New Fires

[Report in the Communication Tome]

Greetings, brothers, sisters and allies. My apologies for the delay of this message, but we have only recently had our tome passed on to us.

Currently, the main breadth of the Convocation are in Quel’thalas, with most of our fighters, including our Overseer, en-route to the Broken Isles to shut down the Legion’s operations there.

We have encountered the Legion’s forces recently on several occasions. Following several omens, we set off from Pandaria several weeks ago to return to Quel’thalas, however, our ship was attacked by a flock of demons we have not seen before, and after taking significant damage from an infernal, we made an emergency landing in Gilneas.

The demons still have yet to be identified, even by those in our membership who are veterans of past conflicts against the Legion. If anything, they faintly resemble undead gargoyles – but far more devastating, with fel-fire breath attacks and sharp claws. They are small, but not to be underestimated.

Around two weeks ago, following our shipwreck, we headed over-land to try reach Forsaken territory. Gilneas proved more difficult than anticipated, as on several occasions we came into conflict with corrupted worgen. It appears the feral worgen who held out against the Forsaken have also turned to sinister powers, and we narrowly left Gilneas as infernals started to fall from the sky.

We then took a ship from Keel Harbour to Tirisfal, before riding to the Eastern Plaguelands to see the departure of the Argent Crusade’s armada. It was then – around a week ago – that we were critically distracted by a small demonic incursion against the Ebon Blade, an act that allowed a man’ari eredar to sneak past the barriers into the High Kingdom.

We gave chase, but were too late. As I write this, at least two Legion portals have been established, thanks to the help of the aforementioned eredar and several escaped Legion cultists whom we captured during our travels in Tanaan. At least one, if not more of these agents are undercover within Eversong.

We managed to disable the first portal we came across – at the Howling Ziggurat, east of the Dead Scar – at the cost of the structural integrity of the reclaimed temple. However, the forces at the second portal – located at the Sanctum of the Moon – pushed us back, forcing a retreat from Tranquillien first to the Sanctum of the Sun, and now to the Farstrider Enclave.

Most of those evacuated have made it intact, though the local Farstriders have been severely damaged – first spread thin by the departure of Silvermoon’s army for the Broken Isles, now by this incursion. We managed to briefly disperse the form of the ground commander, an overfiend who we previously encountered in Draenor – however, given the active portals still within the region, it is only a matter of time before he returns.

Shutting these portals down is our highest priority, thus once our members have recovered we will be heading north, first to the Farstrider Retreat, and then to the location we believe the Legion to be operating from – Duskwither Spire, the only place in Eversong with enough magical reserves to power these portals.

The Light stands with us, and we shall push these demons back. Lok’tar Ogar!
– Keliera Dawndancer, Arcanist of the Horde.

Omen

Keliera shifted in her bedroll. The air was hot and sticky, causing the soft windwool to cling to her. They were on the coast now, far from the protective barriers and harsh winds of the Kun-Lai Peaks to the south. The ocean winds brought hotter weather with them.

She threw off the cover. The smell of sulphur could not be avoided, lessened though it was. Quietly, she moved over to the open doorway, perching herself on the balcony, looking out over the waves. The two moons shimmered on the water, pale blue and white. If you looked far enough, the ocean and the sky became one.

She took a deep breath. The lands were still, save for the occasional bubble of fish drifting close to the surface. Everything was calm in Pandaria.

The sky certainly belied the panic of earlier. The foul clouds and fel-smoke that appeared briefly over the northern ocean had vanished as quickly as they came, but the warnings of the fel-addled troll still swirled around her mind. Could that talk be true? Demon-palaces, fires reaching into the sky?

It did not bear thinking about. She stared out across the bay, hoping the boat would arrive ahead of schedule.

An Essay on Peace with Dalaran

In light of the Purge of Dalaran, what should Quel’thalas’ course be in regards to relations with the Kirin Tor?

“Given the de-escalation in Alliance-Horde relations since Garrosh Hellscream’s defeat, I think it is a natural course of relations that Quel’thalas must similarly lessen its personal hostilities with the City-state of Dalaran.

While I recognise that deep personal embitterment has occurred due to the brutal removal of Horde members from Dalaran and the deaths and imprisonment of Sunreaver members, as well as the alleged involvement of Sunreaver members in the Divine Bell Incident, the state of burgeoning peace between Alliance and Horde under the efforts of Warchief Vol’jin will be put at risk if significant military action occurs between Dalaran and Silvermoon.

Given Silvermoon’s recent re-establishment and the persistence of internal issues such as the Wretched, the barren status of the Dead Scar and Ghostlands and the management of the Sunwell, there is no way to say definitively that Quel’thalas would be victorious in a full-scale battle with Dalaran, particularly given the city’s mobility and the possession of centuries’ worth of Blue Dragon artefacts that it may now possess given Archmage Proudmoore’s ties with the Blue Aspect Kalecgos.

While I agree that our people have been mistreated and humiliated on repeated occasions by the Magus-Senate, and in particular by specific members of the Council of Six, any further retaliation on behalf of the Blood Elves poses a significant risk to the future of our nation, as well as relations with the Alliance and Horde. Additionally, it would be likely to create a vicious cycle which would ultimately not rectify any of our grievances with Dalaran, as we cannot count on the Horde or Alliance to fight a proxy war on our behalf due to the intentions of Warchief Vol’jin and King Wrynn to restore a state of ceasefire. In fact, such destabilising efforts would likely lead to estrangement from the Horde, creating a worse internal situation due to a decline in trade.

Instead, I propose that long-term negotiations between the leadership of both nations must be key to restoring peace. While it is clear that Archmage Proudmoore is a far more reactionary leader than her predecessors Rhonin and Antonidas, her interests in peace were notable prior to the appointment of Garrosh Hellscream, including two Horde-Alliance peace summits which significantly reduced hostilities prior to the outbreak of the Northrend War. Given such efforts, I am hopeful that with external pressure from Alliance and Horde leadership, we can accomplish initial negotiations.

In terms of issues to be addressed, there must be compensation, both for the violation of Dalaranese neutrality by alleged Sunreaver agents – to do so, the agents responsible must be located and trialled – and the violation of the rights of Sunreaver and non-aligned blood elf citizens who suffered during their expulsion from Dalaran, as well as their immediate release provided they are guilty of no crimes. In addition, the Kirin Tor must recognise the innocence of the majority of Horde forces within Dalaran of the events concerning the destruction of Theramore and the Divine Bell incident.

While I realise that there are considerable feelings on both sides of this conflict, I am confident that both sides can eventually find common ground, given the knowledge that destruction has not brought resolution to our past ails and thus cannot be expected to solve our current ones. With luck, we may find peace within a few years, and if there is a longer-lasting peace, perhaps we can begin to heal older divisions between the mages of Dalaran and those of Quel’thalas.”

Uprising: The Chase

The trail of the Crimson Hand stretched distantly across the savage wilds of western Pandaria, most of them having escaped via the Gate of the Setting Sun long prior to our skirmish with Lareen. It was several days before we were fit to travel, and none too soon. Everyone was feeling on-edge from the intense concentration of nearby Sha, yet it was all we could do to stop the slow boil of emotions. I was intensely angry at Taleberaite, who (it seemed) was nigh-constantly commenting on my apparent sluggishness during the battle. Tuning people out is not as easy as you could hope when the Sha are constantly whispering at you.

Who is he to question you? He was not there.

After a couple of last-minute preparations, our motley crew set off on our way to the Townlong Steppes, where we had been called to reinforce and retrieve a straggler’s group of Sunreavers who had been caught in the southern Steppes by a sudden surge in the activity of the previously-waning Mantid swarm.

The Steppes, though not altogether peaceful, were a quaint getaway. Despite this, it seemed to exist within a time bubble, and the Shado-pan we met (themselves rather drained both in terms of strength and numbers) seemed to act as though we were still members of the Horde. Which, given the Regent Lord’s activity on the Thunder Isle prior to the Rebellion, could be forgiven. A stray mantid attack gained us both passage and the knowledge that the mantid were under some kind of forced control similar to the Swarm. The Shado-pan, however, informed us that due to the pivotal role of the Empress (who was, by this point, totally dead) it could not be a Swarm – and that someone must be meddling.

It did not take us long to decipher that Sorlain had gotten very involved with the mantid, and several further attacks as well as the kidnap of the Sunreaver platoon by mantid confirmed this entirely. Despite our speed, we recovered only a handful of intact Sunreavers, most of whom were suffering from an all-too-familiar remnant of Amaran’s reign over the Convocation. Mind-wipes.

The Sunreavers we recovered had little to no memories of their families, their history, the history of Quel’thalas or indeed the colours of Silvermoon City. They rolled off impeccably the lists of spiels about fighting for honor, glory, the Horde, the Hand, but they could not quantify any of what they were proclaiming as easily as breathing. Thus began a long struggle among our number to attempt to reverse these wipes, which led to the conclusion that Sorlain’s methods had significantly developed in the time between the battle against the Eclipse and now. The Eclipse whose methods Sorlain seemed to have picked up rather well.

We’re doomed. How can we hope to survive? We’re unorganised, split down the middle and weaker than them.

We still have ourselves.

We pushed further in, liberating what we could from the Mantid camps, and after a rather worrying episode where I ended up pointing a fireball at him in my anger, Taleberaite took a leave of absence to go purchase a cloud serpent. After that, my own troubled emotions seemed to relent for a while.

~~~

Around a week passed between the Sunreaver capture and our arrival on the northern hem of the Dread Wastes, poised to head inwards and find Sorlain.

We were merely a few minutes in when a figure appeared from out of the sickly undergrowth. Soon enough, the rather familiar poise of the camouflaged master archer Thialen became apparent.

As it turned out, we were both on-course to try and confront/apprehend/kill Sorlain, so Thialen accompanied us as we travelled to the only Pandaren encampment in the northern Wastes, the Sunset Brewgarden. From there, things became a blur of experimental sonic technology, tracking the movements of the Hand, warding ourselves against the Sha and pinpointing the location of the mantid.

The Hand left before we could catch them, but at the very least, we managed to eliminate the sonic transmitter within Klaxxi’vess that the Hand had repurposed to draw the mantid to Garrosh’s cause.

~~~

Our escapades in Pandaria over for the foreseeable future, we gained passage back to Kalimdor from a servant of Edanna’s household named Banthomil and his crew. A brief and interesting stop on a mid-ocean island inhabited by remnants of the Darkspear tribe (whom we managed to convince to join Vol’jin’s cause) followed, and we eventually arrived back in Durotar.

Intelligence suggested that the Crimson Hand had set up its headquarters in northern Azshara, yet neither the Rebellion nor the Alliance currently had a foothold there due to Bilgewater’s support for the Horde and the focus of the Kaldorei on Ashenvale. Thus, to find Sorlain, we would have to enter Azshara ourselves.

I am not quite sure where our resultant plan to avoid the Kor’kron came from, but suffice it to say that it involved sailing up the Southfury River in some illusion-disguised canoes.

All things considered, it went remarkably well until the Kor’kron noticed us, caused our boats to capsize with gunfire, and made us lose some supplies and several troops.

I called upon my own stored mana, dispelling our illusion by pulling a rather large water elemental into being in order to save our journey. Unfortunately, we were then set upon by a group of Crimson Hand soldiers and a construct, all of whom quite literally teleported out of nowhere. As a bombardment began against the others, I quickly teleported to the eastern shore, scrabbling up into the abandoned base of Talrendis. Empty. Except for…

‘A bloodcrystal.’ The sound of arrowfire mirrored by own realisation and I ducked, rolling to my right and turning to see a single raven-haired elf, a slight sneer on her face. Others were undoubtedly in the shadows.

‘Surrender and I will give you a clean death.’ Obviously one of Sorlain’s commanders. I judged, quickly, and shot a bolt of arcane energy at the bloodcrystal fragment. It shattered into useless red shards, and Boughstrider loosed an arrow, piercing my arm before Edanna teleported me back.

Torrent: Thunder Risen

The hot sun woke me up. As did the burn wounds I had sustained the prior night.

The village was mostly intact. I learnt that shortly after I had gone unconscious, a massive bolt of lightning had risen up from a nearby isle, causing a tremendous storm that had extinguished all the fires. Shortly after Sorlain had become possessed by the Sha, reinforcements had thankfully arrived from the Temple of the White Tiger and the Shado-pan, saving Sorlain from the Sha and the rest of us from Sorlain. The trolls had retreated immediately when the storm had broken. Kal’es theorised that the ritual to resurrect the Thunder King had begun.

We moved north, fought more trolls, but timed seemed to blur in a sticky haze as the Thunder wrapped itself around us. It was over before I knew it, a mesh of betrayal, pain, and electricity.

The fatigue did not fade until we reached the shoreline of the lush southern jungle, Krasarang, on a boat several days later. It turned out that Darkstrike had injected me with a weakening poison to cover her escape. Sunshard had warned me not to trust her. I was still unsure. The woman had held me captive and also saved my life just as many times. She was going to be imprisoned if she had not escaped during the final battle… Was there a final battle?

From my brief recovery, things improved little. Pandaria was unpredictable, and we were left on the back foot when Dawnlake drained us of mana during a meeting. Several scouting missions went awry until we at last mapped out the west. The Alliance controlled the east. Regardless, we were not there for long; shipped back to Silvermoon at last. The dark clouds seemed to part. I’d survived until leave.

Torrent: Rising Thunder

We were not long in One Keg before more news came. The Zandalari had invaded Kun-Lai’s northern coast, pillaging villages and performing dark magic. Our pandaren guide was informed that they intended to resurrect an ancient king of old times – a mogu tyrant known as Lei Shen, or the Thunder King. The first mogu emperor, Lei Shen persisted in children’s tales, but was apparently a figure of great power and greater fear.

Messages were sent to those in Pandaria who held their own power, before we set off for the northern province of Zouchin. Apparently a pacifist area for the last century and a half, the villages were weak against any invasion and needed immediate reinforcement. We quickly made our way to the northern pass – another old mogu construction. Once upon a time, Zouchin had been the start of the pass between the two races of mogu and troll (according to our guide, their alliance had terrorised Pandaria before the pandaren rallied the other races in rebellion).

The pass was not as straightforward as it first looked. Just after halfway, there was an ancient cave in and a separate tunnel dug alongside it. The smaller tunnel pushed the Convocation, along with our various supplies and yaks, onto a small balcony where various balloons were used for transport all across the mountain range. Welcomed by an old pandaren couple, we went down in balloons, drifting over the green forests while our guide took the supplies by foot.

I felt the same exhilarating freedom, drifting over the light woodland, as I had on the treacherous snowy peaks. The feeling of not being there, the feeling of not having to care. I wondered why I had not felt it earlier in Pandaria. Pandaria was beautiful. Even in war, those feelings were there, a little blessing from the world.

My indifference to the fight continued for some time after we arrived, through several skirmishes with trolls and gnoll mercenaries that they had hired, carrying me right through a burning building. I didn’t realise the sheer gravity of our situation until the real battle began.

The Pandaren supplied great explosive kegs, ineffective against the legions of trolls. We gathered on a single hilltop overlooking the village, fighting them back narrowly, but the trolls managed to take out one of our cannons and their mind priests slowly began to affect us.

I was being healed for a shadow-inflicted shoulder injury between waves when the bats set upon us. A great swarm that darkened the skies, the trolls had the upper hand, and soon the entire village was burning. I felt it for the first time in days. Fear. A strange, dark feeling that bubbled up inside me and threatened to overtake my entire soul.

The last thing I saw before a dart from a bat-rider knocked me out was Amaran’s body darkening as the Sha overtook him.

Torrent: In the Mountains

The next morning, we set off west to One Keg, on the trail of Elient and Evy’lin. Grummle territory, there were apparently whole valleys of Mogu tombs hidden within the high peaks nearby.

No one seemed happy. They kept asking if I was alright. I felt fine. Something must have happened after I went to sleep – perhaps a Sha attack? Regardless, it was of no concern.

Soon, we were scrabbling along the mountaintop trails. It was cold, but I did not feel it. The rush of the wind against my face, the brightness of the snow… I felt alive in a way that the heat of the Jade Forest or the bright sun of the Valley could not beat. It was all I could do not to leap off and fly.

It was vaguely weird. Soon, we were at the mouth of a large cave, clambering up to the valleys above. Once within, the air changed. The snow falling overhead reduced, and the sound of the wind in my ears halted. The wind, prevented from entering the valleys by steep mountain walls, screeched overhead in anger, its voice reaching us as low wails. The whole place seemed haunted – the perfect place for Mogu to build tombs.

Days prior, scouts had found imitation Mogu script. Upon an abandoned altar, we found more – and evidence of our old friends. Soon, we followed their trail into one of the nearby tombs.

It was… an easier trip than expected. Most of the traps had already been set off, and it was easy to capture them when they were weakened from the traps.

I did not mind either way. I just kept thinking back to the feel of the wind on my face.