[Semi-Open] The Axe Falls

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Imladris
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[Semi-Open] The Axe Falls
Storyline: 

 

The writeup for the multi-guild RP arc that revolves around the Darkspear Rebellion and the fallout of it. Currently have varying levels of involvement from many Horde-Side guilds, though more are welcome, as is Cross-Faction RP, should it make sense!

 

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Eversong. The quiet calm of evening, water from a nearby creek lending a soothing melody to the chorus of the Woods. A cool breeze rustled through the trees, singing through leaves orange and green and yellow, billowing the scarlet and gold pennants that hung close to the shining gates of Silvermoon City.

 

One could almost forget that the Scourge still walked the Dead Scar, still in sight.

 

But then the Jungle Troll Mojakai did not see as others did, which in itself was the chief reason he was initially sought out by Kaedyn and Imladris so long ago, his special sort of “sight” allowing him to become attuned to the Spirit world and remain in touch with so many things mysterious and intangible.

 

“Tha' tribe already be prohibited from goin' into Orgrimmar until furtha' notice. Given to what I told Ren of me visions.”

 

Ren’nari, the son of Raji’din, both towering Ice Trolls who spent time in Silvermoon City, working to bring peace to their scattered cousins. They had both come fast friends with some of the Elves, strangely.

 

Kaedyn frowned at the news, moving closer to the hooded Hunter by her side. The Troll continued.

 

“But me visions had been seein' brief glimpses of a dark cloud lingerin' ova' tha' city. And each time dis cloud grows... Now dere be somet'ing else......an axe wit' in dis cloud came hurlin' down.”

 

Imladris glanced at Kaedyn, eyes flashing.

 

“Where it struck be wit'in tha' valley o'spirits.....dat's when tha' cries of tha' innocents and more began to shout. Dis axe also be a symbol...an axe dat once caused a near downfall from corruption but den was redeemed.”

 

He shook his head.

 

“But dis same axe, it's beholder is fallin' into dat same darkness. I fear greatly for those o'tha' Darkspear given where it has struck. Blood was shed, lives lost. Many imprisoned.”

 

Kaedyn hissed, a sharp intake of breath.

 

“But not just dem, any who be troll caught in tha' axe's wrath.”

 

“Do you know this weapon?”

 

Mojakai shakes his head. "I neva' seen it before....but in me vision's durin' tha' day....dis axe spoke it's name."

 

The Troll paused, almost having to gather himself.

 

“Gorehowl.”

 

"Hellscream. It was the name of his father's axe.”

 

Mojakai blinked, his skin somewhat pale.

 

The Elves shared a grim look.

 

“Den if dat be tha' beholder, Somet'ing is goin' to go down....somet'ing real dark....tha' Horde stands on a very thin line. And me warnin' o'dis is to save lives. To try to 'ave as many trolls away from tha' city... Or any who be allies to dem. Stand by dere side. Tha' visions neva' given me an answer of when dis will occur, so it can be occurin' now...it can occur two hours from now...who knows...days..weeks.

 

Kaedyn nods, murmuring to herself.  "The Korkron Orcs..."

 

“But dere be a light in tha' end o'dis dark tunnel o'chaos. Tha' spirits spoke words called Tha' shadow o'tha' Horde will arise.”

 

A moment passed before Imaldris spoke.

 

“Do you know of what goes on in the Isle of Thunder, Mojakai?”

 

“Ren most likely be investigatin' what I spoke but also may call onto you and otha' allies. Be dis isle tha' one where vengence is strongest?"

 

“There is much going on there, but it is also where Lor'Themar, the Regent of Silvermoon, currently is.”

 

“He is one of those seeking to move against Hellscream. What you say rings true, Mojakai, and I do believe that a great darkness will befall Orgrimmar, Kalimdor, all of Azeroth.”

 

Mojakai blinked, yellow eyes unfocused. "I wouldn't of known dat and given ya' words, it be up to you to give me warnin' to ya' leader...but speak it wisely... I not sure what to entirely expect besides what dese warnin's show.”

 

Kaedyn nodded, speaking clearly. “We thank you for your trust, Moj'akai.”

 

Mojakai nodding as he listens to the two. "T'anks for listenin'.....it's difficult to keep dese words contained as tha' spirits rile when dey seek dere words to be known to ears dat need to hear'em.”

 

“What of Vol’jin?” The Troll turned to Imladris at the sudden interruption.

 

“As for Vol'jin...." Mojakai scratched as he thought, brows curved. "Tha' only t'ing dat tha' spirits spoke was Tha' Shadow of tha' Horde will arise.....I saw several figures standin' wit'in a fog but it wouldn't clear for me to see dere faces."

 

Imladris nodded.

 

"He is as threat to Garrosh, as large as any he will perceive. If there is a concerted move against Hellscream, the Kor'kron will believe he is behind it. As much as or more than Lor'Themar surely. They may seek to pre-emptively neutralize this threat.”

 

Mojakai ears lowered, looking worried as he listened. "Den what tha' spirits of me ancestors speak is true.....blood shed of battle is at tha' front gates.."

 

“It seems, Mojakai, that we are on the verge of a Civil War.”

 

“To know of dis warnin' may 'elp to prepare for what is to come. Many lives be dependin' on dis, I know we won't save all.”

 

Imladris looked away. “Yes. We can’t. And some of it will be necessary.”

 

The silence grew long before Imladris nodded again. "It might be wise, my friend, to have some of us meet. For... a council of war, if need be."

 

“I am sure Ren or Raji will set dat up...I jus' be hopein' Raji will return as dere be urgency. As much as we want Raji'din to be 'ere given 'e knows more information den I. But Ren, his son be takin' up lead until den.”

 

“We shall speak again soon, my friend.”

 

The Elves watched on as the Shaman shifted into the form of a wolf, bounding away.

 

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Soft light from magically-enhanced candles danced in the room just off Falconwing, turning the glasses and goblets gold where they sat in their shelves. Two Elves strode in, between them a large maned cat, and one started to draw a coin-purse clipped to his belt. He stopped.

 

"Voices."

 

His partner, flame-haired and green-eyed, garbed in a silver-blue dress rather than the form-fitting leather usual for a Ranger, looked about. Her expression was curious, alert, though the wariness faded as she noticed the group filtering from above.

 

"Inquisitor Blackbriar."

 

Slowly, the members of the Golden Dawn Offensive filtered down into the room, some clad in gleaming armor, others regal in runed robes. Raeziel Blackbriar turned to the two Elves at the foot of the stair.

 

"Kaedyn, Imladris, good to see you again. Tell me, have you come to a decision regarding your... problem?"

 

The hooded Hunter spoke. "We have, Inquisitor, though it may not be the development you had wanted when we last spoke."

 

"Oh?"

 

"We will have to respectfully decline your offer of a place among the Dawn, though it has not gone without gratitude and appreciation. We have, however, left the Order of the Fallen Phoenix, but have reforged that from which that Order was initially born."

 

"Your Crusade." The latest voice echoed from off the side, and as one they turned. There, a light-haired female stood, observing the others. Raeziel spoke.

 

"My friends, allow me to introduce Lady Elixra Bloodhymn. Our new commander, she takes over from Lillyen Sunhaven."

 

She bowed, gracious and elegant. "I have heard much of the two of you."

 

"Then we are at a disadvantage, Lady Bloodhymn, though I trust in the times to come we and our people will both be well acquainted. In the field, if nothing else."

 

Several sculpted brows raised. The Inquisitor spoke again, his blades shifting in their scabbards. "You have returned to the beliefs you spoke so passionately about."

 

"And it is those beliefs, like yours, which will be tested in times to come."

 

All eyes turned to the Hunter, who pulled back his hood. Pale eyes scanned the gathering, his scarred face betraying little but a hard focus and resolve.

 

"And what is it you believe, Hunter?"

 

"That there is enough darkness and danger in this world for either idleness or a petty war with those who similarly wish to eradicate these threats. That Azeroth can be saved, one people at a time, one person at a time, if need be."

 

"All of Azeroth?" They turned to the one who spoke, a Paladin who had been quiet up till then.

 

"No. Some are beyond saving, or do not want redemption."

 

"And some don't deserve it."

 

Kaedyn, silent till then, murmured to herself, "Especially the Kor'Kron."

 

A wicked smile all but erupted on the face of Raeziel Blackbriar. "That much we can agree on."

 

Imladris spoke again, his voice level. "The Crusade and the Dawn may not agree on all things, my friends, but for now, our goals lie in tandem. If nothing else, that much will hold us together, as the situation in Kalimdor escalates."

 

A palpable shift in the mood rippled through the room. One of the Dawn, a Paladin, spoke. "You know something?"

 

"Indeed. Our allies closer to Kalimdor speak of things accelerating, coming to a head. War is imminent."

 

"The Dawn will be at the fore."

 

"I'm sure."

 

Raeziel and Imladris locked gazes for a long moment, something passing between the two, watched on intently by the others. The Hunter broke the silence, continuing from his last statement.

 

“How will the Dawn mobilize, Inquisitor?”

 

“We plan on stationing a force in the Barrens, to lend what aid we can to the move against Hellscream, though after Deathwing’s tantrum Orgrimmar is a fortress, and it will be hard to lay siege. I assume one possibility is the other entrance, through the slums.”

 

Imladris nodded, turning to the newly-arrived figure by his side, a robed, bearded male.

 

“This is Albell, one of the Crusaders. A trusted ally, and a good friend.” He looked at the Crusader. “Any way you can assist the Dawn in their efforts?”

 

“I believe I may have some contacts, and can look them up. What is it you wish?”

 

The Inquisitor spoke, “Structural weaknesses, points of entry, hidden passages, service tunnels, the like...”

 

Elixra and Kaedyn had remained largely quiet till then, the females quietly observing their male companions in this impromptu council of war. Their gazes met, each one appraising, guarded, though in the flickering candlelight it was impossible to tell if amongst the myriad of expressions that shifted in their orbs was respect and trust.

 

“It is settled then. Albell, speak to your contacts and send word to the Inquisitor. Does the Dawn have a presence in the Undercity?”

 

This time Elixra Bloodhymn did speak, her voice clear and strong. “I am familiar with the Forsaken dwelling, yes. But your concern for the Kor’Kron there may be moot, Hunter. I expect the Forsaken and their Dark Lady will be able to deal with them swiftly.”

 

“But the Forsaken are just as likely to be dangerous to us all as well, Commander.”

 

They turned now to the Dawn’s Inquisitor, addressing the leader of the faction for the first time since introducing her to the Crusaders. Imladris spoke again. “I will have my daughter become our eyes in the Undercity,” A brief look of pain passed across his face, not missed by Kaedyn. “She is learned of the Forsaken and the Dark Lady, and can do so better than any of us.”

 

He went on, eyes scanning the room. “Kaedyn, you will remain in Quel’Thalas, acting as the bridge between our assorted groups, and the point of contact with Nastiria in the Undercity, whatever it is happens with or to the Kor’Kron there. Assist the Dawn in making preparations for the defence of Silvermoon as well, in case such is needed. Make use of Wraventris, he is best suited to remaining in and around Quel’Thalas.”

 

“What will you do?”

 

“I will be at Inquisitor Blackbriar’s disposal in Kalimdor, after I attend to a few matters.”

 

“What matters?”

 

“I will take Val and aid the Dawn in scouting the Barrens and the home of the Trolls there, and to call on an old friend in Mulgore.”

 

Elixra Bloodhymn nodded, appearing satisfied. “Sun guide you then.”

 

“Sun guide us all.”

 

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The fortress that was Orgrimmar blotted out a large part of the sky, even though it remained far in the distance. The Kor'kron who patrolled the walls were but small dots, spiked armor catching the evening sun. Far below, outside the great gates of the city of the Orcs, massive numbers of their brethren mustered. Their commands and orders, disciplined as well as frenzied, drifted through the expanse to where the two Elves watched.

 

"There's a lot of them."

 

Kaedyn Kin'Shora, once Kaedyn Sin'dalah, crouched behind a rocky outcrop, flame-red hair tied in a neat ponytail that fell lazily down her back. She was clad in form-fitting gear, mail and scale over leather. Slung across her back was a hand-carved bow, white and almost glowing. Two daggers lay at her belt. She spoke again.

 

"Too many for us to get closer."

 

Beside her, her partner grunted. Hooded, his pale gaze surveyed the scene beyond the plain and his troubled mind came to the same conclusion. Looking around, he nodded, gesturing for them to move.

 

"Go."

 

Under the evening shadow, they crept under the cliffs, echoing with the cries of Harpies within the stone valley. Twice they had to stop, slinking back into a narrow crevice, the Hunter's assured grip pulling her in with him, always twisting so he remained in between her and the Kor'kron Wolfrider that neared. They had no fear of their scent being detected, both were covered in Kor'kron blood as it was.

 

"Now."

 

A mad dash, two Elves darting from rock to rock, stopping as one as honed instincts determined they could go no farther, no closer.

 

A swarm of Golbin workers and Orc peons moved, insectoid, carrying tools and supplies and sometimes each other. A few were accompanied by Ogres, chains and manacles around thick limbs, brutish strength easily hefting huge metallic or wooden beams.

 

Beams that were being used to construct massive siege engines, all spiked and flaming, cruel and wicked. Some were obviously designed to maim large numbers of troops, razor-sharp discs cleverly engineered to scythe through an entire battalion of humanoids. Others were aimed to the skies or to the nearby waters, ballistas and catapaults and harpoons discouraging any sort of encroachment. More were being built. Many more.

 

A sharp cry tore their gazes from the siege engines, and to a small gathering of individuals. They were close enough to make out, three Kor'kron, armor unadorned and faces eager as they lowered their firearms to the heads of bound and gagged Trolls, bloody and bruised and kneeling in the sand.

 

The Kor'kron Sergeant growled.

 

"Take off their blindfolds. Show these scum the earth of Durotar that their blood will fall on."

 

The rags around their heads were ripped off, revealing even more bruises, scars, and expressions that were both haunted and yet defiant.

 

"Ya not be able ta keel da Darkspear spirit, 'man, Ya Warchief be da true terra of da Horde."

 

A harsh blow cracked against the Troll's face, splintering a tusk.

 

"We die, ya die, Hellscream will still die, 'man. Da real Warchief Thra -"

 

Another strike, sending bright red blood spurting onto the dirt.

 

"You Trolls never learn. I told you, don't even [i]speak[/i] his name. Ready your weapons, boys."

 

The guns were loaded, cocked.

 

"Good riddance."

 

The defiant Darkspear glanced up, gaze meeting that of the Elves an instant before the light faded from his eyes.

 

Kaedyn flinched, a furious rumble in her throat, hand already on her bow.

 

Another hand, that of Imladris, closed around her arm.

 

"The others will know of this at the meet. Come."

 

Kaedyn turned a malevolent gaze away from the Kor'kron, though Imladris glanced again at the contingent, their weapons, and prisoners before vanishing into the shadows.

 

---------------------

 

Many eyes were on the hooded Hunter, crouched down close to the ground. In the sand before him, a crude representation of Northern Durotar was etched, his finger moving this way and that, marking and pointing. He had their attention.

 

The ones closest to him towered over the group. Ice Trolls of the Sul’Tusk Tribe, Raji’din and Rennari were father and son, leading their people out from the frozen North and now into the scorching heat of Kalimdor. Lately the Tribe had begun accepting displaced Trolls from Orgrimmar, offering sanctuary within their Temple in Zul’Drak.

 

Across the way, a few Elves familiar to the Hunter were gathered, armored and armed. The Order of the Fallen Phoenix, Shindu Al’ar, had themselves become involved in the escalating conflict in Kalimdor, though it was more of a collection of individuals than the Order as an entity as of yet. One of them, a female Paladin with fiery eyes, had only just returned from a bold foray into Kor’kron territory.

 

There were others as well. Curious onlookers from House Ravencrest, their representative speaking in a booming, hollow, voice. A lone Tracker, Lelvex Windpiercer, who had become known to the rest in recent days. A Dawnbreaker from the Golden Dawn Offensive, arriving in gleaming armor. A sharp-mouthed female lounged nearby, offering biting commentary but little else, as Imladris spoke.

 

“And so that is the plan. Since our options are limited, we will need a distraction. Charlie,” he turned to the robed female nearby, who looked back, “you will enter Drygulch, and try to rouse the Harpies into becoming a nuisance towards the Kor’kron.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Raji’din, when the time is right, you and Frostclaw will take to the skies, and try and... steal their Proto-drake. As you said.”

 

The Ice Troll nodded, tusks sharp in the air. He had offered the unique solution to the problem of the Kor’kron Proto-Drake, to use his own, Frostclaw, to taunt it into the air. Not all of those gathered agreed, but they had no better idea.

 

“Kaedyn, you will lead the rest of them as close to the Kor’kron Battalion as you can. Use the Eastern approach, between the Ravine and the coast. Lelvex will take point with you.”

 

The Tracker blinked. “What?”

 

“I need another set of trained eyes with her on the ground. I’ll be on the cliffs in case Charlie or Raji’din need me.”

 

A female strode forward, voice assured and rising over the murmur of the group. A large spear rest across her back, though if it affected her balance, she did not show it.

 

“They will have Shindu Al’ar with them.”

 

“As I hoped for. Thank you, Candreanna.”

 

She nodded, and returned to her group, exchanging words with Danarx, the Elf-Smith.

 

A voice spoke from amongst the gathered.

 

“To what end?”

 

Imladris pushed himself up. “They are executing Darkspear and other prisoners. More than the loss of life, those prisoners have been inside the city. Some of them, at least, and we can use their knowledge to better gauge our next move.”

 

Grim faces all around, expressions unchanged as they rode out of the Crossroads.

 

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Candreanna Solstrike, spear balanced across toned shoulders, looked around at the team put together to extract the prisoners from under the noses of the Kor’kron. There was Danarx, also of Shindu Al’ar, Elven-Smith and wielding a greatsword forged by his own hand, encased in armor. Ahead of them, the Ranger Kaedyn and Tracker Lelvex prepared to move out, picking their approach. Candreanna looked to Kaedyn.

 

“So... how do you want to play this?”

 

Kaedyn turned to her, regarding her and the rest briefly, before pointing to the Kor’kron tower in the distance.

 

“We make it there without alerting the guards.”

 

The Ranger continued to study the rest, as Candreanna had done only a moment before. Her leaf-green eyes were hard, determined, but a seed of doubt stirred in her heart. Since meeting the enigmatic Imladris, it was rare that she had been separated from his side in the field like this. They had grown close, yes, but it was not a dependency on the Hunter that troubled her. Indeed, she was a far better shot that he at this point in time, her skill with the bow almost unmatched, and in the maned cat beside her she had a formidable ally anyway.

 

No, it was how she regarded herself, as the arrow to his bow.

 

And now he had told her to lead this critical mission. While he was... somewhere else. She shook her head, steeling herself, and addressed the others.

 

“They are alert for an air assault and have patrols around the base of the tower where the prisoners are held.”

 

Lelvex, the Tracker, shielded his eyes from the setting sun, pointing.

 

“The coastline may be clear. With any luck, the harbor will have stocked up boxes of supplies we may be able to take cover behind.”

 

Solstrike drew her spear.

 

“From the coast we can then hide behind the hills, until we reach the tower.”

 

The Ranger nodded, breaking out into a run.

 

“Let’s go.”

 

Raji’din Sul’Tusk, Charishe Bloodhand, and Imladris stood on the red rocks that made up Drygulch Ravine, the shrieks of the Harpies below echoing. Far below them, the figures of their rescue group made their way cautiously on the ground. Slipping from stone to stone, Kaedyn and Lelvex expertly led their team close to the Kor’kron contingent.

 

Raji’din spoke, voice rumbling.

 

“I see her lion. In position.”

 

--------------------------------------------

Back on the ground, Kaedyn turned to Lelvex.

 

“Let’s go.”

 

“Ready when you are.”

 

They darted forward, followed by the pair from Shindu Al’ar.

 

“What do you see?”

 

Lelvex looked about again, adjusting the garment around his head.

 

“Windriders riding east and west by the tower off to the left. Not going to be fun if they see us... Ehh... this doesn’t look good. Kor’kron with Darkspear at gunpoint. We might not have a whole lot of time.”

 

“Cover is sparse, and the patrols...”

 

“Now, this is our chance, to the left.”

 

Lelvex glanced over the dune and swallows, before sliding down and taking a deep breath, following the flame-haired Ranger as she dashed forward.

 

He was cursing as they reached their next hiding spot.

 

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Charlie, the young, enthusiastic Summoner who was herself new to the Crusade, nodded at Imladris’ orders, and slipped into the Ravine, flanked by the Ethereal cat Eriador. Muttering, a fel fire came over her, and she advanced onto the panicked Harpies.

 

The screams of the winged humanoids rose through the air, blocking out even the sounds of the war machines being dragged and built outside the walls of Orgrimmar. As one, the Kor’kron battalion turned to the piercing cries, just in time to note the mass of Harpies, some burning with demonic fire, scattering in all directions.

 

Including into their midst.

 

Efficiently, the Kor’kron and their labourers had assembled massive siege engines, deterring a march by land or sea or air. Catapaults and ballistas, machines that launched shrapnel and pitch, all designed to take down almost any foe. But they were wholly inefficient in dealing with the Harpies, small and agile in the air.

 

Admirable, then, that the well-drilled Kor’kron batallion did not break ranks, and seemed to have a plan to deal with the blazing Harpies. Quickly, the Harpies were scythed down by jagged swords and axes, though even as the Orcs roared in their blood lust, a larger, greater roar drowned out their cheers.

 

Raji’din had taken flight.

 

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The ground team slipped behind the Kor’kron line, twin distractions doing enough to buy them time. Soon, the crumpled and bloodied forms of armored Orcs lay at their feet, Candreanna kneeling over one to pilfer a key.

 

“Here we go.”

 

Still, they worked quietly, alert to the incredible danger all around them. Lelvex turned to Kaedyn, mouthing, “What now?”

 

She pointed to a nearby cage.

 

“After the next patrol.”

 

Two Kor’kron stumbled into the two, eyes wide and green hands reaching for their weapons. Before they could say anything, however, the their yellow eyes went dull, an orange spear thrust through the chest of one, curved greatsword shearing the torso of the other.

 

Danarx flicked the blood off the sword, turning about.

 

“We need to move before they kill the Trolls.”

 

---------------------------------------------

 

The Ice Troll was stoic beneath his plated helm, soaring high up in the air above Northern Durotar. Axe in hand, he pointed this way and that, directing his great flying mount through sheer force of will and personality, overcoming the natural hostility that the beast had towards him and others. He directed it downwards.

 

And one Dragonmaw Orc found himself in the great maw of Frostclaw, torn from his attempt to subdue the grounded Proto-Drake. His shock was only momentary, though, wicked teeth ending him.

 

Raji’din’s Proto-Drake roared, a great cry that snapped the one on the ground out of its induced stupor. Roaring in return, the wild Drake launched itself off the ground and into the air, starting a dangerous dance with Frostclaw. The Kor’kron stood, bewildered at the sheer audacity of stealing a Proto-Drake.

 

In mere moments though, both Drakes turned on the Orcs, fire and ice erupting from terrible maws.

 

Throughout the carnage, forcing two Proto-Drakes to bend to his will, dodging siege and arrows and spells, he still found the time and clarity to survey the scene below, plotting the next move for his allies.

 

------------------------------------

 

Rigid training flew from the minds of the Kor’kron soldiers, faced with the Dragonkin, and now they broke ranks, allowing for the hidden group of rescuers to slip into the holding cells, taking the battered Darkspear away from their captors. And not without a few more dead jailors, keys nimbly pocketed.

 

Kaedyn and Lelvex, bow and crossbow in hand, fired arrows and bolts into the throats and hearts and eyes of the panicked Kor’kron. Ahead of them, Danarx and Candreanna of Shindu Al’ar swung heavy blades, chopping down the Kor’kron who closed in. The four created a ring of carnage, protecting the few Darkspear they had freed.

 

The maned cat Sambas roared, pouncing on an Orc that had gotten too close, ripping out his throat. Kaedyn fired off arrow after arrow, each finding its mark, some hitting impossible targets. Lelvex readied his crossbow, quarrels sending unfortunate victims hurtling backwards, clutching at their lifeblood pouring from gaping wounds.

 

Candreanna parried a sword-strike expertly, rotating to use the momentum of the blow in her own riposte, though it was not her spear that lashed out at the dumbfounded Orc, but a clubbing foot to the jaw, cracking bone beneath an iron helm. Still spinning, she brought her spear around to knock another Orc off its feet, impaling a third.

 

Danarx was less graceful, though no less effective. Arrows skittering off well-forged armor, the Elf-smith brought his greatsword crashing down on an Orc left exposed after a poorly-timed strike. Deceptively quick, he brought it around to turn the blade of another, before countering rapidly, smashing through the Orc’s shield and all but slicing him in half. An axe struck him hard in the side, denting his armor but not penetrating. He turned on the Orc, ending him quickly.

 

---------------------------------------

 

Back in the air, Raji’din and his two Proto-Drakes were being pursued by Wyvern-Riders, pouring out of Orgrimmar at the sound of a horn. They banked hard, massive bulk ceding maneuverability to the smaller Wyverns, but managed to escape serious harm, and sped away towards the cliffs, followed closely.

 

The Wyvern-riders flew into a hail of arrows and felfire, Hunter and Summoner standing on the rocks, a dancing Imp hurling fireballs as well.

 

Imladris nocked two arrows, straining to track the nimble Kor’kron Windriders. Releasing his draw, one found the throat of an Orc, though the other sailed harmlessly wide. He muttered a curse, swaying slightly.

 

“Are you alright, sir?”

 

Charlie paused in her spellcasting, taking a step towards the Hunter. Beside her, the Imp continued to toss fireballs at the Kor’kron, laughing gleefully and dancing.

 

“I’m fine, keep going.”

 

He held his head, steadying himself. Only the day before, he had been treated for broken ribs and a concussion by the healers of the group known as Dath’anar, after carelessness led him to becoming a victim of a Goblin rocket blast. Kaedyn had dragged his limp form back to the Crossroads, watched with concern as the Healers tended.

 

The Summoner nodded, waggling her fingers and calling upon Fel Magics to tap into the very life-force of her Kor’kron enemies, the agony and fear in their Orcish eyes visible even at that distance. Several Wyverns quickly found themselves rider-less.

 

Imladris frowned, still uncomfortable with resorting to the Demon-craft, though he had to admit that the young Elf by his side was doing a good job keeping it all in check. His eyes tracked the scene before and above him, thoughtful.

 

“Keep them off Raji’din, and make sure this ridge stays clear.”

 

“Where...”

 

But she blinked, looking at where he once was.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

As his pursuers wilted, Raji’din steered the Drakes back towards the Kor’kron line, raining ice and fire down. The frost and flame did much damage, but he knew that it was only a matter of time before their siege engines were properly calibrated to blast him out of the air. Still, he had to buy time for the exposed group on the ground, so again and again, he let loose.

 

--------------------------------------

 

Kaedyn looked about rapidly, torn.

 

Her group was quickly becoming overwhelmed, the Kor’kron surrounding them already in formation and closing in. But they still had so many to save, while protecting the small group of Darkspear that they encircled. Each of her companions were already spent, but fought on valiantly.

 

Suddenly, she was grabbed from above.

 

She struggled frantically against strong hands, recognizing instantly she had been plucked by a Wyvern-Rider. Twisting away, she reached for a dagger, but stopped after a moment.

 

“I’ll steer, you fire.”

 

Hood thrown back, the wind was in the scarred face of Imladris, atop the stolen Wyvern. Kaedyn nodded as the duo circled over their allies, her added advantage of elevation driving the nearest of the Kor’kron back. As one, they yelled to the ground.

 

“Get out of here!”

 

Lelvex, the Tracker, looked up, forlorn. “But there are still so many ins -”

 

“We can’t save them all, get who you can and go!”

 

They nodded, altering their course to head back towards the cliffs, ringing the battered Darkspear.

 

-------------------------------------------

 

Raji’din watched from higher up, having brought his Drakes beyond the effective range of the ballistas. Nodding to himself as he noted the group pulling out, he began to bank away from the fight, understanding his role was over. Frostclaw roared beneath him, still eager for blood.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, though, a lone Wind-Rider had stolen away, above the group, readying a heavy crossbow, aimed down at them.

 

The Orc soon toppled from his saddle, cleaved and beheaded by the instant actions of the Ice Troll, who had launched himself from his Drake, axe in hand.

 

He landed again on Frostclaw, the Drake diving as the Troll did.

 

He didn’t even flinch.

 

-------------------------------------------

 

“Take them to the cliffs!”

 

Imladris thrust the reins of the Wyvern into Kaedyn’s hands, not waiting for the invariable protest as he slid off, rolling in the dirt. He rose, firing off an arrow at the nearest Kor’kron, point blank, before yanking it out to stab at another who had closed.

 

“Go!”

 

Kaedyn scowled, calling her her allies to follow, trusting in her balance to release the reins to focus on clearing a path below with arrows. She cast a glance back at Imladris before he disappeared.

 

 

------------------------------------------

 

The Hunter pressed himself against a crate, counting to himself, eyes closed in a mixture of concentration and dizziness. Shaking himself clear, he swung out, a blade entering the neck of a passing Wolf-Rider, momentum pulling Imladris into the saddle as well.

 

Tossing the bleeding Orc aside, Imladris steered the Wolf towards the Kor’kron firing squad, determined to grab at least one more captive. He sent the large beast through the air, crashing into the Orcs and scattering them, one all but crushed by a headless Orc falling from the sky out of nowehere. Grabbing one of the Trolls at random, he turned to leave.

 

“Da... Commander... ‘mon....”

 

“We’ll get them soon enough, my friend.”

 

“N-naw, ‘mon. Take... da Elf...”

 

He paused, looking around, and saw.

 

Sin’dorei captives. Beaten, bloodied, battered.

 

Familar.

 

“The Sun Commander.”

 

And Orcish yell brought him back to the reality of the situation. Cursing, he rode away, Troll limp in the saddle.

 

Risingwolf
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Joined: 2012/04/06
Kaedyn stood on the broad limb of the massive tree, her gaze set firmly to the north as she waited for Wrav and Thale. The lightest of sounds alerted her to the rogues’ presence a moment before he appeared at her side, resting an arm casually upon her shoulder. “Hey there.”
 
A moment later, Wraventis strode around the Inn and into sight. Kae and Thalenis hopped down from the tree to meet Wrav.
 
“Thank you both for showing up so quickly.” She said, retrieving a map from her pack and unfurling it. "I've been tracking several caravans going to Orgrimmar." Pointing to the NW corner of the map, “This mine, here, has been shipping ore to Garrosh's forces as well as being used as a repair depot for their siege equipment.”
 
Thalenis gently pats Sambas his attention focused, on Kae taking in all the information she gave. "You want to strike at it don't you?"
 
“From my observations it's manned mostly by goblins and orcs, a few humans and an occasional ogre. The road is watched but I found another path that will take us behind their defenses.”
 
Kaedÿn picks up a stick and draws a rough map in the dirt. Pointing with the stick, "Our approach is here in the east." The stick moves NW of that spot. "We will take out the guards and move to this building here. Not a lot of activity but I want to search it.”
 
Thalenis nods his head, motioning to the ridge line "Our escape route if we get in trouble?"
 
“The cliffs are high... back the way we came will be the only real way out.”
 
“And if we are intercepted?”
 
Kaedyn looked to Wraventis, head tilted and wry grin curving her lips. “Best not to get in trouble, but that's why I want to clear a path rather than sneak by.”
 
Thalenis cracks his knuckles "Now you’re talkin.."
 
Kaedÿn glances at the sun. "The shipments are regular and the guards are lax. They think they are safe." She looks at the others, a grim smile on her face. "These are not Kor'kron. They are mercenaries for hire and they took the wrong contract. We'll only have one shot.”
 
“Make sure to leave no one alive where we pass. No one to sound the alarm or call for reinforcements.” She received grim nods from them both.
 
The party departed heading north along the road until they came into sight of the observation tower. They tied their mounts and left them, proceeding ahead on foot as they skirted the road and made their way around to the foothills. A short time and steep climb later and they were at the mine facility.
 
The trio watched the mercenaries before them. “Careful not to skyline yourselves.” Kae said absently as she watched their patrol patterns. Suddenly she stood, nocking and loosing two arrows in quick succession, dropping the guards in their tracks. Motioning to the others she heads for the building, staying out of sight and Thale and Wrav dispatching more guards as they made their way into the building.
 
The stone building was sparsely decorated and there were only three guards in attendance. Thale and Wrav took care of the two on the ground floor while Kae feathered the guard above. A quick search revealed little on the first floor the a side room proved rewarding. Kaedyn stepped aside revealing a locked chest. “Thale, can you open this?”
 
Thalenis nods his head, "Give me a moment.." Thalenis pulls forth a few picks and a small wire, "two minutes.. can you two give me that?" Without waiting for an answer he got to work, peering at the lock, he places the wire in first.. he loops it around inside sliding the pic in after it, After a few jimmies he pops the lock open "All done.."
 
Kaedÿn opens the chest, it's filled with coin, both Horde and Alliance gold. Kaedÿn turns quickly and growls to the two of them. "Let's move. No mercy for any." She turns furious eyes on the two. "If we find anyone of rank, I'd like to take them."
 
Thalenis looks at her, "What about this?" he motions at the chest.
 
“Its too heavy.  Let's clear this place. We'll come back for it if we can.... and then we burn.... everything.”
The trio rushed to the mine, felling the guards they came across before any alarm could be raised. Once inside the mine they slowed, searching each shaft carefully until they ran into the the Mine Overseer. Thalenis knocked him out and tied him up and the trio proceeded on. Any guard, any worker unlucky enough to be on duty was quickly and efficiently dispatched.
 
“They’ve collapsed it!” Kaedyn growled in anger. “You two, out. Pick up the prisoner and wait for me at the chest.” She said, grabbing a burning brand from the nearest brazier. "Go ahead, I'm gonna fire anything that will burn."
 
A short time later Kaedyn rushes out of the mine, dark smoke billowing after. Thalenis lights a match and holds it over a oil line... he drops it "Boom.." The line leading to a set of kegs he had rolled over to the door. “...Thale.” Kaedyn shakes her head. 
 
“Let’s finish this.” The few guards that had not run were eliminated. Until all that was left were the three of them and their prisoner. Kae looked to the watch tower as she reached for a burning barrel stave. 
 
“Thale, you reduce that tower to rubble. I’m going to burn this siege equipment. Wrav, mind the prisoner and grab the chest.” 
 
The sound of the tower exploding echoed through the small valley as three riders passed into the night, a squirming bundle bound to one of the steeds and a heavy iron chest strapped to the Shado-Pan tiger. 
 
"This was lovely." The only other sound was that of the Death Knights laughter.......
Imladris
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Joined: 2013/04/10
“Let’s see who we have today.”
 
Aerandir Kin’Shora, known to many as Imladris, stood and watched the group. They were gathered, as always under the shadow of the large tree in the Crossroads, one of the few well-supplied and secure outposts for the Rebellion in Kalimdor. His hood was pulled low, shielding strange eyes from the harsh glow of the desert sun, low in the sky and casting its glare throughout the Barrens.
 
Before him were a diverse group, with the Crusaders, some of them hand-picked, bunched together. There was Aetis Sunguard, the Blood Knight, eyeing Wraventris, dark armor still looking cold in the heat. The young elementalist Mwarin, shy and quiet, sat and watched the others. Candreanna Solstrike was alert, her leather armor form-fitting and tailored for ease of movement beside Charishe Bloodhand, the Summoner. And standing proudly among them all, Kaedyn Kin’Shora, meeting the gaze of the hooded Hunter with a determined nod, before gesturing to the others.
 
A line of figures stood nearby, Tirithion Nor’andu, the Guardian of Shindu Al’ar, before them. Wordlessly, he gazed upon the rest, leading those of his group into the hastily-prepared Meet. There was Lancelet Ardanos, slipping off his Hippogryph. Deminaeda Somme supported Asonis Darkrunner, the Scout that had only just been rescued from a harrowing abduction. Kylanna, the Silvermoon Ranger, checked her arrows absently as the Elf-smith Danarx offered a salute to Imladris.
 
There were others, the blind Seer Mojakai from the Sul’Tusk Tribe had come with some others from their Temple in Northrend, a curious onlooker, sharpening a greatsword listened intently, here and there others involved in the Darkspear Rebellion watched on.
 
The Hunter spoke.
 
“Two groups. One, smaller, will be led by Kaedyn to infiltrate a Kor’kron supply facility, the location of which we have managed to decipher thanks to the codes supplied by Danarx. We don’t have the time to send in a proper scouting team, after what happened in the mine earlier will have them reorganize and strengthen their defenses.”
 
Kaedyn nodded, and turned to some others, gesturing for them to go with her.
 
“And the rest of us, we will provide a distraction?”
 
“Not quite. That this facility is hidden away in the valley to the North may suggest that we may surprise them regardless, and that subterfuge is a viable option. What the rest of you will do, however, is to cut off the Kor’kron reinforcements after Kaedyn and the others have disabled the site. The closest camp is their Wolf-Pens, to the Southwest.”
 
Imladris turned to Aetis.
 
“Time for you to be the Bulwark.”
 
The Blood Knight nodded.
 
“Ay be remainin’ ere, ‘Mon. Mojakai helpin’ ta ‘eal da wounded, and ta ‘elp aftah. But ya take some of ‘da Tribe, dey come today.”
 
The Blind Seer eased himself down, sightless gaze finding Imladris unerringly.
 
“And Shindu Al’ar?”
 
The cold voice of Tirithion resonated from behind a plated helm, addressing the Hunter, himself once the leader of the Order. A tense moment passed between them before the smaller male spoke, pulling back his hood.
 
“I would not give any commands to the Order while their leader is here to do so. But their strength and steel and skill will be needed this day.”
 
Tirithion drew his glowing blade.
 
“Then we ride to the Wolves.”
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
 
The small party crouched in the shadows afforded by the rocks as the sun continued to set. Led by the Ranger Kaedyn Kin’Shora, her red ponytail cascading down her back, they huddled close and studied the scene before them.
 
A medium-sized facility was cunningly hidden in the small valley, rocks and cleverly-positioned plants all but obscuring it from wayward eyes. Dark iron and steel beams had been hammered into the ground, itself cracked open and razed by a whirring mechanical drill, lowered from the belly of the facility, raised, ramps and walkways leading from the ground to where the work was being done unseen.
 
“Oil?”
 
Imladris nodded at Kaedyn’s assessment, quietly gauging a good vantage point.
 
“Take the others. In and out only as long as you need to shut it down. I’ll keep watch from here.”
 
Two Ogre guards and a Goblin overseer trudged by just below.
 
“The other group should be causing some trouble now. Go.”
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
 
"WINDRIDERS! Rangers, remove them!"
 
Aetis Sunguard, the Bulwark, once of the Golden Dawn and now with the Crusaders, stood among the strewn corpses of Kor’kron, surveying the scene above the heads of the group of fighters wreaking havoc in the Wolf-Pens.
 
Nearby, the female Elf Kylanna, of Shindu Al’ar, nodded and took aim. Far from her home and familiar territory of Quel’Thalas, she had travelled with the contingent from the Order of the Fallen Phoenix, moving out from their base of operations high in the hills of the Ghostlands, and had now lent their considerable skills to the Rebellion in Kalimdor.
 
Her first arrow struck true, sending an Orc tumbling lifelessly through the air, landing with a crunch barely a few feet away from two large armored forms.
 
Raji’din Sul’Tusk and Tirithion Nor’andu, leaders of the Sul’Tusk tribe and Shindu Al’ar, barely acknowledged each other as they each moved imperiously through the battlefield, blades scything through nearby enemies and dark energies crackling into and from the bodies nearby.
 
Also on the ground was Candreanna Solstrike, a dervish of destruction, hands and feet doing as much damage as her golden spear. Alongside her, fellow Crusader Wraventris, stoic under his dark hood, wicked spear held easily in his hands, and the Elf-smith Danarx and Lancelet Ardanos, both having travelled with Tirithion.
 
A harsh cry echoed from the skies, and the two hulking Death Knights took to the air, Tirithion’s Wyrm and Raji’din’s Bloodwing streaking into the ranks of the Kor’kron responders.
 
Danarx, armor dented, looked on, "Well so much for those airborne threats."
 
Beside him, Candreanna smirked, hurling her spear to impale an unfortunate Kor’kron soldier, before dancing away from a blow from another to retrieve the weapon, cracking it against the second Orc. Before she could answer, Aetis’ voice boomed again.
 
“COUNT OFF, BROTHERS AND SISTERS! WHOM STILL STANDS!?"
 
----------------------------------------
 
 
Few remained standing in the wake of their arrows, Kaedyn and her team darting through the facility’s patrols like a knife slipping between ribs, making for the heart of the drill-site. Silent but for the twang of bowstrings, itself more than overcome by the rumble of machinery, the squad made short work of those that might have seen them, creeping away from their path only to conceal the bodies.
 
They reached the control room, splattering the brains of a surprised Goblin before he could yell.
 
"Hmm... If we close a few of these valves this place will take care of itself."
 
She nodded to the others, who started to work quickly, efficiently, none hearing the cautious approach of another Overseer.
 
“Aiieeee! Intruders! Sound the alar - nngh”
 
The arrow wobbled in the Goblin’s throat as it tried to speak, though the only sound that came from it then was a bloody wheeze through the new opening in its neck. And then it slumped to the ground.
 
“You think they heard him?”
 
Alarms.
 
“Burn it to the ground.”
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
 
Imladris nodded grimly as the smoke began to rise from the facility. Taking up his dark bow, he nocked an arrow, watching the road for the inevitable Kor’kron responders. Beside him, the Ethereal cat Eriador growled, and leapt to a different perch, instinctively aiding his long-time friend.
 
“Come on, get out of there...”
 
The Orcs arrived after only a few moments, though their numbers and raiment suggested a raiding band that had happened to be in the vicinity, rather than Wolf-riders from the camp farther South.
 
Cursing at the misfortune, the Hunter released the arrow, narrowly missing the rider at the lead, before throwing himself from his place up on the rocks at the three, confident in Eriador’s ability to help.
 
He was not disappointed, a familiar snarl behind him clueing him in to the cat tearing out a Kor’kron throat, before clawing at the Wolf. The Hunter himself grappled with his own enemy, the Orc’s spiked armor cutting into the Elf’s flesh as they began a desperate dance and wrestled each other to the ground from the back of the Wolf.
 
“Kae... Riders... nggh... get....”
 
The call to his partner, magically transmitted by the coin in his pouch, was cut short by a heavy blow to the gut, tearing open the pouch and sending the coin flying. The Orc dropped a heavy boot on it, before readying his axe. Imladris rolled, avoiding the vicious blow, noting that Eriador had dispatched with one Orc and Wolf already, but was being kept away from him by the other pair.
 
His attention was soon brought back to his own fight though, having to duck another swing of the axe, before spinning away to draw and nock another arrow, firing it. It struck hard at the chestplate of the Orc, the explosive arrowhead sending the Orc flying, stunned. But then the Kor’kron Wolf was upon him, biting and snarling, using its bulk as well as its considerable jaws to drive the Elf back.
 
An arrow, two, in the beast’s flank did little to slow the enraged wolf, a final lunge at the Elf met with a feeble and desperate parry with his hand-crafted bow, snapped in the Wolf’s jaws. Thinking quickly, Imladris whirled, using the bowstring to garrotte the Wolf, cutting into its throat. The beast thrashed wildly, trying to dislodge the elf on its back, though he held on before drawing a curved dagger from his belt, sinking it into the Wolf’s brain just as he was thrown off.
 
The Orc rose, shaking himself back to clarity, and picked up his axe.
 
A shrill cry from somewhere, and several figures descended from the air wings flapping, surrounding the fighters.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
 
“Ladris!”
 
The sharp crunch that ended the magical conversation rattled her, and Kaedyn now felt the pressure, the burden of responsibility once again, feeling the eyes of the others on her. Thaerisa, the silent female that was one of the squad, had already set off the charges that would bring the drill-site down in a crashing blaze, and looked urgently at the flame-haired Ranger.
 
“Miss Kae, we need to go.”
 
And so they went, bows drawn and abandoning all pretenses of stealth. Cutting a path out of the control room, the narrow corridors inside the facility all but funneled their enemies to a quick and sudden death, many falling with several arrows sticking from twitching corpses.
They emerged out into what they expected to be fresh air, but the heat and smoke of the blaze had quickly grown out of control. An ashen haze limited visibility, cloaking them in sooty clouds, but forcing them to abandon their bows.
 
“Have yous!”
 
An Ogre crashed through a nearby wall, grabbing at the Elves, though its clumsy attempt failed. Close enough, large enough for the use of their bows again, the group fired as one, though its armor deflected the projectiles.
 
Swinging a club wildly, the brute scattered the Elves, who dove off the platform they were on, landing in oily water below. Disoriented, they soon found themselves separated by ground quickly being filled with foes and fire.
 
A cry echoed in the air.
 
Imladris
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Joined: 2013/04/10
Smoke and flame filled the air, the small team led by Kaedyn Kin’Shora finding themselves surrounded by a growing number of Kor’kron. For now, the fires that they had started worked to their advantage, allowing them to remain concealed from the Orcs. The soldiers from Orgrimmar demonstrated a well-drilled discipline, however, maintaining their lines as more reinforcements arrived, waiting out the Elves, already gasping for breath and with eyes watering from the heat and dust.
 
A cry echoed again, and many of the Orcs smiled, expecting further reinforcements to bolster the line, all but guaranteeing the capture - or death - of these high-value targets. Some raised axes and swords, cheering for their brethren, bloodlust rising.
 
The cheers were cut short, however, as the soldiers soon saw that the Wolf-Riders’ frenzied approach was not out of an urgency to obey orders, but that they were being pursued by a large group of fighters.
 
Raji’din Sul’Tusk and Tirithion Nor’andu rode to either side of Aetis Sunguard, his warhorse gleaming in the setting sun. The Bulwark rode down the first lines of baffled Kor’kron, the two Death Knights in his wake widening the channel for their remaining allies, storming forward in a maelstrom of steel and spell.
 
Soon, the Rebels gathered amongst the flames, the Crusaders joined once more by their allies from far and wide. As one, without any spoken command, the Rebels dismounted, weapons readied, the fight was on.
 
Aetis swung his greataxe, awash with the power of the Holy Light, smiting down nearby foes. Raji’din, towering even above the Kor’kron, hefted some with his bare hands, imbuing them with decaying disease and hurling them into others. Tirithion was more reserved, calling upon his dark powers to eat away at the resolve of the Orcs closest to the group. Seeing two powerful allies nearby, the Blood Knight raised his axe, calling upon the Light to energize them.
 
Tirithion staggered for a moment, before whipping his head around at Aetis. 
 
"...Do not touch me with the Light..."
 
Wraventris and Candreanna, close to each other, were in the thick of the action as well. The hooded Spellblade, dark iron polearm in hand, used it ruthlessly to break through the defences of his enemies, blows imbued with Death Magic to cut through traditional armor, each strike filled with a measured fury. The lithe female, in contrast, fought elegantly, a blur of motion that dazzled and deceived, allowing quick thrusts and clever parries with her own weapon, augmenting her blows with kicks and palm strikes.
 
Bazako, of the Sul’Tusk Tribe, drew several arrows before loosing them onto the nearest Kor’kron section, each finding its mark and drawing laughter from the hulking Troll, though the celebration was quickly cut short as more Orcs moved in.
 
Swooping down on an enchanted steed, the Summoner Charishe and Elementalist Mwarin rained magic upon the Kor’kron, fel energies sapping the strength of the Orcs, while ice and sleet directed at the fires allowed the Rebels some breathing space.
 
Danarx, the master Elf-Smith, stood among the carnage, his shimmering armor turning strikes and arrows as he struck out with his own greatsword. Cleaving two Orcs at once, he worked to get himself into a more useful position.
 
Kaedyn and her team rained arrows into the Kor’kron lines, the archers joined now by Kylanna, and then, suddenly, by another, cultured and fluent Thalassian barely heard over the din.
 
“Where is the Black Arrow, Kaedyn?”
 
“I don’t know, we lost contact with him!”
 
“We must find him!”
 
But thoughts of any rescue flew from their minds as a roar erupted from the skies.
 
“Proto-Drakes!”
 
Mastered by the Dragonmaw Orcs that had allied themselves with Garrosh Hellscream, three massive Drakes circled the battlefield, terrible cries reverberating in the very bones of those below. Again, a cruel cheer sounded from the ranks of the Kor’kron, rising when one of the beasts banked to intercept Charishe and Mwarin, herding them away. Another dived to swoop at the Rebels, but a hail of arrows stopped its attempt, and it soon moved out of range again.
 
A strange calm descended over the battlefield as the fire and smoked cleared, and both sides separated for a moment, though a booming Orcish voice was heard, breaking the silence.
 
“Treason against the Horde! Lay down your weapons, or be put down!”
 
Rebel looked to rebel, each already caked in blood, covered in sweat. No-one had escaped wounds, and some had already been badly injured. Yet all still remained standing, all remained in the fight. Fingers curled tightly around sword and staff and spear, gazes hardened, feet dug into the ground.
 
Wraventris readied his spear, his mind going back to a time where the grasp of the Lich King had not even been a considered possibility. Now imbued with the dark powers of one of the greatest threats to have ever come to Azeroth, he had joined the Crusaders for a second chance, a way to redeem himself using the powers that had brought about so much death. 
 
Kylanna, the Silvermoon Ranger, had been a presence in the background for many years. Very rarely had she made it her business to be involved in matters that did not directly pertain to Quel’Thalas, and even then she was largely anonymous. Now, though, she had followed the Guardian of Shindu Al’ar across the world to take part in a fight for the future of Azeroth’s stability, bringing every ounce of her experience, attitude, and stubbornness. 
 
Valethrian, not even fully-Sin’dorei, barely knew the people around him, but had chanced upon the group of Rebels while sharpening his greatsword in the Crossroads. From there, though, he had chosen his path, and had decided to offer his blade to their cause, believing it just and noble, tenets that rang true to his Paladin heart.
 
Charishe, or Charlie, the cheery Summoner, had been thrust into the escalating conflict in Kalimdor after a chance encounter with some Crusaders in Pandaria. Originally not wanting to get involved at all, seeking only to travel the world to seek knowledge and wisdom - and make friends - here she was, fighting for her life, and the lives of those she now considered family. 
 
Candreanna Solstrike, like some others, had long been associated with both the Crusade and with Shindu Al’ar. Though she was now officially a part of the former, that differentiation was far from her thoughts as she leant against her spear. Once branded as one who had “lived both sides of the coin” by a Bronze Drake, the thought that the life may end did flit across her mind, but it was met only with a firm resolve.
 
Tirithion Nor’andu, the silent Guardian of Shindu Al’ar had brought his people from the Ghostlands to Kalimdor, to the middle of this war. Once himself under the command of some of the Crusaders, and later on commanding them, it was hard to tell if the irony was lost on him, rigid posture betraying little but defiance and an eagerness to continue the fight.
 
Aetis Sunguard had long been a champion of the Blood Knights, the one spoken as the Bulwark, renown for his dedication and almost single-minded determination and ability to see the job done. Once of the Golden Dawn, themselves former allies of the Rebellion, they had disbanded in the face of growing adversity and uncertainty to walk a more shadowed path. He, however, had decided to cast his lot in with the Crusaders, believing in their cause.
 
Nastiria Kin’Shora, once Nastiria Dawnbreak, and now known to some as Diolta, had seen much hardship in her life, or lives. From carrying the dark legacy of her mother, to being separated suddenly from the father she never knew long enough, and being troubled by the Azure flight through the years, adversity had never been unfamiliar to this one. And now, eyes bound by leather straps, poorly masking the cruel scars that marred an otherwise beautiful face, she found herself facing adversity once more.
 
Raji’din Sul’Tusk, leader of the Sul’Tusk Tribe, had done much to unite so many scattered Trolls under one banner, the promise of a better life, a new start, and strength in unity flaring in the hearts of each and every one of his Tribesmen. Known well even to the many Elves he fought beside now, there was no anger or regret in his expression, only a calm assessment of an impossible situation.
 
Kaedyn Kin’Shora, formerly Kaedyn Sindalah, nocked one of her last arrows, feeling the dark fletching between bruised fingertips. The bow in her hands was made from a pale wood, carved from trees in the Jade Forest, though the quiet serenity of certain corners of Pandaria seemed a long way off indeed. She thought now to all that had been lost, and all that seemed lost, though losing was not an option in her mind.
 
Danarx, the Elf-smith who had been such a loyal servant and faithful friend to so many of the Rebels that still stood battered around him breathed heavily. It was not the weight of his armor that tired him; he had forged it himself and it fit perfectly, moving with him and offered little in the way of excess bulk. It was a growing, mounting rage that threatened to overcome a well-maintained discipline, a stoicism borne from years of Knighthood and work at the forge and anvil. He raised his head, and his blade, at the voice of the Kor’kron Commander. 
 
“Come and take my weapon if you can!”
 
The two sides clashed once more, Kor’kron vastly outnumbering them, though each Rebel fought with a renewed vigor and vitality, rage and resilience, desire and determination, a fire stoked by Danarx’s rallying cry like so many forges he had mastered before. Some fought for vengeance, or patriotism, or bloodlust, or principle. Some fought out of desperation. Some fought for hope.
 
But their hope was almost extinguished as soon as it was rekindled, Kor’kron Sorcerers biding their time until such a moment to release enchantments of invisibility that had been woven upon the Ogre shock troops that had been part of the mercenary force working with the Orcs. Roaring, the armored brutes lumbered through the massed lines of Orcs, and joined the fray.
 
Tirithion raised his blade, a dark aura surrounding him as he called upon the ancient magics of the oldest power known to the wolrd, Death. Lichfire rained upon the Ogres, slowing their advance.
 
Kylanna reacted quickly to the diversion, firing arrows into the burning ranks of Orc and Ogre, not needing to aim to strike at her closely-packed enemies. Beside her, the tall Troll Bazako brought his hands together, barking a prayer and summoning a javelin of lightning, hurling it to skewer three Orcs, flailing in the Lichfire.
 
The three were soon pegged back, though as the Kor’kron Sorcerers themselves started their offensive barrage, drawing the Lichfire from the burning ranks and redirecting it at the Rebels, though at the very last instant, the spells crashed against an orb of energy, a sphere of anti-magic that emanated from Wraventris, channeling his essence of death to the preservation of the lives of his friends.
 
High above, Charishe and Mwarin were still kept apart from their allies, but they rained spells onto the Proto-drakes that circled, keeping the beast from diving into the fight on the ground. The Summoner started her dark incantations again, though her attention was diverted by the Elementalist.
 
“The Mages!”
 
Charishe nodded, hurling a felfire bolt at the group of spellcasters, while the Elementalist by her side dealt with an incoming Drake-rider. Mwarin rose unsteadily, balancing precariously on the flying carpet, her hands weaving mystical runes in the air. Murmuring, the air about her fingertips sparkled with arcane energy as she gestured to the rider as a hurled javelin left his hands, hurtling towards her.
 
Thaerisa, the quiet archer, remained near the back of the group of Rebels, eyes searching for targets amongst the Kor’kron line. Hearing the shout from above, she narrowed her gaze, firing projectile after projectile at the Kor’kron Mages in the distance, disrupting their spellcasting. She took aim with her last arrow at one Orc in particular, but quite suddenly a bleating sheep crashed into the ground beside her, sending her shot awry. Before her eyes, the sheep morphed back into a Dragonmaw Orc.
 
Valethrian, the Elf unaligned to any of the groups that made up this force, hefted his greatsword, expertly parrying a lunge from a nearby Kor’kron soldier, before reversing momentum to shear his blade into the Orc’s flank. Continuing his rotation, he sent the grievously-wounded Kor’kron tumbling into another, before meeting two separate strikes with a single cunning block, heaving his enemies away and riposting to finish them off.
 
Raji’din stepped back from the line, clenching a fist, muttering in Zandali. Fingers curled up, claw-like, and soon the Rebel numbers were bolstered by the risen Kor’kron, mindless bodies moving under the Ice Troll’s command. It was difficult, controlling so many, some barely kept together only by the armor they still wore, but it gave his allies a chance.
 
A chance that was not lost on Kaedyn, the former Farstrider.
 
“We need to get out of here. Make for the ridge!”
 
Those closest to her nodded, making a concerted effort to push away from the smoking wreckage of the drill-site, and through the Kor’kron that were being battered.
 
They did not get far.
 
Five Ogres stood in their way, swinging spiked clubs to break the ranks of the Rebels. Roaring, the massive figures charged into the Rebels, causing them to scatter once more, still under assault from the Kor’kron Mages and Sharpshooters.
 
Among the carnage, a few figures stood calmly, rocks upon which the others anchored themselves.
 
“Be purged, worms!”
 
Aetis, the quintessential Blood Knight, met the charge of the closest Ogre, axe crunching into the brute’s kneecap, though the Knight was punished with a blow to the shoulder himself, sending him to his knees. The Ogre howled, crippled, and reached with a huge hand at the Blood Knight’s head.
 
Candreanna vaulted off her wounded comrade, sinking her spear deep into the Ogre’s mouth, flipping over the screaming humanoid to face two others. They grinned, and stepped close to the seemingly defenseless female, who darted away, tossing a small blinking item onto the ground. The Ogres looked, stupidly, at it, moments before it exploded, the cunning contraption designed by Candreanna herself.
 
The blast threw her into the remaining Ogre pair, and she skipped away from one clubbing blow, though the other’s swipe caught her square on the side, a blow that cracked her forearm. Sent sprawling, she landed at the feet of Danarx. The Ogres followed, keeping Danarx between them, crashing strikes met incredibly by the Elf’s blade, turning the blows away. One Ogre seemed perplexed that the much smaller Elf could withstand the strike, though midway in pondering the impossibility, an arrow from Nastiria found its eye.
 
The last Ogre was beaten back by Danarx, to the dancing greatsword of Valethrian, the long blade weaving to find gaps in its armor, quickly opening many wounds. The Troll Bazako finished the ogre off, attacking with poisons and toxins, sending it convulsing on the ground. They turned back to the larger battle, just as the last of Raji’din’s minions were destroyed.
 
In the confusion of the fight between Kor’kron and undead Kor’kron, a gap in the Orcish lines was finally revealed, Hellscream’s troops not preparing themselves for such a spirited resistance.
 
As the Orcs parted, the Kor’kron Commander slipped into view, a visage of snarling rage as he grabbed his closest Lieutenant and screamed obscenities into a green face.
 
Kaedyn saw the opening, and decided to take it.
 
“To me!”
 
She started to move, the group following as quickly as they could, fighting every step of the way. As she ran, she took in the entirety of the scene. Smoothly, she drew her bow, nocking the last arrow from her quiver, each step not jarring her grip at all. She felt the wind against her cheek, subconsciously altering her aim to compensate. Out of the corner of her eye, the position of each individual and object around the Commander burned itself into her mind’s eye.
 
The arrow was nocked.
 
But she was stopped abruptly, the Ranger crashing into another Ogre, hidden from view with yet another enchantment, fading into view upon contact. She fumbled for her bow, but knew even as she was doing it that she could not avoid getting hit, the Ogre’s axe cracking her side, gouging a deep wound.
 
Leaping over the fallen Ranger, the spectral tiger Memnoch sunk its fangs into the face of the Ogre, muffled screams of terror and agony escaping the brute’s lips. The Ogre yanked the cat off, tearing a good portion of flesh from its own face, and wailed, frenzied, lashing out at the Kor’kron nearby.
 
The Spectral cat, jaws bloody, stalked back to Nastiria’s side as she darted towards the Ranger from afar..
 
She struggled to her feet, blood pouring from the wound in her side. Against the pain, the bow was raised, dark arrow against pale bow as she took aim at the Kor’kron Commander. The arrow left the bow a split second before the form of Nastiria bore her to the ground, away from the frenzied thrashing of the dying Ogre.
 
Her arrow soared through the air.
 
And it hit the Kor’kron Commander in the chest, where his heart would be, though the Orc’s thick armor prevented it from sinking into his flesh. His Lieutenants howled with laughter, pointing at the “twig-shooter” that she had fired.
 
“One puny arrow from one puny Elf will not -”
 
And it exploded, strewing chunks of smoking Kor’kron flesh across astonished Orcs.
 
Arcane energy rained from the skies again, the Rebel Spellcasters diving down to provide cover for their allies, the frost forming on the skin of the Elementalist Mwarin as she pushed herself to untested limits, hurling shards of ice at the Kor’kron lines, though she was stopped, suddenly, with a magical blast that sent her flying from the air to the ground, cracking her arm.
 
But her efforts were not in vain, the frozen Orcs and icy spikes allowing a channel for the rest to make for, each Rebel lashing out and fighting even as they dashed, or were dragged away.
 
Raji’din and Bazako flanked Aetis, the Trolls shattering many frozen Orcs, while the Knight became the spearhead for the escape. Candreanna whirled among friend and foe alike, striking precisely, though unbeknownst to her, it was not without a cost. Wraventris, the silent Spellblade, had not the dexterity to fight in such crowded spaces without harming his allies, but he did still have his loyalty, and soon found several Kor’kron arrows embedded in his armor where he had intercepted them. Nastiria had Kaedyn leaning heavily against her, while the rest formed a protective ring around them.
 
Soon, the Rebels made it to safety, under the cover of the airborne Spellcasters and the smoking drill-site, finding pockets of calm to disperse to recover. Kaedyn, barely able to stand, tried to go back the way they came.
 
“Ladris...”
 
Kylanna slung her bow across a slumped back, limping towards Kaedyn.
 
“We can’t lose anyone else today. He wouldn’t want that, and our strength wanes.”
 
Nastiria stepped to her, anger lighting up a scarred face, beauty still apparent.
 
“I’ll not leave him.”
 
“Nor will I,” Wraventris had his spear in his hands, “the man let me into this Crusade, he gave me a chance. I am not merely leaving him behind, the person who actually trusted me enough to be here!”
 
Aetis, armor scratched and dented, spoke from a seated position, dripping sweat cutting lines through the soot on his face.
 
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, brothers and sisters."
 
He turned to Nastiria, speaking even as she began to issue a counter-order furiously.
 
“Your father, if he is dead, died as a hero of the Sin'dorei and of the rebellion. Would you rather his entire legacy die with him, or travel on in glory? He is smart, he would have survived."
 
She faced him, leather bindings on her face hiding eyes that once burned fiercely, before another voice joined the debate, the Spellblade approaching.
 
“This search will not end.”
 
Wraventris and Aetis glared at each other, neither fully disagreeing with the other’s standpoint, a mixture of pride, pragmatism, and personal loyalty churning their souls. The Crusaders looked back to the road, torn, before Kaedyn spoke.
 
“Get the many wounded to the Crossroads, see to their healing.”
 
The Knight saluted, and began to ready his saddle.
 
“Indeed. Be wary of the reinforcements.”
 
Charishe and Mwarin stood, watching the exchange. The Summoner whispered.
 
“Bring him home. Please...”
 
Nastiria nodded to Kaedyn, who struggled to her feet once more, gesturing to Aetis, Charishe and Mwarin. The Summoner fidgeted, face covered in ash and soot, while the Elementalist Mwarin looked pale, shivering uncontrollably while she cradled her arm.
 
“Take care of the others.”
 
The three rode off, joining those from Shindu Al’ar and the Sul’Tusk Tribe as the column rode hard and fast to the Crossroads, the most badly-wounded in the middle of the convoy.
 
Nastiria gazed across the smoky landscape, seeing despite bound eyes. She was joined by Kaedyn, clutching her bleeding side, and by Wraventris. Releasing the Spectral Tiger Memnoch, she turned to them, already preparing to ride.
 
“Find my father.”
Imladris
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Joined: 2013/04/10
A vulture's cry punctuated the dawn on the Barrens, the birds feasting well the past few weeks as the area became increasingly strewn with corpses. Or bits of corpses. A communal grumbling spread around the camp as Golbin engineers rose, checking tools and devices before beginning their unending work on the siege engines required by their Kor'kron employers.
 
Above the camp, three figures crouched in shadow.
 
Imladris was there, a hand on the sheathed dagger he carried since his bow was broken and the sword bearing the Kin'Shora crest remained in Thunder Bluff under the masterful eye and hammer of the Elf-Smith Danarx. Clad in light chain-mail - fashioned by the same artisan - the armor he wore was heavier than the leathers he was used to before, but then his role had changed. Silently, he thanked the ones before who had drilled him in the importance of adapting and being comfortable with various forms of combat.
 
His partner, Kaedyn, was more focused in her choice of weaponry. The hand-crafted bow was slung easily across her back, showing few signs of wear despite the countless arrows already loosed from its string. A master archer, and an elite Ranger, the former Farstrider nodded to him as she finished tying up her flame-red hair, leaf-green eyes glinting in the light of the rising sun.
 
Between them, the great Ethereal cat Eriador was quiet, large paws clawing at the earth restlessly as he padded to and fro. Without a spoken word, they slid down the rock-face.
 
The cat bounded off the stones, barrelling into a group of Goblins mulling about discussing the how inedible their breakfast was today. Crying out, their Ogre bodyguards took off after the feline interloper, the Kor'kron Overseers watching on with narrowed, alert gazes.
 
Imladris and Kaedyn ducked behind an uncompleted ballista, feeling more than watching or listening for their opportunity, each of their senses honed by the contrasting training and fighting that had seen their paths cross, or almost cross, so many times prior to recent events.
 
He moved, dagger flashing and sinking into the spine of a distracted Goblin, settling the small figure down on a chair. He was not as skilfull with the weapon as some of the others, and neither was his footfall the most quiet (especially in his new armor) but the others he would call upon were either too busy, or not recovered from other trials. But then neither was Kaedyn.
 
She moved, trusting in his ability to eliminate the sentry, subconsciously recalling all the training in concealment that she had been given during her time as a Farstrider. Moving among a Goblin camp was not quite the same as flitting through Eversong, of course, but her step was light and she found the shadows afforded by the crates and rocks in the area. Looking up, she saw the hut that housed the siege schematics being guarded by two Overseers.
 
One Overseer, as the Ethereal cat struck like a flash of translucent rage, tearing out the Orc's throat before he could even yell. As the rapidly-dying figure gurgled its last breath, the other Orc pointed a rifle, or attempted to, not quite understanding how and why the weapon was suddenly wrenched away. Not seeing it stuck in a far wall with an arrow. As he wondered about being so quickly disarmed, a curved blade was pressed against his throat.
 
"You will get no secrets from me, trai -"
 
He slumped to the ground as Imladris wiped the dagger clean.
 
"All the secrets we need are in this hut. Come."
 
As the sun rose, and more fighting broke out between the Kor'kron, the Rebels, and the Alliance force in Kalimdor, the vultures cried. Imladris, Kaedyn and Eriador made their way swiftly to the tower of Shindu Al'ar, prize in hand.
Imladris
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Joined: 2013/04/10

“Candreanna, Asonis, what do you make of this?”

 

They were gathered atop a high bluff in the Northern Barrens, rocks overlooking a Kor’kron siege-yard. The small figures of Goblin Engineers could still be seen walking along the ground far below, made even smaller by the distance. Even from this height, though, they could hear the thrum and whirr of machinery. Smell the choking smog. All but taste the death that was soon to come.

 

"If we can pull out the bolts from here and here, when they try to mobilize them, the wheels will fall right off and.... maybe explode for some reason,” Candreanna Solstrike shook her head as she pointed, “Damn Goblins.."

 

Imladris He nodded to Candreanna. "Noted." Turning to Asonis, he spoke again, a gleam in his eye. "Easy enough for anyone to tinker with?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Good. What I wanted to hear."

 

He turned, regarding the group before him.

 

Candreanna and Asonis looked over the schematics, speaking in hushed tones and occasionally debating over some mechanical technique or fastening that Imladris knew little about. He was glad for their presence, Candreanna and her calm solidarity, Asonis with her varied experience and skillset.

 

The plans they looked over had been pilfered by Kaedyn, of course. The Ranger who never missed proved she was more than an Archer, managing to sneak into and out of the camp without being detected, albeit with the distraction provided by the Ethereal cat by her side. He smiled at Eriador, remembering all the years the cat had walked with him.

 

Mwarin stood with Delbaethe, the two figures in stark contrast to one another. Sin’dorei female and Orc male, Sorceress and Summoner, Arcane weaver and Fel speaker. Still, they had become fast friends and shared a common bond in that the Sorceress was still recovering from an ordeal that left her magically drained, and the Orcish Warlock had not yet finished his training in the demonic arts.

 

Vynlenalis was with Alenthin, as he had always been. The young martial artist had come across the Crusade in Silvermoon City one day, finding their ideals in line with his. Convincing his partner had been both easy and difficult, Alenthin’s past and temperament lending both curioisity and hesitation, eagerness and wariness. But he had pledged himself to the cause, more out of loyalty to his partner than anything else, perhaps.

 

Wraventris was with Kagun, again two polar opposites that ended up becoming close friends. Wraventris, once bound to the Lich King, had come a long way since being a servant to the Scourge, and had been among the first that had joined the reborn Crusade, seeking redemption and perhaps now more. He fingered his axe as the Sunwalker beside him mood nervously, Kagun readying himself to heal his friends and allies. He understood, though that he could not do much for Wraventris, the Light assailing the Spellblade more than healing him.

 

Nad’ajani was in her preferred feline form, the Shapeshifter encased in flame as she sat beside Danarx, the Master Smith. Many of the ones gathered here had armor or weapons crafted by his strong hands, and he checked the edge of his fine blade as he listened stoically, while Nad’ajani yawned and made a joke about the sand in her rear.

 

Near the back of the group, Falinaris Sunhaven was counting the arrows in his quiver, mask across his Elven features keeping out the sand. The hand-crafted recurve on his back was comfortably slung, the bow almost an extension of himself, carved from the wood in Eversong. A new Crusader, he watched, wide-eyed as Raji’din Sul’tusk arrived, an old ally of the Crusade and their leaders, Imladris in particular.

 

And Imladris spoke now.

 

"We'll have two groups, one group will run distraction. Assault the camp and stretch their defenses and security."

 

Turning to Raji'din and Wraventris, he raised a brow, "Like to do the honors?"

 

"Indeed,” the Ice Troll smiled grimly.

 

"Those of you less inclined for subtlety, you will go with Raji'din of the Sul'Tusk, and the Marshal Wraventris. They'll be your field commanders down there. Raji'din is unknown to some of you, but is a powerful fighter, and a better friend."

 

The towering Ice Troll nodded, looking to those around noticing new faces and those he was familiar with, he gives a nod to all.

 

"Asonis, with your skills and knowledge of the machines, I want you to take point in dismantling the siege. With you, Alenthin, Vynlenalis, and Falinaris.” He paused, realizing the irony of his next order before he issued it, “Nad’ajani, go with them and keep them out of trouble."

 

The Scout nodded, gathering her team as the Shapeshifter moved towards them.

 

Imladris continued, "Remember is it imperative that the sabotage be unseen. Do not draw attention to yourselves. We want them to not know their siege has been tampered with."

 

He went on, turning to the flame-haired Ranger and Eriador. "Kae, take the perimeter? Mwarin, Delbaethe, with Kaedyn."

 

Imladris watched as they began preparations.

 

"Before you go,” They paused, turned to regard him, "Some of you are new, barely known to the others. Some others have been tested, have been called a friend and more. You may feel that your actions do little beside others, that a lone ranger, or an unproven fighter or a recovering Sorceress will be of little help this day."

 

Some of them shifted, listening quietly.

 

"But keep at it, and when the time comes, step up. And everyone comes home today."

 

Each nodded, the setting sun of Kalimdor in their eyes.

 

"Go."

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

The nervous moo was out of place in the battlefield, Kagun looking about at the carnage. Axe and sword and arrow flashed, and so much blood. So much blood. He mooed again, disappointed not at his companions, but that the situation had forced such a hand to be played.

 

Raji’din grunted, pulling his weapon out of a broken form of a Kor’kron Overseer.

 

"We are clear here.."

 

Kagun looked about, watching as the quick attack downed many Goblins and their guards and watchers. An alarm sounds. "There we go."

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Asonis Darkrunner, the Ranger-Scout drews a small diagram in the dirt. “It's quite simple, pull off these caps, and just throw some dirt inside and cap it, it'll stop them cold got it?"

 

They set off, moving quietly. Each had their own techniques, their own backgrounds in remaining unseen and unnoticed, and their skills were put to the test amidst the chaos of the assaulted siege-yard.

 

“Alright, let’s roll.”

 

Soft and swift as shadows.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Candreanna slipped away from the fighting, dropping a device into the open vent of a pipe. Humming to herself, she continued on, smacking a surprised Goblin in the face as he spotted her and moved to stop her.

 

“If we need to make a quick exit...”

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

“We have the Forge.”

 

Raji’din assessed the battlefield, content that the Crusaders at his back would hold the building for as long as they needed to remain. He checked on Wraventris, one he had fought alongside many times in the Barrens already, and raised his weapon in a salute as the Spellblade made short work of his latest adversary.

 

A line of heavy troops arrive, Kor’kron armed with flamethrowers looking to flush out the Rebels in their camp.

 

The towering Ice Troll Raji’din, leader of the Sul’Tusk, scoffed and raised his hand. Calling out, sending his will through the invisible, immeasurable veil of death, he looked to the bodies of the recently-slain Kor'kron, calling the dead to rise once more.

 

He watched as his risen minions kept the flametroopers busy, but the Ice Troll’s attention was turned by a heavy footfall, a massive Goblin Harvester somehow managing to find itself behind Wraventris.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

Mwarin and Delbaethe stood back to back, a ring of enemies around them held at bay by the trio of Danarx, Candreanna and Imladris. Sparks of arcane and fel energy danced across the fingertips of the two spellcasters, while the other three kept the Kor’kron, Goblins, and Ogres away by more conventional means.

 

Imladris was dealing with two armored Kor’kron, his blade working to parry their strikes. After a few moments, he already knew he was a better swordsman than either Orc, but so did they. Yet they were undeterred, and their training allowed them to remain a nuisance, working together to force the Elf into only defensive movements, the dance moving to a stalemate. Or so the Orcs thought, Imladris working them to make a joint mistake and finding an opportunity to force both their weapons together to shear through one, leaving the other alone.

 

Candreanna, judged as the easiest target by the enemy, was herself surrounded, threatening to be swarmed by four Goblins. She wished for her spear, better to sweep the little humanoids away, but she had discarded the weapon some time ago and came now with little more than her fists. Still, she managed to crack the pointed nose of the most eager of Goblins, and sent it slumping to the dirt with a well-aimed heel kick. The other three gulped.

 

Danarx himself only faced off against one foe, but it was a hulking Ogre. The Smith growled, lashing out with his glistening sword against the Ogre’s crude - but effective - warclub. The Ogre roared in glee, believing the Elf’s bold attack off the mark, but his mirth was cut short as the club itself was cut short, its head falling to the ground.

 

Fireballs and Fel energy assaulted the remaining enemies.

 

Candreanna smirked, but saw the Harvester behind Wraventris nearby.

 

“Ah, Fel...”

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

"Everyone, find a machine to sabotage, but watch each other carefully."

 

They crept along, moving from cover to cover, dispatching with the few guards they encountered with brutal efficiency. The Scout’s blades were already stained with Orcish blood, and each of the others had done their part as well, dismantling key components in the constructed siege engines, jury-rigging the weapons to fail when used, but not appear to be tampered with.

 

A shadow fell across them, and they spun on their enemy as a group, blades and fists and claws raised.

 

“Are you done?” Kaedyn’s leaf-green eyes flashed, an arrow already nocked in her bow, “We need to move.”

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

The sawblade missed, aim put off by the dual attacks of Raji’din and Wraventris. The two dark Knights circled the machine, aware their unique skills would not give them an advantage in this fight. Still, they were both blessed - or cursed - with the strength and fortitude of one of the Knights of the Scourge, and fought with that same relentless aggression.

 

Their blows connected solidly, denting the Harvester’s legs, but still it came on, sawblades whirring inches from pale faces. In the deadly dance, a tube piping coolant found itself sheared, and the combatants were enveloped in a chill mist.

 

Raji’din grunted, his risen minions still caught up with the flametroopers, and prepared to dodge another swipe from the Harvester. His opponent was bloodless, lifeless, and so the main powers of a Death Knight were nullified in this fight.

 

But then those Knights had a third realm of power.

 

Wraventris realized this too, belatedly channeling the frost energy inherent in his being, enhanced by the conditions now.

 

The Harvester creaked to a halt, chilled.

 

Axes raised, the Knights moved to shatter it, but stopped, seeing Candreanna scramble atop the thing. She grinned and reaches down to the controls,. "Let's see here, manual override....Ah! Here we are!"

 

Spinning sawblades started assaulting the Kor’kron as she piloted it towards the Orcs.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

Alongside Kaedyn, Asonis and her team joined up with Imladris, Danarx and the rest. Kagun started to heal those obviously hurt, while Imladris looked about, satisfied even as more Kor’kron reinfocements arrive.

 

“Take them out, and move out.”

 

They nodded, and made for the hills, Wraventris and Raji’din leading the way, the Spellblade leaving a trail of ice in his wake and the Troll encased in bony armor, wrenched from the corpses of the fallen.

 

Next came Mwarin and Delbaethe, the female struggling and carrying several wounds, having been blindsided more than once by Goblins and Kor’kron who had interrupted her spellcasting as she was forced to fall deep within herself. Still, she loosed bolts of Arcane energy to keep her enemies at bay, while the Warlock beside her sent forth his Voidwalker to assault others.

 

Most of the others followed suit, Falinaris and Kaedyn sending arrows to cover their retreat, while the rear was taken up by Danarx and Imladris, their swords flashing in the evening light.

 

Candreanna stopped suddenly, turning back and grinning again, counting to herself before ducking as a huge explosion rocked the siege-yard.

 

Scrambling up the cliffs, they managed to evade further damage, the Rangers and Spellcasters covering the climb. Some were laughing to themselves, certain the day had been won, that their mission was accomplished. That their work was done.

 

Imladris was the last to crest the cliff, and he too wore a smile on his face.

 

“Good wor -”

A roar from the sky turned their heads.

Imladris
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Joined: 2013/04/10

Kaedyn was thrown to the ground before she could even react, the taste of dirt between her lips shocking her back from a moment of being stunned, not even realizing the flames that licked around her. Or the male that had thrown himself atop her prone form after yelling for the others to get down.

 

Rising, his crafted chainmail smoking, Imladris regarded the others. Many had avoided the brunt of the sudden airborne assault, but Kagun Petalhoof, the Sunwalker, had been the slowest to duck and has badly burnt, his beard all but singed off.

 

“I am fine...” the Tauren mumbled, swaying on his feet and oblivious to his own scorched flesh, though after a moment the shock of pain sends him to the ground.

 

Pointing to the sky, Imladris drew his sword. “Take it down!”

 

Determined, Kaedyn scrambled to her feet, drew and nocked an arrow.

 

The Master Archer missed.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

It was much later, with many carrying great wounds, that the Crusaders and their allies managed to limp their way back to relative safety. With some patrolling the perimeter of the Crossroads, many concerned eyes went to Kagun, burnt badly, and Wraventris, who had suffered a great fall while taking to the air to lend aid to a reckless Mwarin in the battle against the Dragonmaw Riders.

 

Joined by Ralinna of Shindu Al’ar, the Healers of the Crusade worked on their injured companions, while others like Falinaris recovered from less grievous injuries in the inn watched by the others.

 

Except Kaedyn, who has slipped out, tears in her leaf-green eyes.

 

“I couldn’t help them.”

 

She spoke, sensing more than anything the approach of the male by her side.

 

“They are being tended to by the Healers now, Kae,” Imladris said gently, “You did what you could.”

 

“It wasn’t enough!”

 

“It was. We’re here, all of us.”

 

“Barely.”

 

“Yet we are. We couldn’t have gotten out of the camp without your shooting.”

 

“But I missed the Drake.”

 

“One shot, at range, into the sky, against the sun.”

 

“I never miss. Never did, at least.”

 

“We all miss, Kae.”

 

“Not me!” She whirled on him, eyes furious and glistening. After a moment, she softened. “Not me.”

 

He reached for her, a warm embrace.

 

“Come, let’s get back to the others. They should see their High Councilor, and not like this. We did well today, all of us.”

 

“I just wish I could help them. Kagun, Wraventris... I feel so useless.”

He watched her, wiped a tear from her eye. “We all have our roles to play, Kae.”

“But I played mine poorly today...” she whispered, following him back to the others.