Following our success at Bash’ir Landing, we proceeded quickly into the wilderness of the Netherstorm – more specifically, to Area 52.
More so than the rest of Outland, the Netherstorm truly bends the laws of reality more than anyone can expect. The great fissures and complex star systems that decorated the sky in the rest of Outland vanish, replaced with nothing more than the pure undulations of the currents of the Nether itself. The magic is not just palpable, it is breathable, more concentrated than you could ever have felt in any situation. There is not so much a flavour to the magic as there is magic to the flavour. Although beautiful, wild and varied, the magic here has had its toll. On occasion our members would be randomly drained simply by walking, and the land is utterly and hauntingly barren. Nothing grows, and all camps are reliant on the rest of Outland for food – which, with the Battalion’s supplies severed, we could use to our advantage.
Our primary focus was to establish the status of all five mana-forges, the great structures which had been adapted by the forces of Kael’thas from the Nether-utilising engines of Tempest Keep. Although Ultris, the northeast forge, had been long-since destroyed and abandoned, the closest forges – Ara and B’naar – were both still active. Although nominally under Scryer control, we assumed that this meant that both were de facto commanded by the Eclipse. Our first voyage to B’naar confirmed our suspicions, with most of the Scryers intact, but the leader under the control of Dawnseekeer.
B’naar proved a much easier task than Ara, whose forces were entirely comprised of the holed-up Eclipse Battalion, including Dawnseeker. Our progression there involved a rather complex bypassing of traps, and through sheer luck resulted in our acquisition of the entire mana-forge – when Dawnseeker teleported himself and his forces to Tempest Keep, leaving us with several primed mana-bombs.
Following Ara, we headed east. Although Duro (the closest manaforge to the Keep) was no longer in operation, Coruu was. More worrying than that, it was the only mana-forge actively supplying the Keep. As such, we headed towards the former location of Sunfury Hold (now again a supposed Scryer possession) to sever contact between Coruu and the Keep.
Sunfury Hold was supposed to be easy, and I suppose it was. With a cloaking spell administered by Archon Kal’es in place, we were picking off the Battalion quite well until one of my smoke bombs malfunctioned, setting fire to a corner of the keep – and some rather ingenious use of chemicals meant to extinguish said fire accidentally spread it to the entire keep, injuring Sathreyn in the process.
We reached Coruu to find it entirely abandoned, and quickly traced the members of the Battalion to, of all places, Kirin’var Village.
Because what better place to store mana bombs than in a site where they’ve already gone off?
We progressed into the village after a long debate and several cautionary measures, following the emanations of the bomb-
And then suddenly I was falling through the void. There was no Outland. Only void. And I couldn’t breathe.
I lurched, somehow, into a quaint pasture, alongside Sathreyn and Windblade. Miles and miles ahead of us stretched verdant fields.
We tested our communicators. No response.
‘My guess is that the borders between dimensions have been weakened by the mana-bomb. We may have fallen through one.’
Suddenly fel plagued our senses and the ground began to crack up before us.
‘The… Damn it all, we’re at the moment Draenor is shattered. We need to move, now!’
Disregarding safety, I traced the boundaries of the dimension we were in, fining a weak spot, and punched through. Utilising a rope, I went through.
I landed in a room. It resembled an inn of some sort.
‘Hello? Anyone here?’ I tested out the communicator gem, pulling on the rope to signal for the others to come through.
Over the course of the next few minutes we rendezvoused with the Archons, who had ended up in the same dimension as we, but outside the inn (where a rather angry crowd of humans were gathering). It was snowing.
‘Are we in Kirin’var before the bomb hits?’
‘Impossible. It didn’t snow here.’
‘These dimensions aren’t just time and space – we’re seeing things that never happened.’
With almost everyone now in one dimension (which, coincidentally was the one with the mana bomb in) we set to deactivating the bomb. However, this was easier said than done, as we found Khairan in the barn, being confronted with flashes of Sunfury forces coming through from other dimensions. I was too far back to hear distinctly what he was saying, but it certainly sounded like he was apologising.
When we managed to deactivate the bomb, we were caught by several more dimension shifts. I was briefly falling through nothingness again, then perched on an island in the middle of the Nether, before being roughly dumped alongside everyone else in the middle of Kirin’var Village. Intact, and in the right dimension.
Of course, the mana bomb was hurtling towards us.
Through some inexplicable feat, I managed to teleport everyone outside of the village on a mana boost before being summarily drained. The dimension swapped again, to shortly after the bomb had hit.
I found my head being flushed with memories of the bombing of Theramore again, and struggled to keep my eyes open. The last thing I saw before passing out was two Khairans – one getting punched in the face.
Following our success at Kirin’var, very little remained in the way of wrapping up our efforts against the Battalion. A rather climactic battle occurred, which I missed due to being unconscious in the main lobby of Tempest Keep – having already been shot in the leg and having lost several weapons against Dawnseeker’s tricks, I was flung into a wall when Dawnseeker became desperate and lifted Tempest Keep into the air, attempting to fly away along with us.