[Horde] Chapter Four: Session Four

Appearing Characters: Aracyra, Arthak Saurfang, Azgadaan, Azuka Stormbreaker, Eralaz, Gramgun Laughingeye, Halno, Kaza, Khadgar, Lantresor, Levia Blackflight, Loryx, Mahka, Mankrik, Nyxxa, Sadras, Sagaz, Samaara, Shaspira, Sylvos Windrunner, Thura Saurfang, Varok Saurfang, Veena

July 1st

Azgadaan heads back to meet with Shaspira again. She seems to be in the process of assessing the rest of the damages to her former office. One hand was scrolling on a translucent field of magic as she walks, seemingly looking across the city.

Shaspira says: Azgadaan. You wish to speak?
Azgadaan says: Yes, I did.
Shaspira says: You have my attention.
Azgadaan says: I was wondering if you happened to know what my father is up to.
Shaspira says: Wise of you to ask. He’s a busy man, as you are aware. While I can’t pry too deeply into his business, I know he has eyes on Outland as well. The shattered world is currently under the watch of Archimonde. You would be wise to assume his lieutenants have a vested interest as well, and your father controls no small amount of influence in the Defiler’s court. I can’t say if he has plans, but if he catches your presence there, he may attempt to collect you. You should be prepared for that.
Azgadaan says: I will take precautions.
Shaspira says: A wise idea.
Azgadaan says: And if you have time, I did promise you a song some time.
Shaspira says: My dear, I have not had free time for the last seven thousand years. But I’m quite adept at multitasking.

She gestures to a small grove that had been formed by the roots of the tree, and she sits down, conjuring her screens to look through them again while listening.

Azgadaan says: Ah. Well I suppose we’re doing this now. Alright.

He sets up his instrument while she is scrolling, and while his musical technique is developing, his charisma and confidence is quite charming. He actually notes there is a small smile on Shaspira’s lips, and her tail--which was quite still--was tapping lightly to the music. Some Shadowsword magisters, a succubus here and there, come to investigate, and stay for brief moments before they continue on their business.

Shaspira says: You’ve begun to forge no small amount of skill, Azgadaan. I imagine you’ll be able to become a virtuoso in a few years or so.
Azgadaan says: Perhaps. I hope you enjoyed it.
Shaspira says: I did! You have a quiet lovely singing voice. It may not be bad to cultivate that further. I believe you’ll have no small amount of skill. But thank you for sharing with me, Azgadaan, I enjoy hearing the instruments of the worlds we visit. It is… some may say a window into the cultures we encounter.
Azgadaan says: I think I may have gotten it from my dad. I heard him singing once. He’s quite good.
Shaspira says: Is he? Not something I would have expected. Perhaps I’ll do some investigating.
Azgadaan says: I heard him only once, and it was while he was bathing, so perhaps not.

Shaspira laughs.

Shaspira says: Oh Azgadaan, you should be careful handing out such blackmail so freely. You don’t realize what power you may have.

She makes polite conversation as she continues to pan around the panel of of the city.

Azgadaan says: Well, I should be on my way.
Shaspira says: Of course. It’s always a pleasure, Azgadaan.
Azgadaan says: I always enjoy spending time with the people I care about.

Shaspira hums.

Shaspira says: Kind of you to say so, Azgadaan. Please don’t let your father get the upper hand.
Azgadaan says: No intention to.
Shaspira says: Good.

Azgadaan goes on his way, and he manages to secure some wine that can inebriate demons as he opts to prepare a surprise date for Aracyra before they head off to Outland.

July 2nd

Loryx and Eralaz had shown up in Gramgun’kur along with several skarvyn warriors. All of their jaws seem to open as they behold the massive tree.

Eralaz says [common]: This is what you spoke of?
Nyxxa says [common]: Yes.
Eralaz says [common]: This is… I have no words. Never have I seen such a large and beautiful sight. Does it have a name? This great tree?

This is being translated for Arthak, and his responses to the skarvyn.

Arthak Saurfang says: This is in my people’s language, but it is called the "Tree of the Between". Nauk’Shal.
Eralaz says: Nauk’Shal.

Loryx looks at Arthak with no small amount of reverence, and he speaks in draconic, requesting to be able to build a domicile among the roots of the tree. He is translated, and Arthak agrees that such is fine.

Arthak Saurfang says: It’s a good tree to climb.
Eralaz says [common]: Is that so? Would you mind terribly if you would show me before I return to the mainland? I believe I would like to see the world from it’s boughs.
Arthak Saurfang says: Follow me. I know a decent way up.

Azgadaan offers to fly them up, but Eralaz stated he appreciated the offer, but he would like to make the pilgrimage in full.

Arthak leads the way with Sadras, and Nyxxa is beaming as she and Azgadaan follow after the group. Azgadaan, however, levitates up with the fly spell instead of climb himself. Eralaz seems to be doing more than well, and at one point he chants an incantation in draconic and charred vines spring from his hand, which he uses as a rope to swing up higher.

When they reach the top, they find Lantresor already present, and Eralaz takes a moment to meditate and commune with the tree. The group follows suit, and they feel a modicum of peace.

The skarvyn also gained permission to allow other skarvyn to make a pilgrimage to Nauk’Shal.

Before Eralaz leaves, Nyxxa snags him and does a quick sweep to ensure there are no scrying sensors.

Nyxxa says [draconic]: May I have a moment? I have news I would share with you.
Eralaz says [draconic]: Of course, Nyxxa! Any friend of the Burnt Grove need not ask for my time.
Nyxxa says [draconic]: I’ve come in contact with those who planted the Burnt Grove.
Eralaz says [draconic]: Is that true?
Nyxxa says [draconic]: As I understand, it’s something they may be looking into. As to the fate of it when they were forced to leave. I just wanted to let you know in advance in case people surprise you unannounced.
Eralaz says [draconic]: I thank you, Nyxxa. Do you… think they will take it back? Take it from us?
Nyxxa says [draconic]: I think it’s ill-advised to move a tree once it makes its roots. I don’t think they will. They are dragons, but not like your previous Mistress.
Eralaz says [draconic]: Like the ones she kept in chains?
Nyxxa says [draconic]: Yes.
Eralaz says [draconic]: I see. When we came upon the Burnt Grove we saw it as a sign. A guide for our people to give us purpose. But if that purpose is merely to tend to the Burnt Grove and breathe life back to it, so it’s true masters may reclaim it, then that is perhaps fate. I would hope such creatures would not see us as thieves or defilers for simply tending to their grove.
Nyxxa says [draconic]: I did the best I could to emphasize you were merely bringing it back from what she did.
Eralaz says [draconic]: I hope your words paint us in a good light, Nyxxa. I will do everything I can to ensure the grove grows back stronger than it was before. Perhaps these dragons can be convince we mean nothing but to grow in turn.

Nyxxa nods.

Nyxxa says [draconic]: I did what I could to put off that meeting until i return so I could help you best I could.
Eralaz says [draconic]: Thank you, Nyxxa. You have done much. If you need anything within my meager power to accomplish, i would help to repay you.
Nyxxa says [draconic]: You don’t need to repay me, Eralaz. The world has been unkind to you.
Eralaz says [draconic]: As it has to you. It’s written in your scars, and the pain and fear and loneliness you carry. But the Burnt Grove tends to all. So if anything does come up, I would endeavor to do what I can.
Nyxxa says [draconic]: Thank you. From what I heard it seemed they would be glad to hear the tree is being tended to at the very least.
Eralaz says [draconic]: We shall seek not to let them down.

He looks slightly concerned, but resolute.

Nyxxa says [draconic]: I have faith in you.
Eralaz says [draconic]: And I you on your pilgrimage. Be safe. May the Burnt Grove shield you from the scorching sun.

That night, Azgadaan sends Arthak via dream to speak with Varok in private (after warning Varok it was going to happen). The scene unfolds to the mountaintop that Arthak and Kaylaan had spent weeks on with Samuro so seemingly long ago, on Draenor. It's dark, and there is a fire burning before Arthak in a clearing.

Varok steps through the clearing, and sighs deeply.

Varok Saurfang says: The magics peoples such as Prince Azgadaan are able to conjure… never cease to awe me.
Arthak Saurfang says: Or disturb.
Varok Saurfang says: Perhaps both.

He offers Arthak a sad smile.

Varok Saurfang says: It’s good to see you, Arthak.
Arthak Saurfang says: And you, uncle. It’s been a while.
Varok Saurfang says: It has.

He bends down and grabs a small log and tosses it on the fire burning between them.

Varok Saurfang says: I have no idea if you need to do that in these magics, but call it old habits.
Arthak Saurfang says: It’s good to do something that feels real. The dream is not my favorite magic, convenient as it can be.
Varok Saurfang says: How are things?
Arthak Saurfang says: Difficult. But we’ve gained passage to Outland.
Varok Saurfang says: I’ve heard tales of what happened. I’ve not been back to the city since the elves’ shield failed. Duty has called me to the front lines.
Arthak Saurfang says: I understand the war calls everyone.
Varok Saurfang says: And yet something else calls you back to our home.
Arthak Saurfang says: My clan, for one thing. I have to reclaim those we lost. And… have to find Go’el.
Varok Saurfang says: So the chieftain of the Frostwolves is trapped on the other side?
Arthak Saurfang says: Yes.
Varok Saurfang says: It’s good you’ll find him. He’s a good warrior.
Arthak Saurfang says: I sent him, so it seems only fair.
Varok Saurfang says: I did not realize chieftains could order each other around.
Arthak Saurfang says: It was something I asked him to do. He already had reason to go, but I gave him cover. But that’s gotten more complicated. Uncle…

Varok listens.

Arthak Saurfang says: I’m… Blackhand. I’m going to be coming for him, most likely, upon our return. Should things go well, should I have the Doomhammer.

Varok’s brow furrows.

Varok Saurfang says: Should you claim it from Blackhand?
Arthak Saurfang says: No. Should I claim it from Outland.
Varok Saurfang says: What are you saying?
Arthak Saurfang says: Before the barrier fell, a mok’nathal joined my clan. Taught me things. And the night I cut out my eye, he told me he had seen it in the heart of Draenor. Blackhand’s hammer is a forgery.

Varok looks into the fire, the flame light licking off his face.

Varok Saurfang says: Bold claim, Arthak. But… you have never been one to speak words you don’t believe to be true.
Arthak Saurfang says: If only that were true. But, I believe him, and I sent Go’el to retrieve it so that we might…
Varok Saurfang says: But the death of our world has complicated things.
Arthak Saurfang says: Yes. And so has Elder Gul’dan.
Varok Saurfang says: That I’m not surprised. Nor would I be surprised if he supported you in this endeavor.
Arthak Saurfang says: He is in fact very emphatic in his support.
Varok Saurfang says: Gul’dan has always found himself at the center of the Horde, ever since it’s founding. But the Horde doesn’t belong to old soldiers like myself, like Blackhand. Not anymore. It doesn’t surprise me that he has ingratiated himself to you if he seeks to transform you into the next warchief.
Arthak Saurfang says: It seems he does.
Varok Saurfang says: What do you want?
Arthak Saurfang says: I don’t know.
Varok Saurfang says: I don’t know anything about the Doomhammer, but I knew Orgrim. And if there was anything he was, he was certain of his path. His certainty was solidified as the stone around the warchief’s hand. They say history is doomed to repeat itself, and yet they say we must learn from the past. Long ago, Blackhand claimed the Doomhammer and passed it on.
Arthak Saurfang says: I know the story.
Varok Saurfang says: We of the Blackrock, we told it much. This is your opportunity to retell that story, Arthak. Your opportunity to choose which role to play. Or if you wish to write your own version of the tale. If this is true, if the Doomhammer that Blackhand carries is false, the revelation of this--regardless of how it comes out--would be catastrophic. Regardless of who the challenger, eventually he will fall. It is simply a matter of seeing who will take the mantle, and who is ready for the duty and the dangers of doing so. I don’t know if you would make a good warchief, Arthak, but then again, I didn’t know if Blackhand would either. I still don’t know if I would consider him to have been a good or bad warchief. He simply is the warchief. He has always been. Whoever were to follow, if one were to follow, his precedence is the only that exists. But you won’t be the only one trying to fill those shoes. There is a reason Blackhand is as paranoid as he is.
Arthak Saurfang says: It’s true.

Arthak grunts.

Varok Saurfang says: Undoubtedly, you’ll need to borrow at least a number of Shattered Hand to count the number of people vying for his strength.

He gives a small chuckle.

Arthak Saurfang says: Should have kept Kargath’s spare.

Varok chuckles again.

Varok Saurfang says: I heard of that as well.
Arthak Saurfang says: I miss him, strangely enough.
Varok Saurfang says: Kargath Bladefist was a bastard of a man, but despite all the duplicity, you knew what to expect from him. I can’t say the same about a lot of orcs. You, for example.
Arthak Saurfang says: It’s true. I… I’m lost, at the moment, uncle. And I don’t have time to be. Gul’dan has me on a leash, and there’s so many things I’m trying to do. And I’ve gotten further than I expected, but the question of the Doomhammer is “Are you worthy?” Many of the things I’ve done to get this far have not been.
Varok Saurfang says: Then perhaps you are not. Many orcs are not. I am not.
Arthak Saurfang says: But I need to be.
Varok Saurfang says: Arthak, your path will not be defined over whether a particular weapon has chosen you to wield it. You will be worthy, or you will not be worthy. No one can change that truth. No one but you. But regardless of what happens, life will continue, and you will have to adapt. That is all that life is. Adapting to changing circumstances, and fighting back against darkness that encroaches upon you. Slaying your enemies before they slay you. And keeping what matters to you close at heart.

He reaches up and fumbles with a necklace on a leather thong around his neck.

Arthak Saurfang says: I really wish I could ask him to come with me.
Varok Saurfang says: You’re returning to Outland. Perhaps you can. If you speak to him, if your path takes you to where we laid him to rest. Tell him he is the reason. The reason why I have not given up. Not yet.
Arthak Saurfang says: ...I’ll tell him.

Varok is a private man, but Arthak is able to tell there is something else to that statement--something else to the reason he gave to continue to fight.

Arthak Saurfang says: Uncle…?

There’s a hanging question. Varok stands up and moves toward Arthak and puts a hand on his shoulder.

Varok Saurfang says: Return home, with or without the Doomhammer. For Dranosh. For your father. For me.
Arthak Saurfang says: I will.

Varok squeezes Arthak’s shoulder and begins to walk back down the winding path.

Varok Saurfang says: We should do this more often. Six months is a fair bit of time for an old orc like me.
Arthak Saurfang says: It’s a fair bit of time for me as well. I’ll… make arrangements with Azgadaan when he can set it up. Until next time uncle.

Varok stops and turns back to nod to Arthak.

Varok Saurfang says: Safe travels. I’ll see you when you return.

He disappears into the darkness further down the path, leaving Arthak in the grove that had held so much sentimentality in the past, and the spell fades as Arthak returns to unconsciousness.

July 3rd

Azgadaan had arranged a hilltop outside the city with a nice view to take Aracyra too, and had ensured that a nice picnic was set up for them when they arrived. There was a small pond near the hilltop

Aracyra gets a devious grin after they finish their meal, and she grabs Azgadaan’s hand. He feels his body feel lighter, and she drags him over onto the pond. They glide effortlessly on it.

Aracyra says: I know it’s been a bit, Azgadaan, but do you remember any of your dancing lessons?
Azgadaan says: I do. I wasn’t particularly good, but I do.

Aracyra smiles and gets him into the middle of the pond, lacing her hand in his.

Aracyra says: Lets see what you remember.

She casts major image, and a spectral orchestra appears around them on the edge of the pond. They have a variety of instruments, like spectral violins and larger string instruments. All the eredar look the same, rather butler like, with long straight hair.

The pair begins to dance, and it seems Aracyra’s eyes float to the orchestra a few times, which causes her to catch on Azgadaan’s leg. She trips and starts to fall, but it was accidentally in the perfect time for Azgadaan to catch and dip her. She blinks as she looks at Azgadaan, a small blush rising on her cheeks.

Aracyra says: Oh. That was unexpected.
Azgadaan says: I got you.

Aracyra rests her cheek on his chest, realizing that perhaps she drank a bit more than she expected and was getting a bit clumsy.

As the song ends, Aracyra drops down on the water’s surface. She glances over one more time at the spectral orchestra, and she whispers something under her breath. With a flick of her hand, the orchestra bows and blows a kiss. Their tails flick in unison, and the illusion disappears.

Azgadaan sits down next to her.

Aracyra says: That was fun! I haven’t had a chance to dance like that for quite a while. Not since I was brought to a ball back on Argus.
Azgadaan says: Last time I danced was… hm…

Azgadaan’s face darkens slightly.

Azgadaan says: With my mother.

Aracyra sits up fully.

Aracyra says: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring that up.
Azgadaan says: It was a good memory.

Aracyra glances back to where the orchestra was.

Aracyra says: ...Yeah, I understand. That song was actually one of the last times I saw my father.
Azgadaan says: Oh.
Aracyra says: I was still pretty young so I don’t remember what everyone else looked like in the orchestra, so I just filled them in with him.
Azgadaan says: Good looking man.
Aracyra says: He was. I guess that’s why I went to that song. I’m sorry to bring that up, but I guess in a way, they were both with us, huh?
Azgadaan says: I guess so. Was he also a musician?
Aracyra says: He was. You, uh, may have heard of him before. He was the founder of the Archival Authority. His name was Acherath. I wouldn’t be surprised. They don’t talk about him much anymore.

Azgadaan recalls the name among those he had found listed of those who had been executed for treason, but there weren’t many details.

Azgadaan says: Well I’m glad you have at least one happy memory with your father.
Aracyra says: Thankfully I have more than one.

With a flick of wrist, the illusion reappears, depicting the eredar man laughing and speaking with a very young Aracyra. He is a tall, thin, imperious man, shorter than Azgadaan, but a few inches taller than Shaspira. The pair of them dance for a moment, and the younger image of Aracyra trips over her father’s leg, and he catches her and spins her around. He then scoops her up and kisses her on the cheek as the image fades.

Aracyra watches as the image fades, and she looks back to Azgadaan.

Aracyra says: Please don’t tell my mother I showed you this or told you anything about him.
Azgadaan says: I swear.
Aracyra says: Thank you. I could get in a lot of trouble, and her in a lot of trouble, and I don’t want to do that.
Azgadaan says: Yeah.
Aracyra says: So I guess I understand how you feel a little bit. But, at least we have each other now. And that’s not going to change.
Azgadaan says: I hope not. You… by the way… you were the cutest little eredar I have ever seen.
Aracyra says: Oh stop.... You don’t have to stop.

She bumps her tail into Azgadaan and leans her head on his shoulder.

Aracyra says: I love you Azgadaan. I really do. I’m really glad we met.
Azgadaan says: Well. I did prepare something tonight, and I’m glad you feel the same way.

Azgadaan casts telekinesis to bring his instrument over.

Azgadaan says: I have one last gift for you. I wrote a special song for you.
Aracyra says: Oh?

Aracyra looks curious and happily intrigued.

Azgadaan begins to play a love song he had composed for her, Aracyra’s tail swaying along to it. From the twinkle in her eyes, it’s clear that anything that Azgadaan may believe was a missed note, she didn’t notice.

As Azgadaan finishes, Aracyra just moves forward and gives him a kiss. Azgadaan embraces her beneath the moonlight.

The pair fell asleep on top of the pond, until the water walk spell wore off and awoke them by promptly dropping them in the water--which earned a laugh from the pair of them.

July 4th

The next day, the group meets with Shaspira and makes arrangements for her to perhaps get the bulk of Arthak’s clan out of Outland by opening a separate gate spell and leaving it open for a few minutes. They also got some supplies together to bring over to Outland for what clan members can’t get through the opening gate spell.

Several members of the clan, including Thura, Gramgun, and Sagaz, are there to bid the group farewell before they head to the other side.

Gramgun Laughingeye says: Alright, well, good luck. You know, when I think about it, I really lucked out when I sold the old ship, aye? It’s probably long blasted to bits.
Arthak Saurfang says: Mmm. Probably.

Gramgun laughs and claps Arthak on the shoulder.

Gramgun Laughingeye says: Alright, chief, we’ll make sure everything here is all smooth sailin’ while you’re gone.
Arthak Saurfang says: It better be. I named the village after you.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Yup, and then one of my ships exploded, one got stolen, and the other is liable to sink at any moment. I’m doing a real good job as your admiral.
Arthak Saurfang says: Focus on the town.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: I wouldn’t worry too much about the town. I think me and Thura will handle things well. We have good chemistry. We work pretty well, wouldn’t you say Thura?
Thura Saurfang says: I’m still not going to sleep with you, Gramgrun.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: I wasn’t… alright. Fair enough.

Gramgrun’s shoulders sink. Nyxxa is laughing in the back.

He leans over to Arthak.

Gramgun Laughingeye says: You can’t blame an old sailor for trying.
Arthak Saurfang says: She’s my cousin.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Right. Right. Probably shouldn’t be telling you this. Well, good luck. Don’t fall off any land chunks.
Azgadaan says: Gramgun, if we find that ghost ship, we can bring that back.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: You. You really don’t need to.
Azgadaan says: It could be anywhere. Sailing through the Twisting Nether right now.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Are we really trying to just give me nightmares?
Thura Saurfang says: I’ll do my best to handle things while you’re gone.
Arthak Saurfang says: There’s no one else I trust more.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Thanks chief.

Arthak gives Gramgun the side eye, and Arthak and Thura embrace. Thura holds a hand out to Sadras, who laughs, and then just hugs her as well.

Sadras says: Don’t miss me too much.
Thura Saurfang says: Your personality will be a distinct absence while you’re gone, Sadras. Take care.

The pair of them press their foreheads together. Meanwhile, Arthak comments to Gramgun.

Arthak Saurfang says: I haven’t heard of any of our warbeasts exploding under Thura’s watch.

Nyxxa tells Thura they can plan another girl’s night when she gets back, and she jokes about the fact they can just plan an activity Azuka would enjoy, as that’s what they did for Thura in the end. Thura blinks, and then nods, and she and Nyxxa also embrace.

Nyxxa goes to Gramgun next.

Nyxxa says: I’m counting on you to keep the lady watch going.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Don’t worry, I’ll keep you apprised of any changes while you’re gone.
Nyxxa says: I look forward to the full report.

The pair also embrace.

Lantresor says his own goodbyes to the blademaster initiates that he was training, and Sagaz assures Halno he will keep things in order as he is technically now the senior-most member.

Loryx is also present with a few skarvyn, and they also bid their farewells.

Aracyra and Azgadaan share a long hug.

Aracyra says: I’m sorry I can’t go with you, but at least we’ll be able to keep in touch.

She fingers the necklace around her neck.

Aracyra says: I’ll try to do so every night. I don’t know how that’ll translate into the Nether, but I’ll try.
Azgadaan says: If you ever miss me too much, just give me a sending, and maybe you can summon me for some time.
Aracyra says: Oh. I can look into it. Maybe I can, as long as it’s not too difficult for you.
Azgadaan says: As long as I’m not in the middle of a heated engagement.
Aracyra says: If you’re being chased by some monster, I’d be the hero. Though, I'd hope you weren’t in any engagements that were too exciting.

She gives a sultry look, and definitely grabs Azgadaan’s butt. Azgadaan laughs.

Azgadaan says: perhaps my hero, but everyone else’s doom if I’m not there to save them.

Aracyra laughs.

Aracyra says: I’ll miss you, Azgadaan, and I meant what I said last night.
Azgadaan says: So did I.

The pair kisses one last time before Shaspira works to open the gate so the group can leave. She withdraws a jagged black crystal with a pulsing red fire in the center. Her eyes flare an even brighter red, and chaotic tendrils of red lightning crackle from the crystal, and fel magic wafts around them as she creates the portal to Outland.

She speaks in eredun, and the name “Azuka Stormbreaker” can be heard.

The portal rips open, and a figure is thrust through the portal. It’s Azuka, though she is a bit taller than they recall. She is now nearly fully grown, but still wiry in her strength.

She immediately grabs a blade from her back, holding it in a reverse grip before as her hand glows with magic. She emits something between a growl and a hiss, but then she blinks, quickly recognizing the gathered group. Her face blanks, along with the magic, and her blade drops from her hand.

Arthak Saurfang says: Hello Azuka.

Azuka straightens, and then bows.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Chieftain.
Thura Saurfang says: Alright everyone, lets get this supplies through!

Several fighters rush through the portal with the supplies.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: What’s going on? How did I…

She then sees the tree, and she is completely stunned.

Arthak Saurfang says: A lot’s happened. You already know. But we’re here to get everyone.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I see. They’re beyond that, in the settlement.

Shaspira says nothing, but she nods, focusing on keeping the portal open. The group goes through the portal, and they are greeted with a very different sight from what they remember of the Tanaan Jungle. The trees look twisted and petrified, and the sky is completely dark. Rather than a sun or two moons, it’s a stream of chaos energy. There are planets and distant worlds, moving across in slow patterns in the sky. There are chunks of earth floating up around, and there appears to be a precipice, and on it is the unmistakable architecture of orcs. And the heraldry is that of the Broken Blade.

Arthak Saurfang says: Outland. So.

He looks at Azuka.

Arthak Saurfang says: Magic?

Several of the Broken Blade members choose to stay behind to help the clan on this side, and get the supplies to the settlement.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s, um… kind of a long story.

Arthak grunts.

Arthak Saurfang says: Fair enough. Lets get everything to the settlement, and we’ll go from there. Does it have a name?
Azuka Stormbreaker says: We decided on Varokmar.
Arthak Saurfang says: Good name.

Azuka turns and whistles.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Veena! It’s alright. You can come out.

As the group turns, they see a small creature that peers its way around the stone. It makes a low chirping sound.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Come on, you don’t have to hide. These are friends. This is Arthak.

The small creature flutters through the air, its body plant-like and aloft of leaf-like wings. Upon hearing Arthak’s name, it immediately zooms to him, making a whistling sound.

Veena says: Arthak! Arthak!

It stops right in front of Arthak’s face.

Arthak Saurfang says: Um. Greetings. Veena.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: This is, um. Yeah. I found her out here, and she sort of stuck around. She knew my name. Somehow. I don’t know how, she just said it. It was the first thing she said. She speaks in a strange language.
Arthak Saurfang says: Alright. Is she the only one?
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I haven’t found anything nearly as alive as she is, but she’s been a great help.

The group had started to move.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Ever since she started following me, well…

Azuka hesitantly raises a hand, and there is a small harmless breeze that seems to play around her for a moment.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: I’ve started to be able to do stuff like that. I don’t really understand it.

Nyxxa had shifted from staring at the sky to starting at Veena.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Kaza thinks it’s a gift or something, a payment for protecting her, but mostly she’s just following me around.

Veena perches on Azuka’s shoulder and says Azuka’s name before curling into her hair.

Arthak Saurfang says: Huh. Well. Anything that helped you survive… so what has happened while you’ve been here? How long has it been?
Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s hard to say without the moon or sun to track the days. It’s been a while. At least a year.
Arthak Saurfang says: Dammit.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: But things are going well with the clan. Thanks to Veena we’ve been able to find food. The beasts are different here, but there are ways to make it safe to eat. I can help with magic, I guess. These strange powers. What happened anywhere else? The world shook, and that’s all we know.
Azgadaan says: When we have time I can show you what happened.
Arthak Saurfang says: The portal collapsed and took Draenor with it. But the clan is fine on the other side. Surviving. Worried about the ones trapped here.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: Some were injured when the world shook. Some didn’t make it, but most of us have. There are children. More children. There were already a lot. Um. They’re healthy. We survived as well as we can. But we haven’t gone far. We don’t know how much is left of Draenor.
Arthak Saurfang says: Well, that’s part of… once we get everyone home, there will be business we will see to afterwards.

Azuka nods. The group is getting close to the village.

Arthak Saurfang says: Beyond the magic and new allies, have you been well?

Azuka nods.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Yeah.
Arthak Saurfang says: Good.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I’ve been practicing how to fight. A lot, actually.

There’s pride in her voice.

Arthak Saurfang says: Glad to hear. Perhaps when we have time later we can see how much you’ve progressed.

Azuka nods, and Arthak grunts.

As Nyxxa looks a the sky and back to the faerie-like creature, it looks back at Nyxxa. She waves, and Veena waves back. Nyxxa smiles, and then Veena lifts off of Azuka’s shoulder and lands on Nyxxa’s head, wrapping its plantlike hands on her horns.

Veena says: Nyxxa!

Nyxxa looks at Azuka.

Nyxxa says: Did you tell her about all of us?
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I told her a little bit. But I didn’t even know if she was paying attention or understand me.
Nyxxa says: Huh.
Veena says: Friend!
Nyxxa says: So I take it from your conversation that this isn’t something you’ve seen on Draenor before, then?

Azuka shakes her head. No one else seems to have recognized anything like Veena either, but there is a weird sense of deja vu at the same time.

As the group approaches Varokmar, there is some bustle up around the watchtowers. There is some calling inside. A few moments later, the gate is opened.

Two grunts and Mankrik step forward, a stern look on his face.

Mankrik says: Who is it that approach--

The face slacks.

Mankrik says: Chieftain?
Arthak Saurfang says: Sorry we’re late.

Mankrik starts to laugh.

Mankrik says: Everyone! The chief is back!

There is more bustling inside as Mankrik ushers the group inside the gates of the small village.

Mankrik says: It’s great to see you! Azuka, where did you find them?
Azuka Stormbreaker says: They just showed up.
Mankrik says: I’ve seen crazier things. Please. Are you hungry? Have you traveled far?
Arthak Saurfang says: No. Magic got us here.
Mankrik says: Excellent. Bring out some of our meat stores anyway! This is cause for celebration!

There are mostly familiar faces emerging around them, some unfamiliar, and some very young unfamiliar faces. There is excitement amongst all of them. Mahka emerges from the crowd, and she is carrying very young children in her arms, swaddled. She seems to be still quite fat with child, however.

Mahka says: Welcome, everyone! It’s wonderful to see you all again. The elements have guided you here safely. Welcome to your home away from home.

Sadras immediately runs up to her.

Sadras says: By the spirits, they’re precious. Can I hold them??
Mahka says: Of course, Sadras.

Sadras immediately holds the bundle of orc babies, just beaming. She looks at Arthak, and they make eye contact, and she immediately looks back to the babies.

After holding the babies for a bit, she gives them back before turning her attention down to the young children that were rapidly gathering around her.

Halno is looking mildly disgusted despite the celebration, and people give him a somewhat wide berth.

Meats are brought out while greetings are happening, and eventually Kaza emerges.

Mother Kaza says: Ha! Took you long enough. How long were you going to have this old lady stuck here? I’m liable to die any minute, and you’ve been gone for over a year!
Arthak Saurfang says: To be frank, I expected you to seize power.
Mother Kaza says: Well, you’re lucky I haven’t. I have looked at Hellfire Citadel and thought about it though. Hm. Have you got taller?
Arthak Saurfang says: Lets say yes.
Mother Kaza says: The alternative is I got shorter.
Arthak Saurfang says: Lets say yes.

There is a twinkle in Kaza’s eye.

Mother Kaza says: Well, make yourselves at home. It’s not much, but no one will say Mother Kaza didn’t make her chieftain comfortable after he showed up after spirits know how long. Give me that.

She grabs a hunk of meat from a nearby woman and tears into it while the woman laughs.

Nyxxa, meanwhile, is playing with the kids with Sadras and Veena. Arthak lets Mahka, Mankrik, and Kaza know there are plans to evacuate Outland in the next few days for those that are wanting to go back to Azeroth.

Mother Kaza says: I’m sure plenty of people wish to leave, but I don’t know if everyone will want to if I’m being honest, chief.
Arthak Saurfang says: We’ll make arrangements. We can have holdings on both worlds.
Mother Kaza says: Distance doesn’t change the fact we’re all Broken Blade. I don’t know much about the rest of the world, but this is going to be home for a lot of people. And I won’t lie to you Arthak, but I was born on this world, and I intend to die here. I’m not sure I want to leave if anyone else is staying behind.
Arthak Saurfang says: I see.
Mother Kaza says: Don’t worry, I’ll make sure everyone is taken care of. My granddaughter will be able to attend to any medical needs. She’ll want to get off this rock. As long as we got people here, I want to stay. With your blessing of course, chieftain.
Arthak Saurfang says: You don’t need it, but you always have it.
Mother Kaza says: Maybe you do remember how to treat your elders.
Arthak Saurfang says: You were missed.

Kaza rolls her eyes.

Mother Kaza says: Maybe we missed you a bit too. Now come on, drink up.

She hands Arthak some watered down mead, and the group catches Arthak up on some things. Namely, they wandered for a time until they found this location, which was somewhat defensible. Down below the cliff, the Path of Glory is visible. If they headed east, they would reach the portal, if they headed west they would reach Hellfire Citadel provided nothing had changed. There had been some fighting over the name of the village, as Mankrik really wanted to name it Arthakmar, but they all agreed Arthak would have hated it (and Mahka did a good impression of him). They also debated naming it after Broxigar or Samuro or Tlanth, but they ultimately decided on Varok, which was far more politically safe.

They were attacked a few times, primarily by wild beasts--in no small part due to Azuka. There were also some altercations with other orcs. There are more fel orcs around than there was before. They had been spying on the area.

There are also demons that pass through the area, but they have been less of a problem.

Unfortunately they had not heard anything from the Frostwolves since the world shattered.

As the group turns to focus on what they are going to do next, Azgadaan offers to do some intel gathering.

Arthak Saurfang says: I would like to report in at Hellfire Citadel before we go too far. Perhaps resolve any conflicts with the fel orcs.
Azgadaan says: I could send Velhari right now.
Arthak Saurfang says: Not a bad idea, but I would like to go in person. See what things have changed. But ensuring Velhari knows of us sooner rather than later would be good.
Nyxxa says: I should steer clear if you are seeing Velhari. She doesn’t like me much. But there are things I can do, and that said, now that we are actually here, I have some information to share.

Nyxxa’s eyes flash as she checks for scrying, but there is nothing.

Nyxxa says: I have stumbled on a rescue mission. I was checking in on Sinestra and her business, and she has captured two other dragons that she’s been using for experiments. I’ve been asked to recover them.
Arthak Saurfang says: I won’t ask who.
Nyxxa says: You shouldn’t. Lets just say that Remnii was busy.
Arthak Saurfang says: I shouldn’t hear more than that.
Nyxxa says: That’s all you need to know. As I hinted upon when we were dealing with the skarvyn, there are multiple dragonflights, and all of them are at odds with the black dragonflight. If we can rescue these dragons, it would be a good first impression to them. But, it seems, the dragons are already working with orcs.
Arthak Saurfang says: Interesting.
Nyxxa says: I don’t know the extent--
Arthak Saurfang says: And I also probably shouldn’t know about it.
Nyxxa says: As far as I’m concerned, if we’re able to rescue these dragons, we might be able to get their trust. Which is important for myself and the skarvyn.
Arthak Saurfang says: Well, we are here to deal with Sinestra among other things. If her captives escape, well, they weren’t my mission anyway.
Nyxxa says: It may be advantageous to remove them from here. From what I was told, she’s likely using parts of them to make the skarvyn in the first place.
Arthak Saurfang says: Makes sense.
Nyxxa says: I was afraid to mention this on Azeroth just in case.
Arthak Saurfang says: A wise precaution. Alright, so we’ll factor that in as a side aspect in dealing with Sinestra. We also, of course, have finding the Frostwolves and dealing with the Protectorate, which I would like to see done. Strengthening that alliance could be the key to allowing Varokmar and Gramgun’kur to maintain any connection at all.
Azgadaan says: I personally think you should just get your people off this rock.
Arthak Saurfang says: Some seem to want to stay. So. We’ll make it work for those that do. I would not mind having a presence here on Outland.
Nyxxa says: They said they didn’t travel far. Perhaps we might find a better place for Varokmar to relocate as well. Especially if the fel orcs are heckling them.
Arthak Saurfang says: Hopefully I can deal with that when I make my visit to Hellfire Citadel. Assuming the fel orcs answer to Hellfire. They could also be Dragonmaw, but if they are, that’s something we should know.
Azgadaan says: Depending on who is in charge, I could just send you there tonight. Not to Hellfire, but to talk.
Arthak Saurfang says: I’m not sure I want to enter whoever is in charge there’s dreams. Once we can have Shaspira transfer everyone who is leaving back to Azeroth, if it is no inconvenience, I would like to--at least myself--go to Hellfire. It should be close by.
Azgadaan says: I’m going to try and contact some people, and then I can make my decision.
Arthak Saurfang says: Fair. Well. Just saying, it would be an excellent opportunity for any activities to be done that would be better if I was not present for.

Nyxxa pulls down her blindfold to wink at Arthak.

Halno says: I promised to help here, so I’ll be with her.
Azgadaan says: If you’re not going, then I can turn the vehicle into a ship.
Arthak Saurfang says: Lantresor, Sadras. Also your choice if you want to go with me.
Sadras says: Honestly, wherever you think we will be the most help. If you want backup at Hellfire Citadel, I’ll go. I don’t know if anyone else you all are visiting will want orcs showing up. So I’ll go where I’m needed.
Nyxxa says: I may need some scouting help, to be honest.
Lantresor says: I can be discrete if needed.
Sadras says: Where do we want to meet up after this is done? Just outside Hellfire?
Azgadaan says: We can figure something out. It’s not like we can’t communicate with each other.

Levia looks at Nyxxa.

Levia Blackflight says: I don’t know if my presence will be more helpful or hurtful…

Halno points at his face.

Levia Blackflight says: Good point.
Nyxxa says: It is what it is. We’re traveling in dangerous territory regardless, and if it turns into a fight, it will, and I would rather have backup. Also, Halno, you should cover your face for reasons Arthak shouldn’t be here for.
Arthak Saurfang says: Should I leave?
Nyxxa says: We’ll finish this conversation first. But, Arthak, if there is nothing else…

Halno brings out Sylvos.

Sylvos Windrunner says: Greetings, compatriots.
Arthak Saurfang says: Sylvos. Alright. I’m going to go fight Azuka.
Halno says: Don’t let her kick your ass too bad, it’s embarrassing.
Arthak Saurfang says: No hard feelings if you leave the corpse.

Arthak leaves the group, and Nyxxa looks to the group.

Nyxxa says: Alright, Sylvos, turns out we are meeting your brother-in-law. Turalyon.
Sylvos Windrunner says: Ah, yes. I’m impressed you knew this.
Nyxxa says: My contact was your nephew.
Sylvos Windrunner says: Which one are you referring?
Nyxxa says: Gilveradin.
Sylvos Windrunner says: I must admit I don’t know much about Gilveradin. I only met him when he was very young, and once before the fall of Silvermoon. But he seemed like a good man.
Nyxxa says: He asked me to send a message to Turalyon.
Sylvos Windrunner says: I see. If there is anything I could do to diffuse the situation, I would try.
Halno says: Is he someone I should be worried about?
Sylvos Windrunner says: I must admit… my knowledge of Turalyon Windrunner is limited. He is a native of Stormwind, and I know he is a member of the Order of the Silver Hand. One of its leaders. He’s a powerful paladin, a war hero, and a skilled fighter. Given your nature as an undead creature, your unlife would be at risk, as would be the demons present. My knowledge is limited of paladins, but they are similar to priests, who can harness Light into potent weapons.
Nyxxa says: I will say, in my interactions with him, though they were brief, he wasn’t one of the warmer people to me.
Halno says: Ah. Fantastic.
Nyxxa says: That’s why I’m warning you.
Sylvos Windrunner says: I understand he was a prominent figure in the Second Troll Wars.
Azgadaan says: I think Nyxxa is right you should cover your face.
Nyxxa says: It shouldn’t be revealed immediately.
Halno says: Ah yes, it’ll make the dramatic reveal more dramatic.
Nyxxa says: I would be going first.
Levia Blackflight says: I don’t think it would be wise to walk into their front gate. Do you have a contact?
Nyxxa says: I do, but I need to wait for him to reach out to me.
Azgadaan says: If you could show me what he looks like and sounds like, I could maybe send you to him.
Nyxxa says: Actually… did you see the human archmage with the Resistance?
Azgadaan says: What was his name again?
Nyxxa says: Khadgar.

Azgadaan pulls out the hearthstone cards he bought, and he shuffles through them for a bit before pulling out a Khadgar card.

Azgadaan says: Is this him?
Nyxxa says: That’s him! Huh. He’s more buff than I remember.
Azgadaan says: I can try to scry him.

Azgadaan pulls out his spyglass and tries to scry Khadgar. It succeeds, and he sees Khadgar at the top of a tower. He is currently looking out over what appears to Hellfire Peninsula. He appears to be scratching his chin as he looks out. Outside, there appears to be a fortress around him--seemingly of the same sorts of architecture as the elves, but it’s more sturdy. There are several buildings and tents. Beyond the wall, at the very edge of his perception, there are the spires of Hellfire Citadel. But there were also humans, not just elves.

There is a moment where he appears to be talking to himself.

Khadgar says: Quite the predicament we’ve gotten ourselves into. Where are they hiding?

While Azgadaan is watching, he enhances a sending to try and help Nyxxa project a sending from her sending stone to Khadgar.

He then turns and look straight at Azgadaan.

Khadgar says: Hm. Well well. What do we have here? A friend or a foe?
Azgadaan says [sending]: There you go Nyxxa, you should be able to go through. Oh. It appears I’m on the line. Hello, Mr Khadgar. Well, Nyxxa says hi, she wants to chat. We are here in Outland slash Draenor. Whatever you want to call it now. You look rather--

Khadgar is laughing.

Khadgar says [sending]: I presume you are the one I have the privilege of speaking with. That’s all that I needed to know, my friend, but I suppose we may meet soon.

He then goes to his desk and pulls out a book, which he begins to write in. Then Nyxxa gets a sending.

Khadgar says [sending]: Your friend is quite… an interesting fellow he is.
Nyxxa says [sending]: That he is.

Nyxxa is also cracking up.

Nyxxa says [sending]: It’s good to hear from you! But, yeah, what he said. We made it to Outland. We’re figuring out what to do next. I have a lot of information to tell you.
Khadgar says [sending]: And I, you. There have been some interesting developments I believe you would want to know.
Nyxxa says [sending]: Same. Also. I remember the last time we spoke, you mentioned meeting some orcs with honor. I can arrange that.
Khadgar says [sending]: I see. It is unwise to meet in Honor Hold, but I have some place we can go.
Nyxxa says [sending]: Just tell me where.
Khadgar says [sending]: Do you know whereabouts in this forsaken place you are located?
Nyxxa says [sending]: We are near where the Portal was.
Khadgar says [sending]: We are just over 100 miles southeast of the great citadel controlled by the demon in this region.
Nyxxa says [sending]: Hellfire.
Khadgar says [sending]: That’s the one. If you head in that direction, you’ll find where we are staying. There is a ravine that is mostly abandoned, but occasionally there are dangerous creatures. We have kept our scouting parties to a minimum. If you go there and stay out of sight, I will find you.
Nyxxa says [sending]: I can accomplish that. To approach Hellfire we’ll be using a big ship.

As Azgadaan continues to watch through his spyglass, he is just seeing Khadgar write silently in his book, though Nyxxa is responding out loud.

Khadgar says [sending]: Be careful. We have siege weapons and we will use them. I wouldn’t want you to be seen. I don’t plan on telling anyone you are meeting me, not even Turalyon.
Nyxxa says [sending]: That’s unfortunate. I have a message for Turalyon from his nephew.
Khadgar says [sending]: His nephew? Ah, so the news of his betrayal has reached. I’m not sure I believe it. To be frank, if there was a fight between him and his sister, I’m not so sure she would have lost. But perhaps that’s Kirin Tor pride.
Nyxxa says [sending]: Ah. If there’s an inside joke there, I don’t know it. But… Turalyon knows of her passing then?
Khadgar says [sending]: Unfortunately, yes. Regrettable news. If you think it would be good, I can bring him… but I’m not sure he would like what he sees.

Nyxxa looks at Halno.

Nyxxa says [sending]: Probably not. But my friends would like to meet you, at least.
Khadgar says [sending]: If it was any other demon I’d be worried.

He goes on to advise Nyxxa to have her allies fly low and quick, and he will find them at the ravine.

Nyxxa says [sending]: Can do. I won’t stand you up this time.
Khadgar says [sending]: Appreciated. I do have terrible luck with women! But, welcome to Outland, Nyxxa.
Nyxxa says [sending]: That’s surprising. But thank you.

As the sending comes to an end, Azgadaan catches him chuckle through the scrying. Khadgar looks at Azgadaan and waves at the scrying sensor before it disappears.

Nyxxa looks to the group.

Nyxxa says: Well, that’s Khadgar. He’s fairly amicable.
Azgadaan says: When should we leave? We can go now.
Nyxxa says: It would be good to rest first.
Levia Blackflight says: We could leave at the same time as Arthak. I don’t know how big everything is, but if he’s past Hellfire Citadel and he’s there, we likely will finish at the same time.
Azgadaan says: Sounds good. I have a few more people I need to send, and potentially dream.
Halno says: Azgadaan, you journeyed with Arthak and the rest before?
Azgadaan says: Indeed.
Halno says: Did you travel through the Spires of Arak in the Terrokkar Forests?
Azgadaan says: Ah. Briefly.

Halno asks if he can scry the area, and Azgadaan does. The forests still remain. Before, it was a strange mixture between the violet trees and crystals, and now it’s beautiful, but the trees have a petrified quality. They seem to be made of stone, and the leaves look brittle. There is a light rain, but it’s not watery… then they realize they are small drops of starlight that fall at the same speed as rain. Crystals are now jutting from where magic had collected and struck, but it’s still very much there.

Halno clicks his tongue and grumbles.

Halno says: Thank you Azgadaan. It’s still there, so I may be able to find it.
Azgadaan says: Anything in particular? Perhaps we can help.
Halno says: I’m looking for any veils I can discover. Arakkoan areas.
Azgadaan says: Alright.

He then sends Floo, the myconid they had met prior to see if he was still alive. He targets the area they were in prior, but it doesn’t seem they are there any longer if they are even still around.

Later that “night” Azgadaan sends Samaara through the sending stone.

Azgadaan says [sending]: Hello, is this working? I hope it doesn’t hit that wall. I hope you’re alive, and please be okay.
Samaara says [sending]: Azgadaan. I don’t know how you’re contacting me right now with the interference, but it’s good to hear your voice. I’m fine, don’t worry.

She then sends him back.

Samaara says [sending]: Where are you right now that you are able to send me? Have you left the Eastern Kingdoms?
Azgadaan says [sending]: We went to Outland to try and bring Arthak’s clan back, and anyone else we can get our hands on.

He then also sends again.

Azgadaan says [sending]: Later tonight I’m going to attempt to dream Kaylaan to make sure him and the rest of the group has made it through. Then I’m going to dream Kroll or Go’el to get tabs on so we can make sure they are safe. How have your adventures been?
Samaara says [sending]: Eventful. Keep me apprised of the status of the Ashtongue. I may be able to speak with the rest of the draenei soon, but I cannot say for certain. Be safe, and don’t take any risks with the Ashtongue. They may not see you as any more than a demon.

Meanwhile, while the group was having super-secret talks, Arthak had gone to find Azuka.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Hi.
Arthak Saurfang says: Hello.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I… I’m really glad that you’re here.
Arthak Saurfang says: I’m sorry it took me so long.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m not angry.
Arthak Saurfang says: Well, I am. You’ve grown.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I was already growing.
Arthak Saurfang says: A whole year.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: I guess we have time to make up.

Azuka looks down to what amounts to a training yard.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: If you want… I’d like to show you what I can do now. It’s been a long year.
Arthak Saurfang says: I would like that very much.

Azuka heads down to the training yard, trading her post off with another orc. Arthak follows, and Azuka takes a stance on the far side. Arthak takes a position on the opposite side, and then he taps Champion’s Forge, and then Quel’delar.

Azuka shrugs.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Whatever you want. I’m not holding back.
Arthak Saurfang says: That’s my answer then.

Arthak pulls out Champion’s Forge.

Azuka rushes forward, and she draws her blade in a reverse grip. As she does, vines start to appear at her sleeve and wrap around her arm. Some of the thorns dig into her skin, and then she leaps. The blood flicks off her wrist and hits the ground. Thorny roots grow up from the ground and try to entrap Arthak. However, he brings Champion’s Forge up and he severs the vines. However, as she brings her blade down, it skitters off his armor.

Arthak rages, and then swings at Azuka. His first strike hits, but his second blow buries in the ground. Azuka steps onto the weapon, and the vines encapsulate her hand again. Her weapon crackles with golden blue lightning, but as she swings her blow goes wide and she darts behind him.

Arthak rounds to meet her, and his size starts to grow. Azuka is thrown off, and he sends her hurling backwards with the flat of his blade. She lands hard on her feet.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: Damn. Looks like I’m not the only one that got better.

Arthak drops into a defensive stance, and Azuka spits some blood out. She rushes Arthak again, and her blow glances harmlessly as she tries to feint him out. Arthak returns the blow, but he misses as she dodges out of the way twice.

Arthak is grinning.

Vines travel up Azuka’s blade, and she swings with an arc of thorns. The vines flay onto Arthak, but he is able to break free before they can take root.

Arthak bats her with the flat of his blade, knocking her off her feet. Azuka tries to get back up, but she’s downed, and she pounds her fist into the ground.

Arthak Saurfang says: You have gotten better.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: Yeah. But you did too.
Arthak Saurfang says: We have to, otherwise we die. The magic is an interesting addition.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: Yeah, I’m still getting used to it I guess. If you could tell.
Arthak Saurfang says: It… hurt you. The brambles bit into your skin. Is that how it normally works?

Arthak helps her to her feet.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s a trade. I don’t understand it, but it’s something I do willingly. It fuels the powers.

She gestures to Veena, who was watching.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s a transaction I guess. It hurts, but not much.
Arthak Saurfang says: Be careful of that. With magic transactions. They often tend to be far more than is presented.

Azuka nods, understanding. Veena seems to be saddened.

Arthak Saurfang says: No offense meant.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: It’s alright. She’ll be okay. And I will too.

The vines that had crawled up her arm had receded.

Arthak Saurfang says: Well. Here, let me look at those.

He notes some scarring where she’s been clearly practicing.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: I’ll keep that in mind.
Arthak Saurfang says: And you have her looking out for you.

Veena flies a bit closer.

Azuka Stormbreaker says: I had to convince her not to get involved herself.
Arthak Saurfang says: Perhaps next time it would be interesting to see what happens when you fight side by side.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: Perhaps. She’s a good hunter. A little straight forward. She’s not so much a fighter, but she can help with some magic.

Veena blinks her large eyes at Arthak, and Arthak gives her a wary but not unfriendly nod before looking back to Azuka.

Arthak Saurfang says: Well. This was good.
Azuka Stormbreaker says: It was. I’m going to land a hit next time. I guess right now we’re one and one. Hmph.
Arthak Saurfang says: So we are.

Azuka moves her head forward and presses her forehead against the plates of Arthak’s armor. Arthak looks down and puts a hand on her head.

Arthak Saurfang says: You were missed, little Stormbreaker.

There’s a sense of relief from her.