- - by Bronil
Battle of the Dark PortalEdit
It is over. Finally, it is over.
Yet, perhaps a wiser assessment is that is just beginning. For the past month I have been in the Blasted Lands, following my instincts about the Dark Portal. When I arrived, the Portal was fairly inactive; in fact, it was closed. I turned my efforts to seeing if Nethergarde Keep needed aid, or had some information about the Portal. The only information that I could find was that of books written about the Portal; specifically, the events that surrounded it during the Second War. However, many at the Keep shared my instincts, sensing the calm before the storm. With the inactive Portal mocking my instincts about it, I turned my attention to hunting down the demons that infested the area until something turned up that could justify my instincts.
I know not how, but the Portal was opened; apparently by the demon lord Kazzak. What followed was bloody battle that was greater than any I have ever faced, even the battle against the silithid at Cenarion Hold one year ago (practically to the day according to the date in my journal on that entry). The silithid are at least finite in their threat. When you kill a silithid, it stays dead. When you kill a demon, it merely travels back to the Nether and awaits rebirth. And so it was when legions of demons poured out of the Portal, bolstered by their Dreadknight commanders. When one demon fell, more came through to take its place. I do not know for how long that battle raged on, my thoughts were focused on surviving to kill more demons, not on time. What I do know is that we were not pushed back. Not once. The fortifications of the Argent Dawn were the first and last thing any of those demons saw upon coming through to our world.
And now, they have ceased their march. The Portal is once again quiet. This time however it is still open. Many have used this opportunity to take the fighting to the Legion. For years I have fought the Legion's presence on Azeroth, often times with no one other than Kodrak or Shadow to watch my back. Yet for all of my efforts, my effect on the Legion has been minimal; I am merely an annoying insect that refuses to be swatted. Now that has changed. The enemy I have hunted these past years lies beyond that Portal. Now my arrows can strike deeper. Now Azeroth can finally take the offensive.
Indeed, it is only just the beginning.
Sitting in her chair, Celesst finally closed the journal having read the last entry more times than any other. Part of her always wanted to stop her brother from leaving -- to protect him as he so desperately tries to protect her. The other part wanted him to leave because she knew it was what he had to do; what he was meant to do. But that second part of her was not so strong this time. This time was different. Bronil was not merely leaving home. He was leaving this world and entering a more dangerous one where she could not follow.
A nudge against her forearm took her out of her deep thought, and reminded her that her brother would not be alone. She smiled and patted Kodrak. "You be sure to look out for him, Kodrak".
"He always does. Even when I tell him not to." Bronil interrupted with a smirk, thinking back to all of the times he had unsuccessfully told Kodrak to retreat while he remained in battle. Celesst shared his smirk, or at least tried to. It might have been easier if her brother had not entered the room in his armor.
"Time for you to leave?" she inqured. Bronil nodded solemnly in response. As much as she wanted not to, she handed his journal back to him, and hugged him tight. "Don't --".
"I know, I know. Don't get in over my head. Come back safe." he finished for her in his usual reassuring smile. That smile always brought comfort to her somehow. Even now when her brother was fully intent on facing the Legion head-on, that smile brought comfort. She could only smile in return.
"You try so much to be like father," she shook her head slightly at drawing the comparison. He truly did remind her of their father, always looking out for his family before himself. "Ande'thoras-ethil, brother."
With that, Bronil and Kodrak walked out of the room and then out of the house. Celesst watched him ride off towards Darnassus mounted on Wind with Kodrak keeping pace alongside him. She ignored the idea that this might be the last she would ever see of him, and conjured up the mental image of his smile. As added support, Tyron placed his arm around her.
"Do not worry, my love, he will return once more. I have lived many hundreds of years and have seen many trials and those who would face them. Bronil carries himself the same way as the warriors of old, I can see it in his eyes. The Legion has much to fear."
Beyond the PortalEdit
For once, it is a burden to write a journal entry. There is so much to be done in Outland that I feel I am wasting time by writing this. Yet, if I do not write, then this journal becomes forgotten once more.
A small part of me did not want to go through the Portal. This is the same small part that never wants to leave Teldrassil, or the house in Dolanaar. But, as always, this small part was not enough to stop myself and Kodrak from running headlong into the Portal. For although my one true desire is to live a normal life with my family and friends in peace, I am not so naive as to try and take up that life right now. Much needs to be done before that life is possible.
Defeating the Legion is at the top of that list of things needing to be done, and it is no easy task. The Legion has a very strong presence in Outland, and I doubt this is their actual base of power. Defeating them here will be a significant step forward in eradicating them.
As for Outland, it seems to be one large war zone. Beyond the Portal is an area called Hellfire Peninsula, though this peninsula is surrounded by a seemingly infinite void instead of water. The fighting on the peninsula is part of a war that has been fought since Azeroth marked the "end" of the Second War. Though the fighting did end on Azeroth, it has continued here ever since. All of that time, the Sons of Lothar have held back an onslaught of fel orcs and demons, with no hope of ever returning home until now. They have my sincerest respect and admiration.
Since entering through the Portal, I have had no contact with any other Rangers. It is my hope that the reason I have not seen or heard from them is because they are merely still preparing for the journey, or have simply not run into me yet. I would hate to think they were slain upon entering Outland, but I cannot ignore the possibility. The enemies here are far more dangerous than those we faced on Azeroth.
I know now that I am not the only Ranger present in Outland. About a week ago I saw Night Warden Sylvansong's cat in the peninsula. Arianrhod is. . . unique. There is no mistaking that cat's identity for something else. Eventually, I saw the Night Warden not far behind Arianrhod. I had thought to ride over and greet her, but as I have said before Outland is a dangerous place. It didn't seem very prudent to begin a pleasant conversation with all of the orcs, demons, and reavers running around. Best if she stayed focused on her tasks, and not have to concern herself with me. Besides, I'm sure we will catch up sooner or later in a safer location.
For now, I have left Hellfire behind me and moved on to assist the Circle in Zangarmarsh. In scouting out the area, I found a city called "Shattrath" to the south. What I found was amazing; Khadgar lives. Though I am not nearly as well versed in the events of the past as most, even one such as I knows the name of Khadgar. Not only does he live, but he converses daily with a being of pure light, a "naaru". I was given a tour of the city, and quickly found that what appears to be awe-inspiring has a darker side to it. The city is occupied by two factions, the Aldor and the Scryers, and they would begin open war were it not for a common enemy.
In a city thus divided, I find myself being pressured by others to join a side as if a war had already started. Picking a side in this subtle war is no easy decision. The Aldor are Draenei, noble and true to the Light. The sin'dorei comprise the ranks of the Scryers, who have apparently defected from Prince Kael'thas' army. Many kaldorei hold the sin'dorei in disdain, believing them to be lost. Even the Alliance has cast them out (for that sole reason, I will never consider myself a full member of the Alliance). I do not believe the sind'orei are so lost that we cannot take them back, and to cast them out was the worst possible way to handle the situation.
I would prefer not to play the game of choosing sides. As I see it, there are only two sides: The Burning Legion, and everyone else. If we lose this war, it will be politics that killed us; not the Legion. Worse, I believe the Legion knows this, and will use it to its full advantage.
But perhaps I am merely using talk of peace to dodge the question, "What side will you pick?". I hope such a case will not present itself, but if I had to choose, I would pick the Scryers. I cannot nock an arrow at my kin, and despite their faith in the Light, I believe that is precisely what the Aldor would have me do.
Yet another Ranger lives. Well, former Ranger in any event. On a brief return to Darnassus, I had the good fortune to run into Master Brockman at the the mailbox. I do not know why he left the Rangers, but thought best not to ask as it is a trivial matter. He was not unkind to me, so I do not believe he left on harsh terms. What matters most is that he and I have survived Outland to the point where we can chat about it. Seeing him once more is a form of nostalgia, for it was not long ago that he was much the novice scout investigating Sun Rock. Now he has honed his skills to match, perhaps even surpass, that of my own. For both of our sakes, I hope our skills are honed even further, for we will surely have need of them.
Zangarmarsh is. . . strange. Mushrooms the size of trees are never out of eyeshot it seems, and all manner of strange and familiar creatures in habit the marsh. The most familiar are the naga. They have a large presence in Zangarmarsh, which undoutbedly means an endless string of misfortune for the entire area and those in it for as long as they remain. While I am here, I have done what I can to become a great thorn in their sides.
The strangest thus far are the Sporeggar. To describe them in words, they are bluish violet and short (about the size of a gnome) with many plant bulbs on them. Some of them I am able to understand, and others not. Thus far they seem friendly enough, though slightly distrustful of those they encounter as they have recently been viciously attacked by bog giants. I have met these giants myself as well; they attack me on sight, and are annoying to deal with. Though, unlike many of the Sporeggar, I am no easy mark. The Sporeggar are extremely grateful to those able to kill these giants, so they have naturally come to trust me.
I have not forgotten my true quarry in Outland, but nor can I forget about those around me. For now, my efforts are focused on aiding the Circle, our new friends the Draenei, and the Sporeggar.
Tragedy at the ThicketEdit
leave Zangarmarsh behind me now, for I have done all that I can short of bringing a small army with me. The Expedition has not heard from the Cenarion Thicket for quite some time, and have asked me to investigate the matter. In thanks for efforts in the marsh, they outfitted me with better armor, and many fine arrows.
I will need them.
What I saw at the Cenarion Thicket was horrible. Druid corpses were everywhere, and a foul aura fills the entire area, driving the wildlife insane. In the middle of the corpses lie one the Broken, his hand resting next to some spherical object. The wildlife did not kill the druids nor that Broken; they had no wounds to indicate such. I fear that object is the weapon that killed the druids. . . and that Broken is the assassin who used it. At the moment though, this is all speculation, albeit educated. One of the druids managed to survive, but I do not think his sanity was as fortunate. He spoke of a tower of some sort. Hopefully a visit to this tower will reveal more of what happened.
The tower proved to be a dead end. A teromoth, which had a name of some sort, was the only thing there. At first, I feared that I would not be able to get to the bottom of the tragedy that had befallen the Thicket. Fortunately, I ran into Earthbinder Tavgren just outside the Thicket who was also interested in discovering more of what happened. Between the two of us, we began quite an involved investigation; the results of which are very troubling.
To my dismay, the ones responsible for the deaths of all of those druids are none other than the sin'dorei at Firewing Point. Even more troubling was that they did not act as a rogue force; the full authority of Prince Kael'thas was behind them. Furthermore, and the most angering of all, they did not attack the Cenarion Thicket in some twisted sense of retalition -- they did it as an experiment. An experiment! As much as I want to help our kin, I cannot ignore such a malicious action, nor can justice be denied. Suffice to say that Firewing has reaped what it has sewn.
Is High Ranger Moonrunner right? Are the sin'dorei really only trustworthy beyond bowshot? I have prayed that would not be the case. I have not attacked them, nor wished ill upon them. I have offered peace to those who have crossed my path. For all of these efforts, I have recieved only hostility, and now death on a massive scale as a response.
What a shame. So many at Firewing could have been saved had they only opened their hearts and minds. They are likely damned, but I will pray for their souls nonetheless. May the next world show them what they could not see in this one.
Nagrand and the Demon HunterEdit
I forgot to mention something in my entries pertaining to Zangarmarsh: should anyone in Dolanaar bring back some "edible" fern from Zangarmarsh, do not eat it under any circumstances. In assisting the Cenarion Expedition, I was offered some of this fern. Kodrak was hungry, so I in turn offered it to him. He refused to eat it! This was the first time I have ever seen Kodrak turn down food when he was hungry. Keep in mind that this is the same bear who has eaten fungus from the Plaguelands without objection. If Kodrak will not touch this fern, then it is simply not fit to eat. Hopefully this entry will reach you before any fern does.
Now to return to more recent events. . .
My time in Terokkar is now over as I have done what what I can to help those in need. The Legion definitely has at least some interest in this place in light of the presence of Shadow Council forces. They have congregated around a place called Auchindoun. I will have to revisit this place sometime when I have more allies than Kodrak and Shadow to accompany me. Certainly SASU has some interest in the place, and I will try to contact them soon. For now, I still have some footwork left to do on my own.
This footwork has led me to an area called Nagrand. This area is breathtaking in that it is the only place that seems untouched by the events that have happened in Outland. My refuge for the time being in Nagrand is a settlement called Telaar (I prefer to make my home in the wilds, but I have only recently arrived, and it would be unwise to sleep out in the open until I have surveyed more of the land). Telaar is held by a tribe of the Broken. Because I helped their bretheren in Zangarmarsh, they have welcomed me. Yet, as I figured, Nagrand is not without problems of its own, despite all outward appearances, and my weapons will be needed here. It seems the main threats come from orcs, ogres, and another tribe of Broken that appears to be malign in nature.
There is one threat though that I found interesting. According to Huntress Kiva, a traveler by the name of Altruis came through Telaar on the back of a netherdrake. He claimed to be hunting Legion, and asked that all those interested in assisting be directed to him. While am very interested in hunting down the Legion, I am also wary in this case. Demon hunters usually work alone, even ones such as myself who do not hunt with fel magics and are thus not subject to being outcast from society. This Altruis is either hunting powerful agents of the Legion, or he is laying a trap for those who answer his call. In either case, I will have a fight on my hands; it is simply a question of who my opponent will be. I suppose there is only one way to find out.
If someone had told me today that I would refuse to fight demons, I would have told them that they are insane. Fortunately, Altruis was not setting a trap. He is one of them. Hunters who were once kaldorei, but sacrificed much of themselves in order to attain what they call power. How ironic that Altruis' power should fail him now. Somewhere in the northeast, wards have been set up to block his vaunted "sight". He was recruiting other hunters because he himself could not hunt. "You will be my eyes, your weapons will be my fury" he told me. Fool. Your sight only sees what the demons allow it to. My sight cannot be blocked by mere wards. Nothing can cover the tracks their cursed bodies make on this world.
I might have perhaps trusted him slightly more if it were not for something else he said to me, "The master was wise to close the portals, but he has since lost his focus." Clearly he was referring to The Betrayer. It took much of my will power not to berate him where he stood. The Betrayer lost his focus AFTER sealing the portals?! He lost his focus the minute he made his pact with Sargeras! For Altruis to willingly become what he has is one thing, but to have served The Betrayer is something else entirely. I fear I will have to hunt this Altruis some day.
Rest assured I will see to it that the demons in the northeast leave this world, but I will do it on my terms; not as the pawn of a blind fool.
Meeting With the RangersEdit
Before I came home recently, I attended a public meeting held by the Rangers. I was hesitant to leave Outland as there is still much to be done, but as Jocaste often tells me, I must relax from time to time lest my armor grafts itself onto my skin and I become unfit to be seen in public. In all, I am glad I came.
Most of what was discussed was nothing special and need not be repeated here. Yet, there were a few items of interest. Thankfully, there were no Ranger casualties from Outland to report as High Ranger Moonrunner, Night Warden Sylvansong, Mistress Poe, and myself were all present at the meeting. I was somewhat worried when Lord Ranger Nightsong and Priestess Starlight did not show, but was later informed that the former was on a leave of absence, and the latter had not yet ventured beyond the Portal. Master Berlshenk attended as well, and I was glad to see that he too had survived Outland. I have only met him once, and that was when I fought beside him at the battle of the Portal. He is a very agreeable dwarf, and I believe he is the first of his kind to have met me and not ended up throwing things.
Thrall, of all things, found his way into our discussion as well. He is, or at least was, in Nagrand. At first I thought it nothing more than a loud-mouthed orc. However, this orc spoke Common, and was accompanied by the sound of war drums. I could only hear him, so I do not know if war machines accompanied the war drums or not. Now, I am left with much speculation as to his purpose in Outland. A leader does not venture far from his stronghold unless it is important, so Thrall is not merely visiting. Despite the war drums, I do not believe it is his desire to start a war. If such was his intent, I am sure he would have started it long ago. Secondly, neither the Alliance nor the Horde can afford a war with the Legion so close at hand. The leaders of each faction seem to understand this, and would not do anything to jeopardize the situation. That being said, if either side were to take actions percieved as hostile, we very well may find ourselves in a war with two fronts. For that reason, I pray that Thrall's presence in Nagrand has no military motivations behind it whatsoever, even indirectly. Should I learn of his presence again, I will track him as closely as possible, and Goddess willing, find what I am hoping for.
There was a draenei, Mistress Vivissia, who attended the meeting as well. She seemed shy, but I suppose that is to be expected of most draenei given their current plight. It was pleasant to finally sit down and talk with one; an opportunity I have not necessarily had in Outland. Though she mostly asked questions, I suspect we have as much to learn from her as she from us. Perhaps we will get a chance to talk again.
Back when I was gathering materials to make the Black Dragonscale Armor in preparation to defend Cenarion Hold, I hunted the many beasts of Stranglethorn Vale for their leather. During my time there, I often heard mention of a Master Hemet Nesingwary. Aledgedly, he is a great hunter of fair repute. I did not have time to speak with him, so I could not see if this dwarf held up to the rumors surrounding him. Yet, fate has apparently deemed it necessary for our paths to cross. Nesingwary has gone through the Portal and now is encamped in Nagrand. I spoke with him briefly, trying to see what this dwarf was like, and perhaps discuss our common interest in hunting.
I regret to say that I am largely unimpressed, vastly disappointed, and very upset with him. He is no hunter; he is nothing more than a murderer. Worse, he invites others to share in his twisted sense of "The Hunt". For Nesingwary, the purpose of hunting is to gain honor by killing masses of regular game, and slaying specific beasts that have earned names for themselves. The bodies of animals are nothing but trophies to him. He does not kill them for food, or to fashion items from their remains; his only goal is pride, and the "thrill" of killing or "bagging them" as he puts it. If it is honor you seek, Nessingwary, then try your hand at the Legion; surely you saw them on your way in. Was the Pit Commander at the Portal not a big enough challenge for you? No, of course not. A dwarf of your prowess requires something far more deadly, such as a clefthoof. Although seemingly docile, they are capable of defeating entire armies; unlike the weak Pit Commanders who require only a concerted effort from both the Horde and Alliance. I can see how an observer would mistake the Pit Commander for the stronger foe.
. . . if they were a cup of dirt.
An Arrow Against the DarknessEdit
I have found my quarry.
Shadowmoon Valley is home to the largest operations of the Legion I have seen to date. To be sure, Hellfire is under heavy assault, but that is only a spearhead for the Legion. This place is even more dreary than Desolace. The sky is perpetually dark, with only lightning bolts and infernals to give it company. Of course, there is also the occasional storm hammer being flung through the air by the Wildhammer dwarves. They have a stronghold in this area, and are under constant attack by wave after wave of never ending infernals.
I wish with all of my soul that I could fight next to them, but that would do them no good. My current mission is to infiltrate the Deathforge, and attempt to hamper, if not end, the production of infernals. The Wildhammers are too busy defending to do this themselves, so I am taking the offensive for them. I'm sure that there are more operations in this area than the mere production of infernals, and intend to see those operations stopped as well.
Before any of that happens however, I must take care of some things. First, this journal is being mailed home as soon as I pen the last of this entry. Although I will take every precaution to leave this valley alive, I would be a fool not to consider the possibility of death. If I were to fall in battle, the journal would lead the enemy straight to those I care the most about. It is unlikely that the Legion would bother with the survivors of a dead kaldorei, but it is not out of the realm of possiblity.
Besides, I plan to get very. . . dirty. . . in this valley, and would not want to see the journal damaged.
Secondly, I must prepare myself for what lies ahead. Although I am working with the Wildhammer dwarves, I am doing so alone with no support. There will be no one watching my back save for Kodrak. To start, I will need to pay a visit to my teacher, Jocaste. I want to make sure my technique is perfected before heading into the Deathforge. Also, coming to Darnassus would provide an excellent opportunity to see that I am properly outfitted as I will have access to my deposit box, and a wide range of supplies. Among those supplies I hope to find some weapons well suited to my needs, and give them the proper enchantments. Perhaps Priestess Starlight, or someone from SASU could help in that regard. I will likely also take the time to treat Kodrak to some of Tyron's fine cooking, as his mouth will soon be filled with something much less tasteful.
By the time this journal reaches you through the postal service, I will likely be on my way back to the valley, and you will be left wondering why I left in such a hurry. Do not despair, dear sister. I have no visions of grandeur; I am no great hero to spin legends about. I am merely a single arrow amongst a barrage fired at the Legion. You have my word that I will not aim where I know I cannot penetrate.
Cutthroats and PriestessesEdit
The Legion's presence, and the presence of other malign agents, in Shadowmoon have felt the wrath of Bronil Nightwind. They make take solace however in that he soon felt the wrath of his sister, who was none too happy about his decision to go to the valley in the first place without so much as a word (it would appear that sending my journal home does not count). It was not so bad until she managed to enlist Kodrak in my punishment. A simple command, "Go get Bron!" (in Darnassian no less) and Kodrak knocked me to the ground as though he understood perfectly. For the next hour or so Celesst had many a laugh at my expense as I tried to remove 800 pounds of bear off of me to no avail.
Currently, I find myself in Stormwind. Prior to my venture into Shadowmoon, I had been in contact with a kaldorei expressing an interest in joining the Rangers. We have not yet met face to face, and to that end, this kaldorei has requested I meet with him or her in a place in Stormwind called "Cutthroat Alley". A first impression, and a well founded one, might be that this a trap. Certainly a place called Cutthroat Alley did not earn its namesake for pleasantries found there. I have been informed that this alley is also a place of operation for "The Tong", who is some sort of mercenary group as I understand it (the High Ranger mentioned something about "purchasing loyalties" when telling me about them). Despite this, I do not believe I am being led into a trap as this kaldorei has expressed what I believe is a genuine interest in joining the Rangers. Even if it is a trap, it will fail. I have bested enemies far more formiddable than cutthroats, and have prevailed when largely outnumbered. Besides, Kodrak will be with me; his presence alone is enough to deter all but the most determined attackers.
There is one other task that has been set before me in Stormwind. According to the High Ranger, Priestess Starlight has not been seen or heard from in quite some time. I have been told that the last time she went missing, things did not end up so well. Priestess Starlight is frequently found in Stormwind, so I will keep my eyes and ears open for any word or clue as to her whereabouts. I pray that this search turns out to be a waste of time, and that when I learn of her whereabouts, she will be unharmed.
My instincts have proved correct once more; Mistress Lunaea is now an Initiate in the Moonwood Rangers, and there was no trap. In fact, it seemed that she was helping a lost priestess avoid danger prior to my arrival (unfortunately, not the same priestess I am searching for). To my knowledge, there is no formal induction process for the Rangers. As a result, I had to make it up as I went along, though I think it worked out well in the end. Mistress Lunaea seems concerned about the welfare of our people, despite that she had run away previously from Teldrassil. Though she carries herself as might fit a resident of "Cutthroat Alley", I believe she has noble heart at her core.
There is one peculiar thing about her: she continuously referred to me as "handsome"; apparently I forgot to introduce myself to her by name and she knew nothing else to call me. While I do not hold myself to be ugly, I would think it strange for "handsome" to be used to describe me. As Night Warden Sylvansong often tells me, I smell like a bear -- and that's on a good day! Most days I have the smell of battle about me, and I had previously fought against the infernals at Wildhammer Stronghold before speaking with Lunaea. Handsome. . . that must merely be Mistress Lunaea's way of speaking I suppose.
My search for Priestess Starlight is looking grim. I can find no trace of her, as though she simply vanished. A shame that the High Ranger had to close down our embassy in Stormwind; it might make tracking Priestess Starlight easier. At the very least, there would be a decent chance for Kodrak to catch her scent in a building she frequented. The High Ranger mentioned that she often pursued various interests in the arcane (to her detriment at times, and too much for the High Ranger to be comfortable), and to that end I had sought out Karazhan.
As Medivh's tower, it certainly would have much in the way of arcane secrets, and I thought that Priestess Starlight might have decided to venture there. The tower is now watched by a group of mages known as the Violet Eye. I inquired if they might have seen the one I seek, but they had no clue who I was talking about. The more I tried to describe Preistess Starlight's appearance, the more certain they became that she had not been around Karazhan. As for the tower itself, there is something (or things) in there giving off very powerful, and very demonic emanations; I could feel it before I was even within eyeshot. According to the mages I spoke with, if you trace every ley line of magical energy in Azeroth, you will find that they all converge on Karazhan. I am glad that Priestess Starlight did not come to this place, though I suppose not much harm would have befallen her, as it seems one needs a very special key to enter the tower.
If Priestess Starlight does not turn up soon, I will have to speak to the High Ranger and propose we organize a search party that is comprised of more than just a handsome kaldorei, and constantly hungry bear.
Elune has seen fit to take everything that causes me great vexation and place it in Nagrand. First that blind fool, then Nesingwary, and now this. I currently write this entry from one of the many floating islands found in the sky of Nagrand. By no means do I fear heights, but I much prefer the ground; if Elune wanted me in the sky, then She would have given me wings. I have my gryphon from the Wildhammers to thank for this. I have not yet decided on a name for him, but I am leaning towards "Crazy". I have no doubt that this gryphon recieved authentic Wildhammer "taming".
And what could possibly bring me back to this place, one might ask? None other than that blind fool, Altruis. The Aldor have asked me to speak with him in hopes that he could shed light on the demon hunters being trained at Karabor. He was happy to oblige, but only if I could prove I was not with the Legion. He owes his life to Jocaste, for it was only through the discipline she taught me that I did not kill him on the spot for daring to imply I served the Legion. One who dare uses their fel magics has absolutely no right to question *my* loyalty!
Ant any rate, it would appear than in addition to being a blind fool, he is also extremely forgetful. He does not seem to recall that it was myself, the High Ranger, and Lord Ranger Nightsong who infiltrated the Forge Camps in Nagrand on his behalf because he was unable to do so himself. Still, I am not so vain as to let pride step in the way of doing what needs to be done. His test of loyalty involved killing three specific demons, which I had no trouble with. To his credit, he did apologize for testing me when I returned. He then proceeded to tell me what I came to hear.
To make a long story short, the Betrayer trained five of Kael'thas' best men as demon hunters. As a result of the harsh training, three of them died, and one went mad. Varedis is the name of the one who survived the training, and passed with flying colors. He eventually acquired a book that contained the name of every demon in existence. Knowledge of a demon's true name gives one great power over that demon. This book has found its way to Auchindoun, and it is there I will head next.
. . . as soon as my gryphon wakes up.
In my last entry, I stated that I was helping the Aldor. This stands in a stark contrast to a previous entry claiming that I would ally with the Scryers if forced into a choice. Allow me to explain. In my travels, I have encountered a select group of Broken that I would like to know more about for reasons I cannot mention here, and yes, I am willing to risk involving myself in a bloody dispute to obtain the information I seek. Although the Aldor would know more about these Broken than the Scryers, that is not the sole reason I have allied myself with them; there are two others. First, they are as committed to fighting the Legion as I am. It would be sheer folly to make enemies with anyone who shares the same goal as I do, and fights with the same ardor in their heart as I do. As they say, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".
The second reason comes from my conversations with High Ranger Moonrunner on the issue. As mentioned previously, she does not trust any sin'dorei within bowshot, and I have found this sentiment is widely shared across kaldorei culture. This. . . hostility towards our kin has been a subject of much concern to me since coming through the Portal. We kaldorei go to great lengths to make this world a better and safer place. Yet, at the same time, we cast out our own kin with scorn-filled eyes. Why? Should we not seek to help them instead? After much contemplation, I believe I have found an answer. History will show that we did indeed try to turn our kin away from their misguided path, but they did not listen, and were thus exiled; first from Kalimdor, and then those among them who took up the name "Blood Elf" were exiled from the Alliance under controversial circumstances. We treat them as enemies because that is what they are. That is what they have chosen to become, and so we have given up trying to reason things out with them. It seems I am the only one who still seeks peace without bloodshed.
However, the Scryers broke away from Kael's army. On the surface, it would seem they are capable of redeeming themselves. Alas, if only that were truly the case. I have observed the various factions of sin'dorei. All of them share one trait, and that is they are survivalists first and foremost. The Scryers did not drop their weapons because they felt they were following the wrong path; they dropped them only because they believed it to be in their best interests.
As a hunter, I can sympathize with the will to survive. However, I have no need of an ally who would stab me in the back if he thought he would gain something from it.
Time and Time AgainEdit
Most of time in Outland has been spent hunting down the Legion wherever they are found. On a recent trip to a place called the Caverns of Time, I was reminded that there are threats other than Legion. The threat found in the caverns is that of the "Infinite" Dragonflight, who seeks to bring destruction to this world by altering specific events in Azeroth's history. Thus far, they have tried to prevent Thrall escaping from captivity, and Medivh from opening the Dark Portal. I am also told they wish to reverse the outcome of the Battle at Mount Hyjal. Unfortunately, it would seem that Nozdormu and his Flight cannot stop these events personally, and have relied upon others to complete this task; others such as myself.
I saw the wisdom in aiding Thrall, for without him, the orcs would have continued their demonic rampage and not turned to shamanism. Aiding Medivh however seemed counter intuitive. Would it not be better if the Portal had never opened and thus never have brought so much war? In addition, I would have never lost my parents and Siang.
Or so it would seem.
For once, I recieved a prompt and straight answer from a dragon. Apparently, if the Portal never opened, the Alliance would have never formed. As a result of that, civil war would have engulfed the land, and there would be no unified force to stop the Legion's onslaught against Azeroth. Thus, it is clear that the Infinite Flight shares at least some of the Legion's goals. It is my estimation at this point that the Infinite Flight is in league with the Legion, perhaps even directly under its command.
So I did what was asked of me, and help stop some of the plans of the Infinite Flight. In the process, I also recieved a key that would allow entry to Karazhan. Apparently it is, or rather was, Medivh's personal key. He took the key that Master Khadgar gave me, that he will eventually give to Master Khadgar again who will then give it to me or perhaps someone else again who will then. . . well, it seems I have created a loop for myself, have I not? Perhaps I should revisit the Bronze Flight and try to pay more attention this time.
Come to think of it, the key I have matches the one Lord Ranger Nightsong has, and I am sure it will match select keys held by others as well. I am beginning to wonder just exactly how many keys I started with. . .
Westfall was quiet. It was always quiet during the night, but this night brought a different silence; a silence only bloodshed could make. The Horde attackers had given up once it was clear that reinforcements had arrived, and many of the defenders shouted out taunts of cowardice. A group of them even decided to march onwards to Grom'gol.
Bronil was glad they ran; he never revelled in combat, nor was he desirous of a worthy adversary. He had come to Westfall to provide what Stormwind either could not or would not, depending on whom you spoke to, and he had done that. Drahliana had already headed out to Stormwind after the dust had settled, but Bronil remained in case the attackers had not truly retreated, or if angry defenders from Grom'gol decided to take the fight back to Westfall. From the peace of a bed provided quite generously free of cost at the structure serving as Westfall's inn, his mind mulled over the battle now that it could afford to be distracted by such thoughts.
Why do you not give chase to your prey, Darkslayer?
The thought echoed again in Bronil's mind. It was conveyed in a collection of images, and scents; but it was not a thought native to Bronil's mind.
You have strength left to answer, do you not?
Bronil saw the line of questioning would not stop until he answered, and so he replied in the same mannerism of imagery and scent.
They are not my prey, Shadow, not anymore.
This is not the way of the Hunt, Darkslayer. Prey remains prey until it has finally been caught. If you are going to let it live, then there is no point in chasing it to begin with.
I came to stop their attack, not hunt them. There is nothing binding you to me, Shadow. If you want to hunt them down, you are free to go.
That, I cannot do. You spared me from the Darkness, and I will run with you and your pack until it comes for me once again and consumes me for good. If you are content to sleep while your prey runs free, then I will keep watch until you wake and see that they do not harm you.
The Darkness; Shadow's term for death. Years ago, Bronil found Shadow in the Swamp of Sorrows. The cat was badly wounded, and it was clear his wounds were the work of a weapon, not another beast of the wild. Likely his attacker was one of the orcs from Stonard; it would certainly help to explain the cat's hatred of orcs. Bronil did what he could to mend the wounds, and Shadow had followed him ever since.
Over the years, Shadow had seen Bronil save quite a few people from death, had seen Bronil bring him back to life whenever he died, and even witnessed Bronil come back from the dead himself more than once. After seeing Bronil's apparent immunity to death, and penchant to frequently save others from it, Shadow began calling Bronil "Darkslayer". The name seemed silly, but Shadow held great respect for him, and he did not want to demean that by brushing the name aside. Thus, he answered to "Darkslayer" the same as he would his real name. Despite the cat's faith in him however, Bronil knew he was not immune to death. While he could not fathom how he continued to evade death over the years, he was certain that eventually he would truly die one day.
Such is the way of all natural things on this world, and he was no exception.
Speak Like a BeastEdit
One last thing, Darkslayer. Why do you run from my voice? Is it unpleasant? Do you fear me?
Fear you? This new line of questioning struck Bronil as odd. Where did Shadow get the idea that he was afraid of him?
That day in swamp you were able to hear me the way swamp heard me. It was like this for a long time until the day came that you spent more and more time with your weapons until you could no longer hear my voice. Then the greenskins came to your tree and brought the Darkness to many. Suddenly, you could hear my voice again, and we hunted many of the greenskins and their pack. You could even speak to me like you do now. Soon, you began speaking to your weapons again; only recently have you been able to hear me once more. First you can hear me, then you cannot, then you can, then you cannot; you are like the moon and sun chasing each other. Why? What do your weapons say to you?
My weapons do not have voices, Shadow, and you do not frighten me; nor are you unpleasant. To hear you, I must become something, and that something is dangerous. I must run from it sometimes, or else it will consume me.
Bronil now understood what the panther was asking. He could hear both Shadow's and Kodrak's thoughts, and respond to them, but only when he drew heavily upon the bond he shared with them. This ability had manifested itself during the time Bronil made a second home out of the battles for Alterac Valley, when he was fully in tune with the beastial spirit inside him. Kodrak and Shadow were not merely battle companions. They were his friends and he enjoyed speaking with them, even Shadow who usually only had questions and criticisms. However, he had learned that being a "beastmaster" had a price, and he was not always willing to pay.
One such as you afraid of himself? You make no sense. If the Darkness will not touch you, then there is nothing in this world for you to fear. Go to sleep, Darkslayer. With that, Bronil could feel the panther moving away from the inn, likely on another one of his patrols.
Stretching out on his bed and looking at the ceiling, he spoke softly to himself, "There are worse things than the Darkness".
It is a strange thing writing in this journal: either I have little to write about, or I have too many things to write about. Currently I find my situation reflecting the latter, though that may be due in part to my lack of updates. At any rate, I will begin with that which is currently most pervasive in my mind.
In previous entries, I have written about Mistress Catherwood, and her death by the Plague. For a long time I wondered whether or not she serves the Lich King, and had only heard rumors that she was among the Forsaken. Recently, I have received confirmation that she is indeed one of the Forsaken from none other than Mistress Catherwood herself. During a meeting with the Rangers (well, the High Ranger at least) in Darnassus, I heard a voice cry out in Orcish. As usual, the High Ranger and I went off to scout in different directions. The direction I chose lead me straight to owner of the voice we heard. At first, I was prepared to open fire, and Shadow was all too eager to rip her limb from limb. Fortunately, I make it a practice to act on instinct rather than impulse, and it was instinct that stayed my hand from knocking an arrow and my mind from directing Shadow to attack. She was not dressed in battle attire, and I felt no intent to kill coming from her. Yet at the same time, it was clear she had specifically sought me out. She pointed to me, then to herself, and then began to weep. During her tears, she handed me two letters. One addressed to me, and the other to her cousin, Mistress Poe.
Of course, it was only after I read the letters that I realized who she was. I looked up to try to speak with her, but she was already gone.
In the letter addressed to me, she thanked me for the gift I gave her, saying it meant more to her than I will ever know; it seems that it spared her from the Lich King's grasp. I am truly grateful that her will remains her own, for I would surely cross paths with her in battle if she was one of the Scourge, but. . . I cannot say that I share her appreciation of my gift. For her, that vial of the Light of Elune is everything. For myself, it is mark of failure. She was only a novice priestess at the time. . . I should have done more for her than send her a damn vial.
The rest of the letter implored me to find Mistress Poe, and give her the other letter. Coincidentally, that will not be difficult as Mistress Poe has been a Ranger for quite some time. Though I have yet to actually locate her, I am confident that she should be somewhere in Hellfire.
Both letters were unmarked and by chance I managed to open the letter for me first, and it has told me everything I need to know about the other letter. Out of respect, I have not read the contents of Mistress Poe's letter; with luck, it will not bear further tragedy.
I can abide this idiocy no longer! When you are done helping our enemies, summon me so that I may deal with them properly. With that, Shadow began walking off towards the horizon. "stomped off" would describe the panther's mood more accurately, but irritated though he was, he did not let it affect his prowling stride in the least.
Bronil could only let out a soft chuckle as Shadow moved out of sight; the panther would never truly leave him, and they both knew it. Bronil's decision to help the Ogri'la ogres however did not go over well with Shadow who considers all ogres friends of the orcs, and hates orcs above all other forms of life. In fact, the only thing that made Shadow continue to help Ogri'la with Bronil was the knowledge that he would kill more ogres in and around Gruul's Lair.
However, Bronil was done aiding Ogri'la for the time being and his next planned destination proved to be Shadow's breaking point. . .
Some time ago I received additional Wildhammer mount training to the tune of five thousand gold pieces (most of which I am sure, or at least I hope, goes to their constant battle with Legion Hold). Collecting the funds was not terribly difficult, especially considering the High Ranger gave me a little over a third of the needed funds from her own pocket. Though I have long known of this additional training, I never thought I would actually purchase it. The mount I had was troublesome enough; I did not need additional speed to add to my headaches. However, it was necessary for what I planned to do.
Perhaps against my better judgement, I have decided to aid the Netherwing Flight (the last time I offered to help a dragon was. . . not pleasant). To this end, I was told that I would need a mount whose speed could match that of a netherdrake's. The Netherwing Flight is actually the progeny of Deathwing, but became. . . warped. . . when Ner'zhul's portals tore Outland apart. From my interactions with them so far, they have proven to be nothing like the Black Flight; they are merely trying find their identity and survive. Complicating this matter are the Dragonmaw orcs who have captured and enslaved many netherdrakes. It is here that my help is needed, and I give it freely as I sympathize with their plight.
To make a long story short, I am infiltrating their stronghold disguised as one of their own. Through Netherwing magic, I am transformed into a fel orc (and my new gryphon into a netherdrake) whenever I am near the stronghold. Originally I thought to bring Shadow along for this, as his ability to hide himself would undoubtedly be very useful. However, he has no interest in this; he would much rather kill all of the orcs in sight. To be honest, the thought had occurred to me as well. Yet, although I could dispatch many of their troops, I am not powerful enough to trade blows with an entire stronghold and would soon be defeated unless I had a small army at my back (perhaps not even then). So as it turns out, Kodrak has been my partner for this particular endeavor and his determination is impressive. If the beasts of the wild have a concept of sin, then slavery is at the top of Kodrak's list. When I ask him about it though I recieve the same response again and again, "None should be caged".
Thus far I have met with success. The orcs have promoted me to Overseer and my covert actions to help the Netherwing remain covert. Being transformed into an orc remains disconcerting however. Though, with dragons involved I suppose I should expect nothing less.