The Rise of Strife (in character)

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
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…reports indicate a thirty three percentage (repeating) probability of an increase in the modal acceleration of wooden-stake production efficiency during the season of Winter. This information suggests that Horde forces of the SSE Southern Barrens may be preparing for a probable influx of particularly cold-resistant parasitic, potentially vampiric assailants of either the humanoid or amphibious variety…

Tohrm was just turning the fourteenth page of the information dossier, when there sounded a heavy knock at the door. Seeing as all the others had gone upstairs to discuss recent scouting information (which would just be passed down to him in the form of another dossier eventually), Tohrm decided to answer the door. He placed the paperwork carefully down on the nearby table, next to his cup of very strong Draenic tea, savouring an inhalation of the rich substance in the process. He then stood up with a heavy exhalation of effort.

The knock came again, this time more persistent, annoying. Tohrm reached the door with a symphony of creaks and thuds and opened it swiftly, drawing up to his full height. In this state he filled the doorframe; puny human buildings were not designed for the sheer mass of the Draenei body. Neither were puny humans, as Torhm observed when the woman who had knocked on the door shrunk away from his immense size.

“Hello…” croaked the figure standing upon the doorstep, her voice strikingly similar to the sound floorboards made when Tohrm stood on them.

In front of Tohrm hunched an old woman, old grey wispy hair, old wrinkly skin, old weary yet wise eyes, and an old walking stick holding up her old decrepit body, donned in old, smelly clothes. And yet she was virtually seven billion years younger than Tohrm was. Oh boy, do some people let themselves go, Tohrm thought, as he took a scan of the area before lowering his vision to this senile interloper.

“I am here… for the annual meeting… of the flower arranging committee,” she announced. The way her eyes lit up upon mention of the committee seemed to infer she had little left to live for.

Tohrm puffed up his chest a little more, “This is a likely story,” he replied, sarcastically. It was clear; this malign character was attempting some kind of subterfuge. “May I ask then, young old woman, where are your flowers?” He surveyed her more closely, and it was confirmed, she was not currently wielding any sort of bouquet or singular flower. She was flowerless. Her story, her deceit was uncovered.

The Shaman slammed the door in her face; he would not tolerate evil-doers. He was the door man; it was his duty to regulate those who could use the door, approach the door, and even those who glanced at the door. To fulfil the third of these duties, Tohrm stepped over to the closest window and peered outside. His glowing azure-white eyes followed the elderly spy back down the street. In the process he scanned for any other possible door-offenders. There were none. Tohrm returned to his seat, tea and information dossier.

… a notable increase of cooking related literature in Horde supply. Perhaps some form of giant pastry is their great plan. We should work to create anti-pastry defences as well as train our new recruits in food-related scatter-techniques…

“Hmm,” the Draenei thought, draining his cup of tea and then placing both the dossier and the cup down on the table once more. He set off into the kitchen in search of food.

((I decided not to go with my ridiculous plans, and made a mostly humble time-wasting post. :D ))
Connika's expression turned a little steely as the big mean wolf guy looked down at her with his menacing glower and said mean things to her. Why did nobody take her seriously? So what if her hair was pink and she wasn't even half his height? Could he recite the seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven Gnomish Virtues by heart? Could mister mean worgen properly analyze a Gnomish Battle Chicken for repairs? Not likely!

"A height joke. How original." was her response to that, her voice taking on a decidedly snooty tone. "I've not heard one of those hour ago." Connie affected a yawn. "Terribly sorry for bothering you."

It was of course at that point, a severed head went flying across the room. The woman who'd been blabbering about some guy named Greg had thrown it. It was an Orcish head. And wow, did it look ugly, even for an Orc. Even though she was well clear of the destination of the aforementioned head, the gnome backed up a step with a look of distaste, murmuring "Ewww, gross." under her breath.
Alaric Morgan

Alaric pinched the bridge of his nose, he listened but he couldn't take Perfection's antics seriously, and as a Paladin he rather despised the methods used by the assassin. "Thank you Perfection for that lovely display of your lack of scruples." He sighed as he pulled out a map and started taking small red thumb tacks, pinning them to points where he knew Horde troops were, the Battlescar had the highest concentration, followed closely by the Horde forces dotting the entire Barrens, Ashenvale and Stonetalon areas.

Alaric whistled as he finished, while it was an incomplete picture even his unskilled eyes could see the problems and the narrow focus of where the attacks would. "Let us assume for the moment that Garrosh will continue to let Sylvanas wage the war in the Eastern Kingdoms and won't be planning an attack there." He said as he went over to the chest and grabbed a pile of reports and set to work on identifying more troop movements and positions, this time adding blue thumb tacks for Alliance forces.

"Again we can assume that unless Garrosh is entirely mad," he paused as he glared at Perfection, daring her to interrupt, "we can assume that he won't go for Darnassus or the Exodar." Alaric continued, allowing his tone to remain conversation as he tried to get them to aid him in this. He wasn't the best tactician and he knew he could rely on this people, albeit his distaste for the assassins was clear he still valued their experience.

"So that leaves either a full push against Ashenvale, which would not call for a full scale assault." Alaric turned to look at Lynara, "And I do not say this to be unkind but to be blunt, should Garrosh wish it Ashenvale would fall with fewer than five hundred more men in the campaign." Alaric then pointed at the map again, "Stonetalon is in a similar situation and so this leaves two possibilities as far as I am concerned." He paused for added emphasis, drawing their eyes to the logical points based on their assumptions.

"The Battlescar or Theramore." He said simply, leaning back and letting the others look down at the map. As this was going on Alaric motioned for Derek to come towards him, both to whisper what he wanted said as well as to distract him from Perfection's antics.
Elwynn stared into Alaric's eyes, then shifted his own to those around him. "What are we going to do" he breathed, "if they are actually plotting against these areas?"

"You can not go in blind, for one."

A man had been standing by the edge of the stairwell, peering in and listening - it was Veothore Duerron, one of the two intellectuals of the organization. Because he had become well acquainted with Captain Morgan, Derek, and Elwynn, he had become more comfortable in communicating with them.

The mage approached the table where the team gathered around.

"You cannot assume that Garrosh is not entirely mad," he said. "As a matter of fact, keeping his spilled marbles into consideration would do us more good than harm. Before we decide to make any conclusions regarding this plot, we should find out more about it... and I do not think there are many ways to decode this threat... unless, of course, we get into the heart of where it lies." He smiled at the crew. Elwynn stared back at him.

"Orgrimmar?" said the man in response. "Veothore, finding out what the attack plan is in Orgrimmar sounds..." He stopped.

"...sounds excellent, actually."
Nadra rose from her chair.

"How are we supposed to infiltrate Orgrimmar? We are not rogues! I may be able to Camouflage, but not all of us have the abilities to Stealth, you know. Invading Orgrimmar in search of a battle plan sounds like a bad idea, it sounds too dangerous." Her draenic accent was sweet, but tainted with worry.
"We have always bared the blunt of horde aggression. I lost my eye and TWO daughters to them." She growled before moving to the back of the room and quietly leaning against the wall. "Garrosh is cleaver, cunning, and absolutely merciless. One thing you should NEVER do is underestimate him." She sighed as the one known as Veothore came into the room.

"A mission into Orgrimmar? Your best bet of even trying to get in would be the back gate. It's connection to Azshara. The horde clearly has intentions of cutting a line through Ashenvale, but what they don't know is that we sentinels have a secret way all the way to the Southfury. Through the canopy." She said as she approached the map again. She looked at the captain to see about his intentions.
"We've already gone into Orgrimmar before," said Elwynn. "Not too far in, and not all of us at once. But we've done it."

Veothore sighed as he stared at Alaric's pinned map, crossing his arms. "I get the feeling that most, if not all of us, should go. Finding something in Orgrimmar that could tell us more about this battle plan—like a missive, maybe—could be difficult with only a few of us in a large place like Orgrimmar, especially when we take into consideration that we run a risk of getting caught... which brings me to the disguises problem." Veothore walked to the window, averting his eyes from Lynara Leafblade to the distant clocktower. Workers trod along its stone borders as the loud bell clanged. The sun was now nearing the horizon.

"Can't you just magically morph us, like you did to me four days ago?" said Elwynn. "That disguise lasted a long time; it wore off just yesterday night, actually."

"I could, but disguising several people will take a much larger toll on my energy," he replied. "That is the least of our problems, Elwynn. We need to visit other concerns, like what we will do if we are split apart in the middle of the strongest Horde capital there is!"
"A height joke. How original," the Connika replied. "I've not heard one of those since... oh... an hour ago." She let out a yawn. "Terribly sorry for bothering you."

Derek wasn’t fazed by the gnome’s response, personally relieved that he’d escaped dealing with her, at least for now. ‘Now, onto more important matt-’ The thought was caught short when he saw a head sailing toward him. Reflexes honed through vigorous training were all that kept the orc’s head from meeting his. The rogue brought up a hand, digging into the scalp with his claws. Despite his efforts, however, the severed end hit his chest, leaving brown, coagulated blood on the obsessively cleaned leather.

Derek glared at Perfection but did not comment, refusing to give her even that. Thankfully, Captain Morgan chose that moment to speak, giving him an excuse to look away. The Captain’s conclusion sparked some rapid calculations.

‘While the Battlescar is a highly contested area, destroying Fort Triumph would be like cutting off a limb, and would only succeed in causing retaliation. Taking Theramore, however, would cut off most of central Kalimdor from outside support. And I doubt Hellscream really cares about Lady Proudmoore’s former dealings with the Horde. To him, she’d be just another pathetic human.’

So then the Horde planned to attack Theramore. Derek padded over to Captain Morgan to share his assessments, speaking quietly. “While both the Battlescar and Theramore are potential targets, the latter would be far more valuable to the Horde. We need to send word of this to King Wrynn.”
"No," interjected Elwynn boldly after hearing the whisper. "I told Captain Alaric that I am not even sure who the attack plan is against. Informing the King at this moment without proof of what I heard and without certainty — I just... think we should wait until we know more." Elwynn slowly quieted his voice in embarassment after remembering he was, afterall, speaking to his vice captain.
Derek frowned at Elwynn, annoyed more at himself for allowing others to overhear. Regardless, the paladin was probably right. The worgen sized him up, noting his embarrassment. Good, he should have known not to eavesdrop in the first place. Derek's expression remained impassive as he addressed Elwynn.

"Then what do you propose, Ebonlocke?" He asked, not honestly knowing the answer himself; how would an Alliance member sneak into Orgrimmar and spy on the Warchief? "We cannot simply wait for the Horde to move before we act, we need to stay one step ahead of them."
Elwynn began to speak, but Veothore, who was now turned away from the window, was too quick for him.

"Harrington, I do believe we should get going with this infiltration as soon as we can. We definitely have little time to spoil, and I think I could come up with a good plan, if you two could allow me," he uttered nonchalantly.

"The back gate, as Mrs. Leafblade mentioned, seems to be the safest way into the city." He strode to a neighboring window.

"I'll say this again — all of us in this organization must go if we want to be in there, find out more through perhaps a written document or through word of mouth, and then be out as quickly as possible." The man now paced to a bookshelf that had been carved into the wall. From it, he retracted a green book. "This is an Orcish language book, and it is one of the very few Common books that will instruct you how to comprehend Orcish. Luckily, I have already learned a fair share of Orcish to get me by," he proceeded to the bookshelf again and put in the tome.

"I'll have to disguise us all as members of the Horde to get in. Unfortunately, I cannot do that without the body of a Horde. After taking a ship to Kalimdor —"

Veothore paused, so as to allow himself time to ponder.

"— we could go to the Barr — no, perhaps, we could go to Azshara. Yes, Azshara is close to Orgrimmar, and there are several abandoned ruins there, if memory serves me right, where we might find a lone orc or two. We can slay them, and I can use their bodies for reference to create a physical illusion out of all of us."

Elwynn stared at him in awe.

"But wait, how did you disguise me as an orc before without a reference?" asked Elwynn.

"Your musculature required little change; I only performed a kyphotic and epidermal alteration that remains characteristic of many orcs. As for your face; well, I have enough of an imagination to get your face morphed into an orc. As for everyone else here, however... I think my imagination will come up a little short."

Elwynn thought of another concerning matter, and decided to ask it before his vice captain could intervene.

"So we should split up in Orgrimmar in search for more information?" he said.

"Correct," replied Veothore. "Yes."
Alaric Morgan

Alaric listened intently as Veothore spoke, he trusted his intelligence officers immensely yet this was something he wasn't keen on doing. Trying to hide half a dozen to a dozen people within Orgrimmar, the stronghold of Garrosh Hellscream was asking for something to go wrong. All military operations went wrong somewhere and Alaric was not the kind of person to do something that stupid.

"We will go to Orgrimmar, but in small teams. Two to three in a group. I want someone who is good at getting out of tight spaces with each team, that means three teams. I won't be joining you, as too many people will actually cause problems. But I will be setting up a small camp for us in Azshara. You report in at the end of every day, if you don't make it back we will assume you've been compromised and leave immediately." Alaric let his gaze touch each of their faces. Trying to ascertain which would be the best choices for this assignment.

He had already taken Lynara off that list due to her personal loss in this war so far. "Alright Derek, Elwynn and Perfection will be the leaders of each of these teams. Their word is as good as mine, if you disobey them you will have me to deal with. And trust me in this situation you don't want me to deal with." Alaric let his voice take on a dangerous edge, he didn't like this at all and he wasn't about to let them start a ruckus just for the hell of it.

Strictly speaking he was putting his entire career on the line here, if this operation failed he would be stripped of everything. "You are not, I repeat for those of you with a tendency for killing, not to kill anyone within Orgrimmar. You are to reconnoiter, listen to whatever chatter there is, find any spare papers lying around and get out. If you even remotely appeared compromised you leave. Understand?" Alaric finished, gazing at each of them.

"I value the debate that was being waged but this is final, Orgrimmar is our destination I won't go half-c*cked anywhere and Veothore is right, Garrosh might be partially mad but he is a warrior. He will do what he must to win." Alaric left it at that and headed for the door to his room to grab the rest of his gear, "We leave at first light tomorrow sharp. Veothore will teleport us all to Theramore and from there we will head to Ashenvale and then to Azshara following the hidden paths that Lynara and the Sentinels use. Get some rest and get ready." He didn't wait to see if anyone had any qualms heading off to get his hammer and then to the Cathedral, he had some prayers and meditation to do.
The sun had now disappeared from sight, and the darkness begun to loom over Stormwind.

Veothore retracted The Orcish Syllabary for Curious Commoners and Mage Essentials: Anthropomorphisizing to Zooalteration from the office library, and then made his way to the basement, where two sheep lay cozily in a bed of hay.

Elwynn, on the other hand, made a trip to Darkshire to spend some time with his father and sister.
The draenei begun for the door, her warp stalker trailing behind her.

"Pray to the Light that we don't get killed because of this foolishness," she said as she exited the threshold, descending to the bedroom.
Lynara's expression did not change when her name was not mentioned to be leading a team. She expected it. She herself knew that Morgan did what any captain would do. Try to keep the mission as smooth as possible by leaving out the unstable element, namely her. She looked at the map of Kalimdor again. "If we can get into Ashenvale near the Stardust spire I can get us into the canopy path, but it will be dangerous. We have to keep it looking as natural as possible from below. We will also have to probably take a detour around the harvested parts of the forest." She said.

She looked over the group "If you need anything else I'll be resting." She said as she turned and left the room walking down past the Draenei. "By the way." She said. "It is only foolish to sit and do nothing. Something like this is far better than just sitting around waiting to die." She found her bunk and rolled onto it.
The plan sounded insane to Derek. 'So what,' he thought sceptically. 'We're somehow supposed to learn Orcish in a matter of days and then pass for commoners of Orgrimmar?' He hadn't any cause to speak Orcish since the whole fiasco at the Bastion of Twilight, and that had barely been passable. 'I'll need to get my hands on that Orcish book... Where has that Mage gone off to?'

With a nod to Captain Morgan, Derek descended the stairwell in search of Veothore. He paused for a moment in the common room, sniffing the air, and came to the conclusion that the man hadn't left the building. Walking past the kitchen, he opened the door to the dormitory and saw no one inside. So then the Mage had gone downstairs for some reason or other.

'He had better not be using my alchemy table.' Derek grumbled to himself. Once he reached the bottom of the stairs, he was pleased to see that the Mage wasn't using his equipment. Good.

"Your plan is outrageous and has a high probability of failure, Veothore. However, it's also the only one we have." Derek approached Veothore and indicated the Orcish book. "May I?" He asked. "I'm a little undereducated in the Orcish language, something that I'd like to remedy, and soon."
Alaric Morgan

Alaric found himself standing in the back of the Cathedral, looking up at the alter where the Light shone down brightly from above. It was moonlight but it still looked like the golden light of the sun and it made Alaric glow on the inside. This was his sanctuary, this was his solace. He found he was at peace here and he sighed as he moved forward and bent down on his knee to pray for a moment.

'Light grant me strength to see this through, allow me to bring those I command home safely and to bring honor to my family and the Alliance. Let me have the patience and the fortitude to survive the coming trials ahead of me...' The prayer continued like this for many minutes, Alaric never expected an answer when he did this. It was simply a way for him to speak his mind without concern for who might here.

Walking up slowly to the young paladin was an elderly priest, his head bald and a faint smile on his face. "The last time I saw you genuflecting in such a tense pose was after Ashok was named traitor to the Alliance... What troubles you my son?" Brother Michaels asked of the still kneeling paladin, as he came to seat on the pew nearby. Alaric turned to look at the priest and smiled at his old mentor. "Brother Michaels..." Alaric said as he rose and joined the priest, hugging him slightly. "It is good to see you, and yes I am deeply troubled..." He admitted.

Alaric knew if there was anyone he could confide in it was his and Ashok's old mentor, Brother Michaels had actually helped raise Alaric's trainer in the Order till he was asked to join as a Paladin. Michaels saw the conflict in the young man's eyes and motioned for them to move outside the Cathedral's to the gardens. As they walked Michaels spoke to Alaric about nothing of true importance. "A new class of Paladins has entered training, the trainers have again asked me to see if you would be interested in training any of them?" He mused at the thought, it would do the boy some good, he thought, to start training the younger paladins.

They needed more level-headed men like Alaric in the Order instead of the more Light-addled or in some cases war-addled heads that now led them. Alaric however chuckled and shook his head, "Ah I wish I could but I have other orders right now... If I ever get time I will I promise, it is the least I can do for his memory..." Alaric trailed off, it was always a sore subject for him. He had learned of Ashok's apparent betrayal to the Alliance later, and not from his old mentor but from the Alliance reports that were going out. It seemed as if Ashok simply deserted his post and went AWOL.

Alaric shook his head, "Any word on where he might be Brother?" Alaric asked, hoping against all hope that Michaels might have uncovered something so that he could go and speak to him himself. But Michaels knew better than to tell Alaric the truth, for Michaels had been in contact with Ashok, the ex-paladin wanting to keep tabs on things and stay slightly ahead of those who hunted him. "I am afraid not my son, he is a ghost... I fear either the Light has claimed him or he is still hiding." Michaels hated lying to Alaric but it was the best thing for the young man.

For if Alaric went after Ashok he would have to bring him back to justice, it would go against everything the young man knew and held dear not to. It would destroy him Michaels knew and Ashok knew as well for he had told Michaels never to reveal the truth, never to reveal what happened to him and why he had left. Michaels understood why Ashok left the Alliance, for he had raised the boy after he had found him beaten and starved on the steps of the Cathedral running from his drunken and abusive father, the body of his mother turning up in the Canals in the following days.

Alaric rallied his face and re-arranged his features, deep down he knew that Michaels was protecting him yet he couldn't come to face that reality. "Very well Brother... As to what bothers me now... It is the this assignment I have been given..." Alaric trails off, unsure if he can really talk to Michaels about these things. It was after all a covert mission and organization. Yet he dismissed such things, Michaels was a priest of the Cathedral of Light and heard the confessions of men even more powerful than a mere Knight-Captain.

"There is evidence pointing to a Horde attack against the Alliance somewhere... The question is where and it has been decided to go looking for more evidence... In Orgrimmar." Alaric finished, they had arrived in the gardens and now Alaric sat on the bench near the lake, his head falling into his hands. He was worried, beyond worried right now. Michaels sees the conflict and feels a surge of pride for the young man. "Alaric it is not your responsibility to worry about all the life in the world, admirable as it is that you do. You must worry simply about what you can control. What is within your power right now?" The priest asked, a faint smile touching his aging face.

Alaric looked up at that kind and understanding face, taking comfort from the man he viewed as a second, no third, father to him. "If I am honest with myself? Only how we accomplish the goal of finding more information in Ogrimmar..." He said disheartened by the fact that he had so little control over the things to come. Yet Michaels smiled at him and rubbed his back only as a fatherly figure could. "This is why I see great things for you Alaric... Why Ashok picked you as his apprentice when he was asked to. Why I ask you to teach the newer generations, why when I think of the direction things to come are headed I am comforted by the knowledge that you are in a position to lead."

Michaels paused in his speech, knowing Alaric would not interrupt, having been taught how swift the older man could move when he was interrupted. "You have but one path before you at this juncture, and that is a blessing many would gladly sacrifice much for. You can protect the men and women who serve under you and possibly save countless lives. Be thankful you are in such a position, for as I taught you many years ago the Light will guide your hand when you need it. Yet it seems to me you know the course you must take." The old priest said in an amused tone. This was his favorite part of watching the young men he trains, it was the point in time, the turning point where they realized that everything they have done prior to this leads up to this moment.

The moment, where they no longer are pawns in the game of giants but the Knights and heroes who hold back the tides and rally those who fight for the Light. It was a beautiful thing to watch for Michaels, he knew he would be dead long before Alaric reached his potential and it made him happy on a deep level to watch this young rising star rise even higher. Alaric for his part laughed and shook his head, realizing his worries and doubts were unfounded. "What would I do without you Brother Michaels?" He asked in a rueful tone, a smile touching his face; and Michaels was struck with how much alike the young man and his mentor were.

"I am sure, my son, you would do great things." He murmured and slapped Alaric's golden pauldron before rising slowly and heading back into the Cathedral. "I will look for you when you return, and I will have a retinue of young women to show you off to in the hopes that you will carry on your parents line and bring me new recruits one day!" The old priest shouted with a hearty laugh, which grew in mirth at the blush that touched Alaric's face. 'He is the purest soul I have ever seen...' The priest thought, hopeful that it would remain so for he worried what would happen to a soul like Alaric's if it were tarnished with darkness.

((2/3 BAAAAAAH))
Alaric soon left the gardens after staring at the lake and the stars, memorizing the constellations and remembering the words his mentor had told him before they left Stormwind for the Dark Portal. 'Never forget why you fight. Remember those you fight for and above all hold within yourself a bright memory. One that brings you happiness and peace and it will carry you against all darkness.' Alaric repeated the words to himself on his way back to the Organizations Headquarters, finding his room and falling on his bed to rest for the few hours before the dawn brought him the next step in his journey. He fell asleep remembering all the lessons Ashok had taught him.

((3/3 Grumble grumble 5k word limit grumble grumble))

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