Topic Blind (IC - Closed)
The plan was a good one to start with. They could make adjustments as needed. Keiran bid the women goodnight and waited outside the men’s house while Makhaal and Mirin spoke quietly. After a moment, he decided that he probably did not need to hear the conversation and moved away until she left.
He bid Mahkaal good night and after washing his face, fell into his bed. He was asleep soon enough, but wasn’t able to stay asleep. He knew he needed to clear his head and so he pulled his pants back on and went out into the night thinking that a short walk in the fresh air would help.
The grove was dark and the path through it wound around the trees. Eventually he came to a clearing and ahead of him he could see Evara in the moonlight. There was a time that he wondered about why she would be up at odd hours, then he realized that she suffered from bouts of insomnia. He made certain that he was making enough noise in his approach not to alarm her.
“You look a little like a ghost,” he said quietly coming to a stop beside her. “Can’t sleep I take it? It seems that at least I am in good company.”
Evara was sitting on the ground listening to the sounds drifting in around her. She let them soothe her, allowing her to focus her mind on a single thought so she could at least sort through them properly.
She turned to see Keiran come out of the darkness. That was the problem with night elves in the forest—you just couldn’t see them until they were right up on top of you. She didn’t mind Keiran being out here. He was a good person to talk to and talk things through.
“Too many thoughts,” she said, tapping a finger to her temple. “I thought some fresh air might sort them out. What about you?”
“Same as you, I think,” he said as he sat down beside her and leaned back against a tree. He took a moment to regard the blood elf then gave a sigh.
“I can’t imagine that anyone trying to build up the demon portals has gotten very far,” he started. “There are so many eyes and ears around that whoever it is has been very careful to get even this far. Whoever we are dealing with might prove to be a very tough foe to beat.”
He looked out over the grove. “Your idea about calling the in Skyguard is a good one. Perhaps we should just mark any camps we come across and have them bombed. Maybe that will draw out whoever is behind this? I have to wonder if they are here or if they are somewhere else, like Netherstorm or Shadowmoon Valley. Netherstorm, I would think, since Blade’s Edge is close to there.”
He looked down at Evara. “Will you go to Shadowmoon Valley if we have to?”
Edited by Evara on 5/11/12 3:17 PM (PDT)
“Will you go to Shadowmoon Valley if we have to?”
He had just hit the nail on the head, Evara thought. She knew that it was quite possible that this trip would end up in that blackened place that had stolen so many lives and thrust them into the depths of depravity and corruption. She knew first hand just how depraved and corrupt the blood elven camps were there; people being groomed to take a spot in the Black Temple, either as guards or courtesans. She knew just how little regard for life they had as people clamored over each other to gain favor and to get ever closer to the taste of power that was offered to them.
She knew all too well; she had been there, placed by the Scryers to ferry information about the base and the projects they were working on there out to the field agents. In order to be effective, she had to be one of them, walking a narrow line between duty and depravity.
It had not been easy to stay on that line.
“If we have to go…” her voice trailed off and she looked out into the night, unhappiness etched on her face and illuminated by the moonlight.
Keiran regretted bringing up Shadowmoon Valley. He knew that she had been stationed there by the Scryers but beyond that, he didn’t know what she did there. He only knew that she didn’t like talking about it and he didn’t bring it up. Except tonight. They might very well have to go to Shadowmoon and if she thought she wouldn’t be able to stand it, he wasn’t going to let her go. She would be too much of a liability, he told himself. He wasn’t trying to protect her from something hurtful, but then, he knew that that wasn’t entirely true.
“You don’t have to go back there,” he said. “If the trail leads us there then you can stay in Shattrath.”
Her unhappy expression tugged at him and he gave into the urge to offer her some comfort. He reached over and put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards him in a sideways hug. “If you do go back, I’ll be there with you.”
Evara thought about what she would do if they had to go to Shadowmoon. Would she stay in Shattrah like Keiran suggested or would she go? Depending on who or what they were up against, she might very well have to go.
While she knew that one day she needed to go back to Shadowmoon if only to prove to herself that she could and it held no power over her, she wanted to go on her own terms. She didn’t want to be forced there. Of course, if she had to track down an agent for the Burning Legion in Shadowmoon, she might forget—at least for a short while—her trepidations in favor for the chase.
“I need to go back, I just want to do it on my own terms,” she spoke quietly. “If the trail leads us there, then so be it.” She looked at Keiran and gave him a small smile as he hugged her. “At least if it does, I won’t be alone.”
She looked out over the glade again then hauled herself to her feet. “I should think about getting to bed if I want to be worth anything tomorrow. Good night, Keiran,” she paused a moment and looked down at him, interesting to her since she was usually looking up at him, “thank you for caring.”
She knew that their friendship could be viewed as odd by many, but there were quiet times like this that it made perfect sense. She made her way back to the house and climbed back into her bed. She finally drifted off to sleep, her thoughts focused away from the task before them and firmly entrenched into something far more pleasant.
The nether ray hover high in the sky. Cianna was finally getting used to the creature’s bobbing movements and quick, sharp turns. Ahead of them was a demon camp, easy to tell by the green smoke rising up into the sky.
Beneath her were jagged outcrops of rock and meandering through the hard baked soil strange serpentine creature could be seen slowly flying around as they hunted for food. The cool shade and sweet smells of the druid grove were gone and had been replaced with the stiff smell of baking rock and a faint acidic smell that she assumed was from the demon camp.
Ahead of her, Evara was marking the location of the camp on a piece of paper. She had to wonder if the paladin was having some difficulty because of the movements of the ray.
It had been a long search and Cianna was astounded at the numerous nooks and crannies the plateau held. She wasn’t much of a tactician, but she could understand why this would be a good place to hide something. They had first checked the original camps and finding them bare, continued in a long circle around the plateau. They had stopped for lunch and now with the sun beginning to make its descent from the sky, had turned to investiage the portion of the plateau that would lead to Nethertorm. It wasn’t long before Evara, who had been leading the group, had pointed out the camp hidden behind a recess.
The camp marked, Evara motioned for the group to head on and continue the search. There were still a few areas that needed to be checked before they headed back in and sent a druid with the information to alert the Skyguard.
The remaining sweep went quickly and no other activity was seen. It wasn’t a surprise, the camp they had found appeared to be large. No wonder they had set up a decoy in Hellfire. Jumping off the back of her ray when they reach Ruaan Weald, Evara handed the information over to a druid. She motioned to another druid and the pair of them transformed into birds and headed towards the Skyguard. They would be flying through the night to get there.
Edited by Makhaal on 10/29/12 1:21 PM (PDT)
Morning came and Makhaal’s bed was in a position to catch the full bore of the rising sun. Blinking sleepily, he raised his hand to shield his eyes as he stumbled out of bed. A splash of cold water on his face brought him to full wakefulness and he called to Keiran to get up.
“Rise and shine my purple friend! It will be a long day today. Can you see to the provisions for our outing? I will see to breaking our fast.” He marched outside and went to the women’s house to make certain they were up, then went in search of food.
The druids were kind and had a large selection of fruits and nuts to eat. After eating breakfast, he readied his things and soon he and the others were soaring up over the grove and onto the plateau. It was a long day of fruitless searching. The main area of the plateau looked clear as did Death’s Door—the one place that Makhaal thought would have had some activity—and now they sped up towards the end of the plateau towards Netherstorm.
He saw Evara bring her ray to a stop, but she didn’t need to raise her hand for him to realize that they had found the camp. Green smoke rose upward poisoning the air. He could smell the acidic fel energy and although he knew that it would be best for them to keep their distance and let the Skyguard do their job in bombing, he felt that he needed to go down there and bash in some demon heads. He didn’t want them back in his home again.
Beside him Mirin stared at the billowing green smoke with a mixture of hatred and fear in her eyes. She turned to him and said something, although her voice was lost to the wind.
Very clever, Keiran thought to himself as he viewed the location of the demon’s newest portal. They had done well in hiding this. He waited while Evara made her notes, then followed the other around as they finished sweeping the area.
They had made good time today and while the sun was well on it’s to going down and they would arrive at Ruaan Weald after night fall, they had completed the sweep. There was only one camp and from the amount of smoke and movement, it was a large one. The Skyguard would have fun bombing it.
The rays swept around back to Ruaan Weald and Keiran watched as a pair of druids took to the sky with the information. The prediction was that by tomorrow evening, the demon camp would be no more. An investigation of the camp would then tell them where they needed to go next.
He walked over to Evara and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Tomorrow the camp will be nothing but rubble. How long do you think it will take them to sort through it?”
Evara looked up at Keiran when he spoke. “I don’t know. Hopefully the bombing will flush out some high players that will hopefully be captured or if not, at least run in the direction of whoever is heading this up.”
What she left unsaid was that she hoped that said direction wasn’t going to be Shadowmoon Valley. Maybe, with luck, this would all end tomorrow.
She looked back in the direction of the Skyguard. The druids could no longer be seen. “We may be able to hear the bombs go off,” she said. “It won’t be loud, but sound carries well across the plateau.”
The next day was tense for Evara. Finally, in the distance, she could see the Skyguard fleet heading towards the shelf. One member veered off the from the others and landed at Ruaan Weald. With him were the two druids. Evara thought that they must be exhausted.
“I am Lieutenant Holdwater,” she said, slipping the goggles up to her forehead. “The bombing will commence shortly. We will put some people on near the ground guarding the exits to Netherstorm and back out into Blade’s Edge. If anyone tries to flee, we’ll know what direction they are heading. I will see you when this is done.”
With that, she put the goggles back in place and soared back up into the sky, following the bombing squad.
Not long after came the muted sounds of explosions. It seemed to go on for a very long time. Finally, a group of rays broke the horizon coming from the remains of the demon camp. Holdwater’s ray veered off again. This time she dismounted and motioned for the group to gather.
“It is done, nothing but rubble left and we have men working through that,” she said without preamble. “Two fled the scene, one we were able to capture—she is being taken back for questioning. The other, he appeared to be an orc, slipped away using fel teleport magics. The good news is that they were heading for Netherstorm so you won’t have far to go. We have a group searching for the orc now, but they will need to head for shelter soon, so they will be heading to the Blood Elf base to alert them. Pack your bags, you need to leave at first light. We need to strike while we can.”
Cianna listened carefully as the woman spoke and swallowed hard when the base was mentioned. Was this Gavin’s base? She wondered. She supposed that she would find out tomorrow.
Morning came all too quickly and soon Evara found herself back on the nether ray, this time, heading for Netherstorm, this time Holdwater led the way. The paladin had felt immense relief that the news that they would be heading to Netherstorm rather than Shadowmoon and had told Keiran in an aside after breakfast.
The ground sped underneath her, changing from sun baked red to gloomy grayish purple. The ray swooped and swerved as they followed Holdwater towards the blood elf base.
“Commander Dawnwalker! The Sha’tari Skyguard approaches!”
Gavin walked out of his tent and nodded to the soldier. It was late and he had to wonder what the Skyguard was doing in Netherstorm. He waited while his men took the rays to be cared for and then approached the pair of humans.
“Welcome to my humble base,” he said. “I am Commander Dawnwalker. I trust that everything is well?”
“I wish I came with good news, Commander, but unfortunately, I have not. A demon base with a working portal was found in Blade’s Edge Mountains, not too far from the Netherstorm boarder. We bombed it to ashes, but one person escaped here to Netherstorm. We lost him in the wastes. We have a group of scouts coming—they were brought in from Azeroth and appointed by Shattrath. They will be arriving here tomorrow.”
“From Azeroth?” Gavin felt cold. “Do you know their names?”
“No, sir I do not.”
Gavin nodded then collected himself. “I am certain that the both of you are tired. Please, avail yourselves to the mess tent while we prepare your quarters.”
He left them in the hands of his capable men and went back to his tent.
“What was that all about,” Narayne asked from the bed.
“They found a demon portal in Blade’s Edge and there is indication that something is happening here,” Gavin sat down at the edge of the bed and took off his boots. “We will be getting a group of scouts appointed by Shattrath tomorrow. I expect we will have our hands full in the coming days.”
Morning came all too quickly and soon Cianna found herself back on the nether ray, this time, heading for Netherstorm, this time Holdwater led the way. The ground sped underneath her, changing from sun baked red to gloomy grayish purple. The ray swooped and swerved as they followed Holdwater towards the blood elf base. Cianna’s heart was pounding at the thought that she was about to see Gavin again for the first time in years. What would either of them have to say to one another?
In front of her, Holdwater had already moved forward looking to make introductions. It was time to step forward.
Netherstorm was a gloomy place that was mostly devoid of life. Off to his left, he could see the remains of a draenei temple that had been decimated when Draenor had been torn apart. There were draenei souls still there, wandering the ruins, unable to pass on. Soon, the Blood elf base loomed ahead and the rays swooped down to land.
We’ll see how this goes, Makhaal thought as the ray landed. We started with a Draenei temple and are now ending with a blood elf military camp.
Beside him, Mirin smiled and patted his shoulder. The blood elves didn’t seem too concerned about them and greeted them when they came to take the rays.
“Hopefully this will be the last, yes?” Mirin said as they walked from the landing pad. “We will find who is behind this and it shall be the end of it. I am confident in that. We also have an army to back us up!”
They came up behind Holdwater and introduced themselves to Commander Dawnwalker. “I am Makhaal, and this is Mirin,” Makhaal gestured to her. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. Hopefully this matter will be resolved quickly and some time may be spent on matters that are less dire?”
Keiran now knew how Evara felt—and Cianna—when they went to the draenei temple in Hellfire. He was surrounded by blood elves. To their credit, they ignored that a seven-foot-tall purple elf with green hair was standing in their midst’s and went about their daily activities.
It had been a short trip to Netherstorm. He was grateful for that. The trip to Ruuan Weald from Shattrath had been exhausting and he wondered if there were mages at the base who could provide a portal back to Shattrath when they were finished here. Hopefully, this would be it.
He took a moment to look around the camp. It was neat, orderly, and in good shape. The commander seemed to run a tight ship. He could hear some men calling back and forth about preparing for a bombing run and he had to wonder if another camp had already been spotted.
In front of him, Holdwater was making introductions and he stepped up to take his turn. “Keiran Moonshadow,” he said, bowing. “Was another camp found?”
Edited by Winterlynn on 5/13/12 5:47 AM (PDT)
Gavin looked over the group that was assembled. A blood elf, two draenei, and a night elf. Another person hung back for a moment before stepping forward and he inhaled sharply.
Cianna had not changed much in physical appearance, but she did appear more confident. Her hair, still the color of pale gold hung like a curtain down her back. He had memories of threading his hands through the soft strands. He felt a small spark of pain when she smiled and pushed a lock of it that had fallen over her face back behind her ear. He remembered that gesture well and on more than one occasion, he had pushed that stray lock away.
She still moved with a fluid grace that was less about agility and more about innate femininity. When he had first met, he had wondered if it were practiced, but soon learned that it wasn’t. She was one of those women who just naturally oozed femininity and he found that it still sparked a masculine response in him.
A response, that Narayne for all her practiced wiles, had never been able to produce.
He knew that as the Commander of the base, he needed to be moving forward to greet her, but after all this time of accepting that he would never see her again, having her standing less than five hundred feet away was unnerving. What did one say to a woman who may or may not have written a horrible letter ending their engagement and came with the story that she thought he was dead.
The two of them would have to talk privately, but he Cianna needed to know that he chose to take another wife. Narayne wouldn’t be happy about it, she had already expressed her displeasure with the whole thing, but it was out of her hands.
This chapter was long overdue to be properly closed and this was his opportunity to do so.
He took a deep breath and moved forward.
“Commander, may I introduce Cianna Eveninglade?”
As the introduction was made, Cianna took a moment to study Gavin. Leadership seemed to suit Gavin, although she could see small changes in his demeanor. His hair was longer but still blond. He had grown a bit of a beard; it was neatly trimmed, accenting his strong chin. The carefree man that she had met was no longer there. He had been replaced by a man who had survived a terrible war.
“The Commander and I were previously acquainted in the Eversong Woods,” she said quietly, turning her attention back to the lieutenant.
Narayne stood back from the others, watching the woman with the pale gold hair being introduced to the various soldiers. Never in her mind did she think that Cianna would show up in Netherstorm. In her mind, the priestess wasn’t that brave or strong. Apparently, Narayne had misjudged her.
She could not suppress a frown as Gavin moved forward to greet his former fiancée. Narayne’s carefully laid plans were going to be unraveling unless she thought of something quickly—best to play dumb, she thought, after all, Gavin was to be married to her and Cianna was just a jaded leftover. Still, the woman moved with a grace that was attracting the attention of several men in the camp. Her long pale blonde hair shown even in the dimly lit sky of Netherstorm and Narayne could not squelch the feeling of jealousy that rose in her throat like bile.
“We still have some daylight left today and I hate to waste it,” Evara said. She pulled out a map, “I assume that you have scouts out in the immediate area as a matter of course, Commander?”
“Just through here,” he said. “We mostly provide protection at the mana forges so the engineers dismantling them don’t get attacked.”
“Why don’t we split up for a quick recon mission—send one group here,” she tapped on the map, “another here, and the last one assuming if Holdwater isn’t heading back now, here.”
“I can stay for now,” Holdwater replied. “How are you dividing the groups up?”
“Makhaal and Mirin can scout here, you and Cianna here,” her finger slid from one location to another on the map, “Keiran and I will head here. Don’t’ stay out too long, we just want to check these areas here so that is one less thing on our list tomorrow.”
Keiran and Evara had headed away from the mana forge and out into the wastes of Netherstorm. He knew why she had picked that area for them to scout; they both had strong armor and if they got into trouble, he could fight and she could heal. So far, everything had gone well. The area was clean and nothing but the native wildlife—if one wanted to call them that—moved through the wastes.
Suddenly a purplish light blinded him for a moment. Cursing he raised an arm to shield his eyes just as his ray gave a pained squeal and spiraled down to the ground.
The scouting was uneventful as Evara and Keiran swung around the back of the base and out into the wastes.
“Keiran!” Evara yelled as she saw his ray plummeting to the ground. She called forth a prayer of protection and hoped that it would be enough to keep him from being too injured—or worse—when he did the ground. Hopefully the ray would absorb some of the impact. It didn’t bode well for the ray, but Keiran was more important.
She looked around for what had hit him and saw a figure running through the wastes headed northward towards the Stormspire. She knew she couldn’t give chase. She needed to find Keiran and make certain that he was still alive. Steering her way down towards the ground, she saw where he had landed, the remains of her prayer glowing dully around him.
“Keiran!” she called again, hopping off the ray and running towards him.
Makhaal nodded and he and Mirin headed out, their nether rays moving up into the sky and away from the base. They were headed towards the road—an easy mission that should be over quickly. Neither of them expected any trouble and they moved slowly though the sky so they could talk to one another.
“I wrote down a list of people that should be present for the wedding,” Makhaal said. “Have you do so yet? My list is small, only five names. Later we can have a larger gathering if we want to.”
“I have had that list written and rewritten for years,” she replied. “When I thought that you would be taking just a short trip to the Exodar.”
Makhaal laughed. “That trip wasn’t so short, but we are moving forward yes?”
“Yes…” Mirin’s voice trailed off. “What is that?”
She pointed to a dark figure moving juts off the road, heading the direction of the Stormspire.
“I am not certain, but let us find out.”
The two swiftly landed the nether rays and cut a path that would intersect with the figure, who seemed intent upon something other than his surroundings. Makhaal, stopped short, hiding behind an outcrop and peered around.
The figure that that of an orc—he could tell from the color of the skin and build of his body. While the dark robes that hung over his body were different, the tall twisted staff with the glowing skull on the end was unmistakable—this was Morgron, and Makhaal finally had his chance to take down the evil warlock once and for all.
“What is it?” Mirin spoke barely in a whisper.
“Morgron, or at least it looks like him.”
“We should follow.”
“No, I intend to kill him where he stands,” Makhaal muttered. He summoned elemental protections and imbued his weapon with fire. Before stepping out and charging the warlock.
Morgron turned in surprise, not expecting that he would be ambushed by a draenei. He was save only by the demonic magic that cloaked him like armor.
“So another life for me to take?” he snarled before casting a curse and a weakness spell on Makhaal.
Mirin stepped out from behind the rock and began casting. She wasn’t certain if Makhaal would be able to handle the warlock alone, but surely between the two of them, they would be able to finish him off.
Makhaal felt the weakness in his arms and legs and the curse was causing pain to surge through his body. Still, he pressed on calling forth the power of fire to aid him. His maces glowed with the heat as he pummeled on the warlock’s body. This man had killed so many, now it was time for his due.
The imp, who had been hopping along unnoticed, paused for a moment before revealing himself. Fel fire erupted from his finger and bore into Makhaal. Morgron summoned his shadow magic, casting black bolts at the powerful Draenei. He could tell that his efforts at trying to weaken the man were working, he just needed to buy enough time for the man’s strength to be worn away, then he could drain his soul.
Mirin cast a frostbolt at Morgron, hoping to slow his movements. She followed with frostfire pouring her heart into the spells. She could see that the warlock’s magic was continuing to eat away at Makhaal’s strength and she realized that perhaps the two of them might not be enough to take down the warlock.
He felt his strength ebbing, a victim to the foul magics that the warlock possessed, but still Makhaal continued to fight. He had an edge against the warlock, whose skin was now burned and bruises and welts were appearing over this body. He knew that he had broken at least a few ribs and speaking for the evil orc was becoming more and more difficult. From behind him, Mirin was casting her magic, throwing what she had at the orc and removing the curses as best she could. Finding the imp, she made quick work of it and only hoped that Makhaal’s magic would hold out long enough for him to heal himself.
The orc was faltering and with the death of the imp, turned to flee. Mirin did not give him the chance. A frostbolt slowed him down long enough for Makhaal to summon a ball of lava. Morgron went down burning, his robes on fire and his skin blackened and smoking.
“Makhaal! We did it!” Mirin rushed forward as Makhaal went down on one knee, the warlock’s repeated curses taking their toll. “Hold on! I will do what I can! Heal yourself if you have the strength!”
Her magic was almost drained and she struggled to pull what she could together to wipe out the remaining fel magic that still ate away at him. Finally, she called upon the Gift of the Naaru, hoping that it would be enough to see him back to the base and to the medics.
“Makhaal! Please!” she sobbed out as he slumped forward on the ground. “Makhaal!”