Join Date: Apr 2006
Merry Christmas from me to you! Here's your present:
The Second Prologue
Ilsa sat in the empty house, slowly knitting a glove.
There were six children around him. Two girls and four boys, all less than ten years old. They were orphans, the parents they still had left having died in the last year.
Brandon coughed. Ilsa gave him a reassuring smile.
She truly was blessed by the Light. Though her flesh was rotting, she had the love of these children to give her unlife a meaning. She had been on the verge of ending it all before she had been offered the chance to raise the orphans.
While the war had went on around her, Ilsa had found her own sanctuary in the wooden shack, keeping company for the children and making them food from the supplies sent from the Undercity.
Ilsa was no fool, and knew that Queen Sylvanas had a plan for the children; from what she understood of the Forsaken's official policies, the mere fact that they were the offspring the Scarlet Crusade's dead members meant they deserved death.
She did not care. The Forsaken could drown themselves in a lake, as long as they kept the Scourge and the Crusade from her doorstep.
Jessica spoke in her angelic voice: "Miss Raengh, could you sing that song to us again?"
Ilsa turned her head to the red-haired little girl, smiling. "If you want me to, but I still think I don't do it much honour."
The other five children gathered around Ilsa. She put her crochet hooks and her thread away and put her hands on her lap. First coughing slightly, she begun to sing:
"On a cold dark winter night, hidden by the stormy light,
a battle rages for the right for what will become.
In the Valley of the Damned, a warrior with sword in hand,
travels fast across the land, for freedom he rides.
And the sign from the Holy Light, screams aloud and across hear the cry,
for the Kingdom of Justice and Right and the power to be alive.
Be strong ride on, carry on through the war.
Come along, carry on, living for ever more.
On the wings of death, by the hands of doom,
by the darkest light, from the darkest moon.
Crossing silent seas, over mountains high,
for we stand as one tonight.
On the White Wind forever, we ride on together,
destroying your evil with freedom, our guide.
Should the King ever call us,
and stand high before us,
our hearts filled with splendour,
our swords will shine with the Light.
In the Valley of the Damned,
days break with a golden strand.
Over pastures green it glows,
to where night returns.
In the shadows faces appear,
warriors wearing full metal gear.
All join together, one and all,
before the glorious Light.
Rise up, gather around,
come and hear what is said!
Use your senses, open your minds,
don't you ever forget!
On the wings of Life, by the hands of Hope,
by the brightest Light from the brightest sun.
Crossing silent seas, over mountains high,
to the Valley of the Damned.
On the White Wind forever, we ride on together,
destroying your evil with freedom, our guide.
Should the King ever call us,
and stand high before us,
our hearts filled with splendour,
our swords will shine with the Light."
She let the word "light" ring in her throat. The song was a hymn, sung by Knights as way back as in the Time of Strom. King Eintan I, the founder of Lordaeron, had made it the royal anthem of his newfounded nation...
Suddenly Ilsa realised she was hearing something. Far in the east, a thunder-like noise was growing. The children, having heard it as well, seemed scared. Ilsa took them closer to herself.
For ten minutes, the voice grew larger. It didn't take Ilsa long to realise it was the stomping of thousands of boots, in perfect march unity. She didn't know what this was about, the roads leading to Stratholme were father away.
Finally the marching stopped right outside the shack. Nothing happened for a minute, then heavy steps finally reached the door.
There was no knock, the door was blasted in with magic. When the dust settled, Ilsa saw the man responsible. However, what first caught her attention were the armies behind him.
There were tens of thousands of undead soliders standing all over the Tirisfalen forest surrounding the shack. The Scourge was here.
The person standing by the door stepped in. Ilsa turned her eyes to him. He was a necromancer, she realised. The man was dressed in dark robes and wore heavy gauntlets in addition to a hood and a metal mask that covered his face. From the eye holes, a steady purple light shone.
The invader spoke in a metallic, artificial voice: "What have we here? A little orphanage? Whose children are these?"
Ilsa didn't know what not answering would gain. "Dead crusaders'."
She knew a smile was spreading on the face behind the mask. "Dead crusaders'? We've got plenty of dead crusaders out there, serving their time in the army, maybe we should find these little urchins' parents'?"
The children were sobbing audibly. Ilsa gave the man a look of pure spite. "Just kill us already, if that's what you're here to do. If not, get out."
The necromancer leaned forward and said: "I think not. I do not feel like killing anyone today. You can do it for me."
Ilsa burst up, a couple of the children fell to the ground. "You must be out of your mind, mister!"
The dark-robed stranger's voice was dead serious: "I am not."
He spread his hands and a wave of darkness spread. For a second, everything was black.
Then the room turned back into its former state. Nothing seemed to have changed.
The necromancer said: "Kill them."
An otherworldly duo of voices, seemingly inside Ilsa's own head, repeated the order.
With her last vestieges of will, she shed a single tear, which had been stuck in her tear duct since her death. After that her body moved without caring of her will, turning at the children and rising a hand, the razor-sharp bone fingers readying to rend flesh.
Magistrate Henry Maleb straightened his papers and coughed. "I hereby declare the Southshore Conference to have begun. We shall begin with the calling of names, to make sure all participants are present.
Lord Bolvar Fordragon, the Highlord of Stormwind?"
The mithril-glad paladin raised his hand.
"Lady Jaina Proudmoore of Theramore?"
The sorceress raised her hand and nodded.
"High Admiral Tandred Proudmoore of Kul'Tiras?"
The thin man in expensive clothes said "here".
"High Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver of Dalaran?"
Yet another raised hand.
"King Danath Trollbane of Stromgarde?"
A loud, gruff "yes" resonated around the room.
"Archbishop Benedictus of the Church of the Holy Light?"
The bishop raised his hand.
"King Magni Bronzebeard of Ironforge?"
"Falstad Wildhammer of Aerie Peak?"
"High Tinkerer Mekkatorque of Gnomeregan?"
"Ranger Lord Hawkspear of the High Elves?"
"High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind of the Night Elves?"
"And Velen of Exodar?"
"Good, all the representives of the Alliance are present. Moving on...
Warchief Thrall of Durotar?"
"Chieftain Vol'Jin of the Darkspear Trolls."
"Chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof of Mulgore?"
"Here as well."
"Magatha Grimtotem of the Earthen Circle?"
"And the last of the Horde Leaders..."
Suddenly Warchief Thrall stood up. "You have already said all of the leaders of the Horde."
Maleb raised his eyebrows a bit and straightened his papers again. "I have it here that a certain Mistress Windrunner was supposed to be here..."
Thrall did not seem surprised. "The Forsaken are not a part of the Horde, and have never been. Allies, perhaps, but never members."
Maleb shook his head a bit. "Is that all, can I continue with the calling of names?"
Thrall sat down, saying nothing. The Magistrate coughed again. "Queen Sylvanas Windrunner of the Forsaken?"
Maleb was not surprised when there was no answer. He licked his lips and spoke: "Let it be put into records that Queen Windrunner did not show up."
Again, Thrall stood up. "It would also be good to put up in the records that half her people died two weeks ago, and the rest are currently settling in a new home city. Her absence is understandable by all measurements."
Maleb closed his eyes and let a curse die on his lips. "Let Warchief Thrall's suggestion be put in the books as well."
Yet again, he coughed and straighened his papers. "Ambassador Redrum, the representative of the New Council of Silvermoon?"
"Here." The slick, well-dressed, green-eyed mage smiled crookedly. Not far from him, Ranger Lord Hawkspear spat on the ground at the mention of the Sin'Dorei.
Maleb focused his eyes on the Blood Elf. "I hope the Council knows they are not giving a good expression of themselves by only sending a representative, instead of a member."
Redrum seemed offended. "But my dear Magistrate, my people are too busy bringing Quel'Thalas back to its former glory to sacrifice its leaders' time."
Maleb was hardly able to stop himself from rolling his eyes. "Fandral Staghelm of the Cenarian Circle?"
"Lord Maxwell Tyrosus of the Argent Dawn?"
"Archmage Angela Dosantos of the Brotherhood of the Light?"
"Ratso Steamwheedle of the Steamwheedle Cartel?"
"King Rastakhan of Zandalar?"
Again, a silence. Maleb straighened his papers. "Let it be put into the records that King Rastakhan sent word that he would be in this conference, but has not appeared as of yet."
"Somebody called for the doctor?"
Every head in the room turned toward the door, where King Rastakhan stood. He was an incredibly old and wrickled troll, dressed in long robes. Behind him stood another troll.
Chieftain Vol'Jin stood up, saluting the old king. "Honoured one, what took you so long?"
Rastakhan smiled, revealing short tusks. "Took a little detour, though there was one person, who would be more than happy to help us, but wasn't invited.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Warlord Zul'Jin!"
The other troll behind Rastakhan stepped forward. Maleb recognised him, now that he was in the spotlight. A green scarf was wrapped around most of his upper body, Zul'Jin's trademark.
Above the sudden commotion, suddenly two noiced rose. A giant crack of Ambassador Redrum creating a ball of fire, and the ching Ranger Lord Hawkspear unseathing his sword.
Maleb raised his hand and yelled: "STOP, ALL OF YOU."
Silence slowly came upon the room. Redrum and Hawkspear still held their guard up. Maleb turned to the trolls. "I am sorry, but you can't simply bring new participants into the conference. Does he even have a nation?"
Zul'Jin stepped forward and nodded. "I returned a few years ago and been gathering Zul'Aman togetha. After I saw what the Scourge did to da humans, I knew da Amani wouldn't stand a chance without mah lead."
Yet again, a commotion rose in the room. Maleb had to create a small explosion with magic to bring order back. "We will vote. All in favour of letting Warlord Zul'Jin and the Amani People into the Southshore Conference?"
Many hands rose. Maleb counted, and then yelled out the number: "Nine votes in favour.
All against?" Less hands rose, only Hawkspear, Redrum, King Trollbane and Thane Wildhammer voted against. "Four votes against. Warlord Zul'Jin and the Amani are now a part of the Conference of Southshore."
It took some time to get order back to the room. After this was done, however, Maleb was finally able go on.
"After the calling of names, we will hear a short briefing of the events that have lead to this conference being held from Archmage Dosantos of the Brotherhood of the Light."
Dosantos stood up and bowed. "Exalted leaders, I will keep this short to save time. Fourteen days ago the great army gathered with the help of the Argent Dawn, the Brotherhood of the Light, the Alliance and the Horde was about to attack Necropolis Naxxramas, when The Lich King himself used magic to announce the army was a group of fools who had walked into a trap.
The attack was immediately begun, but unfortunately the Lich King did not bluff about his trap. An immense portal of magic opened just inside the gates of Stratholme, and trough it walked tens of thousans of Scourge troops, presumeably from Northrend. We were quickly overwhelmed, and forced to retreat.
On our way to a more easily defendable location, we also heard that two days prior to our 'D day', an immense group of undead had descended from the Greypine Mountains southwest of Lordaeron City, besieging and quickly destroying the Undercity and, as already mentioned, killing nearly half of the Forsaken.
It can also be mentined that Nathanos Blightcaller, the leader of the Forsaken forces in the Plaguelands, had withdrawn all Forsaken soldiers entirely a day prior to this attack. He never explained in any way where he was taking them. From what I understand, he met with the refugees from the Undercity, lead by the Banshee Queen herself, on his way there.
With the help of the Argent Dawn, they set up a new defense in the Bulwark, preventing the Scourge forces from escaping east from Tirisfal.
It has now been confirmed that the enemy force that destroyed the Undercity is the Perinany Legion."
There was a loud gasp in the room. However, many did not seem to understand what this was about. Cairne Bloodhoof demanded the floor and asked to be explained what the Perinany Legion was.
Magister Maleb hesitated for a second. This was going to be hard. "The Perinany Legion is a legendary military group in the history of Lordaeron. The legend has it that they turned against the orders of their king to save the newborn nation of Dalaran from certain destruction.
As a reward, the founders of the Kirin Tor gave the legion a new life. They enchanted every member so, that they would only have male children, and would forever be bound to their current General, a descendant of the Perinany Bloodline.
The newest General Perinany was swayed to the side of the Scourge during the Third War. However, the legion was badly beaten by Uther the Lightbringer before his death, and later on were left between the newborn factions of the Forsaken and Archmage Arugal.
The Forsaken told us that they had destroyed the Legion. Seems they did not." Maleb left it to that. He turned back to Archmage Dosantos. "Please continue."
Dosantos nodded, licked her lips and went on: "We have fortified the Bulwark and the bridge crossing Thondroril River. However, it is highly possible that the Scourge will go past these spots by, for example, crossing lake Lordamere or climbing into the Hinterlands."
Maleb nodded. "Is that all? Yes. Thank you for the presentation. That brings us to the next thing. Is there any nation, whose representative is present, but that is not going to participate in the common attempt to rid Lordaeron of the Scourge?"
One person stood up. Everyone turned to him.
Ambassador Redrum smiled. "I am afraid that the New Council is going to stay out of this. I was merely sent here to tell everyone that, and to find out what you plan to do."
Ranger Lord Hawkspear stood up. "Can't you Fallen Ones think of anything else than your current state! The fact that the Scourge is not attacking Quel'Thalas now doesn't mean they won't do it ever!"
Redrum summoned a fireball on his palm again. "I trust in the Council's wisdom, maybe you and your... conservative brothers, should do that too."
Maleb knew this would not end well if he let it continue. "Silence, both of you!"
The elves complied, though not happily.
Maleb wiped sweat off his forehead. "Anyone else here who wishes to say the same thing as Ambassador Redrum did?"
There was no one. Maleb sighed happily. "Very well then. The first thing to decide is the fate of the hostilities between the Horde and the Alliance. We cannot have these two factions warring each other while being allied against the Scourge."
Suddenly the door to the room burst open. A voice spoke: "If we are going on that direction, I suggest we put Highlord Fordragon on trial immidiately."
Behind the door stood Sylvanas Windrunner, her glowing red eyes full of hate.
"For sixteen days now all of Lordaeron has been in absolute chrisis, and still Fordragon has the mighty price put on the head of my champion"
The undead elf walked forward and stopped in front of the paladin. "Congratulations, you have succeeded, you son of a bitch. Nathanos Blightcaller was killed yesterday by an Alliance assassin, while helping civilians cross Lake Darrowmare to safety."
It took Maleb almost five minutes to get order back into the room. Finally everyone one seated and silent.
"I think we need to discuss this assassination thing trough before going on. While it is most despicable to assassinate the champion and general of your ally, the Forsaken employ their own assassins, who have, for example, made attempts at Ranger Lord Hawkspear's life three times. Not to mention the previous King Trollbane..."
Warchief Thrall stood up. "Galen Trollbane was not killed for official reasons. Though it was a Darkspear Troll who claimed his life, the one to hire this assassin was a private person, trying to get his hands on the Trol'kalar, to use it against Hakkar and his followers.
Those points and the fact that there was no peace between the factions at those times, means that the King's death, though unfortunate, is nowhere as aggressive an act as this newest tradegy."
Maleb sighed as Danath Trollbane stood up and begun cursing the undead, the trolls and the orcs for their evil acts.
Many hours later the first meeting of the conference was over. Many votings and discussions had passed, and the future seemed a bit brighter. Everyone seemed just as concerned with the Scourge threat, and all sides were going to do their part.
All hostilities between the Alliance and the Horde were going to be stopped, and all possible troops were going to be transported into Lordaeron. The Brotherhood of the Light and the Argent Dawn would direct these soldiers into fighting at the Bulwark and the Thondroril River bridge.
Zul'Aman and Aerie Peak were going to defend the borders of the Hinterlands, the Stormpikes and Frostwolves would protect Alterac (in case the enemy crossed the lake or tried to climb up to the mountains), Dalaran would stay ready in case the Perinany Legion would try to march trough Silverpine Forest. Kul Tiras and the Steamwheedle Cartel would employ their navies to the North Seas to prevent the Scourge Navy from attacking any of the coastal lands.
Danath Trollbane sat in a room with Tandred Proudmoore, Bolvar Fordragon, Lord Maxwell Tyrosus and Archmage Dosantos. Trollbane sighed heavily. He could not believe the Alliance was working with the Horde. So much had changed...
He needed to get his mind off this. The king turned to Highlord Fordragon, tapping his shoulder. "Bolvar, where is the king? Where is Varian?"
He knew from the look the others shared that the question had been anticipated. Fordragon took his time before speaking. "Missing, for now."
Danath sighed. He decided to leave further discussion for the future.
"Can you tell me what this Scarlet Crusade is about? I didn't want to stop the discussion to ask such a question, and understood from how you spoke of it, that it isn't a very good group of people."
This time Fordragon didn't have to think about his answer. "They were originally a group of Lordaeronian paladins and soldiers who fought against the Scourge. However, they became corrupt and ultimately turned against everyone not wearing their colours. During the last three years, they have been destroyed. From what I understand, they are no more."
Archmage Dosantos nodded. "The ones who had any sense left in them escaped Dathoran's bastion and joined the Brotherhood. The rest most likely died two weeks ago."
The room was silent for some time. After gathering his strength, Danath finally asked his third question.
"Can we trust the Horde?"
For a second nobody seemed intend on answering. Then Tyrosus sighed. "We can trust that they will do their best against the Scourge. They have already proved their worth against the Legion."
Everyone agreed. Tyrosus stood up and went on: "However, the Forsaken are not such a clear case. I am sure most of the individual soldiers have Azeroth's survival in their minds, but Sylvanas is an ambitious person. She will not doubt for a second to stab our backs if it helps her gain what she wants.
Though she does her best to avoid bringing it to light, the reason the Perinany Legion survived was Varimathras. The demon allied with the Lich king, and has now disappeared.
How many more agents of the Scourge are there in the Forsaken? No one knows. I, for one, believe we should be wary of them, even more than before, if possible."
Nobody had any complaints. Tyrosus turned around to Dosantos and asked: "Where is Father Montoy? I thought he was the one who would represent the Brotherhood here?"
Dosantos robbed her forehead and proclaimed: "He is dead."
Tyrosus' brow rose. "But he never even went to the front, was he assassinated?"
Dosantos shook her head. "He... Went insane. One day he just walked into the front, passed trough our fortifications, and yelled that 'the heavenly father' would protect him.
The undead surrounded him, and that was the last we saw of him."
Tyrosus walked to Dosantos and patted her shoulder. "I am sure he is in a better place now."
Father Montoy screamed in pain as the skeletal torturer poked a red-hot iron into his flesh. Commander Mograine stood still and watched, disgust in his eyes.
The bishop gave yet another cry of pain and shouted: "I have told you all! I promise! Let me be!"
Mograine raised his hand. The skeleton stopped. "I know you have told me all, I have the One King's assurance that you would not lie to me, Montoy. But unfortunately I also have His personal orders to torture you to death.
I do not claim to know what your sin is, so living will have to do."
He lowered his hand. The torture continued.
A necromancer stepped behind the Highlord and coughed slightly to gain his attention. Mograine turned around and nodded to tell the messenger to tell what he was to say.
"Commander, our armies have caught the living. They have, as you assumed, fortified the Thondroril River bridge. Our armies have begun attack, but the enemy has fresh troops and seems to operate as an united force."
Mograine lowered his head, thinking.
"Have the scouts completed their given task?"
"Yes. The mountains seem unprotected as of yet."
"And the Elves?"
"They are staying in their homeland."
"Perfect... We'll get them when we're done with our more active enemies. What about the navy?"
"They are sailing south from Northrend, but Admiral Wintermaul has sent word that they lost a dozen ships in a storm, and half the forests of Northrend are already chopped down."
Mograine nodded. "It is a fortune then that The One King has assigned me to use all the lumber of the land we have at our use now and build a second navy.
What about The Package?"
"It is advancing as was foreseen."
"Good. Is that all?"
"Yes, Commander." The necromancer saluted him.
Mograine paid no attention to the man, but started walking. He entered an opening, behind which were the stairs to the deepest dungeons under Naxxramas.
After descending the stairs he was met by two crypt fiends, who let him pass trough the room, which contained hundreds of spider-eggs, into another set of stairs.
Under those stairs was a seeming dead end. When Mograine walked toward the wall, however, the very stones it was made of moved out of the way.
Finally the Highlord arrived to his destination.
It was a seemingly simple room. Besides a giant pool of dank water, a desk and a woman sitting on a chair behind it, there was nothing in it.
The woman was the necromancer in charge of the monsters that were raised within the necropolis. None but she and Her King knew the name she had been given upon her birth, as she had sacrificed all her family, friends and her husband to Ner'Zhul after joining the Cult of the Damned. That day she had been given a new name: Grand Widow Faerlina.
Mograine walked to the necromancer, who did not raise her eyes from the reports in front of her. It was her duty to study the effect the Plague had on different animals. Her speciality were spiders.
"Faerlina. Is your little pet ready?"
The necromancer's eyes came up immediately. "Do you have a task for him?"
Mograine smiled. "The One King wants an item, and He has no minion more capable of capturing it.
The Grand Widow rose up and bowed before the Highlord. "The thing is ready and obedient. I have made it understand that the only way to enjoy its new life is to obey Its New King."
"Very well. If you would please excuse me, the One King's orders are not for your ears."
Faerlina did not argue, she knew her place.
After she had left and the doorway closed behind her, Mograine walked to the edge of the pool. He stretched his hand, beckoning into the water.
Without any delay, something giant splashed out of the water.
After the echoes of the splashing water died out, a ghostly voice spoke: "What are My King's orders?"
The fic is begun!
Last edited by Kerrah; 02-29-2008 at 06:20 AM..