Archive for alexandros mograine

The future never happened

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

The time portal was more dizzying than usual, but when we finally emerged on the other side, there it was – Hillsbrad, just like it looked a few months ago.  Ten years ago.  A lifetime ago, it seemed, and for all that’s happened, maybe it was.  It was early in the morning, and the first rays of sunlight were just starting to peek through the trees.

At one point while we made our way toward Southshore, Edwin asked if it was a good idea for us to be taking the road like we were.  At first I didn’t realize what he meant – I thought he was worried we’d run into someone who would recognize him, but I figured we could always improvise a cover story if we needed to.

Then I looked at my hands.

I don’t know if something went wrong with the portal, or if maybe Soridormi was making such an effort to get the timeline crossing to work that she couldn’t bother with anything else, but when I came through, apparently, I wasn’t changed into a human form.  I was still my normal (and let’s face it, dead sexy) orcish self.

So yeah, we got off the road and into the outskirts of the woods right quick, because the last thing we needed was some patrol to see an orc rolling around loose down the road from Durnholde like it was something to do.

We made our way down to Southshore and hung around the surrounding woods.  It was still early in the morning, but we could see the first signs of activity as some of the townspeople started to emerge from their homes and tend to their livestock.  We waited a while longer, and finally a few people came out of the inn – Alexandros Mograine, along with Fairbanks and Doan.  They went around to the stables, carrying bags.  The rest of the Silver Hands would be checking out soon.

I reminded Edwin that our opening could come any minute, and ran through the details I knew for probably the fifth time since we’d arrived: at some point the kid Herod would turn up with younger-hexed-Edwin, older-Edwin would sheep Herod and break younger-Edwin’s hex, older-Edwin would go invisible and bolt.  Guy-who’s-with-me-right-now-Edwin (and wow am I getting sick of specifying) nodded all the way through, but I got the sense he was getting sick of me reminding him he’d only have a short post-hex pre-invis window.

Finally, after a few more minutes, a young boy came running up from the docks chasing a frog.  He caught up to it just in front of the inn.

Herod was in position.  It was almost go time.

Edwin didn’t need any prompting.  As he started getting up to make his move, I shook his hand and wished him luck.

From the entrance to the inn, a second human named Edwin Faranell appeared.

The Edwin who’d come with me turned just long enough to shove a folded-up paper into my hand and say “Good luck to you, too,” and then he was off.

I didn’t even fully register the paper – I was too concerned with watching Edwin go, and I tucked it into my belt.  While Edwin ran into town, I kept looking around, because let’s face it, this is US, and the universe wouldn’t let us get through something important without some kind of final infuriating wrinkle.  Sure enough, the universe didn’t disappoint, because look who was riding toward town on horseback, from the northern road: Kel’Thuzad.

Right off I thought of about half a dozen ways KT could make a mess of this, most of them involving some variation of the phrase “Why are there two copies of that guy I know in front of the inn?”  All I could think was Kel’Thuzad couldn’t be allowed the chance to spot Edwin.  My head was too busy racing in circles to come up with much in the way of a clever plan on the fly, so I ran with what I know best: the simple approach.

I jumped out of the bushes, charged Kel’Thuzad, and knocked him off his horse before he could reach the town square.  As soon as I was in plain sight, two of the town guards saw me and ran to intercept, yelling about an orc intruder.  They were pretty weak, and I slapped back what passed for their attacks pretty easily, but I didn’t work too hard to put the smackdown on them.  Let them pay attention to me.  Let the whole town pay attention to me.  Just for a few more minutes.

More shouting was coming from the town, and when I looked back over my shoulder, Mograine and his two Silver Hand flunkies were running up to help the guards.  Doan stood back and tossed some fireballs at me – stung a little, but nothing I couldn’t shrug off.  KT, on the other hand…yeah, those frostbolts of his were no joke.  Meanwhile, I had Mograine and Fairbanks and the two weak-ass guards swiping away at me from all sides.

I kept trying to look back at the inn, but in all the commotion, I couldn’t really see anything anymore.  Then, while I was trading swings with Fairbanks, Mograine managed to grab me by my shoulderguard and spin me so I was facing the square, with my back to him.

And then a sharp, warm pain in my back.

It’s a funny thing.  For all the bizarre distortions and traveling in time we’ve done, it’s the moment that has nothing to do with time magic that stands out – when time slows down for all its own mundane reasons, breaks down into flashes, reduces itself to images that come drop by drop.

Looking past the crowd in the square.  Catching the shortest glimpse of a third Faranell appearing in front of the inn as if from nowhere.

The blur of my Faranell rushing toward the other two.

My eyes dropping to look at my chest.  The blade of the Ashbringer, jutting out, coated with dark blood.

The fact that it didn’t even hurt nearly as much as I’d think it would.  The thought that maybe that was still coming.

Looking back up, to the sight of flickering yellow cracks spreading silently in the air around the inn.  A pulsing yellow ball of light swelling up without a sound, then bursting out in all directions.

And I remember looking down again at the sword bursting from my chest, and the blood coming in slow-motion spurts.  And I remember, just as the wave of warm yellow light washed over me…I think I remember laughing.

The rest is darkness.

And then I woke up.

 

 

[Header image provided by Angelya from Revive and Rejuvenate, used here with permission and many thanks.]

Advertisements

Home stretch

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

So here we go.  Edwin tells me Patrick didn’t get in until almost dawn.  He’s sleeping in now, but he and Doan managed to finish their work on the bomb canister.  I’m not sure if Doan’s set it up yet, but if he hasn’t, he’s sure to tend to it any time now, because by the looks of things downstairs, all the Silver Hand people are getting ready to leave.  Tirion and Abbendis have been down at the main desk talking to Kelly for most of the morning, and Mograine’s been carrying stuff back and forth to his horse in the stables next door – not least of which being a bundle wrapped in a sheet that looks to be more or less the same size as the chest he had been using to transport the crystal.

Edwin took off a little while ago to track down Kel’Thuzad.  He’s going to tell him he tried to snoop on the paladins, but it didn’t look like they were up to much of anything, and he couldn’t get anything out of Patrick that would suggest otherwise.  Hopefully that’s going to send KT on his way and keep him from poking around any further.  Says when he gets back he’s going to stick around the room until Patrick wakes up, and then maybe go to the shore with him and fish a little until we’re all ready to go.

After Edwin left, Mokvar mentioned he was a little concerned about all the time Faranell’s been spending hanging out with his brother the last couple days.  Liadrin gave him sort of a half-hearted endorsement – her take was that the more time our boy spends hanging around with faces from the past, the more space there’s going to be for him to slip up continuity-wise.  Although I get the sense Mokvar wasn’t so worried about the timeline as just where Edwin’s head is at right now.  I can see where they’re both coming from, but I pretty much told them to give it a rest.  The way I see it, Faranell’s been un-living with the memory of a dead brother for years, and right now he’s got that brother alive and well right in front of him.  If he wants to soak up whatever time he can with him while he has the chance…well, I get it.  Extra chances don’t come along very often.

One last thing – want to hear something awesome?  I just looked out the window a few minutes ago to check on Edwin, and I saw maybe the greatest thing this side of Utvoch getting polymorphed.  Tirion’s kid was running around in front of the inn, playing with his frog.  Then along comes this other kid from the town – name of Herod, I think – and basically beats the snot out of Taelan, swipes the frog, and makes off with it!  And I honestly don’t know what’s better – the fact that Taelan got his ass kicked and lost the frog, or the thought of what’s going to happen later on when Herod’s got the frog and it poofs back into Faranell v1.0.  Just…win all over the place.

It sounds like there’s some kind of commotion going on next door, so I’m going to go check on that.  I’ll update you once that’s cleared up or when we’re making our move on the anti-plague thingy.  Whichever comes first.  Stay tuned.

Knights of the Silver (withered) Hand

Posted in General, Transcripts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Extra followup from Mokvar after he’d gotten back from his dinner break.  Faranell’s brother apparently had just met Tirion and the rest last night – he was eating alone at the next table over, so Tirion invited him to come join him, Isilien, and Abbendis.  Probably so he could have one more person to yammer on to.  Anyway, Mokvar says Tirion and Isilien both seemed to take a liking to Faranell the Younger…erm…Younger and Other… Okay fuck it, hang on.

Okay.  Just checked with Fara— OUR Faranell.  So the brother’s name is Patrick.  Whereas HIS name is Edwin.  Yeah, I know, right?  I would be a last-name guy too.  Anyway, though, that should make this easier.

So as I was saying, Tirion and Isilien seemed to hit it off well with Patrick, especially Isilien.  Abbendis seemed a lot more standoffish, with Patrick AND with Mokvar, who ended up sitting with them for a few minutes while they were finishing eating.  Related side note – thank GOODNESS Utvoch mostly kept his distance at the bar.  A rare moment of sense.

Although…he didn’t waste too much time returning to character once he an Mokvar came back upstairs…

 

MOKVAR:  Hey, did you all know that that guy downstairs is Faranell’s brother?

GARROSH:  Yeah, it’s his younger brother, sort of a boy genius in alchemy.

LIADRIN:  He’s paying the Faranell of this time a call on his way to study in Silvermoon, where he’s fated to meet his end during the Scourge invasion.

MOKVAR:  So…I missed a meeting.

UTVOCH:  Holy crap, Faranell, did you know about this too?

MOKVAR:  Sorry, Faranell, about how long…wait.  <stares at Utvoch>

FARANELL:  …

GARROSH:  …

LIADRIN:  That’s…remarkable.

FARANELL:  Um, Utvoch…

UTVOCH:  Yeah?

FARANELL:  Let me make sure I’m following you correctly here.

UTVOCH:  Okay.

GARROSH:  Personally I think you’re just pulling the bandage off slowly now, but it’s your call…

FARANELL:  You’re asking me if I knew that the man downstairs, who is my brother, is my brother?

UTVOCH:  Um, yeah, I guess.

FARANELL:  <blinks>

GARROSH:  They weren’t frigging separated at birth, fuckwit.

LIADRIN:  Utvoch?

UTVOCH:  Yeah?

LIADRIN:  Go play with the child.

UTVOCH:  Oh, okay.  <thinks>  Wait, it’s pretty late, he’s probably asleep—

LIADRIN:  Go check for him.

UTVOCH:  Um, okay.  What if he’s not th—

LIADRIN:  Then check some more.

UTVOCH:  Yes ma’am.

Utvoch leaves.

FARANELL:  See, you’re starting to fit right in.

 

She’s actually really good at dealing with stupidity.  I might have to see if can lure her away from Silvermoon to come work with me more often.  Maybe offer her a promotion or something, although I don’t know how much she would groove on a job other than being head honcho of the paladins up there.  Pansy-ass fuckers though they are.  Eh.  Still might be worth a try.

So anyway, that was last night.

Today, Liadrin and I spent most of the afternoon camping out downstairs watching for the Silver Hand people to do their thing.  Finally as we were getting late into the afternoon, the full cast of characters turned up and gathered around one table near the fireplace.  Liadrin and I watched as closely as we could without being too obvious about it, but from where we were standing we couldn’t hear much that they were saying, other than a few words here and there.  Luckily we already knew from future-Tirion the basics of the meeting.

Mograine was pretty clearly running the show most of the way, and after a bit, while the rest of the group tried to huddle around to conceal what was going on (successfully? not so much), he did the big unveiling and brought out the dark crystal that Tirion had told us about.  I couldn’t see it clearly the whole time, but every time I was able to get a clear line on it, there was just something… uneasy about even looking at it.  Liadrin seemed even more disturbed by it than I was – or maybe just intrigued.  Either way, at that point she wasn’t making much of an effort to hide the fact that she was staring at the thing.

At one point, Mograin took off one of his gloves and showed the others his hand – it was withered and skeletal, exactly like the undead look, only in his case it was just his hand rather than his whole body.  Tirion mentioned Mograine being “scarred” by touching the crystal once, and I’ve seen plenty of disfiguring injuries, but this seemed much more creepy.

Eventually the bunch of them started pouring their holy spells in the crystal, and it started to glow and even hum a little, and then finally it transformed from dark to light, just like Tirion had described.  By this point, Liadrin was already in full perked-up mode, but I think her eyes lit up a little extra at that.  Mograine touched the crystal, it healed his withered hand with a soft yellow glow, and they all went round and round in whispers – so that’s how it started.  The Ashbringer wasn’t made yet, but the idea for it was invented, and in a way that was more important.  After they were done, Mograine sealed the crystal in its chest again, then seemed to have a pretty intense discussion about something with Isilien and Doan.

At that point the Faranell brothers wandered into the inn, passed by the Silver Hand bunch, and headed upstairs.  Having had a chance to get a closer look at them now, I’m not sure why I didn’t realize on my own that they were related – they’ve definitely got a major family resemblance going, especially around the nose, and, hell, they’ve even got matching cloaks going style-wise, blue for Patrick and gray for Edwin.

Anyway, they were only around for a minute, but I was distracted enough by them being there that I didn’t realize that Liadrin had gone over to the Silver Hand boys and was talking to Isilien, Tirion, and Doan now.  I was planning to do any talking we needed to do, but whatever.  There goes us getting anywhere through charm.  Still, it looked like she ended up winning them over by rolling out a few of those flashy paladin spells – Holy Light or Divine Shield, or Holy Hand of Divinity, or Holy Shock, or Holy Shield, or Shock of Divine Light, or Shield of Divinity, or Holy Hell I’m Shocked You’re Holy or the Holy fucking Hand Grenade or WHATEVER the hell those paladin spells are called.  Like seriously, take “holy,” “divine,” “light,” and any other two words you can think of, throw them in a hat, and pull out two, and that’s the name of some ability of theirs.  And you wonder why everyone gets so sick of them.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Liadrin was talking to the Silver Hands.  Tirion excused himself and went upstairs, so I decided it was safe for me to go join the discussion.  Because honestly, I’ve been trapped in enough tedious conversations with Tirion in my own time, I don’t need to treat myself to any prequels.  Anyway, Liadrin and Isilien were hitting it off fairly well by this point, although Doan seemed sort of standoffish, and eventually he excused himself too and left Isilien to talk to us by himself.

The long and the short of it is this.  Liadrin was able to convince Isilien the she was a kindred spirit as a paladin, and got him to bring her into the know.  Isilien, for his part, is all on board with Mograine’s idea to use the light crystal to create the Ashbringer, but he’s also thinking that the crystal might be a source of power that they could draw on to help defend against the undead in other ways.  He’s persuaded Mograine to let him and Doan study it for a day or two – just like the Tirion from our time said – and see if there’s any potential there.

For our part, Lidrain’s convinced Isilien that she and some of her friends, myself included, might be interested in the endeavor.  He was wary about bringing too many more people into this, but considering he’s working with limited time, he figures he’s not in a position to turn away help.  He’s going to spend the day tomorrow working through some ideas with Doan, but then, tomorrow night, he’s invited us to stop by his room here at the inn to put our heads together.  So here we go.  Coming down to crunch time.  More soon.

 

 

[Header image provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth, reproduced here with permission and many thanks.  Click here to see the souped-up Postcard version!]

All roads lead to Southshore

Posted in General, Transcripts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

So Tirion’s sugar-high kid, Taelan, has been bouncing around non-stop since he got here with Tirion and the rest of his people, but I can’t help but get a kick out of how things are playing out with him.  Utvoch ran into him in this little lounge room they’ve got upstairs, and they got to talking a little, and now the two of them have been hanging out up there playing checkers and just generally hanging out and shit.  Which come to think of it, sort of kills two headaches with one stone.  I can kind of see why Utvoch would gravitate toward the kid – what with him being here with me, Liadrin, Faranell, and Mokvar, he probably misses having someone like Dontrag to hang with.  You know, around his own mental level.  A little kid might still be overshooting the mark a little, but it’s probably still a pretty major improvement to him.

So he’s been spending most of his time in the lounge, and that’s mostly been keeping the kid quiet(er) while Tirion’s off going about his own business.  All we really have to watch for is Utvoch not having any more run-ins with Kel’Thuzad, but I’m not so worried about that as long as he stays upstairs.  Kel’Thuzad’s still been bopping around town, but he and Helcular have mostly just been popping into the inn for meals and the occasional drink, and then going about their business.  Faranell tells me that Helcular used to live here in Southshore, so odds are KT is staying with him.

Speaking of Kel’Thuzad, and Helcular…and Tirion…and…well, okay, let’s just say speaking of everyone I mentioned in that last paragraph.  Last night, Then-Faranell met Kel’Thuzad and Helcular outside the inn and went wandering off for most of the night.  Meanwhile, the guy who had come to Southshore with Then-Faranell spent most of the evening hanging out in the common room downstairs, which somehow or other led to him joining Tirion and his group for dinner and generally acting like buddies.  All of this led to THIS little informational exchange with OUR Faranell while I was looking out the window to look for KT and company:

 

GARROSH:  Looks like Kel’Thuzad and the rest are still out by the main road.

FARANELL:  They’ll be out there a while.  We ended up walking around the outskirts for much of the night.  You don’t have to worry about us – well, them – turning up until you see them had out toward the river first.

GARROSH:  You’re sure?

FARANELL:  Yeah, I remember it.

GARROSH:  That’s nice and all, but I still have to check on these things.  It’s not like you don’t have a track record of forgetting things, like, oh, I don’t know, say, the fact that you WERE HERE IN SOUTHSHORE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

FARANELL:  <rubbing his face with one hand>  I’d forgotten a lot of things, yeah…

GARROSH:  Well, if we’ve got some time before they’re back in town…  Hey, Mokvar?

MOKVAR:  Yeah, chief?

GARROSH:  You’ve got a window to swing downstairs for some grub and a few drinks if you want.  Maybe grab Utvoch on your way, might as well feed him while we’re at it.

MOKVAR:  He still with the kid?

GARROSH:  Hell if I know.  Either there or his room, I guess.

MOKVAR:  You sure you don’t need for any more note-taking for now?

LIADRIN:  I can take over while you eat.

MOKVAR:  You sure?

FARANELL:  You’re a scribe?

LIADRIN:  I’ve been writing a history of the Sunwell for some months now.  There’s been a fair bit of research, interviews with people like Lor’themar Theron…

GARROSH:  Who?

LIADRIN:  …and so I ended up picking up shorthand pretty quickly to be able to keep notes on it all.  I’ve noticed Garrosh likes you to keep a record of everything – surprisingly sensible, all things considered – so I don’t really mind helping give you a breather here and there.

MOKVAR:  Yeah, thanks.  Have to admit, I’ve been starting to get writer’s cramp something fierce this trip.

LIADRIN:  It’s fine.  Go take a break.

MOKVAR:  Thanks.  I’ll see if I can find Utvoch on the way down.

GARROSH:  See if you can get a look at what Tirion and the rest are up to while you’re down there.

Mokvar leaves.

GARROSH:  Speaking of which… Faranell, who IS that guy who showed up with you?  Some friend of yours I’m guessing?

FARANELL:  I suppose you could say that.

GARROSH:  Well who then?  Anybody we should be worried about?  Please tell me he’s not another recruit for Kel’Thuzad.

FARANELL:  No, nothing like that…  He’s my brother.

GARROSH:  Seriously?  I didn’t know you had a brother.

FARANELL:  I don’t anymore.

GARROSH:  Oh… What happened?

FARANELL:  He died.

GARROSH:  Well, yeah.  Then again, so did you.

FARANELL:  In my case it didn’t take.

LIADRIN:  I’m sorry, Faranell.  Do you mind if I ask what happened?

FARANELL:  I suppose it doesn’t really matter at this point.  He studied alchemy like me – honestly, he was quite a bit better at it, certainly much more inventive.  Three years younger, but years ahead of me as a scientist.  He went to study under the high elves in Silvermoon.

LIADRIN:  Oh…  Oh no.

FARANELL:  You know the funny thing?  He always did so well in school that he ended up skipping a few grades and getting a head start on his advanced studies.  So if he hadn’t been so smart, he probably wouldn’t even have been in Silvermoon when the Scourge came.

LIADRIN:  I’m so sorry, Faranell.

FARANELL:  That’s why he’s here now.  He’s about to begin his studies, and he’s taking a few days to visit me before he goes.  He figured he wouldn’t see very much of me over the next couple of years.  Always nose to the grindstone with him.

GARROSH:  Do I even want to ask?

FARANELL:  I don’t know it at the time, obviously, but this weekend is the last time I ever saw him.

GARROSH:  Yeah, there it is… Sorry, man.  Look, if this is all hitting too close to home, I totally get it if you feel like you need to tuck away in your room till we’re done here.

FARANELL:  No, it’s okay.  I came here to a job, so let’s get it done.  Make the future safe for the undead.

 

This just in – Alexandros Mograine finally turned up today, with Doan and Fairbanks in tow.  They disappeared to their rooms right off – gotta say, to look at this inn from the outside, you wouldn’t think it had so much guest space up there – and while they’re probably going to be taking some time to settle in and rest from their trip and such, them being here means Liadrin and I are going to be on full-time watch downstairs.  Updates to follow.

Where did all the words go?

Posted in Transcripts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

We arrived in Hearthglen this morning and were ushered up to meet with Tirion Fordring in Mardenholde Keep, which as I’m sure you can imagine was an exercise in joy for me.  Luckily I at least managed to come prepared this time, with company and an exit strategy.  Part of the company, by the way, being Mokvar, so if you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know what’s coming up…

 

Garrosh, Mokvar, and Master Apothecary Faranell are escorted into the Highlord’s command room by the night elf Daria L’Rayne.

DARIA:  Highlord Fordring, the Horde delegation has arrived to see you.

TIRION:  So I see, so I see indeed, good Daria, and great thanks to you for so kindly seeing them in.  Truly is it by the aid of such as yourself that great alliances are forged, and great deeds are brought to fruition!

DARIA:  Okay…yes, sir.  Thank you…I think.

TIRION:  And rightly do you think!  As right and just are the thoughts of all those gathered here under the banner of peace, in this hopeful age ushered forth in the wake of the Lich King’s demise!  For surely what challenge might not we surmount, having proven in the icy wastes that we can come together before a common foe, and unite in our resolve to forge a brighter world!  None indeed!  Would you not agree, noble elf?

DARIA:  Um…so, you have visitors, sir.

GARROSH:  Sup, Tirion.

DARIA:  Good luck, Warchief.

Daria makes a very, very speedy exit from the chamber.

TIRION:  Warchief Hellscream!

GARROSH:  Here we go.

TIRION:  A pleasure it is to see you once again, old friend!  Too many winters have passed since last we spoke face to face, since those noble days in Icecrown when we stood together against the Scourge, and oversaw the fall of Arthas and the delivery of justice upon the hated Lich King!  Human and orc united in unwavering defense of home and hearth, brought together in a far-off land to lay waste to an odious common foe – what valiant days those were!  Ones which, I see, have served not only as testament to your courage, but as proof positive to your people of your leadership, a validation of your rightful rise within the ranks of the Horde, which I see has brought you in the intervening time to the highest of stations, Warchief of your people, as great a tribute as your comrade Thrall might verily bestow.

FARANELL:  So, in other words, hello.

GARROSH:  Yeah.  Hey.

MOKVAR:  Afternoon, Highlord.

TIRION:  And I see, good Warchief, you have deemed fit to bring noble counsel with you for your visit – no doubt picked from the most esteemed of your sage advisors.  And moreover, I see, spanning even beyond your own kin into the ranks of the Forsaken, whom – I will assure you, assure you most firmly indeed – shall find no animosity within these walls.  For regardless of the fervor of our struggle to subdue the spiteful reach of the Lich King’s hated Scourge, far be it from me to presume ill intent from those whose only crime is to have fallen victim to the Scourge’s curse of undeath, for well I know, your will restored under the care of your Banshee Queen, your capacity for heroism knows no more bounds than any in our world, as proven by those Forsaken who fought and, yea, fell beside me in the battlefields of Northrend.  For just as fate has shown that humans may prove as vile as the blackest Scourge, just so might orc or undead prove more noble than any king, most revered!  And so it is with an open hand and generous heart I greet you, good sir.

MOKVAR:  Wow, really?

GARROSH:  I told you.

FARANELL:  So, in other words, also hello.

TIRION:  And might I ask, my Forsaken friend, whom have I the pleasure to meet this good day?  The beginning of a great friendship, forged in amity and fellowship, no doubt.  Lend me your hand, good sir, that we might pledge unto each other’s goodly aid.

Tirion grabs Faranell’s hand and starts to shake it just a bit too enthusiastically.

FARANELL:  Um…you know what?  It’s okay, I’m just some guy.  No need to trouble yourself.

GARROSH:  Ohhhhhhh no, you don’t get off that easy, Skin’n’Bones.

FARANELL:  Crap.

GARROSH:  So yeah, Tirion, this is Master Apothecary Faranell, head of Sylvanas’ Royal Apothecary Society.  And I think you’ve met Mokvar?

TIRION:  Indeed, indeed, I remember him well, and good day to you, noble Mokvar.  Though I will confess, remember you well though I do, fondly and with reverence, it saddens me that I cannot yet lay claim to knowing you so half as well as I might wish.  A regrettable condition I am sure our efforts here today shall surely change, and lay the foundation of a friendship – nay, a kinship, for we who strive together for the good of Azeroth, I dare suggest, are nothing if not kin, a family brought together by devotion to all we mutually hold dear – that time and trial shall validate as stuff of legend.

FARANELL:  So, in other words, yes.

GARROSH:  Right, okay.  So what I wanted to—

TIRION:  And so, good Mokvar, I welcome you with open arms to Hearthglen, and look forward to the progress of our blossoming acquaintance.  Though I will confess, great Warchief, it does bring a faint sadness to see you have chosen not to bring the noble Eitrigg with you today, as far too many a year have passed since I’ve cast eyes upon my orcish friend, to whom, I’m sure you are aware, I owe a debt of honor.  It was Eitrigg, after all – I shall take a moment to clarify for the sake of your colleagues here who may not know the tale, I am sure you shall not begrudge a momentary digression—

GARROSH:  What the hell, at this point.

TIRION:  —whom I encountered an age ago in the northern reaches of old Lordaeron, dwelling in an abandoned tower.  Unaware as yet of the nobility of your eventual lieutenant, and predisposed – misguided – ill toward any of orcish kind, I engaged Eitrigg in battle, a furious melee joined between two worthy combatants, in which neither would give quarter nor long hold the upper hand.  Truly our contest was one for the bards, as we traded blow upon blow, gaining and ceding ground, victory dangling precariously just beyond the grasp of us both.

FARANELL:  Huh.  Were you killed?

GARROSH:  <chortle>

TIRION:  Fitting you should ask, good Faranell, for though I suspect a jesting tone, your words recall a harrowing turn in the battle in question!  For deep into our duel – and long indeed did we take arms, so long into the night! – the aging tower that formed our battlefield, weakened and cracked in the wake of our combat, began to crumble, and a heap of stone and mortar, breaking forth, came crashing down upon me.  Consciousness abandoned me as I fell beneath the rubble, broken and bleeding, left to the mercy of my adversary, and further: injured enough that, lacking prompt medical aid, no adversary would be needed to bring my life to end.  Hours passed, and in time I awoke to find myself in my own familiar bed—

FARANELL:  Oh, so it was a dream?

TIRION:  A dream, my good fellow?  Perhaps!  Perhaps indeed the realization of one—the dream of orc and human fellowship, which the truth of the tale would prove!  The birth of the greater dream of encompassing peace and camaraderie between our peoples which even yet eludes our hopeful grasp!  Truly state, truly stated, my friend; you have, I think, anticipated the epiphany that would light upon my bedridden thoughts!

FARANELL:  Actually, what I meant—

GARROSH:  Dude, just let it slide.  Tick tock.

FARANELL:  Ah.  Yeah.

TIRION:  For once consciousness had returned to me, and friend and family came to check upon my health, I learned from them the circumstances of my discovery: some days prior, they had found me, wounded and unconscious, tied to my loyal steed and sent trotting back toward home.  Only one explanation would make sense: that the orc whom I had presumed an agent of evil had, in fact, saved me from a solitary death, and taken pains to return me in my need to friendly hands.  Later would I seek out the orc – the sage and noble Eitrigg – and thus began the friendship that would span so many years.  And yet, far too many of those years have slipped away like sand through our oblivious fingers since I have had the pleasure of seeing my dear friend face to face.  And so, good Warchief, while I have no doubt your reasons were wise, it saddens me indeed that you have opted not to bring him here today.  Upon your return to Orgrimmar, then, I would entreat – nay, implore! you pass my greetings and highest blessings to your dear advisor, and endeavor to ensure he know, though separated by days and distance, the thoughts of Tirion Fordring are with him, as are the shining memories of our kinship, which even now live on in my heart as though mere moments old.

FARANELL:  So, in other words, say hi to Eitrigg.

MOKVAR:  Check.

GARROSH:  Okay, yeah, I’ll do that.  So anyway, Tirion…

TIRION:  Indeed, gentlemen, indeed, I know you’ve business to attend here in New Hearthglen.  Shall we take our seats and begin our discussions?

GARROSH:  Yeah, I think I’m going to need to sit down before too long here.

Tirion – still talking – leads them over to the nearby conference table.

TIRION:  Indeed, indeed, then certainly, my good fellows, make your way thusly, and relieve your weary feet presently.  I will apologize for the rudimentary caliber of my furnishings here: surely not the quality and comfort one of high station might come to expect in diplomatic parlay—

GARROSH:  No, it’s—

TIRION:  —but  these chairs were gifted to me by the workmen of the nearby lumber mill, and product of their very labor, crafted with painstaking care albeit limited material for embellishment, and so a certain humble pride compels me to retain them, even realizing that there are far beneath the standard of luxury as might befit ambassadors and heads of state.

GARROSH:  Dude, seriously, it’s cool.  I grew up in a hut made of sticks and fucking mud, believe me, I’m okay with B-grade fucking chairs.

FARANELL:  My skin is tattered and falling off around every joint in my body.  A lack of seat cushions is way, way down on my list of discomforts.

TIRION:  Now, good gentlemen, as we are now more properly seated, what boon may I grant to you on this fine day?  Know, surely, that the hand of Tirion Fordring stands ever ready to lend its aid—

GARROSH:  Much appreciated, Tirion.  So—

TIRION:  —for surely, just as our glorious victory in Northrend could never have come to fruition without the united efforts of Horde and Alliance, Argent Dawn and Silver Hand, Ebon Blade, and more—

GARROSH:  Ah.  You weren’t done.

TIRION:  —just so, I know full well, might enterprises of great pitch and moment, upon which might hang the very future of our kind, just so might these endeavors languish fruitless save for the will of good men such as ourselves, to stand together despite those petty differences that might divide us.

GARROSH:  Um, yeah.  Cool.

TIRION:  And so, gentlemen, how might I be of aid?

Garrosh, Mokvar, and Faranell sit quietly a moment, watching Tirion.

GARROSH:  That was it, right?

TIRION:  You confuse me, Warchief Hellscream.  That was what, exactly?

MOKVAR:  Just go.

GARROSH:  Yeah, never mind, not important.  So here’s the thing.

FARANELL:  Don’t pause too much between sentences.

GARROSH:  We’ve got a situation down in Southshore.  Somehow or other the Forsaken there managed to set off some kind of magical effect that’s neutralizing their undeath and killing them all.

FARANELL:  It seems to be functioning, basically, as a reversal of the plague of undeath, and dissipating the necrotic effects that reanimated my people.

GARROSH:  It’s more or less contained right now, but it’s going to spread, so we’re trying to find out exactly what it is and how it got there, and since we’ve heard that some of your Silver Hand people were down there at one point and you’ve always had an interest in the Scourge, we were thinking you might be able to fill in some blanks.

TIRION:  Ah, interesting, interesting.  I do recall a time when I did journey to the scenic port of Southshore, in answer to a summons from Highlord Alexandros Mograine to confer, indeed, upon the emergence of the Scourge.  Even then, Mograine knew the threat the undead – forgive me, friend Faranell, I mean, of course, to say the Scourge – would pose to this world, even though in those days, unbeknownst to us all, their true menace was truly in its infancy.  You see, these were the days before the fall of Arthas and of Lordaeron—

GARROSH:  Right, we know.

TIRION: —when the Scourge, then commanded by the nefarious orc warlock Ner’zhul, was merely a pawn of the dreaded Burning Legion.  The legion, you see, led by the monstrous Kil’jaeden, had decided that their prior attempts to invade Azeroth had been doomed by the infighting and divisiveness within their orcish armies.  Folly indeed, as I am sure you will agree, to suppose that their failure rested in the orcs, when rather they were doomed from the outset to fall to the courageous defense put forth by the steadfast people of our world!

Garrosh shrugs and opens a backpack, which he had set down on the table.

Nevertheless, the Legion under Kil’jaeden’s vile judgment took upon themselves to build a new fighting force, one united by a single mind, and so the warlock Ner’zhul was remade as the odious Lich King and cast, trapped in an icy block, into our world, in the icy wastes of Northrend.  There he began to build his forces, slaying all within his reach and raising them as mindless undead, bound only to his will.  Gradually he built his forces and would send them forth to wreak havoc in the Eastern Kingdoms.  But even in those early days, while the undead legions were still only beginning to stir and their hateful sweep through Northrend was merely the start of their rise—

Garrosh removes several wrapped sandwiches from the pack and begins handing them out.

GARROSH:  You wanted the pastrami, right?

MOKVAR:  Yeah, please.

TIRION:  —even then, noble Alexandros had the vision and foresight to perceive the threat they would soon pose to our world.  Though I wonder at times if truly he could have anticipated that which they would become, the true extent of their evil, let loose over time when the scheming mind of the Lich King would turn upon its masters and break away, freeing the Scourge from its demonic shackles such that it might stand alone in its pernicious pursuit of dominion over the world of the living.  Indeed, how could he?  Who, in their worst imaginings, would dream of what would befall Lordaeron?  What mind could in its darkest hours imagine that the very king’s blessed son would fall to darkness and turn upon all those whom once he loved, slay his own father, and forego his presumptive kingship with another, darker one, one which would bring him to the Frozen Throne in Ner’zhul’s stead?

Meanwhile, Garrosh et al are eating.

FARANELL:  Did you bring any mustard?

GARROSH:  Yeah, you need spicy brown or yellow?

FARANELL:  Spicy.

GARROSH:  Here you go.

FARANELL:  Thanks.

TIRION:  Nevertheless, Alexandros rightly foresaw the threat the Scourge would pose to our world, and called upon we Knights of the Silver Hand to gather in secret in the town of Southshore in order that we might lay plans to defend our homelands.  I journeyed to Hillsbrad with two of my closest allies – Brigitte Abbendis, daughter of the High General, and Isilien, both of whom, sadly, would one day turn their backs upon our cause in order, like my own son Talaen, to embrace the madness of the Scarlett Crusade.  Alas, it seems that madness would consume many in the aftermath of the Scourge’s invasion, and the outbreak of the plague that would leave a kingdom in ruin.  Even my dear uncle Lucius, a longtime resident of the rural outskirts of old Andorhal, would find his grip on reality slipping in his later years, admittedly by no connection to the Scourge invasion – so far as we know.  But indeed, in his later days he found himself immured in the fantasy that he was, in fact, the late Llane Wrynn – hardly late in his eyes, of course – the dear fallen king of Stormwind, and father of its current ruler, King Varian.  His wife my aunt and several of my cousins would attempt to appeal to whatever reason might still have lingered beneath the delusions, but to no avail: the dementia had taken hold far too deeply, and Uncle Lucius would spend his days allowing his delusion to lead him off on one misadventure after another, until he finally settled into the final stage of his madness, sparked by blue paint and a spatula.  But I fear I digress, gentlemen, and far be it from me to waste all of our precious time on capricious reminiscence.

Everyone continues eating as a moment of silence passes.

GARROSH:  <looking up, surprised>  Oh.  You were done?

TIRION:  <blinks, surprised>  Warchief Hellscream?

GARROSH:  Um, yeah, okay, I guess I must have zoned out there for a minute.

FARANELL:  I think there was something in there about a meeting in Southshore.

MOKVAR:  <skimming back over notes>  Yeah, I have him down for a meeting about ten years ago, with Alexandros Mograine, Isilien, and Abbendis.

GARROSH:  Man, you really are committed to the job, Mokvar.  Props.

MOKVAR:  Eh, beats being unemployed.

GARROSH:  Okay, so for one thing, was that it for that meeting, or were there any other people there that we should know about?

TIRION:  Those were the principals from my perspective, Warchief; Alexandros having called the meeting, and Isilien and Abbendis having accompanied me in my journey to Southshore.  If memory serves, the Highlord’s lieutenants Fairbanks and Arcanist Doan were present as well.

FARANELL:  Whew.  Things didn’t exactly end well for a single one of those people.  Not liking your odds there, Tirion.

GARROSH:  So what was the meeting about?

TIRION:  As I had begun to say a moment ago, Warchief Hellscream, the meeting was born of Highlord Mograine’s wise anticipation of the threat the rising Scourge might pose to our world; he called us together to begin to make preparations to defend our homelands against the inevitable assault of the undead.

FARANELL:  What kind of preparations?

TIRION:  To gather our forces; to train in earnest in anticipation of the battle to come; to ready friends, family, and rulers alike for the possibilities of what awaited us.  A forthright effort to increase our awareness, mainly, and to dispel whatever complacency might dull our eventual readiness…  As well as…well, there was one further outcome…

GARROSH:  Which…would be?

TIRION:  <pauses>  At the time we all were sworn never again to speak of it.  But that, I suppose, was a long time ago, and much has changed since then…

GARROSH:  Huh, that must have been rough.

TIRION:  Begging your pardon, Warchief?

GARROSH:  I’m just trying to imagine you sworn not to talk about something.

MOKVAR:  <mutters, chuckling>  That one’s…getting…the nice printing…

TIRION:  I suppose the time has passed for this one secret, at least.  Alexandros…also showed us an item he had held in secret for a decade by that time.  A dark crystal, black as the void, a focus of hideous, destructive power…a living embodiment of shadows.  Alexandros believed that the existence of such an object, a manifestation of darkness, implied the possibility of its opposite: a manifestation of light, which he believed might prove the ultimate weapon against the undead.  He was soon proven right, though not in the manner he would have supposed…

FARANELL:  Starting to tick a few boxes here…

GARROSH:  So what does that mean?  Did you guys find the matching light crystal or something?

TIRION:  No, Warchief Hellscream.  We did not find it.  Without even setting out to, and very much to our surprise, we created it.

FARANELL:  I think I see where this is going…

TIRION:  Some of our group doubted Alexandros’ faith in the crystal’s importance, and attempted to destroy it through the powers of the light.  The crystal, however, merely absorbed whatever holy magic was cast upon it – spell after spell, we poured our power into it, until the dark crystal transformed into its own radiant counterpart.

GARROSH:  Oh shit.

FARANELL:  Where did the dark crystal come from in the first place?

TIRION:  From Outland, originally…

MOKVAR:  Please don’t tell me you got it from the arakkoa…

GARROSH:  Huh?

FARANELL:  The what?

TIRION:  We never learned where in Draenor the crystal had originated.  We only knew it was carried by an orcish warlock, a lieutenant to Orgrim Doomhammer, during the assault on Blackrock Spire during the Second War.  Alexandros took the crystal from the fallen orc’s body and kept it hidden.

GARROSH:  So what happened to it?  Did you end up using it for some kind of weapon?

Tirion brandishes the Ashbringer and stares at it a moment.

TIRION:  Aye.

GARROSH:  Oh shit again.

FARANELL:  Um, I’m going to step back a little, if it’s all the same to you guys.

GARROSH:  So that’s what you were doing in Southshore?  Forging the Ashbringer?

TIRION:  No, Warchief, the blade was not forged that day.  Our meeting in Southshore merely laid the groundwork.  It was only some time later that Alexandros and Fairbanks brought the crystal to Ironforge, where King Magni Bronzebeard himself forged the sword.

GARROSH:  And in between, what happened to the crystal?  You kept it under lock and key, or hid it somewhere, or what?

TIRION:  The crystal remained in Alexandros’ possession until he decided the time was right for the Ashbringer to be made.  From that day in Southshore, its locked chest was ever in his keep.

FARANELL:  And that was it?  The dark crystal was converted to light, you sealed it up, and Mograine held onto it until Ironforge?

TIRION:  Indeed, my friend.

FARANELL:  Hmm…that leaves us without a lot to go on, unless the sword itself was unaccounted for at some point.

TIRION:  <shakes head>  Nay, the Ashbringer’s succession is known, and before its forging the crystal was indeed never… Wait…

GARROSH:  Uh oh, here it comes.

MOKVAR:  We’re going to have to go kill something, aren’t we?

TIRION:  Now that I set my thoughts to it… I do recall, just after the crystal’s transformation, Isilien and Doan both grew intrigued by the object, an intellectual curiosity, it struck me, as to the crystal’s nature.  I believe Alexandros granted them some leave to examine it while at the inn, though I’m certain he would never have allowed it to leave the premises.

GARROSH:  Okay, so in that case we just have to track down Isilien and Doan—

MOKVAR:  Dead.

FARANELL:  And dead.

GARROSH:  —and of course they’re both dead, because nothing is ever fucking easy.

TIRION:  And as for the integrity of the Ashbringer’s line, I can assure you it has never fallen into the wrong hands – or rather, hands who might have used it for such purposes as concern you here.  For most of its existence, the Ashbringer was carried by Alexandros himself – indeed, he came to be known as the Ashbringer – as he waged battle gloriously against the Scourge in its early days.  Even after the dreadlord Balnazzar corrupted Alexandros’ own son Renault, driving the lad to slay his own father, the blade would soon be restored to its original bearer, as the lich Kel’Thuzad would soon after raise Alexandros’ to undeath as a death knight of the Lich King – a truly horrid end for one such as Mograine, a mockery of all he had fought for in life…

MOKVAR:  So, we good here?

TIRION:  …The blade itself recoiled against the treachery of Renault, and became twisted into a corrupted form, one in which it would remain for years hence.  During that time, as you may well have heard – and indeed, I can attest, the whispers speak truly – the corrupted blade remained in Alexandros’ risen hands, as he served the Lich King in Naxxramas, leader of the Four Horsemen.

GARROSH:  Yeah, I think so.

FARANELL:  I don’t think he’s going to have anything else for us.

TIRION:  It was in that time, however, that Mograine’s younger son, Darion, unable to bear the knowledge of what had become of his father, unwilling to see so great a man’s legacy besmirched by his actions in death, gathered a party from among the Argent Dawn and led a mission into the dread necropolis.  Therein, reluctantly, the son slew the father, and thereby laid his father’s weary spirit to rest – but at a terrible, terrible price.

GARROSH:  Okay.  Cue Operation Bait-n-Switch.

TIRION:  Darion, indeed, would take up the blade – as well as his father’s place in servitude to Arthas.  He would carry the Ashbringer in its corrupted form until passing it to me during the great Battle of Light’s Hope.  I am, of course, simplifying the tale in the interests of time; you will, I hope, forgive my occasional reductive glossings…

Garrosh and Faranell start to gather their belongings while Mokvar walks over to the doorway.

MOKVAR:  Sergeant Pain and Scout Suffering, you’re up!

TIRION:  While I commend you gentlemen for your impulse toward cleanliness, I assure you, there’s hardly a need to take pains gathering your belongings at this early juncture.  I’m sure our discussions will allow ample time for a less rushed approach to…

Dontrag and Utvoch enter.

GARROSH:  Okay, so, Tirion, quick introductions.

TIRION:  Ah, I see you have summoned further aides to supplement our discussions – I must commend you, Warchief Hellscream, on your insistence on thoroughness in these deliberations.  Though, again, I note that I find myself again presented with two additional members of your kin who are, regrettably, not Eitrigg…but I am sure these fine gentlemen will prove invaluable to our efforts.

FARANELL:  In a manner of speaking.

DONTRAG:  Greeting, Warchief.

UTVOCH:  Good day to you, sir!

GARROSH:  Sup guys.  So anyway, yeah, Tirion, this is Scout Utvoch, and the spikey-haired dude is Sergeant Dontrag.

UTVOCH:  Um, actually, sir, I’m Utvoch.

GARROSH:  Isn’t that what I just said?

DONTRAG:  No sir.  You said I was Utvoch.

GARROSH:  I did?

UTVOCH:  Yes, sir.  You said Dontrag was the spikey-haired one, and that’s me, when Dontrag is actually the one who’s bald, mostly.

DONTRAG:  Bad genes, sir.

UTVOCH:  At least you stopped trying to do the comb-over.

DONTRAG:  Well you could have told me how ridiculous it looked.

UTVOCH:  Huh?  I did, like a dozen times.

TIRION:  Ah, I recall having that very discussion with Doan on more than one occasion.

DONTRAG:  Yeah, that year in the Barrens wasn’t really a pretty time for me.

GARROSH:  So yeah, anyway, you two, this is Tirion Fordring.

TIRION:  A great honor to make your acquaintance, good sirs.

DONTRAG:  Hey.

UTVOCH:  So wait, weren’t you killed in Northrend?

DONTRAG:  How could he have been killed, he’s right here.

TIRION:  <chuckles>  No, no, my friend, though I will admit a harrowing time or two, I can assure you I returned from the frozen north very much alive.

UTVOCH:  How come I thought they said some Fordring died up there?

DONTRAG:  Maybe it’s another Fordring?

UTVOCH:  Did you have a cousin up there too?

DONTRAG:  Or maybe like one of his kids or something?

UTVOCH:  Oh crap, did you have a kid get killed?  I’m sorry I brought it up then.

DONTRAG:  I think you’re right, though, I remember hearing about a Ford-something dying up there too.

GARROSH:  Um, are you guys thinking of Fordragon?

DONTRAG:  Yeah, actually, it might be.

UTVOCH:  I think so, yeah, one or the other.

DONTRAG:  Definitely some kind of name like that.

UTVOCH:  So yeah, was it Fordring or Fordragon that got killed in Northrend?

TIRION:  Actually neith—erm, that is…Fordragon.  Yes.  It’s Bolvar Fordragon that you’re thinking of.  Who died.  In Northrend.  That’s what you were thinking of.

UTVOCH:  Oh okay.

DONTRAG:  Was he a friend of yours?

UTVOCH:  Oh yeah, because if their names sound alike I guess that means they must know each other because that’s how things work, right?

DONTRAG:  Oh shut up, stupid.

UTVOCH:  You shut up.

TIRION:  Actually I did know him quite well; Bolvar and I were friends of many years, like brothers, in fact…

UTVOCH:  Oh man, I guess things DO work like that, I’ll be damned.  That’s messed up.

DONTRAG:  I’m sorry your friend died then, sir.

TIRION:  As am I, my good orc.  But I am, alas, no stranger to tragedy.  Why I was just moments ago relating to your comrades here the doleful tale of my dear Uncle Lucius, who dwelled for many years near Andorhal before madness touched him and he grew obsessed with the delusion that he was, in fact, King Llane.

Garrosh, Mokvar, and Faranell exchange glances and nods.

UTVOCH:  Good thing he never met Garona, that might have been weird.

TIRION:  His life from that point on was weird enough, I assure you, between his endless wanderings, parcheesi board ever in hand, and his final preoccupation racing through Tirisfal, chasing bats with a spatula.

DONTRAG:  Well, at least bats make sort of decent eating, if you use the right breading…

TIRION:  A delicacy I cannot claim to have the pleasure of sampling, though I have no doubt the proper hands could produce culinary marvels.  But no, dear Uncle Lucius’ tastes were far more mundane, as he was perfectly content to treat each meal as a simple breakfast of bacon and toast – provided he could acquire a suitable marmalade to accompany it, as he was something of stickler in such matters.  Raspberry ideally…

GARROSH:  Aight, T-Ford, Imma bounce.  Peace!

DONTRAG:  So what’s the difference between marmalade and jam, anyway?

TIRION:  Curious you should ask, as there is, as it happens, an interesting tale behind the distinction…

Garrosh, Mokvar, and Faranell make a hasty exit through the doorway.

 

Also, note to Eitrigg:  Dude, was he always like this?  How the fuck could you stand it?  Fucking hell, I wasn’t even there for that long and I already feel like I need a day off.

 

“Daria’s Pro Tip for Dealing with Tirion #11: If he asks you if you want to hear a story, say yes. He’s going to tell you either way, but if you say no, he’ll just take longer getting to it. Think of it as steering into the skid, only with the skid being a tedious barrage of words.”