Special Extended Edition
The ruins of Lorderon, the one time capital city of the Alliance, were an empty, and haunted place. Despite being above one of the Horde's capital cities, few chose to dwell in the ruins helves; even those travelling to or form the Undercity would frequently scamper into the city as quickly as possible, rather then linger in amongst the once grand courtyards and towers of the city. It was an empty, haunted place, home to only the lost sprits of its former residents. In the dark, dismal lands of Tirisfal, it was possibly the most dark and dismal place.
However, its halls were not as empty as they would seem. If one listened carefully, they could hear echoes of the last days of Lorderon; the cheering of the crowds and the ringing of bells to celebrate the return of Prince Arthas, the man who would be their savoir but instead was their destroyer.
But there were other sounds that also echoed through the empty hallways, strange and alien ones.
"Got any twos?"
Malebranche looked up from his hand of cards at the shaggy Tauren sitting opposite him. To his credit, Willarthen was trying to play his cards close to his chest as not to give any indications of what he was doing. Of course, the fact that they were comically small in his hands didn't help.
"No." He replied, shaking his head. "Go fish."
"Hoho!" Will began, picking up a card from the pile.
Mal shook his head again, glancing over at the red orb that was the reason the pair of them were here. The ostentatious structure was surrounded by a trio of statues on a rotating base, each channelling energies into it. "Any sevens?" He asked.
"Uh..." Will looked down at his cards. "No. Go fish."
"Typical." Mal began as he picked up a card. "At least the fishing here's better then it is anywhere else in Tirisfal."
"Hoho!" Will repeated. "Got any Warchiefs?"
"Any what?" He cocked an eyebrow, one of the few expressions his dried, leathery skin and ruined face was still capable of.
"Warcheifs." Will explained. "It’s the highest value card, higher then a Shaman or an Overlord."
"Oh." He looked up. "I wondered what this thing was." He pulled out a card then offered it to Will. As he reached out, a bell began to sound, echoing up from the caverns below. Flocks of bats, one of the few living creatures reaming in the glades, swarmed out of towers, shaken by the sudden noise.
"Sounds like its time." Will began as he stood, turning towards the orb. "Are you ready, Mal?"
"No." Malebranche complained as he stood. "But I know we'll go anyway."
"So how does this work?" Will asked as he reached out to the orb.
"If it’s a typical Translocation orb, you just press it and you’ll be teleported." He explained. "And this looks to be one; gaudy decorations aside."
"I think it looks pretty." Will began as he touched it. Nothing happened. "Um..."
"You're probably not doing it right." he spoke as he walked forwards. "I have lots of experience with these things, let me." He pressed the orb himself. Again, nothing happened.
"Um..." Will began. "I think it's broken."
"Hmm..." Mal looked over it. The orb of translocation, despite the power of the magic it utilised, was a pretty simple device. It linked to another orb, and conveyed people between the two. Easy. "These things don't break. Not unless their makers are doing something wrong." Sighing, he looked around, his attention focusing on something else entirely. "What's that?" He asked as he stretched out a bony arm.
"It’s a hedge." Will began, noting the small decorative bush in the planter near the orb.
"I know that but... what's it doing here?"
"Maybe someone thought it would look pretty?" Will offered.
"Here?" Mal gestured around the ruined courtyard they were in, noting the drab grey walls and cracked columns. "It seems a little... pointless to me. Two hedges and some banners are not going to make up for all this." He gestured around at the ruins. "Do they think that we won't notice?"
"Well, I'm just saying..."
"Let's just get this over and done with." Mal said, pressing the orb again, with a similar lack of result to before. "Hmm..."
"Maybe we need to reboot it!" Will began.
Mal looked at him, then looked at the orb. Then, he removed one of his ragged shoes and simply threw it at the objectionable orb. The shoe simply vanished in a ball of red light.
"I hey! I think that worked!" Will called out.
"It better have." Mal grumbled. "Otherwise, I'm out of shoes."
Moments later they appeared inside an elegantly decorated chamber, a counterpart to the orb that was identical in design to its partner behind them. The room itself spoke of a certain opulence and taste for the grand, despite being a simple receiving chamber; its walls were white marble, while the floors had inlaid gold and coloured stone designs.
"Now remember." Mal began as he looked around. "We're here as goodwill ambassadors of the horde."
"And for a cultural exchange, hoho!" Will added.
"yes..." Mall muttered, trying to remind himself exactly how he'd managed to get roped into this job. Will had suggested it to him, and he had somehow ended up agreeing - despite the fact that he genuinely despised the horde Culture, and that he had a near complete lack of goodwill. On the other hand, while he was a dope, Willarthen was a very likable dope. "So remember, proper decorum must be observed."
"And we'll act nice too." Will finished.
"Yes." Mal snarled. "Yes we will."
Stepping through a silk curtain, the pair of them emerged into a large circular chamber, far more opulent and rich then the previous one. Darker in colour, its floor featured an intricate pattern, while red crystals provided illumination. Guards, dressed in blood-red robes and carrying twin-bladed swords and long shields, stood around the room, leaving it well-secured. At the back of the room was a throne, a phoenix symbol for its back and a single shining silver orb hanging above it.
A trio of Blood Elves stood in the centre of the room, apparently deep in a hushed discussion. Two of them were clearly warriors, dressed in elaborate ceremonial armour. The third, however, was dressed in a high-collared robe that hid the lower half of his face, while his arms were covered with elaborate runes.
"Will" Mal hissed as they entered the room, sticking out a bony arm to bar his friend's passing. Not that it would have made much difference; the Tauren could have easily brushed it aside.
"What is it?" Will asked loudly.
Mal muttered to himself for a moment before continuing. "Those three down there." He began. "The one at the back is ranger-general Lor'thermar Theron, the regent of Silvermoon and, as a result, the acting leader of the Blood Elves. The one in the robes is Rommath, their high magister and, even by my grudging standards, a very powerful mage."
"And the third?"
"No idea." Mal stated. "Probably not important."
"Well, as goodwill ambassadors of the Horde, we should introduce ourselves." He offered. "As they're important people."
"Right." Mal muttered. "Just remember, decorum."
The pair of them walked towards the three Blood Elves, stopping well short of them. Then Will waved at them. "Greetings to the rulers of Silvermoon from your brothers of the Horde!"
Mal buried his head in his bony hands. "Decorum." He snarled, then kneeled. Two of the three Blood Elves merely looked around in confusion; Rommath didn't betray any hint of a reaction.
"Oh, yeah!" Will added, then kneeled down as well.
"I'll lead." Mal hissed, then looked up. "My Lords, we have come here as goodwill and cultural ambassadors of the Horde. Our mission is to help foster relationships between our peoples and yours."
The three Blood Elves turned to each other, then back to Malebranche. "Very well." Lor'thermar Theron finally spoke. "Please, continue your mission. Welcome to Silvermoon."
Malebranche nodded and then stood, Will joining him a moment later. "Thank you, your lordship. With your leave, we shall commence."
The pair turned, and walked out the door. "Well that went well." Will began.
"I'm just amazed that we got out of there alive." Mal muttered. "Metaphorically speaking."
"Oh!" Will shouted out as he paused by the door.
Mal warily raised an eyebrow. "What is it?" he asked.
"I forgot to wave goodbye to them!"
"I'm sure it'll be fine, Will." Mal muttered as he stepped out the front door, Will catching up with him a moment later. The pair walked down the long entrance ramp to the palace, passing the two rows of guards who stood in front of the entrance and eventually arriving in a magnificent courtyard.
Will couldn't help but stare slack-jawed at the city around him. It was amazing; a city of soaring towers and grand walkways, of brilliant boulevards and shimmering fountains. Everything in it spoke of the glory and power of its inhabitants, and how they had spared no expense and no effort in rebuilding it form the ashes of the old. Compared to this place, the other cities of the Horde paled.
"Well, welcome to Silvermoon." Will finally spoke up.
"I hate it already." Malebranche replied. "Let's get going."
Within half an hour, the pair of them were hopelessly lost. The problem was simply the layout; Will was more used to the sprawling, open cities of Thunder Bluff and Mulgore, while Mal was more used to the closed confines and maze-like corridors of the Undercity. With its wide, open boulevards yet tightly-packed buildings, Silvermoon resembled none of the others, which made it difficult for the pair of them to find their way around.
"Well, we're definitely lost." Malebranche commented. "I have no idea at all."
"Hang on... I could check my map!" Will spoke up.
"You have a map?" mal raised a questioning eyebrow.
"Oh yes." Will nodded as he pulled out a crumpled sheet of parchment from his belt. "Hmm... let's see..." He peered at the map, then turned it around a few times while tilting his head. "No, not there... not there..."
"Give me that." Mal snapped as he took the map form Will, again looking over it. The map of the city, he noted, was very crude and rough, with the details being far form precise. "Where did you get this?" He asked. "And what does 'closed Beta; not for commercial release' mean?"
"Umm..." Will looked around, trying to act innocent. It didn't work.
"Oh never mind." Mal finished. "In these situations, the best thing to do is to ask a guard - annoying as it can be."
"Hoho! There's one now!" Will began, pointing down the road. What Mal could see wasn't a Blood Elf, however. Instead it was a strange-looking Golem, constructed out of a mixture of rock and crystal, and clearly held together by powerful arcane magic. The creature was a brilliant golden and red, which made him wonder if they had designed it to suit the rest of the decor.
"Hey you, we need-" he began as the Golem approached.
"Happiness will prevail." The Golem replied in a flat monotone that suggested anything but.
"Um we were wondering-" Will continued.
"Destroy All Humans!" it added as it passed them by.
"Clearly they're not built for conversation." Malebranche observed. "Even if they do talk a lot."
Looking around, Will turned back to the Forsaken mage. "Maybe we should just ask someone for directions then. The locals should know their way around." He stepped towards a young Blood Elf woman, carrying several pots. "Excuse me, but-"
"eek!" She squealed out, then ran away from him.
Undeterred, he turned to a passing man. "Um, we were looking for-"
He stammered out something in a language Will didn't recognise, then stepped away nervously.
"I just wanted to know-" He spoke up to a young couple, who turned and walked away from him. "People around here don't seem very friendly." he commented as he turned back to Mal.
Mal cast a critical eye-socket over the Tauren. "It could be the helmet."
"Oh this?" Will pointed at the red-armoured, horned helm on his head. "This is my Raging Berserker Helm!"
"Exactly." Mal explained. "It hardly looks friendly. And, combined with your bulk, it makes you look rather scary to some people."
"Oh." He paused. "So... I should take it off?"
"That would be an excellent idea."
"Hoho!" Will called out. "You think of everything," he added as he grabbed the bottom of the helm and lifted. Nothing happened.
"I think..." Will began as he pulled on it some more, producing some random grunts and straining noises. "I think that it's stuck." He pulled on it some more. "Give me a second..." He grabbed the helmet, pushing upwards. This resulted in him staggering around the square while seemingly trying to pull his own head off. Eventually, he staggered back to Mal. "Okay, this isn't working."
"Let me take a look." Mal began, reaching up to pull on the helmet. Giving it a few tugs, he stood back for a moment. "I think I felt it give. Right... let's give this another try." He pulled on the helmet, while Will also tried to lift if off. The two staggered around for a moment, grunting and heaving, before there was a loud pop. Mall staggered back, while Will's helmet remained unmoving.
"Well?" He asked.
"I think I lost a finger." Malebranche stated.
"That's not good." Will spoke up. "And, um, my nose itches."
"Well, can't you rub it against the front of the helmet?"
"I don't know." Will admitted. "There's something on my nose causing it to itch,"
"...best not to then." Mal finished. "Now what?"
"Let me give it another try." Will simply stated, again pulling on the helmet and grunting loudly. To Mal's surprise, it did actually move, then flew off, slamming into a wall before crashing into the gorund, and bouncing a few times.
"Hoho!" Will began, as he walked over and picked up the helmet. "I knew it would work." he stated as he returned to Mal, fishing around inside the helmet. "Oh, and this is yours."
Mal took the offered digit and, with nothing else to do, pocketed it for now. "So what do we do now?"
Will looked around, seemingly confused. Then, he grinned and raised a hand. "Let's get Ice cream!"
Two Blood Elves, a man in red robes and a woman in mail armour, watched the little spectacle as it unfolded, staring in slack jawed horror. Only after the Tauren and Forsaken wandered off, did the man speak out. "Now I’m beginning to understand how you see the world." He began.
The woman tilted her head to one side. "You mean you saw that too?"
If not for the fact that he had no sense of taste, Malebranche figured that his Raspberry Ripple would be rather enjoyable. As it was, it at least filled him up. "So this isn't too bad so far."
"Wha?" Will asked, his face down in a tub of ice cream.
"I said..." Mal began. "This is a lot less awful then I'd imagined it. Which doesn't mean that I'm not hating every moment of it."
Will finished off his bucket. "Well that's a good start then!" He continued. "Hey, you were in the second war, right?"
"I do recall that much." Mal commented.
"Did you know any High Elves?" He asked. "I heard that they were in the Alliance army during the second war."
Mal stopped to consider matters. "I do recall meeting Kael'thas Sunstrider once." He began. "This was long ago, well before he was the Elven leader. Back there, he was a young mage in training."
"Oh really?" He asked. "What was he like?"
Mal rubbed the remnants of his chin. "He cheats at chess."
“Wow!” Will exclaimed as he looked around the crowded bazaar. “This place is fantastic! It’s so bright and so colourful! And spacious too! It’s like there’s more room then they’ll ever need.”
“That’s what happens when nine out of every ten in your population suddenly dies.” Mal muttered back. “And don’t get up afterwards.”
“Well, when there’s more Blood Elves, then there will be lots of room for them.”
“Oh yes. Within a millennium I am sure that they will have adequate habitation.”
“Still… we should have a look around at their markety thing.” Will continued, clearly not missing a beat as he continued. “And maybe try to introduce ourselves a bit better.”
“We’ve done that several times now. And in each case, they’ve run away in fear.”
“Well I’m sure we’ll get lucky sooner or later.” He continued, probably not hearing a word that Malebranche had said. “Oh! Like these two.”
There were a pair of Blood Elf women approaching, casually strolling through the marketplace and trying to hold some sort of a conversation. Malebranche cast a critical eyesocket over the pair of them, sizing them up. He immediately figured them both for hunters as they were clad in leathers and carried bows over their backs. That they each had a wild cat at their side was also a dead giveaway.
“…and did you see the price they were asking?” The shorter of the two, a full-bodied woman with red hair commented. “That’s outrageous!”
“But you used to buy that sort of stuff at that sort of price all the time.” The taller replied; dark haired and stick-like, she seemed the polar opposite of her companion.
“That was before Zombies ate my family’s estate.”
“Point. Hey look, strange people.” The black haired one pointed out in a complete deadpan.
Malebranche raised an eyebrow. “At least they acknowledge us this time.”
“Greetings from the Horde to our newfound Blood Elf allies!” Will enthusiastically called out, waving his hand.
“Greetings from the house of Sunshadow.” The shorter woman replied. “As a representative of its noble line, I bid you greetings to our fair city.”
“You’re the only member of your noble line left, remember Sue?” The dark-haired Elf slurred.
“Shut it, Xen. I’m trying to impress the primitives.” She hissed back.
“ooooh.” Xen replied, then beamed enthusiastically. “Hello!”
“We’ve got a pair of live ones here.” Mal muttered.
“Why thank you!” Will continued, apparently not noticing the small drama playing out. “We are here as goodwill ambassadors of the Horde to spread the world of the Warcheif’s greetings!”
“That gets more contrived every time you say it.” Mal muttered.
“Are you two servants?” Sue spoke up.
“I’m sorry?” Mal asked
“Only you look a little… scruffy.”
“Oh no!” Will cut him off from any sensible reply he might have made. “We are both proud adventurers and servants of the Horde! I am a Shaman and he is a Mage!”
“I am so glad you didn’t mention our names.” Mal continued.
“A… shaman?” Sue asked.
“It’s a type of stick magic that Forest Trolls do.” Xen replied, nodding to herself.
“Shamanisim is about the call of the elements and using them to maintain the balance of the world. We use our powers for both combat and healing, hoho!” Will shouted enthusiastically. “And we have these really neat totems!” Within moments, he had laid four of his totems around him, each one glowing with elemental energy. “I like totems!”
“ooh, purdy.” Xen began, tilting her head to look at one that crackled with orange-red flames. “What does that one do?”
“I call it the Sheep Nuker Totem myself.” Malebrache commented. “All it seems to be good for.”
“oooh.” She nodded. “Very good.”
“Us Shamans are an essential part of the Modern Horde. That is to say, we weren’t in the bad old Horde that was responsible for attacking your homelands twenty years ago. We’re the better Horde now.”
“You’re not helping.” Malebranche muttered.
“So, in other words, you do the same things that our Magisters do.” Sue commented.
“Only with Totems!”
“…so I see.”
Mal cleared his throat and bowed slightly, however with his frame it looked more like a vertebrae had popped out and he was about to tip over. “At any rate, we thank you for your greeting, Lady Sunshadow. I am sure that the Horde’s members will live up to the high standards that we have set.”
“I like him.” Sue commented with a smile.
“You gonna hit him up for cash too?” Xen asked, casually.
“Shush you.” She took a more regal pose. “While we of the Sin’dorei have suffered setbacks-“
“Like your family home and all your possessions getting eaten” Xen added.
“-we have put all that behind us.” Sunshadow continued, not missing a beat. “We of the Sin’dorei will proudly march on to our glorious future in partnership with you of the Horde.” She gracefully bowed to the pair of them.
“Thank you.” Malebranche nodded. “It would appear that maybe this hasn’t been a totally wasted effort.”
“Certainly.” She nodded. “I like to feel that the pair of us represent the spirit of the new Sin’dorei nation, one dedicated both to building on past traditions while also moving into a new era.”
“Hey you two are both hunters, right?” Will called out, missing everything that she and Malebranche had said. “Because you’ve got bows and leathers and stuff.”
“Yep.” Xen nodded. “That we are. Royal Silvermoon Ranger Service.”
“We have hunters too! That’s amazing!” Will continued. “We have so much in common already!” he looked at the two animals waiting patiently by their masters. One was a vibrant red, with large ears and tufts of fur on the sides of its face. The other was somewhat more striking; white in colour, it had black spots across its pelt. More interestingly, it appeared to be semi-transparent.
“That’s a really neat cat you’ve got there” Will commented.
Xen blinked, looked at him, and then looked at straight at the striking creature. “What cat?”
Their wanderings had seen them actually leave the city proper, instead travelling into the Eversong woods. To say that it wasn't what they had expected would be an understatement. Everything that Malebranche had heard had suggested that Quel'thalas had been devastated by the Horde; the city of Silvermoon had been destroyed, while the forests themselves had been corrupted and burned.
Except they weren't. Instead, the forest was a lush, beautiful place; looking around it was clear that no only had life survived here, but it was flourishing. Save for the scar of blighted land that ran through the center of the woods, it would be easy to believe that nothing had ever happened here, that the Scourge had never come to this land.
"This... should not be possible." Malebranche commented. "Even with arcane magic, the forests could not have been restored like-"
"Hey look!" Will cut him off, running over to a round building nearby. Muttering, Malebranche took off after him.
"What's so interesting now?" Malebranche asked as they reached the stall. "Or have you found a clue to how this happened?"
"Better yet!" Will called out, then pointed to a row of creatures stabled inside the buildings. To Malebranche's lack of eyes, they looked like Tallstriders, only larger and with more extravagant plumage. More curiously, they had saddles on their backs. "They're giant chickens!" Will began.
"Actually, I don't think they're that." Malebranche replied as he examined them.
"Excuse me." A female Blood elf began as she approached them. "Can I help you two?"
"We were looking at your chickens." Will began. "They look neat!"
"Will, they're not chickens." Mal interjected, shaking his head.
"That is correct." The woman spoke up. "These are Hawkstriders. They are a type of bird, related to the Tallstrider. We train them as mounts."
"I told you it wasn't a chicken." Malebranche muttered.
"Hoho!" Will exclaimed. "So you Blood Elves ride on these then."
"Well, yes." She stated, as if it was obvious.
"That's really neat!" Will beamed. "Could I buy one?"
"I'm sorry, sir." She began. "I don't wish to sound rude, but I don't think that I could sell you a Hawkstrider."
"Why's that?" Will asked.
"Well, there are certain... practical aspects to be taken into consideration." She began.
"Ah!" Will exclaimed. "I understand."
"Thank you." She nodded. "I am sorry about that, but-"
"It's because I'm not well known enough in Silvermoon yet." Will continued. "Just like we Tauren won't sell an Orc a Kodo unless he's proved his worth and commitment to our people, you won't just sell a Hawkstrider to anyone."
"It’s not just that." The Blood Elf tried to explain. "There's also-"
"Right!" Willarthen exclaimed. "Silvermoon has a cloth quartermaster, right?"
"Well, yes, but I don't think-"
"Well then I guess I should visit him. I'm sure that I have lots of cloth that he could use."
Malebranche laid a bony hand on her shoulder. Her skin visibly shivered as he spoke. "Don't bother discouraging him." The Forsaken explained. "Once he gets an idea into his head, he's impossible to stop."
"Come, Mal!" Will called out from the stable door. "I think we'd make great ambassadors if we each had out own battle chicken!"
Mal turned back to the Blood Elf and nodded. "I suspect," he finished as he followed the Tauren out. "That you will be seeing us again. Better be prepared."
One of the things that both of them had really wanted to see was the headquarters of the Blood Knights, the supposed Paladin-like warriors that the Blood Elf military had begun to employ. The presence of the Blood Knights had been one of the reasons why Thrall had accepted the Blood Elves into the Horde; the story was that he saw them as a key strategic advantage. This had made the pair of them very curious about the Knights, and made their center another vital stop on their tour.
Like many of the buildings in Silvermoon, the Blood Knight citadel was an impressive structure, towering over all around it. And while its doors were wide open, with only a silk curtain of the type they had become accustomed too covering it, the two Blood Knights on either side meant that it was far from defenceless.
Inside was different to other places they ad been. The rooms were darker and lit with a dull red hue, throwing everything into stark relief. There were several Blood Elves around the room, clad in mail armour. Some were drilling, while others were simply talking, exchanging hushed conversations in Thalassian. Nobody in the room seemed to acknowledge them, instead seemingly focused on other matters.
Mal wandered over to a curricular hole in the floor, guarded with an ornate railing. A brilliant red light wafted out form it, apparently the source of the rooms colour. "Well this is interesting." He began as he raised a ragged eyebrow.
"Oh?" Will commented as he joined the mage. "What is it?"
"I'm not too sure." He commented. "This... thing, whatever it is, radiates arcane power. I can feel it."
"Hmm..." Will leaned forwards and sniffed at the air, his mane bristling. "It does too. That's interesting."
"I'll say." He muttered. "Paladins are powered by holy magic. It's a different type to the Arcane, and a lot less potent."
"But you said this was arcane. So what's it doing here?"
"Um, uh, Light." A voice offered. The pair of them looked up to see a young male Blood Knight standing before them, a book in his hands.
"I'm sorry?" Mal began.
"This light." He pointed at the red light.
"Well, yes." Will nodded. "And it’s red too."
"We control light" The Blood Knight stammered, clearly trying to express himself and failing. "This the light, we control."
"Aha!" Will began, then raised a hand. "Now I understand!"
"You do?" Mal replied, incredulously.
"Oh yes." Will nodded. "I am Willarthen. This is Malebranche. We bring you greetings from your brothers of the Horde!"
The Blood Elf looked very confused, and began flipping though his book. "Um... Blood Knight... Light... Horde?" He began. "Malthais, it name hello."
"Let me take a look at that." Mal snapped as he took the book from the Elf. "Orcish for Dummies?" He shook his head as he read the title. "That explains a lot."
"Maybe if we try speaking Thalassian, that might help." Will offered.
"Interesting idea..." Mal began, flipping through the book. "Let me see... no, no... hmm..." He shook his head. "Never could be bothered to learn it myself. Too much hard work."
"Hold on a minute, please." Will added, nodding his head at the Blood Elf.
"This should be it." Mal began. "Ishnu'alah, Seler Malthais." He began, with a bow.
The Blood Elf looked at the pair of them, then took the book back. Then, rather abruptly, he turned on his heel and strode off without as much as another word.
The pair of them looked around in confusion, before Malebranche just shrugged. "Maybe my delivery is off." He offered. "Ah well, it can't be helped. Hopefully the next Blood Knight we meet will have a more basic grasp of Orcish. Not that I can stand the tongue myself."
"Orcish is okay." Will countered. "Maybe not as smooth off the tongue as Tauhade, but still..."
"Whenever I speak it, it hurts my throat." Malebranche offered as he headed out towards the door. "You try to introduce yourself and it sounds like you’re about to throw up."
They reached the courtyard outside, looking around. "Well, we didn't learn much there." Will admited.
"I get the impression that they wouldn't have told us anyway." Malebranche countered. "The Blood knights are their single greatest asset; they probably guard their knowledge fiercely. But I would like to know."
"What's that place over there?" Will asked, pointing towards a smaller building attached to the side of the Blood Knight citadel.
"Not sure." Mal considered it. "Let's find out. It may be interesting."
They entered the building, descending down a ramp into a dimly lit, yet ornately decorated corridor. To Mal's surprise, the decorations resembled those inside the Blood Knight Citadel, although the lighting was even more subdued. At the end of the corridor was a single doorway, covered with a curtain. Beyond it was a shadowed room, but with strange flickers of red light coming form within.
Will tuned towards the curtain. "So, um, what do you think is in there?"
"I couldn't say exactly." Malebranche replied. "Its arcane power, yes, but like nothing I've ever felt before. And I have a lot of experience."
"One of us should go and check."
"An excellent idea." Mal nodded. "Thanks for volunteering."
"Oh, um..." Will looked around, then shrugged and walked into the room. Peering through the curtains, Mal could see that he was just standing there, as if he was staring at whatever was in the room. He remained there for at least a minute, before turning around and slowly walking back out.
Mal immediately noticed a change in the Tauren; he appeared to be even more slack-jawed and un-focused then usual, which took some effort. "Well?" He snapped.
"My god." Will blurted out. "It's full of stars."
"You're useless.:" Mal muttered. "If you want something done right, do it yourself." He stepped into the room, determined to asses whatever it was that lay within. Like Will, he slowly shuffled out a minute later, a confused look on his face.
"I saw myself." He began. "I was in a room, in a bed... everything was white... and I was reaching out to this big, black slab..." he shook his head.
"See?" Will began.
"Forget this." Mal muttered. "This time we both go in together."
"Hoho! An excelement plan!" Will exclaimed.
"Come on." He began as he walked back to the room, Will alongside him. "Whatever it is, it can't be that..." He trailed off as he stepped into the room, and looked up.
Above them was a radiant form that was like nothing either of them had ever seen before. Seemingly made of pure light, its body (For want of a better term) consisted of a symmetrical pattern of geometric forms, not held together in any coherent way. Some of them moved, with a few orbiting its body. The thing was in turn contained by streams of red energy that were being channeled from a half-dozen Blood Elf mages around the room. They remained focused on the light, not even acknowledging the two as they entered the room.
"Where..." Mal began, his voice croaking with surprise. "Where are we?"
"You're in heaven, Dave." Will replied, his voice a lot lighter and smoother then normal.
"And what is this... thing?"
"It's anything you want it to be, Dave."
As the sun began to sink below the walls of Silvermoon, the pair of them slowly wandered back towards the palace, headed for the Orb contained within that would take them to the Undercity. Will was tired from a hard day's work, but at the same time was very exuberant about what he had achieved. Conversely, Malebranche was his usual grumpy self.
"Well, I think today has been very successful." Will began as they approached the palace doors. "We've learned a lot aobut Blood Elf culture and society and stuff. We ate ice cream, discussed chickens and saw a sparkly thing!"
"True, true." Malebranche admitted.
"So how do you think we went?"
Malebranche paused to pick up a stray, battered shoe, then turned to Will. "I think the Blood Elves got an excellent demonstration of what they're getting out of the Horde."
- This story was co-written
- The story was based on a spontanous RP event done in the early hours after the Burning Crusade launch and, as such, based on genuine character reactions. The names have been changed to protect the innocent victims.