Spinning Tales


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A New Journey

A lazy breeze blew cold through the streets of Stormwind.

Taila squinted into the bright autumn sun. This was not how the trial was meant to end. Garrosh had escaped – with a bronze dragon, of all flights! – to Draenor. She sighed. Stormwind was buzzing with activity. The Dark Portal had turned red, and strange orcs poured out of it. The King had rallied the factions to venture through the new portal, and for the first time she wouldn’t be on the front lines.

She stretched her arms above her head and groaned, muttering to herself about the cold air.

“You sound like an old lady, Taila!” Taila recognized the heavy hoofsteps approaching. A tall, cloaked Draenei woman with brown hair and long, slanted horns strode down the cobbled street towards her carrying a small, bulging satchel.

Taila slowed to walk beside the Draenei. “If you had been assaulting Orgrimmar for the past year with nothing to show for it, you’d be showing your age too.” She slammed a fist into her palm. “I still can’t believe he escaped.” Kalamata nodded, “It was unexpected.”

As the two women walked through the smoky Dwarven District, blacksmith hammers on steel rang out in the chill morning air. Taila opened the door to The Golden Keg and motioned for Kalamata to enter. The paladin ducked her head and entered the tavern. Inside was brightly lit and patrons were bustling around. The smell of sausage and eggs wafted from the kitchen making Taila’s mouth water.

Kalamata set her satchel on a wooden table and waved to catch the attention of a red-haired Dwarven lady at the bar. She looked up and called, “Breakfast, ladies?” Kalamata called back, “Aye!” She settled herself into a chair and began rifling through her satchel.

Taila unbuttoned her cloak and folded it across the back of her chair. She sat across from Kalamata, who was busy pulling cheese and spiced bread out of her pack. “We are getting breakfast, you know.” Kalamata waved a hand dismissively, “Oh yes, but you can never have enough cheese.” Taila snorted with laughter, and the Dwarven lady from the bar appeared at their table to drop off two large, steaming plates of sausages and eggs. Both women were hungry and for a while the only sounds from the two were forks against plates.

“So,” Taila began, stabbing a sausage with her fork “Draenor?”

“Mhmm.” Kalamata mumbled through a mouth full of egg and swallowed hard. “I’ve heard the scouting reports.” She fell silent, pushing the last of her food around her plate. “I haven’t seen Draenor in a very long time. I never thought I would see it again.” She set her fork down and clenched her fists on the table. “So many lives were lost when we fled Shattrath, and if the Iron Horde is present that means we can change some of that loss. Friends and family… children. They can all live again.”

She got up, and began pacing. “I am ready, now. I can fight back this time.” She stopped at the window, looking outward. Taila walked over and put her hand on Kalamata’s shoulder. “I’ll be right behind you, friend. Whatever it takes.”

 


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Aftermath

The death toll on Grismara climbed,  decimating nearly every Mordesh on the planet. The Everlife Elixir gave immortality to the Mordesh while morphing and strengthening every disease and ailment on Grismara into the Contagion. No one was safe, and for many it was only a matter of time before they would all be reduced to the most basic instincts – kill and eat. Kaleri lay curled up on a small cot in a makeshift barracks, uncomfortable and tired. She could not sleep unless a small gun was under her pillow. Every time she closed her eyes she saw the hands grasping and tearing a hole in the small ship she had taken refuge in. Since they had arrived at their shelter, she watched people she met turn Ravenous in an instant. Lifting boxes, passing supplies, even on the perimeter while on a guard shift – they all turned with no warning and hesitation to kill them meant certain death. Every Mordesh was suspect, and many had taken to drowning their memories in what intoxicants they could get their hands on. Unfortunately, that meant a few of the Mordesh in camp had become Ravenous with no one catching on and more had perished. She turned to lay on her back and stared at the ceiling. Someone was crying into a pillow, muffling their sobs as best they could. They were all going to die here.

A few days ago, she and Amyara had been rescued from a mob of Ravenous by a small Exile shuttle. This small group of humans had been scouting the planet once they heard the Dominion had been looking to welcome a new race into the fold. They had worn Hazmat suits planetside so Kaleri wasn’t sure exactly who they were or what they looked like, but she was grateful for the timing. They informed Kaleri and Amyara that they had been asked to relocate any Mordesh they found to a safe location, but that they couldn’t stay too long. They were running out of supplies and needed to head back to the Exile fleet, far from here. Kaleri tried to pry information from the Exiles about the Widow, but they were just as clueless as she was. They hadn’t heard from the Widow since they reported back to her and it had been radio silence since. They had dropped them off at a small building that had been crudely fortified, shook their hands and took off, hoping to make one more planet sweep before rendezvousing with the fleet. Kaleri never saw them again.

She was finally dozing off when the sound of boots pounding the dirt made her sit up, alert. She grabbed the small gun from under her pillow. The lights flickered on and the Mordesh on their cots rose swiftly – no one had been sleeping. A Mordesh in a lab coat stood at the door. It was Amyara. She was flushed and breathing heavily but she was smiling. “I have news. Lazarin has created a counteragent for the Contagion.” A low mumble began among the Mordesh standing in the barracks. “It is not a cure, merely a filter for the malady but it will discontinue the development of the decay.” She looked uncomfortable for a moment, “It will require surgery and -” she wrung her hands together worriedly, “removal of some body parts and regular maintenance.”  The Mordesh standing in the room looked at one another, unsure.

Kaleri stepped forward. “When do we depart?”

Amyara smiled, “There’s a shuttle outside.”

 

The lab had been state of the art before the fall of Grismara, but now it was little more than a field medical set up. A Mordesh woman in a lab coat waved them over to a door with a crudely painted “PATIENT ADMITTANCE” sign. Kaleri looked curiously at the woman checking them in. There were metal rings around her neck. Noting Kaleri’s gaze, she held up her hands in defense, “It’s not much, but for practical purposes the procedure must be performed here.” Nodding, Kaleri said, “We certainly don’t have a choice.” The woman scribbled something on her clip board and motioned for the group to follow her scanbot. “No, you don’t.” The group of Mordesh from the small bunker followed the floating bot as it led them down the twisting corridors. Another Mordesh motioned for them to stop in a makeshift waiting room at the end of the hall. He turned to greet them and the group gasped. His eyes were bright green, and his jaw was encased in metal with glowing tubes attached. There was metal around his neck, too but that was all that was visible. When he spoke his voice was low and gravely, almost mechanic. “You’ll all have to hold on here. The procedure is dangerous and we must proceed delicately. Therefore, a ticket system has been issued to -” Outcry from the group of Mordesh surrounding him drowned out his explanation. “Peace! Please! I understand this is difficult but disorder only serves to increase the interval you wait.” He smoothed his coat over his hips and held out a cup full of papers. “Take a ticket.”

Kaleri waited while the crowd snatched tickets out of the cup. Relieved murmurs and anguished moans accompanied glances at which ticket numbers they had pulled. Amyara stepped forward after most had cleared away, delicately plucked a ticket out of the cup and stepped back. Kaleri moved forward and took the final ticket. Number thirty. Her heart sank.

“Very good. Thank you.” Their guide turned to face the room. “Which of you has the first ticket?” Amyara raised her hand, tentatively. “Good. Follow me, please.” She looked guilty as she smiled and shrugged at Kaleri. Amyara turned to follow the man down the hall and Kaleri gave her an encouraging push. As she watched her go, she had a sudden realization that this could be the last time she saw her. Kaleri stepped quickly to catch up and grabbed Amyara’s forearm. “Wait, Amyara. My position in the order is well past yours. It’s possible I may not be present by the time your procedure is terminated.” She looked down at her feet. They had been through so much, she didn’t know what to say. Amyara gently put her arms around Kaleri and said, “I shall see you soon.”

 

Hours passed and Kaleri hadn’t moved from her seat. She had been nervously shaking her leg staring ahead at the admittance door. Perhaps it was nerves, but she thought she could feel little whispers of darkness at the edge of her mind. See little tendrils of smoke at the corners of her eyes. She sat back in her chair, biting her fingernails. She was so hungry. They weren’t letting anyone not fitted with this “stopgap”  to see people recovering from the procedure. After all, anyone could turn Ravenous at any second. There were four of them left now. A woman was speaking to a sullen looking man when she dropped the glass she was holding. It shattered on the ground and Kaleri sat up and drew her gun. The man eyed her and said, “That is not necess-” the woman – turned Ravenous in a breath – grabbed his arms and with a mighty pull she threw him across the room. Screeching with rage, the Ravenous lunged towards another woman cowering in the corner. Kaleri aimed and shot the Ravenous but not quick enough to save the woman. Arms still extended in front of her, she dropped the gun and collapsed to the ground. So tired. So hungry. She felt strong arms lift her up. “Quicky! We may yet have a moment.” And then all was dark.


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Grismara

 

The screaming in the streets didn’t wake her. Smoke, heavy and unnatural in the air didn’t wake her either. She had always been a heavy sleeper.

 


 

Kaleri mumbled angrily as they walked down the bustling city street. Amyara laughed, a long musical lilt that lightened Kaleri’s mood.

“Come, friend. Don’t be so dour! Surely the sunshine isn’t suggesting you made a substandard decision last night.” She giggled, and danced away from a friendly swing aimed her way.

Kaleri squinted at her friend. A night of drinking the most expensive Grismaran whiskey they could afford certainly didn’t help her mood. No, she was not impressed with the hour she had been roughly shoved out of her bed but there was another reason she was not her usual self.

Victor Lazarin had announced he had formulated an elixir – The Everlife Elixir – and the Mordesh had been singing its praises. They would be young again. Strong again. Beautiful again. Kaleri and Amyara had pooled their resources to buy enough for them both. Kaleri furrowed her brow, searching for the right way to express her misgivings. The Mordesh held their scientists in the highest regard, and a discovery such as this was incredible… and yet.

“I am… conflicted. We have perfected a plethora of discoveries, but it is difficult to dream of a future where no one falls ill, or no longer dreads death.”

Amyara snorted. “Deeply depressing, living long, lasting lives.” She laughed, “We will go where we like, do what we wish, we can explore the galaxies if we tire of Grismara.” She pointed to the Dominion fleet above the city. “If Grismara joins the Dominion we can travel to their domains as well. Or…” She paused, a new realization coming to mind. ” Perhaps the thought of a thousand lifetimes with me troubles you?”

Kaleri shook her head and laid her hand on Amyara’s shoulder. “Never.” She sighed, “For all our revelations and research we do not dare to recognize that long term repercussions – ” Amyara opened her mouth to speak, and Kaleri held up a slender arm to stop her. ” – could be of concern. We revel in the chance to change our world with this remedy for death. Victor Lazarin is a brilliant scientist and his past work certainly supports this latest discovery.” She paused, staring up at the laboratory they had arrived at. “Despite that, I dislike being dubious.”

Amyara sighed and grabbed Kaleri’s shoulders to push her forward. “Can we not savor what we scrounged everything for? Doctor Lazarin wouldn’t say we should acquire the elixir if it wasn’t safe. Besides, it’s possible I have procured a last case of liquor for celebration later!” Kaleri turned around, pale and groaned, “Please don’t. Any mention of intoxicants is more than enough to make my insides churn. Let’s just get this over with.” Amyara smirked and led the way inside.

 


 

“Kaleri.”

She was aware of hands on her arm, shaking her awake. It had been such a good dream, too.

“KALERI. I don’t understand how you sleep so soundly.” Amyara shook Kaleri. “Oh, will you wake up?”

Kaleri woke slowly, stretching her long arms. She took a breath and inhaled the smokey air, coughing and sputtering she asked, “Amyara? What’s wrong? It’s late… or is it early? I don’t -“

“People are in the streets, screaming about something that shouldn’t be real. It just can’t. It’s impossible.” Amyara was speaking hurriedly. She rambled on while Kaleri, alert now, went to the window. People were running down the street, frantically and unorganized. More were running with purpose, and seemingly chasing the others. She gasped when a Mordesh leaped onto someone and tore them apart. She turned to Amyara, “What-?”

“I don’t know. I checked next door and the Dreviks  have disappeared. The door was flung from its frame and… blood was on the balcony. The people running… they said… they said – ” She burst into tears.

Kaleri crossed the dark room in two strides and held Amyara until her crying dissolved into hiccoughs. She finally looked at Kaleri and said, “They said they saw one of the Dreviks… devour someone.”

Dread filled Kaleri’s stomach like a leaden weight. She didn’t have long to think on it; the holo-radio crackled on and an image of Victor Lazarin began speaking.

“Fellow Mordesh, as you are aware we are in the center of a catastrophic calamity. Your friends and family, indeed yourself, are in danger.” Kaleri and Amyara stared at the hologram as the recording continued, echoing around them. “The Everlife Elixir offered you eternity. I could never conceive it would offer eternity to disease and degeneration of the mind as well. Many Mordesh are alive… in a way, but are no longer cognizant. I call it the Contagion. I am working now to create a cure to combat this crisis. Many of you may have mere moments before you succumb.” The hologram turned its head, worried. “I must go. I shall not stop.” The light of the hologram winked out.

They were  silent for a moment. Contagion. Amyara stepped back from Kaleri, “Contagion?”

CRASH – the window exploded inward in shards of glass across the room. A Mordesh, if they could still be called that, landed on the floor, snarling. In a low voice Kaleri said, “Get away, Amyara. Hand me that knife.” The wooden handle slapped into her palm, and she held the knife in front of her. “Step softly, let’s slip away.” The Mordesh – now Ravenous as they would learn later – cocked it’s head to the side as if listening intently. Kaleri held the knife tighter, she could feel Amyara’s hand on her back, guiding her as she moved backward.

Amyara whispered, “Kaleri, this Mordesh looks like… us. Can we not leave it?” The Ravenous moved closer. Kaleri tried to soften her tone, “Amyara.  Lazarin said these Mordesh are no longer living, the light is lost from this ones eyes. We cannot risk our lives to save a lost soul.” A sad whimper came from behind Kaleri. The Ravenous moved again. This time, to strike.

Combat training prepared Kaleri for the movement of the creature but not the force with which it attacked her. It pounced forward, knocking Kaleri onto her back. Amyara screamed. The Ravenous screeched and clawed at the air, aiming for Kaleri’s face. She brought the knife up and slashed at the creature’s throat. It was a deep cut, but the damage only seemed to bolster the Ravenous. It screamed again in frustration, pressing closer in on Kaleri’s body. Kaleri scrambled for a foothold and caught a floorboard. With a mighty push, she was out from under the Ravenous. On your feet, soldier! Her Commander’s voice rang in her head. She jumped up, grabbed the standing lamp, held her breath and swung at the Ravenous’ head. CLANG. She felt the force of the hit in her arms, and let out a hiss of air when the Ravenous dropped to the floor. She stood over it. It didn’t look like someone she knew, but the city was a crowded place and this could have been anyone.

After what seemed like hours, Amyara put a hand on Kaleri’s arm. “Kaleri?”

Kaleri nodded, “Let’s leave. I regret to say we may never return.”

They took what little they could carry and emerged carefully from the little house. They could hear crashes of homes collapsing, and the moans of the Ravenous around them but all was clear for the moment. Kaleri looked up. The sky was dark and hazy from the smoke, but she could see the outlines of ships. Huge ships that she recognized because they had been around only recently. “Aren’t those… Dominion cruisers?” The ships were moving closer, and nearby Kaleri saw a small freighter taking off from the shipyard. Amyara watched hopefully, “They are here to expedite evacuations!’

The freighter zoomed upwards from the planet’s surface and hovered in place for a moment. A large Dominion cruiser turned towards the freighter. A solitary blast struck the freighter and sent it falling back to the ground. “I thought they…” More blasts from the cruiser took out the remaining ships and the launch pad.

Kaleri pulled Amyara away, “We need to relocate, reinforce and ride this out. We’ll search the shipyard for provisions and weapons, they can’t have completely crushed everything.”


 

The search through the various ships at the launch pad had proven fruitful and dangerous. They were bloody and tired but armed with resonators and a heavy gun. Among the wreckage a ship they found had plenty of ammunition and even soldering equipment so they had boarded up the ship as best they could. But the Ravenous were multiplying and there were faces Kaleri recognized among them. Her Commander. The shopkeeper from down the street. Children.

To make it worse, Amyara was tired. She was no soldier. Sitting in a lab peering through a microscrope was her idea of excitement – but she was trying to hold her own. Kaleri was keeping watch in the boarded up ship while Amyara slept. She was dozing off herself when she heard beep… beep… beep. A transmitter! Kaleri snapped awake and scanned the area for the source. A small, blinking red light was shining in the cockpit.

The hologram display was broken, but a woman’s voice carried through the interface. “Mordesh. There are few of us left now. Victor Lazarin is in my protection and he has procured a promising solution for the Contagion.” The Ravenous were getting louder outside. “The Dominion have deserted us, they shoot down our ships during our attempts to depart. I have set-up stealth teams to try saving any Mordesh still alive. We will find you. Hold on to hope.” The transmission kept playing on a loop.

Kaleri breathed a sigh of relief. Rescue. It had seemed impossible but perhaps this mystery woman could save them. While the transmission had been playing, Amyara had woken and the sounds of the Ravenous had gotten louder, closer. They looked at each other.

Amyara whispered, “We may have ‘mere moments’.”

…few of us left now.

“I know. I’ll be damned if I’m going to die being devoured.” The Ravenous were beating on the sides of the ship now, screeching and moaning. The sounds of their claws against the metal outside was making their skin crawl.

The Dominion have deserted us.

“Ready?” Kaleri raised the massive gun toward the end of the ship. Amyara’s hands tightened around her resonators. “Ready.”

They shoot down our ships.

One hand clawed through the roughshod barrier. Then another. And another. Grasping hands wrenched the cover free and the Ravenous poured into the gap. Kaleri fired off round after round, electrocuting and bursting them down. Amyara’s resonators and probes were keeping them alive, but the Ravenous were many. The dead were piling up in the entrance, granting a small reprieve. “They keep coming!” Amyara shouted.

“Don’t stop shooting!”

We will find you. Hold on to hope.

A new noise was breaking through the cries of the Ravenous.  Engines? Kaleri grit her teeth. Perhaps the Dominion have come to finish the job. A loud BANG and their ship was blown in half tearing the Ravenous mob apart. She was thrown backward, into the cockpit. She blinked rapidly, trying to clear her vision. “Amyara! Where are you?”

Amyara spoke from behind her, “Here. I’m here. Half thought my head flew off, but I’m here.” A shadow moved behind the smoke outside the torn half of the ship. Kaleri and Amyara readied their weapons.

A few humans stepped out of the smoke shroud, guns pointed into the ship half. Kaleri gently squeezed the trigger, she wasn’t about to be killed by Cassians.

“Well shoot, there’s two of ‘em! How’n the hells y’all survived this I ain’t got a clue.”  A human woman called from the cockpit of a shuttle, “Well c’mon! We ain’t got all day. Those zombies’ll be back! Get in or we’re leavin’ you two behind.”

Kaleri released the trigger and stared at the shuttle apprehensively, “Who are you? How did you find us?”

“Sugar, we’re the Exiles. This here rescue’s courtesy of The Widow.”

 


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A Different Kind of Club

Over. Under. Across. Under. Over. Across. Kalisthenics tightened the cloth on her wrists as she sat in Bizmo’s Brawlpub. Bartender Townsley looked at her and asked, “Top you off, Pandaren?” Kalisthenics peered at her empty glass, “Sure, should help numb the loss hm?” The bartender chuckled, and filled the glass with an amber liquid that smelled like it would strip paint. “I don’t know how you Pandaren drink this. Well… I guess the dwarves don’t mind it either.” Kalisthenics shrugged and held the glass under her nose before taking a sip. She felt the warmth move down her throat and settle in her stomach. 

The sounds of the brawl pit were loud and the drink stung Kalisthenics’ mouth where she bit her cheek falling to the floor in the pit. If I’d been a little faster there, I would have had him. She clenched her fist around the glass. “Hey, whoa! You break it you buy it, Monk!” The bartender’s voice shook her out of her haze, and she finished the drink before handing the cup back. She turned and walked over to a Brawlpub bouncer – a shirtless Draenei – and said, “Put me in.” 

He was watching the fight and wrote her name in his book without really looking at her. “Yeah, yeah. Wait your – ” He looked at her again, and smirked. ” Oh, it’s you. Hey, this time try not being knocked unconscious.”

Her face burned. She wanted nothing more than to throw a punch or two his way, but that wouldn’t get her anywhere. “I’ll do my best. I think I’ve got him this time.”

He waved a hand dismissively, “Yeah well, you’ll have time to think it over. You’re sixth in line.”

“I think we’ve had just about enough of this, huh folks?”, a voice called out from above.”Honestly! Were you even trying?”  A Druid’s body was sprawled at the the Draenei’s feet. He snapped his fingers and two gnomes appeared to drag the Druid away. “Hah, maybe you won’t have to wait as long as I thought – we got a buncha new kids tonight and they’re dropping like flies.”

Kalisthenics said nothing. She walked to the ledge near the pit and leaned on the rail to watch the next brawler jump in. He was a gnome, and wasn’t prepared for the swirling bombs around the construct he was facing. He took too many hits and fell, appearing at the bouncer’s feet.

Bizmo cried out, “Yech, what a mess! Can we get a priest or something over here?!” 

A spectator near her who had looked tense the whole night finally let the alcohol best him. He yelled, “No! I bet everything on that gnome!” He smashed his glass on the floor looking for a fight and caught her eye. He ran over, ready to fight but she slipped under his clumsy punch and decked him square in the nose. There was a satisfying crunch and he crumpled to the ground, unconscious. 

Hoots of delight echoed around the brawlpub and someone shouted,  “Hey Pandaren, just do that in the pit next time!”. She rolled her shoulder, and walked back to the bouncer. “What’s my number?”, she asked. “Uhhh, well some newbies dropped out so you’re in after this guy.” She nodded, “Thanks”.

Bizmo’s voice echoed overhead as he introduced the next brawler. There wasn’t much time before he was crowing with delight, “He wins! More like that, keep ‘em coming!” A warrior appeared next to the bouncer, flush with delight and charged with energy. “Well fought. Now get out of the way Warrior. Pandaren, you’re in.”

Kalisthenics grit her teeth and jumped into the pit. Bizmo whirled around in his flying machine, “She’s one of our veteran Rank 8 Brawlers! You know her, you love her, it’s Kalisthenics!” 

“He doesn’t need blades or magic to defeat his enemies. Our next challenger, Hexos, fights his foes with the awesome power of GEOMETRY!” An observer appeared in the center and linked her to him, “You now face your doom!”

She smiled, “Let’s dance.”


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Challenge! It’s Your Scene – Taila at Garrosh’s Trial

Today on Twitter, Nethaera issued a challenge to folks writing fan-fiction and stories. The scene was to put one of your characters in the setting of Garrosh’s trial (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/11581188323#1). I decided to write up a little something and it’s posted on the WoW forums here, and I’ve added it here as well.

 

The arena was filled with hushed muttering, the air thick with anticipation. Taila craned her neck, but she had arrived just before the doors were closed so she couldn’t quite see over the heads of various members of the Horde and Alliance. She sighed. This wasn’t something she had meant to be late for – Garrosh’s trial was an event she would have died for rather than miss.

Long had the Warsong clan been a plague in her mind. Starting with cutting the forests in Ashenvale, the unforgivable death of Cenarius, the use of an arcane bomb on Theramore and now… the destruction of what was meant to be a sacred haven to the Pandaren.

Taila looked to her right and saw a pair of Pandaren – one wearing Alliance blue and the other clad in Horde red – in what looked like a heated argument. She raised an eyebrow at them. Of course many Pandaren would hold to family ties even after choosing a faction, but this… there was only one side to be taken here. The Horde Pandaren narrowed his eyes at Taila, and turned his back to her. The Alliance Pandaren seemed… thoughtful? Her expression was too difficult to discern, and the Horde Pandaren was engaging her back into their discussion before Taila could make sense of it.

“Taila!” a voice called. A Draenei priest pushed past a group of Orcs and Trolls who cast disapproving looks as she flipped her cloak back. Kaleri was confident, and she paid no mind to the grumbles as dust covered their boots.

“I was wondering when you would show up, I was looking for your near the front.” Her face was flushed, and her eyes seemed brighter than usual.

“Ah. Yes, I… Yes.” She didn’t know what to say. It was one of those occasions where she was over thinking her arrival and where to sit and how early she ought to arrive and – her train of thought was interupted by Kaleri’s hand on her shoulder. “I know, friend. We are all anxious to see what will become of the former Warchief.”

Taila smiled. Kaleri’s presence was enough to calm her mind, and a good friend was always welcome. “Come this way, we’ll sit further up so we can see.” Taila gladly followed the Draenei, eager to sit and talk with her about the upcoming trial.

The crowd was getting louder and the room was much warmer than when she had arrived. “I wonder what’s taking so long”, Taila mused.

Kaleri looked tired, “It could be any number of things, perhaps Hellscream is not as cooperative now that he’s had some time to heal.”

Taila laughed, “Of course he wouldn’t be! It does not matter though. He will be punished whether it be now, or days from now.”

Kaleri opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by a loud boom and a creaking sound as the doors to the arena were opened. She grasped Taila’s hand as the Faction leaders made their way to a set of benches in the center of the arena.

Taila squeezed Kaleri’s hand back and watched the Alliance leaders take their seats. The Horde’s leaders followed suit and lastly Taran Zhu, with the help of Taoshi, took his seat in the center.

A hush fell over the arena as Taran Zhu shifted in his seat and cleared his throat. “Bring him in.”

Slow, dragging footsteps could be heard and Taila held her breath, inching forward in her seat. Garrosh Hellscream, former Warchief of the Horde was flanked by Shado Pan. She hissed through her teeth as he took his seat, and shot Kaleri a look. Kaleri raised an eyebrow at her and shrugged.

Garrosh looked comfortable, lounging in the chair provided for him and his casual demeanor was causing much discussion and angry mutters around her. Taila was hoping he would be remorseful, or anxious but she had a better chance of getting blood from a stone.

Taran Zhu stood and raised his hands to quiet the crowd. “Thank you for your attendance today. Garrosh Hellscream’s choices and deeds must be examined from every angle and we will be here for as long as it takes to come to a decision.”

Garrosh smiled behind Taran Zhu. A slow, creeping smile that gave Taila goosebumps. He was too proud… there was a limit to how far pride could take you before you fell. Clearly he had not learned anything from his mistakes.

Very well, Hellscream. She sat back in her seat, prepared to be there for however long it took. I will wait, and I will be here when they announce your end.


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Taila

This is a backstory I’ve come to for my Guardian Druid, Kalbeari. Originally when I created her, her name was Taila. For the purposes of storytelling, I’ll be using that name – Kalbeari sounds a little silly for a night elf!

Taila was born in Astranaar during the Long Vigil and as such, had a relatively calm and easy upbringing. Her mother was a Sentinel in the recently formed Sentinel Army and her father was a Druid who woke occasionally from the Emerald Dream during that time. Her father would visit Astranaar to see her when he woke and give her new lessons to work on while he slept. She studied plants and trees but never caught on to the collection and categorization of herbs, much to her father’s disappointment. Taila preferred studying the animals in the woodlands outside the settlement and loved to watch over her mother’s Nightsaber when she returned from her various assignments. She learned leatherworking from her mother and created her own robes and clothing and even fashioned a cloak for her mother to wear while scouting.

She went back with her father to Moonglade to study with a larger Druid community when he returned to the Barrow Dens. She studied in Moonglade during the remainder of the Long Vigil.

Eventually the time of peace ended and her parents rode to Silithus to help defend against the Qiraji army. Her mother was killed while serving the Army, and her father returned to Moonglade holding the cloak Taila made for her mother, with a tear in the back that had not been there before.

Her father slept longer and deeper in the Dream and slept through Warsong Orcs cutting swaths of forest in Ashenvale. Taila was enraged by these Orcs destroying forests she loved and volunteered to return to her birthplace to assist in pushing the Orcs back. She wasn’t present when Cenarius was slain, but she felt his death and has harboured a hatred for Orcs ever since.

When the Druids were called from the Dream to fight in the Battle of Mount Hyjal her father finally woke. They had a brief reconciliation where Taila showed her father her mother’s old cloak she had mended. He took it and wore it in memory of her mother. Taila finally learned her mother had died while out scouting, swarmed by the Qiraji.

Father and daughter flew with the other druids to Mount Hyjal to assist where they were needed – her father healing wounded and tending to soldiers with herbs and poultices while Taila aided the Druids of the Claw. During the battle Taila learned of humans; she began to learn Common in order to discover more about these allies. She admired these people and was fascinated by them but was reluctant to trust the decision to align with Orcs. It took her some time but she saw the necessity of it.

The battle was hard fought, and while she emerged relatively unscathed her father was killed in the battle. She retrieved her mother’s cloak from his body before he was committed back to the earth. She witnessed the sacrifice of Nordrassil with tears in her eyes but she was fiercely proud of her people for giving their greatest gift to defeat the Burning Legion.

After the Archdruid disappeared, she returned to Moonglade and heard of the creation of Teldrassil. She could feel the corruption growing from it, and in honour of her father she decided to help cleanse what she could – poor healing skills or no – and she moved to the newly built village of Dolanaar.

She was preoccupied with the corruption on Teldrassil and she missed being in the first strike through the Dark Portal. She realized her skills would be better utilized elsewhere and she thought of her mother, scouting unknown territory. She dug her mother’s cloak out of an old chest and made her way to the Blasted Lands. She signed up with a group of adventurers to explore places like Karazhan, Zul’Aman – a prized mount is a tamed riding bear she stole – and Coilfang Reservoir, deep under the lake in Zangarmarsh. She knew of Tempest Keep but only saw it after the defeat of Kael’Thas.  She also came later than most to the battle being waged at the Black Temple, but she heard of the defeat of Illidan from a Draenei who had been at the front lines. She wasn’t present at the Sunwell but she was glad to hear of it’s cleansing.

Between adventuring with her new comrades and exploring Outlands, Taila came into her own in this unforgiving place. When a new exploration opportunity presented itself in Northrend and wind of a war with the Blue Dragonflight reached her she knew she had to go. Her ancestors had fought Deathwing long ago and she felt honour-bound to fight this new threat and the terrifying scourge creatures who upset the natural balance. It is here she connected with the spirits of Ursol and Ursoc, cementing her decision to remain on the path of a Druid of the Claw.

After the defeat of the Lich King, and the return of Malfurion she left Northrend for some quiet back on a newly cleansed Teldrassil. She spent very little time there -she found a sort of wanderlust tugging at her, as Teldrassil didn’t quite feel like home anymore. It wasn’t long before the Cataclysm shook the world and she took up arms again, this time with a rage she had never felt. Her hometown had been on fire, Night elves were dead on the shores of what was once Auberdine and the world cried out in pain.

She followed the Druids once again to Mount Hyjal and returned to the base of Nordrassil. She had to see for herself the dragon aspect Ysera and find out if the tales about the Ancients walking the earth once more were true. She helped where she could in the final defeat of Deathwing and spent her time seeing the changes he had wrought in the world, healing where she could.

Present day, Taila ended up on a ship to Pandaria after the events in Theramore culminated in a battle in Bladefist Bay. Orcs were causing the majority of the problems and worse, the son of Grom, Garrosh of the Warsong Clan – the same clan who had slain Cenarius – was behind it all. The use of an arcane magic bomb to obliterate the city is something that hit too close home for her. Her father and mother were present when the Quel’Dorei were banished and she was reminded as a child to always be wary of the arcane.

A new land had been revealed and she was ready to see it.

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