[Alliance] Chapter Three: Session Three

Appearing Characters: Anduin Wrynn, Arator Windrunner, Ashwynn Menethil, Benjamin Warde, Calia Prestor, Elissa Cross, Falric, Gilveradin Windrunner, Jaina Proudmoore-Menethil, Jalinde Summerdrake, Jessica Chambers, Julia Celeste, Lieran, Loania, Marwyn, Rai, Remnii, Saldor Shallowbrook, Seria, Uther Menethil, Valeera Sanguinar, Velameestra Windrunner, Victor Prestor, Vittoria Trollbane

Appearing Locations: Hiri'watha, Last Crossing, Light's Hope Chapel, Quel'danil Lodge

November 12th

As Gil’s group flies over the snow-dusted trees of the Hinterlands, sleety rain is falling from overhead. They take a closer look at the camp at Hiri’watha, and it seems all the tents and buildings were charred and burned down.

They land in a clearing in the midst of what’s left of the tribe’s former home, and dismount.

Lieren and Loania step into the village, looking around cautiously.

Loania says: What happened here?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Lets find out.

Gil starts to sweep there area, looking for any evidence of what occurred. It seemed that whatever happened happened some time ago, as the Quel’Danil Lodge elves were going to deliver the news to the trolls several weeks prior. Many of the tracks had been washed away by snow and rain, but no one has made any attempt at erasing evidence that there was a tribe here formerly.

As he takes a closer look at the huts, it appears there are burned elvish arrows stuck in some of the wood. Fletching is charred away, but they are definitely elvish.

He shows the girls, but there are no bodies or blood.

Loania says: That… that can’t be… Why would they do something like this?

Seria shifts into her humanoid form, and she starts to speak with a nearby tree, using her inborn magics. She senses the plants begin to stir from their slumber. They don’t move, but there is a sense of them turning their attention toward the trollish woman.

Seria says: Please my friends, I need you to tell me what happened to the people that used to live here?

The trees creak in the gentle wind, and rain washes through the leaves, striking her ears with a degree of clarity.

Whisper of the Plants says: Many moons have passed since they left. The life comes and goes. The seasons change. Much has happened since then. Those that wander have wandered on.

She relays the information to the others. Gil nods, then immediately uses his sending stone to communication with his sister.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: Velameestra, send Rai. I'm at Hiri'watha. It's burned down. Signs of struggle. Elvish arrows. Need to know truth for certain.
Velameestra Windrunner says: Noted. One moment.

Meanwhile, currently at Scholomance.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Rai. My brother is in the Hinterlands. Found the remains of your home. Are you alright? Where are you?

She throws the sending out, but she gets no response. However, it appears that her target was somewhere in the fringes of the affected area, and she sensed it succeed, but it was perhaps too far away to get a clear response back.

Vel informs Gil of what she found, and indicates her mana is spent for the day, and he thanks her.

Lieren says: If ya ask me, this ain’t got nothin’ to do with us. I know it’s hard, but whatever happened here, Gil, they already didn’t like ya, that much was clear. Might be better to forget what you saw here.
Loania says: How could you say that? Those people are supposed to be my family, and if they attacked these people for no reason, I want to know why.
Lieren says: You already know why. Don’t waste your time sticking your nose into places they don’t belong.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: That tribe turned on its own kind to help us. I’m not just going to let this go.
Lieren says: So what are you planning on doing? Are you gonna go and just start asking questions? Gil, you’re not from here, and neither am I. And we got this with us.

She gestures at Seria.

Lieren says: Don’t you you think they’re gonna take their own side if you show up with a troll, half or not?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: So I should just ignore an attack on a people that almost couldn’t defend themselves? Just to avoid it being difficult for me?
Lieren says: Look, all I’m saying, is you got your own fights to fight. Whatever is happening here, I’m just warning you before you get yourself caught up in something you’re not ready for.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I’m kind of the one who set this into motion anyway.
Loania says: Lieren. No one is asking you to come with us, but I want answers too. I’ve known Jalinde my entire life. If she was responsible, or if the ranger-captain was, then I want to know why.
Lieren says: Suit yourself. If this goes south, don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Regardless, I think it wise we camp here for the night. Last thing we want to do is barge into Quel’Danil in the middle of the night. And I don’t know if they want us to stay there, especially if we’re asking questions.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: That’s reasonable.

Lieren starts to set up the camp. Seria asks the trees to move their branches to cover them a bit better, and the trees comply.

Loania looks simultaneously shocked and amazed.

Loania says: You can really speak with them? That’s incredible.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: That’s way more impressive than me talking to animals.
Seria says: I can do dat too.
Loania says: Seriously?! Wow.

Gil just laughs.

Loania says: Where did you learn that? I’ve never seen it before. Some of the farstriders here use some nature-based spells, but nothing like that.
Seria says: My mother taught me.
Loania says: Wow, she must have been an amazing woman.
Seria says: She was.

Seria touches the two tusks on a necklace around her neck as she speaks. Loania doesn’t ask any other questions, noticing it.

November 13th

The next morning, it’s still a bit drizzly, and it has turned into a soft snowfall. They take off to head back to Quel’Danil Lodge. Vel also attempts to send Rai again, hitting closer to Revantusk Village--where they had originally found the Darkspear. This time, the sending connects.

Rai says: Vel. Ya we alright. We… the elves told us we weren’t welcome anymore. So we leaving. Goin’ back to Zandalar. Looking for help.

She transmits the message to her brother using their sending stone.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: The Ranger-General ordered them to be free, not attacked. I saw the order myself.

There’s no response from his sister, and Gil assumes she's likely preserving mana.

Gil asks Seria what she knows of Zandalar, and she explains that it was the ancestral home of the trolls very far away. However, something occurred that forced them to leave their home, and they sought out somewhere to live elsewhere. Zandalar was supposedly across the Veiled Sea somewhere.

Lieren says: So what’s your plan?

She is looking at Seria.

Lieren says: If you need to make your way over to wherever they are staying, one of us can get you there, or you can do it yourself, or you can go on this fool’s errand of Loania and Gil’s.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Everyone has just been calling me a fool.
Lieren says: And there’s a common thread in that, and it ain’t me.

Gil just grins.

There’s silence from Seria.

Lieren says: Well we got to get going.

She mounts up on her gryphon.

Seria says: Might as well just be goin’ where you’re goin’
Lieren says: You sure? Sounds like this other tribe is heading off at some point. Might be your only chance to get with them. If they accept you. Sounds like you’re sure they won’t.
Seria says: They won’t.
Lieren says: Well, no better place to go than an elven lodge. You definitely won’t be accepted there. But lets go. Lets get this over with.

Loania touches Gil’s shoulder.

Loania says: Thank you, for coming. Thank you for sticking up for me, and for them. They might not have been like us, but they were good people, and I’m glad you can see that.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I’m glad I’m not the only one.

Loania smiles and mounts up on her dragonhawk. They head toward Quel’Danil Lodge. Seria shifts into a cat and grabs a ride on one of the mounts. They arrive at the home of the Highvale elves. The elves take note of their arrival, and the group dismounts. No one approaches them.

Loania says: I want to check in on mother first, if that’s okay?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I was going to actually suggest that.
Loania says: I’m glad.

She scurries ahead, and knocks on the door. There’s no answer, and she retrieves a key and looks about. It seems the room is empty. Voldana’s weapons, armor, cloak, and the like is gone.

Loania says: Oh. I guess Voldana’s not here. Who should we speak to, then? The Ranger-captain doesn’t like visitors. We could try to find ranger Summerdrake. She was responsible for going to Hiri’watha. Or should we try something else?

Gil looks at the cat.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: How good is your Thalassian?

Seria responds with a meow that sounds more like a Thalassian cat instead of a human cat.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: We could get the report.
Loania says: I suppose. Do you think they’d be willing to give it you.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: No.
Loania says: Well, that may be difficult then.

Gil looks at Seria.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: I don’t think it’s quite that difficult.
Loania says: Gil, are you--

Lieren elbows her.

Lieren says: Gil ain’t suggestin’ nothin’, and don’t even suggest he is.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Won’t be the first time.
Loania says: You can get into trouble with this.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: It can work out.
Lieren says: What do you want us to do?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Mostly nothing. Just keep an eye out, and potentially keep people away.

Loania stammers about going to speak with ranger Summerdrake about where her mother is. Meanwhile, Lieren is just accepting this situation.

Gil knocks on the ranger-captain’s door after casting pass without trace.

Saldor Shallowbrook says: Who is it?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Farsrtider Gilveradin.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: You again. I thought you were heading out.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Shortly, I just wanted to discuss something with you.

There are some heavy footfalls heading to the door, and there is a very irritated elf that looks up at him.

Saldor Shallowbrook says: You realize I’m a busy man, Gilveradin.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I’m not asking for much time.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: Well?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I was hoping I could get the report for delivering Sylvanas’s orders to Hiri’watha.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: Why would you need that? It was accomplished. If you’re curious, ask them yourself.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Because there were signs of a struggle, and I wanted to make sure no one was injured.

Seria quietly pads past the ranger-captain’s leg and enters the office beyond. She hops up on the chair, and takes a look at the table. There are some papers on the desk, as well as some drawers and a cabinet nearby.

Seria paws at the middle drawer to the left, and it quietly opens. There are a number of files in it.

Saldor Shallowbrook says: No none of our people were hurt, what the devil are you talking about?

Gil goes into a rather lengthy explanation on what he uncovered. Saldor listens quite closely, but doesn’t betray any thoughts on the matter.

Meanwhile, Seria is pawing through the files. It appears they are ranger files that were recently used.

Saldor sighs.

Saldor Shallowbrook says: Well I have no reason to disbelieve you, boy. But what you’re saying is that ranger Summerdrake went to this place, and she took this into her own hands to burn their tents and such down. Nothing of that sort was in the report, that I can promise you.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I see. That’s a bit troubling, that she would lie.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: More like leave out certain parts of the truth, but yes. Summerdrake has long had a certain amount of ambition, I’m not surprised she would do this behind my back.

Gil nods.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: I suppose it’s out of my hands, then.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: Yes, I suppose so. You are free to take it up with her, but I have no intention.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I’m not fond of having arrows in my body.
Saldor Shallowbrook says: Wise. Anything else I can do for you?

Meanwhile, finally, Seria finds the correct file that is labeled for less than two weeks ago from Ranger Summerdrake. It appears to be the file she’s looking for. She grabs it in her mouth, paws the drawer closed, then turns into a fly. The file absorbs into her body as she does.

Saldor looks back, as he heard something. He notes the fly, but he turns back to Gil.

Saldor Shallowbrook says: Very well. Good luck on your travels, and remember what you promised to speak with Sylvanas about.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Yeah. Of course. But, if you didn’t believe my first promise, I suppose the second one…

Saldor grumbles and slams the door. Meanwhile, a fly lands on Gil’s shoulder.

They return to the group. Loania also walks back into the lodge, and Ranger Summerdrake is accompanying her.

Jalinde Summerdrake says: Ah. I had a feeling that you’d returned with Loania. As I told Loania, Voldana and the rest of her group have headed north to assist our people at the elfgate. Not a large group, but a group. I hope that’s sufficient.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: One of us is worth at least 100 humans.

Lieren shoots Gil a dirty look, but Jalinde smirks.

Jalinde Summerdrake says: On that, you and I agree. Well, if you need anything else, tell me, otherwise, good luck on your travel back north. I assume that’s where you’re heading.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Very shortly, yes. Hopefully shouldn't take too long.
Jalinde Summerdrake says: Hopefully not. Good fortune, Loania, whatever you choose to do. You’re still welcome here, even if your mother’s not here right now.

Jalinde walks away. Loania looks down for a moment, and she’s clearly wrestling with the fact she wants to say something.

Gil throws his arm around Loania’s shoulder.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: How about we get something to eat?

The distraction doesn't work.

Loania says: Ranger Summerdrake!

Jalinde stops and turns.

Jalinde Summerdrake says: Yes, Loania?
Lieren says: Loania!
Loania says: Why did you do it?
Jalinde Summerdrake says: Do what, dear?
Loania says: Why did you attack the trolls? The tribe? The Darkspear? We saw the arrows. Why did you do it? You were just supposed to tell them they could be free, not attack them.

Jalinde sighs.

Jalinde Summerdrake says: Loania, dear. What I chose to do was ensure that our mission can continue to be done to its completion. Those trolls are trolls. Without us watching over them, it was only a matter of time until they would strike at us, or another one of our people, or one of the human villages. I didn’t kill them. I simply told them they are no longer welcome in the Hinterlands. Perhaps it would have been easier to do the former, but I didn’t. I can’t expect you to understand. So don’t attempt to. You are young, and you are human. But you are also not a farstrider. If you take umbrage with how I operate my lodge, then you can take it up with your mother. Not with me. Good afternoon, Loania.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Ranger Summerdrake.
Jalinde Summerdrake says: Yes, Windrunner?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Just so you know, that tribe is fleeing to another tribe for protection. I wonder what will come of that?
Jalinde Summerdrake says: I don’t care.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: You will when they come to our shore.
Jalinde Summerdrake says: They tried before, Gilveradin.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: And they’ll kill us, and we kill them, and it spins and spins, doesn’t it?
Jalinde Summerdrake says: If that’s what’s required to protect our people, then yes, it will.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Just remember those trolls turned on their people to help us. And this is how you repay them.

Gil turns to leave.

Jalinde Summerdrake says: Perhaps it would be wise for you to stay out of the Hinterlands as well, Gilveradin. After all, a friend of trolls is not welcome here. Selama ashal'anore.

The group heads back to the landing site, feeling unwelcome eyes on them. Loania is looking fairly dejected.

Lieren says: So what are you gonna do, sister? You’re not sticking around here after that, are you?
Loania says: I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: That dragonhawk belongs to your mother, right? She might need it, and you might need someone to talk to.
Loania says: You’re right. I love these people, but I’ve never seen this side of them before. I don’t want to be here right now. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should go with you. For now, at least.

Loania wipes a tear out of her eye.

Loania says: Come on. Lets get out of here, I don’t want to be here anymore.

Gil gives her a hug.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: Yeah, we can leave.

She almost clings to Gil as she reciprocates the hug.

Lieren says: Well, I reckon I’m not going to let my sister fly into the storm of a war without backup. I hope you don’t mind if we stop over at Aerie Peak so I can tell my da’.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Of course. I understand wanting to be able to contact your parent.
Lieren says: Yeah, and not all of us have them handy little stones there.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I know a guy, if you have the money.
Lieren says: I might. Might be worth it.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: You know Loania, you might be meeting my sister. And she may be able to teach you a trick or two.
Loania says: Does she use magic too?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: She even favors the same magic as you.
Loania says: I’ve never met a mage before. Has she been to Dalaran?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: She was trained there.
Loania says: Wow. I real live member of the Kirin Tor. I always wanted to go there. Maybe I should. So I can learn more. And maybe so I can protect people, and do something next time something like this happens.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Unfortunately, that wasn’t a fight we could win.
Loania says: Thank you, Gil. I’m sorry I said something.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I was eventually going to say something. I was hoping it would have been less public. But maybe it was better it wasn't.
Loania says: Jalinde is like an aunt. I’ve known her my own life. So to see that darkness in her… the whole world is like that, isn’t it?

Gil pauses.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: But if there wasn’t anything dark, how would you know what light is?
Loania says: I guess that does make sense. I never thought about it that way. Thank you, Gil, really, for everything.

She hugs him again, and Gil returns the hug.

Later on, after they left, Gil also looks over the report that Seria stole. Jalinde had deployed with all the dragonhawks, and they delivered the message, as was required. They returned the next night, no casualties. The arrows loosed were logged under hunting and gathering. There was also a full inventory of what was used.

There was no evidence that they did anything underhanded, but perhaps if someone with a more discerning eye might see something else. Perhaps a Ranger-General.

Seria is clearly still very angry.

November 25th (Early Morning)

More and more people are rousing as Indomitable is taken away to recover. Runners are darting to wake up important people.

Uther rushes over to Marwyn, informing him of what happened, and ordering that he needs 25 knights mounted up and ready to ride. Marwyn starts barking out orders immediately.

Vel has started to spam sendings to try and locate Arthas. None of the sendings result in a response. Nothing from Arthas. Nothing from Calia. Nothing from Falric. She immediately starts to summon her phantom steed, a circle of icy energy materializing and she begins the incantation for the ritual.

Uther sends Remnii to inform Victor, and she asks Uther if he wants her to go. Uther simply says that it will be dangerous, but he trusts her to make her own decision. Vittoria also informs Uther she’s going.

Remnii makes a noise on the outside of Victor's tent.

Remnii says: Victor.
Victor says: What is it? Remnii?
Remnii says: Something has happened. Indomitable.

She explains the situation.

Remnii says: And that’s where we are.
Victor Prestor says: My mother?
Remnii says: No sign of her.
Victor Prestor says: I’ll be out in a moment.
Remnii says: I’ll be at the stables if you need me.

There is mass commotion. Elissa and Arator have readied their mounts. Victor arrives with a small group of Alterac knights as well as Lady Celeste of the Silver Hand.

Julia Celeste says: I may be able to assist you in tracking them down. Anything to find the queen and King Arthas.
Victor Prestor says: Get ready to ride. We don’t have much time.

It’s a cool day. The sky is still and cloudy.

They huge group starts to follow the road due southeast, and they arrive at Eastwall Tower. They catch up to a few scouts, and they reported that they saw a flighted creature appear flying over Eastwall Tower. It seemed to have come from the mountains that separated Tyr’s Hand from the expansive Greenwood.

They stop to camp a bit away from Eastwall Tower. Meanwhile, Gil and his group has arrived at Last Crossing.

Gil quickly sees everyone is in high alert. Valeera approaches Gil and nods to him.

Valeera Sanguinar says: Gilveradin. It’s been a while.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Wish it was better circumstances.
Valeera Sanguinar says: Not the only one. Your sister and Prince Uther already headed out on the road that heads southeast.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: What happened?
Valeera Sanguinar says: All we know is apparently Arthas’s horse came flying in and crash landed. Beyond that, no one else was there. No elves or scouts have picked up anything.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Where’s his horse?
Valeera Sanguinar says: At the stables. I can take you.

They go to see Indomitable. The Lordaeron veterinarian identifies Gil as one of Uther’s companions. Loania and Lieren had gone to find Voldana. Meanwhile, Seria is accompanying Gil in animal form. Gil uses speak with animals.

Gilveradin Windrunner says:' Indomitable, could you tell me what happened?

Indomitable looks to Gil.

Indomitable says: You. You were one of Uther’s friends. One of his companions.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Yes.
Indomitable says: Please, you must go and help him.

The horse almost tries to get up. The veterinarian tries to calm him.

Indomitable says: Arthas is in danger.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Where is he? Do you know?
Indomitable says: He sent me after we left the church. The road. They were beset. The lake in the distance. I don’t know where it was. I flew over a lake, a river, and a tower. The storm made it difficult to see. Please. You must help him.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: I will. But you need to rest.
Indomitable says: I can help! I can lead you there! Please
Gilveradin Windrunner says: You can’t even stand.

Indomitable relents, and settles down.

Indomitable says: You must guide his child. Save him, please. There were many of them. They were skilled.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Who were they?
Indomitable says: I do not know.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Did they have a banner?
Indomitable says: Clad in black. Assassins. There were many. I did not see how many. Arthas could hold off most of them, but he sent me nonetheless. I fear for them. He is mighty, but they were skilled, and they commanded magics.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: We’ll find them and save Arthas.
Indomitable says: You will. Please. Protect Uther. You must make sure Uther and Radiant are alright. They cannot fall to the same darkness.
Gilveradin Windrunner says: Rest so you can help later.

Indomitable calms a bit, and the veterinarian looks at Gil.

Lordaeron Veterinarian says: You understood what he said?
Gilveradin Windrunner says: He’s a very smart horse.

The vet is amazed, and expresses that Gil is something magnificent. She expresses they are counting on him.

That evening, Vel receives a sending from Gil with the information. She informs Uther. Light’s Hope Chapel will likely be the best place to check.

Lieren tells Gil that she and Graysoar can fly him. Valeera asks Gil if he wants her to go with him. Lieren said that Graysoar can’t fly three.

Valeera says she will try to get down to Light’s Hope Chapel, or at least get word to some contacts. Gil gives her his sending stone so she can contact Vel directly. Gil then gives Loania the report from Quel’Danil, and tells her to deliver it to his aunt with information it was falsified. Loania asks if he's sure, and he assures her that she is the best person for the job right now.

Lieren and Gil set off on Graysoar.

November 26th

The group arrives at the edge of the lake near Light’s Hope Chapel. It’s known as Lake Abundance. At that moment, they see a gryphon overhead, which comes down and lands in their midst. A raven flies off the back of the gryphon.

Gil is greeted by the group, and he quickly introduces Lieren and Graysoar as well. Uther then goes to speak to Victor, who is staring across the lake.

Uther Menethil says: Victor.

Victor snaps back to Uther.

Victor Prestor says: Uther. We don’t have much daylight left. We should keep going.
Uther Menethil says: I was actually coming to consult with you on that. We don’t have much daylight. But. I have a hunch we are very close.
Victor Prestor says: We don’t have time to waste. Every second-- every second…
Uther Menethil says: Every second the trail grows colder, I know. But if they are waiting to ambush us, this bridge is ideal.
Victor Prestor says: Frankly, I don’t give a shit! They can try all they want. But I’m not going to let them stop me from finding them.
Uther Menethil says: Victor, I want to cross this bridge as much as you do, but we have responsibilities--to ourselves, to our parents, and to the men we led here. If you are prepared to walk into a trap as the sun falls, I would have a hard time disagreeing with you. But it would be irresponsible not to bring that up. At the very least, it has to be all or nothing. Our entire column goes across that bridge and we make camp on the first islet we find.
Victor Prestor says: Lets just make camp. The sooner we do, the sooner we find them, and the sooner we kill whoever was responsible.
Uther Menethil says: Justice will be served.

Uther gives Victor a hug.

Uther Menethil says: We’re going to find them. You know that, right?

As Uther hugs him, it’s clear Victor is terrified. He’s trembling.

Vel continues to try and ping for Arthas, but she is still having no luck.

November 27th

They cross the bridge, and it’s a lot warmer than it has been. However, the connection to the very end of the bridge is out.

Uther Menethil says: I don’t like the look of this.

On the far side, there are bodies.

Uther Menethil says: Dammit.
Victor Prestor says: We need to get across. The lake’s not that deep, is it?

Uther pulls out the charm he received in Statholme, and the anchor on it begins to glow. There is the sound of rushing water, and an ethereal anchor flashes in the sky over 11 horses.

With a tentative step, Radiant steps on the water, and he walks across.

People steadily get ferried over, and they look about. Many of the bodies by the shore are black-furred knolls. But as they look further into the woods, they start to see flicks of red and the signs of battle, and blood-soaked snow.

Then Uther sees the first glint of Lordaeranean steel. It was the body of a knight that was with Arthas.

Seria flies through, and she sees many other bodies. They are similarly clad, and also those with black armor and an orange eagle.

The group wades further in, and it is very clear there was a battle here. There are also humanoid bodies clad in black with long cloaks.

But there is no sign of Arthas or Calia.

However, as Uther looks through the bodies, he sees the winged helmet of Falric torn off of a head, and a body slumped against the tree. Three black cloaked individuals are slain in the snow beneath him, blood on his sword and their weapons.

As cloaks are pulled back, it appears the cloaked figures are human. There’s one half-elf. But there are many more knight bodies than those of the assassins.

Victor kneels next to one of the Alterac knights, a man by the name of Captain Trand.

Victor Prestor says: What happened here?

Gil senses a group of living people further to the west with his primeval awareness. Perhaps 3-5 miles beyond.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: Uther. They’re not here anymore.
Uther Menethil says: We need to decide on our next move.

As Seria is flying about, she finds evidence of someone being dragged. She follows after it, and there is a figure kneeling in the snow a short distance away. She flies a bit closer, and it appears she is not alive.

She’s wearing well-made, travelers clothes. Her throat was slit.

Seria takes a clasp, and brings it back to Gil. It’s a crest. A golden eagle. Gil brings it to Victor.

Victor Prestor says: Where did you find this? This was my mother’s. Where did you find this?

Gil looks at the raven.

Gilveradin Windrunner says: You need to talk to him.
Uther Menethil says: I’m sorry, what? What’s happened.
Victor Prestor says: I would like to know that as well. Look, if you’re the one that found this, tell your pet to bring me to where you found this, now, please!

Seria doesn't transform, but she takes off, and Victor sprints after her. As he rounds into the clearing, he freezes.

The figure is Calia. A trail of blood leading to her.

Victor Prestor says: No. No no no no. No this is… Mother!

He runs over to her and drops down to his knees, grabbing her shoulders.

Victor Prestor says: Mother, you have to wake up. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening. You can’t be dead. Please. You have to wake up. Someone DO SOMETHING. PLEASE. PLEASE. DO SOMETHING.

He pulls her into an embrace. Uther also drops to his knees and starts sobbing, realizing that not only Falric, but his aunt is also dead.

Victor Prestor says: Who could do this. No.

Uther then stands, and goes over to Victor.

Uther Menethil says: We should take her back with us.
Victor Prestor says: We have to... There has to be something that someone can do. She can’t be gone. She CAN’T be.
Uther Menethil says: Not anyone here.
Victor Prestor says: I wasn’t fast enough. I shouldn’t have left her. I shouldn’t have left. We have to bring her back. There has to be something.
Remnii says: For now I can put a gentle repose on her…

She trots forward carefully.

Remnii says: And while I am not suggesting who or where, I can speak with the dead if you choose so.
Uther Menethil says: She was my aunt. But I leave that decision to Victor. She’s his mother.
Victor Prestor says: Give me a moment, please.
Ashwynn Menethil says: Uther. There’s a graveyard and a chapel not far from here, you know. If we need to inter these men, we can do so there. Those we cannot bring back. From there we can decide what to do next.
Uther Menethil says: And we shall.
Ashwynn Menethil says: And where father is.

There was no sign of Arthas.

One of the Alterac knights report back, and they inform him that of the registries the Lordaeron and Alterac knights had, Arthas was one of the only ones missing save three Alterac knights. It was possible they had fled.

Gil starts to look around, and he finds some old tracks. A bit further from the battlefield, there seems to be tracks that lead away. There is some blood dried into the snowy grass, but eventually the tracks stop. Gone without a trace. There were about seven humanoids in a sporadic pattern.

Gil calls for Seria, and she alights on his shoulder. He asks her to take a look at things.

She finds some boot prints that may have been their ambush spot. As well as gnaw marks on a tree, which may have been from the knolls.

Gil informs Vel that the footsteps cut off, and as Vel follows, she summons Arkha’din so that she can borrow his eyes.

As Arkha’din appears, she senses transmutation magic over the entire area, as well as conjuration magic at the site where the tracks disappeared, and she immediately starts to poke around the area.

Remnii uses speak with dead on Falric.

Uther Menethil says: What did you see, Falric?
Falric says: Assailants were quick, stuck under cover of a snap storm. I fought them off as hard as I could. I saw naught else.
Uther Menethil says: Where were you ambushed from?
Falric says: The bridge was out. Gnolls attacked. We fended them off, but it was a ruse. A distraction. Our attention was drawn elsewhere. That is where the assailants struck. But nothing beyond.
Uther Menethil says: Do you know what happened to my father?
Falric says: He and I were separated during the conflict. They took queen Calia, and he pursued. I covered him. But lost track of him in the snow.

Uther is choking back tears.

Uther Menethil says: No suspicious behavior from anyone in your party?

Falric’s head shakes slightly.

Falric says: None that I saw, your highness. I’m sorry.
Uther Menethil says: How many did you fell before you were brought low?
Falric says: Four, my lord. And a fifth wounded ere he laid me low. But upon the 3rd, one of the leaders, from the looks of it, as they left me for dead.

He gestures at one of the bodies around him.

Falric says: I found this.

His hand opens slightly. There’s a crumpled piece of parchment, charred, and soaked with blood.

Falric says: If you’ve not found him, I think he’s alive. This can tell you more, son. My life for the king.

The light leaves his body, and he slumps back. The tension leaves his arm, but the parchment is still in his hand.

Uther Menethil says: I’ll make sure they are brought to justice. Thank you Falric. Thank you.

Uther sheds a few more tears, and he picks up the paper. The note is written in a dark, yet refined hand.

Ashwynn Menethil says: What does it say?
Uther Menethil says: Cryptic. Unwelcome. The last thing we needed is more enemies. Let us conclude our business here. We’ll have a discussion tonight at Light’s Chapel.

Ashwynn nods solemnly.

Ashwynn Menethil says: I’ll bring the marshal.

Uther helps with Falric. During the night, Uther also addresses his closest companions about a private meeting that night.

Eventually, Victor does return, cradling the body of his mother in his arms.

Vel has been poking around the bodies, identifying causes of death. She carefully also examines Calia, and is able to identify that she was attacked from the front--not from behind as would indicate some sort of directly betrayal. Vel is also able to identify all the gnolls as having black fur, and upon examining the dead non-gnoll enemies, Vel uncovers something else.

Bright orange-gold rings are on the fingers of all the assassins. They are dug into the flesh of the people there, and upon yanking one off, dead flesh comes with it. When Vel identifies it, she uncovers it’s a very illegal magical item: a ring of loyalty. Which kills the wearer when they are brought down, so they can’t be taken alive.

Vel quickly goes and starts to collect the others, stashing them away.

They group then goes to the chapel, and the last rites are performed over those that were killed. At Ashwynn’s insistence, she wanted Falric to be buried at the capital.

Then, the core group meets at a small inn. The woman there informs them their rounds are covered, especially after seeing the procession of the dead nights being brought back to Light’s Hope. She introduces herself as Jessica, and hurries away to get some food prepared.

Uther Menethil says: Well. I’m afraid we have a new foe. And very, very little information by which to identify it. Falric was clutching this parchment. ‘The Seven-Sided Stars have blinded the lions, and its Wake has blinded the lambs. The time to strike is now. Bring the King, kill the rest. No witnesses, no survivors. The mountains will run crimson with fire and blood. Prove your teeth have been not dulled by the citrine eagle and there may yet be a place for you in the new world. Signed by GOD’
Benjamin Ward says: Excuse me for being uncertain, my lord, but what the hell does this mean.
Uther Menethil says: Well. Unfortunately it’s hard to tell through the code. But at the very least, there is a force at play. One I am wholly unfamiliar with.

He passes the note around so everyone can read it for themselves.

Velameestra Windrunner says: The citrine eagle, I don't think, can be anything but Alterac. The lion may potentially be Stormwind. But if it directly references an organization whose 'teeth have been dulled'... potentially the Syndicate?

Victor swears loudly at the mention of the Syndicate, driving a knife into the table with a degree of fury.

Uther asks Vel how far sending can reach, and she confirms she can reach anyone on their plane of existence. He asks her to send Anduin to see if he knows anything about a "seven-sided star" and Vel asks if she should give Anduin any context. He tells her no, and she complies. Anduin clearly sounds quite baffled, but says the only thing he can think of was potentially the seven kingdoms, but beyond that, he isn't sure. Vel thanks him, and informs the rest of the group.

Some further discussion continues, and it's presented for Remnii to use speak with dead again on some of the bodies of the assassins. The counter point provided was that they wouldn't reveal anything to enemies, to which Vel provides she is capable of a degree of illusion magic that can be used to mask their identities. She would just need the night to prepare the appropriate incantations.

It's agreed that there is nothing to lose, as they have to stay the night anyway, and ultimately, they could only potentially have information to gain.

It's also mentioned that they should send Jaina, and Uther asks Vel if she can do so. Vel agrees, but looks clearly uncomfortable, which Remnii picks up on. Remnii offers that she could do it instead, and Vel nods appreciatively, worried that she wouldn't be able to get the words correct.

Soon after, Uther and Vittoria ride out with one or two other knights to fetch the bodies.

Vittoria Trollbane says: Uther.
Uther Menethil says: Yes, Vittoria.
Vittoria Trollbane says: I’m not going to ask you if you’re alright, but, what can I do for you?
Uther Menethil says: Riding with me is a good start.
Vittoria Trollbane says: I can do that. That ain’t hard. We’re gonna get to the bottom of this.
Uther Menethil says: We don’t have a choice.
Vittoria Trollbane says: When we head back to Last Crossing, we’ll figure out what to do next. I’ll be wherever you need me to be.

Uther offers a smile.

Uther Menethil says: Right there is good.

Vittoria smiles back with a sad, but still sweet, smile.

They retrieve the bodies, and they return to Light’s Hope.

Meanwhile, after the meeting adjourns, Vel hangs back to speak with Victor.

Victor Prestor says: Velameestra. What is it?

There is a degree of hesitation.

Velameestra Windrunner says: There is... not much, words can do, I know. But... I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry.
Victor Prestor says: You're... sorry?

Victor almost seems to laugh, throwing his hands up for a moment.

Victor Prestor says: What do you even say to that in this situation? Thank you?
Velameestra Windrunner says: ...There's... not much to say, I suppose. I guess, sometimes, it's... just good to know that someone's there. But... regardless.

She begins to retreat. Victor looks after her for a moment.

Victor Prestor says: Velameestra. You know I don't like you. Why do you even bother to tell me this?

There's a heavy pause for a moment as Vel looks back over her shoulder.

Velameestra Windrunner says: Because... I... know what it's like. To lose a mother.

Victor is clearly taken aback, and he bites his lip. There's another silence for a moment, and Vel continues to leave. Victor lets her go.

Remnii pulls Vel aside to listen to her sendings and get filled in on what she was saying as she contacts Jaina.

Remnii says: Jaina. Ill news. Indomitable flew to Last Crossing two days ago. Less than a week ago his party was felled. Calia has passed. Falric has passed. Arthas is still missing. When you are ready, let me know. I’m so sorry.

There is silence for a moment.

Jaina Menethil says: I see. Thank you for telling me, Remnii. I will see what I can learn. And make preparations otherwise. The war will not wait for us. Is Uther okay? Is Ashwynn? Everyone else? Is there anything else I can do for you now?

Jaina sounds like she’s on the verge of tears. Remnii’s face falls again.

Remnii says: Uther, Ashwynn are okay. Scrying could help. Or research into a seven-sided star. We were left with little. Cryptic. Will need help.
Jaina Menethil says: I understand. I’ll do everything I can. I will make sure the kingdom is ready for whatever comes. I won’t be able to leave. But I wish to help.

As Uther and Vittoria return with the remains, Ashwynn and Benjamin are still keeping watch, but they overhear a snippet of their conversation.

Benjamin Ward says: Your highness, I don’t know who else it could be. You’re the obvious choice. Someone is going to need to take over. If anyone was going to bear that crest, it should be you, my lady. Oh. Your Highness.
Uther Menethil says: Sir Benjamin. Sister.
Ashwynn Menethil says: Lets get them somewhere safe so we can do this on the morrow and ride back to the fortress.
Uther Menethil says: Agreed.

They stash the two bodies in the chapel, and Uther speaks to Ashwynn.

Uther Menethil says: Sir Benjamin was discussing who should be regent with you until we find father, yes?

There is a pause from Ashwynn.

Ashwynn Menethil says: No. Who should lead the royal guard. In Falric’s memory. Many of the knights that were killed were among our most veteran. We are shy of a dozen now. He believes I am the most qualified. I… sir Falric had expressed on many occasions that he wished for me to take up the mantle, but I did not expect it to come this soon.
Uther Menethil says: For what it’s worth, I think sir Benjamin is right. And… if I’m being honest, I could count on one hand the amount of times Falric was wrong.

Ashwynn chews on her bottom lip, and a tear pools in her eye and she throws her arms around Uther. Uther hugs her back.

Ashwynn Menethil says: I won’t let you down, Uther. I will not. Under any circumstances. I won’t let them down either.
Uther Menethil says: We won’t let them down.