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The Lore of Poldaran Chapter 4: The Daughter of the DamnedFollow

#1 Sep 03 2009 at 10:58 PM Rating: Good
29,420 posts
On the deck of the High Elven warship, the Dawn's Fire, Yadier leaned against the railing, staring out across the sea. His stark white hair blew in the sea's breeze as he brooded. He was worried, but he wasn't sure why he was worrying. And that made him worry all the more.

He had contacted his new master, the Arch-wizard Khadgar, to inform him of the success of their mission. But even the Arch-wizard had asked him if something was wrong. After discussion, his master had concluded that surely it was nothing but concern for his friend that caused this black mood. Poldaran of Wintermoon, the young Archmage at the center of the recent events, had taken a stray spear throw while attempting to seal away the Guardian's Cache, a stash of magical weapons and artifacts hidden on Northrend by the Guardian, Aegwynn, during her campaign to stop a demon known as Sargeras.

It was now known that Sargeras was no mere demon, but instead that he was the lord of the Legion itself! He had sent his avatar to Northrend to lure the Guardian into battle, tiring her and allowing his spirit to enter her weakened flesh. He would use this as a jumping off point to entering the body of the Guardian's son, Medivh, who he later used to open a portal from Azeroth to Draenor, the home of one of his races of servants, the orcs, who had been made bloodthirsty by drinking the blood of Mannoroth the Destructor. Those events had led to three great wars.

Dalaran's agents within the Cult of the Damned learned that the Cult was excavating a Nerubian ziggurat within a mountain in on the edge of the Dragonblight. It was in this same ziggurat that the Guardian's Cache had been hidden. Knowing that the results of discovery of the Guardian's Cache by the Cult of the Damned would be disastrous, the Kirin Tor had contacted its best field agent, Poldaran of Wintermoon, and sent her to destroy it.

She had wasted no time contacting many of her old friends to aid her on her mission, as well as using her political ties to conscript a platoon of paladins to escort her to Northrend. She even bludgeoned the Arch-Wizard Khadgar into parting with his apprentice for a time, despite the apprentice's heated objections.

Yadier had just wanted to study. He was tired of all the fighting.

Once the team was assembled, they began acquiring the materials they would need, and the list was certainly an exotic one. Tail feathers of the mighty phoenix, Al'ar; red dragon scales from an ancient dragon; blood crystals stolen from the servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider; even the burning heart of Ragnaros himself was not beyond their aim.

Poldaran had first led them on an assault against the Arch-Lich, Kel'thuzad. As a former member of the Kirin Tor, he would have known about the Guardian's Cache. If he had realized why they had ventured into Northrend and warned the Lich King, the threat of their presence would have been taken more seriously. So he was eliminated. Yadier had seen him explode before his very eyes as a powerful phoenix burst from his body. Even Kel'thuzad's phylactery had exploded. Poldaran had confided that she did not believe that this would ensure the final end of Kel'thuzad. It would, however, ensure that it would take time for him to be revived. Time enough for them to complete their mission.

And complete it they did. Yadier could still smell the burning of sulfur as the land exploded and liquid magma had seeped from the ground. Dozens of cultists had been consumed by the molten rock and the Cache had been destroyed. A few cultists had survived. It was only natural that some of her foes survived when Poldaran was invoking magical horrors beyond the scope or will of normal mages.

Someone had to live to tell the tale to those who were not there.
Yadier sighed and went below to the ship's conference room, which had been acting as a war-room of sorts for the expedition. Within, he found his brother, Yoxutre and the young Draenei mage, Bythia discussing the recent battle in Northrend around a small table.

"Hello brother," Yoxutre called out. "Come sit with us." Yadier took a seat in a large chair opposite Yoxutre. "We've just been talking about how Poldaran destroyed that ziggurat. Pretty crazy stuff, if you ask me."

Bythia looked at Yadier, curiosity burning in her eyes. "Something has been troubling me since then, Yadier. You said that the Scourge hasn't attacked because of Poldaran. I don't understand how that could be possible."

"Actually, the Cult of the Damned hasn't attacked because of Poldaran, not the Scourge. Though I guess that since the Scourge rarely plans massive actions without the Cult, so I guess that's not far from the truth."

"But how is it that the Cult has become so afraid of Poldaran?"

"I guess I should start at the beginning," Yadier said with a sigh. "When I was still working for the Kirin Tor, I was a member of Dalaran's special forces. Something like SI-7, we were tasked with gathering intelligence and performing actions that Dalaran could not be seen to do officially. Each field operative worked independently, but was supported by a small task force that they reported intelligence gained to or call on if in need of assistance. Each task force, comprised of five people, aided three operatives. I was the leader of one such task force and Poldaran was one of our operatives.

"We had any number of missions, but eventually we got the big one. Poldaran was to infiltrate the Cult of the Damned. And infiltrate them she did. She rose higher in rank among the Cult in a mere few months than any of our operatives had ever before. But there had been a price.

"The scars on her back come from severe torture she underwent at the hands of those in charge of the Cult sect she had infiltrated. She never explained the details of why she was tortured, but I do know that the words were meant to be seen by all and demean her before them, so I assume she had questioned the authority of those in charge. I also know that there was more to the torture, but she's never told me what else happened. To add insult to it all, the torturers used a knife made of blackened shadowsteel with a core of mystic silver. The shadowsteel allows the blade to inflict wounds that cannot be healed and lead only to monstrous scars should the victim survive. The core of mystic silver allowed the blade to focus magical energies for the wielder, most likely spells of pain.

"Whatever they did, all I know is that after she was released from the chains that bound her to the post in the center of the Cult compound, Poldaran fled to the camp where we were stationed waiting for word. That was the only time I've ever seen that girl cry."
Bythia was tearing up a bit herself. "That's awful!" she breathed.

"Nonetheless, the next morning, she stood up, used the gem of disguise to reassume the Quel'dorei form she had been using in the infiltration. She left, but I'll never forget the look in her eyes. The cold look of a was horrifying.

"Within a few hours, we heard an explosion coming from the direction of the Cult's compound. We sent in a scout to check it out, but before he even got there, we heard screaming. It was the most blood curdling sound I had ever heard. You could almost feel the pain in the body of the man just through his screams.

"The screams would cut out intermittently. We learned that it was because the man would die and have to be resuscitated." Yadier shook his head. "They didn't finally end until a week later." He took a drink of some kind of alcohol his brother had poured him. It did not taste awful. "After that, Poldaran assumed control of the Cultist group and wore the same dagger that she had been tortured with on her belt. She used that authority to get into the Scholomance and to further put herself into positions of authority within the Cult. She became privy to a number of plots, and was instrumental in our actions against the cult. But she eventually made a mistake and was caught."

"What happened?" Yoxutre asked.

"She escaped. I'm not sure where she went after that, but she did not contact us. That doesn't mean, however, that we didn't know what was going on with her. We received reports of attacks upon the Cult. Entire sects killed in their sleep without anyone raising an alarm. Sect leaders fed alive to the hungering dead they sought to control. Even the headmaster of the Scholomance was not safe. She burned him alive for days. She sunk their ships, destroyed entire flocks of sleeping gargoyles and even leveled a massive camp of slaughterhouses where they had been assembling abominations. She was the raging fires of death devouring those who had sought to put themselves beyond death's grasp."

"How did they know she had been doing that? Surely they assumed it was an entire unit responsible," Yoxutre suggested.

"She left a calling card at each of the attacks." Yadier traced an image in the air with his finger and spoke a word of power. A crescent moon made of ice appeared and floated in the air. He then traced another symbol and a small snowflake rested upon the moon's inner edge.

"Wintermoon?" Bythia asked.

"Exactly," Yadier said. He touched the ice with his hand and it evaporated away. "Only the ones she made were much more durable. They lasted for several weeks to ensure that someone would see them. Not that they were needed. She always left witnesses alive for her more atrocious attacks. Dalaran began hearing tales of her exploits and soon we were aware that even the mention of her name was likely to bring nightmares to even the stoutest Cult members.

"The Cult nearly collapsed under the weight of that terror. But Kel'thuzad intervened. He began circulating tales of another young woman. She was already some small hero to the Cultists, an example of the power they could hope to attain. He began building up her legend, telling of atrocities of her own she had supposedly been committing, though they were all lies. He claimed that she was his daughter, hidden away until this time and unleashed upon the world in retaliation for Poldaran's acts. When Poldaran finally ended her spree, the Woman in Black was reported to retire to Northrend to work with the Lich King himself, creating further horrors for use against the living.

"This is the only part that has any basis in truth. The Woman in Black is a necromancer of some skill that became known for creating a few powerful undead weapons. Rumors suggest that Poldaran killed her during the raid upon the slaughterhouses, but nothing concrete has ever surfaced."

The door creaked as Verdaey, a Night Elven druid entered the room. "Yadier, Poldaran has awakened and refuses to stay in bed. She's up on the deck just staring out at the sea to the North. She will not respond to anyone who has tried to speak to her."

"I'll come talk to her."

** * **
Yadier found the young woman standing next to the railing near the back end of the ship. She had pulled the fur blanket from the bed around herself and was staring off into the distance.
Pol, what are you looking at?" Yadier asked. She didn't respond. "Pol, are you okay?" Still no response. He waved his hand in front of her face. Finally, this broke her concentration for a second and she looked at him. "Poldaran, are you all right?"

She looked back across the ocean. "They're coming."

Yadier looked where she was looking. He could see nothing but open sea. "I don't see anything." Annoyed, she placed a hand upon the top of his head. He felt a rush of power as his eyes focused far into the distance.

"Them," she said.

What Yadier saw was nothing short of a fleet of Scourge ships... at least six smaller frigates and three large battleships. Not to mention the gargoyles circling over them. "By the light!" he swore to himself. He closed his eyes and shook his head to refocus his vision. "Captain! We have company!"

The captain of the ship, an older Elven man in a simple mithril shirt, came to their side. "What is it, mage Yadier?"

"An undead fleet is following us."

"Surely we have nothing to worry about then. Our ships are faster than the scows the Scourge use."

"An ill wind blows," Poldaran said.

"What is that supposed to mean?" the captain asked, bewildered. "We all use the same wind."

"I'm not sure that's the case, captain," Yadier said.

"Then it's to be a fight?" He called over his shoulder, "Crewman, I need your spyglass." He peered out across the ocean. "By Anasterian! How are we to fight such a fleet? We have a mere three ships and none are carrying heavy guns to make room for the horses!"

"We'll have to think of something," Yadier responded. "Poldaran, is there any way for us to speed up the ships? I know that tampering with the wind is dangerous and difficult, but is there any other way?" Without even looking at him, she shook her head. "Well, then that's out. Do you think we can fend them off?" Again she shook her head. "So we must fight?" She nodded. "Well then captain, let's make ready. Prepare archers. Those gargoyles will be the first to hit us and if they manage to destroy a sail, we'll be dead in the water." Yadier wished he had chosen his words a little better.

Within an hour, the fleet behind them could be seen with the naked eye. They were indeed gaining, and fast. Poldaran had not left her spot at the railing the entire time. The crew and the passengers were all wearing grim expressions. It would soon be time to face the force that had them outnumbered by at least three to one. "Captain," Poldaran called out as the ships had closed another half the distance.

The Elven man approached her. "Yes, Archmage?" he asked.

"I want you to continue sailing for exactly one and a half minutes and set your sea anchor. Come to a stop and prepare to deal with those gargoyles. When they have been beaten, we need to change course for the Wetlands."

"If we set the anchor, we'll be unable to maneuver away from the cannons of the ships! We'll be as good as dead!"

She turned to him, her back to the sea. "I said one and a half minutes, captain. This is not open for debate." Her look was incredibly uncompromising.

"Yes, Archmage," he responded, beaten. He called over his First Mate. "Signal the other ships and tell them that we drop anchor in precisely one and a half minutes."

"Aye, captain," the crewman responded.

Poldaran cast off her fur blanket, revealing a robe of various blues patterned after the sun shining off of the sea below underneath. With a quick leap, she disappeared over the side of the ship. The people on board listened for the splash, but it never came. Within a few moments, the ship had traveled far enough for them to see why.

Poldaran was standing on the water. She kneeled upon it and put her ear to the surface. A few moments later, apparently satisfied, she stood up again. Then she did something that bewildered everyone... she began to sing. No one recognized the song, but the words sounded like they were in an ancient dialect of Darnassian. At the precise time asked, the captain set the anchor.

Poldaran began waving her hands through the air, almost as if she was weaving the sound waves into a web around herself. The air began to shimmer, much like in the Shadow Labyrinth near the horrifying being Murmur. Within a few minutes, Poldaran had stopped singing, but continued weaving the sound. She compacted it tighter and tighter until she had a ball of sound resting in her palm. The enemy ships were less than a mile from her when she slammed the ball into the water.

The resulting shockwave rocked the ships, but the anchor held them in place and upright. None of the undead ships were close enough to be truly affected. It looked like Poldaran had acted too soon. Several hundred fish floated to the surface between her and the Scourge ships. She spoke a word of power and they all exploded, sending fish innards floating down into the sea below.

Another rumbling sound could be felt through the Elven ships. It sounded like a much weaker version of what Poldaran had sent below. The sounds, almost like calls, continued coming, quicker and quicker. After a few minutes, they stopped. With a flash of light, Poldaran was back upon the Elven ship just as the undead fleet crossed over the pool of dead fish. The crew members held their breath in anticipation of what might be to come.

The silence was broken by a deafening crack as one of the undead battleships was struck by a monstrous claw from below the surface of the water. A beast covered in scales emerged, followed by another and yet another. "Sea monsters!" the captain called out. "Pull up the anchors and flee!"

"No, captain," Poldaran said calmly but firmly. "You have to deal with the gargoyles first. Then you may set sail."

Yadier was not exactly sure what was going on, but those beasts Poldaran had summoned looked like the one in the Serpentshrine Cavern. The creature the Naga called The Lurker. And the three of them were making short work of the Scourge fleet.

But he didn't have time to dwell on it, as Poldaran had collapsed from the sheer exhaustion of her efforts.

** * **
Poldaran looked up from the text she had been studying as his Highness, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, entered the room. She stood and bowed. "Time for another lesson, your Highness?"

"Yes, Poldaran," he said, "but not one of magic today." The girl was intrigued. "I must attend to some affairs of state today. Various diplomats asking me to intercede with my father for some trade agreement or another for the most part. Archmage Antonidas has asked that you be allowed to sit in and learn a bit of states craft as he believes that you may one day find yourself in a position where you might need it. If he is correct, it will definitely serve you well to be there and if he is wrong then you'll have just been bored out of your mind for an afternoon, so no harm done," he said with a laugh. "Bring some parchment and ink so that you can properly take notes and ask questions if you have any afterwards. Your master has already agreed to give your afternoon to my planned boring curriculum, so hurry along."

Poldaran gathered the supplies and hurried to his awaiting carriage. One of his personal guards opened the carriage door. She recognized this one, Nihlus. He was the son of a noble house and had been trained to guard Prince Kael'thas since he was a young child. He was well muscled and had what Poldaran considered to be the "dreamiest" shoulder length black hair and bluest eyes she had ever seen. While she would never admit it to anyone, not even her friend Pasiran, she knew she had developed a crush on the young Elf.

They reached the small estate Prince Kael'thas lived in when in Dalaran in short order. Kael'thas led Poldaran inside to a small balcony on the second floor overlooking the main room where he would be performing his duties as a prince. He had ordered the staff to place a small desk on the balcony for Poldaran's use. "Don't forget to write as many notes as you can. I'm hoping to have to answer a lot of questions when this is over," the prince reminded her.

"Yes, your Highness," she said.

"Nihlus, I doubt it to be necessary, but I want you to stay here and guard Poldaran. While I'm sure she will not be in danger, you can make sure she doesn't fall asleep."

"As you command, my Prince," he said with a bow. Poldaran smiled to herself as the young Elf responded. At least she would be spending time with him. Her afternoon was looking better already.

As the day wore on, she stole furtive glances at Nihlus, and on more than one occasion caught him doing the same to her. He was only a few years older than her, but had already proven himself to be accomplished at swordplay and other skills that had allowed his noble father to secure him a place in the royal family's personal guard. He certainly held his dual bladed sword like a well trained warrior. And the massive red and gold shield he carried must have weighed a ton, yet he carried it as though it weighed nothing. The muscles in his arm were held taut from the weight but his face showed no strain at all. And the red phoenix mask he wore didn't actually cover much of his face, only framed and highlighted his features as well as contrasting his blue eyes.

She blushed when she realized how long she had spent staring at him, and reminded herself to focus on the events of the court. Prince Kael'thas was sitting on a small throne on one side of the rectangular room. From the balcony at his right, she could easily see the entire room. Guards stood to either side of him carrying double bladed swords and shields like that Nihlus carried. Kael'thas Sunstrider was just finishing discussion on yet another trade agreement when the next delegate entered the room. Poldaran looked at the man and gasped.

"Nihlus!" she whispered urgently.

"Yes, Lady Poldaran?" he asked.

"Come here!" He set down his shield and kneeled at her side, placing his hand on her shoulder. She shivered in delight for a second at the touch but regained her purpose. "That man," she said, indicating the one who just walked into the room. "He isn't human."

"Which man? And what do you mean by 'he isn't human'?"

"The one in the blue magisterial robes. I can sense strong magic about him and I can see another face under the one he wears... a face similar to that of a dragonkin."

"Are you sure? He looks like a normal old man to me."

"I don't know, but I sense malevolence about him. The air around him is almost saturated with magic. His guards are the same, but the magic is much weaker around them."

"This could be serious. Let me borrow your quill and a piece of parchment." He quickly penned a note and summoned a page from the room behind them. "I need you to give this to His Highness immediately," he said, handing the boy the hastily written note. "Do not fear interrupting him, this is important." The boy nodded and ran off with the note. "I hope you are wrong, milady."

But she was not. As the other delegate left, Poldaran saw the dragon man draw magic around himself very carefully, so as not to attract attention. "Greetings, Magister," Prince Kael'thas said. "How may Silvermoon assist you today?" Poldaran noticed another feeling of magic tensing, but this time coming from a flaxen haired Elven woman standing in the crowd of courtiers that always attended Kael'thas' affairs of state.

"Greetings, your Highness," the dragon man said with a bow. "I have come but with a simple request from my masters." The man rose from the bow and uncoiled the magic around him. "They wish for you to die!" he shouted, firing the tendrils of the lightning spell at Kael'thas.

Poldaran felt the world lurch as everything seemed to slow down. The flaxen haired Elven woman threw aside her cloak as she ran between Kael'thas and the dragon man, revealing the paladin armor of Judgement underneath. Poldaran found this strange as Judgement was only worn by high ranking paladins, and she didn't believe there were any high ranking women among them. The flaxen haired Elf reached out and grabbed the main tendril of the spell with her gloved hand. Once again the world lurched as time resumed its normal flow.

"Your spell is mine!" the woman shouted. "The Scale will not allow you to accomplish your goal today!"

"It is of no matter," the dragon man responded. "Your time is up, slave to the past!" He sent more magic at her. Poldaran again felt the world lurch and time once again slowed. The woman grabbed the magic again and redirected it at her foe, striking him with his own fireball. Once again time resumed as normal and the dragon man collapsed to the floor. He looked across the room at Kael'thas. He was surrounded by guards, all holding their shields to protect him from any attack. The dragon man continued looking around the room, searching for something.

Finally he found it, spotting Poldaran on the balcony. "Kill the girl!" he commanded his guards. They drew their blades and leapt across the room, sticking to wall where they landed. They began scaling the wall like lizards as anti-magic shells covered them.

"No!" the flaxen haired woman commanded. Poldaran reached out and grabbed hold with her gift as she once again felt the world lurch. Everything seemed to stop around her except the flaxen haired woman who raced towards the dragon men climbing the wall. Poldaran saw the look upon her face. Time was hers. She drew a double blade similar to those wielded by the guards in the room as she ran, as well as a small knife. She threw the knife, piercing the higher of the two in the back of the skull. She then leapt towards the other, who fended the stroke of her blade with his own. Unfortunately for him, it cost him his grip on the wall, and he came crashing down.

The flaxen haired woman and he engaged in swordplay. Her blows seemed misaimed and quite frankly not very skilled, as though she was a novice swordsman, but she was quick and relentless. Poldaran felt time stop around them as she continued to hold on for dear life as the woman stepped in and out of the temporal effects. The woman's speed won out over the man's skill and soon he received a slash across his throat from her blade.

Time froze again and the woman teleported to the balcony next to Poldaran. "You know, you should be more careful," she told the frightened girl. "If you were to get stuck in the slowed time effect, you'd age years in the days it took for them to free you."

"Sorry," Poldaran said sheepishly.

"Don't worry about it, this time. Just promise me that you'll be more careful," the woman said with a smile. Poldaran nodded. The woman looked at Nihlus, frozen in time standing next to Poldaran. "I saw you looking at him earlier. He's cute." Poldaran blushed. The woman closed her eyes, though Poldaran could see them moving underneath, almost as if the woman was dreaming. "Two weeks from Wednesday if you happen to be in that tavern on the west side of the city, you know the one I'm talking about, around sundown, you may just run into him off duty. But you didn't hear that from me," the woman said with a wink. "Now, I'm going to teleport back to the main floor. I want you to release your hold with your gift when I've restarted time. Got it?" Poldaran nodded. "Good."

The woman reappeared upon the ground next to the beaten Magister. As time resumed its normal flow, she brought down her sword, severing his head from his body. The bodies of the aggressors erupted in flames and vanished. Kael'thas pushed his guards aside. "Who are you and what is the meaning of this?"

"I am no one, your Highness. And these men were nothing."

"I demand to know what your name is."

The woman smiled at the Prince. "Shorel'aran, my Prince," she said in farewell. Poldaran felt the world lurch again and the woman was gone.

The page boy took that moment to enter the room and run his message to the prince. Kael'thas read it and looked at the balcony. "Nihlus, escort Lady Poldaran to my study. I will meet you there in a few minutes. It appears we have much to discuss."

Nihlus led her to the large study, but she was too panicked to even look at his **** on the way. She started pacing as soon as they entered the room. "Are you okay, Lady Poldaran? You're deathly pale."

"His Highness sounded angry," she said, looking at the floor.

"I don't think he is upset with you. You did everything right. He's upset over the attack and was just short with you. I wouldn't fret about it," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder to reassure her.

She looked up at him and his smile caused her worry to melt away. "You really think so?"

"Of course," he replied. "I would not have said it if I didn't."

"Thank you," she breathed as she started to lean towards him. Unfortunately, the door chose that moment to make the sound of someone at the doorknob and the two separated themselves a bit.

Prince Kael'thas entered the room and sat down in his favorite chair. "Have a seat, Poldaran," he said, indicating a cushioned high backed chair opposite the one he was sitting in. She complied. "It seems that there was more going on in that room than I could see. Please tell me what you saw."

"When the Magister entered the room, I felt his presence before I saw him. Some kind of magic surrounded him and it made my skin crawl, so I looked for the source. When I saw him, there was something wrong with him. It was like he had two faces, the old man he wanted you to see, and some kind of darker face underneath. It looked like a dragonkin, but I've only seen drawings of those, so I'm not entirely certain."

"A darker face that looked like a dragonkin? Perhaps one of the black brood?"

"I don't think so, your Highness. It wasn't black, more of a dark gray, really."

"And his guards were the same way?" She nodded. "What of the woman?"

"Well, your Highness, I didn't feel anything odd about her, so she wasn't disguising herself the same way. I believe that was her true face. But the air about her crackled with power as she fought. And then there was the lurching."


"How do I describe this?" She thought for a moment. "You know how when you're in a carriage and start or stop quickly you feel the acceleration or deceleration?"

"Yes, I think I know what you're talking about."

"Well, while she was fighting, I kept feeling that. It was almost as if she was slowing and speeding up time around herself."

"That would certainly explain how she moved so quickly. Go on."

"When the Magister attacked, I felt the first lurch and then saw her with her hand on a tendril of the magic he had targeted at you. She stopped the attack, but it wasn't like a normal counterspell, which is directed at the person. Instead she was targeting the magic itself. She managed to grab tendrils of the second spell and not only stop it but she turned it upon its caster."

"I had thought she had cast that spell herself. Continue."

"Then the Magister sent his warriors after me. I'm not sure why, though."

"I have some theories on that, but I'm really not ready to share them with you until I have a better idea," the prince said. "Please continue."

"As she chased after the guards, I felt time lurch again. So I reached out with my gift and held onto it. Everything seemed to stop moving. Except her." The prince let out a low whistle. "She killed the one and then knocked down the other. It seemed like she had trouble holding the slowed time for more than a moment or two while fighting."

"While fighting? You mean she held it for a time when she wasn't?"
"Yes. After she slew the second guard, she froze time entirely and teleported up to where I was to explain to me the danger of getting caught in the time field because I had grabbed hold of her spell with my gift. She explained to me how to release the spell so I wouldn't be in danger then teleported back to the floor. Then time resumed and you saw everything I did from there."

"She didn't say anything else?"

"Nothing important," Poldaran said.

"Perhaps I should be the judge of that," he said. He noticed her eyes dart towards Nihlus, who was standing by the door. Kael'thas looked at her questioningly and she blushed. He chuckled. "Maybe you're right. It's probably nothing for me to concern myself with."

"What did she mean when she said, 'The Scale will not allow you to accomplish your goal today!'?" Poldaran asked.

"The Scale? I'm not sure entirely. I suspect however that these enemies do not come from the present. I believe that they have traveled through time to change our pasts. If I'm right, that means that the woman was likely a member of the Bronze Dragonflight come to prevent tampering with the time stream."

"Why would they target me? And what was that green bubble they surrounded themselves with?"

"It seems like you play a vital role in our future, Poldaran. And the green bubble is an anti-magic shell. It protects the user from all magic for a short period of time, but it is extremely difficult to conjure and even harder to maintain, so it never lasts long." He thought for a moment. "If we have enemies capable of using such magic, perhaps it is time you learn to defend yourself without magic. Nihlus here is one of our most capable swordsmen, so perhaps he can train you. And I think it's time you learned to fight those who would use magic against you as well, beyond simple counterspells. I will speak to your master and see about changing your schedule of study. He can teach you in the mornings, I'll train you in war magic and spell breaking in the afternoons, and Nihlus can train you in swords in the evenings, for four days a week, anyway. You should probably have the remaining three to train with your master."


"Yes. That is likely what you saw the woman do when she grasped the tendrils of magic and turned them against the caster. It's something that the Quel'dorei have been working on for decades. It's a much more complex form of magic counter that allows you to completely defend yourself from magical harm while using your enemy's attacks against them."

"Sounds like fun," Poldaran said, genuinely excited, and not just at the prospect of spending her evenings with a certain handsome black haired Elf.
#2 Sep 03 2009 at 11:32 PM Rating: Good
29,420 posts
Poldaran groaned. "She's waking up!" Alexandrine called out. "Poldaran, are you okay? You had us worried when you fainted."

Poldaran sighed. "I'm okay. I just overexerted myself. I'll be fine."

"You sure? Your wound looks worse."

"You checked it?"

"It was bleeding. I wanted to put fresh dressings on it." Alexandrine looked down at the floor. "I even tried healing it with the power of the Light. Nothing seemed to help."

"It's not meant to be healed that way."

"Seems kind of odd to only be a spear wound."
Poldaran smiled, "It's just the effect of the fire I used to cauterize it. I'll be fine. But I am overdue to report to Dalaran. Will you send in Yadier? I need him to help me contact the Kirin Tor so I don't use too much magic right now while I'm mending."

"Sure thing, big sister," she said, kissing Poldaran on the forehead. She sent in Yadier and met Sindara up on the deck.

"So, how is she?" the black haired warlock asked.

"She seems better, but I'm still worried." Sindara raised her eyebrow. "I think there's more than she's telling us."

"You always were good at telling when she was hiding something," Sindara said in agreement. "Though I hope you're wrong this time. I have a bad feeling about this."

"I hope I'm wrong too." The twins stared off towards the sea for a while, brooding.

About half an hour later, the calm silence of the sea was disrupted by shouting. "YOU DID WHAT?!" Yadier screamed. "Have you lost your mind?!" The door to Poldaran's room slammed open. "I'm done with this. As soon as we reach the shore, I'm going back to Shattrath. Khadgar's orders be damned." The rage in his voice was immeasurable.

Poldaran followed him up to the deck. She was on the verge of tears. "Do you think that this was what I wanted? Do you think that I wanted to make this sacrifice? Do you think that if I had a choice I would have done it? This is a battle for the survival of all life in this world. I only had one option."

Sharlot came out of the ship's conference room. "What's going on? I heard yelling."

"Ask Poldaran," Yadier growled as he slammed the door into the conference room behind him.

Sharlot looked at Poldaran, who had finally broken down in tears. "Alright, I was hoping not to have to tell you this until we were back on land, but I guess my secret is out. Let's go below. Gather everyone, I don't want to have to repeat myself." She looked at her sisters. "Alex, I'm having trouble walking," she said between sobs. "Carry me?"

Alexandrine of Wintermoon, the paladin known as the Merciful, picked up her sister, who had never seemed so frail before and carried her into the conference room.

** * **

"You have to anticipate the attack before it even comes at you," Nihlus instructed. "A proper swordsman knows what strike will come at him three strikes before it happens. You have to be making your move before your opponent does. You can make your opponent choose the attacks you want him to. He will not give you an opening unless you force him to. Errors will come to your foe when they are making the movements you want them to. And that's when you strike." The two stood in a training courtyard in Kael'thas Sunstrider's estate. Each was wearing simple training pants and tunics. Nihlus was wearing black while Poldaran was in red.

Poldaran nodded. "I think I understand."

"It's actually much the same in magical combat," Kael'thas said from his shaded chair. "You defeat your opponent not necessarily by overpowering them, but by forcing them to give you openings to attack them. You want them to cast the spells that give you the advantage. Come to think of it, I think that this sword training will help you be an even better mage."

"Again," Nihlus said with a nod.

Poldaran raised her wooden sword. "Don't hold back," she said.

Nihlus swung quickly. Poldaran parried his swing and feinted, switching from an overhand swing to a thrust. Nihlus deftly deflected it and launched a flurry of attacks back at Poldaran, who was forced to step backwards to dodge them. She tripped over a rock on the floor, landing on her back. Nihlus put his wooden sword to her throat. "You're dead," he said.

"No fair!" Poldaran protested as he helped her up. "I tripped."

"You tripped because I wanted you to. Your sword isn't your only weapon. The environment around you will offer you both opportunities and hazards. You have to use the former to aid you while avoiding the latter."

"That doesn't seem right. It seems like you should win with your sword and not by making someone fall on a rock."

"Dead is dead, Poldaran," he said. "And in battle, if you get stung by a deadly scorpion, you're just as dead as if you were run through with a sword or incinerated by a fireball. We don't fight for fairness. We fight because our enemy wants to kill us. If we kill them, they can't do that. Understand?"

Poldaran nodded grimly, the realization of it all sinking in. "Again," she said, raising her sword.

** * **

Poldaran sat at the head of the conference table. Her friends sat around the table, except Yadier who sat staring out the window, sulking. She had finally managed to quit crying. "I guess I should start at the beginning." She sighed. "First of all, this isn't a spear wound. It was made with a sword."

"How did you get hit with a sword from in the sky?" Yoxutre asked.

"It's kind of hard to describe. Let me show you. Someone fill me a bowl with water and set it on the table." Bythia did so. "Thanks." Poldaran cast a spell of scrying upon it. An image appeared above the table, showing Poldaran's encounter with the Lich King a few days before. Everyone gasped as they saw him thrust the runeblade Frostmourne through her stomach. They held their breath as she removed the blade and destroyed his mount.

"You were stabbed with Frostmourne?" Envinyata asked, stunned.

"Yes," Poldaran said. "It infected me with the Plague." Everyone stared at her blankly. "I'm not just dying, but worse, I'm becoming an undead."

"Is there a way to cure it?" Bythia asked.

"Not without getting ahold of some phoenix tears. And before you ask, I've already tried. There don't seem to be any available anywhere in the world."

"Don't you have a hatchling?"

"Yes," Poldaran said, "Prince Kael'thas gave me a hatchling. Unfortunately we can't harvest tears from them as the magic isn't present in them until the phoenix reaches maturity. And I don't have that long."

"How long do you have, lass?" Envinyata asked.

"Weeks, maybe." She sighed.

"So there's nothing we can do?"

"There is one thing. I can escape the fate sitting before me, but the escape isn't something that'll make you happy either."

"What is it?"

"Death," Yadier said.


"You heard me. Poldaran has to choose now between eternal undeath as a minion of the Scourge or a death that she cannot be resurrected from."

"He's right," Poldaran admitted. "I now have a choice to make, and neither of which I'm happy with."

"Then why did you put yourself in this situation in the first place?" Yadier asked, still angry.

"She couldn't have known that this would happen," Sharlot defended.

"Oh, she couldn't, could she?" Yadier asked. "Tell them, Poldaran, or I will."

Poldaran nodded. "He's right. I knew exactly what would happen when we went up there."

"How?" Sharlot asked.

"There's an ancient prophecy. It was first spoken a long time ago before the corruption of the Eredar by a prophet on the world of Argus."

Bythia looked at Poldaran, alarmed. "Upon the height of the Fire Festival, the Bearer of the Wisdom shall take up the Flames of Old and shall raise her hand defiantly against the might of the land of ice and its king of the dead. She will bring to bear the burning blood of the world and strike against the Damned to save her people. Should she fail in her task, the world of life is doomed.

"Should she succeed, she will take upon the doom of the world, and her only hope of escaping it is within the fires of the Lifebinder. If she fails, her undeath will usher in an eternity of darkness upon the land.

"If she escapes her doom, the Dead will strike against the living. The Merciful shall sing a lament and the Daughter of the Damned shall take the field upon a pale horse, heralding the coming of Death to the battlefield."'

"I've never heard that last verse of the prophecy," Yadier said. "And it's impossible."

"Why is it impossible?"

"The Daughter of the Damned is a myth, created by Kel'thuzad to strengthen the resolve of the Cult of the Damned in the face of Poldaran's assaults upon them. He took a necromancer of some skill and created a story around her to give him a way to keep the Cult of the Damned in check. And he doesn't even have a daughter, so the 'Daughter of the Damned' can't exist, since he's the leader of the Cult."

"That's not entirely true," Poldaran said. "Uncle does have a daughter." Yadier looked at her, shocked. "When I was four, I asked him if he had any children. He told me about his daughter, who he had hidden from the world because 'bad men would want to take her away from him if they ever found her'. I remember frowning at him and telling him that I thought that it was sad that no one would ever know, but he said it was enough that I knew because he wanted me to be her friend one day. I told him that I could do that and continued playing."

"Did you ever meet her?"

"No," Poldaran confessed. "Though I did hear a lot about her when I was hidden in the Cult. And I believe she will be a formidable foe."

"So even though you've given your life, we're doomed anyway?" Xelsia asked.

"No. I've made the choice I have so that you all would have the chance to live to that fight. The fight itself is far from decided. I've spent the last year making arrangements to help you all after I've gone.

"Now, it's up to you."

** * **
Poldaran was starting to get impatient. She had been sitting in the inn's lounge drinking tea for the last two hours. Perhaps that woman had the day wrong? Perhaps Nihlus had changed his mind or had been kept on duty instead of having his night off?

She hoped she was worrying for nothing. But this was her one chance to meet with him outside of their training sessions. She still wasn't sure how she had managed to convince her master that she needed an evening out. She barely even brought up the subject before he had agreed that a night out would certainly be a great idea. Considering how protective he and all the other mages she encountered were of her, it had certainly come as a surprise.

She sighed. She was going to give him another hour, but then she was going to go find herself some kind of entertainment. It wasn't like she got a night out often.

A small gnome woman walked over to her table. "Mind if I join you for a few minutes, child?" she said with a smile.

Poldaran smiled back at her. "I don't mind at all. I've been bored for the last couple hours and could use the company."

The woman sat down. "So, why is a pretty young woman like yourself sitting alone in a place like this for hours?"

"I'm waiting for someone."

"A boy?" Poldaran blushed. "Not very punctual, is he?"

"He..." Poldaran paused, "kinda doesn't know I'm gonna be here."

The gnome giggled. "I see. So how do you know he's gonna be here?"

"Someone told me he would be."

"Not the safest idea to take information that someone you don't know gives you, Poldaran."

"Wait. How did you know my name?"

The gnome sighed. "Oops."

"I knew it. My master sent you to keep an eye on me."

The gnome giggled. "Not me," she said, glancing at a tradesman sitting at the bar. "Let's be frank, then. I'm a friend of the woman you met a few weeks ago."

Poldaran let out a low whistle. "Are you a bronze dragon?"

The gnome smiled. "My name is Chronormu, Poldaran. But call me Chromie."

"So how do I warrant a visit from a member of the Bronze Dragonflight?"

"I'm here same for the same reason your master has that fellow following you. I'm here to keep an eye on you. The attack in Kael'tha's court wasn't the first attack by these creatures and I'm sure it will not be the last."

"What are they?"

"I can't tell you. But they are incredibly dangerous. If you encounter another, you are faster than they are. Run. We can sense when they act and will come to your aid as soon as we can. Understand?"


"Good. Enjoy your evening, Poldaran. He'll be here soon," she said with a wink. "I'm glad we had this talk, and I'm certain I'll see you again." With that, Poldaran felt the world lurch and the gnome was gone.

Poldaran sat and thought over the gnome's words. It seemed odd to her how many people were watching over her. The spy her master had sent, the Bronze Dragonflight, and she was sure she had seen several of the other people in the inn before. She would not be surprised if more than half the people she saw in her day were told to watch over her. She shrugged to herself. It wasn't like she could do anything about it, so she called over the serving girl. "Another glass of tea, please." The blonde woman nodded.

Despite knowing she could not do anything about it, Poldaran continued thinking about what the woman said. It was a perplexing turn of events, to say the least. She wasn't sure how long she thought about it, but was startled when she felt a hand upon her shoulder. She looked up to see smiling Elven face.

"Hello, Poldaran," Nihlus said. "I'm surprised to see you here. Mind if my friends and I join you?" he asked, indicating a red haired dwarf man and a bald human.

She smiled at them. "Not at all," she said. Nihlus sat next to her and the others sat across from them. "So, who are your friends?"

"This is Derrick Miles," he said, indicating the human. "And the fat dwarf is Brann Steelbeard," he said with a wink.

"There's no fat on me bones. I'm nothing but muscle," the dwarf protested. "See how mean they are too me, lass?"

"If you're all muscle, your muscle has a lot of fat on it," Derrick laughed. "Probably all that beer."

The dwarf changed the subject, "So, you've introduced us, but who is your lovely friend, Nihlus?"

"Derrick, Brann, this is Poldaran of Wintermoon."

Brann's eyebrows raised. "Well, milady, Nihlus has told us of your beauty, but it seems his words do not do you justice. It is a pleasure to meet you." Poldaran blushed yet again. She was starting to think she needed to research a spell that would keep her from doing that.

The serving girl came to their table. "So gentlemen, what can I get for you?"

"Beer for me and the human," Brann said, "and some stout wine for the sissy-Elf."

"Can we get you something, Poldaran?" Nihlus asked her. "This round's on me."

"Another tea would be lovely."

"Tea, lass?" Brann asked. "We're celebrating here. Surely you would enjoy something a little stronger."

"Okay," she said. "If you're celebrating, I'll have a small glass of honey wine. But only the one. If I come back drunk, my master will never give me a night out again." The serving girl nodded and ran off to get their drinks. "So, what you celebrating?"

"Brann and Derrick were accepted to the Violet Guard today," Nihlus responded.

Poldaran smiled at the two. "Well congratulations! I hear it's a prestigious post."

"That's what they tell us," Derrick responded. "But I figure it's too easy of a job. I'll probably end up as fat as the Dwarf with all the time we'll sit around waiting for nothing to happen." Poldaran giggled.

They sat around and talked for hours. Poldaran wasn't sure when it happened, but at some point in the evening, she and Nihlus had started holding hands. She smiled to herself when she noticed. Eventually she laid her head on his shoulder. Brann noticed and looked at Derrick. "Alright, lad. It's time we be off. Our first posting is tomorrow and I for one want a few hours of sleep before we have to go." He turned to Nihlus. "So, Elf, think you can escort the lady home by yourself or think you need us to protect you?"

Nihlus looked at Poldaran, whose head was still on his shoulder. He smiled at her and she smiled back. "I think I can get her home safely. You two be off. I'll walk you home after I finish this drink," he said the last to Poldaran.

The two stood and left. Nihlus sipped at his drink. "I've had a lot of fun tonight," Poldaran said dreamily.

"Me too," Nihlus agreed. "Too bad the night has to end so soon."

"It doesn't have to end now," she said, lifting her head from his shoulder and looking at him mysteriously. He looked at her, confused. She smiled at him and stood. She then had a thought. "Oh, wait." She looked at the tradesman at the bar and spoke a word of power. The tradesman fainted. She turned back to Nihlus and smiled, taking his hand. He looked at her, still confused. She winked and led him upstairs to a room she had already purchased for the night.

** * **

"I don't know how to describe what I'm feeling," Poldaran said, sitting in her room speaking to her sisters. "It's an intense increase in sorrow, hate and fear but mostly it's anger. The rage within me comes and goes, and I fight it, but it's coming more often. So much rage. I just find myself wanting to destroy everything. I cannot stand it. I keep feeling like screaming." She looked at the flame of her bedside candle intently, pausing for a moment. "It's like when mom and dad died. I felt so helpless. I couldn't save them. All my training, all the magic I had learned, and I couldn't save them. I was so angry, at myself, at them for not saving themselves, at the Scourge..." she trailed off. "Eventually I received help from Thrall. He taught me to control my emotions. How to deal with the rage inside. For a time, I was in control. Then I entered the Cult as a spy, and..." she trailed off, blinking away a tear.

"What happened to you in the Cult?" Alexandrine asked.

"I made the wrong person angry. He was the leader of the sect I was hiding in. I defied his will. It was some kind of sacrifice ritual, I don't remember the details. The little girl looked at me with such fear in her eyes. So much fear. That's what I remember. I couldn't do it. I told him so. He ordered me to finish the ritual. Again, I stood defiant. So the leader and his two lieutenants tortured me."

"What did they do?" Sindara said, anger in her voice.

"They cut me. Marred my body. The scars on my back especially were painful and filled with dark magic to cause extreme pain. They r..." she trailed off. "I'm really not comfortable talking about it. The end result, though, is what is important. I was filled with such anger. I lost myself in it. When I returned to the sect after leaving the camp Yadier and the others had, I was a vessel of pure anger. I struck the first of the lieutenants with a spell that caused his body to explode. I then froze the leader in ice. The second lieutenant I bound into the air with chains of ice and sliced every piece of skin from his body. Supported in life by my magic, he took twelve hours to die. While he bled, I turned my attention to the leader.

"I went to a pile of corpses and took some maggots from them. I used the power of the arcane and combined it with the necromantic magics I'd learned to warp the maggots. I made them slightly larger, made them parasitic and gave them the ability to secrete substances that would sustain the life of their host. Then I removed the ice from the head of the leader. He was unable to move, but he could feel everything. Then I laid the maggots on his head. They burrowed in through his neck and down into his body and began to feed. He died many times, and I used my powers to resucitate him. He was consumed finally beyond my power to revive a week later. He screamed almost the entire time."

"What happened to the little girl?" Alexandrine asked.

"They made her watch when they tortured me," Poldaran said, fighting another tear. "She was so afraid," she whispered. "She begged me to let her go once I was released. I fled the camp without releasing her. When I returned, they had moved her back to a holding cell." She paused for a bit. "After I killed the leader, I took up his dagger and declared myself leader of the sect. I later learned that this was a fairly common practice, for a follower to kill the leader and declare themselves the new leader. It ensures that the people do not trust eachother. They want the Cult members to only see salvation in undeath. A week later, a Lich was dispatched after hearing what I had done, to see if I was worth leaving in power. When he came, he told me to show him my allegiance to the Scourge." Poldaran closed her eyes a moment. "I had the members of the sect gather up everyone in holding cells. I then bound everyone, both the captives and the Cultists in chains of ice." Poldaran's voice took a low tone, filled with her shame. "I took my knife, and I began slicing their throats.

"I started with the little girl." Alexandrine gasped at this. Sindara continued looking at Poldaran, unphased by her admission. "I bathed in their blood, absorbing the power of their dying breath. When I was done, I used my magic to tear apart their bodies and recombine them as I wished. When the spell was done, I presented to the Lich fifteen new fully empowered abominations." The two women with her looked startled. "When I was done, he laughed. Laughed. He congratulated me on what I had done and told me that I would be a great asset to the Cult, but that he didn't think I needed to be unsupervised in a sect. He felt I would best serve the Cult and the Scourge by entering the Scholomance and learning more, then working within the highest ranks of the Cult to help prepare weapons for the Scourge, both physical weapons and differing beasts."

"Pol...why?" Alexandrine gasped. "Especially the little girl. Why did you do that?"

"I was so angry. I wanted to find a way to kill the Cult, but I knew I needed to get higher in the Cult before I could do anything, so I took my chance to rise higher. And I was willing to do whatever it took."

"Weren't they surprised by the amount of magic you could control?" Sindara asked.

"Not really," Poldaran responded. "I was an Elf, as far as they knew... a disillusioned noblewoman. It is not unknown for them to have a lot of magical background so I was never questioned." She continued. "I gained a lot of information about the Cult, and continued sending what I could to Dalaran through Yadier when I could. Then I was discovered."

"How?" Alexandrine asked.

"Another reason I had entered the Cult was to find out more about what had happened with Uncle. I got an opportunity to get close to him, so I spoke to him. I was caught then and forced to flee."

"What did you do after that?" Sindara asked.

"I acted on the information I'd gained. I tore through the Cult like a plague. I killed hundreds. I moved through villages sympathetic to the Cult and tore the life from those within, destroying their bodies enough to keep them from being raised but leaving enough for their corpses to be recognizable. No one saw me coming, only seeing the aftermath of my visits." She began crying a little. "I didn't just kill the men. Or the women. I killed the children, even the extremely young, in their cribs while they slept. I wanted to make an example of them so that fear of me would keep anyone from aiding my enemy. I was a butcher.

"I finally found myself horrified by what I had done when I was in the middle of slaughtering another township. A little girl woke up as I was entering her room. She was afraid. So afraid. She had been told about me and what my coming meant. She begged me to spare her and began crying. I looked at the dagger in my hands and was horrified by what I had become. I fled. I found myself at a river within an hour trying to clean the blood from my hands, but it wouldn't come off. My skin had become stained by the nectar of my endeavors. I burned the blood from my hands and traveled to Ashenvale, hoping to seclude myself from society.

"After a few days in Ashenvale, a woman approached my camp. She was one of the most beautiful Night Elves you could ever meet. She sat with me and talked about why I was hiding. She then explained that I couldn't hide any longer, that the world needed me to be strong. When she had finished speaking, she disappeared. I hadn't sensed any magic, though there was something special about her. Her words made sense, so I returned to Dalaran, determined to control the anger within me."

"Did you?" Alexandrine asked.

"I've had some success, but it's always there, just under the surface. Waiting for me to give into the rage and become the butcher I was before. And since I've been infected, I've been having to fight it more and more. It's there and it wants out." Poldaran looked at them, terrified. "I'm not sure how much longer I can control it."

Edited, Sep 4th 2009 2:03am by Poldaran
#3 Sep 03 2009 at 11:41 PM Rating: Good
29,420 posts
The ships docked at Menethil Harbor, though not without some difficulty. Poldaran had been forced to speak with the captain of Menethil's defensive fleet and had threatened him with consequences from the Kirin Tor if they did not make way for the three Elven ships. Her tone had not left him room to argue, so they were escorted in.

Poldaran stood on the deck watching the sailors help everyone unload their stuff. She sensed someone behind her. "Hello, Yad. Ready to leave?"

"Pold...I'm sorry for how I've behaved the last few days. I can't imagine what you're going through right now. I was so upset as to what you had done, but you didn't need me adding to your stress."

"Thanks, old friend. It means a lot to me."

"So, what happens now?"

"We have to go to where the red dragons are and ask Alexstraza to..." she trailed off. They stood in silence for a moment.

"Does he know all of this?" Poldaran nodded. "How's he taking it?"

"He's a bit broken up about it. He was really looking forward to..." she stopped as Sharlot approached.

"Does who know about what?" Sharlot asked. "Sorry to eavesdrop, but shapeshifting has really improved my hearing."

"It's okay," Poldaran said. "Yadier just wanted to know if my betrothed knows about my impending death."

"Betrothed?" Sharlot asked, taken aback.

Poldaran smiled. "Yes. My betrothed. It's a political arrangement to help ties between Dalaran and Silvermoon."

"I don't understand."

"I can explain a little better," Yadier said. "Ever since Kael'thas lead the Sin'dorei to Outland and taught them to sate their hunger for magic with the magic of demons, Dalaran has been outraged by the act of feeding upon the magic of others, even demons. Words were said that couldn't be taken back. Ties were cut when the Sin'dorei joined the Horde. In time a high ranking Sin'dorei nobleman approached us offering a hand in peace and proposing that one of the members of the Kirin Tor marry his daughter to renew ties between the two nations. The Kirin Tor, which I had just joined as a member of the lower council, agreed and we began the process of selecting a candidate. We finally decided upon one when we found out that the nobleman's daughter had joined the newly formed Blood Knights as its first member. The problem of this is that they represented exactly what Dalaran found repugnant about the practices of the Sin'dorei.

"So the talks stalled until finally someone asked if the nobleman had any other children. He said he had a son, but his son was in Outland and would take some time to contact. I was sent out to Outland to find his son, and was fortunate to find him among the Scryers who had defected to the side of the Naaru in Shattrath. So I told him what was happening and asked if he'd consent to such an arrangement, and he agreed, on the condition that he had to have final approval of his bride. I contacted the Kirin Tor and they agreed to his condition, so he and I returned to Dalaran.

"At first, it was a disaster. Not a single female member of the Kirin Tor was acceptable to him. Then one day, Poldaran returned to Dalaran and was summoned before the Kirin Tor to give her report on the state of Outland and her recommendations about our involvement there. She entered the Kirin Tor meeting chamber carrying a couple large books that she'd compiled her reports into. He was sitting among the lower council waiting for the discussion he was to have with the upper council later concerning his unwillingness to choose someone." He chuckled. "She noticed him almost immediately and stared at him for a moment, as if he wasn't real. He smiled at her and her eyes grew wide. She dropped those books and was running towards him before anyone knew what was happening. He stood and she leapt at him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him soundly." Poldaran was completely red at this point, embarrassed. "Rhonin choked on the apple he was eating. His coughing was the only sound in the room." Yadier looked at Poldaran and chuckled. "When she had finished delivering that kiss, the young Elf smiled at the upper council and pointed at Poldaran. 'This one,' he said. 'I choose this one.' Then he put his arm around her and returned her kiss. I was considering having a conjurer make us a bucket of cold water to separate those two."

Sharlot looked at Poldaran. "So, I take it you knew the young man?" she teased.

"Nihlus," she said. "The love of my life. It didn't take much to convince me to agree to the politically arranged wedding."

"The only problem was that Poldaran wasn't a member of the Kirin Tor, but instead just a simple field agent," Yadier said. "We had a discussion about it among the Kirin Tor and the older nobleman, and it was decided she was acceptable. After all, it was only a matter of time before she was made a member."

A voice spoke from behind Poldaran. "I love that story," a woman said.

The smile that had crept onto Poldaran's face instantly vanished. "Chromie, what brings you here?"

"I'm sorry Poldaran, but the Scale of the Sands has one more mission for you."

"Chromie, I don't have that long left. I cannot travel to the Caverns of Time before the plague overtakes me."

"Well, you're the only one who can handle this mission. The Infinite has shielded another time period. You know you are the only one who can get passed these shields. We need you to stop them before it's too late."

"If I try to save the past, I'll **** the future. I can't," Poldaran said, her voice filled with sadness.

"I can give you an artifact that will slow the time around the plague, buying you several more weeks. And I don't need you to go to the Caverns, just to Ashenvale."

"That still won't give me enough time to get back."

"I'll speak to Alexstraza. I should be able to convince her to meet you in Ashenvale when your work is done. Will you go?"

"It seems I have no choice. I'll go. We'll travel by portal."

"You can't, unfortunately," Chromie said. "If you travel by portal, it'll interfere with the artifact I'm giving you and will make it stop working.

"Well, then we had best get going." Poldaran called over a shipmate. "Tell the captain we need to prepare to set sail. Our destination has changed."

"Yes, Archmage," the sailor responded.

** * **

He could sense her as she entered the room. She could see that. His muscles tensed as she walked through the door. "I know what you're thinking, but Tempest Keep was merely a setback. Did you honestly believe that I would trust the future to some blind, half Night Elf mongrel? Oh no no no, he was merely an instrument, a stepping stone to a much larger plan! And this time, you will not interfere!"

"Your highness, it doesn't have to be this way!" Poldaran pleaded. "You still have the chance to join the Naaru and defeat the Legion! Your people need you to lead the fight against the Scourge! Your friends need you to come back to us! Abandon this madness, old friend. Save your people!"

His voice was resigned, sad. "I don't have many friends left, Poldaran." He turned to face her. She was horrified by how bad he looked. The resurrection that the demon priestess had performed on him had left his body warped, twisted. He looked like a Wretched, like his magical addiction had warped his body. And more horrifying, a large crystal was sticking from his chest. "The choices I've made to save my people have alienated everyone I used to love. You're the only one who still talks to me, and it always seems like you're trying to stop me."

"There has to be another way, your Highness. Your people have found a way to save themselves in the Naaru. It's not too late for you to join them."

"It is...too late for me, Poldaran. I've committed myself too far. The Legion will take hold of this world, we cannot stop it. If you wish to stop me, you'll be forced to kill me."

"Please, old friend. Don't make it end this way. Together we can stop the Legion and save your people."

"Draw your blade, Poldaran. One way or another, consider this your final lesson." Poldaran drew her sword as Kael'thas Sunstrider drew his. He waved his hand and the room's giant door slammed shut. "Fight with all your strength, Poldaran! Do not hold back!" Flames engulfed his blade as he crossed the distance. Poldaran blocked with hers, the sound of the contact ringing throughout the room. "Time to make this interesting!" They pushed back and Kael'thas began casting a spell. "Vengeance burns!" he shouted. A phoenix spawned in a burst of flame across the room from her. It began charging and she countered with a summon of her own. Four small water elementals appeared and began attacking the phoenix. "Jaina taught you that, I take it?"

"Yes," Poldaran responded.

"Well played, let's see what else you can do!" He began throwing fireballs at her, which she dodged through use of short range teleportation blinks. "Well done! Let's see what else you can dodge! Felomin ashal!" Pillars of flame exploded into existance throughout the room. She managed to narrowly dodge these as well. "Excellent!"

Poldaran began her counterattack, throwing fireballs of her own at him. He warded against them, absorbing the damage. He began laughing. She changed tactics and began launching frostbolts at him. He warded against these as well. She again changed tactics and summoned knowledge from within, attacking him with a bolt of shadow. He still managed to ward this.

"I've seen every magic attack! I can ward against any spells you can launch at me, Poldaran! You can't hurt me with those!"

"Then let's try something new!" she said with a grin. She spoke a word of power and a ball of blue flame appeared in her hand.

"Well, that's something I've never seen before! Let's see what you can do with it!" Poldaran launched the bolt at him, followed by another, and another. She used the aim to lead him so that while he dodged the first two, he was struck with the third. It knocked him from his feet. "Impressive! What do you call it?"

"Frostfire," Poldaran said with a smile.

"Multiple schools of magic, makes it nearly impossible to defend against. I applaud your creativity, Poldaran. Let's see if you can stop your doom, though!" He surrounded himself with a barrier of electrical energy and began channeling a massive pyroblast.

Poldaran had heard of him doing this in the Battle of Tempest Keep, so she was prepared. She reached out with her gift and reworked the threads of the spell, turning it inside out on him. The electrical shock he received interrupted his channeling, causing the normally undodgeable pyroblast to slam into the ceiling at much weaker strength than he had intended.

"Excellent! Another creative solution!" he shouted. "But, I'll turn your world upside down!" he yelled with a sly grin.

Poldaran felt the magic begin to tense about the room. He was going to attempt to disorient her by reversing the gravity in the room so he could attack without repercussion. She had been waiting for this and unleashed a spell she had been holding ready. Everything froze as time within the room stopped.

Time was hers. She began rearranging the threads of magic just as she had with the shield, reversing them. When she was finished, she resumed the flow of time. He finished the cast, unaware of the sweeping but subtle changes she had made. The magic was reversed, and instead of reducing the gravity around him, it turned inward and increased the gravity within him. The effect was instant and he crumpled to the ground as the gravitic effects crushed his internal organs.

Poldaran rushed to his side. The crystal was keeping him alive, but it would not keep him alive long. "Well done, Poldaran," he said as he began to cough up blood.

Tears filled her eyes. "Why did it have to be this way?" she sobbed. "I wanted you to give me away at my wedding!"


"Nihlus," she said.

He smiled at her weakly. "You kids always did belong together. Even the woman in my dreams said so."

"What woman?"

"She was a Night Elf. Incredibly beautiful, though I'm having trouble remembering her face. All I really remember was a feeling of peace and the crescent moon pendant she wore."

"Elune!" Poldaran breathed.

"The Night Elf moon goddess? I am honored that she visited me. It was her that convinced me to bring Nihlus to Dalaran as part of my guard at the time, and she convinced me to have him train you with the blade." He coughed again. "Everything feels cold."

"You're dying, Kael."

"That's the first time you've ever called me that," he said with a smile. "I'm sorry, Poldaran. For everything I've done. I can see now that I was wrong. Thank you for saving me from myself." His breath became shallow for a moment. "There are some things I want you to have, Poldaran. Consider them early wedding presents." She fought back more tears. "In the other room, there's a cage. Inside is A'lar's last hatchling. Please, keep it safe."

"I will, old friend."

"There's also some crimson robes hanging in the room. I had meant for you to have them if you ever joined me in my pact with the Legion, but I can see that it was never to be."

"I'll wear them at my wedding, Kael."

"I'd like that. Finally, I had my finest blacksmith craft a spellbreaker double sword for you. Take it with my blessing." She hugged him close. "Goodbye, Poldaran," he said and died in her arms.

The tears she had been fighting came in a flood. Unfortunately, she did not have much time to grieve as she heard pounding on the large room's door. She drew her dagger, concluded her grim business and hurried into the back room. The small phoenix squawked at her. "I'm sorry, little friend," she said. "I cared about him too." She opened the cage. "Let's get out of here before the demons get in," she told it. It landed on her shoulder and she cast a spell of teleportation.

She arrived in Shattrath city, her robes tattered from battle and covered in blood. The guards stood to bar her way as she approached A'dal's pedestal. "Allow her to pass!" Arch-Wizard Khadgar ordered. The guards moved aside.

"It is done!" she said, her voice filled with sorrow. She tossed a brown sack on the ground at the base of the pedestal. As it landed, a head rolled out across the ground. The observers gasped. "His majesty, Kael'thas Sunstrider, is dead."

She felt a harmonious presence upon her mind. "I'm sorry it had to come to this, Poldaran," A'dal said in her mind.

"Me too," she replied and turned, leaving Shattrath City with a simple word of teleportation.

** * **
Poldaran was sitting in a large chair in the conference room sipping from a bowl of broth while staring out the window. Pasiran was sitting at the table reading a book on alchemy and Yadier was writing out some spell scrolls. Alexandrine and Sindara entered the room and came to sit by Poldaran.

"So, when were you planning to tell us?" Alexandrine asked with a mischievous grin.

"Tell you what?" Poldaran asked.

"Betrothed?" Alexandrine asked. "Were you even planning to invite us to the wedding?"

Poldaran smiled at her sister. "News travels fast, it seems." She listened for a moment. "Sharlot, no need to listen at the door. Come in and sit down." Sharlot entered the room. Poldaran laughed and turned back to her sister. "Yes, I was planning to tell you. But we had too much to do before then, so I didn't want to worry you about it until then. And then there was the proph..." she trailed off and looked a little depressed.

Alexandrine would have none of that. "So, is he cute?"

The smile returned to Poldaran's face. "You have no idea," she said, grinning.

"So, have you two know?" Alexandrine asked, blushing.

Poldaran's smile was mysterious. "A lady never tells."

Pasiran looked up from her book. "A teenage girl, however, is a different matter entirely," she said with a laugh. It was Poldaran's turn to blush. Alexandrine had never seen that color of red in a human before.

"You love him," Sindara said, changing the subject.

"Yes. Very much. We met when I was being trained by Prince Kael'thas in Elven magic and I fell for him almost immediately."

"Why would Prince Kael'thas train you? Our family wasn't particularly powerful in Dalaran and Prince Kael'thas didn't really care for Kel'thuzad, so he probably didn't convince him," Sindara asked, showing a grasp of Dalaranian politics that Poldaran was surprised by.

Yadier looked up from his work. "He probably thought it would be prudent to have an ally on the Council of Tiri-" he was cut off by a look from Poldaran. "Um, nevermind. I have no idea."

Sindara thought for a moment. "You're a member of the Council of Tirisfal?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Poldaran sighed. "What do you know of the Council of Tirisfal?"

"You'd be surprised what the warlock community knows about the workings of mage society. The Council of Tirisfal is an order created in secret to protect the societies from magical threats, particularly those from demons. Their greatest act was the creation of the Guardians."

"That's a fair amount more than the average person should know. Okay, but what I say here NEVER leaves this room, understand?" The rest nodded. "Yes, I'm a member of the Council of Tirisfal. In fact, my place on the Council has been held since the day what I am was discovered."

"What you are?" Alexandrine asked, confused.

"You know about the Guardians, right?"

"Only that they were empowered with great magic to protect the people of the world. I never knew about this Council that goes with them."

"Well, the first Guardian was created by a ritual that empowered him with power from the Sunwell as well as some of the gifts of those mages involved in the ritual as well." She looked out the window. "Along with the gift, the Guardian was meant to be given the knowledge of the wizards that empowered him. It was thought that the knowledge would grow and pass from one Guardian to the next so that each Guardian would have the tools he needed to fight off the threats that faced him." She turned back to the others. "Something went wrong with the ritual. Some kind of magical power spike struck as they finished. It was almost as if a ley line had moved over them as they had worked their spellcraft. The ritual, however, succeeded. Mostly."

"Mostly?" Sindara asked, her eyebrows raised.

"The power was transferred. The Guardian became the most powerful wizard in the world, capable of fending off the agents of the Legion without aid if necessary. The knowledge, however, was strangely missing. Fifteen years later, a young boy, the child of a wandcrafter in Dalaran, approached the Violet Citadel. He knew things that he couldn't have known. He requested an audience with one of the founders of the Council of Tirisfal by name." She coughed. "Within a few days, the Council was convened and the boy was brought before them. They discovered that the errant knowledge missing from the ritual had reached him. He was inducted into the Council as an advisor and given the best training to use the knowledge he had."

"Did they attempt to retrieve the knowledge?"

"No. After a few days of deliberation, they realized that separating the power and the knowledge would give them two weapons instead of one, and would protect them in the event that one of the two turned on them. The Bearer of the Wisdom, as they called him, proved to be very useful to the Council. He was able to help in cases where the power of the Guardian was unnecessary, helping them to fight the darkness on multiple fronts."

"How is a new Bearer of the Wisdom chosen?" Alexandrine asked.

"They aren't. You see, the Guardian is chosen by the Council, but the Wisdom, as they came to call the one with the gift, is chosen by the magic itself. After the current bearer dies, the Wisdom scatters searching the world for its next host. It can take some time. The last Wisdom was killed before the First War. It took years for it to find me, and more time for me to become old enough to access it."

"You accessed it to save me when I was little, didn't you?" Sindara asked.

"Yes, when the barn was burning, I heard a voice. It told me to relax and allow my gift to tell me what to do. I did so and was able to save you. I didn't know it at the time, but that voice was actually me, from the future. I'm still not sure at the ramifications of that, to be honest."

"What happened then?"

"Father and Kel'thuzad knew about the Council and had been instructed to be on the lookout for the new incarnation of the Wisdom and to report it immediately. I was put with a former member of the Council to train and his Highness offered to help train me in newer Elven magic, things the Wisdom wouldn't know." She coughed again. "After the Battle of Mount Hyjal, a member of the Council approached me and offered me my position among them. When I agreed to join them, I learned that since Aegwynn's defiance, the Council has been much weakened. It doesn't have the power it used to, though it still exerts influence upon the Kirin Tor, guiding the Violet Citadel's actions against the foes it feels are most important and placing its operatives at the forefront of these battles"

"That's how you were placed with us to focus on the fight with the Scourge," Yadier said.

"Yes, I was sent to fight them any way I could. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out well," she said, her face filled with sadness. "I'm sorry, I'm suddenly very tired. I think I should go get some rest."

** * **

"It is over. You are beaten."

"You have won...Maiev. But the nothing without the hunt. You...are nothing...without me." Illidan the Betrayer, Lord of Outland, collapsed to the ground, his blades crashing to the floor with him. Mankostalker bent down and took up the blades brandishing them and basking in their power.

Maiev's face was stricken. "He's right. I feel nothing. I am nothing. Farewell, champions." She disappeared into the shadows.

Poldaran walked over to the skull Illidan had been contemplating when they had approached. "The Skull of Gul'dan," she marveled. "There is much power in this," she said, picking it up and tying it to her belt with a bit of rope.

Akama, elder sage of the Ashtongue Deathsworn, approached the victorious heroes. "The Light will fill these dismal halls once again. I swear it," he said to Winsome, the group's leader. He took a key from Illidan's belt and gave it to one of his lieutenants. "Take these fine warriors to Illidan's armory and give them their choice of spoils. The Council kept power infused robes and armor in there as well, see to it that each of them is given one." His lieutenant nodded.

Poldaran approached the body. She noticed Illidan was clutching a small flower. She picked it up and looked at it. "What you have there?" Sharlot asked her.

"I think it belonged to Tyrande Whisperwind. There is a lot of Elune's power in it. You should take it. I think she would want its power put to good use."

"I'll do what I can with it. I'm going to go with them to the armory. You coming?"

"No, I have to speak with Akama and then I have work left to do here. Go ahead without me. And take Illidan's blindfold to Manko. He'll need it to wield the true power of the blades."

"I will. Good luck on whatever it is you have to do."

Poldaran thanked her and approached Akama. "Elder, may I speak with you?"

"Of course, Lady Poldaran. How may I assist you?"

"A'dal has asked me to do something. Will you gather the Sin'dorei still serving Illidan in the courtyard?"

"As you wish," he said.

Poldaran soon found herself on the steps of the temple where they had battled the massive Supremus. The courtyard was filled with hundreds of Blood Elves. Poldaran drew back her hood. "Sin'dorei!" she began. "I have come to bring you news!" She paused a moment for dramatic effect. "Illidan the Betrayer has been defeated!"

The crowd broke into angry protest. "What proof do you have?!" one of them yelled.

"I bear with me the Skull of Gul'dan. I was there as he fell. Your master is no more."

"We still serve King Kael'thas!" another member of the crowd shouted. The rest of the crowd agreed.

"Even considering his new masters?"

"What are you talking about?" one of the Sin'dorei asked as the crowd fell silent.

"Didn't you know? His Highness now serves the Burning Legion." Gasps filled the crowd. "I know, it's hard to believe. I could scarcely believe it myself, but I spoke with him and he told me in hopes of getting me to join him in allegiance to the Legion."

"Who are you to receive a personal invitation from our king?"

"My name is Poldaran of Wintermoon. I am his former student. He trained me during his time at Dalaran." A few of the people in the crowd recognized her name. She was beginning to win more credibility.

"What then would you have us do, if not serve our King?"

"I ask you to help fight the Legion. I believe His Highness will attempt to bring Kil'jaeden into our world. We have to stop him."

The crowd voiced their dissent. "We cannot fight our King," one of them shouted.

"I thought you might feel that way. Perhaps then, you would join the me in fighting another enemy?"

"What enemy would you have us fight?" one of the members of Illidan's demon hunters asked.

"The Scourge," Poldaran replied. "Dalaran has recently come into some information that the Scourge may be preparing for another major invasion of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. As an archmage of the Kirin Tor, I have been asked to seek allies against them."

The crowd again burst into chatter. "Quiet!" the demon hunter yelled. The crowd fell silent. He approached Poldaran and laid his blades at her feet. "Anu belore dela'na. My name is Viridiel Suntreader, Lady Poldaran. I pledge my blades to you and Dalaran's fight against the Scourge. I will defend my home and all our peoples against the vile dead. Selama ashal'anore."

"Sinu a'manore, friend Suntreader," she said, placing her hand on his shoulder. "Will he stand alone?" She asked the crowd. The crowd responded emphatically. All would join the fight against the Scourge. "Anar'alah belore!" Poldaran shouted. "We shall strike a great blow against the Scourge indeed!" She smiled. "The Naaru primary force will arrive soon to take the temple. Surrender to them and tell them you wish to join the fight against the Scourge. They will see to it that you are given passage to Dalaran. Archwizard Rhonin will give you instructions from there."

The crowd cheered and began chanting her name.
#4 Sep 03 2009 at 11:49 PM Rating: Good
29,420 posts
The mood of the companions was dark as they approached the part of the woods where Poldaran would need to open the temporal portal so she could perform her duty.

Xelsia had taken flight as they had approached the shore and had contacted the Cenarion Circle. They had gladly provided a carriage for Poldaran, whose condition had worsened, leaving her far too frail to travel astride a mount. Poldaran rode in the carriage with her younger sisters while the rest rode their mounts around them. No one spoke. Spirits were quite low. No one expected their friend to live more than a few days more, at most.

In truth, the situation was much more dire. Poldaran was losing the battle of wills within herself. She knew that she only had a day, maybe two, before she would be too weak to fight anymore. Then the darkness, the anger, would consume her again, never to let go. She had to see Alexstrasza soon, or all would be lost.

Because everyone was so quiet, it was easy to hear the great roar from some ways off. It was the sound of a dragon. Other sounds could soon be heard and it was quickly apparent that a dragon was fighting something. There was another roar. This one was different.

Envinyata and Sharlot exchanged worried glances. Yadier spoke what they were thinking. "It's coming from the clearing we're heading to. I think we might need to get there quickly. Yox, let's speed up the carriage." His brother nodded.

As they entered the clearing, they indeed saw two dragons fighting eachother. One was a veridian scaled member of the Green Flight. The other was a gray scaled member of the Infinite. The gray was larger and more experienced and had wounded its foe.

"You will not harm nature with your foul magic!"

"You cannot stop me, brother. Your flight's ways are of the old path. You will soon see the might of the Infinite!"

"I will stop you!" the green dragon roared defiantley.

"Oh?" the Infinite laughed, amused. "You and what army?"

Almost in response, an eight foot tall Felguard leapt through the air and slashed at the Infinite dragon. His hit was partially deflected by the beast's scales, but he did draw blood. "Your fate will be the same!" he shouted at the warlock commanding him.

"Enough with the posturing Jhuutom!" Sindara shouted. "We have a battle to fight!" The others followed her lead and joined in.

"Pitiful!" the Infinite dragon roared. "Do you think that I would not be prepared for such an occurance?" Twenty three Infinite Dragonkin materialized. "Come then, let us see who is the stronger!"

Entangled in combat with the dragon's minions, the companions were forced to watch helplessly as the Infinite and Green clashed again. The smaller dragon was much swifter, but all it took was a single mis-step to spell his doom. The larger dragon took the opening and bit into the neck of the other, killing it.

As it released its bite from the now dead foe, the Infinite was struck in the back of the head by a flying shield. "Come now, you giant lizard! Face me if you dare!" Yoxutre challenged.

"I have not dined on paladin in some time! I shall relish the feast!" the dragon roared back. Yoxutre planted his feet and bolstered himself with the Light as the great dragon swiped at him. He blocked the blow with his shield and returned the blow with his mace.

Sindara rushed to the fallen dragon's side. "Alex! Envi! Sharlot! I need you!" she called out. The three rushed to her. "Can he be resurrected?" she asked them, indicating the dragon.

"The Light cannot be used to resurrect a dragon," Alexandrine replied sadly. Envinyata shook her head as well.

"Something in this area has corrupted the power of nature," Sharlot responded. "I think it may be the other dragon. I won't be able to attempt a resurrection until he's gone."

Sindara cursed. "Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to be able to beat this one without his help," she said, defeated.

A voice spoke from behind them. "I might be able to do something," it said. They turned to see Poldaran behind them, looking frail and sickly. Her skin was very pale and her hair was dulled from the illness.

"You should be resting!" Alexandrine said, worried.

"I'll be fine, Alex. This will not require very much of my own magic. The exertion shouldn't be too great." She turned to her other sister. "Sin, I'm gonna need help." Sindara nodded. "The rest of you, go help distract that thing." They accepted her orders and rushed off.

Sindara listened as Poldaran gave directions, then began doing as she was told, drawing thirteen runic diagrams around the corpse and laying a Soul Shard within each. She was beginning to worry what it was Poldaran had in mind.

As Sindara finished, Poldaran cast a spell and floated onto the chest of the fallen dragon. She drew a small dagger from her belt and began chanting in a language Sindara found familiar, but couldn't quite figure out what language it was.

All too late, Sindara realized what Poldaran was doing. Poldaran cried out a final word and plunged the dagger into the dragon's chest, causing the soul shards to shatter, sending their demonic power into the great dragon. The beast's body began to shudder as did all the Infinite Dragonkin corpses nearby. Its skin rotted away, leaving only the bones and the membrane on its wings.

The skeletal dragon rose to its feet and roared. The Infinite dragon turned to face what it thought was only the other dragon reborn. Instead, it faced the glowing visage of a mighty frost wrym.

The fallen dragonkin suffered similar fates and arose as skeletons, immediately turning upon their former comrades. Poldaran turned to a bewildered Yadier, who was approaching her. "In case you're wondering, the skeletons are on our side," she said with a wicked grin.

The skeletal beasts made short work of their foes. The frost wyrm even encased the other dragon in ice before destroying it with a massive swipe of its claw.

Poldaran spoke another word of power and the undead fell to dust. Sindara approached her. "How did you...?" she asked, trailing off.

"As I said, I've trained at the Scholomance. I'm a fairly competent necromancer when the situation calls for it." Poldaran almost fell over, Sindara caught her. "Whoa, I'm kinda woozy. I think I should go lie down for a few minutes before opening a temporal portal. Wake me in half an hour. Meanwhile, have Yadier use the stone I gave him to ask Chromie about the status of Alexstrasza's arrival," she said, passing out in her sister's arms.

"Jhuutom!" Sindara called out.

"You cannot command me!" the demon responded as it approached her. Sindara glared at it for a moment. It cowered.

"Carry my sister to the carriage and place her inside on the bench. She needs a nap. Return to me when you are done with that task."

As the demon did Sindara's wishes, the others gathered around to discuss what they had just witnessed. It worried them.

** * **

Alexandrine sat by her sister's side. Poldaran had returned from the temporal portal looking drawn. She had been weeping and refused to tell anyone why. They decided each would take a turn keeping watch over her while she slept on a bed of soft furs.

It broke Alexandrine's heart to see her sister this way. There was no doubt to her anymore, Poldaran was dying. She didn't look like she would last beyond midday the next day, if that long. Poldaran had become rail thin, her cheeks were sunken and her skin was cold to the touch. Alexandrine could barely bear it, but she kept a strong disposition to help her sister.

It was shortly past midnight when Alexandrine woke with a start. She had not meant to fall asleep, but had. She looked over at Poldaran's bed, but her sister was not there! Alexandrine jumped to her feet and ran out of the tent. She saw a boot print leading away from the camp and followed it into the brush.

She came out of the woods to another clearing, one with a small glowing lake. On the shore of the water sat Poldaran. She was talking to a hooded woman. It might have only been Alexandrine's imagination, but it seemed that the other woman was glowing. Alexandrine decided that interrupting them might be inappropriate and stayed at the edge of the woods. Both women had their backs to her, so neither noticed Alexandrine.

Poldaran was crying. The hooded woman laid a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry child. No one should have to make the sacrifice you do. It's not fair to you. We should not have asked it of you, but it was the only way to give hope to your people. The only way to give them a chance to survive."

"I know, great one. I accept that I must make the sacrifice, but there was so much I still wanted to do. So much I wanted to see. So much I wanted to hear. Did you know that I've never heard an orchestra?"

"I never have either," the other woman confessed. "Is it really something so wonderful as to weep over?"

"It was something my father promised me once. We were going to go see one later that year. Then the Scourge came. Arthas appeared and his minions slaughtered my family. I should have been able to save them. If only I had done things differently, they might have survived!"

"There was nothing you could do, child. You were not ready then. You had learned all that others could teach you as quickly as you could, but even then you were not ready. Do not burden yourself with guilt for them. Take joy in the lives you've saved from the horrors of the Scourge. And those you saved from the Legion. Many thousands owe you their lives, Poldaran of Wintermoon. Some of them do not even know it. And even more will owe you their lives for what you do now, perhaps even the whole world and many worlds beyond."

"That does provide some comfort, great one. Thank you," Poldaran said, her voice almost a whisper. She smiled wanly at the figure next to her. "I think I'd like to spend some time alone here with nature, if that's okay with you," she sighed.

"I will go from here," the woman said, "but I will always be watching over you, my child." The woman shimmered and vanished.

Poldaran sat with her hands around her knees for a time, crying gently to herself. Alexandrine wanted to go to her, to comfort her, but somehow knew that the time wasn't right for it. After a time, Poldaran began to sing.

The song was vaguely familiar to Alexandrine, though she was certain she had never heard it before. The sadness and the beauty of both the song and Poldaran's voice was too much for Alexandrine. She began to weep.

When Poldaran had finished, she turned towards her sister, whom she had heard weeping. "Come sit with me, Alex," she called over. Alexandrine sat at her sister's side.

"That was a beautiful song, Pold," she said. "I seem to know it from somewhere, but I can't recall ever hearing it."

"I'd be surprised if you had heard it. It's an ancient song first sung by the Night Elves during the War of the Ancients, or possibly even before that. The words have changed a bit and now it is most commonly sung in Thalassian, but the meaning is still there."

"Why does it seem so familiar to me?"

Poldaran smiled, "All with Elven blood know the song, baby sister."

"Elven blood?"

"Yes, Alex. Mother's grandmother was an elf of Quel'thalas."


"Yes, baby sister. You're part elf," she said mischievously. She hugged Alexandrine impulsively. "Come, I need some sleep and could probably use some help getting back to the tent. Let's get going."

** * **

It was the sound of the laughter that woke her. She knew that even if she lived to be one hundred, she would never forget the sound of that laughter. It made her hair stand on end.

She could hear pain, anger, fear - madness - in the laughter. Alexandrine poked her head out of the tent and saw Sharlot running by. "What's going on?!" she shouted.

"Poldaran's gone mad! She's begun destroying things. Worse still, they first found her draining the life from one of the horses! She's begun killing the animals for sport!"

Alexandrine grabbed her shield and considered her armor. There was no time for putting it on the traditional way, but as a member of one of Dalaran's oldest families, she had other means available. She spoke a short spell and her armor appeared on her. Quickly she ran outside to see what was going on.

The scene was horrible. Several of her friends lay injured across what had become a battlefield. "You cannot stop me!" Poldaran shouted. "I will destroy the world!" Poldaran turned to face one of her former companions, though Alexandrine could not see which one. "You will show the proper respect!" she shouted, launching a blazing incineration at her foe. Alexandrine quickly reacted by cleansing her comrade of the burning effects.

Envinyata was trying to carry away one of the wounded. Poldaran turned to her and yelled, "Stick around!". A giant spine materialized and impaled the dwarf woman to a tree. Sharlot quickly reacted and removed the spine while healing Envinyata.

Sindara struck Poldaran with a curse to slow her casting. Poldaran laughed, responding, "You wish to kill me? You first!" She stepped into the shadows and reappeared next to Sindara, who she struck with a blast of poison. Yoxutre reacted quickly and cleansed the poison from Sindara.

Poldaran noticed the others had surrounded her and responded by casting burning spheres in a wide swath around herself. "I burn ya now!" she cackled. Shortly after, they spheres exploded, but everyone had fled their radius to safety.

Fennchurch ran over to Alexandrine, "We have to do something! If we don't, she'll destroy us!"

"Part of her is still in there. That's why she keeps calling out when she attacks. She wants us to know she's in there, and give us some warning. She learned these spells by watching our previous foes cast them. She's yelling out the same things they did because she knows we'll be able to react. I don't think that the darkness controlling her realizes the significance of what she's saying."

Poldaran targeted Alexandrine. "It'll be much colder in your grave!" she yelled.

Alexandrine, forewarned, clutched her Insignia of the Alliance and used it to dispel the icy tomb that the icebolt left upon her. "See what I mean?"

"How can we stop her without hurting her?"

"She's still partially human. If we perform exorcisms upon her, the good part might be unaffected by them. If we can weaken the darkness that is taking hold, we might be able to give her good side a chance to regain control."

"Sounds as good of a plan as any. I'll spread the word. Let's have the others distract her and the paladins attack."

Alexandrine coiled the power of the Light within herself and released it at her sister. "Begone foul darkness! Give me back my sister!"

Poldaran recoiled in pain, though her physical body was unharmed. "An interesting ploy, but it will not avail you!" she shouted at Alexandrine. "YOU ARE MARKED!"

Alexandrine felt her spiritual energy begin to burn. She gathered the Light's protection around her into a divine shield. "You will release my sister!" she yelled, unleashing another exorcism. Poldaran howled in pain.

The battle continued for another fifteen minutes before Alexandrine heard a great roar. "It's Alexstrasza!" Sindara yelled cheerfully.

The great dragon landed. An Elven man leapt from her back. "She is too weak," Alexstrasza said ruefully. "Even my fire cannot keep her from the clutches of the Lich King. I was too late."

"What if she can regain control?" Alexandrine pleaded. "Will it be safe then?"

"Perhaps, child. But it would be risky," the Life-Binder replied. "Do you have a plan?"

Alexandrine began relaying her idea, not noticing that the Elven man had approached Poldaran. "Come now, Pold. It's time for you to control yourself," he said softly.

Her face contorted in anger. "I will destroy you!" she shouted, releasing a ball of flame at him. It did not strike, but was instead dispersed by a magical shield that surrounded him moments afterwards. Poldaran had also cast the shield. He continued walking towards her. "Wither and rot!" Poldaran cried, almost desperately. The ground beneath his feet began to seethe with a caustic decay. Again, she also protected him from it by causing him to float a few feet off of the ground.

He crossed the remaining ground between them. She began chanting another spell and then stopped suddenly. She sighed wearily and collapsed into his arms. "Oh Nihlus!" she sobbed. "I was so scared! I thought I had lost control forever!"

"I knew that you were still there. You're far too strong to give up so easily." He hugged her tightly. "Come, we must hurry. Alexstrasza is here. I'm not sure how much longer you'll be able to retain control. If we don't act now, we may not get another chance." He motioned for Alexstrasza to approach.

"Are you ready, child?" Alexstrasza asked. Poldaran nodded. "Are you sure that this is what you want?"

"Better this than the alternative," Poldaran sobbed.

"If that is your choice, then everyone else stand clear." As everyone gave them some room, Poldaran forced herself to regain composure and clutched at her necklace, a good luck charm given to her by Kael'thas Sunstrider.

Alexstrasza took in a deep breath. "Goodbye," Poldaran said simply. The great dragon released the fire within, engulfing the mage. When the fire stopped, all that remained were ashes that blew off in the breeze.

Alexandrine wailed in despair.
#5 Sep 04 2009 at 12:00 AM Rating: Good
29,420 posts
he streets of Stormwind seemed deserted, and far too quiet. Only those who could help defend remained. The rest had been evacuated to Ironforge by order of King Wrynn when he had received word of a massive undead army coming towards Stormwind from the east. At least the women and children would be safe.

Still, Varian Wrynn was pensive. Not enough of his own soldiers remained to defend the city. They had all been deployed in various engagements throughout the land in the months before his return. Thankfully, the other kingdoms had come to his call for aid. A druid by the name of Sharlot had brought a force of several hundred Sentinels of Elune by ship to the harbor. Magni Bronzebeard and High Tinkerer Mekkatorque had sent a formidable force with the dwarf priestess Envinyata. The Draenei had sent members of the Hand of Argus and hundreds of their own troops with Bythia and Bangarang leading them.

At noon, the sky had darkened as the druid Xelsia descended from the sky with dozens of her fellow Druids of the Talon. Shortly after, a score of Dragonhawks descended upon the Harbor. The Sin'dorei that was their leader had kneeled before King Wrynn. "Your Majesty, I am Viridiel Suntreader. My Dragonhawk Riders and I have sworn an oath to Poldaran of Wintermoon and Dalaran. We received a message bidding us to offer you our aid this day."

"We welcome your aid, friend Suntreader. Bolvar Fordragon is coordinating our defenses. Please speak with him to find where you are most needed."

That had not been the end of the strangeness. Not long after that, dozens of Ogres had begun pouring out of the tower in the Mage Quarter. A fight with the City Guard had seemed imminent, but their leader had ordered all of them to sit and held up a white flag. Curious, King Wrynn himself rode over to speak with them.

"What is the meaning of this intrusion into my city?" he demanded.

The blue skinned two headed ogre looked at him and both heads spoke as one. "We are Chu'a'lor. We have come to the summons of Poldaran the Enlightened. She and her companions saved our people from the Gronn, the Legion and the Black Dragons in our home in Blade's Edge Mountains. Yesterday, we received a message that her people were also in danger and asking for our aid. So we have come. We bring a hundred of our brethren, though most wait to portal here until we have spoken with you."

"That's a formidable force." He paused. "I have heard of the people of Ogri'la and your search for enlightenment. We will gladly accept your aid."

"The Skyguard is also sending several squadrons of their people. They will take longer in coming because they had to come through the Dark Portal. Normal portals are too small for their mounts."

A messenger approached King Wrynn. A Sin'dorei fleet had been spotted approaching the harbor. He excused himself and rode out to see what was happening now.

Six Sin'dorei destroyers had entered the harbor. A Draenei stood at the railing of the one closest to the docks. "Hello, your Majesty!" He shouted. "I bring great news from the Isle of Quel'danas!" King Wrynn bid for him to approach. The ship pulled alongside the dock and the Draenei leapt across. "Kil'jaeden was defeated a few days ago, Your Majesty! This world will know freedom from his shadow for a time at least."

"That is great news indeed. But another shadow stretches over us."

"That is why we have come. The Shattered Sun Offensive has sent us to aid you in your upcoming battle with the Scourge."

"Your men and ships will be a great aid. We welcome you to Stormwind. I only wish it could have been under happier circumstances."

"It is of no moment. We knew the moment that blonde high elf arrived upon the Isle that one of the Hands of A'dal required our aid. We shall serve the people of Poldaran of Wintermoon gladly. We owe the slayer of Kael'thas Sunstrider a great debt."

He heard a horn blow from the other side of the city. "Please excuse me, friend. It seems we have more guests. Speak with Bolvar Fordragon. He is coordinating our forces."

He approached the gates of the city and climbed the stairs to the wall above them. Four score knights in silver armor and carrying varied banners sat astride massive chargers outside the main gate. "Who goes there?" he called.

A woman carrying a massive lochaber axe removed her helmet. Her hair was golden and her face beautiful. "I am Alexandrine of Wintermoon, Knight of the Silver Hand!" she called out. "I have brought these knights to aid in the defense of the city, your Majesty."

Wintermoon?! Varian Wrynn thought to himself. Could she be related to this Lady Poldaran everyone is talking about? "Open the gate," he ordered a guard. "These are friends."

** * **

Varian Wrynn had spoken to the woman, Alexandrine. She told him that she had information that all of his commanders should know before the battle began, so he had ordered them assembled in the war room in Stormwind Keep. The leader of each group coming to aid Stormwind was assembled, even the Ogre, Chu'a'lor, though no chair could be found that was big enough for him. "So, Lady Alexandrine, please tell us what's going on."

"I'm sorry friends, but I bring ill news. My sister, Poldaran, is dead." Everyone in the room gasped. "She chose to meet death in the fires of the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza rather than be taken by the plague of undeath that ravaged her body. She had been stabbed by Frostmourne itself, and the plague was beyond the healing capabilities at our disposal. Phoenix tears may have cured her, but she could find none." She paused a moment. It was still difficult for her to speak of it. "Her betrothed gave us her final instructions. She had told him of a great force of undead that would attack Stormwind. Nearly fifty thousand strong."

She let that sink in. "Further, it has been bolstered by another ten thousand taken from the force that the Lich King himself was leading in some other assault. He still has that many with him somewhere, though she did not say where they would attack. Another force of fifteen thousand is moving on Orgrimmar. We have not been able to get word to Lady Proudmoore so she could warn the Warchief. They are on their own."

"You're saying that we have to deal with a force of sixty thousand?" Bolvar Fordragon asked incredulously. "How could Poldaran expect us to stand against them? We have maybe eight thousand of our own people."

"My twin sister, Sindara, has hidden herself in the Cult of the Damned in the last few days and has gotten us some information. It seems like the bulk of the force is zombies and ghouls. They will fall easily. Only ten thousand or so of the soldiers are heavy units, mostly abominations though there are several hundred Frost Wyrms with them. They also have some of their meat wagons with them. Those siege engines could prove at least somewhat dangerous."

"I'm still not sure how we can hold against them."

An image of a being covered in silk wrappings appeared on the table. "I am sorry to intrude, but I am Nexus Prince Haramad of the Consortium. I would like to offer you the aid of a thousand ethereal soldiers in gratitude to the lovely young woman who aided us in the past."

King Wrynn spoke. "What woman?"

"Archmage Poldaran of Dalaran. She called forth the aid of her companions when we needed help against rogue ethereals all throughout Outland. Many of those companions are in the room with you now."

"Then we will gladly accept your aid. Our need for assistance is dire currently."

"So the elven woman who approached us said. I will have my lieutenants begin reinforcing the city's walls wil energy shields at once."

"Elven woman?"

"I think I can answer this, your Majesty," Alexandrine interceded. "There is an elven woman who has acted on Poldaran's behalf in times past. We believe she is a member of the Bronze Dragonflight, who Poldaran worked with extensively."

"Her hand is guiding everything it seems. We'll just have to hope she knew what she was doing," King Wrynn said.
** * **

It was nearly dusk when the Necropolis appeared in the sky. The image of the visage of Kel'thuzad appeared. "Tremble mortals and despair!" he shouted. "Death comes for you!" An unearthly roar came from Elwynn forest as thousands of dead poured out from it. "Surrender, and your deaths will be swift!"

"We will never surrender!" Bolvar Fordragon cried. "For the Alliance! For victory! For Azeroth!" he shouted as he motioned for the cannons to begin firing from the battlements. Thunderous roars echoed through the evening as the Scourge forces were destroyed by the massive numbers.

For hours, the Scourge forces assaulted the walls, trying to climb over. Abominations attempted to break through the gates but fell to the archers guarding them. The Skyguard and dragonhawk forces defended both the gates and the harbor from assault by massive frost wyrms. A fleet of undead battleships fought with the Sin'dorei fleet for control of the harbor.

Necromancers attempted to launch horrors upon the defenders, but mages and warlocks countered their attacks. The sky became bathed in sheets of darkness and multicolored lights as they did battle.

Less than an hour before dawn, the waves of undead abated. "I grow tired of this game!" Kel'thuzad's image shouted. "It is time for you to see the greatest of my daughter's creations. Grimfeast! Come!"

A massive abomination walked to the front of the ranks. "WHAT ME DO?" it yelled.

"Destroy the gate! Give us entry to the city!"


He charged the gate. The cannons fired upon him, but his skin easily deflected the blows. Yadier and several other mages launched spells upon him, but they had no effect. Kel'thuzad laughed. "You cannot destroy him! He is immune to magic and extremely resilient to physical attack!" he gloated.

Sharlot and Xelsia stood at either end of the gate and began infusing it with the power of nature. Roots grew into it to brace it against the attack. Splinters still flew during the first hit. Yoxutre reacted as well. He began blessing the gate to protect it from the massive blows.

Bythia and Yadier ran to Alexandrine's side. "Alex!" Bythia shouted. "You have to sing!"


"The prophecy! 'If she escapes her doom, the Dead will strike against the living. The Merciful shall sing a lament and the Daughter of the Damned shall take the field upon a pale horse, heralding the coming of Death to the battlefield.'"

"I don't understand."

"You're known as Alexandrine the Merciful, right?" Yadier asked.


"Poldaran wanted us to follow the prophecy! So sing a lament!"

"I don't know any laments."

Envinyata spoke, "Poldaran wouldna have left that to chance, lass. She would have taught it to you at some point. Try to remember!"

Alexandrine thought about it for a moment. And then it came to her. She knew what to sing. The field of battle grew completely quiet save the sounds of the abomination striking the gate and Alexandrine's voice, which somehow was able to be heard throughout the city and the forest.

"Anar'alah, Anar'alah belore.

The strength of the abomination's attacks wavered.

"Shindu fallah na
Shindu Sin'dorei
Shindu fallah na

The abominations attacks had stopped altogether and it just stood, looking confused.

"Anar'alah belore
Shindu Sin'dorei
Shindu fallah na
Anar'alah belore
Belore "

As Alexandrine concluded her song, the abomination sat down upon the road before the gates, looking confused. From deep in the woods, hoofbeats thundered upon the road, audible even from the gates.

"Grimfeast may have failed us," Kel'thuzad yelled. "But it is to no avail!" A ghostly, hooded figure upon a skeletal horse rode out to stand next to the abomination. "The Herald of Death has arrived! I would like everyone to meet my daughter, Poldaran!" Kel'thuzad shouted.

The woman threw back her hood. Her hair was now stark white but there was no mistaking. The shade before them was that of Poldaran.

Alexandrine gasped. "That's not possible!"

"Oh, but I assure you it is," Poldaran said. "Mother was pregnant before she married Silas Wintermoon. Their marriage was in fact a ploy to hide me from Kel'thuzad's enemies in Dalaran so that they could not use me against him. I was the one who gave Father the idea during my last trip through time."

"But why?"

"Today had to happen, dear sister. I am Death's Herald and now it is time that I show you all what that means!" She spoke a word of power and her ghostly form swelled until she towered above the gates of Stormwind. She began drawing runic symbols in the air.

Yoxutre turned to Sharlot. "She's just a ghost. She can't be too dangerous, can she?"

Sharlot looked at him darkly. "Shade. Of. Aran," she said. Yoxutre began muttering things best left unsaid.

Poldaran completed the runes and looked at her sister. Alexandrine wasn't sure, but she thought she saw the giant ghost wink at her. Poldaran spoke a word of power and unleashed the spell. White light gripped every remaining abomination save Grimfeast, a dozen frost wyrms and nearly five thousand ghouls from Kel'thuzad's forces. The Archlich's mouth was agape.

Poldaran spoke. "It was foolish of you to bring so many that I constructed, Father."

"What is the meaning of this?! You're supposed to be Death's Herald!"

"Oh, but I am, Father. Death is not happy with you. The Scourge seeks to evade his grasp by unnatural incantations. I am merely here to allow him to have that which is his." She paused a moment. "By my hand were you forced into this unholy state of undeath, and by my hand are you released! Go forth unto peaceful slumber and arise no more!" she shouted, her voice booming across the field. Every undead gripped by the light collapsed into dust. She looked wearied by the effort.

"You have failed!" Kel'thuzad gloated. "You do not have enough power to remain in this world much longer and we still have more than enough forces to destroy this city."

She smiled. "That's where you're wrong, Father. I have not failed." Alexandrine felt warmth spread through her body. "This was merely a diversion. A reason for you to take forces that the Lich King desperately needed to succeed at his goal. Even as we speak, he has failed. Can you not hear the song?"

"What song?"

"The Light is singing in triumph. It has happened."

"What has happened?"

"The Ashbringer has been cleansed! Ebon Hold has turned against the Lich King. He flees now from its triumphant song in the hands of Tirion Fordring! Three hundred stalwart members of the Argent Dawn have held Light's Hope Chapel and the Lich King flees!" She turned to her sister. "Alexandrine, I know you can hear the song. Sing it for my father. Let him hear it!"

Alexandrine raised her voice in a single clear note. Other paladins began singing with her, each raising a note of the song until the chorus roared across the field. The Scourge forces recoiled in pain. Grimfeast stood and began thrashing wildly.

"I will destroy this city for your insolence! Grimfeast, destroy the gate!" The abomination once again began his attack.

"Now that just won't do," Poldaran said. "So, Father, would you like to know the secret of Grimfeast's magic immunity?" He looked annoyed. "Come now, let me explain my brilliance to my dear father. He is protected by a prismatic aura. It changes to shield any incoming attacks. But it has a flaw. It cannot stop but one thing at a time. This normally isn't a problem because it changes so quickly that even two mages firing simultaneous attacks of different elements wouldn't scathe him due to the milliseconds difference in strike time. Only a spell from a single mage that combined two elements would work. I have developed such a spell, but do not have the power left to use it. Nor did I teach anyone else how to cast it. A pity.

"I had hoped you would bring it against the Legion. Their chaos magic also uses multiple elements at once. Would have torn him apart." She said this last while looking pointedly at someone in the ranks of the Cultists.

The figure nodded at her. "We all have our inner demons," Sindara said softly and was gripped by shadow as her body changed into that of a ten foot tall demon. He great wings took her above the crowd and she unleashed a barrage of Chaos Bolts upon the abomination. Each blast tore into it. Soon, it fell to ashes.

Kel'thuzad howled in anger. "Swarm them!" he shouted. "You still outnumber them by a large margin! Leave no survivors!" The remaining Scourge forces did as they were told. The city gates opened and the paladins, led by Bolvar Fordragon with Yoxutre, Fennchurch, Tylevic and Alexandrine at his sides, rode out.

"That was your final mistake this day, Father. You've just lost the entirety of your forces. You've always assumed that I was the only hero of any power with my companions. I've hidden their nature from you. A thousand undead shall fall to them before those four paladins even unsheathe their weapons. I can see Sharlot already raising the forces of nature to her bidding. Soon the entire forest will rise up to fight you. Envinyata has already begun to shatter the minds of your necromancers. Xelsia has taken to the harbor and will bring down a dozen of your Frost Wyrms by herself. Thanoris and Neldara have begun waging slaughtering your sailors in their ships. Yadier and Bythia have already begun putting your forces to the flame. Mankostalker and Archaeus have already snuck through your encampments and assassinated your commanders.

"It's over for you. Flee back to Northrend and take Naxxramas with you. My friends will be along to kill you shortly." The image vanished and the necropolis began flying away. She spoke to her friends in their heads. "The magic that allowed me to be here today is waning in power, my dear friends. Farewell. Stay strong. The Alliance will need you."

And then Poldaran of Wintermoon was gone forever.
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