Catalinetta

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About Catalinetta

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  1. Errtu was the youngest of the five, a Runetotem Sunwalker trudging across the rainy, mucky Eastern Plaguelands. It'd been raining all night, in fact, which Errtu personally found to be a blessing. His commander had said the rain was good; things were tense at Light's Hope and it would keep the paladins gathered around from having another makeshift "rally" like the one that was held the day before. Errtu wasn't sure what to think of the talk of more fighting with the Ebon Blade, but he was a dutiful soldier and was inclined to agree with his Bloodhoof commander. The tauren of Light's Hope clung together tighter than most of the other races, even the Blood Knights or Vindicators, following the lead of the likes of Dezco or Aponi in service to the Highlord. Most of them seemed uninterested in the bickering and focused on the war against the Legion, but even among their tight-knit community, some had begun to whisper about the activities of the Ebon Blade. Still, though, Errtu remained unchanged. In fact, he rode out on their charge with a reflexive hope swelling in his heart. He had always been an optimistic tauren, raised in the Barrens and eventually settling in The Crossroads when the Horde settled the land for good and their nomadic ways were put to rest. In the Barrens, rain was thought of quite highly, a sign that better times were to come. All the negativity, all the bad things that festered in the land and the people would be washed away by the cleansing rains, he'd been taught, and so even though this rain made their journey to a small village just over the river that much harder, he couldn't help but feel the same peaceful elation that he knew as a calf. And, he assumed, his mission would be an easy one. He hadn't been on many treks west with his Sunwalker brothers, but the taurens' avowed neutrality in the growing tensions made them the perfect candidates for the call that had gone out. A rider in the night, wet and soggy, asked for aid for the small village of Mapleseed Brook, just over the Thondroril River. A Death Knight there, once a friend, seemed to have lost his mind and was barricaded by the villagers inside his small farmhouse. Though he had yet to attempt to break out, there was little doubt that the might of the unholy powers he had at his disposal would be enough to throw open the door and attack the town if need be. The rider's news was grim, of course, but he didn't have much recourse in looking for aid elsewhere. Stormwind and Ironforge were half a continent away and the village had always had a friendly disposition with the Silver Hand, given their village mayor was one in years past. Still, they all knew what was really happening. The rider described the undead dwarf as a friend, at first. Come to the town to help defend it against the Scourge only a short time ago. But, if word was to be believe, his axe was cracked in an altercation with a flock of geists and the erratic behavior began. At first, it was just mood swings, vacillating between anger and sorrow at a moment's notice. Soon, however, he began to speak to things that were not there, was having trouble recognizing friends in the village that he'd been protecting for the entirety of his short time there. They'd hear him thumping and pacing in his farmhouse, yelling at intruders that didn't exist and screaming about all manner of horrors that had yet to materialize. The mayor had waited for him to leave, return to Acherus and repair his runeaxe. Surely, that would solve the problem. But the longer they waited, the more they realized he wouldn't. Finally, the decision was made to barricade him in and call for the Silver Hand to send out riders to help. And thus, Errtu and his brave companions rode at all haste to Mapleseed Brook to intervene. They arrived in the early morning after riding through the rainy night, just as the first rays of sunshine could be sensed over the high hills back east. The situation seemed much more dire than they'd anticipated. The barricade was being manned by the chainmail clad guards of the town, but the lot of them seemed to average out at fourteen years of age. A Death Knight would cut through them like machetes through the Feralas jungle. Inside, the Dwarf screeched and yelled, crashing and banging and rampaging through his wooden residence. The Sunwalkers discussed their plan: Subdue him and imprison him, do their best to return him to the Ebon Hold so that the undead could take care of their own. But their strategizing was quickly cut short as a thundering axe blade just above the barricaded door cracked through the wall, only to be withdrawn and flung again, this time doing even more danage to the planks. The Sunwalkers set their perimeter, quickly telling everyone to get as far back from that hole as possible. But just as soon as it seemed that he would burst through the wood, the hacking stopped. Instead, they were met only with the sound of glass breaking and cursing and screaming from within the home. Whatever the Dwarf was saying, Errtu only heard gibberish. Were these even words? By the same token, however, the panicked villagers were yelling and screaming over the thunderous rain as well, trying to direct a group of Sunwalkers that didn't even speak Common. The house, which had been dark up until now, began to slowly flood and flicker with light. Could the dwarf light his own lantern in this state? The question was moot, because the answer quickly became apparent: the Dwarf had lit his own house on fire. The braves were instructed to hold fast. Stay back. The Dwarf had doomed himself, but even with the pouring rain dampening any fires, they needed to make sure that he wasn't a hard to the rest of the villagers and that fire didn't spread to any of the nearby grain barns or farmhouses of their own. Errtu couldn't help but be amazed at how quickly the blaze grew. They were waiting, slowly and steadfastly to see what would happen, but by the time the fire begun to crack through the roof, the Dwarf's angry mutterings and vicious exclamations had turned into the frantic wailing that transcended all languages: he was wailing in pain because he was burning alive. Errtu felt his hand begin to shake, though the crackling flames and the pouring rain drowned out the faint clattering of his plate armor. He was glad to have not drawn his weapon, because if he had, he would have surely dropped it. He wouldn't be granted that much of a respite, though, because once they heard thumping against the hacked section of wall, the order was to draw their weapons. Errtu couldn't. His hand was shaking too much. He tried to tense his muscles, force it to stop, but he couldn't, why wouldn't the Dwarf stop screaming? And almost as soon as he looked away from the fire in shame and humiliation, the Dwarf's flaming arm struck out of the wall, sent out a shadowy claw of unholy force right at Errtu and lifted him off his hooves and deep into the flaming house. The Sunwalkers, his brothers, sprung to action immediately, the order given to GO! GET HIM! SHIELDS! SHIELDS! They crashed through windows and clomped through the house, he could hear them? He could hear them! The stairs, the collapsing wood, the burning fire, but he could hear them. ERRTU! ERRTU! SHIELD YOURSELF! ERRTU! He wondered if it was too late. The Dwarf, an effigy of rotting flesh and scorched metal, had been hacking away at him for almost a minute, spilling tauren blood across the fiery floorboards. Errtu smelled his exposed entrails cooking as the dwarf kept hacking and hacking. Was he dying? Was he dead? Lances of holy light sliced into the Dwarf, though, putting a stop to his assault. Two, then a third, severing his arm from his torso, his head from his shoulders. He felt something pop in his gut, and decided it was time to gather up his entrails and put them back in place, but his hands just wouldn't stop shaking. He couldn't move them. He couldn't keep his eyes open. He couldn't hear the sunwalkers. He just heard the fires and the hissing and spattering of his own boiling blood. With the stairs collapsed, the Sunwalkers knew they couldn't reach the second floor and save Errtu. Their shields would protect them only for so long, so the retreat was ordered. A few of them had been able to strike at the dwarf from below, they knew he was gone because the wailing had stopped. They walked back into the cool rain and looked on in the house in shame, healing themselves and one another from the burns they inevitably sustained. They'd been ordered out quickly enough to save themselves, but Errtu was dead. The youngest of them, the Runetotem who chose to be a Sunwalker rather than a druid, he was becoming blacked char and they were just watching. The commotion in the village died down. The house eventually collapsed in on itself. The Sunwalkers remained to confirm the Dwarf's death and Errtu's, whose remains they unceremoniously scooped up and gathered for transport back to Light's Hope. On the ride back to the Chapel, the Commander remembered feeling the rain was a blessing. It hid his streaming tears from his silent companions.
  2. Najme stood in front of her desk, deep in the basement of the chapel. There were few offices, and hers was particularly tight in space. Reading over a report, she waited for the arrival of a certain knight. Tamaryth arrived, a frown etched on her brow. "Lady Najme, what can I do for you?" "Tamaryth," Najme said kindly, smiling. "I heard there was a bit of a kerfluffle at the Arath'dorei estate. Can you tell me what happened?" "I cannot," Tamaryth said stiffly, "as Sanctuary's Commander forbade me from accompanying them. I told you she cannot be trusted to be impartial with me heading the investigation. You'll need to speak to Master Raelana for a report." "...I see. Hmm." Najme furrowed her brow and flipped through her notes. "I have an assignment for you, then. Are you aware of the Arath'dorei family and their connection to the Silver Hand?" "Not in particular," Tamaryth replied. "Brief me." "D'aragon's betrothed is a squire of ours, one Kreyen Arath'dorei." Najme explained, tapping her notebook with a fingertip. "I was hoping that we might avoid troubling him, but apparently after Sanctuary attempted to intervene, they are both missing. Now, I can contact Sir Granthas. He will be able to call on the squire and, with any luck, summon him here. However when he arrives, I want you to question him. The running that he and D'Aragon did is highly suspicious, and I know you will be able to learn more from him than anyone." "Gladly," said Tamaryth. Nadme bowed her head in thanks. "Thank you. I will let you know when he arrives." Tamaryth nodded, turned, and left. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- As seemed to be usual now, Najme looked busy behind her desk as she waited on Granthas. The human kept pushing strands of brown hair behind her ears as she looked over lists, assigning names to other names and schedules. Her underground office was humid, and without a window, stiflingly hot. The grizzled war veteran made his way into the depths with a look of grim irritation. Granthas was about as dirtied as ever, part of the rewards of his nearly constant work. The Silver Hand recruits were almost all unpolished, and whipping them into the shape required to fight the relentless waves of the Burning Legion was a taxing task. To combat the heat without, the human's stark white hair had been pulled back and bound into a short ponytail, but there was little that could be done to tame his beard. As he reached the office he was searching for, the aged paladin lifted a gauntlet clad fist and rapped on the door frame. "Can we make this quick?" he asked, keeping his gravely voice even. Najme stood and waved Granthas in. His ponytail was inspiring. "Yes of course, this will only be a moment," she said gently, nodding toward a pitcher of water on her desk and two wooden cups. "Please, refresh yourself. It is frightfully hot down here." Granthas waved a hand, but moved forward to draw himself into a seat. "It's not much better up top," he grumbled, reclining noisily but not quite letting himself get comfortable. "What's this about, Lady Najme?" "A little assignment I've been given recently, regarding the attack," she answered while pouring herself a glass. "I thought it would be a simple enough task. I'm sure they thought so too, or they wouldn't have assigned me to it, but it seems things have escalated.. I'm sorry, let me start over." Najme took a long drink of water and wiped her forehead. She regarded Granthas with very tired brown eyes, as if she'd been staring at papers all day. "Regardless of recent developments between our orders, one of my superiors was insistent that we attempt to bring some sort of closure to the bad blood between us and the Ebon Blade. As a peace offering, they provided us with the name of a death knight who was involved in the attack and soon afterwards defected. They mentioned she had some sort of hand in planning this event, but I think it's clear that isn't true. In any case, I was hoping to ask her a few simple questions but the person I assigned to this mission has reached road blocks. Namely the fact that this death knight belongs to a guild called Sanctuary, and their Commander does not want us anywhere near her death knight charge. She took her own group to question the girl, only for there to be some sort of.. I do not even know, a fight of some kind? Between them and members of the Ebon Blade. One of our own, Sir Cerryan Vyel, was arrested. And the death knight herself disappeared. That is why I have asked you to come. I have heard you are friendly with a certain squire. Kreyen Arath'dorei? Is that true?" Granthas listened with a stony gaze, not showing the least bit of interest in the political maneuvering of either organization. His expression bordered on boredom when the woman's exposition took a rather abrupt turn, breaking his show of disinterest and furrowing his brow. "Aye, but what does that have to do with any of this?" "The death knight in question is his fiance," Najme said with an awkward smile. "They have disappeared together. I have no idea where they are. I assume they both believe they are in some kind of danger, but I want to reassure them that this is not the case. I was wondering if you might attempt to get in touch with him? Ask if perhaps he might be amicable to visiting the chapel for some questions. Reassure him that this is not some kind of interrogation." The old paladin's mustache twitched at the question, and he did not immediately answer. His blue-grey gaze was harsh, and not entirely trusting as it lingered and gauged the woman's intent. "Perhaps," he said finally, "But he's not like to put his head on a platter if he's expecting trouble. What exactly are you looking to learn from the girl, and why would her guild's involvement spook the both of them if they're looking to protect her?" "That is what I would like to ask him," Najme said before taking another long drink of water. "What I want to know from this death knight is why her order was so keen on giving us her name. Why Sanctuary was so strict against us questioning her. Why there has been conflict in what should have been a relatively simple investigation. I mean honestly, do I look like the kind of person they would assign something serious? But now Vyel is imprisoned in Silvermoon, and this is the same death knight who seriously injured him. Now I am hearing rumors about there being some kind of.. inquisition by the Silver Hand on rogue death knights. So I would like to understand exactly what is happening before it escalates into something serious." Granthas' expression only darkened as Najme explained the situation, shifting his scowl towards the floor. There was too much to worry about with the Legion currently assaulting Azeroth to get sidetracked with political infighting. He rubbed his face with the leather palm of his gauntlet, and then nodded. "I'll see if I can talk to him. Not sure I could get him here, but I might be able to get his side of things at least." The old paladin let out a heavy sigh and then straightened as if to leave. "Is there anything else?" "No, that's all. I appreciate your help. If you do manage to get him down here, could you ask if he would be open to speaking with one of the other knights I have working on this case? Her name is Tamaryth, and she is very thorough. I trust her to ask the kind of questions that will finish this quickly." "It sounds as though I'm going to be stretching his trust as it is," Granthas grumbled. He stood, still scowling as he directed an icy gaze at the woman. "Took me near to a month even to get him to consider the Order, and if we've idiots running around like Scarlets, it'll prove all his concerns well-founded." He shook his head and turned to leave. "We don't have the luxury of losing good recruits to this sort of horseshit, Najme. Don't expect much." Najme held up her hands helplessly. "What else can I do, Granthas? I am attempting to clear the air, here. Make things look less chaotic. Ignoring what happened will only result in more hot heads attempting to take justice into their own hands. I can understand if he is concerned for her safety, but I truly have no intention of her being hurt in any way. In fact, if they are open to the idea, I think it would be rather useful to have an ally who knows more about the Blade. Perhaps she can offer some insight that we do not possess." "If you want this one's trust, you'd better make sure those rumors are false then." Granthas turned at the door and leveled another look at the woman, irritated. "Or find who they are and deal with them properly. I'll see what I can do, but if I can't convince him they don't exist don't expect him to show." He paused, giving her a pointed look before he added, "Much less bring her with him."(edited) "I would not ask him to bring her here unless he trusted us. Or at least trusted our intentions. As for dealing with certain knights.." she looked past him, into the hallway. "..what do you suggest we do there? I would be interested in hearing your opinions on that matter." There was a commotion outside, like the sounds of a rally within the church. Knights and templars both crowded around a set pedestal in which an aged human was vehemently giving a speech. His greyed black hair waved wildly as he poured his zeal into his words, the massive hammer in one of his hands gripped tightly enough that it looked as though he was preparing to use it to crush someone. "Fellow knights! Hear me! Your superiors are plaguing you with doubt and sloth when there should be action and retribution!" He fumed, slamming a golden armored fist onto his altar. "The wretched monsters that call upon powers we as paladins have spent years in fighting are gaining power and influence! This Ebon Blade has revealed themselves to be no better than the Scourge they so stem from! Are we to wait like sheep to the slaughter before they vaunt their so-called necessary justice towards us in the form of their blackened runeblades stealing our very souls?!" This earned him a slight cheers and applause from his crowd, which was startlingly starting to grow. "Now, our brother-in-arms Sir Vyel is imprisoned for daring to arrest one of these abominations! I ask you, knights of the Silver Hand, WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?!" "Purge anyone inciting the violence, and then see if the Ebon Blade would want to help figure out who the culprits are," Granthas stated plainly. "Do the same to them. If you want to rebuild trust, we should damn well be working with them again to make sure this shit doesn't spread. We will lose against the Legion if we don't stop fighting amongst our own, Najme. We don't have time for this." "I am not disagreeing with you, Granthas, I simply.." Najme paused mid-sentence, looking toward her left. Though situated underground, there was a noticeable commotion happening outside. It wasn't enough that she could hear exactly what was happening, but the some reverberation could be felt coming through the bricks. "What on Azeroth is happening up there?" The old paladin grumbled and shook his head. "I don't know. But I've had enough nonsense for the day." Granthas' mouth set in a line at the statement, stalking off to find the source of the problem so that it could be dealt with. Najme stood from her desk and followed behind Granthas. "It can't be another attack," she reasoned, grabbing the large hammer she hung on the wall before leaving her office. "They would have notified us by now." As Granthas came upon the makeshift 'rally', his scowl deepened as anger began to flood it. His gaze narrowed on the old man on his soap box, catching scent of the energy in the crowd in the expressions and demeanor of those gathered. His arms crossed over his chest, his voice boomed across the crowd like a reproachful parent. He'd been training recruits at the Chapel since the Argent Crusade, and knew enough of the faces to be angry about their presence. "Don't you lot have something better to do?" "Just as nature abhors the fel, does not the Light abhor the undead?! Look around and see if there any of the plague-addled Forsaken here amongst you...The Light denies them just as it should those Scourge-lov-" Stahls's rant was cut short by the appearance of his colleague, several attendees cowing to the trainer and departing. "Brother Granthas, so good of you to join us....What better use of time is there than to inspire the next generation to action so they do not suffer under the unprovoked aggression of the undead menace as we did?" Najme sighed heavily, hoisting her hammer over one shoulder. It appeared over-sized against the young woman's body, but she seemed to hold it easily enough. "By the Light, aren't you supposed to be getting those recruits ready for the Broken Shore?" His speech started gaining momentum again, launching into a tirade to rail against the Ebon Blade. Spittle flew from his mouth as he opened it once more, bellowing to all who hear him. "How long do we sit idle whilst their bastion of evil floats so dangerously close to beloved Dalaran?! How soon before they judge themselves better than we mere mortals as did their defeated master?" "ENOUGH!" Granthas bellowed. A wave of warm light errupted from around the paladin, clearing the air and removing some of the lingering negative emotion that had been building. "Constance, unless you were suddenly promoted to Highlord, I suggest you get off that damned box and get back into the field where you belong. Fighting the Legion." "Sister Najme..." Stahls slows down somewhat, "I prepare our recruits with words of courage, to alight their hearts in holy fire in preparation for the vindication at hand! The demons shall fall to us as they have at Hyjal! As they have here in Lordaeron! We are paladins of the Holy Light; the few, the proud, and the righteous defenders against all evils that plague our world! Be it fel or the undead menace that has so brazenly attacked our home not once, but twice!" Stahls cleared his throat, adjusting his armor as he hefted his hammer high. "There is always time for a good few words from those elder, Granthas...Not of all of us choose to punch our students to enlightenment." "I am currently undertaking a task that will hopefully keep that from happening again," Najme said quietly, glancing around to see if anyone else was listening. "This is not helping." "Just because you're elder, doesn't make you wise," Granthas shot back, still scowling. His attention turned back to the crowd then, looking amongst its members. "You seem to conveniently forget the Forsaken who fought alongside us in the Argent Crusade, or the Priests who were there when we aided Netherlight Temple. The only enlightenment you're offering is how to feed ourselves to the demons." His gaze narrowed, "Now. Get down, lest I report this idiocy to the Highlord. Who, need I remind you, settled matters with the Ebon Blade." "Unlike our superiors," Stahls stepped down to enter the crowd, pacing towards Granthas and Najme. "I am not all talk and bluster, and the demons will not wait around for us to placate them with kind words after their invasion." He said, almost snarling back at his fellow veteran. "What I do not forget, is the last time someone began raising the dead en masse." His speech ceased then, pausing only to whisper something to Granthas in a quick aside, before leaving. Najme blinked, holding her hands up in frustration. "What in the world did he tell you?" Granthas' gaze trailed after the other aged paladin, snorting in response to the whispered words. "Enough," he muttered to Najme, turning his attention onto what was left of the crowd again. "Do I need to report you lot as well?" he asked, getting them to start scattering in earnest. When things started to settle, he turned his attention back to her. "Enough to know to warn Kreyen of the lynch mob that'd be waiting for his girl if he brought her in." "But.." Najme's face went from concerned to angry as she looked toward the direction in which Stahls went. "That fucking cun--, oh goodness, I am sorry," she said quickly, shaking her head as she attempted to calm herself. "I have been trying to work on this case for weeks! He and his ilk are making it impossible!" "Him and his ilk don't belong here," Granthas said firmly, "and now I've got recruits to inoculate from his idiocy. I suggest you report it to the Highlord." The weathered warrior started to move then, heading back towards the training fields. "I'll let you know if he wants to talk." "Thank you, Granthas," Najme said exhaustedly. "Please give them both my apologies. I would guarantee their safety if I could. For now, I suppose that is not possible. I will report to the Highlord. Hopefully he will have something to say on the matter. Light bless you."
  3. New Orleans proposal: Dates: January - March 2018 (not during Mardi Gras) Travel: Louis Armstrong International Airport Home Base: House on Bourbon St. ($ will depend on how many people sign up, $1500 a night) Includes Hot Tub Balcony Kitchen Large Living Space Within Walking Distance (of home base): Day Cemetery Tours $25.00 Steamboat Cruise $32.00 Cocktail History Walking Tour $65.00 Food History Tour $55 - $120 Riverwalk Free Audubon Aquarium $29.95 Cafe Du Monde $5.45. Cafe Du Monde Coffee And Chicory Regular $5.74. Cafe Du Monde Coffee And Chicory Decaf $5.88. Cafe Du Monde French Roast Coffee $23.99. Twelve Cafe Au Lait Pralines $13.99. Six Cafe Au Lait Pralines $23.99. Twelve Creamy Pralines $13.99. Six Creamy Pralines Eat Alligator Voodoo Museum $7.00 Night Karaoke Free Burlesque Show $15 general admission / $25 VIP Live Jazz Free Ghost Tours $15 - $100 Bourbon Street Free Drink Absinthe Varies
  4. Once he returned to Acherus, Regdar dismissed the Knights he brought to Arath'dorei and made his way to the dark summoners on the apex of the Ebon Hold. He spoke with them for a time, about nothing quite so serious at all before finally making his request. In light of the camaraderie, they agreed to the orc's request and began their summoning work. When it was done, the Red Knight led the spoils back to a Death Gate of his own making, deep inside of Scourge territory in Eversong Woods. Deep in the dead scar, a death gate materialized. Among the whispering winds of the forest, a faint echo of a haunting howl eminated from the gate, attracting no attention at all from the myriad of ghouls and abominations and nerubian husks in the area. It was the only sound that was made by the silent creatures, unseen to the naked eye, as they took off high into the air towards Silvermoon and Arath'dorei Manor. Meanwhile, at the manor, Phyruss’ arms found their way around the blood knight within the courtyard, hischin resting upon the crown of her head as he gently rocked her within his grasp. "I am sorry your first time here was marred by this..." He stated apologetically. "I never would have guessed when we both said we had to attend to business that we would end up here,” Raelana sighed. “How utterly embarrassing." She looked up at Phyruss. "I was worried you were mad at me for coming here under such conditions." Phyruss sighed, pecking Rae on the head. "At first, yes...thought...well rather dark things..." An admittance that had him sigh in retrospective embarrassment. "I am sorry for doubting you." Raelana feigned offense and playfully hit Phyruss in the shoulder while exclaiming, "Well, I never!" She cracked a smile, her eyes twinkling in the light showing that she understood and wasn't upset. She looked around awe struck, and finally stood on her tiptoes and gives him a quick kiss. "Your words did not do your home justice, it's more beautiful than I had even pictured." She sighed, "I cannot believe what just transpired." She leaned into him more, closed her eyes as she took in a deep breath. "I've seen children more well behaved. They acted like a bunch of novices." She finally shook her head, "You probably don't want to hear about business..." Phyruss took a deep breath, managing a weary smile at the kiss. He leaned on her a little, showcasing just how tired he was from the affair and maybe even more than that. "...It’s something..." he sighed, clutching her once more within his arms, "I don't mind... I could hear you talk about gnome hairstyles and be invested in your silken voice." He smirked a little, letting himself relax until the dome reactivated once more and a guardsmen approached. He bowed to the lord, "My lord...there's a small horde of undead approaching from the forests." "...No rest for the weary..." He commented under his breath, pulling from Rae to walk alongside his guard. "Activate all the defenses... not one ghoul touches my mother's gate." He ordered, guardsmen filing under the dome for protection. The crystals illuminated through the darkened sphere, searing flashes that burned anything that came close. Phyruss stood on top of a small guard tower, peering out to the barren field where the rotten creatures were felled by the dozens. The undead hordes never even made it halfway across the manor’s field, and Phyruss would shudder mentally at the thought of the smell that would come their way with a breeze. He intertwined his hand with Raelana’s as ashes littered the fields of death. Raelana, who was watching from the distance, walked forward and stood next to Phyruss. She looped her hand into his and rest her head on his arm. After a while, she reached for Phyruss' face and pulled him into a kiss. "Care to give me a tour?" she asked with a wink and a mischievous smile. "Of course... but do be careful when we go into the back gardens, some of Mother's creations tend to like meat..." Phyruss said with a wink back, guiding her off the tower as the undead swarms blackened the sky with smoke from their pyres.
  5. There was a knock on Juli's door. "Come in." It was T'suro, gulping slightly as he entered. "Hello, Commander." "T'suro." Juli was standing near her bookshelf. She held a journal in her hands which she snapped shut as she regarded the Blood Knight. She didn’t ask him what he wanted, she simply looked at him expectantly. "I feel I owe you an apology and full explanation for what happened at Arath'dorei Manor." She continued just looking at him. "Look, you left me outside with Cerryan and Azilrog while you went to go talk to Cat. The two of them... I don't know what happened, but they both started getting a lot more aggresive. I told them to stop. I'm a Blood Knight of Quel'Thalas. While we were there, I had the power to make them stop, to put them down if they bring danger to others within the land." He sighed. "At least, in theory. They ignored me until I had to start shouting at them, at which point Cerryan told me to stand down, as if thinking I had no power anywhere." He stops to look at Julilee. "I know he's my superior here, in Sanctuary. But I'm still part of Silvermoon's military, it was a difficult position." "Mmhmm," Juli hummed. "So why apologize?" "Because it looked like we were all being petulant children when you finally arrived on the scene." T'suro stated. "I was worried that you were angry at me trying to arrest him, and that my reasons seemed a flimsy excuse." "So you're sorry I misunderstood?" she inquired. T'suro winced at the words. "No. I'm sorry that I did what I did. Arresting one of my Sanctuary superiors." Juli’s arms folded, the journal dangling from one hand. The words "PRIVATE - DO NOT READ" could be seen on the cover. So could a sketch of what looked like a Kor'kron war banner. "So are you sorry you did it?" she asked. "Because you seem to be saying you felt it was the right choice." T'suro took note of the sketch but didn’t pay it any mind for the time being. He sighed and shrugs. "I guess I'm saying... both of those things?" He hung his head. "If you feel the need to reprimand me, I won't fight it." "The only thing to reprimand you for is apologizing," she said. She unwound her arms, putting the journal onto the shelf and walking over to him. One finger jabbed into his shoulder lightly. "If you're going to make a call like that, stick by it. Your job here in Sanctuary is to represent the Blood Knights. So do it." T'suro blinked at the commander's words. He felt... enlightened, somehow. He smiled and stood in salute. "So be it, thank you, Commander." "You're welcome," she replied. "Now get my Marshal back to work, please." T'suro blinked. "I, uhh... I can't. He's to stay imprisoned for a full 24 hours." Juli nodded. "See that it's no longer.” "...Understood." T'suro replied. She paused. "One more thing. Have you dealt with Tam -- High Justicar Tamaryth before?" T'suro shook his head. "No, I haven't. I've been in the field for most of the Isles campaign. Especially when the combined elven army arrived in Suramar, I reported directly to Liadrin without going to Light's Hope." "Probably for the best," Juli said. "Be wary of her. She'll boss you around if you let her." "I will always defer to Liadrin in such matters." He nodded. "But the advice is welcome." "Anytime," she says. "Was there anything else you wanted from me?" "Well..." T'suro sighed. "I know you might not wish to disclose that information, but where is Cat? I genuinely care for her wellbeing. I'm not out to hurt her or capture her or anything. I want to know that she's safe." "I don't know," Juli replied. T’suro blinked. "...Oh." "Also probably for the best. Anything else?” T'suro shook his head. "All right," Juli said. "Be safe." She gave him a wave and turned to go back to the bookshelf. Tsuro nodded and left after giving a salute.
  6. Silvermoon City. Or rather, the rebuilt half of it. A shining beacon of magical power positioned at the northern most reaches of the Eastern Kingdoms. Spellbreaker guards patrolled the streets as a cavalcade of paladins make their way through the city. After staying silent for most of the journey, T'suro finally spoke up. "What were you thinking? Were you thinking?" He asked Cerryan, rather pointedly. Cerryan had kept silent as well, choosing to reflect on the last few hours while taking in the familiar, warming sights of his homeland on the way to and through the city. The boiling anger that had infested him at Arath'dorei Manor when he was staring down that vile skeleton of a death knight had subsided, but lacking in a firm and finite reason for his actions, he rolled back to the convictions that the anger was nurtured from. "Because they're monsters, T'suro. You know as well as I do that this won't be the end of their antagonism. They'll hunt her to the ends of Azeroth, and Light knows what will come of her then. All in the interest of shielding themselves from the justice that I would have gladly dispensed were I not... discouraged, by the authority of the Commander. And now they are gone, I am to be imprisoned, and with any luck Catalinetta has been secreted away enough that she'll not be found by the Blade." He purses his lips pensively, furrowing a brow in consternation. "Or the Hand, truth be told. I don't know what conspired inside the Manor, and trust that my feelings about the wayward knight's accountability for her actions have not changed, but she appears to have become more of a pawn that both sides are fighting over than... well, a criminal awaiting trial. But I fear that Justicar Tamaryth's zeal will do little better for her than the Blade's own vicious tenacity, and I cannot pretend that I was unmoved by Commander Liene's argument in her defense." He sighed, slouching further into the saddle of his golden talbuk. "I suppose it matters little either way, to me. I'll have plenty of time to ‘think about what I've done’ while both sides claw at each other over their 'prize'." "In Sanctuary, you're a Marshal. You have to lead us all, and set an example to the rest of us." T'suro stated. "I know that the Ebon Blade are monsters, but you flying off the handle makes you look completely unstable and unfit to lead." His words were bitingly matter-of-fact. "I don't know what will happen from here, to be honest. But Azilrog's actions have made the Ebon Blade targets to be dealt with on sight as well." He shook his head and sighed, slumping back on his Courser. "I didn't think this would be how things would end up when I asked to be a part of this. But you should be thankful that your outburst happened here, where you only have to deal with being arrested. Imagine for a moment if what you did happened in Durotar, or Forsaken-controlled Lordaeron. They would not be so... forgiving. There's a reason Orgrimmar has an arena instead of a regular prison." Cerryan sucked in a breath, stung by the younger Blood Elf's words. "I apologize for my loss of composure. I... I do not know what it was, but in that moment there seemed to be no path but righteous punishment of the wicked, and I am not entirely unconvinced that it would have been wrong to further engage, even against your authority. But it was -because- it was you that I submitted, that I handed myself over to your knights and accepted responsibility for my actions in defiance of your orders. Were we elsewhere, I have the means to extricate myself and the authority under the banner of a Horde-aligned faction to excuse my faults, but I was not willing to leave a mess in your hands without someone to speak for it." "In other words you don't feel you have to pay for disobeying a direct command from a country's soldiers and then causing a fight that literally put everyone present in danger, you're merely choosing to?" T’suro asked again. "It shouldn't matter if it was me or not. What if it wasn't? Hell, what if Lor'themar himself was the one telling you to stop?" The group made their way into Farstrider Square, where the city's prison was. Two Spellbreakers flanked the door, and parted, allowing the group access when they arrived. T'suro ordered the other knights off then dismmounts, leaving him alone with Cerryan. Cerryan was at a loss for words in responding to the Blood Knight, caught pretty blatantly in his double-standard. Any attempt to save face he'd make involving respect for T'suro would easily crumble to the truth that he would not have respected all authorities the same way, and the paladin was forced to chew on that silently as the younger elf brought him into the prison for processing. T'suro noted Cerryan's instant silence as he brought him in. The prison was dimly lit, fitting for an underbelly section of Silvermoon. After bringing Cerryan toward the warden, he took hold of Cerryan, dragging him to an empty cell while T'suro watched. Cerryan was ushered in and the barred door closed behind him, locking with a combination of standard and magic locks. "You'll be released tomorrow, take comfort in that, at least." A blood knight with long black hair and a friendly smile stood a few feet away, watching as T'suro shut Cerryan behind the bars. He saluted to other knight respectfully. T'suro gave the other Knight a salute in return. "Anything I can do for you?" He asked respectfully. "Nothing at all, sir. I'm just here to stand guard for the day. An unnecessary precaution, I am sure, but a requirement none the less." T'suro nodded a bit, smiling slightly. "Ah, fair enough. We needn't worry about this one, though." "I don't doubt it, sir. I'm just here to follow the rules," the knight replied, shrugging helplessly. "Understood, carry on then." T'suro said with a nod, making his way out.
  7. Juli glanced at those remaining, looking over Raelana briefly. She remembed the prowess the Blood Knight had showed at the battle for Shal'Aran. Redgar got a more closed look. "I'm going to go collect Cerryan and T'suro, and leave," she said. "I suggest no one gets in my way." She turned to head back out. Leaping over the gate, Phyruss landed alongside his two guardsmen. Hope and Sorrow flashed their prospective runes in a combined flash of intermingled Shadow and Light as he whirled them around in a flashy display. "Enough of this! Sheathe your blades or die on them!" He shouted, the pylons conjoining their strength to begin burning between the two forces before they could collide. Raelana ran up a moment later behind Phyruss. She grabbed his hand and squeezed, then flushed bright red and dropped it. She quickly placed it on his shoulder instead. As he turned, her face softened, her eyes speaking concern both for him and the situation at hand. Quietly she asked, "How can I help? Kreyen and Catalinetta have left and are safe." Juli was right behind. She didn’t yet draw her sword and shield. "Cerryan, T'suro, stand down," she called, her voice sharp. "We're leaving." Phyruss turned back, actually managing a small show of relief at Raelana there. His head swiveled back to the battle at hand, his blades readied. "Call off the Blood Knights if you can, I will try to--" "Ebon Blade!” Regdar yelled. “Our purpose here is complete. Catalinetta is safe from the Silver Hand, and that is all that we were here to accomplish!" He addressed the tense group behind Azilrog rather than the skeletal orc himself, pleading with them rather than ordering them. "Every single one of you left the Ebon Blade because of needless battles with the Silver Hand. None of you need to repeat those events." Caught between their disdain for the paladins and their respect for Regdar, the Ebon Blade members disengaged from their stances of war. A rift opened close by, starting off small before expanding. Nothing came through at first but after a few seconds of being open a barrage of arrows shoots out, each one missing the paladin to make a pin cushion out of the ghoul. A hooded ranger came out of the portal with another arrow nocked and ready to be loosened. He makes his way to Cerryan's side and smirked, saying nothing at all. Cerryan shoved the pincushioned ghoul off him as his hands swelled with light, the risen elf burning away in holy fire before it his the ground in front of the paladin. He scrambled to his feet, standing next to the hooded ranger and quirking an eyebrow as recognition began to set in, but then seemed compelled to return his disdainful gaze towards Azilrog. He gripped his crystalline blade and readied himself to surge forth at the death knight as Julilee's words pierce the air. "Commander, if we leave them here now, they will return. They will continue to pursue Cat until she is in chains or worse. They will continue to work their wickedness on the world we are sword to protect. We have to stop them, here and now." Despite his words, he didn’t move an inch towards the knights of the Blade, but his gauntleted hands gripped the hilt of his blade tightly, and he shook with unnatural rage. Azilrog's skull turned, looking at the entirely elven company of enemy forces. Regdar and the other Ebon Blade forces started to disappear through death gates behind him. He sheathed the greatsword on his back. "Elven reinforcements for the elven paladins and elven commander. Hide behind them, wretch. Unlike some, the Ebon Blade sees the value in those unlike themselves." The scourged dragon squeezed through the gate after the rest of the Knights, keeping close its injured wing. The skeletal knight pulled the hood back up over his skull. "Until next time, karanzol platoon." He turned on his heel and made for the death gate. Juli moved forward to put her hand on Cerryan's arm. She didn’t seem surprised by the paladin's vehemence, as though it doesn't strike her as out of character for him. "He can do nothing but make incendiary accusations," she said. "Give him no fuel for them." She watched the death knights leave. "You give him too much power over you..." Fael placed his hand on the paladin's other shoulder, sighing as he looked back at the gates of the Estate. "I don't know what this is about... but no one will be taking Cat. What little I have been told has my attention and I'll be damned if someone goes after my family. Knights of either side be warned. My sister will not be at anyone's mercy. End your attempts now or make another enemy today." Cerryan watched the death knights as they withdrew, his gaze transfixed on Azilrog until he could no longer be seen, at which point the paladin sagged slightly as his bluster diminished. He blinked, momentarily thrown off before latching on to his own convictions once more. "We're not here to hurt her, brother. We're here to... protect her, from those wretches." He gestured with his sword at the area where the death gate stood. "And I can't promise that they won't be back, looking for her. In fact I'd count on them doing so." "If my warning is not heeded then I will not make it easy for the next who tries. If she needs protection from a wretch then she will receive it. I do not doubt your intentions and even in this state of mind you are in, I can trust you wouldn't do something so rash." Faelenor nodded to Juli, certain she would keep the paladin in check. "Call off your search and I will consider that as an act of faith and good will. Persistence will get you nowhere in this." T'suro ordered the Blood Knights to stop, but it was clear he was far from thrilled about it. "I was doing my job as a soldier of this land. I tried to keep the peace, yet my authority, THALASSIAN authority, was ignored!" T'suro swung his spear, the tip pointed tellingly at Cerryan "You and your damn tongue are as guilty for putting us in jeopardy as that Death Knight was!" The Knight-Lord's gaze sharpened. "No wonder you were kicked out, you lack even the most basic control!" He then turned to Julilee. "I will leave... with Cerryan, to throw him into a jail cell. Unless you wish to stop me?" Raelana frowned at the situation at hand, but was grateful that the death knights left. She looked between those left. "What EXACTLY happened? We leave you out here and you can't even keep the peace until we get back?! You know what? Don't answer that. I really don't care. T'suro, Liadrin will want a report on this. I want to read it first." She turned to Cerryan disappointedly, "I don't know what you said, but I expected more from you." She shook her head and turned to Juli, "We are here on your good graces, you can decide how you want to deal with your Marshall. I can't speak for what T'suro wants, but he is fully within his rights to arrest him." She turned, looked at Phyruss, clearly embarrassed and apologetically stated, "I'm so sorry this happened" then turned to walk back inside the manor. Phyruss huffed a disgruntled breath before planting his swallow in the ground. He turned a baleful gaze towards those gathered, "I expect you all off my property when I return." He stated with a cold tone, making to head after Rae as the gates shut behind him. Julilee looks at T'suro appraisingly. "What are the charges?" she said. "Did he attack or simply defend himself?" Her voice was fair and even, not giving an inflection as to which she thought was the case. "He incited violence and provoked a known aggressor into action." T'suro said, bluntly and matter of fact. "He both disrespected and flat out refused to follow the commands of a soldier of Quel'Thalas, continuing to aggravate the situation." He kept his spear still pointed at the other paladin. "I would have arrested both of them, but Azilrog escaped." Fael stepped forward, standing by Cerr once more. "He defended himself, you have nothing to hold him. He's free to go on my authority, Farstrider authority. You want to argue that then take it up with the Ranger-General. Until you can bring in Azilrog you will not be taking in Cerryan. He's done more for Quel'thalas and his people then you did here today." "Provocation isn't a crime," Juli says, "but if you want to arrest him for disobeying a lawful order, go ahead." She looked at Faelenor. "Cerryan could use some time to cool his heels," she continued. "It won't do any harm." Faelenor frowned. "Then he can do so under my custody." Juli nodded, accepting that, and looked at T'suro. "You were not there, Farstrider." T'suro spat. "Who are you to judge on this matter? The instant violence started, me and this squadron were immediately in arms to defend the manor and quell the aggressing parties." T'suro shook his head. "I did more for this country tonight than you did." Cerryan raised his arms in submission, nodding at the Blood Knight's words. "It’s fine, Faelenor. T'suro is not incorrect in his assessment, and I'd rather not see any further bad blood between the Farstriders and the Blood Knights. I will go under his custody and 'cool my heels', as the Commander says. Besides..." He smirked knowlingly at his adoptive brother, "It won't be my first time sitting in a cell in Silvermoon." "Fine," Juli said. "I've got actual business to attend to. You men finish deciding who's got the biggest weapon here." She turned and left. "That’s the problem I have with this... You and I have seen enough time unfairly imprisoned among other things, but if you are to do so willingly then I will not stop you." He turned with a glare to T'suro before walking away. "Not worth my time..." Cerryan opened his mouth to speak further to Juli, but let his words devolve into a saddened sigh and let her go. He turned to T'suro, lowering his head respectfully at the younger elf. "I am at your mercy, Sunspear. I will follow you without argument, but if this display has lost me your faith then you may bind me if you wish." "If you were here he would have disrespected you as well," T'suro shot back at the retreating Faelenor, returning the Farstrider's glare. He sighed and turned back to Cerryan. "I trust you enough not to be a reckless idiot when flanked by knights. Now summon your mount." Cerryan called for his talbuk, the mount's armor clinking lightly as it looks up from its grazing and saunters towards its master. He lifted himself onto the saddle and ran a hand through the noble beast's tan fur. "Lead on, Knight-Lord. I will follow." After a moment, he looked back at Faelenor, clicking his jaw as he spoke reticently. "...make sure she's okay. That's all that is important." Faelenor nodded. "I will not let anyone harm her, so long as I live. Be well and reach out to me if you ever need my help. Tread carefully, brother." T'suro called forth his own mount: a jet black charger adorned in red and gold armor. He mounted it and turned to his knights. "Surround him. We need to make sure no harm comes to him." They did so, mounting their standard Thalassian chargers and gathering around Cerryan. "Move out!" T'suro and the paladins headed out towards Silvermoon with their charge, aiming to keep a safe eye on him.
  8. Cat's strides were surprisingly steady as she walked with Phyruss into the courtyard. She didn't stop walking until they had gone far enough that the death knights and paladins left behind the gates could not hear them. Situated near a bench surrounded by a well-tended to (if not beautifully healthy) garden, Cat finally turned to look at their guests. "Alright. Questions." Phyruss left to attend to a few servants, ordering them off into the manor. He returned several moments later, "There are refreshments coming." Raelana looked around and breathed out a whispered, "Wow". She flushed, slightly embarrassed. She turns to Phyruss and was about to speak directly to him, then decided against it. She straightened up and pulled out a small book, her notes, and a small writing utensil from the pocket inside of her breastplate. She looks between Phyruss and Catalinetta and finally asked, "Would you mind if we sit?" Cat shook her head quickly. "Oh no. I don't mind." She pointed out the nearby bench and smiled awkwardly at Raelana. "No need to make things even weirder by standing around, I guess." Regdar and Gelart followed suit with the group. "Apologies, but perhaps we should do some introductions. While I know some of you," Raelana smiled slightly, "I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the rest of you and would prefer to not have to guess who everyone is." She turned to Catalinetta. "And thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me." She turned and sat on the bench, then carefully lay out the items she pulled out. Then, taking charge, gestured to everyone else to sit. "My name is Raelana de Bergerac. I serve as a personal advisor to Lady Liadrin and represent her interests by serving as an Ambassador. You can call me Raelana or Rae for short if you prefer. Lady Liadrin has a keen interest in maintaining the peace and getting back to the actual war at hand, which is why I was called in. And while I know some of what has happened, I'm very interested to talk with you about what happened so we can move forward." She paused and looks around. "Does this sound agreeable to everyone?" "Fair enough. I am Regdar the Red, and this is Gelart, who has awful Orcish but is good enough with it. I'm just going to cut right on down to the chase, if you don't mind. I've lost five other Death Knights just like Catalinetta and I think it was the Silver Hand that killed them. My priority is also peace, specifically, in making sure that none of you try and guilt trip or blackmail Catalinetta into giving up her privacy and secrets, because you're looking for some backhanded route to get your vengeance on the Blade for Light's Hope," Regdar said flatly, with his arms crossed. Gelart, who was human and a bit meek all things considered, was flanking the orc. "If Lady Liadrin has a keen interest in keeping the peace, then she and I are in agreement." Raelana nodded in respect. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance Regdar. And you too Gelart. And I'm so sorry for your loss." She made a few notes and then turned to the rest of the party. The look on her face showed that she clearly knew who everyone else was, but said nothing, giving everyone a chance to speak. ------------------------------------------------------------- “...head home for a bit...I'll be fine....” Instinctively her magic pulled Eive into the manor she had constantly ported back and forth from, visiting the Arath'dorei family at her own leisure. More specifically the huntress of the household. The commotion of a usually quiet manor drew her away from her intention, arms still wrapped around herself in a guarded manner. The soft arcane pop of her arrival was anything but stealthy. She followed the voices and blinked to be at a safe distance from it all, curiously listening to them speak. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Phyruss suddenly looks to his ring, its gem flashing as it detected a sudden portal entrance. He looked around, soon catching sight of the little mage known as Eive. His eyes widened once more as he subtly signed to her, trying to warn her of the drama nearby. Eive watched Phyruss carefully, signing back to him with concern. Tabards and tensions spoke louder then contextless words, though they served as a means to piece it all together. Even with his warning, her curiosity would get the better of her. She leaned on a wall as she continued to listen and watch for Phyruss' signing. Julilee glanced around the others. "I'm here to represent Sanctuary," she said simply. "As its Commander, I want to ensure that Catalinetta's interests and Sanctuary's are protected here. And I don't give a damn what authority the Ebon Blade, the Silver Hand, or the Blood Knights claim they have here. Catalinetta is mine." Her gaze moved over everyone present, flinty. Silent as a cat, Kreyen drew towards the little mage. A worried expression clouded his features, but he only lifted a finger to his lips as he passed by. The squire's eyes pleaded with the gesture for subtlety, right up until the moment that he would have passed into view of the group. Two things happened at once, both fully in line with his silent request. A slight shift in his posture changed his weight on the prosthetic leg, causing it's pistons to make just enough noise to be noticeable and letting his boots fall noisily against the ground. More pointedly though, the deep worry was thrown behind a diplomatic and even mask. The squire moved alongside Phyruss and kept quiet, but his arms over his tabard with unease. A reassuring look shot towards Catalinetta, but he didn't otherwise interfere. The corners of Cat's mouth twitched as Juli spoke, as if she wanted to smile but found it difficult under the circumstances. She cleared her throat and waited a moment to speak, her hands instinctively fidgeting at her sides. "Th... thanks, ma'am. Uhm. Miss Raelana, this is my family. Well, sort of. Kreyen," she nodded toward the squire. "He's my fiance, and Phyruss is his cousin. This is their ancestral home. Any chance we have to do this quickly, I'd appreciate. I really don't want to cause any more trouble than I already have. What kinda questions do you have?" Eive nodded in acknowledgement and anxiously watched onward as the commander of Sanctuary asserted herself and the ranger/paladin joined. It was clear from Cat's words that there was borderline hostility among the gathered and decided against her own better judgememt to stay through it all. Unheard and using Kreyens entrance as a guise, she waited. Taking a moment to look over the group, Raelana finally turned towards Catalinetta. Choosing her words very carefully, she simply stated, "My goal is to determine why events transpired the way they did and to make a recommendation of a course moving forward." She paused, looking at her notes to try and discern the best path forward, and took a moment to look at everyone still standing. She took a deep breath and proceeded, "I would like to be quite candid with you since I'm not sure you understand why you are of such interest. As a symbol of peace, you, Catalinetta, were offered up by the Ebon Blade as the conspirator behind the attack on Light's Hope Chapel." She looked at Catalinetta as she said this, but quickly continued, "I personally don't believe this to be true. Yes, we know you were there and know you were involved, but I have a difficult time believing you were the 'mastermind' behind it. Especially now that I see the company you retain." She looked at Phyruss. A moment too long passed and she looked back at Catalinetta. "Perhaps it would be best if we start at the beginning. Would you tell us what happened?" "Uhhhhhhh..." Cat groaned, at a loss for words. With every additional piece of information, the death knight seemed more and more perplexed. Conspirator?! "I.. uh.. well, I guess it all started when I went to the Acherus. I mean, a while back. I'd been in Northrend for a long time, and when I came back, I was sorta.. I guess guided there by the Lich King's voice. He told me he had a plan to stop the Legion. He said we needed the Four Horsemen, but they'd be different. He sent us to different places.. Orgrimmar, the Scarlets, Undercity.." her eyes lowered. "I knew when we were sent there to free Koltira Deathweaver that something was really wrong.. but.. I wasn't sure what to do. I mean, I didn't agree with him being imprisoned either, but.. but we were ordered to sneak in through the sewers so I felt like at least not a lot of people were harmed. Then.. then we were sent to Light's Hope Chapel. Again." Juli folded her arms as she listened. She nodded slightly in encouragement. Her expression said that she didn't think much of the charge that Cat was the mastermind behind the attack either. Raelana looked intently at Catalinetta. "And what happened then?" "Then..." Cat chewed on her tongue as she searched for a way to explain. "..I heard them arguing. Morgraine, he.. he said the Lich King demanded too much. That blood would always be on our hands. I didn't know what he meant, but he told us all that we had to do what he said. We had to go to Light's Hope to raise the fourth horseman. But he knew that the Silver Hand wouldn't let us do it, he knew that we'd fight. He knew and he still said we had to go, because that's what it would take to save the world. He said.. 'the path to the forth horseman will be soaked with righteous blood'." Reaching up to rub her face, Cat looked particularly ashamed of herself. "I didn't really understand how dire the situation was. I talked to Kreyen on my hearthstone, and I told him we were being sent on a mission. I wanted to get out of it, but the Lich King's word was law, and if I didn't go it would have meant.. well.. not good things. I just.. I know it was selfish, but.. Kreyen said to be safe. To do what I had to do to be safe. I know you don't remember any of that," she said while looking to the squire. "..but I wanted to come back. So I did what they told me to do." Raelana spoke quietly. "It's a thin line we all walk - between doing what we think is right and following orders so we can be safe. I know that line all to well - it's how I came to be in this position myself." She looked at Catalinetta, about to say something, then changed her mind. She paused thoughtfully, then continued. "Tell me about that day. At Light's Hope Chapel." Cat put both hands on her knees and chewed on her bottom lip. "Uhm.. it was pretty much chaos when we got there. We were many, and they were few. I'm guessing most of the Silver Hand was away fighting on the Broken Isles. Once we got there, I heard Morgraine say that since they wouldn't give Fordring to us willingly, we'd have to take him by force. There were so many death knights.. so I tried to stay in the back, away from most of the action. He ordered some of us to raise the dead, to act as a distraction. I would have done that, but.. I'm really not.. very good at that sort of thing. So I tried to stay behind those leading the charge within. Except that we're vulnerable to the Light. Really vulnerable. So the ones in the front were taken out quicker than we expected, and I wound up in the thick of it all. That's how I wound up injuring Cerryan. Everything happened so fast and there were so many bodies, everywhere.." "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity." Raelana looked at Catalinetta. "Did you know it was him?" She paused, then shook her head. "Never mind, don't answer that. It's not important right now." She shuffled through her notes, laying them out on the bench to form a timeline. A breeze wafts through and threatened to blow them away, but she quickly shuffled most of them back together into a stack and then continued to look through them. "Find the seed...," she muttered to herself, tapping her finger on a note. She put the notes back down on the bench and flipped through the book she had pulled out earlier. Finally, she snapped her book closed and refocused on the other two Death Knights. "And what about you two? What is your take on what happened?" Juli looked at Raelana for a long moment, but remained silent. She transferred her attention to the death knights. Phyruss remained where he was, arms folded with a concerned expression on his face. His eyes darted between the investigator and her suspect, then the Commander, then the two death knights and back to the Eive-sdropper to finally settle back on Rae. His gaze stayed there a long time, only breaking when three servants returned with refreshments. A tray of glasses ready to be filled with the amber iced tea sloshing inside its pitcher was offered all around, as a differing waiter presented a tray of small meats and cheeses. Phyruss sighed, taking a glass for himself and almost wishing it was from his grandfather's stock of whiskey as he took a sip. Regdar spoke. "It is obvious to literally all of us that this rumor about Catalinetta is ludicrous. I'm grateful for it, it's what alerted me to this problem, but it's ridiculous. And if we're all in agreement that it's fundamentally ridiculous, then I don't exactly see what information you're looking to get out of her. She isn't a member of the Ebon Blade, and the only Blade members that she's talked to since her departure are me and Azilrog. And, hey, maybe it turns out that he orchestrated this whole thing, Doomhammer knows that his obsession with her makes absolutely zero sense, but even if that was the case, she wouldn't know it. The reason this all cropped up is because she's a renegade so she's not around to stomp it out." "And-- look," Regdar said while unfolding his arms, "you wanna be pissed about Light's Hope, be my guest, but all this endless back and forth and back and forth. It's not gonna end well for anyone. It's just going to get wrapped up in this cycle of slights and vengeance that kills all of us, literally. You gotta get your people to let that shit go." While Regdar spoke, Raelana took a glass of tea and took a sip, but passed for the time being on the meats and cheeses. Raelana nodded her head as Regdar spoke, but she raised an eyebrow when he mentioned his brother's obsession and made a few notes. When he finished, she looked him over, cocked her head, and stated, "You never answered my question." "I'm not going to," Regdar reaffirmed. "Tirion... is good orc," Gelart began in broken orcish, trying to take some of the lead in the face of Regdar's obstinance. "I knew him. He would not want us to die. He would want to fight. If Knights of Dead could return battlefield to him, he would have fight... ed." "Tirion would not have wanted that to come at the expense of his own," Kreyen said dryly, "Doing what the living cannot also means that you have to make the right decisions. The Light protects Uther, why would you expect it to be different for Fordring?" He only let the question hang for a moment before waving a hand shaking his head, "Nevermind, it's not relevant." The squire shifted at the statement, and directed his attention towards Raelana, "Regdar's point was a good one, regardless. What is the point of all this if everyone finds it absurd?" Raelana pursed her lips, not wanting to give away her thoughts on the matter. She looked around at the expectant eyes on her. She met Phyruss' eyes briefly before closing her eyes briefly to think. Finally, she sighed and relents. "Because I'm not convinced that this is over. They may have raised a fourth horseman, but it wasn't Tirion. They failed. And the Ebon Blade doesn't take failure well." "Furthermore, The Ebon Blade offered up Catalinetta as part of their PEACE treaty. A scapegoat if you ask me. Simply ridiculous and after meeting you, I'm even moreso convinced this was all a ploy. Part of the larger machination on behalf of the Ebon Blade. If this was over, why offer her up at all?" She turned and looks at Regdar. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I've seen this before. When the Blade gets an idea, they follow through until the end. They might not be raising him for one purpose, but perhaps another? Either way, I highly doubt this is over and my objective is to make sure it is over and with the least amount of blood spilled. On both sides. We are at war here and instead of focusing on fighting the Legion, we're fighting amongst ourselves. How useless is that? If you ask me, it sounds like exactly what the Legion wants: Two of the most powerful groups at war with each other." She turned to Kreyen, "Does that answer your question? Or would you like more information?" "If Cat isn't a part of their organization, then I don't see what grounds they have to offer her up to begin with," Kreyen said, still not really understanding the whole picture more than anyone else. "And unless we're turning into the Scarlets, I don't see what the Silver Hand to gain from pressing this any further. I thought the Order was better than that." Cat waved her hands to get Kreyen and Raelana's attention. "I think I get it. Someone in the Order wanted to bring us to justice, so the Ebon Blade gave me up because I'm expendable. It makes sense, I guess... but I didn't know that the Silver Hand hunted down other rogue death knights," she looked at Regdar. "..do you know who they were? Or who got to them?" There suddenly came a dome of shadow magic over the entirety of the manor, Phyruss snarling as he brandished his blades to interlock them together into his swallow. He slammed it into the ground, letting shadow and holy magics intertwine with one another as several more guardsmen filed in from the manor. "Kreyen, watch over Cat." He said suddenly before turning to the rest gathered. "...You are all evicted from my house. I don't care to your allegiance." he stated coldly as he made for the gate. The guardsmen followed to brandish their pikes towards death knights and Sanctuary both. Cat's eyes widened as she watched the guardsmen gather. "Wait, what? Phyruss, what's going on??" Kreyen's mouth formd a thin line as the sight of the dome came into view, closing his eyes as he attempted to swallow back his frustration. "Those are the manor's defenses," he said darkly, "Phyruss is responding to the threat." The squire unfolded his arms and moved to Catalinetta's side, giving each of those gathered a pointed look. "I trust at least we can conclude this business without any additional nonsense?" Eive blinked from her spot towards the others, alarm pulling her from hiding to take what little action she could. She stood next to Phyruss and looked around. "Is this what I was supposed to wait for? If not..." She gave a giggle as she smiled nervously at the matrons son. "Definitely too late!" Regdar reacted immediately to the dome, making for the door. "Gelart, raise a Death Gate. I'm going to get the others and we're going to get out of here." As he moved, he turns to make one, final warning to Catalinetta. "You are not the first. Five objectors were killed before I stepped foot here. Beware the Silver Hand. They will lop your head off and burn your corpse in the name of their warped view of Justice." With that, he maked his way out to where the fight had begun. As he took off towards the gate, Eive sighed, then turned to Krey and Cat. "Will you two be okay? Need me to get you out of here?" Raelana began gathering up her notes. She looked towards Phyruss as he left, a very sad look on her face. She turned and looks at the Commander, unsure what to say or do. "Well, they managed to keep the peace longer than I thought." Cat looked at Kreyen in mild panic. "This is my fault. I can't just let them kill each other out there, or let anything happen to your home. I've gotta go help Phyruss." The squire gave Eive an appreciative smile and a shake of his head before shifting his attention back to Cat. "It's not your fault," Kreyen said calmly, lifting a hand to her shoulder. "Someone is using you, and if you go out and get taken in the middle of the brawl, you're just playing into their hands. There's something else going on." Eive nodded. "Not for nothing but they definitely can't take you if you aren't here. I can get you to a safe place until things pass. I know one or two." She raises her brows to emphasize the expression. "But I can't just do nothing… I can't just hide," Cat argued to both. "Maybe hiding is doing something, you know?” Eive argued. “If they want you and aim to take you then they will do what they can to get you. You might put more people in danger if you go out there." Raelana looked to Catalinetta. "The wise warrior avoids the battle." Eive turned to Raelena and nodded, giving her a quick glance over and smiled wide. "Definitely what I intended to say! I’m not saying run to cower. I'm saying run to save lives. They will realize you aren't here and the fight might stop." "They're right," Juli concurred. She had looked at Phyruss when he spoke of evicting them and done nothing more – yet. "Eiverlyn, I would be grateful if you took her someplace safe, and unknown, temporarily. Cat, go." Cat let out the combination of a whine and a whimper, ears drooping low. She looked as if she wanted to argue further, but it seemed she was terribly outnumbered. "...yes ma'am." Despite the death knight's dismay, Kreyen gave an appreciative look to the coterie of elven women. "It'll be alright, Cat," he said as he gave her his attention, "This is why you have friends, and people you trust. Phyruss is more than capable, and I don't imagine either your commader or Regdar would be in positions of authority if they weren't as well." His gaze lingered for a moment, then drifted to Eive, "Do you have someplace in mind?" Eive blinked over to Cat and placed a finger over the Death knights nose to boop it. "Yes I do. I can take you both if it makes her feel better." "It'd make me feel better if I were out there with them," Cat whined, rubbing her nose. "This blows." Kreyen frowned at the non-answer. "I'm either going with you or I'm going to help Phyruss, Cat. Take your pick." Julilee looked at Kreyen. "You should go with her," she said, though the words were an opinion and not an order. Raelana looked to Kreyen "With your permission, I'll go help Phyruss" "Maybe Lord Rayfeather can be summoned to take your place,” Eive suggested. “I sort of know him." Juli looks at Eive. "Faelenor? If he's willing and available." Cat blinked. "Uh. Faelenor? That'd be... awkward… but..." she shook her head. "I'm sorry Kreyen, I do want you with me. I just feel like garbage for running away." "For the Arath'dorei family... he would... er... he probably would, yes!" Eive winced at her own slip, but smiled none the less. Kreyen made an uncertain face at the mention of the lord, considering. "Tell him what's going on," he said finally, "I think he'd want to know. The two of you should get to the gate though," he added, shifting his attention to the other two elven women, "It wouldn't hurt to help Phyruss break up whatever is going on, if you're looking to mend fences." Cautiously, he let a weary smile draw across his lips. "You don't need my permission." "Right-o!" Eive said with slight jolt in her step. "I’ll get the two of you somewhere safe and hopefully Lord Rayfeather will be willing and available." She placed a hand on each of their shoulders and bowed to the other two. "Anything else before we go?" Raelana glanced at Catalinetta. "Don't feel bad. Sometimes the best thing to do is to protect yourself. I hope we can talk again soon." She bowed her head. "Be safe. Shorel'aran." She turned and took off after Phyruss. "What she said!" With a quick pop, an iridescent purple flash was all that remained of the three.
  9. The courtyard was a stark contrast to the deadened waste outside, fervent plantlife grew abundant with a gardener's careful touch to keep it from overgrowth. Blooms from three worlds over sprouted intermittent with one another as Phyruss led them to the main fountain in the midst of the roundabout street; a place where years past might've hosted a dozen carriages dropping off nobles for a gala in the massive manor that loomed overhead. Juli's gaze moved around the surroundings with a certain familiarity as they walked. She had been in and out of noble residences for most of her life. While it was never home to her, it was nonetheless familiar. --------------------- Azilrog pulled down his hood, revealing his bare skull. He paced in front of the other fourteen Death Knights, some of whom he'd brought back to the fold forcefully. He'd been there at Light's Hope as well, assuring that no member of the Ebon Blade retreated from the battle, fighting forward through Light-blessed blood to the Highlord's resting place. He remembed Cerryan, and he remembered shoving Catalinetta towards the paladin. "What justice do you seek here, blood knight?” he asked the blonde paladin. “Justice for Light's Hope?" His voice was ice, any semblance of the orc behind it scorched from his throat. "A petty vengeance to fulfill while the Legion burns Azeroth?" "Justice is due for Light's Hope. Do not speak to me of the Legion, when your traitorous forces struck at the heart of Light rallied to defend our world from it." The brightly-armored paladin hissed his angered words at the Ebon abomination, repulsed that this monster was ever a part of Sanctuary. "And I am no Blood Knight. I am a Crusader of the Argent Dawn, a devout vassal to the fallen hero that your kind sought to wrench into twisted service as the very thing he spent his life opposing. A man who stood for the representation of the Ebon Blade, who had heavy hand in securing their acceptance by the living world in the days of the war against the Lich King." The incensed paladin spat at the skeletal orc's feet in derision. "And yet you fall so quickly to obedience under another wicked master." "We do what the living cannot, wretch. Fordring would have served better as a Death Knight than as a corpse, just as Nazgrim does, and Trollbane, and Whitemane, and all the fallen soldiers brought into undeath by the Blade every day. A Light-blessed corpse is just as useless as a rotting one, while instead they could serve to destroy the Legion before their eternal rest." Even as a skeleton Azilrog stood taller than many of those assembled, a massive orc in his prime, and in undeath. He flicked his fingers at the spit, rotting the ground beneath it. "You accept the Illidari with open arms, those who have given themselves the souls of demons to fight the Legion, yet you cannot understand the sacrifice of true death. Though, we should expect as much, the Illidari are elves like the rest of you." T'suro's eyes narrowed his eyes before speaking. "Most of the Illidari are more willing to work with their respective factions than your lot. And did not invade another order for their goals." As the paladins and death knights argued, the air around them seemed to change. If they noticed this subtle discrepancy, they might have each felt something different; a chill in the wind, a strange vibration in the ground. Either could have been blamed on the company. In fact, the company itself seemed to grow increasingly hostile. Cerryan, his hands gripped tightly by his sides, was utilizing every ounce of his patience to remain calm. Azilrog seemed to have little regard for niceties, but willingly stood his ground in favor of his allies within the manor. T’suro, perhaps the youngest of the paladins, clung to his naiveté in such a way that he practically glowed with the Light and all of its goodness. Meanwhile, the death knights left behind by Regdar stood their ground, staring at the paladins in front of them as if waiting for someone to make a move. They outnumbered their Light wielding allies-by-requirement, but the Light they wielded was powerful enough to cut through their necrotic flesh like a hot knife through organic grass fed butter. In any case, things were growing tense, and whether they realized it or not, it was not all the fault of the death knights and paladins in question. Something else was stirring in the atmosphere. "We will defeat the Legion and save our world without becoming the sort of monsters that we defend it from." Cerryan grew more irate and confrontational as the air chilled and the atmosphere changed imperceptibly. "It is easy to justify your foul actions as what you must do when you have no faith, no belief, and perhaps no ability to prevail without such villainy. And if you must resort to such vile methods then can you even be trusted to safeguard the world once this threat has been overcome, or will you simply become the next threat to defend against? Where does your 'necessity' end? " "Our necessity ends when all of Azeroth's soldiers' does. When the Legion has been scoured from the cosmos, and the Old Gods slumber for millenia again, then the Ebon Blade will finally have earned the rest of true death. We will dissapear into legend, just as the Illidari will, and the Silver Hand, and all the rest that fight for Azeroth now. Our necessity ends when yours does." Azilrog stopped his pacing, his skull turning around to look at his surroundings. The frost of his sockets flared as he pulled the apocalyptic greatsword from his back. "And the Light will stop nothing, craven." He turned towards Cerryan, his skeletal digits tightening around the hilt. T'suro felt the chill in the air grow, and saw tensions rise, perhaps the chill was a result of that? The Blood Knight tightened the grip on his spear and narrowed his eyes. "Enough of this, both of you. Do you honestly think I won't act on what I said earlier?" He stabbed his spear into the ground, the sun-shaped blade piercing the ground. "I am a soldier of the country you currently stand in. Come to blows if you wish, but I will interfere and you both will sit in a cell in Silvermoon tonight." "Some sins can be forgiven, but others must be punished." Cerryan’s voice was icy, and his demeanor had grown increasingly tense as the skeletal death knight spoke of false heroism and dared to compare his wicked order with either of the banners that Cerryan had sworn himself to. The slow grind of metal scratched at the air as he drew his own gilded greatsword, thick purple crystal honed to a fine edge wreathing the entirety of the blade. "If this monster submits to his baser nature then vengeance for Light's Hope will have been won this day after all." He sneered at the death knight and adopted a guarded stance. The Death Knights behind Azilrog began to reach for their blades, but the hellish orc put his hand out to stop them. "Hold your blades, let the mongrels that hide behind whispers strike first." Azilrog's ghoul limped up beside him, spewing bile from its jaws at Cerryan. "The Light did not save Fordring from death, why do you think it will save a weakling that nearly died in the Light's most holy cathedral?" "I am NOT going to repeat myself!" T'suro barked, tightening his grip, sending holy energy into his weapon, making it glow in righteous fury. "On my honor as a Knight and protector of Quel'thalas, both of you are to STAND DOWN, or PAY FOR YOUR ACTIONS!" "But I didn't die, did I?" Cerryan shot Azilrog an ugly grin. "Perhaps the Light did save me, that day. Perhaps there is a reason that I survived, that I was made to know the weight of betrayal and the burden of loss so closely. Perhaps I have a divine purpose to fill for the Light." He lifted his sword threateningly toward the death knight. "Perhaps you are destined to die by my hand." The two guardsmen realigned their pikes, one for each group. Cerryan shot a cold, unapologetic look at T'suro, his marred face perhaps slightly manic. "Stand down, T'suro. Do not stand in the way of Justice." Raelana's squire on horseback rode up with four other blood knights behind him. The squire bowed to T'suro. "We are at your command." The blood knights saluted and then fall in line behind T'suro, awaiting orders. "I will not stand down! Not in the homeland I am pledged to!" T'suro shot back, his gaze transfixed on the other paladin. He heared the arrival of the other knights and nodded to them, before turning back to the aggressors yet again. "This is your final warning. We will not tolerate this conflict on Thalassian land!" Azilrog's icy sockets flared again as he opened his stance to a more aggressive one, transfixed on the enemy as it's told to him. "Your destiny lies with the Blade, and your land in ROT." He stabbed his greatsword forward, an unholy coil in the form of a skull dashing forward from the tip towards Cerryan. Azilrog's ghoul launches itself forward as the scourged dragon took into the sky. The knights behind Azilrog pulled their blades, not riding forward on their deathchargers just yet. The guardsmen raised the alarm, the entirety of the manor now sealing itself in a pristine barrier of ebony magic as the pylons began firing at will towards the undead dragon. The guardsmen stood on point towards the gate, preparing their weapons against any who would attack it. "Knights of Silvermoon! Soldiers of the Phoenix Throne!" T'suro commanded, his voice sharp and strong, as though he were a giant, "Those who disrespect Quel'thalas deserve to be punished! Aid the manor guards, and end this aggression against our very land!" A shell of golden light cascaded outward to meet the coil of unholy magic surging toward the paladin, dissipating the spell on impact as holy light absorbs and consumes the shadow. Cerryan smirked vainly at the death knight; his fixation on Azilrog to the exclusion of all else would be curious were there not a sudden flurry of action amongst the various soldiers. His lips curled to form a stinging rebuke just as the elven ghoul slammed into him with leaping momentum, knocking him to the ground. The ghoul began to tear at Cerryan's armor, decayed blood spattering onto the elf's face. The dragon flew around, preparing a gout of frost as a pylon lit up one of its wings. It swerved down and crashed into the forest somewhere nearby, the ice breath spouting out towards the manor and edge of the trees. Azilrog threw his hand out, directing a debilitating plague towards the paladins and readying a defensive magic shield. "Shield formation!" T'suro called out to his fellow Blood Knights. The four ran over to T'suro, forming a tight line with him. Shells of golden light all burst arund them at the same time. Normally this was just a bubble around the individual paladin, but with five present and so close together? Each bubble combined, and now there was solid tube of holy light around the group, shielding them. "Charge!" T'suro commanded.All of the Blood Knights started running forward, weapons drawn, their combined bubble making it easy for them to just blast through the plague as if it were nothing.
  10. The Sanctuary party arrived to the manor's gilded gates. Led by Julilee, it includes Raelana, Cerryan, and T'suro, but not Tamaryth. Juli spoke to a guard. "Catalinetta is expecting us." As they nodded to her, Julilee glanced briefly at the squad of death knights waiting outside the gates. She noted a lack of a commander. "I told her not to speak to them," she muttered under her breath while she waited for the guard to clear them. Two guards barred their path to the gates, looking between the two squads. One held a hand to his ear to begin muttering as another approached the paladins. "I'm sorry, you will have to wait, Ma'am." Meanwhile, outside, Phyruss held a finger to his ear, lifting a finger to halt the conversation inside. "Cat... there's a group of paladins outside. They say you're expecting them." "Oh! Uh.. yeah well, that'd probably be the Commander." Cat said as she looked toward the gates. The death knight looked worried. "A group? How many of them are there?" With the group of paladins, Raelana looked around slowly, taking in everything. She narrowed her eyes slightly at the Death Knights, then asked Julilee, "Where did you say we were again?" "Arath'dorei manor," Julilee answered. "Cat belongs to the family." A funny looks crossed Raelana's face, but she nodded her head and remained silent. The Death Knights cut their chatter and turned to face the group of Paladins. They were almost entirely Horde, except for the one human. As one of the tauren pulled out his sword, the group bristled. The tauren knight planted his sword tip in the ground and leaned forward on it, the icy blue runes that shimmer up the blade facing the paladins. Many hands found their way to pommels, but the death knights said nothing. Juli's gaze slowly slided from the guards to the tauren death knight. Raelana's hand found the hilt of her blade and let it rest there. Phyruss waited for an answer from his guard, "Four apparently, guardsmen, identify the leader." Near the paladins, the Arath’dorei guard spoke again. "The young lord asks you to identify yourselves." he said, turning to where the death knights are shuffling. "You, tauren, sheath your sword immediately. There will be no antagonizing here. Any who draw their weapons will be dismissed from this land in one way or another." Regdar began rushing towards the gate. Cat watched Regdar hurry away, unsure exactly of what she should be doing herself. "Uhhh... what's going on...? Should we go out?" She looked toward Phyruss for some sort of answer, completely lost as to how she should be reacting. The tauren took his hands off the sword and crossed his arms. The sword floated out of the ground, jostled a bit in mid-air to shed itself of dirt, and then swung around and back into place on his back. Juli dismissed the death knight from her attention and looked back at the guards. "Commander Julilee Liene of Sanctuary, Marshal Cerryan Vyel, and..." She let the other two introduce themselves. Phyruss watched the orc hurry off, scratching his chin. He looked back to Cat, obvious fear lining her face as he moved over to clasp her shoulder. "I don't know, but maybe its best we stay put..." The guards relaxed a little, but not enough to lower their pikes. Phyruss listened to his communicator. "Seems like the Commander is here... along with Cerryan.... Cerryan... why does that sound familiar..." Phyruss mumbled. "Cerryan.. he's a paladin with Sanctuary," Cat explained, wincing a little. "He um.. he and I know each other. I actually.. scarred his face pretty badly. During the attack at the chapel. I didn't know it was him, but.. yeah. He's not very happy with me, as you can guess." "Well, if he's here for vengeance, he can have one of our pylons rammed up the orifice of his choice." Phyruss retorted. "No no no!" Cat said quickly, waving her hands back and forth. "He's definitely not here for vengeance. No way! So no pylons up anyone's anything!" With the group of paladins, Raelana flushed slightly before clearing her throat. She spoke clearly to introduce herself, but quietly. "Ambassador Raelana de Bergerac and Knight-Lord T'suro Sunspear of the Blood Knights." T'suro shifted uncomfortably in place, looking anxious. "Well this is QUITE exciting isn't it?" Thoughts of vengeance pulled at the edges of Cerryan's mind, and it was all the paladin could do to suppress them. The oaths he swore to Sanctuary were silent prayer, reflecting on the tenet of sacrifice and what the Commander's words meant allowing him to find some measure of focus, but the closer they grew to the mansion that housed Catalinetta the tighter his stomach and the higher his anxiety. In truth he didn't even know what he wanted to come of the visit, and he deferred to Julilee's lead as they approached the compound's guardians. The presence of the Ebon Blade had him bristling immediately, zealous anger roiling with the nervous anxiety already present within the paladin, and his hands clenched tightly as he resisted the inclination to draw his own crystaline blade. Phyruss sighed, "I'll go see to them...Cat..." The elf's eyes turn to the petite little knight, "It will be your call what to do. We can send them away, or invite one or two in to speak." "I'll go with you. I'm sure that once we talk, we can all smooth it over. C'mon," before he could argue, Cat followed Regdar. She tried to smile reassuringly, but only managed an awkward grimace. "It'll be fine!" As she and Phyruss approached the gates, it seemed as though things were already starting to go south. Outside of the courtyard, Regdar's death knights stood near Cerryan, Juli, Raelana and T'suro. Cat regarded the two parties with a whimper, as if she'd just seen a puppy get run over by a carriage. Before actually leaving the gates themselves, she waved toward the members of Sanctuary. "Oh hey, it's me! Hi everyone!" "Catalinetta," Juli said, raising her hand in greeting. "Thank you for seeing us." "Commander!" Cat said quickly, practically running to the gate. "Hi! Sorry! Sorry for all the fuss, but could you tell me what's going on??" "Gladly," Juli said. Her gaze flicked to the nearby death knights, including Redgar. "Somewhere private." T'suro shot Cat a friendly smile and wave, trying to diffuse the tension. "I guess you never got around to that leystone, huh?" He joked. Regdar waited at the gate and allowed Cat to take the lead, though he did his best to make himself a solidifying, reassuring presence. As soon as the gates opened, his eyes sought out his Death Knights and he wordlessly directed them to relax. It took a minute, for them all to agree, but they did and took their hands off their weapons. Phyruss followed along, keeping pace with his pigtailed compatriot. He waved off the guards who lifted their weapons and stood at ease. His eyes flitted over the band of paladins until landing on the lone redhead of the group. His eyes widened in surprise, staring openly at her for several moments. He forced his stare away to regard the Commander, somewhat rattled, and cleared his throat. "I will insist that you are to be treated the same as the representatives of the Ebon Blade. One of you may enter with us. The rest..." His eyes dart to Rae in that moment, only to zip back to Julilee. "Can stay here." Juli shook her head. "Both of these two," she indicated Cerryan and Raelana, "Need to question Catalinetta, together, and I don't want to leave them alone to do so." She regarded Phyruss. "I am the one who instructed Catalinetta to reach safety. Catalinetta has the full force and faith of Sanctuary behind her." Her serious gaze moved to Catalinetta to see if she would vouch for them. An undead dragon's cry roared from above and a distance away. It was barely visible from the trees and glaring sun. "I... uh... what the shit," Regdar said before getting distracted by the oncoming sound. T'suro looked up, a very curious look on his face. "...was that... a DRAGON?" Juli looked at Redgar, frowning slightly as she realized he didn’t know what it was either. She then looked at Phyruss. "I hope your aerial defenses are up to par." Her hand went to the wickedly curved hilt of her sword. Raelana's eyes went wide upon seeing Phyruss. She pursed her lips and flushed a deep red, but continued to wait patiently for a response. Phyruss followed everyone's gazes as he stared outward. "Our defenses are the best outside of Silvermoon." Cat raised her hands into the air, completely lost. "What the hell is going on?!" "I hope they can withstand frost attacks," Regdar warned, turning to Phyruss. "I'll defer to you, where do you want me and my boys?" Juli scowled slightly, but did not object, waiting to see what Phyruss would do. Phyruss moved to his guards, issuing orders as the pylons were lit in holy fire. Two priests were at each one as they surged to life. "I've been fighting dragons since I could hold a sword. Any of you specialize in Anti-Magic?" He looked over at Redgar. "Specifically zones or areas of it." "Form up!" Regdar told the collected knights, and took a moment to redirect his focus to Phyruss. "We can work together to get it done. Where?" Cerryan clenched his jaw as the Commander parlayed with Cat and a paladin that was itchingly recognizable. He did his best to nod in affirmation of Julilee's words, but his gaze had been kept on seemingly everything but the pigtailed death knight. The roaring sound from beyond the treeline was enough to have his hand swing up to the hilt of his greatsword, tense anxiety making way for defensive ferocity. Cat looked around, her eyebrows raised in alarm. "Anti-magic? Frost… holy moly, why is there a dragon coming?!" T'suro reached for his spear, hefting and twirling it before getting into a stance. "Does it matter why it's coming? All we know is that it is. Be ready!" "I need you to hurry and split your death knights into two groups,” Phyruss explained to Regdar. “Try and divide them to even out who is best at forming anti-magic. The dragon will attack one with its breath, as they always do, the other group can grip down as it makes its pass." He said while pointing toward the pylons. "Try and make it underneath a crystal, the priests will bring it down with concentrated fire." The dragon dropped down to skim the treeline, undead wings beating over the Eversong canopy. It crashed down through the ancient branches onto the stone path to the gates. Azilrog sat atop his abomination of nature, a corruption of the life-binder's gift in its purest form. His face was skeletal, though primarily covered by a hood. The frosting orbs of his former eyes scanned over the crowd, grunting. "Not surprised to see Liene in charge of the paladins here." His voice carried to the groups as the dragon claws forward, spurred by the orc's legs. He saluted to Regdar. "Brother." "What are you doing here? You should be healing in the blood pools," Regdar said cautiously, trying to talk the situation down. Clearly, his own expectations were being formed and shattered at an alarming rate. "I thought you were Scourge." Phyruss snorted, obviously miffed at the intrusion as well as the undead dragon apparently not being reduced to cinders. He folded his arms and tapped his foot, his eyes skimming back to Raelana for a moment and then back to the dragon. He could not afford to lose focus here and now with questions. Cerryan had not removed his hand from his weapon, and his revulsion for the Orcish death knight was not at all concealed on his face. Raelana looked worriedly at Phyruss, then to Catalinetta. "Perhaps you should go back inside the manor for the time being?" she suggested to the death knight. "No.. no, this is crazy!" Cat said to Raelana, before she shook her head and walked past the gates toward Regdar. "This is getting way out of hand! I am fine! Nobody is taking me anywhere!" Phyruss stood alongside Cat, "That is precisely correct, Cat will go where she chooses and nowhere else." His hands grips the pommels of the twin-bladed runeswords at his hip. T'suro seemed caught off guard. Upon hearing that he was Ebon Blade, the blood knight dropped his stance, but did not yet sheath his weapon. Juli stared at Azilrog, having needed a little bit to recognize him. She'd heard Shana had attacked him but hadn't been fully informed yet. For the time being, she was actually silent and did not try to intervene. Azilrog snorted a grim chuckle. "The Scourge? Here? They couldn't even muster a decent skirmish now." He rolled his shoulder blades, the bones scratching under his armor. "Here to stand for the Ebon Blade, cut through the karanzol skraefa. Bring back the traitor, so the Hand doesn't take another." Regdar puts up a hand. "Azilrog, I think it might be best if you head back to Acherus and let me take care of it. You and Catalinetta don't exactly have the best rapport. Or you and the Commander." Juli shifted to position herself slightly between Cat and Redgar. "I agree," she said, "but we'd like to talk. Can we go inside?" "Won't leave you here to fight alone, Regdar." Azilrog swung his leg over his dragon and dropped down, his boots hitting the ground solidly. "Liene shows up heading a party of Silver Hand hunting Catalinetta shortly after excommunicating the Ebon Blade. Odd timing, isn't it. The emnity is palpable in the wind." Regdar smiled his eerie smile. "I'm not alone. I brought fifteen of my boys to make sure that if things get to where I hope they don't go--" he gestured to the lot of them, many having had poor run ins with Azilrog in the past "-- that I'm not going to get shit stomped. But I'm not looking for a fight, Brother, and the longer you remain here, the more likely that outcome becomes." "The only people hunting Catalinetta are you Ebon filth." Cerryan sneered, his facial scars twisting upward in an ugly display. "And you'll have no luck in claiming her, even with all your wicked soldiers. The Light stands against you, and you know how well you fared the last time you dared face its wrath." Julilee didn’t respond to any of the others, holding Catalinetta's gaze. She spoke quietly enough that only someone standing close and paying attention could hear what she said. "What happens next is up to you, Cat. You know I believe in you." Cat blinked toward Julilee, flustered as she tried to come up with words. "I.. but.. but nobody is hunting me, right? This is all just a misunderstanding! Azilrog thinks the Silver Hand is trying to take me out or something, just tell him that's not true and we can all go home. Except me. I am home." Raelana furrowed her brow, a look of concern still on her face. "Of course we're not hunting you. We simply came to ask you some questions." Phyruss folded his arms once more, obviously anxious over the rising tension. Cerryan speaking forced Regdar to clench his fists. "Oh, is that what you call it? Some questions? Is that what you told the others when you chased them down?" He wheeled on Cerryan. "Or is she just some pawn in your plan to get vengeance on us because you look like a dog streaked shit on your face? Because what questions could you possibly want to ask her, I wonder? 'What's the best way to bring the Ebon Hold crashing to the ground?' 'Does the Deathlord check his closet for vengeful templars at night?' 'If one happened to come across the Deathlord on the Broken Shore and pinned him to a wall to be tortured to death do you think the Ebon Blade would all go away then?" Juli's eyes narrowed and she shot a deadly look at Redgar. "That's enough. I don't know what your intentions are, but I don't trust you one bit, and neither should Cat." "Woah woah woah!" Cat held up her hands again. "I'm happy to answer questions! You've got them wrong, Regdar, Cerryan'd never do anything like that! Neither would the Commander let them!" "Oh, yes,” Regdar continued. “I'm the untrustworthy one, coming from you who carted the single person who wants to flay her alive to her doorstep," he fired back. "I'm at least trying to get Azilrog to leave, but no, you want to give Cerryan direct access to the woman who laid him up for weeks." "He's had access to her, for weeks," Juli retorted, her temper starting to show, though she kept her voice mostly even. "I trust Cerryan. And furthermore, I'm here. Now." She looks at Cat. "Decide what you will do." "What did I tell you? The karanzol bitch is on the paladin's side, as she's always been." Azilrog rolled his bones, the stench of undeath growing stronger. "Liene would not give anything other than an elf the time of day, it only makes sense she chooses the Hand over the scourge who scoured her land." The pylons surged to life and zapped the area with a furious beam between the two parties, burning a veritable line in the ground. "THAT'S ENOUGH!" Phyruss bellowed. "If you lot want to kill each other, do it away from my house!" "Woah shit!" Cat jumped back as the beam shot to life, stumbling backwards clumsily. Cerryan sneered at Regdar, fighting fiercely to bite his tongue at the Commander's order, but faltering at the mention of his own treachery. His words were muted by the firing of the pylons, and following the furious discharge he was stunned into a dumb silence. T'suro jumped away from the beam of light and cleared his throat. "Nobody was in any position for a fight. Azrilog seems intent on making one happen, though." T'suro stated flatly. "This house is in Quel'thalas, which me and Master Realana are soldiers officially representing here. If there is any fight here, I can promise that EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATES will wind up in a Silvermoon jail cell!" The elf stepped back and turned to Raelana. "I hope I am not overstepping my bounds." "Or maintain your sense of decorum and shut your gobsmacking mouths!" Phyruss bellowed with authority. "The paladins can question Cat inside the courtyard, and Redgar, if you wish to see Cat safe, you may come too, to survey," he looked between the two parties. "But, only the Commander and one of the Hand may come in, and only Redgar and one of his may too." He turns back to Cat, "Is this acceptable?" Regdar's agreeable, charitable, people pleasing demeanor was washed away by his frustration. He knew the diplomatic choice was to bring Gelart, a paladin, a death knight, one who had deserted the Blade over Light's Hope like all the others. It would lend his voice credence and display for everyone here that he was interested in a peaceful, moral resolution, not one where things fell to blows. But he also knew how much it'd piss them off if he brought Azilrog... Raelana glanced at Phyruss, then back to the Commander. "I will yield to your authority and decision on who will enter with you." T'suro huffed and turns to the Commander. "It is your choice. But do understand that, while we're here, soldiers of the country can supersede your authority." He turned to Regdar. "And yours." Cerryan furrowed his brow, suddenly chuckling lightly to himself at the Blood Knight's words. "He's not entirely wrong on that, actually." Raelana smiled slyly at T'suro. Juli gave T'suro a rather flat look before looking at Phyruss. "I will bring Ambassador Raelana." She glanced at Cerryan, not saying anything to him but the look conveying an awareness that his concerns would be seen to. Regdar unclenched his fist, realizing how easy it was to get swept up in the negativity that the magic keeping him alive spurred him on to. "I'm not here as an authority. I'm here as Cat's friend. The only reason my boys came is to make sure that these paladins don't cut down Catalinetta like they've done others. Gelart, with me. The rest of you, don't do anything stupid." Cerryan sighed in relief at having been chosen to stay behind, unsure as he was in his own conduct and in particular with that incendiary beast of a death knight present. He contented himself to sneer at the remaining knights of the Blade, still a little too eager to spring to action if conflict should occur. Raelana glanced at the Death Knights, then back to the two other companions standing there. "I can send for some hospitality for you while you wait for our return. And I guess the others here." She looked at Phyruss. "With your permission of course," she said with a quick bow of her head. Phyruss tried to smile a little at Rae's comment, but quickly faded away as the mess around them teetered on becoming worse. "That is acceptable." Azilrog flexes his hands, watching the events as they unfolded. "Convenient that the Silver Hand brought elven lawbringers with them. Their judgement must be as ‘unbiased’ as the rest of them." Raelana smirked at Azilrog, but turned her back, unconcerned with his ramblings. T'suro shots Azilrog a glare. "We are in Qul'thalas and I am a soldier of Quel'thalas. My words earlier were true. I have the power and authority to jail anyone who breaks into a fight." "I... uh... o-okay..?" Cat said to Phyruss. "Lets just... lets go, before things get crazier." Azilrog grunted, outstretching his hand to the forest ground. After a few moments, the ground shifted and cracks with a claw reaching up as it digs its way out. The risen corpse shambled to its feet, the ghoul holding decayed elven features and a Farstrider's armor. It fell in behind Azilrog, mingling with the other Death Knights. "Just as I, skraefa, have the power and authority over death." His skeletal visage couldn’t convey the sadistic glee he took in the act, and his unholy tone wasn’t much for manipulation. Juli nodded at Cat, glanced at Raelana, then moves to follow the former. Regdar fell in with Gelart in tow. Raelana gave Phyruss a half smile, then pulled out an already prepared letter with her seal on it and handed it to her squire. "Go swiftly." Her squire looked between Phyruss and Raelana, then grabbed the letter, bowed to Raelana, and jumped on his horse to take off. She turned back to Cerryan. "He should be back soon." She then turned to T'suro. "When he returns he'll report to you for set up and further instructions." She glanced at the Death Knights, then back to the paladins. "I'll leave it up to you how much of Liadrin's good graces you wish to share." She then fell in step behind Juli. T'suro saluted to Raelana, his official superior. "Yes, Master Raelana. I will do the Matriarch proud." Cerryan nodded in respect to the Ambassador's authority, but his gaze didn’t leave Azilrog and he exhaled deeply in disdain of the skeletal orc's desecration. Cat walked with Phyruss and their new entourage inside. She glanced back at Cerryan once before going imto the courtyard. "Guardsmen... whichever group first unsheaths their swords, give them a warning shot." Phyruss ordered as he stared at the summoned ghoul, probably a remnant from when the Scourge was heavy in the woods. He took a deep breath as the gates were reopened and he led the party inside.
  11. Regdar and his fifteen knights arrived in Silvermoon and took off south towards the location listed for Arath'dorei Manor. As ever, Regdar had a hard time being silent, and the conversation oscillated wildly from war stories on the Broken Shore to barfights in Dalaran. Plenty of teasing and jibing took place, but what otherwise would be soldiers being soldiers and talking about soldiers to soldiers took on a new air when their status as Death Knights was considered. Each laugh was haunting, each chuckle sneering, and a menace to all of it underlay the particularities of a group of Death Knights having a laugh. It didn’t take them too long to arrive at the storied manor, and the other knights fell back to allow Regdar to take the lead. They passed through fields that seemed barren of all life, the former vineyards of the Arath'dorei family long since withered, but steadily making progress on renewal if the approaching manor's small acre of greenery was to be any sign. The group came upon a gilded gate, adorned by runes and flanked by walls that were just as formidable-looking as they were decorative. The crystalline pylons that sat within them flashed a pulsating light as the knights approached, only to be settled by a nearby Sin'dorei mage as two guardsmen approached the oncoming group. "Halt, you are trespassing upon Arath'dorei grounds. State your business or be gone," he called out. "I am Regdar the Red of the Ebon Blade! Here to see Catalinetta of Sanctuary! She and I are newly old friends!" The orc called out as they made their way to him. "You will hold there, death knight." The mage said, his fellow guardsman brandishing their pikes at the approaching orc. The crystals flared to dangerous life once more, reacting to the undead presence. "The Ebon Blade is NOT welcome here. Turn and leave before you become ash to fertilize the lawn." "I don't mind waiting if you want to confer with Catalinetta," Regdar said reassuringly. "But I do want to warn you that things could get very grave, very quickly for her, no pun intended. She will want to speak with me once she knows I'm here. I also don't mind leaving my boys behind and coming in under escort with you. I can't exactly relinquish my weapons, since the old soul is all wrapped up in them, but I'm not exactly as spry as I used to be and I'm sure it's just as easy for you folks to ash me inside as it is to do so out here." Their weapons still held, and the guards did not budge. "This is not up for debate, abomination." The mage growled, as their weapons crackled with holy magic. "You will leave at once, or be forced to." "Hey, I get it. I run a garrison when I have time, so I understand the orders that you're under. Listen, I'm gonna comply with your request. Me and my boys will leave you lands. But I'm going to be waiting on this road, right where those lands stop. Because, yeah, I get you're doing your job, but a friend of mine is in trouble and I'm not going to let something bad happen to her because you don't like undead. Which, by the way, I also definitely get." He answers, never letting his smile falter. "So,” Regdar continued. “Here's what I'm hoping. I'm going to give you what you want and wait back there. But maybe you'll give me a shot and go talk to Catalinetta anyway. My offers still stand. I don't mind coming in, I don't mind if she wants to come out, whatever it is. But the thing I want to do is help." He pulled up the reins on his crimson deathcharger. The guards looked at each other for a brief moment as they kept their stances. The one who was speaking finally nodded, "We will relay the message, but you still are not welcome here without the Lady or Lord's approval.” He cut himself off before going any more. Content with that Regdar led his troops back to the border of the estate and waited. Around the other side of the estate, where the wall came in contact with the forest, Cat waved to what looked like a guard in robes. It took a moment for him to recognize the death knight, but eventually he helped her inside. A short while later, the Arath'dorei males arrived at the gate, Kreyen looking sweaty and worn beneath the Silver Hand squire's garb. A simple bastard sword hung across his back, and muted irritation clung to his expression. He nodded to the guards as he passed, and drew to a halt near the gate to regard the death knights quietly. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Catalinetta doesn't have any desire to speak with members of the Ebon Blade," he called calmly to their leader. Phyruss walked alongside Kreyen, in a similar state of fatigue with his ebon hair matting to his pale skin. His twin bladed runeswords were locked onto his hip, clacking with each step in his light armor. He folded his arms, looking toward the undead intruders with a level gaze. "Forgive the manners,” he said to the visitors. “I am Phyruss Arath'dorei, and this is my cousin Kreyen," he added, his hand barely waving to the two of them in introduction. "But as my cousin so put, Catalinetta does not wish to speak with you, so I hope you will take a peaceful departure." "You gave her my name? Regdar?" The orc asked the pair. Kreyen cast a glance at Phyruss at the question, uncertain as he let an eyebrow lift upwards. "Should it have made a differencce?" he asked, "The Ebon Blade has done more than enough to her as is." Regdar nodded with a smile, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. "Yes, it would have. I came to speak with her in the guildhall of Sanctuary, as I came to speak with everyone here--" he gestured to the other Death Knights with him, "--about rejoining the Blade after they're resigned from the order in the wake of Light's Hope. These boys took me up on that offer, but Catalinetta didn't. I don't do this to browbeat someone into submission, I just want to give them the options and let them make the choice. Catalinetta actually came and found me later and we talked for hours about all of it, the heroism and the Blade and runeforges and everything. So, I figure she and I have a rapport. "But the reason I'm here right now,” he continued. “Is that the Paladins of the Silver Hand want to arrest and punish Catalinetta for her crimes. There's a truce between the Blade and the Hand, but Catalinetta's not protected by it and by every law I could find, the Hand has every legal right to do exactly that. Now, I don't know how much you boys are looking to become criminals for harboring a fugitive, but I am willing to bet those light-stuffed twinkies are more willing to let this whole Catalinetta thing go than be the ones to break this truce and force this whole Light's Hope thing into round three." "This is Quel'thalas,” Phyruss interjected, folding his arms. “The Silver Hand has no jurisdiction here. They cannot arrest her as much as I could march into Stormwind and demand someone be tried, even if I had the Hand's authority to do so. One thing is for sure, I will not throw my friend to the wolves to save my own skin. Be they Ebon, or Silver or fur." The young elf then quirked an eyebrow at Redgar, "And you brought two squads of Death Knights to simply talk? Forgive me if I believe otherwise that yours and their intent are purely social... full armor and weapons on a fleet of stallions? You say show of support, but all I see is an intimidation tactic common amongst mobsters." "The laws of the Horde apply to Quel'thalas, and Catalinetta has no protection from them for assaulting Light's Hope,” Regdar explained. “The truce that was worked out between the Ebon Blade and the Silver Hand puts the matter to bed for members, but she is not one. And it wasn't that she was assaulting humans, like Gelart over here, but that she was assaulting other elves, like Cerryan Vyel. Mark my words, it won't be humans or dwarves or draenei that come for Catalinetta, it will be elves, Blood Knights, with all the jurisdiction they need.” "To your second point,” the orc continued boldly. “My boys and I have come to defend her. We can't exactly walk around without weapons, since our souls are tied to our runeblades, and if I've got to tell it straight, I don't wear anything but armor anywhere, really. But you're right, it is meant to be an intimidation tactic, one to tell these paladins to get the fuck out and leave Catalinetta alone. She may not be Ebon Blade, but she's a soldier I care about nonetheless, because all of us are conscientious objectors and we're not going to let someone be scapegoated by zealots for doing what's right." Regdar seemed to lose himself and his creepily cheery attitude with the explanation, mostly because the stakes were so high. But when he finished, he took a moment to regain himself, and they found him smiling again. Kreyen watched and listened to the exchange with a furrowed brow. Little more than mild agitation escaped from beneath the stony visage he put up, and little even of that stretched outside of his gaze. "If this is anything more than an execution, then idiocy of the endeavor will readily be exposed," Kreyen said finally. "That she is not a member of the Ebon Blade any longer is a flimsy legal excuse, at best. It's the same spiteful arrogance that spawned the Scarlet Crusade, and it will not come to pass. Of that, I can assure you." The bright emerald eyes of the elder Arath'dorei fixed themselves upon Regdar then, serious. After a quiet moment, he added, "So long as you are only here to keep her from being harmed, then I see no problem with you lingering. With that said, if the mongrel your order had stationed in Sanctuary is in your group, you had best dismiss him back to your pyramid now." Kreyen turned then, opening himself back towards the house. "Before there is trouble." "Azilrog?" Regdar laughed longer and deeper than was probably required. "Well, keep this between us, but he shouldn't be a problem. He got kicked out of Sanctuary and scorched into a skeleton, so he should be sitting in a blood pool for a few days, at least. He is the one that got me Catalinetta's location, though, so he does know her location. I'd also bet that your Sanctuary boys do, too, since if Azilrog heard so did the twinkie who got in my face last time I was in the guildhall." Phyruss crossed his arms, sending a look towards his relation to gauge his own belief on the matter. "I'm glad the Commander saw fit to deal with him then," Kreyen called back to Regdar. "There will be others coming soon. To talk. Do not harass them, please." There was a note of exhaustion in his voice at the words, and he gave Phyruss a sour look before leaning in close and whispering to the other elf. He gave his cousin a pat on the back afterward, and then started to make his way briskly back towards the manor. "I wouldn't dream of it." Regdar waved the other Death Knights forward and followed along on the road back to the manor. Phyruss nodded, turning back to the death knight as he followed along, holding a hand out for Redgar. "Your men will wait here. I'd rather not Cat feel like she is being surrounded, if she chooses to speak with you," he stated directly before following after Kreyen. At the manor itself, Kreyen waved for those behind to wait outside. "Much as I'd love to extend more hospitality, under the current circumstances I think it's safer to deal with this outside." The squire shot Phyruss a telling look about his concerns for the situation, then went in to find the wayward death knight. "In that we can agree," Phyruss stated, letting Redgar remain just outside the gate as it opens to allow Kreyen inside. He watched Redgar curiously as he remained outside to entertain their "guest". "...the Ebon Blade,” he mentioned quietly. “Has it had any contact with a Sin'dorei named Naheal Malastar?" "If they did, I don't know who that is," Regdar stated matter-of-factly. "If he's a friend of yours, though, my bet is that he's on board in some capacity or another. I don't know every Death Knight under the sun and I speak to a lot of 'em." The orc dismounted from his shadow charger and let the creature gallop back into its shadowy domain. Phyruss said little else on the matter, merely quirking his mouth in dissatisfaction. His arms folded, leaning back to ease against the railing. Figures, he thought to himself. If the man did not even contact his own family, the Ebon Blade would fare little better in hearing from him. Regdar descending quickly into small talk with some of the other assembled Knights, particularly a human named Gelart, though how human he was seemed up for debate. As a Death Knight, he was at least passably Forsaken, but the more they talked the clearer it became that he had no love for the Banshee Queen. Gelart seemed the least confident of the group, which the others used as an opening for some empathy and understanding. As a former paladin of the Silver Hand, he was feeling the weight of the coming trouble more than most. The door opened again a short while later, revealing the returning squire and the source of Regdar's concern hand in hand. Kreyen's expression had mellowed a little in the brief time away, filled with more determination than frustration now. He separated from Cat once they were both free of the entryway, in order to turn back around and close the door behind him. Any chance to avoid the ire of the house's matron was one he would take at this point. Cat approached Regdar, her eyebrows furrowed with concern. "Holy moly," tumbled out of her mouth as she walked toward the orc, clutching her empty hands. "What the fel is going on, Regdar? You're scaring my in-laws half to death. You have any idea how scary the owner of this place is? What is it??" "I figured if all of you elves were really as dedicated to etiquette and manners as you say you are, then rolling up with a healthy dose of respect would probably be the best answer," Regdar agreed, taking the forefront of the other assembled knights. "But we've got some problems that need to be dealt with. There's a group of paladins coming for you and I don't think they mean to play nice." "You mean Cerryan? He's coming with the Commander," Cat answered dismissively. "They wouldn't do anything to hurt me. You don't need to worry about them. Even if Cerryan went nuts or something, the Commander would never let him do anything like that." "If I was looking for a little blood with my justice, I think I'd use your friends to get close to you as well," the other death knight warned. "I hope that you're right. I hope that you're going to be fine. But I've lost track of five other conscientious objectors, and if I were a betting orc, I'd say that it's Silver Hand that hunted them down." Cat frowned, her eyebrows furrowed deeply. "They wouldn't do that. The Silver Hand doesn't deal in vengeance. They're not like that. Right?" She glanced back at Kreyen and Phyruss. "You don't think they'd just go hunting rogue death knights, do you?" Phyruss folded his arms, "If they are, they're a rogue element too I would wager. There's no way the Hand would allow such blatant disregard for their oaths go unpunished." He looked over at his cousin, "Even so..." he rubbed his patch of facial hair and mused to himself. "I'd think it best if you still stayed here, Cat. Our defenses are tuned for the undead, but no need for the paladins to learn that." He smiled a little. "That's the other piece of all this." Regdar turns his gaze toward the elven pair. "According to every law book I could find, they have every legal right to do this. Death Knights who leave the Ebon Blade also null their citizenship with the Horde, because one of the terms of that citizenship is membership to the Blade. This makes them renegades, and in a bunch of cases the shadow magics deteriorate their minds until they're attacking innocents just to sate their bloodlust. This is why the Ebon Blade hunts down rogue Death Knights, to stop them from doing anything that would hurt innocent people." "On top of that,” he continued. “You've got the truce between the Blade and the Hand, after the four horsemen helped out the Highlord with something or other. It's unofficial, sure, but rogue ‘Dee Kays’ aren't protected by that either. I'm pretty convinced that it's the Blade feeding the twinkies this information in the first place as a way to placate them. They get to do their crusader thing and get 'justice' for Light's Hope and also clean up Knights that the Blade wants to get off the board. The fact that participation in Light's Hope technically denotes a rogue Knight as a war criminal is just icing on the cake." "That said,” he sighed. “All this stuff is like a maze. If there's some obscure case or precedent, I couldn't find it, but that doesn't mean it's not there. I'm not exactly a lawyer." Cat shook her head, clearly confused. "No, you're a death knight. And you're taking a lot of time to try and help me. You have been. You have to admit, that seems fishy. I hardly know you, why is it you keep showing up to help me?" Regdar shrugged. "If paladins were coming after anyone of the others, I'd get up in arms for them, too. You just happened to be the first targeted one that I'd heard of." The pigtailed death knight cocked her head. She had a hard time looking skeptically at Regdar, but tried anyway. "..well... then I should stay here, where it's safe. My family wouldn't let them take me, even if they did try, and I don't think they will. Cerryan might hate me, but I don't think he'd try to have me killed. He's not that kind of person. Neither is the Commander." "I don't know those folks, so I can't make any kind of recommendation for you. But I do know I'd chop my own toes off if I found out this was going on and didn't pitch in to help. So, I'm helping," Regdar states unequivocally. "Plus I think a situation like this one could get a whole lot worse before it gets any better right quick." Cat smiled awkwardly at Regdar. "Well… that's nice of you. And a little insane. I don't think I know any other death knight who'd stick his neck out like you are. Not that I think there's any danger, but... if you think there is, then I appreciate it. The Commander did say she and Cerryan were bringing someone. I don't know who that is."
  12. Atlantic City Pros Cheap Beaches Gambling Cheap booze Easy to get to Cons New Jersey
  13. Regdar and his companions, a dwarf and human death knight arrived in the Sanctuary infirmary, looking over Azilrog's scorched form as he lay on the bed. "So, this looks pretty bad." He said, stating a good amount of the obvious. Azilrog grunted, flexing his charred hand. He was covered in his own burnt flesh, nearly only animated bone at this point. His armor was almost completely obliterated. "He lives!" Regdar said to his companions, who don't laugh. "It's a joke? Because he's...? You know what? Nevermind. I'll summon the Death Gate, get him up." Regdar began channeling the shadowy power to create the portal to Acherus he needed. Once it was up, the dwarf and human death knights did their best to get Azilrog up and suppored his bodyweight as all four head through the portal. Once Azilrog was lifted through the portal, Regdar felt much safer speaking to him. "So, can you talk?" Azilrog flexed his hand a few more times before reaching over and pulling a frozen letter from his burned satchel. "Dabu. This too." "Oh, shit. What's this?" Regdar pulled the letter that the Commander intended for the Ebon Blade open, scanning its words quickly. It detailed Azilrog's lack of professionalism ever since coming to Sanctuary, and concluded with a polite request for the Ebon Blade to go fuck themselves. Regdar grinned. "Imagine my surprise. 'Azilrog doesn't play well with others.' Alright, I'm going to talk to Dessim about getting you some new armor. But, uh... do you know where Catalinetta is? I'm trying to find her before those fuckhole paladins do." Azilrog, for the first time in a very long time, sneered, as he leaned up to Regdar. "Arath'dorei Manor. Eversong Forest." He grabbed onto the other orc's arm. "Fix me and we move." "Ugh. Elves. Why do they have to have such wimpy names for everything?" He accompanied with that a good natured laugh. "Don't tell her I said that." Regdar looked to the two carrying Azilrog. "I need to go get some stuff together, you two get him ready to rock and let our boys know that we're ready to roll out." They both nodded Azilrog's grin cut across his burnt face, his icy teeth disturbing against the black flesh. "Swobu. Everson fit'chure." The Death Knights carrying him began to aid the near-skeleton to the armory, while Regdar immediately head out to meet with. The elf was found at the forges as usual. Most smiths, her included, had taken to mass producing the new design of Demonsteel blades paying homage to the Xorothian nights they had bested. Despite the din of hammers her head snapped up as he approached with purpose, her eyes narrowed as if trying to match a name to his face. "Need something?" One of our own lost his armor in a scuffle," Regdar reported. "He needs something new, maybe a new Runeblade as well, I'm not exactly sure when it comes to that." "What was he fighting, a nuke?" She blinked. Armor could be damaged, weapons could be shattered, but losing it all at once must have meant a rather brutal defeat. "I didn't ask. But I'm also hoping that we can get this as a rush job? Me and Azilrog have somewhere to be and I want to make sure he's in tip top shape." Regdar considered for a moment his own weapons, two saronite, 'double-bladed axes hanging at his hips. "When EVERYTHING is a rush job, nothing is, people just become whiny bastards insistent on instant gratification. Tell him to get down here, i'll need his measurements. If he's in a big hurry tell him to take a blade from the new line. Otherwise i'm gonna need some details." "He's gonna need some time for the necromancers to put some flesh back on his bones. And when they do, I'm not exactly sure he'll have the same measurements?" Regdar tapped his foot impatiently. He really didn't have time to wait. "Eh, you know what? I'll just let him take care of all this. I got someplace to be. Thanks, though." "Flesh back on his... Eesh. Suffer well." Regdar continued out. "I'm gonna go check this out. Thanks for the heads up. I'm always happy to help out the cause," he said, backpedalling before turning into a run through Acherus. Dessim jogged towards the lower levels. If Azilrog needed to be put back together he would probably be with the Master of Blood. However, Azilrog was curiously absent from the Blood Pool, instead being armored in a set of Ebon plate meant for a large forsaken or a heavily built human. The burnt flesh had been cleaned off his bones, almost entirely an orcish skeleton. " Azilrog." She called out, stopping short. She wouldn't have recognized him if not for Regdar's vague description. "Dessim." Whatever remained of his orcish voice was gone, torn and scorched from what used to be his throat, only the sound of the Scourge remained. He latched a hood to his chestplate and pulled it over his head. "Nothing keeps you down. Heard you needed new equipment." "New kalkan takes too long. Reserve kalkan will do." He rolled his bone shoulders, moving over to a table with a large unholy runeblade on it. He strapped the blade onto his back and tightened his gloves. "Traitor will die gol'kosh." "Gol'kosh? Listen to yourself you're barely intelligible and you're gonna go hunt a turncoat?" "Old Orcish. By my hand. She needs to be brought in. The Silver Hand will not have the skraefa." Dessim paused. "What? Why not? Wasn't she their excuse?" "If the Red one is going, so am I. Elven judgement will not override the Ebon Blade's." Azilrog started to march towards the gryphon stables. "Truce or no, I await karanzol nash." " ... Well have fun,” said Dessim. “Try not to get yourself killed." The elf shook her head and went back to her forge. She wouldn't rush a set for a man who seemed addicted to getting his ass killed Azilrog nodded, shouting through the stables. "KULKODAR!" A massive undead dragon flapped up from the lower levels, landing in front of the orcish skeleton. Mounting the unholy beast, Azilrog snarled, visions of the Clans infighting on their dying world while the Horde fought on Azeroth. The wolves gnashing at each other would come to a head today, and either escalate to war, or end now. "Karanzol." The Death Knight barked to his dragon, the beast roaring and flying from the Archerus
  14. Hearthstone buzz… "Catalinetta, where are you?" asked Julilee. Cat answered quickly. "Arath'dorei Manor, ma'am. Everything okay?" "Stay there, and don't tell anyone you're there, all right? Some people are looking for you, and not friendly ones." Ghost spoke into the Hearthstone.. "I was killing demons. Ebon blade caught me. I fought for my life. ended up Incarcerated.. turns out.. they wanted my allegiance fighting the Legion. I gave it to them as long as it did not violate my oath. If anyone touches one of the sanctuary I would defend them with my life." Juli spoke again. "The Ebon Blade incarcerated you and demanded your allegiance?" "Yes.. they did.. He cut me on my shoulder.. He hit me in my head he ruined my armor.. not that it was very good armor.." Catalinetta waited for him to finish before speaking again. "Uh.. okay. I'll stay here until you say so.. uh.. who's looking for me?" "Would you like company Catalinetta?" asked Ghost. "No. No I'm fine,” she answered. “I'm with my fiance." "I will be in the kitchen if you need me." Cat was becoming impatient. "Ma'am, what's going on?" "I'll.. tell you later. Just don't take any visitors, all right? And I mean any. Even people you know. All right?" Juli instructed. Azilrog suddenly interjected. "Is your fiancee the one with the hairless child body?" A few moments passed, and an irate sounding Kreyen spoke through Cat’s hearthstone. "Are you the sort of creep that rifles through people's stuff, or the sort that peeps through holes in the showers? Either one is pretty distasteful, but just so we're clear..." Azilrog spoke again. "I'll take that as confirmation." Juli interrupted. "Let's not." "Oooo, a spooky creep,” Kreyen continued. “You could try to come check on the child if you like, but I doubt it'd be what you expected. Anyway...shouldn't there be...you know, rules against this sort of behavior? That's a pretty gross invasion of privacy or something, isn't it?" "Azilrog,” Julie said firmly. “I'll need to speak to you. Later." Kreyen didn’t let the matter drop. "After repeated harassment, I should hope so Commander. If your death knight comes anywhere near here I can assure you there will be problems." "He won't," Juli said simply. Azilrog’s gravelly voice interjected once more. "I recommend dealing with your traitor problem first Liene." "I'm not interested in taking recommendations from you at this point. We'll speak more later." Azilrog spoke on last time. "Not if the Silver Hand gets to her first." ___________________________________________________________________ Azilrog slammed on Juli’s office door "Come in." Juli was standing in front of her desk. Azilrog stomped inside and shut the door behind him. Juli picked up a sealed letter from her desk and held him out to him. "Please bring this to your chain of command," she says.(edited) Azilrog took the letter and tucked it into a satchel on his waist. "Will that be all?" "No, that's all," she said, "forever, actually. No need to come back." "Why?" The large orc folded his plated arms across his chest. She looked at him. She knew she'd be required to give him some sort of explanation, much as she felt she shouldn't have to. "Your judgment is beyond questionable. You have done nothing, absolutely nothing, for Sanctuary except cause problems and create strife. And the Ebon Blade themselves have attacked their own allies and are not an organization Sanctuary sees itself as needing to have an emissary for. Any other questions?" "And yet the Silver Hand and the Blood Knights reside in Sanctuary as well, who hunt and intend to butcher one of your own as they already have ours. Why me, and not the elves?" "I'll be dealing with them. Any other questions?" "Alienating the Ebon Blade will do you no favors." Azilrog rasped, his voice hoarse. "What problems and strife have I caused? Why is my judgement questioned?" She gave him a long look. "If you're unaware of any issues you've caused, starting with your recent comments over the hearthstone, that's just more evidence of your bad judgment. Now, if there's nothing else, I have other business to attend to." "If you are referring to my investigation of Catalinetta's whereabouts and the ransacking of her room, Bloodborne allowed me access and indicated no trouble. As to all my activities I only act to the orders of the Ebon Blade, as do your Paladins, as you follow the Warchief." He rubbed his coif. "I imagine you've already told my daughter of your decision." Juli blinked once. "Are you unaware of Shokkra's condition?" "I am not. Has it changed?" "Not since Karthok kidnapped her, no. I didn't realize you hadn't been informed." "Karthok is alive?" "For the time being." She wasn’t without sympathy, but remained businesslike overall. "We are doing everything we can to locate Shokkra and bring her back to safety." Azilrog was silent for a long moment. "I'm sorry you're only hearing this now," said Juli. "I should have informed you personally. It was an oversight and not intentional." "Well fuck me in the ass and call me Susan is my wife here too?" Azilrog completely lost his stoic temperament, setting his hands on his hips and pacing. Juli blinked once again. "Yes? Had you not spoken to her?" Azilrog stopped. He turned to Juli. "Shana. Is here?" "Yes," she said, then, unable to help herself, "What have you even been doing here? You're an emissary to Sanctuary, with free run of our entire guildhouse and complete access to our hearthstone communications, but you've only paid enough attention to butt into the places where you were the most unwelcome?" She shakes her head. "Talk to your wife if you like, but then you should go." Azilrog opened the door outwards, breaking it and running down the hall. Juli stared. ___________________________________________________________________ Shana knelt in the garden surrounded by her totems, meditating. She wore her light furs and shamanic robes, growing more accustomed to the spring weather. The Greatmother sighed, in tune with her elements. Azilrog stepped into the garden, radiating undeath. The grass died and rotted as he steps through it. Shana squinted, detecting the sudden imbalance and opened her eyes, turning as she got to her feet. She snorted at the Death Knight, watching him indignantly. "What are you doing here abomination?" Azilrog stopped, watching Shana back. He stayed there in silence, allowing himself to breathe out of reflex rather than necessity. "Wor'shana?" Shana stopped, her breath catching in her throat. No one called her by that name, no one knew her by that name. It was old orcish, only those from before Thrall's Horde knew that name. Her eyes widened, though kept her accusatory look somewhat. "Who..." Azilrog unclasped the coif protecting his throat, then the strap keeping his helm on, dropping them both to the ground. He maintained a rough, short white beard and shaven head. His skin was blue, as were his eyes. He looked older than he did when they last saw each other, but then again so did she. Shana gasped, bringing her only hand up to cover her mouth as she gaped. "Azilrog?" She took steps towards the undead hulk before her, keeping her gaze fixed on his features. "Azilrog..." She said, reaching up to rub his nearly frozen cheek. Azilrog collapsed onto his knees, wrapping his plated arms around her fur covered body. "You're as beautiful as the day I was lost." Fire engulfed Azilrog. "YOU WHORESON!" Shana kicked into her husband's chest, knocking the burning death knight over. Water doused Shana off as she starts stomping on his chest. "SIXTEEN YEARS!" The fire was up her legs as she stomps him, burning her wolf furs and robes. "SIXTEEN YEARS AND YOU RETURN THE SAME AS GOREFIEND?!" Azilrog began to roll around to dampen the flames, screaming. Shana pulled the axe from her waist and hacked at his armor. "I REMAINED FAITHFUL TO YOU TO HONOR YOUR MEMORY!" "I RAISED OUR CHILDREN ALONE!" Shana cleaved into Azilrog's smoldering shoulder. The garden began to burn as well. "THE BLACKROCK NEARLY KILLED ME!" Azilrog got to his feet and jumped into the pond, the water dousing the flames. Shana changed strategies, using the water to form a small water spout that lifted Azilrog up, flooding his body with it. "AND YOU RETURN NOW?! NOW OF ALL TIMES?!" Azilrog flailed, attempting to escape. Shana froze the water inside and outside Azilrog with just his head out of the ice. "Who in Hellscream’s name do you think you are?" "Sh-" The words caught in Azilrog's throat as it filled with ice. He rested, immobile before stepping through the shadowlands and dropping out of the abstract ice sculpture. "Shana you're being unreasonable." He rasped, getting to his feet as Shana's axe bites into the meat between shoulder and neck. "I'M being unreasonable? What right do you have to call me unreasonable?!" She ripped the axe out before hacking in again, this time hitting bone as his black blood oozes out. Azilrog groaned, a shadowy claw reaching from the ground to strangulate Shana. The Greatmother gasps for breath, dropping her hold on the axe. As the Death Knight stood, up he pulled the axe from his shoulder and tossed it aside. "I could've just never come back. I came to see you as soon as I learned you were here." Shana growled as she squirmed, a storm elemental forming behind Azilrog and sending shocks through his system. Shana dropped to her knees and breathed, the elemental enveloping the Death Knight in a flurry of lightning and shearing wind. Some of his plate is taken off by the furious blows, and he was barely able to stand the onslaught. The Greatmother snarled, pushing Azilrog down on his chest after the elemental ceased the carnage. "You left." Shana grit her teeth, pressing her burnt boot into his back. "Nothing you ever say or do can justify that, or excuse that. To me, to Shokkra, or to Karthok." She stepped off the nearly immobile orc's back, the elemental fizzling out as she left her former mate in the ash.

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The Twisting Nether Gazette is a role play forum for characters on the RP-PVP servers Twisting Nether and Ravenholdt.  We have been active since November of 2005, a few months after the Twisting Nether server originally went live.  Our purpose is to provide a safe and inclusive environment where role players can meet and interact with each other, and, of course, post their amazing role play stories, art, bios, and journals.

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