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Convergence

Maeorra a posted Fri at 10:17
Communicators vibrated and pinged all over Azeroth - even a few abandoned in Shattrath and Outland. 

Lena’s message was short, but urgent:

"Your communicators have been updated with hearthstones to Surwich.  Be sure to bring your remaining supplies, and keep close watch over new members or noncombatants who may not have communicators.  We will gather in the inn there.  The Hand has agreed to take over the investigation.  Light guide you."

Lena had set hoof in Surwich’s abandoned soil a half hour prior.  Krastos would be arriving soon with the rest of their belongings.  She searched the small town, the few main buildings, and found them deserted:  no people, no bodies, no belongings, nothing, save dilapidated buildings.  It felt strange. 

The last time she had been here, the Devilclaw had been gathered here, apparently for quite some time.  Surwich had made sense when Lena decided on it, since the Devilclaw might be around to offer some refuge and protection if necessary.  Had she missed something when they came to Fortune Telling the last few times?  Did they move?  Was it forceful or voluntarily? 

Either way, the town was deserted.  The Dark Portal was active again, and in a strange way.  Once they were together again, they would investigate.  Lena nodded to herself, her heart warming at the thought.

Lena entered the musty inn, sitting just inside the door, dust scattering as she lowered herself onto the floor, spiders and rats skittering away.  She worked with her communicator, updating hearthstones and sending the coordinates out to members. 

When the message was sent, she sat quietly, concentrating hard.  A mental tally had started tabulating in her mind.  Hadeon had not been among them as they escaped.  Zimina.  Zrimgor.  Mosur.  Were there others?  Lena squinted and reached further.  Kyssandrith.  Lenneth.  Veri’s sister, Keialaar, was it?  How many others had not made it through?  To those she could, she attempted to reach out to their minds.  A brief message:  Surwich, might or might not make it to them. 

It would certainly not make it to Kyssandrith.  But she had an unsecured communicator.  Would it be enough?  Lena rubbed her sweaty hands on her robe anxiously.  Her hand shook around her communicator.  Would they have to go back to Shattrath to rescue their own people?

Dispersion

Glyllena a posted Oct 17, 14
The bed Lena had reluctantly claimed rustled as she sat up, covered in maps.  Her glasses were crooked over her eyes.  Glancing around the room, she straightened the eyewear and pressed her mind against the arcane barrier helping to cloak the building.  Satisfied that it held, she hoisted herself against the headboard, gave a large yawn, and resumed her scribbling on the maps.  Several long hours later, scribbling and fiddling with her communicator, whispering spells and cursing at the technology, Lena finally dropped back to sleep. 

She awoke again just in time to hear communicators all around the building ping softly with the updated message. 

"Shadows,

It is time that we leave this place.  We cannot remain in this close proximity to the Aldor.  As previously mentioned, your communicator is able to conjure a hearthstone.  The hearthstone in your communicator will take you to a secured location that we have previously scouted.  You will be going to these locations in small groups, with at least one sword and board, one skilled in healing, and one tactical-minded member.  Noncombatants may be part of your group.  Take care of them.  Supplies will be distributed on the ground floor before we move.  Remember to take the packs that Buran distributed during our escape of the City.
Do not switch your groups.  We have chosen these groups for their strengths and abilities, as well as the need to spread the ranks and keep hope that the majority of us reach safety.
Do not return to your homes, to your own properties, to your own places of business.  The Aldor’s reach does not stop at the edges of Outland, and the Hand has the ability to search on Azeroth.  Everything you know will be watched.
Everyone must leave Outland.
We have no way to tell if it will ever be safe for us to set foot on this soil again. 
Take care with to whom you speak.  The supplies you will be given for the journey should suffice until we are able to reconvene.  There should be no reason to speak with locals.  Be careful around them. 
Keep your communicator on your person at all times.
We move out in four hours.”
Lena closed her eyes and made her way downstairs to help organizing supplies.  She pulled a hastily scribbled list from her pocket as she descended, muttering to herself as she read from her late-night planning. 

In each supply crate would be:
-Rations for up to 5 people to survive on for up to 10 days
-Bandages, ointments, healing oils, salves, and other first aid
-Money:  The equivalent of 1000 gold, be it divided into gold, silver, or copper coins

Communicators updated with:

-Basic cloaking and warding spells to be used at hearthstone locations
-Basic supplies for making offerings to friendly spirits to aid in the protection of hearthstone locations
-Maps of each safe house location, including areas to avoid and areas that are well-hidden

((YES, this is a slight change of plan.  We are aware that it shakes up a couple of things that have been mentioned already.  After the Archons had some discussion, we decided it was far too risky to stay within such a close range of Shattrath for so long. 

We purposely did not specifically assign groups, so you are free to find 2-4 buddies and decide on a safehouse location for your group.  Decide amongst yourselves who has what role, and feel free to RP it out here on Tumblr, on the forums, or in-game. 

MORE INFO WILL BE FORTHCOMING!))

The Light of Dawn

Maeorra a posted Oct 10, 14
Time passed slowly in these final hours. The occupants of the other cells of the jail had long since fallen asleep, leaving Maeorra alone with her thoughts. Some of these were fleeting; others played over and over in her head. The faces of those she'd killed seemed to stare at her from the darkness of the poorly-lit cell block. These were blank, expressionless, not even accusing or questioning. They simply stared at her. The accusing stares came when her mind's eye then beheld the faces their family and friends, some of whom had been unable to restrain themselves from outbursts in the courtroom. And these, in their own time, gave way to the cool, steady gaze of the panel of judges as their chief rendered their decision.

Death. There was no room for leniency in such a terrible crime, they'd said. There was no choice but to condemn her. There might have been, she told herself silently, if you hadn't been so bloody stupid. But such thoughts were useless. The jug had been smashed through carelessness, and no amount of regret could mend it.

Hoof-falls heralded the approach of one of the guards. He held his torch aloft towards the cell, casting a warm light upon her.

"It is time."

-----------------

It was a fairly short ride out of the city. Talbuks carried the small party of Draenei away from Shattrath, the Aldori guards clad in fine, shining armor draped with the purple colors of their order. One of them, larger and stronger than the others, wore a full-faced helm, and carried an elegantly-curved axe that was clearly very old. It looked heavy.

The sky had already begun to grow light over the blue-green leaves of the trees that shaded the landscape of Terrokar, the purples and blues of first light creeping steadily westward as the reds and oranges of daylight advanced. The chirping of the night's crickets steadily faded away as they traveled, replaced by the calls of songbirds and the occasional snort from the talbuks. The party rode up a long, gently rising hillside to a rocky outcropping that dominated the surrounding area. From here, a few dozen yards above the forest floor, the tops of the trees were mostly visible, along with the gleaming spire of light that pierced skyward from the center of Shattrath, which loomed in the distance. To the east, the first rays of sunlight spilled over the clouds that blanketed the horizon.

"Well. Here we are. Let's get to it." The helmeted figure grunted. He said it very matter-of-factly, with no hostility, no pity, no scorn, no hesitation in his voice.

"We need to cut your hair. Hold still," one of the others said, even as he draw a crystaline sword from its sheath with one hand and reached out with the other towards the dull strands of snowy hair that draped down to between Maeorra's shoulderblades. It almost sounded ridiculous, but she knew the purpose was to ensure a clean killing strike. She made no reply, but nodded, and then went still, as he had requested. Deftly, he sheared away the hair in fistfuls , shortening it sufficiently to uncover the ash-colored skin of her neck.

"Easiest if you kneel." The man in the helm rumbled at her.

"Give me a moment," Maeorra replied. She stared out from the stony top, taking in the view. The sun crept slowly upward, now wholly visible over the clouds, casting its golden glow upon everything it touched. She closed her eyes; the faces of her comrades that she'd seen a few hours before, mostly in tears or struggling to hold back tears, were now the only thing she could see. She heaved a sigh, and forced the images away.

In their place, she drew upon recollections of their smiles and laughter, of moments far more dear. I love you all. And I am sorry. But you'll be alright. I love you all. She smiled, and drew a slow, deep breath of the fresh morning air.

"Alright. I'm ready."

Maeorra knelt, facing the slowly rising sun. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the treetops below as she felt the warmness of the morning's light upon her face. There was the sound of a deep breath being drawn behind her, followed by a whooshing as she looked out across the landscape. Immediately after came a sharp, cool bite at the back of her neck.

And then there was nothing.

Hell Hath A Fury, Pt 2

Maeorra a posted Oct 3, 14

World’s End was loud and busy on this particular night, the laughs and noise of the inebriated and increasingly boistrous crowd spilling noise even filling the corner in which Maeorra sat; she’d chosen the darkest, most out-of-the way corner she could find, but to no avail. Now and then she had to ward off noisy, drunken intruders with a seething glare.

A hookah sat on the table before her, and likewise a half-filled glass of the strongest spirit Shaarubo had to offer. She took a long draw from the mouthpiece of the pipe, inhaling a great puff of flavored smoke before slowly exhaling it from her nostrils. The cloud billowed and swirled around her face for a moment, filling the little nook she’d fashioned for herself, before dissipating into the din of conversation and music which was growing ever louder.

Her gaze flitted down to the table, coming to rest upon a piece of crumpled parchment with a broken wax seal that lay next to her drink. She read over the words again, though she’d already done so a dozen times:

"Shadows of Argus—

After initial investigation, we have determined that there is little we can do for you except to arbitrate the dispute between you and Suraja. If what she told us is correct, your actions when you visited her in the Exodar constitute a direct provocation towards her, and she claims to have no knowledge of the attack on your people. Her alibi has been substantiated by the testimony of numerous individuals. In no soft words, she vehemently accused you all of creating this conflict and strife on your own, and demanded we turn our investigation towards you.

There will be no inquest, and we have no grounds to bring her up on any form of charges or otherwise attempt to oust her from her position. We strongly recommend that you let us broker a peace between you, and that you abide by it. It is the best outcome for all concerned. If you press forward with a vendetta, we can do nothing to shield you or your people from repercussion. I speak for my counterparts, also, and they have countersigned below. We pray you heed these words and consider this to be an acceptable resolution; there shall not be a more favorable alternative.

—Boros
Triumvir of the Hand”

She let out a grunt of frustration and took a substantial glug from her glass. Cowards. "If they will not help us, then it’s up to us to help ourselves," she thought. And they were wrong. To simply lie down and take it was not and acceptable resolution. Yet it was one of only three, as she could concieve it. The others both involved bloodshed, but only one of those minimized that bloodshed.  A war against Suraja, Grand Deathspeaker of the Exodar priory of the Auchenai, would undoubtedly be tremendously costly, for she had many followers; with no support, Shadows would almost certainly be overwhelmed.

The third course of action was to make good on a promise.

"If you ever again set upon Kirahti, or anybody else in my order, or if any mysterious, unexplainable circumstance should ever harm them, I’m going to blame you. And then I’m going to kill you."

Those were the words she’d uttered last she’d confronted the Grand Deathspeaker. And she’d meant them. This, and this alone, seemed the only acceptable resolution.

Glyllena had already given her thoughts on the matter, but Xeula had been absent when the contents of the letter were discussed; Xeula, who so often served as the third voice, the moderate opinion between Lena’s impassioned impulses and Maeorra’s cold-hearted pragmatism and determination, was usually the most cautious and diplomatic of the three.

And yet, Maeorra doubted very strongly that, wise though she was, Xeula would be able to come up with a fourth outcome that both removed the possibility Suraja would ever interfere again and kept the Shadows beyond reproach. The only course of action that offered that potential was to fulfill the promise she’d made.

Everyone, it seemed, had cautioned Maeorra against taking the matter into her own hands, but there was nothing else to be done. There was only one way this was all going to end.

Hell Hath A Fury

Maeorra a posted Sep 30, 14
"I appreciate you agreeing to see me on such short notice, gentlemen." Maeorra stood in one of the Exodar’s towering halls. Before her, clad in shiny crystalforged armor, sat the three members of the Triumvirate of the Hand: vindicators Boros, Kuros, and Aesom.

"The missive sounded rather urgent, Watcher," Boros rumbled, his voice gravelly.

"It was. As I said in my writing, several of my people have come under attack by Suraja. In one of their homes, no less. They were minding their own affairs when she set upon them, and she hurt them. One of them, quite badly. I’ve come to ask for your assistance in this matter, because I am well aware that Suraja has a great deal of influence. But she is clearly unstable and power-mad. She raved over our communicators even while she pressed her onslaught against her victims that we, the leadership of the Shadows, ‘do not get to tell me what to do.’ That’s how she worded it. And we can no longer ignore the threat she poses, because it is now direct, and manifest. We demand an investigation into this matter, and we demand that she be stripped of her position and made to answer for her crimes."

Aesom furrowed his brow. "You are correct; Suraja does have a great deal of influence as Grand Deathspeaker of the priory, and also has many powerful friends. If we are to proceed with an inquest, there must be no doubt as to the veracity of your claims, Maeorra. And there must be no doubt as to the justness of your cause. We will investigate the matter, and open our own lines of inquery, but you must understand that such a delicate matter will take time. It will not be simple or quick to reach a resolution here.”

"Time?!" She snapped, narrowing her eyes and pointing an accusing finger in the general direction of the exit. "She gloats while one of my people lies in the infirmary. I refuse to allow her to threaten us in this way, and I -will- protect those who have sworn their oaths to us. I am here out of respect for her position, and yours, brothers, but I told Suraja quite clearly that I would kill her myself if she crossed us again. And I will keep my word, if there’s no other recourse. She will answer for this, one way or another."

The three nearly lept from their chairs in unison, but it was Kuros who reacted most quickly, slamming a fist down onto the table before him. "Listen to yourself, Maeorra, and think very carefully about how it sounds! We understand that you are angry, but we cannot sanction or tolerate a vendetta. That is not justice, and it will solve nothing. Let us investigate, and the truth will out. If Suraja has done undeniable wrong, she will answer for it.  But you must give us your cooperation, and you must allow us the time to proceed.”

Boros added, much more calmly, "You would do well, also, to consider that if you don’t, and you take this into your own hands, you will surely be branded a renegade, and we will be unable to protect you, or your people, from the outrage and reprisals that will surely follow. Remember that.”

Maeorra glowered at them, gritting her teeth, and then opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Instead, she heaved a sigh and her expression softened. She dipped her head in acknowledgement.

"So be it."

((A continuation of the guild plot finale of Mists of Pandaria. Stay tuned!))
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