The aging Lord-Chancellor and his wife lifted their crystal glasses of champagne, concluding the celebratory birthday toast before the crowd among them. Guests began to fill the room with sounds of clinking glasses and waves of uneven of "Cheers!" in the foyer of the Thulmane Manor. One individual in particular, however, stood out from the rest -- and quite literally too. The gray, withered frame of John Tho'lain of Vanitas revealed himself from the joyous crowd, aiming the sights of two revolvers towards the Dwarven couple before him.
The sound of nearly a dozen lethal shots were accompanied by the chilling screams of the guests as they watched their hosts fall violently to the floor. The Confederate Guardsmen in closest proximity to the bloodied couple arrived by their side immediately, while the more distant beings trudged through the fleeing crowd of guests to take down the assailant. As protocol, the living remainder of the Thulmane family, much to their chagrin, were evacuated from the area immediately by the Thane's personal guardsmen. Shaken guests congregated outside as Tho'lain was taken into custody and desperate resuscitation efforts were made on the Lord-Chancellor & his Lady.
"We failed them.." Several guardsmen muttered to themselves in anguish. They all reached the painful reality that their leaders could not be saved.
The Lord-Commander stood at the bottom of the staircase in sorrow. The foyer before him was scattered with discarded bullet shells, shattered champagne glasses, and of course, trails of blood. Guests were ordered to return indoors, where the deaths of the Lord-Chancellor & his wife were formally announced in a brief, heart-felt statement.
The war between the Confederacy and Vanitas had just begun.
"I, Galvynn Vandred Alexander Thulmane the Fourth, Thane of Avengarde, Thane of the Thulmane Clan, Grand Knight of Avengarde, Vassal of Clan Bronzebeard, an' Delegate of the Grand Alliance, do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of the Lord-Chancellery, and to the best of my ability, serve, protect, an' defend the Eastern Confederacy and the Grand Alliance from this day, until my last."
The new Lord-Chancellor stood proud before the gathered masses of Confederates before him, concluding the same oath administered to his fallen father years before. As the applause roared throughout the meeting hall of His Majesty's Keep, the young Dwarf felt the weight on his shoulders only multiply. He was not only tasked with the leadership of the Avengardian people, but also the continuity of the Eastern Confederacy and the bloody Vanitasian War that came with it..
"Ladies an' gentlemen of His Majesty's Council, I stand before 'ye this morning to address the controversial circumstances that occurred during the Battle of Redridge. As most of 'ye are aware, my men were ordered to Lakeshire -- with the proper approval of His Majesty -- to combat the threat that Lord Malus and his vile subordinates posed to the people of our Grand Alliance. As the troops of Vanitas enclosed on the town, the Confederacy successfully pushed their men back to Stonewatch in what turned out to be our first victory -- if only a brief one. 'Ye see, my Lords and Ladies, we embarked on this mission with the knowledge that the coffers of the Confederacy were rapidly depleting due to the massive, massive financial burden of war -- leaving it to myself to provide some relief by tapping into the fortune of my family.
The situation rapidly worsened once I received the news that Avengarde, the prosperous seaside Dwarven settlement that family founded centuries ago, had come under siege by agents of the Dark Iron Clan in an act of vendetta against my family. With town guardsmen spread thin and the Ironforge Guard majoritively abroad, I had no choice but to travel North and lead the battle against our most violent aggressors. Weeks passed, and my funds could no longer support both the war efforts at home and in Redridge, and soon -- inevitably -- the Eastern Confederacy declared bankruptcy. Our troops were immediately ordered to retreat due to lack of supplies, however it appears that the message hadn't arrived. Subsequently, casualties flourished and several of my men were captured, tortured, and yes -- brainwashed -- into fighting for Lord Malus. However, with the utmost optimism, I believe that they all have the potential to be rescued from their mental incapacity.
My Lords and Ladies, with the Dark Iron aggressors of my homeland vanquished, and the Confederacy in dire straits, I implore 'ye to provide support for our cause. This war has taken the lives many, including that of my father and his beloved wife -- SLAIN in my own home. Let the rumors of the Battle of Redridge dissipate from your mind and hear the real facts: We need your help."
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