Note: This reflects ongoing roleplay. So take a look you might be involved and not know it. Expect to see posts by other Rangers here as well as parrallel threads.
Moonwood Rangers IC: Crossroads at Sun Rock
- -by Drahliana
Stone Talon Peaks 1 year ago - DrahlianaEdit
"It's like this everywhere. Even the barrow dens were hit." said the white haired rogue. Alonni along with Drahlianna had been on of the charter members recruited by Amoondran. The newly chosen High Ranger found her presence a comfort as although Alonni provided strong support, their relationship had not been affected by Drahlianna's recent elevation to High Ranger at the wake of Amoondran's departure, an event which was still rocking the Rangers to the core when the report on the latest attacks on Stone Talon had come in. The two had dispatched themselves immediately, flying by hippogryph from Auberdine. While Drahlianna remained pointedly visible, Alonni had immediately faded into the shadows while Drahlianna served as bait for any attackers that might still be in the area. However who ever had behind the latest attacks had long left the area as the hide and bait turned into a full search of the area. The ravaged bodies of the fallen dryads and keepers left little clues of their own and the subsequent scavenging by the local Twilight Runners had left their marks.
After searching most of the day runnign through the Peak, Drahlianna and Alonni had found the bulk of the survivors. While nothing could be gotten out of the shocked Dryads, Chylina the local supplier was more informative. She had been out doors during the raid and had succeeded in melding herself for several terror filled hours. Teloren had defended himself with the help of his enraged charges and between the two the attackers were visibly discribed. A small, but capable group of orcs and tauren had come in and without preamble started to lay waste to the Dryads, Keepers, and Druids.
For the next two days the two searched the trails leading downward from the peak. But too much time had passed and no definitive clues could be found. Finally giving in, Drahlianna called for a halt.
"There is nothing more we can do here today, Alonni." And then her face turned grim.
"But this is not the end of this, I promise. By Cenarius whose children were murdered today and by Malorne who Watches, I will get to the root of this day."
Ratchet 6 months ago - DrahlianaEdit
It was evening, the heat of the Barrens giving way to a cool starlit night. The inn at Ratchet had an open door which let in the cool breeze. The accomodations reflected the goblin tendency to spend as little as possible on overhead, using rusty steel for its hammocks. But there were many who didn't come for the creature comforts. They came for other reasons, for deals best consummated in a privacy that even night time itself would not bring. Two sat there now, a pale haired night elf whom even sitting down towered over the one opposite, a greenish hued goblin.
"We meet at last Gr--"
"Hey, no names here girly! Names mean trouble. The only name I want you say has four letters, starting with G and ending with D. I think you can figure out the rest."
The night elf did not verbally reply but instead brought up a pouch and reached into it. Several gold coins were brought out and dropped in front of the goblin, who pocketed them in a blur worthy of a Kaldorei scout.
"So is it one of the Forsaken? the poisoners at Dor'Danil?"
"Dor'Danil, that's news, what happened there?"
"Never mind, in your own words, I'm the paying customer. Now tell me the Forsaken who were involved."
"It wasn't one of them Lordareon zombies."
"Okay then, who?"
Her question was answered by an open palm. She tossed in a couple more gold coins.
"She was one of your kind, long ears."
"Impossible! None of my people would sanction an attack like this."
"I'm giving you what you paid for elf. She was just like you, long ears and all. Only kind of pale looking and a way different taste in color, all red and brown, or maybe black."
"Pale you say? I need a name."
"I don't have one."
"I've paid you well, how much are you going to charge me for this."
"Hey, I'm an honest broker! You didn't see me holding out my hand did you? I don't have a name to sell you."
The night elf leaned back. "Get me that name. I'll make it worth your while." And then she grabbed the goblin by his collar pulling him across the table. She smiled at him the way a tiger sometimes does at it's prey, opening her mouth just enough for him to see the slight fangs inside. "And if you try to sell me a bogus good on this I'll make sure you live long enough to regret it."
Ranger Station Auberdine 2 weeks ago - DrahlianaEdit
Scene: A small building overlooking Auberdine and it's harbor, not particurlarly descript amongst the other examples of Kaldorei architecture. Several of the Kaldorei order are meeting. while Drahliana gazes out over the harbor. She turns to greet the newcomers.
"Rainfalle, Nyctemane, Brockman. Welcome. I'm glad you were able to come in short notice. To get to the point, I've been coming to the end of a long investigation. To finish that we need a recon of Sun Rock Retreat."
She pauses letting it sink into their minds of what she was asking. Sun Rock Retreat is a Horde outpost within the Stone Talon mountain range, populated mostly by Tauren. The consequences of such an action would be profound.
"I know what I'm asking. But I believe that one of the Exiled, the Quel'dorei has esconced herself within the Retreat and has directed repeated attacks against the settlement at Stone Talon Peak. I intend to confront the Horde on this but I need confirmation. We need to find someone willing and able to stealth thier way into the Retreat and find this Highborne. Once we know she is there, we can proceed."
"I can do it. I'll volounteer." The voice was male coming from one of the newer recruits just promoted from Initiate status.
"Ranger Brockman? Are you sure you're up to this? This is a very challenging assignment and the Horde guards at the peak very alert."
"Yes, but I have a few tricks of my own. I think I can do it."
"Very well, you will meet Ranger Moonwillow at the Peak. She will keep in mind link with you as you proceed and confirm your findings. She might point out something that you might miss." Drahlianna moved closer and saluted the young night elf. "Good luck Ranger Brockman. Good luck for all of us."
Astranaar: One week ago - MoonwillowEdit
The Stray was waiting. The Druid had another name of course, but Moonwillow preferred to think of him by the name he once used for himself the first time Drahlianna spoke of him. No one was quite sure of what to make of the Stray. He kept his own counsel in his own shape, moving as often in bear or cat form as in Kaldorei form. Perhaps something had occured to him in the Emerald Dream, perhaps he had too much contact with the mores of Stormwind. But as she had heard, he took his own path and one did not ask anything of him if one was not willing to pay in return.
She started to greet him, he cut her short. "I hope you haven't wasted my time dragging me here. I'm here to do the job, and then leave, nothing more or less. You have the mageweave?"
"I do, I can give it to you---" He cut her off. "I'll take my pay when the job is done. So where is your scout?"
"Ranger Brockman will be right along. You're clear on what I want you to do? You're to distract the front guards while he slipps in... N If neccessary assist him but he's in command once you enter."
The Stray responded more with a grunt than an assent.
"One more thing.... High Ranger's orders... no killing."
The Stray's only answer was to glare back at her for a moment until they settled down to wait.
StoneTalon Peak: Date not recorded - MoonwillowEdit
They had made good time out from Astrannar having secured the use of hyppogryphs to the station at Stone Talon Peak. They moved quickly, taking little notice of the construction underway at the settlement. Moonwillow started to make the usual courtesy stops there but the Stray had already taken bear form almost immediately on alighting and had already started to shuffle away, forcing the two to run and keep up, Brockman made some opportunistic herbal harvests but found himself hard pressed to keep up with the Stray's hurried pace. The Stray stopped only to growl his impatience when the other two failed to keep his pace until they sped up thier rhythm to accompany his, save when he slowed down to dispatch the occasional harpy or basilisk, or rogue elemental that made the unfortunate error of selecting the party as prey.
Much too soon for Moonwillow's taste, they found themselves at their stopping point. a burned out copse in the Charred Vale overlooking an entrance to Sun Rock. The Stray shifted to his Kaldorei form and the three held a quick conference. It was a quick one, as they had not seen anything that called for a revisement of their plan. Shifting back to his ursine form, the Stray advanced on the pair of tauren guards bellowing his challenge. One queue, Moonwillow started channeling her mental link as Brockman vanished into the shadows. As per his instructions the Stray continued his melee, fighting defensively for a few moments and then making a quick run out to the vale the sentries giving chase.
Moonwillow did not see or hear this, her attention totally focused on maintaining the channel to Brockman's eyes, seeing through them as if they were hers. Brockman continued his assent up to the peak, very much on his own and extremely aware of his danger. He had seen the Stray in action and severely doubted that he'd be able to put up the same kind of fight if that pair of sentries had tumbled to his presence. He moved slowly while Moonwillow struggled to keep her sense of urgency from coming over the link, which required frequent retuning to keep the channel from being lost.
Through Brockman's eyes, her vision traveled with him, save for those brief blinking moments she had to recast inorder to keep the channel open. She watched as he saw the Stray engage and draw out the outer sentries sparing only a brief look as he took the opportunity to slip past. Briefly she saw the Stray manifest in Brockman's vision moving silently this time as he had shifted from his ursine to a feline form she'd seen Druids adopt on past occasions. The two had moved around a corner when suddenly Moonwillow felt a stabbing pain in her side. The vision dropped to reveal a sight of one of the more unpleasant residents of the Charred Vale a red crested blue feathered harpy. With some quick invectives she had learned from her stay in Stormwind, Moonwillow hastily erected a shield about herself. and threw a quick succession of spells and hammer attacks at the cursed creature. It did not take long for the priest to dispatch the unwanted guest but in the process the channel had been disrupted and she could not get it without line of sight.
Not much choice is there. Now to see if I can make my own way in. While she had abandoned the Shadow Path some time back, there was still knowledge that she could use. One of whcih would either serve her now or if it failed, put her in a very uncomfortable position with an enraged tauren. Like many of the spells of Shadow that dealt with the mind it was subtly cast, with a repititive thought in mind. [i] It has been a long day, you've fought well, and you are so tired.[i] The spell took the concept distilled down from concious thought to empathic urge and directed it at her target. Looking carefully she saw the sentry's eyes dull slightly a sign that the spell had taken hold. Wasting no time she darted around, making sure to keep out of view of the other sentry, not willing to test the limit of the spell to see if it could take two at once.
She climbed up the path that Brockman had taken before looking for side trails and watching for a glimpse. Finding the first she cast about quickly for a glimpse of the second. For long moments she looked in vain until she spotted the form of the junior Ranger. Wasting no time in blessing her good fortune she recast the linking spell, and once again his vision supplanted her own.
It seemed that Brockman had made good use of the time for his eyes were apparantly looking at a dwelling that was part of the Retreat itself. Moonwillow concentrated both to maintain the spell itself and to see every detail she could get from her displaced vision. It took some doing but ultimately he found a spot which overlooked the main part of the camp. And something caught her eye a flash of of something bright colored that stood out.
Swing your head over to the left. Look down there. And ..... yes. It was surprise and confirmation all the same time. In Stormwind, Moonwillow had read histories of the two Orc-Human wars that had preceded the conflict which had brought both to Kalimdor. Among the allies of the Humans had been the Quel'dorei. Who had leant their magical might at first reluctantly in the fulfillment of an ancient pact with the Lords of Arathor and then with grim determination after the razing of the homeland they had made for themselves in northern Lordareon. It was doubly incongrous that not only would such a being be found here within an Horde settlement but actively work with them as well. True she stook apart from the others who dwelled here, her frame and her body language full of traditional Highborne pride and arrogance. It was clear to Moonwillow if not perhaps to the denizens of Sun Rock that she thought of them only as means to and end. [i] Humans would no doubt find her attactive with her blonde hair and delicate features. As long as she kept her mouth shut." For that moment a troll approached the high elf with a bundle which he opened before her, displaying it's grisly content. The high elf smiled but it would not be a smile that would charm most of those same Humans but instead be more likely to remind them of a pressing appointment elsewhere, particurlarly a where that would place them as far away from that smile as possible. Her features were distorted with hatred. It was perhaps both fortunate and not that Moonwillow's spell carried only Brockman's eyes but not his ears as well. But then his voice came over their hearthlink. "I've got a name, Moonwillow. Braelyn........ Firehand. And I could take her out now, while we've got the chance.
The thought passed through her mind.... and the consequences that would follow. She remembered her past confrontation with Drahliana, and the very real reason that the High Ranger had ordered the Ranger Embassy in Stormwind closed down, not the public one she had given, although that had been true enough it had been merely pretense. No she would not go through another such confrontation if she could help it.
"You know the High Ranger's orders. No killing on this recon." And then she heard a roar like that of a bear sounding distant as if heard down the length of a long tube. "Get out now and use your stone. We'll make our own way out." Brockman protested but she dismissed it repeatedly. Until that roaring got louder in that back area of her mind and she dropped the linking spell in haste.
Brockman's vision vanished and her own came flooding back to reveal a tauren sentry in battle with the Stray just a few feet from her. Apparantly this crevice was not as totally hidden as she had hoped but the druid was there covering for her, fighting defensively as he waited for her to come out of her trance.
"It's time to leave now. Brockman's making his own way out." The druid growled in response. "Play time's over it's time to go." as she turned to retrace thier path downward. The druid followed backing down as the enraged sentry pressed his attack. Moonwillow waited until they had returned to the outer sentries and when they joined in the fracas called upon her shadow gifts to let loose a psychic scream sending their assailants running in all directions, before breaking out in a flat run. Following her lead, the Stray followed covering her back. After a prolonged chase which included her repeating the spell again, they finally reached a point where teh sentries decided not to follow. She sat for a moment, spent as they caught their breaths. when Brockman signaled her again to inform her of his safe arrival. This mission was done now. She'd take some pride of it later perhaps, but now her mind was full only of the consequences of what they had learned today. She'd pay the Stray his agreed price, once his rigid ethics permitted him to accept.
"That was very well done, Ranger. I'll see you in Astranaar. And Elune help us all when you finally deliver that report to Drahliana."
Written by BronilEdit
Bronil did not want to believe it. He had tried to dismiss the claim, to make it go away somehow, but he could not. Drahliana was a kaldorei of integrity and would not make claims unless she had substantial foundations supporting them.
Was a quel'dorei truly behind the killings at Stonetalon peak? It was not likely that the quel'dorei held any compassion for kaldorei, but *this*? Did their hatred run so deep as to strike down the Sons and Daughters of Cenarius?
It was these questions that brought Bronil out to Sun Rock this night. He had to see for himself, and had come with no one other than Shadow to Sun Rock. None of the other Rangers knew he was out here. If they tried to locate him through his hearthstone, they would only find Kodrak in snowy Dun Morogh. Investigating Sun Rock was primarily Brockman's task, and Bronil did not want to step on the toes of the new recruit. Besides, there was nothing out here that truly posed a threat to him.
Just the same, he checked his surroundings one last time. He was on a cliff overlooking Sun Rock. From this cliff, one could drop down into the north section of Sun Rock without encountering the guards.
The coast was clear.
Reaching out through the bond he shared with Shadow, Bronil melded his consciousness into the panther's who was already below the cliff. Once the transfer was complete, he directed Shadow to enter the camp as stealthly as possible.
Animals did not percieve the world in the way most did. Smells were stronger, and paid attention to as much as a scout may pay attention with his eyes where his next step took him. Sounds were also taken in, but they were sounds Bronil could not normally pick up. They were sounds that only the hearing of animals could pick up. Each sound and smell was often distinctly identifiable, carrying meaning. With Shadow however, there was a difference. It was often said that emotions such as hate were beyond the comprehension of animals, but if Bronil had to use one word to describe Shadow's attitude towards the Horde, orcs in particular, then it would be "hate".
Thus when Shadow drew closer to the pond in the center of the Retreat, the words spoken between races of the Horde and the quel'dorei sounded like incoherent chattering at first, as they would to animal who could not understand the tongues of the mortal races. Bronil could understand them however, and had trained himself to translate the chattering into the words they actually were.
Unfortunately, the languages spoken by the Horde were not among his repetoire. However, proper nouns such as names often had a tendency to remain the same across languages. After awhile, the quel'dorei's name became evident.
The only orcs, trolls, tauren, and forsaken that came to visit Firehand brought her remains of the Sons and Daughters of Cenarius. There was no denying it now. Drahliana's claims had been true. Yet in answering one question, others soon arose. Was Firehand working with the approval of her people, or was she some sort of rogue that had gone off on her own? Most importantly, why target Cenarius' children? Was it merely for revenge, or were other factors at play.
The link vanished, and Bronil was once again inside his own consciousness. Quickly he sent a message through the bond telling Shadow to back off. If Shadow acted on his urges, there would soon be death cries piercing the quiet night, and because the assailant was a mere animal, neither the Alliance or the Rangers would be implicated.
But Drahliana had been emphatic in order that there be no killing. Yet even if she never gave such an order, Bronil would still restrain Shadow. Death brought only sorrow and anger, and was often irreversible.
It was something Bronil wished on very few people, even amongst those he counted as enemies.
Soon the panther returned, and Bronil could feel the reluctance at retreating.
"I fear you will eventually get what you seek, Shadow. But not this night. We must go now."
Satisfaction crept its way through the bond.
Moonwood Lodge: Present DayEdit
Drahliana sat back for a moment regarding the finished document. Soon enough she'd be off to Ratchet to arrange for the neccessary translations and deliviries to be made. Her personal relations with the goblins had suffed somewhat with the fallout of Kiyue's retaliatory strike at the Zeppelin post in Tirisfal, but this time that just meant that she'd pay more out of pocket for the services requested. Drahliana had regretted that one casualty after the fact but the wholesale slaughter of the Argent Dawn at Chillwind had raised a lot of mass anger and she had not fought against being swept up in it. She reflected upon it now only in the context of things to come.
Kel'Thuzud's forces were beaten back for now. Floating necropoli no longer beseiged the capitals of Alliance and Horde, but for now, Drahliana preferred the quieter settings of the Ashenvale outpost for finishing this missive that and it's closer proximity to the neutral goblin town.
No use or need to put this off any longer she thought to herself. The Rangers had met here at the Lodge to discuss their findings and decide on a course of action. The outcome of that discussion had been put on hold when the Scourge had made it's dramatic reappearance, but just recently the collective efforts of adventurers all over Azeroth had finally put the undead menaace on the retreat, and concindentally ending the need for further delay. Rolling up the parchment, she went outside and summoned Nightrunner riding off into the forest night.