Alliance: Chapter 6
The paladin’s breathing was ragged as his chest was covered in bandages. Trevor poured what holy magicks his undead form could sustain into Ser Lightblade’s wound before another priest had to take over. Even when he was taken away and his replacement took over the healing duties, Trevor continued protesting. “No, I can handle it…” Trevor gritted his teeth.” I can save him…”
“You did all you could.” Thomas placed his hand on Trevor’ shoulder.” It is in the hands of the Light now.”
The undead priest shrugged Thomas’ hand off him, a look of anger on his face and stormed out of the room. The newly annoited knight gazed after the priest's departure, perplexed.
“Don’t mind him, Thomas…” Calia sighed.” He needs to vent. We all do.”
“He did his duty, your grace.” Hartman in his human form stood near the Queen with his hand on the pommel of his sword.” If he did not get in between you and that shot….I don’t want to think about what could have happened.”
“I would’ve died and joined the other people I send into their death’s last week.” Calia frowned.
“The attack worked though.” The former sergeant said.” According to SI7 the Forsaken lost about one third of their forces thanks to Ser Lightblade's Final Strike-spell and the ambush afterward. We only suffered five hundred or so casualties…”
“Five hundred of my kin who gave their lives for a trap, fifty-seven afterward during the attack and dozens more who are wounded with some whom won’t see Winter Veil.” The Queen replied with a harsh tone.
“We secured half of Silverpine, your majesty.” Thomas added.” And already reports from both Alterac and Stromgarde are coming in on how they to have started to fight back against the Forsaken.”
The Queen nodded as she gave Ser Lightblade another look.” Sergeant, you mind staying with him please?”
The man saluted his queen.” Your wish is my command.”
She nodded her thanks and left the room, loyal Thomas as always beside her.
The two stepped outside toward the courtyard of the keep. Once the place was cursed and populated by feral worgen first and ravenous undead afterward. But after groups of adventurers cleared most of the pests out (even those races who were part of the Horde) it was easy to garrison what once was called Shadowfang Keep and make it the White Queen’s base of operations in her campaign to retake the homeland.
Men in Lordearonian blue, Scarlet Red, Worgen, a few undead and even a couple of diverse other Alliance races wandered through as they helped erect tents, prepare food, repair weaponry or repair the structure around them. As Calia looked above on the ramparts she saw cannons and ballista’s aimed outside as her banner waved in the wind. A distant rumbling sound seemed to come from the rain pregnant black clouds that were headed their way. Her men stopped what they were doing and saluted at her when she passed by. She was wearing a long, white elegant dress now rather than her armour. It helped inspire the troops, she thought. She did not mind fighting in armour but she was not ready to be called a warrior queen quite yet.
“A storm is coming.” Thomas said in a as matter of factly tone.
“Thank you, Thomas. I should’ve promoted you to Captain obvious instead of Ser.” The Queen smirked.
“It is still possible, your majesty. A knight cannot have to many titles.” Thomas said as he followed her through the courtyard, a small smirk on his lips.
“Careful Lord Karland.” She warned.” Or I might not gift your ancestral lands back to you when we conquer them. In fact I need a castle to place all my dresses in….”
“Oh, Karland Hold would be a TERRIBLE idea then, my Queen. To drafty, your dresses would be ruined.”
“As always you look out for me.” Calia replied as she stepped up the stairs that led to the ramparts above. Soldiers turned around and saluted them, which Calia acknowledged by nodding her head, as they walked past before they got back to their duties.
“Part of the job, being Queen’s guard and all…” Thomas retorted when the soldiers were out of ear shot. The Queen turned around to see if anyone was behind them…before she dragged Thomas into a secluded room, named the Vacant Den.
“Cal-“ Thomas tried to say but stopped when the Queen of Lordearon’s lips met his. After a short hesitation, the young lord returned the kiss. For a few fleeting moments both were wrapped into each other, the idea of being caught both being a hesitant but exciting stimulant.
Calia was straightening out her hair and jewelry as her lover placed his armour back on. She saw he was looking for something and spotted the sword and scabbard in the hay before he did.
“Was that part of the job as well?” she teased as she picked up the scabbard and offered it to Lord Karland.
Thomas blushed heavily as he took the scabbard and wrapped it around his waist.” I don’t have to retort for that one…”
“We will have to work on your pillow talk, dear. You are just as romantic as a gnoll fortune teller.” He merely nodded with a dumb smile.
She pulled him close and kissed him one last time before she opened the door which led to the higher observatories. They walked up a few stairs when Thomas spoke again.
“Is this for…what happened to Andarin?” he asked.
“This time?” she said.” Yes and no…I’m not making any illusions Thomas, one of us might die tomorrow or the day after or the day after. I know this quest to retake my throne has a lot at stake….so I want to live my life, without any regrets.”
“And what about when we regain Lordearon?” Thomas asked.
“You mean if-“ Calia said but this time was interrupted herself.
“WHEN, I know what I said Calia….dear.” he added quickly. Despite his naïve appearance he was no fool, Calia knew. He was a good man, loyal, smart…but not high enough nobility to be considered worthy of marriage. And if she had to get a formal alliance with Stromgarde or Alterac she had to keep her options open, despite the heartache it would cause later.
“We’ll figure something out.” She smiled and held his hand. He held hers in return before they walked upstairs, back to the business at hand.
Thomas stayed back as Calia walked into the lower observatory, which functioned as a makeshift laboratory by the keep’s previous tenants but now served as a meeting room of sorts. GLF, Scarlet Crusade, Mercenaries and Lordearon forces all congregated here. Potions and books were stashed away as maps and troop figures laid on a big table. No-one else was in besides Lorna who was moving some figures around.
“You are late…” Lorna Crowley said as she moved a red pawn which represented the Scarlet Renegades toward a location on the map called, Ambermill.
“One of my Queen’s Guard got injured, I had to make sure he would survive.” Calia replied.
“Will he?” Lorna looked up.
“I don’t know…his fate lies in the hands of the Light now.” Calia took her place next to Lorna.” All we can do is honour his sacrifice and move on. Tell me the news, the good and the bad.”
“The good news is that the Forsaken in Hillsbrad are constantly being attacked by the Bloodfang Pack and some experienced adventurers who aided them before in reclaiming this place.” She absentmindedly waved her hand around to signify the keep in question.” Tarren Mill is pretty much under siege. Some of our dwarven mercenaries are preparing for an attack on the Frostwolf clan.”
Calia frowned as she gazed over the map. “Have the orcs shown any signs of hostility?”
Lorna shook her head.” No.”
“Then cancel that attack, the Frostwolves refused to aid the Forsaken in the past so nothing will change there. Anything else?”
“We got word from our friends of the League of Arathor that the Horde forces at Hammerfall, save for the Forsaken Defilers, have not moved an inch to defend their allies.”
“And the bad news?” Calia asked.
“Several bad news. The force in Alterac is the Syndicate, a bunch of thieves and murderers. They offered the olive branch but we don’t know what their game plan is." she took out a folder with scribbled notes and read them." We believe their leader is a Lord Falconcrest, we don’t know much about him save that after the Perenolde line died out before the Cataclysm he is pretty much in charge of what’s left of Alterac. Then again according to new rumours some new gangster by the name of Serinox has taken over so we might be dealing with him now.”
“We can use the help of anyone we can get….arrange for a ambassador. We need to find out if they can be trusted or not.”
Lorna shook her head.” Very well…” she moved one.” Sylvanas is mobilizing all her troops as we speak, we expect she will be here in a month’s time give or take. She hasn’t used the blight before but she might do now, Vol’jin’s treaty be damned.”
Calia rubbed her brow.” We expected this…anything else?”
“Yes, the financial support has gone down to a trickle. King Varian was forced to raise taxes due failed crops in Westfall and even halved the financial support for Gilneas. I’ve already send word to the Council of Three Hammers if we can ask for any loans there.”
The self-claimed Queen of Lordearon looked upon this mess and collected herself.” Alright, we can still do this.”
“What makes you so sure?” Lorna asked.
“Because if we can’t, we’re dead.” Calia chuckled.
“You thinking of a escape plan?”
“No, if we lose this battle now there is no chance I will ever regain my home or my throne. She may have more trained men and the blight but we got forces who are quite diverse and a whole bag of tricks Sylvanas doesn’t know about.”
“So we living on the cast of a dice then?” Lorna frowned.” You care about your men that little?”
“Every battle we fight we cast our dice, every morning when we get up from our beds we cast our dice. Life never goes according to plan, you are given your dice and your odds…and you make do.” Calia looked to Lorna.” And Lady Crowley, never assume I do not care about my men. I prayed and cried for those five hundred men we lost at Malden’s Orchard. It’s war, people die.”
“I know it’s war, I’ve been fighting one longer than you have.” Lorna glared at the Queen. Calia was shocked at this sudden nasty turn but sighed of relief when Lorna sighed herself and offered her apologies.
“I have not slept well these past few days.” She said.” The last time we went up against Sylvanas we lost so much…I cannot lose this time as well.”
Calia placed her hand on Lady Crawley’s.” We won’t.”
Lorna smiled and took her hand for a moment before she got back to moving the miniature of a knight on a horse to Pyrewood village.” The men have faith in you.” She said.” Do you love horse riding?”
Calia nodded with a smile.” One of the few times I felt free.”
”The trust between a leader and his, or in our case her, men is like a horse and it’s rider. Follower and leader. The horse takes you where you want to go but you have to guide it towards it. One cannot do without the other.”
“Then we will make the men’s trust is well placed.” Calia paused.” Is he awake?”
“He is.” A dark and deep voice said.
The sound of heavy plate hitting the wooden stairs made the ladies turned around. The man was human, if slightly taller, but with white skin and hair as white as snow. His armour was dark blue with spikes on his shoulders. Two runeblades were holstered on his back as the Lion sigil of the Alliance was branded on his tabard.
“General Thassarian, we knew you wouldn’t let us down.” The queen said.
“I still think this is a bad idea…” Lorna said.” This man betrayed us before in the past.”
“And the general has him under control now.” Calia motioned Thomas to come forward.”Sylvanas is to strong otherwise, we need him.” She turned to the death knight general.” And if he steps one moment out of line…”
“I will handle it.” Thassarian concurred.” This way.”
The four walked up another flight of stairs which led to the upper observatory. Other Death Knights saluted the General and his companions before they opened the massive wooden doors. Inside the large room there was a cage covered in magical runes as a lone figure with a tophat was seated in the middle.
“Well, well well…” the figure cackled.” Isn’t this a shocking turn of events?”
The creature’s ice cold blue eyes leered from under his hat and stared at his visitors.
“Lorna, no bad feeling’s I hope?” it snickered.” That must be so. Say where is your father, does he know you are here?”
“Go to hell, Godfrey.” Lady Crowley folded her arms.
“Oh, I’ve been. Twice now. And quite frankly I was enjoying death until I was pulled away from my eternal reward. “The creature stood up.” Now I find myself chained like some mastiff on a fox hunt.”
Godfrey turned to Calia and inspected her.” The prodigal daughter hath returned I see.”
“The prodigal daughter who can terminate your continued existence at any moment.” She glared.
“Then it is you whom I have to thank for this?” he chuckled.” Seems I have warned Genn against the wrong Menethill all along.”
Thassarian held out his hand at the prisoner. Godfrey began to shriek loudly as he dropped to his knees, seemingly in utter agony. As she looked upon the prisoner she felt empathy for a moment…but when she turned to Lorna and saw the hatred and evil there that empathy was gone. Thomas stood closer to her now, the shining knight to the rescue as always. She kept her gaze on Godfrey however, the last thing she needed was giving Godfrey ammunition to be used for later.
Calia held up her hand when she deemed it enough and spoke.” You managed to slay Sylvanas once, do so again and I will grant you eternal peace and a chance to redeem yourself in the sight of the light.”
Godfrey leaned on his bars as he tried to get up.” Redemption implies choice…your highness. Even Sylvanas had given me that option.”
“And that is what got her killed.” Lorna frowned.” We take no chances.”
“A wise choice …” Godfrey dusted himself off.” Very well then, shall we begin?”