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A time past, a place gone
Stop thinking about it.
A man, nearly dead from the heat bumped into his shoulder and collapsed to the ground in front of him.
Stop thinking about how bad it got.
A Dwarf, not so affected by the heat, hurriedly trudged past him.
Stop thinking about your home, in smolders, your people, in rags, your family...
Nearby, the sounds of violence, people pushing their way in front of each other.
Start thinking about the future.
Ahead of him, standing out amidst the red earth of the Blasted Lands stood the Portal, its unearthly green light illuminated the thousands of desperate creatures struggling to find their way to the other side. Like moths to a lantern they came, from all places, in an attempt to save themselves. The man questioned his place here, even if he reached the portal, how could he possibly survive? From what the man had heard, Outland was nearly as bad as Azeroth.
But that ‘nearly’ was what made all the difference.
He was closer now, and the masses only funneled closer together now, pushing shouting and crying, all in the portal’s peculiar light. Up close he could really get a feel for the gateway. Within it he saw the night sky, it grew larger and larger as he pushed on, shoving Dwarf, Elf, and Human alike out of his way
From far away, he heard shouting, he had grown accustomed to the constant yelling for some time. But this was different. Hundreds began to shriek and yell behind him, the mass of refugees began to undulate and squirm. To his sides he saw men and women look behind their backs and scream.
Never look back.
It was so close now, the worn stone steps of the portal under him assured him of that, the night sky of a different world filled his vision. Behind him that horrible shrieking and shouting. The man felt fear, cautiously he looked behind him. High above the red rocks of the blasted lands sailed three Zeppelins, two in back and one in front. From the two in the back, a cloud of green spewed from the rear of their Gondolas, flooding the Alliance Escapees . Chained to the lead Zeppelin, was a glowing purple sphere, the man’s heart swelled in fear and realization.
So the Horde wanted to make sure they didn’t have any competition in Outland, they’d blight the refugees and bomb the portal! They’d leave all that remained of the Alliance stranded in a dying land. Behind him, the cloud of green poison rose through the refugees, felling them almost instantly, the Zeppelin carrying the dreaded mana bomb inched ever closer.
It’ll take more than that!
The man looked in front of him, a wall of frightened people of all races and kinds attempted to rush through the portal, only causing more blockage. The man charged through them, shoving, pushing, scratching. The warm green glow of the portal beckoned him onward, it masked the emerald poison beginning to form around him. He coughed, those around him already weakened by the fiery Blasted Lands heat collapsed, the poison, even such a small amount, was too much to handle for them.
A great shadow fell across him and the others, he looked up through tear filled eyes, above the clouds of the forming blight, he saw the lead Zeppelin, and the mana bomb attached to it. The mechanical behemoth shuddered, and the pulsating purple orb attached to it began to descend. The violet hues of the mana bomb filtered through the green fog of the blight. The man’s lungs burned, he could barely see, but he pushed forward, one foot in front of the other.. ever onward.
Edited by Zorbak on 3/25/2013 4:50 PM PDT
He felt the explosion ripple across his body, he was propelled through the air at blinding speed. The sky turned thousands of shades of green, purple and red. Little pinholes of light surrounded him. He felt weightless, his lungs no longer burned, his eyes were no longer choked with blight. He opened them, above him.. the night sky of a different world.
He rose, all around him, refugees lay sprawled out, some had nasty purple burns across their body, some had had their hair turned an unnatural white, many other survivors stood at the sides, wary of helping those struck by the bomb. The man looked around, he had heard of the stair of Destiny before, but he hadn’t imagined he’d ever see it, definitely not like this..
Below him, at the base of the stair, he could see thousands of refugees make their way into the red wasteland of Hellfire Peninsula, forming a steady stream down the bone paved Path of Glory. The man suspected that by day’s end, more than a few refugees would join the skeletons there. The man did not look there for long however, he looked behind him, the massive portal no longer glowed green, it didn’t glow at all. The Horde had been successful.
Never look back.
No matter. The man looked now at into the horizon, he had not come to this land to dwell on the past. He dusted off his pants and started walking, he supposed that he’d find some new upstart faction that’d take him in. But most importantly, now it was he, Topper Mcnabb that decided his fate in this Brave New World.
Years Later, Outskirts of Garadar, Nagrand
The Orc took another swig of smooth Garadar Ale, his vision began to falter, the judging faces that always haunted the corners of his eyes became for a moment unseeable. The Orc took rubbed his eyes, and the faces returned.
The Orc looked around the small tavern he found himself in. The place he saw was much different than the place he remembered. He took another drink, and once again the faces flickered away. Nowadays the backwater bar was filled with creatures of every sort, Goblin, Blood Elf, Troll, even the occasional Man or Arrakoa. The Orc remembered when he was a young, how after killing his first Clefthoof, he had celebrated here amongst his own kin, when it was only Orcs that lived in this land.
Much had changed in recent times. The Orc was angry about this, he had thought returning to the land of his youth would help him, he had been wrong. The faces returned, in the shaman’s eyes the Orc saw shame. The Tauren stared through him, in silent disgust. The Orc returned to his drink, the past had only served to sadden him now. Again, the faces faded, and again the Orc knew a few moments of peace.
The Orc grunted in annoyance as a Human sat near him. The Human should’ve know that his kind didn’t belong here, this was not their tavern, this was not their world. Again the Orc remembered simpler times, when his people were happy, when Nagrand had been the only place in the world, and when even Humans had a land to call their own, far away from here. But this was a new world, a new place. From the corners of his eyes, the faces scolded him. They knew that the Orc had no one else to blame for his troubles but himself, and that was the worst part of it.
The mage, her hair white as bone, was the only one that didn’t judge, she didn’t scowl, she didn’t need to, it was in her smile that she showed him his suffering. For a moment the Orc was sorry, if only for a moment.
He unsteadily rose to his feet, placed a few gold on the counter and made for the tavern’s door. The faces watched him leave, and followed him out. It was outside when he saw his father’s face the clearest, and in his face there was only sad regret. The Orc took a breath of Nagrand air, fouled by clouds of smoke rolling in from Halaa, or whatever it was called nowadays. Draenor had changed, and the Orc had only himself to blame.
Edited by Zorbak on 3/25/2013 5:06 PM PDT
((Something to fit the post))
Dark......black...and riddled with fel and dark energies....
One would ask how would any life live here? Who would want to make their home here? Well....standing amongst this almost bare waste land full of strange beasts and creatures....was the Black Temple.
For many years, it sat dormant, silent....Illidan's defeat making it an empty place...until now.
Flags were raised anew, outcasts...ranging from Night elves to Blood elves...thrown out by their own people...flocking to the Temple to seek refuge. They found it, and with it, came power that they couldn't imagin. The Temple had already found a new leader in the times past, her name was Krystala Dawnshadow, a woman who planned on remaking the Illidari Cult anew...as the Illidari Darksworn.
Many hesitated, others accepted, and their numbers grew...and grew..and grew. Some simply wanted to live their lives in peace, others wanted to study the new found powers that were presented to them. This went on for years...and soon...they would be ready to grow. Ready, to expand.
A lone woman stood upon the balcony that was attached to the roof of the Temple. Behind here was where Illidan had fallen, were he had failed. She didn't plan to end up like him, however...no..she will be stronger than that. Purple runes glowed upon her bare arms and lower legs. She wore a thick black vest, shorts and soft black shoes, wearing a tabard of the Illidari over her vest.
She looked down upon the lands of Shadowmoon, she watched as more refugee's dragged and walked their way towards the Temple, seeking peace from all the destruction. Here, they might find that...but how willing were they to destroy another nation when it was deemed necessary?
The woman turned, her youthful features brightening as her shimmering jade green eyes rested upon the Kaldorei man that stood before her. He was a demon hunter, his eyes blindfolded, his chest baring green runes that all Hunter's bared. Two glaives were strapped to his back, gleaming in the dark light "More refugees. These are Highborne, they were out casted by a Kaldorei settlement, located all the way in Blade's Edge. They seek refugee here."
"I take it that's because they practice the use of Arcane magic, like most others that have come here...correct?" She glanced at the men and women behind the Hunter. Their robes were in tatters, they were tired a worn. They had traveled so far...just to end up here? If they have a motive, she'd welcome it. If they had drive, she will feed it. She smiled, and walked calmly down the steps and past the Hunter "Thank you, Kiros...let's take a look at these Highborne then..."
"As you shall now know, the man you spoke with is Dark Lord Kiros Shadowflame....he is one of my council members. He trains many of the melee fighters with in our ranks.." she raised a hand to gently touch one of their shoulders, grinning as how noticeable his flinch was. Gently, she traced a circle around the mans body before moving on to a female Kaldorei, inspecting her as well. She was looking for one of two things; Muscle or Potential. Muscle is kind of like Potential, it means they can use magic and fight with a melee weapon, as most demon hunters do. Potential was to use Shadow Magic.
Most of these refugee's had Potential, and were going to be trained as such "I am a generous leader...you stand by me and I will see you enjoy your glory as we struggle to survive in these cruel and harsh lands....the Cloud as 'dulled' the minds of the Horde and Alliance, along with your people and mine, and caused them to be nothing but blood thirsty beasts..." She stopped at the side of the group, watching them as they stood perfectly still "Does that mean any of them can't be reasoned?...Of course not, there might be a chance...but I prepare you from now, conflict will come...we just have to be ready for it."
Walking back to the foot of the stairs, she turned "Very well then, seek out your choice of person....Nethermancer Alizar Darkwrath, or Oracle Mira Darkstar. Welcome to the Illidari Darksworn.." She waited for the new members of the Darksworn to leave before she turned to Kiros, smiling. He 'looked' at her, his lips in a straight and hard line "What now?"
"Gather the others." Krystala said, walking towards the exit into the chamber below the platform "It's time to discuss a few things"
A small patrol of about ten Blood Elves belong to 23rd infantry unit marched along the wall surrounding territory belonging to the Clockwork Covenant. The wall was completed for about 100 yards before it became a short boundary line, yet construction crews had been working on it since the Covenant first claimed the territory.
The group past a second patrol of Erethreals going the opposite direction. The Erethreals had allied with the Covenant during its march towards suitable land and had proved invaluable in their arcane knowledge.
After a few more yards along their route the patrol could see Ecodome Farfield and a second construction site, which would become a second wall around the Ecodome with four towers around the perimeter and multiple small barracks along the edge, making up the fortress Avarrack. Inside the Ecodome, a village had begun to emerge which would become the capital of the Covenant.
The Ecodome past from view, and in another 20 yards, the ground began to shake. It took each soldier all their will to keep from breaking rank and fleeing as the Fel Reaver first appeared into view, yet te simple insignia of the Covenant, a bronze gear shining on a black backround, flew from tow flagpoles on either shoulder of the Reaver and served as a reminder to the friendly Goblin pilot.
The Reaver strode towards past the patrol onwards to the Avarrack construction site, two massive containers of stone and ore under each arm. After the Reaver past from sight, the green smoke clouds of Forge Base Gehenna rose above the horizon. It was here where the Covenant's weapons of war were made and the many machines that earned the Covenant its name were housed and repaired. That was where the Fel Reaver had been built and where, as rumor had it, a highly classified military experiment was occurring known only as project Titan.
The patrol moved past the Forge Base and, in yet another few yards, the completed section of the wall past from view, and at this point the patrol could see the end of their route. In a few minutes they had reached the end of the island overlooking the twisting nether and promptly turned around only to find themselves face to face with another Blood Elf mounted on one of the many raptors of Ecodome Farfield.
“You men are to report directly to Avarrack and rejoin your unit,” The mounted officer spoke. “A team of Erethreals will take over your patrol and you will be sent by air to the Twilight Ridge. It is of the utmost importance the portal there is secured, so two other units will be accompanying you. Now, move out!” The patrol saluted in unison and quickly moved off towards Avarrack.
Edited by Neltriz on 3/26/2013 5:39 PM PDT
The Tower, Oshu'Mogan
Targan sat on the iron throne he had crafted for him and sighed for the hundredth time that day. Here he sat, surrounded by the Assembly of Lords, listening to them prattle on about nonsense and things he found to be of less import than the pressing issue they currently had. Currently it was a low level merchant lord speaking about the current tax rate being too high and that he thought it should be reduced five eighths of a percentage point. It was all just too much for the more "big picture" oriented Emperor.
Luckily he was rescued by one of his ministers, "My lord, apologies for the interruption but at the moment taxes must be where they are to help fund the expeditions and collectors we send out for water." Re'shan Vorgen, Minister Lord of Agriculture stood and now moved to a more central location within the large hall. He looked around his elven features a well-known sight within these walls. It was odd that the Empire allowed Sin'dorei, Quel'dorei and Kaldorei within its ranks but none questioned the Cloudstrikers for it had proved to be a boon to the budding nation.
"The issue we -should- focus on my lords is what to do about this situation. Taxes could be lowered and troops could be spent doing far more industrious tasks then baby-sitting our laborers as they truck water from Zangarmarsh and the Sea to us here at Oshu'Mogan. Such an endeavor, however, would require the backing of the Assembly as it would cost us quite a bit I am sure to set up the settlements necessary to secure the passage?" He asked, turning to the two ministers whose area this was.
Ministers Darius Martin and Aserius Shadowmoon both stood and nodded, the human deferring to the Minister of Defense to speak first. The tall and athletic Night Elf nodded his appreciation to the human and joined Re'shan in the center of the hall. "It would, on the subject simply of defenses it would require more permanent fortifications built along the border with Terrorkar where we receive disturbing reports of the waking dead. Then the settlement in Zangarmarsh as well." Aserius finished speaking then and clasped his hands behind his back, assuming a military like position. Though the tall elf had only been in a few campaigns before the great war he was a smart enough person to have established himself with the Cloudstriker family.
Darius Martin, Minister of Urban Development, smiled at the elf and nodded as well, "Yes it would be several weeks of construction at both sites before we ever saw any actual work accomplished. In Zangarmarsh it would be a true city as well as military base since it would be our first foray into the Sea. However the costs are high yet the benefits are large. We would perhaps, seal the Peninsula off from others trying to reach and claim swaths of it." Martin's words were further bolstered by grunts and mutterings of assent throughout the Assembly.
It was at this point that Targus seized the initiative presented him by his council. "If we are in agreement then I must say I support this line of action, it would allow for a lowered tax rate with easier means of water, better rations for all and the possibility of having some farm land to help us in that regard as well. I'll have the Legion begin making preparations to set up a permanent base at Terrorkar and then send the Highlord General with the Fifth and Sixth Regiments to Zangarmarsh. Let us hope gentlemen, that our efforts prove fruitful." The emperor smiled and nodded at the crowd of nobles and then returned to his more relaxed position as the debate turned to how much to pull from each noble and the citizenry and Targus was content to let his ministers and lords work out the numbers.
He let his mind turn to thoughts of how the Legion was fairing on the borders and if his exploratory team to the Forge Camps and the Citadel was proving fruitful...
Edited by Ashoc on 3/28/2013 11:21 AM PDT
This room was were the four Blood elven council members sat and discussed things before their ultimate demise. It was stilled use for such purpose, whether it came to war, food, or the people in general. In the middle of the room was a table with a map of all of Outlands, and then another map of Shadowmoon. It was there that Kiros and Krystala waited for the others to arrive.
Counciler Dran Voidseeker was first to arrive. Like Kiros, he wore no chest piece but a harness for his glaives to be strapped to his back, and a mail kilt. Nethermancer Alizar came next, garbed in purple rune etched robes with skulls adorning his shoulders. Mira came last, appearing from the floor like she usually did next to Krystala "You called us, Krystala?"
"Yes.." The Sin'dorei woman was smaller than the others in the room, but that didn't mean she was any less stronger. She reached forward and place a hand on the map of Shadowmoon "We've waited patiently and trained all the troops we can...I think it's time for us to...'expand'." Alizar looked at the map thoughtfully, and then turned his gaze to the woman "Elaborate if you will..."
Smirking, Krystala pointed towards a certain point of the Map "Kiros and Dran...how are the new Demon hunter recruits coming along?" Dran stepped forward and bowed respectfully "We have at least 100 Novices...and possible more on the way. I think after a few battles, and their skills put to the test, they are on their way to become Masters..."
Krystala nodded "Good, then I want you to take 50 of them along with 10 Dar Oracles and wipe out any demon you see at...this location." She tapped Warden's Cage "Something tell's me we are going to need a prison."
"And the other half?" Kiros, again, 'looked' over to the woman. Krystala pointed at another part of the map "I want you to take them and another 10 Oracles to the Alter of Sha'Tar...there are probably Draenei still located there. They aren't going to reason with us, so I want them put down. It's the only real thing we can do..."
"If I may..." Mira stepped forward, pointing a spot close to the Temple "We've had reports that the Orcs at Dragonmaw Fortress are becoming for aggressive every day. If we try to send out a caravan or a hunting party to get food for the members in the Temple, they are more than likely going to attack us."
"Dammit..." Krystala leaned against the table, staring at the spot were Mira pointed...Dragonmaw Fortress. "After a few years, I'd expect them to learn. Clearly the message wasn't sent across properly. I'm going to need a few Nethermancers, Warlocks, and at least 150 void walkers. We are going to take their Fortress...and Tear.It.Down"
"I'm not finished." Mira interrupted politely. Catching Krystala's attention, she nodded for the Oracle to continue. "They also have Nether Drakes and Nether Drake eggs...if we accquire them, maybe we can do some research into having an ariel assault group as well." Krystala thought about the Oracle's word's carefully, the knowledge about the Nether Drakes in the area was something she knew, but now that she thought about it 'that' way and the fact they she planned for the Darksworn to grow....it sounded like it would be an ideal thing.
"Very well...Get troops ready. We leave with in the hour! Thank you all for coming...For the Illidari!"
"For the Illidari!"
The Captureing of Warden's Cage. Troops sent are 50 Demon hunters(Novice), 10 Oracles, 2 Darksworn to accompany Dran.
The Captureing of the Alter of Sha'Tar. Troops sent are 50 Demon hunters(Novice), 10 Oracles, 2 Darksworn to accompany Kiros.
Attack on Dragonmaw Fortress. Troops sent are 150 Voidwalkers, 10 Warlocks, 5 Nethermancers, 10 Oracles, 4 Darksworn to accompany Krystala and Mira.
Total Time: One/Two posts.
The patrol had reached Avarrack and joined back into the 23rd Unit as two more infantry units joined with them at the airfield. This totaled 150 Blood Elves making up the small invasion force, with 2 units of Ray riders flying above.
The airstrip itself was a flat area of land bordering the twisting nether. What was currently the Covenant's only airship, the Hyperion, was docked to a pier overlooking emptiness. The rest of the airstrip held a small nesting area for Nether rays and a large congregation area where the soldiers grouped before boarding a ship.
At the front of the congregation area was a podium, where currently Cargath the Prophet and current ruler of the Covenant stood. "Soldiers," he spoke, addressing the small army. "You shall soon embark on the most important invasion of your lives. Azeroth was lost some months back, yet through this assault, Azeroth may rise again!" A cheer rose from the soldiers.
"You shall be securing the Twilight Ridge, and thus the portal stationed there. It my yet take many months to re-activate the portal, yet if you succeed, it shall at least be possible! Now then, the 23rd, 36th, and 42nd units shall board the Hyperion while the 7th and 5th air units travel above. You shall travel through the twisting Nether rather than overland to avoid detection. Gentlemen. You carry the hopes of Azeroth on your shoulders. Victory to the Clockwork Covenant!" He finished, as his final battle cry rose up across every soldier heading to the Ridge.
Invasion force sent to secure the Twilight Ridge
Construction of the wall/Avarrack underway
Fel Reavers becoming mass produced battle engines
Classified Project Titan research going on, about midway into making operational warrior
Edited by Neltriz on 3/26/2013 7:19 PM PDT
Brother-Sergeant Jack 'Kill' Smith, squad leader of Delta Squad, really didn't like how empty this place felt. It was empty, they had been exploring it from bottom to top and they'd already done it twice now. None of his men were complaining it just felt -too- quiet and so they continued checking every inch; their weapons were drawn, an odd assortment of fist weapons, swords and guns. They were Delta Squad, of the fabled and mysterious Kill Teams used by the Legion as highly trained and highly skilled individuals who worked in small 5 man teams.
Even the men among the Legion gave them a wide berth and spoke little of them. They were the pride and joy of the Commander, hand selected and picked for a variety of reasons they were the epitome of the perfect soldier. Spitting out a bit of chewing tobacco Brother Mathers halted at the front of the small team. "Sarge I think we covered it all. Ain't nothin' here but bones." He said simply, unlike most other organizations and even within the Kill Teams the men of each squad were equals; they never lorded ranks over each other and here in a situation like this it was why they excelled.
Sergeant Smith nodded his assent as well, as much as he didn't like the -feel- of this abandoned Citadel. It really was abandoned. "Alright time to head to the rendezvous to meet up with Ultima and that Librarian." He said, he shook his head; he hated spell-casters. They were like the ugly duckling in his mind, that thing you didn't want around but you couldn't get rid of.
His comrades in his squad shared his distaste but they had seen what the sorcerers could do and so they never voiced their concerns. They quickly exited the area, living markers and small traps that would trip and do nothing, they were simply placing them to check if someone was actually there when they came to investigate again in force.
Forge Camp: Despair ((Forget the name northeast of Thrallmar))
The men of Ultima Squad shifted uneasily, they didn't like being here. It went against the grain to sit in an enemy base, where at any moment they might start pouring out of portals and killing you. Sadly they couldn't do anything about it as they were stuck baby-sitting the Grand Librarian of the Legion, Ashok the Red.
Brother-Sergeant Corey Tanner didn't like it. It went against what he was raised upon to watch as the sorcerer worked with Fel and Arcane energies to feel what was here at the Forge Camp. He muttered to himself again and turned away from the Librarian, "Ain't right..." He said in an off-hand comment to his men. "You would be correct in that assumption Sergeant. It is not 'right' what I do." The Librarian repiled, having quit his work with the portal machine. He turned now to regard them, the black hood that hid his face unable to hide the red glare of his eyes.
"If I were a Light-wielder I could not do what I do here and I could not go and re-assure the great Commander that the Legion is unable to return here through these. However rest assured I shall find a way to use them to our advantage." The Librarian said in an off-hand comment, walking past them and heading in the direction of the rendezvous. "Well I never thought you'd fail but y'know its not natural what you do... goes against the grain it does." He said quietly, it was risky talking back to a Librarian, especially the Grand Librarian but Ashok simply laughed at his words. "Indeed Sergeant, yet without the powers I wield there would not be an opportunity for us to ascend higher than any before." At his words it seemed like the conversation was over as he increased their pace, and for a man who seemed rather frail; he moved with alarming speed.
Western Helmand Province
Lord General Umbras Jaeger sat astride a massive rinoceros and watched the columns of soldiers stream past. Hoplites took up the bulk of the army, with Marines and Scorpions aplenty. Patrols of Worgen Dragoons flanked the road, preventing any sudden ambushes by the rebel Horde that had laid claim to the Ango'Rosh grounds. It was not unheard of here on the borders of the Republic for a border skirmish to suddenly flare up, but this time the Harbingers were out in full force.
"Progress report." Jaeger suppressed a shiver as he turned around to the owner of the sepulchral voice. Behind him a massive suit of armor with glowing eyes sat atop the skeletal Deathcharger favored by the former servants of the Lich King. Umbras had been a fighter during the Northrend war, and the instinctive reaction of deference and fear had been very hard to overcome. General Carnifex was quite reticent about what he had done before the war, but Jaeger got the impression that it had been involved in fighting a scorched-earth campaign against the Horde in Pandaria: that certainly fit in with his favored tactics.
"The Hvar garrison has joined the expeditionary force, bringing our total Hoplite strength up to one thousand, seven hundred and fifty. A force of fifty Dragoons recently joined up; we now have two hundred Dragoons. As of the last report, we still have all five hundred Marines and thirty Scorpions. With the Hvar supplies added to our own, our stores of ammunition are probably sufficient for two days of heavy battle." The armored helmet nodded.
"Very good. Prepare the men to engage in battle at any time. The Dragoons should give us warning of any rebel Horde army in the area, and our chances of finding an army increase as we draw closer to the Ango'Rosh grounds."
"Understood, but one thing. Shouldn't we try... negotiating... first?" Jaeger looked at Carnifex with as much wide-eyed innocence as a Vrykul in full battle armor could muster, and for a moment, the eyes behind the Death Knight's helmet appeared to widen in shock. Umbras managed to hold the face for a few more seconds before bursting into uproarious laughter. The Death Knight general joined in a moment later, and some of the passing hoplites looked at the two strangely.
"Bwa ha ha ha ha ha... Oh, you should have seen the look on your face!" Jaeger doubled over on his rhino as a fresh gale of laughter rocked him.
"Ah hah ha ha!" Carnifex made a gesture as though he was wiping away a tear from the corner of his eye: purely a concession to the living, but still appropriate for the moment. "'Negotiate' indeed!" The two laughed for a while more, only gradually recovering.
"Negotiate!" Jaeger snorted. "And you actually thought I was being serious."
The Mines of Fear, Northern Helmand Province
"And up here you can see where the Jormungandr have started on a new bend in the tunnel." The head of the mining project gestured to a honeycombing set of narrow tunnels in the wall with multiple thick cables trailing in. Much to his credit, the project's head kept himself groomed in the same manner as required whilst a part of the Alliance military. "As per our SOPs, once we have recovered all of the Jormungandr younglings, we will set off a cascading exposion using part of the stores of gunpowder remaining to this project. After that, it's a simple matter of debris clearance, shoring up, and smoothing out the tunnel walls and floors."
Chancellor Tarquin nodded and ruffled his hair with a hand, shaking some of the dust out before putting his helmet back on. Was it just him, or were there a couple more grey hairs up there this morning? Ah well, there was still much to be done.
"Very good. I have only two questions: how are the Jormungandr maturing?" During their flight from Northrend, the Vrykul had brought many of the eggs and hatchlings of native creatures with them: proto-drakes had been the only mature ones, and they had been wiped out in a series of particularly intense battles with rival refugee groups near the Legion Front in the Hellfire Penninsula. One skirmish with a militant band called the Black Legion had been particularly devastating to their air power. Regardless, a good deal of the Republic's surplus food was going to the husbandry programs intent on raising the various animals for uses. "And how long do you estimate we have until we reach the surface?"
"As to the first, it's going rather well. The worms are growing at a decent rate, and the Procurements Bureau has been remarkably helpful in getting us the materials we've asked for. As for the second... it's a long way to the top of the Blade's Edge mountains, and a lot of people will be upset if this ends up being a wild goose chase. You're absolutely sure that what we're looking for is up there?" The Chancellor waved off the director's concerns.
"I was a young commander during the Outland campaigns, but I always kept the more detailed maps available to us. Trust me, Director. Forge Camp Terror is up there, just waiting for us. And with the resources available to us once we claim it, we will be able to begin production of machines of war that the Horde and Alliance could only dream of at the height of their power. I'm actually rather amazed that they never tried to repurpose the Forge Campes when they could. But don't worry: what we're looking for is up there.
Ruins of the Cenarion Refuge, Shore of the Inland Sea
An alien sun blazed in the sky overhead, and Admiral Tiberius Semprionus Tarquin adjusted the brim of his admiral's cap forward another couple of inches forward, shading his eyes just a bit more. The Hugin-class light cruiser Blackwing was not his usual command, bt this misison was too important to trust to a subordinate and keeping a low profile was important for this mission. Two hundred Worgen Dragoons were debarking from a pair of transports moored to the shore, and Commander Jane Connor was giving her equipment a last-minute check on the deck beside him.
"Well, have fun." he said to the worgen. In human form for the moment, her auburn hair was drawn back in a bun. She was already in the leather armor ubiquitous to the Dragoons, and her weapons appeared to be in very good shape. "We'll be back here two weeks from now, as agreed upon. Just in case, though, I am detaching a boat to watch over the ruins, and my squadron is patrolling nearby." Connor flashed a quick smile as she tested the draw on her longbow.
"Lovely. We'll get you a postcard from whatever part of the desert the Black Legion is lording it over these days. Poor blighters probably won't even know we were there." With a grating of bone, the Commander shifted into her worgen form. "We'll even get into human form if we're caught and pretend to be some roving band of mercenaries. There's loads of them around nowadays, right?" Admiral Tarquin shrugged.
"Beats me. We only ever see pirates, small-time fishers, and two-bit dirt-poor traders. Good luck, Commander." The admiral stuck out his hand, which the Commander shook before vaulting over the edge into the shallow water near the Refuge.
"Two weeks from now, don't forget!" she called back up.
"I'll be here, don't worry!"
The tramp of Cirica’s steel-shod boots and the soft jingle of her armor where her only company as she made her way around and around, up into the highest boughs of the Great Tree Yadrassil. Great Tree, she thought with a slight feeling of disgust, her dark lips pulling into a deep frown, There are no Great Trees, not any more. Teldrassil was long gone, as if it had never been. Nordrassil was nothing but an agonizing memory. Still, she had been the one who had insisted upon its planting and growth. As Ashanadi so often said, the people needed hope and this tree was to act as the pillar upon which they were to rebuild not only their lives, but their souls as well. And so the General had the druids focus first upon the Tree, before even turning their attention to regrowing the dusty canyons or securing the far side of the ravine; much to the chagrin of Kaedris.
Almost as soon as the thought entered her head, her sharp eyes spied a dark feathered shape emerge from between the branches of the surrounding trees. At first she thought it might be the Archdruid himself, but the stormcrow veered away from her and plummeted toward the ground. As she alighted on the ground the crow grew into a Kaldorei woman with long cerulean hair and green robes. From high above, Cirica couldn’t make out their words, but she watched the druid speaking with Commander Skyshadow; most likely giving him a scouting report that would cross her desk soon enough. She watched the druid turn away and move off into the pre-dawn gloom of the forest floor, her shoulders slumped and her tread slow and shuffling. It was only after she had melted into the night as only her people could that the General turned and continued on her way, her own step echoing the druid’s melancholy gait.
Though easily the tallest tree in Outland, Yadrassil was dwarfed by Nordrassil’s former grandeur and would have barely been a branch upon Teldrassil’s mighty trunk. The chamber that was Cirica’s ultimate destination was set at a dizzying height even for those used to their arboreal lifestyle, set precariously among the highest boughs. As she entered the spacious but warm room of living wood, she saw that the Priestess and Archdruid had already beaten her there. Not terribly surprising for him, given that he could sprout wings at will, but Ashanadi was notoriously unpunctual. The General bowed formally in greeting and spoke in her low, husky voice, “Elune be with you.”
“And with you Sister! I hope that Mother Moon finds you well?” Priestess Ashanadi Nightstorm smiled thankfully as she returned the gesture. It was her duty to safeguard the faith of their people, which she often seemed to think should start with the General herself. Cirica didn't feel very devout these days, but it but it clearly made Ashanadi happy to think she was. The other woman beamed at her, her bright smile a rarity among the Kaldorei these days. She wore the moonlight-white robes of her order; her long, deep indigo hair fell loose to her waist, though it was held back from her face by delicate silver chains; her pale violet feet were bare.
“Took your time getting here I see,” Kaedis growled at her in his own rough voice, scowling at her from beneath his thick brows. Archdruid Proudwing was large and powerfully built, towering over both women, even though Cirica was no pixie. But his large frame was bent forward, as if he could not support his own weight without resting on the staff in his grip. The weapon was exceedingly simple in design- a long gnarled wood rod nearly as tall as he was, with a single raven’s feather dangling at the end. He was bare-chested, but his ankle-length kilt was covered in the same dark plumage. His long tangled hair and scruffy beard were starting to appear more yellow than white, only adding to his disheveled appearance.
It had gotten quite difficult to rouse him for these meeting of late, he preferred to stew sullenly on his own when his duties did not drag him out of his tree, but today something was clearly on his mind as he cut through the pleasantries. He went straight to what was bothering him, “General Darkleaf, why are you still having my druids scouting Ruuan Wield? You are our military commander, certainly you must see that our enemies lie to the south!”
It was an old argument, one that they had revisited many times before; ever since those upstarts had taken control of the other end of the western tunnel leading out of the mountains. He had taken on a new urgency though and Cirica had the strong suspicion that it had something to do with the recent activity in eastern Zangermarsh. She spoke in a cool tone, “I have sent scouts south as well,” she forced herself to keep from pointing out that while the were serving the military they were in fact her scouts, “They are keeping me appraised of the situation. So far they have shown no inclination toward the tunnel.”
Edited by Istella on 3/26/2013 6:06 AM PDT
Kaedris scowled deeper, “It’s bad enough that you let them have the western tunnel without a fight! Will you let the eastern one go as well?”
Ashanadi opened her mouth to speak but Cirica quickly cut across her, “What lies for us in the south that you want so badly? That fetid swamp? No, I doubt that. It is a fight you want. It’s been what you wanted since we came to this ruined land. You would rather lash out at others than protect and provide for our people.”
There was a long, angry silence between the three. Ashanadi was a scholar, more interested in theology than warfare, before rising to her current position merely by being the highest ranking priestess to make it through the Portal; she was not likely to interfere in the more militant discussions she knew little about and the other two seemed content for the moment to simply seethe quietly and glare at each other. Kaedris did not refute the General’s accusations. When he finally spoke again it was strained but managed some semblance of calm, “My druids have made great progress in the canyons. The soil is ready for planting. We do not need the Wield’s resources as desperately as we once did and the scattered cultists there are hardly a threat. We need to control that tunnel.”
Cirica’s jaw muscles worked as she ground her teeth. She hated it when Kaedris had a point. She snapped, “Fine.” The General had no intention of giving up her plans of uncontested control of Blade’s Edge, but it would have to start with their boarders, “I will send a squad of hippogryph riders to fly over the southern entrance daily. They’ll make sure they are seen, so that anyone in the area knows of our presence. Your stormcrows will watch the it the rest of the time, around the clock. Tell them to keep out of sight.”
Cirica ended the meeting abruptly, giving a stiff bow to Kaedris and an apologetic smile to Ashanadi before turning and storming from the chamber.
Growing a forest in their territory in BEM-
150 druids of the wild
15 keepers of the wild
Scouting NE Zangermarsh-
6 hippogryph riders (a day)
12 druids of the talon (a day, 2 at a time, 4 hour shifts)
Edited by Istella on 3/26/2013 4:32 PM PDT
Blackwing Hold, Raven’s Wood, The Blade’s Edge Mountains
Patriarch Kolphis Darkscale
“And to the Keeper of Time, Nozdormu, Aman’thul the Highfather said ‘Unto you is charged the great task of keeping the purity of time. Know that there is only one true timeline, though there are those who would have it otherwise-”’
The sermon reverberated across the cavern of Blackwing Coven, many crowded the tight corridors, attempting to get a better vantage point. Patriarch Kolphis Darkscale on the other hand, could barely keep his eyes open, he’d heard this same sermon at least a hundred times, and each time it served to bore him. He couldn’t let sleep overtake him however, as he sat before hundreds of his kinsmen. Never show weakness to them he thought. They’ll start calling you a nonbeliever, and you’ll have that Draenei witch Draaca at your throat.
He eyed Draaca reciting the fervent prayer. She spoke with vigor and passion, she was the type of leader that the Wyrmcult could have used. But the Wyrmcult was gone, replaced by the Wyrmscale Calphate, as per Kolphis’ own intentions. If putting your faith into long dead lizards made his soldiers willing to fight to the death, Kolphis supposed what the Wyrmcult stood for had some value. And as long as it had value, Patriarch Kolphis would sit through any Sermon or ritual.
“And to Neltharion”, the Draenei rattled on “greatest among them, the Earth Warder, Khaz’Goroth said ‘My blessing upon you will seem humble compared to those which have been bestowed upon the others: the managing of time, of life, of dreams and magic. I offer you the earth-’”
Kolphis always found this part the most ridiculous. To say control over the Earth was humble.. It was Earth that every man walked, to control that would be to control every man. Alteast then you wouldn’t need to act like a half mad cultists to get through to people. Although, perhaps it was that very thing that corrupted the Earth Warder, a thing not often mentioned amongst the Wyrmscales. Perhaps it was all that control, having that ability to bring utter destruction that brought the old Dragon down. Kolphis thought back to Azeroth, perhaps there is a part of us that enjoys the desolation..
Snapped from his thoughts, Kolphis rose from his throne with his subjects. In their eager eyes, he saw thrall more powerful than fear, it was hope. And hope is often your greatest weakness.
Draaca reached for Kolphis, grabbing his right hand and raising it into the air. She too spoke with hope, “Look upon your patriarch, great Kolphis Darkscale of the Wyrmscale Caliphate!”, there was roaring praise from the crowd, Kolphis noted that most of it was not for their patriarch, but rather for the Dragon Aspects. This angered Kolphis momentarily before Draaca continued, “It is him that will lead us across the Wyrmskull bridge, to the Ruaan Weald, to carry out the will of the Aspects!”
Once again, that deafening applause. Draaca lowered Kolphis’ hand, allowing him to speak “With the Aspects at our back, the druids of the Weald will be little more than cinders, their Elune will be crushed. We will drink from their Moonwells, we will burn their Ancients, and we will bring Lord Neltharion’s wrath upon them!” Kolphis had to admit that the idea of combat excited him, even if he fought for something he didn’t understand. Killing the druids was his job, preserving the faith was Draaca’s.
Dragonsworn Draaca Longtail
Draaca eyed Kolphis as he spoke of conquest, of trampling Elune, but she could feel it, he did not believe. But he served a purpose, he was an Orc, and Orcs were creatures of war. It was lucky for him that war was fast approaching, with more likely to follow. He was wise in stratagem, but there would come a time when the Caliphate moved past war, and that day would be Kolphis’ last.
After the Sermon ended, Draaca retreated to the back of the Coven, where her personal lodgings were. It was by no means lavish, but it served a purpose. Hallowed Drake Skins covered several walls, tomes detailing ancient dragon lore sat on several tables, and a neat bed sat in the corner, other than this, the cave walls were painfully visible, and the smell of mold sometimes became unbearable. Draaca often thought of moving out of the Coven into the larger Blackwing Hold, but something kept her here..
Perhaps it was since this was the cave where the cult was first founded, she felt connected to the real patriarch of the Wyrmcult, the great drakonid Maxnar, and to the great dragon Blackscale, who's name Kolphis long ago took for himself, becoming Kolphis Darkscale. But even then, he lacked the fire of true faith.
Kolphis would meet his match eventually however, he was a fool to think that all of the Black Dragons were dead. A few yet remained, and Draaca would soon see them put to good use, even if it was under Kolphis’ new “Wyrmscale Caliphate”.
Edited by Zorbak on 3/25/2013 8:34 PM PDT
It was odd how someone could become used to the thick smoke that tainted the sky above Haven, doubly so that an old soldier like Richard could find any measure of peace in the constant state of near poverty he had long been in. Yet, even without a labour contract he felt lighter then he had in years. Though this could have been due to the easygoing tavern keeper who had offered him a serfdom contract, and allowed him to spend much of the time as he was now; laying in front of the building with a mug of.... something that was supposed to be mead. Staring up at the hazy sight of the Great Dark and the Nether itself, or what he thought might be the Nether.
The first hornblast in the distance set old instincts running, the ghost of a tingle running through an arm the soldier no longer had. It took moments longer for him to remember he no longer had a sword as well.
The various street 'guard' managed to pull themselves into a semblance of order by the time the first rank of soldiers marched into view. The rigid lines and armour were an easy giveaway, but the solid red tabard each of the soldiers wore marked them instantly as brotherhood.
Arms grabbed him as the soldiers came closer, a thickly accented curse marking his draenei employer. He was quickly pulled inside the tavern as the first rank of the brotherhood charged and the sounds of battle began to fill the air.
'At midday, a section of Brotherhood mercenaries marched into the 23rd district and attacked your men; from what we can gather, they were looking for the young human they lost the week prior.'
Mogul Ziri looked at the damage summary for the event; it's current cost for the damage to the insured district, the coin from the men she had gained, and injuries and deaths among the labour contracts.
'Send a message to The Crow, have the kid dropped in District 10 in the north sector, give him a bonus for compensation on changing the agreement.' Since 10 was in Stitches pocket, the Brotherhood could draw their own conclusions. Perhaps it could also throw him out of the game for a time since he still had yet to repair his status with The Crow's men.
'Open a channel with the Brotherhood's leadership, see if we can't get some of their recruits to guard the area as compensation; Have one of the Gearsprocket's work on their loyalties.' A gamble, since the Brotherhood was attached to its values of honour, but the gnome twins had worked with worse.
The aide gave a stiff nod, immediately heading to the assigned duties. As she left, Ziri let herself relax. The new aide was better then the last one, didn't stick her neck out enough to be dangerous. Though at times she could swear she saw a bit of cunning in the younger goblin's eyes. But she had shown herself to be smart enough not to overstep her bounds.
However, once more she was left to face the simple fact that the stalemate still wouldn't be broken. For years, she had been competing with the other idiots over Nagrand, and not once had she managed to gain the power that was so rightly hers. Instead she was forced to deal with the constant threats of the lesser Moguls.
264-B quivered as a second bout of vomiting took him, the smell from the bucket already nearly unbearable. That wasn't his real name, of course, but the goblins had insisted that he refer to everything in this room by designation. He didn't know if it made it easier to deal with since this was the first time he had been here.
'Hmm, perhaps there was too much sansam in the tonic, maybe..' Mogul Vitriol trailed off as he scribbled madly on his notes, engrossed in his own thoughts.
'I thought.. you said this... wouldn't be painful.' With the heaving over, he decided to turn to accusations; remembering the conversation with the goblin's spokesman.
'Not fatal, nor dangerous, nor overtly problematic,' The distracted Mogul listed, still scribbling madly, 'Pain impossible to insure against, makes me less profits in the long run.'
One of the many lower alchemists in the room handed the Mogul a jar, the ground plants still visible inside. The Mogul tapped the jar a few times, wrote a couple notes and sent the alchemist off with a mumbled '214 days'.
It didn't take long for the Mogul to remember 264's presence, and as such shove another vial into the man's hands. This one filled with a light green liquid rather then the blue of the last, or the stark yellow of the one prior.
'Is this the last one?' Hopefully the Mogul was lenient and he could return home soon.
'Yes, yes, just this and physical examinations then you can have your pay.'
Vitriol watched dispassionately as the patients body began to spasm, the mercifully unconscious subject flailing wildly. Idly he noted he should have had his limbs tied down. The assistants were quick to solve that bit of negligence, securing the human to the table before he could hurt himself.
'Make sure the physical examinations are ready as soon as the subject is awake.'
His aide, a human male he hadn't cared for the name of, waited patiently outside of the lab. The man simply smiled and followed in his wake as he walked past.
'What happened with the tip to the Brotherhood?' He hadn't expected they would move as fast as they had, but humans never seemed very sensible anyway.
'Unfortunately, they were unable to find the abducted and are likely seeking to apologize to Mogul Ziri for the attack.'
'And the clever little imp is going to take whatever she can get her hands on,' Ziri was well known for her tactics and rampant opportunism, thankfully an easy trait to predict.
'Have one of the trolls try and isolate her from the Blades if she tries to speak with the Brotherhood, and release a tip to Graz on Ziri; No, I don't care which.'
The group of knights marched north from the city without fanfare, in all likelihood without the Mogul's knowledge or consent. They didn't consider this particularly bad, since the mission was only scouting. The warmaul clan of ogres had supposedly been driven out long before, so the hills that bore their name seemed the perfect place for a stronghold.
That said stronghold would be manned exclusively by the Red Brotherhood went without saying.
Edited by Ankorren on 3/25/2013 9:21 PM PDT
Auchindoun, two weeks after exodus:
“You are nothing,” a voice echoed, like a hollow wind blowing amidst the rubble of a corpse. It was empty, unfathomable, like an entire world once full of life, love and joy ruined, hollowed out like marrow scraped from a bone.
In the centre of Auchindoun, the bearer of the voice stood as a dark paragon, an amalgamation of every fear, anxiety, terror and nightmare of Man. The voice belonged to the Lich Mal’Zuur and seemed to resonate both from within him, and from the very air itself. It was a voice that itched at the mind, clawed, cut and lacerated at the courage of all present. And it was full of all the finality of death itself.
Mal’Zuur spoke to the ruins of Auchindoun, behind him the entire Cult of the Damned stood, rallied in awe and fear. They were nothing but ants to him. The Lich was tall as six men and made up of an intricate cage of vile, jagged bones, dripping with rime, wrapped viciously around a centre of glowing blue-black essence. Draped in black, purple and brown cloth and crowned with extravagant circlets and adornments, Mal’Zuur embodied all the ambition, desire, power, importance and terror that he fought with.
Only weeks earlier, the Cult of the Damned had stolen away secretly from their positions in society, stealing what information they could while maintaining subtlety, and followed their master to the ruins of Auchindoun, likely the largest collection of dead in all Outland. It would be the base of their new seat of power, in the inevitable power struggle of Outland.
“Death has arrived once more," Mal’Zuur continued, projecting his voice to all corners of the fallen city. “All will serve Mal’Zuur, in life or death.”
Over the following weeks, the Cult of the Damned flooded into the ruins of Auchindoun and secured them, murdering any resistors. Only a few scattered Ethereal escaped the city, it is unlikely that they would make it across the Bone Wastes to safety. The Mana Tombs were caved in during the conflict. The Auchenai Crypts were secured, and the Auchenai Death Speakers lead by Balvaloneous eagerly submitted to the will of Mal’Zuur. The Sethekk Halls were overrun by chaotic spirits and temporarily sealed.
The remains of the Shadow Council begged negotiation with Mal’Zuur, which resulted in the execution of four circle members. One was left alive in indignant submission, Karshe the Eye. Within a month, Mal’Zuur had the entire Auchindoun secured, and the Shadow Council under his thumb. From without Auchindoun, not a mouse stirred, and nothing of what was occurring within could be noticed. For all Outland knew, Auchindoun was still held by nothing more than ghosts and forgotten ghouls.
In a dark room, deep in the crypts of Auchindoun, the Morbid Council was gathered. The room was lit almost entirely from the icy glow within Mal’Zuur, although a few torches flickered hesitantly on the walls. Two cultists stood vigilant by the entrance to the room, Balvaloneous, Karshe, and a second female Orc (Karshe’s assistant) stood around a table studying maps and intelligence gathered from the latest scouting party.
“Karshe,” Mal’Zuur pronounced wrongly, as he turned his attention on the Orc. Karshe was lean, tight and muscular. In her eyes flared the aggression and defiance of her ancestors, just barely subjugated by the fear of torture and death. Her hawklike eyes stabbed like needles through the air, and flickered dangerously over the maps and intelligence. Already she had been punished twice for correcting Mal’Zuurs pronunciation of her name, and once for arguing with a decision of his. “I instructed you to gather information on sub-cults still under your control, and if possible to begin reopening communications. Have you done as I asked?”
Karshe stabbed her glare up towards the monstrous Lich and scowled, “Yes, I have,” she intentionally omitted ‘my Lord Mal’Zuur’ from her comment; she would not bow to such a wretch. Immediately, as if to prevent her own punishment, she drew a map from the table and placed it in front of Mal’Zuur. “Most sub-cults have disintegrated to the west in Nagrand, I have only managed to renew contact with two,” she pointed out the Bleeding Hollow Clan and the Bonechewer Clan ruins on the map, “The Burning Blade has rallied at the Bleeding Hollow ruins, they number over two-thousand, they await orders. I will need to send a party to establish communications with the Bonechewer Fel Orcs once more; their communications device must have been destroyed when the Alliance and the Horde attacked years ago. The Fel Orcs however, unlike the Burning Blade, are not under our direct command. I will have to implement one of my own.”
Edited by Fluency on 3/26/2013 1:12 AM PDT
“I expect more, quicker,” Mal’Zuur spoke rapidly, the extent of his recognition, before turning to Balvaloneous, “What of your situation Balvaloneous?” he pronounced perfectly, supporting the conclusion that his attention and care to detail correlated strongly with the servitude of whom he was interacting with.
Balvaloneous turned, larger than but not as muscular as Karshe. The Draenei was pale blue, with a dark blue blindfold and black body paint spiderwebbed all over his body in intricate, somewhat macabre patterns. “We do as you have said, our Death Speakers remain in the ruins, raising the skeletal dead. Your current army numbers in the thousands, they await underground for your command.”
The room flickered in silence, apart from the disturbing throb of Mal’Zuurs insides. Balvaloneous twitched occasionally, and Karshe stood like a statue, a p***ed off statue. After a long silence, Mal’Zuur gave his orders.
“Balvaloneous, assemble all our forces in the centre of Auchindoun, as well as two-hundred and fifty of your Death Speakers. You will assign five groups of fifty Death Speakers each with a contingent of one hundred skeletal warriors. These groups will march out to the old bone towers in the Bone Wastes and begin reactivation. Once done, the army is to return to Auchindoun. Your Death Speakers will remain in position to maintain the towers.
Balvaloneous nodded, “It will take years to return the towers to full potential, or more. We can however bring functions back to power individually. We shall begin with Necromantic Attraction once the towers are secure, which should cause many of the wandering dead to concentrate and form a better defence.”
“I task you to be in control of research and advancement of those towers, Balvaloneous. Keep two-hundred of your Death Speakers in the Crypts raising new Undead. I want you to task the remaining fifty with unearthing new tombs to discover more ancient and powerful remains I can assimilate into my army.”
Balvaloneous nodded and left, Mal’Zuur turned to Karshe. “Karshe, I want you to quickly assemble whatever forces you need to re-establish contact and whatever indirect dominion you have over the Bonechewer Fel Orcs. I will send Cult Members with you to aid in the integration. After you have assembled that team, you are in direct control of sub-cult communications and intelligence throughout Outland. That is your soul task, do not disappoint me.”
Auchindoun; The Chamber of the Eye
In the centre of a circular room stood a pedestal inscribed with harsh, erratic runes. The runes grew more orderly and delicate the higher up the pedestal they weaved, until a small golden ring of language could be read around the top. An empty basin was inlaid atop the pedestal, and beside it stood Karshe, the Eye. The rest of the room was black and empty.
Karshe nodded to the shadows, and her assistant from earlier stepped out and approached the pedestal. Karshe watched patiently as the younger Orcess drew some reagents from a pouch, ignited them with her voice, and then cast them into the basin. Karshe watched the fire burn down into embers. As the last flames flickered out, a thick smoke roiled from the remains and clouded the air, eventually spreading in a plume upwards from the pedestal.
“Bleeding Hollow!” the assistant shouted, and the smoke shifted and grew darker. Swiftly, the magically adept assistant drew back into the shadows, and Karshe stepped forward as the smoke began to transform, spread, and eventually create the semblance of a mirror, or a window. A minute later, and a powerful male Orcish face was leering through the smoke.
“Cult-Lord Garokk of the Bleeding Hollow Burning Blade reporting!” the smoky face shouted, “What is it you wish, the mighty Karshe?”
“We are beginning the war,” Karshe spoke, bluntly, “In this time of war and age of anger and death, the Burning Blade will be more than a cult, it will be a kingdom. When the Legion comes, you will be hailed as a fine army. You will move on Nagrand, you will take the Burning Blade ruins of old, and you will take Kil’Sorrow Fortress, and establish your presence in Nagrand. You will assimilate the Ogres under your banner, and soon we will have a force to be reckoned with.”
Even through the smoke, Garokk’s grin was easy to see. “We will destroy those who oppose us, and arm those who will join us, fire will overtake Nagrand! Raaarrgrh!”
Karshe smiled back, this was loyalty, emotion and rage for a purpose. Loyalty was not the obedience of the dead, loyalty was not slavery. Loyalty was the –desire- to die for one another.
Mal’Zuur stared over his army of the dead and laughed, they stood loud, rattling, muttering, itching. They weren’t quite the same as the dead of Azeroth, there was something in the Bone Wastes which made them anxious, like they had a little more spirit in them. Yet, they would still be bent. Mal’Zuur was an immensely powerful Necromancer. He would not speak to them, for they would not care for words of encouragement, they were slaves.
First, the Death Speakers left the city, each heading for several hours march into Wastes in search of the Spirit Towers of old. Once they had left, Mal’Zuur lead his forces too, out the gate.
In the distance, one could barely see the mountains upon which Skettis stood, or the division between Nagrand and Terokkar. The Bone Wastes stretched many, many long miles in every direction. Infinite to the eye, Auchindoun would be a tiny spec by the time that Mal’Zuur was to reach his destination… Allerian Stronghold.
With an army of hundreds of skeletons behind him, Mal’Zuur lead a march directly to the Allerian Stronghold, to destroy whatever remained of the pitiful forces there, and open a path for Karshe’s agent to infiltrate the Bonechewer Clan.
[TF: Bone Wastes]: 250 Death Speakers and 500 Skeletal Warriors in five different groups, assigned to Reclaim and Reactivate Spirit Towers in the Bone Wastes.
Estimated: 2 turns for reclamation and renovation.
Reward: Active Spirit Towers, (future research opportunities improve Spirit Tower utility).
[TF: Bone Wastes]: Mal’Zuur, 500 Skeletal Warriors and 1000 Skeletal Archers marching as an army, to Assault Allerian Stronghold on the border of the Bone Wastes.
Estimated: 1 turn for marching.
Reward: Combat with Allerian Stronghold.
[N: Border with Terokkar]: 1000 Burning Blade Fanatics and 300 Burning Blade Warlocks are marching to Subjugate, Integrate or Eliminate Boulderfist Ogres in the Burning Blade Ruins.
Estimated: 1 turn for marching and for attempting negotiations.
Reward: Subjugation (Brief Combat, 100 new Ogre units + Ogre growth) OR Integration (500 new Ogre units + Ogre growth) OR Elimination (Battle, no new Ogre units, no Ogre growth). AND Access to the Burning Blade Ruins.
[RESEARCH]: Death Speakers attempting to uncover newly discovered Tomb full of ancient artifacts. If successful, creation of Skeletal Magi will be enabled.
Estimated: 2 turns.
Edited by Fluency on 3/26/2013 2:53 AM PDT
[B]The Helmand-Horde Border, Zangarmarsh[/b]
"Oh. Oh, damn it!" Cried a goblin mole, taking refuge behind a stem of the various towering mushrooms looming over the area. This was the largest mobilisation the Draenic Horde had ever seen; and the goblin would have nothing to do with being slaughtered here by land hungry humans, not today at least. In less than half a minute, he packed all of his gear: A crude bomb with iron casing, a set of binoculars, a filled notepad, and a rusty old dagger.
Slumping his bag over his back, the goblin would scramble away, rushing to avoid the human forces, and making some calculations in his head to their estimated time of arrival, give or take a few days. After running a few miles, the goblin dropped to a knee and wheezed, never had fear driven his feet so swiftly. He laid on the ground for a moment, and took a handful of water from a close by tributary, the grin returning to his face for the first time since he had been sent out to the border.
It was not to last, however, when the govkin looked up to see a human, no, a worgen, before him atop a patch of juvenile mushrooms, longbow in hand.
"Don't fire!" Begged the goblin as he would take out his backpack and rustle through it for something in trade. Much to the panicked goblin's chagrin, the worgen had already notched an arrow.
Thump. A body hit the ground as the air seemed to almost become still; lodged in the worgen's temple, the goblin's dagger, thrown in a fit of hysteric fear. The goblin shook a little, and ran off, to bring the warlord the news.
[B] Bhalmar, Zangarmarsh [/B]
A heavily scarred orc sat upon a black throne, his eyes piercing the goblin mole making his way into the barely illuminated Hall of Thunder, before breaking the silence with his booming voice, "What have you to report, mole?"
Even among orcs, Bhal'Dan was an intimidating figure, and the massive demon-bone blade did naught to ease the goblin's nerve. Still, he managed to stutter out, "W-Warlord Bhal'Dan! I, uh, bring news from the Helmand Front!" Taking out his notebook, and pointing to a crude map of the border, "Over a thousand. A full invasionary force."
The hall dropped to silence, and a loud clang of the warlord's blade against the stone below illuminated the room briefly with a shower of sparks, before the silence continued for but seconds, the warlord would grunt, "Yes... We'll need to prepare. I'll lead the damn counteroffensive myself. Goblin, what would you estimate their force consists of?"
"Nearly three, if not four thousand!" The goblin would promptly reply, the nervousness apparent in his voice, "I'd think a hundred units of artillery."
Bhal'dan would emit a low growl, before waving the goblin off, "Well done, Goblin." And with that, the goblin would scurry off.The warlord would step down from his throne, "Ordagh, I'll need a thousand of our grunts, fifty goblin rangers, and sappers, a hundred juggernauts, raiders, and medics. Twenty five wind riders too, to the grounds."
General Ordagh, would bow, "Dabu, Warlord." And start to walk away.
"Overseer Roseboom is to remain in command while I'm away. See to it I don't come back a less powerful nation." Bhal'dan commanded, before rushing out of the Hall of Thunder, and onto his wolf.
Still Ordagh followed suit, and bitterly proceeded to rally the requested forces.
[B] Horde Defensive, Ango'Rosh Border, Zangarmarsh [/B]
[I] The next day... [/I]
The Draenic Horde had been preparing for this since their first skirmishes with the Republic of Man, but the idea that they would be on the defensive was almost laughable. A few posts were set up in the hollowed stems of the massive zangarian mushrooms to house the specialist forces especially the goblin medics and sappers.
With wind-riders reporting that the human forces would arrive within a day, Bhal'Dan had decided to discuss the plan with Director Shadeslink at the GADGET tent.
Bhal'Dan pulled open the curtain of the gray GADGET tent, and stepped in, taking a look at the six agents standing beside the director, who was sitting at the desk he'd had two ogres lug in from Bhalmar.
"Have a seat, Warlord." Offered Shadeslink, gesturing towards the petrified mushroom being used as a guest chair, "Me and the GADGET have reviewed your battle-plan, but we've found some disheartening information; the republic forces numbers range in our various reports; some claim over five-thousand men against us, but GADGET infiltrators have confirmed at least a thousand. As for your plan, however-"
A goblin mole would suddenly burst in, "They're here!" He'd shout, anxiously.
And in one swift movement, the warlord would be out of his seat and moving to the defensive units, the sound of screeching goblins awakening the sleeping combatants.
• Scouts detected mobilisation of the Republic of Man
• Bhal'Dan took command of the Draenic Horde's defensive
• Overseer Roseboom left in command of the capital.
• Bhal'Dan and Director Shadeslink have developed a defensive strategy
• Troops garrisoned to the defensive at the grounds:
25 Wind Riders
8 GADGET agents
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