- Ashriel Stormswift
- Farion Stormswift
- Kiraleen Starvale
- Meia Heartjoy
- Xelas Stormfeather
Current Cross PublicationsEdit
(( Originally posted at the Sanctum BTC (Before The Crash). Simultaneously Cross-posted to The Indelible's site: http://indelibles.proboards.com/thread/466/feather?page=1. I have tried to keep as much intact from the original authors as possible, including their OOC commentary before some of the installments, as well as their concluding thoughts.))
* May 26, 2011 at 5:24pm Post by Xelas@work
Farion sat in a small rowboat on Lordamere lake. He had wedged his fishing pole between one of the oars and the side of the boat in anticipation of an armada of fish, which weren't biting. The wan sunlight of Silverpine forest usually filtered through a perpetual haze that covered sky so close to the Plaguelands. Today, though, the sun bordered on bright. Its warmth, coupled with the quiet lap of water and gentle rocking of the boat had Farion drowsing. After nodding-off for the fourth time, the young mage finally gave up and settled himself into the bottom of the boat, resting his back against the gunwale. As his head lolled for the fifth time, it finally came to rest on his arm which draped over the side of the boat, fingers trailing in the glassy lake. His limp body twitched once in a fitful stutter, before finally succumbing to sleep.
He awoke some time later when his little boat bumped against the shore. He blinked into the golden, evening sun in confusion. He didn't recognize the shore at all. He sat up, looking in all directions, trying to get his bearings. He must have floated all the way across the lake! Still, it was odd and troubling that he could not see the ruins of Lordaeron in the distance, anywhere.
The wind started to pick up, and Farion glanced at the cloudless sky. Cloudless? The clear sky overhead was a dome of darkening amber and azure. He realized the light was all wrong. He ran his fingers through his dark hair, combing it from his eyes. The wind plucked at his clothes and continued to whip his hair until it flagged in a dusky banner behind him. Yet, all around him, the water and trees were completely still. It was then that the young mage recognized that he was in the landscape of a vision. Gingerly, he stepped from the boat onto the surface of the water, without a ripple. The air had taken on the more pearlescent quality he recalled from his other visions, but had a curious golden tone that he had never seen before. The land sloped sharply down to meet the water of the lake, but Farion cleared it in the effortless manner of a dreamwalker. It was then that he began to hear the sounds of battle.
A few hurried, blurring steps brought him to the edge of a small hollow. Within it, there were several low buildings and stoneworks built into the hillsides. Hulking green-skinned attackers bellowed and hewed at the small sturdy defenders. It took Farion only moments to recognize the combatants as orcs and dwarves. A large shadow passed overhead, accompanied by the beating of broad wings and the grating roar of a gryphon. The beautiful creature swept low, allowing her rider to assess the battle. Farion recognized the tall, lithe form leaning in the saddle, dark hair and sharp features, so like his own. Farion stepped forward to get a better view, and saw clearly as an orcish archer made Xelas his target. Farion desperately wanted to cry out a warning to his father, but he knew he was only a spectral observer -- a ghost -- voiceless and without substance in this state. However Xelas seemed to sense the danger and leaned away as the orc let loose his arrow. It missed the elf, but cut the harness instead, sending the Kal'Dorei tumbling some fifteen feet onto the ground below. Instantly, the orcs were upon him, but he was snatched away in a flash of golden light to where a gnome stood on a hillside, his prayers mending those near him.
Farion did not recognize the faces of those who fought alongside his father in defense of the dwarven town. But it was clear that they were not unknown to each other, and fought as a disciplined, lethal group. Yet as effective as they were, several times Farion found himself watching with clenched fists as his father became the target of two or three orcs at once. But Xelas never faced them alone for long, as his allies quickly closed to relieve the beleaguered hunter. Eventually, they drove the invading orcs further and further outside town, until at last all had fled or died.
The young mage moved closer to assure himself that his father was all right. As he did, he saw the Kal'Dorei hunter sweep the town with his golden gaze, pausing with an almost quizzical expression when he reached the point where Farion stood. A Worgen, noticing the hunter's taut posture and focused attention immediately tested the air.
"What do you see?"
Xelas continued to stare straight at Farion for several more seconds before shaking his head and looking away. "Nothing," he replied and then chuckled, "Just jumping at shadows."
"And well you should!" replied a green-eyed woman nearby, with a smirk.
As the group joined her in quiet laughter, Farion felt a sudden jolt at his back, pushing him forward a step. The scene before him blurred, contorting, and was gone in an instant.
Blinking, he sat up in the boat which had run aground. Twilight had arrived at Lake Lordamere. He stepped out of the rowboat, taking care to beach it properly. He wasn't far from where he had chosen to fish. There was a small village of murlocs nearby, but their sentries eyed Farion warily, having learned sometime back that many of the Sin'Dorei were not to be trifled with. They would likely leave the boat alone. Farion retrieved his fishing pole. As expected the line was empty of either fish or bait. With a sigh, he secured the line, and began a quick jog to the Undercity. He wanted to get out to Light's Hope Chapel and contact his father as soon as possible.
Chapter 2 (by Legion)Edit
* May 29, 2011 at 2:30pm Post by Xelas Stormfeather
Light's Hope had grown over the years since Arthas' overthrow. It had sturdy stone walls, and several buildings to house the Argent knights who kept peace in the small frontier town. Still, Farion's father preferred they meet in their usual spot around the back of the Inn. Farion had been watching the traffic coming and going from the flight masters all afternoon. Which pretty much meant he was watching the grass grow as he awaited his father's arrival. In the distance, Farion spied a white speck in the skies. He shaded his eyes and watched the flier approach. Eventually, he could make out that the huge, silvery-white beast was one of the Argent hippogriffs. He smiled. He didn't know of many who kept such a creature outside of Northrend, but his father did. Soon, both beast and rider had settled onto the ground where the handlers could take the animal away to care for it.
Farion's smile broadened into a grin at the sight of Xelas, who had dismounted from his white hippogriff, Leonard. Xelas handed the reigns over to the stabler along with some coin to ensure that Leonard's large appetite wouldn't be an undue burden to the Order.
The two elves embraced in greeting. Xelas then held Farion at arms length, examining him. "You look very well, Cousin," he said. "When I got your message, I was afraid something was amiss, so I came as quickly as I could."
Farion nodded as they began walking to their customary meeting-spot. "I wanted to assure myself you were all right after seeing you in that fight. I'm glad to see you've hardly a scratch."
Xelas smiled, looking puzzled. "Fight? What fight?"
"The one at the dwarven village. With the orcs?" prompted Farion.
Xelas's puzzlement deepened. "Cousin, I have been in no fights lately, save some skirmishes with the Twilight Hammer. Were you water-witching again?"
Farion's mouth worked silently for a moment. "I-I thought I was. I could swear it was a vision... not a dream."
Xelas gave him a sidelong glance. "Were you awake?"
Farion faltered, growing uncertain. "I... no?"
His father chuckled at him, "Well then, Cousin, I think you have your answer."
"But, no!.... It didn't feel like a dream at all!" Farion felt his face heat in embarrassment. He'd dragged his father all the way out here because of a dream? "I'm...sorry. I just wanted to know that you were well."
Xelas squeezed Farion's shoulder gently. "It's all right. Sometimes it's nice to see you when there's nothing awful happening in the world."
Farion felt his chest loosen, and smiled at his father in return. While he was still embarrassed and a little concerned that his ability to See had become unreliable, he had to agree that an evening spent just talking about fish, or flowers, or common friends would be marvelous.
"Come" said Xelas putting his arm around Farion's slim shoulders, "I think this warrants sitting at an actual table with real wine, eh?"
"Aye, Cousin," replied Farion, grinning. "That it does!"
Chapter 3 (by Legion)Edit
* Jun 11, 2011 at 12:19pm Post by Xelas Stormfeather
The General of the Sentinel Army circled the seated elf, assessing her with a critical eye. She had an exotic beauty, shorter and more delicately drawn than most of the Kal'Dorei around her. Her waist-length silver hair, and slightly gold-hued eyes seemed common enough, though. She had clearly passed muster with The Cenarion Circle, though the growing laxness of their recruitment did not impress the General.
"You don't seem much like him," said Shandris.
The girl smiled sweetly, though her eyes remained calculating and cold. "I should hope not," she replied.
Shandris sat on the edge of her desk, trying to peel back the layers of self-control that this little creature before her had swaddled herself with. Every glimpse deeper only showed darker and darker shades of the seething hatred that drove the silver-haired elf seated in her study.
"You understand that this cannot be done in half measures?" Shandris eyed the young woman sternly. "The task that I am placing in your charge must be executed perfectly and completely, without hesitation or mercy. If suspicion falls our way, it could potentially mean war with the humans, and we cannot afford this. Feathermoon and Darnassus will disavow any complicity in this should you fail. Do you understand?"
Once again, the younger elf gave a chilly smile. "Completely."
The elder elf still felt uncomfortable. "Tell me, why do you want to kill him?"
The young woman tucked a strand of silver hair behind her ear. "He squanders his gifts and his birthright to live among inferior races. He is an oathbreaker, who has rejected his people and mocks his kin. He is a living insult to all things we represent. Why wouldn't I want to kill him?"
Shandris hardly disagreed, but she also knew the nobility of her feelings regarding the matter was tainted by a pride that did not always reflect the ideals of harmony and balance her people embraced. The raw emotion rolling off the young elf in front of her warned of a dangerous passion, and a prolonged exposure to the Fleeting Races too early in her life. Yet Shandris felt that if something were to be done, it must be done soon. The star of the man she wished to see dead was rising. He was gaining power quickly, and if she waited until the slow pondering of the Sisters and sundry Councils finally gave her leave to dispose of him, she feared she would be unable to do so.
"Still," replied Shandris, "these are matters of pride, and seldom worthy of such extreme remedy. Why should I want to kill him?" Shandris noted a flicker of annoyance pass over the lovely features of the young woman. It was clear that she believed pride was ample reason enough to kill. However, she was also clever enough to recognize that Shandris wanted assurances that the girl would be able to recruit others whose loyalty did not depend on coin. They would share the concerns of their people, and be willing to die for it. Pride alone would not win them.
The young woman paused, head cocked, almost as if listening to something distant. Then, she replied, "He is dangerous. The power of the Kal'Dorei coupled with the foolishness of the humans could be catastrophic. That he disdains us and our ways so deeply -- it is not unreasonable to fear that he will lead the humans against us one day." Then, her eyes narrowed as she gazed pointedly at Shandris. "We have only to look at what the friendship with humans earned the Quel'Dorei."
Shandris raised an eyebrow. The girl had echoed her own concerns almost verbatim. Perhaps she was even better suited for this task than Shandris had at first thought. Still, this meant she would have to be more careful to quiet her thoughts and feelings in the young woman's presence.
Shandris snorted, "It's a pity you aren't my own daughter."
The woman feigned a tragic expression, "But alas, I am all but an orphan."
Shandris gave her a slow smile.
"Well then, welcome to the family," she replied, standing. "See Adoran, my assistant. He will provide you with the means to carry out your task." She walked around her desk and seated herself, immediately immersing herself in paperwork. "No need to trouble me with the details. Just bring me word that Stormfeather is irretrievably dead." The General glanced at the girl, "Normally, I would ask for proof, but in this case... there should be none," she said, pointedly.
The girl bowed low and formally. "It will be as you command, Great-Aunt."
Chapter 4 (by Legion)Edit
* Jun 12, 2011 at 3:42pm Post by Xelas Stormfeather
Farion sat on a bench outside the inn at Brill. Although he had taken a second room to function as a workshop, he preferred the outside daylight to work on seams and other delicate needlework. So it was here that the messenger from the Bulwark found him.
The familiar Forsaken had ridden up on a skeletal horse. Not bothering to dismount, she handed an envelope to Farion. "For you," she said, curtly. "Get there when you can." Farion knew that Danelle was usually abrupt and just a little surly. Nothing in her posture or bearing suggested the matter was urgent. It had been roughly a week since Farion's meeting with his father, so it would be unusual for him to call again so soon. Farion broke the seal and read the careful script. Surprisingly, though, the note was indeed from his father, wanting another meeting at Light's Hope.
Farion nodded to Danelle, "I'll go arrange transport immediately." The Forsaken tossed a bag filled with other envelopes to him. Farion peeked inside. "Mail call?" Danelle grunted an affirmation. Farion was saving her a trip. Farion crooked a half-smile at her. "They'll be out there in a couple of hours," he said. Danelle grunted again, waving a dismissive hand at him as she turned her horse back toward the Bulwark.
The dark-haired elf chuckled, folding up his needlework. When he had first met Danelle, he had assumed, like most breathers, that she didn't like him. It was only after years of acquaintance and discussions with friendlier members of the Dawn that he had come to read her differently. On the contrary, she liked him as much as she ever liked anything. Had she not, the encounter would have gone much differently. Likely as not, she would have simply tossed the envelope at him and left. She wouldn't have spared grunts, let alone a spoken sentence, and she certainly wouldn't have entrusted Light's Hope mail call with him. Besides, it meant that he would be returning to the Bulwark to give her back the mail pouch. Farion chuckled again as he slung the mail bag over his shoulder and started the walk to the Undercity. Women.
Sometime later, Farion dismounted from the gigantic bat that had flown him from the Undercity to Light's Hope. He dropped to the ground, landing lightly on his feet. Then, he surreptitiously adjusted himself. I know why they call these 'riding pants', he thought with a grimace. Farion realized that it actually might be time to make some new ones. While he was of an age to be fully adult among the Quel'Dorei, his body was still growing and changing as might be expected of a young Kal'Dorei. His Quel'Dorei mother had stamped her features most strongly upon her children such that Farion had drawn little notice in the many years he had edged around the great Sin'Dorei Houses. It would be troublesome if he grew much more, though. He was already tall for a Quel'Dorei, he would have to start crafting spells to hide himself if he started to approach his father's stature. He had already been considering the small transformations used by nearly every noble -- fixes to a nose a little too wide, or an unsatisfactory arch to the brows -- any myriad of purely cosmetic changes to satisfy a culture of insatiable vanity. That his education in the arcane rendered such magic accessible to him made the notion all the more appealing. He would use it to maintain the more refined look expected of a Quel'Dorei, even as the nature of his body began to demonstrate the more rugged features of his Kal'Dorei parent.
He had just started to thoughtfully scratch the coarse stubble along his jaw when he saw his father standing in their customary spot, leaning against the back of the inn. Farion broke into a smile. The smile faded however as he drew closer to his father. A large, ugly bruise purpled one of Xelas's eyes, as well as a series of scratches along the cheek that looked as if he'd narrowly dodge something spiked or an animal's claw.
"What happened?" Farion breathed in hushed shock, as he moved to embrace his father.
Xelas hugged him close a moment before drawing him around the back of the inn. He seated himself beside the small firepit that the inn maintained, and gestured for Farion to do the same.
"Do you remember the dream you mentioned the last time you saw me?" asked Xelas.
Farion nodded, "Aye."
"Tell me about it."
Farion recounted the vision, which still remained clear in his mind's eye. Xelas listened without interruption, rubbing his thumb along his jaw, absently. When Farion finished, he continued staring into the fire for several seconds before speaking.
"You say I rode in on a gryphon? Matilda, yes?"
Farion answered without hesitation, "Yes. And the orc cut you from your harness."
Xelas pursed his lips. "I rode Leonard yesterday, into precisely the battle you described. However," he held up a finger to forestall Farion's interjection, "I almost flew Matilda." The Kal'Dorei hunter studied his son's face carefully. "Is this possible, boy? Have you started seeing things that may yet be?"
Farion's mouth worked silently for a moment before he shook his head, "I don't know." He shrugged, helplessly. "None of my teachers speak of such things, even in theory. I don't know if that's because they think it's ludicrous or dangerous."
"Have you had any other such dreams since?"
"Well...no," replied Farion. "Then again, I haven't been fishing since."
"If you could harness such a gift, it would be... amazing," said Xelas, with growing excitement.
Farion waved his hands in denial as he shook his head, "But, I don't know that I have any gift. One dream is just... coincidental."
Xelas bowed his head, acknowledging his son's point. "Speak to your teachers. Visit libraries. See what you can discover. Let me know if anything further develops. But as always..."
"Stay on the fringe. Stay safe," finished Farion. With a mischievous twinkle, he gestured to Xelas's battered face, "You're one to talk, old man. Try to take your own advice, hey?"
Xelas's eyebrows rose in surprise. Then his expression warmed as he drew his son into a hug. "Be careful, boy. I'll see you soon." He turned and began walking toward the flight master and stables. The tall Kal'dorei paused, glancing back over his shoulder, "Oh and see to this," he said, brushing the backs of his knuckles along his own jawline before wagging a finger at the young mage. "You're starting to look scruffy." He winked at Farion before resuming his easy gait toward the stables.
Farion watched as the stable-hands brought Leonard out and assisted his father into the riding harnesses. He was still plucking thoughtfully at his chin long after the silvery hippogriff had launched itself and his father into the sky, speeding away south, towards Stormwind.
He sighed as moved toward the flight masters, himself. He had a lot of research ahead of him. In the meantime, a decent barber might be in order.
Chapter 5 (by Liy)Edit
*((Jun 18, 2011 at 9:12pm Post by Liy.
(( The OOC statement below is written entirely by Xelas, and was not edited at all by Liy ))
(( This installment is written primarily by Liy, and co-edited by Liy and Xelas ))
The might of Darnassus was behind her, or at least certain elements of it – some very powerful elements. Resources were no longer an issue, and Ashriel was able to make all the necessary arrangements and recruitments, save one.
No plan is flawless, and even a flawless plan might be executed imperfectly. This was not acceptable. She needed insurance, a backup. She needed someone outside herself who would ensure the job was done right, even if everything else fell apart. Unfortunately for Ashriel, she had exhausted her own personal network in making arrangements for the actual plan itself. So she turned, once again, to her benefactor.
Shandris seemed impressed by the younger elf’s prudence, particularly in light of their previous meeting. The Feathermoon General had expressed concern that Ashriel might not master her hatred of their shared enemy. Despite her annoyance at the suggestion that her self-control was imperfect, Ashriel understood that personal matters were, by their nature, more risky. They inspired feeling, rather than thinking. In taking this extra step, Ashriel guaranteed to both Shandris and herself that the mission would not fail in a moment of blind rage. The young elf also suspected that the assistance Shandris was providing would have further instructions if Ashriel demonstrated weakness of any sort. She gave a mental shrug, What will it matter? So long as he dies, what happens to me will be of little consequence. She wasn't entirely sure she believed herself, but it was enough. Shandris told Ashriel that one of her associates would be contacting her shortly. When asked how Ashriel would know this person, Shandris replied with a small, dangerous smile, “You’ll know.”
That was several days ago. Ashriel was starting to wonder if perhaps she had already seen Shandris’ contact, but missed the cue. She had wandered in the open, waited in secluded corners, combed the rooms she had taken at the inn for any messages or letters. Nothing. She had been reduced to pacing around her sitting-room in growing frustration, mind going over everything she'd seen that might have been a clue. She had almost resolved to pay Shandris another visit, when her ruminations were abruptly interrupted.
Ashriel froze into place, startled and unnerved. Her father's name was spoken softly in a deep baritone voice, almost a whisper but more like a low rumble. She reflexively prepared for combat, as though the name itself were a threat. But then she saw the speaker seated on a chair in a dark corner of the room in front of her. That she hadn’t noticed him at all until he spoke unnerved her, deeply. I secured this room myself! Consternation quickly became vexation. Ashriel disguised her shock with a haughty lift of her chin, as she examined her unexpected guest. He was Kal’Dorei, and significantly larger than most males of his kind with broad shoulders and a muscular build. Long silver hair was tied back behind his head, and his eyes stared aimlessly ahead of him, as though he were looking at nothing.
"That name died a long time ago," she replied. Ashriel folded her arms, glaring at the man. A shadow of a smirk passed across his features. Ashriel realized that if the bearer of that name had truly died, the elf before her wouldn't be here and neither would she. “Who are you?” she demanded.
He didn’t respond, but turned his head slightly so that his gaze, although still unfocused, was at least pointed in her direction. His expression, on the other hand, was clear and spoke volumes. It was condescending and incredulous, and conveyed that he would not entertain irrelevance, or questions that she already knew the answer to. This was Shandris’ contact. His name was not important. Neither was she.
Ashriel swallowed, her mouth gone suddenly dry, “Yes, well I need someone reliable, someone who can make certain the job is carried out. How do I know-“
“Shadow,” the other said laconically.
Ashriel did not immediately comprehend the significance of this solitary spoken word. In fact, she was becoming more annoyed at the lack of conversational skills demonstrated by this intruder. But then the importance of the word penetrated her mind. Shadow.
The man before her was an agent of the Cenarion Shadow. Among the Kal’Dorei the Cenarion Shadow was not quite a mythical organization. But it was very close. Everyone knew of its existence, but very few had dealings with it, and even fewer personally knew any of its associates. No one outside of the organization knew its motive or purpose, although some had mistakenly compared it to the SI-7 of Stormwind. While it frequently worked in tandem with the Darnassus government, particularly after the events of the Third War, it was nevertheless an autonomous organization, acting according to its own priorities.
And yet, while the intrigues and inner workings of the Cenarion Shadow were largely a mystery, its reputation for employing the most ruthlessly efficient assassins was common knowledge even beyond the realms of the Kal’Dorei. Ashriel considered this as she regarded this silent visitor, and said, “Are you the one who will be assisting?“
“No,” he replied flatly, and handed her a small note and a sealed, addressed envelope, “The note is your instructions. Send the envelope to our agent in Stormwind. Meet her there,” he added, pointing to a name scrawled in one corner of the envelope. And with those words, he departed.
Ashriel stood in place, not looking after the taciturn visitor as he left. She felt very uncomfortable about the entire encounter, and more than a little angry. This is my plan. My mission! Yet, he had started with the initiative, and the situation was soon out of her hands. For the first time, she felt uncertain about the entire operation. But then she reassessed the current state of things: Not only did she have the backing of high ranking Darnassus officials and more resources than she would ever need, she now had the support of the Cenarion Shadow. Before this, years of work and planning were finally lining up perfectly, and success seemed all but assured. Now, she had secured that assurance.
It almost made the idea of traveling to Stormwind bearable. Almost.