The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:38 am

Kali’bane watched Niashado intently as the draenei left them to go belowdecks. She carried herself with carefully contained uncertainty, as if she was willing to help but not sure how she could. An understandable reaction, he mused, especially given the gravity of the task before us. He had caught the shamaness scrutinising him as he had done to her. A wistful look had crossed her features as she had beheld him. Almost as if I remind her of someone, he thought. As Niashado vanished through the stairway to Acantha, the troll glanced at his companion, who smirked.

“Well, she seems appropriately terrified,” Erindar remarked, putting his feet up on the desk.

“Understandable,” Kali’bane said softly, moving towards the captain’s cabin. “Think of her feelings. She’s been summoned from half a world away to help a group of people she barely knows steal from arguably the most dangerous demon in existence. I think she is entitled to a healthy dose of apprehension.”

“True,” Erindar acknowledged, producing a bottle of wine from a drawer in the desk. Not bothering to seek out a goblet, he tipped the bottle back, taking a significant gulp. Sighing in contentment, he regarded his companion. “What are you going to do now?”

“Contact Jodai,” Kali’bane replied. “We need to arrange an appropriate meeting place. Somewhere neutral where we won’t draw attention.”

“I’m sure that won’t be difficult,” Erindar chuckled. “A pair of night elves, two trolls (one of whom is dead), a worgen, a sin’dorei and a draenei meeting a tauren in the middle of hostile, orc-dominated territory. I’m sure no one will notice.”

Kali’bane smiled. “We can try and enlist an orc to seem less conspicuous if you like.”

Erindar threw back his head and laughed. “An enticing offer, my friend, but I do not care for orcs. They smell.”

Kali’bane nodded to his elven friend, his smiled fading as he stepped through the door into the captain’s cabin. He strode to the centre of the room and closed his eyes. He mouthed a few phrases, circling his long arms through the air with practised ease. His incantation reached a climax as a swirling green mass of arcane energy manifested in front of him. Kali’bane’s eyes opened and his swept a hand across the energy, causing it to widen and flatten. Shapes coalesced in the energy, including a bulky, humanoid mass in the centre. The troll swept another arm, causing the image to become more defined, revealing the stony features and brown fur of a tauren.

Kali’bane reached out with his mind. "Jodai…it is Kali. Do you hear me?”

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Acantha glanced up from the manifests she had been studying at the sound of a gentle knock at her office door. She nodded at Ma’dra, who sat at an adjacent desk. The beautiful night elf rose and moved to the door. She opened it, revealing Niashado. Acantha smiled and beckoned the shamaness over. Her voice was warm and welcoming.

“Niashado! Come in and sit, please.” She nodded again at Ma’dra, who bowed and exited the room, closing the door behind her. Acantha gestured to an empty seat opposite herself. “Are you thirsty? I have some Moonberry juice if you desire it.”

Without waiting for a response, the kal’dorei poured two cups of the sweet liquid, pushing one towards the draenei. She spoke without preamble.

“Niashado, as wonderful as it is to see you again, I feel I must apologise for dragging you into this wild venture. Truth be told, you were the only one I knew who was close enough and able enough to provide Kali’bane and Erindar with what they needed.”

Acantha sipped her juice. “It was not my desire to pull you away from your duties, but we needed you. I trust Mr. Swift and Ma’dra were not too insistent.”

The she-elf swept an arm around her office. “Welcome to the Windsinger. You have full access to the ship. My crew and Captain Drake have been instructed to treat you with the same generosity afforded to both Blackmane and Ma’dra. In layman’s terms, you are a sub-commander of this ship.” She smiled. “Congratulations.”

Acantha raised her cup to the shamaness, before her smile faded. “I would offer one word of advice, though. While no part of this ship is inaccessible to you, I would avoid the lowest cargo hold. It contains something that I fear may distress you.” Her eyes flashed as she stood, walking around the table. Perching on the end of the desk, her smile returned as she proceeded to bombard the draenei with questions.

“So, Niashado, if you have any questions regarding the mission, please do not hesitate to ask. Then, you must tell me of your man! He must be a special one to catch your eye. Will I ever get the chance to meet him?”

((Bleh, short.))
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:48 pm

Jodai raised his burly arms above his head, stretching with a sigh as he crested the small hill. Around him, the sheer chasm walls of Gorgrond climbed up above his head, their walls matted with tangled vegetation and old markings. The jungle was thick here, and only the small trail has escaped the ever-growing greenery. The tauren moved purposefully along the dirt path, moving swiftly despite the abundance of life he heard in the undergrowth.

Jodai had entered Gorgrond through the western passageway from Frostfire Ridge. Traveling from the Frostwall Garrison had been difficult, especially with the abundant conflicts between the various orc and ogre tribes that inhabited the frozen tundra. In the days since entering this new region, Jodai had immediately felt even more intimidated. There was conflict here as well, but not of the same sort as Frostfire. Rather than small-minded races bickering for politics or land, this was an age-old conflict between two primal forces of nature that had raged since Draenor was in its infancy. To the north, the land was a barren, rocky desert, the legacy of the influence of the mighty breakers, massive stony creatures such as Gronn and Magnaron who relished destruction. To the south, Gorgrond was a lush green jungle, made so by the primals like the Genesaur and Botani, plant-like creatures that strangled the land with excessive growth. Jodai felt the conflict as a dull throb in the back of his mind, his training allowing him to sense the strong, old emotion permeating the landscape.

Still, Jodai was not there to take part in some ancient war. He was moving quickly, his iron-shod staff tapping the ground urgently with every step. He had been on the move ever since the missive from Kali’bane. He knew he had to move quickly. He had only mere days to cross from Gorgrond to Talador, where he hoped to be there for the entry of Kali’bane and his allies into Draenor. He was their contact on the other side – someone who had been in and knew the landscape of the strange world. He had come to Draenor with Khadgar and Thrall’s initial expedition, and had fought with the Horde through Tanaan Jungle to establish the garrison at Frostfire Ridge. The monk, unwilling to be a soldier in the war against the Iron Horde, had been granted leave to explore the new land, which he did over the coming months. Then, the unexpected had happened.

An old friend made an appearance in his head. Jodai remembered the startling feeling of not being alone with your own thoughts, a feeling he had since become used to. Kali’bane and Jodai had history together, even before the tauren had embraced the teachings of the Pandaren and become a monk. The troll was a valued, if unlikely, friend, which was why when Kali’bane had requested that Jodai join him on his quest, the tauren had done so without hesitation. Now, as he trudged through the Gorgrond Jungle, he considered his friend.

Kali is worried, Jodai thought. He knows that this plan carries inherent risks, but he also knows that it must be done, lest the Legion rise again and become a plague on this world or the next. The tauren turned his mind to the worrying reports that had arrive shortly before his leaving the garrison. The reports conveyed possible news that Grommash Hellscream had been overthrown as the Warchief of the Iron Horde by none other than Gul’dan. It was widely known that the orcish warlock did not possess the numbers that Hellscream did, which begged the question of how he was able to depose the famous warrior. Jodai had his own theory. He knew that a master warlock like Gul’dan would have allies. Allies from the Twisting Nether that in turn answered to some of the most dangerous beings ever to live.

If the reports and hearsay is accurate, then our time grows short, Jodai thought. He considered sending out a call to Kali’bane, but it seemed that his old friend beat him to it.

The tauren’s mind leaped to life as the troll’s words echoed through it. "Jodai…it is Kali. Do you hear me?”

Jodai paused on the track, moving to a small rocky outcropping, he lowered himself into a meditative pose. He knew from experience that these mental conversations could be tiring, and he could not risk continuing to walk through a dangerous jungle. He willed his mind to calmness and answered. “Kali, I hear you. What news?”

“The expedition is complete. We have all we need. We will be arriving in four days. Will you be there?”


Jodai’s eyelids fluttered. “I will try. Four days will be difficult. I am in Gorgrond now. Getting to Talador in four days may be possible, without incident.”

Kali’bane’s mental voice was tinged with worry. “Please try, my friend. We need you.”

“I know,” Jodai replied. “I will try. What news of Erindar? Has he divined the location of the first artefact?”

“He has,” Kali’bane responded, “But I will not say here. I cannot be sure that we are alone on this plane of communication.”

“A wise choice. One more question, then I have some news for you. Did you find someone to handle the artefacts?”

The tauren monk could sense Kali’bane’s hesitation in his own mind. It was an interesting sensation. “We have. Kaz’kah Thraze.”

Jodai’s eyes shot open. He almost fell off his rock. Straining to control his breathing, he took a while before responding, attempting to return to his meditative state. “Kaz’kah Thraze? How on earth did you find him?”

“That is not important, Jodai. He has agreed to help.”


The tauren frowned. “How is he? Does he still – “

Kali’bane’s mental voice was tinged with sorrow. “He is not who he was. I suspect he will never be again.” Jodai felt a mental spike as Kali’bane changed the topic. “You said you had news.”

Jodai’s own mental voice turned sincere. “Reports have come in. Gul’dan has overthrown Hellscream and now leads the Iron Horde.”

Now it was Kali’bane’s turn to be surprised. The tauren gritted his teeth as a surge of pain caused by the troll’s emotions flashed through his skull. “You are sure?”

“Yes,” Jodai replied with some difficulty. “There are also reported of strange new orcish warriors. Warriors with a fel taint surrounding them.”

“The Legion…”
Kali’bane’s voice was soaked in dread. Jodai sat silently, feeling the tormented thoughts of his friend. Eventually, they ceased, and Kali’bane’s voice sounded, hard and without hesitation.

“Jodai, ready the spell. We are coming to you now.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“What did Jodai say?” Erindar asked, entering the cabin as Kali’bane’s spell dissipated. The blood elf stopped as he saw the expression on Kali’bane’s face.

The troll turned to Erindar, straightening, his eyes ablaze. “Inform the others. We must leave now.”
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Izdazi on Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:24 pm

Niashado accepted the glass with a polite bow and took a seat after Acantha had.   Her office, as usual, wasn’t too elaborated decorated, but was a model of efficiency.  There was a stack of paperwork on her desk but it was tidy and orderly.

Besides some cosmetic changes to her appearance, Acantha looked almost as she remembered.   She was very pretty for one of her race, as always.  And she still carried an aura of self-assurance that the shamaness admired in her.   But there was always that hidden monster lurking deep inside her flashing eyes that Acantha had little trouble unleashing when it suited her plans.      

She listened as Acantha apologized for dragging her into this.  As it has been in the past, Niashado endeavored to accept her explanation at face value, while in a part of her mind she reminded herself that night elf always had a plan.

Her ears twitched slightly and her eyes widened at the thought of being an officer on this boat.   This, she did not want at all.   She would do her part to the very best of her abilities, but the shamaness had no desire to lead, especially not for such a dangerous endeavor.  

Her head cocked slightly at the mention of whatever might be in the lower decks that she wouldn’t like.   It wasn’t like Acantha to offer such a warning.  In the past the she-elf had no problem thrusting the shamaness from one undesirable situation to another, knowing well how uncomfortable she was with them.   For her to raise such a warning meant that Acantha knew without a doubt that Niashado would not agree with this.  

For a moment she gave serious consideration to abandoning this quest before it had even started.   How much more would she be forced to forsake in the name of this new adventure?

If this were simply a treasure hunt, I would leave.  But if this can hurt the Legion and hold them at bay, I have a duty to do offer my assistance.  Opportunities like this do not come around often.    

So lost in thought the draenei was, she didn’t realize that Acantha had walked around to the front of her desk and was perched against it looking down at her.  

“So, Niashado, if you have any questions regarding the mission, please do not hesitate to ask. Then, you must tell me of your man! He must be a special one to catch your eye. Will I ever get the chance to meet him?”

Her heart thrummed at the mention of ‘her man.’   How did she even know? Niashado pondered for a second time.   She thought she’d been careful since meeting Ma’dra and Swift, but somehow one of them must have noticed.  

“I-I… well,” she stammered.  Her mind whirled as she tried to explain their rather complicated history.  “We worked together in the past.  He is a ranger with the Cenarion Circle and somehow, after working alongside for so long, we discovered that we have feelings for each other,” she explained, smiling at how long they tiptoed around their feelings while apparently everyone else thought it was so obvious.  “One thing led to another.”  

She breathed a sigh of relief.   “We travel a great deal, though.  At times together; sometimes apart.   But maybe one day we can meet,” she added.  It was true.  Mostly.   They did travel a lot, as did Acantha.  And while Niashado didn’t have many friends she could call on, she did consider Acantha to be one.  It would be nice to introduce them.  

But the thought of Jaou somehow becoming beholden to Acantha, just as Blackmane is and Izdazi was, worried her.   Terrorized her, in fact.   Jaou had suffered enough.  

“How did you ever get mixed up into this quest?” Niashado finally asked after an uncomfortably long pause.  It was an abrupt change to the conversation but one she welcomed.   And it wasn’t the only burning question she had for her mysterious friend.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:53 am

Acantha kept her eyes fastened upon Niashado as she watched the shamaness fidget uncomfortably in front of her. The she-elf hid a smile at the effort the draenei was making to make her tone carefully neutral. Her voice seemed unsure as she related the tale of her meeting and subsequent relationship with the ranger named Jaou. However, it became apparent that her feelings for him were genuine, for her voice grew stronger as she continued.

“We travel a great deal, though.  At times together;  sometimes apart.   But maybe one day we can meet,” Niashado concluded with a smile. Acantha matched it with her own, before the shamaness followed it with a question.

“How did you ever get mixed up into this quest?”

Acantha sighed. “That, my dear Niashado, is a very long tale, and one I promise to tell you, when we have more time.” She stood, moving behind her desk. She picked up a sheet of paper from the stack in front of her, giving it a cursory inspection, before replacing with a slight frown. Returning her eyes to Niashado, she continued. “Suffice to say, Kali’bane and Erindar reached out to me. We have had… dealings in the past.”

Sinking into her seat, the kal’dorei raised an eyebrow. “Here is the short version. You may recall from our earlier adventures that tracking down artefacts is one of the vocations that falls beneath the web of my business. Kali’bane and Erindar have utilised my resources more than once to obtain such artefacts to further their own organisation’s studies and histories. This quest falls into that category.” The she-elf smiled. “At least, it did at first.”

Leaning back in the comfortable chair, Acantha tented her fingers, staring over them at the draenei. “Believe me; I have no more desire to get wrapped up in this than you do. However, circumstances do not permit to me withdraw at this time. So, here I am, helping Kali’bane and his representatives, for better or worse.”

Acantha leaned forward and began to say more, when a short, sharp stab of pain suddenly lanced through her temples. The she-elf’s eyes flashed as a voice trilled in her head, but not her ears. After a moment, the pain subsided and she recognised Erindar’s voice.

“There has been a development. We must push our travel forward.”

Acantha’s eyes flashed again, but this time in annoyance. “When?” she asked, assuming Niashado had heard Erindar’s voice as well.

“Now. Ready yourselves. Anyone who comes with us must assemble on deck in five minutes.”

“And if we cannot do that?” Acantha responded, her voice like ice.

“You must. There is no time left.” With another bolt of pain, the kal’dorei  felt Erindar leave her mind. She glanced across the desk at Niashado.

“Well, Niashado, it seems we must leave now.”

As soon as the words had left her lips, the door opened, revealing Ma’dra, with Swift standing behind her. Both were dressed and carried two travel packs each. Both also bristled with weapons, with Ma’dra choosing her usual short swords and daggers, while Swift favoured his bow and knife, along with a well-crafted hatchet. Ma’dra also carried Acantha’s katana and a long cloak, which she tossed to her mistress. Swift offered his second pack to Niashado, with a terse “milady”.

Acantha sighed as she swept the cloak around her shoulders. “So much for relaxation. Come, we must get above-deck.” She glanced at Swift. “Please go belowdeck and get our friend to join us.”

Swift shifted uncomfortably. “Milady, are you sure – “

“I am not,” Acantha cut him off. “But we have no choice now. Do it.”

Swift bowed and left the cabin, disappearing down a staircase. Ma’dra was already moving, heading down the hallway. Acantha smiled reassuringly at Niashado.

“Come. Our adventure begins.”

_______________________________________________________________________________


Swift stepped past several of the Windsinger’s crewmen as he made his way to the lowest cargo hold. As he did, he noticed the expressions on their faces. They all wore masks of dread and fear. The worgen tracker shook his head as he strode towards the closed door. These are battle-hardened sailors, hand-picked by Acantha to crew her favourite vessel. They have seen many horrors in their time, but even they have to sense to fear him.

Swift opened the door, revealing a dark room. He instinctively shifted to his worgen form, ignoring the scattering crewmen behind him. He called into the darkenss, doing his best to mask his own feelings, as well as his trepidation at what would happen when they were all above-decks.

“I trust you heard Erindar’s message. Come. We are needed above-deck.”

Two blue orbs ignited, shining with malevolence in the darkness. Ancient armour creaked and rustled as Kaz’kah stepped forward. Swift felt the black arts the death knight employed creep up his spine, adding to chill he felt when he beheld the dead troll’s face.

Kaz’kah was grinning, showing sharpened teeth made all the more intimidating in the eerie glow of his eyes. His voice was a raspy hiss.

“Lead on. I am ready.”
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Izdazi on Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:02 pm

As Niashado listened she noticed something she’d never witnessed before in her friend. It was difficult for her to put her finger on it.

It wasn’t insecurity or fear. Indeed, sometimes the shamaness felt that the night elf was incapable of such things.

Reluctance. That was the best word for it.

Whatever this task is that her friend has found herself entangled in has evolved beyond mere profit and power. And for whatever reason, Acantha isn’t able to back out of it.

This was a major deviation from Acantha as Niashado knew her. She was always the one who knew the plan and with whom everyone answered to. Indeed, her word was usually the first and the last in any plan.

This time, however, it wasn’t. Kali’bane and Erindar were starting to seem less like the clients.

Niashado was so lost in considering these ramifications that she didn’t notice that Acantha had stopped speaking. When the draenei looked up she noticed that the kal’dorei had an odd, almost pained, look about her countenance.

Thinking something was wrong with her, Niashado got to her hooves, but was interrupted by Acantha.

“When?” Acantha asked, seemingly out of nowhere. The shamaness paused, a look of concern etched up on her own face as she tried to figure out what was going on with her friend.

“And if we cannot do that?” the kal’dorei said. The displeasure in her voice was unmistakable.

She’s communicating telepathically with someone, the shamaness realized. She didn’t see a runestone or anything on her desk, which meant whoever was reaching out to her must be a powerful magic user of some sort. She suspected it was either the troll or blood elf she’d met earlier.

The elf winced again and then looked up sharply at the shamaness.

“Well, Niashado, it seems we must leave now,” Acantha announced. There was that reluctance in her voice again.

Before Niashado could say anything Ma’dra and Swift entered the office carrying travel packs and armed for the coming journey. The worgen offered her his second pack and was soon ordered to bring someone else from below decks. Niashado pondered who this was but after the sharpness of Acantha’s reply to Swift’s question she decided to hold on her own inquiries.

“Come. Our adventure begins,” Acantha offered with a supportive smile that did little to alleviate Niashado’s increasing concerns.


* * *


When they returned to the deck of the ship she discovered that the calm drizzle from earlier had turned to a steady cold rain. Raising the hood of the cloak over her head, the shamaness arrived at where she left her own bags.

The bag Swift had given her was larger, but well designed. It carried more, but somehow distributed the weight so it would be too much of a burden on its wearer. Acantha never spared any expenses.

While the others went about preparing for what was to come, Niashado quickly transferred a select few items from her bag to the one provided. Among them was a locket with an illustration of Jaou inside. She carefully snapped it closed and draped it over her neck.

She found a crewman to store her bag on the ship and then made her way to the others, standing near Ma’dra. With a silent nod toward Acantha, the shamaness indicated that she was ready to go.

At first she thought the skin tingling-feeling she was experiencing was related to nervousness. But then she heard heavy footsteps coming up the stairs to the main deck. Turning, she watched as Swift stepped out onto the rainy deck.

The heavy steps continued and then the person she had hoped… prayed… to never meet again came into view. He towered well above Swift and the armor he wore only added to the intimidation of his form. His icy blue eyes evoked little emotion other then resolve. The sharpness of the cold rain and wind didn’t seem to faze him in the least.

“Not him,” she quietly moaned. Her hands tightened on her staff, squeezing what little comfort she could from something familiar. Oh Light, it is him.

Kaz’kah. What was he doing here? After what they had done to him… after what she had done to him, how/why would he ever want to associate himself with them again, much less the living.

Without even knowing it, Niashado took a half step back, keeping Ma’dra between her and the troll deathknight. But instead of Kaz’kah, Niashado was glaring at angrily at Acantha, who was busy speaking to Kali’bane.

This was what you did not want me to find in the cargohold! You feared I would be merely distressed by his presence. You knew I would never go along with this if I knew he was here.

The draenei gritted her teeth and trembled, partially because of the cold, fear and anger.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Wed May 04, 2016 9:59 am

“Are we ready to begin?” Kali’bane asked as Erindar exited to captain’s cabin.

The blood elf smiled and gestured behind him. A pair of sin’dorei mages followed him, their delicate features wrinkling at the sight and sensation of rain. However, they stood with Erindar as he strode to the centre of the deck. Erindar raised his arms and began to chant. The other mages stood on either side of him, adding their voices to the spell. Kali’bane closed his own eyes and sent his voice out to his friend on the other side.

“Jodai… are you ready?”

There was no answer for a long moment. Just as Kali’bane was about to try again, the tauren monk responded. “Apologies, Kali. I thought I heard something. Yes, I am ready. Tell Erindar to open the portal.”

The young troll looked around. Acantha, Ma’dra and Niashado were present. Kali’bane looked from face to face and saw a myriad of expressions. Niashado’s was alight with both anticipation and trepidation. The troll offered her a small smile, before examining the pair of elves who stood with her. Ma’dra’s face was a stone mask as always, giving nothing away. However, Acantha’s expression of guarded neutrality was what captured the troll’s attention. He knew Acantha was a schemer, but he had always been able to use her to further his own ends, by giving the she-elf what she wanted. However, a fleeting thought crossed his mind that he may have underestimated Acantha Mistbringer.

Swift appeared on deck, blinking at the sight of the mages. Kaz’kah stepped out behind him. The troll’s aura radiated menace. One of the mages actually opened one eye at the ominous feeling the troll exuded, his black arts making him stand out like a beacon in the night to magic-users. It was then that Kali’bane’s troll ears heard a sharp intake of breath.

He turned to see Niashado edging her way behind Ma’dra. The draenei looked positively terrified. Her eyes shot to Acantha and anger flitted across her features, mingling with the crushing fear the troll sensed. He realised with a stab of ominousness that Acantha had never told Niashado that Kaz’kah was on board. And apparently the draenei and the troll death knight had some bad blood between them. He began to summon his arts to him, ready to intervene. However, even he was taken aback when Kaz’kah’s eyes finally fell upon the shamaness.

Blue flame ignited in Kaz’kah’s eyes and his face twisted into a snarl that was positively horrifying to behold. “YOU!”

The troll had his sword drawn in an instant. Swift, reacting faster than most, raised his hands, trying to placate the dead troll. He may have well have tried to placate a hurricane in a rowboat. Kaz’kah knocked him aside as easily as one would brush a hair from their face. The worgen hit the ground hard, the wind knocked out of him. Kali’bane began to cast a spell, when he heard Erindar’s shout behind him. At the same time, Jodai’s voice sounded in his mind. “Kali, wait!”

The portal to draenor exploded into existence as the dead troll launched himself at Niashado with a howl that chilled even the Northrend air.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________


Rage seethed in Kaz’kah’s rotting veins like living fire. The worgen was no longer a tracker. He was merely a stepping stone to the one we would kill. Death was too good for her. The death knight would see the puny blueskin suffer. He ignored the shimmering wall of energy nearby as he raised his sword, the runes along the blade flickering to life as the dead troll’s rage brought his necromantic arts to the fore.

Now the two elves stood between him and his prey. One drew two short swords and darted forward, whirling the blades in a blur of motion. Kaz’kah barely noticed as he swatted her aside with the flat of his blade, sending her sprawling and rolling into the portal. The second elf dodged to the side, narrowly avoiding a vicious slash that would have cleft her in twain.

Now, there was nothing between him and his prey. The death knight grinned, baring his sharpened teeth. His voice was a hiss. “I will freeze your very soul for what you did to me…”

The giant sword rose into the air. Kaz’kah howled in delight as he brought the blade down.

An ethereal hand snapped shut on his wrist, halting the blow. Kaz’kah snarled. Mammona stood before him, his own dead eyes burning. His voice, his hated voice, came to Kaz’kah’s ears.

“No! This is not the way!”

“Get out of my way!” Kaz’kah raged, not caring that he had spoken aloud. “She will atone for her crimes!”

“She already has! We have a chance! A chance to become us again! You would risk that to kill a single shamaness!”

“We had a chance!” Kaz’kah screamed in fury. “We had a chance, but she took it! Her! You deny me my revenge?!”

Mammona nodded fiercely, a soldier’s resolve in his ghostly eyes. “I do. With all that’s left of our soul.”

“I HATE YOU!” Kaz’kah howled, and swung his sword.

Ropes of flame encircled the death knight at that moment, pulling him screaming away from his quarry. He slashed with his sword, missing the draenei and catching a blood elf mage across the arm. He cried out, but kept casting. The ship lurched and the other mage stumbled forward, catching his head on the railing. He fell without a sound. Immediately, the portal began to fade. Kaz’kah howled in rage and agony as he was pulled backwards. He caught a fleeting glimpse of the young troll Kali’bane wielding his arts, before the struggling death knight was hurled into the portal.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Kali’bane fell to his knees, exhaustion almost overcoming him as he sucked in ragged breaths. It had taken almost everything he had to control the raging death knight. Kaz’kah’s fury was terrifying to behold, but Kali’bane still needed him alive. He staggered over to Swift and Acantha, helping them both to their feet. The ship shuddered beneath them. Acantha frowned, and shouted across the deck to the captain’s wheel.

“Drake! What is happening?”

“Ship’s listing, ma’am! The portal and the troll's spell must have damaged the keel! We’ll all be at the bottom of the sea soon! If you need to go, then go!”

Kali’bane shook his head. Things have gone to hell before we’ve even begun. He turned to Swift, gesturing at Niashado. “It is no longer safe here. Take her through the portal.”

Swift’s jaw fell open. “What about Kaz’kah?”

Erindar’s voice interrupted them. “We are leaving!” He called, leaping through the portal. His one remaining mage kept up his casting, but he was swaying on his feet. Blood ran in rivulets down his wounded arm.

Kali’bane shook his head. “We’ll have to deal with him on the other side. I still need her. I need all of you. Please!”

Swift shot a pained glance at Acantha, who sighed. She nodded. “Do it. Take her.”

The worgen tracker almost howled in frustration. He moved over to Niashado, and whispered in her ear. “A thousand apologies, milady. I do not do this by choice. Please, come.”

He lifted the shamaness gently over one shoulder, and trudged through the portal. Kali’bane and Acantha followed quickly, Kali’bane’s mind reeling with the sudden change of events and Jodai’s cryptic comment to wait.

He was about to step through, when the remaining mage slumped to his knees. Acantha caught him as he fell, struggling to prop him up. The portal began to sputter, phasing in and out of existence. Kali’bane realised the mage was dying, and as the only link for the portal on Azeroth, his death meant the portal closing. Acantha stared at him and urged him on.

“Go! I’ll keep him safe. Look after my crewmates. Go!

Kali’bane took one last look at the she-elf, before turning and barging through the portal. Half a second later, the magic door winked out of existence, leaving Acantha alone on the deck of the Windsinger with a dead blood elf. She heard Drake’s voice from behind her.

“What now, ma’am? Do you want me to stop rocking the ship?”

“Please do, captain.” Acantha replied. She stood, shaking her head as if to clear it. She bent down examining the dead mage. She reached down and pulled out her dagger, which she had rammed between the mage’s shoulders seconds before. The she-elf casually flipped the blade over the railing into the ocean. She then turned and strode belowdecks, a small smile playing casually across her features.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Izdazi on Thu May 12, 2016 2:48 pm

“YOU!”

It all went to hell with the uttering of one simple word. That word, spoken by that entity, had chilled her bones to their very marrow in a way her visit to Storm Peaks never had. It was one word; three letters, that showered her with the frozen despair of dread mixed with a large helping of pure terror.

Kaz’kah had seen her. In by the way he said the word; by the way his eyes flared; by the way he charged toward her, he hadn’t forgotten her. Nor had the years soften the blow of her betrayal.

If anything, it only fueled his utter hatred of her.

And Niashado watched, unmoving with white eyes nearly as wide as tea saucers as he charged toward her.

Swift had tried to stop the troll death knight. He might as well have been a leaf barring the path of a tornado. Acantha and Ma’dra fared little better.

Three powerful warriors, felled like saplings before an avalanche. In the back of her mind, Niashado knew this should have made her even more frightened. It’s just that it wasn’t possible for her to be anymore afraid.

The draenei was so frightened that it was like a switch or a safeguard had been activated. She felt… detached. Her body was frozen as Kaz’kah raised her runeblade to strike her. She heard his threat about her soul. Her body trembled, yet her hooves were grounded place.

But, her mind had retreated as far from her body as possible, had grown almost calm about her impending doom. She saw every detail of the murderous gaze in the troll. She saw the utter anger that comes with betrayal. The insatiable thirst to right a wrong he’d been dealt.

Thank the Light I did not bring Jaou here. she thought. Deep down, the shamaness prayed that the ranger wouldn’t try to avenge her. She wanted him as far from Kaz’kah as possible.

Kaz’kah was her sin.

She noted curiously as the troll’s arm froze mid-strike. His blade was so close she could feel the chill of the glowing runes upon it. Kaz’kah seemed to struggle and shout to someone who wasn’t there. He spoke her betrayal.

“I HATE YOU!” Kaz’kah howled, and whatever held his arm seemed to give way. The sword came closer, but it was the words that struck her soul first.

Ropes of flame suddenly encircled the deathknight and pulled him away. His wind from his blade blew several tresses of her blue-gray hair over her eyes, but the shamaness still didn’t move. She watched Kaz’kah roar and furiously struggle. She watched him slash one of the sin’dorei before being thrown into the portal.

Her world was still turning. Not her world, but rather the ship. Crimson blood was splattered about the deck. She lost track of Ma’dra but saw Acantha and Swift getting to their feet. Water sloshed around the railings and the boats riggings swung wildly.

The deathknight was gone.

Kali’bane and Erindar were shouting. Acantha and Swift were shouting. She couldn’t make sense of what they were saying.

At least Kaz’kah was gone.

“A thousand apologies, milady,” Swift whispered, suddenly by her side. “I do not do this by choice. Please, come.” Then the worgen swung her over his shoulder.

As if the touch snapped her mind from its mental paralysis, Niashado suddenly kicked out and struggled to get away from his grip. Then, her terror rebounded upon itself as she realized he was taking her to the portal.

The same portal they had just thrown Kaz’kah through.

“No! Noooooo!” Niashado screamed before feeling the tingling sensation of crossing through the portal’s threshold.

Once on the other side, the draenei managed to twist herself free from his grip. Terror was soon replaced by anger. With a sharp call to the Elements a strong gust of wind blew the worgen to the ground.

“You knew! You knew Kaz’kah would be here and you did not tell me!” she shouted vehemently. Her staff burst into flames and blue sparks of electricity arced around her body. The shamaness felt the elements coming around her like never before. The threat, terror and anger radiating from her being was like a beacon to them.

Niashado snapped around and roared a shamanistic call and the ground underfoot shook violently. A massive earth elemental surged from the ground. Stretching his arm, he encircled it around Kaz’kah chest and slammed the deathknight onto the ground hard against his back.

The elemental pressed his weight, the weight of a small mountain, down on the Kaz’kah. His plate armor creaked against the forces being applied to it. The elemental turned to her, waiting for the one word.

The word that would end Kaz’kah, permanently. He would be crushed. It would be fast. He wouldn’t have to live with the curse of being a deathknight any longer. He wouldn’t have to feel her betrayal.

Her betrayal…

The shamaness turned her enraged countenance back toward Swift. The worgen stared back at her with uncertainty.. In his eyes, though, she saw something that gave her anger pause.

Fear. He was afraid of her.

He has a right to be. So does Acantha and Ma’dra. For that matter, even Kali’bane or Erindar should have said their plan involved a deathknight. This deathknight She mentally recounted, feeling her anger spike again. Kaz’kah wants to kill me for betraying him. Swift is afraid I will kill him for betraying me. It is just another bloody cycle.

Another cycle.


Closing her eyes, the shamaness gave herself a moment to collect herself. She pushed the anger over the betrayal, the lies, to be back of her mind and felt her thrumming heart begin to slow. She felt the fire within lessen. Not completely go, but fade somewhat.

Turning away from the worgen, she walked around the elemental until she came upon troll deathknights head. He was still being held on the ground by the earthen elemental. His head peaked out from between two large stone fingers. His pale skin flickered in the glow of her flaming staff. Tendrils of scintillating electricity shimmered around her body.

Niashado regarded the troll’s hateful stare for a long moment before finally breaking the silence.

“I betrayed you. I took the artifact away before either you or Acantha could use it,” she confessed much more calmly than she thought she was capable of. The troll was struggling under the elementals grip, but she was reasonable sure he wouldn’t be able to get away. At least, not yet.

“I had a choice. Between allowing you to damn whatever is left of your soul further, or making you hate me, I chose the lesser of two evils,” Niashado continued, staring straight into the troll’s cold glowing eyes. “The artifact could not help you. I did not realize until it was too late and I could not keep my promise to you.

She looked at Swift again and sighed. And sometimes we do not have a choice who we betray.

The shamaness gave a the worgen a knowing, and somewhat apologetic nod. At best, Acantha was difficult to refuse. But Niashado also knew that for others, refusing Acantha could be deadly.

The steel returned to her countenance when she turned to address Kaz’kah again.

“I make no promises now. I was not told you would be here. You were not told I would be. I believe I can help them with this plan. I can only do my best,” she added before taking a step closer to the troll. “They believe you can help them. Therefor, I beg of you to try, as I will.”

As if a wordless order were given, the Elemental pressed harder against the deathknight’s chest armor. The sounds of the metal under pressure were unmistakable.

“But, understand this, Kaz’kah. I have been maimed twice by your kind. I will not allow myself to be harmed a third time. Do we understand each other?”



((Edited it a bit more. Changed a few things.))


Last edited by Izdazi on Fri May 13, 2016 8:07 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Changed a scene near the end.)
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:21 am

“I make no promises now. I was not told you would be here. You were not told I would be. I believe I can help them with this plan. I can only do my best. They believe you can help them. Therefore, I beg of you to try, as I will.”

The massive elemental bore down upon Kaz’kah, compressing his armour and filling the air with the sound of creaking plate. Niashado leaned in and spoke softly.

“But, understand this, Kaz’kah. I have been maimed twice by your kind. I will not allow myself to be harmed a third time. Do we understand each other?”

A deep, terrible chuckle was the answer she received. Kaz’kah grinned horribly from his back. He twisted his head to stare into the draenei’s eyes. The icy blue light that flared in his eyes ignited further, misting about his features. His voice was even more raspy than usual as she spoke through a constricted, compressed chest. However, his words were clearly heard.

“Foolish shaman. You make your hollow threats and confessions. You search for forgiveness and try to bend me to your way of thinking. What you do not seem to realise is that I am already dead.

The dead troll’s grin widened further. “You cannot kill death itself. You can have your creature beat me into the ground, pull me apart, burn me, flay me or throw me into the deepest, darkest hole in this godforsaken world. I will keep coming after you. I am death. I never relent. I never stop.

Dark energy coalesced around the troll. The earth elemental’s arm quivered and even moved slightly as the troll began to sit up. His grin never left.

“It may take me minutes, days or even centuries. I will find you, and I will kill you. You and that elf witch.” Kaz’kah’s hand reached for his sword.

Tendrils of green energy shot forth and wrapped around both Kaz’kah and the elemental, pulling them apart. The elemental raged and beat against the spell, but the tendrils tightened and bound the colossal arms to its side. Within moments, the elemental stood immobile. Kaz’kah was flung back to the ground, where he rolled this way and that, gripped in the same spell.

Kali’bane shook his head, his eyes glowing the same shade of green as the banishing spell he had cast. “There will be no killing today. I did not want it to come to this, but we need you.” He cast a pointed glance at Niashado. “Both of you.”

“Kali, what in the name of the black ox is going on?” Jodai asked, snorting in surprise.

“Later, Jodai,” Kali’bane replied sharply. He returned his glowing gaze to the draenei and troll. “I admit that this could have gone better, but the two of you are the only ones we could get on such short notice. I do not care what issues you have with each other. We need you, and our quest far outweighs your squabbles.”

“Squabbles to you, warlock,” Kaz’’kah sneered. “Do not stand in my way.”

Kali’bane went to reply, when a large, furry figure stepped beside him. Michael Swift limped past the young troll. Blood flowed from a cut to his scalp, matting the black fur and seeping into his predatory eyes. He moved towards the combatants, his eyes fixed on them. Or, more specifically, on Niashado.

“Blackmane…” Kali’bane started, when he noticed that the worgen has his bow in hand. His eyes widened as the tracker drew an arrow. Before he could react, Swift had the arrow nocked and leveled at the draenei.

“Blackmane, don’t!” The young troll leaped forward. He was aware of Jodai and Erindar shouting behind him. All were too late. Swift released the arrow.

The arrow streaked through the air towards Niashado. It shot past, inches from her cheek, to bury itself into the throat of the oncoming brown orc that had been rushing towards her. Another arrow sped past, hitting the assailant in the eye this time. Swift nocked another arrow. His shout split the clearing.

“We’re under attack!”

Kali’bane thought fast. He saw more orcs charging at the band. They were dressed in leather and carried the usual orc weapons of clubs, axes and maces. Thunderlord, he thought absently. He almost yelled in frustration. He knew he couldn’t fight with the banishing spell active. He closed his eyes and made a choice. Kali’bane forced himself into Kaz’kah and Niashado’s minds. He spoke urgently, his mental voice tinged with anger.

“If we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we die. I am going to release you. Kaz’kah, if you desire to kill something, kill the orcs. Niashado, you said you would help us. I hope your vow remains resolute.”

Kali’bane sighed and blinked, cancelling the spell. I hope I am doing the right thing, he thought. If not, we all die. The troll turned to face the onrushing orcs, waving his hands as he began to cast his first spell.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Izdazi on Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:04 am

He will not be reasoned with, Niashado mentally lamented. Despite the cold fury of his icy eyes, she compelled herself not to look away. The elemental struggled with the amount of dark energy the deathknight was exuding upon it.

“You cannot kill death itself,” he continued. His maw formed a wide grin that finally forced the shamaness to flinch from his gaze. “You can have your creature beat me into the ground, pull me apart, burn me, flay me or throw me into the deepest, darkest hole in this godforsaken world. I will keep coming after you. I am death. I never relent. I never stop.”

The draenei shook her head. Deathknights weren’t immortal. After two near death experiences by their hands she had sought out whatever research she could on these creatures. Necromatic studies were frowned upon by many in Azeroth and among her people it was downright abhorrent. Even just reading about it on a purely academic level had left her feeling unclean. But she was determined not be victimized by them again.

Deathknights may walk side-by-side with death, but they aren’t Death. Stretching a shaking hand toward Kaz’kah, she reluctantly began the shamanistic call that would hopefully end with the deathknight incinerated and forever buried under a mass of molten earth.

I really wanted to help you. Niashado closed her eyes just as she began to issue the call. Suddenly, sickly greenish magic forced her elemental and Kaz’kah apart and interrupted her spell. The deathknight was thrown back like a ragdoll. Her elemental was restrained by the banishing spell.

The shamaness turned, surprised to see Kali’bane using his magic to restrain the elemental. Her head cocked slightly as she suddenly realized the kind of magic he was wielding.

“There will be no killing today. I did not want it to come to this, but we need you.” He declared. She felt herself cringe at his glare. “Both of you.”

“I admit that this could have gone better,” the troll warlock continued, “but the two of you are the only ones we could get on such short notice. I do not care what issues you have with each other. We need you, and our quest far outweighs your squabbles.”

“Squabbles to you, warlock,” the deathknight replied with a murderous sneer. “Do not stand in my way.”

Niashado issued a frustrated hiss and drew the elements closer to her.

“Blackmane, don’t!” Kali’bane suddenly exclaimed.

The shamaness turned at the shout and yelped at the sudden blur of motion that passed just before her eyes. She saw Blackmane holding his bow and glaring at her.

Or more specifically, past her.

Orcs were surging towards the group. Their guttural battle cries filled the air and their weapons flashed as they rushed toward them. Two were already on the ground, felled by the worgen’s arrows.

A cry of alarm rose from those around her, but still, she could feel Kaz’kah’s murderous frozen gaze upon her. She winced as Kali’bane’s voice poured angrily in her mind.

“If we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we die. I am going to release you. Kaz’kah, if you desire to kill something, kill the orcs. Niashado, you said you would help us. I hope your vow remains resolute.”

The earthen elemental, suddenly freed from the banishing spell, barreled toward the deathknight like an unstoppable avalanche.

Closing her eyes, Niashado sighed. If she concentrated on protecting their entourage, it was very likely that Kaz’kah would take the opportunity to kill her. But trying to stop Kaz’kah would be counterproductive to their mission.

The Legion is the greatest threat. That had been honed into her since childhood. Kali’bane believed a death knight and a shaman were necessary for his plan. It would be nearly impossible to conscript another death knight but there were sure to be other shamans, especially among the Horde.

Stop. she called out to the Elemental, which froze a mere arm’s reach from Kaz’kah. The shamaness asked the elemental to turn his attention toward the marauding orcs. At first it refused, perceiving the troll deathknight, rightly so, as the greatest threat. Still, she persisted, and with an almost unperceivable shrug, rushed toward their new threat.

Mentally latching on to the remnants of Kali’bane’s mind link, she directed her next words to the deathknight.

Help them against the Burning Legion. Please. She stared at his icy blue eyes and nodded once before letting the link dissolve.

If he chose to kill her, so be it.

Turning to the sound of the footsteps, Niashado rammed her staff against the sternum of the approaching orc and then swung it around until it cracked against the back of his skull. The dazed orc was unconscious before he hit the ground.

Another group of charging orcs on worgs were riding towards them. Calling upon the elements, she let loose a chain of blinding lightning towards them. The worgen yelped at the current running up their legs and bucked the incapacitated riders onto the ground.

The draenei cringed as she watched the earth elemental barrel into a half dozen orcs without even the slightest reduction in speed. Hopefully, the others were faring this good.

Still, despite the fighting, which she had no love of, Niashado refused to turn around and face Kaz’kah. If he was going to end her, she didn’t want to see that coming.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Mammona on Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:14 am

Help them against the Burning Legion. Please.

Kaz’kah almost hissed in fury as Niashado’s voice sounded in his head, attached to the last vestigial link of Kali’bane’s spell. Although the draenei’s very existence was an affront to the death knight’s person, Kaz’kah remained on the ground. Even as the elemental turned and barrelled towards the onrushing orcs, he remained fixed to the earth. His eyes narrowed, seeing what others could not.

“Well, this is an interesting mess you’ve gotten us into,” Mammona commented, squatting beside the prone death knight. “I would say it cannot get any worse, but we both know that isn’t true.”

“You choose this moment to develop a sense of humour?!” Kaz’kah spat. “You denied me my revenge. My right.”

“No. I saved us. We have a chance to live again. I would not see us cast that aside.” Mammona cocked his head. “Have we really changed that much?”

Despite everything that raged around him, Kaz’kah chuckled. “A pointless rhetoric. You and I both know that we have changed more than almost anything on Azeroth.”

Mammona smiled. “Maybe so. All the more important that some part of us remain as we once were.” He looked over his shoulder. “You have a choice before you, death knight. What will you do?”

Kaz’kah stared past the old troll. He saw the shamaness battling gamely against the brown-skinned wave of orcs. He saw Kali’bane step beside her, wielded fel magics not unlike those he once sought to fight against. He saw Blackmane firing arrow after arrow into the charging humanoids. He saw a tauren, his face unfamiliar, fighting with deadly martial prowess. He saw Erindar waving his arms, sending bolts of arcane energy into the fray, careful not to strike his comrades.

Kaz’kah saw all of this, and his rage returned. He shot a glance at Mammona, but the warrior was no longer there. Fury swept through his dead body, and he howled his frustration at the unfamiliar sky.

___________________________________________________________________________

Kali’bane extended his hand at a foursome of onrushing orcs. They doubled over in agony, falling to the earth. Their screams tore the air as the troll’s spell tore at their bodies. The warlock closed his fist and all four fell silent with a shuddering, collective gasp. Kali’bane saw their insignia, etched into their leather armour. Thunderlord Clan, he thought. Allies, but not members of Gul’dan’s new monstrosities.

Jodai’s burly arm shot out, his curved fingers crushing the windpipe of an orc. “Kali’bane! What do we do?!”

“Fall back! Find a defensive spot and hold them there! Erindar and I will take care of the rest” Even as he barked the orders, Kali’bane knew that it would not be easy. The forest path they were on stretched wide and long, and the troll could see no defensible positions within view. He steeled himself for battle, calling upon magical reserves that were fast running out. This will not last, he thought, gritting his teeth.

A large form moved past him. Blackmane’s eyes widened as the tall shadow flicked past him as well. Jodai turned, on guard as Kaz’kah stepped past him. Niashado was roughly shoved aside as the dead troll strode towards the Thunderlord, who continued to pour on to the jungle path. Kaz’kah stopped, raising his sword as blue light igited in his eyes. His mangled armour, now compressed against his body by the elemental, creaked and wailed as runes erupted along its surface. The death knight’s tattered cloak whipped about him as his summoned his black arts to him. When the strike came, Kali’bane stepped back involuntarily.

The closest pair of orcs bore the brunt of Kaz’kah’s sword. One fell backwards, bisected at the waist, while the other wailed and clutched at the horizontal slash in his abdomen, reaching for insides that leaked out on to the soil. Their comrades stopped in their tracked, eyes widening in fear as they realised that although they were out of reach of Kaz’kah’s steel, they were caught in his power nonetheless.

Kali’bane felt, more than saw, the earth blacken and bubble. Plants withered and died within seconds as Kaz’kah’s necromantic powers swept over them. The black circle of decay extended outwards, and orcs screamed in absolute terror as their legs withered and shrunk under them. Their screams turned to choked whimpers as the air was forced from their rotting lungs. Soon, nothing was left but blackened silhouettes upon the ground, along with a few tattered weapons. Only a handful of orcs remained, but they were picked off by the arrows of a quick-thinking Blackmane. The rest had died in the thirty-foot wide circle of death and decay.

Kali’bane stared in shock as Kaz’kah turned and strode back towards them. How? How can he be that powerful? The young troll knew that Mammona had been turned long ago, but still – the power he exhibited now was usually reserved for only the most sadistic and revered lieutenants of the scourge. That an outcast such as Kaz’kah could possess these skills…

Kali’bane shook his head, casting aside his trepidation as Kaz’kah stopped in front of him. He was dimly aware that Jodai had not relaxed his battle stance and was staring warily at the death knight. The warlock nodded. “Thank you, Kaz’kah. We may not have survived that.”

Kaz’kah said nothing, his blazing eyes holding Kali’bane’s gaze for a long time. Eventually, his dead voice rasped. “And yet you did survive. Do what you have come here to do, warlock.”

His next words came as a surprise. Kaz’kah turned and looked over his shoulder, straight at Niashado. His murderous gaze held hers for a long moment before he spoke. His voice was quiet.

“Do not thank me, either. If gratitude is necessary, thank him. His words saved you all.” He gestured to his left, before walking past them, towards the continuing path.

Kali’bane raised an eyebrow, confused, staring at the spot Kaz’kah had gestured to. There was no one there.

___________________________________________________________________________

Mammona smiled his sad smile as Kaz’kah Thraze walked away. He inclined his head, his old eyes alight with possibilities.
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Re: The Winds of Redemption ((Story))

Post  Izdazi on Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:30 pm

If there was one thing Niashado would say that she truly hated, it was fighting. She truly despised using the elemental magics she could call upon to do harm. Even while she understood that it was necessary at times, every moment was distasteful and even distressing. And because she was a healer of both of the elements and her fellow mortals it added bitter taste to an already bad experience. Doing harm was the antithesis of her calling.

Despite her intense reservations, the Elements were answering her calls. With each burn that was inflicted, each body that writhed on the ground from lightning spells, each orc that screamed at the frostbite from her shock spells, Niashado felt her soul ache.

Niashado could almost imagine the smirk in Acantha’s face if the night elf knew the mental turmoil she was enduring. Acantha would think her anguish was quaint. Even naive.

With a cry, she called on the Elements and the orc charge her was suddenly engulfed in flames and thrown back. His cries echoed in her ears.

Cringing, she turned to see who else there was to defend against, when she was roughly shoved. Tripping on a root in the ground, the shamaness fell face first in the ground. She looked up to see Kaz’kah striding past her toward more of the orcs.

And then she witnessed his power for the first time since their reunion. Quickly standing to her hooves, she watched with mounting horror. The orcs writhed as their very bodies decayed before everyone’s eyes. Their screams were soon muted by the liquid sound of their organs dying before their minds could comprehend what was happening.

But worse were the wails from the Elements. The draenei covered her mouth and looked away as the very ground upon which the deathknight cast his magic died. Not just the plants, bugs and micro organisms, but the very elemental essence of the area.

By the Light, how did he become so strong? she lamented as he finished his necromatic assaults. The battle was over and it was soon quiet save for the sound of Kaz’kah’s armor as he turned back toward them.

He spoke to Kali’bane, bading the younger troll to move forward with their quest. Then, he looked at her. The malice and hate was still in his eyes and for a moment she thought he was going to end her. Based on the strength of his magic, she knew there was little hope of fending off any assault by him.

“Do not thank me, either. If gratitude is necessary, thank him. His words saved you all,” he told her, before walking off. She looked where he had gestured but no one was there. She wasn’t sure what to make of that.

Then she looked back at the mostly decayed orcs upon the truly dead ground. For the first time in years, the shamaness was at peace with her choice todeny the artifact to Kaz’kah. Given what she had just witnessed, if the troll deathknight had had the artifact he’d have been totally corrupted and unstoppable.

The others soon started to follow Kaz’kah up the trail, but Niashado abrupted grabbed Kali’bane’s arm and pulled him away from the others and well away from earshot of Kaz’kah.

“What in the Light do you have planned that could possibly involve Kaz’kah?” she hissed, barely restraining her fury. For the life of her, Nia couldn’t possibly figure out how their two magics could possibly be used for anything.

“Did you see what he just did here?” the draenei continued. “Even the latent elemental essences in that earth are dead. It may be centuries before any life ever returns there. He is far more powerful than I remember from our first meeting. Immensely powerful. He also seems more unstable than before. You are playing a dangerous game, young one.”
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