Chains of Command (Closed RP)

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty 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.))

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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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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty 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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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Post  Akatora13 on Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:47 am


The thunder rolled relentlessly overhead. Mattaka could feel the stronger swells literally shake his bones. It was a continuous thunder, where a second roll would start before the one preceding it had even died down. That, combined with the relentless downpour of rain made it a miserable day to travel.

It had been going on for hours now, and the smell of damp earth combined with wet fur had permeated his senses. Even though his sense of smell was dulled, ironically the rain brought a sort of clarity to his vision, even while in his tiger form. With his troll eyes, the rain made dark green foliage stand out in stark contrast against the gray haze of the day. With his cat eyes, he took in the low light provided by the cloud cover, the trees and the rain, and turned it into a picture that to his brain made it seem as if he was standing in direct sunlight in the middle of the Barrens.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t fly in this weather, but he had hardly been doing any flying this week. Most of the Cenarion forces had been sent to Mt. Hyjal, where the Twilight Cultists had a strong presence and the ancients were in need of dire assistance. But since Mattaka had only recently graduated to the rank of the field, he had been assigned to the skeleton crew manning Cenarion Hold.
He got the impression from conversations he overheard around Moonglade that the Hold was mostly being manned by old Night Elves that had been there since before even the gates of Ahn’Quiraj had been reopened a few years ago. Of course, to an Elf, that was a moment before now. The only other people there seemed to be, from what Mattaka could gather, druids who had an unhealthy interest in Silithids.

Which is why Mattaka had been taking his sweet time in getting there.

He had rather been enjoying the walk. He had started from Mulgore, so the walk through Ferelas had given him a chance to explore some ruins he had never seen before. He wasn’t that interested in Night Elf history, but since he worked with them often, he could at least say he’d known where parts of their civilization had stood.

But then the storm had hit. At first, being in tiger form had kept him relatively comfortable as he had padded through the undergrowth or leapt from branch to branch in the canopy. But now he was soaking wet. He knew he should probably have stayed in Camp Mojache another day, but he was beginning to be late. And while he didn’t want to go to Cenarion Hold, he still, technically, had to be there.

He found himself envying his tauren friend Burnae. They had been trained together, but while she had excelled in the natural aspects of balance, he preferred the raw physical power being in animal forms offered him. He had worked to get his healing skills up to a proficient level, to be cleared to work by himself in the field. Burnae had opted to stay in Moonglade for a time, studying.

He inwardly sighed, thinking back to his conversations where she’d be babbling about the history of this or that race and he’d be bored to tears, but would politely nod his head. After a while she’d realize he wasn’t paying attention and ruffle his hair with a huge hand. “Let’s talk about something YOU want to talk about now,” she’d say, smiling. This usually fell into heated whispered suspicions about what their druid elders got up to in their spare time. His favorite so far was that perhaps Rabine Saturna kept Omen as a pet.

Unfortunately Dendrite Starblaze had chosen that exact moment to walk by, and they had spent the rest of the day cleaning up after the hippogriffs.

Night Elves had no sense of humor.

He didn’t have anything against Night Elves particularly, but he wasn’t looking forward to the seriousness he anticipated with being in Cenarion Hold for a few weeks. Come to think of it, tauren elders had very little humor it seemed as well. He mostly told himself he wasn’t looking forward to the company of stiff, older druids, but mostly, he wasn’t looking forward to being away from his best friend for the first time in years.

He knew she’d be fine by herself, while his future held uncertainty. Perhaps that’s what irritated him the most, was the idea that he needed her more than she needed him, even though in his heart he knew that wasn’t true.

He was rudely interrupted from his thoughts by a chittering noise. It had started as a soft background noise first, so he had ignored it. But now he could hear it clearly nearby, and it sounded…frenzied.

What the fel is that?

Curious now, he loped lightly towards the direction of the sounds. Right before he reached the top of a rise he was bowled over by something scampering out of the bushes behind him. He gained his balance quickly enough to defend himself, but the form had scampered over the rise into the valley below with a series of mad clicks and whines. He picked up the pace and looked down after it.
A swarm of silithids were clawing over one another in a small pile, trying to get at something frantically. Something yellowish caught his eye, and he turned his eyes away from the mad frenzy. His lip curled in an un-catlike gesture of confusion when he caught sight of the dead wind rider. But something was on the ground next to it. Realizing the danger the person was in, he made a mad dash towards them. He risked a glance at the pile of silithids, who were now beginning to break apart, frantically searching the ground for more of whatever had enticed them in the first place. As he got closer to the wyvern and its rider, he realized it was a troll. And just a girl.

Spirits, what is she doin out here?

He came sliding to a stop next to her, assuming his regular form as he did so. He leaned down, putting his ear next to her face, and was relieved to hear and feel her breathing, although her breaths were short, shallow, and struggling, though her eyes were closed and she seemed unaware of his presence. He noticed then he was kneeling in a small trickle of blood, turning the rain water and mud around his knees a dull pink. He gently rolled her onto her side so he could look at her back. A large hole had punctured her clothing and blood was now leaking from the wound, but it wasn’t enough to have her die of blood loss. No, something internal was going on here.

He was about to press his hand on her back when a curious silithid, attracted by the smell of blood wandered over. Mattaka cursed, having completely forgotten about them in his shock at seeing the young troll on death’s door. It raised its wings in a threatening method to seem bigger and clicked its mandibles menacingly. He quickly got on all fours and shifted back into his tiger shape, his hackles rising as he did so. He bared teeth and tusks menacingly, and the silithid lowered its wings and backed away.

His relief was short lived as he felt a weight land on his back, pushing him to the ground. He twisted away just as a second silithid fell off him. He supposed the silithid’s cautious approach was over, and now they were hungry. He moved around it, sinking his claws in its carapace as his teeth searched for the week spot where its head met its thorax. He hit it with his tusks first, and the silithid squealed before collapsing in a heap.

The first silithid had moved back over to the girl now and had grabbed one of her feet and was pulling her back towards its next. Mattaka bounded over and struck its head with a massive paw that made it let go and teeter sideways. The rest of the pack was beginning to encroach on the little space he had managed to gain however. He couldn’t fight them all. They had to get out of here. Mattaka shifted back to troll form, standing up quickly. He picked the girl up, and slung her over his shoulder. She was light, but he was still going to be tired from carrying her at a distance. Doubly so after all this form shifting. He moved then so that the dead wyvern was between them and the silithids. He shifted to a bear then, wincing as the girl fell over his back, bumping her head. But she felt secure. He lumbered off through the brush, hoping the silithids would be gorged on the wyvern so as not to follow the tougher prey. Luckily, it seemed like a small colony.

He ran for about half an hour before he reached an abandon furbolg den he had passed on the way South. His gait had grown slower until he was just walking, and panting heavily. He gave the cave a cursory sniff to make sure it was still abandoned, before walking inside. Hey lay down then, tilting slightly so the girl fell off his back. During the run, her rapid and shallow gasps had turned to shudders as each breath became a struggle for life. He shifted back to his natural form before placing his hands once again on her back wound. Closing his eyes, he tried to get a sense for what was wrong. He cringed when he felt the decay of poison working on her insides. It was strong poison, too. He wasn’t sure from what. But it was natural, so he could begin to combat that. First though, he turned her back over on her back, placing a hand on her chest. Slowly, he felt the natural magic work as the muscles in her windpipe and her lungs began to relax, making her breathing easier. Then he slowly set to work cleansing the poison out of her organs. He sensed the parts that weren’t natural, and helped spur her body to combat it. He couldn’t eradicate it completely himself. He wasn’t skilled enough for that, but if he could spur her body into motion, past the shock, her natural immune system should take over. With lots of rest, she could still make it through this.

Finally, he could do no more, and he leaned against the wall of the cave, exhausted. He had no wood for a fire, and didn’t have the energy to start one. One final time he shifted into his tiger form. He shook the excess water from his fur and hair, and then moved over next to the girl so that they were back to back. He curled his form tightly against hers, falling immediately into a deep sleep.

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:40 pm

Joint post with Yevana and Mattaka.

Some hours later.

Yevana wasn't sure what made her continue lying still after she had awakened. The last thing she remembered was the human standing over her paralyzed body and promising that she'd survive if she only would serve them.

She had refused and the last thing she heard just before losing consciousness was a multitude of chittering sounds growing louder. Yevana had considered it a gift from the Spirits that at least she wasn't going to be aware of the silithids as they began feasting on her body.

But now the young troll was awake, the giant bugs were nowhere to be heard and she couldn’t' feel sting wound on her back. The telltale echoing of water drops revealed that she was in cave, but she dared not stir or open her eyes. What if her attacker had second thoughts? What if he brought her to their camp where he hoped to persuade her to join their damned cause?

As if she'd just conveniently forget that those Twilight cowards had murdered her father.

Her father would probably be proud to see his daughter finally making use of the lessons he'd painstakingly tried to teach her. She wasn't jumping to action. Rather, she was listening.

'A shaman is always listening,' he often said. So she laid still and listened with her other senses. There were no voices to be heard, but she thought she picked up on the sound of someone's deep breathing. Confirming the echoing water drops, the place smelled like a cave. The ground was hard and moist. There was something pressing against her back, however. It was soft and furry; a blanket perhaps? She welcomed the warmth in the cool humid cave air.

Then, she felt the 'blanket' move against her and all composure collapsed from the troll. She jumped up and started searching with her hands for a knife or weapon of some sort.

Softly cursing at the lack of armaments, she glanced up and took notice of the slumbering form she had been lying against for the first time. Her amber eyes widened at the impossibility of such a creature being here. They were thought to only exist in Stranglethorn Vale and the extreme northern lands of Kalimdor. She'd never heard of one in Feralas? And never of one with dark green fur.

Her eyes narrowed and she silently padded to the other side of the cave room. From the beams of sunlight she could see beyond the mouth of the cave, she could tell the rainstorm had passed. The cave must have been used as a den once. The remains of a fire pit dominated the center of the room, but curiously, it appeared to not have been alit in sometime.

Thankful that her bare feet maintained traction in the moist slippery cave floor, she found her crept closer to the tiger's head.

It was a tiger, but it had tusks. Not saber teeth like the feline's in the kal'dorei lands, but actual tusks. Noting the color and markings of his fur, the tusks and even the fact that she was healed from the wyvern's sting, Yevana was almost speechless at what she was seeing. It could be nothing else.

A druid? A troll druid. She'd heard and even seen a few in Echo Isles, but none since she'd left Durotar with her father.

But what if dis druid be wit da Twilights or sometin, she pondered. It wasn't unheard of. There were even shamans among the Twilight Cult.

It would be more prudent to leave while there was still a chance. But without Azgard's map and no food or weapons, she wasn't sure where to go. She wasn't even sure what part of Feralas she was in.

Trying to ignore the rumbling of her stomach, Yevana crept toward the mouth of the cave. Her hands skimmed over the loose rocks until she found one that looked sharp enough to serve as a makeshift weapon.

Without her totems, she would be severely limited using the Spirits to protect her. However, she couldn't afford to wait. The other shamans in the expedition were depending on her. She had promised on her father's soul that she could do this.

The teenager glanced back at the slumbering tiger and brushed a purplish braid from her face. She wanted to thank the druid for helping her, but she didn't know what, if anything, the druid might want in exchange. Some chances weren't worth taking.

Clutching the sharp stone tightly, Yevana picked a direction and began to head out. She wouldn't disappoint Azgard or the draenei in charge.

* * *

Mattaka creaked one eye open, warily taking in his surroundings. He was definitely damp. And exhausted. Why was he so tired? It took him another moment to realize he had fallen asleep in his tiger form. Not totally unusual but…

The troll snapped to attention as the memories came flooding back. Quickly sitting up, he looked around for the girl. She was gone.

He had to find her. She still might die if she didn't receive some more medical attention. Pressing his nose to the ground, he caught a faint whiff of her scent. He couldn't always track by scent, but he looked outside the cave. With his keen eyesight, he caught all the minute snaps of branches and twigs. Animals usually didn't make that much mess, but a scared troll would. He bounded off in the direction of the trail, his large paws making soft smacks in the mud.

It was almost an hour later when he caught up to her on the road. He trotted down the middle of the road, making as much noise as he could so she'd see him. She turned around quickly holding a large, sharp-looking rock over her head.

She looked frightened, yet very determined that she was going to let nothing stop her from wherever she was going.

Mattaka quickly shifted back to his troll form and stood up, raising both his palms unthreateningly towards her, approaching her slowly. "Woah, woah there missy. I won t be hurtin ya. But you were very hurt last night. I think we should be getting ya to Camp Mojache, no? Or at least havin ya rest up a bit."

Her eyes brightened as soon as he said Camp Mojache, but she was till weakened from trudging through the woods. Stumbling upon the road was the first thing that had gone right since she'd been tossed from her wyvern. Now, though, she was face to face with the druid, the troll druid, whom she had escaped from. He had tracked her through the forest with little trouble.

He was young, but appeared decently built. His mohawk made him look taller then his really was, but also added to his overall appearance. In explicably, she herself a bit drawn to him but shook it off by reminding herself of her job.

"Joo saved me from dem bugs?" she asked, cautiously.

Mattaka nodded vigorously. "I did, yeah. Was a close call too. I had to heal you from a poison, too. It was somethin nasty." Mattaka inched forward a little bit. "But I'm still worried I didn't do a good enough job. That's why I think you best be gettin to a real healer. The name's Mattaka, by the way."

He kept his hands in front of him, still not wanting to alarm her as he tried to talk her down.

"Yevana. My name's Yevana," she replied as she lowered the rock. "Thank joo for savin me, but I have nuttin to repay joo wit. My friends be depending on me to get a help for dem. If joo can point me to Camp Mojache, I be most thankful."

Mattaka gave a small sigh of relief when Yevana lowered the rock. But he could see she was still scared. And lost.

"Listen, Yevana, I don't want anything. You might be sayin' it's my civic duty as a member of the Cenarion Circle, even. But I can see you need some help,"

Mattaka grimaced slightly and scratched his head. "I don't normally do this but how'd you like a ride the rest of the way to the camp? I think you're hardly standin' as it is."

Before Yevana could suppress it, a small giggle slipped past her lips. She could see how uncomfortable Mattaka was to offerer such a thing. Then, to her embarrassment, her cheeks turned to a darker shade of blue at the request he had offered her. She didn't realize just how tired she had become fighting through this forest to get to the road. The young troll abruptly cleared her throat and straightened herself.

"Cenarion Circle, eh. I be wit da Earthen Ring," she began, but then paused. Her eyes saddened for a moment, but she pressed on. "Well, my father be wit da Earthen Ring. I be… was, learnin from him, but now dey need me to deliver a message. It's important."

She was about to toss the rock away, but then chose to put it under her belt. A small grin spread over her lips. "And I be appreciating da ride."

Mattaka pretended not to notice the girl s blush, but he could definitely sense there was some things she was keeping to herself about why she was here. It did seem very strange to him that the Earthen Ring would send someone so young by herself, with no supplies to deliver an important message. Either she had a very heightened opinion of herself, or something was very wrong.

He'd press her for more answers later, but she still needed a full-time healer, and he himself could probably go for a nap, if he wanted to be honest. So he nodded at her before saying, "Make yourself comfortable! He shifted into bear form, than lumbered over to her."

While not as large as a tauren s bear form, he was still bigger than her, so he kneeled down on his front legs so she could climb up onto his shoulders.

Cautiously, she tried to find the right footing and finally clambered on his back.

"Thank joo, Mattaka," she said, holding fast to his shoulders.

* * *

Camp Mojache

Their entrance into the tauren village was done with little fanfare. The sentries knew the instant Mattaka arrived with someone on his shoulders that something was wrong. Within minutes Yevana was reclining on some skins in the tent having her wounds tended to by a few of the healers. One of them, an elder, questioned her at length.

She caught sight of Mattaka waiting patiently near the door and speaking quietly with one of the druids. For some reason, his presence made her feel reassured, even though the tauren were nothing but hospitable.

As expediently as she could, she recounted the attack by the Twilights on the expedition, Farseer Stonehoof leading the other shamans against the coven. When they questioned why she would try to go here rather then the much closer Cenarion Hold, she mentioned the storm.

"Dis be the only place we can get help, mon. Da draenei in charge did not want to send me, but she was convinced da der was no other choice," Yevana continued. "My wyvern was too weak to carry much more den myself."

"It was a terrible risk and an burdensome duty they put on your young shoulders," the older tauren rumbled.

"I did it for my father and da other shamans," she whispered. "Azgard asks dat joo send notices to da other villages. We be needin defenders and any will do."

The tauren elder mumbled something under his breath and then shrugged.

"I hope that Azgard knows what it means when he asks for that kind of help," he announced. "Nevertheless, wyvern riders will be sent within the hour to post notices in Gadgetzan, Thunderbluff and Ratchet. You, will be sent to Mulgore to recuperate."

"No," Yevana protested, bolting upright, before being pushed back down by the healers. "Dey be my people. Fix me up and send me back."

"I will not send a child back into such danger. Tomorrow you will fly back to Mulgore and tell the Earthen Ring shamans there what has happened," the old bull replied as he prepared to leave. "My decision is final, young one. Your bravery is exemplary and you have completed your mission. Take pride in that."

In anger, Yevana looked away from the departing elder. It was a supremely childish move, but she couldn't think of anything else to do. A few minutes later the healers left and the only other person in the tent was Mattaka.

"I dun want to be safe when my father's killer still breathes. Dat is not fair," Yevana says aloud, seemingly to herself.

Mattaka gently placed a hand on her shoulder. He could see how upset she was and that she would never rest until she had justice. "Yevana, you've already done more than anyone could be askin of you. I think your father would be very proud. But I think the Elders may be right," he said softly.

"You need to rest, and recover. And these enemies, they are very powerful," he finished lamely.

She shrugged his hand off her shoulder and stared at him intently.

"But had it not been for joo, I would not have even completed what dey asked of me," she replied heatedly. "Dey killed fifteen of us while we slept, Mattaka! How can dey want me to rest while less den half of us are left doing da best dey can out der? I need to go back."

Mattaka sighed. He didn't think he'd be able to change her mind. He'd seen that fierce determination before. He'd even exhibited himself.

He looked at her seriously then, making sure she met his eyes. "If I go back with you, what skills do you have that guarantee you wouldn't go bein' a burden? I need to know you won't be puttin' yourself and those around you in trouble in a serious situation. Otherwise you're goin' to Thunderbluff."

Perhaps a bit harsh, but he wouldn't put a teenager in harm s way if she couldn't look after herself in at least some fashion. Especially since after this he'd probably never be welcome in Camp Mojache again.

Yevana's eyes widened and she propped herself up by her elbows.

"I am shaman, Mattaka. And I do know how to fight. My da taught me some tings. I won't be a burden. I promise ja," the teenager replied quickly. She left out the part about her totems being destroyed, but even without them there were a few minor calls she could make. And she was skillful with a spear.

Mattaka nodded grimly. "Alright. But we need to make some plans. I trust you can be keepin' this hush hush."

Yevana gave him a toothy grin and nodded.

"Don't joo leave wit out me," she warned before lying back on the skins.

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:10 pm

Northeast Silithus, Kalimdor
The next morning.

They’re not as pitifully helpless as I thought, Azgard pondered as he observed the volunteers who had answered his call to help defend the settlement. He was also surprised when he was reluctantly forced to turn a few away. He only needed six, for now, but many more had stepped forward.

The volunteers were mostly earthmenders and seers. They all had some skills with weapons and could duel well enough, but they all needed training. Some were more advanced in age then he would have preferred, but by all definition so was he.

He mentally chastised himself for grossly misjudging the non-warriors in the expedition. He thought he was above such misconceptions, but the old orc sometimes caught himself thinking as an orc and Horde warrior first and the shaman latter. Thrall stepped down as Warchief so he could put all his efforts in restoring Azeroth. The least Azgard could do was put his duty to the Spirits above his own prejudices.

Old habits die hard.

He circled the students as they practiced sparring. The sound of wooden training weapons striking each other were like the drumbeat of his soul. It was a comforting sound. It was the sound of individuals willing to not die without an earnest fight. The sound of people willing to defend what they were working toward.

Why couldn’t he convince Niashado of this? She would rather keep the expedition safe by remaining folded within the tight confines of the settlement, cowering, rather than take the fight to the Twilights and avenge their fallen.

She was meek and timid and there was no place for the meek and timid in Azeroth. Their kind fades silently into oblivion. There are no songs sung for the meek. Historians don’t remember the timid people.

Azgard would be damned if he was going to allow this expedition to fade into silent nothingness. Azeroth needs strong shamans.

And once the mercenaries arrived to bolster these fighters, he would take the battle to the Twilights. Spirits willing, maybe the other shamans are still alive and being held by the Twilights. At the very least, he was sure they could devise a plan to cripple the coven to the point where it wouldn’t be risk for some time.

Only then, can they resume their meditations and studies in true peace.

He prayed Yevana made it safely. He didn’t like sending anyone on potential suicide missions, but the need was great and she was willing to give it her best shot. Whether she made it or not, Azgard wouldn’t regret his choice. Her bravery will more than honor her father.

He paused in his contemplations to demonstrate a more efficient way of wielding an axe to two of the trainees. When they resumed their sparring, he felt a measure of satisfaction at seeing their form much improved.

Azgard felt it was a good enough moment teach them another type of strike. This was one where if the winds are harness just right, it could add a tremendous amount of force to swing, while also benefiting from a quick recovery.

His plans were interrupted when he noticed someone approaching. The steely glare from her glowing white eyes was all the indication he needed to know what this meeting was about.

“We need to talk,” Niashado declared as she arrived. Azgard noticed that the other shamans were slowing their sparring. Their attention was set on the power struggle between him and Niashado.

“I’m teaching. Later,” he replied. He started to turn and order his students to resume when he felt her hand on his arm.

“We need to talk, now,” the draenei nearly growled. It took all of Azgard’s restraint not to floor her at that moment. But the moment passed and the shamaness released his arm and stalked back to the farseers tent.

Growling, Azgard turned and glowered at his now immobile students.

“Keep practicing!” the orc barked. The hollow sounds of training weapons striking upon each other quickly resumed with greater vigor.

He turned to follow Niashado before they could notice the slight smirk in his face.

* * *

Niashado was not looking forward to this conversation. In fact, she was downright dreading it. But there was no way to avoid it. Azgard had seen to that.

Light, grant me patience and the right words.

The orc’s broad frame obscured the light coming through the entrance of the tent as he entered. She heard his footsteps move closer and then he paused. The sound of his breathing conveyed nothing about his emotions. The orc was, as always, difficult to read.

He wielded his emotions and thoughts the same way he wielded his weapons: calculating and precise. Whatever he thought this meeting was about, and she was sure he damn well knew, he was pretending to be uninformed for now.

Niashado kept her back to him, pretending to stare at a map of Azeroth that hung on the tent wall before her. Her emotions were a maelstrom of resentment, betrayal, fear and apprehension. And unlike Azgard, she knew that if he looked at her, he’d see the storm that he had put upon her. For now, it was better that he didn’t.

She took a deep breath and reminded herself to still her tail and relax.

“Yevana is missing, as is one of the remaining wyverns,” she announced. She turned her head slightly to the side and fought the urge to curl her hands into fists. “What do you know of this?”

“I sent her to Camp Mojache,” he simply answered. The calmness in his voice only increased her ire.

“You sent her, after I said not to,” she repeated. It wasn’t a question.

“My job is to protect this expedition. We need help and she volunteered like a true warrior,” he replied.

At this, Niashado’s composure completely crumbled. She whirled around and stormed toward him. Her tail taut and hands clenched tightly, she came almost nose-to-nose with the very orc who had painfully broken her leg a few days earlier.

“But she is not a warrior!” the draenei screamed. “She is a child! A child whose mind is emotionally clouded by her father's murder! And you used her pain to send her over three hundred miles of the most dangerous lands in Kalimdor on a sick wyvern! What were you thinking?!”

“My job is to protect his expedition,” Azgard repeated. “The Twilights are up to something. I believe that hiring fighters will protect us.”

“You do not hire mercenaries to defend a camp, Azgard,” the shamaness rebutted. “You hire them to strike out."

“That is the best course of action,” Azgard said.

“There are other courses of action.”

“Willfully surrendering is not a policy Farseer Stonehoof would have sought.”

The shamaness scoffed and began to pace.

“Nor would I ever advocate for surrender. But our options are limited, our resources have dwindled and our people are wearied. There is a third option,” Niashado pressed on. She softened her voice now that most of her pent up anger had been expelled by the earlier outburst. “We wait. We continue with our tasks. With time, more options may present themselves. The storm may clear. Help may arrive from the Earthen Ring.”

“That sounds like surrender.”

“You understand the difference,” she snapped. She didn’t buy for a moment that the concept she just presented was alien to the orc.

“Waiting for the Twilights to come to us is a mistake,” he growled. “The safety and success of this expedition is my job and I think-“

“The lives of the people in this expedition are my responsibility!” Niashado cried out. She stepped away and cocked her head slightly. “You are just spoiling to take the fight to the Twilights, are you not? Is this some foolish orcish idea of redeeming your honor?”

Azgard’s eyes flashed and for the second time in as many days, Niashado wondered if she was pushing him too far. But the draenei held her ground even as she watched the orc’s self-control teetering on the edge of oblivion.

“Honor is never foolish, draenei,” he spat.

“It most certainly is when it involves throwing away the lives of our people so that you may redeem yourself,” Niashado answered. “Take a step back from your vanity and look around. We are weak and morale is low. The Elements are too erratic to fully depend on if a conflict arises and most of us only know rudimentary self-defense skills. And we still do not know how they placed mana bombs in our midst without our knowledge. I do not need to tell you these things.

“And look at your own actions. You have sent a child into harm’s way to slake your need to avenge those we have lost.”

The orc turned away. His breathing was deep and he was trying to calm down. She could see his hands trembling around the hilt of one of throwing axes hanging from his belt.

“There is wisdom in your words. But my reason still remains the same,” he finally said in a low voice.

“They know we are hurt. They think we are too weak to pose a threat. The hornets may come to sting us one day, but that does not mean we should rattle their nest before we are prepared to deal with the consequences. We need to wait and ready ourselves. Waiting is not surrendering.”

Niashado clasps her hands before her and sighed.

“Now I find myself in a difficult position. What do we do if the mercenaries heed your call? I find myself praying we see them soon, if only because it tells us that Yevana made it safely,” she explained. “But once a Twilight spy reports that our numbers are being reinforced with hired warriors our time will run out.”

At this, the orc glanced up and shook his head.

“Their presence should make them think twice about attacking us.”

“Mercenaries are not shields, Azgard. They are swords. Their presence here will make us a threat they cannot ignore. And I am sure you are eager to use them to seek retribution against the coven.”

“At the very least, we have to learn the fate of the farseer and the warriors who left with him.”

“Yes, we do,” Niashado relented in a quiet voice. “But the mercenaries will be under my direct command.”

“What?!” the orc snapped. He stomped toward her. “I am the-“

“We may depend on you, Azgard, but I can no longer trust you,” the shamaness interrupted. “Please continue to train the volunteers. We will need them before long.”

She started to walk back toward the desk when Azgard grabbed her arm and swung her around to face him. His yellow tusks were far close to her face than Niashado would have preferred.

“And what will you do with them? You don’t want to use them as swords, but nor do you trust them as shields,” he demanded. His hand started squeezing her upper arm so tightly she knew there’d be bruisers. It was all she could do to not wince. Azgard pressed on. “You remind me of those draenei in Shattrath, who cowered in their homes as we slaughtered them. I wonder if they were waiting for more options as well.”

The shamaness slammed her hoof down on the orc’s leather boot. She was sure she hadn’t done any real damage, but surprising him afforded her an opportunity to twist from his grasp.

“Get out!” Niashado demanded, pointing at the door of the tent.

“This is not over!” Azgard snarled in disgust, before storming out.

Once he was gone, Niashado slowly stepped toward the desk and rested her trembling hands on the desktop. Reports and missives littered the top but she ignored them.

She tried to think of the next thing on the agenda for the day, but instead, she began second guessing her stance. Her reasoning seemed to make much sense earlier. But thirty minutes of arguing with Azgard had left her fraught with second-guessing.

Light, I never wanted this responsibility.

Last edited by izdazi on Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Just refining the dialog.)

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Quixoticus on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:03 am


Tahirus had only been walking for half an hour when he ran into trouble. Fortunately, the trouble was already underway. Two orcs and a night elf had cornered another orc at a rocky crag. The trio was dressed in dark clothing emblazoned with a hammer and a thorned circle.

Twilight. Not surprising.

Their quarry had no distinguishing allegiance. He wore traveler’s garb and, currently, was clutching a small sack tightly under one arm. The orc was unarmed, but his glare was steely enough to keep the Twilight at bay for the time. Tahirus stood up from his perch by a nearby crag and called down to group.

“Is there a toll?”

The four of them turned to look at Tahirus. The elven Twilight’s eyes narrowed when he saw the symbol emblazoned on Tahirus’ robes. He barred his teeth and snarled.


The Twilights drew their weapons. Simultaneously, Tahirus took the totem off his shoulder and slammed it down into the dirt. The Twilights growled and charged the draenei. Tahirus was already reaching out to the elements.

Spirits of flame, lend me your caustic fury.

The Fire answered. A shiver ran up the draenei’s spine as the energy surged. Warmth washed over him, and then flames ignited in both of his hands.

Burn those that would oppose us.

The elf was leading the charge. Tahirus flung his arms forward. A ball of molten flame exploded from his fiery hands in a shower of embers, shooting toward the elf and catching the Twilight full in the chest. The force of the attack threw the elf off his feet, and the elf stayed on the ground, rolling in the dirt in a desperate attempt to put out the fire on his clothes and face. The remaining Twilights were barely twenty feet away. Tahirus focused on one of the orcs and flung his arms again, unleashing another fiery missile. But the orc was wielding a shield, and brought it up in time to defend the assault. The ball of fire exploded on the face of the shield, but stopped the orc in his tracks.

The other orc, wielding a large war mace, was nearly within striking distance of Tahirus. As the Twilight closed, he raised his weapon and began a low rumbling war cry. Tahirus did not have time to unleash another fireball. But the Fire spirits were watching, and saw his peril.

Bring your totem to meet your enemy.

Tahirus grabbed the totem. He Elements gave him the strength to take up the bulky, dense wood with ease. The Twilight began a wide arc with his war mace. Tahirus pivoted, spinning around and bringing the totem around in a circled swing.

Imbued with Elemental strength, the totem slammed into the orc’s exposed midsection and stopped his charge. The war mace flew out of his hands as the wind was knocked out of him and the force of the blow threw him backward. The Twilight sailed backward, flying by the other orc and skidding to a halt in the dirt.

Tahirus clutched the totem menacingly as the remaining orc turned to look from his defeated brethren and back to the draenei. The orc snarled, then turned and ran off. Tahirus tucked the totem under one arm and checked the other Twilights. The orc was unconscious, and the elf had passed out from shock. Tahirus crinkled his nose at the smell of burnt flesh.

Thank you for lending me your strength.

The orc traveler was walking toward him. Tahirus nodded and slung his totem back over his shoulder.

“Thank you, shaman,” said the orc. “I’m sorry you had to come to my rescue. It was my own folly to leave my axe at home.”

“Where do you live? Surely not in Silithus,” said Tahirus.

“Orgrimmar,” answered the orc.

“You are a long way from home,” said the draenei. “What brings you out to Silithus?”

“I’m a courier. I’m making my way to Cenarion Hold, but the weather’s made it impossible to fly straight there. I had to make the journey on foot. That’s when I ran into that patrol of Twilights. So you’re from the Earthen Ring camp?”

Tahirus frowned. “What Earthen Ring camp?”

“Not too far from here,” explained the orc. “They’ve set up to defend against the Twilight. I assumed you were a patrol from the camp.”

Tahirus shook his head. “I came from Cenarion Hold. But I am seeking out an Earthen Ring stronghold. Are there any other camps?”

“None I would consider a stronghold,” answered the orc. “Most of the orders go through the camp, I’ve been told. It’s important enough to warrant plenty of attention from the Twilights, that’s for sure.”

“What do you mean?” asked Tahirus.

“I ran into a caravan yesterday that said there’d been an attack. A nasty one. Explosive devices, and not your average kind,” explained the orc.

“Magic bombs?”

The orc nodded. “Yes. So you’ve heard?”

“I have,” returned Tahirus. “That is indeed the stronghold I have been looking for. You said it’s not too far from here?”

“Not at all,” replied the orc. He turned and gestured out toward the desert. “West, an hour’s journey at most.”

Tahirus bowed slightly. “Thank you. I must go. Have a safe journey to Cenarion Hold. I would suggest staying off the roads. The Twilight know the trade routes well enough.”


Sixteen paws padded over the sand in near silence. Their canine shapes were barely perceivable even when looked at directly. With the sun descending closer to the horizon, their forms were becoming even more occluded. Only their motion highlighted their location.

With the grim efficiency of pack animals, the four apparitions quickly circled the lone figure and paused. The two in the rear kept their distance and slowed their motion until they were lost in the orange glare of the sunset. The other pair continued forward and then shimmered. Seconds later the wolves were replaced by an orc and dwarf.

Both wore heavy leather and mail armor and held a large axe. Totems hung from their belts.

The dwarf stayed a few steps behind the orc and held his axe close and at the ready. The orc continued approaching. His axe rested between both arms, as if trying to be as unthreatening as possible, while still being ready to swing if the moment called for it. His dark brown eyes never wavered from the robed male draenei he was approaching.

"Who are you and what is your business, draenei," the orc challenged.

“My name is Tahirus. I am Earthen Ring,” explained the draenei. “I was with a group of shamans en route from Cenarion Hold when we were attacked by Twilight. I got separated from the others and made the rest of the journey on foot. Have you seen any of them?”

The orc narrowed his eyes as he appraised the draenei up and down. They didn't look sated by the draenei's response, but neither did he sense threat. "I am Azgard Bloodtusk. It is a journey of days from Cenarion Hold to here. I'm sure the storm didn't make it easy. Were you among the reinforcements they sent for us?"

“Yes,” answered Tahirus. “Taking the journey on foot with minimal supplies was not an easy task. I wouldn’t be surprised if the others made it here before me.”

At this the orc visibly grinded his teeth and shook his head. His hoisted the battle-axe around and rested it over his right shoulder. "You are the first to arrive, Tahirus. Our settlement is very close. There you can explain to our leader the situation about your arrival," the orc explained. "You come during trying times for us."

Azgard turned and made a gesture with his free hand. The pair of ghostly wolves who had been watching from a safe distance took off into the desert. The dwarf hoisted his axe and led the way toward the settlement.

"We have had our dealings with the Twilights already. The others will make sure there are none nearby or that you weren't followed," Azgard added. "Follow."

Their return to the settlement came with little fanfare. The appearance of a newcomer only garnered a few glances. The delectable scent of a meal almost prepared filled the air and most of the shamans were already preparing to end the day.

Azgard dismissed the other defenders to their own duties and gestured for Tahirus to follow him to the smallest of the four tents that made up the settlement. He pushed the flap open and led the draenei shaman inside.

There was no one inside. A weak fire was burning in the brazier set in the center of the room. Two small candles were lit at the desk. There were several stacks of letters set on the desktop. They only waited a short while before footsteps were heard outside approaching the tent.

"Azgard, I was just told you found someone in the des-" Niashado said excitedly. But as soon as her eyes locked onto the newcomer the words fell apart. Her following words were spoken with far less enthusiasm. "Tahirus."

"You know this shaman?" Azgard asked.

"I do," she replied to the orc and then turned to Tahirus. "What brings you here?"

Before Tahirus could speak, Azgard recounted the story the draenei had told him earlier.

"So they received our letter," she muttered. There was a trace of disappointment in her voice.

“Must have. I only heard from the other Earthen Ring I was travelling with that we were to head here,” explained Tahirus. “I have been travelling for some time. I was on sabbatical to commune with the Elements when I heard the news.” Tahirus smiled at Niashado. “This really is a surprise, Niashado. You lead the camp?”

At his last comment, and uneasy glance was shared between Azgard and Niashado. Her ears lowered slightly and she moved toward the desk.

"We are in a dire situation, Tahirus. I am only temporarily performing these duties until our farseer or his appointed replacement, arrives," she explained. "And you walk with the Elements now?"

“For some time,” started Tahirus, but remembered how long it had been since the last time he’d run into Niashado. “Ah…well, that is a very long and complicated story. And this is not the time or the place. I have learned some information on the Twilight that may give our forces the advantage.”

At this, Azgard stepped forward.

"Then speak," the orc demanded. He didn't spare Niashado a glance, but when Tahirus glanced her way, she silently nodded.

Tahirus raised his eyebrows momentarily. “After our convoy was attacked and I got separated, I made my way here while staying away from the roads to avoid any other possible Twilight raiders. I ran into a small group of cultists at a hideout of some sort. But they weren’t mustering for an assault, it looked to be something more like an armory or supply dump. It’s very close, less than a day’s travel. I believe it foreshadows a larger Twilight offensive.”

Niashado took a deep breath upon hearing this and avoided meeting Azgard's gaze. The orc straightened and his eyes flashed in momentary anger.

"I knew it," he rumbled.

"Not now," she snapped at him. "Tahirus, do you believe any others of your convoy survived?"

“I did not meet any of them again after splitting up. I had hoped I would find them here,” said Tahirus. “If I am the first…it’s very possible I may be the last as well.”

Niashado closed her eyes and sighed. She seemed almost to stoop over, as if the weight of many burdens were finally catching up to her.

"Niashado, we need to seek out this depot. If we can cripple it, then we can buy some time," Azgard said.

"I-I need a moment to think," she muttered. Her eyes never wavered from the dancing flaming tongues on the candles.
"You can not dwell on this," the orc pressed on.

"Azgard, just let me think. I will give you an answer in an hour or so," Niashado relented. "I need to speak with Tahirus, alone."

The orc grunted and started to leave, but at the tent door he paused and turned toward her.

"Two hours. If you have not decided, I will lead our warriors out to this depot," he warned. Before she could protest he was gone. Gulping, the shamaness finally looked up from the candle.

"There are a great many things going on here right now, Tahirus. I have a lot I am trying to deal with, so I will make this as succinct as possible," she said in a quiet voice. "Why should I trust you after what you did to me?"

Tahirus lowered his gaze and sighed. “A lot has changed since Northrend. The Elements have given me guidance. I don’t mean to say I’ve changed. I’m still selfish and reckless.”

Tahirus looked up at Niashado. “I can’t say I deserve your trust. But I have found a source of balance in the Fire. The Elements have guided me here, and I intend to follow their direction. When I cannot help any further, I will leave, if that is what you want.”

"I am glad you are able to hear them and that they have been such a force for good in your life. But fire is a passionate element and I know well how you are when you become committed to a goal," Niashado replied with a weak smile that didn't quite make it to her eyes. However, the smile faded as she continued.

"The welfare of those in this expedition is my greatest concern. If you have some sort of plan, you bring them before me."

“Of course,” replied Tahirus. “I do not wish to put anyone at risk of unnecessary harm. But I do believe we should investigate the Twilight’s movement. Can we reconvene tomorrow, after I’ve had some rest? As long as the orc Azgard can wait.”

"I can persuade him to wait until morning," Niashado said. "You look hungry and tired. Get some food. There will be a space set aside for you to rest in one of the tents."

Tahirus bowed slightly. “Thank you, Niashado. I will see you in the morning.”

Last edited by Quixoticus on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:11 am

Later that evening.
Twilight Coven approx 15 miles NW

The desert winds swept around her, causing her dark violet robes to billow and flap, as she went about her evening stroll. The sharp reports of blacksmith hammers were as familiar as the beat of her heart. The chants of warlocks and mages were as music to her ears.

But most of all, it was the manic gaze that exuded from the eyes of each person. Whether troll or elf, human or orc, they were all united in a singular destiny. It was empowering to witness the true selflessness of her followers. They were committed to the outcome of their goal. There could be no doubt about it.

She paused before the four tall wooden structures that dominated the center of the coven. The glow of the two moons brightly backlit the mix-matched half hazard collection of structural supports. Like the watchtowers that are featured in almost every Horde settlement, these structures were deceptively stronger then they appeared. But instead of having shelter for the sentries, each tower was capped by an enormous crane. Like four skeletal fingers curling towards the sky, the cranes loomed oppressively over camp.

And suspended between the towers was a strange platform. Dark shapes moved about the structure and the sound of woodwork filled the area.

Her dark lips curled upward and she ideally fingered one of the small tusks. They were making good time on the project. Soon it would be ready and it would be her time to show her worth.

Grandfather will have cause to be proud of her.

At the sound of flapping wings she turned and watched an ebon shaded wyvern land just before her. The rider, wearing dark leather armor and a black hooded cape jumped off, took a few steps toward and her and then dropped to a knee. He kept his eyes averted from her face.

Even if he wanted to, he couldn't see her face beyond the large hood that was drawn over her head.

"Mistress Seya. The shamans tried sending for help. I dispatched a runner in the borderlands of Feralas," the human announced.

"So they're still here," she muttered. The Earthen Ring's presence so close to the coven was unfortunate. Seya had hoped that testing the mana bombs in their camp would encourage those ingrates to leave. Instead, they had attempted to retaliate.

Attempted and failed. The thought made her smirk again.

"We will deal with them when the time is right. For now, I need more information," she stated before looking back at the platform suspended between the towers. "We cannot risk interference at this juncture. Wait for my orders."

The human nodded and taking his wyvern by the reigns, started leading him toward the stables.

Seya didn't spare him glance. Instead, she made her way to a below ground hut. There, she followed a narrow stairway that wound deep into the earth. The air soon grew stale and warm.

It was invigorating.

Finally, she reached a large open cavern. In the center was a large brazier burning with greenish flames. An ogre approached, and like the wyvern rider, he kept his eyes averted from hers.

"Show me to the strongest remaining prisoner," Seya ordered. The ogre grunted and lumbered down one of the connecting hallways.

Meanwhile, the she-orc pulled out a key and opened a nearby strongbox. A smaller and intricately decorated box was withdrawn. The gold and silver finish glinted in the dim torchlight. Clutching the box tightly, she followed the ogre to the entrance of one of the cells. He obediently opened it and stood aside.

Barely waiting for the jailor to fully open the heavy wooden door, she briskly entered. The only occupant was a draenei shackled to the wall. His black hair was disheveled and large dark bruises marred his face. He once sported two large tendrils from his chin, but both had been severed during initial questioning. One of his eyes, which like most draenei, usually glowed white, had a distinct bluish tint caused by hemorrhaged blood vessels.

"The information you have provided us has been as insightful as ever," Seya purred. The orc set the box on the ground and knelt next to the shackled draenei shaman. She ran her finger down his thick boney forehead and over his broken nose. When she reached one of the bruises, she used her nail to flick it, causing him to jerk and try to twist his head away.

"But there seems to be a discrepancy between what you told us and what we have noticed," she cooed, which moving her nail to his chin and then to the damaged tendril. Her lips curled up as she heard him suppress a gasp. The wound was no doubt still painful. "You said they would leave but they have not. Were you holding back from me? I wish you wouldn't. I could use a strong body like yours here."

"I-I will never serve you," he rasped through his parched throat. They hadn't given him any water in the last three days. It was amazing he could speak, let alone say complete sentences.

"Tell me about the remaining shamans in the camp. Tell me about this fellow draenei, this Niashado, that your beloved farseer has left in charge," she demanded. At the mention of the farseer the shaman's eyes narrowed and his jaws grew tight. "You will tell me."

She opened the box and withdrew a writhing mass of flesh from the water filled enclosure. The glistening mound of gray flesh wiggled in her green her hands. Several tentacles wound around her arm. Others flopped from the spaces between her fingers and flicked droplets of water about.

The draenei's eyes grew wide and he began frantically shaking the chains and kicking back with his hooves. Seya, oblivious to the distress of her prisoner, massaged the fleshy creature and slowly brought it closer.

"You will tell me… everything. And this time, there will be no lies, or half truths," she whispered. The creature in her hands flexed and writhed. One tentacle stretched out from between her hands and from seemingly nowhere, an eyeball blinked open.

The draenei began screaming.

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Quixoticus on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:13 pm

Yuri Amgryn

“This is as close as I can get you.”

Yuri looked down. They were over the Un’Goro-Silithis border, a generous distance from the planned drop. Yuri groaned, but the gyroplane’s engine was too loud for the pilot to hear.

“We’re twenty miles out! You can’t get any closer?” shouted Yuri.

The pilot, a gnome, cocked his head to the side. “Ever flew one of these things in a storm?”

“I’ve never flown one at all,” answered Yuri. “That’s why you’re the pilot.”

“Shut up and get off my plane.”

The gnome had already begun to turn the plane around, so Yuri decided it would be hopeless trying to convince him any more. He patted himself down to be sure his equipment was fastened down properly, and then dipped forward. He turned his descent into a nosedive, and soon after, he discovered that the hour-long ride had put his legs to sleep. He swore into the wind, and began counting up to ten. After pulling the cord on his parachute, he shook his legs vigorously to chase away the lingering needles of discomfort so he would land on his feet, and not his ass.


Yuri landed between two large rock crags, which was better than he had expected. Silithus was relatively open and flat, which was a nightmare for the dwarf. Though it was not impossible to hide out in the open, there were limits to how well he could remain unseen. Visibility was an important aspect of his work. Particularly, the lack thereof.

Yuri made a sweep with his rifle at the ready, but he had already scouted the area during his descent, and was fairly certain that he was alone in this part of the desert. If he wasn’t, then his assailants were very good, and he deserved to go under. He pulled the chute straps off his shoulders, then rolled up the discarded chute and stuffed it into a crevice of one of the crags.

The Twilight Hammer wouldn’t be looking for a Senate operative, but there was still no reason to announce his presence prematurely.


After an hour of light jogging, Yuri started to think that he had fallen short in his estimate of twenty miles. Cenarion Hold was far, perhaps too far to be worth it. The Senate had recommended he rendezvous with Cenarion Hold to gather any immediate intelligence that might assist in the mission. But that was contingent on Yuri arriving at Cenarion Hold by flight, and not on foot. He had a general timetable to stick to, and the storm had thrown a wrench into what could have been a myth of wet work: a smooth operation.

He already had a primary objective, and Cenarion Hold was not pivotal in its completion. So Yuri started out toward the western Silithus plains, where the Twilight Hammer presence was strongest, and where his target would surely be.

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:10 pm

Niashado, Azgard and Tahirus

The bitter tea did little to burn away the last vestiges of the restless night she had suffered through. Nor did the sky that was slowly brightening lift her mood. As she paced, her hooves dragged along the earthen floor.

The last four nights have afforded Niashado a handful of hours. Each night she was faced with the same reoccurring nightmare. Tents filled with the lifeless bodies of her fellow shamans. People rushing toward her, screaming as blood exploded from their eyes, ears and noses. Even the screams and the smells reminded her of that night.

Sometimes one of the victims would reach out to her and she'd be forced to helplessly watch them drown in their own blood.

But what frightened her most was that she was never among those dead or dying. Instead, she was alone and helpless, watching them writhe and moaned and finally die.

And then the nightmares took a darker turn, as if that was even possible. Now the dead were the very survivors whom she was responsible for. They would scream accusations with their dead gazes, which in and of its self was made even more pointedly frightening seeing as most of them no longer had eyes.

Then, the draenei would awaken only to discover that the nightmare was still happening. They were depending on her. If only she felt reassured that her choices were the right ones.

Niashado would sit up in her sleeping bag and stare at the others who had somehow managed to hold onto sleep despite her restlessness. It was in those times; she wondered how, with all the people under his care, the Prophet Velen ever found sleep.

With a quiet sigh, Niashado extracted herself from the sleeping bag and as stealthily as possible, found a path outside of the tent.

Might as well get started early today.


Tahirus was examining his totem when the tent flap opened and let in the morning light. He turned his head to look, and a troll shaman regarded him from outside.

"Azgard and Niashado are convening, they'd like your presence," said the troll in accented Common.

"Thank you. I will head over immediately," answered Tahirus.

He waited for the troll to leave. When the flap was closed again, Tahirus turned back to the totem and inspected it for a few more seconds, then slid a compartment on the totem shut and stood up to leave.


Setting the cup on the desk, Niashado slowly sauntered to the basin and splashed a handful of water onto her face. The shock helped bring her back to alertness, but only just. The weight of the decisions she was expected to make today hadn't lessened.

What was taking the Earthen Ring so long?

She had just finished drying her face when she heard someone brush past the flap of the tent. By the gruff sound of his breathing, she knew it was Azgard.

Light, will this ever get easier?

"My men are ready," the orc announced in a hardened voice. The message in his tone was clear. He was doing her a courtesy by awaiting her approval of this plan, but regardless of the answer, Azgard was going to execute this mission.

* * *

Niashado and Azgard were in the tent when Tahirus arrived. Like last time he had met with the two of them, the air was tense. He glanced between the orc and the draenei.

"Sorry about the delay. How can I help?"

"You spoke of a depot run by the Twilights a days journey from here. I need more details," Azgard demanded as he stepped closer to Tahirus. "How many were guarding it? What did you see there? How do you know they aren't readying for an immediate assault?"

"It's some old Qiraji ruin, maybe a temple. There might have been ten, or twelve Twilight present. Not very many. They had a wagon with them. It looked like they were unloading. There wasn't a lot of foot traffic in the area around the ruins, so there s little chance of an immediate assault," explained Tahirus. "But there s a good chance that they are preparing an armory for a future offensive."

"Twelve," Niashado muttered quietly under her breath. When Azgard turned toward her, she looked back and shook her head. "That is too many."

"If we're quiet on our approach we should be able to take them," the orc replied in a stoic voice. The shamaness stared back with wide eyes.

"You will be outnumbered nearly two to one and this depot is a day's trek from here. You would leave us undefended for two days while you attempt an offensive with a much smaller force?" she questioned.

"If the plan goes well, we should be able to take them with little trouble. Destroying the depot may put a stop to their plans," Azgard countered.

"Perhaps if you had a group of elite soldiers or perhaps if our warrior shamans were still with us this plan may have a chance. But you do not. You have volunteers who are willing to put their trust in your wisdom to defend us. They are not fighters," the shamaness continued. "And even if you were to succeed, you will rile them up against us."

"Whatever they are doing there, we owe it to those they murdered to find out what is going and to stop them!" Azgard growled.

"I will not allow you to take them into a suicide mission!" Niashado declared. She stared down at the silently enraged orc.

"You are so afraid of making a mistake that you would rather wait and cower rather then do what is necessary." He turned away from her and to Tahirus. "How strong do you believe these guards are?"

Tahirus shrugged. "Only a few of them were armed. It seemed like they were doing grunt work for the most part. It's possible that the main Twilight force hadn't arrived. We can scout it out before making any aggressive moves. The Twilight don't know that we know about their presence there."

"Then this is the most opportune time to strike," he said, looking back at Niashado. "If we wait, we will lose this chance! We need to act!"

"Twelve against six, Azgard. Twelve!" she exclaimed, shaking her head emphatically. "And this information is at least a day or two old. By the time you get there, maybe three days. I cannot sanction this. The risk outweighs the reward."

"You're right, it would be foolish to engage them in so many numbers and on unfamiliar ground," said Tahirus. "If the Twilight are there when we arrive, we will leave. But it's still worth investigating if we catch them in thinned ranks and gain some intelligence on their moves in this area."

Niashado's eyes flashed angrily as she glared at Tahirus.

"I was once a military officer, Niashado," Azgard pressed on. "I know how to judge a situation. If I don't think we can do it, then we will observe and return quietly."

"I wish I could believe you, Azgard. I really do," the shamaness replied. "But how can I know you will not allow your pride, or your thirst for vengeance, to cloud your judgment?"

"You think me a fool?" Azgard asked in a dangerous tone.

"You sent a young girl into Feralas on a weakened wyvern. What am I supposed to think?"

"Let me go with Azgard," suggested Tahirus. "I can serve better in the field than here. More hands would keep the situation from unnecessarily turning volatile."

The draenei and orc both turn towards Tahirus.

"That would make eight against twelve," Azgard commented.

With the six volunteers, Azgard and Tahirus, the numbers would be better. But it would also mean that they would be defenseless for nearly two days while they were away.

The orc took a deep breath and brushed his gray hair back before turning to face her.

"Niashado. We don't seem to agree on many things, but I believe we can learn a lot from this, and if possible, also put a stop the Twilights plans for us," Azgard said in a low voice. Gone was the anger, but the resolve was still strong. "You have my word, on my honor, that if I believe we can't assault them without incurring too much risk, then we will only observe and return."

Niashado closed her eyes and turned away. She began to pace and unconsciously began tugging on one of her tendrils. Why hadn't a more capable leader relieved her of this accursed duty already?

"I never wanted to make these kinds of decisions," she whispered. The thought of taking a life in any manner other self-defense was abhorrent to her. She had lived her life following these teachings of the Light. Demented and evil the cultist in that depot may be, they were only defending it. Nothing more. We would be the attackers and she would be ordering it.

I thought I could be different. I thought I would be above this endless cycle of violence.

"I will hold you to your oath, Azgard," the shamaness relented. She still kept her back to them, if only to mask the distraught emotion in her face. "Thank you for volunteering, Tahirus. You are dismissed. I need a word with Azgard."

She waited until she heard Tahirus leave before speaking again.

"I am trusting you to your oath, Azgard. Do not risk their lives on a needless course of action," Niashado continued in a soft voice.

"I can't promise that there won't be casualties. Those volunteers are strong and brave, but they are not the warriors I have worked with for so long. I am aware of their limitations," Azgard answered.

Niashado sighed and felt the burden of the past few days grow heavier. But he was right in that he couldn't promise such a thing. She turned her head slightly and saw the orc standing patiently in the periphery of her vision.

"Then go. Be swift and stay safe. May the Elements watch your backs," she said.

"We will leave immediately," the orc snapped.

"Azgard," she called out as he neared the door of the tent. The warrior shaman turned to her. "Keep an eye on Tahirus," she added in a quiet voice.

His eyes narrowed for a moment, then he nodded and left.

Light, forgive me. What have I done?


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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:05 pm

Mattaka and Yevana
Camp Mojache

Yevana could hear her father’s voice admonishing her as she sat on the bed and gnawed on a particularly pesky fingernail. She wanted to go. She wanted to be back in the action. Not sitting and waiting while the healers tended to wounds that her eyes could no longer see.

She had been fortunate in that with all the wyverns being utilized to deliver word of the camp’s distress, there were none available for her to be sent to Mulgore. But that had been the night before and already, with the dawn’s first light, a few riders had returned. Soon, their wyvern’s would be rested enough to take her to safety.

Safety. The idea galled at her. She wasn’t some helpless human child. Yevana didn’t one to be safe; she wanted to avenge her father’s death. She wanted to take over the duties her father had overseen back at the settlement.

She wanted to prove her worth. Not sit back and mope, which, with some sense of irony, Yevana realized that that was exactly what she was doing.

Mattaka should have returned for her. He was reluctant to have her coming with him. She had read that much in his eyes.

Did he mislead her in order to make her stay?

With a sharp exhale, the troll stood up and paced around the large tent. The healer had already admonished her about walking, but that was hours ago and she was growing more restless. And she felt fine. Why couldn’t they just see that?

She brushed open the course cloth that provided privacy for her room and peered into the larger space beyond. No one was inside and only a thin wisp of gray smoke rose from the ashes at the fire pit. Somewhere outside a rooster crowed. The scent of baked bread and the steady clanking sound of hammer filled the air.

Activity in Camp Mojache was already in full swing. Shafts of sunlight streaked through the trees and steadily burned away the morning mist. A pair of tauren children chased after a frog under the watchful gaze of the women who were baking bread. A mixed group of warriors were receiving their morning orders.

While the tauren made up the majority of the population, she did see orcs and trolls among the population. There was even a Forsaken and a pair of blood elves. The latter two elicited mixed feelings in her, but they weren’t the most pressing concern.

Where was Mattaka?

* * *

It only took fifteen minutes to find the troll druid. Camp Mojache wasn’t large and when he wasn’t inside the lodges or other huts, then her search moved on to the outskirts of town. Still, he wasn’t found.

Nobody questioned her walking about. Even one of the healers who had tended to her offered a polite nod. Perhaps, they had decided that she was healthy enough to move about. Or, maybe her stubbornness had caused them to give up. Out of a sense of defiance, Yevana hoped it was the latter.

He must have left me, Yevana bitterly decided as she walked toward the smoldering fire pit set in the center of the camp.

The young troll entertained the thought of stealing one of the wyverns, but such an act would be dishonorable to the hosts who had seen to her wellbeing. She couldn’t besmirch the Earthen Ring or her father by doing such a thing. Besides, who’s to say that Twilight flyer isn’t still patrolling the borderlands.

If it weren’t for Mattaka, she would have died. Luck probably wouldn’t be on her side the second time around.

She was about to sit at one of the benches encircling the campfire when she noticed a familiar large lump of dark green fur lying on the opposite side. Picking up a stick, Yevana quietly approached and studied the feline.

It was definitely a druid and she felt somewhat assured that it was Mattaka. There were too many similarities.

With a scowl, she poked him on the flank with the stick. The feline didn’t budge. She jabbed him a few times.

“Mattaka. Wake up,” she hissed near his ear, before quickly stepping back. Last thing she wanted was for the druid to wake up with a feral mindset while she was within range of his claws. “Mattaka, the sun be up. Wake up!”


Mattaka was having a half-troll, half-feral dream in which he was chasing down gnomes on mechanostriders. “Mattaka, wake up!” One of the gnomes shouted as he pounced on it. He growled, not liking that the gnome was talking back to him. The gnome’s riderless mechanostrider trotted over to him then and he stared at it with puzzlement.

“Mattaka, the sun be up! Wake up!” it squawked. Mattaka blinked, before realizing this was some sort of dream, but he wasn’t ready to wake up quite yet. A nagging feeling that he had something important to do pervaded his mind, but he ignored it.

The druid tiger made a low moaning noise and rolled over.


Yevana crouched down several benches away as the feline made some noises and stirred. Then he fell silent again.

Blowing a roguish purple braid from her eyes, the teenager steeled herself for another attempt at rousing the druid. She carefully manipulated the stick into his ear, but that only accomplished having the tiger move his sleepy head away from her.

With a hiss, the druid moved forward and returned to her original strategy of poking his flank. Only this time, she poked harder. Ignoring the glances of some of the curious taurens, she fearlessly cried out, “Maaaaaattaaaaaaaaaka! Wake up, sleepy!”


As soon as he began to chase another mechanostrider, he was assaulted by a pack of them. They also started pecking mercilessly at his flanks and shoulders, and would jump back when he would try and swipe at one. Finally, one landed a particularly painful jab on his flank and screamed “Maaaaaaaaattaaaaaaaka wake up, Sleepy!”

With a feral snarl, he swung himself upwards, all of his muscles bunched and ready to fight. It took him a moment to process the scene in front of him. Where he was (Ferelas), what he needed to do (Go to Silithus) and who was in front of him (A nervous looking Yevana holding a stick). His breathing evened out and his muscles began to relax of their own accord.

With his teeth, he pulled the stick from Yevana’s hand before snapping it in half. Then he shifted out of his tiger form, standing as he did so.

“You shouldn’t go pokin’ beasts, even if you know them,” he said tiredly, messaging his temples.

“It… it be nearly mid-morning,” she replied once the color returned her face. She spared a glance at the broken stick and then at Mattaka. “Sorry, but dey be sending me to Mulgore soon,” she added in a more hushed tone.

Mattaka looked at the sun, squinting. “Spirits. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be sleepin’ that long.”

“Dat be fine. Joo look so peaceful sleeping. I bet you be dreaming of some lazy peaceful field wit da sun and all dat goody stuff,” Yevana replied, jutting her tusk out playfully. She glanced around the camp until she found the wyvern aviary.

Mattaka smirked at her. “Try a mechanostrider nightmare.” He followed her gaze. “What are you thinkin’?”

The teenager glanced back at Mattaka with incomprehension written in her eyes, but finally shrugged.

“Da and I flew one of the wyverns to Gadgetzan. Dat troll place in the desert. He needed to pick up some supplies,” she said. Yevana forced the sadness down that threatened to seep out as she spoke. Mattaka had to think of her as strong. “Da had a friend in der: dis mean ole goblin I did not like, but he and da were friends. He might could help us.”

Mattaka was loathe to admit it, but he had next to no plan, so this sounded as good as any. He nodded at her. “Alright. If I distract the flight master, think you can sneak off with a wyvern? I can catch up to you.” Mattaka didn’t like flying in his bat form during the day. It was very uncomfortable, and he’d much prefer to be closer to the ground. But he didn’t see how they could possibly sneak off with two wyverns, and he already felt badly about the prospect of stealing anything from taurens.

“I can do dat. I just wish we didn’t have ta,” she replied with a nod. A sudden streak of terror suddenly flashed over Yevana’s countenance and after a moment she looked up at Mattaka with wide eyes.

Mattaka noticed the look of abject terror that appeared on Yevana's face. "What is it?"

“When… when I was trying to wake ya, I dink I sounded just like my mother,” Yevana said. She shook her head as if hoping that the very thought would pass. Then, she laughed, although it sounded distinctly forced. “Look at me. We about to steal a wyvern and I be more frightened about sounding like my mama.”

Mattaka smiled at her. “If it makes you feel any better, you sounded like my mother too. Up until you poked me with a stick.”

“Heh… sorry about dat,” she replied, still sounding somewhat uncomfortable. She took a deep breath, mustered her courage and then looked up the druid. “I know wyverns. I took care of dem at the Earthen Ring settlement. Give me an opening and we be flyin in no time.”


Mattaka nodded. “Wait until we’re outta sight. I’ll catch up.” He winked at her, before making his way down the path towards where the Flight Master was. The tauren was grooming one of the wyverns. For a moment, Mattaka struggled with what to say as the tauren looked at him in confusion. “Uh, hey! Can you help me with somethin’ really quickly? I think I saw a wolf around here a few minutes ago!”

The tauren stared at him. “Tell a Brave.”

“But, uh, it was gettin’ into the wyverns’ food! Come here, I’ll show you!” The tauren sighed heavily, like he’d rather be doing anything else than following a troll on a stupid errand.

“Lead the way. I’ll tell you if it’s a wolf or just your imagination.” He said.


Yevana watched Mattaka lead the sullen looking Flight Master away. She wasn’t sure what he had said, but he didn’t appear to be enthusiastic about checking. Nevertheless, he’d just given her the opening she needed.

Silently, she crept toward the aviary. Several of the wyverns glanced up and growled in alarm. Their poison tipped tails were raised threateningly. . They had grown accustomed to the usual Flight Master. But now he was gone and Yevana knew she was stranger to them.

More of the messengers must have arrived because the aviary was nearly full.

Rehearsing the techniques Azgard had shown her only a few days earlier, Yevana quietly made soothing sounds and gently scratched each behind the hear. Most of them were placated, but there was one, a grizzled gray furred one who followed her with his black eyes.

She kept her eyes averted from him, knowing that any eye contact with an ‘alpha’ would be seen as a threat. The gray furred wyvern wasn’t going to allow her to fly with him. Not without the Flight Master’s guidance. The question was, would the ‘alpha’ allow her to take another or will he become overly protective and announce the intruder.

Biting her lip, she found one of the wyverns who had arrived earlier this morning. If a messenger had used him, than that meant he hadn’t flown very far and that he would be better rested than the others. Checking the placard affixed to the side of the saddle proved Yevana’s suspicions.

After every flight, the saddle and beast were inspected by the Flight Master. If both checked out, then the Flight Master would stamp the placard. The last inspection was at Freewind Post, which was only a few scant hours from here. The food and water bowl were both only half filled, which meant he had eaten his fill.

Yevana scanned around the aviary. Neither Mattaka nor the Flight Master had returned from wherever the wyvern’s food was stored. She knelt down, stroked the back of his years and whispered soothingly while checking his saddle. Then, with a surreptitious glance at the gray ‘alpha’ wyvern, she opened the pen door and started guiding the wyvern out.

The troll barely had time to duck before the gray-furred elder wyvern roared and lashed out toward her with his tail. The younger wyvern she was leading froze between the stalls, torn between her flustered commands and the distressed dominant wyvern.

Surely the whole camp must be hearing this ruckus by now, she realized. In desperation, she slapped the wyvern’s rump. That got him into a gallop, with her holding on desperately the bridle of the saddle.

Once they were outside, she swung over the wyvern’s back and grabbed a fistful of skin from the back of his neck. The young wyvern growled and then moaned before growing calm. Behind her, the alpha was still roaring and hitting the walls. Some of the other wyverns had also joined in.

Yevana had hoped to wait for druid, but remembering his words, she jabbed her foot into the flank of the wyvern and took off. With growl, the wyvern charged into the flight and soon they were leaving Camp Mojache while dodging trees.

Once her wyvern was out of earshot of the others in the stables, he grew calmer. Yevana, however, grew more worried about Mattaka.


Mattaka and the Flight Master reached a pile of untouched meat next to a tent. “Nothing’s been here!” The Flight Master said irritably. Almost as soon as he said it, a loud roaring went up from the Aviary. Both of them looked surprised for a minute before the flight master turned angrily towards Mattaka, snorting and shoving his finger against his chest.

“You, what have you done!?” he demanded.

Mattaka grinned sheepishly. “Nothin’! I’m just a concerned citizen! Maybe the wolf got in there!” Mattaka knew it was ludicrous as soon as he said it, because no lone wolf would go charging into a nest of full-grown wyverns. The tauren turned to look back at the aviary, then turned quickly back to Mattaka, looking like he was about to deck the troll.

Mattaka, sensing his cue, said “Well, sorry I couldn’t have been more help!” He shifted into bat form quickly, and the flight master shielded his eyes from the enormous wings as Mattaka flew off after Yevana, with very undignified squeaks.


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Chains of Command (Closed RP) Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:18 pm

Mattaka and Yevana

Their exodus Feralas soon led them over the narrow swath of land call Thousand Needles. The canyon had once been dotted by rocky pillars. Her father had explained that the wind was responsible for chipping away on the rocks until they were whittled down skinny pillars.

Of course, being the father and the shaman that he was, he had described this while also making an analogy to how each of the Elements can affect the other or some such thing. Yevana hadn’t really paid attention to him at the time and suddenly felt a pang of sadness as she realized she missed hearing his voice.

The young troll concentrated on the landscape around her and fought to control her feelings. Now wasn’t the time for tears. She didn’t want Mattaka thinking her as weak. Instead, she stared at the small islands and wondered how this place must have looked before Deathwing messed it all up. It was difficult to imagine that not until recently, one could walk down there.

As far as Yevana was concerned, they might as well change the name of Thousand Needles to something more like Thousand Islands. Or, maybe not, she decided. That sounded like a terrible seasoning some tauren would put on veggies.

She turned and nodded to Mattaka, who seemed to be keeping pace with the wyvern in his flying form. Only a few hours earlier they had taken a break on one of the small rocky islands, but they didn’t want to risk staying too long in case they were being pursued by anyone from Camp Mojache. Stealing a wyvern was a serious offense.

Yevana hated having to deceive the taurens. They had nursed her back to health and given her refuge and she had paid them back by stealing a wyvern. She also felt responsible for any trouble Mattaka might encounter for assisting her. Her father would have never approved of this.

“But I do dis this for him,” she mumbled to herself. It was a weak rebuttal. That draenei at the settlement, the tauren elder at Mojache and even Mattaka were right. What more could she do then she’d already done?

With a sigh, she stared down at the sea water. They had passed the islands and were now flying over a large sea. She could barely make out the distant mountains. The sun twinkled brightly on the water surface and slowly lulled her to sleep on the wyvern’s back. When she opened her eyes, the sun had dipped lower in the sky and they were over mountainous land. The Tanaris desert lay spread out before them.

Yevana was familiar with Gadgetzan. Her father made several trips to the goblin desert town and had brought her along from time to time when she was younger. However, as they prepared to land, she noted how crowded it seemed with some dismay. She was also surprised to see that the flight master had been moved inside the city walls.

“I hope you made reservations at the inn,” the goblin flight master announced by way of introduction as he carefully took the reigns of her wyvern.

“Why? What’s going on?” Yevana asked as she brushed the dust off her clothing. She was thirsty and hungry, but right now, she was more curious about the variety of people here. Most were surrounding the large metal cage dome that dominated the center of Gadgetzan.

“Don’t ask me. No one tells Laziphus anything around here,” the goblin grumbled. “From what I’ve heard, though, Katrina Turner, the human who runs the cage matches, got two heavy weights to come fight tonight. I don’t know the fighters name, though. One of them is a night elf with a Mohawk. The other is this human from Elwynn, who’s been rumored to be a crazy fighter.”

“Dat sounds interesting,” the troll commented. She suddenly wanted to see this fight, but at the same time, she really needed the sleep. “But wait, you mean da inn has no beds.”

“Not for the next three days,” Laziphus said.

“Well, where do we rest den?” she complained.

“Not my problem. Now beat it kid. I have two more flyers coming in,” the goblin replied before brushing past her.

The troll ran her hands through her braids in added frustration as she realized she had no money.


Mattaka was surprised the flight hadn’t taken more out of him. He supposed the extra few hours of sleep this morning had helped. Normally, he hated flying in the daylight. In bat form, he couldn’t see well enough as it was, and the direct sunlight just made his view appear as dull colored haze. He could barely see the outline of Yevanna ahead of him. Luckily, he didn’t necessarily need to see to fly. He followed behind Yevanna’s wyvern, sending out high pitched chirps and allowing them to bounce back to his ears to determine the position of things around him.

He hated having to lie to the taurens. After all, their people made up most of the friends he had. He supposed they had already sent off an angry complaint to Nighthaven about his behavior. He still wasn’t sure how he was going to explain that.

He was beginning to have his doubts in regards to Yevanna as well. He probably hadn’t made the right choice, escorting her back to danger. She really wasn’t that much younger than him…but it still felt wrong. Just because he’d do the same thing in her place, didn’t mean it was a good idea. He thought maybe she was doing it for herself, as much as her family, even if she didn’t realize it yet.

Even though bats weren’t really designed for soaring, he found that the updrafts were large enough over the Thousand Needles that he could spread his wings and let the air do most of the work. For a little while, he forgot that he didn’t enjoy flying that much. Gradually, he felt the shifts in the air quality from humidity to more of a dry heat as they reached the borders of Tanaris. By this time, he’d left Yevanna get about a half mile ahead of him, so he beat his wings in an effort to catch up as she descended into Gadgetzan.

He circled around Yevanna as she talked to a goblin on the ground, before landing himself. About four feet off the ground, he shifted back into his troll form to land lightly on his feet, catching the tail end of their conversation.

Mattaka saw the frustrated, upset look on her face, so he wrapped his forearm around the back of her shoulders, leading her away from the mouthy goblin. “Don’t worry, we’ll figure somethin’ out.” He grinned down at her. “This place just be a wretched hive of scum anyway.”

"But dey have da best hyena burgers," Yevana quipped, but her voice failed the pass on the humor. "I wish we could keep flying der."

She didn't press the idea though. Flying over Un'goro at night on a tired wyvern was the very definition of stupid. It's almost as bad as flying on an injured wyvern over unfamiliar territory.

"Look at all dees peoples here for dis fight. Have dey nothing better to do?" she grumbled.

Mattaka chuckled. "Somethin' better to do in Tanaris? Hardly." Even though he was smiling and laughing, Mattaka was still concerned. He figured they could get away with sleeping in some alleyway with the city being this crowded, but it was still an unsafe plan. He glanced down at Yevanna again, sensing her irritation. If they did have to camp out in some ally somewhere, he'd take it upon himself to stay up and guard them both. No sense getting robbed blind of what little they had at knifepoint.

Yevana stared around wide-eyed at the variety of people they passed. She wasn't a stranger to different races. The Earthen Ring settlement had an assortment. But this place had many more folks, including humans and elves.

She never felt particularly comfortable around those kinds. At least not like she did around the dwarves and draenei.

"Dis fight is suppose to happen tonight," she added. "Da always knew his way around town."

"You come here a lot with him?" he asked, scanning the crowds. He was hoping he'd see a familiar face, but not really expecting to.

"Aye. Da used to make a medicine dat was for wyverns. Sometimes he bring me along," Yevana replied with a small smile. "He always be taking me places. Mostly Ratchet and Crossroads. Once we went to Booty Bay, clear across the ocean." She spread her arms wide as she remembered the long voyage.

"He was a respected wyvern healer and a good shaman, Mattaka. I be only a shadow of him." She sighed and turned away from him, as if studying something strange.

"I know it's hard, and your grief is still fresh," Mattaka said quietly. "But you can't continue comparin' yourself to him. You're still young! He had a lifetime to become a great troll, Yevanna. Spirits willin', you will too. Try not to go bein' too hard on yourself." Mattaka gently lay a hand on her shoulder. "And I think he'd already be pretty proud of what you've done in the past few days.

"Well, with the exception of stealin' a wyvern, but when you meet him in the afterlife, you can blame that on me." He smiled gently at her.

"Oh, he will know it be my idea. I was always begging him to have me come along on his trips," she chuckled. She watched as the crowds cheered and jeered at the combatants inside the dome cage. Her frown only increased. "Look at dem. Da shamans in Silithus be needing help and dey out here watching dees fools fight for entertainment. Dey could be fightin for purpose."

Just then, Mattaka saw a dark, hulking form he may have recognized. Reaching into his satchel, he pulled out a few coppers from his meager allowance. “Here, go find somethin’ to eat. I’ll find you in a few minutes.” He put the coppers into her hand. Pushing through the crowd towards the tauren, he slowed as he got closer, to make sure this tauren was the one he knew. The tauren was covered completely in black fur, with a black mane and horns. It was possible to mistake him for a Grimtotem when in actuality, he dedicated his existence to fighting them. “Forga?” the troll called tentatively.

The tauren’s ears swiveled in his direction, before his head followed suit. Mattaka waved, and the tauren broke out into a grin, pushing through the few people between them to greet his friend. “Mattaka! It is good to see you.” He said as they clasped forearms in greeting. “What are you doing here? I thought you were still studying in Nighthaven.”

Mattaka smiled. “I could be askin’ the same of you. I haven’t seen you in two years!”

The tauren shrugged. “I was called on to help my people back home against the Grimtotem take over. But it is over now, and I am helping uprooted tauren settlements. Which actually brought me here. As cliché as it sounds, I have volunteered to fight to raise money for displaced tauren victims. I simply cannot find the time at the moment to return to Moonglade.”

Mattaka’s smile fell somewhat at hearing the tauren already had somewhat of a full plate. “I see,” he said.

Forga picked up on his old friend’s change in demeanor almost immediately. “What is it?”

Mattaka glanced back over his shoulder, looking for Yevanna. “Well…” he lowered his voice, and the tauren leaned down a little to hear him better. “There’s been a serious attack on an Earthen Ring settlement…this girl I’m with lost her father. I thought maybe you could help us defend the camp.”

The tauren nodded, understanding the sensitive nature of such a thing without going into more details in public. “I am sorry, friend. I wish that I could, but I have already promised my services to someone else.” Mattaka nodded slowly in understanding, but the disappointment was apparent on his features. “When are you leaving?” Forga asked.

“Tomorrow we are flying to Silithus, but we’re not sure where we will be stayin’ tonight. Town’s pretty full.”

Forga smiled. “I am renting a room in an old goblin’s house, you would be welcome to share the floor space. It’s not comfortable, but it’s safe, I can assure you. Unless you count her cooking I wouldn’t eat that.” The tauren shuddered. “It’s the least I can do though.”

Mattaka grinned with relief. “That would be…most welcome.” Forga clapped the troll on the back, almost toppling him.
“Good! And tonight you and your friend may watch me participate in my match!”

“I don’t have to wear a flag or anythin’ sayin’ I know you, right?”

Forga snorted, his breath ruffling Mattaka’s hair. “Keep talking like that, and you will.”

Mattaka waved goodbye to his friend, walking out of the crowd surrounding the cage. He felt things were looking up slightly. He looked around for Yevanna again, but didn’t see her. He trusted she was fine, he probably would have heard a lot of yelling, otherwise. He made his way to the inn, knowing it would be packed. He pushed through to the bar, and asked the bartender for paper and ink, dropping a few more coppers in front of him. The bartender scowled. “You gonna get any booze?” the goblin asked.

“Later,” Mattaka assured him. The bartender grumbled and went to serve better tipping customers. Mattaka took the ink, paper and quill over to one of the few empty tables. Luckily, most people were outside enjoying the matches and hadn’t retreated to the blessings of shade yet. In very messy Orcish, Mattaka began writing a letter to the elders in Moonglade, describing the situation of the camp, and saying he was going to help them. When the threat had passed, he would return to his original assignment at the Cenarion Hold.

He folded that paper up and moved on to the next blank one, addressing it to his friend Burna Whitemane in Nighthaven.

Dear Friend,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am going to Silithus to help the Earthen Ring. I figured I could do more help there than studying dirt piles or bug droppings at Cenarion Hold. I miss your guidance and your cool head. I’m sorry to say my companion and I have “borrowed” a wyvern from a poor, unsuspecting flight master at Camp Taurajo. Don’t scoff, I already feel bad about that. I’m sure you would have handled it much more diplomatically than I did. I’m sure you are progressing well in your studies. Hopefully I won’t get into too much trouble on this venture. Afterwards, I’ll be going back to Cenarion Hold with some stuffy Elves who haven’t been outside of Silithus in decades, I’d imagine. Come visit me if you have the time. Take care of yourself.
Your Friend, Mattaka

Finishing the letter, he sealed that one as well. He moved back over to the bar where he left the quill and ink for the bartender to find and quickly left before the goblin could hound him to buy something else. He dropped the letters in the mailbox beside the inn, and resumed his search for Yevanna.


Mattaka reached into his satchel and pulled out a few tiny copper coins. He dropped them into her hand. “Here, go find somethin’ to eat. I’ll find you in a few minutes.”

Before she could protest, he had disappeared amidst the crowd.

"Yeah… you musta never been in a goblin town," the teenager muttered. These measly coins would probably buy her permission to dumpster dive behind some cantina. But at the same time, she couldn’t bring it upon herself to fault the druid. This was probably most of his money, if not all.

If that is the case, even if she were purchase a tiny scrap of moldy bread and some water, it wouldn't be enough for him. And unlike her, he'll probably shift into his flying form to continue their journey back to the settlement. He needed food, more then she did.

"Den I get more money," she resolved.

Night was falling as she wandered around the goblin town; keeping an eye for any unusual activity. It wasn’t long before the torches randomly placed outside of shops and around the thoroughfares were the only source of light. Though they were uneven and dim, it was because of the lighting that she was able to find the grouping she had been hunting for.

However, this group consisted of dwarves. Taller then the ones she'd normally seen. Their faces, or what she could see of their faces beyond their beards, were painted with blue patterns that only added to their savage countenance. She actually found herself attracted to the designs on them. They must have taken a long time to paint.

But these weren't the Ironforge kinds of dwarves. Aerie perhaps? She'd only met one of their kind in passing once. None of them were in the settlement.

They were standing around in a small circle and hollering excitedly at something going on in the open space in the middle. She cautiously approached. Being a troll did have its advantages, as she was able to see clearly over their shoulders.

Dice. They were playing dice. This was a game she knew. If she could-

"Eyyy. Troll. Git out of here!" one of the dwarves suddenly hollered, having noticed her. The others turned and glared at her reproachfully.

"I just be watchin," Yevana quickly replied, raising her hands. She was barely able to keep the grin from her face as she added, "I thought maybe of joining in, but I see now dat dis lot be scared of a troll beaten joo at dis game."

Yevana had hoped that the dwarves would hear the challenge and ask her to join in. Instead, they all turned and slowly began approaching her. Some drew axes. One pulled a rifle and aimed it squarely at her head.

"Ahhhh… Maybe not den. I guess I be goin."

"You think your better then us, lass?" The dwarf woman growled. Her fingers tightened around the trigger of the rifle.

"Well, I dunno. I was hoping to find out. Den maybe I can tell my friends dat I bested a bunch of dwarves at dice… but now I suddenly dink I just go now."

The dwarves turned and began murmuring amongst each other. Then they looked back at her. "What are ya going to put down, trolly?"

The troll gulped and then showed off the copper coins in her hand. The dwarves roared in laughter.

"No lass. That won't do. We throw dice for much more," the leader, the one with along back beard and an axe that reminded her a little of Azgard's, laughed.

The rifle-wielding female leaded closer and whispered something in his ear. After a pause , he nodded.

"Ok lass. We'll let you in our game, but we need something more then those flecks of copper," he said. The other dwarves slowly relaxed and axes were returned to their scabbard.

"Dory Hammerfire here has taken a liking to your totems. You put those down and we deal," the leader offered. Yevana's eyes widened and she glanced down at the totems hanging from her belt. They were elegant crafted with bits of bleached driftwood collected along the beaches of Echo Isle. Frayed twine held them together into shapes smaller then her palm, but easily identified as the different elements.

She held the water totem briefly and then looked back at the leader and the rifle wielding red hair female.

"Dis is my da's. I cannot trade it," she whispered. "Why joo want it?

"I gotta like collecting primitive things." Yevana could hear the subtle insult in the dwarf woman's voice.

"I-I don't think-"

"If your afraid you can't keep it, then you're not good enough to play against us, lass. Go away," the leader interrupted. He waved his hand dismissively and started to turn.

Yevana muttered to herself momentarily as she tried to decide what to do. They needed the money and she knew this game, but what if she lost. The thought of bartering away her father's totem...

Mattaka needed food. She needed to help him.

"I will challenge you!" she shouted, removing the totems from her belt and waving them in hand.

"Alright! Give her some room, boys," the leader roared.

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Post  Izdazi on Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:35 pm


* Fifteen minutes later *

This had gone much easier than Yevana ever expected. She had already accrued ten gold coins and an assortment of lesser ones, some blue facial paint, her father's totem, a stormhammer, two kegs of some kind of ale and the baleful stares of a half dozen angry sober dwarves.

On the table were a gryphon whistle, a rifle, a rabbit's foot (whatever that was) and more money. Except for her, there had been no laughter among them for some time.

She made a show of holding her father's totems like a good luck and quietly whispered. In the periphery of her vision, she kept an eye on the chimney of the nearby goblin machine shop. The metallic clatter of the machinery within was steadily rising to a thunderous crescendo and, as she had done for the past few turns, she was waiting until just the right moment before tossing the dice. The painted cubes fell on the table and she gritted her teeth tightly.

The machine suddenly screeched and the ground shook as an enormous fireball belched from the smoke stack. Masked by the barely controlled explosive output in the shop, the earth shook as she tried for the dice to end their tumble in just the right way.

A round of groans circulated around the circle as they landed on double threes and she looked up at the anxious eyes of the dwarves who still had items as collateral. The gryphon looked tempting, but she knew little of caring for those creatures and legend had it that even had she been given the whistle, the gryphon would only respond to his master.

That, and she just couldn't press herself to take something that the dwarf held so dear. Still, she enjoyed the wide eyed fear in the owner's eyes and she was going to enjoy preying on that.

The rifle also looked appealing, but she knew nothing of how to use one. Money, though, can always be helpful. With it, they might even be able to hire mercenaries for the settlement.

She reached out and with a wide grin, scooped up more money with both hands and dragged it to her side of the circle.

"And I thought joo dwarves would be better den dis. Beware da voodoo, shorties!" she taunted. The winnings were getting to her head. The young troll knew it wasn't wise to press her luck with them, but she was too drunk with ale, hubris and all the shinnies to simply give a damn.

"One more and den I gots to go," she announced while gulping down a stein (another of her victory earning) full of frothy fresh ale (from her own stash of recently procured ale). "Dis stuff is good," the teenager added before issuing a loud burp.

Had the dwarves not been upset, they would probably have hooted in approval at such an ale-induced outburst. As it was, it just added to their anger and their resolve to win back their winnings.

They rolled. The first two had poor rolls. The other managed to reclaim some gold, but nothing more.

By the time her turn came, the machine shop was on its way to another fire-belching, earth shaking explosion. She held the totems tightly and pretended to pray something to the Loa. As she had in the past, Yevana timed her toss to coincide with the machine. The dice fell and bounced and she called out to the spirits under her breath. But even as the ground began shaking, she became aware that the machine shop had suddenly fallen eerily silent.

They must have shut off the machine!

The dice rattled on the dirt for what appeared to be no apparent reason and then landed on double fours. Six pairs of very angry beady dwarven eyes bored down upon her.

"Well… dis be awkward," she whispered, looking around. There were only a few people milling around and none of them looked as if they were going to lift a finger to help a troll involved with the wrong crowd. Much less a troll just caught red-handed, cheating.

"I-I can explain…" she began but the others had started drawing weapons and were approaching her.

"You filthy, flea-totting, trogg of a troll," the female hissed, as she snatched back her rifle from stash. She reached out and tried to take the totems from the troll's hand. Without thinking Yevana lashed out and punch the dwarf woman's face. She reached out and grabbed a handful of coins before bolting.

"After her!" the leader shouted. A bolt of lightning flew just inches over her head. She fell to the ground at the sound of rifle going off. The chunk of the clay wall of one of the dwelling exploded next to her and peppered her face with debris. The teenager jumped to her feet and resumed running.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, Yevana chided as she turned down another alleyway. She was between the outer walls of Gadgetzan and the buildings. Another flash of lightning from a Stormhammer flew over her head. The crack of a rifle echoed along the alleyway and she felt something hot skim past her neck.

Crying out, she covered her neck and redoubled her sprint. The troll rounded a corner into another alleyway and raced back toward the center.

Surely they wouldn't try to kill her among the large crowds at the cage match?

Her bare feet slid in the sand as she barely stopped herself from careening into a tall clay wall blocking her path. The alleyway was a dead end!

The troll spun around and heard the rapid footfalls of the pursuing dwarves. She was cornered. Her drunken panicked mind could barely process the scene and she spent several precious seconds pacing around until she took note of the crates. With a grunt, she pushed several them close together and began using them to reach the top of the wall.

The troll reached the top of the wall just as the dwarves arrived. She kicked the crates, causing them to topple over.

"Better luck next time, stubby legs," she chortled. She was about to jump down the other side when she heard the low sound of beating wings. There was a shadow against the large white moon and it was flying directly towards her. It's fisted talons struck her abdomen and it slammed bodily against her and flung her from the top of the wall. She landed hard on her back. Light flashed in her eyes and the starry sky spun chaotically.

Yevana closed her eyes and rolled onto to her arms. She tried to lift her body off the dirt and that was when the running, adrenalin and ale acted against her. She vomited.

The flavor of half-digested fermented hops, mostly-digested breakfasted and raw bile, along with the desperate gasping to reclaim the air forced form her lungs all acted against any renewed effort to escape. Not that there was much opportunity for that with wall no longer accessible and the dwarves cornering her.

She coughed and tried to stand only to feel a hard kick to her side.

"You cheating troll bitch! You're even wasting good ale!" the leader hissed as he kicked her again in the side. She felt the money being yanked from one hand and her father's totems being snatched from the another. Someone even yanked out her headband, painfully pulling out some of her violet hair in the process.

More hands groped along her body, searching for anything valuable to take, but they came empty handed.

"I say we let the dice decide whether we kill her or leave her here," Yevana heard the female dwarf offer. There were sounds of agreement among the others.


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