[Alliance] Chapter Four: Session Six

Appearing Characters: Aramar Thorne, Asya, Berna, Broll Bearmantle, Elissa Cross, Makasa Flintwill, Remnii, Riff, Ruya, Samaara, Syeori Sunwalker, Tae'shara Sunwatcher, Tansu, Tol'vas Moonshadow, Uther Menethil, Wulf

May 30th

A grand feast happens at high noon in the camp of Clan Sadak to celebrate the festivities that were about to occur. All of the men are permitted to eat alongside the women, and all the people who had qualified are being treated with a high degree of respect.

Riff approaches Remnii and waves to get her attention.

Riff says: I be back, Remnii!
Remnii says: Welcome back, Riff.

His hair is a bit longer, and it seems Riff had taken the form of a young girl.

Remnii says: You look nice today.
Riff says: Do you think so?
Remnii says: I do not say what I do not mean.
Riff says: Maybe I should be a girl more often!
Remnii says: Here it has its benefits.

She scoots over and pats the cushion next to her. Uther, Tol’vas, and Aramar are sitting together. The leader of one of the other groups approaches with a large stone bowl, and hands it to the three of them.

With a smile, he raises his own into the air.

Champion Centaur says: For fight!

The two other centaurs behind him echo the sentiment, and they drain their bowls. Uther raises the bowl and makes a gesture of gratitude, but he does not drink.

Some of the other teams have a more solemn air, but everyone is eating and making ready.

Soon after, horns are blown to indicate the start of the bouts, and everyone reports to the arena. Tansu approaches her team.

Asya says: Warleader Tansu, who would chase down the sun were it to flee, wishes you the best of luck in your conflict. She reminds you your martial skills represent her, and she does not want to be embarrassed. Though after yesterday’s performance, I hope to see that amount of teamwork once more. That was very impressive.

Tansu then approaches Remnii, who had also put tongues on once again.

Tansu says [centaur]: You and your friends are still my guests, and you are welcome to take honored seats at my side to watch your men triumph in this conflict.
Remnii says [tongues]: We would be honored.

Tansu double-takes at Riff.

Tansu says [centaur]: You look… different?
Riff says: I’m a girl now!

Tansu looks to Remnii.

Tansu says [centaur]: They can do that?
Remnii says [tongues]: Some born with magical gifts use them to their best advantage.

Tansu looks to one of her other compatriots.

Tansu says [centaur]: I’m surprised they would take the shape of a man at all then!

They share a laugh at that.

Elissa, Tae’shara, Samaara, and Makasa join Remnii and Riff as well, and they take their seats in a similar place as yesterday. Dozens of other centaur enter and pack into the arena even more than they had been yesterday. Already, Tansu had started to imbibe more drink.

After ten to twenty minutes after people get settled in, the Matriarchs take the upper echelon once again and a hush spreads across the arena. The eldest matriarch, Berna, stands up from her cushion and steps forward deliberately and cautiously.

Grand Matriarch Berna says: Daughters and sisters of clan Sadak. Once again, the weeks have turned, and Zyein’s Gaze has been cast upon us. I thank all of you for coming to this, my final viewing, before my ride so that I may join as one with Zyein above in her loving embrace. On this auspicious occasion, I grant all present my blessing that we may bask once more in her radiance, and until she looks upon us again, may we thrive, may we love, and may we ride.

There are quiet nods.

Grand Matriarch Berna says [centaur]: And I would bless our most skilled warriors who will face each other in combat, so that those who fall will see her radiant gaze after so long, and those who live to fight again will do so with her blessing.

There is another echo of agreement.

Grand Matriarch Berna says: But, now that the formalities are over, what say we enjoy this contest of strength! I do hope it is a good one! A good final send off for an old crone like myself. Let us begin!

There is some laugher, and Berna claps her hands together before sitting back down.

The centaur that is leading Uther, Tol’vas, and Aramar nods to them, and indicates it is their time to go out.

Remnii and the rest of the party are drawn to attention as Uther’s team and the younger centaur group appears. The leader of the centaur has a glaive, one has a bow, and the third a long staff with a crystal on at the top.

Remnii says [tongues]: Warleader Tansu, I have a question if you would not mind humoring me?
Tansu says [centaur]: Of course!
Remnii says [tongues]: Is it customary, during these fights, will the winning team execute the others?

Tansu nods.

Tansu says [centaur]: The conquered are forfeited from their team and belong to those who the victors represent. So they are mine when your champions are victorious.
Remnii says [tongues]: In much the same vein, I have full faith in our men to be able to do the job and more. My… of course, this is a simple suggestion, but may I make one? With some of our customs, as you are working with our finest warriors? A suggestion you do not have to take, but…

Tansu nods, listening.

Remnii says [tongues]: Oftentimes in duels of skill like this, the defeated will not be slain, but will made to observe what they have failed. To hone their skills and become champions. Given we have made such a fortuitous arrangement between our peoples, and we must continue on our way after these festivities, what the defeated could learn from outsiders, but men of skill, may be well worth cultivating when they are defeated. Killing them outright may be a waste considering the potential.

Tansu considers.

Asya says [centaur]: She does speak true, warleader. After all, our champions were lacking. After she leaves, we may be ill prepared for the future.
Remnii says [tongues]: Using outsiders as fighters seems to be a popular choice, so to have some of your own people know how to defeat such outsiders could prove beneficial.

A grin passes across Tansu’s face.

Tansu says [centaur]: You do put up a good point. I hold no ill will against Ghanda, so embarrassing her by executing her people would benefit me not at all. And…

She eyes up the other warriors.

Tansu says [centaur]: Her warriors seem skilled and are certainly comely. Perhaps when your champions win, I will take them as my own. But I can make no such promises when Ruya’s team faces them in the finals. She must be made to be humbled if I am to prove myself to my grandmother. But I have heard your words, and I respect them and your strange customs. Your two-leggers are a curious lot indeed.

At that moment, the fighters finish their pre-battle preparations--including the opposing shaman summoning a roiling, fiery spirit. Tol’vas summons two fey creatures, only one or two feet tall each, and they are throwing small daggers back and forth as they zip around.

Female Fey says [sylvan]: Ohhh! This one should be fun, won’t it brother?
Male Fey says [sylvan]: Ohhh, yes, yes it will, sister!

Tol’vas recognizes the creatures as quicklings. They are very quick and hard to hit.

And then there is a warhorn to indicate the start of the battle.

The Centaur Warchief stamps his foot and charges forward with a war cry, swinging his glaive at Uther. His attack clashes away, bouncing off a magical arcane barrier. However, the centaur rears up and kicks Uther straight in the chest, shoving him back into the wall behind them.

One of the quicklings charges over to the Centaur Shaman, firing off a barrage of knife strikes. Two of them connect, and the shaman loses control of the blazing spirit, causing it to crumple.

The Centaur Immolation Archer also closes, drawing his flaming arrow back. The flame on the arrow continues to get bigger, and bigger, and then it looses it right behind Tol’vas. A small centaur streaks through the air, surging through Tol’vas, Uther, and Aramar. However, all three of them are able to avoid it.

The centaur curses, and he retreats, leaping over the slice of Tol’vas’s scythe.

The second quickling throws a dagger at the Immolation Archer, but then redirects to the Centaur War Chief, one attack connecting. There is horrifying giggling the entire time.

Tol’vas drops his bear totem in the center of the arena, buffing all his allies.

Female Quickling says [sylvan]: I like this guy!
Male Quickling says [sylvan]: Yeah, he’s pretty cool!

Tol’vas then uses gravity sinkhole right in the middle of the Shaman and Immolation Archer. Black energy forms, surges out to encompass both centaurs, and retreats back in, drawing both of the centaurs into the center of the sphere.

Tol’vas then backs up, but in that moment, the War Chief uses an opportunity attack to slam into him with his glaive.

Aramar uses Tandem Tactician as he circles around the Warchief, and then strikes at the Warchief, his diamond blade nicking the large man’s arm.

The Centaur Shaman waves his staff in the air, and some spectral lines appear in the air before him. He grabs the lines in his fist. Uther, Aramar, and Tol’vas start to seize up, but Uther and Tol’vas are able to break free. Unfortunately, Aramar is paralyzed, his body wrapped by the spectral threads.

Uther steps up to the Centaur War Chief and swings his hammer around on him, and then quickens a green flame blade in a flurry of holy fury. The War Chief is not looking in good condition.

The quickling next to the War Chief attacks with a flurry of attacks. The Centaur War Chief then rears up on his hind legs and slams into the ground, driving his glaive into the earth as a tremor ripples out from the impact.

The War Chief seems to have slowed down a lot, and some of his armor has been left exposed.

Everyone in the stands is cheering. Remnii is also cheering, but nervously braiding and and unbraiding a thick strand of her hair.

Tol’vas swings his scythe through the air and uses dispel magic, severing the spectral threads around Aramar.

The Centaur Shaman claps his hands together, and the dirt and sand ripple around him. A stampede of spectral centaur appear around him as he casts spirit guardians. He starts to pant from the exertion, and he then casts shocking grasp on the quickling next to him. He connects, but the spell is absorbed by his temporary hit points.

Male Quickling says [sylvan]: Oof! That was a close one!

Just as it says that, it is ridden down by the stampeding centaur.

The other quickly drops to its knees and screeches to the sky, but then immediately gets back to her feet, ready to fight.

Aramar casts spiritual weapon, and the copy of his diamond blade appears next to the Shaman, but the swing misses. Aramar then slices at the War Chief, and misses, but his second strike hits.

The Immolation Archer fires his barrage of arrows at Tol’vas, seeking to cut down the mage. Tol’vas stays standing, but his clothes catch on fire.

Uther swings his hammer in the Centaur War Chief once, and then twice, before headbutting him in the forehead to knock him unconscious.

He then hurls a firebolt at the Centaur Shaman, but the bolt brushes off the centaur’s armor.

Armar takes a few steps forward and uses a smite cantrip on the Centaur Shaman, and uses Tandem Tactician once more.

The remaining quickling does a power slide and hurls a dagger at the Shaman, and the centaur crumples down on one knee, the pain too much to continue. Only the Immolation Archer remains, which the quickling then turns on.

The Immolation Archer takes three more shots at Tol’vas. Two of the arrows connect, but Tol’vas is still up, and the centaur curses something in his language.

Tol’vas then closes on the Immolation Archer and uses shillelagh, redirecting some of the fire damage he took back to the Immolation Archer he had absorbed with absorb elements. However, the archer seems to be immune to fire. He then pats the flames off himself.

Uther closes on the remaining centaur, striking into his side with his hammer twice. He then grabs Tol’vas and quickens thunder step to teleport back to Aramar. The thunder damage explodes in the face of both the centaur and quickling.

Uther smacks Aramar on the back.

Uther Menethil says: Finish it!

Aramar nods, and he spins his blade and runs forward to double strike the centaur with his diamond blade and spiritual weapon. The spiritual weapon misses, but he slashes into the centaur with his diamond blade. The centaur is still standing, but the flash of light blinds him partially.

The centaur fires a shot at Tol’vas again, however, after disengaging from Aramar. Uther attempts to deflect the blow, and Tol’vas uses absorb elements, but unfortunately the strike connects.

Tol’vas drops to one knee, but then he starts to snarl, his body transforming into his feral form. The Immolation Archer’s eyes widen, and he fires his last two shots at Tol’vas. Both strikes miss.

Uther closes on the Immolation Archer and drops him unconscious.

Everyone starts to cheer, but then they realize the worgen doesn’t seem to be ready to stop fighting.

Tansu says [centaur]: My warriors said he had taken some sort of shape… what’s going on?
Elissa Cross says: Remnii, you need to stop him!
Remnii says [tongues]: I’m sorry if interfering is frowned upon, but he’s cursed.

Remnii stand up, and a thread of golden magic starts to wrap around Tol’vas’s lupine head and neck. In his head there is the calming sound of wind chimes. Tol’vas’s mind starts to calm, and he shifts back to his kaldorei form, a wave of exhaustion washing over him.

The cheering recommences, and Remnii falls back onto the pillow she was sitting on.

Berna calls out the success, and the defeated centaurs are roused and gathered before the group, and they kneel before the champions.

Grand Matriarch Berna says [centaur]: Warleader Tansu! As your warriors have been victorious, the fates of the vanquished are in your hands.

Tansu stands up and glances down at Remnii.

Tansu says [centaur]: I will show the vanquished mercy! May they reclaim their honor in my service!

There are nods of approval, and Elissa then sighs in relief, as do the defeated centaur men. The War Chief pounds his fist on his chest in Uther’s direction.

Centaur War Chief says: Fight good.

The teams are then led off the field and given an opportunity to rest and clean their wounds.

Elissa Cross says: That was a close one, huh?
Remnii says [tongues]: It’s not even done. But we made it through, and we will manage. One battle at a time.
Elissa Cross says: I guess we’ll hope they pull this next one off…
Remnii says [tongues]: I believe in them.

Tae’shara leans over.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: If we’re really worried, I could probably try to give them a little nudge.

Elissa’s eyes goes wide.

Elissa Cross says: I don’t think that’s very smart, what if you get found out?
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: I won’t get found out. If we’re really worried, I can make sure they… you know.

Remnii pulls the group away for a moment.

Remnii says [tongues]: They have been honorable. And if I know anything about honor, I believe that… there is a place for such tactics but I would hope we do not need them here. I will speak with Tansu again. She intends to teach the opposing team, and her sister, a lesson. If I can convince her there are other ways, I will not have to worry.

Tae’shara rolls her eyes.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: If we’re trying to teach a lesson, we should teach a lesson to that “friend” in the Explorer’s League. It would be so easy to swipe that hat off her head--
Remnii says [tongues]: Please don’t make it more complex than it needs to be.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: I won’t, I won’t. If worst comes to worst, I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t fall off.
Remnii says [tongues]: That would be appreciated.

There is a subtle twist of Tae’shara’s hand, and Remnii feels a tap on her shoulder. She looks, and there’s nothing there, but then a mage hand appears and boops Remnii on the nose.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: I have a few tricks. And if she pisses me off, I’ll just take the hat later. After this.

The group returns to watch the next bout, and they see the team of veteran warriors being led out to face Syeori’s group. The fighting is fierce on both sides, but it becomes evident rather quickly that it is turning in the favor of Ruya. Tansu is cheering for the centaurs, but Ruya’s team is victorious.

Tansu says [centaur]: Come on! Just take them out already!

Tansu seems to be in a rather bad mood.

Tansu says [centaur]: Well, it looks like we’ll have the opportunity for our men to embarrass them after all.

Asya exchanges a look with Remnii.

Tansu says [centaur]: I’ll show her! If she thinks she’ll be able to claim this blessing, she doesn’t know what’s coming for her.
Remnii says [tongues]: I have been hesitant to bring this up to you… but in truth, we know one of Ruya’s champions. He is the sibling of Velameestra.

Tansu furrows her brow.

Tansu says [centaur]: Truly? Speaking of which…

She looks around.

Tansu says [centaur]: She and the one called Seria are gone?
Remnii says [tongues]: They had to depart. They wished for me to fill them in, but they were called away.
Tansu says [centaur]: They’ll miss the fight!
Remnii says [tongues]: Unfortunately so.

Tansu shakes her head at the shame.

Tansu says [centaur]: But that one is kin?
Remnii says [tongues]: Yes. If you look at that one’s face, it’s in the chin. It’s called the Windrunner face.

Tansu narrows her eyes and runs her hand down her face, then looks at Remnii.

Tansu says [centaur]: Your two-legged traditions confuse me. To our people, that would not matter. And I suspect you are not being entirely truthful, but it would be taboo for me to pry into business beyond my kin. You would not tell me this unless you had a good reason to, and whatever strange witchcraft the one you referred to as kin of Velameestra is not known to me.
Remnii says [tongues]: It is in respect for your traditions at all… you have invited us to break bread with you, and we in turn have been able to help you and pass through your lands. To find such hospitality is welcome, yet I have been accidentally, but purposely, left in charge to ensure one she would call kin can come safely home. They have not spoken in some time, you see. Our family units are tight. Their people have suffered much.

Tansu nods.

Tansu says [centaur]: I hear your words, Remnii, and I will consider them.
Remnii says [tongues]: Also. If this could be of any help… if outsiders are to be the champions, one way or another, then we would be honored to champion your clan in the way of song and story in our travels north. I have no doubt we will encounter more of your people.
Tansu says [centaur]: Hopefully not! I have heard your words, and I understand. When our champions take this fight, the conquered will be in my hands. But you and your people have respected our traditions. Perhaps I will do so as well, should this continue. But first we have to crush the other outsiders, and show them ours are better!

Asya looks to Remnii and nods in thanks.

Asya says: We will handle this. You are very persuasive, Remnii the outsider.

Remnii looks uncomfortable. More food and drink is brought around, and another centaur approaches Tansu and whispers in her ear. Her brow furrows.

Tansu says [centaur]: Something has happened. The tauren. It seems that he… slipped free in the night. I can send my scouts to retrieve him. He could not have gone far?
Remnii says [tongues]: I believe we can let him go. We will be headed in the same direction. He is our scout.
Tansu says [centaur]: Are you sure you can trust him? He tried to flee once.
Remnii says [tongues]: We have met him somewhat recently, but the kindness of strangers should not be overlooked.

Tansu shrugs.

Tansu says [centaur]: Not my responsibility. Very well.

Meanwhile, in the recovery caves.

Aramar Thorne says: That wasn’t bad, guys! Think we will cinch the victory here? You okay there, big guy? You got thrashed a bit and got a bit hairy for a second.

Tol’vas looks at him, deadly serious, and Aramar averts his gaze.

Uther Menethil says: A harrowing fight, to be certain.
Aramar Thorne says: I think I can patch you guys up if you need it.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m not normally set on fire.

They bandage themselves up and get back on their feet. They are sort of beat down, especially Tol’vas, but they seem to be getting back into shape.

Aramar Thorne says: So. Seems we’re fighting those outsiders with that “Gil” person.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It is the time to let loose, right?
Aramar Thorne says: Yeah. Though we should be careful. We know she’s wearing that hat, and we don’t want to knock that off. Pull your punches on her if you can… if that gets knocked off, we could be in hot water.
Uther Menethil says: That’s putting it lightly.
Aramar Thorne says: But we got this!

They stretch and limber up, and about an hour and a half later, they are retrieved once more by a male centaur, who leads them out for the final bout.

Aramar Thorne says: Ready for this?
Uther Menethil says: Ready as ever.

Aramar conjures his blade again, and the gate once more opens.

Grand Matriarch Berna says [centaur]: A unique blessing from Zyein comes upon us today! The champions of Ceyhan’s granddaughters come to us from the lands beyond, as outsiders on either side! Truly, a gift!

Berna starts to hype up both sides.

Grand Matriarch Berna says [centaur]: A storm of ferocity and finesse come the champions of Ruya! These strange outsiders, a denizen of the woods and wilds, wizened by years of travel. The small eared champion of a distant land! And representing warleader Tansu, we have the champion with locks of gold, and the ferocious warrior whose blessing and curse were laid bare before all of us, and another of these… small eared champions with a magnificent blade of light!
Aramar Thorne says: I hope they’re talking good about us…

Elissa then unveils her super-secret plot as she and Riff holds up signs that say “GO DEATH ADDERS!” with cute snakes.

Some of the centaurs look at them, confused, but endeared.

Uther, Tol’vas, and Aramar’s eyes fall on the opposition. Not-Gil greets them.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Good luck! And may the best team win!
Uther Menethil says: May the Light watch over all of us.
Wulf says: You all talk too much.

The barbarian’s massive axe sets alight with molten heat. Aramar casts bless on the group again, Uther uses his channel divinity, and Tol’vas summons four dire wolves with his scythe.

Not-Gil’s ears go full back, the bear snarls, and the barbarian looks at the wolves.

Wulf says: Alright. Maybe this will be interesting.

The horn blows.

One of the dire wolves surges forward and snaps at the bear, trying to wrestle it to the ground, but the bear smacks it off.

Wulf raises his weapon and releases a howling shout. A translucent glow materializes around his flaming weapon, and his pupils seem to dilate as he rages.

Wulf says: You handle these ones, I’ll take their leader.

He then charges for Tol’vas, taking a bite from the wolf. He then cuts into Tol’vas with reckless abandon. Tol’vas ducks under the first attack, but the second strikes him. The dire wolf nearest to Tol’vas attacks Wulf in response, and the jaws latch on the barbarian’s arm, but he shoves it off.

Tol’vas drops a bear totem and then takes his worgen form with a snarl.

Wulf says: Well shit. I was right.

He prepares to continue brawling the worgen.

Aramar Thorne says: Who do you want me to go for, Uther?
Uther Menethil says: Lets dogpile their leader.

Aramar nods and then goes for the barbarian. He slashes at him, and casts healing light to heal Tol’vas. Another worgen goes for the bear, trying to join his pack mate in the fray. Uther also closes on Wulf, penning him in. Blinding holy light wreathes his hammer on contact.

The second strike also connects.

The bear opts to ignore the two dire wolves on him, and instead barrels forward to aid his companion with a roar. One of the bites connects, but it doesn’t seem to do as much damage as before.

The bear claws into Uther, and then grapples him, trying to drag Uther off Wulf as he roars in Uther’s face.

Not-Gil skirts around the group to get into the action, and she unfurls her whip, lashing out at Tol’vas. The strike connects, trying to sweep his legs out. However, the nearest dire wolf closes on her, and it immediately tackles her to the ground.

Wulf thanks the bear, and then releases a war cry as he continues slashing into Tol’vas. Power pulses from him, invigorating his allies.

Wulf says: Lets see you handle this!

With the first strike, Tol’vas’s concentration drops, but as he staggers, the second blow misses. However, the dire wolves all vanish, and Tol’vas is forcibly shifted back to his kaldorei form.

Uther continues to wrestle with the bear, swinging his hammer into the beast’s chest.

Not-Gil lashes out with her whip and wraps it around Aramar’s leg, but he is able to stay standing.

Tol’vas snarls at Wulf, rage bubbling in him, and he steps toward Wulf. The magic starts to course around him.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’ll show you a wolf.

He transforms into a massive, HUGE wolf, vine wings emerging from his back. The barbarian looks up at him, fire in his eyes.

The centaur are losing it, cheering and screaming. Elissa fumbles with her sign. Remnii is very nervously braiding her hair. Aramar looks at Tol’vas wide-eyed.

Aramar Thorne says: Woah, shit.

The bear’s eyes fix on Tol’vas.

Aramar swings his blade at Wulf, and then action surges, slicing into Wulf again before Aramar uses Tandem Tactician.

Bear continues wrestling with Uther, but he drags him across the ground. He bites Uther, and then slashes with his claws at Tol’vas. However, Uther uses righteous defense, and instead Uther takes that blow. The bear looks down at Uther with a growl of frustration.

Uther Menethil says: I’m afraid your fight is with me, my large furry friend!

Wulf continues to swing into Tol’vas, but once more, the damage goes to Uther. Uther is not looking good, and he surge heals his Lay on Hands on himself. He then casts ice barrier on himself.

Aramar casts healing light on Uther, and then strikes into Wulf with his sword.

Bear turns his full attention to Tol’vas, and once more, the strike redirects to Uther, whose ice barrier explodes in the bear’s face. He then strikes Tol’vas again, the righteous defense now faltered.

Tol’vas rounds on Wulf, striking him with his bite, and then gouging him with his claws. He then howls, using swiftmend on Uther.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Ohhhh boy.

Not-Gil disengages, and backs up, continuing to whip attack Tol’vas. He takes a fair amount of damage, but the magic is still sustaining him. She gets a poor-man’s action surge and whips again, this time wrapping the whip around Tol’vas’s neck and pulls herself up on his back.

Wulf hits Tol’vas, but once more, Uther uses righteous defense. Wulf looks very frustrated. He swings again at Tol’vas, and yet again, the blow goes to Uther. Uther is still up, but he’s not looking very good.

Tol’vas continues to bite and tear into Wulf, who is getting slashed to ribbons. He then howls again, once more healing Uther.

Aramar tries to finish off Wulf, but the barbarian is still standing, however he gets a scorching wound.

Uther uses green flame blade, dealing damage to the bear and through to Wulf. As the flames wash over him, he goes spilling over, down and out. He quickens another green flame blade, and strikes into the bear again, who is knocked into his true form.

There is a grunt, and standing in front of Uther is a huge night elf. He is still grappling Uther. On his head is a massive rack of antlers.

Aramar looks at him in confusion.

The kaldorei shakes his head, and his form starts to shift once more, taking the Form of the Claw. There are blazing tattoos off half moons on his shoulders, and he roars an echoing roar in Tol’vas’s face.

He then digs his claws into Uther.

Aramar, seeing that Wulf is in critical condition and still bleeding and on fire, he puts the fire out. Syeori then also slides off of Tol’vas and tries to stabilize Wulf. She manages to do so.

Tansu is paying very close attention.

Uther swings his hammer into the bear, and the two strikes connect. The massive bear, this time, swings at Tol’vas, knocking him out of his pack form, and then once more swings, doing a good deal of damage, also removing the metamorphosis.

In response, Tol’vas uses starfire to try and knock the other druid out of his form, and also activates shillelagh.

Now that Wulf is stable, Aramar and Not-Gil lock eyes and go for each other. Aramar swings, and then grapples her.

The bear takes damage from the moonbeam, but he remains shifted. He moves out of the way of the moonbean, and continues to attack Tol’vas. Tol’vas is dropped, and the bear then turns around on Uther and drops him as well.

It’s now just Aramar. However, as Uther hits the ground, his eyes snap open. He lifts his hammer and goes for the bear. One strike hits, but the other does not. Bear rounds at him again, but both strikes miss.

The entire party is on the edge of their seats.

Not-Gil slips out of Aramar’s grip, and then runs off to the other side of the arena.

Aramar tries to replicate the spell that Tol’vas had used--starfire. Uther continues to swing into the bear, and blood drips into the beast’s eyes, blinding him.

Not-Gil veers closer and lashes out at Aramar, but her strike misses. However, the moonbeam activates, and the druid is once again blasted out of his form. He grunts in annoyance.

Aramar Thorne says: Yes!

Aramar closes on the kaldorei, but the druid grabs his sword arm and shoves him aside. Uther also closes on the newly transformed druid, and one strike connects. Aramar swings and misses, but uses Tandem Tactician to help Uther, who follows up with a swing of his hammer. And another strike, whittling down the druid’s stamina.

Not-Gil strikes at Aramar, but misses, and drives his fist into the ground with a thunderclap. Uther is blasted off his feat, and the druid rounds on Aramar.

Aramar and the druid continue to duke it out, but Aramar is knocked out.

The crowd erupts into cheers… but less cheers from Tansu and the others.

Uther, Aramar, and Tol’vas are brought to their feet and lined up in front of the victors. Tansu is furious. The Matriarchs stand.

Grand Matriarch Berna says [centaur]: The champions of Ruya have seen Zyein’s Gaze, and now the fate of the victors is on you!

Ruya smirks as she looks down at the group, and she makes eye contact with Tansu.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: We have no use for outsiders. Champions, finish them.

All eyes turn to the champions, and there is a long moment of waiting. The druid steps forward, looking down a the group. He then turns back to Ruya.

Bear Druid says: No.

There is silence.

Ruya demands to know what he said, and once it’s translated, she gets to the edge of the arena.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: How dare you! Kill them now, or it will be your head that rolls, fool!

The druid looks at Ruya.

Bear Druid says: If you strike us down, then no one can grant you the boon.

Some more translations happen, and Ruya looks to Wulf and Not-Gil and demands they finish them. Wulf goes to move his axe, but he doesn’t have the strength.

Syeori Sunwalker says: No!
Bear Druid says: Tell her that if she wishes her boon, these people walk free.

There is a moment of translation.

Warleader Ruya says [centaur]: Very well. They will go free, but you? You will stay.

The druid nods and looks down at the party. He holds a hand out to Uther and Tol’vas.

Bear Druid says: Stand. You will not die this day by my hand.

Uther takes the help up.

Uther Menethil says: I would have your name. I don’t plan on forgetting this.
Bear Druid says: My name lost its importance a long time ago.
Uther Menethil says: My name is Uther Menethil. And if you have need of me, I will offer what aid I can.
Bear Druid says: I would ask that you bring my companions with you. They need not suffer my punishment.
Uther Menethil says: Consider it done.

The druid turns and heads to the center of the ring. Tansu and the others look angry. However, the druid presents the token to Ruya as promised. Asya looks resigned, and Tansu looks furious.

Syeori and Wulf are relinquished. Ruya gets the blessing of the High Matriarch, her magic washing around Ruya. She stands, goes over to the night elf, and strikes him with the back of her hand. She then drags him away.

Syeori Sunwalker says: We… were promised we didn’t need to be her champions after this as well, but I think he just interceded on our behalf. I… guess we’ll need to figure out what happens next.

Uther looks to Tansu, who had also entered the arena. Tansu is angry, but it’s directed at Ruya. She puts a hand on Uther’s shoulder and gives him a resigned smile.

Warleader Tansu says [centaur]: It was a good show. Thank you for trying.

Asya translates.

Uther bows his head.

The excitement begins to die down, and the group is given an opportunity to recover. Remnii and the others are able to meet them in the caves. Wulf and Syeori join them, but the night elf druid is nowhere to be found.

Elissa Cross says: Uther? Are you guys alright?

Elissa also helps Remnii heal, using her lay on hands.

Uther Menethil says: I’ve been in worse shape. Not many times, but at least once.
Remnii says: You fought bravely.

Remnii treats all of them, including Wulf and Syeori. Wulf looks confused.

Wulf says: Why do you waste your time?
Remnii says: Not only did you fight bravely, but there is solidarity in a place like this. Even if you fight for opposing sides.

Wulf sighs.

Wulf says: For the time being I suppose I’m stuck with all of you. I don’t want to travel with you.
Uther Menethil says: It was a good fight, friend.
Wulf says: You ain’t bad either, kid.
Uther Menethil says: It’s good to be on this side of that axe.
Wulf says: Pray it stays that way.
Remnii says: May I continue tending to your wounds?
Wulf says: Sure, knock yourself out. I’d be fine on my own, but if you insist I won’t waste my breath. I promised him I’d travel with you at least a month, so, don’t slow me down in the meantime. You’re coming with us, girl.

Syeori tries to deflect.

Wulf says: Shut up. Do you really think you fooled us?

As Remnii is tending to Wulf’s wounds, she notes that there is one wound that doesn’t seem to heal no matter what she does.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Where did you meet him?
Wulf says: On the road. Where else? And now he’s stuck here because of all you. I have half a mind to help him break out, but I can’t take these centaurs on my own.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Because of us?
Uther Menethil says: He risked his life to save ours. I’d like to avoid leaving him here.
Wulf says: Well there’s only two ways that’s happening, and there’s only one I’d be any help with.
Uther Menethil says: I imagine we’ll be speaking with our benefactor shortly. We’ll see what conditions of our exit are, and we can go from there.

Asya appears at that time, alone.

Asya says: How are you feeling?
Uther Menethil says: Like I’ve been mauled by a bear.

Asya chuckles.

Asya says: You are free to leave when you are ready, but you are welcome to enjoy the hospitality of the warleader for as long as you wish… however I would not overstay your welcome. She can be fickle. I’m sorry this didn’t work.

Tol’vas rounds on Syeori.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: You didn’t tell them, did you?
Syeori Sunwalker says: What was I supposed to tell them?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: That we could all get out? No one had to risk anything?
Syeori Sunwalker says: Look, I wasn’t just going to tell them to throw the fight!
Uther Menethil says: I imagine that wouldn’t have mattered. Something tells me our friend here isn’t the one to take dives.

Wulf nods.

Syeori Sunwalker says: And now Bear is stuck. I know. Look… we’ll handle it.
Remnii says: We also need to keep good relationships up so Vel and Seria can get back safely.
Syeori Sunwalker says: Where did they go?
Remnii says: They were called away.
Wulf says: Wait for your friends to get back before we make a move. Decide how we’re leaving this place. I’m bound by my word to help one way or another.
Remnii says: I’d prefer if there were no blows… but… they have been hospitable. Tansu was willing to listen and spare everyone, before things transgressed as they did. We are also in their home, eating their food. I am not… I am not keen on some of your customs. Apologies, Asya.

Asya nods.

Remnii says: But this will not be the last time we come across customs we may clash with as we journey here and onward. I would prefer we handle it with grace, even if I don’t have answers. It is something to consider.
Uther Menethil says: Don’t worry, Remnii. We’ll figure a way out of this that doesn’t involve a fight, because quite frankly, I don’t think that’s one we’ll win. And you’re right. These people have been hospitable.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: As long as they use us, yes.
Asya says: I… have an idea.
Uther Menethil says: Do you now?
Asya says: Ruya seeks nothing more than to become a Matriarch someday. If you can come up with something that you can give to her, something that would help her do that… I am loathe to suggest it, but if you can offer her something that would give her strength, perhaps you can secure your friend’s freedom. Something she would care about more. If you can think of something… I may be able to help. I don’t want to betray Tansu… but I am the one that asked you, and it is my fault you are in this position, so I would repay you.
Uther Menethil says: Well, we do very much appreciate the offer, but coming up with a… gift of such power would be difficult, at best. Something that would… help her become Matriarch. I’m not even certain what that would take.
Asya says: Knowledge of enemies and rivals. She won a victory over Tansu, but if she were to have someone that knew Tansu… I do. If I must leave Tansu’s side to ensure your friend’s freedom, I will do it, but if you can think of anything else, please.
Uther Menethil says: What becomes of you if you make that switch?
Asya says: I don’t know.
Uther Menethil says: Would your life be in danger?
Asya says: No. But I can adapt… if I have to leave Tansu to continue moving forward, then perhaps it would be for the best. I would gain more influence and I can… do it if I have to.
Uther Menethil says: Decisions need not be made right now. We have to wait for Vel and Seria… and use that time to come up with a plan.
Remnii says: I can at least reach Vel and see how things are faring... but Seria is a harder reach.

Asya bows her head.

Asya says: I’ll check back when your companions return to you, then. Good fortune.

She excuses herself.

Wulf says: I suppose we rest up and wait for these friends of yours.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: And try not to mess anything up in the meanwhile, would you?

She’s glaring at Syeori. Syeori furrows her brow.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Look, I don’t know who you are, but I don’t appreciate that. I was trying to help, the things here were good! You don’t know everything! I’m… going to go for now.

Syeori goes over by herself to clean herself up, and Tae’shara rolls her eyes.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Come on, we should try to get a hold of Vel and see what happens next.
Remnii says: This, from the beginning, was not going to wrap up neatly. Even giving the boon to Asya… it would have been contentious, and we still would have had to wait.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: I guess there’s not much for it now. We just need to wait.
Uther Menethil says: We will have to play the hand we’ve been dealt.