Topic Alayne's Story
For those tuning in for the first time, this is a story I've been working on for...quite some time. I originally began posting it on the old WoW-Europe RP forum back in the autumn of 2007. With the demise of the old forums, the first three parts can only be found on my website, Magisters-Terrace.com. What is posted below is the beginning of Part IV. To read the first three parts of Alayne's Story, visit my website at http://www.magisters-terrace.com/?page_id=439
So, without further ado, here is Part IV of Alayne's Story.
Callie traipsed lightly through the cavernous corridors of Undercity. Kor’kron guards stood where once abominations had guarded the passageways through the city. She tried to ignore their irate glares as she made her way into the Rogue’s Quarter where she kept a small apartment. The Dark Lady had offered her better accommodations for her heroism in the Battle for Undercity and for her part in the fall of the Lich King. Callie, ever modest, had refused them. Normally, she preferred to live in the room Alayne had built for her at the house in Nagrand. However, before any of them could so much as settle in from their long journey in Northrend, word had come that the Disorder of Azeroth was needed once more.
“Alayne’s never going to get that vacation Ger’alin keeps promising her,” Callie muttered to herself as she closed the door behind her. “I don’t think any of us will get much time off until this latest round of insanity is over. Light, why did Thrall pick now of all times to go off on a vision quest?”
Settling down at her small desk, she pulled up her journal. Dipping a pen in the ink jar she’d just purchased, she thought about writing a strongly-worded letter to Garrosh telling him exactly what she thought of his latest antics. Deciding that, while it would be entertaining to imagine him reading such a missive, she did not want to be one of the many he decided were “traitors of the Horde.” Instead, she ordered her thoughts and then began writing. Alayne was right about one thing – someone needed to keep a record of what was going on or else their descendants would never believe it.
From the journal of Callie Morton, a Forsaken rogue:
“Life has never been easy, especially not since I died,” she scrawled. “Things have been getting more and more complex ever since we got the recall after the Lich King’s death. Thrall had heard about Alayne’s exploits with the Burning Blade in Outland and wanted her to help infiltrate some doomsday cults that were brainwashing the orcs in Orgrimmar. So, off she went with Ger’alin at her heels. Then, no sooner did they get through the Dark Portal but word came for Mir’el and Jez’ral (and Alayne who, both of them swear was lucky to have missed the messenger) to report to Silvermoon for a High Council or some such business. Jez’ral kept going on and on about how he didn’t have any formal robes anymore and Mir’el – well, perhaps the less said about that the better.”
“After those two left, yet another messenger came. This one was from Alayne and she requested that Zerith and Dar’ja join them in Orgrimmar. Ger’alin and Tau’re were in Thunder Bluff trying to keep an eye on the Grimtotem who were starting to stir up trouble and Alayne needed her brother (and his wife) to help her deal with the few orcs she’d managed to free from the doomsday cults. I was going to go with them but then Sylvanas sent word that she wanted me (well, actually all of us) to report to Undercity. Zerith flipped a coin and decided that he had better join his sister because Alayne has a way of getting herself into trouble when she’s not being watched and I went off to see what the Dark Lady wanted.”
“The Gilneans have been getting more active lately and we’ve seen more and more Sons of Arugal rampaging through Silverpine Forest. Sylvanas – and I’m not sure I like this at all – had gotten some val’kyr to join her and had begun recruiting new Forsaken. From the resting dead. Light, becoming Forsaken by dying from the Plague and then managing to break free of the Lich King was bad enough. And, while I don’t necessarily want to see us vanish from the world, I can’t say I like the idea of making new Forsaken. Some of the new ones don’t take well to this existence at all. I heard of one poor girl who still hasn’t accepted her new ‘lease on life.’ At any rate, we’ve taken over a good part of Lordaeron now. Tirisfal is ours completely and we’ve solidified our hold on Silverpine and Hillsbrad. The Plaguelands still give us pause but we’re working on that with the sin’dorei.”
[Story continued in next post]
“Sylvanas has ordered a siege at the Greymane Wall. There’s been more activity there and she does not want to see Gilneas get reinforced by the Alliance from the sea and then undo all of the work we’ve done. Lordaeron – minus the Hinterlands and Arathi – was ceded over to the Horde under the treaty that the Horde and Alliance signed after the Lich King was defeated. While I like the idea of not being at war, not everyone is as happy about it as I am if word from Kalimdor is any guide.”
Callie stared at the pages she’d written. Word from Kalimdor had been troubling indeed. She wasn’t quite sure she believed it herself. Thrall gone? Garrosh acting as Warchief in his place? A fire destroying Orgrimmar? Wiping the stub of her pen clean and replacing the stopper on the ink jar, she sat back and ran her hand through her hair while her sword-arm tapped the desk thoughtfully. Coming to a decision, she nodded, swept her things into her knapsack, and set out again.
“It’s been a few months since I’ve seen them,” she muttered to herself. “Maybe they’ve finally gone off on that vacation. And, if they have, Light knows they need someone to keep them on their toes. And, the Light also knows that someone is me.”
Grinning, she loped out of Undercity and headed for the zeppelin that would take her to Kalimdor.
Ger’alin glanced enviously at the tent pitched just across the campfire from his own. He didn’t know if Zerith had the first clue what Dar’ja was planning and, at this moment, he didn’t care. Zerith had had the luxury of growing up around his own people, after all. If anyone, the priest should have some vague notion about what Dar’ja was plotting.
“Lucky bastard,” the paladin swore. He glanced back to the beach and tried not to ground his teeth when he saw that Alayne was still merrily climbing through the ruins. After the Emerald Nightmare’s revelations, she did not want to be caught unawares by anymore childhood stories come to life. How, exactly, that necessitated them making a trip through northern Kalimdor and digging through ruins, was something the paladin could not understand. Though, admittedly, he did not fault his wife for wanting to do something other than fight. It seemed they had been doing all too much of that ever since their return from Northrend.
The low moans from the tent subsided and Ger’alin made another tick mark in the dirt in front of him. Seven. He wondered just how that was possible but then decided that some questions were best left unanswered. He nearly bit his tongue and began swearing when the sounds started up again. Standing up and dusting himself off, no longer caring that he was going to lose count, he strode over to where Alayne had squatted down intent on getting her to do something other than scribble down runes in her notebook.
“Ger’alin, this is fascinating,” she said. She didn’t even look up from her work. “The ancient night elven sorcery…it far outstrips anything we’re capable of today. Of course, the whole foundation it rested upon is lost forever unless Nordrassil truly dies.”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“What?” she asked, confused. “Oh, Nordrassil dying would be a terrible thing. The kaldorei would probably never recover from it.”
“But they’ve got Teldrassil now…”
“Yes, but Nordrassil is the key to their longevity and hardiness. Still, I’m glad that Teldrassil has been cleansed. I can’t believe the Cenarion Circle had no clue what Staghelm was up to.”
“Well, we’ve all been tricked before. Still, it’s good that it’s stopped. I wonder why we keep having these earthquakes, though, if the poison from Teldrassil is gone.”
“Hm,” she muttered. “That is an interesting question. Perhaps it…”
“You know,” he said, reaching over and pulling her notebook away from her. “I have been promising you a vacation for ages now. Are you going to let me take you on one or are you always going to find some kind of work to do?”
She blinked and glanced up at him. Her eyes had almost returned to their natural blue though traces of fel green still floated through them and would for decades yet. His own eyes were darkening back to their normal emerald shade. Running a hand through her jaw-length honey-colored hair, she grinned. “Well, who says you can’t work on a vacation?”
“I do,” he said firmly. “Now, we should take a page from their book,” he added, jerking a thumb back towards the tents, “and enjoy ourselves a bit.”
“Just one problem with that plan, sweetheart,” she laughed, “I’m not trying to trick you into early fatherhood.”
“Still, you could pretend…”
“I’ve got to get you away from her,” Alayne chuckled.
“What?” Ger’alin asked, confused.
“Never mind. I’ll let Jez’ral or Mir’el explain it to you,” she blushed.
[Story continued in next post]
“I’m not sure I want to know. Still, we could at least relax on the beach instead of combing it for artifacts. Light knows we did enough work clearing the naga off it to have earned a bit of a respite.”
“I am relaxing,” Alayne protested. “I enjoy finding artifacts and learning about our heritage.”
“Well, why don’t we just go for a walk, then? Maybe you’ll find some artifacts in the woods.”
Alayne smiled up at her husband. Ger’alin would never be one who was terribly interested in the past – unless it involved studying battle tactics. Still, she did feel sorry for him. He had taken recent events quite hard and had only agreed to travel to Azshara to get his mind off the tragedy that had struck while he and Tau’re were in Thunder Bluff. Her studying artifacts that interested him not at all was not much of a distraction for him. Standing up and brushing her robes off, she looped her arm through his and let him lead her away from the beach.
“It’s not your fault, you know,” she said as they entered the shade of the forest. “Cairne’s death, I mean.”
“I still just can’t believe that Garrosh, hot-headed as he is, would…I understand the need for resources. I can even sympathize with the desire to attack the night elves in Ashenvale in order to secure a supply-line. Had I been in his place, I might have done much the same – make a show of strength, rattle my saber a bit, and then sue for peace through the druids. But to murder the peace delegation? That was just senseless! And why kill the very diplomats that were sent there? Garrosh is going to destroy the Horde.”
“We can’t be certain that he was behind it…”
“If he wasn’t, then someone who looks up to him was. For all that Garrosh disdains political maneuvering, he’s quite the expert at making certain that he gets his way without his hands actually being dirtied. I cannot believe that Thrall thought he would make an acceptable Warchief.”
“I got a letter from Mir’el right before the challenge,” she sighed. “Lord Theron and Lady Sylvanas are considering whether or not their interests are best served by remaining in the Horde with Hellscream at the helm.”
“We cannot turn our backs on our allies even if the current Warchief is an overly aggressive adolescent who’s going through a severe round of hero-worshipping his dead father’s whitewashed memory. Besides, the orcs aren’t the only ones in the Horde. What about the Darkspear and the tauren?”
“Maybe they would…”
“Leave with us? I doubt it. Baine swallowed his pride and kept his people in the Horde even after his father was murdered at Garrosh’s hands. Tau’re says that rumor has it that it was all part of the Grimtotems’ plot to take over Thunder Bluff and Garrosh was played like a harp by them. And, Vol’jin is doing everything he can to rein Garrosh in. Frankly, I have a feeling that Thrall is going to have his hands full repairing the damage done when he finally gets back from whatever it is he’s doing.”
“Still, Ger’alin,” she sighed, “you can’t blame yourself for what’s been going on. You and Tau’re did your best. You did manage to save several tauren that night. Light, when word reached us in Orgrimmar that Thunder Bluff had been taken by the Grimtotem, I feared I had lost you forever.”
Ger’alin remained silent. Stopping and leaning up against a tree, he rolled his head back and closed his eyes. He really did not want to continue this conversation. Alayne leaned against his chest and he wrapped his arms around her. That terrible night still had him sleeping lightly. He and the other two had been preparing to leave Thunder Bluff and set out for the Barrens. Tam’ara wanted to see the oases and Tau’re knew that Ger’alin did not like being parted from Alayne while danger threatened. They had all been preparing to turn in for the night at their rooms in the Thunder Bluff inn when the alarms sounded. Ger’alin had rushed out, looking for the enemy and was confused when he saw tauren assassins stalking in the night. Tau’re had known the Grimtotems by sight but Tam’ara and Ger’alin had both been hampered in the fight by their inability to discern friend from foe. Finally, they’d gathered up enough survivors and made their way down the rises to the plains below. Tau’re and Ger’alin had ridden hard for Bloodhoof Village only to find that the inhabitants had been slaughtered in their sleep. They’d had to fight their way back out and into the night.
The survivors had made their way, traveling under the cloak of night, out of Mulgore and into the Barrens. Uncertain what Garrosh would make of the tide of events, they’d been unwilling to march into Orgrimmar and demand aid. Ger’alin had recommended taking a ship to Lordaeron and seeking refuge among the blood elves or the Forsaken. Several had done just that. Others remained, their ears tuned for news from the acting Warchief.
[Story continued in next post]
When Baine had finally resurfaced and retaken Thunder Bluff, tensions remained high until he renewed the pact with the Horde. Garrosh had tried to honor Tau’re and Ger’alin for their part in helping to protect the innocent but neither man would have it. Both personally held the orc accountable for the sequence of events that had let the Grimtotem finally make their move against the other tauren. After that last argument with Garrosh, Ger’alin had stormed out of Orgrimmar and had no plans to return. Instead, he’d begun formulating plans to rally the Disorder of Azeroth to try to put out the brushfires Garrosh seemed intent on lighting in the dry desert forests.
“I don’t blame myself for being able to stop it,” Ger’alin sighed, resting his cheek against the crown of Alayne’s head. “I blame myself for being unable to convince Garrosh to open his eyes and see where he is leading us. He may take us over a cliff. Still, it would be better to go off that cliff as part of the Horde than to survive on our own. Without the support we’ve gotten from the trolls, tauren, and yes, the orcs, we wouldn’t have the hold on Lordaeron that we do. And, I can’t fault Garrosh for beefing up the armies. That has been needed for years now. You know the Alliance, for all Lady Proudmoore’s talk of peace, has been preparing for war. I just hope that we’re not dragged up into a needless slaughter.”
“I hope not,” she sighed, squeezing him in an embrace. “Come on, let’s go back to camp and see if my brother and his wife can be convinced to put on clothes long enough to eat something. And, I promise, tomorrow I will only spend three hours going over the ruins instead of all day.”
“What will do you do for the rest of that time?” he asked with a gleam in his eyes.
“I was thinking about going for a little swim,” she grinned. “As long as you promise to warm me up after.”
“I think I can manage that,” he chuckled. “As a matter of fact, why wait until tomorrow? I can warm you up right now.”
Ger’alin grunted as he made another circuit around the camp. After a pleasant afternoon spent in the forest, he and Alayne had returned to their tent to find a package wrapped up like a Winter Veil present waiting for them. The couple suspected that neither Zerith nor Dar’ja had left it behind so they treated it with extreme caution. Ger’alin was glad they had. He was also glad that Alayne had thought to bring ointment for itchweed with them. He wished he’d thought to bring a spare tent considering that their current one would need to be washed out to ensure that neither of them would break out in a rash.
Making another circuit of the camp, he tried to find some trace of who had been there. He knew they had to be nearby. And, he had a very good idea of who it might be. “Where ever you are, you undead rogue, come out,” he called out as he passed back through the tents. Dar’ja poked her head out of the tent where she and Zerith were catching their breath before they began yet another round. “You are going to talk to him, aren’t you?” Ger’alin hissed.
“Mind your own damned business, Ger’alin,” she hissed back. “What are you shouting about?”
“Did you hear anyone come into the camp earlier?”
“No,” she admitted. “Why?”
“Because someone left us a package of itchweed.”
“Oh. Well, when you find Callie, keep her away from us. We’re busy.”
“You really need to talk to him…”
“I already told you to mind your own business.”
“Look, Dar’ja, he is going to have a fit when…”
“Will you two stop bickering!” the priest shouted from inside the tent. “Some of us are trying to enjoy the first vacation we’ve had in years!”
“First and last if you have your way,” the paladin muttered softly, glaring at Dar’ja. “Tell him!”
[Story continued in next post]
Dar’ja made a rude gesture and then retied the tent flaps. Moments later low moans from the tent told him that the other pair were at it again. Shaking his head and rubbing his jaw thoughtfully, he made a last circuit of the camp and then walked over to the edge of the forest where he and Alayne would be sleeping that night. Their tent was strung up to dry and a fresh sleeping roll was stretched out near a much smaller fire pit than the common one they supposedly shared with Zerith and Dar’ja for cooking. All in all, they were far enough away from the other couple to be able to get some sleep at night but close enough that Alayne could shout for Zerith to wake up already when she wanted to get a rise out of her brother late each morning. Alayne had made tremendous strides in stabilizing her sense of self and her personality since they left Northrend but neither she nor Zerith wanted to risk her being off on her own too much until she had come to grips with everything that had happened over the past five years. Ger’alin sighed as he settled into the sleep roll and glanced around, looking for Alayne. Perhaps he would be able to convince her to explain her earlier cryptic remarks about needing to get him away from Dar’ja. Or, failing that, he could convince her to show the other pair that they weren’t the only ones capable of having a good time while on vacation. One thing he refused to do this night was actually sleep, however.
“If Callie’s out there, she’s hiding and just waiting for us to go to sleep,” he muttered to himself. “I’ll stay up and keep watch from inside the tent a few hours longer. Perhaps she’ll make her move then and I can pin her and find out why she planted that itchweed. Light, I’d love to know how Alayne figured out what it was. If it hadn’t been for her having one of Zerith’s salves ready, I’d still be scratching my skin off.”
Thinking of Alayne finding him sitting in the shallow water, his clothes floating on the foamy surf while he scrubbed at his itching arms, chest, and hands with sand and salt water, remembering how the salve she’d spread with soothing hands had cooled the burning rash made him flush and wish he’d taken advantage of the opportunity then instead of letting himself be distracted by a mere itch. Glowering at the night, he snarled. “If you pull something off and disturb me, I’ll salt your hide,” he promised the watcher he knew was out there before he ducked into his tent with almost unseemly haste.
In the upper reaches of a tall redwood, hidden by layers of leaves, Callie grinned and began planning the next round of mayhem. They had figured out the “gift box” more quickly than she’d thought they would. But, the plants she’d gotten from Tam’ara on her way through the Barrens promised that her next prank would go off without a hitch.
You can find the original versions on my website, Artiatras. Just go to http://www.magisters-terrace.com.
I will warn you, though, that I am in the midst of moving hosts (my current host can't handle the traffic) so you may have trouble getting there for the next few days or so while the name servers are updating.
Edited by Geralin on 14/01/11 11:48 (GMT)
Here's this week's update.
Back and forth. Back and forth. Ger’alin felt himself rocking gently. He could vaguely recall the sensation of his mother or father rocking him when he was a child. It had felt much like this. Closing his eyes, he let the sensation wash over him.
“What in the name of the Light!” he heard Alayne yelp from a short distance away. The panic in her tone drove all thought of comforting rocking out of his head and suddenly he wondered just why he was rocking. He and Alayne had fallen sound asleep in their bedding on the firm ground. He managed to turn his head, surprised at how much effort it took, and then began growling obscenities beneath his breath.
He was strung up, his hands and feet bound to a makeshift hammock suspended a good ten feet above the ground. Thick vines wrapped around his legs, chest, and shoulders ensured that he would not fall off by accident. However, they did make getting out of hammock on purpose difficult. Twisting as much as he could, he managed to catch a glimpse of Alayne several feet down from him. Two other hammocks he caught sight of swaying in the neighboring tree told him that Zerith and Dar’ja had not escaped this particular bit of insanity.
“When I get free,” he said loudly enough to be heard in Thunder Bluff, “I am going to strangle you, Callie!”
“Callie?” Zerith’s sleepy voice said. “What’s she doing…what in the name of the Light happened?!” he demanded. “Dar’ja?”
“She’s a few branches in front of you,” Ger’alin said. “Don’t panic.”
“Panic? I go to sleep next to my wife and wake up in a tree and you want me to stay calm?” the priest sputtered.
“Exactly that,” Ger’alin agreed. “If you panic and fall, you’re going to hit several good-sized branches on your way down. And while we can heal you easily, you’ll miss out on a day’s worth of ‘fun’ trying to sleep off the energy of healing a broken arm.”
Zerith lapsed into angry growls while Ger’alin tried to figure a way out of this predicament. Flexing his wrists, he stretched the bonds tying his hands to the hammock enough that he could wriggle out of them. With his hands free, he tore the rest of the confining vines away and then carefully eased himself up until he sat with his legs hanging over the side of the gently swaying perch.
“I’m going to strangle her,” he swore when he caught a glimpse of Alayne. Her face was as pale as a corpse. He could see nothing but the whites of her eyes and her lips were faintly green. Her hands gripped the vines holding her in place with a tightness that told him she would probably be unable to do much of anything with them if he didn’t get her freed soon. Rocking with the hammock and cursing whenever its motion added to the swaying of hers, he managed to swing close enough to a branch to stretch out and grab hold of it. Pulling himself along until he got close to her, he gently untied her bonds, pulling himself into her hammock and praying that she wouldn’t panic too much. When she started trembling violently, he grit his teeth and lay over her while he fumbled with the vines holding her hands back behind her head and tried not to think about how interesting this would be if they weren’t so high above the ground. “Zerith, you and Dar’ja will be the death of me yet,” he whispered as he finished freeing her. “Alayne,” he said loudly and more roughly than he’d intended. “Snap out of it, woman!”
“G-g-g-ground?” she whimpered as her irises regained their customary position in the front of her eyes.
“Can you control yourself enough to float down?” he asked. “If you can’t, you’ll have to cling to my back while I climb down and you are not going to like being upside-down this far up a tree.”
“F-f-f-float,” she agreed. “N-n-n-need to g-g-get up.”
“Close your eyes and keep them shut until I tell you to open them.” When he saw that she had obeyed him, Ger’alin gently pushed himself to all fours and moved slowly back towards the branch. Grabbing on to it again, he hung there, his long hair streaming down below him and his arms and legs wrapped around the branch. “Open them and sit up slowly.”
Alayne moved as if her limbs were weighted down by the tree itself. Eventually, she managed to get upright and let her legs dangle over the edge of the hammock. Whispering the words to a spell, she pushed herself out of the hammock and floated slowly to the ground. Ger’alin sighed in relief and regret that she probably wouldn’t be able to hold him up long enough for him to free Zerith and Dar’ja. “Zerith,” he said loudly.
“What?” the priest asked, annoyed.
[Story continued in next post]
“Oh, I just wanted to let you know you’re next and that I do not enjoy this at all,” Ger’alin grumped as he climbed over to the priest’s confining swing. “And I’m going to enjoy breaking your wife free even less,” he added, “so don’t start growling at me.”
“I could free her myself,” the priest muttered as Ger’alin made his way over to him.
“Not likely,” the paladin snorted. “If you tried the way she’s been lately, she’d have you both falling out of the tree and then I’d be spending several days resting from the energy of healing multiple broken arms, not to mention lacerations in potentially tender places if you catch my drift. Don’t worry,” he added. “I’m really going to kill Callie for this one.”
Callie watched from a hidden vantage point, giggling all the while. She’d been enjoying watching her friends suffer through her pranks for days now. Yesterday had been the first day they’d caught on to her presence and only because she’d finally decided to leave them her calling card – the itchweed. The days before had been filled with minor mischief – she’d stolen a few articles of clothes that had, as yet, not been missed. Though, from the way that Dar’ja and Zerith rarely left their tent, she didn’t think some of the items would be missed.
“I shouldn’t be too tough on them,” she whispered, her soft voice high-pitched with her own suppressed amusement. “They didn’t have much of a honeymoon. I do wonder, however, why Ger’alin and Alayne aren’t following suit.”
“Because Ger’alin and Alayne really don’t want to be called ‘Mother’ or ‘Father’ for the next few decades,” a whispered reply came through the undergrowth. “I figured I’d find you out here watching them,” Ber’lon grunted as he pushed his way through. “Spying on them too?” he asked, nodding towards the camp on the beach below.
“Playing a few pranks on them,” she corrected. “I don’t spy on my friends. What brings you out here and how do you know what’s going on?”
Ber’lon blushed. “I’ve been here for a week. I’ve been trying to get in touch with them but every time I enter the camp, Ger’alin and Alayne are gone and Zerith and Dar’ja…well, a wise man wouldn’t disturb them.”
Callie glared at him. He sighed and quit trying to dodge the question. “I know what’s going on because I had the benefit of growing up among elven women. I know the signs and I’m well aware of what they do to the men who happen to be in proximity for any length of time. Another valid reason for me avoiding their camp as much as I can,” he grunted and rolled his eyes. “I don’t envy Dar’ja if she’s successful in her plan. Alayne, Ger’alin, and I have a bet going on just how long Zerith will be unconscious.”
“Unconscious? Plan? What’s going on?”
“From shock when she tells him,” he amended, seeing the light of plotting in her eyes. “Seriously, Callie, if she manages to succeed in this, don’t play a prank at that point in time. Zerith might well kill you.”
“Ger’alin’s plotting my death now,” she giggled.
“I should be getting down there,” Ber’lon sighed. “I’ve delayed delivering my message as long as I could.”
“What message is that?”
“Ger’alin asked me to bring him news of any strange events.”
“What strange events are you bringing him news of?” Callie demanded suspiciously. For all that she was trying to make mischief, she would not stand for her friends’ first real vacation being spoiled without good reason.
“Just…news I’ve picked up while traveling through Lordaeron and the Eastern Kingdoms. While the trolls were reclaiming their homeland, the gnomes were doing the same. The Wildhammer dwarves have rejoined their cousins and, under the teachings of the draenei, have learned shamanism. The Dark Irons have returned to Ironforge as well. Magni Bronzebeard is dead. And, there’s something strange going on behind the Greymane Wall,” he added.
“In Gilneas?” Callie snorted. “I was just over there a short time ago. We’ve got our eyes on that situation.”
“Then I pray that you keep your eyes on it. The kaldorei have sent envoys. From what little I’ve been able to pick up, it sounds like the Sons of Arugal have taken over Gilneas. I know it sounds insane but there’s something brewing behind the Greymane Wall. I think Sylvanas is planning a push beyond the border for a spoiling attack. Ger’alin would want to be involved in that.”
“If we decide to invade Gilneas, that would set off a war with the Alliance which we don’t want right now. Sylvanas has strengthened the watch on the Wall to ensure that we’re not caught unawares. She is not planning an invasion.”
[Story continued in next post]
“That’s part of the problem,” he sighed. “Sylvanas has stepped up the guard force at the Wall. The kaldorei have gotten involved as well. Garrosh has been making noises about sending the Horde forces beyond the Wall. It’s like they’re determined to have a war,” he groaned. “And, if that happens, you know we’re going to get called into the thick of it.”
“I wish Thrall were back from where ever he went off to,” Callie sighed. “He would know how to handle this without pushing Varian Wrynn too far. Without pushing the rest of us too far,” she added in an undertone.
“Well, Thrall isn’t here,” Ber’lon snapped. When he saw the hurt look on Callie’s face, he sighed and reached out to pat her shoulder. “I’m sorry. It’s just…so much is changing so quickly. I feel like we’re poised on the brink of disaster and all I can think of is that…Ger’alin will know what to do. Zerith will know what to do.”
“I understand,” the rogue said sympathetically. “Just…wait a few more days. Give them time to enjoy not having to lead us. We owe them that much.”
“I suppose I could go back to Ashenvale for a few days…”
“…Or,” Callie grinned, “you could stay here with me and have some fun.”
Ger’alin grinned to himself. He had come up with the perfect plan. After several days of coming back to finding their campsite completely rearranged – not that Zerith or Dar’ja noticed – he’d figured out a way to make Callie their problem and get himself and Alayne out of her line of fire. Of course, the weather had helped significantly. Around mid-morning, it had begun pouring down rain. Alayne had been forced to give up searching more of the ruins off the coast as lightning tore through the sky. Zerith and Dar’ja were happily oblivious to anything going on outside of their tent. By the time Ger’alin and Alayne had returned to the camp, they were both soaked to the skin. Their tent, left open to the elements by whoever had been ransacking it when the rain started to pour down, was no drier than they were. The fact that Callie and whoever she had as her accomplice were just as soaked as they was icing on the cake as far as Ger’alin was concerned.
“You’re sure they’re not going to find us here?” Alayne asked as she warmed her hands over the fire he’d built further back in the cave.
“Absolutely,” he chuckled as he hung up the last of their clothes on a line near the fire. He’d strung the tent canvas up along the cave, using it to block wind and rain. As he’d made the last trip back, he’d doubled-back a few times, obscuring their trail and ensuring that no one had followed them at any point. “Callie will have to settle for only pestering your brother and Dar’ja tonight.”
“Are you sure it’s Callie?”
“As certain as I can be. The past two weeks are her trademark. I just wonder who she’s got with her.”
“Same here. I wonder why they’re out here. It surely can’t be just to bother us.”
“Knowing Callie, boredom would be enough of a reason for her. As for who she brought with her…perhaps it’s someone who wants to see us but is in no great hurry to do so.”
“I suppose,” Alayne said absently as she studied the hem of her robes. “I’m going to have to re-stitch this.”
“Leave it for now,” he whispered, moving over to stand behind her. Wrapping his arms around her, he nuzzled her neck, hoping she would get the hint. “Trust me, no one is going to bother us tonight.”
“Hm,” Alayne sniffed, not falling for the bait. “I can’t believe what Dar’ja’s trying to do.”
“She has her reasons, I’m sure,” he muttered.
“I would never do anything like that to you, you know.”
“I know. I trust you. And, if you did, I wouldn’t be angry with you once I regained consciousness.”
“How long would you be unconscious?” she asked wryly.
“At least half a year,” he chuckled.
“Six months? Really?”
“Alayne,” he growled softly, his lips right next to her ear. She turned to face him, leaning back against his chest. He tightened his grip on her and grinned malevolently. He could feel her confused fright at the thought of him being angry with her. “Shut up,” he said as he pressed his lips against hers, silencing any further argument or discussion.
Callie and Ber’lon made their way back around the edge of the camp, consternation on both of their faces. Alayne and Ger’alin had packed up and vanished. Even Ber’lon could find no trace of them and the rain had washed away any scent they might have left for Callie to follow. Zerith and Dar’ja were both sound asleep and, curious as she was as to why and where Alayne and Ger’alin had gone, Callie was not about to try to rouse the priest or his wife.
[Story continued in next post]
“I think we annoyed Ger’alin enough,” Ber’lon muttered as he rubbed his hands together to warm them. Callie didn’t notice the cold or the damp as much as he did. Had she been alone earlier, the rainstorm, impressive as it was, would not have deterred her in the slightest. Only Ber’lon’s teeth chattering with cold had convinced her to give over and head for their own hidden campsite. “He and Alayne may have decided to cut their losses and go back home,” the death knight grumped. “Which means we have to track them down so I can give him the message and see what he thinks we should do.”
“I’m sorry,” Callie apologized. “I really didn’t think they’d get annoyed this quickly. I guess you were right. It is their first real vacation together since they got married. And, their honeymoon was cut a little short since we were in Outland at the time.”
“Just try to remember it for next time one of your friends gets married. Though, you’ve done remarkably well not pestering Tau’re since he and Tam’ara announced their intentions.”
“Mostly because Tau’re threatened to tie me to the top of their tent and make me watch if I interfered at all,” she winced. “And, while the prospect might sound exciting to some, it strikes me as being rather…vulgar.”
Ber’lon filed that information away for future reference. He surveyed the campsite again and sighed. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” he muttered.
“You enjoyed it. You know you did.”
“I’m not denying that,” he sighed. “But…if they’ve gone off, how am I going to get the message to them?”
“If we wait here, eventually Dar’ja and Zerith will get tired of only seeing the inside of their tent and…”
“…Callie, if they both think they’re here completely alone, decency may be about to take a rather long hike.”
The rogue paused to consider that bit of information before shrugging with chagrin. “I guess you’re right,” she replied. “Let’s see if we can find Ger’alin and Alayne so you can deliver your message.”
“Listening to you has officially made my top-ten list of ‘dumbest decisions I’ve ever made,’” Ber’lon grumped. Callie had long since quit listening to him. The death knight had gotten progressively more upset as the days dragged on and evidence of Ger’alin and Alayne remained out of reach. A few times, the pair had doubled back to the camp only to find out that Ber’lon’s prediction about the absence of decency had been uncanny in its accuracy. “Honestly, we’ve been searching for over a week now. There’s no telling what else has happened out in the civilized reaches of the world while we waste our time here among ruins on the back-end of creation.”
“Ber’lon,” Callie sighed. “Shut up. You’re annoying me.”
“Annoying you? Annoying you? Callie Morton, I swear to the Light…”
“Hush!” she growled, studying the horizon over the beach. “Where are those smoke clouds coming from?”
“See those smudges out on the horizon?” she pointed. Ber’lon squinted and covered his eyes from the sun. He could just barely make out what the Forsaken was seeing. “And look at the way the waves are churning up on the beach.”
“What of it?”
“Something is going on. I wonder how far out it is.”
“What does that have to do with the price of tea in Stormwind? We need to find Ger’alin.”
Callie shot the death knight an exasperated look. “Ger’alin would have noticed it. He’s keen on seeing things like that.” Ber’lon stared at her as if wondering just how she could make these leaps in logic. “Ger’alin would have noticed. He would be wondering the same things I’m wondering. And, when Ger’alin gets curious, Alayne gets curious. When Alayne gets curious, she starts investigating. And,” Callie added, “Alayne loves to sail.”
“If you don’t get to the point…”
“Chances are that Ger’alin and Alayne will go out on a sailboat in order to see what’s going on. So, if we just keep our ears open for that and our eyes on the beach, we’ll find them.”
“I suppose,” Ber’lon sighed. “At least it beats standing here complaining about it. Let’s get going.”