A Brave New World (In Character, Closed)

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
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13 leagues away from the Cenarion Refuge, Inland Sea

A human in a gleaming white Admiral's uniform stormed onto the bridge of the Nightsbane. Another man in the midnight black uniform of the Harbinger Marines looked up from the map of the Inland Sea he had been examining and nodded at the officer.

"Admiral." Tiberius Semprionus Tarquin glared daggers at the Marine commander.

"What is the meaning of this?" he hissed. "I gave strict orders that the fleet was to maintain a distance of at least fifteen leagues from the shore for the next two weeks. What gives you the authority to countermand my orders?!"

"I've received reports from the observers on the shore that there is an increased air presence in the skies above the eastern tunnel to the Blades Edge Mountains. I plan on taking a group of my Marines, along with a few of our noncombatant shamans, and investigating exactly what is happening." Admiral Tarquin stalked up to the other man and stuck a finger next to the other's face.

"I should have you court-martialed for this. And don't think that the fact you're my brother will keep you from feeling the full brunt of the law." Commander Tiberius Dammerung Tarquin smiled genially and looked back to the map.

"Give some people an ounce of authority and it goes straight to their heads. You've been threatening to court-martial me for one thing or another since I arrived on this fleet. But no, I don't think you will. You're just as interested in whoever's on the other side of those mountains as I am -don't forget, the last group we heard of to pass through was that band of Night Elves- and this is our best chance at getting some intel without risking any of our own people." Admiral Tarquin scowled.

"Fine. You have command of the Nightsbane for now. I want her back with the fleet within eight days. Don't get it back in time, and I really will court-martial you." The Admiral turned in a sharp about-face, seemed to think better of it, and turned back around to his brother. "Golganneth watch over you."

"And you as well."

3 days later, Eastern Tunnel Entrance, Zangarmarsh

Commander Tarquin lay in wait, covered from above by foliage: any ground-level threat would see him instantly, but he was indistinguishable from the rest of the terrain when viewed from the air. His admittedly brief experience as a proto-drake squadron commander had given him a good appreciation of the capabilities and limitations of any aerial unit. Fifty Marines armed with crossbows and swords surrounded him, each underneath their own painstakingly created concealment. And nearby, the truly mission-essential personnel: three Dwarven shamans, non-combatants but still proficient in their chosen career. Six specks appeared overhead, and Tarquin nodded with the air of a man who knew what was going to happen days in advance.

"Right on schedule, just like every day the past five days." he muttered to the most senior Dwarf shaman laying next to him. "Make a note of this, Bittershield. Predictability is one of the greatest sins a military commander can commit. As they're about to find out. Commence grounding procedures."

"Yessir." The Dwarf replied absentmindedly, making a hand gesture to the other two shamans near him. The three began chanting something, and then sudden gusts of wind began buffeting the flyers above, forcing them closer and closer to the ground. Dammerung stepped out from his concealment and nodded to a nearby Marine corporal: the corporal knew a variety of minor spells, most of which were very useful for an officer. The corporal nodded back and chanted a minor incantation. Tiberius spoke then, his voice amplified so that it would sound loud even at the altitude the hippogryphs were flying at.

"This is Commander Tiberius Dammerung Tarquin of the Harbingers of the Republic of Man speaking to the unidentified trespassers. You are violating the sovereign territory of the Republic of Man! You are furthermore hereby ordered to land immediately and surrender any weaponry on your person." The Commander made a gesture, and all fifty Marines stepped out, their crossbows drawn back with bolts already loaded. "Failure to do so will result in your immediate termination!
East of Hellfire Citadel, Road of Glory

"Brother-Sergeant! Six unknowns coming from the north!" Brother Kayle said quietly, his sharp eyes making him the best choice for watch duty. The rest of the squad coming up to attentiveness as he made note of the figures approaching, however Smith was a bit more relaxed. "Brother can you make out any details? Such as the color of their armor? Their formation?" He asked, keen to teach that there was no need to be -so- on edge at first. As the others heard the questions they started to relax fractionally and then Kayle laughed and shook his head, "Its Ultima brother-sergeant, apologies for jumping to conclusions." He said.

It was obvious he would hesitate in the future and so Smith shook his head, "If we were in a war-zone I would expect nothing less however we are here in our territories. The only threat is the heat. Relax a little but always do that when we explore outside our lands." Smith said as Ultima squad came into view and started jogging into the small camp. "Welcome brothers, Grand Librarian..." Smith said as he stood, bowing to the higher ranked Legionnaire and gripping arms with his fellow soldiers. "Was your mission fruitful?" He asked simply to which the others nodded, though they did not grin or express true elation at the news.

"As a matter of fact brother-sergeant it was a great success. The demons left behind a great many gifts for us to claim. Among them their armories and all the tools we would need to build great weapons of war and armor and weapons that will make us feared throughout this new world." Ashok said, he didn't choose to sit down with the men, preferring to head off to the east side of the camp and stare at the distant structure of the Dark Portal. Even as a young alchemist with barely any magical talent to speak of he had been fascinated by it. It was one of the reasons that the Cloudstriker family had added them to their retinue of scientists and magi early on, when Stormwind was still standing.

It was obvious that his insatiable need for knowledge would lead the family to success and so far they had been right. Smith nodded, he wasn't the best strategist but he knew that what Ashok said would bode well for them. "Good I'm getting sick and tired of the Republic causing us problems to the west and with reports coming in from the south..." He trailed off and shrugged again. "As are we all brother-sergeant. Rest assured our destinies have been set upon a higher path..." Ashok muttered quietly, the rest of the conversation turning to things of minor import to the Librarian.

Summary

Building: Fortress at Terrorkar-Hellfire border (Estimated time 2-3 posts)
Building: Fortress-City at Hellfire-Zangarmarsh border (Estimated 3-4 posts)
Investigation: Hellfire Citadel (Complete; returning to give report)
Investigation: Forge Camp Rage/Megaddon/Annihilator (Complete; returning to give report)
Horde Defensive, Ango'Rosh Border, Zangarmarsh

Lord General Jaeger looked at the Horde army, spat on the ground, and turned back to his own army. The Hoplites were arrayed in three ranks in the center, as per standard procedure in the field manual. The Marines were split evenly on the flanks, as were the Dragoons at the extreme flanks. The Scorpions were lined up at the rear in two staggered ranks. General Carnifex, meanwhile, controlled the reserve: 250 Hoplites in the extreme center, an insurance policy against any surprises the Horde could pull out. General Jaeger was in full command for this battle.

The general drew in a breath and turned his rhino to face his army, preparing to deliver the traditional pre-battle speech.

"Soldiers of the Republic of Man, hear me now! Before you is the rebel Horde, a group of outcasts so corrupt, not even that degenerate band of butchers in thrall to Garrosh could countenance them! This rebel Horde threatens the peace we have bought so dearly, they threaten our families, they threaten everything we hold dear! They have been a dagger in our backs, threatening to strike at any moment just like the orcs always have! But no more. Today we begin the first step of bringing peace to Outland. We will crush the rebels underfoot, and we will ensure the safety of our homeland. The blessing of Aggramar is with us!"

"Ahoo! Ahoo! Ahoo!" the Hoplites chanted and struck the hafts of their spears against the edges of their shields with each word.

"I want to see blood! I want to bathe in their blood! I want to bathe in their blood for a week!"

"Ahoo! Ahoo! Ahoo!"

"Harbingers: ADVANCE!"

The Hoplites began their inexorable advance across the battlefield, taking each step in perfect unison. It was a bone-chilling display of the iron discipline exerted upon the soldiers of the Republic. As they marched on, the soldiers began chanting the war hymn of the Titan Aggramar, using the vibrations of the ground itself as a steady drumbeat.

The Scorpions fired at that same time, and bolts and incendiary pots howled overhead, a herald of the Republic's advance.

-----------------------------------
Turn summary:

1,750 Hoplites, 500 Marines, 200 Dragoons, and 30 Scorpions have been sent to invade the Draenic Horde territory.

A tunnel is being bored from the western part of the Blade's Edge Mountains in Helmand province up to Forge Camp: Terror. (2 turns to completion)

200 Dragoons have landed near the Cenarion refuge and are scouting the Hellfire Penninsula, with the intention of finding the current location of the "Black Legion" (A.K.A. the Black Empire)

The Hand of Judgement and two light cruisers are patrolling the eastern part of the Inland Sea.

The Battle of Ango'Rosh has begun
Battle Summary:
1,500 Hoplites are in the center of the line in three ranks. 250 Marines and 100 Dragoons are on each flank. 250 Hoplites are in reserve under the command of General Carnifex.

The Hoplites have begun their advance, and the flanking forces are moving alongside. (If you want the "war hymn" here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyFOISoKbTA

30 Scorpions are firing on the Horde forces: continuous fire, 25 bolts and 5 incendiary pots per volley. 1 volley every 20 seconds. Scorpions will not target any hostile unit within 100 meters of a friendly force.
Southern Zangarmarsh, Just off the western "coast"

It was near midnight of the 6th day the Covenant fleet had been set towards the Twilight Ridge. There were 150 soldiers packing the Hyperion, plus the 25 regular crew members. Add the needed food and water for all these people and it reached a point where the Hyperion's speed was halved. The ship would have reached the Highlands in two days if it weren't for the extra weight and frequent breaks that the 20 Nether Ray riders insisted their mounts needed. Yet here it was, nearing its seventh day of travel, and still only in Zangarmarsh.

These were the thoughts of Sky-captain Aleyra, as she sat in her quarters looking over Outland maps. Suddenly, her dejected thoughts were interrupted as the door burst open to reveal her first officer.

"We've passed the border into Nagrand," he announced, and at those six words, the captain smiled for the first time in nearly seven days. She did a few rapid calculations in her head and, with a few glances at her maps, realized that the Twilight Ridge would be reached in a matter of hours.

Just North of the Twilight Ridge

The empty quiet of the valley near the portal was interrupted by loud cannon shots as three boulders floating near the "coast" of the valley burst into tiny shards, allowing the Hyperion through. The ship drew close to the edge of the land as 2 units of Nether Ray riders flew in formation above the portal. Five gangplanks were lowered from various points of the ship, and soldiers began immediately to stream onto the hard ground.

In about fifteen minutes, nearly 150 blood elf soldiers stood in ranks around the small valley while 10 of the Hyperion's crewmen were working to unload some of the ship's cannons. The attack commander stood at the head of the small army giving each unit of soldiers their orders.

"42nd Infantry Unit! The Hyperion's crew are unloading about 10 cannons from the ship. You men are to take the artillery with you and position yourselves along the ridge on the other side of this cave overlooking Nagrand. From there you'll be able to bombard any enemy forces attacking from the fields. 23rd Unit, you are to set up a camp in the valley while the 36th unit sets up a defense from any invaders that come in the way we did! The Hyperion will be leaving back for Avarrack as soon as everything is unloaded. Finally, Aerial units! You two are to make a fly over of the two Forge Camps just over the mountains. You are to completely and utterly destroy them! We don't want anybody using them to besiege the Ridge! Now then, you all have your jobs, now get to it!" he finished, voice most likely quite sore from all the yelling.

The soldiers went to work immediately after the commander finished, and by mid-afternoon, the Twilight Ridge was turned into a full scale war camp. The two Forge Camps were craters, the ridge overlooking Nagrand was a wall of cannons and rifle bearing soldiers, and the valley had makeshift tents built from supplies on the Hyperion. Flags bearing the Covenant insignia flew all across the Ridge and somebody even thought to wire the tunnel into the valley with a few explosives in case of invaders.

Now that the Ridge was secure, the Hyperion began to return to the Twisting Nether, moving much faster with a lighter load. All that the soldiers had left to do was defend the camp (which natural formations would make very easy) and wait for the Covenant to send mages to begin researching the portal.
(1/2)
Avarrack

Cargash stood in one of the four towers built on the fortress hugging Ecodome Farfield. The towers were not yet finished, and he was a mere floor below the next room being built. He gazed out through a window in the room, his vision slightly obscured by a pulley the workers above him were using to haul materials up. His silent musings were interrupted as Jalnar entered the room, holding the weekly report for the Covenant.

"Oh well, let's get this over with," Cargash said, half groaning. "Well, lets talk about food. How's the food doing?"

"The Ecodome is supplying ample food for the population." Jalnar replied. "Farms are performing adequately and the only risk is if the populace grows bored of raptor meat."

"That almost sounded like a joke," Cargash remarked. "Well, any news on the Hyperion?"

"No communications have been received, but our estimates show that they should have arrived at the Twilight Ridge just this morning," the adviser again replied.

"How are is the Forge Base working?" Cargash questioned.

"Perfectly," Jalnar replied. "We currently have 68 Fel Reavers under our control."

"And what of project Titan?" Cargash asked, lowering his voice.

"Still in development. We have 106 assorted Abyssal and Infernal bodies outfitted with the upgrades, yet our engineer's still can't bring them back to life," Jalnar responded. "They say if they had sufficient power and more space they might be able to execute a mass revival, but we have no such-"

"Not enough power? Too little room?" Cargash proclaimed, cutting Jalnar off. "If that is what they require, I shall assemble an invasion force immediately. We have those very resources directly South. Tell the generals to assemble a ground invasion force to march South. We can take Forge Base Oblivion, Manaforge Ara, and all of Eastern Netherstorm will be ours."

"Right away sir," Jalnar responded as he strode out of the tower, leaving Cargash alone with his thoughts.

(2/2)
Terokkar Forest: The Bone Wastes: Group A: Spirit Tower Reformation

The Death Speakers could no longer see Auchindoun, nor the mountains around The Bone Wastes. An ash-storm had come upon them, crippling their sight, but having an unusually encouraging effect on both the Undead and the Speakers themselves. The Dead marched on, enthusiastically, as if being berated with the decomposed remains of their ancestors was uplifting. The Death Speakers were not perturbed, but they were debilitated, and slowed to a crawl through the storm.

A slow chant began to rise from the Death Speakers, who could move aside the storm slightly as a mage could manipulate the elements. At least, that was the theory. Their area of expertise was the dead, but they were far better at raising and caring for the dead, than manipulating bone and flesh directly.

“Oh, blinding ash… Oh blinding ash…
Disperse! Disperse! Fear!
Ancient Men… Oh, ancient men…
Bow down…
Oh, ancient ash… Fear!”

Their efforts were loud, and caused the skeletons to fight even harder against the ash-storm. It however, did not work very well.

[TF: Bone Wastes]: Reclaim and Reactive Spirit Towers delayed by 1 turn due to poor weather conditions on the march.
Estimated: 2 turns, 1 more turn for arrival, 1 turn for renovation

Nagrand: The Burning Blade Force: Ogre Negotiation

Cult-Lord Garokk stood in the centre of the Burning Blade Ruins, around his feet lay over twenty murdered Boulderfist Ogres, and yet he had not killed a single one of them. From his feet outwards, over a hundred Ogres lay scattered throughout the village dead, fleeing from their homes, fleeing to their homes, fleeing from the village. They were butchered, their lifeblood cast like starbursts and rivers on every surface. They had all been dead before Garokk and his forces had even passed the border. It was beautiful.

Garokk extended his arm to a large banner impaled in one of the Orcs closest to him; it swung tattered in the breeze but was clearly the mark of Kil’Sorrow. It was stained with blood, and the scent of battle was fresh. The Kil’Sorrow clan had not been wiped out like was assumed, Garokk ordered a communication line to Karshe be immediately opened. He tore the banner from the support and stepped towards the smoky mirror as it coalesced.

“Yes Garokk?” came the crocolisk snap of Karshe’s voice.

“Mighty Karshe!” Garokk nodded his head in respect, before thrusting the banner forward to view, “The Boulderfist are all dead, Lantresor is nowhere to be found. It was the Kil’Sorrow. This is recent.”

”Perfect!” Karshe announced from within the smoke. “Send a small party to Kil’Sorrow Fortress, they are under the direct rule of the Shadow Council. Have them immediately fortify their position and establish communication with myself and the eye. I thought they were wiped out by the Alliance and the Warmaul. This is perfect.

Garokk nodded, “I will do this mighty Karshe.”

“You will also have to destroy all remnants of the Boulderfist. Begin reconstructing the Burning Blade Clan, and expand to the North. I want a harbour constructed. You will need to secure access to the new inland sea, as well as securing the rear path entrance into Shattrath. When Mal’Zuur attempts to overthrow the great city, our aid will be critical.”

Garokk grinned, “Destroy Ogres, got it.”

“And repair and expand Garokk, do not forget!”

“Yes mighty Karshe, I will do this.”

[N: Burning Blade Clan Ruins]: Ogre Negotiation Failed. Boulderfist Ogres have already been destroyed by Kil’Sorrow Orcs. Boulderfist Ogres are now enemies of the Shadow Council, all hopes of integrating or subjugating are failed.

[N: Burning Blade Clan Ruins]: 600 Burning Blade Fanatics and 200 Burning Blade Warlocks engaged in Rebuilding Burning Blade Clan in the Burning Blade Clan Ruins.
Estimated: 1 turn to rebuild.
Reward: Established town of Burning Blade Clan.


[N: Burning Blade Clan Ruins]: 400 Burning Blade Fanatics and 300 Burning Blade Warlocks sent north to Found Sea-Side Town and Construction just west of the old Aldor path into Shattrath.
Estimated: 3 turns, 1 turn for travel and 2 turns for construction.
Reward: Established inland sea-side town of Garokk’s Harbour. Unlocked maritime research and unit capabilities.


[N: Burning Blade Clan Ruins]: Small Party of Burning Blade Members sent to Re-establish Communication with Kil’Sorrow Fortress.
Estimated: 1 turn for travel and communication.
Reward: 200 Kil’Sorrow Deathsworn + Kil’Sorrow Deathsworn Growth. Control of the fortified Kil’Sorrow Fortress.
Terokkar Forest: The Bone Wastes: Mal’Zuurs Army

Mal’Zuur floated near the border of the Bone Wastes, where the last of the ashy dirt and the shattered bones stretched. Before him, Allerian Stronghold stood like an ugly little glowing ball of hope that needed to be destroyed. Since the Exodus, refugees that could not find refuge within Shattrath have fled to the Stronghold. It was overpopulated, but still well protected. It was not designed as a defensive position however, it lacked walls, and most of its strength was in its men and women not in its buildings.

It was extremely unlikely that the Stronghold had not heard the Undead Army coming for miles, and was likely well prepared, or had evacuated. As Mal’Zuur drew closer, the situation revealed itself as the former. Where would they flee? They had too many weak, sick or hungry to outrun the dead, and they had not expected such an attack from the Bone Wastes. They had thrown together a garrison, armed anyone who could stand, and taken an intelligent position on the border of the Bone Wastes. The terrain was in their favour. Their keep was lined with archers.

“Your death has come!” Mal’Zuur announced into the air, his voice carrying on the wind to stab, bite and chill the flesh of all living present. Behind him the legions of skeletal warriors and archers clapped and slapped their weapons and bones. A small group of Cultists and Karshe’s hand-picked Fel Orc and Blood Elf awaited the beginning of the battle to sneak around and attempt to reopen communication with the Bonechewer Clan.

And the armies of the dead charged the bulwark of the living.

[TF: Bone Wastes/Allerian Stronghold]: The Hand of Mal’Zuur engaging in combat with Allerian Stronghold at Allerian Stronghold.
ROUND ONE: (Engaging at Bone Wastes/Allerian Stronghold Border. Terrain Favours Allerian Stronghold)
The Hand of Mal’Zuur Forces: 500 Skeletal Warriors, 1000 Skeletal Archers, Mal’Zuur the Lich
Allerian Stronghold Forces: 300 Armed Soldiers, 500 Militia, 200 Bowmen (Militia), 50 Mages and 50 Priests.

((Due to the way time works in this RP. I will make another post or two –before- my next TIME-ADVANCING post to detail the combat. This is so I can RP the combat, without falling behind in real-time because I spent 5 in-game months fighting humans.))

[RESEARCH]: Death Speakers attempting to uncover newly discovered Tomb full of ancient artifacts. If successful, creation of Skeletal Magi will be enabled.
Estimated: 1 turn remaining
((I'll just tack this on since I realized I don't have the free-time to make posts between posting cycles. :P For clarification. I'm not actually moving along any of my research or constructions from my previous post. Just detailing the outcomes of combat.))

Terokkar Forest: The Bone Wastes: Allerian Stronghold

The symphony of shattering bones went unnoticed to the Lich Mal’Zuur, as tens and tens of his skeletal warriors broke like sticks upon the iron bulwark of the living. In fact, it was heavily in the living’s favour, holding the difficult terrain, as the skeletal warriors did not have enough functional control to counteract the bad terrain. It was a massacre. And yet, Mal’Zuur seemed unfazed, merely floating to the front of his lines with a mild curiosity.

Immediately arrows begun whizzing near him, too far off at the Keep to have an accurate shot, but also the Lich was mostly hollow, so arrows were ineffective. Regardless, this affront to the majesty of Mal’Zuur would require recompense. In a striking display of power, Mal’Zuur thrust his frozen fist towards the Keep. An explosion of razor-sharp ice tore a hole in the rampart and impaled man of the ranged militia atop of it. In the horror of his attack, the Undead forces surged and overtook the hill, volleys of arrows decimating most living forces who were attempting to regroup.

Mal’Zuur found their defiance disgusting. The human mages attempted to summon a blizzard to slow Undead advancement while they regrouped in the Stronghold itself. The Lich found this equally as offensive, and immediately turned the storm on the casters. Only a few mages survived the horrific onslaught. Priests worked their best to shield the remaining living, but only a final, pitiful defence was mustered. The Undead tide surged forward and destroyed the living within the hour.

[TF: Bone Wastes/Allerian Stronghold]: The Hand of Mal’Zuur concluding combat with Allerian Stronghold at Allerian Stronghold.
CONCLUSION: (Hand of Mal’Zuur win by Annihilation in Stronghold Proper)
The Hand of Mal’Zuur Forces: 100 Skeletal Warriors(400 Lost), 1000 Skeletal Archers, Mal’Zuur the Lich
Allerian Stronghold Forces: 0 Armed Soldiers(300 Lost), 0 Militia(500 Lost), 0 Bowmen (200 Lost), 0 Mages(50 Lost) and 0 Priests(50 Lost).

“Hope has fallen!” Mal’Zuur shouted into the empty air, gleefully.

“Bring all the dead into the centre of this fallen down! And watch…”

[TF: Allerian Stronghold: Mal’Zuur performing Necromancy on 1100 Corpses in the centre of Allerian Stronghold.
Estimated: 1 turn for complete Necromancy.
Reward: Successful Animation of Skeletal Warriors and Skeletal Archers OR Lower Animation of Mindless Skeletons OR Failed Animation of nothing OR a combination of the above.

((Clarification. I am not about to get 1100 new units. This is a mechanic where Mal’Zuur must remain in the one place for a long time and get some new units, some failures, some mindless, etc. I’ll make sure it’s balanced.))

[TF: Allerian Stronghold]: Bonechewer Reconciliation Team en route to Bonechewer ruins.
Estimated: 1 turn until arrival.
Reward: Clarification on the situation of the Bonechewer Fel Orcs. Outlook unknown.
[B] Mushroom top, Battle of Ango'Rosh [/b]
A bead of sweat dripped down Director Shadeslink's forehead, as he carefully stepped off the wind rider escort, lugging an iron explosive in hand, and waved off the wind rider. As the sound of scorpion artillery could be heard, that was the sign; all rangers and sappers would hop from mushroom to mushroom, dropping the crude, yet powerful explosive devices into the marsh below.
Director Shadeslink put his fingers up in the air to signal silence; watching, and waiting for the enemy. As soon as the first human came into sight, the director's fingers curled, and he swifty motioned in the direction of the human line, whereafter the GADGET agents would follow suit in commanding the goblins under them.
The mushroom-top forces began to pelt the attacking forces from various directions, with the sappers lobbing explosives to break rank, and the rangers aiming to pick off the more dangerous of the humans.

[B] Groundside, Battle of Ango'Rosh [/B]
"Spread, and closer!" Demanded Bhal'Dan, "We can't let that artillery take out any more of our brothers!" Looking over the charred corpses of the fallen orcs, it was clear that they'd have to avoid clumping together until they were close enough to Republic's forces.
The grunts were first to reach the Republic's lines, congregating to be able to effectively combat the hopilites, and they fought ferociously, blood on both sides would likely be spilled en masse. Soon enough, however, Bhal'Dan would be on the front line with the Juggernauts to reinforce the grunts. The fallen would be dragged off by goblin medics, and within half an hour, those who were still capable would be thrown back into battle.
-
Lieutenant General Khagresh of the Raiders had one thing in mind; killing humans. This was the orc's calling, it seemed. The raiders strode across the battlefield and, splitting into two groups, flanked the lines in an attack. As he strode past the enemy ranks, his long blade would slash through a dragoon's throat, something he hoped to continue doing for the rest of his life. The bloodlust was ecstasy, and it was clear that every orc in his rank felt the same way; the raider made a taunt to the opposing humans, "Your world is gone, whelp! We will spare none short your unconditional surrender!"

[B] The Sky / Scorpions, Battle of Ango'Rosh [/B]
The twenty five wind riders soared through the air; Bhal'Dan knew the losses incurred from the artillery would be unacceptable, so on back of the wind riders were goblin sappers.
The high-flying wind riders would swoop down below the mushrooms, to the source of the bombardment; the scorpions. A large portion of the force was forced to abandon their wind rider; enemy opposition was great, but the wind riders and sappers were determined.
-
Sapper Gaugegun, an old sapper, was more than aware this was a suicide mission; but life in the Draenic Horde wasn't quire worth living. As he dropped onto the ground, two orcs and another sapper at his side as they dispatched the crew manning the scorpion.
And with a bit of redirection, Gaugegun was able to reposition the artillery, and fire it into the enemy rank; but it was not to last. Too quickly, he was slaughtered, and the unstable explosive strapped to his back would obliterate him, and the nearby scorpion.

_________________________________________
• GADGET threw bombs and started sniping the Republic's lines
• Bhal'Dan's forces took a hit from the initial artillery, scattered, then regrouped to engage the Republic Forces
• Bhal'Dan and the Juggernauts, very heavily armed and armored forces followed the grunts.
•Raiders split up and took the enemy flank
• Wind Riders dropped off sappers to fight enemy artillery; the sappers have volatile explosives on their person.
Wyrmskull Bridge, Blade's Edge Mountains

Patriarch Kolphis Darkscale

From the beginning of the Wyrmskull bridge, Patriarch Kolphis Darkscale looked to the horizon, to the Ruuan Weald, a prime piece of Outland if he’d ever seen it. Soon, his namesake, the Wyrmscale Caliphate would descend upon it, and it would become but kindling for the fire. A fire that would consume all of Outland in time. The Patriarch was, for a moment reminded of Blackscale, the great Black Wyrm who long ago gave Dragon’s flame to the first Wyrmcultists all those years ago. He had often spoke of the conflagration of war, it seemed that Kolphis was more like his former master than he cared to admit. Kolphis had to admit that he, for a while, believed that this creature could truly deliver him to glory..

..but Blackscale was dead, and in his place there was Darkscale, Kolphis would make sure that his enemies knew his name, through the Wyrmscale Caliphate and through the point of his spear. Kolphis could see the green trees of the Ruuan Weald, far away yet always present, he imagined the great fire, he imagined his people enjoying the glorious conquest.

Kolphis turned his eyes from the forest and his mind from ambition. For now, he was here, leading a disorganized group of fanatics.And he was really only half leading them, while he acted as leader, he was not so in name, after the Death of Blackscale, leadership of the cult had been passed to the Drakonid wretch Maxnar the Ashmaw, though he was only part Dragon, and thus did not assume full leadership, but rather title of ‘patriarch’, upon Maxnar’s death, the title passed to Kolphis. “Patriarch Darkscale” didn’t ring well with Kolphis, if he would lead his Caliphate, he’d do it as a true lord, as Caliph Darkscale, the Desolator. But he’d have to wait, Draaca would have his head if he went against tradition. Kolphis smirked, but when Kolphis consolidated his rule over Blade’s Edge, and the people grew to worship him in place of the Aspects, what could she hope to do.

Blackwing Coven

Draaca Longtail, the Dragonsworn

Draaca stood before a group of her most promising Acolytes. She chose them not for their intelligence or their strength, she chose them because they had willpower, and that was the essence of powerful magic. These few showed that they could handle the blazing heat of flame, and the crushing weight of the earth.

“You must remember, all of you, that magic is like a rabid beast,” Draaca let fire form at her hands and held it near her face, “It bites back, it claws at its chain,” she let the fire grow bigger, a few Acolytes stepped back a bit, “But you are its master.” The fire faded into a cloud of smoke, “It is you that lets it survive, and without you, it is nothing. It can trick you however, make you think you don’t have control, this is an illusion, you always have control, always.”
A few Acolytles took to creating small flames in their hand, letting it grow before snuffing it out. Draaca sighed, even willpower was no substitute for a Dragon’s tutelage. Blackwing himself had taught Draaca the power of the Dragon’s flame, and she was the only one left who knew of it. These Acolytes could, in time, become powerful wizards in their own right, but they could never become a Dragonsworn, you needed a Dragon to teach you that..
..And there were no Black Dragon’s left to teach it to them, Draaca’s heart suddenly took on a heavy weight. She looked to her students, “That will be all for today.” In a heartbeat the Acolytes before her extinguished their fires, and put their hands on their chests as a sign of praise to the Aspects, she returned the gesture and the students filed from the room, normally she would have ended with a verse from the teachings of Blackwing, but thinking of her former master made Draaca especially sad today for some reason or another.

The place where she trained her Acolytes was near the opening of Blackwing Coven, the cave where the Cult had been first founded, she made her way outside the coven into the Blackwing Hold proper. Kolphis’s grand ‘Blackwing Hold’ was anything but a hold.. or grand. It was a mere collection of hastily constructed cabins, soddies and tents grouped up so close that it looked more like a pile of haphazard habitation rather than any hold. Of course she couldn’t forget the wall, a measly arrangement of posts bound together with rope and vines. Perhaps everyone would be happier clustered in Blackwing Coven Draaca mused to herself, smirking.

Of course the influx of new refugees, itself result of Neltharion’s terrible vengeance upon Azeroth, meant that the Wyrmcu.. ‘Wyrmscale caliphate’ could no longer be content hiding in old caves, their numbers grew, and they needed land. As Draaca walked throughout the hold, she noted the Zealots preparing for war, Overlord Nuaar had been tasked with training them, as Draaca had been put in charge of training the Acolytes. It would only be a matter of time before the Caliphate would bring glorious retribution to the Ruuan Weald.

Draaca waved to Nuaar. Upon noticing, the Overlord placed his hand to his chest and dismissed the group of Zealots surrounding him. Nuaar was a ruthless Draenei, but above all he valued his faith, and because of that he was Draaca’s most useful ally.

“So, I trust you received my missive?” the Overseer asked humbly before setting his hand to his chest in greeting.

“I did, perhaps we should talk of it elsewhere?” Draaca eyed guards making their usual sweep around the hold, “Far away from the ears and eyes of Kolphis.”

“I know a place.” The Overseer replied dryly.

The Overseer lead Draaca outside the Hold, deep into the Raven’s Wood, Draaca swore she heard the bleating of Grishnath Arrakoa nearby. After an hour or two of hiking through the thick forest, they finally reached their destination. It was an old Arakkoa hovel, most likely built to contain some diseased relative, far away from everyone else of course. Nuaar lead Draaca in, and what she saw nearly made her faint.

Sitting there, in the corner of the room, was a perfectly health, black Dragon Egg. Draaca quickly made a salute to the Aspects on her chest and slowly turned to Nuaar.

“I.. I hadn’t believed you, not entirely when you told me.. How, how did you find it?”

Nuaar looked at the egg, “It is one of many, a clutch I found within a Hollowed Blade Cliff located south of our camp.”

Draaca’s voice trembled, the egg’s presence signified so much, “There must be.. a mother! A black dragon, alive!”

Nuaar nodded, “And a Father, it is a sign.”

Draaca smiled madly at the egg, “Indeed it is, the Aspects have blessed us!”, she turned to Nuaar in realization, “We must tell everyone! The people will be delighted!”

Nuaar put his hand on her shoulder, “No. We can not let anyone know, not yet. If Kolphis found out about this, we could see everything lost. We will delay action until the attack upon the Weald. Until then, we must wait.”

Draaca nodded, “It is unfortunate, but necessary. You go ahead and return to the Hold, I wish to remain with the egg for a a while and bless it.

Nuaar began to speak in protest but was quickly silenced by Draaca’s steely gaze, he left without another word. Some hours later, when Draaca knew she was alone, Draaca wrapped her cloak around the egg and secreted it off in the dead of night.
Warden's Cage

The resistance Dran had expected to find at Warden's Cage wasn't there at all. Sure, there were syters and a few Doom Guards, but the Novice Demon Hunters proved their worth and had slaughtered the lot of them. He stood there, shaking a bit of a demons blood of his glaive before sliding back into place upon his back, a Novice demon hunter approaching him and kneeling "Counciler Dran, we've checked all the cells with in the prison. Nothing."

"Well that's good I suppose." Dran said, 'looking' at the carnage around him "I wasn't really in the mood for executions today anyhow...start securing the area, send word to the Black Temple, our next priority is to fortify this area. If we are going to make this into a prison, it needs to be a lot more stronger than this scrap heap. Tell the workers to use the remaining walls as a frame work for their project. Once all the important stuff is done, tear down the frame and rebuild it, only stronger than before."

"At once, Counciler Dran." With that, the Hunter stood and walked off to do as he was instructed.

Alter of Sha'Tar

The capture of the Alter had been successful. Draenei tried hard to hold off the Illidari Demon Hunters as they charged in. Kiros was still fighting a Draenei vindicator, who kept blocking his blows with his crystal hammer. They were determined, he'd give them that, but soon enough one of his Darksworn came to his aid and stabbed it's claymore into the vindicator's chest, before Kiros lopped off his head.

He gave the area a final scan before nodding in approval "Good, that was easy..." As he spoke, an Oracle approached, holding out an orb and bowing towards the Kaldorei. raising a brow, he 'looked' at the orb and tapped it, the image of Dran appearing with in "How goes the fight for the Alter?"

"Finished here...how about your end?" Kiros replied, sliding his glaives back into place. "Warden's cage is ours. Starting fortifications now. All we do now is wait and listen out for Lady Krystala to give us orders on what to do next."

"Very well...I'll have to discuss more with you later, in regards to the 'Novice' Demon hunters here." The image of Dran smirked "Yes..something tells me we've taught them well. We should have them train more in time. Farewell."

When the image of Dran vanished, Kiros turned to face those who came with him "Begin fortifications! We have claimed this area in the name of Lady Krystala! For the Illidari!"

"FOR THE ILLIDDARI!

----------

Dragonmaw Fortress stood before Krystala and Mira, who levitated beside her. Inside, the orcs were hidden, waiting to ambush them invaders that dared defy them. However...it was the other way around...THEY defied Krystala, and it was THEY who would pay the price. "It seems Cheiften Ma'grak hasn't learned that the Illidari rule these lands once more...and I...their leader. They are no longer apart of us, we shall slaughter them all and claim those Drakes for our own..." Krystala said, smirking.

She turned to Mira "Where is the coward hiding?" Mira pointed to a large tower that overlooked the Fortress "Top level, he's preparing to escape."

The Sin'dorei woman smirked, raising her hand, she summoned her sword from the void. It was a katana, purple runes etched along the blade from hilt to tip. Mira raised her hands up a bit, seven Shadow Spikes appearing around her. With sword in hand, Krystala shouted "Go forth, Illidari! Tear down these walls, and claim this fortress, in our name!"

With that command, the Voidwalkers surged forward, rushing through the gates to engage their foes. The warlocks and Nethermancers followed, firing fire and shadow at their enemies. Krystala lowered her blade and began to follow her soldiers, Mira beside her, and their Darksworn following in close formation around them "It's time to give our old 'friend' a visit..."

((1/2))
While the battle raged, Krystala and Mira, along with their Darksworn, stormed the tower that the orc's leader was in. Ma'grak was frantically packing a few things into a bag, preparing the final preparations for his leave. A guard burst through the door, panting "Cheiften...the Dark Lady and her Oracle are coming! Quickly! You must escape before--" He was cut off as a rune blade was thrust through his chest. He fell to the side, sliding off Krystala's blade as he fell.

Cheiften Ma'grak growled and sent two shadow bolts at the two, both Mira and Krystala deflecting it easily. "What do you want! You wenches!" Krystala stepped forward, her blade still dripping in blood "You have grown either stupid or bold to challenge the Darksworn, Cheiften...and thus, it's time that defiance comes to and end. We will be taking your drakes, and your life, and claim the Fortress as our own."

The Cheiften was silent for a moment, but soon began to chuckle. "Is there something funny?" Krystala asked, her face emotionless as she every so slightly tipped her head to the right. "Yes..." the Orc said "...for one who wishes to surpass Illidan...you sure make yourself look like a fool! You're a short little wench who has no chance of--ARCK!" He was cut off as Krystala moved with a flash of darkness to impale the orc through the chest against the wall.

"You are a fool.." Krystala began "I will pick up the pieces of where Illidan left his shattered order. I will remake the vase that was broken...You could have been apart of this, but you choose to defy me instead of help me...you.Will.Be.Punished." A crackle of shadow energy spread across her blade. Soon enough, the Cheiften's death screams would have been heard all across the Vally.

-------Few hours later--------

Krystala stood with the others around the map table, cradling a young nether whelp in her arms "Behold...the fruits of our labor. Given enough training and time, these will become apart of the Illidari, and with them we shall reign destruction on all those who oppose us." The whelpling let out a small squack before Krystala let it take flight around the room. Alizar watched it fly about, smirking "Who knew something so small can grow into something so vicious?"

"The orcs have been doing it for years now. With a bit of 'convincing' Nether Ledge and the Fortress will make an Ideal roost for our new forces. Research begins as we speak" Mira said, still levitating next to Krystala, her legs folded as she hung in the air. Krystala gestured to the map "Which brings me to why I summoned you again. I've planned to go see how things are going with some of the other nations that have formed across Outlands."

Dran raised a brow "Isn't that a bit risky? We are the Illidari after all, we'd probably be hated on sight!" Krystala looked at the man with a warm smile "I know....but the Cloud has driven many here, and if the Illidari are to survive, I don't want to be contested against our nations...however this doesn't mean we shall destroy them...no...not yet." She pulled out the map of Outlands and spread it out "If there is a way to rid Azeroth of this cloud, then it's a chance we are going to have to take. It means the Refugees will leave, and less competition with others while our numbers grow..."

She pointed at the boarder between the Vally and Tekkor "I want all of Shadowmoon to be mine, to be ours, so that we shall at least have a decent force to ward off what ever comes our way. In case we do meet hostility, we shall be ready for them." She dragged her finger up to Netherstorm "I will leave Counciler Dran and Nethermancer Alizar with that job...right boys?" The woman glanced up, a smirk on her face.

They both bowed in respect, not a word spoken. With that, she looked back down to the map "Kiros and Mira...I want you both to come with me. Something tells me if we run into more of your kind, some might not want to speak common..." Kiros broke in before she could continue "But that leaves a problem. I'm a Demon Hunter, shunned by my own race...they will not listen to me. Mira, probably, but not me."

Krystala smiled "Then you will be there to protect us." She gestured back to the map "We will make our way North to Netherstorm, see what Nations are going on up there, and try and make a few allies while we are at it. If not...we will come back, and discuss further."

((2/3becauseican'tcount))
Krystala pointed at certain areas on the map "Now we want to take things slow when it comes to taking areas. We don't want to spread our forces to thin nor to thick. We shall send troops to the Sanctum of the Stars. No doubt there are a few rebellious people there than wont be exactly 'welcoming' of our arrival. Next we shall send a few scouts to Illidari Point, where there are some Illidari in hiding. I then want soldiers to go to the Death Forge. Again, Illidari hide there, they should be more than willing to aid us."

The woman stood back, placing her finger on the Wildhammer Stronghold "Once we do that, we shall wipe out what ever remains in the Wildhammer Stronghold, and claim it for our own." She looked to Ailzar and Dran "Can you handle that?"

The two men bowed "We can, and it shall be done."

"Good" Krystala then turned to Mira "We are going to need two Fel-tanks, some Nethermancers, Dark Oracles, and a Void Lord to accompany us. We will have the Nethermancers summon the Void Lord in case things get ugly. We leave as soon as we are ready."

Mira smiled and bowed "I shall go prepare them for you. Come Kiros, I'll need your help." Krystala hailed Kiros before he could move "Tell the new Demon Hunter Masters to start training more of the Novcies. We are going to need all the forces we can get. And see to it that the Darkblades and void walkers are prepared for combat. Also Mira we need to replace those who fell during the attack on Dragonmaw. Mira and Kiros bowed "As you wish, Lady Krystala."

When all four left, Krystala gestured for the Nether Whelping to land in front of her. She stroked it's head with a strange gentleness "Everything is going well...soon enough, all the pieces will fall into place..." She smirked "What do you think of that...Illidan?"

((3/3))
Battle of Ango'Rosh, Western Zangarmarsh

"No!" The echoing shout roiled across the reserve as General Carnifex saw the sappers drop among the Scorpions. The light artillery was one of the Republic's greatest advantages in a field battle, and thanks to the lack of anti-air, it might very well be lost in the opening phases of the invasion. The general wheeled his Deathcharger around, drew his massive sword, and gestured back to the Scorpions. "Break ranks, back to the artillery on the double!" The Hoplites in the reserve immediately turned around and rushed towards the skirmish in the rear, still managing to keep in a good semblance of ranks.

The Hoplites smashed into the fray, some of them throwing javelins up at the wyverns as they drew closer. Even without the benefit of a phalanx, the Hoplites were devastatingly effective soldiers. In the center, Carnifex raised a gauntlet, and a nearby sapper was lifted into the air, burning chains of blood-shot ice pinning his arms to his sides. THe goblin's mouth gasped futilely for air as his throat constricted itself, a victim of the Death Knight's ability to strangulate his victims. Carnifex dismounted his Deathcharger, sending the summoned mount to trample down a nearby Orc grunt. Cautiously, the Death Knight loosened the straps holding the bomb in place, brought it over to a nearby Scorpion, and replaced the bolt with the bomb. The general carefully maneuvered the Scorpion around, compensating for the weight of the bomb, until the aiming posts were aligned with one of the giant mushrooms that grew in this area. Enemy troops were on top of it, pelting the human forces nearby with ranged weapons. Carnifex smiled coldly behind his helmet's mask and threw the lever forward. The bomb sailed through the air until it impacted on the stalk of the mushroom. With a thunderous burst that brought back fond memories of past carnage, the sapper's suicide device destroyed the stalk of the mushroom, sending the troops on top plummeting to their death.

A Hoplite officer trotted up to the general, not bothering to salute now that the battle had begun. "Sir, the area has been cleared. Most sapper suicide devices have detonated. In fact, yours seems to have been the only exception."

"Casualties?"

"Negligible among the reserve. Two hundred and twenty-eight Hoplites are still combat-effective. However, only thirteen Scorpions are still in useable condition, and only eight of those are still mobile. The artillerymen kept the orcs busy long enough for us to arrive, but there are only eighty are still combat-effective."

"Very well then. Detach fifty Hoplites to guard against any further threats: it's been too long since we fought an enemy that had air power. The rest are forming back up in the reserve. And order the remaining Scorpions to use incendiary ammunition and target the mushrooms."

"Yes, sir."

-----

The Worgen Dragoons began falling back in a wheeling, interweaving retreat. Ever time a raider began to pursue one Dragoon, another would use their advantage in mobility to leap in from the side or rear, iron claws slashing at unarmored portions of the mount and rider. Casualties were light, but it served to keep the flanking Raiders occupied while the real killers got into place. The Marines on both flanks wheeled about, collapsing into three staggered ranks at an angle to the Raiders and Dragoons. All of them brought out their crossbows and took aim, waiting to fire. Their officers waited until they had judged the Raiders to be in place, then bellowed the order to fire. The Dragoons immediately threw themselves flat on the ground, pressing themselves as far down into the soft earth as they could. Human and Dwarf-sized crossbows were large, heavy devices that fired solid metal bolts capable of punching through thin armor like tissue paper. The Vrykul-sized crossbows were practically the size of small Scorpions themselves, and were rumored to be capable of punching through multiple armored targets. Two hundred and fifty Marines fired at once, and small grooves in the bolts made an unnerving howling noise as they streaked across the battlefield into the Raiders.
As the grunts charged across the battlefield, the Hoplites stopped in place, stuck their spears in the yielding soil, and each drew one of their javelins. General Jaeger waited until the enemy had gotten within fifty meters of his line before bellowing a single command.

"Throw javelins!"

1,483 javelins arced their way across the battlefield into the advancing mass of the Draenic Horde. The Hoplites immediately picked up their spears and formed back into a phalanx, shields interlocking, three ranks of spears bristling out at every point. The Hoplites rested their shields against each other as the Horde closed the remaining distance, bracing the rank in front of them and making the line even more unyielding. With a thunderous crash, the Horde collided into the Hoplites, and the Harbingers of the Republic presented nothing more than a line of iron, a forest of spears and steel that sought out every weak point on their enemies' armor, a terrifyingly inhuman machine of war that fought in utter, stoic silence. For every orc that managed to make his way past the gauntlet of spears and fell a Hoplite, another of the Republic's soldiers took his place.

-------------------------------------------------------------
Battle Summary

The reserve has cleared the Scorpions. 50 Hoplites are guarding the remaining 13 functional Scorpions. The Scorpions are firing continuous 25-second volleys at the Horde forces on top of the mushrooms. 13 incendiary rounds per volley.

The Dragoons at the flank have slowly brought the battle further towards the Republic's lines. The 250 Marines on each flank have fired a volley of crossbow bolts at the 50 Raiders on each flank. The Dragoons threw themselves flat just before the volley was fired, a measure unavailable to the mounted Raiders.

The 1,483 Hoplites remaining in the center after the sniping threw javelins just before the Horde counter-charge hit. It is now a slugging match between a phalanx with 3 ranks and the Horde grunts.
The battlefield, Battle of Ango'Rosh
As the hopilites and grunts clashed on the field, Bhal'Dan would slash his great sword against the crowd of hopilite spears, the massive orc of nearly eight feet swinging his weapon of the same height. To both his sides, grunts would fall to spears, only to be pulled away by groups of goblin medics. His vision would blur as a spear would crash against his rib cage, before he would impale the human on his blade and charge forward. The grunts wouldn't be able to stand this much longer, it seemed.
---
Behind the grunts, the clack of steel armor could be heard as orcs in massive plate armor would finally catch up with the grunts. They each held massive mauls, and stepped up to the hopilites.
While the grunts and hopilites may seem evenly matched, Bhal'Dan himself continued with renewed vigor upon their arrival; a hundred juggernauts, the pride of the horde army, swung their massive weapons across the crowd of humans, knocking the dented and bloodied tin husks of the men who once fought for the republic into the lines intended to replace them. While the juggernauts were a welcome aid, not all went well on the battlefield for the horde...
---
The raider's lieutenant general lay on the ground, dead, with half of the horde's mounted force. The remaining horde forces didn't seem demoralized; the raiders, while without leader, had been well trained to be versatile in combat; they'd learned from the mistake of their fallen, and would not pursue those who managed to evade their clutched, but instead, massacre those who came near. Still, the threat they posed was mostly harassment at this point.
---
Three mushrooms had fallen before all of the GADGET's forces could evacuate: remaining was only thirty sharpshooters, seventeen sappers, and five agents. The director himself would have revendoused with the remaining agents on the ground, "The plan worked well, but I don't think we can keep on with it."
Agent Oilgrime's eye twitched, "The decimated us! The humans are on a full offensive. We'll have to surren-"
A loud boom echoed through Ango'Rosh, and Director Shadeslink would turn to his agents with their head still attached, "Surrender, is never an option. Our moles report two commanding officers; if we take them out, the Republic Forces will be utterly obliterated; the trek through the marsh alone has exhausted them, so we are to go on a retreat until they're forced back to their tents."
---
Minutes later...
A goblin agent approached the bloodthirsty warlord Bhal'Dan as he'd rip through the enemy forces, prompting him to duck through the horde forces and converse, quite tersely, with the goblin, who explained the plan.
"A charade? The battle is grim, I'll admit, but the risk is damn high!" He'd answer, before conceding, "Bah. We'll take the director's plan, fine!" Bhal'dan would wave the goblin off before raising his blade into the air, and shouting orders in orcish, prompting the advance on the republic's forces to slow, before stopping, but still holding their ground, trying to mow down the remaining hopilite forces without putting pressure on them
_________
•GADGET rendezvous, a plan was developed
• Heavy units with massive mauls, Juggernauts, have engaged the hopilites with the grunts
•Raiders are half-destroyed, but still harassing the flanks.
•Bhal'Dan has ordered the Draenic horde to holds their position for the moment, in accordance with the goblin's plans.
The pair, a worgen in plate armor and a goblin swathed in embroidered robes, stood over a map laid out on a table, the goblin standing on a stool. There were several maps throughout the room, each entailing a different region of Outland. Many appeared to be covered in tiny writing, with diagrams of building here and there. On some maps appeared to be stained by blue ink, but upon further examination, one could see the stain as a crude imitation of an ocean. The room was lit by several gas lamps, providing ample illumination.

“We should head west, furtha’ in ta Nagrand!” Trade Princess Nikki Sprocketknuckle said, her voice frustrated and affected by the common goblin accent. She tapped her finger on a particular point of the map. “Oshu’gun is chalk-fulla Naaru techs, an’ the Legion Forge camps could give us more weapons and armor! There was Legion camps, those demons gotta have so many weapons it ain’t funny!”

Lord Windsor Fernand snorted impatiently, clearly not impressed by her antics. “And what about our enemies to the north? We’ll need to deal with them sooner or later, and I’d prefer sooner.” Nikki scoffed.

“I don’t know what enemies you’re talkin’ ‘bout,” She said dismissively. “They’re just other inhabitants of Nagrand, we don’t have to take over the entire region. It’s too big for all of us to fill, and I’d rather have less area to defend, wouldn’t you?”

Windsor shook his head. “If we don’t finish them now then they’re going to come after us, and I’d rather take the first strike.”

“But thinka all the stuff we could find if we cleared out Oshu’gan!” she insisted. “After that, it wouldn’t matta who comes afta us, we can just blow ‘em up with whateva toys we find there. Plus, there was sposed to be cannon makers and weapon makers and armor makers in the Legion camps and in my opinion, with all those weapons and tech, we could terrify everybody on this stinkin’ rock without liftin’ a finga.”

This seemed to give him pause, but he brushed it off. “We can do that after we’ve dealt with Haala’s inhabitants. Until then, I won’t permit any expeditions of Oshu’gan or the Legion Forge Bases.”

Nikki gawked in disbelief. “You won’t permit?” she said, outraged. Her voice rose. “You won’t permit?! Now you listen here, dog! I’m in command of my own people, not to mention a good number of yours. Your job is ta fight when I need ya to!”

Windsor growled low in his throat. “I’ll be damned before I take orders from a goblin! I control our armies, and every aspect of them! Where and when we march is my say!”

The Trade Princess’ report was cut off by the clearing of a throat, and the two leaders turned to see the Spymaster of the Steamwheedle Wolves; Fritz Screwbolt. Fritz was a no-nonsense goblin, which meant his interrupting their negotiations signified some big news. Nikki pondered his presence; on most occasions, he reported solely to her, giving her the chance to either relay it to Windsor or omit it when it suited her. What was Fritz up to?

The rogue bowed to both of them in turn. “Trade Princess Nikki, Lord Windsor,” he always made a point of addressing her first, as if daring the worgen to comment. “Somma my spies reported a few minutes ago. News is that the orcs of Kil’Sorrow Fortress blew the ogres in the Burning Blade Ruins off the map. Normally it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the thing is, the orcs only lost a few guys. Those brutes are aggressive, and if we don’t deal wit’ em soon, they’re gonna come afta us.”

Nikki gave him an endearing smile, and Fritz took it as his cue to leave. Before he could move two steps, however, Windsor stopped him.

“Tell me what you know of their troops,” the warrior commanded. Fritz looked to Nikki, as if asking her permission. “Eyes on me, goblin; I’m the one addressing you, not her. What do you know of their troops?”

Swallowing nervously, Fritz tentatively approached the map of Nagrand on the center table, pointing to different spots around the Kil’Sorrow Fortress. “Lotsa ‘locks, that’s for sure, and Deathsworn warriors, too. And they got hundreds of ‘em too. Plus, in this big buildin’ here,” the rogue tapped the biggest building in the fortress. “They’re summonin’ demons. By the tens.”

((1/4))
This news seemed to make Windsor more and more furious as the goblin went on. “And you would have walked away without telling us this? Because your damned ‘Trade Princess’,” he spat the title like a profanity. “Dismissed you?”

With a snarl, the worgen lunged at Fritz, his claws extended. Before he could reach him, Nikki cried out in a foreign language and a barrier of light appeared around the Spymaster. Windsor rounded on her, furious, but Nikki pointedly turned to Fritz.

“If that’s all then you can go, Spymaster.” she said calmly, the fire in her eyes betraying her suddenly calm demeanor.

Fritz, recognizing his lady’s state of anger, made his way out quickly after the dismissal. “Yes, Trade Princess,” he shouted back as he evacuated the room as fast as he could without running. The rogue barely made it out before shouts sounded behind him. While he feared for his Nikki’s well-being, he knew that she could handle herself.

Back in the room, Windsor was ferociously ranting away. “How dare you interrupt my conversation with a soldier?!” he roared. “The sniveling wench would’ve left without telling us anything about the summoning in Kil’Sorrow! We would’ve gone in completely unprepared! And how could you just send him off without asking him anything?! Are you a damned fool?!”

Nikki frowned, offended by his lack of faith in her. “He woulda told me anything that was important afta we finished in here,” she replied, struggling to keep her voice level. What a stupid brute Windsor was, to think she didn’t know everything that was going on. She knew more than him most of the time!

The Lord wasn’t impressed by this. “Don’t think I don’t already know how much you’ve been keeping from me! I’m putting an end to your tricks once and for all!”

Raising an eyebrow, Nikki gave him an odd look. “Once and for all, huh? And how were ya hopin’ ta do that?”

“You may think that you’re the one in power now, Nikki,” he began, purposefully omitting the title. “But soon enough, the worgen will take control of your people, and I will be the sole ruler of this nation.” Nikki opened her mouth to reply, but seemed to think better of it. Instead, she walked back to the map table, knocked over by Windsor’s attempt on the Spymaster, and stood it back up, placing the map of Nagrand back in place.

“We gotta deal with those orcs, but we still need ta be developing. Multitaskin’. Bring a hundred bruisers and berserkers, twenty priests and twenty mages with ya to Kil’Sorrow, and bring a few hippogryph riders too for an eye in the sky.” She implored, setting aside the other conversation for later. Windsor approached the map too, silently listening to the goblin. “You should send the riders in to check on their forces. If you think too many demons have been summoned, send one of the riders back for reinforcements. You can handle all that strategy stuff, but we need ta get those orcs outta the picture.”

Nodding, Windsor seemed to hesitate a moment before speaking. “We can send thirty shamans, twenty bruisers and berserkers, and ten priests to secure Oshu’gan for research. The idea of having Naaru technology at our disposal is… tantalizing. I’ll have the High Arcanist go with you. The High Priestess Janelle will stay behind with our reserves to keep everything in order. Tell your Spymaster to have his agents scout the Legion Forge Camps.”

Nikki nodded, happy to see that they could at least set aside their differences temporarily. “I’ll meet ya back here when I’ve put things in order and sent Spymaster Screwbolt on his mission. I’ll let Janelle know that she’ll be in here charge in Telaar too.”

“And I,” the warrior concluded. “will speak with High Arcanist Hogan.”

The two went their separate ways, off to notify their underlings and rally the troops.

_*_*_

((2/4))

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