Not long after that night we received word that the Zandalari were already bearing down on the western coast of Eversong. We retreated to the Sunsail Anchorage, deploying all the ships there before placing barricades along the rivers. Less than a day after the abrupt discovery of the Zandalari, four warships and a host of lesser troll boats were rapidly sailing towards us. House Fiae had irritatingly decided to leave us to it. House Jarath was manning a point with a single legion of Blood Knights.
As the others scurried to and fro Khairan busied himself with summoning a phoenix, and I sent water elementals from shore to shore on the order of others. Soon, the fight began.
It was not an especially glorious one – most of the lesser boats docked before we had the chance to attack them – but I was able to sabotage one of the boats with explosives carried by the elementals. Faint yells came from the sea as the orcish craft we had used to return to Quel’thalas was dominated by the orders of Twist.
Soon, the majority of the trolls were on land, and we shielded ourselves from the inferno as Khairan tore through them atop Ashel’ziar.
Despite relatively little support, the battle had gone well. We dispersed after a short rendezvous with Houses Fiae and Jarath, who would no doubt take responsibility for our actions.
A short evening later in the Spire, I was discussing improving my magical skills with Khairan.
‘Well, did your teacher not tell you how?’
‘Most of my education was spent dodging Arcanists’ fireballs. The old man didn’t seem up to much else.’
‘Fireballs? That’s not casting magic, that’s avoiding it. You can’t fill that long a time with that kind of education.’
‘Well, the two years seemed to go by pretty fa-‘
‘Two years?!’ Khairan’s right ear twitched.
‘Is something the matter?’
‘If I ever meet your teacher… No matter. We’ll practise. He taught you about the nature of magic, I assume?’
‘It comes from the Nether…’
‘And what? Can be manipulated.’
‘Go on then. Throw something at me.’
I was feeling less and less confident with every moment that passed. But I formed up a barrage of arcane energy and sent it at Khairan – who stopped it a foot away from his chest.
‘I… how did you?’
‘It’s as I thought. Your spellwork is as shoddy as three hells in a chapel being bombarded by Ragnaros. You gather simple energy and try to overpower your opponent’s defences. It can be easily stopped, manipulated, resisted, deflected… I’d say it’s a miracle you’ve gone on this long with such an education. Come. I’ll help you work on more complex formation.’
A short time later, we were at Duskwither Academy, where Khairan was instructing me.
‘The events at Dalaran… Do you mind if I ask why?’
‘What was it like in the Sunfury?’
‘Alright, until they all went mad. Where did you end up?’
‘I drifted around the Ghostlands. My parents were in Silvermoon during the attack and they fled to Sunstrider Isle, so our house wouldn’t have been occupied. Eventually I found more refugees, and we headed for Silvermoon when we heard of Kael’thas’ return.’
‘I lost my home. Sold or abandoned, I do not know. I joined Kael’thas as soon as I was able.’
Not long into my training with Khairan, we were both recalled by the Convocation, which was headed for the Isle of Quel’danas of all places. They were on business to investigate Lord Vorel, a young member of House Fiae who was suspected of having Alliance sympathies (and whom some suspected to the person responsible for our initial exile).
I had been to Quel’danas, long before the fall, but only as a visitor. Customs were… different in the Isle. The refuge of the northern Great Houses during times of crisis, the place was still under joint control between the differing forces of Shattrath and a section of the Silvermoon army (who were, to all intents and purposes, neutral). Thelnarion, as one of few members we had involved in events here regularly, was to be our ambassador.
After some issues in setting up, we discovered Vorel in his quarters – but we were not expecting what we found there. Vorel’s own residence was devoid of anything but the basic necessities. He was stressed beyond compare, and we had previously learnt that he had become rather heavily invested in the sinking of an Alliance merchant ship off the coast of the Isle – whose contents he had retrieved entirely for himself.
And… incomprehensibly, things quickly fell apart.
Our operations were split between Thelnarion and Khairan, who would investigate the Alliance crew Vorel had been dealing with; and Sorlain, who would take it upon himself to interrogate Vorel.
I remain… unsure about where exactly things went wrong. Perhaps it was when Sorlain discovered Vorel was not planning to defect and was not involved in our exile, and did not tell us; perhaps it was when Khairan confronted the captain; perhaps when two sailors died in the fracas.
By that point, I had tired myself from scouting and had retired to my quarters. In the middle of the night, I was shoved roughly out of bed by Shattered Sun guards and quickly put in manacles before being led to the Scryers, where I was transported back to the Sanctum.
Three days later, the Spire saw fit to send us a Jarathi retinue that surrounded us within our own headquarters.
Though there was debate over what had occurred, it was clear that they had already made their decision.
‘Since the Convocation has the favour of the Warchief, they will be the ones sent to aid him in his efforts in the southern Hinterlands. Good day.’
I was… empty, for a brief moment. everything had gone by so quickly – the party, the incident with that noble, the trolls and the training, Quel’danas… I could scarcely believe that we had only been back a month.
Then, I was angry.
‘I am not going. I will go to Shattrath. I do not work for the Horde.’
‘If you’re going to desert, Sunshard, then do have the courtesy to hand in your uniform first.’ Sorlain’s metallic monotone cut through the air.
‘It is not deserting. I swore no oath to the Horde. I do not work for them.’
‘I am sick of your crap, Sunshard! Silvermoon has been in the Horde’s pocket for the last five years – if you do not work for the Horde, why have you stayed so long? Stop running away from the messes you make!’
We were given five days to pack up our possessions and ship out to the Hinterlands. I had no idea whether we’d be coming back.