Alliance: Chapter 2
As the sun’s rays came through the glass, the room below was cascaded in many brilliant colours upon the gathered crowd. Many of Stormwind’s nobility, such as the Grimtides and the and others were present. Jojo Ironbrow represented the Tushui Pandaren after Aysa Cloudsinger returned back to the Wandering Isle with her now husband Ji Firepaw, Brother Crowley of the Scarlet Renegades was there as well, the night elven ambassador Broll Bearmantle and even the Dark Iron dwarf Drukan who looked bored during the whole affair. And of course King Varian himself with his son Prince Anduin.
“With the power of the light invested in me...” Archbishop Farthing’s voice rang through the Cathedral as he held the golden crown, shaped in the form of diverse roses, in the air.” I hereby crown you, Queen Calia of the House of Menethil and rightful ruler of Lordearon.” He placed the crown gently on her auburn hair as the crowd clapped and even cheered.
” Long may she reign!” a cry went up.” Long may she reign!”
Calia rose and thanked the Archbishop before she and her newly made Queen’s guard strode down the stairs and outside the cathedral. She was dressed as a warrior queen, breast plate and all, but had a certain elegance to her with a long dress that reached till her feet and a silk cloak embroided with white roses, her new sigil.
Ser Andarin, Brother Trevor in his human guise, Ser Thomas and the newly inducted Sergeant Hartman from Southshore in his Worgen form all stood around her to make sure her safety was never threatened.
As she passed, all of the attendants bowed their heads. Even her peers such as Varian, Genn and High Tinker Mekkatorque. The sun was shining brightly outside as the Lordearon flags waved by banner post and loyal subject alike.
“Long life the queen!” they cried.” Long life Queen Calia!”
It was much grander than what happened in Gilneas a few weeks prior but it still felt somewhat impersonal. Only a few of her undead subjects traveled with her and had to be glamoured by mages as to appear human and most of her people stayed behind in Gilneas to begin building a new life for themselves. She also had to be crowned in Stormwind where the heart of the Alliance was, far away from her home and most of her people.
“You look glum, your grace.” Ser Thomas asked.” Are you alright?”
Calia turned her head.” I am fine, just lost in thought, Thomas.” She smiled. The blush on his cheeks made her giggle but she quickly placed her royal mask back on and waved at the gathered members of the Alliance. Her thoughts went to her father and mother and hoped somewhere in the afterlife, they would be proud.
Stormwind celebrated and for once the festivities of Brewfest were not held near Ironforge in the dwarven lands of Khaz Modan but just outside Stormwind’s walls in the Elwynn Forest. Kegs upon kegs of ale were rolled in through the Deeprun Tram as even Goblin Zeppelins from Booty Bay far to the south were hired to sell their drinks and wares to the public. Calia was even honoured to drink the first keg they opened on that day.
“Your grace, would you be honoured to sample the first of this new beverage me and the boys at the Agricultueral department cooked up?” Gelbin ,who always opened the event, asked.”We call it Gheiserburg. It is Lordearonian hops carefully fermented with Mulgore grain and Ashenvale spring water. After that we cooled within a new device we called a refri-“
“Let her taste the bloody drink, Mekkatorque!” Drukan shouted and was quickly backed up by the other revelers. She was offered a small mug from the High Tinker but she kindly refused.
“Sergeant Hartman.” She asked the Worgen Sergeant.” Mind if I take your pint glass please?”
The Sergeant handed his large pint mug to her and like everyone else gasped when she downed the entire mug in one go. Another cheer went up afterward and even more so when the Gheiserberg was approved by the new Monarch.
She walked around the grounds and sampled some more meats and drinks as Brother Crawley walked to her.
“Your grace.” The Scarlet brother bowed.” Congratulations on your coronation.”
“It was a long time coming, Brother Crawley” she bowed her head.” I have heard of your valliant attempt to free the Scarlet Monastery in Tirisfal Glades.”
“If I may be honest, it was not my idea your grace. Some fellow by the name of Joseph tried to lead a coupe d’etat against the Crusade there but his…mental health stopped it from happening despite the aid of adventurers. It was because of those same adventurers most of these Renegades made it back to alliance ground.”
“And like a shepard tends to his flock, you took care of these renegade sheep?” Andarin asked.
The brother frowned somewhat.” Your grace, may I ask if we can speak in private?”
“My Queen’s Guard can hear what you have to say, Crawley.” Calia replied.” They can keep my secrets.”
“As you wish.” Crawley said with a nervous smile.” I heard rumours you are building an army in Gilneas, is that true?”
“Where did you hear that rumour?” Thomas frowned.
“Everyone speaks of it. The dockworkers, the tavern keepers, adventurers…I merely ask if it’s true.”
Calia cocked her head to the side.” And if it were?”
“If it is so, I wish to pledge my Renegades and myself to your cause.” Crawley said.” Lordearon belongs to it’s people and not those rotten bastards.”
“Those ’rotten bastards’ as you put it so delicately, have just as much the same right to life there as you do. Brother.” Trevor said.” The usurper Queen and the Lich King before that turned them into monsters.”
“No offense, brother.” Crawley retorted.” But when they died their right to Lordearon did so with them. Their souls have hopefully gone to the Light as their wretched husks were left behind to be defiled by the Scourge and Sylvanas after him.”
“This wretched husk has enough manners to not rip your throat out without anyone telling him what to do.” Trevor frowned as his human guise somewhat faded which revealed his rotten skin for just a split moment.” They have free will, they have rights and they WILL be saved from the usurper.”
“Trevor, that’s enough.” Calia calmly said before she smiled at Crawley.” But what he said is true. Those who serve the usurper are under her spell. And I plan to save them. If you wish to aid us I will let Hartman pass on the information you need. And when we drive her out I promise you the Monastery will be yours.”
“I thank you, your grace...” Brother Crawley bowed.” Me and my Renegades are yours to command.” With that he left.
“Thomas, how much do you know of Brother Crawley?” she asked.
“As far as I know there is no relation with the Crawley’s of Gilneas.” He began.” He was an emissary for the Scarlet Crusade early in its career before they turned hostile to everyone. After the Lich King fell and most of the Crusade was destroyed in Northrend, a man named Joseph tried to take over the crusade with Alliance aid. Crawley was his contact here. When that failed like he said, the surviving renegades fled to Stormwind.”
“Numbers?” Calia sipped her drink.
“ I’m not sure but if I have to make an rough guess…“
“Go on, I like to life dangerously.” She smirked which made Thomas blush even more as he tried to look interested in his own mug.
“I guess about eighty-five to one hundred men. Those include crusaders but also priests and monks.” He replied.
“You sure you want one hundred zealots, your grace?” the Lightblade asked.” You heard what they said about the undead, that could pose problems with our Forsaken forces.”
“He probably also likes little altar boys to…” Trevor spat some green ichor on the ground.
“Trevor, enough…”Calia sighed.” We need armed forces to reclaim my throne and right now we have only a few drilled soldiers. I know the Militia and the Worgen mean well but it is not enough. We need every man we can get, especially if Varian keeps the Alliance out of this.”
“Has Varian asked about this, yet?” Trevor rubbed the pommel of his mace.” You’d think he would know by now.”
“He probably does, he has asked me to come speak with him in private later.” Calia replied.” Gentlemen, like my father before me I do not break promises. We WILL get our homeland back, Alliance or no.”
A few moments later she dismissed her guards to go out and enjoy the merriment as she decided to sit down alone for a few moments before she would go see Varian. She insisted she would be fine and eventually got her moment of peace after she promised to call back one to escort her to the Keep. As she sat on the bench she lifted her head to sky as the sun began to set and coloured from blue to red. She liked seeing the sky. After having been imprisoned in Undercity for years, she wanted to experience every single sunset-and rise as much as she could. She was so engrossed with it that she didn’t notice someone walking up to her.
“Your grace.” Lorna Crawley bowed her head.” You mind if I sit next to you?”
“Of course, Lorna.” Calia replied and patted the spot next to her to which Lorna sat on. “You needed an escape to?”
“Clear my head a little.” The daughter of Lord Crawley said.” It’s getting noisy in there. To much politics and old men…Did you know that Drukan dwarf pinched my bum? I punched him in the face but that actually encouraged him!”
“Ale and wine loosens tongues and other appendages…” Calia smiled.” That’s what Muradin Bronzebeard says anyhow. He stayed with my household for some time, he taught my brother how to fight.”
“Not you?” Lorna asked.
“A lady is not supposed to fight, my father said. While my brother was taught to use swords and hammers and how to ride a warhorse…I was taught to knit and sow and sing. He was going to be a king with Jaina as his queen and a small horde of blonde haired children as their heirs. I was going to be married off to whomever my father or Arthas himself suited well enough.” Calia took out her dagger and began cleaning it with a piece of fabric.
“I was my father’s only child.” Lorna said.” I think he wanted a son but never got one. So he trained me how to ride, fight, use cannons…”
“He did so very well. I heard Captain Bowen praise your skills during the first Battle of Gilneas as did Ser Thomas for the Homecoming.”
“Is that what they call it, the Homecoming?” Lorna smirked.” Or is it what Ser Thomas calls it?”
“If it is, is there any problem with that Lady Crawley?” Calia replied with mirth.
“None at all, your grace…” Lorna chuckled.” There are worse men to heed advice from than Thomas Karland. You picked him well for your Queen’s Guard.”
“I was always a good judge of character when I was young. I told father Lord Perenolde was a bad man, even before he betrothed me to him. Thank the Light that problem settled itself…” The Queen of Lordearon inspected her dagger.
“Why did your father force you into that marriage?” Lorna asked.” If mine would I would’ve told him where to shove it.”
“There are two types of men, Lorna.” Calia placed her dagger away.” Men who love or do their duty. Men who do their duty will sacrifice anything for it. Happiness, family, wealth, their lives…it is not necessarily a bad thing since doing one’s duty so others can life is admirable. My father was one of those men. My marriage to Perenolde could’ve brought peace between Lordearon, Gilneas and Stromgarde over the issue with Alterac. The intended marriage between my little brother and Jaina was not one because my father thought love would enter into it eventually. He ruled for fifty years and sacrificed everything for Lordearon in that time…even his children if he had to.”
“And the men who love?” Lorna asked.
“Your father is the perfect example of that.” Calia turned to Lady Crawley.” He fell back from Silverpine because he wanted to keep you safe. He stayed his hand from killing Genn Graymane so many times in the past because he loves his king.”
“Love is the death of duty.” Lorna concluded.” I wanted to do my duty to Gilneas, sacrifice my life if need be. He had no right to make that choice for me.”
“Neither did my father, but he did.” The Queen said.” But as far as fathers go, he wanted you safe and happy. That is something some highborn girls could only dream of.”
“Maybe…” Lorna replied as she got up.” I will go back to my room, perhaps write a letter. That way you can have a few moments to yourself at least.” She smiled.” My apologies for that.”
“It’s fine, sometimes it’s better to have someone with you to enjoy the night sky with.”
“Perhaps you should ask Ser Thomas next time.” Lorna bowed her head with a ‘your grace’ and left. Calia felt herself blushing at the idea before she dismissed it, blaming it due to the ale.
A few hours later she and Ser Thomas made their way to the Keep.
“So Ser Lightblade has drunk to much, Sergeant Hartman found an lady friend and Trevor…?”
“Was to busy discussing theology with an Northshire priest, your grace.” Thomas stepped in line with her, frowning one eyebrow when he saw an Pandaren ride on a ram and shout advertisements for an drinking stand.
“So it’s just us two then, Thomas?” Calia smiled.
“Yes, your grace.” He replied.” I hope that is not a problem?”
“Not at all, is it for you?”
“NO! no of course not, your gr-“ Calia interrupted him.
“Call me Calia, I get ‘your grace’ enough from everyone else.”
“But you are an Queen.” Thomas blinked.
“And you are my Queen’s Guard. That means we will spend a lot of time together and I rather it is not done on egg shells. So from here on out, you will call me Calia when no-one else is around.” Agreed?
“Agreed, Calia.” Thomas said with a small smile.
The Queen nodded in agreement and entered the Keep where the Stormwind guard saluted her.
“King Calia, the king is expecting you in the library.” The head of the guard said.” Just you.”
“The Queen should not be without her guard.” Thomas said.
“Is the king without his guard?” Calia asked.
“Yes, your grace.” The guard replied.
“Then I do not need my guard either, we do not wish to upset our host do we Ser Thomas?”
“No, your grace.” Thomas saluted.” I will remain here for you.”
“Good.” She smiled before she turned to the head guard.” I know the way to the library, I’ve been here plenty in the past. Make sure Ser Thomas is fed and watered if you please?”
She patted the man on the shoulder before she strolled off to the library.
The Library was located to the upper west wing of the keep where an extensive collection of scrolls, tomes, books, and texts on anything of historical, religious, cultural, or bureaucratic significance were stored. During the day it was crowded by all those who came to enrich themselves with knowledge but at night it was just the king. He was hunched over a large map that laid over the table and a tome. He turned around when he heard her come in.
“Calia, I hope you enjoyed your day?” he closed the tome.
“I did as much as I could. Did you, Varian?” she strolled over.
“I was not present for most of it.” He admitted. “Matters of state and the such.”
“Anduin said as much when I came across him at the Racing Ram’s stand.” Calia replied.” Before you ask yes he did compete and no he didn’t get hurt.”
Varian grunted.” After Pandaria, the last thing he needs is to ride one of those things and get hurt.”
“Boys will be boys, I remember you and Arthas did all kinds of mischief when you lived with us.”
“He had all the bones in his body get broken and both me and Velen had to keep vigil for him for weeks, he nearly died because I did not keep an close eye on him, Calia. I thought you would’ve persuaded him away from such nonsense.”
“I am not the boy’s mother, Varian. Besides he had his blood elven girl as his bodyguard, which is very unwise for his age if i may say so, and he is as stubborn to proof himself like his father.”
“His mother, actually.” Varian corrected.” His eloquence comes from me, so I’ve been told.”
Calia snorted.” Chin to?”
Varian smirked.” Cute. You still drop coins into pounds?”
“So why did you call me here? I’m sure it’s not because we could trade quips.”
The King of Stormwind agreed.” Straight to business. I know what you are doing in Gilneas.”
“Don’t lie to me!” Varian snarled, much like a wolf.” I was raised to sniff out the liars and I know you are.”
Calia frowned.” You told me this before, Varian. You said it yourself, the Alliance is not in a good shape to start another war and we, correction YOU made an agreement to the Horde.” She moved over.” You, Varian. HIGH KING of the Alliance. And already the Horde is seeking to overthrow you.”
Varian folded his arms and motioned her to speak.
“The Horde is already providing amnesty to several Troll tribes who attacked the Alliance before in the past. The Frostmanes and the Shatterspears attacked the Dwarves and Kaldorei not to long ago and now with the Zandalari who are displeased with them, they go hide behind Vol’jin! Worse, Sylvanas is already gathering her forces near the Wall and there is also the little fact that woman kept my imprisoned for YEARS!”
“I know how you feel, Calia. I to was held an prisoner by the Horde and I to warred with them. But like I said before and the time before that. We are not ready to wage a war with the Horde and I promised them I would maintain the peace between our two factions. If I break that oath then my word means nothing.”
“You made an promise to savages and animals!” she cried out.” So what, perhaps this Vol’jin will keep his promise. But I promise you Sylvanas will not and Lordearon will belong to it’s proper people and it’s proper Queen.”
“With what army? Five hundred Lordearon soldiers, few hundred farmers with pitchforks, a few packs of Worgen and oh, what was it….one hundred or so former Scarlet Crusaders?”
“You go to war with the army you have and as far as armies go…It is a good one.”
“Motivation gets you only so far….” Varian began to grin.” That is why I will grant you a few more weapons for your arsenal.”
Calia smiled.” What convinced you?”
“You did when you arrived in Gilneas.” Varian replied.” Note, I only made a promise to Vol’jin and I will keep my word that we will not assault Durotar or Mulgore. However I did not make any guarantees for Sylvanas. This will be a proxy war, Calia. Do you understand what that entails?”
“I will be on my own.” She realized.
“Not completely alone but yes. If your conquest of Lordearon fails and Vol’jin demands your head I will have to give it to you for the account of the treaty.”
“I understand the risks. Just give me a fighting chance and the debt you owe to the Menethil’s will be repaid.”
Motioned her to the map.” I will give you some coin to hire mercenaries to help bolster your forces and Moira says she has some ‘Rebel Dark Irons’ who do not like her reign who will sell some steamstanks and golems to you. We know Orgrimmar is in debt to the Steamweedle Cartel so we will use our sources to cripple the Western Horde even more so they cannot afford to send anyone over. And there is of course something else….”
“What?” Calia asked.
Varian turned to her with a grim determination on his face.” How far are you willing to go?”
“To kill Sylvanas and reclaim my throne? To the Blue Lady and back.”
The High King rubbed his beard before he nodded.” I’ve been in contact with Thassarian of the Ebon Blade. He claims Sylvanas has kidnapped one of his brothers two years ago after the Andorhall disaster. He is willing to aid you and use his necromantic powers to revive one of Sylvanas’ worst enemies with enough force to stop her.”
Calia’s eyes fell to the map where one pointer was aimed at a castle called ‘Shadowfang Keep’.