[Alliance] Chapter Four: Session Ten

Appearing Characters: Anice Erona, Aramar Thorne, Broll Bearmantle, Elissa Cross, Ember Flintlocke, Jorn Skyseer, Li Li Stormstout, Makasa Flintwill, Omusa Thunderhorn, Remnii, Riff, Rokhan, Samaara, Seria, Syeori Sunwalker, Tae'shara Sunwatcher, Tol'vas Moonshadow, Uther Menethil, Velameestra Windrunner, Wulf

June 4th

Using the sparring match between Uther and Remnii as an icebreaker, Vel opts to approach Syeori given the news that had been weighing on her mind since the group had encountered the other elf. Syeori had returned to doing some touch-ups on the map she and Aramar had been working on after the excitement of the unexpected match, and it seemed she was presently sketching out a sea monster in the wide oceans surrounding Kalimdor.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Syeori… can you walk with me for a moment?
Syeori Sunwalker says: Sure! Yeah!

Syeori puts her things away and hops up to her feet.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Yeah, it would be nice to catch up! I know you’ve been a little busy.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah… yeah.

Vel doesn’t look particularly comfortable, given the dire nature of the conversation at hand.

Syeori Sunwalker says: A lot’s changed, huh?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah. It has. Um… you left fairly quickly after we met up last time, didn’t you?

Syeori nods.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Sure did! We set off shortly after Uther’s little party. It was quite the voyage, let me tell you! We came a little bit too close to the Maelstrom for comfort, but we still managed to make it through without losing anybody.
Velameestra Windrunner says: That’s good to hear. I’ve only heard stories about the Maelstrom.
Syeori Sunwalker says: I can tell you a little bit about it later, if you want?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah, sure. But, um… you haven’t heard news from the Eastern Kingdoms at all, have you?
Syeori Sunwalker says: Not recently, no. We set off from Gadgetzan. So any news probably would have shown up there afterwards. Why? Did something happen?

Vel fidgets slightly, trying to parse through how to explain, before she lets her hands rest clasped behind her back.

Velameestra Windrunner says: There… was an invasion. In Quel’Thalas.

Syeori’s eyes widen.

Syeori Sunwalker says: An invasion? W-w-what do you mean?
Velameestra Windrunner says: There was a, um… a cabal of warlocks were active in Silvermoon. They opened a portal. And… demons and green-skinned monsters poured out. It… Silvermoon fell.

Syeori’s hand gradually makes its way over her mouth.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Oh…
Velameestra Windrunner says: The portal was closed from what I understand, but the Sunwell was destroyed with it. I don’t know if you felt anything…
Syeori Sunwalker says: I’ve been so far. I was… ill at sea, but I just thought it was sea sickness and it passed after the first few months. Or it started to at least. I didn’t… what about the village? Did you hear anything about…
Velameestra Windrunner says: It was razed. I was in contact with your parents. They got out, last I heard.

Syeori exhales a sigh of worried relief.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Your mother was actually quite grateful for your wanderlust. But from what I understand, the quel’dorei are now refugees in Lordaeron. And the orcs are currently dominating Quel’Thalas.

Syeori stops as they’re walking and looks to the ground.

Syeori Sunwalker says: When I… when I decided to leave home I expected that I’d be able to go back… that everything would just be there and be the same as it always was. But I guess that’s…

She looks up to Vel again, who had also stopped.

Syeori Sunwalker says: What about everyone else? Is Talath okay? You said before that Gil was... on the run? Are you okay?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Talath was in Dalaran. He was living with me and Rhonin, at the time. His… we haven’t been able to contact either of his fathers.

Syeori puts a hand over her mouth again.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Gil… he left the Farstriders, for one. There were a lot of… life paths changed. He obviously didn’t actually try to kill us, needless to say, but no one over there currently knows we’re still alive. Uncle Sylvos was killed during the invasion in Silvermoon… as for any more recent updates, unfortunately I… contact with the Eastern Kingdoms is cut off from Kalimdor, right now.
Syeori Sunwalker says: I’m so sorry, Vel. I had no idea.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I just felt that you should know.
Syeori Sunwalker says: Thank you for that. I’m… not glad to hear it, but I’m glad to know.

She stamps her foot.

Syeori Sunwalker says: That stupid idiot should have came with me. Maybe he would have avoided all this.
Velameestra Windrunner says: ...you asked him to come with you?

Syeori looks back down to the ground.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Before I left, yeah. I keep thinking that, anytime I see something that takes my breath away, I can’t help but think about what he would have said. I’m glad he’s alive at least. I’m glad you’re alive too. Listen, Vel… I know you don’t like me very much, but I’ve always been… I’ve always had a lot of respect for you. I just…

She chews on her lip, and tears are starting to form in the corners of her eyes, but she’s choking them back.

Syeori Sunwalker says: I’m here for you, okay? I know whatever you’ve seen… you’ve been through a lot, I can tell. I know I tend to let things slide off my back, but I’ve always had a lot of respect for how you can face things head on, and I’m here to help, okay?
Velameestra Windrunner says: And the same goes for you, Syeori. Ultimately, um… given your relationship with my brother… whatever is necessarily going on with it… irregardless, you’ve come to be something akin to a sister in some cases, so… even if we don’t always see eye to eye.

Any semblance of Syeori holding back her tears begins to break down, and she immediately throws her arms around Vel and pulls her into a hug. Vel tenses for a second, but then slowly folds her arms around Syeori’s back.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Ultimately, I suppose the thing to focus on right now is getting the rest of your band back.

Syeori pulls away and reigns herself in with a graceless sniffle.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Yeah… I think I should stick with Reno when he breaks off at Thunder Bluff… but if there’s anything I can do, anything you need me for, just say the word and I’ll stay, okay? But otherwise I’ll be around. I’ll help anyway I can, okay?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright.
Syeori Sunwalker says: Until then, thanks.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah. And... obviously my dome is still open. I know Ember and Li Li and them are now setting up their own, but…

Syeori nods and wipes a tear away. Her cheeks are flushed red.

Syeori Sunwalker says: Yeah. Are you okay? You’re freezing. I can get another blanket or something for you if you need.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I’m… I’m not cold, personally. But thank you.
Syeori Sunwalker says: Okay. I don’t know how you do it in this desert, but… guess I’m a little jealous.
Velameestra Windrunner says: It helps when you specialize in ice magic. But if you need to walk for a bit longer, I can walk with you.
Syeori Sunwalker says: Um. I think that would be good, thanks.

Vel nods, and they continue walking for a bit until they come to one of the sparse trees in the open Barrens. Syeori stops and climbs up the tree to stare towards the east, opposite of where the sun is setting, back towards the Eastern Kingdoms. Vel opts to stay down at the roots.

After a bit, Syeori comes back down and gives Vel her trademark smile, but there is still a hint of sadness in her eyes as they start to head back towards camp.

They see Li Li with a small calligraphy brush and leaning against a nearby rock. She takes a swig of water from a gourd, and she appears to be journaling with her brush and an unrolled scroll.

Vel stops upon seeing Li Li, seemingly considering something.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Um. Li Li.

Li Li’s ear twitches as she hears her name, and she looks up to Vel with a smile.

Li Li Stormstout says: Hey! Velameestra was your name, right?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah. You can just call me Vel. It’s easier to say.
Li Li Stormstout says: Sounds good!

She pats the ground next to her, inviting Vel to sit if she wishes, and Vel looks to Syeori and gives her a small nod to indicate she’d rejoin her shortly, before she goes over to Li Li and sits down next to her.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I, uh… wanted to offer you something. Actually… your uncle… he was planning on heading east. If you wanted to say hello to him, I could maybe get you in touch before he got too far.

Li Li’s eyes widen.

Li Li Stormstout says: Wow! You can really do that?
Velameestra Windrunner says: With certain limitations. As long as he’s not… there’s a communication disturbance between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. As long as he’s not in or beyond it… we could at least try.

Li Li cocks her head in thought.

Li Li Stormstout says: That is… very generous of you, but, I actually think I might have to pass on this. If that’s okay. It’s no offense to you! I actually think it would be a fascinating thing to experience, but…

Li Li ponders for a moment.

Li Li Stormstout says: When I left Shen-zin Su I wanted to find my uncle on my own. I guess I might feel like that would be cheating, if that makes sense. As much as I would love to see him, I would like to rely on my own wandering. But thank you very much for your gracious offer, Vel.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Yeah. He reminded me of someone. He’s a good man.

Li Li furrows her brow a bit.

Li Li Stormstout says: You probably have someone you miss as well, don’t you?
Velameestra Windrunner says: More than one. But we’ll get back eventually. ‘Tis the way.
Li Li Stormstout says: Until then, as long as you keep them in your heart, it will be as if they are still with you. I know it’s not exactly perfect, but where I come from, it’s believed the spirits can be found anywhere, and they connect all beings, no matter how far the distance happens to be. That energy connects you with your loved ones as well. At least, that’s what I was taught.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Your uncle said almost the same thing.

Li Li laughs.

Li Li Stormstout says: He’s the one that taught me a lot. So I’m flattered you think I picked up even a portion of his wisdom. I certainly don’t have his gift for brewing quite yet, but there will be time for that as well.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Seems you share a gift with calligraphy, however.

Li Li looks down pridefully at her scroll.

Li Li Stormstout says: I’m trying to describe all the people and places I see, and undoubtedly, once I do find uncle Chen, I want to see if we saw the same things. See if we tread upon the same ground. I think it would be wonderful to compare notes. I will find him, even if it takes me years!

There’s an unspoken hesitation on Vel’s mind as her thoughts instinctively wander to more pessimistic worries, but she pushes them aside.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I wish you the best of luck.
Li Li Stormstout says: You as well! I don’t think it was a coincidence you crossed my path after crossing uncle Chen’s! And though we may not travel together for long, I will treasure these moments, and I can’t wait to hear about what he has to say about you.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I imagine it would involve a trio wandering blindly through the streets of Gadgetzan looking for a tattoo artist.

Li Li chuckles.

Velameestra Windrunner says: But have a good night, Li Li.
Li Li Stormstout says: You as well, Vel. Thank you!

Li Li hops to her feet and bows a lot more formally than expected in casual conversation, but then heads off toward Ember’s group while Vel goes to start setting up the dome for her own group. However, as she starts, Remnii quickly pulls her aside as she is returning from her conversation with Tol’vas.

Remnii says: Vel! A moment please?

They go a small distance from the group.

Remnii says: Just a small word. I noticed you have not been sleeping well.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Ah, no. Certain limitations…
Remnii says: I thought as much. Not to sound creepy, but I’ve been watching you. Especially since you got back.

She fishes in her side pouch and produces a small red crystal. Remnii passes it off to Vel.

Remnii says: For as long as you need it. A mage is lacking a certain… thing without magic and the correct amount of rest. This should be able to help you some in the meantime. And should you not need it, return it to me.

Remnii offers a small shrug.

Remnii says: And if you need it forever, so be it!

Vel looks down at the stone, examining it. She recognizes it as a pearl of power, except in a gemstone form. Her eyes widen slightly upon recognition and she looks back up to the taller woman.

Velameestra Windrunner says: You… have a talent for offering what people need.
Remnii says: While I can say that I try…

She shifts her dress, revealing the amulet of proof against detection that Vel had given her many months ago.

Remnii says: I could also say the same about you, Vel. You have people looking out for you. I can’t tell you to get some rest or anything… but hopefully this will help

She closes the gemstone into Vel’s hand. .

Velameestra Windrunner says: Thank you, Remnii.
Remnii says: I’m glad I can help.

She offers a warm smile.

Velameestra Windrunner says: But, I suppose we had best prepare the dome so I can get that erected and you can go to sleep, right?

They head back to the group and Vel gets the tiny hut erected around them, but as everyone settles in for the night, Vel sits for a bit and just examines the gemstone, running her finger over it.

That night, Seria attempts to dream Rokhan. She finds herself in the gentle, green hued dreamscape, and she manages to connect to another presence. Resting against one of the trees, he sees a familiar jungle troll. He has bluish silver hair, and a long bear down his chin that rests against his chest, two tusks swooping from his jaw, and his hair pulled back in a wild ponytail.

His golden-yellow eyes open and he glances around.

Rokhan says: Well… dis ain’t no normal dream, is it?

He stretches, and in a swift motion, he hops onto his feet and stands up to his full height and stretches his shoulders out. He looks around, and then sees Seria, and freezes.

He blinks and then squints.

Rokhan says: Is that you, Seria?
Seria says: Yes it is.

Rokhan laughs.

Rokhan says: Well ain’t this a surprise. Never thought I’d see ya again. Honestly, I was afraid ya wouldn’t be able to make it on yer own. This world ain’t exactly kind to our people. Not where you are, at least.

Rokhan smiles.

Rokhan says: I’m glad to be proven wrong. But this… dis be that Dream that Zentabra be speaking about, yeah?

Seria nods.

Rokhan says: She brought me here once before, but if you can do something like this… you ain’t some little girl anymore, aren’t ya?

Seria shakes her head.

Seria says: She told me to find ya.
Rokhan says: I ain’t surprised. I’m glad ya got a hold of her. I was lucky to find her after I left. So. Ya really came to me to ask for help? After everything I did? Everything that happened?
Seria says: She’s not the only reason I needed to contact you.

Rokhan nods.

Rokhan says: I understand, and don’t get me wrong Seria, I’m gonna help ya. That’s the least I owe you and Kala for my cowardice. I guess I be more surprised to see ya here. I didn’t think ya wanted to see me neither. But… I made a promise to yer mother. When you were still… not even up to my knee. I promised I be lookin’ out for ya, if anything ever happened. But uh… I couldn’t even do that. Not yet. But it looks like ya didn’t need my help after all, so if ya do need it now, and ya be willin’ to forgive me, then I’ll do anything I can to help ya.

Seria nods.

Seria says: The reason I need yer help… Bwonsamdi reached out to me.
Rokhan says: The big man himself, huh? And what he be needin’ from ya?
Seria says: Zalazane’s not on de Other Side.

Rokhan’s brow furrows.

Rokhan says: You’ve got to be kiddin’ me? After everything he put our people through? What, so Bwonsamdi sent you to find him, huh?

Seria nods and shows him the bone tattoos on her arms.

Rokhan says: Well, I guess ya got your work cut out for ya. But I may have some tricks that can help us. In the meantime, I be seein’ if I can learn anything about this. Maybe I speak to the old loa myself, see what he be thinking setting such a goal before you, after all ya been through. I hardly think it be fair to be sending you on a chase like this. Not alone. But we’ll figure something out. But not here.

He looks around.

Rokhan says: Do you know where you’re at now, child?
Seria says: The Barrens in Kalimdor.
Rokhan says: well, that doesn’t narrow it down too close, but at least you’re in the same general place. I got some questions about how you got there, but that can be answered later. There be some islands off the coast of the Southfury Headlands. After everything, after I left the tribe and you got exiled, I went back to the homeland--to Zandalar. And I found some others along the way. That be where I ran into Zentabra, among others. We be lookin’ for a new home. A new place to call our own. After the isles were attacked by the humans, and we lost what land we had in the Hinterlands, it made sense for us to leave and find a place we could be whole again. The old chief didn’t find all of us. I even ran into one of his old wives! She be doin’ alright. Me and her think this place be a good start. But… we only be half of the Darkspear. I don’t feel right callin’ myself one when the chief’s kid is still running around with the Darkspear proper. I don’t even know what she’s up to. We got into it pretty bad after everythin’, so I don’t know if this be a home of the Darkspear or just a couple of outcasts, but for the time being, it be a place where we can be safe. If you’re in the area, if you can make it to the coast, head to the southwestern tip of the peninsula. I’ll send two of the boys to collect ya. They bring a boat for ya, and ya can come out and meet me. Who knows, maybe we can wake up Zentabra long enough to see her in person too, but she be sleepin’ for a while doin’ the nature mojo that you do. They’ll find ya once ya get close. Good lads. You can trust them. Are you alone, or are you traveling with others? You still with old Rai? I hope that he didn’t get himself killed.
Seria says: He’s with the tribe.
Rokhan says: Is he now? That’s good.
Seria says: And I’m not alone. But not with people you expect.
Rokhan says: Is that so? Don’t tell me you be travelin’ with humans and elves now, eh?

Seria gives him a look.

Rokhan says: Can these people be trusted?
Seria says: Some of them helped bring down Zalazane.
Rokhan says: Is that true? Well uh.. I ain’t no chief… but I be talkin’ with the others. If you can trust them… then that’s good enough for me for now. As long as they don’t start no trouble, then we won’t start none either. That’s the least we can do. I can’t guarantee that they gonna have a good reception, but I can at least promise they won’t get no spears sticking out of their hides. The two boys I be sending. I don’t think ya ever met them. They was born after the war, just like you, but not with us. But they be Darkspear. They’ll find you with the boat, and I’ll make sure they don’t try anything funny, but they know how to play nice. We can talk more once ya get here. Then maybe we can get down to business. Down to getting Zalazane and setting the score once and for all, and gettin’ ol Bwonsamdi off yer back for now.

Seria nods.

Rokhan steps forward and puts a hand on Seria’s shoulder.

Rokhan says: I know it don’t mean much, but I be sorry, Seria, that I couldn’t protect your mother… and that I didn’t fight for ya. Ya deserved better than that. But I appreciate you giving me a second chance. But, while I gotcha here.

Rokhan squats down in the grass.

Rokhan says: Why don’t you be tellin’ me what ya got yerself into? I’m sure you’ve seen quite a menagerie of crazy things. If you’re willing to share.

Seria opts to share some things, including the fact she rode a dragon into the ground and the other cool stuff. As the spell starts to end, Rokhan realizes it.

Rokhan says: It be time to get back to business, ya? I’ll be seein’ ya soon. No rush. We got plenty to do, between makin’ sure this place be safe and lookin’ into things. I look forward to seeing ya soon.

Rokhan reaches out and touches the tusks around Seria’s neck.

Rokhan says: Your mother would be proud. That I can say for certain.

He offers a smile, and the spell fades.

June 5th

The group wakes and get ready to pack up and head on. As the domes fall, Seria wakes up to a very light rainfall on her cheek. It’s chillier than it’s been, sun streaming through the breaks in the clouds.

As they are traveling, about halfway through the day, Makasa rides up next to Uther. Uther is still riding the dopamine of destroying a Burning Legion weapon.

Makasa Flintwill says: You seem to be in good spirits, your highness.
Uther Menethil says: I suppose so.

Makasa offers Uther a flask, which Uther takes a small sip from. Uther coughs at the strength.

Uther Menethil says: Thank you.
Makasa Flintwill says: My apologies, I sometimes forget your northerners aren’t good at holding liquor.
Uther Menethil says: Full disclosure, I’m not much of a drinker.
Makasa Flintwill says: We can always work on that! Trust me, when you get older, it’ll definitely come in handy.
Uther Menethil says: Is that so?
Makasa Flintwill says: You know… something has been on my mind since we left that centaur camp. If you’ll indulge my curiosity.
Uther Menethil says: What’s that?
Makasa Flintwill says: Something tells me that Remnii’s lie wasn’t exactly a lie. You do have someone back home waiting for you, don’t you?
Uther Menethil says: I do.
Makasa Flintwill says: Color me curious. What kind of women does Prince Uther Menethil of Lordaeron settle for?
Uther Menethil says: She’s stunning.
Makasa Flintwill says: It weren’t some local girl in an arranged marriage?
Uther Menethil says: No. She’s princess of Stromgarde.

Makasa’s brow raises.

Makasa Flintwill says: Aye? That would be quite a catch.
Uther Menethil says: I’m very lucky.

Makasa smirks.

Makasa Flintwill says: I’m sure you are. I never knew my father, but, my mother always told me that his parents were from Stromgarde. I don’t have much of that blood running through me, but I’ve heard of the place, and knew some people. They have hearty folk.
Uther Menethil says: That they do. You have more Stromgarde blood in you than you think. Have you ever given up?
Makasa Flintwill says: Giving up what? Surrendering? A contest or just in general?
Uther Menethil says: Any capacity.

Makasa laughs and then the laugh fades as she considers.

Makasa Flintwill says: Maybe it’s the drink talking, but I think that question’s a bit deeper than you meant it to be. If I had my own choice, I’d be on the high seas, or wherever the bloody hell my captain was. But he ordered me to, well, him.

She gestures to Aramar.

Makasa Flintwill says: I don’t resent him, but I guess you can say I gave up that fight. If I had my way, I’d be out there where he is.
Uther Menethil says: You must respect your captain dearly.
Makasa Flintwill says: Aye. It pisses me off when Aramar runs his damned mouth about him. I know he was more of a father to me than him, but he was a good man who just had a lot of shit to deal with. But I do. If he told me to run myself through with my harpoon, I’d probably do it.
Uther Menethil says: Strange.

Makasa raises a brow.

Makasa Flintwill says: How so.
Uther Menethil says: Not your loyalty, just… I asked a question, and with your answer you answered a question I hadn’t asked.
Makasa Flintwill says: What would that be?
Uther Menethil says: I think you may have more Stromgarde blood than you realize, because I think even more than tenacity, their loyalty is without question.

Makasa chuffs and takes a swig.

Makasa Flintwill says: Do all the girls fall for that smooth talk, your highness?

She smirks.

Uther Menethil says: Well, if I ever wind up talking to more than a handful, I’ll let you know.
Makasa Flintwill says: Seems this princess was lucky to get her hands on you.
Uther Menethil says: Perhaps we’re both fortunate.

Makasa takes another swig and continues riding on.

When the group takes their break for the day, Seria seeks out Vel. Upon seeing Seria approach, Vel looks up from what she’s doing.

Seria says: I got in contact with Rokhan last night.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Oh. And what did he have to say?
Seria says: Apparently, we’re not dat far.
Velameestra Windrunner says: From the Echo Isles?

Seria nods.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Serendipitous I suppose. Where are they at?
Seria says: He said out east. Near the coast of the Southfury Headland.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Hmph. Serendipitous indeed, I believe that’s where we’re supposed to meet Thrud. At least somewhere near there. And, knowing Uther…

Vel glances in Uther’s direction, watching the paladin for a moment.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I imagine that’s going to be something we’re following up on, so we won’t even need to side-track ourselves much.

Vel hesitates for a moment as she looks back at Seria.

Velameestra Windrunner says: He, um… he’d be receptive to our group?

Seria nods.

Seria says: He said as long as you don’t cause trouble, they won’t.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Fortunately that’s not in the cards. Which, honestly, I needed to talk to you as well. I had a couple ideas… um. If Zalazane is not where he’s supposed to be, and he is instead on the mortal plane, that may mean we could possibly scry on him. Depending. Obviously, there are certain safeguards that could be in place, but we won’t know unless we try. And if he’s focusing on shielding himself from Bwonsamdi… he may not be shielded from mortals. If you’d be willing.
Seria says: It’s worth a shot.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And we may be able to use this.

Vel reaches to the ring on her finger and slides it off, showing the silver and sapphire band to Seria.

Velameestra Windrunner says: He hexed this. If… sympathetic magic is still in play, we may be able to use it as an anchor to find him. In theory. I don’t know for sure if it would work, but it’s worth trying.

Seria nods.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I… also had some follow-up questions. I could potentially get you a list of them in the event your loa gets in contact with you again. There are a few… missing pieces.
Seria says: Of course.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Mainly the nature of… how exactly he escaped in the first place. That could be telling. It may indicate whether he had a contingency plan when he was felled, or if he had someone else helping him. I believe he had several contacts… ones that were spread out. Warlocks. The spells his necrolytes were using were in orcish.. There are a lot of moving pieces, and it may run much deeper than just him. But… if you want to try scrying on him.

She slips the ring back on her finger.

Velameestra Windrunner says: This isn’t going anywhere.
Seria says: I can try it anytime.

Vel looks around at the rest of their resting party.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Lets just try now.
Seria says: We can try.

Seria gets her scrying bowl out and begins the process of scrying on Zalazane, using Vel’s ring as a focus, and the water starts to shape itself and gets murky, but then suddenly the rippling stops, as if it had failed.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Hmph. Unfortunate. We can always try again another day. No sense assuming it’s impossible with one trial.

Seria nods and pours the water back into the waterskin she has reserved for her scrying bowl.

Velameestra Windrunner says: For the time being, without more information… there’s not a whole lot we can theorize on until we can get a few other answers. I’ll be interested to see what this Rokhan has to say.

Vel gets up to go back to her own work, and she dusts the savannah dirt from her pants as she rises. Her eyes shift over to Riff, who had started to poke around upon seeing Seria bring out the scrying bowl.

Velameestra Windrunner says: By the way, Riff. I was... wondering if you’d be willing to help me work on a spell sometime.

Riff’s face immediately lights up.

Riff says: Would I ever! That sounds like lots of fun! I have no idea how to do that, but I’m real good at findin’ things!
Velameestra Windrunner says: I think it would be something you’d be interested in. If your mother is alright with it, of course.

Riff immediately grabs Seria’s arm.

Riff says: Can I mada? Can I really? Is it okay?

Seria is so focused on how excited Riff is that he doesn’t even consider asking Vel what kind of spell they’d be making before she agrees to let him help.

Riff hops up in excitement and some feathers appear in his hair and fall to the ground.

Riff says: I’m so excited! That sounds like so much fun!
Velameestra Windrunner says: When we have free moments, I can start walking you through a few things and we can see what we can do.
Riff says: You got it! Anything I can do to help! You know where to find me!

Riff spends the next bit chatting to Vel about all the cool things he has found and how helpful he can be.

As the group continues, they see a large wooden and steel contraption--easily the size of a small cottage. It has treads on it, with gear-like wheels, and it has a steel-tipped drill. They see a few small figures eying the group warily, and they are not directly in the group’s path.

There are heavily armed goblins wearing dark-brown padded armor, and they have wrapped clothes over their faces with goggles protecting them from the sun. They have firearms in their hands, up and at the ready.

The goblins are clearly keeping an eye on the group.

Broll is getting a bad feeling about the situation, but he ultimately opts to just defer to the group.

Tol’vas looks at Vel.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What are they doing?
Velameestra Windrunner says: I… can’t say I know, but my best guess, based on that contraption of theirs, is potentially mining? I suppose if you’re curious, you can go ask them… I can’t say for sure I know what they’re doing. I don’t personally spend much time with goblins.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: How did they get here? Didn’t they say no one has been past the Thousand Needles?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Perhaps not the ones we spoke to. There are different cartels. They may be members of a rival one. As a matter of fact… this may be the one that Mayor Noggenfogger told us to avoid.

Remnii starts to keep moving, but Tol’vas looks to be rather agitated. As the group continues on, Tol’vas veers off to head towards the goblins.

Elissa Cross says: Tol’vas, wait!

Elissa looks to Uther, and Uther breaks off and rides behind Tol’vas at a non-threatening distance. The goblins look at them and point their guns at them.

Goblin Bodyguard says: Woah! Hey, big guy, slow your roll. Not any closer!

Tol’vas raises an eyebrow.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What are you doing here?
Goblin Bodyguard says: None of your business! Get back with your little posse and keep moving.

Tol’vas looks at the machine.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No, it seems to be the business of anyone that cares about land.

The two goblins mutter to each other before continuing.

Goblin Bodyguard says: Sorry, didn’t realize this was your land. Who the hell are you to come up here and tell us what to do? We ain’t hurtin’ no one. Now move along. We don’t want any trouble with none of you.

Tol’vas grits his teeth.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: All I’m asking is what you’re doing.

The more silent goblin turns to the side and whisper in a language Tol’vas doesn’t understand.

Goblin Bodyguard says: Man, they really don’t teach you manners up across the pond, do they? We’re just campin’ here, and you come in and ask questions about things that ain’t your business.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Across… what?
Goblin Bodyguard says: The pond! The water! The ocean.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m from here.

The goblins whisper to each other and laugh, and a few other goblins approach. Their leader seems to be among them.

Goblin Boss says: Ey, ey, lets all calm down here.

He flashes a smile.

Goblin Boss says: What seems to the problem here, sir?

He rubs his hands together and moves closer.

Tol: I’m merely asking what you’re doing.

Goblin Boss says: Me and my friends here are just seeing the sights! We stumbled into a small bit of trouble, and we’re just taking care of our business. Ain’t nothing you need to worry about though.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: And what’s this problem?
Goblin Boss says: You’re a real nice fella, but I can assure you that it is a non-issue for a traveler like yourself!

The leader goblin is clearly telling him to try and nicely tell Tol’vas to bugger off.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: ...I see. Well, I’ll just make sure my people are warned. Clearly something terrible happened.

The leader looks at the others then at Tol’vas.

Goblin Boss says: That sounds like a great idea, my vertically gifted companion. We don’t want any trouble, you see, and as I said, we’ll be on our way before long.

Tolv’as turns on his heel and leaves.

Goblin Boss says: Safe travels!

The goblin leader waves him off, and he whispers to his men. Three of the goblins now stay before the leader and two others head off.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I don’t trust them at all.
Uther Menethil says: As much as I would love to say you’re being paranoid, I agree, but unfortunately we’re not in the best position to interfere.

Tol’vas knows in any large mountain chain there could be gemstones or mineral deposits that are valuable, but he isn’t an expert. They rejoin the main group who opted to just take a break while waiting for Uther and Tol’vas to return.

Samaara says: What’s the plan? Shall we keep moving? Anything to be concerned about.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I couldn’t get a straight answer.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Sounds like goblins.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I admit I don’t know much, but are mining operations typically short?
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Well I suppose it depends on if they’re finishing up or if this isn’t where they were trying to get.

Ember shrugs.

Ember Flintlocke says: I don’t bloody know how goblins do it. Don’t look at me. Probably just going to blow something up, ey? If you’re that concerned, just firebomb the entire thing, it’s not like anyone will know.

Vel looks at Ember, and Remnii frowns and also gives her a look. Ember shrugs.

Ember Flintlocke says: What? It’s true.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I don’t know what else is there.
Remnii says: Politely, I do not believe we are in a great position… The less people that see us, the better. If we aggress them… it does not sound like your people would like them, but we need to keep moving. If we are found before we find Jarod… I believe we should keep moving. Also, if this is a rival cartel, we should keep our heads down.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: If we’re that concerned, we could always just throw some coin their way. Gold pieces are a pretty good motivator when it comes to goblins. If we need information, or for them to shut up, it’s a good place to start.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I… don’t… have currency.
Velameestra Windrunner says: If we want to pay them off to stop whatever they’re doing, I imagine it would take a fortune we don’t actually have.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: That… is true.
Velameestra Windrunner says: It would probably be best for us to just continue moving on. Unless someone wants to interfere… which…

Vel glances back at the goblin group as they’re traveling.

Velameestra Windrunner says: The more we aggress them, the more reason they’ll have to strike back in what ways they can. That could include giving other people information. And, frankly, murdering people on the side of the road is not the best way to make an impression.
Elissa Cross says: Without evidence they’re up to something cruel or bad… I don’t want to hurt them.
Remnii says: That’s where I’m at.

Tol’vas considers.

Velameestra Windrunner says: If you’re so concerned, I imagine you could just take a bird’s eye view and get caught up with us again without drawing too much attention.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: This doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve seen too much of this land destroyed.
Velameestra Windrunner says: We also can’t realistically take up the mantle of every single thing we see.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No, but other people can have their attention turned in the right direction. I’m not sure about your Eastern Kingdoms, but the land here doesn’t sit still.

Vel raises an eyebrow and then glances over at Broll.

Broll sighs.

Broll Bearmantle says: While I do not know what these creatures are doing here, and I do not know if I trust individuals that operate on the greed that plagued out people… the Barrens are dangerous enough without us intervening as well. I am hesitant to… take the lives of those I don’t know if they do not deserve it.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m not advocating we kill them all.
Ember Flintlocke says: It would take care of the problem.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m just… merely concerned.
Remnii says: Then go take a look. If it will settle your heart, or help you make a decision, that would be the best way to do so.

Tol’vas nods, and once they get out of sight of the goblins, Tol’vas takes the form of a bird and takes off. He notes a few goblins are crawling up inside the machine, and there are lights and sounds coming from inside. There is a small camp that had been erected nearby. He didn’t see anything super notable, but there is a cave in the wall of the mountain that leads deeper in. There are also a few small metallic tools buried in the ground a small ways away from the camp.

He swoops down a bit closer to the cave, and he notes the cave does not seem to be natural. There is also evidence of graves or cenotaphs, like the goblins had lost a few people in the area. Occasionally, he hears a shout from inside the cave, but it is in their native tongue.

He flies even closer and lands on the ground. The goblin boss doesn’t seem to have noticed him. Tol’vas notes the vehicle had been damaged, and there are large divots on the side of the vehicle, as if something had dug into the metal. It’s likely seen battle.

Tol’vas wings back to the group to report on what he saw.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Verdict?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: They were attacked by something, but I don’t know what. Big enough to claw into metal.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Well. They didn’t want our help at all, and clearly, that situation will handle itself one way or another.
Makasa Flintwill says: Truthfully, I wouldn’t trust random travelers in the middle of the desert either.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Especially if they may want a piece of what they have.
Samaara says: Should we keep moving?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I don’t know what would be in the area, so I don’t know the severity. I also don’t want to hold us here.
Samaara says: Perhaps the best thing you can do is inform the tauren at Camp Taurajo. They can investigate if they are so concerned.

Tol’vas nods.

Samaara says: But it seems this place has taught them a lesson. Perhaps one they will take to heart. Or perhaps not.

The group reaches the end of their day’s travel without being bothered further.

Wulf had been largely keeping to himself and only really speaks when spoken too. Ember has been flirting with him quite incessantly, but it doesn’t seem like he really has any interest whatsoever. Vel has been keeping an eye on them periodically, however, she opts to approach Aramar, who had been doing drills and the like in the evenings.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Aramar, would you mind a partner?

Aramar stops, the diamond blade in his hand.

Aramar Thorne says: Oh! Yeah, sure, if you’d like! Honestly, I don’t mean any offense Vel, but when I first met you I didn’t take you for a sword fighter. But you sure proved me wrong!
Velameestra Windrunner says: You learn things when traveling.
Aramar Thorne says: Yeah, you sure do. I wish I could say the same. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting any better. This adventuring biz is a lot harder than it looks.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Well. Perhaps getting a different perspective on things may help, right?
Aramar Thorne says: Yeah! I’d love to see what you know. You definitely have a very different approach to sparring than people like Uther or Elissa.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Finesse over strength.

They opt to not straight-out spar, but they get into a rhythm of drilling, steadily increasing the speed of their exchanges. However, at one point, Vel abruptly pulls a second, smaller sword from its sheath to block with her off-hand--seemingly experimenting with utilizing a secondary weapon.

Aramar Thorne says: Oh hey! I wasn’t expecting that.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Something I’m experimenting with. I’m curious to see how it feels.

Vel’s ear twitches, and she looks over to note that Makasa had approached to watch while they were drilling. She was kicked up on a nearby rock, and took a swig from her flask.

Makasa Flintwill says: Not bad. But if you’re going to be doing something like that with a secondary weapon…

She takes another swig.

Makasa Flintwill says: You’ll need more practice. It’s a lot harder than it seems at first glance.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Well, if you have any pointers.

Makasa smirks and stands up.

Makasa Flintwill says: Normally I prefer a spear, but perhaps I could show you a few things.

She reaches down and selects some blades from her belt. There are quite a few weapons there, primarily daggers, but she unsheathes a silvered shortsword and one of the daggers. She flips the dagger into a reverse grip, and she starts to show both Vel and Aramar a number of basics.

She then tosses a dagger to Aramar and has both of them try drilling with two weapons.

It is definitely hard to get the rhythm. Vel had gotten so used to fighting with one weapon in order to keep her other hand open for spell casting that it was hard to really gauge what to be doing with her off-hand. However, gradually, she starts to at least get a cursory handle on the technique, at least enough that with practice, she was fairly certain she could master it if she was inclined to.

Ultimately, her style in general was much more dance-like than Aramar’s, and as they fell into a rhythm it became something like a one-sided dance given Aramar’s much more straight-forward style.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I was also interested in seeing more of that blade first-hand, to be honest.
Aramar Thorne says: Oh! Yeah, sure.

Aramar deactivates the blade as they cool down and flips it around to hand it to her hilt-end first.

Aramar Thorne says: By all means. This thing is a bit of an enigma to me. I only know what Tellius--Telagos--told me about it.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Perhaps we can find out something else, then.

Vel takes the opportunity to cast identify on the blade, and she is able to tell that it has more potential within it. It doesn’t cut like a conventional sword--the blade itself is made from a purely holy power. It also burns more keenly against fiends and undead.

Velameestra Windrunner says: If you don’t mind me asking… what did Tellius tell you about it?
Aramar Thorne says: Well, he told me how to use it, and that it was a powerful artifact from a creature called a naaru. I talked to Remnii a bit and she told me about these things… they’re whatever my old man had on the front of his vessel. I don’t know a lot about them, but, well, this belonged to my father for some reason, and he left it behind for Tellius to give me...

He makes some air quotes.

Aramar Thorne says: “When the time was right.”
Velameestra Windrunner says: You have it now.
Aramar Thorne says: So I guess the time was right. Whatever that means.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Hmph. Well, keep that close if we fight fiends. Or more undead, for that matter.

She tosses the blade back to Aramar, and he catches it.

Aramar Thorne says: I will.
Velameestra Windrunner says: It also has more potential to unlock, it would appear. I don’t know much about naaru… but perhaps Remnii may have more ideas in that regard.
Aramar Thorne says: Maybe I will. Maybe her father, her… vakas I think she calls him? Maybe he would know more about this thing. He seems to be the big shot around there. At least as far as these naaru things are concerned. But thanks, I appreciate it. Truth be told, I didn’t know about the undead and demon thing.

He activates the blade again.

Aramar Thorne says: I’ll have to keep that in mind in case we run into any of those bastards!

Given the new revelations about the blade, Vel regards it somewhat warily as he reactivates it. Aramar laughs.

Aramar Thorne says: I wouldn’t worry, it’s not like I’m going to use this thing against you or anything.
Velameestra Windrunner says: I would hope not. But thanks for the drills. And the pointers, Makasa, I appreciate it.

Makasa nods and her gaze lingers on Vel a moment longer than it would perhaps otherwise.

Makasa Flintwill says: Anytime. Always better to make sure the people we travel with don’t get themselves killed by trying a silly move they have no idea how to do.

She folds her arms and looks pointedly at Aramar.

Aramar Thorne says: What? Oh come on, please don’t tell me you’re still talking about when we were kids!

Makasa laughs and takes a swig of her flask while Aramar rolls his eyes and gestures his thumb in her direction.

Vel sheathes her own weapon and holds her hands behind her back as she strolls by Makasa to go back to her other work for the evening.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Memory as keen as an elf’s it would seem.

Aramar throws his hands up, exasperated. Makasa walks up next to Vel as she goes and then abruptly grabs Vel’s wrist. Vel is taken by surprise and looks at the other woman somewhat reproachfully, one of her eyebrows raised.

Makasa holds her wrist for a moment, her finger pressed firmly against it as if she was checking for a pulse. She then looks Vel dead in the eye, and there’s a tense moment of eye contact.

Makasa Flintwill says: Interesting.

She then lets go.

Makasa Flintwill says: Apologies, Velameestra.
Velameestra Windrunner says: ...Accepted, Makasa.

There is another tense moment, but Makasa then turned to leave the elf be. Occasionally, Vel would catch her watching her, but the sailor did not follow up any further.

As the group settles in for the night, Tol’vas goes to find Remnii.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Sorry to bother you. Would you be available tonight after we set up?
Remnii says: Oh. I can certainly try.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Do you suggest anyone else who may be involved… just in case?

Remnii considers.

Remnii says: Probably Vel, out of anyone.

Tol’vas looks slightly uneasy.

Remnii says: I worked with her on a number of projects since I have come here. Of course take my phrasing with a grain of salt, but she is a valuable resource. She knows many things I do not.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No I… it’s not that I don’t… I don’t think she’s untrustworthy, but I’ve not had the best time with a lot of arcane mages. So the magic itself makes me… uneasy.
Remnii says: I have heard talk of the highborne since you and Broll joined, so I will wager there was some sort of schism, yes?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The schism that eventually led to… Quel’thalas I believe? It started a very long time ago. The Legion made it here because of that magic.

Remnii nods, following along.

Remnii says: I cannot relate to some things, but the schism between a people… I can follow. I cannot tell you that every user of the arcane magic would be trustworthy, but judging someone by their magics can limit yourself… clearly when her, and Uther, are not gonna cause trouble.

Tol’vas nods.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: You raise a good point.
Remnii says: I could not say as a whole. Some of the individuals that have been looking for me are powerful users of the arcane, but… there is little to lose, here.

Tol’vas sighs.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I suppose you’re right.
Remnii says: You can always start small.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’ll… go ask her then.

Tol’vas goes to seek out Vel, who is reading as she normally is.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Sorry to intrude upon your...reading?

Vel raises an eyebrow.

Velameestra Windrunner says: How can I help you?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Remnii recommended I ask you to help us with…

He pauses for a moment.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’m trying to control the pack form, but I’d like safeguards in case something goes wrong… and she recommended I ask you to help.

Vel blinks.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Um. Alright… so… I got some context from while I was away, but… pack form. That’s… is that the giant wolf, or the worgen?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It’s the wolf form.
Velameestra Windrunner says: The wolf form. Okay. And what, precisely, is the plan?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I believe she has some spells that will hopefully help suppress the bloodlust and rage that accompanies the form occasionally.

Vel blinks again.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Alright… and… what… so… you’re going to take the pack form and hope that her magics can cause you to… not go feral?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The goal is that I don’t succumb to it in the first place. She would be the secondary, and we’re looking at continuing backups.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Right. Um… when are you planning on doing this?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: ….tonight.

Vel blinks for a third time.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Right. Well.

The arcanist starts to mentally roll through the spells she presently has available.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I… suppose I can… banish you if that becomes a problem.

Tol’vas shrugs.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It worked before.

Vel blinks for a fourth time.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Forgive me, Tol’vas… um. It is alright if I call you Tol’vas at this point, correct? I know you were using Nahlen'do for a time. Is that still…?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It’s the title that goes along with whoever is in ownership of the scythe.
Velameestra Windrunner says: So… should I continue using the title or is your name alright at this point?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The name is fine.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Okay. Right. Well, if we are going to be doing this tonight with no other time for me to prepare…

She snaps her book shut with a thump.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Hopefully it doesn’t come to anything beyond banishment I suppose.

Vel gets to her feet, and she stands substantially shorter than Tol’vas, though he seems to be somewhat nervous about her as she strides past and starts to head in Remnii’s direction.

Tol’vas and Vel had literally never really spoken to each other, thus, them interacting had garnered Elissa’s interest, who calls out to them as she sees them start to leave.

Elissa Cross says: Hey! What are you guys up to?

Tol’vas and Vel freeze, look at each other, and then look back to Elissa. Vel waits expectantly for Tol’vas to say something, but it soon becomes clear he’s not going to speak.

Velameestra Windrunner says: … taming wolves.

Elissa looks at Vel and then up to Tol’vas.

Elissa Cross says: Oh. Oh! Um. Do… you need any help?

Elissa shrugs.

Elissa Cross says: If this is about worgen stuff… maybe I can help out a bit!

Tol’vas looks down at Vel.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Elissa, your aid would be appreciated in the event things go south. Ideally, they won’t.
Elissa Cross says: I think I have something that would help if you go crazy. Oh, er, if you lose control? It’s something I think might be able to snap you out of it. Or, well, knock you out of it, quite literally. It’s the same thing you and Aramar tried at the match at Clan Sadak’s place.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: You’re capable of doing that?
Elissa Cross says: Yeah! I haven’t too much practice. But I can do it though. Watch!

She claps her hands together and her eyes start to glow amber. Minty energy shoots into the sky, and a pale column of starlight sprinkles down.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Excellent. That’s likely a better tertiary.

Remnii had approached as well.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I brought two options.
Elissa Cross says: I’m here to help. If things go bad…
Remnii says: Well. Hopefully it wouldn’t. Um. Samaara, if you’re here, you can come out.

Samaara doesn’t.

Remnii says: I know she’s here.

Remnii turns around, closes her eyes, inhales, and points. There is a flicker of movement, and Samaara emerges, her arms crossed.

Samaara says: You’re getting better at that. Good.
Remnii says: It is… dumb luck. Like other things.

Samaara smiles, and the group heads out of camp.

Remnii says: My first thought is that we should try to bolster your mind in this pack form. Thus, I have at least one spell that may be able to help you in trying to keep your focus while you are in this other form. If it is a fight against yourself, then your mind will need to be stronger than your body.
Elissa Cross says: Don’t worry. We’re here in case anything goes wrong. You don’t need to be afraid!

Remnii uses beacon of hope to try and bolster Tol’vas’s defenses. Tol’vas closes his eyes, and then opens them. His eyes are glowing, and lupine. He falls forward, and his limbs shift and grow in size. He then rapidly expands into the form of a massive wolf.

Everyone waits, expectantly, but he seems to be in control of his faculties.

Tol’vas blinks a few times, and then sits.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Huh.

He gets the sense that his control isn’t impervious, but it was solid.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I trust you’re… coherent?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Yeah. I am.

His voice is a lot deeper, and has an echo almost. Remnii and Elissa both jump.

Elissa Cross says: You can… talk?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: ...yeah.
Remnii says: You didn’t know that before, did you?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: No. Usually you can’t talk as an animal.

Elissa takes a step closer and puts a hand on Tol’vas’s snoot. Tol’vas doesn’t stop her.

Elissa Cross says: That’s… amazing.

Samaara is leaning against a tree.

Samaara says: It’s good you were able to control it, but you said there was a chance you would not be able to. Under many circumstances, you won’t have a perfect storm like this, correct?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Yes, that’s part of the…
Velameestra Windrunner says: Proof of concept. You were… experimenting to see if it was even possible in the best circumstances.

Samaara nods.

Samaara says: That is good, though I still do not believe it wise for you to rely on this overmuch. Emergencies only, I would suggest. But it is your power.

Samaara pulls a silver arrow from the quiver on her hip. She spins it between her fingers.

Samaara says: We will adapt as needed, but I don’t want a reason to use this.

She slides the arrow back into the quiver again.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Well. Out of curiosity, given this is suddenly a situation I find myself in, your worgen form. Does it have similar concerns? Outside of the full moon?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Um. No. I can take that form and have it be relatively controlled, actually.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And how closely entwined are the worgen and… this, exactly?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: This became the worgen form with the curse. Without using the scythe.
Velameestra Windrunner says: ...I see.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: So they’re fairly closely entwined? If you saw the form Broll took. The large bear. Forms like that. Forms like this. They draw on an ancient.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And ancients… they’re your gods, correct?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The word doesn’t translate well… they aren’t worshipped, more venerated.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Powerful spirits? Effectively?

Tol’vas nods.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Yes.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Well. If it is linked… if this is something you are trying to control, I have an ample amount of research that other people have done concerning the worgen. Perhaps it may translate.
Elissa Cross says: I have another idea!

Elissa casts detect evil and good as she closes her eyes and holds her breath. There’s a soft wind, and when she opens her eyes again, they are glowing faintly. She looks Tol’vas up and down.

Elissa Cross says: Oh wow. It definitely seems like whatever form you’re in right now… it’s definitely tied pretty closely with that Emerald Dream place. So, anything that affects creatures from there would probably affect you here. That’s good to know. There are some things that can help. I don’t know all of them, but I know Vel does! I could probably make you run away if I wanted to but I’m not going to, obviously.
Velameestra Windrunner says: There are certainly spells that affect… otherworldly creatures. I can go through my notes and potentially see if the things that plagued our prior companion may help you as well.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: You… I’m sorry?
Velameestra Windrunner says: Oh. We traveled with a worgen in the past. Learned some things. Hence my exasperation that we have, yet again, found another one, though it seems you have more control than she did.
Elissa Cross says: Her name was Tess! She was very pretty. And very sneaky!
Remnii says: I do… in all of this, I believe the fact you learned you can speak and have a grip on what you can do in these perfect circumstances is… good. But I also do believe that Samaara’s caution is warranted. Given... how big you are. Whatever tests we run, we should take this with caution at first, and hopefully as we go, we can find more concrete ways if there’s ever a time I cannot focus on the spell and the like.
Velameestra Windrunner says: And ideally give me more than five minutes notice. That would be appreciated.

Samaara smirks at the arcanist’s dry humor.

Remnii says: I’m sorry Vel.

Remnii offers an apologetic smile before looking back to Tol’vas.

Remnii says: But, there is one thing… I would like to see what mental magics work on you as well.

Remnii drops concentration on the spell she was holding.

Remnii says: In the meanwhile… Elissa, can you take a step back for me?
Elissa Cross says: Oh. Yeah!

Elissa backs off.

Remnii says: This is simply a curiosity, if anything else.

Remnii casts suggestion on Tol’vas.

Remnii says: Could you play dead for me?

The words reach Tol’vas’s mind, and he immediately flops over and lolls his tongue out of his mouth. Remnii pats the bottom of Tol’vas’s wolf chin, and breaks the spell.

Remnii says: Well. That is good. I’ll keep that in mind.

Vel chuffs.

Remnii says: Well, I believe that was worth.
Samaara says: We should head back. I imagine everyone will want to head to sleep soon.

The group heads back, and the night is fairly uneventful.

June 6th

The group packs up and continues heading north. A light wind blows some tumbleweeds across the Barrens, and Riff absolutely chase one of them at one point--while getting sketched by Elissa.

Broll comes lumbering to Seria and transforms out of his bear form as he approaches. He hands her a waterskin.

Broll Bearmantle says: Seria, if you would, I have some questions I would ask you. They are not dire or important, simply a curiosity.
Seria says: Go ahead and ask.
Broll Bearmantle says: Thank you. I was curious. When we first met, it was clear that you are a talented and gifted druid, but I must admit I am not an expert on trollish culture. I know there are many different tribes and varieties, so I recognize my ignorance. But… would you enlighten me to where you learned such arts? I was not aware trolls wielded such strength.
Seria says: I learned it from my mother, who learned it from her teacher, who learned it from a loa.
Broll Bearmantle says: Hm. That is… quite the legacy. Then in many ways, it seems you are among the first of your kind, if you know not of any others. Though, a curiosity… I am unfamiliar with the term loa. Would you enlighten me?

Seria considers for a moment.

Seria says: I believe your people call them… gods?

Broll blinks.

Broll Bearmantle says: Oh… so your teacher was taught directly by one of the ancients, the wild gods? It’s no wonder you are so gifted. You should know that many have difficulties taking the shapes of the beasts. Many of the druids that are not dedicated to the circles of one of our ancients do so ponderously. That you are able to shift between forms so rapidly is a gift.
Seria says: I’ve been doing it since I was..

She lowers her hand to her height as a child.

Broll Bearmantle says: Truly? I am impressed. I have never met a druid blessed by the moon as naturally talented as you. In our culture, while women become druids, few choose to take the shape of others. Most who take up such vocations focus on mastering the magic of the Dream, so it is… a gift for me to have met someone as talented as many other druids of the claw and talon I have met. I would like to meet your teachers someday, if I could. I believe there is much to learn from different circles of druidism. Even if I left the Cenarion Circle, I think it would be enlightening if I would not be overstepping my bounds, of course.
Seria says: Well… you can’t meet one of them.
Broll Bearmantle says: My condolences, Seria. If I have such an opportunity in the future, I would be honored to make the others’ acquaintances. But thank you. There is much I could learn from those as naturally gifted as you and Tol’vas.

Broll bows his antlered head. Seria was left in a good mood for the rest of the day.

The group continues, and the day moves on as they head toward Camp Taurajo. The cliffside they were following starts to terminate, and they can see a canyon in the mass of forbidding mountains. They can see totems in the distance

However, they see something else in the distance. At the very edge, they see the gold road turning toward the totems, and nestled nearby is a collection of tauren architecture. There are some wells, some tents, and an abundance of impermanent but more sturdy structures.

They start to get closer and closer, but they notice something strange. They don’t see any figures at the camp.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: That… seems off.
Remnii says: Agreed.
Velameestra Windrunner says: We should be cautious in our approach.

The group starts to approach, but Samaara’s eyes snap to the side.

Samaara says: Look out!

All of a sudden, there is movement, and before they realize it, Vel looks to the side and sees a massive, feline creature, long leathery wings flared. It leaps on her, and similar creatures leap on Seria and Uther.

Vel is knocked off her horse, and the creature’s lion-like maw bites on her arm, but she is able to tuck and roll out of the way of the stinger.

Uther is also marred by fangs, but the stinger clangs harmlessly off his armor. Teeth sink into Seria’s raptor body, and it lashes around with its stinger sticking her in the thigh. Seria is shunted out of her raptor form, and the poison courses through her veins. However, she stays standing. She blocks its second attacks aside as they clash harmlessly against her armor.

The massive wyvern upon her seems to be wearing barding.

Remnii uses suggestion on the large creature.

Remnii says: We don’t mean you harm! Take us to your master!

The creature snarls at Seria, but then blinks and then sits up, as if considering.

Remnii says: These creatures belong here!

As the leader seems to halt, the wyvern on Vel is distracted as it tries to bite and claw at Vel. Then they hear a high-pitched whistle from the camp nearby.

Voice says [taur-ahe]: Stop! Stop! They’re not centaurs! Stop!

They see a tauren in deep blue leathers come out, and a few other braves come out, their weapons out. Suddenly, the wyverns’ ears go up, and they disengage and almost glide back towards the tauren.

The tauren make symbols of peace as they approach.

Velameestra Windrunner says: ...wonderful welcoming party.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: They though we were centaur. I don’t think they’ve ever seen horses.

Makasa is now laughing.

From the tents, tauren start to come out cautiously, makeshift weapons in their hands. There is a young tauren who seems to be holding a tiny practice bow, and there is a small stuffed creature under its arm. Braves go through alleviating the group.

The two tauren that meet the group--the one with the blue leathers and a crossbow of unknown make, and one with a horsekiller spear. The three wyverns go back to the tauren with the horsekiller, and the lead wyvern greets him.

Remnii follows the wyvern, and she nods to it.

Remnii says [tongues]: Thank you very much.

The blue-leather tauren bows.

Blue-Leather Tauren says [taur-ahe]: I am terribly sorry for that. We have never experienced creatures like yours, and we simply assumed it may have been a centaur raid. You have my deepest apologies. Please do not hold it against Thunderhorn’s majestic riders. They were only bidding as he commanded.
Thunderhorn says [taur-ahe]: You have my apologies. But next time, be careful approaching from the deep Barrens. We are a peaceful folk, but we are not an ill-prepared one. I am called Omusa Thunderhorn, and you are some of the strangest travelers we have seen, and we have seen some small creatures of late.
Remnii says [tongues]: Green?

He nods.

The blue-leather tauren starts to speak in common.

Blue-Leather Tauren says: I see you have strangers. Would it be easier if I spoke in the traveler’s tongue. I am out of practice, but I learned it from my grandmother.
Remnii says [tongues]: It would be appreciated.
Blue-Leather Tauren says: Some among us are proficient enough. Please. Come. Rest. Water and food aplenty. Bandages. I am embarrassed to have made an error. My name is Jorn Skyseer. I am the leader here. But what brings you here?
Remnii says [tongues]: We are traveling to Mulgore.
Jorn Skyseer says: You have come to the right place.

He gestures to the west, beyond the massive canyon.

Jorn Skyseer says: Only a few days to the west will bring you to Dalsh-Beran, and you will know you have arrived. They are more prepared for incursion, but I don’t think they would make such a mistake. We are a humble camp, if you need anything, just ask. There have been a number of strange travelers in recent times, and if you need information, I have lived in these plains my entire life.

He asks some tauren to get bandages and water for the beasts, addressing them all by name. Tauren seem to gather around the horses curiously, but they treat them with a great deal of respect.

Jorn Skyseer says: Please, come. Warm yourselves by the fire. The sun will be setting soon.

There is an impressive amount of impermanence in the camp. There is a simple forge nearby, as well as a tannery, and other indicators of necessity. But all of it looks like it can be easily packed up in the span of a night, except for the large totems that mark the way. A the very edge of the camp are three wooden cages. Two are empty and open, but one has a quillboar that is loudly squealing.

Jorn leads them to the massive bonfire at the center. The children are talking amongst themselves excitedly about the travelers, and one mother shushes a young girl quietly for pointing.

Jorn Skyseer says: What brings you to Mulgore, if you don’t mind me asking?
Remnii says [tongues]: Well, we are trying to locate a kaldorei by the name of Jarod Shadowsong.
Jorn Skyseer says: Is that so? Well there are few tauren around here who do not know the stories of Jarod Shadowsong. It is said he is immortal! That age nor difficulty would sap him from this world. He’s a sentinel. You know, it was because of him we could reclaim Mulgore some time ago. It is said he teamed up with Cairne Bloodhoof himself so that we could reclaim our ancestral home! Some believe him to be a myth, especially the children.

Remnii politely puts a hand over her mouth as she smiles.

Jorn Skyseer says: I know only that he lives in Mulgore, but if you go to Dalsh-Beran you will be able to sniff out his trail.
Remnii says [tongues]: That is what he asked us to do. I believe he is playing an advanced game of hide and seek.
Jorn Skyseer says: You have your challenge set for you.
Remnii says [tongues]: And a challenge it will be then. You have my thanks for giving us our direction.
Jorn Skyseer says: But if there is anything I can do to aid you, please stay as long as you wish. There is always someone here watching the totems of Camp Taurajo. This is my fourteenth summer here.
Remnii says [tongues]: You care for your people.
Jorn Skyseer says: They are not my people, they simply look to me for guidance. But I am no chief.
Remnii says [tongues]: One does need to be a chief to be a good leader or guide.
Jorn Skyseer says: You honor me… apologies, I did not get your name.

Introductions go around.

Jorn Skyseer says: It is my honor to host you here at this humble camp. You will be safe here. And I am sure the windriders… they will be sorry too.

The two smaller ones seem to follow Omusa around like he’s their mother, but the big one it seems the tauren is speaking to as an equal.

Jorn Skyseer says: Make yourselves at home here. Should you require tents, we have plenty of extras for travelers. They are comfortable.
Remnii says [tongues]: Thank you for your hospitality. I think we should discuss…

She looks to the group.

Remnii says [tongues]: And figure out our course of action.

Jorn heads off and Remnii looks to the group.

Remnii says: So, what’s the plan?
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Resting here seems like a good idea.
Uther Menethil says: Agreed.
Velameestra Windrunner says: We seem to have our next step a few days west.
Syeori Sunwalker says: I’d love to pick up their language! That would be amazing. They’re huge. Their mastery of the land is amazing. I thought elves were good, but these guys are just… wow.

Tae’shara rolls her eyes.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: She is right. I would be quite interested to learn more as well. They are very kind, and I think I can learn a bit from seeing how they do things. After all, it would be good for the Reliquary to establish bonds with the people here.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: And their civilization dates back, well, before I was born.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Oh, don’t worry, I’m very interested in that. We’ll get there. I hope once we run into them, the rest of your people don’t turn into pincushions first.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Hopefully. They’ll probably ask us to leave first.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Well I’ve been practicing arrow-dodging nonetheless! Just to be safe.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What about glaives?

Tae’shara blinks.

Remnii snaps her fingers.

Remnii says: I do have these, which I believe are kaldorei in origin.

Remnii shows Nyxxa’s old glaives.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I.. don’t know what those are.

Tae’shara squints at them.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Can I see those for a second?

Remnii turns the handle around and happily offers them to her.

Velameestra Windrunner says: You’ve… just been carrying those around?
Remnii says: I live out of my bag, Vel!
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: ...What else do you have in there?

Vel’s mouth flaps as she recalls the demon that those weapons had come from, but she opts to not ask.

Tae’shara snaps her fingers as she takes the glaives and points over at Aramar.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Hey! Bring your nice hair over here, I want a sketch of these!

Aramar snaps to attention.

Aramar Thorne says: Yes ma’am!

He comes over to start sketching the weapons.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: And make sure you get these engravings here. Hey! Tol’vas, can you translate these for me?

Tol’vas nods and translates the darnassian script to say Fanah'Talah, which translated into common would mean “Declaration of Survival.”

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: That is… amazing! I’m going to write that down right here and… are these for sale, Remnii? I will compensate you for them.
Remnii says: The person who owns them is still alive. I would consult with her before.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: You and me, we’ll talk about that later.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I was thinking of this.

Tol’vas shows the actual sentinel warglaives, with a small night elf for sale.

Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: Oh, if you can get me one of those too..
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: It’ll be flying at you, don’t worry.
Tae'shara Sunwatcher says: For the future then. Good to know.

Meanwhile, Remnii is going through her bag, and Vel is watching her, somewhat transfixed by all the things she’s pulling out. Tol’vas sights the seed spore.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Can I see the seed?
Remnii says: Oh. It’s not from this world. Be careful.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: What did the plant that made this come from?
Remnii says: People, actually. Sporeling people on Draenor.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: So this is…
Remnii says: No! A gift. Not one of their young.

Remnii explains the sporelings briefly.

Remnii says: They gave me these too.

She shows off the beads of nourishment.

Remnii says: I believe the saurids took one, but that is okay.
Elissa Cross says: I’m gonna draw what I think they look like later!
Remnii says: I have a few draenic things, and the Explorer’s League bought most of the orcish things I brought here. Anyway, that is a small journey into what is in Remnii’s back.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Your ability to fit all that is actually astounding.
Remnii says: You get good at packing after a century of running.

Tol’vas hands the spore pod back to Remnii, who tucks it into her bag.

Velameestra Windrunner says: But that was… fascinating. I take it we are just staying here for the night, then?
Remnii says: So it seems!

Remnii looks at her pedicure kit as she puts it in her bag, and then her eyes go to the tauren.

Remnii says: They… may have hoof cream here.

She’s suddenly very giddy.

Remnii says: So many people have feet!
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Don’t most people have feet?
Remnii says: I wouldn’t say most. But maybe many.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Don’t you have feet?
Remnii says: I have hooves.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Aren’t those just feet with hooves?
Remnii says: No. Feet have weird, fleshy toes.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Huh.

Vel looks suddenly really tired.

Velameestra Windrunner says: I'm… not discussing the semantics of feet versus hooves tonight.

She gets up to explore the camp, and Tol’vas goes to find Jorn.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Can you answer a question?
Jorn Skyseer says: Of course!
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: The short green people… we encountered some and they seemed to be digging into the side of a cliff with their strange machines. It seems like something was fighting back. Would you know what dwells in this area?

He gives a general description.

Jorn Skyseer says: Not particularly. There are many dangers. If these… goblins seek to dig into the cliffs, they will find no small amount of danger. While we call the Barrens home, the Barrens do not call us home. We will keep an eye out. If this group delves too deep and stumbles upon something in that area… undoubtedly they will find themselves in a deep mountain chain. They will dig hundreds of miles before they reach Mulgore. If they dig into the brambles… that problem will be resolved.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: I’ll consider this resolved then.
Jorn Skyseer says: The others that have come, we believe they have gone to peddle their wares. They tried to exchange their trinkets for small coins, but we have no use for them. If they are causing issues, the champions that control that place will ensure to put them in their place. Mulgore is a sacred land, if they seek to defile it, they will be stopped. In the Barrens… they can dig as deep as they want. I just hope they won’t find something that will cut their quarry off early. Even the greedy do not deserve the death that awaits the unprepared. But, you are kind for concerning yourself with them. They are strangers in this land, much like your companions. But we are not ones to judge those unless they prove themselves a danger. I suspect the Grimtotem clan may take a more direct approach towards such travelers, but… I am not of the Grimtotem tribe, and it is not for me to make such decisions. That is for the council of chieftains.

Tol’vas nods.

Tol'vas Moonshadow says: If you’re not concerned with them, then I see no reason to be concerned either.
Jorn Skyseer says: There are many things to concern oneself with, but they are far from your concern, my friend. You are wise to be wary of the unknown, and they should be wise to be weary as well.
Tol'vas Moonshadow says: Thanks for your time.

Jorn nods, and then Tol’vas goes off to play with the kids. He turns into a wolf to wrestle with some of them, and the kids immediately recognize him as a druid. They play various games with him, and it quickly turns into fetch. Riff also joined him as a red wolf with blue feathers. Elissa also joins in to play.

Broll takes some time to relax, and the tauren see his horns and treat him with a lot of respect.

Remnii goes and gets some hoof ointment, which comes in malleable bars, and she also gives tongues to those that need it. Remnii thanks the tauren profusely for the hoof ointment.

Vel goes around looking for opportunities to trade spells for potential research materials. By offering the spell she had created, she manages to get some material. She also sights a burial plain in the distance, and there seem to be piers with wooden caskets raised into the sky. One of the bodies appears to have been plucked away by sky-faring creatures. There is the scent of something like embalming.

On her way back, she sends Anice to inform her that Linore was alright, as she had promised.

Anice Erona says: I… Thank you, Velameestra. I appreciate that assurance greatly. I can only imagine the grief she is going through. I hope you are doing well. Zugg and Dabu say hello!