Chains of Command (Closed RP)

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Post  Mammona on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:17 am

When no answer from the she-elf was forthcoming, Swift sighed inwardly. Oh well. Plenty more game in the forest. He excused himself, and set off on a small scouting trip of the camp. There wasn’t much to look at, but he could see several vantage points that needed to be examined more carefully. There were many areas that an observer could see almost anyone in the camp. This is a poor choice for a location, Swift thought. Too many easy ways to come at us. The worgen tracker made a mental note to perform a sweep of the outlying landscape. He was sure that Azgard had already done so, but it would go a long way in putting the worgen’s mind at ease.

Having finished his scouting trip, Swift saw Niashado and Azgard deep in conversation, with several other milling around looking bored. Swift had seen that look before. He glanced around the camp, his eyes flitting from face to face. They are nervous, he thought. Taut as bowstrings. He shook his head. They have no reason not to be.

Suddenly, a voice broke into Swift’s thoughts. “Seems pretty straight forward… Anyone else bored? Or hungry for that matter?”

It was the goblin who had spoken. The curious creature was perched upon a large crate, seemingly trying to balance a piece of ammunition on one finger. Contrary to the rest of the camp, who took their nerves with a silent, sullen disposition, this goblin seemed to be literally vibrating with supressed boredom. Glancing around at the obvious arsenal at his disposal, Swift was forced to shake his head once again. Goblins and boredom make for an interesting time, he thought wryly. He had seen enough of goblin engineering to make him cautious of the distance he kept from the peculiar creature, and had heard enough about it to make him nervous for the rest of the encampment.

Suddenly, Niashado’s voice split the air. Swift heard his name called and pivoted. He saw that Niashado and Azgard had finished their private moment. He did not give thought to the subject. However, as he approached, he saw that both orc and draenei’s body language and facial expressions were different than before. His tracker’s eyes did not miss much. Something has changed, he thought. However, he kept his silence. He was a good soldier. If his superiors thought he needed to know, then they would tell him.

Swift bowed in Gilnean fashion as he approached the pair. “Milady,” he acknowledged Niashado, before turning to Azgard.

“Sir, forgive me if this sounds forward, but this encampment’s position is poor in terms of defence. I do not wish to pry, but may I ask if anyone else other than yourself has military experience?”

Swift’s gaze returned to Niashado. “If you will permit me, milady, I would like to scout the surrounding area. There are many places nearby that could easily conceal an enemy.”

Swift stepped back and lowered his eyes. “Of course, I am here to serve. My instructions are to follow yours.”

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Post  Izdazi on Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:00 pm

Niashado smiled and offered Swift a brief nod at his polite introduction. However, she stiffened when he mentioned to Azgard the poor state of their defenses. Though he was being polite and there was nothing challenging in the tone of his voice, this was a sensitive subject to bring up to the orc.

The shamaness imagined she could feel the heat radiating off the veteran orc and quickly rest a hand on the orc's muscular shoulder in the hopes of tempering his reaction.

"Azgard, please see to it that Yevana leads our injured to Cenarion Hold. After that, I will call a meeting. We need to let the others know exactly what we are facing before they decide whether they wish to volunteer," Niashado explained. She silently prayed the Azgard's temper would fade.

To her relief, it did. He fired off a scalding glare toward Michael before storming off. Once he was out of earshot finally released a breath that she'd been holding.

"Our state of defenselessness is a point of shame for Azgard," she said, turning to the worgen tracker. "Our settlement was intended as one of research only. As one of the few places on Azeroth to not be heavily affected by Deathwing's reemergence, we were tasked by the Earthen Ring to study what, if any, might have protected Silithus from agony unleashed upon Azeroth.

"Although, we were not tasked for possible of military operation, this is a dangerous land. Under Azgard's leadership, several of our shamans with military training were assigned to defend our camp. We never expected any kind of attack like the one that was unleashed upon us in the beginning. And shortly afterward, the prior leader of our settlement left with all of our warrior shamans to investigate and retaliate. They never returned and now we have learned that our leader was in fact working with the cultists."

Despite her effort to control her emotions, Niashado's voice darkened as she brought up Stonehoof's duplicity.

"He ordered Azgard to remain behind and left with all of our warriors only to never return. We all respected Farseer Stonehoof. He was a close friend with Azgard. We never expected he would betray us, the Earthen Ring and his Calling. More then half of my fellow shamans have been killed."

Niashado let out a mirthless laugh and then a long sigh. "And my grand appointment to the leadership of this settlement is not a result of my 'potential,' as Acantha Mistbringer mentions in her letter. Rather, it is the last insult of our duplicitous farseer. During a time of crisis, you do not put the weakest link in the chain at the very top."

Huffing in protest, she shakes her head as if to jar away the doubts and indecision floating in her mind. When she looks back up Swift, most of the frustration had faded from her countenance.

"As I have told you, Mr. Swift, I do not care what Acantha is holding over you, I consider you a volunteer, as I do all who are here. I value the skills and experience you may provide for our cause, but your participation is at your discretion. You may refuse anything I ask of you."

Then, she smiled and gestured glanced past the camp and to the wasteland beyond.

"Somewhere out there are the murderers who have repeatedly threatened and attacked us. We have one of their members imprisoned in the tent over there," she said, gesturing the lone dropping tent in the far end of the camp. A trio of shamans stood guard around it.

"We need to know where their coven is located. I plan to release him under the pretense that we are leaving for Cenarion Hold and lack the resources to transport him back under guard. Do you think you can tack him, unseen, to their camp and report back the location and enemy count?"


To say Azgard was fuming was akin to saying lava was hot. He was infuriated to be told something so utterly obvious by a mercenary, of all things.

His anger wasn't completely fixated on Micahel Swift, however. In truth, it was just the nagging thought that had failed. He had one job and that was to defend the camp. And he had done as best as he could. It never occurred to him that his own best friend would betray them like he had.

He should have seen the warning signs. One of the major tenants of defending one's camp to always consider every possible angle of attack. But the thought that their attacker might be one of their own never crossed his mind.

He had failed so utterly.

Azgard stormed into the other tent where the injured were being tended to by Aerilyia, Dango and Yevana. The two trolls and the blind draenei were quietly carrying on with their tasks and only Yevana noticed when he entered and quickly jumped to her feet.

"Don't send me away! I want to fight!" she began, but then noticed his foul mood and quickly backed a couple of steps.

"No," he growled and the troll girl shrunk back even further. He turned his attention to Aerilyia and Dango. "I need the injured ready to fly out in ten minutes. Yevana will escort them to Cenarion Hold."

He turned his attention to the young troll and softened his voice.

"This is a mighty responsibility, Yevana. These are our injured shamans. They are not cowards, nor are they weak. Like all of us, they stayed despite the dangers to do their tasks as an honor those who had died and to the Callings we all serve. They deserve to be guided to safety. Do you understand?"

He saw the indecision in her eyes as she fidget with her braids. Her amber eyes lowered and her shoulders sagged a little. Then, as if realizing what he'd said, she stood up straighter and looked directly at him.

"I will do dis, for them," she said in a steely voice.

"You are a credit to your father," Azgard replied, gripping her shoulder tightly.


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Post  Izdazi on Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:35 pm

Earth Ring Settlement

Azgard watched without comment as the two wyverns took to the air. Ancestors willing, within a few hours their three most injured, along with Yevana, will be safely within the walls of Cenarion Hold. He imagined he could see the young troll looking down at them as she flew away. He knew she'd rather be alongside them, then 'running away.'

"It is better this way," he heard Niashado say as she approached. Her glowing pale eyes followed the wyverns as they banked toward the western horizon.

"She is young. She doesn't need to see the horror we're about to encounter," the old orc commented tiredly. "It is the nature of the young to believe they can face anything. It is the nature of the old, to worry for their survival because they don't know better."

"You forget, Azgard. Yevana has already seen more then enough death for one of youth. And had it not been for Mattaka, she would have died without us ever knowing."

Azgard said nothing for a few moments. He only stared at the western horizon. The wyrverns had long since disappeared when he finally gave Niashado a sideways look.

"She will be the second child I have made my personal duty to care for. I pray I have been more successful at keeping this one safer then the last."

"What happened to the last one?" the draenei asked softly.

"I knew her father. We served in the same unit. He was gravely wounded after a skirmish and before he died I promised I'd look after his mate and his child. I wanted them to be safe. But I failed at that. When I was out on a patrol his mate was kidnapped for ransom and his daughter had to walk the path of shadows to rescue her. She stands among us now, ready to fight and walking a life I never wanted her to. Lurena.

"I should have been there to protect them. Instead, Lurena had to cast off her childhood to do what I could not."

"You had responsibilities, Azgard," Niashado said. "You cannot be in two places at once. I am sure he understands."

But the elder orc shook his head and clenched his fists tightly. He exhaled sharply through is nose and then his shoulder sagged and he sighed.

"Because of my failure to watch my friend's family, a young child was denied her childhood. And now, because of my failure to protect this camp, Yevana's childhood has been lost. This life..."

"Things can change. Is that not why we are here? Is that not one of the reasons we follow the path of the Elements? To give others in the future the past we once had."

At that, Azgard turned and regarded her coldly.

"How old do you think I am?"

He saw that Niashado was taken aback by the unexpected question. But she appeared to give it some thought. Orcs aged differently from draenei and the other races. In some ways, they were closer to lifespan of humans.

"I assume you are near sixty. An elder by the standards of your race," she replied.

"A good guess. You are probably right. I feel sixty. Maybe older. My joints hurt. My eyesight and hearing are not as they once were. I am well past my prime," he lamented.

She was about to speak and probably tell him something along the lines of how he was still an invaluable shaman and a teacher. But he wasn't done and held up her hand to stop her from interrupting.

"By my best reckoning, I am probably around forty years old."

Her eyes widened.

"I was one of the unlucky children born during the dark times on Draenor. The orc war machine had no use for children. They needed warriors in the war effort against your kind. So they dispatched their warlocks to villages all over Draenor. Children were aged using their shadow magics.

"My childhood was wrenched from me in agony," he looked back at her. "I was standing in your people's blood in Shattrath City, a six year old in the body of a twenty year old. I was determined not to allow that to happen to my child. But fate is cruel. My own mate and child killed to quilboar. And even my adopted families have suffered tragic fates. Maybe I am responsible for bringing this misery upon the settlement I was tasked to protect? Is this punishment?"

Niashado rested a hand on his arm and gently turned him so he faced her.

"Draenor and Shattrath were a different time, Azgard. Things were different. You were different," she said.

"That doesn't change what I did. That doesn't give back what was taken from me. That won't give back what was taken from those I care about."

"No. It does not. It cannot. Many years ago, your leaders did something terrible to you. And they made you commit terrible atrocities. You were made to kill without remorse. You probably committed many other unspeakable acts like others. Deep down, a quiet voice in your mind said this was wrong. But between the poison in your blood and the encouragement of others around you, you did," the shamaness said, speaking sternly, although not with resentment. "You will never be able to forgive yourself for your part in what happened, Azgard. That is the only punishment that has been dealt to you.

"Your family being killed and the trials that those you care about have faced have nothing to do with you. Things just happen. What happened here is the same. This has nothing to do with what happened to you on Draenor. Fate is blamed for far more then it deserves."

"And so, you think my punishment is that I can never be forgiven for Shattrath?"

"Not at all, Azgard. Others may seek to forgive you. But that is for them, not for you. You, will never forgive yourself. You can not undo the violence you have committed," she answered.

"What a strange way of counseling someone," Azgard said, raising an eyebrow. The shamaness, however, smiled slightly.

"Azgard. I believe you are truly redeemed because you cannot forgive yourself. I believe you are changed because you fear that those you care about are so willing to discard the childhood you never had. Nothing can change what you have done. But you are still here to change what is to be."

With a sigh, the orc nodded and looked back at the horizon. "So what now?"

"Some of the others have retrieved our food stores that were buried in the storm. Several containers of water were also located. We will have a hearty dinner. Then, you will regal us with story about Seya. They will chose whether to walk to Cenarion Hold or fight. Afterward, we will release Mercer and Blackmane will track him. Meanwhile, those who decide to stay will follow them to Twilight Coven, where we will find out Seya is up to and try our best to put a stop to whatever it is she is planning."

"You make it sound so simple," Azgard stated.

"I am terrified," he heard her say, and for the first time since he'd returned, he heard her voice falter. "People are going to die and it will be by my choices and orders. It does not matter that we are fighting against evil people. It should not matter, but it does to me."

"Being a leader is not as much about making the right choices, as it is making the tough choices."

"Do you think I am making the right choice?" she asked.

"From where I stand, in the thick of it, with danger surrounding us and the weight of so much weighing down on us, I will have to say, 'yes.' But my advice, as one who once led, to one who is leading, is not to weight yourself with that question. Make a choice, and then make it work with what you know and what happens.

"For better or worse, the historians will cast their own judgment."

By about that point, the smell of cooking food began making his stomach rumble. He glanced at her and could see that she was thinking the same thing he was. Without a word, they both retreated to the campfire, where the others, shamans and mercenaries alike, were enjoying a meal.


Somewhere South East of the Twilight Camp
Several hours later

The wyvern didn't want to do as she was ordering it. She could feel its reluctance as she spurred it toward the ground. It was as if the creature could sense that something was very wrong with the place they were heading for.

Much later, Yevana will reflect on this and realize that the wyvern had been the wiser.

They had flown over the spot on their way to Cenarion Hold. From high up in the air, the ground appeared discolored. But she couldn't make out what had happened.

The troll girl tried to suppress her curiosity and push on. It's not as if she could land and investigate. Her mount was carrying her and one of the gravely injured shamans. The other was carrying two others who had been tied securely to the saddle. She'd been told to keep this shaman, a dwarf female, awake or she'd fall into a dangerous coma.

So, Yevana did her best. She told stories. When the dwarf seemed on the verge of passing out, Yevana resorted to insulting her. She even went as far as to claim she could beat this dwarf at dice. This earned a smoldering, but pained glare from her. But, at least she was awake.

It amused Yevana that not two days ago she was being chased by a group of angry dwarves. Now she was trying to keep another dwarf alive. Of course, in all fairness, the dwarves had been angry because she'd cheated them.

But, now, she'd dropped off the shamans in the tender care of the druids in Cenarion Hold. She had allowed her wyvern to gulp down some water from the trough before hastily taking off to investigate this strangely discolored spot. The druids had called out after her, but she ignore them.

It was the smell that caught her off guard. She had never smelled anything as terrible as this. The ground was mixture of different shades of red that she very quickly realized was blood.

Nearby, there was a cart, although whatever had once pushed it was a mystery to her. With much coaxing, she managed to get her wyvern to land on the ground and quickly dismounted. She held on to the wyvern's harness, out of fear that it would fly off and abandon her to this very evil place.

Yevana cringed at the feeling of the moist sand on her bare feet. Here and there she saw bits of flesh-covered bones, but these pieces weren't big enough to identify what race they belong to.

The cart appeared to be in various stages of decay, which made no sense. How could the ground still be moist with blood, and yet the cart appeared to have been abandoned in the wastelands for years?

Her wyvern snorted and shook his head and the troll girl shook the harness harshly. "Down girl. We be go'in soon. Just want to find out what did dis and den tell Azgard."

Over the next few minutes she poked and prodded at the various scraps of flesh and bone with her spear. On two occasions she retched at the terrifying, gut wrenching sight of the massacre. She had never heard of anything that could leave this kind of carnage. Amidst the field she did manage to find a number of clues.

There was a kal'dorei fashioned dagger that appeared on the verge of being completely covered in rust. She didn't think that elvish steel could rust. There were also some other items that appeared distinctly tauren in nature.

Another surge of burning bile in the back of her throat had her rushing to guzzle down the entire contents of the second water skin.

"What do joo dink happen here?" she asked the wyvern between breathes. She didn't expect an answer, but it at least felt good to talk to something amidst this field of death.


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Post  Mammona on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:09 am

Swift listened patiently as Niashado explained the situation to him. As she listed what had happened, The worgen’s gaze became narrower and narrower. The events she described told him that they were up against an enemy that was not only organised, but was capable of infiltrating an organisation as supposedly natural as the Earthen Ring. That a farseer could be capable of such duplicity spoke volumes to Swift. He was not a gifted student of natural magic, but he did know enough from his travels that the elements did not answer a call to just anyone. For the farseer to maintain control in his chosen medium, while at the same time be working for a darker agency, Swift knew that powerful being had to come into play. The thought of this worried him greatly.

"And my grand appointment to the leadership of this settlement is not a result of my 'potential,' as Acantha Mistbringer mentions in her letter. Rather, it is the last insult of our duplicitous farseer. During a time of crisis, you do not put the weakest link in the chain at the very top." Niashado practically spat these words.

Swift raised an eyebrow. Niashado has essentially revealed to him that she did not view herself as being fit to lead. However, when Swift looked at the shamaness, he saw past the nervousness in her features. He saw there something that made him think otherwise. He saw why his current employer had charged him with Niashado’s safety. Swift had long wondered why Acantha Mistbringer was interested in a draenei shamaness half a world away. Now, standing in front of her and looking her in the eye, he knew why.

"As I have told you, Mr. Swift, I do not care what Acantha is holding over you, I consider you a volunteer, as I do all who are here. I value the skills and experience you may provide for our cause, but your participation is at your discretion. You may refuse anything I ask of you."

Niashado gestured to the surrounding desert.  "Somewhere out there are the murderers who have repeatedly threatened and attacked us. We have one of their members imprisoned in the tent over there.” Swift followed her hand to the guarded tent nearby.

Niashado held his gaze. "We need to know where their coven is located. I plan to release him under the pretense that we are leaving for Cenarion Hold and lack the resources to transport him back under guard. Do you think you can track him, unseen, to their camp and report back the location and enemy count?"

The shamaness excused herself and left Swift struggling with the implications of what she had just said. As he watched Niashado speak with Azgard, he thought about her plan. Based on the smell emanating from the tent, he knew that the prisoner was a worgen like himself. Worgen were a challenge to track because they possessed senses that rivalled almost anything he had ever hunted. He knew their capabilities because they were his own. However, it could be done, particularly because this was an unfamiliar landscape to any worgen. Besides, a skilled tracker knew ways around enhanced senses – masking scents, muffling sounds and so on. Still, Swift did not want to take the risk unless he was sure he could accomplish it. Unsure trackers quickly became dead trackers.

After a long moment deep in thought, Swift strode up to stand dutifully behind Niashado. By then, she and Azgard were eating around a small campfire. He could see that something of import was about to happen. However, he would have his say first. He waited politely until the draenei and orc has finished speaking, and laid a hand on each of their shoulders.

Swift spoke first to Azgard. “Sir, my apologies for my presumption earlier. It was not my place.” He turned to Niashado.

“Milady, I have thought about your proposal in earnest. Before I offer my answer, this simple soldier would like to say something.” The firelight flashed in the tracker’s eyes, and a small smile crept across his features.

“Acantha has tasked me with aiding you in any way I can. This includes your protection.” The worgen inclined his head. “I must confess that Acantha had told me nothing of you before I departed, but she did mention that you were capable. Looking at you now, I am forced to agree with her. You are compassionate, and this is a good thing. This desire to save all will serve you well in this command. You may not think so, but leave the burdens of darker deeds to those who serve you. Let them be your instruments.”

Swift gestured to Azgard, inclining his head in respect. “Let Sir Azgard be your blade,” The worgen’s eyes changed, and his grin widened, showing pointed eyeteeth. “And let me be your shadow. I will slink through the darkness, following closely those you wish.”

Swift straightened, excited by the prospect of a hunt. Dark fur sprouted from his features, and soon a black-maned worgen stood before Niashado and Azgard. His voice droned on. “However, If I may presume to advise you further, I implore you to let me befriend this prisoner of yours. Let me set him free, and he will be none the wiser.”

Swift chuckled, a string of drool oozing from his fangs. “Shadows are often overlooked when they are right in front of your nose.”

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Post  Alarde Orig on Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:36 am

To almost anyone else, seeing flyers overhead would not raise any real alarms. But, considering what had just transpired, it would probably be in Alarde’s favor if he did his best to conceal what had happened. For  someone “normal” that would mean burning what could be burned, and hiding what couldn’t; he was pretty far from normal. An interesting ability that had been learned during the early stages of undeath was what some called “Death and Decay”, causing, or more accurately forcing, just about anything to decay and decompose at an accelerated rate.

It required a large amount of energy to perform, much of which came from the infamous rune blades that all death knights carried, and could be very effective against that which had yet to die. The only real side effect was the horrendous stench of materials decomposing rapidly, something the undead did not care about. The elf had already sent the wounded cultist (his own doing) on ahead to the Twilight camp atop a death charger while he did his best to reduce the evidence of the ambush.

It was only when another flyer came into view that he began to worry that someone had noticed and gotten curious. His work was far from complete, but most of the cart looked as if it had been there for months or years rather than hours. Alarde hastily found cover as he noticed the flyer was getting closer and lower, getting ready to land.

If whoever was landing was from Cenarion Hold, he would need to conduct another ambush to keep anything from being discovered. More to the point, if they were from the Hold and were a well-trained druid, Alarde would be in for a hell of a fight that could potentially draw more attention. He was not far from the area, still within earshot as he listened to the beast, a wyvern from what he saw and heard, landed and its rider dismounted.

It was not long before he heard a young female voice, seemingly talking to her mount as she surveyed the scene. Whoever this was sounded a bit young to be of any real experience, and peering out from behind the boulders Alarde could see the troll clearly. She seemed focused on and disgusted by the scene before her, and oblivious to the death knight’s proximity. Her wyvern seemed to be more aware of exactly how big a mistake it was to land than she, and Alarde was ready to capitalize on that error.

"What do joo dink happen here?" she asked seemingly to her mount as from behind, the undead elf strode leisurely out of hiding. He made a point to make as little noise as possible, though that was difficult with his heavy armor, and with a wave of his hand began to execute yet another nasty plan.

A number of ghouls had collapsed earlier as their energy was drained for the hasty attempt to destroy the remains, and the few that hadn’t completely disintegrated now began to stir and rise to form a wide ring around the troll. The wyvern was the first to notice the impending danger, looking back at the approaching elf several times before the troll finally realized she was surrounded.

Watching the troll try to escape was actually quite amusing as the wyvern seemed to want to lift off without her, but she did get fully onto it and began to ascend. Oh no you don’t… Alarde had raised his hand so that the ascending pair were partially obscured. His massive hand began to glow with a dark purple aura that, through his fingers, seemed to envelop the wyvern.

He remembered using a similar tactic in Northrend to deal with a persistent Night Elf huntress. His armor actually still bore holes from that encounter, though they meant little as none caused any damage what so ever. His prey was now about 50 feet in the air, but that was as far as he would allow them to climb. Alarde’s hand clenched into a fist as he quickly retracted his arm in a pulling motion and within seconds he was rewarded with the sight of the wyvern plummeting down to the ground.

With a loud crash and the sound several bones breaking, both wyvern and rider collided hard with the blood soaked earth. Casually walking around the pair, the elf noted that the wyvern had landed on the bottom and as such had suffered the worst; it wouldn’t be flying anywhere any time soon. As far as he could tell the troll was relatively unharmed, maybe a broken limb at best from the fall, but dazed nonetheless.

Quickly, Alarde grabbed the troll girl by the neck and hoisted her to his eye level while the wyvern cried out in pain and terror as the ghouls closed in. With his free hand the elf whipped a bolt of shadow energy into the creature’s head, silencing it for good as his minions began to feed. For a moment after the elf stared in silence at his captive, who had begun to squirm in an attempt to free herself. Suddenly, Alarde inhaled sharply through his nose, as if he were sniffing the air, in reality he was attempting to divulge if this “guest” held any magical ability.

“Natural magics, but not quite right for a druid… a shaman then.” The last few words seemed to drip from his mouth as he silently recalled his last encounters with a particularly annoying and blind one in Northrend. “So this is all that blue nuisance can muster; a child who blunders into traps so easily? This shall be easier than I thought.”

No sooner had he finished then the troll made a desperate attempt to escape. Somehow producing a small axe meant for throwing, she had swung it hard into the arm that held her. The weakened armor gave way allowing the blade to sink deep into the death knight’s arm. The elf simply stared in silence at his arm, his face neutral as he really didn’t feel anything. The girl meanwhile had begun to panic as her captor shrugged off what would normally cause someone at the very least release whatever grip they had and leave a nasty wound.

“And I see that you are about as sharp as she is. This will be far easier than I thought.” He spoke as he removed the axe from his arm, revealing the putrid tar-like substance that had replaced his blood long ago. Holding the axe just right, Alarde struck his captive on the head, hard, with the flat face of the weapon, rendering her unconscious. Child or not, a shaman from the camp would be a vital intelligence resource, something he felt Seya would see the value of.

((A nice dastardly abduction after an honest day's slaughter Twisted Evil  And I'll get some Zelg in later))
Alarde Orig
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Post  Izdazi on Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:44 pm

Cassira & Xan

He landed their wyrvern on the northern slope of shield mountain in Silithus.  It was a safe enough area, well away from the strange wildlife of in this desert.   And, it was a secluded spot.  

Dismounting, he turned and regarded the blond haired girl for a moment before picking her up off the saddle.  

Alere was light and it took almost no effort the night elf to lift and carry her to the side of a boulder.  He carefully sat her on the ground and started rifling through her pockets and travel bag.    

Petty theft was below Xan, but he hoped to find some extra piece of identity or information about her.   She was asking a lot of questions about Silithus.  If Dalaran was sending operatives to investigate the mana surge in Silithus, then Seya would have to be informed.  

Her travel bag contained an assortment of jewel crafting tools, along with small vials containing reagents, some enchanting dusts, parchments, quills, a vial of ink, a few loose coins and, curiously, a handful of mana cores.   There was also a map with Tanaris, Silithus and the goblin town of Ratchet noted in red ink.

In essence, it was everything a traveling jewelcrafting mage would be carrying.  Xan stuffed everything back inside and tossed the bag several yards away from them.  

It seemed unlikely that Dalaran would send such a young human girl into this dangerous land.  She hardly looked old enough to know how to conjure anything but stale bread.  

No, it was more than likely that this was just a bored, adventure seeking stupid girl.  

It reminded him of an old human proverb: 'Be careful what you ask for.'

He gently slapped her a few times.  It was time to get some answers.  

And maybe more.    


The sharp sting to her cheeks immediately brought Cassira out of unconsciousness. Blinking away the blurriness, the magess shook her head and was greeted with the visage of Xan standing over her. For a moment, she had forgotten what she had done to get in this position. Immediately, she tried to get away from Xan. Even though her hands were tied, she used her legs to scoot back away from him. She brought her tied hands up to her neck, and felt that her necklace was still on. Good. Unless he had taken it off and put it back on. Cautiously, she glared up at him.

“Where have you taken me?” she demanded hoarsely, her forced Stormwind accent weak.

The look of fear and shock and then defiance was priceless to Xan. However, he found it odd how she reached for her necklace.

"Well now, that's an expression I never get tired of seeing," he replied with smirk as he knelt down in front of her.   With one hand, he took her bound hands and forced them down.  His eyes narrowed as he studied the necklace closely.   Then, he leaned closer and took a quick sniff.  His eyes closed as he brushed aside her blond hair with his other hand.  

"We're in Silithus," he answered, opening his eyes and studying her closely.  "You wanted to see this place for yourself.  Now you have."

“Ugh!” she shrieked. Immediately she started kicking out her legs, trying to score a hit on him. “Not like this!” She had to restrain herself from adding anything more. She had to think quickly. The main issue was to get her hands untied so she could use her magic and escape. For some reason, he didn’t perceive her as a threat if he hadn’t completely restrained her. Or maybe he was toying with her. He was always good for that.

Xan smiled as he watched her trying to kick him.  

"Not like what?" he asked as he swatted her kicking legs aside.   "Is this any way to act around your generous host who has brought you to this lovely part of the world?"

“I made a mistake leaving with you,” Cassira snapped, still maintaining her Stormwind accent. “Take me back. I don’t care about what happened out here anymore.”

"Fly back?  After all the time I took flying here?" Xan laughed.  "You know, for a few moments you reminded me of someone I once knew.   You had that fire of defiance in your eyes.  But now, look at you, whimpering and shivering."  

Xan stood up and looked around the vista around them before turning back to the human girl.  "I'll take you back," he lied.  "But what will you do for me?"

This was the game he wanted to play? Fine. “What do you mean?” she asked in an innocent, frightened manner that she had seen all too often with human girls. Inwardly, Cassira blanched.

"You're not that daft," Xan said.  He appraised the girl and then shook his head.  "A pretty little thing like you, surely, you know what I mean."  

He narrowed his eyes and then laughed again.   "And, you wear the façade of a silly innocent girl poorly.   Who are you?"  

“Alere Blackstone of Stormwind,” Cassira replied simply, trying not to panic. “If you untie me, I’ll give you what you want. Just let me go back home. I don’t want to look into this anymore.”

"Oh, shut up already," the night elf snapped. He stormed toward her and pulled her hair back, leaving her neck vulnerable.  "Strange, the first thing you went after when you woke up was your necklace.  It must have sentimental value.  Hardly the reaction of something you would have made yourself.  Who are you?"_    _    He began tugging on the necklace lightly.

Her immediate reaction to Xan reaching for her neck was to pull her head back. As he tugged on her necklace, Cassira jerked back, and the sound of tinkling filled the air as the necklace snapped off. Falling back, Cassira let out an angry huff as she slid on her side on the sand. The illusion of the young, blonde, Stormwind woman faded, leaving the true appearance of the blood elf magess.

Long read hair tumbled over her shoulders and eyes, which glowed a brilliant emerald green. Her robes faded from white and blue to a deep red with gold accents and ornate shoulders. Earrings dangled from her long, elven ears, and gold rings and bracers decorated her hands and wrists.

Propping herself up on her elbows, she turned and glared vehemently at Xan.

Xan stared dumbly at her and for the first time that he could ever recall, he truly had no idea what to say.

“Untie me!” Cassira demanded, drawing in her legs as she got up into a sitting position.

Responses and reactions of all shapes, colors and magnitude swirled around his mind like a cyclone, but Xan still didn't respond to her.  

Cassira.  The only person he had ever truly considered a partnership with.   She'd been his slave.   An item he had no regrets over using and then throwing her back in the cage when he was done.   But she was intelligent and manipulative.   An intelligent blood elf whose spells were as sharp as her tongue.  

He'd written her off.  After Izdazi rescued her brother from him and humiliated him before the Booty Bay Blood Ring, Xan had lost everything; his building, his slaves and most importantly, his reputation.    The only thing at his side when he'd been arrested by the cartel was Cassira.  

He needed money, so he sold her.  At the time, he didn't give it a second thought.  She was his property.  A criminal sold into slavery and purchased by him.   The money he got from selling her was enough to get him out of jail and out of Booty Bay.  

He later found out that she'd been purchased by someone else and had left Booty Bay.   It seemed pointless to seek her out after that.   He had no cages for slaves.  He didn't have thugs and magic inhibiting bracers he could muzzle her spellwork with.  

As far as Xan was concerned, Cassira had served her purpose.  

So why was it, that there were times when did he think about her?   He was a seasoned slaver.  He wasn't prone to regret over selling and buying property.   Of course, there were other slaves he sometimes thought of.   Izdazi, for instance, was fun to torment, if only because she had taken being enslaved so damn seriously.  The troll, Lurena and Izdazi's brother (whatever his name was) were only memorable for the profound headaches they'd caused him.  

But Cassira…  Cassira was different.   She carried herself with intelligence, strength and pride.  But she had no compulsion over using her beauty to manipulate things her way.   Xan was always careful with her, but also intrigued.   In fact, it was thanks to Cassira that he had managed some of his best trades.   Together, they were a good team.  

But she was only another piece of merchandise.    

Why did he have to keep reminding himself of that?  

He looked back at the red haired sin'dorei glaring at him on the ground.   Her eyes were cold and hot at the same time.  Despite her hands still being tied, he felt as if at any moment she could strike.  

"Cassira," he said with a smile that didn't make it to his eyes.  "I didn't expect to see you again."  

“I wasn’t hoping to see you,” she growled in response. Baring her teeth at him, she forced herself to get back on her feet, maintaining a distance away from the night elf slaver. “Glad to see you haven’t changed much.”

The faux smile faded from Xan's visage and he folded his arms across his chest.  

"Oh, are we back to this?   Of course I haven't changed. For over a year, I was the constant in your life.  I was the sun and you were a little pathetic planet revolving around me.  You had your phases, but I was always the same," the night elf explained  contemptuously.  "Oh, you were stubborn.  I will give you that.  But then we got separated.  Circumstanced intervened.  And now look at you.  Hiding behind the face of a pathetic innocent human girl."

Xan suddenly laughed allowed and shook his head.  

"A human, of all things?  Face it, Demonheart:  At least while you belonged to me you had something to drive you.  Now, the little pathetic planet has fled from its sun and it's lost in the darkness of space, purposeless and even more pathetic before."

Raising her eyebrows, Cassira stared at Xan for a few moments before letting out a loud, cruel laugh. Doubling over, Cassira continued laughing until she finally wiped her eyes and fought to regain her composure.

“You? My sun? By the Sunwell, Xan, you sure know how to flatter yourself into thinking you were some sort of great presence in my life,” she drawled, her voice dripping with incredulity and poison. But as soon as her laughing started, it stopped. A look of pure hatred filled her features as she took a step towards Xan. “I had to hide behind that pathetic human illusion to keep my true identity a secret. I may have been turned in, but I didn’t want to give anyone an opportunity to recognize me.”

“Especially you,” she added vehemently. Giving Xan a stuck up glance, Cassira shifted her weight as she continued to scan him up and down. “It seems that you’re still stuck at the bottom of the barrel after losing your precious tower. Figures you couldn’t get all your wealth back after you had to throw it away like an idiotic madman drunk for ‘revenge.’ “ She pronounced ‘revenge’ in a condescending, childish manner, which left her with a smirk.

"Oh right?  And how'd your 'revenge' go against the troll?  Last I heard, Izdazi took her, along with the druid," he replied.  "The difference between you and me, is I can see my triumphant rise.  But you… you'll be cowering behind the façade of a human girl.  
Xan chuckled and shook his head.   "You're angry.  Mostly at me, but partially at yourself."

“I wasn’t cowering!” Cassira snapped. “I wanted to be left alone!” In her anger, flames appeared in her hands, searing off the rope that had bound her wrists. Savagely pulling her hands free, she shook off the flames from her fingers as she glared at Xan. “And I would still be left alone in blissful ignorance if some damn blast of mana hadn’t interfered with my work.”

She pointed her finger at Xan then. “You know something about this, otherwise you wouldn’t have hauled poor Alere Blackstone all the way out here.”

"People cowering in hiding don't go looking for trouble," Xan replied, not at all concerned by the mage's display of magic.   "You can't help it.  But don't worry, Cassira.  I'm here to take care of you."

“Ugh.” Rolling her eyes, Cassira turned around and waved Xan off with her hand. She started searching for her things. “Yes, Xannie. I need you to take care of me. I’m a mess without you. Oh, look how helpless I am.” Muttering curses under her breath, she turned on her heel to glare at Xan. In his hand was her illusion necklace.

With a huff, she stormed up to him and yanked her necklace out of his hands. “Give me that,” she snapped, and pushed past him to find her bag. “I’m waiting for you to tell me what you know about that mana blast, Xannie.”

It wasn't the tone of her voice, or the way she snatched the necklace that suddenly irked him.  It was that infernal nickname that spurred him to punch her in the back of the head.   She fell forward on the ground and he wasted no time kicking her to her back.  
He knelt next to her and began pressing his knee against her neck.  
"Still being a defiant little bitch," he snarled.  He brought his arm close to her face and with a quick spell, it soon enveloped in flames.   "You keep being insolent and you won't have to worry about using that necklace."

Gritting her teeth, Cassira brought her hands around Xan’s knee. She knew exactly how to piss him off, and it worked. But now he had her in his grasp. She wasn’t going to let that happen again now. After all, she was no longer his slave.

Digging her nails into Xan’s knee, a hot blast of magic shot forth, forcing Xan back by a few feet. Immediately, Cassira rolled over and got back to her feet while clutching at her throat. She had enough. If he wasn’t going to play nice, then she wasn’t going to put up with it.

She looked back at Xan to make sure that he was still away from her, and immediately took off running.

Xan watched her go, still nursing his knee.   He was pleased to see how she frantically ran toward his wyrvern.   She was always a fast thinker and resourceful.  
Uttering a quick spell, he fired an arcane bolt that struck the lithe sin'dorei in the small of her back.   She was hurled off her feet and flew forward before slamming hard against the wyrvern.    The flying mount growled and skittered off at the impact.  
Brushing the dust from his shirt, he stormed toward the blood elf with his hands aflame.

"Are we going to have to go through this all over again?" he growled.  

Wiping blood from her mouth with her forearm, Cassira clenched her hands into fists. She was done playing nice. Whirling around, Cassira unleashed a downpour of fire that halted Xan in his tracks. Creating a barrier of flame between her and Xan, Cassira continued to step backwards as she spoke to him.

“I can kill you,” she warned, her tone dangerous. “I am not your slave anymore, and don’t you forget that. You lost, Xan. You were always a loser.”

Maintaining the blaze, Cassira lowered her head to glare at Xan. “You thought you had control over me. You never did.”

Xan clenched is left hand into a fist and rapidly shouted a spell that caused her barrier of fire to abruptly be snuffed out.    "You're so cute when you're trying to prove yourself strong."

“And you’re so cute when you try to play with a real mage,” Cassira countered. Fireballs appeared in her hands, and with an angry yell, she threw them, one after another, right towards Xan.

Xan didn't move.  Instead, the aura of a magical shield flared around him with each impact of her fireballs.    He remembered her spells being stronger and faster.

"You've spent so much time trying to live like mundane, normal people do, that you've grown weak," he called out to her.  His voice took on a serious tone now as he slowly approached her.   "Face it, Cassira. The truth is, you've put yourself into an even tighter cage then I ever did."  

Baring her teeth, Cassira’s cheeks grew hot with anger as she glared at Xan. Throwing out her hands, sparks flew from her tips and a barrage of arcane bolts pummeled into Xan’s shield. Narrowing her eyes, she concentrated on breaking his shield.

“We’ll see,” she snarled as she continued to rain arcane magic.

Xan grimaced as he struggled to bolster his shield against her onslaught.   He also shook his head in amazement at how far she'd allowed herself to fall.  
"A full front assault?  Really?" he quipped between stuttered breaths as he manipulated his spellwork to preserve the shield.   "Oh how far you've allowed yourself to fall, little girl."
He finished realigning his spell and his shield abruptly flared brilliantly white.  He rolled to the right, came to a kneeling position and fired off a trio of small arcane bolts.  They pelted the ground before her feet, kicking up small bits of dirt into her face.   As she faltered he rushed to her side and drove his knee hard into her abdomen.  
As she doubled over, he grabbed a fistful of her crimson hair and bent her head back.  

"The Cassira I remembered was manipulative, deceitful and brilliant.  You've become a shadow of your former self.  I can't believe I once thought you were different from all my other acquisitions."   He pushed her head forward hard and let her fall face first into the ground.

Always the face. Overwhelmed, Cassira tried to get back up, but seconds later, collapsed where she was. Everything stung, and she instinctively curled inward. She didn’t want to admit it, but Xan was right. Too long she had spent time trying to pass off as a normal, boring human that in the process, she had lost her fighting spirit. She truly believed she was just as powerful as she was before, but when she spent her days hiding instead of fighting for her life, she had grown weak. In frustration, Cassira closed her eyes and tried to conserve her rage and her energy.

He circled around the fallen sin'dorei as she curled around herself.   She wasn't fighting back.   She was really just going to lie there.  
"Get up!" he snarled, before kicking her on the side.   "Where's that proud blood elf who gave me so much grief years ago?   You're like a mewling human now."  
When she didn't seem to make an effort to get up he kicked her again.   "I had you for a year and I never fully broke you in?  It seems your last master did a better job than I did of housebreaking you," Xan sneered, more infuriated that there was another slaver that apparently did something he couldn't do.
"Why the hell are you even here?" he shouted again before issuing another kick.  "You were broken, docile and free.  Why did you really come here?" he asked.  He knelt down to the curled up elf and grabbed a fistful of her hair.   "Tell me that before I put you down for good."

As Xan forcefully brought Cassira’s face towards his, the blood elf seethed in pain. After all her years of hiding and plans of bloody revenge, she wasn’t going to go down like this. Everything that had happened between them seemed to have happened between two different people. Xan was full of lies and arrogance, and she was tired of putting up with it. She wasn’t his slave anymore, and she wasn’t going to let her first venture out in years to end in such a pathetic manner.

A smile appeared on Cassira’s battered and bloodied features. Despite the dirt and wounds, she still managed a flirtatious glance at the night elf.

“And give you that satisfaction? Oh, Xannie, we do things on my terms. Don’t you forget it.”

Grabbing Xan’s hands where he grasped her hair, she let out a furious shriek and allowed flames to take over her grip. Burning his wrists, Xan momentarily released his grip on Cassira, allowing her to back away to safety. Before he could reach for her, she unleashed her pent up rage and energy into a full on blast of white hot arcane energy that slammed into the night elf.

Not wasting any time, Cassira turned and headed towards the desert.

_ _ _ _

Stumbling over a rock, Cassira caught herself from falling to the ground. The sun was almost gone from the sky, and the temperature had gone down. Still smarting from her encounter with Xan, Cassira quietly cursed his name over and over under her breath. Her pack was gone, and she only had a few things in her pockets that were of no use to her now.

Up ahead, she could see a large formation of rocks. Quickening her pace, Cassira held her side as she raced towards the large formation. When she finally reached it, she placed her hand on one of the cooling rocks and sighed.

Xan’s words still hung heavily in her head. What was she thinking leaving her comfortable life behind? Despite the success she attained as a jewelcrafter in Ratchet, she was unhappy. All she wanted was her life back in Silvermoon. No matter how hard she worked in Ratchet, she was not sure she would become as wealthy and respected as she was in Silvermoon. Unless she went about dishonest means, she would remain a lower middleclass worker, and Cassira was far above that.

Walking around the formation, Cassira spotted a hole in the small side that would be perfect as shelter. She needed rest so she could cast a teleportation spell, since she was now ill-prepared for any more of a journey. Approaching the small cave, Cassira cast a firebolt into the hole, ensuring to be rid of any hidden surprises from inside.

When nothing came shrieking out, Cassira let out a small sigh of relief and collapsed near the entrance of the hole, holding her side. Wincing in pain, Cassira knew she would wake up covered in bruises. That was something she didn’t miss about Xan. Resting her head against the rock, Cassira closed her eyes and tried to regain her energy. She was spent.

The wyvern was a much better tracker then Xan had ever expected.   It seemed to detect the scent from the air and followed a path with an assuredness that left Xan somewhat envious.  
He wasn't sure why he was going after her.  She'd rebuffed him repeatedly (not that that ever stopped Xan in the past), insulted him repeatedly (which always aggravated him) and showed a particular level of stubbornness that at times made him want to drop her off a tall cliff.
The only thing he could surmise was that… he was infatuated with her.  
Never get emotionally involved with the merchandise, he always told himself.   He had no issue with using the merchandise, but once you become emotional, you become vulnerable.  
The wise thing to do would be to find her, set her ablaze and return to the coven with her screams echoing through the desolate landscape.  
That would be the sensible thing to do.  
He suddenly noticed that the wyvern was steadily descending toward a rock formation.   The flyer circled around the formation and doubled back.  She must be there somewhere.  
He didn't see a campfire in the rapidly waning light.  Nor had any fireballs or arcane bolts attempted to blow him and his flyer out of the sky.  
Xan directed the mount to land several yards from the formation and approached it on foot.   He didn't hear anything save for the lonely sound of the desert wind whistling past the rocks.
He spotted a dark hole at the base of one of the rocks and moved toward it along the periphery as quietly as he could.  He winced at the sound of the pebbles crunching underfoot.

The magess was on the cusp of falling asleep when a faint sound hit her sensitive ears. Immediately, her green eyes opened and she turned her head to see someone approaching the small cave.

Shit, she thought, her heart racing. This wasn’t over. Bracing herself, Cassira placed her hands against the wall of the cave, watching as the footsteps got closer. She had just enough energy to surprise him.

Taking in a deep breath, Cassira launched herself out of the small cave, unleashing a flood of blinding arcane force, enough to knock Xan off his feet. Keeping her teeth clenched together to fight back the wave of fresh pain that came from aggravating her wounds, Cassira ran as fast as she could away from Xan.

Xan cursed as he was knocked to the ground. It smelled faintly acrid from the surge of mana she'd just unleashed.  
He also knew that whatever energy she had been building up, she had just more then used it up. Scrambling to his feet, the night elf took off after her.   He stumbled a bit, as his eyes, which would normally have been an asset in this dark terrain, were still recovering from her arcane flash spell.
He heard her stumble ahead and continued forward. The kal'dorei could just barely make out her form ahead.
Sputtering out a spell, he rapidly sprayed the ground ahead of him with small arcane bolts.   Dirt and rocks exploded around the blood elf and she stumbled again, but quickly continued to run.  
"Oh no, you don't," he hissed, pulling a small dagger from his boot. He twisted a knob on the hilt that injected a small amount of a potion along the blade tip. Without hesitation, he threw it at her.  
Despite his vision not completely restored, he watched with satisfaction as the blade was imbedded in her left thigh. She stumbled to the ground again.  

Crying out, Cassira hobbled as she twisted around to pull out the dagger. Breathing hard, she looked at the dagger, then back at Xan, her brows furrowed. Then, abruptly, her eyes fluttered and her legs folded underneath her as she fell towards the sandy ground.

The weapon was still clutched in her right hand as she lay on the ground, sleeping overcoming her senses. He had to have put something on the blade to make her sleepy.

Xan approached her carefully, as any person would when dealing with a wounded animal.  Her glowing emerald eyes stared back at him, even though her face was becoming slack.  
"You are still as much a pain in the ass as I remember," he huffed, before abruptly sitting on the ground next to her. "It's just a sleeping potion.  We can pick up where we left off when you wake up."
He leaned over her and wiped the dirt and dried blood from the side of her face.
"And trust me," Xan whispered in her long, tapered ear, "we're going to start exactly where we left off.  I should have never gotten rid of you in Booty Bay. I should have found another way. At least I have a second chance."

* * *  
Seya, Alarde, Yevana, Xan, Cassira

Several hours later
Twilight Cult Camp

Seya felt the first measure of satisfaction she’d experienced in weeks went she sensed Alarde approaching her tent. The sound of his plate boots crunching in the granulary Silithus sand were steady, precise and confident. She didn’t have to look over her shoulder to know that he was standing tall.  

He wasn’t cowering like the cultist did when they approached her.  It was as if the death knight believed himself to be her equal.  
Seya decided she wasn’t going to bother with correcting him on that assumption.  No one was her equal and only one was her better.  Still, it was refreshing to work with a minion who was not only confident in his abilities, but able to successful complete what was asked of him.  

“The minion you injured had some rather unkind things to say about you,” she began without bothering to face him.   He was standing probably a blade’s length away from her.  “He claimed you crippled him and killed his fellow.”  

She paused and held her hands close to the small fire; seeking refuge from the nightly desert winds.

“I also know that you succeeded in your mission,” she continued, speaking slowly.   “Sensing those druidic magics wane was most gratifying.  Seeing that you have returned is more so.   You have done well, Death Knight Windraiser.”  

Bringing her arms in she quickly closed her cloak, as if to trap the heat from the campfire.   Outside, the nightly desert wind continued blowing.  

“Now, what is this that you have brought me,” she added, before turning to finally face him.   At his side was young looking lanky troll girl.  Her hands were tied behind her back and she seemed to be favoring her left leg over her right.  

The orcess approached and gently touched the girl’s forehead.   She could see the fear in the troll’s hazel eyes, but there was no crying or bargaining from her.  

“A young inexperienced girl playing at being a shaman,” Seya announced before looking up Alarde.  “Were there others among the druids?”

However, before Alarde could answer, another person abruptly entered the tent.   The newcommer, also a night elf, approached her and then unceremonially dropped a blood elf on the floor.  

“Everyone seems to be bringing strays home today,” Seya muttered before casting a withering gaze upon Xan.  “Did you at least procure the part before visiting a brothel?”  

“Right here,” Xan replied.  He dug into his pack and withdrew a polished metal spindle with arcanic wards etched preciesely along the sides.   The orc took it and carefully inspected the item.   It was heavy in her hands, as it needed to be.  And the wards appeared to be exactly as she had ordered had described in her designs.  

She looked down at the collapsed elf.  Her red tresses were splayed around her head.   She could see cuts and bruises in her skin.   Her robes were dishevealed and covered in dirt in places.   A silvery glint around her neck indicated that a magic inhibiting choker had been placed.  

“A mage.  Is she any good?”

“She’s good.  Just… difficult,” Xan replied.  Seya raised an eyebrow at his hesitation.  

“I have enough failures among this coven.  Why do I need to add ‘difficulty’ to my options?”  

Xan seemed speechless for a moment and then just shrugged.  

“Put her in a cage until I can figure out what to do with it.”  

“And what of the troll here?” Xan asked in a tone that sounded suggesting.  

“Get out of my tent!  Leave!   Now!” Seya bellowed.   When Xan moved to pick up the blood elf the orc growled.  “Leave her!  Just get out!”

With a humph, the night elf stormed out of the tent, leaving her with the unconscious blood elf, the troll girl who had stared silently at the entire exchange.

“Now, what should I do with you?” she asked, looking at the troll and then back to Alarde.  


With a groan, Cassira slowly lifted her head.  She winced at the bruises and cuts she aggravated as she tried to sit up.  Reaching to her face, Cassira felt the all too familiar weight of a magic inhibiting collar around her neck.  Throwing her head back and letting out another groan, the magess grew frustrated.  "Great.  Another collar.  Where does he get this crap?"

There was a sound that brought Cassira out of her thoughts and her attention upwards.   Towering over her was an orc woman that she had neer seen before.  Sighing, the magess swallowed hard before speaking to the orc.  "I suppose you're not my new friend, are you?"

"That depends little elfling.  Are you going to be more trouble then you're worth?" the orc demanded with little hesitation.  

Taking a moment to glance around her surroundings, then back to the Orc woman, Cassia chuckled lightly to herself.  Holding out her hands and shaking her head, she replied, "Not if it means I get to stay alive."

"Hmmmm," the orc looked from the blood elf back to the troll.   "And what can you offer that these others can not?"

Getting to her feet, Cassira brushed off the dirt and dust from her robes before facing the Orc woman.   "I was a High Interrogator for Silvermoon before certain circumstances occurred."

Tapping the collar around her neck, the magess added, "And I'm sure this can tell you of my other talents."

"Indeed," Seya said.  She seemed to think over several things before looking back at the troll.   "I have things to attend to.  You want to prove yourself.  Wring from this troll any information she may have about her people.  Impress me and there may be a future beyond today for you.  Fail me, and I'll show you just how much I am... 'not your friend.'"  

She abruptly turned toward Alarde.  

"If either of these two attempt to leave this tent, or if you believe they are conspiring against me, destroy them.  I will be return shortly."

Last edited by Izdazi on Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:04 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Chains of Command (Closed RP) - Page 4 Empty Re: Chains of Command (Closed RP)

Post  Izdazi on Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Azgard, Niashado, Swift

Earthen Ring Settlement

The meagerness of the meal the shamans shared around the withering campfire was eclipsed only by the unexpected providence that they were even having a meal to begin with. It mostly consisted of pieces of jerky and dried vegetables.

The conversations around the fire were muted. Niashado remembered when there'd be jokes and laughter. She remembered some of the stories Farseer Stonehoof shared with them. He had shared so many inspiring lessons of shamans from centuries before.

Now, the story she would have Azgard share with them, will not provide them with a deeper understanding of the Elemental world, but rather it was a promise that they will have to face more instrumental odds.

The draenei took a small bite of the overly salted piece of meat and struggle to keep from grimacing. Along with the food, they'd found a small cache of water that had been carefully rationed to everyone.

The food had been discovered buried under the ruins of one of the tents. From the design of the lock, they surmised that one of the goblin shamans who had perished earlier had been hoarding a small cache.

The shamaness smirked slightly at the irony of the situation. Because of the selfishness of one of their members, they would have another day of sustenance.

Or, perhaps it wasn't irony, but rather, just another example of balance. The world is full of entropy and that struggle in and of itself is balance

She turned to Azgard and caught the firelight flickering in his eyes. The elder orc hadn't spoken since he'd sent Yevana off with the wounded. He had pointedly avoided contact with Lurena and the others and instead seemed content to be alone in his thoughts.

He was such a private individual. She knew little of his past except what she'd heard in passing from the other shamans and what he had revealed earlier in the evening during their conversation. He'd been discharged from the Horde military and that had caused him a great deal of shame. He joined the Earthen Ring at the encouragement of his friend, Farseer Stonehoof.

The shamaness couldn't believe just how much had been swept from under Azgard's feet. His best friend and mentor has become a traitor, the added shame of the decimation of their camp and now this monster from his past has returned.

Niashado wasn't sure she'd have been capable of cope with all that the orc has. Then again, they have all suffered losses here. Silithus had taken its toll on her people.

Her people. When did she start thinking of this eclectic group of shamans as hers?

The draenei heard several footsteps approaching and turned to see Azgard with one of the dwarves approaching. In their hands were a handful of bladed weapons. Despite her best effort, Niashado frowned.

"Lass, I've been using some of our spare parts and broken equipment to make some weapons. They're not the finest, but they should do the job," the dwarf began.

"They are more then what we had. Good work," Niashado replied. She tried to smile, but the thought of her people fighting (again with the 'her people') left her discomforted.

With a jerk of his head, Azgard dismissed the dwarf. He regarded the shamaness with a stern stare. "Rethinking your decision?" he asked.

"No. We have to do this. We have to stop them," Niashado replied in a more defensive tone then she meant to.

"Then, let us prepare to speak to them," Azgard announced. Then his eyes darkened and visage grew stern. She followed his eyes to see that Swift had approached them.

“Sir, my apologies for my presumption earlier. It was not my place," the worgen apologized to Azgard. There was a tense and uncomfortable silence that they shared before Azgard slowly nodded. He seemed to relax a little, but not completely. Then, Swift turned his eyes to Niashado. She could feel his gaze peering into her and absently wondered what he truly thought of how she'd led.

Did he think her weak?

Misguided at best?

“Milady, I have thought about your proposal in earnest. Before I offer my answer, this simple soldier would like to say something," the worgen began, speaking in a respectful tone that separated him so much from the worgen cultist they had restrained in one of the tents.

“Acantha has tasked me with aiding you in any way I can. This includes your protection.” The worgen inclined his head. “I must confess that Acantha had told me nothing of you before I departed, but she did mention that you were capable. Looking at you now, I am forced to agree with her. You are compassionate, and this is a good thing. This desire to save all will serve you well in this command. You may not think so, but leave the burdens of darker deeds to those who serve you. Let them be your instruments.”

The draenei felt her ears darken at the things Swift was saying. She wasn't sure she fully agreed it with, but she did appreciate it. Some of it at least.

The worgen gestured to Azgard and inclined his head. “Let Sir Azgard be your blade,” The worgen’s eyes changed, and his grin widened, showing pointed eyeteeth. “And let me be your shadow. I will slink through the darkness, following closely those you wish.”

Just like Ma'dra is to Acantha, the shamaness silently noted with trepidation. Then she watched as his form changed to that of a towering dark furred worgen.

“However, if I may presume to advise you further, I implore you to let me befriend this prisoner of yours. Let me set him free, and he will be none the wiser.”

Swift chuckled, a string of drool oozing from his fangs. “Shadows are often overlooked when they are right in front of your nose.”

The shamaness unconsciously took a step back, not only from the now intimidating form of Swift, but of his suggestion. Using deceit. Yet another dark path she was considering.

Niashado closed her eyes and sighed.

"It's a sound plan," Azgard chimed in. "Tactically, it makes senses in everyway."

Her mind whirled with ideas and thoughts that she hoped would be better. Nothing came to mind.

What Swift, or more precisely, Blackmane, had suggested was indeed a good idea. It made sense and in the long run, may even minimize the casualties her people faced. She still didn't like it. Niashado directed her softly glowing white eyes at Blackmane.

"If I use a sword to commit 'dark deeds' then that evil is my burden. If I use the gifts the Elements have given me to do evil, then that is my burden. And, if I ask these shamans and mercenaries to fight, then their deeds are my burden to carry. No. I am their leader and everything they do, is my burden. I cannot disassociate myself from it."

The shamaness paced for a little while between Azgard and Swift.

"What you have suggested, Sir Blackmane, is a good idea and not one that I had considered. If you believe it will increase your chance of success, then I give you leave to do it. The prisoner's name is Mercer. He was working with another worgen. Her name was Anessa. We never saw her and assume she died before she could strike during the last sandstorm. Mercer believes we have killed her, despite my efforts to tell him that is not so," Niashado explained. "Mercer displayed no hesitation in threatening the life of the very shaman who had healed him. He is very dangerous."

Azgard was the next to speak up.

"We will be moving in your general direction. Once you have confirmed the location of the Twilight Camp and have a good idea of their numbers, you should dispose of Mercer and return to us," the orc explained. "Do not enter their camp and do not attempt to cross paths with Seya. Find us."

Niashado closed her eyes when Azgard ordered Mercer killed. It was inevitable. He wasn't the least contrite about what he'd tried to do. Yet another tactically sound idea that riled against the way she liked things to be.

Yet another burden.

She knelt down, retrieved a skin of water and a few pieces of jerky and handed them to the worgen.

"When you are ready, take Mercer and go. But please, be careful," she told him.


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Post  Mammona on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:48 am

Swift could see the apprehension and uncertainty in Niashado’s eyes as she considered his suggestion. The tracker stood and waited. His canine eyes roamed over the draenei’s features, noting every nervous twitch and tic. She realises that it is our best chance of success, he thought, but the very idea of deception tastes foul to her. She does not like unnecessary violence or subterfuge. The worgen smiled. She has conviction, this one. Swift was secretly glad to finally be working or someone who truly believed in the sanctity of life, even if she was faced with some of the dregs of it. It was certainly a refreshing change from Acantha, who seemed to view the world as a giant chessboard.

Finally, after some prompting from Azgard, Niashado nodded her approval. After informing him of the worgen’s supposed partner, she let Azgard speak. "We will be moving in your general direction. Once you have confirmed the location of the Twilight Camp and have a good idea of their numbers, you should dispose of Mercer and return to us. Do not enter their camp and do not attempt to cross paths with Seya. Find us."

Swift nodded. Niashado handed him some jerky and a skin of water. The worgen tracker took the jerky and raised it to his snout. He sniffed once, and handed it back to the draenei. “Too odorous for me to carry, milady. I will manage.” He tied the waterskin to his belt and shifted back to his human form. He snapped off a salute to Azgard, and bowed to Niashado. Then, he stepped backwards, out of the firelight and into the darkness.

Michael Swift strode through the meagre Earthen Ring encampment, taking care to mask his footsteps. He shook his head as he walked, expressing regret for what was to come next. He respected Niashado, and thought her a capable leader, despite her protests. He disliked withholding anything from a superior officer, but he felt that if she knew what he intended to do, she would probably try to stop him. However, Swift knew that in this course of action lay the possibility of the best results. He mulled this over as he stopped and unshouldered his bow and quiver, checking that what he needed was there, and quickly preparing it. He sighed again as he approached the tent where the worgen Mercer was being held. He saw the pair of shaman guards, fighting to keep focused and no doubt wishing they were sitting by the fire with their comrades. Swift quickened his pace as he strode towards them.

Worgen by nature were difficult to deceive. Their enhanced senses could read things that other humanoids could not. They could smell the increase of perspiration that sometimes came with untruth. They could detect the subtle changes in voice and tone that betrayed a lie. Their animalistic tendencies bred distrust in other competitors as surely as it bred adherence to a pack hierarchy – anyone not of the pack was an enemy. Therefore, in order to fool a worgen, one needed two things. One was a supreme assurance in what one was doing. The other was to make one hell of a good first impression.

Swift stopped as the shaman guard’s eyes focused on him. He inclined his head in a show of respect, but did not give the guards a chance to query him. He reached into his belt pouch and drew out a rolled piece of parchment. It was a copy of the letter Acantha had asked him to give to Niashado. He spoke without preamble.

“Sorry to disturb your watch, gents, but I have here a writ of passage given to me by commander Niashado that gives me the right to – oops! Oh dear!” Swift lost a grip on the parchment, and it fell to the ground at the feet of the nearest guard.

Almost on reflex, the guard reached down to retrieve the parchment. As he straightened, however, he was met with the hilt of Swift’s hunting knife, swung hard and fast to strike him in the temple. The shaman guard fell back without a sound. His body hit the ground on his back, weapons flying from his grasp as his eyes rolled up in his head. Swift did not cast him a second glance as he crouched.

The second guard was only now just beginning to catch up on what had happened. Swift had the added advantage of being directly in front of the first guard when he had struck. Therefore, the second guard had not seen the strike that had felled him companion. As the first guard crumpled to the ground, the second started forward, and Swift leaped at him. A growl escaped his throat as his shifted into his worgen form in mid-air. He struck the guard in the chest with the force of a battering ram, sending the shaman careening backwards through the flaps of the tent. The scent of worgen immediately filled Swift’s nostrils as he rolled to the side. The shaman, albeit dazed, was still conscious. Swift grasped a shoulder with a clawed hand and swung his body in an arc. His throw sent the shaman flying to land in a heap at the flap of the tent. The shaman still struggled to sit up, dull eyes still trying to comprehend what had happened as he struggled for breath that would not come.

Swift slowly and deliberately unshouldered his bow. He reached behind him, and drew an arrow from his quiver. He nocked it, aimed and let fly. The arrow streaked across the tent, striking the shaman in the neck and snapping his head backwards.

Swift had prepared many of these particular arrows before. They were useful for driving away animals without killing them. The head of the arrow was encased in a small clay blunt. When the arrow struck its target, the clay broke, but not before it absorbed the force of the arrow. As a result, the arrow would still penetrate the skin, but at a much smaller (and non-lethal) rate. Dipping the arrow-tip in a temporary paralysing agent completed the charade. The clay masked the scent of the poison, and the darkness of the tent obscured the blunt. That, coupled with the unexpectedness of the assault and intrusion would act to make Swift’s ‘murdering’ of the guard very convincing indeed.

Swift lowered his bow, and turned to the restrained worgen. He growled as he spoke, masking his usual polite tones with the barbarism of his species.

“Mr. Mercer? Come on, we need to leave.”

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Post  Izdazi on Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:31 pm

Earthen Ring Settlement

His jaws were hurting from being tied shut for so long. He was also thirsty, not to mention more then a bit hungry. His legs ached from not being stretched for so long. And his arms and shoulders were making more noise then all his other aches and cramps put together.

But more then anything, Mercer wanted to leave this place and search for Anessa. Did she perish in the sandstorm like the draenei said? Or had they killed her?

What motive would these shamans have for deceiving him if they had managed to kill her? But, Anessa was cunning. Surely she wouldn't get lost in something as mundane as a sandstorm?

Mercer knew that the locals in Silithus took the sandstorms seriously. It was possible that he and Anessa had grossly underestimated the danger such storms posed.

All the more reason he wanted to be out there searching for her.

A muffled growl escaped between his clenched teeth. The two shaman standing guard at the tent's exit shot him a cautious glance. He could smell the fear emanating from them. They weren't warriors or fighters. If his hands, legs and maw weren't restrained he could easily dispatch them.

His thoughts returned to his beloved Anessa and he closed his eyes in quiet despair. Of all the ways Mercer thought he'd die, being held captive by these simple people… by these… prey, was humiliating.

His ears perked up at the sound of quiet footsteps just outside of the tent. It wasn't the harsh sound that the taurens and draenei made with their hooves. Nor was it the clumsy walk of the dwarves and goblins.

This was someone who could fight. The only person he knew of in this settlement who walked with such surety and balance was Azgard.

So, the soft blue blood has finally released the leash on her pet orc. Mercer grinned despite knowing the pain he was sure Azgard was going deal upon him. The former Gilnean noble planned to say nothing.

However, the person who stepped through the tent flap was not Azgard. It was a human, of all things. He didn't recognize him as one of the cultists he'd seen in their camp and the guards didn't react to him with hostility. They are familiar with him.

Mercer's eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared as his eyes tracked the newcomer. This would someone who was in his element outdoors. Strong, tall and built. But there was something in the way he moved. Every motion was deliberate and precise. Even when he 'dropped' the parchment while conversing with the guards, that seemed precise.

Mercer wasn't surprised when the newcomer attacked. He had already deduced that this was coming. It was, nonetheless, a very impressive display of martial prowess.

Again, he wasn't surprised when the human shape shifted into a dark fur worgen while leaping toward the other guard.

In short order, he dispatched them quickly. That was hardly impressive, however. The guards were hardly the fighting sorts. Mercer was, however, curious as to the newcomer's choice to dispatch the second guard with an arrow. Though it was effective, it lacked the satisfaction of a kill with one's claws.

The worgen approached and in short order Mercer's bindings were severed.

“Mr. Mercer? Come on, we need to leave," the dark furred worgen growled.

With only a nod, Mercer followed him out of the tent and beyond the perimeter of the shaman settlement. Once out of sight, he and the newcomer stretched onto all four legs and picked up more speed as they raced into the desert.

About ten minutes later, Mercer slid to stop and stood up on his hind legs. He felt his spine and legs crack as he stretched them for the first time since his incarceration.

"I owe you one, stranger. Did Seya send you?" he asked, regarding the newcomer thoughtfully. "Have you seen another worgen out here?"


Twilight Coven

Yevana struggled to keep calm as she listened to the blood elf woman and the orcess speak. So this was the woman. The one who had led this band of insane people to kill her father along with so many of the shamans she'd come to know.

Seya didn't seem very imposing. She wasn't very tall. Of course, because of Yevana's height, not very many people seemed tall. And when others seemed tall, it was mostly because of how she saw them. Though she was taller then Azgard and almost the same height at Niashado, she still 'looked up' to them.

It's funny how the mind thinks up of the strangest things when other things should be more of a priority.

"I have things to attend to," Seya announced. The orc woman looked at Yevana and then to the blood elf. "You want to prove yourself. Wring from this troll any information she may have about her people. Impress me and there may be a future beyond today for you. Fail me, and I'll show you just how much I am... 'not your friend.'"

The threat in her statement was almost palpable. Then, she turned to the death knight Windraiser.

"If either of these two attempt to leave this tent, or if you believe they are conspiring against me, destroy them. I will be return shortly."

With that, the orcess stormed from the tent, leaving her with the two elves.

Despite her youth, the historical enmity between elves and trolls had been well engrained in Yevana by her parents. While they weren't as hard-lined as other trolls, they were mindful to teach her that elves hated trolls. The feeling was mutual, but it was the elves that were in the wrong since the beginning. It was always the elves with their superior magics and their superior weapons who were always pushing trolls further to the brink of oblivion. It was the elves who had worked with the Alliance to strengthen and expand their imperialistic desires.

The world wasn't black and white, though. Her father, being a shaman, had come to work with many races, including those of the Alliance. There were bigger things in the world then vile, greedy elves. Her father's calling had shown him this. And when she'd received her calling, she had learned the same thing from him and her teachers.

But now Yevana was bound, with a broken leg, in middle of the camp of her father's murders with two elves that had just been ordered to do harm to her.

She could hardly be faulted for recalling historical hatreds.

Her hazel eyes darted to her totems hanging from the belt of the death knight. If she had her totems, she could show that orc woman how she was not just a girl 'playing at being a shaman.'

The elf woman was at least somewhat more pleasing to the eye then the imposing night elf deathknight standing slightly behind her. This blood elf with long red hair looked so fragile. One good punch to her face could probably shut her down. A kick to her midsection would probably leave her struggling to take in a breath for an hour. If only her arms weren't bound.

"I won't be betraying my friends," Yevana finally said at just above a whisper. "Not dat I dink you can make me. Nutting can be as scary as what I saw him do." She gestured to Alarde and suppressed a shudder at the memory of all the semi-decayed bodies of the druids and the undead things he had called.

"Joo monsters killed my father and my friends. I tell joo nuttin."


Earthen Ring Settlement
Fifteen minutes later.

"He could have killed them," Niashado hissed tersely through clenched teeth. As heated as her anger was, she still managed to gently tend to the wounds of one of the guards who had been injured in Mercer's 'escape.'

Behind her, Aerilyia and Dango were tending to the other guard. They had been hastily brought to speed about the plan Blackmane had proposed concerning their prisoner.

It was a plan that had a lot of merit and the only reason Niashado had agreed to it was because it would minimize casualties. Instead, by his own hands, Blackmane had attacked two of her shamans.

And she had approved this!

"Had the arrow been a fingernail length in any direction he would have struck an artery or the windpipe," she muttered irately. "He was lucky. They were lucky."

Next to her, Azgard was busy studying the arrow they had carefully dislodged from the guard's neck.

"It wasn't luck. Blackmane knew what he was doing," the orc replied as he carefully rubbed the arrow tip between his fingers.

"Then he should have warned us of this part of the plan," the draenei snapped. She felt Azgard's eyes on her.

"The escape needed to be convincing. There can be no question in Mercer's mind of the earnestness of Blackmane's actions."

The emerald glow faded from her hand as Niashado turned to Azgard.

"You knew he was going to harm these guards?" she asked. The orc's stoic countenance confirmed her suspicion. It made her angrier that she didn't pick up on a trace of remorse in his eyes.

"We are at war. There are always casualties in war," was Azgard's response.

Niashado clenched her jaws and forced down the few choice words she had for him and Swift.

Logically, what Swift did made complete sense. He needed the 'rescue' to be convincing, especially to someone with an appetite for violence like Mercer. Still, it riled her.

"He could have killed them," she repeated quietly, as she resumed the careful healing.

"Then be grateful that no one died, because this isn't over," Azgard whispered back.


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Post  Alarde Orig on Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:57 pm


The commotion caused by the human- er, worgen, Swift if he heard his name correctly, seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Supposedly he was an ally, but Zelg could really only think of a couple of people who he would still trust after pulling such a stunt.

He had actually begun preparing his rifle to fire, but in his haste actually damaged the weapon. He had pulled the bolt clean out the back with only a quick profanity muttered before jamming the part back in. Fortunately, the attack was over quickly as both Swift and a formerly captive worgen escaped, leaving a bit of destruction and disarray in the camp.

Zelg was surprised as he walked around to where the worgen prisoner was being held to see that no one had actually been killed. He could also see both the draenei and orc discussing something while tending to those involved with the attack. He had asked around to find out the draenei was named Niashado, and the orc was Azgard. No longer needing to resort to monikers like “blue bell” as he had earlier would probably make conversations a little more bearable for all.

“So, uh, potentially stupid question…” The goblin kind of tailed off as he approached the pair. He had pulled his weapon apart again and had been inspecting it on his walk around. One of the lock points that kept the bolt from doing what it had earlier had sheared. But that appeared to be the extent of the damage. I’ll need to re-tool the bolt and modify the design when I get back… With a healthy “click” the parts slid back into place and locked.

“Was all of that supposed to happen?”


Seya did seem pleased with his success, despite a little unnecessary carnage against one of their own.  The thought of torturing information out of someone sounded exciting indeed, even if Alarde was not the one who was going to be doing the torture. While he hadn’t been very trusting of blood elves in life, he had serious doubts that this one or anybody else in the encampment could be of any threat to him.

"I won't be betraying my friends," the troll’s voice was just above a whisper. "Not dat I dink you can make me. Nutting can be as scary as what I saw him do." You haven’t seen a damn thing yet. The elf silently imagined numerous ways  he wished he could use to torture the prisoner.

"Joo monsters killed my father and my friends. I tell joo nuttin."

Alarde was also secretly hoping one or both would attempt some form of escape just so he could spill some more blood.

“This place certainly has been busy, in that case. Any time you’re ready there, ma’dam. I do enjoy observing others’ techniques.”
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Post  Mammona on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:40 am

Swift remained immobile as Mercer halted and stretched a short way from the Earthen Ring encampment. They had fled without a sound. Even if they were more careless that they had been, Swift knew that no Shaman would have detected their escape. He knew that Niashado would probably be displeased with his actions, especially his hurting of the guards, but he knew that it was the only way to buy Mercer’s trust, however thin that may currently be.

The worgen tracker watched impassively as Mercer stretched cramped muscles. The worgen’s voice was deep and dark, but he spoke with the unmistakeable lilt of Gilnean aristocracy.

"I owe you one, stranger. Did Seya send you? Have you seen another worgen out here?"

Swift’s mind raced. Mercer was obviously talking about his wife. Swift had no knowledge of her, but he felt that the ex-captive would be more inclined to listen to him if he thought his wife was in danger. The mention of Seya was interesting. For Mercer to mention her at all meant he was hopeful that this Seya did indeed send Swift to free him. He is mindful of the risk in returning, he thought, which means he is apprehensive. This Seya may react badly to his capture. That, or he fears her. That cannot be the case.

“Lord Mercer,” Swift began, using the honorific of the nobility he picked up from Mercer’s accent. “My name is Blackmane, and Seya did not send me. I came to the camp on the behest of my employers.”

That part was true at least. Swift knew the closer he flirted with the truth, the more likely his quarry was to believe him. “I was to assist the shamans. However, the camp is in ruins, both physically and mentally.” Swift frowned looked Mercer dead in the eye. “They are not soldiers. They have no structure, no leadership. They will be dead soon.”

Swift grinned, a string of drool running from his fangs. “I simply did not wish to be on the losing side. I saw the opportunity, and I took it.”

The worgen’s grin faded, and he looked past Mercer, out into the sandy landscape. “As for any other worgen, I assume you mean Anessa. I did not see another worgen, my lord. I learned from the shamans, however, that she was lost in a sandstorm fighting them.” Once again, Swift’s hunter’s gaze bored into Mercer’s. “They talked about her like she was no longer a threat.”

Swift let his statement sink in for a minute, before speaking quietly. “My lord, I have a proposition for you. I have already proven myself capable by freeing you, although that was easier than anticipated.” A brief smile tinged his lupine features. “As I said before, I have no desire to die in this desert alongside weakling shamans. However, one thing I do know is how to notice things that others miss. Things like the layout and weaknesses of the camp behind us.”

Now came the difficult part. Mercer was no fool, and Swift had to tread carefully. If he came on too eager, his ruse would not work. Similarly, if he was too aloof, Mercer would simply walk away. He needed to appeal to exactly the right senses and urges that swirled around a Gilnean noble’s head. When stalking a predator, the bait needed to be presented in exactly the right way, lest the hunter discard it. The predator’s instincts needed to be manipulated so that they refused any other course of action, and thought only of the kill. Then, they were blind to all else. Mercer is a hunter, Swift thought. His instincts need to be manipulated.

“I wish to speak to this ‘Seya’. I have valuable information about the camp and the Earthen Ring weaklings which will make your goals easier to achieve. After all, they captured you.” Swift shifted back to his human form, and held his hands out in a gesture of supplication. “If I were associated in any way with these… prey… “ Swift almost spat the word. “… I would want to tear their throats out myself. I will even help you find Anessa, should you desire. All I ask is the chance to prove myself.”

Swift smiled, and inclined his head. “My lord, I wish to join you. I believe that Seya will want to hear what I have to say, and I believe that good news to Seya will bear the ripe chance of reward…and revenge.”

((Apologies for the late reply. It's been a crazy month.))

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Post  Izdazi on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:28 pm

“Lord Mercer,” His rescuer began. By the inflection of his accent, Mercer could tell that this was one of the commoners from his homeland. His voice lacked certain refinement, and yet, it he still carried his Gilnean heritage proudly. “My name is Blackmane, and Seya did not send me. I came to the camp on the behest of my employers.”

Mercer felt his hackles rise and he narrowed his eyes on Blackmane. It took some effort for him to suppress the immediate impulse to strike.

“I was to assist the shamans," Blackmane continued. "However, the camp is in ruins, both physically and mentally. They are not soldiers. They have no structure, no leadership. They will be dead soon.

“I simply did not wish to be on the losing side. I saw the opportunity, and I took it.”

Mercer calmed somewhat. He could understand, even sympathize with this fellow. He'd felt that way at times with the Twilights. Especially at present.

“As for any other worgen, I assume you mean Anessa. I did not see another worgen, my lord." Mercer's ears twitched at the sound of his wife's name. But his heart fell as he listened on. "I learned from the shamans, however, that she was lost in a sandstorm fighting them. They talked about her like she was no longer a threat.”

Mercer turned away from Blackmane's piercing gaze. Propriety frowned upon a nobleman turning away from peasant's stare first, but to hell with decorum. Anessa must have been killed in the storm. The shamans would have no reason lie to a stranger sent to help them.

The worgen's broad shoulders sagged as he lowered his head. There could never be another like her. This was all the shamans fault.

No. That wasn't logical. If they'd found her injured, or incapacitated, they'd have tried to help her like they helped him, despite the utter illogicalness of it all. It was the way of this kind of prey to believe that an act of compassion would release them from the order of the hunt.

“My lord, I have a proposition for you," Blackmane continued, speaking more quietly, as if to avoid intruding in Mercer's moment of quiet reflection. "I have already proven myself capable by freeing you, although that was easier than anticipated. As I said before, I have no desire to die in this desert alongside weakling shamans. However, one thing I do know is how to notice things that others miss. Things like the layout and weaknesses of the camp behind us.”

Mercer returned Blackmanes quick smile at the mention of the weakling in the shaman's camp.

“I wish to speak to this ‘Seya’. I have valuable information about the camp and the Earthen Ring weaklings which will make your goals easier to achieve. After all, they captured you.” Swift shifted back to his human form, and held his hands out. “If I were associated in any way with these… prey… I would want to tear their throats out myself. I will even help you find Anessa, should you desire. All I ask is the chance to prove myself.”

Swift smiled, and inclined his head. “My lord, I wish to join you. I believe that Seya will want to hear what I have to say, and I believe that good news to Seya will bear the ripe chance of reward…and revenge.”

Mercer remained in lupine form and turned his back to Blackmane. His thoughts were lost amongst desires to destroy those lunatic weaklings shamans, to just wanting to running out into the desert. He was so lost and it was frustrating.

Then, Blackmane said a word that seemed to echo ceaselessly in his mind. 'Seya.' It wasn't the shamans who had killed Anessa. Nor was it the storm. It was Seya. That greenskin opportunistic bitch who had taken over their coven. The old leadership had trusted and even venerated the mere presence of two members of the noble house, Petigrew. But not, Seya. She thought of them as another expendable cog in her plans.

She didn't trust them. Seya had even taken Stonehoof's word over his wife's. Then, she'd cast them off on this lopsided mission that would either result in the death of one weakling shaman or the deaths of Anessa and him.

With his back still turned to Blackmane, Mercer allowed his lips to peel over his sharp canine teeth. His claws grew rigid in his hands. Oh, how he'd love to rake his claws down her face.

"Seya," he growled in a low drawn out utterance. This was her doing! She only cares about that mysterious project of her. Only those lowly goblins know its true purpose. She wouldn't even trust him and Anessa with its intent. This is her doing.

"I have no desire to return to the service of that backstabbing greenskin," Mercer added, finally turning to regard Blackmane. He towered over his human form rescuer. "You said it yourself. The shamans are in disarray and shambles. They are no threat to us anymore. Our coven's greatest threat is from within. Help me destroy Seya and you will be my first lieutenant."


Niashado finished healing the guard and offered him a hand to help him to his feet. The other guard appeared to also be improving under the careful healing of Aerilyia.

“So, uh, potentially stupid question…”

The shamaness turned around to the unexpected voice coming from behind her and regarded the goblin cautiously. It wasn't that he was a goblin that spurred the caution, but rather the large and complex rifle that he always seemed to be fiddling with.

“Was all of that supposed to happen?”

"No. Well, yes," the draenei quickly amended. "We need to track where the Twilight coven is located. Mercer was released under the guise of being rescued by one of our own."

With a sigh, she brushed the dust from her robes and looked around tent again.

"We will be heading out soon. Do you believe your equipment will be ready?"

((It has been a fairly crazy month for me as well.))

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Post  Mammona on Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:54 pm

Swift waited patiently as Mercer considered his words. Waiting was nothing new to the worgen tracker. He focused instead on examining his surroundings. He noted soft, sandy patches of ground that could possibly hinder movement, shielded rock outcroppings that could become places to hide and the slowly rising wind that would conceal any prints that were left by the fleeing pair.

Mercer’s growl jerked Swift’s eyes from his examination. "Seya."

At once, Swift knew that he had underestimated Mercer’s pride and resolve. The worgen noble’s teeth were bared and his claws were rigid and on display. Mercer’s eyes burned with fury and the muscles of his lupine form bunched and rippled. It took all of Swift’s willpower not to edge his hand toward his hunting knife. He knew that any slight movement would betray his intentions. It would mean that he did not see Mercer as an ally. Worgen were extraordinarily perceptive, and Swift could not afford to drop his guard. Instead, he stood silently, waiting for Mercer to speak.

He did not disappoint. His words were ringed with rage and homicidal urges.
"I have no desire to return to the service of that backstabbing greenskin."

Mercer turned to glare at Swift. Once again, the tracker did nothing. "You said it yourself. The shamans are in disarray and shambles. They are no threat to us anymore. Our coven's greatest threat is from within. Help me destroy Seya and you will be my first lieutenant."

Swift cursed inwardly. He had grossly underestimated Mercer’s instability. This is no mere prideful noble, he thought. I am dealing with a sociopath. Rather than direct his rage and desire for revenge against Niashado’s outpost, he had taken offense against the very person who they fought. Mercer’s sense of self-worth was so great that he simply could not stand being used. Seya had cast them out like yesterday’s offal, and he hated her for it.

Swift’s mind raced. In a simply statement, Mercer had forced the tracker to change his tactics. He refocused his thoughts, and made his play.

“It seems you are right about your coven, Lord Mercer. To see a noble of Gilneas treated as such is a abomination. Seya deserves to be destroyed.”

Swift bowed in Gilneas fashion. “I graciously accept your offer, my lord. I will serve you. However…” Swift glanced behind him. “I would advise we continue, my lord. I suspect the draenei will send out a search soon.”

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Post  Izdazi on Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:51 pm

Twilight Coven Camp

Flipping back her hair, Cassira rolled her eyes after taking in the sight of the night elf death knight. "Don't tell me you have daddy issues," she muttered before looking to Yevana.

The troll girl was defiant. Cassira could see that much. If there was anything she knew from her experience with trolls, it was that they were a resilient and annoying bunch. Yet she knew she could have her way if she wanted to.

Waving her hand in the death knight's direction, Cassira straightened up before facing him. "Don't interrupt me, got it? Last thing I need is another dumb as rocks kal'rorei getting in my way. And no, I don't care if you're a death knight. Not impressed."

Shaking her hair, Cassira turned her back on the death knight and focused on Yevana. She gave her a small, genuine smile as she knelt down next to her and pulled her head down so that their faces were close.

"Listen. Do you think I want to do this? I just talk big so I can avoid getting killed. I don't care who you are or where you're from. All I want is to get out of here," she whispered so only Yevana could hear. Glancing back at the death knight, then taking in the rest of the room, Cassira spoke again. "I was captured by these guys, just like you. You think I want to help them? I am faithful only to the Horde and our Warchief. I am not going to give them anything if I can help it."

She gently let go of Yevana's head then, and took the moment to look into her hazel eyes with her own green ones, allowing her a glimpse of the pain she was in before recapturing her signature grimace.

"I'm Cassira, by the way," she added quietly.

Yevana listened quietly. She'd heard of the smarminess of blood elves. Their words were like silk but what elf ever kept a promise to a troll? Besides, she was sure this woman would tell the cultist everything she'd say.

"Joo don't be knowing nuttin about dis cult," Yevana muttered, lowering her head again, as she struggled to keep wait off her broken leg. She cast a furtive glance at Alarde and then back at Cassira. If she had to choose between elves, then the lesser of two evils will be the blood elf who was not a death knight. "I don't want to betray my friends."

"I'm not asking you to," Cassira replied quietly. She continued to scan the room to try and find some way out. Narrowing her eyes, she looked back to Yevana before sighing. "I just came out here to see what affected my magic. A strong blast knocked me out of using my magic for a long while, and I couldn't sit idly when I knew that something out there was causing it. So I came out here to investigate, and got captured."

She looked to Yevana and saw that she was in an extreme amount of pain. Whipping her head back towards the death knight, she snapped, "Do you at least have a healing potion for her? If I had my BAG I would give her something. Or have you forgotten what it's like being a fully living elf?"


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Post  Izdazi on Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:20 pm

Twilight Coven Camp

Seya shivered in the desert cold as she desperately tried to warm her hands over the small brazier in her tent.   Despite the thickness of the black leather cloak she wore over her thick violet robes, it seems she could never stay warm in this accursed desert.  

The orc fought to keep from issuing a frustrated cry.   Nothing seemed to be going as she had planned.   Her project had been repeatedly delayed.  She faced opposition from her own people, as well as the druids to the southeast and the shamans in the northeast.

Even the people she’d appointed as her lieutenants were defying her order, either through sheer incompetence or open hostility.  

She’d never prove her worth to her family if she couldn’t even hold this rabble together.  

“Should anyone ever write a treatise on failure, they’d be a fool not to make you a prime case study,” a male voice suddenly announced.  

Seya’s head snapped toward the intruder standing on the opposite side of the brazier.   It was a human dressed in elegant dark clothing befitting a noble in Stormwind.   His black straight hair was tied back to pony tail and he sported a cleanly shaved beard.  

The human’s visage wavered in the heat distortions rising from the brazier.  Yet, despite that, his gaze seemed to pierce into her soul.  

“Geveron.  I thought you dead, along with Shaede and Kerrix.”

“And I thought you dead at Dreadmist Peak.   This is a night of surprises for both of us,” the human replied contemptuously.   “My disappearance was intentional and I needed to appear as though I had died.  I have plans and they don’t include being a spectacle like you.”  

“’Intentional?’  You killed Shaede and Kerrix?” Seya asked.   Her one good eye widened at the sudden revelation.  

“Does that bother you?   I thought you hated them.”  

This was true, although she said nothing.  It was hardly a secret.   Despite her hated for the three of them, she could never kill them… even if she had the power to.  

“A necessary distraction, as was the magnificent show of failure you displayed at Dreadmist.”

“I was tricked!”

“You were an idiot!” Geveron snapped, all pretense of joviality evaporating.   “You’re still an idiot with delusions of grander that can never be yours!   What are you even trying to prove here?   That you can lead a group of brain dead mortals to do your whim?”

“My plans will be revealed and when it is, I will be honored.   Even you will be in awe of it!” Seya snarled.   She swept her hands down and the fire in the brazier roared with renewed intensity.   “I will show you all that I am not a failure!”

Geveron appeared neither shocked nor amused by her outburst, which only served to further exasperate orc.   A blink of an eye later, Geveron was standing right next to her.  

“Runts don’t get glory,” he hissed in her ear before abruptly turning and walking out of her tent.  

Mere seconds later Seya burst from her tent hoping to track him down and with a fireball in hand but he was gone.  Instead, she nearly stumbled upon the goblin, Book.  

“Did you see anyone leave my tent just now?!” she demanded while grabbing hold of his shoulder and bringing the flaming sphere close to his face.  The goblin shook his head rapidly and raised his hands.  

“N-n-n-n-n-no, mistress.  Ju-just you!” he nearly screeched.    

“Why were you approaching my tent?” Seya snarled.  “I said I wanted to alone!”

“I heard loud voices!  I thought you someone was trying to hurt you, mistress!” Book squealed.  

No one saw Geveron.  Was it all in my head or was he really here? Seya wondered as she allowed the fireball to dissipate.   Around her, she saw the other cultists staring at her in bewilderment.   They think I’m losing my mind.  

They think I can’t do this.  Just like Geveron said, they think I’m going to fail.   No one believes I can do this.  

Seya heard a sudden cry and noticed that she’d been digging her fingers deep into the goblin’s shoulder blade.   Abruptly, she released him.    

“Go see a healer, Book,” Seya said softly while standing up.  She mentally chastised herself for hurting him.   If there was a single person who she could confide in or who followed her very orders to the letter, it was Wickers Book.    

“Mistress,” Book added, looking up at her.  “Sentries report the worgen are returning.”  

The orc released another exasperated breath and brushed her hands down her cloak in a more figurative motion.   There was no dirt on it to start with.    

“Go get healed.  I’ll want a progress report when you’re better,” Seya replied softly.   The goblin nodded and walked away slowly, holding his shoulder.   The cloth of his short over his shoulder was glinting from the blood staining through.  

* * *  

Despite young Blackmane’s concerns, they didn’t detect any of the shamans pursuing them as they loped back to the coven’s settlement.  

The entire time during their journey, Mercer could think of nothing better then rending Seya’s head from her shoulders.   He and Anessa had had a good thing while in the Twilights and the previous leadership had respected them.   Seya, however, had usurped control of this coven and had literally driven them like slaves to build whatever this strange contraption was that her goblins had designed.  

It was time to take it back.   Since leadership was often determined by popularity, he doubted he’d have much trouble with control.  

And he’d get vengeance for Anessa’s death.  

He glanced sideways and noted how well Blackmane managed to keep pace with his own steady jog.   The worgen commoner hadn’t pestered Mercer with questions, pontifications or requests.    He was humble, yet skillful.  

His kind made the best kind of servants.  

They crested the last ridge and the camp spread out before them.  In the night air, it was lit by dozens of campfires.   Silhouetted against the low blue moon was that infernal contraption of Seya’s.   It would be the second thing he would destroy, after her.  

“Do not interfere with what I’m about to do.  But if I should fall, don’t hold back your rage.   Don’t let my wife die in vain,” he growled, before shifting back to human form and biding Swift to do likewise.   Together, they marched into the settlement.    

The other cultists paid them little mind.  Mercer was recognizable by many.   Blackmane garnered a few curious glances, but most preferred not to be the focus of Mercer’s anger, or more importantly, Anessa’s.  

“Those who have a talent for leadership are the ones who should lead.  Not any greenskin brute,” he muttered just loud enough for Blackmane to hear.  He roughly snatched a sword from the scabbard of one of the nearby guards and pushed him to the ground.  

Without a second glance, he stormed to the center of the camp.  

“Seya!   Get out here, greenskin!” he shouted.  All activity in the settlement grounded to stop.  There was no mistaking the challenge in Mercer’s voice.  

He waited patiently as Seya calmly and unhurriedly approached the central campfire of the settlement.   As usual, the orc had the hood of her dark cloak over her head.  He always assumed it was to conceal the terrible scar that marred the entire right side of her face.  He’d never met an orc that was squeamish about revealing their scars.  

“What is the meaning of this, Mercer?  I don’t see the draenei’s head in your hand so I suppose you must have an excuse for me instead,” Seya stated as she came to stop just in front of the Gilnean noble.   She spared a split second glance at Blackmane and then to Mercer.  “And yet, another stray is brought to my camp.”

My camp, now,” Mercer corrected.  “I won’t be taking orders from you anymore.”  


”Just look at this.  You can’t even keep this pathetic rabble in order.  How can you dream of greatness, when you’ll always be a failure.” Seya heard Geveron’s voice in her mind and without thinking, shook her head to clear it out of her mind.  

”Look at them.   They don’t know whom to support.  The Dog or the Failure.”

“Shut up!” she snarled at the voice.  

“I won’t shut up.  You’ll no longer tell me to shut up!” Mercer snarled back, while pointing the sword at her.  

Seya growled.   None of the cultists were moving to support her.    In all fairness, they hadn’t moved to support their predecessor either, when she’d taken power from him, but that hardly mattered to her now.  

“Do you want to be the alpha?  Is that what this is about?” she asked.  

“I was born to be the alpha.   I have watched as you have driven us into building this thing.   I have watched as you have sacrificed our members for this.   And because of you, Anessa is dead.  And for what?  To harass a small pathetic group of shamans who couldn’t defend themselves from a pack of sandworms now?” the Gilnean shouted back.  

From the corner of her one good eye, she saw a handful of bystanders slowly nod their heads.    

”You’re losing control all over again.” Geveron whispered.   He moved closer to the bonfire and made a show of warming his hands.  His eyes glinted in the firelight and his grin almost went from ear to ear.  

”This is like Feralas all over again!” Shaede added while issuing a laugh that threatened to double him over.  

”All we need are some exploding barrels and it’ll just like that time on Dreadmist Peak! Kerrix quipped, while making a motion of an explosion with his hands.    Both of them were sitting on a nearby cart that afforded them the best view of her fall.    ”You always bring us to such good entertainment, Geveron.”

No one else seemed to take note of the jeering newcomers.   Instead, they were all fixated on the drama between her and worgen.  

“You seem a little distracted.  Is leadership becoming too much for you?   I’d understand, what with you being an orc and all.”

”You can’t even think of a reply for that,” Geveron called out from the fire.   As before, it was as if no one could hear him.   Instead, many of the bystanders seemed to be busy whispering quietly amongst themselves.  

“Every… everything I have done has been to bring glory and attention to our cause!” Seya shouted back.   “What we are building, when completed, will be felt throughout Azeroth for centuries!   I cannot reveal it but to a very few because our enemies have spies everywhere.   But distractions like this will only serve to harm us!   We cannot suffer anymore delays!”

“And yet, you make the leader of those shamans one of your lieutenants!   Tell me, Seya.  How much damage did he cause to your project?   How many of us died while allowed your pet death knight to dispose of him.”

Mercer’s rebuttal was met with even more nods and murmurs.    

”Can you feel the failure approaching?” Geveron said.    This time, he was standing on the cart just behind Shaede and Kerrix.  

Seya felt her heart beat faster as the situation began rapidly degrading.  

“You were once human, Mercer.  What’s the saying?  ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’   I took a risk and it didn’t work out as I had intended, but still the Earthen Ring and the Cenarion Circle do not know of our plan!”

“No one knows of your plan?  You don’t have a plan?   This thing makes no sense and the resources you have gathered have cost us too much in money and lives!” Mercer called out.  

“No other Twilight Coven has accrued the number of mana bombs we have!   No other coven is even remotely close to the history we’re about to make!   I have the vision to see it through to its endgame.”  Seya calmed her nerves and took several deep breaths while bringing her cloak tighter around her body.   She hated the cold almost as much as she hated this mongrel Gilnean.    “Great plans have always eluded dull minds, Mercer.”  

”I’m going to have to remember that line when you fail,” Geveron said.  This time he was standing right next to her.   On the cart, were the bodies of Shaede and Kerrix.  

Seya ignored the apparition and brought her hands down.    She’d had enough of this pointless banter.  

Issuing a spell, she raised her right hand and launched a barrage of arcane bolts.   To his credit, Mercer dodged them and tossed his sword to the ground.  He leapt behind the campfire.  A second later, when he reappeared, he was in his true worgen form.   His brown and gray fur glinted in the firelight as he leapt toward her with his jaws wide open.  

It happened so fast, that many of the onlookers were unsure of what exactly they saw.    Seya sidestepped the rushing worgen, and grabbed the top of his jaws and pulled him to the ground.  

Issuing a canine-like cry, Mercer stumbled into the dusty sound and covered his bleeding snout.   Seya stormed toward him and fired off another arcane bolt that sent the worgen crashing toward the construction site.   The cultists working there scampered away as Seya approached.  

She leaned down next to the worgen who was curled up in himself and nursing his mangled snout.    

“These people are not peasants,” Seya whispered gently.  Her hands glowed as a conjuring spell was initiated.   “Your name and your station in life mean nothing here.   And, that is the example that the glorious Deathwing is trying to impart upon the world.   Warlord or king.  Noble or beggar.  Orc or human.  It just doesn’t matter.  All who are under the shadow of his glorious wings are meant to do one thing.   Burn.”

The orc finished conjuring a length of rope, which she effortless tied around his neck.   She through it up onto one of the crossbeams at the construction project and then carried the other side to a nearby winch.   There, she secured to a wheel and with a quick nod to the goblin foreman, a few nearby cultists were immediately gathered and instructed to begin turning the wheel.  

Mercer felt the rope tighten around his neck and then felt his body be dragged along the sand.  He struggled for a breath and clawed at the rope as he was raised upright by the rope.  

Seya ignored his strangled protests and instead addressed the other cultists.   She saw the fear in their eyes and struggled to suppress a grin.  

This is as it should be.

“I will not suffer any further delays!   I want this project completed by the time the sun reaches its apex today.   We are so close to achieving this grand moment in history and stupidity like this will not be tolerated!” she shouted, while pointing a finger back at the struggling form of the Gilnean noble.  

“Stormwind and Orgrimmar think we’re not a threat.  They think us disorganized lunatics!    Tomorrow, they will suddenly fear us.   And by then, there won’t be a damn thing they can do to stop what we will unleash!”

Seya paused to control her temper and breathing.   Every eye was fixated on either her, or the frantically struggling Mercer.  

“If you can’t handle what I’m asking, then go out into the desert and out of my way.   But any other acts of treachery will make what he’s suffering through appear pleasant!   Now get back to work!”  

All around the camp, the cultist immediately returned to work.   Not a word was spoken anywhere.  

Seya remembered the newcomer who had arrived, but in the bustle of activity and the heat of her rage, she’d lost track of him.   She had focused everything on making Mercer an example.    

“Bring Alarde to me and find the newcomer who had arrived with Mercer,” she ordered a nearby guard.   Without hesitation he ran off to do her biding.  

Yes, this is as it should be.

”Enjoy the moment, sssssister.  Knowing you, it won’t last,” Geveron said.  He was standing next to her and looking out at the camp, as is he were her partner in this venture.

She didn’t bother to respond.   She would show him.  She will show them all that she could be powerful.   She will finally prove herself to them.[/i][/i]

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Post  Alarde Orig on Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:02 am

Zelg, Niashado, Azgard

Weirdly, the whole attack and escape was planned according to Niashado, or at least partly planned. Weird and maybe slightly unconventional it may have been, as well as a huge surprise for all, but logically and tactically it made sense. If the “escapee” saw the confusion, he could have easily taken it as a legitimate attack and betrayal. Finally, at least in Zelg’s mind, Swift would have actually killed the guards in the heat of the stunt if he had actually sided with and freed the captive.

"We will be heading out soon. Do you believe your equipment will be ready?" I really hope she did not see me damage this thing. Resting the butt of the rifle on the ground while gripping the barrel in the manner of a walking stick, Zelg cracked a slightly arrogant grin with a light chuckle.

“My equipment is always ready, Miss.” While sounding confident, the goblin was really trying his best to keep a straight face. He knew full well that his weapons had good chances of malfunctioning due to how they were built. But no one here really needed to know that little detail, so long as the end result was in their favor. That was his line of thinking.

“Perhaps you would wish some of it inspected? I admit to getting a little giddy, as a couple of the devices in that large crate accompanying me might really sway the scales in our favor.” While it was true the weapons were quite powerful and destructive, their reliability was a bit… laughable, in previous tests. But, again, minor details not worth mentioning until either enjoying the spoils of victory, or about to be overrun in failure and excuses might be needed. “Or maybe a demonstration to put your mind at ease would be in order?”

Niashado gave the goblin a puzzled expression.  She didn’t know anything about firearms other than the importance of not having one pointed at her.   Still, the shamaness had to admit a certain amount of curiosity as to the operation of such weapons, if only to understand the mechanics behind its operation.  

Draenei were, after all, a curious people.  

“I have never operated such a device.  Perhaps you may provide a lesson and a short demonstration?” she asked.  Then, glancing around the camp, she noted that some of the other shamans appeared eager to see a demonstration and were gathering around.    

He wasn’t sure if he should be excited or worried that a number of people wanted to see a demonstration. Excited obviously because he always enjoyed test firing, or actually just firing in general; further, as the creator, watching his creations to what they were designed to always made him like a thief who had never been caught.

But then came into play the very real possibility of something either not happening or happening that was not supposed to happen. AKA, a malfunction. Technically, one had already taken place, but he was still fairly certain that no one had seen it happen. But, to be safe, perhaps he would demonstrate with the smaller carbines as opposed to his longer, more powerful model.

He had been hoping that he would convince some here to become interested in marksmanship and, maybe, purchase one of the short rifles. Nothing wrong with hoping. At the very least I’ll get paid for this job.

“Well, it never hurts to have a few extra rifles on your side. And fortunately, I did bring a few extras with me although, they are a bit different from this beauty right here.” Zelg finished by patting the muzzle of his weapon. His crate held a number of rounds of ammunition for the rifles, along with a couple of specialty devices. Unfortunately, lack of rounds for them meant he would maybe only be allowed to demonstrate once if at all, as opposed to a full lesson for the rifles.

“If you will follow me, we can get this underway.” Turning, the goblin began to walk back towards his equipment, but held his weapon out as he heard the footsteps of some of shamen following. “The main thing to pay attention to is how to load and fire. All the rifles operate like this one, with what is called a bolt action. Fairly simple, easy to use, hard to screw up. Simply quarter-turn up, slide out,”

The bolt slid smoothly and locked with a light lick against the remaining internal lug, revealing the near pristine breach. Pulling a long round of ammunition from a bandolier he held it out before placing it inside the weapon.

“Pointed end towards the muzzle, rimmed end towards you. Then slide forward, quarter-turn down,” With another series of metallic clicks, the bolt closed with the hammer locked against a spring behind it. “The weapon is now ready to fire. Do not point one of these at anything you do not intend to obliterate.”

Nearing the crate, Zelg quickly repeated the steps, removing the round in the process and setting the weapon on the ground gently. With little effort, the top of the crate slid off and the goblin set to work pulling out large pieces of straw and cotton, before pulling out the three shorter rifles and a medium sized linen bag filled with metal cartridges. Setting two next to the larger on the ground, he held the third up for those gathered to see. Easily half the length of the larger weapon, the only other noticeable difference was the lack of a high powered optic scope.

“Model 600, Mark 4 carbine. The only real differences are, obviously, size and how one aims. No fancy telescopic sight, just a few pieces of metal; line them up with your target and fire. Upsides to the smaller size, it is much lighter and easier to move around than the larger one I will be using.

Downsides, shorter range and poor accuracy, comparatively speaking. These will struggle with anything beyond about 100 yards, the one I will be using can triple that if needed. The payoff however, it takes about half the time to train with one of these and costs about a third to make.” Zelg paused, realizing he was starting to gab a little bit, and decided to move on.

The next series of items that he removed from the large crate resembled maces; metal heads with thin wooden handles. At the base of each handle was a small loop. Setting most aside, he again held one up for demonstration

“Model 24, Mark 2 grenade. Again, very simple design, simply pull pin,” Zelg started by pointing to the small metal loop at the base of the handle, before ending with a mock throwing motion. “And throw. You have about five seconds after pulling this pin to throw, or said grenade will relieve you of most of your arm.” Setting the small yet lethal weapon aside, Zelg reached into the crate one last time to pull out large, about six inch diameter pipe that was about the same size he was. A couple of handles and small lenses sights adorned the exterior, and that was about it.

“And finally, this… Um, well, let’s just leave it at XO 550. Experimental rocket launcher, still in testing, and to put simply what it can do, take one of those grenades and multiply the explosive force by about fifteen.” He realized only now that maybe he had gone a little overboard on the details, especially with the rocket pipe. But, it did not look like anyone had been driven off, and it seemed like the right time to start firing.

“Alright, who’s first for the rifle?”

“I be wanting a try, mon,” Dango announced as he stepped forward and picked up one of the rifles.    It was the Model 600 if Niashado recalled properly.   She stood some ways to the back and allowed the others to watch as Zelg patiently explained what Dango needed to do to the arm and fire the weapons.   A short time later there was a sharp report that caused her to jump a little as the rifle fired at a target in the distance.  Said target was a rock outcropping about sixty yards from where they stood.  

Moments later she heard Azgard approach her.    There was no mistaking the growl he issued.  

“You disapprove?” Niashado quietly asked, as to not disturb the others who were listening to Zelg.  

“They are shamans.  They should not be resorting to such tools,” the orc elder responded.  

“You are shaman and you use axes.  Many other shamans use various weapons to defend themselves.”  

“The elements guild my axes and give me force.   These kinds of weapons require little trust in the elements to operate.  They allow the weak and undeserving to be powerful,” he responded in contempt.  Then, he turned to her.  “And I’m surprised you, of all people, would allow them use such things.”  

Niashado sighed as she watched Dango take aim and pull the trigger.  Despite being prepared, she still jumped a little at the sharp sound.   A small explosion of dirt at the rock outcropping announced that the young troll shaman had indeed hit the target.    

“I abhor violence and the taking of lives.   The very concept of me leading anyone into battle, much less suggesting it, has never entered even my darkest nightmares.   Now, I am about to do just that.   But how can I send them into such a dangerous situation when the gifts of the Elements are not always there for us?  How can I send these men and women into battle with one armed tied behind their back?

“Light forgive me, I have to allow them every opportunity to survive.   We are weak.  If the use of such vile instruments are necessary to insure that they will have a fighting chance then so be it,” the draenei replied.   “We have to stop the Twilights.”  

“It’s still wrong.”

“They don’t have decades of military experience like you, Azgard.”
Dango fired off a third round that hit the target and then passed the rifle onto another shaman.  This one was a dwarf who appeared to have some skill with the weapon.   With little prompting from Zelg, he soon had the weapon loaded and quickly took aim.  A second later another explosion of dirt at the rock outcropping announced a successful hit.  

“Aren’t you going to learn how to fire that thing?” Azgard asked.  


“But you doubt the faith of these shamans to rely on the elements?”   This time, Niashado turned and narrowed her eyes at him.  

“Faith is a personal choice.  I cannot force it upon anyone.  It does not work that way.   Nor are these shamans’ faith in the elements at risk simply because they chose to arm themselves with these weapons,” she whispered back heatedly.   She saw the edge of the orc’s lips curl upward.  

“So, you’re finally learning,” he replied calmly.  

“Learning what?   That I may well be leading these shamans into a slaughter,” she lamented as she watched yet another shaman retrieve a rifle.  

“That the world isn’t as black and white as you’d like to believe,” Azgard muttered as he pushed on ahead and approached Zelg.   He picked up another rifle and studied it closely before turning to the goblin.  

“Tell me what to do with this?” he asked.

Azgard, if he remembered correctly, had lingered towards the rear of the group with Niashado. Whatever they had been talking about it did not seem pleasant, based on the glances Zelg stole while the other shamen trialed the rifles. However, the orc showed interest in the weapon and the gun smith was more than glad to demonstrate.

In between shots from the other shaman, Zelg picked up the last of the short rifles and once again demonstrated the process.

“Quite simple; quarter turn up, pull back,” as he proceeded, the goblin could not help but notice that the bolt was moving rather sluggishly compared to the others. It might mean imminent catastrophic failure, or nothing more than a rough operation. The only way to tell was by testing.

Grabbing two rifle rounds from his bandolier, he handed one to Azgard before placing the other in his weapon. “Pointed end towards the muzzle, then push forward and quarter turn down to lock.”

Again, the bolt moved sluggishly and actually got stuck as he tried to lock it down, requiring a little extra force to click into place. Deftly shouldering the weapon, Zelg lined up the sights on the rock outcropping target.

“Then, simply aim and,” squeezing the trigger, the hammer slammed forward, firing the round and splitting the air with another sharp report. In the distance, a small explosion of dirt and rock fragments confirmed the round hit its mark. “Fire.”


Most of the remarks made by this blood elf simply bounced off as Alarde anticipated the start of the interrogation. Instead, she began to whisper quietly to the captive troll. I wonder if this counts as plotting against Seya, some bloodshed would really liven this place up right now. The elf whipped her head around suddenly to address the death knight.

"Do you at least have a healing potion for her? If I had my BAG I would give her something. Or have you forgotten what it's like being a fully living elf?" She spat. It was clear that this elf was trying to push Alarde’s buttons and get him to leave the tent. All she got in return was a deep foreboding chuckle as the death knight walked over to and then towered over the pair.

“Memories of that sort no longer matter to me. But to answer your question, no, I don’t have a potion for her, nor would she get one unless so ordered by Seya. And here’s a little something for you to roll around in that pretty little head of yours,” in a rather dramatic and drawn out method, Alarde drew his rune blade from the sheath on his back. He allowed the point to rest less than an inch the blood elf’s eyes before speaking, all the while grinning sadistically.

“I really don’t care if you’re not impressed, as the only reason you are alive right now is to extract information, as the only reason she is alive is to have said information extracted. The truth of this situation is that I can kill you with but a flick of the wrist and for reasons that only I will have to justify.” Ever so slowly, the tip of the blade wandered from the elf’s face to resting low on the neck of the bound troll. “To kill her would require no more than a third of that effort. So, if you truly value your life, I would start “extracting” before I get bored and decide to find out how many bones need be broken before you black out from the pain.”

At that moment, something happened outside the tent. It took Alarde a second to realize it was a burst of arcane energy, and it felt quite strong. He was so used to sensing holy and natural magics that he had almost forgotten what the arcane arts felt like from a distance. Another burst caused the elf to glance towards the entrance of the tent, half expecting an attack as his grin faded.

Glancing back, he noticed that there was now a small trickle of blood leading to where the tip of his blade had only just pierced the troll’s skin. Before he could comment or try and carve a basic pattern into her skin to prove his previous points, a guard of the camp burst into the camp.

“Alarde! Seya has requested your presence!” Slowly, the death knight backed away, sheathing his weapon.

“Is that so…” He did not doubt that he had been summoned, but did not want to leave this pair unattended. Following the guard outside, the elf paused before raising his hand and clenching a fist in the process. With a light tremor, a small and quite wiry ghoul broke through the rock and sand surface to stand before its master.

Not uttering a word, the elf pointed firmly to the entrance of the tent, and then to the elf and troll within. A low hiss confirmed that it understood what to do, standing in the entry way now staring blankly inside.

“What’s so urgent?” Alarde spoke as he began to follow the guard.

“One of the Petigrew’s returned and attacked Seya!”

“Who or what is a Petigrew?”
Alarde Orig
Alarde Orig

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Post  Mammona on Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:43 pm

As Mercer struggled against the conjured rope that looped around his neck, the cultists quickly returned to their jobs and engagements. They worked without pause, not even risking a glance at the hanging worgen, for fear of turning Seya’s anger towards them. The orcish sorceror’s rage could almost have been a physical thing, and none would risk it just to see Mercer die.

“Bring Alarde to me and find the newcomer who had arrived with Mercer,” Seya ordered a nearby guard.   Without hesitation he ran off to do her bidding.

As the cultists worked harder, focused on their own efforts, none seemed to notice that there was one more robed figure than there should have been. In addition to that, no one noticed that the wooden beam that the new robed figure was hammering did not have a single nail on it.

As soon as Mercer had shifted to his worgen form, Swift had slowly edged away from the conflict. He never had any intentions of confronting Seya with Mercer. In fact, he would have preferred no to bee seen by her sight at all. All he needed to do was to fulfil his objective – find the location of the Twilight Cultist’s camp. He had done that, now he needed to vacate the premises before things turned ugly.

Too late for that, he mused as he hammered. He knew that if he had turned and ran, his motion would have been noticed, and he would have been pursued. No, as soon as Mercer had been hauled up, twitching and struggling. Swift had snagged a large, spare robe from the peg that held it, pulled it on over his bow and knife and shifted to his worgen form. The other cultists had seen him arrive as a human. This meant that they would be looking for a human. He had snatched up a hammer and started working. The other cultists were too spellbound by Mercer and Seya’s conflict to pay him much heed, and once it had finished, they were too focused on their jobs to notice that Swift was still in the vicinity. Keep close to your prey, Swift though as he hammered. Keep so close that you become part of its’ natural surroundings. He needed to stay close to avoid detection. Besides, he had one part of his mission still left to carry out.

As he hammered, Swift glanced at Seya. She was standing rigidly, no doubt waiting for the guard to return with ‘Alarde’. Swift had no idea who or what ‘Alarde’ was, but he knew that it must be bad if Seya was sending for him. A lieutenant, perhaps. Swift severely hoped that it had nothing to do with the chilling smell of death and decay that emanated from nearby.

Swift kept watching Seya from the corner of his eye. He needed to time his move to perfection if he had any chance of escaping. He needed to carry out his final order. Azgard had been clear. “Once you have confirmed the location of the Twilight Camp and have a good idea of their numbers, you should dispose of Mercer and return to us.” Swift saw that Mercer’s struggles were becoming less pronounced, as the air was choked from him. Swift knew that Mercer would probably suffocate on his own, but he could not take the chance of Seya having a change of heart. If she decided to spare him, Niashado, Azgard and the camp would be in danger. That was why, as he hammered with one hand, his other slowly drew his bow out from under his stolen robe, along with an arrow, the tip poisoned for insurance.

Then, Swift saw his opening. Seya’s field of vision was no on his area. She was looking after the guard. In one smooth movement, Swift straightened, dropping his hammer as he brought his bow to bear. A quick glance around at the working cultist to ensure no one was tracking his movements, and the worgen tracker had an arrow nocked. He drew and released in a single, calculated movement. The arrow sped past Seya, barely two feet from her head. It streaked through the air to punch through Mercer’s throat, just above where the rope coiled. Mercer’s eyes bulged and his choking rasps turned to a sickening rattle as the life faded from him.

Swift lowered his bow and picked up his hammer. He glanced around. The cultists were still hard at work. He quickly moved over to the cultist closest to him, and said in a conversational tone. “’Scuse me. Could ya hold this for a tick? Gotta work this damn nail out.”

The cultist, a human focused on his own work, nodded. He extended a hand, and Swift placed his bow in it. He let the hammer fall to the ground. As soon as the weapon had changed hands, Swift stepped back and raised a finger. He yelled in surprise and mock-horror.

“Gods! He’s shot Mercer! Help!”

Every eye in the immediate vicinity turned to the pair. The cultist’s face registered confusion, until he saw what was in his hand. His eyes widened, and his mouth began to frame a protest. “No, I –“

Swift drove his point home. “Shot Mercer right through the throat! Help! Guards!”

Now, every eye was on the cultist holding Swift’s bow. Several cultists began to run towards him. By the time the bewildered worker was being tackled by his peers, Swift was gone.

The worgen tracker streaked through the camp, and was past the guard and sentries, who had also turned to see what the ruckus was about. Once he was past them, he discarded his robes in order to drop to all fours and run unhindered. Swift raced through the sandy desert, heading for the nearest rocky outcrop to mask his tracks. His mission was complete. The camp had been found and Mercer had been disposed of. Now, his only goal was to put as much distance between the cultists and himself as he could before they realised that his unwitting dupe was not the real bowman.

I only hope that Seya and her ‘Alarde’ do not decide to pursue me, he thought. Alone, in this desert, I do not like my chances…

((Apologies for the late reply. Xmas/New Years/Holidays conspired to keepy me quite busy.))

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