Tag Archives: valthalak

Trial of the Black Prince

taverninthemists2

You know, it’s a funny thing about spending a lot of time around Garrosh. After a while, the particular brand of blinders through which he looks at the world becomes oddly endearing. Case in point, that last bit Gurtash drew up. I have to admit, I actually sort of missed it while I was off the grid for a while.

Stopping at the Tavern of the Mists was my idea. Garrosh didn’t really have any business of his own there — unless you count inspiring Anduin Wrynn to regain mobility ahead of schedule — so he decided to go take a look around the area. Gurtash grabbed a drink from Tong downstairs (um, nonalcoholic hopefully, but I didn’t think to watch) and went out behind the tavern to rest by the steam pool.

That left me to have a little one-to-one time with the real reason I’d wanted to stop here on the way through.

 

WRATHION: I don’t believe I know you, friend. Is there something I can help you with?

MOKVAR: There might be. It’s why I came here looking for you.

WRATHION: Interesting. Ordinarily, people only come to seek me out when I send for them.

MOKVAR: Well, do that enough times and I suppose word will tend to get around.

WRATHION: Well then. Clearly I’ve been overestimating people’s sense of discretion.

MOKVAR: Don’t feel too bad. I make a point of having several ears to the ground.

WRATHION: We should get along well, in that case. Or not at all. It can be so hard to predict which way that will go.

MOKVAR: Let’s be optimistic and say option 1.

WRATHION: Indeed. In any case, you are here and I am being rude. <calling downstairs> Tong! A drink, please, for my new friend, mister… ah, I don’t believe I got your name.

MOKVAR: Mokvar.

WRATHION: <calling downstairs> Mr. Mokvar!

Wrathion turns back to Mokvar.

I suppose he doesn’t really need to know your name to serve you drinks, but I did start to tell him, and I would hate for the old fellow to feel I’d left him hanging. Is it Mr. Mokvar, by the way? Or Mokvar something?

MOKVAR: Just Mokvar.

WRATHION: No family name?

MOKVAR: Do you have one?

WRATHION: Fair point. Although advertising my particular family probably resides somewhere between unnecessary and inadvisable. At any rate, I was just curious. “Mok-var.” Does it mean anything?

MOKVAR: Nothing. Just Mokvar.

WRATHION: No? Don’t orcish names usually mean things? “Death of” this and “victory to” that and honor blood glory and such?

MOKVAR: Not everyone’s. Some, yes, like the Warchief’s, for instance.

WRATHION: Yes, I had assumed it meant something subtle like “Scream from Hell.”

MOKVAR: Well, I was talking more about the “Garrosh” part, but sure. Anyway, the point is, in my case it’s just a name.

WRATHION: Ah. Well, that’s less colorful.

MOKVAR: I’ll try to be more entertaining next time.

WRATHION: I would appreciate that. Ah, here we are.

Tong comes upstairs with a tray.

Our drink! Here you are, Mr. Mokvar. I hope you enjoy plum wine.

MOKVAR: I’m allergic to plums, actually.

WRATHION: Ah well. More for me, then! Thank you, Tong.

Tong leaves.

In any case — you have no wine, you have no last name, you’re not terribly entertaining, but here you are. What brings you out to my little sanctuary in the hills?

MOKVAR: Reputation. I’ve heard you’ve been recruiting help for a… well, let’s call it a project of some kind.

WRATHION: You might say that. I prefer to think of it as safeguarding the long-term safety of our world. You might even call it a family business of sorts.

MOKVAR: Well, other than the part where your father lost his mind and tried to destroy the world.

WRATHION: Well yes, there’s that, but who doesn’t get a little cranky in their old age?

MOKVAR: Hopefully you’re young enough that we don’t need to worry about that with you for a while.

WRATHION: One would hope. I do so love to keep people guessing, though!

MOKVAR: I guess I’m less of a daredevil. I like knowing these things for sure. For instance, this looming threat you seem so keen on protecting the world from.

WRATHION: Granted, I don’t really know you, Mr. Mokvar, but unless I’m wildly off in my estimate, you’re old enough that you shouldn’t need me to spell out that threat for you.

MOKVAR: I figured you meant the Burning Legion.

WRATHION: There you go. You’ve answered your own question.

MOKVAR: I’m not so interested in it being the Legion in general — you’re right, it’s common sense to figure they’ll strike again, sooner or later — but I’m more interested in the details. For instance… are you just making some “sooner or later” guess that any of us might, or do you know something more about what’s coming?

WRATHION: Well, I hate to show my hand too much. But suffice to say that as convenient as it would be to possess detailed foreknowledge of the Legion’s plans, I have to settle for something less precise. You might think of it as an inherited trait. My flight was charged with the protection of this world, after all. It stands to reason we might be imbued with an innate sensitivity to looming threats, particularly of a demonic nature.

MOKVAR: Well, apart from the whole deal where—

WRATHION: Yes, yes, I know, the business with the rar-rar-crazy and trying to destroy everything. I know. The flight lost the script for a while there. There’s no need to keep bringing it up. You don’t see me dragging the discussion back to your people’s somewhat checkered history in certain similar matters, do you?

MOKVAR: Wow, you’re sensitive about this, aren’t you?

WRATHION: You would be too if your every conversation were a time bomb ticking down to the inevitable Neltharion-splosion. You would think that after all the time and effort I spent tracking down and exterminating the rest of the black flight, people would see fit to stop lumping me in with them, but oh no.

MOKVAR: Well, technically, didn’t you recruit rogues to—

WRATHION: It’s called delegating, my friend! Goodness, do you spend all your conversations nitpicking like this? You must be a joy at parties.

MOKVAR: Deliana tells me that all the time, too.

WRATHION: Who is that? Your wife?

MOKVARNo, she’s not my — ugh, why does everyone always think that…?

Wrathion looks at Mokvar quizzically.

Right… just… never mind.

WRATHION: Indeed… Well, in any case. My sensitivity to the threat facing this world is a holdover from that ancestry. It may well have surfaced in me purely because I’m the only untainted black dragon to have come along in an age.

MOKVAR: Are you sure this… “dragon sense” of yours is something specific to untainted black dragons?

WRATHION: There’s no way to know for sure, now is there? I am the only black dragon left alive, untainted or otherwise, so I suppose there’s no alternative for comparison.

Wrathion looks at Mokvar quizzically.

Why? That’s a rather… odd question to be a random inquiry.

MOKVAR: Just because there aren’t any black dragons living in this world — assuming you definitely got them all—

WRATHION: I did.

MOKVAR: Bully for you, then.

—doesn’t mean there aren’t any black dragons, at all. For instance, the not-quite-living variety.

WRATHION: …oh?

MOKVAR: Just a thought.

WRATHION: A thought inspired by…?

MOKVAR: Remember what you were saying before about not showing your hand too much? We’re rather alike that way.

WRATHION: Still, I think I can guess at a few cards. Evidently, there are some remnants of my kin stumbling around in some state of…undeath?

MOKVAR: Possibly.

WRATHION: Hmm. You would think that killing a dragon once would have been enough.

MOKVAR: Believe me, son, you’re preaching to the choir on that one. The gist of it, though, is that it looks like something may have woken some of your former family up from their nap. And the lead that first sent me stumbling in their direction involved some vague portents about “something coming.”

WRATHION: Hmm.

MOKVAR: Which sounds a little familiar now.

WRATHION: Yes, doesn’t it…

Wrathion glances behind him to his bodyguards, Left and Right, and makes a brief gesture.

And… what, pray tell, was it that sent you poking around… well, wherever you were poking around.

MOKVAR: Hypothetically.

WRATHION: Yes, of course. Hypothetically.

MOKVAR: It was… a personal matter.

WRATHION: Isn’t everything?

MOKVAR: Probably. But it does make me wonder what might have happened to stir up the Black Dragonflight even in death.

WRATHION: I don’t know. I can’t say I’m privy to the details of what’s putting the Legion in motion — or what will. It might not even have begun yet.

MOKVAR: How does that work?

WRATHION: Oh, one of the interesting things about precognition is that it can sometimes make one aware of an effect before the cause even takes place. Isn’t time fascinating?

MOKVAR: Preaching to the choir again.

WRATHION: All I can say, my friend, is that events are in motion that threaten to bring the Legion down upon us. And my every instinct calls for me to ensure Azeroth is ready to face them.

MOKVAR: That’s what I hear you’ve been telling people.

WRATHION: You don’t need to sound so conspiratorial about it! I’ll have you know, I’ve been working with some of your own kinsmen to that end.

MOKVAR: So I’ve heard.

WRATHION: You can rest assured, of course, that in the conflict we find ourselves embroiled in, my loyalties lie with your H—

MOKVAR: You don’t have to go through your usual song and dance with me.

Wrathion blinks.

WRATHION: Beg pardon?

MOKVAR: I know you’ve been recruiting people from the Horde and the Alliance. You don’t have to go through your usual pretense of professing your loyalty to whichever side you happen to be talking to at the time.

WRATHION: Er… I… that is… <laughing nervously> Mokvar, my friend, I haven’t an idea what you… that is… You, um… You know about that, eh?

MOKVAR: Like I said, I get around.

WRATHION: Apparently so much so that you’re privy to fairly private discussions across faction lines!

MOKVAR: Let’s just say I have a few useful contacts.

WRATHION: I see that. Nevertheless, what you don’t realize—

MOKVAR: Look, I’m not all that interested in what your endgame in all this is.

WRATHION: I… oh. You don’t? Because I had this whole speech ready on the off chance the situation ever came up, and—

MOKVAR: I assume it’s some type of deal where you think you’re serving some greater good, and playing both sides against each other is a means to that end that you think is justified.

WRATHION: Well… yes, I suppose that’s more or less… um… Are you sure you don’t want to hear the speech?

MOKVAR: And whatever the finer details of it are, they don’t really matter much to me, not least of all because whatever you have going on, you’re just pushing people harder into faction conflicts they were already fighting anyway.

WRATHION: …because it included a few turns of phrase I’m actually rather proud of.

MOKVAR: Could you let it go with the speech already? Believe me, I’ve already had to transcribe enough monologuing for one lifetime.

WRATHION: Oh fine. It’s your loss, though. There were motifs and everything.

MOKVAR: Well whatever the plan is, motifs and all, if you’re smart you’ll rethink it before you get any deeper than you already are.

WRATHION: Oh? And why is that? Are you threatening me?

Left and Right take a step forward, raising their crossbows.

I hope you’re not trying to threaten me. Tong gets so very cross when people make a mess of his place.

MOKVAR: You’re not hearing me. I’m not saying to rethink what you’re doing or else. I’m saying rethink it, because if you do, and you’re smart, you’ll realize you’re getting yourself into the middle of something you don’t want to meddle with.

WRATHION: The only thing I’m trying to do, my friend, is bring an end to this destructive conflict as quickly as possible. Or perhaps you’d prefer to continue watching the Horde and Alliance whittle away at each other while the house burns around them?

MOKVAR: And what I’m trying to explain is that you’re trying to tame a crazed worg. You think you can insert yourself into the Horde-Alliance war and bring it to heel, but you can’t. This is bigger than you. It isn’t subject to your whims.

WRATHION: You seem far too willing to resign yourself to the whims of chance.

MOKVAR: I’m willing to accept that chance’s whims have a lot more sway than ours. But, fine. If you don’t believe me, don’t believe me. Don’t say nobody warned you, though, if you keep meddling in things that are larger than any of us and you end up being bitten by it.

WRATHION: Mokvar, my good fellow, I’ve been enjoying your company, but don’t presume to lecture me. I am the last of the Black Dragonflight, chosen by the makers to safeguard the world. I see things you couldn’t imagine, and know things that would set your… pedestrian mind ablaze.

Mokvar looks thoughtfully into the distance for a moment, then nods.

MOKVAR: In that case, Black Prince, I suppose I’ll take my leave.

Mokvar turns and starts to walk away.

Good fortune to you in your endeavors.

WRATHION: And to you in yours, sir.

Mokvar reaches the door, then stops and looks back over his shoulder.

MOKVAR: A propos of nothing… does the name “Sabellian” mean anything to you?

Wrathion narrows his eyes and peers at Mokvar for several seconds.

WRATHION: Should it?

Mokvar shrugs.

MOKVAR: Probably not. Just something I heard somewhere. You seem like a knowledgeable guy. I figured I’d ask. I’m sure it’s nothing.

Mokvar turns back to the door.

Good hunting, your highness.

Mokvar exits.

 

Not sure if I made things better or worse there. I suppose we’ll see. Plenty of time still to worry about that. Hopefully. In the meantime, I have more research to do.

 

Mokvar

 

A long time coming

blackrock10

Someday, I have to ask the Noz what the deal is with time. How it seems to go faster and slower, and rush right past the good moments, and practically freeze solid in the middle of the worst ones. Like it’s going out of its way to screw us over and force us to spend most of our lives trapped in the middle of the worst parts of them. Fuck time.

Time was dripping along extra slow while Gurtash was dropping to the ground. Slowly enough for the not-so-little drops of blood to hang in the air just waiting for me to notice them. Slow enough for me to be on top of that spectral motherfucker tearing into it before Gurtash had even landed. I’m pretty sure the spook hit the ground first. Rage is the ultimate haste buff.

There was blood on the floor all around him. I don’t know the first thing about healing, but I’ve been on enough battlefields to know not-good a mile off. Ji and Shay were already gathered over Gurtash by the time I was pulling Gorehowl out of Mr. Wraith With the Worst Judgment Ever. Spazzle wasn’t far behind, while Ariok and Mokvar and his pet and his imp made short work of cleaning up the spooks that were left. We all have our jobs to do. Speaking of which:

[Okay, it’s been a little while. Hopefully my hand doesn’t start cramping up. –Mkvr., ed.]

JI: That’s it, keep the pressure there to slow the bleeding…

SPAZZLE: Oh man, I knew I should’ve put some points in Resto…

MOKVAR: It doesn’t work that way anymore.

SPAZZLE: You see how out of touch I am about this stuff?

JI: I think we can stabilize him, but he’s going to need a lot more than any of us can do here.

GARROSH: Shay, get a portal open to Orgrimmar!

SHAYARI: But I’m trying to hold—

GARROSH: Portal. NOW!

SPAZZLE: It’s okay. I’ve got it…

Spazzle rips off part of his sleeve and presses on Gurtash’s chest. Shayari gets up, channels a spell for a moment, then opens a portal.

GARROSH: Is he good to move?

JI: Not really. But moving him probably won’t make him much worse than sitting here waiting to bleed out.

GARROSH: Take him through. You and green stuff go and throw as many heals on him as you can on the way to the for-real for-real healers.

JI: Yes, sir.

Ji carries Gurtash to the portal and vanishes. As Spazzle moves to follow, Garrosh grabs his arm and turns him back.

GARROSH: When you get to the healers, you make sure they understand this comes straight from me: if the kid dies, SO DO THEY.

SPAZZLE: Loud threats of imminent demise. Got it, chief…

Spazzle disappears through the portal.

MOKVAR: Well, if that doesn’t motivate them, nothing—

GARROSH: Dude, what makes YOU think you get off so easy? If the kid doesn’t make it, YOUR head’s on the chopping block as much as anyone’s.

MOKVAR: Um…

GARROSH: You’re the whole fucking reason we’re even HERE. Don’t think for a second I’m going to forget that.

MOKVAR: Um…

DELIANA: You already said that.

MOKVAR: It still applies.

DELIANA: You know, you maybe should have put a soulstone on the little guy…

MOKVAR: Uh, could you not point that out in front of—

DELIANA: Just saying, the life you save could be your own.

MOKVAR: And besides, you know perfectly well I need—

SHAYARI: Maybe you guys could save this for the divorce hearing?

DELIANA: We’re not married!

SHAYARI: Okay, if you say so.

DELIANA: We’re not— Why does everybody keep saying this?

MOKVAR: You’re asking me?

GARROSH: Dude, do you even notice how you two act?

MOKVAR: Don’t you start, too!

GARROSH: Hey, listen, I’d LIKE to believe you wouldn’t go slumming with pink girl here….

DELIANA: What the hell does that mean?

MOKVAR: Really, don’t even try to get into it with him.

GARROSH: At least it’d mean you have more sense than Thrall did back in the day. Not that that’s saying much.

ARIOK: You’re the last one to be criticizing Thrall…

SHAYARI: Not for anything, Lamb Chop, as much as Beardy here’s no prize—

MOKVAR: And thank you for that

SHAYARI: —you still probably would have been better off locking him up while you had the chance. You know, tick tock.

GARROSH: I think I’ve already established my SHUT THE FUCK UP stance with YOU, Ariok…

DELIANA: What the— I only just turned twenty-nine!

SHAYARI: For, what, the fifteenth year in a row?

ARIOK: As far as I can tell, Thrall only ever had one lapse in judgment, and that was—

GARROSH: Motherfucker, go on ahead and finish that sentence if you want to see how far I can toss your ass when I really mean business!

DELIANA: Listen, fancy-hooves—

A low, rumbling laugh interrupts the overlapping exchanges. Everyone looks over to see that the spectral form of Valthalak, while still partially transparent, has grown much more solid.

VALTHALAK: I never forget a face…and you two… Oh, I remember you two. I can’t say I ever expected you to have the courage to show your faces here again… I see your choice of companions hasn’t improved over the years, though – still bickering, still fighting amongst yourselves… I remember that as well…

DELIANA: Do you remember the part where you ended up dead, too?

VALTHALAK: Yes, and look how much that’s gained you. Or have you come all this way to show me how much my agents haven’t tasked you?

GARROSH: Oh geez, he’s really gonna keep talking, isn’t he?

VALTHALAK: You know, I think your choice of friends may even have gotten worse since before. As you say, at least they were strong enough to defeat me… but these new ones… well, if the ease with which the little one fell is any indication…

GARROSH: Oh, now I KNOW you should’ve shut up sooner!

Garrosh leaps at Valthalak, only to have Gorehowl swing right through the spirit.

VALTHALAK: I see this is a bright one. I’m a ghost, you fool.

GARROSH: Yeah, well so were your spectral who’s-his-fucks! How do I know which of these assholes I can hit or not?!

SHAYARI: Pops, could I suggest not trying to argue with the evil noncorporeal dragon?

DELIANA: The spectral assassins have to manifest physically – if they don’t become solid enough for us to kill, they can’t kill us.

MOKVAR: Which also means we have a handy catch on our hands…

Mokvar reaches into a pocket and pulls out the Nether Prism.

While you’re recognizing faces, your lordship… remember this?

Valthalak glares at Mokvar.

It made a neat little prize some years back…

VALTHALAK: Foolish mortal…

SHAYARI: Did the dead guy just call Beardy “mortal”?

VALTHALAK: …you don’t even understand what you hold in your hands – what’s at stake in your arrogant trifling with matters that are beyond you…

MOKVAR: I take that to mean you want this back, then. Well… come and get it.

The only way Valthalak was going to be able to take back his doohicky from Mokvar was to manifest fully, and once he did…well, game on. He threw us off at first – the second he shifted fully into physical form, he hit us all with a shadow volley that knocked us back, and he managed to summon up and handful more of those spectral motherfuckers. Still, Shay and Ariok and Mokvar and what’s-her-face managed to burn them down fast enough. Me, I was more interested in giving big boss dragon dude a proper welcome back to the land of the living, and make it a nice, short stay. By the time everyone else finished off the assassins, I was well on my way to wearing the big guy down. Still, he was no pushover, I’ll give him that much. He could take a beating, especially for someone who was, you know, dead just a few minutes before. It was a long, drawn-out fight, broken up by a whole bunch of those damn shadow volleys of his, but eventually, little by little, we were able to whittle him down, until his movements started taking on that little shaky hitch that only happens when you’re just hanging on.

GARROSH: I’m going to enjoy watching you drop, Valthy!

MOKVAR: No, hold back – don’t kill him!

SHAYARI: Huh?

GARROSH: The fuck— dude, that’s the WHOLE REASON we—

MOKVAR: We can’t kill him!

Mokvar pulls a glowing purple orb from his cloak and starts channeling a spell. A twisting ribbon of glowing purple energy starts to flow from Valthalak to the orb.

VALTHALAK: What! No! You haven’t the power to—

MOKVAR: Ordinarily you’d be right, your lordship, but luckily I came with an upgrade…

Mokvar holds the Nether Prism in his other hand and holds it and the orb close together. The glow from the Prism swells around both itself and the orb, and Valthalak convulses as the flow of energy from him increases.

VALTHALAK: You fool! You don’t know what you— they’re coming, stupid orc, they… AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

The ribbon of energy between Valthalak and Mokvar’s orb breaks, and Valthalak collapses to the ground, motionless. Mokvar stands over him, holding the orb in one hand, the Nether Prism in the other, both still glowing.

SHAYARI: So… did we not stop fast enough?

GARROSH: Looks dead enough to me.

MOKVAR: He’s not dead. Not exactly.

GARROSH: Oh, so you mean he’s approximately dead.

MOKVAR: That’s not a terrible way of saying it, actually.

DELIANA: Valthalak can’t be killed. Not entirely. We thought we killed him once before. Then we had others try again years later. He keeps coming back.

GARROSH: See? SEE? I keep SAYING nobody stays fucking DEAD anymore.

DELIANA: If we’d killed him, he just would have lain dormant for a while, then come back all over again.

MOKVAR: And I’d rather not have to keep going through this for the rest of my life.

SHAYARI: What did you do, then?

Mokvar holds up the shimmering orb.

MOKVAR: Soulstone.

ARIOK: Spirits…

MOKVAR: Technically, Valthalak’s body is dead. But this time, so long as his spirit is contained in here, he can’t manifest again.

SHAYARI: So…what now? Do you…I don’t know, do you destroy the stone?

MOKVAR: Can’t. If I break the soulstone, it’ll just release his spirit. The only way this isn’t just a temporary fix is if I keep him sealed up in here, permanently. So… well… I’m sure there’s somewhere at home I can stash it. Assuming I’ve still got a place to go back to?

GARROSH: Your house is still there. No guarantees that Malkorok didn’t turn it upside down looking for clues when you first disappeared. But yeah, you get to come back, so long as you hold up your end of the deal with your new toy there.

ARIOK: Garrosh, I’ll tell you again, you mustn’t do this – even if you were still considering this insane plan about the sha, surely even you can see the enormity of what this warlock is doing to—

GARROSH: Dude, I am SERIOUSLY getting sick of listening to you bitch.

ARIOK: He’s imprisoning a still-living soul, Garrosh, and—

DELIANA: It’s the only way to stop the monster who’s been trying to kill us for over a decade now!

MOKVAR: Look, Ariok, I can see why it might not sit so well with you, but you’re coming in late on this. You don’t know

ARIOK: Don’t know what happens when we start to treat lives and souls and honor as options to be dispensed with when convenient? I’m starting to think I’m the only one here who does! I came here because that Pandaren claimed his friend was in dire need, but if I’d even suspected that he was setting out to allow the likes of this to—

In a flash of light and puff of smoke, Ariok turns into a sheep.

SHAYARI: Okay, that takes care of that. Is it just me, or does he, like, really seem like somebody who’d be a downer at parties?

GARROSH: Heh. So okay, while you’ve got the hocus-pocus queued up, let’s get another portal to home going.

SHAYARI: Coming up!

MOKVAR: Once we all get back to Orgrimmar—

GARROSH: Yeah, not so fast with the “all” – I’m giving YOU the clear for now, Mokvar, but as for your little human friend here…

Garrosh looks over to find Deliana is gone.

MOKVAR: Rogue.

GARROSH: Great.

Shayari finishes opening a portal to Orgrimmar. She, Garrosh, and Mokvar start to move toward it; just in front of the portal, Mokvar looks back at Ariok-the-sheep.

MOKVAR: So…we’re just leaving him there?

SHAYARI: The polymorph will wear off by itself in a few minutes.

MOKVAR: Okay… What if something jumps him first, though? I mean, the place still isn’t completely empty…

SHAYARI: Then it sucks to be him.

GARROSH: Eggs and omelets.

Garrosh and Shayari turn back toward the portal.

MOKVAR: Huh… she really is your daughter, isn’t she?

Just arriving back in Orgrimmar now. Finally. Heading over to see what the word is on Gurtash. More soon.

 

Wake-up call

blackrock9

Now that we were done with, you know, our year’s worth of delays, we finally headed deeper into the Spire and made our way toward the room that used to be that Valthalak dude’s lair. Or study. Or…office. Whatever the hell you call it when you’re some kind of weird-ass draconic summoner what’s supposed to be dead only not exactly because what the fuck. Good thing Mokvar still remembered the lay of the land in there — I would have ended up wandering around in circles if it’d been up to me. Still, I have to say, Blackrock Spire IS a pretty impressive place, as far as fortresses go. Kind of a shame it’s been sitting here mostly unused ever since the Blackrock clan cleared out. Well, other than ghostly dragon dudes or whatever.

We ran into a few more of those reanimated dragonkin on our way, but we made pretty short work of them. Still not sure what’s up with these dragon guys lurking around. I figure it’s got something to do with Valthalak being up and sort of kicking again, but fuck if Mokvar was any help piecing that together. He was pretty evasive, and it’s not like it would be news if somebody around here knew more than they were letting on, and fuck, Mokvar’s pretty much the grand poobah of that club at this point.

Valthalak’s room was just creepy dark, and it was in this echo-y part of the Spire where you could swear there was somebody — or a bunch of somebodies — talking just out of range for you to make out clearly. Still, Mokvar seemed like he was no stranger to the place, even after however many years. Once we were all in position, it was time to catch ol’ Mr. Part-Time Dead Drakonid’s attention. Mokvar summoned up an imp, which apparently really liked running its mouth, mostly about what a tool it thought Mokvar was, and yeah, Mokvar, doesn’t it suck when you get stuck with ungrateful insubordinate minions? Karma, dude, karma.

Anyway, though, the imp shut up right quick once Mokvar whipped out that Nether Prism doohickey and started channeling…um… I don’t know, he started doing some warlock stuff with it. Fuck if I know. It looked kind of purple, if that helps at all. Point is, firing up his warlock hocus pocus seemed to do the trick, because within a minute or so, in the middle of the room, who should start to appear in shimmery, mostly-transparent form but the dragon troublemaker himself, Valthalak. And of course, before he could even bother getting past his whole noncorporeal thing, he had to go into this whole greeting for us, Mokvar especially. You know, the usual spiel you get from bad guys when you crash their pad, where they pretend to be happy to see you and go on about unexpected guests and pleasant surprises and act like they’re all polite and shit except they have a TONE. I don’t know what it is with these guys. They all do this shit. There must be a manual or something.

Point is, though, before Valthalak was solid enough for us to do much about him directly, he started summoning up these wraith guys. Like, lots of them. So now I was finally getting to meet the famous spectral assassins that caused so much trouble for Mokvar and apparently made him go all batshit and stuff. More importantly, though, now I was finally getting to stop standing around and listening to people yap yap yap and get back to something more in line with my area of expertise.

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I can kind of see how a bunch of these assassins would have been trouble for Mokvar solo, but with the whole crowd of us there, they weren’t nearly so much of a problem. At least not individually. Only trouble was that there were so damn many of them, just fading in out of the darkness in bunches, and it didn’t look like they were slowing down. We kept hacking them down, though, whittling the numbers down little by little.

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The Horde is family (part 1)

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* Mokvar learned of Theldren’s unhelpful warning when Deliana appeared in Orgrimmar, as he related here.

** Mokvar and Garrosh — along with Liadrin, Utvoch, and (a version of) Faranell — were trapped in an alternate timeline during the Timequake storyline. While there, they learned of Neeru Fireblade’s scheming in Orgrimmar (as seen here, and discussed by Neeru himself here). Spazzle, for his part, is clearly as tired of hearing about it as are many readers.

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* As Mokvar recently related here, he went to see Neeru before disappearing from Orgrimmar.

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* Shayari was starting to examine this peculiarity of the altar just before Mokvar make his dramatic return here.

** Mokvar offered to help Garrosh control the sha here, which was a good move on Mokvar’s part insofar as it likely averted an acute case of being brutally murdered.

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* For anyone who doesn’t remember, Ariok’s father is Eitrigg, who has much more dove-like tendencies than Garrosh. Granted, there are likely serial killers with more dove-like tendencies than Garrosh, but still.

 

Those who fight monsters (part 3)

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* Garrosh elegantly summarizes the salient points of Mokvar’s own account of his past, which he detained here and here. There’s also this breakdown of Mokvar’s ongoing saga, but at this point, is anybody really not caught up yet?

** Spazzle filled Garrosh in on what he knew, re: Mokvar, in this post and its aftermath.

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* Surely everyone remembers the infamous binary punchcard from Gnomergan, right?

 

 

30 Days of Character Development #7: Mokvar

[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.]

 


mokvar_profile1Name
: Mokvar

Occupation: Scribe; former advisor to the Warchief; former mercenary; currently between gigs, as it were.

Race: Orc

Class: Warlock (currently and formerly), shaman (formerly)

Age: 44

Group affiliations: Horde (former citizen, currently banished), Earthen Ring (former member), Veiled Blade (former member)

Known relatives: Drulla (mother, deceased), Vokmar (father, deceased), ex-wife (heretofore unnamed)

Earth Online notes: Founding member and officer of Garrosh’s guild <Warchief>; presumably demoted from officer status since falling out of good graces with Garrosh, though it’s currently unclear if he’s actually been demoted or gkicked. Main toon is Bartleby (class unknown); has at least one alt, LamontCranston (not a member of <Warchief> and unknown by most of the guild, possibly all but Spazzle).

First appearance: “Visiting Ashenvale” (first mention), “Underneath the bunker” (first transcript)


mokvarprofile2Key posts and plot points
:

  • Garrosh first mentioned Mokvar in the very early days of the blog, during an inspection trip to Ashenvale. After completing an aerial bombing run over Astralaan, the Warchief was most irate that Mokvar wasn’t able to adequately sketch him walking away from the resulting explosions; Garrosh ordered Mokvar back to Orgrimmar to train up inscription under pain of, well, pain. (Interestingly, the job of keeping visual records of some of Garrosh’s expolits would eventually fall to Gurtash in the form of his comics.)
  • Mokvar would return a few weeks later in “Underneath the bunker” to record the first of many transcripts of the Warchief’s dealings. (Also of note is that this transcript marked the first appearance of Dontrag and Utvoch.) From that point on, Mokvar would frequently accompany the Warchief in his adventures, recording Garrosh’s discussions with such luminaries as Tirion Fordring (“Where did all the words go?”), Mylune (not once but twice), Garona and Johnny Awesome (“Awesome job, Mokvar”).
  • Mokvar traveled back in time to old Hillsbrad with Garrosh, Liadrin, Faranell, and Utvoch in an attempt to trace the origin of a magic “anti-plague” that was devastating the Forsaken (The Anti-Plague of Southshore). While there, Faranell switched places with a past version of himself and inadvertently set off a series of events that would eventually cause massive disruptions to the timeline (Timequake). In the ensuing chaos, Mokvar was one of the only people to be aware of the changes that had occurred, and helped the Warchief reset history to its proper course.  To this day, Mokvar remains one of the only people – along with Garrosh, Liadrin, and Faranell – who remembers the events that transpired in the other timeline. (Okay, yes, Utvoch remembers, too…but would you really bet your next paycheck on him understanding any of it?)
  • Just before Garrosh left for Pandaria, Mokvar was attacked and killed under mysterious circumstances (“Death of the author”), though his death was made temporary by his ability to ankh as a shaman. This brush with death marked the beginning of the Mokvar saga that continues to this day; a detailed, post-by-post account can be found here, but here’s the semi-sorta-short version: In his mercenary days before coming to Orgrimmar, when he was a member of the Veiled Blade, Mokvar had acquired, then disposed of, a powerful warlock relic called the Nether Prism; now, years later, the Prism’s prior owner (the drakonid lord Valthalak) has sent spectral assassins after Mokvar in an effort to recover his prize. Mokvar reunited with old mercenary friend Deliana to try to recover the Prism, then launched into a run of suspicious, erratic behavior – traveling to Ironforge under diplomatic cover, then being charged with the murder of one of its citizens; turning for aid to Neeru Fireblade, then, even more damningly, Magatha Grimtotem; breaking out of Orgrimmar while under arrest, leading to his eventual banishment from the Horde.
  • mokvarprofile4After Mokvar disappeared from Orgrimmar, he remained off the grid for several months, save for elemental indications to fellow shaman Spazzle that he may have met his final demise. Ji Firepaw, however, wasn’t willing to give up hope for Mokvar’s survival (and rightly so – did anyone really think that I was not only going to kill off Mokvar, but do so off-screen? Really?), and continued investigating Mokvar’s whereabouts. Ji’s search eventually led him to Blackrock Spire, where Mokvar made his dramatic, fel-infused return in “The scouring of the Spire.”
  • True story: I originally introduced Mokvar not even as a real character, but as a plot device to justify inclusion of the transcripts. I realized early on that I wanted to include dialogue in the blog, but I didn’t feel like it would fit stylistically to have Garrosh writing it out as it would appear in a novel – one thing I try to maintain (with ranging degrees of success) is the appearance that Garrosh really is writing everything in the blog, as a blog, rather than a short-story-but-we’ll-call-it-a-blog-even-though-we-know-it’s-really-not-wink-wink. Mokvar as a scribe provided an excuse to include that extra material. Another true story: When I was first choosing Garrosh’s scribe, I pretty much went into Grommash Hold and semi-randomly picked someone who looked like he didn’t have much else to do. Who knew?
  • For the fashion/transmog-minded among you: Mokvar’s warlock attire is roughly based on the Tier 9 warlock set.
  • Mokvar’s Earth Online character, Bartleby, is a reference to the title character in Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener.” (Scrivener = scribe!) Mokvar likewise references the story on a few occasions when he repeats Bartleby’s signature line, “I would prefer not to.”
  • For anyone who hasn’t pieced it together by this point: Mokvar’s close connection to Deliana is based on their parallel in-game roles. Pre-Cataclysm, Mokvar (in Orgrimmar) and Deliana (in Ironforge) were the questgivers who sent adventurers on the (very long and painful) quest chains to upgrade the old “Tier 0.5” dungeon sets. The two characters offered essentially the same quests, which provided the basis for much of the in-blog backstory about Lord Valthalak. (Valthalak’s spirit was the end boss for that quest chain, by the way, and for anyone who missed it during vanilla, fighting him at level was a NIGHTMARE.)

In his own words:

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

My last job with the Veiled Blade, when we went into Blackrock Spire to collect Valthalak’s goodies. It turned out to be nothing but trouble, and cost most of us our lives – all of us, in fact, other than me and Deliana. (And strictly speaking, it cost me my life, too; it just didn’t stick. So, congratulations to Deliana for being the last one left standing. Was anyone running a pool?)

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Color? Song? Flower?

Tigule and Foror’s Lok’tar S’more-gar. Cerulean blue. The Lokvad’nod Broxigari. Any daisies I’m not pushing up.

Who do you trust?

After everything we’ve been through, I trust Deliana with my life. The same goes for Ji and Spazzle. I trust Thrall and Eitrigg implicitly, and I’ll probably always be grateful to Thrall for giving me a safe haven all those years ago. I trust Liadrin for her judgment, Saurfang for general badassery, and Garrosh…well, I trust Garrosh to be Garrosh.


mokvarprofile3How are you with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?

I’m no Spazzle, but I’m good enough with technology to get by. I’m not really what you would call tech literate in the broad sense, but I do okay with specific tasks on specific devices; once I learn how to do something, I’m usually fine, but then I don’t like to stray too far from what I know, even if something new and better comes along. I still prefer to write by hand, but I usually end up having to type things out – people are always complaining about my handwriting.

How do you react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?

Heat doesn’t bother me at all. I hardly even notice it. Cold, on the other hand… spirits, I hate the cold. You could not have paid me enough money to go to Northrend.

Are you an early morning bird or a night owl?

Neither, really. I have pretty strange sleep habits: I usually tend to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time, scattered around random times in the day. It’s a holdover from my mercenary days, when we would often have to be on the move on short notice; I developed the ability to sneak in what sleep I could when I could, and it’s stayed with me. So now you’re equally likely to catch me awake at some odd hour in the middle of the night, or asleep in the middle of the day. It’s the main reason why I don’t like surprise visitors. That and the recent habit that surprise visitors have been getting into of trying to kill me.

What’s your preferred means of travel?

On wolfback. I like feeling my feet on the ground…or at least my wolf’s feet, indirectly. If I have to fly, I’d rather take a zeppelin or gunship. I’ve never gotten completely comfortable on a wyvern (although I still prefer them to bats or dragonhawks or…well, I don’t know how people manage to keep their balance on those carpets). I’ll fly on one if I need to, and I have lots of times – it just makes me uneasy while I’m up there.

If you could time travel, where would you go?

Don’t even joke about that.

Are you superstitious?

I definitely believe that there’s something out there that’s either looking out for me, or has it in for me. I’m still not sure which. Check back with me again another time. Unless I’m dead, in which case we probably have our answer.

What might your ideal romantic partner be?

Someone calm, grounded. Stable. Not prone to emotional swings or extreme highs and lows. Someone who’s figured themselves out, gotten comfortable with themselves, grown out of the drama and the need for everything to be a thrill ride.

If your life were a genre, what would it be?

Pretty definitely something in the action/adventure area, or at least a suspense thriller. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. Sometimes I think I should have listened to my mother and been a banker instead. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to go out into the world and have adventures. Thirty years of adventures later, I think I’ve had more than enough excitement. I’d love to be bored. I’d love to settle down comfortably in a quiet corner of Orgrimmar once we get to the other side of all this, and age into some old man who everyone considers pretty dull and uninteresting, except for every so often when he rattles off another one of his crazy stories — which most of the kids probably won’t believe really happened anyway. I think I’ll enjoy that.

 

Previous Profiles:

  1. Spazzle Fizzletrinket
  2. Ben-Lin Cloudstrider
  3. Dontrag and Utvoch
  4. Taktani
  5. Korrina
  6. Mylune
 

Demon’s Bargain

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After the dead end in Winterspring, I mentioned that I still had one more possible stone to turn over. It’s not one I particularly wanted to turn over, considering who I’d be finding under it, but at this point I don’t really have the luxury of wasting time and hoping something else falls into my lap. So yesterday, I took a walk down to the Cleft of Shadow to have a talk with Neeru Fireblade.

I had known Neeru a little when I had first started training as a warlock, but since moving to Orgrimmar and changing to shamanism, I hadn’t had contact with him beyond occasionally passing on the street. I’d always avoided the Cleft of Shadow; after Thrall gave me sanctuary in Orgrimmar, the last thing I wanted was to be caught anywhere near the fel magic of the warlocks. Now, after years of avoiding the place, I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy just from purple light that illuminated the cavern as I made my way down.

 

Neeru Fireblade channels a spell while Mokvar approaches.

MOKVAR: Neeru.NEERU: <looking at Mokvar over his shoulder> Mokvar. Just a moment.

Neeru finishes channeling. Small flames burst from a large windroc carcass that sits on a nearby table, then flicker out after a moment. Neeru turns to Mokvar and points to the sizzling fowl with a smirk.

Undercooked.

MOKVAR:  What do you do if it needs salt?

NEERU: Count myself lucky that I didn’t make a larger mess of the preparation than that. I’m hardly a chef.

Neeru sits down at the table.

I hope you don’t mind if I go ahead with dinner.

He gestures to a second chair across from him; Mokvar sits.

It’s been a long time, Mokvar. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you venture down this way. What brings you to the land invocations and mediocre cuisine?

MOKVAR: I’m looking for information, and I think you may be on the short list of people who might have it.

NEERU: <gnawing on a leg from the roasted windroc> I’m hardly a person in the know these days, but ask away.

MOKVAR: The Nether Prism.

Neeru pulls the drumstick away from his face slowly and looks up.

NEERUWell now. What have you gotten yourself into, Mokvar?

MOKVAR: More a matter of what I’m trying to get myself out of.

NEERU: All the more interesting, then. I haven’t heard talk of that particular bauble in an age.

MOKVAR: I wish I could say the same.

NEERU: <eyes Mokvar closely> The last I heard of the Prism, it was in the hands – or claws, I suppose – of that drakonid Valthalak.

MOKVAR: That was years ago. After that, it made its was to an imp named Vi’el, in Darkwhisper Gorge.

NEERU: If you’re interested in the Prism, why don’t you go seek out the imp, then?

MOKVAR: I did. He’s dead. What became of the Prism from that point is anyone’s guess.

NEERU: Really now. And how did you happen to know about this imp in the first place?

MOKVAR: Let’s just say it took a roundabout path getting from Blackrock Spire to the imp.

Neeru leans back in his seat and folds his arms.

NEERU: You? You mean to tell me, Mokvar, that a relic as potent as the Nether Prism managed to change hands from Gul’dan all the way down to the likes of you?

MOKVAR: When you’re starting with Gul’dan, I don’t know if “down” is the right word.

NEERU: <chuckling and picking up the windroc leg again> Well well, Mokvar…you say you came to me for information, but it seems I’m learning a fair bit more from you.

MOKVAR: I think you know more than you let on.

Mokvar leans forward and drums his fingers on the table.

Then again, so do I.

Mokvar glances around at the other warlocks practicing invocations.

How many of them will it take?

NEERU: <mouth half full of windroc meat> Take? For what?

Mokvar leans closer to the table.

MOKVAR: To channel your targeting beacon for the demons.

Neeru drops the windroc leg on his plate and looks up.

How many warlocks? How many of your collagues…in the Burning Blade?

NEERU: The Burning Blade died with the last vestiges of the old Horde. Anyone will tell you I cut my ties with them when I pledged my loyalties to Thrall.

MOKVAR: <nods> Of course.

Neeru starts to reach for his food again.

Are you waiting for a signal from any agent of the Legion, or are you on hold for Malchezaar specifically? You might be waiting a while if it’s the second one.

NEERU: I don’t know where you’re getting these fairy tales, Mokvar, but—

MOKVAR: You know, it’s a funny thing. Grom Hellscream died slaying Mannoroth and freeing our people. Now his son walks around wearing the demon’s tusks, and sits on a throne carved out of its skull. It would be a shame if the Warchief got the notion that someone in Orgrimmar was still cooking up something with the Legion.

NEERU: <waving toward Ragefire Chasm> If you really think Garrosh is above cutting ethical corners for the sake of—

MOKVAR: If you’d like to roll the dice on how Garrosh would react, be my guest. It’s not my neck at stake.

Neeru stares down at his food.

NEERU: I wasn’t lying when I said I don’t know what’s become of the Nether Prism.

MOKVAR: But?

NEERU: But if I were to hazard a guess as to where it might have gone…after the imp… <glances around furtively> There have been…rumblings among the warlocks since the fall of Deathwing. It started when the human Kanrethad reconvened his circle of fel masters, the same ones who had worked to expand the powers of the warlocks before the Cataclysm.

MOKVAR: I’d heard about that much – the Council of the Black Harvest, isn’t it?

NEERU: <nods> Our own Ritssyn from here in Orgrimmar was among them.

MOKVAR: What are they doing?

NEERU: Running around on fool’s errands all over the world – and beyond – to seek out even greater sources of power for themselves. That Kanrethad thinks he can build a coven of the mightiest warlocks in existence and position himself at its head.

MOKVAR: You don’t think they’ll be able to do it?

NEERU: I think that when you set out with a plan of “Let’s go make ourselves more powerful than anyone ever,” you find either disaster or a far heftier price than you’d counted on.

Mokvar nods.

Nevertheless. If the Black Harvest are trying to consolidate their power, I’d hazard a guess that the Nether Prism would be just the sort of item that would interest them.

MOKVAR: Do you know what’s become of Ritssyn?

NEERU: I believe he and one of the others made their way off to the Firelands. For all the good that will do you.

MOKVAR: What’s that supposed to mean?

NEERU: Mokvar, don’t you be a fool too. You can’t seriously expect that the Black Harvest would talk to you.

MOKVAR: I think I’ve already shown I can be pretty persuasive.

NEERU: <chuckles> Mokvar, don’t be naïve. You’re hardly one of the movers and shakers of the world, I’ll grant, but surely you can’t believe that you’re not noticed. Standing for all those years in Thrall’s council room. Attending advisors’ meetings with the leaders of the Horde. Hellscream’s personal scribe. Never mind the fact that they’ll know you were a warlock yourself once before you decided you didn’t want to dirty your hands with the fel arts any longer. Do you really think they’ll be willing to tell you anything?

MOKVAR: I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to be very persuasive.

NEERU: Assuming you can ever find them.

MOKVAR: We’ll see. <getting up> Anyway, I suppose I got what I came for, or as close to it as I’m going to. Enjoy your dinner, Neeru.

Mokvar turns to walk away.

NEERU: Mokvar.

Mokvar stops and looks back.

How did you know?

MOKVAR: How did I know what?

NEERU: Don’t play games with me. You know perfectly well what I’m talking about.

Mokvar grins.

MOKVAR: Let’s just say I get around.

 

I left Neeru and made my way out of the Cleft of Shadow, mostly preoccupied with how I was going to track down the Council of the Black Harvest. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I didn’t notice the light go dimmer than it should have as I went up the last bend of the cavern. That’s when two spectral assassins appeared out of nowhere and attacked me.

I fought them off as best I could for a minute, but my shocks and chain lightnings aren’t nearly as potent as a shaman who’s been training at it his whole life. They were quickly gaining the upper hand when Garona unstealthed behind them and had at both of them with a flurry of blades that was faster than my eyes could follow. It bears noting, by the way: Garona’s no joke in combat. I hadn’t really noticed before. Those spectral assassins dropped fast. While she resheathed her weapons, I tried to come up with something to say without much success.

 

MOKVAR: Garona…I…

GARONA: Garrosh knows what you’re doing. I hope you do, too.

MOKVAR: Then why…?

GARONA: Before he left for Pandaria, he asked me to look out for you. Until he tells me otherwise, that’s what I’m going to do.

MOKVAR: Well…thanks…

GARONA: Don’t. You know that if he tells me kill you, I’ll have to.

Mokvar nods and starts to turn to go.

Don’t give him a reason to.

Garona stealths.

 

I think it’s safe to assume that pretty soon Garrosh will be getting a letter informing him that I went to see Neeru Fireblade. I don’t figure that’s going to do a whole lot to improve his mood any. Still, he’s having Garona go on protecting me, for now at least. And with these two assassins down, chances are I’ve got a couple days before I have to worry about the next wave coming for me.

Still, I don’t have the luxury of a lot of time. I have a new lead to follow, and it needs to lead somewhere quickly.

 

Mokvar

 

 

[Header image provided by Khizzara from Blog of the Treant, used here with permission and many thanks.]

 

Demonology Anonymous

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Now for the hard part.

I left out a few details last time about my past with the Veiled Blade, and everything that’s been going on recently.

I said before that when we killed Lord Valthalak, we took his spellbook along with the pieces of an amulet that ended up bringing the spectral assassins down on us. But there was one more part of the spoils: a demon relic called the Nether Prism, a crystal that could be used, among other things, to focus fel energies and dominate the will of demons. I was a warlock back in those days, and I arranged to have the prism included as part of our deal with Malkorok. I wanted to see how much the Prism could be used to augment my powers.

I thought I could handle it. I thought wrong.

The Prism magnified the power of my spells for sure, and for brief windows of time I could use it to control powerful demons. At least more powerful than the dime-a-dozen ones that your garden variety warlocks can summon. In more powerful hands than mine, I suppose it could have been used on even greater ones. But if there’s one thing I learned, it was that I was nowhere near warlock enough to master the energies that flowed through that crystal and keep them under control.

It became pretty clear to me that I couldn’t afford to keep toying around with the Prism. The problem was, though, that it wasn’t going to be as simple as sticking it in the back of the sock drawer and forgetting about it. The Nether Prism radiated fel energies. Demons were drawn to it. And using its magic to deal with the demons when they turned up would just make it radiate more.

As if life wasn’t already too complicated, it was at this point that I learned Valthalak’s spectral assassins were making short work of the rest of the Veiled Blade. I couldn’t keep taking my chances running around from place to place alone. So I turned to Thrall. He offered me sanctuary in Orgrimmar; all he asked was that I be on hand to aid the Warchief when needed. I only ever told him the barest details about my past. I never said a word about the Nether Prism. Thrall was only barely willing to tolerate the presence of warlocks in Orgrimmar at all, given the orcs’ history; I couldn’t imagine he would have been willing to take me in if he’d known the whole story. It’s hardly a coincidence that that was when I abandoned demonology altogether and took up shamanism. I wasn’t about the bring dishonor upon the man who’d given me a safe haven, or overstay my welcome.

So, the Nether Prism had to go. In the last days before I moved to Orgrimmar, I traveled to Darkwhisper Gorge in Winterspring. Hidden away in a cave there was an imp named Vi’el, a collector of relics and exotic items. I passed the Prism off onto him and hoped he wouldn’t realize what he had on his hands. I know looking back that it probably wasn’t the wisest move in the world, but at that point I just wanted the blasted thing off my hands. So I left it with Vi’el, and went on to Orgrimmar to begin my new life. And started working out ways to deal with the spectral assassins before they came knocking on my door.

For a while, it worked. I thought that chapter was done. But as often ends up being the case around here, life still had one more surprise epilogue waiting.

 

deliana

 

As soon as the spectral assassins attacked me in the Drag, I knew what they were and where they were from. Even with Ji fighting by my side, they were able to wear me down fairly quickly; Ji kept fending them off as best he could while I watched for an opening to pop back up. That was the point when we had one more surprise guest, this time a face from the past that was actually welcome: Deliana. She’d stealthed her way into Orgrimmar to come looking for me, and after she helped Ji and I fight off the assassins, she snuck back with us to my house to compare notes.

The notes weren’t good. Something had stirred Valthalak’s spirit; I remember when he’d been laid to rest the first last time, the adventurers I’d sent mentioned him saying something about things being settled “for now,” but I didn’t really give it much thought at the time. Now, though, he was awake again and sending out his assassins. Only this time, it wasn’t over the amulet; it was over the Nether Prism.

From Deliana’s perspective, this all started with Theldren turned up in Ironforge, seeking protection from Moira Thaurissan. Something had brought the last scattered remains of Nefarian’s old minions out of hiding and sent them scrambling after anything demon-related they could find. Deliana overheard Theldren repeating that “something’s coming,” whatever that means. We don’t know most of the why’s and wherefores; all we do know is that whatever’s behind it has stirred Valthalak enough to make him want his old trinket back.

I wasn’t going to go to Garrosh with any of this. I didn’t think he would have received the last bit about my past with the demons well in the best of circumstances, much less now that we’d been through that ordeal with the Burning Legion in the other timeline. Not to mention the minor detail that I was fraternizing with a human in Deliana. We decided that we had to keep her involvement in all of this a secret; Ji, being maybe the one person who was truly neutral to all of this, came into our confidence.

It became pretty clear pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to be possible for Deliana to stay hidden in Orgrimmar, especially after Garrosh stepped up security for me after the attack. (At least he meant well.) Deliana even had a run-in with Malkorok at one point when he was coming to talk to me and happened to catch her sneaking her way to my house. She was only able to get away because Ji happened along and was able to blindside Malkorok with a Quaking Palm that stunned him. We got Deliana out of Orgrimmar and she went into hiding in Azshara, with Ji stepping up to ferry messages back and forth between us.

Which brings us to Winterspring. The trip to Timbermaw Hold was basically just a cover for us to meet up with Deliana in Everlook, and from there…Darkwhisper Gorge, to find Vi’el. After the Cataclysm, most of the demons had abandoned the gorge for the underground caves, and the Twilight’s Hammer had moved in. Now the cultists were gone and the demons were back in force – and gone crazy, fighting among themselves. Even back in the day, there weren’t this many of them. We could barely turn around without being jumped by another felguard or pack of felhounds.

We found Vi’el at his cave – dead. The cave had been ransacked; half of the belongings that remained had been burned, singed with green flames. We turned the place upside down, but it became apparent fairly quickly that there wasn’t anything to be found.

I’m not sure where we go from here. The spectral assassins are still coming, Krog already having intercepted one just the other day. Vi’el was the only lead we had back to the Nether Prism, which I have to figure is our only means of getting the situation under control. Short of dying. Again. Deliana has gone back into hiding in Azshara while we come up with a new plan. I think I might have one more possible stone to turn over, but it may reach the point – in fact, I suspect it will soon – when I need to give up the secrecy and bring all this to Garrosh. Hopefully he’ll understand.

I should maybe go see about making some lemon squares.

 

Mokvar

 

Confessions of a Mercenary

blackrock1

Since Ji and I got back from Winterspring, I’ve had a lot on my mind. Everyone could tell we’d been injured – nothing major, but enough to catch people’s attention, especially considering how concerned everyone has been about me the last few weeks. I hadn’t really planned to talk to anyone about what happened while we were up there. I still prefer not to. But after Krog had another run-in with an attacker the other day, people are going to keep asking more and more questions. So I think it’s time for me to start filling in some blanks.

The blanks start long before Winterspring.

Years ago, before I’d come to Orgrimmar, I was part of a mercenary group called the Veiled Blade. On one of our jobs, we had been hired to acquire the spellbook of a dragonkin in Blackrock Spire named Lord Valthalak, one of Nefarian’s lieutenants in those days. As often happens with these kinds of things, that involved killing him. Mostly, anyway. Trouble is, though, between Nefarian’s forces and his alliance at the time with Rend Blackhand’s Blackrock orcs, getting to Valthalak and killing him wasn’t going to be an easy task.

That’s where we cut a deal. As it turns out, not all the Blackrock orcs where exactly thrilled with Rend putting them in Nefarian’s service…and, long story short, we managed to come to an arrangement with Rend’s head of security – an orc named Malkorok. He would deliberately leave prearranged gaps in the guard patrols leading to Valthalak. We would slip in, kill him, collect what we came for, and get out. We get in and out with a minimum of fuss. Malkorok gets a pocket full of gold and the satisfaction of knowing the dragons had been weakened, for whenever Rend finally turned on them like Malkorok assumed he eventually would.

That was the plan. And it mostly worked. We went in, we killed Valthalak, we got the spellbook. But we also collected an enchanted amulet from him, and after no small amount of infighting, we divided it into pieces and split it among some members of the group. Don’t ask me what the appeal would be of getting a piece of an amulet; I wasn’t one of the ones fighting over it. And the ones who did… Well, Valthalak wasn’t quite as dead as we’d assumed. His spirit lived on, and it sent spectral assassins after those of us who’d been involved in stealing the amulet. Again, I’m not sure why the big to-do about the amulet; in his shoes, I probably would have been angrier at us for killing him than for taking his favorite piece of jewelry. Maybe it’s a dragon thing.

One by one, the members of the Veiled Blade started to be picked off by the spectral assassins. Soon enough, there were only three of us left: me, a dwarf named Theldren, and a human named Deliana. We all went into hiding – me in Orgrimmar, Theldren in Blackrock Depths, Deliana in Ironforge. Separately, and quietly, Deliana and I started to recruit Horde and Alliance adventurers to gather the pieces of the amulet and put Valthalak’s spirit to rest. It took some time, but it worked. For a while.

That changed a couple weeks ago when I was walking through the Drag with Ji, and a new batch of spectral assassins came out of nowhere and killed me.

From the look of things on the blog after Garrosh reported the attack, some people were pretty quick to put two and two together and figure that Malkorok had been behind it. Truth be told, I was only too happy to let him take the blame. And for those of you who’ve wondered, now you can see a little better why he and I have bad blood between us. Now maybe you have a notion of why I don’t trust him. I know he can be bought. Because I was one of the ones who bought him.

As for why I wouldn’t have told anyone any of this until now…well, that’s where things start to get complicated. TL;DR alert in advance: This may be a long story.

 

Mokvar