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  3. Honorborn Jobs List The Jobs List has a twofold purpose. One, often in RP there is downtime between events and stories, or you just get busy with real life and can't commit to RPing all the time. In the Honorborn, it's safe to assume that even if your character isn't participating in the big crazy jobs, they always have some low level work that they're doing. The jobs list can be used to help with this so that you always have something your character could have been working on, even if you're not RPing it out. So if you take a break from RPing to deal with some real life stuff for a month, you can come back and say 'oh, yes, I have been doing X job from the job list' IC. The second purpose is to fill in whenever you don't have more exciting RP going on. Waiting for that big storyline to pick up? Just want to do something a little lower stakes? Want something simple to get to know your guildies better? You can ask me to run any of the jobs list jobs for you! I will try to keep this list updated with new ideas and expansion relevant jobs. General Jobs -Act as a consultant for any kind of specialized knowledge (i.e. acting as a consultant on alchemy as an alchemist) - Assist a farm overrun with Quillboar -Investigate a haunted house -Protection detail for a nobleman traveling to Booty Bay -Protect a caravan traveling south out of Duskwood -Help remove troggs assaulting a dwarven villiage - Assist a member of the Brotherhood of the Sword with a murder investigation - Act as a bouncer for a fancy party - Help protect members of the Explorer's League with a spelunking mission - Fight alongside the Sporelings against Naga invaders - Investigate rumors of demonic activity in a town - Escort precious cargo through a troll infested area - Help with a diving team trying to recover a sacred item from a shipwreck - Keep Satyr away from a moonwell while Druids are attempting a cleansing ritual - Head to the Plaguelands and take down a minor lich who is raising undead - Drive vermin off a ranch in Kun Lai - Provide security at a Tuskarr wedding - Investigate a supposed bandit hideout in Westfall - Check out a recently unearthed tomb in Uldum - Help a goblin in Winterspring do research on the local Yeti - Go undercover to help with a Brotherhood of the Sword investigation into a fighting pit - Protect a group of druids collecting samples in Un'Goro - Check out the disappearance of a group of settlers in Grizzly Hills - Protect a shipment of jade from the Hozen - Find out why the spirits are restless around an old ruin - Fight back against a recent silithid incursion in Silithus - Put an end to a witch assaulting a Drustvar town with wickerbeasts - Help discover the reason behind a failing harvest - Assist the Gilnean Liberation front against a group of Sylvanas loyalists - Help a group in Felwood attempting to cleanse part of the land - Protect a group of Dark Iron from Ogres while they set up defenses on a new basecamp in the Burning Steppes - Put a stop to agitated gnolls attacking Lakeshire - Clear out a cave of kobolds so that the miners can go back to work - Head to the Hinterlands and help with the Griffin hatching season - Cull the overpopulation of murlocs along the coast of Westfall - Head to Ashenvale to help with rebuilding efforts - Protect a caravan heading through Hillsbrad - Provide a protection detail for an ambassador - Destroy an artefact that is driving a tribe of Furbolg mad - Help take down a mogu who has been threatening a pandaren brewery - Push back against a group of orcs threatening the usual safety of the mountain passes heading into Dun Morogh - Help a trophy hunter claim the head of a large threshadon - Take out a massive bear that has been eating the rams of a dwarven village - Protect a shipment heading through Deadwind Pass - Sneak into Freehold and stop an important business deal - Assist a group of Wardens with clearing out a residual demon hideout - Cull a den of giant spiders, and bring back poison to the nearby town for antidotes - Protect a young lord going out 'adventuring' for the first time - Help a rich, useless, mage move - Fight a group of cultist holdouts in Stormsong Valley - Help the Sentinels of Feralas fight back against an Ogre threat Shadowlands Jobs -Coming soon!
  4. Last week
  5. Everyone in Azeroth knows about the Dragonflights, Blue, green, bronze, Black, Red. But there is one, lost in time, the Prismere dragonflight. This dragonflight, like none others. did not use the power of nature, or any of the elements for that matter. Instead, they had to power to control ones mind, and used the power of their own rage to protect Azeroth. The Legion were seen as if they had no chance of claiming or even leaving their mark on Azeroth. But one day, five seconds is all it took to erase the Prismere Dragonflight. In those five seconds, a portal to another universewas torn into the air inhailing all who was near. The Prismere Dragonflight was no more... Or... So they thought. As the legion continued to attack Azeroth they realized that it couldn't of been that easy t get rid of one of the Dragonflights, But at the same time shrugged it off as the demons they are. Three years went by, after the Prismere Dragonflight had been vanquished, and there were now "Factions" Horde and Aliance... How pitiful.... Curiosity Ironically didn't kill when a curious little Druid found a Dwarf in a coffin made of a strange red rock, and thought to ressurect the being. The being happened to be a dwarf, but with charredskin as if they were pitch black scales. Uppon revival, the druid asked the dwarf "What is the red rock you were burried in"?... no answer... "why is your skin as black as obsidion"?... again no answer... "What is your..."......... "Me' Name be' Thrane......... Prismere..." replied the Dwarf. "an' who migh' ye' be, Bringon' back an elder of an Ancient Dragnfl... *wheeze*..." "oh where are my manners, my name is Thy'Ladon"..... "I've gotten this interest in learning about ancient times, My Wife Elaine loves to studdy fowers, and how they can help people get better, and which ones heal the fastest" he says with a smile on his face. Thy'Ladon: "So, I hope I'm not bothering you, but what is the red coffin for"? Thrane: " 'Twas to show an officer of the Prismere Dragnflights courage in battle." suddenly the Ground started shaking, sounds of footsteps, marching, yelling, screaming. A moment later, a young Nightelf Rogue ran into the room with Thy'Ladon and Thrane. Thy'Ladon: "Elaine"! " What's going on out there"? Elaine: "Arthas has come" Thrane: "Arthas"? Thy'Ladon: "stay away from windows and doors, ok"? Elaine starts moving away from the dor when a frosty blue sword impales her through the door. Thy'Ladon: "ELAINE"!!!!! Elaine gets back up after a moment, but with frosted eyes, the eyes of the cursed. Thrane stood up, trying to regain his balance after centuries of being dead... Tackled the Night elf who had helped him, and told him, with a tear in his own eye, that Elaine was gone for good. Elaine Clawed at Thranes back as he stood infront of Thy'Ladon. Thy'Ladon took up his spear, and stabbed right through his Newly wedded wifes heart. and as the blood ran to the floor, he cried, telling her how sorry he was. Thy'Ladon Picked up Elaines body and took off with Thrane. In destought, Thy'Ladon and Thrane went to Stormwind to seek King Varian to warn him of the Lich King, and what he had done to Thy'Ladons home. After hearing about this, King Varian requested them to follow him outside his castle. He led them just outside of the Dwarven district under a tree, where Thy'Ladon could bury his precious Elaine. "This is sadly all I can do for you." and as he set down a doll by the grave, Thy'Ladon promised he would find a way to pay the king back. Thrane remained by Thy'Ladons side for comfort. Thrane needed to find what had remained of his Dragonflight, but did not want to leave a heartfallen elf behind, and so he invited him to get his mind on what had happened. As they set off to head to Northrend, flowers flew in the breeze as if guiding them. The flowers had come together in the shape of an elf, a female elf, Thy'Ladon all of a sudden got a burst of emotion and courage, for the flowers were guided by the spirit of Elaine who had sworn to him to stay by his side forever. and so Thy'Ladon collected a pedal from one of the flowers. When they reached Northrend, Thrane Morphed into a Dragon, allowing the druid to ride to the location. Thrane: "I's alo' colder than i' was las' time I was 'ere." When they reached their location, There were only bones, death, decay, and shattered hope. Thrane knew he was the last of his kind. Thy'Ladon: "Are you ok friend?" Thrane: "Tha' damn Legion................" .......... " 'ey tood everethin form meh....." ......... "Teh Legion are monsters..." "remember tha'." After a few moments to mourn the fallen, They started heading back to where they started Thrane and Thy'Ladon then flew by the tower of dragonflights heading back, and thought they had heard Thrane's name being screamed. "PRISMERE?!?!?!? IS IT REALLY YOU??? IT CANT BE!" shouted a semifamilier voice. when he landed at the tower, he saw a gnome, chromie, his favored friend..... and she still lived...... Thrane: "It........ It can't be....... You're......" Thrane stated going down in tears. Chromie: "I am... It's Nice to see you again.... Prismere." Thrane then almost fainted as the tears ran down his face, sweat building up on his forehead, and muscles tensing up. Thrane: "How did you survive... De' Legion?" Chromie: "After the Prismere Dragonflights fall... The Legion just kind of.... well........... Vanished." Thrane: "We were the target all along........." ..... "I'm sorry... I have to go..." Chromie: "Farewell...Dear friend." They conitinued on their Journey to find answers to why the Prismere Dragonflight was targeted, and how they could manage to do it in merely a few moments. They found nothing.... not a hint, nor clue...... the answer lost.... forever forgotten......... As a year came by since Elaines burrial, Thy'Ladon and Thrane went to go visit the gravesite, suddenly..... the sounds of Arthas came from behind Thrane, and as he turned around Arthas swung his sword and for a fraction of a second that felt like an eternity, Thrane saw the past, the answers to it all. The legion was never truly there, a member on the inside was fooled by the Legions promise of power and slew their own brethren. Thrane woke up in a cold sweat because of the vision and saw vision after vision after vision, Arthas falling, a new Lich king, Deathknights Being freed from their Dark, Corupted chains, Betrayal, the Legions return, Lost culturs, and even the death of all worlds. Thy'Ladon looked over at Thrane as he was tying his shoes. Thy"Landon: "You ok man?" Thrane: "Don' worreh 'bou' i'." they then, actually, went to the grave of Elaine, and as they were walking over, again the beautiful sprit of Elain followed them in the flowers holding Thy'Ladons hand the entire way there. A tear ran down Thy'Ladons face as he reached his poor beloved Elaines grave... ((Diggydiggy-Ravenholdt))
  6. Hey MooMoo, It been waaay too long since I wrote you. 12 years? I be seeing you more recently than that, but I wish I be writing you. It be a year and a half since you be taken from me. Before that, things were not just good. We were together, but you not be feeling good for years. We not be able to adventure, but I wish I would have, could have. I be missing you more than this troll could ever say. Even if I be saying it, it not be making sense. I be looking at this last letter that you wrote and I be never did respond to.. There just be so many things I be wanting to say but never be able to. MooMoo, I be loving you and always will be loving you. You were the star in my eye, the warm in my heart, the smile in my bounce. I would be given anything to wander around un’goro swamp with you. I know that aint going to be happening again. For that, my MooMoo, I don’t know what to be saying, other than I love you and I be thinking about you every day. I not be saying I never love again, but I never love like you again. I love you MooMoo, and I will be missing you forever. Love, Your pogo-troll, SwiftBleid.
  7. Sarah ran ahead, her armor clanking. Everyone was in good cheer. She was covered in blood, but none of it was hers. Daniel had made sure of that. They were deep in the depths of Blackrock's spires, clearing the place of cultists and ogres for honor and profit. Even the usually morose Oliver seemed to walk with a lighter step. Sarah suddenly put up her hand in warning and a finger to her lips to urge silence. Terand crouched low and moved to the shadows to scout ahead. A clear chanting harmony floated through the stone passage toward them and the party hugged the wall as they advanced slowly toward what they gradually understood to be a ceremony of some sort. At the edge of a pool of lava whose deep yellow softly moving light made eerie shadows around the cavern, a massive orc in dark robes stood behind an altar with his arms in the air and his face to the stone ceiling so high above that it was lost in the darkness. All around the altar were similarly robed but far more ordinarily sized folks of varied races voicing the chant in obviously practiced tones that would have been almost pleasant if they weren't so ominous. Atop the altar was a smaller female orc dressed in almost nothing, a few strategically placed strips of cloth. With a blank expression, she stared up at the huge orc leading the ceremony. Terand tiptoed silently into place behind the leader, unnoticed by any of the cultists, but was forced to draw back when the huge orc turned around and dipped a black stone cup into the lava. The chanting continued, increasing in volume as the huge orc handed the cup to the small one on the altar. Daniel hissed in sympathy as he realized what was about to happen and Sarah's plate gloves clanked as she put a hand on his arm to calm him. The nearest cultist stopped their chant to look over their shoulder, and Sarah shouted and dashed forward. "Now!" Terand was already in place an stunned the massive orc with the a swift leap that ended with the hilt of his blade driving into the base of the orc's skull. But even as the party scattered the ceremony and cut down the cultists, the small orc on the altar brought the stone cup to her mouth and drank down the molten rock within. Even if she had thought to scream, there was doubtless nothing to scream with. She made a slight gurgling sound as she collapsed onto the stone, flesh of her throat melting as she did. Despite Terand's interruption, the orc leader's transformation happened anyway. His already imposing form liquified and expanded, becoming part fire part body with an echoing roar that was both a voice and an explosion. Sarah took control of the monstrous orc elemental's attention, holding up her shield as her enchanted blade slashed at every weak point she could see. Oliver and Terand made sure none of the cultists escaped. Daniel, though, was entirely focused on the orc on the altar. His healing magic flowed through her, but he seriously doubted whether the damage she had done to herself could be repaired. Sarah would have to hold her own, as he was confident she could, while he saw to the dying girl. His work was so difficult and required so much of his attention, that he paid no notice to the fight around him as it waxed and waned and finally ended, the cult leader's lavabeast corpse oozing slowly back into the pool behind them. When Sarah approached, wiping her sweat off her brow with the soft leather protecting the inside of her elbow, her shield was half gone, destroyed. She had a burn on the space on her chin that her helmet didn't quite reach, and Oliver was bleeding from a gash on his leg, but they had managed without their healer. "Is she going to make it?" Sarah asked as she pulled off her helmet. "I'm not sure," Daniel answered. "We have to take her back to the city. We have to try." Oliver and Terand shared a look. Daniel knew what it meant. He knew they wondered what made this orc any different than the ones whose bodies littered the path they had taken down the spire, but they all knew better than to ask. They all knew Daniel's heart bled freely for any he perceived to be victims and they put up with it for the sake of his skills. "All right," Sarah said. "We've been in here long enough for one day as it is. Let's head back." A pair of ogre spears and Daniel's own shield as well as some of the cultist robes were pressed into service as the makeshift stretcher they used to take the orc girl back to Stormwind. Sarah smiled at Daniel as they made their way up through the spire, taking the long way. He smiled back. Their work was good for both of them, and at the end of the day, he always made sure he could sleep well knowing he had done his best to make the world a better place. ((Kumai - Twisting Nether))
  8. All sorrows can be borne if put into a story? No. I have no sorrows of my own. I do not bear sorrows. The stories I tell are deceptive and manipulative to make the world closer to what I wish. I am someone else's sorrow come to life, someone else's story untold and made to walk within the world, someone else's sorrow never properly borne, made of misery to bring misery. I am my parents' sorrows. I am Silvermoon's sorrows. I am the story. I am the story that makes their lives easier and everyone else's more difficult.
  9. Earlier
  10. Full Name: Malethia Blazestone Nicknames: Mal, 'Thia Date of Birth: 16 November, Year 8 Age: 35 Race: Sin'dorei Gender: Female Hair: Blonde Skin: Fair Eyes: Golden Glow Height: 5'9" Weight: 104 lbs Place of residence: None Place of Birth: Silvermoon - Blazestone Manor Known Relatives: Quindel Blazestone (father, assumed deceased), Delaria Blazestone (mother, deceased), Melos Blazestone (younger brother, deceased) Religion/Philosophy: Zen Occupation: Adventurer, Sage Group/Guild affiliation: Sanctuary Enemies: The Scourge, the Burning Legion, the Twilight Hammer Weapon of Choice: Fists Physical Features: Malethia's skin is covered in tattoos, largely invisible save for flickers of arcane energy randomly flowing through them. They begin to glow brightly when she uses her abilities. Special Abilities: Malethia is a Runemaster; her tattoos channel arcane energy into her body to increase her physical prowess to increase her strength and agility, as well as granting her mystical abilities in conjunction with her Pandaren training. History Born to a great family of fire mages, Malethia Blazestone was destined to a life of luxury as one of the city's ruling Magisters. That destiny changed when the Death Knight Arthas lead the Scourge into Quel'Thalas; her family was slaughtered while she was left for dead. Malethia barely survived, but serious pyrophobia developed from the attack and prevented her from continuing her family's legacy. Salvation came from the newly founded Order of Blood Knights. Its Mistress, Liadrin, inducted her as one of the Order's first and youngest members. Driven by a desire for vengeance, Malethia excelled in her training but remained emotionally detached from others. On the eve of her ceremony bonding her to M'uru's power, the Naaru visited her in a dream. For reasons unknown, it unlocked her natural connection to the Light Primal. Now a paladin, Malethia held the source of her powers secret for fear of the stigma it would cause amongst her own people. Scared, confused, and alone, Malethia masked her natural personality behind that of a harsh Blood Knight taskmaster. Driven by rage and a desire for revenge against all who had wronged her, Malthia joined The Grim and their bloody war against the Alliance. The constant strife and bloodshed fractured her personality and she became increasingly unstable, until she was finally banished from their ranks. Broken and abandoned, she wandered lost until she encountered Vilmah Bloodborne by chance. After a conversation, she joined Sanctuary and embraced the path of peace as a priestess. Shortly before the Cataclysm, Sanctuary engaged the Twilight Hammer to prevent the deployment of a super-weapon capable of wiping out cities. Malethia seemingly sacrificed herself to destroy the weapon. Though believed dead, she was in fact trapped in the caverns beneath Silithus. Bereft of her connection to the Light, contaminated with fel and void magic, her personality completely split. She pursued a path of evil, killing innocents and pursuing insane acts of science and magic in an attempt to reclaim the soul she was convinced had been stolen from her. Eventually, her path took her to Pandaria in search of the dark energies of the Sha for use in her experiments. There, an attack upon a Pandaren village resulted in her capture. Sentenced to death for her crimes, a wandering monk happened to stop by. Seeing the young elf for who she was - a lost and wounded soul - he set her free. Using his mystical skills, the Pandaren cleansed Malethia of the magic infecting her and introduced her to the Way of Zen. After years of conflict both physical and spiritual, Malethia learned how to balance the warring fragments of her self. For the first time in her adult life, she became whole. Malethia spent years traveling Azeroth to learn the ways of the Runemaster, combining her training as a Monk with the arcane power of her family's legacy. With her new abilities, she decided it was time to rejoin the battle for peace, returning to Orgrimmar and entering the ranks of Sanctuary once again.
  11. 9.16.20 Fifteen years. That’s how old The Grim is now. Only four months after it was formed, I joined them. I never thought it would take this long to achieve the goal of peace through annihilation. I never thought I would last this long either. We all got together tonight, those of us that are still here, and listened to Awatu talk about The Grim anniversary. I told the story of the King of Rats. And then we all named people we remembered who were lost to us. So many lost to us. I have felt that loss keenly over the years, but to hear those names in so many other voices….. Sometimes, as I find myself looking more to the past than to the future, I wonder if I’ve been here too long. Muatah would scold me for wasting time dwelling on the past. Yichimet would give me wise words of solace. Mohan and his wolf Ohoye would give comfort just in their strong, steady presence. I still miss them all. So much. Sammuel, the first Grim I ever met. Ravovich, The Bear, who taught me how to fight as part of a team. Abric, the Enforcer, who trained me to be a better rogue. Grolish, who taught me how to read. Chavi, who showed me that even in undeath, there could still be wonder and joy. Cessily and the other early elves who formed my hatred of the race. Kiannis, Elek, Cen, and Orphyn, who proved there could be exceptions to that. Bloodscream. Skash. Malstrom. Maurt. Regna’netah. Warneshi. Leyu’jin. Cristok. Laughingcrow. Chaindog. Hektar. Kaz. Emmons. Inzema. Atticus. Drinn. Trilok. The Triplets. Gex. Thrysta. Gazreeth. So many others. Even my own twin, Anaie, hasn’t been seen in several months. So many good Grims come and gone. Dead or in some other way, lost to us now. And yet, the Mandate still stands as long as there are those who still believe in it’s purpose. The Grim who remain, and the new ones who have joined in recent years, have taken up the call. “PEACE THROUGH ANNIHILATION” still rings through the land. And always will.
  12. September 12th: "It wasn't my fault" The statement was as short as reminding me to pick up onions before leaving the city. Our child was a boy, he died. It's not my fault. Years ago, Lilliana stepped out of my life without a word. At a time when she could have gone into labor at any second. She stepped out and I did not hear anything but vague mentions of her for years. I tried to reach out but nothing came of it. I received no word of his birth, I received no word of how she has been throughout these years. Nothing. I thought I had gotten over it. I had moved on, I had found love again and finally built what I thought I would have had with her. Then she appears for a drink with Khorvis. The two stay a while and chat as I struggle to come up with anything to say... What could I have even said? Would it have mattered with her? She would have laughed it off or ducked the question. Yet that isn't fair to her. I could see the mask cracking. The fact that she reached out then spoke something of how she had changed. Even if slightly. But right now I can't think about it. I can't praise how she still seems to care when all I have is an aching void. I never even got to meet him and now I never will. It hurts. I hurts because I know of all the things she's ever told me. This is the truth. Payback List: Me: If I had not driven her away, would I have been there to stop it from happening?
  13. Tahzani


    "He got moah rough edges den raw timbah. He goes outta his way ta be an asshole but unlike most if jah ask him ta stop he will. We butted heads a few times but he... Well he still growin'. Changin' slowly wit de world an' ah tink he a bettah man den people give him credit fah."
  14. "Fah a mon dat used ta be a frequent customah ah surprisingly don' know much about him. He be dutiful, loyal, an' because a dat, frustrated as shit." Tahzani remarked, setting a clean glass down. "Mon has patience like a saint though honestly. How he used ta deal wit Shokkra wit a stiff upper lip until he eventually called her out. He does dat a lot actually, can't disagree wit what he says but his timin'...Not de best." The troll blew out a breath and eyed the interviewer. "Seriously jah don' know how many times ah seen him get his ass beat, hell ah NEVAH got de bloodstain outta my boat from dis one time."
  15. Kumai


    Full Name: Kumai Race: Orc Gender: Female Hair: Long, henna colored. Eyes: Light brown Height: A little on the short side Weight: A little on the round side. Notable Physical Features: A massive burn scar covers most of the left side of her body, including most of her neck down to her hips, though it is usually only visible if intentionally uncovered by clothing She refuses to speak, though whether she actually can or not is debatable, and instead either creates images with ash and heat or signs with her hands Place of Residence: Dalaran Place of Birth: Nagrand Known Relatives: None Occupation: Errandmage, apprentice enchanter Guild Affiliation: Sanctuary Known Associates: Qabian Grimfire Known Nemesis: Always wary of Twilight cultists and current members of The Grim, but no sincere enemies Special Skills: Extremely delicate manipulations of fire and heat, especially shadow, light, and ash directly within a flame source. Positive Personality Traits: Determined, independent, intellectual, curious, carefree, easygoing, tenacious Negative Personality Traits: Overly cautious, naive, proud, selfish, stubborn History: When Kumai joined the Grim, she confessed her Bleeding Hollow clan origins and her past interaction with the Twilight cult that resulted in her scarring and her disconnection from the elements. She was born and raised in Nagrand, but she is very far from Mag'har. She just had her rite of passage into adulthood when the portal to Azeroth was opened permanently, and ended up with the Twilight not long after. She was only with them a very brief time before being rescued from Blackrock, though her rescue did not go smoothly. After a slightly awkward admission interview with the Grim, she faded into the background quickly and remained there, hidden and untested. Not long after Qabian returned during the campaign in the Broken Isles, Kumai asked him to teach her. He took her under his wing and became unusually protective of her. Eventually, he cut ties with her publicly when her capacity to follow The Grim's Mandate became questionable. In the present, Kumai has fully abandoned all of her connections and past with the Grim and the Twilight. She seeks knowledge and companionship with Sanctuary, a hard turn from her previous associations, but she tries not to belabor her past too much, looking instead to the future. STORIES: Beginnings and Beginnings: Letters to a friend, current character journal ((Letters Unsent: Kumai's old Grim journal)) What Friends Are For: It's hard to know sometimes Rescuers: Not the main character
  16. Kumai placed the small pile of books on the plain wooden table she set up in her new room in Sanctuary's Razor Hill quarters. She frowned as she pulled a sheaf of blank papers from inside the cover of one of the books. She was doing her best and didn't regret the decision she had made, but she questioned herself, her capacity, her correctness, as people do. She was a quiet person. She made it seem as though this was forced on her, but in truth, it was by choice. It was all by choice. She had been given a voice on a few occasions since the original loss, and technically, she still had the last, but she hated it. New voices never sounded like hers, never felt like hers. It always seemed like an outside force moved her mouth and she hated it. She had grown to feel most like herself when using her hands and the light and shadow that was hers. The voice was not hers. There were times she felt forced into it, but when she had the option, she chose. She looked around the room. It was so different than what she had become used to in Dalaran. Dalaran oddly suited her. It was full of people who tended to be so different from her on the surface, but somehow so very like her within their minds, curious and analytical, easily forgetting the world around them when they were lost in their own thoughts, few of them truly gregarious because they were too busy with the things they believed were important, things that might affect the entire world but were not individual people. Unfortunately, Razor Hill reminded her of people who were like her on the outside, but whose minds never worked like hers, people she had abandoned, people she did not miss. But this was the Horde, wasn't it? Dalaran had separated her from the Horde, creating an illusion of a world where only magic mattered. The Grim's version of the Horde was incompatible with a world everyone who wanted to share could share. The Twilight's version of the Horde was, well, a mess. Kumai wanted to know the Horde as it really was. Qabian thought maybe here, or at least with these people, she could learn about a Horde that he did not himself believe in. Kumai leaned over the table to put her hand to the wall, carved by the elements. A toxic mixture of rage and despair welled up in her, but she was achingly familiar with the sensation now and waited patiently for her acquired knowledge to dissolve her reflexive pain with no more action on her part than a few contemplative moments. She pulled a quill and ink from the pack on the floor and finally sat down to write. - I know you said we would not see each other again, but I don't believe you. I might believe you if Dalaran crashes into the sea one day, but you have too much history there to avoid it forever. I'm going to see you in its streets one of these days. Your Violet have me living in Razor Hill. This is nothing I'm used to. I've lived on rolling plains. I've lived in the molten depths of a great mountain. I've lived in a thriving city of magic. I suppose the word for this place is quaint. There's a simplicity to it that reminds me of where I started, but if there's anywhere I never wanted to go again, it is back where I started. But then the Horde started where I started, didn't it? It makes sense to go back if I am to understand them. This is what I wanted, what I asked for, but it isn't what I expected. Not that I know what I expected, something more brutal perhaps, more stoic grunting, less awkward smiling. Despite my discomfort, there is a sweetness here. I trust everyone's intentions, which is new for me. I think Dalaran will always be more comfortable because it suits me, suits my authentic voice, but this place seems like it will be better for me in the end, more wholesome, more healing, and will help me find the things about myself that I abandoned long ago. This was the right decision. If I sound like I'm trying to convince myself, I am. I know that you do not worry about me, and that was not a lie, but I also know you will be curious. Consider these letters my gift to that curiosity. You will be tempted to keep them, but you should burn them. For both of us. ~K - Rather than address the letter, she tucked it away. Later, she would slip it under an unremarkable door in a Dalaran alley.
  17. A warm wind whipped the field of sunflowers into a frenzy as Nagoda tried to pick them. He clamped down the stack in his basket before they could take flight. Time was running short; he could not afford to waste time losing what he’d already gathered. The young Tauren carefully picked a flower from the tough earth and gasped as a ladybug flittered up from the pedals and landed on his snout. He giggled as the bug tickled his skin. Gently, he offered his finger for the bug to crawl on and watched it skitter about his palm exploratorily. “Nagoda!” a woman’s voice called. The boy started, spooking the bug into flying off. Nagoda sighed, wishing not for the first time that he could fly away, too. He stood and gathered his basket. “Coming, mother!” he called back, running to where her voice had come. He was breathing hard by the time he skidded to a stop by his mother’s side. His head came up to her thigh – he had never been a particularly tall child – and he squinted against the sun as he looked up at her. “Did you get all the flowers you needed, Little Goda?” The boy nodded and showed her his full basket. “I picked the best ones I could find! Auntie Mayha will love her wreath, won’t she?” Mother mussed his hair, smirking. “Of course she will, Goda. But just in case, we’ll be sure to weave in some extra love as we work.” Nagoda smiled and followed as Mother walked back to the village. The double-row of tents had been set weeks in advance to give the women of both families plenty of time to decorate and plan the arrangements. And yet, the place was still in a mad rush now that the day of the wedding had come. Nagoda didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but he took his duties as part of the procession seriously. He smiled as his mother’s sisters hung wreathes of multi-colored flowers from the tents on the Goldenfield side of the village. He and his mother had spent the last few weeks roaming Mulgore’s flowery spring fields to prepare their decorations. His back still felt sore from all the bending over he’d done. Mother stopped before a lavish zhevra-skin tent and patted Nagoda’s shoulder. “You know the rules, Little Goda.” Nagoda nodded and replied, “No boys get to see the bride until the ceremony.” Mother smiled and poked his stubby horns. “Run along and see if your father or uncles need any help.” “You’ll tell Auntie that I picked out the sunflowers, right?” “Of course I will.” He grinned, satisfied. He ran off, carefully avoiding bumping into the mass of tauren milling about. He straightened the collar of his ceremonial vestments as he trotted along the kodo-trampled dirt path that led to the upraised platform where the bride and groom would speak their vows before a Speaker. His uncle’s tent – a reflection of the bride-tent but in shadowcat skin, black with grey stripes – stood taller than all others in the village, and nearest to the dais. Nagoda rushed to it, only to be stopped by his uncle Cassowary. The gruff brave was painted in yellows and whites, the colors of their family. He carried no weapon, though it made little difference. He, like all braves, was built so strongly that nothing could stand against his charge. Of Nagoda’s paternal uncles, Cassowary was by far the largest, and the quietest. “Hello Uncle,” Nagoda said. “Mother sent me to help, if I’m needed.” Cassowary grunted. “Go in, calf.” Nagoda did just that. Inside the tent smelled of paint and firewater. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom, but he heard his uncle laughing easily enough. The man’s voice boomed like a wardrum, especially indoors. Nagoda stepped closer as he and Nagoda’s father talked, not noticing the boy just yet. “Oh, brother, tell me you didn’t say that!” Uncle Kimba wheezed between laughs. Nagoda’s father Kord stood tall and resolute as an old oak, his smile warmer than the sun and just as distant. His golden-brown fur looked brighter than ever as he stood beside his midnight-black brother Kimba. Kord replied, “I did, much to my embarrassment. I thought it was rather impressive at the time.” Kimba was having trouble catching his breath due to laughter. “Who in their right mind calls his enemy ‘ruffians’ when demanding surrender? Next you’ll tell me you captured a ship full of pirates and called them all bilge-rats and scallywags!” Kord chuckled while his younger brother guffawed drunkenly. Nagoda saw his father laughing and joined in, not quite certain of what was funny about it. His father caught notice and turned to look at him. “Ah,” he said, “Hello, son. I trust you finished that task your mother had for you?” Nagoda nodded enthusiastically. “Auntie is going to look amazing with all those sunflowers!” Uncle Kimba snorted. “Oh yes, and them picked for her by a little fawn on her wedding day. Just like a fairy-tale, wouldn’t you say, kid?” Nagoda frowned, his ears wilting abashedly. Kord eyed Kimba sternly. “Don’t upset the boy, brother. He helps his mother. Should he be ashamed of that?” “At his age, we did a lot more than pick flowers, Kord. I don’t know why you don’t put a spear in the boy’s hands and take him hunting before you—” “Enough,” Kord said. He did not shout, but his firm tone was enough to choke the words from Kimba’s mouth. Father stroked his braided beard for a moment before breaking the silence, “The ceremony will not start for some time yet. Nagoda, do you think your uncle has the right idea? Shall we go out to hunt for the afternoon?” Nagoda felt his stomach churn at the thought. A hunt? The boy had never killed anything before, not even the smallest of ants. He was hopeless with a bow or a spear. And yet he was his father’s only son; the reputation of their family rested on him. He had to do this. The boy nodded. “Yes! Let’s do it!” Kimba grinned. “Finally, something enjoyable amidst the hassle of marriage.” He set down his clay cup of firewater and walked past Nagoda, patting the boy’s round cheek with a hard hand. “C’mon, squirt. We’ll find a weapon suitable for your level of experience.” --- Half an hour later, they stalked through the tall grass west of the village, listening to the wind, the chirps of birds, and the steady hum of crickets and cicadas. Nagoda focused all his efforts on not tripping over the long spear his father had chosen for him. The two adults carried bows as well as hunting spears. Uncle Kimba had had a mind to shoot some quail or duck if they came across any by the water. By the steadily approaching sound of croaking, Nagoda guessed they were nearing their destination. Kord looked back at Nagoda as they walked. “How’s your grip, son?” he asked, watching the boy’s hands. “Attaboy. Just like your dad showed you.” Nagoda beamed at the encouragement. Curiously, he asked, “When did your dad first take you hunting, Father?” Kimba glanced over his shoulder and answered, “I was maybe four or five, so your daddy would have been six, maybe seven. We valued going out and taking what we needed back then. Not like now.” He grumbled something about the Horde and ‘kids these days,’ which made Nagoda feel small and hopeless. Father harrumphed. “You undervalue the prosperity Thunder Bluff and the Horde have brought us, Kimba. Before the Horde, we had one path: survival. Now we have the power to choose a new path.” “Like learning about our history!” Nagoda chimed in. The lorespeakers in Thunder Bluff had always held great interest for the boy. Sometimes he would buy bits of paper and ink to write out stories of his own or draw the heroes his teachers told him about. Kimba scoffed. “History. What you should learn from history is that you have to be ready for when the wolves are poised to pounce. You must be strong enough to fight a threat you didn’t even know was there. Our people took a heavy blow from the Burning Legion, but we survived because it’s what we knew best. You think when your boy’s generation takes over for us that they’ll be prepared to do the same?” Nagoda looked to his father. The golden brave got his usual far-off look that always came on him when he considered the future. “Yes,” he answered, “I do.” Kimba sighed. “Well, I’ve followed you this far. I guess I won’t give up on you now, brother.” --- A few hours later, the sun neared the horizon, casting long shadows and a bloodred light across the field of Mulgore. Nagoda stood beside his father, adjusting his vestments again as the other guests shuffle to their positions on either side of the village walkway. Uncle Kimba knelt before the Earthspeaker – an elderly man in elaborate feathered robes – and awaited the beginning of the ceremony. Nagoda looked up to his father. “Did you mean what you said to Uncle, Father? Do you really think I can be like you someday?” Kord looked down at his son, his face riddled with shadows. “Like me?” he replied, “Perhaps. But what I know is that you will be you, son. And I believe you will be the sort of man this world needs.” Nagoda beamed, though he felt a weight press down on him. Responsibility, he thought. But his father believed in him. He would not let him down. He never would. Drums beat as the bride emerged from her striped tent. She was radiant in the red light, adorned with a dress of golden flowers and pelts. She strode confidently down the walkway with the strong gait of a warrior. Kimba rose and descended the steps of the dais to meet her. He took her hand and led her up to the Earthspeaker, where they both knelt together. When they spoke their oaths to each other, and to the Earth Mother, the light of the sun set, and the gathered guests lit their torches. When Kimba planted a kiss on his bride, both sides of the village converged in the middle, offering welcome to one another’s family. Nagoda got swept up into the rush of tauren bodies, rapidly calling out welcome to whomever he could. Then Father lifted him onto his shoulders. Nagoda cheered and called out welcomes to everyone, towering over them all for once.
  18. Today was the day: the day Draquesha would turn ten years of age! At ten she would be able to finally say which family job she would pursue -- whether she would join her father's family as hunters or follow after her mother as a shaman. Though they knew long before that she, unlike her brothers, lacked the magical aptitude to follow in her mother's footsteps, she finally had the opportunity to become more than her failings. She had spent the last week, no the last month, looking forward to her birthday. Her birthday meant that there was finally a day for JUST her! No brothers, no parents. No. This was her time. Finally! She didn't have to worry about rocks being thrown at her face or wayward magic used to encase her bow and arrows. No. Today, she could relax. She could enjoy today. She had stayed up all night, waiting eagerly as the moon came and went. She lay in her little pile of blankets on the ground, staring up at the ceiling of their thatched hut giddily. Father would let her use his bow today! Father would take her out to hunts now! She could stand in the spotlight now, as the only hunter in the family now! The little troll shoots up immediately, blankets tossed aside, pillows thrown asunder, as the light of the sun finally begins to stream into her room. Little Draq had risen before anyone else had, setting out to get her daily chores finished. She whistled a cheerful tune, brushing the dirt away from their front walk and dancing in the rising sun. As she was spinning, arms out around her, and kicking up more dirt than she was intending to sweep away, a pair of strong, adult arms picks the tiny troll up and pulls her in for the biggest, warmest hug she had ever remembered. The tiny troll found herself erupting into a sea of giggles, arms wriggling to try getting out of the hold that had her. Who was it? Who had a hold of her? Was it her shitty brother? Was it one of her parents? Maybe it was an uncle or an aunt. She never did find out. Without another word, the arms carry Draquesha inside to their little worn hut. The hut is simple, with two three rooms: one for her parents, one for her, and one for her brothers. Somehow she'd managed to luck out at get a room alone. Somehow. She figured it was because she was the only girl. Or maybe because she was the nonmagical child. The center room was well decorated, with many handmade ornaments and knickknacks collected throughout her family's many years on the Isles. Bright red and blue masks with white accents, the skull of an old murloc long since killed, beads, and stone carvings. On the walls hung a long bow with a quiver of arrows, a fair few more lain upon a nearby table that were being worked on. It was simple, rustic, but it screamed of home to the little troll. As the adult holding her brought her inside, Draquesha couldn't help but smile when she saw the baked desserts sitting on their meager dining table. The family hadn't much, but they always did their best for special occasions. Her mother had sent her away the night before to play at a family friend's home to allow her to make the birthday treats without a little troll managing to get her little fingers in every single pie. Once she were finally free of the horrid adult's arms, Draquesha ran up to the table that she was finally taller than, and got a good look and smell of what was waiting in her near future: a pie with a pinched crust, filled with a sweet and sticky coconut mix; a warm coconut cake with spices that her mother had gathered the week before; and a sort of sugary sweet, sticky, and coconutty bar that was dyed bright green (the little troll's favorite color!). Excited, wiggly fingers reach out, trying to steal a few of the treats, before being carefully swatted away. A finger is waggled in her face, 'no, not yet'. First, she had family to greet and gifts to receive! She had always hated this part. The same conversation, over and over and over again. The well-wishes followed by the simple, shallow words exchanged between parties. Were they really interested in her? Did they actually want to know how she were doing or were they posturing for her parents' sake? She had been given paper and furs, a skull headdress, a necklace made of shells. It was all the same thing every year! Nobody knew her or they would have known she didn't need this! As she finally rounded on the last relative, she found a man holding a small, wooden cage. He was an uncle, one of her father's many brothers from the Echo Isles. Her mother's family were never able to attend, not that little Draquesha minded. It meant less gifts, but it also meant less talking. Her uncle looked at her from where he sat upon the floor, legs crossed near the center of the room. In the cooler months, they might have had a fire here, but in the heat of the summer that was unheard of. As all in her father's family were, the man was a hunter and the injuries he sported proved as much: a patch over an eye he had lost from his son's missed arrow; a nose broken so many times it looked like it an angry zigzag; and a missing finger on his already few fingered left hand. Draquesha bowed respectfully to her uncle, taking a seat in front of him and crossing her legs. The cage is slid towards her and she looked at it curiously. The cage makes a sort of excited chirping, clicking noise. Draquesha gasps, holding her head closer to the cage and poking a finger inside... only for it to get bitten by whatever was inside! She yelps in surprise, trying to get the finger back from the little creature inside. When she finally gets the finger back, she waggles it at the creature inside the cage, 'no, don't do that! That was mean!". She finally gets a closer look inside the cage, finding a newly hatched raptor: bright red with blue and green accents. Fluorescent blue eyes stared back at her, sizing her up. Assessing if she were worthy of it. She stared back, determined. They kept this little staring contest up for what seemed like ages, until a hand tapped at her shoulder and she looked up to see that same uncle gesturing for the cage. When she gives it back, he cracks it open and the little raptor she'd just had a staring contest with began to run around the room, chirping at everyone present, before returning to Draquesha and squeaking at her loudly. As she tries to pick the little monster up, her little monster now, it would try biting at her again. She smiled brightly, the most genuine smile she had sported since she'd begun speaking to the relatives. The little raptor bites at her legs as she finally stuffs her face with coconutty cakes, fingers covered in the shredded fruit when suddenly ouch! That one had hurt! He'd grabbed hold of her ankle and scratched her. Uphill battle with this little one, it seemed. She would work on that. No, they would work on that.
  19. I slammed the door behind me and blocked it with my back. My heart was racing so fast I thought it would leap from my throat. "I did it. I killed him," I managed between panting breaths. "Killed who?" he asked, not even looking up from his book. "You know who," I hissed. He calmly closed his book, laid it on the side table, then sat forward with his hands on his knees and grinned at me. "No," he said with an exaggerated tone of disbelief. "You don't have that in you. You're too good and obedient, choir boy. You couldn't kill someone, no matter how much you hate them." I covered my ears with my hands. "Shut up shut up shut up. I did kill him. He's dead. What am I going to do?" I could hear the pleading in my voice and it made me feel sick, but desperation kept me standing. He sighed and stood up. "Don't beg, choir boy. Never beg. It's gross. Let's go see what kind of mess you made." I wanted to shout him down, to tell him he was wrong, but I was too relieved that he agreed to help me. It was difficult to feel anything other than worthless as I followed behind him. --- I folded my arms across my chest. He was clearly being obtuse. "Listen," he said. He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and steepled his fingers. "This is not something I am ever going to understand. I know people say they hear the elements, but as far as I'm concerned the only voices they are actually hearing are their own." I rolled my eyes. "I have never heard the elements in my life, yet fire and water do as I ask." I slammed my hand down on the page between us. The words "Because you abuse them" formed. He leaned back. "If you truly believe that, why did you ever ask for my help?" I opened my mouth, both in shock and that old habit, a reaction when not having anything to say. I had no answer for him. He sighed. "The voices you heard then were the voices of the world, yes, but they were the magic that lives within it, magic you can know, and understand, and use, magic you can take apart and put back together, magic you can analyze, categorize, and calculate. It was magic speaking to you, not some sort of being with thoughts of its own. It was the world and yourself." I frowned and looked down at the page between us. "If that's true, then no one cut me off from anything, and vengeance is pointless," I made it say. He didn't answer immediately, and I held my silence, staring down at my words. When I looked up at him, he was staring at me, a deep frown etching his arrogant face. "Yes," he said. "But then everything..." He waved at me dismissively, simultaneously cutting me off and sparking anger in me. "You will need time. Do not do anything rash," he ordered, though his tone was more conciliatory than commanding. "I will help you with whatever you need. You will prove me right or prove me wrong before you choose what to do with this knowledge." --- "Stop crying," his father demanded. We were in a cramped white room, me, him, his father. I was having a mental breakdown. I was sure my life was over. They would demand I suffer. If they didn't kill me outright, they would clap me in chains for the rest of my life. "Did you mean to do this?" "N-no! Of course not!" I stammered. "Why would I--" His father crouched down, put his hands on my shoulders, and spoke very slowly. "Take a deep breath, then ask yourself the question again. Did you mean to do this?" I did as he asked, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and thought about the sequence of events that led me to this place. "Yes," I said quietly. The calm that settled in place of his father's hands when he took them from my shoulders was eerie and cold. "Why?" his father asked. "Because I hate him." His father stared me down. "Even now that he is gone forever?" "Yes," I answered clearly. There was silence from everyone in the room. He was quiet, then looked up at his father and said, "Thank you." His father nodded curtly, then opened the door and issued orders to whoever was outside. "There was an unfortunate accident. There was no crime here," his father said in a commanding voice. The door closed, leaving the two of us behind. I fell against the wall and slid to the ground. He put his hands on my shoulders as his father had. "You'll be fine," he said with a smile. "I know, because I always am." My face was still wet with tears when I looked at him, but I smiled back. "You're right," I said. "We'll be fine. Thank you." --- I stared in awe as the city opened up before me. I had never seen anything like it. I could see he was trying not to smile at my reaction. The corner of his mouth twitched in that way it does. "Beautiful," I signed. "All of it is yours," he said. "Liar," I signed back at him, but I knew what he meant. The libraries, the people, the freedom to learn who I was, to decide who I was, and all of it without burning any bridges yet, all of it with the excuse of self-betterment for the cause. Not that anyone would ask. Like him, I did not make friends. But this place, this city that floated above the violence would keep me safe. No, he would keep me safe. If anything went wrong, he would put himself at risk to help me, as he had now several times. I stared up at him. I couldn't help but wonder what he gained, but the first time he agreed to help me, I decided then never to ask him why. Just in case the knowing broke the spell. I learned that knowing could break a lot of spells. He just nodded. "Let's get you moved in, shall we?" I nodded back, then looked at my feet as I followed him.
  20. Revamping
  21. Full Name: Delphinia Acontis Nicknames: Delphie (childhood only), Dee, Delph (most common) Date of Birth: January 12, 597KC (5 years after the start of the First War) Age: 29 Race: Human (Worgen) Gender: Female Hair: Wild, wavy, black Skin: fairly light, olive undertones Fur (worgen): solid pitch black Eyes: Red Height: 5'9" (human) 8'5" (worgen) Body type: Lean, sinewy Place of residence: The Grove, Wetlands Place of Birth: Gilneas City Known Relatives: James Acontis - Father, Deceased; Rose Acontis - Mother, Deceased, Oleander "Olly" Acontis - Older Brother, Deceased; "Didge" Acontis - Younger Brother, Unknown Occupation: Ex-criminal, leader of a mercenary outfit Group/Guild affiliation: The Honorborn Guild Rank: Leader Likes: Reading, smoking, being warm, cuddles (though she'll probably kill you if you try), her little brother Favorite Food: Oranges Favorite Drinks: Beer Weapons of Choice: Poisons, smoke bombs, dual wielding daggers Dislikes: being compared to her father, hard liquor, strong smells, loud noises, being pitied or spoken down to Hobbies: Alchemical research, reading, drinking Special Abilities: Alchemical expertise, ability to manipulate her transformation between forms to certain effect, pickpocketing, lockpicking, and other thieves skills Positive Personality Traits: Loyal, protective, accepting, giving Negative Personality Traits: Abrasive, quick to anger, prideful, rebellious, distrusting, defensive, kind of gross, addict, struggles with closeness Misc. Quirks: Smokes a version of the worgen serum to control the curse; has night terrors and occasional anxiety attacks; has a weak stomach Theme Songs: I honestly have a spotify playlist for Delph but I'm too embarrassed to post it publically, you can ask for it and MAYBE I'll show it to you if you REALLY want Physical Features: Human - On the taller side for a human woman, Delphinia is lean but well muscled. Her features in human form reflect her worgen side heavily. Her jaw juts forwards with canines too big for her human mouth, she's hairy and her eyes are red. Her fingernails are black, regularly cut back to keep from becoming claws. Her wild mop of black hair is a perpetual mess, and she's almost always scuffed up and bruised in some way. Scars cover most of her body, though her armor usually covers them. Some are from a variety of injuries, drug use and cigarette burns, though others have the fine lines of surgical scars. Of note are a large quantity of rough old scars running vertically down her back. Also on her back are a pair of tattoos, a cluster of oleander on her right shoulder blade and a sprig of foxgloves arcing up the left side of her back. Silver piercings decorate both of her ears and face. Worgen - Only her bright red eyes and gnashing canines offer contrast to her jet black fur. She is lanky, powerful, and a frightening monster to encounter--especially in the dark. In both forms, her voice is a husky smoker's tone, her Gilnean accent extremely thick and marred by a slight speech impediment due to her over-sized teeth. History: Delphinia Acontis was born the middle child of Rose and James “Jimmy” Acontis in a poverty stricken neighborhood near the western canal in Gilneas City. Growing up, she had a rough childhood, filled with poverty, addiction and abuse. Her mother was a prostitute, her father a drugmaker, snake-oil salesman and general con. While the Acontises were not in any way a powerful crime family, they were fairly well known in their area for being untrustworthy degenerates--going to far as to be a brief mention in a larger drinking song about the various low-lifes of Gilneas. When she was fourteen years old, her father was hung for his crimes, and two years later her older brother, Oleander, followed in his footsteps to the headsman. She spent most of her young life believing this would be her fate as well, that she had no real choice but to follow in her father’s footsteps as a criminal and one day be executed for it. Her only real hope was that maybe, one day, she could spare her beloved little brother the same fate. With her father and older brother gone, it fell to Delphinia to be a breadwinner for her mother and younger brother. With no other prospects, she slipped into a life of thieving, conniving and dealing for years. Eventually, she ended up joining with the Rebels in the Gilnean civil war, railing against a system she saw as unjust. One night, working to smuggle weapons for the Rebels, things went haywire when they ran into a feral worgen. The night ended with several people dead, including Rose Acontis, and Delphinia bitten. Shortly after becoming afflicted with the worgen curse, Delphinia was captured. Her curse struck years before worgen would become a known entity to anyone outside of a very elite group, and well before the development of a system to manage the affliction. She became one of the earliest subjects of experiments to develop the worgen serum--an alchemical solution which allows the human side to take back control over the wolf. The process was long and harrowing, and while an effective serum was eventually developed, the experimentation left Delphinia scarred and unable to feel lasting effects from any conventional solutions. It also, however, meant that she was privy to a large amount of high-level alchemical work, leading her to learn quite a bit. When the Cataclysm struck, she managed to escape, fleeing to Darnassus with most of her people. She struggled deeply with managing the curse and finding the money necessary to fund her own solutions to it. Seeking a mental escape from the wolf in her head and the harrowing past few years, she fell even harder into criminality. Eventually, this led to her crossing paths with Sir Tonric Baur--then the Knight-Commander of an order of Stormwind Knights focused on serious cases of law enforcement. Tonric was on the case of a Gilnean gang-leader who had committed several murders--those of Delphinia’s own gang-mates. They became an unlikely team, and in the end, Tonric helped lead Delphinia out of the pit of crime she had dug herself into, giving her a second chance. Delphinia spent the next few years struggling to find honest work--a difficult task due to her history and troubles. Around the time of the war with the Legion, Tonric would double down on his aid by offering Delphinia a reliable job in his mercenary company--The Honorborn. It would not last terribly long, Tonric facing his own problems and dissolving the group, leading Delphinia back into a life on the wrong side of the law as they attempted to take down a criminal organization--The Black--from the inside. This led to an execution warrant being placed on Delphinia’s head, and wanted posters for her whereabouts going up. After almost a year of legal battle, Tonric was exonerated and Delphinia was cleared of her related crimes. With the support of Tonric, she reformed The Honorborn under her own leadership; seeking to provide the same chance it gave her to turn her life around to others.
  22. The Honorborn Led by ex-criminal Delphinia Acontis, the Honorborn is a mercenary outfit which takes in specialists and people with unique talents. They work a variety of jobs, and as consultants, most anything that will earn them an honest coin. Purpose The Honorborn, on it's face, as a group, does not have a grandiose purpose. They do not seek to save worlds or slay gods or herald justice or the light or the void. As an organization, they are here to do their jobs, and do them well, and earn a respectable living. But there is a small, subtler purpose, at least for the leader of the Honorborn. Having been born into a criminal family, and spending most of her life in the dregs of society, she found little opportunity to escape into a better life--until Tonric offered her a position in the Honorborn. Grateful for her new trajectory, Delphinia hopes she can help others in the same way; giving them a place free of judgement to become better and leave sordid pasts behind them. Guild and Surrounding History Of Sir Baur and the formation of the Original Honorborn The first Honorborn was first founded by Sir Tonric Baur. Tonric was previously the leader of an official order of Stormwind Knights known as The Brotherhood of the Sword. The Brotherhood of the Sword acts primarily as a branch of law enforcement for particularly dangerous criminals. At the beginning of the war with the Legion Tonric was dishonorably discharged from his post as Knight-Commander due to refusing to give up a criminal source (who had saved him and his men from the bombing of Theramore) and believed collusion with The Black--a large scale criminal organization. Removed from knighthood and given a criminal record, he decided to found a small special-ops team of mercenaries--The Honorborn. The Legion Campaign and the Dissolution of the Honorborn For much of the Legion campaign, Tonric and the Honorborn did not get involved directly with the fight against the Legion, despite a desire to. When they were first formed they were stationed at Silverwing Grove in Ashenvale, where Tonric was working closely with a Sentinel Commander Saedrynn Silverwing and her Beastwalkers (a specialized kind of Sentinel). Towards the end of the war, Tonric pushed even harder to get involved with fighting the Legion, coming to an agreement with the paramilitary group Night Vanguard to work together on a mission to Argus. The Honorborn moved to the Night Vanguard's base of operations--The Grove in the Wetlands, and set up camp. They worked closely with the Night Vanguard for awhile leading up to the Argus mission. Unfortunately, the mission to the demonic planet went poorly, resulting in the casualties and believed casualties of a number of people (some of whom were trapped on Argus for months after). Due to a number of factors including frustration and mistrust between members of the Night Vanguard Leadership and Tonric, as well as the fallout from the Argus mission, Tonric immediately resigned upon returning to Azeroth. Leaderless, and unsure if they could trust the Night Vanguard after seeing Tonric's dramatic exit, the Honorborn disbanded. The Hiatus After leaving the Honorborn towards the end of the Legion conflict, Tonric sought to put an end to The Black--the same criminal organization he was accused of being corrupted by years earlier. He was assisted by two of his most loyal men from the original Honorborn, Shruem Gildedbeard and Delphinia Acontis. While they were ultimately successful in taking down The Black, Tonric ended up in prison, on death row, for the lives of the criminals he took, and Delphinia was wanted under an execution warrant. After almost a year of battling legally and public opinion, Tonric was not only freed, but reappointed as Knight-Commander of the Brotherhood of the Sword once again and additionally hired by Night Vanguard as their Field Commander. Delphinia was absolved of her execution warrant, and Tonric offered his support and the support of the Night Vanguard in her reforming the Honorborn under her own command. The Reforming of the Honorborn As the fourth war drew to a close, Delphinia Acontis put out the call for both old members of the Honorborn and new recruits to join the company. Moving back to the base of Night Vanguard in the Wetlands, she established a camp and a contract with the paramilitary group to solidify the bond between them. OOC Rules and Structure OOC, we are very good friends with Night Vanguard and at this point, The Honorborn is inextricably linked to Night Vanguard. We share their discord, RP together, hang out together, and if you want to swap your character between one guild to the other, or add an alt in the other guild, there is absolutely no bad blood about it. That said, any rules Night Vanguard might have about things like their discord or in their events you as an Honorborn member, are expected to follow. Please be respectful of them and their officers. As Honorborn members, you are also expected to be respectful of other members, and refrain from any kind of hate speech, slurs, bigotry, harassment, griefing, spamming or harmful trolling. Please listen to both the Night Vanguard officers and any Honorborn leadership. If you have drama with another member, try to talk it out, if you can't, let the Honorborn leadership (me) know. We expect everyone to act with basic roleplay etiquette when RPing, if you are new to RP I have a post about terms and etiquette here: At the moment, there are no 'officers' of the Honorborn. I, Delphinia-TwistingNether, am the leader of the guild and most everyone else is a member or OOC member. /g in-game is considered an OOC channel. Very LGBTQ+ friendly IC and OOC If you are interested in joining, please contact: Delphinia-TwistingNether; BNET: Arahe#11800; Discord: Arahe#6448 or just apply via the guildfinder! (WARNING: Guildfinder is currently broken, please get in contact with me instead!)
  23. At twelve years old Delphinia Acontis was fairly tall for her age, and she drew herself up every inch of it as she approached the high counter. "How much?" Anxiety coils in her gut, but her chin is lifted, pre-pubescent voice demanding as much respect as it could. The woman across the counter splutters, blinking down a long nose through thin spectacles. "W-what?" "I'm 'ere to buy. I got coin. Jus' somefin' simple, for my little brovver." Shifting, she pulls a pouch from under a secret sling within her shirt. Da would beat her senseless if he knew she'd been skimming off the top. Still, this was important. "Love, I think you might be--" "I got coin. You got no reason not to serve us!" The pouch rattles as she slaps it down on the counter to punctuate the point. She feels her brother bury his face in her side at the shouting, dropping a hand to his shoulder to comfort him. "Shh-!" The woman raises her hands defensively, glancing around the room and meeting a few gazes now watching the exchange. Shame rises hot into Delphie's face. "Di' you jus' shush me?" "This is a library!" The woman finally manages, in an exasperated half-whisper. "Fine, we'll jus' take our coin someplace else. C'mon Didge." Snatching the pouch off the counter, she spins on her heel, brother in tow against her side. Hugging Didge a little tighter, she braces for the cold blast of winter air on the other side of the heavy oak doors. "No, no, it's alright. You don't have to go." Rounding the desk, the librarian hurries after them. Like bartering in the market, they always come running when the business threatens to leave. She turns, trying to look confident and judgmental despite the blush clinging to her cheeks. "So you'll sell us a book?" The librarian takes a breath, coming down to a less imposing height on one knee. "We don't sell books here--we're a library. Libraries let people borrow books, you don't have to pay." Delphie glances around skeptically, taking in the tall shelves that stretch back into the building. The woman's tone rankled her pride, but she tries to swallow it down, failing somewhat. "Seems a shi' way to run a shop." Instead of being offended, the woman actually laughs softly. "It's not a shop, it's a... public service. We get our money from taxes, donations, and to some extent, fees." "Fees?" Hazel eyes snap to the older woman's face, cautious of this new catch. "Well people can't keep the books forever, or we wouldn't be able to loan them out to others. So, we let them have them for a certain amount of time, and if they're late bringing them back or lose or damage them, we'll charge a fee for that." "An' that's it? Wha' abou' those wankers? How much do it cost to jus' sit about in here readin'?" "Nothing, as long as you don't ruin any of the books or anything. You're welcome to come in and read for as long as the library is open. You just have to keep your voice down and not bother the other guests." She smiles at them gently. "You wanted a book for your brother?" Delphie looks down at the mop of tight curls pressed against her side. "Gotta teach 'im 'is letters." He peeks out at the librarian, shuffling shyly further behind his sister. "None of the books we got... they's all too hard." "Alright. Well let's get your hands washed so you don't leave any smudges on the books, hm? There's a lavatory over there. Then once you're done, I'll meet you over by the fireplace with some good books for learning to read, alright?" After a moment's consideration, Delphie nods, and soon finds herself hoisting her brother up to help him reach the sink in the washroom. "You're gettin' too 'eavy for this." She mutters into his back. Still, there's something almost sweet in the reminiscence of days when she had constantly carried him; or there would be, if her legs didn't feel about to buckle. "Make sure you use lots of soap. An' ge' a drink. They's prolly go' good water 'ere." Didge hums a little response in place of words, before finally announcing a small, cheery, "done!" Gently placing him back on his feet, she demands an inspection of his hands (wet, but acceptably clean) before moving on to her own. The water prickles at her frostbitten fingers and she grimaces at her features in the mirror. Small wonder the librarian had asked them to wash up, the way her face was smudged with dirt. She takes a moment to clean it, making herself wince as she scrubbed too hard at an old black eye. "Awrigh'?" His tiny voice sounds concerned. "Yeh, I'm fine." She wraps an arm protectively around him once again as they head back out into the main room and make their way over to the fireplace. It roars, grand, warming the whole building from the winter chill outside. Sitting down just in front of the grate, Delphie feels warmer than she's been since fall, though the heat bites painfully into her frozen feet. Didge flops onto the outer hearth, sprawling out and soaking up the warmth of the stones with his whole body. In just a few minutes, she watches more color come into his face than she's seen in months. He looks contented, and lets out a little noise to match. He turns his attention from the fire to her face. "Yous smilin'." He points gleefully up at her. "So? I smile all the time." "Not real smiles." He half crawls, half flops himself across one of her legs. Delphinia's brow knots in concern, and her lips part to start some denial or retort, but she's cut off by a soft WHUMPH and a weight against her back. She jumps, startled, a strangled cry escaping her, dislodging the blanket that had been tossed around her shoulders. Turning, she can't quite reign in the terrified look she gives the librarian. "Shhh! I'm sorry, it's alright. Though I'm afraid I might make you wash your hands twice. My husband accidentally packed me a second lunch. I thought you children might like to have it." The lie is easy for Delphie to detect, but she takes a moment to search the woman's face for the reasoning behind it. Pity. A war between hunger and pride rages in her gut, the pain of her stomach winning out. She looks down, ashamed, as she accepts the handout--a mince pie wrapped in cloth and a tin filled with potatoes. "Fanks." Didge pipes up from her side, earning a surprised look from his sister. He barely spoke to the rest of their family, let alone a stranger. "You're very welcome." Delphie watches her leave, unwrapping the food they were given. The smell of it alone made her salivate and her jaw ache with hunger, but she passes it to Didge. When he breaks off half and hands it back, she hesitates for a moment, wanting to make sure her little brother got his fill. Watching him tuck in happily, she decides to follow suit and let him have the lions share of the potatoes if need be. She forces herself to eat slowly, despite how long its been since her last decent meal, knowing eating too fast could make her sick. Before long, the pair are nestled under the thick wool blanket on a rickety old couch near the fire. Hands cleaned (a second time) and full bellies, Delphie reads softly from a children's book. She hesitates and trips over sounds and words, stuttering across letters. Why did ds and bs need to be so confounding? The librarian would flit by regularly, no doubt checking that the ruffians weren't stealing something; but Delphie couldn't be angry about it. After all, her constant hanging about meant that Delphie could ask her about words she wasn't sure of (never occurring to her that that might be the reason she was there). Didge loved every moment of it, soft little happy hums and gasps of delight at colorful illustrations on the pages. Warm, quiet, content, Delphie eventually feels Didge nodding off against her shoulder. She nestles her chin in his thick curls, taking a break from reading to watch the snow collect on the windowpanes. Closing her eyes, she wonders how it's possible to feel so safe in such a strange place--and if it's possible to feel that way more often. "Delphie?" She jumps slightly, realizing she had dozed off. Her hands instinctively move to her hidden coins and her knife, finding nothing amiss. The fire still roars in the hearth, the snow still collects on the window, the book still stretches across the blanket on her lap. And most importantly, Didge was still curled up against her side. "Yeh?" "Like it here." "Me too Didge." "We'll come back?" Wriggling down deeper into the blanket, she pulls her baby brother into a tight hug. "Yeh, we's gonna come back every day we can. Learn all the fings books got to teach. All their secrets!" She whispers excitedly. "We'll be the cleverest thieves in all Gilneas!" Didge giggles, returning the affection. He smiles down at the book, running a tiny hand over an illustration of some exciting battle filled with wizards, elves and knights. He pauses, his little brow drawing together and looks up at her questioningly. "Why thiefs?"
  24. Hey guys! In celebration of the armistice IC and our new server merge between TNRH and Maelhoof Co. OOC, the Horde RP guild Sanctuary (with the Alliance RP guild The Honorborn) will be hosting a cross-faction in-game RP tavern night at World’s End Tavern led by Cerryan-TwistingNether, horde side; and myself Delphinia-TwistingNether (send a whisper for a group invite)! This will be a public event, and we will be trying to encourage people from our new cluster to attend, so anyone can come! This will take place at: World’s End Tavern, Shattrath on Friday, Aug. 7th at 6PM PST | 7PM MST | 8PM CST | 9PM EST
  25. Qabian stood leaning against the back wall of the embassy with a handful of other hangers-on as the so-called leadership of the Horde discussed their armistice. How he had managed to get there or what right he had to be there, no one seemed to question in the moment. A little peace between the Horde and the Alliance never stopped the Grim. Never stopped him, either, although other things did, now and then. Lor'themar acting as the speaker made Qabian feel vaguely ill. He wondered where Rommath was. The Grand Magister probably knew the whole debacle would provoke physical disgust, especially given what was going on with Dar'khan's little gang of disciples multiplying through Stormwind, and had the good sense to stay home. But peace and co-operation came in waves, ebbed and flowed. The more co-operation between the Horde and the Alliance, the greater the threat on the horizon seemed to be, and Qabian couldn't help notice the sense of foreboding, not just in himself, but in everyone in the room, and outside in the city beyond. Sylvanas' disappearance exacerbated that. Whatever was coming next was going to be bad, and she was either going to be the catalyst or woven inextricably into it, as Garrosh had been before her. The story was getting tired, but the necessity of survival superseded everything else. Qabian stepped quietly outside before the ambassadors finished speaking, once he realized Thrall was going to force a council on them. Seeing how well that had worked out for the Forsaken recently, clearly it needed to be modeled. Kumai waited for him near the gate. "You and I aren't to speak to each other anymore, remember?" Qabian said with a frown as he approached her. Kumai smirked at him. "Haha, very funny," he answered her smirk with a roll of his eyes and a scowl. They had taken on each other's mannerisms and their ability to communicate without saying anything was useful. Kumai reached into a pouch at her side, then tossed a pinch of soft dust in the air, before using her fingers and a shimmer of heat to weave it into a shape: the knives and shadows of the Grim. Behind the floating image, Kumai raised an eyebrow at Qabian. Qabian shook his head. "I don't know. There is always an ebb and flow to such work, and in theory, now is the time to prepare as the horizon promises there will be much to do, but..." He hesitated, looking past Kumai around the rough, omnipresent browns of Durotar stone. "Nazjatar has changed everything irrevocably. For me," he amended. "I may continue my project in Northrend, pretend it can hold my attention indefinitely when there is really no way that it can, but at least it is something to occupy my mind between the everyday struggles while we await that horizon's approach." He turned away from the embassy and the orc he was speaking to. She was one of the few people he could consider a friend without them ever insisting he address them as such, but the urge to pull away from even those few seemed to increase every day. She stepped up behind him and put her hand on his arm. "You have not yet found your Nazjatar. Or you have and you have already moved beyond it," Qabian said quietly. He didn't flinch from her touch, but he spoke to Kumai without looking at her. "I think I may need to find my way on my own." Kumai held her palm out in front of Qabian's chest with the Grim symbol still floating above it. The dust shifted its shape, showing a series of figures, all of them women: a shorter proportioned elf figure with a lot of curves, a tall figure with much longer ears and that characteristic shal'dorei arrogance in her stance, a small raggedy bony figure with knives aggressively stabbing at the air, a few other elves of varying shapes in various stances suggesting violence, then a small copy of herself right down to the little dust figure floating above her copy's hand. Qabian watched the series of images, then sighed. "I know. I am not alone. But I should be." He sidestepped Kumai's incoming punch with a curt laugh. "I know, I know. I know where to find help if I need it, but I don't even know if I want help at this point. We must wait and see. No, I must wait and see. I will grow into my role as a wizard locking himself away in a tower. You must go ahead without me." Kumai nodded. She let her dust lose its magic and gather in her palm, then closed her fist around it. The two Horde mages gave each other simultaneous lazy salutes, as if they'd practiced synchronizing the gesture and the mirrored smirks that followed before they turned away from each other, walking separate ways out into the city.
  26. To anyone standing amongst the crowds gathered, the air outside of Grommash Hold was thick. Orgrimmar, situated in an already hot and dusty part of Durotar, was roasting at the peak of summer. The smell of sweat from thousands of different Horde citizens mingled alongside the wafting aroma of food from a nearby feast that was being laid out as the crowds waited. Most of them weren’t waiting for the food. They were common folk of all kinds; orcish tradesmen, goblin merchants, Forsaken refugees (to name a few), and their goal wasn’t an invitation to the celebratory feast being laid out for the Horde’s leaders, it was to catch a glimpse of those leaders together. It might have been the first time many people would have seen them together, or some of them even at all. Calia Menethil was rumored to be arriving, and Princess Talanji rarely left Zuldazar. The idea that they would all be gathered in the capital city together was too exciting for most to pass up. Vilmah was one of those common folk. The Warboss of Sanctuary had little intention of staying for the feast itself, even if she had earned a place there after years of service to the Horde. What she wanted was to satiate her curiosity and see for herself that the Horde had indeed moved forward, finally, and the dream of peace between the allied races and the Alliance was actually becoming real. The diminutive orc stood beside a few others, but she had shoved her way forward and stood against the street a few yards from Grommash Hold’s entrance. Dressed in a blademaster’s attire, her beads, katana, and scars held enough sway that no one bothered to question her place at the front. Though she usually left it loose around her shoulders, she took the time to tie back her hair into a few braids, decorated with beads to match her beaded necklace. She wore no expression, but the sweat on her brow wasn’t just the effect of the crowd and the dry Durotar heat. Vilmah stared at the entrance and waited. When the Horde’s leaders finally emerged, she let out a deep breath of relief. Nobody was injured, and for the most part, nobody looked too angry. Perhaps Talanji looked less than pleased, but as far as Vilmah could tell their meeting seemed to go as expected. Thrall, his familiar face weary with duty, turned his attention to some children a few feet from her and waved with as much of a smile as their former Warchief could muster. Vilmah felt her heart freeze for a few seconds, recalling the words he spoke to her as if they were yesterday. Have you come to serve the Horde? A cheer erupted from the gathered audience and she joined them, raising her arms, both flesh and mechanical into the air. Their leaders formed a little procession that led to the feast, waving at their people. Vilmah noticed that some were a bit more enthusiastic on this front, and Lor’themar specifically took the time to smile with a twinkle in his good eye. The Warboss, however, kept her attention on Thrall. “How long do you think he’ll last this time?” Came a voice from behind her, then a chuckle. Vilmah clenched her jaw. She was used to hearing people speak ill of their former Warchief, but it seemed even less appropriate now. Taking in a calming breath, she made the valiant attempt to clear her mind of the budding anger that was being pricked by both words and the blistering Durotar sun. “Who knows. His mate isn’t here, you think he’s going to stay alone?” Came another voice, triggering a twitch in Vilmah’s eyelid. “Maybe if he wanted to. Thrall could have a mate in every continent,” the first voice laughed. “Maybe that’s why he’s got that little place in Orgrimmar. Why go back and forth when you can enjoy a few different shades of green?” “Excuse me,” Vilmah said calmly, turning around to face the voices. An orc and a blood elf stared back at her, bemused. “I don’t think the Warchief.. Thrall, would appreciate your insinuation.” “The former Warchief is too busy wining and dining Princess Talanji to care what we think,” the blood elf said with a grin. “Lighten up, this is a celebration.” Chewing on her tongue, Vilmah forced the rage bubbling in her stomach back down. Why be so upset over a few strangers teasing Thrall’s honor, anyway? Exhaling through her nose, she turned back around and watched as the Horde leadership walked toward their feast. Thrall looked particularly downtrodden, his shoulders slumped with an invisible weight. “What’s her problem?” Muttered the elf. “Probably wishes she was the one keeping Thrall in Orgrimmar,” the orc said under his breath. Vilmah had to stop herself from using her left arm, but her right one seemed to have a mind of its own. At more than a foot shorter than the other orc, she didn’t have the reach to punch him as squarely in the jaw as he would have liked, but she was the perfect height to knock the wind out of his stomach. A strange silence overtook the crowd surrounding them as dozens of eyes turned toward the commotion. The orc fell backwards and hit the ground, both the wind and his pride knocked out of him. A flash of red clouded Vilmah’s eyes as thoughts of what she could do to this disrespectful orc were listed in the back of her mind, pushing her to act. It took a few seconds for them to fade, even as her eyes faded back to hazel. All the while, she and the other orc held each other’s gaze. “Ha! That’s what you get, Kro’han!” The blood elf said finally, slapping the orc’s shoulder as the rest of the crowd erupted into laughter. After all, what was a little fist fight amongst seasoned soldiers of the Horde? Kro’han grinned sheepishly, and accepted Vilmah’s mechanical hand to stand again. “Well it ain’t the first time my mouth has gotten me into trouble,” he said remorsefully, shaking his head. “Sorry ‘bout that, ma’am.” “Don’t apologize to me,” Vilmah said with a forced calm, her heart slowing from the drums she felt in her temples. Sighing, the hint of a smile lifted the corners of her mouth. “Just don’t push your luck. Thrall might not be Warchief anymore, but if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be here. And if I was his mate, I wouldn’t have let you off so easy,” she added, elbowing him good naturedly. As the Horde leaders’ presence faded from view, the crowd began to disperse. Vilmah remained on the street, the heat of so many packed bodies slowly fading to give her a little more air. Kro’han and his friend laughed to themselves and left with the crowd, their little conflict with Vilmah practically forgotten. With the chatter of the crowd dying, she could hear her own thoughts more clearly, but Thrall’s voice was still on her mind. The armistice was signed, and peace between the Horde and the Alliance was finally becoming a reality. This was the dream she had been fighting for, ever since she took her first trip out of the Valley of Trials and met the shaman who would change her life, introducing her to both the concept and the guild known as Sanctuary. For nearly ten years she bled for the Horde, was bled by the Horde, and still stood by the possibility that someday Thrall’s vision could be reached. Now, with it actually happened she considered her place in this city, where her life once burned for her loyalty, and wondered what the world would need with a Warboss if there was no war? Nearly ten years since she swore allegiance to the Horde and promised her blade to Thrall himself, she stood alone on the streets of Ogrimmar and considered his question again. Have you come to serve the Horde?
  27. The last time Baern strode through Thunder Bluff, there had been blood. The Bloodhoof braves he walked past? They would have been his targets. The bustling tipis and longhouses nearby burned or looted. Instead, here he was, flanked by a pair of Ashtotem braves, just another tauren visitor to this tauren city. They stuck out, but less than he'd expected. Few regarded him with more than a passing glance and those that did linger only offered a few seconds of cold glaring before moving on with their day. The most garish thing about them was the warpaint they wore, but even that wasn't exactly uncommon. Farmers selling melons and leatherworkers tanning hides would also bear markings on their faces, chests and arms. In his head, he'd thought it an act of pride and dignity. A warrior chieftain standing tall as he went to meet with another. In reality, it felt more like the blustering of calves than the markings of warriors. They certainly had the build of warriors. Baern had ornate bone pauldrons carved in the shape of eagles with an enchanted axe strapped across his back. His warriors also wore thick plate, though they carried pairs of weapons to Baern's one. If anything, it was Baern's totem that stuck out the most. Few tauren carried totem harnesses like these, though it was common of Chieftains. But, through it all, they weren't stopped or bothered or harassed or harangued. Instead, they were just allowed to pass. Tauren coming to Thunder Bluff. Baern had been exiled years earlier, and yet? No one seemed to care. They got caught in a small queue passing from one level of the central bluff to the next, where Baern realized the sheer size of the central totem in the city. The great tree that formed the backbone of Ashtotem's hospital and guildhall was maybe half as large as this, even though he felt it a towering achievement. When they finally did reach the top level of the city, a tauren orator spoke the news for everyone to hear. "The Armistice has been signed! The Fourth War has ended! Your sons and daughters will be returning home from the front! The banshee queen remains at large! Horde forces are retreating from Darkshore and Arathi! The Armistice has been signed!" He went on and on like that, repeating the news and answering questions for the commonfolk gathered to hear it. Baern himself had only heard a few days prior, when the missive for this meeting arrived. Chieftain Baern Ashtotem, it read. I hope this letter finds you well. Nominally, your tribe and mine are enemies. And yet, your tribe stayed away from the war, healed the wounded, and rescued my generals when I crossed Sylvanas. Perhaps it is time we spoke, Chieftain to High Chieftain. It was that detail that irked Baern. High Chieftain. He hadn't told anyone about the meeting, even Arahe. Baine wasn't exactly someone she respected. Indeed, she loathed him for a variety of excellent reasons. Baern's reasons, on the other hand, hadn't proven true. Magatha Grimtotem, who he'd thought should lead the tauren, had shown her true colors when she abandoned her tribe to chase the power behind the Doomstone. Baine, who he'd thought a puppet of Garrosh and the Alliance, had shown his by standing up to Sylvanas and refusing to dishonor the Horde. It was this that motivated him to attend the meeting. A certain shame he felt in harboring that contempt for years. Still. High Chieftain. It embittered him. He'd arrived about on time, shephered into the longhouse by attendants. They waited for only a moment before being brought into another room with leather walls, this one containing a large, wooden pipe propped up on a wooden stand. A peace pipe, he'd realized. When two chieftains met, it was common for them to first imbibe from the pipe as an agreement not to draw arms, and then imbibe again to seal whatever agreement that were to be making. Shatichi the ritual was called. Shared breath. "I'll be just a moment," the attendant said to Baern and his braves, before slipping through to the next room. "Are you going to smoke that, Chieftain?" One of them asked, skeptical and indignant about the ritual. It was ceremonies like these that the Ashtotem found to be weak and unbecoming of the tauren. Even Baern's own memories of the mechanics of Shatichi came from his father relating them with mockery, as if such a thing was hilarious for any tauren to be caught dead doing. "Hau," intoned High Chieftain Baine Bloodhoof, slipping through the flap and entering the room before Baern had an opportunity to answer. Like Baern, he wore a totem harness and feather headdress, but both were grander and more ornate than Baern's. The room went silent while the attendant placed some herbs in the pipe, and applied a small fire spell to get them to begin smouldering. The process only took a few seconds, but Baern felt as though the moment hung between everyone in that silence. The attendant stepped away and Baine gestured to the pipe. "Chieftain?" Baern dropped his head low without hesitation and imbibed the grainy smoke, though his deep breath didn't last long. He coughed violently, spewing smoke and instinctively bringing one hand to his ribs, rubbing them like he used to. A small snicker came from one of his braves, but he ignored it and stepped aside, wordlessly letting Baine draw in the smoke much more gracefully. For him, the smoke streamed slowly and smoothly out of his nostrils and a small smile crossed his face. "Not used to smoking a peace pipe, I assume?" "It's not common that the Ashtotem engage with other tribes diplomatically," Baern answered. At least, he was able to keep his fur from fluffing up in embarrassment or his ears from flopping down in submission. "Well, Chieftain Ashtotem, I'd like to welcome you to Thunder Bluff. We breathe the same breath, so as long as you remain here, you and your braves are guaranteed safety, security and hospitality. I'm very glad that you answered my summons." Summons. It's the details that irked Baern. "I agree that it's important we talk," Baern said bitterly. "If I need to smoke a peace pipe and come to Thunder Bluff to do so? Fair enough. Let's talk." Baine nodded, the smile dripping a bit off his face. "Come, let's speak outside." The attendant held up the flap and Baine stepped aside to let Baern through. "Chieftain--" one of the braves interrupted, sounding anxious. "It's fine," Baern cut off. "But--" "It's. Fine." Without another word, Baern took Baine's offer and led the way out through the flap. There was another behind that, the sun clearly shining out from the other side. The braves remained behind, following Baern's implicit order, as the attendant did Baine's. Without too much preamble, they found themselves walking out the back of the longhouse towards a less used walkway right on the edge of the bluff. "I much prefer the fresh air," Baine says as they walk, "so for most of my meetings like this I sneak out back. If we start to draw too much attention, we can head back inside." "Do you have meetings like this commonly?" Baern asked, skeptically. "Recently, yes. There are many tauren tribes spread through Kalimdor. Many chieftains who want my ear." "Well, you shouldn't count me among them," Baern said bitterly. "I'm happy to answer whatever questions about Ashtotem you might have but make no mistake. Ashtotem is not Horde and neither am I." "You know, once the armistice was signed, I had one advisor counsel me to attack your village. He's a spiritwalker, an old one, who remembers vividly how the Ashtotem got their name," Baine says, though there isn't much of a threat in his words. "And I considered it, asking for a little more information on the village. And then, I heard about this hospital, the Ashtotem Hospital, and thought: This must be some mistake, some strange coincidence. But, no, sure enough, there's a hospital in Ashtotem Village. It's managed by the Cenarion Circle and treats both Horde and Alliance soldiers. And that, I thought, was very interesting! One of the most fearsome and warlike tribes of tauren, who were staunchly neutral in Sylvanas' war. Refusing to fight or even raid other tauren. Instead, I read a missive from Sunwalker Khrane in Taurajo reporting that the Ashtotem actually helped them repel invaders and have been dutiful trade partners for the better part of a year. And then, Cromor, one of my most trusted commanders, tells me that you, Baern Ashtotem, were responsible for rescuing him and five other my best warriors. Not Hamuul Runetotem or Sunwalker Dezco or Aponi Brightmane. They refused to cross the banshee queen, which I hold no ill will for. But you, aligned to no one, did so." "So, on one hand I have a stubborn tribe that preys on other tauren. A tribe that has been responsible for, what? How many tribes have the Ashtotem burnt to a cinder? And on the other, I have a leader that has healed my wounded, traded with my people and rescued some of my closest friends. What am I to do with that?" "The Ashtotem also stood side by side with the Bloodhoof in the Battle of Mount Hyjal. You and I met there, in fact, when our fathers agreed the Ashtotem would be the vanguard for the right flank," Baern points out. "That's not true," Baine counters, though his tone isn't confident. "I met your brother. You and I never met..." "I was by Mourne's side the entire battle. You and I met. You complimented my armor.” A small silence grows between them, until Baine breaks it with a small chuckle. “I’m sorry, I don’t remember this at all,” he reports. “I remember meeting your brother and your father, though, which did cause me to wonder how they had died.” Baern lets it go. “My father died during the Cataclysm. He drowned when the Thousand Needles were flooded. My brother was killed. Or rather, I killed him.” “Because he was feeding the Ashtotem demonblood?” Baine asks. “Precisely. I’d left the village to fight as a mercenary on Draenor and in Pandaria, only to return and find my brother corrupting the tribe. I killed him, then the Dreadlord who convinced him to go along with it.” “Very noble of you,” Baine notes. “Well, it led to war with Darkcloud Pinnacle, so not exactly that noble,” Baern says bitterly. “Yes, I remember that. I think one of my advisors told me not to worry, it was just Grimtotem infighting.” “In a sense. My great-grandfather was Grimtotem and my great-grandmother was Ashtotem, both children of chieftains. That marriage bound our tribes together and guaranteed safety, security and supplies for one another. When I killed my brother and then asked for those three things from Darkcloud Pinnacle, the Grimtotem denied me. The violence escalated until we repelled their attack, I flew to the Pinnacle and killed Ohmr, their chieftain,” Baern recounts. “After the war, I told the Grimtotem at the Pinnacle, if they wanted to follow a warrior they could become Ashtotem and return with me. And a good amount did that.” “And that’s when you re-established the Ashtotem as their own tribe,” Baine surmises. “I see. I’m surprised so many Grimtotem were willing to join you.” “I never was. The Grimtotem respect strength, but even with the tribes we destroyed over the years, there were always converts.” Talking about it so casually forces Baern to pause for a moment. He didn’t mean to sound callous, but it was callous. “Which, now, I see as something of a boon. A young Bloodhoof in my village has started writing down the stories of the Ashtotem and many of them include the customs and culture of tauren tribes long dead.” Baine holds his tongue, watching a pair of young braves walk along the path behind them. It’s obvious that conflict is apparent on his face. “Grim solace if I’ve ever heard it,” he says, after a moment. “But I certainly see the good that you’re trying to do. Baern, I’d like you and your tribe to join the Horde. There have been enough divisions in our ranks, it’s the time the tauren were finally united.” It was a plea Baern expected but with less… persuasive energy than he’d imagined. There was a hesitation there, a reluctance. He had come ready to bargain and barter, hoping to extract real concessions from the High Chieftain for helping unite the tauren. But Baine, by his tone and face, seemed to offer as a matter of course. Was he just exhausted? Drained from the war, the council, the armistice and everything in between? “I’m open to the idea, at the very least,” Baern grants. “I left the Horde on a principle, one that I have to admit was poor.” “You mean, the coup?” Baine asks. “Indeed. I think few tauren understand the thought process of the Grimtotem, at the time, but we saw Garrosh as the murderer and Magatha as the scapegoat. There was a great amount of respect for your father among the Ashtotem, at least. We trusted her when she said she was innocent and it made so much sense that Garrosh killed him to cull the closest rival to Warchief. Now, though, it’s beyond clear that Magatha couldn’t be trusted and that you weren’t some witless pawn.” “Apology accepted,” Baine answers with a soft smile. “But-- I have bigger considerations than that. Ashtotem houses more than just tauren. We have Night Elves who live there, working in the hospital. One of our mesas is dedicated entirely to a group of Death Knights I’ve allowed to remain. These are independent citizens, not Horde citizens, and I would never evict them from their home.” Baine closes his eyes and puts up his hands. “Granted. I expected as much and I’m more than happy to allow my chieftains to govern the inhabitants of their village as they see fit. Trade, however, with the Alliance is not open and would need to be ended.” “That’s fine,” Baern agrees. “I have no active routes with the Alliance, at this point. We were trading with New Thalanaar on the way to Camp Taurajo, but Teldrassil changed all that. Now, our only real trade partners are Desolation Hold, Camp Taurajo and the Speedbarge.” “Yes, I’m prepared to make that route to Desolation Hold even stronger. I understand that you have a hard time farming in the desert of the Needles, so I’ve instructed that we open up some of our stockpiles to flow south through the Hold.” “I’m much obliged. We’re doing much better on food now than last year, but the village grows bigger by the day and I’d like to keep those costs down, if I can.” Baern allows himself a small smile. This was turning out better than expected. “I’d also like to send someone here to represent our interests with you in any day to day decision making. There’s a Bloodhoof warrior in my village, Kimba Goldplain, who I think would love to return to Thunder Bluff.” “You mean, you want to send me an advisor?” Baine asks. “I suppose if that’s what you want to call it, yes,” Baern answers, a little unsure of himself. “As I understand it, tribes send representatives to Thunder Bluff.” “Some do,” Baine answers apologetically, “but most of the smaller tribes keep their best people close to the chest rather than wasting their time in Thunder Bluff.” “Are you saying if I did send someone here, you’d ignore them?” Baern bites back harder and harsher than he’d intended. “I have a limited amount of time, Chieftain, and I choose what advisors to bring on very carefully,” Baine explains. His mouth hanging open, Baern blinked and shook his head. Rationally, he understood the High Chieftain’s viewpoint, but those feelings of shame, indignity, and embarrassment flourished among the denial. “If you want me and my people to rejoin the Horde, I want a voice in Thunder Bluff. That’s very important to me and, I think, very reasonable!” Baern shouted, despite himself. “I agree,” Baine responds soothingly, like a father trying to calm down a child on the brink of tantrum. “But you must understand that it takes time for some of the lesser chieftains to bend my ear, especially chieftains that have the history of the Ashtotem. I believe in the good work that you’re doing and I’m grateful for everything that you’ve done for me. Rescuing my generals. Taking in refugees from my tribe. Healing my soldiers. But it just takes time…” Lesser chieftains. The rest of Baine’s words, no matter how respectful or well-reasoned, whistled past Baern’s ears like an inaudible wind. The only words in that response he found were lesser and chieftains. Over the last two years, Baern had killed his corrupted brother, killed the dreadlord who corrupted him, freed his people from the clutches of the Legion, became chieftain to an impoverished, starving village, killed a fel lord in single combat, died, became Valarjar, earned the trust of Bloodtotem, Bloodhoof and Death Knight refugees, rallied his people to defend against an overwhelming foe, defeated that foe, absorbed half of that tribe, built a hospital, avoided war, and helped heal the earthmother beneath his hooves by working with the Champions of Azeroth. Baern remembered a time when he thought himself a villain. A raider whose only purpose was to kill, conquer and dominate other people. He hated when the Ashtotem called him a hero, a title he hadn’t felt worthy of. But over time, that self image had bled away and he began to see himself through the eyes of others. It was satisfying, comforting even, to think he’d been able to shed that old life, earned the kind of dignity and honor that even Baine Bloodhoof would have to take notice of. That was never the truth. The truth, Baern realized, was all Ashtotem’s dramas and trials and victories and defeats were the movements of a few thousand tauren of a small tribe in a small village on the fringes of civilization. The shame and embarrassment bubbled to the surface as Baern realized Baine had been waiting patiently for him to say something, anything, with an empathetic, patient and even caring look on his face. Shame’s knife twisted in Baern’s gut. Even in this moment of humiliation, the High Chieftain wasn’t even heartless or oblivious enough that Baern could hide those feelings with indignant anger. “I don’t think it’s the right time,” Baern said finally, his voice fraying from speaking so quietly. “Things are going well in the village and with the tribe. I can’t disrupt that, at the moment.” Mercifully, Baine nodded. “If that is your wish, I’ll respect it. I do think there is a great potential for good among your tribe. And great potential in you, Chieftain.” “Thank you, High Chieftain,” Baern agreed, offering a sad smile, an implicit apology for overstepping bounds. Wordlessly, they returned to the room with the peace pipe, where Baern and Baine shared another breath together. This time, the Ashtotem chieftain didn’t descend into a coughing fit, and with just a bit of formal farewells, he and his two braves activated their hearthstones and returned to the windswept mesas they called home.
  28. The room is dark, only the faint glow of some herbs growing in the windowsill and the moon’s light illuminating the room. A fine, ornate desk of copper and wood takes up most of it, the room small with most of its space crowded in by bookshelves, paintings, and other mementos throughout the years. So obviously her space, and hers alone, noted by all of the small knick knacks and hand me down items on display. A mish mash of little treasured things speckled between medals and trophies of note. The door clicks closed behind her and lamps immediately hum to life, casting the stone walls and marble floor into a cocoon of warmth, the light reflecting off of her skin and giving it a healthy glow that’s been missing from it for the last few weeks. As she shuffles to the plush velvet chair of red she passes by her reflection in an old mirror, the edges frayed and black with age, but she quickly moves on past, not wanting to dwell on her gaunt cheeks or dimmed eyes. The last few years had not been kind to her. Multiple wars, a new love and heartbreak all in one, loss of friends, family, and one of her own. A strained marriage that at times feels so magical, light and loving and all things wonderful. And others feels dark and suffocating, like tendrils wrapping around her throat until her vision swims with dark. She pushes the memory back, instead letting her eyes rest on the dreaming glory so perfectly encased in resin, looking as fresh as the day it was plucked. It’s a bittersweet thing, the memory of a lost love aching too, but in a different way, almost a comfort because a piece of the woman never truly left. Her essence humming inside Amalyn’s heart until the end of time. The chair makes a terrible noise as she pulls it out, the marble protesting in a shock to the serenity of the room, an inevitable thing in this world. Peace never lasts long. She takes out the black, leather bound book, looking old but not worn, as if it’d seen little use. Truly it hadn’t, oftentimes she’d throw herself into something new, a project, or her work, instead of taking the time to reflect back on her life. You cannot dwell on the present or past when you are always looking forward to the future. But that meant running away, and oftentimes, you simply have nowhere else to go. The priestess pulls out her black feather quill, her favorite and a staple to her desktop’s decor, and opens the book, the spine cracking with disuse. She thinks for a moment, but decides to just let her thoughts flow out as they come, as she lays its tip to the page. ~~~~~ I sometimes look at my life and wonder how I got to where I am today. A husband, a child, a small army of people at my beck and call, willing to give their lives for me just because someone pays them to. I’ve had people under my command as well, I practically ran a small town and provided not only physical healing services for them but mental ones too. And now I carry a banner I previously held before, because their ideals and philosophy are most aligned to what we are trying to do, and yet I feel like a stranger to them. I’ve been on a mission, yes, but I had no time prior to get to know any of them, not even the leader whom I’ve sworn my loyalty to, was I able to get a word in with. I’ve sat for hours in the infirmary, I’ve healed the hurt and sick, and yet I feel like a transient, a passerby who is merely a useful ghost in a time of need. Outside of my family, I do not feel like I have people relying on me, looking up to me for answers to their life’s problems, and it frightens me that that is what I hinge my life’s worth on. It’s not enough that I am a faithful wife, or a loving mother, but that I only feel fulfilled anymore when I can solve others problems and bring peace to this world. I wonder what will happen when I can no longer fight. When my children have long left our home and my body deems it’s time to give up, what will I do then? Will I be able to deal with those feelings of inadequacy, or will I have lived a fulfilled enough life by then to be sated in this underlying need? I do want to get to know the people of Sanctuary, I really do. I miss the feeling of having a community, a family, but when I look around I cannot help but feel I am not needed. An outcast, of sorts. I’ve devoted my life to the light, to healing wounds and easing troubles minds, but as war winds down, what do those of us who know nothing but it do? Ha, I speak as if I’m some war-weary veteran with grey hair and countless scars to match, but if I think about it, war is really all I know. I completed my studies at the academy and immediately fell into working alongside my husband, a man I met before I was even finished becoming a full-fledged paladin. It wasn’t until some years later, while I was pregnant with our daughter, did I turn to priesthood and forever changed my life again. But truly, war is all I have known, and it’s something I’d never wish on anyone else in this world. I’ve tried to protect our daughter from it, but she’s at that age where she’s becoming much more aware of her surroundings, of the world and all of it’s horrors, and I cannot stop it. I would never lie to her, I never have, but sometimes I yearn for the days when she was still a sweet little bundle I could so easily hold against my breast. When calming her and making her happy was as easy as humming a soft tune and holding her close. I long for the days when my husband came home every night. But that- that is for another time, I think. I worry, though, for befriending the people of Sanctuary. Will I be able to open myself up again? Can I allow myself to be vulnerable and allow myself to be loved? Am I even deserving of such love after everything I’ve allowed to happen? I suppose I should speak to my husband on it. He so easily endears himself to others and is beloved by so many, it was no shock I had been so taken by him all those years ago. And it is no surprise I still devote my life to him after all we’ve been through, concerns for my daughter aside. It has been quite some time since I last wrote in this journal, its spine still sturdy and intact, perhaps I should change that. ~~~~~ Amalyn puts the book away, sets the quill back into its resting place, and leans back in her chair as she lets her eyes close. She feels weary and old, spread too thin and yet fearing it’s never enough. Always feeling like she could do more. Help more. Give more people aid and bring more people peace. Right others wrongs and still be a loving wife and mother all along the way. A soft knock sounds at the door and from the other side she hears, “Mama?” It’s late, Saturna should be in bed by now. “Come in my love.” The tension and tiredness she’d been holding onto seeps out of her a bit, just enough to allow a smile to touch her lips as her daughter peeks her head into the room. She opens her arms and motions of the girl to come join her at the desk, concern for the look on her face. “I had a bad dream.” The girl whines as she wraps her arms around her waist and buries her face into Amalyn’s bosom, the priestess wrapping her own arms around the girl tight as she sits in her lap. “I’m sorry sweetheart, want me to make it better?” She kisses the top of the girl’s head as her hands rub up and down her back, the girl nodding yes as she cuddles in close. It’s all she needs before she starts humming a soft tune, one she came up with when Saturna was still a babe, as she lets some of her magic do it’s work. Within minutes the girl is asleep, her face relaxed, no trace of the nightmare that had plagued her before remaining on her soft and porcelain features. The room grows quiet again, a piece of peace settling across the pair in the hush of night as Amalyn is left once more with her contemplation of life. Amalyn - Twisting Nether - Horde
  29. I sometimes look at my life and wonder how I got to where I am today. A husband, a child, a small army of people at my beck and call, willing to give their lives for me just because someone pays them to. I’ve had people under my command as well, I practically ran a small town and provided not only physical healing services for them but mental ones too. And now I carry a banner I previously held before, because their ideals and philosophy are most aligned to what we are trying to do, and yet I feel like a stranger to them. I’ve been on a mission, yes, but I had no time prior to get to know any of them, not even the leader whom I’ve sworn my loyalty to, was I able to get a word in with. I’ve sat for hours in the infirmary, I’ve healed the hurt and sick, and yet I feel like a transient, a passerby who is merely a useful ghost in a time of need. Outside of my family, I do not feel like I have people relying on me, looking up to me for answers to their life’s problems, and it frightens me that that is what I hinge my life’s worth on. It’s not enough that I am a faithful wife, or a loving mother, but that I only feel fulfilled anymore when I can solve others problems and bring peace to this world. I wonder what will happen when I can no longer fight. When my children have long left our home and my body deems it’s time to give up, what will I do then? Will I be able to deal with those feelings of inadequacy, or will I have lived a fulfilled enough life by then to be sated in this underlying need? I do want to get to know the people of Sanctuary, I really do. I miss the feeling of having a community, a family, but when I look around I cannot help but feel I am not needed. An outcast, of sorts. I’ve devoted my life to the light, to healing wounds and easing troubles minds, but as war winds down, what do those of us who know nothing but it do? Ha, I speak as if I’m some war-weary veteran with grey hair and countless scars to match, but if I think about it, war is really all I know. I completed my studies at the academy and immediately fell into working alongside my husband, a man I met before I was even finished becoming a full-fledged paladin. It wasn’t until some years later, while I was pregnant with our daughter, did I turn to priesthood and forever changed my life again. But truly, war is all I have known, and it’s something I’d never wish on anyone else in this world. I’ve tried to protect our daughter from it, but she’s at that age where she’s becoming much more aware of her surroundings, of the world and all of it’s horrors, and I cannot stop it. I would never lie to her, I never have, but sometimes I yearn for the days when she was still a sweet little bundle I could so easily hold against my breast. When calming her and making her happy was as easy as humming a soft tune and holding her close. I long for the days when my husband came home every night. But that- that is for another time, I think. I worry, though, for befriending the people of Sanctuary. Will I be able to open myself up again? Can I allow myself to be vulnerable and allow myself to be loved? Am I even deserving of such love after everything I’ve allowed to happen? I suppose I should speak to my husband on it. He so easily endears himself to others and is beloved by so many, it was no shock I had been so taken by him all those years ago. And it is no surprise I still devote my life to him after all we’ve been through, concerns for my daughter aside. It has been quite some time since I last wrote in this journal, its spine still sturdy and intact, perhaps I should change that.
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