[Horde] Chapter Three: Session Twenty-Two

Appearing Characters: Aracyra, Arthak Saurfang, Azgadaan, Blackhand, Cho'gall, Dal'rend Blackhand, Gramgun Laughingeye, Gul'dan, Halno, Jubei'thos, Kargath Bladefist, Khadgar, Lantresor, Levia Blackflight, Nallorath, Nyxxa, Relgor, Sadine Summerflow, Sadras, Samaara, Shaspira, Silansalia Winterwind, Slazsazach, Teron'gor, Thura Saurfang, Varok Saurfang

December 20th (Early Morning)

There is still a thin layer of mist in the air as the warband regroups with Dal’rend in the aftermath. The naga and his dog-like creature is still following.

Arthak Saurfang says: So, what exactly happened, Dal’rend?
Dal'rend Blackhand says: I spoke to the elder as per your instructions. He suspected that the magistrix may have an escape plan for herself or her followers, so I led a small strike force into the underground as you began your infiltration in a hopes to curtail any assistance coming in or out. Little did I expect to find the mage herself. She put up a good fight she did, but when we unleashed the Red Mist she sacrificed herself to protect the slaves she drug with her. Her own reinforcements arrived before I could deal the final blow, but I saw what she became. I don’t believe she’ll be troubling us.
Arthak Saurfang says: At least not for some time. Well done, Dal’rend.
Dal'rend Blackhand says: And the same to you, Arthak. Had you not driven her out she would be plaguing her still.
Arthak Saurfang says: I see the Mist has been deployed beyond your skirmish?

Rend looks up and the remnants of mist.

Dal'rend Blackhand says: On that I cannot say. I do not believe this was anticipated. There was some commotion at the Spire and elsewhere around the city.
Arthak Saurfang says: I see. Hm. I should make contact and debrief with the elder and your father, should he be willing. Still, the first barrier is down. Good.
Dal'rend Blackhand says: I would not be surprised if the Warsong at least had started to pour through the gates.
Arthak Saurfang says: Grom was eager to venture out of this place. His instincts were correct in that.
Dal'rend Blackhand says: I find they often are.
Arthak Saurfang says: What now?

Rend glances around.

Dal'rend Blackhand says: I wager the warchief will be summoning us soon. Those in the city will discuss our battle plans.
Arthak Saurfang says: Makes sense. Well. I need to get ready before. I, ah… I need to see what else has transpired, but, excellent work tonight. It appears you stole my kill. Sort of.
Dal'rend Blackhand says: I wouldn’t say that. Rarely is a hunt accomplished by one, after all. This was your doing, Arthak. Your coalition that drove her into hiding.
Arthak Saurfang says: And your glaive that saw to the culmination.

Arthak offers a hand, and Dal’rend accepts it.

Dal'rend Blackhand says: I have my own things to attend to before the warchief calls.
Arthak Saurfang says: Of course. I intend to return to Gramgun’kur as soon as whatever plans for the Horde are made, but in the meantime, if you have need of me, Dal’rend, feel free to call.

Dal’rend nods.

Dal'rend Blackhand says: I’ll do that. Lok’tar, chieftain.
Arthak Saurfang says: Lok’tar.

Rend leaves, and Arthak turns back to the warband. The naga is looking around in disdain. Arthak points him in the direction of the nearest body of water. He looks to the rest one last time.

Slazsazach says [Darnassian]: May we never meet again. Good hunting.

The duo of the naga and fish-dog starts to head away across the dry land in the direction he was pointed.

Halno says: I can’t understand him, but I assume he was pleasant.
Arthak Saurfang says: He never wants to see us again.
Halno says: We’re not dead. Pleasant enough.

Meanwhile, Levia was tending to Azgadaan’s bite from the shark, which Azgadaan explains where he got it from. It was a giant ooze of some kind. Levia just shakes her head.

Levia Blackflight says: Don’t jump into anymore shark infested pools, why don’t you?
Azgadaan says: Something tells me we will have to deal with it sooner or later.
Levia Blackflight says: Or we could just… not. It’s not my decision, ultimately.
Azgadaan says: From what I’ve observed this may be a new place for the Broken Blade, so we may need to deal with it.
Levia Blackflight says: We could always slap a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on it, but not my clan.

She looks at Nallorath and offers to try and calm him down. Nallorath backs away, and there’s a whitish-silver ripple as she casts lesser restoration. The terrified elf’s breathing seems to slow slightly, at least.

Levia Blackflight says: There, is that better, or…?

Nallorath nods his head rapidly, though he’s still clearly quite scared.

Nyxxa says: So what’s the plan, Arthak?
Arthak Saurfang says: Well. First off, I know that not all of you are proud of the things we have accomplished today, or the things we have helped to accomplish. But I would ask you to be proud of how we fought together. In there we were a warband in more than name, and that at least is worthy of pride. But, as for the plan, I need to see Gul’dan. Sadras, would you be able to make a trek back to Gramgun’kur? We need to get ready. Things will happen quickly and we need to be ready for that.
Sadras says: Yeah, I can do that. It won’t be bad to check up on everyone.
Arthak Saurfang says: Exactly. As for the rest of you, take what time you need, and see to what you need to. Things are going to be busy very soon. Before long the warchief will summon us, but for now, well-done. Take a rest. It’s earned. As for the manor, in time we will clear it out, but, Halno, other than a garrison for protection, this manor would be best served in this manor.
Halno says: Huh. All the terrible things I will do.

Levia gives him a sideways look.

Halno says: I’m kidding. You know, Arthak. In regards to letting Runesight in, we could let him in before we turn anything off?
Arthak Saurfang says: That will be on him. Regardless, it’s something to consider. Is there anything any of you need to say to me? Otherwise, I need to speak with Gul’dan.

Halno informs them that he needs to go and speak with Teron’gor of the Shadowmoon.

Nyxxa says: One thing. Do we know what happened?

She gestures to the mist.

Arthak Saurfang says: That’s why I need to speak with Gul’dan.
Nyxxa says: Ah.
Azgadaan says: I don’t have much business left here. I can go with Sadras to the other side. I can summon us a vessel that will be quicker.
Arthak Saurfang says: You would have my thanks, and, actually, Azgadaan, another favor? Once you return to the island, the sooner I can be in contact with Lady Shaspira, the better. If you could inform her of that.
Azgadaan says: Do you need anything specific?
Arthak Saurfang says: Just ask that I’m inquiring if she will be present at the chieftain’s war council.
Azgadaan says: Do we know when that is?
Arthak Saurfang says: No, but it will be soon.
Azgadaan says: I’ll see what I can do.
Arthak Saurfang says: Thank you.
Azgadaan says: Nyxxa, Levia, what are your plans?
Nyxxa says: I’d like to stay here to see what’s going on.
Levia Blackflight says: In that case, I’ll stick with her. It wouldn’t be smart to split up. If that’s okay, Nyxxa.
Nyxxa says: Of course. It might be good to take…

She looks at Nallorath.

Nyxxa says: Nallorath to make sure he’s in a safe place.
Azgadaan says: Would he be safer with me or with you?
Nyxxa says: I think at the Broken Blade camp if I’m being honest.
Azgadaan says: Alright.
Nyxxa says: I would try to keep speaking with him. Just keep an eye on him and how he is.
Azgadaan says: I will try. Sadras, how do you feel about driving a boat?
Sadras says: I have no idea, but I can’t be that different from riding a frostwolf, right?
Azgadaan says: just a bit different.

Azgadaan grins.

Sadras says: I mean you’re going through the water, it’s not like there’s anything to run into, right?

Arthak kisses Sadras real quick, and then heads off.

There is a mixture of conversation about the barrier dropping and the strange creature they saw slithering by amongst the slowly waking orcs in the area. Azgadaan, Nallorath, and Sadras take off from the shore, and Azgadaan shows Sadras the controls.

Nyxxa and Levia head out in the direction of the gardens that Nyxxa had visited with Caria. When they arrive, Levia speaks up.

Levia Blackflight says: Uh. Nyxxa. There is something I wanted to tell you. There wasn’t a good time for it.
Nyxxa says: Is this something I should check for…?
Levia Blackflight says: It wouldn’t hurt, yeah.

Nyxxa uses see invisibility and it seems they are good.

Nyxxa says: Okay. What’s the matter?
Levia Blackflight says: Um. Before we headed in, we… I, um… somebody contacted me. Remember who we talked about a week or so ago?
Nyxxa says: Oh! Oh. Yes. Her?

Levia nods.

Levia Blackflight says: Turns out she can reach out through dreams. On the plus side, she knows what I am now, so that takes care of that.
Nyxxa says: How did it go?
Levia Blackflight says: She… was a little surprised, I think, but she wasn’t angry.
Nyxxa says: Well that’s good.

Nyxxa puts a hand on Levia’s shoulder.

Nyxxa says: Was she just checking in?
Levia Blackflight says: Yeah. She knows Kilnar. The Magistrix we didn’t find. I told her we were going in, plus… other stuff.
Nyxxa says: What did you tell her? Or is this one of these things I shouldn’t know?
Levia Blackflight says: I mentioned I met some people I trust. She knows you, which you know that, and she asked about you. I think she heard about you. She said she was with someone you knew. Someone named Remnii. I figured you might want to know she’s alright. She’s safe and doing well.
Nyxxa says: That’s good to know.
Levia Blackflight says: I’m glad. I don’t want anyone else to know about her. I didn’t tell her who else I’m with. I don’t want her to reach out, and I don’t want them to find her.
Nyxxa says: Very good. I won’t tell them, then. Us girls need to watch out for each other.

Levia smiles.

Levia Blackflight says: Yeah.
Nyxxa says: So, how are you holding up, after all that?
Levia Blackflight says: I’m glad she was able to get out. I hope she was able to get out completely. I know I’ll have to do some things that I don’t like, but the less blood I have to spill of my people, the better I’ll sleep at least.
Nyxxa says: We can only do what we can. But in the situations in the future, if we don’t spill the blood, someone else will.
Levia Blackflight says: And if it comes between that or losing my own life, I know what I have to do.
Nyxxa says: it’s not going to be easy, but easier if we stick together. We got each other's back.
Levia Blackflight says: Yeah. Anyways. What is this place?
Nyxxa says: Caria showed me. I remembered it when I was here. Similar to someplace my people would pray, I think. Caria said it was the queen’s gardens at one point.
Levia Blackflight says: I guess that would make sense. This place probably hasn’t been used much, then, beyond just by, well…
Nyxxa says: Caria said she died before the war.

Levia nods.

Levia Blackflight says: I was young when it happened. 20 some years ago, during the Second Troll Wars, most of the royal family was killed. Assassinated by trolls. The queen was among them.
Nyxxa says: Oh. That’s finally something I remember that’s here. They’re still around. I suppose we’ll be running into them sooner or later then. But, between you and me, I’ve come here to pray.
Levia Blackflight says: Pray? I didn’t take you for the religious sort.
Nyxxa says: I think I used to be, but something is telling me it’s what I should do right now. If I can’t do anything else, it’s just something to bring me comfort.
Levia Blackflight says: Well, don’t let me stop you.

She gestures forward and hangs back so Nyxxa has space. Nyxxa prays, and they spend some time relaxing.

Meanwhile, Halno and Arthak head toward the Stormreaver Spire, which seems to be the locus of the mist remnants. Halno is keeping an eye out for Teron’gor while he checks in.

The duo heads in, and they learn that both of the orcs of the moment are present, though tending to different things. They are both in the upper levels, and the duo ascends. There are signs of conflict. Blood stains that weren’t there before. Bodies. Broken arrows. Eventually they make it up to the room that Gul’dan had formerly shown Arthak the Red Mist. It is now crawling with warlocks and necrolytes--some of which likely death knights like Halno--but there was clearly a battle here. The door is blown off its hinges, and there are bodies of two dozen or more wretched elves which are also charred to bits. On the far side, Gul’dan and Teron’gor are inside the room, looking at the glass containment case for the Red Mist, which was now shattered.

Gul’dan and Teron’gor look up at their approach, and they move to meet them.

Gul'dan says: Arthak. Halno. It’s good to see you.
Arthak Saurfang says: And you, elder. I see your preparations. Has your trap achieved what was intended?

Gul’dan smiles.

Gul'dan says: That remains to be seen, my young friend. This trophy was claimed by the Resistance, it seems while your warband infiltrated the Seeker of Wisdom’s sanctum, they saw fit to strike here, among other places.
Arthak Saurfang says: As we expected they might.
Gul'dan says: Quite right you were, Arthak. I wager they now believe the Red Mist no longer poses a threat to them. And with the barrier now dropped, I wager they will begin the next processes in relieving themselves from this--our--city.
Arthak Saurfang says: It makes sense.
Halno says: Then they’ve already lost.
Arthak Saurfang says: In fact.
Gul'dan says: How went your raid upon the magistrix’s sanctum?
Arthak Saurfang says: A strange success. She was able to escape, but not before Dal’rend, on your instruction, was able to find her. While he reported the Red Mist only claimed one target, that target was Kilnar herself.
Gul'dan says: Good. Good. I’m glad to hear that you were able to find success, Arthak. You should know that the warchief will be calling any of the chieftains in the city to meet at the Sunwell Plateau at the meeting chamber where you so boldly gave your last statement.
Arthak Saurfang says: Unsurprising.
Gul'dan says: The meeting will occur the night after tomorrow, giving everyone time to deploy their warriors. You’d be wise to send a representative at the very least.
Arthak Saurfang says: Gramgun’kur is not far. I’ll be present personally.
Gul'dan says: Good. I would hear what you have to say at that meeting. I look forward to your performance, young Saurfang.
Arthak Saurfang says: In light of that, I had a question, elder.
Gul'dan says: Of course.
Arthak Saurfang says: With the information I have to my likely posting, I intend to relent to this demand of the warchief’s, but… it’s going to take resources to protect the portal. Especially with Quel’danas being exposed navally. And with our own fleets lacking at present, that entire island will need to be fortified as quickly as we can, and I have concerns about whether the warchief will grant me the resources I need.
Gul'dan says: Yet you are correct, if we are to protect our foothold, we need all the defenses we can get. If he denies you, it would be most unfortunate.
Arthak Saurfang says: It would.
Gul'dan says: if you are seeking my blessing, you will have it, and I wager mine will not be the only one.
Arthak Saurfang says: I already intend to make arrangements for that. I don’t expect that to be left up to chance. But it will likely exacerbate the warchief’s fears if this disagreement takes place.
Gul'dan says: This war has no room for cowards, Arthak. I personally would hope that the warchief would not succumb to such paranoia. He is our leader, after all.
Arthak Saurfang says: I would also hope such. But, if he has, if this is to continue, steps may need to be taken in the future.

Arthak tries to get a read on Gul’dan at that, and the almost unnervingly reassuring grin Gul’dan offers veils the warlock’s feelings.

Gul'dan says: Of course, Arthak. The Horde must be strong. We all know this. Those of us in this room perhaps more than most. We shall speak again after the meeting, I wager? To discuss what we see from the actions, the motives, of the warchief and the others.
Arthak Saurfang says: It sounds like a plan. Thank you for your time, elder. If there is anything that needs to be spoken of, let me know. Otherwise, I need to make arrangements.
Gul'dan says: Of course.
Arthak Saurfang says: Halno, I’ll wait for you outside.

Arthak gives a respectful nod to Teron’gor and Gul’dan, and then steps outside.

Gul'dan says: A spirited one, he is.
Halno says: He certainly is. Anyhow. Pleasure to see you again, Shadowmaster. Unfortunately I don’t come with news of Arthak. I came to speak with Teron’gor about the death knight project.
Gul'dan says: I see. Very well.

Gul’dan then leaves as well, and Teron’gor looks to Halno.

Teron'gor says: Well. Go on. Speak.
Halno says: It has been some time since I acquired this body. I’m wondering if I could return to my previous work and potentially attempt to improve upon what we have already done.
Teron'gor says: You want to continue working on the death knight project?
Halno says: Yes, as I understand we are in the early stages of the program.
Teron'gor says: Yes. And there have been a number of issues.
Halno says: I hope I can pick up where I left off, and help further refine the project. It has unlimited potential.
Teron'gor says: You understand the difficulties that come with this. The Shadowmaster has assigned you to a different project.
Halno says: He has. That project is coming along, and it may come to fruition soon.
Teron'gor says: So it seemed. Tell me, Halno, have there been any updates with that… mental bleeding?
Halno says: It continues. There was a rather curious incident that I’m not sure how to make sense of.
Teron'gor says: Oh?
Halno says: I wonder if I could ask a question to help push this thought further. Sylvos was quite dead when you performed the procedure, yes?
Teron'gor says: Exceptionally so, yes.
Halno says: Interesting. He seems to be less dead than before.
Teron'gor says: I see… we’ve experienced similar situations with others. In some cases a psychotic break that lead to the full control or mental relapse of the warlock contained within. In some cases, they had to be put down.
Halno says: That is, indeed, incredibly concerning.
Teron'gor says: It is. I am beginning to lose faith in the project in its current iteration. It seems our attempts to imbue and combine the powers of these elvish magisters and our own spellweavers has been… not without dilemma. It seems that even beyond the grave their willpower is far too… difficult to break.
Halno says: There are a number of things I can think of, but testing them would be dangerous. Of course this was never without its dangers in the first place. If anything else, this is more reason for me to wish to once more assist in this. In my case, Sylvos seems to have been suppressed.
Teron'gor says: But you fear what will happen if he returns.
Halno says: Fear? No, I’ll be put down. What was the state of the scepter after they were felled?
Teron'gor says: The scepters were examined, and when it was found they were unable to regain control of their faculties, they were dismantled.
Halno says: Hm...
Teron'gor says: My current hypothesis is to choose a more malleable host. Rather than these elf magisters, someone stronger, and with less mental acumen.
Halno says: Hm. That would be potentially a better approach. We can combine physical ability with our warlocks’ substantial casting. Forgive me if I’m speaking out of place, but I’m not ready to give up this angle.
Teron'gor says: If you wish to continue your research into the potentials that may still be buried beneath the surface of these elves, then yes, you are already in an opportune position to do that.
Halno says: Heh. True. I… are there any scepters that are not yet dismantled?
Teron'gor says: There is one, yes.
Halno says: Once more, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn or reaching beyond my means, but could I experiment with it?

Teron’gor hesitates for a moment.

Teron'gor says: I will have it delivered to your lab upon the isle. I will expect updates on anything, and Halno, do not allow your insatiable curiosity to compromise you.
Halno says: Curiosity is a fantastic thing. Caution will take you further. Especially now that I’m aware of the inherent risks.
Teron'gor says: Indeed. I would urge you to act with wisdom and caution in equal measure.
Halno says: I appreciate the advice. And I appreciate the… acceptance of my return.

Teron’gor nods, and Halno bows and dismisses himself.

Teron'gor says: Do not disappoint me, my old friend.
Halno says: I hope not to. None of this will disappoint anyone more than me.

Halno finds Arthak awaiting him down below.

Halno says: Are you ready to go, Arthak?
Arthak Saurfang says: I am. We need to get ready for the meeting.
Halno says: Arthak. In the future, it may be wise to spare a guard near my lab. I was unaware of some inherent risks.
Arthak Saurfang says: Hm. I see. Just one, or…?
Halno says: Hm. How strong are they?
Arthak Saurfang says: Varies from warrior to warrior, but I can see that, given the value of your research, some of our better warriors who can be spared be given the duty.
Halno says: Three to four.
Arthak Saurfang says: I’ll make arrangements with Thura.
Halno says: Make sure they check on me if I leave for no reason.
Arthak Saurfang says: I see. Understood.
Halno says: Oh. And, well, expect a delivery from Teron’gor.
Arthak Saurfang says: To be delivered to your lab?
Halno says: Yes. They should not interact with it. Call me.
Arthak Saurfang says: Understood. I’ll make sure arrangements are made.
Halno says: it’s going to be quite the active time.
Arthak Saurfang says: It is. You and I will need to have a conversation, soon, though I need to… once i know the lay of the land after the meeting of the chieftains.
Halno says: Whenever you wish to chat, Arthak. If privacy is what we need, it’s within my power.
Arthak Saurfang says: That is valuable. I’ll get a hold of you when the time is right, but first, I need to direct my attention to…
Halno says: The pile of shit at your feet?
Arthak Saurfang says: Yes, that, and the impressive array of knives at my back.
Halno says: It is impressive.
Arthak Saurfang says: I have an effect on people.
Halno says: I’ve noticed. It was amusing from a distance. Slightly less amusing up close.
Arthak Saurfang says: I imagine so, being within the splash radius.
Halno says: Yes. On that note, it’s been some time since we’ve been attacked while traveling.

Halno looks around.

Arthak Saurfang says: Yes. Assassins are… we’ll see. If not now, later.
Halno says: Always.

The duo heads out toward the docks to weigh anchor to return to Gramgun’kur.

On the boat ride, Azgadaan messages Samaara via his sending stone to make sure she’s alright.

Azgadaan says: Safe?

All he hears from the other side is a soft, low whistle. It was likely Samaara, or someone else who is really good at bird calls for some reason. But it was likely her.

Azgadaan also tries to calm Nallorath, who is mostly calm, but he’s shrunk as far as he could into a corner. The gentle rocking of the vessel has started to lull him to sleep. Azgadaan checks in on him periodically as he helps Sadras guide the ship to Quel’danas.

Sadras says: Hey, uh. Azgadaan. Weird question. Um. You’re, uh… you’re not exactly like… most other demons I’ve met. I know you’ve got a lot that’s happened and all that, right? Um. I just, uh… I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re a good person.
Azgadaan says: Thank you.
Sadras says: You could have just butchered that guy like anyone else, and I know that circumstances didn’t allow for it, but you tried to parlay with that mage woman.
Azgadaan says: I’m assuming that, considering the time we spent in the manor, that the mage we talked to was our ice sculpture.
Sadras says: Yeah. That was wild.
Azgadaan says: Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to cast a single spell and have an archmage stop, but it worked out in our favor.
Sadras says: You know, I spent a lot of time around snow and ice. You’d think I’d recognize when I was fighting it.
Azgadaan says: Yeah. It was fun being down there other than, well… killing. I’ve grown a distaste for it. At least for certain sentient creatures.

Sadras nods and glances at him.

Sadras says: I, uh… I think that’s a good thing. Even the most dangerous predators in the wild, they don’t usually take pleasure in killing. They do it because they have to. They need to eat and protect their families. My old clan, we always were on the move. We had settlements we stayed in during the nicer months and when it was safe, but we would migrate around when the weather turned to find food and things. We always tried to be like the wilderness. We hunt like the pack, we live like the pack, we even befriend the pack, and many of the rest of the clans, they… they revel in fighting and bloodshed. I see why. It’s easy to lose yourself in the adrenaline. Ever since I looked like this.

She raises an arm.

Sadras says: Fighting has felt different. Liberating in a way I don’t know how to say. I could see why people would become addicted to it. But I, for one, refuse to let war be in my veins. I’m a hunter. And I’m a hunter first. So, for what it’s worth, what I’m trying to say, I appreciate that. Keep picking your targets, Azgadaan. If you can.
Azgadaan says: I’m trying.
Sadras says: I’ve noticed, for one.
Azgadaan says: But I’m going to have difficulty. Mainly because I, may have spared his life, but I don’t know how to handle him.

He gestures at Nallorath.

Sadras says: I wish I could give you advice, but… but I don’t know.
Azgadaan says: I’m going to be outsourcing some answers. Easier to do that with spells.
Sadras says: Yeah. I wager it would be.
Azgadaan says: And I hope you’re ex-chief shows up soon. I have questions for him.
Sadras says: It will probably take a bit. It’s not a fast trek, even for frostwolves. It may be at least a month, maybe longer, depending on what difficulties they meet. I reckon a place called the Heart of the World isn’t easy to walk into. But I’m sure he’ll be glad to get back.
Azgadaan says: Speaking of the frostwolves, your brother, Sorak.
Sadras says: What about him?
Azgadaan says: Me and him didn’t get along well.
Sadras says: My brother didn’t get along with most people. He gets along with plants and animals better. I wouldn’t take it too personally, he’s had a hard life.
Azgadaan says: He seems like a nice and good person depending on who you are.
Sadras says: He’s a frostwolf through and through, that’s for sure. Nice is a strong word, but good I can agree with.
Azgadaan says: I’m an only child, so I never had a sibling. How’s that dynamic?
Sadras says: We had another brother once. He and I were born in the same litter, but he was killed by ogres. Sorak was never exactly nice before, but Dotar’s death hit him hard.
Azgadaan says: That explains why he didn’t like the ogres.
Sadras says: Oh yeah, fucking hates them. It’s easy to blame an entire people for one person does, yeah.
Azgadaan says: I’m assuming there were good times?
Sadras says: There were. Ultimately, even if we fight every now and then, he is still my brother, my only living brother, and I trust him, I love him, even if he’s an asshole sometimes. Someday he might come around. Someday in the very distant future, but honestly I’d let him come to you.
Azgadaan says: Do you mess with each other at all?
Sadras says: Oh, all the time. I was always a lot stronger than he was, which I never let him forget that.
Azgadaan says: Maybe you can mess with him on my behalf.

He passes a bead of water from the dust of dryness.

Sadras says: I don’t know what that is.
Azgadaan says: It’s from the water. If you pop it, it drops a large amount of water.
Sadras says: That’s great. For what it’s worth, you’d be a pretty good younger brother.
Azgadaan says: I would have probably done better. I... didn't learn much when I was growing up.
Sadras says: We never really stop growing, even if it feels like you do, you really don’t. If that makes sense.
Azgadaan says: Honestly, a tad shorter than my father, but I didn’t expect to grow this large.
Sadras says: I didn’t mean… wait, do your people just keep growing?
Azgadaan says: A few of us do depending on things.
Sadras says: Yeah, you get real big sometimes.
Azgadaan says: Do you remember the giant behemoths at Hellfire Citadels? The ones whose blood you drank?
Sadras says: Yes.
Azgadaan says: Depending on magic, we can get that big or larger.
Sadras says: Hohoho. Tell you what, if you ever want to make me big, please do. I kind of want to wrestle Arthak when he’s really big. I don’t know how he does that, with his flamey tattoos and shit, but I want to try it.

They do a little bit more small talk, but the conversation drifts.

Over the next two days, Arthak and Halno return to Gramgun’kur. Arthak gets a detailed report from Thura, Gramgun, and his other lieutenants of the logistics and details of what he would need to fortify the island. He also sends some missives (via Nyxxa), specifically to the Ironmarch and Varok, that there may be some budgetary arguments at the meeting so they are aware.

Nyxxa and Levia stayed on the mainland running missives, and Nyxxa waits to see if Khadgar tries to contact her. She regroups with Arthak later to give him any return letters.

Halno sends a message to Levia asking her to come to see him at his lab, and he sets someone on trying to find a buyer for a scroll of private sanctum.

Azgadaan, Sadras, and Nallorath arrive ahead of the rest of the group. Most of the Warsong in the area had dispersed now that the first barrier was down. There are also a lot of orcs in Gramgun’kur, and not all the vessels in the port are theirs. It seems that all the orcs that went back through the portal are now leaving Draenor to regroup with their clans.

When Arthak returns the following day, his clan reports that they made some bonus funds due to the boom in trade. The sheer amount of people at the docks has been beneficial.

Upon arrival, Azgadaan asks Sadras if there is a good place for Nallorath, and Sadras suggests keeping him with the other elven prisoners. Azgadaan agrees and assures Nallorath that it’s just temporary. The two elven magisters immediately start talking to him in Thalassian, and one of them asks Azgadaan what the situation is. Azgadaan informs her that he is another prisoner, as they spared his life.

Silansalia works on calming Nallorath down, and Azgadaan asks if they have a favorite drink. Sadine mentions she likes a type of brandy, and Silansalia says orange juice. Azgadaan uses the jug he got from Kilnar’s to produce those drinks for them. He also sends Levia, asking her to help him get his armor off the next day.

December 21st

Azgadaan visits Shaspira, and she is standing amidst an illusion. There is a deep red translucent image of a landscape, and at various points there is a large black pillar from various points across the landscape. Shaspira dismisses the illusion and concludes an apparent mental meeting.

Shaspira says: Azgadaan, it’s good to see you again. I trust that your raid upon the manor was fruitful?
Azgadaan says: In certain ways. As soon as the wall was down, it seems the magistrix left through an unfound escape route, but Rend--one of the warchief’s sons--was able to hit her with the Mist.
Shaspira says: Hm. Good. It is most beneficial that Arthak’s gambit proved useful.
Azgadaan says: And now we control a mansion. It will take some time to go through. A lot of the interesting bits are… dangerous.
Shaspira says: I see. If there is anything within that you would believe would catch my own interest, I will give you the same offer I gave chieftain Saurfang.
Azgadaan says: There may be a few things, though they may be hard to move as they are fixtures in the manor itself.
Shaspira says: I see. Perhaps I will see if the chieftain will invite me to take a look around in the future.
Azgadaan says: We would need to clear the rest of it out.
Shaspira says: I see. Well, we have nothing but time. The invasion has begun in earnest, and it is time for many to make their moves.
Azgadaan says: Have you been able to make contact with Lady Aracyra since the first gate has fallen?
Shaspira says: I have not, no.
Azgadaan says: I prepared a sending spell today. I may talk to her.
Shaspira says: I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. I did not wish to intrude on her mission.
Azgadaan says: I hope it’s going well.
Shaspira says: I’m certain it is.
Azgadaan says: I also have something Arthak wanted to get your opinion on. He was wondering if you would be attending the meeting assuming a bunch of the chieftains would be attending.
Shaspira says: Does he desire my attentions there?
Azgadaan says: He seemed interested in your attendance.
Shaspira says: I see. I’ll confess I hadn’t planned on it, it is after all a war council of the leadership of the orcish Horde, but I would be remiss to deny personal invitation from one of the Horde’s most promising rising young stars. If he wants my attention there, I will grant him such.
Azgadaan says: I’ll relay as much. I’m curious, Lady Shaspira, is there anything you would recommend me taking part in?
Shaspira says: Well, I do find myself bereft of an escort to this meeting. Under other circumstances, Velhari would have come, but she is currently away on business. As such, if you wish to accompany me to this meeting, perhaps there’s something you could learn from them. I have no doubt that Arthak would appreciate your presence as well.
Azgadaan says: I’d be more than happy to.
Shaspira says: Excellent. You will, of course, as ever, be compensated for your services.

They exchange goodbye pleasantries, and as Azgadaan gets back in his vehicle and tries to send Aracyra.

Azgadaan says: Hey. I know you’ve been out there for some time, but I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing.
Aracyra says: Azgadaan? Azgadaan. I hate it out here. It’s awful. These orcs are dreadful traveling companions, but I’m glad to hear from you! I miss you!
Azgadaan says: We’ve been able to break down the gate to the manor. The magistrix lives, but she is not as she once was. We’ve taken control, but it will take time to bend them to our will.
Aracyra says: I’m glad that you’ve found success! All we found is bloody skirmishes, and a stupid wall, and mud. But hopefully the last barrier will drop soon and we can finish this.
Azgadaan says: That is good to hear. If you need me, just send me, I’ll be in the city for some time longer. I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again. Be safe.
Aracyra says: If you say such sweet things too much, I’ll be tempted to teleport back and leave them to their own devices. I’ll see you soon. Take care Azgadaan.

Khadgar also messages Nyxxa that night.

Nyxxa says: I hear you’ve been busy?
Khadgar says: Bit of an understatement, but yes.
Nyxxa says: Good to know. I would inform you that someone’s been scrying on me. I don’t know who. But I worry someone has gotten wise, or suspicions as to what I’m doing. It could be something unrelated, or it could be because I upset a mutual friend.
Khadgar says: You are not the only one.
Nyxxa says: Oh?
Khadgar says: I don’t have proof but I have reason to believe that she… she was integral to diffusing the Mist. The cache that we found was the largest. But I was watching her, and she was eying with a curiosity too hungry to not have other plans. I’ve been trying to keep a close eye on her, but I can’t be everywhere at once.
Nyxxa says: But she can.
Khadgar says: It would not surprise me if she was more in control of the situation than I would like. I wager she will be attempting something soon, and I’ll be watching, but I can’t guarantee that I can keep ahead of it.
Nyxxa says: Hard to plan something when we don’t know what she’s planning.
Khadgar says: And we have no actual proof.
Nyxxa says: She did literally threaten me, but…
Khadgar says: Unfortunately your testimony is only so strong.
Nyxxa says: I know.
Khadgar says: But I believe you, for what it’s worth. So I will pledge myself to stop her. If she is what we suspect her to be, it is my sworn duty to stand against her.
Nyxxa says: Just let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
Khadgar says: I will.
Nyxxa says: Thank you for your help.
Khadgar says: Of course, a small percentage of the Resistance will remain behind. I am among that number, and she will be as well. She suspects there may be other caches of the red Mist around, and would be present. That said, her husband will be amongst those that will be fleeing the city. If he is her accomplice, or as I suspect, if he is dragonsworn, that could provide a slew of other dilemmas.
Nyxxa says: How do you figure?
Khadgar says: If she is what we suspect, and he is sworn to her goals, I cannot watch both of them at once. If he gets out into the world on mass, there’s only so much I can do to police him, especially when my own attentions need to be toward lady Sinestra.
Nyxxa says: And with the barrier still up…
Khadgar says: He will be trapped for the time being, but the barrier is not long for this world.
Nyxxa says: The world is about to get bigger.
Khadgar says: Much bigger, and the world is already larger than people may know.
Nyxxa says: The only thing I found of my people is vague recollections.

There’s a pause.

Khadgar says: You don’t remember anything, do you?
Nyxxa says: I remember some things. I know I’ve been a satyr for less time than these people have existed. And I did remember a name recently. Sunstrider seemed familiar.
Khadgar says: The first king of the elves?
Nyxxa says: I was probably around when he left.
Khadgar says: That’s very interesting. When I have more time, I can tell you what little I know.
Nyxxa says:' I would appreciate that, but I’m curious what my old people would do when they find out the Legion is invading.
Khadgar says: I am as well. They were responsible for repelling them the first time, after all.
Nyxxa says: And I do know the leader that drove them out may still be in charge.
Khadgar says: I… I am acquainted with a number of individuals that may be able to help you more. I have not been able to reach them in many years. If that changes, perhaps I can lend you some assistance. I know only that your people are in a land far away, where they still protect the ancient parts of the world. The kaldorei. The children of stars or the night.
Nyxxa says: So you know they still live?
Khadgar says: If I’m to decipher the rather cryptic words of certain friends of mine, yes, though I can’t say much as to their whereabouts. Their silence in light of what is occurring here is… troubling.
Nyxxa says: It’s possible they don’t know. Yet.
Khadgar says: Then I hope someone can tell them. Nevertheless, I have a warning. Stay clear of the docks tomorrow night. I don’t know where you’re currently at, but you will not want to be there.
Nyxxa says: Understood.
Khadgar says: And I thank you for everything you’ve done. I’ll be in touch still, but tomorrow I may have to skip our check in. I hope you can forgive me.
Nyxxa says: That’s fine. Which docks, might I ask?
Khadgar says: All of them, I would say.
Nyxxa says: Understood.

December 22nd

The various members of the warband awaken to find the second elfgate has fallen as well. Only the last barrier remains.

Nyxxa has an impromptu meeting with the warband, and she suggests a “dumb idea” to give the warglaives to Shaspira.

Nyxxa says: If I hang onto these, it might piss off some people. But what if I explain the situation to Shaspira and give them to her?
Azgadaan says: That would definitely improve your situation with Shaspira, but I imagine Caria would be angry.
Nyxxa says: But judging by what we know of her, would she do the same? It is how to make waves.
Arthak Saurfang says: If you hang onto them and attempt to give them back to her, you may have a chance, but if you do this, her honor would be tarnished. She would have to come for you. But you will have made yourself an asset to Shaspira, which is a powerful, but complicated, thing. As I’ve observed, being useful to the Pale Tyrant is very much like being in debt, however the favors trade, all roads lead to one place. That being said, it’s not a terrible idea, but Shaspira will notice you.
Nyxxa says: And she’ll notice I have them, in any case.
Arthak Saurfang says: Her interest and attention are formidable things.
Nyxxa says: I might be better to hide them. What you described is what I’m trying to avoid. I don’t want attention. Attention means people ask things of me. And… I just don’t know what to do.
Arthak Saurfang says: If you want to end up somewhere like where I am? Give them to Shaspira. If you don’t, hold onto them, make cautious use of them, and wait until Caria returns, and see if you have a chance to end things peacefully with her.
Nyxxa says: Understood. Well that gives me my answer.
Arthak Saurfang says: You also have time to think about it.
Azgadaan says: Arthak, another note. There are two things I know that Shaspira will be interested in in the manor: the generator and the golem.

Halno pipes up that he wants to keep the generator, as it would be of great value.

Azgadaan also mentions that Shaspira wants to visit the mansion in the future, and that Shaspira would be present at the war council, and he would be her escort.

After the conversation, Azgadaan pulls Arthak aside.

Arthak Saurfang says: What do you wish to speak of?
Azgadaan says: Well, we’re going to head to the meeting, so I was wondering if you needed me to look out for anything. I also would like to know your plan.
Arthak Saurfang says: Well. The plan is straightforward. Blackhand is intending to keep me and the Broken Blade here on Quel’danas to guard the Dark Portal. I’m not intending to dispute this. But, I intend to succeed, which I believe Blackhand is not. So, I’m going to need resources from the Horde to be able to fortify and defend this island the way it needs to be. And I’m expecting Blackhand will be reluctant for various factors. So, to that end, I’ve garnered Lady Shaspira’s presence to hopefully… well, if she does nothing, her presence will set the warchief on edge. I’ve also spoken with Gul’dan, who… we’ll see, but he at least is wanting me to think he’s in my corner on this. Whether or not he’s setting me up, or he’s legitimately assisting me is yet to be seen.
Azgadaan says: Remind me which orcs are spellcasters? I know Gul’dan.
Arthak Saurfang says: Cho’gall. Gul’dan. Teron’gor. Possibly the Bleeding Hollow representative. Kaz the Shrieker, if she’s there.
Azgadaan says: Considering the support from Gul’dan, I don’t imagine you’ll see much resistance from those that have magic. So I don’t see the harm in comparison to the good it would do to put enhance ability on you. Or I could have the spell up and see if there’s anything going on, but I’m aware I’m not that observant.
Arthak Saurfang says: I’ll trust your judgement, Azgadaan.
Azgadaan says: I’ll keep an eye, and if there’s anything, I’ll make you aware. Or I’ll notify my lady.
Arthak Saurfang says: Sounds good. Thank you, Azgadaan.
Azgadaan says: I do try to help. Once again, I’m sorry for the collision of interest.
Arthak Saurfang says: It’s fine. It happened, and one apology was enough.
Azgadaan says: I should head over to wait for her leave.
Arthak Saurfang says: Very well. I will see you then.
Azgadaan says: Indeed. Be safe. Lok’tar.
Arthak Saurfang says: Be careful. Lok’tar, brother.

Levia heads to Halno’s laboratory as requested. Halno has tea prepared for her.

Halno says: Ah, greetings Levia. How are you doing today?
Levia Blackflight says: I’m fine.
Halno says: Would you like something to drink?

He gestures to the teapot. Levia narrows her eyes.

Levia Blackflight says: What’s this all about, Halno?

Halno chuckles.

Halno says: We spoke before. About the matter of Sylvos.
Levia Blackflight says: I had a feeling that this was about that.
Halno says: Oh goodness, what else would it be? I don’t believe we’ve had many other interactions.
Levia Blackflight says: Not beyond when you asked me if I knew more about what I was able to accomplish.
Halno says: Have you learned more?
Levia Blackflight says: Not specifics. I don’t know why, but I have them. Before I was a… relatively low-class wizard. I still maintain many of those magics, but, here we are.
Halno says: Interesting. I really am curious as to how you do what you do. But not why I called you here. I’ll have to make a mental note to check up on that later. Okay, Levia. I was wondering…

He casts detect thoughts.

Halno says: Have you told anyone about my circumstances?

Levia narrows her eyes. Halno senses a great deal of suspicion and fear, but after the question, her thoughts turn more defensive. “What is he after? What does he know? Is he following me? Was he the one scrying on me?”

Levia Blackflight says: Why would you ask that?
Halno says: Well, to be blunt, I thought that was clear. I assumed you would tell someone. I’m curious who you would tell.
Levia Blackflight says: But you asked me not to tell anyone.
Halno says: And I didn’t believe for an instant you wouldn’t. You barely know me. Why would you do as I requested?

Halno gets a bit of anger. “What, was he just testing me this entire time? Just to find out?” However, he catches on the aggressive thoughts revolve around a “her”.

Levia crosses her arms.

Levia Blackflight says: I asked Nyxxa what she thought I should do.
Halno says: That makes sense.

Halno gets the feeling she’s not lying, but she likely told someone else. Another her.

Halno says: Anyone else?
Levia Blackflight says: No. What else do you want from me. You already put me up to a test, Halno.
Halno says: I did. And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. I was hoping to get in touch with someone. Not sure who… but if anyone was communicating outside… wouldn’t be Nyxxa… maybe you?
Levia Blackflight says: Tch. Magic can’t get through the barrier easily. And only from elves. Is that why you think it’s me?
Halno says: It eliminates most other people, and you aren’t telling me everything.
Levia Blackflight says: And why should I? You aren’t telling me everything either.
Halno says: Very well.

Halno sets his mask on the table.

Halno says: I don’t understand the situation I’m in. You don’t understand it either. My people, while quite gifted at necromancy, are new to this world and understand little. Your people have had a great deal of time to practice magic in general. Obviously I would have loved to have spoken with Kilnar, but circumstances didn’t allow it, so I turned my attention away.
Levia Blackflight says: Let me get this straight. You want my help to get you in contact with someone that could help you, and you were counting on me knowing someone?
Halno says: I also wanted to see if there were leaks. And you were the most likely.
Levia Blackflight says: I’m only here because you brought me here. Because Nyxxa and Arthak and everyone else wanted my help. I didn’t leave Runesight and all of the others just to be put on trial by whatever you are.

Levia is both angry and afraid in equal measures.

Halno says: Also, and for, well, it’s not worth it. I do apologize. I will not press the issue any further. I will not harass you any further. But you are… unfortunately one of the few means I have at my disposal to… not deal with the situation, but help me understand it. At the end of the day, your magic was similar to the other creature that caused the first instance.

Levia’s arms cross and she scowls at Halno.

Levia Blackflight says: Look. I can’t trust anything that you’re saying right now. But if what you’re saying is true, I might be able to help. I don’t know how, but maybe I can find something that will give you an answer. Or I can try to get in contact with Sylvos through you somehow.
Halno says: I greatly appreciate that, Levia. I owe you another apology. The spell I cast just now. It was one that allowed me to detect surface thoughts. I have since dropped the spell.
Levia Blackflight says: Tch.

Halno raises his hands in a placating gesture.

Halno says: As a more formal apology, I can look into a method of securing your mind. I don’t know how at the moment, but I’m sure something can be done.
Levia Blackflight says: You get me something like that, and you look into why I can do what I can do, and prove to me that you’re worthy of any amount of trust, and maybe we’ll talk. But you’ll have to forgive me for not throwing my trust implicitly at a man who is not wearing his own skin.
Halno says: Two points, and ouch.
Levia Blackflight says: Look, I know a thing or two about being in a body you don’t want to be in. I can relate.
Halno says: I’m… not going to get your hopes up, but I can look into undoing that too. I don’t know if it’s remotely possible, but looking causes me no harm.
Levia Blackflight says: I wasn’t talking about this. You’re not the only one who has had an interesting life, Halno. This?

She gestures to her body.

Levia Blackflight says: This was… I earned this.
Halno says: My apologies.
Levia Blackflight says: None taken this time.
Halno says: Well, parting words, I don’t expect you to trust me. Trust is foolish most of the time. But I hope we can have a respectful working relationship.
Levia Blackflight says: That remains to be seen. But I suppose I have a bit of a question.

She points at Halno.

Levia Blackflight says: Why are you blue? That wasn’t the case last time I saw you.
Halno says: I beg your pardon?

Levia gestures at him again.

Halno looks at his arm, and it’s bright, deep blue. Then he recalls the magics of Falthrien Academy. Halno sighs.

Halno says: Riiight…. The academy. I have no idea why I’m blue, that place was stupid.
Levia Blackflight says: Do you need something for that, or…?
Halno says: Are you capable of removing curse--
Levia Blackflight says: I could try.
Halno says: Ah, mm, no, it’s fine. You don’t need to remove any.
Levia Blackflight says: It’s fine, I have the spell prepared.
Halno says: Ah, no, I like this color. It’s good on me.
Levia Blackflight says: You’re afraid it’ll do something to the enchantments keeping you in that body, aren’t you?
Halno says: Less afraid, more certain.

Levia smiles. It’s a bit devious and threatening.

Levia Blackflight says: I’ll keep that in mind. I didn’t think someone like you could know fear, Halno.
Halno says: Fear and regret are two different things. I have a lot I want to accomplish. Death is… inevitable. Even for me. Maybe more so if I don’t figure this out.
Levia Blackflight says: Well I guess we’ll see. It was fun talking, Halno. Next time I hope both of us can be a bit more… open.
Halno says: The best way to be open would be if you read my mind. I read you, you read me. We both know everything. I could get you a scroll and everything.
Levia Blackflight says: That won’t be necessary, but I appreciate the… offer, I suppose?
Halno says: Once again, my sincere apologies.
Levia Blackflight says: You’re a strange man, Halno.
Halno says: That’s because I’m not a man at all.

Levia gives a slight smirk and goes to leave.

Halno says: Actually, Levia, before you leave.

He holds up Kilnar’s last will and testament, which he had taken from the manor, and which had mentioned Kilnar's daughter and grandson as well as some unnamed allies, the list of which were with her daughter for safety.

Halno says: I’m not sure what it’s about, but if it’s something you’re interested in, you could inform them of their mother’s unfortunate… nevermind.
Levia Blackflight says: I’m not sure who you’re talking about. I didn’t know Kilnar much. By reputation, but that’s it. If there’s someone listed, I don’t think I’d know who they were. I didn’t know she had a kid. Hm. Well. Wait. I wonder if that’s who that was. In the last days, before the invasion, someone confronted her. Maybe that’s who that was.
Halno says: I see. If you would like to relay this to anyone that would be interested, feel free to. Otherwise I’ll dispose of it.

Levia holds out a hand.

Levia Blackflight says: Might be something interesting in this.

She tucks it into her pocket.

Halno says: Have a lovely day.
Levia Blackflight says: You too.

Levia leaves, and Halno starts pouring over his newly delivered scepter. Halno tries to carefully examine the state of the scepter in comparison to his own. The scepter is currently really unstable, and if he were to try and connect it to a person, he is uncertain what soul would be in charge. It could be the host body that was slain, any number of the sacrifices, or it could be the necrolyte or warlock. Beyond that, it seems to still be functional.

That night, Azgadaan meets with Shaspira to escort her to the meeting. She is well-dressed and poised, and is wearing a nearly black maroon dress. She smiles at Azgadaan and takes his arm.

Arthak takes Lantresor and Gramgunn with him, and everyone convenes at the Sunwell Plateau. Blackhand is stationed at the center, the [fake] Doomhammer at his side. Representatives of all or most of the clans, including minor ones, are there. Grom is not there as he is likely already outside the city.

Blackhand calls for silence.

Warchief Blackhand says: You are all aware of why you’re here. Our forces have successfully pushed the resistance to the brink, and have released the Horde upon the elflands. With it, the war can begin in earnest. Now, we can make our plans for how the Horde will conquer this pathetic world. You’ve all been asked to come here as chieftains of your clans, or representatives.

Blackhand slides a map forward.

Warchief Blackhand says: This will be our first frontier. Already the Warsong compete for the glory of conquest. As the theaters of war reveal themselves, we will need to focus our assaults. The Horde is mighty, but only if we strike as one.

He pushes the Blackrock markers down through the center of the map.

Warchief Blackhand says: The Blackrock will be an impenetrable wall to fortify our path. They will fortify the major settlements. The Blacktooth Grin will assist. The Warsong will be joined by the Frostwolves, Dragonmaw, and the Burning Blade… I see the Laughing Skull are not here, but that’s to be expected. Our outriders will pillage the lesser defended villages. They will find those that hide amongst the trees and burn them out, taking the heads of those foolish enough to resist, and taking the rest as slaves. We need them to build, after all.

He then sets the Shattered Hand banner and Bleeding Hollow banner down.

Warchief Blackhand says: Relgor, your scouts will accompany the Warsong, while the rest of your seers and blood mages support. The Shattered Hand will hold the city, and elder Gul’dan will secure the seas surrounding, and the Twilight Hammer and Shadowmoon will support in their unique fashions. I trust your modus operandis in your hands.

Cho’gall and Teron’gar nod.

Gall says: Your wishes are our command!
Cho says: We shall crush those that stand against it.

Blackhand then looks at Arthak and places the single Broken Blade banner on Quel’danas.

Warchief Blackhand says: The Broken Blade, chieftain Saurfang, your clan will remain here and fortify this island. The Dark Portal is integral towards supporting our people, and I trust you’ll be able to protect it.

Arthak looks for reactions from Jubei'thos, Dal’rend, Gul’dan, and Blackhand in particular, as well as Kargath. Kargath is too annoyed at having to stay in the city to care, but Gul’dan glances to Arthak, striking his beard. He’s watching Blackhand a lot as well. Rend seems to agree that it’s a legit play. Blackhand looks like he’s waiting for Arthak to say something. He has been glancing at Arthak a lot.

Arthak Saurfang says: Warchief.
Warchief Blackhand says: Yes, Arthak?
Arthak Saurfang says: In regards to my assignment…

He reaches over and grabs his report from Gramgun.

Arthak Saurfang says: Um. Warchief. I anticipated that I might be given this assignment, and as you said, given the importance of the Dark Portal, I have compiled a report of what will be necessary to fortify this island, excluding Gramgun’kur, as I will be doing that with the Broken Blade’s own funds.

He passes the report to Blackhand, who snatches it and looks at it. Gul’dan smiles, still watching Blackhand, who looks displeased.

Warchief Blackhand says: These fortifications… would take thousands of coins of materials. Possibly tens, hundreds of thousands.
Arthak Saurfang says: I’m aware, warchief, but given that the Dark Portal is our beachhead as well as our connection to our supply lines from Draenor, it is integral it stays secure, and it is the most obvious target for our enemies. Not to mention there are a number of ways it could be attacked. Magically or navally. If we want the portal to stay open, the entire island needs to be fortified. As I said, Gramgun’kur is my responsibility, but the island, this is what I will need.
Warchief Blackhand says: And precisely where do you believe we will gain the materials and equipment required? We may pillage from the surrounding areas, yes, but what you’re suggesting is transforming this island into a bastion akin to Hellfire Citadel.
Arthak Saurfang says: More than suggesting, warchief, I believe it necessary. As our population removes itself from Draenor, and resources dwindle, we can also move manufacturing and construction infrastructure to Quel’danas. Also the Blackrock warriors can begin to exploit natural resources. The world has ample supplies. As well, I am intending on making inquiries with other allies for additional support.

He lets Shaspira’s presence speak for itself.

Shaspira says: For what it’s worth, I believe that Arthak’s proposal is one full of a great deal of preparation and wisdom. The Dark Portal is integral towards your invasion, and toward the continued prosperous alliance of your mighty Horde, and the Legion. In time, the Legion will be able to provide additional reinforcements. Your foes upon this world are many and vast, and I would not see my allies left ill supplied for the conquest that is to come. If we are to move into the next stages of our alliance, that portal must remain open. And I, for one, will be more than willing to work with my own resources to coordinate with chieftain Saurfang in the fortification of this esteemed place.
Gul'dan says: The White Tyrant speaks with the voice of many here in agreement, I believe. After all, we would not be here without the esteemed aid of her and her’s. They have proven time again to be allies most trustworthy. I see no reason why all of us should not be in agreement with such a well thought out and fortified plan, such as the one that young Saurfang has brought to us. Would you not agree, warchief?

Many other orcs nod in agreement. Blackhand looks at Arthak and grits his teeth.

Warchief Blackhand says: Very well. We will do what we can to see this place outfitted with every defense we can muster. Lady Shaspira, your generous offer is most appreciated.
Arthak Saurfang says: Thank you, warchief.

Blackhand looks at Arthak with a good deal of disdain.

Warchief Blackhand says: In time, our people will strike the final barrier. It will not be long for this world if it has not already fallen, and the smallteeth will be waiting for us on the outside. No doubt they’ve been mustering their armies in preparation.

He pulls out a small blade and thrusts it into the map in the Thalassian Pass, just beyond the final gate.

Warchief Blackhand says: This will likely be the location of our first true battle of this war. The forces that have moved out of the city to strike at the elves within their home will congregate here at this battle line. It is here that we will try to overwhelm them. Use the mountains to our advantage, and disallow them from using the pass to cut our advance. It is my intention to send some of our forces ahead with expediency to fortify the canyon. That pass, if unchecked, will allow the smallteeth to challenge our advance, but we will not allow them to come out of the mountains like worms in the dirt. We will push through, break their ranks, and bring the war to them.

Blackhand knocks over a generic blue banner, and slams his hand down on the map, running it across the section of the Eastweald beyond.

Warchief Blackhand says: That is when we will spread across the rest of this place, and take it. Every inch. This world is ours. And we will make it so.

He raises his fist in the air, and there are shouts in agreement. Arthak also raises a fist. Blackhand glances at Arthak a few more times as he speaks of the glory of conquest.

Warchief Blackhand says: You have your commands. Go, sons of the Horde. Crush them! Show them what it means to be conquered.

The meeting then disperses after a few more minor questions. Arthak lingers for a moment to people-watch and read the temperature of the room. He catches Shaspira’s eye in recognition.

Shaspira takes Azgadaan’s arm once more, and she stops briefly.

Shaspira says: Well done, Arthak. You did your research, and you’ve been awarded for it.
Arthak Saurfang says: Thank you, Lady Shaspira. Important work requires preparation.
Shaspira says: It does. That is a lesson that… all beings would be wise to learn. I look forward to seeing what you create here. I wager it will be… something to rival Hellfire Citadel indeed.
Arthak Saurfang says: For our needs, it will have to.
Shaspira says: Good evening, Arthak.
Arthak Saurfang says: Good evening Lady Shaspira. Lord Azgadaan.

Azgadaan smiles at him, giving a mental fist-bump, and the two eredar leave.

Several of the bigger supporters, including Dal’rend and Eitrigg, pat Arthak on the back as they leave. Rend expresses he will have to behead an enemy commander or two in Arthak’s name, in the stead of him being there to do it himself. Varok also expresses his pride at the fact Arthak is taking his assignment in stride. Kargath, however, is still grumbling.

Kargath Bladefist says: Looks like you and I are stuck with bitch duties.
Arthak Saurfang says: So it seems.

Kargath storms by and leaves.

As the crowd thins, Gul’dan approaches.

Gul'dan says: Well done, young Saurfang. Well done. You have outdone yourself once again. Come, come, walk with me. Oh, my apologies…

He looks at Blackhand.

Gul'dan says: Farewell, warchief. Good evening, and may you find glory on the battlefield. Now, Arthak, where were we?

He leaves with Arthak without looking back.

Gul'dan says: Well done, Arthak. I think it’s safe to say the chieftains see you as one of two things. A staunch ally, or a rising threat. There is something I would show you.

He holds out his gauntleted hand.

Arthak Saurfang says: Of course, elder.

Gul’dan claps his staff on the ground, and they are whisked away in viridian flames. When Arthak's senses come back, he is standing atop the pinnacle of the Stormreaver spire. They can see most of the city.

Gul'dan says: You have seen this view before, yes? From this point you may see everything across the city.

They can even see the glowing green light of the Dark Portal across the bay.

Gul'dan says: A little bird told me that something interesting began to happen while we were there.

He gestures for Arthak to step closer to the edge with him. In the light of the dark portal and moonlight, Arthak doesn’t see anything initially, but as he takes a closer look, he sees an abundance of vessels that are all heading away from the city. It’s relatively late, around 11. The vessels are sporadic, but there are easily one or two dozen. More ships than Arthak would expect to be leaving.

Gul'dan says: Rather curious, is it not?
Arthak Saurfang says: Resistance.
Gul'dan says: Just as you predicted.
Arthak Saurfang says: Attempting to make their escape.
Gul'dan says: They must have been planning this for some time, from the looks of it.

Gul’dan raises a hand, his gauntleted one, and the runes begin to light up on it.

Gul'dan says: And now we will see if my gambit paid off.

He closes his fist.

One by one, Arthak sees a flash of light coming from many of the vessels. One. Another. Another. And then suddenly several at once. He watches as the vessels begin to be covered in a thick mist. At this distance, it’s hard to tell the nature of it, but he doesn’t need to guess. The thick mist covers many of the vessels, like a blanket of fog over the bay.

Not all the vessels appear to be hit, or within the fog. Gul’dan laughs. At this point, they can hear the sounds of shouts and screaming.

Gul'dan says: This… this was a victory, my young friend. A victory wrought by your hands. You set out to bring the Resistance to heel, and you have done just that. I knew it was wise to trust you in this. And I would trust you with much more.

He turns to Arthak and smiles up at him.

Gul'dan says: As the Horde is unleashed upon this world, order will need to be kept. Ambitions will need to be watched. For the glory of victor can easily drive one to foolishness. And if the Horde is to maintain its strength and integrity, it will need order. We have preserved the Horde’s might for far longer than the warchief. We who watch from the shadows. We who have been watching you, Arthak. And we would have you join us, help us preserve the might, the integrity, of the Horde. Protect it from cowardice and disillusioned fools who would lead us to wallow in complacency. You fight for the Horde, Arthak. I would make that possible, beyond your wildest dreams.

As Arthak glances about, other figures have come out from the shadows. Orcs. A few of the death knights.

Gul'dan says: Would you join us? Would you join us in guiding the Horde to a future of glory? Of blood and fire!
Arthak Saurfang says: This has always been my path. Whatever the Horde needs, elder. I accept.
Gul'dan says: Then kneel, my child.

Arthak kneels, and Gul’dan reaches out with his non-gauntleted hand and places it on his forehead.

Gul'dan says: On this day, Arthak Saurfang, you will join the Horde, truly. You will guide the Horde down the path to glory. One foot ever in the shadows.

Arthak feels magic wash over him and suddenly his words seem to form a conviction in his soul, one that has the sense that if Arthak disobeys, he will face Gul’dan’s wrath.

Gul'dan says: Rise, Arthak Saurfang. Rise and join the Shadow Council.

Arthak rises.

Gul'dan says: There are things I have for you to do, Arthak, but for now, you need not concern yourself. Focus on your duties to your clan, to the Horde. In time, in time I will give you something that must be done if the security of the Horde is to be established. At present, there is little you can do for it, nor do I know for certain if it needs to be done.
Arthak Saurfang says: What is the task, elder?

Gul’dan laughs.

Gul'dan says: Ever the hard worker. You are aware of Hellscream the lesser’s mission to return Frostmourne, yes?
Arthak Saurfang says: I am.
Gul'dan says: Do you believe he will be successful in returning?
Arthak Saurfang says: Knowing Garrosh, yes.
Gul'dan says: That too was my belief. Then that is your first assignment. If he returns, regardless of if he is successful in bringing this weapon back, you are to end him.
Arthak Saurfang says: I see.
Gul'dan says: He has gone unchecked for far too long, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before he tries something. But he will not expect you, Arthak. If the Horde is to remain unified, Hellscream must die. I trust you know why.
Arthak Saurfang says: Based on previous conversations, a picture is forming.
Gul'dan says: Then I will leave him to you.
Arthak Saurfang says: Very well elder. It will need to be handled carefully.
Gul'dan says: Of course. Of course. But I have no doubt in your abilities, Arthak. Don’t disappoint me. But, perhaps the elves will accomplish this for you, and you will not need to worry about it. For now, return to your home.
Arthak Saurfang says: I have one question.
Gul'dan says: Yes?
Arthak Saurfang says: What was your gambit?
Gul'dan says: In believing in you, Arthak. Your father, the blood that runs through your veins, is a bold statement towards disbelieving in you, but you have disproved your blood, you have proven your mind more powerful. You have created a destiny, a legacy, all your own. I always wanted to believe you could accomplish this. You are not your father’s son. You are Arthak Stormbreaker, the Herald of the Blood Mist, and I eagerly await what your destiny has in store, my young friend.
Arthak Saurfang says: You’re right. Thank you, elder.

Gul’dan raises his hand again and projects a circle of felfire.

Gul'dan says: This will spirit you back to your home. To your people.
Arthak Saurfang says: Very well.

Arthak nods and goes through. The last thing he sees is Gul’dan’s smiling face. Arthak arrives to some degree of chaos in the streets. There appear to be many beasts of burden in the process of being wrangled and brought back to their stables. Thura, with her boar, is trying to calm it.

Thura Saurfang says: Arthak! How’d you get here?
Arthak Saurfang says: Magic.
Thura Saurfang says: Oh. That makes sense.

At that moment, Gramgun comes running.

Gramgun Laughingeye says: Chieftain!
Arthak Saurfang says: Yes?
Gramgun Laughingeye says: We’ve, um. We’ve been attacked. While we were at the meetin’. Do you want the good news or the bad news?
Arthak Saurfang says: Bad news.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Bad news, it appears the Steel Haul is gone. And, uh, the three elf prisoners? They’re gone too. And uh. So are all the draenei.
Arthak Saurfang says: Mm.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: I, uh, don’t reckon there’s a connection, do ya?
Arthak Saurfang says: Perhaps.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Oh boy. Good news, there’s some injuries, but no one’s dead. We had to drag a few blokes from nearly drownin’, but… nothing besides a couple minor injuries. A few more major, but nothing treatment won’t help.
Arthak Saurfang says: Did you see what direction it went?
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Not exactly, but I reckon it’s heading northwest to wrap around the isle.
Arthak Saurfang says: Hm.
Gramgun Laughingeye says: Do, we uh… do you want us to pursue, or…?
Arthak Saurfang says: Secure Gramgun’kur, and then once we’re ready, pursue. But… I imagine the winds won’t be in our favor.

Gramgun nods.

Gramgun Laughingeye says: Gotcha, captain. We’ll see if we can find them, but lotso’ people are wanting to do stuff here and there’s a bunch of MONSTERS AROUND GET THEM BACK IN THE PENS, LETS GO.

He goes to help wrangle the beasts.

That night, Sadras posits that if Arthak knew what was going to happen, he likely won’t be suspected because they attacked his people. But it seems all the Ati-kaso, and the three elvish prisoners, are gone.