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Thread: Big green Warchief/Sorceress of the Alliance romance. MUHAHAHAHAA!

  1. #181
    (Not Actually Cool) GG Crono's Avatar
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    "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Lichy!"

    ...no? Maybe?

  2. #182
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weiila View Post
    >_>

    <_<

    Thrall shall be pretty badass soonish, if I can just get past this one obstacle that's been holding me up.

    ... I'm stuck on what the Lich King says when he first appears D:

    And yeah Rig, you'll get a reply soon, my brain just hasn't been with me lately.
    Heh, don't worry overmuch ;)
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  3. #183
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Ahahahahaa! Finally! Yo ma bitch now, Lichy! Though your suggestion was quite good too, GG :D

    I hope this will prove to be worth the long wait, ladies and gents ^_^

    Varimathras is fun to write. More of him in the next part.

    Aaaand action!


    Letting out a slow snort through his nose, Thrall shook his head.

    “I have no desire to indulge him,” he said. His tone, however, made it clear that he had not finished speaking.

    Looking up, Jaina met his gaze and a silent understanding passed between them. Just like her decision to come here in the first place – they could not back down. She wasn’t sure if she managed to keep a flash of fear from showing in her eyes. If it was there, at least Thrall would be the only one who saw it.

    She didn’t want to see Arthas, she had no idea what it would mean to her, or Thrall. Her throat felt so tight she could hardly breathe. It was all she could do to fold her arms across her chest as if in defiance or resolution – when in reality it was to keep her hands from shaking.

    “But, I would not let him believe either of us fear to face him,” Thrall said, and Jaina nodded as she turned back to face the room, jaw set.

    “Very well, Warchief,” Sylvanas said. She did not sound pleased, or annoyed. It was just a statement.

    The Forsaken man who had read the reports bowed his head and stepped back, disappearing as he got out of reach for the illusion spell’s range. While he was still moving away, Sylvanas looked around and up, nodding.

    A gigantic hoof moved into the illusion from thin air, clattering hard against the floor in the Undercity as an armored leg followed. Another step brought the huge, monstrous form of Varimathras fully into the vision. With the illusion showing everything in real size, he seemed to fill up far too much of the great hall even as he folded his wings. The smile on his lips was in no way neutral. Jaina clenched her teeth harder, and she felt sure that she wasn’t the only one.

    Dangling by its waist in the dreadlord’s right hand was an unmoving skeleton. Some strips of flesh and cloth clung to it, but nothing more. At first it appeared as dead as it should be, but when Varimathras dropped it on the floor it let out a furious shriek and started to push itself up. This stopped when the demon placed one hoof on the skeleton’s upper back, dangerously close to the dirty skull.

    “You heard the Warchief,” Sylvanas icily said. “The Lich King may speak.”

    She probably took more delight in that last sentence that she would admit, so icily declaring that her nemesis was allowed to say his piece. It didn’t seem to pass the Scourge mage by, as he hissed between his bared teeth. But he didn’t say anything in reply, instead reached his arms forwards over the floor. A bright flare leaped from his hands as he muttered, disappearing out of sight.

    In the background the Forsaken mage let out a growl, shifting uneasily but then steeled himself.

    Thrall’s big, armored hand landed on Jaina’s shoulder, and in her tension it almost caused her to jump out of her skin. But after a snap of calming breath, she felt grateful for the silent support.

    It was just a shimmer in the air at first, the illusion that was sent from the Scourge wizard and through the undead man standing in Grommash Hold. It flickered, faded, and then all of a sudden sprang into full, painful clarity.

    Jaina wasn’t sure how anybody else reacted, feeling blind, deaf and numb all at the same time. If she hadn’t known that it was Arthas, she might not have been able to tell at first, not in that jagged, unnaturally dark armor adorned with skulls. It looked nothing like she remembered him – wearing polished, bright plate armor and Lorderon’s colors, his blond hair glistening in the sun.

    But even so, she could believe that maybe she would have recognized him anyway, somehow. Even so warped, he was agonizingly familiar.

    He floated a few inches above the floor, and for the first second, he didn’t move at all. Then an icy blue glow rose behind the dark helmet, just where his eyes should have been, and he straightened up even more. Jaina’s nails dug into her arm, and she had to fight the wish to recoil. Although Thrall didn’t speak, his fingers twitched reassuringly against her shoulder. She wanted to give him some sign of support in return, but with her back to him she couldn’t without making it obvious.

    All such thoughts fled when the Lich King spoke.

    “I suppose well wishes are in order.”

    The voice was hollow, echoing, and even though it sounded hoarse and rough, it was without a doubt that of Arthas. So familiar that it burned even more. Yet… Jaina frowned, through her tumbling thoughts catching on to something odd. It was not just Arthas’ voice that spoke, not if one listened closely. There were two voices, melding and overlapping – like a carefully practiced chorus, but far more chilling as this was not at all something that had been trained. The other one was deeper than Arthas’, and she didn’t recognize it. It was difficult to tell them apart, too, because of the way they were used.

    “We want none of that from you,” Thrall sharply replied, and Jaina tried to pull herself together. “You’ve already wasted the Argent Dawn’s time. Don’t waste ours as well.”

    “The Dawn’s dogs proved to be more slow-witted than I anticipated.” The Lich King sounded more bored than anything. “I would have been more direct, but I don’t find this important enough to waste that much resources on.”

    “You seem to find it important enough to make a fool of yourself for,” Jaina said. She surprised herself with the sharpness of her tone, free of the trembling she had anticipated.

    The blue glow behind the helmet didn’t seem to move, and yet she could feel his gaze on her face like the touch of clammy, cold fingers. She steeled her nerves, telling herself that it was only her own imagination.

    “If you find this foolish, it’s a slight case in compare.” The feel of his gaze slithered upwards and away from her. She felt Thrall’s fingers twitch against her shoulder, and her breath stuck in her throat. Was it not only her imagination?

    “Enough,” Thrall said, his voice betraying no unease – only irritation. “Say your piece and be gone.”

    “As you wish,” the armored apparition said, “Warchief.”

    And then the Lich King spoke Orcish, Arthas’ voice receding for the deeper one, yet flowing effortlessly with the other as if the harsh language had been his mother tongue. For a moment everything froze in surprise, all except the Lich King. His armored hand slapped out in a contemptuous motion as his voice rose, growling, mocking. Jaina recognized only a few of the words, snapping up “whelp,” “break,” “laughable,” “history.”

    Thrall snarled back in the same language, containing his surprise and managing to sound only annoyed. The two of them traded a few sharp sentences, and agitation rose around the room with mutters and growls.

    A sudden snarl broke through everyone else’s, so loud was it. Drek’Thar stepped forwards, hands clenched to shaking fists, his aged face with its blind eyes turned straight towards the illusion. One single Orcish word left his lips, spat like a curse, then again. All around the orcs straightened up, repeating the word, in disbelief and rising agitation.

    Thrall’s hand tightened on Jaina’s shoulder, so much that it hurt. She squirmed, looking up to see his face taking on a pale green hue, then darkening again as his blue eyes narrowed. At her movement he snapped back to reality and quickly eased his grip of her, pain flashing in his gaze as he realized what he had done.

    “I apologize. Wait a moment,” he murmured, then turned his face towards Drek’Thar and spoke a question in Orcish.

    The old shaman nodded, teeth bared as he aimed a huge finger towards the image of the Lich King. Once again he repeated that one word, in a sentence this time. His and the other orcs’ snarling had made it almost impossible to make out what exactly they were saying, but this time, Jaina managed to make it out.

    Ner’zhul.

    She knew she recognized the name, but it took a moment before she remembered it, from tales of orcish history Thrall had shared with her during their early, semi-secret meetings on the butte above Razor Hill. She recalled his dark look and low voice when talking about that first Warchief, of sorts, the orc who began the downwards spiral and sold all of them to the Burning Legion.

    Her first thought, that Ner’zhul was presumed dead, seemed quite foolish when she did a double take.

    A snort sounded behind the dark helmet, and the Lich King gave a stiff nod in Drek’Thar’s direction as he spoke again. The words were in Orcish still, but it was easy enough to understand, from his tone as well.

    “Very perceptive, blind shaman.”

    Drek’Thar spat something back, and the Lich King nodded again.

    “Ah yes,” he said, returning to Common. “I am indeed bound to this human shape now. It has its purposes.”

    The image of the Lich King turned his focus back towards Thrall and Jaina. When he spoke again, Arthas’ voice sounded far stronger than Ner’zhul’s.

    “How very ironic, young Warchief, that this body,” with a metallic clang he put a hand on his armored chest, “has such fond memories of your mate.”

    Ice raged through Jaina’s veins as the Lich King threw her shameful secret into the air, taunting both Thrall and her with her impurity. For a moment all went black, as had he struck her across the face with his frigid glove. She nearly choked, hearing a strangled noise blurt out of her throat before she could help herself. Neither could she stop the recoil, even if it was only half a step.

    In retrospect, she should have expected the jab. However, she realized with no little humiliation, somehow she had still clung to some foolish hope that Arthas had a little sense of decency left.

    The grip on her shoulder changed, pulling suddenly and sending her stumbling backwards into Thrall’s chest.

    “Although it seems that her memories are less fond,” the Lich King added, cold smirk slithering through his voice and cutting through the deep growl rising between the Warchief’s fangs.

    Thrall’s hand moved from Jaina’s shoulder and he reached around her, protectively pulling her even closer. She would have protested, but felt too numb to. The growls all around the room grew deeper, several of the female Kor’kron Elites snarling like wild beasts. The warriors closest to the throne stepped up towards the Warchief and his mate, never taking their furious eyes off the Lich King. They must have known their presence technically did nothing, but the defensive gesture spoke loudly.

    Only later did Jaina realize that they misunderstood her reaction to the Lich King’s words, because to the orcs it wasn’t disgraceful for a woman to have given herself to a man before marriage. Their minds instantly went to far more sinister things than a young couple’s careless overstepping of moral boundaries. And because of the orcs’ reactions, and Thrall pulling her close, that misunderstanding spread. Jaina had no mind free to notice it, but the men and women of her own escort too stared at her in horrified, mistaken realization.

    “Did you,” Thrall spoke through his fangs, “actually have anything worthwhile to say?”

    “Yes,” the Lich King replied. “There was one important thing I wanted to accomplish with this meeting.”

    A ripple ran down along his cloak, but otherwise, he didn’t move at all. It was the only warning he gave.

    In the background, the Forsaken mage twisted, a half-strangled cry wrenching out of his throat. Then he went rigid, snapping up straight as if violently pulled between two great hands.

    Jaina acted without thinking, crossing her wrists and flicking her hands upwards as her will focused. A blue, glowing wall of pure arcane power flared up in front of her, tall enough to shield Thrall as well. In the same moment, the Lich King threw out his hand.

    The air rippled and surged forwards with an unearthly howl, sounding eerily much like a choir of distant, screaming voices. It threw Jaina against Thrall, but he staggered as well under the blow, even with her shield taking the brunt of it. There was nothing to see, but everyone both heard and felt it.

    Sylvanas moved one foot back, bracing herself with her red, glowing eyes widening. She handled the surprise well, but then she was not in the direct path of the assault. Even Varimathras let out a grunt, tilting his horned head.

    “That shouldn’t be possible!” Jaina grit out. Not even with a normal arcane projection, and this was the illusion of an illusion. How much power did he have, to be able to reach through all that?

    “I control the entire Scourge with a single thought, Jaina,” the Lich King said, and his gloved palm turned towards Thrall’s face.

    He sounded so much like Arthas then, when he said her name, that her concentration was almost thrown off balance. However, only almost.

    “Denying me again, are you?”

    She couldn’t tell if he truly spoke those words, or if she imagined it. They cut into her resolve, but instead of buckling her determination, they made it flare.

    After all you’ve done, you dare try to make me feel like I’m the traitor?

    A second blast slammed into the arcane shield and Jaina swayed, but kept her footing and sent all her power into mending the cracks in the defenses. Eyes narrowed, she glared back at the chilling, blue glow behind the helmet.

    I deny you, Arthas.

    She focused too much on keeping the wall up to speak, but in her mind she screamed out against what he might have said, against a childish promise made by a young woman blinded by love. What right had he to demand she kept a promise to never deny him anything, when he had broken every vow and principle he’d ever claimed to hold sacred?

    No. For as long as she could hold him back, she would not allow him this chance to harm Thrall.

    Roaring and shouting, orcs, trolls, tauren, Forsaken, blood elves and humans alike rushed forwards towards the rigid mage or the illusion of the Lich King. A sweeping wave of the death knight’s hand sent them all flying backwards before they got anywhere close – Jaina’s own soldiers crashing in a heap together with several Kor’kron Elites and at least one elf.

    However, even if they did not manage to disrupt the attack, they did manage to divert it for a moment. Jaina snapped for air, using every fraction of the precious seconds to strengthen the magical wall. She didn’t have time to wonder if she could keep this up until somebody – if somebody – managed to sever the Lich King’s link.

    Thrall’s arm tightened around her body, giving her support as he changed his stance. Above all the shouting it was almost inaudible, but she caught snippets of his voice murmuring harshly in Orcish. More than that, though, she felt his breath brush over the top of her head. He shifted again. Breathless, she dared a brief glance over her shoulder and saw his head bowed, eyes closed beneath knotted brows, lips moving rapidly.

    Her gaze swiveled back, catching movement from the Lich King. His hand whipped out again, the force of his will tearing against her defenses in crashing waves. A spider web of cracks flared out across the arcane wall from the impact, and Jaina cried out as she was once more flung back against Thrall’s chest from the force of it. His armor bit into her skin, but somehow she managed not to lose focus. The wall wouldn’t hold for much longer. Pain raced through Jaina’s very mind, she couldn’t think–

    “Hold on,” Thrall growled.

    She wanted to warn him that she couldn’t, but her tongue wouldn’t obey.

    She didn’t have to say anything.

    “Now!” As he shouted, Thrall’s hand shot forwards, momentarily filling Jaina’s sight and blocking the Lich King from view.

    A bestial, echoing snarl erupted from nowhere, and Jaina felt something soft brush her skirt. With her vision swimming with the effort to not let the shield shatter, at first she thought it was merely a blue light flashing before her eyes. But it moved, bounding forwards in a sideways arch not to rush straight into the torrent of vicious power. She blinked, and her sight cleared to let her see that it was a huge, spectral wolf. She saw it just as it pounced at the Lich King, and she dizzily wondered what Thrall hoped to accomplish with sending a ghost wolf at an illusion.

    The image of the Lich King reeled, catching the glowing jaws on his armored arm. The flood that had threatened to crush Jaina’s faltering wall snapped – and with it gone, she could not maintain the shield any longer. The blue wall crumbled to nothing, and she would have fallen over if not for Thrall’s rigid arm around her middle. The shock, too, helped. Blinking in disbelief she stared as the wolf tossed its head, ethereal jaws clamped over the transparent arm, and the Lich King stumbled. For a moment, the fearful shouting and roars fell dead silent.

    Then the lord of the undead punched with his free hand, aiming for the wolf’s chest. Thrall hissed, and the beast released the trapped arm to throw itself back out of reach. It crouched, glowing blue lips drawn back from its fangs as it circled its opponent.

    Snarling in rage, the Lich King reached below his cloak. A bone-chilling rasp crawled through the air as he drew Frostmourne. Icy runes flared up along the cursed blade. In the background, the Forsaken mage made a gurgling sound and twisted. Beneath Varimathras’ hoof, the Scourge mage mimicked his counterpart.

    Somebody screamed something in alarm. Jaina didn’t understand the Orcish, but the words inflamed the crowd with renewed cries and snarls of shock. Nobody moved forwards this time, however. Some even recoiled.

    Her mind was drained, thoughts moving sluggishly. It took a moment for her to piece it all together – the shock, the mages’ reactions, the fact that Thrall’s summoned spirit wolf could attack an illusion as if it was solid. Then, she understood what the scream had meant.

    It’s not an illusion. He’s here.

    With a snarl sounding eerily much like Thrall’s own voice, the wolf sprang forwards again, avoiding the sweep of Frostmourne and clawing at the front of the Lich King’s helmet. At such close quarters, the death knight could not properly use his sword and he recoiled, growling.

    Jaina’s heart tightened in her chest and she looked around, seeing Thrall’s face twisted in concentration, his blue eyes staring straight ahead. How much of himself had he poured into that wolf that was now fighting the Lich King’s spirit?

    “No…” she croaked, clutching at his hand at her side, desperate to give him strength when she herself had none left. “The sword… Go’el– the sword, don’t let him cut you!”




    Aw, crap, another fighting scene to be the bane of my existence D: And we have a climax which is pretty much two alpha males fighting over a female. *sigh* Well, at least it's still a romance story that'll remain free of the phrase "I love you". Actually I think the word "love" has only come up once in that context.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  4. #184
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Three... two... one... FIGHT!

    Eh, unfinished but I'm getting there :D We all like to have a bit of Thrall being awesome, don't we? Say yes or else ^_^



    For a moment he squeezed her a little tighter, but that was the only answer she got.

    The Lich King’s arm lashed out as if he was cracking a whip, and power surged through the air once again. Bounding aside the wolf avoided the blow, but the force of the attack smashed a long, inch-deep hole in the floor just where the ethereal paws had been a second earlier. Another lash followed quickly, and all the wolf could do was to dash sideways to duck blow after blow. It forced him to run, looking for an opening as he rushed in a wider circle around the Lich King. The desperate dilemma remained, that he had to stay out of reach for Frostmourne but still close enough to not miss a chance to attack.

    “Weak,” echoed from behind the death knight’s helmet. He slapped his hands downwards.

    It looked as if the ground itself roiled, turning a sick, crackling yellow beneath the wolf, and a thick stench of decay rolled through the air. Jaina pressed a hand to her mouth to keep from retching, but she forgot all about that when she heard Thrall grunt in pain. The wolf leapt desperately to get out of the still spreading, cursed area. He landed just by the edge of it and jumped forwards again, but this jump was stiff, catapulted by wounded paws.

    It was too much – he crashed gracelessly on his side. A groan and furious cheers at him to get up rose from the crowd. Jaina wanted to scream at them to not just stand there, that there was too much at stake to care about whether or not this should be a one on one battle. But when she tried to speak, only a weak croaking sound made it out. She stared ahead, wondering if she was stuck in a nightmare.

    The wolf rolled and scrambled to stand, shaking its head while staggering forwards, to get away before the next assault. It couldn’t be quick enough. The moment that the Lich King waved his hand, there was a chilling, clinking sound. From out of nowhere a frosty collar snapped around the wolf’s neck, fettering him to the floor by a chain. Thrall choked, one hand flying up to clutch his massive throat. Though he didn’t stagger much, it was still noticeable and Jaina staggered along, uselessly reaching her numb hands towards his face.

    Another icy clink sent her gaze flying back, sucking in her breath but only being able to watch as another chain appeared in the Lich King’s hand. He threw it forwards and it stretched, catching on to the wolf’s fetters. With a rough pull he ripped the shorter chain loose from the floor and the wolf careened forwards. Glowing claws dug into the ground and ethereal jaws tore at the bond, but the Lich King gathered more of the chain in his grip as if the resistance didn’t exist. Another pull brought the struggling wolf even closer, with a screech of claws against stone. Frostmourne gleamed viciously as the death knight shifted his grip to raise it.

    Many in the crowd were screaming desperately, putting into voice what Jaina could not. It could not be so simple, he was stronger than this, she knew he was–

    “I think…” Thrall breathed in harshly, but through the grimace his lips wrenched into a grim smile, “that I’m being underestimated.”

    And suddenly he straightened, his secure grip of Jaina lifting her. His foot slammed into the floor. The reverberations multiplied, the floor buckling in a rising wave that tore forwards, straight at the battle. In the next moment the ground itself rose up and a gigantic earth elemental launched itself at the Lich King. The death knight spun around and raised Frostmourne, catching the huge stone fist with the blade. However, in doing so he lost focus, and the wolf tore the chain out of his hand.



    This sounded so much cooler in my head until I wrote out the part where the wolf is getting dragged towards Lichy. Then, for some reason, I got unprovoked flashbacks to the Adam West Batman series. Holy ruined mood, mon!
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  5. #185
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    At first it appeared as dead as it should be
    Heh, nice one. Btw what's the deal with the skeleton?

    Arthas' exterior is now pretty much the armor and the helmet, right? A bit tough to recognise, surely.

    Ice raged through Jaina’s veins as the Lich King threw her shameful secret into the air, taunting both Thrall and her with her impurity.

    In retrospect, she should have expected the jab. However, she realized with no little humiliation, somehow she had still clung to some foolish hope that Arthas had a little sense of decency left.
    I found two things funny here. First, Jaina has done this whole "I married our ex-worst enemies chief, who incidentally isn't human but WW2 (Warcraft War 2) veterans would probably call him a beastman" thing and then she still loses her cool because of the blow (?) to her reputation. Ah, the power of upbringing.

    Secondly, there's a demigod* of death who has no decency. Where's your literature now?

    Incidentally, I approve of Arthas' presence being enough to floor basically anyone and it's a nice dirty trick for him to materialise and wipe out a major enemy or too. He could have gone for the pair instead of focusing on the wolf (that may vanish anytime, eh?), but being evil has rules.
    And we have a climax which is pretty much two alpha males fighting over a female. *sigh*
    And the female casts a Protect shield? Flee before Arac barges in (wait a min...)

    *Arthas-Nerzhul aims to bring you the best in long-forgotten incantations of death, ensuring full coverage of terror for the whole population. By leveraging the decade-long experience of Nerzhul with Things That Be Not Disturbed and Arthas' go-getter attitude that earned him a place in the Top 10 Up and Coming CEOs list of (Bad) Fortune and regularly earns him 75% favorabilityl ratings in the 16-666 age bracket, Arthas-Nerzhul promises a dark new age.

    Arthas-Nerzhul:
    Your soul matters.

    Seems writer's block is over for the time being?
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  6. #186
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Did we already agree somewhere along the line that stock exchanges would be the worst thing to ever happen to Azeroth or did I only dream that? XD

    I've rewritten the bit with the skeleton to show that it's the thing calling forth Lichy's illusion in the Undercity, which is then shown through the Forsaken mage. So Lichy is pretty much reaching through both of them, ergo the Forsaken turned all stiff. He's kinda doomed, poor thing.

    Though I love the fight scene (now behave for the finale damn you!), I'm wondering if it all moves a bit too fast. Lichy comes in, insults them and then attacks. Oh well. I'm getting rather sick of this thing not being finished yet so I'm gonna try to make a beeline for it. School's rather annoying though, but not as annoying as the commuting is. Getting up in the ass-crack of morning to make it in time for a lesson that doesn't start until ten? Boo! Zzzz...
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  7. #187
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weiila View Post
    Did we already agree somewhere along the line that stock exchanges would be the worst thing to ever happen to Azeroth or did I only dream that? XD
    It's arguably more efficient than trying to cause an earthquake to shatter the seat of the Lich King or similar tricks. I rather like Disgaea's concept of the Dark Assembly too. Brings a new meaning to "politics are hell", you know?

    The forsaken didn't have much choice anyway. Kinda happens when you consort with demons.

    As said before, I hardly have the full picture of the story's pacing right now. It may be faster than what happened before, though once Arthas has the chance, I doubt he'd lag.

    My clock has been set at 06:00 for quite some time, so I feel for you. Yawn.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  8. #188
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Yeah, Lichy's pretty straight forwards, after all. Except for that way he keeps deciding NOT to kill my lil' orc shaman at any chance he gets. It's starting to make her nervous. >_>

    Anyway...


    One of the braziers by the wall flared up, sending several people standing too close stumbling away from it. The flames rushed forwards with a fiery roar, taking shape into a fire elemental as it moved across the floor, burning so hot that its lower half turned pale blue. Unlike its larger earth brother, it headed not for the Lich King but straight towards the wolf, who raised its head. Hands made up of flickering flames closed around the icy white collar. Black smoke rose up from where the fire licked the bond, but within a couple of seconds two broken halves of the collar fell to the floor and shattered along with the chain.

    Thrall took in a deep gulp of air while the wolf shook itself. Gingerly the beast took a step forwards, testing its wounded paws. This was cut short when the Lich King sliced through the earth elemental’s fist with a swing of Frostmourne. The elemental reeled back while the cut off rock smashed into the floor, but the one of fire attacked instead, dancing this and that way to avoid the sword slashes.

    Growling, the wolf bounded around behind the Lich King and snapped at his dark cloak, intent on bringing him off balance. An armored hand lashed out blindly, forcing the wolf to leap back again as the unseen force blasted another channel into the floor. However, ethereal claws were soon ripping at the Lich King’s back again.

    “I would love to see the results of this one,” Varimathras’ rumbling, sharp voice suddenly cut in, “but this is making my leg hurt.”

    And with just a slight tilt of his huge hoof, he crushed the Scourge mage’s skull.

    “You–!” the Lich King snarled, but his words were cut off as the small magic circle shattered. And with it, the foul link did as well.

    The wolf fell forwards and the fire elemental found itself swinging at empty air as their enemy vanished. The image of Sylvanas and Varimathras likewise disappeared.

    Violent in its suddenness, the anti-climax left a deafening silence behind. It broke only by the Forsaken mage collapsing in a boneless heap.

    A breathy groan left Thrall’s lips and he staggered back, then found his footing. As he hunched, Jaina’s feet finally touched the ground again, but she hardly noticed as the tension snapped and the floodgates of held back pain crashed open. She swayed, unable to help herself as she pressed both hands to her burning forehead. Her brain felt as if it was boiling, making her grit her teeth desperately. Thrall’s hand moved up, cradling the side of her head. Jaina’s eyes fluttered shut and she leaned against the touch, but then she remembered where she was and tried to straighten.

    Using that kind of spell to shield Thrall and herself had definitely been exceptionally foolish, but she hadn’t been able to think of anything else. Teleporting away would have taken an extra second they hadn’t had, when she needed to focus enough to bring him away as well.

    People were shouting then, again, the sound of that and heavy footfalls cutting like knives right through her head. In the next moment, however, a sweet warmth and soothing cool floated into her, wrapping around the pain and gently subduing it. She blinked and looked up, facing an orc shaman with his face knitted in concentration, hands glowing a soft green. Just behind him stood a troll wearing a pale robe, her fingers enveloped in a calming golden glow.

    Behind her, Thrall straightened up and his hand fell away from her face. His arm, however, remained around her body if a bit looser. Jaina was in no mind to feel embarrassed by him embracing her in public. At first, all she listened for was the relieving sound of his breath easing.

    “You probably saved both of our lives,” Thrall said, softly yet loud enough for the closest people to hear. His voice sounded hoarse, but it sounded better after he cleared his throat. “I just needed to distract him a little while longer to let the elements gather enough force.”

    Jaina struggled to stand up straight and managed somewhat after a moment. Reaching out, she grasped the warm metal covering Thrall’s thumb in a tight grip.

    “Please don’t scare me like that again,” she rasped.

    “I apologize.” He bent his head slightly, breathing out. It put his throat in the shadow of his mighty pauldrons, but she still caught sight of skin there, in a darker shade of green than usual – where human skin would have been angry red. She suppressed a shudder, doubting that it was his own clutching his throat that had caused those marks.

    There was a sudden flash of light, making Jaina turn her head sharply – a little too sharply, as it made her stomach feel queasy after all of that. Thrall straightened in alarm as well, along with as good as everyone else.

    However, it was merely Messenger Ta’sih, carrying Emissary Southstone by his armpits.

    “Pardon da surprise, Warchief, mah Lady,” the troll said. “Too many people in da way. Paladin.” She dropped Thomas to his feet, with the glow of the teleport spell still fading around both of them.

    “Ah…” Thomas coughed and straightened with a sheepish look on his face, understandable from the way he had been brought in. “Master Drek’Thar thought it best a paladin or blood knight take a look…”

    He trailed off, instead reaching forwards. The awkward expression faded as his lips moved silently, and a light similar to that from the troll priest’s hands enveloped his. It melded with the other healing magic already working to completely erase the pain in Jaina’s head, and she expected it did the same for Thrall. After a few moments, Thomas breathed out and let his hands fall. He shook his head, smiling weakly.

    “I feel nothing. He left no lasting harm as far as I can tell, Warchief, my Lady. But its best some others make sure, as well.”

    Jaina hadn’t even had time to consider that possibility, but even with Thomas’ reassuring the mere idea sent a chill down her spine. She looked around at Thrall’s face, far more worried about him than for herself. He looked calm, though, if distracted. Instead of meeting her gaze, he straightened his neck and spoke a short command in Orcish.

    Hesitantly at first, the crowd shuffled to the side to open up a path. It went quicker when the spirit wolf padded forwards through the aisle of bodies. It walked straight, but gingerly, its paws possibly still hurting. The steps grew more secure the closer it came to Thrall, however, and he straightened up completely. On the other side of the crowd, the two elementals stood side by side, rumbling and hissing peacefully. Waiting.

    The wolf walked up the stair, head turning briefly towards Jaina. Thrall reached out his hand, brushing it over the muscular, fur covered side of the spiritual beast. For a moment the ethereal form glowed brightly, then leaped forwards and disappeared into Thrall’s chest. He breathed in deeply, briefly tipping his head back.

    There was nothing to see, really, no outward sign of it. Rather, Jaina thought she instinctively felt the change back to normal when that part of Thrall returned to him. She shifted closer subconsciously, drawing breath much easier than a moment ago.

    He was speaking again, bowing his head in gratitude. A rumble like rocks being smashed together answered him, almost drowning out the loud crackle of flames that rose up in reply as well.

    The air remained tense, however, the crowd silent and grim. Jaina saw why only as the fire elemental evaporated, and the earth elemental crumbled to pieces.

    Behind them, flanked by several armored Forsaken, stood Lady Sylvanas.




    Southstone Service(TM): We KNOW how to look silly!
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  9. #189
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    There was a sudden flash of light, making Jaina turn her head sharply – a little too sharply, as it made her stomach feel queasy after all of that. Thrall straightened in alarm as well, along with as good as everyone else.

    However, it was merely Messenger Ta’sih, carrying Emissary Southstone by his armpits.
    The false start doesn't work that well, in contrast with the final appearance of Sylvanas that does. It's too "described".

    I feel some remorse for the poor discarded Forsaken though.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  10. #190
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    You know what?

    Writing Varimathras is HILARIOUS.


    Somebody growled. That was all it took.

    Snarls rose from the crowd and guards alike, and the Forsaken tensed, protectively drawing closer to their silent queen. She didn’t move, but nobody doubted that she could draw her daggers in the blink of an eye.

    “Hold,” Thrall sharply said. Then, louder when there were a few stray protests, “hold, I said!”

    The tension hung thick in the air even as orcs, trolls, tauren and blood elves stepped back, glaring murder at the undead.

    “For your sake, I hope that you are here to explain yourself, Lady Sylvanas,” Thrall said, his voice dangerously low in his throat.

    The Dark Lady lifted her chin just the slightest bit.

    “I found it prudent I come here in person for that, yes,” she said in a cold tone. “I assure you that I had no idea that what the Lich King did would be possible.”

    Somebody snarled in Orcish, clearly an accusation. More followed, judging by the tones doubtlessly mocking and questioning the Forsaken’s trustworthiness. Thrall barked out another demand for silence, but even when he was heeded the tension kept sizzling.

    Jaina managed to straighten up completely, using Thrall’s arm for support. She couldn’t believe what she was about to do, but she could not stand by and let there be another fight here – one that would tear apart uneasy but important alliances. Thrall, and the Horde, could not afford it.

    “No, do not judge Lady Sylvanas,” she said, as loudly as she could. When people looked around at her, many of them scowling with more or less uncertainty, she clarified. “It should have been impossible to attack through two illusions like that.”

    She was a mage, and everyone knew she was. This was a subject she knew intimately.

    “If you are certain, Lady Proudmoore,” Overlord Saurfang grimly said, nodding slowly.

    She was momentarily taken aback that he took her word for it without question, but looking around she noticed that many, especially the orcs, were watching her with a new kind of respect. Thrall’s hand moved to her shoulder.

    “Indeed, I trust your judgment about arcane magic,” he said, looking at her first but then turning his attention to the crowd.

    At the unspoken command, the people stepped down. Nobody moved too far though, gathered with the distrust that comes with just almost having lost a beloved leader and not willing to leave too much unprotected space around him. They were not convinced, but the tension settled to a sour atmosphere. This was not enough. There were not enough answers.

    Sylvanas’ red eyes, momentarily narrowed in suspicion at Jaina, relaxed slowly. Yet she retained that chilling, eternal scowl even as she nodded.

    “I must thank you for your support, Lady Proudmoore.” The tone was level. “There is however somebody else whom we should speak with.”

    “I concur,” Thrall said, his gaze hardening.

    Sylvanas’ head snapped around towards the mage standing behind her. A harsh command in Gutterspeak left the Banshee Queen’s lips, and the Forsaken man quickly raised his hands. He did not look too thrilled, but obediently murmured a spell.

    Between the mage and Sylvanas, the large image of Varimathras formed once again. His bulk seemed even greater than before, as he stretched up high above the heads of the closely gathered Horde warriors.

    “Yes, my Lady?” the dreadlord said, his voice maddeningly calm as he gazed down at the much, much smaller woman.

    Sylvanas wasted no time.

    “You better have an exceptionally good reason for not putting an end to the Lich King’s attack sooner,” she said.

    Varimathras raised both his huge, clawed hands in a pacifying gesture.

    “Certainly, my Lady. I know enough of Orcish culture to respect the sanctity of a duel.” His lips drew into a wormy smile. “If anything, I would hope that the Warchief can pardon me killing the mage.”

    Thrall grunted, but left it at that. The queen of the Forsaken apparently had no intention to let Varimathras off the hook, however.

    “You knew that the Lich King was this orc, Ner’zhul, did you not,” Sylvanas coldly said. It may have been worded as a question, but she put no such inflection in her voice.

    The dreadlord’s wings rustled as he shrugged.

    “My deepest apologies, my Lady,” he said. “I did not see how that information mattered, and so I did not tell you.”

    Despite his neutral tone and blank face, Jaina held no doubts that he was mentally smirking in glee. The sniveling choice of words only made her, and certainly everyone else as well, more sure of that.

    Sylvanas folded her arms.

    “I do believe you did full well know that it mattered,” she said in a dangerous tone.

    “Perhaps, but it would have changed nothing,” Varimathras replied, shaking his horned head. “Ner’zhul is no more an orc than any Forsaken is a human or blood elf.”

    The crowd suddenly parted, and Drek’Thar stepped through, led by a Kor’kron Elite. He started to speak in Orcish, but cut himself off and began again in heavily accented Common. At that point, Jaina was still too shocked to realize that he was probably doing so only for her sake.

    “How did he come to be the Lich King?” the old orc demanded.

    The illusion spell did not only provide the sound of Varimathras’ voice, but also the hard clatter of his long black claws clashing when he rapped his fingertips against each other.

    “Ah, I believe that tale will please your apparent hatred for your former Warchief, shaman,” he said, “although…” His lips twitched as the gaze from his felgreen eyes roamed over Jaina. She clenched her jaw and forced herself not to look away. “I would be loath to tell it now, when there are ladies listening who might be stricken with nightmares.”

    “Cease your asinine act,” Sylvanas snapped. She added in a dry tone, “but if you are so concerned, then spare all of us the gritty details.”

    “Very well, Dark Lady.” Varimathras shifted his weight, a hint of smugness creeping into his smirk as he spoke again. “After the second war, following the assault by human forces onto Draenor, Ner’zhul gathered his remaining followers to escape through newly constructed Dark Portals. As you probably know, Outland was the result of opening more of them. Unfortunately for Ner’zhul…” he didn’t even try to hide his smirk this time, “he didn’t make it far until the Burning Legion caught up with him.”

    And then he continued to explain how Ner’zhul had finally agreed to serve the Legion again, and ended up imprisoned in the frozen throne in Icecrown. True to his instructions Varimathras did not go into detail on the torture that the orc had suffered at the hands of Kil’jaeden – however, his illustrative hand motions sent the imagination reeling and retching.

    It was not only the vivid ideas about what Ner’zhul had gone through, it was what the Legion could put anybody through. That, and that tiny, smug narrowing of Varimathras’ glowing eyes, that one couldn’t quite grasp but just feel the implication of – ‘And you troublesome lot are all next.’

    “And then, Prince Arthas of Lordaeron began to show such excellent signs of corruption. Things did not, as you know, go accordingly, as Ner’zhul turned out to not be as submissive as just after Kil’jaeden was done with him. He sought an alliance with the Prince for his own sake.”

    Somewhere deep down, Jaina desperately hoped for some hint from Varimathras that Arthas had been unwittingly corrupted by demons, rather than having fallen so far by his own will. But there was none of that. Varimathras made it sound as if the Legion, too, had been surprised by Arthas’ downwards spiral. That vain hope could only flicker and cling to some hope that the dreadlord was not telling the whole truth.

    When she turned it over in her head, she felt sick at herself for even being able to still hope for anything when it came to Arthas. He didn’t deserve it from her. Sudden rage made her hands clench on Thrall’s arm.

    No. Arthas didn’t deserve a scrap of warm feeling or hope. He had wounded Thrall right in front of her, tried to kill him, and that was yet another thing she could never forgive him for.

    “I assume that what Prince Arthas and Ner’zhul are trying to do is to meld their souls together in order to combine their powers, but the process is still incomplete.” Varimathras tapped his pale cheek with a pitch black claw. “Presumably, their individual willpower won’t give up autonomy without a fight. Still…”

    He tilted his head, studying Thrall. The Warchief glared back.

    “It would seem that the Lich King’s personas could agree on a sense of petty jealousy.”
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  11. #191
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    If you can't do jealousy right, how will you tackle all-out war?
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  12. #192
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    And almost two months later, a hugeass update. :D


    Jaina’s grip chanced, fingers clamping down on Thrall’s gauntlet unconsciously. He was scowling, working his jaw for some kind of reply to that strange statement of Varimathras’. It was only a split second, hardly noticeable, as Sylvanas spoke up before Thrall managed to formulate a comment.

    “Good,” the Banshee Queen said, an edge of smug hatred in her voice even though her face remained impassive. “If he can still be petty, then he still has weaknesses that can prove fatal to him.”

    Sylvanas assessment came across as far more positive to Jaina than her own. But she was still not over this. It would take some time for her to gather her wits and look at all that had happened with a level eye, before she could analyze all the nuances and implications. Right then, all she could see where the large issues – that Arthas had been there, that he truly was the Lich King, but that the Lich King also was an orc, and that Thrall had fought him and lived. All those things, even when standing alone, seemed overwhelming.

    She glanced at Thrall, and his gaze met hers for just the briefest moment before both of them looked ahead again. More than that, and Jaina feared that her raw confusion and lingering fear would break free to blaze in her eyes. Not in front of all these people. Definitely not in front of Varimathras.

    She wished that she and Thrall were alone.

    “If that is all, then you may leave, Lady Sylvanas,” Thrall said, his voice controlled. “I will not hold you responsible for what happened.”

    “Thank you, Warchief,” Sylvanas replied, inclining her head slightly. She did not sound as if she cared much either way, however, but one might assume that what she said was honest. Looking around, she spoke a command to her escort.

    The mage lowered his hands, dissolving the illusion of Varimathras. Though the dreadlord’s face was fairly neutral, Jaina suspected – and she surely wasn’t the only one – that he would be grinning wide in glee as soon as he was sure nobody in the throne hall saw him.

    In the background, one of the Forsaken soldiers went about gathering the remains of the first unlucky mage, who had displayed the image of and unwittingly acted as a link for the Lich King. There was a clatter of bones falling apart and splats of rotten flesh slapping together, but mercifully brief as the soldier wrapped it all up in the mage’s own cloak.

    Sylvanas nodded once more, and the still animated mage raised both hands. In a flash of light the Forsaken disappeared, and all the glares that had been aimed their way no longer had a target. The mistrust, on the other hand, would without a doubt remain.

    If Thrall was relieved to see them gone, he did not show it. Waving his hand and speaking Orcish, he commanded the crowd to move back.

    Thomas too stepped back, but then remained beneath the stair awkwardly, Ta’sih hovering behind him, as Jaina nodded at him that she wanted him to stay. It had the desired effect that the other men and women from Theramore, seeing that, moved closer as well.

    Just thinking about leaving made Jaina’s stomach turn into a knot, but the thought of staying, under the dark, upset gazes of all the people in the throne room, was unbearable. Her head swam. She needed to breathe, needed to think to be able to deal with everything that had happened.

    She needed to speak with Thrall, just the two of them, so that they could sort this out together. But that couldn’t be now, it could not be soon. Theramore did not know anything about what had happened here, but all of Orgrimmar would within the hour. Know that the Lich King was half orc. Light, what would the people of the Alliance say when they inevitably found out? Already there were people hurrying out of the hall, to spread the news.

    It was unavoidable, and facing his people about it was something Thrall would have to do. It could not wait.

    Looking up she met his gaze again. There were no undead or demons watching now, and he allowed a flash of pain to pass in his eyes. It was almost enough to make Jaina crumble.

    “You are shaken,” she murmured, uselessly.

    His arm brushed against her, reminding her that through all of this, he had held her. She still could not bother to be embarrassed by that. It only hurt because it was too little comfort for either of them.

    “So are you,” he replied in a low voice.

    “I’m only one person,” Jaina said, trying to steel herself with that fact. “All your people will be shocked.”

    He grimly nodded, but his gaze lingered on her.

    “What about what he said about you and Arthas’ body?” he said in a low voice.

    Jaina felt all blood drain from her face. That thought had drowned in the horror that had followed Arthas’ blunt, cruel revelation. Thrall’s grip of her tightened just a breath. Swallowing hard, she tried to pull herself together.

    “I will,” she took in a breath, “start with telling Tandred.”

    Yes. One thing at a time. They could face this. They had gone through far more turbulent, violent things. She tried to hold on to that.

    Reluctantly, she started to move away. He didn’t try to stop her from doing so.

    “Keep the rune close,” he murmured. “I will let you know the second I have a free moment.”

    She nodded with as much determination she could gather, and as much relief as she could manage to feel at that promise. Giving her a brief, weak smile in an obvious attempt to strengthen her, Thrall nodded back. Then he raised his gaze.

    “Messenger, provide a portal to Theramore for my mate and her escort,” he said.

    “Ya, Warchief. Right away,” Ta’sih said. She raised her blue, three-fingered hands, which started to glow when she closed her eyes and began to chant in a low voice.

    Jaina wouldn’t admit it and tried not to let it show, how grateful she was for the gesture. She certainly would not have trusted herself to teleport herself and all the people who had followed her to Theramore, not with how drained she felt. It probably showed no matter how much she tried to look strong, judging from the empathic looks from her guards as well as Thomas and his two companions.

    A glimmering hole appeared in the air before the troll mage, through which Jaina could see the wide stairs and the gate of the Theramore citadel. She would have preferred to step out just to fall on top of her own bed, but there were magical wards to keep portals not of her own making from opening in her chambers. Not to mention that it would have been very inappropriate since other people would take the same route.

    With an inner sigh she stepped out of Thrall’s reach and down the stair from his throne. She glanced over her shoulder and tried to give him a smile back while her escort moved up around her. The attempt was weak.

    They moved forwards, and the warm dusk and smell of sand was replaced with cloud-veiled sunlight and a combination of salt and murk from the ocean and swamp.

    Jaina’s first thought when gazing up the stair was whether she would even make it to her room. But then she squared her shoulders and continued to walk, setting her focus on just getting there. Then, she could try to properly catch her breath and call for Tandred and Aegwynn. Not to mention call for a lot of water to drink, she realized when she had to clear her dry throat to speak.

    Looking around at the armored men and women surrounding her, she tried to look grim and determined.

    “Do not speak a word about anything you heard or saw in there, not with anybody, do you understand?” she said, her voice hoarse from draught.

    “Yes, Lady Proudmoore.”

    She hoped that it would give her some time to figure out what to do, before the temptation to tell people grew too strong amongst her guards. Rumors would be flying wild sooner or later – but the later, the better.

    ‘-‘

    Thrall hardly had time to order Vol’jin, Saurfang and Drek’Thar to the council chamber before Drek’Thar came forwards on his own volition, barking for healers to make absolutely certain that the Warchief was well. Priests, shamans and blood knights almost fell over each other to obey.

    For the next few minutes Thrall watched the world through a glowing haze of healing magic, ordering it to stop when he started feeling dizzy from a beginning overload of it. But once it receded he felt refreshed, and also relieved – along with everyone else – as the word of all the healers was that there was nothing to worry about.

    In the background, other people began to organize a cleanup of the throne hall. The floor was damaged, both scarred and corroded by the Lich King’s attacks, as well as torn up after the earth elemental’s entrance. The latter had also left rocks and boulders behind. The fire elemental had not only burnt the floor but also ruined a few pelts on its way to help the spirit wolf.

    As Thrall and his advisors began to move towards the council chamber, Garrosh followed them unbidden. The Warchief wasn’t in the mood to argue with him about that.

    The heavy door closed behind all of them, finally granting at least some of them the freedom to openly show their frustration.

    “When the Alliance finds out about this, they’ll go ahead and blame the Scourge on us orcs as well!” Saurfang snarled and slammed his fist so hard into the wall that dust fluttered down from the ceiling. “We all know they won’t care that the Legion are the ones behind it. They never cared about that before.”

    Thrall wished that he could have allowed himself the same violent display to release some of his rage, but he knew he had to appear calm – to at least give an impression of having everything under control. Yet everything he and Jaina had worked for now seemed to crumble to ashes right before his eyes, just because of this piece of news. That skirmish in Warsong Gulch was nothing in compare to this.

    Everyone had just believed that some demonic entity had been puppeteering the undead throngs before Prince Arthas took over – to find out that there had been an orc, or an orc spirit, leading them was something completely different.

    More than anything though, throughout all these pained thoughts, he wanted Jaina back within reach. Even if the healers had concluded that she was well physically, he’d have to be blind not to see how shaken she had been about what happened. Things would be easier to bear for both of them, easier to sort out, if they could talk about this as best they could – but she flitted back to Theramore, the hunted look in her eyes burning in his memory.

    “An’ dat our alliance with da Forsaken jus’ proves dat,” Vol’jin darkly said from his cross-legged seat on the floor, in reply to Saurfang’s outburst. Every muscle beneath his blue fur seemed to be as tense as a bowstring, and he glared murder at the ground a few steps in front of him.

    “It suits Ner’zhul,” Drek’Thar bitterly commented, shaking his head as he clenched his fists. “To damn us again and again. Perhaps he believed that he had lost his touch, when he worked his corruption on humans and elves for a while.”

    Drawing in a deep breath, Thrall pressed a hand to his forehead and tried to think. Tried to listen to any guidance the spirits could give him, or draw some strength from the fact that he had managed to hold his own against the Lich King. But the situation, the revelations gave him no rest – too much, the guiding force behind the Scourge, the attack. The outrage of his people, festering with fury and pain. He wondered what his grandmother would feel when she found out that the hated first warlock was still active, and still seeking to bring ruin.

    Orcs had done nothing but bring pain upon Azeroth, a weak, self-loathing voice said from deep inside of him.

    Yet he knew it was the Legion, always the Burning Legion in the end. And speaking of which, Varimathras’ brief but expressive description of Ner’zhul’s torment had certainly not done any favors for anybody’s peace of mind. Thrall would not allow himself to be intimidated by the dreadlord and the silent promise of what awaited all of them if the Legion ever won, but it was difficult to shake off the cold feeling grappling for his heart.

    Azeroth’s only chance of fending off the demon armies were for Alliance and Horde to keep their priorities straight. There had been such promise of lasting cease fire on Kalimdor just yesterday, but now? With such an argument to sway anybody unsure of whether to trust the Horde for long enough to at least fight off the demons?

    And then, where did that put Jaina and Theramore?

    “Then what are you going to do about it?” a new voice snarled.

    Thrall looked up.

    Arms crossed, Garrosh glared at him and all the others in the room.

    “You fought back these undead before,” the one brown-skinned orc said. “Then what is the problem? If you all think you have to prove yourselves to our enemies, then do so again!”

    “Our forces are already spread too thin in Outland,” Thrall said, more automatically than anything else. Despite the fact that he tried to dissuade thinking violence was the solution to everything, he could see the logic in it here. However, there would be no way a war expedition to Northrend could be undertaken now, not until Outland was secured. If that would ever happen, or if troop movement would be forced whenever the Scourge made its move…

    Garrosh opened his mouth again, then paused and finally growled.

    “True,” he grunted. Scowling, he looked between them all again. “But why are you taking on all the blame?” The note of pure annoyance settled in his voice, turning grim as he went on. “Ner’zhul is not the only one in this. I don’t know that human, but he did not seem to know any more honor–” his eyes narrowed and he glanced away for a moment, “judging by how your mate reacted, Warchief.”

    “Indeed,” Thrall said, but his voice was distracted as he thought. It was true that Prince Arthas had no claim to honor. His list of crimes included murdering his own people, his own men and his own father – but Garrosh seemed to believe that Jaina had been–

    Oh.

    Thrall was about to correct the young Hellscream on his misunderstanding of why Jaina had reacted like that to Arthas’ revelation about their relationship. In the last moment, however, the Warchief bit it back.

    People had long thought the Lich King only human. Finding out he was also an orc would make many self-righteously scream that all orcs were evil. Taking away one possible crime from that human side, even when there were already so many, would not be beneficial.

    But, he was thinking about Alliance business now, they all were. And that business was not something that he could properly deal with, not without the right connections.

    “Call for Messenger Ta’sih,” Thrall said. “And while she gets here, I’ll speak to the people of Orgrimmar.”

    His voice came out with a rising note of confidence, and that reflected as somewhat surprised, careful hope in his advisors’ expressions.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  13. #193
    Lone wanderer in infinity Manus Dei's Avatar
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    Ah, I finally got around to reading all this. Looking great. Can't wait for more. And I wonder if that fel junkie Kael'thas is going to give more trouble. I'd love to see him and Arthas in a fistfight. They're both psychotic assholes and as for Ner'zhul, he was a failure as a shaman, as a leader, as an orc, everything. What kind of shaman lets himself be tricked by the first eredar he runs into? Just one thing, I believe Gul'dan was the first warlock. When Ner'zhul realized what he had done, he chickened out and Gul'dan took over.
    "By dreaming, we transcend and surpass simple life and the boundaries of time and space, touching the essence of eternity. Our dreams release us from the shackles of daily life and sometimes empower us to change reality."

    -- Memories of a Guardian


  14. #194
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Hey, new chapter!
    Jaina’s grip chanced
    Changed? There's an expression chance one's arm, gut that means take a risk.
    all she could see where the large issues
    were

    for just the briefest moment
    You could strike out "just", it's redundant.

    There was a clatter of bones falling apart and splats of rotten flesh slapping together, but mercifully brief as the soldier wrapped it all up in the mage’s own cloak.
    The sentence wouldn't suffer if you removed "but".

    In a flash of light the Forsaken disappeared, and all the glares that had been aimed their way no longer had a target. The mistrust, on the other hand, would without a doubt remain.
    Well put ;)

    She raised her blue, three-fingered hands, which started to glow when she closed her eyes and began to chant in a low voice.
    I'd use "as" in lieu of when because it'd make the sentence read as if describing an ongoing action, not a past one.

    when he started feeling dizzy from a beginning overload of it
    An oncoming overload? Emergent/ing? I don't really like beginning as an adjective there.

    as the word of all the healers was that there was nothing to worry about.
    It could probably do without either "all" or "the"
    Orcs had done nothing but bring pain upon Azeroth, a weak, self-loathing voice said from deep inside of him.
    From a logical perspective, I've noticed "weak" thrice in 11 pages so I'm not proposing you'd change it. Just keep it in mind as a data point in case anyone else mentions the same thing.
    Taking away one possible crime from that human side, even when there were already so many, would not be beneficial.
    He quickly changed his marital cap for his politician cap there.

    At times I thought the syntax was more convoluted than it had to be (some conjunctions for instance) and a clean up would serve the denouement when people start leaving. The orc council was spiffy though. ;)
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  15. #195
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    I'll have to double check who was the first warlock, right now I can't be arsed. :)

    Yanno, Rig, it's possible to tell from your list of suggestions for better wording and typos which parts I wrote last night as opposed to a looong time ago and just finally wanted to piece together with the goshdarn main story. XD
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  16. #196
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    YA mystery is resolved and scoobydoobydooo and gang can return home.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  17. #197
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    This is the chapter that never ends
    It goes on and on and on, my friends...
    At least for fifteen pages and counting :D Wow, I used to think four pages was more than enough when I started out. And we're still far from done, sweet Jeebus.


    Once Jaina was alone in her chambers with a jug of water and a glass, it took all of her remaining willpower to not grab the jug and drink straight from it. Her hands shook when she poured water into the glass instead, then almost dropped the jug in her haste to take the smaller container. She emptied it in deep, convulsive gulps.

    She was halfway through the third refill when there was a knock on the door.

    “Yes?” Jaina called, after swallowing hard.

    While the door opened, she quickly wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

    “Lord Admiral Tandred Proudmoore and chamberlain Aegwynn have arrived, my Lady,” one of the guards outside announced.

    “Let them in.”

    The guard bowed his head and stepped back to let Tandred and Aegwynn through. Once they were well inside, he closed the door behind them.

    Jaina nodded in greeting while raising the glass once again and emptying it in a far more collected way than earlier. She couldn’t bring herself to produce even a small smile, and looking at Aegwynn’s pursed mouth, and Tandred’s hard expression, she saw that they only expected bad news.

    “I hope that Lady Sylvanas was not uncouth,” Tandred said before Jaina could finish her still much needed drink.

    It made her blink. Then she remembered that she had only been called because Sylvanas had wanted to speak with both Thrall and her. Shaking her head, she carefully set the glass down on the small table beside the jug.

    “No,” she said, grasping for how she could reveal this somewhat gently. She found no softening words. “She merely relayed a message. In the end, the situation forced us to accept a demand from the Lich King to speak with us.”

    Aegwynn’s eyebrows shot upwards, her eyes widening. It was the first time Jaina could recall seeing even that much of a reaction from the old sorceress. Tandred was more expressive. His mouth fell open, the color draining from his face.

    “Through an illusion, although… there’s so much,” Jaina finished, trailing off and suddenly feeling exhausted. How could she tell even those who were so dear to her about all the shocking events? But it was not the recollection of the violence that made her balk.

    “Jaina,” Tandred croaked. He took in a deep breath, his fists clenching. Though still obviously shocked, he made a grand effort to pull himself together.

    Jaina clenched her teeth, knowing that she would have to deliver another shock.

    “Tandred, sit down,” she said in as much a stern voice as she could manage. “Aegwynn, please keep a watch out for spies.”

    But Tandred did not sit down. While Aegwynn grimly nodded and closed her eyes to cast her will about, making sure that nobody was hiding within hearing range, Tandred grasped Jaina’s hands.

    “You’re as cold as ice,” he said, speaking softly although the worry was apparent in his voice and eyes alike. Reaching out, he brushed Jaina’s cheek. “I’ve never seen you so pale. To see him…?” His voice became a growl.

    Jaina felt as if her knees would give away. Heavily she sat down in an armchair, and instead of taking a seat Tandred hunched down on one knee, holding both her hands in his again.

    “Jaina?” he said, staring at her with confusion and worry.

    “It was shocking to see the Lich King, yes.” She cleared her throat, but it did not seem to do anything. “There are… many things that happened, that…”

    She took in a deep breath and started in another end, to give herself some more time to pull herself together.

    “The Lich King is not only Arthas’ alone,” she said, and Tandred’s eyebrows show upwards. “There is also the spirit of a dead orc named Ner’zhul. Both of them spoke to us in Thrall’s throne hall.”

    “But… what?” Tandred started, falling silent with a confused scowl on his face.

    “Ner’zhul,” Aegwynn repeated with a maddeningly calm voice. “Medivh mentioned him, I recall. From that, I believed that he had lost all power and favor in face of the Legion.”

    “Possibly, as it went according to–” Jaina cut herself off and shook her head.

    No. If she started to tell them what Varimathras had said, she would have to explain all of that and deal with Tandred’s horror at her being spoken to by a dreadlord. It would only be prolonging her own dread of getting to the part of the dialogue that had hurt her the most.

    “A lot of things happened, and I’ll tell you all about them, but one thing he revealed–” she paused, rubbing her cheek furiously. She wet her lips, forcing herself to look Tandred in the eye for a second before looking away.

    His hands squeezed hers.

    “Jaina, tell me what’s wrong, you’re killing me,” he hoarsely said.

    She could not bear to look at him again.

    “I did something very stupid once,” she murmured. “Back when Arthas courted me–”

    Tandred’s sharp intake of breath snapped her sentence in half and she clenched her hands, fingers numbing but desperately trying to hold on to his, imploring him not to withdraw.

    “I was a girl in love,” she bitterly said, “and I know shouldn’t have–”

    “Jaina, stop.” Tandred’s arms were around her suddenly, giving her a soothing squeeze. She fell silent, looking at him uncertainly. His voice sounded a little tight, but he spoke with as much calm as he could gather. “I’m not going to judge you, I saw the two of you, how much…” He trailed off.

    For a moment, she allowed herself to lean the side of her head against his, hugging him back and closing her eyes in mute gratitude. Aegwynn watched without a word, but a small smile touched her lips.

    Eventually, though, Jaina straightened up.

    “Even if you forgive me,” she started and he weakly shook his head as if there was nothing to forgive, when they both knew that this was no light matter, “others will find out. Even should all of my guards manage to hold their tongues, all the others that were there– it will reach the goblins eventually, and they will tell it to people of the Alliance.”

    Tandred clenched his teeth, as Jaina took in a deep breath and went on, voice hardening.

    “There are those who already call me orc whore, and you can’t rip off all their heads. They will only gain force with this.”

    And then there would be an outcry, a festering doubt if such an immoral woman, such a thoughtless harlot, could possibly be fit to rule. No, no…

    “Claim that he forced you,” Aegwynn said, a tone of cruel practicality in her voice. “Everyone knows what became of him. Stories of his ruthlessness from earlier years are already flourishing, true or no. Who would blame you then?”

    Jaina squared her jaw. Scowling, opening and closing his fists uselessly, Tandred stepped back to give her some breathing space.

    “It’s a solution, but how?” she said, “how could I make such a declaration? Hold a speech in front of the city?”

    The mere idea made her sick to her stomach.

    It was not the lie that made her cringe, not only. The memory of loving caresses and sweet kisses hurt like an open wound, more than ever, but at the same time there was rage at his betrayal – not only of her, but of everything. Yet the mere thought of throwing herself out into the judgment of Theramore, of all of Azeroth, for pity… no longer a politician or a sorceress, but reducing herself to a plain, vulnerable woman, leaving herself exposed.

    Naked, for all to see.

    Not only that, but lying to everyone was a dangerous, slippery slope even if it was for a good cause.

    “How?” she asked again, sharper as she looked up. Tandred avoided her gaze, staring at the wall while furiously pulling his beard.

    Aegwynn opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it again as her eyes swiveled to the side. Instinctual fear blossomed up in Jaina’s ragged mind – had the old sorceress sensed a spy after all?

    However, Aegwynn’s expression softened and her mouth quirked in a familiar, wry smile. Still looking towards the wall to the right of the door, she spoke.

    “I do believe your husband has come to pay us a visit, Jaina.”

    Tandred snapped up straight, and Jaina herself blinked. She was half out of her chair when there was a knock on the door.

    “Yes?” she called.

    The same guard as before opened the door, looking rather pale.

    “My Lady, your– the– His–” he staggered over the words, unable to deal with what was outside in the corridor with him.

    Emissary Southstone gently pulled him aside.

    “His Lordship wishes to see you, my Lady,” Thomas said in a perfectly collected voice.

    “Then let him in, of course,” Jaina said.

    Thomas bowed out of sight, and Thrall’s massive form filled the doorway as he stepped through. He grunted a command in Orcish over his shoulder, and before the door closed Jaina caught a flash of two Kor’kron Elites, and Messenger Ta’sih, standing outside.

    From the corner of her eye she saw Tandred stiffen, probably as much because of the Warchief’s presence as the snarl on his face. However, Jaina knew Thrall well enough to tell that it was a look of concern, not anger. It softened as she met him halfway across the floor, laying her hands in one of his. The other huge, armored hand went to her shoulder.

    She did not feel anything like instantly safe in his presence, but it was a relief to see him again. To leave so suddenly as she had, had been a mistake. That seemed so obvious now, when she had managed to gather some of her wits again.

    “Has something happened?” she asked, skipping right past the verbal greetings.

    She seemed to be asking questions like that so very, very often lately. Thrall pursed his mouth, pushing his lips against the two large protruding tusks.

    “The shockwaves are still moving through Orgrimmar and they are heading towards Nagrand even as we speak,” he said, shaking his head. “I have addressed my people about Ner’zhul. Most are screaming to head to Northrend, swimming if they must, to twist his new head off.” He lifted his hand from her shoulder and rubbed his forehead. “It may not have been wise of me to come here right now, but you know what this means as much as I do. Ner’zhul is a pariah to us, however, my advisors and I are all aware of how many others will take these news.”

    A lump of ice had steadily formed in Jaina’s stomach, but she nodded with determination. It was an issue she had tried not to think about before she could deal with telling Tandred the truth. That Thrall made her face it now, though, meant only that she did not have to consider it on her own.

    “We must decide how to address the Alliance, and quickly,” she agreed.

    The news would spread, and only grow more inflammatory if Thrall and she remained silent for too long.

    “I believe we fell in a trap,” Thrall said with a sigh. “He obviously wanted to create an uproar to destabilize us.”

    “True…”

    She wanted to lean close to him, and felt his gloved fingers brushing her shoulder and hands. Still he remained still out of respect for what was proper behavior here, as did she. They were not alone, and reminded of that she looked around. Aegwynn nodded slowly, smiling the same smile, while Tandred looked torn. As he met Jaina’s gaze however, her brother took in a deep breath.

    “Very true, Warchief,” he said, keeping his voice steady. “People will be screaming for blood. The best we can do is try to aim their rage in the right direction.”

    “Indeed, Admiral,” Thrall said. He shook his head. “Your people hate Prince Arthas, and my people hate Ner’zhul. It should, at least theoretically, be possible to join against a common enemy. We did it before.”

    Jaina met his gaze, and for at least a moment hope fluttered stronger than all her concerns. Thrall’s thumb stroke the back of her hand.

    Yes, they had done that before.

    Even so, that had been a demon leading a swarm of undead. There had been no doubt that it was something that everyone could hate and fear – and even then there had been severe reluctance.

    “Warchief…” Tandred paused, hesitated and then squared his jaw. “I don’t know your peoples’ history. Who is Ner’zhul?”

    Had the situation been kinder on all of them, Jaina’s soul would have soared. Tandred was still on his guard, but the fact that he approached Thrall, that he asked about the background instead of jumping to conclusions, it promised things she had never dared to believe.

    “It was before I was even born, Admiral,” Thrall replied, “and it’s a long story. To make it short…”

    He briefly recounted the story of how the orc tribes were poisoned by the bond Ner’zhul forged with Kil’jaeden, that downwards spiral which was then led onwards by Gul’dan. From there Thrall leapt forwards to where the demons left the orcs to waste away after their defeat, with no rage to burn within and carry them, and no spirits to guide them in how to heal the wounds in their souls. Jaina stepped in to add little things only towards that end, when she realized that Thrall would not say much about his own part in the eventual healing process. His humility made her smile with the warmth swelling in her chest, but she still felt he deserved more recognition than he was prepared to give himself.

    He smiled back, faintly and with a tint of amusement at her insistence that his role in the story be revealed.

    Together, they then recounted what had happened when the Lich King spoke to them and attacked. At the end of that, Aegwynn stood silent in thought, and Tandred paced back and forth, obviously trying to digest everything. Still, it was a wonder in itself that he was either distraught enough by it all, or by now used enough to Thrall’s presence, to actually do something like that in front of the Warchief.

    Thrall looked at Jaina, and his fangs showed in a grim smile.

    “There was one good thing, though, indirectly,” he said. “My spies let me know that Neeru Fireblade and several of the higher warlocks in the Cleft were practically going to pieces. Ner’zhul had no power within the Shadow Council as far as I know, but he was still an important figure to them. This piece of news will hopefully cause confusion amongst their numbers.”

    “That’s good news,” Jaina said, nodding at him. At least, it would be one thing they might not have to worry so much about for a while. She managed to smile a little. “And you did manage to rattle the Lich King as well.”

    “Barely,” he admitted, but then he smiled softer. “But, also, you defended me. Everyone there saw you falter at his words, and then you still fought by my side. That means more than you might realize.”

    Jaina recalled the way that the people in the throne room had looked at her when she spoke up in Sylvanas’ defense. She had not thought about it, not with everything else that had been going on, but now that Thrall spoke of it she turned it over in her head. She had not felt brave but it must have been seen as that. The orcs were warriors, too. What she had done was to rally courage to stand and fight beside her mate, even when she had been obviously thrown off balance.

    Thrall’s smile faded.

    “But, the question remains how to deal with the Alliance side of this issue,” he said.

    That fact sent an icy hand crawling down Jaina’s spine. But it was true – and there were things they could use to draw attention away from the Lich King originally being only an orc spirit.

    “We…” She forced herself not to glance at Aegwynn and Tandred, and cleared her throat. “I won’t allow people to think that this is all the orcs’ fault,” she started again, steeling herself. “The Legion are behind it, and Arthas is certainly a large part of it now–”

    There was a sudden, muffled sound of metallic clanging, and scuffling, from the other side of the door. Voices too, rising quickly until they shouted loud enough to be heard into the room. Jaina and the others all spun towards the escalating sound of arguing.

    “We will not stand down when your Warchief has forced himself on our Lady Proudmoore!”

    “How dare you, you pink little worm!”

    Tandred made it to the door first, and ripped it open.

    “What is going on out here?” he demanded, voice nearly drowning in Thrall’s growl of the same.

    Jaina caught sight of one of her guards and a female Kor’kron Elite snarling at each other, he held back by his own companion and Thomas, she held back by the male Elite. In the next moment Ta’sih stepped in between, throwing out her glowing hands at both of the antagonists. At her rough command, the light leapt from her and straight into the two fighters’ chests. Both of them choked, grasping their throats as they coughed. But the silencing spell instantly stopped the argument.

    Thrall: "Hey, I was the one who got forced into this!"


    When I first wrote this, I was drawing a blank up there where I needed a synonym for "whore". And you know what? Microsoft Word refused to give me any variations of that word :D D'aaaw.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  18. #198
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Someone has been busy here;)
    No. If she started to tell them what Varimathras had said, she would have to explain all of that and deal with Tandred’s horror at her being spoken to by a dreadlord.
    Um, we are talking about the same Jaina who blocked Archimonde at the hyjal summit, right? Isn't a dreadlord small fry compared to that?

    By the way, if sorceresses exist in the game world, wouldn't that lead to a changed power balance and a more relaxed sex ethic? Not to mention that Jaina was aristocracy. And the human who saved their collected asses from them scary demons.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  19. #199
    Lone wanderer in infinity Manus Dei's Avatar
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    Well, Tandred wasn't there at Hyjal, and he's probably only heard parts of the whole thing. Being there was something else entirely. And if the Lich King assaulting his sister isn't bad enough, then there's the matter of a creature of the Legion still being loose on Azeroth.
    "By dreaming, we transcend and surpass simple life and the boundaries of time and space, touching the essence of eternity. Our dreams release us from the shackles of daily life and sometimes empower us to change reality."

    -- Memories of a Guardian


  20. #200
    What is this I don't even pokefreak_85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weiila View Post
    When I first wrote this, I was drawing a blank up there where I needed a synonym for "whore". And you know what? Microsoft Word refused to give me any variations of that word :D D'aaaw.
    Harlot, strumpet, trollop, drab, prostitute...
    Of course, those are only the ones that are most useful as insults in this case. Some less insulting/relevant synonyms are streetwalker, call girl, escort, courtesan, comfort girl/woman...

    Need any more? Always happy to help. ;)

  21. #201
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    I thought wench was the traditional word for these settings. Weii could probably look up a thesaurus anyway.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  22. #202
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestion guys, but I had already figured out "harlot" on my own. :D I just thought that it was cute that Word was so politically correct.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  23. #203
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Despite being dead to the board for quite a while, I've still got a pulse. I've just been insanely busy with finishing my education. Trainee period GO... well, last week GO. Then it's ten weeks of final project thing and I'm good to go, woo!

    And I'm sorry for being scarce for everyone else too. Hope you're holding up okay down in Greece, Rig.


    Aaanyway...


    The shock of that gave everyone in the corridor a chance to notice that the door was open and that they were getting glares. The female Kor’kron turned away from Thrall’s stern look, her movements tense with rage and her fists opening and clenching. After a moment, the Theramore guard took a step back.

    Rather awkwardly, those who had gotten in between the fight backed off too, glancing between the fighters and the people in the door.

    Jaina barely noticed it, and later it would make her lips twitch – right then she only vaguely registered Thomas’ mumble.

    “Thank you for your help, Lady Ta’sih,” he said, glancing up at the troll mage.

    Ta’sih raised her furry eyebrows at the title. Then she smiled, although a little stiffly still. At that point however, Thomas had already looked away, running a hand through his hair. He didn’t see the way she studied him.

    The air hung tense between and within the three groups. Somebody had to place or take the blame.

    In the end it was Tandred who acted first, crossing his arms and taking in a deep breath.

    “It warms my heart that you would defend my sister’s honor,” he said, “but I must ask you to not speak that way about my brother-in-law.”

    For a moment, Jaina was certain that she must have misheard. But if she had, then everyone else must have heard wrong too, judging by the expressions on the others’ faces. Even Thrall looked taken aback.

    The Warchief caught himself quickly, though, and turned to his guards.

    “For the sake of avoiding this kind of thing, you two should return to Orgrimmar,” he said. “I will return shortly.”

    “Warchief–” the male Kor’kron started, hesitantly. He fell silent under Thrall’s even gaze.

    “I doubt that there is anything here that could harm me,” Thrall said.

    The female Kor’kron turned her head briefly towards him, then quickly away again. She did not attempt to speak again. The muting spell could still in effect, but her silence weighed heavier than that.

    Thrall nodded to Ta’sih, who caught the hint and raised her hands to summon another portal. As it shimmered into existence, the two Kor’krons stepped towards it, their armor clanging and clattering.

    Satisfied with that, Tandred started to close the door. Just before it shut, the offending Theramore guard muttered a hasty, stuttered apology in a hoarse voice. It went unanswered but for a nod from Tandred.

    He let go of the door and turned around to face the other three in the room.

    “Let’s… let’s not talk about what I said,” Tandred said, his voice probably as calm as he could make it. He glanced at Jaina, then away and back again when her shock finally let up enough to allow her a faint, but warm and grateful smile.

    “As you wish, Admiral,” Thrall tactfully said.

    “Thank you.” Tandred turned around fully and decisively returned them all to the more important subject at hand. “What were you saying when we were interrupted, Jaina?”

    She turned serious, as did Thrall and Aegwynn.

    “Yes. Now…” Jaina took in a deep breath. “Everyone there heard what he said about Arthas and me,” she said. “The way I reacted, too…” She had to pause to subdue her own unease, watching Thrall slowly nod understanding. “He gave us an argumentative weapon to use. I don’t really want to lie about what happened in the past, but if we add a new shock about Arthas to the news about Ner’zhul…” She looked at Aegwynn. “Like you said before, the view of him as a hero is already broken. And so, if I claim that he was never so noble as people thought, it will be hard for anybody to claim that he was simply corrupted by an orc.”

    “Both a corrupt orc and a human, indeed,” Thrall said. As Jaina nodded, he thoughtfully looked at her. “You can claim that Arthas hurt you, and the people who were in Grommash Hold will doubtlessly believe it. But how would you make that known?”

    “I will have to, somehow…” she trailed off, rubbing her temple.

    Her mouth ran dry at the thought of standing there, looking down at the people of Theramore and ask them for their sympathy, for a horrible fate she had not suffered. She briefly wondered if it would have felt better or worse if it had been actually true. Then she felt foolish for even considering that, when it only could have been far, far worse.

    “No,” Aegwynn said. She got the others’ attention immediately, and smiled as she took one of Jaina’s cold hands between her old, wrinkled ones. “It’s not a disgraced woman’s duty to reveal her agony. That will only create pity, and we want outrage.”

    She smiled a bit wider.

    “That duty falls upon those who should defend the disgraced woman’s honor.”

    ‘-‘

    The cloud-veiled sunlight of the late afternoon didn’t warm Theramore much, but the wind carried from the ocean was not chilly. The people gathered before the citadel didn’t need to worry about freezing. It was probably the last thing on their minds anyway. It had been a sudden call by the town criers to come to the citadel, but the abruptness also held a spicy note of something important happening. Rumors were already spreading about Lady Proudmoore having been asked to speak with Lady Sylvanas. The people had already been gravelly shocked a few days ago at the unexpected wedding. What might it be this time? Nobody seemed to know either, neither town criers nor city guards had been able to share any information no matter how many times they were asked.

    The air was abuzz with excitement, tinged with both worry and burning curiosity.

    “Citizens.”

    The voice snapped off all ongoing, whispered or loud conversations as all eyes turned towards the balcony high above the ground. Up there, an armored man flanked by two Theramore guards stepped forwards so that everyone below should be able to see him. Many a new, curious whisper started when people took in his blond hair and the green and golden Kul Tiras tabard he wore.

    “For those of you who do not know me, I am Lord Admiral Tandred Proudmoore, brother of Lady Jaina Proudmoore.” Just like during the sudden wedding ceremony a few days ago and Jaina’s speech to the people of Theramore afterwards, a spell amplified Tandred’s voice to make him audible to everyone below.

    He looked and sounded admirably calm, considering the task set before him.

    “There are things that my sister feels you need to be made aware of. The reason that I am addressing you in her stead, is that she suffered such a heavy blow today that she is unable to do this herself.”

    The curious air was instantly snuffed out. A fearful murmur rose as the audience stared up at Tandred.

    “She is well, physically,” Tandred hurriedly continued. “It was not that kind of blow. Today, my sister and her husband were forced to face the Lich King, through a magical link.” The last few words were almost drowned out in the gasps and outcries of shock from below. Tandred continued, a bit louder. “Though he attempted to attack them, they both fought back until his link was broken. However, two things were revealed during this. The first one is that the Lich King is former Prince Arthas of Lordaeron, combined with a second spirit. The other thing–”

    He grasped the stone railing of the balcony with one hand, his entire body tense. The new wave of murmurs, born from the mention of Prince Arthas, settled somewhat. Breathless. Anxious.

    “The Lich King sought to bring my sister off balance,” Tandred started again through clenched teeth. “To accomplish this, he revealed the most heinous thing, a painful secret she has borne silently for years. For her sake it should have remained that way, but Prince Arthas saw fit to revel in his crime, in front of my sister’s husband and everyone else who was there.”

    The murmur was rising again, with a mix of confusion and fearful outrage. Some did not yet understand, and some did but didn’t want to believe that their Lady Proudmoore could have been treated so horrifically.

    “I know now that Prince Arthas,” Tandred said, his voice icy and hard, “was no better than a drunkard felon, with no respect for a Lady’s virtue.”

    He had prepared them well. The crowd near exploded.

    There were cries, and shouts, and roars of fury, not only from the civilians but also from the shocked city guards, none of which had known either. The same noises came from inside the citadel too, from the open windows where more guards, as well as servants, messengers, ambassadors and many others were also listening.

    Tandred let it go on for a few seconds before he raised his hand.

    “Order! There is more,” he called.

    He had to repeat himself more than once, in a rising voice, before he was heeded. Even then, it took a while longer before the rage began to settle to where the seething people seemed prepared to hear anything else.

    “That was only part of what was made known earlier today,” Tandred said. He made a motion to his right and then moved sideways as if to make room. He sounded calm again, though that was surely thanks to him mentally preparing himself for saying this. “The rest of it, you should hear from my sister’s husband.”

    A hush fell over the unruly crowd, jaws falling open at the sight of the bulky creature stepping up beside Admiral Proudmoore. His heavy footsteps seemed to ring through the air, with or without the sound enhancing spell.

    “Citizens of Theramore.”

    Warchief Thrall paused, and the silence stretched as before their eyes, he worked his jaw.

    “I would have wanted to speak to you of better things, the first time I stood here. Yet our enemies did not allow that. Seeing the Lich King himself was shocking enough, but what he revealed just to torture…” He fell silent, and his huge right hand rose, clenching into a fist. As he continued, his voice fell to a growl. “I am too furious to say anything invigorating to you all. Only this. I swear that he will pay dearly, along with the filthy second half of the Lich King.”

    People were exchanging glances and whispering amongst themselves again. But they listened when Thrall continued.

    “I will admit I knew about it, because just a few days ago Lady Proudmoore told me the truth herself, in the strictest of confidences.” He softened his tone towards the end, to imply that she had shared this information so that he might act accordingly about it. When he went on, though, his voice hardened again. “It was not a secret he had any right to tell.”

    The whispers started again. It was a boiling cauldron of low voices, hissed opinions and questions stirred into a brew where it was impossible to read anything specific. The general tone, though, was definitely upset, but – and this was right in that moment the most important thing – not at the orc standing on the balcony. Shocked as everyone already was from Tandred’s speech, seeing their Horde Lordship standing there unannounced was not as alarming as it might have otherwise been. At least for now, they accepted him. And this was the first time, creating a solid ground from where future acceptance of this orc as their Lady Proudmoore’s husband could grow stronger.

    In the next few minutes, he had to risk that groundwork.

    “Bear with me now, because I will tell you all a tale that will not at once seem relevant,” he said.

    Then, he told the people much of the same story as he had told Tandred earlier, about the orcs’ fall to the Legion. Within the crowd, occasionally there would be somebody making a comment or starting to say something loud. Almost every time this happened, somebody else would hush at them.

    The people listened. Confused, but rapt.

    “And Ner’zhul, it seems,” Thrall finally said after finishing the tale, “is the second half of the Lich King, returned to attempt to damn us all again.” He raised his hand when the brief, breathless silence just started to erupt again. “We faced a common enemy together once, you and my people. I only ask that you remember that too, as you consider all that you have learnt today. We faced that demon and his Scourge, and we were victorious.”

    He took a step back. Before the eyes of the muttering crowd, he briefly nodded to Tandred.

    “Admiral.”

    Tandred nodded back.

    “Warchief.”

    It was a tiny thing, really. But the people were reeling from all the things that suddenly had been thrown at them, trying to sort out what it all meant, where to even start trying to understand it. In that confusion, the final image was of the Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras and the Warchief of the Horde being cordial to each other – in the face of much more sinister things than factional hatred.

    There had been shock and fear, and those things still lingered. But the Warchief’s last words were those of good, strong hope, and so was the sight of that simple little exchange between him and Tandred. It was as if a sigh of relief went through the crowd. There were no cheers when Thrall walked out of sight and into the citadel, it was not the time for that, but the tone of the rising conversations was not at all condemning.

    Jaina waited inside the room adjacent to the balcony, together with Aegwynn. She very pointedly had avoided looking at the also present guards throughout the speeches, but she could feel their gazes on her. At least by a fraction, she managed to relax when Thrall met her gaze. They did not speak, however, considering the things that had been said out there. Anything they wanted to say would have sounded very odd after all of that, in front of an audience. Jaina merely reached out and put her hand in Thrall’s when he offered it.

    Tandred joined them a moment later. Looking unusually serious, Aegwynn raised her hands and dissolved the spell that had amplified the speakers’ voices out on the balcony.

    “I will speak with you later, then,” Tandred said as soon as Aegwynn motioned that it was safe to talk and not be heard by the entire city.

    Jaina managed a small smile and a murmured “thank you,” to which he briefly smiled back before heading towards the door. Later, she would tell him how grateful she was, as well as impressed by his rhetoric skills. She would have expected nothing less from Thrall, but she had not been sure if Tandred would be comfortable in the speaker’s seat. However, he had performed amazingly well. At that moment, though, she was grateful for his tactful leaving.

    The closing of the door behind Tandred still left Aegwynn and the guards, though. Jaina looked up at Thrall, with all her might fighting down a sigh.

    “There are things in Orgrimmar I must attend to,” Thrall murmured. His tone and his gaze said everything about how he felt about it. How they both felt about it. Yet, it was true, painful as it was.

    Jaina nodded, unable to keep the motion from being a little stiff. She had to struggle against a wish to lead him back to her chambers and lock the world outside. It would be too selfish of both of them, especially when he had already stayed away from the Horde’s outrage for longer than he should have.

    His thumb longingly stroke her knuckles.

    “I know,” Jaina said in a low voice, squeezing the edge of his hand. “I’ll see you later on.”

    She was about to say “in the evening,” but didn’t as it might be wishful thinking. Who knew how long the awaiting issues might take?

    The door opened, and Messenger Ta’sih literally sneaked inside, her bare feet making nary a sound. She watched Thrall for a sign, and only spoke enough to call forth a portal once he nodded at her.

    Jaina briefly met his gaze one last time, then glanced the other way when he walked through the portal and disappeared. Her hand tingled from the ghost feel of his.

    ‘-‘

    The following hours were torture. Never in her life had Jaina experienced time dragging on so horribly. She paced in her bedroom, glancing at the magical rune on the desk every other second. Had the day played out differently, she would have had something to do. Certainly, there were a lot of things she could have done, like seeing upset petitioners about everything that had happened.

    However, now she had to play the distraught woman who didn’t wish to see anybody for the rest of the day. Very often she had dreamily thought about a few hours of free time, but enjoying it now was impossible. She couldn’t concentrate enough to read reports, much less to do some leisure reading, or think of anything else to do. Not even teleporting to the beach where she normally let loose her anger at rocks and drift wood seemed appealing.

    Frustration and boredom ate away at her. All she could think of and do was to wait, and that drove her insane with irritation. In any other situation, she would at least have a chance to take action on her own. Only being able to wait for Thrall to get away and call for her was an utterly aggravating experience.

    It was a circumstance forced onto her, and the fact that she had still had a large hand in it herself didn’t offer any comfort.

    When the rune flared up, she almost stumbled over a chair when she dove for it. She snatched the stone up and had to force herself to pause to gather her wits before continuing. Teleporting in such a frenzied state of mind was never a good idea.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  24. #204
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Okay, finally got around to reading it.
    The female Kor’kron turned away from Thrall’s stern look, her movements tense with rage and her fists opening and clenching
    Maybe lose the "and" before "her fists..."? It'd scan better.
    “I doubt that there is anything here that could harm me,”
    I'M MEAN AND GREEN, PUNY CREATURES. Running with the spirits probably does no harm either.

    The muting spell could still in effect, but her silence weighed heavier than that.
    may have still been in effect?

    So, Jaina and co. are pulling an inverse Fair Helen? Will they be marching out or is it a general call-to-arms speech cum damage control? One has to wonder though how good an idea is it for Jaina to play the "poor me" angle (it's a blow to her image as a leader -- think of the polls! Would people believe an undead leader anyway?).

    The door opened, and Messenger Ta’sih literally sneaked inside, her bare feet making nary a sound.
    "without a sound" obviates "literally".
    Teleporting in such a frenzied state of mind was never a good idea.
    I like how teleporting is somehow the equivalent of driving here.

    Anyway, good to hear from you, Weiila. Is that the trainee spot in your city's archives? It is to be expected that important level-ups require some grinding, but at least you'll squeeze some extra MP out of the deal.

    I'm doing fine down here; the country isn't doing that well. I'm waiting for replies to see where will I do my Master's (curiously, I didn't find any programs for Master of the Universe, which disappointed me a bit) and doing book/publishing stuff meanwhile. I'm also putting off cataloguing my library (previous index got lost between computers) and playing Baldur's Gate 2 on and off. And stuff.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  25. #205
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    ... oops.

    I'm trying to get another chapter churned out today, and then I realized that I never got around posting the end of the last one here. New material coming up soonish, but for now...


    After taking in a couple of deep breaths, she closed her eyes and focused, holding the rune tightly between her hands. The world spun around her in a flood of tingles, but she stood firm being so used to the spell.

    She opened her eyes as soon as she felt and breathed the warm air of Orgrimmar. Doing so, she found that it had been doubly wise to compose herself before teleporting, for as it turned out, Thrall was not alone in his chambers.

    Standing straight and stiff, her heavy helmet under her arm, was a female Kor’kron Elite. Her gaze instantly darted to Jaina, who in turn sought Thrall and turned her face towards him.

    “Good evening,” Thrall said, his voice calm as he absently dropped his own rune on his writing table. Jaina noticed his fingers twitch as he stepped closer, though.

    She nodded back, just as distractedly dropping her rune in a pocket.

    “This is Harka,” Thrall continued as he stopped beside Jaina, motioning towards the Kor’kron. “She was in Theramore earlier today.”

    The one who had gotten into an argument with the human guard, then.

    “I see,” Jaina said. She paused, uncertain what to say next. However, the female orc quickly brought her own issue forwards.

    “I wanted to apologize to you as well, Lady,” Harka said, steadily watching Jaina. “When that man accused the Warchief of something like that, I couldn’t control myself.”

    Jaina relaxed slightly, shaking her head.

    “No,” she said. “I believe there is far more reason for me to be angry at my guard, not you.”

    Harka’s hand clenched to a fist, then forcefully relaxed.

    “And, Lady, especially after–” she started, but cut herself off, looking disturbed.

    Jaina shook her head again, lifting her hand towards Thrall. His slight scowl eased and he smiled down at her.

    “Such an accusation is mere nonsense,” Jaina said, firmly. “The Warchief has always been very considerate of me, as with everything else.”

    A spark of relief flared in Harka’s eyes before she managed to subdue it. Jaina kept her face impassive, because sadly it did not surprise her that much. She and Thrall had, after all, early on concluded that it was better for her own people to think that the marriage was a sacrifice for the cause of peace on her part. That his people would suspect the same was only to be expected, even if in Thrall’s case that harmed his reputation.

    “Of course, Lady,” Harka said, taking a bow. “I thank you for your time.”

    “It was my pleasure,” Jaina replied.

    Bowing her head once more to Thrall, Harka turned around and briskly walked towards the door. Her boots beat a steady staccato, which to Jaina’s ears only seemed to become louder and louder for each step.

    Ten paces left to the door. Nine. Eight…

    It was ridiculous, because it was not a long way to go, but the orc woman never seemed to reach the door. Drawing out the moments it would take before they would finally, finally be alone.

    Five paces.

    Four. Three. Two…

    Harka reached the exit of the chamber and stopped. She stretched out her hand and grasped the handle, drawing the door open and absently nodding to the two Kor’kron guards standing outside. Then she walked through, turning halfway in mid-step to draw the door shut behind her.

    The thud of the wood closing up the opening in the wall had hardly hit the air before Jaina spun on her heels towards Thrall, half diving and half torn into his – lamentably armored – embrace. He bent down and without a sign of strain hoisted her up into his arms. For a moment she winced and shifted uncomfortably when some blunt edges of his armor bit into her body, but she soon found a semblance of balance. That was all secondary, however, as she wrapped her arms around Thrall’s neck and pressed her forehead to his when he leaned in.

    For a little while, neither of them spoke. Jaina’s breath came unsteadily, in shaky gasps. By contrast, Thrall breathed deeply, turning his head to press his nose against her cheek. One of his tusks pushed against her jaw line, all the dents and imperfections fully felt and so wonderfully personal, so much him. Like his earthy scent which filled her nostrils for every steadying breath, the familiarity soothing her, just like he seemed to enjoy the scent of her right then. Closing her eyes she stroke his face, feeling the warm skin beneath her fingertips, playing with the black, coarse threads of his beard.

    Thrall moved the arm that supported Jaina’s back so that he could hold up his hand. She opened her eyes to look, seeing him hold the tips of his thumb and pointing finger a mere breath apart.

    “I was this close to ordering her to run out,” he said.

    Jaina blinked, then laughed softly and pressed her hand against his cheek.

    “I wouldn’t have blamed you at all if you did,” she murmured.

    A warm hum left his mouth, but he fell silent when her hand drifted down to his neck. At first he did not move, but then he tilted his chin up to let her see. There was no mark left after the chain that the Lich King had chafed Thrall’s spirit wolf – and by extension the Warchief himself – with just a few hours ago.

    He was alive. Light, he was alive, when for a few horrifying moments she had thought that he might lose. She had to suppress a sudden shudder, an echo of the terror at how close it had been. Ducking in she nuzzled his throat, pressing a kiss to it. Thrall softly grunted and shifted his grip again, holding her closer if such a thing could be possible.

    “How are you feeling?” he asked, rubbing his gloved thumb against her back. “After using a shield like that…” He trailed off. Nothing else really needed to be said about that.

    “I drank a lot of water,” Jaina said, then admitted, “but I’ll probably have a headache tomorrow.” She straightened, smiling slightly and shaking her head. “It’s nothing.” It really wasn’t. “How about you?”

    “I’ve had time to recover, even if it was draining.”

    For a moment it seemed as if he would leave it at that unless prodded, but then he suddenly made a motion towards his neck, curling his pointing finger to draw an invisible line over his no longer marked skin.

    “I truly did not like that at all,” he said in a quiet voice.

    Jaina’s chest tightened at this simple admission and all that it carried within. How blind of her to let that drown amongst the universal shock and her own pain – what a collar and chain around his neck must have sent tearing through Thrall’s memories.

    She reached around and hugged him tightly again, perhaps childishly hoping to chase some of that phantom pain away with the warmth of her arms.

    It was disquieting to say the least, how the Lich King managed, with such ease, to strike their most sensitive nerves.

    “But you didn’t let it bring you off balance,” she murmured. Wishing she could think of something more encouraging to say.

    Thrall gently squeezed her against his chest.

    “I had to,” he said.

    There was no reply she could think of to that truth, so she simply hummed. That had been why she managed to hold the protective wall up for so long, too.

    They both stayed true to the unspoken agreement not to speak of what the whole day had meant for the bigger picture, for the politics and their people. Right then, both of them needed so desperately to be allowed to care only for each other’s well being.

    A growl from Thrall’s stomach, heard despite the mighty armor he wore, broke the heavy silence. Their eyes met. Jaina’s lips twitched involuntarily, but in the next moment Thrall smiled and they both relaxed.

    “Did you have dinner yet?” he asked.

    “No.” She shook her head. Food had seemed a very distant issue for a long time. She still couldn’t claim to have a great appetite. “I would be fine with just a bit of fruit, myself.”

    He nodded understanding and shifted, slowly letting her slip down out of his grip until she stood on the floor.

    “I anticipated as much,” he said and gestured towards the furs on the floor, where they had sat and ate together a few times before.

    Jaina glanced that way. She hadn’t even noticed that there was a big plate with cold meat, bread and fruit already waiting, preoccupied with other matters as she had been.

    “I’ll be right there,” Thrall said, brushing his hand over her shoulder. That said, he moved towards the scaffold where he let Doomhammer’s armor rest when not wearing it.

    Following his unspoken urging, Jaina went to sit down on one of the soft furs, but she didn’t touch any of the food. Instead she waited for him, watching as he relived himself from one piece of armor after another with skilled fingers.

    It was not a long wait. Soon enough he crossed the floor again and sat down beside her. Strange, really, she reflected – that it did not make her as impatient though it took much longer than Harka’s excruciatingly drawn out walk.

    Even so, it felt as if she could finally breathe easy when she could lean against him and he draped his arm across her back. He didn’t have to move much to reach the plate of food, retrieving a generous slice of bread and a heavy branch of grapes. With a small, playful smile he let the branch slide down to dangle from his little finger. Jaina took it as he offered it like that, chuckling softly. When she looked up at him, though, his expression was more serious.

    “I don’t know if you want to avoid that subject,” Thrall said, his warm hand gently squeezing her side. “But I’ll keep wondering if seeing Arthas was more shocking to you than you want to admit.”

    There were times, Jaina knew from past experience and now discovered once again, when Thrall’s perceptiveness was almost too great. Yet, she also knew just as well that certain things needed to be faced and fought through before they could be laid to rest.

    Still…

    “I’ll recover,” she assured him. She met his gaze and let her face and shoulders relax, smiling faintly. She gathered the bunch of grapes in one hand, stretching her other arm around Thrall’s back. She could hardly reach across it. “I will want to talk about it, but not right now. I don’t want him in our bedroom.”

    That made Thrall chuckle, but there was a warm undertone to it and a glint in his eye which told her that he recognized her choice of words in that bizarre final sentence. It was the first time that either of them referred to his chambers as something they shared. In retrospect, it seemed to have taken longer than it should, but at the same time, it took the time it needed.

    Jaina closed her eyes and rested her temple against Thrall’s side, breathing deeply. The day had been painful, and frightening, and if she could have one wish granted, it would be that this healing, much needed evening would be as long as the previous hours had felt.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  26. #206
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    The thud of the wood closing up the opening in the wall had hardly hit the air before Jaina spun on her heels towards Thrall, half diving and half torn into his – lamentably armored – embrace. He bent down and without a sign of strain hoisted her up into his arms. For a moment she winced and shifted uncomfortably when some blunt edges of his armor bit into her body, but she soon found a semblance of balance. That was all secondary, however, as she wrapped her arms around Thrall’s neck and pressed her forehead to his when he leaned in.
    Getting sappy after a long day? edit: Though I was listening to this at the time.
    How blind of her to let that drown amongst the universal shock and her own pain – what a collar and chain around his neck must have sent tearing through Thrall’s memories.
    You could emphasize that part perhaps through hints when it happens. By the way there are playthroughs of Warcraft Adventures online.

    You know, I thought you had ended this one, perhaps because you were so focused on it for a time. I think the main fault of the story, all in all, is that it seems ever expanding, without many cuts (or off-camera time) so it can breathe.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  27. #207
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Haha, and I get a bit exasperated because my reviewers just want more focus on the cuddling. I've even gotten complaints at the lack of the phrase "I love you".

    There's been a lot going on this spring with my education and job etc, so that's why I've preferred working on the shorter stuff if anything at all.

    It's almost done, and the next chapter is a little bit of a breather hopefully, before we get to the celebration and then move on to the epilogues. :)
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  28. #208
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weiila View Post
    Haha, and I get a bit exasperated because my reviewers just want more focus on the cuddling. I've even gotten complaints at the lack of the phrase "I love you".
    -I love you when you are repelling demonic hordes, darling.
    -Oh, honeycakes, you *know* how I feel about the word "horde".

    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  29. #209
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    This is a very wordy chapter, so let's start it off with some of that famed cuddling to make all the chatter go down in the most de~lightful way!



    Waking up was not a welcome sensation. It meant awareness. That in itself was not a bad thing, not when it brought the scent and warmth of Thrall’s skin. Unfortunately, the next piece of awareness was that of it being morning, with the ever impending time to part.

    Jaina reluctantly stirred.

    Thrall’s thumb brushed her forehead, stroking away some stray strands of hair. She wasn’t surprised to realize that he had probably been awake for some time. Wondering how long he had been just lying there waiting for her to wake up made her smile, eyes still closed, and roll over on her side to press against the warm wall that was his chest.

    His hand whispered over her shoulder and to her back, staying there and holding her close.

    “Morning,” Jaina mumbled, opening one eye and only seeing a shadowed expanse of green skin.

    Thrall hummed in the negative.

    “It’s still early,” he murmured. Pressing her forehead to his throat lightly, she could feel the words vibrating inside. “Far too early to rise.”

    She turned her head a bit, enough to take note of the light filtering in through the shutters of the windows. It was crisp and clear, signifying that indeed it was early. But, that wasn’t normally a reason not to get out of bed once they were awake.

    It was an excellent idea of Thrall’s to linger a little longer, though, so protesting against it was the last thing on Jaina’s mind. A sudden small gust of wind found its way through the shutters of the closest window and disturbed the warm air of the chamber. Not much, but it tickled the bare skin of Jaina’s shoulders and upper back. With a soft grunt she pulled at the blanket and dragged it higher up over herself and Thrall’s arm.

    “I agree,” she said, sinking back against him and closing her eyes again. “I’m sure everybody expects us to be a little late today, considering everything that happened yesterday.” She grunted again, an unusual hint of rebelliousness in her voice. “And if not, then let them wait anyway.”

    She didn’t want to get out of bed, she didn’t want to go out and be a politician and be proper and pretend to be struggling against her pain for some of the revelations yesterday. There were enough real things that had happened during the last day that had almost torn her apart. One of them being the excruciating wait for when the two of them could finally be together, to heal in peace. She was far from sure that there had even been enough time to heal yet.

    Thrall’s hands were around her then, hauling her upwards over the mattress as he moved back a little to look her in the eye, smiling softly. It brought her out of the cocoon of the blanket, but she could forgive him for that. His warm fingers and palms made up for it, though they dotted her skin with goose bumps for entirely different reasons than the sliver of wind.

    “I wish we could afford to be selfish more often,” he said.

    There was an undeniable wistfulness in his words, but also that determination to not let the much needed respite from last night end just yet. Jaina nodded slowly, her eyes hooded as she reached out to tuck a long strand of black hair behind his ear. Last evening when he’d pulled the leather cords and metallic bracelets holding his braids free, they had laughed about him letting his hair down.

    Her fingers lingered, tracing his pointed ear. Thrall released a slow, soft sigh and his eyes slid shut. Jaina stroke her fingertips down the ear and followed his jaw line, then pressed her hand against it, level with his squat, pierced nose and protruding fangs and tusks.

    She thought about how beautiful it was to see him relaxed, free of the almost ever present lines – whether it be from determination, concern, or anger – on his forehead. Yes, she too wished that they could be selfish, that she could see him like this more often and know that he was at ease.

    When she reached forwards he drew her closer, so that she could drape one arm over his neck. His blue eyes opened just as she pressed her lips to his brow.

    Even if they could not be selfish as often as both of them wished, they had at the core of it already been as selfish as they could possibly be. This whole situation should have been impossible. It should have been hopeless. And still, she would come to his chambers again in the evening. They would celebrate together tomorrow, in broad daylight.

    There were a thousand things that could go wrong at any given moment, many things had already gone wrong or threatened to end in disaster. But right then, just for once, Jaina didn’t care. She didn’t even have to make herself brave enough to face all the current and possible future issues, because she wasn’t worried – the sober, ever present concern that was like a second nature to her dissipated with the simple and at the same time astounding fact of where they both were. They had this warm little moment in time. It would not be the last.

    One of Thrall’s hands left her back, and a moment later the back of his fingers brushed against her cheek. Then there was a slight push, hardly more than the caress. Light as it was Jaina moved with it, tipping herself until she slumped onto her back. Thrall propped himself up on one arm, reaching the other to place that hand on the mattress by her opposite shoulder.

    “It strikes me,” he said, “that many people will drink a lot tomorrow, and consequently suffer hangovers the next day. So much, perhaps, that we can sleep in again.”

    Jaina smiled wide.

    “Your wisdom is truly one of your most outstanding attributes,” she said, using the same jocularly overly dignified tone as he.

    For a moment they watched each other, lips twitching. Then Thrall’s expression softened and he shifted, moving his weight to the other arm until he leaned over her. His long hair slipped over his shoulders and fell down like a pair of curtains against the world.

    Jaina reached up with both her hands, burying her fingers in the base of those black cascades of hair, drawing little circles with her fingertips that caused the thick locks to ripple.

    She felt a stitch of that anxiety from just a few days ago, when he looked at her like that. It was dulled, though, as they had already passed the hindering worry. It was there, but not enough to make her anxious. It would fade completely soon. Being together was simply still a very new act, and all the little issues and compromises had not yet been explored.

    There was a thrill in that as well.

    “I’ve been trying to remember why I protested so much when you first suggested this alliance,” Thrall said, with an unusually impish glint in his eye.

    Jaina tilted her head, spreading her hair further over the pillow.

    “Why would you try to do that?” she asked, lips twitching again. As she spoke, she moved her leg until she could brush it against his.

    Thrall’s shrug upset his position and his hair alike.

    “It seems so strange to me now,” he said.

    “Yes, it was rather silly of you, wasn’t it?” Jaina knew she smiled wider than she ought to in order to look dignified, but what did it matter?

    “Very,” Thrall said, grinning as he leant down and pressed his forehead against hers. They both left it unsaid that there had been so many problems born from his protests being deflated.

    No matter what had happened after, even the Lich King’s assault, had been worth it.

    ‘-‘

    The sun was still low in the east when they finally rose. They parted with a promise to meet early in the evening, since there were some things they needed to go through for the celebration.

    When Jaina returned to Theramore, she quickly dressed properly and then took off towards the throne room to begin her own final preparations for the next day.

    Everything was going smoothly by every report. Two ships had sailed to Ratchet yesterday to collect the pigs that the Warchief had promised the people of Theramore for the celebration for the wedding. A mage had now teleported from the ships straight to Theramore to announce that everything was in order.

    Down in the city the final touches were put on the ribbons and garlands decorating almost every nock and cranny. The shocking revelations yesterday might have put a lid on the festive spirits – but then again, those spirits were muddled with shock and confusion from the very beginning. Now, there was at least new confidence that the Warchief did care deeply about their Lady Proudmoore, and that by extension offered a promise of protection for the entire city state.

    Such matters kept Jaina busy until it began to near lunchtime, when it was brought to her attention that the delegation from the Exodar had arrived and were ready to meet with her. After instructing that they should be shown to the audience chamber, Jaina hurried there herself.

    Polite greetings were exchanged, before she bade them to sit with her around the large table.

    The six draenei were uneasy. Strange, actually, how they did little things that were easy to read, even when they were beings from an alien culture. Tails swished back and forth down the sides of their chairs, and more than once one of the men and women reached up to rub a facial tendril between clawed thumb and pointing finger. They hardly touched the light food that had been served after they sat down.

    The sun that shone in through the windows glittered on the plate armor three of them wore. They were vindicators, but two of the others were shamans and the last one, one of the females, wore a blue mage’s robe.

    Jaina couldn’t blame them from being nervous. Even if they had volunteered and surely had their reasons for daring to do so, visiting Orgrimmar was still an intimidating thing. If she was honest with herself, she personally preferred simply appearing in Thrall’s chambers. Also, when it came down to it, she had not seen much of the city itself either.

    “You are all admirably brave for taking up this task,” Jaina said, smiling in a way she hoped was reassuring enough. As if anything could be reassuring enough with such a situation looming before them. “Prophet Velen must have great faith in you, as well.”

    That did at least make them smile.

    “Most of us have aided the communal defense of Shattrath City,” one of the male vindicators said, then nodded towards the shamans, “or worked closely with the Earthen Ring for some time.”

    He paused and exchanged glances with the others, as if silently asking if he had to be the one to say it aloud. The mage took that burden off his shoulders.

    “Even so,” she said, her accent deepening slightly as she tensed further, “I am sure you understand that it is an intimidating thing.”

    “I assure you that you will be perfectly safe in Orgrimmar,” Jaina said. “You have my and my husband’s word on that.”

    “We are grateful for that, Lady Proudmoore,” the vindicator said, but his smile was still a little tight.

    Jaina could tell that there was little she could do to calm them apart from official promises. She couldn’t sit down together with them and talk about what it meant at length. Actually, she probably could not properly grasp what it meant. Even if they had made alliances of convenience with Horde in Outland, they would walk right into the capital of the people who unleashed genocide upon the draenei. Not to mention that there were certainly people in Orgrimmar, and any Horde settlement, who wanted nothing but to slit their throats.

    Who wanted to slit her throat too, when it came down to it. And they weren’t about to become any happier, either.

    She pushed those disturbing thoughts away.

    “If you have any questions, you can direct them to myself or to Emissary Southstone,” she said. “He is Theramore’s envoy to Orgrimmar, and he has experience meeting peacefully with orcs even alone and in their territory. I am certain that he can help ease any concern you have for tomorrow evening.”

    “Ah, there is one thing…” the mage started. She paused and glanced at the others in silent question. Glowing eyes turned back and forth, all six of them trading looks until finally one after another they nodded.

    The mage cleared her throat.

    “We have of course heard about the horrifying incident with the Lich King yesterday,” she started.

    Jaina pursed her mouth, but she was more surprised than disturbed that this subject was suddenly brought up.

    “Yes?” she said, not unkindly.

    “The Prophet heard about it too, of course, as we spoke about this issue before we all left the Exodar,” the mage continued. She folded her hands on the table. “In light of that, it is perhaps audacious to make this request, however…”

    Jaina listened, and her eyebrows rose steadily as the brief, yet incredibly heavy, request was spoken. She did not dare glance at the guards in the room, but she expected more than one jaw hung loose.

    Finally, she slowly nodded, feeling her heart flutter in her chest. She felt light headed. It was an amazing thing. She needed a moment to gather her wits.

    “I will speak with the Warchief about it,” she said, fighting to keep her smile small. “Even considering what occurred yesterday, I doubt that he will turn such an offer down. I can say with full certainty that he fully understands this graciousness you are extending and values it with the awe it deserves.”

    The mage’s shoulders fell in relief, and she nodded, smiling. One of the shamans leaned forwards.

    “A lot of people will be upset,” she said, but though her tone was sad, she smiled briefly. “However, this is a wedding celebration, and it is hope for peace. We have…” she paused. “I won’t lie, Lady Proudmoore, we all have terrifying memories from Draenor. But all of us here have seen orcs trying to make amends.”

    Jaina slowly nodded, her high spirits dampened somewhat from the mention of what the orcs had wrought upon not only one but two worlds, under demonic influence.

    “A lot of people are already upset by what happened a few days ago in Ratchet,” she said.



    ... next I have to write nelves. GODDAMMIT D:
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  30. #210
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Heh, if this fic was a game, it would have covered half a dozen of genres already. I think you need a chapter on captaining the ship that will transport the pigs to cover all bases (and of course an anatomy of the pigs for the obligatory literary reference).
    It was an excellent idea of Thrall’s to linger a little longer, though,
    Doctor, rephrase stat!
    Also, when it came down to it, she had not seen much of the city itself either.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

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