Season in the Mist-IC

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
There were many things that Alviira knew as a mage. The mysteries of Time and space were nearly second nature to her. But as a serious student of Arcane she also knew her lack of knowledge was far greater. Many things had tickled her mind as she explored Pandaria. Traveling with Lorewalker Cho was one of her brightest ideas so far.

He was a kindly Pandaren and very rotund. Alviira was constantly reminded of her smaller stature when around the Lorewalker. He would offer her treats and tea, often chiding her she was much too thin. Alviira merely smirked and bowed to him with a smile. "I am just fine for a Sindorei, Lorewalker Cho. Would you be so kind as to help me in my research? I want to know more about this land and its people. The history itself only becomes riddled with more puzzles and new information constantly." her tone one of earnest pleading as she looked him in the eyes.

Alas, even for all her wiles as a Sindorei, Lorewalker Cho merely shrugged and pointed out the scrolls and hangings that dotted the land. He rumbled on and on that records of the past were everywhere. You simply has to explore and find them. He was kind enough however to give her a special scroll that would help her to decipher these things and put them into their proper perspective.

"But I am not Pandaren, how will I know if these scrolls are truth or if someone has altered them to suit their needs? Surely the many races here that make Pandaria home will try to manipulate things to better their position?" her logic was of course typical of a Sindorei noblewoman. She assumed all of them were out to make their particular race dominant. Which may or may not be true.

Stroking his chin and contemplating his cup of brew for a very long time, the Lorewalker finally came to a conclusion. "I agree that some things may be similar to the rest of Azeroth in terms of basic politics. But there are things here in Pandaria that are different. The only way you will be able to see this is to travel the land and meet all of its races and beings. Then and only then will you even 'begin' to understand it. You must keep an open mind and spirit to seek the truths that exist. Be patient, be open, be aware of all around you. I have never claimed to know everything, for that is ignorance and pride speaking. I seek knowledge and enlightenment everyday. I suggest you gather a party together and explore Pandaria . May all of the Celestials guide you and help you along the way."

Setting her cup of tea back on the table, Alviira rose and bowed deeply to the Lorewalker. "I will do as you suggest, I will seek out a few stalwart companions to aid me and together we shall explore Pandaria. I thank you for the tea and guidance."
The short ride to the Jade Temple had Alviira thinking quietly to herself. "I wonder if I will ever see those friendly Alliance folks I met when I was stuck in that awful place? I am so glad I managed to escape with Aellarion. I am glad the Explorer's League was willing to track them down for me."

The note she had received from the Explorer's League had confirmed that her friends were all well and accounted for. They also promised to send word to them that Alviira was commissioning an expedition to Pandaria in search of relics and historical information. They added that the funding for her project would include some gold for hiring guards if she needed them. They warned her that Pandaria was not all peaceful, and she might be prudent to hire at least a few to keep her and the company safe.

The Temple grounds were beautiful and she was awestruck at the lovely animals and ponds that dotted the grounds. She looked for a nice Inn to stay in, it was always better to meet some of the locals and make some new friends while she conducted her research. The Pandaren were friendly for the most part and she often had to pull herself away reluctantly from their feasts and brew.

She did not want to ruin her svelt figure, in spite of their encouragement to gain a few pounds. Entering the only Inn she could find she sat at the bar and inquired about a room for a few weeks. She was certain it would take her a long time to get the lore of the Pandaren people. But she had to start somewhere.

The Inn was very quiet and did not seem to have many visitors. Sitting at the bar she sipped the marvelous barleytea and looked around curiously.
Weary from spending most of the day trudging across the Jade Forest, Erani and Zikara had finally reached the temple of the Jade Serpent. Zikara’s hooves by now were quite sore as she moved sluggishly behind Erani who was still trotting along at a brisk pace when the temple came into view.

“Chin up, Zikara. We are almost there.”

“Oh, thank the Light and all that is holy,” she murmured. “I cannot bear to take another step.”

Erani chuckled softly. “Oh come now. It has only been our first day of travel.”

“And what a day it was. I think my hooves are cracked.”

“You have spent so much time cooped up inside reading books you have grown soft. The exercise was good for you.” Erani looked down at the message sent by Alviira and reread it for directions to the inn as she came to the bottom of the massive stone stairs. “Now come along. I would like to get there before nightfall.”

Zikara glanced up at the stairs and groaned in misery. One sore hoof after the other she hiked up her robes and started up the stairs along with Erani. Halfway up the stairs, her head started to spin from exhaustion.

The door to the inn slowly swung open as Erani stepped in. Zikara was being carried over her back, Erani’s arms wrapped around each one of her legs to keep her secure. Zikara seemed boneless in Erani’s grasp. They were accompanied by a local pandaren who had offered to help when Zikara fainted. He couldn’t speak common, but Erani appreciated his help nonetheless. In the pandaren language, he called the innkeeper, an old kind looking pandaren woman, for help just as Zikara was beginning to recover with a soft groan. She stirred and opened her eyes again lifting her head to glance around the inn. “Where are we?” was her first question

“The inn, my dear,” said the pandaren woman. “Are you alright? You seem to have fainted.”

Zikara’s face turned an even deeper violet from embarrassment. “I am okay. Erani, you can put me down now.”

Erani nodded and crouched a bit to let her off, then turned to the kind pandaren who helped them to the inn and bowed in gratitude as was their culture. He bowed in return and said something in the Pandaren language that was probably supposed to be some kind of blessing before he left.

“Come, come. I bring you herbal tea and mountain goat stew with dumplings. You will have your strength back in no time,” said the innkeeper to the two draenei.

Not wanting to appear as weak as she already seemed, Zikara tried to turn down her offer, “No, no. That will not be nessesary. I just-…”

“Nonsense! You so skinny! It is no wonder you so light-headed. Come!” The Pandaren woman practically dragged her to a table while Erani followed

Erani smiled at Zikara. “She is not going to let you say no, Zikara. Besides, you look like a wobbly wreck; some tea would do you good.”
Zikara sighed. “Oh, alright.”

When they were seated, Zikara let out an audible sigh of relief as she smoothed out her robes. Erani frowned. “I am sorry. I did not realize I was pushing you so hard” Erani would forget sometimes that not everyone had her outrageous stamina. Now that she had thought about it, she was jogging a lot of the way and poor Zikara was forced to keep up.
Zikara waved her hand dismissively, “Oh, do not apologize. Like you said, I needed the exercise, and we were in a rush. I hope we are not too late to meet this Alviira, woman?”

Erani shook her head, “We should not be.” She looked around the inn when she spotted her speaking to a human. She was eager to speak with her herself. She had wondered what she had been up to all this time. “But I would like to see you recover first.”

“I told you, Erani, I am fine.”

“Fainting does not qualify as ‘fine’ in my book. I will let her know we are here. You stay here and eat something."

Zikara groaned in irritation but wouldn’t argue with Erani anymore.
This land, Derek mused idly, was far too bright and cheery. The worgen rogue of SI:7- currently off duty until the arrival of the 7th Fleet- was sitting on the back of a chestnut mare in his human form, trying to make his journey go faster. How did one keep such a land in perfect harmony?

While a bit of a damper had been put on the atmosphere of the Jade Forest upon the arrival of the Horde and Alliance, it seemed like these strange pandaren were only too happy to welcome their uninvited guests. From what he’d heard, the two factions hadn’t received quite the same welcome upon their arrivals in places like Uldum, Northrend and the Twilight Highlands.

Derek was still reluctant in what he was doing; he’d received a letter from a blood elven woman who he had met during his misadventure in the Alterac Mountains so long ago, and was now on his way to meet this woman- Alviira was her name- at the Temple of the Jade Serpent. His hesitation was owed to the fact that, in the time since their last meeting, the war between the Horde and Alliance had taken a turn for the worse.

The Horde had dropped a mana bomb on Theramore Isle and then formed a blockade around all of Kalimdor. While the blockade had been broken, the proceeding weeks had seen continued escalation in the faction war. Some would see Derek’s current actions as treachery.

However, Alviira’s letter had come under the pretense of a bi-factional expedition of Pandaria, and Derek would be a fool if he missed a chance to see more of this continent. He was particularly interested in what lay to the west of the Serpent’s Spine, a great wall spanning from the north to the south of Pandaria. It was said that a seemingly endless host of insect-like humanoids dwelt in a land known as the Dread Wastes.

The current road on which his horse treaded would take him from the Jinyu encampment of Pearlfin Village to the Temple of the Jade Serpent. Derek hadn’t participated in aiding the Jinyu, instead dedicating his time to defeating the Horde at Twin Spires. He had helped kill an orc warlock there who had gone through a strange transformation moments before his death. Apparently, similar creatures had been encountered after the destruction of Garrosh’ar Point. The idea of creatures capable of possession made Derek wary, but he was pleased to see that they could be killed.

If it hadn’t been for this expedition, Derek would likely have been off fighting Horde; they couldn’t be given the chance to establish a better position on Pandaria than the Alliance. That was another reason he had been reluctant to go, but in the end he decided it would do him good.

’Ah, there’s the blasted temple,’ he thought with relief; he had been traveling for hours in the hot forest, and was glad to have finally reached his destination. The temple’s walls loomed before him, the building itself a towering monument to- he assumed- a jade serpent of some sort. Once within the walls, it didn’t take him long to find an inn. ’If anywhere, she’ll be in there.’ he reasoned. The tavern had a light atmosphere, with many pandaren either drinking and eating or serving and eating. It seemed that all these things did was eat.

Derek spied the elf mage, sipping tea at the bar. The rogue approached Alviira and casually sat down two seats to her left, ordering a cup of tea for himself. Though he wasn’t too fond of the drink, the pandaren made it better than any other he’d ever tasted; he supposed that they’d had a lot of peaceful times during which they could perfect such frivolities as tea. He didn’t announce himself to Alviira, waiting for her to come to him. That way, it felt like he was the one in control.
Charles carefully drew back his bow, doing so as silently as possible so that the nearby spider wouldn’t be alerted of his presence. One of the pandaren in Dawn’s Blossom had needed some of their silk, and Charles had wanted practice with a bow; he was more accustomed to guns, and couldn’t get used to the drawing and releasing of the bow. He growled in frustration when his most recent shot missed the spider by a few inches, causing the creature to come barreling after him. In moments, the beast was tearing at his mail armor, trying to sink its poison fangs into the worgen’s flesh. Charles fell to the ground, limp and unmoving. The spider only thrashed at him for a few moments more before it was apparently satisfied, returning to its investigation of a seemingly unimportant tree.

The hunter had been practicing his shot for the past hour, either pulling out his gun once a spider was aware of his presence or simply feigning death as he was now. His plan had backfired at one point, with one spider attempting to bind the worgen in webs and make a meal of him. The resulting spider bite still stung underneath its bandage, cleaned and treated with anti-venom as it was. Charles was once again thankful that he had invested so much time in mastering first aid techniques. Well, he could never get the creation of anti-venoms down, but at least he made sure to keep a steady supply of those potions in his pack. One never knew what trouble one could get into when traveling in strange new lands.

Still frustrated by his lack of success, Charles sighed and climbed to his feet, carefully moving away from the spider before breaking into a light jog in the direction of Dawn’s Blossom. He had plenty of silk, but he had wanted to perfect his shot. So much for that. It was nearly evening when Charles arrived back at the village, presenting the pandaren with his spider silk and receiving a fair sum of gold. Finding his way to the nearby inn, the worgen ordered a bowl of noodles, eating them slowly while planning the rest of his day.

Ever since he’d said his farewells to the Jinyu in Pearlfin Village, Charles had wanted to see the great Temple of the Jade Serpent, which was said to be the home of Yu’lon, a celestial flying green serpent. The hunter knew little of the celestial’s origins, but apparently there were others like her throughout Pandaria. If there was anywhere he’d learn more of these beings, it would be in the temple.

Once he had paid his bill, giving his kindly server a generous tip, Charles made his way out of the bar, trotting over to the nearby stable and untying his armored bear. The hunter had acquired his bear- who was a female named Atilla- during a visit to the magus city of Dalaran, immediately taken with the enormous beast. Atilla trailed along after Charles as he handed some gold to the stable keeper, and then bent her knees so the worgen could mount. With a whistle, Charles directed the bear towards the exit of Dawn’s Blossom, turning down the path that led to the Temple of the Jade Serpent. The bear charged forward a little too enthusiastically, leaving him struggling not to fall off. But Charles was used to riding Atilla, and held fast, finding himself enjoying the bear's rough gallop.


Nightfall found him at the gates of the temple, Atillas reigns in his right hand. He gave them a tug and led the way into the temple grounds, spotting stables and an inn nearby. Once the bear had been attended to, the pandaren stable-master giving him an uncertain look, Charles found his way to the inn, seating himself between a female blood elf and a male human and ordering some food from the barmaid.
The clop of a horses hooves caught Kialla's attention as a rider approached from behind her. Turning about, she glanced back trying to identify the rider. Human, most likely one from the lumber camp heading back to Redridge. His urgency became more apparent as Kialla watched the rider, his horse swiftly closing the gap. She pulled back on the leather straps bidding Berwyn to stop. A moment later, the rider slowed, pulling his horse up beside the warrior.

"Goodday, miss." He nodded to Kialla, eyeing the bear she rode warily. "I've an urgent notice for you from one of your employers." He thrust a white envelope marked with blue ink in her direction. Reaching up, Kialla took it without a word, glancing over the writing. It was clearly addressed to her, and stamped shut with a wax seal. She instantly recognized the shape of the signet. Buenor, one of the dwarves in the Explorers League, whom had hired her on more than one occasion. She opened it, wondering what was so important to send a messenger chasing her halfway to Lakeshire!

~Kialla, I have an interesting proposition for you. The Explorer's League has commissioned a rather intriguing project a few days ago. An elf by the name Alviira is leading an expedition into the new isle, Pandaria, in an attempt to gain some insight on the historical artifacts and lore there. I know you've served the Alliance once before and are somewhat familiar with some of the locals, lands and dangers there. We're asking your assistance with providing escort protection for the expedition. Compensation will be made for your cooperation and assistance. You can find Alviira at the inn on the Jade Temple grounds in two days.

P.S. Before you toss this aside, you do still owe me a favor, and this expedition is quite valuable to me.

The crisp paper the note was written on crinkled noisily as Kialla crumpled it up, tossing it in her saddlebags. It'd been dated a day and a half ago... tomorrow was the supposed 'meeting' at the Temple's inn. She glanced at the sun as it began its descent from its midday perch.

She mouthed a 'thank you' in the messenger's direction and twisted Berwyn's reins sharply to the right urging the great white bear to turn back. Berwyn groaned in protest as his leisurely pace was coaxed faster with this sudden change in direction. His temperament was condoned by the silent, soft stroke of the warrior's hand reassuringly rubbing the side of his face.

Half the day was gone before she'd even got the notice, and Booty Bay was a two day ride in itself, let alone the boat ride there. As she rode, Kialla pilfered through her money pouch. A mage was the only option that would get her there in time...if a mage could portal there at all. She wasn't sure, but the warrior couldn't think of another option.

Stormwind's Mage Quarter was just as oddly constructed as she remembered, the houses and other buildings creating a confusing path that split in directions that took an unfamiliar traveler in long, round-about paths before arriving at the tower. The setting sun made it all the more confusing to the draenei as she followed what appeared to be a somewhat familiar route.

Soon enough, the tower stood up ahead, the monstrous stone structure jutting up darkly as the setting sun backlit it. Upon arriving, Kialla retrieved a small piece of parchment and jotted down her request and handed it to one of the wizards standing near the entrance. The man looked rather flustered at the paper being suddenly thrust in his face, but after a moment of gazing at the message, he looked back at her.

"Pandaria... we don't allow unsanctioned travel there, miss..." He stared at the note again. "Kialla." He said at last. "Most of those traveling there are only military and such."

Kialla let out a gasp of air as she sighed loudly at the affront. She procured the leather pouch from her belt and produced several coins from it. Gold gleamed in the remnants of sunlight. the wizards eyes swelled at the wealth being offered. It was quite the bribe, and she looked 'military' enough in the heavy plate he might just be able to explain it off to his superiors. Nodding, he motioned for her to follow. He led her up the tower's stone pathway.

Berwyn growled in protest as they climbed high off the ground towards the top of the tower. Kialla watched anxiously as the wizard spoke softly to another man within the doorway. If she didn't get though this, the 'expedition' would most likely be long gone before she reached the isle. Finally, the man returned.

"Come, they will let you and your bear through." He said, and disappeared into the tower. Kialla abruptly followed, tugging Berwyn behind her.

The circular room didn't look any different than when she had been here before, a few years back. Still lined with the same old chairs and books, the only difference was the sparkling portal that stood in the center of the room. The man she'd paid stood beside it, as well as another robed man, both channeling the sparkling blue arcane energy. Both stopped, and turned to face her a moment later.

"The portal will take you to the Paw'don Village. Enjoy your visit, draenei." He said and bowed deeply to her. With a nod, Kialla spared no more time and stepped through the twisting portal, letting the strange rush envelope her as she was instantly transported to the fabled Island. Darkness met her eyes as reality weaved its way back into her vision. She knew she'd been here before, yet the pandaren village seemed rather unfamiliar under the night sky. A moment later, the groaning form of Berwyn appeared beside her.

Kneeling beside the massive bear, the draenei stroked his rough fur reassuringly before imploring him forward with a tug on his reins. Berwyn withheld for a moment as his vision cleared. A good sense of the ground back beneath his feet, the bear stepped forward, allowing Kialla to climb up on his back. With a stiff shove of her hooves into Berwyn's sides, Kialla urged him forward and the pair made their way quickly to the village gate, and out towards the temple.

It was near midday when Kialla finally reached the temple. She was walking by then, Berwyn having slowed his pace considerably as he tired from near two days of hasty travel. The load off his back seemed to help, as the draenei urged him forward towards the great walls that surrounded the temple.

Leading the bear, Kialla stepped through the great wooden gates of the temple, staring up at the gigantic serpents carefully carved from solid jade and garnished with gold trimming. How they were adhered to the great doors, she didn't know, and she was too worn to bother thinking about it.

Fortunately the inn wasn't far once she'd passed through the gates. Leaving Berwyn at the side of the building, she couldn't help but feel pity for the exhausted animal as he curled up and yawned heavily. Seconds later, the massive beast was dead asleep. Kialla felt nearly the same way herself, the toll of sleep deprivation weighing heavily on her eyes and dulling her senses.

She stepped inside the inn and glanced about. The 'elf' was easily spotted, yet Kialla glanced about looking at the rest of the patrons. It couldn't be right... that was a bloodelf! The other patrons around consisted of a couple humans, and two of her own kind, one of which was approaching the elf. She wondered what Buenor had gotten her into...

A clatter of her bag and shield thudding against the wooden floor resounded as Kialla let them rest on the floor beside her as she dropped herself onto a chair by the table nearest her. Introductions would have to wait a few, for now..... The draenei was out cold before her exhausted form had even slumped forward over the table.

Turning to the human, Alviira smiled. Her teal eyes were open and friendly. "Hello there, yes I am Alviira Silverhawk. I am in need of willing guards for my expedition. We will be traveling rather slowly since we are looking for items of lore and some explanations for the Sha and the problems of Pandaria. I am a history buff. I love exploring the new and exciting." her well manicured hand slid softly into his as she shook it in greeting.

"I expect to have a mixed group, I hope you do not mind? I am rather neutral myself, working with the Cenarion Circle and the Earthen Ring for many years. The Explorer's League has asked for my help and has agreed to fund us. The cooperation of all the peoples of Azeroth is imperative to reach peace. This land is in desparate need of help. Both Horde and Alliance need to stop their bickering and look at the overall picture." as she spoke she looked around and noticed others filing in.

"I do not expect to start until we are all well rested and fed. We also need to work out a route to cover as much territory as possible. Lorewalker Cho has given me a scroll to aid in deciphering what we find, but I am hoping to convince a native to join us so we won't waste time with translations that may not make sense to a non native."

The Innkeeper was overjoyed to see more customers and had rooms for all of them shortly. Serving up tea and fish stew for the evening meal.
"I am never going to tell you anything, elf!" A Mogu was in the claws of a Skeletal Gryphon, flying far above Pandaria with the Jade Forest below him a Blood Elf Death Knight named Lineron was laying his back against the saddle, humming and singing to himself. "All the things that I used to say....all the words that got in the way....all the things that I used to know. Have gone out the window...." He mumbled softly to himself.
"Are you even listioning!?" Lineron smirked at the Mogu's comment then spoke.
"I heard you, wretch. Im only going to let you down once you tell me what I need to know...." The Mogu tired to spit towards him but it just fell down towards the ground. The Mogu gulped then spoke again.

"You can threaten me all you want, elf! I will tell you nothing! The Thunder King, Lei Shen, shall rule this land once again" Lineron sighed then actually started chuckling.
"Bonereaper has never tasted Mogu anyway....." Lineron made a clicking sound then his Skeletal Gryphon let go of the Mogu. The Mogu screamed curses (and just plain screaming) as he fell down until Lineron only heard silence. He looked down at the ground and smirked then maneuvered himself to be sitting upright once again. "Bonesy will probably want something to eat. And Daenith will want a status report. Lets get going, Plaguewing." Plaguewing squawked at his master then flew down towards the corpse of the now dead Mogu.

"Did you get anything from him?" Daenith said, coming from the bushes next to him with Lineron's ghoul, Bonereaper following her and her personal Imp on her shoulder. "And before you ask, if someone is screaming in Pandaria its probably because of you, brother dear." Lineron smiled insanely at her then shook his head. "Unfortunetly no, apparently this 'Lei Shen' these Mogu seem to like oh so much, is more intimidating then even me." Daenith rubbed her eyes in annoyance.

"This is just getting annoying. The Sha aren't going to study themselves!" She exclaimed in annoyance. She huffed in defeat then sighed. "Lets just get to the temple. I need something to focus on besides how HORRIBLE my research so far has gone....." Lineron patted her back attempting to cheer her up.
"Look on the bright side Dae.....uh......I got to kill something! Yeah, thats always fun!" Daenith looked blandly at him then face palmed herself. Lineron summoned a orb of unholy energy in his hand then used it to open a portal to the Shadowrealm, allowing his Deathcharger, Suffering and Daenith's undead warhorse, Pain to trot out of it and allowing Plaguewing to go back through it.
"I suggest we go to that inn by that temple back up North. I enjoy getting into drinking contest with Pandarian. There actually civil about losing, where as Orcs usually just get frustrated and try to kill you. I also have a friend waiting up there with a job." Daenith groaned then they both hopped on to there respective mounts and started trotting towards the Pandaren temple.

-------((LE AWESOME WALKING MONTAGE))--------------

" old enemy.....stairs." Lineron stated when he and his sister arrived at the stair case that lead to the Jade Temple. There mounts trotted there way up to the top of the stair case and they both hopped off of there mounts. "That walk over here was actually pretty uneventful. We were only ambushed by fish people once." Daenith shrugged at her brother as they walked towards the inn.

"They got in our way and we dealt with them in the appropriate manner." Lineron pushed the doors of the inn and scanned the people already in it. 'Not a lot of Pandaren her-' Lineron's mouth formed into a insane smile as he spotted Erani. "Oh I can already tell that this is going to be fun." He turned towards Daenith and pulled out a piece of paper. "Go give this to the Sin'Dorei over there. You might actually like her too, she is a noble as well." Daenith raised a brow in question. "She helped me and Carinoth awhile back. I don't like owing people favors AND she is setting up a expedition. Might finally find some Sha, yeah?" Daenith snatched the paper away from his hand. "Whatever, now then I am going to stuff. Enjoy being nobility, dear sister." Daenith glanced at Erani then back at him.

"Reminding you again, nothing works down there."

"Shut up."

"Make me."

Lineron rolled his eyes at her then walked towards Erani. "I know those beautiful horns of yours anywhere, Erani. What are you doing here in the middle of Pandaria?"

Daenith groaned in annoyance at him then walked over next to Alviira. "Good afternoon, Lady..." She looked at the paper again then looked back at her. "Alviira Silverhawk. I am Daenith Felweaver, of...what is left of House Dawnweaver. Apparently you aided my brother and my son, and thus a debt of gratitude must be paid back. I also have a interest in Pandaria as well. Our goals my be intertwined."
Looking up at Daenith with a pleasant smile, Alviira chuckled as she saw Lineron heading towards Erani. "Ah so nice of you and Lineron to join me. I am looking forward to learning more of Pandaria and the Sha. I do believe that history will repeat itself more often than not. So learning more will hopefully prevent bad things from happening, or at least we have a chance to make more informed decisions."

Indicating a large room off to the side of the Inn, Alviira turned to the Innkeeper, "I suspect we will have more in our party when they finally get here. Would you be so kind as to direct them to your meeting room? I would like to set out these maps and set some coordinates on where we need to explore."

The meeting room was spacious and had a large table that Alviira had directed the Innkeeper to spread with a variety of food and drink. On the wall was a map of Pandaria, each area large enough to note various locations. A set of pushpins and some markers were in a tray next to the maps. Around the table were comfortable chairs and the map was easily visible from the table. Next to the table a large white board stood, it was blank at the moment. It could be used to write down various things for them to keep track of along their journey and report back their findings.

"I do hope we get more soon, I do want to have a general meeting to start things off and explain my methods. For now just relax and we will adjourn to the meeting room as soon as we get more people to join us." Alviira was gracious and calm, not bothered in the least by the presence of the different factions.

The worgen who sat next to her was not someone she knew, but she smiled at him and introduced herself. "I am Alviira SIlverhawk, and I am mounting an expedition to explore Pandaria and search out some answers. We will be needing more guards and guides I do believe, if you would care to join us? We are looking specifically for artifacts and clues to the mystery of the Sha and the various races and their origins." (speaking to Charles)
Xian Li couldn't stop smiling as she guided her dragon turtle through the portal to Paw-Don Village, she was finally going home. She arrived in the Jade Forest after the short, gut-wrenching, distortion caused by the portal. The Village was so peaceful, she had only visited the Jade Forest, once when she was young, now she could explore to her heart's content. "Come on Zen Zhu, let's go see the Jade Temple, maybe we'll be able to see the great Serpent while we're there." Her turtle gave a grunt as Xian Li snapped the reigns and they were off.

The sun was beginning to set as Xian Li rode under the beautifully crafted stone archway leading to the temple grounds. Spotting a stable and inn, she slide off her turtle and lead it into a empty stall "That is a magnificent Dragon Turtle." Xian Li turned to see the Stable Master admiring Zen Zhu "Thank you, is it alright that he stays here for the night?" "Of course," the Stable Master smiled "Just talk to the innkeeper to pay the lodging fees. and what would he like for the evening feeding?" "A Cabbage of two will keep him happy, thank you." She bowed and walked into the inn.

Much to her surprise the inn was filled with foreigners, varying from Blood Elf, Human, to Draenei I wonder what they're all doing here she thought as she moved towards the bar "Spring Rolls, and some Soju please." She told the barkeeper as she sat down, keeping within earshot of the foreigners, the Barkeeper nodded, placing a tall bottle of alcohol in front of her, and setting to work making Xian Li's requested meal. Xian Li listened to the foreigners as she drank, savoring the burn of the liquor sliding down her throat.
Folks were trickling in and Alviira smiled and greeted those who approached her. The human who sat near her piqued her curiousity. "Excuse me, do I know you? I seem to recall that face, though I am not sure we had much in the way of communication. Didn't you have a mage friend with you?" Her words friendly and curious. (speaking over Charles head and to Derek)

The Sindorei were as a general rule very haughty and full of themselves, but Alviira Silverhawk was the kind of noble who ate dinner in the kitchen with her servants. She did not put on "airs" as she called it. She could be the typical Sindorei when the need arose. She was well versed in politics and how to manipulate others.

Her mission here was being approached as she did all her research. Methodical and thorough, staying within the boundaries of common sense. To her it made no sense for the Horde and the Aliance to be at war, but of course she had no say in it. She spread peace as much as she could, working with the peaceful organizations. She rather liked the few humans she had met, and she was very impressed with Anduin Wrynn. They did not get a chance to discuss much when she saw him when he was detained by the Horde. But she was glad when he managed to escape.

She waited for the humans to respond, gazing at him with her clear teal eyes. The black hair framed her face and streaks of blue and purple wove in the strands. Her calm serene beauty had charmed many humans, but she was not about to let that interfere with her mission. She could not help her looks and actually was not trying to distract anyone. In fact it often irritated her when the males seemed to think she was someone to conquer. She was independent and like it that way.

((by the way, unless you are stating you are in worgen form, Alviira assumes you are human))
As Alviira addressed him, Derek continued sipping his drink, leaving a few seconds of silence after she finished before turning to reply.

“Yes, I’m sure we’ve met before,” he responded amiably. The mention of Aevus made him remember the aging man, whose currents whereabouts were a mystery to the rogue. “I don’t think we had a chance to get to know each other very well, though. Not that we had much time for things like that under the Baron’s supervision.” Holding out his hand, he reintroduced himself. “My name is Derek Harrington, may I ask for yours?”

It wasn’t every day he was so polite to someone he barely knew, especially to one whose race supported to the Horde. However, when he’d met her, Derek had still been a bitter man in wake everything that had occurred in Gilneas some months before. The one-time nobleman had only been concerned with his own interests, sacrificing any he deemed as expendable whenever it was necessary. While he was still more self-serving than many, he was loyal to the Alliance, and no more selfish than your average rogue.

With that considered, however, Derek still didn’t feel the need to prove himself and his character to everyone he’d ever wronged. His actions could speak for themselves, and the field of battle was much different than politics; with politics, it was all about talking your way through everything. But how did one talk oneself out of death by a treacherous fall, or a stray arrow? In the midst of a battle, it was better to think about the now and then, rather than consider every future consequence each of your actions might have.

Still, Derek had survived being kidnaped by a lich with the elf, and already trusted her judgement in a tight situation. If they were to cooperate, they needed to keep on good terms, for the sake of teamwork.

“Besides,” Derek thought to himself, the corners of his mouth upturning. “I’ve had great experiences with mages so far.”
Taking the man's hand, Alviira shook it firmly and nodded. "Oh yes I remember now, I am Alviira Silverhawk. I am glad you could join us, I have need of alert guards to keep us safe. Are you interested in history? I find it fascinating! Please call me Vi."

The mage was powerful enough to have won her way out of the Lich's control, but still learning the mysteries of Pandaria. She knew the many pitfalls of pride and worked hard to be at the top of her game. She was convinced she would learn many things that would help her in her life.

Turning to the doorway she sighed. "I suppose we can adjourn to the meeting room. The others will join us there. Do be kind and let me know if you spot any stragglers, Derek. I think I need to organize some paperwork."

Turning to Gridas she smiled, "Will you join us then in the other room? I will be telling everyone what we are doing as soon as I have more people to talk to." She was happy to find more willing to join her expedition.

She then got up from the bar and wandered into the meeting room and sat at the chair near the map. Her notes were fairly sparse right now. But she had an idea they would need to cover each province in turn. Absently she picked up a cup of tea that the waitress had set down next to her hand. The need for secrecy was only to keep the Alliance and the Horde spies from finding a group that was cooperating instead of fighting. She was pretty sure they had enough things going on to keep them busy.
Charles wasn’t blind to the activity going on around him, picking up pieces of conversation with his sharp worgen hearing. “Some of these people must have arranged to gather beforehand. I wonder what they’re up to.” His unspoken question was soon answered by the elf to his right.

"I am Alviira Silverhawk,” she greeted with a smile. “And I am mounting an expedition to explore Pandaria and search out some answers. We will be needing more guards and guides I do believe, if you would care to join us? We are looking specifically for artifacts and clues to the mystery of the Sha and the various races and their origins."

“Glad to meet you, Miss Silverhawk, I’m Charles McCormick.” Charles replied jovially. “I don’t know what sort of dangers we’ll be facing beyond the borders of the Jade Forest, but I think I’m capable of handling anything with a bit of back-up. I’d be happy to join you.” he declared, flashing a smile.

And he meant it. Charles had worked with the Horde before during his time in Uldum, fighting Al’Akir’s minions with their aid. They were so different and yet so similar to the Alliance, and in the end, both factions had similar goals. More important, however, was the prospect of having a chance to explore Pandaria and all of its secrets. In the end, who gave a damn if there were Horde races participating?
Kialla started suddenly, snapping awake as the table seemed to just vanish from beneath her. She crashed to the floor, the resounding 'THUD' as her plated body smashed against the wood. Confusion flashed across her face as she picked herself up and glanced around.

The room was devoid of everything... the bar, tables, even her things had disappeared! The room itself seemed to fade into nothing, the wooden walls stretching far into the distance like a never ending hallway.
'How in the holy Light is this...' The words formed on her lips though no sound came from her throat.

"I am Alviira Silverhawk." A sharp voice spoke from behind her suddenly. Kialla whirled around, almost choking in her startlement as she faced a trio of strangers. They stood several feet away, apparently talking to eachother. The rest of the monologue sounded garbled and incomprhensible as they spoke with one another, almost like it was a language she'd never come across before.

They seemed completely oblivious to her presence, even with the commotion of her slamming heavily on the floor. Not knowing who they were, she stepped closer, trying to guage their identity. She was only a few feet away now, and they still ignored her entirely as if she wasn't there at all.

“Glad to meet you, Miss Silverhawk, I’m Charles McCormick."

One figure suddenly turned and faced Kialla, his face becoming surprisingly clear as he spoke in a deep, masculine tone. The suddeness made the draenei's heart jump to her throat, and the sick feeling of dread ripping into her gut as the man stared straight through her. Kialla took a step back, and turned to run.


Kialla met the wall face first as she turned, finding herself wierdly inverted as the wall seemed to hold her fast as she tried to kick herself free of it. A moment of horror gripped her chest as footsteps ran at her while she helplessly floundered against the wood.

"Are you alright?"

The voice had a strange foreign accent, almost....pandaren? Kialla turned over to face the voice, and found herself staring straight up at the innkeeper from the floor. 'A dream...?' She suddenly realized, her face blushing a purplish blue as she glanced about.

The room was back to normal, and she was lying on the floor beneath the table, where she was now certain she'd made quite the rediculous fool of herself trying to levitate herself by kicking and beating against the wooden panels in her sleep. The foreign voice was indeed pandaren, as the innkeeper had come hurrying over as he noticed the commotion coming from the dreaming draenei.
Derek avoided Alviira's question about his interest in exploration. "How would she react if she knew I'll be reporting most of what I learn here to the SI:7? She doesn't seem so devoted to the Horde as some others I've met, but I doubt she would take that very well... It's not as if I'm going in to this as an Alliance spy, but my superiors will want a full debriefing when I get to work again."

He opted not to bring it up, instead turning his attention to her last request. There seemed to be a few 'stragglers' here and there, but one in particular caught his attention. She was a female Draenei, and she looked rather perturbed, sitting under a table for one reason or another. A pandaren seemed to have noticed too, and was currently consoling the distressed woman.

Setting down his drink, Derek slowly approached her, wondering whether she was coming to join the expedition or if she just happened to be here at the same time as them.

"Hello," he greeted cautiously, hoping she wouldn't be dangerous. "Are you here for the expedition of Pandaria? If you are, we're meeting in the other room."

The distressed Draenei wore plate armor, so she was likely a mercenary or soldier. It would make sense if she was here to join them, but he wasn't quite sure he wanted her to. Would she be prone to such... oddities? If so, then she could be more of a hindrance than an aid.
The large table was piled with a very enticing selection of goodies, there were bowls of fruit, nuts of varying sizes that were shelled and lightly salted, a tray of fresh veggies and a selection of dips. There were pitchers of cold juice and several carafes of tea. Cups, plates and eating utensils were set out on the table. On one end was a large plate of cookies and one of sweet sticky buns. It looked like no one would go hungry or thirsty.

Alviira looked out the doorway at the few she had assumed were going on this expedition. Smiling at Derek, "I see we have some stragglers. Lets get them in here and start a briefing. I want to cover all of the Jade Forest first. Lorewalker Cho has given me leave to use his scroll for translations. But I did want to have at least one Pandaren with us to help. If you see any Pandaren that might like to join the expedition, please ask them to come and see me."

She glanced at the map on the wall and got up to place a large red pin on the Jade Temple location. This would be their meeting place and a rally point in case anyone got lost. There were flight masters all over Pandaria who used kites to travel from one location to the next. Alviira did not understand the magic that made the kites go from one to another place. It was one of the mysteries she wanted answers about.

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