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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 3 points
    The constant pounding filled her ears. Julilee lifted her head as the wind rose for a moment, letting it catch the loose strands of pale hair around her face. Beneath her feet, the coarse sand shifted, cut into strange shapes and angles. It was dyed orange and red in the early morning light, and she turned her head to look behind her briefly at the rising sun. The sky, also red and orange and pink, was always a welcome sight, even after having been back aboveground this long. Then she turned her attention back to what lay before her. The pounding was the combination of the screaming, stomping audience and drums. The sands were the floor of the arena and weren't just red from the sunrise, but from dried blood, and were grooved not by the elements but by battles. The sun was rising over the bleachers and the match was about to begin. She drew Mercy. The sword gave away her identity to those who recognized its jagged silhouette, but that turned out to be vanishingly few. So far, she could count them on one hand. Memories were short in war. The white mask that covered the lower half of her face did enough to disguise her identity otherwise, along with the absence of any of the other features that had once marked her identity, such as her once-dark hair, former purple armor, and tabard. Mostly the tabard. That had been the majority of what people had ever seen when they looked at her anyway. To be fair, she was the one who had redesigned it and raised its banner once more. "Juriel! Juriel!" Now she let her image become whatever it may. The gate across the arena opened with slow, menacing clanks that were nearly drowned out as the crowd rose in volume commensurately. Juli stood waiting, the tip of Mercy pointed at the sand. She held it in one hand and nothing in the other. Carrying a shield would only burden her now. The creature that came out was not one of the largest she had faced. The mad brutosaur had been that, and it had cemented her as the preeminent fighter in this arena circuit. But it was one she had never fought before. It slunk out, wary of the noisy crowd and bright, open space, but soon focused on Juli. And then it was followed by another. Two adversaries. The crowd, thrilled by this twist, became all but deafening. The creatures' blue-gray bodies were lined from nose to tail-tip in spikes, and long tusks protruded from their mouths. Their forequarters were heavily muscled for digging, pouncing, and shredding, but their lean bodies were built for speed nonetheless. Lean, but at least twice her size in weight and mass each. Sabertusks. Julilee was given pause as she studied them, knowing that Zandalari druids took on the same form, but in a few moments it became apparent that there was no hint of sentience in these beasts. They circled her warily, moving instinctively as a pack to take down the first edible thing they had seen in days. Juli continued standing still, only turning her head slightly as one circled behind her. When it thought it had the advantage, it pounced. She heard the crunch of sand and moved as it did. She threw herself into a backwards roll that was diagonal to the beast's trajectory. Tucked low to the ground, her relatively small size played to her advantage as she passed underneath the beast. As she rolled, she whipped her blade up and across its belly. There wasn't enough clearance to get the strength behind the thrust to disembowel the thing, but bright red blood spattered over her white, gold, and dark gray armor. The beast shrieked. As it landed and whipped around with shocking speed to lunge for her, paws as massive as her head with claws that long again coming at her face, she was only just pushing herself into a crouch on the sand. There simply wasn't enough time to dodge again. Her empty arm came up to block. It would have done absolutely nothing to save her if not for the Light that blazed into existence around it. The crowd roared in vicious delight as the large beast collided with the shining barrier, its sheer mass pushing her back a dozen meters and leaving a deep furrow in the sand, but she kept her feet under her. After the beast jumped away to seek a new opening, the creature not yet slowed by the shallow gash that bled fresh red onto the sands, she rose unharmed and allowed the shield to dissipate. The other beast, more cautious than its partner, did not yet make a move, only prowling along the side of the clash. The horn on its nose was broken, it was a darker blue-gray, and it was slightly smaller, though not by much. As Juli watched them stalk her, she wondered what had brought them to the attention of the arena organizers. Had they preyed on townspeople? Ravaged local livestock? Or had it just been the appeal of a matched pair? "Juriel! Juriel!" The crowd was insistent. It wanted blood, hers or the beasts', it didn't care. She had learned it thrilled to either, though this had not really come as a surprise. As much as they had loved her rise to underground fame, it would love her downfall just as much. She had seen the betting odds and knew many had no qualms about betting on the latter every match, if not more and more eagerly with every victory. She made good money off those bets. The sabertusks were too fast for her to try to take the offensive. Unlike the brutosaur, they could turn on a dime and rend with those deadly claws as fast as she could blink. If she gave them the slightest opening, they would seize it, and her by the throat. She would have to wait for them to come to her to try to find an opening, and the crowd communicated its disapproval of her patience as she continued to let the beasts circle her, though this time she slowly turned to keep them in sight as much as possible. Trying to urge action, the drum players increased the tempo. It was effective on everyone but those battling in the arena. The crowd grew more frenzied; someone threw a rock that landed with a thud in the sand not far from Juli. From somewhere, she could hear Tetsujin hollering directions at her. She didn't take her eyes off the beasts, nor they theirs off her. The two beasts started to circle closer. She knew the moment they decided to attack. This time, the sabertusks moved together.
  4. 3 points
    Hey all, I've added two new themes to the boards. I have arbitrarily made the Horde one the default, but there is an Alliance version also. I am leaving the green Legion and default White there for others who either don't like change or dark colored forums. Let me know (screenshot if you can) if you find an area where the text on background doesn't have enough contrast to be able to read it. I've gone through a bunch of the pages and I've fixed the things I've found so far. Happy new expansion! To change your theme, go to the bottom center of the page --> Theme --> pick one.
  5. 3 points
    The wolf is right. Being Grim requires caring intensely. I didn't like that description initially, but there is core truth to it. It doesn't require caring intensely about others, but it does require a fanatical dedication to the goal. I'm not sure the girl has that. All she has is the sense of a debt owed. Paying debts is not all there is, and it's certainly not enough to make one Grim. Is there a test that can force her to care? And her sense of Peace... I see the pattern, though I'm loath to admit it to others. If I'm choosing alcohol, it's because my own failure has been too fierce to set aside. That's what I'm not going to spill. I'm not going to admit something is my fault without considerable duress. I've failed again if she doesn't have the sense to keep that version of Peace to herself. Let's hope she shares that definition of peace with Awatu. He'll be impressed, I'm sure. Accept the Peace that those among us who believe in it desire. Accept it for what it is. And while they travel the endless road to their dream, enjoy the annihilation along the way. But you still need to accept and praise appropriately the Peace in public, or the entire structure falls apart. It's better that Syreena doesn't trust me. I was uncomfortable enough that she trusted me with what she gave me. If there's anyone who should know better, she should. And yet? All evidence seemed to point to the contrary. It's odd then, that while I got what I wanted, something seems off about the entire debacle. Does she even acknowledge what else I could have done with the power I had? Does she even care that it was less an outright lie and more a bending of the truth? She was absolutely responsible for the death of a Grim. It was just a brief death of a priest with priestly connections who never would have let her soul drift away for something as pathetic as an overly enthusiastic beatdown. There was just enough truth in my lie that I could have played it for a very long time. I could likely have played it long enough to end her if that had ever been my goal, but it was not. My goal was confession. I got my confession. That game is over. I respect her incentives, despite how misguided they were, but she thought they were worth following for the same reasons that she is willing to take on puppets where I am not. She had a right to be angry at my lies, whether they were based in truth or not, but it's not like she never lied to me. We lie to each other, all day every day. It keeps us going. The truth is inherently boring when not being manipulated to interesting ends. But her anger should have been tempered by how little I asked of her, how little I toyed with her. Was it? Would she have done worse if I hadn't kept the truth in the fiction to myself? I could have killed her with that weapon. That was never my intent, and she should see that. She should know that now, that her death, her punishment is not something I will ever aim for, because if I wanted it, I could have had it with ease. She should understand that now. But something tells me she doesn't. All she holds against me now is my falsehoods, not my reasons for telling them. Why do I even care? I don't. It's better when none of them trust me. They'll treat me as they should when I'm untrustworthy. I don't like the expectations that come with trust. Tradire has... no idea what she's doing. I still don't believe I can give her what she wants. As much as she lies about what that is, I think she believes her own lies. But I do think she wants more than a shield. She wants conversation and there she takes advantage of the words that are my weakness. She wants knowledge, and though I do believe her when she says that desire is limited, I don't think it's quite as muted as she would insist. I also think she wants knowledge I cannot give her, or that my version of it is twisted and broken, and to share it with her would only cause harm. What she wants she should really be getting from someone else, someone... softer in the ways she is, someone sheltered enough to still believe in possibilities that have long since been erased from me. I've at least made it clear what lines I will not cross. And I haven't decided what I will or will not admit to in honor of her game, which makes most conversations where she becomes the subject incredibly awkward, but at least said game seems to be succeeding where it concerns my accepting my role.
  6. 2 points
    Julilee dropped into a crouch, thrusting her empty hand toward the larger beast. The force of her will focused the Light into a stunning cascade that fell onto the creature, knocked it off course, and stunned it for valuable seconds. At the same time, her sword came up in a thrust at the smaller beast as it pounced from her other side. It twisted to avoid the blade and Juli tried to lunge in the complementary direction, but one of its paws still struck the back of her shoulder, and she was knocked to the sand. She immediately rolled onto her back, bringing Mercy in between her and her foe, but the animal did not truly respect the blade, perceiving it as an impediment more than anything, and pounced heedlessly. Catching its claws with the sword earned a reprieve barely in name as the thing's sheer weight pinned the weapon across her body, only held away by the width of the blade. The outer edge of Mercy digging into her armor was the least of her concerns as the sabertusk bent down, fangs snapping toward her neck, while leaning further onto its front paws, ready to start ripping and shredding. Death stared her in the face, but she had seen worse. Jagged golden lines burst into illumination down Mercy's hilt, crossguard, and blade, and in one motion Julilee heaved the large beast off her in a feat of strength beyond what even her well-developed athletic abilities could do alone. The beast hissed in pain and the smell of burning filled the air as it backed away, while she rose to her feet again, gripping Mercy with both hands. Light wreathed her weapon and forearms. The crowd was cheering loudly now. While the larger beast had recovered, it similarly backed away with newfound respect for its prey. The two seemed to visibly reconsider. "Shoo," she said to them. "Ya gotta kill 'em, Juli!" Tetsujin yelled down from the bleachers nearest to her. Though he couldn't have heard her, and she hadn't gestured at all, he knew her well enough to know what would make her hesitate. Despite her presence in the arena, she barely had the stomach to participate in any of this to begin with, much less when the beasts didn't even want to fight. At least, when she thought about it, which she couldn't help but do as the beasts stared at her uncertainly. Then the trappings of an ethical quandary were, at least ostensibly, shattered as more rocks began to fall. This time they were aimed at the sabertusks, and a few hit. The smaller one snarled up at the audience and turned to look at Juli again. Its rising aggression chose the only target available, and it lunged across the sands for her again, the larger one right behind. This time she didn't try to dodge; she lunged forward instead, Mercy leaving trailing ribbons of Light as she swung it, two-handed, down at the oncoming beast. It ducked its head as they met so she only scored across its back, but its true strategy quickly became apparent as it tossed its head in the next moment, scooping her up with its tusks and sending her flying. The crowds shrieked. The second beast was there to catch her. It leapt and its jaws closed around her arm, nearly dislocating her shoulder as she landed heavily. But it wasn't her main sword arm, her sword was free, and its neck was exposed. Pulling against its grip to keep it occupied, she brought Mercy across and opened its throat with one clean slice. A river of red joined the spatters on her armor. The thing gurgled, jerked away, and fell. Pain raked down her legs. The smaller beast had pounced her again and its wicked claws, finally put to full use, pierced the metal of her armor like a tin can. Juli gritted her teeth and tried to kick at it unsuccessfully. It seized her leg in its mouth and started dragging her. Juli swung Mercy but it flinched away without relinquishing its grip, and placed a giant paw on her side, ready to try to tear her apart by brute force. It probably had the strength to do so. She didn't want to use any more Light, but she had to. She closed her eyes. A brilliant flash directly beside its head blinded and disconcerted the beast, making it drop her leg and flinch away. Juli opened her eyes and swung Mercy to cut deeply into its front leg. With a snarl it snapped at the blade and achieved a grip on it that almost took it out of Juli's hands, but not quite. Instead she let the beast's strength pull her toward it and help her plant an armored boot in its jaw. There was an audible crack as a tooth snapped, and she jerked Mercy free, then thrust its point into the beast's chest as it reared. She must have found its heart as it collapsed on her immediately. "Juriel! Juriel!" It took some effort to shove the beast's heavy body off and rise to her feet, bleeding, but she did. She closed her eyes again as she listened to the crowd's chanting. She wanted it to feel exciting, glorious, or even at least satisfying to have triumphed once more and be standing under the weight of the crowd's adulation, but instead, it didn't feel like anything. All she could feel was that the reservoir of Light inside of her was lower than before. Tetsujin jumped down to the sounds next to her. She knew it was him without looking. "Good job, Juli," her manager said. He chuckled. "Hope ya ain't too mad at me for the surprise, but I knew ya could handle it." "Yeah," she said, after a moment, opening her eyes again. Her gaze fell on the two downed beasts. Arena organizers were coming to drag the bodies away. "I can handle anything." She turned to walk away, back toward the backstage area. "Hey!" Tetsujin called after her. "Don't sound so happy about it!" "I'm going to go meditate," she replied without turning. "Make sure no one bothers me, please." "Ya and yer meditation," he said without bitterness. She could barely hear him over the crowd as she walked away. "Should celebrate more, what's the point if ya don't enjoy it!" Wasn't that the question. He would be enjoying his portion of the proceeds from today's fight quite thoroughly later tonight. Juli looked down at her red-streaked armor and weapon. If she'd still worn a tabard, it would have been soaked and shredded. With nothing to fight for now, she found herself fighting anyway. "Because I'll never give up," she said, her voice not nearly loud enough to carry back to him over the crowd. He didn't seem to be expecting a response and didn't miss one, busying himself talking to the arena organizers. She left the roaring arena and went to be alone.
  7. 2 points
    "They're animals! Scare them!" Tetsujin tried to yell at her. He'd learned a long time ago that she ignored most of his directions, but that didn't stop him from trying. Lately, she couldn't even hear him over the crowd - or at least that was her excuse. "Hit that belly spot again, it's already bleeding! Don't give it time to heal! Smash it in the head or something!" He could barely hear himself yelling over the sound of the crowd. When the drums got faster, Tetsujin turned his deafened shouting at them in frustration. "SHUT UP!"
  8. 2 points
    They emerged onto a large balcony. It jutted over the edge of the tier and had a view of a section of the city, as well as the jungle-covered inclines that lay beyond. Further out, the jungle appeared to melt into swamplands. Pterodons wheeled overhead, and the sounds of the city drifted upward. Kex'ti stepped up to the railing and wrapped his grip around it. Juli looked at his hands, seeing the finger he was still missing, and the ring he still wore. "Are you happier here?" she asked, remaining behind and to the side of him. He didn't answer the question, because since when did he answer any question that made him slightly uncomfortable. Instead he tried to find the words to speak of what preoccupied him the most about her reappearance, in his meandering way. "Last I heard, you had been lost in Silithus. And it was not someone from Sanctuary that told me this, but... I am tremendously relieved that you are alive, and were not lost to that cursed place." He grimaced. "I'm sorry if you were worried," Juli said. "It wasn't intentional." "What do you want from me, Juli?" he asked simply. He turned and scrutinized her. She didn't know what he was looking for. Any sign of the taint of the Void? She knew he feared that above anything else. Any hint of the woman he had loved, and who had loved him? She knew it wasn't there in her eyes anymore, whatever he had once seen, though it could very well have as much to do with the knowledge in his gaze as the knowledge in hers. The time they had spent apart had been instructive to them both. If you set someone free and they don't return, that means you were only holding them back. "I wanted to say I'm sorry I never loved you as much as you loved me," she said. He was floored. All he could say was, "What happened to you?" She moved up to the railing beside him and folded her arms on it, looking out but not really seeing anything. Her mind went back to the moment everything changed. The six months that followed had changed her too, but not as much as that moment had. "I came face-to-face with the Void, and it... made me see things differently. I was almost lost to it, Kex'ti. I'm sorry I never really, fully understood your aversion to it before. In the end I had two choices: the Void or the Light. I chose the Light and survived." At her hip, Mercy glowed softly with its jagged lines of gold energy that were no longer just energy. Now the purified weapon glowed with the Light, and so did she. It shone in her eyes and flowed through her constantly, an aura she couldn't turn off. The goblin hadn't been wrong. She was a paladin now. Kex'ti's expression softened. He hadn't missed the difference in her. "I am glad you made the right choice." He thought for a moment, then said, "You do not need to apologize. Love is not a matter of magnitude... and I do not even think it is true. We both made errors in our relationship. Am I happier? No. I am not. But I am also less sad, and frustrated." "You're kind to put it that way," she said. "But I think we both know it was my fault it didn't work. I just want you to know I don't blame you." There it was. She had said it, most of it. She had walked straight out of hell and to him because nothing had mattered more than lifting whatever she could of the burden that she had so unfairly placed on him. If she had died down there, her ghost would have been haunted with the knowledge of the guilt she had inflicted on him, unjust and undeserved. Looking at him, she wondered if it helped. He didn't look dumbstruck anymore, just calm. Maybe it would sink in over time. "I appreciate that. I hope things have improved for you since Sanctuary. I do not imagine it has without you." He lifted a hand from the railing and put it back, watching the birds. "Are you happier?" "I only just got back," she said. He didn't know how true that was. "This is the first thing I'm even doing. Next will be Rylie... if I can communicate with her safely." He nodded. "That is a large part of why I am here, so obviously present in the military. So as not to paint a target on her back. Or draw question to my loyalties. It might be advisable you do the same." "I just don't want her to think she's been abandoned," she said quietly. He scowled. "I have tried to get mail to her. I do not know if it has arrived." Changing topics swiftly as he did when he was irked, he said, "What will you do next?" "After trying to get word of my own to her... I'm not sure." He coughed and reached for where he used to keep his medicinal jug at his waist. It was not there. "Ah. I left my medicine back inside. It was... good to see that you are alive. I am sorry for the troubles you have faced." She listened as he prepared to end the visit, to separate himself from her. She watched as he stepped away from the railing, taking a couple steps back toward the guildhall. Every move he made was so familiar to her. Even with his lost weight, every plane of his face was embedded in her memory. Every twist of his mouth, every furrow of his brow, every pitch in his voice, she knew. But it was like watching him through a window. They couldn't reach each other. So it was just as well he didn't want to anymore. He turned away, but then he stopped. Without looking at her, he spoke. "I never stopped loving you, or believing in you. I just couldn't stomach that one decision you made. I am sorry that choice led you to the path you had to walk, but I hope it brings you purpose and peace. For myself, I often wonder if those things exist. But at least for you, if they exist, I believe you'd be the one to find them." And that was why she'd had to come tell him this. Because he would have kept putting up with her, with far more than he should have, if she had not pushed just a little too far. And then she had accused him of not loving her enough. "You did always love me more than I deserved," she murmured. "Maybe," he said. Before he began to move, he remarked, "Do not endanger Rylie because of a guilty conscience." Then he waved his hand and headed inside. Once, that would have been more than sufficient to offend her. It didn't. What he thought of her didn't matter. Whether he was right or wrong to think it didn't matter. She had done all she could here. The rest was out of her hands. She looked once more over the view. It held nothing of interest. She left Warscar Reach's hall. [[ Written in conjunction with Kexti. ]]
  9. 2 points
    She'd also forgotten what pork tasted like. After journeying north into Durotar, she'd killed a boar, then cooked it over a proper fire. While the meat sizzled and browned, she'd stared at it, struggling with a sense of unreality. Dissociation, she told herself. She'd heard the term somewhere, probably in a leadership course or other schooling her privileged upbringing had provided, but like many other things, she hadn't understood it until she experienced it. Pork didn't really taste special. It was just meat. In the fading light of the evening, Juli inventoried her possessions. She carried very little. Her sword, Mercy; her armor, with the padding she wore underneath; and the contents of her pack, which was at this point only a short rope, a knife, a patched waterskin, a well-used sharpening stone, and five gold pieces. If she continued to Orgrimmar, she could access her accounts and purchase anything at all she needed. She could commandeer a mount, sleep in a bed, replace her shield. She thought about it, then laid back on the hard-packed dirt and stared up at the sky until stars began to twinkle into existence. The sight wasn't as reassuring as she had hoped. It wasn't really anything. It was just the night sky, which was to say, more an infinite void than anything else. "I'm alive," she whispered. The void did not answer. That was a welcome change.
  10. 2 points
    In that moment, the world was irreversibly changed for her. You can’t unsee the abyss. You can’t unknow the truth. No matter how hard you tried to repress it, no matter how much you tried to deny it, it would haunt you forever. Juli saw it and knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that nothing would ever be the same. Kex’ti’s fear, his unwillingness to slide so much as an inch closer to that edge, was so much clearer to her now. She had understood it, but she hadn’t known it. Every pretension she had, every self-delusion, no matter how innocuous, every coping mechanism she relied on, all were stripped away. She saw herself and indeed the whole world and uncaring universe laid bare, reduced to an absurd meaninglessness. Of course the world was uncaring; she had never labored under the belief that anyone would necessarily get what they deserved, be it good or bad. She knew evil could triumph anytime, any place, and that it would be forever and thankless a struggle for anyone trying to hold it back. But she had never realized it was also a pointless struggle. No matter how much suffering you tried to alleviate, more would take its place, because evil was endlessly inventive and adaptive. And in the end you died and whatever difference you had made would end up being less than negligible. But worse, somehow, was how all the things she had tried to accomplish, everything she had ever tried to be, was all shown to be utterly foolish, self-centered, and inadequate. Her own uncharitable thoughts, even what she had believed were her deepest fears, were nothing compared to the truth. She had never loved Kex’ti. She had only used him to placate her need for control, and he had allowed it until he couldn’t anymore. She had never treated Shokkra like a person. She had tried to turn Shokkra into what she had thought Shokkra should be, sacrificing everything Shokkra was along the way, until Shokkra broke. She had done more than simply been too cautious with Sanctuary. She had ruined a legacy, dragged it backward and done significant harm it would take long to recover from, if it ever fully did. She had been too hard on Cerryan; she had revoked her trust simply because he was imperfect. Cobrak, meanwhile, she had also expected too much of. She had expected him to place her needs above his own. The list went on and on. Even with Miwanza, she hadn’t come down here for the girl’s benefit, or any of the others’. She had come down here to selfishly prove herself. That was all there was to it. And with her father, for whom she’d never been good enough, the truth was she was just… Oh, fuck you. The reflex was so deeply ingrained, it was inseparable from who she was as a person. Her entire body jerked. No one was allowed to touch that nerve. It didn’t matter who. It didn’t matter why. It didn’t matter even if they were right. Nobody got to diminutize what she had gone through growing up. Nobody got to break her down like her father had always tried to. She was entitled to defend herself. And fuck anyone who suggested otherwise. Just fuck them right in the eye with a jagged sword. She reached out, and her hand closed around the wickedly curved hilt of Mercy. Golden light surged down the blade, purging the tentacles which shrieked as they were dispelled. It filled up the weapon and all of the eyes hovering around shrank back as she pulled it free. Maybe it was all pointless. Maybe she could never make a difference. Maybe she would never do more help than harm in the world. But fuck anyone and anything who tried to convince her to give up. She would die fighting, with her soul intact, because no one would ever convince her to hand it over. The righteousness, the strength, the self-belief, she seized it. ******* When Miwanza awakened, she had no idea where she was. It seemed to be the bottom of some caved-in ruin, stonework on one side and a huge mountain of rubble on the other. There was a torch lying nearby, barely an ember left on it, but she was able to coax it to life with the shreds of some purple fabric that was discarded next to it for some reason. She started climbing, trying to find an exit, guided by the faintest whisper of a breeze. If there were other whispers, she didn’t hear them. It took hours of squeezing through narrow gaps and crevices, but Miwanza eventually broke through to a ravine that was open to the sky. From there she was able to follow it until it became shallow enough that she was able to climb out, and from there she wandered until she came across a Horde camp. “Whoa, what happened to you?” the guard said in alarm, ushering her to a bench. “Alliance hit?” “No… I don’t think so…” Miwanza looked down at herself. She was covered in a layer of dirt and had a bandage wrapped around her leg, though she felt no pain. Later, she would discover there was no injury beneath. “...But I don’t remember what happened.” The guard took a closer look at her and frowned. “Are you glowing? You didn’t try that Azerite brew, did you?” “I don’t think so…” She looked down at herself again. She had thought the torch had been her only source of illumination, but she did seem to be giving off a faint golden glow. As she watched, it faded away, leaving just her dark blue complexion. “Some sort of blessing,” said another guard who had shown up to see what was happening. “You don’t remember anything?” the first guard asked. She shook her head. “The last thing I remember is arriving here in Silithus with my platoon.” No one was ever able to puzzle out what happened. The Alliance were named likely suspects when her squadmates were discovered missing. The incident was soon forgotten.
  11. 2 points
    Months ago... Julilee arrived in Silithus, alone. She had bruises under her jaw, above the collar of her armor. “Julilee Liene reporting for Sanctuary,” she said. The overseer she spoke to, a goblin, looked her up and down. They stood at the edges of a busy camp, the makeshift command yurt behind him strung with contraptions of unknown purpose. This had been where she’d been directed upon arrival. “Yer all they sent?” he said, tilting his hard hat back. “We asked for three, and apparently we’re gonna need a whole damn platoon, so you’re definitely not going to cut it, short stuff.” Juli didn’t comment on a goblin calling her short. She barely commented at all. “What’s the situation?” she asked. “Mining accident, with a special voidy bonus,” the goblin replied. “My team was mining up Azerite, and broke into some sort of underground chamber. Thought we’d find some good bug artifacts in there, but what we got was abominations.” He frowned, a hint of uneasiness in it. “I was actually plannin’ on increasin’ my request... A few Horde soldiers volunteered to go in this morning for a little extra grease, if you catch my drift. Clean things up. Shouldn’t’ve been too hard. But they never came out.” Julilee looked toward the mine. This particular operation was a distance away from the wound in the world, but the earth had heaved here enough to expose some underground caves the goblins had eagerly turned to exploiting to get deeper faster. The caves had probably been part of a buried Qiraji hive. The mine entrance was guarded by a couple of uneasy-looking Horde soldiers. At this hour, the shadow from the gigantic sword was fallen over where they stood, and the cavernous black hole of the entrance seemed to swallow far too much light in that shadow. “How many hours ago?” she asked. It was past noon. “Two and a half. You’re not going in there, are you?” he said, incredulously. “They could still be alive,” she said. “Not likely, shorty! And I’m not payin’ you to go in there either, if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s just throwing good gold after bad.” “I don’t want your Light-damned gold.” Juli continued looking toward the mine’s opening. Her cold, flat words confused the goblin to silence. She spoke again, after a moment. “How many people can you help if you don’t ever help anyone?” “What?” he said, baffled. “If I don’t come out, detonate explosives and collapse it.” She walked toward the mine.
  12. 2 points
    Juli didn’t have much of a choice. She raised Mercy and delivered a solid thwack with the side of the blade to the girl’s head. Miwanza crumpled and Juli scooped her up, throwing her over her shoulder and running for the far side of the dais. Probably should have done that in the first place. Except now she couldn’t hold up her shield, or fight effectively. And the fallen torch’s light didn’t reach far. No, this plan had far too many problems, but it was the only one she had now. You – can’t – flee – from – what – you – believe – She stumbled down the other side of the dais and fetched up against the wall, which she could barely make out. Ancient tapestries crumbled to dust under her touch. She started following the wall, feeling frantically for any exit. Slithering sounds surrounded her and she unintentionally stepped on another tentacle, quickly grinding it to pulpy sludge with her boot. A swipe around her with Mercy had several more barely-visible tentacles dodging back. Luckily, the golden light the blade gave off wasn’t bright enough to illuminate them. She wasn’t sure what they would do if they reached her even if they couldn’t hypnotize her, though. Her hand on the wall suddenly plunged into nothing. An exit! She threw herself toward it, only to bounce ringingly off a wall just inside. It wasn’t an exit. It was just an alcove. Juli stumbled back, and that was when a tentacle wrapped around one ankle. She was just starting to react when it gave a heave and pulled her feet out from under her entirely. She lost her grip on Miwanza as she fell, the girl’s limp body slamming Juli’s head into the stone floor and stunning her. When she regained her senses a few moments later, she had lost her shield but somehow retained her grip on Mercy, and was dangling upside-down in the air, being drawn away from the flickering torch and toward the corner of the room where the mass was. With a grunt she pulled herself up and sliced at the tentacle around her ankle by feel alone. It loosed her, and she braced herself for a rough landing, but instead landed in what felt like a nest of writhing, slimy tentacles. Light help me. As she struggled to right herself, throwing off tentacles and slashing out with her bright blade, it occurred to her in a wry corner of her mind not currently occupied with fighting for survival that this would undoubtedly make a retroactively hilarious story, someday down the line, to share over a cup of strong liquor with Kex’ti – no, Shokkra – no, Cobrak – no, who? Who would she laugh about this with someday, if she made it out of this? Who would care? Nobody would care. “Get out of my head!” she shouted as she struggled, infuriated her thoughts had once again been pushed in this unwanted direction. We – need – do – naught – your – own – battles – are – fought – In the very faint outlines provided by Mercy’s glow, a great stalk rose up in front of her, twice as wide as she was, thought admittedly she was rather small. At the end, a great orb turned towards her. Juli didn’t wait to see any more. She lunged forward and plunged her blade into the center of it. You – bring – us – power – it – we – will – devour – From the edges of the wound sprung more tentacles. No – they sprung from her sword. Juli jerked her hand back in horror as Mercy’s golden glow was replaced by a vivid purple that grew brighter and brighter as more and more tentacles swarmed out of the sides of the blade. Very clearly released. Her mind leapt to the battles against Karthok and his minions, where Mercy had seemed to harmlessly absorb several void attacks. It hadn’t been harmless at all. All this time, she had been carrying around a void-infused weapon. What have I done? How had she not known? Had it been manipulating her? Let – us – show – you – what – mercy – is – true – Too late, she realized that the illumination was too great. She should have closed her eyes immediately. But, still shocked, she didn’t. And she met the gaze of a hundred black eyes.
  13. 2 points
    Miwanza described it as, of course, an unfathomably hideous tentacle beast with far too many eyes. Juli didn’t know what she expected. All Miwanza could really offer other than that was that meeting the gaze of one of the eyes had spelled doom for her companions. Miwanza had only barely avoided doing so, since to gaze upon the mass was to almost assuredly ended up catching the gaze of one of the eyes; only her companions’ reactions, in front of her, had saved her, as they had commanded her attention and at the same time clued her in to what was happening. “All right, here’s what we’ll do.” Juli looked toward the shadows ahead in the antechamber. Apparently the thing lurked in the next room; they speculated it was immobile, relying on its prey to come to it. “You’ll hold the torch, and I’ll guide you – you’ll be blindfolded.” “Blindfolded? But wait, you won’t be?” Both options seemed dismaying in their own way to the girl. “Yes. I’m going to use my shield to block my vision where needed, and find us an exit. If I stop talking and guiding you at any point… try to smack me in the face, with the torch.” Juli inhaled slowly. “I’ll take being blind over insane.” Miwanza hesitated, then nodded, firming her grip on the torch. “All right. Let’s do this.” Juli had used up most of the roll of bandage, and wasn’t sure the gauze would be thick enough if not layered adequately, so had already decided what she was going to do for a blindfold. She sheathed her weapons and took hold of the hem of her purple and gold tabard. Tearing upward, she pulled off a long strip. One of the wings of the phoenix emblem came off with it. Now how is it supposed to fly? She ignored the nonsensical thought as she had Miwanza bend down so she could securely tie the improvised blindfold around the girl’s head. The whispers were getting louder; more eager. She redrew her weapons, and felt better with Mercy in her hand. They set off toward the end of the antechamber. A wall with a wide archway appeared, separating it from the next room. The stonework was still absent of the black chitinlike corruption, but the whispers were growing louder and louder, no longer in small degrees, but in leaps and bounds as they drew closer. Below it, Juli thought she might be hearing disturbing slurping sounds. There was no point in hesitating. Juli took the girl’s arm with her sword hand, lifted her shield and darted into the room. The torchlight danced madly, illuminating a space smaller than the antechamber – a throne room? There was a dais at the end with some objects atop it, but that wasn’t where the creature was. To their left, the light gleamed on hundreds of orbs and Juli threw her shield up between herself and it before she was sure what she was seeing. Backing away from that direction, she looked around, trying to see if there was another exit. Miwanza, making small sounds of fear, gripped Juli’s arm tightly and almost trod on her feet as she followed Juli’s lead. What – do – we – spy – with – our – countless – eyes – The voice was both inside and outside of her head. “Nothing to see here,” Juli said through gritted teeth. There was no exit on the right side of the room, but maybe there was behind the dais. Juli tugged Miwanza that way, angling her shield. She heard sickening slick noises and strained to determine if they meant the thing was moving. The acoustics of the chamber if not the echoing whispers made that impossible. As they reached the dais, something slid up to her foot, under her guard. She didn’t think; she stomped it to bits. The texture was wretched. “Up!” she urged Miwanza. “Five steps!” Miwanza stumbled as she went up, breaking from Juli’s grip but catching herself. Juli swept Mercy under her shield preventatively, and thought she felt the tip of the blade slide through something that gave almost no resistance. Like, maybe, an eyeball. “Juli?” Miwanza cried. You – saw – all – before – remember – so – much – more – “Keep going!” Juli backed up the steps, keeping her shield up and using every sense she could to try to catch any more tentacles that might encroach. Not being able to look went against every instinct she had. Look out, look out, look out. She bumped into Miwanza, who wasn’t moving. Juli whipped her head to look at the girl, suddenly fearing the girl had somehow become transfixed despite the blindfold, but there were no tentacle stalks near the girl. Nonetheless, she wasn’t moving. “Miwanza! Keep going!” Juli tried to give her a shove, but in response Miwanza simply dropped the torch. It continued to burn, but the light was dangerously dimmer. The – inner – eye – is – where – truth – lies – “I saw it,” Miwanza breathed. “I saw it, before. I ran away, but I remember now.” She reached up. “Miwanza, no!” The girl ripped off the blindfold and smiled beatifically past Julilee.
  14. 2 points
    “First, though, let’s see if I can bandage that wound better for you,” Juli said. Miwanza nodded and sank down against the pillar. Juli gave her the torch to hold and started unwrapping the bandage. “How come you came by yourself?” Miwanza said. She paused. “I mean, it’s very brave, but… didn’t it seem risky?” “Someone else was going to come with me originally,” Juli said as she worked. She didn’t know why she said what followed. “But she felt I was going to betray her, so she attacked me, disabled me, and took off.” “Why did she think that?” Miwanza said, somewhere between curious and alarmed. Juli was silent for a moment before answering, working on unbuckling the girl’s leg plate and setting it aside. “She thought she wouldn’t get a fair trial for something she’d done which others viewed as a crime. I thought she would, but… I guess I don’t blame her.” “Sounds like you two have a complicated relationship,” Miwanza offered. “You could say that.” “Is she the one who gave you those bruises?” Juli paused in the middle of getting out her water canteen, one hand rising reflexively toward the bruises under her jaw. It was a lucky guess. “Yes,” she said. “If, um, she was going to be put to trial, why were you two coming here…?” Juli considered what to say. She had already said all that, so why not the rest? “It was going to be our last assignment together. I resigned from my post as leader of my guild. I just… wanted one last chance to feel like I was carrying out Sanctuary’s mission, the way I’d always envisioned it, with someone I always hoped could see it the same way.” “I’ve heard of Sanctuary,” Miwanza said, perking up. “You want peace between the Horde and the Alliance, don’t you?” Juli sighed inwardly as she cleaned the wound. “We want peace for everyone, regardless of faction,” she said, the correction one she had given more times than she could count. Then she paused, realizing she was speaking as though she were still part of Sanctuary. “Or at least, that was my vision. I don’t know how good a job I did of getting anyone closer to that while I was in charge. But I’m not going to try anymore.” “You’re giving up?” “On some things,” Juli said. She reached into her satchel and pulled out a roll of bandage. “I’m not going to try to lead anymore. I could never really inspire anyone. Not their confidence, not their hope, not anything. So I’m just going to do whatever I can until I can’t anymore.” She started wrapping Miwanza’s leg tightly. “So you came down here on pretty much a suicide mission.” Miwanza gave a rueful laugh. “Do you even expect to get out of here alive?” Despair underlaid her words. Juli looked up at the girl. “I will die trying to get you out of here alive,” she said quietly, “but dying is the very last option, and not one I’ll be throwing myself at. You can’t help anyone if you’re dead.” “You sound like you’ve said that before,” Miwanza said, the words calming her somewhat. “Someone said it to me years ago,” Juli said. “And it stuck… maybe too much. I was too cautious, for too long. An entire guild’s lives were in my hands. One bad call and I could lose someone who trusted me, right?” She was silent for a moment as she worked, tying off the bandage. “But Sanctuary needed to take those risks. We weren’t Sanctuary unless we did.” “Like Aerie Peak,” Miwanza said. Juli stopped again, looking up at the girl. “People still talk about that?” she said. “I was at the Wyvern’s Tail once when some Grim came in, and they mentioned it,” Miwanza said. “I found the official Horde report later and read it. The Grim said you attacked them, but according to the report, you stated that you only stood in defense of Alliance civilians and noncombatants when the Grim attacked. People say a lot of things about Sanctuary, but… I’ve seen what the Grim have done… I wouldn’t put it past them to do that.” “Yes,” Juli said. “The town’s soldiers were mostly away, leaving only children, elderly, the infirm, and other noncombatants… There were only a handful of us Sanctuary, and a whole squad of Grim. But we chose to make a stand, even though we were outnumbered.” She remembered the clash of her and Khorvis’ blades. Lilliana’s twisted face as she flung dark magic. Cerryan’s bright cries. The surety that had rung in her heart, the utter lack of regret even when things were at their bleakest. “But things changed after that… No, I changed. I became unwilling to take any more risks. I was too afraid that someone else would pay the price if I was wrong.” “But you were just saying you can’t help anyone if you’re dead,” Miwanza pointed out. She helped with her free hand as Juli buckled the leg plate back on. “So being cautious isn’t unreasonable.” “Yes,” Juli agreed. “But you can’t help anyone if you never help anyone, either.” She rose to her feet and offered Miwanza her hand. Miwanza clasped it and Juli pulled the girl to her feet. With the new, tighter bandage, she seemed more stable. Miwanza tested her weight on it and seemed satisfied. She still wouldn’t be leaping across any chasms, but she could get around. “I’m not responsible for anyone else anymore,” Juli said. “Just myself. So I’m going to take those risks now that I always should have. I’m not going to run toward death, but I’m not going to always run away from it, either. That’s why I’m here. I won’t let you down.” “If you say so,” Miwanza said with a weak chuckle. “I’m not going to look a gift boar in the tusks. If we get out of here alive, I’m not gonna argue with whatever philosophy you used to do it.” The whispers had quieted while the two spoke. It had been a welcome break, but suddenly Juli had the feeling that they had been listening. Well, it wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been in her mind, on which the shadows had already played. And, as always, the only way to go was forward. No matter what lay behind, she had to keep moving forward, because giving up was never an option. “Keep the torch,” Juli said. “I’ll need both my arms to fight. What can you tell me about the thing ahead?” The whispers were growing loud again as she drew her sword and shield. The bright, jagged lines on Mercy gleamed golden in the darkness. “Oh, you’re a paladin!” Miwanza said, her voice rising with real hope for the first time. “Maybe you really can beat this thing!” “...” “What?” Miwanza blinked. “Just tell me what this thing looks like.”
  15. 2 points
    From there, the pathway didn’t fork anymore. It was a blessing because she didn’t have to worry about losing her way, but a curse because she didn’t have concentrating on not losing her way to keep her distracted from the whispers. She spent some time thinking about how to get back across the treacherous cavern on her way out. Once she had a few basic ideas about that, she didn’t have much else to try to anticipate or plan. She found herself wondering what the outside world do if she never came out. How many weeks would it be before someone went into her office to try to figure out what mission it was she’d mentioned to Vilmah? Would anyone try to follow her down into this damned place? Or would they assume she’d just run off with Shokkra? The whispers loved that train of thought, so she tried to think of a new one. A distraction came in the form of the walls and floors. The reddish, bulbous, silithid-made appearance of the surfaces was changing. It was becoming darker, and glossier. Her sabatons made a slightly different sound on them. They clicked more. She paused to inspect a particularly bulbous pustule once it had all become very shiny and black, bringing her torch nearer to it. Deep within, the blackness contracted as the torch neared. It was an eyeball. She flinched back instinctively, but nothing happened. After a few moments to calm her thoroughly unnerved heart, she continued on. Something loomed in the path ahead. She couldn’t quite figure out what it was for a moment, only able to perceive a strange shadow lying in the way, before it clicked. It was a chasm. The earth had been split here, this far beneath the surface, the rending wide enough that she had to get close to the edge before the circle of light her torch provided illuminated the opposite side. The bottom of the chasm, she couldn’t see at all. A breeze stirred the torch’s flame, ever so slightly, though she couldn’t feel it. Did the opening go all the way up to the surface, somewhere? Even if it were impassable to anything but a breeze, the fresh air was welcome. The whispers seemed quieter here. She considered her options. It was a noteworthy distance across, but she suspected that with a running start, she could make it. However... she wasn’t entirely sure. But other options did not seem promising. She had brought no rope, and an inspection of the walls and the edges showed that there would be no climbing sideways or down, the material too slick and sheer to promote a safe hold. If she wanted to continue, across was the other way to go. There were three more Horde soldiers unaccounted for. They could very well be at the bottom of this chasm, so far as she knew. Or, this chasm could have only opened up with the last earthquake in that cavern of impalement. Or, the chasm had been here, but they’d made it across. Or, they could have gone a completely different direction. Well, there was only one way to find any of that out, wasn’t there. She backed up a distance, then started for the edge. However, she didn’t run at full speed, and slid to a stop before the edge. She was half-expecting a tentacle to try to lash up at where she would have been mid-jump. But nothing happened. The whispers didn’t even change. Am I too paranoid? Or am I the only one prepared? You’re always the former until you’re the latter. She backed up again, and this time ran as hard as she could. Her footing at the edge almost gave out under her as she leapt, but she was still able to get enough of a launch to just barely make it across, her feet landing inches ahead of the gap. She pounded to a stop, looking back. The gap looked wider from this direction. She kept going. It suddenly changed. In a transition spanning only a few feet, the material surrounding her shifted from the black, organic (?) material to gray stonework, tendrils trailing into it then disappearing. It was an ancient, deeply buried ruin. She lifted her torch higher as she stepped into the area, looking around. It seemed like some sort of grand antechamber, wide, with dual rows of pillars reaching to the ceiling. The whispers echoed, here, like she was hearing them with her actual ears. Realizing that was also when she realized that she could hear again, and that she had been able to for some time. It was enough to give her pause, and wonder what else she’d missed. But all she could do was try to pay as close attention as she could to her surroundings, and she did as she moved forward, casting her gaze about, aware that there were many directions with much cover that something could appear from. Then a muffled sob came from one side. As much as she had every reason to believe it was a trap, she couldn’t not ensure it wasn’t. Hand on Mercy’s hilt, she moved toward the sound. Sheltering behind the pillar was a troll in Horde armor. She was bunched in on herself, holding a one-handed axe with both hands. She almost leapt at Juli as she appeared, but stopped in confusion at the last moment, stumbling and shrinking away. “What...?” Juli held up her hands, including the one still holding the torch, spreading the fingers a little bit to show it was all she held. “My name is Julilee. I came down here to find you. Are you all right?” she asked. “Are... are you real?” the trolless asked. “Are you?” Julilee replied dryly. “The shadows haven’t stooped to outright illusions yet, but I wouldn’t put it past them.” The trolless didn’t seem entirely reassured by that, but she looked like she wanted to be. She was young, with blue hair and darker blue skin. Her youth made Juli think of Mariz. Mariz could have easily ended up here, had she signed up with the Horde military instead of Sanctuary. But Juli had ended up here too, hadn’t she, because of Sanctuary. Juli wasn’t sure what lesson she was supposed to draw from that conclusion and didn’t have the time to ponder it further. “Look,” Juli said, “I want to get you out of here safely, and your companions if they’re still alive. Do you know where any of them are?” “We lost Mal’lul early in the tunnels,” the trolless said hesitantly, “and Orenzi to the spikes.” She swallowed, still gripping her axe. “Lomar and Kaishu, they convinced me to keep going once we got here... They said that there would be treasure in ruins like these and the goblins couldn’t complain about us helping ourselves down here while we cleaned up the voidspawn... and maybe we’d find something to help us get back through the spikes and the suffocating dark thing...” “What happened?” Juli prompted. “Where are they now?” “We went ahead, and... the voidspawn... it... there was... it was too big. It got Lomar and Kaishu... almost got me...” Julilee nodded. She didn’t press for details. “What’s your name?” “Miwanza.” Juli gave her a closer look. The girl looked scared out of her mind. She also had a bloodied bandage tied across her right thigh. The stumble hadn’t been entirely due to the pulled swing. “How fast can you move, Miwanza?” “Not very,” the girl admits. “I only got away because the... thing... it was occupied.. with...” Juli nodded again, letting the girl know she didn’t need to explain. “There’s a chasm in the tunnel on the way out. I made it across but I don’t think you can with your injury. We’ll need to find something to help us cross it, or another way out of here.” The sheer practicality Juli evinced seemed to be reassuring the trolless that Juli was real, though the situation as described clearly scared her. “What do we do?” she asked. Juli considered that herself. There was no guarantee that any other exit existed. Nor was there that there would be any items they could put to use in these ruins. And it was guaranteed that an enemy lay ahead. But there were literally no other options. “We get past it.”
  16. 2 points
    The path opened up into another large cavern. Juli could tell it was huge by how the small sounds she made, her footsteps and the rustling of her armor, got swallowed up by the dark that her torch couldn’t find the end of. She weighed her options: go through the middle or stick to a wall? In the end she decided to follow the whispers, which led out away from the walls. The soldiers, if they were fleeing in terror, would have taken much the same course anyway. An obstruction appeared – a stalagmite. She moved around it and encountered more, the ground growing thick with them. A natural cavern? She paused to look at one of them more closely. It didn’t appear to be made out of mineral. She hesitated to inspect further, and continued on. Her ears strained to pick out sounds in the dark surrounding her. Even her own movements seemed muffled, and to be growing more so. Only the whispers stayed at the same volume. At first she wasn’t sure if it was an acoustical trick, but eventually she stopped and tapped and her armor to check, and she heard nothing at all. She scanned her surroundings, wary of what this meant. Had she lost her hearing, or was this some new threat? Or both? Then she began to feel vibrations under her feet, rapidly growing stronger. Instinctively, she reached out to steady herself on one of the stalagmites. This proved to be a bad idea as it broke off at her touch, far more fragile than she had anticipated. The rumbling grew heavier, accompanied by a rushing of air, and she turned her head to see a stalactite crash down not far from her. She couldn’t hear it hit, which was disorienting, nor the fragments that she could feel bounce off her armor as she shielded her face. Managing to keep her feet, she started moving quickly, seeking the end of the cavern. With her right arm she drew her shield and held it up to protect herself as more stalactites came crashing down in utter silence. At least one bounced off her shield directly, but other than being jarring, it did no harm, its material far too fragile. While running for cover, Juli almost tripped over another body, this one a female orc. She also wore Horde armor and was impaled on a broken stalagmite, which appeared to have fallen over and shattered in the earthquake. How? Juli didn’t have time to puzzle it out and quickly passed by. Almost all of the spires along the ground had collapsed at that point, and fewer stalactites were falling now. In another few moments, it ceased entirely. Juli slowed to a stop, looking around. Fragments lay everywhere that the torch’s light could reach. The cavern was clear of obstructions now, save for the rubble. But she has a feeling that that wasn’t it. The rumbling started up again. Instinct made Juli break into a sprint. The ground grew strangely mushy under her feet. The debris was disappearing. Absorbed into the ground? Then, the ground grew hard again. She had the weird feeling that the ground was actually changing, and not from her passage of distance, but altogether. This place was all wrong and unnatural. Then a stalagmite erupted from the ground in front of her. She spun, barely avoiding running into it, though she still bounced off the side of it. The soundlessness of it all was as jarring as the impact. It didn’t break, much stronger than any of the ones that had collapsed. Fully capable of impaling someone. It was a new one. It had regrown. She didn’t know if her own wild imagination had supplied the thought or if the whispers did, but couldn’t do anything right then but dismiss it anyway. She kept running. Another one erupted just in front of her, but she saw it coming this time, and leapt over it. Her instincts told her there was going to be more than direction to this threat, and when a spike suddenly speared down down from the ceiling, she was not entirely surprised. She ducked, her short height once again coming in handy for something, and kept going. Several more close calls later, she fetched up against a wall. Quickly reconsidering that, she moved away from the potentially lethal surface and moved to follow the edge at a safer distance. No spikes did end up coming out of the wall, but several more erupted from the floor and ceiling, trying to get her. One scored along the side of her leg but her armor took the scratch. Eventually, she found an opening and ducked in. The spikes didn’t follow, and the rumbling ceased. The whispers flowed down this passage. If there had been more than one exit from the impalement cavern, it seemed she had found the right one. Juli slung her shield back on her back, put her hand on Mercy’s hilt, and continued on.
  17. 2 points
    The narrow entrance led to an even narrower corridor, one that looked like it was created by the earth’s rupturing rather than created by creatures, sentient or otherwise. The cavern it led into, however, was another matter. The torch’s light shone on bulbous walls signature of what one could expect in the zone. Juli moved out into the open, looking for other exits, and the light illuminated three other corridors out of the cavern. From one of them flowed the whispers. Eerily, they sounded like someone she knew, though she couldn’t say who. She put her other hand on the hilt of Mercy and followed them. The path forked; Juli took the one that the whispers were coming from. Then it forked again, and again, and again. She started building herself a mnemonic to remember the path she took: My really lousy rocks reach lower levels… It didn’t make any sense, but that was fine as long as she could remember it. Focusing on the dumb game kept the whispers from encroaching on her mind, too. It seemed odd that the path forked so much. As far as she knew, most silithid hives just spiraled deeper and deeper, without many branching paths at all. And this one just kept going. At one point, she realized she was going in a circle, and was forced to take some time to revise her mental map, figure out where she had started repeating herself, then go from there, finding a passage where the whispers were marginally louder than the one she had been taking. After that, the whispers started becoming a thrumming undertone of too many speaking at once to understand. She chose to not be disturbed by it, determined to get to the bottom of this and find what had happened to the missing soldiers. Her thoughts started wandering as she continued on. There was too much weighing on her mind. Losing Kex’ti, giving up Sanctuary, even Cobrak’s actions. And Shokkra. The more she thought about it all, the more depressed and discouraged she got, her thoughts darkening. Why was she even here? Why was she even trying, when she couldn’t help anyone? Then she realized that those thoughts weren’t her own; they were what the whispers were saying. Anger burned bright clarity back into her mind. She wasn’t going to give up, and she certainly wasn’t going to give up because manipulative entities were toying on her fears. It was at that same moment that she realized the shadows were encroaching on more than her mind. An amorphous blob hovered at the left side of her peripheral vision, and as soon as she realized it was there, she instinctively swiped at it with the torch in her hand. A shriek split the enclosed space and suddenly it was hard to breathe. It occurred to her she didn’t even know how far she was underground and if good air could still reach down there. She could suffocate. She was suffocating. No. More shadows. She drew her sword as the blob recoiled then lurched for her again, and the shining blade sliced right through it. It died with another shriek, and as soon as the sound dissipated, she could breathe again. She took a moment to do just that, as she shifted carefully, looking around for any other threats. She ended up finding a body instead. It was a male troll in Horde armor. His eyes bulged, his mouth agape, as though he had choked to death. His body was cool, but not yet stiff. His companions must have fled ahead and left him to die. Juli turned back toward the whispers and continued.
  18. 2 points
    Juli stood at the entrance to the mine. Besides being unnaturally dark, a chill breeze flowed gently from the cave’s mouth, yet it failed to stir the flames of the torches on either side. That wasn’t the worst part, though. The worst part was the impression of whispers carried on that breeze, like a hushed conversation you were overhearing while asleep and couldn’t make any sense out of. It was no surprise the two Horde grunts guarding the entrance seemed uneasy. They looked at her as she stood there, and as she did, their expressions slowly turned from dubious to bewildered as she did not move for some time. She ignored them, immersed in thought. Eventually, she took out her hearthstone and spoke. “Sanctuary, thank you for the chance to lead you as long as I did. It’s been the most important three and a half years of my life. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve passed the mantle of leadership to Vilmah Bloodborne. I had reached the end of what I could offer Sanctuary, and I know she’ll be able to guide you further than I could. It’s been an honor. Thank you.” When she was done, one of the guards asked with nervous gentleness, “Err, lady, you’re not going in there out of some deathwish, are you?” The juxtaposition of her words, which they could hear, and what she was staring into was rather clear. The other shifted awkwardly, and the first guard went on. “Just take a little time, find someplace to blow off some steam. Go fight in an arena, spend some gold somewhere – fel, go get laid. You’ll feel better and realize you don’t have to do anything drastic.” “How many are unaccounted for?” was all she asked. “Five of ‘em went in,” the other guard said. “Two trolls, two orcs, and a pandaren.” She grunted. “Haven’t heard a peep. Other than...” Her eyes shifted toward the dark of the cave mouth, where the unheard whispers were coming from, and she scratched at an ear nervously. No new information since the request that had come to her desk, then, about what Juli would actually be facing down below. The report had just mentioned voidspawn in a cave the miners had broken into, from which they’d quickly retreated with no casualties. Juli mentally reviewed what she knew and found it wasn’t much. She would have to figure out what was going on herself. “She sure stands around thinkin’ a lot,” the second guard commented to the first. “Someone has to,” Juli muttered, then walked into the cave. She grabbed a torch off the side as she passed by. The guards didn’t stop her.
  19. 2 points
    Somewhere behind dark clouds, the moon was high over Sun Rock Retreat. Rain pattered down onto the dry red dirt, collecting in puddles and dribbling down the sheer cliff faces into the small Tauren village below. Despite the hour and the weather, the distant sound of fighting could be heard echoing from over the canyon walls. And standing above it all, looking down into the village below, was a lone Goblin. A cigar chomped in the corner of his mouth lighting up his face and the pair of goggles resting upon his forehead in an orange-red glow. He’d take a heavy puff from the cigar now and then, drawing on it to keep the dim glowing tip alight despite the rain fighting to extinguish it. With a sigh, he reached into his vest and withdrew a pocket watch, exchanging it to his opposite hand to fling the water that had collected on his fingertips after reaching into his soaked clothing. Lifting the pocket watch to his cigar to cast some light on it in order to read the time. He grunted and rolled his eyes before tucking the watch away once more into the wet clothing from which it had came. “You’re late again.” He commented aloud around the cigar, rolling it from one side of his mouth to the other. Behind him, the sound of heavy steps in the mud grew gradually louder. A Tauren approaching, walking up the steep wet slope of the path that lead to the top of the cliff. “Sorry. Traffic.” Came the flat joke in reply, a smooth baritone voice from the bull that strode toward the Goblin. The Goblin rolled his eyes, visible only thanks to the glow upon his face. But the smirk that pulled at the corners of his lips was obvious. It was short lived though as he pulled a folder from under his arm, tucked into his armpit to keep it at least somewhat dry. It wasn’t particularly effective. Never the less, he held the damp folder up with a full extension of his arm for the Tauren to take it. And as the bull came to a stop at the cliffs edge he took the folder, opening it in a hand. The Goblin reached into his vest to retrieve a flashlight for the bull to read by, but stopped short. Before he could retrieve the flashlight, the Tauren’s fingertips upon his free hand lit up with arcs of blue electricity. His hand raised just high enough to light the pages. Within the folder were photos and documents. Horde insignias marked each page. Post combat reports and debriefings taken by Horde intelligence. Thick fingers paged slowly through the folder, flipping from one page to the next before coming to rest upon a photo. An image frozen in time of the carnage upon the beaches of Darkshore. In the distance, the world tree Teldrassil smoldered, spewing smoke into the sky. The Tauren visibly hesitated, an action which the Goblin recognized. “It’s bad.” Came the thickly accented voice of the Goblin. “Bad is one word for it.” The Tauren replied as he traced a finger along the photo, smearing raindrops across its surface. “It would be ironic for me of all people to say Sylvannas has gone too far.” “But?” “But Sylvannas has gone too far.” The Tauren replied, closing the folder and holding it back out to the Goblin. Realizing that he was done, the Goblin reached up and took it, tucking it back beneath his arm. “So what do we do about it?” “Nothing.” Came the baritone reply. The Goblin blinked, before looking up at the Tauren with a raised brow. “The leader of the Horde is going too far in their conflict with the Alliance. Again. And we’re going to do nothing. Again?” He asked quizzically, wanting to confirm what he’d just heard. “The whole reason myself and the others left was because our fight was over. Our whole intent was to fight the battles the Horde could not. Garrosh made our existence unnecessary. For the Raven Cross to continue would simply mean becoming a part of the greater Horde war machine. This is no different.” The Tauren replied easily, shrugging his shoulders. “And I have no interest in killing a fellow member of the Horde. No matter how despicable they may have become. It should not be our way.” “So we just go back to watching?” A nod of the Tauren’s head indicated his reply. Silence lingered in the air between them for a time. Only the sound of the rain pattering down onto the world around them would fill the air. The goblin stared at the Tauren for a time, before realising that the rain had finally won out against his cigar - it now was dark and wet. Grumbling, he pulled it from his lips and dropped it to the mud, stamping on it with a boot to make sure it stayed out. “What about the others? Have you heard anything about them?” The Goblin asked, shaking his foot to dislodge mud from his boot. “Not for years. We all went our separate ways. I’m not sure about the others that stayed and kept flying the flag, but they’re not in Sun Rock anymore.” The Tauren replied, his eyes on the village below. Even in the dark, the Goblin could make out the sombre look upon his face. “It was for the best for everyone that we stayed out of touch. The Alliance weren’t exactly going to take what we did lying down without looking for revenge. We were a liability to each other.” There was a brief pause, before the Goblin chuckled. “So remind me why we still keep doing these little covert meetings, then?” The grin from the Tauren was visible even in the dark as he turned his head to look down at the Goblin. “Old habits die hard, my friend.” With those words, the Tauren turned and started heading back towards the path up the cliff. “I need to go see Teldrassil for myself. Then maybe I’ll change my mind about our next move. Maybe it’s time.” Nodding his head, the Goblin was silent and watched as his friend started walking away. But before he was out of sight, the Goblin spoke up one last time. “Dio!” The Tauren lifted his head, and in the dark the Goblin could make out the silhouette of the Tauren as he turned his head to look over his shoulder. “It was good to see you. Unulu, too. I’m assuming he’s around here somewhere, at least.” The Goblin remarked. In the dark, his expression unreadable, the Tauren smiled. “Yeah, he’s around. It was good seeing you, too, Chikt. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again soon.” With that, the Tauren continued down the path. And as he disappeared out of sight, the storm went with him.
  20. 2 points
    Late to seeing all this, but well wishes to the lot of you. Legion saw a shift for me away from Rp unfortunately. At least for a bit raiding was great and Katrynne got to be a part of that! I'll always look back fondly on our planned kidnapping and everything that stemmed from that. I repeat my wishes for continued success! I plan to be more RP focused this expansion, so who knows, our paths may cross yet again. After all, there is still a score to be settled. >:)
  21. 2 points
    The House is an RP event that will take place entirely in Discord. All Horde and Alliance roleplayers on TN/RH are welcome. There will be contestants and audience. There will be chances for the audience to participate and help guide the challenges for the contestants. The main goal of this event is to put your character into a setting with other characters they might not normally interact with, for some fun RP! More information about the house, including screenshots and descriptions of each room are on the Discord server. Applications are due by midnight on Sunday, June 3, and may be submitted on the Discord server in the Applications channel. Discord link: https://discord.gg/RuDVFSG THE HOUSE RULES 1. This event is open to all Horde and Alliance RPers on Twisting Nether/Ravenholdt. 2. This event will take place entirely in the Discord server, Razz’s House. However, any gold prizes earned will be sent through in-game mail. 3. You may apply on as many characters as you want. Please list your main to ensure only ONE of your characters is selected. There is a non-refundable application fee of 1000g per character. This money will ALL go in the prize pot, along with enough of my own gold to make 100,000g, to be distributed to the winners at the end of the game. 4. Most of the “game” will be freeform RP in the House. The main goal of this event is to give people a chance to RP together whose characters would normally not interact with each other. 5. There will be occasional IC challenges. The day and time of the challenges will vary, to give opportunity for everyone to participate. The challenges will take place in Discord, but will start and complete within set time frame, so participants will be expected to be able to be active and attentive during it. Winners of the challenges may be determined by dice rolls, contestant votes, audience votes, or possibly other means. Winners will receive points and/or some other meaningful award. 6. IC, applications have been left in all major taverns, along with anonymous nominations. If you want to participate, but your character wouldn’t apply to something like this, you can say someone nominated him anonymously. 7. The contestants will NOT be all from one race or one guild. Such balancing will be kept in mind as contestants are selected to ensure variety in the household population. 8. Each contestant will earn points through various challenges, voting opportunities in the House, voting opportunities by the audience, and whenever Razz feels like giving out points. 9. Hobgoblins/mooks will be employed to keep the peace within the House and grounds. While they won’t interfere with scuffles and small fights, anyone fighting with deadly intent will be thrown in the dungeon. Please respect their authority in the House, and if your character does get violent, play along with getting arrested. Your character may remain locked up for a couple days, lose some points, or receive some other punishment agreed upon OOC. Repeated offenses may get them banned from the House. 10. If you are interested in participating in The House, please see the #applications channel. 11. All House RP rooms are "open" meaning anyone in the house can enter and join in the RP there at any time. Bedrooms might be an exception depending on the RP. (Please do NOT RP any NSFW content in this server.) ------------------------------------------------------------------ AUDIENCE Anyone who does not have a character in the House can participate in special Audience events. These may include voting on winners of events and other issues, being a special guest star in the House for a short period of time. Suggestions for events, and even running an event may also be options for audience members. Audience members may also RP as mooks if they choose. (See below.) Anyone in the Discord server who is not a contestant will be given the Audience role. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- MOOKS ANYONE may play a mook at any time if one is needed to break up a fight, except the people involved in that particular fight. The mooks will only break up fights that look deadly in nature. They may lock the offender(s) up in the cells. They are not very bright, but they are large and well armed with various weapons, nets, handcuffs, stunrays, etc. They may also step in if someone is trying to cause harm/theft to the House or to Razz, or other very serious infractions. Players are expected to play along with any mook attempting to restrain them. RPing resistance is allowed, as long as the player allows the mook to "win" in subduing the character.
  22. 2 points
    LUNK RITE MOAR WORDS hai hi, me iS stIlL Lunkkk, wriTe stOry bout scarY day! :O haHa :O looK likE LoNk facE! 2dayYyYyy ScAry. FeW days b4r, sCar LadY brinG frned, n he bIg n mean. anyWay, 1day 2day end of miss Razzy contest. PRETTY LADY WIN! lunK very happppy. Affer she Win, HOUSE CATCH FIARRRR! :OOOO luNk watch shoWs in room wid friends crOnk n PonK. n boB n Lonk2 buttt dey naht frinds. dey sUck. So, we watchIn show, LunkkKk look like tis: \o/ he hav good time. Den, get HAWT. BoB tell turn air, buT no AiR, AirrR hot! B4r no, rooM on fiahr in Mid of Ahll miiii gren chilrend! N lunk Lock in firarr room! bOoB haZ good ida, Hee spiLl dranK oN fiarrhs! N CrOonk spits on fiaarhrs! smmMart cRoNk..s Luank try same. Den! PRETTY LADY COME SAVE LUNK! Door opn, pretti ladi derE wid nothAr pretY lady! TwO pretTy Ladies! :O Dey Yallink at moOks n wE run out RooM n dey SavEe liFE!!!! BesTtest ladIes evarh! baD stuf happeN miSs RazzY housE brrrn 2 groun, but MisS RaZzY sayyfe! n moOks sayyfe! we go Poooorrt? Purt? Pert now! NEwww hOomE 4 Lunk Lunk! luv lunk ❤️ The text is written in the same shambled up journal as before, the mook having had it stuffed in his pants as he left the burning building. The edges of the paper is charred, as the mook attempted to fan the flames away. There is a wrinkles where some stray saliva got on the paper. It is written in the same messy text, but it is full of love. Lunk loves his job and loves the people he works with. Especially Miss Razz ❤️. He won't forget his time at the house with all the pretty ladies and silly men! Or, that's what he thinks!
  23. 2 points
    The Grim was always a good fight, best of luck to you.
  24. 2 points
    Proud to have been a member of The Grim for several years, and I look forward to seeing the story continue on WrA. ❤️
  25. 2 points
    Hello! I feel like I should have posted this SOONER, but I've kinda been all over the board as far as forumers go! I am Hunter, otherwise known as Chestius, otherwise known as Mr. Pockets. I'm a small time youtuber and a huge fan of both WoW and TF2. I've been playing both for YEARS, and adore everything that comes with it! Some funny facts about me: I am very bad at video games I can do voice impressions of both the Goblins in WoW as well as the Scout in TF2 (the only difference was Smokers Lung, after all) Beyond that, I'm just a dork who loves treating WoW as an extra D&D Night. I love the game and challenge, but also love the storytelling and fun with RP. Hit me up in game for some Battlegrounds, and I look forward to seeing everyone in BfA!
  26. 2 points
    Full Name: Lunk Lunk the Destroyer Nicknames: Lunk for short Birthday: 01 April, at least that's what he's told Age: Don't ask Race: Hobgoblin Gender: Mook Hair: Mook Skin: Mook Eyes: Mook Height/Weight: Mook Place of Residence: Razz's House Place of Birth: Don't ask Known Relatives: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Religion/Philosophy: Whatever Miss Razzy tells him Occupation: Miss Razzy's Bodyguard/Protector of her house Enemies: LONK Likes: Pretty ladies (particularly Ketani Addison), his shows, bun huggers/underoos, Miss. Razzy Dislikes: Lonk, when people are mean Favourite Weapon: Zappy Stick, itchy stichy (itching powder) Favourite Food: Floaty Sammich Hobbies: Watching his shows, picking pretty flowers, and helping Miss Razzy Positive Personality Traits: Unending positivity, always tries his best Negative Personality Traits: Has the intelligence of a hobgoblin Theme Song: Womp Womp, Wimp Wimp by Mook Quartet History: Lunk work hard for Miss Razzy, write journal telling all adventures! He try hard, do best job!
  27. 2 points
    Ninorra did not like running. The warlock was built for few things that involved physical exertion. Her limbs were short and thick, used to walking or riding more than running, and her robes were too cumbersome to make the effort easy. They flailed about her as she pumped her limbs, sweat glistening on her skin despite Everson’s temperate weather. How did it get to this? She had been walking with Steinburg, recently returned from his time in Undercity. He shared the story of what happened to him there, a tale both of sadness and woe that showed itself in the way he spoke and moved; the once cheerful Forsaken, who long ago learned to ‘live’ with his new existence by working with Sanctuary as their official banker and record keeper, had gone to the Undercity recently to help a budding new government created in the Dark Lady’s absence. He sent Ninorra letters, sometimes, sharing what happened. He seemed proud of the work he did, proud of the men and women he worked with. However only a day ago, Steinburg returned to her home in Eversong a shadow of his former self. The once tidy Forsaken wore the tattered robes of a prisoner, and his hair, once so carefully taken care of, lay in limp strands over his face. He explained to Ninorra the situation, that anyone showing dissent in Undercity were “disappearing”. He considered leaving many times, but it wasn’t until Catalinetta saw him that he realized the time for his departure had come. A portal to Silvermoon was all it took, something he considered fortunate. The elves of Quel’thalas would never allow Sylvanas’ dark rangers to follow him there. Would they? Ninorra assured him that no, the Sin’dorei were a proud people. Loyal to the Warchief of course, but, the Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron would never allow her to— “Going somewhere, are we?” a deep voice said from the shadows. It was not a familiar voice. The scratchy hollow echo was similar to Steinburg’s, but it did not share the warm quality that he spoke with, in spite of his sorrow. Turning toward the voice, Ninorra gripped the scythe in her right hand. It was a monstrous weapon, known for stealing the souls of her victims and recycling them. Today it had a dark red glow, matching the red and black robes she had decided on that morning. Her own red eyes cast a faint color across her face, which was strangely relaxed. Steinburg took a step back. “Who are you?” Ninorra asked calmly. “If my friend and I have traipsed on private property, we do apologize. My own home is not far from here.” Of course, she knew that this part of the Eversong Woods was public property, a jurisdiction of Quel’thalas and under Silvermoon’s protection. Hoof beats signaled an approaching rider, but what came forward were three faces Ninorra did not entirely recognize. Two male Forsaken and one female, who, she could see, was a master of the fel arts not unlike herself. “The Warchief has requested that we apprehend this employee of the Desolate Council,” said the lead rider, a sword at his hip. Each wore a tabard of black and white. Steinburg grabbed Ninorra’s arm. “Infection,” he whispered to her. “Go, Lady. They only want me.” Ninorra frowned at the idea. Steinburg was her friend, after all. He helped raised Damian, he cared for her home while she and Vicailde were gone, and he never asked for much in return. “I am afraid that will not be happening,” she said boldly, red eyes flashing a little brighter for a moment. “Mister Steinburg is under my protection.” The Forsaken sneered terribly. “And why should that matter?” “Because I am Lady Ninorra Bloodstone,” she answered flippantly. “And my friend has committed no crimes. Our people do not simply allow strangers to walk in our land and take our friends without a damn good reason.” “The reason is that our Warchief wills it,” the lead rider said without a smile, approaching them on his skeletal horse. “And what our Warchief wills shall be done. Now. Hand over that wretch or you will also find yourself in an unpleasant situation.” Ninorra frowned deeply, her dark lipstick covered mouth turned downwards. “You cannot command me on this land. This is Quel’thalas. Not Undercity.” “This is Horde territory,” he muttered, sliding off of the horse. Drawing his sword, the Forsaken approached Ninorra and pointed it in her direction. He didn’t seem to have the patience or the desire to argue with her. “All of it.” A sudden explosion behind the other two Forsaken startled Ninorra, who turned to look at Steinburg. He was not a great mage, but in a panic he managed to conjure a big enough fireball to startle the skeletal horses of his antagonists. The one with the sword turned to snarl at his companions, who nearly fell off of their mounts. Steinburg didn’t mince words. “Run!!” Grabbing her wrist, the Forsaken made for the trees. He was faster than she would have imagined, but his plan was flawed. How could they outrun riders? Obviously, she could not. “Steinburg, what are you—“ “I will make a portal!” He shouted, running into a copse of trees. “You have to hold them off!” Of course, now this was a plan that made sense. However, if he made a portal, where would it go? If Sylvanas truly had a strangle hold on all Horde territory, where could they escape? Allowing Steinburg to work with panicked hands, Ninorra turned toward their adversaries and immediately began casting curses. They would work well against Forsaken, whose flesh was already rotting and corrupt. Unfortunately, she could only cast one at a time, and with all three of them approaching, she had no time to summon a demon to aid her. “Hurry, Steinburg!” She shouted. The first blast hit her squarely in the gut, a chaos bolt that rattled and sent blazing pain throughout her limbs. She returned the favor with a fresh bout of agony, and followed it by draining the life from her target. Forsaken may have had rotting bodies, but leeching from their soul could heal her for a time, and she only needed enough time to— “Lady!” Steinburg was shouting, the portal was finished. Waving her over, she released the soul drain and ran toward Steinburg's creation. “Don’t look back, Ninorra,” the Forsaken said hurredly, grabbing her arm to shove her through the portal. It was then that another chaos bolt hit him in the back, sending him reeling to the ground. “Steinburg!” She shouted, slamming the butt of her scythe to the ground to cast corruption at each of these attackers, each of these creatures that would dare harm her friend. They each seemed, under their armor, to writhe a bit. But what were Forsaken if not accustomed to pain and the reality of their undeath? They would keep moving until there was nothing left. The warrior who spoke before closed the gap between himself and the elf, and without a moments hesitation plunged his blade into Ninorra’s abdomen. She could hardly believe that she had let this happen, and even as shock set in and her limbs froze, she thought to herself how very silly she had been. Is this how it ends? She asked herself, falling backwards through the portal. Instantly, she found herself somewhere dark and warm, lying on her back. Pain radiated from the wound in her belly, a throbbing numbness that ached with each beat of her heart. Her back was wet, her clothes slowly soaking. That she was bleeding to death was obvious, and whatever place she was in seemed like the perfect place for it. The sound of gentle flowing water was nearby, and the rustling of robes. She heard voices somewhere, deep and concerned. A second later, the portal closed. Where was Steinburg? She couldn’t make sense of it, this rush of events. It was too quick and too well executed. Three Forsaken against one elf, who, regardless of any importance she might have imagined for herself, could not defend her friend against them. What a failure. She pictured Qabian somewhere, laughing at her. Then the world went dark.
  28. 2 points
    Clank. Clank. Clank. Catalinetta walked through Undercity, the metal of her boots clanking against the stone floors of ancient Lordaeron. They felt almost unusually loud there, underground, where the Forsaken spoke in scratchy hushed tones and moved in slow, hunched over shambles. She didn't suppose that she was in a hurry, not at first anyhow. The death knight had gone to Undercity with a specific purpose; to find a ring. There were plenty to be had down there, crafted by some of the Forsaken's most talented jewelers, and she knew exactly where to go for what she wanted. Unfortunately, as she reached the edge of the Magic Quarter, certain to find the same bright-eyed Forsaken woman who used to craft her jewelry as a newly risen death knight, Catalinetta saw that she was no longer there. The death knight paused mid-stride, staring ahead at the now empty spot. Tilting her head to one side, she considered briefly that maybe her friend was simply taking a break. Or away, visiting friends in Brill. Without hesitating, she approached another nearby Forsaken who manned a stall selling inscriptions. "Excuse me, sir," she said in her high pitched, if not hollow voice. Cat's eyes glowed with the same eerie blue of her fellow death knights. It was not the dim yellow of the Forsaken, but they often found a kinship in their undeath. Today, however, that did not come as easily. "Death to the living," he said in greeting, his voice hoarse and gravelly. He seemed to have died in mid-life, just old enough to have sprouted a few gray hairs at his temples that hung in thick clumps about his gray face. A lack of flesh in his cheeks that exposed both jawbones gave him a permanently stern expression. "What do you want?" A corner of Cat's mouth twitched. "..yeah, uh... I was wondering if you'd seen Abby?" She asked, her dark gray ears perking a little. Though she was undead, the Sin'dorei's ears still worked as they did in life, reacting to her emotions with little twitches as much her eyebrows. "She was supposed to be here today, I thought. I wanted to buy some jewelry from her." The other vendor's face made no changes. Perhaps if he had been alive she might have seen some sort of change, something in his face to indicate his thoughts on the matter. As it was, he seemed far too corpse-like to emote as she did. "Gone. She won't be coming back." Cat's eyebrows rose, scrunching her forehead in concern. "Where did she go? Is she okay?? Did something happen to her?" Now the vendor's face changed, a slow and creeping grin that gradually pulled at the sagging flesh in his face enough to make his eyes squint like half-moons. "I do not know where she went, death knight," he answered, then frowned again as his face relaxed. Smiling, Cat imagined, must have taken quite a bit of effort on his part. "But I know that she will not be coming back." For a moment, she just stared at him. Admittedly, it had been a while since she'd returned to this place, where the Forsaken once welcomed the death knights to their new status as living dead. Certainly they were different, and there were plenty of Forsaken who were distrustful of Arthas' newer creations. However as time passed, most of the Forsaken grew to learn about the curse of the death knights, their eternal bond to the Lich King, and their inherent need to cause pain. The Forsaken were free, after all. The death knights, in spite of their great strength, would never truly be independent of their creator. Things were even, in a way. So why now did this Forsaken treat her like this, she wondered? Could he tell that there was something amiss? Could he somehow detect the Mogu blood magic that coursed through her black veins, creating the illusion of life even as it reanimated her? Was it a lack of decay? It didn't matter. He was being difficult, and that much was unnecessary. "Look, I don't know what your problem is," she started, pointing a gauntlet-covered finger at the bony creature. "But Abby is my friend. So if you know something, just tell me so I can go find her. Alright?" Again, the Forsaken smiled. It appeared to take less effort this time. "I can not tell you her fate, but your search ends here. Abigaille Lefaye is gone. You might as well leave this city too, death knight. You will not find what you are looking for, here." "But--" "Catalinetta?" Another voice from behind. It was scratchy, hollow and undoubtedly Forsaken, but it was also kind and familiar. She turned to see a man, hunched over but still taller than her. His short black hair, unlike most Forsaken, was usually well kept. Today however, it was matted and disheveled. His typically well cared for robes were frayed and dull, and the once jovial look on his gently rotted face had been replaced with one of terrible remorse. "..mister Steinberg?" Indeed he was. The former accountant of Sanctuary, stolen away by the Bloodstones to Silvermoon when their guild hall was burned to the ground by Garrosh Hellscream. Though he witnessed the death of so many other guild members, one of them his own adopted son, Steinberg carried on. He helped Ninorra raise Damian in her absence. He healed his broken heart by teaching the Sin'dorei boy to read and write, and one again was given another chance at life. In a way. "Yes miss D'Aragon," he said in a slightly pained voice, as if trying to keep the sorrow from slipping. Swallowing something down, his expression turned slightly harsh. "I heard you asking about Miss Lefaye. I'm afraid she's no longer with us. If you'll come with me, I'll show you where you can buy whatever it is you need." Cat's heart sunk at the change in voice. Steinburg had always been kind to her, to everyone. What happened to change him so drastically? Tearing herself away from the other vendor, she walked to her old friend and twisted her hands together. "Sorry if I caused trouble, I just wanted to know if she was okay. Is.. did something happen?" Steinburg lowered a pair of cold yellow eyes to his old friend, the once familiar smile completely gone. "Yes. Now come with me." Following him as the Forsaken shambled away, Cat's eyes were lowered to the moldy stone floor. She held in angry tears, tears she knew would invite too many questions, and vowed to let them out later for her friend. Steinburg led her from the Magic Quarter and walked her, quicker than she would have thought him capable of, toward the elevator. "Where are we going?" "Out," he said quickly, not bothering to look back. To any of the other Forsaken, they looked like a very angry man leading a very confused elf. Both dead, both unhappy, both completely ordinary in a place where nobody should ever be happy. His steps were so quick that Cat almost found herself tripping after him, but by the time they reached the ruins of Lordaeron and rushed past the throne room of its former king, she understood where he was leading her. "Steinburg wait," she said quickly, grabbing his shoulder. The Forsaken didn't slow. "Just keep walking," he said between clenched teeth, frayed robes fluttering around his bare skeletal feet. They clacked about almost as much as her boots, which worried her. Where had his shoes gone? "Steinburg, I--" The orb stood in front of them, a bright ball of red that would take them to Silvermoon. Steinburg grabbed Catalinetta's hand and moved it to the orb, but she wrenched it away. "Wait a second!" she shouted, wrenching her arm back. "What the hell is wrong with you?? I haven't seen you in months and suddenly you're here, and you look terrible, and everything is all weird and sad! What happened to you??" The yellow glow flickered in Steinbeug's eyes. For a moment, a hint of his old self came forward and he nearly smiled at the outburst. She had always been outspoken, even in death, and it had once made him smile. But it was only for a moment. "I am Forsaken," he said simply, the frown returning as he grabbed Catalinetta's arm and pulled her to him, whispering near her long ear. "Now go home. Where you belong." Still not understanding, Cat shook her head. She wanted to argue, to yell at him and get Steinburg to snap out of whatever spell he was under, but then she stopped. His face shifted, so close to hers. It wasn't angry. It was sad. He was trying to tell her something. Go home? She thought. But he doesn't know where I live, now.. She glanced at the orb. Silvermoon. It wasn't her home, per say. Not ever. But it was the home of the Sin'dorei, and she was starting to realize that's what he wanted for her. To go there. But why? "Fine," she grunted irritably. "I'll go back to Silvermoon. Maybe I'll find what I need there." "I'm sure you will," Steinburg muttered bitterly, watching as she grabbed the orb, her form fading from sight before his eyes. A few feet behind him, another hollow voice rung out. "Who was that?" Asked an almost silvery elven voice, though it retained the same echo as his own. Steinburg turned to regard one of the dark rangers, a beautiful elven woman who, even in death, moved soundlessly. "An old acquaintance," he muttered distastefully. "She has no place here." The dark ranger nodded, and glanced back toward the entrance to Undercity. "Good. You might want to get back to work, now. There is much to be done and not as many hands to do it." Steinburg nodded and turned back, resisting the urge to glance behind him at the orb. What point would there be in leaving? The Warchief's eyes were everywhere, and the long ears of the dark rangers heard everything. He would need to think fast. Thankfully, an accountant knew how to calculate all of his options quickly. He had a plan before he reached the bottom of the elevator.
  29. 2 points
    Journal Entry 2 It has been over a year since I have decided to write in this thing. How very sad! It is a pretty journal, and I have had such adventures. Imagine me, never even writing down any of them, even as I traveled to Argus and aided my friends against the Legion. How many things have occurred since I wrote this first entry? - I allowed Damian to train with Qabian. What a disaster! He learned a lot, certainly, but at some point Qabian's ego got the better of him and he put Damian in life threatening danger. Even he thought Damian was killed and in my rage I removed one of his limbs. Damian was, of course, fine. So we have all learned a valuable lesson. - With the help of my friends, I was able to obtain my soul and defeat the demon my mother made a deal with so long ago. I am now fully whole, though the idea is still strange and the curse of my eyes remains. What, if any changes this will make to my personality, are yet to be seen. - During the ceremony in which I retrieved my soul, my dear subordinate Corvallis, as well as Helnia, were lost to us. I miss them both dearly, but Damian took it the hardest. I believe he and Corvallis bonded quite a bit, and I have promised to try and find him. - The guild is moving. We will no longer have a place in Dalaran, but in Razor Hill, Shattrath, and Ashtotem. This makes very little difference to me, but I do enjoy Shattrath! It brings back a lot of happy memories from the war in Outland. Imagine, happy memories and war! - Still no word from my large friend who was hidden with us for some time. I imagine he is somewhere out in the world, making trouble. Always so serious, that one. I do miss him. - Since bonding with my little soul, my memories have been a bit jumbled. Everything is coming back to me, especially with reminders, but a few things remain fuzzy. I have the strangest feeling that I am forgetting something important, but so far nothing has been made clear. - I have had the strangest craving for sparkling white wine, lately. Not at home, of course. I will have to find someone to share a bottle with. Maybe brunch?
  30. 2 points
    By the time Vilmah returned to Wor’gol, it was past midnight. Most of the village was already asleep, and the moon cast a bright blue sheen over the snow covered ground that crunched as Edmund bounded through the snow. Attached to his back was a rudimentary sled slapped together with wood and rope, something Vilmah constructed to carry the corpse of her kill. She had strapped down the large she-wolf with yet more rope, but in the moonlight its fur appeared eerily blue, like a brightly colored creature from the jungles of Azeroth rather than a wolf on Draenor. As she approached the village, a few of their still awake warriors waved to her. She waved back and was soon met with Tuyya, who rode out to meet her with sleepy eyes on the back of her black wolf. “That was fast!” She said sarcastically. “I was hoping you wouldn’t need to spend all night out there. Did she hurt you?” Holding up her right arm, Vilmah let Tuyya see the hastily wrapped wound of her right arm. The purple sweater had been stashed in her saddle bag just a mile before reaching the village. “I hope one of your shaman is awake,” she said with a weary smile. “I got her worse than she got me, though. I don’t think she was very interested in living.” “Grief does that to people,” Tuyya agreed, turning her wolf to walk back beside Vilmah. “And animals too, strangely. You brought back the body, though? I would have thought you only needed the fur.” “Can’t let good meat go to waste,” Vilmah reasoned, shrugging. “Even if it’s just dog meat.” Tuyya grinned. “You’re learning quickly. When you first came to us you would have eaten the meat raw on your own, like some crazed animal.” Vilmah’s lip twitched as she lowered her eyes to the snow. “When you first met me I was still very much a crazed animal,” the smaller orc explained, embarrassed. “I’m not exactly proud of that.” “There aren’t many of us who are proud of ourselves at our lowest point. It brought you to us, though, didn’t it?” “War brought me to you,” Vilmah argued gently. “..but I think my grief is what made me stay. And the fact that you all didn’t just kick me out. I’m sure I didn’t make for an impressive prospective new clan member.” “You think we love everyone in the clan?” Tuyya laughed. “Your blood ties you to us, regardless of whatever it is that took you away to begin with. You told me that your mother was one of us. That’s enough for us to give you a chance, and you earned your place.” An uncomfortable silence followed Tuyya’s words, as if Vilmah wanted to agree but couldn’t bring herself to. In truth, she was having trouble not telling Tuyya that she was Vilmah’s mother, and if the portal to Azeroth hadn’t been opened, if Tuyya’s thirst for adventure hadn’t brought her to the arms of a Blackrock orc, Vilmah never would have existed to begin with. “Thanks Tuyya,” she said gratefully, smiling a little in spite of the conversation. “Thanks for being my friend.” “Don’t get all dramatic,” Tuyya chuckled. “I just hate seeing the little guy get stepped on. Or in your case, the little girl. And you looked so sad, like a kicked puppy. Who would kick a puppy? Don’t worry, guura kad dok mara. You’re one of us, now. That means you’ll never really be alone again,” she said reassuringly, punching Vilmah in the left shoulder. “..for better or worse.” "Sounds like quite the commitment," Vilmah said sarcastically, smirking. Tuyya rolled her eyes. "Believe me, it can be a pain in the ass. Any time I even suggest leaving for a long hunt, my family comes up with some reason to make me stay. Commitments, the need to find a mate, it's like they've forgotten what it's like to explore past the forest sometimes. Makes me want to get my hands dirty somewhere new." Vilmah bit the inside of her cheek. It was that wanderlust that caused the Tuyya that she knew to leave through the portal in the first place, and die starving in a cage. "They have a point. I mean.. you have everything you need here, don't you? People love you, here." "I don't disagree with that, but there's more to life than being loved," the orcess argued. "There's adventure, and you can't get that here. Not anymore, anyway. I treasure my clan, but there's more out there than this place. I want to see it." A feeling of dread overcame Vilmah's stomach, like she'd swallowed a mouthful of bees. Tuyya wasn't the type to let anyone hold her back, and she would eventually leave, even if it meant leaving everything behind. The idea of losing her for a second time, this person who, in another lifetime, gave her life for Vilmah's, made the Warboss pale with fear. "..you could come with me," she found herself saying. "Come to Azeroth, help me with Sanctuary. There's a few Frostwolves in Razor Hill, I'm sure you'll feel right at home. Even if it's in a desert.." Tuyya's eyes widened. "Really? You want me to come with you?" In truth, Vilmah would have preferred that this version of her mother stayed in Draenor, pure in her own way, and untouched by Azeroth's brutality. Knowing that it wasn't in her nature to stay in one place, however, the Warboss nodded quickly. "Yeah, of course. It'd be nice having you there. Plus, plenty of orcs in Azeroth," she joked, smiling a little more. "If your family is worried about you finding a mate." "Can you imagine if I were to bring home one of your green friends??" The orcess laughed, bouncing on her wolf. "Oh they would have an absolute fit! Yes, let's do it! I'll go with you to Azeroth and help your Sanctuary! Right after we clean your blue wolf, of course. You can bring home a wolf pelt and a Frostwolf!" Smiling at her excitement, Vilmah nodded in agreement. Whether or not this was for the best, she couldn't say, but at the very least she'd be able to keep an eye on Tuyya.
  31. 2 points
    5.28.18 I haven’t seen Shaelie since that day. I haven’t seen anyone from Sanctuary since then. It’s been a quiet few weeks, other than continuing to clean up the remaining Legion forces in Antorus. I did catch sight of a human woman who matches the description of the woman who killed my messenger in Tirisfal. She also matches the description of a killer responsible for some other murders in the area over the past couple years. I saw her in Dalaran, and guards were nearby, so there wasn’t much I could do other than talk to her. She lied to me about her name, but someone else called her “Bronnie.” I will see if I can find someone with contacts in Stormwind to get more information. The Magister continues to baffle me. After suggesting the Commander would hurt me badly for having an Alliance boyfriend, he gave me a gift. Why he thinks I would ever have a boyfriend at all, let alone an Alliance one, is beyond me, but the gift was very interesting. A vase with a contraption inside it that would release whatever was in it—poison, sleeping agents, whatever—when someone got close enough to smell the flowers in it. I usually don’t like traps where I can’t control exactly who the target is, but it may come in handy someday. I have to take the potions more often. I know Tahz doesn’t want me to release it, but I can’t let it weaken me anymore. Eastvale is far enough from any Horde lands, and it won’t be the first time they’ve dealt with something like this there. I’ll take it there. Soon. We have one active Supplicant right now, but she is enough trouble to be three usual Supplicants. Umbral continues to keep digging herself deeper into a hole. Even the Commander has noticed it, and spoke to Qabian and me about her. The last time the Grim leader spoke to me about an unruly Supplicant was Cessily. Other than general lack of proper respect for the higher ranks of The Grim, even Awatu himself, she has called me a waitress, and now she’s bitten off a chunk of someone’s ear. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but when it’s a friend, and further a friend of a very good friend, then it’s a problem. I still haven’t decided how much to protect her from any retaliation. Maybe she deserves what she gets. And the waitress comment, I’m sure she doesn’t realize the meaning behind it. How could she? She’s not smart enough to have done any research, and she doesn’t have the contacts to have had that information handed to her. No, it was just a rude comment, from a Supplicant to an Inquisitor, and that alone is enough to cost her an ear. Luckily for her, she seems to have become more competent in her skill at killing. She’s provided me with many Alliance tabards in her search for the ones I sent her for. That isn’t enough to excuse her behavior though. After all, Cessily was a powerful killer too, and that didn’t save her ears.
  32. 2 points
    It's been a long time but another food experiment has happened! This time with wild-gathered Black Locust tree blossoms. While visiting Syreena, we found and decided to try these tasty little flowers from her property. Much thanks to SySy for being adventurous and allowing use of her kitchen. <3 We used this recipe (with some substitutions for the evil, evil dairy): http://southernforager.blogspot.com/2013/05/black-locust-blossom-fritters-yummmmm.html The results were quite tasty, like eating funnel cake! Next time, I believe I will go lighter on the dredging of the flowers in the batter, so the flowers can be tasted. <.< >.> Flowers being dredged: Frying the Flowers: Finished Black Locust flower funnel cake: All of them got eaten by the three adults, flower fritters defeated! These trees are flowering all over the place right now, or are soon about to in more northern areas. They're a native, plentiful tree so if you watch for them to bloom, you'll be swimming in tasty treats! Mmmmm.
  33. 2 points
    Mmhmhmhm... Ahahahahahaha! I win. Oh, how I win. Nothing I can take back to the Grim, of course, but mine is a dangerous ego to stroke, hm? Taunt me with something you think I can't do that I know I can. 'Oh, no,' I'll admit. 'I could never do that. I'm simply no good at it. It's just not me.' A little vulnerability, not even mock vulnerability, very real, but a wager in a bet I cannot lose, a little honesty, and just enough arrogance that who I am is never forgotten so I cannot be blamed for any deception. And fuck you. I win. Truth and lies, truth and lies. That's what chaos is made of, yes? And what am I if not chaos? Is it true? Of course it is. Was it lies? Of course it was. Reality is never either or. It's always both. Little human with broken eyes he needs to hide thinks he's being generous, offering me a chance to put him in his place. You don't need to make the offer, boy. You're already there. Why would you admit that secret of all secrets in front of me? And I'm sure my secret only made you feel worse, hm? You're not special. You're not even different. You're just a broken, defiled version of the real people all around you. Enjoy your misery. I certainly enjoyed giving it to you. What an odd defect in me to harp on when it was caused by someone you claim as a friend. When what I have done with what I have lost is something greater than I could have done had I kept what I had, am I really even defective? Or have I improved? That's what we're all here for, to get better. I've gotten better. Have you? When you will never feel equal to the people around you because you never can be their equal? You can steal their faces, their friendship, their power as much as you want, but you will always be a pretender, and you will always have to hide your shame, because the day you accept yourself and live as you are is the day you'll die for it. I have no shame. I wonder how long I can play the lost bet excuse. We certainly gamble, but even though my win rate is expectedly even with my losses, what I ask for is always for my own greed. What she asks for is always my debasement, not enough to spark my anger or make me second guess, but enough to keep her laughing. I should have caught on to this sooner, especially after her little gift to Syreena. I think I did? And decided the price was worth it, and even a little entertaining for myself. The masochistic tendencies extending beyond physical pain, perhaps. I like it when she laughs, even if it's at my expense, and it's almost always at my expense. Explains too much. I shouldn't think about it too hard. The wolf's advice is good. I'm always uncertain about plans that require biding, infiltration, masks of sweetness. I can do them to a point. I have my networks and systems that I use to pull on threads hoping they'll bring down the tapestries. But such things are distasteful when chaos will suffice. Yes, I understand the idea behind a little order serving to bring a lot of chaos, but such games are difficult to play and rarely end well. When they do end well, they end very, very well, but the risk tends to be on our side, not on theirs. Still, leading them patiently to their own failure is clearly our best option in the present, regardless of whether the pendulum swings in the way they seem so certain it will. The violet commander's marital issues have caused a strange sea change. I, for one, don't think that little shift is enough to warrant the sudden acceptance of things as they are. They aren't different enough. I've only met the little warboss once? But I certainly have no faith that she's any sweeter. I blame the turning of the winds with the defeat of the Legion. Everything looks just slightly different, even when it isn't really. Old hurts have been fogged over just enough by time to be put aside long enough for coffee and brunch. And I'm able to hear things I should never hear, share things that should never have been mine to share. I can sit quietly and let them berate me as much as they wish, speaking only when spoken to, offering only the gentlest of contributions, and still come across as cruel and strange. It's quite enjoyable, really. I've had far too much enjoyment lately. It's going to my head. But given what led me to be so entertained in the first place, I'll take it.
  34. 2 points
    05.02.18 I used to say Sanctuary had tea parties with the Alliance. Yesterday, I had coffee with one of the purple people. That short-eared elf, who is half human and a mage and Sanctuary—everything I hate—so why didn’t I feel the urge to stab him repeatedly? Maybe because he didn’t act like any of those things. I learned that the leadership has changed among the purple people. Julilee, Kex’ti, and Shokkra are all gone from there now. Just Cerryan left, and though I hate him for what he did to me, what his actions turned me into, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same in his position. Maybe it’s time for my war with them to end for good. The Grim and Sanctuary worked alongside each other once, a long time ago, when Vilmah was in charge. Maybe that is an option again if we are in need of more bodies for an assault someday. I doubt Vilmah would talk with me though. I could send a Supplicant if necessary, or better yet, maybe I’ll just stay in contact with the short-eared elf. He’s easy to talk to. I wonder if there’s something with mixing elf blood with another bad blood, that makes the two bads cancel each other out. Baal has demon blood in him, thanks to the Grim warlocks, and he’s nice. And Mard has human in him, and he seems nice….so far. There’s no question that demons, humans, and elves are all vile and cruel, but maybe mixing two bad races together somehow makes something good. I also learned that Shaelie has joined Sanctuary. I wasn’t planning to attack her. I really wasn’t. We used to pick on the purple people together in Warspear, we tortured that human Ambassador lady together. Shaelie always had my back. For a long time, I thought she was a decent person….for an elf….a friend even. But when I saw her in the Wyvern’s Tail yesterday, she didn’t seem to care about any of that. She actually said she thought it was totally justified that they attacked us at Aerie Peak, and Grim should stay in their own yard and not bother Alliance. I don’t know what the fel happened to the Shaelie I knew, but this one is a traitor to the Horde, as far as I’m concerned. But she is human after all, so I shouldn’t be surprised.
  35. 2 points
    A taste of what the Loa's gift could do spoke volumes for the effect it would have on its intended target. It refused to be treated, even showing a tenacity that hinted at intelligence as it would strike as one disease, retreat, and return in a new form. His fever ran high for hours, sheeting his form in sweat and chilling him to the bone. Then, the pain left him as if the sickness had simply given up its struggle, leaving him stunned with sheer relief. It gave him just enough time to nurture a brief hope that it was over, only to crush it within an hour. It returned in a new form and plagued his body and mind with a new kind of torture. Night and day lost meaning as he cycled through a list of symptoms seemingly at random. Tormented reality gave way to fever dreams when his body, taxed to its limits and in desperate need of recovery, succumbed to exhaustion. He stood before a river of sludge with a stench that was thick enough to taste. It had an odor that clung to his saliva and made him gag and heave for all the good it did. It reminded him of Venture company operations, but even they had not managed to produce such disgusting runoff. Lengths of cloth stuck to the top of the putrid river but he could not make out the details of them as his eyes swung hazily in and out of focus. When the world resolved itself, he was able to make out the gold and purple thread of one tabard and the matching designs on the others that stuck to the surface of the thick river behind it. The foul river slowly pushed itself along the earth, carrying over a dozen of the Phoenix marked tabards. He felt a moment of Grim pleasure that was quickly chased away by confusion as he saw the growing number of tabards stuck to the disease-ridden sludge. It would have helped him sleep at night to see the head of the self-important group of traitors along with several other vile hypocrites who followed her. But the number of discarded tabards wa far too high for his plan. In each of the tabards he caught a glimpse of their owner. A shudder of rage turned into a quiver of sadistic satisfaction as the first two passed him. Julilee had lectured him about the importance of preserving life, something she accused Lilliana of having no sense of after her betrayal. When he had dismissed her words and told her that she had attacked a pregnant woman, he had not detected a hint of remorse, in fact, he had seen annoyance that he was still pursuing the conversation. The effect her actions had on him were unimportant, she did not care. He bore his teeth in an unkind grin as she was sucked below the surface, buried in the same substance that she was filled with. She was followed by more of them. Syreena's now scarred tormentor smirked cruelly and looked down his nose at him before being swallowed by the river. Shokkra sneered and screamed soundlessly in pointless rage as she was sucked down and drowned. A feeling of grim vindication grew as he saw more of them disappear. The faces kept coming. Vilmah's embarrassed smile was smothered, Mardallius laughed quietly before being covered, Kexti's arrogant smirk was slowly saturated before being coated completely, Siane's warm smile went cold, and the sad expression of the one-eyed troll disappeared quietly beneath the surface. More people passed by him, faces he associated with the tabard but had never spoken to, people he bore no ill will towards save for their association. All were consumed by the muck and disease. The last of the articles to disappear was not a tabard, but a pair of manacles and a stained apron. His own face stared back at him as the manacles clasped around his wrists and the chain leading him began tugging downwards. " It'll fix errytin'." He assured himself as the odious sludge reached up to his chest. He had no reply for his own deluded statement. " She'll love us again!" The imprisoned man cried out at him as it reached up to his neck, desperate to justify his own actions, just like the ones he would be joining. He wanted to scream at the fool of a bartender but could only manage another choked noise as he sank below the muck. The river soon became choked with more discarded items. Shoes, shirts, dresses, trade equipment, swords and more bunched together so thickly he could barely make out the sludge that transported them until they disappeared beneath its surface. Once again, he saw faces, yet they were indistinct and unfocused. There were hundreds of them, perhaps even thousands. Countless faces flickered in front of him as the crowd of plague-ridden people passed by and disappeared. This had been his agreement. A virulent disease to consume his enemy in the worst way possible, but it could not be controlled once released. How many in Sanctuary would be killed in his hope to slay a handful? The price of it left a frozen lump in his stomach, he wanted one person dead, but he could not control the spread once it was released. The reward for this indiscriminate death dealing clasped him on the shoulder and gave him a warm, yet false smile. The Farraki was pleased with him, excited even at the blow dealt to a hated enemy. With one hand she grasped his and gave him an insistent tug to turn his back on the foul carnage wrought, with the other she held a bloody blob of disfigured fat and flesh that defied identification; a mutated freak even in the eyes of parasites and maggots. She spoke words of love and approval that spilled out as a black, oily sludge between her teeth and dribbled down her chin over her body and their son. The letter of her message he had longed to hear, but the soul of it was absent. He doubled over as an overpowering sense of nausea and joy forced its way through him. His veins bulged and threatened to burst as the sickness of body and mind invaded him. He enjoyed it, he was sick and twisted mess of a pretty troll, and he loved it. He toppled forward and sank into the cold, slimy mud by the foul river. The earth consumed the last ray of light and all sense of self disappeared with it.
  36. 2 points
    I'm sitting in the grass right now. Between the ridge of two hills, overlooking a farm. There's a cow in the pasture, chewing some grass. The lights are on in the farmhouse, shining through the windows, and I can smell them cooking dinner. There are crickets chirping, and an owl hooting up in the tree above me, somewhere. I used to live here. Not there, in that particular house. Micael did, though. Nearby. I've been thinking about Micael a lot lately. I'm not sure why.. But I'll be honest when I say I miss him and Mack, a hell of a lot. I think my time away got me thinking about a lot of things. And tonight really magnified that. I stopped in the Wyverns Tail. And Jon Ableham was there. I couldn't believe it. He wasn't the Jon I miss so much, though. Just the bad version of himself. He didn't know it was me, of course.. After I got over my shock of seeing him, I talked to him a bit and he said some things that confused me, and some things that sparked some memories that I couldn't quite dredge up. He mentioned Venedict being his nephew. That blew my mind. Did I know that before? Something about 'nephew' sounded familiar. But if Venedict was his nephew.. how the HELL did he end up being his ghoul? And so I came here, for answers. To Stormwind. Where this whole journey with Venedict, Jon and Micael began. In the graveyard.. I remember something about a tombstone. So I found them tonight. Christine, Venedict, Alex and David Abner.. being here did help me remember some things. But I still couldn't recall the connection between Venedict and Jon. I sort of remember Jon being here, but he was afraid of Venedict. Anyway, my thoughts are all over the place tonight. That's just part of what's on my mind. Being here, just behind the gates of Stormwind. I'm homesick. I miss being me. I miss being Nika. I remember how I used to help people. Not always.. I got into a lot of fights, even before I started doing the really horrible things. But I miss how life used to be. Before The Grim, and before my life changed. And before I ruined other people's lives, and destroyed families. My biggest regret in life is something that will always haunt me. It's what I did in Theramore... when I poisoned all those soldiers. I wish I could rip that day out of my life, and out of my memories. All those families and kids that no longer have fathers because of me. Fathers that didn't even get to die honorably, in battle. They didn't even get a chance to make a difference, or to be heroes. They were meant to die doing courageous things, making a difference in the world. Stories would be written about the battles they fought, and how they sacrificed their lives to make life safer for the people they cared about. But instead, they ate poisoned bread and choked to death. For nothing. That wasn't supposed to be their legacy. Hardly anyone knows about that. It's the thing I'm most ashamed of. I wonder about those families now. Whatever became of them? I feel like that's what I'm supposed to do, now. Help people. Make a difference, somehow. I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to kill people. I can't change or take back every person that I hurt or killed. But maybe I can change something for other people, going forward. It's funny.. as I was sitting here behind Stormwind, thinking about all of this. At first I was wishing I could go back. But that wouldn't help anything, either. So I was wishing that I could somehow help people on both sides. Not just one or the other. And I was wishing there was some guild that was neutral, and that does help people on both sides. And then I remembered that there is.. Sanctuary. That's hard to wrap my head around, as much as I hated and fought against them in the past.. but that was also when I was consumed by The Grim.. and the most important thing to me was to prove myself to them. But time has passed. And you know what? I already did. And I don't care anymore. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm not sure if Borrowed Time and Sanctuary are on good terms, or bad. I'm not sure if I want to stay with Borrowed Time but also help Sanctuary. if they'd even have me. Which is a stretch. A big one.
  37. 2 points
    until
    Join us once again for a casual evening where the mood is light and the food and drink is plenty! All are welcome to dress in costume, but it is not a necessity in order to attend. Let this be as our Night in Kirthaven was, relaxed and welcoming. Those in attendance will be able to cast their vote for favorite costume and help some lucky attendee take home a gold prize! The Slaughtered Lamb welcomes all this Hallow's end. I hope to see many of you in attendance.
  38. 2 points
    until
    ((The Weary Traveler is a player-run Inn and Lounge that serves as an Open, Walk-Up RP hub for roleplayers of TN-RH Alliance. If you are new to roleplaying (or to roleplaying in this server or faction) and would like to network with other guilds and roleplayers in the server, this weekly event is for you! The property is located on Cut-Throat Alley in the Dwarven District of Stormwind City. The campus consists of the Shady Lady Tavern for drinks and typical tavern interactions, the Alley for outdoor strolls and conversations, and then the empty building which ICly serves as the Weary Traveler Inn. The inn contains ample seating, Hors d'oeuvres sold by RPed innkeeping staff, and has one room for rent on a first-come first-served basis. The space is ICly open 24/7 for players' IC needs, but the formal timeslot in which the Innkeeping Staff will be online to roleplay and host the hub is on every Tuesday night at 7pm server. Prior to starting time, reminders shall be broadcasted on the /RP chat channel as well as the Blizzard channels, with the hope to encourage hesitant RPers to have the more frequent and consistent roleplaying opportunities. All roleplayers that are merchant, service, or mercenary in nature are welcome to utilize the space to advertise their work without requiring OOC permission. Guilds are also welcomed to use the area to advertise their organization ICly to potential recruits and new RPers. Please contact Innkeeping Staff members if you or your organization ICly and actively uses the Cut-Throat Alley space for your current roleplay. We will do everything in our power to fairly share the OOC space available while accommodating both properties to exist in lore. The Innkeeping Staff reserves the right to advise, warn, and report attendees who grief roleplay or otherwise maliciously infringe on the Blizzard Terms of Service for an roleplaying server, found here https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/300463 and here https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/200475. If you are interested in formally joining the Weary Traveler's staff, please contact Tuuroto-TwistingNether or any member of the guild "Cup and Blade Caravan." The Weary Traveler is staffed by OOC members of the Cup and Blade Caravan but is not directly affiliated with the Caravan ICly. A special thanks to Tahzani and all the folks from the Horde-side RP community who have made the Coldstar Cantina successful. It is our hope to emulate their success in order to keep Alliance RP vibrant now, through Legion, and onward. For all other questions, please contact Tuuroto-TwistingNether))
  39. 2 points
    [[Closed! Good luck everyone!]]
  40. 2 points
    until
    <A bright yellow sun dazzles in the top corner of the parchment in attempt to catch the eye of those passing by! Palm trees decorate the edges, with their branches swaying enchantingly in the wind. The script is written in an inviting blue that is reminiscent of the ocean. These fliers are posted all around Alliance hotspots, taverns, and city boards!> Grab your swimsuit and get ready for some fun in the sun! The Twilight Empire will be hosting an Island Beach Party upon the 25th of June, at 7:00pm in the evening. Come relax in the sand, float around in the clear waters, and enjoy some grilled food. All refreshments are free, and yes, alcohol will be provided! There will also be fishing and fireworks! (But not fishing with fireworks!) For the competitors out there, we'll be having a swimsuit competition! A fair amount of gold will go to the winners, which will be decided by those attending but not competing. Men and women are permitted to enter and will all be participating in the same competition. Good luck to all! All Alliance are invited to our Island Beach Party! Bring your family, friends, and pets – and we'll see you there among the sandy beaches of Southbreak Shore, Tanaris! The party island is visible just off the coast and there will be transportation across the water to all that desire! Come join the fun! ((OOC Details: Date: June 25th, 2016, Saturday Time: 7:00 pm (server) Location: Southbreak Shore, Tanaris (An island visible just off the coast.) Activities: Swimsuit Competition: Men and Women, dress in your best swimsuit! Party-goer vote will decide our top 3 winners! Please keep in mind best overall look, uniqueness, and cohesiveness when voting. Prizes of gold will be given to our winners! Aside from the competition there will be swimming, fishing, fireworks, games and provided food and drink for all to enjoy! We hope to see many new faces among our already dear friends! Everyone is invited, so bring as many guests as you'd like! See you all there. ***Looking For Help: We are currently looking for a few IC helping hands to aid with some of the food stands and other activities. We are also looking for IC volunteer guards to help keep the perimeters safe! If anyone out there would like to assist with the party or guard duties, please contact Mackinzie-Ravenholdt. Thank you!***))
  41. 1 point
    Nearly thirteen years ago, on September 16, 2005, the Necromancer, Maledictus, began writing what would later become known as the Mandate. Wishing to see the destruction of the races of the Alliance, The Grim formed under the tenant – Peace Through Annihilation. The founding members of The Grim were: Ayabba the Forsaken Warlock, Grainger the Steward, Laughingcrow the Tauren Hunter, Pincus the Forsaken Warlock, Snowfeather the Tauren Druid, and four others whose name and deeds have been lost to history. Since those very early days of the Twisting Nether server, The Grim have remained a heavy RP guild, IC determined to see the complete destruction of the Alliance and any other enemies of the Horde. Our echoed cries of “Peace through annihilation!” rang throughout every corner of Azeroth (“like a damn wolf pack” according to one person). We’ve also done our share of world PVP and battlegrounds, and we’ve managed to obtain every AotC achievement this expansion while still keeping a casual feel to our raid team. One of the earliest events that was popular on the server, so popular, in fact, that it crashed the server, was the King of Rats storyline. King Varian Wrynn was once found in the sewers of Alcaz Island, and The Grim made a storyline about discovering him and using him as a lab rat for plague experiments. When we came back to check on the results, we were accompanied by other Horde. An Alliance force, led by the Ironforge Regiment, was there to meet us. The battle was short-lived; apparently the servers back then couldn't handle two full raid groups of Horde fighting against four full raid groups of the Alliance. Cristok's Challenge was a popular event that started in Burning Crusades. A formal dueling tournament among Horde members, the purpose of the Challenge was to both prepare the heroes of the Horde to fight the forces of the Alliance and as a show of force. Also during this time, The Grim began weekly assaults on the fortress of Theramore. Fabled Order, an Alliance group of Paladins, stood as the main defense for the last living citizens of the kingdom of Lordaeron. During the Wrath of the Lich King, we led a massive assault, later known as The Drums of War, which raged across the capitals of the people of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Despite the threats from the Lich King in Northrend, the heroes of the Horde and the Alliance finally faced each other in open conflict. In the end, the Horde was successful in a coordinated attack on the Exodar, Ironforge, Darnassus, and Stormwind – seeing to the defeat of both hero and civilian alike. Arguably, the Drums of War was the start of the downward spiral of Alliance heroes until the discovery of Pandaria. During Cataclysm, Cristok and Leyujin led Onslaughts--various RPPvP storylines and events. One was "The Doom of Stormwind." In an attempt to destroy Stormwind from afar, The Grim had developed a plan to use Ragnaros’s energies, contained within a cannon shell, to be fired from Bilgewater Harbor against the White City. The plan was derailed due to the efforts of the Praetorian Guard, a highly trained Alliance military outfit that struck several successful raids against Grim depots that housed the materials needed for the superweapon. During Warlords of Draenor, members of The Grim participated in large storylines led by other members of the Twisting Nether & Ravenholdt community, such as Eclipse, Quorum, and Hollow, just to name a few. There was also the informal war between The Grim and Sanctuary. Unfortunately, since the launch of Legion, the server community population has greatly declined, or at least gone mostly absent from the game. RP guilds have disappeared, whether to leaving the game, disbanding, transferring to other servers, or just becoming less active in-game. For The Grim, Legion has been an expansion of struggles to find people to play with. Roleplay in-game has been scarce, attendance at Grim planned events was a mere handful of people, we often had to struggle to find a sufficient number of people to raid, and our Rated Battleground Team disintegrated with the loss of a few people, because there was nobody to replace them. Recruiting has been extremely painful due to the lack of population remaining here on the server. After a very long period of consideration, and trying to come up with other ideas, The Grim has made the difficult decision to move to a more active server where, hopefully, we can once again be part of an active roleplaying community in the game. Sometime this weekend, The Grim will transfer to the Wyrmrest Accord server. Farewell, Twisting Nether. We hope you have lots of fun and success in BfA. "I can’t stop now. The War demands much of us all, and this is no time to falter." - Cristok, former Hand of the Mandate.
  42. 1 point
    "Relax," the orc said. She gave the bartender a nod, who moved away to go help other customers. "I'm not going to hurt you." "Who are you?" Xara said. "What have you done?" The orc glanced around, then set down the mug she was carrying and turned to Xara. She gave a flick of her hand at the door Xara stood in front of. "Let's go outside to talk." Room to maneuver was Xara's friend in combat, and innocent bystanders were not, so Xara nodded warily and withdrew from the tavern. Outside, the city street of Orgrimmar was dirt-packed and solid beneath her feet, reassuring. She kept the orc in sight as she followed. Lupa stayed at Xara's side, gliding smoothly, her gaze also never leaving the orc. "Where's the glowing blue dog?" the orc asked as she came to a stop opposite Xara in the street. Her posture was relaxed. "None of your business," Xara said tersely. "Who are you?" The orc looked at Xara measuringly. Her expression, the way she held her head... She was just so damn familiar, it was like Xara did know her, though she was sure she didn't. There was no analogy for it. "You know who I am." "Show me your hands," Xara demanded. The orc raised her eyebrows, but lifted her hands. Without needing to be asked, she took off both gloves and showed Xara the backs. Both were unmarked. "What the fuck," Xara said again, this time adding, "are you." The orc grinned, almost a smirk, a fang flashing between her lips. She tucked her gloves into her belt and shrugged, folding her arms. "No one important to you anymore. How about that." Xara wasn't normally given to hyperbole, but she felt like she might shoot this orc after all if she didn't get a real answer in the next ten seconds. "Who the fuck are you." The orc sighed. "Daçiana. My name is Daçiana. But you knew me as..." "Accalia," Xara said.
  43. 1 point
    Full Name: Goreth Nicknames: Ret Date of Birth: Year 600 by the King’s Calendar Age: 26 Race: Mag’har Orc Gender: Male Hair: Jet black Skin: Reddish-brown Eyes: Amber Height: 6’5” Weight: 232 lbs Place of residence: Orgrimmar Place of Birth: Nagrand, Draenor (AU) Known Relatives: Father - Borgug, deceased. Mother - Glasha, deceased. Older sister - Rekamai, missing, presumed dead Religion/Philosophy: Shamanism Occupation: Shaman Group/Guild affiliation: None (yet) Guild Rank: N/A Enemies: Lightforged Draenei Likes: The elements, meditation, other Mag’har orcs Favorite Foods: Pork belly, pastries when he can get them Favorite Drinks: Mead Favorite Colors: Red Weapons of Choice: Maces, axes, shields Dislikes: The Draenei, dishonorable actions Hobbies: Fishing, cooking Physical Features: Heavily muscled like most male Mag’har, but is slim in build. His jet black hair is long on both his head and beard, and is braided throughout. Special Abilities: Has an affinity for air over the other elements Positive Personality Traits: Patience, sense of humor Negative Personality Traits: Has issues forming trust and creating long lasting relationships with others Misc. Quirks: None Played by What Famous Person: N/A Theme Songs: None History: Goreth was born in AU Nagrand, Draenor, to Borgug, a shaman, and Glasha, a blademaster. A member of the Frostwolf Clan, he had a traditional orc upbringing, going through all the rites and trials that would be expected of any orc, with his parents originally planning to have him follow in his mother’s footsteps, same as his older sister, Rekamai. This changed, however, when Goreth began to show an affinity for the elements. Pursuing the shaman’s path, he took to it well, as not only did it suit his gentler nature, but he had a natural connection with the elements. Upon coming of age, Goreth embarked on his journey to the Throne of the Elements to seek the blessings of the spirits, and to attune his mind to the elements. He would return a few years later, a fully fledged shaman, taking his place at his father’s side a spiritual leader for his people. It was during this time that the Draenei would begin their attempts at “converting” their once orcish allies to the Light. Both on the front lines wielding the fury of the elements, and acting as healer to the many wounds inflicted by their pursuers, Goreth pressed on, suffering both the loss of his mother and father during a skirmish. Soon after, Horde emissaries emerged from the Nether, seeking the aid of the Mag’har. In the battle that followed, Goreth and Rekamai became separated in an explosion. He looked frantically for her among the debris and bodies, but could not find her. Forced into a retreat, Goreth fled. With Grom Hellscream leading one last charge against the Draenei, and presuming his sister to be dead, Goreth followed the Horde into Azeroth where he would make his new home, and fight for his new allies. Edit: Updated age and birth year
  44. 1 point
    The next morning she had stopped in Echo Isles to start searching for more information, and that's where she discovered two things: one, that it had been six months she had been gone, and two, the pleasant coincidence that a boat sailed from the Isles to Zuldazar every day. Thus she had ended up in the Zandalari capital city that very afternoon for the price of only two gold, her journey more direct than it had any right to be, though at that point she was on her own to figure out where to go from there. She'd only had the one idea of where to start looking for him. As she stepped into the sailors' tavern, she gave herself a moment to adjust to the interior. The tavern music was loud and heavy on the drums, but the addition of stringed instruments added a strangely elven vibe. Within, sailors threw knives at targets, quaffed drinks, and brawled. Most were Zandalari, but grizzled orcs staked their claim. In a corner, two goblins, a Farraki troll, and a single Forsaken were engaged in a game of cards, and laughed in unmistakable Orcish lilts. One of the goblins clutched her hair and bemoaned whatever she'd lost in the exchange. Juli was standing there, pondering whom to approach, when the female goblin noticed her and seemed to brighten with hope. "Hey! You!" she called to Juli. "You're a paladin, aintcha? I just lost my staff. Really, really a shame. Can barely call down the Light on my allies here. Mind helping a fellow girl out?" Not offering any corrections, Juli approached. "What do you need?" she inquired. "Just uh, you mind spotting me some coin? Just three gold, enough to buy back my staff." The female smiled coyly, batting her eyelashes. "I'll do anything you might need. Y'know, 'cause we're fellow travelers on the path of the Light." Juli reached into her satchel and pulled out her remaining three gold. "Just help me find someone. His name is Kex'ti. Sin'dorei, white hair, a little weathered, likes to punch and use the mists like a monk." The goblin quickly grabbed the three gold, but didn't hesitate to turn to her companions. Her voice, known to the other regulars, elicited attention as she spoke loudly. "Hey, any'a youse know anything about an old blood elf monk guy?" She set down the coins and pulled back an ornate, gaudy staff. "I've seen one or two," spoke up one of the orcs. "You might try checking up at the Great Seal." He addressed Juli. "Hell of a climb, 'specially in plate. Ask for one of the Paku'ai to send you up." If Kex'ti had kept to bartending, or underground fighting, these people would have known him. This Great Seal seemed like her only remaining lead, weak though it was. "Thank you," she said, and once more left without a backwards glance. "That's it?" Juli heard the goblin say, then, with a shrug in her voice, "All right, boys, buy me back in. I'm gonna win this one."
  45. 1 point
    Bitterly cold winds whipped around the summit of Highmountain. Ice and rain kicked up by the storm tore into and around around the pair that was working their way towards the summit, struggling intermittently against the heavy gusts heavy rain. Despite the saddle that rested on the Frostwolf's back, Garinth trudged stoically alongside his partner. Wrapped in heavy armor and the thick furs traditional for his clan, his progress was slow in the thin air. It had been hours since they had set out on the last leg of their path, and the half-orc was grateful when the heavily built longhouse came into sight ahead. A flash of lightning illuminated the area more brightly, pulverizing the rock it struck and sending a crash of thunder across the crag. Undaunted, Garinth guided his partner through the storm and up to the heavy wooden door that protected the structure. His fist thudded against it three times, then again after a few moments without a response. Finally, a bar on the door could be heard being removed from the other side. An old highmountain tauren appeared a moment later, looking over the guest and scoffing. "I should have known," the elder said in taur'ahe, then moved out of the way. "Get inside little wolf, before your friend freezes." Garinth ushered the massive frostwolf inside, and then followed after. "He's fine," Garinth managed to reply from under the wrap covering his face, turning around to look at his host. "And I couldn't wait for the storm to pass." He pulled the helmet and scarf free of his face, watching as the door was barred again. "Things aren't in the greatest shape back home at the moment, and I need to be able to get back." “That seems a constant state for your or your home,” was the swift reply, followed immediately by a cautious study of the half-orc. “The letter said you wished to study the runes that sealed the nercodark and the abomination? Why?” “I don’t think what happened here was isolated Holun, and I don’t think I know anyone who is actively trying to work to protect against it.” Garinth moved quickly to shed the wet layers of fur from himself as he spoke, stacking the garments in a pile near the fire. “I know you can’t tell me anything without getting into some trouble, so I am just asking for a place to stay. I know some of the wards that were used were placed up here. I will try to stay out of your fur as much as possible.” The white furred tauren grumbled something incomprehensible in response, before shaking his head and moving to stoke the fire in the center of the structure. “You will try, but we both know that you won’t Garinth. You will need a guide, and likely…advice. From someone who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks anymore.” There was a subtle shift in the tauren’s manner and voice after the pause, seeming to find more humor in the idea than before. Strangely though, it fated just as abruptly as it came. “Maybe…” Garinth allowed, moving over to Greywind and starting to remove some of the packs that been attached to the frostwolf’s harness. “But at least I brought some compensation for you this time. Cured pork, whiskey, and some of the herbs you like to apply to your knees.” Thunder cracked again outside, interrupting the explanation briefly. It drew the half-orc’s attention to the door, but after a few heartbeats he resumed freeing his partner of the heavy burden he carried. “Honestly though, I’d give them to you just for letting me in.” The tauren chuckled at that, but let the young half-orc work. “We can discuss it after the two of you warm up some. The storm won’t let up until tomorrow morning anyway. We’ll have plenty of time.”
  46. 1 point
    “…can sneak up and be in place to support the injured falling…back. Sir?” Blinking once Sol shook his head and glanced around with a somewhat confused look. This had already happened hadn’t it? “Sir are you alright?” Apparently not. Rubbing his face roughly the paladin turned to the man who was talking. One of his assistants, what were they talking about? “Fine, sorry simply tired. Go over that once more?” The man gave him a concerned look but turned back to the notes on the table between them “I was saying that if we fall out now and shift our position we can be in place when the inevitable wounded start arriving.” Nodding the paladin stood and waved a hand “See to it then.” The priest saluted and slipped out of the tent leaving Sol to stare at the canvas wall with a frown. He wasn’t left to his thoughts long as a scratch at the flap announced the arrival of his squire. “Dalithen. Anything to report?” “Nothing of interest. Horde is stalled so we’ve been tending to the scrapes that get filtered back to us.” Sinking down on his cot Dal shot Sol a look”This is gonna be bad isn’t it dad?” Sinking onto his own Sol just gave his son a tight lipped smile in return “We knew it was going to be with that right turn.” ——————- “Commander! We’re under attack, left flank!” Letting out an oath Sol kicked his horse into a gallop “On it. Get the injured and priests to the center!” As his men scrambled to follow his orders the paladin lunged off of his charger letting it dissipate back into the light and took a quick look around. Kaldorei? Here? No, this was wrong. The faces were wrong, he was wrong. Giving his head another shake Sol shook out his flail then took a defensive stance. If need be he would defend those they were protecting with his life but he really really hoped it would come to that. “Stand ready, here they come!” The night elven charge was strange to behold, the normally graceful movements were broken and disjointed as if they themselves had too many joints. It was only when they got closer that Sol realized this was because to a man the force was made of walking corpses. Inhaling sharply the paladin moved to consecrate the ground under his feet only to scream in pain as the light itself turned against him. Undeterred by the show of light the night elven corpses marched through the Sin'dorei forces knocking aside any they cam in contact with till they stood surrounding Sol. Twisting in place the paladin gave them a pained look “What are you doing? Why are you doing this? We are not part of the slaughter!” If the corpses cared for his words they did not show it. As one the group closed in reaching out to drag the paladin down into darkness. ——————- Sitting up with a gasp Sol let out a groan as his arm and ribs protested the movement. Looking around groggily he did his best to figure out where he was before finally sinking back down. He was at the hospital with Dustin. There had been no night elves, no ambush aside from the one Dustin’s mercenaries had set and most importantly no light turning against him. Pushing the sweat soaked hair back from his eyes Sol stared up at the ceiling. Strange dreams indeed.
  47. 1 point
    Birgitte blinked her glowing yellow eyes as she looked down at the unconscious woman in the water. It happened on occasion that someone came through a portal in a state of distress, but it wasn't so frequent that she was unsurprised. She waved an arm at the Forsaken men standing around. "What do you think, Father?" Birgitte asked. "We clearly have to get her out of the water," Father Cobb said as he stepped into the shallow pool, soaking his robes. He held out a glowing hand as he tried to staunch the stranger's immediate bleeding. "I don't think I can lift her," Birgitte said, looking around at the others. They each shrugged in turn. "I'm sure we could drag her out of there together, but maybe better run and fetch one of the Tauren." Sokanon was standing just up the slope from the Pools of Vision, near the Festival Fire, dragging a freshly made stretcher behind her. When a walking corpse accosted her, waving his hands frantically and asking for help, through her shock she managed, "Of course, of course, show me where." While her instinct was to provide aid where it was needed, Thunder Bluff was not her city. In fact, she had only left Highmountain for the first time a few weeks ago. She had only headed up onto the Bluff at all because the animal she had been attempting to tame nearby was injured, and she needed a stretcher if she was going to move it to safety before it was attacked by predators. She had seen enough of the Horde between Highmountain and Orgrimmar to know that the Forsaken were a thing, and generally they were helpful, but she hadn't interacted with them personally and she found them disconcerting. The dead were to be spoken with as spirits, not as bodies. It was only as she was led into the darkness of the cave that she hesitated, suddenly wary that perhaps she should have questioned the dead man's honesty, but when she saw the commotion around the pool at the back of the cave, Sokanon nodded, determined to help. None of the Forsaken seemed to want to touch the injured woman, and Sokanon wasn't sure why. Had they seen something that made them hesitate? Was it something about the woman herself? They didn't particularly seem to want to share either when she asked. Sokanon herself wasn't the type to rest on etiquette and with a nod from Father Cobb and the help of a Bluffwatcher, they placed the woman immediately onto her stretcher -- one designed to be dragged alone, but easily carried with help. They moved Ninorra quickly and carefully up to the warmth and air of Spirit Rise, followed by the priests and joined by Tauren healers from around the Rise. When Ninorra was laid still and while she was being tended, Sokanon knelt next to the elf woman and went through her red and black robes, looking for anything that might identify her. Sokanon found only a tube of paint and a handful of small stones, most of which were green and gave off a dull glow that made the Tauren uncomfortable, but one of which was white with a symbol. She frowned as she examined the stones, then as she was about to return them to the woman, the white one made a sound? It was speaking? She acknowledged she'd led a sheltered life, but each new form of magic she encountered was stranger than the last. She paused, staring at the thing, waiting for it to speak again. When it remained silent, she spoke to it in turn. "He-hello?"
  48. 1 point
    Quel’thalas It was so close to the Undercity. Sometimes that closeness struck Steinburg as he walked through the lush Eversong woods, crimson leaves on white barked trees casting a warm glow on the forest floor. It was all so beautiful, and once, so too was Lordaeron. His thoughts were with the dark kingdom, buried beneath the bones of its people as he and Catalinetta rode on the back of her death charger. He held on to the elf, her body so much stronger than is in undeath, and was grateful that she never flinched. They were both undead, but there was an obvious difference between death knights and the Forsaken. Catalinetta in particular seemed well preserved to the point where she gave off no rotting smell, and the blood magic fueling her strength allowed an unnatural life-like pulse to flow through her veins. They didn’t speak as they rode, but he encouraged her to move fast. As they left the city, Cat noticed that Steinburg was unusually watchful, as if worried that even here he might be stopped by someone. Who would stop him in Quel’thalas, she wondered? Who would stop him anywhere? Eventually they reached Bloodstone Manor, following Steinburg’s directions to find an unmarked path through Eversong Woods. The Bloodstones enjoyed their privacy, and the way didn’t seem overly used. It wound through trees and overgrowth, eventually giving way to a gold gate flanked by a tall wall that surrounded a large plot of land. Past the gate, Cat could see the manor standing tall beside a pond and a stable. It was an old building, and if uncared for it might have seemed menacing. There was a warmth to it however, in the red and gold paint and white bricks. A few waterfowl played in the small pond nearby. “Allow me,” Steinburg said as he slid from behind Cat and on to the ground, grabbing what looked like a ring from his pocket to place within a keyhole on the gate. A tiny click sounded, and the gates opened. “I don’t think I’ve ever been here before,” Cat said in awe of the place, still unaccustomed to the way Silvermoon aristocracy lived. She dismissed her mount with a wave of one plate covered hand and followed Steinburg inside, allowing the gate to close behind them. “The Bloodstones will not mind your company, if that worries you,” the Forsaken said reassuringly, appearing at last to be comfortable speaking again. He walked her toward the house, their path lined with thick flagstones the color of pink coral. “I lived here for quite some time after our guild hall in Orgrimmar was destroyed. Ninorra brought me here, herself. She wasn’t concerned with the Warchief’s finding us, which was when I realized that this was a safe place. Vicailde has placed all sorts of his inventions around the home, to block it from prying eyes and ears.” “But I don’t understand, who’d be following you?” Cat asked, her own long ears twitching for the sound of any spies. Steinburg reached the door and again pressed his ring to the keyhole. Another click, and he opened the door with a push of his hand. Still unable to say what he wanted outside, he nodded toward the foyer. Cat entered a room decorated with long crimson curtains and the portraits of old powerful high elves, their disapproving eyes staring down at both death knight and Forsaken. Closing the door behind them, Steinburg let out a breathless sigh. “Dark rangers,” he answered. “Sent by the dark lady.” “The Warchief?” Cat whispered, unable to hide the horror in her voice. For all the rumors surrounding Sylvanas, Cat had a difficult time imagining why she would want to trail an accountant. “But why??” Steinburg seemed to relax in the manor, undoing the hooded cloak from his neck to hang it near a series of beautifully lined and embroidered cloaks and jackets. Cat supposed that the more flowy ones belonged to the lady of the house, though nobody else seemed to be around at the moment. “Because she’s keeping an eye on us,” he answered, finally taking the time to brush his hair with long bony fingers. “Come sit with me, it’s been a while since I’ve been somewhere comfortable,” he said in his usual tone. Steinburg might have been Forsaken, but he was not against creature comforts. Leading Cat into a sitting room, she was at once awed by the garish colors inside. Bright crimson and gold plush furniture covered in throw pillows embroidered with animal print greeted them. “Woah,” she said quietly, looking around curiously. “This place is awesome.” Steinburg chuckled and sat down in one of the sofas, sighing as the soft down cushion cradled his bones again. “Ninorra takes pride in her decorating,” he said with the hint of a smile before continuing his story. “Cat, it’s been a while since you’ve been to Undercity, hasn’t it?” Sitting down opposite of him, the death knight nodded. “Ever since I… well,” she stopped herself. “..I guess ever since I got engaged. The last time I was there, a friend stitched up my death wound.” Steinburg nodded. “Well. For the best, really. As I recall, your lover is living? There aren’t many who would take to that as good news. Some, sure, but… giving people the kind of hope that their undeath might be looked past… sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Congratulations on your engagement, Cat. You deserve to be happy, truly.” A pang of guilt hit the death knight’s stomach as the truth bit into her like an angry chipmunk. Of course, being accepted by the living was difficult, and she had gone to great lengths to make Kreyen more comfortable with what she was. It was hard on him at first, she knew that. How much harder it would have been on a Forsaken, whose bones and flesh were exposed and rotting, that much she couldn’t imagine. “…thank you, Steinburg. I’m sorry, I know it’s not the same for your people.” “No it isn’t,” he concurred. “And to tell you why, you must understand. I’m not bitter toward you, Cat. You and your fellow death knights are privileged in that you have the ability to connect with people in a way we cannot. Loved ones, for example. You may be undead, but you can still see your fellow Sin’dorei. The same goes for the orcish death knights, the tauren and so forth. Now, I know that can’t be easy,” he said quickly. “I know that many of the living are not accepting of your kind, but… at least you have the chance to try.” Cat turned her head to one side, trying to understand. “Well, I guess we do. I know I did. I reconnected with my brother and my aunt, but… I guess… that’s not the same as the Forsaken. I guess you all don’t really have much of a chance to talk to other humans, do you?” Steinburg smiled sadly. “Well. We did. For a brief moment, we did. Tell me, what did you hear about the Desolate council, Cat?” A change in subject. She shrugged and shook her head. “I heard they were governing Undercity while Sylvanas was gone.” “Yes, that’s right. That’s what I heard too, when I arrived,” he explained, leaning back in his seat. “I wanted to help. Damian is old enough to be in school, I had little to do here, so I went to help my fellow Forsaken. I’m a good bookkeeper, you know. The council needed a hand. They were kind, they only wanted to make things easy for their people. They were compassionate. They, like many other Forsaken, weren’t bitter about their situation. They wanted to make the best of things. Some of them even still had living relatives that they wanted to see, someday. Of course, that much is impossible. We assumed all humans saw us as monsters, and what relative would want to see their dead family?” Cat felt her stomach lurch. Her own brother seemed less disgusted than distraught when he saw her, but what would he have done if she was missing an entire jaw like some Forsaken she knew? “Yeah, I… I can see why that’d be hard.” “Hard, but not impossible,” he continued. “Can you believe that King Wrynn actually wanted to help? Apparently his own servant was married to a member of the council. Something in him thought that maybe, if he could reunite some families… I don’t know. But Archbishop Faol helped him, and somehow they managed to make some sort of… I guess a deal? She allowed the council to meet with their families. Those who had family, anyway… those who had family willing to meet them.” Cat’s eyes were as wide as saucers. The Warchief, allowing a reunion? That was a surprise. It never would have occurred to her that Sylvanas would actually allow something so reasonable or peaceful to happen. “That’s… that’s great! Wow, what a nice thing to do! King Wrynn must have been up against a lot to even suggest that,” she said with awe, picturing the human king in his white armor flanked by advisors telling him not to do the right thing. “The Light must’v really blessed him with bravery!” “…yes, well,” Steinburg muttered. “It was brave. Foolish maybe, but brave certainly. Anyhow, during the reunion, apparently some of the Forsaken attempted to defect.” “What!?” Steinburg held up a hand. “It wasn’t all of them. It was some. Sylvanas sounded the horn, and the rest ran back to their side. To the queen.” “What happened to the defectors??” Cat asked in a loud and almost screechy voice. “Killed by dark rangers,” Steinburg answered, then paused before continuing. “…along with the rest.” The death knight blinked in confusion. “What do you mean? The humans?” “No, the humans were completely unharmed. The Alliance humans, anyhow,” he added bitterly. “The dark rangers killed every one of the Desolate Council who met with family. Even the ones who returned. She killed them all, Catalinetta.” Her face went through a range of emotions. Shock, confusion, and finally anger. “I don’t… I don’t understand. Why would she do that?” “Because that’s how she keeps her power, Cat,” the Forsaken muttered. “Not like the human king. Not like Thrall. Sylvanas doesn’t command an army by playing the savior, or the saint. Sylvanas keeps her grip on her people by reminding us that life is hopeless, that nobody wants us, and that if the humans had their say we would all be dead. Those members of the council whose family members couldn’t bear to see them? Those, she allowed to live. Those who live in sorrow, who are truly ‘desolate’. Those are her Forsaken, and there is no room there for dissent or argument. There is no room for people like me.” For a while, Cat was quiet. The Forsaken were a people she felt she could relate to, once. Dead, forgotten, but for the most part, accepting of their situation. Now she realized there was so much she didn’t understand, so much she took for granted. The way people accepted her, the love of her family, and the freedom to express those things. The Forsaken didn’t have any of it, and it seemed Sylvannas’ goal was to keep it that way. “Steinburg,” she murmured, eyes lowered to the coffee table littered with romance novels. “I… I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.” The Forsaken cracked another smile, flakes of peeling flesh falling from his lips. “It’s not your fault, Cat. You died like the rest of us, but you were lucky with your circumstances. The Forsaken are indeed forsaken, and that’s how the Warchief wants it. I can’t personally say that I’d be content to live that way. At least here, there’s a little happiness. I might not ever see my relatives, or have my own children, but I’ve been given the gift of a second life in which I can at least help raise them. I can live in my own way. I know there are plenty of Forsaken who don’t want that, but for those who do I only wish I could help them, or that the dark lady would give us the freedom she keeps saying we have.” Cat’s ears had drooped low in her sadness. Not just for the Forsaken killed by their own leader, but for the Warchief she knew that she couldn’t trust. Having joined the Horde and died with Thrall as their Warchief, she once knew that their leader was someone she could trust to hold their best interest at heart. Since waking from the dead, however, it was like a never ending series of terrible leaders. She had already cast aside her loyalty to the Lich King, to Bolvar. Now she wondered if she’d have to do the same to the dark lady. “Be careful with this information, Cat,” Steinburg said, serious again. “Words travel, and the dark rangers can hide in places you’d never think to look. I don’t know what Sylvanas plans on doing, but she’s got Undercity under her thumb. Books about old Lordaeron are banned. Anyone saying anything kind about the living are looked at with suspicion. I don’t know what it’s like outside of Undercity, but I don’t know if anyone outside of the Forsaken will even care about—“ “Of course we’ll care!” Cat said quickly, loudly, and maybe too fast. “We care. I care. I’ll tell the Warboss, okay? I’ll be careful. I’ll be very careful, Steinburg. I have to be, I’m supposed to get married, we’re supposed to be… things are supposed to be normal.” Steinburg laughed, genuinely laughed, and shook his head. “Oh Cat. I never get tired of your optimism.”
  49. 1 point
    Here's a handy dandy template! (Number of bullet points is just a suggestion)
  50. 1 point
    until
    All that hear the call are to gather in Thunder Bluff on the Elder Rise at the eight bell.