[Alliance] Chapter Four: Session Seven

Appearing Characters: Alleria Windrunner, Aramar Thorne, Astalor Bloodsworn, Asya, Broll Bearmantle, Bwonsamdi, Elissa Cross, Ik'nal, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Kel'Thuzad, Linore Windrunner, Raava, Rai, Rak, Remnii, Riff, Ruya, Samaara, Seria, Syeori Sunwalker, Tae'shara Sunwatcher, Tansu, Tauna Skychaser, Tol'vas Moonshadow, Tylana Windrunner, Uther Menethil, Velameestra Windrunner, Wulf

May 30th

Seria had just finished stumbling her way into the jungle troll embassy, and she, Rai, and Raava go to seek out the embassy of the dark trolls. Before long, they find another door. This one is a bit larger than the others.

Raava says: That should be it, right there!

Almost immediately, Seria sees a familiar face: the hulking, gigantic frame of the dark troll named Rak. He is carrying a large carving of wood littered with carvings and trinkets. He has a few more trophies and embellishments on him. He is squatted against a wall, whittling something small.

Rai pats Seria on the shoulder.

Rai says: Well? What are you waiting for? See if he recognizes ya!

Seria gives Rai a look.

Seria says: I don’t think he’s going to…

However, Seria starts to approach. Rak glances down at her--even while squatting.

Rak says: Can I help you? Do ya have an appointment with the Shadowtooth speaker?

Seria shakes her head.

Seria says: No. Just saying hi to an old friend.

She pulls out a small fox totem from her bag. The one he had carved for her many years ago. She holds it out, and Rak squints, getting real close to the totem. He reaches out with his big fingers and take the totem, and then Rak’s eyes go up to Seria.

He smiles, and then laughs.

Rak says: Little Seria.

Seria smiles.

Rak reaches out with his other big hand and ruffles her hair.

Rak says: Ya be lookin’ a little different. Ya be lookin’ more like yer mother.

Seria gets quiet, but then smiles.

Seria says: I learned a new trick.
Rak says: Hohoho. Ya always be learnin’ new tricks. Good to see ya.

Rak looks over and sees Rai and Raava. He lifts a big hand to wave at them.

Rak says: Come! Me want to introduce ya to someone.

Rak stands up to his full 12 foot height and lumbers his way deeper into the embassy. Seria and the other follow after him.

Rak says: Speaker! Where ya be? Ik’nal! Are ya here? There’s someone I want ya to meet!
Speaker Ik’nal says: Hold yer raptors, mon! I be comin’!
Rak says: Hurry up!
Speaker Ik’nal says: Well unless they want ta see me naked, they should wait for a minute.

Rak gets a dumb grin, chuckles, and shrugs down to the smaller trolls. A few moments later, a female dark troll enters.

Speaker Ik’nal says: You know how hard it is to be wakin’ up at this hour!

She looks down at the trio.

Speaker Ik’nal says: You must be the ones he wanted me to meet. Do ya have an appointment?
Rak says: No one ever has an appointment.

Ik’nal shrugs in agreement and then reaches a hand out to Seria.

Speaker Ik’nal says: Speaker Ik’nal. Who you be?
Seria says: Seria.

Ik’nal beams.

Speaker Ik’nal says: Hoho! Ya be little Seria then? You are pretty little! He was right!

Ik’nal gives Seria a solid pat on the shoulder.

Speaker Ik’nal says: He be talkin’ about you alot. You be real important to him, ya know? He may look tough, but he a big softie.

Rak scratches the back of his head.

Speaker Ik’nal says: But it good to meet ya! Can I do somethin’, or is this just a treat? Can I get ya a drink? I know you Rai, you be here enough.

Rai waves.

Speaker Ik’nal says: If ya want, we can go to the bar. I never have to pay my own drinks. I can get you one too if ya want.
Seria says: No. I am alright.
Speaker Ik’nal says: Ya sure? Don’t worry. If ya don’t want to get trashed, my old man don’t drink much either, but ya probably already know that.

Seria looks confused. Ik’nal squints and then looks at Rak.

Speaker Ik’nal says: Ya didn’t tell her???
Rak says: I was gettin’ there.

Ik’nal crosses her arms and then laughs.

Speaker Ik’nal says: Here I thought you’d want to brag about me! There aren’t many of us left, little Seria, so we can’t rightly be very picky, but we gotta do our part in replenishing lost numbers. If ya know what I mean.

She elbows Seria. Raava giggles and blushes. Rai turns bright red. Rak also blushes.

Rak says: Yer embarrassing me, Ik’nal.
Speaker Ik’nal says: I’m the speaker of a dead clan! I can do what I want! I’m going to a bar. Come. You’re coming with me because you’re my bodyguard, and the rest of you, if ya want to talk to him, you have to come. Get water if ya want.

Ik’nal drags them to a bar. The trolls there all greet her, and Ik’nal grabs Seria’s hand and raises it up.

Speaker Ik’nal says: It be her name day! Buy her drinks too!

She winks at Seria, knowing it’s not her name day. Everyone cheers, and of course, Seria gets some drinks dropped in front of her. Some are definitely alcoholic, and Ik’nal finishes any that Seria doesn’t finish. Raava drinks a bit more than she should.

Rai leans over to Seria.

Rai says: If ya… want to drink a little bit, I can make sure ya don’t get a hangover. I might have to do that for her.

The more drunk Raava gets, the more she is hanging all over her tiny boyfriend. Before long, the sun had started to set.

Speaker Ik’nal says: I should get back to work. After all, bunch of people wanting to meet with the Shadowtooth, eh?

There are some laughs, and Ik’nal starts to pull out some gold bars, but someone else immediately jumps to pay it and she only half-fights the offer.

Rak had showed Seria a small runic zandali script engraved on the inside of his tusk: Ik’nal’s name, while Rak’s was engraved on Ik’nal’s tusk. Rak seems happy.

Rak says: It was… good to see ya, not so little Seria.

Rak puts his hand on Seria’s head again.

Seria says: It was good to see ya too.
Rak says: Don’t be a stranger.

Seria smiles up at him, and Rak smiles down at her as well.

Rak says: Ya be knowin’ where to find me.

Rak and Ik’nal head off back to the embassy. Raava is half-leaning on Rai.

Rai says: How about we get ya somewhere nice to stay, ya? I should probably get Raava somewhere for the night.

Rai casts lesser restoration on Raava and crashes her buzz.

Raava says: Oh. Oh no, I went overboard didn’t I? I’m sorry. Everyone was telling so many stories and having so much fun, I couldn’t help myself!
Rai says: It’s okay! It’s okay! Lets find Seria an inn.
Raava says: Okay. Don’t worry, it’s my treat. Least I can do after embarrassing you, ya?

They lead Seria to a nice bazaar section of town, near a market. They go to a place called the Hot House. It’s a joint hot spring, spa, and inn. Raava speaks with the innkeeper and then turns back to Seria.

Raava says: I got everythin’ taken care of! And I got you one of the nicest suites. That can include a massage and whatever you want. The natural hot springs here are to die for. I think you’d love it. I’d stay, but I should probably get back so my brother doesn’t worry. But I was really glad to meet ya Seria! If I can, I’d like to see ya again before ya leave… if you’re alright with it?

Seria nods, somewhat flabbergasted, and then thanks Raava.

Raava says: Rai, I should go. I can find my way back. Ya probably want to say goodnight to your friend.

She leans down and gives Rai a kiss on his cheek before waving them off. Rai blushes before turning to Seria.

Rai says: I’m glad ya can come and see this place, Seria… and this blessing… it’s amazing. I hope you liked it, and I hope you had fun today.
Seria says: Yeah…

Seria looks a bit unsure about everything, and Rai cocks his head, a bit concerned.

Rai says: Is everything alright? Ya look like you got a lot on your mind. I know a lot happened… but we get to the bottom of it, if you’re worried about seeing my father… or is there something else?

Seria takes a second to process.

Seria says: Why didn’t ya tell me about her?

Rai blushes.

Rai says: Ya mean Raava? I mean… I was gonna… I just thought it would be better if you could meet her yourself, ya? I mean we be friends for a long time, Seria. I know how ya get. I didn’t want ya to worry about her… I thought it would be better if you saw her for yourself, ya know?
Seria says: There’s my best friend keeping secrets! What else ya hiding!
Rai says: It wasn’t keeping secrets--ow!

Seria punches him in the arm.

Rai says: I promise I was gonna tell ya about her… but Seria I didn’t want ya to worry. I thought it was better if ya met her, right? I was hoping you two could be friends… thought it might be a nice surprise, ya know? But... I be sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings if I did…
Seria says: There’s not much ya can do now. It’s done.

Seria is mostly joking. Maybe.

Rai laughs it off.

Rai says: I know. I be sorry, Seria. I tell ya what, we can make it up to ya tomorrow. We can do whatever ya want. We can go climb a brutasaur! I can try it… I won’t be very good, but we can go! We can go and chase some of the saurids if ya want! I dunno. Like we used to… I want ya to be happy, and I be really glad yer here, and I’m sorry if I hurt yer feelings. If you’re messin’ with me, haha, ya got me! But I’m glad you’re here. But I should probably get back to the rest of the Darkspears… sister would be furious if I come back later, ya?

Seria nods.

Rai says: Enjoy this place, Seria! Ya can do what you want! After all, like Gonk said, ya belong here with us!

He smiles.

Rai says: I come back to find ya tomorrow, okay?

Rai looks like he wants to give her a hug, and Seria relents.

Rai says: Sleep good, Seria.
Seria says: You too.

Rai lets Seria go with a wave, and then heads off into the streets. The zandalari innkeeper clears her throat behind her and informs her that her room is ready.

The suite is a beautiful, massive room. In the very center is a plush-looking hammock and a bed. There is a balcony overlooking the trees and jungles, and she can some of the wild birds of paradise flying by. There is also a massive pool that has steaming water in it. The water is crystal clear and blue.

Zandalari Innkeeper says: If ya be wanting, you just need to ring the bell and someone will be here to take care of whatever ya want. There should be some libations over there. Ya got this alone. This is stocked for two people, so go as crazy as ya want. There is some fruit there. But I be leaving ya to it. Enjoy your time, ya?

The innkeeper leaves the (very overwhelmed) Seria alone.

After a bit, Seria opts to take a dip in the hot spring. There are exotic, sweet smelling soaps and oils and it’s just incredibly and insanely comfortable.

After a while, Seria passes out in bed--exhausted from the extreme amount of overstimulation.

However, in the middle of the night, she hears something.

Unknown Voice says: Seria~ Oh Seria~ Hehehe.

Seria’s eyes open and she is standing on a glowing, eerie, bluish circle with Zandali ruins that almost look like a death mask. As she looks around, she sees a strange place. There are vibrant, bright colors assaulting her vision. She appears to be in a swirling space, massive troll ruins and monuments rising into the air.

She is in a strange place with no ground and no sky, ruins drifting in space. Seria feels her heartbeat keenly.

Unknown Voice says: Hehehe. What ya be thinkin’? Not every mortal gets to see De Other Side, ya?

Seria is looking around, trying to find the voice. She sees nothing. But then suddenly she feels breath on her neck, and one after another on her shoulders, bony fingers curl into a grip. She spins and sees a tall, gaunt troll hovering above the stone. His face is obscured by the front plate of a troll’s skull, whitish blue fire burning in his eyes.

A feather, like from her raven form, gets caught in his bony fingers.

Bwonsamdi says: Ah, ya dropped this!

He sticks it back in here hair.

Bwonsamdi says: I’ve been waitin’ to talk to ya… and what happens but ya go makin’ deals with other Loa. Ol’ Bwonsamdi not happy about that.

He disappears, and then reappears floating behind her.

Bwonsamdi says: Ya not be forgettin’ about old Bwonsamdi? Or are ya just tryin’ to make an old loa cry?

He is kicking his feet, looking at her. Seria is silent.

Bwonsamdi says: Speechless, I know. Not many can look on me and not have their tongues tied. This ol’ Loa has his own share of broken hearts.

He winks.

Bwonsamdi says: Come now. Ya know I was playin’ with ya. Ya can make as many deals as ya want, Seria. You’ll always be mine in the end.

He disappears and reappears again with a chuckles.

Bwonsamdi says: That bein’ said, I didn’t call ya here for small talk. That said, ya shouldn’t move from that circle there. It may be the only thing keeping ya from being here permanently. As much as I would like to have ya, I’m patient. I can wait my turn.
Seria says: What do ya want, then?
Bwonsamdi says: Ohhh! Right to the point! Lets just say I could use a little help. Maybe you more than most in this instance. Ya want to know a secret? They say ol' Bwonsamdi loves keeping his secrets, and I just may be in the mood to let ya in on one if ya promise not to tell anyone. Ya see… I be in a bit of a bind, ya know. I’m sure ya might remember old Zalazane, ya?

Bwonsamdi grins.

Bwonsamdi says: Him be a slippy one, he is. Ya see, when he died the first time… I made sure to give him real special treatment after all the trolls he sent me. His little war, doomed to fail, this plac ebe jumpin’ more than it did in thousands of years! Then he gave me the slip. Oh, no no no one be slippin’. De Other Side be a one way trip, ya know. And then… I hear he get blasted into nothin’ again, and look, there be nothin’ here. No trace. Ya see. Whatever he did to slip free of old Bwonsamdi might have broke something. It is fixed, Bwonsamdi be on top of this, but there be a few missing pieces. Pieces I need to find. Now whatever brought him back… it be a big problem. Cause there be a couple other souls that be missin’, yeah? Say old Vol’jin’s for instance. Now him! He be a good and brave soul! There be no way he wouldn’t show his face here, yet he ain’t be walking around the surface, and he ain’t down here. So I come to you, after all, you have a score to settle with Zalazane himself, don’t ya? So how’s about we strike a deal? You help me patch up this little leak of sorts, help me get to the bottom of this Zalazane problem… get a few souls I be missing, starting with Vol’jin, and I be makin’ it worth your while, Seria. There be lots o’ things this old loa can offer ya, Seria. All ya have to do is ask! Ya want power? Ya want to live longer than yer gonna? Or… maybe ya want a chance to say goodbye?

Bwonsamdi’s eyes seem to burn a bit brighter.

Seria’s neutral expression falters, and Bwonsamdi floats closer.

Bwonsamdi says: So. Whatcha say, Seria? Ya help the loa of death fix a little mistake?

He holds his hand out to her.

Seria knows he is the patron loa of the Darkspear tribe, and that while he is a trickster, he doesn’t go back on his word. As far as his intentions, he seems to be genuine, and genuinely, something went wrong when Zalazane came back. He seems to be rather plain in what he wants, and what he can offer. He doesn’t seem to be trying to deceive her. He is definitely not saying everything, but that’s to be expected.

Seria says: Why me?
Bwonsamdi says: Hrm. Why not? Ya never forget to pay Bwonsamdi his due. I don’t care what people say, girl. Ya be more a troll than most. Besides, I know a thing or two about getting revenge. Wanting to settle the score. I can get just about anyone… but you. You I can trust to get it done right. Plus, you got a couple of secret weapons up your sleeve, huh? Things that might help ya out in this arrangement. So. Do we have a deal?

He moves his hand slightly closer.

Seria considers for a moment.

Seria says: Fine. But no funny business.
Bwonsamdi says: Never dream of it.

They shake hands. As they do, Seria sees a ripple of translucent, whitish blue energy wash from Bwonsamdi and over her. She feels her breath hitch, and she watches as, on the inside of her arm, she sees a mark start to show up, and then go down her body and her legs.

She sees a translucent, shimmering, skeletal tattoo appear across her body. She feels a connection that wasn’t there before. Not too dissimilar to the connection she felt with Gonk, but this one is a bit more… chilling.

Bwonsamdi says: Just something to help ya along the way. To help ya get the answers no matter where they be hidin’. You not be making a mistake with this Seria. Ya do good enough, and Bwonsamdi might throw ya another trick or two. When ya wake up and get back to your friends… ya might be tapping little Velameestra… she might be able to help ya. After all, she has a score to be settling with Zalzane herself. I got no doubt she may be able to help point ya in the right direction. But! Bwonsamdi ain’t here to keep ya all night. After all, ya got someone else on the line. I think I’ve been holding ya up a bit much. But… ya ever need to reach out to old Bwonsamdi, ya know how to do it. Sweet dreams, Seria.

Bwonsamdi waves, and she feels unconsciousness coming back. But then, she’s in another dream. She sees Remnii in a strange, crystalline room.

Remnii says: Oh! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get through!

Remnii smiles.

Remnii says: My apologies for interrupting your dreams. Something was blocking it.
Seria says: Sorry, I just fell asleep.

Remnii nods, noting that Seria looks a bit unsure.

Remnii says: Regardless, I will not keep you. I wished to inform you that we are going to be taking our leave… soon. The fight is over. Unfortunately, we lost, but we are all accounted for, and we are ready to move on. I didn’t want to rush your business… but it should be known that I don’t want to leave you behind.
Seria says: Don’t worry. I’ll be able to find you.
Remnii says: I believe a number of us have some fail safes against detection. Riff will likely be able to be scryed on and he will be looking forward to your return. I hope you have a better rest on the other side of this dream. I’ll get out of your mind. Have a good night, I hope to see you soon.
Seria says: You too, Remnii.

Remnii earnestly smiles and her tail flicks before the dream starts to dissipate. The last sound that leaves Seria’s mind is the sound of windchimes.

When Seria awakes the next day, she definitely still has the tattoos.

May 31st

Vel emerges from the Wintercroft following the recuperative coma she had fallen into and heads over towards the sanctum to retrieve Arkha’din. She sticks mostly to the shaded paths when possible, though had breached into the sun to test if it had been a fluke that she had not burned when riding atop Al’ar with Kael’thas.

It would appear that, still, the sun did not set her aflame.

It seemed that no one had fully recognized her as she went through Vengeance Landing. As before, she observed some of the giant people milling about with the elves.

She arrived at the arcane sanctum and made her way up to the library that had once been her temporary lodgings. She knocks on the door.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: Who is it?
Velameestra Windrunner says: It’s Velameestra.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Oh! Oh. Please, do come in, Vel.

She hears some sounds on the other side, and Vel opens the door to enter, but it doesn’t get more than halfway open before her chest is impacted by what she at first believed to be a magic missile. Her tired brain fires off adrenaline as she is knocked clean from her feet and slam onto the ground.

She looks down to examine the damage, but instead she sees Arkha’din wriggling madly against her chest and into her clothing. He is licking her and hissing wildly, both pleased and angry to see her present.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Arkha’din… it’s alright.

Vel struggles to console the mana wyrm from her position on her back, clear in the doorway. It takes her a good several minutes to get him calm as he continues to wriggle into her clothing, but eventually he calms down enough that she can at least get back to her feet.

Astalor is standing alone inside the room, watching with a bemused expression.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: He was quite beside himself, Velameestra. You gave him quite a scare.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I’ll endeavor to make it up to him.

Arkha’din had finally settled on curling himself tightly around her upper arm, securely attached to his returned mistress. Astalor gestures to the desk that Vel had once used.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: If you wish, ah… I’ve already prepared the incense and regents you need to reforge the bond.

As Vel looks, she sees the regents needed for the find familiar spell as well as her spellbook and the other belongings she had left in Astalor’s care stacked neatly. Vel stares at it blankly for a moment, allowing her mind time to process, before she nods.

Velameestra Windrunner says: It’s appreciated, Astalor.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: How are you… feeling?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Tired.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Yes, I wager that would be quite the… um, exhausting experience.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes, but I’m here.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: I suppose you are, yes, quite true! And it’s good to, ah... see you back on your feet.

He clears his throat. Vel makes her way over to the desk, and Astalor paces a bit--seemingly trying to stay on the opposite side of the room from her. However, she pays it little mind, both due to how tired she is, and because she expected as much.

Velameestra Windrunner says: He wasn’t too much of a bother, was he?
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Oh, heavens no. He bit me a few times, but I’m no stranger to the mana-charged bites of a mana wyrm. It simply means that he cares. Once calmed down I was able to placate him with enough mana to put him into a bit of a stupor… I’m just glad you’re here to calm him down. You should have seen it, it was quite cute. Pio was able to calm him a bit and they were nearly cuddling with each other. Quite adorable. I think he just passed out from exhaustion, and, uh… he was rather gorged on mana, and she just wanted to be close as a result, but I mean… we would not be the first ones to impose our own narratives on our companions, now would we?
Velameestra Windrunner says: No, certainly not.

She settles in to enact the ritual, but finds her movements partially restricted by the mana wyrm’s presence.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Arkha’din… I need that arm, please.

Arkha’din reluctantly relinquishes the arm and curls further up it, less tightly so she could complete the ritual. Astalor continued to watch her throughout, speaking again once he realized it was complete.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: So… what are your plans from here, uh, Miss Windrunner?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Check in with my companions to see when I’m needed back. Hopefully things went smoothly from where I left them.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Oh, I’m certain they managed just fine without you, Velameestra.

Vel nods idly and grabs her sending stone to tap into Remnii.

Velameestra Windrunner says [sending]: Remnii, I’m active and recovering. How many days are you planning on being there? Everything according to plan?

There’s a pause.

Remnii says [sending]: They lost. Now there is an effort to rescue another druid. We may need your help. I am sorry to interrupt your convalescence. We should leave soon.

With every word from Remnii, Vel’s face just disappears further into one of her hands, a wave of nothing by exhaustion clearly washing over her expression.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: I see… Oh dear. That bad?
Velameestra Windrunner says: It… would appear so. Right. Returning today it is, then.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Today? Truly, I… I can’t imagine that would be a wise decision.
Velameestra Windrunner says: They… we were engaging with a tribe of warrior women. They were involved in a ceremonial fight as part of a deal and lost, and that has since apparently resulted in the captivity of a companion. Unfortunately, the longer they stay there… that is also unwise.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Oh dear… Well. I suppose you will have to leave, then. Is there aught you need me to take care of here? People you need to inform, or…?
Velameestra Windrunner says: I’ll be able to find my aunt, wherever she is. I was also going to speak with my other aunt, but that shouldn’t take me very long. Do you know where Linore normally is?
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Yes, you should be able to find her at the docks this time of day. She’s running the show, as it is, so I have no doubt you’ll be able to find her if you ask around, if you don’t find her yourself.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Appreciated.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: If you wish, I could send Pio with you to lead you to her.
Velameestra Windrunner says: That would also be appreciated.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Of course.

Astalor chews on his lip for a moment.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: Velameestra… would you be willing to… indulge me?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Of course. What can I do?
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Apologies for imposing but… you… you did become… you died, yes? That did happen?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes. That did happen.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Very well. Um.

Astalor claps his hands together.

Astalor Bloodsworn says: Pio, darling, if you would be so kind, please lead Velameestra down to the shipyards and find the admiral. She would like to speak with her.

Pio makes a hiss of affirmation and then floats over to Vel and tenuously looks at Vel’s other arm with a clear, unspoken question of “can I curl around that one?” Vel wordlessly holds out her arm and the golden mana wyrm wraps loosely around it so she could direct her with her little snoot.

Vel gathers up her things.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Once again, Astalor, your help was appreciated. Hopefully I can perhaps stay longer next time.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Yes, perhaps. I think speaking may be good... It would be good to learn more of your own personal experiences with all this. Do you… need a parasol or something? I’m sure we could find something around.
Velameestra Windrunner says: No, thank you. It would appear adaptations have occurred. Unexpected.
Astalor Bloodsworn says: Oh! Fascinating. Well, in that case, safe travels, Velameestra. In spite of everything, may the Eternal Sun guide you.

Vel nods, bids farewell, and walks back into Vengeance Landing while following Pio’s guidance. If she were to go in a slightly wrong direction, the mana wyrm would wriggle, look at her, and then point in the more correct direction. Before long, Vel arrives at the docks, and she sees various elves working on the ships.

However, as she approaches the actual shipyards, she sees a massive drydock that seems to be in line with what she learned from Rommath. It appears they are preparing to construct another massive vessel like the Wintercroft, and there are already stacks of deep, grayish black wood which likely had been harvested in Deatholme. There is also a massive longship with large seats and oars that are easily twice as large as a human or elf-sized oar.

Pio directs her to an office of some sort, and she sees her aunt Linore Windrunner. She is walking along the deck with something in her hand, and she is speaking and gesticulating with her hand, but there was no one else there.

Upon seeing her, Vel looks down to Pio.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Thank you, Pio.

She conjures a small orb of magic in her hand, and Pio cracks her mouth open and untangles herself from Vel’s arm so she can scooch forward and munch it down. She seems to take her time with her meals, unlike Arkha’din, before she fully releases Vel’s arm and starts to wriggle back towards the arcane sanctum in the distance. Vel then also offers a similar orb to Arkha’din, who had been looking on somewhat indignantly as Pio was eating, and he promptly clamps down on the trickle of mana.

Vel then heads up onto the deck, clearly trying to make herself visible so she doesn’t accidentally sneak up on her. There is a moment that Linore sees Vel out of the corner of her eye and turns towards her.

Linore Windrunner says: Oh! Can I help you with something?

For a moment, there is no recollection in her eyes, but there is something else that is strange. Her eyes were a soft, minty green glow around the sclera. She blinks several times, rapidly, and suddenly her eyes are back to normal. She squints.

Linore Windrunner says: … Velameestra? Is that you?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Aunt Linore.
Linore Windrunner says: I…

Linore pinches her temples for a moment and rubs her eyes.

Linore Windrunner says: By the sun… you’re actually… you’re actually…

She drops the clipboard, runs over, and pulls Vel into a hug. Vel hugs her back.

Linore Windrunner says: You’re alive. You’re actually alive.
Velameestra Windrunner says: … a lot happened.

Linore pulls away, looking at Vel.

Linore Windrunner says: I imagine. Goodness… you… I don’t even know what to say. After everything that occurred, I…
Velameestra Windrunner says: I got your sending.
Linore Windrunner says: You did?

Linore blushes faintly.

Linore Windrunner says: So that wasn’t a dream. This isn’t a dream, right?
Velameestra Windrunner says: No, it’s not. I… wanted to respond, but circumstances…
Linore Windrunner says: Circumstances have been… unpredictable, haven’t they?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes.
Linore Windrunner says: Please. Please. Come in, lets take a seat in my office, you look exhausted.

Vel nods and follows Linore into her office in the building nearby.

Linore Windrunner says: So much has happened since we spoke last. I feel like I didn’t even get the chance to thank you for saving my life. What of the others? Is Uther alright? What about Gil? I… heard some rumors.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Uther was with me, as were the others. Gil is still… on the run, last I heard.
Linore Windrunner says: So that was true as well…

Linore’s office is simple, and she pulls a seat out for Vel to sit in.

Linore Windrunner says: Please, can I get you some refreshments? Anything.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Do you happen to have coffee?
Linore Windrunner says: Yes. Oh yes, I made sure to have plenty of that for coming here.

Linore goes over to start preparing some of the drink.

Linore Windrunner says: Did you… hear what happened?
Velameestra Windrunner says: ...what part?
Linore Windrunner says: About my husband. About, uh… everything.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I did hear, yes. I’m… sorry.
Linore Windrunner says: It’s alright. Um. More has changed. Ow.

Linore winces, and it seems like she was suddenly talking to herself.

Linore Windrunner says: Mother, I can explain it myself.

She shifts again.

Linore Windrunner says: It’s alright. You’ve been through enough, darling.

Again, she shifts.

Linore Windrunner says: It will be a lot easier if we just do it this way, mother. She’s… not…

Linore seems to stop for a second. Vel has been watching, the situation slowly dawning on her. After all, she had seen two of her cousins while she had been snooping before, and they had… seemingly not been among the living.

Velameestra Windrunner says: A lot has changed…

As she spoke, she purposely opened her mouth further, the fangs behind her lips now visible to her aunt. Linore looks at her, and the pale, minty hue in her eyes fades again.

Linore Windrunner says: Oh. I… I see.

She looks slightly off to the side.

Linore Windrunner says: Are you sure?

Linore releases the mortar and pestle she was using to grind the coffee and she convulses for just a moment. From her back, a figure emerges. It is a wispy, smoke-like figure, and Linore’s hands grip on the edge of the table. Within a few moments, there is a ghostly figure that has moved completely out of Linore’s body. She turns, her long magister’s robes swirling in the air around her, her hair drifting like it was underwater--its color a soaked, drowned blond. She has bright, minty-green eyes. She’s a banshee.

She offers a small smile and puts a hand on her chest. Her voice almost seems to echo.

Banshee says: It’s a pleasure to meet you. Finally. Velameestra. At least… under better circumstances, if one could call this better.

She looks down at herself. Vel is able to piece together that this is Tylana, Linore and Sylvos’s eldest child, and a magister. She was the cousin that she had not been able to see while she had been snooping.

Velameestra Windrunner says: It’s good to meet you as well, Tylana.

Linore leans on the table for a moment, but she regains her strength quickly enough to finish preparing the coffee. She looks back at Vel as she is pouring the water and offers a smile before sitting down. Tylana floats nearby.

Tylana Windrunner says: So… it seems you didn’t exactly survive after all, did you?
Velameestra Windrunner says: No, that instance I did survive… this is recent.

Linore closes her eyes and shakes her head.

Linore Windrunner says: Then… this is very recent then, isn’t it?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yesterday.
Linore Windrunner says: Goodness. You must be quite exhausted.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Unfortunately, I won’t be staying long.
Linore Windrunner says: I see. In that case, we might have to do something a little bit more here. When Eretasia turned she… she was down for quite a while, are you certain you want to get back to your business already?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Sometimes that’s not our choice.
Linore Windrunner says: I see. Well at the very least, I can help.

The coffee finishes and she gets up to retrieve it. There is a soft noise, along with a wince of pain. She turns back and places the saucer and mug in front of Vel. As she does, Vel notices there is a wound on her finger that wasn’t there before.

Linore Windrunner says: Tasia was also remiss to learn that coffee didn’t quite work. Not like it used to, but you infuse a bit of blood into it, it does. I hope that this can help.

Vel raises her eyebrow slightly, looking first to Linore, and then down to the mug.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Oh. Appreciated, I suppose that… makes sense.

Vel takes a sip from the mug, and she can taste the twinge of iron in it, but it seems to hit her a bit faster than it normally does.

Linore Windrunner says: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Can I ask why you chose to do it?
Velameestra Windrunner says: To help our people learn to adapt. I’ve… been involved a bit longer than the last few days. Doing research.

Linore nods.

Linore Windrunner says: It’s a shame that you aren’t staying longer. I’d introduce you to Tasia as well. Honestly I think the two of you would get along quite well.

Tylana rolls her eyes, still floating nearby.

Tylana Windrunner says: She was the only one that survived of the three of us, but she chose to seal her own fate as well. She didn’t want us to suffer alone, nor did she want her other sisters. She wanted to understand more of what they were going through. Seems you and her were cut from the same cloth.

Tylana offers a mirthless chuckle.

Velameestra Windrunner says: In the future I would love to meet her.

Linore nods.

Linore Windrunner says: I’m sure she would too. Things have been… crazy around here. But it’s a strange beam of light being able to be with family.

Tylana gives Vel a serious look.

Tylana Windrunner says: Do you think there could be a chance, cousin? A chance that we could find Sylvos? Find father?

Vel looks up at her, taking a moment to consider given the additional knowledge she had of Sylvos’s fate--knowledge that was significantly more to unpack than was presently needed at the moment.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I... think there might be a chance, yes.
Tylana Windrunner says: I told them. I told them! Sadine and Silansalia. They said that it would be better to forget him, but how could I forget my father? How could I forget the man that taught me everything? I can’t give up. Not after everything that happened. Not after everything we lost. Not after all the suffering we’ve been through! After all the changes our people have gone through, I refuse to believe that it’s the end.

Tylana's words strike through Vel's heart like a stake, and Linore’s hand grips onto a paperweight nearby.

Linore Windrunner says: But there’s nothing we can do about it now dear, please.

Her voice is on the edge of tears.

Linore Windrunner says: For now, I’m glad we have you, Velameestra. I’m glad that you’re here too. I’m glad that, even if you have to leave, you’re out there. Please, if there’s anything that you need from me, anything I can do… I know that I’m just a shipwright and a sailor, but, please, don’t hesitate to call on me for anything, alright?
Velameestra Windrunner says: And the same goes for you.
Linore Windrunner says: And my sister! She was a magistrix. Her name is Anice. I don’t know if you’ve ever met her, but reach out to her if you can. I’m certain she would understand.
Velameestra Windrunner says: She’s with Kilnar.
Linore Windrunner says: She is, yes. Did you know?
Velameestra Windrunner says: We met up with Kilnar recently.
Linore Windrunner says: Oh. That’s fantastic! Please tell her that I’m alright. Next time you speak with her?
Velameestra Windrunner says: I’ll be sure to do so.

Vel reaches over and puts her hand on top of Linore’s hand that was gripping the paperweight. It’s very warm, and trembling slightly. She gives it a soft squeeze.

Linore Windrunner says: We’ll make it through this. I may not have been born a Windrunner, but I’m still a part of this family, one way or another. If your aunts are anything to go off of, I’ll be strong for all of us, alright?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Someone once told me Windrunner women have fangs.
Linore Windrunner says: Oh?

Linore starts laughing softly at the joke, and even Tylana offers another mirthless chortle.

Tylana Windrunner says: And enjoy that coffee. Not all of us have the privilege of enjoying such things any longer.

It seemed to be an attempt at a dry joke, but it definitely landed a bit harsher than she meant it to.

Linore Windrunner says: But I won’t keep you any longer.

She taps her own sending stone.

Linore Windrunner says: You know how to find me.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I do. And for the time being… I would prefer if my presence did not reach anyone other than Alleria. She knows, obviously. But…
Linore Windrunner says: Understood. Don’t worry, I will make sure that information doesn’t spread.

She looks up to Tylana.

Linore Windrunner says: Not even to your sisters. You understand?

Tylana nods.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Oh. Um, Northrend it matters less… mainly family and people on the mainland. In the Eastern Kingdoms. They shouldn’t know I’m still… active. Not yet.
Linore Windrunner says: I see. That should be easy enough to acquiesce to, and I’ll make sure anyone doing supply runs back to the Eastern Kingdoms will understand that if they have knowledge of your survival, it should be discreet. I know the crew of any vessel that heads back towards Lordaeron, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Velameestra Windrunner says: It’s appreciated.
Linore Windrunner says: Of course, and if there’s anything else I can do, please. And.. just in case…

Linore squeezes Vel’s hand.

Linore Windrunner says: If this is just a dream? I don’t think that I want to wake up.

Linore offers her a soft smile, and then lets go of her hand.

Linore Windrunner says: You can keep the mug if you want, but that’s up to you, I don’t know where you’re traveling.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Why don’t you save the mug for me? For next time.
Linore Windrunner says: Happily.

After Vel finishes off the mug, Linore takes it to clean later.

Velameestra Windrunner says: It was good to see both of you.
Linore Windrunner says: You too, Vel. Thank you for coming to see me.

Tylana nods.

Tylana Windrunner says: And make sure not to die, won’t you? It might be a bit more permanent next time, and I would rather you have the opportunity to meet my sisters yourself.
Velameestra Windrunner says: We've been good at cheating death. I don’t have any intention.

Vel nods to both of them and takes her leave. She goes to find Alleria, but her aunt is actually the one to find her as Vel once more boards the Wintercroft.

Alleria Windrunner says: Vel. I was just wondering where you were… you weren’t resting. Is everything alright? Are you feeling better yet?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Better than I was, yes. I had to retrieve Arkha’din.
Alleria Windrunner says: Right, yes, that makes sense.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And I visited with Linore for a bit. And Tylana.
Alleria Windrunner says: Oh. How are they?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Well enough.
Alleria Windrunner says: That’s… good. I… I should do better in regards to that. I haven’t spoken to them much since we arrived here. I suppose that would be a wise thing for me to do as well. But you should still be resting, Vel. It will take some time for you to recover.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I… situations have shifted. I need to go back.

Alleria blinks.

Alleria Windrunner says: You can’t be serious. Vel, you were in the ground hours ago.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And as it stands, my way back may not be safe to return to if I stay much longer.

Alleria closes her eyes and crosses her arms. There is a heavy sigh despite the fact she has no need to breathe.

Alleria Windrunner says: Perhaps I should have kept you under my control until after you were fully recovered.

There is a small smirk indicating she was probably joking. Probably.

Velameestra Windrunner says: My intention was to stay longer, but unfortunately situations shift, and things did not go as well as we had hoped.
Alleria Windrunner says: Well… I suppose if you must return, then I won’t stop you. I don’t know if I could even if I wished to. Just try to take it easy.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I will. And I’ll contact you later to inform you of how things went.

Alleria nods.

Alleria Windrunner says: Don’t stress yourself overmuch on my part. I’ll manage. I always manage. And I suppose this means I can go out ranging sooner rather than later. There have been reports from the Grizzly Hills to the north. It seems there are settlements. Human architecture it looks like. We don’t know where they would be from, or who they may be, but we’re seeking to learn more. It would be good if I can get eyes on it myself.
Velameestra Windrunner says: No one would do it better.

Alleria smirks and hums in agreement.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Speaking of which. The… giants... around Vengeance Landing?

Alleria glances off the Wintercroft where they see two of them walking.

Alleria Windrunner says: Yes. They call themselves vrykul in their tongue. They were natives here, but many of them are in some sort of suspended hibernation. One of our scouting parties encountered one of them who came back and spoke with some members of the Convocation. General Duskseeker has been our liaison to them. She believes they will be staunch allies. More have been showing up and awakening from some of their nearby… tombs you could say. They seem to be quite interested in the recent changes in our people. I’ve not spoken to any of them, I don’t understand their tongue, and they do not speak ours for the most part, outside outliers.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Serendipitous awakening, perhaps.
Alleria Windrunner says: I’ll be keeping my eye on them. They are rather straightforward in how they operate, but I believe they may be beneficial allies. They know this place, and they’ve lived here far longer than we have. So I suppose, ‘tis much better than having to fight them and the trolls and the other less agreeable natives to this land.

Vel nods in agreement.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I will keep you posted. We have a direct link, after all.

Alleria nods with a small smile.

Alleria Windrunner says: I’ll check up on you whenever I can. Be safe, Vel.
Velameestra Windrunner says: You too.

They hesitate for a moment, and Vel starts to open her arms slightly, and Alleria acquiesces to the hug. They embrace tightly and then step apart so that Vel has space to work her magic. However, before she does, Vel hesitates and then opens up a sending channel to Kael’thas.

Velameestra Windrunner says [sending]: It would seem I'm being summoned to Kalimdor. Circumstances... require my presence and my assistance. But I wanted to thank you for your continued hospitality and the flight back. Al'ar is a magnificent entity. I only wish I had been coherent enough to fully appreciate it.
Kael'thas Sunstrider says [sending]: Hmm. I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised, Velameestra. You always have been a woman in rather high demand, haven’t you? Be safe, and know that you will always have a home here in Vengeance Landing amongst your people. Next time, perhaps we will have to have an encore should Al’ar allow it. When you are a bit more well-rested. Safe travels, Vel.

Vel starts to cast grave stride, and as she channels the magic, spectral blue energy starts to seep up through the cracks in the boards of the ship. They start to crack and seemingly pull away as radiant, necrotic energy seeps from the hole that had been formed. A staircase of broken boards leads down and disappears into the depths of the magic. She strides down the staircase, and as she disappears within it, the hole closes behind her.

Everything almost seems to rotate as she feels herself move through the deepest places in the earth. Suddenly, she is ascending stairs instead of descending, and she emerges from a similar rift in the sky burial pit back in the Thousand Needles. As Vel emerges on the other side of the portal, vultures and carrion birds fly away in panic. The stone and sand beneath just moves back into place, as if it had never been disturbed.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright Arkha’din… lets see what exactly happened.

Arkha’din hisses, curling tighter around her arm as she starts the trek back to the centaur camp. It’s around noon or one. It seems the camp is less busy than it was, and she seeks out the rest of the group without much difficulty and materializes behind Remnii.

Velameestra Windrunner says: So… what is the status exactly?

Remnii jumps with a small shriek. She is not exceptionally graceful in the moment.

Remnii says: Oh, Vel, you’re back… You’re back.
Elissa Cross says: Vel!

Elissa immediately runs over to her, but stops right before colliding.

Elissa Cross says: Can I give you a hug?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes, you can give me a hug.

Elissa gives her a hug. Arkha’din hisses in mild annoyance.

Remnii says: Welcome back.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Oh good. Maybe you can pry answers out of that one.

Tol’vas points at Syeori, who is presently still disguised as Gil.

Uther Menethil says: Vel, it’s good to see you’ve returned. Everything go well in Northrend? As well as it could be, I suppose.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes. It did.
Uther Menethil says: Excellent.
Velameestra Windrunner says: First thing’s first, I heard… we have another druid?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Yeah, the antlered bear. Wasn’t it obvious?

Vel looks blankly at Tol’vas for a moment.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Lets just assume that, right now, even the obvious is worth telling me.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Oh, uh, especially powerful druids have a tendency to grow antlers.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Good to know. Thank you.

Vel looks incredibly tired.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The antlers will persist through wildshapes.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright. So creatures that normally don’t have antlers are likely druids if they have antlers.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Likely. It’s also been about… what, 7000 years? Maybe things have changed. I don’t know.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright.
Uther Menethil says: Have you been apprised of the full situation here?
Velameestra Windrunner says: All I’ve heard in the limited context is that the fight was lost and this druid is now being held captive.
Remnii says: I did what I could.
Uther Menethil says: That is the short version. After we lost, the opposing patron demanded our heads and the druid refused. He bargained for our lives, and now he’s been imprisoned. I don’t think I need to tell you that I won’t be leaving until we free him.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Do we have any potential plans?
Uther Menethil says: Only that a bargain is one avenue available to us. If we can find something that… she wants.
Remnii says: Something more valuable than a powerful druid, if she knows how powerful he is given the antler situation.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I don’t know if they have druids.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Do we have any ideas of what she may find more valuable?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Anything that would get her to win.
Remnii says: Information was particularly valuable, so we discussed yesterday, but I believe we are running out of material bargaining chips. We should perhaps think of other things to give in the future…
Velameestra Windrunner says: Information… like, what, on her enemies? Is that…
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Anything that would give her an edge over her competition.

Vel takes a moment to process, her hand raising thoughtfully to her chin. Then she offers a somewhat amused chuff.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Really?
Remnii says: Yes!
Velameestra Windrunner says: Amusing. I… might have an idea. I actually finished developing a spell… what… two days ago? It allows for the divination of certain traits about individuals using their blood.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Unpleasant, but useful.

Riff looks up at Vel, and they look a bit dejected.

Riff says: Awww. I thought that was our secret?

Everyone looks down at Riff.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I’m sorry, Riff. We can have another secret in the future.
Riff says: Oh. Okay!
Uther Menethil says: Divination magic?
Remnii says: That spell could be used for any number of things, be it a leg up, or against potential enemies.
Uther Menethil says: Certainly the most valuable bargaining chip I could think of.
Remnii says: I am lacking in other ideas. I’m glad you’re here, Vel.

Vel offers a nod of acknowledgement.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I’d be fine to teach it to one or two of their casters, priests… in exchange if they give us the druid in question. But as it stands, I am likely not the best person to necessarily sell its usefulness. I can explain how it works, and what it does…
Uther Menethil says: In other circumstances, I would gladly offer to lead that negotiation, but in this place I don’t think that’s the best idea.
Remnii says: I am always willing to help. I am not second string when it comes to things like this. I believe we can work it out, and we will be on our way from… such limiting rules?

The group agrees on the approach, and Vel sits down with Remnii to explain how the spell works. Remnii is fondly reminded of Raluhi as Vel explains the magic she had created, and she also realizes that this spell is something that she could also likely learn as well.

Remnii and Vel go to seek out Ruya, and all the centaurs immediately jeer and talk amongst themselves upon seeing the pair that had been with Tansu. A female warrior with dark skin and bright red hair approaches and crosses her arms.

Centaur Warrior [centaur]: What? Did you get bored of the table scraps at Tansu’s tent so that you could beg Ruya’s favor?
Remnii says [tongues]: While I do offer my congratulations to Warleader Ruya… I have something that may be of interest to her. I wish to bargain.

At that moment, Syeori-Gil is running to them.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Remnii! Mistress! I got that map you wanted me to get. I stayed up all night to ensure it was taken care of!

She holds it out.

Syeori Sunwalker says: All the meteor sites in the area should be clearly marked. I was hoping that would help. And… sorry.

Syeori then backs off as Remnii takes the map. She then notices Vel and waves, before heading off. Syeori seems like she hadn’t slept at all.

Remnii says [tongues]: Pardon me, I did not expect our friend to be back so soon.

She unfolds the map and shows it to Vel. Vel is hardly a cartography expert, and this seems hastily drawn, but Vel does know that Syeori enjoyed mapping the wilderness back at home.

Velameestra Windrunner says: She… had such talents when we were younger. At the very least, it could be a cherry on top, so to speak.

Remnii nods and rolls up the map.

Remnii says [tongues]: We would like an audience with the warleader.
Centaur Warrior says [centaur]: And what gifts do you wish to lavish her with? It had best be worth her while.
Remnii says [tongues]: A spell. But it is something to be shown to her directly.
Centaur Warrior says [centaur]: Very well. But do keep in mind… if you don’t entertain her, I will personally ensure you are tied beneath my hooves and drug through the dirt. But you may enter.

Vel and Remnii are allowed to pass into the very large tent. They see Ruya sitting on various hides and plush-looking cushions. There is an incredibly handsome centaur with long, naturally reddish hair, wearing a loose, comfortable silken shirt. He sits to one corner, and the kaldorei druid is also nearby. He has some minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. He opens his eyes as the pair enters. He furrows his brow, but doesn’t say anything.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: Hm. Don’t tell me that my sister is such a sore loser that she did not come to congratulate me on my victory herself.
Remnii says [tongues]: Unfortunately, I cannot speak for your sister, but we--for what it means from outsiders--do congratulate you. It was well won.
Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: You would be wise to cut ties with her. She will not start to win after you leave. There was a reason she needed help from outsiders.
Remnii says [tongues]: For weal or woe, we will leave shortly. But thank you for granting us an audience.
Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: And an audience you have.
Remnii says [tongues]: I would like to cut to the quick… our time in the Thousand Needles is short, but I…

Remnii looks to the druid.

Remnii says [tongues]: I have come to barter. Or a proposal of such things. I believe we may have a thing or two that may be able to help you more than one man ever could. In exchange for him…

Remnii points to the druid.

Remnii says [tongues]: We would offer you a spell. One newly written. Of divination magic. My dear friend Velameestra is quite gifted in her craft. From the blood of your enemies or rivals, you can divine many things about them. Something of her own design. Not yet seen in these lands, or anywhere. She would be willing to teach it to some of your shamans.

Ruya’s eyes dart between the pair.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: An interesting proposal… I am looking, always, for ways to ensure my superiority amongst my kin is solidified, and so this weapon would be… appreciated. But why would I trade such a defiant, yet useful tool such as this, for such a spell? After all, would you not say that a skin-shifting brute such as him would not be able to secure more victories than that of spilled blood.

Remnii considers.

Remnii says [tongues]: A good question. Men grow tired and weary. This spell, on the other hand, will be passed on through the generations, and with a powerful shaman at your beck and call, not only will you be able to divine the weakness, you can divine strengths and vulnerabilities of your enemies. Were you to sire children of your own, or even those of your kin, you can determine their health. This spell can last generations, as opposed to the waning strength of one man.

Ruya nods, a hand on her chin.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: You raise very good points… Very well. Truthfully, I have no desire to keep this outsider in my presence any longer than I already have. He has outlived his usefulness, and I have many other champions. Yet… already, the High Matriarch’s blessing flows through me. I have no need to participate in Zyein’s Gaze any further. Yet, you should know… it is customary to leave an offering, a gift, to the champion. Especially if they offer such generosity to their rivals.
Remnii says [tongues]: I’m glad we have come prepared then.

Remnii produces the map Syeori had made and unfolds it.

Remnii says [tongues]: It may seem like nothing at first… those that dwell in the sky. Zyein and other celestial bodies. They hold much significance, correct?

Ruya nods.

Remnii says [tongues]: We had one of our men go out and map the area. We passed a falling star on the one here. Cold like the stones in the cave.

Vel points to the marker in question, and Remnii nods in thanks.

Remnii says [tongues]: Thus, we have marked any shards of any fallen stars in the area.

Ruya nods her head to the male centaur, who takes the map and hands it to Ruya.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: These three are known to us… but these ones… your man can be trusted that this information is accurate, yes?
Remnii says [tongues]: Yes.

Ruya smirks.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]:If these are true, they could give me great influence. Always are Zyein’s tears in high demand. Very well. Your gift has been accepted, and you may take this brute with you. But if this is a deception, I will see to it that my shamans place a curse on your very bloodlines. But, your name?
Remnii says [tongues]: Remnii.
Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: And your companion?
Remnii says [tongues]: Velameestra Windrunner.
Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: Very well. You have amused me. Go now with my blessing, and pray that blessing not turn into a curse. May Zyein’s Gaze be upon you.
Remnii says [tongues]: And thank you, warleader, for speaking with us.
Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: I will summon my shamans. Velameestra Windrunner may teach them. They are quick learners.

Vel requests a tongues spell from Remnii so that she can teach more readily, and she is able to teach them appropriately in around 4 hours or so. Even despite her tired state, Vel does well in teaching.

However, as Remnii takes the druid into her company, he looks at her.

Bear says: Why did you do this?
Remnii says: You showed kindness on the battlefield, and that was not shortly forgotten, and also we have another druid in our midst. If nothing else, kindness begets kindness.

The druid nods with a sad smile.

Bear says: I see. And… then I suppose I owe you my life. All of you. You showed me a kindness I will not soon forget.
Remnii says: Nor will “our men” forget what you were able to do for them. We will leave this place shortly. I’m sure they would like to thank you themselves.

Remnii and the druid arrive to the rest of the group.

Bear says: You have my thanks. You did not owe me anything…
Uther Menethil says: It wasn’t a matter of payment, owing, or settling a debt, friend. It was simply the right thing to do.
Bear says: Yet I imposed my companions upon you. Now I would impose myself. For the time being, I would put this place behind me.
Uther Menethil says: Fortunately, you’ll find we’re a friendly bunch!
Bear says: You’re too kind. I can only hope my meager services can be of use to you on this harsh road. My name is Broll. Once Bearmantle, and once a member of the Cenarion Circle. Now you may just call me Broll.
Uther Menethil says: We’re glad to have you Broll.
Remnii says: It is good to meet you.

The group all introduces themselves.

Broll Bearmantle says: If you will excuse me, I have much to think on, and reflect upon. I should ensure my companions know I am safe because of you.

Broll looks over to Tol’vas.

Broll Bearmantle says: When you have a moment… I would have words with you. If it… is not too much trouble.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Of course. I have nothing really pressing going on.
Broll Bearmantle says: Then I will find you.

Tol’vas nods. Broll puts a hand on his shoulder and offers a sad smile before he sets off to find his companions.

Meanwhile, in Zandalar, Seria gets ready and eats breakfast. Eventually, one of the attendants knocks on the side of the doorway to inform her that Rai had come to pick her up in the lobby.

Rai’s face lights up upon seeing her.

Rai says: Morning! How did ya sleep?
Seria says: Fine.

Rai furrows his brow.

Rai says: Ya sure? Ya look like you just saw a ghost… and…

He sees the new tattoos.

Rai says: What happened? Is everythin’ okay?

The duo leaves the lobby and hits the streets before Seria speaks again.

Seria says: Apparently I’m a very popular person with loa.
Rai says: What are ya talkin’ about? Did ya have a vision or somethin’?
Seria says: Somethin’.

Rai looks at Seria, then at her tattoos, and then at Seria again.

Rai says: Don’t tell me… ya… ya don’t think ya… ya didn’t have a vision from Bwonsamdi did ya?

Seria just gives Rai a look.

Rai says: What did he say? What happened? Is that what the tattoos are about?
Seria says: So… he needed some help.
Rai says: He needed help? With what?
Seria says: Finding some lost souls.
Rai says: Okay… um. Is there anythin’ I can help with? Or… is this more somethin’ ya gotta do on yer own?
Seria says: Still tryin’ to figure that out…
Rai says: Okay. I don’t want to pry. If this be some sort of quest he be sendin’ ya on, the last thing I want to do is make things harder… but ya know you can help me, ya? If there be anything I can do. Any information I can get, it’s all yours. But if ya be lookin’ for lost souls, the best people ya can be lookin’ for are the shadowhunters. Zufli be one, but I know ya don’t want to be seeing her right now. Outside my father… the best one of the trade, that be Rokhan… and ya already know where he might be, ya? So maybe if ya find him, ya can maybe ask around a bit? He was here for a while. I think what he be doin’... he be tryin’ to help us. It be complicated. Whatever he was here for. Maybe he be makin’ another tribe himself or somethin’... I think ya should talk to my sister, but I can talk to her. Focus on your mission. Focus on this thing with Bwonsamdi, yeah? Focus on findin’ yer teacher. Find these Echo Isles and maybe go from there, yeah?
Seria says: Yeah.
Rai says: I can look around and see if there’s any link to the weird things here. Maybe Raava know something… I be keepin’ the important stuff secret, but I’ll see if I can find some things out for ya, okay? I guess… ya probably need to get back again, don’t ya?
Seria says: Yeah.
Rai says: I understand. At least ya be allowed to come back whenever ya want, right? Lets say you and me see some sights and maybe we head back out and find another tree to stride back through, aye?
Seria says: That sounds great.

Rai smiles.

Rai says: So, uh, where ya want to go?

The duo spends some quality time together. Nothing else strange happens, but Seria finds herself looking for Vol’jin again. She has fun, but the meeting with Bwonsamdi weighs heavily on her mind.

Later in the day, they head outside the city and find a tree.

Rai says: Don’t worry, I’ll tell Raava ya had to get goin’. Maybe next time we can spent more time together, ya?

Rai reaches out and takes Seria’s hand.

Rai says: I promise whatever you’re doin… if there anything you need, I want to help. If you’re in trouble, ya can tell me. No questions asked, if needed. After all, I guess I kept a couple secrets from ya, and I’m sorry, but if you’re gonna do that with me, you gotta do that, ya? No matter what, you’ll be my best friend.
Seria says: You as well.
Rai says: But Riff be missin’ ya. I won’t hold ya up more.

Seria gives Rai a hug, and he returns it. After lingering for a moment, she turns back to the massive tree. She looks back to Zandalari, and then reaches out and touches the tree. The bark starts to swirl like a whirlpool, and she steps into it.

She emerges on the other side, once more near the twisted tree of the Thousand Needles. She gives the tree a long look, transforms into a raven, and then takes off to the centaur camp.

She arrived around the same time Vel had finished teaching Ruya’s shamans.

A few hours after their initial conversation, Broll comes to find Tol’vas.

Broll Bearmantle says: You said your name was Tol’vas, yes? Do you mind?

He gestures to a spot next to Tol’vas.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No, of course.

Broll sits down and looks over.

Broll Bearmantle says: The focus you wield. It is the Scythe of Elune?

Tol’vas nods.

Broll Bearmantle says: I see. I’ve never seen it before. I’ve only heard tales of it. Tales from the War of the Satyr. And you… you are one of the brothers we lost to the Form of the Pack?

Tol’vas nods again.

Broll Bearmantle says: I see. Hmph. Yet here you stand. Or, well, sit I suppose. I was born many years after the War of the Satyr. I heard only tales of those who succumbed to Goldrinn’s fury. I suppose I had expected you to be…
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Feral?
Broll Bearmantle says: Angrier, I suppose. I could never know your pain, but… were my brothers to have turned on me and buried me deep within the Dream for thousands of years to slumber eternally, I don’t believe I could have promised to not be angry.

Tol’vas frowns.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Why would I be angry?
Broll Bearmantle says: I don’t know.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I remember what happened before they safely imprisoned us. I’m surprised they didn’t kill us instead.
Broll Bearmantle says: Perhaps it is fortuitous they did not, or I myself would no longer be amongst the living. You are perhaps a better man than I, Tol’vas, for not holding that against the Circle. I don’t believe I could be certain that I would be able to be the bigger man. Perhaps that is why I am here. It’s hard to say. You showed restrained over your affliction. I did not know that such a thing was possible. I’ll admit my knowledge of the Form of the Pack is limited, deliberately and otherwise.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m not certain how much the control was me, or how much it was the scythe.
Broll Bearmantle says: Perhaps it was both. We reach our greatest potentials in balance. Or so I believed. So maybe there is no simple answer to that.

Tol’vas shrugs.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I don’t know the answers to most things.
Broll Bearmantle says: A lesson it took me many years to learn.

He offers a small, sad smile.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What happened that you’re so far south?
Broll Bearmantle says: This is… an exile of my own choice, Tol’vas. My own failures brought me here, and my own failures would keep me here were it not for the debt I now owe all of you. I left the Circle long ago. I failed them enough for my life. But if you would permit me, I would fail you all more.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Perhaps you can catch me up on a few thousand years of history, at least.
Broll Bearmantle says: I can perhaps do that.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: There was no Cenarion Circle when I was put to sleep.
Broll Bearmantle says: I suppose that is true. It was created shortly after. The druids joined together, and all the circles agreed upon esoteric laws and a structure of sorts. Of how we would operate. Of how one would grow. Of how one would nurture their strengths and shore up their weaknesses. How we would use the powers the Lord of the Forest granted us to strengthen all in the world.

Tol’vas nods.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I see. That makes sense… especially after the damage the pack did.
Broll Bearmantle says: I believe that reason spurred the creation. To ensure that never happened again. The various circles balance each other out. Make up each part of the greater, and together the Circle can allow a strong foundation upon which the roots of the world can be secured. Or at least, that is the philosophy behind it if I am to recall the lectures from so many years ago.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I suppose I should warn you we are heading north.
Broll Bearmantle says: I suspected as much. I will help in what ways I can. I can only hope my presence won’t be a detriment.

Tol’vas laughs.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Your presence would be the issue?
Broll Bearmantle says: I suppose your own presence may be one of more… tribulations than my own. I can only hope, then, that I do not slow you down.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: You seem like one to fight.
Broll Bearmantle says: It is more than might that makes a man. Besides, most of that was Wulf.

He offers a small smirk.

Broll Bearmantle says: I was just… a very large, effective distraction.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: If that’s how you choose to view it.
Broll Bearmantle says: It is odd. Looking upon you, it’s strange to think that you, in comparison, were one of the first druids.

Tol’vas shrugs.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It’s been strange knowing how much has happened without me.
Broll Bearmantle says: I could only imagine. I believe your situation was a bit more pronounced than most others. But perhaps that wisdom will serve you well. But I will keep no more of your time. It will be a pleasure to travel with you, Tol’vas, and perhaps learn some of your own stories and history.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I was just thinking the same thing about you.
Broll Bearmantle says: I will share what I can.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Seems we’re stuck with each other.
Broll Bearmantle says: Perhaps. Elune-adore, my friend.

Broll pats Tol’vas on the shoulder and lumbers off to make himself as little of a bother to others as he can.

Vel is alerted to Seria’s arrival before she even lands as Riff shouts for her. They run up to Seria, and as she transforms, Riff is already giving her a hug.

Riff says: I missed ya, mother! Ya missed so much! The fight was so cool. It was real close, but the Death Adders got beat! It was real close tho. I think they did okay. The other guy was so big! He turned into a huge bear!

He prattles on about everything that happened. Vel strides by on her way to the others.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Ah. Seems you were also alerted to the situation. Welcome back Seria.
Remnii says: It is good to see you safe.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I know Seria just got back, but perhaps we should leave as soon as possible.

Tae’shara nods in agreement.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Aye. We still got a bit of daylight if we want to make some mileage. What do you guys think?
Uther Menethil says: I don’t think it would be wise to tary.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Especially because we made a deal with our not-benefactor.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Alright. I’ll get everyone prepared. So, the three others, they’re coming with us?
Uther Menethil says: Yes indeed! Our band has grown.

Tae’shara looks at Vel.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Do we have to bring the one that looks like your brother?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yes. You managed to get that spell copied, right? She can stay in my hut.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Say no more.

Elissa approaches Seria and compliments her new hair.

Remnii says: Anyone that would care to scout ahead while I say goodbye?

Remnii looks at Broll. He nods and heads out into the wilderness. Tol’vas follows after him along with Aramar.

Tae’shara and Vel work on summoning their phantom steeds as Remnii and Uther (as her bodyguard) goes to Tansu’s tent to say their farewells.

Asya says: I’m glad you accomplished what you set out. We need not speak further. I take it you are leaving?

Remnii confirms and expresses she does not wish to overstay her welcome. Asya nods.

Asya says: Very well. Warleader Tansu would like to bid you farewell despite everything.
Remnii says: I would be honored.

Asya brings Remnii inside, and Tansu greets her.

Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: Remnii! Come! Join me!
Remnii says [tongues]: Hello again, Tansu.
Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: Me and my sworn riders were just speaking of the fact we can make further glory now that Ruya is out of the way. You seem to have an air of departure, are you leaving?
Remnii says [tongues]: I believe it is time to go. We do not wish to overstay our welcome, and travel takes longer even with the well-worn.
Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: I see. We will miss your company. It was a pleasure having such colorful and strange outsiders.
Remnii says [tongues]: Thank you for your hospitality in turn.
Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: Please, if you need provisions, we have plenty to share.
Remnii says [tongues]: I would not wish to trouble you. We have eaten our failure, and we have enjoyed your company in turn. I believe that is well beyond a fair exchange.

Tansu turns to Uther.

Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: If you would tell him that if the woman he is promised to ever chooses to relinquish him, he is always welcome here.

Context clues tell Uther everything.

Remnii says [tongues]: We will be on our way. We just wanted to say goodbye.

Tansu bids farewell, and Uther and Remnii leave.

Finally, the group fully reconvenes as Vel and Tae’shara are conjuring the steeds.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: So. How is this going to work now?

Vel pauses, realizing her oversight now that there are more people.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Ah…

Wulf looks at the horses and scratches his arm.

Wulf says: I can practically keep up with a horse. I can just walk.

Vel looks at Wulf blankly for a moment.

Broll shifts out of his form and sighs.

Broll Bearmantle says: There is only so much I can do to keep with all of you. I’m sorry if I slow you down.
Velameestra Windrunner says:: They’re… already summoned, ultimately. Some of us can ride at a slow pace and once they disappear, we’ll continue on foot if needed.
Elissa Cross says: Hey. Syeori. You’re small, you could ride Daisy if you want. She can handle both of us?
Syeori Sunwalker says: Are you sure?
Elissa Cross says: Yeah. It’s fine.

She pats the back of her saddle.

Elissa Cross says: It won’t be the most comfortable ride, but…

Vel gives up her own phantom steed and opts to climb up behind Uther instead where she can just close her eyes for a bit.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Syeori, if you ever get on my back again I’ll eat you.
Syeori Sunwalker says: I wasn’t planning on it, don’t worry.

They head off into the open plains.

Remnii says: Syeori, that map you gathered. How far out did you go?
Syeori Sunwalker says: A couple miles.

Remnii offers a soft smile.

Remnii says: Thank you for your help. That was a crux in our negotiations.
Syeori Sunwalker says: I did get us in the mess, might as well do what I can to get us out of it. Hopefully they can find it. Wouldn’t want to get us all cursed or something… can they do that.

Remnii starts to answer but Vel interjects from her seat behind Uther, her eyes closed.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Probably can, hopefully won’t.

The group makes as much travel as they can. It was a bit slower than they were going before, but still reasonably fast. They make their way through the Thousand Needles, and Tae’shara once more starts to count them.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Are you counting the needles.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: So what if I am?
Syeori Sunwalker says: I’m just asking. I can help.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: I’m perfectly capable of counting needles myself, thanks.

They travel until shortly after midnight, and they opt to hunker down. This time Vel and Tae’shara are able to make two tiny huts.

During a quiet moment, Vel tries to enhance a sending into her ring. She focuses as much as she can on the ring.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Minn’da… if you can hear me. Make any noise. Anything.

There’s no response.

Kel'Thuzad says [telepathically]: Velameestra, I don’t believe… that whatever is there will be able to respond to you.
Velameestra Windrunner says [telepathically]: It was worth a shot.
Kel'Thuzad says [telepathically]: It was… we’ll get to the bottom of this. Of what happened, and what remains of the hex. I dare not investigate myself until it begins to recover further. Right more, my presence here is the most I can do without endangering it more. But as I thought of it… I don’t believe if your mother is still in the hex… as long as it exists, I don’t believe your mother’s spirit would be in any danger. You may wish to cross reference this with Bronjahm… he undoubtedly would be able to confirm whether or not her soul was harmed. If not him, perhaps Noth. We can get to the bottom to this.
Velameestra Windrunner says [telepathically]: Appreciated, Kel.
Kel'Thuzad says [telepathically]: If there’s anything I can do, I will, as limited as I am in my scope. When, and if, the hex recovers its strength, I’ll warn you. I would not wish it to siphon your energy further. I have no idea how it may respond to you in your altered state… but we may find out. You’ll be the first to know.

Vel gives a quiet hum of acknowledgement but heads back to camp as Tae’shara finishes her hut.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Ha! HA! I did it. Alright boys, everyone in here! No shirts allowed! That’s just a joke, don’t worry.

However, Tol’vas finds Seria.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Seria, I think it would be in our best interest to get out of this canyon as fast as possible. Do you think you could help me with a spell tomorrow?
Seria says: Depending on what it is.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I intend to turn us all into clouds. I don’t want to use this spell often. You miss too much, but it may be wise to get away as fast as possible.

Seria nods in agreement.

Later that night, on Remnii and Samaara’s watch, they hear something.

It sounds like bleating.

They glance around, and as Remnii looks up to one of the overpasses, and somehow she sees two dozen goats that look almost plastered to the sides of the walls. They are looking at the domes below them, and as Remnii looks over to the top of the neighboring dome, she sees a goat standing on top of it. It licks the top of the dome.

Eventually, it hops off the dome.

Remnii says: I love them.

Samaara snickers.

Remnii says: I think they will be okay.
Samaara says: Is it because they remind you of Nyxxa?
Remnii says: I do miss her. Have you noticed that so many creatures in this world are… tiny? Even the talbuk are small. What, a goat? Or a sheep?

Samaara shrugs.

Samaara says: Different worlds are vastly different from each other and yet… strangely similar at the same time.
Remnii says: For the fact that you were able to guess at a basilisk and it turned out to be a basilisk or a kind of one… it’s funny to see how life takes shape.
Samaara says: There are patterns that seem to occur. They are different. The creatures we fought were nothing like the ones I saw. On one world, the creatures I encountered had two legs. They crawled over themselves, the rest of their body was like a snake, and they had only one eye in the center of their forehead. The ones here on this world have six legs it seems. But they are similar in ways, but different in so many others. Even Draenor has so many similarities, yet so many differences. Then again, we could say the same about our people.

Samaara shrugs.

Samaara says: Humans and draenei… orcs… trolls. So different, yet so similar.

Remnii smiles softly.

Remnii says: I think there’s a beauty in how everything can come together. Though, I do wish to see the druids and the shamans speak someday. But that is a dream for not now.
Samaara says: I know far too little to have any idea of how that may go down. They seem to revere different parts of nature, but perhaps in time they can share each other’s knowledge.
Remnii says: I’m glad you’re here.
Samaara says: Me too. Undoubtedly, you would have gotten yourself into some sort of trouble.
Remnii says: I did die for six months.

Samaara chuffs and tries not to think of it.

Remnii says: I should not make light, but I am glad you are here.

The night passes otherwise without danger or difficulty.

June 1st

The next day, the sun rises and the domes collapse. It’s quite hot, and the bright sun immediately flares into Vel’s face.

Tae’shara goes to start making the mounts, but Tol’vas tells her to stop.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Have you ever considered being a cloud?
Uther Menethil says: What?
Elissa Cross says: That would be awesome! So puffy and carefree~
Remnii says: Wait… I think we did this before. If it’s the same magic. But please, carry on.

Everyone is baffled as they get into a circle.

Elissa Cross says: Wait, are we actually gonna be clouds? This is so fun!
Samaara says: We are heading northwest. We can try to plot a course… but it would be easiest to follow the canyon and then try to go westward.
Wulf says: We should not go north.
Uther Menethil says: Why is that?
Wulf says: A lot of bogs and a lot of dragons. We would be best if we steer clear of there.
Uther Menethil says: What? Bogs and dragons?

Vel’s eyes immediately lock onto Wulf.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What’s wrong with dragons?
Wulf says: It’s a swamp, and dragons live in the swamp. All I know is they tried to kill me. I killed them, and that’s where I got this from.

Wulf holds up his axe.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Can I see that?

Wulf furrows his brow.

Wulf says: Why?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I promise you I have no intention of wielding an axe.

Wulf holds it out, and it is clearly a magical axe, but it is not elven in make. Tol’vas looks over to Broll.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Do you know anything about this?
Broll Bearmantle says: My guess is as good as yours.

Vel’s eyes are still locked on Wulf.

Velameestra Windrunner says: What color were they?
Wulf says: They had dark scales, orange wings, and they breathed fire and magma until I chopped their heads off.

Vel looks over at Uther and Wulf rolls his eyes.

Wulf says: To be fair, I didn’t fight any actual dragons. I saw them and fled, but I slew some of their minions. Four-legged creatures like the centaurs, but more lizard-like. And a few others. Bipedal, strange creatures.
Uther Menethil says: We need to avoid them.
Remnii says: It would be more than wise.
Uther Menethil says: More than wise. It’s imperative.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Why? This seems like something we should look into.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Absolutely not in this particular circumstance.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I need more than that. What reason do you have not to look into this?
Uther Menethil says: We have made an enemy of a very powerful black dragon. The importance of us not being found alive cannot be overstated.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I see…

Syeori raises her hand.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Question!
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Yes?

Syeori looks at Wulf.

Syeori Sunwalker says: What were you doing in the dragon bog?
Wulf says: Running from dragons? Killing dragons? I just said it, girl, keep up.
Syeori Sunwalker says: But how did you get there?
Wulf says: I don’t know. I woke up there.
Uther Menethil says: Did you fall asleep there?
Wulf says: I don’t know.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Does your memory start there?
Wulf says: I… I don’t know. I woke up, I escaped, I killed some dragon minions, I stole their axe, I got captured by centaurs. I beat the shit out of you, I got the shit beat out of me, and now we’re here and turning into clouds apparently.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright. Well. Ultimately, our direction is Mulgore.

Samaara nods.

Samaara says: If we are trying to avoid the bog, as long as you follow me or any others that can keep a closer eye on the ground… if we lead the charge we should be able to avoid any bogs and continue past. You said it was to the north, so we will head to the northwest around the corner of it. We will avoid any dragons we find by a wide berth, and perhaps hope for the best. Are we going to be able to speak? I assume probably not?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No. It’s very difficult to bring air into lungs that don’t exist.

Samaara nods.

Samaara says: It may be the same magic after all. I suppose our best bet is to cut to the northwest and try to avoid this dragon bog as best as we can.

Meanwhile, Aramar is scribbling on his map labeling the perceived area as the “Dragon Bog”.

Aramar Thorne says: Mm. Dragon Bog doesn’t sound right… what if we called it the Wyrmbog? Yeah, I like that more.

Seria uses augury to ask if a straight shot northwest would be safe, and she gets a weal result.

Seria and Tol’vas then cast wind walk, and they focus their magic. It starts to blend, washing the group in a mixture of soft, green winds. Everyone’s bodies starts to dissipate and get replaced by amorphous, cloud-like formations.

Samaara-cloud takes off first, and the others follow. They see thick briar thorns littering the ground below as they fly overhead. They see a nest of brambles and thorny downs in the mountains. Over another set of mountains to the east is another set of mountains that dips down and they see a lot of trees and tree cover that make up the so-called dragon bog.

As the hours pass, it’s a bit tiring, but not so much that the group is going to have any issues. The mountains give way to low hills and lakes, and they see endless fields and savannahs. They start to coast lower as it comes near the end of the eight hours, and they find themselves in the winding, flat grasslands. There are more thorny vines in the distance, and they do see tents occasionally. Perhaps tauren or centaur.

But there are tons of things happening. Occasionally they see a herd of creatures running across the grasslands. Eventually, they see a long, snaking discoloration in the grassland. It’s an ancient, highborne road.

They land near the road and start to take their regular forms once again. Not too far from where they landed, they had noticed another tent in the distance--a tauren tent.

Elissa Cross says: That was so much fun! Flying really tires you out though…

Broll looks a bit unsettled.

Broll Bearmantle says: No matter how many times I use magic like that… I am a man that belongs on the earth.

Aramar is frantically filling in blank spaces in the map.

Samaara says: Well, that certainly worked, and we did not see any dragons. Now we should figure out what we need to do. We can continue north, or check the nearby camps to see if anyone can guide us.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I think it would be wise to check the camps.
Uther Menethil says: I don’t see any issues with at least trying the camps.

They opt to head to the closest camp they saw. As they get close, they see a female tauren who is kneeling in front of a fire. She is wearing a mask of some kind, and she is raising her arms to the sky. She glances over to the group and stops, then waves the smoke away and flags the group down in a friendly gesture.