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About Illiana

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  1. Yes, it is true what you have heard. Invictus Sanctum is still kicking and won't let up! With Legion close on our heels we have set said heels into the dirt and are determined to be ready for the coming threat. As newly appointed Guild Leader, I would like to say that we are now actively recruiting. All those who hold honor as one of their highest ideals, as well as those that love to RP, should seek out any officer within the guild to start the induction process. If you would rather visit our forums first you can find it at www.invictussanctum.net/index.php. You can find out who we are and go ahead and submit an application to join us under the Getting Started section. We look forward to growing our family and helping to bring the Legion to it's knees!
  2. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742664089 So i polled the masses on wow's forums and got a few responses. I thought I'd try my luck here and hopefully either get some more concrete facts (citations from in-game or literary sources) on this whole topic...or at least a general concensus.
  3. Trust...it was almost as hard as earning her love. I'm sure somewhere deep in her heart, all of those years ago, I was more than just a useful person to keep around. We formed a deep connection that neither of us even realized. From the first smile on her face, that seed was planted. But she guarded her heart. She was so young when her heart first broke from losing her family and it stayed that way for so long - unwilling to let anybody in. It was a bumpy road we traveled on - her not knowing if I was really there for her or if I was just looking for a protector. But, I always just followed my heart, and she saw that. But in order for her to fully trust me, it had to be pushed...it had to be tested. Every time I had to watch her go down a dark path, it always killed me. My words didn't always hold sway with her, especially so early in our relationship. It wasn't until that day, so long ago, that she finally trusted me, and opened her heart to me...even if it was just as sisters. It wouldn't be for many more centuries until I could have what I truly wanted. The tensions between the Highborne and the Kaldorei were growing more and more as the weeks passed. Disputes soon turned to brawls; congregations soon turned into mobs. Malfurion's patience and options were running thin as it seemed that exile would be the only favorable option to keep from starting a full civil war between the two groups. But, others moved about in secret to attempt to tip the scales in the Highborne's favor. Dissension was being spread through the shadows to all who would listen. As support grew, so too did the distance between the huntress and druid grow. Not being able to agree on such a simple subject, Illiana would take to simply ignoring Sonoa. They would still hunt together, even eat and sleep together. But the druid was deprived of any attention, leaving her feeling lonely and steadily filling with sorrow - something she had not felt in such a long time. It pained Sonoa to watch her friend sneak off during the night when Illiana thought she was sleeping. Between the silence and the long nights alone, Sonoa decided to follow her one such night. The druid took to becoming even more sneaky than her counterpart through learning how to master the form of the cat. Her quiet paws and mastery of the shadows aided her as she followed the hunter. Sonoa followed closer than she normally would, confident in her abilities as Illiana led her into Astranaar. It was apparent where she was headed as the knot in her stomach grew tighter. From the edge of the forest, she watched her friend enter the encampment where the Highborne lived, just on the outside of the village. The knot grew tighter as she feared what this could mean, not to mention the fact that Illiana was now keeping secrets from her. Illiana entered one of the huts as Sonoa quietly walked around the back to listen in on what was going on inside. "Illiana," Claudius Amberwind nods to the huntress, as do the other Highborne. The huntress nods to him as she takes a seat at the table with the three other men. Besides Claudius, two of his older brothers were there as well as his father. "I'm glad you could be a part of this. The offerings we will be presenting to the druids will hopefully quell the tensions and hopefully keep them from doing anything rash. It's really our only option for peace. We're at our last straw." "If you ask me, this isn't going to work. Malfurion and the other druids just want one thing - to stamp you and the others out. I personally wouldn't let a bully just walk all over me, but at least I know I'm doing the right thing by helping all of you. You've got my support against the druids," Illiana says defiantly. Kaej'ral, Claudius' father thanks the huntress. "You have no idea how happy that makes me to hear that," the pale elf replied. "Now, we'll be collecting the donations over the next few days. Anything you could find to fill these pouches would be appreciated." Illiana snorts, "if it was up to me, I'd fill those things with some fire and brimstone, but yeah, okay." The brothers laugh between each other as their father looks to them for a moment. He does not react to their cheerful laughs. "Illiana, we will soon be upon a day of peace for the Highborne. On behalf of us all, I would like to thank you for your service. Elune will surely watch over you as you present these gifts to the druids and help prevent the deaths of our people. Our kind have seen enough of that to last a lifetime. Claudius will show you where you can drop off what you find. Now, get some rest and pray the druids leave us be in the meantime." The huntress bows her head as she stands with Claudius following her out of his home. Illiana chuckles once more with Claudius as she walks outside before seeing Sonoa standing in front of her. Mixed feelings of shame, anger, and surprise fill her heart as she studies Sonoa's face. With tears running down her face, the druid throws her hands up, "Illi, you can't be serious," she pleads. "You followed me?" Sonoa nods. "I did. Because you wouldn't talk to me. Now I'm glad I did. Do you actually trust these people?" "I don't have time for this, Sonoa. Just leave me alone," she says, growing more angry with the situation, as she attempts to walk past her friend. "No," Sonoa replies back as she grabs onto Illiana's arm, "you're making a mistake to trust these elves." The huntress looks down at her arm and back up at Sonoa. "Let go of me," she says through her teeth. "No. Illi, nothing good can - " The druid is interrupted as she shoves Sonoa to the ground. "I said let go of me Sonoa. You have no idea what's going on here. You want to believe your precious druids are above horrible acts, but I know a bully when I see one and I won't stand for it. So you can either deal with it, or..." "Or what," Sonoa asks, looking up at Illiana as fear grabs at her heart. Illiana knew what she wanted to say - or you can be on your own. But, something stopped her. Unable to settle on finishing her statement, she simply shakes her head and walks past the druid with Claudius on her heels. Sonoa was not shy about crying when her heart grew too heavy, but she would never get used to Illiana causing those tears. A friend is someone that cares about the other. No matter what they are feeling or going through, they are there for them...even when they're being mean. Her mentor's words echoed in her mind as she fought through the feelings of sadness. Sonoa knew this was not right, and she had to find some way of convincing her friend of it. Her words alone would not sway how the huntress felt. If the Highborne were up to something insidious, she would find out. The next two days were even more uncomfortable for the two elves. Illiana did not even make eye contact with her the entire time. Most of the huntress' time was spent scavenging for supplies for the Highborne. However, Sonoa used this time to find proof. Her search of the homes of the Highborne did not turn up anything useful on her first day. The druid considered running to the druids to tell them of these "offerings" they were planning on delivering, but she couldn't do that without also involving her friend in whatever the repercussions would be. No doubt that the "offerings" would be poison or something much worse, Sonoa considered. It wasn't until the 'day of the offerings' that Sonoa finally found something. The druid did not even spent the previous night at their campsite. She, instead, spent the twilight hours prowling through the Highborne's encampment. As the elves began to awaken she followed Claudius' father, accompanied by other older and powerful-looking mages into the storage area where the offerings were being kept. "Are you sure this plan will work? We'll be signing our own death warrant if this doesn't work," one of the Highborne asked. "Fear not," Kaej'ral replied with a smile as he pulled back a covering in the middle of the baskets revealing a glowing orb," as long as your aim is spot on we shouldn't have to worry about anything except victory." "It was a good thing we found so many volunteers...but we'll be losing some of our own people," the elf commented sullenly. "Our brothers' and sisters' sacrifices will be honored in a new age for the Highborne," Kaej'ral replied. "...and your son?" Kaej'ral simply nods. As he covered the orb, Sonoa watched from the shadows terrified. The only thing going through her head was to warn Illiana. The druid quickly darted off towards their campsite. Crashing through the foliage, she soon learned that her friend was not there. Even so early in the morning, she did not usually leave the camp until at least sunrise. Panic set in as she attempted to search for her friend. The hours passed as her search grew more frantic. Sonoa ran through every part of Astranaar and the surrounding forests. It wasn't until she camp upon the Highborne encampment that she saw a frightening sight. A large group of about fifty elves, Kaldorei and Highborne alike, were all walking towards Astranaar...with baskets in each of their hands. The druid did not waste any time as she entered the large group, all the while calling out Illiana's name. The huntress soon locked eyes with the druid as she shook her head in frustration. "What are you doing here?" "Illi, you have to stop. This is a trick!" Claudius leans forward, spotting the druid and her slanderous statement. "Um, excuse me. There's no trick here. We're simply delivering offerings of peace. See," he says as he offers forth his own basket to the druid. Sonoa slaps the basket out of his hand as the contents spill out the ground. Illiana and Claudius stop in their tracks as everyone begins passing them. Once the group passes them, Illiana and Sonoa look down at the ruined offerings on the ground. Claudius' eyes open wide as he spots the small glowing blue orb peeking through the covering. "Sonoa, get out of here. Why don't you do what you did last night and just stay away," Illiana blurted out. "Wait," Claudius called out as he knelt down to inspect the orb. The two female elves postpone their back and forth as they watch the Highborne man. Claudius begins to noticeably shake as he picks up the orb. "What is it," Illiana asks. "It's...it's...an unstable orb of arcane...energy." His eyes open wide as he begins to connect the dots in his head. "This...this isn't an offering. He's going to detonate these things." The revelation of what his father was helping to plan, and his fate in all of this, overwhelmed him for the moment as he stared at this orb. "Your father would never do something like that. I'm sure it's just some trinket or..." Illiana trailed off as she watched the pale face of Claudius grow even more pale. "Illi...what do we do?" The huntress quickly looks over at Sonoa. The fact of the matter was that Sonoa had probably just saved her life. Her attempt at saying anything left much to be desired as she fumbled through her words. "We have to warn the Kaldorei," Claudius finally spoke up. "But, they'll surely kill your father and the rest of the Highborne, Claudius," Illiana finally replied. "I don't care. I won't stand back and watch our brothers and sisters die. This isn't what the Highborne need...or how we will be remembered." As the three ran off towards the center of town, they passed up the group, running straight towards the building that Malfuion and the other higher ranking druids worked out of. Guards quickly pushed back the three. Seeing an orb of magic drop to the ground out of Claudius' hand, the guards quickly grab up the three and detain them. "No, we're here to warn Malfuion," Claudius calls out. "Please, you have to hear me out! There will be death and destruction if you don't listen!" Not wanting to hear a word of it, the Sentinels quickly restrain the three. One of the Sentinels picks up the orb and inspects it. As she turns she finds Malfurion standing behind her. She bows her head and quickly explains the situation. "Sir, these three were attempting to rush inside. One of them had this," she said as she offered the glowing and unstable orb to the druid. "Malfuion, you have to listen," Claudius says with his face nearly in the dirt. The arch druid takes the orb in his hand and gazes upon it. "Speak up boy." He motions for the guards to move off of the three. Claudius quickly sits up as he explains, "my father and some of the higher ranking Highborne are headed this way with a large group with offerings to give you and the others. But...those orbs are in all of the baskets. He's going to have them detonated. You have to stop him." Malfuion considers his words as he looks in the distance to, indeed, see a large group headed his way. With a pained look on his face, he sighs. "So today is the day then." The arch druid waved for his group of druids to follow him as they made their way towards the congregation. Illiana looks over at Claudius in disgust, "they're going to kill them all. How does it feel knowing you'll probably be the last of the Highborne," she asks as she continues to struggle against the Sentinel holding onto her. Claudius watches on in horror of the inevitable. Most of the group smiles on at Malfuion as they watch him approach them. As they begin stepping inside Astranaar, Malfuion signals the druid behind him to call upon the forces of nature to entangle everyone in the group. Roots begin ripping through the ground, curling around and binding all of the elves in the group. "Dath'Remar Sunstrider! Show yourself," Malfuion yells. While the leader of the Highborne makes his way towards Malfuion, the sky begins to crackle with energy. What could be mistaken for an electrical storm, was actually an arcane storm. As Dath'Remar walked closer the storm grew more violent - arcane energy striking the ground around him. "I suppose I should take a front seat to all of this. Though, as luck would have it...so are you," he smiled. "Let me show you what the power of the arcane can really do." The Highborne leader throws up a barrier on himself as he directs the arcane storm onto the group. Bolts of arcane energy rain down onto the unwitting accomplices as some of the baskets begin to explode. Preparing his own spell, Malfuion calls upon the forces of nature to conjure a typhoon of wind that swallowed up most of the energies and fire up and out of Astranaar, protecting the majority of the village. The entirety of the Sentinels and druids begin engaging the Highborne. Before anymore lives could be taken, Malfuion conjures even larger roots that snatch up Dath'Remar. The strength of the roots soon break through his barrier as Malfuion yells out across the village, "silence!" His booming voice gives pause to nearly everyone as he walks up to Dath'Remar. "Your attempt has failed, Sunstrider." "So it would seem, arch druid," he says struggling against the roots. "So, go on then, kill us all." Malfuion looks upon Dath'Remar with furrowed brows of anger before shaking his head. "No, our kind has seen enough death. It is apparent that we cannot co-exist here within the forests of Ashenvale. Take your people...and leave this land." The Highborne, shocked, finally replies, "you would rather exile your brothers?" Malfuion raises an eyebrow, "it is preferable to the alternative, is it not?" He stares defiantly at the arch druid for a moment as he finally gazes upon the force of the Kaldorei surrounding them. "Then it will be so. Just know that the Kaldorei will face whatever comes their way without the aid of the Highborne." "I think we will manage. May Cenarius show mercy on you in your travels."
  4. The only thing I've ever tried to do in life is be happy. Don't get me wrong, I know there is evil out there in the world. I know that some people just want nothing more than to have everyone around them suffer. But, I look at myself...my own heart. I can be struck, I can be beaten and bloodied. I can be called horrible names and be made to suffer too, but I still choose to see the good in everyone...sometimes even when it's not there. I can't let myself accept the fact that some people are beyond the hope of redemption. Because if that is true...what hope does anyone have? Others look at me and they see some naive girl who lives in a fantasy. For the most part...they're right. I don't see the world as others do, and that's why nobody ever understood me...except one. She could see past my smile and know just what I was thinking...what I was feeling. I came to understand one day that the smiles I put on my face weren't for me...they were for her. For so long I had to watch as she grew older and her heart grow heavier. With all of the hate and sadness in her heart, I knew that she needed something good in her life to hold onto. I shudder to think of the woman she would become if it wasn't for me. The thought terrifies me. So, I guess I'm just a servant of love. It's nice when I can feel it within my own heart, but my purpose in this world was to help teach her what love was. I gave everything I had, even my life in the end. I can be happy with that, knowing that she finally knew what love was. In the end, isn't that why we're all here? To love? To show compassion and make the lives of those around us better? I'm no hero...just a good friend. Years turned into decades, and decades into centuries. The two young elves were inseparable, though you'd never know it. Sonoa always managed to aggravate Illiana, but there was an unspoken bond between the two. The druid was the exact opposite of the huntress. Sonoa being caring and loving, always shying away from battle, while Illiana was detached and always eager for the next skirmish. Anything that Sonoa could not handle, there Illiana was to take on the burden and protect the druid. However, Sonoa made up for all of the trouble she got them into by healing any wounds Illiana would receive, learning to cook good food even on the road, and comforting the huntress when her burdens grew too heavy. As the Kaldorei expanded and grew, the two young elves soon found themselves in the new settlement of Ashenvale. With the mounting tensions between the Highborne and Malfurion and the druids, the two preferred the solitude of the surrounding forests. They only ventured into Astranaar for supplies. When they would visit, sometimes there would be congregations of Highborne crowded around one loud and obnoxious elf that spoke out against the elves lack of conviction. He believed that the elves should retake their glory through the use of arcane magics. These rallies were always broken up by the Sentinels and druids, but it did not deter them. Sometimes Sonoa would watch as Illiana would stop and listen to this man and his ignorant words. The young druid would always press her on and remind her of what tapping into the Well of Eternity led the Kaldorei. Another day had passed. The sun had set and the midnight sky above was overcast with Mother Moon occasionally shining through. The insects chirped and clicked all around the elves as they sat next to each other in front of the fire Illiana had started. Sonoa laid next to the huntress reading a book as Illiana kept busy with repairing her leather armor and fashioning new arrows. The night was calm and quiet as it usually was until Sonoa looked over her book to watch Illiana throw a handful of arrows into the fire in frustration. "What's the matter," the young druid asked softly, just about used to Illiana's fits of anger. "These arrows aren't good enough," she scowls. It was quiet once more as Sonoa tried to figure out what was really bothering her. "But, that's how you always make your arrows." "Yeah, well, they're not good enough. Maybe if you'd get around to actually learning how to fight I wouldn't have to make sure that the arrows were flawless. Do you know how much it hurts to have a bow string snap against your skin when a shaft breaks? Or how dangerous it is when an arrowhead breaks off instead of killing a bear?" The silence continues once more as Sonoa ignores the snide remarks. She puts her book down and moves in front of Illiana. "What's really the matter?" Sighing, she simply shakes her head and waves a hand dismissively at the druid. "Just get some sleep, it's late." "I could say the same thing for you," the young druid smirks. "Shut up," she innocently replies, almost used to the fact that she never actually did. "Come on, just tell me what's the matter. It's always good to get something off of your chest. And, even if I can't help, at least I can help you share the burden. I know I'm not useful when it comes to fighting or hunting, but you know I'm always here for you." As Sonoa sat there, smiling at her, Illiana struggled with actually opening her mouth and saying anything. She'd never be used to opening up and sharing emotions. It was the only way Illiana learned to survive - to be cold and uncaring. Never trusting anyone and always looking out for herself, save for this druid that she couldn't bear setting loose. "I...," "...there you go, what's the next word," Sonoa teased. Illiana narrowed her eyes at the druid before continuing, "...I saw a woman...in Astranaar." Nodding, Sonoa urged her friend to continue. "She was much older. She looked like a fierce huntress...beautiful. She even had white hair like mine. I guess she was just passing through but I imagined that one day I'd be like her. It looked like she could handle any fight or beast or monster that stood in her way." "So that's what's bothering you? I don't get it," Sonoa sat there puzzled, scratching her head. "No, stupid. Can you imagine how proud her family must be of her?" Finally it made sense. The young druid bites her lip, understanding why the sight of this elf brought bitter feelings. "But Illi, you're a good huntress too. Just look at all of the mess you've gotten us out of. Or all of the animals you're able to hunt and take down with just one arrow from so far away. Your family would be proud of you, I know I am." "Wrong again. I...I don't care about my family. They're all dead and their bones are all dust now. I just want to be the best. I want to be like that huntress. But I keep failing, and if what that loud-mouthed Highborne that's always yelling in the middle of Astranaar says is true, maybe I can start using magic to become stronger." "No Illi, you know that's not the way to go." "What do you care? As long as I'm able to protect you, why does it matter how?" Sonoa grunts at her statement as she tries to formulate another reason why it would be a bad idea. "I wouldn't care so much the fact that you're using magic, only that you think it's the only way you can become stronger. Ignoring the fact of arcane magic being the reason why we now have the Maelstrom where our homes used to be, have you actually taken a close look at those Highborne? They're sickly-looking and some even look downright crazy." Illiana rolls her eyes as she tosses more kindling into the fire. "Yeah, do you see how everyone else treats them?" "I don't think that's how Elune would want use to live. We should be in tune with nature, not siphoning off magical energies that cause nothing but trouble." "To fel with Elune." Sonoa's eye open wide at the blasphemy her friend was speaking. "Illi, you don't mean that." "What has Elune done for me? She let all of this happen. She watched as the Well of Eternity destroyed our people. She even sat back and watched as my family was taken from me. If she was so all-powerful and loving, she wouldn't have let any of that happen." "Illi, she is not to blame for the misguided actions of mortals." "Then she shouldn't be praised for all of the good there is in the world, right? She's just this being floating out there in space and watching. I mean, I didn't deserve anything that's happened to me. I was just a child when my mother and father were taken from me. I had to suffer being alone in this world because of her. If it wasn't for her, I'd still have my parents and be just like that huntress - happy and living a life of greatness. Now, I'm stuck with this life." The young druid could feel the remorse and sadness pouring out of Illiana, even if it was masked in anger. "I don't think our life is so bad. We have each other. I'm happy I met you, and not just because you're strong." Illiana stares at Sonoa for a moment with disdain before sighing. She reaches forward and takes Sonoa's hand into hers. "Why are you so nice to me?" Smiling brightly she happily replies, "because I care about you. You're my best friend and the only person who cares about me. You're all I have and I wouldn't give that up for anything." "I still think it's because you're stupid." They both chuckle as Sonoa lies down with her head in Illiana's lap. "Now stop being sad. I don't like seeing you like that. I'll always be there for you, so don't ever say you're alone. I'd do anything for you." "So you'll fight the next bear we run into?" "Uh...well...I wouldn't want to steal the glory from you. Besides, until the moment flailing and screaming and running are all useful tactics, I'd rather just stand behind you and let you take care of those beasts." Illiana caresses Sonoa's head as she runs her fingers through her emerald hair. "That'll do pig, that'll do." "Hey! Okay, fine. Next time you catch us some food, let's see you cook up something that doesn't remotely resemble a smoldering pile of burnt firewood." "Fine, deal. I kill the beasts, you cook the darn things." As the two laugh, Illiana's is cut short as she hears the snapping of twigs from behind them. The huntress pushes Sonoa off of her as she snatches up her bow and readies an arrow into the darkness. "Who's there," Illiana calls out. The young man's hands appear first as he steps into the light of the campfire. A Highborne elf, no doubt from his expensive attire, that was around their age. "Don't shoot, I mean you no harm." With her arrow still aimed at this young man's head, she continues the interrogation, "what do you want? How did you find us?" The Highborne stares at Illiana, noticing Sonoa scurry behind her on the other side of the fire. "I just...followed you. I see the two of you coming into town sometimes but I found out that you didn't live there. So, I was just curious and followed you out here." The young huntress pulled her arrow back a few more inches, increasing the tension, as she shouted, "leave us, before I turn you into one of those fancy cheeses your kind eats." "No, wait," Sonoa says as she reaches up and grabs onto Illiana's arm, "he doesn't look so bad. Let's hear what he has to say first." The young man nods vigorously, awaiting to hear what the white-haired elf was to choose. "I still say we turn him into our next meal," she smirks before lowering her bow. The huntress walks up to him and grabs him by his collar and pulls him in close. "You try anything and you're Furblog food, got it?" "Yeah, su...sure," he says as Illiana pushes him away. Sonoa finally takes a seat as her friend joins her, relaxing a bit more. "So, what's your name?" The young Highborne straightens his clothes out as he carefully walks up to the fire and takes a seat. He finally manages a smile as he introduces himself, "Claudius Amberwind, and who might you fine ladies be?" "You can cut the sweet-talk, or I'll cut that silver tongue out," Illiana warned as she stared the young man down. "Oh...right," he replied with nervously. "Illi, that's no way to treat a guest. Well, Claudius, I'm Sonoa and this is...well...Illi. Illiana, I mean." "Pleased to meet you two. This is quite the arrangement you two have out here. It rather looks comfortable," he attempts to compliment the ladies but Illiana is not having any of it. "Just tell us why you're following us, numb skull." "As I said, I have noticed the two of you coming through town every so often...especially you," he smiles looking straight at Illiana. "Why me," she asked defensively as she continued to twirl her dagger in her hand. Sonoa, interested as well, stares at the boy awaiting a response. "To be frank, you are rather lovely. But," he continues, not staying on that subject for too long, "I noticed you always took an interest in what our leader of the Highborne says when he speaks out against the ban on arcane magic use." "I don't care what he's talking about and I don't care what your two sides have against each other. It's just more interesting to hear that fool speak when compared to the silence of the forests," Illiana says with a smirk. Claudius raises an inquisitive eyebrow. "Oh, my apologies then. I am just...worried about our future here." "How so," the young druid asked as she still held onto the hope that this boy had good intentions. "There's talks of the druids wanting to wipe us out - to kill us. I was just looking for some help." Illiana laughed, "ha! Have at it then. Save us all the trouble and wipe each other out you fools. More forests for me and Sonoa." "Wait, why would the druids kill the Highborne? That doesn't make any sense," Sonoa blurt out. Claudius leaned forward onto his knees as he continued, "the druids, and even Malfurion, grow restless with our presence here. Nobody trusts the Highborne." The young huntress chuckles, "yeah, I wonder why." "Look, they all think that we're going to overthrow the elves in power, but that's not what's going on. Sure our leader is a bit rash, but we just want to live our lives the way we want to. We don't think the druids should hold sway over how we live as long as we don't hurt anyone. But, if the rumors are true, I need help convincing my father of the truth so we may prepare for this." Sonoa looks to Illiana for a moment. The huntress rolls her eyes, "whatever. Your problems aren't ours. Now, get out of here." "Illi, wait. If this is true, we have to help." The young huntress thinks for a moment, considering her friend's words. She then looks to Claudius spits onto the ground in front of her. "I don't like you. Something smells wrong." The young Highborne holds his hands up and sighs, "alright, fine. I'll just go. I'll try to find help elsewhere." As he stands to leave, Illiana keeps her eyes on him until she can no longer hear his footsteps. As the firewood crackles in front of them, they each consider his words. "Illi, you think he's telling the truth?" The huntress shrugs, "I don't know. I really don't care. But...if it is true, I think that would be wrong of the druids to do." "It just doesn't make any sense. Malfurion would never attack his own people without provocation. Even if he did move against them, I'm sure he wouldn't just kill them." "He's right though, even though I hate to admit it." "What do you mean?" "As long as they're not hurting anyone, why does it matter what they do? I think the druids should just mind their own business." It was rare for Sonoa to feel upset to the point of anger, but she could feel herself becoming just that at that moment. "Illi, the druids just want to make sure what happened so long ago doesn't happen again." "Hey, I think I'm finally tired. Time to go to sleep," she replied, wanting this conversation to end. Sonoa wouldn't let this go so easily, but she decided it better to drop the subject for now and calm herself. She wouldn't stay mad at Illiana for long as she curled up with her finally. The druid just focused on the fire and it's warmth instead of letting her mind wander, soon falling asleep.
  5. We didn't get along very well right from the start. Well, more like she had no patience or desire to have someone like me following her around. Even from a young age, I could feel the hurt inside of her and all I wanted to do was hug her and never let her go. To let her know that everything would be okay. Nobody should have to go through life feeling alone and sad. I still saw the woman she grow up to be even all of those years ago. She had a big heart, maybe even bigger than mine. With no family, she was just as alone as I was. She just wanted to feel the love of a mother, a friend, a sister. Meanwhile, here I am within the Emerald Dream. It feels so strange. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be - surrounded by my fellow druids and the energies of nature. This place has a heartbeat. I can feel the essence of each blade of grass, every tree, and the other druids within this paradise. I can even feel the darkness at the edges of the Emerald Dream - the Emerald Nightmare. I've learned to do what I can to combat the corruption, but I always seem to find myself thinking of her no matter what I'm doing. Just to feel her touch one more time... U'phol made it a point from then on to avoid the smiling druid. Sonoa would see her in passing but every time she tried to talk to her, U'phol would just shove the young druid and yell at her. She didn't quite understand why U'phol was so resistant to the idea of making a friend, but Sonoa would give the girl her space. Once in a while Sonoa would follow U'phol around the forests, just to make sure she would be okay. She took her cues from U'phol as she learned to be just a little bit sneakier than she had in the past. There were even a few times she could have sworn that U'phol did see her. But, as long as Sonoa kept her distance, U'phol did not speak to her. Feeling almost rewarded for venturing to make friends with this girl, Sonoa would get to watch U'phol make skilled shots with her arrows. The young druid would find herself daydreaming that she and U'phol were sisters growing up in the same family. The white-haired elf would take her out and teach her to hunt. They would have fun and laugh together and bring home their first kill to their mother and father. They would sit around a fire and feast and listen as their mother would tell stories. That's just what they were though, just daydreams. It was one of the few times Sonoa would feel disheartened as she was pulled back into reality. One afternoon, Sonoa sat in her usual spot in a nearby meadow of flowers with a nose buried in a book. She was so absorbed into the book that she did not even hear the footsteps making their way towards her. From behind her, a handful of poor-quality arrows were dumped into her lap. She quickly looked over her shoulder to find U'phol standing behind her. "Stop giving me these crappy things. You're not even good at it." The white-haired girl pushed Sonoa to the ground and knelt down as she grabbed at Sonoa's collar. "If I see one more of those things on my bed I'll make you regret it," she warned as she shook her fist in the young druid's face. "I was just...trying to be nice." "Well you suck at making arrows. Just leave me alone. What's so hard to understand," she asked as she stood, backing away from Sonoa. The druid propped herself up and slowly began to smile again. "I just want to be your friend. Why don't you show me how to make a good arrow?" U'phol stared at Sonoa dumbfounded. "Are you stupid? I said leave me alone. The last time I let you follow me you almost got me killed. The next time I see you following me into the forest, I'll let that saber eat you," she said pointing a finger at the druid. The hurtful words were too much for Sonoa to take as she let her head hang and start to cry. "I'm sorry." Sighing, U'phol finally turns and leaves. Sonoa spent the rest of the day trying to convince herself that U'phol was a good person, she was just hurting inside. Not knowing where to go, she ventured to meet with the elder druid of the village. The sun was nearing the horizon, but she had to seek out his wisdom. She didn't know what else to do. The old druid's hut was near the center of the village. There were so many different flowers, plants, and even beast hides hanging around the hut. The greenery surrounding his home was something only a druid could truly appreciate. As she entered his hut, she spied him preparing a stew over his fireplace. If there was one place to get some good food it was here, and Sonoa took advantage of the home-cooked food often. "Ah, Sonoa, please come in. The food is almost ready," he said softly with his knowing smile. The old druid kept a simple home. A bed in the corner, a bookshelf with various codices, and a large rug in the middle of the room. His long blue beard was mixed with greys and he had soft golden eyes. Every wrinkle on his face was earned happily. The young druid walked with heavy steps to the rug before sitting down. "What seems to be troubling you, child? No smile for an old man? Oh, you know how I love to see you smiling." Sonoa fiddles with her thumbs for a few moments before replying. "Well, I was just...sad." "Oh," he genuinely asks, "do tell," he says as he pulls the cauldron off of the fire. "Well, there's this girl...and...she's just sad all the time...and I just want to be her friend...but...she's so mean to me. I think maybe...maybe I should just leave her alone," Sonoa says with a sullen sigh. "Hmm...hmm...very interesting," the old druid mumbles as he grabs a bowl for the two of them. He scoops a serving into each bowl and walks over to join Sonoa on the rug. He sets the bowl intended for Sonoa in front of him instead of in front of her, to her dismay. He proceeds to slurp at his stew. "Mmm, this is quite good. I think I've outdone myself. Now, what about this girl?" Sonoa eyes the bowl on the rug hungrily. She feels an overwhelming urge to snatch the delicious stew up but she'd never be that rude. "Um...well...she's just...every time I try to do something nice for her she just...she's so mean to me." The old druid slurps at his bowl again. "Hmm, and how does that make you feel," he asks smiling. "Well...it makes me sad." He nods as he takes another sip of his bowl. "So, when someone's mean you just ignore them right? There are others that would enjoy your company just fine I'm sure." She continues to stare down the meal in front of her as her stomach begins to ache from hunger. "Of course not. I know she's sad and needs a friend." The old druid nods again as he licks his lips, placing his empty bowl in front of him. "She sounds like she does indeed need a friend. But, she seems to be in luck." The young druid cocks her head, confused. "It looks like she already has a friend. A friend is someone that cares about the other. No matter what they are feeling or going through, they are there for them...even when they're being mean," he smirks as he finally slides Sonoa's bowl in front of her. Sonoa takes a moment to appreciate the words of the old druid before snatching up the bowl and filling her stomach. "Friendship is like a seed. It starts out so small, so delicate. But once you plant it, that's when the hard work begins. The droughts will come - the winter snow will cover that poor seed leaving you to wonder if it will ever grow. It is during these times that you much watch over that seed. You must guard it. You must make sure it has enough water, enough sun, and enough love." The old druid's hands begin to glow green as a small sprout breaks through the dirt floor. It inches higher and higher as he continues, "friendship needs the same love if it is to bloom." Sonoa watches in wonder as the small pod begins to grow larger and begin to open into a beautiful red flower. "But the moment you give up, that is when it truly dies." She watches as the green glow of his hands dissipate and frowns as the red flower begins to wilt. Not wanting such a beautiful thing to perish, she holds her hands out as they too begin to glow green. She concentrates, as the old druid had instructed her in the past, and she watches as the flower begins to bloom even larger. Sonoa looks up at the old druid and returns his smile. "Very good my child." "You're so smart. And, you know...the food was really good too." The old druid chuckles, "I'm glad I could fill your stomach and your mind, and hopefully take this burden off of your heart. You're much too pretty to be frowning," he says as he holds her chin up. "Now, run along. It's getting quite late out there." Sonoa stands and wraps her arms around the old druid, kissing him on the cheek. "I'll see you soon." Unable to shake the smile from her face, she contemplates the old druid's words as she nearly skips her way back to the orphanage. Mother Elune was already in the sky as the stars began to reveal themselves in the sky. Despite the happenings in the meadow, this had turned out to be a great day. Good food and good advice. As she neared the orphanage, she passed a group of young elven men who were laughing. One of the young men called out to Sonoa, "hey there, what's a pretty little thing like you walking around here so late? Isn't it bedtime?" The others broke out into laughter as Sonoa just ignored them. One of the boys shoved the young man, goading him on. "Hey, I'm talking to you." Uneasily, Sonoa stops and turns to the troublemakers. "Hello, I was just on my way - " " - shut up. You don't make a fool of me in front of my friends," he replied, walking up to Sonoa. "I'm sorry...I just...it's really late," she says, growing even more uncomfortable. The young man grabs Sonoa's arm tightly. "Why don't you stay out a little longer and have some fun with us," he begins laughing again as he pulls Sonoa in. The young druid struggles against the young man, "no, please. I just want to go home." The boy sees the necklace around Sonoa's neck and grabs at it. Sonoa yells out trying to stop him but he snatches the necklace, breaking the strand and sending the heirloom in pieces to the ground as she follows. "No, that was my mother's," she starts to cry as she quickly starts grabbing up the pieces. "Aww, is the little girl gonna cry now," he laughs, accompanied by his friends. "No, but you are." The group turns to find the white-haired elf standing behind them. "Hey, this is none of your business. Get out of here, U'phol," he says as he emphasizes the derogatory term. U'phol emerges from the shadows, carrying a wooden staff. "Last chance, leave her alone," she warns the young men as she readies the staff in her hands. The five boys jump to their feet as they show this little elf that they are not intimidated by her in the least. "I don't think we have anything to worry about." Sonoa watches as the five young men rush U'phol. The girl is quick as she trips one of the boys and smacks the staff against another's head. But, it would be short lived as a punch sends her to the ground. Sonoa yells out to U'phol as she watches the boys kick her. U'phol manages to roll away as she jumps to her feet. She didn't expect to actually win against these boys, but taking a few out would be nice. U'phol trades blows with the boys. The rush of adrenaline and the taste of her own blood in her mouth pushed her harder. Every time she fell she got right back up. Soon, the commotion brought the attention of the local Sentinels that guarded over the village. The warriors quickly break up the fight and send the two female elves towards the orphanage. With blood running down her face, U'phol grunts from the pain of the fight as she wrings her hand and sore knuckles. "If you can't defend yourself you need to be in before it's dark, dummy. Or maybe just not go outside at all." Surprised and relieved to finally hear U'phol say something, Sonoa interjects, "well, I wasn't trying to get into trouble. Thank you for helping me." The white-haired elf doesn't say anything. She continues to grunt as she wipes the blood from her nose. "Here, let me help," she offers as her hands begin to glow green. U'phol stops and pokes Sonoa in the chest. "Look, I don't need your help. Yet again I save your hide at the expense of my health. If you want to do me a favor, just stay inside the orphanage." "No." Sonoa stands defiantly as she stares down the white-haired elf. "What?" "I just want to be your friend, and being your friend means that I'm there for you...even when you don't want me to be." U'phol throws her hands out. "Why do you want to be my friend so badly? Do I need to pound you into the ground or something?" The young druid smiles. "Because, you're sad and I don't want you to be sad." Shocked, U'phol turns away from Sonoa. "Why do you care? Nobody has ever cared about how I feel." Sonoa follows her to the orphanage as U'phol sits down against the building. She sits down next to her and pulls a handkerchief from her dress and hands it to her battle-worn friend. "There are plenty of people who care about you." U'phol snatches the clothe and leans her head back as she holds her nose tightly with it. "No. It's just me." "So, your family died during the war too?" The white-haired girl remains silent for a minute as she is reminded of the fact that she was not the only one who lost her family. She sighs, "all I know is if my family cared about me...they would have lived. I don't even know who they are." "Even though they died, I'm sure they are looking down on you now, and I'm sure they still love you." "Sometimes...sometimes I can almost remember my mother's face." She scoffs, "I don't even know if it is her face. It could be just some woman I first remember seeing." Sonoa smiles, remembering her own mother's face. "I'm sure she loves you." U'phol finally lowers her head as she checks to see if the blood had stopped flowing from her nose. "Whatever." "Well, I'm here...and I care." U'phol fidgets a bit before replying, "you know, I'm nothing but trouble." "Sounds like fun," Sonoa chuckles. The two finally trade glances and U'phol studies the smile on the young druid's face. She watches as Sonoa's mouth opens to an even bigger smile. "What?" "Is that...is that a smile?" U'phol realizes she had begun to smile as she shoves Sonoa away. "Shut up." Sonoa starts to giggle as she leans against her. "You're stupid, you know that right?" U'phol feels Sonoa's arms wrap around her as she gleefully responds with, "it's okay, as long as you're smiling. So, what's your name?" "You already know my name." Sonoa shakes her head. "Not what they call you, what is your real name?" U'phol shrugs. "It's just a name the maton gave to me. It's not even my real name." "So? What is it?" After a moment, she finally replies, "Illiana." Sonoa smiles, nodding her head. "I like it, more so than that other word. Illiana," she repeats the name. "It's beautiful." "Don't press your luck," Illiana half-warns her. "Let's get inside and get cleaned up and get some sleep." Illiana nods as she helps Sonoa to her feet. "You're still stupid," she says as she lets a smile slip.
  6. At first, it was dark. No more pain, no more of having to watch everything fall apart around me. I didn't know if I was ready to let go. I gave everything up and I didn't know that was even an option. I just listened to my heart - the one thing I've always done. Sure, it's caused me pain and even caused a few headaches for others. Heck, a lot of headaches. But, in the end, there were no regrets...well, only one. Having to let go of the only thing I've ever wanted was something I never planned on and I would do anything to have it back. So, that's why I'm just sitting here, surrounded by the peaceful and serene landscape within the Emerald Dream. I don't know what to do now. It's like a dream, because everywhere I look I see memories of a time when I was truly happy. The effects of the War of the Ancients had taken it's toll on the population of the Kaldorei. Many warriors had fallen, villages were demolished and families were split up and scattered to the winds. The young druid, herself, had lost her family from the war that should have never happened. All that remained of the Dawnfire bloodline was this meek and innocent young girl. The orphanage that she stayed at was adequate - it provided a place for her to rest her head at night and usually one meal day to fill her belly. The other orphaned children mostly kept to themselves. A few of them would stick close having known each other before the war. Sonoa's one redeeming quality was the fact that no matter how much she had lost or how terrible things would get, she always found a way to smile. It became quite the defense mechanism for her which soon transformed into humor. She would not pass up the opportunity to tell a bad joke or greet everyone she happened to meet. With many of the veterans of the war, or the widowed and parent-less children, they simply did not appreciate that. The young druid had the habit of being ignored for her love of life. She would go many years sitting in her own corner of the orphanage by herself. Sonoa would always wave and smile to everyone as they entered or left but, nevertheless, she was alone. Every morning Sonoa would be one of the first children awake. She would carefully make up her cot and walk outside to watch the sun rise. It was her favorite time of the day, second only to the sun setting. The birds would awake and sing their songs and the sky would become painted with bright colors like a collage painted by Elune herself - a gift from the goddess to this young child. Sonoa would spend her time perfecting her whistles to match the tunes of the birds that chirped, even gaining a few admirers of her own tunes. But this morning, someone had awakened before her. The young druid could feel the sadness emanating from the other girl, even making out a few whimpers. So, she did what she could. Sonoa walked quietly up to the elf and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Is everything okay?" The elf shoved Sonoa off of her. "Leave me alone!" Confused, the young druid watched as her fellow orphan ran outside. She wanted to follow her, but Sonoa knew better. This elf had no trouble raising her voice and putting her hands on others. Sonoa wanted to help her, but she feared being hurt at the hands of this girl. If there was one kid in this orphanage that perplexed her the most it was her. The young white-haired elf was a bit like her. She kept to herself and everybody left her alone. But that is where the similarities ended. It didn't take long for this white-haired elf to establish a name for herself as a troublemaker. She was barely able to speak when she was first brought here, and thus did not even know her own name. The matron picked a name out for her, but many of the children took to calling her U'phol which simply meant orphan in Darnassian. This, undoubtedly, made for a very angry U'phol. U'phol was found many a times being pulled off of other children by the matron. Such an angry child and everybody learned quickly not to piss her off or they would receive a beating at the hands of this young girl. Scrappy as she was, she usually took on more than she could handle. U'phol would sneak out many times to adventure into the wild or simply to make her way through the streets, usually returning to the orphanage with cuts and scrapes and even more severe injuries from the local wildlife. Sonoa could always admire that about her though. U'phol was brave and feared nothing, even when she knew she couldn't win. The young druid never liked seeing her so hurt on the outside, because she finally figured out that U'phol put herself in situations to get hurt because of how much she hurt on the inside. So, Sonoa decided to follow her this particular morning. She knew she shouldn't and it would most likely end up with her regretting this decision, but she followed nonetheless. Sonoa spent a lot of time with the eldest druid of the village, learning mostly just basics as she started her path down druidism. It was a calling that spoke to her heart. The ability to call upon the forces of nature to soothe wounds and heal most ailments fit like a glove with how Sonoa lived her life. Even if she only knew one spell that worked half of the time, she figured U'phol might still appreciate it when she found herself in another situation where she was hurt. The white-haired girl wasn't too far from her as Sonoa began entering the forests. She made sure to stay far enough behind her so U'phol could not hear or see her. The only thing Sonoa could not do was control her breathing. The quickened pace of her lungs was due to a few things - following this angry girl; going so deep into the forest; being ready to help U'phol at a moment's notice. It was her very first adventure, and she was enjoying it as the smile on her face gave it away. The white-haired elf finally stopped at a tree and removed some branches and foliage from it's base. Underneath was a very crude bow - complete with an animal-gut string. Sonoa watched quietly as U'phol began to smile. The young girl pulled at the taut string and nodded her head as she reached down and picked up a makeshift quiver with what looked like three arrows. The base of the arrows were decorated with feathers from various birds of the area. Was she going to hunt? Perhaps that was why she always returned to the orphanage in such a rough state. With the quiver now slung across her back, U'phol placed one of the arrows onto the string of her bow and began making her way deeper into the forest. The young druid followed, her heart nearly bursting out of her chest. This girl reminded her of one of the stories she read at night to herself. A beautiful woman that stood defiant in the face of evil. An elf that could overcome any obstacle or any foe that lay in her path. The admiration Sonoa had for U'phol was bittersweet. She wished that for one moment that this elf would just talk to her. "What are you doing?" The young druid spins around, terrified as she stares at an arrow aimed at her face. "Wha...uh..." "Oh, it's you," U'phol sighs as she slowly lets the string of her bow relax. "Why are you following me? Get out of here," she grunts angrily as she begins walking away. "But...wait. I just wanted to...uh...make sure you were okay," Sonoa says as she stumbles through each word, her heart still racing. "Why do you care? Just leave me alone, I have important stuff to do." Undeterred, Sonoa continues to follow. She swallows down an uncomfortable lump in her throat as the panic in her chest is soon replaced with excitement. "I just want to follow. I promise, I'll be super quiet," she smiles brightly at the white-haired elf. U'phol pauses and stares at Sonoa with a wrinkled face of anger. "Fine, but you're on your own. I'm not helping you at all, and trust me, you'll regret following me in here." The young druid covers her mouth to contain her giggle. She was going to get to follow U'phol into the forest. Her very own adventure complete with a dark and dangerous forest and a stoic and beautiful archer. Sonoa felt like she was in one of her books as she did her best to keep up with U'phol. The white-haired elf's strides were wide, and although she moved quickly Sonoa could barely hear any noise from her footsteps. The young druid, on the other hand, wasn't as quiet as O'phol would have liked. Even though it was frustrating, she focused on the hunt. She soon found what she was looking for. In the distance was an opening to a field. In that field was a group of deer that lapped at the morning dew on the grass. This was what she really enjoyed. Finally, today would be the day she actually landed an arrow into a prized hide. U'phol held her hand up to Sonoa to get her attention. The young druid watched as she moved her finger up to her lips. "Shh." Not minding the fact that she would get her dress dirty, she begins to crawl up to her white-haired companion and watched as she pointed to the deer in the field. The view was magnificent. The sun was just beginning to come up, making the grass appear to sparkle from the dew. The beautiful beasts were peaceful and grazing, unknowing that two young elves were just a mere hundred meters away. As Sonoa shuffled up to U'phol, she whispered, "don't make a sound. Just stay here." Sonoa nods her smiling head quickly as she watches U'phol move in closer to the group. Too many times she had spooked or alerted the group of deer to her presence in the past. Every attempt she learned how to move closer and move more quietly. This would be the day, she kept telling herself as her feet brought her as close as she could. Slowly she drew her arrow back as she brought it up to her eye, lining the shot up at one of the larger deer. The moments passed slowly as she focused on her breathing, adjusting her aim ever so slightly until she was confident that once she let go the arrow would find its mark. Suddenly, and to U'phol's shock, the entire group of deer raised their heads as their ears stuck straight up. Had they heard her? With a shriek from Sonoa, the white-haired elf watched in defeat as the deer ran off into the forest. "I thought I told you to shut up!" As she turned back towards Sonoa, she saw a sight worthy of a shriek. A nightsaber had the young druid in it's sights. U'phol quickly pulled her bow back up and aimed an arrow at the feline. As the saber lunged at Sonoa, she cowered and covered her eyes, waiting for this beast to sink it's teeth into her. The roar of the saber suddenly shifted into a whimper of pain as it crashed into the tree next to the young druid. "Hey, stupid, run," U'phol called out to her clueless companion. Sonoa quickly scrambled to her feet as she sprinted as fast as she could back towards the orphanage. However, another roar of the saber stopped her in her tracks as she finally realized that U'phol was in danger too. Sonoa was torn between leaving and making sure that her archer friend would be okay. That's why she came out here right? To make sure she was okay. The young druid took only one more moment to decide to run back to U'phol and help however she could. U'phol, on the other hand, was terrified. She found herself asking herself if she really should have distracted the saber off of the young druid. At least then she could have gotten away. Now, she stared down this beast as it began circling her. The white-haired elf knew that if she showed any weakness the saber would sense it. So, she growled right back at the cat, bearing her teeth, as she pulled another arrow back. She was going to wait until the saber made its move to ensure that her arrow would find its mark. Snarling, the beast continued to circle the elf until it finally sank it's back paws and lunged for U'phol. The white-haired elf let the string of her bow go a split second before rolling to one side. The arrow sank into the cat's chest, but not before it's sharp claws tore into her back. The two hunters lay in grass. U'phol cried out in pain while the saber took slower and more shallow breaths. Gritting her teeth through the pain, she raised her head and kept her eyes on the saber until she watched it take it's last breath. Relieved, she finally collapsed to the ground. "Hey, are you okay?" "Does it look like I'm okay?" Sonoa falls to her knees as she attempts to touch U'phol. The white-haired elf pushed Sonoa away from her. "Leave me alone, you've helped me enough. If it wasn't for you," she grunted again as she trailed off. "I'm so sorry. There's so much....uh...blood. Let me...let me try something," Sonoa said in a panic. The young druid rubbed her hands together as she closed her eyes, trying to focus on that healing spell the elder druid taught her. Her mind was a jumble and she tried her best to calm herself. U'phol simply writhed in pain, waiting for this help the young druid spoke of. Slowly, her hands began to glow softly with a green light. Sonoa smiled as she opened her eyes and placed her hands onto U'phol's back. The archer immediately felt the soothing effects of the spell as the wounds on her back slowly closed. The pain began to disappear and the flow of blood stopped. Nodding at the healed wound, Sonoa finally ceased the spell and sat there smiling at U'phol. Why had this druid helped her? What did she gain from putting them both in danger and now healing her wounds? It didn't make any sense to the white-haired elf. She had nothing with which to compare this feeling she had within her. Was it...compassion? Love? Sonoa watched as shock set into the archer's face and tears begin to form in the corner of her eyes. "Aww, it's okay. I told you I was going to help you and - " The young druid is interrupted as U'phol punches her square in the chest, knocking her over. "Stay away from me!"
  7. A knocking at her door pulled Illiana from her daze. She watched as Sonoa opened her door and stepped inside. The druid noticed another mess that the huntress had made in her room. "Illi, what's the matter? You've never acted like that towards me. It wasn't about the mess. Something else is -" "- what's bothering me," she says as she turns her back to Sonoa, "is how weak you are. You make everyone else weaker just being around them." As always, Sonoa tried to ignore her friend's hurtful words when she was angered. Nothing good came out of her mouth while under those effects. "Illi, you don't mean that. You're just angry. I know you want to find that woman, but you can't forsake me. You can't forsake your duties and your honor for this one person." "Look at how weak you've let yourself become because of her. You let all of your subordinates talk to you this way?" Illiana shoots a cold stare over at Sonoa. The druid can feel the rage burning within her red eyes as she watches the huntress close the gap between the two. Fear again creeps up into Sonoa's heart as she says, "Illi, you're better than this. You're letting whatever is -" Sonoa is silenced as Illiana backhands the druid across the face. She falls to the floor as she grabs at her cheek. The pain overwhelms her and leaves her speechless at the huntress' feet. What seems like forever finally passes as Illiana grabs Sonoa and jerks her up against the wall, her hands around her throat. "This is your fault! If I wasn't being held back by you, by your soft and caring ways, I could have killed her by now You've always done that to me. When the hard decisions had to be made, who made them? You?!" The druid struggles against her friend's grasp. In a panic she beats ineffectively against the huntress' chest as her lungs begin to burn. "I will not tolerate weakness anymore, and I will no longer tolerate you!" Illiana throws Sonoa across the room as she lands hard onto the floor. Coughing and gagging, she looks up at Illiana, only seeing a monster now. Her face wet with tears, she manages to speak, "I hate you! Stay away from me!" A challenge issued from the weeping druid - challenge accepted. The huntress runs up to the druid and swings her leg, aimed for Sonoa's stomach. __________________________________________________________________ Moonbrook, deep within Westfall, approaches in the distance for the members of Invictus Sanctum. Moonjade, leading the charge with Jeordra, Zolen, and Calhoun close on her heels pushes her saber faster. The huntress, having received a telepathic message from her owl Almas, leads the group around the outskirts. The message was clear - Natalia had maintained her usual schedule of visiting her father to continue the years of torture she inflicted upon him. Moonjade did not care why she was there, only that she was. It was her chance to end that wretched woman's reign of terror and she was not going to let this opportunity slip her by. Purpose drove her, but she still remained vigilant. The element of surprise would be to her advantage and ensure success. Taking only a moment, her well-tuned ears could make out screams from the locals as well as the telltale sound of demons. She instructed Jeordra to lead the rest of the group around to flank them as she slipped into the shadows. As Jeordra rounds the corner of a building, she spots a large group of demons. Nearly half a dozen Doomguards, as well as other vile creatures, stood within the town center. Most of the Doomguards were standing around one particular building as they spread their terror and death across the town. The sergeant waves the other two close to her, Zolen being as quiet as a mammoth rolling down a hill. "Sergeant, Zolen can handle zhis." "No, Zolen. We do this together. Hopefully with some back up from Moonjade, we can make quick work of these demons. Now -" Before she could continue, a dark spell flew through the air, barely missing them. A Doomguard, unfortunately for them, had heard the lumbering draenei and alerted the rest as they began their attacks. Not the best way to start a surprise attack, but Jeordra lead the charge anyway. "For zhe Light," Zolen yelled out as he and Calhoun followed their sergeant straight into the fray. Jeordra kept the other two working together as best as she could. As Zolen would block attacks, she would lunge forward with her Light-infused sword. Calhoun was...well, Calhoun did what the dwarf did best: kill. The two draenei soon discovered the power and rage that dwelled within this quiet dwarf. Equipped with only two axes, Calhoun screamed in bloodlust as he made quick work of these demons. As the three battled, Moonjade positioned herself from a rooftop as she began sniping at these abominations. Keeping a close eye on her fellow guild members, she sent her well-aimed arrows out. Some were aimed right into those demon's hearts or heads for kill shots. Others she let loose were to prevent a landing blow on the trio. Visions from Almas still filled her mind. She focused on the fight as best as she could, but finding Natalia was more important. The images her owl filled her mind with showed the warlock finding Julian Ravenmoore and dragging him into the house the demons were currently guarding. Seeing that her guild members could handle the threat outside, she slips into the shadows once again and sneaks her way in after the warlock. _______________________________________________________ Sonoa grabs at her stomach as she heaves. Illiana, fully taken over by her rage, grabs at the druid again. As her feet dangle, she feels Illiana's grip around her neck again. "Look into her eyes and you will see that weakness. Look at the fear in them. She is not strong enough to survive. Finish her and put her out of her misery!" Illiana strikes Sonoa again, letting her fall to the floor. "Stop! Stop it! I'm done with you. All you've done is hurt me, and now this," she says as blood drips from her mouth onto the floor. Her body quivers in pain as she lays there. Her breathing labored and her heart breaking, she continues to cry. "All the years we've spent together," she struggles to speak, "everything we've been through and now I see...you are the one that is weak!" "Kill her!!!" "All you've done is let this hate consume you. Through all of the help and love I could give you, it wasn't enough because you weren't strong enough. You've let this woman take over your life. But the worst part is, you chose this path. You chose to become this person beating up on me now." "KILL HER!!!" Sonoa finally begins making her way to her knees as she looks up at Illiana. She watches her friend grab the dagger she keeps on her belt. "And you're just going to kill me, huh? Is that what Illiana does now? Just kill anything that stands in the way of her getting what she wants?" The huntress pushes Sonoa onto her back, pinning her down with her knee into her chest. The druid follows the blade with her eyes as she feels the cold steel press against her neck. As she looks into Illiana's eyes, she can see that her friend is beyond saving. She reaches up and places her hand onto Illiana's. "If you've truly turned your back to everything that you once stood for...kill me. I'd rather die than watch you go down this path anymore," she says as she feels herself giving up. "What are you doing? Kill her!!!" Through all of the rage, all of the corrupted demon blood coursing through her veins right now, she looks into the eyes of her friend and pauses. The urge to open the druid's throat up was unbearable. It takes every ounce of will power to not give in. But what was this struggle she was feeling? Was it doubt? Or could it be... "Love is worth nothing to you! It will only cause your failure. Or is that what you want? You go through all of this just to be defeated by something like love? Kill her!!!" Sonoa watches Illiana's eyes shift back and forth, knowing that she was contemplating her next action. The druid was left shocked as she heard the blade clatter against the floor. She immediately began whimpering in relief. Was there still hope for her friend? Did she have the strength to fight this corruption within her? Illiana rose to her feet and promptly left the room. ________________________________________________________________ "You think I didn't notice my fool of a father trying to signal for help," Natalia cackles as she launches a shadowbolt at Moonjade. The huntress had slipped into the house unnoticed and quickly searched it, finding the warlock at the top of the stairs, waiting for her. "Stop right there Natalia. This ends the easy way or the hard way. Pleeease choose the hard way." The Kaldorei taunts with a spiteful tone. "You thought you'd come here and save the day, huh? My plans cannot be ruined by arrows and swords. I'm prepared to die for my cause, are you?" With a flash of green fel flames, she opens a portal behind her and steps through. Moonjade steels herself, "I'll ruin more than your plans warlock! I"ve died once this century now its your turn!" Without missing a beat, the huntress darts up the stairs and leaps through with her companion, Sambas, before it closed. With the huntress teleported away, the three members of Invictus Sanctum continued fighting. The demons were powerful, more powerful than the trio even knew. But they fell these creatures like any other creature because their strength came from fighting for each other. Zolen continued to block incoming attacks as Jeordra and Calhoun sliced through the demons. They were soon left with one last Doomguard standing. Feeling his last moment was upon him, he threw his head to the sky and let out a terrible roar in Demonic. "Zolen, silence him!" The huge draenei nods at his sergeant as he flings his shield, hitting the demon in the neck. As he's stunned, Calhoun races past the two and lands his first axe into the demon's chest. The dwarf swings his other axe around, landing into it's groin. With an intimidating howl, he rips the demon apart. Jeordra and Zolen watch as their comrade turns the demon into two pieces, bathed in it's blood. They look at each other as their jaws drop. As Calhoun wipes a bit of blood from his face, he spots a large group of Doomguards flying towards Westbrook Garrison. He points up into the air and Jeordra spies an incredible force of demons in the sky. "Mount up!" ________________________________________________________________ As Moonjade leaps through the portal, she finds a familiar location before her - the roof of Westbrook Garrison. She quickly surveys the scene as she spots Natalia near the other side of the roof, looking back at her with that cruel smile. "I guess you are prepared to die again," she says as Doomguards begin landing on top of the roof. Nearly a dozen demons stared her down as she readied her bow. "No more games, no more escape plans. Tonight, you stay dead." Moonjade, sensing no one to witness, kneels and whispers to her goddess, Elune. "Sweet Mother Moon. Be my shield and protect me this dark night. I am your sword. Take me in thy hand and use me to thwart our enemies. FOR THE GODDESS!" A massive ray of moonlight shines down and engulfs the huntress as she is transformed into a warrior of Elune. Her body glows nearly completely white as her armor, too, begins to shine. The demons, as well as Natalia, are blinded for a moment. As the ray of light fades, her bow pulses with newfound power as a flurry of arrows fly through the air, riddling the demon's bodies. Natalia ducks behind one of the Doomguards as she returns fire, sending volley after volley of shadowbolts at Moonjade. The huntress dodges the incoming spells as the power of the Night Warrior guides her movements. One by one, the demons quickly fall to her pin point accurate arrows, further enhanced by the power of the goddess and her lion, Sambas. "Your fancy arrows and moon goddess will not stop my plans! I know you have no reservations about killing me, but I know someone you can't." Using one of her fallen demons as cover, the warlock's hands begin to glow black as she finally decides to take full control over Illiana. The Captain collapses to her knees within the main hall of the garrison. She screams out in pain as the power of Natalia's hold over her through the Doomlord's blood ignites within her like a raging fire. Her will is no longer her own. Illiana's mind goes quiet as she stands - only a puppet of the warlock now. Flames leap from her hair as well as her eyes. She grabs her polearm from her chair and makes her way to the roof. As she exits the staircase onto the roof, she sees her target. __________________________________________________________ Jeordra presses the group faster towards the garrison. The three dodge incoming spells from the demons, slowing down only long enough to deal with any of the Doomguards that dared fly low enough. A bright light shines through the trees in the distance as Jeordra feels dread wash over her. "We're almost there! Hurry everyone!" Minutes later, Westbrook Garrison was in their sights as they watched the dozens of Doomguards swoop down to land. They quickly beat the demons to the entrance as they jump off of their mounts. The sergeant watches as her sight is nearly filled with demons. Doubt enters her mind, not knowing if they would survive this. She turns to her soldiers and, through all of the fear in her heart, she inspires them with the few words she can. "Zolen, Calhoun, whatever happens here...do not give up. We will stand together and if we die here tonight, we take as many of them with us as we can!" Calhoun unsheaths his axes and nods, grinning in anticipation of sinking them into as many demons as he can. Zolen holds his sword and shield at the ready. His fear nearly overpowered him. But, he saw the conviction in his sergeant's eyes. Of all of the things he did not know, at that moment, he knew only one thing: he would not let his friends fall. "For zhe Sanctum," Zolen shouted as he stood his ground, ready for the onslaught. As the demons closed in, the three engaged the monsters. This was more than just about one person now - this was about the guild and making sure this evil would not take from them what this guild stood for. "Jeordra!" The draenei quickly turned her head to see Sonoa, bloodied and bruised, at the entrance of the keep. She watched as Sonoa, leaning against the doorway, called upon her nature spells to bathe her allies in waves of healing. "Jeordra, Illi's on the roof. She's been taken over by that warlock." "Fall back," she orders her soldiers. The four stand at the entrance as they beat back the demons, funneling them into nearly one behind the other. "Jeordra, you have to go to her. Please, help her," Sonoa cries out as she steps forward and calls forth a blast of wind with the speed of a typhoon, knocking back the demons. It only gives them a few moments. "No, there's too many demons. We have to stay and fight!" "Jeordra, please!" Zolen finally speaks up, knowing that his sergeant was needed for something more than just brute force attacking. "Jeordra, Zolen has zhis. Go to zhe Captain, she needs you. Zhe Light vill protect me and my friends," he nods with a smile that betrayed the fear he felt. Jeordra turns to Sonoa and grabs her shirt, pulling her in close, "if there was ever a time to fight, it's now. You stand your ground and make sure Zolen and Calhoun stand theirs, do you understand me?" Sonoa nods, as she steadies herself. "I won't let you down, sergeant." As quickly as she can, Jeordra races inside of the keep and up to the roof. Zolen looks back towards the demons, now back on their feet. He grips his shield tighter and fights back the fear to run away. "Come on now Zolen, I'll leave a few of tha' demons fer ya," Calhoun winks as he begins slashing at the first few to make it up to them. ________________________________________ Illiana throws her polearm at Moonjade. As it flies through the air, it misses it's mark. Her mother dodges out of the way of the weapon, her attention still focused on Natalia. Her daughter does not waste any time closing the gap as she lunges at Moonjade. With the power of the Doomlord coursing through her veins, the Night Warrior quickly discovers that it's power nearly rivals hers. The force and speed of Illiana's strikes forces her to deal with her first, still dodging the warlock's spells. With Moonjade merely in the backseat, she watches as the Night Warrior engages her daughter, not holding back any of her attacks. "How poetic - you gave her life, now she's going to take yours," Natalia cackles as she resumes sending volleys of spells at Moonjade. The fire engulfing Illiana nearly matches the brilliance of the light shining off of Moonjade. As the two trade blows and blocks, Illiana spies her polearm on the other side of the roof. She feigns a leg sweep which the Night Warrior leaps to miss. Illiana rolls past and jumps for her weapon. With some distance between them now, the Night Warrior begins launching arrows at Illiana. She takes a few to the back, dodging the rest as she scoops up her polearm and turns to re-engage her mother. She deflects arrow after arrow before getting close enough to swing her weapon around. The Night Warrior jumps back and readies an arrow, aimed for her daughter's head. Knowing that the Night Warrior will aim to defeat any threat to her, she struggles against the power of Elune. As the arrow is released, it's original path is turned down as it strikes Illiana in the leg instead. The attack causes Illiana to flinch. The Night Warrior swings her bow around and knocks her daughter against the head, sending her to the ground. With the threat of the Doomguards and Natalia still present, she commands her companion Sambas to help take care of the rest of the demons as she fires more arrows out. The demons don't last long as the Night Warrior quickly turns its attention back to Illiana. She dodges the slash from her next attack as she feels her body aim another arrow for her daughter's head. Moonjade struggles against the Night Warrior, yet again, unwilling to end her own daughter's life. Her pause gives Illiana the chance to finally land a hit against her mother. The blade of her polearm slices across her armor as blood begins to seep out of her wound. Moonjade, trapped within her own mind, struggles against the killing blows the Night Warrior attempts to make. Mother and daughter continue to trade blows as Jeordra finally makes it to the roof. The scene before her is surreal. A demonic Illiana battling against the almost angelic Moonjade. Not knowing who to help, she screams out, "Illiana!" Both jerk their head towards the draenei for a moment. Illiana quickly reaches for her second dagger in her left hand as she begins to swing down, aimed at Moonjade's chest. The Night Warrior acts too quickly for Moonjade to have a chance to struggle as she reaches forward and grabs Illiana's polearm from her right hand. Ripping it from the younger Kaldorei's hand she swings and sends the dagger flying across the rooftop. The Night Warrior uses Illiana's own weapon and pins her left hand down into the rooftop. A grin crosses the hooded visage as, within her free hand, a brilliant crystal blade materialises. With little effort the Night Warrior slices at Illiana's arm severing the limb at the elbow. Kicking at Illiana's chest, she sends the disarmed Kaldorei across the roof. The Night Warrior turns and hurls the captured polearm at the last demon standing, ending it's life just as quick. Natalia finally feels it - fear. She watches as Sambas begins racing towards her, teeth and claws beared. The warlock attempts to ready another spell but is stopped as an arrow pierces through her hand. Jeordra runs to Illiana as she watches Moonjade's lion lunge at the warlock, sending both over the edge of the roof. The NIght Warrior releases the crystal blade, letting it dissapate before taking up her bow and stalking toward the edge of the roof to survey her prey. ____________________________________________ Zolen and Calhoun trade blows between each other as the demons continue pushing forward, hurling their powerful spells at them. The force that Natalia was able to summon seemed to never end. Calhoun, competent and bloodthirsty as he was, had only so much stamina. Zolen, choosing to take many of the blows finds himself growing tired. The druid continues to cast her healing spells as quickly as she can to help keep her friends on their feet, but her energy and mana dwindled as well. Two of the Doomguards flew up into the air and divebombed the draenei and dwarf. With spells charged in their hands, their landing caused an explosion of dark energy as the two were thrown from the entrance and onto the grassy area in front of the garrison. Sonoa shields herself from the blast as best as she can. As the dust settles she looks up and sees her friends slowly making their way to their feet...and three Doomguards rushing her. "Zolen!" The draenei looks over as he watches those demons begin attacking her. "No! Zolen vill -" But his battle cry is cut short as he feels something pierce through his back. A large blade pins the draenei to the ground as he screams out in pain. But the paladin did not give up. His friends were in trouble and he was not going to stop until his body finally gave up. Gritting his teeth, he calls out to the heavens, "Light, give Zolen zhe strength!" Sonoa, battling against the impulse to flee, finally sets her feet as she stares down the demons rushing her. Her hands begin to glow - not green, but white. Calling upon the celestial powers bestowed on her, she releases a moonfire blast from her hands that pierces through one of the demons. As she gives into the need to fight back, her body grows translucent as the blasts from her hands grow more intense. Not giving another thought to whether she should kill or not, she lets loose on the demons as she screams out. With her path clear now she looks over and spots Calhoun being flung through the air, landing hard against the garrison. She casts a short, but effective, healing spells onto her friend as she watches Zolen, with a sword jutting out through his chest, explode in a bright light. The power of the Light coursed through the draenei as angelic wings of pure energy sprouted from his back. Stunning the demons only momentarily, he jumps to his feet. Renewed with life, he rips the sword from his body as the dark sword instantly bursts into a blaze of holy light. He swings the sword and decapitates the demon. As the demon falls at his feet, he sees Sonoa running up to him. Seeing that she was safe, he turns back towards the rest of the horde of demons and rushes into the group. Foolish, but Sonoa gives the draenei the help he needed. She calls upon her unused power as rays of moonfire continue to fire from her hands. Calhoun soon joins in with Zolen as the crowd begins to thin. The demons do their damage, but they are still struck down by the ferocity of the paladin and warrior. Sonoa focuses only on attacking. For a moment, she realizes how it finally felt to end a life. She did not enjoy it - she gained no pleasure. But, it was something she knew she had to do. She was to choose between the lives of these demons or her friends and she was going to choose her friends. The battle continued, now only a few demons left. The three were tired, but they kept pushing themselves. Always keeping an eye on his friends, Zolen watched as the third demon Calhoun was not actively engaging move to attack the dwarf. Seeing that Calhoun would not be able to defend against the attack, Zolen lets loose his shield. As the shield travels through the air, it ricochets off of the demon's weapon. It may have saved Calhoun's life, but it came with a price. With Zolen distracted with the throw, the demon in front of him runs its sword through the draenei. Zolen screams out as he is lifted off of the ground. "Zolen...vill...destroy zhe...monster!" With the last of his energy, his sword is set ablaze with the last of the Light's gift as he pierces the demon's heart. Hearing his voice, Sonoa looks over to watch the dreanei land the killing blow. They both fall to the ground motionless. "Zolen!" Sonoa quickly casts another spell as roots tear out of the earth, immobilizing the last two Doomguards while Calhoun handled them. She runs over to Zolen to find him still breathing. She immediately begins casting a healing spell with the little energy she had left as her form transitions back from her translucent form. Zolen rolls onto his back as he looks over and watches Calhoun rip the last demon apart. He lets a sigh of relief leave his mouth as his head rests against the ground. "Did...did Zolen...do good," he asks as he watches his druid friend desperately pour what healing she can into him. Sonoa nods as the green energy around her hands fizzle out. "Yes, Zolen, you did good," she reaches forward and places her hand softly against his face. "Vhy is...druid lady...crying?" He coughs. She closes her eyes as the realization sets in that is is of no more use to the draenei. Her energy is sapped as she looks back at Calhoun. Seeing his friend on the ground, he rushes to his side as he throws down his axes. Despite the crying druid, Calhoun notices something as he looks over Zolen. The dwarf smiles as he stands up and kicks at Zolen. "Get up ya big baby. Yer wounds are healed. Must of snuck one in, huh?" The druid looks up at Calhoun for a moment, confused. She turns back to Zolen who was smiling. "Oh, vell I guess it vas not zhat bad, huh?" Despite the injuries and the blood and everything they had just dealt with, the three start laughing. A roar, followed by a thud, rips them from their moment as they look over and see Sambas and Natalia laying at the entrance of the keep. The three look up and watch as a shining Moonjade pulls back an arrow and lets it loose into the skull of the warlock. The three look between each other as Zolen makes his way to his feet. "So...ve are done now, yah? Vhat to eat tonight?" Calhoun points up at Moonjade as he watches the brilliant light that engulfed her dissipate. Letting the Night Warrior take over her body took its toll on her. With nearly all of her energy sapped, she feels her knees buckle. Her bow drops from her hand as she feels herself falling forward. Jeordra watches in horror as she races towards Moonjade. She leaps forward as she extends her hand out. The moments pass by slowly as she reaches as far as she can. But, Moonjade was just out of reach as she falls off the roof. The three, down below, watch as the huntress goes over. Zolen attempts to rush forward but trips over Sonoa, sending them both to the ground. So, Calhoun does what he does best...which is apparently catching damsels in distress. He runs as fast as his short legs can and jumps as Moonjade lands in his arms. He lands softly, keeping the huntress from the same fate as her vanquished foe. Jeordra looks over the edge and breaths a sigh of relief as she watches Calhoun make the catch. It's finally over she told herself as she looked back at Illiana smiling. Surely the death of this warlock would end the corruption her Captain had fallen victim to. "Illiana, Natalia is dead. We..." Her words trail off as she notices Illiana not moving. Jumping to her feet, she races over to her Captain to find her not breathing. In a panic, she begins to cast her healing spells. However, she quickly discovers that the power of the Light only sears at her flesh with no effect to her health. There was one person who could heal her - one person who spent her whole life healing this very elf. "Sonoa!" The druid recognized the panic in the one word her sergeant cried out with. Whatever it was, it couldn't be good. Fearing for her friend, she darts off into the garrison. She runs as fast as her legs can move as she rounds the corners and climbs the staircase until she sees what the panic was all about. "Sonoa, Illiana needs your healing spells now." The druid stares at her friend, unmoving, at her feet. Frozen with fear, Jeordra yells at her again. But Sonoa already knew she had spent the last of her energy keeping Zolen and Calhoun alive. She collapses to her knees as she begins crying. The moans of the druid deliver the bad news to Jeordra as she too begins to cry. She watches Sonoa gather Illiana into into her arms. The fate of Illiana had been sealed as Natalia was killed by Moonjade. A simple soul link spell ensured that the warlock would get the last laugh. "No Illi, no...no no no. I love you. I'm sorry. Please don't leave me alone, please," she begs of her friend. "Is there nothing we can do?" Sonoa searches all of the knowledge she had come to learn over the millinea as she tries to figure out a way to bring her back to life, but with the state of her death, she did not know of anything. She continues holding her friend tightly as she is reminded of a conversation she had with Illiana. Sonoa mumbles something. "What?" "Nature gives...and nature takes. Nature is all about balance. Day and night; sun and rain; life and death." Jeordra looks upon the crying druid, confused. "So, you found something that can help her?" The druid nods as she lays Illiana down in front of her. It was the only way to save her friend. She loved Illiana, more than she thought she could ever love someone. She would give Illiana more than just her heart - she would give her life. Sonoa closed her eyes as she began to pray. Cenarius, take from me that which gives me life and grant my friend a life renewed. I beg of you, please. Jeordra watches Sonoa sit there whimpering. What was she going to do? Everybody around Westbrook Garrison suddenly feels the earth begin to rumble. They all watch as roots begin to break out of the ground and climb the walls of the keep. Sonoa begins to glow with a soft green light as the tendrils of nature begin to converge on her. The sky opens up as rain begins to fall over the area. As the tentrils begin to wrap around Sonoa, she opens her eyes and leans forward and pulls Illiana into her arms. Jeordra continues to watch in amazement and shock, not saying a word. The green glow enveloping the druid now begins to surround the huntress. The sergeant watches as Illiana's hair slowly turn from the corrupted deep red it was, back to white. Sonoa brushes her hair from her face as she leans in and kisses her friend softly. "Illiana, I love you. Now live, and always remember that this love I give you will always be your greatest strength." Sonoa's body, as well as the huntress', is now completely consumed by this green light. Jeordra shields her eyes as the intensity continues to grow. As the glow subsides, she turns to find the druid gone. At her feet lay the Captain...breathing and free of the corruption that plagued her body. "No," is all she can muster as she realizes that Sonoa had just sacrificed herself to bring Illiana back from death. As her eyes spill out with tears, searching over Illiana, she notices a small red flower beginning to bloom where the druid had just sat. If she had never known the meaning of love, she now knew its meaning. Jeordra finally makes it to her feet as she takes Illiana into her arms and makes her way down to the rest of the guild.
  8. "You didn't deal with her. Her weakness is rubbing off on you, Captain." Illiana shoots her eyes over to her mirror self. "And what good are you? When I needed your help where were you? I was right there at Natalia's heart and you lied." The huntress walks over to her wash basin, looking at fragments of her face in her still broken mirror. Why was she so angry with Sonoa? She snapped on her, all over a broken bowl. "You were not strong enough, but you faced her and now you are." "What do you want from me!?" Illiana rips the sink from the wall and throws it to the floor with a strength she did know she had. "That. That is what you need if you're going to defeat Natalia. You need to let go of your reservations and act only through the rage that boils within your blood. If you are held back, for even an instant by weakness, you will fail." "You underestimate how much I really want to end this woman's life. She kills and tortures and corrupts everything she touches. The longer she stays alive the more chaos she creates, and it'll be my fault. All of it! Every life that suffers and every drop of blood that is spilled by that woman is on my hands. I brought this evil upon my guild and everyone else I call friend. So don't tell me I'm weak," she says through her teeth as she approaches her mirror self, " I just need one moment with her and I will end this." The huntress stares at herself sitting on her bed. Their eyes stay locked onto each other as her mirror self finally speaks. "You are prepared to do anything to kill her?" Illiana scoffs at herself as she shakes her head. "You really have to ask that?" "You remember that feeling you had deep in that cave? You remember the fear that washed over you? What did you fear exactly?" "You already know." "But do you?" The huntress recalled the moments in the cave when she was on her back, waiting for Natalia to finally kill her. "I feared failing." "No." "Don't tell me what I felt because I was there." Her mirror self simply shook her head. "That is not what you feared." She was right. Despite her continued attempts to lie to herself, she knew what she feared most. What she feared was dying and leaving behind her family - the ones she loved. Her fear of not being able to return to her guild, Sonoa, her son, it paralyzed her. "If you did not have those things to return to, do you think you would have feared death?" "My family makes me stronger. They give me something for which staying alive is worth," she continues to say through her teeth. "Because you fear death, it will hold you back. Your weaknesses must be stripped if you are to be successful. Your guild, your precious son and your lover, Sonoa, will keep you from your goal. You will continue to hold back and take the safest actions instead of striking without hesitation. If you died but took that woman with you, would you do it?" There was her hesitation. The thought gave Illiana pause. "The only way you can do this is if you let go. If you fail again, Natalia will kill you. Then, she will move on to the ones you love. She will gut your guild. She will drive a dagger into your son's heart. So you tell me what is worth more: your family, or her death?"
  9. Sonoa sat at the entrance of Westbrook Garrison. She sat among the blades of grass, unmoving, fearing that this was just a dream. Any moment she would awake and everything would be okay. What just happened was just a bad dream she kept telling herself. But her sore legs, the ache in her stomach was still present. It reminded her that the events in that dungeon were real. The druid could feel the urge to vomit still. The sounds from those captured and tortured still rang in her mind. Whoever was doing it made sure not to reveal who they were. She had to have whispered her questions in the captives' ears. It seemed so surreal to Sonoa as she could still hear the screams of their answers. But they weren't even pertinent answers. Some men yelled out their names, others where they were born. Nothing seemed to make sense from their answers, except whatever the last question was. They always ended up confessing to be a spy. The druid closed her eyes as she attempted to quiet her mind. She tried to focus on the life energy of the living things around her. The wind blowing through the trees; the wolves calling out in the distance; the water from the river flowing close by. But, she couldn't focus. Whoever that person was that was torturing those men and women had her turn with Sonoa. With the helmet on her head, she could not see anything. She could only hear, and that was if certain flaps were opened on the sides. As if the voice of that man was still calling out from in front of her she remembered the last encounter she had before being whisked away back to the safety of her garrison. "Tell her what she wants to hear!!!" Sonoa jumped at the man's screams. Cramped within her small confines, she hit her head against the stone through her helm. Her legs burned as she kept herself in the least comfortable position she could find. "I...live at...Goldshire." Sonoa can barely make out a whisper, her sense of hearing amplified as her only tool of survival. "You're lying!!! Please, just tell her what she wants...please!!!" The druid jumps again at the man's screams. His face is pressed up against her cell door just inches from her own face. "I...I do live in Goldshire. I'm sorry." The man continues to breath hard, grunting in pain as he continues to lean against the door. Silence goes by for a moment. Was she finally done? Did, whoever this woman is, finally give up? "AAAARRRRRGGGG!!!" Sonoa jumps once more as she cries out, "stop! Stop hurting him!" As the man's screams die down he struggles to speak. "Just...just tell her...the truth. Please...," he forces out with the last bits of energy he still had. Sonoa wanted this to end, but that would mean giving up the location of where her guild calls home. She couldn't do that to her guild - not to Illi. She had to be strong she kept telling herself. "Be strong Sonoa," she whispered to herself unknowingly. "Tell her...please...I...I can't go on..." the man begs. "I live in Goldshire, now let him go," she pleads with her captor. Many more moments go by in silence, save for the man now sobbing. Empathetic as Sonoa was, she couldn't help but cry for the man as well. She was not going to be the cause of this man's suffering, but she was not going to betray her guild either. "AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!! Tell her where you-" "- Westbrook Garrison. Westbrook Garrison," she said before she realized what came out of her mouth. The act of betrayal would have to wait. "Now let him go, please!" The sun was nearly set as she continued sitting in the grass. She gave up the location of her guild's home. She was a traitor. Sonoa felt compelled to reveal this information but she feared the repercussions. It wasn't her fault...right? She did not want to leave Illi nor the guild. She worried that this information would be used as a means to attack the guild further. They were already being plagued with random strikes from the Twilight's Hammer. Who else could want Invictus Sanctum dead? Sonoa finally realized the sun had already set as Mother Elune began to shine down from the sky. So, she prayed to her goddess. Her thoughts kept turning selfish as she spoke with Elune. Sonoa could not bear the mark of shame from telling. But then again, the shame of not telling if something were to happen was hard as well. The druid decided against her better judgment to keep this to herself. She couldn't lose Illi, not after all they had been through. Sonoa finally had Illi's heart and she was not going to give that up. "I still can't get used to that face." Sonoa looks up and sees Illiana walking up to the garrison. The huntress pulled her helm off as her dark red hair fell over her shoulders. As Sonoa watched her friend approach she was reminded of another reason to be strong enough to keep this secret. The druid was the one person helping to hold Illiana together. If word of her betrayal were to come out, she feared Illiana would no longer have any reason not to lose complete control. Illiana kneels down and places her hand onto Sonoa's shoulder. The stern and uncaring look on her face melted away as a smile appeared, "Sonoa, what's the matter?" The druid shook her head as she began smiling again. Tears welled up in her eyes as she nuzzled against Illiana's hand, "nothing. Just waiting on you to come back." As her eyes closed a tear ran down her cheek. Illiana wiped it from her face and brought her in close for a hug. "I'm not going anywhere Sonoa. Nothing is going to keep us apart as long as I'm alive." Sonoa wraps her arms around her friend as she holds back her tears. "So, where have you been?" Illiana recounts the mission she had been on with Eternal Aegis as they make their way into the keep. Sonoa helps Illiana out of her armor and then leads her into the kitchen as she begins preparing a meal for her. As she listens to her friend's tale, she could feel the anger emanating off of her. She watched as her friend's eyes glowed more red as she explained. They had made their way to Stromguard and discovered that cultists were using children to fuel fel devices at the order of Natalia. Sonoa jumped as Illiana slammed her fist against the table. The bowl she had been mixing ingredients in fell to the floor and shattered. She looks to Illiana as her friend shoots her reddened gaze to Sonoa, "clean that mess up!" Sonoa is frozen as she stares at Illiana. Never had her friend spoken to her like that. Even when she had angered Illiana, and especially unprovoked. "I...I'm sorry." The rage is fleeting as the huntress quickly realizes the look of fear in her friend's eyes. "I'm sorry, Sonoa. I didn't mean that. I was just...I'm still worked up over that mission." Illiana gets up from her seat as she begins cleaning up the mess. "No, I'll clean this up. Go and rest and put your feet up. I'll let you know when dinner is ready, okay?" "You're going to let her talk that way to you? She's a subordinate, and more importantly, the reason you're so weak now. Deal with her." The huntress looks over at her mirror self leaning against the table staring back down at her. As her eyes make their way back to Sonoa, her rage reignites. "You don't think I can clean this mess up? You think I'm too good to fix something when I break it?" Sonoa's eyes open wide as she feels her friend's anger freezing her in place. "I...I..." Illiana reaches forward and grabs onto Sonoa's arms tightly. "You can't seem to focus on what you're doing so let me help." Sonoa is pulled to her feet as fear grips her heart. "More training. How does that sound?" Illiana reaches for another bowl and puts it into her hands. As soon as Sonoa grips the bowl Illiana slaps it out of her hand, sending the bowl crashing against the wall and shattering. "Too weak. Hold it tighter," she says as she grabs another bowl. "You have to be the one to either make her stronger, or let her go. Which is it, huntress?" The huntress puts the bowl into Sonoa's trembling hands again, slapping it away again. "Illi...please..." "No, I'm going to make you strong whether you want to or not," she raises her voice while her eyes begin to glow a deep red. Sonoa raises her hands up defensively as she backs herself up against a wall. "Please stop Illi," she says as tears, once more, begin running down her face. Illiana walks up to Sonoa and grabs her face tightly with one hand. "No, how are you going to hold onto your weapon if you can't even-" Illiana turns as she hears someone making their way upstairs noisily into the main hall. "Hello zhere Sanctum. Zolen is back from adventures vith zhe varlock man." Zolen smiles from the doorway as he sees Illiana and Sonoa standing together in the kitchen. He doesn't quite grasp the image of Illiana holding Sonoa's face as he makes his way towards one of the many tables and plops down into a chair. Illiana lets go of Sonoa, still staring at her. "Clean up this mess," she says as she makes her way out of the main hall and into her private quarters. Zolen removes his helm and places it on the table in front of him. "Hmm...zhat vas quite zhe adventure. Zolen not understand all zhe big vords and zhings varlock man vas alvays saying, but Zolen still vas good protector. Zolen made sure varlock man vas not come to any harm, yah?" The big draenei looked over at Sonoa, still frozen in fear against the kitchen wall. "Vhat? Zolen does not smell, yah?" He lifts his arm and smells under his arm as he jerks back. "Oh, okay. Zolen vill take bath soon." Zolen continues to look at Sonoa confused. He makes his way to his feet as he walks over to Sonoa, his hooves clicking across the wooden floor. His big smile was of no comfort to the druid at the moment as he asks, "vhat is zhe matter? Zolen not even make bad joke yet." He looks down and notices the broken bowls. "Ah, did zhe Captain punish for making mess? It is okay, Zolen vill help." Before he reaches down Sonoa latches onto the brute and begins crying even harder. Zolen, still confused, doesn't know what to do. "Uh, hello zhere? Vhy is druid lady crying?" Sonoa looks up at Zolen for a moment, his smile still not offering any comfort to her. It wasn't his fault and she knew it. He didn't know any better. "I'm just...sad." "Sad? Vhy is druid lady sad? Ve are home and you are to make good food, yah? Zolen is home too. Zolen is sure you miss him, yah?" The druid manages a smile as she takes a step back from the lumbering draenei. "Yes, I'm glad to see you again Zolen. Illi is just in a bad mood from her last adventure I think. I made a mess and I angered her. It was my fault." The paladin continues to smile, "vell, Zolen vill help you clean, zhen you make good food, yah?" Sonoa nods, "yes, I'll make some good food for us." As she and the draenei begin cleaning up, they share a few glances as Sonoa finally smiles back at Zolen. "It's okay, Zolen. Go relax, I'll clean the rest of this up." "Really?" She nods as she smiles half-heartedly. "Zhat sounds good to Zolen," he says as he returns to his table and begins pulling pieces of his armor off. Sonoa, now out of sight of the draenei, continues to silently cry as best as she can as she gathers up the shattered pieces.
  10. These will be stats and info used before Illi's corruption since I feel that some people may not have ever known her before her current RP story arc. To know her current state of mind and goals, simply check out "Set Me Free" under Character Journals Full Name: Allahnia (Illiana) Riverdawn Nicknames: Illi Date of Birth: Exact date unknown Age: 10015 Race: Kaldorei Gender: Female Hair: White Skin: Cream with a hint of pink Eyes: Silver Height: 6'8" Weight: 175 Body type: Lean and muscular Place of residence: Westbrook Garrison Place of Birth: Nordrassil Known Relatives: Moonjade Riverdawn (Mother), Callen Riverdawn (Father), Angeni Riverdawn (Aunt), Aiyan Riverdawn (Uncle), Maurkakar Riverdawn (Husband - deceased), Callen Riverdawn (Son) Religion/Philosophy: Follower of Elune Occupation: Captain of Invictus Sanctum, stay at home mother before that, and traveler before that spanning much of her life. Group/Guild affiliation: Invictus Sanctum, protector of Wrymrest Temple, trainer of whelplings within the red dragonflight. Guild Rank: Captain Enemies: Sin'dorei, demons, orcs Likes: Adventuring, hanging out with Sonoa (her life-long friend), eating, storytelling, spending time with her guild members. Favorite Foods: Anything meat Favorite Drinks: Sweet juices Favorite Colors: Red, white Weapons of Choice: Long bow, polearm Dislikes: Arguing, war, conflict Hobbies: Leatherworking, Physical Features: Tiger claw markings over her eyes Special Abilities: Other than regular hunter abilities? None. Positive Personality Traits: Loyalty, determination, loving and caring Negative Personality Traits: Easily distracted by emotions, quick to fall in love Misc. Quirks: She is a bad joke teller and doesn't know it. Theme Songs: History: Much of her ealier years was a mystery to her. Until finding her mother when she was already past her ten century mark, she came to discover that she was just a child when the War of the Ancients was fought. During one of the battle before the Sundering, demons had overrun her hometown. Her father was killed protecting her from the onslaught. When her mother, Moonjade, rushed home she was met with heartbreak. Her husband dead and her infant daughter nowhere to be found - presumeably dead as well. Taken in by a fleeing family, Illiana was raised for almost one-hundred years until discovering that she was adopted. So, she struck out on her own. During her early travels she met a young druid named Sonoa Dawnfire. The druid was more of a nuisance than anything when they first came across each other. Sonoa was naive and always talking about anything - even in situations where silence was imperative. So, Illiana became a protector of sorts for this druid. Sonoa, just like her, was an orphan. With her affinity for pissing people off because of her general nature of not taking anything serious and choosing to see humor and good in anything, Illiana was seemingly the only one who could handle her. As the years went by, Illiana learned the skills of the hunter to help them survive out on their own. The huntress would hunt and provide food and shelter for both of them while Sonoa learned how to nurture and heal Illiana of any wounds she sustained protecting her. Illiana had always longed for a real family and soon found herself loving Sonoa as a sister. As many more years passed, it wasn't hard for Illiana to pick up on the more complex feelings of love Sonoa had for her, but she still treated her as a sister. They steered clear of major wars that had been waged across the lands until word of a guild named Invictus Sanctum reached her ears. A junior member, Daniellea was the first member of the guild she had met. She spoke of honor and family to the huntress and those two ideals made an impact on her. Interestingly enough, her own mother Moonjade, was the one to officially induct her into the guild - though at the time they did not know who they were. Fate had brought mother and daughter back together it had seemed. As the huntress traded hermit life for one warm with love and surrounded by those she could call brother and sister, she finally felt like she belonged. This family wasn't of blood, but it was one for which she would spill her own. A chance expedition through time, with help of the bronze dragonflight, finally revealed the long lost connection between Moonjade and Illiana. The reunion was cathartic. Illiana finally had the mother she had lived so long without. Illiana would later fall in love with a draenei shaman within the guild - Maurkakar. The huntress was actually the one to propose (if you want to call it that) to the draenei. They soon were gathered, with her guild, atop the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight with her wedding presided over by Alexstraza - the aspect she had served for many years helping to guide, teach, and train her own brood. The fairy tale that was her life would reach a breaking point, however. After the birth of her son Callen, she spent most of her time at her own home caring for her son. This time spent much of her own with left her dealing with emotions and thoughts she had never dealt with. Maurkakar, a man she never really loved; Moonjade, a mother she was without for so long; surrounded by countless people from her guild. It overwhelmed her as she stared into her son's eyes. Choosing to leave her son in her mother's care, Illiana fled. For years she spent her time within the forests of Darnassus. She was a coward. She nearly killed herself in those forests. But, as if inspired by the light of Elune herself one night, she was struck with a realization. The guild, her own family deserved better of her. Not because of the simple fact that they may have deserved it, but because it was her responsibility. She was never held down by any ties to something like family in the past. But now, people that had come to look to her and depend to her. The huntress would be what this guild needed her to be. She would be the mother to her son that she was never able to have and she would be a leader that this guild needed. Upon returning to her guild, years later, she quickly discovered Invictus Sanctum all but disbanded. With the help of Demiri, she soon began rebuilding. What was once an empty hall began to fill with soldiers that could swear to the same ideals she once swore to. With a renewed hope in her heart, she did all that she could. She gave all of her efforts and energy and time into rebuilding the once great name of Invictus Sanctum. But the hopes in her heart were short lived as she fell prey to forged papers claiming proof of her killing of innocents. With the help of a friend and the king (who was not fooled by these papers at all), she staged her own execution to find out who did this and get closer to this enemy. Upon learning of the Twilight's Hammer involvement, the guild was dispatched to finally put an end to the ogre-mage Cho'gall. With Illiana finally revealed to be the help the guild had been receiving to bring them before the lifeless body of the ogre-mage, it was assumed that life would go back to normal. But, as Illiana soon learned, all actions have consequences. The warlock Natalia put into motion a plan to kill the Captain of the guild as she lured Illiana into a trap. Days of torture, with the goal of killing this elf, were foiled by the huntress' own spirit beast coming and finding her. With her companion's help she was able to kill that woman and get away. The physical damage was all but healed, except for the use of the elf's left arm - no longer able to hold a bow. The mental damage was well beyond the scope of anyone's ability to heal. Demiri would finally step up and ground this falling elf into place, reminding her of her duties to this guild. What Illiana did not know, was that during the trap she had been tainted with demon blood. The effects were simple at first - nightmares, hallucinations, and a growing rage within her. Multiple attempts to find the warlock, who revealed herself to be quite alive. Her last attempt ended in more of the demon blood being forced into her. Now, what lays ahead for the broken elf? Only time will tell.
  11. I'm always advertising in my guild and I'd have no problem making public announcements too ^.^
  12. Oh oh! Draw a pic of Marrus' sexy diver outfit!
  13. I think the initial "hey you guys should coordinate better so we don't suck at our next war" plan is a good start. It's simple and all it does is get our guilds talking. Legion would definitely get everyone on the same page and working to one goal, but the issue in the past was guilds working autonomously within the Alliance and there was no reason for these guilds to speak to each other except through random RP that brought random members together. Besides, then we can start counting boss deaths as Coalition cannon. We could even RP out these attacks, dungeons/raids and the like. Of course, guilds could do that themselves, but honestly, a war can't be won by a 20man guild or even 40. Takes hundreds of people...thousands.
  14. I was on TS last night and I can assure you that you didnt' miss anything. Everything that needed to be discussed, as well as replies from everyone, was handled in raid chat. But you are right. We can't force anyone to use these forums or TS. However, I think if you want to be an effective committee/coalition member and rep for your guild, you should use at least these forums to help discuss and deliberate things. Remember, the Coalition meetings are mainly for decision making, not debating the entire night. That night is meant for results and things set in stone, debating and deliberating is meant for the time in between. TS is all up to you. These forums, should be bookmarked for all guild reps. Should, not mandatory. But if things are being discussed and you don't participate, you risk not staying up to date or making well informed votes when we do meet back up as The Coalition. Marrus did a good job recapping and that might become something standard because we usually do have people joining the meetings that aren't reps, so they might not know what's going on. And yes, each guild rep did get a radio to start using /TheCoalition channel IC