Tag Archives: naaru

Kypari Zar: Prologue

kyparizar1

[While Shayari, Spazzle, and Mokvar have been busy keeping the blog active with their own activities, Garrosh has been occupied with the start of a fairly important undertaking of his own. As you might recall, when we last left the Warchief…

C47_Page_3

For long-time readers (like really, really long-time!), this is a moment you’ve been anticipating for a while, but for newer arrivals to the blog, a quick recap might be in order. (I know, I know, I try to link back to relevant posts as much as possible, but at some point I should probably stop expecting people to just go back and read years’ worth of my nonsense…)

Not long before the events of Tides of War, Garrosh traveled to the Caverns of Time and, accompanied by Mokvar, Liadrin, Faranell, and (spirits help us) Utvoch, went on a mission that took him to Southshore some ten years in the past — the same time period we players visit during the Escape from Durnholde instance. The adventure in old Southshore had several pieces of fallout (more on that in a moment!), but the most immediately relevant one was the recovery of a shard from a dark crystal that the Knights of the Silver Hand had infused with the Light — a small piece of the same light crystal from which the Ashbringer would eventually be forged.

garroshadalliadrin1Garrosh entrusted the recovered crystal to Lady Liadrin, who rightly deduced that it was part of the remains of a dying naaru. Liadrin persuaded Garrosh to let her return the shard to A’dal in Shattrath; the Warchief accompanied her on the trip. While there, just before leaving, Garrosh received an ominous telepathic message from A’dal: “If you go to Kypari Zar, you will die.”

Garrosh didn’t know what to make of the message, but he soon found himself far too busy to worry about it. In the days leading up to the attack on Theramore, the Warchief discovered another unexpected consequence of his journey to old Hillsbrad: Faranell had accidentally altered the past, creating an alternate timeline that Garrosh found himself being pulled into. While in the other universe, Garrosh encountered the hozen Zhi-Zhi, who addressed him as “the One” and told him — vaguely and, let’s face it, unhelpfully — that he had a “destiny.” Any chance of learning more from Zhi-Zhi was seemingly lost, though, when that timeline’s version of the hozen was killed in the fall of Orgrimmar. (“The what?!” Well see, now I am going to force you to go back and read. Here.)

That all changed after Garrosh traveled to Tian Monastery, where he encountered this timeline’s version of Zhi-Zhi — who, like his alternate-universe counterpart, also recognized Garrosh as “the One.” Zhi-Zhi and Elder Cloudfall explained that they had both seen Garrosh in visions and that he did indeed have an important destiny. They declined to elaborate further, though, until Garrosh returned to the monastery seeking counsel and Elder Cloudfall offered to take the Warchief to a place where his questions might be answered…

C8_Page_01

A string of interruptions prevented Garrosh from taking the elder up on his offer right away, though. And then he was back in Orgrimmar, and all of a sudden he was a father, and then that whole thing with Mokvar, so, you know, who has time for pandas?

Well, guess what — Garrosh has time for pandas, now that he’s made the time, dammit! And that’s where we last left him, flying across the Dread Wastes, chasing down destiny.

And so, on that note, here we go. The end begins tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.]

 

30 Days of Character Development #10: Liadrin

[Periodically, a post will profile one of the blog’s many supporting players. (See the first profile for more details.) Feel free to chime in with recommendations for other characters you’d like to see more about!]

 

liadrin_profile1Name: Lady Liadrin

Occupation: Blood Knight Matriarch, paladin trainer, scholar of the Light

Race: Blood elf

Class: Paladin, priest (formerly), warrior (formerly)

Age: 209

Group affiliations: Horde (citizen), Kingdom of Quel’Thalas (citizen), Blood Knight Order (supreme leader), Shattered Sun Offensive (now disbanded; former member and officer)

Known relatives: Salandria (adopted daughter), High Priest Vandellor (surrogate father)

First appearance: “Well who woulda thought

Key posts and plot points:

  • Even though Lady Liadrin has more lore behind her than most people realize, you probably wouldn’t wouldn’t know it from her in-game appearances, which consist of a few events (albeit important ones) in The Burning Crusade and a cameo in Wrath of the Lich King, before she returned to the stage in Warlords of Draenor. Those of you who are interested in learning more about the canonical Liadrin should visit her Wowpedia page; for blog purposes, a recap of a few quick details might prove useful.
  • Liadrin was the first of the Blood Knights — blood elf paladins — and remains the matriarch of the order to this day. Originally, the Blood Knights attained their command of the Light by siphoning power from the captured naaru M’uru, whom they held captive in Silvermoon (in the same cellar, notably, in which Rommath’s magisters attempted to open a sha container in  this quest and this blog tie-in to said quest). After the events of Sunwell Plateau, Liadrin realized the depths of her error and repented; she went on to reform the Blood Knights and periodically address blood elf pilgrims at the Sunwell about the path that had led herself and her people to where they are today.
  • liadrinprofile1Garrosh was first introduced to Liadrin during the Anti-Plague of Southshore storyline. When Garrosh uncovered a likely link between the anti-necrotic effect killing the Forsaken, the creation of the Ashbringer, and possibly the naaru, Lor’themar Theron recommended Liadrin to the Warchief as an expert on all things Light-related. She eventually joined Garrosh, Mokvar, Faranell, and (spirits help us) Utvoch in traveling back in time to old Hillsbrad to find the anti-plague’s source.
  • In the aftermath of the Southshore mission, Liadrin played a major role in the subsequent Timequake arc, in which our characters discovered that Faranell had inadvertently disrupted history to catastrophic effect. In the resulting alternate timeline, Liadrin was leader of the Argent Crusade and bearer of the Ashbringer (replacing a fallen Tirion Fordring) (Once again, Blizzard, WCB got there first!). With the proper timeline restored, Liadrin remains one of the only people (along with Garrosh, Mokvar, Faranell, and Utvoch) who remember the events of the alternate universe.
  • Liadrin has taken it upon herself to help provide a support system for Shay, and has generally become a mentor of sorts for her.
  • A few years ago, during the Outland campaign, Liadrin adopted blood elf orphan Salandria, whom many players will remember as the orphan they escorted around Outland during Children’s Week. (Please try not to hold the agony of the battleground achievement against the poor girl.)
  • Liadrin appears fairly adept at handling the more…difficult members of the supporting cast (I won’t name names, but smart money says the letters D and U feature prominently).  Maybe it’s her background as a paladin trainer. Or experience raising a small child.
  • During the time-traveling mission to Southshore, Liadrin helped cover for Mokvar on a few occasions when he wasn’t free to record transcripts, making her, albeit briefly, Garrosh’s first subtitute/alternate scribe. (Sorry, Gurtash and Tak, she beat you to it!)
  • A quick peek behind the curtain: Long, long ago, in the early days of the blog, I’d intended to draw the supporting cast (other than Spazzle, who was around from the start) from actual lore characters. (So much for that idea, huh? Gurtash, Taktani, and Shayari say hi.) While people like Garona and Saurfang appeared (and will continue to do so), I tried to draw more heavily from less prominent, peripheral characters — questgivers and other NPCs who are in the game, but were unlikely to factor significantly into Blizzard’s plans going forward. Hence we got people like Mokvar, Faranell, and, of course, Dontrag and Utvoch. Liadrin likewise fell into this group — while she had a significant place in lore, and she was a character I was rather fond of myself, she also hadn’t really been heard from since TBC, and she seemed like a character I could use for my own purposes without having to worry much about Blizzard doing something with her. And so, of course, in a move akin to a certain someone’s surprise promotion to Treasurer mini-boss, guess who Blizz decided to dust off for Warlords of Draenor? (Don’t worry, though. It’s going to end up working for me.) (In the end, they will all serve me. BWAHAHAHAAA!) (Ahem.)

In her own words:

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father. Was it good? Bad? Were you spoiled rotten, ignored? Do you still get along now, or no?

My parents were killed by Amani trolls while I was still young; in their place, High Priest Vandellor took it upon himself to raise me. He was the closest thing to a father I would ever know. It was under his guidance that I first began my study of the Light, at the time as an acolyte priestess. Vandellor died many years later, during the Scourge invasion of Quel’Thalas. My grief over the loss of Vandellor and the devastation that had been dealt to my people drove me to forsake the Light and take up the blade of a warrior. Eventually, Grand Magister Rommath would suggest an alternate path to the Light, one far less supplicating. My judgment, at the time, was…erroneous.

How vain are you? Do you find yourself attractive?

Go ahead, make the obvious blood elf jokes over that one.

That said, I like to think I’m at least as pretty as Lor’themar. Which, I suppose, is still saying something.

Is there one event or happening you would like to erase from your past? Why?

There have been losses and pains, both personal and massive in scale, that I might wish had never happened. I don’t believe that makes me very different from most who’ve lived through – or during – these past several decades. As for erasing them altogether? I’ve already seen the ripples that can follow even a tiny change in the past. What has happened has happened. It has made me who I am now, and the world what it is. Better for me to live with both.

liadrin-follower1Can you define a turning point in your life? Multiples are acceptable.

The fall of Silvermoon was one, for certain. It drove me to what I believed was my darkest, lowest point, one of anger and grief and despair. Little did I know that I would still find a lower depth to crawl into, hidden away in a Silvermoon basement.

The turning point that I think of most, though, was the one that saved me (at least I hope): the rekindling of the Sunwell. The spark of M’uru – the Naaru we had once imprisoned and fed on to empower the Blood Knights – reawakened the energies of the Sunwell and began the salvation of the very people who had once been his captors. Who had pushed M’uru onto the slow fall into darkness…

It was the moment I fully understood the true magnitude of my sins, and the moment I was offered the strength by which I might yet find redemption.

How are you with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or e-mail?

While I would never call myself an expert, I try to keep myself current and adequately proficient in new technology. I will never understand the impulse exhibited by some to treat age as a justification — or, worse, a mandate — for willfully falling behind. There is hardly time more pointlessly wasted than that spent stubbornly fighting yesterday’s battles.

Are you an early morning bird or a night owl?

I prefer to rise with the sun. I hate to waste daylight.

Are there any blood relatives that you are particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, uncles, grandfathers, aunts, etc. Are there any others that you practically consider a blood relative?

Vandellor was like a father to me – more family than my real parents, whom I had never known terribly well. Likewise, though I’ve never given birth, I can’t imagine I would feel much differently about my “own” children than I do about Salandria.

What does your desk/workspace look like? Are you neat or messy?

The popular truism about genius corresponding with messiness is, I’ve found, a misconception. An orderly space goes with an orderly mind.

Are you a good cook? What’s your favorite recipe?

Goodness no. I appreciate good cooking — Vandellor was quite good at it — but I’m thoroughly, hopelessly unskilled in the kitchen myself. Thank goodness Silvermoon suffers from no shortage of restaurants, and the matriarchy of the Blood Knights carries with it fairly generous compensation.

Do you have any irrational fears?

liadrinprofile3Speaking in front of groups makes me uneasy. As a matter of professional necessity, I’ve learned to manage the anxiety to the point that I can typically go about my business without dwelling on it, but it’s never fully gone away. (What’s the old saying? It’s the mark of a professional that she does good work even when she doesn’t feel like it.)

What would your cutie mark be?

I don’t know what that is. I suspect I would be embarrassed to know. If I were 120 years younger, I suspect, I would still be embarrassed to know.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

That’s an interesting question. I’ll have to give it further consideration. In the meantime…next?

What’s your favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink, favorite time of year, and favorite holiday?

The Wayfarer’s Rest Tavern in Silvermoon serves a venison stew that I can’t get enough of on cold days. I can’t imagine why someone would have a favorite vice, although I’ll confess that, for personal reasons, I do feel a certain sympathy for hubris. I usually wear my Blood Knight armor, but in my down time, I’m not terribly picky; if I have an opportunity to be out of my armor for a bit, my main priority is simply comfort. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fond of swiftthistle tea with honey. There isn’t very much variation in the seasons in Eversong Woods, really, but for what little difference there is, I suppose I favor the winter — more excuses to indulge in that venison stew. The Harvest Festival, as it is observed within the Horde, resonates deeply with me: an annual reminder that, whatever our sins, the path to redemption is never beyond reach, however hard a road it may be to walk.

How do you smell? Do you wear perfume or cologne?

No perfume. It simply strikes me as…well, silly, I suppose. Though I do try to practice adequate hygiene so as not to give off any other odors. So…I smell clean, I suppose?

This was an odd note to end on. Who compiled these questions?

 

Previous Profiles:

  1. Spazzle Fizzletrinket
  2. Ben-Lin Cloudstrider
  3. Dontrag and Utvoch
  4. Taktani
  5. Korrina
  6. Mylune
  7. Mokvar
  8. Ruekie
  9. Tirion Fordring
 

Dying of the light

adalliadrin

I haven’t talked about this much, but ever since Cromush and his people recovered that light crystal fragment from Southshore a few weeks ago, I’ve been in contact with Liadrin about it. At first I let her hold it for safekeeping, since she was there from the get-go, and she seemed to have a better handle on what it was and what it can do than any of the rest of us. Since then, she’s kept it with her up in Quel’thalas.

Not long after I handed it off to her, she brought it with her on one of her trips up to the Sunwell, so she could compare it with the holy energy radiating from the Sunwell ever since it was reignited by M’uru’s spark. She says the two have basically the same feel, only that the fragment isn’t as potent. Liadrin is pretty much convinced that the original dark crystal was the spark of a dying naaru, which the Knights of the Silver Hand partially restored by pouring holy magic into it. Which means, now, that she believes the fragment she’s holding is a piece of a naaru’s soul.

Liadrin contacted me earlier this week and said she thinks that rather than holding the fragment, we should return it to the naaru, since it’s basically the spiritual remains of one of their own. At first I wasn’t so sure about this – considering what we’d seen these crystals do, they could be incredibly useful against the Scourge or any other undead threats that might come along. But then I got to thinking about what she says the fragment actually is – and, more importantly, thinking about the reason I was hesitant to give it up: basically I’d be saying we should hold the spirit of a once-living being captive, to leverage as a weapon against our enemies, rather than letting its kin lay it to rest, or do whatever they do with their dead.

I’ve been on the other side of that scenario. Not long ago. And I may be a lot of things, but I outright refuse to become THAT.

So, I ended up agreeing to her suggestion. Liadrin said the best option was to bring the fragment to A’dal himself, and she invited me to go with her for the trip. So yesterday morning I met up with her and had one of our mages portal us directly to Shattrath.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been to Shat, obviously, but usually when I’d gone there, I’d passed through fairly quickly. I never really stopped in at the Terrace of Light or met A’dal before. Liadrin took it as an occasion to give me a proper introduction – I think she kind of enjoyed showing off the fact that she on semi-kinda-sorta-friendly terms with our big glowy friend Captain Chandelier – and play up what a valuable “ally of the Light” I’d become, whatever the hell that means.

Liadrin did most of the talking. She approached A’dal, got out the crystal fragment, and started giving the short version of where we’d gotten it. Every so often she would pause for a minute, then go on talking some more. Seemed like she was having a conversation, only I was hearing just one side of it. She’d warned me beforehand that A’dal communicates through telepathy rather through actual audible sound, so I understood what was going on, but knowing in advance didn’t stop it from being a little unnerving to watch.

Still, watching it wasn’t nearly as unnerving as EXPERIENCING it. After Liadrin ran through the story of what happened to us in old Southshore, I started to…well, “hear” isn’t the right word exactly, but I don’t really have a better one. So…I started to hear this echoing, musical chiming in my head, strange and soothing all at once. Then a calm voice forming words – except, as an echo, almost. It was like I THOUGHT of the words myself, as if I were reading them, only without there actually being a book there to read, and then AFTER I already had the words in my mind, just by half a second, THEN the voice would echo them, flowing through my thoughts like a river.

Like I said, Liadrin had warned me about this, but no amount of warning could really prepare you for what it’s like. I wonder if anyone ever really gets used to it. A’dal echoed some words of thanks into my head, and a few other comments about it being good that I finally came to meet him, that he’d been aware of my passing my passing passing gnas my eh passing aware emit passing ot edo passing of latrommi na of emit ot edo na ni secalp rieht ot sevlesmeht hcatta youre ot welf dna sdrow elbahsirepmi etihw drah meht gnikam sih the tuohtiw enalp a morf sgnivahs ekil sllehs ekil llef spil boss sih morf dna mih revo sehcir sti deruop ksuh sti tilps emit drow stone eht aizer stone dias cracking stone emit cracking si cracking ti cracking cracking stone cracking stone while the floor shook under us. Shatari guards raced across the Terrace to hold the breach, only to have half their number immediately taken out by a shadow volley. As they fell, a demonic laugh echoed through the chamber – another thunderous crack, and an enormous chunk of the wall crumbled away.

From the other side of the fallen wall, Doom Lord Kazzak stepped into the Terrace. As he took his first step in, he lashed the Warblade of Archimonde through a dozen more Sha’tari guardians, slaying them immediately, and he let out another laugh as he fed off their deaths to swell up that much larger. Dozens of doomguards and man’ari rushed into the Temple from behind Kazzak. Beyond the walls all I could see was smoke and flame. Screaming voices came from every direction.

Liadrin tore through a wave of demons with a Divine Storm – barely even taking notice of them as she plowed through – and I took down a few myself with a whirlwind while we both closed in on Kazzak. He deflected a few of our blows with his blade, while some of them glanced off his legs without seeming to hurt him much. All the while I could hear a sound, higher and higher pitched, bubbling up in my mind, flowing and piercing all at once, coming from everywhere and nowhere. I took another swing at Kazzak, then looked over my shoulder.

A’dal was turning to face the Doom Lord. All the times I’d been here, I’d never seen him move before. But there he was, turning, rising, floating toward the fight, that white glow around him growing larger and brighter. And then that musical, liquid voice echoing my thoughts back at me.

It is not your time. Go. Now. Leave this place, and never return.

A blinding flash of white and yellow swelled out from A’dal and burst over part of Kazzak’s body. The demon lord recoiled, and you could see half the flesh from one arm and shoulder and part of his face had been burned away by the holy light. Kazzak bellowed angrily and lashed his blade into A’dal. The naaru lurched back and you could hear a harsh crystalline chiming from his body – then he straightened himself and unleashed another blinding burst of white light around himself and Kazzak, this time leaving most of the demon’s body burned and scarred, muscle and sinew exposed.

Kazzak reared back and screamed out in pain, letting loose another shadow volley that knocked me back and left another dozen or so Sha’tari troops lifeless on the ground. Kazzak burst into that booming laugh as he fed off the souls of the fallen. He swelled up larger again, some of his wounds regenerating, and, growling angrily, he lunged at A’dal, tearing his Warblade through the heart of his crystalline shape – which shook, buckled, and finally…cracked.

The screaming in my mind was the most awful thing I’ve never heard.

The shattered pieces of A’dal spun in place, pulsing, as he started to glow even brighter. Liadrin rushed to his side while Kazzak stepped back, shielding his eyes with his arm. Finally the white glow erupted as broken crystal fragments split and scattered around the temple, strewn in every direction in the wake of a shimmering white shockwave that knocked Liadrin and me back.

I pulled myself together and ran over to check on her. She was sprawled out on her back, eyes wide with shock. Before I could offer my hand, she’d pulled herself up, staring across the room at Kazzak while muttering “He…he…” She steadied herself, tightened her grip on the Ashbringer, then screamed out as she charged at the Doom Lord, her back glowing with holy wings while her eyes glowed with murderous rage murderous rage rage sllaf murderous emit rage glowed tnemides rage emos htiw rage with yvaeh ssalg with a morf sllaf pord a sa tniop a ot srepat youre emit tnadnep semoceb yaddim ta dleif a sa daerpsediw si hcihw the emit thgil gnicnad a htiw derevoc erutsap ynnus a si boss hcihw emit tniop a ot gnirepat emit si gnillaf pord siht htuoy ym gnisol htiw od ot gnihton times sah ton times si trying times gnillaf trying pord trying siht trying trying times trying times, he said, he had hope that I would see them through. I wasn’t sure what to say back – can’t say I’d ever had an actual conversation with my own head before – so I just sort of nodded and thanked him, and by this point Liadrin looked to be ready to go, so we gave the big guy a last respectful bow and turned to leave.

As we were about to exit the Terrace, I heard – felt? – that chiming, flowing sound swelling up in my thoughts again. It was A’dal offering a final thought, calling me by name as if it could be anyone else’s head he was reaching into. One last sentence came echoing back to me, then silence.

If you go to Kypari Zar, you will die.

I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. That is, other than the obvious. I get the dying part. But I’ve got no idea what the hell “Kypari Zar” is, or why I would go there, or how I’m supposed to make sure I don’t. Mostly, though, I’m really starting to get sick of people being all fucking cryptic.

I started to ask Liadrin about it, but she stopped me and said what A’dal chooses to share with anyone is for that person alone. Fat lot of good that does me, right? Oh well. Not going to lose sleep over it now. I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

More soon.

 

Good news, everyone

southshore4

We’re in business. Things are in motion, and one way or another, either we pull this off pretty soon, or we’re going home to some big problems.

After we did the ol’ switcheroo with Faranell – I guess I should start getting into the habit of calling him Edwin, but it just feels weird – I tried to keep an eye out for Tirion’s kid, but no luck there. Since Mokvar wasn’t going to be coming to the meeting with Isilien and Doan, I put him on lookout, with some help from Utvoch…that is, lookout help that still keeps him out of a position where he could really fuck something up, because seriously, enough is enough with that shit.

Faranell stepped out for a little while this afternoon to go see Kel’Thuzad – KT on his own this time, without Helcular in tow. He came back with some less-than-great news: KT has been noticing the Silver Hand people hanging around town, and is starting to wonder what they’re up to. Considering KT’s interest in necromancy, you can see how a bunch of paladins might perk him up some, especially with rumors flying around about the undead. If only he knew, right? Well, that’s sort of the point – I mean, things going on that KT doesn’t know. He basically was trying to find out if Edwin knows anything, especially considering his brother’s been spending some time up close and personal with the paladins. Edwin downplayed knowing anything, but Kel’Thuzad pressed him to keep an eye out and see if he could find anything out from his brother.

Besides the fact that this gives us one more wrinkle to worry about – which we’re going to have to keep worrying about until the Silver Hands get out of town so KT won’t have them putting ideas in his head – it’s also bringing us back to the problem Faranell’s brought up already: the fact that he doesn’t remember this business with Kel’Thuzad at all. I was already kind of worried about the whole time-distortion thing with Mokvar’s plan to hex Faranell v1.0 – I mean, how is our Faranell supposed to remember what originally happened here, when we take his past self out of commission so he won’t have lived those events to remember them, right? And plus, wouldn’t he at least remember, you know, being turned into a damn frog? But Liadrin insisted that it should work what with the way revised time works, with ripples from the changes not reaching out to us until the events play themselves out, or some kind of shit like that, and she seems to know what she’s talking about with this time crap, which she actually seems really interested in for who knows what reason, so whatever, I figured I’d trust her on that much. But now we seem to be getting more and more little pieces not meshing with the way Edwin remembers things, and that’s got me majorly worried.

Witness the latest little piece that seems to be playing out differently: turns out, when they were talking at some point, Isilien invited Patrick to come to our little meeting of the minds as well. On the one hand because he figured he could use all the brain power on this project he could find, and plus, apparently dude likes lighting a fire under Doan by bringing in second opinions from other magic users. Because, you know, if there’s one thing that’s a formula for success with these future Scarlet Crusade people, it’s encouraging their insecurity and paranoia. Yeah.

Anyway, though, Patrick came with us to see Isilien. We just got back a short time ago – well, most of us did – and luckily, Edwin and his on-again off-again super-memory was able to help Liadrin get the record assembled fairly quickly:

 

Isilien greets Garrosh, Liadrin, Edwin, and Patrick through a half-opened door and ushers them into the room quickly.

ISILIEN: Hurry in. I don’t want anyone to notice us.

GARROSH: Check.

LIADRIN: Have you seen anything to make you think someone knows we’re doing something?

ISILIEN: I just don’t want to take any chances.

DOAN: Bad enough as it is that this many people are aware of our plans…

EDWIN: Nice to meet you, too.

LIADRIN: Gentlemen, this is Edwin Faranell; I believe you already know his brother Patrick…

ISILIEN: <nods> Edwin.

DOAN: Do any of you have any cousins you’d like to bring along while we’re at it?

ISILIEN: Doan, that’s enough.

GARROSH: Hey, you know, if you’d rather not have our help…

DOAN: As a matter of fact—

ISILIENDoan. Lia is a sister of the Light, and we will show her friends the same courtesy we would any ally. Or do you think a paladin of our own order would be turned against us in favor of the undead?

DOAN: Fine. Let’s just get this done.

LIADRIN: Have you had any progress in your study of the crystal?

ISILIEN: Yes and no. I’m still certain it could be harnessed to repel undead attackers, but it’s a matter of how.

DOAN: Especially without the crystal being available to us directly for long.

ISILIEN: <nods> Alexandros is right to want the crystal forged into a weapon – that singular object would be a devastating force on the front lines when the undead inevitably come. But it also limits our options here.

LIADRIN: Isilien, would it be possible for me to examine it more closely myself?

ISILIEN: <nods> Briefly.

Isilien sets Mograine’s chest out on the table and opens it. The light crystal floats up from the chest and hovers over it, rotating slowly. Liadrin steps up close, with Edwin and Patrick following close behind her.

PATRICK: Heavens…

ISILIEN: The crystal’s energy is…curious.

EDWIN: How so?

DOAN: For one, it doesn’t resemble any kind of enchantment I’ve ever seen. I haven’t an idea of how the crystal could have been imbued with this much power in the first place.

GARROSH: Didn’t you imbue it yourself? Pouring all your holy spells into it?

ISILIEN: That triggered its transformation from its dark form, but no, it’s not as simple as us filling it with our magic. The power contained in the crystal is far beyond what we cast on it.

EDWIN: You mean the shadow and light forms of the crystal are just different manifestations of the same energy, that it already had?

LIADRIN: More that the crystal absorbed and generated holy energy…whatever was cast on it was taken in and magnified.

ISILIEN: Exactly…it’s as if it were a generator of sorts for that energy.

Liadrin steps closer as they continue to talk, and holds her palm toward the crystal. The crystal glows a bit more brightly, floats toward her, and rests against her hand; she gingerly holds it as the light pulses softly.

PATRICK: So it’s a power amplifier, in a sense? Potentially unlimited? Is that the curious part?

ISILIEN: Partly.

DOAN: But it also…it still seems to be carrying traces of shadow magic in it.

EDWIN: <leaning in closer> Remnants of its dark state?

DOAN: Possibly. Or not even traces, per se, so much as…well…responsiveness to shadow magic. As if it recognizes its presence and is drawn to it.

LIADRIN: Just as it was drawn to the light when it was in its darkened state.

DOAN: If it were a living thing and not a crystal, I would be tempted to say the shadow traces were more traces of memory.

ISILIEN: Crystal or not, it seems to…like you, Lia…

The crystal continues pulsing and emitting a soft hum.

LIADRIN: It does seem to…

The crystal glows more brightly, flashing more rapidly, then emits a sudden bright flash. Liadrin, startled, recoils and drops the crystal, which falls against the edge of the table. A small fragment of the crystal breaks off and bounces against Edwin’s arm; he lets out a pained shout and collapses to the ground, unconscious.

PATRICK: Edwin!

Patrick kneels quickly to check on his brother while Liadrin rubs her head and steadies herself again. The crystal returns to its normal glow and resumes hovering over the table again.

GARROSH: Is he okay?

PATRICK: He’s unconscious, but breathing.

GARROSH: What happened, anyway?

DOAN: I haven’t a clue. The crystal hasn’t reacted to anything like that before.

LIADRIN: <still rubbing forehead> I think that was me.

GARROSH: Patrick, help me get him onto the bed till he comes to.

ISILIEN: What did you do, Lia?

Garrosh and Patrick pick Edwin up and stretch him out on the bed nearby. Garrosh returns to the others while Patrick sits on the bed.

LIADRIN: I thought I could use some holy magic to get a better read on it…sort of a poor man’s Mind Vision, I suppose. I must have…startled it, for lack of a better word.

ISILIEN: That would account for the light surge. I’m not sure why that fragment would have harmed your friend, though.

Doan carefully picks the fragment up from the floor. It gives off a dull glow in his hand.

DOAN: Either way, it may have given us a possible way around our limited access to the crystal…

ISILIEN: Assuming this one has the same properties.

LIADRIN: Only one way to find out.

Liadrin casts Flash of Light on the crystal, which pulses a bit more brightly. Isilien casts on it as well, causing another increase in its brightness. Doan stares curiously at the fragment shimmering in his hand.

ISILIEN: So far, so good.

DOAN: It’s…very soothing. How did it feel when you were holding the crystal, Lia?

LIADRIN: <hesitates> Much the same.

PATRICK: Good news, everyone. I think Edwin is coming to.

GARROSH: What happened to him?

DOAN: I don’t know why a surge of holy magic would have been harmful.

EDWIN: I think I… How long was I out?

PATRICK: Just a few minutes.

EDWIN: <sighs and rubs his head> Just a second…

GARROSH: Maybe, I don’t know, just a random blast from when it cracked…

DOAN: It only hurt him when the fragment actually touched him, though.

EDWIN: Okay, so…

PATRICK: Don’t strain yourself if you’re still groggy.

EDWIN: No, I’m fine. So…I think that surge might have gotten me because I’d been spending a lot of time around Kel’Thuzad the last few days…

ISILIEN: What would Kel’Thuzad have to do with it?

EDWIN: <rubbing his eyes> He’s been experimenting with necromancy.

DOAN: I’d heard humors about that. Very troubling…

EDWIN: He was showing me and Helcular some of the magics he’s been working with. I think it might have left some residual necrotic magic around me that the light there may have homed in on…

GARROSH: Seems like that would make sense.

EDWIN: Yeah, so… <tries to sit up, then groans>

PATRICK: Don’t, you’re still shaky. Just lay back and rest while we work.

ISILIEN: If that’s the case with the fragment, though, that could be our way to use it.

EDWIN: <aside to Patrick> I’m fine, I’ll stay and rest. You go help them.

LIADRIN: What do you have in mind?

ISILIEN: Considering what we saw happen with the dark and light forms of the crystal, it makes sense to suppose this object thrives on a sort of dark/light duality. When dark, it seeks and absorbs holy magic in order to assume its light form. And while light, it’s drawn to shadow magic, in this case to more harmful effect.

GARROSH: You know, I think I know where you’re going with this.

Patrick returns to the others.

ISILIEN: Released in the presence of a more potent – almost living, even – source of shadow magic, I think we could set it up to respond with much greater force. Destroying, or possibly purging the magic it finds.

LIADRIN: In other words…expose undead to this and the light will target them, then either destroy them outright or dispel the undeath that’s reanimated them?

ISILIEN: I think so, yes.

DOAN: It should be workable. We just need to charge it with more holy energy and come up with a way to keep it contained until we would need to deployed to repel the undead.

PATRICK: I think I can be of some help with that.

Patrick starts rifling through a box of assorted junk and magic items he’d brought with him.

GARROSH: I was wondering what all that crap was.

PATRICK: Oh, just some odds and ends I thought might be— Wait, what’s this? <looking over what looks like a crystalline turtle> Probably not important. It’ll come to me later. <tosses it aside> Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Some assorted things I though might come in handy. <pulls out an ornate rod> Huh…enchanting rod…funny I’d have that seeing as I’m not an enchanter.

GARROSH: So how much stuff do you have in there that you don’t actually know what it is?

PATRICK: Oh, who keeps track of these things. <brandishes the rod> Also good for channeling, I suppose. Which I also won’t be doing…

EDWIN: I think Helcular could use one of those.

PATRICK: <shrugs and tosses it onto the floor> Here, give it to him, we don’t need it for anything. Ah ha!

GARROSH: What ah ha?

DOAN: Isilien, I’m starting to think this friend of yours might be a little crazy.

PATRICK: Ah! Good news, everyone, I found it! Just what the doctor ordered!

Patrick pulls a polished bronze canister from the box – less than a foot on each side, runes engraved in a horizontal band, and a rounded lid on top.

ISILIEN: What is it?

PATRICK: Let’s see how crazy I am now, Doan. The correct answer is very.

DOAN: Fine, fine, but what is it?

PATRICK: <hands the canister to Doan> Oh, just an ordinary canister.

DOAN: I don’t really see how that’s usef—

PATRICKThat’s no ordinary canister!

ISILIEN: Didn’t you just…

EDWIN: Just let him.  It goes faster.

PATRICK: This isn’t just your standard polished inscribed jewel-encrusted bronze box, oh no…

GARROSH: Actually, I don’t see any jewels…

PATRICK: Hey, those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.

EDWIN: That’s fine. Don’t listen to the incapacitated guy.

PATRICK: What we have here is a mirrored reliquary. Its interior is enchanted to reflect magic back on itself and keep it contained within the canister indefinitely – basically takes a magical source and forces it to charge itself up even further. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

DOAN: Damn near perfect.

ISILIEN: Indeed. I assume the fragment would have to stay sealed inside the reliquary at all times?

PATRICK: Until we need its energies unleashed, yes.

ISILIEN: In that case, the only thing left is to come up with a way to set it to release the energy in the presence of undead.

PATRICK: Well, it’s not even so much the undead themselves, as the presence of shadow magic? Or…whatever it’s called, necrotic something-or-other, the energy that reanimates them?

DOAN: Assuming we can put this together, by the way, where would you suggest using it, Isilien?

ISILIEN: For all intents and purposes, we’re creating a bomb that doesn’t detonate until its target is right on top of it. I’d suggest we plant it in one of our cities, such that, should the undead begin to invade, it will serve the ward off the first wave.

DOAN: Where would you suggest? Andorhal? Stratholme? Lordaeron proper?

ISILIEN: There’s no telling where the undead might move first. But Southshore is where we made our discovery. I think it’s as good a place as any to receive our first attempt at safeguarding.

DOAN: Here in Southshore it is, then.

PATRICK: As for releasing the energy… I’m fairly sure I could work up some sort of gadgetry that would react to exposure to necrotic energy, and unseal the reliquary.

DOAN: You know how to do that?

PATRICK: I’ll have you know I’ve had a fair bit of training in engineering.

EDWIN: Granted, when he builds something, a lot of the time he gets a little too creative for his own good.

PATRICK: Oh, people just like to complain.

EDWIN: He’s all about the coulda, not the shoulda.

PATRICK: Fine, fine. Everyone’s always in favor of cloning dinosaurs, but harness one to a shark equipped with a ray gun and rocket boosters and oooh, suddenly you’ve gone too far.

DOAN: Wait, you mean you…?

EDWIN: <sitting up on the bed and stretching> Don’t give him a chance to dig out the blueprints, really.

PATRICK: <chuckles> Anyway, though… The point is, I’m pretty sure that we can assemble some sort of trigger mechanism that will react to nearby shadow energies. Then, out comes the powerful, cleansing light.

Garrosh helps Edwin to his feet, then looks to Liadrin, who returns his nod.

GARROSH: I seems like you guys have this under control, so I think we’re going to help Edwin here back to his room and let you all get to work.

LIADRIN: As fascinating as this last part of the project is, I’m sure those of us not mechanically inclined would only be in the way.

ISILIEN: Understandable. Your friend could stand to get some rest, in a place that isn’t full of people chattering on.

EDWIN: You have no idea, my friend.

ISILIEN: Thank you all for your help with this.

GARROSH: No problem, Isilien.

LIADRIN: Our pleasure, Isilien. Also, if I might offer a word of advice for after you’re finished here?

ISILIEN: Yes?

LIADRIN: Everything that’s happened in this room…it should stay in this room. Don’t spread word of what you’ve done – or what happened with Mograine’s crystal – to anyone.

ISILIEN: I know how to be discreet, so no concerns there.

GARROSH: Yeah, but at the same time, you also seem to like to bring people in for help. You want to be careful even about your allies.

DOAN: See, I keep telling you you’re too trusting.

GARROSH: I’m just saying, you need to keep your guard up about this stuff. I mean, even if someone looks trustworthy, you can’t just take them at face value. I’ve had my own…dealings…with the undead. They’re not all slobbering zombies stumbling around groaning about brains. You never know who you’re really dealing with, no matter how things look on the surface.

ISILIEN: <eyes growing wide> You…you’re right. The undead could be anyone – we can’t trust anyone outside our own circle…

GARROSH: Anyway! Let’s get Edwin back to his room. Night, guys.

PATRICK: I’ll come check on you later, Edwin.

LIADRIN: Goodbye, all.

EDWIN: Thanks, Patrick. Night.

Garrosh, Edwin, and Liadrin leave the room, close the door behind them, and walk down the hall toward their rooms.

GARROSH: So what’s the verdict about the crystal?

LIADRIN: When I was holding it, it felt exactly the same as when I felt M’uru restoring the Sunwell. That confirms what I already suspected – I think Mograine’s crystal is the spark of a dying naaru.

GARROSH: So you mean the Ashbringer is actually made out of…naaru essence? Crap, no wonder the thing’s so powerful.

EDWIN: Why did it seem to gravitate toward you?

LIADRIN: I’m probably the only person it’s encountered who’s been touched by another of the naaru. M’uru, A’dal… It changes you. I imagine the spark could sense it, maybe even perceived it as kinship.

GARROSH: Well aren’t you special.

LIADRIN: I rather am, actually.

EDWIN: And so, given all of its naaru-driven holy energy, I imagine that fragment knocked me on my ass because I’m… <glancing around to either side as they near their own doors> Well, you know… <holds his arms in an exaggerated marching-zombie pose>

LIADRIN: You are and you aren’t.

EDWIN: How do you mean?

LIADRIN: I mean that yes, the energy rendered you unconscious because of your…normal state. But that’s more of a…it’s hard to explain. Hold on.

Liadrin opens the door to one of the rooms, leads them in, and closes the door behind them.

Look at it this way. When we came through the time portal, we all took on human appearances. But it wasn’t as simple as a glamour or illusion spell. If one of us were injured and went to a doctor, the doctor would be able to examine us, work on us the same as anyone else. They wouldn’t be reaching through some surface illusion and finding an elvish or orich or Forsaken body underneath. Likewise if one of us died, we wouldn’t just revert back to our normal appearances. As long as we’re here in this time, we literally are human.

GARROSH: You’re TRYING to make me sick, aren’t you?

EDWIN: Huh. Interesting. But if that’s the case, I don’t see why the crystal would affect me at all.

LIADRIN: That’s the tricky part. We’re all still carrying vestiges of our old selves, sort of a shadow or overlay of who we normally are. In a sense both our forms still exist, overlapping in the same space, with our current state toggled onto this one on a quantum level, and…

GARROSH: Okay, okay, let’s just say we’re human with a little drop of whatever else before you make my brain go on strike.

LIADRIN: You’re just lucky it was merely the smaller fragment. If you’d touched the main crystal itself it could very well have still killed you, even in this form.

EDWIN: Ouch.

GARROSH: That could have been awkward.

EDWIN: Yes, I would hate to have an awkward death.

GARROSH: I just mean explaining it. Like to your brother.

LIADRIN: I did the best I could just to cover for what did happen.

EDWIN: Okay, well, let’s just drop it. I’ve already had enough real deaths to dwell on, without obsessing on the near deaths too.

 

So while we’ve been back here in our rooms, Patrick has been staying with Isilien and Doan trying to get their gadget assembled. The good news is that once it’s done, we don’t have to worry too much about tracking it down – we pretty much know that they’re going to plant it somewhere under the inn, which means the cellar, so once Isilien has had time to set it up, we can just get down there, take our readings, and high-tail it out of here.

Which, by the way, we can DO now, because while we were in our meeting, Mokvar managed to catch Tirion’s kid up in the lounge, got him playing with the frog formerly known as Faranell, and got the kid to agree to a trade for the shard. Want to hear the funny part, by the way? I got a kick out of this. I guess when Mokvar first offered to trade with him for the frog, he started out by asking Taelan for the toy warhammer he’s always carrying around, and then let the kid talk him down to the shard. I guess Mokvar figured if he came right out of the gate asking for the shard, the little snot-nose would be less likely to give it up.

Ideally I would have rather had the shard while we were in Isilien’s room, of course, but at this point it’s not worth running back in there and getting everybody’s guard up. My guess is that they’re going to have the reliquary ready by the end of the night, tomorrow morning at the latest, and at that point we should be good to go.

 

Well who woulda thought…

lorthemar2

Remember that guy Lor’themar from my Earth Online guild? Some friend of Sylvanas. I’m guessing she probably knew him back in Silvermoon back before, you know, the whole corpsey-ghosty-undeathy thing. Which I’ll grant has to do a number on your social circle, especially if your particular brand of undeath winds up being the brain-eating zombie variety. Come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever really given Sylvanas props for keeping the whole brain-eating thing to a minimum among her people. Because spirits know we’ve got enough mental defectives around here without me having underlings going LITERALLY brainless to boot.

Anyway. The point is, turns out that Lor’themar guy has actually turned out useful for something. I guess Sylvanas was talking with him about the whole Southshore situation, and what we learned from Tirion the other day about the Ashbringer and the crystal and whatnot. As it happens, he’s got a contact up there in Silvermoon that he thinks might be useful to us – Lady Liadrin, the leader of the Silvermoon Blood Knights. Which I’ve got to admit, at first I thought was the name of a sports team, and I was kind of hoping for a minute it was beach volleyball, because for serious could you imagine what the blood elf team…you know what, never mind. I get enough hate mail as it is. So anyhow, “Blood Knights” is the fancy shmancy name the blood elves have for their paladins, and Liadrin happens to be the matriarch of the whole order.

I know, right? Who would have guessed Lor’themar would be in good with someone important up there?

I guess Sylvanas was explaining what we know to Lor’themar, and Lor’themar thought this rang a few bells and explained it to Liadrin, and somehow by the end of this rumor chain Liadrin had the idea that the dark crystal turned light crystal that Tirion was talking about might have some connection to the Naaru. You know…those big crystally talking chandelier things that the draenei seem to think are a big deal. Her idea is that what Tirion was describing from his meeting in old Southshore sounded an awful lot like the end of a Naaru’s life cycle, or some mojo Velen did with some dead Naaru’s essence at the Sunwell. Which I’m surprised Velen had the time to do, by the way, since I would have figured by that point he would have been busy looking for another unsuspecting world to lead the frigging Burning Legion to and then leave to fend for itself. Not that I’m holding any grudges or anything.

Anyway, she seems pretty keen on following up on this, so I’m going to try to bring her into the circle. At the moment, though, I’m not sure where we’re going to go from here, since our only lead at this point consists of a meeting from ten years ago between a bunch of people who are all dead now, except for one of them, who is Tirion. I’m honestly not sure which of those two groupings came out on the better end of the situation. Either way, it seems like we’re at a dead end unless we can think of something.

So I think this is my cue to go close myself away and start thinking deep thoughts, because honestly…look around at the rest of these people. You really want to roll the dice on any of THEM coming up with something clever?

 

Orc Lemon Squares

cake

Today’s entry for Garrosh’s Poetry Challenge! This one is inspired by a repeated suggestion from the last few days, involving my Greatmother’s famous (previously secret) recipe, and the meddling tree who publicized it and forced me to institute whole new culinary policies a while back. Remember to make suggestions for next time in your comments!

 

Edenvale.

Edenvale –
She’s a tree.

Edenvale –
Don’t you see?
Edenvale’s a tree,
I see.

Edenvale,
She had a scare –
She saw Garrosh
Over there.

“Oh no!  Garrosh!”
Cried the tree.
“Please don’t kill me!
Let me be!

I’m your friend!
Yes!  I swear!
Please don’t kill me,
Garrosh-There!”

“Don’t you fret
Your sappy head!
I won’t kill you,”
Garrosh said.

“No?  You won’t?”
“Oh no,” he said.
“Or you already
Would be dead!”

“Oh,” she said,
The silly tree.
“Then, what do you want
With me?”

He came closer,
Garrosh-There.
And he said,
“I’m here to share.”

“Here to share,
Garrosh-There?”
“Here to share,”
Said Garrosh-There.

“Are you okay?”
Asked the tree.
“That doesn’t sound like you,”
Said she.

“Yeah, I know.
It kind of sucks.
But I figure,
What the fuck.

Greatmother says
I should share –
I should share
Her lemon squares.

So since Greatmother
Says to share,
I will try,”
Said Garrosh-There.

“So,” he said,
And gave a glare,
“Would you like
Some lemon squares?”

Edenvale looked nervous,
True.
She didn’t know
Quite what to do.

“Oh,” she said,
And held her nose.
“I really don’t want
To impose.”

“No, it’s fine,
They must be eaten.
Here, try one.
Or you’ll get beaten.”

“No, that’s okay,
None for me.”
“What’s the problem,
Stupid tree?”

“Well,” she said
To Garrosh-There.
“Well,” she said,
And looked quite scared.

“I do not like
Orc lemon squares.
I do not like them,
Garrosh-There.”

“Would you like them
Here or there?”

“I would not like them
Here or there.
I would not like them
Anywhere.
I do not like
Orc lemon squares.
I do not like them,
Garrosh-There.”

“Would you like them
In your home?
Would you like them
With a gnome?”

“I would not like them
In my home.
I would not like them
With a gnome.
I do not like them
Here or there.
I do not like them
Anywhere.
I do not like
Orc lemon squares.
I do not like them,
Garrosh-There.”

“Would you eat them
On a boat?
With a Naaru
Or space-goat?”

“I would not eat them
On a boat.
I’d simply give them
To the goat.
I do not want them
In my home.
I will not try them
With a gnome.
I do not want them
Here or there.
I do not want them
Anywhere.
I just don’t like
Orc lemon squares.
I just don’t like them,
Garrosh-There!”

“Would you, could you,
Might, may, will,
Try them up
In Teldrassil?”

“I would not, could not eat them there!
In Teldrassil, or anywhere!
I do not want them on a boat.
I will not share with some space-goat.
I do not want them in my home.
I do not want them with a gnome.
I do not want them here or there,
I do not want them anywhere!
I do not like orc lemon squares!
I do not like them, Garrosh-There!”

“How about
A doggy bag?
Served by Utvoch
And Dontrag?”

“Enough already!”
Cried the tree.
“Garrosh-There,
You let me be!”

“Would you try them
On the moon?
With Cenarius
And Mylune?”

“No, I would not
On the moon!
Even if they brought
Elune!”

“Would you try them,
Just once, ever,
Up amid
The Twisted Nether?”

“No! No! Not in the Nether!
I do not want to try them, ever!
Not in a bag! Not on the moon!
Not with Dontrag or with Mylune!
Not on a boat! Not in my home!
Not with a goat! Not with a gnome!
I will not try them here or there!
I do not want them ANYWHERE!
I do not like orc lemon squares!
I just don’t like them, Garrosh-There!”

“You don’t like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them
And you may.
Try them and you may,
I say.”

“Garrosh, dammit!
Fine, at last.
I’ll try them –
Just get off my ass.

Say…
I like orc lemon squares!
I do! I like them, Garrosh-There!
And I would eat them in my home!
And I would eat them with a gnome!
And I would have them on a boat,
And I would share with a space-goat!
I would eat them to my fill
All the way to Teldrassil!

I would take a doggy bag
(But spare me Utvoch and Dontrag)!
I would eat them on the moon,
With Cenarius and Mylune!
Yes, I will eat them here and there!
Oh, I would eat them anywhere!

I do so love
Orc lemon squares!
Thank you,
Thank you,
Garrosh-There.”

“See, I told you,”
Garrosh said.
“Plus you’re lucky
You’re not dead.”

“They’re so good!
So good, I say!
I might post them!
Yes I may!
I’ll post them on my blog,
I say!”

“Hold on a minute,
Silly tree.
That’s my Greatmother’s
Recipe.
Her recipe,
You silly tree.
We keep it
In the family!”

“But oh, they’re so good,
Garrosh-There!
They’re just too yummy
Not to share!
I’m sure your Greatmother
Won’t care!
I’ll spread her secret
Everywhere!

Now don’t get mad,
Garrosh! Relax!”

But he had gone
To get his axe.

 

EPIC VERSE!