Alliance: Chapter 13
His footsteps echoed through the abandoned Stormwind streets. A shop or two burned out as litter and refuse and debris was scattered all over the pavement. It was as if he was transported back in time a few decades during the time the Horde sacked the city or a few years ago when Deathwing destroyed some of the city. However this time the destruction was to blame on its citizens. The city bell rung as its sorrow filled chimes filled the air.
“Curfew is now in order! Anyone who is deemed unauthorized by the Crown will be immediately send to the stockades!” a crier sounded from afar but Darius heard it as if he was near thanks to his enhanced hearing. The worgen lord saw several young men wearing red scarves carving the letter D on walls before they darted off when they saw him. Darius frowned at that but moved on.
He caught the scent of the approaching guards before he heard them coming. The worgen already produced his sigil of the Alliance Lion when they approached. Without a word the two guards nodded and moved on. Curfew, Darius snarled as he placed the sigil away, it reminded him to much of his home during the civil war.
He made his way from the harbour to the Trade district. A few days ago when he was still in Gilneas city a letter had arrived, just for him. There was no seal or words or anything else save for a faint perfume scent. A rose. Only once before was there a similar letter sent to him but that was years ago and only three people ever knew of this. One died in Kalimdor by the hands of Grom Hellscream, the other was him and the last…
A delegation was prepared to be send to Stormwind due to High King Varian’s death and the ramifications caused on the Alliance because of it. Darius volunteered, he confided to King Greymane that it would keep his mind away from Lorna’s peril in Silverpine. The king agreed and thus Darius arrived in Stormwind Harbour, but of course that was not the only reason he went. They arrived a day early, Gilnean punctuality had to be upheld of course.
When they arrived at Stormwind, he noticed several people were on his tail when the delegation left the ship. SI:7 he presumed. He ordered his delegation to head to Old Town to the Fiery Rose, a brothel that served to those with an expensive taste. It was known that those afflicted with the worgen curse, despite the aid of the druids to help elevate their nature, often acted on their impulses still. Especially the primal ones. He said to his aide that his name had to be slipped into the brothel’s registry, reputation be damned. Those who knew him, truly knew him, knew he would not dishonour his wife’s memory that way. The curse could take away everything but never his loyalty to his family. His thoughts went to Lorna and he prayed to the Light she was safe.
He lost their pursuers in the cathedral square and made his way to the Gilded Rose. The guards who saw him probably wouldn’t recognize him from any other Worgen, he hoped.
The inn was rather quiet, only a few patrons were in. Thankfully the innkeeper, a short haired brunette woman, was still the host and quickly moved over to him.” Your friends are already downstairs.” She leaned in and whispered. She pulled back.” You remember where?”
Lord Crawley nodded and went to the basement. The lord came across a locked door. He knocked three times then banged. As if by magic, and it was, it opened.
“Lord Crawley, I am glad you arrived.” A feminine voice on the other said.
The one who send the letter was none other than the young but powerful sorceress with blonde…no, she was not blonde anymore. Save for one streak on her long white hair. She was a mature woman as well now, grown due to hardship and strive…even more than the first time he met her when the Scourge ravaged Lordearon. Lady Jaina Proudmoore, leader of Dalaran and heir to Kul Tiras. Her she expected, the others not so much.
Next to her was a half-elven man dressed in leather and blue. Cloak, hair, tunic…and Darius smelled immediately this man was neither elf or man but something else. There was also a dwarf with a fedora hat and travelers clothing as if he was some kind of explorer. Next to him was a Draenei female, a far seer he guessed by her shaman like robe and pauldrons. The last got his anger however.
“What is HE doing here?” Darius pointed at Master Mathias Shaw.
“You think you lost my men that easily?” Mathias smirked.” You diversion was amateur at best, I see now how Genn captured you that easily.”
“ENOUGH!” Jaina slammed her staff on the floor.” Are you two going to behave like grown men or like children?! Close the door, Darius. We have a lot of things to speak off and very little time.” Darius closed the door behind him and took his seat by the table.
Jaina spoke up first.” Darius, these are Kalec of the blue dragonflight, Brann of the House of Bronzebeard, Farseer Umbrua who speaks for the Prophet Velen and Master Shaw of SI:7. Everyone, this is Lord Darius Crawley.”
“Nice to meet ya all.” Brann smiled.” But with all due respect, why did you call me here m’lady?”
“I got a feeling…” Darius frowned.” Does it have anything to do with the assassination?”
“Amongst many other things…” Jaina sighed.” I called you all here because I know you can all be trusted.”
Darius leaned in closer.” How do you mean?”
“I called you here because we met each other in secret before in the past. I asked Brann because he is constantly on the move and would therefore not be corrupted. Master Shaw is to paranoid to let anything happen and you Umbrua are to far from anywhere or anyone to be considered a threat. And I know Kalec. When you all came in I checked you all and found you were not corrupted.”
“Corrupted?” the farseer asked.” What are you talking about?”
Lady Proudmoore produced a letter which she passed around the small group. When it was Darius’ turn his eyes darted over its contents.
“This is ambassador Bowen’s writing…I don’t know this Archmage Celindra.” he frowned.” What is this…Shadow Council?”
“During the First War, Gul’dan ran this urghm…secret council.” Brann said.” Which pretty much ran the Horde behind the screens, using Blackhand as a puppet. After Durotan was killed by Gul’dan’s henchmen, Orgrim Doomhammer staged a coup d’etat and had Blackhand and the entire Shadow Council killed.”
“How do you know all of this?” Darius asked.
“I talk to a lot of Orcs on my travels. There was this one orc female who had a loose tongue after a few ales. That tongue…” the dwarf smirked as he pulled on his beard.
“I am grateful you stop talking for a moment…or for the rest of the evening.” Umbrua said.” I to heard of this Shadow Council back on Draenor. You think some of them survived Doomhammer’s purge and are attacking us again from the shadows?”
“No, I don’t think so.” Mathias retorted.” If they were, we would’ve seen them either when Arthas attacked or the Burning Legion or Cho’gall.” He frowned.” What do you mean by corruption still?”
This time Kalec spoke up.” Ever since the strange star phenomenon, the Council of Six has kept our eyes inward. We found out a very powerful demon was summoned on our plane and it was because of one of our own that Dalaran’s magial flux used to power the portals were used to bring it here.”
“Later we found out similar issues happened all over, even in Horde lands.” Jaina added.” But it wasn’t until this message and Celindra that I found out something worse. Celindra’s mind has been…altered.”
“Altered?” everyone gasped.
“Yes.” She nodded.” Someone changed her mind. She still had free will but during the phenomenon she purposely sabotaged the portal lanes so this demon could be summoned to Azeroth. A demon whose name we know thanks to Velen who met him face to face. A demon by the name of Illidan Stormrage.”
The room fell silent for a moment.” That…would explain Varian before he died.” Mathias spoke up. Everyone turned to him.” The king was acting strange. I think we all know that he was using Calia for a proxy war, right?”
“That does sound unlike him.” Jaina frowned.” After the battle for Ashenvale he disliked going to war.”
“Not just that but his hold over the nobility slipped, he got goaded easier, send Anduin on a very dangerious mission….it was as if he didn’t know what he was doing exactly. He even…” Mathias sighed. Jaina had to urge him to speak.
“He even took a mistress.” He looked the others in the eye.” I spend almost my entire career protecting my king and guarding his secrets. He never took a mistress before. He loved the queen to much for that. I suspect he was actually fighting their control, hence the attack on his life.”
“Then who killed him?” Darius asked.” This Shadow Council who discarded a untrustworthy pawn or your nobles?”
“I have interrogated the likely suspects, all swear they didn’t do it. And no True Horde or Zandalari could get close to a capable assassin like that. It’s this Shadow Council. Has to be.”
“Are you sure the nobles aren’t lying?” Kalec asked the spymaster.
“Very.” Mathias replied.” The Kiron Tor aren’t the only ones who can torture information out of people.”
“Enough, Mathias.” Jaina said.” I asked you to come here because I thought we can talk as adults.”
“No, you asked me because I would find out about this secret meeting sooner or later.” Shaw retorted.
“You don’t have to sound that much like an arse though.” Brann said.
”I have been running a kingdom that is going to collapse at any moment. Famine, economic depression, infighting, a possible coup is being planned by the nobility, a possible revival of the Defias is on the horizon and so forth. My king has died, Prince Anduin is captured by the enemy and I have not slept in days. Pardon me for seeming a bit rude at the moment.”Master Shaw folded his arms and leaned back in his chair.
“Anduin’s safety is my priority as well.” Jaina said.” And we will do what we can to get him out.”
“Wait, we know where the prince is?” Darius asked.
Mathias nodded.” My men found Booty Bay was burned down to the ground. Reznik beat the information of a Zandalari which brought him to the Twilight Highlands. The zeppelin that held the prince crashed but the prince survived and was captured by General Torakk Bloodrain.”
“Damn…” Brann cursed.” Least we know the prince will be alright.”
“Who is Bloodrain? True Horde or one of Vol’jin’s?” Umbrua asked.
“He is one of Vol’jin’s.” Mathias said.” He’s been a pain in the Alliance’s side for nearly ten years now. Ashenvale, Grizzily Hills, Pandaria. One of the smarter orcs out there and his warband is one of the most feared, even during this armistice. Hit and run style. It will be difficult to get him out of there but not impossible.”
“I am in talks with the Wildhammer’s in the Highlands.” Brann said.” They can add their forces to SI:7 but it takes time.”
“And the Shadow Council, how are they involved in this?” Umbrua asked.” Forgive me if I’m wrong but I heard Illidan helped save Darnassus and this war with Sylvanas, if it was them, is good for the Alliance. No?”
“They brainwashed one of Gilneas’ ambassadors, a Dalaran portal mage and the king of Stormwind and are possibly responsible for his regicide. They Are the enemy.” Darius glared.
“I think we can add Empress Moira to the list.” Brann placed his folded hands on the table.” I think we all know her change of heart during the Frostmane troll business can’t have been a coincidence.”
“Furthermore…” Kalec added.” When I did some digging I found out that some dragonic force managed to sneak his way into the Kirin Tor library and found his way to its secret library.”
“Dragonic?” Mathias asked.” We talking….Black dragon?”
Kalec nodded.” Yes, I was thinking of Wrathion myself. He would know of Onixia’s former mental control over King Varian. Despite Jaina’s mending, no offense sweetheart, Varian’s mental defenses were weakened a lot. He could’ve altered his mind when none of us were looking.”
“You think the mistress was the one responsible?” Umbrua asked.
Mathias shook his head.” No, she is just a maid who got jumped to librarian status. I had the court conjurers check her out. Save for one thing she checked out.”
“What thing?” Darius glared.
“I shared enough secrets already, Crawley.” Mathias glared.” It’s none of your business.”
“Can I investigate her, though?” Jaina asked.” I swear I will keep whatever she has a secret.”
“Fine…” he relented.” But just you. Also in return I want you to swear that Dalaran and Kul Tiras will support Anduin when he returns to Stormwind.”
“ I cannot speak for Kul Tiras but you always had Dalaran’s support, Master Shaw.” She glared.
“Likewise for the Exodar.” Umbrua said.” The prophet thinks highly of the prince.”
Brann shifted in his chair uncomfortably. “The council of Three hammers is more split in the middle…only Moira seems to support Anduin. Muradin and Falstad believe the boy is to young and a Regent Lord is needed.”
“Same goes for Gilneas.” Darius said.” However if this War of the Roses nonsense stops, King Greymane might change his idea on that.” And maybe get Lorna home safe and sound, he thought.
“Will the House of Nobles accept Anduin as king?” Kalec asked.
“They will.” Mathias replied.” They have no choice. WE have no choice.” He paused.” Why did Wrathion break into the Kirin Tor Library?”
“We believe he found the blueprints of a Plane Castle.” Jaina said.
“A what?” Darius raised his brow.
“A Plane Castle.” She replied.” It is a…construct of sorts placed in a different plane. Kind of like how druids travel to the Emerald Dream but different. It takes dreaming to get to that plane but it is a plane where otherwise nothing exists.”
“Why would he do that?” Umbrua asked.
“Where else can you speak to your minions you got scattered all over the world?” Mathias replied.
“Exactly.” Jaina nodded.” I am planning a invasion on this castle and curb this Shadow Council and Wrathion once and for all.”
“What do you need us to do?” Crawly asked.
“Simple.” Her face grew to one of silent anger.” I will send ferrets into the rat hole. I want you all to be there to catch them.”