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Featuring: Silandra Silverwood

The Blood Knight Chambers in Silvermoon had changed so much since Silandra Silverwood was first inducted into the order and its mysteries. Once the place had surged with unearthly powers, the results of the captive being that was held here and the spells used to contain it. With the creature gone, there was but a fiant echo of that energy remaining, a lingering scent in the air.

However, at the same time, much remained the same; the closed, secretive chambers with their soft red lighting that created an air of secrecy and security, where the Blood Knights could discuss that which was important to their order safe from the prying ears of others. It was for this that she had come here today, drawn by orders from her leaders.

So much had happened in the last few weeks that she had to wonder what this was about. There had been the renewed Scourge attacks across both Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms; the undead armies had poured forth from their floating necropolises, unleashing a torrent of death and destruction. Ogrimmar had burned, and there were rumours that the Scourge had tried to destroy Stormwind as well.

Then came the news that the Scarlet Crusade had fallen, destroyed by an army of Death Knights. What was stranger, however, was the fact that those Death Knights had then somehow left the grasp of the Scourge, and had pledged their allegiance to the Horde and the Alliance. What were once the Lich King’s mightiest servants had suddenly become their greatest weapons against him.

And now the Horde – and by all reports, the Alliance – were mobilising their armies, preparing to take the battle to Northrend, and to the Lich King. Their goal was nothing short of the complete destruction of the Scourge. It was a battle that she wanted to be a part of; every fibre of her being burned with anticipation of the terrible vengeance that she would unleash upon the undead and their masters. She only assumed that this order was related to these matters.

“My lord” She began, kneeling before Lord Bloodwrath, one of the leaders of the order. “You sent for me?”

“I did.” He replied. “Walk with me, Silverwood.”

She rose, following him as they walked deeper into the Blood Knight chambers. “These are troubling times, Lady Silverwood.” He continued. “We face our greatest threat yet, more so then even the renegade prince. The Scourge are on the rise, and we must do all in our power to destroy them, both as our people and, as regrettable as it is to say this, as a part of the Horde.”

“What, then, would you have me do?”

“In order to ensure the safety and security of our campaign, we must eliminate those subversive elements within the Horde that would pose a risk to us.” He stopped, turning back to her. “Lady Silverwood, do you know of the Kon School?”

She nodded. “They were a group of Orcs who opposed both the Forsaken and we Sin’dorei joining the Horde. They beloved that the Horde should cast out these elements, and that Thrall should be replaced with a different Warchief. However, the Kon School was destroyed; their leader committed suicide rather then be bought to justice”

“Mostly correct.” He replied. “We have reason to believe that the Kon School still exists. While Maskdon, their leader, did supposedly kill himself, there were many who belive that the suicide was faked.” He paused. “Recently, we came across one of his agents, an Orc by the name of Teppy, working with another Horde guild in Ogrimmar. Teppy is known to be loyal to Maskdon, but not terribly bright.”

“So if Teppy has surfaced, you feel that he may be working for the Kon School.” Silandra summarised. “And you want me to discover the Kon School’s status and deal with them.”

“Correct.” He nodded. “Teppy is working with an adventurting guild known as the Redrock Raiders. Join them, infiltrate their ranks, discover their secrets. Locate the Kon School, expose them and destroy them.” He handed her a folder. “This has all you need to know about the Raiders. They are a simple lot, but we have seen enough cases where an innocuous front hides a greater secret.”

“Very well.” She took the folder and snapped a sharp salute. “I will not fail you, my lord.”

Shorel'aran, Lady Silverwood”

She saluted and turned to leave, trying to focus on her duty. Secretly, she felt a burning distaste at the back of her throat; while she had her duty to her order, and, as such, the Horde as a whole, she found it hard to hide the unpleasantess of it. She would be forced to work amongst lesser races, to serve and fight alongside them. It would be degrading and disgusting, yet she knew that she had her duty to fulfil.

With a gruint of fear, the Orcish cultist, a member of the Birning Blade, turned and ran from his opponents, knowing full well that he was outnumbered and outmatched. “Bowen!” The Orc that he had been fighting with moments beofre called out. “He’s gettign away!”

“Don’t worry about it, Teppy.” A female tauren called back. Realitvely slim for her race, she had sharpm keen features, a contrast to the sually someqwhat sleepy look of her kind. “I’ve got him.” She raised her rifle, sighting on the running Orc’s back. Narrowing her eyes, ashe squeezed the trigger; there was a loud crack and a puff of smoke, then, moments later, the orc collapsed in a cloud of red sand.

“Good shooting!” A male troll called out from nearby. “Ya got him real good!”

“Thanks Skaase” Bowen replied. “It was easy.” She looked back over her small group. “Once again, Durotar is safe from the Burning Blade’s vile trepidations, thanks to my selfless work.”

“Hold on a moment.” Skaase offered as he approached her. Muttering an incantation, he raised one of his three-fingereed hands to her muzzle. A small cut on it healed up, closing without even leaving a scar. “Dat looked pretty nasty dere, Bowen. Good ting I fixed it for ya.”

“Oh Skaase.” She swooned. “You’re so caring, allways looking after others.”

“Um, can I get some help here?” Teppy asked. The bald-headed Orc sporeted a number of cuts and bruises, with one eye swollen shut – the other was covered by a mechanical lens. He’d been in the thick of the fighting, getting the worst of it.

“Aye, me too, matey.” Edvard Blackheart moaned out. Lying in a heap, the Forsaken had suffered a number of injuries, mostly broken bones, that could have killed a living person. Of course, that didn’t make them any less painful. “I be in a world of hurt over here, yarr.”

“In a moment, mon!” Skaase shot back. “I gotta make sure dat Bowen’s okies first.”

Bowen nodded, looking over her group. “Besides, I have to be on my best. Something important has come up in Orgrammar that I need to attend to.” She paused. “Oh, and I’m interviewing some potential new guild members as well.”

“But of course.” A Blood Elf Warlock spoke up, busy brushing the dust off his robes. “I mean, obviously you want these new recruits to get the proper impression of this guild. Heaven forbid that they feel that we’re a bunch of inept screw-ups lead by a couple who care only for how good they look. After all, you only want to attract the highest calibre of skilled, capable heroes to your following.” His words dripped sarcasm.

“Well of course, Zafkiel”. She agreed, completely missing his point. “We only want the very best in the raiders.”

“Of course.”

“Hey, where did everybody go?” A voice called out from across the next rise. “I got lost, and I’m all confused. All these rocks look the same to me!”

Bowen glanced over the group. “Could somebody go rescue Rhandt for me?” She finished with a sigh. “As I said, I have important business to attend to.”

Fifteen minutes later, she was back in Orgrammar, riding through the hustle and bustle of the city with all haste to make her meeting. It was vitally important that she made it, not for her guild and not for the Horde as a whole, but for her personally. Oh, and Skaase as well. Finally, she reached her goal; a hall in one of Orgrammar’s valleys that was a hub of activity.

One of the city’s guildhouses, it had been largely untouched by the Scoruge’s attack, there was still a lot to be done. She could see that supplies were being packed and prepared for shipping, presumably fro the forthcoming Northrend offensive. A few of the guild’s members were present, either deep in discussion or practicing with each other, clearly drilling themselves to face the undead legions. It was an image of efficiency and discipline that Bowen was proud of.

It was a pity, then, that this was not her own guild. But she was taking steps to rectify that problem.

Dismounting her Kodo, she stepped into the guildhall, looking for a particular person to talk to. It wasn’t hard to find them; a large female Orc, dressed in a baggy floral frock and wearing boxing gloves, her eyes covered by goggles; they would have stood out anywhere. She was shouting orders at the peons who were busy carting supplies around, clearly in charge of the whole situation.

“Excuse me, Aunty Jack-“

“If you’re one of those bloody peons, then go grab a box and drag it out. I ain’t got time to waste.”

Bowen was briefly taken aback. “Um, no, actually. My name’s Bowen Thropping and I-“

“Never bloody well heard of you.”

She blinked. “Um, I put in an application for your guild.”

“I get a lot of bloody applications.”

“Yes, well, I was hoping that you could just tell me what was the status of mine.”

“Listen here, Sunshine. I’ll get to it when I bloody well get to it. If you haven’t heard back form me, figure that you ain’t up to bloody snuff.”

“Um, I applied with a package deal; myself and a shaman-“

“No bloody packages either. You apply individually.”

“Well, um, in that case, can I put in an application for him?”

“He puts in his own bloody application.”

“Thing is-“

The Orc turned to her, somehow looming over the Tauren despite being far smaller. “Listen here, sweetheart. I got to bloody well organise my guild’s relocation to Northrend. I ain’t got time to listen to ya whining. Now submit a proper application otherwise, get the bloody hell out of here before I rip your bloody arms off!”

“sure” Bowen managed to squeak out, then scurried off before the Orc followed up on her words.

Leaving the guildhouse, she sighed as she looked over her Kodo. “I guess I’ve got no choice then. I’ll have to interview those new guild members.” She shook her head. “I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to. It’s so hard to pretend I care”

She was rather disappointed by Aunty Jack’s rejection, as well as the fact that it meant she’d have to go back to leading the Raiders. Furthermore, she couldn’t help but shake the idea that members of the Aunty Jack show were watching her – and laughing.

Silandra hated Ogrammar. She had hated it ever since the first time she had stepped into the city; no, the first moments of the first time she had stepped into the city. While she had acknowledged that the Scourge’s recent burning much of it to the ground was a severe blow to the Horde, she secretly hoped that, at the very least, they could rebuild the city to be less barbarous, less primitive and less cluttered.

There was a new reason why she hated the city, however. Ever since their mass defection, it had become a refuge for the fugitive Death Knights that had escaped the Lich King’s grasp. Thrall had taken them in, and declared that they were, once again, loyal sons and daughters of the Horde.

Others had not been so forgiving; Death Knights were not welcome in Silvermoon, as they served as a very uncomfortable reminder of the destruction the Sin’dorei people had suffered at the hands of the Scourge. Similarly, the Tauren of Thunder Bluff found the Death Knights to be abhorrent, removed from the natural cycle that they so revered. And in Undercity, the general feeling is that Death Knights were seen as a weapon to be used against the Scourge, and not much else.

She could see several of them, gathered in small clumps, trying to avoid others. Despite Thrall’s words, there were many who did not trust them. Silandra was amongst their numbers; to her, there was still every chance that a former Scourge agent could still be one. She had considered the very real possibility that their so-called defection was a part of some grander scheme, to infect the Horde from within with loyal Scourge agents, and then betray them when least expected. She knew she was right not to trust them, and knew to keep her eyes on them at all times.

And then there had been the voice…

She blinked, focusing on the task at hand. If any Death Knights turned traitor, she would be ready for them. Her blade – Apollyon, the great destroyer – would be the instrument of her retribution, the final judgement for their treason.

But for now, she had to concentrate on other matters.

Bowen Thropping, the leader of the Redrock Raiders, had been very eager to respond to her application; almost too eager. Silandra wondered if her eagerness wasn’t a part of a trap; the Tauren woman had deduced Silandra’s mission and was intending to trap her, making sure she never discovered the truth. If such was the case, Silandra simply figured that she would have to kill Thropping on the spot.

Meeting at one of Ogrammar’s inns – a filthy, disgusting place filled with filthy, disgusting people (especially a rather beaten-looking Tauren slumped in a corner, muttering about Death Knights) – she patiently waited for Thropping to arrive while considering her options. She figured that, if she drew her sword and cut Thropping down on the spot, nobody here would mind. Well, except possibly the Tauren, but she could deal with him.

“Sorry I’m late.” A female Tauren began as she stepped into the room, eyeing Silandra, the only Blood Elf present. “Silandra Silverleaf, wasn’t it?”

“Silverwood.” She stated, carefully sizing up the Tauren. Sharp-eyed, she was clearly an experienced hunter; a rifle on her back, and her armour worn from numerous battles. However, there seemed to be something furtive about her, as if she was hiding something. “You are Bowen Thropping.” It wasn’t a question, more of a statement of fact.

“That’s right. Good to meet you.” She smiled and took a seat opposite Silandra. “Shall we get started?”

Silandra found that Bowen’s interview was surprisingly lacklustre. The Tauren didn’t seem to care much for her past experience or previous associations, being more interested immediately in what Silandra could do for the guild. No, she noticed, that was not entirely true. Bowen wanted to know what Silandra could do for her personally. The guild, it seemed, was secondary to her needs, a point that Bowen unconsciously emphasised each time.

What is Bowen hiding? She asked herself. Is this a front for the Kon School? Is she Maskdon’s heir, or an agent for him, or is this some other, unrelated matter? She had been very carefully listening to what the Tauren said, seeking any cues. And if she is working for Maskdon, is this all an elaborate trap? Or a ruse to throw me off; the Kon School were opposed to the Sin’dorei, so maybe by recruiting me, she helps cover their tracks.

All were possibilities she would have to consider, and all were reasons for her to join this guild. She would find the truth behind this seemingly innocuous Tauren, regardless of the cost.

“So Silandra.” Bowen finished. “Really, you’re all that we could want. I’d like to offer you a place in the Redrock Raiders.”

“Very well.” Silandra nodded. “I accept your offer.”

“Excellent!” She finished. “We could use a new point-man, and I feel you’ll be perfect for the role.”

Silandra narrowed her eyes. “My role is retribution, revenge for the fallen and destruction of my foes.”

“Of course it is.” Bowen finished. “Well, we can work on that.”

Despite the fact that most of its members were filthy, unwashed savages of menial intellectual capabilities, Zafkiel Voidrender actually liked the Redrock Raiders as a guild. In fact, he liked them for precisely those reasons. Its members were, for the most part, idiots who were ridiculously trusting and gullible, and had no idea when one of their fellows was abusing their trust for their own ends.

Which was precisely what Zafkiel intended to do. He had joined the guild simply because he wanted a group of small-minded idiots who would be easy to convince into serving him and doing his dirty work. People who he could shamelessly manipulate and boss around while building his own powerbase. He would use and abuse them, and then abandon them once they were no longer useful to him.

As distasteful as it seemed, it was ideal for him to spend more time with them, if only to learn their secrets and find new ways to use those to his advantage. It also meant that he could keep an eye open for potential threats, those members of the guild who may be possessed of slightly more self-awareness then the others and could even pose a threat to his own plans, as unlikely as it seemed.

It was in one of their newest recruits that he had found one, a fellow Sin’dorei, she was clearly intelligent, perceptive and sharp-witted. She also seemed to be hiding something. It was this that interested him the most; he wanted to know what it is, and how he could use it to his advantage.

“So, tell me more about yourself, Levisha” he began. The pair of them were relaxing in the yard out the back of the Raiders’ guildhouse.

“There’s not much to say.” The dark-haired Sin’dorei replied dismissively. “I’m just a simple hunter.”

Rhandt is a simple hunter.” He offered, pointing to a fellow Sin’dorei guild member who was currently being mauled by a large black wolf. “You are not.”

“My doggie is biting me!” Rhandt called out. “Is that good or bad?”

“Well, there isn’t much to say, really. I may be a little more… capable then some, but that’s about it.”

“How did you come to be here?” He continued. “You’re only new to this guild, after all.”

“My previous guild broke up.” She stated, dismissively. “Half of them died, and things went downhill from there.”

“What-“ He began, but was cut off by Bowen entering the yard. “One moment, it seems our valiant leader wants something.”

“Hmm.” Levisha simply replied, sipping her fruit drink.

“Excuse me, everyone.” Bowen spoke up, the crowd of assembled Raiders falling silent (save for Rhandt and his wolf). “I’d like to introduce a pair of new guild members.”

Zafkiel’s ears perked up. New guild members were always something to keep an eye on; they had the potential to be either an asset or a threat; his task was to assess which they were as soon as possible.

“Firstly, I’d like to introduce you to Silandra Silverwood, a Blood Knight. Let’s make her all feel very welcome, okay?”

There was a chorus of mutters and half-hearted greetings as a Blood Elf woman stepped out next to Thropping. He recognised her immediately, much to his dismay; tall and muscular, she had shoulder-length orange-blonde hair, immaculately clean armour and, most distinctively, rather disturbing, solid green eyes.

“Oh, it’s her.” Zafkiel stated, the disappointment evident in his voice.

“Well.” Levisha spoke up, a suddenly eager tone colouring her words. “this is an interesting development then.”

Silandra scanned the crowd, looking for any signs of her targets. It wasn’t hard to find Teppy; heavily armoured, his lack of pants, bald head and the lens covering his right eye made him stand out. More interesting, however, was a second Orc who was clearly watching bot him and her. He was clad in mail armour, with a helmet that covered most of his face; what his interest in her was unclear, but she intended to find out.

Instead, she was surprised by a meaty hand being laid on her shoulder. Glancing behind her, she could see a third Orc; clearly a warrior, he was clad in heavy armour and wore the tabard of the Warsong Clan on his chest. A large axe was over his back, one that had clearly seen a lot of use. “I want a word with you, Blood Elf.”

“What do you want, Orc?” She asked as she turned to face him.

“I am Byg Zham of the Warsong clan.” He snarled. “I am a proud Warrior of the horde; I fight with honour and courage for my people and for the memory of our great leader. I will make no secrets of my contempt for your people, Blood Elf. Before now, those of your kind who were in this guild served to support us warriors; but now, one of you dares to stand in amongst us true heroes of the Horde. And that is why I must tell you how you will behave”

“You point being?”

“Listen to me, little Elf.” He snarled. “If you are to fight alongside me in the front lines, I expect you to conduct yourself with the same degree of courage and honour as my brothers.”

Silandra gave a contemptuous laugh. “Honour?” She sneered. “Honour has no place on the battlefield.”

“Honour is what defines us!” The orc roared.

“No.” She stated. “Honour is an excuse that the defeated use to cover their failures. Those who are defeated can claim that they fought honourably regardless, and that their honour will preserve them as a way of reassuring themselves that their defeat was not their fault. On the battlefield, I conduct myself with discipline and integrity, but I fight as I see fit; I will not be defined by your laughable code of conduct.”

“You little worm. I should cut you down where you stand.”

“I dare you to try, Orc.” She replied, an almost eager tone in her voice. “You will find me to be a most capable opponent. However, I am here as a member of this guild; Bowen chose me to join your ranks; I would prefer not to thin their numbers.”

“Bah.” He spat. “This guild has grown weak and contemptible. I would be better off seeking battle elsewhere.” He stormed past her, shoving his way through the crowds.

His attitude suggests that he was one of the Kon School. She observed. So what was this, a challenge? A test of my determination? Or a warning not to interfere with their business? Clearly this is bears further investigation.

She was intending to follow the Orc, when Bowen again spoke up. “There is a second new member that I would like to introduce to you all. Actually, he is a former member of the guild who I thought lost, but has been returned to us. And, while he has, um… changed, I’d like him to be just as welcome and feel just as much a part of the guild as he was before.”

A figure stepped past her; a Jungle Troll clad in heavy plate armour, his skin was a lifeless grey, his hair limp and white, while the cracked paint on his face gave the impression of nothing so much as a skull. However, the most telling feature was his eyes; deep and sunken into his skull, they burned with an unholy blue light, the mark of those who had once served the Lich King.

“I’m sure that some of you remember Laj’ral from when he was last with us.” She finished. “And I know that he will be a valuable asset to me.”

Silandra wasn’t listening. She was instead trying to fight back every urge she had to simply cut him down where he stood, right there and then. A Troll Death Knight… the embodiment of all that she hated, all that she loathed in the world, and all that she had sworn to destroy.

And then she heard the voice, one she had not heard in months, one that had seemed to be lost in Outlands, where she buried it in Archindoun. Yet it spoke as loudly and clearly as ever.

Kill then all

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