Trisiana asked us to meet her on Aldor Rise tonight. After being shot at by cultists, and watching the assassin self-immolate, we discovered more about the artifact from Tol'Vir. There is certainly more to come as we travel there to access the Throne of the Four Winds. Back in Shattrath once the commotion was through, I managed to grease the right palms and was let into the old Sha'nash barracks.
Flashbacks of all the times spent at the desk, in the lounge, discussing all manner of things, good and bad, planning for battles, having tea, flooded my memory. It wasn't all bad.
The dissolution of the Sha'nash was inevitable. We barely had time to clean out the barracks or pack up the headquarters. It was all rather unceremonious. Shadows of Argus started with nothing, just a group of women (and Arloth), setting out to be more than what Sha'nash had to offer.
I managed to find our old research on the naaru shard, which is finally back in our possession. The shard is the only remaining piece of the dying naaru Xe'dri. Members of Sha'nash had been getting whispers from a strange being, telling a sad story.
A Draeneic ship, lost out in space. Disconnected from the main ships, it eventually lost power, and our brothers and sisters within it perished. Xe'dri whispered to us the thoughts of those aboard. They hoped for rescue.
The shard has been dormant for months. Likely due to the meddling of Taradeil, it fell silent. She wanted the shard for some reason. Maeorra expects that there is something to be found within it, some opening that can be pried magically.
Given my previous experience with such endeavors, I am the first choice for such a mission - but also the most closely monitored. The puzzle-box that speaks to me the voices of the Old Gods is locked securely in my safe at our house. Krastos keeps a careful eye on me when I go near my study. In fact, he locks it and takes the key with him if I am to be home alone.
It's probably for the best.
But opening a shard of the Naaru seems even more daunting than toying with the Old Gods. The Old Gods, as Azeroth knows them, are not something we knew of until we came here. The Naaru, however. They are sacred to our people. Kirahti and Buran, perhaps, may be well-suited to help with this task. Light, and shadow, users, they have a better connection to and understanding of the Naaru than I. I am but a scholar.
I gathered what papers I could for the immediate future, the key I still had on my key ring still able to open the desk within headquarters. Now that the immediate need for Shadows of Argus to be in Pandaria, or Azeroth at large, is diminished, returning to Outland... to Shattrath... may be in our best interest. The streets are quiet, the mood subdued. Factions, as they have for many years now, remain civil in public.
The Sha'nash barracks are still quite suitable, if not in need of a good cleaning and updating. Our ranks are small, but growing, and we may need to build additions to headquarters. What a dream that will be! Tomorrow, I will send word to Watcher Maeorra to move our order from Dalaran. Our people need rest, relaxation, and, conversely, vigorous training. We must take inventory of our supplies, replenish them where needed, and find a place to rest.
Arloth has taken a small hiatus, raising his newborn daughter with Nhadi. We miss that old goat - but we are proud for him nonetheless. In his stead, and under his training, we have promoted Barthallis, a promising human paladin, to assist in supervising our training. We also make weekly outings to help the needy in Azure Watch near the Exodar, also hoping to recruit any of those we might find worthy to join our ranks.
As I stepped out of the old headquarters, I found myself headed toward the large marble elevator, gliding down to the main level of the city and towards the center, where the Light of A'dal still shines brightly. Though not religious, or a Light-user, I still feel the comfort the naaru give my people.
I remember a night a while ago, riding up alongside a patrolling Arloth outside the Sha'nash barracks here in the city. It was just before the order dissolved, I said to him, "They need a leader."
He smiled smugly at me, lifted his chin and said, "They will not fall."
I have rarely remarked on, let alone lamented, the burden my office and its duties place upon me. Of late, though, the weight of that burden has, I fear, caused me to stumble. In addition to directing the order, in absence of many of the other Archons, I have been called to answer many summons and explain the circumstances of the destruction of our Ironforge headquarters. In fact, I have spent more time on this than on the order itself, and the barrage of inquests and investigations shows no sign of letting up in the forseeable future.
At the same time, the aftermath of the explosion has forced us to relocate more than once. I can only hope that we will find respite and refuge behind the spell wards of Dalaran while we prepare to take the fight back to our enemy; she will find it substantially more difficult to reach us here, I believe. And although we have been on the defensive now for over a month, progress has been made: Taradeil's lackey Melenas is dead, having been caught and swiftly dealt with during an attempt on our temporary retreat at Farwatcher's Glen. Siloros and Andael yet are counted amongst our ranks, the former revived from poison-induced coma, the latter anchored to this world by ritual long shunned; I suspect I will have to answer for that, too. But between the two of them, they represent our best assets. Once they are set to purpose, we will close the distance between us and our quarry, and deliver swift retribution. The end draws near for Taradeil.
With all that has happened, all I've had to take on, of late, I confess my thoughts have been scattered, far less focused than normal. And the order has suffered for it. It is long past time to regain direction, and initiative, and set mind to the tasks that yet lay before us. We need to bolster our ranks and resume the normal training regimen; this is, after all, a fighting order, and all this time spent running has been good for neither morale nor effectiveness. It is necessary to correct these deficiencies before taking the fight to Taradeil. And, once that task is dealt with, there are others that merit attention. The siege of Orgrimmar continues, but Hellscream is firmly entrenched. We may yet lend aid in bringing the fiend to justice.
There is also a new matter, recently brought to my attention: there is an island off the northern coast of Lordaeron, long ignored, but of newly-regained importance. It is known, apparently, as the Emerald Isle, for the networks of caves there, which contain rich deposits of the isle's namesake. It also has a sizable port, which, though long abandoned, remains intact. With both sides of this war nearing the point of exhaustion, resources and funds are being stretched to their limit, and any new source of either cannot be ignored. As the Alliance begins preparations to secure this place, so, too, have the elves of Quel'thalas, or so my spies report. They stake ancestral claim to the island and its resources, and it would seem they have every intent to capitalize on its proximity to their homeland. I expect we shall be called upon to bolster our allies' efforts to maintain their foothold, and deny the Horde the strategic location and the resources the isle provides. They clearly intend to fight us for it. We'll give them one.
((Upcoming RP-PVP event vs Sunguard and others, November 10th @ 8pm server. Details can be found here: http://bit.ly/sunguardrppvpnov10. Time to gear up and train up, folks! Keep an eye on the calendar for drilling!))
The following events will have happened by Saturday, September 14th. You have until then to read, digest, and respond. Nothing is slated to happen in game until then. Happy reading! --Vitaska ^_^
She had achieved this state earlier that day. It was a peculiar, and not altogether pleasant sensation, the feeling of being fully saturated. She had been preparing herself for this level of power for many weeks, drinking mana potions, basking in places of power, gathering herself for what was to come. Now, as she stood in the room her companion had so generously given her, the middle of the floor cleared of furniture to accommodate the rune circle that would shape her spell, she allowed herself this moment of discomfort. Her body told her quite unequivocally that it could not hold one more infinitesimal speck of mana.
The electric buzz made her movements stiff and calculated- a careless gesture could conjure things she had no intention of conjuring, or destroy half the charmingly appointed apartment that
she temporarily called home. She was very cognizant of the danger she flirted with, and her purpose filled her mind as she took one last glance at a tome propped up on a pedestal before her. She checked that the runes were accurate, and they were, and planted her hooves. Soon, this would all be over. Soon, she would reap her reward.
The vessel was suspended in the air before her- a flat golden disc laden with complex runes that glittered and winked on the surface. She took a moment to admire Venyasa’s work. The spell was, as promised, perfect in every way. It would shape the resulting explosion into something else, something to deflect the blame until their ultimate goal was achieved. All it needed was fuel. With joints tight and head buzzing with the confluence of power, Taradeil raised her palm.
Bracing herself, she opened a small pathway in her mind, but kept the doors on either end firmly shut. She took several moments to check that the structure she had created could contain the forces she was about to feed into it, then opened the vessel’s end. She drew in a breath, refocused her mind, and opened herself to the object in the middle of the room.
The power! It ripped its way through her, exiting through the channel she had so expertly made for it, and although it bucked mercilessly against this control, she held. The experience was excruciating beyond measure. When the last dregs of her captive mana fled, she found herself staggering to remain upright, her heart hammering frighteningly fast in her chest. Every fiber of her body ached, and she thought she might fall unconscious, so light was her head. She needed to close the doors before this was possible.
Using what remained of her awareness, she sealed the vessel, locking away the enormous store of power she had accumulated. It was done. Wordlessly, she fell, but warm arms were there to catch her. She had time only to look up into the face of a Sin’dorei male and offer a weak, grateful smile before she lost herself to the pull of exhaustion.
When she woke some indeterminate time later, she directed her gaze to a pale pink scrying crystal floating, as requested, at the foot of her bed. She did not have the strength to move, nor to speak, but she held herself awake long enough to watch. The scrying crystal’s depths winked to life, and she saw through it the murky, poorly lit exterior of a building in Ironforge. A slow, satisfied smile crept over her face as the anticipation of what was to come bolstered her.
Melenas Silvertongue stood outside the building that housed the Shadows’ Headquarters. A pink scrying crystal floated in his palm, through which a dimly lit bedroom was vaguely visible. Beside him stood a white haired Draenei female, her expression stony and severe. She held in her hand a runed gold disc. That disc now hummed with energy, and the Draenei’s demeanor suggested the greatest caution in handling it.
Both their eyes seemed to be rooted on a spot in the rock face some meters above the building in question.
The female raised the disc in her hand. Her skin rippled and shed its illusion, revealing a confluence of glowing runes that started on her knuckles and retreated up her sleeve. A familiar arcane Eye appeared on her forehead. Her skin was a dusky, mottled blue, suggesting exposure to unsavory magics. The disc left her hand and floated gently upward with her wordless guidance.
As the disc neared the highest point of its climb, a rectangular formation of markings flared to life on the rock face. A slot in the stone opened, shaped precisely to accommodate the disc. With a satisfying, quiet click it fit into place. The runes winked briefly before all faded, leaving the stone as before, with no apparent disturbance.
The Draenei lowered her hand and turned to Melenas. She offered a curt nod before placing two fingers on the scrying crystal.
"It is done.” She murmured.
The Highborne did not wait for a response- one would not be forthcoming for some time- and tucked the crystal away. The Draenei turned, a portal sliding open in her path. Stars and darkness greeted her on the other side and her destination was not clear. In moments she was gone.
Melenas turned on a heel, his heavy, richly decorated robes swishing on the flagstone floor as he walked swiftly away from the building. A macabre smiled played on his lips, pale white eyes lit with devilish amusement. As the building became a smudge in the distance, he raised one hand in a careless gesture. The runes in the wall flared to life, again, and the disc suddenly dropped from its housing.
It fell. Slowly, so slowly that those nearby could see that the disc spun frantically in the air, so fast that it appeared to then become spherical. That sphere began to expand, darken, and hum. It slid down seamlessly through the roof of Headquarters, leaving no trace that it had touched at all.
Siloros sat before the large table in HQ’s common room. His elbows rested firmly on the rough surface, chin cradled in his palms. His brows were, as usual, pinched in thought. His hood was pulled down, allowing an unruly mane of brown hair to squat on the back of his neck. Before him floated a holo-crystal, which at present displayed a long string of data that he himself had compiled within it. As usual, it did not make sense to him.
Why would she allow him to capture one of her constructs so easily? Why had she otherwise remained silent? What of the Highborne body now kept in stasis in the barracks? What of Jagan?
His gut rumbled, and he reached for a pastry. There seemed to be a never ending supply of cupcakes around here since they returned from the Barrens. Likely a result of Vitaska and Lidiya’s infatuation. He ate, therefore she baked. Siloros shoved the cupcake into his mouth and didn’t even bother to discern the difference between frosting and cake. He just needed something to chew on.
Something twinged on the back of his neck. Perhaps an insect bite, or a simple itch. He casually reached up to swat it away, but his fingers met something unexpected protruding from the spot. His heart skipped a beat. Before he could remove the dart, he began to lose control of his muscles. His hand involuntarily fell back to the table, the cupcake in his other hand tumbling free. The gooey pastry stayed in his mouth, as he was presently unable to swallow.
As the cold, numbing drug made its way through his system, he had time only to brace himself against the table before he became aware of a humming sound nearby. He labored to drag his eyes down, and saw, much to his confusion, a set of four runes arranged in a rectangular pattern on the floor in the middle of the room. Half of it was obscured by the rug.
He read them.
He gagged on his cupcake, and toppled backwards out of his chair as he struggled for mobility. As he looked upward, a spinning disc descended through the ceiling, humming horribly as sparks of mana arced off of it.
Take cover!His mind screamed. Thankfully years of training and discipline gave his mental voice the desired impact. He reached out, violently touching the minds of all those near him, compelling them to flee, to hide, to run, to be anywhere but here. They had so little time.
Ten aching, frantic seconds later, the disc touched the second set of runes. His vision filled with light and Siloros knew no more.
A pulse of magic erupted from the epicenter of the explosion, the spell tearing through wards, shields, and defenses as it passed. To those without magical sensitivity, it felt like no more than a passing cold wind, a brief shock of electricity over the edges of their skin. To those with such sensitivity, the disarming spell would leave them feeling disoriented, temporarily unable to form a magical spell on their tongue. Silenced, for all intents and purposes. Only after came the explosive force, the crushing stone, and, finally, the searing heat.
Andael sat up abruptly, fairly vaulted from her bed as something brushed her field. Rather, as she began to realize, it had not brushed. It had not brushed at all. She looked down at her hands. Her veins had turned black, spidering their way up her arms as her heart let out two, three, four last beats before jarring to a stop. She had time enough to register that something had succeeded in overloading her natural magic dampening aura before she fell back onto her bed.
She was not conscious when the building collapsed around her, and angry flames licked at her flesh.
From a bystander’s point of view, a pillar of intense white light shattered the stone like a spear, originating in the cavern ceiling above Headquarters and ending beneath it. The caverns overhead withstood the blast, for they were of Dwarven make and would not be felled so easily, but the buildings below crumbled spectacularly, chunks of rock flung far from the center of the conflagration. Headquarters was effectively leveled, taking half of the barracks and two nearby buildings with it.
The resulting crater contained nothing but the original runes, now angry red and seared into the stone as if painted in blood. They were, for those familiar, patently Dwarvish script. The runes in the cavern ceiling were burned from existence, nothing remaining but a charred black smear.
Jagan, safely in the confines of someone’s bag, remained deadly quiet, fearful even to thank his rescuer for taking him from the flaming building. She might still be near.
Vitaska, for his part, was on his way back from Pandaria, and was nowhere near Ironforge to see or hear the blast, and so remained blissfully unaware of the danger.
Despite the cool breeze that swept in in the cracks beneath the tent’s fabric and the dirt, Kyssandrith never had felt quite so hot and uncomfortable in this temporary abode. A bird of prey shrieked through the Barrens as her cramped, ink-stained fingers moved methodically over the parchment. A bead of sweat crept down her nose as she penned letter after letter. Even though she was no longer staring down Siloros, her heart still pounded in her chest.
Was this fear?
A spasm of pain shot through her arm. The kaldorei set down the pen. She flexed and unflexed her right hand with a groan. There was no time to rest. Curse it all. After a few moments, she plucked up the instrument again and plowed back into her task, gritting her teeth against the pain.
Her mind drifted as she scrawled the same words over and over. Images flashed in the back of her mind. The Horde. The daily fight in the Barrens that still showed no signs of letting up. The Twilight’s Hammer. Their sudden appearance in Honor’s Stand. The kidnappings. That pyre back Jagan. Who even knew with that situation. And...
Her fingers twitched as her pen curved through the name for the fourteenth time. The man'ari:
It felt like a long, painful eternity before she finally laid the pen back down. A small stack of folded letters sat beside her. Kyssandrith cupped her right wrist in her left hand as her fingers throbbed. She stared down at the pile, her face tightening into a deep frown.
Even as she handed the letters off to the courier, as the chilling wind whipped her hair into her face, she couldn't get those images out of her mind. She returned to the relative safety of her tent and sat down on her bedroll. The druid folded her hands together and rested her chin on her interlocked fingers.
Too many problems. Too many fronts to fight on. Could they truly handle all these obstacles? The Horde- that was the real challenge before them, the true battle they needed to fight. But the Twilight’s Hammer were just as dangerous to the Alliance.
Jagan and Taradeil were, relatively, very small problems, weren't they? And yet...if left to their own devices, they could easily see to the end of the Shadows. Who knows what they would do afterward.
The druid closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She let it out in one, long stream.
This would have to be approached one problem at a time.
Hopefully, once they were able to act, it would not be too late.
Another mixed bag of happenings, of late. We have, at last, found Glyllena, although her state is troubling. Her mind has been warped by some force, and it was only with great effort that we were able to find her and extract her from the twisting nether. It will be a long road for her to full recovery, but at least we know she is alive.
Our deployment to Ashenvale has ended in disaster: although we accomplished the task we set out to achieve, it was tainted by the sting of betrayal and turmoil. Jagan, an old nemesis we thought vanquished, has resurfaced. What motivates him, I cannot say, but his reappearance could not have come at a worse time. Our allies are waiting for us in the barrens, but this matter has delayed our redeployment and I am now unsure whether it will be resolved in time for us to assist there. Certainly, the situation demands our attention, and I think we will have no choice but to delay our move into the barrens until Jagan is dealt with. I am sorry, Kamara, but you will have to carry on without us for now.
On a more positive note, we seem to be picking up more new members than usual, of late. We have had no fewer than a dozen recruits come to us over the last week or so, which is at least somewhat encouraging. In addition, we have sworn Xeula, Kyssandrith, and Lidiya as Archons: Emissary, Lieutenant, and Grand Anchorite, respectively. Their skills have proven invaluable. So, too, have some of the members distinguished themselves, and the other Archons are in agreement that it is time to empower them with some responsibilities and authorities of their own. It's good for morale, and will take some of the burden from our shoulders.
Overall, it is a time of transition and change. Not us, but for the world entire. The Darkspear rebellion continues to play out in the Barrens, and the situation there is fluid, but inevitably the Allied forces draw nearer to victory. Orgrimmar is within sight, now, both literally and figuratively. Hellscream's reckoning approaches.
I will be returning to Notre Dame Nov. 24-28 for some more science research and so won't be in-game, but I'll be on the forum and posting there while I am gone, and I have Hearthstone on my laptop for RealID/Battletag chat.
NOTE: For our RBGers please look at the calendar for RBG class. Even if you aren't on the standard team and are interested it is in your best interest to come to these classes. Also, watch some streamers for your class for me info!