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[BH] Storyline: For Lordaeron!

[Image: Forsaken_icon_by_Reginkunnr.jpg]

Jared Richter stood firm and immobile atop a hill overlooking the Sepulcher, and behind him billowed a sable banner, whipping in the wind. His back to the settlement, he looked out across Silverpine's dark canopy, interrupted by the dips and rises of valleys and hills, the lakes and ponds, the eroded cobbled scar that bisected the region with a roadway. Lifting a dented old officer's spyglass to an eyeless socket, he peered through the landscape, picking out little details and irregularities that he'd familiarised himself with.

An indistinct violet shimmer that hovered amongst the treetops. Ambermill.

Thatched roofs and wooden walls that rose up in a clearing. Pyrewood.

The great spires and battlements that crested the hill above it. Shadowfang.

He glanced back to the soldiers, dead men and women all, who were assembled behind him. No. They could not breach such fortifications. They could not take such foes. They could not shoulder such burdens . . . but he would put them to use nonetheless.

He turned to them on one heel and as he did so, he kicked open the cage that sat beside him. It tumbled down the hill from the force of the blow and from it emerged a half-dozen Apothecarium messenger bats, surgically conditioned with destinations and obedience in mind, and after a long moment's twitching and flailing they each took flight, making off in separate directions. In each of their claws glinted the brass sheaths of rolled-up scrolls, catching the dim rays Silverpine's pale morning sun that so desperately pushed through the greyness above.

To as far north as Tranquilien and as far south as Hammerfall, each of these bats bore a missive:

[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]
Sons and daughters of Lordaeron! Of Quel'thalas! Brothers and sisters of the Horde!

The small-minded loyalists of Dalaran, the fools who chose to remain in their ruined lands while their great city hangs high in the skies of Northrend, make to move against us. They seek to seize mines and other sites that were once inhabited by the worgen sons of Arugal, or the wretched servants of the Bastard Prince, and strip from them the resources that the previous occupants had neither the means to gather nor the need to. Deposits of iron and tin, stocks of lumber and other wealths have gone untouched for years, and now these filthy magi seek to steal them away while our armies remain occupied in the north. And they think their efforts have gone unnoticed.

We will show them the error of their ways.

They cling desperately to the memory of an Alliance that has forgotten them. A 'Grand' Alliance that Lordaeron founded, and now they seek to strike at this very nation, to wrest territory and wealth from our rightful Queen. This insolence will not be tolerated. We will show them what it means to betray old friends through steel and fire and reclaim what is rightfully Lordaeron's for the Forsaken and for the Horde.

Report to the Sepulcher on the twenty-ninth day of the month, noon hour. There we will assemble. There we will make our move.

For Lordaeron! For the Forsaken! For the Horde!
-J. J. Richter
Executor of the Black Harvest

. . . the wording was somewhat contrived, he considered in retrospect. He certainly didn't intend to fight for the Horde, but if he could exploit their manpower, that'd be one less Forsaken at risk. Watching the bats disappear into the horizon, he looked towards the banner waving behind him.

The stylised visage of the Dark Lady peered down at him, cold, calculating, merciless. He peered back up at her. She expected only the best from her soldiers, and he would meet the true death before he failed her.

He balled his fists as he turned back to give his assembled Harvesters an appraising glance. They would meet the true death before they failed her.

He found himself grinning at the thought.

"Listen up!"


The introductory event to the Black Harvest's next chain, Mineshaft Massacre, kicks off on Tuesday the 29th of May at 12pm ST. It is open to all Hordies, with preference for Forsaken and DKs. Expect combat, puzzles, and magical mayhem!

If you have a character who wishes to join the Harvest, I suggest you bring them along. Cheers!
Perfect time for me to get active again, after many weekends of work and studies. I'll show up!
- Sir, we are surrounded!
- Excelent, then we can attack in every direction!

[Image: 1340412752959.gif]
With mind to accommodating people's schedules and considering the likelihood that the server won't even be up at our scheduled time, the event is moving to tomorrow at 12:00 server. Hope that's cool with everyone!
(05-27-2012, 05:39 AM)Sol Wrote: The introductory event...kicks off on Monday the 29th of May at 12pm ST.

Is this like Harry Potter (Platform 9 3/4) but Forsaken can go to fake dates? ;)

Also... I see you have hordelets only...how about orcgnomes?
[Image: 0f084241-4e8f-4ebc-9f46-e942e4c544a8_zps7e42bd8f.jpg]
Thanks Cara, fixed that. :B

Orcgnomes will be put to the sword like the dogs they are! (Bring Astor. ;3)
Forming a small force of Forsaken (and one orc who answered the call to arms), the Harvest moved out shortly after noon, making progress swiftly towards the occupied mineshaft with intent to reclaim it and its resources for Lordaeron. There, after dispatching a multitude of Dalarani sentries and magi outside, they fought their way into the mine, notably finding a lack of actual mining equipment and a strange old man simply standing around outside who abruptly disappeared.

Forcing their way further into the mine through bloody combat, they eventually came across a heavily defended and fortified position within the mine within which several wizards were channelling to create a large portal to escape, overseen by the very same old man the Harvest had seen outside. Just as the Harvest had finished off their remaining guards, however, the wizards and the old man managed to escape through this portal, seemingly leaving the mine abandoned.

And then the portal's real purpose became clear. They were not simply trying to flee and leaving their claimed territory to the Forsaken - no, these loyalists were summoning Alliance reinforcements.

And not just any reinforcements. Today, the Harvest faced off with a squad of elite Seventh Legionnaires, fresh from Northrend and working with these Dalarani Alliance loyalists. A difficult and violent battle ensued, and the tide only began to turn when one of their number, a kaldorei sentinel, was slain, soon to be raised by a necromancer aligned with the Harvest. With this additional help, combined with simple force of attrition and the Forsaken's ability to withstand the most horrendous wounds, the squad was finished off after a protracted struggle.

The Seventh Legion's presence in Silverpine, however limited it was, does not bode well in the slightest for the Forsaken, and nor do these events shine favourably upon the supposed ceasefire between the Alliance and the Horde. Regardless, the treacherous magi of Dalaran learned the folly of trying to steal Lordaeronian resources. Considerable spoils of war were claimed for the Harvest and Forsaken miners are to move into the shaft to claim its deposits of tin and iron within the next few weeks.

Now the Harvest's eyes turn towards further covert aggression from the magi of Ambermill, and plans for a counterattack are well underway.

Well, it went down a hit. :3 Thanks to everyone who came and doublespecial thanks to Kril for helping me run the event with his mad spawning skillz. Kindly post feedback here or in my thread!

The next event, A Walk in the Woods, will be held some point over this weekend.
To reiterate, A Walk in the Woods is being held at 12:00ST server on Sunday 3rd! Be there or be . . . a breather. Yeah.
Horray, you just made my sunday!
- Sir, we are surrounded!
- Excelent, then we can attack in every direction!

[Image: 1340412752959.gif]
Another missive is borne by bat to every Horde settlement north of the Thandol Span, bearing the same macabre seal, the same blocky handwriting and the same signature.

[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]
Sons and daughters of Lordaeron! Of Quel'thalas! Brothers and sisters of the Horde!

Our actions against the Dalarani on the twenty-ninth of the previous month were supremely successful. A mine full of tin and iron deposits has been seized for the Forsaken and we have distributed the spoils of war amongst ourselves. But with this victory came grim tidings. The magi appear to have the limited support of the Alliance's Seventh Legion.

It is my summation that the Dalarani mean to be the tip of the spear in a renewed Alliance offensive against Lordaeron. We must sabotage these efforts before they bear any fruit.

Alleged 'research camps' of these magi are being proliferated through the Silverpine countryside in such numbers that have not been seen since the immediate aftermath of the War of Liberation the Scourge Civil War following the Fall of Lordaeron. Suffice it to say we suspect that their intentions are not entirely academic.

Gather outside the Sepulcher at midday on the third of the new month. We have magi to kill.

For Lordaeron! For the Forsaken! For the Horde!
-J. J. Richter
Executor of the Black Harvest

(Two and a half hours, people. All Hordies welcome!)
Departing from the Sepulcher with a twenty-strong force of Forsaken and Horde auxiliaries, the Harvest made for an abandoned farmstead previously haunted by packs of Arugal's worgen that had been converted into a covert research camp of some description by the Dalarani. Dividing into a two-pronged assault - one team approaching the stead through the hills with the element of surprise while the other stormed their way up the footpath - made for a challenging battle on two fronts, including multiple standoffs in which the magi tried to bar the Forsaken passage by erecting a barricade of ice while the other team struggling with a pair of young Dalarani, apparently lovers, who fought with suicidal valour.

Eventually besting these foes and rendezvousing in the field, the combined forces approached the barn which appeared to be the epicentre of the studies going on in the farm. But their approaches had taken too long. The magi seemed to have escaped with their research, and in their place they had left nothing but an expansive summoning circle - a trap. Sure enough, a Fire Revenant torn from the Elemental Planes exploded out of the barn and started laying waste to the Harvest force, carving the tauren death knight juggernaut known as Hoofrot easily in twain with its mighty blazing glaive, nearly burning the Reverend Elias Longshadow to ashes and prompting Executor Richter to order a full retreat from the farmstead. This was only made possible by the timely intervention of a sin'dorei warlock who'd accompanied the Harvest, temporarily banishing the revenant to the intangible void between the planes and facilitating their withdrawal.

And so the Forsaken hurried back to the Sepulcher to lick their wounds and honour their dead. Days later, the Revenant seemed to have expended its time on the mortal plane, burning out after burning the farm to naught but ashes.

But someone has to pick up the pieces.

[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]
Sons and daughters of Lordaeron. Of Quel'thalas. Brothers and sisters of the Horde.

If a war progresses impeccably smoothly without interruption, you're not fighting a war, you're leading a hunt. Last week, I discovered that we were indeed fighting a war. A battle was lost, and assets we made to seize for Lordaeron were lost before we could assume control of them.

But I also discovered something else. The Dalarani fear us. When they saw us coming, they ran, they hid, they fled, and they left a horrible surprise to fight us in their stead. Such is the way of cowards, and cowards deserve no mercy and no quarter.

Likely, they take their cunning maneouvre to be a victory. But more of theirs died than ours, and we? We never truly die. Today, we'll return to this farmstead and see what there is of what we came for left to claim. And then we'll see how they make to stop us.

Lordaeron is eternal. Lordaeron never dies.
-J. J. Richter
Executor of the Black Harvest

The Black Harvest's next event, Amidst the Ashes starts in an hour and a half.
And so the pieces were picked up.

The Black Harvest returned to this farmstead to find little but ash and charred corpses to mark the infernal Revenant's passage. Buildings, a barn and a farmhouse, had been reduced to blackened skeletal husks, and there was only a pile of dark elementium plates to hint at the perpetrator. Even after a week of disuse, flames still burned, and the Harvest's arcanists determined them to be magical in nature - primal fire, derived from the Elemental Planes. Dispelling it and harvesting their essences for enchantment, they proceeded further into the farmstead to investigate the buildings.

All the while, faint tremors and unusual gusts of wind washed over the stead. One of the latter brought a barnhouse crashing down upon the Reverend Father's head (and similarly injured the Dark Cleric Maeia di Silvio), while one of the former heralded the arrival of a taciturn tauren shaman who had come to Silverpine to investigate some sort of elemental disturbance - the Revenant. The veil between the worlds had been sundered here, he said, and hence the Revenant's appearance. The tauren soon left, but apparently making his home in Dalaran in the far north, he resolved to inform the authorities of the continued Alliance loyalty of the Ambermill Dalarani, as well as their aberrant research. The inquisitions of the Harvest's arcanists, Edmus Locke and Wesley, determined that the Dalarani had indeed called the beast forth to cover their escape, but there was scepticism as to how they had managed to improvise it so easily, and on such short notice.

However, a certain goat had the foresight to find a relatively intact corpse amidst the wreckage and raise in into undying servitude. A Dalarani battlemage - 'Maria' - was stripped of her flesh and risen as a barely-lucid skeleton, and, when Bastius failed to coax her memories out of her skull by dark imperative, began to torture and interrogate her alongside Executor Richter. Maeia was deeply unsettled by the act, but the rest of the Harvest seemed at least to tolerate this necromancy. It was revealed that the Dalarani had been there to study some sort of 'gate' or 'hole' between the planes where the 'veil' had become weak, and she had been posted to guard their research operations. It appears that this hole was deliberately exacerbated - or, the gate was opened - to facilitate the Revenant's passing through.

Growing frustrated at her continued defiance towards the Forsaken, however, the Executor broke her skull open and ended her short unlife, earning the ire of Bastius and the concern of Elias Longshadow. After some further deliberation as to the nature of the Revenant and its appearance, as well as the exact purpose and contents of the Dalarani's research (of which no evidence was found), the Harvest withdrew, resolving to dispatch a dedicated team of their arcanists to the location in coming days to investigate further while in turn focusing their attention more firmly on how to thwart the Dalarani militarily.

By all accounts, the veil remains broken. And the gentle, persistent tremors and gusts continue to roll across that farmstead in irregular intervals . . .
[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]

The war front is diversifying and its warriors grow bolder.

On the twenty-fourth day of the month, Executor Jared Richter became the first Reaper of the Black Harvest to take an oath under the Shadow Forgotten of eternal loyalty to Lordaeron and Sylvanas, held sacred and holy by Father Elias Longshadow, Reverend of the Black Harvest. But this was more than stating aloud what was already obvious; this was the first step the Harvest took towards becoming a sworn brotherhood, bound by more than single purpose, but by duty, honour and faith. This coincided with Jared promoting additional officers to delegate power amongst the Harvest; to allow a force threescore strong to operate smoothly, independent of its Executor where necessary.

As though to make a point, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Inquisitor Apostasy and the newly promoted Senior Deathspeaker Lendri were dispatched with a force of Reapers in tow to a small Forsaken garrison post, originally seized from the Scarlets by the Harvest, to relieve it from the Dalarani sorcerers who've since occupied the understaffed base for reasons unknown. Their orders were simple and clear: kill the mages, retake the fort and gather as much intelligence and salvageable resources as is inhumanly possible for the undying soldiers. In the halls of this keep, the site of the Harvest's first victory, the rest of the Reapers will take the same oath Richter did.

But Richter delegated these new officers for a reason, and he shall lead one mission while they lead another. Another Dalarani research camp, larger than any other found in years, was recently scouted by roaming Deathstalkers, and it falls to the rest of the Harvest again to investigate its purpose. But howls haunt the hills in which the camp lies, and those of the Harvest must take care not to let their minds wander too far.

((For those in the guild who are not partaking in Lendri and Majyk's ambitious and awesome weeklong event, I'm running events as per usual. Higher Learning, Higher Thought will take place on Monday, 9th of Julyat 12pm Server Time.))
[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]

Assembling at the Sepulcher at noon hour, the Harvest, fresh from its Pyrrhic victory in seizing the old fort, soon disembarked en route down into the hills south of Pyrewood and Shadowfang Keep. There, corresponding to the tip-off, they sighted a Dalarani camp from afar, marked by the three trails of smoke rising into the air from its burning campfires. Sending forth two of its Deathstalkers, Kargus Withers and Rahzul, alongside the volunteer Ephorius, it was soon verified, however, that the camp was empty, freshly abandoned and made derelict.

A necromancer ally of the Harvest by the name of Lazurus Majere soon verified via magical detection that there was no trickery afoot. There was no illusory mask hiding an ambush in the empty camp, and the Reapers proceeded unmitigated into the camp to pick through the remains and sort through what was left. The camp had been abandoned, it seemed, quick enough that its fires had been left burning. Supplies of foodstuffs were exposed to the open air, fresh; notes and papers were scattered and strewn all over the floor between the tents; and an alchemical experiment seemed to have been left in progress, vials bubbling. Indeed, the broken glass of vials littered the floor, and the only sign of a Dalarani mage presence was an elderly woman in purple robes lying in one of the tents, dead.

The Harvest's chief scribe and librarian, Deathspeaker Astor von Hapsburg, began alongside Deathstalker Rahzul to search through the books and notes that had been abandoned, eventually finding two texts of interest: Behaviours of Magical Beasts and Predatory Habits of the Northern Wolfmen. Meanwhile, Kargus Withers verified that the woman had died by her own hand very suddenly, whereas the magus Majere and a warlock named Diora uncovered a strange circle of markings in the soil and determined that it had recently been used to facilitate an escape, designed to close in on itself after a set number of beings had passed through. Suffice it to say, the mages seemed to have escaped in a hurry.

An undead kaldorei in the Harvest's service by the name of Zalthiel realised that the drugs bubbling in the alchemists' vials were designed to induce altered states of consciousness, Executor Richter swiftly warning his Reapers not to imbibe anything they found. An annotated tome was recovered detailing how to alter the mind through surgery, and amongst the scraps of paper on the floor Rahzul discerned that they had held a worgen captive, intent on trying to stabilise its savage state of mind. 'Victor' was the worgen's name, and it seemed that whoever he was, the mages had known him before the curse. They were trying, it seems, to restore him to sentience - if there was any sentience to restore - and if not, to 'tame' them, something Archmage Arugal had succeeded at and something the Royal Apothecary Society had failed to do for years.

An encoded notebook was found on the dead woman's person, the name 'Alexandra Trokios' being signed on the spine. A letter was found amidst the shredded notes, one addressed to a 'Lex' and signed by a 'Victor' - a man condemned to execution writing to his wife, it seemed. The Harvest made a tentative connection between the Victor in the notes and the dead woman on whose person the notebook had been found. Moreover, it was further discovered that this group of wayward Dalarani were extremely interested in the mutual exclusivity between the worgen curse and the curse of undeath.

A disturbing possibility was raised - that 'Victor', whoever he was had traded his death sentence for a role in these experiments. Suffice it to say, there was no sign of this Victor but for a cow's skeleton recently stripped of meat that the Reapers sufficed had been used as food. Whether Victor escaped, prompting an evacuation, or whether this Alexandra had sabotaged his captivity and set him loose was not to be known by the Harvest. It was further noted that the Dalarani had been tracking trails of clawmarks leading up and down the Greymane Wall . . .

Suffice it to say, the Harvest's standing orders for Dalarani encountered upon patrol have been switched to capture and not kill with interrogation in mind.
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[Image: iaza12427310314400.gif]

With investigation and research into their initial findings underway, the Black Harvest opted to return to the camp site later that week to further inspect the remains. But upon arriving, they saw a distinct change in scenery: a sign that the Dalarani had revisited their work site since the last time the Reapers had ventured out to investigate it. The papers that had been strewn indiscriminately around the place in their initial hurry to leave - those that the Harvest hadn't already taken - had vanished, as had much of the books, tomes and alchemy equipment that the Harvest couldn't bring with them on their initial departure. Certain books remained, but their contents had been erased from cover to cover, and yet the tents still stood. Like thieves in the night, the Dalarani had crept into their camp and erased all traces of their being there.

More than that, though - to the dismay of many Forsaken who crept into the camp that day - they had left subtle markings in their wake. Runic markings, inscribed into the soil and covered up by basic illusory charms. Runic markings which served to rig the place with booby traps, triggering under the Forsaken's feet like magical landmines and releasing payloads of lightning and fire against the Forsaken. Memorably, when a tauren who'd come to the Forasken's aid set hoof in a tent, the pole propping the dwelling up snapped with a flash of arcane beneath him, and the canvas animated to ensnare and strangulate him, only to be sawn through by one of the nearby Reapers. Fortunately, through the magical aid of the surprisingly sizeable contingent of sorcerers and arcanists who had opted to accompany the Harvest that day, these magical traps were disabled with no casualties and few injuries.

Exploring beyond the camp into the surrounding hills, the gathered Forsaken adventurers discovered a particularly intricate and advanced runic circle marked into the ground, one which pulsed actively with a constant flow of magic. Wary of its intention, the Harvest's sorcerous allies entered into examination and debate. The arrangement of the markings seemed to derive jointly from the fields of demonology and conjuration, the sort of circle used to trap and bind summoned creatures, but the runes themselves seemed all wrong . . . eventually, it was determined that their purpose was to call something to a location, not to hold it in place there.

Drip. Drip. The Harvest soon discovered the mauled, bloodied corpses of Dalarani in the trees. And when the Harvest experimentally set one of these corpses down, mangled piece of meat that it was, into the runic circle they'd located, they discovered exactly what the circle was intended to bring forth.

A hundred howls filled the woods.

If it needed to be said, their retreat was a hasty one as worgen abruptly flooded to the the spot. A feeding ground, one Reaper hypothesised, but if these wayward Dalarani researchers seemed truly to be trying to tame the worgen for their own purposes, then what had happened when the Dalarani visited their campsite to retrieve what research they'd left behind to leave several of them strung up from the trees half-eaten?

A rough diagram of the circle having been taken down for further investigation, the Black Harvest returned to the Sepulcher. And days later, it was discovered that worgen numbers in the woods surrounding the settlement had thickened significantly . . .

(The next event in the Higher Learning, Higher Thought event chain will be taking place on the 19th of July at 11am Server Time. Now with added puppeting and phasing on my behalf!)
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