The Coming Storm

Horde: Chapter 8

Halmadir

He loved the city. With its crimson tower spires, snow white colored walls, large fountains rivaling small waterfalls, gorgeous golden statues and floating blue crystals. Truth be told he also liked the former green ones which were crackling with demonic energy (it fit his eyes a lot better) but as always Halmadir Dawnsong adapted when needed. As a normal blood elf he was dressed in a red robe made from the finest silk Silvermoon, his precious city, had to offer. He had golden rings, a necklace and a diamond tipped cane to further cement his status as a well off citizen. He also wore a head which covered most of his face, he wasn’t famous enough to warrant such a disguise but he preferred his own privacy. Still his friends, how few they were, knew to find him regardless.
He walked past the Royal Exchange during its busiest as dozens of his kin but also other members of the Horde like forsaken, goblins and orcs all huddled in the auction houses in a frantic bidding war.
Halmadir remembered however that only a mere century ago at least three times that number congregated and they were all elves. Silvermoon was in some parts still a ghost town since not many blood elves survived the Scourge attack led by Arthas, and the following conflicts before and after they joined the Horde did not help matters either.
The blood elf stopped at a poster which showed two sindorei, a man and a woman, holding each other as two small children stood with them as they smiled at the viewer. A motto in bright golden runes was emblazoned beneath it, ‘Let the children of the sun be born’.
Reproduction was heavily encouraged by the regent lord but even so it would take centuries before the population would be restored to half its original state. There was a slow increase of sindorei children being born and both parents were supported very well by the state as were schools and nurseries. Warchief Vol’jin even send diplomats over to see the process since he deemed Orgrimmar could learn a lesson or two. That was the official explanation anyway. In truth Halmadir had his ways to gather information and his sources rarely lied. Apparently Vol’jin wanted to be sure that Lor’themar would stay out of Sylvanas’ private war with the Alliance proclaimed Queen Calia and that the search for the True Horde and their Zandalari allies would be continued. The negotiations hit a bit of a snag but at least Vol’jin had partially his way and the Sindorei would keep themselves out of the conflict.

With a sniff he turned around and made his way to his establishment. Two guards were posted at the door and nodded their heads when they moved aside.” Good afternoon Master Dawnsong.”
“Good afternoon gentlemen.” Halmadir said.” Any trouble?”
“None, master.”
The blood elf smiled and entered his establishment. It was warm, but not to much, and small but cozy and comfortable nonetheless. A fountain was the first thing the visitors saw. Half naked sindorei women seemed to dance like nymphs as water poured down from the vases they were carrying. Several wisps of light floated around them in a whimsy spectacle. Portraits hung on the wall beside him and up the stairs. Much like the fountains these were of several women in several stages of undress. However several portraits showed muscular men flexing and several statues around his establishment also appreciated the male naked form. The House of Dawn always catered to all tastes.
[Master Halmadir.] a metallic voice sounded. Halmadir turned his head as a arcane sentry, smaller than most who was just below his master’ size, walked up to him.[May I take your hat and cane, sir?]
“Of course, Drax.” Halmadir smiled and handed his hat and cane over.
[Did you have a productive stroll, sir?] the golem asked as it placed the apparel neatly away.
“Very much so. Have there been any disturbances?”
[Nothing I could not handle sir. There was some volume disturbance coming from Emissary Cheneta’ suite but I sorted that out by letting the band play louder. I added the disturbance of the peace to her tab.] the golem turned around.[ She was warned on a previous visit to take a room with thicker walls but she ignored my council.]
“Very well, Drax.” Halmadir replied and urged his golem servant to walk with him.”And our special guests?”
[Discretion is our guarantee, sir.]
“Good.”
Several other customers, men and women both, were tended to as they were given wine or grapes by their assigned girl/man. A small band played soothing music as a blood elf woman sang a nice sounding thallasian song which the customers seemed to enjoy.
One of them was a large Tauren who drank from his mug of wine as he was tended to by several females of his kind as they massaged his shoulders and legs while another cleaned his hoofs and horns.” Ah Master Halmadir, lovely place!” the Tauren smiled.
“I am grateful for your kind words, Chief Thunder-skins. My establishment does its best to fully support those who bring such passion to the arts.” Halmadir bowed.
“I like to bring passion to other things to, if you catch my drift.” The tauren chuckled as he held two females closer to him.
“Of course.” The proprietor of the House of Dawn smiled.” If you need one of our rooms please let Drax know and we will give you a discount…as long as you tell your peers of this establishment of course.”
“Don’t you worry, Dawnsong, I’ll be telling this to everyone next time we tour to the Darkmoon Isles.”
“Much appreciated.” Halmadir bowed again and turned to the tauren females.” Please make sure Chief Thunderskins has it to his liking?”
“Of course, Master Dawnsong.” One of the females nodded as she brushed Thunderskin’s tail.

Master Dawnsong let the Tauren be and walked with Drax up the stairs where he tried his best to ignore the noise coming from the emissary’s room.” How long has she been at it?”
[Three hours, ten minutes and fourty-six seconds, sir.] the golem replied.
Halmadir blinked.” Really? This is worse than the time the Revantusk adventurer was in heat. Three of my boys couldn’t work for days.”
[I fear a similar scenario for this situation as well, sir.] Drax said.
As they passed the noisy room as a angry half-dressed blood elven male came over.
“Ah Mr Kraes, how can I be of assistance?” Halmadir already prepared himself for the rebuttal.
“I was promised a troll girl for my coin, Lord Dawnsong! Halfway through she turned into a Succubus!” the man glared angrily.” I want my money back!”
[Our policies are clear considering refunds, Mr Kraes of Eversong.] the golem spoke for his master.
“You promised me a troll girl, I want my money back!”
Halmadir kept his smile up.” Mr Kraes, we do not have troll females as of yet and I am sorry you feel dissatisfied over the ordeal. We cannot give you refunds but how we offer you a free drink and massage. On the house? And for your next visit we will try to get satisfy your needs.”
Kraes folded his arms and pondered. After a moment he nodded his head.” Very well, I accept your apology AND the drink and massage.”
Halmadir gave him his thanks as the half-dressed male walked down the stairs.

[Should I have our warlock terminated, sir?] Drax asked.
“No but have it docked from his pay.” Halmadir replied.” I look after my people, remember?”
[Your tolerance might get us all de-activated, sir but it’s your choice.]
“Very well, keep the peace Drax. I’ll be in my office.”
[Affirmative sir, do you wish tea and scones?]
“Only if it’s from you, Drax.” He patted his golem on the shoulder before he went to his office.

He closed the door behind him and locked it with a spell by flicking his hand. His office was rather sparse ( save for a desk with a mirror on it, a portrait of his family and a statue of a unicorn) compared to the rest of his establishment but it was functional. Large windows behind the desk let the sun in and with a flick of his hand he could make those disappear and enjoy the city from his balcony. But today he had no time for revelries or put his bookkeeping to order. He snapped his fingers as curtains spontaneously appeared and shut off the sun from the room as blue magic spheres came into being. Each of these spheres had a different image. Some showed vacant rooms while others had different people talking, sleeping, drinking or occupied in carnal pursuits.

His establishment catered to all kinds of people. Men, women, blood elven, orc and so forth. Men spoke in their pillows after a night of pleasure, assuming the other person would not speak. They were right, his girls and boys did not. But the walls did. People get to all kinds of buisiness when no-one is watching, his father told him once and he took that advice to heart.
Halmadir was more than a purveyor of beauty and discretion, he also collected information and sometimes sold it to the state. Three assassination attempts on the Regent Lord died in its birth bed as did a conspiracy to aid Queen Calia. Of course only a few of these secrets were acted upon as not to scare off the more clever of survivors. His eyes darted over the spheres until it he found the one he needed to send to his other benefactor.
He pulled it closer and played the image in it. Two blood elves, one man and a woman, were in bed together with blankets covering their modesty. Both their respective attires, one fitting for a leader of a nation and the other for a warrior blessed by the light, lay discarded on the ground. The woman was resting her auburn head on the white haired man’s chest as both enjoyed a glass of wine. The man was missing a eye but did not bother to cover it up with a eye patch which implied his closeness with the woman since she did not seem to mind.

Halmadir tapped the sphere as the figures inside began to speak.
“You pay Dawnsong to much for this swill, Lor.” The woman said as she twirled the wine in her glass.” At least it’s cold…”
Lor smirked and kissed her head.” You seem in a sour mood today, Lia. What has you troubled?”
“Besides the fact we are trusting our little escapades to a man who sells secrets?” Lia sipped from her wine.” The fact that for once we aren’t doing what the Horde asks of us and hunt down the True Horde and Zandalari.”
“Lia…” Lor sighed.” You know the agreement, no politics in private time.”
“I think you need this more than I do, Regent Lord.” Lia smirked playfully at her lover.” Therefore I alter the agreement, pray I don’t do so any further.”
“You are a cruel mistress Lady Liadrin, in both meanings of the word.” The Regent Lord chuckled.” Very well….you know why. We already have given Vol’jin enough support with our blood golems with that night elf problem, we cant risk any more troops going after rumours, no matter how good Vol’jin claims this Beastmaw warband to be.”
“I thought they were called Beastfang?” Liadrin took another sip from her glass.
“I’m not sure, I should ask Halduron…” Lor’themar took his lover’s example and also took a sip.
“When this matter is spoken off in the Sunfire Spire I may say some words.” She warned.” Some of it will be meant. You know my dislike for trolls, especially Amani.”
“Understood.” Lor’themar kissed his lover again.” How long until you have to pick up Salandria from the academy?”

Halmadir flicked his hand which stopped the image. He turned to his right and faced his mirror. Instead of his reflection were two people. One was a orc female with a dark skin and bore next to her barbaric armour a dragon’s maw on her shoulder while the other was a troll in mogu-esque garb.
“This be genuine?” the troll asked.
Halmadir nodded.” Just a hour old. You will not have to fear Sindorei involvement.”
“Good.” The female growled.” We can fully focus on reclaiming Orgrimmar then and give my son his blood right.”
“And for the Zandalari Empire to have a new home.” The troll reminded her before he turned to Halmadir.” The gold will be dere in a few days as well as some of ma personal harem who will act as ya girls.”
‘And to keep a eye on me’, Halmadir thought but he smiled.” I thank you for your most gracious offer. I will see you in a few days Warlord Zaela, Lord Vilnak’dor.” With that he dismissed the mirror image and leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.

He felt someone enter his domain, despite the fact the door was closed. His eyes opened wide when he realized what was happening. Here we go, he thought. The door flew out of its hinges as groups of men stormed through as the shrieks and cries from down below reached the office. Halmadir tried to cast a spell by the Silvermoon guards quickly drank the mana from the spell and held him down. One pulled up his head by his hair as a blood elf in bright blue armour aimed his bow at Halmadir’s head. One of the Spellbreakers held up a blue sphere which held the images of Lor’themar and Liadrin.”It’s here, sir.”
“A-ah, Ranger General Brightwing…” Halmadir managed to smile.” Have you come to make a appointment?”
“Halmadir Dawnsong, by the order of the Regent Lord you are under arrest for espionage and selling Silvermoon’ secrets to its enemies. Take him away!”

A few hours passed as Halmadir was placed in a prison cell. He was covered in several blue bruises and his fanciful red robe was in tatters. Ever since the betrayal of Prince Keal’thas and Thalen Songweaver there was little tolerance for traitors. Halmadir tried his best to compose himself, he couldn’t let them break him. He saw his reflection in the iron bars, how battered his face looked. The realization only hit him then. They found his blue spheres, his customers would never trust him again, his spy network was compromised. He lost everything he spend decades building. They would have his head by morning.
The door went open as the Regent Lord, the ranger General and now a Blood mage who no doubt was the Archmage Rommath himself came in. The door closed behind them. The smile appeared back on Halmadir’s lips. “Good afternoon gentlemen, or good evening rather. How may I be of assistance?”
“Keep your forked tongue still, traitor.” Halduron glared.
“We want to know how much you told the enemy.” Rommath added.
“What should I do, hold my tongue or answer your question?” Halmadir raised his shoulders in confusion.” I am proficient at multitasking but there are limits to even what I can do.”

Lor’themar held up his hand before either his companions could speak before he lowered it again. “Good evening, Halmadir.”
“Your excellency…” Halmadir bowed.” No Lady Liadrin tonight? And I see you are wearing your eye patch again.”
The one eyed elf glared.” For treason there is only one penalty, Lord Dawnblade. How painful or how quick you want it to be is up to you. So if I were you I suggest you co-operate so some dignity remains for you.”
“Well since all our filthy laundry is hung out to dry, I think we may speak openly of our sins shan’t we? Although I admit your affair with the Blood Knight matriarch is hardly enticing. You should know who has a thing for talbuks. Trust me it surprised me as much as you would.” Halmadir smirked. A force knocked the wind out of him as his back hit the floor.
“Rommath!” Lor’themar called the mage off. The archmage glared but otherwise did nothing to oppose his leader and stepped back. Lor’themar stepped closer and knelt down to Halmadir’s eyesight. The former Lord panted as he clutched his aching chest as he tried to look Lor’themar in the eye.

“How much did you tell them?” Theron asked.
“May I point out the phallacy of your current predicament?” Halmadir sat down as he still clutched his chest.” If I tell you the truth or falsehood you would not know. You only know what was found in my office.”
“Then why bother having this conversation and not kill you on the spot?” Halduron folded his arms.
“Because you do not know how much I told your…pardon me, OUR enemies and I am worth more alive to you then dead.”
“Why?” the regent lord asked.
“Because you do not know how much the enemy told me.” Halmadir smiled.” You keep me alive and in return I will tell you.
“How do we know you aren’t lying then?” Rommath asked.
“Because if I do you will have you excuse to kill me and I make no illusions I will escape out of this place.” Halmadir sat on his bunk.” As a gesture of free faith I can tell you this. The so called aliance between the True Horde and the Zandalari empire is real. Warlord Zaela of the Dragonmaw Clan and Vilnak'dor are leading each faction. No doubt your Sunreavers can pluck something out of my mirror to confirm that fact.” He leaned back.” May I ask how you found me?”

“A anonymous tip.” Halduron quickly said.” One of the people you betrayed paid you back in the exact same coin.”
“I don’t think so.” Halmadir leaned forward.” I believe you found someone who looked just like me near the Dead scar, gobbled up by ghouls and carrion. Upon further investigation you found out he wasn’t quite real at all but in fact turned out to be none other than Thalen Songweaver himself.”
The look on the three mage’s faces made Halmadir’s day.” Your reactions tell me enough.”
“How do we know you are not Songweaver himself?” Rommath asked.” We know you-Lord Dawnsong’s brothel has warlocks in his employ which uses glamours to satisfy the clientele.”
“Because Songweaver is dead. Do I look dead to you?” Halmadir sighed in pain as he tried to make himself more comfortable.” If you want more information I suggest we move in a orderly fashion. My reputation has been ruined here by your actions and when the True Horde finds out that I am ratting them out, well….you remember the images of those dead at the spires of Orgrimmar during the Siege far better than someone who had only heard of it from hear say. I want to move to Pandaria to the Shrine of the Two Moons where I will be forgotten by Silvermoon. You can waste a guard if you wish so but that is not needed. ”

“So we are the softer option? Halduron asked.
“Positively spongelike, Ranger General.” Halmadir retorted.” You guarantee me this and I will tell you everything.”
“That can be arranged.” Lor’themar said.” You have my word, which is more reliable than yours.” He added the latter with venom.
“Funny, tell me does Vol’jin know you all secretly planned to leave the Horde and jump into bed with Varian?”
Halduron grabbed his dagger and was barely held back by Lor’themar who considered letting him go, Halmadir guessed. He was playing to to close, careful now.
“Oh another minor thing I forgot to mention. I know of your little dalliance with the Alliance and I have people working for me who would expose every dirty little secret your government has upon my untimely demise. Such as giving Dalaran knowledge on how to create a mana bomb so the rest of the Sunreavers went back home safe and found.”
“You are bluffing.” Halduron clenched his sword handle hard.
“Care to make that wager?” Halmadir turned to Lor’themar.” The fact I have not told this to anyone is my word that I do have the best of interests for you and our people in mind. Tell me, who warned you of the dwarven spy? Or the assassination attempts? Or that conspiracy a few weeks back?”
“You never told us this…” Lor’themar glared.
“Would you have believed me if I told you earlier? Now then…you have a pen and paper? This might take a while.”

Another few hours passed as Halmadir divulged every secret he knew of the True Horde/Zandalari empire. Troop placement, ambitions, spies and so forth. When both the rangers left, Rommath stayed to make sure Halmadir was the real one and not another fence.
The door closed behind the Regent Lord and Ranger General before a moment of silence passed. Without warning Rommath opened the cell door.” You are a damned fool Halmadir, you could’ve gotten yourself killed.”
“I had to play my part, big brother.” Lord Dawnsong smiled.” And I must say you did to. I still feel my bruised ribs…”
“It had to be convincing.…” Rommath took out a pot of healing potion and offered it to Halmadir who chugged it down.” You are lucky they didn’t call out your bluffs.”
“Who said I was bluffing?” he smirked.” Did you send the message to Songweaver?”
“He and his rescue party will be here soon. I made sure the guards will be replaced by Arcane sentries so there will be no casualties.”
“They might be suspicious of that….” Halmadir said with a worried tone.
“With the ongoing conflict they will think we send most to Durotar, hopefully they will buy that.”
“Here is hoping…” Halmadir chugged down the rest of the potion before he handed it back to his brother.” Will you have rooted out Thalen’s spies by the time I give the word? The last thing I want is the cavalry to kill me.”

“We should do. If not, I will get you out there myself.” Rommath nodded. He paused a moment before he held his brother.” Be careful, little brother.”
“You to, big brother.” Halmadir returned the hug."Take care of my people will you."
"Of course, little brother."
Both held each other until they both parted. Rommath closed the door while Halmadir waited for his rescue.
He awoke when he assumed it was midnight when the sound of battle reached his ears. He smirked, praise the Sunwell for the orcish no-one gets left behind mentality.
The door to the prison opened. A smirking blood elf in casual attire, a young orc with a tusk necklace and a tall Amani troll came in.
“Lord Dawnsong, it seems you are in quite the pickle.” Songweaver said. “Tazan, Thorgal do your thing.” The troll and orc tossed their weapons aside and pulled the cell door open.
“Indeed I am.” Halmadir pointed to his bruises.” They were harsh but they got nothing out of me.”
“Ya better pray dat.” The troll growled.
“Tazan, enough. Thorgal, how much time do we have?”
The orc looked at the rune on his wrist.” Ten seconds.”
“Good.” Thalen said and offered his hand to Halmadir.” Ready to go to the winning side?”
“I’m always on the winning side.” Dawnsong replied and took the other man’s hand. In a flash of bright blue light they disappeared and the prison cell door moved in its broken hinges.

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