. Brianna glanced down to the children. "Well I'm sure there must be something in this house to feed the two of you," she teased, running a hand over Emily's black hair and then Vatya's in turn. Rorrek gestured for Emily to draw closer before he addressed both of the children. "Say farewell now to our guest." He smiled broadly and leaned back slightly so that the both of them could look at Katelle. "Goodbye, babylady!" they said in unison with giggling voices. He blinked afterward. Katelle laughed. "Before I go--the little one is feeling restless. Would they be allowed to feel some kicking?" Brianna grinned, taken slightly aback at their shared nickname. "Of course!" Vatya and Emily stepped forward cautiously. They both set their hands on the bump of Katelle's stomach for a moment, waiting. Eventually, after a felt kick, they shouted slightly and ran back behind Rorrek as he stood. There they burst into laughter together. Katelle grinned, rising slowly after the girls fled. Brianna laughed in amusement, an endearing warmth spreading across her face. "How far along are you now?" she asked curiously. "Into the seventh, or close to it." Emily whispered to Vatya, though it wasn't really a whisper at all. "It's in there! Just trapped in there! I felt it!" Rorrek glanced to Brianna with a nod. He then stepped forward and offered Katelle his arm in preparation for ascending the short flight of stairs before the door. Brianna laughed, overhearing the children, but nodded to Katelle. "Not too long now then." Katelle shook her head. "Too long, and not long enough," she laughed again. She took then Rorrek's arm with a smile, and turned that smile on Brianna as well. "Thank you for having me. Don't be a stranger, hm? We'll keep in touch." She looked back to the girls. "Have fun, ladies!" Each girl chimed in unison, "Bye bye!" Brianna dipped her head in respect and then lifted it with a smile, "Aye, we shall. And thank you again."
  46. 3 points
    The Chaoseater’s massive form loomed behind the undead mage eyeing his assortment of tools and contraptions. The black plate that shrouded him whirred and clicked with internal mechanisms as he shook his head and turned towards the mushrooms. He began striding deliberately around the circle, widdershins in the parlance of druids who sometimes kept brighter groves than this sacred. Coldly glowing eyes watched the Matron from behind their clear crystal visor. When three circuits had been complete the Death Knight stepped into the circle, his voice rumbled like stone on steel and shook droplets from the undersides of the mushroom ring. “The Shadowlands will not be like any land you have known. This is the place between worlds, the darkness that devours. You who would pass, who would pierce the veil, step forth into the circle.” He paused rain streaking down across black metal dotted with the glowing blue of stylized skulls. “If any doubt your strength or ability, be gone now. Doubt, fear, these are a sweetness to the beings that torment he whom you would save. And in carrying them beyond thou would doom all.” After a moment he turned to the tall elf, Baalthemar his name was “You have the items?”
  47. 3 points
    "You are certain of this path?" The Archdruid's voice filled the cavern, pulling Kreyen's attention away from the small table in front of him and its simple looking contents. Darannas towered over the sin'dorei, his arms crossed and expression patient. After six and a half years, the ghost of mistrust lingered in the druid's gaze. There had been a time, briefly, when Kreyen had thought it would fade. That opportunity was gone now, and the hunter could not have cared less. In the cold depths of the barrow den clothed only in a pair of loose fitting shorts, all that mattered was the blackened seed resting on the simple surface before him. "I wouldn't have volunteered if I wasn't, Archrduid," Kreyen said dryly, the impish humor that so often defined him stripped by recent events. "It will kill you if you prove unworthy. You know this, child." Darannas's voice echoed in the sin'dorei's ears, dragging a memory through the fog of his mind and up to the surface of his thoughts. "It will kill you if you prove unworthy," Maera's voice. The simple leathers the kaldorei so often wore, the warm amber glow of her eyes, and the honeyed perfume she had worn that night still stood clearly in his mind. Her smile had been as cryptic as ever, but Kreyen hadn't sensed any of the amusement she usually carried when asked about the artifacts they guarded. There was a serious concern in her focus, a look she reserved for when she was trying not to be patronizing to the younger elf. "Besides, your bow serves you well already, does it not?" "The craftsmanship is astounding though," he had said, leaning over the weapon's seed to inspect the fine white wood of the weapon and the fine green and gold metal inlay that decorated it. "Does its maker still live?" "No..." She'd pulled him away from the weapon then, stealing her hands around him and pulling the sin'dorei close in a protective embrace. "He has been dead for ten thousand years, little fox." The nickname had made him fidget, but only tightened her embrace. When he calmed, his eyes went to the small metal plaque and read the inscription. "Xaxas...delar. That means..." He'd had to think of the translation, his darnassian had never been anything close to fluent. "Fury? The Ancient Keeper's Fury?" Kreyen's hands had roved over hers, a confused look on his face as he'd looked over his shoulder to her. "So it was made by Keepers of the Grove?" "No, Kreyen," Maera had said quietly, exhausted patience creeping into her voice. "The name is the feeling it's crafting drew." There'd been a long moment of silence as the two stood together, the druid struggling to put the story to words. "Xaxas'delar is a satyr creation," she'd finally explained. "During the War of the Ancients, one of our grove protectors fell. An Ancient of War." A sigh had escaped her then, ensuring Kreyen's continued silence. "The one who struck it down was called Azivas the Molder. Before the Ancient was allowed to die however, he cut out it's heart. From the still living wood, he twisted and molded the heart with fel tainted magics. When he was done, he had shaped both it and the Ancient's soul into the weapon you see now." "The bow was put to use on its former allies mercilessly, long after the war had ended." There'd been a sorrow in the Maera's voice, something that at the time he'd not fully understood. "When it was recovered and purified, attempts were made to commune with it, both to make use of its power and see what wisdom still remained. All that we know remains is the Ancient's rage, and during the bonding process that anger seared the minds of all those who have made an attempt." "So. It just takes a strong enough will?" Kreyen had asked, teasing. "We do not know, my love. But you must promise me you will never touch it, or speak with the Archdruid about it. He would take your offer at the merest chance of salvaging what lies within." The druid's voice had been almost pleading, her arms squeezing him closer. "After all, I do not wish to raise our child alone." Kreyen had frozen with shock, left to stammer out his surprise as she giggled at him. The memory faded. Kreyen's hands had curled into tight fists at the recollection, his nails almost drawing blood from his palms. Jaw set, the hunter turned to the Archdruid as frustration clouded his features. "I know what it does, Archdruid. It is my choice how I pay my debts, and this should clear my slate if it works, should it not?" Darannas frowned at the words, never having spoken of the hunter's bond to the circle as a debt. That was a burden he'd placed on himself after they'd saved him, pulling him from the frozen wastes with a pike sticking clear through his torso. "You have long ago paid any debt you owe us, Streamsong. This will neither heal your wounds, nor bring back my daughter." "I'm well aware." Kreyen wasn't considering either possibility as he shook his head, closing the short distance between himself and the table with a grim expression. He cast one glance back at the Archdruid before he picked up what was sure would be his death. In a moment, it would be over. There would be no more suffering, no more anger. He would be free of the memories of those who had left him behind, surviving where they had not. As he set the tiny object against his arm, he was so certain that he would fail. The hunter didn't expect how fast the magic would work, or the tendrils that burst from the seed and burrowed into his arm. He didn't expect the agony as the soul of the Ancient went to work on his mind, pounding an unyielding psyche against the anvil of its fury. Perhaps though, what Kreyen expected least was to come to his senses hours later. Covered in sweat and curled into a pathetic heap on the cold stone of the cavern's floor, the hunter struggled to register where he even was. His focus finally noticed that Archdruid Darannas stood above him, the ancient kaldorei's expression unreadable as he held the seed's counterpart. Vines had grown from the bow's grip to form a sort of hand guard, their lengths snaking over the bow's limbs and covered in small buds. As the sin'dorei's now dark green gaze found the object and tried to discern what was happening, something strange began to happen. For the first time in millennia, the bow began to bloom.
  48. 3 points
    The Forgotten Crypt lies behind the tower of Karazhan, in the cemetery at Morgan's Plot. The purpose of the crypt was unknown, sealed by a magical portcullis probably by the Guardian Medivh himself. But there was no where the Maleficar could not go, or reach. That’s why he had chosen this spot to hold the beast. She had already attempted to reach the guild hall, and once he identified she served under the "Twilight Empire", he felt it best to keep her at an arms length to prevent any would-be rescue attempts from disturbing the sanctity of the Grim Hall. Boneslave had followed instructions well, he was almost envious of Khorvis for finding competent help. The Undead Death knight was waiting behind the Portcullis for him, giving his customary subservient bow to the Mage. "Where did you put the body?" Mai’kull asked as he looked about the room. "Where instructed my lord, she lies in the pit!" Mai’kull nodded "Good...lets take a look shall we?" Kiannis' instructions were that she was alive and able to speak, but Mai’kull didn’t do it for the gold, he did it for retaliation for the woman’s fool attempt to strike at the Grim. He had been mailed the reward already, after the official notice was sent to the Inquisitor, but he had not personally met with them yet, or furnished the body, he wanted to have his fun first. Standing over the pit he could see Katrynne's broken and charred body. Boneslave had tossed her like a sack of garbage down into the pit where she laid on the ritualistic stone. The Magister took a moment to review his work, mentally replaying the fight in his head. He should have ended it quicker than he did, trying to go toe to toe with a melee fighter was foolish and arrogant, thankfully he had enough precautions in place. However he didn’t want to just capture or kill her, he wanted to break her, he wanted to shatter her will and resolve, to throw everything she had at him and fail, to know the true meaning of defeat. He could see that in her eyes as soon as Reaves was activated, he only wished he could see over the Mechanical Shredders Main Cannon as the life left her eyes. As Mai'kull stepped off the platform looking before the pit, Boneslave took his place there, almost as if he anticipated the Mage's wishes. With a nod from the Executioner, Boneslave reached out with necrotic tendrils, which wrapped itself around the broken Worgen's body, lifting it high into the air. The deathknight began to pour dark energy into the shattered form until finally the breath of life came back into her, most notably her eyes snapped wide as she began choking for air once more. Boneslave let her wiggle there in shock, fear, and agony; savoring the beasts suffering before letting her crash back down into the pit. Her legs, still broken left her crumpled onto the floor as the pain of all her injuries rushed back through her nervous system. Mai’kull watched Kat lay there, whimpering uncontrollably in pain. He was unsure what was going through her mind, but he didn’t care anymore. The game was over, and this was business. He aimed an apparent double barrel rifle at the creature and pulled the trigger. The Gnomish Net Launcher spewed a large net over the Worgen, the small caltrops that lined each notch dug in where flesh was accessible, pinning her to the floor. Mai’kull handed the launcher off to Boneslave behind him, never taking his eyes off his prisoner. "Can you feel it?" The Maleficar said, kneeling close to the edge. "That stone your resting upon holds the essence of over a thousand leeches and mana wyrm's. As your body presses against it, they ever so gently syphon your life, and mana away from you, just enough to keep you weak, but not enough to kill you. That net I hit you with is enchanted to do the same, every time you struggle it saps your energy and becomes that much stronger. So if you had the slightest delusion you were getting out of here, don’t." Mai’kull stood, looking down on his prey, "You angered a lot of people with your little escapades. And they were willing to pay, ALOT of gold to put you down." he said, withdrawing a hefty sack from a portable hole he had summoned. Within it held thousands of golden pieces, ten thousand to be exact. The mage picked one up, and tossed it at Katrynne, then another, then a pinch of coins, a handful, until he eventually upturned the whole bag onto the beast, pelting her with a hail of hard-pressed golden slag. "But your worthless to me..." the mage said, with a look of disgust on his mask-pressed face. "You think a single person could dare challenge the will of the mandate?! You think you could start a revolution by showing others there were no consequence to challenging the Grim?!" The flames grew around the mage as he spoke, but he allowed himself to calm before continuing, "Well look where you are now. You, will be the lesson to all that NO ONE! No one will dare stand in our way, and you will be the shining consequence of what happens when you do..." "Others will learn, not just from what were going to do to you, but what I will do in your stead...." The mage smirked as the Illusionary magic enveloped him, turning into a perfect copy of the Rogue. "I’m going to tear everything you ever were apart, from the inside out. I’m going to hunt, every person you ever knew and loved, and the last face they will see before they die wont be a menacing Orc or Forsaken...but your own, looking back at them as I stab out every one of their hearts. I only hope the Commander leaves you alive long enough for me to drown you in all of them." Immeasurable amount of pain was coursing through her body, but she could hear the Forsaken chastising her. She could only muster a growl as she looked up at the mage, “Why bring me back? You just want to get your kicks” The mage only gleamed at her, once again with a malevolent smile. “Death is a release…not a punishment. And believe me Kitten…your punishment is coming VERY soon.” As Mai’kull turned away from the pit and stepped off the platform, he looked to Boneslave, “Notify the Inquisitors…Their Monster Hunt is over. Ill be opening a Portal from the Guild Hall to this Chamber for…Easy access. I must change and get ready for our Ceremony tonight...with luck, the Lasher will have a hand at her torment."
  49. 3 points
    In the maelstrom, the heart of Azeroth, Stormsky stood still just a few steps away from the portal that would take him to Dalaran, a portal he needed to use to make his way to the location where the ritual to rescue Khorvis was going to take place. In the eyes of others, it would have seemed like he had spent hours in the exact same spot, taking a few steps back every once in a while before moving forward towards the portal again, but always stopping in the same place, close enough to actually see the other side but far enough to prevent him to use the portal. “Just let me go… I proposed this ritual… I should be there... I must help!” he muttered angrily to himself. For as long as he remembered he could hear and interact with the elements, first through dreams and whispers, later he could feel their presence and speak to them through meditation, now he was able to communicate directly with them, sometimes even when he didn’t want to, it only took a thought, that was the downside of choosing his path as an elemental shaman, he thought sometimes, to never be alone in his mind. Out of all the elemental spirits he had contact with, five always stood out, the first ones he befriended, and the ones who had been with him every moment of his life, good or bad times they were there, in one way or another, each representing a different element, Brazion of fire, Hialaq of water, Venthesh of air, Petrik of earth, and last Vitalon representing the element of life. All of them had fought alongside Stormsky more times he could count, sometimes giving him advice, some others manifesting directly in the physical realm to aid him in combat, or just providing him the power he needed to defeat his enemies or help his allies. These elementals became a second family to Stormsky, a very dysfunctional one due to the conflicting nature of their personalities and elements, but a family nevertheless, and not once they had acted against him until now. “Please release me… I must go” He said, now having an inner conversation with this second family, A resounding answer echoed in his mind “NO!”, out of all the times he wished that the elementals would work together in perfect harmony, this was not one of them. He had been stuck in a combat for control of his body for hours now, and even though the elementals weren’t powerful enough to control him without his permission, they were strong enough to stop him from taking any action. He had tried dozens of times now, always with the same result, every time he approached the portal, the elements stopped him from using it, “It is not easy to move when you have the weight of a mountain in each of your hooves, is it?” Petrik said, laughing at Stormsky, “And even if you could …” Venthesh started saying as Hialaq finished the sentence “Your muscles won’t work at subzero temperatures either”, Brazion spoke next “Try as you might Storm, even you cannot concentrate enough to free yourself without breathing correctly, and tell me how does it feel having an inferno in your lungs?”. Stormsky glared at the four “You…. Cannot do this….let me go help them, I already told you I am willing to take the risks and live with the consequences! I am a Shu’halo... I am part of the Horde… I don’t leave people behind!” Vitalon, who until now had been silent, finally spoke “You have no idea of the mistake you would be making and of the true consequences it would bring, even if you could rescue Khorvis… his soul along with the souls of anyone who goes into that place will be tainted by the shadow, they will NEVER be the same, There is no protection, no spells… NOTHING! That will prevent that from happening… After that… each of them will carry that shadow for the rest of their lives… growing, some… the stronger ones… or the lucky ones will die before it takes control…. The rest… will eventually succumb to it”. Stormsky took a few steps back from the portal, stopping his struggle for a moment, he had done this before to recover his strength in order to try using the portal again, this time was different, Vitalon had spoken… the most common and yet the most difficult spirit to commune with, very few shamans have had the honor of sensing an elemental… a spirit of life, even less have had the opportunity to communicate with one. Stormsky had listened to him before… but only in whispers… or visions, watching Vitalon speak to him so clearly and in such a direct way shocked the shaman to the core. He took a large breath, as the other elementals stopped their attacks, “What am I supposed to do then? Nothing?! That is unacceptable!” Brazion took his turn to speak “You have always fought with the rage and passion of a fire elemental, but you cannot win this fight”, “You are still a mortal… we are eternal… ” said Petrik, “Calm down, breathe... allow yourself to see, to think” Venthesh remarked before Hialaq spoke “Like water… change your ways… adapt… figure out a way to help them without leaving this place, without going into the shadows”. Stormsky finally realized what the elementals were trying to do, they weren’t against rescuing Khorvis, they were just trying to protect the young shaman from going into the Shadowlands and they weren’t going to stop. After a brief moment Stormsky grinned at them “So you do care for this mortal piece of flesh after all”. The elementals awkwardly stared at Stormsky then at each other without responding, always too prideful to admit such a thing. The shaman proceeded to find a place where he could think and after some time he proposed a plan “Alright… since you will not allow me to leave the maelstrom, then I need us all to help the party from here… together… Petrik, nature is born out of the earth, out of your element, empower their nature spells, whatever form they take, either for healing or damage, just empower them with your might. Brazion use your fire as a guiding light for them and bless their blades with your flames. Finally Venthesh and Hialaq, you two are going to work together, merge your elements, air and water to power up the ice crystal even more, do not let it be depleted and strengthen the protective aura it provides. I will be your anchor, so that all of you can manifest in this realm at the same time, do you all agree to this?” and without hesitation all the elementals responded at once with a resounding “Yes, we do”. Stormsky sat down using all of his focus to empower the elementals and project them to the place the ritual is going to be performed “There… I see them… Baal’themar, Edgar, Chaoseater, the others…even that orc hunter… Bager, they're all gathered, it’s time… Brazion, Petrik, Venthesh, Hialaq go now, may the Earth Mother be with us all”
  50. 3 points
    Baal’themar stalked in the shadows on the outside edge of the marching party. They headed to the Grim Halls, he wondered if the Grim might try to capture him after this mission was over and they had Khorvis safe. He scanned the people that had joined, so far he couldn’t see anyone that would go out of their way to stop him. He made a plan to escape if things started to look like they were going to turn on him. His pack was heavy with the ritual components. Stones, gems and cubes made of bone… He remembered the creation of the unholy and blood icons, Stromsky had given him the Ice icon and he had the blade needed to focus the ritual from Lilliana. Just get the old orc and leave. He thought to himself, he repeated his mission. Get him out and safe, then you’re done… don’t push your luck. He sighed and emerged from the shadows to join the main party as they formed up outside the Grim Halls. He walked to Edgar without looking at the others, he slowly pulled each component out of his pack. The Bonecube, Bloodstone Crystal and the Elemental Ice stone. Emerged from his pack, followed finally by the Dagger that Edgar had asked for, Kiannis had kept the blade safe before he handed it to Lilliana for the ritual. Baal’themar remembered the man handing it over to her rather than him… distrust ran deep between the two elves but none of that mattered. They would need to work together to save their brother… save him from his hellish prison.