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  1. 8 points
    The Shadowblade tore through the darkness towards her prey, but her poisoned blades never found their mark. Through the murky shadows outside of the room they were in came a searing ray of energy, illuminating the keep's derelict stones as it arced a path directly towards the Forsaken attacker. The beam pierced Syreena, slowing her momentum as Cerryan spun on his heel in anticipation, swinging his glowing golden greatsword at the off-guard rogue. It pressed into her flesh, further pressing her at the wall away from him, and while the cut was not deep the wound burned with brilliant holy energy. The magical whir of a hulking and very much active arcane golem sent heavy steps toward the chamber, but the sentry was unable to clear the entrance through the corridor. A miscalculation on the part of the incensed paladin? Syreena hissed in pain as the Light from both the beam and Cerryan's sword burned her flesh. Much to her surprise, and disappointment, she had lost the advantage of surprise, but she still gripped her daggers as she regained her footing and began pacing around the room. When she got too close to the doorway, however, the golem's eyes glowed red a second before laser beams shot from them toward the rogue. Syreena rolled away and came up to her feet again. Her movements were stiff though, pained by the Light burns. She got to her feet, glaring at Cerryan. "New pet, little purple elf?" Without waiting for an answer, she lunged at him, one blade poised to deflect his sword and the other aiming for his face. Cerryan grinned wickedly, but did not respond as he met her blades with his. Her intuitions were right, and as his blade locked with one of hers, her other was free to slice, cutting a gash across the paladin's face and leaving stinging poison clinging to the wound. He hissed as the pain bit into him, taking a swing at the rogue which she deftly parried, and another which she dodged handily. In turn, she rewarded his hasty attacks with a series of stabs running up his side, each leaving more debilitating poison in his veins. He slowed, his guard less strictly maintained and his motions growing sluggish, but still he came at her, golden blade slicing at her once, then again, and over, providing the rogue with dangerous but potentially fruitful opportunities to counterattack. Syreena's golden eyes gleamed cruelly, even though her body still burned with the Light from his first strikes. "What's the matter, pretty elf? Getting tired already?" The little rogue grinned, her gaze traveling, briefly but meaningfully, to his single ear, and ran her tongue over her lips. "Then let's end it!" She launched herself at him, both blades aimed at his throat. Cerryan finished uttering a prayer under his breath and the toxins plaguing his wounds at once fell away. As the rogue rushed him with her vicious blades he stood to unleash an aura of blinding light that filled every corner of the room with a burning golden glow. When the stinging incandescence had faded, the paladin had launched his own rush at Syreena, low to the ground with his blade aimed for her midsection. Angered shock filled the Shadowblade's glowing eyes as his burning holy weapon pierced her, and they were both propelled towards the far wall as golden wings of holy light unfurled from Cerryan and aided his surge forward to drive his blade deep into the wall, pinning Syreena against it as searing holy energy coursed through her withered undead form. He drove the weapon as far into the stone as he was able, channeling every ounce of divine wrath into the vile assassin before releasing his sword and launching himself backwards. Even after his hand left the weapon, arcs of golden light continued to wrack her body. The Shadowblade gasped hoarsely, her daggers clattering to the floor as she reached to grasp the sword that held her to the wall. She tried in vain to pull it out, but she lacked the strength to pull the blade from the stone wall behind her. The Light from the paladin had scorched her skin, and the Light from his sword burned her from the inside. Her mouth gaped soundlessly, and when she looked at the Sanctuary elf, her eyes were wide with shock. Her squirming only made the pain worse, but her struggles were already beginning to slow. Cerryan stared coldly for a long moment as the source of so much suffering and conflict in his and Sanctuary's life writhed in agony against the righteous vengeance that kept her pinned, then casually brushed aside a few rogue strands of golden hair behind his intact ear as he caught his breath. He stood tall, bloodied and a little wobbly, but he looked at her finally, wearing a well-practiced and abundantly warm smile. "Light keep you, Syreena." A shimmering shell of protective holy power surrounded the paladin as he ran his thumb across a small glowing stone. At the doorway to the chamber the large arcane golem, resplendent and marked with the ornate heraldry of House Visca, pivoted to face the room beyond and returned to an inactive state, blocking the door behind it. "May it keep you here forever, in the name of Peace." He was gone, and the Shadowblade was left alone in divine misery. ((Written by Syreena and Cerryan))
  2. 8 points
    Dear Netherholdt rp community: In times like this, is it best we band together as a community, with open hearts and open arms. Care for those grieving and take care of others who may also be affected. This is not our community’s first sudden or unexpected loss. But we must press on, and keep this legacy going, for ourselves and for those we have lost. Think on the happier times and remember our loved ones, how much they brought to our little community, and how much they changed our lives. They would want us to continue on, holding events, having random rp nights at the tavern, and writing our stories with characters we all have brought to life.We have something here that is so special, and so rare, for a community to be this tight-knit. Everyone knows everyone, and new people are welcomed with open arms. It’s what makes this server so special to me and why I have stayed for so long, as I am sure many others feel the same way. So please, everyone, take your time and grieve how you need to, whatever way it is. But know that you will always have a home to turn to, a home of people who love and care about each other. We will get through this, just as we have in the past, and they will never be forgotten.
  3. 7 points
    Cerryan was himself on the way back from aiding Orgrimmar's latest defense against the Burning Legion. The golden-haired paladin was weary from hours uninterrupted on the front lines, keeping as many fighters as he could alive and able to keep swinging. The constant fighting was wearing the defenders down, and it was all Cerryan could do to keep morale high and casualties low. He was increasingly struggling to succeed at either, and it was having a frustrating effect on his already strained psyche. Finally, he acquiesced to withdraw from the battle lines long enough to recover himself, physically and spiritually. He was on his way through the rough, rocky streets of the capital city of the Horde, riding somewhat aimlessly on his armored talbuk just to remind himself of what he was helping to keep safe. He rode through the Valley of Honor, his eyes lingering on the Wyvern's Tail where he planned on ending his trip. He moved past it for now, into the Drag and en route to the Valley of Wisdom, where the sound of rushing water and the company of perhaps the Horde's wisest and most sensible members would help ease his tense anxiety. This was not to be, as while he was heading through the Drag he heard the weak call for help on Sanctuary's channel of communication. “…attacked…Cleft of Shad-….” The Cleft of Shadow, it had to be. Fortunate that he was so close already... “Cerryan.....mate’s…..ear…. Need….heal….” He pulled hard on his reigns, bringing the noble talbuk to a quick turn as he coursed as fast as he could down the darkened passage that lead to Orgimmar's most shadowy district. It took Cerryan a few moments to find the injured Orcess. It was a small gathering of onlookers that drew him to the wounded warrior, and he pressed through them hastily to find Kanda on the ground, gripping her freely bleeding stomach unconsciously. He knelt beside her, coursing healing light into her wounded form. His free hand fumbled for his communicator, finally gripping it and speaking hastily. "Sanctuary, Kanda has been gravely injured in Orgrimmar. Send guards and medical staff from the guild hall immediately." His brow furrowed as he whispered a fevered prayer to the Light. These injuries are severe...another demon attack in the city itself? He struggled to keep up with the bleeding, his healing not accomplishing as much as it should to close her wounds. He flinched slightly as he realized why this was. Poison...not usually a part of the Legion's usual arsenal. Something isn't right... The paladin uttered a different prayer, expunging the toxins from Kanda's body. The warm, healing light seemed to work more quickly now that it was not opposed by further damage. Cerryan just needed to move her hands to get a better angle on the worst of the damage, but they were gripped tightly against her. He applied gentle pressure to move them, one hanging on a bit tighter. Something was clenched in the hand, something that slid out along with the arm as the paladin finally cleared the area and began surging shocks of holy light to stop the bleeding as fast as possible. He used his free hand to pry at the orc's clenched one, and as the sliced appendage slipped free from her hand and into his, he was at once overcome with sickening nausea and trembling emotion. His eyes welled as they narrowed, his blood pressure rising sharply. Quickly, the mending wound was wrapped tight for compression, and Cerryan let out a cry of anguish as he laid his hands on the downed fighter, coursing a massive surge of holy light into her. He stood up, drained and weary, his face blank and unfocused, and he coldly pressed through the crowd without saying a word. He was gone by the time Sanctuary's responders had arrived. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ A short time later, a bloodstained note is delivered to the Shadowblade's hands with the speed and precision that could not have come cheaply. The writing was rough and hasty, with an anger-filled tone that betrayed the writer's possible instability. You little murderous shit This is over, Syreena. I will kill you I swear I will. No more hiding behind oaths or behaving for the commander, I will kill you myself and on my own. Come find me in the Ghostlands. Your rotting corpse will fit right in among the dead that your kind brought to our lands. Come find me. -Cerryan
  4. 6 points
    [[ Some brutal metal for Mai'kull ]] "Matron!" Khorvis howled as the dust of the explosion began to settle, much of it still hanging in the silent air. He had seen her valiant sacrifice and tumbling form thrown from the voidlord just before the blast and the ringing in his ears started. Staggering to his feet, the orc shook his head and took two steps towards the scene of the druidess's fall before his boots gave out beneath him and his jaw connected with the chamber floor with a painful click! The wraithlings had descended from the ceiling and were swarming the pool. Two of the freaks had tackled Khorvis's legs and their claws ripped into his flesh. Not far away, Baal'themar slashed and flung away his own assailants, barely escaping their shadowy embrace. "Get! Off! Of! Me!" Khorvis roared and kicked at the darkness. "You black goatsuckers! I'll have your- GAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!" The wail escaped the warrior's mouth as a shadowfiend's dagger-like claw stabbed into the delicate machinery of his engineered eye. The complex circuits and ornate housing crunched, ruining Harbinger Bloodscream's masterpiece in a shower of sparks. Khorvis squirmed and screamed, overwhelmed by a mounting pile of wraiths until a booming snarl accompanied the shattering of rubble. A massive grizzly lunged from beneath a stone pile and tore at the fiends with a broad swipe from her paw. They fell in a wave, shredded and mangled by sickle-like claws. Skittering and screeching, the voidlings recoiled away from the pool. The fury of Theira Oaksong drove back the tide of shadow in the very last moment before her strength gave out completely. A broken and bleeding tauren fell unconsciously as the elf Baal'themar raced to catch the woman. She hung limp in the rogue's arms - the man turned to Khorvis and barked an unaccustomed order to his erstwhile-superior: "There is no more time! We must retreat at once!" "Then stop da whimperin' an' get ya arses up 'ere, stone-blind fools!" Tahzani retorted from the entry ledge, framed by a glowing portal. Its twin arose some few feet from the party near the pool, finally revealing the conjuration that the warlock had been brewing throughout the battle. Baal'themar grunted as he slung the dead-weight of his commander over his shoulders. The Lasher struggled to his feet, clutching his thrice-ruined eye, and stumbled after the elf with the aid of his servant, Edgar. As a unit, they were whisked to the waiting side of the two trolls. Not a moment after the demonic gateway shuttered, the horde of shadow wraiths mustered and swarmed towards the tunnel. Lilliana flung a bolt of Light at the cresting wave of shadow and screamed, "RUN!" --- Mai'kull had taken only two strides down the tunnel within the Shadowlands before Lilliana's blood-curdling scream echoed up to his ears. Trouble. Now! His loping gait rounded a bend before stopping short at the sight racing towards him. A party of six - including the late High Inquisitor! - ran up the passage, hounded by what could only be described as a swirling tsunami of blackness crashing over floor, wall, and ceiling. Hundreds, thousands of void-wrought horrors gave chase to the mage's comrades. An army of the Shadow stretched far and away, without number. He reached into his satchel, gripping an ancient scroll. The wrinkled parchment pressed with familiarity against the forsaken's fingertips. These were the words that mapped the foundations of his arcane powers. Years unremembered in training and devotion, culminating in this very instant. It was a small comfort, the tactile sensation of something so commonplace. A base affront before the ephemeral foe. Mai'kull flung the parchment forward as it unfurled, lying flat and suspended in the air. Baal'themar heaving, Theira in luggage, Tahzani sprinting, Khorvis in agony, Lilliana waving wildly at the mage, Storm linked through in horror, and Edgar bounding at heels, all fled past Mai'kull in a cacophony of warnings. Their words washed over him, for his concentration had long left worry of his own flesh. The Dark Parchment hung only a few meters between the mage and the host of the Void's oblivion, but time slowed to a crawl. The Maleficar weaved the remaining strands of arcanistry into place and settled their threads upon the geomantic inscriptions covering the scroll. The ward activated instantaneously in a shield of light that ripped apart the Dark Parchment and spread to block the tunnel. Shadow fiends flung themselves futilely at the barrier only to vaporize in blasts of golden oblivion. The swell of shadow broke upon the cliff of Mai'kull's making, his hand outstretched as if holding a bulwark of pure power. Indeed, it required every ounce of the mage's concentration to maintain the spell as the enemy horde eviscerated itself upon an arcane cliff face. The party had come to a stop, catching their breath and watching Mai'kull's devilry in awestruck horror. They screamed their urgings to abandon the tunnel and exit the portal, back unto the plane of the living. "Leave it, mage! Retreat!" goaded the elf. "Togethah, mon!" chattered the warlock. "We kin do dis!" Mai'kull turned his head, the cowl dropping away under the backblast of shielding. The hair and flesh had been seared from his skull - only face of bone stared back at his fellow Horde. Within the eye sockets dwelt a solemn resolve. Khorvis, the darkening wound in his own eye, caught the look and understood. Dozens of comrades over the course of many campaigns had displayed the same commitment upon battlefields less obtuse. There would be no return to Azeroth for Mai'kull. The mage had chosen his fate, and the end would consume him in this land of shadow and decay. Already Khorvis could sense the forsaken's spirit slipping away. The warrior turned and helped Baal'themar carry the burden of the fallen Matron. Lilliana brought both of her hands to her mouth in a silent scream. Gripping her by the shoulder, Tahzani pulled the troll through the gateway back to Tirisfal, followed by Edgar and the rest... --- The shield was giving out. Whether it was the sheer number of voidlings that threw their corpses upon the barrier or the very decrepit nature of the Shadowlands itself, the spell was draining more rapidly than Mai'kull had expected. He watched out of the corner of his eye as the last of the party passed through the gateway, to safety. A solace he would never know again - but that was to be expected. Here at the breach, he would alight the banner of the Mandate. Closing what was left of his eyelids, Mai'kull Fireweaver dropped the shield and ignited the remainder of his arcane reserves. From within, a storm of flame erupted and spread down the passageway like a sirocco, annihilating every shadow field that it touched. The impression of fiery wings unfolded from the mage's shoulderblades and- --- Edgar dove out of the portal to the Shadowlands and immediately tackled the Blackrock Dagger, ripping it out of the ground and throwing it out of the ritual circle. The gateway shuddered behind the last of the party and as it sealed shut, it released a blast of raw flame before disappearing entirely. Unable to march another step, Baal'themar and Khorvis set Theira down among the toadstools of the Whispering Forest. While the others could only stare at where once had been the portal, now a scorched patch of earth, the orc was frantic as he shook the still form of the tauren. It was through tears of a bloodied eye that Khorvis saw the spirit of Theira depart Azeroth. The Matron's back was broken. Her body, having given every last ounce of fury to protect those dear, was lifeless.
  5. 6 points
    My neck twists, lips grinning, as I survey our grand picnic gathering. The Forsaken has the one doll, some holdover from a lost daughter or maybe her own living childhood. It is ragged now, but has the hallmarks of expert craftsmanship. The thing had once been lavishly expensive. Like everything, though, time has dulled the painted face, faded fabric colors and applied miniature scars of scrapes and scratches. The hair is bleached white. Perhaps once it had been yellow? She calls it Emily. I introduce her to the bear. I have no name for him, only hatred. In my head I can almost hear his voice condemning me. As always, the memory of that sound is elusive and I don't bother with the attempt to chase it down. That voice and all the rest is the stuff of nightmares and best left alone. It's enough for me to know he deserves what's coming to him. I feigned embarrassment at his lack of clothing, playing on the emotions of a human mind. The truth is that I do not know what the tauren druid looked like except as a bear, or a bird, and hadn't bothered to craft clothes for him. It seemed to work, and the undead set up the tea table. At the stump covered by her thin blanket, the dolls sit. Emily and my own created tauren. On their makeshift table is a miniature tea set of cups, saucers, and snack plates painted with delicate pink and yellow roses. It's just about the most ridiculous thing I can think of at the moment. What purpose does it serve to sit here and serve real food to pretend people? I'm a real person, let me eat all the food. Like the undead said, she doesn't need it. She really got into the act with very little prodding from me. I giggled in the right places, manipulated my effigy in a pantomiming of what I imagined to be a gentlemanly way, showing the ceramic-faced Emily to her seat and ensuring her comfort before trudging him over to sit opposite. Aziris is an attentive host and pulls me into the game instead of letting me merely play the doll's part. To my surprise, I actually start to have a little fun. "Ah, I believe I hear steam from the kettle," Aziris says in her play-voice, acting the hostess. She excuses herself to the kitchen to prepare the tea tray, which means she scoots off the blanket to arrange the picnic in better readiness for serving. She begins arranging tea cakes on a serving platter, and I notice that she has quite a few more than she actually sets out. My stomach growls. Is she going to feed us in courses, like a feast meal, or, more likely, will she be the conservative lady and set out just enough for the four of us? I had asked for a picnic of free food, not all this tea party mess. Now it threatens to lead to real human habits of old-fashioned politeness and stupidly dainty portions. I don't have time for this, I'm hungry! An idea occurs to me. "Lady Emily," I speak for my druid friend, "this be a fantastic-enough gathering, and ya friend be such a gracious hostess... ya be minding if I be inviting a few odda friends to be witness to ya hospitality? Dey never gonna believe I been meeting such lovely ladies like yaself, ya be seein..." More plates on my side of the table equates, in my mind, to more share of the tea cakes. Aziris pauses in her careful stacking of the little biscuit rounds. Her faces briefly blanks as her eyes scrutinize my doll again, lingering on the belly stitching in particular. I thought she had accepted my story of the doll's poor care and the need to play doctor to fix him up again, but I'm beginning to think the girl is a bit smarter than I've given her credit for. A troll with a homemade doll? That's not the least bit suspicious is it? Too late now. I've already admitted that I have more dolls, and besides that I'm hungry. I was already nearly caught by a bluffwatcher about to make off with a pair of plucked and hung striders. Only my own paranoia and a third quick scan kept him from actually witnessing a theft. Damned tauren. The tea cakes are my most immediate and certain source of calories for the moment, and having actually seen them now, it's really hard to not need them. "Be forgivin my presumption, nice lady. I only be meaning if ya have enough fo sharin...?" Aziris blinks away whatever thoughts lurk behind those glowing eyes and smiles at me. She picks up the tray of treats and moves it a few inches closer, as if she is returning from a faraway kitchen. "Emily, did I hear we are to have more guests? Why yes, dear Azi, Mister druid here was just askin if it would be alright to invite them to sample your delicious baking. Of course they are welcome! Bring them in, by all means! The more the merrier..." Aziris looks at me expectantly. "Please show them to the table, Derecho?" Something in her expression makes me believe that I have erred somehow, revealed something about myself that I hadn't quite meant to share. What secret have I lost? She sets the heaped serving tray down and picks up the abandoned stack of dessert saucers from earlier table-setting, waiting patiently to set a plate for each new arrival. I cannot help myself. I bring out T'suro the third. I introduce him, making the doll bow with a gracious sweep of his tiny little stick spear, and set him at the table. Aziris smoothly plays the role of hostess and sets a plate for him as she speaks for both herself and Emily. My second Lilliana joins the tea party, her fireweed hair is no longer scarlet but dried out and brownish. The plant strands crumble easily, and this doll is soon nearly bald from the rough manipulations of removing it from the cuff of my glove and setting it at the table. The second hidden face on the back of the head, with angry slitted eyes and slanted scheming mouth suddenly seems like a poor design choice. She peers at me. Aziris smiles again, and this time the impression of superiority is unmistakeable. Something she suspected has just been confirmed. She chooses that moment to begin serving, and my thoughts instead gloss to the pondering of what those little round cakes will taste like. Will they be dry and crumbly? Buttery? Does she have jam to go with them, or just the tea? How many will each puppet get to have? What about the real people? Aziris greets Lilliana and Emily compliments her dress. The undead splits the cakes in half and serves the rounds open-faced, one half to each puppet at the table. She places two cakes on the plate for me and as she passes it back, nonchalantly asks if there are any more guests that might like to arrive? She is well aware that Sanctuary and The Grim are quite large guilds. It's such a treat to be able to see them acting so amicably... I'm not quite sure how it happens, but the picnic blanket is soon filled with every random doll I have thought to create. Julilee with her driftwood shield. Kexti holding his stick topped with a snailshell jug of medicine. The monk doll's face is completely absent, instead having concentric circles, like a target. There is another paladin with both arms ending in tufts of yellow feathers. His name is Cerryan, though I don't know why I know that. A green doll with a giant heart stitched over most of the area of the torso and an angry face I recognize as Shokkra. Along with this one is another, very similar and plain except for the head, where the same yellow feathers stick out of the mouth along with a single red one. Is that supposed to be fire? Then there is the eyeless half-doll, missing it's legs and pudgier than the others with zigzags drawn over every inch of it's black-and-white form. Aziris watches as I pluck these from every nook and cranny of my armor. The dolls emerge from pockets, from under flaps beneath the bones caging my shoulders, from inside my bushy hair. I retrieve them from my vest, betraying the utter lack of breasts actually padding the garment. I refasten the studded leather guards against my shinbones after unpadding them with dolls. If the Forsaken is surprised by the number of my targets represented, she hides it well. She insists on having each one introduced by name if I'm able, and then directs them to their seat at the table as if she really were a grand hostess conducting an epic social event in her home, instead of a silly girl playing dolls on the edge of a bluff behind a bunch of tents. With each new arrival the stack of tea cakes becomes smaller and soon enough there are no more plates. Each additional doll gets a napkin and a biscuit in their lap. We end with only two unclaimed treats, which she adds to my plate with the smooth excuse that the person who had made her tea party such an extravagant affair should rightfully receive an extra portion. She invites us all to please enjoy our tea, blowing gently on her own tiny cup as if to cool it and then sipping. I'm ecstatic, surveying my little army of dolls each with half a tea cake. Along with the tea, this will be an excellent meal. I proceed to eat and drink happily, occasionally voicing a different character. "Oh miss Aziris, dis be de bestest party I eva been to. Ya be so nice to be hostin it. Pfft, less talkin and more passing o de sugar, firefly. Shokkra, bein nice to our lady host! No demonkilla weapons at de table. Be eatin some o dat sugar, ya, improve ya attitude. Miss Emily, ya must be sharin de name o ya tailorin guy, Julilee always be wearin de armor, see, and if she be having a dress she be lookin mighty fine, right? Lilliana, no flingin o de crumbs at ya Sanctuary, now, we all be here nicelike..." The Forsaken gradually quiets, contributing less and less to the pretend as I find myself swept up in the story of it. I nibble at every doll's tea cake for them, doing my best to be dainty about it and take small bites after my own biscuits vanish. This is a lot more fun than I had thought it could be. It's nice to have someone just sit with me and be friendly. It makes me miss that bartender. Everyone has gone to the new islands. I wonder if perhaps it is time for me to follow them. I don't see Aziris fold her arms, watching me. She discreetly inserts a hand up one sleeve, finding something hidden there. As she sits, watching me eat and play nice with her doll and the crafted representation of everyone I wish to see dead or maimed, her thumb rubs a small oblong device between her fingers, activating it. When I glance to her to smile, still happy at this whole picnic thing and cheeks full with doll food, her own lips twist upwards in response.
  6. 6 points
    Sketch of Arch Druid Theira casting with her resto skillz.
  7. 6 points
    Because I have nothing better to do than to update something from a year ago.
  8. 5 points
    Grand New Year Story Contest With the new year let’s see if we can kick off a new contest too. This new contest has a submission window of two months: why two months? Because we have some nice looking prizes courtesy of Maikull and we want a chance for everyone to participate! Due to low voter turnout we’re also going to try something new and select three to five judges at random, this has the added benefit of pulling opinions from outside the community, ensures a set number of votes, plus guarantees fairness that one group is going to outvote another. If you want to volunteer to be a judge please message me or Maikull and we’ll make sure you are added to the draw. Rules -Your story must be self-contained and be at least one paragraph long. This means your entry must be condensed into a single post. If you have more than one post your first one will be the only accepted entry. -No thread Necromancy-the story you submit must be new. - You must have a character on Twisting Nether or Ravenholdt to participate - Neither you nor the character needs to be active. -Story must be WoW related and connect to the theme. Prizes Courtesy of Maikul we have some juicy prizes up for grabs: -The winner of the contest will receive 30 days free game time or 1 WoW token worth or free in-game gold. -2nd Place will receive 1000 gold per each multiplied by the number of contest participants. Theme: Artifact Weapon Please include Artifact Contest in the title of your story for your submission to be considered and include a link to your entry below. Submission Deadline is February 28, winners will be chosen after the first week in March. Good Luck!
  9. 5 points
    Mai’kull sat atop his rock in Margoss’s pond. His lure flew lazily back and forth into the water and he enjoyed the evening breeze. After his successful campaign against the Alliance, he had taken up the relaxing sport of fishing. It was quite therapeutic and mind numbing, which is something the Magister was in dire need of in-between his research. Katrynne Simms approached the water with an ornate dagger in her hand. The blade of the dagger had words engraved on it on both sides. 'What a strange way to send a message', she thought. Still, she wouldn’t turn down a potential source of help, especially after a recent card reading with the Starseer encouraged her to remain open to unexpected options. It could be a trap, of course, but she would take that chance. After a quick glance around, she tossed the dagger into the pond as per the instructions she received, and she trusted it would somehow find its way back to the message’s sender. Upon hearing the splash behind him, Mai’kull turned around to see an armor clad human standing along the bank. He grumbled at first, shooing her away with his free hand. Several Alliance came to this spot to fish, however this was his spot, and no amount of intimidation was going to make him move. Katrynne’s nostrils flared as she caught the scent of the Forsaken Mage. He was the same one she and Sir Cavanaugh ran into in Dalaran a few days ago. This was no ordinary Forsaken…he was Grim. Mai’kull looked the human girl over a few times, seeing the look of anger and hatred on her face. Thinking back, she did look familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. Clearly, she wasn’t going to go away, whatever her grievance with him was, wasn’t going to be over his fishing spot. “Can I help you?” the Undead spoke in a very broken dialect of common. It had been YEARS since he spoke the language, since before the Sacking of Silvermoon when he was but a child, but he had a recently refreshed himself on the basics of the Alliance linguistics to better monitor his enemy’s movements. “You can help me by dying,” the huntress growled softly. “Are you going to come over here and fight, or are you going to make me get my boots wet?” She drew her daggers from their sheath as she stared at him, studying her prey in a calm and calculating manner. ‘She’s kidding…’ he thought to himself as he quickly tried to decipher the woman’s words. As he confirmed his own translation he began to chuckle, putting away his fishing rod. “You…must be confused.” He choked out. He had taken the Kirin-Tor’s course on Arcane Linguistics but even that did not make speaking common feel anything less than revolting. He stood upon the rock now facing the human and laughed some more, “Let’s think about this, shall we? You want to pick a fight with a Mage…who’s standing in the middle of a lake, surrounded by magical water that he’s fully capable of manipulating. Mommy and Daddy didn’t teach you much on common sense, did they?” Kat’s eyes narrowed as she glanced for a moment at the water, then back to the yammering corpse. “So…what? Going to hide out in the water then? Filthy Grim. Afraid of a fair fight against a combatant? I hear you're only capable of killing innocent civilians and children.” ‘Fair Fight?’ he thought as he began to analyze his opponent. She knew he was Grim, and mentioning civilians, this was probably related to the attacks. He wondered for a moment if she knew he was the one who organized the whole thing, or if she was just a screw-loose out against the Grim. Light Armor, Leather, and twin daggers…she’s a rogue at least. Not a smart one at that, since she showed herself to her opponent. Her bravado would be her downfall, Mai’kull only had to push the right buttons… “All right then…don’t say I didn’t warn you…” the he teased as magical energy combusted from the fishermen. His entire body became engulfed in flames, his figure began to twist and bend in the combustion until it extinguished a few seconds later. Mai’kull Fireweaver, Maleficar of the Grim stood tall in his Bloodmage Battle Regalia. Clutching one hand on the hilt of Felo’melorn at his side, the Grim Magister grinned at the girl before him, it was Show Time! “You know the Kirin-Tor don’t like it when we get rough on one another…” the magister said, pointing behind him to Conjurer Margoss. “So instead let’s play a fun little game…” Kat’s glare never left the mage. If her hatred could be expelled from her eyes, she would put Demon Hunters to shame. “I’m not really one for playing games with YOUR kind,” she snarled. “Oh…but you’ll like this one…It’s called King of the Rock, and I’m the King!” He held his hands outward and spun around on the spot, clearly mocking the rogue. Withdrawing a small pole from his bag, he drove it into the rock, which quickly expanded into the Battle Standard of the Grim. “The rules are simple. You want it, come and get it!” he teased, swinging one handed from the battle standard while beckoning the ‘come hither’ motion with his free hand. Katrynne disappeared from the water’s edge, and in one swift Shadow Step, she appeared on the rock behind the mage. Gripping the dagger in her main hand she spun around without hesitation and reached to slash at the Magister for a crippling Garrote. But Mai’kull was waiting for her, and with the power of Arcane Momentum, he shimmered backwards through the rogue’s attack and over the center of the lake. Mai’kull landed in the water with a great splash but kept his eyes on the rogue. She couldn’t pull off that trick again for another half minute, plenty of time for him to wrap this pursuit up. He laughed as the rogue turned to face him once more, now she looking down on him. “Well done!” he shouted, clapping his hands as he floated along the water’s surface. As he anticipated, she was easy enough to bait, and now Mai’kull had her RIGHT where he wanted her. “Your Majesty!” he mocked, “I humbly surrender my throne to one so WORTHY!” he cackled as he began to slowly swim backwards away from the girl, “But I wonder if your new subjects would feel so welcome to the idea?!” he grinned, withdrawing a small stone from his pocket and flicked it up into the air. It was as if Time Slowed down, watching the stone flip up and over in the air, reaching its apex before descending back into the lake. As it hit the water’s surface, it made no splash or noise, but almost immediately melted into the water without so much as a ripple. The Forsaken had already Shimmered back again to the opposite side of the lake as the magic took hold. Katrynne and Mai’kulls eyes locked for a moment on one another before the great disturbance shook the fishing retreat. The Colossal Water Elemental Aquaos rose up from the waters depths in a bout of rage. Its gaze first went to the one who summoned it, but Mai’kull was already slipping into the void with a spell of Invisibility. It then turned its full attention to Katrynne, and with a giant swipe of its aquatic claws, knocked the rogue off the rock and into the lake itself. As Kat fell through the water, her body shifted into worgen form in anticipation of battle. Irritated at the delay in attacking her prey, the huntress shoved the mage to the back of her mind to focus on the more immediate threat. She held her breath and began to swim up toward the surface, but suddenly, the water around her feet froze, holding her firmly in place. While she chipped at the ice with her daggers, an icy bolt came at her through the water and struck her in the chest, knocking her feet free of the ice. With her lungs burning, she swam to the surface. The giant water elemental was shooting a jet of water at her. She dove under the water to duck under it. When she came up again, she launched herself at the creature, her two large daggers slashing through the water beast. It shot another freezing water bolt at her that caught her in the side. She grunted, grit her teeth, and continued slicing at the thing. Finally, the elemental dispersed into water droplets and mana motes that fell harmlessly into the pond. Kat knew it would reform later, but for now, it was no longer a threat. Soaked and panting, the worgen woman dragged herself to the edge of the pond where the water was only ankle deep. She looked for the Grim, her nose quivering trying to catch his scent, but she he was gone. She knew that the sneaky little bastard used the elemental as a distraction to escape. She sheathed her daggers and pinned her ears back against her head and roared. “COWARD! STOP HIDING AND COME OUT!” Just then her ears perked, she could hear his voice fill the small lake, undoubtedly through some magical means. “Poor Kitten…Look at you now, all wet and dirty. I did warn you not to pick a fight out of your own element.” “I will find you again. And I WILL kill you, Grim!” She fumed with anger at his coincidental use of an old nickname, one that only one person had ever called her by. Out of habit, she lifted one hand to touch a ring hanging on a chain around her neck. “Grim? So formal…least I can do is reward you and tell the name of who it was who got you all hot and bothered, Shall we?” The surface of the lake under her feet began to ripple, as the image of the Mage appeared, as if he were standing next to her, a malevolent grin plastered across its face as it bowed to her own reflection and blew a kiss, “My name, is Mai’kull Fireweaver…and I look forward to seeing you again, Pretty Kitty. Very soon.” With a vicious snarl, she swung her claws through the watery illusion, sending the droplets to rain back to the surface below. ((written by Maikull and Katrynne))
  10. 5 points
    Vanry moved aside a bookcase to reveal hidden stairs, she looked back at the two men that had asked her to create this stone. Stormsky had asked her to aid him in the creation of a powerful artifact to open a portal to the shadow lands, then Baal’themar found her at the Ledgermain lounge and asked her the same. So the two had followed her home. Not that I need or want them here for this. She thought quietly before she asked them if they wanted to join her down in the study. Unfortunately for Vanry the two had agreed to follow her into her study and witness the ritual, despite her offer of wine and food if they stayed in the manor. Vanry knew of course that Baal’themar wouldn't have a problem watching what she was doing. He didn't seem so sentimental. She would need him later to help her with one of the components but she was terrified of him. Their first meeting had shaken her so much she would not put it past the man not to kill her on a whim. The thought had made her bring Stormsky along. She hoped that he could be the buffer between her and that clawed demon. If there was another, harder to kill witnesses maybe she would not be his victim. Stormsky seemed the gentle type. She did not know him long, but she saw that he valued life. Something that could prove to be a problem if he got upset in the middle of her ritual. Paranoia whirled around in her mind as she gave the men a little nervous laugh. It will be alright after all, what can they do to me once I am in my circle of power? She thought as she took her first step down into the dark. The three slowly made their way down the stone stairs toward Vanrys’ study. The smell of dust and burning candles hung in the air, tall bookshelves full of old tomes stretched to the ceiling. The floor of the room was carved and etched with runes, the runes created a large ritual circle. This circle of power helped Vanry focus her necromancy and control the flow of magic within the study. The circle itself surrounded an alchemist table, thick dark wood coated in vanish and bound with fine elven smith work stood at the very center of the room. The light from the candles cast shadows across the room. The slight flicker of the candles cause the shadows to dance over the stone walls and bookshelves, they moves across the room with a sickening shudder, like a corpse full of writhing maggots the sudden rapid movement followed by the still calm of the dead after they had eaten their fill. Vanry and her guests got settled into the study, she asked Baal’themar to aid her in picking a suitable human sacrifice to begin the ritual. She showed him the cell that held her human cattle, a fundamental truth of necromancy. You need bodies to work with. While Baal’themar selected a strong specimen for the ritual, Stormsky had picked up an old book, Vanry moved quickly to take the book away from him, taking the tome away from the large Tauren. She ran her fingers over the tome, it was locked tight with thick iron locks and dark warding runes, and she carefully put it back into the bookshelf. “Don’t read magic you are not ready for. You could get really hurt.” Stormsky raised an eyebrow at her and simply nodded with a slight and knowing grin. Baal’themar returned with his chosen human and held him aloft like a cat that caught a mouse. Vanry looked at Baal and nodded at his pick. “Bind him to the rings here.” She pointed to an iron ring bolted into the stonework of the floor. Baal’themar pushed the human to his knees and bound his hands behind his back, the human grunted as the large elf pulled the bindings tight against his flesh. Vanry closed her eyes and relaxed herself, she needed to focus on the ritual. It was simple to kill a man but the control needed to direct the flow of energy needed to create this artifact would take a great deal of her willpower. Stromsky and Baal’themar interrupted her work with idle chatter, anger ran up her cheeks. “You both will remain silent while I work, or you’ll leave.” She said in a stern voice, her eyes remained closed while she started to focus again. Her focus was interrupted again by a solid thud as Stormsky stood up from his resting place. He announced that he needed to leave to heed the call of the Earthen Ring. With that the large Tauren walked out of the study and left the two elves in the dimly lit room. Vanry hissed to herself, having to restart again made the back of her neck burn but she pushed down the annoyance and forced herself to calm down. She felt the shadows coil around her their cold embrace was a welcome feeling after the heat of anger. She opened her eyes to the man bound to the floor, his eyes full of life. Vanry moved to stand in front of him using the circles power to help her gather the powers she needed, slowly she reached out with her willpower, with care she drew out the humans’ life force. A faint pale blue glow leeched its’ way out from the man’s eyes. He screamed of course, they always did at first. Baal’themar watched on, his hand rested on the hilt on his dagger and his eye alert despite his calm face and relaxed posture Vanry knew he was aware of her… and her power. She couldn’t help but grin at the thought of this man being on edge because of her. And rightly so. She thought. The humans’ screaming reached its fever pitch as they neared the peak of the ritual, his body was a withered husk of dry and broken flesh, his ribs and bones could be seen through his skin. A ball of pale blue floated above him, all that he was or could have been was floating above him. It was beautiful in a strange way. What would hers’ look like? Would it be pale blue? She asked herself for a brief moment before she plucked the last thread of the humans’ life. The man collapsed into an empty husk, his fleshed looked brittle and dry as if ravaged by countless eons. Vanry slowly looked toward Baal’themar who stood at the side of the dead mans’ husk. “Move aside. I need to make a vessel to finish this.” Baal’themar stepped back and made room for whatever she was going to do. With the swirling ball floating within the circle of power Vanry set about creating something to hold the raw necromantic energy. She waved a hand toward what was left of the humans’ body and the leathery flesh that was once healthy and pink boiled away in a thick black ooze that slithered away from his bones. Vanry looked at Baal’themar as the room darkened around her, the candles closest to her dimed and died as if the air had been pulled out of them, an aura of malice surrounded her. Her elven guest watched on, his hand no longer resting on the hilt, his blade was gripped in his hand. Not yet drawn but ready. She smiled, and returned to her work. The bones clattered toward each other, she worked the bone into new shapes, unnatural shapes. She settled on a cube. She took her time to make the surface smooth, the inside however was a labyrinth foul magic and necromantic runes. Finally satisfied with her work she moved her hands and the two parts became one, the pale light seeped into the porous bone and deep into the grim cube. When the light faded she sighed and walked to the morbid artifact. The air of malice slowly faded and warm candle light returned to the room. “Done.” She looked at Baal’themar, he had relaxed again. “This will work for your needs.” She pulled the cube from the air, she ran her thin fingers over the bone surface and felt the rough edges before handing it to Baal’themar. He took the cube with a slight nod, and stashed it safely inside his pack. "I trust you can find your way out." She says heading to a chair with as much care as possible to mask the trembling in her hands. The rituals always took something from her, leaving her numb and cold. She crossed her arms as she sat down. “Thank you, Vanry.” He turned on his heel and walked up the stairs, leaving Vanry to her rest.
  11. 5 points
    Almost a week had passed since the meeting in the Cantina took place, almost a week since Rutilus and some of The Grim entrusted him with finding out how to send a group into the world of shadow… the shadowlands to rescue Khorvis, and yet Stormsky was no closer to finding out the information required to successfully do the ritual. His memories betrayed him; “three crystals… gems, one filled with the essence of frost, one with the essence of blood and one with the essence of undeath” was all he remembered. Two of the gems had already been obtained, Baal’themar had the blood one, “Earth Mother only knows what he killed to fill it” Storm thought, and he had filled the frost gem which was filled with the assistance of Northrend elementals. As he placed the object on his desk he angrily muttered “At least the trip to Northrend was not a complete waste of time… those Knights of the Ebon Blade could not be more secretive if they wanted to”. He took a long breath and proceeded to read his mail, he hoped that maybe his former mentor Doomcrusher, a shaman turned death knight, might have answered his request for information. Soon enough his hopes were rewarded, there it was, a letter with a compendium of runes and protection spells attached to it, he slowly read over it. “Greetings Storm. I apologize for the late response; I hope that by the time this letter reaches you, you had already changed your mind about performing this ritual, but after knowing your stubborn being for so many years, I highly doubt it. Therefore I will give you all the instructions you need to do this as safe as it can possibly be. Even though this ritual has the same bases as the one you mention, it is different than the one you and so many adventurers went through on Northrend, Koltira phased you into the shadowlands just enough for you to be able to kill his tormentors, for you to actually rescue someone from there you will need to physically enter that realm using a portal. The ingredients are the same, gems filled with every aspect of a death knight’s power... that you already know; you will also need the help of a death knight to perform the ritual. When you select the members of the party that will go into the shadowlands, do NOT include anyone who wields or has wielded dark magic, this includes death knights, warlocks, shadow priests, necromancers… since their soul has already been touched by the darkness, they will act as a magnet when you go in, attracting every twisted being of that realm to your party. Also do not bring any one who wields fel magic… the investigations after the being Xhul'horac was destroyed, showed that the shadow beings can absorb the fel and become stronger and more chaotic. It’s safe if the party is made of users of elemental energy, nature, arcane, and holy based magic, these beings are not affected by physical attacks so make sure you enchant the weapons of those who cannot wield magic. Once the party has been selected, have the death knight link you all first to the blood gem, this will act as your safety net, a link to the mortal world, this will allow the death knight to quickly extract you out of the shadowlands if the need arises, it will also help each of the party members sense one another… remember in the shadowlands nothing is as it seems, you may be one feet away from someone and not even realize that person is there. Afterwards, have the death knight attune you to the frost gem; this will give you a protective aura that will hide you from the shadow beings. The third step is to cast protection and containment runes all around the place where the portal is going to be located, because this portal can also be used by the shadow to enter the physical world, I attached some spells that will help you keep them contained. The next and final step is the opening of the portal, the death knight will channel the energy of the undeath filled gem to open it, once opened it can only be closed AFTER the party has returned, if it closes with people inside, their links to the to the other crystals will be shattered, and they will be as lost as the person you are trying to rescue. Once you are inside, do not stray too far away from the portal, the benefits the crystals give you will diminish the farther away you are from them, so make sure you cast the portal close to where you think your friend is being captive. If you go too far, the protections will be gone. Also remember the protections and the portal will not last forever, and the larger the party that goes in, the less time you will have for the search. Try to avoid any kind of confrontation or interaction with the shadow beings, you cannot win and if by any chance the protections fail… run, you will be in their world and they will overwhelm and consume you if you do not escape. This is all the information I can give you… again… I hope that you change your mind, but in the case that you do not, I wish you the best of luck, you are going to need it. May the Earth Mother be with you son. Doomcrusher.” A chill went down Stormsky’s spine, even if he was just phased into that realm, he was able to feel the sickly cold of the darkness crawling ever closer to him… waiting just an opportunity to grab him, But Khorvis was a friend of the people close to him, and if they wanted to try the rescue he would help them. With a renewed resolve Stormsky stood up heading out to relay this information to Rutilus Luna.
  12. 5 points
    Syreena had heard about the brawl in the Wyvern’s Tail a few days ago. As she heard it, T’suro had come in and started trouble with Khorvis. A fight broke out, and Khorvis lost a tusk. Baal and a couple other Grims broke up the fight, and ran Sanctuary off but were injured in the process. Syreena did not take attacks against the Grims lightly. Since hearing the news, the little rogue had been prowling around Orgrimmar and Warspear, looking for an opportunity to remind the purple people that aggression against The Grim would not be tolerated. She found her first target along the beaches of Warspear. A female elf she’d met at the last Cantina. Sanctuary. And Cerryan’s mate. Sen'ahri sat in a secluded little section of Warspear, having found a semi-quiet spot near the water and slightly far away enough for the din of the hub to be partially muted. She was in simple clothes, the only real flavor to it was the bright purple and gold of the Sanctuary tabard that hung loosely around her. The make shift table was low to the ground, the pole that kept it up right half sunken into the high tide of the water that lapped at her bare feet. Her boots sagged on the table as she sat hunched over a book, an odd spherical puzzle in her hand. She would turn and spin the halves of the object, study it then jot something down in the book, completely engrossed in her progress. Even as the sun hung low with a fire's blood and her feet ankle deep in wet sand, she kept to her studies, ears flicking every once and a while, but mostly limp and droopy as she concentrated. It had been ages since someone last passed by, either in wayward passing or intent. She was alone, and dumb as ever. With the step of one practiced at remaining unheard and unseen, the Shadowblade moved silently over the wet sand until she was directly behind Sen'ahri. She leaned forward, placing a blade lightly against the elf's throat and her lips close to her ear. "Hello, elf," she whispered into that elegant ear. Sen’ahri flinched hard, nearly jumping out of her skin, the sting of the blade on the tender flesh of her throat stinging less than it should, adrenaline starting to pump through her blood. She recognized the voice, though her memories had to search for the woman they belonged too far slower then she would have perhaps liked. Though as the image of the undead woman flittered into her thoughts she knew she was out classed. She was a mage, sure, but where most of her people practice for combat, she had used her time learning of the past... and its people. It was the trickle of red that tickled her skin that slammed her thoughts back into reality. Slowly she sat the pen and the puzzle down, hands flat on the table fingers splayed. She didn't say anything at first as her eyes closed trying desperately to quit the tremble that had over taken her. The fight the day before with Cerryan echoed into her thoughts, a bitter taste running on her tongue from the thought. "That's right," Syreena whispered approvingly. "Keep your hands right there where I can see them.” “What do you want?” Sen’ahri said, her voice giving away more fear then what she had intended. “Hm," Syreena said and then paused, as if thinking on the question. She tilted her head back and forth in time with tipping the dagger back and forth as well, rocking it gently against Sen'ahri's throat. "I just want peace, same as you purple people," she finally answered with a deceitful cheerfulness in her voice. The frightened elf flicked her gaze around as much as she could, trying to find someone, anyone to signal to, to raise an alarm, anything. She just had to keep the woman talking, that’s what they always said, keep them talking, get them to monologue get them to spill their guts to save your own. Peace? Peace was easy, but this wasn't the way for it this wasn't how you got it. "I also want this," Syreena hissed as she licked the outside of the elf's left ear. She raised her free hand, holding the twin of the blade at the elf’s throat. Sen’ahri’s lips parted to speak, to ask questions, to say more, but her words were soon gone as she felt the blade slice through the skin and cartilage, severing the ear from her head. To the undead's credit, her blades were sharp, impossibly so, before the pain registered the appendage was gone. Reaching to pick up her small, bloody prize from where it landed on the table, the Shadowblade removed the dagger from the elf's throat and took a step back, quite pleased with herself. They teach you to be calm, to keep a level head and a mind like a vice when using magic, that using while emotional did little but hurt yourself and those around you, but the only one around Sen’ahri now was Syreena. In a pop of displaced air and magic the mage was gone, standing facing the other woman with wide wild eyes. A shaky hand reached up to touch the unprotected hole, her palm coming back a bloody mess, the long slender pink spear of flesh she expected to feel; missing. The gore streamed down her face and neck, making a mess of her clothes and shoulder as she tried to stop the bleeding. trying to get the ringing out of her...her.... Her vision warbled as tears started to sting, her hearing drastically muted on her left side. Syreena tilted her head, her gaze fixed on the bleeding hole in the elf's head. Then she giggled softly and lifted the severed ear up to her lips, giving it a tender lick. The mutilated mage rose her free hand to cast a spell, lances of Ice starting to form around her then haphazardly flung forward as she tried to stumble away, the magic puttering out mostly before getting to their target, or off the mark by more than a mile. She was a researcher, not a harden battle mage. The rogue’s giggling grew louder as the ice pieces flew harmlessly about her with no real aim or force. "Ooh, a snowball fight?" With a childish playfulness, Syreena pulled out a magic snowball and threw it at the mage. The ball of snow smacked the woman in the chest. As she registered what her attacker had thrown, a horrid look of confusion claimed Sen'ahri's face, causing Syreena to laugh harder at the expression. Her one hand still covering the hole, the other slowly starting to cast a simple teleportation spell. More in test to see if the rogue would even let her leave, the cast taking more time, her hands shaking too hard. Having already accomplished her goal, the Shadowblade made no move to impede the elf’s escape. “You're a monster,” the mage said, her voice sounding half muffled. Syreena put on her best innocent face and pouted a bit. Then she grinned wickedly. “Rawr!” Sen’ahri flinched at the sound, dropping the spell once again, only to be quickly picked back up again. Then, with the soft sound of displaced air and magic, the mage was gone. Later that day, Syreena had Lilliana stitch the elf ear onto her own head where, eighteen months or so ago, her left ear was removed after losing a battle with another Sanctuary elf. ((Written by Syreena and Sen’ahri))
  13. 5 points
    " You are only allowed to give 10 likes per day. You cannot give any more likes today. " What the... I'm allowed to like as many things as I want to like and no one is going to stop me! Be that as it may, I would appreciate being able to indicate my likes without limit. I feel any such restriction on appreciation is in error.
  14. 5 points
    “You are not performing your form correctly,” said the pandaren, Fong. Kex’ti seethed, and swung the butt of his staff upward, aiming for the other monk’s solar plexus. Fong stepped backward, out of the path of the attack, and threw his entire bodyweight behind a palm strike. The blood elf’s nose broke, and Kex’ti reeled backwards, bringing a hand to ward his face. The panderen expected the elf to yield. He expected the monk to bow, as others had. When the Wandering Isle had sent the Huojin and Tushui envoys towards the end of the Cataclysm, they had spread hints of Pandaren culture like petals drifting on the breeze. Ephemeral, transient, and easily missed. The Wanderers continued to wander across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, and set up small encampments among their new Horde and Alliance allies. One of the simplest arts they passed along were the teachings and traditions of monasteries remembered only in ink and word, stories of a continent lost in the mists. But the memories and stories endured, and teaching farmers and warriors alike the virtues of meditation and unarmed combat translated beyond one’s race. Indeed, many of the people the Pandaren reached out to could relate to the monastic traditions of the Pandaren; the Forsaken and humans had orders of knights and priories to the Holy Light; the tauren had their druidic circles, and the blood elves would cling to any hope of calming the ever-present itch at the back of their minds. Fong expected this elf to be much the same as the others. The elves, particularly the sin’dorei, practiced the soft arts well, thought the monk. They could reflect, and they could show discipline. But they would never truly master the hard arts. Their bodies were frail, their thoughts alien to the tranquility necessary to truly be masters. To a one, Fong had found the trials easiest against elves. It wasn’t to say they weren’t capable. Just that so much of their technique, and so many of the “new” developments they brought to the Broken Temple were glamour rather than substance. One good hit was usually enough to put them down. Fong was Tushui, and knew only a little of blood elven culture. What he learned he had heard from a quel’dorei secessionist. The picture the high elf painted was arrogant and vain. Disdain huffed the monk’s black nose. At least the orcs and dwarves bothered to master some of the fighting. They attempted to be masters. They saw glory, and they saw opportunity, and they saw what it was to be a monk. The blood elves wanted something to distract them from their addiction to the arcane. That the urge was mostly abated by the Sunwell was little known and of less value to Fong. Fong was disappointed. So many pandaren, Huojin, Tushui, and Continental, could have been invited to the Wandering Isle. So many lost opportunities. Elves like this one were invited. So much wasted space. Pathetic. Kex’ti lunged back in, and was met by Fong’s guard. *** The elf first broached the subject to Baern Grimtotem. The pair sat in oak chairs in the Filthy Animal, a skin of whiskey flaccid between them. Their cups rattled each time they lifted them to their lips. “I have been invited to the Wandering Isle,” he said. The pair had been discussing Baern’s induction into the Valarjar, the elite warriors chosen by the Titan Keeper Odyn. A small hint of a smirk rattled and died at the corner of the monk’s lips. “Then why don’t you go?” Baern asked in as many words. Kex’ti had waited for that question. And he did not have a response. He made up a satchel for the journey. He packed and unpacked his cooking equipment, pondering if it would be met with open arms or with disregard. He reviewed scrolls and form diagrams he had all but crumbled into dust with his obsessive smoothing and study. It was not that he doubted his ability. Not really. He knew he had mastered his stances and his strikes, had the countless scars and calluses to prove his dedication to his style. His combat record, too, reflected this. But monks were not plentiful, not in his experience, at least. His lot for comparison was near to nonextant. And he wondered why he had been invited. Why were the monks gathering? He supposed the only way to find out was to go. He smirked to himself as he climbed aboard one of the cloud serpents corralled at Krasus’ Landing. His own, Shou-Kara, would wait behind. He gathered his cloak around himself, patted the serpent, and tried to doze. An hour later, he opened his eyes, and peered through the cloud cover. He smelled, over the sea, the mixture of many smells. Kex’ti gaped, taking it all in. The island itself was a massive turtle, its flippers and head rising and falling in the slate grey waves miles off the Broken Isles. As the serpent wheeled above and descended down to a clearing near the center of the turtle’s back, the tinge of fel met his nose, along with the clean trees and herbs of Pandaria, blended more still with the overwhelming aromas of food. Heat shimmered from a village that had been converted almost wholesale into an open kitchen. Near the massive temple, students of hundreds of disciplines engaged in duels. And among them walked venerable Pandaren, obvious even at a distance that they had forgotten more about the martial arts than Kex’ti could learn in his remaining lifetime. He grimaced at the though, and swallowed down a cough. The cloud serpent landed, dust whirling around the current that guided and suffused the creature. A pair of acolytes immediately began speaking to the monk in quick, dialectic Pandaren. Even after a year on the Continent with no other language to hear, Kex’ti still fumbled over the euphemism and tonal notes. “Om nom?” asked one of the acolytes, a pandaren man with stark white fur and black rings around his eyes. “Nom sze om,” said Kex’ti. The acolyte seemed confused and nodded, and helped remove Kex’ti’s belongings from the serpent. The pandaren paused, and spoke again, slowly, placing emphasis on the way the O’s left his mouth. The monk blinked, and nodded, bowing his head gratefully. He smirked, even still, drawing a neatly narrowed gaze from the attendant. Try as he might, Kex’ti could not get the tic to subside. Choice words in Thalassian crossed the monk’s mind. He dismounted, carefully, and used his staff to steady his stride. The limp was apparent, but not incredibly obvious. It was noticed, thought Kex’ti. He closed his eyes, inhaled, and raised his head high, speaking amicably in Pandaren--Huojin Pandaren--to the duo who aided him with his things. It would be impolite to not accept, he knew, and the conversation’s initial brusqueness gave way to something more honest. “Certain am I not to why here I have been invited,” he said, thinking carefully over the words. “Pardon. I am not certain to why here I invited I have been,” he attempted. The second pandaren, similar in most respects to the first, save that he had dyed the longer hair on his head to a vibrant purple answered. They were hesitant to give him their names, for whatever reason. “The Order of the Broken Temple was formed to bring together monks of as many styles and backgrounds as was feasible. Any who might have something to contribute against the fight against the Legion,” said Purple. Rings nodded. “Yes. The council of Grandmasters wanted to see what had happened to the teachings in the wake of of the diaspora.” “So they just invited everyone that drew anyone’s attentions…” Kex’ti asked. “Ah, not so simply,” said Rings. “It is also to collect and...gather the information people have made about monastic styles.” “For salad? Pardon, for grouping? For....” “Collection,” said Purple. “Just in case.” Kex’ti nodded, grimly. “I see. Is the council of Grandmasters that pessimistic about our odds?” “Not quite. It is also to make certain that those who have mastered a style or discipline are rewarded accordingly.” “Wait,” said the monk, pausing his steps. Around the three, Pandaren chittered and droned, while pandaren and other races mixed and talked amongst themselves, demonstrating strikes and stances. He almost lost track of his thoughts. “Does a master not get to make those choices? For their disciples?” “Yes, but the Order of the Broken Temple wants to provide an extra standard, so as not to lose the techniques of the ages. It is very precise, and incredibly exacting to meet their standards.” Kex’ti nodded. “I...think I understand.” Satisfied, the pandaren took him towards the Temple of Five Dawns. “You are a Serpent initiate, yes?” Kex’ti blinked. “I have learned quite a bit of Serpent teaching, but in truth I am much more of a Crane adept.” The pandaren shared a glance. “So you have learned a bit of Tiger style? What temple?” “The Crane temple in Kun-Lai,” Kex’ti said. The two shared another glance. “Ah, to the Crane grounds, then. And what of Ox style?” asked Purple, scanning the monk’s figure. “You don’t look typical for an elf.” Kex’ti hobbled along, the scrolls and tomes on his staff fluttering. He smirked. “I suppose that is true,” he chuckled. “I did study a bit of Ox style. All of the styles connect somehow, yes? Ox and Serpent both focus on leaves.” “Leaves? Oh, medicine?” Kex’ti nodded. “It was a lot of work, but pandaren martial arts...well, elves using them is newer than the arts being made for them, right?” The pair nodded in agreement, and led him through a red archway. They left him with his satchel and armor, and he hobbled in, looking about. He drew occasional glances. He coughed and took a pull from his jug. Kex’ti sat down next to a jinyu and a night elf. The Jinyu was dressed in simple black robes, and was, to his estimation, a woman? No, a man. The aura failed to give it away in either respect, not that it ever did. The kaldorei sipped at some ginger tea. “Hoi, friends,” Kex’ti said. The two gave him a cursory nod. “How do you fare?” The others turned towards the sin’dorei. “Well enough. How goes the Horde’s fight with the Legion?” Kex’ti gripped his leg. “It is slow progress,” he said. “And the Alliance’s?” “Considering we lost our High King, and the new Commander of Forces…” began the Jinyu. The night elf glared, but his expression softened, and he sighed. “Suzu, hush,” said the night elf. “What happened at the Broken Shore and our current factional leadership is inept on both sides, for many reasons. We should focus on what is happening here, today.” The Jinyu looked into Kex’ti’s eyes, noted his waiting disagreement, then looked down to Kex’ti’s tabard. “Sanctuary? I’ve heard of you.” The Pandaren language flowed between the three as they waited for what happened next. Tea was shared, and for a brief moment, Kex’ti’s heart soared. A stern, young Pandaren woman emerged from the temple at the end of the courtyard. Her robes were fine, if used, and her gaze was calculating. She refrained from any magic. Instead, when she spoke, the voice echoed throughout the court. “Crane adepts,” she began. “I am Number Eight Aiko, Shado-Pan and Crane Master. “Our world, our way of life, faces an unprecedented task ahead of us. It is not an orcish menace that stands before us…” she said, looking over the crowd, “...But the extinction of all life. Do not take your summons here lightly. “The council of Grandmasters has convened in an attempt to gather the various splinters and techniques developed from the original four styles. While many of you are Cranes, so many of your teachings have not come according to the original trainings. This is just as well, as we are more than what we were when the original sects were born.” She nodded. “Crane adepts are unique among the four styles. We strike hard like Tigers. We heal like Serpents. And we are more than willing to defend our allies like the Oxen. But we are bastions too of hope. And no matter who we once were, the Red Crane watches over us, as we must watch over our allies, no matter where they reside: Before us, behind us, or at our side.” “The Legion comes. We must have hope that we possess the skills, together, to overcome them. In the days to come, we will find out how this is possible.”
  15. 5 points
    Because I was sick of not having an avatar for Dora.
  16. 4 points
    It was a beautiful day in Elwynn Forest. The birds were chirping, the cows were mooing as they wandered about unfettered... and the sewer crocodiles that had escaped to the sewage pond outside of Stormwind dragged a particularly careless one to its untimely death. At one of the local farmsteads, a seasonal worker was getting fired. Amidst the relative tranquility and the goings on of the kingdom's residents, a newcomer marched with purpose down the road. With eyes that gleamed with ferocity, upturned nose held high, and scales that shined in the sun, a brown spotted colored Sethrak moved towards the city's gates with purpose! Only to come face to face with a patrol of mounted riders, tasked with protecting the kingdom from the Horde and other threats who had, as of late, invaded and sowed chaos at an unacceptable rate. "HALT, SNAKE!" The patrol's captain motioned for his soldiers to stop, and halfway surround them, "You will go no further!" "HOW DARE!" The Sethrak yelled back, its neck instinctively flattening to make the back of its head and neck wider... presumably to look fierce, "Hoomans go away! I has messij for king!" There was an awkward moment of silence as the captain was... in essence dumbstruck with how spoken words could somehow be misspelled, but he pushed the befuddlement aside, "Stand down and surrender, and you will not b-" "GO 'WAY HOOMAN! AM DANGRUS!" The Sethrak huffed and puffed breaths in, and began to hiss, "EMPIRE DEMANZ SURR-ENDR!" "...um, sir?" One of the rookie patrolman spoke up after another few moments of awkward, befuddled silence, "What is it doing?" "How am I supposed to know? You and you, get off your horses and arrest it." The captain pointed to the rookie and one other guard, who looked at each other, shrugged, and dismounted. "NO TUCH!" The Sethrak hissed louder, tensing a puffing up even more, "I BITE!" The rookie and his partner, despite being faced with this... weird unknown, couldn't help but snort as a laugh escaped them. Undeterred, they began to approach, which caused the Sethrak to become even more defensive, coiling back into a defensive posture until!... ...it collapsed to the ground in a hissing, writhing heap. "What in the... Sir?!" One of the still mounted guards looked alarmed, concerned, but ultimately confounded as she watched the snake man flail about in the dirt in what looked to be a horribly acted death-throe. The guards backed up their horses, but otherwise all stayed where they were, as for the next minute or so the snake person kept on its death act, until finally laying still in a contorted pose... mouth agape, and forked tongue lolling off to the side. "I've had enough of this. Get that damn thing to the stockades and make SI:7 deal with it." The captain annoyedly ordered, turning his steed around back to the city gates, and motioning for the other mounted guards to follow. "You heard 'im." One of the dismounted guards went over, grabbing the Sethrak by its robe collar to try and force it to stand up, but finding it floppy and limp, though not in an actually dead way. Starting to get irritated, he tried to force it to turn over, only to express further frustration as it flipped back belly up, and did it again when he tried to right it once again. "For the love of the light, just throw it over your horse and let's go." "arrrggghh.... no tuch!" The Sethrak quietly hissed and muttered, oofing as it did get thrown over the back of one of the patrol horses, to be carted away into the city's gates, oggled at by the city's denizens, and then locked up to be attended to later.
  17. 4 points
    Hello TNG, After many years of work, I have finally published my first book. If you enjoyed Copper Kisses in Nether Legends or First, Do No Harm, you might enjoy Claim Sanctuary. Unlike my TNG threads, the book was actually edited. It is available on all Amazon Kindle marketplaces in digital form (US$3.98), and also in Paperback (with complimentary e-copy) on selected marketplaces (US$15.99). I have always valued the input of the community here, and while this work is not related to World of Warcraft, I would be very gracious to have anyone read Claim Sanctuary and provide a review on Amazon--even if you hate it! if you are interested, I can provide you with a PDF copy of the book at no charge. If you would like to participate, please email me at danegreenbooks@gmail.com or talk to @Nathandiel on the TNG discord. My very best regards, Nathandiel
  18. 4 points
    Rules: 1. Roll a 100 sided die (can be done digitally) 2. Your (main) character is now the race dictated by the results of your roll. If you roll your current race, you must re-roll. The point is, after all, to write something different! 3. Write a short story (500 - 2000 words, or 1-4 standard pages) involving your main character as this new race, and how he fits with the Horde or Alliance. Does being another race change your character's personality? Does it change their objectives? If the race they are changed to does not allow for the same class they were originally, how does that change your character? What aspects remain at the heart of your character that will translate if they are another race entirely? Note: Participants can write up to 2 stories to enter into the contest. 4. Post your story as its own separate thread with the tag (Race Bending Contest) in the title. Ex. Minny Fibblebottom's Lucky Day (Race Bending Contest) Example: Vilmah Bloodborne is an orc. I roll the die and get a 75. Suddenly she is a tauren! I write a short story about Vilmah the tauren, while utilizing her personality but in a completely different context. I also include (with the story) a short description of the original character, to offer some context for readers unfamiliar with them. Note: This description of your original character does not count toward the character limit of the short story. 1 - 7 Dwarves 8 - 15 Orcs 16 - 23 Gnomes 24 - 31 Goblins 32 - 39 Humans 40 - 47 Trolls 48 - 55 Night elves 56 - 63 Pandaren 64 - 71 Draenei 72 - 79 Tauren 80 - 87 Worgen 88 - 95 Forsaken 96 - 100 Blood Elves The 1st place winner will receive 10k g in prize money in-game, with 2nd and 3rd place winning 5k g and 3k g respectively. The deadline is Sept. 1st. The winners will be chosen by Sanctuary (H), Twilight Empire (A), Borrowed Time (H) and Night Vanguard (A) representatives by September 7th. Good luck!
  19. 4 points
    Qabian was working at his desk when a small pale blue crystal he had set to one side dimmed. He sighed, watching as the light went out of it completely, then a crack formed through its center, then it dissolved into dust. "So much for that," he muttered, making a space to arrange agreed-upon hazard pay. Later, he made a trip to Dalaran. As much as he wanted to talk to the thief himself, he knew that couldn't happen. There was still too much heat in the city. However, he did manage to find one of the legitimate Kirin Tor guards involved in apprethending the thief, pull them to one side, and inquire into details. Back in Silvermoon, he sat down to write a letter. Syreena, I have succeeded in making her afraid. That took very little effort. Simply inquiring into her existence and a few small threats were enough to send her on the run. Unfortunately, finding information that would lead to easily causing further misery has been far more difficult than I expected. She does not fit into the predictable pattern most ordinary humans fit. I do not believe I have yet succeeded in causing her actual harm. I may need to back off long enough for her to think she is safe to come out of hiding if my resources prove insufficient to track her down. In the meantime, I will see about causing harm indirectly through those she is connected to. I've also been told to relay the message that you're a bully. These people are children. ~Q
  20. 4 points
    The Rooks of Twisting Nether cordially invite you to help us celebrate the Midsummer Fire Festival with our annual Mount Parade around Old Town of Stormwind City! Prizes will be awarded to the best Mount-Gear* matching participants! Bonus points for matching/themed gear, mount, and pet(s)! (( *Transmorgrified or actual gear only - those who use magic or temporary illusions will be disqualified from receiving a prize! )) Third Place: 25k Gold Second Place: 50k Gold Grand Prize: Other-worldly Mount** (( ** FREE, PAID MOUNT FROM THE BLIZZARD STORE OF THE WINNER'S CHOOSING! )) (( In the past, we've had nearly 30 participants! This is a fun way to bring both the RP and non-RP communities of TN-RH together! We hope you can join us! )) To participate, simply meet at the Fountain in Old Town at 7PM Realm Time (( CDT - 8PM EDT )). At that time, Rooks' Officers will check-in/register participants and begin the Parade line-up. Once ready, we'll begin our march around the Old Town Circle. (( A pre-parade "pre-game" Tavern-RP event at the Pig and Whistle in Old Town will commence at 6PM Realm Time. )) Be sure to bring fireworks and other celebratory items to commemorate the occasion! WHAT: Rooks' Annual Midsummer Mount Parade WHEN: Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 7:00PM Realm Time WHERE: Fountain at Old Town in Stormwind City WHY: To celebrate and bring together the communities of TN-RH! FABULOUS PRIZES! (( Be sure to whisper or send a message to Atilakai, GM of Rooks, if you have any questions! ))
  21. 4 points
    “You! You’re under arrest,” Cavanaugh marched into the Legerdemain lounge, pointing an accusing finger at one of the patrons who was sitting at the bar, sipping at a steaming mug. The handful of people in the establishment looked around. A few of them got up to leave. Qabian turned just his head, slowly raising an eyebrow at the commotion without lowering his mug. Cavanaugh slammed a gauntleted fist on the bar next to the blood elf. “Now.” Qabian finally put down his coffee then lifted his hands in front of him, palms out, otherwise relaxed. “By you?” Qabian asked. “Yes, by me. Get up.” “You think this is Stormwind?” Qabian spoke slowly, plying that thick accent of his over the Common words. “You have no power here. I lived here when your father was a child. This is my city.” “The Council will see the truth,” Cavanaugh growled. “Get up,” he commanded a second time. Qabian tilted his head, then gave Cavanaugh a slow grin followed by a shrug, just as slow with a dramatic twist of the wrist. “You have such faith. Let us see.” He stood, again slow and calm, brushing non-existent dust from his robes. “But answer this: Why?” Cavanaugh took a deep breath, folding his arms across his unmistakeable white and red tabard. “Do not toy with me, mage.” Qabian held his arms to either side in a gesture of innocence, but the smirk on his face showed only arrogance. “As you wish.” Qabian walked out into the street at a relaxed saunter, his hands clasped behind his back, his face turned up to smile at the sparkling tower of the Violet Spire. Cavanaugh followed behind, armor clanking with each frustrated step. “Move faster, mage.” “Why hurry? A few more minutes delayed justice?” Qabian said, but picked up the pace nonetheless. In the foyer of the Spire, the Council were conspicuous in their absence. A human woman in thick glasses and a Kirin Tor tabard stepped forward. “Sir Cavanaugh. Magister. May I be of assistance?” Cavanaugh bowed low. “If it please, madam, this man is a murderer. I request his extradition to Stormwind.” The woman dipped her head, looking over the top of her glasses at the two men, then sighed. “Perhaps we should have this discussion somewhere more discreet.” She led them up the main stairs to one of the parlors. Closing the door behind them, she looked pointedly at Cavanaugh. “What has he done this time?” “Come now, Redgrave. You’d take his word over mine? You know me,” Qabian interrupted in Thalassian. “Yes, I do, Amberlight. That's precisely why I'd take anyone's word over yours.” Cavanaugh cleared his throat. “He murdered the night matron of the Cathedral Square Orphanage in cold blood.” “He lies. I was nowhere near Stormwind,” Qabian snapped. The encounter wasn't going quite as he'd expected. Redgrave took off her glasses and began to clean them. “You have an alibi?” “Of course. I was in Suramar.” Cavanaugh snarled. “I saw you with my own eyes, fiend.” “Prove it!” Qabian spat back. “Then you can present your alibi in Stormwind,” Redgrave suggested. “Is -- Is that a joke?” Qabian stammered, his Common suddenly fluent and accent free. “You must be joking. Stormwind has never treated my people fairly and is unlikely to hear shal’dorei truth over the lies of one of their own sons. If I must be forced to present evidence of my innocence, let me present it in Silvermoon where at least my head will still be attached to my shoulders by the time I'm heard.” “Nonsense,” said Redgrave, waving a hand. “The alleged crime was in Stormwind. They will hear the evidence.” Qabian scowled. “I see Jaina still runs the Kirin Tor,” he said in Thalassian. “Careful, Amberlight,” Redgrave warned. “That's not my name. And you can't simply interfere in my work with the Tirisgarde. Have Modera play my shadow again at least until my projects are complete,” Qabian suggested, a note of desperation edging into his voice. There were few things that mattered to him, but his own survival was one of them. “Don't tell me what to do, Magister.” Redgrave stomped a heel. “You will go to Stormwind, and the Kirin Tor will send an advisor to ensure you have your say. Will you do this willingly, or must you be forced?” Cavanaugh watched the exchange in grim but polite silence. Qabian hesitated to answer. He took a few steps backward. His expression shifted from panic to rage, then to cold determination. “Fine,” he said finally. Redgrave stepped forward, closing the space he’d made between them. “Your arm.” Qabian obeyed, but said quietly, “You’ll regret this.” “I sincerely hope that’s not a threat, Magister,” Redgrave said as she closed two halves of a thin gold band around his wrist. “You’ll find out, won't you?” Qabian muttered. The woman turned to Cavanaugh and handed him a small golden key. “He won’t be able to cast spells while the band is locked. I entrust you’ll be able to handle him otherwise.” Cavanaugh took the key and bowed low. “Of course, madam.”
  22. 4 points
    The Coldstar Cantina: Back in business After a long hiatus the Coldstar Cantina is re-opening! Come find us at Wyvern's Tail in Orgrimmar. Now serving on Saturdays at 7:30! In honor of our re-opening, first drink is on the house. Come drink to the Legion's fall and enjoy a variety of liquors and non-alcoholic beverages that put our competitors to shame! When: Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. (Server) Where: Wyvern's tail, Orgrimmar
  23. 4 points
    [[ The next, less dour, chapter following Grief. ]] The zeppelin flight from Tirisfal to Orgrimmar had left Khorvis covered from head to toe in kodo vomit. Bes'thra, the orc's trusty mount for the many campaigns since the Horde landed upon Kalimdor's shores, was having none of the early spring turbulence patterns that gusted 'round the Maelstrom. Despite Khorvis's best efforts to placate the wailing beast, wave after wave of partially digested dehydrated dwarf meat (as was her favorite) splashed through the Thundercaller's hold. Considering the unruly headwind and the extended trip, Khorvis emerged from the Skyway's lift in a mood foul enough to sour springwater. The Voidcaller which had lingered about the Harbinger since his return from the Shadowlands ghosted beside Edgar, who scampered by his master's side with Bes'thra in sickly tow, making pitiful soothing motions only to be swatted at by a meaty fist. "Stop it! Just bloody stop!" the orc yelled, completely losing his temper. "I just do need a moment to think! Hands to yourselves!" Boneslave recoiled in fear, retreating to Bes'thra to check the kodo's harness and straps which secured the majority of his master's worldly possessions. Given the age and condition of the creature, it was unlikely that she was any longer suited for combat. A beast of burden and the caravan would be her retirement. Khorvis watched the elevator ascend away and sniffed the air of Durotar. Chilly, and with the same sweaty musk that soaked the old timbers of the capital, albeit quieter now that the bulk of the war machine was engaged on the Broken Isles. A few peddlers wheeled their carts down the path into The Drag. A rogue wind blew a whirlwind of dust along the same road, and Khorvis, giving in to what was either habit or instinct, followed. The early morning sounds of Orgrimmar's less desirable quarter were familiar to the orc. The clanging of the scrapper's hammer, irregular in the haze of a hangover. A shouted quarrel between a domineering warrioress and her browbeaten mate. The leather hawker's barking, overselling what were clearly the under-tanned hides of sickly gazelles. All of these noises harangued over the constant creak of the shade sails which hung at the canyon's crest. Ignoring the wastrels, Khorvis marched onward along the curving path. These cretins that holed up in Orgrimmar's cliffsides were to him nothing but cowards. The aged and the children were to be forgiven, for they would only be dead weight in the war against the Legion, but many of those still rotting in The Drag were orcs, trolls, and goblins in their prime. In his life before the Grim, Khorvis would have been counted among them, were it not for the wise urging of a wily troll. Their selfish stench now disgusted the veteran. The caravan and the gust of wind came to a stop at a small pool near Nogg's machine shop. With the spreading of tiny waves and fleeing muddy crawfish, the dustdevil subsided, leaving the orc and his band without a guide. Edgar led Bes'thra to the water's edge with an uncanny gentleness to let the kodo drink her fill. Harumphing, Khorvis sat his own self down upon the dock to consider his next move. The Voidcaller - Khorvis would need to designate a name for the minion if it refused to depart - caught up with the party, its arms overflowing with scrolls and inks. Clearly it had been to the Mighty Pen to patron the great scribe, Zilzibin Drumlore, to procure what the elemental assumed its old master would require. Khorvis only grunted and gestured towards Bes'thra. Drumlore would likely be sending a blighted invoice for the lot, but he had too little energy to scold the shadowling. Instead, Khorvis gazed into the pool and thought back to the words he had exchanged recently with Elder Duskheron... The Taureness sat at the Filthy Animal's bar, nursing some Vry'kul-brewed swill. She explained her understanding of her relationship with the elements. "They are your guide. I let the waters mend our comrades, as that is what their blood is mostly made of." She seemed thoughtful. "Though I suppose there is a little bit of each element within us. The air of our breath, the earth in our bones. And the fire in our hearts." Khorvis seemed skeptical. "You call them guides, these elementals. Why not command them properly as subordinates? Would this not be more efficient in battle?" Elder Duskheron chided the orc, explaining, "Do you not trust your axe in battle, that your swing will be true thanks to training? Time. Practice. Patience. With these things, you will grow into your own power." The truth of it dawned upon the orc in a flurry. "Ah, I do think I now see. The blademaster trusts in his sword when it do be cared for. When he knows that the smith worked his forge in earnest and tempered an honest blade." Khorvis went on to describe the leadership methods of Warchief Doomhammer during the Second War, and Duskheron cordially nodded along, her muzzle smiling behind her mug of ale. The night drifted on, the two exchanging thoughts on the nature of command, until they were both summoned to the Nighthold, to serve the Mandate. Khorvis's reverie was disturbed, as was the pool's stillness, by a great splashing. A quaking goblin was screaming with both hands outstretched. Her palms were ripped and bleeding, the culprit being immediately obvious having flounced into the small body of water after tearing the reins away from his handler. A massive war wolf thrashed and shook in the weedy waters, spraying all of the onlookers with scummy waves. The Kor'kron of Garrosh Hellscream had been cruel masters, bedecking the proudest of wolves with armor that would break the backs of lesser creatures. A great many of the beasts had needed to be put down at the close of the Siege, so abused had they been by the traitor Warchief's dark shaman. Not this specimen. Unruly and full of vigor, the wolf howled and stared a direct challenge at the soaking Bloodstar. Its grey coat glistened in the morning light of An'she, filtered through the massive tree at The Drag's center. Fully armored in the bone raiment of the Kor'kron, the alpha presented a fearsome visage. Khorvis was no stranger to the training of these murderous mounts. An overzealous flog could whip itself to a nub against such a proud beast, while a timid hand would be torn from its owner's limb in a snapping second. This one required a firm hand to guide it. To direct its vicious nature into a strategic outlet. He approached, palm outstretched unyieldingly. Willful Heart, or Mash'rogahn as Khorvis would take to calling the worg in the days that followed, inched forward to sniff the orc's flesh. It was in that instant, soaked in pond scum and rank with kodo vomit beneath the shade sails of The Drag, that a powerful connection was awoken between Bloodstar and the wolf. It stretched back in time, to the early days of the Horde, a commitment to principles of loyalty and honor, bound in blood and an indescribable lust for the wild reaches of one's nature. In the present, the gobliness continued screaming at the vile-drenched orc who was stealing her prized worg. "BLAHHH!!! What do you think you're doing, you lout!" She tucked her lacerated palms beneath her armpits and hopped up and down in a fury. "If you wanna canoodle this blasted fleabag, you can dang well pay for him!" The handler had obviously had enough of caring for the war mount, given the state of her agitation. "But I won't part with Shmuggles for cheap...!" Khorvis, his fingers already in 'Shmuggle's' mane, scratching the great worg's neck, considered the beast. Bes'thra was past her prime, the journey across the Great Sea had made quite clear. He would require a proper mount to continue his journey - whatever the fel The Commander had meant - and the coincidence of an encounter with such a wolf beggared belief. "I will take him." Bloodstar responded succinctly. Edgar sent the goblin handler on her way with a pouch of gold coins that left the woman blessedly speechless. Shmuggles pawed cheerfully in the pool with his gigantic pads while Khorvis adjusted his harness. He paid careful attention to the worg's movements, accepting that the spirits had brought to him so obvious a furry guide. "Water it do be, then... Shmuggles...hrmph." Khorvis growled under his breath as he mounted the worg. "We do need to amend this name of yours. It do be an embarrassment." Shmuggles only whined in response, his coat bristling. He had grown thoroughly bored with The Drag and was ready to explore other paths. "Right you do be. If there do be one place that I know to find strange spirits, it do be the headwaters of the Southfury RivE-!" Without Khorvis finishing his sentence, the Kor'kron war wolf charged off towards the Western bridge. "Gah!" Bloodstar exclaimed as Edgar and the rest struggled to keep pace. "A willful heart you do have!"
  24. 4 points
    Khorvis went by foot from Brill to the gates of Lordaeron City. The road was one of the few still paved in Tirisfal, seeing much traffic between the Undercity and the zeppelin towers. With the Dark Lady having taken the mantle of Warchief, the count of couriers and deathguards had more than doubled in their frantic work to secure the necessary machinery of the Horde's bureaucracy. The orc ignored them all as he made his way up the hill and through the crumbling outer wall. --- Sleep had evaded him during the remainder of the night, despite how fatigued he felt. His meager cot on the second floor of the Gallow's End Tavern did not help his pain of his wounds, but the bruises were a distant second to the hauntings. If Khorvis shut his eye, that horrid image of Theira's spirit lifting from her corpse stared back at him. When he snapped his eyelid open, the creaking of the old tavern seemed to fool his periphery into seeing things. A quick movement behind the dresser. A scuttling at his bedside. More than once he got out of his covers to inspect the room, but of course there were only ordinary shadows. It was not until An'she began to pierce her rays through the gloom of the Glades that complete and utter exhaustion claimed the warrior. An unconscious and dreamless slumber lasted through the morning and afternoon, to end with a sore and stiff awakening. Khorvis glared out the window and saw that it was already evening. An icy ball sagged in the pit of his stomach. Nearly time to confront the Commander. Before setting out, Khorvis took a seat at the Tavern's tables on the first floor. He forced down a late meal of cold venison, oblivious to the greenish hue of the flesh, and flagon of flat ale. As the chunks of raw flesh tumbled down his maw, a familiar elemental wisped into the dining room, flanked by indigo lanterns... --- The Inquisition was a curious thing. Forged in the wartorn years spent in the harsh wastes of Northrend, the first Inquisitors of The Grim were merely of average rank, but fanatical beyond measure. They sought to weed out from the droves of Horde, that had flocked to the battle against the Lich King, the most bloodthirsty and like-minded killers. In the years since, the Inquisition had evolved into a more formal institution, replete with codified trials and many arcane traditions. Some would claim that present-day Inquisitors worshiped banners and medals more than the original mission, but none could deny their commitment to the Mandate. Gathered upon the ancient staircases of the inner courtyard of the ruins of Lordaeron, High Inquisitor Ruuki held court among her Dreadweavers and attending Supplicants. Standing to the side, Commader Awatu Stonespire observed the reports and instructions with his usual stoicism. Inquisitor Kiannis was concluding his conversation with the Supplicant Chumbus. "If you have any troubles, contact me and I will assist you." As the ranger dismissed the warlock, Khorvis approached the dais with Mai'kull's voidcaller in tow. He peered up at Awatu, and for a brief moment, the scene flickered. The impression of gibbets, ethereal and decorated with the hanging corpses of pinkskins, manifested behind the Inquisitors. A raven fluttered from a crossbeam of the gallows and settled to perch upon the pauldron of The Commander. Khorvis closed his eye and took a deep breath, gathering his wits. A quiet hush came upon the assembly, and when he opened his eye, he found the lot staring back. The gallows had disappeared. "Commander Stonespire," Khorvis intoned without a hint of emotion. A look of surprise had come over Ruuki's face, one that few in the Grim had ever seen: utter shock with a mix of something between relief and disbelief. It didn't last long. Awatu spoke first, eyeing Khorvis up and down. "Lasher? You have been... missing, as of late." Khorvis winced, placing a hand to his stomach. A moment of nausea passed over his face, but he squared away and trod up the stairs to the Tauren who was now looking at the voidcaller. "By the look of the seasons... aye, I do seem to have been gone for some time," the orc responded. "Many moons indeed." The Commander spoke carefully, betraying nothing with his inflections. Even as the elf Baal'themar emerged from the shadows at Khorvis's side, he only raised an eyebrow. "I do come with a foul report," barked the orc. "And submit my flesh to the judgement of the Mandate." Khorvis gestured at the voidcaller. "A minion of the late Reaper Mai'kull." "Late? Executioner was his title," spoke Inquisitor Kiannis. He stared down his nose at the orc haughtily, to be caught by a look of disappointment from Baal'themar. Ignoring the tone of the ranger's voice, Khorvis motioned to the voidcaller, which set before the Commander a burnt facemask. Next to it was placed a hearthstone, an orb of the sin'dorei... and Mai'kull's guild 'tabard', in fact an over-sized Tauren's tabard fashioned into a cape, now folded. Kiannis fought back a scowl as the realization set in. "I take it he has fallen, then?" Awatu was eyeing the remnants. "Yea, dead." Lilliana deadpanned to both her boss and Kiannis. Khorvis grunted, the events still raw upon his nerves. "Aye, Commander. I did be... lost, in a place of shadows. The Rea- Executioner- found me. He did sacrifice everything." Brushing his palm away, the voidcaller faded, its work done. With an emotionless stare, Awatu looked back up at Khovis. "Unfortunate. But at least his... sacrifice was not without some success. Your presence seems to indicate as much." Khorvis could not help but hear some note of mocking in his superior's words. Imagined or not, it rankled, but the warrior continued his report. "There do be more." Lilliana had resisted the urge to go charging at Khorvis when he had appeared... to her credit she did a very good job remaining controlled. She did now look at him fiercely, while Awatu exhibited all of the emotion of a rock. A rare example of the orc's sealed emotions came to the forefront as Khorvis choked up for a moment. It was a titanic inner struggle to speak the words aloud. He had sworn to himself the night before that he deserved his fate, and that he would continue on as the warrior he was bred to be. It was too much. He broke down and knelt before the Commander. "The Matron of Rutilus Luna, Theira Oaksong... she also do be departed." Khorvis sobbed, tears running freely before the Grim. Knitting together his eyebrows, Awatu echoed himself. "Also unfortunate." Rather blankly, Kiannis stared at the orc who had once blown out his own kneecap. A small touch of anger pulled at the side of his mouth an nose- yet he remained silent. Not so for the High Inquisitor. Ruuki stormed down the stairs towards the battered orc, her nostrils flaring in rage. Grabbing Khorvis by whatever vest he's wearing, she hauled him up to his feet with a ferocious yank. "The BLOODY HELL have you been, you twice damned son of a pig?!" Her howl sent Lilliana backing up, almost as if to use Awatu as a shield to hide behind. Even the Supplicant Somdot stood up straighter, realizing that there was some intence energry in the air. Certainly not the time to be a clown. Awatu only watched the exchange. Khorvis, his face and tusks wet with tears, growled right back at Ruuki. "The fel would you know, you useless woman! I did be locked in the shadows, chased by goatsucking horrors!" His feet nearly dangled as he was held up. Lilliana could not help but scold with a yelp. "Khorvis!!!" Supplicant Chumbus gasped while Somdot glanced at Kiannis with wide open eyes and tight lips. The ranger returned the look only momentarily. His face was a mixture of emotion - rage predominantly, and a gritted frown. Snarling, Ruuki tightened her grip. Now Khorvis did truly hang above the stones. "Quit BITCHING like a spoiled little human BRAT!" she screamed. "If they died saving your sorry hide, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!" The Lasher shoved Ruuki away and peeled off one of his bracers, one of the last metal armaments on his person. He held it aloft and shouted, "Do you remember forging these, Inquisitor? A lot of bloody good it did! There do be things in the dark, things that strength of arms do have NO purchase against!" Ruuki's tone descended from a yell to a quiet sort of threat. "Does that mean you're going to hide and pray they go away? Because you know as well as the rest of us that there is NO peace, not when the Mandate still commands us." Throughout the entire tense exchange between the two High Inquisitors, Kiannis and Baal'themar conducted their own confrontation. The ranger stared down the rogue. "Put the blades away. This is not the time." Baal'themar grined slyly at Kiannis. "If this turns ugly, you're the first," he said, following with a wink. "It will not." "We will see." Somdot slighted raised his head to stare at Baal'themar while Chumbus adjusted his tie. Over the quibbling elves, Ruuki continued her diatribe. "A sword is just sharpened steel, and armor bits of metal and leather. But it does no one any good if there's no damned heart or fire in your soul to back them up." Khorvis threw the bracer down on the ground and shook his head. "I did not come here to argue with you, Ruuki the Reborn. I did return to the Mandate, my home, to submit my failure to the Commander's judgement." Ruuki raised a clenched fist as if ready to sock him, but she restrained herself, fully clad while he was only in leathers. Instead, she turned and stalked several paces off. Seeking to soothe the situation, Lilliana moved over to Baal'themar and whatever he hell he thought he was doing with his weapons. The elf blushed at his previous Inquisitor. The woman must have put some thought into Baal'themar's head, for she looked away and faced Khorvis and Awatu, now that Ruuki had let go. Kiannis found it an appropriate time to pull one of his skunky cigars and press a lit pebble into it. His gaze lingered on Khorvis. Walking over to Kiannis, Somdot whispered, "Any chance you've got a spare one of those bad boys?" The elf did a quick double take, then absently fingered a blunt out to the Pandaren. He left Somdot to find his own spark. "I have fire," the monk said in thanks, nodding. Khorvis glanced to his right, surprised to see the elf Baal'themar. "Stay your blades, brother. I do be here of my own will." His words were punctuated by a sneeze from Chumbus's imp Laznik, who failed to cover his mouth. It's owner only tilted his head. "I know," retorted the elf, "but then... the Grim have a nice habit of chewing up and spitting out people. I'll not see that happen to you, Khorvis." Awatu snorted. "Not after the hell we went through to get your old ass back here." Lilliana placed a gloved hand on Baal'themar's arm. "He's fine, Baal'themar." She did happen to whisper silently into Baal'themar's head... something else, so that no one else might hear her. Pointedly ignoring the elf, Commander Stonespire roved over the orc's form with his gaze. "So then. What grievous failure have you brought to the feet of the Mandate?" Lilliana was unable to stop herself from getting right in the way between the tauren and the orc. "He hasn't failed at all!!! He's like... totally being a super dumbass, Awatu!" Khorvis brushed away the trolless's defensive screen - "Kodotits, woman..." - and stuck out his chin, as if begging to be struck. "I did leave you and The Grim without a High Inquisitor for months. A dead Reaper due to my bloody carelessness-" "Executioner," Kiannis interjected, to be countered with a baleful glare. "The Maleficar was risen in your absence." Lilliana piped up again. "Eh uh... there is one right there." She pointed to Ruuki, the current High Inquisitor. "And like... people die. All. the. time." "Ream my arse with a vry'kull pike," Khorvis muttered at the quibbling. "Wait, what?! Ruuki did be raised to High Inquisitor?" The warrior was incredulous. Her arms crossed and entire body tensed, Ruuki stood stoically with her rage reined. "Indeed she has," intoned the Commander, glancing backwards at Ruuki. Khorvis grunted, some of the flame being taken out of his sails. "You did think me dead," he breathed. "I thought you missing. Perhaps stuck between crates upon a Booty Bay pirate vessel," cracked Awatu in a rare taunt. Ruuki ameliorated, "It was the only explanation we could fathom. We all knew damned well you were no deserter, especially not with the Legion's invasion so fresh." "Unlike others," stated the Inquisitor Kiannis in the direction of Baal'themar. The rogue grinned. "More loyal than you. Didn't see you fighting to save a brother, Kiannis." The ranger bristled at Baal'themar's words, but was not goaded into a rebuttal. He glowered, before turning his attention back to Khorvis. "The Inquisition required direction. And so, it was given," Awatu stated matter-of-factly. Khorvis tugged at his goatee with no little annoyance, but looked again to Ruuki with appraising eye. "Aye. May be she do be fit for the rank." The wheels could visibly be seen turning in the old orc's head, working overtime. The facts laid upon the figurative table, Awatu continued to humor Khorvis. "So... you come seeking penance?" "I did swear my flesh and spirit to the Mandate, Commander." Khorvis was resolute in his guilt. "You do be in your rights to end the former. The latter does remain bound, whatever your words." Glowering at anyone but herself, Lilliana still seemed relieved to see Khorvis present that night. That relief melted into horror at the warrior's suggestion. She looked to Awatu plaintively. Awatu gave Khorvis a once-over. "I fear that any further... physical punishment would leave us with only your spirit." In moment of oddity, The Commander appeared to exhibit a profound insight. "Do you sleep well, or are you assaulted by night-terrors?" The assembly displayed their curiosity or disbelief in varying ways, from snorts, to quirked eyebrows. In the intensity of the exchange between The Commander and the former High Inquisitor, Somdot, calmed and relaxed by the blunt obtained from Kiannis, walked over to Baal'themar and scanned him up and down. "I'm not sure what to think of you sir..." Chumbus remained motionless while Laznik started to sneak off. "Think nothing, Somdot," Baal'themar soothed. Khorvis looked at Awatu strangely, as if he recognized the Tauren's foresight. Awatu made no indication of his awareness, simply awaiting a response. "No terrors," spoke the orc. "No, Commander, they did cease once Lilliana, Baal'themar, and the rest evacuated me from... whatever land of shadows that did be." He continued, unable to stop himself due to the uncanny inquiry. "But last night, at the Gallow's End, I did see spirits. Strange that you should mention this." Awatu furrowed his brow in thought. "Curious. At any rate, I could find your... hauntings to be... suitable punishment. Sleepless nights and waking screams." Lilliana was peering at Khorvis wondering what kind of spirits he was talking about. She couldn't hide the quick glare that crossed her face. Whether it was over Awatu's ruling or Khorvis's suffering now that he was back in this world, it was unclear. Ruuki was only scowling. Kiannis gave Awatu a surprised look. "You saw him sobbing. Is this the same orc we once knew?" Of course, Baal'themar's countenance mirrored his defense of Khorvis. "More a man than you will ever be," the Rutilan snarked. Chumbus inched closer to the edge of the ledge, the temper of the meeting pushing him away. "The edges of eternity change us all. It is Khorvis..." The sunwalker narrowed his eyes, as if attempting to look through the Lasher. "... but different. Something is different." Kiannis pivoted his head only slightly with gritted teeth, squinting at the Commander. He nodded solemnly in acquiescence. "He would not be the first Grim to find a new calling," offered Ruuki Khorvis was growling under all of the scrutiny. "You may command my blades, Stonespire, but you do not own my dreams." Now that he return seemed accepted by The Grim, his usual thorniness was peeking through. "I did say that there do be terrors that steel is no ward against. For the Mandate, I will see to it that I do find a new weapon." "I do not command your dreams, no," advised Awatu, "But you will find that you do not command them either." Glancing upwards, the tauren was far away from his normal stony self. "The dream-realm of the spirits is... beyond us." Khorvis seemed unsure of these words, his freshly ruined eyepiece a testament to the power of nightmares. Kiannis had noticed the activity of Laznik and pointed to Somdot. "Investigate that imp," he ordered. Chumbus remained motionless while the imp eyed Somdot suspiciously. Noticing that Laznik was urinating in the bushes, Chumbus became frustrated and dismissed his minion. "Answer me this, Khorvis." Ruuki was growing philosophically bored. "Does the Mandate still call to your heart and soul?" The woman's question dug at the crux of the issue, with regards to the Mandate and the Inquisition. Turning to the new High Inquisitor, Khorvis retorted, "I could have gone running like a child to Orgrimmar and hid beneath Sylvanna's skirts. I do be here, woman. What else would you ask of me?" "Then whether you wiggle your fingers, wield a blade, or shoot a gun, you are still a Grim." The Reborn turned the instructive nature that Khorvis had instilled into her against the orc. "I think perhaps you should work among the Supplicants as you seek out what may be a new path for you to walk." The woman was immensely pleased with herself. The Lasher was having none of it. "I did be making macaroni art out of dwarf cocks when you did be a calf, 'High Inquisitor.' I do be no Supplicant." He looked at Awatu and spoke forcefully. "As you say, Commander. What do be my rank? If I am to be of any use to the front." Ruuki shruged one shoulder, a wicked smirk on her face as she looked to Awatu. "The decision of course is yours, Commander. I was merely offering my input." "Um... Dwarf cocks... that sounds fun!" A strange interjection from Somdot earned about as much surprise as Khorvis's usual rants. The bickering evoked a tired but satisfied sense of completion from Baal'themar. The talk of pointless ranks and titles finally bored the elf. "Good to have you back, brother. I'll leave you Grim to talk about... Grim matters." He patted Khorvis's shoulder and gave a brief salute to both the orc and Lilliana. Somdot did his best to reciprocate while Khorvis could only offer a grunted thanks. Kiannis refused to back down from Ruuki's suggestion. "And I was a man before you were but a twinkle in the eye of your father. Age is of no issue, Khorvis. I suggest you speak to the High Inquisitor with... some respect." The elf had a glint in his eye that hearkened back to their initial duel at the Crossroads, which ended in a special amount of agony for the ranger. "Your new High Inquisitor keeps a loose leash on her dogs, Commander." Khorvis bluntly ignored the ranger and stared straight at the tauren with a clenched jaw. Awatu grinned... just slightly. "But a harder pull can have lasting impressions." "A taste of the Lash did many Supplicants some good. My question still stands. If I am to be of use to the Mandate, what the felsucking Illidari tentacle do be my rank?!" Supplicant Chumbus pondered the meaning of "Felsucking Illidari Tentacle" while Awatu responded. "That depends. The only rank of consequence to yourself would be that of a Supplicant. You could remain a Harbinger, and it would be as if nothing had happened. But that seems... unjust." "I vote we shoot him in the knee," Kiannis posited. Ruuki reached out and smacked her subordinate upside his head for that inane suggestion. Whacked, Kiannis tenderly rubbed at his domepiece, looking to his left sullenly. Ruuki gave Kiannis a warning look that spoke volumes before returning her attention to Khorvis. The elf held his tongue, but kept that same unpleasant glare focused upon the orc. "You appear before us, a sobbing babe, and now you give an Irredeemable colorful language and attitude." Awatu was becoming more incensed than before. "If i were to recall, the -LAST- High Inquisitor to take that abuse would have been much more... outgoing with his punishments." Gritting his tusks, Khorvis said nothing to the contrary. "I do serve at the pleasure of the Commander..." "And now you speak of the Lash as if it is some prized relic. I recall the bite of the Lash, that wretched tool that you allowed it to become." Awatu leaned forward, his height becoming a tool of the interrogation. "So, tell me, what good are you to the Mandate if your first orders of subservience is resistance?" The entire back and forth of the evening brought Khorvis into his element. He relaxed his shoulders, shifting into the familiar rote of the Inquisition. "Supplicants do be taught that they do be nothing before the Mandate. We do be forged as weapons through the Inquisition. I do be a weapon of the Mandate." He held his stance wide, despite the bleeding of a few wounds from the last night's debacle. The blood seeped through his brawler's wraps. Awatu straightened himself. "Good answer. I do not believe you require remedial training... You are molded into a weapon. But you do require refinement. The Inquisition is a tool for determining who is and is not Grim. I believe you are Grim, therefore you should not be subjected to relearning what you already know. But something is needed..." He pondered for a moment. "Weapons dull and break. You require refinement, sharpening, and repair. You will remain a Harbinger, but you will seek the guidance of our Seers." Khorvis raised both eyebrows. His eyepatch dropped and revealed his ruined eyepiece. "The Seers?" "Duskheron, Kharzak, Daxxum, and Kharthak." Ruuki inclined her head in approval of the decision. Somdot picked up the cigar that Kiannis had given him, with only a few pulls taken from it, and sat next to Lilliana. He lit up. "Perhaps they can aid you with your... hauntings," Awatu explained. "And once you are able to sleep a full night's rest, I believe your penance will have been served." "A strange request," Khorvis pondered. "But I do value the wisdom of our Elders." Awatu looked around, his eyes focusing on distant objects. "You will see." "As you say, Commander. If it do be necessary for the Mandate, I will even tame the elements!" Khorvis laughed at what he considered a foolish boast, not recognizing the portent in his own words. Awatu did not share such mirth. At the same moment, another party of Grim came wandering through the courtyard, fresh from the bowels of the Undercity. Kurg and Fanyare, as different from each other as they were both fiercely Grim, approached the Inquisition. Qabian trailed the duo, observing, with Ul'rezaj in tandem. "Heya guys!" blurted out the Sunwalker Kurg. Somdot returned the greeting with a jovial wave. "What up, Brother!" Ruuki scowled at was she now considered fools. Kurg smiled wide at Somdot and popped him in the shoulder. Glancing over at Khorvis, almost unrecognizable without his armaments, and seeing the serious mood, he quieted down. Fanyare only wondered what pit the orc had crawled out of this time. Khorvis dropped his grin at Awatu's stoic face, remembering how close he came to losing his hide. The Commander continued with an edge of warning in his tone. "This shoulder also help teach you the importance of respect to the Irredeemables and Dreadweavers." The orc winced. He recalled the events of Tanaan and how he had nearly torn the neck out of that Sunwalker... but he pushed the memory away. Awatu watched Khorvis for a moment, then turned to Ruuki. "What other business does the Inquisition have this evening?" "I do feel whole again, to be back among my brothers and sisters. I..." The Lasher attempted to salvage his pride, but trailed off as the Grim's guildmaster moved on to other matters. Khorvis felt the dismissal, and it burned. He took his place in the ranks of the assembly alongside a smirking Qabian. "None else, Commander. Unless the Supplicants have something to add?" Ruuki inspected her charges, but none had any words of importance. "Then this night is sealed to the Mandate." Awatu nodded his head under the cacophony of "Peace Through Annihilation" that ululated from the throats of the fanatics. Khorvis made in the air the orcish rune for 'peace' as the assembly dispersed. Narrowing his eyes at the orc, Kiannis pressed a fist against his own chest in a casual salute. "It is good of you to return." Khorvis managed to grunt "Dabu, Dreadweaver," through a wall of phlegm. The elf nodded once, and departed through a portal of Qabian's making. Watching the Inquisitor fade away, Khorvis voiced his annoyance. "I do swear to the spirits, I should have shot out both of that cocky ranger's knees." "Perhaps the lash would be best turned into a leash, Khorvis." Fanyare goaded the old warrior. "You keep wandering off causing trouble." Khorvis responded with a deep growl, but reined in his temper in front of the Commander. Awatu was diplomatic. "If we shot the knees from everyone we did not like, the The Grim would be a bunch of cripples." Qabian grinned at this morbid pragmatism, but Ul'rezaj was less metaphorical. "De Grim be on fundamentally good terms wit' each otha, so fah as ahm concerned." The Commander was in agreement with the troll. "For the most part, but disagreements and squabbles arise at times." Wasting no time, Khorvis laid out the facts. "I do have two tasks before me. Speak with the Elders. But first, find some fresh bandages." He offered Awatu a respectful salute. "Commander." Awatu nodded. "Lasher." The orc once feared as High Inquisitor of The Grim, now demoted to the rank of Harbinger, slapped his hearthstone hard enough for his palm to sting. The way back to the Grim Halls pulled him through, to a home he had just fled and yet had not seen in many months.
  25. 4 points
    Baal'themar fought alongside Khorvis, the large elf slashed and stabbed around his brother, he covered Khorvis where he could and attacked when the orc made an opening. He smiled, "Now watch the timbers of your house fall in flames" Baal'themar quoted the frenzied orc warrior. "You missed your calling Khorvis, you should have been a poet." he ducked under a thrashing limb. "Oh, how the woman would have swooned for you and your honeyed words." He chuckled as black sludge doused him, blinding him to an incoming attack. A thick tentacle slammed into his chest, the Iron bark and frost spells crackled with energy as their magic protected him from the spine shattering strength of the attack, the strike sent him off his feet and tumbling through the air into the filth around the pool. Slowly Baal'themar got to his feet, he shook his head and focused on the fight again. He spat out a mouthful of dirt and voidlord blood. "Heh, note to self. Jokes after." he lunged back into the fight.
  26. 4 points
    The large cat hot on the heels of Baal'themar huffed with heavy panting to ignore the stench which surrounded them. She pounced in unison with him however calculating her leap to land at a shorter distance from the hulking monster. She unshifted back to a humanoid form as she touched down as Baal'themar sailed above her his weapons drawn. She was unsure if her magic would even work in this realm, or work the way it was meant to regardless seeing him about to collide with the voidlord she had to try. She flicked her wrists and cast towards Baal'themar bestowing upon him an iron bark and then ran towards Khorvis now at a distance conjuring up green swirls of restoration magic and hurling them towards the warrior. Theira wasted no time assessing there was none to waste - the time to act was present there would be no time to lick the wounds until this hurdle was vanquished. She shouted out staff extended towards Khorvis "Khorvis we've come for you!"
  27. 4 points
    Baal’themar ran next to the others the familiar stench of his friend slithered its way deep into his lungs, he coughed at the pungent stench of friendship and grinned. He pushed himself hard to make it to Khorvis, the sounds of muffled yelling and rough barking of insults gave him hope. He bolted through the tunnels alongside the others, as their path dropped out into a fall he could see the creature that loomed over his friend. Baal’themar leapt into the air and spread his arms wide, daggers in hand. The thought occurred to him that this creature might be ethereal and he would pass through it harmlessly only to smash into the ground. Too late now. He let out a roar as he fell toward the beast.
  28. 4 points
    Theira huffed a bit using her staff to assist her walking, the elder Tauren walked with a bit of a limp but quickened her step and pushed herself to keep up with Baal. "I may be an old girl yet but I am not without some tricks." She grinned at the elf before leaping forward with a flash of green light shifting into her feline form. With four legs versus two she would able to pad after the rogue easier. The large cat kept her eyes and ears forward as she scented the air as they ran hoping that some sign of Khorvis would reveal itself and she might be able to track him. Theira ran beside Baal'themar with claws extended for each stride surveying the horizon for any threats as they searched.
  29. 4 points
    Baal'themar felt his armor freeze, the sudden cold made him gasp. The ice magic hardened over his armor adding yet another layer of protection to his combat gear. He growled and looked at his daggers, they glowed like embers, but their heat didn't burn his flesh. Thanks Storm... he grinned thinking of the Tauren before stepping through the portal and into the unknown. Like with all portals he was ripped between reality and spat out in a slight daze. He looked back to the portal and watched Theira walk through behind him. "We don't have much time. 'the way will not survive the hour' " he quoted Chaoseater. Baal'themar looked around trying to find some sign of Khorvis. "Right well... fuck this place." He smiled at Theira and started to jog. "Think you can keep up old girl?" he asked her with a sly grin.
  30. 4 points
    Theira bowed her head towards Stormsky and the Elemental graciously accepting the gift of the earthen shield. With that she cracked a grin and walked towards the portal, she nodded towards Chaoseater and stepped through after Baal'themar.
  31. 4 points
    "Let's get this done then." Baal'themar growled as he walked toward the portal... he wondered if he was going to return, and what state Khorvis was in... it didn't matter in the end, he would save his brother or die trying. He stopped at the edge of the portal waiting for a moment for the others.
  32. 4 points
    Baal'themar rolled his shoulders relaxing his body before they needed to fight, and there was no doubt... there would be a fight. He checked his blades, both still had a thick coating of poison. Baal'themar smiled. We are coming Khorvis... just hang on a little longer. He waited for the others to make a move
  33. 4 points
    Theira took her time in her feline feral form to scent the air and ground to track Baalthemar. She kept herself hidden and prowled the tall grasses and bushes the region rank with the scent of undead never sat well with the druid. She could see the gathering after some while her eyes narrowing at those attending she kept her body low to the ground so better to slink her way beside the rogue. Bright yellow reflective eyes came into focus as the druidess revealed herself to the gathering as a large wild cat. She sidled up beside Baal with a soft quiet purr the growling once as she scented the pack with the items he carried. She remained feral while she looked over those familiar and some unfamiliar faces her cat ears folding back she looked up to Baalthemar saying nothing. She settled down to beside him shifting forms, the grass around her seemed to grow taller flowers to bloom in her presence. She sat in a almost meditative stance muttering only to Baalthemar " Fear not, I will mend you as needed."
  34. 4 points
    With his assailant distracted Mai’kull reached for his trump card, “REAVES!” the mage cried out. With a thundering crash, a small mechanical shredder droid no bigger than a gnome dropped to the beach at its master’s side. “GREETINGS MASTER!” it chimed in an oddly chipper tone. “Reaves, activate combat mode, NOW!” Mai’kull barked, taking hold of the blunt arm on the machine. “AFFIRMATIVE!” it sparked. Something inside revved up like an engine roar as Green Fel-Flames issued from its back exhaust-port. Electricity surged from every joint on the construct as it began to grow, to almost twice the size of a well fed Tauren. A small cockpit opened in the front of the machine which Maikull crawled inside before it sealed shut once more. “COMBAT MODE ACTIVATED, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WEAPONS ARMED, HULL INTEGRITY: 100%” the mechanical recited. Its voice now booming, almost as ominous as the Doomwalker that guarded the Black Gate in Outland. Kat could hear the commotion, but it wasn’t until she regained her vision did she see the hulking behemoth before her. “TARGET IDENTIFIED” it announced as its Cannon Arm aimed directly at her. There was movement from inside the cave, she hadn’t noticed it before, but a Pandaran Monk was now standing there, bearing the banner of the Grim across his chest, but even he stood there stunned at the sight. He must have come out when she charged at the mage, but he wasn’t moving towards her. She looked back at Reaves as an intercom screech pierced the beachfront for a moment before clearing up the all too familiar voice. “Come now, Kitten…one last dance for daddy…” Maikull’s voice echoed, followed by his maniacal laughter, as the main cannon began to hum and charge for an attack. It was time for Kat to leave. She plucked a grenade from her chest piece and tossed it at the machine. A small explosion caused sparks along the thing's torso where it hit, but it didn't seem to do any real harm. The worgen turned to flee, vanishing into the shadows. Mai'kull, however, still had his goggles on and had no trouble following her movements. He triggered the machine to shoot rapidly, firing Gunpowder charges at her, which knocked her out of the shadows. She sprinted away anyway, trying to outrun her attacker long enough to get to the rocky hills where she might find cover. The death knight she had scented earlier, hidden until now, finally entered the fight by lashing energy out at Katrynne and yanking her back to him. She hadn't even regained her footing when Mai'kull's machine jumped through the air toward her. Dull cracks sounded through the air and she yelled half a second later, when pain consumed her legs. The machine had landed on them, breaking them both. "Your hunt is over, Kitten," the mage said as he aimed the machines cannons down at her once again. "Peace through annihilation!" Kat snarled, but she was crippled and pinned down. She saw the flashes of gunfire and barely felt the impact of the shots at point blank range before she plummeted into the dark silence of death. ((written by Maikull and Katrynne))
  35. 4 points
    In the maelstrom, the heart of Azeroth, Stormsky stood still just a few steps away from the portal that would take him to Dalaran, a portal he needed to use to make his way to the location where the ritual to rescue Khorvis was going to take place. In the eyes of others, it would have seemed like he had spent hours in the exact same spot, taking a few steps back every once in a while before moving forward towards the portal again, but always stopping in the same place, close enough to actually see the other side but far enough to prevent him to use the portal. “Just let me go… I proposed this ritual… I should be there... I must help!” he muttered angrily to himself. For as long as he remembered he could hear and interact with the elements, first through dreams and whispers, later he could feel their presence and speak to them through meditation, now he was able to communicate directly with them, sometimes even when he didn’t want to, it only took a thought, that was the downside of choosing his path as an elemental shaman, he thought sometimes, to never be alone in his mind. Out of all the elemental spirits he had contact with, five always stood out, the first ones he befriended, and the ones who had been with him every moment of his life, good or bad times they were there, in one way or another, each representing a different element, Brazion of fire, Hialaq of water, Venthesh of air, Petrik of earth, and last Vitalon representing the element of life. All of them had fought alongside Stormsky more times he could count, sometimes giving him advice, some others manifesting directly in the physical realm to aid him in combat, or just providing him the power he needed to defeat his enemies or help his allies. These elementals became a second family to Stormsky, a very dysfunctional one due to the conflicting nature of their personalities and elements, but a family nevertheless, and not once they had acted against him until now. “Please release me… I must go” He said, now having an inner conversation with this second family, A resounding answer echoed in his mind “NO!”, out of all the times he wished that the elementals would work together in perfect harmony, this was not one of them. He had been stuck in a combat for control of his body for hours now, and even though the elementals weren’t powerful enough to control him without his permission, they were strong enough to stop him from taking any action. He had tried dozens of times now, always with the same result, every time he approached the portal, the elements stopped him from using it, “It is not easy to move when you have the weight of a mountain in each of your hooves, is it?” Petrik said, laughing at Stormsky, “And even if you could …” Venthesh started saying as Hialaq finished the sentence “Your muscles won’t work at subzero temperatures either”, Brazion spoke next “Try as you might Storm, even you cannot concentrate enough to free yourself without breathing correctly, and tell me how does it feel having an inferno in your lungs?”. Stormsky glared at the four “You…. Cannot do this….let me go help them, I already told you I am willing to take the risks and live with the consequences! I am a Shu’halo... I am part of the Horde… I don’t leave people behind!” Vitalon, who until now had been silent, finally spoke “You have no idea of the mistake you would be making and of the true consequences it would bring, even if you could rescue Khorvis… his soul along with the souls of anyone who goes into that place will be tainted by the shadow, they will NEVER be the same, There is no protection, no spells… NOTHING! That will prevent that from happening… After that… each of them will carry that shadow for the rest of their lives… growing, some… the stronger ones… or the lucky ones will die before it takes control…. The rest… will eventually succumb to it”. Stormsky took a few steps back from the portal, stopping his struggle for a moment, he had done this before to recover his strength in order to try using the portal again, this time was different, Vitalon had spoken… the most common and yet the most difficult spirit to commune with, very few shamans have had the honor of sensing an elemental… a spirit of life, even less have had the opportunity to communicate with one. Stormsky had listened to him before… but only in whispers… or visions, watching Vitalon speak to him so clearly and in such a direct way shocked the shaman to the core. He took a large breath, as the other elementals stopped their attacks, “What am I supposed to do then? Nothing?! That is unacceptable!” Brazion took his turn to speak “You have always fought with the rage and passion of a fire elemental, but you cannot win this fight”, “You are still a mortal… we are eternal… ” said Petrik, “Calm down, breathe... allow yourself to see, to think” Venthesh remarked before Hialaq spoke “Like water… change your ways… adapt… figure out a way to help them without leaving this place, without going into the shadows”. Stormsky finally realized what the elementals were trying to do, they weren’t against rescuing Khorvis, they were just trying to protect the young shaman from going into the Shadowlands and they weren’t going to stop. After a brief moment Stormsky grinned at them “So you do care for this mortal piece of flesh after all”. The elementals awkwardly stared at Stormsky then at each other without responding, always too prideful to admit such a thing. The shaman proceeded to find a place where he could think and after some time he proposed a plan “Alright… since you will not allow me to leave the maelstrom, then I need us all to help the party from here… together… Petrik, nature is born out of the earth, out of your element, empower their nature spells, whatever form they take, either for healing or damage, just empower them with your might. Brazion use your fire as a guiding light for them and bless their blades with your flames. Finally Venthesh and Hialaq, you two are going to work together, merge your elements, air and water to power up the ice crystal even more, do not let it be depleted and strengthen the protective aura it provides. I will be your anchor, so that all of you can manifest in this realm at the same time, do you all agree to this?” and without hesitation all the elementals responded at once with a resounding “Yes, we do”. Stormsky sat down using all of his focus to empower the elementals and project them to the place the ritual is going to be performed “There… I see them… Baal’themar, Edgar, Chaoseater, the others…even that orc hunter… Bager, they're all gathered, it’s time… Brazion, Petrik, Venthesh, Hialaq go now, may the Earth Mother be with us all”
  36. 4 points
    Baal’themar stalked in the shadows on the outside edge of the marching party. They headed to the Grim Halls, he wondered if the Grim might try to capture him after this mission was over and they had Khorvis safe. He scanned the people that had joined, so far he couldn’t see anyone that would go out of their way to stop him. He made a plan to escape if things started to look like they were going to turn on him. His pack was heavy with the ritual components. Stones, gems and cubes made of bone… He remembered the creation of the unholy and blood icons, Stromsky had given him the Ice icon and he had the blade needed to focus the ritual from Lilliana. Just get the old orc and leave. He thought to himself, he repeated his mission. Get him out and safe, then you’re done… don’t push your luck. He sighed and emerged from the shadows to join the main party as they formed up outside the Grim Halls. He walked to Edgar without looking at the others, he slowly pulled each component out of his pack. The Bonecube, Bloodstone Crystal and the Elemental Ice stone. Emerged from his pack, followed finally by the Dagger that Edgar had asked for, Kiannis had kept the blade safe before he handed it to Lilliana for the ritual. Baal’themar remembered the man handing it over to her rather than him… distrust ran deep between the two elves but none of that mattered. They would need to work together to save their brother… save him from his hellish prison.
  37. 4 points
    Theira sat on a fur rug in front of a roaring fire hoping the heat would penetrate and sooth her aching muscles. The Matron had been working on her endurance and reusing the talents of Ursoc, blood soaked the right side of her face and arm. She adjusted a bandaged over her eye and sat gently breathing allowing all the aches and pains to settle. She was strongest now with restorative magic although felt it prudent not to heal so that she'd better dodge her enemies attacks the next time. No pain no gain thought the Arch Druid as she used her clawed fist weapons to delicately pick out scabbed and crusted blood from her fur. Some time passed as Theira relaxed before long she felt a twinge in her stomach as if someone or thing was watching her. She flicked her ears back as her animal instincts confirmed what she had been feeling. He spoke is a low rumbly growl as he addressed her "Matron.." The Chaoseater from Blacktooth Grin stated with the utmost disdain. Theira closed her one remaining good eye a moment as a sarcastic smirk crossed her maw. She recognized his voice well - since their last argument. "Ah, Chaoseater - to what do I owe this pleasure? I wouldn't have imagined running into here in a inn. No, I'd have thought the comforts of a inn be far to delicate a pleasure for you and your kin to enjoy. More of a Rutilus Luna thing... " She remarked now turning to face the large hulking brute of a Tauren Death Knight. Chaoseater responded with a grunt and walked around her to properly face her. The Matron watched his hulking heavily armored mass as he moved her thoughts drifting towards hoping he'd not stand to closely to the fire so that she did not need to smell anymore of him than necessary. The druid sighed a bit looking at him now with a forced smile, as she did she saw some more of her order mates come through the door. She forced herself to stand in greeting of them, Nikkoma noticing her wounds walked by to heal Theira shooting Chaoseater a cold dark look as she did so. The Matron nodded in greeting and in thanks to Nikkoma and Nik and Iku headed towards the bar. Now healed Theira started removing the eye patch and bandages. Chaos remarked "Red is a good color on you Matron - " Her rebuttal swift "I'd expect it should be Chaoseater, tis our guilds colors. We bleed often for Horde interests." He grunted again his stance tall and rigid "And what of - The DreadHorde, do you and would you bleed for them?" Here we go again Theira thought, he had been at her about honor and distrusting Rutilus Lunas place within the DreadHorde since she had made the choice not to join them in the assault of Alliance cities. The Matron narrowed her eyes at the Death Knight giving him a very dull tired expression. "When the DreadHorde NEEDS for us to bleed for it - we shall answer the call. When there is honor or defense in the matter yes. When it consists of murdering a bunch of defenseless women, children and orphans - sorry to disappoint you Chaoseater then NO. We won't, surely you can handle a toddler with a wooden sword on your own." Her responses never pleased him as he growled a bit but pleasing him couldn't be furthest from her interests. "What about when these orphans grow to become a real threat and they come for us. What then Matron when the bloodshed they could cause could have been avoided?" She crossed her hands together and state to Chaoseater as frank and bluntly as possible. "Then I will deal with them when they get there - with honor, the honor you've accused us of not having. As equals...as a challenge, as a fair and honest fight." She huffed dismissively of the conversation knowing well the both of them could lock horns for hours. Theira sighed harshly before turning away from the brute to stare into the fire when suddenly their conversation reminded her of something still very prevalent in her mind. He was a Death Knight - recalling that Storm Skychaser had a ritual in mind to use them to aid Khorvis. She narrowed her eyes disgusted with the idea of asking Chaoseater for help and how. She turned to face Chaos having thought of a cunning angle on which to bait him to her cause. "Chaoseater... about those events prior, you do enjoy The Grim don't you, raiding with them must have been right up your ally." He huffed towards her "Their interests mirror my own quite a bit Matron... - " She continued "Then the prospect of helping The Grim, a Grim in need might sit well with you. To the point Chaos there is need of you to help this Grim, a friend of mine and I am asking for it." Chaos stood a moment considering before responding dryly. "I despise you Matron, but for the DreadHorde I am there." Theira regarded him honestly with a slow and accepting nod. "Well, since we're being sincere - know that I despise you too. You, the forsaken, undead and demons of any kind. You're outside of the natural balance of this world and the realm I am aligned with. Products or by products of the Legion and should all be exterminated for the abominations that you are. - Don't take that to personally Chaos, tis a Druid thing." She smiled sweetly at him as he returned her glance with a look of murder slow vapor leaving his maw as he exhaled. She cleared her throat and paced around the fire "But, personal feelings aside - Khorvis needs help. Storm Skychaser spoke of a ritual he could perform to help extract him from the Shadowlands. The Shadowlands is a realm opposite to my own, which I suspect is where you come in. I am waiting to hear back from Lilli or some Grim about more details but for the time being Chaos I'd appreciate you speaking with Storm." She stopped short of the fireplace to turn and look at him. He considered her words leaving more questions than answers and agreed to seek out Storm Skychaser. Theira nodded and sat back down on the rug while searching for her pack of cigarettes. Chaos remarked "Is there anything more Matron?" She simply shook her head. "No Chaoseater, not unless you're interested in spending some quality time with me." She smirked as he turned to leave.
  38. 4 points
    Katrynne did not sleep that night, nor eat the next day. She was in Stormwind, sitting outside the Cathedral as she often did, when the message came to her, as she knew it would. General Larmont summoned Kat to her office. Katrynne had made no secret of her Grim hunt, and had even spoken with the General about it after the recent city attacks. She knew that Katelle agreed with her, but as far as Kat knew, it was still unclear where the Council stood on the matter. One thing that always had been quite clear, however, was that the killing of any non-hostile Horde was not permitted. Although the breaking of that law was secondary to what the killing did to her standing with the Light, it was still a concern. She would not be able to hunt if she were locked in a cell. A few minutes before the Cathedral’s clock began chiming the hour, Katrynne approached the building that housed the General’s office. There was a blood stain on the porch. It was old, but the scent still lingered, sheltered by the porch roof and winter temperatures. Kat didn’t recognize the scent of whoever it belonged to, so she went inside and didn't concern herself with it. It had crossed her mind that she might be greeted by several Keepers and locked up somewhere, but only the General seemed to be there. Kat walked up the steps and stopped before Katelle’s desk. “General,” she greeted cautiously, not knowing what to expect, though she had no doubt why she had been summoned. Katelle looked up from the scrap of parchment before her and offered Kat a small, tired smile. She dipped her head respectfully. “Katrynne. Thank you for coming. Please, have a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?” “No, thank you,” Kat answered as she sat wearily. “You look as though you’ve seen better days,” Katelle murmured, noticing the dark circles and troubled expression on Kat’s face. “Everything alright?” “I’m fine,” Kat said. It was an automated response, just to move the conversation along. “You wanted to see me?” she prompted. Katelle smiled wryly, clearly unconvinced. She didn’t comment further. Instead, she got straight to the point. “What happened in Booty Bay yesterday?” Kat had no doubt that the General already had the basic facts, but she stated them anyway. In some ways, Katelle’s empathy and understanding were worse than if she’d been judgmental and accusing. “You did what you had to do, under the best of your knowledge, Katrynne,” Katelle said after Kat recounted what had happened. “It’s nothing more than what I’ve done myself.” That’s why she was so understanding, Kat thought. She’d made the same mistake herself at some point. “You have? How do you get past it?” Katelle’s lips flattened as she considered her answer, mashing them together for a moment before offering a vulnerable smile—and vulnerability was not something she shows often. “Sometimes I’m not sure that I have gotten past it. But…one day at a time, Katrynne. One day, one hour, one minute even, and I just keep telling myself that I couldn’t know the truth without maybe being dead myself.” Katrynne nodded, her hand absently going to the ring on a chain around her neck. “It will never end, I think.” She had lived so long with the guilt of what she’d done to Alain all those years ago. It had never faded. There was no getting past it. As Katelle continued to reassure her that there was nothing else she could have done without putting her own life at risk, and they must keep moving on, Katrynne realized that the General was perhaps speaking to herself as much as to her audience. “If you need some time, Katrynne…some time to come to terms with what’s happened…nobody could truly fault you for it. I needed…more time that I’d rather admit, after…” Katelle trailed off, finally shaking her head. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and sometimes it makes it easier to move forward.” Kat slowly released the ring and lowered her hand to her lap. “Time won’t help. I know that. And The Grim won’t take time off from their killing and terrorizing. I must work harder to put an end to this.” “No, they won’t,” Katelle agreed with no small amount of resignation. “Just try to not lose yourself along the way. It’s disturbingly easy to do.” “I know,” Kat agreed, thinking of the year she had willingly lost herself in the Storm Peaks after Zak’s death. “I won’t.” After she left the General’s office, Kat went to the house in Old Town that she'd inherited from Zak. It was a small house. She had kept the smaller of the two bedrooms. The master bedroom remained as it had while Zak lived there. The cellar door creaked as Kat opened it. She swiped at cobwebs as she descended the stairs, lighting torches as she went. When the room was lit, she surveyed the small armory before her. This was only a portion of the armor and weapons Zak’s team had kept in Gilneas when they hunted worgen. The items were all dusty, but they had been well made, and most of it was still in fine condition, lacking only a good cleaning. Kat gathered an armful of weapons and took them upstairs to give them just that. Several hours later, Kat had her usual blades strapped to her hips, a small pistol in one boot, a knife in the other, and a set of throwing knives on her belt. She also had several simple engineering bombs attached to her armor. She looked longingly at some of the other weapons still gleaming on the floor, but she didn’t want to weigh herself down any more than she already had. She stepped outside, locked the door, and headed for the portals.
  39. 4 points
    A street beggar ran up to Katrynne in Dalaran. Impossible to tell whether it was male or female, the youth had a dirty face and the typical short haircut to stop lice from infesting it. He or she wore dirty clothes and well-worn home-made boots of wood and canvas. “That man took some Grim elf woman to Booty Bay,” the child panted. Kat decided it sounded more like a boy than a girl. “I couldn’t risk following him, but it looked like it was important. He was almost dragging her through a portal.” Katrynne pressed a few coins into a dirty hand, and ushered the child to be on his way. Something’s not right, she warned herself. How would a little street urchin know she would be interested in following a Grim? She had not been quiet about her goals lately, but she couldn’t imagine why such a child would take interest in her hunt. She would not pass up the chance to catch a Grim though, and she hurried to retrieve her gryphon and then headed for the portals. She rode through the sky over Booty Bay until she spotted it—the horrible red and black cloth of The Grim. The tabard was worn by a blond-haired Sin’dorei woman. She stood by a fire, talking to none other than Baal’themar Dawnsorrow. Kat had suspected he must still have friends among The Grim, but she would not stay her hand for him. The black gryphon flew low over the pair. With blades in hand, Kat leapt from her mount and landed on the woman. Baal made no effort to interfere as sharp blades slashed through his companion’s throat. He simply watched as the woman grabbed at her throat in horror, her blood pouring onto the stones below. Katrynne watched him warily. He knelt next to the bleeding woman as the life in her eyes slowly faded, but he did nothing to try to stop the blood flow. “Shh,” he soothed, speaking in Orcish. “It’s okay. I’ll make sure your children are well cared for. You have earned some rest.” The woman paled and died without any fuss as the blood stopped spurting and slowly leaked from the wound. Katrynne wiped her daggers on her leggings and took a step back, preparing to leave. She raised her arm to summon her gryphon back. Baal pulled the tabard off the woman’s body, revealing her blood-stained dress and a small handbag. "Well done, Katrynne. You are wonderfully predictable." He spoke common now. Opening the handbag, he pulled out a picture of children. “Did you think it strange that she was unarmed? Or does it not matter, so long as the tabard is on them?” Kat paused before mounting the bird, turning back to him. “Armed or not, they must die. My goal is to destroy them. I care not about giving them a fair fight.” “You just killed an innocent woman.” He looked at the picture, then handed it to Katrynne. “And a mother.” Becoming irritated with whatever game he was playing, and still with the feeling that something wasn't right, Kat pointed at the tabard in his hand. “She was Grim.” She tossed the picture into the fire after barely glancing at it. “She wore a tabard I paid her to put on,” Baal stated. “You what?” “Ah, now you care? This woman worked as an escort. I paid her to wear this tabard to prove a point. And you came through.” Katrynne frowned, horror crossing her expression as she realized what she had just been tricked into doing. “You set her up to die. By my hand. Why?” “To prove a point. You shouldn't attack someone just based on their tabard,“ he answered, and she remembered something he had said when they met outside Thunder Bluff: Then you would have attacked me because of a tabard. Horror turned to disbelief. Disbelief turned to rage. “Why would anyone wear that thing if they're not Grim? Why would you sentence her to death just to prove a point?” “I didn't,” Baal countered. “You could have waited, could have studied the target, but you chose to attack, blinded by what you believe.” And Kat remembered something else he said that day: Monsters are everywhere. They hide under lies and people skin. “I have studied you, “she said, her voice shaking with anger, “enough to know that you are still a monster.” Baal’themar was no longer Grim, but he was still evil. Perhaps there was no redemption for people like him. And if not for him, then likely not for her either. “And what are you?” he challenged. Kat was a monster herself. She knew she always had been, ever since that fateful day when she’d been bitten by one. But she wouldn’t tell him that. Instead, she’d show him. Bones broke and reformed. Muscles stretched and contracted. Fur sprouted from her skin. “Your end,” she answered, her voice rougher in her worgen form. She lunged at him with her daggers, slicing at his torso. He disappeared, and then he taunted her from the shadows. “Better ditch the body Katrynne. You don't want the guards to find her.” "She is your problem now." Kat had no intention of hiding the body, or hiding from what she’d done. She had killed a woman who had done nothing more than wear a piece of cloth for some coins, probably to feed her children. If Kat had ever had the slightest chance of the Light’s forgiveness for her sins, it was surely gone now. "I doubt that very much.” His voice faded with a soft laugh. "You'll learn to see things for what they are soon enough." Troubled, and still enraged, she mounted the gryphon and kicked him roughly in the sides to take flight.
  40. 4 points
    A Grim Purpose The complete destruction of the Alliance is the goal towards which we strive. Though we are loyal to the Horde, we believe the Horde leaders are not always able to take the necessary steps to ensure its survival. Many who are allied under the banner of the Horde do not agree with our methods. But talk and half-measures are for the weak. It is through our hands that the Horde will become the dominant force on Azeroth and the world beyond. ~The Grim Inquisition Time: 1600 Hours Deep in the heart of the Swamp of Sorrows, Mai’kull beckons his steed along the path towards the now forgotten Horde outpost; Stonard. It was abandoned in the second war, but re-established during the Thrall era to maintain communications in the southern regions of the Eastern Kingdoms. Now people simply use it for quick transport to Karazhan, but it was its original purpose that he choose this location. One of the very first strongholds built by the horde upon their arrival to Azeroth, it was from here they lead some of the most devastating assaults of the First War…and with his help, it would be that again. As he reached the center of Stonard, he was able to evaluate its condition better. A Command Building, An Inn, A Suitable Forge, and a Flight Master. It was not pretty, but it was functional enough for his goals. A little work would be needed to ready it for the forces that were to come, but he had time for that. Dismounting, Mai’kull made his way into the command building, He could see two Sin’Dorei already inside. “Are you hungry? I’m hungry. I just can’t stand the thought of cured ham steak from Thultash again. If only we could get some of that succulent roasted quail!” Cersei Dusksinger stated to her companion before taking notice of the Forsaken. “Glory to the Sin’dorei” she stated, giving a small bow to Mai’kull. “Yes, Im looking for the commander of this outpost, if you please” Mai’kull stated in Thalassian, returning the respectful gesture. He could see the woman’s lip curl hearing her native tongue out of something so hideous, but did well to try and hide her disgust. “Ruag is upstairs…” she answered with a wave. Mai’kull nodded to Cersei and moved past to head up the winding staircase. “Commander Ruag” Mai’kull stated as he saluted the Dispatch commander. “Blood and Thunder! How may I help you Forsaken?” “Light the fires, withdraw your scouts and prepare your men…Stonard re-awakens tonight.” He stated proudly as he handed a sealed scroll to the commander. Curiously, the Orc took the scroll and began to read. His eyes widened with amazement as he looked from the scrolls to Mai’kull. “I wasn’t aware…” “Yes. The details of this assault have been kept close at heart until the proper time. With blessing from the Dark Lady, our forces shall arrive later this evening, I hope you can have the outpost ready.” “You bet your boney ass it will be ready! Ill prepare my men, we shall not let this opportunity go to waste! FOR THE HORDE!” Mai’kull once again bows before the commander “For Dark Lady Sylvanas!” Time: 1800 Hours Mai’kull perched himself atop the Command Building, giving him a full overview of the camp. He watched the Peons and Guards move about shuffling supplies about the Burrows. A few members of the battalion began to file in and check into the Inn, serving the camp before heading back off for final preparations. Thultazor was brewing cauldrons, and Thultash was preparing meat for grand feasts to sate the warriors that were inbound. Karakul was busy hanging more hammocks and setting throw pillows to accommodate the growing number of visitors, Hekkru busied himself cleaning and setting up cages for the Beast Masters companions. The forges in the back burned bright, giving the swamp a wave of warm air, as the Smiths readied their armaments for the battle ahead. Guild Heralds from all over were marching into the camp, The Banner of their respective Guilds who pledged their allegiance to the cause waving in the air as they carried their Guild Chests into the command building for storage. Stonard was alive with activity, and once again becoming the bastion of the Horde Offensive against the Alliance. Everything was falling into place… Time: 2000 Hours Mai’kull had spent many months working out the best way to fulfill the will of the Mandate. Fighting alliance on the battlegrounds about the world was not enough, nor was it going to bring peace. To truly live up to the mandate, he had to spread its will to the minds of others like him, to reach those unknowing or unwilling to face the reality in the world…that they were at war…and make them fight, so show them it was possible. To that end he sought out others who viewed the world as the Grim did, and brought with him the will of the mandate to their ears. And the acolytes of his call answered. Appearing at Stonard to stand with the Grim were members of many banners. The Dread Horde Coalition: Darthtooth Grin, Dark Clan of Fenris, Redwood Tribe, Thunderhoof Clan, and many many others who heard the call of battle stood ready. Mai’kull reveled at the sight of his work, uniting so many under his cause. A force well over 80 strong stood before him; Fed, Hydrated, Rested, and Warded for battle, he was finally ready to unleash the true Will of the Mandate. Mai’kull had exhausted an immeasurable amount of time and effort into this. Using his magic and engineering skills, he had infiltrated each major city one by one. Testing and exploiting every method of weakness within until he solidified the battle plans. For each city he had outlined infiltration, lockdown protocols, engagement rules, and an exit strategy. He did not rally this large of a force with hopes and dreams alone, but with cause and means to perform one of the greatest achievements of their time: FOR THE HORDE! Time: 2030 Deep in the halls leading to Old Ironforge, through a Ritual of Summoning the Battalion stood ready…. Quite…Patient…Eager to shed blood. This specific target was the vex on everyone’s mind, everyone who called the Magister mad for planning the assault for how defended a fortress Ironforge was. And now they stood but a few feet away from their target, the alliance forces none the wiser. This is what was going to make or break the Magisters reputation…should the Raid fail here, it would fall square on his shoulders. All the planning, calculations, and manipulation for nothing… The Battle Horn was blown, and the Raid advanced, directly into the High Seat where the Council of Three Hammers took residence. No one could have anticipated a force of that size and magnitude in the Heart of the City. The Guards were overwhelmed immediately. Per his instructions, a splinter group of the Battalion launched from the High Seat and headed straight for the Hall of Mysteries in the Mystic Ward. Should any Alliance in Dalaran catch wind of their assault and try to use the portals in Grayfang Enclave, they would be in for quite the surprise. Another small force was dispatched to keep eyes in the Deeprun Tram, incase forces attempted to assist from Stormwind. The strike was over far quicker than Mai’kull had anticipated. Just as his plans laid out, Moria fell first, followed by Felstad then Muradin. The Battalion stood in a moment of awe in the High Seat chambers as the bodies laid before them. They were not dead, but mortally wounded and in very bad shape. It would have been so easy to kill them, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything. A new Dwarven Council would be re-elected, and the cycle would continue. No…they would leave them alive, but just barley. To learn, To know their place…To FEAR the might of the Horde that would Overthrow the Council Banners of the attending Guilds were strewn all over the Chamber, Horde Battleflags blocked the entrance doors, even some Soldiers posing amidst the chaos with their S.E.L.F.I.E Cameras. Once pleasantries were completed, the Battalion slipped back into the tunnel from which it came, escaping back to Stonard using their Magisters Portals, leaving devastation in their wake. Time: 2045 The Battalion wasted no time readying the next strike. Adrenalin running through their veins, and the taste of fresh victory on their lips, they hungered to continue their conquest against the alliance. The next target was Darnassus. A warlock was already in place behind the Temple of the Moon. It was frankly the arrogance of the Kal’Dorei to not check their own backyard, for anyone who looked could have seen the force rising. A bit too eager, one half of the battalion began the initial assault into the temple, slaying the Nightelf sentries that stood in their way, and securing the portal zone within the temple. Another faction branched off, cutting a swath of destruction from the Temple of the Moon to the Temple Gardens, securing their exit. They had engaged Tyrande and her companion pet Dori’Thur before the rest of the combatants had completed the Summoning Ritual. But the Might of the Horde sandwiched the Kal’Dorei Priestess atop her own landing, proving once and for all she was Immortal No More. Once the stage was set for the arriving alliance to see the work they had done, the Battalion headed out into the Temple Gardens, utilizing the World Tree’s own transportation to bring them to Rut’theran Village. Clearing the meager port authorities was nothing as the Horde members waited patiently for the Ship that would lead them to Azuremyst Isle to arrive. Taking the ship, it took three port-calls to amass the Battalion at the base of the fallen Draenei Ship. This gave Mai’kull just the pace he needed to slow his warriors. Two targets down did not mean their job was done, and he did not need their heads to fill too quickly that mistakes would be made this close to the end. Their patience tempered the minds of the Battalion, and The Exodar was struck with shocking precision. Spiraling down into the Vault of Lights The Raiding parties knew their jobs. The Guards were dispatched quickly, as a splinter group of members crossed the Vault and secured the portal zone. Velen’s Battle masters were pulled from their posts and dealt with leaving the Dreanei Prophet all to himself, and the Battalion wasted no time Putting out the Light of the already broken people. Time: 2110 The Raiding Battalion regrouped in the Swamp of Sorrows Outpost one last time as they prepared to strike at their last Target…Stormwind City. Given the proximity of their target, some did not even wait for the Ritual of Summoning, but preferred to fly from Stonard to the Burning Steppes themselves, to wait on the adjacent mountain range behind Stormwind Keep. Once everyone was in place, the command was given, and the Wrath of the Horde descended upon the Human Capital. It was a two-pronged attack. Half of the Battalion flew in from the Courtyard, directly engaging the King and his forces in his own Throne room, while the second half entered from the Main Gate, clearing the Keep of any other guards who might get in the way. A small unit was dispatched to the Wizards Sanctum in the Magic Quarter to monitor traffic to and from their Portal Zone, but Mai’kull believed that to no longer be necessary. They wanted the Alliance to try and stop them… So too did the Child-King fall to the might of the Horde; proving once and for all that he, just like his father was unable to prevent the Might of the Horde from Storming Stormwind. Yet this was not the end, the Horde’s Mightiest Warriors wanted to cement their dominance over the arrogant pink-skinned fools, so they set out, on foot, out of the keep into the city itself. Anyone who got in their way was killed. They trampled through the Trade District slaughtering merchants and auctioneers, bankers and shop owners, leaving a burning scar of destruction in their path for any arriving Alliance to follow. Mai’kull could only revel in his success. Here he was, standing in the heart of the Alliance’s Power; He had no protective spells active, he sheathed his own blade, for at this moment Stormwind belonged to the Horde! A Final Gathering was called at the steps of the human’s holeyest of places. Unimpeded, the Horde positioned themselves, raised their banners and smiled for the cameras, cheering on cadence of victory and valor that echoed through every corner of the city. The Mandate’s will was done, and peace for a time was brought to all four corners of the Alliance’s holdings. Mai’kull was no fool, he knew it would not last. The Humans, Dwarves, Kal’Dorei and Dreanei would re-group, heal their wounded leaders and secure their homelands once again. But it was the message delivered that was the true goal. They did it…They won…And they could NOT be stopped. News of this would spread, angering the hippy alliance huggers within his own faction, but also sparking vigor in the hearts of those who thought it impossible. And that is who he would direct to the Grim Inquisition, to bring about a new wave of soldiers to fight for the mandate, their belief that peace can only be achieved through one way, and one way alone…. PEACE THROUGH ANNIHILATION!
  41. 4 points
    I dunno some goblin girl. Hahaha you guys thought you got rid of me.
  42. 4 points
    Autumn made its presence known across the rocky hills of Redridge, arriving with gusting breezes laced with tastes of distant winter bite. Red, orange and yellow leaves fluttered from thick-limbed oak trees, coating the ground with a carpet of color. These leaves fell thick in the Lake Everstill cemetery, especially on the stoop of an unobtrusive, wood-clad shed tucked behind the tombstones. It wasn’t empty. Gray-black smoke curled from the top of a black, iron pipe. Attached to the backside of the shed, it remained mostly hidden from view, even to the occasional fisherman who stalked catfish along Lakeshire’s opposite shore. Had someone been fishing on this particular morning, they might have heard laughter, singing and the banging of copper kettles from within the nondescript shed. Brother Jeb was brewing. Named after his grandfather, Jebediah was the latest in a long line of moonshiners who’d been brewing illegal alcohol in the hills of Redridge for time eternal. In fact, they’d been brewing for so long, the list read like a heraldic tree of Bradferd brewmaster lineage. Bradferd Shine was famous, and most in Redridge knew the family, or had at least heard the name. The name Brother had been given to him by one of the tavern keepers, who once said his brews were, "worthy of praise, as if the Light itself had offered up it's own, holy nectar." It stuck. Every so often, the King’s revenue agents would ride into town in an attempt to shut the Bradferds down. However, the beverages always seemed to reappear in taverns, tables and cabinets around the district. When the King’s men asked questions, they were always met with blank stares and shoulder shrugs. If they asked more, they might mysteriously disappear while on patrol. After a couple of times, the questions stopped and so did the revenuers. Redridge liked their shine, and the Bradferds kept their neighbors happy. It was an October morning. A morning filled with bird song and acorns drumming on the shed’s tin roof. The cool mists settling across Lake Everstill provided the perfect water temperature for this seasons dram, and Brother Jeb was using it to his advantage. Metal vats of cold water, pulled straight from the heart of the lake, was now mixed with mashed cherries, tart apples and pure cane sugar. Local yeast had fermented the mixture into wine, yet the true magic was happening in the large copper still over which Jeb was leaning. Making shine was a labor of love. Exact temperatures required for the perfect liquor took his constant attention, and singing brewing songs helped him keep time with the boil. Too hot and the liquor would flow fast – not good for quality shine. You wanted slow and steady, which he never failed to produce. Autumn Bite. That was this season’s brew. The sweetness of the deep, red cherries from Elwynn combined with the tart, green apples of Westfall would make for a memorable drink to usher in Hallows End. So far, from what he’d tasted, it was one of a kind and better than any his pa ever made. This drink would be legendary. Yet, as hard as he tried to do otherwise, his mind drifted elsewhere. Just the week before, he’d run into Charlie while fishing for catfish in a refuse pile beneath the dock. He’d just pulled a small, wooden box from the floating debris when she called his name, taking his attention from the potential treasure chest. After some small talk and discussion of happenings around the district, they’d slipped into the tavern for a few drinks, and to catch up on local gossip. He now wished he hadn’t. Not because of her, of course. She was a looker and friendlier than all get out. Always had been, so far as he recalled. Nah, it’s what she’d said to him about a Colonel hanging out in city hall, looking for volunteers, that’d ruined his mind. The man wanted help with the Orc problem, and like a catfish gobbling up stink bait, Charlie’d taken the hook. Come to find out, she’d been learnin’ bout bein a paladin. Even had a set of armor, so she said. Even had a book to help her learn, for fel’s sake. Borrowed from the cathedral in Stormwind. What was worse, she’d introduced him to the Colonel, and now Jeb's mind was spinnin. He twisted a copper knob on the still, lowering the flame to a yellow flicker. “Dang that woman,” he said, stepping to the top of a 3 rung stool to stir the thickening wine. He used a long, wooden paddle like found in wood-fired ovens to remove bread. He swirled the liquid, filling the air with the pungent sweet-tart scent of his future brew. “Gettin’ me all fired up ta help that man.” He lifted the paddle, tapped it on the edge of the vat then hung it from a hook on the side of the shed. “I knowed she says he’s from round here, but I bet he ain’t. All a ruse ta get us kilt er somthin.” He climbed down the stool and twisted the knob, running his fingers along a curling, twisted copper tube that wound its way into a large, glass jug. Soon, the good stuff would pour forth. He’d already skimmed the foreshots and saved the heads for the next batch in small glass jars he’d placed atop a wooden shelf. Who wanted to fight wars, anyway? Sure, they’d all sat around a campfire talking bout how great the army was an all. But that was just beer talk. This man wanted fighters, recruits to convince some pit fighter to save em all from the Orcs. Or the Gnolls. He weren’t sure. Still, he wasn't the sorta man that fought wars, no how. True, he was a bit tall, but danged if he didn't look immaciated. He ate a ton, it just never stuck to his ribs. Some folks even thought he was one a them homeless from out in Westfall, till they got up close an saw he was a Bradferd. It was the balding head and beard that always sold the deal. Only a Bradferd would sport a spade-shaped beard like he did. But Charlie? She wanted to be a hero. Swing swords, chop heads and save the world. Or at least Redridge, anyway. Fel, he’d tolt her all he could do was wack thangs with a stick. Orcs had swords and shields an such. What good would a stick do against that? But did she listen. Nope. Instead, said she was gonna let him thank about it awhile for she signed up. An he best think right and join the cause. So they agreed to meet on Thursday mornin, along with a few others she'd rounded up and decide what ta do. He doubted she'd like his decision. His eyes widened as the first drop of the good stuff fell into the greenish glass jug. A left over from a Goblin beverage incursion several years back, it provided the perfect container for the potent drink. He licked his lips as one drop became two, then ten, and before long, the entire jug was filled with the first batch of the good stuff. It would be legendary, and all thought of Orcs, Colonels and wacking sticks disappeared into the intoxicating red liquid that defined his life, that of his family and that of his heritage. Autumn’s Bite, a name that would soon mean much more than he ever could have imagined.
  43. 4 points
    I've been taking screenshots of new things, and some of them are so pretty, I thought them worth sharing. Barring the occassional DC that kept a few from saving, here are the things I love about Legion, or just a photo gallery of Kerala's travels. I hope you'll share too! "The nightmare consumes, druid. It devours from within. It overwhelms one's thought as easily as it creeps across terrain. Inevitably, the mind fills with shadows, and all hope is eclipsed. It is terrible, it is... beautiful..." ~Astry Fallenbough There is a class being held in one of the buildings in the Dreamgrove. The teacher will flap, and the little students flap. Here, the student is demostrating a fierce rawr! SO CUTE. Kerala's kind of meal. Salad, cheese, and soup. Delicious! Beautiful glowing fishies! Dude. Do you SEE the skeletons? 'Just relax'... mhmmm, sure. 1st Legion death. Once you get G'Hanir, there is a mob of blood drop thingies that get on you, and stack up the corruption too high. This is why everyone was dying. I love the expression here. I FOUND A STIIIIICK! The seedling which allows artifact upgrades. /COVET owned Sadness The Emerald Dreamway. This is the portal to the Dreamgrove. This here was an "OH MY GOD!" moment for me. Finding this made me SO HAPPY! I squealed out loud. It's Stickball! Occasionally I would get a Jewelcrafting quest to actually cut a gem. I loved these! I hope there are more than just the two... (both for a yellow gem). Yay tauren baby and baby stuff! <3 MOOZY!!! Right in the feels again, Blizzard. "Still a damned sea lion." ~Vicktor Ebonfall Malorne's nightmare, and maybe some hesitation, there?
  44. 4 points
    The rogue’s ankle twisted as he fell back in the dirt. The kick had worked, and the vrykul before him struggled to catch his words and cthnonic syllables back in the shape of a spell. But Kex’ti was in trouble. His second dagger was embedded in the wood of the cliffside dwelling, a remnant from his long drop from the ravine above. Empty air to his left. To his right, an angry vrykul allied to the Lich King. He made his choice, and the elf spilled a sack at his waist into his palm. He threw the clump of white powder at the vrykul before him. The man yowled as he tried to scrape and cough the itchy dust out of his eyes and mouth. Kex’ti looked up and wondered if he could scramble to the other dagger, and looked down at his ankle. It could be worse, he thought. He grit his teeth, and vaulted himself back to his feet, biting down a gasp as he put his bad foot down. He sprinted towards the giant, and drove his dagger upward, leveraging it from his waist into the runecaster’s ribs. The daggers had come as a prize in one of his arena fights. Not a particularly memorable one save for the weapons, but he liked using them. And there was something wrong about keeping just the one. The rogue’s charge barreled the vrykul back towards the cliff, and a slug of the elf’s fist propelled the giant, dagger and all, backwards into the ravine. This one had been a sentry, but there would be others. He quickly pulled some frostweave from his field kit and made a makeshift splint with his boot. *** Fong chuffed and came forward, drawing a shortsword. The sheen of the living steel weapon blinded Kex’ti. If the elf was going to use dirty tricks, why shouldn’t I? Thought the pandaren. The light shining in Kex’ti’s eyes would’ve distracted him. But some cheap tricks worked on monks. Some of them didn’t. He focused his senses, and followed Fong’s aura. The red of anger, the bright pink of passion. To say that Fong didn’t care wouldn’t have done the other monk justice. He did, Kex’ti knew. But emotions had to be controlled. Either by yourself, or by your opponents. Kex’ti didn’t consider Fong a foe, not really. A threat? Perhaps. Few others fell into that category, mostly out of caution rather than any real concern on the monk’s behalf. Rorrek was one. Awatu, another. People who Kex’ti could not see himself fighting, but neither could he see befriending. Fong’s blade sang through the air, the mists guiding his strikes. Mistweaving among crane initiates involved focusing on both the external arts of healing, and the internal arts of qinggong. Using the mists allowed one to surpass physical limits and fight with greater endurance than one would imagine. Pain could be dulled, reflexes heightened. It wasn’t the longstanding training of wearing plate mail or the practiced incantations and summonings of others; but it could bridge the gap for a time. Fong’s strikes continued onward, the monks dancing in and out of the melee, their feet crossing, their arms jutting out to break offensive maneuvers, the staff and sword clanging and twisting. Sloppy or no, Kex’ti’s modified forms worked for him. He wouldn’t win. He knew it, Fong knew it, and most observers knew it. But he wouldn’t go down without a fight. *** The human had caught him by surprise. Not in ambush, but merely that it was the first he’d seen another non-pandaren monk out in the world. In the thick of combat in Ashran, he could spy glimpses and glances of unusual fighting styles, and occasionally the distinct green lightning and mists of other healing monks. But this monk was not a healer. His armor was more cloth than leather, and barely padded. And the power he could draw from his strikes, and the aggressiveness of his stance painted him as a tiger adept. The tiger adept’s strikes were quick, and deadly. Kex’ti had to roll and transcend more often than not just to catch his breath and mend his wounds. As the duel continued, Kex’ti’s medicine managed to keep his mana flowing. And eventually, the crane began to win. The tiger refused to yield. Kex’ti didn’t plan on killing him...But leaving him badly wounded might send a better message. With a quick series of palm and finger strikes, Kex’ti released his chi into the other monk. As a crane, Kex’ti never learned the tiger technique of the karmic touch. By aligning one’s chi with another’s, pain suffered by a monk could be transferred whole cloth to another. It was a difficult technique, but one that was almost essential to fragile, but nimble, tiger adepts. But the dim mak, the death touch, caused resonance in the target’s lifeforce, and dealt monstrous damage after its application. It required a focused mind and a weak foe; used too soon, the dim mak’s destructive effects would bounce back into the user. Tiger adepts, among all monks, were the most dispassionate. They could focus their emotions, and clear their minds to unleash their powers. While all monks could do this to some extent, most needed their emotions to draw on. Kex’ti channeled a moment of rage, and left the tiger shattered. *** He was not prepared for the same technique to be used against him. The elf could no longer dodge, no longer slip away. He bent his will and the turbulence roiling inside of him towards resisting the hostile invasion of chi. But this technique was different. It still manipulated life energy, but was not designed as one final blow. Fong was doubtless the better monk, and had adapted the dim mak to something new and superior to its original form. In all his many battles, Kex’ti had seen one single person shrug off a death touch: the orc rogue, Gnarrdog. The fight ended regardless shortly after, but it was a singular moment. Kex’ti knew he could not repeat the feat. He had a few seconds to go, and took a deep breath while he waited for the pain, or worse, to hit. *** Kex’ti took months before he could walk again. Remiaan’s last act had been to shield him from the collapsing pavilion at the Argent Tournament. With each step, he’d remember her. It chilled him more than any night he’d spent in Northrend. Without invitation, each itch and fork of pain would be accompanied by her smile, her smell, or the ripple of her hair in the wind. The only running he could do was away from the memories, and the cold. He left the formal Horde Offensive, his record one of failed efforts and disobedience. He went to Ratchet, and tried to forget. But even when he ran deeper into the dark, he was not content to simply stay still. *** Fong and Kex’ti watched each other, gauging the elf’s reaction to the dim mak. It coursed through his energy, painlessly at first, and the elf did his best to chase down the chi and expel it. It tore at him, splitting apart the balance of generating and consuming force in his essence. Kex’ti assumed a stance. He only had a few seconds left. And he smirked. *** The Nightmare oozed into Sanctuary’s guildhall. The relics collected there, the magic the guild relied on, all beckoned it like moths to a flame. Kex’ti had encountered it, and the dreamless sleep he experienced in the wake of his own attack by the Nightmare was more peaceful than he’d had in...months. Kex’ti never slept well, not since the Cataclysm, and the unspeakable company and acts he’d participated in. The guilt was never truly washed away, the blood on his hands stained too much to remove, much like his oft-quoted metaphor about teacups. But he managed it. He tried to do better. Chi, as Kex’ti understood it, was related to the elements that shaman could draw upon, and as elemental spirit, could be used to manipulate life itself. To him, mistweaving was about aligning the current state of one’s body with its idealized, pain and damage-free form, and bending the difference away, like smoothing out a wrinkle. It touched the Emerald Dream, elemental spirit did, in some way. And throughout his experiences with Sanctuary, he’d faced his own fears, and the fears of others, more times than he’d like to admit. The Nightmare would find something new to take from him, as it always would, in a world of infinite, horrific possibility, it doubtless would find a fault or crack to pick at. But Kex’ti thought, for once, he could take something back. *** He felt the energy separate, waiting to crash together. The flimsy avatar Kex’ti had summoned faded as he drew what spare energy he could from it, and he focused on the pathway the dim mak traced through his limbs. His discipline had taught him to focus his chi, and to commit fully to the acts he set out on. In this case, not dying would suffice. He reached into the stain within himself, into the miasma of the touch of the void on his soul, and let the corruption into the small gaps of separated chi. What he prepared himself to do would not be undone, and it would change the way he could mistweave, perhaps for the worse. The corruption, the pain and doubt and mistakes and loss and errors that hid in the corners of his mind and spirit were set loose. He released a lance of lightning at Fong at the moment the dim mak would have finished its reaction inside his body. The beam singed the pandaren’s fur, and knocked him to his back, ten yards back. The pain brought Kex’ti to his knees regardless, and he raised a hand in surrender. The other crane adepts stood by, and murmured amongst themselves. The chroniclers and masters looked on, processing what happened. Kex’ti had come to learn, to have anything he’d develop be recorded and evaluated by the true masters of Crane style. It was a simple discovery, albeit one that could be replicated. Even though it was simple, even though it had more an impact on Kex’ti than it would on other mistweavers, even though the technique had likely been practiced by others, he had chipped a sliver into the new disciplines taking shape on the Wandering Isle. He made red lightning.
  45. 4 points
    Satisfied that she’d made Sanctuary pay for the attack on Khorvis, Syreena considered the matter behind her now. The Grim had recently been ordered by the Commander to withdraw from their garrison in Draenor and return to the guild hall in Tirisfal Glades. The little rogue returned to the Forsaken lands with mixed feelings. A few days after unpacking her things in the old guild hall, Syreena still felt something wasn’t quite right. Brill, Undercity, the Glades—all were home to the little rogue. She should have felt safe and comfortable. Instead, she was nervous and irritable. Finally, on her way into Undercity one day, Syreena realized what the problem was. Just south of the city, in the middle of Lordamere Lake, sat Fenris Keep with its basement cell. She landed her wyvern on the wall overlooking the lake. On the island, she could see a colony of murlocs, and some sick wildlife, but she saw no movement on the walls of the keep. The Shadowblade nudged her mount off its perch and flew toward the island. From a safe height, Syreena surveyed the grounds of Fenris Isle. She saw no sign of the keep being inhabited. No Hillsbrad refugees milled about. No Alliance patrolled the walls. No black and white banners flew at the gates. After a brief hesitation, she signaled the wyvern to land, and she dismounted, tethering the beast to a tree. She approached the entrance cautiously, staying to the shadows, even though she couldn’t see or hear anyone nearby, and retraced the steps she took that day while she followed Sanctuary members in to check on the condition of a Grim who had been captured by the Alliance. The place was deserted, and had been for some time, by the layer of dust coating everything. The basement was empty. There was no sign anyone had ever been there. In her mind though, she heard the echoes of the past. “SURPRISE BITCH,” the Halfling rogue had called out when he pounced on her, knocking her out of the shadows. “Apprehend her!” Julilee had ordered, as she moved to block the stairs, trapping Syreena in the basement with the humans. “Excellent,” Kex’ti had said to the little rogue after conversing in Thalassian with the human in charge. “Then you will take Tesonii’s place?” “Stop,” Kargron said sternly. “There is no honor in this.” “Forsaken know no honor,” another Sanctuary elf spat. “Strip her,” the human leader ordered after Sanctuary had left the little rogue alone as a prisoner of the Alliance. “Let’s make sure she’s not hiding anything in any interesting places.” * * * * * * The next day, Syreena was in Orgrimmar, on her way to fight demons at the back gate. As she rode through the Drag, she saw a familiar face near the orphanage. For several years in a row, Kanda had been Syreena’s orphan during Children’s Week. When the orc was old enough to leave the orphanage, Syreena brought her to the Grim garrison and gave her a home. When Syreena gave Kanda her first mission—to retrieve for her the ears of the Sanctuary commander—Kanda instead joined the purple people. Betrayer, she thought as she glared at the orc. All of them. Purple betrayers. She waited, concealed in the shadows, until Kanda left the orphanage and headed through the Drag down into the Cleft of Shadows. Syreena followed, until they were in a relatively isolated spot. Then the Shadowblade lunged at the other rogue with her daggers drawn. She stabbed the orc’s exposed lower back. Kanda staggered, but she recovered quickly, whirling around to face her attacker as she took one of her axes in hand and raised it in a defensive stance. She felt blood trickling under the waist of her leggings from the wounds on her back, and she could feel her muscles slowing and stiffening around the wound from the poison that had coated the blades, but she gave no indication that she was in pain or otherwise affected. She simply watched the Grim rogue. “Traitor!” Syreena hissed. “I took you in, and you betrayed me for them!” “There was no honor there,” Kanda replied evenly. “Honor?” Syreena giggled. “Your new purple people have no honor! Even you purple orcs. Ask Kargron. He knows.” Syreena lunged at Kanda again, but the Sanctuary rogue was ready this time. In one move, she turned, avoiding the Shadowblade’s attack and slicing her axe across Syreena’s side hard enough to bite through both leather and flesh. Syreena spun, ignoring her own injury, and swiftly retaliated, her daggers a blur as she came at the orc. Kanda, however, was already in motion. She had launched a grappling hook to the roof of a nearby hut and was pulling herself up. She turned to face her attacker. Every movement was an effort with the crippling poison slowing her muscles. She flicked her wrist, and a hidden engineering device in her bracer sent a small pistol into her hand. She aimed it down at where Syreena was a moment ago, but the Grim rogue was no longer there. The Shadowblade stepped through the shadows, reappearing on the hut’s roof behind the orc, and again stuck her poisoned daggers into Kanda’s back. She twisted the blades viciously. The green skin, and the flesh beneath, were ripped apart and blood spurted. This time the orc stumbled, and Syreena kicked her off the roof. Kanda twisted in the air, a pained grunt escaping her as she landed on her wounded back on top of an awning made out of a bear skin. She lifted the pistol and fired twice. One shot hit Syreena, slowing her as she advanced. Syreena stepped off the roof with her daggers held in front of her. Kanda lifted her axe to protect herself, but, because of the crippling poison, her movements were not quick enough to save her. Syreena landed on Kanda, using the momentum to drive her daggers into the orc’s belly where the armor didn’t cover her. She grinned wickedly as she drew each blade downward through the abdominal wall, then sideways, opening up the orc’s gut. Kanda shuddered, a wheezing gasp escaping her. Then she felt teeth in her gut wound as the Forsaken lowered her head and began eating her. She struggled, weakened from poison and blood loss, and finally Syreena lifted her head and crawled up to Kanda’s face, blocking the orc’s field of vision with a bloody grin. The Forsaken lifted a dagger to the side of her own head and sliced off the pink elf ear that was stitched there. “Have an ear, Betrayer,” Syreena whispered menacingly, roughly shoving the severed ear into Kanda’s belly. “It used to belong to Cerryan’s girlfriend. Don’t worry, I’ll get another one. Another purple one. Many, in fact.” Until now, Kanda had accepted that she was going to die. Death in combat was an acceptable, honorable death. But now, as this hideous monster threatened others, anger rose up in her. She saw red as blood fury descended upon her. With an angry roar, she lifted her axe one more time and bashed it against Syreena’s head. The Forsaken yelped and tumbled off the awning, out of sight. For several moments, Kanda waited, fighting to stay conscious, expecting the Grim rogue to return to finish her task. As the blood fury receded, the pain returned. Kanda realized that Syreena didn’t need to come back to finish the job; the bleeding and poison would do that for her. The elf ear was still sticking out of her belly as she fumbled for her communicator. “…attacked…Cleft of Shad-….” She coughed weakly, then managed to get a few more words out before losing consciousness. “Cerryan.....mate’s…..ear…. Need….heal….”
  46. 4 points
    Something I would like to contribute is a warning about the pitfall I call "Avatar Syndrome," as it catches many people off guard when they just get into RP after questing. This is an important part of keeping IC and OOC separate, depending on the situation. What you are presented in game and how things are in terms of lore are drastically different. The first thing players interact with is the leveling experience, and most do not usually set foot into RP until during or after this process. This has a tendency to influence newer RPers who base their RP on the limited experiences available to them. I will illustrate with an example: You are a young adventurer that has been tasked with clearing the Fargodeep Mine of Elwynn Forest. Kobolds have infested the mines and make it their home, denying the locals access to valuable mineral deposits. Any player can tell you that this presents little to no challenge while leveling. Blizzard recently changed the pace of lower level questing to make combat last slightly longer, but it is still not overly difficult. Questing is very deceiving for new RPers, especially if they are new to RP but have played for years and have had access to Heirlooms which make leveling all the easier. In the end you are left with it feeling like there was no danger since everything crumpled and died in seconds. This often leaves the impression that being a juggernaut that dispatches multiple "threats" with ease is the norm. To shake this off I recommend stepping back and evaluating the situation from a real world perspective. What would you be worried about going into the above situation? What hazards would you need to consider if your life was in danger? How would your character's experience and skills factor into all of this? The given example involved Kobolds in tunnels. They are small creatures, but they come in large numbers and wield heavy tools as weapons. The mines are also a constricted and darker place with many ledges and paths to be ambushed from. Taking all this into account paints a very different picture than the in game quest you might have. It might be easy if you're not prepared to become overwhelmed or lost in the underground corridors. Always think twice about the world around you!
  47. 4 points
    Lomani had never imagined, when she decided to leave her tent wearing the white, that she'd quite end up where she did. The seer scope of enormity left her rather shaken, and cup after cup of hot tea wasn't doing anything to ease the shivers up her spine. Lomani was a seamstress. She was a caretaker and a soother, a guide and a warm embrace for her people when they caught ill, when they needed encouragement to make the right life choices, when they celebrated the happy times or remembered fondly those that had departed. Her life was busy, yes, but it was predictable. It was mostly quiet. Almost serene. She stitched the ray burst tabards and was content to send Kerala out with her raiding party night after night under Mu'sha's watchful eye. They'd come back battered and sore sometimes, or others invigorated and charged from victory, but Lomani had never really paused to consider what they actually went through while they were out. Now she knew. She remembered now seeing all the fidgeting and anxiousness. She remembered the tense banter that mostly failed to contain real humor. At the time, she'd been curious about it, remembering her lessons. She stood still and calm, conserving her energy, not stressing in the slightest. She had confidence, then. She'd had ignorance. The trip by boat was terrible for her. Ever since losing her horn, most types of motion not directly in her own control caused an awful nausea and lingering sense of falling down somewhere endless and unknowable. When everyone else eyed the shore highlighted in fel green and recognized the start of awful conflict, she was actually glad to see it. How silly that seemed now. Immediately the fighting had begun, and Lomani quickly realized that she was out of her element. It wasn't just her dizziness, though she tried to tell herself this was the main reason. It was the movement. Everything moved. If it wasn't alive and swinging or casting, it was aflame and licking. Everything moved. She quickly fell behind, losing track of the people she was supposed to be protecting. There wasn't time to think. She couldn't tell who was friend or foe, except that obviously the ugly fel ones were foe. Still, she mis-aimed her spells a few times in the frantic haste to close any oozing wound she could see. Only the grace of the Earth Mother kept her from renewing fallen demons to fight again, but she only realized later that some of those failures hadn't been due to the snuffing of spirits she was trying to save. Being slow like she was meant she encountered more of the dead than healers in the leading ranks. Their companions fell around them, she supposed, but they had no time to register and regret- there were countless more still standing to attend to, an endless sturggle to keep them from the same fate. It wasn't long before the seer began seeing faces she recognized. Just last week, she'd blessed that warrior's new son. Here lied an elder shaman that just had a bad bout of waterlung. They'd shared a meal together two nights ago celebrating her successful recovery. The woman had been planning to visit her greatchildren. Lomani came upon these lifeless bodies and her heart ached to leave them there without last rites, but there was no TIME. For every three or six or ten she stepped over, there might be one still hanging on. She clung to that hope and rushed after the main forces, trying to stay close enough to make a difference. In the end, she felt she'd failed utterly. She saw so many eyes glaze, so many lights go out. The horns had sounded and she was one of the ones who couldn't comprehend. Suddenly she was surrounded. She was shoved and bullied along by a reversed tide of strangers with more sense than she, until once again she heard the clunking of deck planks beneath her hooves instead of gravel or stone. It wasn't until the sails caught wind with a resounding snap that she fully registered that it was over. They were leaving, and they were so few. She couldn't cast anymore. She didn't have the strength for that kind of focused healing in this sort of fel-shocked numbness, but too she could not just numbly sit and do nothing, think of nothing. Some did. She did not fault them. She could not. Too many lights... too many lights were dark. The wind was blowing. She could see it filling the sails, carrying them gently. Lomani's voice was small at first, wordless and weak. She couldn't seem to keep her eyes from leaking, nor did she try to. She knelt where she was by the mast and turned her face up to the wind. She grieved. She hummed. The tune was soft, but gradually she was able to, with repetition, keen it out louder into the breeze. Slowly she heard other tauren join her. Most did not know the words, but this was a tune older than memory. Lomani found her voice, and she sang the divine hymn for all those that had been lost. She cast out the taurahe words to the winds. Let the Earth Mother hear her. Let Her gather the lost Children. Let their spirits find the way home to Her arms. Lomani sang their death song. Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there; I did not die. I am home.
  48. 4 points
    June 28th: Sometimes I have a week where things just go right. Where, for once, I forget my doubts and say what I need to say without things blowing up in my face. Where people behave and where for once I have nothing to stress about. Looking over this journal, the entries I’ve written and left alone or scribbled out show that this is a rarity. Lilly and I have been together officially for months now despite the attempts of others to either ruin it or those who seek to complicate it by inserting another factor, though the latter might be interesting. It was on the shore of a lake near Bloodhoof Village in Mulgore that I finally told her. I love Lilly. For all of her flaws and how she drives me crazy, for all the ways I still don’t understand her sometimes, I love her. She could not speak for surprise but as we sat there on the shore, just the two of us, I could see it in her eyes. I was not alone in the feeling. Since that night, nothing has gone wrong. The bar was profitable, despite the scuffles people were behaving, and it’s been over a week since I bore witness to any political conflict between the usual groups. I know it doesn’t last. As I have said before, life balances the good and the bad. You cannot have Paradise without Inferno. Despite the week, I can see the pieces set into motion for the next conflict. The Grim’s tome, the after effects of the Quorum, and the lack of closure from our long campaign on Draenor are all clear signs that things will soon return to a hellish struggle once more. But for now, I am enjoying the peace. Vendetta List: I have people that I should pay back sometime. But for right now, it’s not worth thinking about. Payback List: Gunheya of Coldstar: After talking with Paiyuna, chances are that orc will never share the pleasure of her company again. Apology List: Words are not enough for those I have wronged. I will take action when the opportunity presents itself. Silver Lining: Lilliana of the Grim: Things are cemented between us. I know where I stand and both of us know how the other feels. I may never hear her return those words but to know is enough.
  49. 4 points