Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s from Zhaane and leads into a response to the prompt from the WFR boards; Writing Assignment: Riot in Stormwind
Guardians and Revelations – Part II
“I’m a busy man, Mr. a’Falkyr,” his pronounciation was impeccable. Zha’ane felt guilty about using his Kaldorei Intelligence papers in order to gain an audience with High Commander Wyrmbane, but in his judgement, it needed to be done. “And I also don’t enjoy being used a somekind of a pawn in someone elses power stuggles.” Zha’ane nodded and wisely kept his mouth shut.
The High Commander turned and picked up a small stack of papers and a fairly thick personnel folder. “This… this is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said as he waved the papers in the night elf’s direction. “She’s being setup, and from all accounts, it looks like it’s from her own side.”
“Sir, I can’t go into details, all I can say is that her mother only just found out she had become a Deathknight, and now she’s gone without a trace. If she’s here, I’d like to be able to reassure her mother somehow that she is being taken care of,” pleaded Zha’ane.
“Oh, she’s here alright! It was like seeing a ghost come back to haunt us when she reported in last night. I can understand Ms. Tymara’s concerns, as we only just recently sent home her personal effects. And from what you’ve stated, as well as my collegues in the Fjord have reported to me, the only thing that adds up is a personal vendetta of some sort. And we don’t appreciate being used in this fashion.” Zha’ane looked at the Commander questioningly.
The commander noticed the look, “Someone wants her out of the way, and they are willing to falsify intelligence estimates and setup ambushes along routes of travel to make sure she doesn’t come back. What they didn’t count on is that she is quite a talented young lady in her own right, and our ability to assess a situation and respond in kind.” This was news to Zha’ane, but he waited for the commander to elaborate. None came. Instead, he turned to his operations officer, “Commander Windstryke. Where is Sergeant Woods now?”
“She should be with the Urik. Airlift duty, Sir.” came the reply after a brief search of the personnel schedule.
“Sergeant?” Asked Zha’ane, pleasantly surprised.
“You should have seen the report by Vice Admiral Keller. That’s one very talented young lady, and even her… new disposition hasn’t changed that.” Zha’ane seemed to be hearing this a lot. The pride in his student had never been higher! “Please, come with me,” Wyrmbane requested. They walked a short distance to where a civilian was being offloaded carefully from the back of an Armored Gryphon. The civilian was thanking the gryphon rider as she was preparing for another flight out. “Sergeant!” he bellowed. “Front and Center!”
Channi’s head snapped around at the sound of his voice as she rushed around the gryphon and saluted the approaching High Commander. There was a tall male Kaldorei that accompanied him who seemed… familiar, but she did not know why.
Zha’ane’s surprise at seeing his student as a deathknight was almost too much to conceal. She looked a bit more pale than he remembered, but that could be a trick of the light from the torches. Her softly glowing eyes did not flicker in the least when she saw him; a fact that did not go unnoticed by him. But all in all, she seemed to be healthy and in good spirits.
“Sgt. Woods, status.” Wyrmbane ordered.
“Sir. There are three more Civilians that I have spotted and require airlift from the village below,” came her reply.
“And this one here was how many you have recovered today?”
“She was my 7th one, sir”
The High Commander nodded. “Sergeant, have Urik take your Mount, and then meet me in the Map Room. You have a change of orders coming.”
“But sir, the civilians…”
“You can supply their whereabouts to Urik, and he will dispatch another rider take care of them. That is all.” And he turned about and strode off. Zha’ane watched the exchange and noted Channi’s reluctance to leave another person in need of assistance. It made him even more proud than he already was. With a nod and a smile at the young sergeant, he turned and followed the High Commander.
“Mr. a’Falkyr. We need more soldiers like her out here. Her kind doesn’t come around that often. But we also don’t want to have the distinction of having to notify next of kin TWICE. Especially for one so young.” Channi came rushing in the door at this point and stood at attention awaiting to be recognized. Wyrmbane shifted his gaze from the Night Elf to her. “Sergeant Woods. It is my understanding that there is a Kaldorei reconnassience group being formed that can use your talents. I am turning you over to this man here, indefinitely. You are free to return here as time allows but the mission of your new primary objectives are to remain secret and will not be relayed to me, or anyone else for that matter. Am I understood?”
“Yes, sir!” came her reply.
“Very well then. Pack up. You are heading home again.”
Again, surprise was not a word to be used lightly when describing a Deathknight. So when her glowing eyes blinked, it was plain to all that ‘the logic of her new orders eluded her’. “Sir…?”
Zha’ane understood what was happening at once. “Officially, you are being attached to a covert unit in service to Kaldorei Intelligence. You will report to me directly from here on out. Unofficially, I am taking you home, to your mother.” He smiled warmly at the girl… no… young woman, in front of him. It was going to be hard to change his point of view about her. It was almost alarming how quickly humans could grow into adulthood.
That smile…. she KNEW she had seen it before, but couldn’t for the life of her remember where or when. The confusion was apparent on her face, not only for the orders, but also from the recognition of this other person. But she accepted her orders and saluted at the two of them before turning to leave.
Zha’ane turned to the Commander, “Sir…”
Wyrmbane shook his concern away, “I know. I didn’t want to accept her when she first came to us. She was too young, and I knew it was too dangerous. But the recommendation came from SI:7, so I gave her a chance. She exceeded our hopes when she came to us, but in the end it was her youth and inexperience that killed her.” Zha’ane looked at him questioningly before he carried on. “We continued our investigations and it was an Ebon Knight that brought this to our attention,” he pointed to a display case on the wall that held a necklace. It was quite a beautiful necklace and it seemed to glow slightly. Zha’ane caught himself as he almost took a step toward it. “You see the power it has?” the Commander continued. “It is designed to make you WANT to put it on. But it’s cursed. It will kill you and teleport you to one of their camps for ‘processing.’ It’s the only explanation that we could find that fit her circumstances. Now we keep that on on display as a reminder and a lesson to those heading into the field for the first time.”
That explained the spell damage on the locket he found. He looked back to the High Commander,”You said, indefinitely…?”
“Yes. As talented as she is, we… I … want her to have a chance at having a life of her own. If that’s even possible for a Deathknight. As I said, she is free to come back as time allows, but I want her to experience life some more. I want her to be able to choose this path for herself. Is that understood?”
Zha’ane nodded at the decision
“You’ve come quite a way just to track down a lost little girl, Mr. a’Falkyr. She’s one of us. I trust you will take care of her as you would your own.” This was a statement. He held out his hand to shake the Night Elf’s.
“Yes, sir. Thank you,” Zha’ane said as he shook the High Commander’s hand.
A half hour later, once Channi had gathered her gear and Mount, a 7th Legion staff Mage opened a Portal to Stormwind for them. Zha’ane and Channi both saluted the High Commander and the Mage as they passed through the portal…
… and into chaos! The bottle of Snowplum Brandy that Zhan’ane had brought back, crashed onto the floor as he and Channi narrowly missed being hit by crossing bolts of energy in the Mage tower by dueling mages and warlocks. Zha’ane pulled Channi down and toward a wall for protection as her charger reared up and raced toward the door. Channi instictively put up an anti-magic shield that deflected more than one set of Shadow bolts directed at them. They took refuge behind a fallen table that another mage was using for cover as well.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!?!” Zha’ane demanded.
The mage seemed to be breathing heavily and was clutching an arm that appered to have suffered some form of magical damage. “Riots… Some prisoner was let go… riots erupted… Warlocks attacked… city is *cough*” That was enough for Zha’ane. Channi’s charger made it out the door and he could hear the chaos coming from the stairwell. There was a slight lull in the fighting as the steed barrelled through the oncoming Warlocks and demon spawn.
He glanced at Channi who had already pulled her Battle Axe and was preparing for the next course of action. “How often can you use that shield?”
“I can use it again shortly. What do you have in mind?” she replied.
“When I give the signal, I want you to run headlong down those stairs and I’ll meet you outside. Got it?”
She nodded. “Wait… what’s the signal?”
Zha’ane just smiled and then seemed to shimmer into the shadows. “You’ll know it, trust me!”
Channi’s Charger must have made it out of the tower as there were more sounds of demons approaching from the stairwell. 3 Fel-hounds and a Fel-guard came up next. The demonic dog-like creatures searching for magic users, and the taller fel-guard was there for physical protection. As they cleared the doorway, the Fel-hounds pounced on the nearest of the mages… only to be frozen in place as the mages blinked away. There was a puff of smoke behind the Fel-guard as it reared up in agony. Zha’ane had popped up and attacked it viciously from behind. Apparently this was the Signal…
Channi jumped up as the Fel-guard turned on Zha’ane, and buried her Axe in it’s back and watched it crumple to the floor. Zha’ane smiled and allowed her to take the lead down the stairs. As soon as she saw Warlocks, she was again encompassed by a field of anti-magic as she barreled through them. Zha’ane was close behind and left a cloud of blinding powder in his wake. They didn’t want to kill the warlocks, just incapacitate them so they could get out.
And out they made it to fresh air… or not… The air was rancid with smoke and fire. Spells were flying everywhich way across the courtyard. Zha’ane tugged on Channi’s cloak to get her attention and pointed down. She nodded in response and they jumped into the nearby tree to get down to the ground. A few broken branches and scrapes and bruises later, they were able to gather their bearings. They hadn’t even had a chance to think of where to go next. Just to get out of the tower…
It was at that point Zha’ane could tell the magnitude of the damage being done to the city. The sky in the direction of the Cathedral was filled with a huge plume of crimson smoke. the sounds fromt he market District were getting louder as well. It was almost as if the city were being culled by it’s own citizens. For the moment,t hey were safe, but the tree only provided so much protection. Zha’ane could hide in the shadows, but Channi was another matter. He had to keep her safe. Where to go…? Loreli was security at the University, surely she would have somewhere for them to go to… LORELI! Where was she? was she alright? “We need to get to the Campus! Follow Me!” he called over the sounds of battle around them. Channi nodded in agreement and followed close behind.
He wasn’t sure where to find her once he got there, but he was sure he’d find a way. But first thing’s first…