Today, we do a little back-tracking so we can move forward. Today’s post comes to you from Zhaane and starts off shortly after this post…
Surprise is not a word that death knights are accustomed to having associated with their reactions. So for her sake, let’s just say that ‘Channi was not expecting to be presented a dress by Nivista.’ But here she was in the back of the Pig & Whistle exchanging her heavy plate armor for a blue gossamer dress that just seemed to flow around her body. It was not an unpleasant feeling, she had to admit. How does one wear only this into combat? she wondered to herself. But the druid was right about it being more comfortable than her armor. And there was something else… she felt… happy? Yes… that had to be it. She had an uncontrollable urge to… smile as she smoothed the fabric around the curves of her body.
She came out from the backroom smiling, but also turning slightly red as she also realized that she felt very exposed without her armor, and that made her very self conscious. Nivista And Takani both smiled at her as she appeared around the bar. Others in the tavern looked at her and gave her approving smiles as well. Somehow, this small act seemed to comfort her and she grew more confident in her situation. “Thank you, again,” she said to Nivista. “It feels… nice.” The almost mechanical quality of her voice giving away the unfamiliarity of expressing herself.
“Now, isn’t that more comfortable than your armor?” Nivista smiled as she asked this.
“Yes, it is. Have you seen Loreli? I’d like to show her.”
Takani responded, “She went outside with Tuivae, but didn’t come back with her.”
Channi’s brow wrinkled as the only two logical options came to her: She should still be outside, or she went somewhere else “I’ll see if I can find her then. Thank you again for the dress, it really is…” she had to pause a moment to make sure the word fit the occasion, “…beautiful.” She smiled and nodded in affirmation that she was indeed using the correct word. Beauty is not something death knights that have been newly freed are inclined to notice, let alone enjoy. Those things take time. Enjoyment of anything was still something she was trying to get used to. She smiled again as she gathered her belongings and *Clomp clomp clomped* out of the tavern. Apparently, her armored boots were the only shoes she had…!
Wearing a dress while riding her charger proved to be more difficult than she anticipated. In the end, she just pulled the hem up to mid-thigh so she could straddle the mount properly as she headed through the city looking for signs of Loreli. She really didn’t have any idea where she could be, so she went to the University to check if she went home for the night. However, she wasn’t exactly sure where Loreli lived, and no one seemed to be willing to help her, so she soon gave up finding her there. Perhaps she wanted to pick something up from the Market District? Plausible. And right now it was about the only other thing that made sense. But at this time of night, most of the district was closed and there was no sign of her.
Being as late as it was, a different type of clientelle seemed to be roaming the market, and it made her very aware of all the stares she was receiving. Why are they whistling like that? she asked herself. It made her wish she had her armor back on, but she wanted to show the dress to Loreli first. However, it did not seem that would happen tonight, so she headed back to her barracks in Old Town. As she dismounted at the gate, she took no notice of the men coming out of the barracks next door. There was always some kind of traffic heading in or out of there and there was never any trouble, they were sister agencies after all. She gathered her gear and allowed the stable hand to take her steed as she headed inside for the night. She could always show the dress to Loreli tomorrow night.
“Mmmhmmm, tasty… even for a death knight.” Said Drin as he watched the young death knight slip inside the Barracks next door. The flash of thigh as she dismounted was enough to spark more than his share of interest.
“I told you before, she’s off limits,” Said Jaylen. “At least until we have Loreli under control again. Then you can do with her what you wish.” Jaylen wasn’t too fond of humans for what he knew Drin had in mind. No, humans were too fragile.
Drin on the other hand, relished the fragile nature of humans, and the fact that she was young… AND a death knight… He just smiled at the prospect. He could wait. As long as he had to, and then he could see where the breaking point of a death knight was. Yes… that would be MOST enjoyable…
Jaylen knew that even being adopted, Loreli would still instictively fight to protect, or avenge her daughter if anything were to happen to her directly. No, he’d just have to get her out of the way. Again. Maybe this time, she’ll have the decency to STAY dead…
Channi had new orders posted the next morning. She hadn’t finished her investigations into the new Defias leadership yet, but someone in her upper command felt she was better utilized in Northrend. She was to take the 0800 Tram to Ironforge, where she would catch a flight to Menethil, so she could be on the icebreaker Northspear for the 1200 voyage to Howling Fjord. Once there, she would report to Vice Admiral Keller at Valguard Keep to receive further orders. She was to “Pack Lightly” as she would be issued new equipment upon her arrival.
Not that she had much to bring with her anyway, but she left her armor in her foot locker and had it placed in storage at the barracks. If she needed to, she could have it shipped seperately. This gave her an excuse to wear the dress again, which made her smile.
Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have a chance to see Loreli before she left. And she was under strict orders to not tell anyone where she was going. Hopefully she could write to her later and let her know she was fine.
When she disembarked from the Northspear in Valguard, she was regretting her choice of clothing. The chill air seemed to wind it’s way around her legs, bare under the dress she wore. But it wasn’t long from the point she reported for duty to when she was issued her new Cobalt Armor set. Not only was it stronger and more manueverable than her old set, but it was fabricated with the temperatures of Northrend in mind, so there was a warm, soft fur lining as well. It wasn’t as comfortable as the dress, but felt almost… luxurious compared to the armors she used in Outland, and a good deal warmer too! The scourge would never had made anything that felt like this. Comfort was not something that was required of the armors fabricated by them. Only utility.
She stopped a moment realizing she was now comparing craftsmanship between the Alliance and the Scourge… Creativity was not something the Scourge encouraged because it also breeded independant thought. But the Alliance, and Horde as well, revelled in creativity. Just look at all the Gnome and Goblin technology. It was amazing the amount of creativity those two races alone could have. Maybe that was what makes them all fight so hard against the Scourge… a need to be creative and independant? She would have to think about that more in the future. For now, she had orders to fulfill.
In true military fashion, it was a game of ‘Hurry up, and Wait.’ By the time she was done getting re-equiped, it was time for the evening meal, and then lights out.
It was the next morning she was immediately sent off to Utgarde Keep for what was supposed to be a quick recon sweep, but turned into a full scale battle. There wasn’t supposed to be any Vrykul about…. at least not in these numbers, but her keen eyes picked out what could have been termed Perimeter Guard Elements and Death Gripped them to her own patrol group and took them out one by one. By the time her patrol worked their way around the perimeter of the enemy units, and through the Keep itself, the Vrykul command staff had no warning that they were under attack.
Upon their return, to say Vice Admiral Keller was surprised at their report would be an understatement. They had it from on high at SI:7 that there should be no Vrykul forces of that magnitude in the vicinity any longer. He thanked them for their report, and ordered them to clean up and get some chow. In the mean time, he’d let SI:7 know how full of Shoveltusk Fertilizer their estimates were. Again…!
As much as he would have preferred to have her stay, he received further orders sending her to Winterguard leaving that afternoon. If she hurried, she might make it to Westguard by nightfall, and then on to Winterguard the next evening. When she reported in as ready to leave, Vice Admiral Keller seemed to want to say something more to her, but instead just returned her salute and sent her on her way. He had taken the liberty to have a patrol sent on ahead to make sure the road was clear for her. She noted passing them on their return trip about halfway to Winterguard, but they seemed to have been in a fight. This caused her concern. Again, something new Deathknights were not used to. But they saluted her as they passed her and gave her the all clear as they continued on their way.
It was shortly after nightfall when she saw the lights in the watch towers as she came over the last rise. She pulled her steed to a stop as she approached the gate. Her glowing eyes made it clear to the guards that she was a deathknight. He examined her orders and looked up at her, “Cpl. Woods? Captain Adams is expecting you in the keep. Through the gate and to the left once you are past the Flightmaster tier. The stables are on your right. Welcome to Westguard!”
She saluted the guard and thanked him as she was allowed to proceed. She found the stables and took care of her charger first. Once she was comfortable with his care, she reported to Captain Adams. The dwarven commander seemed to pause in his tracks when he looked up at the young woman standing at attention in front of him. He glanced at a message on the table and back at her. “Stand a’ ease, Corporal.” He looked her up and down as he came around the planning table to stand in front of her. As small and young as she was, there was a confidence in her movements and stature that spoke volumes about her abilities in the field. Captain Adams seemed impressed.
“It seems ye’ have had qui’ a day today,” this was a statement, not a question. ” Ye’ would pro’ably be wantin’ t’ get yer’self a bunk ‘ere in th’ barracks. I’ll ‘ave a few things fer ye’ t’ do in th’ mornin’. Come back t’ me after ye’ have ‘ad some breakfast. Oh, and be advised, th’ Inn is off limits t’ death knights. Ye’ll have t’ stay in the barracks and eat in th’ mess hall ‘ere in th’ keep.” He gave her a half shrug and his voice seemed genuinely sorry.
Channi nodded, stood back at attention and saluted, “Yes, Sir.” He returned her salute and turned back to the planning table. She performed an about face and left to find a bed for the evening and see if there was anything leftover from supper in the mess hall.
“Someone ‘s playin’ a dangerous game with tha’ girl. An’ there’s only so much help we ca’ give ‘er…” Captain Adams said half to himself as he watched her leave the conference room.
“Sir?” asked an aide.
The Captain seemed to think a moment and then looked at his aide, “I wan’ a patrol gathered in th’ morning t’ check out th’ road to Winterguard. An’ I wan’ a priority message sent t’ Wyrmbane a’ once,” he ordered as he bent over to pen the message to High Commander Wyrmbane. He included the original message from Vice Admiral Keller and the report from the Valguard patrol when they arrived at Westguard before their return. I can only delay her for so long, and the rest will be Light willing…
“I can’t thank ye’ enough f’r gettin’ me mules back,” exclaimed Abby. “I know ye canno’ go in th’ Inn here, so I took th’ liberty of gettin’ ye’ a spot o’ shoveltusk sausage. Almos’ as good as home!”
“Thank you,” Channi said politely as she took a bite and smiled. This was actually quite good. Variety, she thought to herself. Again, the variety of even the foods she has eaten was enough to make her think of how much her world had changed. And again, it was not an unpleasant experience.
“Now, be off with ye’. I’m sure Cap’n Adams has somethin’ more importan’ fer ye’ to be doin’,” Abby said as she ‘shooed’ her away with a smile.
Channi actually found herself amused and almost giggled as she was chased away toward the keep. She gave the dwarven explorer a brief smile and a nod as she continued to eat the sausage on her way across the courtyard. She made sure she was done eating before she entered the conference room and stood at attention awaiting to be recognized by the Captain. When he did call her forward he seemed hesitant to do so. His aide came forward and handed an envelope to Channi and went back to his desk on the side of the room.
“Corporal Woods. Ye’ ‘ave yer’ orders there. Good Luck t’ ye’,” he said as he reached out a hand to shake hers with.
She blinked and hesitated, and slowly reached out to shake his hand in return. “Thank you, sir.” She then stepped back and fired off a salute and headed off to the hallway where she read her orders. She was to report to Winterguard Keep in the Dragonblight as soon as she could. She went outside and looked at the sun, low on the southern horizon. Even leaving now, she wouldn’t get there until after nightfall, but orders were orders. She gathered her gear from the barracks and gave one last wave to Abby on her way out of the gates.
Stay tuned as we continue tomorrow.