(Should preface this by saying that this is purely to do with my own characters. Ideas and suchlike. Read if you wish!)
‘Turned red? You mean it actually turned red?’
‘The reports all match, milady. Lady Proudmoore has sent reinforcements for Nethergarde in case the situation changes.’
The messenger paused for breath, a flush lighting her cheeks. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen.
Are they really recruiting so young?
Well, I suppose I have no right to contradict that.
‘Very well. If I’m needed, I’ll be in the Library this afternoon.’
With a nod, the chirpy messenger left the room, her footsteps falling silent in the grass outside. Birdsong filled the ensuing moments. Pacing around her table, the noblewoman murmured to herself. The message had distracted her entirely from breakfast, her copper hair left unkempt.
‘How can it really be red? The portal was green, and blue when deactivated… What does red mean?’
Finding no answers, she hurried upstairs, throwing the windows open to the morning air before she forgot. Green eyes glimmering slightly in the early sunlight, she moved to her chambers. Her armour rested in its case, momentarily unused. I really ought to take that to the blacksmith before something more drastic happens.
She sat down on the bed. I should never have left Pandaria. Hellscream escapes and then this happens. There’s no way this is a coincidence.
But the Dark Portal. How can Hellscream have the power to alter that? Can we still access Outland?
Looks like the war isn’t quite over yet.
‘They’re awaitin’ you in the War Room, yer ladyship.’ The dwarf moved aside to allow her passage, nodding as the Death Knight passed by.
She’d elected to visit the library that lunchtime, when everyone else was out. To say that the knowledge was useless would be an understatement. She couldn’t find anything that had even been written since the Third War, never mind the Outland campaign. Any knowledge that had existed of Draenor was lost in a mire of fanciful calligraphy and falsified anecdotes.
Walking into the War Room of Alliance High Command would never not feel a little weird. It was quite easy to feel out-of-place in a room filled with the most adept tactical and strategical minds within the Alliance. It was weirder still to be counted as one of those minds.
For the most part, her arrival was not noticed. Preparations went on, the likes of which she had not seen since the build-up to Operation Shieldwall. The Alliance was already kicking itself over Hellscream’s mysterious escape. That they would not allow him any chance of a headstart, regardless of what he had planned, was pretty clear. Messengers ran about from table to table, and portals flashed as representatives came and went from the capitals of the world. Orgrimmar, Booty Bay, Gadgetzan, Nethergarde, Ironforge, Darnassus, Dalaran… The world, it seemed, was not content to let Hellscream go unpunished after so much effort.
Sidenia shook her head, coming out of her thought bubble. This was a time for duty.
‘Ah, Lady Lightdawn.’ The carefully-measured tones of Grand-Admiral Jes-Tereth floated over.
‘One day you shall remember my ranking here, Admiral.’
The two smirked at each other. ‘My little joke, Brigadier-General. Still, for now we’re on casual terms. There are no ground trees yet. We’re trying to collate information.’
‘So I’ve heard. The Library is useless. I assume you have people working with the Explorer’s Guild – and obviously, the Draenei.’
‘Yes. Though neither have had especially much to do with the Dark Portal.’ The Admiral’s gaze darkened for a moment.
‘Is something the matter?’
Jes-Tereth drew her into the corner.
‘We have incredibly little to go on. The guards can’t remember a thing. It’s utterly absurd. We had the Temple of the White Tiger locked up tight. Xuen himself didn’t see Garrosh leave. He only – he only felt it, or so he says.’
‘Impossible. That cage had more protective encasements than the one those renegades put Thrall in. Somehow, Hellscream had outside aid. This thing with the Dark Portal – all our regular portals to Shattrath City are functioning perfectly well. And there have been no reports of Hellscream on Outland either. Even the mag’har left there distanced themselves from his regime months ago.’
‘But then how is the Dark Portal being affected?’
The two moved over to the map table. An immense circular globe hung above it, while massive composite maps of Azeroth had countless pins and figures moved across them, each map marked with the neat blue-and-gold compass of the Waypoint Cartographers’ Union. Jes-Tereth moved to one such map, a heavily-edited version with sections scribbled out, landmarks written in, and no moving figures.
‘Is this… Draenor?’
‘Nethergarde had been reporting temporal disturbances for almost a week prior to the Dark Portal’s sudden mood swing. We believe that wherever Garrosh may be, he is exerting some force on Draenor through the Dark Portal.’
‘Have you contacted the Timewalkers?’
‘We’ve tried. It seems they’re dealing with a lot at the moment.’
‘Exactly what are to we expect, Grand Admiral?
‘… The resounding theory is that we’re going to – somehow – see a repeat of the First War. So, we’re trying to pull together as much knowledge of both the Dark Portal and the planet of Draenor as we can. Garrosh may think he has the element of surprise. We are going to be ready, whether those orcs come through the portal an hour or a century from now.’
Sidenia went quiet at the information, quietly processing it.
‘The Dark Portal.’
‘Mm? What of it?’
‘It was created by Medivh, yes?’
‘No one actually witnessed it, but in his final words he did indeed claim responsibility. There was no other Mage alive at the time with the power to activate such a thing.’
Sidenia moved around the table, finding an unused blue pin and neatly sliding it onto an expanded map of the Kingdom of Azeroth.
‘Then perhaps our answer lies in Karazhan.’
Following on from a successful role as an advisor during the campaign against the Horde during the last two years, Sidenia is included in the high-activity emergency planning for a sudden mission through the new Dark Portal. Despite her rank, Sidenia is a death knight, so no one really questions sending a disposable harbinger of death to kick some Garrosh butt.