Chains of Command (Closed RP)

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Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:28 pm

((The sign-up thread: ))


Northeast Silithus, Kalimdor

The two cloaked figures stood atop the rocky bluff and stared down at the small settlement in silence. The only sound between them was that of the course windblown sand skittering across the ground. Far above them, the Pale Lady cast a dull orange glow upon the desert ground and alit the distant mountains.

It being the early hours of the morning, the activity of the settlement below had died down considerably. A single large campfire provided an oasis of light amidst the sea of darkness that permeated this mysterious and often overlooked land. Figures, backlit by the roaring fire, were seen moving around, but they were few. Seven large tents, each surrounded by smaller structures, were set in a semicircle shape around the fire. Three large poles, easily identified as totems, marked the outer perimeter of the camp.

The tents themselves were built in the design favored by the taurens. They towered easily several times larger then the tallest of the bull men and were covered in a patchwork of leathers. The design was made so that the fires in the center could provide heat during the nights and ventilation during the day.

Of the smaller buildings, one looked like a tiny workshop of some sort. An anemometer squeaked loudly atop a thin mast as it spun in the desert wind. A little further away, a tauren-designed grinder spun much slower in the wind.

But the figures staring down upon the camp weren't fooled by the architecture of the structures. Though it screamed 'tauren,' the truth was, there were a plethora of races in the camp below. And all of them were working to undermine the goals of one whom the shorter of the cloaked figures worked for.

"How much longer must I stare down upon this camp full of superstitious simpletons?" one said in a gruff, yet feminine, voice.

"Not long. Be patient," the much taller replied in calm voice.

The female figure harrumphed and crossed her arms across her chest. Silence once again surrounded them.

Then, it happened.

There was a flash of brilliant purple light that radiated out from one of the tents. The leather skins expanded outward for a moment and then it was met with the sound of the upper half timber tent supports snapping. Even as the tent fell, shrill screams suddenly echoed across the small valley. The tent didn't collapse completely, allowing a handful of figures staggered out, holding their heads and screaming.

An eye brow arched on the female's face at the silence of the explosion. The hood, however, masked her surprise from the other.

The guards who were outside began rushing toward the fallen tent and the screeching figures. Some had already fallen and writhed on the ground. A few had stopped moving altogether.

There was another flashed from with a second tent and more screams filled the air. This was met shortly by a third flash from yet another tent.

The two figures continued staring as the entire camp came alive. From within the hood of the small figure, a pair of lips, interrupted by small tusks, slowly curved upward.

"Most impressive," the female announced in a voice that threatened to sound cheerful. She clapped her hands once. "And you say you have more of these?"

"That depends on how deep your pockets are."

"Money is of no consequence to us," the female snapped, her brief exhilaration quickly returned to sternness. She turned back to the settlement below. "What do you estimate the deaths to be from this demonstration?"

"Within the explosion radius, total. The mana fallout is unpredictable. The payload varies in magnitude, depending on how small, or how large of an explosion you want. There are bombs capable of the damage of these three bombs combined."

"Mana bombs," she whispered, as if tasting the word for the first time. "Impressive. How long for you to bring them all here and to calculate the yield necessary to decimate this settlement and Cenarion Hold?"

"The bombs are difficult to smuggle in. Perhaps a week before you have enough."

"A week you shall have then," she declared. She turned her gaze on the larger cloaked figure and spoke again with a darker voice. "Do not fail me."

Holding her shadowed gaze a few seconds, she turned and began a lone hike into the desert.

From the settlement far below, the cries of agony and shouts of orders continued echoing into the dark night.

((More coming soon.))

Last edited by izdazi on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:54 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Announcing that signups are open!)


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:35 pm

Intro.  Part 1 of 3.

16 hours earlier

The orc bared his yellowed tusks and issued a fierce roar.   His brown eyes took on a menacing crimson color in the dull orange Silithus sky and his ragged long gray hair blew back in the dust filled wind.   He wore only a leather kilt and military issued boots.  

She had heard orcs issue a battle cry before, but none of those times had it been directed expressly at her.   She wanted to run.  It was the most common sense reaction anyone could have.  

She also knew he would be expecting her to try that.

Besides the imposing two-handed double bladed battle-axe he wielded, a weapon, she noted with added dread, was taller than her, he also had two smaller axes hanging from his belt.  Despite their size, in his hands, she knew they were just as deadly as the larger one the orc was effortlessly turning over his head.  

Niashado knew that if she ran, she'd discover those throwing axes buried in her back.  He had no compulsions about killing anyone in the back.  This fight wasn't about honor.   It was about doing what was necessary to survive the next five minutes.   He was going to make every effort to kill her and he had made it clear, the only way to stop him was to return the favor.  

The air howled as the battle-axe cut across the air.   He was spooling up for an attack and again, the idea of running flashed in her mind.

Draenei were fast, nimble runners and despite her lack of brute physical prowess, she at least kept up the regiment of keeping in shape.   If that wasn't enough, the warrior shamans in camp made sure that the others were at least doing some sort of physical training.    

"This is a warzone. Azeroth is in danger and we must be prepared to defend our duty," they would say while rushing them through physical training.   She hadn't signed up to become a soldier, but there were times when this particular enclave felt like the military.  She supposed that every Earthen Ring camp was run a little differently.  

She often wondered what Farseer Nobundo's camp was doing to keep their shamans in shape.   The thought was dismissed almost as quickly as it formed.  Farseer Nobundo was with the most skilled and prominent of the shamans and they were busying themselves with healing the worse of Azeroth's grievously fresh scars.  

The screaming sound of the blade jolted Niashado back to the present.  With the grace of the air she was able to narrowly dodge the orc's blade by falling to the ground and rolling away.  

Such a maneuver would have never crossed her mind two weeks ago.  Maybe all this training was starting to sink in.  

Niashado scampered away from the orc as he recovered from his miss.  His eyes blazed with searing anger and he growled in frustration.   His jaws opened wide, highlighting his yellowed tusk more prominently.   The shamaness continued back stepping and then jumped to a crouch.  Keeping her glowing white eyes trained on the orc, she started brushing course sand over her staff while muttering an elemental call.   When she stood, the sand that covered her stave bonded with the wood of her stave.  The coating of earth would strengthen her weapon.   Another call brought the wind to her aid her movements.  

Remembering the training, she calmed her breathing and reared in her wandering mind.  She needed to be in this moment and nowhere else.    

Was it her imagination, or did the orc just nod approvingly?  

Keep your mind on the battle, damnit.  

Another powerful battle cry heralded a new charge.  She dodged the first three assaults, while marveling (in terror, of course) at how quickly he would recover from each missed stroke.  The orc appeared advanced in age, yet he moved with the dexterity that would be more in place with a younger warrior.    

Actually, it wasn't really speed that he had.  It was patience.  He wasn't trying to keep up with her.  Actually, he was making her stay one step ahead of him.   He was waiting for her to falter.  Just one slip would be all it would take.  

[I[Keep your mind on the present![/I] she mentally reprimanded herself.  Again.

The orc saw the distraction in her eyes and surged forward.  Raising her stave with both hands, the draenei narrowly deflected the axe from cutting into her shoulder.   The blade slid along the length of staff, peeling back layers of the earthen coating in the process.  Their faces were pelted by dirt thrown in the air.  A grunt of exertion issued from her as she felt the shock of the impact radiate from her stave, to her hands, then her arms and finally to her spine.    

Somehow, the orc managed to stop the blade mid slide, twisted it around and locked the curved notch of the axe against her stave.   Yelping in sudden surprise, she reared her torso back when the axe went under the staff and thrust toward her chest.  He almost succeeded in impaling her with sharp pike on top of the axe.  

Even though she managed to dodge the assault, he still had another surprise.  He pulled back, hooking her staff under the notch of his blade and then yanking back.   Her staff was wrenched from her fingers and into the air.   Staring dumbly, she watched as it landed with a dull thud several yards behind the orc.  

The orc never stopped glaring at his now unarmed prey.   He charged forward.  

Her options were rapidly dwindling.  Niashado had a small dagger, but she knew it was pointless to bring it out.  Her opponent was too skilled with his weapon.  She'd never get close enough to make effect use of it.  

So the shamaness did the only thing she could.  She cried out to the elements and felt lightning begin surging between her fingers.   The orc slid to a stop and stared with wide eyes.  His face flashed in the sharp blue-white light flickering in her fingertips.  

A flicker of understanding flashed along his tusked countenance.   They both knew all too well how lethal this particular elemental assault could be.  

But killing wasn't Niashado's way.  This wasn’t how she was taught to live or how one walks in the Light.  Unfortunately, circumstances had forced her to take a life once, and though it had saved her life, she hadn't meant for it to result in her attacker's death.  

She would be careful this time.  The shamaness felt the electrical bolt reach a particular charge before allowing it to leap from her outstretch hand toward him.  Her eyes narrowed as the light flashed blindingly near her eyes.  

Her hope was that the orc would be struck and incapacitated.   Instead, she stared in astonishment as the orc also called out to the elements and caught the bolt as if it were a ball being tossed at him.  He shook her lightning bolt into nonexistence as if it were nothing more than an annoying spider web.  His face glowered darkened in disgust and contempt.  

He brought his arms out and began a shamanistic call of his own.   Lightning danced between his fingertips and Niashado, still dumbstruck from what could best be described as a humiliating dismissal of her skills as a shaman, stared.    Her mind was locked in indecision.  

The sound of electricity crackling and snapping increased and the acrid scent of ozone burned her nose.   Her hands automatically rose to shield her eyes from the sharp blue/white flashes.

He wasn’t pulling any stops.  

Finally, shaking herself free from hesitancy, she called out in a frantic voice to the winds.   Unlike the other elements, this was one that she felt the closest connection to.   In these times of uncertainty from the Elements, she could count on the winds to come to her aid.  

A gust of sandy air abruptly shot into the orc's face and stiffened his call.  His eyes were rendered blind, his face scoured by the debris and he coughed as he choked on the sand that was forced down his throat.  

Then, Niashado ran.  

She ran as hard as her legs would propel her.  Behind her, the orc was still coughing and growling.  It wouldn’t take him long to recover.  Her heart was pounding wildly by the time she got to her fallen staff.  

Even as her fingers wrapped around the staff, her mind registered that her opponent was no longer coughing.  She picked up on the sounds of rapid footsteps, as she turned around.

And, once she turned, she was met by the sight of the orc's knee careening into her abdomen.  Niashado was thrown into the air and only by the Light's grace was she able to keep her fingers around her stave.  Her back slammed into the rough sandy ground.  

The draenei turned on the ground and curled her body amidst her choking gasps of air.  She wanted to close her eyes.  She shouldn't have tried to face this orc.  She should have run, like any sane person would have.   This was foolish.   There was always a chance he might miss with his throwing axe, but it was ridiculous to believe that she'd be able to best him in combat.  

This was beyond foolish.  This was stupid.   Surely there were signs people like her could wear around their necks to warn others of the utter stupidity they were capable of exhibiting?

Even through the sound of blood pounding in her ears and her strained wheezing, she heard the orc rushing footsteps again.   Another of his frightful battle cries warned her of a yet another impending assault.  

She rolled away just as his axe sank into the dirt when her head had lain.   The draenei stumbled to her hooves while still gasping for air.   Her vision swirled and fear seemed to sap the strength from her legs, leaving them quivering.  Thankfully, her kilt masked that.

Not that he couldn't see the fear in her face, anyway.

At that moment, though, she was startled by new surge of resolve coursing through her mind.  There was still fear, but the near-paralysis it had induced earlier seemed to dissolve.  

The two opponents faced each other.  Both still suffered from occasional coughs.  The orc's face was covered in gray dust and his eyes had taken a more reddened hue, which only added to his fierce presence.   (In reality, his eyes had taken a more reddish hue because of the irritation the sand had caused, but that bit of understanding did nothing to make the orc appear less threatening.)  The draenei was still struggling to fill her compressed lungs with air.   Bruises and scratches covered her arms.  

The two circled each other like wild dogs waiting for the slightest sound or action to herald a new bout of violence.  

As she expected, the orc started a new charge.  Niashado crouched lower and kept her eyes trained on the large battleaxe.   She could almost hear the voices of the friends who had attempted to teach her some self-defense skills in the past.   Watch the blade.  Don’t lock your legs.  

Moving as if she were preparing to deflect the blade, Niashado instead, closed her eyes, an issued a new call.   The air around the orc began swirling into a dirt devil. As the funnel rotated faster tiny droplets of water started coalescing and sparkling in the dull sunlight.  A few seconds later, just as the still charging orc was entering within weapon's breadth of her, the dirt devil suddenly compressed tightly around his body.  The water, along with the sweat covering his greenish skin, flash froze.  

The orc roared at the pain of the sudden restriction on his body, along with the burning sensation of the frost.   Coming around, she spun her staff with all her might and slammed against the side of his head.   The hard shell of earth that encased her staff shattered upon impact, spraying the air with dirt and ice.   With grim satisfaction, she watched him fall back dazed.   His axe fell to the ground with barely a sound.  

Niashado stumbled toward him.  Her vision was still turning from the earlier assaults, but she felt herself recovering.  It was often interesting how the impending sense of victory can speed one’s recovery.  

She could do this.  She could stop this.  

Leaning over, Niashado picked up the orc's axe.   It was much heavier then she had expected and again, she was forced to marvel at the orc's skill and deftness with it.  He made it look so deceptively easy.

Carrying the axe, she paused next to her attacker and her glowing white eyes glared down on him.  He was moaning slightly.  His eyes were unfocussed and there blood trickling from his right ear.  Yet, despite the wounds, he still looked toward her with silent resolve.  

The sight sickened her.  Niashado would have never believed she was capable of this.   And now, his life lay in her hands.  Why was she having doubts?  He tried to kill her.  By rights, she should kill him, lest he try again.  

But he was just lying there, defenseless.   The last time she had killed person, he was on the verge of killing her.  It had been a purely reflexive self-preservation that brought the elements down on him with such lethality.

Now, with her life not in immediate danger, she had time to think and really contemplate what was being asked of her.  She shouldn't kill like this.  This wasn't right.  This was in violation of her beliefs and faith.  

The orc coughed, shaking her once again from the turmoil in her mind.

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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:38 pm

"Do it," he rasped.

"I am not you," she replied, still poised to bring the weapon down on him.

"You are weak, then. That axe…" he began, before his words dissolved into a coughing fit. She cringed at the blood he spat into the sand. "That axe, Lak'tuk is its name. It was once coated the sweet smelling blood of your kind. It made the air sing in Shattrath. Scores of your people's children tried to run from it in Tuurem and Telmor. Would it not be poetic, that the last thing to coat its blade be my blood?"

Everything disappeared around Niashado. Silithus was gone. The stinging windblown sand was gone. Even the pain in her chest and injuries to her arms were gone. The only thing that existed was her, the orc, and the axe being held in her trembling hands.

She continued to stare down at the prone orc in silent rage. Not even a minute ago she was contemplating mercy. Now, her fingers grew tighter on the handle. Perhaps it would be a fitting end to use this vile weapon, sullied from the blood of her kind, to end this monster.

"Do it," he repeated. His eyes seem to bore into her soul. Even incapacitated, he was still a startling opponent to face.

May their ghosts haunt you forever.

The shamaness issued her own battle cry and raised the axe high. She felt her spine pop in a few places and it took all her effort to not lose balance, but with all her might she brought the axe down as hard as she could muster.

The blade sank almost a forearm's length into the dirt next to the orc's head.

His brownish red eyes never blinked.

"You are weak," he sneered, as if completely unsurprised that he was still alive.

"The dead are dead. No amount of blood can ever bring back your victims," she replied softly. "Not even yours," she added darkly.

Faster then she could have hoped to track, he kicked his foot out. It hit her leg just below her knee and there was a sharp audible snap that echoed simultaneously in her ears and her mind. The draenei toppled as her shattered left leg gave out below her. With a shrill scream she landed on her back. She could feel the bone sticking out of her flesh.

She started to sit up, but any movement of the leg, which was bent at an odd angle, shot waves of pain throughout her body. Her tail thrashed as she fought to steady her body, but still the pain wouldn't fade.

Niashado glanced down and cried out at the unsightly angle of her left leg. At this point it wasn't just the pain that was tormenting her, but the very sight of the damage. Dark blue blood began turning the sand around her leg black as it slowly pooled from the compound fracture.

A shadow descended upon her and she saw that the orc was back on his feet. Mustering as much will as she could, she stifled her cries. He wouldn’t have the satisfaction of hearing her in pain, even if her blood was about to join the others that had once stained his axe.

The shamaness tried to call out to the elements. Lighting, wind, healing, something, anything! But he knelt down, brought his fingers around her neck and slowly began squeezing. Her cries were muted with a strangled gasp. She couldn't even kick him away or move without fear of causing more pain to the compound fracture.

Then, they were interrupted by the most out of place sound she could have ever imagined hearing in this Light forsaken land; a bell.

"You failed," Azgard grunted, bringing his tusks close to her pained etched face. "You failed to remember the first thing I have tried to teach you.

"Never. Show. Weakness," he finished, punctuating each word with an even tighter squeeze of her neck. "Your enemies will not hesitate to kill you or the others who depend on you.

“You say my blood will bring no satisfaction to those innocents I have slain. Perhaps you’re right, but I tell you that you should take more care for the innocent victims still to come. Had I been your enemy, every single one of my future victims after today will have died thanks to your weakness.

"Imagine your name painted on their heads with blood. You were weak and now you have died and more importantly, others will die. Others you could have saved if you had done what you were supposed to."

Azgard released the draenei's neck and started to pace around, occasionally grunting in disgust. Shooting her another disgusted glance, he walked over to a wooden box next to the goblin-made timer that had announced the end of their 'sparring.' He laid his axe next to the box and withdrew a small first aid pack and a totem that looked similar to a stubby axe.

"You think too much and you’re good at running away, but sooner or later you will need to make the hard decisions. You had many opportunities to finish me off, yet you held back! That is weakness that we can’t have here!" he barked as he returned to her side. "Are you paying attention to me?"

"My l-leg," she stuttered, shivering as if the air were growing cold. Blood loss or shock? She couldn’t tell.

"Your leg is going to hurt much more before it gets better," he promised. Niashado was alert enough to understand what he meant and she dreaded it dearly. He would have to set the bone, which would involve moving the broken leg before he could call on the elements for healing. She had helped with similar procedures years ago as a medic back on Draenor. She never imagined she would be the poor soul having this done to.

Tears covered her eyes and ran down her face, creating streaks along her dirt-covered face. A blue glow suddenly surrounded them and she turned to see the totem he brought being imbued with the healing gifts of the water elements. Already, some of the pain was lessening.

He carefully lifted her kilt until the compound fracture of her left leg could be clearly seen. The orc then put a small stick across her mouth.

"This will hurt… a lot," he warned just before he began working to set her leg. Her jaws tightened around the stick and she screamed into the desolate Silithus desert.



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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:39 pm


It was about an hour later when the two shamans returned to the camp. Niashado was limping visibly, but she refused assistance from him and instead struggled to walk herself.

Azgard knew she was angry with him. He also knew that most of the anger had nothing to do with what he'd done to her leg.

Good, he thought. Let her learn to make use of that rage. Rage wasn't his preferred tool to teach young, inexperienced warriors, but it had its uses.

He wasn't at all concerned about her, though. His problem was about the safety and security of this particular Earthen Ring expedition. There were many others spread out around Azeroth.

In an effort to understand and work to heal the grievous wounds Deathwing had inflicted upon Azeroth, the Earthen Ring had begun consolidating their resources. Because of the varied races that practiced shamanism, there were many different avenues that were taken to learn how best to mend the earth.

Though not everyone agreed with it, Azgard believed that the diversity of the Earthen Ring was an asset that would see them through this crisis. This expedition camp was a glowing example of that diversity.

In one area of the camp, a group of earth mender quietly meditated. Most, in this group, were composed of taurens, but he was pleased to see others there. Some, like the draenei and dwarves, took more scientific routes to figuring it out. Very unorthodox, but still useful in its own way, he surmised.

There was a small contingent of goblins who had their own methods. Most in the camp avoided them, their infernal machines and the strange concept of contractual agreements they had with the spirits. The camp also had healers and defenders. And in almost every case individual shamans participated in multiple duties.

There was unity here, brought on by an urgent desire to mend what was almost so utterly destroyed.

Azgard was in charge of the defenses for the expedition. With the camp being situated in Silithus and surrounded by unusual activities associated with the various cults in the area, safety was more than a fulltime job.

Having been a soldier once, Azgard understood that one of the best ways to defend his charges, was to teach them to defend themselves. He had dedicated warrior shaman’s whose duty was similar to his, but the more who could take care of themselves, the better it was for his warrior’s to concentrate on more serious objects.

This wasn't a problem for many. Most of the Horde shamans were once warriors or fighters of some skills. There is very little room in the Horde, for those who can’t throw a punch when the time called for it. The dwarves as well were sturdy combatants… when they were sober. But there were always some who needed to learn the basics.

Niashado, however, was his 'special project.' And sadly, it was a project that wasn't going as well as he had hoped.

She'd had arrived nearly two weeks ago with the latest batch of 'rookies,' as he liked to call them, and still she hadn't chosen an area where she could assist. Two weeks and she was still drifting between the different camps of methodology.

He recognized the problem. Niashado was hardly the first shaman to have difficulty working in the structured setting that the Earthen Ring was now operating under.

Shamans, by their nature, sometimes tend to lead very unstructured and simplistic lives. There are always exceptions, such as those who once served in militaries and those with strong self-discipline.

Niashado had neither. She was ideal for setting down a road and telling her to walk. She would find her own way to serve the spirits and she was probably capable of doing much good in that fashion.

But now wasn't the time for wanderlust shamans.

"Have you decided on a discipline?" he asked, turning to her. Her limp had lessened somewhat during the five mile hike back to the settlement. The draenei’s bluish-gray hair was speckled with sand and dirt. He could see thin trails of dried indigo blood from her arms, as well as the darker stain in the lower portion of her kilt, near the freshly mended left leg.

"Not yet," was the meek reply.

Azgard had seen her try to serve serve with the earth menders, but meditation long periods of time was something that she seemed to have difficulty doing. She'd tried to work with the scientist among them, but they were too rigid and exact. And no one but a goblin can work with a goblin.

They had already had a pair of dedicated healers for a camp this size and most of those in the camp can serve as medics to some degree. And she was certainly not warrior material.

Azgard couldn't help but to sigh as they passed the tents that constituted this little community of shamans. This was one of the largest expeditions, with just over three-dozen shamans of every race. And no matter how large, there always seemed to be one odd individual out. He’d seen it in the military. But at least in the military, that could be taken care of promptly.

He stopped and pointed to a tent with a red leaf painted on the side.

"Have the healers look over your leg. You will resume training with the others the day after tomorrow," he announce before hefting his axe over his shoulder. He saw the uncertainty in her eyes briefly and he knew she was going to ask a question, but then, she faltered and stepped through the flap.

Again, the old orc grunted in disappointment. She was always fleeing from the tough questions. He knew exactly what she wanted to ask. And Azgard was sure she wouldn't have liked the truth.


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:39 pm


"Azgard did ya up good, blueberry," Rem'nef snickered as he looked over her leg. She stiffened a gasp as the Darkspear troll ran his hand along the portion of her leg that was just set. The skin tingled from the residual effects of the healing. "He also healed ya up good. Course, dat be the spirits doin and not da orc."

The white painted band over his face highlighted his red eyes and when he grinned, it was difficult to ignore his sharp teeth. His course green hands shimmered as he added he own healing touch to it.

"Well, the wound was all orc," the shamaness hissed through her set jaws as the troll continued. Though the wound was healed, there was still a lot of painful swelling.

He turned to the back of the room and called out in trollish toward a partitioned section of the tent. The voice that replied, while female, was gruff and angry. In moments, Rem’nef and the unseen female hurled a rapid string of harsh words in their language.

Niashado felt her ears droop lower and the tips darkened in embarrassment. She wanted nothing more than to shrink away as the two troll shamans began arguing amongst themselves. Finally, Rem'nef picked up a small rock and threw it over the partition. A moment later, the female swiftly stomped out from her alcove and stormed toward him.

For a moment, the draenei feared that she'd have to stop the altercation that was threatening to explode between them. Instead, she thrust a vial of black liquid in his hand and smacked him in the back of his head with such force that the draenei herself jerked at the sound of the impact and then returned to the alcove.

Rem'nef rubbed the back of his head as he studied the vial and then chuckled. "The wifey always be knowin what I be needin,” he said in a careful Common. There was a hint of mirth in his voice.

"W-wife?" Niashado asked, looking back at the alcove where the female troll had gone. Even though she was behind the partition, they could still hear her muttering angrily behind her voice. Rem'nef laughed and stroked his painted tusk.

"Dat be all wo-man right der," he announced with pride. The muttering coming from the backroom only intensified and even though she didn't know Zandali, she suspected that the woman was issuing a long string of expletives. Rem'nef set the glass vial on the table before her. "Now take dis tonight and in da morn for da pain. Dun be worrying 'bout your leg, blueberry. It be healin in time for Azgard's next lesson."

"I can hardly wait," she replied dryly. The shamaness turned and regarded the interior of the tent for a moment. That was when she noticed that two of the cots were occupied.

She recognized the patients as two of Azgard’s warriors. Their arms and chests were wrapped in bandages and the table between both beds was cluttered with several potions. A lone totem flickered weakly on the tabletop. One was tauren and the other a draenei.

"What happened to them?" she asked quietly, hoping to not intrude on their rest anymore then the angry exchange between the trolls must have.

"Dey ran into some cultists in the northern ridges. Dey managed to fight dem off and escaped, but dem warlocks put some voodoo on dem," the troll medic explained in a more somber tone. "Der faces were covered wit blood and puss. It be amazin dat dey made it back here on two legs."

"Will they recover?" she asked. She noted their shallow breathing and picked up on the faint gasps of pain that made it past their sleep.

"Time will tell. Neesha and I know enough of da voodoo to remove da curses, but da damage was deep. If dey survive, der will be scars."

The northern ridge? That was only six miles from the settlement. Since building the camp, they had regularly sent scouts to keep an eye on activity. There were never any reports of the Twilight Cultists venturing toward the direction of the camp before, even though there were the occasional armored convoys that moved between the camps and to other locations. But how the Twilights got supplies in and out of Silithus was still a mystery.

The last Twilight Convoy to attempt to use the road into Ungoro Crater was destroyed by Cenarion Circle rangers a few months back. Since then, they avoided Cenarion Hold.

It didn’t matter, though. Spying on the Twilight Cult was not the mission of this expedition.

Rem'nef pushed the bottle toward her. "Get some rest and stay off da leg tonight."

She took the vial and studied it closely. There were small clumps of… stuff, floating in the black inky liquid. Pulling the cork, she took a tentative whiff of the contents and promptly resealed it. Out of respect for the healer and alchemist, the draenei suppressed a gag and wordlessly nodded her thanks.

I might be better off with the pain, she decided while making her way out of the tent.

((More coming with the next two parts.))

Last edited by Izdazi on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:08 pm

Intro. Part 2 of 3.

Azgard briskly entered the farseer’s tent and patiently waited by the entrance until he was acknowledged. The massive gray and brown furred tauren sat by a small fire in the middle floor with his back to orc. The smoldering herbs filled the interior with a pungent aroma and despite not wanting to the old orc felt his mind relaxing.

The tent wasn't as cluttered as he would have expected, given the fact that Farseer Dakota Stonehoof was the leader of the camp. In the far wall were a bundle of blankets where he slept. In another area sat a small table cluttered with overflowing parchments. On the other side was a cabinet where everything from herbs and totems, to maps and correspondences were stored. Everything that kept this camp running smoothly was located here, in this airy open spaced structure.

The warrior quietly smirked. He knew that Dakota hated being the administrator of this settlement. The old bull would rather be meditating with the other earthmenders, which he always found time to do each day, even though not for as long as he would have preferred. But for the most part, he was their connection to the rest of the Earthen Ring. He would receive updates from the farseers of other camps, while also providing them with regular updates on the activity here.

Having come from a military background, Azgard understood the importance of such communication and the need for someone to delineate information for the others. This level of cooperation could only be successful with clear leadership and chain-of-command structure.

There were many different ideas, theories and experiments that were being attempted in the settlements throughout Azeroth, and only through coordination, was there any hope of finding a solution efficiently and expediently.

The majority of Earthen Ring enclaves ranged in size of a half dozen shamans to nearly fifteen. Those camps tended to be small and focused mostly on a particular practice or method for studying the wounds Azeroth now bears.

But out of necessity, some enclaves had to be much larger. The reasons varied, but it mostly came down to security and logistics. This settlement, for example, was located in Silithus. It was difficult to receive supplies and reinforcements may take days to arrive. There were also dangers in the form of silithids, cults and even the weather.

It was safer to consolidate as much activity into a tighter area, rather than risk having many smaller enclaves spread out through this harsh and mysterious land.

Unfortunately for Dakota, the larger camp meant it took more work to keep things running smoothly.

The tauren farseer issued a low snort and turned his head partially. One of his eyes was gray and dull due to an injury many years ago. Another, though, peered at him intently. His brow furled.

"What is it?"

"Two of my warriors were attacked by Twilights," Azgard explained. "They were at the northern ridge."

"So close already. We knew it wouldn't take them long to find us," the farseer grunted. "Will they recover?"

"Rem'nef isn't sure. Norrell is faring better then Ash’ten, but both were inflicted by powerful curses. Though they slayed their opponents, they were forced to endure the curses for hours.

The farseer turned his eyes back to the weak campfire and sighed deeply.

"We may need to consider a preemptive strike," Azgard pressed on. "The rangers did so and since then the Twilights haven’t dared attack Cenarion Hold again.

"Cenarion Hold has nearly sixty well trained rangers and as I recall the night elves brought ten scores of sentinels from nearby Feathermoon Stronghold on that offensive," Dakota argued. "Our camp has just over thirty, less than half of whom are warriors with previous military history. The Horde and Alliance are on war footings and can spare no to help us.”

Azgard opened his mouth to rebuttal, but Dakota pressed on.

"And Cenarion Hold has their hands full with their tasks. They are not likely to aid us after we declined their invitation to build within the protection of their rangers. And with Feathermoon Stronghold destroyed, nor is it likely they will risk anything that might renew raids by the Twilights."

The farseer stood up and sighed. He turned and fully regarded the old orc. His eyes seemed more tired than Azgard remembered.

"You know these things I speak of, because you told me yourself," he added. “We are alone out here.”

"I would never council rushing into battle blindly. We are not explosive-laden sappers," the orc retorted. "But sooner than later, we will face an assault by the Twilights."

"Do you propose evacuating?"

The question stopped Azgard. He considered the choice for a few moments and then shook his head.

"Not until we know that they are coming. Our first duty is to mending Azeroth," he responded.

"Then, it is business as usual," Dakota said with a low chuckle. "I assume you have done what you can."

"Sentry totems are hidden throughout the surrounding area. Other totems have been set with wards to protect against teleportation and sight spells," he listed off quickly. With a deep breath he added, "We're also trying to train the other shamans to basic defense."

"I hear frustration in your voice," the farseer commented. He moved to the cabinet and began preparing a pot of tea.

"Some of the newer arrivals lack even the basics of combat skill. This is dangerous for a frontline operation like ours. Even though I believe evacuation is unnecessary, I would like to recommend transferring some of them out of this camp for their safety."

"Now is not the time to be dismissing a willing helping hand, no matter how useless you may believe them to be,” Stonehoof counseled. “At least not for the time being. Is there anything else?” The orc shook his head. “Then keep me informed of what you learn.”

Azgard offered a quick nod before leaving.

* * *

Night fell on the camp quickly. The center of the camp was alit with by the bonfire. Flames shot high into the pale dark orange night sky and cast long shadows behind the multitude of the shamans that encircled the area. Nearest the fire, Farseer Stonehoof spoke out to group.

News of the injured warriors had filtered quickly in such a tiny community, but as he did every night, the tauren farseer made sure everyone knew what they needed about the current events. The need for tightening the defenses of the settlement was also mentioned.

Then, he told them of the news that he had recently received from the other camps. The situation with the fire elemental in the middle region of Ashenvale was worsening. The Badlands and Twilight Highlands were also facing increasing amounts of agitated elementals. And efforts to seal the rift between the elemental planes at the maelstrom have been marred by setbacks.

Afterwards, he allowed other members of the community to share whatever they felt was necessary. For the next hour, the various project leaders discussed their experiences and offered suggestions to each other.

After several hours, as the flames of the bonfire were slowly lessening, the nightly meeting was adjourned and the shamans turned to retire to the tents they were assigned to. Only a few guards remained along with those who were willing to experiment with more nocturnal meditations and studies.

For the most part, the settlement slumbered.

* * *


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:10 pm

* * *

Niashado woke up clutching her head and screaming. Despite her eyes being tightly closed, she saw flashes of light in her vision. Vertigo threatened to topple her and her ears rang with the loud echoing of screams. Her head felt like it was going to explode.

Then, as abruptly as it occurred, the pain disappeared, leaving only confusion and dullness to seep in. The ringing that deafened her hearing was soon replaced by the collective moans and low cries from the other.

Whatever just happened hadn’t just affected her.

Something wet dripped onto her low lip and a tentative taste confirmed that it was blood. She wiped a hand under her nose and felt more of the warm fluid. She opened her eyes and once her vision resolved; she saw shapes slowly moving from the sleeping mats spread throughout. Glancing at her fingers, she saw the dark stains on her hand that confirmed the nosebleed, but not the reason.

A dozen shamans shared this large tent and they were slowly becoming more alert as the initial shock settled. The tent was large enough that it could house twenty-five, but thankfully, it wasn't being used to capacity which offered more personal space, if still having little privacy.

The lack of privacy, however, allowed her to note the varying degree of sluggishness and pain that the people she shared this tent were experiencing. Even in the dim glow of the dying fire at the center of the tent, she could tell that others were also experiencing nose and a few even had blood tricking from their ears and eyes.

Outside, they could hear screaming and the calls of guards and healing. Something had gone dreadfully wrong.

The draenei slowly got to her hooves. Her tail jerked around awkwardly as her balance faltered, but she just barely managed to keep from falling.

No sooner had she taken the first step, than another wave of pressure assaulted her senses. Curiously, there was no heat or sound; just very intense pressure.

The shamaness fell back to her knees and along with the others in the tent, clutched her head as the pain spiked. This bout of pain was followed by another pressure wave. The tent was spinning and her sinuses and ears were throbbing.

She tried in vain to focus on the flames dancing on the brazier but her sight wouldn't resolve. Finally, she closed them and prayed this agony would end. The screams continued to echo around.

When her eyes reopened, she noted that fire had weakened considerably. She must have passed out for a little time. Her sinuses were still sore, but she was no longer assaulted by blinding pain.

As she got to her hooves, she noted the immediate lack of dizziness. She did pick up on the scent of blood however, and noted the dry blood in her nose. Looking down on her hands, she noted fearfully at the stains from the blood that had also seeped from her fingernails.

What could have caused this much hemorrhaging?

There were others still slumbering around, but a quick check of them revealed that they were only sleeping. From the number of vacant sleeping mats, some had already gotten up.

Rubbing her head, the shamaness followed the sounds of people calling out and low cries. As soon as she stepped outside she entered hell.

A small triage area had been set in the center of camp.

A steady line of people were carrying the injured out of two of the other large sleeping tents. The walls of these tents had been bound by tight leather, but now they drifted weakly in the wind. Some of the supports had shattered, causing the towering upper half to sag sharply.

"You!" someone cried out. She turned and saw Azgard approaching her. He pointed to her and then to the damaged tent. "Look for survivors and bring them to the fire!"

The painful sparring lesson and the revelation of Azgard's participation in the atrocities against the draenei were swiftly forgotten. Niashado entered the tent.

What she saw froze her blood. Mouth agape in shock, she carefully moved around the sea of dead bodies. The faces of the dead, orc, dwarf, tauren and others stared back at her with unseeing eyes. Some of the deceased didn't even have eyes anymore. Their mouths were wide open; with lips peeled back as rigor mortis was beginning to set in. Their limbs were rigid and tight. Blood trailed from their eye sockets, ears, lips and fingernails.

It was utterly terrifying.

Her head snapped toward the sound of someone coughing. It was quiet, but it also sounded wet, which indicated someone's lungs filling with fluid. Carefully stepping around the bodies, she reached a troll who was lying alongside another body.

"Rem'nef! Can you hear me?" Niashado asked, kneeling next to the troll medic. His eyes were also completely missing. When he started coughing up blood, she quickly turned his head to the side, to keep him from choking. With a quick elemental call, she started calling for healing and felt her hands grow warm. Yet, despite the speed and effort, no sooner did her hands touch his body, as the troll fell silent.

With a strangled cry, Niashado tried to press with the healing, but the warm embrace of elements quickly receded. There was nothing that could be done.

Too tired to even cry, she lowered her head, offered a quiet prayer for Rem'nef. Niashado's heart sank even further when she noticed that he was still holding his wife's hand. She too was gone.

Glancing around, the shamaness couldn’t begin to understand what she was looking at. She was alone in a tent full of the dead.

* * *

The sun's slow rise over the distant mountainous horizon was met without the usual fanfare of activity at the Earthen Ring settlement. Instead it was met with quiet mourning and subdued resolve. The coming day was going to reveal the true extent of whatever happened last night. No one was looking forward to this.

Funeral pyres had been erected with the debris from the destroyed tents. Fourteen painstakingly wrapped bodies had been gently prepared.

The warriors that had patrolled the camp casually before last night were now in full armor. Azgard was taking no chances. The anger in his eyes warranted no question. He wanted everyone armed to some degree.

Farseer Stonehoof himself had a large kludge strapped across his back as he said the rites and offered words of encouragement to the survivors. He also reminded them that death was part of a cycle that we all must face but that we should take some measure of stride that our bodies are a part of Azeroth.

She had heard the rites before, but found little comfort in them this time. Since the Shattering nothing had seemed to go right. It felt like they were living in darkness. Proverbial dark times indeed. What new horror awaited them in the next few weeks.

The pyres were lit and the survivors watched in silence as the bodies were consumed by fire and the ashes returned to the earth.

She saw Azgard approaching Dakota and whispered something quietly in the farseer's ear. The elder shaman nodded and orc waved over another shaman. The draenei brought a large sphere. The metal was yellowish and there were holes set into the sides. Whatever was inside appeared to have been scorched. Runic markings were set into the rims of the holes and along the equators of the device.


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:10 pm

At Azgard's nod, the draenei dropped the sphere on the ground before the pyres. The crowds approached the mysterious device cautiously and the air filled with the murmurs of questions. But when Dakota raised his hand, everyone fell silent.

"We were attacked last night," the farseer declared. "These devices, according to the draenei, are mana bombs. They were developed by the sin'dorei Illidari and used against the draenei before the reopening of Dark Portal.”

Niashado felt her eyes widening. She had heard about these devices, but she’d never seen one. Although they did little physical damage, their effects on biological entities were devastating. And those who regularly used magic, any kind of magic, were the most susceptible.

"We have found four of these devices. Three were detonated last night. One failed and has since been disarmed by Ez'key," the farseer added, gesturing to the draenei shaman standing next to Azgard. "We don't know how they got into our camp, but we found evidence that this was the Twilight's doing."

The farseer brought out a badge and hurled it the ground next to the bomb. Inset into the metal was a hammer surrounded by a halo of thorns. The murmurs resumed with renewed haste, but were again silence by the farseer raising his hand.

"After discussing with Azgard our strategy, we have decided it best to retaliate. We need these people to understand that we are to stay. We will not cower from our duty to heal Azeroth," the tauren continued. His deep voice rumbled in the morning air. "Because of the importance of this mission, I will be leading it myself."

At this, there were immediate shouts of concerns and protest. Farseer Stonehoof was the most skilled experienced and skilled shaman in the settlement. They couldn't afford to lose his wisdom and guidance.

Niashado also noted the look of discomfort in Azgard's countenance. The orc was definitely not pleased by this turn of events. In fact, it looked like he wasn’t even aware that the elder shaman was going to announce this.

"I cannot order soldiers into harm’s way like without showing that I can do it. We are shamans. We fight, when we must," he called out, silencing their protests. Clearing his throat, the elder continued. "Since the nearest Twilight coven is just over a day’s journey, I will appoint a temporary leader. This will be done at random."

Azgard picked up helm and held it up for the farseer. From her vantage point, Niashado could see that it was filled with little scraps of parchments.

A lottery? He cannot be serious.

After rummaging with his large hands, Stonehoof pulled out a single sliver, glanced at the name and then turned and showed it to Azgard. The orc's eyes widened and he shook his head, but the farseer had already turned away. There was a look of contentment in his eyes.

"In my absence, and until the Earthen Ring leadership appoints and delivers a replacement, Niashado will be the leader of this camp."

There was a cacophony of voices, some of which sounded angry to her ears, but none of which Niashado was listening to. The moment he read off her name she felt the blood draining from her face and her thoughts were choked out by a burst of fear.

This… this is cannot be happening.

People were staring at her and saying things, but she heard nothing. The farseer was shouting something, but his voice was muffled. She hoped the ground would open up and swallow her so she'd disappear from this place. The ground, of course, refused to swallow her.

Two of the warriors approached her and she felt their hands encircle her arms.



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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:11 pm


Azgard was infuriated. He could feel his heart thrumming in his chest and the corners of his vision were slowly turning red from the rage. He paced inside the farseer's tent as he tried to select the words that could respectfully deliver his concerns to the honored shaman he had known as his friend for many years.

The words wouldn't come, though, so in the end, he opted to be blunt.

"You cannot leave the leadership of this settlement to the draw of a random name. This, is stupid!" he bellowed. “We are friends, Dakota, and as a friend I plead with you, choose a worthier person.”

"The choice for appointing temporary leadership is entirely up to me. We have no rules or guidelines for such events as these, Azgard," Dakota calmly replied. "These are different and difficult times for the Earthen Ring."

"I am not talking of tradition!" the orc snapped. "I speak of common sense! Of the survivors, only a few are worthy of such a task. And you should not even be going on this mission! It is my responsibility!"

Farseer Stonehoof stopped pacing and regarded Azgard for a moment. He stroked the tuff of fur from his chin for a minute before nodding.

"You're right. The leader should have some experience to fall back on," he replied thoughtfully. The tent flap was pushed aside and a pair of guards escorted Niashado inside. If he weren’t so angry, Azgard would have chuckled at the dazed look in her pale face.

"She was still standing in front of the pyre after you summoned her," one of the warriors explained.

"Very good. Prepare our mounts for departure. We will leave momentarily," Dakota replied. After the warriors left he turned to the draenei. "I know I have dropped a large burden upon you, but I have faith that you can handle it."

The draenei shook her head and seemed to struggle to form a sentence.

"I-I cannot do this. Surely there is s-someone with more experience," the draenei managed to stutter. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes for a moment and seemed to physically swallow some of the trepidation that was overwhelming her. When she spoke again, her words were no longer dripping with meekness. "Forgive my bluntness honored farseer, but I do not think a lottery is the proper way to select a leader; even a temporary one."

Azgard couldn't help but to grin at hearing his own words being repeated. But the grin faded at the resolve in Dakota's gaze.

"I have chosen you for this task. It is not much. All that is requi…"

"I am not a farseer, or even as skilled and experienced as the others here," the draenei abruptly interrupted.

"I have chosen you for this task. It does not require a farseer to read and write letter," the farseer replied. When she opened her mouth to retort, he raised his hand in a gesture for her to halt. "Your job is to do what is necessary to preserve the lives of those remaining. I have already sent a letter by falcon to Thunder Bluff. They will be aware of our situation by dusk. The others need to continue their tasks. You need to keep them on task.

"I am taking the warriors on this mission. We will return and I will resume my position. If I don't return, the Earthen Ring will bring a replacement. One will probably be on the way tomorrow. Until either my, or their arrival, just keep the project groups focused on their task and keep sending daily reports. Understood?"

Azgard turned and saw the draenei nervously twirling her finger around one of her tendrils and staring at the floor. He could read her like a compass. She did not like the duty that was thrust upon her. The orc at least felt some measure of relief that she knew her limits.

But he also knew Dakota for many years. Once his old friend had an idea, nothing swayed him from it. The shamaness looked as if she were going to make another rebuttal, but the steadfast determination in the farseer’s gaze ended the discussion.

"I will do the best I can," Niashado replied, as she looked back up at him. "Just return to us safely. And quickly."

"I must protest this once again. She does not have the experience," Azgard declared. Dakota turned and smirked at him coyly.

"But you do, which is why I want you to remain and advise her. And should the worse happen, you can better help the remaining shamans defend themselves."

Azgard felt like the ground had just disappeared below him. These were his warriors. Dakota couldn't do this to him?!

"I have made up my mind. Lead them well, Niashado," he added before abruptly stepping out of the tent. Azgard followed him out and tried to talk him out of the plan. He tried everything short of begging, but the farseer would not be dissuaded.

Ten minutes later, he stood at the perimeter of the settlement, next to his new leader, and watched Farseer Stonehoof lead the remaining nine of his warrior shaman westward.

((More coming with Part 3.))


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:24 pm

Intro Part 3 of 3.

To whomever it may concern in the Earthen Ring,
Thunder Bluff, Mulgore

It has been three days since Farseer Stonehoof led the remaining of our defenders toward the camp of the Twilight coven responsible for the attack against us. We eagerly await their return. The farseer is a beloved leader and has led this expedition with the experience and patience that I have come to expect from the great tauren shamans. His connection with, and respect for the Elements, even when they’re at their most chaotic and unreasonable, serves as an inspiration.

The thought that he may never return hangs as a dark cloud over us.

Yet, I cannot help but to question the wisdom in his latest decisions. As the leader of the shaman warriors whose duty is to the security and safety of the expedition, it should be Azgard Bloodtusk leading them into battle. Yet, the farseer has ordered him to remain while he leads the warriors into this incursion himself.

Although Azgard and I rarely see eye-to-eye, I must sympathize with him. I know that he feels responsible for the fifteen shamans we lost in the attack. (I regret to inform that another victim died this morning. He held on for a long time and we were hopeful, but the injuries caused from the arcane surge emitted by the bombs were too great. He joins the other fourteen who lost their lives in this cowardly attack. His remains have since been returned to the earth.)

The safety of this expedition is Azgard’s responsibility and he feels as though he failed. Despite the dark past that he shares with many of the orcs who were corrupted in Draenor, I know that he is honorable and takes his duties seriously. For him, this assault constitutes a letdown.

Farseer Stonehoof taking lead of our warriors was a slap in the face to Azgard. I do not know if that is what the farseer intended, or whether he simply wanted to lead the assault personally in retribution for the people that we lost. I prefer to believe the latter, as I have never witnessed animosity between them. Regardless, the effect it has had on Azgard have been profoundly negative.

While Azgard’s respect for the chain-of-command and for the farseer himself prevents him from speaking out, I know that he has been humiliated. He rarely talks to anyone and continues his now solitary duty of watching for threats and the hopeful homecoming of his warriors and leader.

And of our leader, I must confess my own doubts on his choice of provisional leader. Perhaps the shock of recent events has clouded his judgment. I do not know, nor do I presume to hypothesize. However, appointing a person to such an important role by simple lottery seems careless. Appointing me, of all people, borders on incongruity. A farseer has a relationship with the Elements that at best may take me decades to achieve, if ever. I am content to help, but I am not a leader. I lack the experience, knowledge and I daresay, constitution, to burden such a duty.

I make my rounds around the settlement and listen as those under my charge explain the methods and progress they’ve had in trying to mend this world. But what can I say that will impart the encouragement they need? My words seem shallow and without conviction. The farseer says something and shamans resume their tasks with renewed gusto. I say my words and at best I will receive superficial nods.

I have attempted to study the farseer’s past notes and recommendations, but nothing seems to help. Sleep has not come easily these past two nights. All these thoughts and decisions and what if I say or do something wrong? What if people get hurt under my watch? What if I do something wrong and the already-eroded confidence the others have in me washes away completely? What would the farseer think if he returns to the settlement only to discover that most of the expedition had left because I failed to lead them correctly?

I keep replaying the night of the attack in my mind. I keep seeing myself standing over a tent full of sprawled bodies, dead and dying, and there is nothing I can do. Now, my fear is that I might do, or fail to do, something that may prevent this scene from repeating.

Light help me, I never wanted this responsibility.

There are not many things I have done that can be thought of as heroic or even memorable. I have not fought in glorious wars. While the crazed orcs on Draenor rampaged through our cities, I lived in safety in one of the few villages that was never found. Nor did I fight in Northrend alongside the thousands of soldiers against the Lich King.

When I die, many will not remember my name. I am not a hero. I am a simple person, a shaman, a follower of the Light. I do good where I can, but I am not great. This does not bother me, though. I am content and rarely have I allowed what others think of me to dictate my actions.

I took up shamanism while it was still being openly shunned by many of my people. I chose shamanism over the objections of my fiancé and as a result he left me. I chose to defy my own people’s ruling council and helped my friends and it earned me four years of exile from Azuremyst.

So, why do I worry so much about what those in this settlement think of me? Is it that they are looking up to me to say the right words? I have no right words. Do they think the elements will provide me with an extra tidbit of insight? What would they think if I told them that the only element I can easily commune with are the Winds? And conversing with the Winds is typically one-sided.

Yet, these past two nights, in keeping with Farseer’s Stonehoof’s tradition, I try to keep their spirits up. But my words are shallow and weak. I cringe just hearing the uncertainty in my own voice. Those seated in the back row have to ask me to speak up and it just makes it harder.

But none have asked me to step down. Their respect for Farseer Stonehoof is too great to defy one of his last edicts. They may not be overly enthusiastic about me being their temporary leader, but at least they have shown the grace to not tell me to my face.

Rumors and grumbling I can afford to ignore, for now.

However, my reluctant appointment has garnered open animosity from at least two sources. One I expected, but the other was a surprise. The draenei shamans, my own people, have been openly reluctant to converse me. They always were since I arrived here. The embarrassment I had brought down on the shaman enclave in Exodar four years ago is still a point of bitterness with them. And though the draenei farseers embraced my return after exile, most of the others still harbored some umbrage. And now I am their leader and their resentment deepens.

If the worse they are going to do is give me the silent treatment and the occasional glare, then that is fine. I can live with that. I earned it. I just never expected that I would favor the indifference shown by the dwarves and the Horde shamans over the resentment of my own kind.

We are all shaman, I remind myself.

Unsurprisingly, though, Azgard has been difficult to work with. Within hours of the farseer’s departure, we were already butting heads on some changes he wanted to make. His first was to ask for six volunteers to build up a new group of dedicated defenders. I denied his request. Our first duty was to continue studying the effects of Deathwing’s reemergence on the elements in Azeroth. That was the farseer’s final command to me and I did not want to do anything that would further upset the progress we were making.

Azgard, saw things differently. He fully expects that we may face an attack at any moment. We need to be ready to fight.

I held steadfast on the belief that when it comes to self-defense, most our shamans could handle themselves and that for the time being the priority should remain wholly on the mission. He left, but not after warning me that if we are attacked, the blood of these shamans will be on my hands.

Needless to say, for the last two nights that concern has been echoing in my mind. He has a point.

Yesterday he introduced me to a young apprentice, a troll girl of about fourteen years. Yevana’s father, who was also her mentor, was killed during the bombing. Since then, to keep her busy, Azgard had put her in charge of caring for our remaining wyverns.

I should probably take this moment to mention that during the attack, we lost eleven of our wyverns. Only two remain and both are in grave condition. Thankfully, our land mounts were stabled in another section of the settlement. Unfortunately, by talbuk, Cenarion Hold is four days away. Because of the long turnaround time, it was deemed too dangerous to try to ask the druids for help. So, our warriors left astride all of our land mounts, save for two kodos.

Young Yevana felt that she nursed one of the surviving wyverns to the point where it could fly. It was still too weak to tolerate the weight of an adult, but the teenager believed it could carry her far enough to get help. Especially, she added, if she didn’t burden it with any supplies, such as water and food. She just needed to guide the wyvern’s flight. If she could get to Cenarion Hold, another flyer could be utilized to reach the help of our other brethren.

I inspected this wyvern and compared to the other, he was far more alert and in better health. But I could still see weakness in him. By himself, he might make it to Cenarion Hold. But regardless of her lithe form, I doubt he could carry her. Furthermore, without the guidance of a rider, we couldn’t trust it to deliver any kind of note alone.

Needless to say, I rejected the idea. I was not sending anyone, much less a child, on a potential suicide mission. This garnered an outburst from Azgard. I am ashamed that I was goaded into a heated argument with him in front of the expedition. I should have demanded that we discussed this in private, but the very thought of sending a child on a mission astride a badly injured flyer, without any provisions for survival, irked me.

I knew Yevana meant well, and I commend her thoughtful bravery, but Azgard is intelligent enough to understand the risks that are out there. He should have been more judicious than to plant such an idea in her mind.

But Azgard would not let up. He accused me, before everyone, of purposely leading us to ruin. In exasperation, I offered him my position as leader. If he can lead us better, then perhaps he should.

To my surprise, that stopped him short. He stepped close to me and I expected for him to ask for it. Instead, in a cold whisper, he told me that I was shaming Farseer Stonehoof by so wantonly attempting to throw away the responsibility he had given me.

I must confess, I have mixed feelings about this. No one is going to contest my leadership, but nor will I receive any support. I am damned regardless of what I choose.

The last thing Azgard whispered before storming away was, ‘Never show weakness.’ I do not think I will ever understand that orc.

Three days later and we still await word from our farseer and warriors. I fear that our people have been gone for too long and I can no longer ignore the nagging doubt in my mind. So, after much thinking, I have decided that tomorrow morning I will give Azgard permission to call upon volunteers to defend the expedition. If the worse has happened, then we need to prepare. I do this reluctantly, but when it comes to our safety, I will trust Azgard.

We have not heard word from the Earthen Ring either. We need help, please. We need supplies, wyverns, warriors and hope. We need a farseer and a leader who knows what they are doing. I cannot be what these people are looking for. Some return to normalcy is needed if we are going to continue the mission.

I send this missive to you on our last messenger falcon. I understand that we typically receive a letter every two or three days. I hope to receive something tomorrow. Farseer Stonehoof mentioned sending a letter shortly after the attack. If you have received and read it, then I apologize for any repetition.

We eagerly await word on what to do. Light willing, the next letter you receive will be from our farseer himself.

Walk with the spirits,

P.S.: Also included are some notes and letters from others in the expedition.

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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:26 pm

Honored Elders of the Earthen Ring,
Thunder Bluff, Mulgore

I have failed in my duty to protect those under my watch. And until I can learn how the cowards responsible planted these devices throughout the settlement, the chance of failure will continue to follow me like a pungent oozling.

My investigations have turned up little evidence except for a badge found outside the perimeter of the camp. I have included a rubbing of the symbol imprinted on the badge, but I do not need it to be verified. It came from the Twilight Cult.

Farseer Stonehoof has seen fit to take command of my warriors and lead the attack himself. I cautioned him against this. He is too important to our mission to risk losing in a retaliatory attack against a Twilight coven. But he would not listen to reason. Worse, he ordered me to stay behind. My duty now is to be the voice of experience to the one person in this expedition I have no faith in.

What was Farseer Stonehoof thinking to appoint someone as his replacement by picking a name out of a helm? But then, to appoint Niashado? What pun is this?

I have nothing personal against the draenei shaman. She comes to us recommended by a respected farseer. But she is inexperienced and weak. She lacks the qualities needed in a leader. She lacks the qualities needed to even be stationed here.

She has already attempted to give me leadership of this settlement! I may not agree with how the farseer appointed her, but it was his call and he did so for his own reasons. How dare she dishonor him by shrinking from her duties? I would sooner trust a goblin as our leader than this woman.

I do not know what drives Niashado. She is a mystery to me. I have attempted repeatedly to train her, sometimes to the point where I even threaten her life, but at the moment when she can strike; she becomes fraught with indecision. She could be a powerful elementalist and a decent leader if she’d just quell whatever internal struggle is going on in her mind.

Regardless, it has been three days with no word from the farseer or my warriors. I must assume the worse has happened and again ask this pacifist draenei for people to train as warriors. Time is short and retribution may be coming at any moment. We are vulnerable. Our best warriors may be dead along with our revered farseer.

She has already rejected my first request, even though it left us completely undefended. I can only hope I can now impress upon her that we need to prepare.

Her refusal to allow Yevana to seek help reeked of cowardice. This young and courageous troll, a shining example of the best qualities of the Horde, is willing to risk her life to bring assistance and Niashado rewards her bravery by striking it down.

I knew the risks she’d be facing, even if Yevana didn’t. But she was willing to take an injured flyer out to find help as a way to honor her father, who died during the attack. Farseer Stonehoof would have allowed her to go. He would have given her his blessing. He would have understood that the risk could be worth it.

He would have made the hard choices that Niashado cows from.

And now, I have a hard choice to make. I respect Farseer Dakota Stonehoof. We have been friends for years. If there was ever a shaman, besides Thrall, that I respect, it would be Dakota. We have fought battles together. We have quelled elementals together. His rising to farseer was cause for much rejoicing.

But I am a shaman and the spirits come before everything in my life. His decision to appoint this weakling draenei as our leader cannot be overlooked. I hate to go against him. He was like a father to me. But as shamans, it is our duty to learn what is going on with Azeroth and to repair it. I fear that if we ignore this, Outlands and Azeroth may have much more in common.

Elders, please understand that I hold no personal animosity toward Niashado. She follows the spirits just as I do. One day she may become powerful in her own right. But now, as our leader, she is a danger that cannot be ignored.

Therefore, I have decided to do whatever is necessary to protect this expedition. I do not seek to openly defy Niashado before the others, but nor will I await her permission to do what must be done. As a soldier, this goes against every fiber of my being, but I cannot allow a weak leader to undo all we are fighting to protect.

The Twilights are coming and I will do everything in my power to preserve this mission until a newly appointed farseer arrives.

Walk with the spirits,
Azgard Boodtusk


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:28 pm

Sleep came in short stretches for Niashado. No matter how she tossed and turned, she couldn’t find a tolerable position to lie. It wasn’t really physical comfort that was driving her to fidget, however. She just couldn’t stop thinking about… everything.

What if Farseer Stonehoof never returns? What if the Twilights retaliate after their retaliation of their initial attack? How did they even manage to sneak those bombs into the camp? Surely someone would have noticed someone carrying those spheres into the settlement. They are several times larger than the cannonballs she had seen stacked in the Stormwind Harbor.

Finally, the draenei gave up on slumber and sat up. She was still sleeping in the shared tent along with the others. Even though the farseer had a sleeping mat in his tent, Niashado couldn’t bring herself to start living in his tent. She made use of his desk, but preferred to spend as little time as possible there.

It was important for the others to see that she wasn’t trying to replace him.

From the hole set high atop towering mast of the tent, which was used to allow smoke from the brazier to exit, she could see the first hints of gray announcing the coming dawn. She had perhaps two hours of erratic sleep through the night, but that would have to do. If she tried to squeeze in another hour, she feared that the renewed tossing and turning would only serve to keep the others from having a restful slumber.

The morning routine was still the same: a quick splashing of cold water to the face to shock the lingering sluggishness out of her system. That was followed by a vain attempt to brush her hair, which had since frayed in the excessively dry air of Silithus.

Outside, the sound and smell of frying eggs and fresh bed drew her toward the cooking fire. The dwarf who prepared the meals went by the nickname of Cookie, even though his real name was Bernad Griselsleaves. He grinned widely as he offered her a plate. Even though the cook often asked how the folks would like their meal prepared, he really only prepared them one way. She, along with many others, had long since given up trying to correct him. Asking must be just a formality to him.

Once breakfast was complete and she’d taken sometime to converse with the other early risers, she found her way back to the farseer’s tent and prepared the collected missives for delivery. Athena, a large falcon with brown feather and gray streaks, was immediately alert and on her perch as soon as Niashado started rolling the letters into a watertight leather cylinder. The falcon knew her duty. Since the moment she could fly, the taurens had prepared her expressly for the task of delivering such documents.

Her hazel eyes were set intently upon Niashado as the draenei slid a thick leather glove over her right hand. Having only done this once, she slowly approached the falcon. The bird, eager to take flight, raised one her talons and allowed her to secure the cylinder to the leg. She quickly devoured the handful of gizzards the draenei offered and then gingerly hopped onto her gloved hand.

Despite the falcon’s impressive size, Niashado never stopped being surprised by just how light the bird really was. She was also impressed by the gripping power the falcon’s sharp talons had. Were it not for the glove, the birds sharp talon’s would have broken through her skin easily.

The sun, still occluded by the distant mountain, was making its presence known with the orange rays of light streaking into the dark gray sky. More of the settlement’s inhabitants were rising. She could hear the exaggerated yawns of some of the dwarves and the grumbles of the orcs who were probably stretching their backs. A small, bright fireball abruptly belched from the smoke pipes in the goblin’s shed, announcing the activation of their machinery. She paused and nodded silently as a healthy mix of shamans passed her as they went to meditate near the eastern edge of the camp.

Once she felt she was distanced enough from the camp and facing the wind, she outstretched her arm and waited for the falcon to test the air. Folded in, Athena’s wingspan appeared deceptively smaller than they really were. In reality, the bird’s wingspan, from one wing tip to the other, was wider then if Niashado’s outstretch arms, from fingertips to fingertips.

Athena sat a moment with her wings spread, as if making sure the winds were just right, and finally beating her wings down once, then twice, she launched from the shaman’s hand. In the space of time between the bird’s initial wing beat and the time she released her gloved hand, Niashado felt her arm being carried upward.

With a quiet prayer for a safe flight, she watched in quiet awe as the bird’s form receded into the dark western horizon.

Now that the easy part was done, it was time to do the more difficult job.

* * *

“I have thought about your earlier request and because our warriors have still not returned, I think it will be prudent if you called for volunteers,” the shamaness quietly rehearsed as she looked for Azgard. She wasn’t sure what he would think about her reversing her earlier decision.

She wasn’t flip-flopping. They were all hoping that the farseer would return. At the very least, they fully expected an official interim leader appointed by the Earthen Ring elders to have arrived by now. But that hasn’t happened.

Azgard was surely going to give her a hard time about waiting this long.

She heard the orc’s voice and following it. Weaving between a flimsy storage shed and one of the large sturdy tents, she found herself approaching the wyvern stable. It had been designed to hold about twenty of the flyers, but now, only two were being occupied. The near silence of the stable contrasted starkly with the often tumultuous low growls and occasional snarls that the eager energetic flyers usually made.

The bluish glow of a water totem flickered from the darkness inside. Yevana was undoubtedly continuing her vigil over them.

But, what she saw as she stepped up to the large doorway caused her to pause. One of the wyverns had been partially saddled and was waiting near the front door. Azgard and Yevana were busy studying a map that was spread over a table near the doorway. The orc had stopped speaking when her shadow blocked light from outside.

Azgard’s visage was unreadable, but the fear and guilt painted on Yevana’s face told Niashado all she needed to know. The troll’s amber eyes widened and she started to stutter something, but Azgard’s hand on her shoulder beckoned her to remain silent.

“You are going to allow her to fly,” the shamaness asked, taking a few steps into table and looking down on the map. It was an aviator’s map. Landmarks visible from the sky were annotated and designated flight paths were highlighted to assist riders in flight.

“We need help. You will not permit me to call on the others,” the orc replied evenly.

“I see,” Niashado replied, struggling to keep her anger in check. She may be in charge, but it would do her little good to drive a wedge further between her and the orc. He was an experienced shaman and warrior and she needed his council.

But Niashado wasn’t sure if she should turn a blind eye to this infraction.

“I was looking to speak with you,” she added. “Your request to call on volunteers for our defense; I was going to approve it.”

The orc appeared momentarily started by her announcement.

“I will begin collecting volunteers shortly,” he finally replied. However, to her chagrin, he didn’t reroll the map or dismiss the young troll.

“Azgard, I still do not approve of sending Yevana on this mission,” Niashado said, while inwardly cursing softening of her voice. He was defying her! She should be angered by this. He won’t respect her authority while she sounded meek.

Azgard slammed his fist on the table, causing both women and the wyvern to jump in surprise.

“Eleven of my warriors and our farseer may be dead! Do you think six recruited shamans with a day of training will make a difference? Are you truly that stupid?” he nearly roared.

Niashado wasn’t sure what snapped in her mind, but she suddenly found herself standing up to him in defiance.

“I have sent a call for help. There is no need to put her at risk,” she declared in a level, but stern voice.

“They might be coming for us and you would depend solely on a falcon to do what a man or woman should see to themselves?”

“And what? You would rather send a child on a maimed wyvern to Gadgetstan or Camp Mojache?” she hissed. “You know what is-“

“What are you talking about? Gadgetstan? Camp Mojache? I am showing her the path to Cenarion Hold! She has no need to go anywhere else.”

“Really?” the shamaness replied with sarcasm dripping from her voice. “Follow me.”


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:29 pm

She led him to the southwestern edge of the camp and pointed at the horizon. A wall of dark brownish, almost black, clouds spread over the entire horizon. Steaks of lightning occasional raced along the cloud wall, but the storm system was too far to hear thunder.

“Besides having an anemometer capable of decapitating the unobservant, the goblins’ weather observation machine tends to be quite accurate in detecting weather conditions. They have been recording a steep drop in barometric pressure over the past few days,” the draenei recounted. “This weather system is between us and Cenarion Hold. In fact, we believe that the druids are being directly affected by the storm at this very moment.

“Even an adult rider on a healthy flyer would not survive a dust cyclone in Silithus.”

As the orc stared at the tumultuous clouds in the horizon his lips peeled back in a low growl. He turned menacingly to her.

“If you had allowed me to send her off yesterday, maybe we-“

“Then if she was lucky, she would have arrived just as the storm was gaining strength and she would have been stuck there. This storm system has been building for days, Azgard,” Niashado persisted. “It is doubtful that with the winds they’ve been experiencing, that flyer would have managed. Besides, there...”

Niashado stopped herself from saying more, but from the narrowing of Azgard’s eyes, she could tell that he wanted to know what she was reluctant to divulge..

“What else?” he prodded. He lowered his voice and calmed his tone a little before pressing on. “I can’t protect us if you keep things from me.”

The shamaness hissed again and kicked a small pebble into the field. She wasn’t certain herself, but, if there was any truth to the ‘feeling’ she was getting during her meditations, then Azgard needed to know.

“This storm is not completely natural. During my meditation, I felt chaos coming from the Winds within. I may be wrong. Maybe I am just becoming paranoid, or I am starting to see threats behind every boulder, but I think the Elementals are being driven to the position they are at right now.”

“Have you asked anyone else?”

“I have and some are attempting to meditate on it,” she replied.

“If you are right, then we are being cut off. This may be a precursor to an attack,” he stated in a steely voice. She couldn’t help feeling envy over the conviction in his voice.

“I could be wrong, Azgard.”

“Can we afford to take that risk?” the orc answered. “We need help. If the Earthen Ring can’t afford to send anyone, then we need to consider other sources. Mercenaries, perhaps.”

“As shamans, we are driven to work here by a sense of duty. Mercenaries share no loyalty but to gold. What little money we have left, we need to replenish supplies.”

“Not all who are hired to fight are driven by greed. We all depend on Azeroth to survive. We all have something to lose if the world is shattered.”

“The mercenaries I have met do not think very far beyond the next job, Azgard.” Niashado shook her head. “I do not like this idea. I do not trust them.”

“We don’t have a choice.”

The shamaness sighed and paced around while twirling one of her tendrils. She couldn’t remember when she resumed the habit of twisting her tendrils around, but since having leadership thrust upon her, she had caught herself doing it more and more.

“Fine,” she relented, closing her eyes. “When the storm clears we will send Yevana to find these… freelancers."

“We need to send her now,” the orc snapped.

“The storm?!” she repeated, gesturing emphatically at the dark horizon.

“I will direct her to Camp Mojache. From there it should be-“

“No!” Niashado interrupted. “Do you not see how weak her wyvern is? When the storm clears, she goes to Cenarion Hold. Until then, I expect you to do all you can to ready us.”

“By then, it may be too late.”

“If Yevana dies, it will still be too late. Tell her to continue tending to the wyverns. When the time comes, it will be stronger and the weather will be safer.

“My decision is final, Azgard,” Niashado declared before he could try to argue it again. “Do we understand each other?”

His lips were trembling and his fingers opened and closed. She could visibly see the old warrior fighting against his rage. The veins on his neck were throbbing and if his glare could, it would melt solid stone.

Yet, she held steadfast and her eyes never wavered from his. He would resent her. Hell, he could kick her ass into next week, but she was not going to sanction this suicide mission.

She didn’t want anyone dying during her temporary tenure.

Finally, the orc relented and he nodded his affirmation.

“Thank you,” she said, feeling as though a weight had been released from her chest. “Let me know who has chosen to volunteer. And if there is any way that might help, please ask.”

Niashado turned and started to make her way back to the settlement, but she still felt conflicted by this latest sparring match. Was there ever going to be a discussion between her and that orc that wasn’t going to end in a verbal showdown?

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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:33 pm


Azgard watched as Niashado left and then turned to the stormy horizon. He hadn’t really spent time in thought with the spirits since the Farseer had taken his troops. He missed that communion, but there just hadn’t been time now that he was doing the duties that multiple soldiers had once done.

If he had spent time in meditation he was sure he’d have learned from the spirits about this storm. He’d probably also know have learned if this storm was being manipulated as she had suggested. The draenei wouldn’t make it up such a story. Especially when the argument that the storm was being manipulated in order to cut them off from Cenarion Hold would lend further credence to his argument.

Now, he was more certain than ever that they needed to prepare. And to his surprise, she had come to and willingly given him permission. Perhaps there was some hope for her after all.

Nevertheless, six defenders were going to provide little resistance if they were attacked. He loathed bringing mercenaries into this camp, but they needed help with defense. So what if they worked for gold.

They need help and they need it soon.

Yevana was still waiting for him when he returned to the stables. She was absently toying with her purple braids, but immediately stood up and straightened when she heard his footsteps.

“Lookit sir, I don’t want joo getting in trouble on da account of me,” she started to say, but he held out his hand and beckoned her toward the map.

“I have talked to Niashado and she has seen reason. But we are cut off from Cenarion Hold,” Azgard began. He hated resort to lying, but it was his responsibility to protect them by whatever means.

He then gestured to another flight path on the map. This one was considerably longer and would mean flying north and over the mountain that separated Silithus and Feralas. Do you think you can make it to Camp Mojache? It’s a much longer flight.”

“I can do it!” the teenager nearly exclaimed. Azgard rest a hand on her shoulder to quiet her.

“I want you to be completely truthful. Are you comfortable making this flight? Do you believe your wyvern capable of flying without rest? There are no safe places for him to rest his wings.” Azgard explained. “Be truthful, Yevana. There is no dishonor in being sincere about your capabilities.”

“Azgard. I be swearin on my father’s soul, I can do dis. My wyvern can make it,” the troll replied evenly. Azgard felt pride at the confidence in her voice. He smiled and pointed at the map.

“Then you leave in an hour. Study this map. Burn these landmarks to memory and deliver this letter to the elders at Camp Mojache,” the orc shaman said. “You make your ancestors and your father proud, young one.”


It was a route that Athena had been well trained to follow. She had travelled it at dozens of times and was known to be one of the fastest messengers. Unlike the smaller birds the Alliance favor, which are often swifter, there were few predators that could interfere with a fully grown falcon. This made them one of the more reliable methods of communication that the Horde depended on.

The expansive forest beyond the bordering mountain range was just beginning to come into view as the falcon rode the thermal higher. Every flap of her wings, curling of her wingtips and twitch of her tail was made to maximize the efficiency of this flight.

As she had often done, Athena began scanning for an easy kill. Perhaps a mouse or rat will be spied with her superior eye sight. Maybe even a snake or a small bird. Any meal would do as long as it kept her with enough energy.

She was so intent on keeping her course and looking for a meal, she didn’t realize the threat until a shadow masked the eastern sun. Issuing a shrill cry, the large falcon tried to evade the massive form, but the predator was swifter.

A giant claw encircled the bird and quickly squeezed. Death came mercifully quick.

The dark furred wyvern and her rider, a human clad in the purple and black robes favored by the Twilights banked back towards the Silithus side of the mountain range. A half hour later, they were flying over a large pungent tar pit. Rickety derricks dotted the inky black surface of the newly formed lake.

The Twilight’s wyvern released the crushed corpse of the messenger falcon over the tar pit before resuming its lone patrol.


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Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:44 pm

Fifteen hours later.
The Writhing Deep, Feralas

Over the rumbling thunder and the rain that beat relentlessly on the forest canopy she heard deep footsteps approaching. The young troll tried to turn her head toward her attacker, but her body was reacting sluggishly. Her eyes were becoming glazed and unfocused, but she couldn't give up.

She was so close. Another two hours and she might have made it to Mojache. They were even fortunate enough to have a tailwind for much of the fight.

But she didn't see the second wyvern rider until she had been stung. She remembered desperately trying to put her wyvern into a dive, but the attacker was too swift. Her wyvern was also stung and then they were tumbling from the sky.

Yevana cursed her foolishness. She should have been more careful. Azgard and the others were counting on her and now she was going to die out here alone. Her own flyer had died on impact and laid an arm's breadth away.

Her breathes were coming more rapid and shallow as her windpipe began swelling from the venom. She could feel the warmth of blood trickling from wound on the small of her back. Through blurred vision, she saw a hooded figure standing in front of her. How the troll wanted nothing more then to lash out him, but her arms would only twitch.

"You're a strong one," the figure said. His accent sounded human and she jutted her small tusks in defiance. Her ears burned when he responded with a mere chuckle. There was a sound of a sword being unsheathed and then he bent over her. She heard something snap and then he stood up, holding her totems.

He made sure that her nearly unmoving eyes watched as he crushed the totems in his bare hands.

"Our mistress is always looking for strong potentials. I'll offer you this one chance, girl. You can join us, or you can die."

"F-fuck you," she willed her voice to croak.

"You're not my type," he added with another chuckled. "But I know something that would love to have you. Actually, there are great many things that will find you so delectable." He caressed her cheek and the most she could do was to channel all her hatred through her eyes at him.

He picked up a clay bottle, uncorked it and unceremoniously, he poured the purple liquid on her head. Was it a potion? Was it something the Forsaken had that would dissolve her body?

A small drop entered her mouth and she tasted it.

Moonberry juice?

"Have you ever seen silithids in a sugar rush? By the time they're finished with you, there won't even be stain," he whispered. "What a waste."

He took a few steps back and hurled the empty bottle somewhere beyond her field vision. Yevana didn't hear where it landed, but her ears did pick up on a sudden burst of chittering.

The human must have disturbed a nearby nest! The insects would start spreading out and begin looking for what caused the disturbance. Anything in their path would be devoured.

He moved away and she heard the familiar roar of a wyvern and beat of wings.

Then she was alone except for the sound of the rapidly encroaching bugs.


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