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The War of the Shifting Sands

by Micky Neilson

Kalimdor would be lost forever.

The War of the Shifting Sands continued for long, agonizing months. Shiromar managed to survive battle after battle, but always the night elves were on the defensive, always outnumbered, always being driven back.

Out of desperation Fandral sought the aid of the elusive bronze dragonflight. Their initial refusal to interfere was reversed when the brazen Qiraji attacked the Caverns of Time, home and province of Nozdormu the Timeless One.

Nozdormu’s heir, Anachronos, agreed to enlist the bronze dragonflight against the marauding Qiraji. Every able-bodied night elf joined the cause, and together they forged a campaign to retake Silithus.

Even with the might of the dragons backing them, however, the sheer numbers of the Qiraji and silithid proved overwhelming. And so Anachronos called upon the progeny of the remaining flights: Merithra, child of Ysera of the green flight; Caelestrasz, child of Alexstrasza from the red, and Arygos, child of Malygos from the blue.

The dragons and winged Qiraji clashed in the cloudless sky above Silithus as the whole of the Kalimdorian night elf forces streamed in across the sands. Even so, it seemed that the numbers of Qiraji and silithid were never-ending.

Shiromar later heard whispers that the dragons flying above the ancient city from which the Qiraji emerged saw something distressing there; something that hinted at a more ancient, terrifying presence behind the onslaught of the insect race.

Perhaps it was this revelation that spurred the dragons and Fandral to hatch their final, desperate plan: to contain the Qiraji within the city, to erect a barrier that would confine them until a more hopeful stratagem could be devised.

With the aid of the four dragonflights, the final push to the city began. Shiromar marched behind Fandral as the corpses of the winged Qiraji fell from the sky. High above, the dragons were making short work of the insect soldiers. As one the night elves and dragons formed a moving wall which pressed the Qiraji back toward the city of Ahn’Qiraj.

But near the city gates, the tide turned, and it was all the combined forces could do to hold the line. To push any further would be impossible. Merithra, Caelestrasz and Arygos decided to push into the city and hold the Qiraji back long enough for Anachronos, Fandral, and the remaining druids and priestesses to create the magical barrier.

And so the three dragons and their companions flew headlong into the Qiraji legions, into the city where they hoped their sacrifice would not be in vain.

Outside the gates Fandral called upon the druids to focus their energies as Anachronos summoned the enchanted barricade. Beyond the gates, the three dragon progeny succumbed to the overwhelming forces as the Qiraji surged forth.

Shiromar concentrated her energies and called upon the blessing of Elune as the barrier erected itself before their eyes, rock and stone and roots from beneath the sands emerging to create an impenetrable wall. Even the winged soldiers who attempted to fly over the barrier met with an invisible obstruction that they could not pass.

The Qiraji who remained outside the wall were quickly slain. The corpses of Qiraji, night elves and dragons littered the bloody sands.

Anachronos motioned to a scarab scuttling below his feet. As Shiromar watched the creature froze, then flattened out, transforming into a metallic gong. Stones shifted into place near the wall, creating a dais where the gong was finally placed.

The great dragon then proceeded to the severed limb of one of his fallen companions. He held the appendage and after a series of incantations, the limb morphed into the shape of a scepter.

The dragon told Fandral that should any mortal ever wish to pass the magical barrier and access the ancient city, they need only strike the scepter against the gong and the gates would open. He then handed the scepter to the Arch-Druid.

Fandral looked down, his face twisting in contempt. “I want nothing to do with Silithus, the Qiraji and least of all, any damned dragons!” With that Fandral swung the enchanted object into the magical gates--where it splintered in a shower of fragments--and walked away.

“Would you shatter our bond for the sake of pride?” the dragon asked.

Fandral turned. “My son’s soul will find no comfort in this hollow victory, dragon. I will have him back. Though it takes millennia, I will have my son back!” Fandral then strode past Shiromar…

… who could see him in her mind even now, as if it were only yesterday and not a thousand years past.

One by one, the gathered forces of Kalimdor looked to her, waiting. She struck out toward the dais, passing humans and tauren, gnomes and dwarves and even trolls, races whom her kind had fought against, who were now united to end the threat of the Qiraji once and for all.

Shiromar stood at the base of the steps and took a deep breath. She climbed to the top of the dais and hesitated only for a second. Then, with one mighty swing, she smashed the scepter into the ancient gong.

The War of the Shifting Sands