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Zasein

Ritual

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Zasien finished writing on top of the mailbox. His letter complete, he folded in an envelope marked: Vitusacles. It should get sent to her.

The letter read:

Vitusacles,

Niethan tells me you have all the materials and knowledge needed for the preparation of a ritual to end the famine that Sulajin summoned. I'd like to meet with you to discuss this, and getting in contact with the elf, Upae, so that the ritual may be preformed.

All he knew about Vitusacles was that Niethan was her ward, and trusted her. Given one of Niethan's other friends, Sulajin, he wasn't sure how much that meant. She seemed wise and friendly when he had met her in the tavern.

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She had gotten less in the habit of checking her mail, recently. Ever since the fire.

The mechanical legs that the Inventor had made for her worked fine, of course, so it wasn't an issue of making the trek to Orgrimmar, or the Booty Bay, or wherever her mail had settled as a halfway point between her and her contacts.

Today there were a few books, nothing for research. She hadn't spent as much time on it recently. A few items from her ward, vestaments and weapons of minor power for her to study and dissolve. A letter, and a package; these were unusual. She opened the letter first and scanned the contents, ignoring the brash orc nearby telling her to move out of the way of the postbox.

Hm. She'd heard of the famine, and of the firey talespinner who'd caused it. The ritual she knew less of-- oh. Well, there it was, the package. A neat brown box filled with clinking items and bottles, and a sheet of neatly-written instructions. Looking at the post date, she wondered if perhaps she should start checking her mail more often. Oh well.

She wrote on the back of the letter and tossed it back into the box, finally sauntering away from the orc yelling in her ear. She ducked as his fist went past her ear and into the stone wall of the bank, leaving her with a chorus of obscentities as she went on her way.

Zasien

My home is an island near the Darkspear. Ask any of the villiagers and they will tell you where.

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Upon receiving the letter from Vitusacles, he left Orgrimmar, and headed south to Sen'jin. It wasn't a long journey. He dismounted, and entered the village. Some of the trolls looked at him with disgust. They knew that he didn't follow the Loa. Still, he managed to command some respect do to his rank within the horde. He found one that didn't seem to mind his presence, and asked, "Do you know where Vitusacles lives?"

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The troll's face went slightly more cold at the mention of the villiage recluse.

"Dat one? Ya mon. Evvrybody know where she lives. Jou see dat little nip of an island out dere?" He pointed, waiting until the shaman's gaze followed his outstretched finger to a tiny blot halfway between the Echo Isles and the village proper. "She keep ta he'self. Only work fo' de village when she bored, spend all day readin' or mixen' her brews. Sometimes her whelp comes by, but odder den him I ain' never seen no visitors."

The islander thumped the metal chestpiece of the shaman with the back of his fist. "Ya'd be better off na taken' up wit her, if ya be a respectable troll of de Horde. De old lady gossip marks her a witch, an' not a good type eidder. Don' listen to her elders an' turns away all the youngers silly enough to court her. But, is ya time to waste. Stay away from de voodoo, mon."

The Darkspear then turned and walked away from Zasien, keeping on with his village duties.

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"Thank you." Zasien said, and turned toward the island. He was annoyed at the villager's assumption, but he didn't show it. By the shore, he transformed into a ghost wolf with a quick spell, and swam out to the island. Plodding up onto the blot of land, he returned to his more familiar humanoid form, and waited for Vitusacles to greet him.

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The tiny islet had been built up over the years into a home. Two hammocks were strung between the trees, with a roof and collapsable walls woven of hides and branches to keep out the elements. Around the small enclosure were a few crude shelves lined with books, some baskets, and a grass mat with several alchemical tools laid neatly upon it.

Vitusacles herself was lounging in one of the hammocks, a book open in one hand. She didn't appear to be very old, if the unlined skin was any indication, and her bound purple hair was kept neat and free of sunbleaching. Under the hammock a roughened tiger opened his eyes to groan at the shaman, prompting Vitusacles to turn her eyes away from the pages and examine the visitor.

"Hello shaman. Sit where you like, if it pleases you."

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"I'd imagine so." She idly flipped a page in her book. "I wrote to this 'Upae' my Ward mentioned in his note. He sent me the instructions for the ritual, as well as material components. They mention that one of each race must be present, as well as the location being favorable to Lukou. Did you have a list of allies in mind?"

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"Do you mean the races of the horde as well? I thought only those of the affected races of the alliance would be needed. I have many allies among the horde. I assume Upae will represent the elves, but as far as the rest of the alliance, I have no idea." Zasien told her.

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Upae considered her options. It would be her and Teelia, to represent the Kaldorei and humans. For gnomes, possibly Mynikens? Or maybe that new warrior in their guild..

Dwarves was problematic. Upae didn't know too many. Pylith perhaps. Or maybe she could ask that husband of Maegannon.. Upae would have to think on it.

Still when the time came, she was sure she could find the necessary volunteers. Hastily she wrote a note back to this Vituscales.

" Honored Mistress;

I will be ready with the representatives when you ask for them. The sooner the better I feel, the weight of this famine is becoming unbearable for the poorest members of our society.

I will await your instructions.

With respect.. Upae "

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So it was ready. Teelia for humans.. Upae for Kaldorei.. Mynikens for gnomes and Khrosus for dwarves.

Teelia was an obvious choice.. Upae would want it no other way. She was not admitting it, but she was afraid. There were dreams coming of late.. dreams.. of serpents.. and panthers.. and bloody battles..

Daala knew.. Upae had told her. She undersood. Her Horde muse.

Mynkens.. her favorite gnome. A jewel to her remarkable race. Upae was pleased to hear she would accept.

Khrosus. A dwarf paladin she happened upon in Ironforge some time back. Nothing spectacular.. just a dwarf. But then, that was his strength. As it was in all dwarves.. they are just as you see them... no more.. no less. a race without pretense or pompousness. A true stalwart race.

The affected Alliance were ready.. Waiting on word from the shaman.. this famine must end!

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Mynikens paced her laboratory as she packed her bags. “WhatshouldIbring, Ihaveneverbeentoanythinglikethis.” She said to her awaiting mechanical squirrel, Spark. Upae had been vague with her description of what she was needed for. Only that she was to represent Gnomes as a race. With that in mind she points to her Gnomish World Enlarger, and holsters her Gnomish Death Ray. “Bettersafethansorry.” She says looking down at her weapon. Spark brings her the small circular device that she had requested. “Thankyoudear.” She says pinning the unit to her shirt for easy access if she needed to get out of the way in a hurry. Placing the Mithril egg shaped device in her pack she hoped she wouldn’t have to use it, but if necessary, she would deploy her Mechanical Dragonling. Her brain hurt with worry of what was to come, but she knew it needed to be done. The people were starving, and from what Laron had told her it was on both sides. Next to be packed was her Gnomish Cloaking Device. The thing hardly worked right, but it might hide her if needed. Pointing to the wall she smiled at Spark who scurried to retrieve her Goblin XL Jumper Cables. “ IhopeIdon’tneedthese.” She says as she checks the battery charge on them, then packs them away. Throwing her pack over her shoulder she secures it, puts her goggles around her neck, and grabs her Wizards hat. Walking to the door of her lab, she looks at the picture of her Parents with her and her Sister. Lowering her head, she speaks one last time before leaving. “Spark… Bring me my Discombobulator Ray.” She sticks the pistol in her belt and heads out for Stormwind.

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Vitusacles kept watch over the preparations for as long as it took. She really had no particular care for the matter-- famines and plauges happened without divine intervention, after all-- but she had to admit to herself she was at least curious.

Over the next few days from after speaking with the shaman, Vitusacles either liberated, bartered for, or borrowed the necessary herbs, trinkets, and other such materials they would be needing from the nearby village of Sen'jin. A ritual costume for Zasien, paints and colors for the altar, and the potion she was keeping watch over in her tiny laboratory; the herbs used had been quite strong, which she supposed was a good sign. It was a misty white liquid, undissolved sediments floating throughout it as it boiled. Not an unhealthy brew, considering for which Loa it was used for, but quite a powerful hallucinogen.

She idly stirred it, wondering if the shaman or the elf the ritual had come from knew about that detail. If not, they'd figure it out. And it was just about ready, so it would be sooner rather than later.

She took a short trip to Razor hill, two identical letters in hand.

Bring your representatives to Westfall.

--Vitusacles

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Upae woke with a start. The pain in he neck throbbing. Beside her Teelia stirred and sat up. " Hmm.. you ok?" she asked.

Upae nodded. " Yes, ahm ok.. 'ust a dream." outside the morning light was starting to filter through the cloud.

" Best be gettin up anyhow. Tahday we need to get headed to Westfall.. tah start this thing."

Upae rose without waiting for Teelia, who was starting to protest. Upae just shrugged it off and went to the wash basin. Behind her she heard Teelia make a clicking sound of annoyance with her tongue, then she rose herself.

The dream actually bothered Upae more than she was willing to admit, even to herself. Its implications were disturbing. Yet, there was a message in it. A warning, to be sure. Probably all for nothing, still it never paid to ignore dream warnings, especially when they featured Bethekk.

She would need to think about it while they prepared...

Later after they ate, Upae used her stone to contact Mynikens and Khrosus, to arrange for the meeting in Westfall.

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" So how long do we be waitin 'ere lass?" asked Khrosus, his golden blonde beard twitching with his impatience. The paladin had agreed to come, dispite know little of what he was being asked to assist with. All he knew was that this would hopefully end the famine that was devastating his homeland of Loch Modan.

Upae shrugged. " An don rahtly know. All an noes is we are ta wait in Westfall. No details beyond thet." Upae had led them to a bluff overlooking the Western sea, a clearing that was far enough away from Sentinel Hill that they would attract little attention from Alliance patrols, yet south enough that it was within easy access from the coast up from Stranglethorn Vale. A little ways off Teelia was sitting in the grass, sharpening her daggers. More from boredom than from any anticipated threat.

Mynikens still had not arrived, nor had those who were to perform the ritual. The sky was sombre grey, heavy with the promise of rain. Hopefully it held off long enough that they wouldnt get soaked.

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Using her Spy glass she looked for Upae. Spotting her up on top of the hill, she maneuvered her Mechano Strider and kicked the throttle. She did always hate the way the thing looked, but it was faster than walking, so she used it. Better to be efficient, than fashionable… Riding up she see a dwarf and Teelia both standing by idly. Dismounting her contraption, her pack making a clinking sound as she her feet hit the ground. “Oh! HelloTeeliadear, howhaveyoubeen?” Then turning to the Dwarf, she doesn’t wait for an introduction. She curtsies. “HellomasterDwarf, My name is Mynikens Flamesprocket, TearsofthePhoenixInferno.” After the introductions are made, she pulls her spell book out, puts her reading glasses on and starts to study her spells.

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A breif moment of thudding footfalls was all the warning given before Niethan's raptor, Montana, leapt from the top of a nearby hillock and landed in the middle of the group, swaying and cooing. Niethan sat easily on its back, tail wrapped around his waist and saurine feet clutching the stirrups. He tilted his head at the travelers, then turned to Upae as the only one who could understand his native tongue.

"Finally! Trust Vitu not to set a location. I've been looking all over for you. C'mon, she's setting up the altar not far from here."

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Upae saw Muir ride up. He looked better than the last time they met. Well, better being a relative term.

" Good ta see you again." said Upae. " Ah will gather up this flock and we will follow you."

Upae passed on to the others the new Niethan brought. " A troll! Ye said nothin about working with the likes of them Lass!!" said Khrosus. The beard was fairly twitching now.

" Yes, a troll. And there will most likely be others. Does this distress you good paladin? Think of your family back home. This famine is a troll curse, and a troll ritual is needed to fix it. There be no other way."

The dwarf grumbled a bit but in the end made ready to follow.

"Lead on then Muir. We're readeh.."

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Zasien headed toward the meeting area. He really didn't know exactly where he was going, just a general area. Hoping to find them soon, he pushed his raptor onward.

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Niethan nodded to Upae and set off at a quick walk, Montana deciding to turn it into a parade and shake his feathers accordingly.

"Vitu has all the material components set up, as well as an altar she was working on when I left. Provided Zas is ready, we should be able to start within the hour. Upae, you might want to explain a bit to your friends about the ritual... there's gonna be paint and ritual consumption of a potion Vitu's had brewing for a few days. Just to warn you."

He halted Montana as a black rainbow shot by, hissing. The windserpent made a wide turn and vanished over a hill.

"Huh... that was Melchoir, one of Vitu's companions. He's a good spy, so he might be looking for Zas. I don't envy his reception if Vitu had to send Mel out looking for him."

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A windserpent came at him. He wondered where it was going, flying fast. It didn't turn away as he approached, and remained coming straight at him.

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Upae explained to her companions what Niethan had mentioned. " So ya, you is gonna be painted. No worrehs, just think on it as makeup. " A grumble from Khrosus revealed that thought didnt help him any really. " Oh you wi''be fahn master dwarf. Nobodeh here is gonna tell." said Upae with a smirk.

" Oh an there is a potion that we will need tah drink. Ah can't tell you whats in it. Foe one ah don't know, and foe another you is better off probably not knowin. I can't say what it will taste lahk, but you can be sure it aint cherreh grog."

Teelia giggled at that. Gods she looked pretty. Upae felt a twang on her heartstrings.

" Won't be long now. An altar was set up just a little ways off."

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Niethan led the merry troupe to a flat patch of grass, where an altar had been erected and a very irate Vitusacles was forcing Zasien into ceremonial garb. Considering that it consisted of little more than a loincloth and assorted jewelry, Niethan honestly couldn't say he blamed the shaman for being reticient.

He didmounted with a chuckle, swiping a plate of various ground pastes for use as paint, and padded back over to the group he was leading.

"Let's do you first, Upae. So they'll know it doesn' burn, right? Lemmee see your face."

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Teelia smiled, actually enjoying this. She hugged Upae and giggled. "I haven't been painted in a while....Not since that night in Goldshire."

After another moment of giggling, Teelia kissed Upae and waited for her turn as the rest of the group got started.

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Upae remained still as Niethan went to work on her. Inside however she was uneasy. This had to work! The toll the famine was taking grew by the day. Mostly the elderly and the infirm.

And the children.. that hurt the most.

She watched as Niethan went from person to person, appying the pigments. There was a momentary rukus as Khrosus tried to slap Niethan's hand away each time he came near with the paint, but a scowl from Upae and a reminder of what he was there for eventually quieted him down. Still, he looked positively irate after he was done, his golden beared shot through with ochre and vermillion.

Upae looked at Teelia and made a scary "boo" face at her..

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