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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. 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.
  6. 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!"
  7. 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. ]]
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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
    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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.”
  14. 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.”
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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. >:)
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 2 points
    The Grim was always a good fight, best of luck to you.
  23. 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. ❤️
  24. 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!
  25. 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!
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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?
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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))
  34. 2 points
    [[Closed! Good luck everyone!]]
  35. 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!***))
  36. 1 point
    You guys were great, thanks for all the memories and such! Sowell/Dobzhansky
  37. 1 point
    A ‘leaked tip’ and a couple of bribed civilians had lead to this moment in the final hours of the night. Two women stood in the Evermoon Commons alleyway amongst the corpses of several patrols of Nightwatch guards that lay where they had been cut down. The Nightwatch had thought themselves the ones laying the trap for those who dared ply their trade in contraband of Arcwine rations--instead they found themselves the prey, mere fodder some grander design by the enigmatic Commander Kal’une Danteur of the Ebonfeathers. Pelande Aijatar ran a torn scrap of cloth over the end of her spear and then tossed it to the ground, avoiding letting her gaze linger too long on the faces of the dead. Focus was key; she couldn’t let conflicting feelings get in the way. In youth she’d seen the guard as some unshakable force and somewhat aspired to them. Now fear and chaos were getting the better of them as the city descended into further disarray. Unrefined blade strokes, rushed and weak defense, topped off with sudden and unclear orders from the officers: a formula for a messy counter-attack that ultimately failed. Pelande made one more vigilant scan of their surroundings before looking to her mission partner to see how she was faring. Her partner that was cleaning her blade, seemingly taking the lectures she received from the previous missions to heart. And then she froze as her eyes locked onto an intruder of their little operation. For a moment there was silence as the man looked on at horror of the carnage the two women created. Isabaele watched the man intently, waiting to see his reaction. When he screamed for the other guards as he bolted in the opposite direction, she gave an audible sigh. “Damn.” Her soft voice conflicting with the swear. “I’ll take care of the Crier.” And with that there was the familiar arcane pop as she began her chase. Pelande raised a brow at the swear almost imperceptibly, noting how Isabaele’s tone never seemed to match her words when these happened, and gave her a silent nod of confirmation. She didn’t have to understand this strange woman to find her reliable. Reliable, and quick. From the sound of it, the man had hardly rounded the corner when Pelande’s compariot caught up to him with a crash that silenced his cries for help. Then the pool of blood leaked within her view. “Stop in the name of the Grand Magistrix, Murderer!” Commanded a new voice. This was quickly followed by the reappearance of Isabaele popping into existence. “...That didn’t go as cleanly as I like.” ...So perhaps not as reliable. The girl sprinted to grab Pelande’s hand. “We got company! Run!” Pelande quickly obliged, letting out a an audible sigh for no other reason than to let Isabaele hear her disappointment. Perhaps if she wasn’t so eager and using her little arcane teleport she would be able to scout out a situation rather than just appearing in the middle of it? Pelande tucked that little note away in the back of her mind to bring up later, when things weren’t quite so chaotic. “Don’t worry, P, we got this!” The smaller woman looked back at her as they sprinted down the alleyway as another patrol of the Duskwatch turned the corner in pursuit, spotting their fallen comrades. “Rebels! Sound the alarms, don’t let them get away!” “Shit. Shit. Shit.” Isabaele stuck her left hand to her ear, her index and middle finger pointing to the sky as her thumb created a right angle. “Things got kinda hairy out here, we could use some help, M!” A pause. And then Isabaele nodded before looking back at Pelande. “This way!” With a yank she pulled the the warrior down another connecting alleyway that lead into another street where familiar faces stood awaiting them. Captain Ludrissra and her cohorts, fully armed with weapons drawn. This was too absurd, Pelande thought to herself. Why was this woman latched onto her wrist leading her like an excited child dragging her poor exhausted mother into the Darkmoon Faire? And telling her not to be worried when she was being so jumpy? But wrenching herself free would cost them precious seconds and distance so along she went. There was an instant of cold shock when she saw what awaited them until reason took over, and she remembered. “Looks like you bit off more than you could chew; a rookie mistake.” The Slayer that wore Ludrissra’s face commented before rolling her head in command of the others. She sounded eerily so much like her. “Get out of sight. We’ll take it from here.” “Right! This way, P!” The Rogue pulled at Pelande’s arm once more as they ducked behind some foliage before their surroundings swallowed them in illusion to censor them away from the world. All they could do now is wait as the shouts down the street got louder as their pursuers approached ever closer, and hope that placing their fates in this false-faced Ludrissra would prove fruitful rather than foolhardy. With the concealment in place, Pelande let herself lean against the wall behind them, watching through the veil of leaves. She forced her breathing to slow. Part of her wanted to laugh. ‘Rookie’ was a wonderful understatement, she thought as she dragged a hand through her messy hair. Pelande eyed Isabaele, who was fixated on the scene about to unfold before them. Even with their successes under their belts she knew so little about her, and Pelande herself had been so guarded, perhaps that was damaging their teamwork. “Captain! Did you see two women run this way?” Called out the leader of the pack of Duskwatch that were hot on their trails. “They’re suspected rebels that set up an ambush in the Illicit Arcwine sting.” “And you let them out of your sight?” Scoffed Ludrissra as she turned to her comrades. “Imbeciles!” “Well-- I--” “No matter. Let’s find your runaways before the Grandmagistrix’s court gets wind of your blunder. Volroux, you take the right, we’ll take the left.” “Y-yes ma’am!” Ludrissra shot a single glance at the duo that hid under illusion before casting her eyes up towards the crowds. “Let’s hope we find them before it rains. Weather has been unpredictable since the fall.” After the crowd cleared, being lead on their fool’s errand of a chase, Isabaele finally let out a breath that she had been holding in. “...That was more exciting than I hoped…” As the illusion faded the rogue went about tying a cord to one of her oddly shaped daggers. “You okay, P?” "Exciting, I'll give you." Pelande pulled herself up but remained against the wall, idly rolling her shoulder. It was the arm Isabaele had dragged her by. Nevertheless there was a wry little smile on her face. "I'm starting to think we need some work, or we're going to run dry on luck eventually." “You’re probably right.” Isabaele’s soft voice little more than a sad coo as she tested the strength of the knot that was tied to the circular handle of the blade. “We probably wasted all those lives because that man stumbled on our work. Do you have any suggestions?” After a little hum of thought, "It seems like... we're both used to fighting alone." It seemed ridiculously obvious once she'd said it, and she fell quiet. A handful of instances came flashing into her mind; the two of them nearly tripping over each other in close quarters, blowing each other's cover, or a weapon swing getting too close for comfort. Isabaele threw the dagger upward, allowing it to entangle itself in the overhand of the roof above. “I guess you’re right. I was trained by solo fighters as well… so it makes sense.” She tugged on the cord to test how well their anchor held. “Want to do some drills or something when we get back?” "That's a start." Pelande reached out, giving it a test of her own, only seeming satisfied once she'd done so. "Or we could ask the one who made us a team. I mean, maybe he sees something we don't." “He sees a lot we don’t. The problem is getting him to actually tell us about it.” Isabaele sighed, oddly negative in terms of the leadership she seemed to have dedicated her life to for as long as Pelande had known her. Then she began her climb up the rope towards the sky. “If we work better as a team, the higher the success rate, the lower the long-term cost.” Pelande climbed along, almost speaking of him as a client on a building project rather than a superior. “I should hope he has enough sense to know that after investing so much in us.” “You can give it a try, but sometimes I think he’s playing a different game than we are. Like he’s testing us for something else than the liberation of our city. Guess it doesn’t hurt… but… He’s not like his brother…” Isabaele spoke in between pulls upwards. “...Sin wanted to empower us in our fight against the Legion and our oppressors. He spoke from a place of empathy, like he had seen this before.” Something else? “What else is there besides fighting the Legion?" Pelande seemed genuinely puzzled. It reflected how little she'd seen of the outside world since their city was sealed; it had drastically narrowed her scope of thinking. "What else could possibly matter when They are on our doorstep?" “I don’t know.” Her compatriot admitted. As the two women reached the summit of the roof of the building they scaled, the Concourse of Destiny greeted them in the foreground. And with it did the Three Armies that had marched onto the Nighthold, lost to time by Elisande’s mighty power. The bulk of the army was to their far right, the Generals to their far left as they led what was supposed to be a glorious march of unity between the relatives of the Nightborne. And in the middle stood a lone warrior in mid stride to reach them. Isabaele had gone silent. It was one thing to know of the events that had taken place on the Concourse; it was another entirely to see it in person. Once one was over the initial shock of seeing all these soldiers and their leaders frozen in place, however, an eeriness settled in. It brought to mind many of the homes and gardens Pelande had built for people more important than herself, the lifelike statues they would adorn their properties with, whose cold stares unsettled her. Her partner was fixated on one, so she drew closer with caution, as if she feared a loud noise would shatter the whole lot of them like glass. “...We were there, you know.” Her partner’s voice soft as an evening breeze. “Sin… he was so proud of them. He said that in spite of their rocky histories, they were making a new future for us…” 'In exchange for what?' was what Pelande wondered, but she kept that to herself, instead musing aloud that: "We were all the same, once." “Once, yes.” Isabaele ripped her eyes of the middle man for a mere moment to retrieve her strange dagger, only to return them as she worked on the knot of cord that remained attached to it. “And perhaps, one day, we can get over our differences and become the same once more. I think… Commander Sin dreams of this, for us to remember the strength we can find in Unity.” She wasn't afraid to voice this doubt. "Things are too diffaerent now. I don't think it'll ever be like that again, and maybe that's okay." Her tone turned thoughtful. "Just because we were all one People doesn't mean things were great." “You don’t think so?” The doubt made her comrade frown as she canted her head, eyes still watching the scene before them. “Maybe you’re right, but I think it’s a lovely dream. Better than being cooped up in a Bubble, don’t you think? "Before I lived in an actual bubble, I lived in a different sort of one." She cracked a smile, crossing her arms across her chest. "My missions with you have been my first taste of life outside of some kind of isolation and I gotta say, I do prefer this." “I like that you’ve joined us too.” A smile formed upon her lips. “...Have you thought about what you want to do when the war is over?” "Nope," Pelande freely admitted, shrugging, but then she paused. "...well..." She tilted her head to the side, ponderous, contemplating whether or not to go on. Ultimately she threw caution to the wind. "I want to see Azeroth. Outsiders talk about such amazing places and I've been stuck here seeing the same sights for ten thousand years. Makes me feel like I need to make up for lost time, you know?" “Could be fun!” Isabaele cheered on the warrior as she actually talked about herself for once. Her attention diverted for the meantime. “...Whoah, are you really ten thousand years old?” She'd gotten this sort of reaction before, usually out of younger work crew on her building sites, so she treated it with the same bemused smile as she usually did. "I don't show it, do I?" she teased. "But, yes. More so, actually. I didn't originally live here. I got sealed in when they put the barrier up, so, it became Home." “Crazy…” Isabaele stared in awe of her elder. “All I knew before the Ebonfeathers picked me up was a single manor… any ideas on what place you want to see first? I’m thinking Silvermoon.” A single manor--well, that sounded familiar. Pelande tucked that away to address later. "The more fantastical the better. I don't remember place names, but I know the stories: a Titan city in the north, a forest full of faerie dragons, and an underground city built by Dwarves.” “It sounds like you got a lot of travelling ahead of you. How are you going to get there?” "However most people do it, I would think. So what are you going to do?" “Promise you won’t laugh?” There was an uncomfortably long silence. Quietly, Pelande clenched her thumb. "Yes." Isabaele nodded once the promise was made, seemingly unphased by the passing of time. “I’m going to marry him.” Her soft voice lacked any sense of irony. She raised her gloved hand, a single finger pointing to the center of the Concourse of Destiny where the singular man frozen in place as he desperately tried to reach the generals at the front. “He saved me from my old life, gave me direction and purpose… he even showed me how to fight. Before him, I was nothing. With him, I will become a proper Lady. We’ll save all the Elven peoples together, for a brighter tomorrow.” The slight pop was masked by the totally casual movement of Pelande's metal-clad heel. After blinking and using her loose hand to tuck some windward hair behind her ear, running the line through her mind over and over to make sure she had it all correct, she very slowly nodded, her gaze moving to the figure Isabaele pointed out. "I... see." Was her partner unstable, or was this the new normal? Pelande decided she had no standard to measure it all by yet, so she reserved judgement. It didn't involve her, right? So no need to worry. Right? "Can I give you a piece of advice?" “Of course, P, I’m sure you have a lot of experience in the ten thousand years you’ve been around!” As always, the younger rogue looked back at Pelande, her soft spoken voice as warm and inviting as always. There was a nearly undetectable rise of one brow; she couldn't decide whether that jarring feeling had been from the perceived sarcasm from her partner, or her own insecurity rearing its ugly head, but it didn't matter. "Never invest all your resources and materials into one project. Always have extras on hand. What if the contractor decides not to pay you? If they decide they don't like the work you did and force you to do more for free?" Pelande was rewarded with a tilt of the girl’s head as she considered the words. “...Okay…” Isabaele’s tone was as gentle as always, making it hard to read if she had truly understand the words of advice given or not. But before it could be pondered upon, the girl changed the subject. “...The alarm bells seem to have stopped. Ready to go home?” That was Home now, Pelande supposed, and she answered with a nod. "Yea, I am. I want some wine." Isabaele nodded before she made the same motion she had earlier in the day. Her hand came to rest parallel with her ear, index and middle finger pointed towards the sky and the thumb at a ninety degree angle. A small light shimmered within her palm. “M, we’re ready. Take us home.” In response a portal of similar shimmering light appeared beside them upon the roof. Isabaele nodded at her partner and motioned towards it as she stole one more look longfully at the Concourse. “We’ll see each other again soon, my prince. I promise.”
  38. 1 point
    12.15.18 So much has happened since I last picked up this book. Teldrassil is burnt to ash. Undercity and Brill are lost to the Alliance. Twilight Empire cornered us in the guildhall, ran us out, and took over the place. Awatu picked Alterac to be our new home. So now we live in among ogres in the middle of nowhere instead of among Forsaken in a respectable town. A couple of the Empire followed me to the farm when I escaped Brill. They took my prisoner—the Tirisfal killer—from me and drove me off my own property. I’m sure they freed the prisoner. I guess they wouldn’t consider her guilty of murder for only killing Forsaken. Since then, the Horde has moved out to Zandalar to make allies of the trolls there. There have been skirmishes here and there with the Alliance since then, in Arathi and Darkshore, and a few on the islands of Zandalar and Kul Tiras, but nothing major. Awatu has named me Irredeemable. I’ve been kept busy organizing our attacks against the Alliance, and planning other hunts and events for Grim, whether for benefit or entertainment. Along with that, I’ve been playing politics with other organizations of the Horde both to make alliances with them and to bolster our own numbers. It has been slow, tedious work to find other organizations like us, that are interested in joining together to hunt Alliance. Killing is so much easier than making friends. I told Canai I would speak to Cobrak and see if any of his company want to fight alongside us as some of them once did. It’s been a while since I visited the Port. I should stop somewhere and get some cookies for Gruk on the way. Darrethy has joined The Grim. I have no doubt his viewpoints and actions are perfectly in line with the Mandate. I’m certain he will be successful here. I saw him at his interview, though I let Qabian do most of the talking, but I haven’t sought him out since. I remember long talks with him and a few others around the fire in the Brokenspear. I stabbed his wife in cold blood once, just to hurt him. I can’t remember now if he had done something to anger me that much, or if I felt too close to him and did it to make him hate me. Maybe a bit of both. Getting too close to someone gives them power over you. It also makes them a target for your enemies. I'm very interested to see how he fares in The Grim.
  39. 1 point
    Set shortly after the Horde's arrival in Zandalar When he had first entered the city, he had felt the subtle weight of the Loas' presence. Dazar'alor was not only the throne of the Zandalari but the oldest, functioning establishment of his entire race. It was a blessed place where every citizen lived, breathed, and died in the shadows of the Wild Spirits. The feeling of being watched should have been expected yet he found his spine tingling almost constantly as he tried to relax and set up trade. He had been given a small section of the street that was one flight of stairs up from the city's bottom tier in which to advertise his wears. Liquor from across the ocean was strangely popular amongst the lower-class population and the fine wine of Dalaran had even caught the eyes of a few priests and nobility. Someone's eyes were always upon him, it was something he used to but he still felt it was something far less innocent than the curious gazes of passerby and envious glares of would-be shoplifters. " Yo boss! We're going to lunch, ya gonna be alright by yaself?" One of his laborers called out suddenly, shaking him from his thoughts. He looked over to where the goblins were tapping their feet impatiently. His wares had been put on display and the rest were stacked neatly in the back of the tent against the wall. He nodded to his men despite his growing unease, assuming a facade of confidence. At least the Bladeguards were in the area this time. He had no time to devote to the brush with the Vilebranch as the sign was flipped to 'open' and curious Zandalari shoppers swarmed his stand. Sample cups were filled rapidly as the populace gawked with undisguised interest at all the new labels and glass designs. Bottles, kegs, jugs, and gold all changed hands so quickly that he was barely given a chance to thank them for their purchase before the next face was shoved forward with a fresh demand. He had worked up a sweat by the time the rush died down several hours later. The crowd had been reduced down to a single line and then, a single person. The man wore a familiar odor of fish, lowtide, and sweat. Definitely a fisherman. " Heard good tings about dat Darkmoon brew. Gimme a pony keg an' make it quick." The customer breathlessly demanded before glancing over his shoulder. Tahzani squatted down on sore, aching legs and hefted a dark wooden barrel marked with the gaudy purple and green of the Faire. " Jah got it mon, but what's de rush?" " De guard just went on break witout replacement." The man stated without elaboration as he snatched the keg and slammed a fistful of scratched coins onto the counter. He left without another word, leaving Tahzani to puzzle out the meaning of the statement by himself. " No guard... What is dis? De Undahbelly?" He called out in a joking tone, earning a curious, uncomprehending look from the Vulpera selling glass jewelry beside him. The chill up his spine slowly grew worse after the man left. It was as if the cause of his discomfort was approaching him. His instinctual dread found evidence to stand on when a new group rounded the corner from the upper levels. Their sandy, light brown hide and vividly red and orange hair marked them as trolls from the Sandfury Tribe. He rolled his aching limbs uncomfortably as they swaggered down the street with a confidence born from a sense of ownership. The bald male leading the pack made a careless gesture to the four who had followed him, allowing them to disperse towards the increasingly skittish vendors. Yet even as the grinning Sandfury walked straight towards him he could not shake the feeling that he was not the one who was watching. The man was armed and clearly not above violence but the fear of an approaching enemy felt different than the dread he had been feeling all day. Maybe he had just grown jaded from all of the psycopaths and armed idiots he had served over the years. Even when the man casually drew his knife to clean his nails while he spoke, it did nothing but raise his heartrate in preparation of the coming conflict. He was not afraid of the man that threatened him in a not-so-subtle matter, he was afraid of the unknown entity that was now watching them both. Even with a knife being waved around mere feet from him, he could not focus on the man. " So? Whatcha say? Ya gonna make it easy on Riki, mm?" " A-ah'm sorry. What was dat again?" Tahzani looked back towards the Sandfury, absorbing the gist of the pitch but nothing specific. " Money ta keep the business protected." The Sandfury repeated with an amused look and the presumed terror. " Ah dunno mon. Ah had a Vilebranch swing by last week an' his rates seemed moah fair. Don' tink ah'm ready ta switch providahs." Tahzani answered with a sarcastic tone and a falsely apologetic smile before he could stop himself. He knew it would not end well but he made sure to savor the dumbfounded expression on the thug's face before it twisted into something far less pleasant. The thug soon graduated to open threats. Promising that nobody was there to save him from fates that included death, skinning, and being killed after already being dead. When asked of the mechanics required for a 'knife wielding moron' to kill someone after they had already been killed, the Sandfury's patience finally wore out. Tahzani jerked his hand back as the blade flashed downward, barely removing the limb from the counter before it could be pinned to the wood. With his eyes on one hand, the mugger had momentarily lost sight of Tahzani's other hand which had dropped beneath the counter. When the Sand troll next raised the knife, Tahzani swung a worn shotgun up to brace against his shoulder in a practiced motion. " Ah told jah. Ah ain't ready ta switch." Tahzani stated struggling to keep himself from looking pleased at the look of shock on the extortionist's face. " Move along." He ordered, twitching the barrel to the left. For a moment, the expression of the other troll gave him hope that the demand would be followed. Hesitation cost him his chance at a lethal shot as the Sandfury lurched forward and to the left while extending the blade in an attempt to drive it into his gut. The bartender squeezed the trigger and went temporarily deaf in the following blast. The thug would survive the shot. Even the ringing in his ears was not enough to drown out the man's agonized howling. The blood puddle was spreading far too slowly for him to have hit anything vital. Screaming profanity and whimpering in turn, the man clutched at the bloody mess of his shoulder. " Ah told jah ah wasn't ready! See what happens when jah don' listen?" " You madafakka!" " Das fair." Tahzani shrugged. The surge of excitement was passing quickly but he knew there would be plenty more. Nobody could ignore the sound of such a discharge. Looking to the side revealed that it was not the guards who had been drawn to the noise but the man's companions. He stepped away from the counter and stood behind the floored thug with the gun held loosely across his chest. The rest of the Sandfury gang came to a stop with only a few yards and a bloodied comrade between them and their quarry. " Ah ain't payin' protection money, ah'm perfectly capable of defendin' mahself." He lied. Almost immediately, they called his bluff. They began to spread out and move around the body towards him, making him take an involuntary step backwards. He raised the gun again, unable to stop his hands from shaking as his heartbeat quickened. " Dunno if jah remembah how dis works but when I squeeze de triggah, bad tings happen. Back off." He wished he could have managed a more authoritarian tone. The group ignored the order and andvanced towards him, unafraid of the weapon and the threat. He rolled back another step to keep his distance and stumbled as his heel hit the curb outside of a busineses in the terrace. His heart sank as he flailed to keep balance and fell in a painfully, uneven posture across the curb. Any chance of being regarded as a threat disappeared like dust in a strong breeze. Something on the wall shifted as the flailing gun smacked against it. The chill up his spine became a coating of solid ice as he looked up at the previously invisible being. The advancing Sandfury stopped mattering as an eight-eyed creature regarded him with a look of contempt. The spider was the size of a mastiff and blended into the wall almost perfectly until it had been jostled by his fall. When it clicked its fangs, Tahzani's composure shattered and he swung the gun around with an undignified, fearful shout. The final shell in the gun killed the creature outright, tearing its head apart in a spray of shredded spider meat and ichor that splattered over his arms, clothes and weapon. The creature fell from the wall and landed upon him as all of its limbs curled in upon its center. He let out a low, keening whine as all of his hair stood on end and his lower half became paralyzed by sheer revulsion. Surprisingly, the Sandfury had stopped to watch the display, they even began to back away at the sight of the dead spider. They muttered under their breath as the bald leader waved a hand dismissively. Over the sound of his own internal screaming he was able to make out the name Yazma before their slow retreat turned into fleeing as fast as they could manage. Tahzani let out a shuddering breath and dropped the ichor stained gun. " Ah hate spidahs." He muttered wearily, trying to shove the corpse off of him. The sound of armor clanking signaled that the replacements for the guards had finally arrived. Tahzani gave them a weak wave after he rolled the corpse off of his legs. " Ey mons, don' worry. De Speakahs a de Sandfury tried ta staht sometin' wit de merchants, dey gone now." He waved towards his stand where only smeared blood, shredded hide, and muscle on the ground remained as evidence of a skirmish. One of the guards spared him an indifferent scowl while his knelt down to heft up the spider's corpse, seemingly angered by the death of the creature. " Ya were told ta watch yaself in our city." The unburdened guard stated tersely, withdrawing a pair of manacles and clapping them tightly around Tahzani's wrists before hauling him to his feet. " Now de peace has been disturbed, someone be leaking blood everywhere. An' one of Yazma's eyes been put out." " Wait wait wait!" Tahzani protested as he was yanked forward by his hands. " Who be Yazma? What be happenin'?" " We be seein' how dey wanna deal wit outsidahs." The guard responded tersely as he lead the hapless bartender away. -------------------------------------------- When the workers returned from lunch, they found the stand abandoned but untouched by the populace even though the bazaar had begun to fill with customers once more. By the end of the night, they broke the stand down and began to gossip about the workaholic's sudden disappearance. Without the troll to order them around the next morning had no reason to even bother setting up his stand again and instead aided with loading the supplies onto the ship. The reason that they had all agreed upon between them was that the troll had finally tasted economic freedom and went mad. At that moment Tahzani was probably overdoing it with any number of vices available, but they were not paid enough to question it further. By the next morning the ship was fully loaded and left with the tide. Tahzani had thrown around the idea that he would finally take some time off enough for it to be plausible that he finally had. Time waited for no one, regardless of if the bartender had checked in or not the company ship had a schedule to keep. So began their journey home, leaving the troll behind to enjoy the city and some well earned relaxation. As the ship set out to deliver its goods to the west, Tahzani was moved to the north in chains.
  40. 1 point
    The Exodar: At last there was a response on his hearthstone, an unfamiliar woman's smoke-roughened voice gave a quivering reply. "Are you, Aruku?" "Yes, where's Janala?!" A pause, then, "I'm... I'm sorry. We got trapped in the burrows. My child and I, she shared her hearthstone with us. We all tried to use, but she didn't... make it." Janala's hearthstone had been set to their home, here on Azuremyst. The bottom dropped out of his previously clenched stomach, leaving him feeling cold and alone. They were gone, his wife and his unborn daughter both. "... Hello?" It took him a long moment to regain enough composure to reply, voice thick with emotion, "Thank you, for letting me know." Long ears wilted and shoulders drooping he stared at what was now the funeral pyre for two of his loved ones, along with many other unfortunates. Some time later his kids found him, having come up to see as well. They all hugged one another, a small family group among the crowd of many. "Where's mom?" One of them asked timidly, afraid of the answer. Looking at the kids surrounding him the young man swallowed his feelings, forcing them to the back and locking them away. Vemy was right, he was going to be needed even more right now. They all were. "Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. She's a druid, she can fly, remember?" Forcing a smile he tried to reassure the kids and keep them calm. Once they weren't needed for the injuries coming from Darnassus, then they could mourn. "But there's gonna be a lot of people from the big tree who'll need our help, so let's go back inside and start, aye?" Giving each a kiss and hug he went back inside with them, dropping them off on the way to the clinic. When he came back the elf was no longer smiling. Instead a subdued, grim person returned and went quietly to work, eyes hollow with pent up loss. Finishing his shift with Vemy he saw her off, then went back in to keep working. Sanjay seemed to have the same idea. The monk had not left the hospital since he returned to the Exodar, and had worked through several assistants in the whirlwind days since. He adopted Aruku during nightly rounds and forced a cup of tea into the elf’s hand. “If you intend to stay and you wish to be useful, you will drink that and steel yourself,” he says. Aruku didn't balk and simply drank the tea, not noticing the taste at all. "Alright." He couldn't sleep anyways. Being assistant to Sanjay kept him occupied and they worked together in quiet accord. It was like a grim test of stamina between the two as they settled into a work rhythm. Working their way through the next few days without sleep and only taking breaks for necessities the pair efficiently treated as many victims and refugees as they could; mostly those folk from Teldrassil or near it who had gotten 'lucky' in escaping via means other than the portal to Stormwind. Azuremyst was the nearest safe port for anyone without teleportation. It was dawning on the third day after the tragedy when the thin blood elf finally collapsed between one step and the next, having driven himself to his limits. Strain lined his face even while unconscious, leaving him looking worn out and used up. With all the beds in the clinic and its overflow area filled it ended up being Vemy who took the exhausted young man home and put him in bed there. With her husband gone there was plenty of room for a scrawny elf and between her shifts she took care of him too. ----------------------------------- Resting he might be in bed but Aruku's mind was fitful, struggling to make sense of everything that had happened. The Horde set fire to Teldrassil, a World tree. Those damn stupid orcs, those hateful undead. Why had no one stopped it? Why had no one stood up? What had the Tauren been doing with all their Earthmother talk? The blood elves should have known destroying a magical world tree was bad! Even the goblins should have recognized that Teldrassil was more profitable existing than being ashes! …. did those in the Horde he had counted as friends, had they been part of this? Had people he'd healed been the cause of this suffering? Even unprovoked, the Horde would attack and kill. They might as well be The Grim. He could feel bitterness replacing the emptiness inside of him, that once had held such love for everyone and everything. Was this how the world had always been, and the Light had just made him blind to it? Without Janala he alone had to raise all these kids; find a way to support, feed and clothe them. Bitterness sparked anger, helplessness turned into frustration. Without magical talent, physical prowess or mental sharpness how was he supposed to do that? Alchemy made some gold, but all the best herbs were in dangerous places. And worst of all he looked like a Horde. Aruku was almost tempted to fix that by embracing the Void but some lingering bit of self preservation kept him from doing it. With the state of mind he was in he'd be lost to it immediately. Driven with no goal he rose, mechanically taking his hearthstone to set up a place for his kids to be taken care of while he lost himself in trying to find a new path to follow, a reason to continue.
  41. 1 point
    Hey out there, just wanted to post a quick hello to all the awesome rp’ers at the TNG. I’ve been an on and off wow player since vanilla with a little bit of content in each x-pac. My last serious RP times were on this very server way back in vanilla as a brief member of the original “Frostwolf Brotherhood” under the leadership of Brakogar. That was some of my all time favourite moments playing wow. So stoked to see that the TNG still exists and is going strong and looking forward to connecting with some RP in the future. Character Bio to come later this week.
  42. 1 point
    Let's try this again, before someone else comes to see me. I haven't written anything in a while. I used to just dump all of my emotions into these journals and in the end I'd feel a little better, but I don't know if it ever solved anything. Lately I think I've been dumping most of those emotions into Garinth, poor guy. He doesn't deserve that, even if he is my shaman. He talked through the Night Vanguard business, the fact that our connection to them makes us a target, and that was important for me to keep in mind when I broke our ties with them. Unfortunately, it goes a lot deeper then that. Because as much as I don't want to put us all at risk, I might consider it if I knew the Vanguard would have our best interests in mind. As it is, I don't think they do, and that's troubling. I don't want to alarm our "in-betweeners", but I think the war is drawing closer to us than we can fight off for much longer. I've already received a request to the warfront in Arathi. The Horde is attempting to gain a foothold in the north. A strategic move, supposedly, but I don't see the benefit of us being there. That's my head talking. My heart wants me to go for stupid reasons, pride especially. If the Alliance does away with our bases in Arathi, Hammerall will go. I have no good memories of Hammefall, really. Nothing but the day Thrall came and liberated us. My father is dead. There's nothing left for me, so why do I want to protect it? Because my mother is buried there, somewhere? It's just earth. It means nothing, except for some stupid reason it means something. I keep trying to remember something, anything good that might make me want to go back, but even my mother trying to protect me is painful. I'm the reason she died. I suppose going to war over bad memories would be a shit way to show my gratitude. Still, there's something in me that wants it. That pride. I know there will be fighting, that brutal bloody warfare that we sing about. I refuse to believe there is honor in attempting to conquer someone else's home, but the Trollbanes aren't weak. They would put up a good fight, and there would be shouts and metal and brutality to remember forever. Just thinking about me gets me anxious. I want what I know is the wrong thing. I just have to distract myself with worthy causes and try to ignore the fact that my birthplace is a battlefield. It's difficult. I miss having someone to talk to. At least the pups are here. They're terrible at cuddling, so I'm teaching them. I hope their new partners appreciate all the work I'm putting into their cuddle training.
  43. 1 point
    “How are you handling things, little wolf?” Holun asked curiously, not struggling on the hike nearly as much as either of the Frostwolf pair. There was little that Garinth could do to rush acclimating to the high altitude, but the work had to be done. All he could do was move slowly and try not to stress himself or Greywind too much. As he looked up to his white furred guide, the tauren added, “Generally, I mean. You seem...perhaps better off than last we met.” Chest heaving as they paused to take a break, Garinth gave a nod. “Your guidance helped,” he replied with a raise of his eyebrows. “I’m not...I’m not trying to use them to be something else anymore. I wasn’t ever going to be what my father was.” The shaman reached for his waterskin then, and took a long draw from the cool water within. “There’s more to it than that,” Holun replied with a wizened smile, his demeanor shifting subtly and growing more relaxed as he leaned against his walking staff. “You carry yourself differently, straighter perhaps. Even your grandmother seemed more at ease when we spoke last night.” That earned a weak smile from the half-orc, and a swift shake of his head. “That’s not entirely my own doing, Holun. I feel, lately at least, that I have been fulfilling my purpose. I’m training with the Winds, but most of my time has been occupied with offering guidance and shelter. The organization I belong to underwent a shuffle of leadership a few months back, and I was called to help with it.” The tauren gave a thoughtful hum in reply, and then made sure that his traveling companions were ready before starting to move up the mountain again. Mid stride, Holun’s shoulders seemed to hunch a little and his age grew more apparent. “Is that why you’re here then? More of this...guidance and shelter business?” “Everyone else is too consumed with the war,” Garinth replied, having to break up his sentences to breathe again as he trudged along behind. Greywind continued alongside him in silence, panting but otherwise seeming mostly at ease in the thing air. “They either want to avoid it or...join it. None of my ancestors have any experience with it. My position...involves keeping members safe so... someone needs to be looking for ways to protect ourselves from these things. And maybe...maybe it’ll help with what’s happening to Azeroth too.” “You’re not a member of the Ring anymore, little wolf,” Holun chided quickly, “If you were, you would know they had already been here to see what could be made of the wards. I doubt you will glean anything they have not already.” The reproach quieted the half-orc, and he resorted to following along in silence afterward. The was plenty enough to look at on the hike, so near to the mountain’s peak granting a broad vantage of the Broken Isles. It was nearly an hour later that they reached their destination, and the tauren stopped to point a a hollow ahead. “That stone in the center there, that marked the location of this ward. We should have a few hours up here before we need to head back down for the day.” The tauren paused then, and gave the shaman a quick look over. “Will that be long enough?” Garinth’s gaze drew distant then, but after a few moments he nodded. “It’ll have to be. Even if I wanted to set up camp here, there’s not enough shelter in that bowl to keep safe from the storms.” Holun gave a simple nod to the half-orc’s appraisal, and began to lead them down into depression.
  44. 1 point
    08.03.18 People are liars, or maybe they’re just fools. They claim to understand what The Grim is, what we do, and what our purpose is. Then, when they witness it in action, they are shocked and disappointed. It is clear to me now why members of The Grim have so few outside friendships. Outsiders sometimes say they want to be friends with us. They say they understand us, and still want to be friends. But they don’t. Not really. They want to be friends with who they want us to be, not with who we really are. They want us to change, to fit into their idea of right and wrong, good and bad. They offer, in their kindness, their support and help if we choose to “improve” ourselves into what they think we should be. To fel with that. I am Grim. I will not change. If people get upset because they see me attack humans, that is their problem. They obviously do not know what it is to be Grim, even though they claim to understand. I make no apology for my actions. I have no regrets. And I will not change. Peace through annihilation. By any means necessary.
  45. 1 point
    The druid of the claw coughs blood up onto my gloves. Her purple skin fades to a dull blue, much closer to mine than any of her race. As I look up and around the fields of Lordaeron I see them...us...dying everywhere. I am Kenjin. A Zandali Troll. A part of the Horde. A member of Sanctuary. That means a lot to me. More importantly, I am a Druid. I have sworn to help who I can and heal any who need it. My true loyalty is to life and nature. I will keep any I can alive. I’ve spent years working with Druids of every race to ensure there is balance in the world. As I hold the night elf, dying, in my arms, I try to figure out how we let it get this far. I feel as if we, the druids, have failed. There has always been a common bond between us, no matter our race or faction. We serve nature. When the “Warchief” struck down Malfurion I was torn. I was furious. He was a symbol of Druidry, not just alliance Druidry, but for all of us. The elf coughs, sputters, and dies in my arms. My healing arts can’t overcome the massive blood loss. I say a blessing as I lay her down to rest on the field of battle, searching for someone I can save. There is a small troll boy, maybe sixteen, but he looks much younger. I run over and begin healing him, hoping I can do something in the face of this stupidity. I look down at his face. ~~~~~~~ The night elf girl looks up at me, confused and hurt. I helped her shift out of her bearform, but that may not have been a good idea. The weapons stuck in her hide that were an inconvenience as a bear are debilitating as an elf. As she looks up at me, I begin a rejuvenation on her. The pain on her face eases and she lets her head relax to the side. That is a mistake. She sees the tree. I’ve been avoiding looking at it. I can’t stand the shame. The feeling of failure. The betrayal of everything I’ve ever stood for. The little elf sees it and collapses. Her wails rip my heart apart. I can’t meet her eyes, right up until the moment her cries die out, and her body goes slack. ~~~~~~~ I lower the troll to the ground, lift my mask and brush the tears off my face. There are more dead or injured here than I could help in a lifetime. That doesn’t mean I should stop. I drop my bear mask back in place and run to the next downed person. A dwarf this time. I start again. ~~~~~~~ I’ve saved a few, most have died. I’m exhausted. I can’t stop now, there are too many that still need help. The fields of Lordaeron are covered with the dead and wounded of both sides. At this point I’m reluctant to consider myself a part of the Horde. As I bend over a human, trying to return her to life, I think back to the druids I have gotten to know since the legion war began. We had, if not peace, then at least a solid understanding between druids of all races. Under Malfurion’s eye we had a community that worked for the betterment of the world. The girl coughs and her eyes open. There is at least one more saved. The gates of Undercity open and a team of Forsaken emerge. They have green, glowing tanks on their backs. I pick up the human girl, looking for someone to hand her off to before I find out what the Forsaken are here to do. As I’m walking toward a group of dwarves I begin to cough. A green fog floats around me. My head goes light and I wonder how we ended up on the ground. My last thought is of a burning tree.
  46. 1 point
    "Warchief.. why?" The voice was frail, and then it was gone. Vilmah stood on the ramparts looking down, following the voices toward the sound of chaos and calamity that erupted outside of the city walls. Down in the field, spreading among the already yellow grass and weeds, a green gas was billowing toward the Alliance. In its wake, bodies were falling. It can't be, Vilmah thought to herself, watching the large bodies hit the ground, horns and antlers of the tauren digging into the dirt. The orcs stumbled a few feet, and fell on their faces. The trolls pinned themselves with their tusks. The goblins fell so quickly, like flies almost, and the elves in all their bravery reached for the sky for a few final words she could not hear. But those orcs were loud, and even as they died they asked; "Warchief, why?" Until the breath left them and the plague continued to cover their corpses, which grew thin and frail as flesh appeared to melt from their bones. Vilmah watched in horror as soldiers of the Horde stumbled, died, and fell apart. The yellowish bones of their corpses lay like stones among the armor and weapons. There wasn't even any blood, really. Just the swift decay of muscle and organs, falling to the earth in graying clumps that disappeared into the dirt. How did she even witness such a thing? She heard the call to arms. Ridan spoke to her through the hearthstone, hours before. "Undercity is under attack!" With Nika and Einar, the three snuck into Undercity disguised as Forsaken. It was chaotic inside, and the Alliance's SI:7 assassins had already stolen into the deepest parts of Lordaeron's crypts. Their mission was simple; rescue Steinburg as Infection rallied to defend their city. Nika and Einar proved a capable duo, and led the Warboss down toward Infection's guildhall. They were briefly intercepted by a priest, though Vilmah's shouting managed to stave off whatever mind control she was capable of. Then he arrived. The High Warlord of Infection. Vilmah had known Keraph since she was old enough to enlist. He saw most orcs as filthy creatures unfit to live on his world and treated Vilmah with only the barest of respect. Back then, they drank together. Traded insults. She called him 'old man', and never considered that someday they might be on sides so opposed that they would actually face one another in battle. Yet here he was, approaching her with a massive axe that seemed almost too big for his bony hands. Nika and Einar were already on their way to getting Steinburg released. "I'll hold him off!" Vilmah had told them. "Don't wait for me!" Nika wanted to argue, but gave Vilmah some smoke bombs instead. It was all she could do when Vilmah was that serious and wanted no argument, but Keraph wasn't going to be distracted by a few smoke bombs. Sanctuary was breaking into his home and retrieving one of his "guests", and that would not stand. "Bloodborne!" He shouted, snarling with yellow decaying teeth. "You traitorous green mongrel!! Have you truly abandoned the Horde so thoroughly as to betray the Warchief while we are under attack!?" "I'm not betraying anyone, Keraph," Vilmah argued, her sword drawn. It was long and thin, nothing compared to Keraph's axe but fluid in Vilmah's slender hands. "I'm just picking up a friend. You can get in my way or you can let me take him home, but I don't think you want to be dealing with me while the Alliance attacks from the outside." The rage in Keraph's face was readable, even from behind his helmet. The Warlord's mouth twisted into a deep frown, the wrinkles and flaking skin of decay contorting with rage. "If you do this there will be no peace for you, or Sanctuary! Do you hear me, Vilmah?" He shouted, using her name now. What did that mean? "You and your little group are going to pay. You will suffer. These are not empty threats, little girl." Her eyes narrowed. The last time someone called her little girls was... "I'm not letting you bully me and my men, Keraph!" The orcess shouted, moving into an offensive stance. Left arm forward, right arm back; Vilmah's thin blade was poised to slash and her knees bent, ready to spring. She and Keraph were both warriors, but their disciplines were different, and hers was fairly new. How long has she been training like that? He thought, raising his axe. "The Alliance has marched forward! their siege weapons are attacking the gates!!" Shouted a voice nearby. Both Keraph and Vilmah's attention were stolen. The Warboss felt a buzzing in her pocket, heard the familiar voice of Nika from afar. We have Steinburg, Warboss! We're going home! Mission complete, Vilmah thought, but Keraph still glared at her. A decision was being made. "Watch yourself, Vilmah," he said finally, through rotting teeth. "The end of your days grows near. You, Sanctuary, and all you hold dear. The Dark Lady will not accept failure, and I will not accept this--" "The boy king has arrived!!" Keraph pursed his crusted lips and pointed the axe at Vilmah. "Soon." And then he was gone. Vilmah stood in position, waiting. Part of her wondered if this was some sort of trick, but that wasn't possible. Keraph's home was being attacked from the outside, surely he wanted nothing more than to cut through the Alliance more than defend his honor against Vilmah. Then again, what honor does he have? She watched him go and ran in another direction, through the sewers, sheathing her blade on the way. The splashing of putrid liquid at her boots was something that no longer reviled her, nor did the smell. She followed the sewers to a secret entrance, one that brought back so many memories. The Alliance attacked from there, once. Led by an ally. A shaman. Outside of the crypts, the Undercity was much louder. The cries of battle were loud and told the tale of a battle still raging. She wanted to help her allies, but from where? Scrambling to the broken bricks and stones of Lordaeron's past, Vilmah climbed up as high as her hands and feet would allow her. Once she climbed high enough to see what was happening outside, Vilmah crouched down and looked for an opportunity to join the Horde in the defense of their city. To join her brothers and sisters as they defended their home. What she saw was poisoned orcs, trolls, tauren and elves. Goblins, too. As she leaned forward to understand, they all fell like sacks of meat, flesh falling from their bones to hit the ground like liquid. "Warchief.. why?" Vilmah hesitated. If she joined them, she too would die. Heart pounding in her chest, she reached for her blade and heard a voice telling her to stop. Be safe, and try to stay out of trouble ha'rega. Clenching her teeth, she made a pained sound and let the sword slide back into it's sheath as a dark presence made itself known. Near the wall, she watched as Sylvanas, their own Warchief, cast what looked like some strange spell. Vilmah was too distracted by Sylvanas to notice that beneath her, bones were stirring. A chattering sound, like the tiny tapping of seashells rattling caught her attention only when it grew so loud that it mimicked a strange music. Turning toward the unsettling noise, her hazel eyes widened in horror at the sight unfolding before her. The soldiers she saw fall in battle were standing. Gone was their flesh, and any semblance of life. They were skeletal, gnarled and twisted, and walked forward with a singular purpose. ..has she killed them just to raise them? Did she become everything she hated about the Lich King? Battle waged below, and Vilmah knew she couldn't stay. She would either enter the fray with the blight at her feet, or escape. Neither seemed both intelligent and honorable. Which to choose? Be safe... "Oh... fine," the orcess muttered, looking into the courtyard. Clenching her jaw, she climbed back down the ramparts and made her way into what looked like a gathering of Horde soldiers. Some of them gave her a curious look, but that look was forgotten when a nearby explosion drew their attention. "They're inside!!" Vilmah shouted, finally drawing her blade. The Alliance was flooding in from the outside. She caught sight of some strange faces in the fray, but was thrown from her concentration as a human soldier caught her attention. He attacked her with a massive broadsword, and while she could defend herself, Vilmah wondered just how much she actually wanted to defeat him. After everything they had done, after watching the war machines torch Teldrassil, why was she fighting for Sylvanas' broken kingdom? Because it was still the Horde. Because Steinburg worked so hard to make it a home, and was nearly killed for it. Because years ago, she came to Undercity as a child, and was welcomed as a friend. Without considering these things outright, Vilmah fought. She was accompanied by other Horde military, but there went enough to hold them all off. She went blow to blow with the human before her, an overhead swing meeting an underhand thrust, steel against steel, honorable combat between two living beings. She swung her blade forward and bit into armor, then flesh. It was a well placed blow and pierced the surface, ripping through muscle to open the human's throat. There was no time to consider this though, and soon enough she was engaged in combat with another human. Then another. Then another. Vilmah was small, but she was experienced. The foot soldiers didn't know what to make of the blademaster in her skant armor, and made the mistake of aiming for her bare torso. Surely it would be easy to slay her by piercing the orcess' stomach, chest, neck. Anything. But they never came close enough. She was fast, and she was willing to accept an injury in exchange for a kill. A few cuts to her shoulder or side were nothing compared to the way her sword slid into someone's lungs. Blood flowed, the smell intoxicating and almost enough to overpower the stench of rot. After an exhausting fight, Vilmah stood among a pile of bodies covered in cuts, her mind cloudy with blood loss. Then she heard the horn. Behind the human she was fighting, a morningstar struck his skull. The human went down in a heap and Vilmah looked into the eyes of her assistance, a Forsaken woman in plate armor. One quick salute and she was gone. Vilmah looked toward the horn and saw that the Horde was retreating. Baine waved his massive arms, calling the remaining Horde soldiers to follow. Without questioning why, Vilmah followed the call to a goblin airship, praying that there were more on the way. But there were no more ships. Huddled among the Horde soldiers gathered by Baine, Vilmah watched as below them, the Undercity became engulfed in green smoke. She knew what that smoke would do to anyone nearby; orc, tauren, goblin, elf, it didn't matter. They all died, and without Sylvanas to raise them, they all remained dead. Still breathing heavily, her wounds began to sting. The adrenaline was fading and the reality of what happened slowly crept into her thoughts. She killed them.. she killed them and raised them, and for what? Undercity is gone.. Undercity is gone.
  47. 1 point
    This… isn’t supposed to happen. It was hard for Svetlaena Ascent to even think for a moment before more coughing racked her body and sent shockwaves through her mind. The Sin’dorei lurched forward and caught herself on her hands and knees amongst sands rapidly being blanketed in ash. Her head was pounding, her eyes stinging and tearing over. Despite the efforts of her lungs to cleanse themselves, all she managed to do was hack some gray slime onto the beach. Not like this. Nearby, the priestess’s hippogryph Ipolit collapsed, breathing but utterly spent, twitching his singed wings every now and then. She watched him for a time to assure herself. Once confirmed, she set about trying to rise to her feet. Easier considered than done. Svetlaena’s head was spinning far too much. It wasn’t just the pain and suffocation, either. She settled for simply kneeling there, falling ash sticking in her frayed hair, and staring back at the horrible beacon of war that the Horde had lit. Not like this… Within this burning ruin of the world tree a dark splotch of smoke amassed into the form of a storm crow as it propelled towards the Sin’dorei woman like a meteor, falling mere feet from her where she knelt. Sand, ash and cinder alike spilled in the area around them as the scent of smoke threatened to overwhelm her once more. As the disturbed debris once more began to settle, a silhouette of a druid stood where the crow had fallen. Standing about a head shorter than the average Kal’dorei female, the figure stood ready for martial combat; one hand held a shard of something, the other balled in a fist illuminated with a blue light. A familiar, wrathful tone of gravel greeted her after a hacking cough. “...I should have guessed... I should have known. Of all people to be spearheading this… atrocity…” ‘Atrocity’ was right. She wanted to tell Vaedoras that, but of all the people on Azeroth, he was probably the least likely to believe her. He had seen her blazing hatred for his people first-hand; an inner fire born of past betrayals and lingering resentment, he himself had been burned by it more than once. She wanted to say that she would have at least taken prisoners. She wanted to tell the druid how she’d tried to save as many as she could until the heat burnt the very air out of her lungs and forced her back for good. She wanted to say so very much, but all Svetlaena managed was more painful coughing fits, shaking her head and hoping the despair in her face and the burns on her skin said enough. “Five years.” The druid growled, gripping on the shard that pulsed with brilliant shades of red as if feeding its owner’s rage. It cut into his skin, blood dropping into the ash-ridden sand. “For five years, I’ve known you a Monster. But She begged me to spare you. She said you could be saved.” Vaedoras began the first step of his march. “And I did, for Her. But what has it cost us? I should have done this a long time ago…” “No. Syl...Sylvanas…” Svetlaena stammered out, trying to explain despite her scorched throat, beginning to realize just how vulnerable she was and just how enraged Vaedoras was. If only She were here. An attempt was made to stand. It failed. She fell back into a sit, reduced to trying to scramble backwards. The head-shaking became more frantic. “I didn’t… I-I wouldn’t… she’s…” And the strain was too much, the small priestess breaking into more coughing spasms, only broken up by the occasional ‘no’. “You wouldn’t?” The rough, incredulous voice raised in indignation at the perceived lie. “I wouldn’t!” Svetlaena spat back, finally with some conviction behind her voice, sounding nearly as rough as the druid in her current state. He would normally have found this absurd, perhaps even laughed at her, but any sense of humor seemed burned with the tree and those within. He continued his grim march towards justice. “You’ve always been an opportunist, I assume those burns are from trying to steal more victims for your wretched sins. Too long have I stood idle, too many have suffered at your hands because of it. I have neglected my burdens from Elune for too long, may I remain forever damned for it.” At this rate, he’d be upon her in moments and she had precious little strength left. The backwards flailing ceased. She raised a hand, realizing he was closing the gap far too fast and trying in vain to halt him. “I know what I’ve done,” her voice cracked, “I know what I am.” Eyes that burned struggled to focus on his to convey her honesty. “It isn’t this!” “Is that so?” Short as he may be in comparison of his own people, he still towered over the priestess. Behind him his trail was marked by his own blood, that which stained the crystalline shard that he pointed at her. “This is your last chance to confess, Svetlaena Ascent. May Elune hear you and judge you accordingly.” Cornered, guilt-ridden and at the peak of frustration, she slammed her fist into the sand beside her, “She won’t hear me. Nor will she hear you, nor did she hear them--” she gestured to the tree. “I saved as many as I could. She did nothing.” “Then I will serve in her place.” His natural fangs remained bared, the shard still poised to strike as a makeshift blade to deliver some supposed divine justice. “You expect me to believe you actually sought to save my people? After all your past crimes?” Svetlaena’s defiance seemed to lose its fire; she lowered her head, and slowly shook it to answer him in the negative. “Of course not. Not after all we’ve been through together.” Her tone suggested that she was almost amused by the question. Almost. It fell just short, too deflated and defeated to really embrace the irony as she typically did. “All I could think of was when my own city fell.” She just stared at the ground now, watching the ash accumulate. At least this way she could avoid the terror of that final moment if, or when, it came… and rob him of the satisfaction of seeing it in her eyes. “A fate that you’ve now brought upon us.” The Druid’s fist surrendered its illumination, only to grab the woman’s chin and force her to look back up at him. “You and your abomination of a leader. She was one of yours in life, was she not?” Svetlaena raised one of her weary, singed hands to grab at his wrist, but little else. She simply hadn’t the strength to pry him away or even tear out of his grasp. “She is no kindred of mine. Merely a shadow of it.” There seemed to be some hesitation to these words, but once they were said, it was replaced by the tiniest shred of relief. “And yet you still march to her commands.” Vaedoras hissed as he kneeled, getting closer to her face. “You’ve made this mistake before, with the brown orc. He destroyed a city, like your ‘Shadow’. He renewed conflicts that benefited none but his own ego-- as this one does, this wicked Windrunner and her designs. How do I know you truly regret it this time? What will you do to prove you have learned from your past, Svetlaena? Why should I believe that you can still meet salvation? Tell me, why are you worth sparing again?” His increased proximity seemed to be fanning the faded inner flame of defiance, for she ceased to avoid his gaze once more, “What makes you think you have this right? We once agreed that we two are monsters, didn’t we?” Narrowing her stinging eyes, she continued, “This is beyond us both. You’ve no right to be talking like a paladin… nor do I have any defense for myself.” “Because, I have the only thing Monsters like us seem to respect.” The Druid waved the now crimson shard where her gaze lingered before applying pressure on her entire jaw. “Might. You are right that we are both monsters forged in elven flesh-- cast from Elune’s graces for our sins. If she has truly turned a blind eye on us all this eve, then it is my time to do my proper duty as an apex predator and feed upon those like us. For the rest of my nights, I will seek out and hunt those who will prey upon the weak and innocent, as is my destiny-- endowed upon me at the hour of my birth when I claimed my first victim.” His voice was deathly calm, seething as the shard began its approach. His amber eyes never leaving his prey as he made her position painfully clear. “And yet, in my neglect of these burdens, I have caused far more suffering than if I had my fill. I see this now, Svetlaena… tonight's the night I accept my dark purpose as one of Elune’s Damned. Tonight I, Vaedoras Starshade, realize my true nature as an Apex Predator. And so I ask one final time, why should your final judgement not mark the start of this new era? Are you certain you have nothing more to say in repentance?” The entire speech was so long-winded and bizarre that it assisted the priestess’s disorientation; it all eventually becoming a blur of his anger and a strange awareness of the silence that now hung in the air, outside of the sphere of Vaedoras’s crazed declarations. Previously one could hear the echoes across the water, cries of the doomed and dying… now there was nothing. The flames on Teldrassil didn’t roar quite as high now. The fire was finally running out of life to consume. All this talk of predator and prey. She’d said similar things to Vaedoras, once, at a time when he had been at her mercy rather than the other way around. But this was amplified. Demented, even. Or, perhaps, she had always sounded just as mad as he. Svetlaena wasn’t sure anymore. “Do what you feel you have to,” she spoke with some strain from his grip on her, “if someone had tried to talk sense into me after Silvermoon fell, I wouldn’t listen either. I don’t blame you.” A deep breath. “But as someone who knows what I am, and what I am capable of, all I ask is that you answer me one question.” The shard lingered within her peripherals, his harsh gaze seemingly unblinking. “...I will grant you this request. Speak.” Her gaze is unwavering, despite the tightness in her throat. “Would I have allowed so many children to die that way?” There was a silence between them, the shard close to her neck, ready to bleed her out at any given moment-- assuming the searing heat that seemed to radiate from it didn’t cauterize her wound. “Fair enough.” The improvised weapon retreated. “Pray that you are telling the truth, and if not… that I never learn of your deception. You are granted one final chance from the Damned of Elune that stands before you. My mercy is spent, this is my final favor to Her and you both. Use it wisely, for my wrath will not be spared a second time if I hear you so much as touch another one of mine inappropriately.” He released the woman, pushing her back into the sand as he stood. “Have I made myself clear?” The wind knocked out of her, it took Svetlaena a moment to reply with a weak, “...yes.” Physically and emotionally spent, the Sin’dorei made no effort to move from where she lay, watching the ashes that continued to drift down from above. So many things she thought to say, but none of them would help at this point, and she knew it. With a sigh she settled on, simply, “It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” “And yet we bask in the fruits of the pale’s efforts.” Starshade scoffed as he turned his back on the woman that lay in ash and sand. He retreaded his dread march, as if it were the only path that remained for him. “Tell Windrunner and those who follow to enjoy her little empire of ashes, we will not forget this day. These flames will spread to all your Horde holds dear, and from this divine retribution, the Kaldorei will once again flourish. This is nature’s way.” When his foot finally touched where his march had begun, his form shifted back into the stormcrow, grasping that foreboding shard as he flew towards the east beyond the mountains to leave her to her thoughts.
  48. 1 point
    She was panting, now. Purple lips trembled as she attempted to scan the treeline for her foe, but in spite of her skills and whatever natural affinity she had for tracking, Kalyra could not find any trace of the creature stalking her. She continued running, Booty Bay just a few miles up ahead. Kalyra was a good runner, she had long muscular legs and long purple hair that flowed like a ribbon behind her. She was pretty, and that amused Syreena. Why would someone so pretty and so dumb be in Stranglethorn Vale? Doesn't she know that's where the fun happens? the Forsaken rogue thought to herself from the bough of a tree, hidden within the shadows that Night Elves were so good at seeing. Surely, Kalyra should have spotted her by now, but she was in a panic. Syreena had already leaped from the branches to stab her once, with her tiniest knife, just to get the poison in and watch her run. She wasn't accompanied by any animals, Syreena noticed when the night elf first happened past her, which she supposed was unusual. By now most night elves would have jumped on a big cat and run away, but not Kalyra. "I knew.. I should have.. waited.. a bit longer.. before coming here.." the elf said between pants, pumping her long legs as fast as they would carry her. A raptor happened past her and snarled, lunging toward Kalyra's body to sink its jaws into her lovely purple flesh. Oh no! Thought Syreena, leaping to another branch. He's going to ruin them!! But Kalyra was fast, and without hesitation she drew a sword from her side and stabbed into the raptor's mouth. Blood gushed from the creature's wound as the sword penetrated its skull. Kalyra was a novice, but she could push a sword into meat and bone with the best of them. She waited for the raptor to go limp before sliding out the blade, letting its body hit the ground in a heap. Whew.. sighed the little rogue, relaxing again to watch her prey leap back on to the main road and run for Booty Bay and breakneck speed, her bloody sword still in one hand. Syreena followed her closely, jumping from branch to branch as the night elf's running gradually slowed. She smiled with pointy teeth as Kalyra stumbled over a root, flying face first into the ground. "Oof!!" She said with a mouth full of dirt, picking her self back up to keep running. The rustling of branches behind her told Kalyra the truth of the matter; she was still being followed. Wiping her mouth, she turned to look behind her, picking herself up off the ground to shriek into the sky. "What do you want from me!?" There was no verbal response. The sound of birds and her own breathing was all that Kalyra heard, the latter of which grew heavier and more ragged with each breath. Groaning irritably, she turned to run again, discovering that her legs were so heavy she could only manage a slow trot. Now her sword felt like a huge weight in her palm, and try as she might she couldn't keep a solid grip on it. The sword fell to the ground with a loud clatter, eliciting another grunt from Kalyra. Still, Syreena watched and waited. Won't be too long, now.. And down she went. The night elf tripped over another root and fell face first into the dirt. When she didn't immediately get up, Syreena knew this was her opportunity. Jumping down to the ground, she kept to the shadows, just in case. The night elf struggled to roll off of her stomach, only to push herself to one side and shriek with horror at the sight before her. Syreena was a ghastly sight for anyone who wasn't used to seeing the Forsaken; her skin was made up of different colors and sewn together haphazardly, and her teeth had been filed down into razor sharp points. Of course, human teeth were not designed for this shape, so they were jagged and discolored, displaying dead nerve endings and rotted cavities. Holding up two daggers, she grinned at Kalyra and spun them around her wrists. "..w...why..." the night elf whimpered helplessly, hardly able to lift a hand from the ground. She considered briefly how stupid she'd been to forget to pack health potions. Syreena tilted her head to one side. She didn't speak Darnassian, but she assumed that the elf was asking something. "Ears," she replied, tugging her own for effect, then pointing at Kalyra's. "For my collection!" The night elf couldn't understand this strange language. As Syreena pulled her earlobe, she considered that perhaps the Forsaken couldn't hear her? "WHY?!" She shouted louder. Syreena raised a patchy eyebrow. Again, she pointed to the elf. "EAAAARS." Kalyra shook her head in disbelief. That this would be how she'd die was not something she could have imagined, not in a million years. Bracing herself for a killing blow, she shut her eyes tightly and waited. Syreena watched her prepare. Out of all of the elves she killed, this one didn't seem particularly different or even particularly interesting. Under most circumstances, she would have just cut off an ear and finish the job her poison started. Today was different, though. Today, she was feeling...merciful? No, that wasn't it. Shaking her head at such a silly thought, she grabbed one of Kalyra's ears and yanked it to the side, her other hand swooping down to carve off the long tip of her purple ear. With a quick tearing sound, the hunk of flesh was removed and Syreena had a new addition to her collection. Kalyra let out a pained moan, her limbs too heavy to move, but the pain visibly overwhelming. "This is one of the biggest ones I've ever seen!" Syreena said proudly, patting the night elf's cheek. "You did a good job growing it." Again, Kalyra moaned. Behind them both, the sudden sound of voices could be heard approaching. Syreena turned to listen, but heard only the weird elf language. Turning back to Kalyra, she considered killing her quickly with a single slash to the throat. It could be quick, and she could be out of there before the other arrived. The slow trail of blood, however, signaled that she didn't have long to live anyway. The poison will get to her heart, soon. Scrambling away, Syreena waited in a tree to watch as three night elves on black sabers ran to the scene and immediately went to Kalyra's aid. The night elf writhed in their arms, close to death, but babbling in her own language. "..undead... in the trees... they... they're in the trees.. they're in the trees!" she moaned before they made her choke down a healing potion. Syreena grinned. She couldn't understand what the elf said, but one of the words in Darnassian caught her ear. Aman.. she repeated in her head, then frowned. But I'm not a man... I'm a girl! How dare she! What happened next could only be described as a full on massacre. Syreena leaped from the trees and carved into the night elf bodies as if they were soft butter. Her daggers tore through the light leather armor, finding sweet warm flesh that she might gorge on later. Of course, she would save the ears. When the bodies fell, she stomped over to the already bleeding Kalyra and pressed a boot against the other girl's chest. "I AM NO MAN!" She shouted triumphantly. The birds sung, and somewhere nearby, a tiger roared. Then Kalyra died.
  49. 1 point
    The Rooks of Twisting Nether cordially invite you to help us celebrate the Midsummer Fire Festival with our annual Mount Parade around Old Town of Stormwind City! Prizes will be awarded to the best Mount-Gear* matching participants! Bonus points for matching/themed gear, mount, and pet(s)! (( *Transmorgrified or actual gear only - those who use magic or temporary illusions will be disqualified from receiving a prize! )) Third Place: 25k Gold Second Place: 50k Gold Grand Prize: Other-worldly Mount** (( ** FREE, PAID MOUNT FROM THE BLIZZARD STORE OF THE WINNER'S CHOOSING! )) (( In the past, we've had nearly 30 participants! This is a fun way to bring both the RP and non-RP communities of TN-RH together! We hope you can join us! )) To participate, simply meet at the Fountain in Old Town at 7PM Realm Time (( CDT - 8PM EDT )). At that time, Rooks' Officers will check-in/register participants and begin the Parade line-up. Once ready, we'll begin our march around the Old Town Circle. (( A pre-parade "pre-game" Tavern-RP event at the Pig and Whistle in Old Town will commence at 6PM Realm Time. )) Be sure to bring fireworks and other celebratory items to commemorate the occasion! WHAT: Rooks' Annual Midsummer Mount Parade WHEN: Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 7:00PM Realm Time WHERE: Fountain at Old Town in Stormwind City WHY: To celebrate and bring together the communities of TN-RH! FABULOUS PRIZES! (( Be sure to whisper or send a message to Atilakai, GM of Rooks, if you have any questions! ))
  50. 1 point
    until
    All that hear the call are to gather in Thunder Bluff on the Elder Rise at the eight bell.