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[BH] Storyline: A Lament of Soot and Shadows
#1

[Image: iaza18016291013300.jpg]

When the orcs put the woods of Quel'thalas to the torch, it was known as a desecration of the gravest sort. Greenskinned savages had set their wondrous glades ablaze - they would be punished for their crimes.

When the elves did the same just over a decade later, it was vengeful spite and grim necessity. The Scourge had dealt a crushing victory against the High Kingdom - they would not be allowed to savour it.

Even today, when a particularly stiff breeze rakes its claws through the brittle branches of those blackened woods, the softest rains of pale ash seem to fall through the glades. When the wan light of the sun presses its tentative advance through the unnatural darkness of its skies, the shadows cast by its milky glow seem deeper and darker than they have any real right to be.

You can set a forest ablaze for so many reasons, but the end result is the same.

Only the fire itself needs no justification. It simply spreads and consumes and devours until there's nothing left to eat. Something similar could be said of the Scourge.

They linger now, without a master, without an aim, without a force to drive them. They are weapons forged to fight a war they lost. Something similar could be said of the Forsaken.

They forged themselves to fight that war - but they won. And for what?

You can fight a war for so many reasons, but the end result is the same.


[Image: iaza18016271804300.jpg]

"My brothers, the faithless lament: What makes us any different to the shamblers on the Dead Scar?

And we will tell them: She who saved us, and the Shadow which sustains us.
"

[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]
[Image: iaza18016270122200.gif]

Long-Term Objectives:
To strengthen the brotherly bonds between elfkind and our Forsaken people, and to remind them of the debts they owe us;
to honour the life and memory of Our Lady of Darkness through aiding the kingdom She served and the rangers She once led;
to cull the lingering Scourge population and make sallies against the Dead Scar;
and to address other threats within their High Kingdom's borders so that rebuilding and resettlement may eventually take place.


Short-Term Objectives:

To reach Tranquilien; [Complete]
To bolster the defences of Tranquilien; [Incomplete]
to establish and secure a functional base camp on the outskirts of the town; [In Progress]
to initiate a systematic culling of those Scourgelings in the town's vicinity;
[Incomplete]
and to scout out the route towards Windrunner Spire and Village. [Incomplete]

Quote:Current Location: Tranquilien
Current Strength: Nearly one full score of Forsaken souls
Supply Status: Good
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#2
A Missive Borne By Bat Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

Our force is currently based in the Thalassian Pass just outside the old Elfgate. Our numbers are great enough and our wagons are carrying enough cargo that we warrant a thorough customs inspection.

Soon we will be cleared, however, and soon we will proceed north to Tranquilien - a journey we intend to make in one fell swoop without halt.

Those Reapers not currently engaged with us who wish to partake in this expedition are advised to take a bat to the Elfgate with all due haste, where they will be able to meet with us before we depart.

Be wary. Although the reinforcements of Her Majesty's Deathguard has done much to make these lands safe to travel, the roads are largely unwatched, and hostile wildlife and Scourge stragglers remain in force.

These Scougelings are without direction and will present no significant threat to our skilled warriors, but a moment's lapse has damned many a soul to the oblivion of true death. Remain vigilant.

Strength In Shadow
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#3
A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

Our force has arrived at Tranquilien in short order with all supplies intact, although the journey was not without complication.

We encountered multiple Scourgelings en route which exhibited particularly unusual behaviour, not the least of which was a blood elven woman who was apparently infected with a strain of the Plague, something which was believed to be dormant in the Ghostlands for some years.

The skeletal warriors we faced were not the disorganised, rusty beasts one will typically associate with the Scourge. They were formerly human (unusual, considering their location) and well-equipped with matching sets of plate and mail, carrying themselves like soldiers rather than shamblers.

On several occasions did these Scourge minions speak coherent Common to us, although they did so in a unusual voice that was identical in each of them. When they spoke, putrid green mist of unholy energy seemed to seep from them, as though they were suddenly empowered by whatever force animated them. As some of you may recall, the Harvest has faced a foe who used these tactics before.

Keep an eye out for similar such behaviour in any Scourgelings we encounter in the future. The Blood Knight who traveled with us reported that there were unusually few of them present in the country around us.

In the meantime, we have begun setting up a base camp in the old graveyard of Tranquilien, since fallen into disuse after its previous occupants were risen. Further updates will be documented as progress occurs.

Nothing is fated but death.
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#4
A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

Our camp is fully established in the disused graveyard of Tranquilien, but it is exposed to the elements. At present, the Scourge on the Scar are fully capable of shambling uphill and saying hello. This is an unacceptable circumstance and will be addressed very firmly.

It has come to my attention in the initial inventory of our supplies that our carriages may have been tampered with on the road, presumably while we were engaged in combat with Scourgeling forces and our attention was elsewhere.

Our medical supplies - Ichor and Essence of Undeath for transfusions, needles and Shadoweave thread, poultices and potions of many varieties - have been significantly depleted over the course of our journey. Suspiciously so. Our stocks of alchemists' fire and other chemical weapons are similarly conspicuous in their dwindling levels.

Moreover, we brought with us a purple-flamed Shadow Brazier and a Shadowoven banner of Lordaeron from Seline's Chapel to focus our prayers and meditations. These may have also been stolen, and if they have, it is a grave insult to our Faith, our kingdom, and Our Lady of Darkness. Retrieval of these sacred icons, and other supplies, is of paramount importance to our efforts here in the Ghostlands.

But there are other matters. Our stocks cannot be tampered with again. You are encouraged to mount foraging runs into the surrounding woodland. Keep an eye out for intact trees that haven't been rotted away into nothing - break them into pieces and haul them back to the camp. There, we can fashion their bark into wooden stakes to build a defensive palisade.

We must obstruct any further attempts to interfere with our stocks and our efforts before any action can be taken.

At the end of the week, another full inspection of our supplies and our strength in manpower will be taken. Provided we are not found wanting, we can begin our operations proper in the Ghostlands.

Fail in this and we fail our Lady.

Strong As Many, Stronger As One.

Immediate Tasks (in order of precedence)
Fortify the camp against Scourge and local wildlife - [COMPLETE]
- Gather timber and other raw materials for fortification
- Carve and sharpen stakes
- Build a palisade around the eastern and northern perimeters of our camp

- (Optional: Dig hidden ditches and plant booby traps up the length of the hillside between our camp and the Dead Scar)

Investigate our stolen supplies - [In Progress]
- Retrace steps of initial journey
- Investigate the Andilien Estate and the Howling Ziggurat
- Remain watchful for any clues
Bolster our inventories - [In Progress]
- Launch a salvage mission into the valley southeast of Tranquilien to recover siege equipment and associated supplies
- Ask around town if any supplies can be exchanged for services rendered
- (Optional: Salvage from the Andilien Estate and the Howling Ziggurat)

Make contact with the locals - [In Progress]
- Confer with local Farstriders, Blood Knights and Deathguard personnel to arrange patrol routes and establish field priorities
- Seek out a local cleric to help construct a shrine within our camp
- (Optional: Seek out Lady Reigen Sunfire once again)
- (Optional: Investigate the Eranu'belore family)

----

Spoiler:
You guys are free to launch these missions of your own accord if you need to spiceu p idle RP, but I would suggest you leave the stuff that involves talking to locals for me or Cara to puppet, and I would appreciate it if you allowed me to DM the Andilien Estate and Howling Ziggurat events later this week. Cheers.
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#5
- Gather timber and other raw materials for fortification

Lumber efforts are underway!
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#6
(12-10-2012, 01:00 PM)Delta Wrote: - Gather timber and other raw materials for fortification

Lumber efforts are underway!

He flexed his claws experimentally around the leather-wrapped handle of the woodaxe, and he was surprised by how new it felt in his hand, how unusual. He'd swung axes of all kinds in battle before, but holding this one in particular seemed like a strange new frontier. He peered down at the blade for a moment, rolled his wrist, and found himself annotating it in his mind. The weight was all wrong. It should have been heavier on the head. The haft was too short.

He thought holding such a thing would come to him again easily, like pulling on a comfy old pair of boots. Once upon a time, an axe just like this one had fitted so perfectly into his hand, grooves on the handle pressing like familiar warmth into his palm. After all, a man from Andorhal, a man once much like him, had once made his living swinging such axes, chopping such logs . . .

This was just another little reminder that he was nothing like that man. That man was dead. The only axe he knew was the one he'd used to kill men.

The Executor split the log with a decisive downwards chop and passed the halves further down the line to be sharpened. The sooner he could put this damn thing down, the better.


[Image: k51l6s.jpg]

The fortification of the camp is underway.
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#7
A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

We have largely completed the construction of the palisade on the eastern perimeter of our camp and are beginning work on the northern edge. Progress has been impressive, but it has not stepped much further from our camp. The citizens of Tranquilien have seen us busy, that much is true - but we do little to accomplish our goals.

This day, an Aspirant (who will not be named to preserve his dignity) was attacked by a lone shambler from the Scar. This solitary creature was able to access our camp unimpeded and, in frank terms, bite a chunk out of our brother's face. Only afterwards was it put down, and this damage was done in full view of several elven spectators, one of which - the Executor would like to stress - was a Ranger-Captain in Her Majesty's direct service.

This was allowed to occur due to two failures on the Aspirant's part to adhere to our Code of Conduct, specifically the Eleventh and Sixteenth Mandates therein:

Mandate Eleven Wrote:A Reaper of the Black Harvest is to ensure that he remains properly equipped to carry out his duties at all times.

Mandate Sixteen Wrote:A Reaper of the Black Harvest must never falter in seeking to strengthen and better himself. Always train, practice and hone oneself. To cease to do so is to stagnate, and to stagnate is to be little better than the mindless thralls we once were. Idling is tantamount to waiting for the rot to claim us.

It seems clear to the Executor that these shortcomings do nothing for our reputation, nor does it reflect fondly upon our strength as an organisation. Two measures have thus been enacted:

All Reapers of the Black Harvest are briskly reminded that arms and armour are not in short supply. This has been the case since the summer - should any Reaper find his personal armoury lacking, he is encouraged to contact Quartermaster Flint regarding requisitions. Failing that, he is informed that all Reapers will from this point onwards be subject to unannounced gear inspections to ensure our equipment remains up to Her Majesty's deserving standard.

Effective immediately, officers of our Black Harvest are encouraged to keep vigilant eyes upon the performance of all our brothers and sisters. Should any be found even remotely wanting, they will be swiftly retrained under inquisitorial supervision by nominated brethren. Persistent inadequacies in their methods will be corrected with the firmest of discipline, to the fullest extent of inquisitorial remit.

Fortification of the camp must be completed before the end of the week. After this, we will move swiftly to expand our supplies through retrieval of stolen property and acquisition of new goods through our contacts.

Ranger-Captain Shadowstrike has agreed to put us in touch with local Farstriders to coordinate joint patrols and scouting efforts. In the meantime, all Reapers are reminded of our Fourth Mandate:

Mandate Four Wrote:A Reaper of the Black Harvest is to understand that he acts as a representative of the Forsaken people and a champion of our cause. Misconduct on your part reflects poorly on all Reapers - indeed, all Forsaken. We must hold ourselves to a high standard of behaviour at all times.

Do Her proud, boys and girls.

Lordaeron prevails.
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#8
[Image: 670g0z.jpg]

Fortification complete.

A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

The first step in fortifying our camp is complete. We have constructed a full-perimeter palisade of outwards-facing stakes that will present a challenge to any lesser Scourgeling seeking to climb it. Provided they don't simply walk uphill on the cobbled road towards Tranquilien, their access to our camp is impeded.

However, such a crude defence is only effective against the most base of Scourge units. It will not defend against climbing geists and it will only slow ghouls, nor will intangible spectral foes be impeded by it. We are still open to attack from above by gargoyles and plaguebats and from below by crypt fiends. In time, we shall upgrade our defences even further, but our immediate concern lies in our supplies, and this week we will prioritise the acquisition and retrieval of new and missing goods.

Deathguard Allen Blackwell has proposed to lead a mission into the valley southeast of Tranquilien to retrieve siege equipment from the Scourge. We have begun talks with the locals to bolster our stocks, and we have entered discussions with a local Blood Knight Master to obtain casks of blessed water for use against the Scourge.

The Executor will be personally spearheading our expedition to the Howling Ziggurat tomorrow at the twelfth hour of the morning. All Reapers willing and able to assist should be present and accounted for at the base camp at half past the eleventh hour of the same morning in full arms and armour, ready for a mission brief.

Expect advance scouting to take place later this morning.


Fear Is For the Enemy

((1pm Server, Wednesday gathering at 12:30. Expect combat and investigation.))
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#9
A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

Preliminary scouting of the area around the Howling Ziggurat has taken place, during one such outing we attacked and ransacked a small Scourge encampment where we recovered some of our missing supplies of Essence of Undeath and bandages.

We successfully captured the necromancer heading the camp alive, a human woman approximately in her forties who appears to be midway through the transition into undeath that particularly experienced or expedient necromancers undergo. She has been out cold for days after being tranquilised, but is currently restrained in the Inquisitors' Tent and will be interrogated as soon as she is awake.

Our own scouting endeavours have concluded that the land directly around to the Howling Ziggurat is largely devoid of the Scourge presence that marks the surrounding area, meaning our path of approach is largely unguarded. However, this does not corroborate with the most recent reports of the Farstriders and Deathguard of Tranquilien, who reported that the Scourge population in the area was at its usual level.

It is possible that the Scourge have migrated from the area, or it is possible there is some kind of trap in store. Nonetheless, we will be checking inside the Ziggurat for any more supplies and any more clues into the nature of the Scourge we face.

We depart from Tranquilien at the first hour of the afternoon, on the minute.

Lordaeron Is Eternal
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#10
A Notice Wrote:[Image: iaza18016218828700.gif]

Concerning all Reapers of the Black Harvest currently engaged in our Thalassian expedition:

Our excursion and assault on the Howling Ziggurat has met an inconclusive end. We recovered no supplies, but we did manage to destroy a vat of what a Scourge necromancer described as a modified strain of the Plague. This may correlate with the ill elven woman we encountered on our way up to Tranquilien who found herself transforming into a ghoul, and we should be wary for any more such production facilities.

Moreover, we have shed some light on the problematic nature of the Scourge activities we've encountered so far. By the best of our understanding, it appears that there are two consolidated factions of former Scourge at work, competing for the influence and territory that they possessed while under the Bastard Prince's command in a kind of civil war. The nerubians we have been encountering in great numbers appear to be fighting for one side, while the skeletons and other footsoldiers, with their strange manner of communicating, seem to be controlled by another.

While we were engaged in the ziggurat, these nerubians tunnelled up near the vicinity of our camp near a sinkhole and vandalised it. They defaced the banner of our Lady of Darkness and tossed some of our supplies around, but nothing seems to have been stolen. It appears to have been some kind of warning more than anything else - a warning we have heeded. Standing guard duty around the camp will be doubled henceforth.

Ranger-Captain Armalia Shadowstrike, who visited previously, is not impressed with our progress. We will be doing better, and as of next week, we will be proceeding to the next phase of our plans here in the Ghostlands.

Form up at the camp tomorrow at the twelfth hour of the morning. The Executor will be addressing some standing issues and informing our Reapers of changes to our priorities and tactics. Attendance is strongly advised.

Her Eyes Are Upon Us

(Tomorrow at 12PM ST! Guiiillld meeeetiiiinnnng!)
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