Alliance: Chapter 3
She was sleeping, but she was not really asleep. She knew her body was laying on a bed in a cabin on a boat named the Moonspray which was headed to Darnassus. At any moment Mariss would wake and thus also wake her. But in the realm of the mind, an moment could be any eternity.
Unlike the Emerald dream which the druids and the green dragonflight used to travel or contact each other, the realm of the mind was created an long time ago by mages to function as something similar as the druids but the realm was never fully developed. Unlike the Emerald dream, this realm was barely the size of a small castle and it’s inside features looked like one. They were teleported to the center of the castle, inside a large hall. There were stands of exotic armour and stuffed animals on the wall as well as purple tabards with the sigil of her secret order hanging on the walls.
To venture outside the inner corridors and walk upon the walls or portcullis meant inviting madness and gazing into the infinite of nothing. For that reason the mages of the Kirin Tor abandoned the realm and used safer methods of communication such as scrying orbs. However likeminded folk like Constance used this realm for their own private dealings.
“Lady Bowen, you've finally arrived.” An soft and silk like voice announced her as her form appeared in the realm. Any ‘Dreamer’ that arrived in the realm appeared as he or she chooses to appear in. Constance had nothing to hide so she appeared as she did when she fell asleep, dressed in bright alliance blue and gold diplomatic attire befitting her noble birth and status as an independent mage of Gilneas.
“Magna Irriende.” Constance bowed her head to the night elven highborne mage.” Have I arrived to late?”
“To early it seems.” Irriende replied.” Save for the goblins here, no-one else has showed.”
The highborne motioned to the goblin mage and warlock as they stood upon each end of the room and threw magic bolts made out of fire and darkness at each other while they cussed in their nattering tongue.
Constance shook her head.” How long have they been at it?”
“Ever since they arrived. But they did as they were told just like all of us. All the portals on Azeroth, save the Dark Portal, are still unable to be opened. Both the Kirin Tor and the Sunreavers are unable to find out why.”
“Let us hope our friends in Dalaran can keep them off our trail for just a while longer. The last thing we need is to have Proudmoore after us.” Constance warned.
Irriende agreed. She sighed as she folded her arms.” This is idiotic, why bother on a specific time if barely anyone bothers to show up?”
“I admit it took me some time to set up the ritual without being noticed and making sure the proper incantations and wards are still held up so the gateways remain closed. And I am not being watched as the others in Stormwind or Orgrimmar are. And let’s not forget war is in the air again.” Constance said.
“Again?” Irriende frowned.
“The rumour goes that Queen Calia is gathering an army to launch an full assault on Lordearon.” Lady Bowen replied.
“Did your brother tell you that?”
Constance shook her head.” Me and my brother have not talked for some time after…” she paused.” I rather not discuss it. I have other reliable sources in Stormwind and Gilneas who claim those rumours are true.”
“That is not good…” Irriende placed her finger on her chin in an thoughtful manner before she spoke in a hushed tone so the goblins would not overhear.” Before those two started fighting they mentioned an large taskforce left Bilgewater Harbour a few days ago.”
“Vol’jin is sending troops to help Sylvanas then?”
“No, that is what did not make sense.” The highborne said.” They were headed West, not East towards the Eastern Kingdoms.”
“West?” Constance frowned.” That is strange…there is nothing here that has any Horde intrest now the True Horde is defeated at the Dry Hills. Wonder wh-“
The Gilnean mage fell silent as another person entered the Realm. The newcomer was an old orc who wore a wolf pelt (seemingly new) and a pair of metal bracers which had the Horde symbol engraved upon it in red runes. The wolf’s head covered his face and obscured his eyes until he threw the hood back.
“Greetings, my apologies for being late. The new students that are under my charge have a habit of asking pointers after class.”
“Master Drak’thul.” Constance bowed her head. Both Fizz Lighter and Evol Fingers stopped their fighting and bowed their heads to their superior. Irriende merely looked away in disgust which did not seem to bother the old orc.
“Lady Bowen, pleasure as always.” Drak’thul smiled.” How goes business in the Alliance?”
“You tell me, Master Drak’thul. I heard Lord Vanyst has been in Orgrimmar for several days now.” Constance returned the smile coyly.
“He has been rather tight lipped but my Imp overheard several discussions from his honour guard. It seems the message I picked up on the way from the Broken isles was true. Queen Calia Menethil has returned and is coming in force to Lordearon.”
“Is the Horde preparing for war then?” the Highborne asked.
“Why should we tell you, big ears?” Evol frowned as the night elf raised her brow. Fizz coughed and motioned to Evol’s own ears. “I know what I said.” He claimed.
“We are on the same side, Evol.” Drak’thul leaned on his cane as he walked toward the center of the hall.” The original Shadow Council only served to further Gul’dan’s ambitions. This one is to protect Azeroth from the shadows by any means possible.” The orc took a seat in a large wooden chair.” So it is about time we thought outside of our racial boundaries and think bigger.” He cocked his head to Constance.” No, Vol’jin is not gearing toward war as far as I know. With the troll refugees flooding to Orgrimmar every day and the burdens that come with it we do not have the coin or resources to aid Sylvanas even if she needed our assistance.”
“And what of the Bilgewater taskforce?” the highborne folded her arms.
“How do you know about that?!” Evol shouted before he glared at the other goblin and gave him a smack.” YOU TOLD!”
“DID NOT!!” Fizz replied and returned the punch before both became embroiled in fisticuffs. Drak’thul sighed wearily and shook his head.
“In short, I cannot speak for what Gallywix does with his men but the matter remains the Warchief is to occupied with refugees and money lenders. The last thing he needs is another war.”
“Yet war is coming, one way or another.” A handsome sounding rang through the room. The occupants glanced to their left as an handsome man with a ebon skin. He wore dapper clothes and a white turban on his head appeared. He bowed deeply to those present.” My apologies my friends but it takes a bit of effort to make a dragon go to sleep.” He smirked as his eyes flashed red.” Thankfully I had lovely assistants to aid me in that regard.”
“Master Wrathion.” Those present, including Constance, bowed their heads in return.
“Oh please don’t call me Master, I hate people with high airs….Prince will do.” He chuckled as he sat down in a chair and conjured himself a glass of wine.” Everyone here?”
“Everyone that matters or is not busy with keeping the gateways shut.” Irriende said.” What do you mean with ‘War is coming?’”
The young dragon sipped form his drink before he spoke.” Like I said. Garrosh’s death has brought peace for some time but that time is running out.” He placed the now empty cup on the table.” I will first bring the bad news. My spies in the True Horde have reported that the rumours are true. Warlord Zaela is with child and it is no doubt that it is Hellscream.”
“Ancestors help us…” Constance heard Drak’thul curse.
“And sadly there is more. One of Sylvanas’ Murloc scouts have seen True Horde flyers headed fro and back to the Zandalari and some Zandalari ships are headed to the Twilight Highlands with cargo carrying food, weapons and reinforcements.”
“So the Zandalari have joined forces with the True Horde then?” Constance asked.” Why, the Zandalari had no real reason to ally with anyone after the Mogu disaster.”
“You are sadly mistaken, Lady Bowen.” Wrathion replied.” After Pandaria and the losses made there thanks to my champions and Vol’jin, the Zandalari are running scared. Especially since quite a few of their forces sailed to Kalimdor to seek shelter with Vol’jin. In desperate times you are willing to be friends with the evil you know than face another new evil by yourself.”
“I can see your point…” Constance nodded.” Any more bad news?”
“Well the Calia thing is known now to everyone, the worst kept secret in history since Bolvar the new Lich King, and the problems that causes. However I have good news as well.”
“Thank the Light.” Constance nodded.
“The good news is, from what Drak’thul told me at the previous meeting with his Ethereal friends is that the Burning Legion is still quite a ways away from Azeroth so we have enough time to get our affairs in order.”
Not much of a good news, Constance thought, but it a day more to set things right was a day more that lives would be saved in the long run.” Any other good news, your highness?”
Wrathion smirked a little at the title.” The other good news is that your efforts have nearly paid off. The energies from the gateway have found its way to our friend in the twisting nether and he is as we speak on his way to Azeroth. He asked me to find a summoner close to Darnassus so he can be summoned there.”
“Why Darnassus?” the highborne sounded horrified.” The deal was that he would help us prepare Azeroth to defend itself against the Legion! They would NEVER accept him there.”
“Like the Night elves would never accept your kind again?” Wrathion replied. Irriende opened her mouth to speak but quickly silenced herself as the realization hit her.” It is not the same…” she quickly added.
“True, our friend did a lot more to protect this world then your kin did.” Wrathion stood up as he ignored Irriende’s glare.” Lady Bowen, since you are send as an envoy to Darnassus would you mind being the summoner?”
Constance winced as the word hit home.” Me, summoning an demon?”
“He isn’t fully a demon, not really. Nor will you have to do anything to evil to summon him. Just spill a bit of your own blood to open a portal and guide him to Darnassus. Do it as sneakily as possible, we don’t want you to get caught or bring the Shadow Council to light.”
“I know the rules…” Constance rubbed her brow and gathered herself before she was able to look anyone straight in the eye again.” I will do my duty to Azeroth.”
“Good. Drak’thul would you mind?”
The old orc nodded his head and slowly got up before he waddled over to Constance.” You ready?” he asked. She gave a small nod as the orc warlock placed his hand on her forehead. Even in the Realm she felt the pain as new dark knowledge made its way to her mind. In a heartbeat she knew how to summon the demon, at what time and how to dissolve the barriers on all magic portals. The orc and highborne both held her so she would not fall.
“You alright?” he asked with concern in his voice.
“I’m fine…” she lied.” I rather go back to my body now…”
“Same.” Irriende said.” I wish to travel to Darnassus in case Lady Bowen needs help with the spell.”
Wrathion nodded.” Very well but do NOT get caught. We’ve spend to much time and effort to lose everything we build up over the past few months. Everyone else keep your ears to the ground and do your duties. I chose you all for a reason my friends, do not disappoint…. yourselves.”
You mean ‘me’, Constance thought to herself.
The Shadow Council was dismissed afterward and one by one the attendants left.
“I will see you in a few hours then.” The Highborne said to the Gilnean mage.” Will you be fine till then?”
“Eating grapes, discussing theology with kaldorei priestesses and trying not to fall asleep during the diplomatic talks…I make no promises.” Constance smirked.
The highborne smiled in return.” I will hurry then.” She paused as she made sure they were the only two left in the Realm.” You…sometimes think what we are doing…” she did not know what to say next.
“Is the right thing?” Constance finished to which her friend nodded in agreement. The Gilnean mage gazed upon the purple flag of the Shadow Council.” Sometimes I wonder that myself. Some people say that every means justifies the cause. That the lesser of two evils is an better alternative.”
“Evil is evil, nothing lesser or greater…” Irriende replied.” I’ve seen the horrors of war. I’ve seen with dark spells men can weave. I met our "friend" 10 000 years ago when he came to serve Queen Azshara and I saw with my own eyes what kind of man he is. What he can do.”
“That is back then though, this is now. He is on our side, we all saw what he did to halt the Legion after his defeat in Outland.” Constance replied. “People change.”
“People don’t change that much. Some men are born wolves, some are sheep. He might be bearing sheep’s clothing but his fangs are showing through.”
“So what do you want to do then?” She asked.” Take our chances alone? I have also seen war and I have used darker magicks to save myself and my brother from the Starlight Slasher. If I have to sell my soul to protect my world and my loved ones, so be it.”
“Be careful what you wish for.” Irriende said.” It might come true.”
Constance opened her eyes and found herself wrapped into the arms of the Galley Chief of the Moonspray. She could not help but smile as she saw Mariss snore softly as she held her lover close. The Gilnean noblewoman held her as well and remembered how they first met. It was shortly after the Battle for Keel harbor when Constance and her brother Arnulf boarded a kaldorei vessel and set sail for Kalimdor. During the battle an Orc broke her arm and no-one had time to heal it or knew how. Mariss did. The moment Mariss’ soothing hand touched her arm, Constance knew. She first discarded the idea. Mariss was an exotic beauty and a elf no less. She probably had an husband back home and three children. But Mariss didn’t and the more time both spend with each other, the more they grew closer to each other. On an stormy night when both found comfort with each other, it just felt right. Constance remembered when her brother found her and Mariss kissing below decks during the exodus. How he claimed it was an affront for the Light and their family name. Arnulf left his sister and joined with the Alliance forces and became Captain in no time while Constance stayed with Mariss and became somewhat of a diplomat for the Gilneans and their Alliance allies. Three years had passed since then and still no letter was send on either end. Their parents died during the Forsaken invasion and they had no other family besides each other. There were many nights when Constance could not sleep because of her tears. But Mariss was always there for her and she thanked the Light and Elune every day for that.
She moved a strand of Mariss’ blue hair back over her ear. Constance giggled as the ear twitched and Mariss’ eyes fluttered open.
“Good morning, Chief Mariss.” Lady Bowen strayed Mariss’ cheek.
“Good morning, Lady Bowen…” the night elf replied and kissed her lover briefly.” Sleep well?”
“Always.” Constance replied before she returned the kiss and began to wash and dress.
The routine was as usual. Mariss made sure the ship sailed well and aided Captain Windsinger as his second while Constance helped where she could. She conjured food out of thin air and was able to use several water elementals to steer them along when the wind died down. House Bowen was known for its work ethic and it would not die down with Constance.
The Moonspray was making it’s final course to Darnassus when they saw smoke in the distance. Captain Windsinger took his binoculars and what he saw turned his face pale.
“Captain?” Mariss asked.” What’s wrong?”
“Goblin zeppelins, an whole armada…” he gathered himself.” They are attacking Darnasuss! Chief, rouse the mariners and prepare the archers! We-”
“Captain, incoming!” An mariner shouted but it was to late. An squadron of Goblin biplanes flew past and opened fire on the vessel. A few night elves were shot down as a rain of bullets riddled through them. The mariners took up their bows and shot their arrows at the planes. The night elves did their reputation as expert marksmen pride as one of the six planes left formation and crashed into the ocean. Constance summoned her magic and joined the archers in their attack on the planes. Two more planes fell but so did half of the remaining archers. Worse, water began to punch in through the lower decks as the wisps on the ship did their beats to repair the damage.
“The wood is to old and in pain. The wisps can barely keep it afloat let alone repair!” Mariss shouted to the captain.” We’ll sink!”
“Steer to Darnassus, we’re to far from Lor’danel! Captain Windsong shouted.” And keep firing, don’t let up!”
The biplanes returned and so did the hail of bullets. An barrel of gunpowder exploded which threw Constance to the floor. An fire erupted and some night elves screamed before they were cut down by more bullets or jumped into the water. Constance cried out for Mariss but no reply came. Only three archers kept firing despite it being obvious they would not make it. Constance clawed through the rubble and prayed hard that her Mariss was alive. Another hail of bullets passed and more kalodrei joined the dead. Constance found Mariss, bloodied and buried in rubble while she barely drew breath. She heard the sound of the biplanes making one final attack run as the few night elves left began to take cover of what was left on the ship.
Constance held Mariss’ hand. “I’m sorry Constance…” she whispered.” I’m sorry…”
Constance wanted to tell her it was alright, that they would make it but a voice began to speak at the back of her head.
“Open the portal.” It said.
“No, not yet…” Constance winced.” It’s to soon. Mariss is hurt.”
“Open the portal so I can save my loved ones and yours.”
“No….” Constance held her eyes closed.
Constance snapped into action and let go off Mariss’ unconscious hand. She began uttering in an dark tongue as she picked up the dead captain’ sword and slit her wrist. Her blood fell upon the deck and mingled with the others as dark purple runes were branded on the deck. An large green gateway opened as the biplanes opened fire one last time. Constance waited for the bullets to hit, but they never seemed to. Instead an large Night elf stood in front of her. He was taller than most, taller than the captain even. He was covered in green tattoos that were in fact demonic runes which emanated an sickening green glow. Horns grew out of his forehead as did large black, leathery wings. In each hand he held a wicked blade as an blindfold waved in the wind.
The blades twisted and twirled as the bullets were guided elsewhere . Before the planes could get away the demonic night elf shouted and shot several dark orbs to the war machines. Constance saw Evol Fingers toss similar bolts of shadow to Fizz in jest mere hours ago, but the darkness that came from these were the darkest of magicks.
The planes dissolved into green flames as the demonic night elf began laughing manically as his batlike wings began to beat and made him hover in the air. The wisps fled from their savior as the ship crashed on a rocky outcropping. Constance merely stared in horror as her monstrous savior took to the sky and shouted.” THE PRODIGAL SON HAS RETURNED!”
She followed the creature as it flew to the armada and saw several zeppelins disappear in green flames. Her knees buckled as she fell next to Mariss. She did not know when Mariss stopped breathing or when her hand began to feel cold in hers or when pieces of debris bearing the Bilgewater Horde sigil drifted past. All she knew was that that the wolf was loose and the world was not prepared for his return.