Cobrak

Eclipse: Time to Strike

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*Clack clack*

*Clack clack*

Taozhu's staff tapped against the crumbling stone road as he padded along. A slight chill in the air wafted to him, surely nowhere near as cold as his home in Kun-Lai, but a remainder none the less of his stroll through the darkened woods of the Ghostlands. The air itself seemed somewhat stale, as though it echoed the time the land spent in grip of the Scourge. Thankfully, such times were behind it and even it were not, Taozhu knew he was in good hands.

Brammorn's hooves made a heavier clip-clop sound as he walked, and if Taozhu didn't know better, would think the gargantuan tauren was stomping. Alongside was the opposite, Caldrien's plate boots almost making no sound, the Spellbreaker light in his step. Both were sent with th blind mage as guard, to aid in his defense should the worst come to fruition during their outing.

This was no leisurely stroll, however, as the three turned onto an old dirt path leading dangerously close to Amani lands. This was but the first step in a counter-attack against the herald, a ritual forged from Naheal's time spent amongst the Bronze Dragonflight. One with which to summon a Vionora of the past, to take a small sample of her blood before placing her back into her time. A necessary ingredient to perform another grandiose spell, a catalyst to call forth the present Vionora.

Of course, if all went well, Vionora would no longer be a thorn in their side, but that did not mean they were not preparing for the worst. Taozhu knew others were being sent to his side, Naheal had said as much. He could guess a few who would be alongside him, but decided to withhold any expectation.

What he did expect, however, is that he would be in dire need of his guard...Accallia was well aware of his plans it seemed, he had seen when Sanctuary had been attacked. When the worg spirit held Brammorn hostage, noting him as the lone target of their siege.

A quick prayer to the Celestials as he steeled himself for the road ahead, only they know how dire he needed their blessing.

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Hatchet Hills, outside of Zul'Aman, was where the Rangers of the Dark Sun had made their base. If they were going to pluck another Tassha from an alternate timeline, it was the most likely place they'd find another her. Xara wasn't sure exactly how they were going to locate her amongst the myriad time streams, but she and Naheal would recognize her when they saw her, and hopefully that would be enough.

The trolless was waiting by an abandoned hut when the three Deadshots walked up. She grinned a greeting to them, the dumb Brammorn who couldn't quite tell her and Lilliana apart, the nervy blind mage Taozhu, and an elf in plate she hadn't met before. "Heya," she said. "Naheal should be here soon." She tapped her hearthstone bracelet, over which she had just been speaking to him. They were connected over Borrowed Time's frequency.

Her golden bow was slung over her back, and near her feet, an enormous semi-translucent cat lay. Lupa raised her head to look at the newcomers, her green gaze unknowable. Xara wished she could have brought Cyelaena, who had been made to fight for this, but the ghost wolf was just too much of a risk ever since being infected by Accalia's curse. Regardless, the huntress and cat made a formidable pair, as many who had thought the trolless' lightheartedness extended to her combat abilities had discovered. Although the alternate Tassha shouldn't be much of a threat, Xara was ready to take the heat off her allies should anyone else show up.

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Naheal hated this place. The dank, dark environment of the Ghostlands brought back more memories he had wished remained buried, but this had to be done. Even as he heard Xara's voice over his hearthstone, he had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind. Who can I actually trust here? He shook his head as he approached. He didn't say anything to the people there, but simply gave a nod. He kept his eyes to his surroundings. We're not going to be alone for long...

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Taozhu bowed gracefully as he met with Xaraphyne, and again when Naheal neared. A slight grimace on his face as he did so, for Naheal's aura had become somewhat darkened from when they had last met, a stain of despair and doubt upon his very being. Perhaps his encounter with the sha still permeated? Or perhaps his new path along with recent events have dulled the brillaint aura.

"Not-priest-friiiiend...." Brammorn grunted in greeting to the trolless, her given nickname a result of Brammorn confusing both the hunter and his Grim priestess friend.

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ms. Nawe. I am Sir Caldrien Solsmite, at your service." The artifical echo of Caldrien's mystic voice sounded, the Spellbreaker breaking his militaristic stance to bow towards the huntress, who merely alighted with a simple nod and a smile.

Introductions done, Taozhu began preparations for the ritual. A compass was produced from his many pockets, its needle spinning to reveal true north.

Turning to his companions, Taozhu spoke again. "You are quite sure Vionora will be here upon the day?"

"Positive." Naheal added in with some repose, the blind mage nodded and went back to his work. Four small pouches came into his paws as he handed the compass to Caldrien. Instructions were whispered to the Spellbreaker as he set to his task, counting his steps with compass in hand. THe four pouches came to rest in a wide circle around Taozhu, each in the windrose's directions.

"So how precisely does this whole thing work, Tao?" Xaraphyne asked finally as she watched the two Deadshots align up their components, the third merely standing a ways from their work.

"Well, firstly we must locate Vionora upon the precise day Naheal has given." Taozhu said as he drew a runic circle around his person. "We will traveling to the day in question, experiencing an accelerating viewing of it in order to find her." Caldirne began untying the small pouches upon their resting places, each bearing different quantities of the invaluable bronze sand the huntress had granted them. "Upon such, we will bind her and teleport her exactly to where she was to our time."

"Wait, if you do that and something else is..." Naheal began before Taozhu lifted his hand to halt that train of thought. "That is why Caldrien will be here, Naheal, using your orb you must relay the exact position Vionora is in to him so he remove any obstacles." A slight gulp followed this, "we would not want to teleport her into a rock or tree...or Spirits help us, one of us."

Naheal merely nodded in understanding as his pandaren friend continued. "Upon securing the teleportation, we will arrive back in our time and draw the blood from her..." Caldrien now showing a small syringe for which to perform the task. "Enough to aid our second ritual...but to not cause adverse affects that could alternate the past." Taozhu looked up from his inscriptions in the dirt to look upon the lone troll amongst them. "During our trip into the past, however...should anything happen to our circle, or should the spell be disrupted...the results could be quite catastrophic."

"That is why we will be here to guard them." Caldrien spoke again as he finished his task. "Lady Xaraphyne, I would ask you to be a spotter, and identify any potential threats...THere." He pointed to a long-forgotten lookout set high within the decrepit trees. "I will be acting as central guard, Brammorn shall be the last line should I fail."

"Bram-morn...cruuuuush....any....huuuuurt.....blind-bear...sec-ond-elf..." Brammorn rumbled, stomping his hoof.

"The most critical part is the defense of the four waypoints we've set with the bronze sand." Taozhu spoke from his place in the midst of the magical array. "If they disturb the outer circle, we will at least be able to react quickly enough to return ourselves. If the sands within the inner circle be misaligned, then we shall in trouble."

"What kind of trouble?" The trolless inquired.

"Let us say, us two not returning is the preferred scenario that could happen." Taozhu said somewhat grimly.

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Xara nodded as she considered the plan. There was no evidence of any lack of understanding on the trolless' expression. Many difficult encounters she had tackled with former groups had been as complex, if not more so, with everyone required to play their own parts. She understood hers.

"Not the tower," she said, though. "I'm not the sitting duck type." She smiled at Caldrien. "And if Vionora comes, it ain't gonna be a long approach." No, she'd teleport in on top of them.

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"Let's make this as quick as possible, then," Naheal said. He was less concerned with Vionora than he was of the others that would be there. Chronomancy had it's drawbacks... and he was prepared to intercept what he could.

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Taozhu nodded and stepped into the center of the runic ensemble, a figure eight serving as its third innermost ring. One side was occupied the blind mage, the other Naheal. Slowly, methodically, Taozhu moved as though one of the monks of the Shado-Pan, weaving the intricate lines of arcane magic like a tapestry of energy. The tongues of Titans echoed within the dead woods, the many gems upon the pandaren body aglow with power as he chanted long-forgotten words.

The runic etchings within the ground surged with similar energy, lighting the area a dim blue whilst Taozhu increased the pace of the spell. The sand rose from within their mystic confines, swirling into helix pillars with each grain alight with the same arcane glow as the markings that held it in place.

Caldrien merely watched as his fellow Deadshot and fellow elf became enraveled in the trappings of some massive wormhole summoned from beneath them, and soon with a lone shouted word lost upon him, the two vanished from this period. The only remainder they had ever been were two astral projections shaped to their likeness, standing like statues as though waiting for the two to return like the rest of them.

Time itself sped to levels beyond mortal comprehension as the two were assaulted by the past whisked by them, unable to move from beyond their runic formation. Passer-bys were blurred as their long forgotten business whisked them away through the nether, plants and animals' death became reversed, everything that was became something else entirely.

Naheal grit his teeth whilst Taozhu focused upon the set day in question, when Vionora...then Tassha, would assuredly be at their rendezvous.

Soon, all ceased its hyperactive replay, slowing to a recognizable speed. This was the day that was given, seven years ago....So far, so good. Taozhu moved his hands in a way as though he were adjusting a grandiose clock's innards to slow the pace of time. Time flowed slower, albeit still quickened as to efficiently locate their quarry.

Naheal focused on the whirring images of the past, his hunter's gaze still fitting in his death knight's body. A pair of trolls meandered by before disappearing back to wherever they had came. Dusk finally came after a few scant minutes, and only then did Naheal's eyes widen.

There, padding up along the trail, came a blood elven woman alongside a ebon worg, the former equipped with an elegant bow as she strode with a tracker's intent.

"She's here." Was all he said to his compatriot, the pandaren swiftly halting his spell and freezing the entirety of the scene. Taozhu could see something happen to the death knight's aura as he gazed upon their prey, a small darkness that bubbled at his core. Again, now was not the time as he directed the magical energies to envelop the newcomer as well from her frozen position.

Naheal picked up his orb and spoke into it. "Cal, we've got her."

"So do we." Caldrien's echoing voice said coldly, the Spellbreaker's orb in one hand as his pike spun in his other. His gaze locked onto the hut before them, Brammorn's blade and Xara's bow both locked and ready to fight.

There, on its roof, stood the Vionora from this time.

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